This was written for Aggybird on LJ who, fed up with werewolves, wanted people to write her of wereyorkies. I kid you not.
The night had gone pretty well until on my way out I opened the front door to find a tall man standing on the threshold, hand raised to knock. It was a chilly winter night and whereas I was wearing a down jacket and a woolen scarf tied around my neck and face, he only had a pair of jeans and a leather jacket. Had his other hand not been pressed tightly against his side, I would have let him in and told him to wait for half an hour so that I could actually eat something. Having your doctor faint on you while performing surgery is not something people usually want to experience.
"Come in, please. I'll just take my coat off and tend to your wounds then," I said, stepping back. He followed and even though I was peeling the scarf off I wasn't distracted enough not to notice that he was limping. Hopefully it would only be a sprained ankle and not anything more serious.
"Please leave your jacket and shoes here, unless they are vital in keeping your wounds from reopening or removing them causes you intense pain," I continued the routine. The man kicked his shoes off but left the jacket on. "Follow me," I said and started walking towards the inner rooms. I could hear him coming after me, even though for such a big man he moved very quietly.
"Are you alone here, Doctor... Doctor...?" he asked, apparently noticing all the dark rooms and the off-turned equipment.
I gave him a glance over my shoulder. "Doctor Nagendra Saxena. My assistant is usually with me but tonight she is feeling ill."
"Now," I continued, having reached a suitable room. "Please sit down and tell me how you are injured." I went to fetch some basic supplies and upon returning took my first good look at the patient.
For a human he was tall. He seemed to take good care of himself, being muscled and well-groomed, but that wasn't surprising with werecreatures. His face was more angular than I found attractive and he had green eyes. Admittedly, very nice green eyes. His short medium-brown hair was slightly curly, but not so much it wouldn't straighten out if he ever grew it out.
"You are the Doctor Saxena, aren't you?" he asked with hesitation written clearly in his body language. I simply raised my eyebrows. "I mean... uh, I was kind of led to believe..." he continued as I had expected. I gestures him to keep on putting his foot in his mouth. Not pissing off the guy who's about to tend to your wounds, should be common sense, in my opinion. Or at least somehow connected to self-preservation instinct. "You are quite young," he finished lamely.
"...let me assure you that I am several hundred years older than you could even imagine," I replied after biting back my original retort and rewiring my brain. I had expected him to comment on my ethnicity and not my age. After all, he looked to be 35, tops. My vague I'm-somewhere-around-late-twenties-leave-it-at-that-kthanx looks shouldn't have offended him much.
"You are not human then, Doctor Saxena?"
"No. Now, let's see to your wounds, shall we?" I admit I could have been a lot more subtle about the subject change. If he noticed it, he didn't show it, but started to take off his jacket. Judging by his wincing while peeling it off, it wouldn't be blunt force trauma I would be dealing with.
I was right. His forest green shirt had dark brown blotches on it. Not cuts, but either stab wounds or bullet holes, neither of which were my favorites.
"Doctor, you likely don't work for free?" he asked with the jacket still in his hands. I took it and dropped it unceremoniously on the floor. I would need to clean up the room anyway before going home in order to keep my day assistants from noticing anything amiss.
"I accept all major currencies – that being euros, US dollars, yuans, yens, rupees, diamonds, gold, platinum, guns, information and magic," I rattled off. I didn't voice any threat about what would happen if he didn't pay, since, well, I don't advertise. To be here, he must have talked with someone who knew about my second job as the supernatural vet. That same person had likely mentioned, at least in passing, that trying to cheat me usually resulted in disaster. There was only one person who had managed it during all these years and she had ended up working as my assistant. "The price depends on the seriousness of injuries and how much trouble bandaging them is. Bullet holes are extra if the bullet is still inside."
"I see," he said in such a subdued tone that I instantly knew that he had been shot, there would be no exit wound and he couldn't pay me enough for the trouble. "There is very little competition in your field of expertise, is there?"
"Yes, there is an old woman – worked as a nurse before retiring, I believe – living in a small village in the middle of nowhere. The distance is a little over 400 kilometers, so if you think you can drive..." I didn't even bother to mention that I wouldn't recommend him even to try to lift a newspaper for some time. His expression said clearly that he knew he couldn't get there by himself.
Usually I would have kicked him out at this point. Seriously, I would have. This is business, not charity. Still, when looking at him, I felt reluctant to leave him to heal by himself. There was just something in the way he held himself.
I licked my lips. A nervous gesture I detested myself for. "I don't often do this, so consider this a one-time offer, but if you can't pay and need healing, I can bind you to me for seven years and seven months during which you'll have to pay your debt."
"Or else?" he asked. He looked relieved, but also suspicious. He was catching on quickly.
"Or else a flood will destroy your house and kill any cattle you might have. Your wife will also be struck by lightning and your son die of snake bite. There will also be direct consequences to you."
He held my gaze for a moment but turned it to his hands after a short while. "I'm not married and don't have any children. Or cattle, for that matter."
"And in seven years and seven months? You are not young anymore but not too old either. Besides, you still have to live somewhere."
I was surprised to see that he blushed. "I'm not likely to get married."
"Because of an embarrassing illness?" I inquired. "You can tell me – I'm your doctor, Mister..." It was then I realized that I had yet to ask for his name.
"Gabriel Jonsson," he hurried to say. "I'm sorry, I know I should have introduced myself earlier..."
"Don't worry about it," I reassured him, allowing the subject to change. After taking a pair of small scissors and pulling on plastic gloves, I knelt in front of him. "Let's get this shirt out of the way first." The dried blood had glued it to Gabriel's chest and I had to resort to cutting it into pieces. Well, not really into pieces, but if he ever wore it again, people would think he lost a fight against a rabid paper shredder. He didn't protest but he did wince once or twice when I accidentally pulled or pressed the wounds. Where I had expected multiple wounds, there was only one clean hole. I ran my hands up and down his back to make sure that there really was no exit wound. I felt him tense, but didn't let it bother me. He had first met me ten minutes ago, was hurt and didn't know if he could trust me not to eat him. Tensing was a very common reaction among my patients.
I got up and took a few steps back. He looked at me questioningly and I told him how much it would be. He grimaced. "Do you think you can pay it in seven years and seven months?" I asked.
"Very likely. I don't have any other great debts and I have a job. As long as they don't fire me, then yes, I think I can."
"Good for you. Now, change and jump onto the operation table." I gestured to the plastic covered table on one wall. Instead of complying he just stared at his hands for a moment before raising his eyes back to me. "Yes?" I prompted. "If it's about modesty, that screen there isn't ornamental. You can undress behind it." In my experience modesty was rarely a part of any werecreatures' vocabulary, but you never knew.
"Well, no, it's just... Can't you tend to my wounds when I'm in my human form?" he asked, avoiding my eyes.
I frowned. "Mister Jonsson, I am a veterinarian. That means I don't have any qualifications to treat humans. Nor have I any experience in treating them."
"But you could do it? You have studied medicine after all?" he asked, looking so hopeful I felt awful to tell him no.
I still did. "Veterinary medicine. It has been over thirty years since I opened a book that had more than two lines about human anatomy." He did the best kicked puppy imitation I have ever seen. I felt wretched. "I don't care much about humans," I had to add as an explanation. It sounded too apologetic for my peace of mind and I had the horrible feeling he might have heard it, too.
"Can't you make an exception?" he asked. If I had thought his earlier look reminded me of a sad puppy, then this gaze was a cute and fluffy baby doggy that had only wanted some petting and scratching behind its adorable droopy ears and had been kicked to the other side of the room out of sheer malice.
Fortunately such displays have always gotten me to coil up in a striking position. "No exceptions. Change!" I hissed, showing a pair of long, curving fangs. He gave me a look that said clearer than anything that he wondered if never getting the bullet out would have been a better idea than coming to me. But he did strip, not going behind the screen and obviously taking quite a lot of pleasure in throwing his pants at my face. How childish can a scared werecreature be?
Usually my patients changed on the floor and then jumped at the table. The table might look high to a rabbit, but a werewolf or a werecat would have no problem getting on it. That's why I was quite surprised to see him hop to sit on the table in his human form. He gave me yet another pleading look and I managed not to react, but it was a close call. Then he changed.
...into a Yorkshire terrier. Only those few hundred years kept me from gaping. I had expected a bobcat or an owl, but not, well, a small, cute dog. With a black toque on its head and a small fluffy sweater like thing that seemed to be made of dark blue velvet. Looking at him, I had the vague feeling that he was embarrassed. It should have looked ridiculous, especially the white plume on the toque, but it was dreadfully cute. So cute in fact that I was standing next to the table and scratching him behind his small cute ears before I knew what had happened. I felt an urge to look around for a treat to give to him, but managed to stop myself. First, he wasn't a real dog and second, he wasn't able to pay me. Pampering could be left to more profitable customers.
With regret, I took my hand away from the shaking dog. "I'm going to take that shirt off, okay?" I muttered more to myself than to the small dog. After a moment's wiggling on his part and yanking on my part, I succeeded in separating the article of clothing from the tiny dog. There was blood on my hands and I wasted no time getting to work.
Treating werecreatures is a lot easier than treating regular animals. It's said that vets are the best doctors around, because their patients cannot tell them what's wrong. As a vet I think that's mostly envy towards doctors who don't need to use more time to figure out why the guinea pig looks listless than to cure it. With animals there's also the point that they don't necessarily want to be treated. Nothing says "I'm so not sick, leave me alone!" quite as running around the room and then hiding under a chair – and biting the hand that comes to coax you back to the light of day. With werecreatures there's no such problem: they can tell what's wrong with them (or what they think is wrong with them) and then when you are finally examining them, they hardly ever panic and try to escape.
On the other hand, they are bigger and more dangerous creatures. Well, usually. I looked at the small, sleeping furball that would turn out to be a wereyorkie once the anesthetic wore off and he started moving. He looked like he couldn't cause any more trouble than any non-house trained dog could. I had already cleaned up all my equipment and put it away. There was nothing else to do than to wait for my patient to return to this world and decide how much to demand in payment. It would have to cover my own expenses, but how much was my time worth again? I had had to skip lunch because of him and I didn't like treating gunshot wounds. On the other hand... On the other hand, nothing. There wasn't anything to support giving him a discount. Except the fact that he might not be able to pay my full price, not even after those seven years and seven months. And if he didn't pay, I would be stuck with him for the eternity. I glanced down at the tiny, silky thing and noticed to my horror that I was petting him. I had likely been petting him for some time. Fortunately he was still unconscious.
Feeling idiotic and surprisingly embarrassed, I went to pick up his clothes, the yorkie-blouse included, and folded them next to his still form. There was blood on his much-suffered shirt and jacket but I was a veterinarian and not a laundromat. It was getting late, or early, in the morning and I decided to go home after the wereyorkie got off of my back. On a normal night, I would have killed time in the clinic for an hour more on the off-chance a late customer would stagger in. Tonight I was feeling hungry and weary. If some idiot got themselves hurt, they would have to wait for tomorrow night.
I leaned back in my chair and untied my long, long hair from its tight braid. After being tied back the whole day and most of the night, it still retained the vague shape of a braid. Running my fingers through it to make it look less stiff, I planned – well, more like dreamed about – the bath I would take once I got home. I would soak in cold water for at least an hour and wash my hair with that new sea weed shampoo. Whether the promises on the bottle would be kept wasn't that important. The smell would remind me of home anyway.
More fantasies were disrupted when the mop of silky fur on the table moved sedately. Even though I was sitting on the other side of the room, I could still see him blink a couple of times. A very humane gesture in its absurdity. "Welcome back, Mister Jonsson. I trust you are in not much pain?" I asked, not expecting anything but an affirmative answer. It took him a moment to figure out how to nod. "I left your clothes next to you. Please change back and I'll give you advice on the aftercare of your wounds," I continued without missing a beat. "Or do you need to be wearing your yorkie clothes when you change?"
"Thank you, Doctor Saxena," was the first thing he said after changing back into his human form. It also answered my question about the velvet shirt, which to my surprise disappeared when I blinked my eyes. Interesting. I would need to find out more about werecreatures that changed into domestic animals. To notice a power like that to be possessed by a tamed animal felt shocking and vaguely threatening. Had I been superstitious, I would have called it an ill omen.
I watched him wince when pulling his side while trying to put on his pants. The shredded shirt hadn't demanded much stretching, so he had gotten it on without much trouble. The pain killers I had given him were effective, but his yorkie form had been so tiny... And he would need to walk out of here, too. In other words, the dosage had likely been smaller than it should have.
He seemed so determined to try again that I had to stop him. "I wouldn't advise that."
He gave me a half pleading, half annoyed look. I tried to look unwavering. His eyes hardened. I straightened my shoulders, acquiring two inches to my height, and stared at him directly in the eye. He held my gaze, seemingly without any problems. I let my eyes return to their usual shape. He raised an eyebrow. I was too surprised and maybe mildly too impressed not to blink. Grunting, he picked up the rest of his clothes and dressed.
I took remote pleasure in seeing his face contort with pain. It was also the perfect time to start giving him instructions on the aftercare of his wounds, especially since the said wound had opened and was leaking through the bandage. I wasn't pleased to hear my voice not being as melodious as it should have. It took me five words to get it back under control. He refused to show in any way that he had noticed me talking.
"Here is your jacket." I waited for him to take it and then turned to lead him back to the front door. After telling him to wait for me in the corridor, I made a quick detour in the break room. It was were I had left it and it didn't take long to find a pen either. Maybe two minutes later I appeared back to the corridor and guided him to the door.
Eyes squinted with pain, he got his shoes on, leaving the laces untied. I didn't bother offering to do it for him. "Um, Doctor Saxena, your pay..."
I raised my eyebrows and gave him a long look. "I'm sure you are tired after whatever it was that caused your wounds and would like to get some sleep before the sun rises." His gaze was now inquisitive but there was also a small amount of some emotion I couldn't quite place. I kept my eyes at his, both to hold him in place and to keep my courage intact and pushed something into his hand.
He looked at my business card and turned it around in his hands. Then he raised his gaze back to me. I didn't think for a moment that he had failed to notice my personal phone number scribbled in red ink at it. "Gabriel, there's my contact information. Call me tomorrow and we can meet and talk... about your payment," I suggested.
After looking at me for a few moments with an inscrutable expression, he smiled before turning his back to me and limping away.