They made their way over to the untidy, picture-book covered mess that was Amy Pond's bed.
Seeing them coming, Amy pulled the covers up to her chin and lay flat as a board with her arms down by her sides on top of the blue blanket.
Once again pulling up a chair, a stool this time, Maisie sat Magrat down and stood at her shoulder. She opened her bag and pulled out her stethoscope and a blood pressure gauge.
In the early days of her training, Magrat had once called it the 'pumpy doo-dah' in answer to one of Doc Troy's spot quizzes. She never made that mistake again. Maisie handed them to Magrat.
"Amy here wants out of bed and, to be frank, Stella can't wait."
Already used to the procedure, Amy had kicked the bedding down and lifted her bedgown even as Magrat finished setting up the, what she now knew was a sphygmomanometer,
after writing it out a hundred times.
Magrat checked Amy's Vitals and wrote them down neatly on her record. Maisie looked over her shoulder.
"Erm, BP is 106 over 63, which is a little low but normal. Pulse is steady and strong, if a little elevated, but she is excited." Magrat and Amy exchanged a grin. "Temperature is normal."
Amy looked up at Maisie with puppy dog eyes.
"So, can I get up? Pleeeeeeease?"
"Let us see your wound."
Amy rolled towards them until she was on her side. A 50cal machine gun round had hit Amy just below the ribcage on the left side of her body.
The bullet had torn through the descending colon, and the shock wave it produced had turned her left kidney into jelly.
Fortunately for Amy, her party had included a native shaman who had, against the odds, managed to remove the remains of the damaged kidney and cobble together the torn ends of her intestine.
He had also packed the wound with a homemade crude antiseptic foam,
and this concoction had prevented septicaemia from creeping in until she had arrived in Hope and Doctor Troy had taken care of her.
What Magrat was looking at now was the resultant wound from the initial damage and the subsequent repeated surgery. Amy had a gap in her side that Magrat could put her fist in.
The gap extended from the bottom of her ribs and all the way down to the top of her pelvis. The wound was a mass of new and old scar tissue and had taken months to heal. Magrat examined it.
Amy held her breath. Maisie picked at a hangnail. Eventually, Magrat lifted her head and tentatively pronounced the wound looked healed and clean. Maisie glanced at it.
"Yup. Looks like you're good to go kid."
Amy leapt up and flung her arms around Magrat's neck and was all girlish squeals and giggles even as Magrat was trying to extricate herself from Amy's stranglehold.
The girl's celebration hug was cut short, however, by a man's voice from downstairs.
"Y'all git down here now... And bring your pet raider with you!"
Amy froze for a moment and then slowly released Magrat. She sank back onto the bed, pushing herself backwards while staring at Magrat with eyes that had seen, and were now remembering, too much.
Magrat opened her mouth to speak, but Maisie's hand on her arm stopped her.
"Stay behind me."
The teenager followed Maisie towards the top of the stairs, unable to bring herself to look back but just as unable to wipe the little girl's look of betrayal from her memory.
Together, she and Maisie slowly went downstairs to Stella's temporary nursery.
Stella was not present. Just four men Maisie recognised as being residents of the men's hostel across the road.
As her head came into view, the same voice that had called upstairs to them came from an angry-looking man, with a still-healing burned face, standing in front of the other three.
"You've got some nerve bringing 'that' here." The up-nod of his head to indicate Magrat was accompanied by a lip-curling sneer to emphasise the hate in his voice.
Maisie continued down the stairs at a measured pace, followed a couple of steps later by a rather more hesitant Magrat.
Maisie stepped off the last step to stand toe to toe with the man who seemed to be speaking for the group. She took her time deliberately looking the man up and down before replying.
"By 'you', do you mean me? Or do you mean Mayor Troy, by whose authority you have a roof over your head and care for your sick and injured?
Or maybe you mean the people of Hope, by whose compassion you have food in your belly and clothes on your back?" She tilted her head. "So exactly who do you mean when you say 'you' like that?"
The men behind Burned Face shuffled their feet. Burned face himself struggled for words.
Maisie tilted her head to the other side and raised her eyebrows.
The man tried again, pointing an angry finger at Maisie's chest.
"Look. It's not that we ain't all grateful and such." He turned his head for support from his cronies who quickly nodded their heads, mumbling in agreement. Encouraged, Burned Face went on.
"But y'all can't go fetching one them." His arm straightened out to point accusingly over Maisie's shoulder to the wide-eyed Magrat halfway down the stairs. "In amongst decent folk.
We've all lost friends and family to raider scum like her. It ain't right!"
It was at that moment that Stella McFarlen sidled into view along the passageway from the parlour. She leaned, arms folded, against the stair post.
Burned Face took a step backwards towards his cronies. He licked his lips, clearly disconcerted by Stella's appearance.
"It just ain't right."
"I... I'm not a raider." All eyes turned to where Magrat stood nervously on the stairs. "I was taken by the Devil's Own when I was eight, I think, or seven, I can't remember.
We were walking along the road, and they came..." Her voice trailed off as the memories fought to be remembered. Magrat pushed them away. "Anyway, they took me and some others.
I've been a drudge ever since."
Maisie added her voice.
"In case you didn't know it, a drudge is a slave."
The men behind Burned Face looked at each other. Burned Face wasn't having it.
"I know what they do. When the kids they take get old enough, they join the gang. Don't they?"
The question was aimed at Magrat.
"Yes. That's what happens. After years of deliberate brutality, it's the only way to escape... To join the gang."
Burned Face sneered.
"So, you might not be one of them right now. But you will be, won't you?"
Magrat dropped her head.
Burned Face looked triumphant.
"In that case. The only difference is that killing you now means that you don't get to kill us later."
Stella pushed herself upright, stamping the ground with her crutch.
"Nobody's killing anybody, Hank. Why don't you just take your buddies and go home?"
Hank turned his disfigured face to Stella.
"And why don't you mind your own, Stella. While we take care of what needs doing." He took a step towards Maisie and the stairs. "You need to hand her over.
Do it quiet-like, and we'll make it quick."