Hyle slowly paced across the floor of Tuki's lounge holding the newest generation of the Troy family against her shoulder, Ichiro was tired, Hyle was tired.
She softly patted his back, lulling him off to sleep.
"Visselul, mit lille barn
Mo'er sidder og vinder garn,
Fa'er gar pa Langebro,
Kober barnet nye sko,
Nye sko med spaender,
Sa sover barnet laenger...."
She sang quietly. Tuki was asleep, this was the main reason Hyle was there, to give her daughter a chance to rest.
Ichiro had been fractious for a few days now. They say babies can sense changes in their mother,
Perhaps when Tuki woke, when she sat down to the meal Hyle had brought with her.
Perhaps she would tell Hyle how she felt, perhaps not, But Hyle would try to be there when she was ready.
Tukiko winced. Shouting still hurt. She opened the medical file of the next patient and was met with an almost blank form. 'Jeassiah Black' and 'Clone' were the only two boxes filled in.
Tukiko sighed and made a mental note to try and convince Maisie, yet again, that clone patients needed a medical history too.
The door opened and then closed behind the patient. Tuki prided herself on knowing most of the residents of Hope, at least by sight.
Some of them she knew more about because of their medical complaints, either because they were interesting, they were suspicious or just plain in almost every day with something new.
All Tuki knew about Ms Black was that she ran or worked in the garage... And that she was currently in her Mom's bad books. A wry smile cracked one side of Tuki's face. Been there, she thought.
Not often, but it was not a good place to be.
She watched Ms Black cross the floor with a professional eye and noticed the tender way she slowly sat down. Piles or ribs was her instant diagnosis.
Piles would be least likely considering the clone's apparent age and build.
Once seated comfortably, the garage owner looked up, automatically brushing the long fair hair from her face, and offered Tuki a smile of her own.
The eyes, however, still showed the discomfort she was obviously in.
"Nice to meet you at last Ms Black. You've reminded me that I must bring my car in and get the brakes sorted out. Can't keep using just the handbrake and any convenient wall to stop.
" Polite laughter was exchanged before Tukiko got down to business. "So. What can I do for you?"
Jeass had seen Dr Troy around town. Most recently at the hostel of course. She knew who she was and that the mayor was her mother... Adopted apparently.
But sitting up close for the first time she was a bit disconcerted by just how young Dr Troy looked. By young, she meant child-like young.
Like her, though, Dr Troy was a clone so apparent age meant very little. Still, it felt odd all the same.
"Pain in ma ribs Doc. Might ha' broken one or two."
Dr Troy took the stethoscope from around her neck and stood up.
She had Jeass lean forward in her chair as far as was comfortable and then applied the business end of the stethoscope to various locations on her back.
"Breath normally for me."
Jeass did so, but it wasn't comfortable.
"Take a deep breath for me. Deep as you can and hold it please."
Again, Jeass did as instructed but was only able to hold it for a few seconds before she was overcome with a pain-filled coughing fit that had her reaching for the desk for support.
Dr Troy returned to her seat and waited for the coughing to pass.
"You might be right. Could you stand up when you're ready and remove your top?"
Jeass stood up and slowly pulled off her top, revealing the extent of the bruises to someone other than her mirror for the first time.
She couldn't help but unconsciously compare her own vivid bruises to the fading ones on the doctor's face.
Dr Troy's eye's narrowed slightly. She had seen similar bruises many times and knew that all sorts of 'incidents' could be the cause. Her recent visits to the hostel were testament to that.
"Nasty. Could you raise both arms above your head for me? Straight up, that's right. Now, bend as far as you can over to the left... That hurts? Okay, now the other way."
She stood up and moved close to the patient.
Placing her hand in the small of Ms Black's back, Dr Troy used two fingers to prod at her patient's rib cage, eliciting various degrees of discomfort.
Then she returned to her seat and made notes on the medical file.
"You can get dressed now." She said, not looking up while she wrote.
Jeass pulled her top back on and again sat down slowly. The doctor finished what she was writing and looked up.
"Well, if you do have any ribs that are broken, they are only hairline fractures. If there had been any degree of separation you would have been making a lot more noise I assure you.
" This was accompanied by a reassuring smile.
"Of course, they may just be very badly bruised. Not that it matters, the treatment is the same." Dr Troy paused, her eyes going to the clone collar around Ms Black's neck with a slight nod.
"Being a clone, you know that you can fix your injuries by re-cloning, but as you came to see me I'm assuming you don't want to do that?"
Jeass gave a non-committal shrug, allowing the doctor to go on.
Tuki looked at Jeass for a moment, envying other clones' ability to do such a thing. For Tuki, only death would force a re-cloning.
If she tried to use the LifeNet facilities for anything else,
the whole building usually plunged itself into darkness and she would have to blindly grope her way out of the temporarily dead facility. She snapped back to the present.
"Okay, then. I'll give you some painkillers. Use them. The first will be acetaminophen. Take one every four hours. The other is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Wait twenty-four hours before you start taking them and then alternate the pills." She went over to the drug cabinet and counted pills into two labelled bottles and handed them to Jeass.
Then she returned to her desk.
"If you can, hold an ice pack to the affected ribs regularly in the first few days to bring down swelling. Rest and take time off work if you need to.
No riding or taking a buggy over rough terrain."
"Anything else doc?"
"Yes. Breathe normally and cough when you need to - this helps clear mucus from your lungs to prevent chest infections. That's gonna hurt, sorry.
Try to sleep more upright for the first few nights. Don't be tempted to wrap a bandage tightly around your chest.
This will stop your lungs expanding properly, and if it is a broken rib, this can cause the break to not set properly."
Jeass got to her feet and pocketed the two pill bottles. She stood, leaning on the desk and looking down as the doctor continued.
"Also, don't lie down or stay still for a long time because this puts the wrong kind of strain on the rib and allows fluid to build up. Of course, don't strain yourself or lift heavy objects...
You won't be able to anyway because it will hurt like hell again, but it will make things possibly a lot worse."
Jeass lifted her head and managed a wry smile.
"Sound like ye telling me ta stay in bed."
"No. Sitting would be better. But the more rest you get, the faster your ribs will heal."
Jeass took a deep, painful breath and stood up straight.
"Thank ye, Doctor Troy. Do I pay you or wee stone face out there?"
The description of Nurse Maisie made Tuki chuckle.
"Neither. In Hope, medical care is a right, not a product."
The concept seemed to take Jeass, used to everything having a price of some kind, a little by surprise.
"Well, thanks agin Doc. You bring your car in soon now. Can't have our free doctor riding around in a death-trap, can we?"