184 The Doctor who was Kind*
After he'd eaten, Anna had insisted that Rassa rest a while longer. He'd clearly worried her with his admittance that he didn't have any memories beyond chasing that rabbit into the woods thirteen years ago. Of course, the truth was that he did have those memories, only, he wasn't entirely sure if they were memories anymore. If this Cordon was real, and it was more and more convincing as time passed, then that nightmare hadn't really happened, and saying otherwise would only make him look insane.
So, Rassa retired to his room once more, only to think of another thing that he was sure would confirm whether or not this was a dream. He looked down over his shoulder at the clear water in the basin on his dresser and slowly lifted the back of his shirt.
It wasn't what he'd expected.
The black lines weren't present anymore, but neither was his skin completely bare. Instead, his back seemed covered in scars, ugly and raised like his skin had had a terrible time healing from such a thing. He was surprised he felt no pain in his back. But as he looked at the scars more closely, he realised that they mimicked where his life lines would have been had they been present.
"Mother?" asked Rassa.
It only took a moment before Anna opened the door, concern on her face. She spotted Rassa looking at the scars on his back through the water's reflection and paused.
"What's wrong?" asked Anna.
"How did I get these scars?" asked Rassa.
"Oh, honey," Anna said, "Are you sure you don't remember? It's why you don't go into the forest".
Rassa dropped his shirt, turning to look at his mother, "Really, I have no idea".
Anna sighed, "Come, sit down".
Anna took him to his bed and spoke softly. It was clearly hard for her to talk about this. How horrible had the incident been for her to act this way?
"When you were five and chasing after that rabbit...you went beyond the boundary line the elders had marked out," Anna stated, "You hadn't realised it at first, but soon you came to a wolf den that the hunters hadn't detected despite it's closeness to the line. The village was quite shocked that it was hidden so well. But it was too late, the damage was already done".
Anna looked at her son gently as she spoke, "You and Diggory were attacked by the wolves. You selflessly threw yourself on top of him to protect him from the worst of it, but as a result your back was horribly mauled. The Doctor said it was a miracle that you even survived. You were bedridden for months and there were several times we thought you wouldn't make it through the night. After the attack the village elders and the Baron made it clear that only the hunters were to go into forest. Everyone else was forbidden to prevent such a tragedy from happening again".
Rassa frowned, "I...I don't remember".
Anna's eyes teared up, "I think we should take you to see the Doctor. For you to forget thirteen years of your life? Surely there's a way to fix this".
Rassa wasn't so sure, but seeing the distressed look in his mother's eyes he certainly hoped it was possible.
After another two hours of rest, Anna finally could hold off no longer and readied Rassa for the walk to the Doctor's house. Rassa had yet to be outside in this dream. He'd decided to call it a dream for now considering that while he wanted to hope it was real, he wasn't entirely sure that it was. Everything seemed so intent on convincing him of that fact, yet he couldn't get rid of the nagging part of his brain that told him it wasn't real.
Still, as soon as Rassa stepped outside, he wanted nothing more than to silence that part of his brain.
The village street was just as he remembered it. The small cottages and wide dirt streets. The small pens where family goats or pigs were kept. A plow horse for those families that could afford them.
The street was rather lively as well, there were many people that were out and about. Rassa knew it was approaching the end of the day so many seemed to be returning from their work in the orchards or the fields. He smiled warmly with his mother when they asked after him. It was a strange feeling, smiling like that. But if this dream was real, was there really any reason why he shouldn't smile warmly? If what his mother had said was true then he'd lived rather peacefully here in Cordon, wolf attack aside.
He and his mother walked to the Doctor's office, a familiar building to Rassa. Though his last memory of being in there hadn't been all that pleasant. He'd been dragged out by the scruff of his neck and thrown in a cage just cause he'd dared to nibble on a rabbit in his starving state. That damned rabbit had been the start of his suffering. If he were to do it over again, Rassa knew that he should have just persisted. It was not as if the knights could have done anything to him or his family with the power he had at his disposal. The Kildares would never have found out about the anthrite if he'd never been captured.
He'd been so young and naive to think that what he was doing would solve everything. That surrendering and trying to make them see he was no threat to them would never work. Prey always knew instinctively that they were prey.
"Doctor?" asked Anna as the two entered the house. The man in question poked his head out of his office to look at Anna and Rassa.
"Oh, Rassa," he said with a smile, "So good that you're up".
The Doctor approached and reached out for Rassa's head. Instinctively, Rassa leaned back, away from his touch. The Doctor and Anna both looked at him, surprised.
This was the man that had imprisoned him like a common animal. He may not have been as bad as that other Doctor, but he certainly wasn't much better. But if this place wasn't a dream...then what need was there for Rassa to fear him?
"Rassa, are you okay?" asked Anna.
"I...sorry," Rassa said.
Anna looked at him worriedly as Rassa straightened and took a seat on one of the beds that the Doctor indicated, "It's okay, I bet you're still sore. You took quite a hit".
"Yes," Rassa said, "It does hurt".
The Doctor nodded, "Then may I see the wound? I promise to be gentle".
Rassa gave a short nod and clenched his fists as he sat still, watching the Doctor as he unwrapped the bandage from Rassa's head.
"Any side effects?" asked the Doctor, "Do you feel dizzy or have trouble focusing?"
"Actually, Doctor," Anna began, "It appears...well, it seems like he doesn't remember the accident".
"Oh?" asked the Doctor, "That's not unheard of for a head injury, what is the last thing you remember?"
Rassa looked at his mother, then back at the Doctor, "Running in the woods chasing a rabbit...when I was five".
The Doctor paused, looking down at Rassa with a frown, "That long?"
Rassa just stared back.
There was a pause for a moment before the door to the office burst open, "Rassa?"
There, in the entrance, her blood hair blowing in a soft breeze and her brown eyes looking at him in concern, stood what Rassa, despite his years of not seeing her, could only identify as his childhood friend. The one whom he'd pushed away in Toulle for her own good as she'd ventured off to the Magician's Academy. The one whom he'd planned to avoid for the rest of her natural life if possible. She may have looked older, a young woman instead of a girl, but there was no mistaking who she was.