Stitched Up


sal_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Stitched Up
Synopsis Teo comes in to get his gaping arm wound stitched up. The gods have a sense of humour and Sal's the one who gets called. Things are still awkward, but at least this time they didn't fight.
Date August 14, 2009

A Ferryman Infirmary

Teo again. He keeps lurching into walls, more deliberate choreography to help himself stay upright than because he's particularly confusd about where the walls are, thanks. It's dinner-time, draining Manhattan through with blue, and he's been bleeding and moving off-and-on for the past eight hours. By now, he's fairly certain that the shadows recessed between the Ferryhouse's cupboards and wide-eyed refugees do not have highly-trained bigot paramilitary operatives hiding within them. And there aren't any snipers outside the windows. Not within the two hundred yards the windows are accountable for, anyway.

Someone is talking to him about the doctor coming in. He isn't entirely sure whether the doctor had been called or whether he managed to coordinate his arrival neatly with a normal change in shift. He has to explain to somebody that Deckard isn't picking up, and he wasn't sure about going to 'the other one' because that was— far. He's reeling a little as he sits on the edge of a table that has nothing else on it, looking at the bright red fingers of his right hand, his left in an awkward clutch on the furniture corner. Fatigue shadows the hollows under his eyes, and a bruise the slant of his jaw.

When Sal gets the call that there's an injury, he doesn't usually get many details, aside from the type of wound if it's known. Mostly, he just gets himself down there as fast as possible. Which is always a challenge when you're leading a Batman-style double life.

Still, without the aid of transforming cars or Bat Caves, he manages to make it to the Ferry safehouse in good time and in the guise of Sal Silvatti. His voice can be heard out in the hallway, as a Ferry staff member tries to bring him up to speed as he trots towards the infirmary.

To his credit, there is only a moment of hesitation before the doc sets to work. He quickly washes his hands and snaps on a pair of gloves. Then he's reaching for Teo's hand, to examine the wound. "How long ago did this happen?"

He's in doctor mode, mind ticking four steps ahead for everything he has to do. First, stem the bleeding and clean the wound to assess how serious the injury is.

Upon closer inspection, his hand is fine. Beneath the ragged strips of T-shirt tied over and before the gape of wound, it turns out to be the length of his forearm attached that sports the injury, a stab-wound that punctured the space between the radial bones in his arm before the gripping hand proceeded to drag the embedded blade toward his wrist, lengthening the slit along the parallel lines of muscle strings. Instinct has Teo holding his arm up against his side, favored, recruiting gravity to reduce the drain of circulation on his pallor.

"Lass' night." The answer isn't as well-coordinated as Teo's fluency in English normally would have enunciated. His eyes blink erratically in the fluorescent light of the room, once, thrice, before a scowl drags the knit of his brow down over the line of his nose. "Found a Pencillin cocktail 'n one of my caches. You said that stuff would kill anything."

Sal doesn't bother with the lecture of how he should have come for help right away. From the looks of the wound and his rough estimate of volume of blood lost, Teo isn't really in a state where he could absorb the lesson. That, and he spent enough time in an ER to know that one treats an injury first, then lectures the patient while they're reovering. He does however, give him a look that might communicate all of that, though he's back to his calm, doctorly mask quickly enough.

"All right. I need to know exactly what you took and how long ago you took it." His tone is calm, reassuring. His movements are likewise confident and professional, as he cleans the wound, then begins the proces of stemming the bleeding. He prepares to stitch up the wound by applying a topical anaesthetic and something to cleanse it that stings like a bitch.

Stings like a whuh. This sets Teo's throat over his knee and then his knee into his throat, hard enough to scrape the most peculiar, swallowed squawk of vocal chords out, though really, that's just the strangled remains of whatever he was originally going to say or do. His arm's propped up as instructed, fingers flattened and buckled into disjointed angles against the surface of the table, nails rimming white. Not entirely wise, given the stress channels right back to the ruin of muscle in his forearm.

When the needled tingle of anesthesia fades, the frigid burn of underlying pain lingers like an insult of nerves, but lessened enough that Teo relaxes. Blood clots effaced away, the lips of the wound stare up, the glistening pink of surprised flesh. "'Bout twelve AM," he responds, a desultory mumble out of his sidelong scowl. "The dose you left in the medkit in Chinatown, under the sink."

"Okay, that was a pretty potent dose. I'm not going to give you another dosage for a few hours yet," Sal murmurs even as he goes for a syringe. "I'm going to give you a shot of morphine. It's going to hit you fast because of the blood loss. So I want you to lie back and stay still, all right? And then I'm going to stitch and bandage you up as best I can. That will do you until you can get to a healer, all right? Otherwise you're going to need surgery."

There is a certain amount of tenderness to Sal's bedside manner. His tones are warm and reassuring, and his movements confident, yet gentle. He is a good doctor, at least as far as his people skills go. His touches are light, but not hesitant.

The needle and stitches are prepared in a tray, as well as a shot of morphine. He moves around to Teo's good arm, finds a vein and injects a modest dose - just enough to take the edge off and to dull the pain of the stitching he's about to do. "Tell me when you start to feel it taking effect." In the meantime, he prepares an IV.

Stands to reason, the bathroom First Aid kit where everybody else would stash a needle, thread, and a varied selection of band-aids would be home to potent doses of antibiotics in the household they'd used to keep together. Teo doesn't say a lot while the young doctor bustles around him, his features vacating with the traffic of thought. This reminds him of something, of somewhere he's been too many times before.

The pointed look of remonstrance he'd been given minutes earlier, the antiseptic, the load of morphine mainlined into his system, the rounded angles of Sal's hands and efficient demeanor. Though, it had seemed somehow less unpleasant then, disproportion that had nothing to do with the severity of injuries. He shuts his eyes and shuts his thoughts in with them, holds his head between his knees. "I think I'm beginning to feel it," he says.

"I know it hurts, but you have to lie back. Otherwise you'll get dizzy," says Sal softly. A hand presses gently on his shoulder and guides him back along the examining bed. "Now, I'm going to stitch you. And I need you to stay perfectly still. It won't take long."

Without realizing it, he's moved from 'bedside manner' to a more intimate tone of voice. The tone is free of worry, and reminiscent of tones he used in their more private moments. He's seen far worse. He's seen Teo with far, far worse. This is under control. It will be fine until someone with healing abilities can look at it. Barring that, he can arrange for surgery.

Assuming Teo listens to him, he begins the quick, neat job of stitching the wound closed. Between the shot and the topical anaesthetic, the pain from the stitching is minimal. It's more like a poking discomfort and mild stinging. Then he's reaching for a bandage, to wrap the wound in gauze.

For the purpose of medical treatment, Teo has toppled himself over like a trained porpoise. Lays on his back, his head pillowed loosely across the crumpled, massed lump of his shedded jacket, scabbed sleeve and all, his shod feet knocked into a loose V and sweat drying its sheen in the notch at the base of his throat.

Disoriented as much by recollection as by morphine, the nostalgic and temporal confusion of a dislocated time-traveler, he is alternately docile and unresponsive. Winds up staring at the corner of the ceiling as if he's afraid to or incapable of examining the situation directly, watching as the mumbling shadows of Ferrymen drive-bys fade with procedural proportion to the urgency of the situation. He listens to the snick and rub of thread and blood without a flinch, and then the unsticking of gauze from sterile packaging.

"Cardinal asked me to tell him if any jobs come up involving Humanis First!. For you."

Sal continues his confident, gentle doctoring. With as little discomfort as he can manage, Teo's wound is sterilized, stitched and bandaged. The wound is left humming and prickling, with the occasional spike of pain. It's uncomfortable to be certain, but not unbearable. He's midway through cleaning up soiled gauze and cloths when the comment is made. %r He stills, swallows and shifts, tension visible as it grips his shoulders. "They came after my family." The words are quiet and still, like stale water. %r Of course, the Mayor and his family have seen their share of threats. Harry Bianco is the leader of a city in turmoil. The difference is, none of the other danger was caused by his actions before.

After a frozen moment, he starts to move again. "You need to rest. You can stay here if you want, or you can take one of the empty rooms. But I want you to lie still at least for a couple of hours. I want to check the wound then, and give you some more painkillers and antibiotics before you leave. You lost a lot of blood."

The ceiling isn't all that interesting. Seconds pass, and Teo continues to give it his steadfast regard anyway. Sal's answer, his reactions, aren't lost on him despite this and the fact that he isn't trying the ghost's ability. That's an answer, but it isn't a Yes and it isn't a No. It wasn't exactly a yes-no question either, granted, but—

"I can do that," Teo answers, his voice neutral, accentlessly precise, empty, quiescent with something akin to gentleness.

He begins to bend the fingers of his right hand, one by one. Anesthesia eases the tension channeled through his skin but makes him clumsy, too. Despite this, he can tell that his fingers are going to be all right, and his wrist, the damage not so very widespread. He lids his eyes, halfway, first, then shut. Swallows against dry nothing. Wearily, "Does it bother you that he's still out there?"

"Who?" says Sal as he moves with no great hurry to clean up the area, and sterilize the tools he used. The syringe is disposed of, the gloves snapped off, hands scrubbed up to the wrist.

He has a good idea of who Teo is referring to, but he's not really in the mood to volunteer too much information.

There's a lot he wants to say. Why didn't you come right to me after this happened? I would never refuse to help you. He'd also like to fuss and ask how he got into trouble in the first place, ask if he can help. But he has given up the right to grill him.

Instead, he goes to a cupboard and pulls out a bottle of water and a power bar. He uncaps the bottle and sets both on a small table within Teo's reach.

Despite that the inside of Teo's throat snags against the movement he puts through it, he doesn't reach immediately for the water. Or the food, for that matter. He might have eaten earlier; he can probably do that with one hand. He doesn't move at all, much, save for the gentle rise and fall of the level of his chest. In, out. In, and out. If he guesses at the questions that Salvatore really wants to ask him, he's either distracted from them or doesn't want to answer, perhaps even for the same reasons Sal doesn't ask.

"Other-me," he answers. "Evil-me."

"Is he?" says Sonny as he pretends to be engrossed in a pile of gauze. "I don't know what's actually happened to you, Teo. You didn't tell me. No one else would. You…don't sound like my Teo, not really," he breathes in, slowly, "…you don't use Italian words. But you aren't cold to me, judgmental, like he was. I —" There's an audible inhale of breath. "This isn't a good conversation to be having right now. You need to rest."

He kneels down and starts to pack up his medkit backpack, repacking it with emergency supplies while he's there. It's just something to keep his hands busy.

Finally, Teo moves. He rolls his head slightly, rests his cheek on the flat of thin mattress, creases edging across the curves of his eyelids, briefly, before he relaxes them. He hasn't slept in awhile. Given few other options, he figures— he might as well try soon. What with Sal making a rustle and bustle of leaving, and all. This seems to be a recurring theme with them.

"Things like that change people." His fingers have gone slack. Wiped clean, faintly chilled from alcohol, they shift slightly, go petal even where they lay beside him. "I use Italian words. Just not with you, in our…" fights, shouting matches, disasterous efforts at gift-giving, "…particular instances."

Sal pauses in his bent over position, hand to his hair. Tension holds his shoulders in an awkward configuration. His fingers flex against his scalp. "Do you want to tell me what happened to you?" The words are half-muffled, half chewed up.

He unfolds himself up to full height and moves to stand by his bed. "I want you to feel like you can still come to me if you need help. I don't want you to be off…bleeding somewhere because it would be too awkward to see me. I…don't know if that's what happened here, but…Jesus. I don't want some…" …how the hell can he sum up their relationship? "…what's…happened between us make you feel like you can't get emergency treatment if you need it."

"It wasn't us," is what Teo opts to answer first. "I thought I might be followed, knew I could afford to stay away a little while.

"Figured you'd had your fill of Humanis First!, 'n other areas of your life, without your ex luring the hounds right up to your door." There's a round-edged thump and scuffle, boots shifting frictive against one another. He's taking them off with minimal use of his hands, which isn't particularly good for his shoes but he always used to be that, too: hard on the things he owns. Laces slither apart.

Less encumbered, his feet hit the bench, then, socked, squirming slightly under the thin elasticity of cotton. "Maybe later? 'M tired. You're busy." He's sure Sal's busy. All our sick and dying. In the larger context of things, Teodoro Laudani is only one more. "Grazie."

Sal can only be seen in profile from Teo's perspective, but it's enough to note the sudden grit of his jaw, the click of teeth as they press hard together, the bob of his throat as he swallows down a knot of anger. Humanis First. He tries to push the sensation of anger out, but he doesn't do a very good job of it. He's not used to being angry. Not about things that matter anyway.

"You can trust me. Okay?" He lifts up the backpack and sets a pair of pill bottles beside the water and the power bar. A second later, he picks them up again and scribbles instructions on the white labels. "Antibiotics, once a day for seven days. Painkillers, maximum four a day. They're strong, so if you find yourself taking all four, try to not do too much moving around. Let me know if you need more after these are up."

He looks down at Teo. At least he's not avoiding eye contact anymore. His hand starts to reach for him, and for a moment, it seems like he's going to squeeze his hand. But at the last moment, it goes to the bandage, to tuck in a few loose ends. "Change this once a day. The stitches will dissolve on their own."

At first there's only a nod, but Teo remembers to assign words to unseen gesture the next moment: "Okay." A beat's pause, one that bleeds slightly into the word that had come before, and then the wry addition, afterward: "Capisco." He understands. Smells the tang of marker chemistry leaking at him, remembers how to decipher Doctor Bianco's doctorly scrawl. Rest, stitches.

A healer, when there's time. After he's figured out where the Hell Deckard went without his phone, but there are hours yet he can spare to rest. Teo understands, also, that he can trust him. His arm doesn't move under Sal's touch, except where secondhand kinesis channels through the banded linen, a jiggle and slide against the furniture.

Sal moves his hand up to squeeze Teo's shoulder, mindful of any secondary injury. "Take care of yourself, okay? I'll have someone check in on you, but you should be okay to go home after an hour or two." He slides his other arm through the strap of the backpack and then rocks back.

He turns and heads out the door of the infirmary, to head back to his other life and the fancy condo. He isn't sure which life is his anymore, which is more real. It's all muddled together these days.

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