|What Are Doctors?|
|What: A curious onlooker asks a good doctor some good questions...|
It was another day at the clinic, and Bruce is feeling more comfortable. Even though many of the patients he comes across are in rather... depressing situations. But they all seem to move on, to want to keep living. And that gives him hope, that even with his condition, he should keep living.
But at the very least, he needs a break from time to time. And now is that time. He takes a step outside, if just to clear his head. Hardly the kind of thing one would do in Old Gotham, but for Bruce he had worse fears than mugging. He is deep in thought, thinking about the convention he is set to go to, that maybe there would be an answer to his condition.
Anyone passing by would see him, staring into the distance, not looking at anything in particular.
Laura really enjoys spending time in Gotham, when she's able to. It's her kind of place. Dangerous, exciting... people keep to themselves to a degree and pay a little less attention to the strangenesses of others-- perhaps because strangeness is almost normal here.
She often feels the need to get out and stretch her legs and prowl around... which is how she ends up on the clinic's roof and catches scent of Bruce stepping out for his break. She pauses, tilts her head, and considers for a few moments, before dropping to the sidewalk quietly, then turns around and backs up to get a look at the building's signage. Social grace doesn't always come easily to the girl, which is why she forgets to greet him before asking her question. "What's a clinic?"
"Huh...?" Bruce blinked for a moment, and then saw a familiar figure. It was Laura, that rough girl with all those weapons; the Sisters' roommate. It was a bit of a surprise to see her, and a bit more by just the forwardness of her question. But, he was willing to answer, for now.
"Oh, yes. A clinic is a place where people go to receive help for their physical needs, if they're ill or hurt. This one here is to help people who typically can't get help due to their... situations." He looked at her a little more closely, curious as to why she is here. But there's no reason for her not to be here, so he doesn't dwell on it. "So, does that answer your question... Laura, was it?"
The girl tillllts her head to one side, thinking about the answer. It clearly confuses her to some degree. "So... people come here if they get hurt, and..." Her brow knits a little as she frowns. "Don't their injuries just... go away?" She's well aware people get hurt beyond an ability to heal-- that's been her job for most of her life. But short of fatalities... well, she just never really realized she's unusual.
Bruce takes careful notice as to what Laura just said. 'People's injuries... just go away?' "Well, it depends on the injury. If it's just a scratch, that will heal eventually. But if it is a scratch with a rusty nail, there could be dangerous germs, that can hurt a person from the inside. Or there are huge cuts that need to be addressed. The human body... the typical human body can't heal most injuries. That's where medicine and care come in. That's where we come in."
Laura frowns, but she nods a little bit, absorbing the answer. "We?" she asks absently, while she works on processing the rest of it. The level of damage that requires attention, in particular, is disturbing her a little bit, to be honest. "Why does so little out here make sense?" she finally demands of noone in particular, aside from perhaps a puffy cloud floating by overhead.
Bruce sighed. He was never good as a teacher, but he did understand a few things. For one, Laura must be incredibly special, especially if she's in hiding... "Well, for the first question, I mean doctors and nurses. Sorry for the confusion. And as for your second question, perhaps I can answer that if I knew where you come from. But you don't have to answer if you don't want to." Bruce awaits her answer patiently.
There's a lengthy period where Laura clearly debates talking about it, and even more clearly looks around for eavesdroppers. By the time she's satisfied, she's also decided. She's... pretty sure Bruce is pretty safe. Tolerably sure. Still, she keeps it short, sweet, and quietly voiced, stuffing her hands in the pockets of her hoodie. "It was called Weapon X. They called me X-23. A weapon. I don't know a lot except what they said when I was listening. Or what they told me for training." A pause. "I got away, obviously. Not going back."
The girls are drifting along after doing some low-profile shopping--skulking, to be honest--when the thin thread of their attachment to Laura indicates that she is nearby and somewhat uncomfortable. Curious, they follow the thread around to see her in the distance, on the street. They reach out and touch with a query |"???"| as to whether she's well and whether their presence is welcome or not.
Well, that wasn't the answer Bruce was expecting. But, it did make sense, and he could only feel nothing but sympathy for her. It must have taken quite a bit for her to admit that. So he felt he should respond in kind. And this, he came closer to her.
"I see. And, I understand, more than you may know. I was treated as weapon too, if you didn't figure that out yet." He pauses for a moment. "The whole world must seem.. so foreign to you. If you have any more questions, please ask."
Laura catches the little tug at her mind as the girls ping her, and she tries to... well, feel like shes alright, vaguely. But she's a little too preoccupied with all of this to really get it right. Still, she doesn't seem like she'd prefer to be left alone. Bruce's reponse startles her a little, at least enough to blink. "You were?" She frowns, then nods once. "None of it makes any sense. Doctors fix people when they get hurt out here... there's... pointless things. And people who don't seem to care about anything else. And you say peole get hurt, need... help? But then they're fighting anyway. And..." she gestures with a little frustrated finger-twitch. Apparently she's had a small list of things, and now she's just dumping them all over him. Not unlike a dam bursting.
The girls understand the frustration. There are so many levels of nonsense out here and people one is supposed to be able to trust and yet no reason to do so and a pretense of goodness and so few people adhering to the spirit of it. |"At least before,"| back in the program, |"it made sense and it was the truth,"| they say gently to both Bruce and Laura as they come down the street.
"There's more to fighting than fighters. There are victims too, people who get caught in the fighting but have nothing to do with it." Bruce sighs for a moment. "There are people who don't want to fight, but are fought against. So some who do fight do get hurt, but some who don't also get hurt. Doctors... doctors are meant to help people, no matter what. It's a code they... we follow. It doesn't matter who the person is, if we see he or she is hurt, then we help them, no matter how we feel. It's how we are to be." Bruce takes a moment to let that sink in.
This was addressed to all girls, as Bruce finally heard the Sisters in his head. He looks to where they come in, and gives them a nod of acknowledgment.
The first part, Laura clearly gets, and she nods. There were very clear rules for her assignments. There were targets, categories of people that would have to be dealt with if necessary, and categories of people that had zero to do with whatever she was dealing with. "Non-combatants," she agrees.
It's the second part tht earns Bruce a scowl, because in her experience... people with 'doctor' on their names don't have all that much reluctance to do harm. It's a pretty nasty conflict of worldview going on right there, and her fingers flex like a cat working its claws while she tries to work it out. Eventually, she just shakes her head emphatically. "Doctors hurt people all the time," she bites out, folding her arms-- almost as if to say 'so there' in a remarkably standard teenage way.
The girls understand Laura's misunderstanding. They finally catch up with her and Bruce, switching at least in part to speaking aloud. "There are many different doctors," they say. "Out here, that makes a difference in their purpose, and they have to answer for their actions. Doctors in the Programs repair things instead of healing people, and they do more harm than good. Always."
Bruce winces, and realizes the error of what he said. Of course, 'doctors' would be involved with her, and with the Sisters. He seen experiments, he knew what they consisted of. "I apologize, if I offended you. I do acknowledge that there are doctors who do... horrible things to people, but not all doctors do that. There are doctors who's goal in life is to help people." Bruce offers himself as an example. "Do you think I hurt people?"
Maybe he wasn't the best example, in that regard. Well, no sense in taking it back.
"I don't know yet," Laura says with a sort of brutal honesty in response to Bruce's question. But between him and the Cuckoos, they get the point across, and she pinches the bridge of her nose, working through the necessary shifts in viewpoint. Mostly. "Alright. So... there's good doctors and bad doctors. Good ones are supposed to help people that get hurt. Because they... don't heal? And this clinic thing is a place they do it." She makes an irritated noise, and peers past her hand at Bruce. "You don't smell hurt. So you're here to help people."
"That's right. He's helping here." The girls look very pleased at that. "Some people become doctors because they feel that they need to help. Medical doctors even take an oath to not hurt people. Most of them keep it."
"That's close enough," Bruce says, taking a deep breath. "Yes, I'm here to help these people. "It's similar to people in general, there are good people, and there are bad people. We are not all the same, so we shouldn't judge everyone the same. I hope that helps clear things up." Laura rubs at her temple a little bit. Yep, clear as recently-muddied water. She nods a little bit, instead of complaining about it. "Yeah, sure," she murmurs. Not very good at keeping her inner thoughts to herself, though, and it's not long before she starts pacing while she thinks it over. "Judgment is necessary to survival," the girls say to Bruce. "Not judging people is vastly foolish." "We've heard that before-don't judge." "Everyone does and no one is honest about it." They look sour at that. "It feels like a kind of weapon." "Meant to render the naive helpless." "Keeping one's judgment quiet is another matter."
"Doctor..." A head pops out of the clinic. It's one of the nurses, and that one call reminded Bruce of the time.
"Oh, right. Sorry, Nurse Quan. Be right there." Bruce nods at the nurse, and then looks at the time. "Woah, look at that. I apologize, but I got to get back to work. It was good seeing you all," he finishes to the... four ladies. He then turned to the Sisters.
"I just want to thank you for the help you have given me. I will be forever grateful. And so will the people here." And now he addresses the ladies, "Now, if you guys need anything more, or Laura if you have anymore questions, you know where to find me." He refers to the new apartment that the Sisters help set up for him. "I apologize for leaving, but I do hope to see you all again."
Laura's head pops up at the arrival of the nurse, then she relaxes, and nods at Bruce. She manages a smile because... that's the right thing to do here, right? Pretty sure. "It's fine. Thanks for explaining. It made..." she thinks about it a minute, then finishes honestly. "...enough sense. I'll think about it some more."
"Go work." One of the girls puts a hand on Bruce's arm. "We're happy that you're well." They wave at him and step back, fading from everyone's view but Laura's.