This Too Shall Pass 3 4 25

[16:17] <Raphael> Sometimes it seemed as though Raphael spent more time in Medical than anywhere else on the Dorian - more than his own room, depending on the week. If he wasn't spending time there for some injury of his own he was there to see to someone else's, which had led to the vast majority of the doctors and nurses treating him with a worrying degree of familiarity.-
[16:17] <Raphael> Luckily the latest visit was a routine one. With Raphael due to depart for Asgard within a few days, Doctor Tenma had requested he bring Caitlin in for her latest check-up. The two of were seated in the reception area of the good doctor's office… and it didn't take more than a casual observer to note that Raphael was being ignored in favour of Caitlin's latest present from Technical.
[16:33] <Minaplo> [The 'present' in this case was an arm-mounted computer, fitting snugly from wrist to arm. It was predominantly controls, with the actual 'screen' being projected holographically into the air.-
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["Hemingway." Said Caitlin.-
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Hi." Came a voice from the computer. The head of a man appeared, with short black cropped hair.-
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["What's Biogel?"-
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Biogel… It's a medical substance…"-
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Mr. Guillory." Called a nurse. "Dr. Tenma will see you now."]
[16:39] <Raphael> "Thank you, ma'am," he replied, giving the woman a smile and a quick bob of his head. He gave Caitlin a gentle tap on the shoulder, barely even hesitating as he interrupted the Joy Of Learning.-
[16:39] <Raphael> "Time to go, Caity."
[16:48] <Minaplo> [Hemingway dutifully paused, waiting for Raphael to finish.-
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["Oh… Okay." Said Caitlin, quickly hopping to her feet. The moment she did, Hemingway continued.-
[16:53] <Minaplo> [Dr. Tenma held the door open, smiling a little. "Hi, Caitlin. How're you?"-
[16:54] <Minaplo> ["Hi. I'm okay. Have you met Hemingway?"-
[16:57] <Minaplo> ["Good morning, Doctor!" Said Hemingway, the holographic head rotating to stare up at him.-
[16:58] <Minaplo> ["… I suppose I have now." Said Tenma with a smile, shooting Raphael a questioning look.]
[17:05] <Raphael> "Technical's idea," Raphael clarified as he stepped through the door, standing at Caitlin's shoulder. "It's… some sort of AI, I think; The way they explained it it's something like an encyclopedia you can talk to. James Riel wanted something to help Caity with everything she's missed."
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["Isn't it cool?" Said Caitlin with a huge grin.-
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["It's pretty neat, yes. Would've been helpful during med school…" He peered at it a little closer. "Does it have wifi?"-
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["I do!" Said Hemingway.-
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["Of course you do." Said Tenma. "Alright, Caitlin, just take a seat…"-
[17:24] <Minaplo> [For the next twenty minutes or so, Caitlin went through the full bevy of tests. Blood tests, pressure tests, her height and weight recorded, her eyes checked, her balance observed, her prosody and vocabulary tested.-
[17:27] <Minaplo> [All the while, Hemingway chimed in whenever there had been a lull in conversation.-
[17:27] <Minaplo> […-
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["Well, everything seems to check out so far." Said Tenma finally, after Caitlin had finished dictating a letter. "I'll have these blood samples analysed of course, but so far she seems to be a perfectly healthy young woman."]
[17:43] <Raphael> "Hmmmmm."-
[17:43] <Raphael> Raphael seemed to give this his full consideration this for a moment, before finally turning to prod at the side of Caitlin's neck. "I'm not sure, Doctor. I think I see the beginnings of a second head growing right about here…"
[17:45] <Minaplo> ["Erk." Caitlin glared at him. "There's no such thing!"-
[17:46] <Minaplo> ["I wouldn't so sure." Said Tenma slowly. "I've seen a few cases if Dicranial Morphosis in my time."-
[17:46] <Minaplo> ["…"]
[17:49] <Raphael> "We'll wait until it grows in and decide which one we like more, I suppose," Raphael murmured.
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["H-Hemingway, what's Dicranial Morphosis?" Asked Caitlin quickly.-
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["Dicranial: use of Greek prefix on Latin word." Said Hemingway in a deep, disapproving tone.-
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["Oh, it's a spoilsport as well." Said Tenma.]
[17:56] * Raphael let his serious mask crack enough to reveal a grin as he put an arm around his sister's shoulders. "Just playing with you, little one. Glad to hear everything's ok?"
[17:58] <Minaplo> ["Hmph." She nudged him hard in the ribs.-
[18:00] <Minaplo> ["… Good to hear though." She mumbled.-
[18:00] <Minaplo> [Tenma smiled broadly.]
[18:11] <Raphael> The nudge earned a distinctly feigned wince. "She's got no problems on the strength front, certainly."-
[18:11] <Raphael> "So is there anything else we ought to discuss, doctor? Anything to keep in mind while I'm away?"
[18:15] <Minaplo> ["Actually, I was hoping to have a word with you if you didn't mind…?"]
[18:16] * Raphael shot Caitlin a glance. "Do you mind waiting? I can catch up if you'd rather head somewhere else."
[18:16] <Minaplo> ["Nuh-huh." Said Caitlin, shaking her head. "I'll be outside, ok?"]
[18:17] <Raphael> "Alright," he agreed, ruffling her hair a little as he took back his arm.
[18:18] <Minaplo> [And so she quickly left. "Hemingway, tell me about…"-
[18:18] <Minaplo> ["Looks like she's doing well." Said Tenma with a small smile. "Energetic, too."]
[18:22] <Raphael> "Very," he agreed. He leaned forward in his chair, hands folded between his knees. "And understandably curious about everything. That Hemingway thing seems odd until you've tried to find enough hours in the day to answer all of her questions."
[18:22] <Minaplo> ["Hahahaha. No kidding?"]
[18:23] <Raphael> "None at all. She was always that way, but there's a good deal more to ask about these days."
[18:35] <Minaplo> ["Isn't that the truth."-
[18:36] <Minaplo> [But Tenma folded his hands together and peered at Raphael, his brow creasing slightly. "And how are you feeling?"]
[18:48] <Raphael> There was a moment of hesitation as Raphael met Tenma's eyes and seemed to take his measure. Finally he let out a little sigh and shrugged.-
[18:48] <Raphael> "… Better than I expected to be. I'm trying to take things as they come, as Delgado keeps advising me."
[18:54] <Minaplo> ["That's a good start." Said Tenma gently. "You're being supported as you need?"]
[18:55] <Raphael> "More than I could ask for," he nodded.
[18:55] <Minaplo> [Tenma nodded. "Any problems with your current form?"]
[18:59] <Raphael> "Everything… uh, seems to be where it's supposed to be," he said with a thin smile. "The process seems to have adjusted my motor control again, so I'm moving without problems."
[18:59] <Minaplo> ["Can you still use chopsticks?"]
[19:02] <Raphael> "I can't say it's come up."
[19:03] <Minaplo> ["Hmm, plenty of time either way."-
[19:05] <Minaplo> [Tenma sat back a little in his office chair. "Overall though, seems like you've settled in with it well so far. That's good…"-
[19:06] <Minaplo> ["… Oh, she probably told you herself." Said Tenma. "But Suzie's physical therapy has been progressing very well. Ah… She's making excellent progress."]
[19:31] <Raphael> "Hah. Trust me, I've heard. She's relentless with her exercises even outside of her therapy," Raphael grinned. "There's even a little chart over her bed to mark her personal bests. I think the only way she could be more committed would be if you gave her someone to compete against."
[19:45] <Minaplo> [Tenma laughed. "I get the feeling she'd destroy most of the competition."-
[19:46] <Minaplo> ["It sounds like things are going pretty well for the two of you as well. She's adjusting?"]
[20:12] <Raphael> "Suzie or Caitlin?"
[20:13] <Minaplo> ["Suzie."]
[20:20] <Raphael> "I think so. She's not the easiest girl to faze, but this year has been hard on her. I think she likes that there's a goal to focus on."
[20:23] <Minaplo> ["Mmm, that sounds about right." Said Tenma with a quick smile.-
[20:23] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[20:24] <Minaplo> ["Do you mind if I ask a question of a more personal nature?" Asked Tenma, his smile fading.]
[20:25] <Raphael> "…" He nodded once, watching Tenma closely. "Of course."
[20:25] <Raphael> «Go ahead* might be better»
[20:27] <Minaplo> ["Thanks." Said Tenma.-
[20:27] <Minaplo> ["… So… How have you found guardianhood of Suzie so far?"]
[17:51] <Raphael> Raphael was silent for a little too long to effectively disguise just how wrong-footed he was by the question, even as he met Tenma's gaze with a hard look of his own. "She's… I mean, there were some difficulties, of course, but I think she's as happy and healthy as I could hope for under the circumstances. I think I've done as well as anyone could've…"
[18:01] <Minaplo> ["That's good, that's good. But I was asking… How it's changed you."]
[18:44] <Raphael> "Oh." He frowned, and a bit of bristling defensiveness in his posture seemed to fade even if the confusion didn't. "… I'm not sure— No, actually maybe I do know where to start."-
[18:44] <Raphael> "It's hard to say whether changes are to do with Suzie or Rei or Misato, but if there's one thing I know I learned from her specifically it's that I can't take care of her if I'm lost in my own nonsense. There's no room for it. And I don't mean that as an attempt to sound selfless, it's just a matter of practicality; If she wakes up from a nightmare scared and alone and missing her
[18:44] <Raphael> parents, how I feel in that moment can't and shouldn't matter."
[18:47] <Minaplo> ["…" Tenma listened to this quietly and patiently; as Raphael finished he nodded slowly. "I see…"-
[18:48] <Minaplo> [Finally he gave Raphael a wry smile. "I should come clean on why I'm asking this, huh?"]
[19:02] <Raphael> "And here I thought it was just idle curiosity, doctor."
[19:04] <Minaplo> ["My curiosity isn't worth your discomfort, Raphael." Said Tenma.-
[19:05] <Minaplo> ["I don't… Suppose you heard about de Pteres' most recent escapade?"]
[19:09] * Raphael sighed. "I would have to quit my job to properly keep track."
[19:13] <Minaplo> [Tenma chuckled. "He visited Paris by himself. Came back with a homeless girl, maybe about 14 years old, named √Člodie. He told her she could live on the ship, and…"]
[19:16] <Raphael> "… ah," Raphael muttered as his eyes widened in understanding, "They're looking for a guardian."
[19:17] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Tenma. "I'm, ah…" He blushed a little, rubbing the back of his head. "On the shortlist."]
[19:20] <Raphael> "Their choice or yours, if you don't mind my asking?"
[19:38] <Minaplo> ["Well, their choice." Said Tenma. "That is… Marianne's. She's been doing the interviews, you see. I just. I'm not sure if I want to or not."]
[19:48] <Raphael> "Hmm. I don't want to oversimplify things, but it seems to me that you shouldn't jump into a thing like that if you're not sure…"
[19:52] <Minaplo> ["Mmm…" Tenma frowned thoughtfully down at his hands.-
[19:52] <Minaplo> ["How did you find making that choice?"]
[19:57] <Raphael> "Well… Things moved very quickly for me. We were both injured during Malchediel's attack, and she'd lost her parents. Rei wanted to take her in, but at her age the best she could do was ask for my help directly." He shrugged with a small smile. "By the time we were out of the hospital the arrangements had already been made for her to live with me. There was no more time to doubt myself,
[19:57] <Raphael> I just had to do."
[20:01] <Minaplo> ["I see…"-
[20:02] <Minaplo> [Tenma's left hand tapped across his desk. "Perhaps the question's about what she needs and not about my own feelings."]
[20:09] * Raphael shook his head. "I don't want you to misunderstand me; I don't think you should blindly throw your needs aside from the outset. I'm just saying if you were to take up the role then that was part of the job description."-
[20:09] <Raphael> "Still, you're right. You need to honestly judge your abilities against what she needs. I was on the list of people asked about taking in Eevi Nieminen, but I had to turn them down because I knew I wasn't equipped for the job. It was incredibly difficult, but it was the right choice for both of us." He paused long enough to look down at his own hands and gather his thoughts. "I'd say it
[20:09] <Raphael> would be worth at least meeting the girl and seeing what came of it, personally."
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["… Mmmm. You may be right." Said Tenma hesitantly.]
[20:15] <Raphael> "Do you know who else has been asked?"
[20:24] <Minaplo> ["Casey Cole from Navigation, Jeanne Simon from Security, Delacour from the Diplomatic Service and Mac Naoimhin from Engineering."]

unfin

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