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12. The Trip to the Nurse

11. Athena's Vision

10. The Silent Benefactor

9. Back With the Triplets

8. Changing Standards

7. Every Gibson Loses the Stone

6. Becoming Triplets

5. Jon Becomes a Girl

4. Karyn is Different

3. What do you mean?!?!

2. The next day at school

1. You Are What You Wish

The McMillan Triplets: The Trip to the Nurse

avatar on 2024-01-19 05:24:33

766 hits, 117 views, 6 upvotes.

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Athena was soaking wet, right through her clothes, covered all over in that thick stinky stuff frogs like to swim in, and shaking cold. The draft blew it all off and left her exposed, and her only true comfort then was a big fluffy towel, wrapped around tight and warm like a metamorph's cocoon, as gently as a mother telling her it was alright and going to be okay. Athena was scared. She didn't know where she was; she was looking left and right and up and down and front and back and head and toes and it all looked like it was right, but also wrong, like that painting of that place you've only ever seen in your dreams before. Reality was shifting under her feet. Athena knew what it was like to see the unseeable and feel the unfeelable but this was different, this was so much more, and from someone somewhere came a voice saying she couldn't handle it and should just succumb. It promised her a perfect place in its uncanny Barbieland dreamhouse where she'd just smile and smile and smile and never stop because she can't. Her Animus came alive and fought it, for her friends, because her job wasn't finished yet, there was so much more to do that only she could do. Her friends needed her. Her friends were calling for her. Her friends, what were they saying?

"Athena?" Her best friend called. "Ath, c'mon, we're almost there." She recognized Zoe's voice. "I don't want the nurse to see you like this, and I know you know the spell. The Pendant is in your hand, so please, just come back to Earth for me?"

Nurse? What's a nurse? And the Pendant? Oh, wait, that could only be her towel. Zoe wrapped her up in it, to keep her warm and dry. Athena gripped it closer into herself, and called on her soul to find the magic to make it all go away. She closed her eyes and said the words, holding the Pendant tight in hand.

When she opened them again, the visions were gone, and the voices were silent. No more towel, no more wetness. She was just in the same old boring grey hallway she'd been through countless times before, just outside the nurse's office. And Zoe was right there with her, holding a hand and guiding her there.

"Finally," Zoe breathed a sigh of relief and beamed. "You were really going in deep there, I was worried I might not get you back, by myself!"

"...Zoe, where are we?" Athena asked, looking around; she hardly remembered walking there, was trying to piece together what happened during her seance. "You're taking me to the nurse's office?"

Zoe's smile faded into a scowl. "It's not like I had many options," she spit back defensively. "I know you don't like her very much, but what was I supposed to do? You were having a vision in THE MIDDLE OF CLASS, Ath; the Stone thief could've been in there for all we know, and even if not we don't want 'em hearing any wild rumors to wish about, y'know? I had to get you out of there!"

"So you took me to the fucking nurse?" Athena scowled. Somewhere far away a voice chided her, and Athena sighed, then continued more apologetically "Look, I appreciate the quick thinking, but do you really think we need her on my ass right now?"

"That bitch? Of course not," Zoe rolled her eyes, "but there's no unspilling that milk now, we're both gonna need her pass back if we don't want end up in Principal Sander's office for stupid shit again. Let's just grit our teeth and get it over with so we can move on, okay?"

"...Fiiiiiine," Athena grumbled, and then pushed her way into the nurse's office. A big, harsh, overly sterile room and clinical space, with the usual exam bench and litany of medical apparatuses along the walls. The Nurse herself sat at her computer desk in a corner of the room, facing some chairs against the wall. It was all very clean and very expensive-looking, even moreso than a typical doctor's office; Athena heard a whisper that said it was all Ivory again, like the towers Zoe had rescued her from, and hinted that maybe the whole school was whitewashed. This time Athena just needed to squeeze her pendant and the whisper shut up, though.

"Hello? Oh, if it isn't Miss Athena DeVries and her friend," Nurse Robins said as they came in. "I haven't seen you two in a while. What is it today?"

"I had another episode," Athena explained simply. "One that was bad enough that Zoe escorted me here."

The nurse raised a skeptical eyebrow.

"We aren't trying to get out of class with this one, it actually happened," Zoe scoffed. She approached the desk and slammed her hall pass down onto it. "Call Professor Artyom if you don't believe us. He signed it and everything."

The nurse examined the slip. "Well, so he did. I guess the episode largely passed on the way over here?" She signed off on the pass as Athena nodded assent. "In that case, you better get back to class, then, Zoe. Athena, you stay," she continued while handing Zoe the pass back.

"WHAT? I'm not leaving my friend alone!" Zoe insisted.

"She seems alright now," the nurse pointed out. "I'll get her fixed up, you don't need to worry."

Zoe looked like she was about to backsass her with something unwise and cutting as per her usual disrespect for authority, but Athena stepped in. "It's alright, Zoe, I'll be okay. We can meet and talk about everything later."

At Athena, Zoe softened quite a bit, from sass into concern. "Are you sure, though? You said it's been really noisy today..."

"Oh ye of little faith," Athena shook her head and dangled the pendant at Zoe. "I have your Ward already. I can handle things with that. And besides, weren't you just saying you and I were gonna be really good students just for today?" Athena smirked, and Zoe glared, at her own logic being thrown back at her.

"Get her back to me soon, and not a scratch on her, you hear, not a scratch!" Zoe gave one last scoff at the nurse, then sulked out of the door and back to class, leaving a dark, Gothic, and especially bitchy trail of stormclouds in her wake.

A moment or two after the finality of the door closing behind Zoe settled in, Nurse Robins turned her attention back to Athena. "You 'have her Ward already,' huh? Up on the bed, by the way, sweetie, you know the drill."

Athena settled into a spot on the exam bench and presented an arm for a quick blood pressure reading. "I know you don't believe it, doc, but that stuff really does help. Zoe can see it plain as day, that's for sure."

"Plain as day, hm?" Nurse Robins shook her head while taking the reading (blood pressure normal, as expected). "I suppose she also has you taking your meds like you're supposed to?"

"She still doesn't know about them," Athena replied honestly. She posed for a pulse reading. "And I'd rather you not go telling her or any of my other friends about it, either."

"I have no problem at all with doctor-patient confidentiality," the nurse replied almost automatically, with only a slight twinge of annoyance that there was any doubt. "I might be making a call to your parents, but never your peers, you know that. Insofar as I can recommend what you do tell your peers, though, I would strongly advise against leading them to believe you're some kind of superhuman because of a medical condition."

A pause while the nurse pulled the stethoscope away. "I'm not a superhuman," Athena replied simply. "I'm a Seer, and a Witch. All my friends know that."

The nurse was not impressed. "That's fine," she said in a tone that said otherwise, "as long as you're taking care of yourself the way you should. Shoes off, on the scale." A pause, and while taking down her height and weight, she asked "You did take your medicine this morning, didn't you?"

"Of course," Athena lied. She hadn't touched one of those damned things in a very long while.

"Of course," the nurse echoed. A silence, save for scratching of pencil on paper and the little tink tinks of medical instruments moved about. After a time, Nurse Robins asked for Athena's arm again. "I'm going to draw a little bit of blood, alright?"

"Blood?" Athena offered her arm anyway, but seemed confused. "That's not part of the usual routine, what's that for?"

"Among other things, a drug screening," the nurse explained, then carefully pricked a vein. "At your age, when a teenager says they've started seeing some wild things suddenly, a drug screening will often catch the culprit pretty decisively. Whether by presence, or absence."

It took a moment for Athena to get it. "Do my meds show up on that?" She asked in bemusement.

"Well, that depends, did you take them?" Nurse Robins asked again.

Long heavy inhale, and then long heavy sigh. "Alright, you got me, I forgot about them this morning, but that was just me being forgetful, okay? That was why I had the episode, I forgot today," Athena lied again while the nurse cleaned and bandaged the prick.

"Athena DeVries." The nurse wasn't buying it for a moment, and once she had her blood sample, she stopped taking vitals to instead hold a look directly in Athena's eyes. "Listen. I am glad that your, eh... a l t e r n a t i v e," the word rolled off her tongue as sourly as lemon concentrate, "treatments and remedies have been so successful for you, but they are not, and never will be an excuse to forego modern medicine and established science in the treatment of your condition, especially when the treatment in question is no more complicated than taking a few very rigorously studied and approved pills each morning. Schizophrenia is a very serious condition, young lady! Psychotic breaks, these individual hallucinatory episodes like you had today, they can easily spiral out of control, become longer and more frequent if you let them, until your reality becomes nothing more than a long series of unrealities one after the other! Some people dissociate entirely, stop engaging with their friends, their family, their jobs, their lives, their bodies, because who's to say what's real or isn't anymore? Nothing can matter anymore if nothing exists for certain anymore!" The nurse took a deep breath. "Your case isn't that. Not yet. As far as I can tell, your symptoms have only been mild to moderate so far. But I really don't want them to get any worse than that because you refuse your antipsychotics out of some misplaced faith in an alternative! Do you? Don't you ever want the voices to just stop sometimes?"

Athena had gone back to clutching her Pendant, somewhere in there, and she averted her gaze, out of fear of giving her well-intentioned nurse the Evil Eye. The loudest voices in her head at the moment weren't foreign to her; her own Shadow had left the wall, rearing for permission to hex the nonbeliever, and another man's voice pleaded for reason, to try and make her see that what was real wasn't limited to what was tangible. Another voice, panicky and darkly tinged, reminded the rest that with the Stone and the Wisher still out there, and they were dissociating from what was real already and the nurse didn't even know it. The Wisher's Aura, held back from comment by the Pendant, wanted its fingers in Athena's fragile brain, and it had the power to get them in there if ever the Nurse's Omen should come to pass and Athena fell apart.

The last voice wasn't hers. It was Zoe's from the aura of her Ward, and it reminded Athena what their gameplan together was. "Yes Ma'am," Athena replied simply and complicitly.

"Good." The nurse went into one of her medicine cabinets and produced a few pills, and then filled a small cup of water. "These should make up for the dose you missed. Take them for me here and now, and then you're free to go, alright?"

Athena hesitated. If they were to get the Stone back, Zoe would need Athena as the best Seer she could be, and the pills... the pills were outright designed to make the Visions go away.

"Alright. I guess I've missed enough class already." Athena took the pills, threw them into her mouth, then took a gulp of the water.

"See? That wasn't so bad!" The nurse went over to her desk and started filling out a hall pass to send Athena back to class. "Ya just gotta keep on it from here on out. I'll send a note home to your parents to remind you about those pills, but to be clear, it's just a reminder, you aren't in trouble or anything!" Slip filled out, she gave it to Athena. "Now, off to class with you. It's not that I don't like you, but here's hoping I don't see you here so often!"

Athena just sighed, and left the office. A moment or two after the finality of the door closing behind her settled in, one of the Voices, her Shadow, decided to pipe up. Jeez. Maybe I really am crazy, it said with her voice. Maybe all this nonsense about the Stone and the Vision today and all that, maybe it represents me just finally going one hundred and one percent off the reservation after all. I mean, "a rock I found that grants wishes"? Certainly sounds like something someone who refuses to take their meds would just make up.

Athena finally found a trashcan, moved the pills out from under her tongue, and then spit them out. Today was going to be rough on her brain, but she'd just have to fight her way through it.

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