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Author Topic: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]  (Read 1918 times)

Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« on: February 05, 2018, 02:18:44 AM »
846

Medical knowledge was something Nack would not admit he struggled with. Of course he had to learn at least the basics, even if he didn't intend to pursue any kind of medic path, but just because he had to didn't mean he was going to excel at it. That was what class was for, to teach him. Except then he had to pay total attention and stop fidgeting so he could listen to the instructions. Something he found particularly difficult. So when it came to proving that he had paid attention during the instructions on how to properly bandage somebody's hand if broken or bleeding profusely, it was bad enough testing it out in his head. Let alone with a partner.

A line of bandages held taut, he surveyed the hand, trying to look like he was imagining the wound, while he was actually struggling to work out how to tie it properly. Not wanting to look like a total fool to his partner, he placed one edge on the back of the hand, and then began to wrap it around, sliding between forefinger and thumb.

... No, that wasn't right.

Eyebrows creased, he hesitated, then cleared his throat and slid the edge of the bandage to the palm. That was probably better, to have it in the centre. So he committed, managing to get a total two full wraps in before he froze.

"Uh, wait. It's meant to be at the back. Right? Because in the middle would allow blood to escape... If bleeding from the palm. Or it wouldn't tighten enough? Shit."

Once more he unwrapped it, this time committing to wrapping it around, edge plastered to the back, and he only stopped when he realised that there was no support for the bandage because he'd forgotten to loop it between thumb and forefinger. It left the cloth to slowly slide down the hand to the wrist. « Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 11:48:21 AM by Nack Tierce »
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Open]
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 10:25:33 AM »
Really, Struna wasn't best suited for battlefield medicine.  Back home, the local carpenter doubled up as the village surgeon, because he was handiest with a saw.  If any of the fisher folk mangled their limbs out on the water - slipping from the rigging, or growing cold and stiff from being continually doused in winter lakespray, their extremities turning black and unfeeling - it was he who would cleave them free of the offending flesh.  The threat of the carpenter's table was enough to make most mindful.

So why all the fuss over a cut hand?  Couldn't they just rub dirt into the imaginary gash and call it cared for?

Dark hair tumbled loose and uncombed, Struna watching wordlessly as her comrade struggled to bandage her hand.  He kept coming so close to succeeding, only for the linens to slip down her wrist in loose, soft folds of gauze.

"Ah, I'm not sure," Struna grumbled good-naturedly, puffing out her cheeks.  ​"Can't I just grab hold of a strip?  Honestly, then you could bind my whole fist."  But they wouldn't get a good grade for squeezing through loopholes.  It had taken a while for Struna to learn that succeeding didn't matter a damn if it wasn't done by the book.  She needed to focus, to recall the demonstration their instructor had provided them with - except, at that time, she had been distracted by a beautiful cloud of starlings in the distance, the innumerable birds moving in an ever-shifting murmuration.  It had to be a sign, and a good one at that.​  "Right, let's start again," Struna asserted with a nod and a smirk; suddenly she was feeling lucky.  ​"We begin at the wrist, right?  Start there, and work your way up."
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Open]
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 11:32:45 AM »
Her suggestion on binding the fist almost tempted him, but he figured they might get in trouble for it, or marked down, or something like that. He wasn't all too keen on getting needlessly harassed for not doing something properly despite it making some relative sense. How many times was he going to have to bandage somebody hand where they couldn't help to a degree? Hand injuries couldn't be that common. And if anybody gave the excuse of 'well, Titans', he was pretty sure Titans would just bite the entire hand off, not just make it bleed a little in the middle.

The thought made him shudder. Nack turned his attention back to their goal. "Start again," he echoed, unwrapping the bandage, tempted to throw it on the floor and be done with it. No, stop. Impulsive thoughts, be gone. He took a breath, and started at the wrist, wrapping it around once so it stayed still. "Like that?" he checked.

Stupid bandages, just trying to be difficult, making me look like an idiot.

Calming himself, the brunet began to wrap the bandage around once more, pausing once he got up to the thumb. "Do I wrap around the thumb and hand, or wrap around the thumb then go back to the hand?" It would look like a mitten if the former, and glove if the latter. Wouldn't it? Or maybe it was a stump if the former, mitten the latter. Uncomfortable to boot.

"It'll just unravel anyway, what's the point?" Muttering under his breath, he stared at the line of linen.
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2018, 06:09:36 PM »
“Yeah, I think so!” Struna chirped, huddling a little closer, watching Nack’s movements as he began the task of bandaging her hand over again.  He did remarkably well at disguising his frustration; she didn’t detect the rumblings of annoyance bubbling within the boy opposite her.  “Hmm,” Struna hummed as Nack hesitated, the tip of her tongue pressing thoughtfully to the corner of her mouth.  “Maybe leave my thumb free…?  I guess we oughta go at an angle but…”  Did they go through the space between thumb and forefinger, or at an angle towards her little finger?

It was then, as she mused quietly to herself, that Nack’s veneer cracked a little, pouring light onto his annoyed countenance.  Struna frowned briefly, though she felt she could understand his exasperation.  “Yeah, this whole thing seems pretty pointless.  If I got a cut on my hand, I wouldn’t be buggin’ anyone to wrap it.  And if I got chomped, there’d only be a stump t’ wrap… that’d be easier, eh?”  It was a grisly image but still the girl laughed cheerfully, hooking a rogue strand of unruly black hair behind an ear.  “Wind it up between my thumb and first finger.  That’ll do rightly.  Maybe it’ll even help anchor the bit at my wrist.”  Struna giggled again, much too joyful for their being stuck in class, learning lessons that were (apparently) of little use and of even less interest.  “C’mon, we got this, Dr. Tierce!”
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 06:23:24 PM »
As she spoke, he nodded in agreement slowly. She was echoing his sentiments well, and that gave him the chance to voice them without risking offending or pushing her away. "Right? Titans aren't gonna just scratch us with their fingernails and walk off," he mumbled, "Unless you go around polishing your blades without being careful or getting into a fight, what's the point of knowing this?" He put on an exaggerated voice, mimicking their instructor, "It's a step to knowing more, you never know what'll happen out there!"

Staring at her thumb, Nack debated what it would look like as she described it, then wrapped the bandage to go between thumb and forefinger, disliking how air bubbled the linen as he continued to wrap it around, until the end appeared. "Thank you, Patient Mayberry," he said, cheeks flushing at how awkward it sounded, trying to copy her. "Then I can just tuck this in..."

As he figured out how to do that, he went back to their topic. "I guess it might be helpful sometimes, for accidents. Or civilians with knives. They have those sometimes, you know? Especially in the districts. They'll cut you if you're carrying anything the least bit expensive, or you look at them wrong. Once, before here," he started, going into one of his Stories. It had some semblance of truth, referring to things he had seen, or heard about, though he had never actually been the victim of any such thing. "I got cornered, when I was coming home with food. These feral, grubby kids cornered me, a little older than me, brandishing knives. Like actual kitchen knives. They told me, 'you give it to us, or we'll cut you'. I couldn't just hand off food, right? We were good with money but that's food, you don't give it away." Had he told people his family was rich or poor? He couldn't remember. Maybe it was vague enough. At least he didn't give a timeline.

"Anyway. They weren't backing down, and nobody was with me, and they were pointing these knives at me. Saying how they could stab me and stuff, nobody'd find me, real cruel shit to make me panic, I guess? I kept saying no, was hoping somebody'd just walk past and I'd be okay. But nobody did, and they were getting impatient, so I ran for it." Wait, didn't he say he was cornered? No, couldn't stop now. "So, I'm running, they're chasing me, I'm trying not to yell for somebody, when I feel this pain on my back. They cut me! I'm pretty quick at running though, and once I got back where others were, soldiers especially, they vanished. Too scared to get caught. But I was bleeding. When I got home, my ma patched it up, cleaned it, all that. So I guess sometimes knowing that stuff helps."

While he'd been spoken, he had managed to tuck in the end of linen, so it seemed mostly secure. To be sure, he gave it a slight tug around so the wrist wasn't so loose. There. "This seems about right," he said, relieved to have figured it out along with her. "How does that feel?"
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 12:22:03 PM »
Hearing Nack impersonate the instructor - ​it was rather ​bold​ of him​, she felt, as there was some small risk they might be overheard - Struna giggled​ brightly​.​  Her partner seemed to have found his feet, wrapping the linen around her uninjured hand with growing confidence.​  She liked that he played along with her silliness, calling her his patient even as a blush rose in his cheeks, and she couldn't help but laugh again, the sound low in her throat.

​Naturally, she ​hushed as he told his story​.  It was easy enough to imagine Nack as a boy, wide-eyed and rounder in the face, tasked with fetching groceries.  ​​​​​​​​​​"Knives​​?"​ Struna hissed, frowning at the thought.  Brawls were common in her village, and there were some bandits who patrolled the open waters, growing fat on the catches of others, but violence like this was alien to her.  Especially as it involved children.  From what she had seen and heard, the districts were poverty-stricken, rock pools teaming with the lowest, most desperate forms of human life.

In truth, the contradictions of Nack's story didn't register.  In her mind's eye, a young and panicked boy - all out of options - barrelled past the thugs, bolting to freedom.  Violet eyes watched him intently in the present, her focus having shifted from the winding linen to his face.  ​Struna had grown up on a diet of tall tales and sailors' stories; of drowned men of the lake who, on certain nights, would reach out with pale, bloated fingers to drag the unsuspecting to a watery grave; of nymphs who frolicked and played in the shallows, sometimes granting wishes, other times tearing into warm, willing human flesh with unnaturally sharp teeth.

Compared to those legends, a story about an attempted mugging seemed easily within the realms of the believable.

"Cowards," Struna grumbled.  Who cut a boy in the back as he fled?  Pondering this, the dark-haired girl was quiet for a moment.  Another question weighed on her tongue.  Maybe it wasn't her place to ask, but Struna couldn't resist. ​"Did... did it leave a scar?"

​As Nack's story ended, so too did his task of bandaging her hand.  ​"Yeah, feels fine!  Secure, like.​"  Struna crinkled her nose happily as she flexed and wiggled her fingers experimentally, finding the linens stayed in place. ​"S'pose it's my turn to do you now.  Which hand d'you want wrapped?"
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 01:39:30 PM »
She latched onto his every word, it seemed, and it grew his confidence further to be listened to, not even questioned on the parts he regretted not phrasing better. There was a blend of relief and pride twisting within his chest, and it felt like his ego had soared. When people listened to him and were taken in by his stories, nothing quite compared. To be listened to suggested he was liked, that his words were worth paying attention to, so he was worth their attention.

A scar. Shit. He hadn't thought about a scar. But not everything left a scar, right? Sure, he could work that in, give an excuse for why. "It did for a bit, but it was really faint and healed up in no time. I got real lucky," he explained, hoping she bought that. Outside of cutting his finger a little once when chopping up vegetables for dinner, he really didn't know what it was like to be cut. Especially not on the back, or purposefully.

Watching her examine the bandage of her hand, he smiled, reassured that he hadn't been a complete failure in this lesson. "Great. And uh, yeah. Uh..." He looked at his hands before offering his right one. Left-handed, so if they had to do anything else he'd still have his dominant hand at the ready without any issues from wrapped linen. "This'll do."

Nack positioned his hand at the ready, as she had done. "So I suppose there are some uses for learning this, but hopefully we don't waste too much time on it, you know?" Was that right, he wondered. "Like you said, if anything we'll probably be wrapping stumps. Which'll probably be easier too. No fingers to worry about," he tried to joke.
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 10:11:36 PM »
The lack of lasting evidence did nothing to challenge Nack’s tale in Struna’s mind - there was no saying how sharp the blade had been, how powerful the thrust, how deep the cut.  “I don’t know, scars tell their own stories, y’know?  I kinda like ‘em.”  Struna smirked, inwardly debating whether it was lucky or unlucky that the mark had healed.  Perhaps she was biased, on some level hoping that the scars that adorned her limbs - small, faint and silvery, almost like faded stretch marks - were not as unattractive as the occasional stares she received in the girls’ washroom would have her believe.  Those ghostly blemishes were not born of self-loathing, or a need for stinging, aching release, but out of a desire to appease the lake - and to always stay lucky.   

​As Nack offered her his right hand, Struna shuffled closer, giggling darkly at his morbid jest.  ​“Fingers are the tricky part,” she chirped, much too cheerfully, the tip of her tongue pressed to the corner of her mouth in concentration.  Struna looped the bandage around Nack’s wrist - twice, to anchor it in place.  “Feels like cheatin’…” she commented quietly, now winding the linen at an angle, feeding it through the space between Nack’s thumb and forefinger.  ​​“​I mean, you went first, so now all I gotta do is copy what you did.”  Violet eyes flicked up to regard her partner, her grin softening into a kinder smile.  “I’ll go first next time, t’ keep things fair.”
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2018, 12:06:26 AM »
I kinda like 'em. So he'd said the wrong thing. Nack paused for a moment, then switched his opinion. "I mean, I was lucky it didn't go too deep, you know? A scar really would have helped the story. Or just looked impressive," he shrugged, doing his best to act as though he'd always thought that. Unless she noticed the way his eyes had widened and his expression had drooped at the thought of her having an opposite opinion.

Struna did at least like his jokes, which put him back at ease. He watched as she wrapped the linen around his hand, agreeing with a nod to her words. "Let me do all the hard work," he teased, feeling the way it tightened slightly over his skin the more she wrapped it around. Even if it had made him look stupid, they'd worked together over it, and she didn't seem annoyed by how long it had taken him to get it. Her going first next sounded like perfect.

"I like that plan. You got it?" he asked, trying not to flex his fingers in case the bandage unravelled. "Feels pretty secure. Better than mine, obviously - always improve on the first edition, right?" Flattery, compliments - mostly true too, and neutral enough that he shouldn't have said anything she might strongly disagree with.

Of course, the next call of their class was to move on to the next part of the lesson: a demonstration on how to put an arm in a sling, for whatever reason - he stopped listening at that point, but he still watched how to put it in. Once the instructions had been given, and any questions dealt with, Nack turned back to his partner. "So, Dr. Mayberry, looks like I'm in need of a sling," he smiled.
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2018, 06:54:23 PM »
You got it?

“I think so,” Struna hummed, tucking the tail end of the bandage in and allowing her hands to drop away, so that Nack could flex his fingers and test her handiwork.  When the linen failed to unravel - and with Nack freely offering up a compliment - her face split with a delighted smile.  She might have thanked the boy for his kindness, or maybe would have allowed another teasing quip to fall from her lips, if the instructor hadn’t then called for the students’ attention.

To begin with, their teacher summarised several types of break and fracture - these grisly details were of morbid fascination to the captain’s daughter - but soon the preamble shifted into the actual process of forming a sling.  Dull.  Boring.  That crucial moment was when Struna’s attention waned.  Instead of focusing on the lesson, she allowed her violet eyes to skim the other students.  Again, this exercise seemed pointless.  If a soldier’s arm was broken in the field, out in Titan territory, would there even be an opportunity to sling it?  And within the Walls, there was always the infirmary.

Struna was quite content to daydream until, at last, they were allowed to begin practising on one another.  Good.  She always learned better by doing anyway.
​​
Dr. Mayberry.

That won a spell of quiet laughter.  “I don’t think there’s ever been a Dr. Mayberry, not in all the ages of the world!  M’afraid you’re in hard hands, Patient Tierce.”  Smirking - Nack was good banter, he made this drivel fun - she lifted the required fabric.  Large, billowing and undeniably square, it was quite unlike the finished product.  She squinted in the direction of the instructor, whose fully-functioning limb was currently cradled in a sling of neat fabric.  Still suspicious, thinking she had somehow been duped, Struna glanced at the other pairs.  They all seemed to be starting with the same nonsensical shape.

Well, this was going to be interesting.

“Right, c’mere… let’s get you sorted,” she spoke the words with a hopeful kind of confidence, moving closer to Nack and sizing him up.  Unsure of what else to do, she gripped the ends of the fabric - the linen bunching together untidily - and flipped it over her partner’s head, so it rested against his neck.  Like some poor mockery of a scarf.  Was this right?  Pausing, trying to guess the next step, Struna huffed dark hair out of her face.  Far from fretting over their task, she wore an expression of mischievousness.  “If all else fails, at least I’ll make you a fine cravat.”
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2018, 01:28:27 AM »
"You can start the trend," he smirked back. Watching as she lifted the new sheet, a square which looked odd compared to the roll of linen they'd just been working with, he tried to work out what exactly they were supposed to do. Surely it wasn't meant to be like that? Struna hardly looked confident either, looking around at others, perhaps for guidance, or else confusion, he couldn't tell.

Shifting on his seat to better position himself, he copied the posture of another 'patient' nearby, doing his best to look as though he wasn't blatantly staring across at them by sweeping his eyes past them. At least she was doing the more difficult part this time, which allowed him time to keep an eye on her actions and work out the steps - and hopefully correct any mistakes she made.

He felt the fabric curve against his neck and he gave her a confused look before settling into it. "Cravats are supposed to be cool now, aren't they?" he asked, a glint of amusement in his eyes as he raised his chin and attempted to look 'upper class', eyes half-closed and lips pouting. To further his impression, he put on an affected voice: "Why, I'm ever so delighted with the new accessory to my frankly wondrous wardrobe."

Bowing his head to her, he continued in the same voice, perhaps a little too loudly based on a glare shot his way. "Now, I'll need a cloak to go with it, in the exact shade - we must look extremely suitable for this upcoming banquet. More food than I expect you've ever seen." Accompanying it with a disdainful sniff, he turned his head.

Nack broke out of character as he turned back, a sheepish grin painting his lips.
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2018, 07:16:49 PM »
“Oh aye, they’re all the rage,” Struna agreed.  Apparently, there was a soldier in the Survey Corps who wore a cravat, and many others had adopted the fashion to emulate him.  For the life of her, Struna could not think of his name.  She wasn’t even convinced she knew it.  Tucking a loose strand of dark hair behind an ear, she pursed her lips thoughtfully - until her pondering was interrupted by Nack’s sudden shift in disposition.  Blinking in surprise, her expression morphed into one of pure delight and amusement.  The boy played the role of a stuffy, well-to-do gentleman beautifully.

There was no way she could resist joining in!

The sling was abandoned in a flash.  While nodding along to Nack’s faux pontificating, she crossed the two ends of fabric, folding the back piece up and over to form a very crude imitation of a cravat.  Those precious moments also gave her a chance to formulate her own reply.

“Your kind words please me, m’lord,” Struna demurred, spreading her fingers over her chest and averting her gaze, the adopted countenance somewhere between shy and humble.  Then she stole a fleeting glance at Nack, skimming his features before regarding the quite frankly pathetic cravat she had created.  “It suits you, sir.  ‘Tis a great privilege t’ work for the honorable Lord Tierce.”  Struna nodded, as though satisfied with her handiwork, and might have continued the show - by asking for more coin, so that she could feed her seven children, perhaps? - if she hadn’t at last cracked.  It was the disdainful sniff that did it, that perfect final touch.

The laughter was genuine, bubbling up joyfully.  It was enough to win her a frustrated shhhhh from a nearby try-hard cadet, as well as a very firm and threatening Mayberry from their instructor.  Struna immediately smothered the sound with the back of her hand, leaning in to unwind the makeshift cravat with the other, her eyes shining with suppressed laughter.  “Oops,” she whispered gleefully.  But now she was back to square one, with the fabric draped around Nack’s neck.  Could she just tie a knot to join the ends and call it done?  Violet eyes sought out Nack’s own shades of cursed brown as she decided to give this half-baked idea of hers a shot.  The corners of her mouth were still lifted in a devilish smile; that she had drawn further attention to them hadn’t fazed her in the slightest. 

“Tell you what, you’ve had quite the career.  First a doctor, then a patient, then a lord, now back t’ a patient?  Steady on, Nack!”  Struna teased him even as her head was bowed, deft fingers tying a knot to make the linen into a loop.  It looked untidy, but maybe… maybe it would do the job?
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2018, 12:08:13 PM »
As she fixed the sling into more of a proper cravat, his lips slid into a smile before quickly vanishing as he turned back into character. It was difficult to keep in character as she played her part. Honorable Lord Tierce. If only. Together they could have sent the entire room into fits of laughter if anybody had bothered to pay attention to their fantastic scene, the way they satirised the stuffed arses over in Wall Sina and how they almost definitely treated those beneath them.

The laughter that came from her caused his own chuckling fit, which he muffled with a hand before both a fellow cadet and the instructor pinned down on Struna. He didn't particularly wish to get into trouble, of course he didn't. But, if it was trouble for having fun, then it'd be worth it. He caught her gaze and his lips pursed together as he attempted to quell a chuckle threatening to escape, placing his hands down on the desk.

"Can't I be a Lord Doctor who has been tragically stabbed in the hand by some peasant," he drew back his lips to enunciate the word quite harshly, though winked at her. "That creature then damaged my arm!" The accent slipped back in easily as he raised his chin, feigning offence at the idea of some poor wretch attacking him. But what could the reasoning be? "Those blasted thieves are always attacking their betters in an attempt to murder for food. This is why they deserve nothing but the finest dirt to feed their filthy selves. Why, they should simply be thrown to the dogs - at least those are useful."

Looking back at her, Nack passed a smile to her before continuing, his accent vanishing as he took himself out of character in order to narrate. "Meanwhile, his ever-dedicated nurse Mayberry is also his maid who dresses her Lord each day because he is far too lazy to do so himself." 'Lord Tierce' returned promptly, a shift in his posture to straighten his back and the rise of his chin announcing it as he said: "Bah! Why should any lord lift a finger for themselves? In my role as a doctor," he sniffed, looking down his nose, "I simply recycle vials from the local apothecary and claim the fame for curing simple illnesses. My nurse is far more skilled than I, and I cannot even put a simple bandage on a hand!"
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Re: Doctor and Im-Patient. [Struna]
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2019, 07:31:08 PM »
As Nack splayed his hands upon the desk, Struna abandoned any notion of continuing with their task, at least for the time being. Instead she leaned in, eager for her partner's next performance. "A peasant?" Struna trilled in a tone of disgust, her eyes flashing as she gazed around them, as though fearful the depraved soul was somewhere nearby. While Nack was in full flow - colourfully outlining the reasons for this imaginary offence - she stored away a few quips of response, not wanting to interrupt his diatribe, confident she would soon have an opportunity to add to the silliness.

When he paused to smile her way, Struna snickered softly. Her efforts to stifle the sounds of her amusement succeeded until he began to narrate, then she giggled in earnest. There would never be cause to visit a playhouse, not when Nack was so thoroughly entertaining. His mannerisms and accent were uncanny, and every inch what the stormy-eyed cadet imagined those stodgy noble sorts to be like. The fact they had no audience did nothing to diminish the Struna's delight; if anything, she was thrilled that this show was only for the two of them.

"The finest dirt is too good for them, my dear Lord Doctor," Struna sniffed, reining in her mirth to lightly brush at Nack's shoulders, as though dusting him off after his tussle with the wayward peasant. Tilting her head, she flashed a single wild grin before diving into her own narration, indicated by a drop in her voice and the momentary loss of the contrived accent. "Nurse Mayberry is grateful t' the nips of liquor that get her through the day. Her job would drive anyone t' drink!"

The aside ended, and she recommenced her fussing over Nack's person, pretending now to straighten his uniform. Then, catching his hands in her own, she turned them over, allowing her thumbs to settle in the shallow wells of his palms. Loudly, she clucked her tongue in disapproval, and steeled herself for the precise enunciation this game required. "Could the thief not see that these hands are soft, and meant only for the finer things in life? Why, they ought not to lift anything heavier than a silver spoon!" Her eyes met Nack's as she aspired to an aghast expression of shock and horror, though the corner of her mouth quirked with a (mostly) suppressed smile.

"Perhaps, good doctor, they mistook you for some delicious morsel? A tender - " she hesitated for a moment, scrambling to think of the most ridiculously pompous and frivolous dish possible. " - A tender and unsuspecting dumpling?"

Fingers both slender and strong finally returned to the ramshackle sling. "I shall tend to you most gently, m'lord, and if that spoon weighs heavy in your hand, I shall hold it for you." Struna ducked her head, struggling now to hide a grin. With the gentleness she promised, she guided the knot in the linen to the back of Nack's neck, and lifted his 'injured' arm through the loop of narrow fabric.

Their instructor, who had taken to stalking the narrow alleyways between the desks, pausing here and there to dispense advice, halted by the pair with a disapproving shake of their head. "A poor effort, Mayberry. I hope you can improve on it, Tierce." With the expectant arch of an eyebrow, they continued their rounds.

Struna snickered, watching the instructor's retreating back before swallowing the cheerful sound and turning to her friend, slipping back into character. Nurse Mayberry was awfully affronted, apparently. "Sir, pray tell, am I losing my touch?!"
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