2046-05-17 Underbelly of the Beast

From X-Factor

Underbelly of the Beast
Date Posted 2016/05/17
Location ABC Urgent Care - Mutant Town
Participants Eleanor, Tiffany
Summary Tiffany goes to ABC Urgent Care after her dizzy spells become too frequent to ignore. She receives some unconventional medicine.
The red light over the door indicates whether the clinic is in service and someone is in. The unsettling carryover from the building's previous usage does clearly note when someone is in and taking patients, even if a few wayward tourists have been known to get confused. Although small and having seen better days, the little clinic is scrupulously clean. There is no proper front desk, a mixed pair of chairs makes up the waiting room's decor, just a sign-in chart on the wall next to another door. Through that door is the consultation room with a worn table, neat cabinets, and a claustrophobic bathroom.

Eleanor has been spending fewer and fewer of her working hours at her paid practice -- now limited only to a modest schedule of actual appointments -- and more and more time here at the clinic. She bustles comfortably about the consultation room, doing her own assistanting with a certain amount of cheer. The skirt suit she is wearing is a little high class for the surroundings and the usual clientele. Even after months she hasn't really gotten the hang of the neighborhood. Friendly in a slightly remote way, she greets her newest patient and goes about collecting vital statistics, to an eventual result of, "Well, you don't seem to be running even a low-grade fever. Maybe you can run me through those symptoms?" in her light, airy Carolinian accent.

Tiffany is dressed homeless-chic for the cool, rainy day. She wears a pair of tight jeans and an assortment of layered, airy fabrics including a silken blouse, a thin scarf, and a loosely knit sweater that hangs off of her elbows. If she’s at all affected by Eleanor’s professional attire, she doesn’t reveal it. “I’ve been getting very light headed, lately,” she offers dryly, bringing up a hand to pull off her marigold orange beanie. She fiddled with it in her lap, running her fingers over the fabric. “Well, for a few months. But I think it might be getting worse? It used to be if I moved too fast, or got up abruptly- you know, normal stuff.” The young woman gestures vaguely with her hand, eventually bringing it up to slowly radiate dizziness at about the level of her temples.

"Any history of anemia?" Eleanor pulls down the blood pressure monitor from the wall and holds it up for Tiffany to stick her finger into. I am not a real doctor, all of this is made up. "Any changes in diet or lifestyle that might have impacted the change?" is the second question she asks.

"Nn," Tiffany starts to explain, pausing for a moment with her lips parted just slightly. Her large eyes climb up Eleanor's blazer to the woman's eyes, "I"m a psionic. I'm worried that it has something to do with that." She brings her hand back down to her hat, tightening her grip on it. Her lashes flutter and for a brief moment, her vulnerability shows through her usually cool facade.

Eleanor nods after only a flicker of surprise across her expression that quickly resolves to blitheness, making commonplaces of the most terrifying of secrets. "Do you compensate with glucose after exercising your abilities?" she asks. "Glucose tablets are available at most drugstores, but most psionics I know find it effective to simply keep a candy bar or some jellybeans around." She flips open the button on the buttoned pocket of her suit jacket, pulls out what is clearly a silver-wrapped Junior's mint, and holds it up between first and second fingers as though demonstrative.

Tiffany sortof rolls her eyes, "I know to do that. It's..." She looks down to her hands. A wavy lock of blackish-brown hair falls down to cover half of her face in a very Jessica Rabbit-like fashion, "It's a different feeling from when I need sugar. It's like," Tiffany switches her crossed legs, making a pulling away gesture from her head, "It's like I'm just falling out of my body." Her eyelids go heavy as she makes a droll expression, "I mean, it IS exactly ...that."

Eleanor puts her mint back in her pocket, rebuttons her pocket, and leans back in the balance of her weight on one heel. "Falling out of your body?" she says. The faint knit of a frown between her brows, she asks: "You're having difficulty remaining ... anchored? Are you a dreamwalker?"

“Yes,” Tiffany’s eyes widen, or at least the one that isn’t blocked by her hair, “The anchor thing. Not the dream ...thing.” She gives the slightest shake of her head, “I’m a traveler, but…” This is awkward to talk about. She clearly doesn’t have much practice. “They have to be awake.”

Eleanor opens her mouth and then closes it again. Her lips pursed together, she blows out a breath past them in a long trickle. She says, "This doesn't sound like anything I learned about in medical school." She hesitates for a long moment, teeth setting against the curve of her lower lip as she watches Tiffany with frowning brows.

Tiffany quickly presses back her hair, tucking it behind her ear. She moves to stand back up from where she sits on the exam table, careful not to move too quickly. "No, you're right. It was stupid to come here," she stammers quietly. Her voice could just as easily be lost under the clicking of her heels. Because homeless-cute still calls for heels. "Thanks, anyway."

Eleanor's hand moves quickly, lifted into the air to reach for Tiffany's shoulder. She doesn't actually touch; her fingers hover a centimeter from fabric. Before the younger woman can get far, she says, "I didn't say I couldn't help."

The younger psionic stops. Her lazy, heavy-lidded eyes track up Eleanor’s arm from her outreached hand to the expression on her face. “You asked if I was a dreamwalker,” Tiffany begins quite dryly, letting a moment of silence settle before continuing, “That’s what you are.” It’s a question posed as a statement.

"More or less." Eleanor's smile flickers a little wider and then fades. She lets her hand fall to her side, but turns it over, palm up. "I can see for myself. See if there's anything I can do. There may not be. My strength is primarily ... astral, unconscious. Dreams. But if you want. I can see what you see. Feel what you feel. I have ... some experience. Even working with other psionics."

"It's been a long time since anyone was in my head," Tiffany says, her sultry eyes flashing rather daringly to the other woman. She watches Eleanor thoughtfully, drawing her bottom lip into her mouth to wet it. "What are your limitations?" She asks in monotone, "Do you need me to be dreaming?"

"No." Eleanor sits down in one of the seats, drawing her ankles together as she lets her hands rest across her knees. "But I have to walk the astral plane to try." She scrubs the heel of her hand against the inside of her other arm. "If you want me to give it a shot, I'll lock the door so no one can walk in on us. I've helped one other psionic in here and I can tell you that it looks very weird."

Tiffany follows Eleanor with her gaze. As the woman sits, she taps her high-heel a few times in consideration. Her shoes continue to click against the ground as she takes a casual step towards the door, clearing the short distance between herself and it. She reaches out for the doorknob with her freshly painted nails and quietly locks the handle. "I'm sure it looks a lot like two women staring at the walls, drooling on themselves." She moves to return to where she had been sitting earlier, "I don't have access to the Astral Plane, myself. Will that matter?"

"Not at all." Eleanor rolls her shoulders and settles back. Probably because Tiffany mentioned it, she kind of scrubs her hand over her mouth as though chasing away drool that isn't there yet, and her mouth hooks sideways. "I can access anyone, really." That's totally reassuring, right?

“Yeah. Me, too.” Tiffany crosses her legs, leaning back casually. Totally no big deal. Whatever. Quite unconsciously, she demurely dabs her own finger once against the corner of her mouth. No drool, here.

Eleanor's eyes flutter shut as she blows out a long breath through her nose. After a moment, she seems quite fast asleep. Or dead. At least dead to the world. Her astral leap has no other outward side, and it's difficult to detect her slipping into Tiffany's mind, too, since her entry is by the back door: she filters in through the subconscious, layering herself across the younger woman's mind feather-light like a cloak. She is invisible, but listening hard to see if she can, just maybe, relate Tiffany's experiences to her own -- she has nobody else's to use, at least about this. Very unique, that.

Letting a full minute pass, Tiffany does her best to avoid actually looking at the woman. It's too close to home. She can only imagine what she must look like when she uses her power. Drumming her finger against the exam table, fidgets until deciding to bring her legs up. She awkwardly readjusts to accommodate laying down and folding her hands under her head in lieu of a pillow.

Tiffany's mind is protected by a slowly crumbling protective barrier. Her mental defences are littered with tiny, hairline cracks that are compromising her mind's own security, making her an easy person to gain access to -- even more-so than quite a few non-psionics.

Tiffany flutters her own eyes closed.

Eleanor is a voiceless ghost inside Tiffany's unconscious, tracking her perceptions, her discomfort. Her soft encouragement to << show me >> is not so much words that can be responded to, recognized and reacted to, as a gentle trickle of suggestion to Tiffany's subconscious will. There are telepaths who could potentially do some head doctorin' while speaking to her, walking her through it, asking her questions. Eleanor's limits leave her a shadowy power behind perception. Yet she can try to come and see.

Tiffany's experience fending off her own sister's subtle empathic influences have left her well-equipped to pick up on such a suggestion, particularly when she's listening for it.

To the untrained eye, they are simply two women asleep in a room. One on the chair and one on the exam table. But so much more is going on...

The younger psychic surges forward, making a running leap through one of the thin crevices that made it so easy to enter her mind. Now, it's used for her to escape.

At first, Tiffany can perceive only an abyss. There is nothing. An endless, empty expanse of nothing. Her disembodied mind continues forward, however... and suddenly, everything opens up.

They are in the waiting room. They are staring through the eyes of every single person present. Their ears, their noses, their skin... There comes a clinical-like awareness of every single person's perception of the room.

This doubling, tripling of perception is fascinating and disorienting for Eleanor, who can never ride more than one at a time. Sunk deep into Tiffany, at first she almost recoils back out of her mind at the information overload, and she has to sink her grip hard into the subconscious mind in order to stay. Her presence grows more sturdy. She makes no move to control where Tiffany is going, no attempt to try and steer this experience, but somehow the sense of another presence lurking in the background grows clearer in the eerie silence.

Eleanor spreads the netting of her influence throughout Tiffany's unconscious, seeking the whys behind her flight, hunting for anything that looks like it might be the source of her lack of anchor. It's probably more invasive than any medical procedure, but also more undetectable than anything ever done with a scalpel.

In a mind designed to be free from physical impediments, something as tangible as an anchor may be difficult to put one's thumb on.

Tiffany lingers in the waiting room for some time before returning to the exam room. It is dark, so she must navigate the room on luck and guesswork. Briefly, she ends up on the other side of the wall on the city street before sweeping back into the blackness.

Eventually, she is able to find her own body. Slipping into one of those little cracks, she prompts her eyes to shifts slowly open. She's staring sidelong over at Eleanor. Pushing up off of the bed, she moves too fast.

The younger psionic nearly falls through one of the cracks as one seems to open up right beneath her.

She catches herself, though. Pressing two fingers to her temple, Tiffany steadies her mind.

The creeping fingers of Eleanor's influence slide toward the crack in Tiffany's mental defenses through which she has nearly slid. She sorts through internal metaphors trying to find one that fits: a tear, and sutures. Clumsy in psychic surgery as she is not in the real kind, she tries to shore her up by simple subconscious reinforcement: << be here, >> whispers the suggestion, << be stronger, >> as though her influence can simply knit together the worrying cracks in Tiffany's mindscape by main force, << be healed, >> as though it is psychic damage that she can fix by virtue of merely being a psychic doctor and saying so. There are telepaths who would look extremely exasperated about this, no doubt.

Tiffany sinks back down to a laying position. Her lashes flutter closed as she listens for Eleanor in her mind. The presence is really only barely something Tiffany can perceive. Even then, it may simply be the young poet's imagination.

Whether or not her mind responds to Eleanor's attempts is entirely out of her control. However, by virtue of the very flaws that the dreamwalker means to smooth over, Tiffany's mind is especially receptive to outside psionic influence.

Eleanor stays settled over Tiffany's mindscape for a few seconds more, a ghost temporarily paralyzed by how little certainty she has of what she's doing. Finally, though, there's little else she can offer besides the pressure brought to bear by force of personality. Leaving behind only that, she begins to withdraw, flowing back out the back door of Tiffany's subconscious to the astral plane.

Seconds later, Eleanor's eyes snap open and she draws a long breath. The waking shreds of astral echoes float before her eyes, a weird refraction of dream shreds in the waking world. Seeing through her eyes, Tiffany might see a lingering impression of the cracks in her psionic defenses as a sutured wound or maybe as a porous silk through which liquid seeps.

Awake, Eleanor puffs out her cheeks. It's very dignified.

Bringing her hands to about shoulder level, Tiffany presses flatly against the exam table. She lifts herself partially up, blinking her eyes slowly open. She stares over at Eleanor, apathetic as ever. Clearing her throat, she eases back up into a sitting position. There's an unspoken conveyance of understanding from her as she sits up with her shoulders back and her hands folded in her lap. Tiffany presses her tongue into her cheek as she processes what she's just seen. "My sister gets nosebleeds," she finally whispers, heaving her chest in a labored sigh. She brings up a hand, wiping under her dry eye and being very careful not to disturb her mascara, "I've never even gotten a headache." She rolls her eyes at her own naivety. Everything comes at a cost.

"I was in a coma for awhile," Eleanor offers vaguely. She's always a little disoriented in these first seconds back in her body, goosebumps rising on her skin. She scrubs at her arms as she inhales, and then rises from her seat. "I don't know how much I can have helped," she says, "but if it did -- I'm here if you need me. Our abilities seem ... related. I could--" She hesitates, closes her mouth over whatever that was going to be and shakes her head.

Tiffany remains stoic. She slow-blinks her large, dark eyes. "You have other patients," she finally pants out, sliding onto her feet. She pulls her beanie down over her head, adjusting her hair so it looks alright under the hat. Clicking her way over to the door, she unlocks it. "You should see the woman in the far right corner of the room first. In the blue shirt," she says coolly, looking over her shoulder. "She seems to be the most..." Tiffany looks into the corner of her eyes as she searches for a delicate way to put this, "Uncomfortable." Wrapping her small hand around the doorknob, she delays her departure. Her lashes bat shyly, "Thank you." She fucking hates being put in a position to be thanking people.

Eleanor smiles the flicker of a smile, her head tilting slightly to one side. She nods. "You're welcome," she says mildly. "I'll take that advice, never mind the queue. Good--" She hesitates, clears her throat, and then says: "Good luck."

In response to the well-wishes, Tiffany raises her eyebrows high into her forehead and lowers them, again. It shouldn't inspire very much optimism. Clearly her throat quietly, she opens the exam room door. Leaving it slightly ajar in her wake, she cautiously makes her way through the waiting room and back out into the city.

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