Author: april468 PM
The Rangers track an arsonist who endangered Matt's life.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Chapters: 5 - Words: 10,875 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 12-27-12 - Published: 02-25-12 - id: 7870733
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Auburn Fire Part 4
Respiratory issues continued to plague Matt as Dr. Cash wheeled him toward the NICU nursery. A portable oxygen unit made it easier to breath as spoke though his voice was raw and horse. "C'mon Abby, I've got a station to run." Cough... Cough...
Despite Abby's protests he wanted to get a look at the child that he and Cody had pulled from the fire. The fact that a helpless infant was left alone in the model home made his blood boil. He wondered if the person responsible for the fire knew the child was inside.
"Sorry, Matt but I'd be setting myself up for liable if I released you right now. Not to mention you could lapse into a coma." Even though his symptoms seemed mild for the moment, Abby wasn't willing to take any chances.
"I did that once before can't say that I liked it." Matt said flatly.
"I'll run a broncoscopy in the morning if your symptoms don't start to improve." A surgical tube attached to a camera would be inserted into Matt's throat allowing Abby to get a glimpse at his airways.
"That sounds like fun."
"It requires sedation. You won't feel a thing except your throat will be a little sore. And if everything looks okay, we'll talk about possible release in a day or two."
"It's already sore as hell." Matt grumbled taking in another puff of oxygen. "So, how's Robin?"
"Resting, which is what you should be doing."
"I'll want to see her as soon as I'm finished here."
"I'll think about it." Abby grumbled. She wanted her patient in bed.
"Do you think her leg will heal properly?" Matt's thoughts drifted back to Shep, and how a broken leg had ended his career with the rangers.
Abby thought pensively for a moment. "I won't lie to you Matt. Even though the break was clean it's going to take a great deal of time to heal."
"So how long are we talking about?" Cough, Cough...
"4 to 6 months."
"4 to 6 months!" The station could not afford to be down a ranger for that length of time.
"It's a safe estimate but yeah...it's going to take a while. You can't just have beam fall on you and except to be back in the saddle in a week or two. If she wants her body to heal properly it's going to some time and a lot of therapy." Abby didn't want another Ryan Shepard on her hands either. At the time of his accident, Shep had thought of himself as invincible. Hating to leave the station shorthanded, he'd gone back to work early and as fate would have it, he took a tumble from a snowmobile, reinjuring the same leg. The man now walked with a permanent limp.
If Abby had her way, she would not see Robin follow the same path.
"All the more reason for me to get back to work," Matt argued.
Ignoring his comment, Abby stopped in front of the NICU window. " I believe the infant in question is the one on the left." Abby paused for a moment. "Is that Jodi Potter?" Next to the isolette, Jodi stood clad in yellow scrubs. Her hand was inserted through the specially made opening allowing her to touch the infant. Gently, she stroked the tiny girl's small torso with a sterile gloved hand.
"Yes, it is...," Matt returned staring reflectively. At the age of 30, Jodi was still just as striking as she'd been in high school. In the back of his mind he wondered why he'd let his little indiscretion of wham bam thank you ma'am ruin his opportunity to made a mends. It had never been his intention to ignore Jodi. It had just taken him a while to get back to her. The first several weeks following Merlin's death had been hell on him. With Merlin gone, and Shep injured they were down two men. After Izzy had come on board, he tried to contact Jodi but she never returned his calls. After a while he stopped trying.
Abby touched his shoulder, breaking his thoughts. "I'll have nurse take you back to your room in 15 minutes and not a minute longer."
Feeling the weight of Matt's stare, Jodi looked up meeting his gaze. An automatic smile sprang to her lips. Damn it! Ok, now that you have smiled at him what are you going to do?
There was only one thing to do. The question was how to go about it?
Retracting her hand, Jodi made her way to the changing area and removed her yellow scrubs. A few moments later she was standing directly in front of Matt.
Defensively, she crossed her arms over her chest. "So, I understand you and Cody are responsible for the new addition to my case load."
"It's nice to see you too, Jo" Matt quipped unable to stop his own grin. Better than anyone he recognized her coping mannerisms. In high school, he'd always been able to make her smile even when she didn't want to. Today was no different. She was putting on an act.
Jodi looked at him hoping that the expression on her face said unimpressed. Inwardly, she was delighted that he still had that same old boyish grin that made her knees go weak. "Forgive me for being so forward but I've got a baby girl in there fighting for her life all because some selfish S.O.B. left her for dead in an empty house!"
"I'm aware of that, believe me," Cough, Cough. Matt inhaled deeply into his oxygen mask. The burning sensation in his lungs was so strong that he felt as if were suffocating.
"As soon as I am out of-"
Cough...Cough...Cough... eyes watering, face red.
"Matt, are you okay?" Jodi's eyes widened with concern as she watched Matt's complexion turn to ashen. "Matt!"
Coughing, choking, he was gagging now, gasping for breath as if something were caught in his throat.
"Hold on," Acting quickly, Jodi bolted back into the nursery. "Help, we need some help out here!"
15 minutes later, Jodi stood on the observation deck of the operating suite watching as Dr. Cash inserted a long thin tube down Matt's throat. Most people would have flinched at the sight but not Jodi. She'd seen too many horrific things on the job to be bothered by it. She just hoped that Matt was going to be okay.
"Jodi?" The sound of Jesse's voice brought shutters down her spine. "What happened to Matt?"
Slowly, she turned and faced the infamous ranger. No surprise, Cody was standing beside him. "I don't know. We were just talking and he started coughing. The next thing I knew we were in here."
"Wait..." Cody cut in, "You and Matt were actually talking?"
Jodi glared heatedly at the younger Hawkes. "Dr. Cash is performing a brochoscopy. It will allow her to see if Matt suffered any thermal injuries to his airway. Depending on what she finds she may have to incubate him."
"Since when did you become a medical expert?" Cody piped. Somehow it made him feel better to lash out at someone.
"Since I watched a pediatric surgeon do the same procedure on the infant the two of you brought in this morning."
Cody hung his head, earning a hand of comfort from Jesse. "How is the baby?"
"They had intubate but the doctor said she's going to make a full recovery."
"Let's pray we get the same news for Matt." Jesse replied.
Cigarette smoke assaulted Jen's senses as she stepped inside the local pub. Panning the crowd she spotted Jaime perched on top of bar stool, taking a swig from his beer.
Purposefully, she marched over to bar and snatched the bottle right out of his hands. "I thought you said you weren't going to be drinking tonight."
"Something came up." Jaime spoke in a clipped emotionless tone.
"You also said you were going to pick me up." Jen countered.
Rising to his feet, Jaime took the bottle back." Guess, I decided that I didn't want any company."
"Too bad." Jen slid onto the barstool next to him and ordered a Coke. It didn't matter to her that Jaime wanted to be alone. She was bound and determined not to let him self destruct.
"Suit yourself." Jaime polished off the last of his beer and ordered another. For several moments the two sat in silence each milking their respective drinks.
"Matt and Robin could have been killed today, if your Dad hadn't stepped in and saved them." Jen stared into the mirror that hung over the bar.
"Yeah, according to the paper he's a real hero." Jaime grumbled keeping his eyes focused on his bottle.
Jen averted her eyes settling on Jaime's profile. "Do you really think he would have saved them if he'd been the one to set the fire?"
"Dunno," Jaime returned hugging the bottle with his hands. He didn't know what the man was capable of anymore. Because of Mike's involvement in the burial ground scheme Jaime and Cody were nearly killed. So it wouldn't surprise Jaime if this time wasn't any different.
Across the room, the band started to play a slow ballad. "C'mon, half-breed dance with me." Jen requested hopping down from her stool. "Getting back on your feet might make you feel better."
"No," Jaime grunted.
"C'mon..." Jen latched onto his arm, tugging. "You know you want to."
"I said no."
"Don't be a prick," Jen retorted extending her hand. "Beside's you owe me. This will be your chance to make amends for this afternoon."
Reluctantly, Jaime took a hold of her outstretched palm, following her to the dance floor.
Jen's arms wrapped around his neck as the two stood face to face. Jaime's hands were planted securely on her hips while his head rested on her shoulder.
"Sorry about this afternoon." he murmured. "He just gets to me sometimes."
"I'll forgive you, half-breed." Jen soothed running her fingers through his short dark hair. "On the condition that you fix my truck."
Jaime lifted his head, a smile forming on his lips. "Like you'd ask anyone else?" For the last couple of years he'd served as her personal mechanic.
"Just make sure it runs this time." Jen snorted watching his gaze change.
"I don't know what I'd do without you, Jen." he whispered, cradling the back of her neck. The rest came naturally as Jaime gently covered her mouth.
Initially, Jen felt her jaw begin to tremble at the sensation of his lips covering hers. A moan escaped her as his hands caught her face, forcing the kiss to deep. Her first instinct was to pull away but something inside of her told her not to.
"What are you doing?" she ripped when the kiss ended. "What the hell do you think you are doing?"
Dr. Abby Cash removed her surgical cap and leaned over the water fountain, taking in a refreshing drink. She needed a moment before facing Jesse and Cody Hawkes. The thermal damage done to Matt's throat was more extensive than she had feared. Though thermal injuries were very difficult to initially detect she kicked herself for not finding it sooner.
Standing upright, she made her way to the waiting room.
"So how's Matt?" Jesse asked rising to his feet.
Three sets of eyes focused on Abby as she started to speak, each trying not to give into their own fears. "The initial damage was more than what we initially thought. Because ammonia was involved Matt is suffering from a toxic reaction that is causing his throat to swell. To keep his airway open, I had intubate."
"So he's breathing with a machine?" Cody questioned.
"Yes," Abby confirmed. "He'll need to stay that way until the swelling goes down."
"What else, Abby?" Jesse could tell by the tone of her voice that there was something she wasn't saying.
Abby lowered her gaze for a moment, staring down at the white linoleum floor. "To make Matt more comfortable and to give his body a chance to heal, I put him in a drug induced coma.