He Was Taken

Title: He Was Taken
Time Period: June 20, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Deckard resurfaces at the Hightower Clinic.

There's something hunched and blue on the the clinic stoop, increasingly conspicuous as the night breaks into dawn grey. A person.

Knees drawn to chest and head heavy with sleep, Flint whistles when he breathes. His hoody is more of a jacket, loose and short in the sleeves. His pants are cut off under the knee, slack in the waist. Borrowed or stolen. Dirty either way.

His feet are bare.

He's been missing for a few days. Now he isn't.

Leonard is a morning person, without a doubt in the world. He is up before the sun, and most of the time at the clinic before dawn is over with. There are times when he runs later than usual, as today. Sage does her own thing in the mornings, usually loitering about in some shape or another. She always comes home before the night has been too long, and sleeps through til dawn.

Meow.

Deckard's sleep is disturbed by a sound almost in his ear, and a tickle of fur against his face. The fluffy cat sits herself down just out of reach again, opening her mouth in a yawn, blue eyes squinting shut. She can smell him a lot better like this; it sets her to inspect him, for now.

"What did I tell you about dragging things in?" Leonard is hesitant in his approach across the yard and up the walk, leaning off to the side to make his own inspection of the bag of limbs that someone seems to have left on the step. "Ah. I see." He stops, standing there beside the cat, not entirely certain of if he should start poking like he did last time. Last time, there were shackles, and shackles will make anyone more courageous.

Flint doesn't smell as terrible as he could. There was a lot of water between there and here, and more moving quick through the woods around the edges of town. Musty, maybe. A wet dog kind of sour.

He's slow to stir at the sound of voices in his ear, too worn down to manage much of a startle. Pale about the face, skin a waxen white against the plastic tarp blue of his hood, he squints first to the cat. Not sure if it is a cat. "I didn't want to bother you," he tells her, which is thoughtful of him. So maybe that's a good sign.

There's a lot of room to elaborate in the span that follows, re: where he's been and why. He picks at his sleeve instead.

Sage flicks her dark tail, lifting a paw to preen at seal-point coloration. Leonard is left to pick up where her mewling left off, apparently. His shoes and pantlegs are visible first, before he crouches down, cocking his head like a hound.

"I wasn't expecting to see you again. After your lady told me you disappeared, I figured that you had left Dornie behind." His eyebrows lift, green eyes half concerned, half suspicious of the sheer fact that he did come back. "Best ready your hide quick, she's going to give you a sound rapping, I think…" Leonard finally offers his hand out, looking all too well-groomed compared to the grungy piece of work that Deckard seems to be.

"I mean to say that she has come here looking for you. Where did you go, where you'd come back like this?" Leo sounds like a scolding father, suddenly.

The prospect of 'a sound rapping' turns over like a giant slug in Flint's gut, cold and sticky and slow. It tightens a curve into his spine and draws rangy limbs in close, away from Leonard's reach. The rise of a lecture in warning's wake just cements him there, brooding and guant.

"Someone took me," he decides. At length. Resentful. Also slightly defensive. "I said I would stay."

Leonard was probably exaggerating about the rapping. Probably. He wouldn't actually know how Dina Ross conducts business with runaway wards. Not his area of expertise!

"Took you?" The expression that Deckard's revelation gets is a confused one. Why would someone want to steal a mangy old thing like him? Unless it was less for labor and more for a grudge. "Did it have something to do with where you don't remember coming from…?" This sounds just a little condescending, though not on purpose. Leonard wags his hand in front of Deckard again. "Come on now, I can't have you lounging about, here."

The collection of scars Deckard's host to beneath the slack of his hoodie suggests he has a fair amount of experience with being rapped.

He also has a history of being condescended.

Which may explain the look on his long face once he's pushed to his feet under his own power, leaving Leonard to wiggle and waggle awkwardly on his own. He reaches to hook a hand up under the cat as he goes — no extra effort made to compensate for a dodge. She'll tolerate it or she wont.

Meanwhile the shadows purpled in around his eyes make the pallor about him seem worse and his scrubby hair is dark with sweat. He is sick. Or looks that way.

"I dunno," he says. Unenthusastic about this conversation. "That seems like a logical conclusion to come to."

At least his sass gland is okay.

Alright, deserved. Leonard hems and haws and gets back to his feet, looking Deckard over. It doesn't look as if he minds Sage being hoisted up- and she seems chill enough. But as cats tend do be when picked up, her legs are somewhat tense, tail flicking back and forth.

"Yes, well- are you hurt?" Or just sleeping in my yard? Goes unsaid, but it hovers there in the ether. "I don't think you're going to be in trouble, per se-" He pries keys from his pocket, and unlocks the door of the clinic, propping it open for the other man. "Least I can do is make sure you're alright and feed you something. Then, maybe, the woman that's seemed honestly worried for you." Canoodling around with Deckard isn't a bad thing- it's just that Leonard prefers not to be harassed by the militia if he can help it- and kidnapping, et cetera, appears to make him nervous, even if he is truly concerned.

Kitteh. Flint holds her against his side like a security blanket, legs and all, with only a little smoosh. As much as he unconsciously decides he can get away with.

"He bit me," he says, straight forward at questions of hurt as he tows himself and Sage on through the threshold. "Could be infected." COULD BE.

The clinic's interior is more familiar than the stoop and he relaxes through the shoulders a touch once he's had a few seconds to pace. The cat is deposited with reasonable care upon whatever raised object seems most convenient. Not pushing his luck.

The vet is slow to follow him inside, and as Deckard describes the injury, he can feel the cat in his arm wriggling slightly against him. She's still offering a small purr, though, even after she is set down upon the desk to watch the goings on. But only for a moment. Then, she is hopping down from the desk and prancing back out the front door.

«I'll go see her. Be back soon.»

"Be quick, Sage. He? A man? Bit you?" Leonard sounds incredulous, but the notion of it being infected seems to spur him into more action than before, and causes his breath to deepen by a measure. "I'll clean it up for you, first room?" He knows where it is.

Sage won't have to go far, is the clop of a pair of horses outside coming to a still is any indication. Or the familiar bird that rests on the shoulder of the older woman. How she came to know to show up now, well. Every woman has to have her secrets. Though likely it is that someone she knows, saw something suspicious at the vets and hied off to the Manor. That and Dina's days always start early.

«Is it him?»Spoken to sage by the lapwing, taking off from Dina's shoulder to land at the door, look inside while doing so. It'll take a minute for Dina to be helped down. «I hope it's him» Greets The Sun mutters to Sage.

Yes. A man. Bit him.

As disinterested in repeating himself as he is most things that seem to interest Leonard, Flint does as he's told nonetheless. Zip down on his hoodie, no shirt underneath, he strips it off as he goes. And sure enough, a toothy pattern is printed out stark against the clammy join of neck and right shoulder.

It isn't the infection that's bad.

Exactly.

In addition to the usual bruising and angry red gashes, his flesh is burned black around two breaks in the skin, discolor following blood vessles close to the surface within a few inches of the site. With any luck, it looks worse than it is.

Overall sickly, miserable state aside, he doesn't seem to be in any remarkable amount of pain.

«Yes, yes. It's him. On the front step this morning. Smells awful.» There's something of a laugh in her words to the other familiar. The cat wheels about, hops across the walk, and rubs her spine on the open doorway. «Come on in, he's getting patched up.»

There's something odd about all this, especially regarding the fact that Deckard is only about half dressed, at best. Leonard frowns to himself when he sees the mark, and the sight of it sinks in entirely. It is peculiar, and bites tend to all remind him only of one thing regardless.

"What in the world? Are you sure-" The vet pauses and knots his brows, rolling up his sleeves and putting a hand to the man's neck to get a better look. "Are you sure it was a man?" He turns to find a clean cloth and alcohol to clean with.

More like 1/4 dressed. Without Sage held against his side, Flint's taken to holding up his stolen pants by the waist with one hand. As for whether or not he's sure Thorpe is just a man — he has to think about it. The thinking takes time. It's hard to remember everthing.

"Yeah," he confirms after an awkward stretch. Sure.

"Just — clean it out."

Why does it matter?

His skin flinches damp under contact careful or no, eyes focused dimly ahead under the hood of his brow.

Greets the sun converts, transforms into the mouse form that many are faimiliar with, keeping close to Sage the cat. SOon at the door is Dina, hair down and loose, coming to near the middle of her back. She at least took the time to change out of night clothes but they're more clothes meant for around the house and not in public. If the simpler unembroidered skirts and undone hair are any indication.

"A little bird told me that my cousin had made his way back to town. Is this true?"

«She means him» Greets fills in for sage. Eyes - human - settle down on Flint and Leonard with a somewhat surprised look. "Mr. Deckard. Did we have a good trip?" Noa dmonition, lecturing, anger. Just old woman observation.

"Mmm." Cleaning it out might be hard if Deckard is lying about anything- especially if it was actually a man or not. Leonard has his suspicions, but the man doesn't look sick nor terribly worried. In the middle of his fetching supplies, Dina makes herself known, and Leonard answers from the next room. "Made, crawled, I suppose it could be the same thing…"

«Cousin?» It doesn't fill Sage in too much, she still turns her nose quizzically to the mouse. «What is that about?»

"He was taken." The vet pointedly relays the tale so that the man now getting his bite wound cleaned does not have to. It stings, incredibly so, but at least it is getting treated.

Hoodie balled up in the hand that isnt holding up his pants, Flint glances over his shoulder to mark Dina's arrival and quickly looks forward again, muscle constricting into knots on either side of his scarred-over spine. Whatever meager amount of weight he might have gained under her employ has melted off his ribs. Back to square one.

No he did not have a good trip. As anticipated, right about the time he might say so is when Leonard gets to cleaning and he loses his voice to a ragged gasp through his teeth.

"Don't suppose that it had much to do with that young Rowentree deciding to overrun my garden in zealousness again?" A faintest hint of contempt at the mention of Duncan. Save for a quick look in to the room they've taken up proper, She's keeping out to the main area of the veterinary clinic. "Should I have Cordelia sent for to assist you Mister Hightower?"

«She has said that he is a cousin» Greets the sun moves to sit at Sage's feet, little pink nose sniffing at the furry cat paw and eventually combing at it with his tiny paws. «Not that he really is»

"No, ma'am. It's a bite, but it looks worse than it is." Leonard sighs audibly, pursing his mouth and waiting for the initial pains of cleaning get through Deckard's spine before continuing. "Who's been running around in your garden?" Gossip as he may, some things escape the mill. A curl of brown hair falls across Leonard's eyes when he tries to inspect the wound over the man's shoulder, and it seems to draw a shadow over his expression. He never likes treating bites. But that is not Deckard's fault.

«Ah. I see.» Sage twitches her whiskers, and then her tail. «They don't look too related… why did she need to say that? People bothering for him at the manor?»

"Dunno," mutters Deckard, blithely ignorant of Duncan's involvement if there was any, direct or otherwise. Stinging and burning are endured with a reluctant kind of fortitude — he doesn't squirm away when the opportunity presents itself. Just clamps his jaw down and glowers, deliberately avoidant of eye contact when a shiver rattles his teeth.

Brackish bubbles piddle from poisoned teeth marks against disinfectant, angry at first and then less so. At least the source of the bite this time was a man.

According to him.

"Young men, thinking they can just overrun my garden. Steps on my flowers. Such a shame" Though it really doesn't sound like that much of a shame. Spying a seat, She's moving to take it up even as Greets the Sun scurries away from Sage so that he can scurry up skirts and settle himself into Dina's lap.

"Treat my cousin well, in there"

"As well as can be. Considering." Leonard wipes the wound clean now, prying away old blood and dabbing over the raw skin he can see. He moves to fetch fresh bandages and a bit of salve. "Next time, get that wolfhound to chase him off. Cordelia spoils that beast." Deckard has surely met Argyle, though the dog mainly sticks with his girl, last Leonard knew.

Sage props her tail in the air, meandering over to have a seat near Dina and her familiar. She seems thoughtful, however that may just be the feline features.

Deckard has not met Argyle.

There is a 100% chance that this is not an accident.

A slight turn of his head in hope of elaboration doesn't go any further than that. Instead he unballs the hoodie jacket and lets it fall out open, pockets turned out and examined. Both empty.

"Thirsty," he tells the zipper offhand. "She hired me as a gardener," he tells Leonard a moment later. Also offhand.

"Claimed that he was a cousin" She can hear everything from her perch, reaching dwon to stroke a palm down Sage's spine, slow and steady. "I thought perhaps you had thought to take off after all. I am glad that you are returned. DO you know who took you Mister Deckard? So that I may see to having a conversation with them?" And given that she's a Ross, it would likely be just that, a conversation.

"I can find you some water in a moment." Once he finishes tacking the bandage on Deckard's man-bite. "I see. Best place to hide is in plain sight?" Maybe not. At Dina's words, Leonard's eyebrows lift upwards, his green eyes blinking wider. "If it was the same man that made this bite mark, I hazard saying that you should not go searching for him…"

"See me or Cordelia in a few days, one of us can make sure it is not getting sour. Keep it clean and keep it dry, et cetera." Once the wound is clean, it doesn't take him long to wrap it together.

"Some guy," says Flint, back to addressing the jacket again. "Don't worry," he continues after some thought. Or after a blank span where he forgot what he's supposed to be talking about. Tough call. "I bit him back."

Salve and bandaging in place, he shrugs 'his' coat back on and zips it up halfway. Down. Up. Down. "You're a good doctor," he tells Leonard. Kindly.

"He bit him back" This spoken down to the cat and to the mouse in her lap. That's all that Dina has to say at the moment, remaining quiet as the men do their thing in the other room. In her mind, there's a great many things that she needs to do this day, which just now happened to start with finding the wayward 'Cousin'. "Good for him"

"Now I know what to tell Aislinn to look for." Cheerily. Somewhat. His expression softens at the compliment, even though he is not sure of its validity. Deckard keeps happening into his vicinity, in peril. Would not be the gentlemanly thing, leaving him lying on the front step. "Thank you. I'll get you some water." A hand passes by uninjured shoulder space, clapping there softly before Leonard files out of the exam room and towards the rear.

Sage purrs quite loudly, for little reason, as some cats tend to do. Bit him back? Good job, guy. She'll certainly have that in the back of her mind, during her days to come. If she sees someone of that description, first one to know will probably be the mouse on Dina's lap.

Left to his own devices in the exam room, Flint — walks the perimeter once and then pads out into the open with Dina, where it's easiest to behave. There is nothing to touch and nothing to put in his pockets. If he lies down she will probably make him get up again to go home before long, so.

He stands and waits, less worried about Thorpe's odds of survival than he probably should be.

Maybe she will, maybe she won't. Dina's strange that way. She looks him over, top to toe from the chair, critical eye. "I brought another horse, just in case. But seeing as it is just a bite, should you wish to meander about the town, maybe bite a few more people back, you may do so. Or stay here. Work your payment to Mister Hightower for his medical attention" because nothing is free. "You are welcome back, when you wish. Next time though, when you speak with strange men on the edges of the garden, try to leave a note so that I am not wasting time inquring to my wayward cousin hmmm?" Hmm?

Nothing is free, but sometimes favors can be as valuable as a strip of stamped leather. Leonard does not remind others of that, but always remembers it himself. When he returns, it is with a smoky-colored glass full of water, which he offers to Deckard. The cat gets up and winds past ankles before settling against Leo's leg.

"I may call on him at a later date." Is what he offers then for conversation, glancing down to the Himalayan, who mewls in return. "Why, just avoid strange men entirely." Barring himself, obviously.

Deckard is sickly, thin, bone white and unshaven, wearing an open hoodie and a pair of pants he has to hold up to keep from falling around his ankles. Talk of working off the debt between them doesn't have any obvious effect on his posture or expression. He listens. Holds onto his pants. Doesn't protest or grumble, inscrutable in a look he shares vacantly with the wall. Nothing is free. He already knows.

Offered water is taken, sipped, swallowed and set aside without thanks. Better. "I'll walk," he tells Dina, pausing only long enough for her to protest if she wants to before he carries himself on out the door.

He can walk. Dina's not about to stop him. Just watches the somewhat younger man mosey for the door before she looks to Leonard. "While I'm here. Shall we take some tea and discuss things?" Things about the city. Things the vet thinks might need attention to in the town. His opinion on the new teacher. "I did come all the way here. Might as well get a nice cuppa out of it. Greets can play with Sage"

The grunt of disgust that at his age he plays can be heard by her, and by sage, though he drops off her lap to land by the cat, shifting into that of the wolf. «Play. Unlikely» Sit beside a fire? Hell yes.