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It was early morning. He had heard more noises than usual from the… - The Floating Hospital — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
The Floating Hospital

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[Feb. 5th, 2008|03:32 pm]
The Floating Hospital

sicksetsail

[swordcanes]
It was early morning. He had heard more noises than usual from the belly of the hospital that night: people crying out even at this distance from the sort of wards where you usually heard people cry out. He heard sea birds through his windows even when they were closed. Terns breaking the water at the dead of night, seagulls whenever there was light.

Now that he had to live here, he had acquired a lock for his office door. This was his room, and he felt intruded enough upon without having a space within this sour crowd for himself. He had blinds, but when he lay down upon hospital-issue blankets under his desk he could see people passing over the lit gaps between them. Twice Stacy -- he was sure it was Stacy -- had come and stood at his window. He wasn't entirely sure it was her the first time -- could have been a curious nurse, or Cameron, or Cuddy -- it was blurry and dark -- but then he heard the strength of her knock when she was there the second time and knew it was her. He had turned to his other shoulder and watched the light. Listened to the wind. Thought Stacy had probably been up all night.

Now, without remembering he had fallen asleep, he was waking up. His shirt smelled of the sweating he had been doing in and out of nightmares.
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[User Picture]From: betteroffdean
2008-02-05 02:51 am (UTC)
The night nurse came around twice before eight am: once to deposit breakfast outside the offices-cum-compartments (runny eggs in a small bowl; two pieces of shriveled bacon; a shingler's tile of toast) and once to pick up spare blankets for the laundry cart. Whump, whump went the blankets whipped into the basin; clank clank went the breakfast trays, in and out. They might be making breakfast and doing laundry in the same room, given the grayness of everything.

When Cuddy came to House's office, the tray was gone. There were crumbs on the new blue blanket. Everywhere, the overpowering smell of chlorine and paprika. Cuddy tried snorting it out of her nose before she tapped.

"Pills," she said. She would not leave them in the hallway. The bottle cuddled like a small animal in her palm.
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[User Picture]From: swordcanes
2008-02-05 02:56 am (UTC)
"Go -- " Pills formed in his brain and he stuck out an elbow. Began to scrape himself out from under the desk. Once he was up on the cane he turned on the desk light. Saw Cuddy.

"Leave 'em on the doorstep and get the hell out."

Angels with Dirty Faces.
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[User Picture]From: betteroffdean
2008-02-05 03:02 am (UTC)
"I'm not leaving them out here. My hospital, my liabilities, my rules." The glass made her voice sound like it was being piped in. Cuddy was reminded of an audio tour at an art museum: all of the tourists wandering around like led sheep, their ears draped in headphones and the wax drip of a stereo cord. What was Monet thinking when he painted his Lilies? Perhaps we'll never know. But look at the way he renders light...

"Unlock the door. I'll toss them in."
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[User Picture]From: swordcanes
2008-02-05 03:08 am (UTC)
The desk light cast a yellow spot on the middle of the room. Other than that, there was pale blue seeping in at the edges. He went to the door and pulled at his shirt until it wasn't backwards on him. His suit jacket he discarded on the floor: the morning wasn't as cold as the night. He felt good with his shirt; even undid a button or two. He guessed the time at nine or ten. Looked at his watch: 9:10 am.

He opened the door, eyes on the floor and then her hand. Took his pills blinking. The white hospital light stabbed.

"How many Vicodin you think we have on board?"
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[User Picture]From: betteroffdean
2008-02-05 03:17 am (UTC)
She took her hand back immediately and brushed her fingers on her jacket. She looked down the hall with a pinched expression; something in her posture and overall bearing said I have other places I could be. "I don't know. A thousand? A million? Do you want me to count them so you'll know when to start worrying?"

The blue blanket bugged her. She bent over and scooped it up, placing it over his arm. "'Kind of have bigger things on my mind right now than securing your drug connection. Did you see Stacy? She was looking for you earlier. Maybe she can help you count in the pharmacy."
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[User Picture]From: swordcanes
2008-02-05 03:22 am (UTC)
"Why the 'tude?" His brain oozed along at a morning's pace; he pocketed his pills and turned. Certainly no worry about Vicodin at present, but the question had escaped without intention. He kicked at his unmade nest under the bed.

"You know what's great about being afloat? No investors. We can practice medicine however we dandy well please. -- I need a mattress for in here. See about it would you?"
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[User Picture]From: betteroffdean
2008-02-05 03:39 am (UTC)
"And when we run out of supplies and food, we can borrow a cup of sugar from Captain Nemo, right?" She stood at the edge of his office, pushed forward on the balls of her feet. She did not want to go in. Going in meant encountering those rats' nest smells and warm, woolen socks under the desk; House's medical journals shoved beneath his pillow like skin mags, providing extra support for his upper back. She had given up her office and it stung her that he was able to keep his.

"If you want a mattress, there are plenty of open beds on the third floor. I think everyone's pretty much settled in. If we take on more passengers --" strange to say that with a straight face "-- we might need it back. It's your job to get it up here. 'See if it fits in the elevator."
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[User Picture]From: swordcanes
2008-02-05 04:54 am (UTC)
"Cameron'll grab it." Already more interested in unscrewing his pill bottle. He went to the window, but instead of opening the blinds, screwed them closed until they bunched against each other. The sea out there. He stared at the blinds as though looking out over the ocean.

"So. Where are we bound, Cap'n?"
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[User Picture]From: betteroffdean
2008-02-05 03:58 pm (UTC)
"The tide's carrying us east. We could end up in Africa or the Sea of Japan." She shrugged. "Douglass, in Peds, is an amateur navigator. By saying that, I mean that he navigates without satellite technology or that GPS stuff. He's putting together some charts based on stars, or swells, or god knows what. Some of the patients are getting into it. It calms them."

She watched his back bunch like the blinds. "How are you doing?" Part concern, part place filler.
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[User Picture]From: swordcanes
2008-02-05 08:12 pm (UTC)
He just looked at her, limp curls of hair on his forehead, eyes cool slits. Put an elbow on the doorframe and leaned closer with the same expression, as though closely examining some unpleasant experiment.

"What?" Closer lean, almost nose to nose. "What?"
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[User Picture]From: betteroffdean
2008-02-05 08:19 pm (UTC)
She bobbed back, crunching her ankle. House's long, Edvard Munch face swaying with the bob of the boat. "Forget it," she batted the air around her face, as if she'd just sneezed and was trying to disperse the aerosol. "Eat something, will you? It's like talking to a cadaver."
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[User Picture]From: swordcanes
2008-02-05 09:06 pm (UTC)
"Cuddy. What do you care what I eat? Nobody new is coming into this hospital. I'm not going to recieve any more cases until the Flying Dutchman decides to tug us back to New Jersey, and I'm not going to perform routine medicine to 'tide me over'. I'm not any more excited by whooping cough on the Atlantic than I am in Princeton. You should really be hoping I'll waste away for your patients' sake."
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[User Picture]From: betteroffdean
2008-02-05 09:11 pm (UTC)
"Fine." Past the point of arguing, Cuddy had rolled over onto her back to show her steel-plated belly. "If you insist on doing nothing, at least do nothing out of the way of everybody else. If you decide you want to contribute something, you know where my office is."

Rap, rap, rap. Court is adjourned. Cuddy's knuckles on the glass door and she stepped back into the breezy hallway.
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[User Picture]From: swordcanes
2008-02-05 09:16 pm (UTC)
Boredom was quickly impending and he didn't like the feeling. He slammed his door and caned out after her, his voice high and sharp as he went.

"And what could I contribute in your office?"
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[User Picture]From: betteroffdean
2008-02-05 09:21 pm (UTC)
She went quickly on her heels, adjusting for the roll of the waves. It wasn't graceful, but she was getting better at it. The trick was to anticipate where you think the floor might be, then to overshoot your shoe mark by about an inch.

When she thought she could manage it without falling, Cuddy looked back to mark his progress behind her. "Strategy," she told him. "We're starting a committee: what to do about food, supplies, electricity, corrosion." She half turned. "There're also some volunteer positions around the hospital, if you're interested."
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