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Night Nurse

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There's a sign at the door that says all weapons must stay outside, and a set of lockers that fit even the largest assault rifles and swords.

Beyond that is a waiting room and reception area with basic first aid supplies, in case the injured don't actually require attention, but just need supplies and a safe place to hide out.

Sometimes, there's a receptionist, if Claire is lucky, someone who gets medical history and allergies and can break up any fights that occur. She has made it very clear that anyone who shows up is considered safe, even if she doesn't agree with what they do or how they do it. So far, no one really terrible has shown up, apparently they have their own people to go to, but sometimes there is still infighting.

 

Some nights are busier than others. On nights where sirens filled the air, and drug dealers or human traffickers are taken down by the dozens, she is more likely to have a waiting room full and a floor covered in blood.

It's on those nights that Luke would usually act as muscle, moving patients to a gurney, breaking up any arguments that threatened to get physical.

 

Claire starts to collect medical records like kids did with trading cards. It's a particularly high point in her career when Captain America himself staggers through her door.

 

She shelves Rogers, Steven in between Rand, Daniel and Walker, Patricia 'Trish'. The man himself left after nearly a dozen stitches to hold his abdomen together. He assured her that he wouldn't get an infection and would heal rapidly. She gave him a card with her cell number and told him to text her pictures of the wounds the next day to set her mind at ease.

 


 

One night, a man with a metal arm pulls an unconscious man in with wings strapped to his back. He's bleeding from a gunshot wound to his thigh, and the man with the metal arm, The Winter Soldier, looks panicked.

“Luke!” Claire calls. “Need some help out here!”

Luke takes the man, Falcon, from Barnes.

“Any weapons stay out here,” she tells him briefly before hurrying after Luke, who has set Falcon down on a gurney. He's barely clinging to consciousness.

“Luke, I need you to hold pressure to the wound. He's going to need a line and x-rays to check and see if the bullet hit the bone. Maybe surgery if it's bad, which I won't be able to do here. Hey man, what's your name?”

She knows his codename is Falcon, but she can't recall his real name.

“Wilson,” the voice behind her says. “Sam Wilson.”

“Okay, Sam, I need you to stay awake for me. Does anything besides your leg hurt?”

She expects him to be hazy with the pain and shock, but his answer is clear. “No, just the leg. Don't think it hit an artery. Not dead.”

Claire likes him. “Well Mr Wilson, I hope to keep you that way.”

 

Sam is right, the bullet missed the major arteries and didn't hit the bone. He's lucky, all things considered. A litre of saline later and a dozen stitches, and he's almost ready to go. High from the demerol for sure, which Barnes finds hilarious.

The whole time she's stitching him up, Barnes “call me Bucky miss” tells her how Sam came to get his dumb ass shot and why they couldn't go to the hospital. She learns that Sam has an allergy to sulfa, which she carefully notes on his chart before sending him off with antibiotics to prevent infection in the leg wound.

After a moment hesitation, she also starts another chart for Bucky, noting that his tolerance to pain medication and sedatives will likely be on par with Steve's, and that he should be handled carefully in case of flashbacks.

 


 

She gets everything from Avengers to street level fighters, even on one occasion getting a crimefighter from New Jersey.

 

Kamala, as she introduces herself, was in New York with a friend, and hadn't intended to fight crime while she was there, but it just kind of happened.

“Normally I'm better at healing,” she explained while Claire removed bullets from her abdomen and marveled at the way the tissue healed itself around her incisions. “But if I use the energy for something else, like changing my shape, then it takes me longer to heal. And I heard about you through... I guess we could call them mutual friends.”

“Well, you're healing well enough, as long as I get all the bullets out. I'm probably going to need to do an x-ray to check. Is that okay?”

Kamala nodded and continued chatting away the whole time, comfortably numbed from the local anesthetic.

 

Claire lets her go later, confident the bullets are all gone, and still in awe at the state of Kamala's healing abilities. She files her chart away as well, noting remarkable healing abilities, suspecting she wouldn't see Kamala back again, at least until she finished school.

 


 

Matt is one of the more frequent visitors to the clinic, and his chart is by far the thickest, although Barton's is getting close.

 

If Matt Murdock is known to his friends as one of the most accident prone men, Claire can hardly think of what Matt's friends would think of Clint Barton, who manages to injure himself even when not fighting crime.

 

He once came to the clinic because he'd fallen down the stairs due to his pants falling down because of a broken drawstring.

“Why don't you just go to a real hospital?” Claire asks him that time.

Clint shrugs, winces at his bruised shoulder. “I dunno. I mean, I like it here. You don't ask questions, well you do, but not the kind that end up with me in handcuffs, and your coffee is way better than any emergency room.”

“I have noticed you're fond of the coffee here,” Claire notes, tying the last stitch along his hairline. It should heal nicely, as long as he doesn't do anything stupid before it heals.

Clint grins at her, and it's endearing enough that she fills up his empty cup before getting the air cast for his ankle.

“Four weeks, minimum. Come back then and I'll do another x-ray. It's non-displaced, so it should heal fine as long as you don't do anything stupid. Do I need to list all the stupid things for you?” she asks him.

Clint shakes his head.

“Are you sure? Because I seem to recall a broken wrist that needed surgery because you wouldn't let it heal and shot your bow even with the cast on.”

Clint ducks his head, and grins, and it's almost enough to get Claire to forgive him, but she's a stronger woman than that, and swats him on the head instead.

“Four weeks, minimum. Don't make me call your Avenger friends and get them to tie you down.”

Clint sighs. “Fine. Please don't tell Steve. He'll make the face.”

Claire nods. She's pretty sure she knows what Clint is talking about.

 


 

One time, the Hawkeye that comes in is not Clint Barton, but a young woman in purple who calls herself Hawkeye and is followed by the other Hawkeye. Possibly the original. She's not sure on the details.

Hawkeye the younger (the second?) has apparently fallen off a building and hit her head, with a brief period of unconsciousness.

“You are a child and therefore I have to take you to the doctor to make sure you're not going to get dead, okay.”

Claire has to keep herself from laughing at that.

“This coming from the man I had to threaten to keep his air cast on?”

The younger Hawkeye snorts. “Yeah, sounds about right.”

“Name?” Claire asks her.

“Uh, Kate. The Better Hawkeye.”

“Okay Better Hawkeye. Can you tell me what happened?”

 

She really can't. Probably due to the loss of consciousness and head injury.

Claire is lucky enough to have a CT in the tiny clinic, so she takes Kate for a head scan. She's not actually qualified to read the scans, but she can tell there's nothing huge wrong with it, and she sends the scans off to someone who is qualified. Again, she thanks the heavens for Danny Rand.

 


 

Danny was the one who founded the clinic, who bought all the equipment, hired Claire, bought supplies, asked her what she needed. He was the reason the clinic existed at all. He was the reason that so many lives had been saved, identities had remained concealed, criminals had been kept off the streets.

And of course, he himself had benefited from it as well. He'd required medical attention one more than one occasion, carried in by Luke or Matt, and even Jessica once. Claire had reinflated his collapsed lung, stitched up his wounds, relocated a dislocated shoulder, set bones. Danny healed faster than a normal human, through mechanisms that Claire didn't entirely understand, magic of some sort, but that didn't mean he was invincible. He was definitely human. They all were.

 

He was the one who found Claire, apparently through Matt, after they started working together. Iron Fist and Daredevil, joined by Power Man and Jessica Jones. (Claire wasn't at all surprised she didn't bother with a secret identity.)

Vigilantes talked, and that was how Danny found out Claire was without employment, and wasn't against treating vigilantes with dumb ass injuries. It didn't hurt that she could handle herself against all but the most cantankerous of heroes.

(She could handle Frank Castle, but she drew the line at Erik Lehnsherr. That man was just bitter.)

 

“Get me a list of everything you'll need. I've got a property in Midtown, centrally located to where a lot of the heroes do their thing. Money isn't an issue, as long as it will be used. I'm trusting you to do this right, okay?”

She was a bit shocked that this man who'd only just met her was essentially giving her free range with his fortune. So she looked through catalogues, contacted medical supply companies, and with Danny's permission and blessing, ordered all the supplies she'd need to handle an entire gaggle of vigilantes.

 

Of course, she didn't expect she'd need to use all the supplies, but the superheroes of New York continued to surprise her.

 


 

“How did you do this?” Claire asks Castle, who only grudgingly agree to the local anesthetic before she had to sew the skin up where his bone had only recently been poking through.

Frank grunts. “Got into a disagreement with a trafficker. He got dead, I got a broken arm.”

“Right,” Claire mutters. “And you just popped the bone right back in yourself?”

Castle shrugs with his good arm. “Might have some experience with that sort of thing.”

“But you came to me for sutures? I've been reliably informed that you've stitched yourself up before.”

“Aw, Red tell you that? Guy sure talks, doesn't he. Figured I might as well get it done right this time. See if you could fix the bone up right so it doesn't heal crooked and mess up my shooting.”

Claire ties off the last stitch. “I can do that,” she sighs.

 

Castle gets x-rays, and once she's decided (with help from an orthopedic surgeon Danny has on speed dial) the fracture is actually aligned nicely, she casts the arm. The casting tape she never expected to need, since most of her patients heal quickly, or are too impatient to leave a cast on for the required amount of time, but Frank assures her that he'll let it be.

“If you say I gotta leave it on for six weeks, then I'll see you back in six weeks to get it taken off Ma'am,” he says politely. His demeanor the entire time is in sharp contrast with what she'd heard about the man on the news, or even from Matt.

“I'm afraid I've only got glow in the dark,” she apologizes. “I'm not sure if there was a mix-up at the company, or if Danny thought glow in the dark would be a good idea, but I suppose you can always cover it if you need to.”

“That's fine. My kids woulda loved it. Drawing all over it and watching it light up in the dark.”

Claire knows a bit about his family, but mostly knows not to talk about them unless Frank brings it up. (She also knows that he still has a bullet inside his skull from the shooting that killed them, and that every day he wakes up feeling their loss just as fresh as it was the first time.)

 

She's learned how to do casts from a career of being an ER nurse. Hell, by the time she left, she could probably do a cast better than some of the residents, not that they'd ever let her try.

But Castle seems pleased with the result, and she's happy with her handiwork, mostly because it means she can send him on his way and get the veritable armory of weapons out of the lockers.

 

He returns in six weeks as promised, the cast free of drawings, but dotted with blood in some places. She's pretty sure it's not his, but she doesn't ask.

 


 

Jessica stops by sometimes, usually uninjured, or with something minor that she doesn't let Claire treat. Sometimes she just sits while Claire counts supplies or does paperwork, keeping track of what she needs and what could make things work better. If Claire didn't know better, she'd say Jessica is lonely.

But she's not a therapist, even though it sometimes seems like that with all the explaining she has to do to the dumbass superheroes that not everything is their fault.

 

Maybe she should start stocking antidepressants and hand them out with discharge orders.

 

She adds it to her list for the next restock.

 


 

On one particularly memorable occasion, her patient isn't even human, and not in the way that Kamala was an Inhuman, or Magneto was a Mutant.

No, this patient was an actual animal.

 

“You have to help Tippy Toe!” Doreen yells at her.

Claire blinks at the squirrel, and back at the girl dressed like a squirrel.

“I'm sorry, but you realize I'm not a vet, right?”

“Yeah, but you also help people who aren't totally human, so you have to be able to do something!” she pleads.

Claire sighs and rubs her head. “Yeah, I guess I could? Can you... talk to it or something?”

“Her. Tippy Toe is a girl. And yes, she told me that it hurts where she's bleeding. It doesn't take a vet to figure that out.”

“Okay, well I can stitch her up. I don't know if there's any internal damage, or even how to tell.”

“Well how do you tell with humans? X-rays, ultrasound? Do that.”

 

That's how Claire finds herself with an ultrasound wand pressed to a squirrel's abdomen. Tippy Toe only weighs a pound, smaller than any baby she's worked on before, and the fur is... confusing.

“I don't think there are any internal injuries,” she says to Doreen. “I can numb the skin and stitch her up, maybe x-ray her afterwards to see if there's anything I can spot. I'm not sure what squirrel anatomy is supposed to look like, so I can't really tell if anything is abnormal.”

“Do that, please,” Doreen says, after listening to some squeaks. “She says it hurts.”

 

Claire had never worked on anything as small as Tippy Toe, and for a while she's afraid she numbed the squirrel's entire body, but suturing goes smoothly, even if she does have to shave half the squirrel to find skin.

 

She doesn't end up making a chart for the squirrel, but she does make a chart for Doreen, and files notes in it about squirrel anatomy, just in case.

(She also sends Danny an email about maybe having a vet she could talk to, just in case.)

 


 

One of her favourite patients ends up being Spiderman, who turns out to be just a kid, really. She gives him a good lecture about that the first time he comes in, while removing gravel from a wound in his back. To his credit, he takes it, nodding at all the right parts and apologizing profusely. Claire gets the feeling this isn't the first lecture he's heard. She also thinks Matt might have been one of the ones to give it.

 

The kid heals quickly, but he's still inexperienced and jittery, which is why he shows up on almost a weekly basis. None of his injuries are very serious, but she's glad he gets them checked out before going home, where he presumably lives with his parents.

 

The worst thing he has is a partially severed foot, which she nearly refuses to treat and is fully prepared to call an ambulance. She would have if it wasn't for Peter's begging, and his reassurance that as long as she lined things back up, everything would heal just fine.

She's never felt so far beyond her skillset before, and there are multiple times during the procedure where she questions her life choices.

 

When Peter's foot is clinging on again by more than just some flaps of skin, and he's asleep on heavy doses of morphine and benzos, she does sit down for a minute to actually consider whether she's doing something insane, or if it was just a crazy night.

 

When the sun comes up, she's still not sure, but Peter walks out on both feet, and she knows she did that.

It's enough.