Day 074: Pain Remembered
Summary: Luther has Galle look at his injured finger, and they talk about the past and the present.
Date: 11 August 2016
Related: First and Last and Nineteen Years Too Late
Luther Galle 


Healers' Tent, New Coesbur
It's a tent, a big one. With healery stuff in it.
74 Days After Landing

Back from Mount Weather for a third time, Luther kom Trikru approaches the healers' tent in what will soon be New Coesbur with more than a little trepidation. His left hand is cradled in close to his body, held gingerly and carefully, protected by his right hand. Like the big kid he sometimes is, he loiters around outside, glancing around and scuffing at the ground with his feet as if looking for an excuse not to go into the tent, and then he finally lets out a little huff of air and advances on the tent flap.

The healers' tent is empty — or almost empty. Galle kom Trikru is busying herself at a roughly put together shelving unit, stacking jars and containers together in specific organization structure. She is currently standing on her very tiptoes, trying to edge a small box onto the top-most shelf. She huffs in annoyance, dropping back to her heels the moment Luther enters the empty tent. Her expression changes abruptly from casual annoyance to something harder to read — but for a brief moment, there is a look of tired wariness before it is masked behind a healer's guise. Her gaze immediately falls to his hand, and she sighs. "Have a seat," she says simply, gesturing him almost professionally to a stool.

For all of his trepidation, a hint of a smile touches Luther's lips as he sees her stretching to settle the box. He ignores her direction at first, stepping toward her and reaching out a hand to take the box. If she'll hand it over, he steps past her, the motion bringing his body in close to hers, close enough to notice, but not so close that it would have been uncomfortable before the celebration. His right hand reaches up, and he puts the box in its place. No comment, no chiding, no teasing. Just handling the problem… if she'll let him.

Galle frowns slightly, but hands over the box. Her gaze follows him, and she takes the smallest step back when they get too close to each other. She waits quietly until the box is put away with the others, and then she explains quietly, "Poppy… I don't want it to be an easy thing for others to grab." Then she clears her throat, gesturing with open hands. "Let me see it," she says, indicating the hand. "What were you doing when you injured it?"

That step back settles a little frown around the corner of Luther's lips, but he nods at her words, carefully stepping back himself as she speaks. And then she demands his hand, and he offers it out, palm-down. His ring-finger is already swelling with bruising, the nail bloody and cracked. "Pinched it in a tree-fall." He watches her watching him, and then adds in, "I could move it right after. Now…" his shoulders rise and fall in a little shrug, "Less."

Galle is very careful with the hand as she looks over the hand. Her mouth sets into a thoughtful line as she gently feels along the hand, careful of the finger. "I'll need to feel the bone," she tells him. She nods him to a seat now, gently guiding him there. Once he sits, she looks up to his eyes, holding hers steady with his. "This will hurt… are you ready?" When he gives the go ahead, she will start to feel along the bone to see if there are any noticable breaks.

Luther moves over to the stool as he's led, settling down carefully, bracing the stool with his free hand. "Yeah, you always do, don't you?" And then he realizes that there's a double entendre there, and winces, his eyes flicking down and away from her gaze. "Go, go." His eyes close, and he braces himself for the pain, but still hisses a little as she probes his digit.

Galle actually smiles a bit at his double entendre, though he doesn't see the smile with his eyes averted. She works along the bone carefully, and then she shakes her head. "No break… you've just angered it… swelling and bruising, and I hope you weren't terribly attached to that fingernail." She leaves him, setting his hand down gently on the neighboring table. She steps away to grab some supplies, including a splint of wood and cloth to wrap it with. She returns, and takes a seat on her own stool. She elevates his hand, and begins to apply a cooling salve and some crushed parsley to the swelling and bruising. She is silent as she works.

"I… angered… my finger?" That draws Luther's gaze back up, and however tight his eyes are with the pain, there's a little smile and a touch of laughter at the corners of his lips. Watching her walk away, he glances aside a moment to his hand, "I don't know. I guess I'm only partially attached to it right now." When she takes up his hand, those of his fingers that are not-smashed twitch a little unconsciously, brushing over the back of her hand. Clearing his throat, he glances behind him and lowers his voice, "Uh… did I have my necklace… after the celebration?"

"You're good at angering people… angering a finger does not seem to be a far stretch." There could be a bite to those words, but there isn't. It isn't said in jest either, though perhaps it had meant to be. She has her head ducked slightly as she works now, focusing on his hand as if there is not an arm or shoulder, and thus person attached to it. The touch of his fingers is noticed, but she merely breathes in slowly and focuses on her task. She begins to set a split along the fingers, starting to wrap cloth around the finger and the narrow pieces of wood. When he asks after his necklace, she immediately goes still, wrap mind-rotation. She looks up at him, and she clears her throat too, "You mean when you were… with me?"

"It's a talent. One of my many." Luther clearly is jesting, but when she freezes at his question, his shoulders tense, and he nods slowly, keeping his voice pitched low and quiet, "Yes. I haven't seen it since the celebration. I'm… trying to track it down. I don't know if I had it when… when I walked you home." Which isn't exactly what happened, but probably close enough. Certainly as close as skittish-Luther is going to get for now.

Galle looks up toward him now, holding his hand gingerly. She breathes out a sigh, and then finishes wrapping his hand. "I meant to give it back to you," she confides. She gently crosses his hand over his chest, having it rest against his opposite shoulder so it stays elevated. That done, she stands slowly and crosses to her personal belongings — items kept in a small corner of the tent with her bedroll. She kneels down, and begins to pull out a familiar stained dress, wrapped around itself several times.

Luther blinks at that, "Oh… you have it." He shifts on the stool, the wood betraying him by giving off a creak. The other fingers of his left hand curl over his shoulder, leaving his ring finger sticking up in its splint. Licking his lips a little, Luther notes, "I was… just making sure it wasn't lost for good." There's even something in those words that seems to suggest that the Healer could keep the necklace if she wanted, but then he clears his throat and adds, "Thanks for bringing it out to me." There goes that idea.

"I came looking to give it to you, but someone told me you had already left for here," Galle explains, seeming more and more awkward as she pulls out the thong of leather and its various baubles. She steps forward, holding it between her fingers, and offers it to him. The offering is brief however, as she's curling her fingers tighter around it, noting nonchalantly, "I'll retie it. You shouldn't try to fuss with that hand."

Even as she's making the offer and retracting it, Luther lifts his left hand slightly to indicate that he certainly can't retie the knot. "Yeah. Like your shoes." There, he admitted that he returned them as well, "I tried to bring them back to you, but you weren't… well… much of anywhere. Not at your house, not at the Healing House, not at Komfi's." Settling his left hand down in his lap, the Warrior uses his right to draw his dreadlocks forward, over his right shoulder, as he half-turns to present that side and the back beyond to her.

Galle steps behind him, drawing the thong around his neck loosely so she can see to the knot. She blinks in surprise when he lists off the places he sought her in order to return her shoes, and the mention of Komfi draws a slight thoughtful frown on her lips. "I'm sure Komfi wasn't terribly helpful…" Then she drops her gaze to the knot, carefully drawing the leather ends together in what had once been known as a surgeon's knot. "Thank you… for returning my shoes, and leaving the flower… and the rose wine." And now he knows what Komfi was up to.

"She didn't have the slightest clue where you were." Which isn't to say she wasn't helpful. And confusing. And meddlesome. Almost unconsciously, Luther leans back slightly when the knot is tied and the weight settles around his neck again, as if to get contact between her fingers and the back of his neck. "You're wel — " And then he stops, "Rose wine?" He's not a good liar, or maybe he would try to pass that off. Suddenly, his eyes narrow, and he slowly turns his head toward the northeast, toward Tondc. Letting out a little breath of exasperation, he considers for a long moment sharing what Komfi shared with him, then just notes, "Glad you liked the flower. Didn't really know it went with the wine."

The sudden touch of his skin against her fingers causes hers to twitch the same way his had earlier. Galle looks down at his dreadlocked head, mouth twitching slightly with a hint of smile — a smile that dies quickly on her lips when he shows his confusion for the wine. "Oh… I…" She frowns, fingers dropping away suddenly, breaking the connection. "I thought — " Then she shakes her head, drawing away from him. When she steps back around him, she does so with that closed-off expression again. "You should keep your hand elevated, and come back to see me tomorrow for some ointment." She is stepping back toward her shelves, back kept purposefully to him.

A smile settles onto Luther's lips as well, and for a moment, there's a frozen tableau of the two smiling faintly, both looking in the same general direction, just that little connection of her fingers on his neck. And then she draws away, and Luther's shoulders slouch just a touch, but he nods, pulling his dreadlocks over his shoulder and down his back again and then returning his left hand to his right shoulder, "You thought I was trying to remind you of… Polis." A faint chuckle rises to his lips, a dry, wan sort of sound, and he almost says 'I was,' and mentions the rosebud. But instead, he shakes his head just a touch, "Komfi asked me to bring it over to you." Which may be a hint that the old woman has ulterior motives in and of itself.

<FS3> Galle rolls Wit+wit: Success. (4 3 2 4 8 5 6 1)

Galle does not turn around to him, finding something absolutely unnecessary to fiddle with on the shelves. She doesn't speak when he makes his assumption, but there is something in her shoulders and the slightest way her head bows that says affirmative. She picks up a jar, and shuffles it to another shelf. When Komfi is mentioned, the healer snorts indelicately. "Why would Komfi send ov — " Then she blinks, turning slightly to him. "To remind me of Polis." Then she sighs heavily, and looks back at the shelves, this time her jaw set in mild frustration.

Luther's eyebrows lift slightly as Galle works through it, dry humor still lacing his expression and voice, "I guess she thought it was a good memory." Finally, he rises, re-adjusting his necklace a little, and then shrugs, forcing humor into memories that are more than a little painful, "Proof that even Komfi doesn't know everything, right?" And then the Warrior starts toward the open flap of the tent, "Thank you, Galle. For the hand. You set me straight, as usual." Because a pun will make everything better, right? …Until he realizes that could be a double entendre too. Damn it.

"Guess so," Galle says in a slightly choked voice. She has picked back up the jar she just set down, turning it over and over again in her hands. Her posture has changed slightly — more slumped and inward curled. She is tracing her finger over the jar's surface, but does not seem to be looking at it. She is late in registering his thank you, offering a soft noise of acknowledgment. She does not notice the pun or the double entendre.

The tightness to her voice turns Luther around, caught there for a long moment. But years of friendship overwhelm days of awkwardness, and he steps back across the tent, reaching out with his right hand to lightly touch her near shoulder, "Hey. You okay?" Worry creases his brow and ripples through his words, tightening them in turn.

<FS3> Galle rolls Resolve-3: Great Success. (7 7 5 7 7 4 2)

The touch to her shoulder draws her slightly in toward him, and she just holds the jar lightly in one hand, curled against her belly. The question is met with a small shake of her head, while she simultaneously says, "Yes, of course." She intakes a deep breath, looking up at him. She gives him a full smile — or at least the fullest smile her lips can offer without it so much as touching those steady blue eyes. "I'm sorry, Luther… for being so… sharp with you."

<FS3> Luther rolls Alertness: Good Success. (3 7 2 8 6 1)

Luther starts to nod, accepting the words and the apology, his own lips even curving into a smile, but then his dark eyes catch her brilliant ones, and a little frinkle starts to gather at the bridge of his nose. Still, he lets out a tiny breath of air and pushes the smile further, just as fake as her own now, "Were you sharp with me? I didn't notice anything different from usual." First line of defense for Luther kom Trikru: humor. Standing close to her again, meeting her gaze, there's that slight increase in gravity that feels like it might draw him down to her, but he resists, bobbing his head a little and then stepping back, his hand sliding down off the side of her shoulder, along her upper arm, and then away. "You'll have to let me know when you're being really sharp."

<FS3> Galle rolls Resolve-3: Good Success. (1 6 4 8 7 2 8)

Galle is too wise in her ways to not notice the defensiveness, and she draws both hands around the jar. She tries to keep her smile in place, but it falters slightly. As he steps back, tracing his hand down her arm, she feels a soft shiver start at the base of her spine. She looks after him for a moment, speaking softly, "I never…" Then the words die away, and she shakes her head. "It was not unpleasant," she offers finally. "The night of the celebration." She offers a small smile. "I just wanted you to know that." Or at least that's all she will allow herself to let him know. Then she turns back to the shelves. "Tomorrow morning, don't forget."

"You never…?" And then she's shaking her head, and Luther lets her speak again. There's a part of him that is wildly relieved at her words, and… a part of him, a teeny tiny little part, that is mildly offended. Of course it was not unpleasant. Instead, he just nods his head, going back to his best stoic-Trikru face, although cracked a little by the tightness around his eyes and the plastered-over smile, "I won't forget. And no, it wasn't unpleasant." He steps back, watching her study the shelves she probably already has memorized, and then murmurs under his breath, "That's why I left the rose." Maybe it's just for him, maybe it's meant for her, but if so, it's barely loud enough to reach her ears. And then he's walking back toward the entry to the tent.

<FS3> Galle rolls Alertness: Good Success. (1 2 4 8 1 4 4 3 8)

Unsatisfied with how that entire interaction just went, Galle almost misses his murmured words. In fact, she only catches a few of them, but the sentiment is there. She does not say anything else to stop him though, feeling at a complete loss. She just waits until he is out the tent before she sets down the jar in a place it doesn't belong, and slowly lowers herself onto the stool. She drops her eyes to her hands, which worry at her opposite knuckles a couple times before she quickly brushes her hands repeatedly down the length of her thighs. It does nothing for her, but leaves her hands tingling slightly. She is only allowed to feel the weight of this loneliness for another few breaths before someone new is at the tent, and seeking her skills.

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