eileen_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif

Scene Title Glib
Synopsis Gabriel offers a contribution to Eileen's recovery.
Date April 10, 2010

Old Dispensary: Eileen's Room

A lot of activities are counterproductive to healing, including smoking, but for all the medical supplies that the Remnant keeps in the infirmary, painkillers are scarce. Eileen needs something to take the edge off, and the sedative that Francois administered before taking his leave has worn off over the course of the day, making it difficult to relax and impossible to sleep on anything except her back. Unfortunate, because the Englishwoman has grown so accustomed to doing it on her stomach and side that she's given up on trying to steal more than a few short hours at a time.

Her condition isn't so severe, however, that she was unable to light the candle at her bedside when the sky began to grow dark or retrieve her cigarette stash from behind a loose brick in the wall. Both are still burning as the sun finishes its descent, providing her with just enough illumination to write by, a journal with pre-aged yellow paper spread open across her lap and black fountain pen in hand. Pillows wedged between her back and the wall behind the bed provide her with the support she requires to sit up while a pair of tortoiseshell reading glasses perform an equally important service for her eyes.

Night shirt and robe, brown-black hair pinned up at the back of her head — apart from her unusually pale complexion, colourless lips and the gauze wrapped around her midsection, fastened in place with clear medical tape, she only vaguely resembles the sweat-and-bloodsoaked woman who was mumbling in French on the infirmary's operating table a little less than twenty-four hours ago.

Dr. Allegre does good work.

Dr. Allegre and Jensen Raith, anyway, the latter of the two being whom inspired Gabriel to make a detour instead of cutting a singular path to his attic upon coming home. Not that Gabriel had awful much to say to him — nothing, actually, just blank acknowledgment until one or both of them had continued on their respective ways. The Remnant even get shot by random chance, not just assassins with cold and calculated intention and governmental license to kill.

Who knew?

He knows, first, the force of the tap of knuckles to wood shifting the door open a little wider, and Gabriel's third knock ends with simply pushing it open wider. He ghosts inside, an instinctive glance around before his focus rests on Eileen. "We should stock up on O-neg," he says, by way of greeting. Hey. I love you too. "It's not like I don't have a lot of it to spare." He steps inside, bringing the overstaying winter with him in the form of damp footprints and his winter clothes, a woolen coat and scarf of burgundy and black, fingers creaking the leather their clad in in the woolen pockets at his sides.

Eileen closes her journal, no apparent need or desire to keep her place by folding the page's corner over. If she needs to, she can find it again easily enough. As she sets it aside on the nightstand, she pauses to tap a fat sliver of gray ash from the tip of her cigarette into the porcelain vessel she keeps nearby. Apart from residue and a crumpled butt several days old, it's empty — a clear indication of just how little time she spends in here, and not because she isn't grateful to have a space to call her own.

Quite the opposite. Lent by personal touches like an old photograph of an arrestingly handsome ballerina, her violin case, and even a stuffed rabbit dressed in a faded blue overcoat that sits atop a short stack of dusty books, Eileen's room at the Dispensary has the sort of warmth and quiet sophistication that her apartment in Brooklyn lacked. Peter, as he is called, is the one thing she has retained from her childhood, and he looks desperately out of place when compared to the rest of her belongings, which include a large steamer trunk used to store clothes and the white gown she wore to the gala draped over a cloth dressing screen in one corner.

The dress is something she's been meaning to sell. Hasn't found the time. "And where will we keep it?"

Though he does move quite definitely into the room, bats the door partially shut, Gabriel goes no farther. His gloved hands settle back into his pockets, nose wrinkling a little at the intrusive smell of smoke but he makes no verbal protest. He'd probably bitch if this was his room, but it isn't. Shrugging with all the air of someone who really doesn't mind, he replies with, "That's for you and Jensen to figure out. I'm the one that does the bleeding. But if you think dying of shock from a stupid injury is a manner for any of us to go—

"Then stay glib. You sure look like you could use it now." Now he's moving, a slow arcing approach to her bedside as he glances to the back of one of her hands, whether the IV had dug in last night. Calculation matching this gaze is possibly unnerving.

Eileen discards the cigarette for the time being, though she does not put it out, leaving it to leak smoke in a thin stream as she uses one hand to cover the other in a self-conscious gesture that betrays her discomfort more than the crescent shape of her mouth or the dark circles under brighter eyes do. She doesn't want to be here sitting in the dark, candle flames flickering a wan shade of gold that lights up the right side of her face. The left remains swathed in shadow.

What she does want is a bath. Medication to dull the pain that flares anew every time she inhales and then lets the breath out again, thin and faintly rasping. "You're upset with me?"

Unfortunately, Francois pointed out that most pain medications will fuck with blood in some way or another, and Eileen's choices are limited though not totally restricted — regardless, it should do little for her mood. As for Gabriel's mood, he raises an eyebrow as he glances back up to her face as if distracted, before he shakes his head. "No. I'm thinking." Taking off his coat, he lets it rest heavily over the corner of her bed, though not before searching through his pockets.

"Do you remember Sanderson, in Madagascar," he starts, conversational. "When that wound went septic, and we did what we could with a kind of medieval blood transfusion." He looks back up the length of the bed to her, gives a shrug. "You'll be a wilting flower for the next few weeks if you want to replenish your own way or get by one saline and vitamin C."

Finds the knife, finally, and thumbs it open. "Or," he says, with a punctuating tilt of his head, "I could help."

Annoyance twitches at the corners of Eileen's mouth, but it's the fleeting kind — the kind that manifests as knit brows and soft, irritated sighs blown out through flaring nostrils. In short: he's right. She knows it, too, and any reservations she might have are swiftly forced into submission by her desire to be back up on her feet and fully functional.

There is a time and a place for stubbornness and pride. Here and now are not it. Her gaze moves purposefully between the blade of the knife, the candlelight reflected in its surface and the mirror glow in the black of Gabriel's eyes. Already, small hands are rolling up the sleeves of her night shirt and robe, exposing slender white arms with an unsurprisingly stark pallor that rivals the linens. "What do I have to do?"

It's all very simple — practically mechanical. Gabriel gets about three steps closer with a likely inappropriate amount of self-intrigue until something jars him, some minor realisation that confuses the situation. Because it will probably hurt, and— "Just trust me," is the request, before slowly, he saps away feel, numbness crawling over Eileen's body like a total anesthetic effect not induced by any chemical. By the time it's over, he's shifted the knife to clasp between thumb and index finger while the others go to draw up his own sleeve.

Crouches down, shadows deep in eyesockets as he studies the expanse of his own forearm before applying the tip of the knife against it. When it slices deep, and he doesn't flinch, it's probably obvious that he used the same numbing affect on himself. Blood begins to pool, but never drips, and when silver is lifted, clean, the track only glimmers with black blood kept at bay with a matter of will.

"Your arm," he requests, looking up with neutral expectancy.

Eileen makes a sound of protest at the back of her mouth, a half-formed word that doesn't make it much further than the first syllable, and even that is too short to be given a name. The last time she experienced sensations similar to this one, she'd been half-dressed in her bedroom and going for her gun. It brings back memories of feet that had ached after, broken glass pulled from between her toes with a pair of tweezers back at the Dispensary afterwards. Antiseptic. Rot.

Part of him had been trying to kill her, then. Nonetheless, she offers him her right arm in an implicit display of trust, not because it's the dominant one — it simply has the ill fortune of being closest. His request is met with gentle instruction spoken firmly but also under her breath. "Don't take too much."

"I can produce up to fourty percent more blood than the average male," Gabriel tells her, a hand numbly settling on her wrist, and his movements should cause blood to spill from the gash in his arm. Doesn't, remains suspended. "I checked." And with an effortless sharpness— because he would want a knife as efficient as a scalpel— he pierces the grey-pale skin of her arm and draws a short but deep line. Neat enough that it might not even scar.

If treated right, afterwards, anyway. Blood wells with the intention to go flooding, but a sharp look downwards almost comically prevents this happening. The knife is closed and set aside, and Gabriel offers his own sliced arm to face the ceiling. Concentration follows, and then the thin river of blood snaking up through the air, glistening and dark and smelling of metal. It winds its way towards the wound on Eileen's arm, and even beneath the blanket numb, she can probably feel the odd pressure of blood working its way into her system.

It's so much more efficient than a catheter, a thin length of plastic tubing and a rubber band. Eileen should be jealous; Gabriel makes a resourceful medic, but this is something she realizes with a breathy hint of self-depreciating laughter instead of scorn. Tendons beneath the wrist in his hand flex as she experimentally stretches her fingers as though this might alleviate some of the pressure around the wound. The temptation to reach out and interrupt the stream is equally absurd and thus kept in check by focusing on Gabriel's eyes rather than the serpentine transfusion, which to her resembles a silk ribbon of richest, deepest red.

"Forty percent is all the average male can afford to lose," she says, an inferred acknowledgement that Gabriel isn't. Average. She reaches up with her hand not caught by the wrist and places it on his shoulder in spite of the fact that neither of them can feel it. "I'm not so glib."

"I know." He wasn't angry, and so, he probably didn't mean it. Stung, maybe, when a suggestion is brushed aside in lieu of things like practicality and such, but here— Gabriel is fixing things now. No one's glib, nor angry, while he's doing that. He glances back up to her face, back down to the flow of blood. While she doesn't want to look at it, he can barely keep his eyes off it. He does, however, work his feet out of socks and shoes, trying to keep his arm still as he does so.

Crouching probably isn't going to be comfortable for as long as this may take, for the evening, and so Gabriel is inviting himself onto her bed. There are teenagers everywhere who would think this very hardcore and romantic. Likely both woman and man in the room are more concerned with pragmatism.

Beneath the blankets, Eileen's foot curves against the small of Gabriel's back. This, coupled with the hand at his shoulder, is as far as she's willing to go to show her affection. Along with conventionalism and normalcy, romance is one of those luxuries that their joint circumstances are usually too poor to afford.

Like now. It's a small bed, the mattress second-hand and wide enough to fit two people comfortably if snug. She shifts her legs to accommodate him, give him space. "Colette knows about the Dispensary," she says, and it's as much an apology as it is a statement. There's just enough remorse in her tone for Gabriel to recognize what she really means. I'm sorry. "Teo's lover. We didn't have time."

In the half-darkness, there's a grunt of acknowledgment. Fine. Fine, but he would have done it differently. Fine, but it's not his fault. This small show of passive aggression could be traded out for something worse, but isn't, considering the circumstances. And the way he'd simply pocketed his phone after receiving her text. Gabriel's considerably heavier weight bends the mattress, near tips Eileen's smaller frame into his. The ribbon of blood between them never falters, stubborn in its patient speed.

When he finally stops— or maybe when Eileen insists he stop— he covers the wound with his hand until blood stubbornly scabs over and seals it up. If such an action could be affectionate, it can be considered so this time.

Eileen had not been expecting a reply and did not feel any disappointment the last time she checked her phone, its screen still smeared with blood, for new messages and to ensure that she did not imagine sending hers. A hand at her wrist, a hand at her arm, and the residual warmth his body supplies are enough as far as reciprocation is concerned.

When green eyes finally close, they do not immediately open again or in the minutes after. As she is most comfortable doing, she lets the rest pass in silence.

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