Is There A Doctor In The House?
The whistling in Jordan’s ears was becoming unbearable. Why am I not dead already? She mused grumpily to herself. So far death was not the calming sleep so many people described. Her entire body ached despite the feeling of weightlessness that surrounded her.
I’m flying again, she surmised.
But this felt different; she was not in control of her ascent. This time her landing was going to be worse than sloppy, it was going to be deadly. Suddenly, her blurred vision was bathed in a sea of red, white, and blue. Then there was pain, glass, and finally nothing.
“Holy Shit!” Detective Robin Vasquez blurted out as the entire windshield of her cruiser caved into meet her driven by the force of a fiery object.
She squealed the cruiser to a stop and took a moment to catch her breath before realizing someone had thrown a flaming body onto her car!
Pushing the busted door open, she ran around the front of her car in the pouring rain, afraid of what she would find. Lying across the hood and partially inside the cruiser was a young woman about her age.
The woman was unconscious, bleeding heavily, and still on fire!
As more squad cars surrounded them, Vasquez could clearly see the woman wasn’t on fire, she somehow was fire. Her brain muddled through this new information.
Firebird, is that what they called her?
In the past few months a group of super powered vigilantes had moved into the city. They often did a lot of good but the city still eyed them with suspicion. This woman was their leader, supposedly the strongest of them all.
If something was powerful enough to take her out, what have I stumbled into?
Vasquez musings would have to wait as the flames surrounding the other woman began to flicker, and then sizzle out until only a very injured young woman remained. Vasquez felt like she should know this woman somehow but couldn’t place her face at the moment.
“Detective! What should we do?” A fresh-faced young officer ran up to her while his fellow officers hung back unsure of how to proceed.
Vasquez stepped forward and tentatively placed two fingers on the woman’s neck. Surprisingly, she was no warmer than the average person. Even more surprising, Vasquez felt a pulse!
“Get EMT’s to this location NOW!” She told the young man who immediately began spitting numeric codes into his radio. She turned and began yelling at the other dumbfounded officers. “I want a blockade in every direction on a two-block radius! Someone get the Captain on a radio. The rest of you, help me tend to this woman. She could still die!”
Three more officers raced to Vasquez side and the four of them were able to slide Jordan gently off the hood. One officer laid down a tarp a few feet from the cruiser and they lay her on it without much effort. The rain was beginning to let up yet the night was still dark. Vasquez pulled out a small flashlight trying to ascertain how badly the other woman was injured. The other officers hung back during the inspection until one of them finally spoke.
“Ma’am, shouldn’t we secure the prisoner?” Vasquez turned on him with a start.
“Prisoner?! This woman was just thrown from who-knows-where by who-knows-what onto my car and you want to treat her like a criminal?”
“She’s not a regular person ma’am!” The officer protested. “I just think we should take precautions, that’s all…” He finished uncertainly. Vasquez eyed him angrily but really couldn’t fault his logic.
“Fine, cuff her until the EMT’s arrive.” The rain had all but stopped and she could clearly see a thick pool of red gathering beneath Jordan. “Where the hell ARE the EMT’s?!”
“Four minutes!” came the reply.
The officer who seemed intent on treating Jordan like a threat edged towards her warily, cuffs held out in front like a shield. Just as he got close enough to slide them on her, she stirred and he jumped back ten feet! Vasquez knelt next to her, gently holding her hand as Jordan tried to focus.
“You’re gonna be okay. You’re safe. Can you tell me your name? Who did this to you?” Vasquez was hoping for some answers before help arrived but Jordan’s eyes had closed again just as quickly as they had opened.
By now a crowd was beginning to gather trying their best to get a look at the suspected vigilante so close to death. Officers kept pushing people back yet somehow a young brunette in sweats seemed to slip through.
“Leave her alone!” All the officers turned to stare at the defiant teenager. Several officers moved to intercept and were instead flung across the pavement like rag dolls. More men joined the scuffle but proved unequal to the task of detaining a tiny, teenage girl!
“You’re one of them.” It was a statement, not an accusation. The young girl faced Vasquez with her chest lifted defiantly, her face shadowed by an oversized hood.
“You need to let me take her.” Vixen stated with much more authority than her age implied. “ I know someone who can help.”
Vixen moved steadily towards Vasquez and Jordan, ignoring the dozen revolvers pointed at her back. When she reached them, Vasquez could plainly see the hurt in her eyes, the pain she was feeling over the sight of her wounded comrade. Instead of drawing her weapon as well, Vasquez stepped to the side and let Vixen examine her friend.
“It’s gonna be okay…” she heard the young girl whisper as she gently cupped the older girl’s bloody face. “I promise…”
Standing quickly, she pulled the ends of the tarp around Jordan like a blanket and in a feat of surprising strength for someone so small draped Jordan over her shoulder.
“Thank you.” Vixen sincerely told Vasquez, keeping her face turned away from the crowd with their prying cellphones ready to record. Then as the other officers rushed forward to stop her, Vixen used the destroyed cruiser as a springboard and launched herself and Jordan into the night air without a trace.
A quick rooftop jaunt later Vixen was in the master bathroom of Dr. Kurt Bonneville, preparing cold, wet towels for the doctor as he tended to Jordan’s many wounds. He and Jordan had dated seriously the year before. Theirs was not a whirlwind romance but rather a slow burning love affair. Kurt was immediately taken with Jordan when they met at a banquet for local Denver heroes. He was being honored for his exemplary work as surgeon, often providing his services for free to those in need. Jordan was being honored for her acts of heroism with the Denver Fire Department, a particularly fitting occupation for her. Smitten, he asked her out no less than a dozen times before receiving a yes. The local society pages took to them immediately, the handsome blonde doctor and the stunning Native American heroine. They dubbed them “The Modern-day Pocahontas and John Smith”.
In a cruel twist of fate as all great love affairs seem to have; Kurt couldn’t accept the notion of Jordan putting her life on the line for strangers in a costumed guise. Her heart was divided in too many ways. However much he disapproved, he refused to let his former love suffer and insisted both she and the rest of the team come to him if they were ever injured.
So there they were.
Vixen gathered up the towels and hurried back into the master bedroom. Kurt had removed all the sheets from the bed, covering it instead with more towels. Bloodstains were hard to remove from fine linen. He had Jordan lying on her stomach while he used surgical scissors to remove what was left of her ruined shirt. His hands moved gently but with purpose. Parting the fabric he suppressed a gasp as the damage was revealed.
“How bad is it?” Vixen’s voice came from behind him and Kurt quickly moved to obstruct her view.
“Taylor! Did you get the towels?”
“Yeah, and they’re freezing!”
“Good, good, we need to numb her back before I start poking around.”
He grabbed a towel from her, still positioned between the two women and laid the freezing cloth over the shredded flesh. Immediately, red blotches seeped through. He knew the bleeding wouldn’t stop until he was able to stich the wounds. He moved to Jordan’s head, gingerly touching the bruised area around her left cheek. The area was grotesquely swollen and covered in a surprising array of blues, blacks, and purples. He took another cold towel from Taylor, placing it gently over the ruined side of his lover’s face. She didn’t stir and hadn’t for some time now which at first Kurt viewed as a blessing. He shuddered to think how she would feel when she returned to consciousness. Her breathing was labored and he wanted to get her into a more comfortable breathing position quickly. While he had been tending to Jordan’s other wounds, Taylor had slid up to the side of the bed, peeking under the towel.
“Oh my god!” She recoiled in horror at the injuries, shaking uncontrollably, seeming as if she might faint. Kurt rushed to her side, holding her up. He felt for the girl, seeing your parent in such terrible pain couldn’t be easy. He grabbed her face in his hands, forcing her to look at him.
“Taylor, listen to me! I am going to do everything in my power to help her! But I need you to be strong too. Okay? She needs us to be strong. Can you do that?” She nodded slowly, mechanically. “Good girl.”
He released her face but kept a firm hold on her shoulders trying to judge her ability to stand on her own. Satisfied he pulled away to spare a glance at Jordan yet she hadn’t stirred. With the amount of blood she was losing he wasn’t so sure that was a good sign anymore.
“Go to the kitchen and bring two bowls: one empty and one filled with warm water. I’m going to start removing the glass so I can close the cuts, okay?” More mechanical nods but somehow she managed to make it out of the room and down the hall to the kitchen.
Kurt moved quickly back to the bed and began setting up an IV bag, hoping to replace at least some of the precious liquid Jordan was losing. He grabbed her left arm as the right was tucked securely under her head and inserted the needle with practiced expertise. The fluid had already begun to flow by the time he secured the bandage in place and Taylor had returned with the requested items. She set them on the nightstand by the bed as Kurt readied his tools.
“Are you ready? I can do this alone, I can’t imagine how hard this is for you…” Kurt gently prodded. Taylor stilled as she mulled over the question. Could she do this? Jordan was like a mother to her, she owed it to her to help in any way she could.
Determinedly she nodded at Kurt to proceed, not trusting her own voice. He returned the nod and they got to work, Kurt pulling and stitching while Taylor cleaned and bandaged under his direction.
By the time they had finished Jordan’s entire torso was covered in white gauze and bandages, the swelling in her face seemed to be lessening, and the majority of her bleeding had stopped. Her clothes, Kurt’s and Taylors were all stained beyond salvage. Handing her a large fluffy towel, pajama bottoms, and his old C.U. Buffs t-shirt Kurt sent Taylor to the guest room to get cleaned up while he began removing what was left of Jordan’s tattered attire. He assumed this part would be especially uncomfortable for Taylor, yet it wasn’t anything he hadn’t done before, though this time was so much more personal. He took the warm washcloth he used previously to clean the rest of Jordan’s body, removing dirt and dried blood.
Noticing her shiver, he quickly grabbed one of his flannel shirts, swaddled her in it, and then proceeded to pile on another half dozen blankets for good measure. He knew Jordan’s powers were based on heat, as was her healing. The warmer she was, the faster she would heal, in theory. Once she looked comfortable to him breathing slightly easier on her side, he plopped down on the edge of the bed mentally replaying the night they broke up, a night so much like this one.
He had been in this same bedroom, hovering between awake and asleep after a grueling 15-hour shift. There was a crash out in the foyer. Awakening with a start, he raced out to the front of the house, golf club in hand to pummel the intruder. He nearly took Jordan’s head off with a mighty swing. Fortunately for both of them, even injured her reflexes were faster than his. As the club was wrenched up and away from his grasp he looked into the eyes of his attacker and found deep green pools he had spent hours staring into.
“Jordan?!” His voice had been hoarse with disbelief, exhaustion. She smiled lopsidedly at him, her perfect smile marred by a nasty fat lip and bloody nose.
“I didn’t know where else to go…” was all she had said and it was more than enough. He had gathered her into his arms, wishing away her ills. After tending to her wounds and several hours of much needed sleep for both, Kurt had hit her with the millstone he carried ever since she revealed herself to him.
“I want you to quit this! Tonight. I almost lost you. What if I wasn’t here? What would you have done? Do you have any idea what it would do to me to find you beaten to death on my living room floor?!” He had been livid, unreasonable. There was no answer to his questions, only his request.
“I said ‘No’ Kurt. These powers…are a gift. I didn’t always believe that but I do now. How can I use them only to help myself when so many people are suffering? We both do what we do because we want to make an impact, to matter. I can’t sit idly by while innocent people are hurt or killed. Not if I can do something about it. I know you feel the same way.”
“No, I don’t. Not if it means your life. I won’t sit back and watch you throw everything away for strangers!” They sat in silence for a while. Neither wanting to say the words that would put finality to their ongoing debate.
“I should go then…” She finally spoke up.
Kurt only nodded, wondering how a rich, loving relationship could end with such little discussion. She had called Nona to come get her and in ten minutes there was a small knock on the door. Nona, too, looked like she had been in a bar fight. She stepped inside, headed straight for the bedroom, and lead Jordan out the way she came. Few words had been exchanged, so it shocked Kurt even more when Nona spoke.
“Thank you.” That was it as she took the bag he handed of medical supplies to treat Jordan and herself. Then, so quietly he wasn’t sure he heard it at all. “I’m so sorry Kurt…for the both of you.” And then they were gone. The love of his life and her sister whom until that point Kurt was sure hated his very existence. He saw no animosity in her eyes that night, just sadness and compassion.
Snapping back to himself, Kurt was relieved to see Jordan’s breathing had settled into a steady rhythm and she was no longer shivering. After watching her sleep for who knows how long, he stepped outside of the room and headed down the hall to get some answers.