“Please sit down on the bed over there,” said the doctor, pointing in the direction.
She was an older lady and quite pretty for her age, her most notable feature being her gentle eyes. She had introduced herself as Doctor Melissa Chambers.
“Kieran, did you want to sit in the chair?” she asked without looking.
A question met with a second of awkward silence between the two of us.
We hadn’t discussed him being in the room whilst I was examined. I’d just assumed that, like human doctors, they normally were more of a private thing unless the person was a spouse or relative.
But before any of us could talk, the doctor quickly shook her head. “Oh, right, I forgot… I suppose just wait outside then.”
“No… hang on,” I said, hesitating. “Kieran should probably be here. You know… in case I don’t understand parts of what you tell me. I may need him to help explain later….” I then turned to look at him.” If that’s okay with you?”
“Of course,” he said. “Whatever is most comfortable for you.”
And without any further delay, I went and sat on the bed as the doctor began examining me.
There was a small privacy screen, so I didn’t need to worry about Kieran seeing anything, but I was just grateful to have him there. Truthfully, I was more nervous than I cared to admit, and having him close by helped soothe my anxiety a little.
“I didn’t hear the whole story from Kieran, but I was told there was something about potential suppressor usage… and silver,” she said. “If that really is true then we should do an internal investigation as soon as possible.”
She poked and prodded at my skin as she conducted different tests, but her words caused a stir in me.
An investigation could lead back to my father… which could lead back to me. All of which I didn’t want to be uncovered. My past was still something I hadn’t divulged to Kieran yet.
I didn’t argue with her though, choosing to remain silent. My head was now already thinking of ways I could avoid the situation. But I was promptly pulled from my thoughts after she finished taking my blood pressure.
Because upon lifting my shirt up, a small gasp left her.
Just how bad did it need to be for a doctor to be surprised?
“…However…,” she continued, her eyes not leaving the old scarring on my skin. “Kieran told me a little about your situation. Told me about the potential… abuse.
As a personal favor, he’s asked me to give you some time to adjust here before we let officials go digging into your personal life. I can see merit in that. Mental wounds are just as important to healing.”
It felt strange to have someone talking about me like this. My last doctor never seemed to show more interest than was absolutely necessary.
“…Were these scars originally caused by a silver object?” she then asked.
It was a difficult question that brought up some less than pleasant memories, but I bit back any discomfort I had.
“No,” I answered, keeping it simple.
The truth was that most of these were from my victim’s pocketknives, training daggers, or… whatever instrument Gavin felt like using during punishment. All normal metal from what I could recall.
“Adult scarring like this is rare for our kind. You should have completely healed from these. It’s true the suppressors would limit ability but I’m more inclined to think this might be from the… silver consumption.”
She seemed to struggle to say the last part, almost as though the idea of it made her sick.
“I’m going to take a blood sample now. You can pull your shirt down.”
I did as instructed and allowed her to do what she needed. She spoke a little as she worked.
“Kieran already told you about blessed silver, I hope?” she asked, taking the sample to a workbench of different testing machines.
“Good. So, then I don’t need to tell you how lucky you are to be alive then.”
“Melissa-,” Kieran started to protest, but I cut him off.
“-Yes, I’ve been told.”
She turned around to look at me, the vial behind her having turned black. And though her eyes were now sharper, I could tell her blunt response had good reason behind it.
“There isn’t any point in sugar coating it. She needs to understand just how bad this really is,” she defended. “…And I don’t say that lightly. This is the worst case I’ve ever seen in all my years as a doctor. Worse than even the things I saw during the war.
We stopped production of the suppressors exactly for this reason. To ensure that it wasn’t adapted or developed into something far more terrifying. And now look…”
She held a hand up towards me, her voice becoming emotional.
“Look at what it’s caused. This pack’s future Luna-.”
“Enough, Melissa,” Kieran said, a warning in his tone.
‘Luna’? What was that? I wasn’t sure what she was referring to, but it was a term I wasn’t familiar with. Internally, I made a note to ask Kieran about it later.
The two of them stared at each other and I could have sworn that, for a moment, I saw tears in the doctor’s eyes. But with a long inhale of recovery, she then turned back around and began mixing some small vials of liquid on her workbench.
Worked until she was able to produce a syringe full of whatever she’d made.
“This is the best I can give you,” she finally said, walking back over to me. “The external damage already done will most likely never heal and, for that, I am truly sorry.
But what I give you will help to eliminate the chemicals in your system, hopefully allowing your full strength to return. It should also mean that non-silver injuries will heal faster without further permanent scarring.”
“How quickly?” I asked, unable to hide my curiosity.
I already thought my ability to heal within a few days was quite quick, but she made it sound as though I were only harnessing a fraction of my potential.
“For bruising and wounds… usually within a day. Of course, this also depends on the severity, the person, and the body’s condition.
Broken bones though are usually fairly quick thanks to our natural shifting affinity.”
She then leaned over and stabbed me with the needle.
“I can’t say we have much research on this exact scenario, but I believe this should help with the silver in your body. I’m hoping that it will bind it like a metal, allowing for it to leave your system without issue. And, as for the suppressors….”
To my dread, a bottle of pills was then handed to me. A sight I now loathed after discovering the truth regarding my medical care all these years.
“This will help to absorb and flush it out. Once a day for two weeks. I would also like to see you again soon to check your progress.
In the meantime though, I’ll do some further testing here to screen for long-term internal damage. With any luck, we’ll get you up and running at full strength in no time.”
I couldn’t help but notice that she didn’t seem to realize I already held significant ability despite the suppressors and silver. Did Kieran not tell her…?
But I proceeded to take the pills from her anyway, deciding not to mention it.
“I appreciate your help,” I said, trying to give her a smile.
Only her eyes seemed to tear up a little again.
“…I truly am sorry this happened to you,” she said, reaching for my hands. “I’ll do everything I can to make this right.”
And though the statement appeared like a standard thing to say, I couldn’t help but hear a tone of genuine sincerity. Almost as if the apology were more personal.
I frowned a little but thanked her nonetheless, doing my best to stay neutral.
Another several minutes then passed before Kieran and I were finally leaving the hospital.
The entire time we walked, I kept thinking back to the doctor’s words, questioning the intention behind it. Wondering if there was more to it.
Was she perhaps involved? But that didn’t make any sense. She was the one who brought up needing to do an investigation. Then….
“…Are you okay?” Kieran asked.
I hadn’t said anything since we left her office so it probably did seem odd. His voice quickly snapped me out of my thoughts.
“I’m fine…,” I said. “I’m just… a little confused.”
“I don’t know… I’m probably just overthinking,” I said, biting my lip. “But… did the doctor seem like she was apologizing a little too… personally?”
To my surprise though, Kieran went quiet. Something that made me think he knew something I didn’t.
Immediately, I stopped walking so he would turn to look at me.
“I took you to see her because she’s an old family friend. She was close with my mother before her passing. But… there was another reason too.”
He then paused, a crease forming between his brows. “She was one of the lead developers who originally designed the suppressors. I figured she would be the best person to help you.”
That explained a lot.
“I know she’s not proud of it and harbors a lot of guilt,” he continued, “but it’s not like she can undo her past. Back then, she didn’t really have a choice either.
Meeting you now and being able to see how the effects are still present even after all these years… I think she feels somewhat responsible for what happened to you.”
It created a conflicting chain of thoughts in my head. Did I resent her? I wasn’t sure. She knowingly helped create something that had the sole purpose of hurting others.
Even in her old age and whether it was voluntary or not, surely she had to be culpable for her actions even a little bit. She might not have made the exact pills I took but it was her original contribution that led to the event.
I tried to push it out of my mind though, knowing it wouldn’t do much good to mull on it. There wasn’t much I could do about what had already happened. All that mattered now was making sure that my future was better.
A thought that made me recall her words regarding the need for an investigation.
I completely understood the importance of finding out where the drugs came from, especially if there could be others out there just like me, unknowingly affected. But… letting them follow my trail back to my father was the worst possible outcome.
… There had to be a way to find out where they came from before it got to that point.
“Alpha heir,” someone said nearby.
We both looked up sharply to see a man. They reminded me of the person we’d met at the border yesterday; with a similar sort of athletic authority about them. A ‘warrior perhaps? I remembered Kieran mentioning that term before.
“Give me a few minutes,” Kieran said to me. “I’ll meet you outside.”
And he walked over to talk to the man.
I assumed that, whatever it was, it was work-related since I wasn’t meant to be privy.
However, it did get me thinking about my own work… my assignments… and… Zac.
…Which gave me an idea. No, it gave me more than an idea.
It gave me a connection. One I’d failed to see up until now.
How had I not realized it sooner?
Once outside, I found somewhere private and quickly pulled out my cell phone. If I were to do this then I couldn’t let Kieran hear the conversation. Unfortunately added time pressure but I would make it work.
Only, as I pulled out my phone, I discovered that there was barely even a single bar of service. How could that be though? Didn’t they ever have to make calls?
I kept walking, trying to get a stronger signal, but eventually gave up and decided to just try it anyway.
…And I dialed the number I knew only too well.
I cringed at the quality, trying to walk another few steps in the fleeting hope it might help.
“Zac, it’s me,” I said. “Can you hear me? I need a favor.”
“Rae? It sounds like you’re in a tunnel. Where are y
“Don’t worry, I’m fine. Just out of town working a job,” I said. It wasn’t a complete lie. In a way, it was partially true. “I don’t have much time. I need your help.”
“What? What did y- say?”
“Help. I need your help,” I said loudly, getting frustrated
“Noah. Tell Noah I need information. He mentioned he was a smuggler like his brother. Ask him to find out if Miles was transporting any strange drugs.”
“D- you say drugs?”
“Yes. Drugs. They won’t be like anything you can find on the market. They will contain weird ingredients that might not even seem to have a noticeable effect. I need to know who Miles was getting them from. Tell Noah he owes me this.”
If they were specific to werewolves, there was a chance they might be completely harmless to humans. That was a good thing though. Hopefully, they would stand out on an inventory list.
“Rae, I don’t know- if this is a good idea.”
“I don’t have a choice, Zac. This is extremely important,” I argued. “…Please.”
After a few seconds, I thought I heard a sigh on the other end. I took this to mean that he agreed.
“Thank you, Zac,” I said, feeling relieved. “This really is important. Just call me as soon as you know anything. I’ll try and get better reception next time.”
“Where a- you?” he asked again, but it was still a question I avoided.
“I… can’t say. But I really am okay. Don’t worry. I’ll be even better when I can find that info out.”
“Okay, I’ll let y-know.”
…And then I heard it. Someone moving.
I quickly turned and saw Kieran rounding the corner, his gaze searching the area for me… which he soon found.
“Raven?” he asked, confused. “Who are you talking to….”
But his voice trailed off as we made eye contact.
“I have to go,” I said quietly into the phone. “Bye, Zac.”
And it was as I hung up that understanding crossed Kieran’s features, realizing that I’d just been on a phone call. Looked between my face and the device still in my hand.
…Something that, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought he just caught me doing something illegal.
…And it just so happened that I didn’t know any better.