Perhaps the strangest thing about this visit was how utterly unfazed the wandering mechanic was about her index finger bending backwards. Sheila had been in a scuffle, and in a bid to block an oncoming blow she had held her hand out - only for the fist to connect with her finger and pop the joints out. The attacker themselves was not left unscathed, as she had retaliated with a swift and hard kick to the groin. An eye for an eye.
”Hey, D-Doc? You uh… G-got a sec?”
Perhaps Arcade lacked real reason to complain, really… he did enjoy his work well enough for the Followers after all. But with things actually quieter for once and the surprisingly free doctors amongst the Old Mormon Fort he almost cringed when he heard the voice addressing him. Almost. Blue eyes flicked up from his research notes, noting the unfamiliar face.. then her rather unpleasant situation. "Uh.." A wavered pause before the blond man had to shrug, attempting a polite enough smile. "Sure, I’m not doing anything too important right now." Another pause, this one hopefully a marginal amount less pathetically awkward than the first. "Is it just your finger harmed or is there something else too?"
When the doctor began to clean the wound, that was when the pain resumed; a deep throbbing pain that made his hands curl and his knuckles turn white.
The Lone Wanderer, the ‘hero’ of the Wasteland, presumed inviolable by the masses, had a low pain threshold. Hell, he had an average person’s threshold. He couldn’t even stub his toe without hopping around and whining. He took a deep breath, slow and discreet, and then responded, “I’ll be sure not to get blood on any books you lend me.” Well, he’d try his best not to, anyway. Accidents happen. “I’ll be in Freeside for a few days, and here most of the time. They’ll be returned.”
He nodded to the doctor in some vague recognition of his words and turned his head towards the wall, maintaining his calm facade as best as he was able. Goddamn stinging. It took all his effort not to twitch and grimace. “‘Swimming’ is a bit of an overstatement. You’re not that much larger than me,” he murmured. Only taller, a little thicker, generally less gaunt… okay, he was considerably larger, but Lone had been more built than him prior to his irradiation! Not that that was terribly relevant outside catering to his own ego.
"And I think, I— mm…" A pause while some of the dried blood was cleaned away. "…You look noteworthy. Blond hair, blue eyes: it’s noteworthy. When I mentioned it before, and you changed the subject with barely a pause… I didn’t mean it as an insult, or anything of that nature. It’s a nice combination."
Arcade knew that it hurt. Blue eyes noted the warning signs towards the man’s pain as well as felt the flickers of tension through his body but, while he did sympathize towards it, he did not let up any of the injury’s cleaning. There was patience but it did the other man no good to coddle and baby him through it.
"No more than you already have, right?" A brow raised but there was a bemused quality to the words - he was joking, that was all. Certainly the blond man understood that accidents happened - one couldn’t control everything, and goodness only knew bleeding didn’t tend to be a particularly enjoyable experience. "If you’re going to remain here you can pick what you need out of my books then. Just make sure you let me know and put them back where you got them." Aaaah nothing quite like being a bit anal with how his books were organized, but it certainly did better in keeping track of them instead of tossing them around nilly willy.
Frowning a bit Arcade settled his other hand on the other’s arm, using it as brace as he tried to fish out a particularly stubborn bit of damaged, useless flesh and dirt, pleased by the sight of fresh blood and working to hold pressure there to clot it immediately. Clear running blood was a good sign too - it helped to clear out debris that still lingered within the injury, and bespoke that infection hadn’t yet had the chance to sink in. "It’s close enough. While looser clothing would do you good while this heals - so to not irritate it as much - if you decide to go trapezing around back into the Mojave like a fool you are probably going to need something more… defensive. There’s a Fiend problem not far from here and they wouldn’t likely hesitate to prey on a wounded traveler."
A pause. "Although if you’re really going to be here for a few days it may be a good idea if I get your name. I’m Arcade." It was better to get a name than to be stuck having to gain his attention more difficult ways.
Still there had been little to prepare the Follower for the next shift in subject… one he had thought successfully diffused and distracted away from. For a moment the taller man blanched, mentally flounder before he rapidly attempted towards distraction again. "Neither are entirely noteworthy actually. Especially when not when in consideration towards me - I’m really quite boring, you know. Nothing special." The age old litany was a well-practiced one by this point, falling with only a bit of that awkward hesitation despite the rapidity of the words themselves. Yes - blond hair and blue eyes were uncommon enough in the Mojave, and even more so in the Old Mormon Fort, but they were not a statistical impossibility. "Nothing special at all.” He’d met others with similar hair and eyes before.
"The flattery is appreciated, but unnecessary." He was just going to try to nope right out of this. There were too many things that were fraying into Arcade’s nerves, and avoidance of the problem was the best call. Right? It wasn’t as if he wasn’t already completely flubbing up the situation and attempt.
Holden’s own smile formed it’s way on his face, lighting up his features slightly, stretched out his freckles. There was something about the other’s face he liked, specifically that small preview of a smile. He hoped he would get to see it again soon.
Holden stared at the door to the medic bay, there was something keeping him from going inside, something he knew very well. He hated anything to do with hospitals or things that reminded him of them. But his legs were in pain and he had to go in. And it wasn’t even tolerable pain; rather it was every step made him want to cry.
Letting out a breath he finally forced himself to walk in, trying to ignore the pain, grit his teeth painfully. From the looks of it there was only one person in there, one medic, and it made his arm scream. Wait what? Holden’s let his eyes drop to the markings on his arm. There was no way.
No fucking way. A… Medic?
Except his wrist read all zeroes and he felt something in his stomach. Falling to his knees he choked back a sound, failing at that, causing the medic to look at him. Holden just smiled a bit crookedly, then confused as the other started speaking in large full sentences, words he didn’t know.
This was going to be interesting.
Rubbing at his eye again he nodded, “Go raibh maith agat…” Blinking then he realized it had came out in Irish, “Shit I mean.. Thank you.” Jesus he was really fucking this up. “I’m glad you’re not mad.” That would have made everything worse.
"So I don’t have any fictional expectations to live up to? Good, cause I probably would have just disappointed you." He cracked a smile to let the other know he was joking. "It’s nice to meet you..!" His leg jerked when it was touched, out of surprise, and a short jolt of pain.
"It’s the muscle I think? In my thighs. That’s where they stabbed me."
Well that was… that was rather nice. The younger man’s smile was one without a certain subtle cruelty that Arcade was by far more familiar with. In fact the kid seemed fairly kind in general, which almost caused him to wonder as to how he really got himself roped into this occupation… but that honestly wasn’t his business to ask. Everyone had their reasons. Everyone had their secrets. Right?
"Go raibh ma…? I’m sorry but I must ask - which language was that?" The blond man’s attention was focused even more on Holden now - interest burning in blue eyes as they studied the Scout curiously. Of course he was curious - he enjoyed varying languages after all, enjoying exploring and learning them to the best of his capability. "Holden.." A pause. "It takes much more than something like this to get me riled up." Not for it to be taken as a challenge, the words were merely simply uttered.
"To be fair, you’re already higher than my expectations likely were. We certainly didn’t meet with you holding a gun to my head now did we?" There was a joking tone with those words, uttered offhandedly in the process… but Arcade didn’t seem overly focused on the matter. A distraction, maybe… because this line of thought made him remember someone he’d rather not.
All that man was anymore was a painful memory; one that thought him so damn worthless to him despite everything they’d been through that he hadn’t even bothered to say goodbye when he’d left.
"Hmmm." The Medic’s hands moved, fingers flitting to the area mentioned before he gently starting to knead and press the musculature there, trying to find the spot in question. "Please let me know if I hit the sore spot." Preferably without kicking him.
Artemis continued to nuzzle his hand and left the blonde’s side to climb the hill back toward his master. The canine sat down beside him, tail flickering in a friendly manor. Cassander glanced at him but didn’t have that strength nor the free hand to scratch his ears. His brows raised slightly, if he was catching his drift correctly then he was a doctor. Not only that, why on Earth would a doctor be out here without some sort of protection? There was a pause and his eyes flickered toward rocks and trees to make sure there was no other mercs or worse trying to crawl up behind him.
Cassander slowly let his spine uncurl but his finger stayed on the trigger. He was a good friend of the Followers, though usually he swung by the outpost. It was unlikely that someone took a uniform- strangely the Followers were pretty respected and not usually attacked… even by raiders unless they saw a chance. Cassander took the gun off him before pulling out his NCR Veteran Ranger helmet, replaced it before showing his own dogtags. “Ex-NCR…” The rifle was taken off him, Artemis would be fast enough if he pulled a gun. Cassander swallowed- damn he wanted to throw up, “Let’s just say I’m retired and I take odd jobs.” He winced as he moved the gun to point to the ground, “Two bullets in the shoulder, bunch of cuts and a couple spear wounds.” No one used spears besides the Legion and he knew the Followers weren’t on great terms with them. He tried to straighten up, trying not to look how he felt.
At least the dog didn’t seem overly hostile, all things considering. Arcade had far too many experiences with otherwise to allow his guard to really lower. Raiders in particular were rather fond of having dogs travel with them and guard their encampments.. and the Legion wasn’t exactly any better. Still, he was unable to resist a little curl and scratch of fingers gently on the side of his muzzle before he headed back up to his owner.
It wasn’t that the blond Follower really wanted to be out here in the Mojave sun on his own - however the Followers were no so well off that they could afford to send someone with him, and he didn’t in particular want to bother any of his companions with asking them to join him for this little foray. After all… it wasn’t as if it was anything particularly important. Just supplies he wasn’t able to easily get from the merchants.
"A mercenary, then?" While he wasn’t certain how exactly he felt towards the whole ex-NCR part - his wariness of them still existed after all, and for damn good reason at that - Arcade was a man who knew to wait to judge someone. "Considering you’re still standing I’m rather surprised." Those weren’t exactly the best of injuries, and blood loss and shock were two serious factors that could kill him quicker than the wounds themselves could. "I’d recommend sitting down and giving me just a moment so I can get up there to you." The stimpacks he had on hand should be enough to fix much of the worst injuries, and whatever was left he would probably be able to patch up.
Either way he’d move carefully, still wary of the chance for a trap, with the intention of making it up to the man to do exactly as he’d uttered.
Of course, in his fear and shock Knight had immediately rejected the idea of simply sharing the cot. The easiest answer is most often the best. An embarrassed sigh escaped him and a hand pressed gently to his nose.
"I believe you were going to suggest sharing the bed; an elegant solution to this matter. Forgive my earlier outburst, it was in shock not revolt."
Arcade actually allowed a smile them, calm and relaxed as he studied the poor soldier. It could be far far worse, he supposed, at the very least they were only debating over something relatively minor. Although such time certainly could be used for better purpose. Like sleeping. Sleeping was a damn good thought right now in particular.
"It’s my fault." In this case, he mentally added, even as he motioned with his hand. "I probably should have given you forewarning before I’d crawled in." Probably. "But if you’re not against it the solution does serve as both easiest and quickest."
Holden smiled slightly, “I think you are.” But he wouldn’t push it, but he still smiled wide at the other. Both hands were raised in defeat, but a laugh was leaving him despite everything.
An angry flush was forming across his face over his fuck up. He didn’t want pity, “Let’s just hope so.” He was angry on the inside over things he couldn’t change, but the medic seemed to be a bit similar, though maybe not angry. He couldn’t really place what the medic or who the medic was.
Another laugh left him, “You know you make things sound pretty good despite everything!” He clapped loudly, “Nostalgia is a bitch of a thing, but honestly I wouldn’t change anything about that neighborhood.” Hazel eyes looked up at the sky as he smiled, “You’d like I think.”
That was a sad thought, “Home is a good thing to have and yeah sometimes it’s hard to find, but I… You’ll find it.” He watched the other stretch.
"I see." For a moment there even flickered what could almost be called fear in blue eyes, Arcade finally looking away from Holden again as if the scenery was the best thing since sliced bread. And sliced bread was pretty damn nice at that… but he knew it was likely his avoidance of such was perhaps as plain as day. But, thankfully, it appeared as if the other merc was willing to drop the issue and for a second the younger man would truly earn a smile of gratitude for it - after all, of course the blond Medic preferred it to not be something brought up.
Hopefully the boy would forget it ever happened too.
Anger. Noting it he didn’t press the issue nor did he show any of those flickers of sympathy towards him - he understood pride after all and knew it was not his right to pry towards things that, while he was curious admittedly, not his business to know. Instead he offered the other man a nod of agreement and mused words. "One can always dream." Even if he knew firsthand how little that helped in matters… but the boy did not deserve that either. Dreaming was good for the young and the hopeful.
It was the other’s laugh that brought that bemused smile hovering on Arcade’s lips, leaning a bit as he propped his chin back up comfortably against his hand and winked towards Holden. "You know, maybe I’m useful for something after all." A pause. "Aside from patching everyone else up and taking my turn at cooking duty." That in and of itself generally turned out to be a comically interesting adventure due to varying tastes. "It sounds like it was a good time and a good experience, hardships or not. I envy you them." But he’d never take them away from him.
"Mmm… maybe." Maybe not. But Arcade knew realism as much as he preferred so many ideological beliefs, perhaps painfully so, and he knew better than to get such hopes up.
For illusion of strength,
cut out your weaknesses.
For the reality of humanity,
embrace all your shortcomings.
Molly huffed. "When people say you’re too young to deal with that, that just means they don’t like having to deal with kids with. Besides, Uncle Jean-Paul says learning to deal with that is growing up." Uncle Jean-Paul rarely had good advice, but when she thought he had a pearl that was useful, she kept it. Not to necessarily follow, but just in case it came in handy. Then after a a pause of thought, Molly asked. "What does nuance mean?” That was something Uncle Jean-Paul would have zilch.
"Whatcha researching?" Molly asked. She’d never heard the word much outside the Follower camp. She broke it down to re-search, so assumed he was looking up old Pre-War stuff that might be useful again. Her Mom had said ‘research recipes’ once to mean up looking up cook books. "Are you looking for Old-World books for how to make stuff? If you’re looking for Old-War books on how to make chems I know a guy."
"How old are you?" The question was a simple one, but Arcade continued on moments after. "Seven? Eight?" Another pause. "Molly, relationships can be something difficult for even grown men and women to handle. With multiple people being involved - you and another, or more in the case of some, there comes multiple views… and not all always follow the other’s well." Oh wouldn’t he know that painfully well. But thoughts of that person were only pushed away, fingers thrumming again his arm in thought for a moment. "Nuances are basically subtle differences."
"I research the medicinal properties of naturally occurring substances within the Mojave. Mostly plantlife." Ahhhh such an age-old litany, but that in and of itself was okay too.. right? Either way he didn’t mind sharing that information. "While I do enjoy reading Pre-War books-" As is his room wasn’t giveaway enough with that. "-I don’t believe I’m in need of a book quite like that."
There were pre-war books scattered throughout the Wasteland if one took the time to search, but legible, undamaged pre-war books were a rarity. Lone had a large collection himself, primarily of fictional stories and books pertaining to the medical practice – two things he had a great deal of interested in, though medical jargon was still foreign to him. Attempting to become fluent was a slow, tedious process, and he much preferred to read about dragons and lions and wizards and words in which war never took place, or was easily resolved. Peaceful worlds where everyone was happy.
He’d read dystopian novels as well, but they reminded him too much of certain factions in the Wasteland.
Though his staring was pointed out, he didn’t look away from the doctor. “I haven’t seen many men with blonde hair. It’s a nice change,” he offered with a slight shrug of his shoulder – his injured one, which didn’t appear to be bothering him. Still numb. Thank god for that, because he’d practically been withering earlier. “And you’re cleaner than some practitioners I’ve come across. I appreciate that.”
As he took a seat on the nearest piece of furniture, Lone slid his thumbs into the loops of his trousers and bounced his heels to keep himself from becoming too lax. In all honesty, he was probably fatigued, probably in need of a good nights sleep and a decent meal, but his body had passed the point of indicating this a long time ago. It was like certain receptors had been numbed. Which was no surprise, as he did have permanent radiation damage to his internal organs.
“I’ve been trying to learn medical terms. Myocardial infarction, emphysema, pulmonary oedema, hypertension,” he began conversationally. “Their use seems unnecessary when people will generally understand ‘heart attack’. But I don’t intend to go anywhere with it, anyway.” He wasn’t sure why he was bothering. He didn’t care to learn medical terminology, and it wasn’t as if learning was going to bring his dad back. It wasn’t a bad idea to memorize the aid, though. It would enable him to help himself and others a little better if he had medical knowledge beyond the first-aid his father had taught him.
“By the way,” he added as an afterthought. “I may need to borrow a shirt.”
As it stood Arcade’s own collection had taken years of accumulation to gather, between his own searching through ruins, those received as gifts, and those he’d purchased from various merchants. It was a certainly eclectic collection at best, covering a little of everything without exceptional rhyme or reason. There were in particular numerous medical volumes and a large section of various-sourced philosophy, but really… he honestly could read anything he got his hands on.
There were by far worse hobbies a man could have after all.
The observation almost caused him to blanch, mentally backpedaling rapidly as he considered the implications and uttered as offhandedly as he could. "It happens." Blond hair surely wasn’t that uncommon, was it? Perhaps here in the Mojave. But the Follower didn’t want to consider that option as something damn well noticeable. "Blond hair is nothing really noteworthy about anyone. It’s just a color." Hahaha ha haa… However he was quick to latch onto the latter words, continuing on quickly in the hopes of taking the other’s attention from that. "It does little good to spread infection when trying to tend to someone. Alas, sometimes there really isn’t a choice otherwise in the matter." One could only get so clean in the wasteland after all.
While the strange had already unsettled the blond man at least he listened to instruction well enough - Arcade didn’t have to fight with him to get him to move off his floor and away from bleeding on his books. Sure, where he picked perhaps wasn’t entirely the greatest but let’s face it… wouldn’t be the first time he’d have to clean blood out or off any of his possessions. The younger man looked painfully wiped and that too was perhaps something best understandable, giving situation and injury… and he made certain to grab his supplies in order to settle them on the small table close by before he moved to closer inspect the gash.
Thankfully initial appearances only promised that it needed a damn good cleaning and some stitches - both of which were rather easy to do, despite how it might be painful for him. in the long run he really preferred to do it without involving any sort of chems - he didn’t know this man and he knew firsthand that some people certainly had adverse reactions towards such.
Still, interest flickered in blue eyes as Arcade listened to the man as he started to work on cleaning the injury out, hands slow and touches gently to try to minimize the pain. "Most occupations certainly had their own jargon. The medical field back then - and occasionally even now - was no different." A thoughtful pause. "I’ll tell you what. Don’t give me any troubles in handling this-" He motioned towards the wound. "And I’ll let you borrow one or two of my books you might be interested in. I do expect them back though." At least he didn’t ask for collateral, something that probably would be a good idea, but while it wasn’t a pleasant thought he was resigned to loosing a book or two. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
"Not one of mine; you’d be swimming in it." A fair point. "We have spare supplies however - when I’m done and you feel up to moving I can show them to you to see if there’s something in there you can use."