At about noon, Silco strolled into his office with a displeased face. He trudged onto his seat, a bundle of paperwork tucked under his arm. A bundle of files from Sevika, new documents and shipment letters. He needed to review each one, keeping mental note of important matters. Boring work, but necessary work. Green light filtered in from the window panes behind him, illuminating the papers in a soft glow. Specks of dust flew through the air. Besides the sound of Zaun citizens outside, the room was quiet.
Silco placed the papers on his desk, but stilled when he felt The Presence. The prick on the back of his neck that told him he was not alone. The same feeling he got whenever he found gadgets scattered around his office, or saw blue hair sticking out from behind a doorway. It filled the once empty rooms Silco had been used to.
“Jinx?” Silco asked, peering up into the rafters. “Are you up there?”
A small whimper answered him, and Jinx’s eyes peered out from behind the wood. They were red from crying, or so Silco assumed. For a girl who had gone through so much, she was still so small and fragile. He sighed, gesturing with his hand for Jinx to come down. “What happened?”
She dangled her legs over the beam, looking down at Silco with a frown on her face. Silco stared in shock at her cut up face and the gashes on her arms. Bandages were placed haphazardly over them, gauze slipping down. Her lip trembled. “I- I fell.” She slipped down onto the floor, crawling in front of Silco, sitting on his papers.
He surveyed her horrible bandaging job. “Do you not know how to properly bandage?”
She shook her head, visibly embarrassed, her cheeks burning red beneath the tear stains. “Usually…Vi did it for me.” The room darkened at the mention of her sister. “I would watch, but I don't remember anymore. I’m useless, aren’t I?” Tears streamed from her cheeks, her chest and rising and falling rapidly. She wrapped her arms around herself, reeling over as she gagged on her own breaths. Mucus flared in her nostrils. Her mind must have been spinning.
Silco placed a gentle hand on her shaking shoulder, stroking her hair with the other. Something he had once seen someone do to calm a child. “Jinx, Jinx stop it this instant. I’ll help you with it. But first, we need to remove this horrifying bandage display.” Jinx giggled slightly, and her breaths began to fall back to normal. Good. Silco opened his desk drawer, fumbling through the contents before pulling out bandages, scissors, a roll of gauze, and a vial of alcohol. “Give me your arm.” Jinx held it out, and Silco took his scissors and began to cut the loose gauze and bandage off. “Now, tell me , how exactly did you fall?”
Jinx bit her lip. “I was jumping on top of these crates, in one of the alleyways, and there was a really tall crate that I wanted to jump on to. I thought I had it, but then I missed it, and I landed on my face. It hurt real bad. But…” She trailed off.
“I didn’t want you to get mad at me. Or think I was useless, that I couldn’t do anything for myself. So I tried to bandage it myself.” She sighed. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
He hummed, cutting the bandages off her other arm. Sometimes she forgot she didn’t have to be sorry for her mistakes anymore. The ghosts in her head may have taunted her, but Silco wouldn’t. He refused to raise his voice at her, to highlight her flaws. She didn’t need to hear another voice yelling at her, and frankly Silco never wanted to yell at her. “You don’t have to apologize. You didn’t do anything wrong. You were just having fun.” Once her bandages were all off, he tossed them aside and picked up the vial of alcohol. “Before you even put the bandages on, we need to clean these wounds.” He grabbed a handkerchief from off his desk and poured the contents on it.
While reaching for Jinx’s arm, she drew it back. “Is it going to hurt?”
“It might sting a little, but it will hurt much less than falling on your face.” He reached for her arm again, and this time Jinx let him. She hissed through gritted teeth when he rubbed the wounds, but did not argue. Going from wound to wound, cleaning till they no longer appeared so dirty, took Silco back in time. He remembered having to bandage up Vander after fights, or sparring lessons. How Vander always seemed to be bruised even when he wasn’t trying. The memories were so muddled now, tainted by Vander’s betrayal. Now here he was, doing it for Jinx. Once every wound was cleaned, including the cuts on her face, Silco picked up the bandages. “Next, we’re going to put these over the wounds. Would you like to do it?” Jinx nodded enthusiastically, and Silco handed her a few bandages, which she began to place along her arm. Silco placed his down too, breathing softly as he gently covered each wound. It was a calming task, placing down and picking up and placing once more.
Once all wounds on her arms were covered, Silco offered her the fresh roll of bandages. “Now, you’re going to wrap up the bandages.”
Reluctantly, Jinx took the bandages. “What if I mess up?”
“You won’t,” Silco assured her. She began slowly wrapping her right arm, careful not to mess up. Whenever she needed the bandage cut, she would look eagerly to Silco, who snipped it for her. He watched as she worked up her arm, moving to the other arm once she was finished. Whenever she was hard at work, her eyebrows would furrow, her tongue licking her lips as her fingers maneuvered around. It was a face Silco had seen many times, when he walked in on her hard at work on a drawing, or crafting a new bomb.
He didn’t mean to grin at the thought, but Jinx noticed anyway. “What? Am I doing it wrong?”
“No, you’re doing perfectly.”
Finally, Silco snipped the last piece of gauze and Jinx’s arms were firmly wrapped. She stared from arm to arm, smiling at her own success. Her smile widened when she looked up at Silco, and she bounced into his arms, burying her face in his shoulder. “Thank you, Silco.”
Silco hugged her back. “Now you’ll be able to do it yourself, I hope.” Deep down though, he felt his heart tug. He hoped maybe she’d need help again. That he’d be able to bandage her once more. A foolish thought, his mind decided, but he didn’t dismiss it.
“Hopefully. Is it lunchtime yet?” Her stomach growled like an angry cat. “I really want soup. Can we have soup?”
“Of course.” He pulled her head away from him to look her in the eye. “Remember, you don’t have to prove yourself to me. You’re already enough.”
She smiled even wider, teeth and all. “I’ll meet you at the table, okay?” Hopping down from Silco’s chair, she skipped out of the office.
“Wash the filth off your face first!” Silco called after her, his voice stern though there was a smile behind it. He leaned back in his chair, taking a deep breath.
It was such a simple task, bandaging a wound. A task Silco hadn’t done in such a long time, and the memories he did have were ruined, darkened by the face of Vander. But now Jinx was here. She illuminated something inside him, something he hadn’t felt in such a way in a long, long time. She made him feel…happy. Now he had better memories to look back on.
And even better memories to make.