O True Apothecary

Cast: date: '27 October 2012'
place: 'Camden Town'
participants: 'Jack, Mattie'
synopsis: 'Jack practices his sewing skills when Mattie needs a helping hand. '
log: "Evening, Jack's favourite time, and the weather has become cold and unforgiving. Fingerless gloves keep some heat against his hands while a heavy pea-coat sits on top of numerous layered shirts in various shades of green. Once-blue work jeans have a faded, shiny quality to them that speaks of being well worn and comfortable in the kind of way that only extended wear can bring. There's a canvas backpack slung over one shoulder, padded out with contents that take up most of its space by the look of things. Perhaps therein lies his reason for coming to Camden and subsequently being unable to resist the allure of the Watch's local drinking hole and homestead.\n\nTo the bar then, finding a spot to lean and await service whilst looking around to check the evening's patrons for familiar faces.\n\nA moment later, apparently having just followed Jack in, Mattie approaches the bar, but doesn't sit for a drink or greet Jack; apparently she doesn't see him as she moves around the side of the bar, giving the tender a brief nod of greeting as she helps herself to some of the goods behind the counter — a towel, a glass that she fills with ice, and, as an after thought, as she turns back for it, a bottle of whiskey.\n\nWhen the tender lifts a brow at the Inn's long-term resident, she smiles with a sweetness Jack no doubt knows is not all sincere. \"I'll replace it tomorrow,\" she promises as she slips back out from behind the bar, tucking the whiskey under one arm so she can wrap the towel around her hand. A smear of bright red can be seen before the swath of white cloth hides her palm from view. She moves toward the entryway, bumping into the side of the archway as if she's already a bit drunk.\n\nQuietly watching for a moment, Jack misses his opportunity to actually get a drink since some quicker witted fellow beside him slips in there while he's distracted. The hand is noted, prompting a brow to shift upwards but he doesn't interrupt immediately, taking his time in surveying the situation and the girl. Then she's heading out as quickly as she arrived, his dallying leaving the possibility that his curiosity will go unsatisfied.\n\nSo it is that he hops back off the stool and catches up just near the entrance, \"Wotcha, darlin'. You alright there?\" A little jut of the chin indicating that he means her hand.\n\nShe's ready to veer to the stairs when he speaks to her, and she turns to face him. \"Just a scratch,\" she says, though she has the hand now held against her chest; he knows it's the dominant hand, having seen her wield knives and guns with it often enough. \"Had a bit of a run-in with an undesirable, but all's well that ends well.\"\n\nIn other words, the Other is toast, and she only has a minor injury.\n\n\"You can go get your drink on. I'll be okay. Got a first aid kit and everything,\" she says with another smile that's just a bit strained.\nHis gaze drops from face, to hand, and back again looking faintly skeptical. Not at the story, but at the extent of the injury. Last time he got a scratch, it didn't require a towel and a whole bottle of liquor. \"Problem is, I think you've got all the whiskey. Makes it a bit tricky, like.\" Because obviously there is no other whiskey behind the bar, and no other drink that'll do the trick. Mr. 'Whatever's on Tap' becoming Mr. Connosieur overnight.\n\n\"Bit hard to take care of your hand on your own, ain't it? 'specially your good 'un. What if it needs stitches?\" Because in that case, everyone would want Jack to do the surgery. Mending people is a lot like mending cars. Except they talk back. \"Lets have a butcher's.\" It's not a question, really.\n\nHer lips open to argue, then press back together — it's really hard to argue with someone who's right. She holds out the hand; the towel is already starting to spot through, and when it's unwrapped, it's a bit more than a scratch — at least it's not one of Mercutio's variety.\n\nA jagged gash runs from pinky to thumb on the palm, and the surrounding hand and wrist are swollen and already beginning to bruise. \"I was closer to here than the cemetery, and I hate hospitals,\" she says defensively, as if to answer an (obvious) question he has yet to ask.\n\nJack's used to people arguing with him, whether he's right or wrong. It's something in the delivery. So the lack of dissent takes him a little off guard. He nudges her out of the entranceway proper as she's unwrapping but carefully as not to jar the hand. \"That's some slap you must've given it.\" he remarks, a wry smile taking his lips. \"If that's a scratch though, darl', I'd hate to see what a flesh wound looks like.\"\n\nReaching out, he plucks the bottle from her, so she can use her free hand. \"Right. Show me where your first aid kit is then, an' we'll sort this out.\" He's not an expert, but years on duty teach everyone a little something.\n\n\"It didn't get any of the tendons or bones, so it's a scratch in my book,\" Mattie says, wiggling her fingers to prove that she can. \"Don't think it's poisonous either, so there's a bright side.\" Really, any time you live to tell the tale, it's a good day.\n\nShe tips her head in the direction of the stairs, leading him up and then to one of the rooms in the upstairs hallway. The room she enters is simple and fairly spartan, and except for a few items on the dresser, it'd be easy to assume it's vacant. The bathroom is a bit more lived in looking, with some girlish toiletries here and there — makeup and hairbrush and shampoo and lotion and the like. Mattie veers into that room, setting down the glass of ice in order to pull open a drawer, then lifting out a Fraggle Rock lunchbox. The less able left hand awkwardly works at the clasp before managing it, flipping the lid to reveal the various accoutrements of a basic first aid kit. She sits on the edge of the tub to let him do the rest.\n\n\"There's peroxide in there. The whiskey's to drink,\" she says with a smirk, though her injured hand is shaking a little to belie her outward calm.\n\nFollowing in he looks about with blatant curiosity, finally affecting a disappointed look. \"You know, I was expecting more pink. An' maybe some One Direction posters or somethin'.\" he jokes, following to the bathroom and taking the box off her. It's a girl's bathroom so the toilet seat is going to be down and ready for sitting on, gaze moving between the box as he rummages through it — after passing over the whiskey — and the hand.\n\n\"Get started then.\" Doctor's orders. Cleaning first, since who knows where the Others have been. This part's always going to stink and he gives her the 'don't hit me' look while soaking a cotton ball and then leaning forward to take hold of the hand. \"Say when you're ready.\" Except he doesn't actually wait for her go. Only until she's taken a swig of whiskey. Then he goes whether she's ready or not, wincing just a touch on her behalf.\n\n\"Who?\" Mattie asks, and she's completely serious — she's never heard of the boy band sensation, it seems.\n\nThe whiskey bottle is uncapped awkwardly. She at least pilfered the cheap stuff, so the bartender can continue to make his living downstairs, so she's already wincing after taking that swig as it burns its way down her throat. The peroxide to the tender and torn flesh gets a sharp sucking of air through teeth, and her fingers instinctively close to protect the wound.\n\n\"Fffuck,\" is hissed out and she looks like she might let him have her hand back before she finally opens it back up.\n\n\"Nevermind.\" There's a laugh, at that, rather than at her reaction to the injury. He tries to keep her hand open, but her small fingers slip through and away, forcing him to give her a stern look. \"Take another.\" It's as much distraction as pain-numbing. One shot, one dab, one wince, one curseword.\n\nA glance up, making sure she's listening as he inspects again. Then the cotton goes back, delicately to dab while taking a much firmer hold this time so she's less able to retract.\n\n\"That then goes into the waste, \"You want me to stitch this for you?\" Maybe it won't be pretty, but it will necessitate some more drinking. \"Need some pills or something?\" The lunchbox is still on his lap and he reaches in to shake a bottle of them.\n\nThere's black thread and needles inside the kit, along with other items not usually found in a store-bought first-aid kit, like a Z-pack of antibiotics, in addition to the Tylenol-with-Codeine bottle he shakes. \"Yeah,\" is a general answer to both questions, and then the prospect of him stitching up her hand makes Mattie take another swallow without being prompted.\n\n\"Sorry to interrupt your night,\" she says quietly, staring down at the wound at her hand rather than looking up at him. \"And thank you.\"\nTwo pills are shaken out and he offers them over in exhange for the whiskey so that he can take a hefty swig, then pass it back for her to wash down the drugs. Because Codeine and Alcohol go so well together. \"Don't worry 'bout it.\" comes the easy reply, shoulders lifting in a shrug. \"Free drinks, and I get to stab you with a needle.\"\n\nThat gets a grin out of him, in an attempt to make her respond in kind rather than revelling in actual pleasure at the thought of stiching her up. Threading the needle, that doesn't take too long, which is a good sign. Boy's got steady hands. He takes hers once more, drawing her a bit closer as he shuffles in and resting the back of her hand on his thigh, \"What happened then?\" he prompts, giving her something to focus on as he lines up for the first point of entry.\n\nThe pills are swallowed and more whiskey swigged; there's a telltale flush on her usually pale cheeks that suggest the alcohol is making its way through her. When he takes her hand back, her eyes rise — rather than looking at needle against skin, she focuses on his face.\n\n\"I was coming home through the alley and it came out of a dumpster. I think it could see me, even though I was invisible,\" she explains, frowning at that — being unseen is her most reliable defense, after all. \"I went to stab it, and it grabbed me before I could. Lost a knife, too.\" There's another frown at that. She must spend half her salary on replacing knives.\n\n\"Better…\" A pause as the needle goes through and the thread is pulled along with it. Seems like he's done this before and while he's no expert, it's a functional job. \"A knife than an eye.\" he finishes, nodding sagely before moving onto the next stitch. He in turn is focusing on the hand, with only occasional glances up to meet her eyes, giving her supportive little smiles.\n\n\"Take it that the Grouch won't be jumpin' out of any more bins after this though, is it?\" Quick progress being made, so that the work is nearly done.\n\nEach puncture of needle through skin is met with an ever-so-slight narrowing of Mattie's eyes, but she manages not to jerk away and make matters worse.\n\n\"Yeah, he's been duly disposed of. Turned into a puddle of goo. I called for clean up but told then I wasn't going to wait for them.\" She didn't admit any injury over the phone, of course.\n\nMattie takes another, longer swig of the whiskey, then finally looks down at the row of stitches he's almost done with. \"Not bad. You take home ec?\" she asks, wiggling her fingers to make sure they all still function.\n\n\"Good job, Red.\" The last loop, followed by a tiny knot and then he sits back against the cistern and lays down the needle upon the top of the lunch box. Not quite letting go yet, he lifts the hand for a closer inspection and finally relinquishes. \"I'm sure it'd have been on the list if I'd gone to school. Could've learned to make a pie, an' sewn myself a bloody good bum-bag or something.\" A sigh, lamenting the lack of such iconic accessorization.\n\nAfter all that, he deserves more liquor and snags the bottle during her inspection to knock back a few mouthfuls in quick succession before bandaging time, \"Just going to wrap it up for the night, so you don't yank them out in your sleep, right?\"\n\n\"Is that like a fanny pack?\" she asks, tipping her head curiously, and then looking back down at the hand before nodding. \"Wrap it up,\" she says, then giggles slightly at the double meaning of the phrase. It's an odd sound coming from the often solemn American, and it means the alcohol is working.\n\n\"I mean, wrap up my hand. Not hurry up. You're doing a good job, Doc.\" Another pause, before she adds a quieter, \"Thank you.\"\n\n\"Kind of.\" Jacks' not familiar with the Americanism, apparently given the look he gives her although it turns into a little snort of amusement to go with her giggle which is altogether unexpected. \"See, here. A fanny is… well. Ladyparts. So maybe you'd wear one of them down front, but a bumbag at the back.\"\n\nNose wrinkling he considers further, another swig, bottle set down then back to work. \"But then, I ain't never seen no one in London wear a bum bag up over their arse. It'd get stuff pinched out of it in no time at all.\" He probably doesn't need to add that he's never seen anyone wearing a bum-bag at all since the 80s. Over and around goes the bandage, taking her other hand to carefully hold it in place while he finds tape and gives her a wink. \"Don't mention it.\"\n\nLadyparts. Mattie looks up and then begins to snicker. \"No wonder no one names their kids that these days.\" It's not very funny, but when codeine and alcohol are doing the tango in someone's bloodstream, it apparently is.\n\nOnce she's taped up, she wiggles her fingers to test the circulation, and then stands from the edge of the tub, only to lose her balance a bit and need to grab the counter to keep from knocking into the wall. \"Quit making the floor spin,\" she says accusingly.\n\"Who the fuck would call a kid Ladyparts? That would be cruel.\" The reply gets a narrowing of eyes, as though suspicious that in America's olden days this was a common moniker. It's hard to tell if this is a joke either, given the somewhat deadpan delivery, followed by a laugh at the audacity of it all.\n\nEverything goes back into the lunchbox just in time and as he's closing it up, there's the stumble. A firm hand goes to her hip for support, just until she's steady before withdrawing. Last thing she needs is to put her weight on injured hand after all. \"I'll get right on that, let me call the super.\" he replies with a wry smile and an earnest tone. The box goes back from whence it came and he stands, offering an arm if she doesn't mind humbling herself for the sake of a safe walk back to the main room.\n\nShe accepts the arm and when they get back into her room, moves to the bed. From under the pillow comes a very love-worn, threadbare Snoopy plush that she wraps her arms around before letting her head hit the pillow. No pretenses here from the drunken America today.\n\n\"I'm not usually so much of a lightweight. Or a wimp,\" comes her pillow-muffled protest. \"Don't tell anyone or I'll have to kill you.\" It seems like a joke, but it's hard to tell with her face in the pillow.\n\"Yeah yeah. Sure you're not.\" Unconvinced, he shakes his head in affected sadness and instead of trying to move her, pulls up the quilt on either side to wrap over the top. \"I'm sure you an' Snoopy are right proper hardcore on the weekends.\"\n\nBack to the bathroom, he grabs the whiskey and swigs again while regarding her a moment, making sure all is well. A bottle of whiskey seems a worthwhile fee for doing some stichwork. He moves back in with a glass of water which is set by the bed along with two more pills adjacent, just in case. \"You alright then, darlin'?\" he queries.\n\n\"Don't you dis Snoopy,\" Mattie mumbles, then rolls over to look up at him, then offers a smile. \"On my way to a speedy recovery, and feeling no pain. Thanks for stitching me up, Doc. I owe you one.\"\n\nOnce, it might have been a hard thing to say — both the thank you and admitting a debt — but now it's said easily enough and with a smile. Though tomorrow she probably won't remember she owes him a favor, the stitches might serve as a reminder.\n\n\"Or what?\" he asks of the first, indicating her bundled up, dozyface state where she's not in a position to do anything about it. There's a flash of teeth in the smile and a wink. \"Alright. Sleep it off, yeah? Give us a bell if you need 'em redone. Drink that water before you go to sleep, or you're going to feel like dogshit in the mornin'.\"\n\nStill holding onto the bottle he offers the laziest of salutes. \"So long, Red. Good work on takin' care of Oscar.\" Seems genuine and he favours her with a last smile before heading for the door.\n\nShe reaches for the water and takes a healthy couple of gulps before setting it back down. Her eyes close and it's clear she's too tired to come up with a clever retort. Snoopy will just have to fight his own battles with Jack, should push come to shove.\n\n"

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