Morphine Induced Truths


francois_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title Morphine Induced Truths
Synopsis Francois learns something he didn't know about his own past from one doped up former Company agent.
Date February 27, 2011

Bannerman's Castle

It's dark by the time they're back in the safety of Bannerman's castle, and safer still between four walls, a closed door, Francois seeking out one of the minor bedrooms that can double as an operating room. The knife bundled in fabric until they'd taken it out in the back of the truck, roughly bandaged and reinforced so that Benjamin Ryans could maintain the dignity of walking his way up the stairs, supported and braced on either side with an empath and an ex-healer, both of which baptised, seemingly, in his blood.

Cleaning his hands vigorously enough that there could be a live salmon on the water provided, Francois moves to sit by Ryans as he lays out tools, silver and sterile. Suturing. Painkillers. Antiseptics.

Stripped of his armor and leather, down to softer cottons and denims, sleeves pulled back from his wrists and collar low enough that Ryans could well find it, should he look — the tiny insect-bite of the old isotope trackers, two black dashes marked into pale, European skin, a source of paranoia and then, only much later, knowledge as to what they are.

He was thankful that they let him walk into the castle, even if Benjamin Ryans had to grit teeth and they could hear the harsh breathing from the pain each step caused him. Huruma had a good idea of the pain he was hiding, especially when on occasion a step would be particularly jarring making his nostrils flare with a sharp breath.

Now he was laid out like an offering stripped of duster and shirt, a painful process in itself. Blood smears dark over his bare torso, the binding around his midsection soaking up the thick fluid steadily.

A blue eye peers out from under a hand that rests against his head, as if his hand there can make the pain ease. Ben watching Francois blankly, without any emotions flickering over his features, though to Huruma there is mild interest there under all that pain.

It's not so strange for Huruma to be covered in someone else's blood, though there are people that are in that space of her not wanting them to get any on her. That list has grown quite a bit in the last couple of years, incidentally. Even now, she won't use her ability on Ryans- though if he asks, she wouldn't be saying no. Being an empath around people in pain is an awkward thing, at worst. The woman hasn't been back to Pollepel since the two of them had left to see to Delia, and there is a considerable change in the mood of the castle from what she recalls. Something more tired than before. More weary.

Huruma is there to help Francois in silence, effectively acting as nurse despite the lack of formal training. She knows enough to listen to the doctor before her inner voice. The duster has been put aside on its own, and the dark woman is a flickering shape when she finishes washing the blood off of her hands and slinks back into proper view.

Laid out 'like an offering' is perhaps not the best phrase to think of here. When Huruma's eyes catch the blue one looking out from under Ben's hand, she gives him a nearly scornful little narrowing of her own. Like he might be thinking about giving Francois a hard time of it. As for the Frenchman, she looks at him after that. "I am all yours." For helping purposes only.

"Merci." Sincere enough. "Bring the light closer."

Not a few days ago, Ryans was one of those untrained, make-shift nurses, helping the man still on the brink of his recovery in a room a lot unlike this one, if smelling staler. Francois is setting about filling a syringe with something clear and probably powerfulish, for all that their resources are slender. He glances green for Ryans' blue. "I have seen braver men than you cry out when injuries this deep," he explains, before protest can manifest. "This is wisdom, I promise you."

Call this a guess as to the other man's character, like the way he knew he might want to walk rather than be carried up the stairs. "Oui?" The needle comes to rest on the inner of Ryans' arm, and will plunge upon the mark of consent in nods, words, glances.

Nervousness flits through Benjamin's emotions, a chill settling in his stomach. He understands perfectly well. The hand comes off his head moving to drop along his side, fingers curling around the edge to grip it. "Not my first rodeo," is rumbled out gruffly, even if his body lacks the scarring it once had to prove it.

"Go ahead, Allegre," he adds after only a moment more, giving him a nod, fingers giving a flick. The fact that Ryans seems to show some trust in the doctor, says something. Especially, since he's not the type to give it so easily.

While Francois does his thing, Ryans gaze settles on Huruma, eyes narrowing slightly. Maybe his given trust is cause the amazon woman is standing there and he knows she'll watch his back.

"If it isn't enough, I can only give you calm. Not painkillers, but…" Something powerful-ish, and an empath on hand, and he should be good to go. Huruma won't expect to use herself as a placebo, but it's a resource that is there.

She plucks the light up in her hand, and the lamplight casts a shade across the wall as she gives the light itself to Francois and his work area; the vaguely people shaped shadows on the wall shift about in the background. This is probably going to be easier on Francois than it was for Delia to pull a flesh wound bullet out of Huruma, but there's no betting on pain.

"You can call me Francois," is as silkily delivered as the morphine pushed into Ryans' system, needle in and out as smooth as if it had always been a part of him, and set aside for later discarding. Cleaning, next, the room quick to reek of chemicals that Ryans will only distantly feel the burn of, his brain occupying him with other matters like hazy oblivion. Francois' movements are neat and efficient. "The blood," is Huruma's next instruction, a glance towards the bandaging and gauze to be used to mop it away from the seeping wound.

Some apology in the order, for all that she'd offered, and Francois moves enough to let her tend to it as he wipes off his hands again, picks up the suture tools. "Melissa did not introduce my name to you," he says. The same conversational tone that dentists take pride in. Not exactly sadistic. "Did she?"

He's never really enjoyed the feeling that Morphine induces, even as he forces himself to try and relax. Huruma might feel that internal struggle, Ben's instincts forcing him to keep awake, even as his body becomes lucid and relaxed allowing the doctor to work.

A small bit of a smile, touches Ryans lips at the question. "No… I mean… yes?" There is a furrow of his brows the smile fading a way. "Sort of. She mentioned a Francois, but I didn't put two and two together til I saw you." Blue eyes open to focus on the Frenchman, though that takes considerable effort. "You have still not hardly aged." Though how Ryans knows that is anyone's guess. He gives a weak huff of laughter, "Course… I look just… about as old as when I met you. Not that they'd let you remember." He's awfully talkative.

Huruma puts the light where it best lets Francois tell what in the world he's doing, fussing with it a moment until he reminds her to mop up blood. Her nose wrinkles against the tang of chemicals, which only serves to give her a marginally displeased look when she starts peeling away the bandages they slapped on him on the way out. At least her fingers aren't cold. Not terribly. The woman goes through the motions of prying free the now sodden red bandage, and mopping up the area around the wound with alternating damp and dry clumps of gauze.

Awfully talkative, for sure. Huruma is even giving Ben a bit of an odd look because of it. She purses her lips and finishes cleaning him up for Francois, keeping the bloodied rags aside to dispose of later and getting another ready for if she needs to clean as he goes.

A murmured thank you again for Huruma, English this time, Francois settling back to where he began. The greasy orange of chemical still in his fingernails, but he can deal with that later. Even through the numbing of morphine, Ryans will not be immune to the feeling of needle pulling thread in his own flesh. "Are you too blessed with long life?" he asks, and Huruma can maybe sense the sudden thrum of anxiety at some confirmation ticked off. But it's not enough to interfere with his work, the careful concentration of delicate stitches, made with the kind designed to melt away as flesh heals around it.

"They," he repeats, on the back of that question, eyebrows going like crescent moons when he raises them. Eyes on his task.

"Nnn.." Is the pained sound Ryans makes as Francois starts to work, head shaking a bit to what it isn't clear. Brows are furrowed deep and eyes shut… Morphine making them heavy. "No… not a long life… Crap that hurts." There is a hiss of air between his teeth before he says, "On the job accident… made me younger. They said twenty years…"

Even if he has to force the words out, he seems really pretty happy to talk to Francois. "The… nnngh…. Company… they… brought you in." A hand waves at former healer, hand kinda… floppy. He's trying to motions at the marks her saw. "Good guy… You even healed me once." Ryans gives a pained gasp and adds, "Kinda missing that right now." He must be out of it, if he's saying that. Clearly.

Such talk leads the dark woman nearby to lean slightly over to look for that telltale sign- one that she too used to have, scarred and healed in that same bitten spot. Neh. The sound leaves her lips quietly, but it is there. Huruma doesn't want to think about back then anymore, and she keeps cautionary tabs on the nuances between words inside the moods of the two men.

"Stop moving." A smoothly salty note in the midst of Ryans' reminiscing; her words get considerably less dry soon enough. "We all miss healers when we actually need them." But they'll be fine with old school. As evidenced.

Francois' jaw is tense, but it does that too when he's concentrating, and if Huruma could sense any indication that he's making this unnecessary for Ryans— well, she cannot. But maybe some satisfaction, grudging, dark, resentment thick and cloying. It's been warred aside. He glances for Huruma's profile when she instructs the man thusly, a small mark of punctuation dimpling next to a half-smile."I healed you. Did you take me in?" Fine thread, invisible like fishing line save for how its a greasy ruby-orange from cleaning antiseptic and blood both.

It's one of those queasy sights, knowing it's woven so delicately into ruined skin, but Francois' doesn't pull. "Or we can talk of this later, if you would prefer. I only hear it helps to speak. A distraction."

"No." Ryans practically spits the word out, disgust flickers across his features. "I never liked bringing in the good ones, did at first. But they were people that should not end up like that… Unlike Huruma." He points out, possibly a little too brightly. A hand flips in her direction. "She killed lotsa people." Okay a little slurring now… "Ngh… Killed my partner and left me for dead."

There is a grimace and another pained sound at the back of Ben's throat. "She got better…" As if it was some sort of sickness or something. "But you… you were a nice… Nnn… nice guy. Made me realize I didn't want to bring in anymore, like you." Good people?

The best distraction is probably not talking about the Company, but if these two are going to talk about it, she has to listen to it. Despite the gnawing sensation deep in her chest, Huruma is not the one that gets to choose the conversation. The look on her face only gets angrier when Francois gets an explanation of her, and the next time that Ben looks up at Huruma, he is probably lucky to not realize she wants to shake him around by the neck. The only reason that she pardons him now is because he is literally on drugs.

There's no point in defending herself, in the end, for the same reason that she can't blame him for saying those things. He wouldn't actually understand if she had started on about it. Huruma's anger turns into something like anguish now, mixed in origin.

The best distraction is probably not talking about the Company, but if these two are going to talk about it, she has to listen to it. Despite the gnawing sensation deep in her chest, Huruma is not the one that gets to choose the conversation. The look on her face only gets angrier when Francois gets an explanation of her, and the next time that Ben looks up at Huruma, he is probably lucky to not realize she wants to shake him around by the neck. The only reason that she pardons him now is because he is literally on drugs.

There's no point in defending herself, in the end, for the same reason that she can't blame him for saying those things. He wouldn't actually understand if she had started on about it. Huruma's anger turns into something like anguish now, mixed in origin.

Huruma might have a point.

The notion of the good ones has Francois' mouth shutting and his eyes now darting for Ryans' features, and over to Huruma in a wordless display of curiousity and some sort of sympathy. Even if Ryans is saying she killed someone. Even if she isn't rushing to correct him. "I see." It's not insincere. Or threatening. He sees, how that might change minds. There's a click of metal, and a snip of thread. "I was not good, necessarily. Only useful. I didn't imagine there would be anyone old enough to remember me.

"Or ones that survived long enough, anyway. You should rest yourself, now." Invitation to stop speaking. For Francois to finish and leave.

He'll probably blearily remember bits of this conversation and feel pretty bad about what he says, even if it all is true. For now, Benjamin can only nod at the doctor's instructions. "Okay… Resting sounds pretty good." There is exhaustion in those words, his mind being pulled down slowly into the darkness of sleep. And for a moment, he seems about ready to sleep.

But then he wakes up a little, hand moving to grasp Francois' wrist if he manages too. Ryans looks fairly serious as he says, "Hey… Maybe not good, but better then me. Pretty certain, you didn't deserve being caught and forced to work for them." His hand drops away and he finally lets his head roll to one side as he finally lets himself drift off.

"I didn'jus'happen t'get better." Huruma finally notes, loud enough to be heard, but low enough to still be somewhat private in nature. "All of you made me better." Which can encompass a great number of people, certainly- and due to that private tone, perhaps it is more obvious in its being more personal.

Unfortunately, it will probably just be Francois that gets her message if Ryans lulls himself to sleep, even as she is helping finish things by getting ready a fresh bandage for over the sutures.

Francois doesn't respond to Ryans. Not verbally. Subtle nuances of his stare difficult to catch when you're falling asleep, too, concerned and analytical and unsure, but ultimately none of the anger he had expected himself to have. Not with his hands greasy with the man's blood and the notion of redemption and change hanging in the air as sweet as the reek of blood and antiseptic. His chin lifts proudly for a moment, before he reaches again for hemostats.

To finish stitching the Company man from the inside, drawing him close on the out, and leave him under the care of a murderer — all of which sounds rather torturous in itself, with only one hit of morphine and some percocet to taste, but in its own way, mimics forms of forgiveness.

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