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When chaos excuses himself to seek out Shion, Jr. lingers in the entryway of Jin’s home, in the same place Helmer will stand within a day to ask a different sort of favor with similar origins.

Jr. leans against a bookcase, well aware that his weight won’t disturb the shelving. “Hey, can I ask you something?”

Jin nods. “Of course.”

“You said you’re a doctor, right?” Jr. already knows the answer, so he carries on with the line of questioning, arms crossed over his chest. “I don’t know all the medical terminology, and I know we basically just met so I hope it’s not an imposition, but it’s not the kind of thing I usually get to ask about. Glad to make a purchase if that’s a prerequisite.”

Jin shifts to stand with his arms behind his back, the same way Helmer has stood when he’s listening closely to the topic at hand. “What’s troubling you?”

When he replies it’s all in a rush, rehearsed in his head ahead of broaching the topic aloud. “What if someone had an extraneous organ that needed to be surgically removed? Can that be done with nanomachines? Does anyone even perform surgeries by hand anymore?”

“What kind of organ?”

“Cardiac tissue.” Jr. glances to the antique clock on the far wall, envisioning the escapement and its inevitable error at work within it.

“Two hearts?” Jin pauses. “You really only see that with conjoined twins.”

Jr. looks back at him and smiles in a way that doesn’t reach his eyes, with his eyebrows just shy of narrowed.

“Hmm. I see.” He lifts his gaze to the ceiling as he considers it. “Typically cardiac tissue will sync up with other surrounding cells, or I’ve read in some medical literature that prior to nanomachine technology, a donor heart could be grafted onto the weaker original heart to help it, as a support structure to relieve the demands on it.”

“No, this isn’t assistive. This is parasitic.” Jr. sets his jaw and meets his eyes levelly. “It won’t ever beat in sync.”

“Well. That’s very different, then. The patient might need some manner of physical therapy afterward. It’s tough to say whether the outcome would be beneficial, although the risk of remaining with the arrhythmia or dysrhythmia is its own concern if left unchecked, or if that side becomes somehow necrotic..."

“It doesn’t matter. I want it out. I’ll find a way to recover and build my strength back up or whatever, we’ve got physical therapy for all sorts of situations on the Foundation, but I can’t do it until it’s gone for good or it’ll just keep dragging me back into...” Jr. hesitates, searching for the words. “...bad habits.”

“Ah.” Jin nods, then keeps his head lowered, his eyes directed to the floor. “Why ask me?”

Jr. stares at the same spot, feeling out his ribs through his shirt, his hands hidden within the warmth of his trenchcoat. “You’re the oldest, too. I didn’t want to have to explain to someone who wouldn’t understand.”

“You’re sure you want to go through with it? There can always be complications even with routine surgical procedures, and this is a special case.”

“I made my decision a long time ago.” He speaks with the certainty of a closed book, with the weight of gunmetal. “I’m sure.”

“All right.”

“I want to get this done as soon as possible, if you know of any facilities that could see me while I’m here. We’ve partnered with some through the Foundation when we needed specialists beyond who was working with us locally, but to be honest with you, it hadn’t even occurred to me I could get this done until recently.” Jr. lifts his head, clicks his tongue, feels his own rib cage shift beneath his fingers with his breathing. “I get pretty wrapped up helping with everybody else’s stuff, you know? I thought I was just stuck with this. I just kinda accepted that being in pain all the time was what my life was going to be.”

Jin sighs. “A fairly common sentiment, regrettably. It’s not always easy to seek treatment, and even less so for a rare condition.”

“I used to think that this was all that was left of him. That this was the only piece left alive, and even if it hurt, I owed it to his memory to keep it going.” Jr. curls his fingertips into the fabric of his shirt, exhaling underneath his own touch. “But that wasn’t ever true, so. I want this to be done.”

Jin shifts his weight to one side and brings his arms around to cross them over his chest, too. He senses Jr. wants to keep talking, and doesn’t interrupt; he’s a good listener in most circumstances, when he’s not being preemptively interrupted himself, and Jin has bad habits of his own.

“I don’t even want to think about what could’ve happened to MOMO if he’d been able to take her, if Gaignun hadn’t stopped him when he fucking showed up on the Foundation.” Jr. shakes his head, resolute, resentful. “I’m just fucking done.”

“I won’t claim to understand exactly how you feel as far as siblings go, but I do want to help you in whatever way I can, even if that’s a referral to get you to the right people.”

“Hey, that much is plenty on its own. More than most would do, honestly. Y’know, I don’t understand, like...” Jr. laughs, a harsh huff of breath that catches his chest against the heels of his palms. “This isn’t a transplant, right? This is a malpractice situation. This is extraneous tissue that never should’ve been left in my chest cavity. They were already in there, separating us, and just didn’t fucking help me? As an infant. As a fucking fetus or whatever. And for years afterward! The amount of testing I went through and you don't notice I've got two fucking heartbeats? For fuck's sake.”

Jin exhales and clenches his teeth.

“I don’t understand why no one helped me. Who does that? Who sees, like, a kitten suffering and doesn’t help? You don’t flip the tortoise over?” He tilts his head back against the bookshelf, until his skull taps into spines far older than he is, far older than Jin is. “It’s not even fair to talk about Voight-Kampff because that was a human being who chose to do that to me. He could’ve fixed it right then and there but he didn’t, they just left it in me. They were separating us and they left it in me. I was just as fucking disposable as the rest of their inventory.”

Jin’s home has stood witness to more than its share of difficult conversations, and the severity of the discussion has fierce competition for being the most upsetting one in the past few hours alone, to say nothing of the house’s full history.

Jr. lowers his head and shakes it again, scoffing at himself. “Sorry. I know that’s a lot to dump on you like that.”

“It’s all right.” Jin offers him a smile. “If you’re concerned, just chalk it up to the Hippocratic Oath. Perhaps the section about holding such things to be holy secrets, in particular.”

Jr. returns it, as much as he can manage, and folds his arms over his chest with his hands back outside his coat, to mirror Jin’s posture mirroring his. “Thanks.”

“You’re very welcome.” Jin drums his fingers on his arm as he contemplates the next steps. “I’ll get in touch with some nanosurgeons here on Second Miltia; I kept in contact with several colleagues from medical school. Is it safe to assume who your next of kin is?”

Jr. smiles more warmly before he can stop himself, and after receiving no judgement, he doesn’t want to stop himself. “Yeah. I want him to be there when I wake up. The last time I woke up in a hospital he wasn’t there and it fucked with me. I thought he hadn’t survived after all that.” His face falls as he finishes the thought. “I don’t ever want to go through that again. I haven’t been under anesthesia since, and I don’t want a repeat performance.”

“I’m confident we can make this considerably more comfortable than triage after the Conflict.” Jin shifts his weight to the opposite foot and rolls his shoulders. “I’ll ensure we keep in touch over the next few days, with respect to the analysis’ timeframe.”

“I think you were maybe involved in helping to save my life the first time,” Jr. ventures, his gaze flicking to the doorway to instinctively look for chaos. “I’m grateful for your help this time, too.”

Jin smiles at him again, more open than before. “You really are just like Helmer, aren’t you?”

Jr. grins back. “I try to be.”