Man, I feel terrible. I practically abandoned the HINABN fandom for the Sherlock fandom, and I had a few HINABN fics all lined up when I did. But I'm back to HINABN fic-writing, yay! I'm learning to balance my fandoms. I have a Casimiro/Finas friendship fic, a Worth/Toni friendship fic, and a Mr. Hatch-centric fic lined up after this, weeee. Oh, and another Lamont/Worth growing-up-as-friends thingy.

The kid's just lying there on the filth-encrusted alley floor with the tomcats descending on him and his chest's all torn open like nobody's business, and Luce Worth's just glad his too-small couch will finally be big enough for somebody.

Luce Worth will do practically anything to avoid any unnecessary contact with the police, but when he answers the knock at his door (more of a loud, frantic scraping noise than a knock, but whatever) he thinks maybe this time it'd be necessary, because his visitor's about level with his navel and looks about twelve and deathly pale and "Jesus Christ, what the fuck happened to you?"

That's a lot of blood. That's way too much blood. Worth isn't squeamish or anything but this looks like something a legitimate doctor should handle, not a thirty-year-old med school dropout who doesn't ask too many questions and demands cash upfront.

This is a kid. Worth can't tell what color his fucking shirt is supposed to be; it's dark in the alley and the kid's front is just sopping wet with blood, and it's on his face, too, in a fine spray. He really ought to be in the back of an ambulance, but when Worth says so ("Fuck fuck fuck—jus'—hold on—here, shit, get inside, I'm callin' an ambulance—") that's when the kid finally says something, like he's snapping out of the trance that had him just standing there in the doorway with big, hollow, electric blue eyes.

"No!" he gasps suddenly, lurching forward to grasp at Worth's shirt. His hands leave smudges of red on the fabric and when he stumbles over the threshold, blood splatters gorily on the floor. "No, don't—don't call anybody, please—I'm just—"

"Oi, oi, oi!" Worth grasps the kid's wrists and pries them away from his shirt. The kid stammers and babbles on, his tone desperate and his voice hoarse like he's been screaming, and Worth finally says, "Awright, I ain't callin' anybody!" just to shut him up because he has more important matters to focus on, like all the fucking blood.

But it makes the kid go quiet and his hands fall limply from Worth's shirt. His face is white as a sheet and Worth grips him by the shoulders when the kid sways dangerously on the spot.

"Help me," he croaks, before his eyes roll up behind big, dorky glasses and his knees give out. He slumps to the ground with all the grace of a wet noodle.

"Shit." Worth kneels by the kid and checks his neck and wrist for a pulse. It's weak and erratic against his fingertips, but fuck it, it's there, isn't it? His hands hover uncertainly over the tiny, prostrate form as he wonders about the dangers of moving him, but Jesus Christ, the kid's probably going to die anyway, so Worth scoops him up into his arms as easily as he might lift an empty cardboard box and brings him inside, kicking the door shut behind him.

The back room is in need of a good scrubbing down, and Worth'll do that soon. Eventually. Maybe. He tries not to just dump the kid on his examination table (gentle's not really his thing) and he sets to work hooking him up to his shiny machines that haven't seen much action as of late. Most of Worth's patients are just stupid people with stupid injuries, easily fixed, but they haven't got insurance or they can't afford regular hospital bills or whatever, and Worth doesn't complain because what money they do have is good (although Worth is pretty sure he knows what's going on with that asshole from last week, and if he brings his googly-eyed kid in here with something busted up on him again, Worth's calling child services). He gets an IV drip into the kid and has the heart monitor up and running, and he holds a phone between his cheek and shoulder to call Lamont and tell him to bring him some Type O blood for a transfusion stat because fucking hell this kid is practically gray as he snaps on his gloves and carefully cuts the sodden fabric of the kid's shirt away, searching for the injuries.

The injuries—injury, singular—he finds is definitely not what he was expecting. He sees, naturally, a metric fuckton of blood. But he sees—incisions? lacerations? avulsions? he's not sure how to classify this particular wound—skin, broken skin, separated from the muscle and pulled, stretched across the flat plane of the kid's chest, pulled taut to corners where—staples? He sees surgical staples holding the flaps in place, what the fucking hell happened?

It's a lot of blood, yeah, but not as much under the shirt as the front had Worth believe. The wound seems to have already stopped bleeding, which is the weirdest fucking thing Worth has ever seen because—fucking look at it! He jams a cigarette between his lips and lights it swiftly before reaching for a box of medical wipes and sets about gingerly swabbing the kid's chest clean. He glances at the heart monitor several times and taps his foot impatiently. Lamont can get his fat ass here any fucking second now—

He hears the door to his office swing open, Lamont Toucey calling, "Luce?"

"Took yer fuckin' time gettin' here, didn'tcha!" Worth snarls over his shoulder. "Get in here an' help me."

Lamont's footsteps pause in the doorway to the room. "Holy—that's a kid! What the hell?"

"Oh, yer eyes are still workin', I was worried fer nothin'," Worth says caustically, snatching the blood bag from Lamont's hands and replacing it with a pair of Latex gloves. "Make yerself useful an' clean 'im up. Don't touch the staples or the wounds, I dunno what the fuck those are."

"Christ," Lamont breathes, pulling the gloves on and taking a medical wipe as Worth sets up the blood. "Any idea who he is?"

"Not a fuckin' clue, he just showed up an' collapsed at my door!"

Lamont's hand wiping the kid down pauses, and then moves to the pocket of the kid's jeans.

"The hell are you doin'?" Worth says testily once he has the kid all hooked up.

"Checking for a wallet, genius," Lamont says with a roll of his eyes. "Wallet means ID, most likely. Aha," he says, fishing said wallet from the other pocket. Worth resumes cleaning up the blood as Lamont fingers through the contents.


Lamont plucks a card from the depths of the wallet and squints at it. "Hanna Falk Cross," he reads. "He's nineteen. Goes to the community college here in the city." He looks down at Hanna Cross's empty face with a frown. "Doesn't look it."

"Hanna? That's a girl's name," Worth scoffs, tossing his last wipe away and glaring down at the strange, stapled injury, assessing it. "Kid doesn't want me callin' no ambulance for 'im, so I won't, but I ain't got the foggiest how to fuckin' treat this."

"Those staples look like they're all that's holding him together," Lamont grimaces, to which Worth nods in agreement.

"Ain't even gonna try an' remove 'em," he mutters. "My best guess is to just fuckin'…stitch 'im up an' see how that works."

"Go for it." He tosses Worth the needle and thread, and Worth gets to work as Hanna gradually loses the pale, deathly pallor and gets a bit of color back in his skin. When he's done, he finally sits back, lighting another smoke, and peels off his gloves. He tosses them in the general direction of a waste bin and hears them hit the tile floor with a wet slap.

"Well," he exhales, "that's all finished. Now it's just a fuckin' waitin' game, perfect." He puffs agitatedly on his cigarette, staring at the steady heart rate on the monitor. He doesn't like it when kids stumble into his office. He likes junkies and criminals, not kids. Kids make him uncomfortable. Kids and pregnant girls.

"Need me to stay or have you got this under control?" Lamont asks, hands shoved deep in his pockets as he eyes Hanna on the table warily.

"Nah, I got this," Worth says. "You bring food with ya?"

"Uh, no."

"Get some Thai an' bring it here, 'M fuckin' starvin'."

Lamont rolls his eyes but Worth doesn't care because he's back in ten minutes with Thai food that's still hot, and they sit in the room stealing glances at Hanna, waiting for him to come around.

Worth has already finished his food and is inching closer to Lamont's noodles with his chopsticks when Hanna lets out a little groan. Worth drops his chopsticks and he and Lamont stand, but Lamont hangs back a bit to give them space as Worth approaches the boy.

"Cross?" Worth says sharply. "Can you hear me?"

"Ngh," Hanna mutters, his skinny limbs twitching and his head lolling back and forth dizzily.

"Do you know where you are?" Worth asks deliberately, in a rare occurrence enunciating each word. He asks the question again, slowly and clearly, when Hanna's eyelids flutter behind the glasses.

"I'm…" Hanna croaks, eyes rolling erratically as he takes in his surroundings. "In a…room. Not…not a hospital, n-not a hospital, good, I'm…" He takes in a deep shuddering breath and tries to sit up.

"Oi, none of that," Worth protests. "Don't sit up, ya stupid—aw, fuck it, kill yerself if ya want to." He grabs his ophthalmoscope and pulls Hanna's glasses off his face. He shines the light in his eyes and asks, "Do ya know yer name?"

"Hanna Cross," he answers weakly.

"What happened to ya, Cross?" Worth demands, moving to check his other eye. "Nearly gave me a bloody heart attack, bleedin' all over my floor! You seen the state of yer chest?"

"My…" Hanna's voice goes very faint. "I…th-they're…" He trails off, and his hands stop fidgeting in his lap.

"Cross?" Frowning, Worth snaps his fingers in Hanna's face. "Hanna Cross, can you hear me? Fuck."

"What's wrong with him?" Lamont asks.

"Pupils unresponsive," Worth mutters, waving his light in Hanna's eyes again. He picks up the needle he'd used to stitch him up and jabs Hanna in the arm with it. "No response to pain. Shit, I've lost 'im."

"Lost him?" Lamont says, bewildered. "But—"

"Not lost 'im as in died, ya moron," Worth snaps. "Lost 'im as in he's gone catatonic." His fingers probe gently across Hanna's scalp, feeling or knots or other injuries. "Ain't got any head trauma. Physically he's fine; his chest'll heal up clean, and it ain't a deep cut or anythin', so that's nothin' to do with it. Most likely some sorta psychological trauma…" He eyes the fine splatter of blood dried to Hana's empty face and grabs another wipe.

"Wouldn't be surprised," he says as he starts to wipe Hanna's face clean. "The blood under his shirt was his. All this on his face an' his arms—I don't think it's his."

There's a pause, and then Lamont exhales slowly. "So he's splattered with somebody else's blood."

"Looks like it."

"What do you think happened?"

"Fuck if I know." Worth sighs and taps ash off the end of his cigarette. He throws the wipe away impatiently and stands up straight. "Aw'right, this is takin' up way too much time. Help me get 'im into a bath. Looks like I gotta keep 'im under observation."

They quickly unhook him from the machines and take out his IV and transfusion drip before taking him and into the bathroom. Worth gets a shower going while Lamont strips Hanna out of his sticky, sodden jeans and underwear. The water slipping down the drain is a gory pink in no time once they situate Hanna under the spray.

"He needs some new clothes," Lamont observes, picking up Hanna's pants and checking the size. "I'll run out and get some while you clean him up."

Worth grunts in acknowledgement, and Lamont takes a moment to scrub his hands clean in the sink before leaving the office. Worth angles the showerhead more pointedly on Hanna's head as he shampoos it thoroughly, scrubbing away all traces of blood. He prods Hanna's eyelids shut even though the kid's in a stupor and wouldn't respond to the burning anyway.

"Ya know yer gonna hafta tell me what'cha got yerself into to wind up here, yeah?" he grumbles. "Comin' in my office lookin' the way ya do…got me all curious now, mate."

He cleans all the blood from Hanna's body, careful around the stitches on his chest, and turns the shower off. He towels him dry and then, with a sigh, sits back on his ankles by the tub and waits for Lamont to come back. He entertains himself by poking Hanna's unresponsive face a few times and wondering if he should charge the kid when he snaps out of it. He doesn't get a lot of children coming in on their own, but it's happened before, and he doesn't make them pay—he's got other patients to take money from. Legally Hanna's an adult, so technically Worth shouldn't feel bad for demanding money, but…well, shit. He doesn't look like an adult, that's for damn sure. And so fucking pathetic, look at him. Scrawny and arse-naked in Worth's dirty bathtub with staples in his chest, catatonic.

Worth raises his lighter to yet another cigarette, trying to convince himself he's still mulling the issue the over, but he knows he's not gonna take any money from this little bastard. Goddamn it.

A little less than a half hour later, Lamont returns with two sets of jeans, T-shirts, and boxers for Hanna. Hanna is weightless but stiff and uncooperative as Worth lifts him from the tub and they wrestle some clean, dry clothes on him.

"Christ, if this was the appeal of your sister's life-sized Barbie doll when we were kids," Lamont grunts, bending Hanna's leg at the knee and jamming it into the jeans, "then she was as masochistic as you are. Any idea when he'll wake up and move on his own?"

"It shouldn't be too long, but I'm givin' him two days until I send 'im off to the hospital," Worth answers, maneuvering Hanna's arm through a sleeve. "Hear that, Cross? Ya go two days to improve, 'cos I ain't wipin' yer arse like a fuckin' wet nurse. Two days, an' yer out. An' the police'll wanna talk to ya 'bout that shit on yer chest."

Hanna is quiet.

"What are you gonna do with him until then?" Lamont asks, buttoning Hanna's pants and standing back. "You don't keep people under observation. At least, not that I've ever seen."

"I dunno. Fuck it, I got a couch, he can sleep there, I guess."

"That tiny thing that looks like you dredged it up from the bottom of a swamp?"

"Oi, piss off," Worth snaps. "Least it's big enough fer somebody now."

I guess this'll be some sort of not-very-long chaptered thing.