Title: Sensation Threshold
Rating: R for topics unsuitable for children
Characters: Ritsuka and his therapist
Note: There are a lot of addicts in Japan. This is just an observation.
She most definitely didn't think that the look of gratitude in Ritsuka's eyes was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. Though it was satisfying. Moments like this were the reason she'd become a psychiatrist.
"So it's normal?"
"Completely normal," she agreed. "Many people feel that way."
"...you're probably lying a little, but thanks, Sensei."
She smiled back at him, knowing to overlook the words and respond to the sentiment. Ritsuka was a bright, perceptive, vulnerable, good-hearted kid. If he was skeptical, it wasn't because he didn't trust her.
And anyway, he was right: she had been hoping to make him feel better. That was part of her job.
"Let me put it this way," she said. "While it may not be usual, it's not abnormal. It's just another kind addiction. Many people have addictive personalities: chain smokers, drug addicts, compulsive gamblers, extreme hobbyists, work addicts, thrill seekers. From society's standpoint, some of these activities are acceptable while others are not, but from a medical standpoint, they're all caused by the same thing."
"What's that, Sensei?"
"A higher threshold of sensation. While most people, for instance, will feel a rush of pleasure betting twenty or thirty dollars at a pachinko parlor, some people won't feel anything until they risk everything they own. Some people stop after one or two drinks, others aren't happy until they're dangerously intoxicated. It might not be healthy, but it isn't incomprehensibly bizarre. What do you think?"
"I think that makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Sensei."
"Glad I could help."
Some people are happy hearing "I love you," Ritsuka thought. Other people aren't happy until your name is carved into their chest with a hot needle. It might not be healthy, but...