Divided roughly into two sections, are the domains of the Healing Hands and the Organic Mechanics. Both areas are kept sanitary and clean for the work that is done within, and both share a communal waiting area where those who have come to be healed, and those who have come for prosthetic, modifications, and tattoo work can wait for their turn.
Today, KissThisThen is seeing one of the Organic Mechanics, in this case JunkWonderful. The woman is busy discussing the further scarification work, and just audible is "...not as sure. Over soft tissue we need to be a bit more careful. Antiseptic for things like this is not quite necessary, more of a lux sort of issue? I mean, you've had quite a bit of work already."
Xavier is bundled up in mushroom coloured cloth as they often are. They peer around nervously, but spotting the Reaper they drift towards him. "What are you having done, Kisses?" They sound frankly curious.
"That's what we're working out," says JunkWonderful, who straightens up. KTT is shirtless, and they are examining the majority of the Tree of Life covering him "I mean, sure, a lot of War Kids get a tonne of work done, but a lot of War Kids also don' freak out when a job's rushed. This guy, Blight willin', is gonna live what, another twenty years, maybe? Forty, if he's super lucky and don't get leukemia?" She shakes her head "So the work's gotta be good."
KTT touches over his stomach "I would like the roots of the tree done," he says "And then the rest is tattoo work. When I started, my skin was mostly dark, and I don't think most tattoo inks would have shown up? Now..."
Xavier's eyes go wide, "Forty.... I hope so very much." They study KTT's body art, "Are you going to have mushrooms amoung the roots? I was... thinking of maybe getting a something too. From one of the new books."
KissThisThen says to Xavier, somberly "Of course. In tattoo-work. The mycelium will join everything together as a connector and conversationalist. It speaks." JunkWonderful sniffs a bit, but then she coughs, pushes her hair back, and says to Xavier "What were you thinkin' of? Hey, have I ever seen you get work done before? You're a Professor, right?"
Xavier nods shyly, "Professor Xavier, chemist and pharmacologist. I... never had one done before." They take a breath gathering themselves, "See, chemicals make up everything, but the... little pieces that make up the chemicals are too small for us to see with surviving equipment. But the ancients could see them and made diagrams representing them. I was thinking? Maybe a diagram on my arm, but I was trying to decide which."
"Pieces make up what?" says JunkWonderful "What do you mean? Everythin's made out of cells? Huh? How does that work then without a manufacturin' plant like is in livin' things?" She shakes her head suspiciously. KissThisThen just watches, blinking slow, and then he says to JunkWonderful "Let's get some charcoal and paper. We can get them drawn up and then it can be ready to go. Do you mean tattoos, Professor R...Xavier. Or, um, scarification?"
Xavier blinks, "Oh! Right! The scarification is those lovely bumps right? I was thinking ink. Do I go to someone else for that? I'm trying to decide between two designs... Pieces that make up the substances we can see. For example, water is a hydrogen molecule and two oxygen molecules. It's, um complicated."
The Professor carries on breathlessly, "So I'm thinking of doing either soap because it's a cool bridge between organic molecules in dirt covalently bonded with the soap molecule on one end and the inorganic on the other end where it ionically bods with a molecule of water. Isn't that cool? It's a chain shape, kind of and I could run it up a forearm. Either that or something more, um, pretty. There is a substance that, um, represents... beauty and open minds, and, um... a vision of what could be that has a bunch of these hexagonal shapes stuck together with, um, some other stuff sticking off? It's kind of pretty, but I'm not sure where I could put it that didn't, um... I don't like disrobing. What do you think, Kisses? What, um, makes sense. you know way more than I do about um..." They gesture at the reaper's tree of life. "what would look pretty?"
"JunkWonderful mostly does Ink, Sevenhands can do scarification, but she's pretty hard to catch," says KissThisThen, softly. He sort of? Understands molecules. A little. At least, he understands that some components of things are absolutely tiny. But the details? Those are completely beyond him.
"I can do scarification, if you're patient," says JunkWonderful, and she then starts listening, though after a moment she says "...ya want. Soap and water done on ya. But you're plenty clean. Are you tryin' to impress a chick? I mean, I can do stuff that would impress a - wait, how are you gonna do stuff like that without disrobing?"
KissThisThen says, hastily "A chain shape. Molecule. Oh. I see - you also mean a chemical that opens? Hmm. What about your _upper_ back?" He lifts his arm back to the pad over the shoulder "Everything over bone hurts a lot. So arms, thighs, buttocks, and just on the back of the shoulder are popular. But you could run those chain shapes up one arm, and down the other. That would be nice. For you...I...think maybe more the open-mind beauty one. That's more you, Ransom."
Xavier giggles and shakes their head, "Not a chick, and not... the soap and water you can see. A diagram of what makes every single molecule of soap special, it's ability to connect two disparate things into one thing with itself as a bridge. I can draw it for you." They gaze at KTT as if what they are discussing is the most serious thing in the world and KissThisThen a renowned expert. They lift their chin and try to be brave, "Okay. The lysergic acid diethylamide it is. On the back of my shoulder. If you think it would be pretty." They lower their eyes. Would you keep me company? While I, um, have it inscribed in ink?"
"Oh, yes, of course," says KissThisThen firmly. JunkWonderful rolls her eyes, and nudges KTT and then says to Xavier "Alright. It's like a...you want like a maths thing? It's like that?" She heads towards her small cubicle in the corner and picks out some charcoal, coming back with a piece of paper "Here. Sketch it out. And then we'll refine it - just to make sure it still looks good over muscle and bone. Gotta fit you, right?" She chews on the side of her tongue "Ya know it's full-permanent, right?"
Xavier smiles brightly, "Very like that only with Letters representing the, um, ingredients, and lines showing how they sort of connect." They nod, "Permanent, yes. It's not like..." Even with their face half covered, they are clearly blushing, "Um, many people will see it there, but I... like the idea of a symbol of what we're trying to do in the lab being... permanently a part of me... I will need a straight edge. All the diagrams in the book are precise."
"I can do pretty precise, mang, but it's on flesh. Flesh changes," warns JunkWonderful, and she gets up to find a straight edge - fortunately something frequently used by designers. She comes back with it, and she offers it to Xavier. JunkWonderful limps, rather badly. And has a nervy twitch to her. A lot of chewing on the inside of her mouth going on.
KissThisThen says to Xavier "Clean lines with numbers and letters will be easy for her. And they should stay really clear on you, like, forever. Maybe if it's...a biggish molecule, it could wrap around your caste brand?"
Xavier studies her, "Are you, um, okay? Is there anything I can do to help? I was going to offer to pay in soap or bleach paste, but, um, I have other things." They start sketching. "It's biggish and shaped almost like a retort. The hexagons sort of cluster and there's a short chain on one side and a longer one on the other." They are no artist, but they are precise and their hands are steady. They measure carefully so the lines are all the same length as much as it's possible to do, the letters printed in a neat hand. "Kisses, you know what my back looks like probably better than I do. I trust you. Why don't you look at it and decide what would look best. Do you think I should, um... have a drop of something first?"
"I got skin lesions from cancer," says Junk Wonderful, as she picks up her own charcoal stick and examines as Xavier does his work "And I work with healers, so yeah, that's covered. Soap...I get that, 'coz I gotta have clean hands. Do you got shit that smells pretty? Like perfumes?" She leans over tightly to examine the work, and then she says "Drop of what?" She is sketching just as they are - and the work is _almost_ the same. But some lines are stretched, and others are subtlety bent "Okay. How about this instead? It's more lightly balanced over the curve of your body there, but it's the same concept. Your skin will probably have shadows here, so we foreshorten a little so it still looks the same."
KissThisThen pauses, and he says "Tattoos hurt, but not 'horrible hurt'. You get burned semi-regularly right? This is like a smaller burning sensation, but you know it's gonna heal. You can't take anything that thins your blood."
Xavier cocks their head, "I've been... experimenting with a chemical I think shows promise for... taking the edge off discomfort and improving appetite. You shouldn't take it when you're working and we can discuss observed side effects. If you are interested, I mean. It seems pretty harmless so far. Or I have some soap that is herbal scented if you like? Very soft... Oh! I've no idea if it increases bleeding. I'd better not take it." They blink at Junk wonderful, "I have some of the, um, chemical I am offering you to try on me in case... but I better not until I test how it effects bleeding. Thank you, Kisses." They close their eyes, "Okay. Your version of the design. Is there, um, somewhere private where I can, um, partially disrobe?"
"Sure is, buddy," says JunkWonderful, stabbing a finger at a gauzy curtain hung up "We use those sometimes for operations where the guy don't wanna see what's going on. Try that. Sorry, mang, that chemical could be great, but I don't think we can risk somethin' 'unknown' right now." She makes quote marks, and then she says to KissThisThen "So which one of you lovebirds are payin' the Lux for this?" Indeed. KissThisThen pauses, then he digs in his own pocket "I am," he says."
Xavier nods, "that's fair. I've taken it myself and have been, um, sharing it with some of the, um, sicker war Boys, but there's a lot we don't know. Behind the curtain is perfect. I, um, don't enjoy being looked at." They snake a hand out to touch the Reaper's wrist, "I have soap I can pay with and I... hardly spent anything before I met Kitten. You don't have to unless you really, really want to Kisses. Or we could py for each other's?"
"I want to pay," says KissThisThen, quietly "What is mine is yours." The Savvy mindset, though it is showing up at an odd time. JunkWonderful rubs at her mouth a bit, and then she says "Lux is lux, birdies. Okay, you don't wanna be looked at, I get you. I hate folk lookin' at me legs. Sometimes we're just...not what we think we should be." KissThisThen frowns - he does not think this is Xavier's issue, but...it might be JunkWonderful's. He says to Xavier "The best thing to do is relax, and master the sensations. You'll find it not too bad. I think you'll be okay, and once it's _done_ you can take the drug!"
Xavier's expression is mostly invisible, but there is a wealth of warmth in the other savvy's voice, "And what's mine is yours. Always." They nod, "Will you... will you hold my hand, Kisses?"
"Yes, but only two fingers, or you'll crush it," JunkWonderful says "If you're the nervous type." She pats a chair "Come and sit down. I gotta alcohol wipe you and do a transfer, then line you up." She in fact is already doing it, the moment that the Savvy sits. Fine charcoal across the pale skin, done neatly, carefully, with a ruler "Okay dokey. We use a machine here - reliable, less painful, but it makes a scary buzzing tone. Okay? Buzzy buzz means it's okay." KissThisThen offers his hand across, gently. Two fingers "OK, there, Professor. I want you to take a breath in - I'm gonna tattoo on the outbreath so you're as relaxed as possible. That way no wiggly bits! Ready?"
Xavier takes off their gloves and unwinds their head scarf, double checking the curtain is closed before turning their back to JunkWonderful to pull off their tunic, which they hold to hide their front as they come to sit. They have the usual sanctuary brands with blood type and the like, but otherwise their back is pristine and has barely seen the sun in decades. They trustingly settle in and reach out a hand for the Reaper's offered fingers in their own, folding the extras down against temptation, holding ion gently. They echo, "Buzzy Buzz means it okay." They nod, "Okay." They take a deep breath and let it out slowly and steadily.
ROLL: Xavier rolls Spirit+1 for: : x2 (Pair) : x2 (Pair) : x1 -- Match Value: 2 (Raw: 4 4 5 3 3 -- d6)
JunkWonderful kicks the foot-pedal and the old generator starts up. BZZZZZ. KissThisThen holds Xavier's hand and watches them with his serious, dark eyes. JunkWonderful says "Huh. Happy where you were put, eh, professor? Okay, gonna touchdown now." It does not burn horribly. Or sting agonizingly. It is uncomfortable, verging on painful, and were it a normal surprise occurrence, one would immediately stop it. But it is not _horrific_. Not as bad as a needle, even. The needles JunkWonderful are using are sterilized, and moving incredibly quickly, just into the fat layer and not into the muscle. It feels like a sunburn going on.
Xavier makes a face at the sensation, but keeps still as possible. Their fingers tighten, but they aren't that strong and there is a stocism about their response to pain. They have been burned many times, after all, and keeping control and putting the right counter on a chemical burn instead of panicking or curling into a ball is survival positive in their field. They close their eyes and relax into it as much as possible, silently hanging on to those fingers.
The thin lines hurt the least - but the blocks, squares, and any shading is considerably worse. Still, none of it is awful. The body does start to protest however - this is not what it wants. So mild shock and shaking and sweating ensues. JunkWonderful works quickly and well, peering down, chewing the side of her mouth "Arachne's better at shadin', but this is all clean lines, yar? Okay dokey. Just a lil' more, sunshine, we gotcha covered!"
Xavier rasps, "Just clean lines. No shading. Thank. You." They clamp their mouth closed again. They are trying so hard, but bodies are bodies. They squeak, "Take me home? After?"
"Yes, of course," says KissThisThen in his almost serene voice. He is apparently a quiet creature, settled, used to this. Skin swells up and there are beads of clear plasma, but no actual blood. Without rich and detailed shading, after an hour of intensive work, it is done. She says "Hang on a mo', I got somethin' that's gonna take the sting out. You're gonna swear like fuckity for a moment, but -" Slap! On goes a very, very hot cloth, on top of the brand new wound.
Xavier gives a high pitched shriek and tries to yank KissThis closer by the fingers, "Aiyeeee!" Their eyes water and they whisper, "I want to go home, Kisses. I want to... Please?"
"Aww, stop bein' a slop," says JunkWonderful without rancor. She pulls it off, then scoops out a fingerful of cold cream, slathers the healing stuff across, and winds a bandage onto it "Okay, lissen up. In three days, it's gonna itch. It's gonna itch a _lot_. If you scratch it, you wreck it, okay? When it itches, I want you to put on some cold, healin' cream. You want it all nice and soft and the scabs thin and quick to heal. Got it?" She adds "If you got more food ration than normal, I wantcha to eat it tonight. In like three hours." She glances at KissThisThen "And once you get out you're gonna start feelin' invincible because the fear and pain are over and you got a cool tat. So _don't_ shag him, okay? I don't wantcha makin' decisions based on crazy hormones." KissThisThen just pats Xavier's hand a little "I'll take you home," he says sincerely.
Xavier nods, "I'll be careful. It'll help, it being where is is." They blush at the shagging bit. "I promise I won't, um, do that. And I'll eat." The slender chemist is still clinging to his hand, the arm holding the tunic for modesty. "I'm good at following directions." They give KissThisThen a lingering look, "Want to dress me? For the walk?"
"Huh. Skidz finally has competition," notes JunkWonderful "Welp, at least she's cuter than he is." She pauses "I think? Hey? Have either of you two actually ever seen Skidz without that ugly helmet on?" KTT nods, and he starts tugging up the clothing, just gently starting to dress Xavier "There you go. At least you have cream," he says, offering his arm like a real gentleman. If only they were not in the apocalypse "It does look great," he adds "It's a shame you won't be able to see it right until it's healed."
Xavier shakes their head, "I'm not competing. Kisses is free.... The helmet comes off? Oh right." They scoop up their head wrap, and take KTT's arm, "you make me feel pretty, Kisses.... Um thank you for the tattoo, JunkWonderful." They are smiling at KissThis, "and you hve so many of these! You must be really tough!"
"I'm honestly not sure," JunkWonderful says, of the helmet "That freaks me out. Seriously. And the yellin'. Man." she shakes her head, as KissThisThen reaches out to use the headwrap and then, Xavier is covered up all over again. KissThisThen pauses, and he glances at JunkWonderful, who says "It's his thing, mang. But I think you already know how he feels about nature an' stuff. We're working on putting a full guide to how to heal stuff over him." She beams and KissThisThen gently tugs Xavier away "I'm not tough," he says "I just got. Opinions."