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Good Old-Fashioned Healing

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Andy’s not ok the first time she gets hurt on a job.

It’s a gunshot wound to the shoulder, through and through. On a regular day it’s a quick heal, barely noticeable in the midst of a fight. And when they first see the bullet hit her, neither one of them really reacts. 

It’s too easy to forget that she’s mortal now.

But even mortal, she’s just as strong as ever. Stronger, even, than she’s been in almost a hundred years. Having something to fight for, having faith in the people they’re protecting, have awoken a whole new level of viciousness in her that she hasn’t felt in so long. Her swings are more powerful, her movements faster, and even when it hurts she keeps going. Even when she’s bruised, bleeding or broken, she barely even slows.

The fight is over quickly and only then does she stagger. Only then does her hand come up to poke at the wound. “Fuck,” she hisses through her teeth as she presses down on the wound to staunch the bleeding. Do bullet wounds always hurt this badly, she wonders.

“Let me see?” Nicky asks softly, passing his weapon to Joe.

Andy would really rather he leave it because the last thing she wants is to be poked and prodded and fretted over. But Nicky’s concern is almost imperceptible, hidden behind his impeccable poker face. 

Sighing and pulling her hand away from the wound, Andy nods. “Get it over with,” she mumbles.

Nicky leads her over to a wooden crate and gestures for her to sit. She does, and prays that no one notices how her knees buckle and she falls the last few inches.

The sharp inhalation from where Nile and Joe hover nearby tells her she’s not that lucky.

She refuses to look at them, instead staring pointedly at the ground and listening as Nicky rustles through a first aid kit he’s pulled from his backpack. He’s spent too many hours reading books and looking at articles online, learning as much as he can about first aid so that he knows he’ll be able to help her. She’s caught Joe doing the same thing, but it quickly became apparent that out of all of them, Nicky’s hands are the steadiest and he’s going to be of the most help. 

Well, technically Nile is the one who’s most qualified - she remembers being mortal, remembers what it is to bleed and keep bleeding - but Andy has been hesitant to let this…baby near her. It feels wrong, having someone so much younger than her patch her up. And Nile, to her credit, has been understanding and has promised not to step in unless she has to.

She’s great like that. Not that Andy will ever admit it.

“I’m sorry, this is going to hurt,” Nicky says, and waits for Andy to nod. When she does, he presses a bandage that smells strongly of alcohol to the wound. Andy bites her lip around a pained groan as the wound starts to burn. She flinches without meaning to and tries to get away, but catches herself at the same time as Joe and Nile suddenly join them. Each of them latches onto Andy’s shoulders, Joe careful to avoid touching her wound. Their holds are firm, just enough to keep her in place.

She hates that they have to do this, hates that her body has these mortal reactions like flinching and struggling. She hates that Nicky has to patch her up. That she needs to be patched up.

Nicky is silent as he cleans the wound. When he sees she’s struggling, he hurries his work and steps back to allow her time to breathe. “I will not stitch you up here, I would like somewhere brighter to work. But I will put some gauze on it for now,” he explains. He sounds hesitant, unsure, and Andy is sure she hears Nile murmur softly in approval. 

Andy watches him tuck the bloodied bandage he’s been using to clean the wound in the bottom of his backpack. His hands too are covered in her blood, and she doesn’t miss how he falters as he turns them palm up to study them. It seems like he’s entranced by it, his eyes growing distant.

“Almost done,” Joe murmurs and removes one hand from Andy’s shoulder to place it on Nicky’s. “You’re doing well.”

“There’s some gauze and tape in there. Cover the wound and tape the gauze in place. Just like we practiced,” Nile adds.

Nicky’s gulp is audible as he does as he’s instructed. He’s quick and tries his best not to hurt Andy, and in return she does her best not to flinch. She can hear him breathing slowly through his nose and he feels so young to her right now. And Joe’s hand on her shoulder is less than steady, his own nerves acting up. They’re both so much younger than her and right now it feels that way more than it has in a long time. She wants to say something, wants to tell them that it’s alright and that she will be fine but if she says that then she’s acknowledging that this is wrong. And she can’t do that. Her own mind won’t let her.

The bandage is secured in place and Nicky steps back, wiping his hands on his trousers and offering her a shaky smile. “Don’t move too fast, you’re supposed to take it slow,” he says quietly.

Andy does as he says and stands slowly, wobbling for a moment. Three pairs of hands are on her, holding her upright. She resists the urge to push them away because she knows that they need this as much as she does.

“Thank you, Nicky,” she says and wraps her good arm around his shoulders, pulling him in for a hug. His body is stiff as she pulls him close, doing his best to avoid her wound. But then Andy notices that he’s shaking, the steady composure crumbling as the urgency of the situation passes. In response she tightens her grip and rubs his back with her fingertips, stroking up and down his spine. 

“You did well. I’m sorry you had to do it,” she whispers.

One day they’ll get used to this whole first aid thing. One day they’ll be able to do it with ease. But that doesn’t mean they have to like it.