The Hand that Kills, Part 1

March 11, 2016:

After a battle with three mysterious, red-clad ninjas, Daredevil takes refuge with the Night Nurse

Hell's Kitchen, Claire's Apartment



Mentions: Hand


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The sticky, wet thuds of Daredevil's boots echo throughout the tall stairwell. It's especially odd given his history, but desperate times call for desperate measures. His head tilts upwards, red lenses of his mask catching light at an odd angle making his 'eyes' glow in the greenish light. In Matt's mind, he desperately tries to recall the apartment number and says a quick prayer to St. Jude as he uses the handrail to help pull himself up.
By the time he reaches her floor, he's shuffling along and near unconsciousness. The wound, a stab wound to his side is pretty deep. Worse, it took him quite a long time to get way back to the Kitchen. He reaches her door (hopefully) and pounds hard against it, three times. As if overcome by the effort, Daredevil leans his head against the door, propping himself up by the arm.
It's the hour of the night she knows it's not a friendly visit. Chances are, it's one of the ganger kids from the block who knew if he ended up with the cops again that'd be it. Maybe it was one of the heroes, but no one had come by for a week and in these slow periods, the woman who had become whisperingly referred to as 'The Night Nurse' wondered if she actually was going to find a peaceful life again. Maybe everyone collectively realized the insanity of what they were doing and would cease bleeding on her floor.
The Night Nurse has no such luck. She's from a half dozing sleep to awake in two seconds, heart jumping into adrenaline fueled triple time. She pulls on an old gray shirt over her booty shorts and sports bra which served as her pajamas. She's then double time jogging across her apartment and looks out the peep hole to make certain it's not someone with a gun or a knife. Or, frankly, it's not someone who looks healthy. Healthy was dangerous. Instead, she only catches half the face of a slumped, masked man. "…Of course." She mutters to herself, quickly undoing bolt and chain. The door opens with a scent of *Claire* so strongly on the air — the spicy touch of food she cooked hours ago, cocoa butter she rubbed across her skin after her shower, vanilla of her shampoo, and the distant but still present tinge of disinfectant that practically lives in her skin. She asks no questions, she just immediately slips an arm beneath his shoulders and takes his slumped weight onto her. The door behind them is kicked shut with her foot as she moves for the couch.
Earlier in the night it was a scene of organized chaos. Three men, dressed similarly to the man in Claire's arms, had been attacking him from different angles with assorted martial arts weaponry. He'd been warned that they might come, eventually, and now they had. For what reason, he wasn't sure; he'd need to see Stick as soon as possible.
That is, of course, if he survives this.
"Really hoping this is the right place," Daredevil mutters even as his blood soaked side slaps against her clothing. The scents are pleasing to him, especially given that he's spent his evening with such fragrances as body odor, halitosis, wet pavement, and everyone's favorite: the cold metal of a sai.
The woman is warm against him, the lingering heat of sleep on her skin even if her body is awake the same way a soldier wakes up during war time — ready for action. Claire doesn't shy away from the feel of blood on her side, the shirt she wears already holding tell tale echoes of other nights like this, with other people bleeding on her. She leverages his weight with training, a nurse used to moving people twice her size. Soon, he's being folded down into the comfort of her old, solid couch.
"Well, if there is another nurse on this side of New York who is used to half dead people collapsing on her door at 2 am, then you have the wrong place. Go find her. I'm closed for business." Claire's only slightly accented voice deadpans, husky tone trying to keep some amusement on the air as she reaches down to where the worst of the blood is, giving it the briefest look before she grabs at the trauma kit beneath her coffee table and tugs it out. A wad of clean gauze is going tightly against the wound, applying heavy pressure with expert hands as she goes to assessing him quickly otherwise.
Matt winces as the gauze touches against the wound; the sensitivity of his body to touch has its good parts and bad. "Well," he grunts, breathing heavily, "There are so many places to choose from. Do you accept Blue Cross - Blue Shield?" She'll be able to tell, just by the color of his skin that he's lost quite a bit of blood. She doesn't know it, of course, but that's a hallmark of the Murdock family.
As the sounds of their voices ring out, Matt uses it to take a 'look' at her apartment. It takes his mind off the pain—his radar sense makes out certain objects: stove, refrigerator, etc., while the other indistinguishable parts just appear as dark masses to him. "Nice place," he mutters.
"No, sorry. We're only accepting Cigna right now. And sexual favors." Claire bandies back flatly. At the shade of his skin, even in her dim, long shadowed apartment, Claire's frown even deepens. Before she pulls on her latex gloves, her fingertips come up to rest against the side of his neck, searching for a pulse that his blood pressure might be too low to easily give her. She doesn't have the gifts he does. She might not realize it, but even as she takes his vitals, she's falling into matching her breath to his. It's a natural, old habit, syncing up with the person on which she works, it gives her that split second notice faster when something starts to radically go wrong. "Pulse is thready. You're lucky you have one left." She mutters, some of the joking gone from her voice now.
Keeping pressure on that wound, no matter how much it hurts, her dark eyes stretch across his suit as she tries to figure out how to get it off. "I need you out of the body armor. Tell me how to get it off or I'll cut it off and that probably is going to be an expensive replacement." She's not gloved yet, but she does reach down to carefully peel the armor back from the stab wound so she can pack the gauze *under* it while they work on getting him stripped. She just wants to keep pressure there until she can start working.
"You're going to be disappointed," Daredevil responds in a wince as he reaches up to begin to unbuckle the armor. "I don't have Cigna."
It comes off in complicated layers, but eventually he's able to pull away the armor from his chest. He's going to need help, but he can at least get it started.
"Be gentle."
While she begins to stop the bleeding, Matt reaches out with his hearing to take in the sounds all around. The buzzing of the air-ducts, someone running the water upstairs, and an argument taking place down the street. "What should I call you?" he asks, looking to get to know a little bit more about the person saving his life. "Do you do this for a lot of people?"
"You no doubt run around the streets on a semi regular basis, picking fights with God-only-knows-who, and getting yourself stabbed or worse, and you're asking me to be gentle *now*?" Claire murmurs, only half incredulous, walking that careful line between teasing and actual worry. When she started worrying, she started caring, and that would make all this worse. Despite her protests, she is gentle, her long, strong fingertips moving against his skin beneath his armor as she finds the seams in the chest piece and helps pull them free gently. She has a surgeon's hands, soft in the palms, strongly skilled, calloused just at her fingertips.
Then she's quiet for several of her own, quickened heartbeats. Once the wound sight is free to her, that's her primary concern. She takes his hand, pressing it overtop the gauze. "Hold tight." She orders softly, before turning back and beginning to disinfect her own hands before pulling into gloves and preparing disinfectant, packing material, and a bandage for when she's finished working on him. "I'm… Claire. And I'm bad at saying no to people who could be dying." So, that's a yes.
"Well, it seemed like a reasonable request," Daredevil responds just before he winces sharply again. Once the pain fades, he continues on. "It's a pretty rough area of town. Good for business, and good for me that you were here." When the armor gets pulled away, it takes all of his machismo not to shudder against the coolness of the air.
"Claire, I am very glad you are bad at telling people no." He holds the gauze tight against his skin as asked. "How bad is it?"
"It's not about business, this is my home." Claire states softly, none of the teasing banter in her voice with those words, and just a hint of Latina accent making the edge of her syllables harder than normal English. She's the Latin quarter of Hell's Kitchen born and bred. The kind of girl that grew up speaking Spanish as much as English and running through fire hydrants half clothed on hot days. She wasn't in this for money or favours. She was in it for love of what this town was and could be.
"Bad enough this is going to hurt. I want you to listen to my breath and *breathe* with me. In and out. Slow. Focus on that." It's going to hurt bad, it seems. If this was the old west, she'd give him a bullet to bite. Gloved and cleaned, Claire carefully pulls the gauze away from his skin and grabs at the disinfectant, carefully pouring it over and through the wound, flushing it with the foaming bubbles. It's going to burn like hell, but she keeps breathing slow and deep, trying to coach him, keep him conscious. Her pulse has calmed now that she's working, focused, almost zen like in her motions. This is what she was born to do.
Matt does his best to follow her breathing, but when the pain hits all bets are off. Immediately his body seizes in pain and his hand reaches around one of her wrists, grasping wildly. Within a few moments, however, he begins to relax just a bit, but is still unable to talk through his gritted teeth.
Gradually his breathing becomes more normal though, if heavy. It falters at points, but gains strength until the period of intense pain passes. "I…said… gentle."
Fortunately, this *isn't* surgery right now. Claire can do wound flushing and cleaning with one hand, so she lets him take her delicate wrist, his strong hand easily able to fully encircle her slender bones and soft skin, pulse close to the surface here, a low, slow brush of pressure compared to the frantic bird that beats in his chest. She rests that now useless hand against the nearest surface of his skin she can find, giving a tender brush of reassuring pressure and focus. She was here. He was in safe hands. He would be alright. She still has no clue as to why this was beyond awful for him.
"I'm sorry. Antiseptic doesn't have a light mode." Claire whispers, a genuine ache behind her voice as she hears the pain in his. "That's the worst, though… Just breathe. Breathe with me." Claire coaches again, softly. Her working hand is now carefully brushing with the antiseptic, getting any edges of fabric or dirt out of the very outside of the wound, but her touch is far more gentle than the flushing.
Daredevil chuckles a bit at the 'light mode' comment and does his best to relax. As she speaks to him and gets him to focus on his breathing, he eventually falls in line, calming himself as best as he can. "What was the worst patient you've had?" he asks after a long moment of quiet and thought. "I imagine you must have some great stories."
In a world where Stilt Man and Leap Frog exist, there are always avenues for great stories. "Thank you, Claire. By the way. I suppose I should thank you for saving me."
"…Lloyd Conners. It's really shitty to put someone back together when you know they're one of the jack asses causing shit out there." Claire murmurs quietly, the name of a two bit king pin who never grew much beyond some local street crews, but was definitely not on the good side of the fight. Claire, apparently, isn't discerning with whom she treats. But then, she did invite a man into her apartment who had devil horns, so…
"You gonna let me know the name of who I saved?" Claire asks after a few more heartbeats, though she's not looked back up to his face again yet. Right now, the handsome lips and jaw of Matt Murdock is taking second place compared to the hole in his side. She runs a bit more antiseptic over the wound, but seems pleased as it comes up clear. She now moves back to carefully grab some packing guaze. The puncture was too deep for her to trust it to just stitches.
"Wasn't he the guy who tries to start the extortion ring up on 52nd, but got his rear handed to him by the owner of a convenience store?" Matt says, wincing as he smiles. "I heard Conners didn't sit right in the lock up for a week after he got hit with that baseball bat," he adds, this time in a full laugh.
"Daredevil. That's what they call me about here. Hence the horns." Pause. "And the red."
A smirk pulls at her full lips, lining her husky voice with her particular wry brand of humor, "I saved his life… sure as hell wasn't gentle about that one, though." And then her dark eyes take a moment to look up to his horns and face, studying a few heartbeats before looking back to his wound. Her smirk is only deepening. "Daredevil. That's a mouthful. I…I've heard them talk about you." There is an ambivalence in her voice as she says that. She's heard the good he's done, and the fear people feel *about* him.
Slowly, she begins to pack the wound. It's an *odd* senstion more than painful, her fingertips ever so gentle about the edges where all the nerves are, but otherwise it's like there are distant butterflies inside his skin where nothing is meant to be moving. But she does this as expertly as anything.
"That's…weird," Daredevil says at the odd sensation of something inside his body like that. After the next exhale he takes interest in what she said about 'them' and talking. "They have, have they? What do they say?" He gained a bit of notoriety once it became known in the neighborhood that he helped to put away Fisk. At least for a little while.
"How long do you think I'll be out for?" He's hoping only a day or two. He needs to get to the bottom of this right away and had to already stay out a week after being shot earlier this year.
"That's just me inside you. And this isn't even the first date." Claire mutters to his read of the feeling of a wound being packed. She was still trying to keep the morale of things up. And herself awake, after all, she had been quite asleep when he pounded. Once she's finished with the packing, she carefully grabs a square of gauze and begins to tape it to the skin around the wound. Her dark eyes now take a chance to look over his form longer than before, searching for other wounds but also taking a moment to simply, well… Enjoy.
"…You want the 'should be' answer or what I suspect you'll actually bother listening to?" Claire asks, her smirk not amused, this time. It's impatient already. She knew his type. So, she carries on without much of an answer, "You're here until tomorrow morning, at least. I need to unpack the wound, check on the bleeding, and — as long as you're NOT bleeding internally still, put in a few stitches. Then you absolute need to give them a day or two or you're just going to rip the whole thing open. You should be down a week."
"Well, it's a new sensation, that's for sure," Matt says as he twists slightly to make himself more comfortable. He himself is pretty tired. Well, he's always pretty tired these days. All day as a lawyer and all night as a vigilante. It doesn't give him much chance for things like sleep.
"A /week/," he responds with a certain amount of vigor, incredulous as to the time. "I can't be down a week," he adds defiantly. As if that is just out of the question.
"I knew you'd say that. I don't even know you, and I knew you'd say that." Claire mutters, skepticism in her husky voice, but she doesn't even bother arguing. She finishes taping him up and then wipes down the area around the wound just to get the dried blood off of his skin. Never fun to wake up in cracking skin from your own blood. She reaches one more hand up, resting against the side of his throat again, checking to see that his blood pressure isn't completely bottoming out. Her fingertips are so trained she can guesstimate from the brush of his pulse against sensitive hands alone.
"Three days. Or you don't get to knock on this door again. I'm not putting suicidial people back together, alright?" The tone of her voice says she's not one to be messed with and she's not taking a fight in this matter. "…and I think I'll call you Mike. He was a stubborn ass hole I dated who didn't like listening and knocked on my door in the middle of the night too."
"Sounds like my kind of guy. Mike it is," Daredevil adds with a light chuckle. His pulse is pretty good, all things considered, and though there's much more to say, the scarlet clad vigilante doesn't have the heart to say it. He never commits to the three days, but it's unclear if he'll be able to even be in a position to move in that time period. Especially now, given he has fallen fast asleep with his breathing finally taking to that cadence that Claire had originally wanted.

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