Eevee TF Series
"It's a good thing I'm majoring in medical," Ron muttered as he stared at the huge building in front of him. The instructions he had received at his college mentioned that the hospital was very large, but that was an understatement. The easy-to-find building in front of him stood out among all the other buildings in the whole city; it took up the whole block, and was elaborately decorated. In front was a marble fountain, surrounded by a fenced-in planter. Flanking the fountain was a staircase to the right and a wheelchair ramp to the left, both leading up to separate automatic doors which opened into the lobby.
Ron walked up to the door, and was met with a blast of air, as a cleansing fan mounted above the doorframe cleansed him and rustled his hair. He took a few seconds to pat it back into place before he walked on. He wasn't late, as far as he knew. According to his watch he was about a half-hour early, though he couldn't make out a single familiar face of his friends from back home. A host of wheelchair-bound persons occupied the left rows of the waiting room, while the others mostly kept to themselves. A neatly carpeted walkway separating the factions split up and led toward opposite wings of the hospital. However, the walkway held off its junction until it reached the front desk.
The bright white of the desk contrasted poorly with the old red carpet floor, and almost gave him a headache. Ron looked at it and smirked at the criticism that he guessed the designer must have received for their decisions. But as he stared at the wrenching spectacle, he grimaced as he realized that this was what he was going to see every day for the next week or so. Behind a service desk, a female employee was arduously smashing keys on her keyboard and talking on her headset to some unknown persons, trying to maintain two conversations at once. She managed a peek up at the next person in line and her eyes met Ron's. She excused the unknown entities on the lines she was answering to hang up the phone and hurriedly spoke.
"Hello. Welcome to Coledge Medical Center. Do you have an appointment?"
Ron walked through the soft red no-man's land carpet and leaned on the distasteful neutral-white countertop of the desk with one elbow. Confidently, he responded. "No, I'm wit-"
He was quickly interrupted by the hasty woman. "Are you in the internship program?"
"Yes, I err, I'm-"
She immediately pointed to her left, and Ron followed the finger down the carpet to his right. "Down the hall, go all the way down, look for the sign. Everyone is meeting there. Hurry up." She wasted no time in debriefing and sent him rather cluelessly down the glass-walled hall with not much more instruction than to "just get in there and wait." He arrived at the end of the relatively short hall to find a simple wooden door, decorated with a sheet of notebook paper scribbled with the words, "Newbies meet here!!!" and a bold arrow pointing down. "Must be the place," he muttered. He gripped the knob and the door opened with a muffled creak.
The bleak, ordinary-looking room before him became filled with silence, only to be broken by a sudden applause. Ron looked around to see that there were several individuals lining the walls and huddled in the corners of the small room, and all had drawn their attention away from their individual conversations in order to poke fun at the fashionably late member. As he scanned the crowd, he counted actually only a few members present; he was one of about maybe eight or so students and he quickly recognized a few of the faces of those applauding.
Of course, he quickly picked out the face of Crystal, the charming woman who'd stolen his morning from him. It was hard to pass by her face and not recognize it, especially when her elegant necklace caught his eye. He had to be careful with her, especially since she had that interesting yet imposing gift, with which she had learned practically all of the secrets he was trying to keep hidden just by looking at him. He could only hope that she had kept the secrets she had pried out of him. He saw a certain look in her eyes signalling that she knew what he was thinking about. His next thought was a clean, unspoken phrase: "Please stop doing that." She smiled back.
The next face was one he had not seen in a long time, but a wave of recognition swiftly washed over him, followed by a brief period of tranquility. Valencia was certainly one of the most ambitious people he had ever known. They had met back in the summer of last year, in their morning biology class at the college. They were lab partners, and by the end of the semester, they were close friends, and they learned a lot about each other.
Valencia was a sort of underdog; she came from an especially small town, but had a bright and beautiful mind. While her parents could not afford many luxuries, she was provided with strong love and care that enriched her whole life. She was always told and believed that she could be whatever she wanted to be, and that no one could ever tell her otherwise. After finishing high school, she pursued a job at the nearby pool as a lifeguard, undergoing rigorous training. There, she raised money for college, and some to support her family. It was a job she had considered for a long time, and she soon found herself swimming in the pool more often than anything else. Offering swimming lessons became a part-time job of hers. She loved the job and was even more delighted that no one drowned, even with her mild negligence. She would stay at the pool as long as she could, arriving before opening and being the last one to leave, at least an hour or two after the regular closing time. No one was surprised when she decided that she finally decided to go to college and study marine biology. She always passed all of her classes- even the ones she hated, like physics and economics. However among her deepest passions was that one topic which had been on Ron's mind for most of the day; the word Pokémon silently slipped across his mind, and Crystal naturally picked it out and targeted him with those deep, cautious eyes which Ron tried to ignore.
Valencia had what others would call an obsession with Pokémon, that dated back many years. While most of her friends began to back away from it as they grew older, she stuck with it loyally and only loved it more each day. She was devoted only to the games, she would tell Ron regularly as he pretended to listen. She would also go on and on about what she claimed to be her "favorite one of all," however Ron still could not seem to recall the name of it, even after being shown its bluish, cat-like thing a million times. She cherished the particular character as if it were a pet or her family; she fantasized about finding one someday and regularly claimed to have fantastic dreams in which she actually was one of these creatures. All he could remember about it was that it had some hard-to-remember watery name. The clash of her wavy brown hair with a blink of her brilliant green eyes brought Ron back into reality. At this point he acknowledged his jeering applause with a polite bow, putting his arms out in gracious acceptance. As he got back up, he retrieved the bookbag he'd dropped and ran into the leader of the mocking party.
"Ron! Glad to see you made it in one piece!" The familiar voice belonged to the face Ron had seen numerous times, but the face of an old friend, nonetheless. He walked over to Ron and raised an arm up, with Ron following suit, and the two held each other in a brief acknowledging hold.
"It's nice to see you too, Corbyn." In a short span of a second or two, Ron grinned as he recalled the way he had grown up with his good friend. He had met old Corb back in the turbulent days of middle school. Back then, he was probably the only one who was seen around the new kid. While he excelled in his classes, he had the most timid, reclusive nature of anyone in the school. He used to walk home alone every day, and would refuse to respond to almost anyone. The bullies didn't help his self-esteem, and without Ron's intervention, things might have gotten ugly.
Ron had tried his hardest to help Corbyn fit in and feel accepted, and showed him how to enjoy life. They sat together regularly at lunch and spent the days poking fun at the common views of adolescent lifestyles. They were practically brothers, and for them school was not a place of mundane education but of connection. In fact, they firmly agreed that people who succeed in academics are the ones who enjoy a more thriving lifestyle. Through this thinking, they found more friends and followers- including Julia- and eventually became two of the most popular individuals in their graduating class. Corbyn had come a long way from being a scrawny, shady hermit. Ron didn't want to attribute the whole thing to his meddling, but Corbyn had hinted to him at least once or twice that he had saved his life.
Corbyn backed off a bit and tried to make Ron let go, probably sensing that the bro-hug was going over its time limit. Acting unfazed, he tried to start a conversation, resorting to his habit of small-talk which he knew Ron found only hopelessly tolerable. He burst out excitedly: "Hey, where's Julia?"
Ron locked up his memories of his nightmare as tightly as he could, not budging under Crystal's glare. "Oh, probably just waking up now. You know how she is- not much of a morning person." Ron spoke with a bit of pride still in his head. He had almost forgotten how close the three of them were to each other. When they had met in high school, it was not just Ron that Corbyn became the best friend of. Almost immediately after their class together, Julia came into Ron's life- and subsequently into Corbyn's. It wasn't exactly an affair; Ron and Julia came to have the relationship they now had, but Corbyn never really found a girlfriend; he considered himself "not ready for any commitment of any sort."
"Ah, yes. I wonder how she would make it through the day without you; she's almost attached to you." He replied, patting Ron firmly on the shoulder and turning around as if to reengage in his abandoned conversation. He found that there was, actually, no one there to speak with and that he had simply been standing around waiting for something to happen. He turned back around to face Ron to resume conversation. "So, how's she doing, anyway?"
He wavered a bit, trying to conjure up from his memory some acceptable aspect of Julia that was not scarred by his vision from that morning. "Err- she's doing fine, I hope
"You hope? Something wrong?"
"Yes, is something wrong?" an inquisitive voice interrupted. The two conversing heads turned to the face of the brown-haired, pale-blue-eyed mystery of a woman they both knew well enough to be careful around.
"Crystal," Ron turned his chin up a little and spoke up with confidence to hide any anxiety. "Must you always impose on private conversations?"
"Well, I wouldn't exactly call it private," she replied sarcastically. "You're the only ones talking in here." She returned Ron's motion with a wider wave of her arm, pointing out the fact that there was little other conversation being held in the small room. "Get off the stage, Romeo."
Indeed, the previous conversation could have sounded a bit dramatic to others. Crystal always offered them petty insults, but the two partners always accepted a challenge, if it meant making fools of themselves. Crystal saw the look in Corbyn's eye and knew there was no stopping what she'd started. Stepping around Crystal, Corbyn reached his arm out to his side and spoke a bit louder and more confidently. "Well, 'Romeo,' I've had just about enough of this mockery. What say you?"
Ron spat out a brief chuckle before joining in the theatrical. "'Tis enough, Mercutio, stand down," he slapped his counterpart square on the shoulder.
"Ow! A plague on your house!" With that he gave Ron a soft kick to the shin. At this point everyone in the room was laughing, even the soft-spoken blond-haired man shyly standing in the back corner, who had yet to come out into the spotlight. His face was lit up with enjoyment and he looked like he wanted to jump up and join in, but his pale blue-green eyes just shimmered as he remained there grinning as he saw one fool slap the other. Crystal, who had backed away from the action, was laughing and applauding lightly, her eyes shining under stray hairs.
"Ay, a scratch. The hurt cannot be much. Get thee to a nunnery, you big baby."
"Hey, that's Hamlet!" Corbyn raised his hand to his face and gently gripped his thumb with his teeth, and opened his eyes wide with pseudo-insanity, showing his mocking display to Ron, making him gasp.
"Do you bite your thumb at me, sir?"
He removed his thumb. "I do not bite my thumb at you sir, but I do bite my thumb, sir!"
The group was lost in the moment. Here, all the childish spark from the distant glory days of high school leapt out of the clutches of reality and danced before the captivated audience. Crystal stood embarrassed, sorry she had started the whole fray. However, her reluctance was hidden by her uncontrollable delight. The two actors in front of her did the same kind of thing to her all the time. They were inseparable and always cheerful. They might have gone on bickering for hours had the lone door of the room not opened abruptly.
There was silence. That is until Corbyn, with one foot still in the comedy, retorted in a softer voice, "Draw thy tool! Here comes one of the house of Montague!"
There was, after that, a couple of snickers as the woman before them cocked her head and crossed her arms. She looked completely unimpressed, and possibly a bit irritable. Actually, under her strikingly bright blonde hair and stern hazel eyes, she was slightly amused, but she hid her amusement far too well and gave the two dancing comedians a calm, deathly glare. Her full-length white hospital coat flapped around her legs as the door closed behind her. She twirled her dangling lanyard at her side, the keys at the end jingling in midair, and stopping as the strap wrapped around her finger.
"Thank you, gentlemen, for that brilliant display of ignorance. Now, let's get to business." Ron's eyes tried to widen but he held them back, trying not to attract any attention. The woman Ron recognized as Cathy walked to the center of the room, and motioned for everyone to line up in front of her. "Hello, kids. My name is Cathy Ruck. You will address me as Ms. Ruck only."
"Hi, Ms Ruckonly," Corbyn softly chimed in with a slow, sad tone, his head pointed down to the ground.
Cathy glared at him and silenced the few brief chuckles that arose. Ron bit his lip, intimidated. She was an entirely different person than the Cathy he'd run into the night before. "Every morning, at this time- except about ten minutes earlier- you will meet me here. I will be your overseer for the next week," she explained with a sharp seriousness. "Welcome to hell."