Right outside of the Step Conservatory.
This takes place immediately after Clash of the Titans: Part II.
Reginald can't believe that he'd lost his temper like that. Again. Right in front of Ardette. The rest of the crowd he couldn't care about one way or the other, though Dympna had slipped him a key. He groans, feeling his head start to throb worse and worse with every second, adding onto the aches and pains brought on by Frankie. He'd already puked once just around the corner, but there could be more, so he didn't dare move just yet. What else could possibly go wrong today?
Ardette is seething. Damn Frankie Valentine and his pride. Damn Reginald Santiago and his stubbornness. Damn Williem Cross for witnessing that, for giving her a look so ripe with understanding that she wanted to throw something. A cow can look at you with a humanesque intelligence in its eyes but no matter how long you gazed back at it, it would still be a cow. Damn these men, and damn this goddamned rain. She rounds the corner, and is unsurprised to see Reginald there. "Santiago, don't you dare walk away from me--" And then she sees the puddle of sick at his feet. Oh, brilliant.
Reginald groans again. That's what else could go wrong. "N... not so loud..." he pleads. "Please..." Were he not in the shape he was in, it would be a lot easier to try and smooth things over, try and explain himself, but he could barely get himself to stand upright.
Ardette swears under her breath and jogs towards him, squinting as rain droplets hit her face. Not so loud? Oh, hell, that flash really did a number on him, didn't it? She stops next to him (not in front of him, that's fresh vomit and she's not taking any chances), and grabs his arm. "Well done," she hisses, looking over her shoulder quickly in case somebody comes. "Now what? Huh? What's your plan now?"
Reginald cringes at the sound of her voice, even though she does seem to be trying to keep her voice low. God, the sound of the rain hitting the pavement is bad enough, it drowns out everything like rocks being dropped onto a tin roof, and everything sounds amplified, but he knows this isn't even the worst of it. "I... I need to get home..." he mutters, trying to stand again, but another wave of nausea hits him and he just ends up hunched over again.
Ardette leans with him, tries to force herself into Reginald's line of vision, under some delusion that that would help. But of course, his eyes are clenched shut behind his glasses and his face is contorted. He's trying to shut out the world. The rain chases the blood down his chin in rivulets, and her thin shoes are starting to soak through. "Allez--" She takes his arm and pulls it over her shoulders, wrapping her other arm around his waist. "We can't stay here. Get up." It isn't a question.
Reginald wants to refuse, even tries to refuse, but when he tries to speak, nothing but mumbling gibberish comes out. Perhaps Frankie must have hit him harder than he thought. Nonetheless, he does eventually stumble to his feet, wondering just what Ardette thinks she's doing. God, if Frankie saw them.. "I... I can't let you do this... I'll be fine..." Although he can hear the words clearly in his head, it comes out terribly slurred.
If Ardette knows Frankie Valentine, then the man can't see further than the bottom of a whiskey tumbler right now. It's Cross she's worried about seeing this. "Shut up," she snaps at him, hefting his weight and holding him up with a surprising amount of strength. Fury can do that. All she knows is that Reginald isn't going anywhere by himself, and there's only one place she can take him safely. "Walk." She leads him further down the street, as fast as he's able to go. No way she's taking him through the front entrance.
"Mn... I'm sorry, I'm sorry, please... don't shout..." Reginald mutters with a little more clarity than before. Once he starts moving he seems to fare a lot better, only having to pause a couple of times until the urge to puke again leaves him. There's far too much sensory overload happening right now for him to properly get his bearings, though there's only so many places they could be going at this point.
Only when they turn into the relative isolation of her back alley does Ardette's breathing calm a little. "Three steps up," she mutters, guiding Reginald up to her studio's back entrance. Her keys are still in her pocket from when she locked her front entrance, but it's too hard to negotiate her hand between their bodies to reach them. With another swear under her breath, Ardette presses her palm flat against the door, right above the doorknob, and with a jerk that jostles them both, she uses her vibe to unlock it. "Come on." She leads him inside out of the rain and lets the back door swing shut and lock behind them.
Reginald is relieved to be out of the rain, away from that noise and the cold. He forces himself to try and open his eyes, but his vision is far too blurred to make anything out. "What are you doing, Bombaerts?" he growls, almost in a demanding tone, but he's too tired to have any real conviction behind his words.
"Something I had better not bloody regret," she snarls back at him, her teeth chattering a little. Her clothes are already soaked through, so he'd better not vomit or bleed on her or he's a dead man. She manuevers him towards a flight of stairs, pauses, seeming to think, and then grabs up a bucket. Hopefully the mop can stay down here. "Fifteen steps. Go."
Reginald is careful, feeling each step with the toes of his shoes before he takes a firm step up. He counts aloud, though quietly, in an attempt to keep his mind off the dizzyness, the nausea and the pain. Wherever it is she's taking him, at least it was warm, and hopefully she will allow him some time to properly recover, because he knows she has questions. How could she not have questions after that ridiculous display of machismo?
Ardette's mind races as they make their slow ascent, the pair of them leaving inky puddles on every dark step. What was she doing? She had every right to leave Reginald there in the street to let the city-at-dusk do what it would to him. But when she saw him hunched over against the wall, it was as much of a simple impossibility as letting Frankie and his vibe light up the front facade of her goddamned building. Her grip around Reginald's waist is still firm, her shoulders providing ever upward pressure to his downward weight, a sensation that serves to anchor her mind to the moment. "Almost there..." she mutters. At the landing, she unlocks the door to her apartment. "If you have to vomit again, I suggest you do it now."
Reginald wobbles a little, but eventually answers, "I'm okay... I'm okay..." He's fairly certain at this point there's nothing left to come out anyways. Again, he attempts to try and squint at his surroundings, but his left side is still so blurred that he can't even see Ardette, and she's right next to him. "You don't have to do this..." he mutters, shamefully. This was the one side of him he never wanted her to see. Maybe there was a chance of saving some pride.
"You're right," Ardette says, flatly. And, without much sympathy for him, she hooks her foot behind her door and kicks it shut behind them. "I don't." And let him never forget that. She unloops his arm from her shoulder and pushes his coat off his shoulders, her hands firm and brooking no argument. "Help me out here, would you?'
Reginald lets out a pained groan when the door slams shut, god, what was she trying to do? At this point his head was throbbing, and it was difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. As soon as he's free from the weight of his coat, he removes his glasses, pressing the palm of his hand against his left eye, hoping to ease some of the pain. "Please... no more noise... I have a migraine..." he hisses, just getting it out of the way.
"I know," she says simply, nudging off her soggy shoes. Does that make her any less angry with him? Not a single goddamned bit. When she's confident Reginald's not going to fall over or vomit again, she leaves his side for long enough to run over to her bedroom - well, more like a mattress on the floor, separated from the rest of her sprawling space by a long curtain hanging from the ceiling - and she throws a spare blanket on top of her sheets for him to lie down on. She trots back to him and takes his arm, leading him again. "You need to let me clean you up, you're a bloody mess."
"I'll take your word on that..." Reginald replies, letting himself get lead around, though keeping his palm pressed as hard as comfortably possible against his eye. Ardette should have just taken him to a Vendy... how could she put herself at such risk, and for what? She admitted, herself, that she didn't have to help him. "Why are you doing this?" he finally asks, figuring where ever they were, it must be private if she felt safe enough to take him here.
Sure, a Vendy might help close up that split lip and bleeding nose, the cut above his eye where the frame of his glasses must have been forced into his brow... but Vendys don't cure migraines, and Ardette wasn't going to front the cred to have one try. "I haven't a sodding clue, but if you ask me that one more time, I'm kicking your sorry arse back out on the street so I can stop wondering," she growls, leading him to her bed. "Sit. Careful--! It's low to the floor, careful, now..."
Reginald would rather not go out into the rain again, and besides, if he forces himself to stay then he can't hide and spend weeks and weeks writing notes of apology that he doesn't bother sending, like the last time he and Frankie ended up meeting up face to face. He owes her a better response than that. Finally, he lowers himself to the mattress, though slowly. The worst of his nausea seems to be over, for now, if he's lucky this migraine won't overstay its welcome for too long. "Mn... thank you, Bombaerts..."
"Shut up," Ardette replies, walking to the bathroom. She peels off her wet cardigan and hangs it on the towel rack, and does what she can to comb her fingers through her short hair, and drag her fingers under her eyes to wipe away any melted makeup. At least he won't be able to see her. She doesn't want to hear Reginald right now, she doesn't want an explanation, or another thank you, or another apology. She doesn't know what she wants. But what doesn't occur to her yet is that she isn't doing this because she wants to, or because she thinks he deserves it. She's doing this because it makes sense. After a moment, Ardette returns to Reginald's side with a small first aid kit, a bottle of pills, and a bottle of water. "Still with me, Santiago?"
Reginald doesn't move from his hunched over position right away, but he still manages a quick, "Mnhmm..." He wishes he could be more coherent, more alert, more anything, but that isn't happening right now. For all he knows it might not be happening even in a day's time. After taking in a deep, shuddering breath, he does finally sit up straight, eyes still closed, toying with his glasses nervously.
Ardette just stares at Reginald, standing lamely at the threshold of her bed area, halfway in shadow. Now that she's lost her momentum, she suddenly feels very awkward. Somehow stranger than having a bloodied Bandito man sitting on her bed, and even stranger than having a guest in her apartment at all, is now having to nurse one. She sits down next to him and shakes out two pills from the bottle. "This first," she mutters. She finds his hand in the dim and unfolds his fingers to press the pills into his palm. "For your head."
Reginald nods his thanks, taking them one at a time, and without water as though it were the most natural thing in the world to do. At least this would help, it usually did. He could watch the time, make sure he keeps his doses up so there wouldn't be lulls in the medication. That might be asking too much of Ardette though, and he doesn't wish to add more weight onto her shoulders on top of what he already has. So, for now, he stays quiet.
Ardette is about to hand him the water bottle when-- oh kay then, she raises her eyebrows and sets it down again. She pulls the first aid kit onto her lap and unlatches the top with with a pair of tinny clicks. It's silent, save for the sound of the rain drumming against the roof, and the soft crackle and chink of medical supplies being handled. "Look at me," she mutters, gently guiding his chin with her fingertips. "Any broken teeth?"
Reginald takes a moment to try and feel around the inside of his mouth with his tongue. The taste of blood was still tangy and strong, though he didn't feel anything missing. His lower jaw still throbbed, though that might be more because of his headache than what Frankie inflicted. "I... don't think so." he replies, his voice still low.
Ardette just hums, and starts dabbing the blood from his face with a square of gauze, wiping it from his chin, his forehead... It's dark and thick, and starting to congeal, that's good. Reginald already looks better now that most of the blood's off, but that's going to change as soon as the swelling sets in. She tosses the gauze in the bucket, gets a sterile alcohol pad and rips it open. She doesn't give him the courtesy of a warning, just holds his jaw and grazes the alcohol pad over the cut on his brow a few times.
Reginald frowns and lets out a low growl as he adjusts to the sting of the alcohol. It felt good, in a way. Familiar. Yes, maybe that's why he's so eager to accept her help. So much of this felt nostalgic, but there's be no pat on the back and a hearty 'Job well done.' at the end of this. He sighs softly, musing to himself. Ardette must be so surprised with how quiet he could be when he needed to be.
Ardette feels strange, with the silence, and it's another oddity. Of all the things to choose from in this situation to find striking, she skips the obvious and adds the silence to the list. Come to think of it, this is the most silence they've ever shared. It's easy to hide behind words, she thinks, folding the alcohol pad over to disinfect the cut on his lip, too, in ginger dabs. And Reginald is usually quite the talker... Ardette throws out the alcohol wipe and looks at the cut on his brow, framing it with her thumb and index finger. "I don't think these are deep enough to need stitches," she muses to herself. "Any other injuries?"
Reginald shakes his head, "No, I think I'm fine..." The smell of the alcohol comforted him in a way, though knowing that he wasn't covered in his own blood, and for all he knows some of Frankie's, was a relief on its own. He slips his glasses back on, trying again to open his eyes a little. There's some moderate success this time. The pain killers must be kicking in a little.
Ardette makes an interrupted noise in her throat and hastily takes Reginald's glasses as soon as he puts them on. She slowly carries them away from his face and sets them on the short stool that acts as her bedside table. This is so much easier, knowing that he can't see his surroundings, and she isn't ready to give that up, yet. "Now, you sleep it off," she says, and even in her hushed tone, there's a firmness there that will allow no argument.
Reginald was all set to argue, he could feel it on the tip of his tongue, but he, instead, just thinks, almost angrily to himself. What was she even thinking, and why was she doing this, but he'd asked already, and she had made it very clear that she did not want to hear it. Ardette's doing you a favour, you should be gracious and accept it, and not throw it back in her face, he convinces himself. Figuring he's come to a decision, he starts to unbutton his shirt, though he stops partway, as if having second thoughts again.
Ardette sets down the bottle of water on the stool next to his glasses, and leaves the migraine medication there, too. She's already thinking about what comes next, but it's the shallow, near, and safe 'next.' Next, she'll make up the couch, since that's where she'll be sleeping tonight. Next, once she's sure Reginald is asleep, she'll run downstairs and close up the studio properly. Next, she'll stay awake all bloody night because there's a knife-wielding Bandito in her bed-- "What?" she asks, at his hesitation.
Reginald tilts his head to her slightly, still unsure of what he should be doing. It didn't feel right getting into a fight in front of her studio, then having her take care of him, and let him take over her space, her bed, even. He's taking advantage of her, and it just didn't sit well. "What are you going to do for the night?" he asks, wondering if he could convince her that he should be the one taking the alternative.
Ardette heaves a deep, silent sigh. Just like this is easier because he can't see, this was easier when he couldn't talk much, either. "Work," she says simply, and it isn't a total lie. There's always something to be done around the studio, things that aren't picky about what time she chooses to do them. And it sounds better than trying to sleep. She stands up, scooping up the first aid kit. "I don't want to talk about this anymore," she says quietly. "Sleep until you wake up. I'm not asking you." Before he can protest, she steps outside of the curtain and pulls it shut, leaving him alone and in darkness.
Reginald doesn't even have time to let the words even sink in. Well, that was that, then. He finishes unbuttoning his shirt, clumsily trying to fold it with his eyes still closed and leaving it just on the floor. Even though it was unlikely Ardette was going to be frequently checking on him, he still felt a little uncomfortable stripping down too far in her space. On the other hand, his clothing was still wet... Well, he just hopes that if she does come to check on him that she gives him some warning. Once he's stripped down to his undershirt and underwear, he's eager to crawl under the blanket and cover his head with the pillow. He sighs to himself as he starts to settle. Everything smells like her. Great.