14 Bedside Manner

"I'm trying to give you an out here." Takata urges, "Take the ten."

"You break something, you pay for it." I retort, eyeing Kenji and Kazuma who seemed to be getting even more fired up than earlier.

...

After a couple moments of consideration, Takata scowls, shakes his head, and drops a ten dollar note on the ground before turning to leave.

I sigh at that, sure it was only two dollars but it wasn't the money the mattered. I turn to Tieu but blink as her eyes widen at something behind me. Fearing another punch, I grab the nearby wok, still hot from the fire, and swing it around.

*DANK!*

The sound of metal colliding with bone rings out, followed by Kazuma's large body hitting the dirt. Fucking sheep, I should have known they'd try something, I just hadn't expected them to try and sucker punch me over the counter.

I look up from Kazuma and at Takata and Kenji, both staring at their downed friend. Wasn't gonna lie, I took great satisfaction at the wide burn mark on the side of the guy's head.

"KAZU!" Kenji sudden shouts and storm around the side of the stall, ignoring his friend to get at me instead. I rush over and pull Tieu behind me, wok still in hand as the teen lunges at me.

I block the fist with the cooking utensil, burning and bruising his knuckles but not preventing the second wild haymaker sent my way. My short stature, while usually giving me an advantage in dodging, proves itself a drawback here. I raise the wok up once I realize avoiding the attack is useless, but the fist goes over the pan and socks me right in my brow, shunting my head back and leaving me dizzy.

*Clatter!*

"You thug!" Tieu shouts behind me while tossing cups and other objects.

Kenji just growls in response and continues his assault, I was still pretty rocked but I managed to swing the wok in his direction. Thankfully he's either stupid or forgetful, as he gets a bad burn when he tried to catch the weapon.

Next I simply lunge forwards in a sudden movement, pressing the wok against his face, causing the sound of meat sizzling to sound out as he screams in pain. I keep on him as he backs up, not noticing his hand drop to his belt.

I grunt as I feel something hit me in the stomach, and the pain only comes when it happens the third time. Backing up, I blink in panic when I finally see the bloody pocket knife in his hand. "Y-you stabbed me!?" I rasp, more shocked than anything else.

Apparently he was still seeing red as he responds by charging me again. Tieu aids me in throwing a jar of pickled vegetables at him which shatters against his face, stinging his eyes from the brine mix. This allows me to dodge the next frantic slash, along with smashing the wok against his face, sending teeth flying and sending him to the realm of dreams.

I breath hard despite the lack of necessity, glancing over at where I'd seen Takata. The guy was still standing there, looking horrified, particularly at the blood trailing out from under my shirt and staining my trousers... Yeah, that was a lot... I think he hit something important...

Still, I couldn't show weakness at this point. I bare my teeth at him and raise the wok, "Let's fucking go then!" I shout, forcing myself through the pain.

...

Takata stares for a couple seconds, glances as the crowd that'd formed nearby and realizing just how much shit he's in. He tries to grab Kazuma but the guy's too heavy, and the sound of sirens has him running for the hills without his buddies.

I let out harsh breath and drop the wok, falling to a knee and raising my shirt to see the damage... I was no expert, but two stabs to my stomach were pulsing with blood, but the other near my ribs was practically gushing with it...

"T-Tieu..." I start but trail off as blackness surrounds my vision.

The last thing I hear is her shouting my name.

------------------------------

POV : Amy Dallon/Panacea

She rushes into the next emergency room as her pager buzzes, alerting her to another patient. This is the second one today, and she was starting to wonder if the trend would continue as the afternoon rolled around.

"Ah, Panacea!" a paramedic exclaims as he wheels the crash cart through the hallway, "Male, thirteen, Two stab wounds to the abdomen, and one under the fifth-"

"Markus, chill out, she's got it handled now." the guy's colleague states, allowing him to breath a sigh of relief.

"Ah, right." he rubs the back of his head, "Sorry about that."

Amy gives a small reassuring smile, "It's fine." she says and looks at the patient, only to have her breath caught in her throat. She wasn't a stranger to seeing grisly scenes, but seeing someone she knew, even somewhat, get hurt was also a shock to the system, a knock to the mundanity of curing colds and sprained ankles.

It was the 'Guitar Boy' she and Vicky had met weeks back, he looked cleaner, better groomed, even if his pale, tired face belied all the lifestyle improvements he'd seemingly made.

Stab wounds... He'd been attacked.

She lifts his shirt and sees the hastily bandages abdomen which were already beginning to soak through with blood. Letting out a cool breath at the barbaric sight, she goes to grab his wrist to initiate her power, only to pause once more at the omega tattoo... No, he didn't look anything like a Case 53.

With that, he grabs him and feels the knowledge of his entire body, physiology, and even the microbiome within him, enter her mind. Breach of the ileocecal junction, forth foot of the small intestine, and punctured liver. Fatal without immediate intervention, potential causes; sepsis, exsanguination, shock.

She blinks as she processes the information at rates not possible for the human brain. Despite what most people thought, her ability was not simply 'healing'... No, she was a Biokinetic, one of the most feared and scorned type of cape.

She'd made great efforts to hide it due to the existence of people like Nilbog, who'd turned an entire town to monsters, causing the entire area to be quarantined. The only person who knew 'some' of what she could do was Vicky, and even then that was a fraction of it.

What would her sister do if she knew she could instantly kill people with a touch? It wouldn't even be hard, graze someone with her finger and trigger complete organ failure, or turn their brain to mush, or even just prime them for a stroke in a couple hours.

She shivered and forced herself not to snatch her hand back from her patient. She was sure her mother, Brandish suspected something due to the day she triggered. Once she got home she'd accidentally transformed the potted roses... The multicolored petals was only the visual change, luckily Brandish hadn't pricked herself on the thorns that would now inject a deadly neurotoxin.

Amy promised herself to never use her power like that again, instead focusing on healing and treating people... Though, the one thing she refused to do, no matter who it was, is 'fixing' brains. Even for her, who had a power that granted her a comprehensive understanding of neurochemistry, didn't know what would change a person's personality and what wouldn't.

Unfortunately, while she'd promised to never make changes, her power granted her comprehensive knowledge of a person's physiology, even things she didn't want to know... Thus, she was surprised to find something peculiar in the brain of the boy.

She'd healed her family, the Wards, and many other heroes before, each of them possessed a Corona Pollentia, an altered part of the brain that allowed Capes to use their powers. If someone had one, they are a Cape.

Her patient, this 'Guitar Boy', both had a Corona Pollentia and didn't... It was really weird! Like one had tried to form but failed part way, like it was broken, or malfunctioning.

Now, she wasn't an expert on powers, but she'd never seen something like this before. It was... Really fascinating. That wasn't the only thing either! Parts of the temporal lobe, brain stem, and frontal lobe had shrunk or enlarged, though she couldn't tell what effects they'd have without further investigation.

Not only that, his lungs, stomach, and intestines had shown signs of regression, or shrinking was a more apt term... To her it almost resembled the atrophying of muscles you'd see in a coma patient, which shouldn't have been possible with how healthy his heart and muscles were. He didn't seem to have any genetic disorders either, at all, which was also peculiar as people usually had some, dormant or not.

She felt like pulling her hair out at this medical mystery. She needed to know more to-

The sound of someone clearing their throat forces her from her thoughts, "Panacea? Is something wrong? He's still losing a lot of blood." a doctor assigned to watch her work questions as the nurses change the bandages for the third time. How long had she been in a trance inspecting his body?

"Ah, sorry, just wanted to make sure the perforated intestines didn't cause a problem. I've got it." she says, closing her eyes once more and actually healing him. She takes biomass from his fat storage and uses it heal the damage and resupply the lost blood. Barely a minute passes when she lets out a sigh and looks up at the doctor, "All good."

He nods, "There's two more patient needing your attention-"

"Erm, I'd actually like to observe this patient, nothing's wrong but-," she tries to find a reason, "I know him and I'd like to make sure he's alright."

"Hm... If you're sure, we'll need to arrange for extra hours to meet your quota." he nods as if she'd already accepted the overtime... UNPAID overtime she might add. She didn't get paid for any work either, to be perfectly frank. No, her mother wouldn't accept a hero being anything but charitable.

The doctor leaves to actually do some work while she sits at Guitar Boy's bedside, wondering how to broach the subject of him being a cape...

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POV : Kieu

I grimace as I come to and open my eyes, blinded by the sterile white room and fluorescent lights. "Ugh..." a groan leaves my lips as I recall how I'd ended up here... Playing football with Takeshita, working the stall with Tieu, getting stabbed by-

"FUCK!" I shout as I sit up, hands darts to my stomach where I've been knifed, my brain not even registering the slight resistance from one arm. I hastily tug the hospital gown to the side to reveal my stomach, finding clean and unmarred flesh.

My fingers brush over my skin as my brain works to figure out just what had happened... Was I in a coma long enough for it to heal? No... I don't feel weak enough for that, though, my power made it so I didn't have to eat... Wait, if that was the case I'd definitely be on some watch list, if I wasn't already being experimented on.

I blink a couple times for my eyes to adjust to the light before looking around, then gaping at the person sitting at my bedside.

"Er... Hi?" I say, clearly flustered to the strangely cagey-looking Panacea. She wore the same white and red robes she had on last we met but the fact she was sitting at my bedside with them put her in an entirely new light... There it felt like cosplay, but here in the hospital after presumably being healed by her?

Panacea truly is the best hero.

She stirs in her seat uncomfortably and clears her throat, reaching over and resting a hand on my forearm. "How do you feel?"

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