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Down With The Sickness, dimcon
Macon had no real knowledge of smallpox beyond knowing it was something that people used to get that killed them. He hadn’t known that he didn’t get a shot for it as a kid because it had been ‘eradicated.’ He didn’t know that shit like that was stored in labs across the globe. He didn’t know how you got it, what happened when you got it, or why you got it. How was the only thing that mattered to Macon though, because he was determined to keep himself and a couple of other people from getting it. Not much like there though as Riley had apparently come down with it. Macon had been quietly livid with both DIMITRA BLACK and Riley. Not because he had gotten sick – but because he was a stubborn asshole who wouldn’t take himself to the hospital and thus Dimi felt the need. Macon would have driven him himself had he known, but he’d been busy at home with helping Jamie entertain Wes and Chloe and keeping a watch on her because she was a fucking idiot and he didn’t put it past her to leave the trailer. She’d say she was just running out for this or that, just going to see whoever. Normally Macon didn’t give a fuck, but he gave a lot of fucks now because she could bring something home with her that none of them wanted.
Only with Riley being sick, Macon realized that he could be the thing to infect his niece and nephew. He made Jamie swear on her life that she wouldn’t leave the trailer, and he might have taken her keys with him, too, when he left. Macon and Riley were around each other constantly, which meant that if Riley were sick, Macon probably carried the potential. He might get sick too, or he might not, but he wasn’t going to risk carrying it to Wes and Chloe. Dimi had already been around Riley too, so Macon figured it was best if they just ride this out together. Initially he was hesitant to go to Riley’s trailer, but he and Dimi couldn’t stay at his trailer. Anyway, the damage was already done, he figured, with the amount of time they spent in that trailer already. It had been four days since they’d left it, and Macon was going a little stir crazy even though he couldn’t have picked better company. ”How long do you think we’re gonna have to stay in here?” he asked her on the fourth night of their relative imprisonment. He figured (knew) that Dimi knew more than he did, seeing how she was so smart and stuff. He thought maybe he remembered her talking about majoring in biology or something too. Anyway she had always liked science? Under other circumstances, Macon didn’t think he would mind being stuck anywhere with Dimi for days on end. This was different though. He felt like he was waiting for a guillotine to drop across the back of his neck.
Dimi hadn't paid much attention to the entire smallpox thing in the beginning. She hadn't really... taken it seriously she supposed and she had realized that she completely should have taken it seriously. She was hit with that when she went over to Tatum's and realized that the girl was sick. She had to hassle Tate into going into the hospital but finally managed to drop her off where it was confirmed that she was coming down with smallpox. Second was Riley and Dimi honestly didn't understand why her friends were so damn stubborn but she had to drive him to the hospital as well and practicially push him into the place where he was also diagnosed with Smallpox. Dimi was relatively assured that she wouldn't have contracted it because neither of them had rashes when she had been around them, but you also never knew. She had gone to the grocery store after dropping Riley off and had stocked up because she had a feeling that if this thing wasn't solved, it was going to be a mess out there. It was shortly after that where Macon had suggested that they stay together in Riley's trailer since he was afraid of getting his niece and nephew sick and Dimi was happy for the company, though she was fairly certain the company wanted to give her a lecture about driving sick people to the hospital. Work was stalled, everything was stalled, life was stalled. Dimi had only left the trailer once to check on her mom who she had found out through Bianca, was now shacking up with Bianca's dad. Her mother hadn't come down with anything yet, thankfully.
She was following every major news outlet by day four, checking on the updates that were coming in. The television was almost always turned onto the news as well. It was eerie, how the streets were fairly empty. A lot of businesses had closed down. "Technically, I don't think we have to," she said as she rubbed the bridge between her brows, "There's been no mandatory curfew..." but she wasn't sure how that would be enforced anyways. They were recommending that people who weren't sick, to stay put. "It's a standoff, but depending on what this guy altered, smallpox runs its course in two weeks," she said, and at that point the person either recovered or died. She sighed a little bit as she fired off another text to Riley, fairly annoyed that he kept texting her about Amara. She'd rather him focus his energy on getting better than his ex who was apparently back in town. She tossed her phone onto the couch, resting her head on her knees as she looked over at Macon, "We're going to have to go to the store in a couple days," she admitted. When she had stocked up, she'd stocked up for one. With two, the food was going faster than normal.
Macon didn’t understand a lot of the news. He wasn’t stupid. He understood the basics. But he couldn’t understand how there was a guy who knew how to fix all this shit and someone hadn’t made him do it yet. They were the United States of America. Supposedly the greatest nation on Earth. They had lots of money and plenty more torture techniques they got in trouble for using, right? Well, now was time to show the muscle, Macon thought. He had no moral opposition to how they got what they needed from this dude. In Macon’s eyes, Dr. Zero had waived his right to any sort of kind of fair treatment when he had decided to make a bunch of innocent people sick enough that they might die. Hold a gun to his head until he gave the scientists what they needed to make the cure. Bada bing, bada boom. Why was that so hard? He was just guessing that this guy wasn’t prepared to die for his cause, hence creating the cure in the first place. He didn’t want to go down with it. He had to know other people would be willing to take him out though. Macon would willingly stand in front of this guy and shoot him, point blank. People like him were the scum of the Earth.
Those were all thoughts he kept to himself though because he didn’t feel like Dimi would approve of them. Most people probably wouldn’t. Murder was still murder, so most people would argue that it was wrong. The only way that Macon was able to remain even somewhat calm about the whole situation was that Dimi, Wes, and Chloe were all okay. He knew that Riley was sick, but Riley was also one stubborn fuck who would be damned before he let some vintage ass shit like smallpox end his career early. Macon felt like he was holding things together since everyone else was okay. Still, he hated being holed up in there like an animal, and his face was unimpressed when Dimi pointed out the technicality that they were free to come and go as they pleased. In theory. But who was going to go explore the city when you risked dying? ”You know what I mean,” he told her. ”So eventually everyone who’s going to get it will have gotten it? And everyone else will either be dead or over it?” He wanted to make sure he understood her correctly. Macon was aware how callous he sounded, but he wasn’t one to beat around the bush or sugar coat things. He just wanted to know what was going on in the simplest terms possible. And when Dimi mentioned going to the store, his head whipped toward her. ”The fuck we are,” he blinked. He wanted to say the fuck you are because like hell was he going to let her go to the grocery store. He knew he couldn’t stop her or anything, but he’d put up one hell of a stink about it. They’d live off whatever was in that trailer. They’d make it work.
She did know what he meant and she wasn't sure why she took this self imposed quarantine less seriously than he did. Maybe it was because she had been in contact with two people who were sick and she hadn't got sick. Maybe she was still reeling from those don't care walls that she had thrown up when Riley started texting her about Amara. For once though, it was like Macon was the one more worried about their safety than she was. "As long as people are checking themselves into the hospital... I think so," she said. She thought the police were trying to track down anyone who might have been infected. By then, assuming no one had left New Orleans with it (which was a stretch...), everyone would either die or survive it. "We should get the vaccination after this," she suggested, for that off chance that there were a couple more people who still had it. She had been looking up the vaccination, it looked unpleasant. She wasn't entirely sure how effective the vaccination would be against this mutated strain but at the very least it was some sort of protection compared to none at all. This guy, this man who had decided to do this, Dimi didn't understand how he could not see that this was wrong on every single level.
She wasn't expecting him to have the kind of reaction she did to going to the store. Food was a basic requirement after all and Macon generally liked to eat. Which, indicated to her just how freaked out, she supposed, that he was about this. She was freaked out, she was upset their friends were stuck in there, but there was a certain routine to it all for Dimi as well. She tried not to smile as she scooted along the sofa towards him, settling herself against his chest, "Why not?" she pretended to ask, "We could make our own hazmat suits," she joked, stifling a laugh and she wiggled a little bit before she got comfortable, "Out of garbage bags," she continued with this elaborate plan for them to go and get groceries, "Some gloves, cut holes for the eyes, totally normal," she finished with a laugh. If he didn't want to go for food, she could deal. They could ration out what they had in smaller portions and maybe see if there were any places that were delivering, the poor suckers who worked there. "You're really worried, huh?" she asked him. Or maybe just cautious. Responsible? It was a different look for him.
Macon was actually, legitimately, thoroughly terrified of this shit. Nobody was gonna give a fuck if a couple of kids from the trailer park died from smallpox. Nobody cared if they died from a bullet wound or a car accident or anything else, so why would some sort of disease make a difference? It wouldn’t. No one would be linining up or marching to help them. No one would turn their names into hashtags or put their faces in the newspaper about being gone too soon. No one would care except for the people there with them, and they were helpless to do anything about it. If Wes and Chloe got sick, that was it. If he or Dimi got sick, that was also it. Riley had money. His dad had been a fucking famous musician, and Riley was on his way. People around knew his name, and Macon felt like he was probably getting moderately better care in the hospital than either he or Dimi would receive. And he wasn’t mad about it, because obviously he wanted Riley to get the best fucking care available, but he was under no delusion that anyone would go out of their way for his family. That meant the only way to ensure their safety was to make sure they didn’t get sick, so Macon wasn’t taking any chances with it. Dimi said it herself. As long as people are checking themselves into the hospital… Neither Riley nor Tatum apparently had been willing to go; Dimi had practically forced them. What about the people who didn’t have a Dimi to make them go? They were the ones who were going to spread this thing even further. ”We can’t,” Macon shook his head at her. It wasn’t like that vaccination had ever been a choice. Macon remembered taking Wes to the doctor with Jamie to get his vaccinations before he started kindergarten. They were mandatory in the public schools, and no one had mentioned anything about smallpox. The news even said the vaccines had stopped in the seventies because no one needed them anymore. ”Unless they bring them back..” he considered, which seemed like a good fucking idea to him. Sign him up.
He assumed why not was a rhetorical question, because Dimi was the smart one here and this one was not a difficult one to figure out. Macon didn’t usually like to come into contact with other people anyway; he sure as hell did not want to come into contact with other people when simply brushing past them in a store or picking something up after them could mean death. She was joking, but Macon just didn’t find the humor in it. He realized the necessity for food, but he’d rather hold off as long as they could. If it meant he was eating nothing but canned corn for a few days, whatever. It wasn’t like Macon was used to living the high life anyway, and she said smallpox ran its course in two weeks or whatever. Things might get thin, but surely they could make it to that point. When she scooted herself over to him, Macon lifted an arm to make room for her and lowered it again around her, not even enticed to smile at the image of her bopping around town in a garbage bag. He let her talk about it though, figuring maybe it made her feel better to laugh about it. When she asked if he was really worried about it, Macon glanced over at her for a second before answering. ”If Wes or Chloe get sick, nobody’s gonna help them,” he told her seriously. ”They’re little. Chloe had that cold a few weeks ago already.” He worried that meant she’d be more likely to catch something now. ”We don’t have money to buy any cures or bribe any doctors to help them or anything. You really think someone would prioritize them over some doctor’s kid? A lawyer’s kid?” He shook his head. They wouldn’t. Macon knew how the world worked. The upper class was always, always taken care of first. Macon, his family, and his friends weren’t even middle class. They were lower class, which meant they were often forgotten or ignored or shoved aside. They were low ranking on anyone’s priority list, which meant they often made each other their top priority. "Same goes for you or for me," he shrugged. "Hell probably even less." People did tend to take pity or cute little kids. He and Dimi were no longer cute little kids.
"Why not?" she asked. She had just looked up smallpox vaccine because she thought it would be a thing. It was. She hadn't stopped to think that you couldn't take it anymore. That seemed rather stupid. It wasn't gone, it was still alive in labs and clearly bioterrorism was a thing so you'd think that it was smart to take preventive measures against such a thing. "Uh, they clearly should," she said, that seemed like it'd be a pretty good thing to get going for all the people who weren't sick in New Orleans and the surrounding area. Dimi was mostly an optimist but she did recognize that you couldn't be sitting on your hands and hoping for the best. When you could do something, you probably should be doing something. It was that optimism that also had her joking around. She just wasn't taking this as seriously as he was. She'd had a dad lost at sea, a brother dead in a car crash, and a step father dead in a bombing. The two of them were currently fine and that was something to be optimistic about.
Macon was kinda a downer. Like a real freaking bummer to be around sometimes. It wasn't to say he was wrong because everything he was saying was a cold hard fact backed by the evidence that they had been experiencing in their life. She had asked because she wanted to know and the more he talked the more she realized she couldn't ever fully understand what that was like for him. He had this family that he cared about and wanted to keep safe, little kids that were counting on him. She wasn't taking this as seriously as him because at the end of the day the only person she really needed to watch out for, was herself. She checked in on her mom, sure, but her mom had made it clear that their lives were better when they were taking two different paths. His questions were rhetorical and she didn't answer but tried to place herself in his shoes for a moment. It didn't take her long to realize and understand that they weren't a pair of shoes she'd want to live in. He was right, on everything he was saying. Everything he was saying though was also depressing and it was killing the optimism that she had. She was quiet as she processed his words, dark and twisted words that portrayed a truth that would depress anyone if they thought about it for too long. "Alright, no going out," she said, figuring that was the best way to phrase that she'd heard him, no jokes about it.
Macon didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to vaccines and all that, but he did know that the news sometimes talked about all these young parents who didn’t want to vaccinate their kids because they thought the vaccines did more harm than good or something. He was willing to bet not a damn one of those high and mighty pretentious morons would step foot inside New Orleans right now. And some people would say he was being judgmental, but he didn’t care. Only privileged fucking idiots thought that vaccines designed to prevent your kid from dying would actually hurt them more in the long run. They could afford to think that, literally, because they had the money to throw at whatever problems might arise. People like Macon? They got the fucking vaccinations and dealt with whatever side effects might come because if they got the fucking disease, they were on their own. No one was coming to rescue them. ”Stopped issuing them in the seventies or something because smallpox wasn’t around anymore,” he shrugged. Except…it was big, so how was that working out for people? Not too good. The vaccine wasn’t a cure, but if they could roll that out pretty quickly, at least maybe it would slow the spread? ”They probably will,” he nodded. People were going to demand it. People were already upset and scared. There’s no way Macon believed that the vaccine wouldn’t become available again sooner rather than later.
Nothing in Macon’s life had ever taught him to be optimistic, to look on the bright side, or find a silver fucking lining. Everything had taught him to prepare for the worst, because that’s probably what was going to happen. And if it didn’t, then he would be pleasantly surprised. He wouldn’t be caught off guard though if it all didn’t turn out all right. He would be prepared for it. And Macon was the kind of person who would lay down his life for the people he cared about. He’d been prepared to do it once before, with Flynn, if it came down to it. Macon had been prepared to jump into that water with him, and that was a long fucking drop. He couldn’t do anything here though to protect the people he cared about. Riley was already in the hospital. The most Macon could do was sit tight with Dimi, keep her safe, and ride Jamie’s ass to make sure that she was keeping Wes and Chloe safe. He’d feel better if he were at home with them, and if Dimi were there too, but he and Dimi had been around Riley (and Tatum), so that hadn’t seemed smart to him. He was anxious and restless and probably more afraid than he had been in a long time and definitely more afraid than he was willing to admit. He became aware though that he had just effectively shut Dimi up or shut her down, he wasn’t sure which one, but that hadn’t been his goal there. He’d just been trying to answer her question, that whole open and honest communication thing. He’d told her about his fears, but he hadn’t stopped to think maybe he’d just be passing those fears over on to her or something. ”Sorry,” he sort of mumbled, feeling like he’d done something wrong there. He was just super fucking stressed out, and it was showing. He rubbed at the area between his eyes. ”I just couldn’t fucking handle if you end up sick too,” he told her candidly. ”Or if one of them did.” He would lose it.
She groaned as he revealed that they had stopped giving out the vaccine for smallpox, "Why do places keep these viruses? Like do we really need samples of smallpox that apparently anyone can get their hands on?" she complained. That seemed to be a pretty huge mistake, judging from what was presently going on in the lovely city of New Orleans. She too thought that they should and probably would start giving out vaccines after they believed that this entire thing was under control. If, it reacted in the same way anyways. Because it was a mutated strain, but at the very least it should equip the body to better fight off the virus which was a step above being sitting ducks like her and Macon currently were.
She had wanted to know and while his thoughts on everything right now were incredibly depressing. They were depressing facts. It grounded her a little bit from her jokes and her slight apathy towards her own situation. Because she wasn't taking it as seriously in conjunction with herself, didn't mean that she wasn't taking it seriously with others. She sent Tatum motivational bitmoji's every hour and she had just warned Riley about four times that he wasn't allowed to die on her, she forbade it. Macon's mind was a dark and painful place and that came from years of hardship and constant battles for even the slightest inch. Dimi could understand that on a basic level, but she also wished that she had a little bit of something that was able to puncture some holes of light through that darkness. She couldn't brighten his mood though, and she certainly couldn't tell him that it was going to be alright because she didn't know that and she wouldn't lie to him. She didn't know what to say to make him feel a little bit better, she didn't know how to ease that pain, and she certainly didn't know how to share that burden. "Don't be," she said at once. He was probably right, and she had asked. They were just very solemn thoughts that he had shared. "We don't leave, we won't get sick," she promised him, that much she could say with certainty. She wouldn't risk it, if he was that worried. She leaned up a little, supporting her weight on the back of the couch so she could see him for a moment, "Hey," she said gently, her free hand cupping the side of his face, "Tell me what you need."
Macon shrugged, because he didn't know the answer to her question. Out of all of his classes in school, science had always been one of his least favorites. He liked it only minorly more than he liked English. At least in History they'd gotten to talk about war, and at least in math he knew that he'd fucking use it later. Maybe he should have been paying more attention in science after all though. "Maybe it's like the flu or something," he shrugged. He didn't know, but he was pretty sure the flu vaccine actually put a little bit of the flu into a person? Maybe that's why they kept smallpox around, in case they ever needed to make another vaccine or something? Which...clearly they fucking did. And Macon wasn't convinced it had been released on the whim of some doctor, either. He didn't put a lot of trust in the government - never had. He was one of those people who believed that shit was orchestrated to create a domino effect, like shooting little kids in schools to further push gun control laws or something. He wouldn't put it past people to do this on purpose to push something about vaccines, or to make pharmaceutical companies look like the good guys instead of the bad guys, or something like that. He had no real proof or reasons behind what he thought though; he just thought it.
His family had always been important to him, and that bond extended to a couple of people who were not biologically linked to his family. Two were currently in the hospital - one because he was sick and one because he had fucking sneaked into it - and the others were safe, for the time being. Macon didn't even know about Gabe and would have no way of learning, either, until all was said and done, but he assumed that the prison was taking precautions as well. It occurred to him, then, that while Macon was worried about Gabe in jail, Gabe must have been worried about all of them outside of it. He was probably safer than the rest of them were, for that matter, and Macon felt kind of sick thinking about how worried his brother must be about all of them. It wasn't like he could just call him up though. Gabe was allowed to call out, but they couldn't call in, and even then his calls were limited and monitored; Gabe hadn't called him, but Macon hoped he'd called Jamie. He did feel a little better though when Dimi agreed that they wouldn't leave, and he could at least breathe a little easier about that. He could only do so much here. He could control what he did, but not what she did, and that was something Macon locked in on when he got worried or stressed out. He tried to grab control over things, hold on tight to them, but he was also aware that she was not a thing and that she was her own person who could do what she wanted. He was just so fucking glad that this time she was choosing to do what he wanted. He turned to look at her when she cupped his face like that and wished he could tell her. Maybe she was like him and wanted to feel like she was doing something here, but the truth was that neither of them could. Dimi couldn't give him what he needed in that moment, because what he needed was for Riley to be out of the hospital, and a guarantee that the people he loved were going to be okay, and she couldn't do that. Nobody could. "That," he ultimately said, referring to her statement that they wouldn't leave and wouldn't get sick. It was the most either of them could do.
Dimi was well aware that if she wanted to, she could march right out of there to get them groceries. She could do it with or without that makeshift hazmat suit that she had been joking about only moments ago. She liked that Macon understood that she would and could do whatever the heck she wanted and he couldn't stop her if she set her mind to it. And because he understood that, she listened to what he said and tried to understand what he felt. So she made the decision to forget about the food. She couldn't though, and wouldn't forget that Macon was in an impossible and difficult situation right now, and she was a bit mad at herself for not realizing it. It had been four days, she would have thought he'd come to a certain state of acceptance that Jamie, Chloe, and Wes were going to be okay. She didn't know his other worries, that maybe Jamie would leave. It wasn't so much that Dimi wanted to be able to do something, she didn't really feel a call to action in all situations. She held no desire to go into the hospital after Riley and Tatum when she had dropped them off. It wasn't that she actively needed to be helping. But here, with him, Dimi did want to be able to settle down how restless and anxious he was over what was happening. He didn't deserve to shoulder this burden he was carrying alone but it wasn't hers to bear either. It was his family. What he asked of her, was nothing big and she knew that it wouldn't really help him that much. She narrowed her eyes a little at him, but what could she really do though?
So she just sighed, pressing her lips to his shoulder for a moment affectionately before she settled back down against him. "Do you want to call them?" she asked him, speaking into his chest. She knew they didn't have wifi or a computer but she had facetime on her phone and if Jamie had that as well then he'd be able to see them and talk to them. She wasn't sure if Macon's phone had that. "I've got face time," she offered to him, though she wasn't even sure if he knew what that was Maybe that'd be good for him, to see their faces so that he could actually see that they were there and were doing alright. He couldn't go over there and check on them but something like that was the next best thing.
Macon was pretty sure that he took on responsibilities when it came to Wes and Chloe on his own. He didn't remember anyone asking him to become some sort of active part in their life. It had just...happened, once he had moved in with Jamie. He'd spent a lot of time around them, and all of a sudden he had wanted to be around them, too. He knew he wasn't a father figure to them or anything like that, nor would he want to be. But he did know he was one of the few family members they had in their life, that it really came down to him and their mom, and they deserved to feel safe and loved, things that Macon had also deserved as a child but had rarely received. He and Jamie were already fucked up. Lost causes. Wes and Chloe though? They still had a chance, and Macon had taken on the responsibility of helping them have the best shot at life and happiness that they could get. It was hard though. It was really fucking hard, and he hadn't been prepared for the kind of attachment he would really form to those kids. They meant the fucking world to him now, and the thought of anything bad happening to either of him was often enough to send him into a tailspin. He realized that logically if they weren't already sick, they probably wouldn't be. The news said some people were sick for days though before the symptoms presented themselves, which was still fucking with his mind. If he overreacted and in the end everything was fine, then great. He hoped that was the case.
When Dimi asked if he wanted to call them, Macon wondered why. He realized then that she thought it might settle his nerves a little, and then he realized that she was probably right. Why hadn't he thought to call them? Stupid. "Yeah," he told her with a nod. And it did make him feel a little better, put his mind a little more at ease to hear Chloe babble about how Jamie had painted her toenails and hear Wes complain about not being able to go outside. At least Jamie seemed to be taking it all seriously, too. When they'd disconnected from the call, Macon stared at the screen of her phone for a minute. "How do you do that?" he wondered idly. "How do you always know what to do?" Macon wished he had that trait that appeared to come so naturally to Dimi. She always knew what to do, somehow, and it almost always turned out to be the right thing. Macon hadn't even known what he had needed in that moment, and yet Dimi had known. She had known that he had needed to see Wes and Chloe in order to help him feel a little more at ease, and since he couldn't go over there to see them, she had come up with a solution for the next best thing. Sometimes the easy way Dimi always seemed to have the right answer was annoying as hell. And other times it made Macon pretty freaking sure that he was in love with her.