Conventional Healing


francois_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Conventional Healing
Synopsis Melissa arrives at Francois' doorstep for some doctoring, and they trade comments on severed ties, age and the ability to heal.
Date April 15, 2010

Greenwich Village: Francois' Home

The phone call is short and sweet, Mel's voice a little hoarse. Nothing like letting loose with your ability and a nice loud scream in a relatively empty part of the city to release a bit of tension. It took her a little while after that to make it to Francois's house, but here she is. Bundled up, with the sling, bandage and wound healing on her forehead, looking a right mess. And we mustn't forget the blood streaks in her hair, like some kind of macabre fashion statement.

She pauses on the doorstep of the brownstone, sighing softly. The hat is tugged off, a hand run through her hair, before that hand is lifted, and knuckles rap upon the door. Hello! Reverse house call waiting!

The response is swift — though Melissa can count three floors looming up in front of her as she waits on the stoop, it seems as though the doctor— fake-doct— the Frenchman was waiting for her on ground level. The sound of his footsteps are just audible beyond the door, and when it swings open, cosy warmth tickles Melissa's face even as icy weather leaks in to make Francois shiver. His green eyes quickly appraise her, even if he smiles a greeting. "Come in," is a simple invitation and all that's required at this juncture, the ex-immortal stepping aside, hand up to keep the door open for her. He's domestic in a sweater, jeans, socked feet.

Inside, the place is lit warmly, an open kitchen being a darker corner and hardwood floors covered in a rug towards the living space. The coffee table holds medical supplies as opposed to garden magazines and gimmicky photo books, and the hearth has a low fire bristling among thick chunks of blackening wood. "Make yourself comfortable. If I recall correctly, you do not need much for the pain, oui?"

Melissa nods and steps inside, glancing around as she moves into the living room and settles herself down on the couch, shrugging the coat off. "Well I recently had a bullet dug out without any drugs, so I can stand it if I have to, but I have no special anti-pain ability. Not for myself," she says with a sigh and shake of her head.

Looking back to Francois Mel tries for a smile, though it looks like more of a grimace. "Thanks for letting me come by though. All the medical type people I know are…" Recovering and being held by the enemy, "indisposed. And I needed my shoulder and hand looked at."

"I have some Percocet. Un moment." Francois moves off for the kitchen, arranging the tablets and a glass of water with as much precision as a housewife arranging a cup of tea for a guest. The house is quiet, the kind of quiet when one has someone sleeping elsewhere — which is actually the case here, and the wooden staircase to the right side of the living room shows only darkness from the upper levels. Francois even sounds like he's trying to be quiet, though he doesn't let it get in the way of efficiency.

A tall glass of water is set down on the table, along with a still foil-wrapped tablet as promised. "What happened to your hand and shoulder? Storytell me." He's more looking at the healing gash at her head than her eyes.

It's not hard to tell when someone isn't meeting your eyes, and Melissa rubs absently at her forehead before she reaches for the tablet, opening it, then reaching for the water to down it. "Want the story of the head, shoulder or hand first? The hand's the only one a doctor hasn't looked at yet. The shoulder I just need another look at. Had stitches, and I want this sling off."

Tugging the coffeetable over a little so that Francois can perch on the edge in front of her, the warmth from the hearth licking up his back, he holds out both his hands to accept Melissa's more injured one. Well, more recently injured one — his left hand is fucked up, and has been since she's known him. At this range, more details stand out. Old scars spill between index and middle finger, pinching and white, and the subtle angle to both these fingers is wrong. Surgeons should probably have better hands.

At least the other visible scar, a piece taken out of his left ear, probably won't interfere with anything important. "Tell me about the hand," he agrees. "Then I'll see your shoulder."

Melissa offers the awkwardly bandaged hand out to Francois, setting it in his. "Not much to tell about that one, I'm afraid. Was making hot chocolate earlier. Got really pissed off, and the cup broke. Guess I just sliced my palm open on one of the shards." More like she slammed it onto the counter, but that's just details.

"I don't think that it's too deep, but I'm no doctor, and I'd be pissed if I self-diagnosed then lost the use of my fingers or something because something important got cut. I mean, this is the hand I use to flip people off with," she says with an attempt at both a smile and a joke.

It works, a small, breathy kind of chuckle at the back of Francois' throat as he gently relieves her hand of messy bandaging, intending to redress it whether the gash needs more work or not. "Fortunately for you, I do not only treat people with interesting battle scar stories," is his own jest back at her, quietly stated as he studies the gash. "Unfortunately, I think this could use stitches too — it will at least heal faster that way, especially considering where it is. You won't lose a finger, though," he adds, with a smile, "not if you keep everything clean.

"And of your shoulder?" Keeping her hand cupped in his, his right one goes about picking through the supplies he has next to him, profile turned to her for the time being.

Melissa wrinkles her nose at the mention of stitches. "Yeah…I was afraid you were gonna say that…Can't be worse than the shoulder though," she says, sighing and slumping in her seat a little, watching him as he works. "The shoulder…a little more interesting story there."

Mel chews lightly on her lower lip before she begins the retelling. "Was going househunting with a friend, and we came across this apartment building that was on fire. A couple of friends were inside. So me, being the total idiot that I am, went in to try to get them out. Sometime while I was in there, I got shot. No idea who or why, but it hurt like hell. And added another scar that I really didn't need."

He sets about cleaning her hand, carefully, although the most of that seems done for him — still, dried blood is cleared and any possibly left slivers of porcelain are searched for, before a topical anesthesia is applied with the careful if liberal dab of cotton. "Let me see," he invites, letting her have her hand back while they wait for the painkillers to all appropriately kick in with harmony. "This will be the third bullet wound of the month for me, all different people. What they say about New York is very true, non?"

"Only if they say that New York is a hellhole in disguise," Melissa mutters as she starts to tug the neckline of the shirt to the side. Nope, that won't work. Ah well, doctors aren't fussed by a little skin, right? And she is wearing a bra. So…off comes the sling, then the shirt is pulled off of that arm and over her head, as carefully as Melissa can manage. The wound beneath is bandaged, with a bit more skill than her hand was, and under that bandage is a gunshot about a week old, complete with lovely, lovely stitches.

If Francois minds (or even emphatically doesn't mind) a little skin, it doesn't show on his face as his green eyes tick on over the shoulder wound. Fingertips, warm ones, gently spider over bruised skin as he silently checks it, silence buzzing for long enough that when he does speak in his usual quiet tones, it almost sounds loud. "Some of these can come out, to make sure it does not scar very badly. How easily can you lift that arm?"

Melissa's right shoulder is shrugged. "I had to move it a lot yesterday, so it moves alright, I guess. It just doesn't feel too good to do it. But if you're taking the stitches out, does that mean that I can lose the sling?" she asks hopefully.

"If you promise to be good," Francois says, with a half smile, before he goes to pick up silvery tools to pick the glossy strands out from the still healing wound. "And try not to do anything so exciting for a little longer. I will give you some antibiotic cream to put on between cleanings but sometimes, the best thing is to just stop touching. I had to give you some good news, oui?" Gently, he starts to remove the stitches, touching the small red spots when they begin to well with fresh blood with gauze. "What were you angry about?" he finds himself asking as he works, conversational. "When you hurt your hand."

Melissa actually lets out a soft snort. "Hell, I tried not to do anything exciting for the wounds I have now," she mutters unhappily. "And it seems I've been angry constantly the last…I dunno. Days? Weeks? Not sure it really matters. This time I was pissed because someone was being a selfish, spoiled brat. Well, two someone's really. Also doesn't really matter though. I've severed the ties that led me to visit with them." Or tried to, anyway.

"Mm?" is softly curious, if not prying too deeply. The bandages that Francois goes to apply to her shoulder are less elaborate than both the sling and the bindings she'd had before. Squarish patches of gauze are taped in place once the wound is touched with the antibiotic cream, covering slicked, broken skin once more with carefully applied medical tape. "I hope it helps, the ties-severing. Sometimes it can be the best thing, or the biggest of mistakes. How is your hand feeling, numb?"

Melissa glances down at her hand with some measure of surprise, and she nods. "Yeah…yeah, it is. And I hope it does too. Was expecting to sort of take a break, but events just led to me…" She shakes her head. "I had to just go. It's best," she says softly.

Settled on the couch beside her, Francois gently rests her hand against his knee, urging her to keep still only through tactile little touches, before he picks up tools. They're both silent when he begins, spiderweb thread becoming shiny with both blood and antiseptic, and he adds, "It is best if you don't look at your hand as I go. Your brain starts to imagine it feels things when it does not, otherwise." He's going slow and careful, with respect to the delicate location — with actual healing powers, he could pride himself on no scars.

Now, only his careful hands, the left of which is growing stiff. "I almost left New York," he says. "Or rather, I almost did not come back to it. I thought I knew what I wanted until I was simply told to 'go home'. And so I did. It was better for me, in the end."

Melissa smiles faintly. "Trust me, if there's one thing in this world I understand, it's pain. But okay, I won't look. Just to make you happy," she says, instead looking up towards the ceiling. "I thought I knew what I wanted too, until a week ago. A week ago everything just really started going to hell. Guess it actually started when I first showed up in the city. But now…I'm pretty damn sure I know where I'm going."

Francois doesn't mind being humoured — it's how he gets Teo to do anything. Humour me, mon lapin, or your leg will fall off, and other techniques. Even Abby didn't really want her ribs taped, until he'd asked a certain way. Looking after people is hard. Conversation lapses briefly, but resumes again when Francois' concentration can spare the reply. "Good. I still do not, and it's been almost eighty years."

Well that sure as hell works for a distraction. Melissa looks back at him, studying his face, then says dryly, "Eighty? Funny, you don't look a day over seventy-eight. And how the hell's that work? What ability would even let you do that? You like, stop time for your body or something? Suck the life from others to give yourself youth?"

"I am seventy-seven, merci, you are so hilarious," is equally dry, raising an eyebrow even if he does not look up to meet her gaze. Francois does shake his head a little. "Non, nothing like that. I had an ability to heal, to preseve life, and I could use it to preserve myself as well. At a cost, oui, but not enough of one for me to not want to. It was passed on, however, and so I must use conventional tools to do my doctoring. And my aging."

"Mmm…There's a lot of that ability passing going around in this city," Melissa murmurs, leaning her head back and closing her eyes. "And damn, a year off. I used to be better at this. And nothing's wrong with conventional tools. I know someone who can heal. Fixes everything. Even death. But that does come with a high price. He just wants to go back to doing it the old fashioned way."

Francois snorts and notes, "I think you are disconcertingly good at it, mademoiselle," before glancing up at her as she talks about a different healing ability, before returning to his work. There's a snip of thread, after a little longer, and that strange distant tugging feeling of needle and thread finally ceases. "I think he would miss it," is all he says, quieter, as he begins to bind her hand in neat coils of bandaging.

"I'm not so sure," Melissa admits. "I mean, yeah, I'm a huge fan of learning to accept, if not enjoy, your abilities. But some…I could see how someone would celebrate its loss. Some abilities just do more harm than good. Some shouldn't be used, no matter how good it feels to be yourself and just let loose."

He nods, looking back up at her now that he doesn't have to worry about fucking up her hand or anything, and twists a rueful smile as if her words strike a certain of chord of vehement agreement. As ever, Francois' tone remains understated. "Non, I agree. There are some abilities that could stand to be burned out forever. But healing, even if it has a cost to it— if he is any kind of healer at heart, he might agree with me when I say it is a little addictive. To take away injury and pain so easily."

"Even if you had a balance that you had to preserve? One life for another? If you had to choose who would die so that you might save someone else?" Melissa asks quietly. "Would that become addictive to you, Francois? Because I don't think I could ever be addicted to something like that."

With her hand cleaned, stitched, and wrapped, Francois is left mainly to hold it as she shoots that question to him, eyes showing off vague alarm at that concept before he dances his fingertips thoughtfully against the back of her hand, before going to set it aside and onto her own knee. "Probably not," he concedes, looking back towards the coffee table and picking up a small container of over-the-counter antibiotic cream.

It's offered after minor hesitation. "Come back and see me in a week or so, to look at the stitches, or go into a clinic if something happens to me and I am as indisposed as your other contacts. You can use this for your hand and your shoulder, whenever you go to redo the bandaging. If your shoulder starts to hurt, put it in a sling, but try it without for now."

"That's why I think he would probably be happier without his ability," Melissa murmurs, taking the cream. Then her lips curve upward, just a bit. "Thanks for looking me over. I really do appreciate it," she says, tugging her shirt back on, carefully. "And hopefully this is the last time I'll need you to look me over."

"Only if the other doctors are constants," Francois says, moving to stand up as she goes to get changed back into her shirt. He begins to put away tools for cleaning, bandages to discard. "I have a feeling that people who run into burning buildings to rescue others have a tendency to get hurt a little more often than the average citizen, mademoiselle. But you are welcome," he adds, a glance with a small smile shone her way, "any time."

Melissa grimaces before she slips her coat on. "It's not a normal occurance. And I think that life will be getting a little…quieter…for me now. At least that's my hope," she says, rising to her feet. "But you take care of yourself, old man. Try to avoid getting any new scars, hmm?"

As unselfconscious as Francois had been with bragging about his age, and even this title gets a halved grin, he lifts his fingers to graze them over the white knit of scarring that shapes the shell of his ear, smirk growing a little more rueful. "I can make no promises," he informs her, almost seriously, hand dropping to his side again. "Try to have a safe journey home, Melissa."

Melissa draws in a deep breath and nods. "I'll do my best." Another of the faint smiles is given to him, before she nods. "Thanks again," is said, before she heads to the door, and back out into the cold. To go home.

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