Side Effects

LOG TITLE

finnegan_icon.jpg halvard_icon.jpg

Where: Panera
When: July 8, 2020
What: The doctor is 'diagnosed' by the layman in a chance meeting.

Apathy is a sort of living Oblivion. - by Horace Greeley


This normally busy Panera is just a minute's walk from the Harbor-UCLA ER, but now at mid-afternoon even it has fewer customers than normal. Halvard is one, and at this moment he is stepping away from the cash register after placing his order, an empty glass in one hand and a flat coaster-like pager with red LEDs at the corners in the other. He presses past a few unbussed tables, heading for one by the windows.

A table nearby already has the pager coaster on it, but no obvious tenant. A moment later, Finnegan is heading toward the window from the direction of the drink station, his soda in one hand when a chime comes from his pocket. Reaching for the phone, it's clear that he's injured as he sucks a sharp breath through his teeth at the strain. A swipe across the phone's screen allows him to read whatever the message was by the time he's at the table. He lightly drops the phone on the flat surface, then his drink, and finally lowers himself a bit gingerly into the chair.

Halvard pauses when Finnegan crosses in front of him, looks for a second the way he came, then heads over to the drinks station himself. The ice machine gives a series of impotent and iceless "ca-chunks" as he holds his glass under it; after a few seconds of that, he pulls his glass away and, without comment or even reaction, fills it with water. He moves normally enough, but his expression is a little odd - not tired or distracted, but flat, almost without affect. Glass full now, he walks back and deposits it and the pager on the next empty two-top down the stretch of windows, pulling his own phone from his pocket as he sits facing the other man.

"I use the last of the ice? Sorry about that," Finn says, reaching into his pocket with the hand that had carried the soda, and thus the side that doesn't make him flinch, to pull out a prescription bottle and tap out one of capsules inside — an easily recognizable (to the ER doc) pain killer.

He brings it to his mouth and takes a swallow of the soda, sans straw. "Rough day?" he asks, nodding across the street to the hospital, assuming that flat affect is a result of something horrible seen within the walls of the facility.

"No. Why?" Hal's answer and his following question are quick enough coming but are without heat. He could be responding to anything banal, really, with only a faint furrow of his brow showing something like confusion. His eyes go down to the bottle and its label, and he adds, "You better eat something first."

Finn shrugs. "Sorry. No reason." For all he knows, the doctor is always like that. "I'm not totally on empty." And, as if summoned to life, the pager lights up like a UFO. A moment later, one of the college kids brings the werewolf's tray. No raw meat, just a panini with chips. And a cookie dotted with M & Ms.

"Just what the doctor ordered," the younger man quips, with a nod toward the server.

Halvard watches Finn closely for a moment, then looks up to clear a space for the server to set down his own plate. Salad greens, grilled chicken (that looks like it could have come from a big Sam's Club bag), some other veggies. He doesn't really acknowledge the kid collecting his pager, instead looking at the vial of meds still on the next table as he takes a drink of his water. When the kid leaves, he asks, "May I look at that?", making a vague gesture toward the vial with his glass as he sets it down.

A brow rises at the query. It's not every day someone asks to see your prescription, after all. But he shrugs and nods. "Knock yourself out."

He picks up his sandwich to take a bite as he casually watches the doctor. The bottle itself holds generic Vicodin, a week's supply, prescribed to a J. Finnegan by a Dr. Eddy. "You wanna give me a second opinion?"

Some life is starting to leak back into Hal's eyes, which narrow as he replies, "Just professional interest. Hydrocodone dosages can be tricky to set. Eddy knows how to do it, though - I've worked with her before." He sets the bottle back down on Finn's table, then picks up his fork and starts in quickly on the salad.

"Thought you might be interested in stealing my stash, there, for a second," Finn says with a chuckle. "It'd be either stupid or brave to do, though." Since not many people would dare to steal from a werewolf.

"Eddy's good people. I don't do the big house." He juts his chin toward the window again, to indicate the hospital on the other side of the street.

After crunching into a potato chip, he considers his words. "No offense."

Halvard swallows and gives his head a quick shake. "Too bad. We're a teaching hospital, you know. The more new people we treat, the more information we have, the better we can treat everybody. Still, your business what you do as long as you don't hurt anybody." He stabs the salad with his fork twice, a third time, and then sticks the overly big bite that results in his mouth.

"I don't do hospitals," is Finn's terse response to that bit of propaganda (to his ears). "And I don't hurt anybody. I'll leave that to the vamps or the old ones."

He reaches for his cup to take a long drink of soda, then picks up the bottle to shove it back into his pocket, wincing a little at the stretch. "Or the bigots," he adds a moment later once he's caught his breath.

Halvard, chewing, looks across the table at Finn, then swallows. "Same goes for the bigots. I talked to a doctor on the Dine reservation once about what sort of government medical grant programs the tribal council wanted, and he told me they wanted a 'leave us alone' grant. I got to where I agreed with him that the best preventative medicine is usually to let people decide what it is they need." He pauses, then looks down at his plate and sets his fork down. "Huh. That's funny."

Finn's gaze has drifted as he finishes his sandwich, listening but almost sullenly, put off by the talk of hospitals and all they entail. At Halvard's last comment, though, he looks back, glancing down at the plate and, not seeing the punchline, back up to Halvard's face.

"What's funny?" he manages, curiosity pulling him back to the conversation despite himself.

"This salad is … really bad. In fact, it's inedible. I think the chicken is still frozen." Halvard picks up a piece and drops it back onto the plate. "I realized it while I was eating it, but I didn't *feel* it - didn't care." He stops and rests his hands on the table as he continues to look at his plate. His face seems to be slowly working itself into some expression - anger, maybe. Maybe fear.

"And here I thought that was your charming bedside manner, doc," Finnegan says, chomping on another chip, but leaning back to survey the older man, almost clinical himself in the appraisal.

"How long you been feeling apathetic? Know if you run into any vamps in the past twelve hours or so?" If only he had a clipboard to write things down on, and a white coat, he'd sound like he belonged across the street taking a history from a patient.

Halvard looks up and looks Finn right in the eye for a few long seconds. Then, he licks his lips and answers, "Not that I know of. But — " He pauses, then at long last gives a grin, though one without humor. " — if I did, he wouldn't have to stay right beside me, would he?"

The werewolf sighs, shaking his head. "Hold a sec." He gets up to walk to the drink station, refilling his soda, before returning, once again gingerly lowering himself into his seat. "They can be about 10 feet away. If you see any, and don't want this to happen, I suggest keeping out of that range. It won't do any permanent damage, not like those soul sucking bastards, but it's not a party, for sure."

He picks up his empty plate to hand to the server coming by to pick it up. He nods to Halvard's plate. "Y'all need to give him a refund or gift card. His chicken was frozen," he tells the kid, before turning back to Halvard. "I'd imagine it'd be a bad thing to be apathetic at your work. For me, the worst that happened was I made a horrible impression on a blind date."

"I've been through worse; I was in Haiti. Still…" Hal's fingers drum on the table's edge twice, and then he abruptly pushes the plate away. "I've got to get back. Here — " he pockets his phone, then reaches for his wallet " — if you go through that script and can't get ahold of Eddy, give me a call and I'll write you a refill." He thumbs a business card from his wallet and drops it onto Finn's table.

Brows raise at the friendly gesture, and Finn picks up the card, lifting it in a little salute.

"Thanks, Doc," he says, with a nod. "Stop by the Bottom of the Barrel and a drink's on me sometime." Not that the doctor likely has much reason to be in that shoddy end of town. "Good luck back at the grind."

Halvard grunts in acknowledgement and heads for the door. He's wearing more of an expression now; it's not a happy one.

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