First, Do No Harm


abby_icon.gif sonny_icon.gif

Scene Title First, Do No Harm
Synopsis Sonny comes to take out Abby's stitches. Questions are asked, wounds healed and there's a question of Morals.
Date January 8, 2009

Ferryman Safehouse

Early morning, not so early that it's super ungodly, but, early enough. People would be starting to have breakfast. Early enough that Abby hasn't been to rest yet, out all the night visiting her homeless people before wending her way to the safehouse to away Dr. Bianco after an after dinner phonecall the night previous and a message left on his phone. The proprieter is absent, for this particular place, somewhere else in the house and abby sits by a window watching the sky.

Given the hour and the fact that he has to head straight to work, Sonny's dressed nicer than she's ever seen him. His hair is neatly combed, he's freshly shaved and he's wearing an expensive suit and tie - though it's casual as suits go. What's different is his -face-. Given his schedule, it's easier to change that than his clothes. So the man who walks in is not someone Abby would recognize, though apparently whoever is guarding the safehouse does. He looks around, then, "Abby?" The face might not be familiar, but the voice might be.

"Dr. Bianco?" That's not him, but the voice is him. Abby's confused, and being tired adds to it. "Your.. not looking the same today" He's not sylar, sylar would never have made it this far wihtout lots of yelling and screaming. Lots of blood. She shifts in her seat, standing up and taking in the new face. The sling he saw last time is gone, and she's using that arm without a hitch.

"Yeah, it's me. Sorry for the face, but I couldn't dress down. I have to head straight to work after this, and in this neighborhood, a guy in a Mercedes draws some attention. I doubt anyone saw me though. Hope you don't mind if I don't switch my face back. I'll just have to put it on again when I leave." Sonny opens up a medkit. "So I hear you need some stitches out?"

"You can.. change your face" More surprise but she nods. "I fixed my shoulder but, yes. I'm sorry I called and you came so early, it could have waited until the evening or a day or so. Do you often.. change your face and go out.. looking like this?" Abby doesn't remove herself from the seat, but she does work her way out of her sweater, a simple wide necked shirt underneath.

"No, not often. I try and avoid it if I can. It's kind of odd and I use up energy doing it that I usually need. But you know, it's useful when I can't be seen somewhere." Sonny lifts a shoulder. "It's kind of nice to go out and not be recognized as the mayor's son." As he gets closer, it's more obvious that he's in a bit of a cold sweat. That, and he keeps wincing at the overhead lights. "It's all right. Now's a fine time for me. I never know after a day whether I'm going to pass out. I'd rather do this kind of thing fresh."

"Headache?" When he's close, the last of his words fading as she takes him in. "Long night? Or too much work?" Searching his face, she takes the doctor's face in. "I fixed Al and Teo of enough hangovers and long nights. I'd say it was a long night. What do you need me to do?" She points to her left shoulder.

"Long early-evening, actually. I'm all right. I spent most of yesterday with my head in a bucket and then greasy eggs and a lot of water." Sonny chuckles, but it's rough, sounding. He's pretty good at hiding his true emotions, but still, he looks more troubled than he normally does. "It'd be best if you take your shirt off so it doesn't get in the way when I'm trying to remove the stitches."

The heat that rises is one of someone flustered and embarrassed and she drop of her face as she looks to the couch she's on. "Just uh.. just, a minute?" A throw blanket on the is picked up and she disappears somewhere in the house, a bathroom where she does what he asked. Let the man wait a minute before she reappears. Blanket's held around her torso in a way as to expose the left arm, shoulder, the black thread where she'd been shot and nothing more. Every other inch was covered. "Sorry"

"It's…all right, Abby. But I am a doctor. I would never do anything inappropriate, you know that, right? But, I understand that it seems different in this setting," Sonny motions for her to sit down in a chair. "Have you had stitches out before?"

'Not you, it's just me. And there's a window and there's other people and I have my modesty, despite where I work" even as she eases down into the chair he motions to with a shake of her head to answer his question. "I imagine it's like.. picking out a thread through a quilt to resew it just, the quilt's a person and your not going to resew it"

"Well, yes. But I meant more whether you think you can take the pain, or if you'd like something for it." Sonny reaches into his kit and pulls out a pair of gloves. He pushes up his sleeves and then pulls them on. That done, he examines the stitches and swabs some disinfectant over the area.

"You can try and we'll see?" The blonde offers, looking down to watch what he does. "Your head still hurts yes? Better if I help you first, before you help me?" It's an offer, to take care of the pain from his headache, and the headache itself"

"Oh, I don't want you to strain yourself. Besides, I brought it on myself. It's not so bad. I just feel a bit weak still, is all." Sonny considers the stitches closely, then pulls out a pair of tweezers. "I'm going to use a topical cream at least. It'll dull some of the pain." He pulls out a tube and starts to dab it around the stitches.

"Everyone assumes that it strains me. A guy in a car accident, with broken shattered bones and the like, yes. But it's little, it's very little, to take a headache away. Really. And I haven't slept yet. I do it for the guys all the time when they drag themselves in when I get home" It's murmured quietly, watching, noting what it is that he does. "Just offering, your not obligated to take it, i promise"

"I don't know that I deserve it, Abby. I'm a doctor. I should know better than to go get drunk like that," Sonny murmurs. "Hell, I had three lectures on the effects of alcohol on the body in med school."

"I don't decide who deserve it Doctor, god does. He decides, when I lay my hands and ask" But she shuts up, the last week fresh in her mind. 'Sorry. I'll let you, do what you have to do. I apologize" She looks away then, towards the window and the sky outside, one hand in the other and waiting.

There's a bit of awkward silence that follows. The last thing he wants to do is get into an argument about the nature of her ability. So Sonny keeps his mouth shut. "This is going to sting a bit," he murmurs. He uses a tiny pair of sterilized scissors to snip the stitches, then the tweezers to gently pull the bits out a little at a time. The cream dulls the pain enough that it's mostly just strange-feeling and uncomfortable rather than painful.

She's the perfect patient. Still, only her thumb tapping against the flesh of her palm when it's a little more than uncomfortable. Partway through though, she talks, a break to the snipping and teasing of the thread from flesh "How do you do it? reconcile taking money, for what you do, and not feeling guilty, or like.. your abusing something that you were blessed with?"

The doc looks a little bit surprised by the question. He thinks for a minute, then, "I take the money so that people don't think nothing of my services - so they don't take advantage of me. Sure, I could do it for free. But it's perceived value. People respect me more because I charge for what I do." Sonny's tone is low, his voice hoarse. He clears it, but the dehydration that causes hangovers still lingers. "If I just said, free cosmetic procedures for all, I'd be exhausted. And people would act like it was my duty rather than a service I'm giving them at expense of my own energy. My prices are so high because, well, my power can't actually save anyone's life, so what I do isn't essential. And two, so I'm not booked up for the rest of my life."

"Do you ever get tired of it? Question it? What you do? What those around you react to what you do, or expect you to do with it?" She's still not looking at it, still out the window.

"I hide from it," Sonny admits. He pauses for a moment and looks her in the eye. "This face. It's my escape. No one expects anything of me when they see this man. And yes, I question it. But I try to do what good I can, too. That's why I do things like this." He returns to gently pulling out the stitches. "Let me know if it hurts," he murmurs, "I'll put more cream on."

"Could you not do it though? Could you walk away from it all, knowing that there are those like.. Edward, and the truck driver, and countless others who could use what you do? Your skill and your gift?" Abby looks down and shakes her head. "It's not too much. I can handle it. Nowhere near getting shot" There's a hint of a perverse smile at that. "I got called a martyr, and self righteous, and stupid. Because I don't.. Because I am willing to heal those who would kill me, and those who have hurt others. Just a stupid girl who needs to go back to Louisiana and forget about this place"

"My skill, maybe. But there's very few people who could use my gift, save those who were scarred through accidents or war," Sonny glances up from his work as he pulls out the last of the stitches. "But this isn't really a question about me, is it?" A beat. He takes in a long breath. "Abby. You're acting like a doctor. If a patient is brought to me, it doesn't matter if he's a murderer or a saintly priest. I heal whoever needs me. Because I took an oath. Sounds like you do the same thing, even if you never said the words."

"But would you do it? Would you use your skill even if you knew that they might turn around and kill you? Or they might get to others, and hurt them? How do you do it, with others who sneer, and think that what your doing is wrong? Even if you know it's wrong, that you shouldn't, but you have to?" She looks down at the little tiny marks left behind by the stitches and murmuring under her breath, concentrates long enough to have them disappear.

Funny she should ask that, considering Sonny just helped to cover up a murder. Not quite the same thing, but it is a question of ethics. "Yes. And I have done it. I'm a doctor. I don't get to pass moral judgment on my patients. I help when they ask for him. I stop their suffering. It's my duty." He starts to straighten things up, to rinse off the tools so they're mostly clean before he can take them to be sterilized again. "People don't tend to sneer at me. Or, not as often as I'd imagine you'd get it. Because people seem to understand that a doctor has a duty to help. It…" and he winces as he straightens a bit too fast. That provokes a sharp pain in his temples. "…and if people say anything, well, I ask them if they'd want me passing moral judgment on them before I saved their life."

Abby lifts her uncovered arm, palm up and a gimme gimme motion towards his hand. "Because I believe it's god, and that I'm chosen for this. Because my faith is tied to it all, it is my faith. Because the people around me get hurt, trying to protect me. If I go home, I can't do.. what I feel is right, what I'm here to do what I think He's put before me to do. But if I go home, people won't be hurt because of me. I'll live longer, instead of looking over my shoulder and waiting for Sylar to come again"

"Abby, if you want to heal me…" Sonny looks at the hand she holds out. "…I'm not comfortable being healed by your gift, because of where you believe it comes from. I'm not…" he hesitates. "…I'm not a religious man. I doubt that god actually exists. All I can do is try to be moral." Sylar's name causes a cold shudder to run up his spine, and he pales a little more. "Or you could hide for awhile," he murmurs.

"I don't know where to hide. and I have obligations. I have work, and rent and bills. The world doesn't stop turning just because a man wants what I have" She nods though, to his objection. "It's okay, I understand. Your not the first one to say no, and you won't be the last" Up from the chair Abby goes, keeping blanket held close. "Thank you, for coming. I appreciate it"

"Well, if you do need to hide…" Sonny trails off for a moment. He tugs his jacket on, "Well…you know how to get in contact with me." A beat, "No problem. Glad your arm's feeling better. I need to get to work."

"If I need to hide, i'll call the ferryman. I promise that. Have a good day. I hope though, that we don't need to see each other again" She ducks her head to him before she moves, disappearing again to wherever her shirt was stashed and she'd changed.

"People always say that about doctors," says Sonny with a bit of a wry chuckle to himself. And then he packs up the last of his things, then heads for the door. He'll change his face in the car.

Hippocratic Oath — Modern Version

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

  • I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
  • I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over treatment and therapeutic nihilism.
  • I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
  • I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.
  • I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
  • I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
  • I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
  • I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
  • If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

January 7th: The Silence Of The Angels
January 8th: Please Learn To Ask For A Lawyer
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