Story: Radial: Unravel
Challenge: FOTD - Antipathetic; Marmalade #2 - Monitor; Blueberry Yoghurt #28 - For Your Own Good
Topping: Whipped Cream (Alex is 12)
Word Count: 821
Summary: Alex's little display has had some unfortunate side effects, and he meets a medic less than enchanted with his job.
After three days of nosebleeds they finally sent him to the medical department. He’d protested that he was fine and it was nothing, but they called him an ignorant child and sent him anyway.
He couldn’t blame them for wanting to protect their investment, but it didn’t mean he wanted to be standing outside the office, waiting for the permission to enter that never seemed like it’d be forthcoming.
“Come on then, kid.”
He closed his eyes briefly, then pushed open the door.
The medic was younger than he expected. They were some of the oldest people he’d seen in his own department, reliable-looking if not known for their warmth and empathy. This one was much younger: his hair was even all one colour, a rusty kind of brown that looked like he’d dragged his fingers through it several times an hour. He also did not look happy. “What’s wrong with you?”
The man folded his arms, leaned back in his seat and said, “so why is your nose bleeding?”
Alex wiped it with the back of his hand and stared at the red smear stark against his fair skin. “It’s nothing.”
“Clearly it’s nothing. You kids are freaks.” He stood up and stalked towards Alex, grabbing hold of his chin and dragging it this way and that, checking his ears, his eyes; Alex didn’t attempt to resist. “What is it? Been fighting?”
“Then what is it?”
Alex jerked his head free from the rough grip and turned his attention to the ground instead. “It’s nothing.” Two crimson spots splashed against the lino.
There was a silence; in his peripheral vision he saw the man rest his hands on his hips. “You overexerted yourself, didn’t you? What were you doing, showing off?”
“I wasn’t.” Why did everyone assume that he was?
“Never mind. And if you’re doing this,” he seized his chin again and held it up; Alex felt blood trickle into his mouth, “then we need to take you for an MRI. Make sure there’s no lasting damage.”
“I’m fine,” he tried again, trying and failing to free himself from the medic’s hold.
“Just shut up and do what you’re told, kid,” he sighed. “It’s for your own good.”
The machine had thumped and clanked until Alex thought it would drive him deaf or mad and wasn’t sure which one was preferable. It wasn’t even his first one but the experience didn’t ever improve.
“Good news and bad news,” the medic said from the adjoining room, his eyes locked on the screen illuminating his face. “The good news is you’ve got no haemorrhages, although you should learn your limitations before you do develop one. Right now, your stupidity has yet to be the death of you.”
“What’s the bad news?” He asked warily, sitting with his hands beside his thighs and his legs dangling. With his luck just lately his nose would choose now to start bleeding again and he’d be hauled off for further tests. He was already missing far too many classes just being here.
“The bad news?” The man laughed and swivelled the chair to point through the window at Alex. “The bad news is that your stupidity has yet to be the death of you.”
Alex shrugged and hopped off the MRI unit’s bed.
“Don’t enter paediatric medicine,” the medic advised as he walked through the door. “In this place it’s full of creepy little brats like you. You think it’ll pay well and the next thing you know you’re stuck with children.”
“I wouldn’t do medicine.” He stared at the door; he’d dismiss him now, he was sure of it. He’d been right after all: there was nothing wrong with him. “I don’t like children.”
For one moment silence reigned, just long enough to make Alex nervous. Long silences after he spoke were bad. They meant he’d said the wrong thing, and that never went well. When laughter filled where silence had so recently been he flinched, startled, and turned to the bank of monitors. “You know, kid,” the medic said, leaning back in his chair with one hand over his mouth, his shoulders shaking. “I could get to like you.”
Alex opened his mouth, then closed it again. If you don’t know what to say, say nothing.
“You can go. Go on, shoo. Come back if it gets worse, but it should stop in a day or two. Don’t try to kill yourself again.”
He nodded once and slid from the room. If there was one room he didn’t intend on going back to for as long as he was here, it was this one. He would walk on broken legs if it meant Kennet didn’t win. Scrubbing his nose with the back of his hand, he was relieved to find it come away dry. Once he’d stopped bleeding inconveniently everywhere, he’d make sure that Kennet paid for this.