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This page last viewed: 2017-10-21 and has been viewed 3012 times
Warning: Slightly injured character, slightly oogie patching-up bits.
Summary: Sometimes, a man's gotta do... well...sewing.
"Shut up and thread the needle, Captain."
"We talked about this, Murdock. Remember? We've got to double up on things. In case something happens..."
"Somethin' always happens," BA muttered.
"I learned how to pick a lock," Hannibal said.
"You took forty-five minutes getting those handcuffs off, Hannibal," Face said sourly, "then dropped my second best set of picks down a sewer grate."
"I could of done better if you'd loaned me your best pair. Besides, we got ‘em back, Face."
"They were in the sewer!"
"And BA learned to cook, right Captain?" Hannibal said, putting his hand on Murdock's shoulder.
"I would say that's a matter of opinion, Colonel..."
"What you sayin' ‘bout mah cookin', fool?"
Murdock looked up at BA for a moment before going back to poking the black thread at the needle. "Julia would ~not~ consider your fried steak and potatoes ~cooking~, big guy."
Murdock made a choking sound when BA lifted him up by his t-shirt and began to throttle him.
"BA, he can't sew with you shaking him like that," Hannibal said.
BA growled, but set the pilot back down on the floor.
Face ran one hand through his hair.
"Lay still, Face." Hannibal gently shoved Face back down onto the bed.
Face lifted himself up again and propped himself up on his elbows. Gathered as much of his dignity around himself as he could muster. Which was quite a lot, considering he was lying there in his dress shirt and a very fetching pair of turquoise bikini briefs. And his dress socks. "Hannibal, I don't think this is a very good idea..."
"Don't you trust Murdock?" Hannibal asked with a slightly evil grin.
"Murdock, you're the one who didn't want to do this in the first place! I'm just saying, maybe I shouldn't be the first one you practice on, that's all. BA could go back to the courthouse and get one of Atcheson's goons. I'm sure there's still a few bleeding on the front lawn. Murdock could practice on them."
Murdock finally thrust the thread through the tiny hole at the top of the needle, then tied a knot in the end of it. "BA's mama ~did~ let me sew the stuffin' inside the Thanksgiving turkey last year, Face..."
"I am not a turkey, Murdock."
"Dat guy ~did~ get ya in da thigh, though..." BA chuckled.
Face sniffed. "You wouldn't think it was so funny if it was ~your~ thigh we were talking about."
"Crazy fool ain't evah gonna sew me up."
Murdock frowned. Dangled the needle and thread from his clasped hands. "I don't see why I need to do this anyhow, Hannibal. Face knows how to sew people up."
"Face is always the one bleeding. Come on, Murdock. It's just a couple inches. He's going to bleed to death while we sit here talking."
Murdock looked down at Face. He ~was~ a little pale. Murdock licked his lips nervously.
Face looked up at him. Read the distress in his eyes. Sighed. "Do it, Murdock. Go on. It'll be okay."
Murdock hesitated another moment.
Face grinned at him, then. Reassuring him. Calming him with a clear blue gaze. Conning him a little, maybe. "Who else am I going to trust with my thighs?" he said nonchalantly.
Hannibal chuckled. BA rolled his eyes.
Murdock took a deep breath, then sat down next to Face on the bed. Threw one long leg over Face's legs to hold him steady.
BA moved to the head of the bed and laid a heavy arm across Face's shoulders.
Murdock patted the back of Face's leg gently. Reassuring him. Trying to reassure himself, maybe. None of them missed it when Face carefully lowered himself back down to the bed and turned his head away. Tucked one corner of the heavy wool blanket between his teeth.
"You need to catch the very edge of the skin," Hannibal said softly. "About an eighth of an inch. Any more than that and you get a lot of pucker to the scar. Less, and it can shake loose."
"It's called a running stitch. You push the needle down on one edge, then back up the other, so they pull together. Each stitch should be about an eighth of an inch apart."
Murdock nodded again. Swallowed.
BA looked over at him. "Fool's lookin' pale as Faceman."
"I can do it, BA."
The muscles in the back of Face's leg tightened when Murdock made the first stitch, but he didn't make a sound. The small, dingy motel room was very quiet.
The gash wasn't too deep, but still, it had taken about forty minutes of firm pressure for them to get it to stop leaking. Murdock's fingers slipped a little on the moist edges of skin. He took another stitch. And another.
"See, Murdock? Piece of cake."
Murdock glared up at Hannibal a moment, then focused back on Face's leg. Sewed some more. Neat, careful black stitches in warm human flesh.
His fingers trembled a little, but he concentrated hard and they stopped. He could see the muscle beneath the flesh. He had to hold the edges of skin together carefully, like you would a tight zipper to get it closed after Christmas dinner.
Finally, he finished. Tied off the thread. Snipped the ends with a small scissors from their med kit.
It didn't quite ~feel~ like he was finished, though. He reached out his hand. Ran his finger very, very gently over the stitches he'd made. They felt rough under his touch.
Hannibal handed him a white bandage and tape, and he pressed it over the wound. Secured it carefully. It would hurt when Face pulled it off. The fine, blonde hairs on the back of his leg would catch.
Face's body was still taut with the effort of holding steady, keeping quiet. When BA lifted up, off Face's shoulders, Murdock grabbed Face's arm. Helped him roll carefully onto his back.
Face's cheeks were pale. But he grinned up at Murdock rakishly. "You done already, Doc?"
Murdock's grip tightened on Face's arm. "Cut it out, Face. You okay?"
"'course I'm okay. Just a scratch. No problem." He carefully scootched himself up on a little higher on the pillows. "Could use some water, though. And maybe a few more aspirin."
"Water, but no more aspirin, Face. You'll start leakin' again."
Face nodded, and Murdock disappeared into the bathroom.
Face looked up at Hannibal and winked. Hannibal smiled and patted him on the shoulder.
"Take it easy for awhile, kid. I'm gonna see if I can wrangle us up some gas for the van. About time to get out of this one-horse town and make our way home. Our work here is done... BA'll keep an eye on things while I'm gone."
"Could use some food, too, Hannibal," BA said.
"I like my steak medium rare."
Hannibal grinned at Face. "How do you like your chili?"
Face rolled his eyes as Hannibal went out. Looked over at the still-closed bathroom door, then sagged into the pillow a little bit. Rubbed his hands over his eyes.
BA gazed down at him. "You really think you got him fooled?"
"The reason a con works, BA, is that the person you're conning ~wants~ to believe what you're telling them."
"Hmmph." BA stalked over to the bathroom door and smacked it with his hand a couple times. "Hannibal's gettin' food. Gas for the van, get us outta heah. Ah be outside, you need anythin'."
Murdock opened the bathroom door just as BA was going out, M-16 in hand. He carried a glass of water over and handed it to Face, who smiled brightly and drank it down.
Murdock sat on the end of the bed, cross-legged. Stared at Face with serious, dark eyes. "That look didn't work on me twelve years ago, Face. What makes you think it's gonna work now?"
"I've had a lot of practice since then..."
"How bad you hurtin'? Really?"
"I'm ~fine~ Murdock. I'll be just fine. You ~did~ fine. Hannibal couldn't have done any better."
"I hated it."
They were silent a moment. Listening to the big rigs roar by on the highway outside. Listening to the pipes clank and clatter as other folks in the small motel used their bathrooms.
"You want me to sing you to sleep, Face?"
"If you try it, I really ~will~ scream."
Murdock smiled a little. Rubbed the red star on the side of his high-top absently.
Face pouted out his lower lip a little. Blinked up at Murdock. "You ~could~ make yourself useful, though, and climb in here with me."
"You cold, Facey?"
Face nodded. Let a little bit (just a little bit) of his weariness show.
Murdock helped Face climb in under the covers, then took off his high-tops and joined him.
Face's skin ~was~ cold. A little shock, a little blood loss.
Murdock sidled in beside him. Maneuvered himself until Face's head was on his shoulder and his arm was wrapped securely around the con man.
They laid there for awhile. Then Murdock sighed against Face's hair. "How'd you feel, the first time you sewed somebody up?"
"I tossed my cookies in the bushes as soon as I was done."
Murdock grinned. Pulled Face closer to him. "I feel better now."
Face relaxed a little more into the warmth of Murdock's side. Smiled sleepily. "Me too, Murdock," he said. "Me too."
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