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Cassandra eye'd the speckles of blood on the broken pavement leading down a side road off of the main street of the dilapidated neighborhood she lived and worked in two blocks over from the apartment complex. Pursing her lips in thought she glared hauntly down as the gradually growing larger drops of blood as they trailed into the distance as she tried to judge if it appeared fresh enough to not have come from a dead body.
She was really tired of calling in dead bodies, but a trauma victim was just a warm corpse without rapid medical attention. Thus mind made up the vet turned paramedic gripped her groceries a little tighter in her hands finding herself glad she hadn't purchased any frozens as she turned to follow the blood trail. Admittedly she'd expected either a large animal, but more likely a human had made it. Yet she still found herself coming up short in surprise as she gazed warily at the source of the mess on the pavement as she set her bags down to rest her dainty hands lightly on her cocked hips as she arched a brow at the man.
"You're not from around here are you?" She drawled out the soft sing-song lilt of her southern accent curling around and sweetening the sound of her words even as she gave the target of her comment a skeptical glance. Letting out a amused huff she approached slowly, the puff of air rustling the woman's blonde bangs as they fanned out around her face like a mane giving her an oddly leonine look as she showed her empty hands in the universal sign of peace in case her lab coat didn't give away her profession.
After the lapse of memory from the battle in the Woods, Viktor has become keenly aware that something was amiss. Though he remained taciturn about it, he silently expressed concerns that his partner was no longer that. Something had stripped away the Renamon he once knew and created this... witch she was now. She had an obsession with biomerging, so he couldn't risk letting her take control for what he assumed would be the second time. A slip and a duck afforded him enough breathing room to return to the human world where he decided it would be best to lie low until he could get outside help against Genesis.
Then came the 'group' that attacked him. It was too precise to a mugging. But the lack of firearms, even in Japan, showed that this was meant to look like one. No... he knew a hit when he saw one. Despite four men with weapons attacking one that was unarmed, Viktor managed to achieve victory. But not without them taking a piece. His forearm was cut pretty deep, and he needed someone to watch his back while he mended his wound.
The last thing he expected to see was an American. She approached him as though one might an animal injured, and this was such a case for this. Her lab coat gave away what she did, but Viktor didn't trust it. Butchers came in all shapes and sizes. He stood up, bracing his aching arm;
"Back off. This is your only warning. I have no patience to entertain you."
Viktor spoke through his teeth as he blood trickled from his head, from where he caught the pipe. It spilled into his mouth as he spoke, causing him to spit.
But even still. Something about her made him want to lower his guard. To trust her. But while, at least to him, her hair fashioned in that way gave the appearance of a proud and powerful lioness. Viktor knew another wolf when he saw them.
"Take another step and I'll do what I must to defend myself."
He kept his arms raised, despite the clear laceration on his forearm that was actively leaking blood!
"I do believe the only patience being tried right now would be my own." She murmured, but lowered her hands fishing for the small paramedic kit she kept strapped to the back of her belt. "Though honestly if you choose to let yourself bleed out while a competent paramedic is standing right in front of you I suppose that's you're business, but kindly either let me help you or do your goddamn dying where I won't have to smell you." Cas drawled choosing her words like one would choose their weapons, with intent and with care as she pulled her license from her pouch and flashed it at him long enough to show the medical seal.
Yet the more she eyed the towering man the more she frowned her eyes narrowing at his injuries. At first glance they looked like normal gang related wounds, but something about them niggled at the back of her brain with their wrongness. They were too precise. Too neat. If the Yakuza was out to kill you then you either got dead or it meant they wanted to mangle you, but leave you alive. The man in front of her fell into neither category leading Cas to wonder just what the hell kind of a mess he'd gotten himself into. "Well now...who'd you piss of to make it worth this much effort to tear you a few new holes in your hide?" She asked turning on her heel as she moved to scoop up her groceries glancing over her shoulder eyes expectant as though she had some place to be and his dawdling was preventing her from getting there.
"Well? Come on then. We're just a few doors down from my clinic and if you're well enough to snap at me you're well enough to walk it." She adds motioning for him to follow.
Odd... most Butchers would have tried to immediately sedate him or attack a weakened target. That's how Viktor had seen them in their modus-operandi. But some where indeed still licensed practitioners. They simply did it beyond the watchful eye of the medicinal government. Viktor would follow, but be incredibly wary. He'd grasp his wound and apply pressure the best he could. What was more was that she didn't appear to be lying. Viktor could pick up on that quicker than most, and though she simply flashed her license, Viktor picked up her first name.
"Listen to me, 'Cassandra'. You're not lying to me? I am not one to take things lightly. Do not cross me."
He would attempt to step in front of her to emphasize his point, leaning down; "I mean this. I will do what I must if it comes to that."
Viktor would step out of her way, should she have been stopped by him, then follow her in, still remaining wary despite his wounds as he took note of anything and everything. He would speak as he sat down in what looked to be her dining table, then prop his arm across the table, not really caring if his stained it with his blood. He would simply glance at her, then wait. If she went for any numbing agents or sedatives, Viktor would stop her then speak in an almost chilling calmness:
"No. Sow it up without additives. I got the wound, I can handle it."
Even as she would begin to stitch him up, Viktor would remain calm. Like he had done this a thousand times despite no real indicating scars to prove otherwise. He would occasionally sigh or even grunt, but never did much beyond that. How she handled this would determine how Viktor treated her afterwards!
"Only if you ask nicely." Cas drawled out amused as his unknowing use of her own last name as he spat her first one out like it was a curse. Which of course it was, but she doubted the Russian would know that. Still she was satisfied with seeing he was following, at least until he made the mistake of stepping in her way as he tried to loom over her with the intention to intimidate.
It would however have the opposite effect. While she would not relinquish her groceries Cas would step forward moving in dangerously close into Viktor's space as she stood on tip toes putting their faces mere inches a part as he leaned down. Her cupids bow lips curling into a disdainful snarl as she met his eyes. "I'd say don't cross me, but I'm already there." She whispered voice soft and dangerous. The words of a woman with no more fucks left to give and little fear of death.
"Now I strongly suggest you stop posturing and get the hell out of my way...and here I thought Russians claimed to have better manners then us Americans." Cas added with a derisive snort. If he didn't move quick enough to her liking she'd simply step around him unafraid to show him her back as she lead him towards the small two story building with the red cross and vet sign out front.
Letting him into the small front living room she had converted into a waiting room she let out a soft annoyed huff as he took a seat at the table she'd tucked into one corner to serve as a place for clients to fill out paperwork. He'd gone so far as to set his bleeding arm onto the laminated wood top while she took her groceries upstairs to her actual home and returned with her more fully stocked paramedic kit.
"Well aren't you just Prince Charming. I'll warn you the drop from shock and adrenaline running out can kick your teeth in. If you drop into a dead faint on me I reserve the right to laugh." She quipped carefully sanitizing her needles before cleaning the wound sites and beginning her work. Despite her scathing comments her stitches were small, neat, and quick, with her patching anything that didn't need them with butterfly bandages. Once she had stitched him up however she held up her pinlight motioning for him to follow it with his gaze.
"All right let's find out if you're just naturally combative or if those multiple hits to the head gave you a concussion like I suspect. Maybe I'll even get double points if it's both." She joked watching for any signs of trauma with unusually sharp eyes despite her casual teasing.
Viktor cursed as he leaned against the chair, the needled easily poking through the layers of his skin while she patched them up. He would, maybe to her surprise, pour a bit of alcohol on the wound that he produced from his bag while she wasn't looking. He'd also take a swig of it while she operated and before long she was finished. Now she was trying to look at his head, where he caught a hit from a pipe. He knew the blood was superficial, as he didn't feel faint r lightheaded, but he'd let her check anyway;
"Six guys. Two with knives. One with a pipe. Three unarmed." He kept a single eye closed to prevent the residue blood from leaking down and blinding him. But would open as she commanded. Finally, after she would finish and find he just had a few cuts, he would correct her;
"Ukrainian. I am not Russian."
He reached into his bag and pulled a very neatly rolled set of bills. It valued about 17,000 Yen, he rolled it over to her;
"About what they would have charged me, minus room and board." he gave a slight chuckle, leaning back and taking another swig of the clear liquid in his bottle, "And to pay for anything that went bad in the groceries."
He sighed and looked around a bit more, from the looks of it she was likely a single, childless woman who made her living in Tokyo either as a medical professional within a nearby hospital or she was a Butcher. But being a doctor didn't make you a Butcher. If someone injured came to her, most doctors would take them in based on their oaths and morals. Despite them being gang members or not. Viktor would prod a bit;
"So, Cassandra Cross. How's the clinic?" She never told him her surname, but he took notes of bills and official documents with the name 'Cross' written on them. It was a safe assumption.
"Ah Ukrainian. My apologies." She hmm'ed softly as she finished checking his vision finding his eyes able to follow the light well enough, but his pupils a little slow to dilate. Clicking her penlight off she slid it back into her pocket before getting up to fetch a packet of baby wipes before handing it over to him.
"For you to clean up with." The Doctor explained as she took her seat once more. "Now it appears you only have a mild concussion. Not bad since it looks like you took a pipe upside the head, but I'd suggest no strenuous activity for at least twenty-four hours preferably forty-eight hours to give the stitches time to set." She added accepting the money with a nod as he passed it to her.
"Thank you. I'd have patched you anyway, but payment is always appreciated. As for business my mysterious Ukrainian friend it's a little too good. I'd be happier if I got half as many animal patients as I do humans." She explained while carefully folding the money and secreting it into her coat to be transferred to the safe later on. Arching a brow at his casual and not nearly as subtle prodding use of her name as he believe it to be she smiled.
"And that would be Dr. Cross to you until we're properly introduced." Cas added unable to resist teasing the obvious militant.
The slender girl's comment warranted another chuckle from Viktor, and he looked at his arm and the stitches;
"Not bad. Count myself lucky someone in the area could stitch me up in a snap. More so do a competent job." Viktor frowned as he leaned back, then stood up and checked walked to the windows. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that whomever sent those goons would send more. But something made him rub his beard as he thought; No more came.
These kinds of hits were never a one time deal if the target got away. Those hired muscle would be kicking in her door if this was real. Which meant one of two things: Whoever sent them either hired poor help, or they called the rest off. Viktor figured it was the latter, given there was plenty of muscle in the city of Japan willing to rough someone up or even kill for the right amount of paper. Another solution was they lost his scent and were actively looking for the man who just took six of their own down. Usually these kind of men were prideful and would want revenge. The final option was they knew of Cassandra's home and clinic and either feared what she might do, or simply didn't want to lose someone who was competent enough to patch up those who came to her with a serious wound.
Viktor took a seat again and eyed her, examining her every detail as though she was painting for sell. Some were offended by this, like he was trying to use them. Others were flattered, feeling as though he couldn't take his eyes off them. But to the assassin it was simple; He could tell more about the person simply by their looks and their posture. He'd be a terrible hunter if he couldn't read his prey.
"So, I can tell you're from America, not by just the fact of you speaking, but by your accent. The 'hook' around certain letters and phrases indicated an eclectic accent, so you're either from a tri-state area or a border-city."
Without so much as looking around, he tapped the table a bit, drawing a sort of map in his head. Then crossed his arms, taking care of the stitches as he gave a bit of coy smile;
"Chattanooga." He purposefully said the city wrong, putting more inflection on the first part of the word to sound more like "Chate" rather than "chat". He wasn't one hundred percent sure if he was right, but her accent was a dead give away. Plus, if she had pride in her city, she'd correct him.
Viktor was adept at telling when people were lying, more so when they already told the truth. When she said she was a doctor and how she spoke about some earlier facts on herself, Viktor 'picked up' on her mannerisms. Small things she does when she tells the truth.
Lying now would be as fruitless as fighting him. He already had her pegged.
Cas leaned back slightly in her chair watching with half-lidded thoughtful eyes as the man prowled up to the windows of her clinic and paced about the waiting room with all the liquid grace of a predator. Just as he settled down to inspect her so too was the good Doctor giving him the same treatment. Though as he guessed her birth city he managed to draw a laugh out of her.
"Ah close, but no cigar. It's true I was born near there, but that's not where my accent is from. You're not far off though." Cas murmured wagging a playful finger at the man as she relaxed into her seat in a posture that spelled confidence and assurance. If someone was going to jump him they'd do so after he was out of her door and away from her block. Anyone stupid enough to try to kick down her doors were either not local and likely to get on the bad side of the Yakuza for messing around in their territory or too ballsy to live long in the business and likely to be gunned down for threatening the only medical professional willing to reside in the area even if she didn't do gangs. That was what butchers were for. When some Yakuza lordling's toddler daughter got caught up in a clash and hurt he certainly wouldn't want some two bit hack more used to digging out bullets and treating pain with alcohol rather then anesthesia to tend to her.
Doctor Cross might not have made friends with the local gangs, crime bosses, and Yakuza, but she hadn't made enemies either and in her two years in Greater Shibuya she'd gradually begun to rack in more then her fair share of favors.
"I'll make you a deal. A trade if you will. I want your first name, first name only as I know last names can be dangerous, and to know whether you are or whether you are not related to any crime syndicates in terms of employment. In return I will trade you honest answers to two questions of your choice so long as answering them does not endanger myself or my clients." The Doctor offered with all the quiet dignity and cool diplomacy of a woman far too used to having to hold her own against larger, likely far more dangerous, and well armed men.
Well, that was odd. Viktor had been out of the interrogation game for a minute, so there was a possiblity of misinformation. But what really caught him off guard a bit was her wanting to know him. He never really talked about himself much, so it was a bit strange to think about it. All she wanted was a first name, but truthfully his name a whole wasn't unique in anyway. He was the 'John Smith' of Eastern Europe.
"Even if my enemies could track me, I am careful and I have friends. My name is Viktor Makarov. Ukrainian born, but I am technically a Russian." he gave a chuckle and a wink, "And no, I do not work with or for Organized Criminal Agencies. I've heard one too many stories around the 'water cooler' about how they back stab and don't pay," He shrugged; "I have no want to harm those who do not deserve it... not anymore."
He shook his head, and sighed, "Two questions, hmm?"
He tapped his finger on his tricep, pursing his lip. He knew everything he already needed to know, but there was always more that could be learned, "Where did you graduate? Medical School wise."
He watched her with the same Ghostly ice blue eyes that almost looked as if they were glowing. A side effect of the Biomerge he had with his partner. The second question was much easier;
"Viktor Makarov~" She murmured thoughtfully as she rolled his name across her tongue as if she could taste the syllables and glean some sort of deeper meaning from their depths. A slow smile though toyed at the edge her lips and even as he held her gaze with his own he could see amusement sparking in her sky blue eyes. "It is good you are not caught up in that. I make it a point not to treat criminals and was taking a gamble on you not being one. I'm glad to see it paid off." Cas added leaning forward slightly to let her chair settle back solidly on all four feet as she rested her elbows lightly on the table threading her fingers together as she rested her chin upon them tilting her head ever so slightly as though posing for his continued inspection. The way her slight smile grew into a mischievous grin quickly spelled out that she was all too aware of him actions prior and current in terms of her person.
"As for where I went to medical school I graduated from Auburn Universities School of Veterinary Medicine top of my class and am a licensed paramedic of both Japan and my own country per the city of Shibuya's medical council." She stated truthfully no duplicity there if anything it was clear she was rather proud of her accomplishment. Should he choose to look it up later he'd find she certainly wasn't lying.
"And yes. I do have food. Would you like some? I was planning on making chicken paramsian alfredo before I stumbled across you and it's just as easy to make multiple as it is one." The Doctor offered with a shrug. "Just don't blow a stitch and bleed on my coffee table or couch. I rather like them." She added standing as she motioned him to follow her back through the door with the plaque on her name down a short hallway lined with three more doors to a set of stairs near the back that wound their way up to the second story. Which opened up to a wide loft like room with two doors leading off of it. The kitchen was open, sectioned off from the rest of the room by an island lined with bar stools to sit on with the living room sporting a large cream colored couch and dark wooden coffee table. Large pay windows with little reading nooks beneath them let in amble amount of natural light and the majority of the walls were lined with bookshelves or normal shelves with only a small flat screen hung on the wall across from the tv. The kitchen itself was small, but suitable with an oven and stovetop combo, microwave and other amenities with a crockpot and ricecooker situated comfortably on the counters. The fridge was closest towards the stairs and ambling up to it Cas motioned for Viktor to make himself comfortable.
As she spoke, Viktor was bandaging his arms, to ensure that he wouldn't 'leak' anywhere. Giving a very stoic nod, he pushed from the table and followed her into the living room, taking a seat on the couch as he closed his eyes, keeping himself in train of thought as he listened. He didn't watch TV, he didn't mess around on his phone. He simply sat there... thinking. About how it came to this, about his partner which was a walking time bomb, about this girl and how she helped him with no offer of reward. She likely didn't know about the Digital World or it's inhabitants and for her sanity, he felt it best not to tell her he was one of the strongest Digimon on the planet.
Then his black camouflaged digivice began beeping and vibrating intensively. It was an SOS that was usually sent to all devices. Perhaps a tamer was in trouble or a Digimon needed help. They were all ghost messages left floating about in the human world on a frequency only one device could hear. Some of these messages spoke of La Familia, Devas, even some older wars between Digital Cities. But they only happened when the user's device was high enough to receive such distress calls, which is why most Rookies or In-Training tamers never heard them.
The device itself was hanging off the side of his bag, and continued to shake violently and beep. Likely Doctor Cross would be perturbed by this, simply because it was still in the kitchen. He didn't even budge. He was aware of it, but he ignored it. His focus was on trying to unscrew this situation he was currently in, maybe it was for the best he stay in the digital world? He couldn't risk bringing the D-Reaper or it's agents here in the human world. Not with how infectious it was.
He'd looked to Doctor Cross and walk to the kitchen, grabbing the device and shutting it off.
"Ah. Old Satellite phone. Picks up random calls from around the world. Some of them too old to even worry about. It's a good way to talk to those who don't want to be heard."
He wasn't fully lying. Just telling a half truth. He inhaled through his nose, smelling the chicken and the cheese being melted. He would offer to help, but it was best he kept his distance, for now. He'd pay her back, that much was for sure!
Dr. Cross moved through the kitchen like an old hand as she slung off her Doctor's coat and hung it on a rack and set about carefully washing up. She'd glance up every so often at her latest strange companion, but made no move to breach the companionable silence that stretched between as she bustled about getting dinner ready. The smell of sizzling chicken would gradually begin to fill the room as she breaded and worked on brazing the meat in a frying pan before beginning the process of melting the cheese over it.
At the racket the strange device was making she'd look up once more her sky blue eyes carefully assessing his face before she nodded. Accepting, at least at face value, his response. "It's fine. You should hear my work phone sometime." She joked offering the man an easy smile, the woman clearly far more relaxed and at ease in her own environment. Humming a soft tune she pulled out a second pot to begin heating up the tomato sauce.
"You can call me Cas by the way. To you want your chicken parmesian as it is or on a sandwich? I'm partial to the sandwiches myself." Cas added flipping her oven on to three-fifty as she turned to grab a long loaf of french bread she'd had perched atop her bread box.
He wasn't a fan of bread, a whole lot of filling with little in the way of nutrition. Empty carbs, as they say. Watched her make the meal, equally impressed with her abilities to handle kitchenware as she was with a needle. He took a second to inspect the chicken, then gently cut it open and peered on the inside of the meat. It needed a few more minutes, but she was still cooking.
He chuckled and took a seat in the kitchen, watching her work;
"Work can be bothersome. I get called more than I would like. Speaking of."
He produced a smart phone from the pocket of his jeans and blinked, surprised at the sheer amount of times he was texted or called. He just shook his head and placed it on the table. Then took a deep sigh and pulled his bag close to him, digging through as he took a count of everything he had. He peered up to Doctor Cross as she informally introduced herself, which warranted a chuckle as he crossed his arms yet again;
"Well, still Viktor. But nice to know, Cas."
His eyes trailed a bit as she reached for the breadbox. This time he was eyeing her in a bit of a different manner than before. Not so much as trying to figure her out, but more... admiring parts of her. He shook his head and looked away as he caught himself. Not giving her any sign he was flustered or embarrassed as she'd turn back around and simply lean back, sighing.
"I think I have some ideas on who might have attacked me. Certainly wasn't Yakuza. None of the men where Japanese."
Nodding the Doctor fished the bread from the package and sliced it in two before storing the other half back away. Pulling out a cutting board she went about slicing the bread lengthwise and slathering the inside with a little packet of garlic butter before popping it into the oven to back. She'd give Viktor a sidelong glance as he inspected the chicken before shooing him off with a flick of her hand and a light click of her tongue.
"Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the meal." She'd tease with eyes dancing with amusement before turning her back on him once more to work. Dr. Cross or Cas as she had told him to call her was a rather petite woman. Without the bulk of her Doctors coat which she wore about her much like a battle cloak she was a slim dainty thing all soft lines contrary to the hard no-nonsense attitude she wore about her when at work. While no pin-up girl her chest was full dipping into a slim hour glass waist and rounding out into the distinct lines of her hips and down into likely shapely well toned legs were they not hidden from his view by her cargo pants. Yet it was likely they matched the corded wiry muscles of her arms that could be seen where her black slim turtleneck pulled taunt across her shoulders and upper arms. In face Cas was likewise rather pretty. Not 'stop a man in the street' gorgeous, but she held a certain 'girl next door' kinda of charm and softness to her face made more apparent as she relaxed around him and her professional mask slipped away.
"Not all Yakuza are Japanese. Plenty of foreigners get caught up in it all the time or the descendants of foreigners. Still I believe you are right. If it had been the local Yakuza they wouldn't have jumped you so close to my home." Cas admitted even as she scooped his chicken from the pan once she'd deemed it ready and carefully poured the seasoned tomato sauce over it before sprinkling shredded cheese atop it. Sliding him his plate she pointed him to the drawer with the silverware.
"You partial to sweet tea?" She'd ask with a tilt of her head even as she fetched the pitcher from the fridge and poured herself a cup.