Author: pygmymuse PM
It's not ridiculous.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Eva Zambrano & M. Procter - Chapters: 10 - Words: 30,457 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 05-16-10 - Published: 05-07-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5952759
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Word Count: 2,629
Disclaimer: I can't own anything. The pygmies and debt collectors own me.
Summary: It's not ridiculous.
Spoilers: Up to 1x04.
Author's Note: I like leaving things open to interpretation and endings... open. Not that I'm very fond of endings, but I always try to make them fit...
"This is bad. This is very bad,"Deleo muttered, shaking his head and looking worriedly over at where Zambrano and Proctor were talking quietly with—mostly getting some sort of lecture—from the administrative and legal people. Tuck could see the tension in her posture, some tightly controlled emotion in Proctor, but his hand kept hovering like he wanted to give her some sort of physical comfort.
"Everyone makes mistakes," Warren said, shaking her head in disbelief. "It wasn't even anything they did. They couldn't have known."
"It's still not good," Doctor C insisted. "Remember? I told you they don't like that the two of them are involved."
"Why not?" Warren asked, smiling a little as Proctor's hand grazed Zambrano's back, and she seemed to relax a little. "They're adorable, actually."
"Don't say that. I just ate," Doctor C said, making a fake gagging noise. Tuck and Warren laughed. He was actually accepting the couple, which surprised the team, since everyone had been pretty sure he had some sort of feelings for Zambrano. Still, something had changed, and that was good. The team worked smoothly again. "It's not about them being adorable. The hospital has rules. They broke them, and of all the people they want to make an example out of, the hospital chose them. I don't know why. It's stupid, if you ask me. We work long shifts, we're almost always on call. None of us have the time for a social life, not even enough time to meet anyone most of the time. And we work so closely together... It's kind of wrong to expect us not to get involved with each other."
"You seem to do pretty well for yourself," Warren reminded him. He shrugged, grinning without his usual bravado.
"You know this is just a reaction to all those tv shows that show hospitals as nothing more than a place to jump from bed to bed," Tuck observed, thinking that the hospital could have picked a few other couples if they wanted to make an example out of someone.
"It shouldn't matter. I don't even like the idea of the two of them—I don't even want to think about it, okay?" Deleo shook his head again, uncomfortable. "But it doesn't interfere with their work. Hell, they're better at silent communication than anyone I've ever seen. It's practically mind reading sometimes with those two."
"That wasn't their fault," Tuck objected immediately. "There was nothing they could have done. It was an impossible situation."
"That's not the point. Someone died, and no one likes when people die."
"But—even if—no one likes to lose a patient, but this is too much," Warren said, biting her lip. "This is wrong. It's so wrong."
"I know," Deleo agreed. "We all know that."
"We're going to get through this. They're going to get through this," Tuck said, firmly, no room for doubt in his mind. He had hope. Faith. He had to be the one to keep everyone positive. The hospital's administration wasn't stupid. Alpha team was good at what they did. The best. You didn't mess with a good thing. It wasn't smart. And anyone who thought they could stand in the way of his friend's happiness was mistaken. He looked out for them, his patients, their family, his team. His friends. His family. "Focus on the good things. Think about our team. What we've done. What the two of them have done. The money man. Zambrano got to him when no one else did. Proctor and the mother who fell three stories. The mother, father, and baby you all had a part in saving. We're a team. Alpha team. We're the best."
"That we are," Doctor C said, giving Tuck a high five. Warren smiled.
"All the lives we've saved, helped, and changed... That's what matters. And that's what they'll remember in the end."
"I'm surprised they left us alone together. It gives us time to perfect our story."
"We have no need of any preparation nor of a story. The truth is on our side," Proctor said, leaning back in his chair and taking Eva's hand, wrapping his fingers around hers. "I am certain that this will blow over in the end, however unpleasant it is in the present. I know of nothing else that we could have done. I hate that a young woman died, but we did everything we could, and we acted ingood faith. If someone had told us that she... But no one told us."
"I don't even think she knew what she had," Eva said, resting her head on his shoulder. "No one knew."
"That doesn't make this easier," he said, shaking his head as he switched hands and moved his arm around her shoulder. He knew she was not the type for this kind of public display, too much physical contact, but they had been through a lot with this patient only to lose her despite everything. "It isn't... We don't want to lose anyone. We do everything that we can, and even with all our experience and training, there are still times when all of it is useless. There's nothing we can do."
She sighed unhappily, shifting against him. "That's true, but that doesn't change how we feel. There's no comfort in knowing you did all you could, not really."
"Just perspective," he agreed quietly. He could not offer any true words of condolences because he felt the same as she did. "After all these years, I've learned, almost, to let it go. The first thing we learn as doctors—and it's an ugly, unpleasant truth—is that we can't save everyone."
"Yeah," she whispered with a sigh. "It isn't even just that. I mean, we know what this really is, right? It's an excuse to break up the team."
Yes, he knew, and it made him angry. "It's an abuse of a tragedy. That woman should not have died, that's true, but we cannot change that. But to use her death to make a point in a flawed argument for a biased, hypocritical policy, that is unconscionable. Her family is having to cope with her loss, and they may see fit to blame us—certainly it is not easy to stop blaming myself, though I still cannot come up with an answer to how I could have known—but to make our personal relationship the target?"
She put a hand against his chest. "Stop fidgeting. You're not a good pillow when you move."
The moment lightened the mood for a few seconds. Then they both sighed. She shook her head. "Es stupido, ridiculo."
"Yes, this is all that and more," he reached up to play with her hair. "We're going to fight this."
"We can't not fight this. They're wrong. We work together well. We're a team. And us... just the two of us, we are... We're good."
"Such high praise," he teased, amused. "Now... in the unlikely event that they decide to proceed with this...injustice, it has been a privilege to work with you, and I think..."
"Don't start," she said. "You're not allowed to be the pessimist. That's my job. I should be the one telling you it was nice working with you."
"I admit, the time we spend together would be reduced without our work hours, but that is not the issue, is it?"
"Are you clumsily trying to ask if we're going to break up over this?"
"That's not an option," he told her, about to lean over to kiss her when the door opened and the suits came out of it.
"Matt, if you'll come with us?"
Eva sat up and let him get to his feet. He gave her hand one final squeeze before he got up, smiling at her reassuringly. The other man started to guide him into the room, and then he heard her call out to him. "Hey, Proctor?"
He stopped to look back at her. "Yes?"
"I love you."
The roof. It was always the roof.
Eva smiled a little with amusement as she crossed over to where Proctor stood, looking out at the sky and the city, his hands in his pockets. He was lost in thought, as usual. She wasn't sure if it was the patient they had lost or what the board had said to him that was weighing on his mind right now. She did know that she wasn't sure how all of this was going to end, but she was counting on him to see them through it. "Hey."
"Eva," he acknowledged, the way he said her name full of affection for such a short word.
"You disappeared," she told him, and he nodded, still troubled by whatever was on his mind. She didn't blame him, but she was getting a little worried. He was usually more laid back about whatever came along. "Are you okay?"
"You know you can't evade me like you do everyone else," she reminded him, and he smiled at her. "I'm fine. And you?"
"Missed you," he answered, and she rolled her eyes, knowing that he was still trying to avoid the question. She didn't know what was up with him, not specifically, but she wanted an answer. She didn't say those words to just anyone, and she hadn't said them in a long time, either. She wasn't entirely sure what made her blurt them out as he was walking away—because things looked bad and he could use the reassurance, maybe—but she had, and she couldn't take them back.
"You could have waited for me," she told him, and he shrugged a little. She hadn't really expected him to wait, but she had been a little disappointed not to see him when she got out. "I know, I had no choice but to wait for you, but at least I was there."
"And I would have said more, had I been given the opportunity to do so," he said, wrapping his arms around her. She leaned into him. As much as she hadn't wanted to admit it to herself, she had wanted this—exactly this—when she got out of that room, away from the board and their questions and insinuations and the worries and fear and the possibility that they might move one of them off the team. "Including the response your words deserved, not that you were at all ignorant of it, since I said them first."
"You're going to make an issue out of that?" she asked, and he shook his head, laughing.
"No. One of us had to say it first, and I am honored to be that person. There is no right or wrong to who says the words first. In this case, I find it very fitting that it happened the way it did," he said, looking out at the sky again. "It is incredibly beautiful here."
"Do you miss Maryland at all?"
He frowned, looking down at her. Maybe he was wondering where that question came from, and she didn't really want to think about it too much, either. She thought back to their conversation about missing something, something she shouldn't even miss because she didn't know it was out there. "Why should I? With all I have here, what's to miss?"
"You count me as one of those things you have here?"
"Not in the sense of possession, of course, but you are here, which makes Miami preferable," he told her, and she laughed. He was being charming. It was fun. Distracting. "If I were to compose alist of Miami's attractions versus those of Maryland, you would be on the list, but not in the same sense as say... the view from my apartment."
"I'd hope so," she muttered. "I'd better mean a lot more than your apartment."
"Hmm... This seems almost a dangerous trap," he began, and she looked up at him, frowning. What was he thinking she was doing? What trap? "Do I dare bring up the subject of... living arrangements again?"
She wasn't sure how to take that. Their unofficial schedule worked for them, but it might be simpler if they did move in together. If they weren't working together after this... living together would give them just a little more time. That was important, wasn't it? "You still have a long lease on your apartment, remember?"
"I don't care."
"You did before," she reminded him, and he shook his head.
"No, I'm afraid that was for your benefit, not mine," he told her, and she rolled her eyes, laughing a little. It figured it was something like that. He was pretty good, the way he approached these relationship issues with her, never too much too fast. "You're the one who has issues with commitment, after all."
She shook her head. "Maybe, but I—"
He stopped her, covering her mouth with his. She should have known that he would use this kind of argument. That was the other approach, winning his arguments with a kiss or some other physical display, a touch or a look or something that made her lose her focus. He knew how to do that to his advantage, and he almost always got his way because she wasn't thinking clearly. What did he want this time?
"I have something for you."
"I already have a key to your place," she said suspiciously, wondering what he was getting at now. Something for her? A gift? They didn't really do gifts.
"And I have one for yours," he agreed, shaking his head. "This is something else. And before you panic about it, it is not designed to pressure you. It is not because of this threat looming over us, but merely a sign of my... affection for you."
She frowned, not exactly comforted by his words about not panicking. He took her hand, opened it up, and set something on it. She stared at it for a moment before picking it up and examining it further, trying to figure out exactly what this meant.
"There's an inscription."
She swallowed a bit nervously, looking inside the band and laughing when she read it. Not ridiculous. Very nice. It was very them, wasn't it? But... a ring? It was a simple enough ring, no huge diamond or anything that should send her screaming in the other direction with her commitment issues. "Proctor..."
"Other than the inscription, the interpretation is entirely up to you," he said, and she shrugged, confused and pleased and unsure what to do or say or think. She wrapped her arm around his neck and kissed him. She owed him something for the gift, right?
"Thank you," she said, stepping back and looking at it again. After a moment, she stopped thinking about it so much and stuck it on her finger. He smiled back at her.
"I should, perhaps have gone with a bracelet, but it seemed like it had too much competition that way," he remarked, playing with the ones on her wrist. She smiled. Competition. Yeah, he didn't like that very much, did he? "It has been a rather long day, hasn't it?"
"You so owe me the name of that restaurant now."
He laughed. "Naturally. Shall we?"