By M. Blais and J.D.
Finally satisfied, Angelique seemed to relax a little, slowing the flood of questions that had accompanied her examination Luka since he had presented himself at the main medical tent. . "I'm glad the brace could be used on your leg."
As promised to William he had showered and shaved though he still wore the same shirt and jeans Claire had brought back, and while he was looking thin his lungs
sounded fairly clear. "Yeah, it's better.."
She smiled. "You have improved so much...." She smoothed the shirt over his shoulder in a motherly gesture. "Soon, Dr. Northstar will have you working here, yes?" She chuckled, letting her hand linger a little longer then necessary.
He dropped his eyes slightly. "He's asked me to...I'm not sure I'm ready..."
"I know...do not worry, take your time," she said, soothingly. "We are only wanting you to get better right now."
"I know...it's just I owe him now...and with Claire sick..." He shifted his leg a bit as a delaying tactic more than anything else. "I can't really put him off...not now."
"We still have people to help," she said, firmly, "if you cannot work yet. And Claire will be fine, soon."
"But not enough...I saw how it was when I was here..."
Angelique half-smiled, relenting. "Yes, we need more help. I just do not want to be pushing you.."
"I know..." He fidgeted with the strap around the brace at his thigh. "I can't keep hiding from it though...even if I may not finish...I can still do some things."
Slowly, she said, "You are more than welcome, Luka. You can start anytime you wish, if you are feeling up to it..."
"Where's Claire? I have something for her..." Another doctor hurried over, calling her name, as he asked the question, delaying her reply.
After a brief conference with the doctor, she smiled apologetically to Luka. "I must go, mon ami. But I would like it if you came back soon, perhaps to be working." She paused, then said, "Claire? She's not too far...down by the other tent entrance." She pointed, helpfully, then hurried off with the other doctor.
"I'll try." He braced the crutches so he could get to his feet then started off in the direction she had indicated...looking over those in the cots in search of Claire.
She was in one closest to the door, looking as if she were asleep, lying on her back with a blanket up to her waist. There was an IV into her right hand, and it rested on her stomach. Her breathing was slow and even, and there were circles under her eyes.
He paused as he reached her...biting his lip as he debated if he should wake her.
SetsunaLuna: Most people at this end were obviously suffering from different levels of colds or flu, with random coughs. Still, it was quieter here, with the less injured patients. Hearing the creak of his brace, and the quiet thump of the crutches, she opened her eyes just barely.
"Hey..." He offered the greeting as her eyes opened.
She blinked several times, her lashes like dark smudges over her cheeks, before finally opening them a little more fully. "Luka..?" she murmured, in a rusty voice. She raised the hand with the IV in it to her eyes, to rub them.
"I brought you something..." He shifted the crutch to reach in his pocket and once he had the thing in his hand moved closer so he could hand it to her. Whatever it was was concealed by his hand as he extended it to her.
"You did?" She had to clear her throat, thick with sleep, but she didn't try to sit up. Instead, she just lifted her left hand for whatever it was.
He held his hand over hers and released the small silver foil packet. The size of two squares of a Hershey bar..which is what it contained when she opened it.
"I traded half a bar of soap for that...thought you could use it."
She lowered her right hand from her eyes as she brought the silver packet closer to her eyes, perplexed. Once she realized what it was, she gave a little half-laugh. "Chocolate? You're amazing....I couldn't find any, no matter how hard I tried." She smiled up at him, sleepily, but before he could respond, her smile gave way to a surprised expression. "Hey...you're walking..."
"Some of the Peacekeepers were handing them out to the little kids, I was coming back from the showers and just happened to be there when it was going on. So I made the deal with one of them for what I had left of my soap."
She brought the packet to her nose, closing her eyes a moment as she inhaled the scent of the candy. "God....thank you so much, Luka. It smells heavenly."
He leaned slightly on the crutches..the braced leg extended a bit in front of the other as he had taken his weight off of it. "I'm sorry I couldn't get more."
She shook her head, her hair tangling on the pillow. "This is more than I hoped for. Thank you." "Now comes the hard part," she murmured.
"Claire..."He wet his lips as he hesitated. "I'm sorry about the other night."
She rested her hand on her chest, cupping the chocolate with her hand. "I'm the one who should be sorry....I didn't mean to tell you about the hospital like that.."
"I think I knew all along, I mean...I'd heard the shooting...the screams...we'd
heard stories before...you just don't want to believe them."
"Still....it was..insensitive of me."
"You didn't know...I never said anything about it...how could
"Angelique mentioned the hospital to me....I didn't realize you didn't know the truth, but as soon as I said it..." She let her voice trail off, swallowing.
"I think she was afraid to tell me...after everything else...and it didn't come up in the interviews since they only wanted to know what I had seen..."
Her fingers closed around the chocolate, gently. "I'm just sorry I hurt you like that. I didn't mean to."
"I know...it's okay. You should probably rest now...and I should get back before your Father worries more then he already is."
She regarded him another moment, before her eyes started to flutter closed. "Okay.... you want to share this before you go?" she offered, uncurling her fingers from the candy.
He shook his head. "No..you eat it. I'll try and come around tomorrow..."
She reopened her eyes. "I should be out of here by then..."
He eased his weight back onto the braced leg slowly. "Okay...I'll see you then."
She gave him another tired smile. "I owe you one, for this."
He shook his head as he turned to walk away and half under his breath added. "I didn't think we were counting but I think I owe you far more..."
To be continued...