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A gown for a life
#1
Shortly after midnight September 26, 1891 - Sanditon Resort @ the Season Closer

On the ground in front of her Mr. Thompsett groaned. His dark hair sweat matted across the winkles of his forehead as he tried to keep any noise from leaving his lips. She recognized the deadened look in his eyes and his refusal to look at the woman next to him. For Malou's part she was focused only on the man in front of her. Not his wife with her blond hair spilling out of her chingon, her torso cut off from her waist, a mass of blood on the fabric clinging to her. Malou had taken one look and realized the woman was already gone when the man had pleaded for help. But she had noticed his leg, the long deep chunk of flesh missing from the thigh and calf, the bloodied fabric clinging to the spliching. As a healer she couldn't just stand aside. So she had jumped into the fray, ignoring the queasy matrons around her and the general panic and focusing on saving one particular individual. The man in front of her.

"Hold this." Malou directed the nearest person to her without even glancing up at who it was, she held out a bloodied patch of fabric from the man's leg as she kept her eyes glued to the wound. Blood was already stained against her evening dress but she couldn't be bothered about its loss. A life for a dress seemed a fair compromise. Chances were he wouldn't be the only life she tried to save this evening.
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[Image: FLXUg8.png]
An amazing MJ set
#2
He was not writing to Edelweiss about this. She'd almost succeeded in coercing him to let her come along despite school; something that Faustus wouldn't have been so lenient on if her birthday hadn't just happened. But ultimately, Faustus was grateful that she wasn't here. The chaos that had ensued when the party realized what was happening was tremendous; Faustus could feel the air crackle with panic and he quickly found himself slipping into the level-headed auror who'd seen much more chaos than this. But the difference was, he had family in this crowd. With bodies milling around and some attempting to apparate, Faustus couldn't see what swirl of fabric had been someone he knew or not.

It wasn't until he saw a large crowd milling about, slowly circling and coming to a stop that he'd headed in that direction - some of the chaos had settled, but there were cries of horror and panic that erupted from the middle of the crowd. That seemed to be the place he needed to go.

Please no, he prayed as he waded through the crowd. Please don't let it be Felix or Freddie or Fitz...

The sight that greeted him was...worse. Much worse. The color drained from his face as he took in the figures on the floor. There was no hope for one of the women; she was absolutely filleted in half, and her poor husband was splayed out beside her. And kneeling next to the man — Faustus' eyes widened as he took in the bloodied gown and messy appearance of a young woman, her hands working in a flurry over the man's lower leg. For one horrid moment, he thought she was injured; but upon further look she was attempting to aid to the man.

Her voice sounded familiar as she held out a bloodied rag to him, though he couldn't see her face from the angle he was standing - she was so focused on the man in front of her and rightfully so. His eyes went to the wound she was focused on. The gash that she was attending to was positively gushing, and it didn't seem to show any signs of stopping. They needed more fabric to staunch the wound. Faustus knelt down immediately and turned away from her to grab at the corner of his cloak. He lifted one corner to his mouth and bit down hard, tearing the fabric into one long strip. "Here," he said, turning back to her and handing her the fabric. "It's not much but maybe it'll help. Unless you need something el-" The words died on his tongue as he realized who he'd just knelt down beside.

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#3
Now that the pant fabric was away from the man's leg Malou could see the injury with greater ease, blood was gushing and the man was turning paler and paler - and still his eyes would not leave the face of his wife. His hand still clung to the dead woman's with desperation. They were the details that Malou would only notice afterward, the type of details she'd try to force from her mind, the kind of details that she'd say prayers over. They were not the type of details to pay attention to now. It was the injury and nothing else.

She nodded at the voice, her mind spinning as she thought of the options she could bind the wound with. She could rip her hem, but that was probably too dirty. Her cloak had been abandoned at the entrance so that wasn't an option. Perhaps her petticoats? But then she heard ripping and as she turned to accept the fabric she found herself staring into Faustus Prewett's face.

There was no way she would ever be able to be with a man like that, his family would hardly allow him to marry an orphan like her who worked, but (and she wouldn't even admit this to Fallon) she had thought of him since they had met. It had started innocently enough after their encounter at the symphony, just a thought here and there, perhaps seeing him again at another event, but he was a catch of the season and she wasn't. So there was no need to pretend. But then he'd shown up in her dreams, only here and there, but still. It was so unrealistic, so fabricated that Malou had tried not to think on him any further. He didn't even know she was a healer after all, surely that kind look would be gone from his eyes if he did. But now here they were, his words cut off as he caught her gaze, and for once in her professional career Malou forgot about the injured man and just saw Faustus - and she was .... relieved. Glad he hadn't been injured. And then she blushed. Because there was no way he wouldn't know what type of woman she was now.

Cheeks warm, Malou took the cloth of ripped fabric from him and tried to focus her thoughts again. She took a deep breath, straightening the fabric between her hands and focused on the task at hand. A man with a dead wife and a life threatening injury was much more important than a school girl crush. "Can you hold his leg?" She directed, less a question and more a command as her fingers searched for her reticule and her wand on the floor. She had dropped it to her side when she sank down to the ground and now it sat between her and Faustus. She didn't look as she reached with one hand, wishing for one of the nurses and the calm of St Mungo's charm ward in anccidents such as this.

"And she needs to be covered." She added, hoping someone in the crowd would have the decency to cover the dead woman from view of the curious crowd and the heartbroken man.

[Image: FLXUg8.png]
An amazing MJ set
#4
Staring into the familiar face of Miss Skovgaard, Faustus' recognized his own shock at having encountered his conversation partner from the symphony all those nights ago here at the Season Close; and above a dead woman's body of all places. He'd seen her at a few balls since, but had never managed to re-introduce himself; especially under the watchful eye of his mother - not to mention Society as a whole. It wasn't until now that he had ever imagined her having a profession, but the way she seemed to quickly assess the situation and maintain a calm composure told him that this was not the first tragedy she'd encountered. She must be a healer then, he thought as she took the strip of cloth from him and gave him further instructions.

Wordlessly, Faustus nodded, his eyes now focused on the man in front of him. He reached out and gripped the man's ankle - one of the only places that weren't splinched - and saw that the healer was reaching for her wand and supplies. His hand met hers as they both absently reached for the same thing. "My apologies," he said, quickly pushing the reticule toward her and placing her wand on top of it for easier access before he returned his attention back on the man. But upon feeling the contact of Faustus' hands, the man's leg started to shake, no doubt fearful at the impending pain he was likely to experiences. The Head Auror gritted his teeth and exerted as much (gentle) force as he could to keep the man's leg still for Miss Skovgaard. Upon her voicing that the poor wife should be covered, Faustus rose his head, knowing that he was now currently occupied, to look at the onlookers.

A lot of them were pale - what human wouldn't be after witnessing a woman being sliced clean in two? Faustus himself had gone pale and tried not to look at the poor woman. She was beyond their help now, and hopefully in a better place. He caught the eye of a rather sturdy-looking individual, one whose mouth was set in a stiff grimace, and Faustus jerked his head slightly at the woman in a silent command for the healer's words to be headed. The individual's eyes widened slightly before understanding what they'd just been tasked to do, and they took out their wand. In an instant, a cloth appeared and floated peacefully down onto the woman, covering her completely.

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#5
Mr. Prewett was God sent, Malou found herself thinking as he handed over her wand and reticule. She wiped her hands on her skirt to grip her wand without it slipping from her grasp and then quickly washed the wound with water. It was going to be stitches and a potion. But she didn't have those with her. Best she could do at the moment was stop the bleeding and cover it. Then she'd have to see what potions Sanditon kept around. With sure hands Malou reached toward the top of the leg and deftly tied the fabric in a tight knot in a turicate.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw fabric flutter down on the woman, and a she sent a silent prayer of thanks up. The man in her grasp however became agitated at this and began to strain against him, the fabric loosening and the blood pouring faster. Malou took a deep breath to calm herself, "It's alright." She murmured soothingly, reaching for the man's hand. Nothing was alright but it was the only thing she could think of. "I need you to stay still." She continued in the same gentle voice. "She would want us to take care of you." Malou had no idea if that was the case of not, but she had to say something - anything to get him to calm down.

Then she went back to more bindings. Her petticoats were still an option. But she needed something. She let go of the man's hand again and tightened the strip of fabric to staunch the blood. "We're going to need more bandages."

[Image: FLXUg8.png]
An amazing MJ set
#6
He had been so focused on holding the man steady for Miss Skovgaard, that Faustus had neglected to actually take in the appearance of her patient. Upon further look, he recognized the man as Mr. Thompsett, one of his colleagues at work and the father of one of his daughter's classmates. His gaze darted to the sheet covering his deceased wife. Faustus paled further and swallowed as a wave of emotions rolled over him. Nausea, horror, and sympathy - he knew what it was like to lose a loved one, though not quite at this caliber of macabre.

As he stared at the desperate Mr. Thompsett, his brow furrowed, knowing the desperation that he must be feeling. Faustus felt his own breath quickening and he closed his eyes briefly to steady himself. The voice of Miss Skovgaard brought him back to his senses as she attempted to soothe him. "Mr. Thompsett," he heard himself say - the steady voice he heard was not the state his mind was in, and he struggled to not think about Jane's death. "Mr. Thompsett, Miss Skovgaard is right." He continued. "Your wife would have wanted us to take care of you, but we can't do that until we have the bleeding under control." His voice was miraculously firm, and Faustus gave himself no time to think further of the situation.

He looked up at Miss Skovgaard and nodded. Seeing she'd gotten the matter of his leg under control, Faustus released his grip and quickly turned to his cloak lying on the ground between them. It was easier to take the piece of fabric between his teeth and tear it into individual shreds, and Faustus handed them to her as he tore. "Here," he gave her the last piece before taking hold of Mr. Thompsett's leg again. "What else?"

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#7
It was strange the things that stuck out to Malou when she was with a patient. Names, small details, things that her mind seemed to think would help her later, but the rest blurred out. Perhaps it was the best combination of her natural observatory nature and her shyness. Whatever it was it allowed her to take note of Mr. Thompsett's name... and her own. Somewhere in the very girly corner of her brain she knew she'd remember that merely for the fact that he had remembered her own name after only one meeting. But for the moment she focused on Mr. Thompsett who seemed to have calmed with the recognition of Mr. Prewett.

Malou had once again settled no tearing up her petticoats when Mr. Prewett was handing her strips of fabric again. This time she noticed his cloak in his hands. A small grim smile of gratitude tilted her lips. He truly was a god send. "If we can get his leg bandaged then rest, food, and water." And a regrowth potion - but as a trained healer she didn't mention that, not wanting to scare anyone about the lack of supplies. Already her hands were firmly wrapping the strips of cloth around Mr. Thompsett's leg.

"There." She declared sitting back on her heels. It wasn't good but it was better than nothing. "I need you to rest now." She told Mr. Thompsett.

Then she turned her attention to Mr. Prewett and asked her quiet voice lower than normal, "Are there others?" If there were they'd need a lot more bandages and supplies. If she were to go looking for potions she wanted to know just what she was dealing with. Not that she wouldn't look for everything she could find, but better to know right off the bat.

[Image: FLXUg8.png]
An amazing MJ set
#8
Faustus nodded in response and watched as she worked quickly - Mr. Thompsett seemed to have stilled and while keeping one hand on the man's leg, Faustus caught the man's outstretched hand and gripped it tight. There was precious little else he could do at his point, except watch Miss Skovgaard work. Rest, food and water - Faustus turned his gaze to the rest of the ballroom. Though they were at a resort that was bound to have those, there wasn't likely to be anything easily accessible. They'd tried to apparate out of the resort to escape the hurricane and that had cost them greatly. They couldn't make those same mistakes. That meant, they'd need to go in search of supplies. And it looked like they would need to do so soon.

It seemed that some people understood that they weren't able to apparate out, but there were still plenty of bodies running around. Some were in search of aid and others were running to help those who needed it. Faustus recognized that this was the moment when no one had more information than the next person. It would be difficult to try and get the entire room under control.

Her voice reached him and Faustus looked back to her, his expression grim. "Likely," he responded darkly, feeling Mr. Thompsett's grip on his hand relax. Miss Skovgaard seemed to have gotten him stabilized, thank Merlin. "If there are, we're going to need a lot more bandages than' my cloak can provide." He glanced down at the two figures on the floor. Poor Mrs. Thompsett. He hoped she hadn't suffered too much; he was much more worried about her husband if anything. There was no coming back from this. "We'll need to make sure they're out of the way and don't get stepped on." He said, standing up and offering her his hand. He smiled apologetically at the state of it - blood and grime seemed to be permanently stained on his hand.

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#9
He was right, they were going to need a lot of bandages. Perhaps the owners of the resort might have some spare sheets so she wouldn't have to resort to petticoats with dirtied hems. It made her nervous to not use clean cloth in the first place. "And potions." The least likely, but also most important that she could think of. "Among other items."

Malou accepted his hand up unphased by the blood. After years she was so unphased by it. She nodded in agreement and aimed her wand at Mr. Thompsett, "Can you clear the crowd?" If he could make a path she'd be able to steer the injured man to one of the walls where he might be out of the way.

[Image: FLXUg8.png]
An amazing MJ set
#10
"Potions," Faustus agreed, nodding as he surveyed the crowd. Merlin, he'd come here enough with his family, but he found himself mildly embarrassed that he didn't know where in the world such supplies would be. He'd once caught Edelweiss and Mezereon sneaking off to the kitchens after dinner one night, but that was the extent of his knowledge of the place. Really, an uncharacteristic trait of Faustus'. Normally he would have cased a place out and known it like the back of his hand. Foolish of him to think that there was a place he could go where he could relax and let go of any potential work. Disaster did not discriminate; nor did death, and he should have realized that by now.

He saw Miss Skovgaard raise her wand to move Mr. Thompsett and he mirrored her, pointing his at the ground. Muttering a spell, there was a soft gush of warm wind that billowed past the both of them, putting slight pressure on anyone who happened to be in front of it to coax them to move to the side. Perhaps a poor spell to pick in light of what was happening outside, but needs must and they needed to move quickly.

He turned to the healer, fixing her with a look. As she stood up and he took in her appearance - her now bloodstained dress - it suddenly occurred to him that he had seen her in the crowd before. And how there was just a moment before chaos broke loose that he'd automatically searched for her in the crowd.

Jaw set, he nodded to her and walked down the now divided crowd to lead the way towards a spot on the wall where they could safely leave Mr. Thompsett. And it looked like others  had had the same idea. What looked like a little triage area had emerged, with bodies lining the wall in neat rows. "I think he'll be alright here." He said, turning to face Miss Skovgaard.

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#11
The spell he cast was one that Malou wasn't familiar with, but it worked, and at a time like this that was what mattered. Not the look he had just given her, or that he remembered her name, or that her periwinkle ball gown was now ruined as she stood there with him. No what mattered was doing her job, saving people. She refused to dwell on impossibilities - at least not at a time like this.

It took little time to move Mr. Thompsett, someone seemed to have the same idea with Mrs. Thompsett (likely to keep her husband from hysterics) and was hovering her behind them. Malou refused to give the cloth covered parts of body more attention than a glance. She didn't want to know what two individuals moved her, of how they were managing to keep the cloth from slipping only onto one half of the woman or the other. But all thoughts of the Thompsetts drew to a close when they approached the wall.

Her eyes quickly took into the various injuries, noting who could wait and who already had help. Luck was with her for the moment, no one seemed as bad as the Thompsetts which would afford her a chance to slip away and try to find supplies. "For the moment." She nodded almost absently as her mind cataloged what she needed to find. She turned away from the patients and spoke so that only Mr. Prewett could see her and no one would see the concern on her face. "He is going to need a few potions. The others will too if there are any more severe cases." She didn't bother to keep the worry out of her tone, when a patient couldn't hear her it was easier to let others hear her worry, at least with her nurses it served to keep them moving at the pace she needed.

[Image: FLXUg8.png]
An amazing MJ set
#12
Faustus watched her set him down gently, his eyes moving to Mrs. Thompsett. Her shroud hovered peacefully to eventually be set next to her husband, and he mentally kicked himself for not getting her. He gave a grateful nod to those who had tasked themselves to move her before looking at the various bodies people had started to set down. Some were injured, and only a handful seemed to be past help. He tried not to look at those. It was rough to see yet another gathering of injured citizens. Hadn't they just gone through this with the shipwreck?

Faustus' gaze focused back on Miss Skovgaard as she turned to him. Her controlled expression fell to give way to genuine worry, and Faustus nodded again, raising a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose. It was still easy to hear the wind howling outside; god knew how many people they'd lost already and how many would need to have search parties sent after them. "We'll need supplies then. I can see if the on-site healer has any potions in their supply they can give us."

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#13
Thank God there was an on site healer. Malou had hoped there was but had been unsure. "I'll come with you, so you know what we are looking for." Malou told him with a decisive nod of her small chin. "Perhaps we can find some staff and get sheets, they'll make better bandages than my petticoats." The moment Malou realized she had mentioned petticoats and that it was in front of Mr. Prewett she flushed. She had spoken like he was one of the hospital staff, not a guest. Malou couldn't look at him and instead looked out at the crowd. "We'll need water too." She added. "And food." Although if it meant leaving this building she wasn't sure they would be able too because even over the buzz of the crowd she could hear the howling winds.

[Image: FLXUg8.png]
An amazing MJ set
#14
Faustus hesitated, his eyes locked on the healer and unsure of how to respond. His preference would have been for her to stay here and out of harm's way - Merlin only knew what would lie ahead between them and getting more supplies. And under normal circumstances, he'd have much preferred to have a chaperone for the both of them. But these weren't normal circumstances, and they were losing precious time. It was true, Faustus didn't know what to look for, and on top of that, even if he did encounter someone who did, he wouldn't know how to properly describe what they needed; and he would much rather not have to make multiple trips.

But if he sent Miss Skovgaard on her own, there was a possibility she would need help, not only to carry supplies but to just get there but he wanted to make sure what befell the Thompsett's did not happen to anyone again; especially —

"Very well." he said, nodding. The need to get supplies paired with the potential dangers of navigating the Resort far outweighed their lack of chaperone. He ran a hand through his hair, looking around for any sign of the way out.

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#15
It took Mr. Prewett a moment to agree with her and when he did he ran his hand through his thick hair, heedless of the blood on them. He'd hesitated, Malou noted, unsure of the reason why. This was a crisis, there was her, him, and the work at hand.

"Where do you think we might find the healer?" She certainly wasn't farmilar with the resort in the least.

[Image: FLXUg8.png]
An amazing MJ set
#16
Faustus looked around - if they were lucky there would be a healer right in the room with them, but given the luck that graced the ballroom this evening, he figured the healer they were in search of was likely injured or already lost to the weather. He heaved a sigh and cast a look about the room before motioning to what looked like an exit that led out of the ballroom and down the staircase. "Perhaps there's something over by the entrance." He mused, leading them towards where the entire party had entered.

At the best scenario, there would be a room with some supplies and various items, but Faustus had the creeping suspicion that they would have to go in search of the doctor's quarters to find anything remotely of use. He prayed to Merlin that wasn't the case.

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