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It was late when Cas finally limped her way home the streets thankfully empty as Cloak and Dagger huddled at her heels as she searched out her extra key from it's hiding spot and shoved it into the door. Shouldering said door open before she padded into the waiting room letting the twins in behind her before she was quick to lock the door. The room was thankfully, blessedly dark, but despite having been gone for a week in this world and having been absolutely certain she'd locked up and turned everything off before she left a sliver of light could be seen from under the door leading to the back of the clinic.
Frowning Cas weighed her options before deciding she is both too tired and too out of fucks to give to turn back now as she motions for Cloak and Dagger to be ready as she opens the door. The light leaving her temporarily blinded as her pupils go briefly slitted to try to compensate. The red of her irises as red as the now knee length, slit up the side witchmon dress she wore even as she growled softly in annoyance and lifts her hand to shield her eyes before blinking at the sight in front of her.
For their part the rookies have crowded about her legs, Cloak brandishing his shinai and Dagger leveling the blade on his head at any potential opponents. Though surprisingly for once it was an old ally rather then an enemy that awaited them.
"... And you haven't been able to move this wing at all since you managed to give that dog the slip?"
"That's right - what do you think?"
It wouldn't just be the light that Cassandra would sense, but a full and calm conversation between patient and doctor. At the top of a wooden chair - one that the doctor had borrowed from the waiting room - Mikemon stood over the edge of the steel table. One paw carefully ran over the top of a red wing, while his other held a red crystal, one he peered through to examine the injured wing underneath. The patient himself was a Hawkmon (X), tense but calmly sitting on the table, keeping his nervous eyes on the floor in front of him, as instructed.
"You're lucky." As the door opened, the Mikemon's hand rested over that wing, dark stitches beginning to flow out from his paw - both digging through the feathers as well as into the wing itself. "Had you consulted a normal healer, they would have just mended the injury. You would have never been able to fly - hm?" The cat's ear twitched, hearing the door open. Keeping his focus primarily on the injury, he gave a glance. If it hadn't been for Cloak and Dagger, well, the doctor would have assumed the Witchmon was another Digimon in line.
As it was, though, the Mikemon froze, slowly coming to a realization. "... So this is... your office, huh." The cat sighed. He couldn't explain much as it was, but he tried to at least 'fess up'! "Careful upstairs, there's a few Digimon resting on the futon, and a pot of tea's already on. Well, the water, anyway." Even as the cat tried to smooth things over, the Hawkmon tilted his head.
"... Er. Do Witchmon dresses usually get cut that short?"
"Well I do believe my name is still on the door last I checked Doctor Mikemon. So yes yes this is my office." Cas drawls out her eyes adjusting to the sudden light as she pins her colleague under a blood red gaze with eyes that were decidedly blue last time they met. The mention of tea is welcome enough at least to ease some of the tension in the woman's shoulders the two rookies beside her sagging slightly in relief that there wouldn't be yet more combat.
"Tea would be nice and they're welcome to the futon so long as no ones made the critical mistake of poking through my room or my better stock of teas." The human or one human Doctor murmurs as she steps into the room rifling through the cabinets with practiced ease as she pulls out a roll of bandages favoring her bad arm which remained covered by the Witchmon outfits long sleeves.
At the Hawmon's comment the woman pauses turning to glance at him slowly her eyes dilating briefly like a predator sighting prey before they pounce as she considers the other rookie and smiles. Her upper and lower canines are long and sharp at it gives her teasing smile a threatening edge that the Doctor lacked before. "That would be because I'm not a Witchmon. I'm something far worse. Namely an irate medical professional that hasn't had her daily cup of caffeine in oh I'd say over a month." She quips with a low chuckle before taking the bandages and ambling out. Deciding for the moment that she is too tired to care about the strangeness going on around her and that all questions could be asked once she had her pajamas and slippers on with a cup of hot black english breakfast tea in her hands.
Well... shoot. Cassandra wasn't actively throwing him out, but the look in her eyes - a stark red as opposed to a simple blue - were not those of a welcoming house guest. For the moment, though, the Mikemon couldn't help it one way or another: his focus remained almost solely on the Hawkmon's wings, his paw carefully planted and arched over the top. Likewise, the Hawkmon remained very still, lightly clicking his beak as he felt those stitches slip within.
Thankfully, Cassandra seemed to go along with the situation well enough. So long as her most personal belongings were protected, she seemed open to these impromptu patients, though perhaps a little less patient than she would have been on average. Case in point, that 'smirking snarl' quickly put the Hawkmon right back on edge, looking away and shuddering slightly as he chose to focus on a single part of the wall. "... Fair point..."
"Hawk here's the last in line. I'll be up with him upstairs in a few, just so I can explain what's going on." The Mikemon seemed like the calmest one around...
... And as Cassandra would make her way to the top of the stairs, well, it would be about how the doctor described it. The room, though relatively kept in order, was a bit disheveled in places due to the doctor and other small creatures needing to make use of it. A dining room table had taken permanent residence in the kitchen, for example, and several hot pads were set in line, a few feet away from the stovetop. The kettle was just a minute or so away from its high-pitched whistle.
Should the veterinarian take a glance around, she'd see two Digimon resting on her futon: a Gatomon, head leaned back and a damp towel dressed over her forehead, and a Hagurumon (X), with what looked like a fresh weld just over its right eye. There were signs that others had passed through, based on small bits of fur in the carpet and whatnot, but everything seemed remotely calm. The TV buzzed in the background at minimum volume, which was something that helped the cat in the room settle.
A few minutes later, the doctor himself would come up the stairs, a fresh bandage dressed over the Hawkmon's wing.
"... Heh, it already moves."
"Yeah, but leave it alone for now. Don't think you should be lying down on it, but find a place to perch, alright?" That went well enough: taking a deep breath, the doctor resigned to that chair in the kitchen, closing his eyes as he took a moment to think.
Cas would depart with a polite enough nod as she hauled herself up the stairs on tired wobbly legs having to pause half way to help Dagger who missed a step in his exhaustion and almost smacked his chin against the floor. Setting the Digimon back to rights she paused in her living room to scan the room slowly content enough at least that nothing of major importance appeared to have been disturbed as she ambles into the kitchen. Behind Cloak and Dagger pull themselves up on some of the bar stools at the island as Cas switches off the teapot and sets out three mugs before pouring the hot water and fetching down the teabags plunking them into the hot liquid to steep while she changes. The Zubamon is already asleep head resting on the counter as she passes him and Cloak appears to be nodding off waiting for his drink.
Slipping into her room Cas finds it thankfully undisturbed and slowly lets out a soft sigh of relief. The last of the tension bleeding from her body as she accepts that they made it back. That they're home. By the time Mikemon comes upstairs the little woman is just opening the door stepping out in a pair of black moccasins, fluffy black star studded pajama bottoms and a black tank top. Her left hand though from the tips of her fingers to her elbow is carefully swathed in bandages though as settles onto the stool next to her softly snoring digimon and takes her mug it's clear she still has use of it at least. Adding sugar to the drink she sips it and settles for arching a brow at Mikemon.
"Soooo....." She begins, "What are you doing on my side of the divide if I might ask? Thought you stayed in Whitewater or the Digital world for the most part?" Cas asks with a curious tilt of her head.
Well, the cat knew that he had a lot to answer for. With the other three Digimon resting - thankfully relatively quietly - the Mikemon at least had a moment to piece together his response. At this point, the cat couldn't just slip away without an explanation. He had intended to leave a note to explain why the other Digimon were there - but for Cassandra to come home at this time?
It was understandably a bit awkward. Not a word was shared between the Doctor and Cloak nor Dagger, the tired Digimon seemingly uninterested in such an extended explanation. It wasn't until Cassandra came back, in decidedly more human attire, that the feline pulled himself up to a chair on the island. He gave a brief glance to the snoozing twins, before his ear twitched at the question.
Why was he here?
"Well, to be honest, I've joined up with a group of tamers and their Digimon who are trying to make a research team. I figured they could use someone with a bit of hands-on experience so they don't get themselves put too deep into something they can't get out of - and heck, it sounded fun." From there, he gave a sigh.
"So I've been a roommate to one of 'em - but on the way back, a few days ago, I noticed quite a large data signal at the back of your place. A back door, with a bell set up - apparently a Gazimon told them a doctor would be here who knew what Digimon were. But the 'doctor' was nowhere to be seen. So, um..."
Right. The awkward part. He raised a paw, dark 'lines' of energy sparking from his hands. "I used my stitches to pick your lock, so I could get them inside before they were seen. That was... two days ago, I think?"
"Ah. I apologize. Typically I'm usually more available, but I'm afraid I was involved in a rather unfortunate accident." She murmured keeping her voice low and soft so as to not disturb the resting Digimon even as she added sugar to Cloaks drink and gently pressed the metal mug into the Kotemon's hands before adding a straw so he need not remove his helmet. Dagger though was a lost cause already snoring softly as the little weapon Digimon nearly fell off his stool forcing Cas to set down her own mug to catch him. Picking up the slumbering rookie she settled him in her lap against her front as Dagger nuzzled his nose against her neck his head resting lightly on her shoulders as he clung to her in his sleep.
"Sap." Cloak muttered, but his tone was soft and affectionate even as Cas's own tired expression softened with a gentle smile.
"You wouldn't happen to know anything about an entity known as the D-reaper would you Mikemon?" Cas asked with a slow tilt of her head lightly stroking Dagger's ears as the little Zubamon twitched in his sleep. Attempting to gently sooth whatever ill-dreams plagued her partner as she observed the cat Digimon. Beside her Cloak seemed to stiffin his sleeved hands tightening around the mug enough to make the metal groan.
"You have no reason to apologize. The Digital World is quite a dangerous place, and quite frankly, I'm just glad to see you're alright." He'd have to ask more about that unfortunate accident, but right now he was restricted to both whispers and the sight of Cas' two twins, already trying to doze off for the night. Just what had happened ever since that encounter with the Digmon?
Well, if Cas was taking tea to stay up, the cat would partake as well. Assuming he'd be allowed, the cat would move to take his own cup, giving a nod to the other tamer. "If at all possible, though, I'd like permission to drop by here if I see a few patients in line. Some of our ailments are a bit 'unique'." He spoke of concern for the others in the room - specifically the Gatomon, whose fever he was desparately trying to break.
But perhaps that caveat was unnecessary - the D-Reaper? The feline's hand twitched around that cup, ear flicking as if Cassandra had just spoken of a forbidden word. More clearly, he would notice Cassandra's abnormal eyes, and even a slightly different color of her skin. "... Fuck, you too?" Shaking his head, the cat mulled it over: where to even begin? Any small explanation wasn't going to cut it, if Cas was already infected.
"... In its most basic sense, the D-Reaper is a vaccine program that applies to the Digital World itself. When higher level Digimon fight - Mega and Super Mega - their attacks can press back at the fabric of our data-based world. Left unchecked, the fabric would eventually tear, and we'd be trapped in a world of random chaos. The D-Reaper spawns wherever that corruption is, in the form of a red lichen, and eliminates it, leaving a burning red paste behind."
He paused, letting that settle in. "Until recently, that's all we knew. But now there's evidence of the D-Reaper possessing a will of some kind - a will that's managed to warp quite a few minds, already."
"I am made of sterner stuff then most. You'll find the human world can be just as dangerous. It's just much better at hiding it." She joked passing Mikemon Dagger's untouched mug of tea so as to not waste it. That is if the Doctor wanted it. Cas herself settled for sipping her own drink savoring the rich flavor and the feel of caffeine flooding her system.
"In fact I wanted to speak with you about doing a medical knowledge exchange. While I'm certain Digimon have quite a few unique ailments I've had my concerns about how the Digital world treats humans as well. Not to mention there's a good possibility that some human ailments might be able to transfer to Digital beings and Digital ailments to humans." Cassandra explained only to fall silent a harsh frown darkening her features at the cat's sudden cursing fingers of dread clawing their way up her spine. She had hoped what had happened to her was a minor thing. Unfortunate, but rare. Yet the more she listened with narrowed eyes the more she found herself disliking the whole scenario.
"So this D-reaper is like the immune system of the Digital world. Fixing damage and repairing the 'body' of your world only it's starting to gain sentience and get out of control. Effectively working like an Autoimmune disease attacking the Digital world and it's denizens with the intent to 'purify' them." The woman murmured with a soft world weary sigh as she turned on her stool, careful not to disturb Dagger in order to lean her back against the counter and stare out one of the large bay windows at the moonlit street.
"We were attacked by a friend of mine Viktor Makarov and his partner while hunting for a Digiarmor egg. I...both Cloak and myself were caught in his super mega forms attack. We ended up retreating through a faulty portal. There were side-effects, but I don't know how many are from being shot through a faulty unstable portal with an unstable armor evolution or from this D-reaper. The Witchmon the infection was to a manageable level for myself. Cloak has managed to isolate his infection in his armor evolution, but has yet to receive treatment. At the time the twins were more concerned about me dying." Cassandra spoke her voice whisper soft as the Kotemon leaned into her side in silent support and affection. No wonder the stress and relief of finally being home, of finally being safe, had left the trio exhausted.
"Trust me, I only need an hour on some of your news networks to know just how bad your world can be." Giving a light shudder at that thought, the Mikemon graciously accepted the untouched cup of tea, giving a slight tip in Cas's direction before taking a sip. His preference was coffee, and by comparison the feel of even this sort of tea was quite 'light' to the Mikemon - though he was far from voicing a complaint over a mere preference.
Cas's next idea was an interesting one: a medical knowledge exchange? He considered the idea, knowing full well that a language barrier would come up by both ends - but the idea struck home with him. "I wouldn't mind having you on-hand a day a week in my clinic to help out - or however that ends up being. Whatever you have to offer, I'll be more than willing to take you up on."
After all, they were already talking about the D-Reaper. "Hm - you're one of the first I've seen to so accurately put it, but yes. The D-Reaper has evolved to a point where certain 'nests' are exceeding their function. We believe the strain originated from the Dark Area, though our more cautious scientists warn it may have been like this for ages - and some form of suppression for it has more recently weakened. If the latter is the case, we could expect to see an explosive outbreak of the same over the next month or so."
As he listened to Cas's explanation further, the cat ended up giving a nod. A corrupt tamer? "On attacking a D-Reaper's nest in the Dark Area, several members of the response team managed to fall under the D-Reaper's control. Its... upsetting, but not surprising, that one who crossed paths with it eventually crossed paths for you. And... a Witchmon? You know what, I'm curious - you were wearing a black outfit when you came in, right?"
He sighed, a small smirk at the edge of his lip. "Good, good... Wicked's still alive, then. Oh, sorry - just glad she didn't get caught up in the last mess." Giving a light cough at that, he took a light sip of his tea, before hearing a groan in the background:
"Tch, sorry." He gave a call over his shoulder: "I'll be right there, Gato!" He pulled himself from the chair, moving to tend to his patient.
"Yes. I never caught the Witchmon's named, but I believe she is this 'Wicked' you speak of. She worked in Fragmented village. She was able to lower my infection, but said she had neither the skills nor energy to deal with Cloak." Cas explains giving the Doctor a small nod as she watches him tend to the Gatomon with sharp curious eyes.
"An exchange I believe would work well. If you would like to help me tend patients here I'd be fine taking a day out of the week to aid you as well. Many hands make shorter work as the old saying goes. There has to be a way to curtail the D-reaper infection though? Slow it down if possible. I'm unsure if my infection is active or if I'm just a carrier now. I doubt I'll be able to tell till after I run a few comparison tests." She murmured speaking as much to herself as to her colleuge as she sipped her tea savoring the taste deep in thought. It wouldn't be until Mikemon returned to his seat that she would pause and brush aside the bandages on the upper area of her hand. Revealing the strange living metal beneath it.
"I'm afraid between the faulty portal and other outside elements what all exactly went into my current state is more a process of elimination." The Doctor murmured before carefully sliding the bandages back in place. Should Mikemon wish to inspect her left arm closer she would allow him to do so, but for now she settled into looping her arm lightly around the rookie draped sleeping over her front, careful not to jostle Cloak where he leaned into her side.
Wicked didn't have the energy to deal with Cloak's condition? "Knowing her, its entirely possible she simply didn't have the patience. Ah, careful there - one hand, use the straw." The cat's attention, briefly split, was now entirely on his impromptu patient's bedside care. The Gatomon managed to sit up just enough to take a sizeable drink, before resting right back down on the futon. Brushing a knuckle against the back of her forehead, the Mikemon would sigh, before returning to the table.
"Well... the D-Reaper was never known to be an infectious sort at all, until recently." The Mikemon's answer to her mumured inquiry was slow, the feline obviously playing with limited information. "There does seem to be a threshold, though: so long as you're not above it, its not as if the D-Reaper is going to create more of itself inside your frame. So long as you stay clear of any nests, you'll be fine - and the nests, well, those are fairly obvious. Large crimson fields of their red mass, guarded by creatures supported by thick red cables."
That wasn't all, of course: seeing Cas's arm, the feline would carefully reach a hand out to briefly touch it, shaking his head. "That's something we call 'Forced Integration', where a patch of data is forcibly implanted into the target. Off as this seems, the results can definitely be worse than this. I wouldn't worry too much about this condition - so long as its not hurting you in the long term, anyway."
So she should just grin and bear it? The alternatives, at least in the cat's mind, were too invasive to consider! "First lost in the forest, and now this - seems you've been on a streak of bad luck on our end." His tone was apologetic - he'd like to think his world was more hospitable than that, but lately?
"We hope to find an answer for that mess, sooner rather than later. Tch..."
"Forced integration? So this has happened before and to other humans?" She asks with a tilt of her head and a world weary sigh setting her cup of tea down to loop her arm around the Kotemon and pull the half asleep digimon into her lap to join his brother.
"As for Cloak the best solution I've been able to come up with is figuring out how to purge the D-reaper virus and see about having him shift into his armor form and doing what we can to purify it. He wasn't hit as badly as I was so I don't think the armor form would try to attack, but leaving it to fester seems like a poor decision. Specially if the armor form is ever needed again." Cas explained her eyes trailing over to the Gatomon the same as Mikemon's did making sure the little cat was able to safely lay back down without trouble before she turned back to their conversation.
"Luck is....well it's never much favored me. I prefer hard work to luck." Cas murmurs reaching out for her cup once more as she sips her tea. Letting the warm liquid burn down her throat and soothe the ache there and in her soul.
"The situation is more common between Digimon," Mikemon took a sip of his tea, "but you're not the first human to suffer from this affliction."
That aside, Cas's concerns were quite reasonable, and very forward considering her predicament. More than herself, she wanted Cloak's form purified as soon as possible, in part for his own comfort and in part for use of that form. "Hm." The cat gave a sigh, before giving a short nod: "The usual problem with purifying D-Reaper data is its 'closeness' to the data of the host. But if the problem is isolated to an armor egg, that's relatively easy for me to purge since I'll be able to use a much stronger agent to do it."
In that sense, he already had the capability to handle some aspects of the D-Reaper. Hearing Cassandra's comment about luck, the Mikemon gave a sigh, once more looking out to those impromptu patients. "Maybe, but considering all you've done so far, it still sucks to see you in dire straits like this. As it is, though..."
He took a deep breath. "I know I broke in here to begin with, but if you have patients out back, I would like permission to keep doing this. We can keep it simple: if you see the lights on, call for me. If I respond, nothing to worry about." It was simple enough of a request: "Of course, I'll only use what I need - or even what you leave out for potential patients. In turn, I'll offer you use of my place in Whitewater."
"The relative isolation of the virus for Cloak has really been the one bit of luck we've had. That and the fact Dagger came out of the scrape unharmed. If you believe you can fix my partner that's payment enough for anything you've needed to borrow or might need to borrow in the future." Cas murmured stroking a hand lightly over the Kotemon's helmet the hard red glint of her eyes softening perceptively as she gazed down at the dozing rookies. "Though if you let me know what you do use that will help with stocking and ensure I am not out of anything essential in a pinch." She adds with a hesitant smile.
"I certainly don't mind borrowing each others offices especially if we are going to work on a medical information exchange. Just be careful. There's a new gang attempting to shoulder into the area and they've had a rather unhealthy interest in me for my connections. I wouldn't want you getting caught up in the crossfire." The Doctor explained before finishing off her tea with a tired sigh.
"I suspect they have an agent attempting to keep tabs on me. Tall, European looking male, spiky blonde hair and green eyes. Likely sporting a slash scar across the cheek. He goes by the name Cassius, but thus far he seems to be keeping his distance. If you see him avoid him." She murmurs softly though it's clear there's more to the story then the woman is letting on.