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Completed Bloodstone Medical Center - Part 1: The Aftermath

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Tiko

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as written by Dashmiel

Ragenard exited the exam room with his new shadow, her presence behind him quietly tucked away just below conscious thought. He took two steps in the direction of the operating rooms, before feeling his blood drain away to his toes, leaving tiny pin-pricks swimming across his vision. A curious sensation began to tingle out his skull and down his spine, and he steeled himself to prevent from doubling over.

A second later, the sensation stopped and his stomach began to grumble violently and hungrily. All thoughts about the nature of the sensation quickly fled Ragenard's mind as his hunger registered itself with a vengeance, and he decided that checking on Carlisle could wait a bit after all.

"Listen up! I need whoever has cash on hand to step forward, and I need two of you without any priors or outstanding warrants to come here too! If you got business I need to hear, form up too. We have a lot of work to do to make sure we're not all dead or in jail tomorrow people, get hopping if you can hop!" Ragenard bellowed over the room before leaning back by the outside wall of the exam room and waiting for his orders to be carried out.
 

Tiko

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Re'Altarm turn back as she heard the bellowing man. She walked up to him rather silently and looked up at him expectantly.

She was a frail looking thing compared to the hulking frame of Ragenard, he could easily break her in half. But she neither seem to cower in his presence or think him any different than the man she had tried to help on the floor. She knew none of these faces, but she knew they had rescued Jesse. She had to repay them, somehow, and she held herself with that sense of purpose.

"I was told by a man to see you to see if.. You would 'clear' me to help with the poisoned man." She said, her accent thick. "I know some about human medical practices, and I do think I can help them. However, should you wish to use me elsewhere, I will try to be helpful elsewhere, sir." She then waited to see if he had heard her and would give her orders. She acted as a soldier would.
 

Tiko

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To the side of the room, Seri hesitated, exchanging a glance with Hubert and Cass.

His question was clear. Should they respond? Should he respond? They were probably fine - they were new blood, but they were wolves. The impression he'd got from the large one called Ragenard was not ... gentle.

But at the same time, he couldn't hide in a corner forever. Much as he might like to. Maybe if he could prove himself useful... He wasn't exactly law-abiding, but he'd also never been caught.

The werecat sighed. "Can't pretend I don't exist forever..." he muttered, as much to himself as to Hubert and Cass, before standing up and hesitantly moving towards Ragenard. He didn't look like much - scrawny and dressed in what amounted to little more than rags, his arms folded across his chest as though still subconsciously trying to make himself seem small and avoid attention.

Nearby, Snow glanced towards Ragenard. "I should go check in," he said to Bastien, "But I'll keep an eye on Sophia until Raquette or someone else is free to."

Having something to do would probably help stop him overthinking things, he thought as he walked over. He certainly wasn't helping anyone by lying around and not managing to sleep.
 

Tiko

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Groaning at Ragenard's loud voice, Aimee knew that there was no way he would let her step foot out of the building, but she could at least hand over the money she had been planning on using to buy booze after getting some from the Den. It wasn't like it was going to do her any good anymore, especially not if she truly planned on stopping her alcoholism. Shoving up to her feet, she swayed a moment before forcing herself to straighten up. Carefully and cautiously moving to where Mr. Shouty was at, the nineteen-year-old dug into her front pocket of her pants and yanked out a huge wad of cash. Looking longingly at it once more, she exhaled deeply and just shook her head.

"Here... was going to use this to buy booze, but..." Trailing off, Aimee just held out the wad in the palm of her hand towards Ragenard, hoping he took it before she changed her mind and pocketed it back up in order to sneak out and get drunk.
 

Tiko

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Cass was no use. She hadn’t a coin on her and her record was far from clean, though old by now. So, she waited, watching Seri move away anxiously. There was also pride mixed with her stare. She knew that he could be an asset to these werewolves as he had been to her. So she remained on guard, ready to fight his corner if his offering wasn’t regarded as amiably as it should. And with this one – she narrowed her eyes some at Ragenard – that wouldn’t surprise her.

As for Hubert, she hoped that he stayed in his spot. She felt far more comfortable with the young werecat going to sell his soul than she did Hubert. As they stood, she seemed to sense the naivety that he radiated.

A wallet went flying over the heads of people, twirling in a perfect arc towards Ragenard. Busy or not – Brendan was certain he’d snag it. The leather pouch was pretty full. At least two month’s rent full. And with that gone, he had four months to make up. For the time being, he didn’t let it bother him. But when it did, Desmond would be the first to hear about it.

“Clean cash” Brendan spoke up - loud and clear - stepping forward. “I’m clean too. Pristine even. Crime an' credit.”
 

Tiko

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"Re'Altarm, was it?" Ragenard mused, the question more rhetorical than anything else as he made a point to take note of her behavior. A slight crease formed above the bridge of his nose as he briefly pondered the strange woman that so many of his pack had bled and died for.

Her behaving like a mindless automaton briefly infuriated him to the point that he was sure he would shift on the spot and tear her to shreds, but he ignored the savage clamoring of the beast within and forced himself to give her the benefit of the doubt, at least for the moment. He owed his fallen that much, he could deal with whatever shock this woman was in, no matter how badly he might want to shake the answers out of her.

"Do me a favor and hang back for a bit, we'll go see this man to see about your idle hands after I've dealt with that of my own" he tonelessly replied to her query, the phony pleasantry not doing much to change how he felt, but at least reinforcing his own duty to the dead in his mind.

Ragenard's nose twitched as he saw what had to be the scrawniest of the Phantom mutts approach him, bringing with him a scent that reminded Ragenard for some reason of his byways amongst the rooftops of that district, and some of the fond memories he'd made there in his youth. These thoughts brought him enough unexpected relief that for a second his puzzlement was merely that, as opposed to the raging puzzlement the past night and morning had brought him.

He was about to address the strange pup when from the corner of one eye he spied Snow approaching, and in an snap back to raging-puzzlement, he spied Aimee approaching him from the corner of the other the moment he turned his head slightly.

He favored Seri with a palm thrust out and shaken a few times, signaling that he had acknowledged him, and that he wanted him to wait a second.

"Yo, Snow, I've been wanting to see you. Let me collect some cash from whoever's flushed and get a lunch run going and then we'll talk" he called out to Snow as he turned to face the arriving Aimee.

"Aimee? W-what the fuck are you doing here? Booze? All of this cash? What the fuck happened to your face, you sh—actually don't answer any of that, pup" exclaimed a befuddled Ragenard as he took Aimee's money from her. He frowned at her for a split-second before shaking his head. No point in trying to engage this one in heavy conversation. He figured he'd have to have a talk with Jacques later about what the fuck his pup was doing in the middle of all this, and that he should know better. However, immediately after figuring that, he realized how ludicrous it was in light of the circumstances and how the place had become stranger central.

No, on the matter of one stray pup being where they shouldn't, Ragenard reckoned he'd have no choice but to give in a little, if only to focus his energy into more important tasks.

"Listen pup, do me a favor and stay out of trouble, yeah? I'll, uh, make sure someone brings some soup with the lunch..." he trailed awkwardly until a flying projectile did him the rare courtesy of actually saving him for once.

"I believe the money, but bullshit if you're really clean. Fuckers just don't know it yet" Ragenard called out boisterously to Brendan as he caught the man's wallet off the air, and walked up to him, favoring him with a fist bump. "Money's not yours again, but hold on to it, since you'll be using it. You're going on a lunch run, but let me get you someone to ride with you first...not your brother though, need him for something. Speaking of, where the fuck is he? Send him my way if you come across him" Ragenard said as he handed Brendan his wallet back and scanned about for any more takers to his offer.

He could send Snow with Brendan, but after the events of the previous night, he was loathe to part ways with him before he got a chance to get him in private, and he sure as hell wasn't risking sending Aimee.

He glanced back to the scrawny mutt, and wondered, before beckoning him over.
 

Tiko

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Snow nodded in silent acquiescence, waiting to the side with Sophia whilst the others made their approach.

Seri stepped forwards again, having backed off a few steps after Ragenard had indicated for him to wait, giving the large man a nervously questioning look. "I haven't got a record," he offered lamely, arms folded in a subconsciously defensive manner. He searched for something else to add, but came up short of words (a minor miracle to anyone that knew him well - it seemed the tension in the air had sapped the energy from his normally sharp tongue, or perhaps he'd decided for once to use his better judgement when it came to testing the patience of angry werewolves).
 

Tiko

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Ragenard silently regarded the scrawny thing before him for a handful of long, tense moments. He wanted to see if the mutt would hold his gaze, and while he clearly felt, saw, smelled, and practically tasted the other's discomfort, he was mildly pleased to see that he did not immediately look away.

He glanced to where the rest of his kin stood, and caught the look in Cass' eyes. He looked once more to Seri and Cass and back again before addressing the scrawny youth.

"What's your name, pup? And is that shiny record from all your wholesome living?" he asked mildly.
 

Tiko

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"Seri," the werecat answered, and his nerves gave way to a small smirk, a glint of roguery in his eye. "And no. It's from never being caught."
 

Tiko

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The ghost of a smile played at the corners of Ragenard's mouth as he replied: "A man after my own heart. With your size, maybe you'll even manage it, assuming you don't have the misfortune of ending up as big as me."

Suddenly, the little bundle before Ragenard made sense to him, and the minor mystery of what he had been smelling was put to rest. The right side of his mouth actually curled into a smirk as he glanced over at Cass and shot her a wink.

"Alright, then. I'll try you on, Seri. See if you're good as your word. You're going to be riding with my man Brendan over there, to pick up some food for the rest of us to eat, and some assorted supplies. What I want you to do, is keep your eyes open, alright? I want you to watch his back, watch for anyone following you, any suspicious behavior, that kind of thing" he explained as he looked Seri over.

"Can't have you keeping lookout in those rags though...." Ragenard mused before scanning back to where Brendan was.

"Yo, Bre. Found you a co-pilot, and yes, I'm serious. Help him to the storerooms will you, I'm pretty sure I saw a box in the second one on the east side with some pup-sized clothes gathering dust" Ragenard bellowed at Brendan before turning back to Seri.

"What I ask might not seem like it's serious. If you think so, you're wrong. I'm counting on you" he finished gravely before turning on the spot and walking away, the ghost of a smile still playing on his lips. He'd made plenty of bruisers before, but he'd never thought that he'd get a chance to work at making his own spy.
 

Tiko

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It took a lot not to shrink away under Ragenard’s gaze. She fucked up bigtime and though no one had yet to question her on why she had been at the Den last night, she knew it was coming. Aimee had started to open her mouth to explain her stupidity, but was immediately told not to answer any of the questions he had asked in quick succession. Unsure if that was a good thing or not, she just nodded, glad that he at least took the money away from her. Her chest felt tight and she was afraid that the little bit of food she managed to eat was about to come back up. Puking with her face the way it was would no doubt hurt like hell. Returning her attention towards Ragenard, she just nodded at his request, thankful for the distraction. She might just get out of this entire thing without huge lectures and interrogations, which would be great.

“Kay…” She muttered out the single word before disappearing away from everyone, trying to find a spot where she didn’t feel suffocated, a place where she might be able to do some kind of meditation in an attempt to keep her need for alcohol under lock and key.
 

Tiko

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"What's mine is yours, right? That's how this marriage thing works?" Brendan said with gruff sarcasm and a smile as he pocketed his wallet.

He remembered his co-pilot, skulking the Phantom Quarter with his remarks. Seri had found them whilst they’d been scouring. Something about that made him oddly okay with the set up.

“On it” he assured without a hint of bitterness as Ragenard turned to walk away.

“Oh, oi” Brendan then called out to his retreating shadow. “Eliza, was it? Got a present for yer.” He nodded to the seat he’d been lurking in which was now occupied by her now-disarmed rifle. “Might wanna go give that up too” he said with a strange amount of cheer.

And with one final sweep about the room as a goodbye, he nodded at Seri.

“Don’t’ reckon you look much like me nephew to anyone but if they got some plaid we’ll be on the right track”

He led the way to the storeroom with only a single backwards glance at the stare that he felt burning into his shoulders.

Cass was still looking at the place that Brendan had disappeared. It was a good amount of seconds before she turned her head. It had gone well, she didn’t want to admit. Perhaps it would have even made her like their new apparent leader if it hadn’t been for the wink that had set her glowering all over again. She also didn’t want to admit that something to eat would make her feel a whole lot better.

Like Aimee, she slipped out, wanting to find somewhere quiet for a while.
 

Tiko

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Seri nodded to Ragenard as he spoke, his smirk fading somewhat in response to the man's graver tone. When the big man turned and left, he followed after Brendan. For the first time since arriving at the medical centre, he let some of his tension go, taking a heavy breath.

If he'd seen what he thought he'd seen in Ragenard's face, perhaps this wouldn't go so badly after all. If he convinced them he was useful in his own way, he could stop worrying about being used as a chew toy when one of them got bored.

Well, stop worrying as much.

He glanced up at Brendan as he spoke, raising an eyebrow. "A large, hairy man carting a teen that's half his size around on the back of a bike? I'm sure people will draw their own conclusions."

After a few moments of rummaging, Seri pulled out a pair of jeans and a shirt that were around his size and threw them on without ceremony, discarding his rags. The shirt, a plain dark grey and short-sleeved, hung loosely on his exceedingly skinny frame, but the jeans fit well enough once he found a belt amongst the stores. He kept his shoes - though worn, the simple black trainers fit well, and he didn't have the patience to sift through the boxes of clunky boots for something more practical when it came to not making noise.

"Ready when you are, 'uncle'," he directed at Brendan with a smirk.
 

Tiko

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Brendan gave an amused grunt. The kid looked a little less homeless than before, but who was he to judge, he’d been called a hobo by more than one teenage street-goer as he stumbled home drunk.

He began to lead the way out, planning on keeping to the nearby alleys before emerging onto a main street further away from their hideout. His hands were busy counting his money as they went. He likely wouldn’t spend it all. But then again he thought that he himself could eat ten packs of bacon right about now. His mouth watered.

“Need ter’ feed you up too by the looks Seri” Brendan said as he stepped out through the back, stowing away the money yet again. He felt that the best way to get along with this fellow was either jokingly so or just a comfortable silence. “What do your strange strain eat anyway? Can buy you a case of tuna maybe.”

“We gonna keep to the little alleys and sideroads and head east, then we’ll come onto a busier road and I’ll call us a cab. Just doin’ a shop for grandma, y’know. Think we gotta be more worried about the police than any Scion shits for now. Eyes peeled.”
 

Tiko

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"You, stand and watch her. You, do the same" Ragenard barked to Re'Altarm and Eliza as he unceremoniously left them to their own devices and walked up to where Snow was waiting.

"C'mon, let's talk in one of the exam rooms" he said as he motioned over to where he had interrogated Eliza and led the way.

"This going to be anything Sophia shouldn't hear?" Snow asked as he moved after Ragenard, still holding the pup.

Ragenard could only stop and turn to gape at Snow. "Has anything that pup heard all night been something she should be hearing?" he asked incredulously.

Snow bit his tongue, withholding a remark on varying types of 'shouldn't hear', and decided to take the answer as a no. His expression conveyed only a silent acceptance of Ragenard's point, and he nodded his head to indicate his readiness to carry on.

Ragenard led the way into the exam room, closing the door behind him. He leaned for a moment by the door, sighing heavily and letting his shoulders slump as the usual scowl he wore melted into something resembling a concerned face.

"Listen, Snow..." he began quietly, before trailing away as his tongue twisted itself. He really wasn't used to this kind of thing.

"Don't." Snow interrupted as Ragenard trailed off, stoic mask slipping for a moment for a pained frown. "We both know that there's not a lot to say. What happened... however it could have gone, we all knew our lives were on the line."

"I don't think I'll stop wondering about all of the different ways things could have gone down before I drift off to sleep any time soon" Ragenard exclaimed sorrowfully as he moved closer to Snow and tried to toussle Sophia's hair.

"It's a situation I've become familiar with over the years..." he paused as his eyes momentarily glazed over, and long repressed memories quickly played out through Ragenard's mind.

"I won't tell you how to mourn, you do that on your terms. But I know what makes me sleep easier after one of my brethren has fallen. For the moment we need to protect our pack, tend to our home and deal with the Scions. But when that's settled, there's some bloodsuckers with a reckoning coming to them, and I'd welcome you watching my back" Ragenard said, a hint of bloodthirst creeping into his tone.

Snow took a long breath, his eyes lowered, before nodding. "You'll have me. Death doesn't come close to what they deserve. But I'm sure we can get creative." His voice was cold, but heavy with hate. For a long moment, he stared into nothingness with baleful intensity. But when he lifted his eyes again, they were calmer. His fury, contained.

"I have my priorities straight, though. The pack comes first."

"So it does" Ragenard stated wearily, thoughts back to the present. "Go find some else to babysit the pup. I'm thinking I'll be needing you to set up watches later."

Snow nodded, before hesitating. "If there's anything else you need, to do with what Baron said..." he left the question hanging in the air unfinished.

"Later" Ragenard grunted as he moved to open the door. "That's a matter to deal with after we're short on idling hands or it's apt to turn nasty. We focus on making sure the pack is safe from external threats first, then we go rooting out for snakes within" he said as he motioned for Snow to follow him out.
 

Tiko

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It didn’t take Aimee long to find an empty room and after closing the door, shut off the light. As her eyes adjusted, she moved over to the bed. Sliding up onto it, the nineteen-year-old crossed her legs beneath her and placed both hands upon her knees, palms facing up. Well, with hand at least, the other was in her lap where it wouldn’t be jostled or hurt. Once in a comfortable position, she closed her eyes and emptied her mind.

“Alright… here goes nothing.” After inhaling and exhaling a few times, she slowly started to relax and did what she needed to do for a while now, just chill out and meditate. It took her a few minutes to move beyond the lingering pain from her injuries, but even that seemed to disappear. Yawning after what felt like forever, the dark haired female moved onto her side and yanked blankets up over her body, drifting off to sleep.
 

Tiko

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A bit later...

Sophia had finally been coaxed into shifting once more, but the lack of children's clothes at the med center left her dressed in Snow's over-sized shirt that Raquette had scrounged up from his apartment earlier. She looked tired and rubbed at her eyes with one arm as Bastien knelt down to talk to her.

"Hey kiddo," he told her. "Want to go see mom?"

Sophia shook her head.

"Hey now, don't be like that," he told her. "Come on, she's going to be fine."

He took her hand to lead her to the room that Vanessa was resting in, but they made it only as far as the door. As Bastien pushed it open, Sophia took one look at Vanessa before pulling her hand away from Bastien and taking off down the hall.

He let out a sigh and shook his head before offering Vanessa an apologetic smile as he took note of the hurt reflected in her eyes. It was a hurt that ran deeper than the physical wounds she had suffered.

"I shouldn't have left her," Vanessa said as Bastien pulled over a chair to have a seat next to the bed.

"If you didn't, I wager a lot more of us would be dead right now," Bastien told her. "You can't beat yourself up for this one. She's just afraid she's going to lose you. She'll understand when she's older."

Vanessa raised a hand to cover her eye, warring with her own internal frustrations and guilt. "I don't want her to understand. This isn't the life I wanted for her. The things you and I grew up with. I never wanted that for her."

"Hey now, it wasn't all bad, was it?" Bastien jested lightly with a wink before offering a more serious response. "Like it or not, this pack is as much her family as it is yours. You keep hiding her from it, and you're going to just keep tearing her up about what she is and where she belongs. And this half-in, half-out thing is going to get you killed." He took her hand in both of her own, and pressed his lips to her knuckles. "You can't keep doing this."

Vanessa looked away and her answer was little more than a hoarse whisper. "I know."

They exchanged no further words, but Bastien sat with her until she had drifted back off to sleep some time later.
 

Tiko

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Eliza nodded and stood exactly where she was told, she leaned against the wall and waited to go back to being Ragenard's shadow once more.
 

Tiko

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Once Ragenard had affirmed his approval of Re'Altarm helping with the wounded and departed, there wasn't much to be done immediately. Reinhard was in the process of drawing some blood from Carlisle's arm when he addressed Re'Altarm.

"So what sort of medical background do you have?" he inquired.

Re'Altarm scratched watched unflinching. "Military field medicine." She said. "I know how to stitch someone up after they've been blown up. Knowledge of some plants and herbs that have medicinal values and how to set bones rather well." She said quietly.

"Well, why don't you see about stitching up Carlisle while I go run some tests on these blood samples," he told her.

"Heh, can't remember when I last needed that done," Carlisle answered.

He was pale and a thin sheen of sweat dotted his brow, but he was both conscious and coherent.

"Valentino's across the hall with Renard, if you need anything," Reinhard said before leaving.

Re went looking for supplies. She brought out fresh bandages, needles and thread and bottles of alcohol that she figured would be needed. She placed them neatly on the table and began to help peel off the shirt he wore.

Her fingers traced the edge of the medical tape that held one of the wraps on. "This may sting a bit.." She said as she started to pull on the old bandages of one of the wounds. With practiced hands, she would peel it part way down to reveal the wound itself. This one wasn't too deep. It didn't look green either, which was a good sign, but it still oozed some blood as she pressed it.

"I remember the last time I was stitched up." She stated softly. "Well. Before I met the fate with the werewolf that is."

Carlisle took the treatment well enough, and only the occasional twinge of the muscles in his jaw betrayed the discomfort of her cleaning the wounds.
 

Tiko

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The door at her back opened as Jesse entered, and he felt a sense of relief at seeing her working on Carlisle. He hadn't really had time to see her since they had gotten back, but it was good that she was keeping herself occupied.

"Hey there," he said. "Didn't expect to see you up and around so soon. How are you feeling?"

She dabbed at the wound carefully but enough to clean it up enough she felt safe to start stitching. A smile lined her lips for a moment as she heard Jesse's voice.

"A bit tired, but none the worse for wear." She said as she pressed the needle in as gently as she could. "You?" She asked. She moved with ease with the needle in hand, as if she had done this many times. "This one isn't so bad." She stated to Carlisle. "How are you doing?"

"Feel like a million bucks," Carlisle answered.

"Heh, tired," Jesse answered with that quirky grin of his, but it didn't quite reach his eyes this time. "We'll need to go see the police later, and make sure they drop the charges on Baron for your disappearance. His trial is next week, and if we don't get the case thrown out before then, he's going to have a lot more to explain than you."

Re was steadily placing a fresh bandage over the cut that she just sutured up. "We'll have to get Ragenard's permission to do so. No one comes or goes right now without his say so, and with Rowan's men out there looking for me and you too.. It is unlikely we'd be going alone." She said.

"That's why later," Jesse explained. "He's got his hands full out there right now, and ours aren't much better in here. We'll catch up with him later tonight."

She pulled on the next bandage. This one was deeper, and it weeped blood rather readily. She kept the old bandage underneath to try to catch the blood spilling. "Big sting." She warned Carlisle as she poured a bit of the alcohol into the wound.

The splash of alcohol drew a sharp hiss from Carlisle.

"Can't say this is making me remotely miss being human," he bit through grit teeth.

"Reinhard's working on finding out why you're not healing," Jesse reassured him.

He took a seat in the nearby chair while Re'Altarm worked on Carlisle. He'd been up all night, and day, and the exhaustion was catching up with him.

Re winced apologetically, but kept up with the work, cleaning the wound as best she could before beginning the suture. "I'm sorry.. I'm afraid I know how to do this, but I never learned to use my sister's methods.. She was good enough that you barely felt anything when she was fixing you up." Re explained. A mixture of emotion ran through her eyes as she continued to work.

"I'll try to be more gentle." Re said. She looked up once to see Jesse and the exhaustion that was on his face. "You should rest as well."

"I would if I could, believe me," Jesse remarked. "But I've got to get back in with Baron soon. Not enough doctors to go around. If we end up with any more wounded we're going to need to start sending them to the hospital and that will come with its own arsenal of troubles."

Re's eyes tightened. "Better to be treated and deal with the aftermath later than have more die because we don't want to cause a scene and don't have enough people to take care of them here." She spoke.

She looked to Jesse as she prepared another fresh bandage. "And you'll be no good to anyone if you're too tired to see what you're doing. And I can help now. Ragenard said I could."

"And that's why I'm just sitting here watching you stitch up Carlisle," Jesse jested lightly before letting out a stifled yawn. "Have a few minutes before I need to be back in there."

Re's jaw clenched as she pulled another bandage off of Carlisle.

"Why don't I finish off him and go watch Baron for a short while, so you can get a 30 minute nap?" She suggested. "It would at least be long enough to have the fog clear your head, Jesse.. And I can't sleep right now anyway."

"You know I can't let you do that," Jesse told her. "Ragenard'll have us both out on the street." His expression had turned serious. "And don't go asking anyone else to let you in there either," he told her. "Alright?"

Re'Altarm turned and gave him a look that told him that this wasn't over. Her eyes were glowing a slight amber in color.

"I need to talk to Ragenard anyway." She stated, turning back to her work.
 
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