"Oh... I'm not sure how to handle this..." Crona bit his lower lip, looking back and forth nervously. "H-Hello..?" He tried for a greeting, nodding slightly to reassure himself that it was the proper thing to do. Or was it..? Stein stared at the young... girl? Boy? ... Child that had knocked into him, because... he… she... it? Was looking down at ...their feet as they had been walking. He smiled, holding up a hand in some sort of mini wave at the others greeting.
"Hi. Are you a student here?" Crona lowered his head.
"..No." he responded shyly. "Should I be? I don't know what to do.." the young feminine boy looked up and around. Where was Medusa?
"Well... Why are you in this school then if you aren't a student?" He inquired, innocent smile still on his face while confusion and suspicion brewed underneath.
"I'm looking for Lady Medusa..." Crona explained rather absent-mindedly. "Have you seen her..?" He asked hopefully.
"Lady...? Oh! You mean nurse Medusa!" He opened his eyes to peer down at the young one. "Of course I know where she is! Just follow me!" His eyes once again closed as he smiled at her/him/it. Then he paused again, lifting his hand to adjust his glasses. "Why do you need to see her? Are you sick?"
The young androgynous male flinched as the scientist lifted a hand, mistaking it for malicious intent for a mere moment. "..N-No, I don't think I am…" He responded, rubbing the back of his head shyly. The only thing that would make him ill at this moment was Ragnarok's abuse. "I need to ask her if it's okay to..." he looked down and muttered somewhat. "…since I don't know how to handle this..." The scientist's eyes sharpened as he saw the flinch. Thoughts quickly began running through his head.
"And you think nurse Medusa would be able to help you deal with it? Why's that?" He inquired gently.
"Lady Medusa always knows what to do..." He nodded truthfully. "..So please take me to her." Crona pleaded, looking around as nervous as always. Stein's mind was quickly going through multiple scenarios and situations to explain the kid's timid demure. And only one fit. Abuse.
"Alright then, come along, I'll bring you to her."
"..Thank you." Crona bowed slightly, keeping a safe distance from the older man as they began to walk. "..I-Is she busy at all..?"
"Busy? Well I don't know." He said lightly. His voice may have carried amusement as spoke, but underneath his mind was in turmoil. Did Medusa have anything to do with... the... abuse? Or maybe he was calling things too soon. He shouldn't assume things... still... "Ah, it's seems I've forgotten already. What was it you wanted her to help you with again?"
"I need Lady Medusa to tell me what to do next..." He bit his lower lip slightly, running his fingers through his hair and feeling the bumps and bruises left by Ragnarok. He winced a little. "I don't know what to do about this..." he mumbled inaudibly in reference to the bruises on his head. Stein's façade peered at the child, all sunshine and rainbows. "You speak too softly; it makes you hard to hear." He stuffed his hands in his pocket as he leisurely walked down the hallway. "By the way kid, I never did get your name..."
"My name..? I'm sorry…" He apologized quietly. "M-My name is Crona..."
"Ah!" He exclaimed loudly "What a lovely name, very beautiful." He wasn't sure, but as of now he would refer to the kid as a girl. The only thing he had to base this on was the hair colour, seeing as everything else was androgynous, but whatever. "So, how do you know Miss Medusa anyway?"
"I-I... L-Lady..." Crona lowered his head as they walked onward. "...S-She... M-Mothe..." Words flooded throughout the small boy. "I don't know how to handle this..." he pressed two fingers to his forehead in confusion. "…I-I... S-She... R-Raised me... to..."
"Hey, hey don't force yourself. If you can't say it then don't force yourself." His mind was working at warp speed, cycling and speculating on what little information he had gotten from the girl. "Ah! What do you know! We're here!" Stein exclaimed, throwing his arms wide out.
Crona lowered his head and raised his arms, flinching yet again. He was about to shout 'Don't hurt me!' when he realized he wasn't going to get hit. "...We are? Oh!" he half-smiled.
"Yep! Come on!" He opened the door and entered the nurse's office, peering around the room. "Miss Medusa? Are you here? Hellooo?" He stood desolately in the middle of the chamber, hands in his pockets. "Guess she isn't here..."Crona ran into the room after Stein, looking around eagerly- that look of insanity in his eyes.
"La-... Oh... So she isn't here..." he looked down in disappointment. "What do we do..?" he asked Ragnarok, though it looked as if he were speaking to the air or perhaps even the scientist.
"Hm... Well, I don't know where else she would be, so I guess we'll just have to wait here for her... I should be here anyways, I work here too..." He now sat on a rolly, stitchy chair, though where it had come from was a good question. He gestured towards the bed as he saw Crona stand in the entrance, looking forlorn.
"Should I sit down..?" Crona asked aloud as Stein gestured toward the bed in the nurse's office. Quietly he made his way over, sitting on the edge of the bed. "..." he sat in silence.
"So, Crona, do you live in Death City? I don't remember ever having seen you around before..." Yes, investigation time had begun. He placed his chin upon his hands, smiling like he had naught a care in the world.
"Do I live... in Death City..?" The young boy repeated. "...Live..? I don't know how to answer this..." He gave a look of frustration. "...I live wherever Lady Medusa tells me to..." The scientist's brows furrowed just the slightest bit.
"Wherever she tells you too, eh? So that must mean you're really close to her, right?" He wanted answers and he wanted them as soon as possible. Once he found a puzzle, he wouldn't let go until he had solved it. And this was one very intriguing puzzle.
"…Close to her." Crona pressed a hand to his chest. "What is it to be close to someone? Am I close to Lady Medusa?" he asked himself, once again aloud. "...I believe I am close to Lady Medusa." His interest was piqued even more.
"To be close to someone is to know them. To know them, to love them, care for them... Is your relationship with Medusa anything like that?"
"...I care for Lady Medusa. She raised me... S-She... taught me it was okay.." Crona's voice became a whisper. "…to kill." he clenched the fabric of his dress, eyes lowered to the floor. "Lady Medusa... takes care of me.."
"To... kill? You have been killing Crona?" Interesting. So very interesting. He leaned forward without realizing it, tipping the chair a bit.
"...Lady Medusa says it's okay to, so that makes it okay." Crona smiled cruelly with a mixture of innocence. "..Human or not." he rubbed the bruises on his head again. His eyes shifted back and forth, giving him the slight appearance of insanity. "..Am I not allowed to talk about this?" he flinched, as though expecting someone to hit him.
"Of course it's okay to be talking about it, I would tell you if it wasn't." An innocent smile. "Is there something wrong with your head? You've been rubbing it a lot." Detached concern. What a lovely specimen. A lovely opportunity.
"..N-No..." Crona glanced up at Stein nervously. "..Well, he hits me a lot so my head hurts." His voice held slight complaint. "...If you say it's okay, then I guess it's okay.." he murmured submissively.
"He?" Scientist with a subject he may be, but the subject of child abuse was still present. "By he, do you mean your father?"
"..No... Ragnarok..." Crona ran his fingers through his hair shyly. "..But it's only when I'm being scared... or when I'm not doing what he says... or... when I don't share the souls we... or... I-I…he always..." He began to frown in reminder of the pain. "..He does it a lot I think... I don't know how to deal with it..." His eyes searched the young girls'.
"And are Ragnarok your friend or something?" He frowned, stitches stretching awkwardly across his face. "Are you hurt badly anywhere?"
"D-demon... swo... my... my weapon." Crona whispered to Stein. "Hurt badly...? My blood is black..." Crona recalled, fingers pressing lightly to his scalp. Demon... Sword... He refrained a manic grin from spreading across his face as he absorbed this information.. A weapon within a person, a demon sword... a glint appeared in his eyes, his lips twitched. The façade was breaking.
"Black Blood? That sounds unhealthy... You might be really sick or something... Would you like me to check it out?"
"Be really sick..?" Crona frowned slightly. "I don't know how to handle illness... maybe you should check it out... yeah.. that sounds right."
"Alright then," The grey haired man rolled over to the bed where she was sitting. Spinning the chair around, he looked closely at her, pressing his stethoscope to her chest "Deep breaths for me, okay?"
"Deep breaths? I think I can do that.." The small boy inhaled deeply, slowly exhaling and repeating. "Is that good..?"
"Good, good. Very good Crona." He swiveled his chair around to the other side of the girl and put the stethoscope on her back. "Now do the same thing for me, okay?" Crona nodded slightly, repeating the actions again.
"...Am I okay?" he asked, not knowing how long a physical examination actually took.
"I don't know yet... You heart seems to be okay..." He put down his stethoscope "Now Crona, lift your head for me." He asked as he lightly touched his index fingers to the glands in her neck. Crona tilted his head upward, squeezing his eyes shut in fear as Stein pressed fingers to his neck. "..." he inhaled sharply, realizing yet again that this man wasn't going to hurt him. Twitch. He felt Crona's panic at his light touch. Quickly, but still gently, he rubbed the glans.
"Okay there too." He quickly released her neck. "Give me your arm'' He asked as he took a blood pressure meter from his pocket. He gently extended a hand, ready to grasp her arm. Crona hesitated, wearily stretching out his arm for him.
"What does that do..?" he asked cautiously, afraid it may be something to hurt him.
"It measures how fast you blood is flowing." He fastened the band around the girl's arm, securing it tightly. "If your blood is running too fast or too slow, it can be really bad for you. Now, this might hurt a bit okay?" Stein waited for her consent before he began pumping.
"..O-Okay..." Crona shut his eyes tightly, cheeks turning a light shade of pink as he became embarrassed at how frightened he was over something so seemingly simplistic. "I-I'm ready..." Stein squeezed the pump, slowly inflating the band with air, staring at the meter as it measured her blood pressure. "Good girl, Crona."
"..I-I..." He was going to comment on his gender, but remained silent and waited patiently. A curious expression etched itself onto his face; his eyes watching the meter intently. He poked his tongue out, licking his lips.
"Your blood pressure is a bit slow," he commented, undoing the band around her arm "but it's nothing to worry about." He pushed his glasses up, a slight crease in his forehead. "Now here's the hard part. Are you scared of needles Crona?"
"Needles..? I'm not sure how to handle them." Crona shrugged, never having a needle in his arm before. "But I think I can do that..." he dropped his arm down, sighing lightly.
"Alright, good girl." he pulled a long syringe out of his pocket and took the crook of her elbow with his free hand. Quickly locating a vein, he swabbed it with some alcohol rub and prepped the needle. "Now, this might feel a bit queer, okay?" He positioned the needle point right above her vein.
"O-Oka..." Crona's eyes widened and he flipped out. "It's going to hurt... T-The pointy..!" He swung his arm up to defend himself, the needle jabbing into his arm and pulling downward only to cut his flesh open diagonally. "..My...blood is black... it's black... you know.." his eyes shifted from side to side as though some sign of schizophrenia emerged for probably the third or fourth time. "..O-Ouch..." he crawled backward on the bed, blood dripping down and staining the white sheets with thick, black droplets. Stein reflexively grabbed her arm as she shifted backwards, and gently set the needle down.
"And this is why I asked you if it was okay" he sighed, looking at the bloody... black... mess on the floor and bed. "Calm down Crona, I need to patch you up before you pass out from blood loss." Indeed, the gash on her arm was very big, and she was losing a lot of blood.
"..." He tilted his head. "..I'm sorry... I don't know how to handle this…" Crona looked down in shame, holding his frail arm out with rather shakily, though still delicately. "It hurts." His eyes began to water, though he showed very little pain on his face. The dark circles under his eyes made him look incredibly unhealthy, adding on to the possibilities of child abuse for the mad scientist.
"Hey hey, you didn't do anything wrong." It wasn't her fault that she had been abused, making her terrified of everything. Yes, by now he was absolutely sure that the young girl was a victim of abuse. "Now now, I won't get mad." He gently wiped away the tears that had begun to trail down her cheeks.
"O-Okay..." He blushed lightly as the tears were wiped away from his fragile features. "...now what?" The pink-haired boy asked patiently, arm still held out.
"Here." Once again, he pulled something from his pockets. This time it was some gauze, bandages and cream. He stood and waked to a cabinet on the other side of the room. He quickly returned with a wet cloth and kneeled down in front of her. "This might hurt a bit okay?" Crona responded by nodding sadly, his eyes fixated on the scientist as though to distract himself from the wound.
"...So what's your name?" he asked in that shy fashion of his. He had realized that he never thought to ask such a simple question beforehand in his determination to find Lady Medusa.
"Hm? Oh, I'm Professor Stein." He gently wiped the dark blood off her arm, then setting the cloth over her wound, applying pressure to stop the bleeding. His touch was gentle, but still efficient. "I work here at Death academy as a nurse and a teacher." Crona would have been trembling had he not felt a little comfort from how gingerly he was being treated, a soft smile tugging at the corners of his ever-present look of what would be taken as sadness, pain or even insanity.
"Professor Stein... Stein... I think I'm okay with that..." he repeated the name to himself happily, as though debating whether or not it was likeable. In the end, it was decidedly a nice name- one that he would like to say more often.
"That's good. There aren't many people who actually like my name." He smiled softly at the girl. Looking back down at his current task, he lifted the now soaked cloth from her arm, now that the gash had stopped bleeding. He stood and went to the sink to rinse the blood from the cloth, ringing the water out. He returned to the pink haired kid, kneeling down again to wipe off the remnants off blood. After the last of the blood had been wiped from him, his gaze once again steadied as he looked at the scientist with interest.
"Are you… close to Lady Medusa?" he asked thoughtfully, wondering what the connection the two may have had was.
"Nurse Medusa? No, not really. I'm acquainted with her; I have to be, seeing as we both work as nurses in this room. I don't really know her though." Setting the cloth aside, he unscrewed the cap on the cream, dipping his fingers in and spreading a liberal amount over her arm.
"Oh..." Crona murmured rather enviously. This meant that the two of them saw each other on a daily basis. The young pinkette realized that this meant all hours of the day when he was lonely; Crona was most likely hard at work here with Stein. Did that mean Lady Medusa trusted Stein? Should Crona? "..I see... She's like... a..." he thought hard. "..M...Mother... to me… she takes care of me." he explained aloud, as though trying to figure it out for himself. Was mother the word to use..?
"Oh, I see! That's why you were looking for her. Strange though, if you're that important to her, that I haven't seen you around here before." It made sense. If Crona's own parents abused her, then she would depend on another figure to be her parent, a figure such as Medusa. "Almost done here." Stein said, wrapping a layer of gauze around her elbow and reaching for the roll of bandages.
"...I go wherever Lady Medusa tells me to. I-I... have no... other... people..." He looked down, eyes filled with loneliness. "My blood is black… because of Lady Medusa..." Crona began to speak in a whisper again. "You should... listen to what other people say..." he felt rather light headed from the blood loss, but that wasn't anything he couldn't handle. His eyes remained locked on Stein. "Do you recall those doors... that open only one way?" he asked, teetering forward slightly. This man… he seemed familiar. "Professor... Stein..?"
"Medusa did this to you?" he asked, and then caught the girl from falling over as she suddenly toppled. "Whoa, hey sweetheart, hold on there." He set her back against the pillows, tilting the bed up a bit with the remote. "Here Crona, drink this okay?" He said, presenting her with a glass of water.
"..W-Well... yes..." Crona nodded lazily, giving a small yawn as he was set down. "..Ragnarok... wakes me every hour...punishment..." he explained shortly, taking the glass of water as carefully as he could manage and pressing it to his dry and cracked pale lips. "I think... we've met once before..." he clutched his head with his free hand, his thoughts darting back and forth. Yes, yes they had. He had chosen to ignore that when he had seen the young girl in the hallway. Different circumstances, different people. Besides, he hadn't been quite sure it was the one from the cathedral, but now he was. "Ragnarok does this to you? As punishment? For what?" He took the empty glass from her hands and placed it on the night stand.
"Not sharing... not listening... hesitating..." Crona explained sadly, his eyes drifting up to the ceiling. "I can't do anything right..." He inhaled deeply.
"Ragnarok tells you this?" He finished clipping up the bandaging that he had abandoned to catch the girl. "He's the one that tells you you can't do anything right?"
"..Yes." He nodded solemnly, eyes closing as he pressed a hand to his heart as though expressing a form of pain. He gripped the chest of his robe tightly as though trying not to cry. Pain shot through his arm, seeing as it was the one that had been bandaged. "..." he inhaled sharply.
"Hey hey, careful now," He warned, gently taking her arm and laying it on her lap. "It's injured remember." He stood up briefly to gather all the materials that he had used and placed them back in his pockets. "Now, why do you believe Ragnarok when he tells you these things? Is he the only one that says them?"
"There isn't anyone else around to say things like that to me really... so yes." He admitted. "Why are there so many questions...?"
"I'm sorry, Crona, I didn't mean to ask so many questions." He smiled gently at her. Everything he did had to be gentle so that she wouldn't panic. "I just want to say though, I think you did very well for this examination, which means you can do something right." He raised a hand and softly patted her on the head. He shut his eyes tightly as his head was pat, cheeks turning a deep shade of pink.
"I can do something right..?" Crona repeated rather shyly.
"Yes, you can. In fact, I'm sure you can do many things right, you just don't know it yet." The professor ruffled her hair a bit and then returned his arm. He stood and went to the sink, to gather the black blood that he had rung from the cloth before. A cute smile worked its way onto his face.
"Really?" the young boy asked with happiness. As he lay on the bed his eyes began to slowly close, having to force them open in order to stay awake. "..." a yawn escaped Crona's lips, and he waited for Stein to return to the bedside. Pouring the blood into a few test tubes, he stored them in his lab coat and returned to the Crona, sitting beside the bed on his chair.
"I'm glad..." His words faded; the blush on his cheeks a deep pink. "Professor Stein is there somewhere you can take me... to... Read books?" Crona asked curiously. "It will help me learn how to handle things..."
"Books?" Stein inquired quizzically. Yes, books helped you learn, but not necessarily with people. None the less, he would take her. "Yeah, there's the library. I'll take you there if you want." He leaned his chin on the back of his seat frowning slightly. "Are you well enough to move though?"
Crona stood up with ease; wincing only slightly. "Yes, I've been in worse." He explained, stretching a bit so that his body wouldn't be so rigid. Stein's forehead crinkled slightly. Her words had done nothing to sooth his worry, if anything only made it worse. He heaved a sigh and stood from his chair, cautious and ready to catch her should she fall or stumble. She had lost a lot of blood. "Alright... Do you need anything before we go?" Pain pills maybe...
"I think I can handle this..." he waved Stein off and took the first step forward shakily. "I... think..." Crona stretched a hand out to grasp Stein's lab coat; lowering his eyes. "Help me walk..?" He asked shyly. Stein smiled gently. Reaching a hand out, he set it on her opposite side, holding her close to him by the area just under her left armpit.
"Keep holding on if you need to. I'll walk slow, okay?" Crona simply nodded in response; and walked with Stein to the library. Once they were inside; he looked around eagerly and wandered over to a shelf after letting go of Stein, no longer feeling the need for his support.
"Look at all of these books!" He looked around in awe, fingers trailing delicately over the shelves. "Hmm..." A gold-coloured book caught his eyes, and he pulled it from the shelf. Taking a seat on a sofa, he began to take a look. "..." he whispered the title inaudibly to himself, as though it were a secret. Flipping through the pages for a moment, a soft smile worked its way onto his lips. He read for about ten minutes without speaking; as though it was by far the most precious thing. Stein sat on the couch across from her, saying nothing, simply observing. He was glad that she showed a bit of happiness. It was always hard to find something positive about life with abuse cases. After a moment, the young boy's eyes lifted from the book. His fingers clutched it tightly still, and he stared longingly at Stein before speaking. "...Professor Stein..." He bit his lower lip, eyes dropping to the floor in his loss of courage. "...You would make... a wonderful father..." He held the book to his chest, cradling it. "Just like the father in this book..." His eyes began to fill with tears; hoping that they wouldn't spill over and betray his attempts to seem calm and relaxed. "...I wish you could be my dad..." he whispered quietly.
Stein's widened at her words. A... father? Him, creepy scientist that everyone was afraid of, a parent? He said nothing speechless. As he saw the tears gather in Crona's eyes, he crossed the small space between them and knelt down in front of her. "...what's wrong with your dad?" he asked quietly, gently grasping her hand.
"I don't have one..." Crona looked up in depression; his eyes empty as the tears rolled down his cheeks.
Writing this made Fisk and I facepalm a lot, and make exaggerated sobbing noises. We felt sad writing it. Too far into character. （；へ：）