PHD #034: Night of the Deathpoultice
Night of the Deathpoultice
Summary: Sagittaran medicine and a lot of talking.
Date: 2041.04.01
Related Logs: None.
Tisiphone Stavrian 

Officer's Berthings is much more quiet than the pilot side of things. Just on principle; these don't tend to be a rowdy bunch when at home. A few people are milling about in their bunks, the sound of voices hushed here and there. Stavrian is sitting up on his bunk in offduties and a plain T-shirt. His eyes are down on a hulking textbook splayed open on his mattress.

Skreeak. The hatch, like doors everywhere, is always noisier when the person opening it is trying to be stealthy or nonchalant. Enter Tisiphone, looking more like the gawky, fresh-from-school Ensign than she's looked in weeks. Unfamiliar territory, this, filled with unfamiliar — and higher-ranked — officers. She even toes at her fatigue-cuffs, pushing them down deeper over her socks, for a fractionally less-rumped appearance before stepping in. Creepa creepa, scanning for a familiar face — and when spotted, crossing double-quick in that direction. "Um. Hey."

Not quite /at/ the textbook, but somewhere just past the corner of it, maybe on the small hole that's appeared in the big toe of his sock. That's where Stavrian's attention really is, pulled upwards as the stray cat in the room stops next to his hallowed space. "Hey." There's a mug of tea sitting on his shelf, about halfway downed. Still steaming. "You get lost?"

"He-uh." If Tisiphone was less uncomfortable, that might've come out a chuckle. As it is, she glances down at the hole in Stavrian's sock, then over in the general direction of Away. Her left hand comes up, fingers curling around the back of her neck. She's not stalling. She's just intensely curious about the empty bunks over yonder. Maybe embarrassed; she's less pale than usual. "Other night, you mentioned bringing something by for my arm."

"Oh." It takes a hitched second for Stavrian's brain to switch mental tracks. "Yeah." He shuts the heavy book with a thump, pushing it aside onto the mattress. A mug of tea's sitting on his shelf, about halfway full and still steaming. His fingers rub over his chin, which at the end of a shift has about two o' clock's worth of a five o' clock shadow. "How is it feeling, anyway?"

Bad idea, girl. Bad idea. Tisiphone's losing her nerve, but her stubbornness is standing behind her with a pike and an utter lack of sympathy. Too late to slink away /now/. "Uh." She's waffling, in case it wasn't clear. "It aches, sometimes. I'm probably using my hand too much." Might as well 'fess up to something. "All I can think about is getting the damn thing off."

"I'd be kind of worried about you if you didn't." Stavrian unfolds his legs, socked feet with one (1) hole in the big toe setting down on the floor. "Here, sit down. I'll just need to heat up something." He fishes his tea off his shelf, lifting it for a sip. Predictably it doesn't smell like anything gotten from a Colonial Fleet teabag, and there's something else riding just under the foreign scent — the sweetness of brandy. "Do you want some tea?"

Tisiphone shifts uncertainly, glancing from bunk to table. After a moment of harassing the eternally-gnawed spot on her bottom lip, she drags a chair over, turning it around back to front before slouching forward into it, arms dangling in front of her. "I'm trying to see it like a test," she says. "Trying to remind myself it won't help anything to take it off ahead of time. Works… mostly." The nervousness eases enough to permit a touch of wry grin. "I'd- yeah. Love some tea. Thanks."

"Hold on, then." Stavrian stands up, inching past her chair. There's a hot water dispenser for each side of the berthing, and it's probably not accident that he chose a bunk not a few feet from one of them. He finds a new cup and presses down the little red lever on the machine, steam rising from the depths of the mug. "Have you ever broken a bone before?" His soft spoken voice carries over his shoulder.

"Two fingers, back in flight school. In a-" Tisiphone's quiet for a moment, folding her arm across the chair's backrest, chin resting on her forearm. Absently rubbing her chin against the fine hairs there, as she thinks, gaze off through the wall. "In a fight." A tiny puff of air, as she snorts to herself. "Just a splint and some tape. Nothing like this. You? Besides your ankle?"

Stavrian turns back around with the mug cradled in both hands. "My nose, once." He lets go of the handle and presses the tip of his index finger onto the bridge of his nose, about halfway up, and wiggles it against the bone with a slight grimace. "Right there." When attention's called to it it's more obvious — a little crinked imperfection. "Two ribs. You should try for the ribs next time, you know. No casts." His humor would be sunnier if he ever smiled.

Tisiphone tips her cheek against her arm to look over at Stavrian, the wry grin returning to haunt the corners of her mouth. "I'll keep that in mind," she replies, oh-so-drolly. "I still don't- remember exactly what happened. Just the blastwave and the spin and the sound of the canopy going, and- blam. Sickbay." Teeth at her bottom lip for a moment again, before she asks, "Who got your nose?"

"Fight." Stavrian mirrors Tisiphone's own sentiment, but not quite the tone, and the path that the terse answers leaves in its wake is promptly swept over with more words. "The memory's the worst part. Or the lack of memory, I guess it is really. When I broke my ankle it was kind of like that. I blacked out right after the thing blew up, woke up in a bed, and all I could think was 'Shit, I could have died and I wouldn't even have been there to see it'. That's a foul." He extends the mug towards her good hand. "Here, hold this. Let me find my tea."

A mute nod accompanies Tisiphone's reach forward to accept the mug. She doesn't so much sniff at the steam as just hold her face near it and breathe. "I guess I kept asking- uh, Ensign Rojas, to get me out of Sickbay. Glad he's picked up some Sagittaran from Ibrahim, I guess." She chuckles once, softly, without a lot of humour in it, and detours sharply to a new topic. "Deck Chief Atreus said there was a hydroponics deck on the Anchorage. I really hope they're bringing some of it over."

"It'll be useless." Stavrian replies, thinly. He sinks a knee back onto his mattress, digging one of his various little boxes off his shelf. "The radiation levels over there…" He shakes his head, lips pursing into a slight frown. "It'll have a half life longer than we can wait out."

Some tiny, hopeful glimmering in Tisiphone's eyes falters and falls dark at that news. "Oh," is all she says at first, eyes dropping down toward the floor. "That's too bad." Understatement of the Month, that.

"Yeah." There's no apology in Stavrian's tone for the bluntness. "Man makes such growth, man destroys it." He pops open the box and gathers some of the tea leaves inside onto a piece of paper, then reaches over to dump it straight into her hot water unless she moves it away.

Tisiphone reaches her teamug out a little closer for the crumbled leaves, eyes still dark. "Yeah," she agrees, rather unwillingly. "I just-" Deep breath, hitching at the end before it drains away to a slump. "-hoped. So what's the poison?" She draws the mug back, peering at the leaves as they swirl and sink.

"It just means we'll have to keep looking. The gods have never made it easy." Stavrian closes the tin with a soft snap and pushes it back onto the shelf. "That?" He lifts a brow and tics his chin towards the tea. "It's snowbud. White tea. Not very strong, unless you want more punch. In which case I have, you know…additives." He smirks.

"If it's not worth fighting for, it's not worth having? So say we all." Tisiphone glances up from tracking one of the leaves down into the water. The pensive expression flickers uncertainly at the smirk; she counters it with the start of a crooked grin. "When don't I? What you offering?" Quietly, that, though not suspiciously so.

"So say we all," Stavrian echoes, partly on reflex. He scratches the side of his thumb by his nose, a brow arching at his shelf. "What am I offering. The joy of Dionysus?" Wry, that, as he pushes some books to the side and retrieves something small and metal from behind a photo frame with no picture in it. A flask, liquid inside softly sloshing as he shakes it. "One thing I'm allowed to consume in public."

"Yeah. Here-" Tisiphone starts to reach her teamug across, then draws it back to take a cautious slurp off the top. There's more room to add to it, that way. She's pragmatic like that. While she's holding her mug out, she props her casted arm on the backrest of her chair, fingers dangling up above her head, and rests her cheek against the plaster and gauze. Her eyes drift off through Stavrian for a few beats before she asks, "There's no place quieter than those supply bays, are there? Unless you're fancy enough for your own quarters."

Stavrian snorts quietly. "Do I look like I am?" He uncorks the flask and reaches over, tipping it slowly onto its side until the sweet-smelling liquor trickles out. Brandy, the same that's turned his own infusion a darker color than 'snowbud' would suggest. "They won't even give Major Tillman his own." His head indicates the empty bunk next to him. "And I wish they would. He snores like a rusty chainsaw." Tea duly gifted with the god's sweet kiss, he screws the cap back on. "Supply bay, I would-…" He trails off, distracted suddenly by her cast. "Who's the artist?"

Tisiphone waits for the flask to be withdrawn, then lifts it slightly in silent toast. "Thanks," she murmurs, drawing it back for a contemplative breath of the scented steam, then a first careful sip of the new concoction. "I owe you one. Another," she amends. "Whenever we get that card game going." She falls silent again, for more sips of her tea — until her cast is mentioned. It's like a dimmer switch is swiftly turned from one-quarter to nine-tenths, the cautious warmth ramped up so quickly to delight any self-consciousness is left stunned and sprawling in the dust. "The- a friend of yours, I think? Penny. Lieutenant Paris? You seemed to recognize her, the other day in the rec room. She found me sulking out in the Observation Deck and decided it needed decoration. And then, here-" A nod toward the underside of her forearm, "-when Bunn- ah, Evan- saw it, last night, he added to it."

"Oh. Yeah." At the mention of Penelope. The corner of Stavrian's mouth moves just a little, half hidden by his tea as he sips it and spends some time looking over the art gallery that has become Tisiphone's cast. "I'm surprised he didn't finger-paint it. I'd have known right off that it was him then." He takes another sip of tea, tilting his head almost sideways to see more of the underside. "I'd ask what it was supposed to be, but I should probably know better."

Pale brows raise on a paler forehead at Stavrian's reaction, but the query remains there, and isn't spoken aloud. Tisiphone turns her eyes back from the medic's face to her own cast, pointing her chin toward the black bunny-tracks meandering up her forearm to her palm, where a bunny-bottom is drawn, as if half-clambered inside. EVAN, it's signed, the V as a heart. "Said he figured I could use the help in there when it itches. Dork. It's- pretty amazing though, isn't it? Something to look at and not think about what's underneath it."

Stavrian blinks as the rest of it comes into view. "It's…" He struggles with the right word to describe such a thing. "…pretty…" Pretty something. He just doesn't know what. "He does like his rabbits, huh." He looks back up from the cast her face. "Can you really not think about what's underneath it? That's sort of like…when I say 'Don't think of a pink rhinocerous'."

"Well, his callsign, you know? Bunny." Tisiphone's eyes squirm past Stavrian's to her tea, which she takes three sips of before looking up. "You don't like it," she says, her enthusiasm wavering like a tightrope walker caught in a sudden breeze. "It, uh." Back to the cast, her eyes squinching oddly for a moment. "Layer of distraction, at least. Maybe I should have asked her for a pink rhino." There's a spot at the upper edge of the cast, where it's ragged, as if sawed-at; she scratches her cheek against it.

"What do you give a shit if I like it?" Stavrian's words come accompanied by teeny, tiny little grin. Don't blink, you'll miss it. "It's whether you like it. If you like it then frak the rest. It's awesome." He shrugs one shoulder, finishing off his tea with a gulp before adding the cautious caveat: "That's what I always tell myself, anyway. Helps me deal with the fact that I'm a man and I like the color pink."

Narrowed eyes in counter to that teeny-tiny grin, and a (mostly-)mock-wounded look, as if she's certain she's being made fun of, now. "Pfft," Tisiphone replies, complete with eye-roll, but at least the enthusiasm doesn't waver any further. "Right, because your nuts fall off if you wear pink, don't they?" Grin. "Nearly saw a man get murdered in flight school for throwing reds in with whites and turning a load of shirts pink. Frakking a-MA-zing."

"Yeah, they do. It's in the Man Code." Stavrian answers without missing a beat. "Page 17, right between urinal etiquette and the rules for how long a man is allowed to spend in front of a mirror." His head ticks to the side and he smirks, an air of conspiracy in the way one eye narrows ever so slightly. "Male pilots get an exception for that one."

There's a light sputtering on a mouthful of brandied tea, there, as Tisiphone hastily finishes her gulp to make room for the laugh. "So there /is/ a handbook," she says, making a small production of studying Stavrian's face for any hint of a lie. "It's all so clear now. The exemptions for pilots, too. Frakdamn, but we've got some vain ones. It's like another planet down here."

"They used to tell us in boot," Stavrian starts, both eyes slitting and one dark brow notching upward. "Don't smoke around a Marine because nature makes him a mooch. Don't smoke around a pilot…" He cocks a finger at the top of his curly head. "…because hair gel makes him flammable."

Such a grin. Tisiphone doesn't even bother trying to defend her fellow pilots. Tries to prove the point twice over, even, by asking with deliberate lightness, "Speaking of, you want a smoke?" Cheeky Ensign is cheeky. She lifts her teamug and drains all but the last half-swallow; that's peered at for a moment as she swirls the leaves around in the bottom, then polished off as well.

"I am still going to take care of your arm, you know," Stavrian says with an air of pre-emptiveness, giving her a slightly suspicious eye. As it fades he braces his hand on his knee, the other wiggling fingers towards himself. "But I can handle waiting five more minutes if you can. It's horrible, I know…you've been looking forward to this just so much." The delivery's totally deadpan.

Tisiphone's response to that suspicious look is the low chuckle of someone caught, knowing it, and unapologetic. She's about to say something, reconsiders, and looks down at her lap instead as she rummages her pocket. Smokytreat time. "Yeah, it's what I'm here for, man." A grin curves her face, there, even if her eyes can't be seen. She digs out the rumpled pack and her scuffed steel zippo, starts tapping a pair of smokes out. "So the spiked tea was just- premature apology? You've got something terrible in mind for my poor arm?"

"It'll help the pain." Stavrian holds his hand out, two fingers extended to accept the shameless bribe. "Not even a little apology. I'm just asking you to trust me — it's nothing I haven't done on myself." He looks up from his hand to her face, even if she's looking down. His light eyes leech the dark gray of his T-shirt turning them a murkier, Prussian blue. "You trust me, right?"

Not just a bribe, but a /shameless/ one? Tch. Tisiphone offers over Stavrian's cigarette and promptly sparks the zippo up, letting him light up first before touching the flame to her own. Instead of immediately answering him, the first deep lungful is drawn in, held a beat while she looks at him, then exhaled at the ceiling. The expression's a little more serious for a moment, there, before it lifts to a grin. "Yeah. Of course I do."

Stavrian cranes his neck forward to meet the flame, smoke soon rising in two distinct puffs and then an exhaled stream of gray away from her face. A slight smirk at her grin, and a nod. "We'll finish these, then." Indicating the cigarette. He twists his back, hunting around his shelf until he finds a small cup that's already got ash in it. Mark of a born-again smoker: makeshift ashtrays until he can find a proper one. His eyes are down on it as he puts it down on his mattress where both can reach, and he hooks one of his feet onto the metal rail supporting his bunk. "You, uh…figured out anything? About the…" His hand makes a vague motion. That could mean anything.

A smirk, eh? Uh-oh. "Why am I getting the feeling I'm going to regret this?" Tisiphone asks, cigarette bobbing as she grins. She turns her chair around from back-to-front to its usual position, scootching it in closer to the mattress, bootsoles braced against the edge of the bunk. She stretches forward to ash her ciggie, pausing there a moment to peer at the ash-dregs already in the cup before leaning back. "I saw her again in the Observation Deck. Was- booking it, figured I was about three seconds from getting my ass beat, and she stuck her head around the hatch. Think I felt my heart leap right out my mouth. So she's- not gone, I guess."

The corners of Stavrians's eyes tense, crinkling some very premature crow's feet. Not ones of laughter. "Did she say anything? What did she do?" He braces his elbow on his knee, cigarette brought back to lips.

Tisiphone shakes her head, her gaze travelling up on her cigarette's smoke, then through it to Stavrian's face. "Nothing. Didn't really- give her time. It wasn't my most inspired moment." Her mouth prims for a moment, there, eyes hooded. "It looked like maybe she was checking up on me. She was worried. Maybe she'd been watching? I dunno. Spiral really blew his gasket at me. But I just- too many things happened at once. Looked away from her while I was trying to get out of his way, and when I looked back she was gone."

"Spiral?" Callsigns, watch them go whoosh over Stavrian's dark head. The question is absent, being of secondary concern. "Odd. Or…well, I don't know." He looks down again, finding the 'ashtray'. "Can't say I expected her to be gone. But what the hell keeps bringing her back? We just going to have day trips from spirits from now on?" This is not as glib as the words might've made it, his tone troubled.

Again, the use the name the rest of the ship knows them by, silly girl grimace. "Lieutenant Ellinon, sorry. I- pushed where I probably shouldn't've, he took me to task for it." The brandied tea keeps the worst of the tension away from bony shoulders, but her attempt at a light shrug still fails. "I don't know. I wish I did. Maybe we should talk to the Sister. Bring our lists to her." Which she didn't think of bringing with her /here/, naturally. "I don't- I don't know if I want to see her again."

"Maybe," Stavrian's expression curls from troubled into a slightly more tense frown. "I don't know what we could say to the Sister that wouldn't bore her to tears. She probably knows everything already." This is Caprican-class academia to him, high and lofty above the rest. Or above him, anyway. "I guess we could."

"Well, what else is there to do? Four emergency candles, some packet-salt from the galley, and my pocketknife wouldn't make my dead dog's ghost sit up and listen, let alone-" Tisiphone stops herself with an effort, starting to match Stavrian's frown until she pointedly looks away. "I have to- try to find a way to see the Chief of Engineering. Find out what's been done with her stuff. Maybe if we find a home for it all, it'll help. Maybe she's just unhappy it's all sitting there, gathering dust." Another shrug. She knows she's grasping at straws, at best. She sighs, drags hard on her ciggie, then says on the exhale: "Good topic change, Jesse. You have a self-timer? More than fifteen seconds close to a smile and you start getting nervous?"

"Huh. Maybe she is…" Stavrian starts to say something, and then she hits him with the question. His mouth gets stuck as it is, halfway open — instead of saying anything Tisiphone finds herself the recipient of a stuck-out tongue. And crossed blue eyes.

She'll take that as a victory, she will. "Ha ha-a-ah!" Tisiphone crows, stabbing her cigarette tauntingly at the cross-eyed medic as she slouches back, chuckles knocking some of the tension out of her own shoulders. "I'll remember /that/ one," she mutters at him, seeming quite pleased with herself. "Seriously, man. Don't make me make you follow your bliss. It could be pretty terrible." A final chuckle ends on a deep sigh and a mostly-useless ashing of her cigarette — the laughter dusted most of it across her legs, en route. "So what you gonna do to my arm, eh? Eh?" she needles him. "Cigarette's running down. I need to know how much to stall." Grin.

Stavrian pulls a long, long drag off his own cigarette that flares up the orange cherry. Burn, it does, right down to the edge of the filter. He lets his cheeks puff out before he exhales up at the underside of his bunk, and mashes out the smoke into the little cup with his thumb. "Just a poultice. The heat will feel good, I promise." The bunk creaks as he slides off it and stands up, rolling his shoulders. "And I think you just lost your stall rights." Triumphant, neener. "I'm going to go get it ready. You finish that and think about what you did."

"Pfft," is Tisiphone's only reply. Well, that and a lungful of smoke blown out at the departing medic. There's little more than a final drag left of her own cigarette, which is hastily dispatched, the cup retrieved off the mattress for her to add her own dead ciggie to. She's still holding the cup absently in loose fingers when he returns, half-twisted to prop casted elbow on chair's backrest, her cheek pillowed against the plaster. Woolgathering in the general direction of Stavrian's bunk.

She gets a while. Whatever Stavrian's doing, it keeps him gone for about fifteen minutes - plenty of time for her to flee. Or smoke. Or think about what she did (ha ha right). His footsteps come back down the bunk row, the oh so ominous padding sound of black socks on hard floor, and he's holding a dark blue plastic container in arm. "You could've run, you know." His voice informs her of this, gravely. "In the Marines they call this a 'tactical error'."

"In the Navy, they call it 'sticking to your guns'," Tisiphone counters, blinking out of whatever thoughts she'd been mired in, a faint, challenging grin rising back up from the calm thoughtfulness that had settled over her.

"In Medical, they call it 'your ass is mine'." Stavrian counters, leaning down to put the sealed container on the floor. It makes a dull thud, and he brushes his hands on the sides of his offduty greens as he straightens up. "Where's it hurt the most, outside of the cast? Back of the shoulder, front? Upper arm?"

Stavrian gets a grin and a narrowed-eye glare of little consequence in return for that. Tisiphone straightens and untwists from her slouch, and thoughtfully rolls her right shoulder a bit, eyes staring off into some middle distance. "Euh," she says, sounding for a moment like she's about to laugh. She clears her throat, though, and the bubble of mirth passes. "I'm using the shoulder too much, probably, but it's the only damn thing I /can/ use," she finally answers. "By the end of the day it aches in an arc, sorta, beneath the shoulderblade."

Stavrian nods, idly scratching his upper arm under the hem of his T-shirt sleeve. "The muscles are getting weaker on that side. The aching is actually good, means you're keeping them from atrophying at least." He glances down at the container, pensively, then back at her. "Hm. Okay. I need you to take your arm out of your tanks and lie facedown on my bed." Pause. "And no, I don't say that to all the girls."

"I wasn't /even/ gonna say it," Tisiphone replies through a grin, failing to sound even remotely truthful. She keeps needling at him, though, as she moves from the chair to the edge of his bunk, struggling her casted arm free from her tank-tops: "So, all the boys, then? Would've nearly put money on you flirting with Ibrahim in the Viper berths the last time you were over." There's a pause after she says it, her mental editor skidding through the door a minute late as always; she just slants the suddenly-awkward grin down at herself, and carefully stretches out on the mattress instead, wincingly folding her arms over her head.

Stavrian replies blithely, "Them either, smartass." He has his eyes turned away up towards the top bunk as she works her arm out of her tanks. Patient, and either gentlemanly or just shy. "Speaking of him, though…you don't happen to know how to sew, do you?"

Tisiphone turns her face from peering in at the bunk to out toward Stavrian, grin smoothing back out from its awkward twist. "Fair 'nuff. I'll go back to feeling special." It'd be a cheeky little victory dance that she'd do, if she wasn't laying down; a neener-neener wiggle has to suffice, instead, making her patchwork of old scars twist along her shoulder and back. "Ye-e-eah, of course I do," she replies, somewhere between wary, defensive, and curious. Of course she knows how to sew. What sort of- waitasecond. Curiousity wins out again: "Why?"

Of course, she says. The corner of Stavrian's mouth pulls into some bizarre expression that shows the side of his teeth. If that's a grin, it's one that instinct teaches one to fear. "I need help with something. But not right now." He leans over and picks up the container, thumping it onto the chair that she'd vacated. "Right now you get to see just how special you are." A winnar is Tis! He works his fingers under the container lid and pops it up, though the lid's not taken off quite yet. "Fold your hands under your head. I'm going to touch your shoulders for a minute, so don't elbow me in the balls."

"Ya-a-ay," Tisiphone murmurs, dripping with sarcastic faux-enthusiasm. "It's just like I totally never dreamed of!" There's a deep breath as she squirms again and readjusts her arms, exhaled as she settles down again. "Okay, I'm ready," she says. Despite the previous sarcasm, the warmth from earlier grins lingers in her eyes. Silly Ensigns and their trust. How bad could it be?

Stavrian sets his knee on the bed by Tisiphone's hip, causing the mattress to dip slightly. "Alright." The trust goes two ways, she could /very/ easily elbow him where it hurts right now. He cups his hands at his mouth and blows hot air on them before touching Tisiphone's shoulder, thumbs first. It's /almost/ like a massage but not quite; his fingertips go on a hunt for tension from the curve of her neck down to the bottom of her shoulderblade, pads of his fingers making making slow circles of pressure into the muscles. "Stop me where it hurts the most right now."

There's the tiniest of throat-clearings when Stavrian puts his knee on the mattress, and the rhythm of Tisiphone's breathing pauses a beat before continuing with deliberate steadiness. "Nnh," she replies, almost immediately upon being touched. It's the end of Week Three since her crash-and-burn. No punching bag, poor sleep, poorer meditation; she's turning back into a knotmonster. Still, whatever tension's there, she directs onward. "Ah- no. Along- yeah. That's ow. That's closer." She starts trying to squinch her shoulder toward her spine when his fingers work around her shoulderblade, and finally yelps a tight-voiced surrender as he nears the shoulder-joint proper. "Hoshit. Whoah, ow. That's it."

Poor little knotmonster. Stavrian hits paydirt and very slowly eases up on the pressure he's putting on it. "Easy." His voice is lower now, with this little distance between one mouth and other ear. He twists around and pulls the container off the chair, setting it on the mattress with his knee as a cradle. "This'll be hot, okay? I'm serious. Just…let it work." He's behind her head, so she won't see much. She'll notice him moving. She'll hear something rustling, peeling like wet cloth. She'll feel something hot settle on her lower shoulder and back — not scalding, but very very warm — settle on her arm, a thick, wet layer of something that smells almost like dough. It's kind of lulling, and takes about five whole seconds before the capsaicin in the poultice gets to work. /Spicy/.

Easy? "Nnrgh," is Tisiphone's reply to /that/ encouragement, eyes opening to slant up sidelong to Stavrian while he's close. There's something close to a grin for a moment, more thumbing her nose at the pain than anything, before she closes her eyes again and waits. The lack of visual cues draws the application process out even longer. And then, on the tick from five seconds to six, her eyes pop open again. "Yo-o-ou, wow. Do this to yourself, you said? You a sucker for- frakdamn, this is gonna keep getting hotter, isn't it?"

That's the sound of Stavrian laughing, just a little bit. "Used to do this three times a week, I swear to you. Just hold still." Notice, no answer about the heat. Mainly because it NEEDS NO ANSWER. The moistness of the poultice lets the capsaicin go to town. Really, it's not a terrible sensation — it's just a /deep/ one, the heat leaching much further into muscle and tendons than the standard sickbay heating pad could ever get. "If you can imagine it…seeping down into every tiny nerve, every tiny blood vessel." He drapes a warm, damp cloth over the spread of the poultice as it works, pushing the edges into the peppery goop. "Steam taking away the pain with it, lifting it up out of your skin."

"At least there's /something/ you'll laugh at…" Tisiphone will take what she can get, at this point, another tight and toothsome grin straining across her face. "Yeah. Just… relax. Right. I cannot possibly combust, I said I trusted you and my reward is surely not to be immolated at your hand because I'm such a good girl and you're such a nice boy and our kind and loving Lords would never laugh themselves to tears over something like this." The stream of words from a half-disengaged brain start the process, though — of willed relaxation, not immolation, at least — and Stavrian's guided visualization helps it along. Her breathing smooths out again, and deepens. If she got through her tatau, she can get through this.

"Shush, woman." Stavrian settles back on his socked heel, bunk rails going creak once or twice again before he stills. There might've been a smirk in his tone, but it's hard to tell. "Close your eyes. Don't fight it. Think of inhaling the steam coming off a big bowl of hot water. When you breathe in…let your whole body do the same thing. Your skin, your muscles, your bone…and when you breathe out, send the pain up with the steam. Breathe in and breathe out."

"Working. On. It," Tisiphone retorts, eyes popping open again for a second, even though Stavrian's out of eyeshot. She falls silent after that, however, taking his words properly to heart. After a few minutes she seems still and centered enough she could nearly be asleep, even her habitual lip-gnawing smoothed away.

"In…and out." Stavrian's voice settles back in his throat, sliding down into a lower register. The three words repeated every so often, his body completely still. Not quite touching her, not since that time he asked permission to, his knee about an inch from her hip rather than pressed up against it. Eyes glance at his watch, timing the fifteen minutes.

Other than a couple miniscule shifts punctuated with a deeper breath, Tisiphone seems to pull the breathing meditation over her like a thick and very warm (and searing- no, no, wrong visualization) blanket, hiding down where a slip of thought would tip her across from meditative to slumbering.

After a while, Stavrian fades completely off into silence. It's only about five minutes total of him sitting there, staring at nothing on his bookshelf, though it feels like much longer than that. When his voice cuts back into the heavy drape of stilled silence, it's like it's been an hour since he last spoke. "Tisiphone? I'm going to take it off now, before it gets cold."

Silence for several seconds after Stavrian speaks, before Tisiphone remembers to reply aloud. "Mmnuh? Oh. Yeah. 'fcourse." She draws in a deep breath and holds it for a second as she shifts her shoulders some tiny amount, then twists her back slightly from side to side. Finally, she rotates her ankles. All limbs still accounted-for.

Stavrian leans over his knee, using the edges of the damp (now not-warm) cloth to mop up the thick poultice off her shoulder. The air in here is not particularly cold — some even find it a hair too warm — but it feels chilly it tickles newly-bepeppered skin. "Almost done…how's it feel now?"

"Like, mmn." Well, /that's/ informative. Tisiphone ducks her head down, muffling a huge yawn into the crook of her neck, then tries to answer again. "Feels like my shoulderblade's all embers. If it still hurts in there, I sure as frak can't feel it right now." A soft chuckle accompanied by a drowsy grin. "I take back every terrible thing I thought when it first kicked in."

"Capsaicin." Stavrian picks up the cloth full of wet lukewarm poultice and dumps it back into its container. "Mild infusion, in this one. If you find you need it again, I'll make it stronger next time." Hooboy. "You'd make a very tasty roast right now."

"Gods, I'd frakking murder someone for a steak," Tisiphone murmurs. "Never getting to eat meat again? Maybe that's even worse than the pins in my arm." She rolls her shoulder again, testingly. Upward, girl. Time to get up. "Fifteen minutes for a shoulder roast? Dunno. No way it's…" Another wriggle of appraisal. "…barely more than rare."

Stavrian half-smiles. One of those increasingly familiar expressions of his, on which the Mona Lisa would have nothing. "Ensign Steak, of course. How could I forget?" He gets up, mattress shifting for the last time as his weight abandons it. "I'll have to live vicariously through you. I don't eat the stuff." The container gets a push down all around the rim with his palms, sealing it click by click. "Anyway. Wait at least an hour before you shower that off. And if you somehow prank someone into licking you before then, I take no part in the responsibility."

"I remember that. I disliked you for a whole day over that." Which is, now, worth chuckling over. Tisiphone twists around, setting her feet over the edge of the bunk, and starts struggling back into her tank-tops. "If I prank someone into licking my- dude, what the /frak/ do you think goes on in the damn berthings? Pfah." Shirts resituated, she pushes herself up and reaches over to lightly push, more than swat, the medic's shoulder.

Stavrian has most of his back to Tisiphone by that point, politely turned around while she gave his pillows the show of their military-issue lives. He doesn't see the touch coming. His shoulder makes an electric jerk as her hand lands on it, flinching away in a startle reflex turned up to 11. He shies to the side and away from her hand before conscious mind can catch up to what just happened, and softly clears his throat. "Sorry…" Embarrassed, almost. "Uh." Where was he, again? "Well. Shit. You /said/ that mirror exemption was right, didn't you? Hell if I know what a group of you do together when grooming."

Stavrian jerks one way, and Tisiphone's hand jerks the other, as if it was his shoulder that was ember-hot, not hers. "Whoa, whoa," she immediately says, her hand drawn back, held open-palmed at him. Over here, see? Quite empty. Promise. "Uh," she agrees. "Sorry, I- sorry." She leaves it there; it's simpler, and covers far more that way. She pushes her previously-occupied chair back over to the table she kidnapped it from, and hovers uncertainly for a moment, nearby. "I'll, uh." Long pause. "Thanks, Jesse."

Stavrian's eyes are down on the blue container, palms making an unnecessary second press around the rim. Yep, still shut. It takes him a second to drag his eyes back up, which happens somewhere in the middle of that long pause. "It's cool, don't worry about it." The touching? The thanks? "It's good to see you feeling better." That, at least, is very sincere. "I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"

A mute nod to the medic's first words, before Tisiphone pads toward the hatch. She pauses there, fingers at the door, to look back. "It's really good to be feeling better," she admits, swapping one moment of sincerity for another. "I'll- yeah. See you tomorrow." A quick grin, glimmering more in her eyes than tugging at her mouth, and then she's gone.

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