[fic] Digital Devil Saga, "In Sickness and in Health" Title: In Sickness and in Health Author:harukami Rating: PG-13 Warnings: Some sexual references. Word Count: ~950 Author's Notes: For the prompt: Digital Devil Saga, David/Angel: hermaphroditism - he's studied medicine - her being healthy is enough for him
Sometimes, after they've made love and she is sleepy and drifting, David will run a hand down her body. Her skin is soft; he relishes the fact that he can still feel it through his fingertips on at least one hand. He'll cup the curve of a small breast, feel out her ribs and down the slight curve between hip and waist, touch her thighs. Slide his hand up a bit, cup her balls and flaccid penis and slide his fingers back and she will invariably squirm, mutter at him angrily, maybe say something like, "David, enough, I'm tired."
And he'll laugh and apologize, a light-hearted, "Sorry, sorry," that he doesn't mean and move on again to less sensitive places, the tops of her thighs, the plane of her stomach until she sighs at him and protests that he's keeping her awake; and then he will let her sleep.
He doesn't tell her that he loves it as much as the sex before; maybe more, if in another way. This chance to just be with her, touch her, have her react and have her be there with him, happy and healthy and well.
When she had told him, before they had a chance to develop their relationship further, it had triggered a memory in him of information he'd vaguely come across before. He'd never read it closely; it wasn't relevant to his life, and the medical studies of the affects of the Cuvier Syndrome on one's cellular structures had held far more importance. But the genetical tie (could Cuvier Syndrome be passed onto one's children, if one had them while under the effects and before it finally killed you?) had come up and he had read into it, and come across vague references to other genetic disorders and the problems with them.
When she'd told him, he'd searched his memory and come up with an unhelpful, "Ah, what type of hermaphrodism--?"
That had earned him a laugh more bitter than anything else. "Wouldn't it be nice if they knew," she'd said. "I don't fit any of the standard syndromes due to body type, lack of some of the physical problems, and -- being formed enough to be considered fully developed in both directions rather than 'ambiguous'. But I'm ... fertile as both a male and a female, or so I've been told -- both of which are quite unusual. Menstruation came on at a normal time and ... so forth. And my organs are fully developed. I've experienced remarkably little irregularity in my ...development. All in all, they've classified me as a case of XX-YY chromosomal mosiacing causing true hermaphrodism, though I don't fit the physical typing generally seen there either. Though of course," she'd said then, and her smile was flat, "it's not such a common disorder to have such a wide set to form a type from."
"No," he'd said, wishing he'd known more. "I imagine not." And he had listened to her until she had changed the subject in a tone of disgust, saying that with that all said, she'd understand if she wished just to remain friends -- and he'd kissed her instead of replying because he loved her.
And then he had gone back and read up more, found very little that applied to her, lots of overall risks -- greater risk of cancer, greater risk of infertility, physical problems such as lesions, things that he didn't know if they could apply to her or if they fit under her disclaimer that she didn't fit the physical typing. Few guaranteed problems, and few of the potential were fatal, but he still found himself feeling a pang of pain in his chest while reading them. Osteoperosis, varicose veins, arthritis, diabetes... all problems associated with certain intersex disorders but the connection between the two not understood. Psychosocial morbiditiy. Identity disorders. Bipolar disorder.
The next time he had seen her was at a meeting of the I.E.S.C, where she was standing straight and easily, calmly discussing her latest findings and he had folded his good hand around his worse one, both shaking, and thought I love her with a sense of utter relief because, for the things he could see, at least, she was healthy.
Later, Angel gets up first because she's always an early riser. David, who prefers to sleep in, wakes enough to mutter an I love you at her and earn an embarrassed blush and a murmur back that he can't make out. He wakes slowly after that, stretches out, tries to work out the stiffness in his fingers with limited success, then gets out of bed. She's made breakfast, covered it to keep it warm, though the eggs have cooled by then anyway.
She herself is seated at the table, reading over a report. She's wearing a housecoat only and her long hair is tangled and tumbling down to the side. Her expression is intent, eyes focussed on the report. He takes his plate and slides in across from her, smiling. "Good morning."
"Hmm...? Good morning, David," she says, and finally looks up. Her skin is smooth and there's a flush in her cheeks. "Sorry, I'm a bit caught up in this. I'm ... getting some ideas. Perhaps they're a little crazy, but--"
"From you, they're genius instead," he says, and touches her cheek. She flushes and he says, "Don't let me interrupt you. Go on."
She reads; he watches and thinks they might not have too much time, as far as most people consider things, and he thinks perhaps it is cruel, but it is a relief to him nevertheless that she will probably outlive him, and do so easily and healthily; he does not think he could stand to see her suffer.