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"...Which way to the doctor's office, again?"
"What, you still haven't got it down? I guess working with Yamame, you'd want to forget your day as quick as possible, but really now." I'm getting scolded by interns now? What am I, Rodney Dangerfield?
"You should be careful talking like that, you know. You can never be sure who'll hear you."
"Oh, come on. Have they already got the fear in you? Relax, it's not like they can do worse than fire you."
"Yes we can." Dropping from the high ceiling of the lobby, Yamame gives the boy a solid (if upside-down) stare which quickly softens as she cups a hand gently around his cheek. "And we can make you enjoy it, too." As quickly as she appeared, she zips silently back into darkness with the boy in tow.
You know, a lot of people don't care for the good doctor. It's her sense of humor, I think. She's sort of a lovable asshole, I've found; she'll do that sort of thing until you either start laughing with her or start avoiding her. There may also be the whole attitude about the world being her test subject, but what good doctor hasn't compromised their morals at some point or another? Progress can't be made without taking a few risks.
...Whoa. Déjà vu.
Another quick swing down, and I'm in her sturdy grip. I don't know how she can keep such a tight hold on you without it hurting, but she pulls it off. Getting dragged up through her personal shortcut is always a bit unsettling, though a good portion of that comes from being dragged through the air at all. It's also an early tip-off to a bad, bad mood. Normally, she likes to take it slow. Within a minute or so, the familiar sterility of the office and the subtle buzz of its lights nudges me toward the work mindset.
"Right then. We have a long day ahead of us. Subjects two and five need new doses, which means you're getting some hands-on training." Not my favorite activity, but at least I don't have to deal with three. That guy's a real prick. "Also, it's your turn to feed three." Mother fucker.
"Can I just observe for five, then? Three always takes a lot out of me." Without breaking stride, she turns and scowls at me, 'You done fucked up' written all over her.
"Why am I training you, again?" Shit. Not this again.
"To give you a chance at a day off, to allow you to run larger-scale experiments, and to eventually replace you." And what am I getting out of it?
"And what are you getting out of it?" For all the times we've had this conversation and for how easily I can spit out answers, you'd think I would remember not to piss her off after a while.
"A valuable skill set, which will in turn make me more useful to the company and allow me to gain the respect of my peers." Arriving in front of two's cell, she stops with her hands on her hips and glares at me.
"And a place to live in relative comfort without having to pay rent." It may be boring, but you get what you pay for I guess.
"And?" Her expression doesn't budge an inch as she shifts to one leg and crosses her arms.
"And, should anything happen while you can't be reached, the ability to save lives."
"And?" ...Maybe I don't know it quite so well. Her tapping foot counts down the seconds I have to reply.
"...And..." Speaking slowly to gain even a second while I rack my brain, I can see her growing more and more irate. Her patience finally snaps, and she decides to cut me off by grabbing my face by the chin. It's a weird place to grab someone, but I think making them pucker their lips and all that is a good technique. Makes it harder for them to back talk, and easier for you to think of them as some idiot. Often times, they are.
"And you're getting the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with the lovely Miss Kurodani, head doctor of the Palace of Earth Spirits. Some people pay for this sort of treatment, you know. Don't you feel lucky?" Letting go of my face with a small slap, she doesn't wait for a reply before walking past me to open a heavy iron door. A gust of wind seems to take her aggressions with it, and she calls out with a smile and a sing-song tone. "He~y! Anyone home?"
In the corner, a young man in a plain white robe huddles up with his head buried in his knees. He only looks up when Yamame's hand grazes his shoulders, at which point he scrambles back. His hands slide desperately against the floor, unable to propel him to his feet, and when he reaches another corner I'm given the signal. Looks like I've got the easy job today. Moving toward him carefully, I can see the terror in his baggy, bloodshot eyes. His focus shifts from me to Yamame to the floor, looking for some kind of escape from the nothings assaulting him. Finally, he springs from the floor with an earth-shattering shout and a raised fist, but in the moment he chose to attack he gave me my opening. It's amazing what momentum can do for a person. All I had to do was grab his hand and spin, and before he realized it was behind his back his torso was already locked down. Good times.
Well, not for him, but you get the idea. With that same gentle face as before, Yamame steps up to him slowly and tries to calm him down. "Just relax, dear. Mom's gonna fix it all, soon." Her words have no effect on the boy, instead sending him into an even more desperate struggle. His head thrashes left and right, very nearly knocking into my nose. I know there's a better way to restrain people, but I don't know it and she won't teach me; Again, asshole. With both her step and her expression unwavering, she keeps cooing to him gently until her hand rests on his chest and her face sits close to his. Only now does the thrashing stop. "Mom's gonna put it all back the way it ought to be."
No matter how many times I see it happen, it never fails to creep me out. I can see her skin bulge under her clothes and move toward her hand, like some kind of insect is burrowing under it. When it reaches her fingertips, they turn a dark black for just a second before fading back to their usual, natural color. The boy's breathing steadies as his eyes shut, and his body goes limp in my arms. "One down. Let him rest; he didn't sleep last night. We'll continue observations when he wakes up." And so the day continues.
"It's getting late. You can save the rest of this for tomorrow, if you want. I'm about to pack up, myself."
"Shit, really? I could swear it's only been an hour or two. I must have been really absorbed in this." If nothing else, she gives interesting homework assignments. Though, is it really homework if you do it at work? Can work even give homework, or is that a school thing? And what if school is work? Semantics always drive me nuts.
"Sucking up isn't going to get you special treatment, you know."
"Don't lie to yourself. I saw you smiling."
"I could say the same to you." After putting her finishing touches on a paper, she starts filing things away into various folders and cases while carefully avoiding eye contact with me.
"Either way, I think I'll take you up on that. There was something I wanted to do today."
"Oh? Nothing too scandalous, I hope." Nothing more scandalous than what you'd get me into.
[ ] It's been a long time, I'm drinking myself stupid.
[ ] I can't keep asking people for directions around this damn place. I'm going to explore a bit.
[ ] Surprise myself. I'm gonna play tonight by ear. (Write-in general idea of where to start.)
[ ] "You." Bow-chicka-wow-wow.