Tseng ends up really snapping mid-way through the chapter. He represents the anger here (obviously), both he and Rufus represent denial and the acceptance is seen mainly in Rufus.
I think it's a slightly more emotional chapter then the others, but I like it and I hope others do too. :-) It's also much longer then the others; 2160 words.
When they entered the Lodge, the doctor on site was waiting for them. Since none of the Turks nor Rufus were made aware of any meeting upon their arrival to the Lodge, the Turks stood at the ready to attack the man should he attempt to do something to Rufus.
Noting the tension and the hostility towards him, the doctor backed away slowly, making sure his hands remained visible. 'I'm Doctor Gregor. I will be the President's physician during his stay. No one informed you that I would be here when you arrived?'
Tseng approached the doctor, stopping when he was in between him and Rufus. 'No, no one informed us that someone would be here already. We expected it to be empty and quiet upon our arrival. We weren't advised that his physician would be here, nor did we count on it. We gave no indication as to the time of our arrival therefore, admittedly, we are a little suspicious.'
The doctor nodded. 'Of course, it's fully understandable. I wasn't made aware of your arrival other then it would be later today. I've been going over some of the things in the Lodge to make sure that it accommodated the President. His physician in Junon neglected to mention his limited mobility when we first spoke.'
Despite his greatest efforts, a sigh escaped Rufus' lips, loud enough to garner everyone's attention. Of course, leave it the fact that can't walk to interfere with our arrival. And all I wanted to do was sleep... 'I apologize for his forgetfulness, doctor.' Rufus began. 'I hope that you didn't go to too much trouble to make things easier for me while I'm here.'
'Not at all, sir. It was not too much trouble at all. It simply involved moving and removing some furniture and adding some features to some rooms, such as your room, the kitchen and the washroom.'
Rufus nodded to the doctor in thanks and turned to the look at the Turks, who still seemed prepared to attack. 'I also apologize for our hostility, doctor Gregor. The four of you can stand down now; I don't think he'll do anything to harm me. At least not at the moment.'
The three Turks calmed themselves and returned to the normal stance behind Rufus while Tseng backed away from the physician and went to stand beside Rufus, at ease, but still ready to defend the President if necessary. The doctor noted the protective streak in all of them and smiled. Having people this protective and concerned about him will make taking care of him so much easier. He thought to himself.
'Mr. President,’ the doctor began, ‘would you like a tour of the Lodge right now?'
'Please, call me Rufus. There is no need to be so formal.' Rufus chided. 'And no, not at this time, thank you. The only room that I would like to be shown right now is my room so that I can get some rest. I am quite tired.'
'Of course, Rufus. Please, right through here. I'll show the others their rooms in a moment.' The doctor opened a door, which lead to a hallway where several rooms lined the hall. 'This is your room.' He gestured to the door at the end of the hall, 'I hope that it will be to your satisfaction.'
Rufus allowed the doctor to open the door and he wheeled himself in, Tseng not far behind, carrying his suitcase. The room itself was rather sparse, but the furnishings appeared to be expensive. 'The mattress is of the highest quality that we could find sir.' The doctor stated. 'I'm certain that you will find it quite comfortable.'
'I'm sure that I will come to appreciate that the longer I stay here. I'm rather certain that I'll be spending a fair amount of time in bed.'
Tseng moaned audibly, not happy thinking about Rufus and his eventual life in bed. The doctor noted the man's expression and nodded grimly before addressing the President again.
'Unfortunately, yes, you probably will. Hopefully though, we'll be able to keep you out of bed more then keep you in it.'
Not wanting to darken the mood, the doctor quickly changed the subject. 'I realize that the room itself is quite unspectacular, but this is a medical facility, not a hotel and so our decorating skills take a back seat to ensuring the maximum amount of comfort and the easiest access to care. You are more then welcome however to decorate the room as you would like. It is your room after all.'
Rufus nodded. 'Of course, I understand. Though decorating is not on the top of my priority list right now, I thank you for the option to do so.'
'You're quite welcome. Is there anything else I can do for you before you retire for the evening, sir?' Doctor Gregor queried.
'No, thank you. I would just like to change into my evening clothes and get some sleep.'
The doctor hesitated for a moment, before asking, 'Do you need any assistance? I can have a nurse come by and assist you with that task.'
'He doesn't need a nurse to help him,' Tseng snapped. 'We can help him ourselves. He'll be fine.'
'I didn't mean anything by the suggestion, sir.' The doctor corrected. 'It's just that we have nurses on call for patients here specifically for things such as this. If you feel more comfortable taking care of him yourselves when it comes to these issues, you are free to do so. But if there is ever anything that is needed or if something occurs that none of you are able to handle, just know that a nurse is a phone call away ready to help.'
Tseng nodded, 'We would prefer to handle it ourselves and we will be fine. Nurses will not be necessary for him.'
'What Tseng is trying to say is thank you for letting us know about the nurses, however they will be able to handle most of the requests that I have.' Rufus offered while glaring at the Turk. 'Please forgive Tseng for snapping at you; we've all had a very long day.'
'It's alright, I understand where he's coming from.' The doctor replied. 'Have a good rest, sir. I will see you in the morning so that I can examine you.'
'Examine me?' Rufus questioned. 'Now what am I being examined for?'
'To check your overall health and the progress of the Geostigma. It's important for me to know what stage of the disease you are in; all the medication and treatment will be based on it.'
'Alright,' the blond sighed, 'if it must be done. I'll see you tomorrow morning then Doctor Gregor. Have a good evening.'
'Thank you, Rufus. Until tomorrow.' The doctor nodded to the two individuals then left the room, leaving them alone.
Tseng unceremoniously dropped the suitcase on the bed, removing some articles of clothing.
'What are you doing?' Rufus questioned.
'Getting your evening clothes.' Tseng snapped. 'You said you wanted to retire for the evening, did you not?'
'Yes I did, but I do know how to open a suitcase and change myself.' Rufus shook his head, sensing that Tseng was upset about something. 'Is there something wrong? Since when do you snap at me?'
'We are perfectly capable of assisting you with whatever it is that you need. I do not appreciate having some stuck up physician telling me that complete strangers would be better suited to help you. Besides, we don't know them; they can't be trusted.'
Rufus couldn't help but laugh. 'You still don't approve of my decision to relocate.'
'No, I don't. You don't know who these people. We didn't have the chance to run full background checks on any of them so we can't say with 100 percent accuracy that they are who they say they are. You just packed up your stuff and moved up here, thinking that the doctor knows exactly what's best for you. Alright, it's comfortable and quiet so that won't stress you but other then that, what is here? You're just resigning yourself to the fact that you're going to die and want to do it comfortably. That's all this accomplished.'
The blond stared at the Turk, dumbfounded. He couldn't remember the last time Tseng spoke so openly and vehemently about decisions that he didn't agree with.
'So that's what you think? That I came up here so that I could just curl up and die?'
Tseng's anger now had the better of him. The more he talked, the louder, sarcastic and insulting he became. 'What else do you want me to think? "Mr. President, we want to move you to a place where people with Geostigma are being taken care of until they die. Is that alright?" "Of course doctor, pack my bags Turk and let's go." That's what happened. No questions about if they're closer to a cure. No questions about how long they can keep the disease from spreading. Nothing.'
'Tseng,' Rufus warned, 'I'd suggest you calm down before you say something you'll regret.'
'Then that doctor,' Tseng continued, pointing towards the entrance to the Lodge, 'tells you that they picked the most comfortable bed they could find so you'd be comfortable since you'll be spending so much time in it. What do you say? You didn't say "I won't need that bed, I'll be fine." No, you say "I know I'll be needing it so I appreciate it." You might as well just curl up and die now then if that's how you're going to be.'
After his tirade, Tseng took a deep breath and dropped himself onto the bed, arms hanging at his sides. All the energy he had left was drained away. Rufus meanwhile, was still in his chair, quietly observing the raven-haired man, trying to quell his own temper.
'I do not appreciate being yelled at, especially by you.' Rufus began. 'I do fail to understand how you managed to get this upset over these little things, but I am trying to understand where you are coming from.'
'You moved up here to die.' Tseng stated, sounding very tired. 'That's all this is; a place for you to die. You are stronger then this disease, Rufus. I know you can beat this.'
'Tseng,' Rufus shrugged, 'no matter how strong I am and how much I fight, it's fatal. I'm still going to die in the end.'
'You don't know that for sure.' Tseng retorted.
'When the doctor first told me that I had Geostigma,' Rufus confided, 'I denied it for days, telling myself that they were only deep bruises and that they would go away in a few days. When they didn't, I still denied it, trying to convince myself that they were from therapy and that they weren't going away because I kept falling on them everyday. When they started leaking, I tried to think it was because I had fallen on them one too many times, that I hurt them too much and that they were leaking because of that.'
Tseng listened to the blond intently. Very rare was it to have Rufus confide something so personal and he didn't want to interfere.
'When the last bruise came up and it wasn't in a place that I would fall on in therapy, I couldn't deny it any longer. I had to accept the fact that there was something stronger then me out there and that it was in me. Knowing that you're going to die is hard to accept, but not denying the inevitable by spending your days finding excuses for what's happening to you makes things easier.'
The Turk understood what Rufus was telling him through his own experience. Denying it won't make it go away, it only makes you ignore it and make it worse. Accepting that it's there let's you deal with it and find ways to cope.
'Getting angry about it doesn't do much good either.' Rufus continued. 'Trust me, I know. It just stresses you out for nothing and makes you lash out at people that don't deserve it in the first place.'
'Forgive me for the outburst, sir.’ Tseng sighed, ‘What I said shouldn't have come out in that way.'
'You had your reasons so I'll forgive you this time.' Rufus smiled. 'Next time I won't be so nice. I still have some energy you know; I can yell just as well as you can. Plus I'm rather sure I can still fire a gun without too much effort.'
Tseng nodded and rose to his feet. 'I'll let you get some rest sir. Would you like me to help you out of the chair or with the clothing?'
'No, thank you.' Rufus smiled weakly. 'I have enough energy left to do this myself.'
'Of course, sir.' He said as he went to the door. 'Good night, Rufus.'
'Good night, Tseng.'