2010-04-30: Modus Vivendi



Date: April 30, 2010


Nec mortem effugere quisquam nec amorem potest - No one is able to flee from death or love.

"Modus Vivendi"

Erin's Apartment

It only took Max a few days to start compensating for his missing arm. Opening bottles. Tending to his wounds. Any small or intricate task requires a special procedure when you only have one hand. What he can't compensate for is his missing power. It being gone is like being left by a familiar lover. Everything feels colder. Dimmer. He misses his ability so fiercely that his stomach is knotted and aching.

That could also be withdrawl, as he hasn't had painkillers in days.

He's on the couch again. He's scrounged up a legal pad and a pen, which he's scribbling on determinedly. Stacks of loose sheets filled with notes and ideas are arrayed on the table in front of him. A few wadded pieces of paper on the floor are proof that even Max's brilliance can sometimes falter.

It's been days since she was here last. So much to do, so little time. More than just a courtesy, Cody has decided to fore go any instructions left by Erin and has gathered a few supplies in a small backpack. it's a fair trade, for the longest time Erin didn't listen very closely to Cody's instructions either.

When the blonde reaches the apartment, she takes the elevator rather than the stairs, feeling comfortable enough to actually be in a closed space with other people. Thankfully, there's no one else to share the lift with.

A few quick raps at the door and she draws back so the occupant of the apartment can see who it is through the peep hole.

Max sets his notes aside, crosses the room, and peers through the peephole. When he spots Cody, he immediately smiles and opens the door. After many days here, he's finally gotten his hands on fresh clothes. Crisp khakis, soft loafers, and a very pale pink shirt with the top two buttons undone and the sleeves rolled back to the elbow. He looks… casual. And at peace. Two things that are out of the ordinary for him.

"Welcome back," he greets Cody, holding his hand out to her. "Come in, come in."

Cody's eyebrows raise noticeably when she sees Max. "You look… good. Considering." She strides into the apartment and closes the door behind her before swinging the backpack off of her shoulder. Moving immediately to the kitchen area, she begins unpacking it. Of course there's food… nothing measuring up to his refined palate, but it's edible. Power bars, some vitamin supplement shakes, and some good old fashioned vitamins in pill form.

"I brought you some things, they might help you while you're here." She murmurs as she files them away in the empty cupboards. "It should be enough to last you a few days but I'm sure Erin will bring you things in the meantime."

She turns to gaze at Max then and furrows her eyebrows a little, "How are you two managing? You're still alive, that's good…"

"Aw. Such a cool reception. No kiss?" Max pouts playfully and follows Cody into the kitchen, swinging his arms and taking long, languid strides. Despite his words, there's a grateful expression on his face when he sees the contents of her pack. After so long with so little, the sight of simple items that can sustain him heartily are… welcome, to say the least. He tips her a nod and crosses his arms over his chest, wincing when he contacts his wound. "We're doing okay. I think I finally convinced her that I didn't come here to hurt her." He winces. "Physically, anyway. We're learning a lot from each other."

Giving him a warm smile, Cody hefts the backpack up onto her shoulder again and turns to face him fully. "Not cool, focused. I didn't know what condition you'd be in, I was preparing myself for the absolute worst." Her eyes graze over his form slowly, and her smile softens a little as she finally meets his eyes. "Come on, I have more," she says quietly, reaching out to his good shoulder to guide him to the living room.

Focused is something that Max can respect. He grins, tucks a vitamin shake, and follows Cody back toward his untidy pile of notes. Hurriedly, he stacks the loose sheets, shoves them in the middle of the pad, and drops the whole assembly on the floor and out of the way. "More presents?" he says, still smiling as he uncaps his shake and takes a long swig. "Mmm. I'm such a lucky boy today."

"Don't get too excited, they're really just necessities." Pulling the backpack open again, Cody draws out a first aid kit, some tubes of anti-bacterial ointment, rubbing alcohol, a few boxes of gauze, and medical tape. "Let me see what sort of shape you're in," she says softly as she moves onto the couch beside him. Without waiting for him to do it himself, she begins to unbutton his shirt to take a better look. "How have you been feeling? Any fevers … that haven't been caused by Erin?"

"See for yourself," Max says, the cheerfulness in his voice turning false. The flesh around his stab wounds has turned an angry, unhealthy red as it has grown saturated with infection, now extending well outside the area covered by his bandages. As skilled as he is, Max has been limited by resources and location. He has clearly suffered for it. When his shirt is unbuttoned, he shrugs his shoulders to help Cody get it off of him.

Frowning deeply, Cody carefully unwraps the bandage from his shoulder and purses her lips. "Tell me what I need to do, what you need… I'll get it for you." She begins to soak some of the gauze with rubbing alcohol and presses it against the angry looking gash on his shoulder. Her eyes flit between the area she's nursing and his eyes. "I'm not the best field medic, but I've had a few little experiences. Mostly with bullet wounds though, that won't help here." Unless he wants to burnt the area off with gunpowder, she could definitely help with that.

Max purses his lips and blows out a puff of air when the alcohol makes contact with his wound. "Ow. What I need is antibiotics. IV would be best, but pills are a lot better than nothing. If I can drive off the infection, I'll heal up fine." The many, many scars he bears are proof of this statement. He smiles crookedly "I should probably lance and drain the wounds, but that's a particularly unpleasant process. Thanks for cleaning them, though."

"Anytime," Cody utter softly as she concentrates on dabbing more of the hissing liquid against his shoulder. "You took care of me when I needed it, it's the least I can do." As the gauze gets soaked with blood and other wound gunk, she tosses it aside and switches it out with new ones. The alcohol doesn't stop bubbling, something that concerns the woman quite a bit. "I'll see what I can do about getting you some antibiotics, my resources are a little limited in that area, but I might be able to convince someone to give me a broad spectrum z-pack." At this point, she's pretty much convinced herself to break into a pharmacy if she has to. "I'll get it here before I leave, I promise."

Max reaches up and grabs Cody's hand to give it an affectionate squeeze. "Thank you," he says, looking her in the eye. "Most people wouldn't go out of their way to help someone like— wait. Leave?" He releases Cody and quirks an eyebrow curiously. "How are you going to get it here before you leave?" he asks, chuckling as he inspects his wounds. The laughter is a bit forced. Things don't look good. Not at all. "Must be some delivery service you have on call."

"I'm leaving for the Amazon in a few days, Max." She says quietly, there's a grim set to her features. "I don't know how long I'll be gone; weeks, a month… I should have told you sooner but I really didn't expect all of this." She lowers her hands from tending to his shoulder and places the soiled gauze next to the ever growing pile. Rather than look him in the eye, she busies herself with examining the wound again, mostly to check if what little she did do made any sort of a difference. "And of course I'd go out of my way for you, I've done a lot more for you than this."

"I'll miss you," Max admits. "I'll do my best to keep Erin from killing me in your absence." The words are deadpanned, but he breaks the spell with a wink. "That's a very serious expression you're wearing. I hope you're not off to anything too dangerous?" Suddenly, he seems a bit worried. He doesn't look Cody in the eye, either. In fact, he seems to find any number of things to look at that aren't her. He's almost ominously still during the examination, flinching only once at pressure against a particularly infected area.

"Truthfully? Have no idea how dangerous it's going to be. We've got a good team though, I'm bringing Jo with me. Do you remember her? Agent Scott from Protocol…" Cody's voice trails off a little as she looks up at him, she can't actually remember if he'd met Jo or not. It was a very big building. Then she pauses and straightens her posture, looking directly at him. "What's wrong, Max?"

"Um?" His attention has drifted. "It's nothing. Just be careful. And take plenty of insect repellent." Max doesn't mention Agent Scott, mostly because he doesn't remember her. It was a very big building.

Time for a shift in topic. "Ahem. While you're looking for medical supplies, I could positively murder a mouthful of Vicodin."

Giving him a gentle smile, Cody raises her hand to trace her fingers along his arm. Possibly trying to find exactly how far down the infection has spread. "I'll see what I can do," she says before turning her head and ripping open a new package of gauze. "You might just have to make do with Tylenol. I'll get you some premenstrual pills too, they do a bit better job because of the muscle relaxants in them." Opening one of the tubes of ointment, she spreads a thick layer over the cut itself before wrapping the entire thing. Her fingers make quick and quite light work of re-wrapping his hurt shoulder, it's not perfect, but given their supplies, it's the best she can do.

When she's finished, she reaches for his shirt and holds it in her hands for a few minutes. "Max, promise me something?"

"I." Max clears his throat as he works his shoulders back and forth, testing the constraints of his new bandages. He's distracted, still wrapping his mind around the idea of taking premenstrual pills, though his knows the theory is sound from a medical perspective. "Huh?" he queries. "Oh. Sorry. What's on your mind?" Smiling reassuringly, he reaches out to lay a hand on his shirt as well. He doesn't try to take it, though.

"Take care of yourself," Cody starts as she tilts her head down to stare at his hand. "Take care of yourself and make sure Erin's alright too. Just make sure I have something to come home to." Home, it's a word she hasn't said in quite a long time. Giving him a small smile, she begins to pull the shirt over his good arm before gingerly lacing it over his wounded one.

Whatever epiphany Max has had, it seems to have left him more comfortable with his disability. He doesn't shrink away from Cody's touch or attempt to do everything himself. He just pokes his limbs through the appropriate holes when the time comes, being just as careful as she is during the process. "I will," he promises. "You do the same. I've never waited for someone before. If you don't come back, I'll be cross." His smile and the twinkle in his eye disarm the words, turning them playful and affectionate.

Gently, he cups his hand against her cheek. "Stay with me again," he urges her. "Before you're gone for weeks."

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