Monday, December 04, 2006

Helping Hands

She washed his wounds, shaking her head at the number and severity of them. This spacer, whoever he was, had been through something rough. Vaaro was out right now trying to track back where he'd come from and locate other survivors; she was here doing the hard part.

Getting the man out of his clothes had not been hard. Most of them had only been held on by scars, dried blood, or sheer persistence. Moving back to him as he laid on a small, clean bed, she eased the last of his garments off. One at a time, his war-worn boots came away, revealing calloused, blistered skin.

She shook her head again as she dumped out the sand in them. This stranger had come a long away; she'd not expect Vaaro back any time soon. Of course, if that Rodian son of a snake came across any Jawas to haggle with, the Maker only knew what he might come back with when he did. She'd forgive the green bastard that small vice. In every other way, he was the closest thing to a friend she had on Tattooine.

Her slender hands dipped into the clay urn again, bringing up a white cloth soaked in brine water and healing herbs. This wouldn't be comfortable for the man to bear but she doubted he was any newcomer to pain.

The way his body writhed as she cleaned his injuries and washed his skin, she'd been quite correct. Though he obviously felt the lash of the salt water and was in agony from the acerbic effects of the stinging balm, he did not move like someone unused to torment. Her eyes softened in compassion as she noted that. "This poor man," she sighed. "What's your story, dark eyes?"

She was referring to his jet-black eyes, orbs she'd checked when he'd first gotten here because of the blood caked around them. He had been wise to wear a cloth over his face. It probably saved his sight. She was used to aliens with light-sensitive eyes among her customers; she knew exactly what all that blood was from. Burst capillaries and raw, cracked tear membranes at their corners. "Sun blindness", the locals called it. She'd never seen it in a human before though.

She finished with his chest, treating his burns and taking great care around a spongy section of his ribs. Those would need further care. The cloth, no longer white, went into the urn again and again, each time growing darker as she cleansed the man's long, athletic limbs. His hands were actually in fair shape, though the combat armor gloves that had protected them were a complete loss. She washed sweat from his digits and even cleaned under his broken, chipping nails.

She did him the dignity of only a passing rub-down over his vitals, trying and almost succeeding at not lingering there with her hands or her eyes. He was filthy from head to toe, she quickly reminded herself. It would not do to leave him dirty anywhere. Bolstered by this clinical mindset, she ministered to him dutifully, her days of training as a Rebel nurse on the Mon Cal grand cruiser Viscount returning to help her through the... personal parts.

Finally, he was clean and his wounds were dressed. She stepped back to admire the work. More than half the spacer's body was bandaged - his right arm, both legs, one foot where a piece of metal had impaled his ankle, and his chest from his sternum to his stomach. Satisfied that she'd given him his best chance for survival, she took down her favorite blanket and laid it over him to keep him warm. Heat was rarely a concern on this world but exposure could kill as surely as any blaster.

Then, as an impulse she'd question in herself all night, she leaned down quickly and kissed the sleeping man on the cheek just beside his lips. "Good luck, stranger. The rest is up to you." Instantly embarrassed at her gesture, the woman swept out of the room and headed to the front. Desperately, she tried to suppress her blush.

It was nearly lunch hour and her customers would give her no end of grief if they saw it on her face...

1 comment:

Zay said...

It's about time!
...Sort of. At least she doesn't seem the type to sell him to the republic for credits. ;)