For those of you who have read the Doctor wa manga series, this will look incredibly familiar. I just thought, "How great would Bassy be in this?" and then I paired him with one of my OC's, Emmeline (see my fanfic Of Demons and Dentists), except for the fact that I altered her background for purpose of this fic. I hope you all enjoy it!

I hated hospitals. I hated the way they smelled, always like rubbing alcohol, which also sort of reminds me of the dentist's office, another thing I despise. I hate the way everything is so depressingly white and bare, because apparently painting the walls pale yellow or pink would make the hospital less sanitary or something. I hated the way they sounded. Everyone always spoke in hushed voices, while children who were afraid to see the doctor whimpered and cried, people waiting impatiently tapped their toes in irritation, and other people groaned when their ailments stabbed at them. But mostly, I hated the way they felt. Tension always hung in the air, like someone down the hall had just died or something–even in the pediatric ward, where there were no long-stay patients.

Yes, I hated hospitals, even when I wasn't the one there to see a doctor.

My younger sister, six year-old Hannah, sat in my lap, sniffling and wiping at her nose with her sleeve, something I'd given up telling her not to do after the hundredth time I'd said it. She's what you would call "fragile". She was born a month and a half premature, and has always had a weak immune system. And since I, Emmeline Natsis, age seventeen, am a substitute for my busy parents, I have to take care of her ninety percent of the time. Ever since I got my driver's license, I've been taking her to the hospital what seems like countless times to get checked out. Whenever any sort of virus circulates around, she manages to catch it, and catch it hard.

She even looks delicate. She's a tiny thing, thin as a rail. She has very pale skin, making her full lips seem incredibly red, and her cheeks today were rosy with fever. Her light colored eyes are blue on days when she isn't suffering from illness, but mostly just look stone gray. Her face has a childish round shape, but is still thinner than the average six year-old's. Her yellow hair is so thin that one could describe it as gossamer, and it falls in waves to her slender shoulders.

In contrast to her, I am of average build. By no means could I be described as fat or even a little chubby; but I'm certainly not stick-thin. My face is round and my skin is darker than Hannah's. If you chose to draw me with crayons, you'd have to choose "peach" for my skin color. I have emerald green eyes framed by abnormally long lashes and thick, straight chocolate-brown hair that extends slightly past my shoulder blades and has a slight curl to it at the end.

We are polar opposites in the appearance department, but one there is thing we have in absolute common; we both hate hospitals. And yet we come here, to the Henderson Graduate Medical School, only too often for my comfort. The one bright side, if you could consider it a bright side, is that there are some elite doctors who enroll here. And a lot of them are very handsome.

I was so sick of this waiting room that when the receptionist called Hannah's name and told us which examination room to proceed to, it was welcome. Hannah whimpered and I sighed, scooping her up in my arms and brushing her slightly damp-with-sweat bangs out of her eyes. I carry her a lot, since she gets tired easily. The poor thing only weighs about sixty pounds. "It's okay," I assured her in the smooth, comforting tone I've perfected in the last six years of taking care of her, ignoring the puppy eyes she was giving me. "Let's go, Hannah."

We waited in Room 14 for a good ten minutes before a nurse with a clipboard came in, by which time Hannah, who had refused to let me put her on the examination table, had clamped her arms so tightly around my neck I was beginning to wonder if the crick she'd caused there would ever fade entirely. I had to coax her into releasing me and set her down, rubbing her back as the nurse took her pulse and temperature.

The nurse clicked her tongue when she looked at the result displayed on the thermometer. "101 degrees," she said, and ruffled Hannah's hair sympathetically. "Poor dear." She scribbled the temperature onto the clipboard and left the room, promising a doctor would be with us shortly.

I told Hannah a story for the next twenty minutes while we waited, inventing a tale about a dog and mouse who cross the grand canyon as I went. Amidst her sniffling and coughs, Hannah listened eagerly, gasping whenever the ridiculous duo I'd fabricated faced peril and laughing when they argued. Now that I think about it, maybe I should write children's books for a living. I'm pretty good at making up stories.

The pair had just narrowly escaped being crushed by an avalanche when the door opened and a man entered the room. I paused mid-sentence.

The doctor was new. I had never seen him before. But what made me sit there with my mouth hanging open like a complete idiot was that he was the most attractive person I've ever seen. Hollywood movie dream guys would have killed for this man's face. And every other part of him.

He was tall, definitely over six feet, with a slender build. His hair was black and shiny, cut in an odd manner so that his bangs, which hung at the side of his face, fell just past his chin. He had a thin face and luminous skin, with full, pouting lips and high cheekbones.

But his eyes! His eyes were slender and framed by thick lashes, and they were the color of lycoris flowers in full bloom. They had such depth to them, as though he'd seen things far beyond his years (although there was no way for me to tell his age).

My eyes flickered to the nametag on the lapel of his white doctor's coat, which read Dr. Sebastian Michaelis. Below that, in smaller letters, MD, Pediatric Ward.

His eyes slid past me and rested on Hannah. He smiled, not a friendly look but not hostile either, and greeted her. "Hello. You're Hannah?"

She bit her lip and buried her face in my sleeve. I sighed and patted her head, promising to finish telling her the story later. I looked up at the doctor and smiled apologetically. "Yes, this is Hannah," I confirmed, looking pointedly at a poster past his right shoulder to avoid staring at his perfect face.

Dr. Michaelis placed the clipboard cradled in his arm on the desk in the corner of the room and sat in the rolling chair there, pulling a pen out of his pocket. "What seems to be the problem?"

"She has a fever and she's been complaining about her throat being sore, and her nose is running all the time. The cough started about three hours ago," I listed Hannah's ailments in the order they'd arisen and he scribbled each one down onto the papers attached to his clipboard.

"Have you given her any medicine?"

I shook my head. "Uh-uh." That sounded really intelligent. I could have kicked myself. Where had my SAT Prep vocabulary wandered off to? Had it fled at the sight of this almost-too-hot-to-describe man?

He set down his pen and took the clipboard in hand as he turned his chair towards Hannah and me, perusing the list of her symptoms. "Well, it sounds as though she just has a cold. There's been one going arou – huh?" he paused, staring at something on his clipboard. "Natsis?" he asked. "The same as that ear, nose and throat doctor…"

I smiled, happier than I should have been that I got to speak to him about something other than my sick little sister. "Yes! My brother is a doctor at this hospital. You know him?"

Dr. Michaelis smiled again, but his red eyes weren't neutral this time. They shone with a sort of frigidness that made a shiver run down my spine. "Well, I know him because we work in the same hospital, but…I'm not good with those types. Actually…" his smile transformed into a smirk. "I hate them."

Next to me, Hannah gave a small gasp. For a first grader, "hate" is almost a swear word, especially the way my mom talks to her about it. (She gives the "We do not hate people in this household" lecture an average of once a week.)

My mouth hung open again. His candor shocked me enough, but why would he hate my brother? Mark is one of my favorite people on earth, not to mention the nicest person I've ever met. And what the hell was this whole "those types" thing he was talking about, anyway? I mean, what a jerk thing to say about someone you obviously don't even know!

I waited, suddenly irritable, as he scribbled out a prescription for Hannah, taking her in my arms again, prepared to stalk out of the room the second he put that slip of paper in my hands. And that's exactly what I did.

I would have stalked right out of the hospital if Hannah hadn't started crying the minute I shut the exam room's door behind me. Taken aback by her sudden meltdown, I set her on the floor and knelt next to her, rummaging around in the pocket of my sweater for a Kleenex to give her. There was one left.

"What happened, Hannah?" I asked, using the tissue to wipe the tears rolling down her flushed cheeks away. In addition to having fragile health, her emotions are also delicate. She's like a doll – breakable in every way possible.

"Did Brother get bullied?" she choked out, trying to rub her eyes with her sleeve. I took her hand and pressed the tissue into it instead, not wanting her sleeves, which she'd been using to wipe her nose all day, anywhere near her eyes.

"Dummy!" I shook my head, placing my hands on her shoulders comfortingly and waiting for her to recover, my irritation having vanished. "Of course not," I told her, then bit my lip, silently adding, I think.

"Huh? Emmeline? And Hannah…" A familiar voice came from a point behind my left shoulder, and I turned to see Mark making his way up the hall towards us. He grinned. "Just as I thought. What happened?"

I beamed at him, ecstatic to see a familiar, friendly face after that episode with Dr. Michaelis. "Brother!"

Mark is handsome as well, fitting in perfectly with the hospital's attractive doctors. He's just short of six feet tall and has black hair that reaches down to the nape of his neck when he lets it hang loose, but he keeps it in a ponytail when he's at work. He has porcelain skin a shade darker than Hannah's, and eyes the color of a summer sky. He's in the field of Otolaryngology, which is really just a fancy way to say that he's an ear, nose, and throat specialist. I usually refer to it as ENT, since the name is long and confusing. (It took him twenty minutes to teach me how to pronounce it correctly.)

"Hannah had a fever, so I took her to the hospital," I told him as he stopped next to me. Hannah had stopped crying at the sight of Mark, but tears still lingered on her cheeks.

He lifted Hannah up into his arms in that incredible big-brother fashion of his and smiled. "Are you okay? Why are you crying?" he asked her, brushing the tears still on her face away.

I stood up and dusted off the knees of my jeans, out of habit than necessity. These hospital floors are so clean you could eat off of them. "I guess the doctor was kind of scary," I sighed.

Mark's expression darkened slightly, enough so that I would notice it but Hannah wouldn't. "The pediatric department…Dr. Michaelis…."

"He said he didn't like you," I informed him, deciding not to spare his feelings. If someone had a problem with Mark, he typically found a way to fix it, which is why he is probably one of the most least-disliked people in the world.

Mark stared at me with wide eyes. This was obviously shocking news to him. "What? Really?" He looked startled for another moment or two before he recovered, sighing and shaking his head. "Well…that doctor is quite strange."

"Oh, so I'm strange. That's what it is, huh?" Dr. Michaelis asked, coming up behind Mark with no warning. That despicable smile of his was on his lips again. I wanted to slap it off his face.

Mark startled and frantically began to apologize. That's my brother for you, always trying to make everybody like him. "I'm sorry! Uh–!"

"I don't mind," Dr. Michaelis said. His eyes met mine and he smirked at the hatred in my expression before setting off down the hall. "That is how I am."

After that happened, Mark told me about Dr. Michaelis from the pediatrics department. The nurses who work with him gave him a nickname – "Dr. S". What does the S stand for? Sadist. I knew he was a jerk. Apparently, he gets amused when he makes nurses and patients cry.

I suppose that I should explain the relationship I have with my siblings. I'm not fully related to either of them. Mark is my stepbrother and Hannah is my half-sister.

When I was three, my dad walked out on my mom. She doesn't know why and I don't know why. I haven't seen him since, because he gave my mother everything she wanted in the divorce, including full custody of me. The only connection I have to him is the child support that comes in the mail every month and a card with fifty bucks in it every year on my birthday.

When I was nine, my mom married a widower who adopted me as his daughter with the last name "Natsis". I switched my name to it along with my mother, since the name I was born with, Amison, held no meaning to me. Besides, I liked the sound of Emmeline Natsis better than Emmeline Amison. Hannah came along two years later, when I was eleven.

When she was born, Mark went off to med school and my parents pretty much stopped taking care of me. Mark was always supportive of my efforts, and has always been kind and caring; exactly how I'd always imagined an older brother should be. And, since I had his support, I could never bring myself to resent my parents for not doing the same.

I stood at the front door of Mark's apartment building, shivering in the cold, a few days later. I had a bag of food in hand, which was heavy enough that I kept having to switch arms to hold it when my muscles grew sore. I spend most of the free time I have at Mark's place. Tonight, for example, I was going to cook dinner and we were going to watch a movie he'd rented.

I adjusted my jacket, watching my breath as it turned to fog. It was freezing. Damn, he's late, I griped to myself, cursing the fact that I hadn't worn gloves. He knows that I was coming today.

I leaned against the icy brick wall and shut my eyes. Winter is the worst season of the year by far.

I jolted when I heard footsteps approaching. Beaming, I turned around, expecting to see Mark, apologetic for his tardiness. "Brother–!"

I froze. Dr. Michaelis?

He looked different out of uniform, wearing a white T-shirt and a long black trench coat that hung open. He paused and looked at me, and I thought I saw recognition in his eyes. Without a word or even a flicker of emotion, he walked past me, pulled open the door of the apartment building, and disappeared inside.

I let out a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding and the swirls of fog I'd created with it streamed into nothing. Oh…so he was just a neighbor. I didn't know he lived here. I sighed and held my head. Maybe I was wrong and he hadn't recognized me. After all, doctors can't remember all of their patients. And I wasn't even a patient. I was the older sister of one.

I slid to the ground, curling my knees into my chest and wrapping my arms around them. I waited another five minutes. Mark is really late…

Fifteen minutes. My stomach grumbled, complaining at me. And I'm hungry…

Twenty minutes. I sneezed, the cold air tickling my nose. Where is he?

The door opened again and I caught the pungent stench of cigarette smoke. "Hey."

I looked up. Dr. Michaelis stood in the threshold, a lit cigarette in his mouth. "Your brother," he said to me, smiling, "said he was going to be really late."

I was so shocked that I forgot to be mad for a moment. Because the smile he wore now had some emotion. Amusement. I couldn't translate that, and I didn't have time to before he shut the door, leaving me alone in the cold again.

That's when the anger inundated my every sense. What the hell? If he knew, he should have told me earlier! Muttering curses under my breath, I zipped my jacket up as high as it would go and buried my hands in my pockets, realizing with dismay that my teeth and fists were clenched with frustration. I slowly uncurled my fingers and tried to relax my jaw. What was wrong with me? Dr. Michaelis was a jerk, that was all there was to it. He shouldn't have made me this mad.

I rubbed my temples as the world began to blur in and out of focus. I'm starting to get dizzy…

I opened my eyes, disoriented. I was laying down somewhere, and it was warm, but I couldn't remember having gone anywhere. I was in front of Mark's apartment building, or should have been, at least. It was the last thing I remembered. That and getting a little dizzy.

There was something covering me, a blanket. And why the hell did it smell like smoke? Where was I?

I blinked as the ceiling came into focus. White. What a dull color. I glanced around, or started to, because my eyes came to a halt on the first thing I saw.

Dr. Michaelis, smoking a cigarette.

I bolted into a sitting position, the blanket falling off of me, and the room spun violently. Ignoring that, I yelped, "Dr. Michaelis? Why?" I couldn't think of anything more to ask because it seemed to be an appropriate question to ask to cover all the other questions running through my head.

I was on his couch in his apartment; that much was abundantly clear. He was sitting on the floor near my feet, leaning against the couch and smoking. An open book rested on his lap. Unfazed, he looked at me and replied, "Why? Because you fainted in front of the door, so I picked you up. I didn't want you to freeze to death in front of the building. Imagine what a nuisance that would have been."

Yes, it was an insult, but what he had done had actually been incredibly kind. Still, I really didn't want to stay there with him. The man made me nervous as hell. I rapidly got off his couch and went to the door, where the bag of food I'd brought sat waiting for me. "I'll come back another time to say thank you. Sorry for bothering you," I called back, reaching for the door.

I had just wrapped my fingers around the handle when he said, 'You shouldn't go."

I froze. Damn, what was I supposed to do? I turned around, not removing my fingers from the door handle.

He smirked and stood up, crossing his arms over his chest. "You shouldn't go to Dr. Natsis's now. His girlfriend is there."

Mark has a girlfriend? "But I promised him I'd go," I protested, and even I could tell that my voice didn't sound very convincing.

Dr. Michaelis came closer to me and leaned down so his lips were right against my left ear. "Even though you're a kid, you should know what a guy and a girl do in a room."

What should I do? I mean, I'd never had anything like this happen to me before! Oh my god! If Mark really did have a girlfriend, and she was over at his apartment… I never thought about him having a love life before. He was Mark, for Christ's sakes! And what the hell was Dr. Michaelis doing, with his lips against my ear like that?

In the end, all I could manage with the jumbled mess that was my mind was a feeble, "What…?"

Dr. Michaelis looked me in the eyes, his shining with a sort of seductive quality. "If you don't know…I can teach you." He slowly cupped my chin in his fingers and tilted my face towards his, leaning in until I could feel his breath.


I slapped him with as much force as I could muster, and my hand throbbed. "What are you doing?" I screamed at him, furious and horribly, horribly embarrassed all at once. "Stupid!"

The red mark on his cheek was my only compensation as he smirked teasingly and said, "Just kidding."

I flung open the door and stormed out before I could start thinking of ways I could kill him and not get caught, slamming it shut behind me. I stalked towards Mark's door- I couldn't believe that asshole lived only thirty feet away from Mark – and stopped.

Dr. Michaelis's voice rang in my ears. You shouldn't go to Dr. Natsis's now. His girlfriend is there.

In the end, I stared at Mark's door with tears in my eyes for a solid ten minutes before I turned around and left, more confused than I'd ever been in my whole life.

"I'm home," I called wearily, slipping out of my shoes before heading further into my house.

"You're so late!" My mother scolded me as I passed her on my way to the kitchen. She sat at the dining room table, which was covered with brochures and lists of phone numbers. Being a real estate agent is my mother's calling, and she lives, breathes, and lives it. "Where were you? You should have been taking care of your sick sister!"

I sighed, not up to dealing with this now. "No, I'm early," I said, opening the refrigerator and beginning to load the food I had brought to Mark's into it. "I told you I was going to Mark's." I shut the door with more force than was probably necessary and stalked back past her, heading to my room. "I'm going to sleep. Good night."

As I entered my room I heard my mother call in her most dangerous scolding tone, "Emmeline!"

I slammed my door shut.

My dreams were nightmares.

What's up with him?

Dr. Michaelis came closer to me and leaned down so his lips were right against my left ear. "Even though you're a kid, you should know what a guy and a girl do in a room."

I hate mean people like that!

He slowly cupped my chin in his fingers and tilted my face towards his, leaning in until I could feel his breath.

I awoke with a start, covered in a thin veneer of sweat. I groaned. It's hot…

I sat up and ran my fingers through my hair, also damp with sweat. That could only mean one thing. I guess I have a fever.

I rolled out of bed and yawned, rubbing my stiff neck before going to look for my mother. I found her kneeling on the floor in the living room with Hannah hugging her. "Mom, I'm not going to school today. I'm – "

"Emmeline!" she interrupted me urgently. "Hannah's fever is getting worse! Can you take her to the hospital? Your father and I can't do it because of work."

She hadn't been listening to a word I said. She didn't care what I had to say. She didn't care if I was sick. She probably wouldn't have cared if I was dying. She was worried for Hannah, her golden child, Hannah, who always got far more attention than she had ever given to me. In that instant, I hated my mother. I wanted to explode at her and scream exactly how her neglect has made me feel for the past six years, how I would have gone crazy if I hadn't been given support from Mark, and how horrible she was for making me do all the parenting that Hannah required while she just came home at night and showered her newest, favorite child with more love and attention than I ever got.

I wanted her to go to Hell.

Instead, I nodded and turned back towards my room to go get dressed.

I was mortified when we – we being a nurse, Hannah, and myself – walked into the examination room and Dr. Michaelis was already sitting at the desk. His cheek was still red from my vicious slap and as he saw me his eyes flickered with surprise. "Miss Natsis."

Damn! I stared at him, suddenly tongue tied, and stammered, "But- but that was your fault!"

"What are you talking about?" he asked coolly, looking me over. For some reason, I felt violated. I squirmed, uncomfortable beneath his gaze.

He smirked. "I can tell by looking at you that you also have a fever. I'll check you, too."

I think my heart skipped a beat and I blushed furiously. "No, it's okay!" I said quickly.

He didn't bat an eyelash. "Oh, that's too bad." He turned to the nurse and said briskly. "Go prepare the shots."

"Shots?" Hannah whimpered as the nurse left, and I took her hand and squeezed it reassuringly. Too bad? I thought, confused as hell that I found that completely irritating.

"Hey, don't cry, okay?" I pleaded with Hannah twenty minutes later as she bawled into my shoulder. "I'll play with you later," I promised, desperately trying to cheer her up. Her right shoulder must have felt abused. The poor kid had just gotten three needles in her arm. "Okay, then. Thank you so much," I said to the nurse, leaving the room.

As I was walking down the hall, I heard the nurse say, "Doctor… your face… it wasn't a cat, right?"

I heard him snicker. "Well…making fun of a cute cat is amusing, too."

The nurse came out of the room and I could swear I heard Dr. Michaelis humming as I walked down the hall, Hannah still hiccupping and crying in my arms.

I swore colorfully under my breath as I rummaged through the cabinets in the bathroom. I was burning up, and my head was throbbing. I wanted a painkiller and a sleeping pill that would knock me out and offer a respite from my recently cruel and confusing as hell reality. "The medicine has got to be in here somewhere!" I growled, slamming a bottle of mouthwash down next to me in my irritation and receiving minimal satisfaction at the loud noise it made.

"Emmeline," my mother hissed, hurrying into the bathroom. "Hannah finally went to sleep, so keep the noise down!"

I almost blew up at her. But I knew I would have gotten hell for that, so instead a put the bottles and such away, being pointedly silent, before I stood up and said through clenched teeth, "I left something at Mark's house, so I'll be going. I'll sleep there tonight."

My phone beeped at me and I flipped it open, reading the text Mark had just sent my way. "Go on up and wait for me at my door," it said. "I'll be there in five minutes."

I grinned and hitched my bag of clothes further up my shoulder. Finally, I would get some sympathy and some Tylenol. Going to Mark's was the best idea ever.

I hummed on the elevator as it slowly rose to the eighth floor, and when the doors slid open I all but skipped out, heading for Mark's door.

The only problem was that there was already someone there. A tall, slender girl with long, wavy, blonde hair. She was gorgeous. She was radiant. And she looked eager.

And she had a key.

She was putting it in the lock and turning it, and then she opened the door and slipped inside. It clicked shut behind her. It was the most depressing sound in the world to me. I was so jealous of her. Why had Mark given his girlfriend a key and not me? I was over there so often that I knew it better than I knew my own house! It was my real home because it was the only place I could feel safe, happy. My sanctuary.

And it looked like I didn't have it anymore. His girlfriend had just gone inside like it was her right. I had never been able to do that. Didn't I deserve that more than her? Why was everything so messed up?

I heard the elevator door ding and slide open. I turned around, expecting Mark, but got a face full of cigarette smoke instead, and Dr. Michaelis was staring at me in shock.

I hadn't realized I'd been crying until I started yelling at him. "Why are you here? Is the pediatrics department not busy?" I sobbed.

It had finally happened. Everything bottled up inside me had gotten so great that some of my feelings had turned to tears to escape. And crying only made me feel worse.





"Here. Medicine and water. You haven't taken anything yet, right?" Dr. Michaelis said, handing me the glass and pills before sitting down on the couch next to me. Right next to me. He was so close that our legs were touching. There was an entire half a couch he could have occupied instead; why on earth had he chosen to sit as close to me as possible?

I stared at the water in the glass. "So you're not going to ask me anything?"

"Well, I've got most of the story. Your brother's girlfriend was at his house…and you were shocked, right?"

I said nothing, and I felt the hot tears welling up in my eyes. When I felt his hand over mine, I jolted, but he didn't remove it, guiding the glass to my lips. "Take the pills," he said to me, a tone of authority to his voice. I did, and felt his eyes on me as he watched. He didn't speak again until I had finished the entire glass and set it down on his coffee table.

Smirking, he pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and pulled one out, bringing it his lips. "But your feelings towards Dr. Natsis aren't love."

I was appalled for a moment, and it took my brain a few seconds to recover. "How would you know?" I asked, feeling that same anger I always got around him flare up inside my chest. And he never got mad or anything. The passive expression on his face as he lit his cigarette was unnerving!

"I do," he said simply, placing the box of cigarettes on the coffee table and inhaling deeply on his. I held my breath. Seriously, this guy's a doctor and yet he smokes like a chimney over a wooden fire. And not like I could tell him to not do that around me, please, since it's his house and all. But I was really not interested in breathing his second-hand lung cancer in a stick. "Your sister was born after your parents remarried, right?" he asked, eyeing me with an almost infuriating sort of interest. Or lack of such.

I felt my breath catch in my throat. I didn't want him to analyze my feelings, my past, or any other part of me. I just wanted to get hit in the head and get amnesia from it.

Yeah. That'd solve aaaaallllll my problems.

"When your parents were busy taking care of your newborn sister, your brother, Dr. Natsis, was always nice to you," Dr. Michaelis continued, taking my silence as confirmation of his question. "Isn't that it? You were just lonely." He leaned in close to me and whispered, "That's not love."

Tears were already spilling out of my eyes and I felt like my head was about to explode. I didn't think it was possible for me to feel any worse than I did now. But of course, Dr. Michaelis just had to prove me wrong.

"Because," he smirked, like he was having the time of his life making me cry. And he probably was. "Have you ever wished to have sex with your brother?"

I gasped and a sob escaped my lips before I broke down entirely. He was such a jerk! Why did I even agree to come here? I should have just turned around and gone home, no matter how mad my mother was making me.

"I hate you!" I choked out through my tears, hiccupping so violently my chest was starting to hurt. Of all the people I wished would disappear, he was top of the list. I wanted him to leave me alone. I wanted him to act like I was just another patient's sister. I wanted him to act like I meant nothing to him.

And at the same time I wanted him to do this to me, too. I deserved this emotional torment. I hated my own mother. I was beginning to resent my younger sister. And I was jealous of my brother's girlfriend, who was more attached to him – both physically and emotionally – than I could ever be.

I was a terrible person.

Dr. Michaelis wrapped his arm around me and pulled me into him, blubbery mess and all. "Well…" he said quietly, and I could hear the smile in his voice. "I like that better than 'I love you'."

"You're so…twisted," I muttered, trying to wriggle away from him, and to no prevail. If anything, he held me tighter.

"That's what most people say," he informed me. He was still smiling, but at least he didn't sound smug anymore. Bastard. "I used to own a dog."

Wow. Random, much? Because it was so important that I hear about some dog he used to own. I wouldn't be able to live my life without knowing that he had a dog.

"It was very cute. And then, I put so many layers of blankets over it while it was sleeping…that it died of suffocation."

My eyes widened. I mean, he freaking killed a dog? For real?


I rubbed my eyes, but tears still poured out of them. "Why are you telling me this?" I asked, feeling my eyelids start to droop.

And he hugged me. He hugged me and didn't let go. And for the first time in what seemed like an interminably long time, I felt…like…well, I don't know. Like I was being cared for. Like it wasn't only me who cared about me anymore. Like…someone couldn't stand to see me so distressed that I was having a nervous, emotional breakdown. "The pills are starting to work, right?" he asked softly, laying me down on the couch. "Now… go to sleep."

I didn't want him to let me go.

I regained a sort of consciousness when he arranged a blanket over me. He had a newspaper tucked under his arm, and he sat down on the floor at my feet, much like he had yesterday when he'd brought me up here after I'd fainted, and I felt like I had to say something. "Doctor…?"

He raised an eyebrow and turned his head, looking at me. I had his full attention – something else I never got at home.

"Just so you know…I don't think that dog has a grudge against you. To be honest…I think it's happy that you loved it so much."

His eyes glimmered with shock as my words clunked into place in his brain. Then he smiled. "Good night."

The corners of my lips twitched as I shut my eyes. Just now, I think… that he smiled at me with almost…gentle eyes.

And it made my heart beat faster in my dreams.

God, what was that annoying noise? I was trying to sleep!

Oh, wait. Crap. That was my phone – embarrassingly blaring the Teen Titans theme song for Dr. Michaelis to hear. Wonderful.

I sighed and looked around for my phone. It was sitting on the coffee table.

Dr. Michaelis came into the room, his black hair dripping with beads of water and a towel draped over his shoulders, obvious symptoms of having just gotten out of the shower. "Oh, are you awake? Your cell phone's been ringing constantly."

I sat up and reached for my phone. As I did, three layers of blankets fell off of me, the top one thicker than the other two. I blushed and stifled a giggle. I think… I think I was having a really good dream.

It was my mom. I flipped my phone open and pressed it to my ear. "Hello? Mom?"

She was mad, and not because I hadn't called her to tell her I was safe. She was mad because I'd left Hannah. She's Hannah's freaking mom, not me! How is taking care of her all the time my responsibility?

"Sorry," I apologized blandly. "I'm…uh…"

She kept yelling at me, and what she said chilled my blood and made me feel like a complete and total jerk.

"What? Hannah?" I yelped, getting a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Yes. I was a horrible, terrible, awful person. And I deserved everything that was happening to me.

I rushed past Dr. Michaelis, coat on and bag in hand. "I'm really sorry! I have to go home!" I explained frantically ("I'm sorry, I have to go," she says nebulously. God, I'm such a cliché).

He thrust his arm out and stopped me in my tracks, pulling me into him. "Calm down," he said scoldingly, and I almost felt really bad about trying to leave. Until I remembered why I had to get the hell out of there. "You still have a fever," he reminded me, and then leaned over so that he could look me in the eyes. "What's wrong?" he asked, and I felt his hand on my palm before he intertwined his fingers with mine. "What happened?"

I stepped away from him, about to start crying again, and he didn't release my hand. "Hannah is gone," I managed to choke out around the lump that seemed to be permanently lodged in my throat. "Because…I didn't take care of her properly."

He dropped my hand and reached for his coat. "Okay," he said, slinging it around his shoulders. "We'll find her faster if we both search."

As I stared at him and realized what he was offering, I almost had another emotional meltdown. Doctor…

We were the only two people on the street as we walked, my frantic calls of "Hannah!" the only sound. It was all I could do to keep a steady pace, because when I tried to run – all fourteen times that I tried to run – Dr. Michaelis would grab my hand and force me to slow back down to a walk, chastising me for trying to overdo it when I was ill.

Well, I could guarantee I'd feel a lot sicker if anything happened to Hannah.

I held my head, having an internal war with myself. One part of me was screaming that I was such an awful person for letting this happen that I deserved any and all misfortune that befell me from here on out. The other half was telling the first part of me, and just as loudly, that it wasn't my fault that I couldn't play parent, spending all my time with Hannah, and be a high school senior both without something having to give.

In all honesty, I had chosen Hannah over school. I was pulling abysmal grades at the moment because I was never doing my homework. I was all about making Hannah happy. What more could I have done? This wasn't my fault.

Oh, god. The realization hit me like a bus and I almost threw up. Yes, it was. It was completely my fault, and I knew exactly how. "I promised Hannah I'd play with her today," I whispered, feeling sick to my stomach.

Dr. Michaelis looked back at me and eyed me skeptically-I couldn't have been looking too good right then; I was probably turning green – but he ignored my condition and asked, "Do you have any guesses? Like places you two usually go."

It didn't take me long to think that one over. My hand flew to my mouth in horror. "The park!"

I was furious that he still wouldn't let me run, but we did pick up the pace as we made our way to the park. Oh, god. As if the gangs of the city who occasionally visited the park to graffiti every available surface weren't enough, the playground was a death trap in itself. The jungle gym alone was twelve feet tall, and that was the average height of the rest of the park's play structures. If someone as fragile as Hannah fell off one of those…

I didn't want to think about it.

Hannah was on top of the jungle gym, and she appeared to be sleeping. My worst fears come to life. "Hannah!" I cried out, almost hysterical.

"Shh!" Dr. Michaelis hissed. "She's sleeping. If you make loud noises, she might be surprised and get into danger."

Damn, it was a good thing he'd come with me. He was the logic in this recon mission. I was just the frazzled idiot who got us into this mess in the first place.

A smile slowly made its way across his lips. "The jungle gym…" he said, beginning to shrug his coat off. "I wonder how many years it's been since I've been on that." I realized then what he intended to do.

"Doctor," I said firmly, knowing I would not let myself be swayed on this matter. "I'm going up there to get her. If we both fall…make sure you save Hannah."

He froze for a moment, staring at me in shock, and then smiled in understanding. "All right."

Without thinking about how flipping terrified I am of heights, I started to climb. It's okay, I assured myself, not trying to think too far ahead. Just deal one bar at a time… like climbing a ladder. Even if we both fall, Doctor will save Hannah.

I got to the top and reached for Hannah's thin shoulder, lightly shaking her awake. "Hannah," I said softly. "Wake up. Are you okay?"

She stirred and her eyelashes fluttered. When she saw me her face lit up and she bolted into a sitting position. "Emma!"

"Don't get up!" I said quickly, my heart pounding from watching her rapid ascension. It had scared the bajeezus out of me.

She giggled and reached out to tug on my sleeve. "Emma, let's play!" she said eagerly. How could I have ever resented her? I'm her favorite person in the world.

"Sure," I said, smiling rather forcedly. My nerves were on edge. "We can play just as soon as we get down from here."

She immediately began to inch her way towards the edge of the jungle gym towards me, and I waited with baited breath until she was holding onto the bar next to me. We began to climb down.

And suddenly, she wasn't next to me anymore. Her hands slipped off the bar and she fell. "Hannah!" I screamed, thinking for a moment that my heart was going to explode.

Dr. Michaelis caught her easily, and I breathed a sigh of relief before realizing that I was shaking. He smiled. "Quite clumsy, huh?" He set Hannah down next to him. Well…" he turned back to me and stretched out his arms. "It's your turn."

Was he crazy? No way was I flinging myself off this thing purely because he might catch me. I was considerably heavier than my little sister, too. "I'm fine!"

I made it down two more rails before my foot slipped and I went flying. "Doctor, watch out!" I yelled, afraid that I might crush him.

But he caught me too. I landed perfectly in his outstretched arms, and it was so amazing that it should belong in a movie. His arms were perfect. It was like they were made for the purpose of saving me like this. For keeping me in line. For hugging me. For comforting me.

Perfect for everything, really.

"I told you to go away!" I complained, blushing deeply. "I said I'd be fine!"

He smiled. "This one's clumsy too."

My heart skipped a beat. "L-let's go home," I stammered, since I had made such a complete and utter fool out of myself that the only thing left for us to do was get Hannah home and call it a happily ever after.

Dr. Michaelis carried Hannah and I walked as close to him as I could, basically using him to steady myself when my knees wobbled. I was a wreck.

Halfway back to my house, two figures appeared on the street, coming towards us. "Hannah!" my mom shrieked, racing towards us. Mark was close behind her, looking completely baffled. "Dr. Michaelis?" he exclaimed, his eyes darting from me to the doctor and back to me again.

Mom rushed forward and took Hannah from Dr. Michaelis, asking frantically, "Where were you?"

"I was playing with Emma!" Hannah informed her proudly, seeing nothing wrong with her actions. She was very pleased with herself, in fact.

"Sorry, Mom," I apologized, sincerely this time. "I promised Hannah I'd play with her, but I forgot…"

"Emmeline!" my mother exclaimed, using her horrid scolding tone. "You're such a bad girl!"

Ouch. I knew my mother was the queen of caustic remarks, but that one went deep.

I stared at my feet. I couldn't say anything to her that would make her listen anymore. I just had to take whatever she threw at me and live with it. Besides…I deserved this. I deserved all of it.

"Mom!" Mark breathed. Even he was taken aback by the way our mother was speaking to me. But if he was ever around at our house, he'd know that this wasn't too far from the normal way she spoke to me nowadays.

Dr. Michaelis suddenly moved forward, standing between me and my mother like he was trying to shield me. "Please don't blame her," he said, looking back at me and smiling. "She's a good sister to Hannah and has a gentle heart."

Unexpected. Unexpected and completely appreciated. And right then and there, I knew. I knew from that moment on. I was completely and totally


Mom stared at him blankly for a while, and then thanked him for his help. Mark grinned apologetically and held up his car keys. "Dr. Michaelis, sorry for the trouble. I'll give you a ride back to your apartment."

"Thank you."

My brother and the guy I'd just decided I officially liked set off down the street. And I almost spaced before I remembered what I had to say. "Dr. Michaelis!" I called suddenly. He turned around. "Thank you!" I said quickly, and then retreated, blushing like crazy.

I wasn't far enough that I couldn't hear Mark and Dr. Michaelis's conversation. "She's really nice, isn't she?" Mark asked. I could tell he was grinning.

I heard Dr. Michaelis respond, "I'm sorry. I forgot something."

I had no idea what on earth he could have forgotten, when I heard someone come up behind me and grab my wrist. I turned around rapidly, and Dr. Michaelis pulled me straight into his arms and kissed me. Nothing more than a simple lips to lips touch.

And yet it meant the world to me.

He pulled away and rested his forehead on mine, smiling slyly. "I didn't receive a thank you gift," he murmured before releasing me and walking shamelessly back towards Mark.

I stood there like an idiot, drowning in my own infatuation. My mom, who had missed the kiss, looked curiously at me. "Emmeline? What happened?"

I was blushing more deeply than I had ever blushed in my life. "Uh…nothing!" I said hurriedly, afraid I was about to have a heart attack.

I watched Dr. Michaelis walk up to Mark. "Sorry to keep you waiting."

Mark, who had witnessed our kiss and looked thoroughly freaked out, just nodded and led him away.

It was the first time I'd ever come to this building without the intention of seeing my brother.

Dr. Michaelis opened the door to his apartment, looking shocked to see me standing there. "Hm? Your brother's room is next door."

Oh…well, this was awkward, then. Had he honestly not been expecting me to come over? What was it with him, kiss and forget? "Um…I just…I mean…uh…"I babbled like an idiot, trying to come up with an excuse for why I'd come to see him instead of Mark.

He smiled and opened the door wider, standing aside. "Just kidding."

I blushed and stepped into his apartment. "You're so mean!" I muttered, dropping my purse on the floor at my feet and unwrapping my scarf.

Dr. Michaelis took my hands and leaned in to kiss me. "But you like me, right?"

I sighed as he pressed his lips against mine. Such a mean and twisted Dr. S…

He pulled away and smirked.

"I hate you," I told him teasingly.

His smirk turned into a grin. "Very well, then. If you say so," he said, and leaned in to kiss me again. I love his kisses. I love his embrace.

But I won't tell him I love him.

I loved doing this. So much fun! And now, dear readers, I am going to beg you for your reviews like humble fanfic writers like myself all over do on 99 percent of their stories. I love each and every one! No joke. Chapter two will be posted shortly, and I am just as excited about it as I was for this one! I hope you will be, too!