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Check on Charlie

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Mattie finds Charlie waiting in the corridor, still in his uniform and with an arm wrapped around his torso. He seems agitated and his face is screwed up in a combination of pain and worry. She coughs deliberately and he finally notices her presence.


“How is he?” Charlie asks, trying to straighten his posture but hissing at the movement.


“He’s going to be fine,” she replies, deciding now probably isn’t the best time to explain to Charlie that despite the relative success of the surgery, Lawson will likely have to retire due to the injury. “Lucien’s sent me to check on you. Has anyone looked at you yet?”


“I’m f-”


“So help me Charlie, do not finish that sentence.” Mattie scolds, placing her hands on her hips and glaring at him. “Come on, let’s make sure that you’re okay.”


She leads him – surprisingly, with little resistance – to a bed, and draws the curtain around them for privacy. When she turns back, Charlie’s sat down, looking a few shades paler than normal now they’re both alone and there’s no need to keep up the pretence. For a moment she thinks he might pass out, and she uses one hand to hold his head still while she looks into his eyes. Both pupils are the same size, but…


“Your breath smells,” Mattie informs him cheerfully.


An annoyed huff let’s her know that he’s more than okay. “A side-effect of garlic.”


“Maybe you should brush your teeth more often?”


“I brushed them this morning!” He protests, despite the fact that he knows she knows, seeing how long he’d hogged the bathroom, almost making her late. Still, if he’s alert enough to whine at her like this then he’s almost certainly not concussed. She chuckles under her breath, moving on to check his pulse, delicate fingers quickly finding the pressure point on his wrist. It’s a little fast, but not alarmingly so.


“Is he really going to be okay?” Charlie asks after a few moments.


Mattie takes a breath, gathering her thoughts. “Lucien managed to save the leg, but it’s going to be a long time before it heals. Also, I need you to strip.”


“That’s… what?”


“Just your top half!” Mattie reassures him. “I need to check your ribcage, and it’s a bit hard to do that through your uniform.”


He relaxes, and starts undoing his buttons, tie already missing after performing first aid on his boss. He struggles to shrug the jacket off, and she has to help him, wincing in sympathy as he hisses in pain again.


It doesn’t take a genius to know that his ribs are broken. On the bright side, it means that he’s not going to need an X-Ray.


“Will I live?” Charlie jokes, when Mattie doesn’t say anything for a few seconds.


“You better,” Mattie remarks. “Jean would kill me if I let her kitchen-helper die on my watch.”


“I’ll do my best.”


Before she can say anything, the curtain opens, revealing a very tired looking Lucien Blake, shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbow and hair unusually tousled after presumably running his hands through it after performing a particularly stressful surgery on his best friend.


“Ah, Mattie, Charlie, what’s going on here?”


“Heart-rate is a little fast but not unsafe, no sign of concussion, broken ribs, but I’ve not had a chance to examine them properly,” Mattie rattles off quickly.


“Very good,” Lucien praises her with a smile. “And how are you feeling, Charlie?”


“I feel…” He looks between Lucien and Mattie, and seems to decide to rephrase whatever it is he was about to say. “Sore.”


“Well, that’s to be expected,” Lucien seems pleased with this answer. “Now, let’s have a proper look at these ribs, hm?”


Mattie’s more than capable of this task, but she doesn’t mind letting Lucien take the lead. Charlie and her are pretty comfortable around each other now, despite their rocky start, and she’s certainly seen him in his pyjamas – and he her – enough times to not be particularly shy, but he’s still something of a reserved man so she assumes he’s more comfortable with Lucien poking around than her.  


“Well Charlie, you’ve managed to break a grand total of three ribs,” Lucien announces after a few moments, promptly ignoring the protests of I wasn’t trying to!“There’s not much I can do for you, I’m afraid. I’ll give you some painkillers, and then the best thing is to go home and rest. Take ten deep breaths every hour, and ask Jean for some ice and some extra pillows for your bed.”


“Extra pillows?” Charlie repeats.


“You’ll want to sleep more upright for a few days at least,” Lucien informs him. “Now, Mattie, I’m sure you can handle things from here?”


“Of course,” Mattie nods, letting Lucien leave to return to Matthew’s side once the man has dug into his medical bag and handed over the small bottle. With Lucien gone, Charlie immediately starts trying to get back into his uniform, and it’s probably a testament to how much pain he’s in that he doesn’t try to stop Mattie from helping again. It’s as he’s buckling his belt that she notices a firm look in his eyes.


“You’re not going home, are you?” She asks, sighing. “Charlie, you need to rest.”


“I need to see this case through,” he argues, “and then I can rest.”


“You’re going to get yourself killed one of these days.” Mattie shakes her head. “Just stick to desk work, alright?”


He looks like he wants to protest, but decides against it. For all he hates inactivity, Charlie isn’t actually an idiot, and is probably sensible enough to know that running about with three broken ribs is only going to cause more problems in the long-term than it’s worth.


Thank goodness.


“You should probably call Jean, even if you aren’t going home,” Mattie says after a few moments of silence. “And while you’re at it, can you tell her I might be late for dinner?”


“Of course,” Charlie agrees. “When do you think you’ll be back?”


“I’m not sure, but one of the nurses didn’t turn up today so I might be covering another shift. I’ll get in touch once I know,” Mattie tells him. “Now off you go. Remember the pills, and the pillows, and get some ice if you need to.”


“Yes, I know,” Charlie doesn’t so much say as whine back at her, clearly getting a little frustrated at the fussing. “And I’ll call Jean and let her know, and I’m only allowed to do desk-duty.”


“You do listen!” Mattie chirps happily, opening the curtain to let him leave. “You can find your own way out, can’t you?”


“Yes. Thanks, Mattie,” he says, voice now sincere. “Enjoy… the rest of your shift. Or shifts if it comes to that.”


She watches him leave, shaking her head at the slower gait of his walk, and silently hoping that someone – anyone – at the station has enough common sense to send him home, but knowing that unless ordered to by a superior, Charlie’s only going to keep going until the case is closed, some ridiculous sense of guilt over being saved by his boss driving him. Oh well. At least at the end of the day he’ll be home, and with both her and Lucien around she doubts he’ll get into any more trouble then. Or perhaps, more accurately, Jean will give him a good scolding, and force him to call his mother. Yes. She smiles to herself, imagining the scene in her head already. Yes, she’s looking forward to that.