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Five Years Gone
Date: Spring 2012 Characters: Jamie Madrox, Mohinder Suresh… 
1st-Oct-2007 11:12 pm
Date: Spring 2012
Characters: Jamie Madrox, Mohinder Suresh
Summary: Jamie has a run-in with the good doctor.
Warning(s): Questionable medical ethics
Status: Complete

The cold of the metal table was seeping through the thin scrubs they'd made him change into, chilling him to the bone. Hands knotted together in his lap, he twisted his ring absently, gray eyes scanning the bright, impossibly clean room. Nerves had led him to scrub his skin nearly raw, the skin angry and fading pink from the scalding water he'd used.

Never signed up for lab rat, he thought with a tinge of irony and also of hysteria, the cold of the room worming its way into his veins. Scare tactics from a man and woman long gone floated into his thoughts, not helping to calm him any. Neither did his silent mantra.

They're just copies. Not people. Not me. They don't matter. They're just copies. Not--

Jamie started as the door to the lab opened.
2nd-Oct-2007 03:37 am (UTC)
Mohinder pushed his glasses up higher on his nose as he came into the room, a clipboard in his hand and every inch the researcher in his pristine white laboratory coat. "Mr Madrox, thank you for coming, I do appreciate it. I know you're nervous, you must be, but it's all right. Standard operating procedure today," he said conversationally as he closed the door behind him, the electronic lock sliding into place. He looked over Jamie's chart and the results of the last rounds of testing, flipping through the papers perfunctorily. Sometimes, the ethics of this bothered him, when he let himself think about it. But this was something else he didn't think about if he could help it. If he could find the serum, he could save lives. This was for the greater good. Mohinder just had to keep telling himself that. "So how have you been; well?"
2nd-Oct-2007 03:42 am (UTC)
"Fine," Jamie replied shortly, eyes darting to the door, the sound of the lock clicking making his heart stop start for a moment.

Twisting his ring, the action an ingrained nervous habit by this point, he turned his gaze back to Dr. Suresh, sitting up a little straighter.

"Standard operating procedure," he repeated. "Meaning what exactly?"
2nd-Oct-2007 03:48 am (UTC)
Mohinder smiled a little, trying to be reassuring. He didn't like it when subjects were this upset. "We'll be testing on one of your duplicates today. I know it's unpleasant for you, but this is the option that does the least amount of harm. Really, you're contributing vastly to medical science, I know that's cold comfort, but this is crucial work," he explained gently, marking a few things down on the chart before going over to one of the workbenches, checking over the prepared syringes and the labelled bottles of serum, making sure everything was in perfect order.
2nd-Oct-2007 03:51 am (UTC)
The other man had a nice voice. It almost shaded the true content of his words. Jamie nodded, wiping the palms of his hands on his scrubs, looking over at the syringes and biting his lip.

"You want me to do it now then?"
2nd-Oct-2007 03:56 am (UTC)
Mohinder shook his head, picking up a stethoscope and looping it around his neck. "Let me take some quick vitals, if you please?" It wasn't really an option, both of them knew that, but Mohinder liked to make it sound like Jamie had choices.

He came over to Jamie and gently took his wrist, checking the pace against the ticking of his own watch with a concerned frown. "Don't be nervous," he said, his voice as soothing as he knew how to make it. "It'll be all right."
2nd-Oct-2007 04:00 am (UTC)
Jamie nodded because he knew it was what he was supposed to do, taking a deep breath and trying to let it out slowly. Think of England, like Candice would say. Be somewhere else.

It'll be all right.

The way the other man said it...he could almost believe it.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:05 am (UTC)
Mohinder noted vitals with a detached precision, then licked his lips and started to speak again as he put the stethoscope in his ears. "I remember when I was a boy, I was terrified of doctors. I burst into tears whenever my mother took me to one until I was old enough to be too embarrassed to actually cry in public. That's why I sat medicine, to help quell the fear," he said, trying to find some sort of common ground and find a way to help his patient relax as he listened to his lungs and the fierce tattoo of his heart.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:09 am (UTC)
"My parents never trusted doctors with me," he replied, looking over the doctor's shoulder. "If I got hurt, they fixed me up."

Think of England, think of England. Think of Kansas. Something.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:15 am (UTC)
"Parents can be terribly protective, can't they?" Mohinder said with a little nod. "Your vitals are in order, you seem to be in good health. Let me just draw some blood and then we'll get on with things, shall we?"

There was something about phlebotomy that made intrinsic sense to Mohinder; it came naturally to his hands and really, he had a neck for drawing phials of it with inflicting very little pain at all. It was a gift, he supposed, though he rarely could think of himself in those terms around the meta-humans he studied. But really, it was automatic at this point, taking Jamie's arm with gentle hands, putting on the rubber tourniquet, prepping the skin and slipping the needle smoothly beneath it with softly murmured reassurances.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:19 am (UTC)
The needle didn't hurt as it pierced his skin, but the very knowledge that it was there was starting to making him sick. Closing his eyes, Jamie waited anxiously until he felt the tourniquet loosen, pulling his arm out of the doctor's touch and cradling it protectively.

"Is that all?" he asked tightly.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:26 am (UTC)
"Let me put these samples up, and then I'm going to need a duplicate, if you please," Mohinder told him, taping a piece of cotton to Jamie's arm, then letting him cradle it again all he liked. He returned to the workbench, labelling the blood and putting it in the holders, then he drew two syringes, one a sedative, in case the duplicate was less than co-operative, and the test serum.

A little nod, another scribbled note on the chart, and Mohinder nodded decisively. "Whenever you're ready, Mr Madrox, the floor is yours. Take whatever time you need."
2nd-Oct-2007 04:29 am (UTC)
Jamie watched him a moment, dropping his gaze to the floor and snapping his fingers, a dupe coming into place beside him. He could feel his eyes on him, boring accusingly into his skin.

Looking up, Jamie met familiar eyes, willing his self to understand.

We don't have a choice. You know that.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:33 am (UTC)
Mohinder nodded again. "Excellent. Thank you very much." He looked at the duplicate, taking the drawn syringe of serum in his hand and coming over to the mirror image. It was always awkward, these moments. There was no way to make him understand, if it was a him, was it a him? Was this personhood? Mohinder couldn't let himself get boggled down in ethical decisions now. Philosophy had no place here. Only hard, cold science. "Let me see your arm, if you please?"
2nd-Oct-2007 04:37 am (UTC)
"Jamie," the duplicate pleaded, terrified eyes meeting his own. "Don't let him put that stuff in me, please..."

He flinched, dropping his gaze and staring at the floor, guilt washing over him, choking him.

The dupe scrambled off of the table, backing away. "Stay away from me!"
2nd-Oct-2007 04:40 am (UTC)
Mohinder frowned, and quickly exchanged the syringes, taking up the sedative. "Just calm down, this won't hurt a bit," he said, his words steady and firm. "Stand still, if you please. Otherwise I will have to restrain you."

He watched the duplicate, at the ready, prepared to grab and inject him. Mohinder didn't like to be physical--there were days he felt too old for it, really--but he was still quick and strong, and ready to use that to his advantage, if the situation required.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:45 am (UTC)
He pressed his hands over his eyes, trying to block it out, trying to pretend this wasn't happening. That this wasn't a betrayal. In the field, in the field they all fended for themselves, he was just as at risk as they were. This...this was offering them up as the sacrificial lamb and God, he felt like he was going to be sick.

"Jamie," the dupe was still begging, backing away from Mohinder, moving to spring his own replica.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:53 am (UTC)
Mohinder caught the gesture and he lunged immediately, latching on to the replica and slamming the sedative into his arm, pushing all of it as fast as he could. They did not need a room full of panicked James Madroxes, not in the slightest. That would be one hell of a report to write up, in any event.

He tossed the empty syringe on the workbench, crossed his arms over his chest and watched the duplicate, waiting for him to grow sluggish, compliant.
2nd-Oct-2007 05:02 am (UTC)
The sedative took effect quickly, the dupe slumping against the wall, eyes hooded as it worked its way through his bloodstream and leaving him pacified, the fight draining from his body.

Jamie bit the inside of his cheek until he could taste copper. The dupe's fear was heavy in him, sticking in his chest, eyes on the door. He wanted to leave.
2nd-Oct-2007 05:06 am (UTC)
Mohinder exhaled heavily with relief. "Excellent." One less thing to deal with. He retrieved the serum from the bench and went over to the duplicate. Crouching down next to him, Mohinder took his arm, extending it, and when he found the vein, he swiftly injected it, then stood up and noted the time. "Should be a few minutes, then we'll see if there are any side-effects, and then, most importantly, if it works."

His face was emotionless as he returned to his carts, making notes as he watched the duplicate expectantly, barely paying any attention at all to the original.
2nd-Oct-2007 05:10 am (UTC)
"Side effects?" Jamie asked bitterly, eyes still closed, fingers curling around the edge of the table.
2nd-Oct-2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
"That's rather the point of medical experimentation, Mr Madrox. To ascertain if the medicine not only does what it is intended to do, but if there are any unforeseen complications," Mohinder said briskly, watching the duplicate with the full, intense focus of his attention, all but willing him to remain steady, normal. He took up the stethoscope again, dropping to his knees to listen to the duplicate's breathing and heartrate, waiting. His breathing was a little labored and his heartrate was elevated, even with the sedative, Mohinder noted, doing the same on the chart. Maybe this was the formula that would work. If mild tachycardia and minor respiratory difficulties were the only side-effects, he could live with that, and he was certain he could get it pushed through the FDA, considering who he was and who his backers were. That was a thread of hope and it showed on his face as he kept watching the duplicate.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
He shifted off the table, moving toward the dupe, listening to him draw increasingly more ragged breaths.

"I don't look okay," Jamie mumbled, taking another step forward.
2nd-Oct-2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
Mohinder frowned, debating the merits of various courses of action. If he let the replica die, he could do the autopsy, determine exactly what functions failed, amend the serum accordingly. Only he could barely stomach the thought. What had happened to his professional ethics that he could even consider it? But this was all for the greater good, to keep from losing more people, and the duplicate was hardly a real person with memories and a family and people who cared about him. He wasn't really human.

Sometimes, Mohinder wondered if Mengele told himself the same things before picking up the knife at Auschwitz.

But this wasn't Auschwitz and he wasn't a sadist and this was a medical necessity and people were counting on his results. Time was running out. So Mohinder made the only choice he could. He did nothing, and just made calm notes on the chart. "Just leave him be, Mr Madrox," he instructed, a cautionary note in his voice.
2nd-Oct-2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
The duplicate was starting to choke on air, chest heaving, hazy eyes out of focus. Jamie could feel his presence start to fade from his mind, something cold and heavy sitting in his stomach.

"He's dying," he choked, fingernails digging into his palms. "You're killing him! Stop it!"
2nd-Oct-2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
"I am sorry, it's an unfortunate side-effect," Mohinder said, barely looking up. "But if I attempt to resuscitate him, it'll contaminate the data. This was a possibility, certainly you understand. And far better it be one of your duplicates than someone with a family, a life."

Finally, he did look up, pushing his glasses up on his nose. "Great achievement requires great sacrifice."
2nd-Oct-2007 09:56 pm (UTC)
"Its not your sacrifice," he spit, wanting to strike him, knowing if he did he'd end up with a sedative in his arm or worse.

"You have no idea what he is. He's me, you bastard. You're killing me."
2nd-Oct-2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
Mohinder's jaw tightened for a moment, the only show of emotion in his expression at all. "The next time, would you like me to inject you yourself? Or perhaps one of your colleagues? Which one of them deserves the possibility of death?" he asked, his voice still calm. "This will save a great many people. And this is how it has to be done. I know it is difficult for you, but I do not need your approval, Mr Madrox. Merely your co-operation, and I am loathe to remind you, that can be achieved in a great many ways."
2nd-Oct-2007 10:05 pm (UTC)
Jamie shook with anger, hatred in his eyes as he looked at the other man, moving to kneel beside his dupe and stroking his hair.

"Then achieve it," he hissed, his voice on the edge of tears. "I'm not going to do this again."
2nd-Oct-2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
Mohinder's eyes closed for a moment. Just a moment of weakness, of wavering resolve. This was unpleasant, it was all so unpleasant. But what other options where there? This was the future, in his hands. He didn't have a choice anymore than anyone else did.

"Duly noted. I'll flag your file accordingly and mention that to Mr Parkman. I'm sure he will want to know, of course," Mohinder said, checking the duplicate's pulse. It was thready, spasming and the duplicate's lips were starting to go blue from lack of oxygen. Either he'd arrest, or he'd suffocate. Either way, it would tell Mohinder something exceptionally valuable about the flaws in the serum, which was the important part.
2nd-Oct-2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
He grabbed the doctor's wrist in an unforgiving grasp, twisting it viciously.

"Don't touch him. Fix him or get the hell away from him. Now."
2nd-Oct-2007 10:22 pm (UTC)
Mohinder gasped with the vicious twist, then looked at him, his eyes fierce. "You have exactly five seconds to let go of me, or I promise you, you will not enjoy the results," he growled, low and dangerous.
2nd-Oct-2007 10:26 pm (UTC)
"I could kill you in a heartbeat," Jamie spat, fear and anger turning the words to desperation. "I'm sure others would benefit from your sacrifice. Doesn't that comfort you?"
2nd-Oct-2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
Mohinder was going to reply, going to order him to stand down once again, but his attention was suddenly diverted. He looked down at the duplicate, aware suddenly of the distinct lack of wheezing. The body spasmed, the eyes snapping wide in fear, then slid closed, and there was a loud, gurgling sound that Mohinder realised, with a rather sickening lurch of his stomach, that was the death rattle. "It's over," he said softly, his tone gentling. "Or it soon will be."
2nd-Oct-2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
Jamie choked on a sob, shoving the man away from him, resting his forehead on the dupe's shoulder.

I'm sorry, he thought desperately. I'm so sorry.
2nd-Oct-2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
Mohinder sprawled back before he could catch himself, his charts and pen clattering to the floor and the sound was too loud in the room, silent aside from their shared breathing and the little sounds of anguish that were heart-wrenching. He was thinking of a thousand and one things, some of it medicine, some of it wondering what had happened to him, that he could let this sort of thing go on, make it happen, see it as a part of his job and nothing more. He was thinking of the doctor who weighed patients at the moment of death to find the weight of the human soul. He was thinking of a line of poetry: "Life, like a child, laughs, shaking its rattle of death as it runs." None of it was terribly helpful, he supposed.

With a heavy sigh, Mohinder picked himself and the charts up off the floor. At least it was over. Dusting his trousers off, mostly habit instead of any real need, he glanced at his watch and noted the time of death with a sweep of his pen, nothing more.
2nd-Oct-2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
He stayed crumpled on the floor beside his mirror image, still stroking a hand through cropped brown locks. The familiar sensation of loss ached in him, muted but still nearly unbearable. The first time...the first time he'd nearly lost his mind, had died but stayed living. Such a reaction had dimmed over time, thanks to his training.

"What are you going to do with him?" he asked dully, thumb tracing over his cheek.
2nd-Oct-2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
"An autopsy. Sort out what exactly happened, what caused him to die. And then I work from there," Mohinder explained, his voice still soft, still gentle. "It will tell me something very valuable about the drug I tested today." He didn't know if the serum had muted the effects of the duplicate's mutation, if it suppressed abilities, but once he sorted out why this formula had been lethal, he could make another version to test on that point. There was nothing easy about this research, there never had been.
2nd-Oct-2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
He ceased the soft touches, moving away from his crumpled form and getting to his feet, eyes finding the doctor's.

"Can I leave now?"
2nd-Oct-2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
Mohinder nodded. "Go on, we're done here for the evening. Thank you for your co-operation. I will expect it in the future." He paused, looking up from his charts at him with a level, steady gaze, his dark eyes fathomless behind his glasses, unreadable. "And yes, Parkman will be hearing about your performance today," he added coolly. "You're dismissed."
2nd-Oct-2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
The words left him cold.

Nodding slowly, Jamie gave his self one last look, twisting the ring on his hands and trying to calm the shakes that were racking his body. Feet padding across the cold floor, he left the room.
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