Chapter 15:

With A Little Help

Assassin's Hunter

Shortly after, I found myself exhausted beyond belief, nearly falling out of my motorcycle. I decided to head to my place and sleep everything off until Ava's doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. Ava was starting to nod off, too, before we arrived.

My loft wasn't too shabby, a bit on the minimalistic side, but I wasn't one for decorations and fluffed pillows. I left Ava to sleep in my bed while I headed to the couch. But I should've known she'd try something.

The following day I found her sleeping beside me, clinging to my shirt, about to fall off the couch's edge. I was startled, and it weirded me out at first. This girl was so trusting and grew an apparent attachment with me ever since we met. I'm afraid she made me out to be some hero to her, a knight in shining armor.

She doesn't deserve a 'hero' like me.

I wish I could tell Ava that, but I'll let her cling to her false idol. When she woke up, I unnaturally asked her why she trusted me so much. To which she replied, "Just cause. You're a cool guy!" she smiled.

After the rest and relaxation, including breakfast, I drove Ava to the hospital for an appointment with Dr. Hollace Montgomery, an old family friend.

He was more of a friend to my father. He was my family's private physician for a time, way back. After my father left, Hollace took his practices to a rundown public hospital, helping the sick and poor. Technically his field was as a cardiovascular surgeon, but he found peace with the common people, taking care of their everyday needs. The saint was overqualified, to say the least.

Growing up, I would always visit him when needed, for he was the only doctor I knew who could take in a young assassin who wasn't on the grid. He always insisted on not charging me out of respect for his history with my family. But I always paid him in full and then some for the trouble. It was illegal after all… him still treating me.

I asked for Hollace at the desk, and they took me into an examination room. Ava waited cheerfully, knowing I was with her all the way. Good for her. I used to hate doctor visits when I was her age.

The door opened to reveal a tall, handsome gentleman in his late thirties. He had smooth dark brown skin, strong facial features, and subtle muscles bulging from his lab coat. Tall, killer looks, fit, and a doctor… I'm surprised this guy wasn't taken already. Probably doesn't help that he's an overly charismatic ladies' man.

"Well, well, if it isn't the man himself. Woah! You're taller than before," the doctor got a good look at me.

"Stop lying, Hollace."

"Haha- I'm playing, man. How's it going?" the good doctor reeled me in for a firm hug.

"Been better. But I have a-"

"Woah, who do we have here?"

"I'm Ava! I like burritos," the little girl informed Hollace.

"She's what I'm here for exactly. I need you to run some tests with her."

I explained Ava's situation to Hollace. Her being lost and running into me at the church. Not being found on the grid, with her memory loss and her parents in trouble. Hollace now processed the information in total seriousness. He clapped his hands together, moving to Ava.

"Ms. Ava, are you ready for some tests today?"

"I think so…" she answered now hesitantly.

Hollace opened the door and peeked his head outside the hallway. "Julie, could you come in here for me, please," he looked back at me, "You look pretty banged up yourself. We can check you out right now while I work with Ava."

"Oh, that's not-"

A young nurse walked in, standing attentively at the door.

"Julie will take care of you with another doctor. She knows about our arrangement."

I walked out with the nurse as Ava stayed behind with Hollace. She looked at me anxiously as I left the room, so I gave her a nod to ensure my return. What I hadn't planned was the outcome of the results of our tests when we returned. Nothing could prepare me for what came next.

Julie, the nurse, brought me to a fellow doctor who took my psychical under the guise that I was someone else. Julie had forged some papers saying that I was a famous young boxer, explaining all the injuries I had. The ignorant doctor bought it and questioned no further.

They took my blood, checked for fractured bones or concussions, and further treated the abrasion on my back. That was a bit harder to explain, for I got it from swinging two hundred feet off the roof of a skyscraper. I used my motorcycle as an excuse for the injury.

I was fine on my end, but I now waited for three hours for Ava with fear growing in the pit of my stomach as I sat in the exam room. I prayed for her well-being.

What's taking so long?

I stood up startled when the door opened; the anxiety put me in a state of panic. Hollace and Ava walked into the room, having a little chat. Ava was sucking on a lollipop that Hollace must've given her. It looked like everything went smoothly without any abnormalities.

"I got a pet scan!" Ava held her head up high, proud of the accomplishment.

"I think you mean CAT scan, sweetie," I tussled her hair.

"It was an MRI," Hollace corrected.

Hopefully, the experience wasn't too rough on Ava. But everything turned out okay in the end. That was until… Hollace cleared his throat, looking back at the papers in front of him with the results.

"Listen, Eiji… I need you to sit down for this."

Oh no.

My worst fears came to life. The worst possible scenario played out in my mind like a horror movie. I gripped Ava's small hand tight instinctively.

"Good news was that no damage or any sign of symptoms regarding her amnesia was shown. She's healthy and is normal by all medical means. I can't say for sure what caused her to lose her memories until I go through all the data. She knows most of her own personal information: her age, where she lives, the kinds of things she likes and hates.

However, all her memories regarding the people she knew were blurred. So there's a possibility it could be stress-induced, but for sure, there's no physical damage to the brain, thankfully."

"Is there any way to treat it? Get them back?" I pressed.

"I can't say until we run some more tests… but Eiji… there's something else. I can't quite understand it. We looked at the DNA from her blood sample to detect any underlying genetic conditions. Julie was getting your physical wrapped up in the meanwhile… we glanced at each other's results… and we saw something… I can't- I mean, we checked over and over to confirm our suspicions."

My throat clogged up, and my heart skipped every other beat maniacally. The palms of my hands started clamming up.

"What is it? What's wrong?" my voice broke.

"You and Ava share the same fifty percent of DNA… I don't know how but Ava… is your daughter…."

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