Men Don't Blush

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Author's Note: If you haven't read my other Love Thaws story—Love Thaws: Frozen—then I'd suggest you read that before trying this, but if you really want to, you can read this without having to go back and read a whole other book. After all, this story is drastically different from the last one.  Anyway, please review and tell me what you think! I've thought a long time about this story and I'm really nervous, but really excited ;)

Elsa stared blankly at the one-way mirror-window in front of her, her legs dangling off of the side of her cot. She was, once again, only in the hospital gown. She hated the hospital gowns. They were thin, stiff, and scratchy. And didn't provide a lot of coverage. But it made it so much more... convenient for the white-clad scientists.

Elsa grimaced and tapped her bare foot impatiently. The least they could do was offer her some sort of anesthesia when they went all ballistic on her with the scalpels and needles, but, of course, they were concerned with how someone 'like her' would react with anesthetics. Elsa suppressed the urge to shudder. It wasn't too hard. Nothing she hadn't done a zillion times before.

Her face was carefully smoothed into a blank, unreadable expression as she retreated inside of herself, refusing to show fear. Conceal, don't feel. It had almost become a sort of game. Not a very fun game, at that. As long as she didn't show fear, they couldn't win. One thing Elsa hated more than the needles and poking and prodding was the looks they gave her. Some looked at her with disdain, some with plain curiosity, and others looked smug, patronizing even. Whatever look they gave her, she hated all of them—the looks. It vexed her way more than it should have.

The first few months, it was difficult. Difficult being an understatement. She couldn't stand how they treated her... like an object. She was so used to being recognized as a human, that anything else was... unbearable, but, over time, she'd adjusted. She learned the invaluable ability to retreat within herself, where even the scientists couldn't reach her with their long, pointed needles, glimmering in the bright laboratory light.

A slot in the wall slid open. A door, in other words. It was the only entrance to her room that she was aware of. And it was impossible for her to cross that boundary without receiving a jolting shock from her collar. She'd learned that the hard way. Elsa fingered the metal band around her neck habitually.

A scientist came in. He had scruffy brown hair, a broad jawline and nose. A bushy brown mustache covered his lips. He peered down at her through wire-rimmed glasses. It was a new scientist. Elsa expertly veiled her surprise. There hadn't been a new scientist in the last year or so.

She nearly forgot her self-imposed rule of 'conceal, don't feel' when she looked at his eyes. A breath-taking blue, they gave her a long once-over. Almost as if... he regarded her as a human. Elsa barely managed her passive façade as he sat down. Elsa was relieved they hadn't strapped her to a table. In general, if they bound her to a table, it meant the procedure would be rather painful and there would be thrashing involved, on her part.

"May I see your wrist?"

Elsa paused for a moment before offering him her wrist. Almost like she was a princess, offering her hand for him to kiss. He'd actually asked to see her wrist. Well, this day was full of surprises. He retrieved a packet from his pocket, tearing it open. He gently rubbed the alcohol wipe on the back of her hand before stuffing it back into his pocket. He picked up syringe, filled with liquid. Elsa absolutely loathed syringes, but none of her distaste was evident on her expression. She hated them from their shiny, barbed needles to their tick marks to the plunges on the end. The man squeezed her hand gently, almost as if in a reassuring manner.

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