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I’m thirteen years old. I’m sitting at the doctor’s office, impatiently awaiting my first physical. I got my period a week ago and Mom’s insisting that I go on birth control. As if I’m having sex.

But she said if I go on the shot, what is it, Depo, that I won’t bleed at all. Which is awesome by me. I used to think being a teenager would be cool. Really, it’s just disgusting.

“Persephone?” A pretty nurse calls my name and I follow her back to one of the little rooms. I’m a little nervous. Apparently full blown physicals aren’t exactly pleasant. Something about a vice in my... there. Not nice.

I wait. My doctor, Dr. Alan Roark, has known me since I was born. He actually birthed me. I’ve never gone to anyone else, even in an emergency he’ll take me in a second rather than have me go to the ER. Which is awesome.

God knows how long he’s been Mom’s doctor. She’s practically in love with him. I mean, he’s good looking, and everything, with his sandy blonde hair and big blue eyes, but really. She can be such a slut sometimes.

Maybe that’s why he likes me so much. Maybe she did fuck him at one point.

“Hello, Persephone.” Dr. Roark walks in and closes the door behind him, giving me a warm smile. “Your mom says you’re ready for your first physical.” He has a nice voice, too.

“Yup.” I take a deep breath. “Is whatever you’re going to do to me going to hurt?”

“No, it’s just a little uncomfortable.” He replies gently.

“Do I have to get blood taken?” I wonder. I don’t have a problem with needles. I actually find them kind of fascinating.

“Yes.” He frowns, and then sits down in front of me. “Persephone, it’s time for me to tell you something.” I furrow my brow. He looks hesitant.

“What?” I prompt. What the hell could be so important? He looks like someone just died.

“What I’m about to tell you… you can’t tell anyone, you understand? Not even your mother.” I almost laugh. Like I tell Mom anything. But I stay serious. I like knowing secrets.

“Okay.” I nod.

He takes a deep breath. “It’s about your blood.” He says slowly. “I was going to wait until you’re older, but you need to know, and I think you’re mature enough to understand.”

“Thanks.” I mean it. It’s nice to know that somebody realizes how adult I am.

“You’re a carrier of an incredibly dangerous disease.” He says the words very slowly. What? I probably look really pale, because he smiles encouragingly. “Don’t worry, you’re not at any risk, you’re just a carrier, which means it’s in your blood but it can’t hurt you.”

“How does that work?” I breathe the words, somehow. “What kind of disease?”

“It’s not uncommon for people to carry diseases without symptoms, but the disease itself is very uncommon. And very, very deadly.” His smile disappears. “I can’t even tell you the name of it, because it’s incredibly confidential. I heard about it in medical school, in the states. I researched it a lot, in places I’m not proud of, but I am probably one of the only civilians that know this much about it. It’s very lucky that I’m your doctor, Persephone.”

“But…” I’m confused. “Can you fix me?”

“There’s nothing wrong with you.” Dr. Roark says. “The reason why I felt it necessary to tell you at all is because if you ever got your blood into somebody else’s, it could kill them within hours. That’s why you need to be careful. If you ever cut yourself, or anything, make sure you clean and bandage it and keep it away from anybody else if they have an open wound.”

“Is that why you don’t ever let me go to ER?” I ask slowly, everything falling into place.

“Yes.” He nods. “And why I do all of your blood testing myself. I’m not a conspiracy theorist or anything, but the little bit of history on this disease… well, I’ve heard rumours about what the government has done with anyone who carries it or has it… I don’t want to scare you, Persephone, but it’s best that nobody knows about this. Ever.”

“Okay.” I’m still a little distant, but I’m not stupid. I can grasp the importance of this. Even if Dr. Roark is a kook, which he isn’t, I wouldn’t take the risk of blabbing to the whole world that I’ve got some fucked up incurable disease inside of me. It would cause more problems than it would solve.

One more question, though. “Why didn’t you tell Mom?”

He pauses for a moment before answering. “Persephone, you know that I care about both of you.” The words seem hard to get out. “But your Mom… well, if I’d have told her… she probably would have put you in a bubble. She wouldn’t understand. It’s just unnecessary stress for her.”

So you’re saying that I’m more mature than my mother. I shrug. I can definitely live with that. It makes sense.

“Alright, Dr. Roark.” I nod seriously. “No getting my blood on anyone, no telling anyone our secret, and no other doctors.”

“Good girl.” He smiles at me, and then pats the gown next to me. “Now the nurse will be right back to do your pap, why don’t you get changed?”

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