"House Call"


a Sarah T. fragment:


           "Ouch!" Alexander Lucard jerked his head up to glare accusingly at Dr. Gabor Varney. "Varney, that hurts!" Lucard, wearing the torn remains of a bloodied shirt, was sitting on a table in his library as his doctor calmly picked splinters of wood out of a wound in his shoulder.
           "Of course it does, my boy," Varney said, holding the shoulder firmly and poking in deeper with the tweezers. "Being staked has its consequences, even for you." As Lucard scowled, he added airily, "Look on the bright side, Dracula. You should be glad you're still feeling anything at all. If your friend had been two inches down and about half an inch to the right..."
           Lucard subsided, only to flinch again as Varney yanked another piece of wood out. "Is there no other way to do this?"
           "Well," he said judiciously, "I suppose I could just amputate. It would only take a year to grow back--if you stayed out of the sun and gave up the seven-course dinners."
           "No, thank you."
           "Then hold still, there's a good fellow. Or I'll have to give you some of that elixir to keep you quiet. I don't want to make the damage any worse than it already is." Varney cast a significant glance at his doctor's bag, and Lucard stilled immediately. He remembered well the last time the doctor had thought it necessary to administer that particular potion. "What were you thinking, anyway, letting someone shove a wooden spear through you?" he added, bending back over his work.
           "He didn't exactly ask me for permission, Varney. Vampire-hunters rarely do. They're such an unmannerly lot in that regard."
           "But surely you must have heard him coming. Unless that lifestyle of yours is finally catching up to you..."
           "No, doctor, this isn't your chance to say 'I told you so,' although I presume you will anyway. I was feeding."
           "Thus distracting you just long enough to allow him to shish-kebob you?"
           "This isn't funny, Varney."
           "Come now, Dracula," Varney's eyes twinkled, "laughter is the best medicine."
           "Will it heal your throat after I tear it out?"
           "You know, a vampire of your age and experience has no excuse to be such a grumpy invalid," Varney commented. "Shame on you. I do believe you're the worst patient I have. "
           "But surely also the best-paying," Lucard countered.
           "It's not enough. Do you know, Rebecca thinks I should give you up? She says that you take up too much of my time and I always come back from a house call on you reeking of brandy."
           "Do you usually let your nurse tell you what to do?"
           "When it comes to Rebecca, Dracula, discretion is the better part of valor. But don't worry; I think she still likes you. She's just feeling neglected because you haven't sent her flowers in a while. Remember, she prefers orchids."
           Lucard sighed, the sigh turning to a gasp as Varney pulled out another splinter. "This is sheer blackmail," he said through gritted teeth.
           "Think of it as a prescription," Varney said, putting down the tweezers and applying a bandage. "There, now. All done. A few nights of feeding and a few days of avoiding the sun, and you'll be as right as rain, my boy."
           Lucard moved the shoulder cautiously. "Thank you, doctor." He got up, wincing. He knew it was no use to ask Varney for something to ease the throbbing in his arm, which dangled awkwardly at his side; the doctor's painkillers had even more horrific side-effects than his sedatives, and that was saying something. "Now, let's go find a clean shirt for me and some brandy for you. I could not bear to be responsible for disappointing the fair Rebecca."


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