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june 15th happy three years! check out the announcement here!
It's funny how high one can reach only to crash down hours later.
Molly finally found herself in a routine. The kind of routine she had been craving for years. She'd work at the Kajun. She'd take pictures (keeping in mind what Noah had told her). She'd spend time with Finn (that was her most favorite part of any day). For the first time in a long time, the uncertainty that had always crept around in the back of her head disappeared. Her life was going the way she wanted it to.
Then of course reality had come and kicked her in the ass.
It had been a perfectly normal afternoon. She was getting ready for her shift at the Kajun, having slept away most of the morning. In the background the television prattled on about something but she wasn't paying attention to get more than a few words. Had she been she would have realized that outbreak was far more close than she could have been prepared for.
Instead it was a phone call from the hospital that stopped her in her tracks. She found herself sinking to the couch as it was explained to her: an outbreak of smallpox. Then the questions started: Did she know an Finnegan Blake? When was the last time she saw him? What would she consider the contact like? It didn't take her long to put the pieces together.
Finn was sick.
There was a bit of panic in her as she gathered her things. She wanted to go to the hospital right away --- and they wanted her there anyway. Quarantine considering her contact with him. She wasn't thinking about herself. Only Finn.
When she arrived she was poked and prodded. Her temperature was taken. She was declared fine (for now, she hadn't missed how they threw that phrase around). Finally, she was allowed to see Finn. Her heart fell at the sight of him.
"You know, I really always wanted a thing in a relationship," she confessed, trying to keep her voice light. "But I didn't want it be visiting each other in the hospital. That's a lame thing, Finn."
Finn knew he looked like shit, but if he were to be completely honest, he felt better than he had. They'd given him some anti-nausea medicine as well as pumped all kinds of fluids and fever reducers into him. They'd gotten his fever down to where it wouldn't, and he was quoting overworked medical staff, fry his own brain and proteins. That was a terrifying thought, but he did take solace in the fact that he was apparently safe for the time being. During the small honeymoon phase where all those medicines were working full force, he had taken a short walk around the unit just to take his mind off his own state. He'd seen Mia, talked to her, wondered how someone so impossibly tiny could possibly fight off something like superpox...
And then he'd ended up back in his own room. He was tired of course, but also endlessly restless. He wanted desperately to see or talk to Casey and Molly, the two women in his life he couldn't be without. He'd gotten through to Casey who was in Houston seeing their parents, so she was in the clear. It was Molly, who would have been sleeping, that he was concerned about. Finn hoped she would have told him about being sick since she was the first one that popped into his head the first time he'd thrown up.
Speak of the devil.
When she walked through the door he could have sworn he was having a fever dream. He had goosebumps and sweat, chills and his teeth were chattering, so he knew his fever was coming back around. But why was she here? "Molly," he croaked, sitting up in his hospital bed a little bit. He was lying under a thin sheet, all the nurses would allow him to be under since they were trying to cool him off, but it just made him shiver in the frigid hospital air. And that was one thing about Finn: he was rarely ever cold. "Why are you here? Are you.. Are you ok?" he asked, concern evident not only in his voice but his sweat-dampened face as well. Had he gotten her sick? He'd absolutely never forgive himself. Finn attempted a chuckle at what she said, but the smile didn't sit right on his pale face. "Me? You should see the other guy."
He looked...so unlike himself that she almost did a double take. Molly had gotten used to Finn being strong, boisterous. Even when his hip had taken him down, he had still had that something about him that let everyone know he wasn't going to be coddled or treated like an invalid. Right now...well, he looked like...
The thought startled her and she immediately clawed back at her brain, desperate to show aside any such thoughts. He'd be fine. Sure, right now he looked worse for the wear but they'd get to the bottom of it and he'd be fine.
It was an automatic response to rush forward into the room when he sat up a bit. "No, no," she began, holding her hands up. "Don't move. You just stay right where you are. I mean, I know I'm hot stuff but there is no need to get up on my account." Another smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. She looked around the room as the severity of it all began to sink in.
Molly pulled up a chair and sat down. It was overwhelming really. Even if she didn't want it to be. She didn't want to act afraid in front of him but at the same time that was just what she was. Terrified. Her head shook. "I'm fine. They said so. They checked me out because apparently I have been making out with this really hot guy who is a little sick right now. So far nothing --- which is apparently a really good sign on my part. They want me to stay. Just in case but I'm fine." She pressed her lips together. "What about you? How do you feel right now? Tell the truth too --- no macho bullshit okay?"
He forced a chuckle when she demanded he not get up. That was good, that she didn't want him to get up, because he wasn't entirely sure he could right now. Earlier he'd felt so good, so ready to tackle this thing and now here he was, feeling spent and beaten. He watched her move about the room so she could sit close to him, and he wanted nothing more than to hold her in his arms right now. Not even so much to comfort her as it would be comforting for him, just to know she was there. Honestly Finn wasn't sure he believed in love and all that, but this situation was enough to make a believer out of him.
When Molly said she was fine, a sigh of relief exited Finn. She was okay. That was the only thing that had been on his mind for a while now. He'd made peace with the fact that he was going to be extremely uncomfortable for a while and that, eventually, he was going to end up with sores. He was even okay with the fact that those sores would eventually leave scars, but what he couldn't be okay with was Molly going through all this. He pulled his hand out from under the sheet and set it next to him, open-faced so that she could hold it. "Well, hey, no more making out with hot, sick dudes, ok?" He wouldn't make out with anyone right now, not even if they paid him.
"I uh.." he started, but didn't want to be honest. All the same, Molly deserved the truth. "It's pretty rough," he said with a dry chuckle. He wouldn't go into the details for her sake. "I'm fuckin' cold," he admitted while his body visibly shook from shivering, "And my skin feels like it's on fire." He could only assume that meant the blisters would start soon, and he'd be in excruciating pain. All the same, he refused pain medicine. Surely there were those sicker and in more pain than he was - he believed could fight through the pain. Save the medicine for those who needed it. "How's that? No macho bullshit." He laughed, but the smile was fake and the laugh sounded more like a whimper. No macho here, that's for sure.
Molly immediately moved to take his hand, curling her fingers around him. He felt far too warm for her comfort but she didn't point out the obvious. He would know all too well that he was overheating. She wondered what they were giving him for that. What they were giving him for anything really. She wanted a full report. She was tempted to use that sisterly bond she really didn't have to demand a report from Leah. At the same time she was terrified of what she might hear.
So she began to trace circles into the palm of his hand instead. It was an absent minded move, more of a distraction to her. She took a deep breath and gave him her best impression of a smile at the moment. "I agree. No making out with hot sick guys. At least not for awhile." She had grand plans of planting one on him the moment she was given the all clear. Until then she was staying right where she was.
Molly wasn't sure what he would actually tell her. He seemed like the king of holding back when it came to any kind of sickness and she was almost expecting him to do the same here. What she got was closer to the truth and she couldn't help but appreciate it even if it terrified her. He must be in real trouble if he's willing to tell her. She tightened her grip on his hand, a reflexive moment to the idea of him getting any worse. "That was pretty damn good. So, how many times has the doctor been here? What is the course of treatment? The plan?" That seemed like the better thing to focus on: what they were going to do from here on out
Finn looked down at their hands while she traced little patterns onto the worn surface of his palm. Her hands were so soft and delicate while his were big and calloused. It was weird the things he noticed when he took the time to look past what was happening so fast in front of his face. He took a deep breath in and while he exhaled, he gave a deep cough. His diaphragm was completely worn out from being sick for close to two days, so worn out it even hurt to breathe.
When she launched another brigade of questions at him, he did his best to answer them in order and to the full extent of his mental capacity. "I don't think I've seen the doctor really. Maybe once? It's mostly been nurses and aides." Everyone looked the same, they were either in those blue scrubs or wearing a disposable gown to hopefully prevent transmission. At the treatment question, he had to lay his head back and shut his eyes for a second to keep the room from spinning. It must be about time for another round of medicine because the nausea was also coming back. "There's apparently a cure but we don't get it." He hated having to tell her that but she was going to find out eventually. "They're saving it for important people. The rest of us, they're just managing the symptoms," he repeated the phrase spoken to him by a nurse.
Finn shifted under the sheet and gave a notable wince. A spot on his arm she wasn't holding felt like it was splitting apart, and he didn't have to look to know what was happening. Even though he had agreed not to be macho, he didn't want Molly to see him covered in sores. "They're giving me a fuck ton of fluid, something for the fever, something for the puking..." They were doing what they could. "Seems pretty optimistic that I'll make it."
Molly flinched when a cough wracked his body. She was a few steps away from a blind panic but hoped that she could hold it together. For him. The last thing Finn needed was to have to calm down his hysterical girlfriend. He was the one who was hurting. She needed to be the strong one here. Still, her fingers tightened their grip on his hand and she was one step away from running for a nurse.
Apparently, she didn't do well seeing him in a life or death situation.
When it appeared to pass, she calmed down. A little. Hearing that he hadn't been seen by a doctor pricked her temper (which she supposed was better than hitting her blind panic button). She narrowed her eyes. "They damn well better have a doctor in here within the next few hours or I am using the Sister Card." She would too. She would metaphorically twist Leah's arm until she came to give Finn a proper once over. A part of her knew that it wasn't logical to have a regular visit by a doctor in the middle of all this (and really if a doctor was stopping by every few hours it was a bad sign, not a good one).
If the doctor thing stirred something in her, news of a cure pushed her over the top. "What?!" She stated. "Saving it for the important people? Just how in the hell are they determining who is important and who is not?" She did her best to keep her voice from raising to the volume that might disturb other patients but she wasn't quiet either. "Let me guess: money. It always comes down to money." She shook her head violently, disgusted by the whole thing. Even though it sounded like there was optimism in Finn's case, she couldn't help but think of the pain he was in (and the pain others would suffer through before they finally gave up). "You shouldn't have to suffer because you are not rich enough to deem important. No one should."
Finn watched the heat flash across her face. That was something he loved about Molly - she was so dedicated to justice no matter the cost. At least when it came to the people she cared about. He gave a light chuckle so as not to throw himself into a new coughing fit and gave her hand a squeeze. "Easy there, tiger," he teased, "They're doing all they can." Basically the less he had people poking, prodding, and pricking him the better. What was a doctor going to say differently than all the other medical staff? There wasn't anything they could do aside from manage his symptoms.
If not having seen a doctor was a spark, news of the cure was gasoline.
He let her work out her frustration, knowing from experience that it was the best way to handle a scorned Molly Beaumont. All that negative energy had to go somewhere, since it sure as hell couldn't stay trapped up in that tiny body of hers. "Hey," he said softly in order to get her attention. The cure was probably not supposed to have gotten out, but people talked and when so many were trapped in such close quarters, gossip got around fast. "I'm as healthy as they come, there's no reason I can't get through this on my own. There are old people, kids, sick people out there fightin' this thing too. They won't make it without the cure," he told her. Normally Finn wasn't so full of compassion, but it was almost like a challenge. They said the healthy would pull through on their own and Finn was, for some reason, determined to prove he was among the healthiest. He was miserable, there was no disputing that fact, but he would survive.
Heroism aside, a wave of nausea swept over him and he turned away to vomit into the bedpan sitting beside his bed. The vomiting he could certainly do without, that was for sure. Once he was done throwing up stomach contents that didn't exist, he pressed himself back into the uncomfortable hospital mattress. "This is fun," he said, clearly joking, but he had to make fun of the situation to keep his own spirits up.
Finn was trying to rein her in. Finn, the one in the bed sick, was acting like the one in control. She tried her best to do just that --- take it easy. The truth was the 'tiger' label was pretty damn appropriate. She had her claws out and she was ready to sink them into someone just because she could.
It came from anger --- and fear that she would lose him.
She fell silent but her foot still tapped against the floor. That energy had to go somewhere if she couldn't just rant against how unfair all of this was. A part of her knew that it was not the fault of the hospital or the doctors. They had protocols, ways of doing things with what they had. And Finn was telling the truth --- compared to others, he was healthy. He took good care of himself and (mostly) ate the right things. He was going into this at an advantage compared to others. She promised when this was all said and done that she would never make fun of his eating habits again (well, she might not be able to stick to that all the time but a good chunk of it seemed fair).
"I know, I know..." she conceded, her head falling a little. Some of that fight left her, quelled by the knowledge that he wouldn't take the cure if he could. At least not until he was sure that those who needed it more got it first. That was why she loved him so.
Yep, loved him.
Had she told him that yet? She couldn't quite remember.
She might have confessed it right then and there but instead she was forced to watch him get sick instead. She lurched forward, coming out of her chair. She was ready to run for help even though she knew he would probably not want it. It was an overreaction. She waited it out and then gave him a weak smile. "Better than laser tag," she joked softly. She turned to pour him a glass of water. "This might help? It might just come back up --- honestly, my First Aid Skills are a bit rusty. Just don't tell the Boss okay?"
When was the last time he'd thrown up this many times? He wasn't sure a time even existed. This was most likely the sickest he'd ever been in his entire life. Even as a kid, Finn was fairly healthy. He barely caught those annual bugs that got passed around school, and when he was in college the only time he threw up was when he drank too much or ran too hard. He hated that Molly had to see him like this, but there also wasn't much he could do about it. She was more than welcome to step out if she didn't want a front row seat, but he trusted she knew that without him having to tell her.
"Oh, way better than getting taken out by that damn kid," he recalled with a half laugh, half cough. He took the water from her and took a tentative sip, praying it would stay down because it was quite soothing to his sore throat. "We can hope for the best," he said with a tired smile. He was supposed to be resting but there was no real way for him to calm his mind. His body was tired but mentally he was running laps around this sick ward. Finn 101: he doesn't sit still.
His attention was then pulled to the door as a nurse walked in with what looked like a huge arm full of medication. She started listing off things: ibuprofen for the fever. Dramamine for the nausea. Anti-viral to hopefully help his immune system fight this thing. She asked how he was, Finn responded he was fine. The nurse eyed the basin full of vomit and shot him a look. She shook her head and looked at Molly, "You keep an eye on this one." Finn grinned. He was surrounded by strong women, he was in good hands. Once the nurse pushed all his medicines through his IV, she explained he'd probably feel a little drowsy soon. Finally, she gave him a once over and, much to his chagrin, found the sores developing on his arm. When the nurse left, Finn looked over at Molly fully expecting to see horror written on her face. "I'm fine."
Molly was back to chewing the inside of her lip despite his pep talk. She was having trouble keeping herself positive (he was a strong guy, the strongest she knew...besides her father of course; he'd be fine).
When the nurse came in, she turned her head expectantly and then got out of the way. Every move the nurse made was still watched with hawk like precision. They were giving him medication for the pain, for his nausea, to keep his immune system up --- all good things (but it wasn't the cure, she thought bitterly). She managed to give a firm nod when the nurse instructed her to keep an eye on him. "You don't even have to say a word," Molly promised. She was going to be all over that.
It was the first time she saw the sores and she did her best not react the way her mind wanted her to: blind panic. She clenched her fists and looked from them to his eyes (of course he was trying to assure her once again that he was okay). She took a deep breath and turned her head to the side in hopes of keeping the fear off her face. When she was sure it was better contained she looked back to him and decided then and there that she wanted to be sure she had said those words.
Even if it was the most unromantic place to utter them.
"I love you," she said firmly as she sank back down in her seat. "And I am not just saying that because I am afraid of what might happen next --- that's only part of the reason if I am being honest. I am saying it because it needs to be said. I love you."
There was never a question in Finn's mind about whether or not Molly would keep an eye on him. He was fully prepared to be managed entirely by his girlfriend, at least as much as he would allow and as much as she saw fit. It wasn't a bad thing, in fact it was kind of endearing, that she cared enough to fight with his stubborn ass. But he knew it meant he was going to be bed-ridden for longer than he really wanted to be. Finn could easily see the horror written on her face, and as much as he wished he could have prevented it, this was bound to happen eventually. He couldn't hide them from her forever. He was expecting her to say something about them or apologize even though it wasn't her fault, but what she said was nothing close to what he was expecting.
She loved him.
Had he heard her right? She must have read his mind because she repeated it, and he was sure this time that it wasn't just the fever making him hear things. For a fleeting moment he was absolutely flabbergasted because he had no idea she felt that strongly. Not that he didn't like her a whole hell of a lot because he did, but he didn't suppose he had any sort of reference for what love felt like. "Wow," was what finally came out. Finn wanted to seem less shocked but he really couldn't because this really kind of came out of left field. He took a measured breath and knew he had to be honest with her. He certainly didn't want to lose Molly or scare him away, but he wasn't going to lie and say he loved her because he didn't know if he did. "I... I'm not ready to say it back," he decided, feeling it was better to get down to the point. Finn reached for her hand again. "I really do like you though, Molly," he added, giving her his best attempt at a handsome smile and really just hoping she wouldn't take this the wrong way.
It's funny how much weight three little words could have.
Molly could practically feel them hanging in the air between them. Part of her wondered if now was the time to say such a thing but then she realized there was no holding back. She had never been good at keeping in what wanted to come out --- and in this moment she wanted him to know that she loved him. She didn't regret saying it but now she couldn't help but wait with baited breath to see how he would react.
There was a quick sharp sting of disappointment when he didn't return the sentiment. She took a deep breath and did her best not to let it show on her face. She couldn't let it get to her --- at least not like that. They had known one another for awhile but they had only really been dating for a few months now. She suspected she had always had a bit of a thing for him, even when they were standing firm on their just friends approach. It was easy for her to fall in a love with a man like him. And just because he didn't say it now didn't mean that he wouldn't one day.
She found that the corners of her mouth turned up a little and she nodded. "Maybe one day you will be and then I'll always get to remind you that I said it first," she teased, although there was no heat in her voice. She just wanted to show that there were no hard feelings. She would rather he be truthful than say something he didn't mean.
"Oh I plan on it," he told her with a little sideways grin. Finn fully anticipated that he'd be ready, probably sooner rather than later, to say it back. He really just needed some time to parse out feelings and make sure he wasn't just saying it back because he was supposed to. He was glad that Molly at least seemed to understand where he was coming from. He leaned toward her a little bit and pressed his forehead against hers, just wanting to share a bit of contact that hopefully wouldn't spread any sort of illness. And within minutes, Finn was fast asleep.