The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Scenes set in the "Highlander" universe.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Claire Ihi » Tue May 02, 2017 10:43 pm

Claire Ihi frowned. Once again, a vital piece of equipment needed by the ED at Starship Children's Hospital had been donated, as if by magic. The past six months, despite budget and staffing challenges, had seen vital donations come in whenever they were needed, as though someone were monitoring the department's needs, and responding accordingly. It was unheard of in all her years working at Starship, and, if she were honest, something she was unstintingly grateful for.

Still, grateful as she was, she felt more than a little guilty. Someone out there was dropping vast amounts of money on the ED, and she couldn't even thank them. As head of department, she felt she ought to. After all, whoever it was, they were saving the lives of so many kids, and they deserved a thank you, however small.

With that in mind, Claire closed the folder detailing the latest donation of a new portable X-ray machine, tucked it under her arm, and headed to the administration wing. She'd find out who the donor was by hook or by crook. The waiting room outside her exam room was quiet, a couple of women with babies cradled in their laps, and a youngish bloke who seemed intent on reading some months-old magazine. She flicked him a quick smile as he glanced up, before striding quickly down the corridor to admin.

"What do you mean, you can't bloody tell me who made the donations," Claire said, her voice frustrated. Anna, the donations secretary, seemed hell bent on cockblocking her at every turn. Anna shrugged, looking as though she couldn't care less. "Need to know, Doc, need to know," she said, her whiny, nasal voice getting right on Claire's tits. "Sure, fine, whatever," Claire replied, rolling her eyes. "Does it matter to you that it's my department, and I need to know?" Anna shrugged again, going back to her computer screen, indicating the conversation was over.

"Well fuck you, too," muttered Claire as she stalked away, something quite difficult to do when you were only 5'3" tall and wearing surgical scrubs with Crocs. Still, she managed it with aplomb, and, more furious than frustrated, made for the relative safety of her exam. She still had two consults that afternoon, but had time for lunch before they began. She'd need that time to calm down.

The waiting room was empty as she returned to her office, save for the man reading the magazine. She didn't recognise him: he certainly wasn't one of the "frequent fliers" in the department. Besides, he didn't have a child with him, which made him stick out like a sore thumb. Plastering a pleasant, professional expression onto her face, Claire approached him.

"I can't help but notice you've been here a while," she said, her voice soft and slightly husky. "Can I help you?"
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Re: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Methos » Sat May 06, 2017 7:08 pm

Methos reflected on the fact that the first response that came to his mind would make him sound rather like the devil fishing for souls. So he modified it slightly, then again, and finally decided on something else entirely. "Hello," he returned, putting his magazine down in his lap where his legs were crossed. "You wouldn't happen to know where the June... '96 issue of National Geographic got to, by any chance? There's supposed to be an article about ancient Egypt and I've been searching for it ever since." During the pause he'd checked the spine of the issue he had in his hand to be sure he was getting the year correct.

He set it aside and stood, holding out his hand to shake. "I'm Adam Pierson." His hands were rough, the kind of hands men who worked for a living had though nothing about the rest of his appearance suggested anything but comfort and a religious workout routine. They were swordsman hands, though there was no reason for her to know that so far as he was aware. "I guess you could say I'm here to help you, actually."
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Re: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Claire Ihi » Sun May 07, 2017 7:45 am

Claire's lips quirked upwards for a moment in an unbidden grin, as the man joked about an ancient magazine. "Bloody hell, I didn't know we had anything that recent in here," she replied, her face serious for only a second as she displayed mock-shock. Then the grin returned and her eyes sparkled. "Unfortunately, it's take what you get in here, I'm afraid. The nurses snag all the good ones the day after they get put out. One of these days, I'll bloody fit them with alarms that go off, the second you take them outside of the waiting room." She was only half joking. All of Starship's ED consultants chipped in, once a week, to buy a handful of new magazines. They didn't last five minutes before they waltzed off out the door.

The man looked extremely relaxed, legs crossed, has black t-shirt and dark jeans accentuating his long, lean frame. He stood, offering his hand to shake, and was almost a foot taller than Claire. Maybe... late twenties, early thirties? She frowned as he introduced himself, saying he was there to help her. She took his hand, which was rougher than expected, calluses on the palm and fingers rasping against her own skin, which was hardly the softest. "Dr Claire Ihi, head of the ED," she said, introducing herself. "Are you the new locum? I wasn't expecting you until tomorrow." She'd asked for a locum consultant, but this bloke looked too young to be a consultant. Still, any port in a storm.
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Re: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Methos » Sun May 07, 2017 6:37 pm

Methos chuckled at the joke, winking at her serious face to show he understood that too, and set the magazine aside. He'd have Rupert find a copy for him and bring it around, the conjecture about ancient Egypt always amused him. Especially when they got to talking about the Pharoahs. It was an inside joke that, sadly, he was the only one in on anymore. "Certainly, something has to be done about it. Sticky fingered folk, nurses. Tsk tsk." He said it all in good humor, obviously having no issue with it himself.

He laid his off hand on the back of hers when they shook and gave her a stilted bow out of habit from the last culture he'd spent a few months in and then unhanded her. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Claire Ihi. But I'm afraid I'm not the new locum... unless you're offering late 19th century medicine for some reason, I'm sure I can meet those criteria." He said it with a joking chuckle, even though he literally was certain he could meet said criteria. He'd already done it once. Maybe he'd become a doctor again next time he changed names, that would be amusing. Then he could use some of the advancements he'd invested in for a change. "I'm more of a benefactor, I think."
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Re: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Claire Ihi » Sun May 07, 2017 6:50 pm

This bloke had an easy sense of humour that Claire could appreciate, and she grinned as the magazine hit the table. "You know, I'd have thought you were more a 'Woman & Home' kinda bloke," she chuckled, the laugh almost turning into a giggle. "I don't know, maybe we'll get rid of the magazines altogether, and make the parents maybe play with, or talk to, their kids for once." It was only half a joke. The number of parents she saw in this waiting room who didn't utter a word to their children, so absorbed were they in their phone, or their iPad, or an old magazine, made her doubt human nature. Kids seemed like nothing more than a status symbol to some people, and that pissed her off no end.

Adam Pierson's left hand was warm as it settled over hers, the same calluses as his right hand evident, and Claire smiled as he gave a strange little bow. "Bugger, could have done with the locum a day early," she admitted. "Not sure that medicine from over a hundred years ago would do any good, though, but thanks for offering." It was a strange remark, but one she almost dismissed as he admitted his reason for being there.

"A benefactor..."

The penny dropped, although Claire wasn't sure whether it had dropped all the way, or even into the right slot. "The portable X-ray machine... that came from you?" Her voice was soft and somewhat incredulous. She frowned, trying to reconcile the man in front of her with a ridiculously expensive gift to her department. She glanced around. The waiting room might be empty for now, but it wouldn't be for long, as families would start arriving for their follow up appointments. "Shall we go into my office, Mr Pierson? Can I get you a coffee or something?" She had to know why he had made such a donation, and it wasn't something she wanted to talk about in public. After all, he had gone to great pains to hide his identity, so why come to introdice himself?
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Re: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Methos » Sun May 07, 2017 7:04 pm

"I'm bereft of the former and already have too many of the latter, so I think I'm probably best off avoiding magazines that discuss either for the time being." He shrugged, fully suspecting that wasn't the exact nature of the magazing in question but always finding smooth deflection more effective than indignant defense. He nodded solemnly when she spoke of getting rid of the magazines altogether, and why. "To be honest... I can sort of see why they try to disconnect. It's... painful to watch them slip away. Anything that can let you not actively think about it every single moment of every single day can become welcome. Not that it's an attractive part of human nature, but I imagine we'd just break if we couldn't occasionally bend. Even when it would be preferable that we do neither." He'd watched more than one child go, though it was usually time that took them.

He brightened when they went to the next, far more attractive subject. "The resetting of broken bones, adequate amputations, and digging out lead shot for starters. Still a few parts of the world where that'd be the most advanced medicine available, sadly." And then he merely nodded, happily, when she repeated part of his statement back to him.

"No, the machine came directly from the manufacturer. I just paid for it to do so." Credit where credit was due. He just added money to a situation that would have eventually resolved itself without him, so that eventually was sooner rather than later. Amazing what colored paper could do in the modern world. Then she was inviting him up for a cup of coffee, which just amused the hell out of him. "If you'd like, but I'm fine for the moment. I try not to rely on things like caffeine if I can help it, so I avoid it to avoid the habit."
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Re: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Claire Ihi » Sun May 07, 2017 7:24 pm

She couldn't help but laugh as the man joked about the magazine. "Too many homes," Claire replied, her expression and voice oozing mock-shock. "That just sounds like bragging to me!" She deliberately didn't comment on the fact that he had neatly pointed out that he was single. She was at work, this guy could be the new locum, and besides, he had to be a few years younger than she was. Now was not the time to start flirting with a complete stranger. Besides, she had never been particularly good at it, as evidenced by the crappy relationships that had seen her through the past 38 years of her life.

However, their conversation took a serious turn as the man empathised with the parents who refused to interact with their kids. "Don't get me wrong, I get the need to just... take yourself away sometimes," she admitted. She needed to do that on occasion herself, otherwise she'd go crazy. "But it's not the parents whose kids are seriously ill or injured who I see doing this." Her voice took on an edge. "It's the ones who've come back to have a cast removed, or stitches taken out. The ones who are going to be just fine in a day or two, and their parents act as though they couldn't give a shit." She stopped, shaking her head. "Sorry, pet peeve."

"Again, thanks for the offer, but... I think I'll pass," grinned Claire, as he explained the level of his so called medical knowledge. "But... where'd you get that kind of knowledge? Are you one of these blokes who went and immersed himself in some foreign culture for ages, and ended up the de facto doctor?" Actually, Adam Pierson just oozed being well travelled, so it was perfectly possible.

She gave him an almost exasperated sigh, before a small smile, at his flippant remark about the origins of the machine. And then he refused the offer of a coffee, and Claire shot Adam Pierson a quizzical look. "Okay, so we'll forgo the coffee," she said, her voice firm as she looked him directly in the eye. "I guess I just want to know why. Why'd you donate the machine? And was it you donating everything else over the last six months? We can talk about that out here, if you'd prefer?"
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Re: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Methos » Sun May 07, 2017 7:41 pm

"Well, no. Not too many homes. Too many houses, I suppose would be the more accurate way to put that. I only ever have one home." He shrugged, doing his best impression of humility... which was by far not the best impression in his repetoir, when she called him out on bragging. It wasn't lost on him that she avoided the invitation to talk about his marital status, but that was fair enough. Not everybody found Adam Pierson so adorable they just had to take him home and make him pancakes.

"If there's nothing to worry about anymore, why worry?" He shrugged, holding his hands out to indicate he had nothing for that one aside from the infinitely practical suggestion he'd just voiced. It wasn't the picture most people wanted painted for them but it was the way the human mind worked a lot of the time. The mundane was filtered out, if something wasn't a threat or an asset or an entertainment people usually just stopped thinking about it. Still, Claire was entitled to finding it annoying. He could definitely see how it would be if he was the one putting all that work into said children.

Methos shrugged again. "You could say I'm a lifelong student of history, and sometimes in order to understand a thing you must do a thing. Practical knowledges, like resetting bones, for instance. I won't bore you with the circumstances of how I found myself doing so." She wouldn't believe him if he did, anyway.

"Your office is fine by me, I just don't require you to serve me a beverage when we arrive. You can have coffee, of course, I can even serve you if you prefer. Amongst my many practical knowledges was a few months making the best coffee a little bar in Seacouver was ever graced with." He grinned and gestured for her to lead the way. "Why? If you could afford it wouldn't that have been what you'd have done?" Such an easy deflection, because it usually sparked self-reflection. And if the answer was yes then they couldn't well make a point of dragging him down for his personal reasons without overly examining their own. An activity most humans were adverse to.
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Re: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Claire Ihi » Sun May 07, 2017 8:03 pm

"Ka mate kāinga tahi ka ora kāinga rua," Claire said, her voice soft and her eyes drifting somewhere far away. She snapped back to it, an almost mischievous grin on her face as she realised she would need to translate it. "Sorry, I tend to slip back into Te Reo every now and then. That means 'when one home fails, have another to go to'. The proverb itself means to have something to fall back on, but you seem to have taken it literally!" She shrugged, blushing a little. Stupid remark.

Claire shook her head slightly. "You don't have kids, do you," she asked, already knowing the likely answer. "Day after day, I see parents come in here, almost using this place as fucking daycare, expecting us to clear up after them, to look after their kids, and this is all when we should be dealing with the ones who really need us. I don't get why it's so bloody hard to at least take the time to spend quality time with your kid! Christ, I..." She stopped, her mouth snapping shut. "Sorry, you don't need to hear this." She didn't have children either, but it wasn't for lack of wanting them. It had just never happened, and Claire was now coming to terms with the fact that she would likely never have children of her own. Her patients were "it" for her now.

"You wouldn't bore me," Claire admitted, almost surprising herself. "If you've not had formal medical training, I'd love to know how you learned that sort of thing." Her passionate speech about ignored kids had brought colour to her cheeks that was just about subsiding, but her eyes still sparkled with something.

Claire couldn't help but laugh as Adam Pierson offered to serve her a drink in her exam room. "Thanks, but no," she grinned, turning on her heel and taking the few short steps to her exam door. "No guest of mine makes me a coffee." She held the door open. "After you," she said, nodding for Adam to step inside. She frowned, though, as he asked whether she would have funded the X-ray machine herself. "Of course I would," she replied, her voice resolute as she busied herself with switching on the jug and heaping instant coffee - a good one, though - into a mug. "But I work here, and I see what it does every day when we're short of equipment, or short of staff. These people are whānau to me, and there's nothing I wouldn't do to help them. What I don't get is... why you donated the machine." She fixed him with a challenging gaze as the water in the jug warmed up. "What's your angle, Mr Pierson?"
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Re: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Postby Methos » Sun May 07, 2017 8:28 pm

Oh, his Te Reo was rusty. Which was an understatement, he hadn't spoken it since the Dutch first bumped into the island way back when. The language had, undoubtedly, evolved as his grasp of it grew weaker. He'd need to find somebody to practice with, get back up to snuff, and then surprise folks with it. "I believe every culture has a similar sentiment, except maybe the Japanese. But their feelings on failure are a little intense." He chuckled when she said he'd taken it literally. "Well, I like to have a place wherever I end up staying for a time, and then I never really get rid of them. It's very easy to hire someone to look after and arrange rentals that pay for the upkeep, so they just sort of accumilate." He shrugged, as if the entire situation were incidental.

Which for Methos it was.

He made a non-commital noise when she suggested he didn't have children because his opinion was different than hers. He imagined their opinions were differently precisely because he did have that experience. Or, at least as close to that experience as an Immortal could have. He and a great many adoptive parents would argue it was just as good as the real thing, in fact. "Perhaps I don't need to hear it, but I'm willing to listen if you need to say it."

Methos raised a teasing eyebrow when she said he wouldn't bore her, but said nothing. "It was formal by the standards of the time and place, but certainly not in the modern world. I learned it from another man who'd been practicing all his life, who in turned learned it at a British school of medicine a very long time before he met me." He'd apprenticed to a doctor, learned the things, taken the test at the nearest medical school, and told to piss off with his new degree. America used to be a delightfully 'from the hip' kind of place. Still was, sometimes.

"Oh, I'm a guest." He said it as if that was a prize all its own. Then her office turned out to be an exam room and he chuckled. His office had been a bathroom stall, back in the 1960's though he avoided thinking about why or how. "If you would, why wouldn't I? Am I not to be at least as good a person as you are?" He tsked at her, making an antiquated hand gesture from the U.S. to go with it. [b]"I have been in and out of waiting rooms in this facility for... has it really been six months? How time flies when one has a hobby... at any rate, I like helping. Because I'm rich, bored, like being liked, and have taxes to write off if I want to stay any of those things."[b] The final sentence was thrown in at the end, as if he was also reciting what he thought people would think he really meant by it all. The tone of it being more 'read from the script' than something he was thinking.
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