A Difference in Doctors

Author’s Note: This is where I really started writing again for Nano.

A Difference in Doctors

“My head.”

“It would be best not to move,” Bonaventure said, and she blinked as she tried to focus on him. Her eyes were having trouble adjusting to the light—the lack thereof, actually. It was a lot darker now than it had been when that bastard was here. “Drink this. It will help with the nausea as well.”

She took the cup, lifting it slowly to her lips. She glanced around, now aware she was sitting on Bonaventure’s couch in his office. The sun had gone down, so the light filtering in from the windows was much less than earlier, and shadows took up most of the room.


“Not back yet,” Bonaventure answered, and she swore. This wasn’t right. As angry as she’d been with Vershon, he’d been in no state to be interrogated, and they shouldn’t have moved him. That they’d gone and sedated her, too, galled her.

She hated feeling this helpless, this powerless.

“This anger will not pass, either,” Bonaventure told her, and she looked up at him again. He must hate this. He would have been capable of fighting them, she was sure of that, but he hadn’t made a move. If he had, he’d be like her right now, wouldn’t he? “It does not improve, though you will learn to pick your battles.”

“Letting him go like that shouldn’t have been one of them. He wasn’t able to move, and that combination of drugs—”

“They simply state he is in the care of a doctor, and we are not doctors, therefore we cannot contradict their experts.”

“That’s complete crap,” she muttered, but her head was pounding too much to do more than that. “That man is no doctor.”


“He looked past me like I wasn’t a person.”

“No one with a Talent is, not to him,” Bonaventure said, sitting down in the other chair. “You are fortunate he saw only a training opportunity in you.”

She could see that now. She supposed it wasn’t like it should have taken a forced sedation to see it, but she wasn’t the sort that just laid back and took anything thrown at her. She had fought hard to get where she was, and she couldn’t stop fighting against all that had ripped it away from her.

“Now that you are awake, you can return to your quarters if you like.”

“Why should I? All I have to look forward to there is being bored while they watch me.”

Bonaventure nodded, sipping from his tea. “The amount of surveillance will reduce in time.”

“Not for everyone, though, right?”

“For Vershon, you mean?”

“They don’t watch you?”

“They do not have to,” Bonaventure said, rising. Was he really that loyal to them? Or did he have them fooled by his ‘pick your battles’ act? She didn’t know what to think of this man at all. He was somehow more confusing than Vershon.

Something beeped, and he went to the desk, checking the screen. He frowned. “They’ve returned Vershon to his room.”

She didn’t try and force herself to move. “You didn’t expect it so soon, did you?”


“If you help me up, I’ll look him over,” she said, and Bonaventure turned his frown on her. “I may not get along with him, but I’m a doctor. And I am not like that man. Vershon is human, he’s a living, breathing man, and he might be an uptight pain in the butt, but… No one deserves what they’re doing to him. Not even that bastard—Never mind that. Just help me up, and I’ll treat him like a proper doctor would.”

Bonaventure studied her, and she waited. She had to figure he didn’t trust her, and she didn’t trust him, so fair was fair, but this was getting to be just as frustrating as the rest of it.

“Not everyone is like them,” she finally said. She wasn’t the government. She wasn’t about to take more from Bonaventure or Vershon than had already been taken. She had no interest in hurting either of them or experimenting on them. She hadn’t made any secret of hating being here, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t help.

“No,” Bonaventure agreed. “They are not.”

She watched Bonaventure pass his hand over the scanner, and the door opened. He must have access to everyone’s room in the dorms, or at least every Talent that was stuck here. She didn’t figure anyone without a Talent lived here intentionally, but some might stay overnight on a case or something. That would make sense, and she doubted all of these rooms were occupied.

Talents were a very small part of the population, after all. The percentage was low, and that was the official number they gave, so it might be higher if some Talents managed to avoid detection, but that didn’t happen often, as she knew well.

She’d been lucky. She’d seen them waiting for her at her dorm and bolted, never going back to any of that even as she continued learning to be a doctor. She had never used that name again or contacted anyone she used to know. She’d left it all behind to try and keep her independence, and it worked—for a while.

Now all of that was gone.

She followed Bonaventure into the apartment. Vershon’s had the same layout as hers, but if anything, he had less in it than she did. The main difference seemed to be the bookshelves on the far wall. He had only one chair, but the shelves ran the entire room, and all of them were full of not one but two rows of books.

She couldn’t even assume he liked to read. That was probably one of the only things he could do around this place.

Bonaventure pushed open the back room, and she felt her Talent stir, the silver light starting to cover her skin as she took in Vershon’s condition. Damn it, had they actually beaten him? The drugs were enough, but he was bruised and unresponsive, and her Talent was tingling across her body, screaming at her to heal him.

Something they’d done was going to kill him if she didn’t.

She crossed over to the bed, aware of Bonaventure’s eyes on her as she lifted her hand and released the light. The color shifted, changing hues as it traveled along Vershon’s body and then faded away. She closed her eyes, exhaustion seeping into every part of her.

“I hate doing that.”

The Mask Slips

Author’s Note: I really like this part because more of Vershon shows through, but I don’t know if that really is good or not.

The Mask Slips

I hate being drugged.”

She almost laughed at that. Did she know anyone that enjoyed it? True, there were still plenty of addicts out there, but what happened to Vershon wasn’t his choice, wasn’t anything he did for fun. Judging from the reaction—or lack of one, she supposed—from Bonaventure, this was all too common. She wouldn’t be surprised if Vershon said those words when he woke up every time.

She found him eying her again, frowning as if he didn’t understand why she was there. She shrugged. Fair was fair, she supposed, since she didn’t know and had certainly given him every reason to think she wouldn’t be.

He’d called it a test, one she’d passed. She’d done what her instincts told her to do and brought him back, but from the way he kept staring, she’d say he didn’t have that happen much, now did he? He’d said the others wait for the end of training to run, but some of them must not have. Some of them must have taken the first opportunity presented by Vershon’s temper and ran for the hills.

She hadn’t. She should have, but she hadn’t.

Sounds like it’s an every day thing for you,” she said, leaning back against the wall, and he turned his from from her to Bonaventure. Did he really think she wouldn’t figure that out? “As a doctor, I know mood stabilizers have their place, but I can’t say that I think they work for you.”

Personally, I would rather not have them, but I am deemed too dangerous without them,” Vershon said, accepting the tea Bonaventure offered to him. Bonaventure really did seem believe in his tea. She supposed it might even work. Drinking it, focusing on it, and centering himself could stop some of the anger, restrain his temper and hold off the sedation. That was what he’d done earlier, before they went to the crime scene.

You aren’t really that scary.”

Perhaps not to you, given what you can to with your Talent, but to most aside from Bonaventure, that holds true.” Vershon sipped from his cup, his expression showing his distaste. Was the tea that bad? Or was he still nauseous? He was rather pale.

He was also right. She didn’t fear him, but then, she didn’t know what he could do, either.

And yet the office comes to you before Bonaventure, supposedly.”

Vershon shrugged. “With Bonaventure’s Talent, that has never surprised me. The government was quick to force him into service and keep him here, though I know he has his own reasons for staying where he is.”

Stopping after those words, Vershon put a hand to his mouth and grimaced. Shaking his head, he cleared his throat. “All I meant was—he will always scare them more than I do.”

Hmm. Now that was an interesting way to phrase it. Almost like he hadn’t meant to say that part aloud. She hadn’t even provoked him that time. She could maybe even work with this. “There is someone more dangerous than you?”

From what I understand, my mother was. That’s why they locked up my father, took me from my home, and most likely killed her.” Vershon put a hand to his head, his other one gripping the tea cup like he might break it. “Damn it. What the hell did they give me this time? It’s like I have no means of stopping my mouth from speaking passing thoughts in my mind.”

Bonaventure took the cup from him, adjusting the blanket around Vershon’s shoulders. Though the gesture was surprisingly affectionate, his face remained a blank mask, and his words were rather devastating. “It would not surprise me if they gave you something that would loosen your tongue as well as put you to sleep given how they tend to interrogate you over your intentions regarding your Talent if you activated it in anger.”

Vershon swore. “I am not having another one of those conversations. I don’t even remember what I might have thought of doing. I never do. That’s how it works with these damned drugs.”

They do not believe that. They never have.”

Do they even have a real doctor administering this stuff?” She couldn’t believe they did. No responsible medical doctor would treat him like this. “I doubt it. A legitimate doctor would know the possible side effects of the drugs include some memory loss as well as the lowered inhibitions or so-called ‘truth serum’ that they seem to think they’re using.”

She hated doctors like that, ones that gave other doctors a bad name, ones that didn’t practice good medicine, ones that were more of a menace to patients than a cure. Being a doctor was supposed to be about saving lives, not endangering them, and yet she heard of so many that did crap like this, and it just infuriated her. She was already angry enough about the way people with Talents were treated, but this was on a new level of terrible, something that shouldn’t have been happening, not ever.

There is a doctor,” Vershon said, not looking at her. “If you are fortunate, you will never have any dealings with him.”

No,” Bonaventure disagreed. “He is not a doctor. There is a researcher. He may hold a degree, but he is not a doctor as you see it.”

Great. So we have one of them experimenting on us, too?”

No. He doesn’t deal with just anyone.” Vershon closed his eyes again, and she bit back her reaction to that. This guy’s focus was Vershon, wasn’t it? The overpowered product of two people with Talents, that must be like some kind of gift to a creep who was willing to experiment on humans. “Plenty go without attracting his notice. You would do well to be one of them.”

She swallowed. With what she could do, would she really be able to do that? If she used her Talent, that alone could be enough, couldn’t it? She was almost certain it was, since Vershon figured it made her immune to what he could do. “Is that even possible?”

Vershon looked at Bonaventure. He gave a slow nod, but made no promise.

You know, I thought your life was messed up before, when you were just spouting their rhetoric, but now, I really don’t know how you stand it.”

Vershon didn’t argue with that, either.

What did you learn at the crime scene?”

Very little of use. They’d destroyed it and raised a crowd by the time I got back with her,” Vershon answered, leaning back against the couch. She doubted he could move with those drugs still in his system.I believe the killer didn’t find what he was looking for, but I don’t know if we can use the trap I set up before thanks to them treating the crime scene like a tourist attraction.”

So the whole operation is compromised?”

Vershon shook his head. “No. I think something of it can be salvaged, but I don’t know. The trap is almost assuredly ruined, since they gathered a crowd, but if it was kept off the news media, then maybe the killer is unaware of the discovery. It would be difficult to go back and set up further surveillance in my current condition, but it’s not a complete loss.”

Bonaventure nodded. “Good.”

Help me up,” Vershon said, reaching out to him. “I need to—”

Not move, because they gave you enough to put down a man three times your size and you will probably regret any attempt to move, plus they’ll be coming for you anyway, so you may as well rest instead of being a stubborn idiot,” she said, blocking his path. “You can’t make this situation better for yourself by pushing past your limits again, now can you?”

Vershon grimaced, turning to Bonaventure. “Exactly what did you tell her?”

Nothing that was not necessary.”

I’m a doctor. This is all coming from that, not some pity party,” she said. “I didn’t hear what I did and start thinking you had a sob story I should cry over. Your life is a mess, that’s not in debate, but I am doing this because I am a damned good doctor, licensed or not.”

I will permit her to take you to your room,” Bonaventure said, and Vershon frowned. “If they wish to take issue with it, they can discuss it with me. You, if you wish to act as his physician, should take him away from here.”

She frowned as Bonaventure helped Vershon up, not missing the strained, white handed grip Vershon had on the older man as he rose. He didn’t look well at all, and she didn’t think moving him was a good idea.

No, he should—”

Vershon. We need to speak.”

Bonaventure’s eyes focused on the man in the doorway with clear anger. He’d seemed expressionless before, but now, looking at him, there was nothing but fury there. He would love to cause that man harm, and she wouldn’t be surprised if he was the one dosed by his restraint now.

You’re not taking him anywhere,” she said, moving forward. “In case you missed it, which you shouldn’t have, since you were the ones that did it, he got a heavy dose of sedative not long ago. If you combine that with his regular medication for mood stabilization—”

Oh. You. You’re the Talent that fancies herself a doctor, aren’t you?”

She balled her fists. “I am a much better doctor than you are, clearly. What I said is basic medical knowledge, which you are ignoring. He’s in no state to answer any questions. He shouldn’t move. He needs to rest. You need to leave.”

The cold eyes of the man in front of her dismissed her without even a glance, like she had said nothing. She almost felt like she must have gotten lucky he acknowledged her before.

She is still new,” Bonaventure said despite the tension in his body. “She just started training today.”

In that case, this is an excellent opportunity, isn’t it?”

Opportunity for—”

Something stabbed through her, but the sharp pain was quickly replaced by darkness.