Cutscene: Doctor Tachibana
SOME TIME AGO
SEBEC feels... something, to Shiko. She's not sure if it's familiarity, or uncertainty, or whatever else -- there was probably something about it, at some point. But really, it's just the place where Katsuragi-senpai works, and she's assured that it is full of doctors and the like, and these pills aren't working, so...
She felt awkward, talking to the secretary. Trying to get an appointment. It's with a 'Dr. Fujioka', apparently, in a nondescript office building.
When she went there, a man met her. A tall Japanese man, the type which always struck fear into some unseen corner of her heart, even when the rest of her had no reason to feel anything at all. Perhaps it's simply the fact that Japanese men are usually shorter? It's uncanny. That's it. Despite it being uncanny, Shiko still smiles.
"Um-- hello, I-I'm Shiko Mori... are you Doctor Fujioka?"
"Doctor Tachibana, actually," he smiles, and Shiko feels her throat tighten, and she doesn't know why.
"I had an appointment with..." Her voice trails off.
"Ah - I'm afraid he found he had a conflict in his schedule, so he's asked me to take on your case instead. I assure you, I'm just as qualified. Is that all right?"
"Yes," Shiko finds herself saying, automatically. "That's, that's fine."
And in the end, he was a capable doctor. He seemed to understand her personal issues and requirements for her occupation, and he listened to her concerns, and he even prescribed her medication which actually helped. A little, but it helped.
So when she had more problems, she visited him again.
It became a regular occurrence.
He was very nice.
He scared her.
"Really? But I just prescribed them to you last week."
"Ah... well, you see, it's that... I pass out, more than I'd like, or just... just feel very faint. And the pills used to help, but-- but they don't, so much, any more. They did when I took more of them, but eventually I had to take so many that... w-well, I ran out."
"And you didn't tell me?"
"I... I suppose it slipped my mind, doctor," Shiko says, her hands curling in her lap. "I forgot. I'm sorry."
"You know, Mori-san, most doctors would think you're selling your pills on the street," Doctor Tachibana shakes his head, disappointment on his features.
"I know. You wouldn't do that -- you're a real jewel."
Shiko's blood runs cold, even as her attention falls on the doctor again, from where she had looked down at her hands. She says nothing, even though she really ought to have protested such a familiar address.
"But you have to admit it looks suspicious. You're lucky I'm your physician... I believe you, Mori-san. Those pills do tend to have increased effects at higher levels; if you're truly having such trouble, it makes logical sense that you'd ramp up your dosage."
"That's dangerous, though, Mori-san. You could develop an addiction. I'm going to write you a prescription for something new, and we'll work on tapering off your previous medication. You're all right with that, of course?"
"Y-yes, of course."
"Very good. Of course, you'll need to see me more often. I need to monitor your progress carefully."
"... all right."
"If you can, avoid any physically strenuous tasks for the first few days, as you may experience side effects. You understand, right?"
"You need to talk to me. I am your doctor, after all. If anything is troubling you or impacting your health, I really do have to know."
"Of course," Shiko nods. "I'll be open with you."
"You're a real jewel. It's good you disclosed all you did. Now, I think we're about out of time..."
Talking to the doctor feels familiar.