Section 2

“A collar, you mean.”

“Often. It’s visible, out of the way, and prominent. Helps keep people from misunderstanding her position. But it’s up to you, and her. You do get a med-alert bracelet as well, saying that you are life-support for a RMCS case.” She smiled, letting them know she was being less formal. “I will provide basic versions of both, but you can also buy your own as well. There are a couple of companies who make them into some very nice jewelery.” She took a deep breath. “So, that’s the basics. Any questions?”

Both of her patients sat stunned. Eventually Kevin spoke up. “Tones, really, but I can’t think of them at the moment. Does she have to be kept away from other people or anything?”

“She can interact with other people just fine. She should take care with open wounds: Blood-to-blood contact could trigger another active case, but in general she doesn’t have any specific medical restrictions. Just be aware of her mental ones. She’ll probably be almost normal, but she will never be exactly normal either.”

“Do I have to worry about catching RMCS from her? I mean, obviously I’m going to have to spend a lot of time with her…”

“I would advise you to have her move in with you, actually. But no, you don’t: High levels of testosterone appear to inhibit activation. There have been a few cases of active infections in males, and none in those who are imprints. We are still working out why, but it seems to protect you.”

Silence again. Erica turned to Reanna. “Reanna? You haven’t spoken once. Is there anything you’d like to know?”

“Sorry, I’m just… Tired, I guess.” She looked up and tried to smile. “I’m sorry, it just doesn’t seem to matter, really. I mean, Kevin knows everything, and he’ll take care of me, won’t you Kevin?”

“Yes, I will. Don’t worry.”

“Thank you.” She turned back to the doctor. “So, he’s really the one who has to know everything, right?”

“Yes and no. I think Kevin is going to try to let you live your own life, as much as possible, and so you will need to know some of this, in case he isn’t around.”

“Why?” She honestly looked confused. “I mean, why should I live my own life? It doesn’t really matter to me.”

Both Erica and Kevin started to speak, then stopped. Erica indicated that Kevin should answer. “Well, besides the fact that you have friends who would miss you, I think it would be good for you.”

“Oh, ok, if you say so.” Her answer was so prompt Kevin wasn’t really sure she had thought about it. He started to speak again, but Erica stopped him.

“Kevin. You just told her to do something.”

His eyes widened as he took in what that meant. “Right. Ok. Do you have any more questions, Reanna?”

She shook her head, and Kevin turned back to Erica. “I don’t either, so…”

“So here’s your standard alert items. Reanna’s are required in public, either these ore something else approved. If you have any further questions, feel free to call me or to set up an appointment. I’ll also be taking over as Reanna’s standard doctor. I’d also like to offer my services as your GP as well; As I mentioned, I’ve been interested in RMCS for a while, and I would love the opportunity.”

“I’ll consider it.”


“Reanna! Hi! Where’ve you been? We haven’t seen you in…”

“It’s only been a bit over a week.” Reanna answered. “And I’ve been… Well, kinda sick, I guess.”

“And you didn’t call us?”

Reanna looked at her friends, Sandra and Lucy. “I didn’t want you to catch it. And… There wasn’t really anything you could do.” She turned to look directly at Sandra. “I do have to apologize to you, though.”

“To me? Why?”

“I kinda… Needed Kevin to help.” Her hand went to her throat, before Sandra could say anything, and raised the choker necklace she was wearing. “See this?”

Sandra was puzzled for a moment. “A medic alert necklace? You don’t have any allergies that I know about, do you?”

“No. I, um… RMCS. The plague.” She looked down and away.

“I don’t understand.”

Lucy did. “You’re infected. And you had to imprint on someone. Kevin. You ‘imprinted’ on Kevin.”

Reanna nodded, then looked back up at Sandra. “Please don’t be mad! Kevin doesn’t want you mad. I… I really didn’t give him much choice. But I wanted someone I trusted, and that was either Kevin or my brother, and I really don’t think my brother would have been ok with it.”

Sandra’s face said she didn’t care about excuses at the moment. “Where is he?”

Kevin stepped around the corner. “I’m here. Reanna… Her reactions aren’t exactly normal. She needs someone to watch over her, and at the moment I’m it. Besides, you deserve to hear it from me as well.”

“Then why were you hiding?”

“Because I didn’t want you seeing me walking up with Reanna until you’d heard the whole story. She was… losing control. If I hadn’t agreed, she would have taken some guy in the street at random. I couldn’t do that to her, to your friend.

“So instead, you make her your sex slave.”

He winced. “It was the best option at the time. I’m sorry.”

“I’m sure.” She stomped off.

Kevin grimaced, and put one hand on Reanna’s shoulder to make sure she stayed put. “You are just going to let her go? I know you love her, not me.” Reanna asked him.

“She has the right to be angry. Give her time.” He turned to Lucy. “Sorry about the scene, but I knew you needed to know.”

Lucy gestured to the empty chairs at the table, and collapsed into one herself, closing her eyes for a moment. Kevin and Reanna sat quietly.

“So, RMCS. What’s it like?” She asked, re-opening her eyes.

Kevin gestured for Reanna to answer. “It’s hard to explain, I guess. Kevin is my world, somehow. It’s hard to remember him not being… Well, the most important thing around. It’s not like falling in love, or anything like that. It’s just… He exists. I know my mind’s been messed with, but this seems right to me.”

“You ok with this?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

Lucy turned to Kevin, who answered. “I’m still getting used to it. And I’m having to be very careful about what I say around Reanna.”

“How so?”

It was Reanna who answered. “I’ll do, or believe, anything he says. I know I’m doing it, but, well, he said it, so it can’t be wrong, can it?”

“I’ve made a point that she doesn’t actually have to obey it unless I say it’s an order. It helps. Some.”

“He still said it.”

Lucy rolled her eyes at the indignation in Reanna’s tone. “But you can still think ok? You’re happy?”

Kevin didn’t move in time. “Sure, I think about having sex with Kevin, no problem. And he fucks me regularly, so I stay happy.”

Kevin looked away, blushing.

“Kevin?” Lucy asked.

“She has a permanent one-track mind, and ‘happiness’ is dependent on that one track. It’s a symptom. She’ll get suicidal and depressed if I don’t, eventually. She can’t help it. And I don’t see any reason to let her get unhappy…”

“I’m betting you don’t want Sandra thinking about this.”

“Not if I can help it. Look, I don’t really have a choice here: I can kill Reanna by abstaining, or I can keep her happy. She is always eager, and at least half the time it’s her idea. More. Given a chance, it’s all she’d ever do. Yes, I’m taking advantage of the situation, a bit. But if I didn’t Reanna would be the one suffering, and I am trying to get her back out into company.”

Lucy absorbed that a moment. “You’re telling me that if you don’t have sex with her, she’ll kill herself.”

“Not immediately, but yeah. She’ll get very depressed first. I saw a bit of that immediately after she imprinted on me: She was listless, wandering. The only thing she had any enthusiasm for was sex. And then she improved dramatically. It’s literally like a happy pill for her.”

“Happy shot.”

“And nothing else will make her happy?”

“Right.”

“The doctor said that if I get that, I’ll be happy no matter what.” This time Kevin put out an arm and she shut up.

“What was that?”

“She… babbles, a bit. The doctor warned me about abusing her, said that even if Reanna was happy, the law might not be. I don’t think she needs to give you examples.” The last was to Reanna.

“See? He gives me commands without saying so.”

Lucy had to laugh. “She has a point.”

“Sorry, I’ll try to avoid doing so.”

“So… What happens now?”

“I’m moving Reanna in with me; she really can’t be left alone. Every once in a while, she’ll do something just completely off the wall. Beyond that… Feel free to come see her, ask her to hang out, whatever. I’ll be sending her back to her job in a bit, though I’ll explain things to them as well. She’s mostly the Reanna you know. But you’ll notice she’s a bit off, now and then.”

“She’s been acting a bit, well, kidlike.”

“She is, in a way. And legally, she really is: She’s underage for the purposes of contracts and stuff, basically. So, she can hang out with you, but she needs a babysitter: Don’t leave her alone.”

Lucy digested that. “Well, I think I’ll have to think about this. But… I can see why you didn’t want her turning to some guy on the street.”

“Thanks. I hope Sandra will.”

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