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“Finally decided to grace us with your presence, Dub? You’re fifteen minutes late.”

“Calm down, I’ve just been looking for the— wait, Dr Wood?”

“Well, you’ve found ‘the me’ now, so we can begin.”

“No, I meant— what are you do— where’s the other guy?”

“He’s at home dealing with an inconvenient bout of flu; he should be back within the week. In the meantime, I’m taking over as substitute therapist, and I hope you’ll be more cooperative than Sly was earlier. Not that that’s difficult.”

“Um, okay? I’ll try. To be cooperative, I mean.”

“Good. Can you remember what progress you made in your last session?”

“Yup, because it’s been keeping me awake since then. I lost my timer somewhere between the motivational tape and the - hey, you wouldn’t happen to have seen it, would ya? It’s orange with a blue stripe—”

“Last time I saw a timer like that, it was with you.”

“Damnit. Anyway, I lost it and it’s made me out of time with my jumprope. I can barely keep up ten seconds. Here, watch.”

“All right. … Try not landing on your back leg so hard; it could cause pains in-”

“Y’no, it’s hard to show you what I mean if you throw me off like that.”

“Sorry. Carry on.”

“… Ugh, see what I mean? This happens every time I try; I get tangled up in it.”

“And you think it’s because your timer went missing?”

“I know it is. I can’t keep up a good rhythm anymore, ‘specially since my head keeps ringing. That’s not normal, right?”

“No, it isn’t. Hm. Medical examination is the first thing on my checklist; would you mind if I-?”

“Nah, go ahead.”

“You don’t even know what I was going to say.”

“Yeah, but you’re the doctor here. I can’t exactly complain, can I?”

“True, I suppose. Stay there while I fetch a stethoscope.”


“Where did you say the ringing was?”

“In my head, like where the eardrums are? …Ah— Yeah, there.”

“I can hear it. What do you normally hear in there?”

“A clock going overtime, from what the other guy said. It’s funny, I never even realized it was there until it went away.”


“Doesn’t help that my feet itch either.”

“What, right now?”

“Well, they tend to itch whenever I stop exercising, but right now it’s worse because I keep thinking about y- about the noise.”

“Good thing you told me before I got back off the couch, hmm?”


“Perhaps you’ve frayed a few threads on the soles. Sit down for a minute and let me examine them, if you will?”


“It’s a common problem amongst the more active toys I’ve come across in my career. They overestimate the endurance of their fabric, so it wears away and causes fraying. Not that I can see any here. Either your owner took exceptional care to repair you or you haven’t—”


“—did you say something?”

“I-sorry. Y-you rubbed up against my leg a bit there.”

“You made a noise like that just from me rubbing your leg “a bit”?”

“I- that-ih- …yeah.”



“…can you lie down for me, please, Dub?”

“Um, why?”

“I’d like to test a theory.”

“What’s my lying down gonna-”

“Remember: I’m the doctor here.”

“I… okay? Like this?”

“Exactly like that.”

“What’s the theory then?”

“This is the second time you’ve made a noise of this sort when something touched an area of your skin. The first time was the stethoscope, and now this…”

“Uh, what are you do-nngh?!

“…has caused a similar reaction. Twice. To root out the cause, and therefore your problem, I have to disprove other potential theories by process of elimination.”


“Does it matter, for example, the exact area touched? If my thoughts are correct, a touch here on your other leg-”


“-compared to one up your arm, like so-”

“I don’t-mnnn…

“-or one, perhaps down here?”

“Down where, where are y—-AH!”

“Just as I thought. Different volumes, same basic reaction. What about the touch itself? Does it have to be a brief moment of contact?”


“What if it lasts significantly longer?”

“-dunno what, what’re you eeeee-yes-yes…”

“And what, then, of the body part used? Mind you, you would know the answer to that already.”


“I’ve heard you at night.”


“Don’t look so surprised. You make very little effort to keep it a secret. You whisper my name as if you’re paid to do it. Besides, when your own hand rubs against you like this—”

“Please kOH-”

“—it sounds no different to when it’s my wing. Or, indeed, any other part of me.”


“Hngh. So, who does it, where, w-what with and for how long all have the same results.”


“Thus, my original theory was correct. You know what your, your problem is?”


“Your problem is, you’re just, too, oversensitive. Any touch, if you know it’s from me, sends your senses into overdrive.”


“A feeling I’m not above myself right now… Am I right?”


“N-no? Are you saying I’m wrong?”

Ahh-not-not curr-ah-right now th’ problah-h-h-

“Make up your mind. What’s the problem then?”

“The problem ihrightthere

“I didn’t catch that.”

“The problem is I’m-I’m gonna climax r— right here ohh-on the couch if you— keep that up!”



“…now, that wouldn’t be so bad, would it really?”


“It would prove my point. So close to the best bit after only five minutes?”


“You’re oversensitive, Dub. You’re a mes- a quivering mess of tension. You need to get it out. You need to succumb to it, not repress it.”


“Climax for yourself, Dub.”


“Climax for me.”




“…hah. I think that…proved my point. Yes.”


“…ahem. I have to admire the progress you’ve…made so far. Went a lot…further than I thought you would. I, well done.”


“But I, I have to straighten these covers, and after… well, that, I could use a drink. And we do have a session to continue. So. Do you think you have the energy to slide down or something?”


“You’re still shaking. I know what you’re thinking. A part of me wants more as well. But we can’t do it here again. Not today, anyway. …If you must, come into my office after lights out and I can show you how to last longer than a few minutes. …huh, that seems to be a theme with you. But not before lights out. Got that?”


“Dub? Can you even hear me? Dub, say something.”


“That’s okay. Naghn will do. Now get down from there; I really don’t want to explain the crumpled covers to the nurse.”