Fallen London 'verse Masterpost (fics by both myself and sholio)
Title: The Itinerant Physician
Characters/Pairing: Neal, Diana/Christie
Word count: 950
Notes: For the Accidents square on my hc_bingo card.
Summary: There's not a great demand for doctors when death isn't permanent. So Neal's not going to complain about the one Diana's found to stitch him up. (Much.)
"You can't flirt right now," Neal protested. "You can't. It isn't fair."
"Nobody's flirting with you," Diana said, firmly. She was holding his head still, as he remembered anew every time he tried to turn it. "You're getting less laudanum in future."
"Being overly talkative is much better than screaming," the physician objected. "I could knock him all the way out, though."
"No!" Neal protested immediately. Doctors were not to be trusted. You certainly didn't want to be unconscious around one. Even when in such an unassuming location as the floor above a quiet backstreet bookshop, with Diana guarding him.
When she wasn't otherwise occupied in flirting. "Your stitches are very neat," she said. "Where did you learn them?"
"I had a dragon of a governess," the physician said, a fetching blush further darkening her cheeks. "She made sure my sister and I were fully trained in as many practical skills as she could teach us. You should have heard her if I had one stitch wrong on a sampler."
Neal felt that his thigh shouldn't be compared to a sampler. It wasn't dignified, and he said so.
"You can have dignity when you're not so weak from blood loss you can't sit up," Diana said, which was wholly unfair but unfortunately true. "Stop talking so much. You'll distract the doctor."
"You should call me Christine," the physician said, with a shy smile. Yes, she was definitely flirting back.
"Christine, then," Diana agreed, returning the smile. She went back to staring at the jagged wound with far too much fascination. "Most doctors I've met would have said he was just going to keep slowly bleeding until he died, and then cut his throat to have done with it."
Neal swallowed. He hadn't really got to see the injury in great detail himself — it had been mostly obscured by the large amounts of blood welling up from it. His imagination had been all too active, however, and Diana's words were making him feel queasy again.
"Here," Christine said, and briskly sponged the cold sweat from his face with a damp cloth. It helped. "Who did this to you, anyway?"
Neal glowered. "It was one of her friends," he accused, indicating Diana with as much resentment as he had the energy to muster.
"I wouldn't describe him as a friend," Diana protested.
"One of your enemies, then. The part where it's your fault still stands."
"There's no need to be throwing around accusations like that," Diana said, breezily. "It could have happened to anyone."
"She is the one paying me to stitch you up," Christine said, with far too much reasonableness for the situation.
Neal snorted at her attempt to console him. "That spy tried to gut me by mistake."
"Yes," Diana said, patiently. "And I saved you. I even remember you thanking me."
"That was before I realised it was your fault!"
Christine frowned. "Try not to agitate yourself," she said. "Is the pain coming back?"
"Yes," Neal admitted. His leg was on fire.
"Here." She lifted his head, and tipped a few bitter drops onto his tongue. Laudanum. He swallowed, grimacing at the taste. "Are you sure you don't want the rest of the bottle?"
He nodded determinedly, even as most of the pain flowed out of him, taking his tension with it. "I want to stay awake."
"He doesn't trust you," Diana said, apologetically. "Or me, probably." She didn't sound at all upset.
"Well, how trustworthy would you say you are?" Christine asked, raising her eyebrows at Diana. She gestured towards the bandages she had laid out earlier; Diana passed her one and their fingers brushed for perhaps a moment longer than was necessary.
Neal groaned loudly. They had started flirting again. "Unbelievable," he muttered, and tried to put his hand over his face, but Diana caught his arm as it began its uncoordinated movement and forced it down again.
"You're back in once piece," Christine announced a short while later. She handed Diana the folded towelling-cloth which had been beneath Neal's leg to soak up the blood before it could stain the mattress. "Take the rest of the laudanum when I'm gone and stay in bed for the rest of today — tomorrow too if possible. Don't drink any sort of absinthe for at least a week or the wound's likely to open up again."
"You're not returning?" Diana asked. She had to be letting the disappointment in her voice show on purpose.
"I think he'll be fine," Christine said, patting the leg she hadn't just swathed in bandages. "Won't you, Neal? I'm sure Diana will take good care of you."
"She'd better," Neal muttered darkly. He still hadn't forgiven her. Even if she was now handing over a rather sizable amount of glim.
As if reading his mind, Diana caught his eye and winked at him. He glared back sullenly, but ruined it by yawning.
"If you are worried, though," Christine offered, "I'll be in Caligula's the day after tomorrow. Just after eleven."
Diana beamed. "Maybe I'll see you there."
Neal rolled his eyes, and groaned. "Next time you get me stabbed, maybe I will ask you to cut my throat and just get it over with. Spare me from watching you two make eyes at each other while I'm bleeding."
Diana ruffled his hair, grinning at his scowl, and spread several blankets over him. "You're imagining things," she said. "It must be the laudanum."
Next time he was mortally injured he was definitely going to Peter instead.
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