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Latest revision as of 18:44, 26 January 2020

House Call

CN: Blood, life-threatening injuries, mutilation.

Dramatis Personae

Flicker, Joshua, Steve

2020-01-13


"Lucky for you, I'm a paramedic."

Location

<PRV> VL 403 {Geekhaus} - East Village


This apartment has been undergoing a slow transformation, this fall. Its eclectic assortment of curb-shopped furniture is slowly getting swapped out, one piece at a time, for new and upgraded items. Sturdy, elegantly worked, the solid craftsmanship and intricate geometric patterning of polished mosaic-wood surfaces tell clearly of Flicker's labor -- a new low and wide coffee table in the living room, a few coordinated but not-identical chairs at the kitchen table (two of them, modular with low scooped backs, designed more with winged bodies in mind.)

Steve is moving more slowly than is usual for him by the time he leans back against the door to close it behind them, but still a lot faster then most people would while bleeding steadily from a thoracic gunshot wound and carrying one entire adult person in their arms. He deposits Flicker gently on the couch and darts away for a moment, returning with the first aid kit from the bathroom. "Hey. How are you holding up?" His breathing is quick and his face is pale, but his hands are steady -- or at least his left hand is, when he settles it on Flicker's shoulder. The fingers of his right hand are fused together and largely useless at the moment, and he winces everytime he forgets and tries to move them. He looks over his friend, trying to assess the extent of his injuries.

Flicker's eyes have been closed through the short trip home, and for a moment even after he settled on the couch it seems like he might not reply. Eventually though, His lips do twitch into a very wan smile. "Not dead yet." The spiderwebbing of new cuts that crisscross his skin are largely superficial, but his pale clammy skin, rapid pulse, shallow breaths, point to something worse happening out of sight. He's strangely casual about his addition, "probably heading there though. How's your. Bullet." His hand is groping towards his pocket, but when he does manage to extricate his phone, he only drops it to the floor.

"It's ah...still in there, but I'll be all right for a while." Steve is frowning as he fumbles the first aid kit open. "I'm going to have to get your clothes off. Hopefully you're bleeding from somewhere we can get to, and not internally." He catches Flicker's phone as it falls -- or tries to, his mangled right hand refusing to close around it. He grimaces and retrieve it with his left hand, placing it in Flicker's. "Who do you need to contact?"

"Joshua -- uh, Joshua M." There are a few Joshuas in Flicker's phone. It takes him several times to unlock it, and afterwards he just holds it against his chest as though he's quite forgotten what he meant to do. "If he's not there, I think I might. Need a hospital. But..." The but doesn't really go anywhere, just trails off into a grimace.

Steve plucks the phone from Flicker's grasp. Stares blankly at at its home screen for a moment before he locates the dialer, fortunately marked with a highly recognizable icon of an old fashioned telephone receiver. Taps in the name with one bloody index finger and hits dial. "I'll get you to a hospital if it comes to that, with someone who can keep you safe." He's resting more and more of his weight on his forearm where it's braced against the couch. "Would the clinic be better?" he asks quietly as he listens to the ringing.

"Mngh," says a gruff voice on the other end of the phone, after a couple rings. "I just finished a double, you'd better be dying."

"He is," Steve replies immediately. "This is Steve Rogers. We're at --"

Steve doesn't get a chance to get farther than that when suddenly there is another young man standing beside the couch. Joshua is in boxers, an undershirt, dark hair mussed, phone still pressed between his shoulder and ear as he grinds a palm against his eyes. "Fuck." He drops to his knees beside the couch. "You weren't supposed to take that serious. You all play basketball rough, huh?" Sort of a low mutter as he rests a hand against Flicker's bloody arm.

"Better," Flicker agrees softly. "Are you sure you don't -- don't need --" This breaks off into a raspy cough. He's been struggling to keep his eyes open, but they close again after this, his head lolling back against the cushions. "Oh, no," He says when Joshua arrives. "I'm making such a mess."

Steve nearly topples over when Joshua appears beside them, dropping Flicker's phone yet again. He shuffles aside to make room, eyes flitting unsteadily between Joshua and Flicker. "Nazis," is all he supplies in answer to the question. "I'm sure the couch will survive." He's slumping harder against said couch even as he speaks. Then grits his teeth and sit up straighter, eyeing the first aid kit dubiously. "Do you need me to...fetch anything?"

"Maybe next time try playing basketball with anarchists instead. More hectic, less violent." The slow flex of Joshua's power is hard to feel, especially through the blanket of pain Flicker is surely already draped in. Quietly feeling out the shape of the mangled mess inside the teleporter, hastily, sloppily knitting together the most severe of the injuries to stanch the worst of the bleeding. He doesn't bother going farther than this triage before sitting back. "You need to get some of that shit out of there before anything else."

He looks over Steve as he stands. Frowns. "Why don't you sit and those of us who are full of bullets can take care of the fetching." He goes to the kitchen to grab a soda from the fridge. "You need that hole filled, too?"

"Basketball was -- fine. It was Ion's -- Ion's -- they were there to --" Flicker breaks into another fit of coughing, his face screwing up tight with the racking motions. When this settles he lies back again, looking up at Steve's face with a deep furrow of brow. His hand starts to lift toward the mangled skin, but ultimately just drops back to his chest.

When a quiet clink -- click -- clatter -- clink -- begins sounding in small pings nearby them, it may take a second to pinpoint just quite where the noise is coming from. Over on the coffee table, small bloodied shards of glass are appearing, one by one in the air to drop down into a tiny but growing glistening red pile.

Steve makes a non-committal noise. "It's only one bullet, but it does need to come out. If you could -- I'd be very grateful, of course. But Flicker's much worse off, and I can go to a hospital without worrying about disappearing." He frowns, then adds, very quietly, "Probably." He looks back at Flicker, perhaps misinterpreting the aborted gesture, for he reaches over and takes the smaller man's left hand in his own. He opens his mouth to speak again, but no words make it out as his attention is drawn away by the shower of glass shards above the coffee table. His mouth hangs open for a moment as he looks back and forth between the glass and Flicker. The ashen cast to his skin has grown worse, and perhaps not altogether due to blood loss, now. "That -- dear Lord, was that -- inside you?"

"Hnnn." Joshua uncaps the bottle of Bawls he's retrieved, taking a long swig. "It's still in you? That won't be fun." His eyes skate to the table, jaw tighter as the glass starts piling up. A moment later, he's vanished again.

Flicker doesn't seem to be overly bothered by Joshua's abrupt disappearance, but then, he is kind of preoccupied at the moment. The slow plink plink plink continues as his fingers wrap back around Steve's. "Hazard of moving like I do. I've -- had a lot worse." His brows knit as he looks up at Steve. "Guy did a number on you, huh? I'm sorry. I should have -- been quicker to..." The squeeze of his hand is small, kind of weak. "Sorry."

"Yeah. It's not my favorite thing," Steve admits, though he sounds fairly casual about it. "I'm kinda hard to anesthetize, especially out in the field, so..." He shrugs. Blinks as Joshua blips out. Looks back at Flicker. "I've had a lot worse," he echoes with the faint twitch of a smile. "You can't be everywhere at once, even if sometimes it seems like you can. You did plenty -- and it'd have surely gone a sight worse for me /without/ you there." His answering squeeze is more decisive. "Thank you."

"He melted your face. I just..." Flicker's eyes close slowly. His breathing is still raspy, rough and labored. "Is Ion okay?" There's a sudden sharper panic in his voice. "They seemed like they. Kind of had it in for him from the start. I miss," his small twitch of lips, "when you could just. Hang out in a park without worrying about nazis."

"You just...had your innards shredded by broken glass." Steve's eyes lingers on the heap of bloody shrapnel on the table. "I'm sure I'll be a bit less cavalier once I look in a mirror, but it's still not a bigger deal than you almost dying in my arms." His hand twitches in Flicker's, though his expression doesn't change. "Ion got burned something fierce, but he was in one piece, on his feet, and cognizant when I saw him last." His brows furrow thoughtfully. "Those Nazis were clearly looking for trouble and may have disrupted the fundraiser anyway, but they did act like they had history with Ion, particularly." His head gives quick, short shake, and he sways a little where he sits. "I do, too. And I here had to go and sleep through several halcyon decades of...relatively lower Nazi activity."

Joshua reappears, now wearing a pair of jeans. Still pretty bleary-eyed. Still holding his bottle of Bawls. In his other hand, now, there's a long sharp folding knife. He slumps back down by the base of the couch, offering the knife up to Steve on a palm. He rests his head up on the crook of one arm against the couch, eying Flicker's growing pile of debris. "Which Nazis this time?"

"Not my favorite thing." Flicker sounds a touch wry. "Those Norse -- metal album looking bikers. They hate the Mongrels for -- I don't know. Lacking a commitment to the -- purity of mutantkind." The steady plink of the glass is slowing to an erratic trickle. His hand squeezes harder back at Steve's. "...it's kind of sad, maybe, but it's honestly hard for me to imagine, now. What the world would look like without fascism."

Steve reaches for the knife with his right hand, then stops short. "Oh. Right." Extricates his left hand reluctantly from Flicker's and takes the knife with a nod of thanks. "Their vests said 'Sword of Tyr', which I've never heard of, but it sounds about par for Nazi aesthetics. Some days, I think I can imagine a world without fascism. But not today." Hefts the knife thoughtfully, looking down at his blood-soaked shirt. "This...might get messy. Excuse me." He rises and slips into the bathroom.

"Unlike out here, where we're very tidy." Joshua gives the bloodstained couch only a very brief flick of a glance. He takes Flicker's hand when Steve leaves it, returning more intently now to the slow process of stitching together the man's insides. He's quiet for a long while and then, a little wistfully: "I think I'd read more. I think I'd write more."

"Yeah?" Flicker's voice has gone very quiet, a harshness to the words he struggles to properly enunciate. "Well. Fascism or no. I'd still like to read your --" He breaks off into another cough. Gives the bathroom door a concerned frown. "I'm sorry. That we woke you."

Steve is quiet in the bathroom at first, but a minute later the others can hear a firmly muffled cry followed by a violent fit of coughing. After another brief silence, the faucet starts running, and continues running for a while. Steve finally turns the water off and emerges, looking considerably paler and shakier than before. He's bare to the waist and is pressing the gory remnants of his t-shirt to his chest, just to the right of the sternum. The sheer quantity of fresh blood now staining his jeans suggests extracting the bullet was not a straightforward process. The knife that he hands back to Joshua, however, has been rinsed clean and dried off. He sinks to the floor beside the couch, closing his eyes for a moment and trying to slow his breathing, which is ragged and labored. "It's still not a contest," he says, peeling his right hand away from the makeshift dressing to dump a single deformed 9 mm slug unceremoniously onto the coffee table beside Flicker's heap of glass shrapnel. "But if it were, I think you'd win."

Joshua's eyebrows lift as Steve emerges from the bathroom. He eyes the bloodied t-shirt for a moment, then just drops his head back against the couch. "Pretty sure if this is a game you're both losing." He shakes his head, taking a sip from the soda. "If I ever actually finish something worth sharing, I'll let you know. Fascism has been eating up a lot of spare time, lately." He lets go of Flicker's hand, reaching for Steve's instead. "You were taking a lot on faith, here. You'd be in a bad way if I don't know what I'm doing." He lowers the bottle of soda into his lap. "Lucky for you, I'm a paramedic."

The worry in Flicker's expression grows. He struggles just a little bit upright, paling as he does. Reaches a hand to rest on Steve's shoulder. The smile that dispels his drawn look is swift, small but warm. "-- I'm pretty sure they don't teach this in paramedic school."

"I expected it to be easier," Steve admits, "but it was ah...really in there." He takes Joshua's hand with only a momentary hesitation. "I was taking it on Flicker's faith, but -- well, I also have a lot of faith in my own sturdiness." Then, a beat later, with a sheepish smile, "Maybe too much." He leans into Flicker's touch, the muscles of his shoulder tensed hard. Glances over at him with one eyebrow uplifted. "I guess the suturing usually happens after you hand the patients off, but I trust you."

"You seen the crowd I hang out with?" Joshua gestures -- toward Flicker, toward Geekhaus at large. "I'm real used to extracurricular patching up. Number of times this guy's died I've had plenty of practice." He tips the neck of the bottle toward Flicker before taking another gulp. As he speaks, Steve's cracked ribs are knitting themselves back together. His torn pleura is sealing itself back up, the rent muscles and tissues pulling back together. The pain of the injury is giving way to an odd kind of warm kind of itchy tingle. "No," Joshua's head has tipped back against the couch. He's not looking at Flicker, but at the pile of bloody shrapnel on the table. "probably gotta wait till med school before they teach this, huh?"

Flicker swallows, squeezing down gently at Steve's shoulder. "I'm glad you're sturdy." His lips twitch briefly. "But he is very good at what he does." The half-smile drops off of his face, his fingers briefly tightening before he slumps back. His eyes lower, and he takes a few slow rough breaths. "Guess I -- didn't get that far."

Steve chuckles. "Well, I can't see Hive going in for fisticuffs, but the other two sure make up for it." He glances at the first aid kit, which Joshua hasn't touched, his brows wrinkling. Then looks over at Flicker. Frowns deeper. "You know, actually, it doesn't even hurt that much anymore -- isn't adrenaline amazing? You should take care of Flicker first..."

"Been taking care of Flicker." Joshua doesn't let go of Steve's hand yet. He's looking just a touch more wan than when he arrived. "Still time, man. You could finish. I see enough shitbags every day. Be nice to have more good doctors out there." Beneath the bloody makeshift bandage, now, the skin is sealing itself back together. Closing up, bloody still but neat and scar-free. Joshua drops his hand, head tipping back as he takes another pull of soda. Slowly lifts his hand back to set it on Flicker's arm.

"It sounded like a very intense educational experience, but you're a very intense kind of fella." The smile Steve flashes Flicker is fond and encouraging. Then to Joshua, with a slight dip of his head. "Oh -- apologies, I didn't mean to denigrate your skills. Just, you worked faster than I..." He trails off, cocking his head farther. Looks down, pulling the blood-soaked shirt away from his chest, eyes going wide. "What the fuck -- ?!"

Joshua doesn't reply. His eyebrows lift briefly, his soda lowering to his knee. He settles back, returning to the slower task of putting Flicker's insides back together.

"Huh?" Flicker sits up sharply at Steve's exclamation. The quick jerky motion comes with a sharp wince. "Oh --" He doesn't quite relax when he notices what Steve is looking at, but he does offer a small smile. "Like I said. He's good at what he does."