Parable of the Renegades
Hi! Jio Kurenai here!
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"So... I'm really sorry for letting my frustration out on you," Lucas apologized as he placed a plaster bandage on Davis' forehead. "I mean look, I just came back from a really long and exhausting Battle Royale over at the Underground Arena, and you know, lack of sleep can turn even the nicest guy cranky. Then you had to pull the trigger when you knocked me into the sand; I literally bit the dust on that one!"
After calming down from his outburst in which he used a steel suitcase loaded with cash as a bludgeoning weapon on his friend, Davis, not to mention shoving his face into the wall three times at that, Lucas was ordered by the clinic's owner, Dr. Rea Nightingale to patch the injuries on his friend's face. The treatment was also done for free since Lucas was responsible for the damage, even though it was all done on impulse.
A few cuts and bruises on the forehead and cheeks along with a bloody nose from the impacts to the wall made the most of Davis' face. Thankfully there weren't any broken teeth, which was great since no one in the room had any knowledge of dentistry.
“Haha, it's cool, dude." Davis grinned and laughed off his pain. "These scratches heal in no time."
Lucas grinned back. "Scratches, you say?"
Davis scratched the back of his head and chuckled. "Now that I think about it, I realized I was way over my head with the easy money I would’ve made. You never can have too much of that."
After catching what turned out to be a phony patient and his accomplice in the act, Davis was forced to explain what was going on: He was spending the Sunday morning walking near the beach for that oceanic feel when a fellow student from Cameron's Feint High School asked for his help. In exchange for $50, the two would stage a drowning victim incident in an attempt for the phony patient to get a free kiss via mouth-to-mouth respiration from that beautiful ice queen of a doctor.
Apparently, Rea was also beach's unofficial lifeguard, which explained the swimsuit she always wore underneath her lab gown.
The flaw in that plan was it focused too much on making the phony patient appear like a drowned victim and less on making Davis look like he barely saved him from what would have been his watery demise.
With the plan now busted, Davis had no choice, but to return his accomplice's compensation of $50 while the phony patient was let off with a warning.
"All right, I'm done."
With the last bandage applied, Davis' face was practically covered in them. Forget putting on several bandages, his face could have been wrapped like a mummy and it would’ve hardly made a difference.
"I'm honestly a bit surprised you would forgive him so quickly even if you two are friends," Rea said, sitting behind a simple rectangular desk while fidgeting with a glazed ceramic cup of tea. Two more cups meant for the other two were placed on the opposite side of her desk along with a pair of stools for them to sit on.
"It's because we're friends," Lucas said, taking a seat and proceeding to sip his tea.
"Best friends!" Davis threw in, taking the seat next to his.
"You know you're best friends when you can go at each other's throats..." Lucas started.
"...and still hang out later as if nothing happened." Davis finished.
The two of them placed an arm around each other's shoulder as they said this.
"Oh...?" Rea raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Times sure have changed."
After taking his first sip of hot tea, Davis winced a bit from its taste. It was so bitter he couldn’t imagine himself drinking it all in one go.
"By the way, this tea... what is it?" he asked the doctor.
"The three of us are not drinking the same kind," Rea replied and took a causal sip. "I have a collection of herbal teas that helps with all sorts of symptoms. Just so you know, this is not my solution for my patients. I only provide it to stimulate some relief."
She focused on the one to her left.
"For you, Davis, that's your name, right?"
He nodded in confirmation.
"What you have is Rosemary. Its flavor is powerful, so I can more or less understand how you feel. Normally it's meant to be used for headaches, but with what you just went through, this is the best I have to offer. Go put some ice on your head later when you get home."
"Sure," Davis agreed. "What kind of tea are you drinking?"
"Milk Tea," Rea answered, smiling. "Unlike you two, I have no problems."
She continued to drink her tea at a luxurious rate, while the two boys in front of her grimaced and took short breaks after every sip.
"Now for Lucas," she continued. "I brewed him some peppermint. He's been busy fighting since yesterday, so I figured he would be nauseous in addition to needing treatment for his injuries. Thanks for your hard work today, by the way."
"Only because you sell your services for cheap and never tell me why," Lucas grumbled before taking another reluctant sip.
"You two seem pretty close," Davis noticed.
It was not that hard for him to see. From how they interacted so informally with each other, to the way Rea would just let Lucas whisper in her ear. This was not something that simple acquaintances would do.
"Yes," Rea acknowledged. "I've been together with Lucas since he was four."
Davis' eyes shifted rapidly, darting between his shy-looking best friend and the attractive doctor who kept that cool and stoic expression immortalized on her face. The tension in his thoughts continued to rise.
"For someone like you to be a doctor, you gotta be older, but now that I look at it, you don't look that much older than us! Lucas, could it be?" Davis whipped his head in Lucas' direction with an accusing look in his eyes. "Could this doctor be your special childhood fri--!?"
"I'm his mom," Rea nonchalantly revealed, cutting Davis off and nearly making him fall off his stool.
"Wha!?" Considering his earlier suspicions, Davis couldn't believe what he was hearing. "H-his mom!? N-no way! You look so young!"
"Oh, you..." Rea cracked a bit of a smile, but she still looked mostly aloof. "I'm already close to becoming forty." She then cast an icy glare at Lucas. "But Lucas here refuses to call me his mother."
More wild fantasies on how Lucas saw the doctor rampaged within Davis' brain. "S-so does that mean you like to pretend that she's your...YOUR--"
" I'm adopted," Lucas interrupted, not wanting to know the next word. It was best that he shut down his friend's assumption. Who knows what Davis wanted to say?
And that's that.
Lucas scowled. "Seriously bro, stop trying to treat life like we're in some manga or anime."
"Well, you seem better," Rea had just finished drinking down the rest of her tea. "Lucas, I believe it's obvious to know why you're here. Your run in the Underground Arena has gotten you twisted up in a knot, yes?"
"I wouldn't call it a workout, but yeah." Lucas got himself seated on the exam table before Rea examined his injuries.
Starting from the top, Lucas' spine wasn't perfectly aligned. His head was tilted slightly to the left and his current posture made him appear to slouch forward. Although his arms were not broken or anything close to that, their joints were stiff and needed to be loosened up. Finally, his right leg appeared to be slightly shorter than his left. This comparison was not obvious unless both legs had bent their knees next to each other while being closely studied.
Having finished her observation, Rea began her treatment on Lucas' arms by firmly gripping one of his hands before shaking it with a little force, making the arm move in a wave pattern. This was done to make it relax. She then gave quick tugs on each of his fingers. Some made quick popping sounds while a few did not. Every time a pop sound occurred, Lucas twitched a little. Of course, his other arm received the same treatment.
Moving on to the legs, Rea gave the right leg a quick pull, extracting a deep pop sound from it. She compared its length with the left one again and was satisfied to see that they were even this time.
"Davis, I'd appreciate it if you could lend me a bit of your assistance," Rea turned her attention to the one watching her perform her job with mild interest.
"Uh, sure. What is it?" His back straightened as he raised his head.
"There's a blue rubber mat over there," Rea pointed to the corner of the room where a closet was situated. "Please set it up over here."
Davis did as he was told and as soon the blue rubber mat, which was approximately 5x5 feet in diameter, was laid flat on the floor.
Then Rea placed a hand on Lucas’ shoulder. Just like that, he shook from what appeared to be a sadistic killing intent emanating from his adoptive mother.
Lucas knew what was about to happen, but his exhausted state made him slow to realize it until it was too late.
He found himself in for a short fall as Rea threw him off the exam table. To her expectation, Lucas managed to minimize the impact and pain with a timely roll when he landed on the rubber mat. Now flat on his stomach, the current state of his spine made it painful and nearly impossible for Lucas to look behind him as Rea sat on his lower back, pinning him to the floor. Her hands clasped around his chin, she pulled him back as she leaned forward, close enough to whisper in his ear, while he tried to pry her hands off.
Davis could only stare with widened eyes. From his point of view, it looked like Lucas and Rea were engaged in a pro-wrestling match and the hold she put him in looked a lot like the "Camel Clutch." And then there was the fact that the expression on Rea's face hardly changed at all. She still kept that stoic expression.
"Call me 'mom', Lucas," she whispered as she pulled him backward.
"Never," Lucas protested and struggled in pain.
Rea positioned her hands around Lucas' head, one on the chin and the other at the back of his head.
The sound of Lucas' neck cracking from a quick twist covered the vicinity of the room. For some reason, it was soothing to the ears.
"My gosh! You just broke his neck!" Davis jolted up and exclaimed.
"What? No, of course not," Rea denied. "I only adjusted his neck. It should be back to the right alignment now."
Both of Lucas' arms grew limp as they stopped what they were doing and fell flat to the ground.
"Um, are you sure you didn't break his neck?" Davis stated his concern.
"He's fine. I know how to hold back." Rea assured him.
"Yeah, that's not reassuring," Davis said.
"He's fine. See?"
Rea piled her hands on Lucas' upper back then pushed it down with sudden force.
Some air was forced out of Lucas' lungs and escaped his mouth, but he was also forced awake, to Davis' relief.
"So, I guess this means you're a chiropractor?" he asked.
"I specialize in herbal medicine, but yes, there's that too," Rea said.
"For chiropractic adjustments, this seems kind of... extreme."
"It's fine. Lucas can take a little roughhousing." Rea continued as she sat on Lucas' lower back, preventing his attempts to escape her grasp.
"I just came from a beatdo-mmphhff!" Lucas tried to speak but Rea smothered a hand over his mouth before he could finish his sentence.
"Call me 'mom', Lucas." She requested again as she momentarily uncovered his mouth for an answer.
"Like I'll say that when someone like Davis is watching!" Lucas whispered in an annoyed tone.
"It's because he's your best friend that we can treat him like a member of the family."
"Still not gonna do it." He continued to protest.
Rea leaned closer and whispered, "But you still love me, right?" Lucas felt a nasty chill as her breath tickled the insides of his ear.
"...Yes," he admitted with a sigh. "Despite your doting."
Rea turned her attention to Davis once more. "Like I just said. Besides, it's a fun kind of punishment when your son--"
"Adoptive-son!" Lucas interrupted.
"--gets adamant in refusing a simple request," Rea said, silencing Lucas with a hand smother to his mouth again before continuing. "Now then, where were we?"
More cracking noises came and blared as Rea proceeded to do more chiropractic adjustments on her adoptive-son. Davis' thoughts continued to go wild, listening to all the twisting, pulling and manipulating of various joints that lead to reluctant moans of tension release from Lucas.
The way Rea kept shifting herself around Lucas, made her lab gown come into contact with her figure at a frequent rate, its transparency showing off her navy-blue one-piece swimsuit and moist porcelain skin underneath. It was almost like she wasn't wearing that lab gown at all.
The sight in front of him inspired the following phrase to echo through Davis' mind:
I gotta get injured... I gotta get injured... I gotta get injured... I gotta get injured...
The symphony of cracks eventually came to an end. Lucas felt close to being rejuvenated, but he was still left with some mildly annoying side effects from his adoptive mother's playful roughhousing.
The sun moved to the middle of the sky, indicating that the afternoon had arrived. Davis left the clinic shortly before that time to continue the rest of the day at his own pace. He invited Lucas to join him, but his weary friend was dead-set on letting himself get lazy for the rest of the day. The two of them were still high school students, and tomorrow was going to be Monday.
The clinic had one room for general treatment which was where the recent events took place. Another door led to a room designed for therapy. It looked like a spa, also consisting of a single white room, but walls of curtains separated sections of it to allow for different purposes. The scent that wafted in this room smelled of herbal bamboo thanks to an air purifier giving off a relaxing aroma.
Wearing only a towel around his waist, Lucas got himself comfortable in the section that contained a Jacuzzi. The water’s temperature was set to hot, making it simulate a hot spring and he also dyed it a translucent purple thanks to applying it with some lavender from Rea's massive herb collection.
As the hot, healing water entered every microscopic pore of his body, Lucas relished his pain slowly fading away. All that fatigue from twenty-seven hours of fighting will soon be gone.
When he wanted a break from the heat, he took a few seconds to get out of the tub and looked straight into the room's mirror. He lifted the wavy hair bangs that had been shielding his eyes from everyone's view the entire time.
"They're back to looking normal again," Lucas noticed.
Chocolate brown eyes that matched the color of his hair were reflected back at him.