North Glenn 
Ding ding, Ashley was here!

And truly, she was pretty excited. She'd put a pause on healing excursions for a bit, been super good about her iron supplements, stocked up on Great Value water! If anyone could regrow a spleen, it was going to be Ted.

So she rang the doorbell, bouncing her heels a bit as she stood shortly and politely in anticipation, her trust canvas bag swaying a little.

This wasn't guaranteed to work, and it was in her best interest to avoid getting too hopeful. But gosh would it be nice to do something this important.

Ted was...feeling pretty much all of the things he had felt when he'd reached out to Ashley! Hopeful, embarrassed, also consumed with dread! He had been trying for such an easy thing, just to not get beat up that bad in a populated area. And it had cost him what really felt like his last expendable organ.

It was very grim. But! There was a chance he could undo it all with his cool X-Man friend!

He opened the door all smiles and went in for kind of a weird teacherly arm touch, something that showed fondness while respecting boundaries maybe?? And let her into the foyer, at which point a borderline-oppressive amount of sculpture and wall hangings would become apparent. "Hey, kid, come on in! You found the place all right?"

One single glance inside Ted's house revealed, wow, a lot of stuff! Ashley noted the arm touch carefully, but it didn't set off any stranger danger alarms. Ted had been ridiculously kind when she'd awkwardly bled blood everywhere.

She felt a little old to be called kid, but she heard it a lot, so she answered it with a smile.

"Yeah, just fine!" she said. "Thank goodness for GPS."

Seriously, how did anyone ever drive without it?

"How are you feeling?" she asked, looking around at the art and... gosh, it was a lot!

"Awesome," he responded about the GPS with continued enthusiastic fakeness, walking with her from the entryway into a small dining room. "I'm doing okaaaay, just recovering from surgery or whatever." He sighed at this and lingered sadly at a window.

"You know, I busted it doing the simplest thing, I'd got punched in the face and I was just trying to get somebody to show up and help me. I'm real mad at myself."

Ash followed, eyes politely wandering the house, lingering on the particularly weird. She hadn't guessed his taste in house would be quite like this, but she wasn't judging!

Moving toward the table, she looked to Ted as he spoke and her face fell into a small, tight frown.

"It's not your fault," she said, quietly but firmly. "It's not okay that someone just... attacked you. We'd all do anything we could to escape from something like that."

She felt the frown deep, almost somewhere in her chest. The idea of someone just coming up and attacking Ted was worrying and somewhat upsetting. Ashley knew there were lots of bad people; she'd fixed a lot of bruises she knew came from abusive partners. (And wondered if she was only making the situation worse.)

It just seemed so cruel and random. Poor Ted.

Gosh, Ashley was such a sweetie. He knew full well it wasn't his fault, but the way she jumped to defend him made him feel squidgy inside for a second. He scratched at his hair and made vague old-man coughs in response, letting the moment skate by. And when it did, he began to poke his index fingers playfully at the incision site beneath his shirt, eyebrows reaching upward. "So, you ready to regrow a spleen??" Hopefully?!?!

He didn't say much, but that was fine! Ashley felt some sense she'd talked maybe a lot, if not entirely on purpose. She just cared a lot about Ted not feeling bad for this. It felt important.

But now they were on to the main event, and she lit up for it.

"Definitely," she said, all smiles as she gave her bag a little sway. "Anywhere you want to sit is fine, it might take a while so we probably don't want to stand!"

He gave her a big shaggy-dog smile at that, and bustled aimlessly in one direction around the table before turning around to the other. "Okay! You get to see where they shaved me, sorry!" At least he didn't have prostate cancer, right! Hey at least he didn't say that last part out loud!! Slightly giddy, he pulled out a sturdy chair from the table and began untucking and rolling up his shirt.

Ashley gave a little laugh to that. She'd pretty much always seen worse. Whatever someone had to offer, she'd seen worse.

She set her bag on the floor as she pulled up a chair for herself beside but turned toward Ted. A familiar pattern followed.

Ready the blood towel! Dampen hands over the blood towel! Set bottle aside!

"Okay, you all ready?" she said, feeling a bouncy kind of energy. If nothing else, she could also fix the surgery wound!

He was ready! And nervous! He looked down at the incision, which seemed purplish and angry against his defenseless bare skin. "Heal me up," he verified, and as she moved to touch him, he reached delicately, softly into his source of luck and tried to improve their odds, just a little. It made his nose start draining, so he sniffled.

Okay, okay, time to do this!

She could almost hear Rocky music in her head (do do do do do do DO do do do), though it was a little anticlimactic when all she had to do was touch her hand to Ted's outer spleen area.

"I'm going to need to press just a little bit because it's internal, but if it hurts too much, tell me and we can heal everything up outside first, okay?"

Assuming no immediate yelp of pain, she would put a little pressure on the wound, her irises flicking immediately to bright red as she brought her trusty towel up to her nose.

Ted's outer spleen area was sore, but the pain wasn't sharp as she applied pressure. He breathed out through his nose, and then snuffled, his own eyes darkening as he let go of the luck. The house was pretty quiet, just some birds yelling outside, the sound of a neighborhood lawnmower; he stared at Ashley's forearms in the space between them and tried to sense what was happening in his body.

For a while, just like with the bee sting, it was nothing. But gradually...the tenderness in his abdomen shrank, all his upset organs underneath the skin settling down from inflamed to normal. At the site of the splenectomy, raw scar tissue hardened, and that became less painful too. The relief, easing through his body like the best pain medication, made him sigh quietly, even as he could see the incision scar still all angry and untouched. "You're doin' something in there," he confirmed, looking hard to see if he could see a cavity filling up, or something.

Ashley's magic was always a strangely silent thing. In all senses. There was no physical tell, no tingling of her fingers, no ringing in her ears. Her eyes turned red, of course, but it wasn't like she could see that.

The only way she could ever get a sense that something was working, if it wasn't a wound she could see in front of her face, was the feeling of blood trickling out of her nose.

So it was good that he said he could feel something, and she gave a nasally kind of positive huff. A good news huff!

"I hope it's making a spleen!" she said, then laughed, because it was all pretty ridiculous. But she was excited, optimistic, even. "Maybe I'd be able to heal back someone's kidney or something next."

Truly, she'd considered trying to heal things like hearts and stuff. But there was a huge danger there if she did anything wrong (not to mention that hearts were very hard to reach to properly affect). Ash didn't need seriously hurting someone on her conscience, even if there was a potential for something greater.

Did that make her cowardly? She... wasn't sure, really.

He blew air out of his nose, a sound of amusement and appreciation he could make without disrupting her grip on his tum-tums. Everything felt really normal inside, and now the external scar was shrinking, its livid color fading as the flesh unrumpled around the plastic stitches. "Oooooh, I bet we need to cut those out."

Oh! Yeah! Stitches! She'd done some weird healing around stitches before. This wouldn't be her first rodeo cutting them out. It was best to like, sterilize everything and stuff, but she'd never caused an infection healing someone before. So?

"Do you have scissors and tweezers?" she nasaled, moving her hand away and blinking a bit. Of course he did, Ash, that was a dumb question. So she followed up. "I can take these out if so, I mean."

A little sniffle and she swapped which hand held the towel as the blood flow temporarily slowed.

You know, he hadn't thought about this. He let his shirt drop after a moment, wiping at his own nose which was still a bit sniffly, and marveled for another second at how not-yucky he felt. "Tweezers..."

He smoothed out the sides of his shirt while gazing speculatively out a window. "I might have something in the shop that'll work? You can...mmm, you can come with or stay here, it's pretty messy in there." He migrated to a glass-paned back door and peeped at Ashley to see which she preferred.

Maybe Ashley was just rude and nosy, but it felt very difficult to turn down an opportunity to see a "shop" described as "messy." She waited only about a second before answering.

"I can come with!" she said, smearing and bunching the towel before setting it onto her bag because it was suuuper rude to leave a blood towel on someone's chair.

She didn't even feel woozy as she stood, pretty practiced at all this as she followed to see whatever exciting messy things the shop might hold.

You know what, Ted would have wanted to see a messy mysterious shop too, and that was why he offered! He gave Ashley a crinkly-eyed smile and opened the door. "So, I sell sculptures and paintings, which means I get to keep a whole garage worth of junk and doodads and nobody gets to give me shit about it." Being an artist was the best!

Ashley was treated to a small, happy backyard garden, also overflowing with lumpy stone sculptures, before they made their way into a studio that had once been a two-car garage. In place of a garage door were floor-to-ceiling windows, which offered bountiful natural light over, maybe, a collection of one of every object on earth. Ted quickly disappeared among the tables and shelves occupying the space not dominated by large tublike machines, whistling to himself. Maybe if he used his luck again, something tweezerish would fall from one of the sculpting utensil piles.

Ashley's eyebrows rose at some point during this journey and basically never came back down. Her mouth fell slightly ajar (more than normal for breathing, anyway!) and also stayed that way. He had so much... stuff! It really was just stuff, she couldn't properly categorize it all, and she managed to almost trip only once as she followed.

Once they reached the shop-shop, she stayed put mostly, not wanting to touch anything and break it. It smelled like... work(?) in here, and she blinked, taking it all in.

"How long have you been making art?" she asked in a voice slightly raised to call to him wherever he hid among the shelves.

There really was just...a creeping hoard of stuff. Some of it was recognizable, power tools and rolling pins and a large horse figurine, a child's plastic telephone. A lot of it though just amounted to confusing garbage, like a trash can full of wooden dowels and a towering shelf full of giant plaster blocks. In all of this Tedward rummaged, a happy bee in his hive. "A long time! I started painting in high school, my aunt got me into it. Hey, you wanna see something neat?"

The man appeared from behind the shelving holding what looked to be...a seashell, maybe? Only made of plaster. "Check this out."

How old was Ted? Ashley was really bad at ages. Sometimes people asked her if she was still in high school, but she was pretty sure that was a height thing!

Then she was being beckoned by... a mystery object, and she approached with interest. If he offered it out to her, she would take it in two very careful hands, but otherwise keep them right to herself!

"What is it?" she asked, a little sheepish.

Ted didn't know, maybe he was experiencing some very latent Uncle Vibes, but it was fun having Ash in here. "Hold it with the skinny end pointed towards you, and put your right hand over your...yeah." Under these directions, the plaster seashell would reveal itself as an object that fit precisely into the contours of two folded hands, each ridge and spine settling into the lines of palms and fingers. "See? It's a mold of the space you hold when you cup your hands." Far out, huh?

He knew he was getting distracted, but. Just one more thing. He moved to the end of the table and opened a covered trash can, and bent inside to tear out (with minimal squelching) a big hunk of wet clay. Feeling a little shy about it, he set it on the workbench beside Ashley and pointed! "If you press that in there, you can see it."

As Ashley was directed to hold it in such a specific way, she felt a little foolish, like she was missing a very obvious magic trick here.

At least at first.

But as it fit between her small hands, albeit not perfectly sized, she gave a smile.

"That's really cool," she said, meaning it, inspecting the shape again. It did not look like a hand at all, but-

Oh! Another invitation, this time with sound effects from clay moving from place to place. She followed to the spot, feeling a little nervousness as she pressed the weird seashell thing in just a tiny bit, looked to Ted for positive reinforcement, then pushed it properly into the clay.

Removing it would have her fingers slipping only once, and when she did it, there was an almost cartoonish gasp.

"It doesn't even look like a hand but it turns into one!" she gawked, eyes alight with the giddiness of novelty.

Ted felt glowy about it too; it was why he kept the thing around. He was very glad Ash appreciated it. "I've used that thing to make some textures before, they're really easy to make." And with some more uhhhhs he was digging around in the dusty studio again, throwing little rubber-tipped tools over the table. "Do you think this will work?" He asked her hopefully, holding up a weirdly sharp crochet hook. Had he filed that down??

Okay, okay. Moving on. She'd need to wash her hands before getting back to things because she had pale dust all over her palms.

Eventually, he held up a tool and it really probably wasn't the best idea to use it? Maybe? But. She was feeling pretty good.

"I can give it a shot," she said with a smile somehow both sheepish and confident. "Worst case scenario, I can probably use my fingers. All I need other than that is just some scissors to snip the stich, hopefully not too big?"

She'd take the hook to toy with if he handed it over.

"That I can do," he confirmed, and fished out a pair of scissors that, while enormous, did have a fairly narrow tip. "Let's go wash these inside, everything has clay dust in here."

Not that he was frightened of getting clay dust in his wounds, though. If that could kill you he would already be so dead!

Back in the house, he would wisely turn over all tool-washing to Ashley and, after moving her healing bag, settled himself back on the chair.

Tools washed! Hands washed! (And she'd stolen a paper towel along the way to set the stitches on.) Back to their spot! Shirt up! Ready to go!

Except, um.

"I'm gunna have to get real close for this, sorry," she breathed, kind of giggly just because now she felt like she knew him slightly better than just a random person who texted her for healing.

Assuming no big complaints, she would lean down and in to do just that, finding the crochet hook, um, surprisingly easy to use to snag the knot gently upward to go about snipping the string.

Oh, no. He picked up the barest hint of giggliness from this very small girl crouching by his tim-tum stitches, and that was enough for the barest case of giggles to surface with Ted. This immediately led him to command himself to calm down, this was NOT a time for titters, which made it even more ludicrous to be laughing right now which meant he was shivering, semi-silently, with a stupid-ass case of giggles. Oh, no!!

One hand covered his tortured mouth as he tried to pull it together. Look at his dumb stomach jumping all over the place! "I'm so sorry!"

Crochet hook hovered perfectly, and she even stuck her tongue out a little in deep concentration.

And then... not a chance, Ash! She pulled it back, flopping back in her seat and huffing out a laugh.

"It's okay, it's okay. Take your time," she said, but she knew how this went. He'd calm down, breathe a little. Ash would move in close and then, boom! It would happen again. Maybe two more times. She was patient.

Oh, boy, his eyes were wet. He made a helpless sound of embarrassment, rallying himself, and did as she predicted: some deep breaths (now painless!), some head-clearing. Actually TOO much head clearing, he remembered getting punched in the head and that took away pretty much all of the giggle temptation. He closed his eyes and nodded: please continue.

Ash was patient, if in part because she was excited to see how she would do with the stitches.

The answer was "well," starting first with every other one, catching and snipping and gently tugging the thread free. She'd pile it all on a paper towel, very happy with herself when it was done.

Was there a spleen in there? Ash had no idea, but she felt... good about it.

"Okay, let me heal up what's left here and you should be good as new, I hope. How do you feel?"

This said as she began her trusty water bottle procedure.

He smiled a little in response, still taking in the sight of his poor naked belly, and the holes where the stitches had come out. What absolute insanity, that she was erasing all this. "I feel really good, honestly. No pain, no...I dunno, sickness? How are we gonna figure out if there's a spleen in there?" AHHH she could cut into him and check, urgh!

Healing the last bit would be quick, though still as nose-bleedy as usual. She pondered his question, and... gosh. That was a good point.

"Um," she said, then gave a little laugh, finishing up the last bit of the injury. "I guess we should have weighed you before and after or something. I'm not... actually sure."

Ashley felt a small wave of regret as she realized she had absolutely no way of knowing if this worked?

The wound was healed at least, left with a scar that could have been much worse. She dabbed at her nose, her face caught in a thought frown.


It looked beautifully healed from the outside, and Ted admired it for a moment before replacing his shirt. "Yeah, I guess I can't go back to the doctor and ask for a free x-ray, huh. I'm supposed to get sick a lot, so maybe if that doesn't happen we'll know that it worked?" He had a very strong urge to press his hands in there, to where the pain had been. Later there would be googling about whether you can feel a spleen from digital examination.

That probably wasn't the most scientific way to do it, but it was maybe the best they had. Maybe he had follow-up appointments where they could check?

She gave a little sniffle, just blood stuff, and smiled some.

"Fingers crossed," she said. "Thanks for letting me try this out. I think I- I think I feel pretty good about it."

Ashley began to gather things, truly meaning that. It felt nice, pushing her powers a little further. But also a little scary, if she thought about it too much. Because the more she could do, the more she felt like she had to be doing it.

A worry for another time!

Ted made a sound of protest, standing back up and watching a freaking MIRACLE WORKER pack up her little healer bag. "Ashley Miller, thank YOU for making me feel a hundred percent better." He was, uh, hugging unless she was clever enough to evade him; a quick Uncle Hug, he thought, the kind where your torsos don't really touch and someone gets a really firm shoulder pat. "I'll let you know how it goes, and if you ever need luck for anything? You've got your guy." He grinned, truly grateful and feeling so much fucking better.

That was so nice, and it made her heart squeeze a little. The hug was perfectly fine. He wasn't the tallest, and that was good, because she ended up in kind of a weird spot on tall people.

This was the kind of stuff that made all the dumb face bleeding worth it. The money helped and allowed her the hours out of work she needed to recover.

But really, hearing someone speak so highly of her work was the real reward, and Ashley Miller glowed for it.

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