Split Second


daphne_icon.gif francois_icon.gif melissa5_icon.gif nadira_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Split Second
Synopsis The physical wounds are easier to stitch together than the emotional ones after a split-second decision is questioned in the aftermath of a hate crime.
Date June 29, 2010

Maison d'Allegre

It had been suggested to him, that with three floors to his own building, that the brownstone house located in the West Village could be converted into something of a clinic. The downside being that the ground floor is so comfortably home-like, with its open kitchen, hearth, curtained windows, and stairs would otherwise be a nuisance in the case of an emergency, and also Francois would like his home to be that, no matter how selfish this aim is. Regardless, here are the injured people, some more, and he's not so polite as to hold back his complaints if he had any, meaning he doesn't. Have any.

Not exactly. Right now he wishes he had more stuff, more bandages, more stitches, more space in general. Daphne has the arm of the couch to grip onto, bloodied shirt ridden up high enough for Francois to see where the wedge of metal catches beneath her flesh and close enough to the spine for him to wander fingertips down along the other side of it.

The coffee table supports medical supplies. Towels drape over upholstery. It's a pleasant afternoon, otherwise, not that anyone would know with the curtains drawn tightly and the lights lit like it's midnight.

Melissa is sitting not too far from Daphne, looking extremely strained. And no wonder! She's been keeping her ability going nonstop since the explosion in order to spare Nadira and Daphne the pain of their injuries. It also explains the nosebleed and paleness. "Really sorry, Francois. I really meant to not get hurt again this soon, but some anti-evolved jackass blew up an ice cream cart at an evolved registration center, and we were nearby," she says, tone apologetic. "This time I'll send you, like…I don't know. How much is an X-ray machine?"

"Melissa," Daphne manages, glancing to the strained face of the other and realizing, now that she's in the relative safety of Francois' home and hands, that the other woman is possibly causing herself pain and damage by pushing away her pain. "Stop doing whatever you're doing, okay? I'm okay. I can handle it." She glances over her shoulder at Francois, her dark eyes solemn as she watches him. "What lengths I will go to in order to see you again, my friend," she teases him in French, lips curving into a smirk. "Tell her to stop using her power?" she adds, tipping her head to indicate Melissa.

Nadira is feeling fine. Melissa's ability sees to that, and in spite of perhaps a slight discomfort in situation, she's alright. She keeps an eye on Melissa, mostly because she can tell she's still in pain, and for the most part, the dark-haired woman stays quiet, not intruding much by way of anything. At Daphne's protest, her eyes flicker between her and Mel, tilting her head just slightly. Still, she says nothing.

Teodoro suspects they should get some kind of gurney-type things up here, with the removable sleeve-coverings, stuff. The third floor was self-evidently made more for living in, and while that would serve well enough as a waiting area, Melissa is, um, all over cuts and gouges along her arms, and apparently the mainstay of her anemic pallor can actually be attributed to psychic concentration.

"I do think we have some pretty fuckin' good drugs here," he offers aloud, coming to the low table with tea pot and mugs. Maybe this will put some color back into their faces. He squats over the edge of the furniture, elbows monkeyishly folded over his knees.

Eyes shifting between the three women, because he doesn't actually need to look at what he's doing to pass out the drinking vessels. Stranger, Melissa and Daphne, finally. "Not sure how your metablism would take it, but Francois could probably tell us once he's done damming up your new navel."

"Non, I'm not sure how your metabolism would take it either," Francois admits, after a half a pause, heavily distracted. Kind of like the surgeons who didn't want to work on his hand, he has no idea how well speedsters cope with heavy pharmaceuticals. There's probably a journal on it somewhere. "But I know you won't be running for as long as you have stitches, ah?" Glancing from Teo to Melissa, then towards the back of Daphne's head, he briefly itches at his brow with the corner of his sleeve as he thinks.

Would really love to tell Melissa to keep using her power, but— "Teo, we have some chloroprocaine left I think. If you can prepare a syringe for Daphne and not get hurt before I can get more, s'il vous plait. You can stop using your power, Melissa, rest." His green eyes flick towards the silent stranger, offers a brief smile before looking back down at Daphne's inury. "Nadira, is your name? How are you feeling, besides the obvious?"

Melissa must know that question well by now. People can have as many or as few holes in them as they like, but if they're going to pass out, it's good to have forewarning.

Daphne gets a tight smile from Melissa, then Francois. "I'll keep it going until you get the drug. Because that looks like it'll hurt like a son of a bitch." Though after this she's going to need some migraine drugs, no doubt. "I'm fine for a few more minutes. Promise." Teo gets a little smile as well. "Thanks Teo. Long time no see," she says, taking the cup and looking down into it rather than drinking immediately. But after a moment, she looks over to Nadira. "Thanks, by the way, for helping get Daphne to the car."

"I'm fine, thank you," Nadira murmurs in response, her gaze shifting towards Francois as she's addressed. "Your concern is appreciated." She shifts a little, peeking over her shoulder at the shrapnel still hidden there, but all-in-all, does not seem too concerned. If anyone in the room were to pass out, it clearly wouldn't be her, pain or not.

The needle is looked at skeptically, and Daphne winces a little at Melissa's words. She doesn't like needles, being poked and prodded as a child, but if accepting the needle and its painkillers into her skin will get Melissa to stop using her power and giving herself a migraine, Daphne will comply.

"Until the stitches are out?" she whines a little, glancing back at Francois with wide eyes. "How long will that take?" Her nose wrinkles and she closes her eyes, not wanting to see needles going into her skin.

Teodoro affords the former Ferrymen operator a lazy salute of a hand off his forehead, a half-grin. "I don't think you needed the work done, but you handle it well," he offers, because terrible jokes and tea can recover any situation, with the help of some… chloroprocaine. He has to say that word over again inside his head to make sure he has it down right, his eyebrows tangling in momentary concentration. Nodding at Francois, he claps a palm on the table and gets up.

It's only a couple more minutes before the clicking of cabinets and rustling of inscrutable Things inside of them gives way to the Sicilian's doggish trot again. When he settles down to organize the bottle and syringe, he forgets to turn his bad side away from couch, a momentary oversight. The bunchy, scarred hole in the side of his mouth shows a thin line of glistening teeth and twisted tissue to Melissa and Nadira from between the coarseness of his beard.

It's nice that there's enough blood, suffering, and recent explosions that even Teodoro Laudani's self-consciousness can take a bow and remember it isn't the most important thing in the universe. "There a long version to the story?" he asks, perhaps to get their mind off things. He draws the syringe out to the right milligrams' dosage.

Francois murmurs a grazie when Teo is finished, taking the syringe from the younger man and only glancing up to reinforce that he'd like to hear the story as well. The needle sticks into flesh, next — the chemical will have the added benefit of a little less bleeding as well as blank numbness beneath her skin and around the jagged piece of metal. "It will take as long as I want it to," he adds to Daphne, the smile that she can't see from her vantage clearly heard in his voice.

The empty syringe is passed off back to his fabulous assistant, some nod to Melissa meant to inform her that she can let go, now, and taking up clean and silvery tools into his hands, Francois sets about dragging the shrapnel out.

Really, I told you everything I know," Melissa says with a small shrug that has her wincing as it shifts shrapnel slightly. "Ice cream cart and this guy went boom. Dude screamed that humans were first, and there was a big sign saying the same thing. Worst part was there were kids there," she says, voice, tight or not, showing definite signs of the pain manipulator being Seriously Pissed Off.

When she sees Daphne getting the shot, abruptly the pain that Daphne and Nadira haven't been feeling comes rushing back all at once while she breathes a soft sigh of relief. It seems she's gone past letting off gently. "Teo? Can I get something to clean up a little with?" she asks in an exhausted voice, wiping the back of her hand over the blood on her upper lip. "And Daphne? Please, just listen to the nice doctor. He's good at what he does."

There's a slight smile from Nadira as she notes both Daphne's reaction to the stitches and Francois' rebuttal to her protests. Her gaze shifts between the others in the room again, and she lets herself tense up just a little as the pain returns. She seems mostly fine once more, falling into a calm silence again, her thoughts likely preoccupying her.

"Bossy" is said playfully in French, but then the return of pain is punctuated by a sucking in of breath from the speedster, before she clamps her teeth on her lower lip lest Melissa try to take away the pain again. It's dulled, but it's still present, and she closes her eyes, breathing deeply for a moment, the rise and fall of her back palpable and visible to Francois as he works on pulling the shrapnel out.

"I caught sight of the guy going for the button just as I was running by," she murmurs, giving more detail than the other two girls know. "He was a suicide bomber. His shirt sort of pulled up and I saw the wires and duct tape and… oh God!"

Brown eyes fly open wide in her pale face and she manages not to jerk away from Francois as she brings both hands upward, palms pressing hard into her eyes and fingers tangling in dreadlocked hair.

"My … I ran for them, to help them but I could have… I should have stopped him… I could have kept those other people from dying…" Daphne's shoulders shake with the epiphany — she had a split second to save some lives or many and chose the former.

"Si." Teo caps the syringe once he's done with it, careful but not fearful around the diminutive needle. He rocks back upright to settle the pharmeceutical within the Frenchman's grasp, and then turns his head to study the laddered injuries of Melissa's arms. Antiseptic, gauze, alcohol wipes. There is a moment's pause, giving Francois time to waylay him with a shake of his head or a word of objection, so when that doesn't come, he moves over to pilfer some basic materials out of the open kit at Francois' side.

Packaging rips under Teo's long fingers, and Daphne's story fills overwrites the background noise. And then she's having her revelation, just as the stooping Sicilian pats the square of wetly sterilized gauze down, carefully, over the edges of the widest rift in Melissa's arm, sopping up stray blood and freeing grit, and he blinks, glancing sidelong at the speedster. "Breathe a little, Goldrush," he says. "Hindsight is a motherfucker." With his other hand, he offers Nadira another bit of gauze for lodged grit, minor scrapes.

No protest for Teo to help Melissa — relief, actually, but not spoken in words. Implied. The shrapnel is carefully drawn out from the wound, set down in a silver pan along with the tool that extracted it, and gauze mops up the leaking red. Like an old radio, her words are tuning back in, even when he'd registered and frowned at the way she'd moved in reaction to it. Head tipping to the side to see what of her face he can, he'd probably take her hand and squeeze helpfully.

Both hands, symmetrical to one another though they may be, are smeared with orange chemical and blood both, so that doesn't happen. "Do not blame yourself, mon amie, for what someone else did." Gloves are peeled off his hands, turning a little on his perch on the sofa to reach for the suture kit.

Melissa gives both Daphne and Nadira apologetic looks. "Sorry. I just…sorry. Still getting the hang of this," she confesses. She peers at Teo as he goes about cleaning her arm up. And she starts to protest and say she can do it herself, but…she's tired enough not to fight. In truth, it looks like she'll be doing good to stay conscious for too much longer. "He's right, Daph. You did good. No beatin' yourself up over it. I know I for one am thrilled you helped out. I wanna make it to my twenty-seventh birthday, yanno?"

"He's right. If you let a split second of judgement tear you down you'll be waisting a lot more than a split second worrying when you could be spending that time doing something more useful. Better not to dwell. You made a choice and you should stick behind it. For all you know, it could have been worse if you went for him. You have no knowledge of certainty. Anything could have happened." Nadira accepts the offered gauze, peering at her shoulder.

"But I had the time, it's just my nature to run," Daphne whispers, speaking aloud the one demon she wrestles with time and time again. She chose to change direction, to save the people closest to the cart instead of running along and saving only herself — she knows that much, but it doesn't seem like enough now. She drops her hands, and glances at the others; eyes now rather raccoonish thanks to the smear of eyeliner and mascara.

"I'm glad you're safe, too, but I had the time, I … I guess I just thought getting you three out of the way would be enough."

Daphne swallows hard, then glances back at Francois, smiling softly, though tears still glitter on dark lashes. "It is good to see you whole," she adds with a nod toward his hands, changing topics suddenly. Enough of her drama.

Teo's face has made a turn for the sympathetic, even despite the macabre grin engraven by the scar on his face. He looks at Daphne a moment longer, unsure of what to say and unwilling to get stupid words on horribly poignant sentiments, so he merely shifts his attention down again. Keeps cleaning off the edges of Melissa's wounds, careful desite that she's obviously made of fucking steel.

Enough of Francois' drama too. Arguably. Which doesn't mean he doesn't smile back at her, pleased, and takes the time to drop a kiss on her shoulder. "I'm glad you ran," he says, quiet enough that it probably doesn't really catch the attention of the room, meant for her and so spoken to her. His mutter gains a little more clarity as he continues, gaze dropping back to the wound.

"And merci. All the better to work, oui? Hold still, and let me know if you feel anything while I do this so that we can, ah, make sure you stop." For the others in the room, the mildly gruesome procedure of stitching skin back together takes place within view, Francois falling silent as he works.

"Yes, you ran. But you ran towards danger to help, where others would've just ran," Melissa murmurs as she gives a smile to Daphne. Then she looks at Francois. "My kingdom for some pain pills," she says hopefully. Right before she promptly passes the fuck out, slumping to one side. Let this be a lesson, boys and girls. Don't overdo when you're unused to some part of your ability.

And one's down. Nadira winces in sympathy for Melissa as she passes out, but in some ways she's glad the girl did. Less painful when you aren't awake. She peers between those left in the room, letting out a soft sigh. "Well, certainly made for an interesting day," she murmurs, mostly to herself.

Tipping her head to the side so she can see the man behind her better, Daphne gives Francois a fond smile — he has helped her more times than even he knows.

"Merci, docteur," she says affectionately, then turns away to avoid having to watch that needle plunge into her skin. The sensation, though mostly painless thanks to the local anesthetic, is bad enough, the cold pressure of that point weaving through wounded flesh.

When Melissa passes out, Daphne's brows knit together with concern for the former Den mother. "I knew she was overdoing it. Not everyone has my stamina, you know," she says, winking at Teo to let him know that the maudlin moment has passed, as ephemeral and evanescent as anything else related to the speedster. "I hope she's okay."

Oh, suddenly Teo is administering basic first aid to someone largely unavailable for response. He blinks startled, and then immediately embarrassed. Christ, he probably should have given her something for that earlier, shouldn't he? "She will be," he says. "She isn't bleeding too badly, just— umm. I don't know if pills would be a good idea after she wakes up or giving her a shot of something would… I will defer to the expert." He straightens, rising back to his feet, spent gauze crumpling in one long hand.

"Nice to meet you," he adds for Nadira, awkwardly.

There is surprise and regret in Francois' expression, too, hands stilling when he glances Melissa's way. There's a sound at the back of his throat to communicate that he's distractedly thinking, right now, before he sighs and shakes his head. "If it is her power use, then we shall leave her alone for now — her body perhaps appreciates the rest. I can treat her for pain when she wakes up. We can take her upstairs if she stays out." To Nadira, he offers a half smile and adds, "Oui, it is. Please do not call the police, also."

She's probably caught on, by now, that this isn't a real clinic. "I will see to your injuries soon," Francois promises when his eyes are back on his task, neat stitches from hands that don't ache getting back his attention. "Or if Teo is feeling brave…" Not even nurses are meant to remove foriegn objects from flesh, but then again, Francois spent about fifty years not being a real doctor either.

"I wouldn't have thought to call them," Nadira comments, glancing around. She's quick at catching on, and considering what she's seen and experienced there wasn't a reason for her to think on it. She does offer the two each a nod in turn. "I do apologize for the intrusion. It's kind of you to allow me into your home." She glances at her shoulder. "You are welcome to try," she comments to Teo. "I've had worse." The question is.. worse doctoring, or worse injuries?

For Daphne, the stitching goes painstakingly slowly, though she at least has the couth not to hurry her friend in this task — even if every single stitch feels like it takes five minutes to her body used to operating on milliseconds. She simply breathes and focuses on not fidgeting, which is a gargantuan enough task for the speedster.

"How long do stitches usuallllllly have to stay in?" she asks, glancing back over her shoulder at Francois with Bambi eyes, but that's a mistake — she glances down and sees the needle and grows a little more pale, if that's at all possible, before averting her eyes to the front again. "You know — an estimation, une conjecture." Patience is not one of Daphne's virtues.

Always a creature of infinite grace, Teodoro decides to assist with Nadira's doctoring as if naturally assuming she was talking about the injuries. He drags up a chair with his foot and then his hand on the back, settles down closer to the unfamiliar young woman. Her attitude toward cops and getting concrete picked out of her bloody flesh suits him pretty well, judging from the wry grin on his face. "Non problema, signorina." He starts to unpackage more gauze, poke at the smaller cuts and scrapes on the woman's battered frame.

Francois laughs — subtle so as not to let his hands jump with it, only affecting the way he breathes, hitching, smile easy. "Not so long, I promise you — but give it a couple of weeks, demoiselle. Healing time. Unless you want to scar." There, give them a threat to work with, although he's not quite sure if Daphne is as vain about skin marks, zipper shapes of white keloid as—

— as he is. He glances towards where Teo is tending to Nadira, tips the man a wink, and continues to work as afternoon sun beats on clandestinely closed curtains.

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