Author's Note: This chapter is the official start of Arc II of A World Without Cure. This takes place more than two years after the original incident of Chapter 1, and one year and several months after Eve's start at the Institute.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Instead of referring to this part as 'Arc II', I believe it will be easier to refer to the story by time. Therefore, from here on and going forward, this part will be known as Year Three (with Chapter 1 and 12 being 'Year One' and Chapter 2 until Chapter 11 being 'Year Two').
--A WORLD WITHOUT CURE--
Several Months Later...
Eve looked out the window, her face all smiles. The sun shone directly across, glowing bright against her world inside the Institute, the place of hope and miracles. Today, there was another reason to be happy.
That morning, she got up still in her pajamas with a stretch, sending her long flowing hair fluffing up into the air before gravity set it back down lightly against her back. As she did her morning exercise, one of the Farrell family maids, Mei, knocked on the door politely before coming in. "Oh, you're up already, Lady Farrell."
"Yep," she replied back as she did a last full stretch and jumped as high as she could. "Aah! The sun feels extra bright today. It's blinding!"
"You seem even more cheerful today, Lady Farrell," Mei smiled, leading her to Eve's vanity table and taking out a hairbrush from one of its drawers. "It's always nice to see you in the morning like this."
"Heh... Thank you, Mei." she replied, her eyes closed as her personal maid brushed her hair down and straight, colored that of a dirty deep green sea. "You really think I'm extra cheerful today?"
"Yes, ma'am," the maid nodded. "I believe you didn't notice because it's something inside you that's telling you you're happier."
"Eh, why not? That's as good an explanation as any," Eve said with a wave of her hand.
Mei proceeded to comb her hair, loosening the long hair dark as a deep green sea. "You have pretty hair, Lady Farrell."
"...Thank you, Mei. But you always say that."
"...Does this happiness today have something to do with why you cut your hair several weeks ago?"
"Why is everyone so obsessed about why I cut my hair?" Eve turned around. "I need all the happy I can get before I even go there, that's all."
Mei was confused. "There, Lady Farrell?"
Present Day - 1:52PM, White Cross Institute, Operating Room D101
Eve looked at her wristwatch. "Ah! Finally time of the day," she cheered. Eve felt even better after her work, just finishing two successful operations with the veteran, Dr. Maxwell Baldwin.
"You seem cheery today, Ms. Farrell," Doctor Baldwin commented as he flipped over some papers concerning the rest of today's patients. "A special event today?"
"Everyone keeps saying that," Eve pouted. "Can't I look happy for once?"
"Sorry," Doctor Baldwin chuckled. "Maybe it's because you were hanging around Doctor Cross too long."
"Yeah, that would explain a lot. I'm just happy our operations today were successful," Eve smiled, until she accidentally looked at her wrist watch again and noticed her initial look was incorrect. "Oops, I'm a little late! Sorry, Doctor Baldwin, I have to go now."
"Ah, right... half day today," Baldwin scratched his head. "Wish I had one o' those..." As Eve turned the corner out the room, the doctor whistled at her back and she turns around. "Seriously though, Ms. Farrell, the whole cheeriness is actually starting to creep me out now... Does it have something to do with the haircut?"
"No, it has NOTHING to do with the haircut," Eve angrily complained, waving her hair dark as a deep-green sea, now cut and long just below her shoulders. "Is there something wrong with my hair? Everyone's been asking me about the hair since I cut it!"
"Hey, no, no, it's not horrible or anythin'," Doctor Baldwin added, a drop of sweat and a few steps away from the fuming nurse was his immediate step. "I was... just wondering where you were going?"
"Oh, sorry," Eve smiled, saluting the doctor as she walked away. "Doctor Cross is getting out of the hospital today."
A WORLD WITHOUT CURE
The Second Coming
Chapter 14: Meaning of Birth, Purpose--
Authored by Bleu Ciel
Present Day - 2:07PM, White Cross Institute, Doctor Cross' Hospital Room
Eve knocked politely before going in, peaking first through the door to make sure everything was alright. Cross had always been a person of privacy, and he had specifically requested certain measures before entering his hospital bedroom.
Measures, of course, that his nurse Eve Farrell took no proper care of.
"Hey, Walter," Eve greeted as she opened the door wide, seeing the patient on the bed who sighed upon noticing her. "You've heard the news, righ-- Oh, you're up already?"
Eve entered the room, where Cross was already sitting up, listening to the sounds made outside his open window, where the leaves swayed and the wind's whispers blew a sort of nature's melody to him. His eyes were closed to the world, holding dearly a rosary to himself, close to his heart.
'Oh, he's praying,' Eve erked, as she back off in case he saw her. 'Oops, I hope I didn't disturb--'
"--It's too late to think that... Miss Eve," Cross said as put the necklace back into his shirt, opening his eyes slowly as he turned to the nurse. "I told you to stop calling me by my first name."
"Yeah, but that never stopped me before," Eve commented as she waved her hair straight and stood beside his hospital bed. "Besides... you call me 'Ms. Eve' don't you? If you can say my first name, would you like me to call you 'Mr. Walter' just so we're even?"
"Tch, fine fine... I give up," Cross sighed his famous but repetitive sigh, closing his eyes silently.
Eve looked at him, his eyes closed once again, unopening, peaceful like a sleeping child. "I'm sorry... Were you... praying?"
"I'm pretty sure I told everyone to ask for permission before entering my room as well, but it seems even THAT is beyond your understanding," Cross grunted, his arms crossed. "But yes. I was praying."
"Praying," Eve murmured silently under her breath, though Walter was fully aware. "It must be nice. Peaceful, I mean."
"Yes... though interrupted by your sudden outburst of noisy enthusiasm."
"Heh, no matter," Walter grinned. "I am satisfied that you respect what it is I do, despite the fact that you don't believe it yourself. That respect is enough of an apology for me."
"Hmph," Eve pouted. "You say it like that, but I know inside that little jerk-ish head, you're making fun of me."
"Hahahahah," Walter laughed, scratching his eyes. "Anyway... Why are you here? Aren't you supposed to be at work?"
"Heh heh," Eve chuckled, pointing at herself . "Didn't you know? I'm your perioperative, of course."
"Wait, what?" Cross exclaimed, looking at her with a mouth agape. "I still need to-- I thought I was getting out today!?"
"Yeah, but since you're such a big baby, the new Chief Director said you require at least one day of the post-hospital perioperative procedure - Eve Farrell style! I volunteered, of course, but I think she'd have chosen me anyway."
"The new director, huh," Cross scratched his head, scattering his hair all over his face. "Grrr! She's even fruitier than our previous Chief Director... Is she at the Institute right now?"
"Not yet," Eve nodded her head sideways. "She comes in next week, I believe. But I don't think that's the point, 'Mr. Walter!' I saved you once from the Godseed already, and if you think you can just sit there on your lazy ass all day, researching about the Godseed or brooding like maniac, forcing opinions on other people--"
"Alright, alright. Fine," he reluctantly agreed. "Just, one thing..."
"...Walter's fine. No 'Mr.' please, for my sanity's sake."
Present Day - 2:44PM, Charleston Park, South of the Institute
Eve and Walter walk together along the park sidewalk, inhaling the hilltop fresh air, the fair breeze and the cool sunshine. They had both changed to casual wear, Eve with her usual long and flowing green skirt with her complementary brown overshirt, and Cross wears his usual white clothing - a kind of camouflage to his curly hair white as fresh-fallen snow, long and wavy, covering half his eyesight.
On the other side of the park, away from Eve and Walter's vision was Alex and Melanie, sitting casually, resting on the soft trimmed grass.
"Hey, is... is that Sir Cross with Eve?" Alex said, surprised, looking to the two who were far in the distance. "I wonder if they can see us?"
"Mr. Cross and Eve? Hey, it is," Melanie replied, looking as far as she could too. "Aww, that's cute. It's just the two of them."
"Uh, cute?" Alex said with a raised eyebrow. "It's kinda hard to mix Sir Cross with the word 'cute,' but whatever you say."
"Say... Isn't that Alex and Melanie over there?" Eve noticed at the same time from their side, looking to the distance where the small speck of Alex and Melanie together were on the other side.
"Clear vision, Miss Eve," Walter mentioned, tapping his head. "Unfortunately, my sight isn't as good as yours. But if you say so."
"Stop messing around, Doctor Cross," Eve said, putting her hand over her eyes and leaned over to the distance. "Hmm... It IS Alex and Melanie... I guess they're on their break."
"Aww, isn't that just adorable," Cross mocked. "Now if you're done spying on them, let's keep moving."
"Hmph," Eve pouted, looking at Walter's clothes. "You ever wear anything other than white?" Eve asked as they continued their stroll.
"Not if I can help it," Cross simply commented. "What about you... what's with the long skirts?"
"Is that bad?"
"Not really, just... not really something someone your age would wear so often. That's what old people usually wear."
"...It reminds me of my mother," he added.
"O... Oh," Eve stopped, Walter eventually doing the same when he noticed she lagged behind.
"Can I talk without you getting so overly emotional?" Cross coldly commented, his hands in his pockets, looking sourly at the nurse. "That's a bad habit of yours. Commendable, caring... but not very useful. Act like a perioperative, damn it."
"Heh, you're right," Eve beamed up once again, moving right beside the Saint once more, continuing their stroll. "That's why I like talking to you... You're the jerk that's pretty much the opposite of every other friend I have."
"I'm glad you see it that way," Walter smirked. "Not everyone requires the same solution... Some are motivated by kindness, and some are just spoiled by it. It's a tiresome cycle."
"Yeah yeah, you're amazing," Eve interrupted, putting her hands over her ears, pretending not to listen. "Seriously, though... You should blame yourself why you're always so depressing all the time! Just listen to what you're saying! I don't really care for what psychological explanation for whatnot or whatever. That's YOUR bad habit!"
"Heh... Hahahahahah!" Cross laughed out loud. "Heh... You are correct, Ms. Eve. I guess we all have our habits."
"And what psychological cure would you recommend for that then, Oh Doctor of Psychology?"
"I cannot say," Cross smiled, moving ahead. "After all... this is a world without simple cures."
"Uh, jeez, it's already passed lunch," Eve scratched her head, looking at her wristwatch with a worrysome look. "I didn't even notice."
"Great. Some perioperative you are," Cross sighed, rubbing in between his eyes. "With nurses like you, we poor sick people will need an autopsist earlier than rigor mortis sets in... Nothing to worry about, though. Let's stop here."
"Huh... Tennessen's," she said aloud, reading the green board with the neon sign high above the entrance. "A tea shop and restaurant?"
"I usually eat here," Cross offered a seat, opposite to a two-chair table outside the store. "C'mon, my treat."
"Your treat? Hey, wait, no... I-I can't, I'm supposed to be your--"
"Just shut up and choose what to eat already," Cross angrily replied, calling for the owner in the distance. "I'm rich - I can do whatever the bloody hell I want."
"Jeez... Can you be any more forceful?" Eve sarcastically said as she looked over the menu on the table. At that time, a round man with a small blonde moustache came, smiling at the two customers with a greeting.
"Ah, jolly to see you again, Sir Cross," the owner greeted. "I've not seen you in months, Doctor... Been sick I hear?"
"Yeah... Stuck at the Institute for a couple of months now, just out today... Been a pain, especially with a nurse like her bothering me every bloody day."
"Hey!" Eve complained.
"Hah, I knew it, else you'd not be missing here in this very spot on the dot ev--'ryday," the owner laughed. "Or is it the girls' fault this time, Doctor?"
"Usually is," Walter chuckled.
"Hey!" Eve complained again. "Why you--"
"Anyway... The usual lunch for me," Cross said, ignoring the fuming co-worker and giving his menu to the owner.
"I'll have... the grilled steak on apple sauce with the... lettuce leaf and cottage cheese."
"Italian Mocha Espresso with the vanilla cream."
"Thank you," the owner bowed before he left.
As the owner left, Eve looked to Walter with sarcastic pity. "Everyday on the spot? Can you get any more monotonous?"
"Says the one who ordered a lettuce leaf and cottage cheese. You on a diet? Well... you ARE getting rather fat."
"Stop saying that; you're excused," Walter chuckled as the owner came with their orders.
"Here you go," the owner said as he place a plate of italian sausages and fried vegetable rice with melted cheese and spices on Cross' side of the room, with his usual lend of tea, of course. "Fresh off and steaming, as you like it. And you, my dear," the owner once again confirmed as she was given her own meal.
"Thank you," Eve smiled.
"Heh, you picked a precious here, Doctor... and so polite too," the owner smiled, looking at Walter with a tease. "Come to think of it, Doctor... the girl you mentioned that one day? Your co-worker... Eve, was it now?"
"Quiet, please, Mr. Tennessen," Cross stopped with a palm. "I'm eating."
"Well I can wait," Eve suddenly added with a piqued interest. "Are you talking behind my back, Doctor?"
"Now now, nothing of the sort, trust me," the owner calmed both down. "Thought I do get the occasional complaints of 'childishness' as he placed it, I've heard mostly good praises for one so young and yet so mature, even mentioning--"
"That's enough, please," Cross interrupted once again, raising his hand once more. "I'd prefer our conversations stay closed, Mr. Tennessen."
"As you wish," he bowed once again. Looking at Eve, he winked, and chuckled before he left.
Eve looked at Cross, who silently ate and continued his meal. "...Even mentioning what?"
"If curiosity ever killed the cat, Ms. Eve, you'd have murdered a barrel full," Cross bluntly replied.
"Eww, that's gross, Walter. Can you say that when I'm not eating?"
"You're not eating," Cross replied, "which is kind of the problem. Now eat."
"Yeah yeah," Eve pouted, cutting her food to bitesized proportion, though she couldn't stop a smile. "Praises, huh..."
"Enough, Ms. Eve."
"What does praise sound like, coming from you?"
"Your sarcasm is killing me, Ms. Eve."
"Stop saying my name so often! It's creepy!"
"Then shut up and eat already!'
Present Day - 5:14PM, 'Wall Street' Market
"Aah, that was delicious," Eve smacked her lips in the aftertaste. "Even better when it's free! Heehee! Thanks, Walter."
Cross looked to her, and then forward again to the streets. "...I'm never going to get used to you calling me that. It's migraine-inducing."
"Oh stop being s-- Hey," Eve suddenly halted, looking at a gathering east of the long city street. "There... What's going on?"
Cross' eyes blurted out for a split second, and came back. "Damn... I really didn't see--"
"Looks like someone needs our help, Doctor," Eve tugged to Cross' arm. "C'mon!"
"H-Hey! I'm sick and requires rest, remember?" Cross struggled back, still blind.
"That never stopped you before, now let's go!" Eve let go as she ran towards the chaos by herself, leaving Cross alone back on the other side of the street.
"Seriously," Walter shook his head left and right. "A nurse leaving her patient behind. If the board ever hears about this... My my, I'm really get old..."
Eve ran to the direction of the crowd, where several people formed a circle around a disturbing sight. Eve gasped, covering her mouth with disgust as a dog bled profusely around its waist where underneath, a little girl was burried in its blood and spilled insides.
"Everyone, please stay back," Cross ordered as the crowd slowly moved to the side, and eventually away, where a few remained who were worried for the victims. Cross entered the scene, looking at Eve who had already removed the child from under the dog and doing her diagnosis. The child, though with physically less injuries, was looked after first, of course.
'Hmmm,' Cross thought, looking at the child and the dog from behind Eve. 'Rubber marks, burnt... side hit, glass... tires... a car... the kid, however...'
Cross looked to the side. The dog was like a mangled slab of meat, bloody and graphic. Try as he could, Doctor Cross was partially blinded, the Godseed faint from him. He nodded, "Hit and run... Dog was in front, shielded the girl by luck but sent them both to the side of the road through impact."
Eve checked her writing. "...I was just about to say that."
"None. The child was lucky to have been near the dog at the time, taking only scrapes and several cuts from the landing... The dog, however..."
A child on the scene looked at the dog with concern. "Miss, will the dog die?"
"No, he won't," Eve replied boldly as she put on some sterile gloves from her portable medkit. "Not while I've something to do about it."
The child shook his head and said, "That's what my mom says all the time, but she says animals die a lot like and that it's normal and stuff."
"Well, both you and your mother should learn to shut up while other people are trying to work," Cross said from behind, urging the kid to leave with a slight wave of his hand.
"Doctor Cross, stop arguing with the children and get over here," Eve called, applying the anesthetic and readying the disinfectant. "I need your help."
"Hmm? And what about you?"
Eve kneeled to the ground and opened her medical kit wide. "What do you think? There's a patient on critical here. Hurry, please."
Cross shook his head, another headache coming to his head. "Ms. Eve, I didn't take that course in school. I don't know a bloody damn thing about animal anatomy..."
"I do. Well, half of it anyway," Eve said, already setting up a sterilization area around the wounded animal. "Please call an ambulance for the girl so we can do a more thorough examination; use our extended line. And contact the police while you're at it."
"...Of course," Cross reluctantly nodded, taking out his cellphone to the White Cross special line. 'Damn brat, giving me orders like that... Hmph, still...'
"...Alright. Thank you," Cross said, ending the call. "Okay, the carrier will be here within the next couple of minutes. I've contacted the police, and they'll be gathering information and asking bystanders if they can address the type of car that performed the hit-and-run."
"That's fantastic. Thanks," Eve said, not even looking back at him, concentrating entirely on her work, though it wasn't working out too well. "Damnit, these wounds are too severe... A-At this rate..."
Eve gasped, feeling a light touch on her shoulder. She looked behind, where Cross towered over, looking down on her with the same emotionless face. "That's enough, Eve. You've done what you can. Unless we can get that thing to an animal hospital, you won't be able to do much..."
"B-But-- I can't just..."
"It's a little too early to give that up," a voice from behind the two suddenly spoke out. Looking at its source, Cross and Eve see a young man with bushy red hair in a ponytail. "Hi. Reed Douglas. Maybe you guys are new here or you just didn't notice before but... I'm a vet with a clinic just down the road."
"A... A veterinarian?" Eve gasped, looking at the red-haired youth and then back at the dismantled mess of an animal on the ground. "Then can you--!"
"No worries," Reed replied, kneeling in front of Eve, the dog right in front of him. "I'll need some help carrying him though, especially in this mess."
"A... Of course," Eve nodded, gathering help from the nearest bystanders. With several men following Doctor Douglas, he was able to carry what basically remained of the mangled four-legged creature. All that time, Walter stood still, looking left and right in the same spot, blind in the darkness as his Godseed sight was trapped in something he could not yet fully understand - something that will change soon enough.
After all the commotion, Eve returned to where Walter stood still, drooping over, sweat lightly dripping her person. "Hah... Hah... Sorry, Doctor."
Walter looked away, backing up a bit. "Jeez, a sweaty girl. Nobody wants to smell that."
"Hmph," Eve sneered. "Well anyway, looks like everything's going to be okay. But, Walter... What were you doing standing here the entire time?"
"Why should I move? I was YOUR responsibility," Walter simply replied.
"Please, Doctor. Don't make this any harder for me that it needs to be--"
"You should know better by now," Walter sneered. "I'm getting really tired of explaining--"
"Then stop," Eve shouted. "Please, just listen. I remember everytime you get angry at me and teach me something, and I know each of those lessons are important. I also know that they aren't only my own fault, but I do take the blame for each of those incidents and your discipline is well meant."
"Because I know you could take care of yourself," Eve bluntly replied. "I know I have to take care of you - I'm you're perioperative. But I also know that someone was in more need than you, and despite the reckless abandon of my actions I do not regret helping that child."
"Of course," Eve added, smiling, "I do accept any punishment for what I've done, with you as my witness. If you desire, please write me off, Doctor, and I will accept any reprimands for my actions - up to and including termination."
Walter was silent for a moment. "...All right, I will."
"To be honest," Eve suddenly interrupted, "I don't believe you would have written me off unless I asked you. I know I'm crossing the line by saying this, but you're kinda soft in that department, Doctor."
"You've overstepped your authority, Ms. Eve."
"Sorry," Eve honestly apologized. "But I don't regret saying any of it. At least, now, you know exactly how I feel."
"That I do," Walter simply replied. "Normally, I'd be angry at you, for both your words and your actions. Luckily for you, today I'm not - only because I can't explain it to you right now."
"Right now?" Eve wondered, right before Walter suddenly walked off towards the northern street, up the hill. "Wait, where are you going?"
"Come, Miss Eve - back to the Institute," Walter continued as he walked off. "I can't believe it... Two on the same day."
Eve followed him from behind. "...Two?"
Present Day - 6:44PM, White Cross Institute, Patient's Room 229
Walter walked casually to the elevator and up to where the patient was brought in only moments ago, with Eve following closely behind, still wondering what her superior was going on about. The doctor, on the other hand, only stayed silent until they were both in front of the room.
Stamping his name and Eve's in the patient's file hanging on the door's center, Walter knocked lightly and entered the patient's room with little care. Upon opening, Eve saw the child in the street earlier, lying still on the bed, looking up to the roof with both eyes wide. The patient heeded them no notice, until the inevitable came where she could ignore the two no longer.
In shock, the patient suddenly held her hand to her head as if a massive surge suddenly erupted within her, breaking all focus she previously had. Eve, upon seeing the sight, only stepped forward as if in reflex and calmed the patient's nerves down, with Walter looking sadly at the pathetic sight.
"...Sorry if that hurt. I guess you're not used to it yet," Cross said, feeling his eyes turn white against his hair. "So I was right... You have the Godseed as well."
"W-What!?" Eve gasped, her mouth dry, eyes dilated, nearly speechless. "B-B-But I didn't find any marks when I did the diagnosis!"
"It's true that the Godseed's physical mark is somewhere in the body," Walter explained, looking at the girl who was just as surprised as Eve, "but there are other ways of telling - like having the Godseed yourself for example. It sends a rather unpleasant shock to one's body when another is nearby."
"S-So it's true?" the girl suddenly mouthed off shakingly, hands at the side gripping tightly with a mix of fright and excitement. "So... So you really have the Godseed too!? Are you telling the truth!?"
Walter was silent for a moment, looking at the speechless Eve for a moment, and then back at the young patient. "Yes, it's true," he replied, showing the white mark on his hand, "I too have the seed. But unlike you, I've known for quite a long time."
"That's perfect! Then please, tell me, please," the girl suddenly begged, leaning towards Walter from a crawl on her bed, pleading. "Tell me... Can I cure this!? Can I... Tell me how I can get rid of the Godseed!"
Eve's heart sank bottom deep, looking sadly at the desperate girl who asked Walter something he could never give even if he wanted to. It was even worse when he didn't reply, and the girl's eyes dilated and drowned in tears.
"Wh-Why aren't you answering... There's-There's definitely a cure, right? I mean, it's just a sickness, a disease... There's.... There's.... Has to be..."
"Damnit, why did this have to happen!?" the girl suddenly exhaled under her breath, smacking her bed with a shaking fist, "why now, when my life is so..."
"Calm down, miss. My name is Doctor Walter Cross," Walter introduced, pointing at himself and then at Eve. "Hey, Eve."
Walter looked at her with a sigh. "Stop acting as if you're not a part of this. You wanted to be, to help, and now you are and you will, eventually."
"--I can't do this without you."
Eve was surprised at first, but then nodded. "Yes. Yes, of course." Looking at the patient, Eve nodded, "My name is Eve Farrell, Doctor Cross' assistant."
"...D-Do you have it too?" the girl bluntly asked.
"Uh, er-- no, I don't," Eve stuttered. "But I just wanted to clarify, maybe a curiosity way beyond my own, but... it's not because of the fact that you will die when you reach Thirty that you wanted to kill yourself for, isn't it?"
"Kill herself?" Walter asked aloud, surprised. "Suicide? What are you--"
"You're not sad," Eve said, looking down, "because of that limit to your life... but something else. Otherwise... Those scars in your body wouldn't be there."
"I'm correct, aren't I?" Eve finalized, looking at the girl who shakingly looked away, Walter still lost in her explanation. "You've tried to kill yourself more than once."
"So, it wasn't-- It," Walter gasped, "--It wasn't an accident?"
"I didn't see the Godseed mark in her body, so the location must have been somewhere underneath her clothes," Eve explained. "But even then, I attributed some common signs of suicide marks on her body. Though now that I know she has the Godseed, it makes even more sense."
"Because she would have predicted the accident, is that what you're getting at?" Walter asked.
"Yes," Eve nodded, looking at the patient in the eye. "Shallow cuts on your wrists, a slit to your neck that's scarred... You've tried to hurt yourself, but never could. So now, you've made sure someone else did the deed - like the driver of that car that hit you."
The patient gritter her teeth, her face ready to burst in tears held back, looking at the nurse with reddened eyes. "Wh-What kind of nurse are you!?"
"I-I'm sorry," Eve apologized sympathetically. "I don't know what it is that happened to you, and without the Godseed, I'll never relate to how you feel... But you can't just do something like this and involve other people! Sure that person ran you over and ran away, but he never meant to and he was just as scared as you are now... but no matter how you look at it, that driver will go to jail because YOU decided to involve him into this!"
The patient was silent, looking down at her lap where she rested. 'Oh boy,' Walter sighed. 'That's the problem with passionate people, they never learn to shut up and quiet down when they're supposed to...'
"...You just became a doctor, right?" Walter suddenly asked, breaking the pause.
"Doctor?" Eve realized. 'Her? She's only... She must be in her teens right now!'
"Y-Yeah," the girl nodded weakly. "My... My name is Estella G-Garnette."
"Now it's becoming clear," Walter smirked. "I've heard of you, actually. All over the news a couple of months ago, in fact. 'Child genius, still in teens already going to the Stavros University to complete her training as a doctor'... I take it you passed."
Estella said nothing.
"And now, you've realized exactly what I realized so many years ago," Walter said under his breath, looking at the patient with white eyes. "You realized you had the Godseed... and that's when it all fell apart."
The room was quiet for a while, as Eve and Walter looked at the patient with tight closed lips, waiting for a respond. Finally, after moments, the girl lifted up her arms and looked at her own weakened body, filled with bruises and scars.
"...In only minutes, the Godseed's thoughts entered my head. At first I thought it was a bloody dream, until It itself told me it wasn't - that I now have the 'gift of understanding'..."
"It told me... that it was the Godseed named Magi," Estella continued. "That other people are also ill with this disease and that each disease is unique that it both benefits and harms its owner. It explained to me so much knowledge, so many thoughts, so many different things, all in the blink of an eye... But it finally told me that I'd die when I become Thirty... and that everything I've done was because of It."
Walter and Eve said nothing, as the girl slammed the bed with a closed fist once, twice, multiple times. "Wh... It's like some sort of sick joke! Wha... What was the last five years of my life for - working, studying, believing that everything I've done was because I worked for it!? And n... Now, you're telling me it was all a bloody lie!? That this... this parasite on my body basically did everything good I've done with my life!?"
"Five years!" Estella exclaimed, screaming at Doctor Cross who simply looked at her. "I studied my ass off, made sure I had all the good grades, researched as hard as I can, and the support... My family, my friends, my teachers, my colleagues... Wha--What was the point in all of that!?"
"...To be honest, though this is hardly consolation, you're better off than most of the people I know who have the Godseed," Doctor Cross explained. "You've accomplished more on your own by yourself than most who have spent it wasting their life until they're Thirty... and then suddenly knowing they're going to die."
"It's better to have done so much with the people you care about," Cross added, "than without them... don't you think so?"
Estella replied nothing to his comment, and looked at him as she removed the tears from her eyes. "W-What about you? You're older, right? What...What do you feel?"
"...I'm scared to die," Walter simply said. "But I want to continue living for as long as I can, and do what it is that I've been living for - to help those that want to be saved. That's why I'm still a doctor... and why I haven't given up yet."
"Estella," Eve added with a sad smile, "Doctor Cross has spent his entire life searching for a way to cure the Godseed. Yes, there hasn't been a cure yet... but it is because he hasn't given up that people continue to live, that people are eventually inspired by his will to live."
"That's why you became a doctor... right?"
Estella said nothing for a moment. "When... Will I be able to see you two again?"
"Of course," Eve said, writing on a piece of paper, and then giving it to the patient on the bed. "Here... you can call whenever you want. We'll be working and we'll be busy... but you're not alone."
"Yes, I'll call. "Estella closed her eyes. "...Thank you."
Eve and Walter walked out of the Institute, saying nothing. It was already the late afternoon, and the orange sky was beginning to fade to make way for the darkening sky of night.
"...That was a good thing you did back there," Eve suddenly said, looking at Walter with a fond smile.
"Pfft, yeah right," Walter sighed, continuing his walk. "Personally, I don't like listening to other people complaining about their lives."
"Yeah, because you're ego-centric that way," Eve sighed herself, copying the way Walter sighed.
"Hmph. Well, YOU may like it, but I really don't understand why people think they can tell me all their problems. I'm a doctor, not a bloody therapist."
"Sometimes, all people need is a good listener."
"Well, that definitely isn't me."
"You can say that again."
For a moment, the both were silent, walking down the street, not realizing that it was just the two of them again, that Walter was not a doctor at the moment and that Eve was her perioperative. "...I wonder," Eve suddenly blurted out.
With a step, she moves in front of Walter, stopping him in front, looking at him in the eye. "Does everyone with the Godseed feel that way?"
Walter was surprised for a moment, a blank stare, but he simply closed his eyes and moved on after Eve. "Maybe. I don't know. Everyone handles the problem differently, I'm sure."
"...What about you?" she asked, following him at the same pace. "What is it... that you feel?"
"I want to know."
Walter suddenly stopped, Eve stopping behind him, several feet away. Walter exhaled out loud, breathing an ice cold chill through the breeze that simply flew away. "...I think I'd have felt the same thing she did if I was her. But my situation is the opposite."
"Opposite?" Eve wondered.
"...My parents died when I was still young," Walter explained, not looking back. "I was all alone, but thanks to the Godseed, I was able to learn faster and survive. Until I'm Thirty, that is."
"Your parents... I'm sorry to hear that."
"Heh, don't be. It doesn't sound as bad for me as you think it is."
"Nothing," he replied, continuing his walk with no particular destination. This time, Eve followed right beside him. "The point is, that girl already had a life, and it was ruined when she realized Godseed did all the work for her and all the effort was for nothing. For me, Godseed was a savior that helped me into the real world."
"So that's why you revere the Godseed instead of hating it..." Eve finally realized.
"Heh, it might have saved me once... but it is killing me now," Walter said spitefully, gritting his teeth. "What irony."
"But you never answered my question," Eve interrupted. "What is it exactly that you feel now, in your situation?"
Before she was able to say anything else, Walter took out the necklace he was using before during his prayer in the hospital. "...Your rosary?"
"...It's all thanks to this," Walter grinned, looking at the crystal cross like a shining jewel. "I think I would've done the same thing she did a long time ago... if it wasn't for the strength my faith had given me."
Walter's eyes suddenly shook, and then he closed them with a chuckle, hiding the cross under his shirt. "Heh, you must think I'm really weak."
Eve was confused. "Why would I think that?"
"Because I depend on someone no one can see, no one can actually prove... Something you yourself said cannot stop the suffering in this world."
Eve nodded sideways, disagreeingly. "Of course you're weak, but your weakness is understandable."
"Understandable?" Walter questioned, surprised at her answer. "Understandable how?"
"Not everyone is born strong," Eve explained with a serious face, looking at the orange sun looming in the horizon, ready to disappear. "Not everyone has the mindset or the strength of self, the ability to keep moving in the face of everything that gets thrown their way. That's why it was normal for that girl you tell you everything she felt - because people need something to believe in and relate all their problems with."
"So you're saying... I'm relating my problems with God?" Walter asked questioningly, even more confused than before.
"I'm saying you're relieving your problems with someone you believe will not judge you for what you've done or suffered for - someone who believes you can still be forgiven."
"I don't understand," Walter shook. "What does that have to do with not being weak?"
"I don't think even a friend can relate with someone in terms of life and death, with terms that cannot be controlled by people, " Eve explained, running in front, Walter looking fondly at her from the distance. "Life and death are just beyond our powers as human beings. But you believe in a being almighty, a person you believe who created life itself. Because of that... I think you'll be stronger in terms of difficulties that cannot be normally handled by people."
"I think in this case," she looked back, with closed eyes and a smile, "you'll be stronger than I will ever be when the time comes for either of us."
Walter said nothing for a moment, only staring, impressed for a moment at the young woman who only two and a half years ago stood in that very same street with a different understanding. "...Heh, spoken like a true believer. Your words truly have a certain wisdom in them. But I'm not gonna die yet."
"It's all because of what you said earlier, that I'm able to see and learn so much about people like you," Eve looked back, reminiscing, "when you said that I'm a part of your problem now. I WILL find that cure for you, I promise. I... Before, you would always push me off whenever I got close and you'd handle the problems of the Godseed yourself."
"I almost lost you that time."
"...I can't afford to do that anymore, I'm afraid," Walter sighed, looking at the sky and the tall buildings beside him, the majority of Wall Street. "With this weak body of mine now, I'm going to need a constant help. And I'd rather it be someone who already knows what I'm dealing with."
For a moment, there was silence. Eve waited for him, constantly watching, with him only looking around, remembering that same spot more than two years ago. "...Eve?"
"You said I'm strong because of my faith... that I'll be stronger than you when it comes to either of our ends."
"What about it?"
"Thank you," Walter smiled. "I believe in God... but I believe in you too."
To be continued...
NEXT CHAPTER: God - an abstract concept. To he, who once believed in it, but soon possessed by His seed, stopped revering the sacred notion of His existence. What is God, and what is Godseed? And how can one tell the difference between the other - between a being that cannot be proven to exist... and a disease that's as clear as day?
CHARACTER BIO AND BIO UPDATES
1. Eve Farrell - no longer the rookie she was, Eve has really taken her skills up more than a single notch since her employment in the Institute over one year prior as a medical assistant to Walter Cross. With the other nurses looking up to her for advice and technique, a promotion can't be far behind. As for her relationship with Doctor Cross, it's better, though the self-righteous arguments are still there.
2. Walter Cross - no longer alone in his search for the cure for Godseed, Cross now relies on Eve's immunity to the Godseed to survive. Whether he is using her, truly cares about her safety, or is with her soley because of her company is something he still has to ask himself. Still selfish in thoughts, however, Walter's self-preservation and the will to survive will always win out, though he is currently unwell and needs constant aid. Whether this means he will soon be unable to work or even mean death is still unknown.
3. Alexander 'Inderjit' Kalidas - though both Eve's senior in the Institute and in age by two years, the medical attendant feels younger compared to the mature and experienced Eve. Having dated Eve several times, Alex has been established as both a loyal friend of Eve and Walter and also their connection.
4. Melanie Ezer - the friendly yet easily-threatened nurse is nearing her close as an intern in the Institute, and in only so much time she will become a full-fledged employee if she so wishes. Easily confused and at a loss for directions, the question is whether she is up to the job or not. It also seems she is now dating Alex.
5. Estella Garnette - thanks to the intelligence-enhancing gift of the Magi Godseed, Estella was a prodigy of renown, talk of several newspapers as a genius. With proud parents, supportive friends, relatives, and teachers alike, the revelation of the Godseed's powers was a shocking blow to her pride as a human being. Feeling though as she had accomplished nothing without the Godseed, Estella had attempted several times in suicide, but kept it a secret from friends and relatives.
Author's Note: As you can see, there is more to the Godseed's powers than responsibility and the ease of burden. As proven by Estella's story in this chapter, it seems that Cross also suffers from the Godseed's side-effect to the human nature.
And though all of this is true, doesn't it seem more like Walter dislikes the fact that he has benefitted from the Godseed rather than not?