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angrydurf

A Slow Parade

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Contrary to what the television would have you think the Emergency Room was not an action packed hotbed of trauma and drama.  While Docs regularly traded out of ER rotations it had less to do with the intensity and more to do with the mind numbing boredom interspersed with myriad opportunities to be vomited on.  Despite this Ellis actually had stopped trading his shifts and started banking the goodwill of a few extra here and there to use in case of heroics interfering with his work.  It certainly didn't hurt that the ER really was a front line look at trends in the cities crimes and traumas.  Thus Ellis found himself using the slow afternoon parade of sports injuries and confused geriatrics to catch up on paperwork while the residents dealt with the minimal medicine needing to be practiced.

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It was the patient flagged for 'drug seeking behavior' and 'possible criminal involvement' that eventually would roust Ellis from the land of paperwork. The chart he was handed noted multiple contusions and a dislocated shoulder. But for the shoulder injury, it was certainly consistent with a fight and the patient was touting the 'fell down some stairs' line with mulish insistence. 

 

When Ellis was shown to the trauma bay, the man in question was seated, not on the bed, but rather in the chair in the corner with an ice-pack held to his shoulder. Although he had the sort of blonde good looks that many thought of as handsome - tall, chiseled jaw, broad shoulders - it was masked under about a day's worth of scruff, a scowl and what looked to be a black eye well on the way to turning a brilliant purple. All of that, however, was really secondary to the vivid tattoos that covered both arms from wrist to under his white tank top and up well onto his neck. The principle motif seemed to be flames and chains although the work deeply intricate. 

 

As Ellis entered, Ray was well aware he'd been moved up the chain of command. Otherwise, it would have been a nurse with a small cup of pills. He fixed the doctor with a black scowl, "Look, I just want something stronger than IB Profin so that I can sleep. It sodding well hurts."

 

As Ray turned his head to address Ellis, the doctor could better see where the tattoo met the man's hairline and in the pale patch of skin after the tattoo ended, behind one ear, in as delicate a hand as the rest of the tattoo were Enochian sigils. 

 

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Ellis hardly looked up as the man began his complaints focussing on the case history, it's many holes, and the other doctors notes.  When he did look up his eyes travelled from the empty bed to the complaining man and for a long moment he froze.  In the notes the supposition was some kind of fight ring or perhaps an escapee of vigilante justice.  Of course the other docs wouldn't know what to make of enochian script even if they had noticed them.  He finally stood to approach the chair eyes locked on the other man as he tried to make out anything further from the Tattoos.  Enochian script, chains and flames rarely held good intentions but one ought be sure.  "So it says here you fell?"  he asked carefully, "Have you had any previous weakness, dizziness, or issues with balance?"  he asked as he moved to check the mans eyes and some of the facial contusions though his real goal was a more thorough examination of the script crawling across the mans flesh.  He really began to wish he'd paid more attention to Phantoms briefing on demon inhabitation.

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"I don't have a concussion," Ray said with a long-suffering sigh, "I've had those before. The only headache I have is from--" he cut off before he could snark out 'from getting punched in the face'. He frowned at Ellis but sat still for the poking and prodding, unaware that his tattoos were being given an examination more than his head. There were more sigils hidden in the swirls and lines of the colors, cleverly so. Ellis could just make out the line of more intricate tattoos, what looked like the curve and feathers of wings along the shoulderblade closest to him although it remained largely hidden under his shirt. As to the script, it was certainly something about flesh and binding although hard to say exactly what that purpose might be with the few symbols he could make out and his own limited knowledge of the angelic, or demonic.

 

"--from falling," Ray said, the words flat. "I fell down the stairs coming down from my shop. Lucky I didn't break my damn neck." He squinted the eye starting to bruise at Ellis, his manner surly and confrontational. 

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Ellis was only half paying attention as the mans lies were pat enough to be old hat to any doctor of experience.  Bindings spectacular, he thought to himself uncertain if they were invitations in or some seal willing or not.  He assumed it was demonic of course as binding a celestial power seemed, foolish, at best.  Not that binding demons ever went well for a person now that he thought about it.  "The concern is what caused the fall in the first place."  he opined quietly as he returned to his stool and met the mans eyes, "I really can't help you unless I know what happened."  he explained with a meaningful gaze.  He closed the tablet with the patients records on it and set it in his lap gingerly, "Have you fallen like this before?  What brought this on I assume if you work near stairs you don't normally have trouble navigating them."  he quirked a brow, "Are any of your tattoos particularly recent?"  he suggested trying to work out a medical reason to ask after the suspicious ink.  "If an unusual ink or contaminant got in through your tattoos it might cause, problems."  he suggested obliquely.

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Ray frowned at the doctor, looking briefly incensed, "Had 'em for years, for one, and secondly, any reaction would be topical sort of infection or allergy but I run a clean shop with all proper care and hygiene and I'm sure as hell not allergic to ink," Ray groused as he shifted on the bench before reaching for his shirt hem to pull it up and off over his head to prove that he had no rash nor fresh ink that might be point of concern. Dropping his shirt to the side which at least had the advantage of revealing more of the tattoo, even if he was continuing to grouse. There was more bruising on his skin, certainly human fist sized along his stomach and ribs although the worst of the bruising was around the wrenched shoulder. 

 

The tattoos, as those were of more interest to Ellis, continued up his arms and down his sides with the Enochian script hidden along the lines of the flames and swirls that decorated his ribs and hidden along the wings. The scrawling words marched along the line of his spine, between the wings tattooed along his shoulder blades and down to vanish below the waistband of his pants which was the clearest of the scripts. It appeared to be more about breaking bindings than what Ellis would expect a proper binding spell to look like, "I had my hands over full and the top step was a little ice-y. Didn't think it had gotten cold enough for that yet."

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Ellis nodded slowly, "There are toxin that build up over time and could leech from certain inks if you used something unusual."  he noted quietly, "But if it was but a freak accident those happen as well."  he said in a non-confrontational tone well honed to working with prickly patients here and in the free clinic.  There was potential for the sigils to be other than binding of course sigles to breach bindings of the demonic were not necessarily better and he'd pretty much reached the end of his knowledge.  He could try to call in phantom though if it was just some neo-wiccan occultist that had copied cool stuff from a book that would be, embarrassing.  He thought for a long moment about the dilemma before a potential test occurred to him, "Well we might be able to get you something stronger but it ought be taken with food."  he offered carefully trying to keep his affect flat through the bluff, "We can order something from the cafeteria, they have an excellent monte Cristo?" he inquired watching carefully for any tell tale response to the word.

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Ray's scowl deepened for a moment at the doctor's seemingly bizarre hoop jumping for a handful of Vicodin. It was on the tip of his tongue to tell the good doctor where he could shove his monte-cristo when Ray finally noticed the side eye being given to his tattoos.

 

"Are.... are you trying to test if I'm a demon?" Ray said finally, his expression utterly non plussed for a moment before he started to laugh, long and loud, "Did- did you get that from television? Why would..." the rest of his question was lost in laughter so hard that it almost hurt. Ray pressed one hand to his chest and the bruised ribs below but not even that pain could cut through his clear amusement. "That. That is hilarious."

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Ellis frowned at the tattoo'd man and his obvious mirth at what he felt was a rather clever ploy, and in it's own way successful at least now he knew Ray at least had awareness of the supernatural.  "No."  he retorted baldly, "That's absurd."  he stated and watched the man carefully, "It would be patently absurd for a doctor to suspect Demonic possession was behind a simple fall down the stairs."  he said pointedly, "Of course only an idiot would actually believe the stairs thing in the first place."  he countered a bit needled by the mans clear mirth at his suspicions.  "Do you care to be more honest about why you are in need of more potent pharmaceuticals?  Or shall I have you discharged Mr. Haskel?"  he asked pointedly.

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"Because I had my shoulder wrenched half out of socket by a lizard-thing. Unfortunately 'strange and creepy' tends to get mistaken for troublesome demons far too often. Demons I am good at. DNAscendents, not so much. Would you believe I'm a super hero, Doctor?" At least humor had abated some of his patient's surly temperament although not entirely the snark. As he lifted his good arm, the tattoos flowed over his skin, the flames receding enough to reveal what looked like a wrought iron cross over the skin of his chest. Touching his fingertips to the surface, the glow was bright as he pulled it from the skin into reality. He held it out to the doctor with a lopsided grin. "You want I should lick it and prove I'm not damned?" 

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Ellis quirked a brow at the lizard thing comment less surprised than he ought have been by it.  He stared impassively at Ray and shook his head, "No I would be disinclined to believe that in particular."  he said softly and withdrew slightly as the tattoos began to shift at the command of the claimed non-demon.  He looked askance upon the cross presented then back to Ray, "I'm fairly certain the holy cross is not holy when summoned from the flesh a demon or it's thrall."  he replied cooly, "So that would prove nothing."  he frowned slightly, "And be really strange."  he added as an afterthought.

 

He paused for a long moment then a small smile crept to the corner of his mouth, "Actually I may be able to verify your story in part at least."  he suggested quietly, "Just have to make a quick call."  he explained and took a step back to dial Steshas number.  It was arguably a business call, thus surely wouldn't count against any 'too early now its weird' count.  And potential demon was a totally legit reason to call, there was an angel on the league or something right?

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"No demon would pull a cross from their flesh. That would be weird." Ray said, looking a little put out that there was no appreciation for his parlor trick. Humans these days. Sure, he didn't expect them to be impressed with fire anymore, they'd come beyond the bronze age, sure. But a little awe wouldn't have been amiss. Huffing his breath, Ray began to flip the cross end over end in his good hand, catching it by the long part. "Do I get drugs while I wait? This really does hurt...."

 

He frowned at Ellis' smile, which seemed woefully out of place and went quiet to listen to the call. When Ellis started fussing with his shirt for a phone call, Ray let out a long suffering sigh. Of course. Not that anyone asked him, but he'd always suspected that the hormones of humanity were a little out of whack with what was strictly necessary. 

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The phone rang twice, hiccuped in the weird way that whatever relay sent calls between dimensions usually caused, then rang twice more before Stesha picked up. "Hi Ellis!" came the plant controller's cheerful voice, slightly obscured by the noise of what sounded weirdly like baaaa-ing sheep in the background. "You know I was just thinking about you this morning? The kids in the creche are going to be doing a hiking field trip, and I thought your guys might have fun tagging along. I'm going to be chaperoning, it'll be totally safe," she assured him. "What's up with you?" 

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Ellis' brightened visibly at the news she'd been thinking about him and shook him immediately off the task at hand, "Oh really."  he mused and blinked, "Well yes that would be delightful I,"  he paused as he caught Rays look, "Uh I think that would be very nice yes."  he agreed more formally.  "I was actually calling for business not pleasure."  he winced, "Gah, er not that talking to you isn't a pleasure."  he hurriedly corrected pinching the brow of his nose.

 

He let oyu a short breath and explained succinctly, "I'm at work, well actual work not other work, at the hospital."  he babbled gritting his teeth at the sound of his own voice.  "There is a patient that is marked,"  he shot ray a look, "with enochian markings, Demonic or celestial script."  he offered, "He claims not to be demonic but I can't be sure and since you know you have your contacts with the league and there was an angel on the league I think right? anyway I was thinking perhaps you'd be a good person to call to confirm he at the least isn't wanted...:"  the last rushed out all in one breath and he grimaced into the phone, "But you're probably busy I'm sure I don't need o bother you over this little..."  He glared at Ray and the mans cavalier grin.  

 

Covering the phone he hissed, "No, maybe if you are what you say and lay off the smug I'll consider it." before returning to speak to stesha, "Ah matter..."

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"What if I promise to offer advice? Because you're terrible at that," Ray said, some of his amusement dropping away. Although the concern on the man's handsome features probably was at least as irritating. Perhaps more so. "You should just cop to it and admit that you mostly just wanted to talk to her. I'm pretty sure females of your species generally enjoy being told they're attractive enough to fluster their men. Or are you just bad at all things. Maybe I should have a different doctor."

 

The sassy not-a-demon had the gall to grin at him lopsidedly. 

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"Oh no, it's no trouble at all," Stesha assured him hastily. "I'm just helping to oversee the sheep dip on the new arrivals from Prime, and I'm actually not sure I'm being of any help whatsoever. I know nothing about livestock except that they're large and loud and I wouldn't want to meet any in a dark alley." She chuckled ruefully. "Heyzel's not on the League at the moment, he's sort of freelancing, but I think I can at least still get his voicemail. Let me see what you've got going on, and if we need another consulting opinion. You're at Freedom Medical Center, right? I know some plants there. Just give me the floor and the room number you want and I'll be right over." 

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Ellis blushed under the glare from the unknown angels smug expression and let out a small sigh at the infuriating tattooed man.  He did however brighten when his stammering nonsense did not send Stesha running for the hills, in sanctuaries case not so proverbially.  "Yes, Freedom Medical."  he confirmed, "ER exam three."  he offered, "Any of the staff can point the way."  he offered and paused, "And thank you."  he added earnestly, "I do appreciate it, I'm sure your expertise will be sufficient to ease my conscience."  he agreed as he did not want to put her out tracking down the angel on hiatus.

 

After hanging up he turned back to Ray, "You're in luck an associate of mine is going to stop by to assure you are not actively wanted at the least."  he explained succinctly and stared at the other man for a moment, "and if needed we can call upon higher powers to verify your story."  he warned not liking the mans attitude one bit.

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"Oh no. Higher powers. Whatever will I do. I'd wring my hands but my crap-sack doctor hasn't done much for my busted arm while worrying over whether or not I am blessed with an immortal soul," Ray snarked back, having resigned himself to an ice pack and IB Profin for his woes. Still, this was more amusing than anything he'd seen in at least a decade and he was half-way hoping they'd try an exorcism before the end of the day. "You could see if the hospital chaplain will bless a bottle of evian to flick at my forehead. That might be faster."

 

He shifted, picking up his melting icepack to press it against his bruised shoulder with a grunt of discomfort before he offered dubiously helpful advice. "You wanna run a hand through that hair, maybe get that tousled look that's all the rage on Grey's Anatomy before your lady-friend gets here? Maybe flex a few times?"

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It was just a couple of minutes before there was a soft knock on the door. "May I come in?" came a friendly female voice. The door opened a moment later to reveal the familiar face of Fleur de Joie from the Freedom League Auxillary. She gave Ellis a warm smile, then a polite and friendly smile to Ray. "Hi there, I'm Fleur. Ellis asked me to come in and have a quick chat with you." She took a few steps closer, frowning in concern over his bruises and icepack. "Ouch, that looks painful. What happened? Do you mind if I take a look?" That last question seemed directed to both Ray and Ellis. 

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Ellis fixed a steely gaze on Ray, "You young man are hardly qualified to make that call." he said with a smirk about the quality of his doctoring, "Anti-Inflammatories and alternating heat and cold will relieve your pain and speed your recovery far better than the opiates you seem so set upon."  The doctor explained briskly he opened his mouth to explain in greater detail the actions and indications of the drugs in question however Ray was saved that lecture by Fluers timely arrival.  

 

Ellis spoke quietly, "Yes come in."  he invited and met her warm smile with one of his own.  "Thank you again for coming on such short notice."  he offered once more and indicated Ray with a wave of his hand, "Ray Haskel, His file says an unfortunate run in with stairs however he has claimed that lie was to cover for the lizard-thing he heroically engaged."  he offered succinctly, "He has powers drawn from his Tattoos, enochian script of binding or some such."  he explained quietly.  He glanced at Ray and stepped aside to let Stesha get a better look, "I mostly wanted to ensure my surely patient was not in fact a suspect in any ongoing matter."  he looked once more to Stesha, "He claims to be on the side of angels but his demeanor says otherwise."

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"Nice to meet you. Though I know you by reputation. He wasn't kidding about calling in the big guns although, I'm not sure I'd qualify it as a higher power. My scale might be off," the blond man offered from where he was lounging in one chair, long legs crossed out in front of him. He was holding the icepack against his shoulder and offered the iron cross he'd been playing with still out to Stesha. His smile was friendly, if a bit distorted by the bruising along the one side of his face, "Look all you'd like. I can see why the good doctor was in such a rush to call you in."

 

Ray hadn't bothered to put his shirt back on yet, so the tattoos in question were on display. "I did not get the drop on the sewer monster and my very real pain has gone unappreciated. Your handsome doctor friend is very suspicious and narrow minded." Ray commented and then added with a devilish look in his eyes at Ellis, "And he fixed his hair while you were on the way over rather than provide pain relief. Shallow."

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Stesha grinned over at Ellis and raised an eyebrow before turning back to the patient. "You're a troublemaker, aren't you?" she asked Ray, looking amused despite her ongoing concern over his bruises. She ran gentle fingers along his jaw, sending up a faint whiff of flowers to his nostrils, then over his shoulder. "Let me put something on there that'll help you feel better." She reached into one of the pouches on her belt and took out a little plastic container of some herbal unguent, which she proceeded to smooth liberally over the damaged areas. Whatever it was, it was very effective at relieving the pain and causing the bruises to fade.

 

"You'll want to get extra rest and drink a lot of water for the next couple days," she advised, then wiped her fingers with a paper towel and perched herself on one of the room's rolling stools. "So what brings you to town fighting sewer monsters?" she asked, sounding as though she were settling in for a chat rather than interrogating a potential enemy. "Are you getting into the hero gig?" 

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"I said we'd see about higher powers if St - Fleur De Joie was uncertain of your bona fides."  he stumbled and stared hard at the floor, "And I did not!"  he exclaimed eyeing the tattooed troublemaker with a tight jaw.  He let out a small breath and explained aside to Stesha, "He's been given medication to manage his pain, he feels it insufficient."  the doctors tone was clipped for the last as he had done enough work in pain management to have little love for drug seekers making legitimate users lives more difficult with their gaming the system.

 

He stepped back as Fleur began to question the uncouth supposed hero, letting her do her work which seemed to be working better than his attempts already thankfully.

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"Been at it a long time, just not in your arena. Different sort of level," Ray answered amiably. His sigh of relief was genuine as the pain faded and he lowered the melting ice pack slightly to roll the injured shoulder. His smile was brief and unrepentant. "I have been called a troublemaker," he agreed and shifted his arm once more. The tattoos rolled across his skin, replacing the fire with jagged ice and the blue swirls of a snow storm. The glow was brief, faint, as he pulled just a touch of power from them to turn his icepack once more into solid ice.  Putting it back on his shoulder, he added rather politely, "Thank you."

 

Ray might have had forty odd years to adjust but pain was still not a sensation he rather enjoyed; despite the copious amount of ink work. He turned his green-eyed gaze back to Ellis and grinned, "You did. You fussed with your hair while you were on the phone. There's nothing wrong with wanting to pretty yourself for a potential mate. You all do it. Its very mammalian."

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"Well he does have very nice hair," Stesha pointed out to Ray, giving Ellis a look from the corner of her eye. "It's a good feature to highlight. Though he may have been working on not pulling it out on your account, and it just wound up touseled." She tucked away the little tub of balm, so apparently Ray would not require a second helping. "I'm going to assume from your reaction right there that you're not as average and mammalian as you look," she intuited. "And you wouldn't have put it that way if you didn't want to talk about it. What are you, then? Does it have something to do with the sigil tattoos on you?" 

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