For whatever events happened over the weekend, the week resumed its dull and mundane course of classes, homework, and studies. Rebecca had miraculously managed to catch up and was sinking back into the role of just another student at Gotham University. Despite the fact her studies here would get her no further than a piece of paper, her duty to her family’s wishes and a desire for some grip on the mundane kept her appearing and participating. 

There was only one blip during her Archeology class, a note brought to her by one of the student aides. When she opened it and read the official looking document she nearly thumped her knee against the bottom of the half desk so hard she nearly yelped. 
Miss Rebecca Langstrom, your STI. labs are in. Please report to the Student Health Center immediately. 
Never had she ever shoved a piece of paper so deep within her bag so quickly before, as if it were horribly incriminating evidence. 
“Excuse me…” 
She mumbled as she moved along the row of stadium seating to make her way towards the Health Center. Ir was probably a mixup, it was definitely a mixup. She’s never had to go to the nurses there. She never had need to. Anything she could treat herself, she did. Mundane life came with its mundane annoyances.
The student health center at Gotham University is the same as it is on any campus, but that’s not where Becky goes. Not really. Upon stepping through the door, it looks much as expected but it is strangely vacant, shelves full of obscure alchemical ingredients rather than medicine and bandages that look more akin to mummy-wrapping. A single figure in a somewhat risque, purple-black uniform sits faced away from the door, dimly lit by flourescents dangling precariously from the ceiling.
Nightmare Nurse, MD seems to perk up at her little desk as she senses the intrusion, spinning around on her stool and throwing her arms wide. “Becky with the good hair!” she announces in a sing-songy kind of voice. “I do hope you’ll excuse the skullduggery; I had to get your attention somehow, and we didn’t wanna turn this little appointment into a menage a trois.” She winkingly doesn’t quite mention The Demon by name.
Nor noted faculty member Jason Blood, of course.
She stands off of the stool and the scenery seems to shift in peripheral vision, like it’s always sort of been that way: scattered papers, creeping rust. A nurse’s office after the zombie outbreak, perhaps. “Did you have to eat the heart?” she chides, clucking her tongue.
Rebecca stood a bit stunned in the doorway, shifting the weight of her backpack onto her other shoulder. She was taking it all in, the whole change of scenery and the reality of the situation. Her facade of badassery was waning for a moment before she took a breath and dropped her bag onto the floor. 
“It’s fine. Not that this situation is fine but…whatever you’ve got to do,” she looked more annoyed than anything at the mention of her Mentor. 
It was the very reason she insisted on having some space, on at least having her weekdays free to just be a student. It’d slow her training, sure, but it created a much healthier balance for her. Becky didn’t hesitate to move around the room and get a closer look. The place looked like a bomb and a flood had gone through it. Just a bit worn and decayed, a haven for tetanus. 
“It wasn’t going to do anything and destroying every last bit of that woman pleased me. He offered, I don’t think he expected me to take him up on it.” 
Rebecca shrugged, it was disgusting but her body handled it just fine. Part of her maybe even enjoyed it. It was a small pleasure in an otherwise humiliating situation. Becky took her lessons from it though. 
“I was the picture of obedience in a realm I have no experience of, with beings I have little experience with. You were probably watching it all. How bored did you get?”
Asa glances around the ruins they find themselves in. Crumpled medical sheets swirl about her heeled boots. “Oh, I admit it’s less than ideal but we can’t be spied upon here. Or scryed upon.” The space in Between, neither reality nor Oblivion. Not Hell or Heaven but a transitory state that exists outside of time as a mortal or even an immortal might understand it. Someplace alien to all except for the ‘woman’ standing before Rebecca.
And even she would by all appearances rather be someplace else.
She rolls her eyes and steps past the girl to close the office door. Outside, rather than a hallway there is a swirling maelstrom, utter chaos and annihilation. The portal, as subtle as it had been, is gone now. At least there aren’t any windows in here. “It’s not the physical effects that have me worried, sweetie, so much as the transgression it represents. You know that’s still cannibalism, right?” Her tone is one of a concerned parent, or maybe a stern medical professional, as she turns to lean back against the door with her gloved arms crossed over her chest.
When asked about her boredom, however, something sparkles in her honey-colored eyes. “Luckily for you I’m not prone to boredom; living a few strange aeons’ll break anyone of that nasty little affliction, I’m sure.”
“Good, as to expected when dealing with medical professionals and patient doctor confidentiality…” 
The joke fell a little flat and dull. Was it a transgression? It didn’t feel like one at the time. A lot of what she felt and what she thought wasn’t right these days. It usually left her with a lot of regret later and too much time spent mulling over it before finally submitting to it being wrong. Maybe it was wrong. She was being told it was wrong. 
She tried not to look past the Nurse before, it didn’t look pleasant outside the door and it was easier not to think too much about where she was at exactly. That could lead to questions and maybe she didn’t want the answers. She did respect the Nurse’s knowledge though, having supposedly been around since before time was a fad. Becky was a spec in the perspective of things. 
Then there was the ‘Mom’ tone which immediately had her looking to the toes of her boots, “I’ll try not to do it again.”
Pursing her lips, the monster blows a stray lock of hair away from her face and pushes off from the door, stepping closer to Becky and reaching out to gently touch her on the chin. Urging her to look up but not forcing her to. Her sterile gloves have a vaguely antiseptic scent and feel somewhere between rubbery and leathery, a material that isn’t quite right but then neither is Asa.
“I’m not upset, you know,” she assures the young woman. “We’ve all had our growing pains. Just try to be a little less like the demons you’re hunting, hm? Sometimes, when Etrigan makes a suggestion it’s not coming out of your best interest.” She pauses, her hand falling away from Rebecca’s face, then amends: “Actually, safer to assume it never is.”
She turns away dramatically, stalking toward a shelf and rummaging through various phials and tinctures. “Why don’t you try to make some friends your own age?” she asks, changing the subject. “Self-sacrificial crusades are all well and good but I always figured the point was to be mourned afterwards.” Spinning on her heel, she holds a vial close to her chest and then extends it toward Becky in both hands.
“For that, you need mourners! Voila, a friendship potion.”
“That makes things complicated. This whole thing already is. I feel like I don’t even know myself, I mean I do…but I don’t. Closest thing I know to being even close to what I am and I can’t trust them. I don’t know his motives or his agenda and he’s not the talking sort.” 
The conversation took a wild turn in a different direction in a pretty dark way. A reminder or her mortality, a reminder of where this path goes. Everyone’s path ended somewhere though, didn’t it? 
“I appreciate the concern put into my mourners or lack there of but isn’t that cheating? I can try…but friends usually have things in common. I’m got very not common things going on with me, that’s kind of been my thing even when I was a kid. Couldn’t have friends over, can’t have a sleepover. I’m not trying to whine, just stating the facts.” 
She stood on her toes to peek at the vials, “Anything there with a sudden understanding on what’s going on with me so I know what I’m working with? Without the unpleasant side-effects of making my head explode or sudden death?”
“He’s really not, is he? And I don’t think Jason has as much control over him as he thiiinks~” The whole mentorship setup isn’t what she would’ve gone with in a perfect world but there aren’t a whole lot of people around that would take in a young demoness. And Asa isn’t going to tutor her. She’d promised Zatanna that she’d be hands off, in fact, and even this little checkup sort of skirts the edge of the line there. “Picking apart the useful from the detrimental’s something you’ll have to learn along with all the rest of it. That’s life, though; you should’ve seen me when I was your age.” She laughs, a bit mawkish, sounding both sweet and strangely malevolent.
Jiggling the vial, she holds it out insistently. Inside is a translucent purple liquid that has a similar consistency to water. “It’s not cheating, it’s medicinal! Everyone needs an edge sometimes, just take it and drink it when you want to try to engage someone in conversation.” The fact of the matter is, it’s grape Kool-Aid with traces of Xanax and Acetaminophen. But ‘friendship potion’ sounds a lot better when trying to hand it to a young adult. “Or pour it out as soon as you’re back on campus,” Asa pouts. “Trust me when I say there’s nobody like me, and I have friends. You’ll find them in the strangest of places.”
The containers on the shelves have all sorts of grotesqueries inside, like miniature eyeballs or pickled cockroaches or a worm with teeth that run down its entire length floating in a thick green syrup. There are also tins, one literally labelled Snake Oil and some in a language that isn’t of Earth at all and hurts to read. “You’re you – there’s no pill that’s gonna propel you into adulthood, I’m afraid,” the Nightmare Nurse says as she slips back onto her stool. “You’re a woman who owns herself and you’ve got to learn all the responsibilities that entails.” Just like I did, she doesn’t say.
She takes the vial, if only to get her to stop pouting. It doesn’t mean she’s going to drain the contents anytime soon. This fairy godmother might just be some vile thing plotting something else on the side. Then again, Rebecca was somewhere and nowhere in particular and couldn’t get her bearings and the Nurse has done nothing at all to hurt her. 
She slid the vial into her pocket to be done with it, something to explore another time, or something to just flush down the toiler. 
“That sounded a lot broader than I meant it. I’ve been trying to hit the books. I’ve been trying to figure how much of what I am is from my parent’s experiments and some pretty awful summoning magic. I spent a lot of time wishing and hoping I wouldn’t turn into the beast my father is and instead I’ve become something else entirely. Some similarities in abilities but not in others…and I haven’t really pushed myself to what could be my full potential. If you have anything that could point me in the right direction, at least I could get myself book smart about it. It’s really easy getting lost in the species and types and the bloodlines and everything weaving in and out of civilizations, cultures, and beliefs.” 
The rest would just have to come with time and experience, she knew that. There was no instant way to become an expert at something, or to fully understand the many potentials that lay in front of her. Even the concept of adulthood was just vague. Even thinking about it was enough to make her rub her temples in frustration. 
“I really hope there’s not a moment where I can’t learn something or adapt myself or do something differently. That’s not living.”
Asa smirks at the reply, having sort of guessed what the girl really meant though she’d been genuine as well. And she continues to be, saying, “Does it matter to you? The percentages, the minutia – what exactly you are? I’ve always found it best to not have a firm understanding of one’s limitations, so as to better exceed them.” She reaches out, pantomiming booping Rebecca’s snoot. “If you want my advice, figure out how to deal with the you that you understand now. If you don’t, then I’ll see about providing some literature.”
With a sigh, she comes up off of the bench, the rusty joints creaking at the shift of weight. The wheels must be jammed completely, as it doesn’t move at all. “Evolution happens between generations; you can be dynamic but being ever-changing is a drag. Even faeries draw a line somewhere.” Humming, she goes to a different table, procuring a sealed paper sleeve with a syringe inside, which she tears open with her teeth. “If you want the full nine-yards geneological report then I’m gonna need some blood,” she admits as she fastens the needle in place.
“I’m not bound by limits, words, or titles.” 
It was an annoyance she had been coming to terms with. Words being attached to her that held certain unspoken meanings. The best she could do was do her best to ignore them and rise above them. She was just challenged in that every step she took getting closer to understanding herself, she did something awful. 
“Let’s meet in the middle on this then. Could you hold off on passing the results until I have come to some sort of understanding with myself? Maybe it won’t matter as much then, or maybe it will answer some questions. Just uh…warn me if I’m going to sprout extra heads or if you see anything alarming.” 
She wrinkled her nose as she pulled up her sleeve. She hoped there wouldn’t be anything startling, if there was, someone would have sensed it by now. 
“I know I’ve got to take my lumps along the way, that it’s going to be hard and humiliating. I’ve got some big egos looming over me, sometimes it feels crushing and I just want to claw out from it.”
“Good,” is all she says to that, admiring the sentiment. It’s not exactly true but it’s a necessary bit of self-deception, and Asa’s hardly going to stand in the way of Rebecca’s journey of discovery. She gently holds the (much) younger woman’s arm as she sticks the needle in; as someone with tens of thousands of years of practice, she is probably the best at this. There is no sting, just the slight sensation of pressure and then the syringe is full. There’s not even a stray drop of blood after she’s done, no need for the Hello Kitty bandaid she carefully puts over it nor the green lollypop she produces from seemingly nowhere and sticks in Rebecca’s mouth.
“I’ll sit on them until you ask, unless I see ‘anything alarming’,” she promises afterward, unscrewing the needle and tossing it lazily over her shoulder. The vial of blood she tucks away for later. No stage magic but real magic, as it simply disappears. No need for the Between to get a taste for Vesper. “I know what you mean, it can be very stressful but sometimes it’s important to be instructed by someone that knows better. Even if they’re completely insufferable and hell-bent on stopping you from purging the earth of all life.” She wrinkles her nose and takes a step back. “You don’t have to pretend to be okay with it, though. Just understand why it’s helpful, and if you can’t see it then know it’s not there.”
For once she was glad it wasn’t some grand display done with a blade and leaking blood over her palm or anything silly like that. Just the slightest prick, a band-aid and a…lollipop. Her brows knit in confusion when the lollipop was shoved into her mouth. She listened for a moment before she pulled the candy from her mouth and gave the Nurse a tilt of her head. 
“It’s not…that bad. You’re right though, and maybe this is a challenge for them too. Okay, maybe at least one of them.” 
To be perfectly honest she didn’t think the demon really gave a damn one way or another but he was tolerant of her presence and at least tried to keep her out of harm’s way. 
“Thank you, Nurse.”
Asa nods, patting Vesper’s shoulder and gently steering her toward the door. “If it ever gets too bad, just whisper my name three times into a foggy mirror and you can talk to me about it.” She doesn’t expect that the girl will take her up on it, which is a big part of why she’s offering it so freely. And anyways there isn’t really a spell to summon her, though there are a few that will get her attention.
Once opened, instead of Annihilation the portal now leads back to school. Apparently there is some sort of glamour in effect as those folk who walk past don’t even stop to look at the eccentrically-dressed nurse and her young charge, or even the creepy office itself, full of many oddities and as disposable as anything by necessity is in that realm.

“My dear friend is fond of a little saying: the impossible isn’t a limitation, it’s an invitation. You can find a way to thrive, to be who you want to be. Just… be smart about it; I know you’re a clever one.”