1787 words this time...not bad
'Hey boss! Get up already!'
Rufus turned slightly, thinking that the shouting was just a part of his dream and went back to sleep. He then heard a sigh and felt someone shaking him.
'C'mon, let's go, sir. The doctor is waiting for you in the main room.'
Rufus slowly opened his eyes, his hand reaching up to rub the sleepiness from them. When he was able to focus, he frowned at the redhead.
'Yes, yes, I'm awake.' Rufus snapped. 'Thank you so much for waking me at such an early hour.'
'Early hour?' Reno chuckled. 'Sir, it's past noon. Last time I checked, that's late for you.'
Rufus raised his eyebrow in surprise. I slept passed noon? He thought. And I still want to sleep? That's odd. Perhaps I should ask one of them to buy me an alarm clock. I don't want to sleep in this much again.
Reno waved his hand in front of Rufus' face. 'You in there? Did you hear what I just said?'
'Yes Reno, I heard you. It's after noon and the doctor is waiting for me.'
'No, I meant after that. I asked you if you wanted me to get your wheelchair. You didn't hear me?' Reno asked, sounding slightly surprised and worried.
He asked me that?? Rufus shook his head. 'Of course I heard you. I was thinking about the answer.' He replied. 'Bring it to the bed, I don't feel like walking to it right now.'
Though not believing that Rufus heard him, he let the matter drop for now. No sense in getting him pissed before he meets with the doctor, anyway. Tseng'll have my balls and Elena will shriek at me. He brought the wheelchair as asked and followed Rufus out to the Lodge's main room.
Upon seeing the President enter the room, Doctor Gregor rose from his seat to shake his hand.
'Good morning, sir. I hope you were able to have a good night's sleep?'
Rufus nodded. 'Yes, I did, thank you. Now, what kind of tests will you be conducting today? Can't you find the results you need from my already thick medical file?'
The doctor shook his head, chuckling. 'I'm afraid not, sir. They’re all standard tests for new patients in the Lodge and they have to be done. First, a blood test to verify if the Geostigma is going through your blood; a biopsy of one of the areas with the stigma to see how far along the disease has progressed. Then the usual exams will be done; I'll listen to your breathing to detect any possible stigma in your lungs and then, an overall examination to verify all areas currently stricken by Geostigma and to try and detect areas that will soon show signs of the stigma as well.'
'Oh, is that all.' Rufus replied sarcastically. 'And here I thought that it was going to be a lot.'
'It shouldn't take any longer then 3 to 4 hours, sir.' The doctor retorted, ignoring the sarcasm. 'Now please sir,' he began while reaching for a syringe, 'if you would remove your shirt, I could get started with the blood test.'
The blond nodded and began undoing the buttons of his shirt. He slowly began removing it, since moving quickly only caused the stigma already present on his arm to react, he felt another set of hands helping him with the task. Turning to look at who assisted him; he raised one eyebrow up in question.
'I wouldn't want to see the Geostigma cause you an attack.' Tseng explained.
Rufus looked at him, slightly confused. 'Reno was the one that was in here with me. Was he not?'
'Yes.' Tseng confirmed. 'But I told him to leave and that I would take over.'
'And why's that?'
'I knew that at some point Reno would have said something stupid and either you or the doctor would have killed him. The last thing I need is a dead Turk.'
'Ah.' Rufus nodded, 'he's that valuable I see.'
'It's not that.' Tseng chuckled. 'I just don't want all the extra paperwork.'
'Ahem.' The doctor interrupted. 'Whenever you're ready sir,' the doctor motioned to the needle, 'I'll begin.'
'Of course.' Rufus replied, holding out his arm. 'I can't be more ready then I am now.'
The doctor began with the tests, Rufus keeping his patience in check. He wasn’t pleased that he had to go through more tests, however he understood the necessity of them.
Once the doctor completed the blood tests and the biopsy, the doctor began to closely examine the blond for further signs of the stigma.
‘How is your breathing? Is that getting more difficult?’
Rufus shrugged. ‘Only when I lay on my back. It feels like something is sitting on me when I do.’
The doctor examined the scar on his chest and compared it with the results he had from the hospital when it was first discovered.
‘It’s definitely darker then it was at first, which could mean that it had gone deeper then we first thought it would.’
Tseng shook his head. ‘And that means what exactly?’
‘That it’s moving into his lungs. It’s to be expected with the scar where it is, I just didn’t anticipate that it would spread this quickly.’
Rufus sighed. This would be the doctor’s polite way of saying that I’m going to die a lot faster then he thought. Hmph, figures. It’s not like I don’t deserve this though; after everything that Shinra put the planet through, I suppose it’s only fair it does this to me.
‘Do you feel any pain in your neck at the moment, sir?’ the doctor asked, not receiving a response. Tseng wanted to shake the President out of his daze, but waited for the blond to snap out of it on his own. When the doctor noticed that Rufus was no long distracted, he continued.
‘Do you feel any pain in your neck at the moment, sir?’
‘Only when Reno is around.’ He said. ‘But joking aside, not really, no. It’s a little stiff at times, but nothing more then that. May I ask why?’
The doctor ignored the question and continued to examine him. ‘Any problems hearing? Anything sound muffled or different?’
‘No. Everything is fine. Why?’
‘How about your eye?’ he asked as he covered Rufus’ right eye. ‘Is anything fuzzy right now? Is the light hurting it? Can you see the mountains out that window?’
Rufus sighed in frustration. ‘No, no and yes, I can. Now for the third time, why are you asking me these questions?’
Doctor Gregor returned to his seat, Rufus’ eyes never leaving him.
‘Because there is the beginnings of a Geostigma scar on your neck. That is what is causing the stiffness in your neck. As the scar gets bigger, it will cause you to either go deaf or blind.’
‘And how long before either of those happen?’ Rufus asked, hiding his concern and disappointment at the news.
‘It’s hard to say really. A month, maybe two. Once the scar turns black, it’ll only be a matter of time before one of the two happens, or worse.’
Worse?? Gaia, now what…. ‘How much worse can it get? What?’ Rufus smirked, ‘It’ll crawl into my brain and kill me that way??’
The doctor silently nodded.
‘What do you mean yes!?’ Rufus shouted, no longer hiding his anger. ‘My other doctor said it was the body working excessively to fight off an infection. Now you’re saying that it’s the infection itself that is going to kill me!?’
‘No,’ the doctor explained, ‘your body will sense the infection in such a delicate area and will work itself doubly hard to kill the infection…’
‘So in the end, my body thinks it’s doing the right thing by working to kill it where in the end, the fact that it fought so hard will be what kills me.’ Rufus concluded.
‘That’s right. I am sorry for the grave news, sir.’
‘Don’t be.’ Rufus quipped. ‘I would be lying if I said that I expected good news from this exam. Is there anything else you need to do?’
‘No sir, that’s all. I will be back in a couple of days to check up on you.’
Tseng nodded and walked the doctor to the door. He then noticed Rufus wheeling himself back to his room. He approached Rufus and put his hands on the handles of the chair, stopping it.
‘You haven’t eaten yet, sir. Rude was preparing lunch and it’s ready.’
‘I’m not hungry, Tseng,’ he sighed while trying to get his wheelchair out of the Wutain’s grip, ‘I simply want to return to my room and be alone for a while.’
Tseng let go of the chair and followed the blond into his. ‘You said so yourself that you didn’t expect any good news from this Rufus so what is your problem?’
Rufus lifted himself from his chair, staring at Tseng, anger showing in his blue eyes. ‘What part of alone did you not understand? Do I have to buy you a dictionary for your birthday?’
‘Your sarcasm isn’t helping matters.’
‘I don’t care what it’s doing! I said I wanted to be left alone, at which point you decided to ignore my request.’
‘I simply want to discuss with you what he found.’
‘What is there to discuss!? I’m either going to go blind or deaf, then die when it gets to my brain. There. Discussion closed. Get out.’
Tseng tried to help Rufus see the possible bright side. ‘There’s no guarantee that it will move that fast and settle there…’
‘Of course it will!’ Rufus shouted. ‘Quit trying to look on the bright side, or cheer me up or whatever in Gaia’s name you think you’re doing. Just get out.’
Tseng shook his head in frustration, stopping before he exited the room. ‘Fine. Stay in here by yourself. Wallow in self-pity. Do what you have to do. In the meantime, we’ll be in the kitchen. When you’re done pouting, feel free to come and live with the rest of us.’
‘I don’t want to see all that I’ll be losing.’ Rufus murmured to himself.
‘Most people want to take full advantage of the things that they’ll be losing before they lose them.’ Tseng replied softly. ‘You’re not dead yet Rufus, don’t start acting like you are.’
Tseng quietly closed the door behind him, leaving Rufus alone. Sitting himself back in his wheelchair, he turned towards the picture window, losing himself in the view and his thoughts.