Master of My Disease

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Time meant nothing and everything at the same absurd time. Leaving Em posted outside Rebecca's door, Alex headed for the living room, doing her best to get the glass and blood out of the carpet. It wasn't until she heard the squeak of door hinges and muttered voices that she stopped, dusting herself off and stretching her sore back when Taft came into the room.

"How is she?"

"Resting," came the clipped reply. Despite Alex's time Underground, she hadn't made friends with everyone, the physician remaining coolly clinical whenever around her.

"The medication isn't working, is it?"

Taft paused, giving Alex a reading look.

"I know Rebecca has Huntington's," Alex said quietly, glancing over his shoulder to make sure no one was listening.

One of the man's brows drifted up in query. "She told you this?"

"No, I figured it out when Lee was almost caught by the police smuggling stolen medication down here," she hissed, nerves still raw. "And still, none of you will tell her what's happening to her mother."

"Rebecca wishes to tell her daughter on her own terms," Taft bristled. "I hope you have enough respect for the woman who saved you to grant her that wish."

"I am sacrificing my relationship with her daughter in order to keep her secret safe, if that answers your question," Alex bit back, rubbing the tension from the back of her neck. "Is the medicine working or not?"

"No," Taft relented. "Anti-chorea medication helps combat muscular tremors brought about by the onset of the disease. It is my professional opinion Rebecca suffered an episode of syncope caused by minor arrhythmia. Put plainly, her heart stuttered, causing her to lose consciousness. During the fall, she suffered a minor abrasion to her temple as well as cuts from the glass. All superficial, but this was a close call."

"Oh, God. Is isolated event? Something random?"

"I'm afraid not. Huntington's is known to cause heart-related issues. Unfortunately, I don't foresee any improvements in health from this point on. It is the natural progression of this disease. Rebecca is entering the third stage of Huntington regression. There will be points of plateau followed by steep declines."

"Surely there are medications that can help?"

"I'm sure there are, but without access —"

Alex closed the distance between the two, surprising the man. "What do you need?"

"I'm not sure I spoke plainly enough —"

"What do you need? I can get it for you."

The doctor cocked his head in an avian gesture. "You would need a medical license and access to a pharmacy, Miss Bailey. Both of which I know you do not have."

"I have one of those things." Darting over to her backpack, Alex retrieved a pen and scrap of paper, placing both in Taft's hands. "Write down what you need. Whatever it is, I don't care."

"Miss Bailey," Taft sighed, letting his arms drop. "Your efforts are noble, but journalists, even of your standing, do not have access to these types of medications. I'm sorry. Even if you could pull strings, it's impossible."

"You said it before, these people saved my life. I owe it to Rebecca and Lee to do whatever I can for both of them. Please, Jeremiah, don't make me ask again."

Hearing his name spoken aloud after thirty years brought the physician to an electric standstill. If his eyes grew any wider the whites would peek out. "How do you —"

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