1964-02-19 - Laughter is the Best Medicine
Summary: Dr. Able gets a patient who gives him something in return. The joy of laughter!
Related: None
Theme Song: None
able jean 

Able's clinic is a multipurpose location. The converted machine shop serves as safehouse, garage, armory, and trauma center. The medical facilities are just through the front door. Though they obviously operate on a shoestring budget, everything is clean and extremely well cared for.

Thick, floor-to-ceiling stage curtains separate the medical suite from the rest of the facility. One of them portions off a private laboratory. Like everything else, it has the look of a seven figure plan being executed with a six figure budget. The equipment is comprehensive and properly maintained, but his space and funds have their limits.

With no pending patients this evening, Able has retreated to the lab and drawn back the dividing curtain. He's just finished setting several vials of his blood to spinning on a centrifuge; now he's perched on a stool with one sleeve rolled up to his elbow. There's a syrette in his other hand. His fingers roll the flexible tube back and forth, but the pin that connects the tube to an injection needle hasn't been pulled.


A promise was a promise. Though, Jean could barely remember that a promise was made, but since most of the ones in the infirmary underneath Xavier's institute were busy, and half of them slightly afraid of Jean herself, it was good for her to at least begin the process of separation, since she was moving out either way. While she had dreamed of living a normal life, this wasn't to be. And since most parts of her life wouldn't be normal, why would she settle for a.. doctor who was normal?

Dr. Able certainly wasn't.

So it was without further ado that she approached the door to the oddly made clinic, her hand lifting to knock, halting before her fingers rap upon the surface before her brows lower just as her hand does. With a grasp, she tugs the door open and steps inside, turning just a touch to search for the lock to snap it sideways. And with a slight little breath, she turns and puts on a brave face, one that is complete with a smile even though she looked as if death itself had warmed her bones. At least she was bundled tight!

"Dr. Able?" She calls out, even though knowing he was there. "I'm.. here for my.. well, I didn't exactly have an appointment, but I did come. I mean, I know I should have called first, but I didn't exactly get your number.." She takes a step forward, cautiously. "Which I should have done, I should have gotten your number. Though, I don't even know if you have a phone here.. I could help you with that! Getting a phone installed. I mean, not me persay…"


A new arrival grabs Able's attention, but only briefly. He chews at his bottom lip, then raises the syrette, bites down on the pin, and pulls it free. He finds a vein on the inside of his forearm almost too easily. When he squeezes the injector, it's with the focus of someone trying to wring the last of the toothpaste from an already abandoned tube. It's a mechanical process. Precise. Once it's emptied, he tosses the assembly into a nearby garbage bin.

He's whole, but he seems… diminished. Tired. He's dressed as finely as ever, but his suit and tie have a distressed, worn-too-long look about them. There are circles under his eyes and his proud, erect posture has eroded to a relatively lazy slouch. "Ms. Grey," he finally acknowledges. He smiles, but it's a small one. "Relax. Take a breath. My doors are always open, especially for a friend. How are you?"


"…but I have friends! I mean, they're not bad friends but they're the type of friends who know how to do typical adult stuff that we don'.." Her words were clipped as Able emerges, the way he slouches, and in fact.. his entire demeanor gives her pause and cause for a slight alarm. Now, she doesn't feel so horrible. "I'm.. fine.." She says slowly, carefully unlacing her backpack from her shoulders, allowing it to settle upon the floor near the door as she takes those few steps closer.

"I can say.. that you do not look much better than I do.." Her hands reach out, at least in attempts to grasp his arm to try to lead him to the nearest chair or stool for him to sit. "I'm not a doctor though, but I have to ask, have you been getting any sleep at all?"


There's a cotton ball and a strip of tape close at hand, which Able slaps over the injection site. Comments about his own condition elicit a quick, dismissive wave as he's directed back into his seat. "Sleep? Who needs it? I'm none the worse for wear. Metabolic condition," he explains. He takes in a deep breath, exhales, then drags a long-fingered hand through his hair. "But you," he continues. "You seem like a young woman with many things on her mind." There's no direct question there, but it's more than implied. Especially when the statement comes with a politely curious eyebrow-raising.


"Metabolic condition?" Jean asks, waiting for him to take a seat as she begins to unbutton her own winter coat so that she could get more comfortable. "Does that mean you need food? I didn't exactly bring any.. but I could run out to go get some." In wanting someone to eat, she needed to do so herself, but her own hunger was forgotten for now. The coat was draped upon another chair as she scoots it closer, settling down in front of him as she offers up her hand for his. "I .. well you said you're a doctor. You wanted me to stop by the clinic to check me over to see if I was alright. So.. I'd like to hire you to care for me and my.. boyfriend, I guess you could say." She blushes just a little, but straightens right up.

"Your hand? May I see?"


The request is no stranger than many others Able has received. He's accustomed to providing care with a minimum of questions asked or answered. So he nods, so deep it almost qualifies as a bow. "I'm happy to be of service. Is there a specific sort of care you have in mind?"

The request for his hand elicits a hint of hesitation, but mostly because he's usually the one looking after other people. Still, he meets Jean's eyes and reaches out, palm up with his fingers loosely curled. "Go on, then."


"N..no.." Jean states, shifting a little in her seat as she reaches out to grab his wrist. As she tugs his arm forward, her fingers press her fingers against his wrist. "I don't have any specific care in mind." She states. "I mean, when you said you'd look after me, I figured everything." She gives him a rather awkward look, then quiets to focus upon his own heartbeat. Why she was doing that, she couldn't say.

"But you know a little about me, the important parts. I figure, why not keep that going? If I want to lead a normal life, why not have .. you as my doctor. Keep up appearances, help me learn control, that sort of thing." She slowly lets go of his wrist, her dress tugged down as she carefully crosses one leg over the other. "And I can help you too. Like.. when was the last time you've eaten?"


"I'm sorry, I assumed you had a general practitioner. Of course, I'm happy to help with whatever you need." Able reaches up with two fingers to touch his forelock in an old-fashioned, gentlemanly salute. "I'll admit, I find your gifts… intriguing. Given the opportunity, I'd enjoy helping you explore them."

He's answering questions, but diverting around one in particular. Finally, he shrugs and sighs. "I haven't eaten since we shared breakfast. But as I said, I don't require much in the way of traditional sustenance." There's a half-shrug and a jerk of his head toward the recently-used syrette by way of explanation. "And you? Are you taking better care of yourself than the last time we met?"


Jean shakes her head completely. "I'm.. not exactly fond of most doctors." She admits. "But sure.. if you think it's a necessary thing to help with some of my ailments, then we can explore them." She seemed rather easy going, though she does patiently wait until he speaks about his eating habits, and it appears that he was just like her. Slightly. The jerk of his head has her eyes following the path, her face scrunching ever so slightly as she rises to make her way into the lab, her hands behind her back as she inspects the area with a slight critical gaze.

A gaze that states she has no idea what the hell she's looking at.

"I haven't eaten since we met last." She admits. "When Gabriel eats, it's like he's eating for the both of us. And he eats more than necessary to compensate for my hunger. So I'm often not hungry because of him. But I.." She draws her hand down towards her side, feeling against the skin through the clothing that she wears, and how prominent her ribs have gotten. "..do need to figure something out so that I won't die."


Able hoists himself up off of his stool and looks Jean over for a long moment. Then it's his turn to gently guide her into the seat he's just vacated. "I'm happy to help with whatever you need," he repeats. "You're always welcome here. I understand your discomfort. I'm the only doctor I like, too."

His smile is back, but now it's self-directed and more than a bit sardonic. At the same time, he's pulling open drawers and assembling supplies. "Tell me more. How is your hunger allayed by his actions? I'm assuming the two of you are connected in an… untraditional way."


The tug of her own arm allows her one last glance towards the tools that were assembled for his own use, and once she was back into the chair, she adjusts herself and straightens her back, both arms raising to tuck her ponytail into itself so that she doesn't have to worry about it getting in the way. His little joke draws out a small laugh, one with a few added snorts and 'ows' to the point she has to reach up and pinch her nose so it would stop.

"Yes, we are.." She states quietly, and with her hand dropping into her lap, her lips purse tightly to try to find the words. "I suppose it's like a.. symbiotic relationship. I don't know if it was done on purpose or accident. He feels what I feel. I feel what he feels. Physically, emotionally, mentally. If he's hungry, I'm hungry. Though, I'm always hungry." Her head bobs a little.

"If I'm sad, he would know it. If I'm hurt, he would feel it. If we're lost, we can find each other. I mean.. it's not odd.. but then it is. We do have our secrets from each other, and we -can- talk to each other from where ever we are." She smiles a touch. "So when I feel hungry, he eats. And I don't feel that way anymore. If that makes sense. Cause it doesn't to me, I just accept it and I'm thankful."


"Fascinating." It's far from the first time Able has had reason to say that particular word to Jean in this particular way. "That sounds difficult, but also comforting. From the way you describe it, I'm guessing he's more than a brother or cousin."

It seems his prep is complete. The filling of a syringe from a vacuum bottle is so precise it's as if he were programmed to be a doctor rather than trained. "This is something I use when I've gone too long between meals or a proper night's sleep. Glucose, nutrients and amino acids."

As he explains, he moistens a cotton ball with a bit of alcohol and holds it up expectantly. "I'll feel better if you take it," he admits. "I'm built to go five days without a meal. You aren't."


"Well yes. He's my boyfriend." Jean says matter of factly. "I do have brothers and sisters, but they're not like.." She gestures at herself. "..also a soon to be neice or nephew.." She smiles at that, but leans back within the chair, watching as he fills the syringe.

"Is that relatively safe?" She asks quietly. "I'm not really a fan of needles.." It was clear by the way she fidgets, her teeth slightly gritted as she crosses her legs yet again, this time her body tensing as if she were to double over at any second. "If you have that in liquid form that I could take, that would be really ideal." The slight groan of the chair is heard, as it slowly begins to drag itself away from him upon the floor. "I.. I know that.. I mean I went a week without eating.. so I was fine! I -could- be fine. I mean really, we.. we could go get a pizza or something and I'll eat it right in front of you.."


"I understand your discomfort," Able says again. He's unafraid and unabashed when it comes to repeating a simple sentiment, which lends a bit of extra weight. "It's safe. I won't ever force you do anything. I'll never do you any harm or subject you to any risks. At least not without your consent."

It's a weak joke, but it's there. Still holding the swab and needle, he spreads his hands helplessly, then moves to set both aside. "It'll help," he promises. "When you're ready. In the meantime, we can explore this connection and try to learn more about it. Or, as you put it, we can work on appearances, control. That sort of thing."


The chair slowly ceases it's movement, Jean's stiff position lessening a little, a slightly worried smile crossing her face as she lets out a breath through her teeth. She nearly crumples within her seat, her eyes closing as her hands lift to cover her face, her head shaking ever so slightly. If a joke was in there, it was completely lost on her, her entire method of reading social cues failing her for the moment. "Sorry.." She mumbles quietly, then drops her hands into her lap as she idly begins to rub the sweat away from her palms.

But her head nods quickly, her eyes looking around the room as she lets out a little clearing of her throat. "If.. you want. Do you want to see what it's like? I mean, I know how to bring someone to me, but I'm still clueless as to how that bond was formed." Her hands lift, her shoulders shrugging. "Maybe it was like some sort of mutual understanding, or whatever. I don't know."


"No apologies." While Jean speaks, the Doctor produces a syringe that's identical to the first and loads it from the same bottle. After pushing out any air bubbles, he looks his young friend in the eye and injects himself with the solution. Rather than a challenge, the eye contact and the accompanying nod are an offer of sorts. A display of faith.

It's not surprising that he continues to agree. "Please," he says. It's almost a request. "Not only am I curious about the nature of your abilities, I need to know if I'm… compatible?" There's a pause while he clears his throat. "If I'm human enough for that sort of connection. This could be very illuminating for both of us."


Her hands grip the edge of the seat as she watches him with a new syringe. Even as he prepares the solution, his eye cotact was immediately cut with her turning away, waiting until he finishes with injecting himself with the nutrients that he was supposed to get. She shudders a little, her hand reaching up to press against her lips for just a touch, her skin paling considerably, even moreso than before. "Sorry.." She murmurs again, closing her eyes and shaking her head to try to will away the sickness, shifting uncomfortably in her seat again as she tries out a smile for size.

"If.. you're human enough?" She asks, then reaches out for another chair. She doesn't move, no, only wriggles her fingers to summon it forward. And it moves! A lift into the air about an inch, which was settled politely down next to him to take a seat.

"Alright.. I'm going to ask you for your hand.. and try not to bug out. It's.. strange at first. Sometimes, She doesn't like visitors."


"She?" Able queries. "Wait, no. I'll explain after, and so can you. If you like, of course."

There's a sense of anticipation in the air as he rubs his hands together as if to warm them. It's a superfluous gesture for someone with perfect circulation, but it seems to make him a little less nervous. He takes in a deep breath and lets it out slowly, then extends one hand toward Jean with his palm facing up. "I'm not afraid of you," he says, meeting her gaze squarely. "Or of the experience. I'm intrigued. Please, go ahead."


ROLL: Jean +rolls 1d50 for a result of: 23


Jean nods her head completely, pushing herself to the edge of the seat as her hands slowly reach out to take his. "Just remember.. breathe.." As if that was a thing that needed to be said, for as soon as she touches her fingertips to his.. the entire world, or the world that they were currently residing in, stops.

And within that mind, those minds, were nothing but a blank space. Pure darkness. Black upon black, with more black added to the backdrop of nothingness. The only sound within those minds were a drop of water that lands upon it's surface, exploding out into a ripple as a small flame appears.

The flame itself begins to take shape, elongating, forming into that of a woman, breaking off into two parts as the second flame burns a bright red, while the first forms into Jean herself. The flame takes on the same shape, but instead of forming into a fully realized woman, the eyes and lips form and gasp out as if there was an attempt at being stifled.

"It's alright, Lady.." Jean says quietly. "..somehow, I got the wires crossed. We're not in our mind, but .. somewhere.."
"Maybe we slipped into the astral plane?"
'No, little firefly, this is unfamiliar.'

As Jean turns to look towards the woman next to her, the woman mimics her movements, turning the exact same way to look towards her own left, in the space of nothingness.

"Then we use our fists? Like we did with Gabriel."
'He is not like him.'
"Then we call him? So see if he'll come out to play?"
'He is not like the others.'
"Dr. Able! Are you there?! It's me. Jean Grey!"
'That will not work.'
"Then we walk."



Able's first breath is a gasp of surprise. Most people have an empathic sense for the world around them. Some people feel it more than others. As a created being with no traditional parentage or upbringing, that sense was always foreign to him. Until now.

He can hear the whispers, but he can't make out the words. He can feel the proverbial tap-tap-tapping at his chamber door. He's not able to open himself completely to it; not only does he not know how, he may not even be capable. But like a drowning man grasping for a floating spar, he grabs on to Jean's hand and reaches back with his mind. It's clumsy and awkward. A scrambling of thoughts, images, and memories. There's a great deal of darkness and fear. Hospitals. Other doctors. The idea of being confined and forced to conform. Remembering a helplessness so deep that it defined who he has become.


It was like a random clicking, the tick-tick-tick of his mind at play as the Woman melds herself into Jean's form. She would not influence this, but that melding allows her to watch behind the safety of Jean's own mind, shown by the way one eye burns a fiery red whilst the other retains a healthy, green hue. Jean's hand reaches up to lightly massage her shoulder, often done when she tries to compensate for the weight of the being, her footsteps through the darkness and show of memories displayed allows her a chance to actually 'see'.

With a turn and a walk around the memories, she presses forward, further into the darkness. Yes. This was different; much more different than Neena, different than Logan.. different than any other mind she has encountered.

And yet upon the outside, her hand grips upon his, her shoulders slumping as both of her own eyes open to stare forward..

"Dr. Able?" Jean calls out again, attempting to root herself through the emotions. "It's going to be alright! Just think of yourself, as you are now, apart from everything you feel and remember. Will yourself away from that, and just step out into the light." Her hand lifts, the eye with fire burning brightly as a small orb manifests itself, uncurling into a tiny Phoenix which was soon lifted and shot into the darkness above her. That little light? It slowly begins to expand.. the little wings stretching out as it screeches, flapping not once, but twice to test the span that it grew. And soon, the being made of fire remains still, directly above Jean, floating and following where ever it steps.

"There's your light, Dr. Able! Come to it, I'm right there!"


Like a fawn taking its first steps, Able is tentative at first. He stumbles around himself, barely able to evade the walls his memories have created. It takes a bit longer for him to realize that his sense of self is separate from the sum of experiences. Once he does, his eyes snap open and he takes in another breath.


Fascinated to the point of being overwhelmed, he has no sense of control. Worse, he doesn't realize it. Joy isn't an emotion he's experienced often, but now he's exultant. Unfortunately, his grasp on their shared contact begins to slip as soon as he fully realizes it. Like remembering a dream, the harder he tries, the more distant his goal becomes.



His self-realization was loud! And his joy.. his joy was too heavy for her to even contain. In fact, the first bursts of joy has her gasping, her hands squeezing his tight as she snaps herself out of her reverie, drawing back.. the entrance to his mind immediately closed off and hers blocked away as well. Her hands reach to grip at her chest, her cheeks flushed with a full onslaught of color, and with an inhale, she begins to laugh!

It was an infections, loud, rip-roaring laughter that has her doubling over within her chair, remaining there as she tries to find a way to breathe through her mad-fits of giggles. Joy. It leaked off of him so heavily that she couldn't help but feel it too in all of it's magnitude!

"I.." She tries to breathe out. "..am so .. sorry!" She nearly squeals out, breaking into fits of laughter again, her hand slapping against the chair as she tries to reign it in before her own powers set a bomb off in their vicinity. Apparently, it was funny. And it was joyful. Really joyful.


Able can't help it. He's laughing as well. It's a rich, booming sound that comes from deep in his belly. He slides back and down in his chair with his free hand cupped over his mouth.

This is new to him. Joy might've been somewhat foreign, but his very first belly laugh is something that can't be compared to any other experience. It's a revelation of sorts.

Everything goes sideways when Jean withdraws. He can no longer wrap his head around such strange emotions and ideas. It takes him a bit of time to catch his breath, which he spends trying to figure out what the hell he's supposed to say.

"Umm." At first that's all he can manage. He stops to wet his lips with the tip of his tongue. "That wasn't supposed to be about me. I just… I needed to know if it could be done. Thank you."


Admittedly, it was the first time something like this has happened! Jumping into someones mind, and quickly out of it, feeling such an emotion like that it's.. rather.. pleasant! She already had tears in her eyes as she comes up from air, her hands quickly wiping away at her cheeks as she begins to fan herself, that glow that persists within her own eyes outside of his mind dimming down as she slumps back within her own chair, physically tired.

"Oh.." She finally breathes out, trying her best to not break out into a fit of giggles again, her head shaking as she waves him off.

"..maybe that was just my own reluctance at talking about myself at work here.." She admits. "But.. now you know.." Her nose wrinkles rather cutely, her head shaking still. "..you're about as human as the rest of us freaks out here!"


Whatever words might've been planned turn to ashes in Able's mouth. He's speechless. His lips open wide, close, and then open again before he can come up with something to say. "Thank you," he repeats. He reaches out to brush the back of Jean's hand with the tips of his fingers. "Just… Thank you."

It's hard for him to get ahold of himself. He feels alive. Human, as she said. Once he's settled a bit, he shakes his head and smiles. It's nothing like the sly smirks or even the fleeting glimpses of a boyish grin that he's shown before. Just a good ol' fashioned smile that makes him look like a happier, younger version of himself. "Seems like we have a few things to learn from one another, Ms. Grey. I look forward to that."


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