Even before the apocalypse, Thumper – or Max as he had been back then – had never really been a fan of sitting around with nothing to do, staring at the same walls but now it was something more, movement was a way of life for him and after a week, he was sick of the mall. He didn’t like it there, the attitudes of the people living there could only be described as bizarre at best – half of them were tooled up as if they were expecting a war while the other half seemed to have their heads buried in the sand. Neither were conducive of surviving zombieland, as far as Thumper was concerned. It wasn’t something you could fight and it certainly wasn’t something that you could ignore – well, unless you wanted to end up dead – no, the only way of surviving this and not driving yourself insane was accepting and adapting. Actually, it wasn’t that difficult, all you needed was an ounce of common sense and the urge to keep on living – hell, he was a testament to that, he’d managed a month on his own before the Good Ol’ Boys and he’d managed well over a month once they’d skipped town. But, none of that really mattered – he hadn’t been at the mall for his own good – it seemed like a reasonably safe place to leave Eli and the girls, though whether or not they wanted to be left there was a different matter all together...
Having left the mall an hour after sunrise, Thumper had wandered around for a few hours before heading towards the apartment he had claimed as his own some weeks ago. It had occurred to him that maybe Eli and the girls could live there with him but he wasn’t sure that it was a particularly good idea – sharing an apartment, even a three bedroom penthouse apartment, with Hartigan seemed to fit the definition of hell on earth. No, the apartment was his and, selfishly, he didn’t want to share his safe-haven with anyone unless he really had to. He figured he’d hang around for a few hours, maybe even stay the night – it would be nice to sleep in his own (well, his own now that he had claimed ownership of the apartment after the previous tenants disappeared) king-sized bed without being woken up in the middle of the night by the echoing sounds of a screaming child. Outside the building, he didn’t use the door, having long since barricaded the entranceway to keep his little hidey-hole safe from walkers and other unsavoury characters, and, instead, headed around to the side street. Climbing atop a dumpster, Thumper was able to grab and pull down the fire escape ladder and was soon – after pulling the ladder back up – making his way to the fourth and top floor.
Quickly he decided that it was much too nice a day to sit indoors and headed for the roof, taking with him a crate of beer, a CD player and his backpack – which was full of assorted bits and pieces he’d taken from the mall on his way out, including CD’s and batteries. He’d spent a fair bit of time on the roof before discovering Eli and the girls and had developed a game of sorts that involved throwing rocks at any zombies that happened by. The building was completely fortified so it was an entirely safe game and, if nothing else, it kept him out of trouble. Plus, after a few beers, it’s was pretty fucking hilarious. Today he had the added benefit of music, which would no doubt draw a nice crowd of zombies to his doorstep. Taking a seat on a old deck chair that had seen better days, he cracked open a beer while he put fresh batteries into the CD player. Next was music selection – he’d discovered, not surprisingly, that the punk and metal sections in the malls music stores had been left relatively untouched, so he’d helped himself to as many albums as he could fit into his backpack with the other ‘borrowed’ supplies. Quickly he decided on something by the Dead Kennedys. A few songs in and there was already activity on the street below. Thumper grinned, cranking the volume to max as he picked half a brick and threw it at one of the walkers. “Up here, you dead bastards!” He yelled, letting out a laugh.
Moments later he saw movement down the street, the sort of movement that was clearly human. His eyes moved from the figure to the twelve – well, it was more like twelve and five sixths – zombies that he had attracted so far. “Hey.” He called towards the figure. “Hey! Don’t come this way!” Whether or not whoever it was could hear him, he didn’t know but he was trying to save their life and, really, wasn’t that what really mattered?
The mall hadn’t really turned out the way Moira thought it would.
Sure, there were dozens and dozens of stores containing luxuries the likes of which most people might salivate over these days plus a sizeable community of people and a pretty decent level of security, but it just didn’t click into place. For one, there were some who were growing impatient with Moira constantly asking if it’d be alright if she took items from stores. Somehow, it still felt like stealing to Moira, stealing from those who used to run those stores. On top of that, the mall residents had first rights to all those goods, should they be considered surrendered by their previous owners. It just didn’t seem right to come waltzing in and take whatever she pleased, despite the fact that that seemed to be the expected behavior.
As for the community…well, Moira had kind of hoped that a group cooperating for survival might be a little more, well, cooperative. The group politics weighed heavily on her mind. Moira truly believed that every person had some good in them, a bit of sometimes buried decency and compassion. It was hard to watch a group of adults so torn by alcohol, conflict, and personal problems stumble along behind a crumbling leadership that was simultaneously militant and terribly shaky due to the division into factions. Even the ample space in the mall seemed detrimental to the group dynamic; so many places to hide allowed for everyone to do so. It seemed to be a loose collection of people out for themselves, whose survival goals just so happened to coincide and coerce them into sharing resources.
Maybe all that was a little harsh. These were difficult circumstances, after all, and the people of the mall were taking care of each other. And whoever showed up at their door. It had been very generous of them to allow Moira and the other kids to stay. Moira kicked herself mentally for being judgmental of the people who had so graciously taken her in and silently asked forgiveness for her selfishness and greed. There are a lot of less fortunate people in worse circumstances, she told herself. Be grateful.
Sucking in a deep breath, Moira brought her wandering thoughts back to the task at hand; scavenging. She’d been feeling like a useless freeloader in the mall, but still maintained that the moaning outside the walls of the mall came from the suffering sick, not the “walking dead,” making her a rubbish choice for security. As such, and seeing no other way to be of use, Moira had taken it upon herself to go out and put what skill she did have to use: stealth. She was fast, quiet, quick, perfect for a scout and scavenger. And no one needed to know how she passed by goods that looked like they still belonged to someone, regardless of what use they might be. If it didn’t look abandoned or Moira couldn’t reason away taking it, she didn’t. And there was no one with her to have to explain that to. Just her, a good pair of running shoes, her mostly empty backpack, and the tennis racket sticking out of the top of that backpack in easy reach for self-defense. And the sunlight, a beautiful gift from God, apparently one of the few He was still willing to bestow.
Happy to have time to think and stretch her legs, glad to feel useful in a way that didn’t compromise her morals, Moira was in a rather good mood. She’d hum even, if she weren’t trying to be quiet. Figures that God would throw her a curveball.
A stack of cardboard boxes next to a dumpster caught her attention, leading Moira to hope that someone had been discarding perfectly good materials, possibly salvageable goods. Carefully creeping around the corner of the building and into mouth of a dank alleyway, Moira quickly and deftly opened the first box to find a pile of moldy clothes. That isn’t what stopped her dead in her tracks.
What made little miss Moira freeze was the group of sick people, perhaps a dozen, halfway down the alley.
For one breathless moment, Moira could hear nothing but a twisted version of the music she hadn’t noticed before, her heart pounding with the bass beat, the moaning from ahead adding sickening emphasis to the rise and fall of notes. Then a voice sounded from above, somewhere on the roof. Unthinkingly, Moira glanced up, toward the origin of the voice. She stared dumbly for a couple of seconds, her whole body working up a trembling fear.
The warning was too late.
Moira’s eyes fell from the figure on the roof, unrecognizable in her rising panic, to the first couple of sick people up ahead, who had just noticed her and started making moves in her direction.
With a gulp, Moira turned and bolted, but really, she had no idea where to go.
It hadn’t even crossed his mind that the noise he was making might attract something, or rather someone, that wasn’t dead. With supplies and safe places to stay getting harder and harder to find in the city, most people had started to drift towards the various groups hoping, if nothing else, to find safety in numbers. It didn’t bother him as much as it probably should have – it wasn’t like he knew whoever it was and, besides, whoever it was really should have been more careful. At least that was Thumpers opinion on the matter. They were at the stage now where, people who weren’t able to look after themselves should either find a group to look after them or die, just to save supplies for the rest of them – that’s what he liked to tell himself, fancying himself as a hardened apocalypse survive. The reality was something else entirely. He was bored and he was lonely, oh sure, he had Eli and the girls back at the mall but they were all busy deciding if they wanted to join the Mall Rats. More than that, Thumper missed the adventure of surviving out on his own, being able to play the gun-toting badass and meeting the other loners that still prowled the city.
Though, if he was honest, maybe he did feel kind of responsible – he had been the one to attract the zombies, so it was, in a round about kind of way, almost his fault that the stranger was in trouble. Almost, but he certainly wasn’t going to take all the blame. Eyes followed as the figure started to move – in entirely the wrong direction. Thumper swore rather audibly as he watch the figure dart into an alleyway that would do nothing but lead them around in a big circle towards his building, towards the horde. For a few moments he stood, simply watching as the group below started to split, some opting to start moving down the street after the stranger while others seemed content to stand and wait in the hopes that the boy would come down from the roof. Fat chance. Survivors mentality told him to stay put, that he’d only be putting himself in danger if he moved from the roof while there were still so many walkers lurking but, soon enough, he was overcome by the compulsion to at least try to help. Hell, even if that help was putting the stranger out of their misery while the zombies tore them apart. Quickly he moved to the other side of the building, overlooking the back alley that connected to the one the stranger had darted into, waiting for them to appear.
When the figure finally appeared, Thumper felt his heart skip a beat as he looked down, finding something awfully familiar. Was that – no, it couldn’t possibly be – but it certainly looked like... “Moira?” The name left his lips along with a gasp and a half uttered curse. Suddenly keeping himself out of harms way was no longer an option. “Oh fuck, Moira!” There were three zombies on her heels – at least three that he could see. Leaning over the edge he called down to her as loud as he could. “Take the next left into the alley! Go left!” Pulling his gun, he took a couple of pot-shots at the walkers, slowing them slightly, before he turned and ran back towards the fire escape. Half jumping, half throwing himself, he quickly made his way to the bottom. From his position, he couldn’t push the ladder back down without going down on it, so instead he waited with a hand ready to pull her up, the other shakily holding the gun at the corner she would appear around at any moment. Mere seconds later she appeared. “Climb onto the dumpster and grab my hand! Quick!” He waited to grab her and pull her up, letting off a couple of shots, each hitting a zombie but doing no real damage. “Fuck, come on Moira!”
[[Hope you don’t mind me moving her around and, also, almost getting her eaten xDD]]
Oh God oh God oh God. Help! Please! There’s no way You’re going to sit back and let this happen! You can’t! I KNOW YOU’RE THERE! ANSWER ME!
The demanding prayer was screaming through Moira’s mind, her mental voice panicked and desperate. God had to help her. Yeah, they’d been on the outs, but, for all her doubts, she knew He was still there somewhere. That He would kick back and do nothing now, when her life was hanging in the balance…well, He wasn’t helping with that whole shaky faith issue, that’s for sure.
But just when Moira’s heart sunk, just when she hit the ultimate lonely low of abandonment, a voice called out. Never had Moira been happier to hear her own name and the F-word in the same sentence. And that kind of language, that voice, it could only be one person. ”Max!” she yelled out, her voice shaking and panicked. ”Max, help! Please” She’d never sounded so desperate, but a fleeting glance over her shoulder told her she had good reason to be. Little did she know she was sprinting right into the thick of the collected mass. If not for Max’s directions, Moira wouldn’t have been alive another five minutes.
The timely intervention was not lost on Moira, but she wasn’t about to credit God just yet. If at all. If anything, it was God showing off his miserable sense of humor again.
Left. Go left. Moira directed all her attention to that left turn coming up the moment Max’s directions reached her ears. Such was her focus that, when coupled with her general apprehension and dislike of guns, Moira let out a ragged scream at the sound of gunfire, instinctively hunching over a little and shielding her head with her arms. Heart somehow pounding even harder than before, it took Moira a split second to connect the dots and realize that the person firing the gun was Max. This did absolutely nothing to help calm her down; her nerves were far too fried for that now.
Chest heaving, legs burning, feet slapping against the pavement, Moira came up on the alleyway. Taking the corner as tight as she could, Moira threw herself into running, eyes trained on the dumpster Max was shouting about. But it was all too much. Between focusing on the dumpster and the second round of gunshots and her overall panic, there just wasn’t enough focus left on the ground immediately before her feet.
With a terrified squeal of surprise, Moira’s toe caught an edge in the pavement. She’d been running full force and with full force she hit the ground, her momentum causing her to slide a few feet. Body shaking with horror, Moira rolled over onto her back as quickly as possible. Though the adrenaline kept her from feeling it just yet, Moira did not come out of that mishap unscathed. The right side of her face, one of her knees, long stretches on the bottoms of her forearms, all bloodied and studded with bits of gravel. Brown pieces of glass stuck out of the top of her right thigh, the broken remnants of a partial beer bottle she’d landed on. Moira didn’t even notice she was injured. What she did notice was the sick man who’d been least slowed by Max’s gunshots advancing quickly.
Out of panic at his proximity, Moira reacted instinctively, shifting her weight to support kicking as hard as she could. Her foot connected with the man’s decaying knee with a horrible crack and Moira would never, ever forget the sight of his leg bending backward as should never happen. Gagging, barely restraining herself from vomiting as the sick man toppled with a heart-rending moan, Moira scrambled to her feet. Tears streaked her face as she closed the gap between herself and the dumpster, but she didn’t notice. That cracking sound just kept playing in her head over and over, making everything else feel distant and surreal.
Her first attempt at climbing the dumpster failed, her sneakers squelching as they slid down the metal. Now was not a good time to be just over five feet tall, being chased down, and in a panic. Throwing herself at the task a second time, Moira clambered and fought for a hold, somehow managing. Standing quickly, and somewhat precariously due to the slanted top of the dumpster, Moira reached out for Max’s hand, desperate and terrified.
[[I don’t mind at all! And you know me, always down for more drama. Bring on the near-nomming XD ]]
Even in his darkest hour, Thumper had never really been the sort to pray. It had always seemed pointless but, in that moment, he was willing to give anything a shot, anything to avoid seeing another of his friends torn to shreds in front of him. Anything to avoid seeing any harm come to her. Moira was – well, actually he didn’t know what she was, all he knew was that she deserved something a little better than becoming zombie chow. She was sensitive and decent despite everything that had happened to the world and people like that didn’t deserve to die. Since the end of the world, Thumper had come across pretty much every sort of person but never anyone like her, though, really, now was not the time to be having such thoughts. “If you’re up there, you better fuckin’ save her.” He didn’t even know which god he was supposed to be praying to – any that would listen, he supposed. Thumper kept his eyes on her as she ran, following his directions, taking a couple of shots at the walking corpses that followed her before moving to the fire escape to, hopefully, save her. One word ran repeatedly through his head and that word was fuck.
It didn’t take a long time for her to appear around the corner, a few seconds in fact, but to Thumper it felt like a lifetime. In his head there were a thousand and one horrific thoughts floating around. What if she’d fallen and was being pulled apart while he waited or what if she’d been scratched an infected? What if Moira died? There were so many terrible things that could have been happening in the space of those few short seconds, awful things and she wasn’t deserving of any of them. Not Moira, anyone else in the world, but definitely not Moira. Finally she appeared quickly making for the dumpster as he shouted, taking a couple more shots at the zombies and emptying the clip. The sound of sneakers screeching against the metal of the dumpster caused his heart to skip a beat and for a split-second he gave up all hope. “Fuck, come on Moira, climb!” He shouted as she tried again, this time managing to clamber up and reach for his hand. His heart started to pound with a renewed rigour, as if it might explode in his chest at any moment. She reached for him and he grabbed her wrist, pulling as hard as he could, knowing that, at that moment, he was the only thing standing between her and a very nasty death. “Come on!” He said more to himself than her as he pulled, knowing that he had to save her, that he couldn’t watch another person he cared about die.
Finally he managed to get her onto the fire escape, falling backwards and landing against the railings behind him as he did. Thumper let out a grunt and a string of uttered curses. Then there was a moment, a pause as he caught his breath, momentarily turning his attention to the group of zombies below who still seemed to be trying to reach her, despite her now being safely above them. Under any other circumstance he might have been smug, might have laughed about besting the stupid walkers but not now, not with her. No, in that moment there was only one thing he wanted to say, one question he wanted to ask. “What the fuck, Moira?” His tone was a demanding one, despite the nature of the question being somewhat vague. He wanted to know why she was there, why she had put herself in danger. “You out here on your own? You got any idea how fuckin’ dangerous it is?” Thumper shook his head. No, she shouldn’t have been out there, especially not alone – he’d taken her and the others to the mall for a reason, he had wanted them to be safe. “Where’s Eli? He just let you wander off? Jesus Christ, Moira, you could have died or worse. For fucks sakes, don't you know it ain’t safe out here on your own?” In that moment it didn’t matter to him that she was overly sensitive and probably more than shaken by what had just happened, he needed her to know that she had been stupid. In agitation he ran his fingers through his hair before pulling himself to his feet and offering her his hand again.
It was only now that he noticed that she had been hurt, he swore under his breath, a small part of him feeling somehow responsible for her current state. “Are you hurt bad? You ain’t been scratched, have you?” No, she didn’t look like she’d been infected but he’d been wrong about that sort of thing before. “Come on, I got an apartment up here, we’ll get you cleaned up.” He explained before starting to lead her up the metal fire escape to the open fourth floor window.
Over and over and over. That cracking sound wouldn't stop. It echoed through her head, resounding with impossible and gruesome clarity. The associated imagery only made things worse; no one's leg should ever bend that way. Worse, that man should have screamed or cried out or flinched or something, some response to the immense amount of pain. Instead, he'd just moaned all the louder, reaching for her ever more desperately in his sudden inability to do so, his leg utterly failing, body collapsing to the ground. Lying sprawled out on the fire escape, finally safe but infinitely more broken, Moira couldn't help but stare down, through the metal grate of the landing, to the sick people below, still reaching for her, moaning their displeasure at her escape. What had this all come down to? These were people. People! Sick, most certainly, but surely there was still something decent in them. Humanity at its barest minimum, right? It had to be there, despite all the animalistic behavior. It had to.
Moira's head was reeling with doubt, empathetic sorrow, general angst toward a God that had apparently turned his back on them all, every feeling, it seemed, but the ones she was supposed to be having. Looking up at Max, she could see the anger and frustration, watched his mouth move over abrasive words, but not a sound made sense. The whole world felt as if on a slow spin, none of it registering properly. Until, that is, she glanced back down at her pursuers and caught sight of the man whose leg she'd ruined, a long ways down the alley, dragging himself along, twisted leg bent up awkwardly behind him. It was all too much. Pushing herself up to her knees as quickly as possible, Moira latched onto the side bars of the fire escape, put her head through, and vomited over the edge of the platform on which she sat. She kept her eyes closed the whole time, not wanting to see whether or not she puked on people or, more disturbing, if they'd had a reaction to it at all.
Pulling her head back through the bars, Moira rocked back onto her heels, wiped her mouth roughly with the back of her hand, and sat for a moment, shaking like a leaf and white as a sheet. A hand came into her peripheral vision, causing Moira to slowly turn her head up to look at Max's face. He was asking if she was hurt bad. She was hurt? As if on cue, but most likely because the adrenaline and shock were fading fast now, the stinging of the cuts and scrapes set in. And the throbbing in her leg became suddenly and astoundingly apparent. Moira looked at the pieces of brown glass protruding from her upper right thigh with genuine surprise, thinking how stupid she must have been not to notice it before. Especially with the spreading dark red stain around it. She flinched just looking at it, taking a split second to think about how miserable it was going to be pulling that glass out. Frowning, still shaking, Moira took the offered hand and used it to pull herself to her feet, being careful to not put too much weight on the leg with the glass in it. "Tripped," she answered hollowly, without realizing she was doing so. Then she followed Max, silently at first, going up a couple of flights of stairs, wincing frequently at the alternating stinging pains from the scrapes and the sharper pain coming from her sliced leg. Her silence couldn't hold though. The shock had to fully and truly wear off eventually.
Stopping suddenly, Moira leaned on the rail of the landing on which she'd halted and burst into tears. Her body shook with her sobs, her breathing ragged and verging on hyperventilation. "I'm s-sorry, Max," she choked out, with some difficulty, between sobs. "I-I'm sorry, I shouldn't--I d-didn't me--Max, I'm sorry." She could be dead right now, dead, if it weren't for Max. He'd very literally saved her life. What would she have done if he hadn't been there? Honestly, it wasn't like her to get into such a sticky situation, she was usually so much more stealthy and a considerably faster runner, but none of it had done her any good today. Today could have been her very last day. Those sick people wouldn't have hesitated to tear her apart, a thought Moira found nauseatingly horrible. Alright God, thanks Max being here at the right time, but that's all I'm giving you.
[[Sorry it took so long and that it kinda sucks.]]
Thumper wasn’t a life saver, he wasn’t the sort to arrive in the nick of time and save the day. He wasn’t the reliable guy that you could count on when the shit hit the fan. At least, not usually. No, usually, Thumper preferred to look out for number one, knowing that he couldn’t go throwing himself in harms way while he was still looking for his brother. He couldn’t die before finding Tyler, and even after finding him he didn’t much fancy the prospect of death, not for a good few years at least. But this was different, this wasn’t planned and, a least partially, it was his fault. As much as he wanted to stay safe and secure on the rooftop, he just couldn’t bring himself to let Moira die. With every shot he fired, he felt his heart race faster and fast as the possibility of her dying grew with every passing second. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion from the moment she grabbed his hand – from that moment on, he knew that if he let go, if she died, it would be all his fault. All his fault. No, he couldn’t let her die, he couldn’t be responsible for Moira’s death. He needed to save her the way he couldn’t save Rosie or Sia.
Once she was safe, he took a well-deserved pause to catch his breath and make entirely sure that they were both alive and safe. Then he started, his annoyance, rage and concern bubbling over. He didn’t want to shout or swear at her, he didn’t want to speak to her with anything but a pleasant tone but, really, she’d left him with no choice. What had she been doing out on her own with no real way of protecting herself? The words started to leave his lips with no real thought about how they would make her feel – screw that, at that exact point in time he was more concerned with how he felt and he felt pissed off. But she didn’t seem to be listening, just staring at him like a terrified kid and, really, that only made things worse. If she couldn’t take this – him shouting at her – how had she ever expected to stay safe out on the streets on her own? “Are you even li-” He was cut short by her sudden movement. Thumpers own stomach turned at the sound bringing up the content of her stomach. Great, that was just what he needed...
And the cherry on top was the bloody mess she had managed to make of her leg. Moira muttered that she had tripped and, to an extent, that set his mind at ease – she hadn’t been scratched, she hadn’t been infected. For a moment he opened his mouth, about to tell her how lucky she was but quickly decided against it, instead starting to lead her to his apartment. They made it as far as the window before she stopped, completely breaking down. Thumper felt his stomach lurch again as he watched her shake and sob. “Hey,” he started softly, almost hoarsely, already regretting having yelled at her, “don’t worry...” Awkwardly he moved to her, wrapping his arms around her for a moment. “You’re... you’re safe now.” She was safe, Eli on the other hand? Well, as soon as Thumper caught up with him, Eli would be in a world of shit for letting her wander off on her own. Quickly detaching himself from the show of emotion, he moved towards the open window and climbed inside, offering his hand to help her through. The window led into the main bedroom of the apartment, a large room with a king size bed, en-suite bathroom and a walk-in closet. “Here, sit down.” He said motioning towards the bed.
“You’re going to have to, uh, take your pants off so I can, uh, see the cut...” This was madness, he had a girl in, what was effectively, his room and for once he had a totally legitimate and innocent reason for asking her to take her pants off. For a moment he looked at her awkwardly, before glancing to the door that lead to the bathroom. “I think there’s some bandages in the bathroom, if you want to... take off your... you know...” Usually he wasn’t the type to get nervous about this sort of thing, in fact had it been any other girl he would have had a handful of rude comments ready and would have enjoyed every moment of it. He didn’t wait for an answer before moving into the bathroom.
Moira had tried hugging Max once. Why she could no longer recall; the awkwardness of the situation was so great it had burned away the intentions from her memory. What she did remember was that it had seemed appropriate at the time and the thought that it might make the boy uncomfortable really hadn't crossed her mind. It lasted all of two seconds before Moira pulled away, apologized quietly, and walked away without another word on the matter. Had her feelings been hurt? No, not really. Wasn't the first time that had happened. She was a hugger, most people weren't. She could accept that and respect people's space. From then on, Moira had stuck to smaller gestures, patting his arm and the like. Nothing grand or awkward, but enough to satisfy the touch-feely side of Moira while still giving Max his space.
As such, there was a decent level of surprise at finding Max's arms around her as she broke down outside his window, but you never would have guessed so from the way she instinctively clung to him. Moira's fingers grasped at the back of Max's shirt as she buried her face in his chest, sobbing heavily, body shaking with the effort of it. Later on, she would find herself unable to ever express how much she appreciated that hug, especially considering the fact that it was a little out of the ordinary for Max to have given it.
A short moment later, Max was pulling away. Moira quickly relinquished her hold on his shirt, taking big, heaving breaths in an attempt to pull herself together. There would be plenty of opportunity to cry later, with Eli to listen and comfort her. For now, she knew it would be best to try and get this under control; Max had never been nearly so comfortable with her being upset as Eli. "Thanks," she sniffled quietly, roughly wiping away the tears from the left side of her face. She didn't dare touch her right cheek, which was pretty decently scraped up and full of gravel from her fall. The salt from her crying stung enough to remind her to keep her dirty hands away from the oozing wound.
Taking the offered hand, Moira climbed through the open window and surveyed her surroundings. She found herself suddenly wondering about the bleach, looking for spots on the carpet or bedspread that it might have been used on. It had been so strange, his breaking into the group home all that time ago to steal bleach. Quite the way to meet someone though.
Max's was a nice looking place, homey like Moira hadn't imagined. And the bed was looking awfully comfortably after the exhaustion of recent events. Moira didn't have to be told twice to take a seat and shrugged off the backpack she suddenly remembered she was carrying as she practically collapsed onto the bed. She exhaled slowly as she let her tired muscles relax, the weight of her recent panic falling away. Overall, the girl was a mess, hair all tangled up, sniffling still with the lingering bit of crying she was still doing, tear streaks down one side of her face, oozing gravel-studded scrape down the other with matching bloodied streaks on the underside of her forearms and her left knee, where her torn jeans hadn’t protected her from the fall. Then there were the chunks of beer bottle in her right thigh, big enough pieces coupled with a hard enough fall to have punched through her jeans, which had reddened all around the protruding glass shards. The whole thing looked nasty enough, but that didn’t much phase Moira. She’d given up her childhood dream of being a doctor not because she couldn’t handle the blood and injuries, but because she couldn’t handle the strain on her overly empathetic mindset. Nor did the thought of cleaning up the wound throw her for a loop; yes, she knew it was going to hurt considerably and that added to the trembling she was still doing, but she could tough through it. No, what made her really balk about the injury was Max’s words on the matter:
“You’re going to have to, uh, take your pants off so I can, uh, see the cut...”
”What?!” Moira yelped like a kicked puppy. Did he just ask her to take her pants off? Let’s face it, Moira was about as innocent and modest as they come. She’d never even changed clothes in front of Eli, despite having lived with him for months now in the wake of the end of the world. And before everything fell apart, Moira had had one boyfriend in her entire life, a boy she’d dated when she was fifteen and had almost been too shy to just hold hands with. A boy that had kissed her, something simple and brief, once and had sent Moira reeling for days for it. Now Max was telling her she’d have to take off her pants. Suddenly all she could think was advice admittedly not all appropriate to the situation from a father long since buried: ‘Boys only want one thing.’
Moira gaped at Max a moment, jaw slightly dropped, eyes wide, and, to top it off, still sniffling from her crying. ”Max, I…uh…” she started, mumbling awkwardly and just as quickly cutting herself off for lack of knowing what to say. She hung on his next words, hoping from the first syllable that he’d thought up an alternative, but instead was left instead knowing that he felt just as awkward about all this as she did. Watching him stand up and move to the bathroom with desperate, uncertain eyes, Moira found herself suddenly in a small amount of panic. She couldn’t just take her pants off! This whole thing was absurd! There had to be some alternative. Had to. This was just too…weird, awkward at its finest. Casting her gaze around the room and finding nothing to help her and deciding that trying to tear the jeans away from the wound would most likely just result in bumping and shifting the already imbedded glass, Moira threw a quick glance over her shoulder to make sure Max was in the bathroom with his back turned before standing up and roughly pulling the sheets off the bed. With quite a few more glances to the bathroom, Moira very quickly unbuttoned her jeans, reasoning with herself that if the world hadn’t ended she’d probably be in a hospital doing the same thing. Very carefully she lifted the jeans away from and over the glass in her leg, easing the jeans down while doing everything possible to avoid disturbing the wound. Then, her jeans in their own small pile on the floor, Max sat back down and pulled the sheet around her, leaving her legs exposed but covering up as much as possible, including her light blue bikini style panties. This whole thing was absolutely mortifying. Just appalling. Yeah, yeah, God. Laugh it up.
”Okay,” she cast quietly over her shoulder before going back to staring at the wound, hating it with every ounce of her being at that moment. Well, this was awkward.
He’d never been a hugger in either this life or his last, as Max or as Thumper, hugging just didn’t happen. It was too delicate a gesture, too personal. Ever since his parents had died he had kept his guard up, not letting anyone but his brother close so to hug Moira, of all people, was somewhat awkward. It wasn’t that he didn’t like her or even that he thought she might take such a display in the wrong way it was just – well, honestly, he wasn’t sure what it was. Moira wasn’t like other girls their age, there was something so innocent and pure about her – perhaps too innocent and pure for the world they now lived in. But none of that really mattered, all he wanted to do was get her to stop crying. It was awkward and it made him feel uncomfortable. Usually this would be the point where he would leave her and let Eli deal with her but since he was somewhere else – a thought that still pissed Thumper off – he would have to deal with her. So, for a moment or two, he put his pride aside and wrapped his arms around her. Alarmingly, he had to admit if only to himself, it wasn’t all that bad, though her boy still shook with sobs and a hand seemed to be pulling tightly on the back of his tee-shirt. For a second or two, Thumper found himself wondering if she could feel his heart beat through his chest. At that thought, he quickly detached himself from her and made for the window.
Getting attached wasn’t clever, never had been, but now it seemed dumber than ever. Getting attached meant facing the prospect of eventually being abandoned or worse losing someone and both Thumper and Max had lost and been abandoned by more than most. But none of that mattered, as he climbed in through the window, all that mattered was calming her down and dealing with her injuries. After that he could take her back to the mall, kick Eli’s ass and leave her there. Holding out a hand, he took hers and helped her through the window, an action which spoke volumes on how he felt about her – she was too fragile for this sort of thing, she shouldn’t have been outside on her own. His stomach knotted as he thought about how, only three minutes ago, he had been yelling at her, calling her stupid. It might have been true, but she hadn’t deserve it. She didn’t deserve any of this shit. As she sat, he felt a little envious – after all that drama only minutes before, there was nothing he wanted more than to simple lay back and relax for a while but that wasn’t on the cards while she was still bleeding.
He would need her to take her pants off and as the words left his lips, Thumper knew exactly what her reaction would be – shock, horror and a hint of disgust. He felt bad even asking her to do it, not only because he knew what effect it would have on her but also because he knew what effect it would have on him. Thumper was no saint, to say that he hadn’t at least once thought about her naked would have been a lie – she was a girl and he was a simple teenage boy. He had thought about her naked, wondered what she was like under those clothes, despite knowing that it was oh-so wrong. The stereotype, in Thumpers case, was sad but true – most of the time he was only thinking about sex and, perhaps more importantly, how to get it. For a moment he paused awkwardly, watching her response, before shaking his head and moving towards the bathroom. He hoped that while he was in their, she’d pull herself together enough to just get it over with.
There was a rudimentary first aid kit under the sink with bandages, but there was nothing to clean the wound... except, glancing up, he noticed a bottle he’d all but forgotten on the counter. Grabbing the bottle, the first aid kit and a clean(ish) towel from the rack he moved back into the bedroom where he, thankfully, found she had removed her pants. Again, he awkwardly paused, unable to stop his gaze from wandering to her bare legs – admittedly, the fact that they were covered in blood and cuts lessened the effects but it still reminded him that she was now pant-less. “I, uh...” He started, shaking his head and pulling his gaze from her legs to her face. “I got this to clean the cuts.” Thumper turned the bottle so she could read the word vodka embossed in large letters on the label. Kneeling in front of her, he unscrewed the lid and held the bottle to his nose, before taking a drink. “Here,” he said, offering the bottle to her, “it’ll help with the pain.” For a moment he paused before adding. “Don’t worry, I ain’t trying to get you drunk or nothing but it’ll calm you down a bit.” No, why would he need to get her drunk, she already had her pants off... “We’ll get this cleaned up and see about getting you back to the mall.” Another awkward pause as his eyes moved back to the cut. “Second thoughts, might need to leave it till tomorrow, I dunno how far you’ll get on this.” She was going to have to stay there with him after he had seen her with no pants on. Well, if there was a god, he was certainly pissing himself at this...
“Look, I’m going to have to,” he glanced back up at her, “uh, touch your leg – just a little, though – so I can, uh, clean the cut, ok?”
Moira had all but forgotten that Max had yelled at her. Never one to hold a grudge and knowing at the time that he’d had every right to be upset with her, she’d just let it go. Cried and felt bad, yes, but she held nothing against Max for his harsh words. Neither did it phase her when Max calmed down and started being, in all honesty, exceptionally nice to her. Hugging her, helping her through the window, having the grace to be embarrassed about asking her to take her pants off, none of it felt strange to Moira despite the fact that it was out of character for the boy. Why? Well, Moira had always been convinced that Max’s tough guy act was just that, an act. That underneath it all Max was really a good guy. That there was something decent and respectable somewhere buried. That, deep down, there was something human and precious and worth really caring about. Generally, Moira felt this way about all people, but the more time she’d spent with Max, the more convinced she was. With this feeling already well established it was easy to feel right at home with this kinder side she was seeing, so much so that the change didn’t really register. However, that did leave her more capacity to be offended and uncomfortable with what needed be done.
Moira’s reaction was nothing short of what anybody who had known the girl for even two minutes would expect: shock, discomfort, nervousness, a violation of the moral code she so stringently upheld. Eyes big, jaw dropped, visibly squirming with unease. The whole nine yards. All the trappings of a seventeen year old Christian girl who had never in her life done something like this. And it was mortifying. Never in a million years would Moira have obliged had it been just some stranger, but this was Max. A friend, someone she trusted with her life, now more than ever before. Her faith in him tipped the scales toward her actually being able to do this. Though, to be fair, it didn’t keep her from very intensely studying her jeans and tennis shoes piled on the floor before her rather than meet Max’s eyes as he came back into the room. It wasn’t until Max was standing in front her, showing her what he’d found to clean her wounds up, that Moira could bring herself to actually look him in the eye. Blushing delicately as she looked up at him, Moira had one split second crazy thought: He must think I look so silly sitting here wearing socks without pants.
Brushing this admitted nonsense quickly away, Moira watched, wide-eyed, as Max knelt before her and threw back a mouthful of vodka. ”What’re you—“ she whispered incredulously, the closest to chastising she’d probably ever come. He was eighteen! Max wasn’t old enough to drink! Yes, even in the wake of the end of the world, Moira still didn’t feel like it was right. After all, laws about not drinking before age twenty-one had to have been made for a reason. To see Max drinking so nonchalantly…as if he’d done it before. Moira shivered a little. This was wrong. But it got worse. What cut off her last sentence was Max offering her the bottle.
”I-I-I…Max, I, uhm…” she stammered, looking absolutely perplexed. Had he offered her the bottle first, she would have just refused. What had her so hung up was having watched him drink first. His comment about not trying to get her drunk didn’t help at all. In fact, she hadn’t thought past the wrongness of it to the possibility of getting drunk yet and that statement made her do so. Her eyes went even wider and suddenly she was shaking her head fast. ”No, no, no. Uh—thanks though?” Gently she pushed the bottle back toward Max, biting her lip with uncertainty. So she had glass sticking out of her leg and now they were drinking? No, this couldn’t be right. How much did it take to get drunk again? Someone had told her in a health class once, it seemed like forever ago. Was Max drunk? Was he going to clean her up while drunk? Focus, Moira, focus.
His next comment, about getting back to the mall, gave her that something to refocus on. Yeah, the mall. It wasn’t quite home, but for now it was the closest she had. Yeah. And then the rug came out from under her feet. She followed Max’s gaze, reexamining her wounded leg as he did, and knowing that he was right in his reassessment: they weren’t getting back to the mall today. Tomorrow, sure. But not today. Reeling now, Moira bit her lip. It’s okay. There’s got to be a couch. It’ll be like staying at a friend’s house. Not awkward. She’d be wearing pants again after they got this taken care of, right?
And the icing on the cake. Of course he was going to have to touch her leg, she just hadn’t thought about that yet. ”Yeah, sure, no, I understand.” She tried to sound cool about it, but, all things considered, her voice was a little shaky. But she nodded, gave a very half-hearted and brief tight-lipped smile to reassure him, then knotted up her fingers in the sheets in anticipation of the pain. Could this get any more awkward?
The end of the world had put him in some odd situations over the last seven or so months but this, this was something completely new, something totally different and, honestly, Thumper wasn’t entirely sure how to deal with it. He’d helped injured people in the past, hell, he’d helped people he’d injured himself but this was different. But now was neither the time nor the place to think about how it was different, about how something could have happened to her, about how, on some level, if she died it would be all his fault. Thumper couldn’t afford to think like that, he couldn’t let himself get too attached to Houston or the people that lived there when, sooner or later, he planned on leaving it all behind him. Eventually he would need to find his brother. That was part of the reason he kept up the whole Thumper persona, so he didn’t let himself get used to being around people. Tyler was alive out there somewhere and Max just couldn’t abandon him – though now it was starting to seem like he wouldn’t be able to abandon Moira either, at least not until he knew she was going to be safe wherever he left her. Admittedly, at the moment it was uncertain if she’d actually stay anywhere he left her... god, this whole situation was one big damn mess.
As she caught his eyes, it was clear, even to him, just how embarrassed she was and it took every ounce of self restraint – self restraint that he had somehow magically obtained at some point over the last five minutes – not to make some wise crack about getting her out of her clothes or getting in her pants. He didn’t, but still wanted to – it might have upset her, made her cry but it would he would have felt a lot more comfortable because of it. The last thing he wanted was for her to start to depend on him, to start to think that he would always be around to save the day and patch her up. Kneeling down he tried to talk her through it, opening the bottle and taking a quick drink to calm his nerves. With the way his heart was racing anyone would think that the teen had just been asked to perform open heart surgery on her. In that moment yet more jokes came to mind and something else, another weird thought; he was thinking about kissing her. The hormonal teenager inside him seemed to believe that this was an appropriate time to look at Moira as something more than a timid little girl incapable of looking after herself. Thumper wanted to do it, knowing that it would cement the fact that he wasn’t a particularly great guy in her mind once and for all but Max thought it was a terrible idea. Awkwardly he held out the bottle to her, though she quickly pushed it back towards him, he gave a shrug but didn’t say anything.
For a moment he put off what he had to do with talk of getting her back to the mall, but after a closer inspection, it was looking highly unlikely she’d be going anywhere on the leg for at least a day. Meaning he was stuck with her, or she was stuck with him. Whichever was worse. Gingerly a hand moved to her thigh, gently holding the leg while he tipped some of the vodka over the cut. Max winced, knowing it probably stung like a son of a bitch. “Sorry.” He told her, but didn’t quite feel able to look at her, instead keeping his eyes fixed on the cut. The blood and vodka was allowed to run onto the carpet, leaving the wound a little clearer. “Fuck.” Thumper muttered under his breath, still holding her leg in place with his hand. “There’s glass in here.” He told her. “Looks pretty deep, I don’t think it’ll come out on it’s own. I’m gonna have to...” For a moment he paused rather awkwardly making absolutely sure there was no other way he could deal with the problem because, frankly, the idea of pulling the larger pieces out of her leg was a little bit above and beyond the call of duty, even for him. “I’m gonna have to pull them out, ‘else it might get infected.” Not waiting for a response he started to fumble through the first aid kit, finding a pair of tweezers. “This’ll sting like a bitch, sure you don’t want a drink?” He offered the bottle again, but doubted she would accept it. “It’ll help.”
There was really no reason that Moira should be alive. Not just today or yesterday or even last week. By all rights, Moira should have died back in April and, had Eli shown up five minutes later, she would have. There was nothing about her really that fit the apocalyptic world she now found herself in. Even her stealth and agility, as evidenced by the past hours, was a bit lacking. Between not having the heart to kill the infected, knowing nothing really about survival, being convinced that there was some good to be found in any given person, and generally lacking the selfishness or forwardness to take what she needed, Moira was the prime example of everything that would get you killed in this new and frightening world. Her survival was directly dependent on the generosity and aid of those she associated with. As such, Moira couldn't help but form attachments to other people. Ironically, while Max tried at every turn to resist putting down any roots, Moira did exactly the opposite. And after months of knowing Max, she was pretty well attached.
This boy, someone she'd met while he was stealing from her, had become an integral part of Moira's daily existence. Max, Eli, and (in spite of their bickering) Hartigan were her foundation, the closest thing she had to stability. What with her background of being shuffled around after her parents' death, stability was something precious and fragile for Moira. It hadn't really crossed her mind that Max might want to move on without her and the others, even when he was gone for days out in the city. For some reason, some blind faith in the boy had Moira believing he was always coming back. She did feel the group breaking, just not along the Max/Moira line. Sure, Eli was always there for her, but he had that girl in the mall. He was settling there nicely while Moira still felt out of place. And Hartigan...well, that one Moira expected to abandon them all at any time. The only comfort was that Hartigan would be okay. As Moira saw it, Hartigan could take care of herself and survive just fine. So could Max, for that matter, but Hartigan would certainly not take Moira with her if, or rather when, she left and Eli seemed to be moving on. That left Max. If the group really did split, Moira would probably cling to what was familiar and stable, and that would be Max. If it came to that.
But these were thoughts that Moira had had while out scavenging earlier that day, before she'd almost been killed, before Max had saved her life. Thoughts that resurfaced briefly somewhere in the midst of Max kneeling before her, taking care of her. Thoughts that were banished along with any others as soon as the vodka came in contact with her wound.
"Sssssss," Moira hissed through her teeth, biting down hard on her lip and clenching her hands around fistfuls of sheets. Tears formed in her eyes and she whimpered just a little; it felt like fire, like she'd touched a white hot poker to her skin. Had it not been for Max's hand on her thigh, Moira would've jerked her leg away. In fact, she tried to. Pain had been expected, just not that much. Max's apology helped a lot toward setting her a bit more at ease. "It's okay," she whispered. Exhaling slowly, Moira tried to release some of the tension in her clenched muscles, with only a small margin of success that was immediately negated by Max's sudden cursing.
It wasn't really a surprise, that there was glass in the wound, but Max's assessment made Moira nervous. It was immediately obvious where he was going with this and Moira was certainly not looking forward to any poking around in the already tender wound. More than that though, Moira was feeling a fresh wave of guilt for having put Max in this position. "I'm sorry," she offered, apologizing for his having to do this. Even miserable and in pain, Moira was thinking of him first.
Avoiding looking at the tweezers as a means of cutting herself off from clearer visualization of what was to happen next, Moira instead let Max direct her attention back to the vodka. For a split second she actually considered the offer, trusting Max when he said it'd help, but she quickly found herself ashamed for having hesitated. "No, thanks," she answered quietly, pushing the bottle away as she had before. The action was like deja vu and suddenly made her remember the awkwardness she'd forgotten what with the having liquor poured in her open wound bit. Blushing once more, Moira dropped her gaze and shifted uncomfortably. Noticing the fresh blood-and-vodka stain on the floor, Moira reflexively, though sincerely, apologized for that, too: "Sorry about your carpet." Yet another thing to feel guilty for.
Steeling herself by taking some steady breaths and changing her grip on the sheets, Moira nodded. "Alright, let's get this over with."
(( Sorry it sucks. I'm feeling rambly, apparently. ))
Had it been anyone but Moira, Thumper would have expected a string of profanities – hell, if it was him in her position, people would have heard his cursing from three counties over. But somehow she managed to remain mostly silent except for a pained hiss. He felt awful for doing it, for putting her through that much pain, even though it really wasn’t his fault she’d been injured. But, still, it needed to be done, he couldn’t risk it getting infected. It struck him in that moment that she might need something more than vodka, maybe she’d need antibiotics just to make sure. Max didn’t dare look up at her, his eyes now fixed on the cut and what he had to do. Grabbing the towel he did his best to dry her leg, though a lot of the blood and vodka had already found its way to the carpet. There were far too many thoughts going through his mind at that point – thoughts about her, about him, about the whole situation he found himself in. Quickly he came to the decision that he didn’t like it. He didn’t like any of it. She was too dependent on him and he was growing increasingly attached. It wasn’t going to end well for either of them.
She apologised again and Thumper merely shrugged, pretending that he was paying far too much attention to her injuries to comment at that time. He wanted to tell her that it was ok, that everything was fine now – it wasn’t and, on some level, he was still pissed off. But he didn’t want her to start bawling her eyes out again. A few moments later, he offered her the bottle again, but again she refused it. Shaking his head ever so slightly, Thumper took another drink before placing the bottle down and reaching for the tweezers. “Don’t worry about it.” He muttered as she apologised about the carpet. It really didn’t matter, the rest of the apartment was a mess anyway. There was a pause, a hesitation – he wasn’t qualified to be doing this and, for all he knew, it could make things worse. But he could hardly leave her with lumps of glass in her leg, or rather, he could hardly expect her to be able to make it back to the mall in that condition. No, he would have to do it – remove the glass as best he could, then in the morning he could take her back to the mall and let someone else deal with her injuries properly.
“Right, here we go.” For a moment he still didn’t move. His hand still held her leg while the other grasped the tweezers. “You’ll have to stay as still as you can.” Thumper told her, without really looking up at her. “Best look away, there might be a lot of blood.” Oh if only he could look away. Taking a deep breath, he moved himself slightly closer to her, grip on her leg tightening as he went for the first and biggest piece of glass. Catching it between the tweezers he was torn between trying to gently remove it and just yanking it out. He opted for the latter, hoping that he could get this over and done with as quickly as possible. As the glass left her leg, the small cut left by the glass started to fill with blood. For the time being he tried to ignore it, removing a second and then a third piece before putting down the tweezers and reaching for the bottle again. Pouring a little bit over the cut, he cleared the wound of blood again. Then he resumed work with the tweezers. Ten minutes later and he was reasonably sure he’d done all he could. Again he doused the wound with vodka, before pressing the towel against it to absorb any blood. “Hold that.” He told her, fumbling with a bandage.
A few minutes later and he had her leg, roughly bandaged up. Standing, he stretched slightly, before realising that the situation had turned awkward again. “I’ll, uh... there’re some girls clothes in the wardrobe and the draws if you want to see if anything fits. I’ll, uh, be through in the den...” He didn’t wait for a response before leaving the bedroom and heading into the den, half-throwing himself onto the sofa when he got there.
For all she lacked in emotional strength, Moira made up for with endurance. Sure, she wasn't the strongest or biggest person out there, but when it came to physical harm she was tough as nails. This is not to say that having vodka poured in an open wound didn't hurt like crazy, just that, all things considered, Moira handled it well, only hissing at the pain and twitching with a knee-jerk reaction. But she could tough it out. Actually, physical pain was one of the very, very few things Moira internalized, as Max well knew. She'd been bawling her eyes out not but a few minutes ago and yet here she sat, incredibly tense but managing.
Besides, it wasn't like Moira to swear. She never had in her life. No swearing, no drinking or drugs, hardly any kissing...a parent's dream. But it was more than that to Moira, more than just obedience to her parents, as important as that had been to her. This behavior, including manners and politeness, was just as deeply tangled in her own self-respect, her own personal way of holding herself in high regard and setting a good example. As such, even considering taking up Max's offer of a bit of vodka to ease the pain brought such shame. Not to say that she judged Max for it, she was ever forgiving and never felt it was her place to judge people. Just that she was disappointed in herself for having wavered.
This personal code of morals and ethics she held so dear, coupled with her great respect for Max, left her still feeling bad about the carpet, even after he told her not to worry about, silly as that may be. The only thing she felt worse about than, as she saw it, 'trashing' his place was that she had put him in this situation at all. The fact that he'd let that apology just slide out into open air unacknowledged made it stick that much more in her head. She shouldn't have been out today. He shouldn't have had to save her. Worse, he shouldn't have to be the one tending to her wounds, but here he was, having saved her life and now cleaning up the resulting mess. Guilt weighed heavily on Moira's shoulders. Guilt she didn't have time to deal with right now. Right now she needed to be as strong as possible and make tending her wounds as simple as possible.
Moira nodded in complete and utter seriousness at Max's telling her she needed to be still. It gave her something to focus on as she took his next bit of advice and looked away. It wasn't that she had a problem with blood, just that watching him root around in the wound with a pair of tweezers really didn't sound appealing. Locking eyes with the wall off to her side, Moira put all her energy into slow, steady breaths, trying to keep as much tension out of her muscles as possible. It was hard to do, especially when, for no apparent reason, her heart seemed to skip at Max's tightening his grip on her leg and moving closer. Something about this action, despite the rest of the context, brought up a flutter of nervousness that she didn't understand and quickly brushed off.
A gasp escaped her lips as that first piece of glass was suddenly pulled from her leg, an involuntary response accentuated by the pathetic little whimper that came with it. Her grip on the sheets at her sides tightened as Moira focused on letting the pain go, breathing it out. Things didn't get much better, but there was plenty of glass to find. After a couple of minutes Moira realized she was shaking, trembling like a frightened mouse, and little sounds kept slipping by, abbreviated squeals and murmurs of pain. The worst of it was the feeling, feeling like her leg was on fire while simultaneously be all too aware of the trickles of blood that escaped the wound to run down the side of her leg. The whole process was miserable, leaving Moira strangely happy to go back to the burn of the vodka as Max thoroughly doused the wound at the end of it all. Just as she had when he'd had to apply vodka mid-way through, Moira flinched, biting down hard on her lip, but this second time there was way more vodka. He had to be done. Snapping her gaze back to the main event, Moira got a brief glance at the open wound and torn flesh before Max put the towel to it. Moira followed his command numbly, reaching out with an unstable hand to hold the towel in place while Max got the bandage.
Moira looked at Max strangely as he finished up, feeling a bit light-headed and the tiniest bit nauseous. His abruptly standing up didn't help with the latter; she pressed a hand to her belly as he spoke, grateful that she'd already cleared the contents of her stomach. The awkwardness took a moment longer to dawn on her, but his talk of clothes sunk in, reminding her that, yes, she was still sitting her without pants. She would have blushed delicately, but it just wasn't in her at the moment. In fact, after watching him go, Moira had to take a beat to get her head on straight.
When she felt that she could do so without toppling from dizziness, Moira stood carefully, a hand on the bed to help her balance as she very slowly put some weight on the newly bandaged leg. The answering pain put rest to any notions of leaving this apartment tonight and set Moira to the slow work of finding clothes that fit. As little as she was, she didn't really expect to find anything in her size. That, couple with feeling a little guilty for taking clothes that weren't hers even though she needed them, made this process take longer than it perhaps should have. In the end, she settled on loose fleece pants, cuffed at the bottom, and a soft, but plain t-shirt. Using some of the little remaining vodka, Moira made quick work of her remaining, considerably more minor wounds, finishing with some large band-aids across her cheek. The pants concealed the leg wound and scraped knee, but even so she was quite a sight in the middle of this outbreak what with the bandaging on her forearms and face. Resigned to the lack of water, Moira used the barest sip of vodka swished in her mouth and very quickly spit out to clear the awful taste of vomit. It was a sight to see, her timidness at raising the bottle to her lips. Her gut roiled with shame, but, she reasoned, it was as good a choice as she had. The burning sensation of it in her mouth, though she used the barest, tiniest amount, surprised her. It was funny to think that alcohol burned when consumed, too.
Eventually, she came limping out of the bedroom, perching lightly on the arm of the sofa. "Thank you," she whispered sincerely, after a moment's pause, reaching out to put a hand lightly on his shoulder. Moira had always been a girl of few words, so just those two had such gravity, even spoken as softly as they were, as to convey her full meaning. He'd saved her life, probably twice what with cleaning that wound, and she was truly grateful for it.