Title: Sunset Over Portland
Summary: As if the challenges of being a paramedic in Portland, of pleasing a too demanding father, and working to rekindle a lost love aren't enough,let's throw in a dying teenager.Wyatt Cole faces the challenges of life, work, and mortality. A brief oneshot post to "Who Do You Trust"
Disclaimer: I don't own "Saved" or the characters...though Tom Everett Scott is pretty much as hot as they come...and a mighty fine actor!
What I do is not gambling…it's risk assessment.
He loved his job. There was a rush to the job, something that just pulled him in and held him hostage. When the lights were on, he was on fire. When the sirens were blaring, he was unstoppable. There was definitely a rush to the job.
But there was always that moment. That one part of the job that managed to leech into the good feeling, grab on and never let go. There was always one part of the job that seemed to give just a little too much perspective.
For Wyatt Cole, that moment wasn't even a moment. It was a person. Lexi hadn't even been part of their scheduled run. She'd been the losing side of a poker game and a pain in his ass from the time he and Sack had rolled onto the scene.
He never really wanted to be a paramedic. He wasn't even sure how he'd ended up doing it as long as he had. Granted it pissed his dad off to no end, but there were so many better jobs out there.
Maybe he was good at the job. There were times it was actually enjoyable, fulfilling, and even exciting.
But then, there were all those other times. The first was the time when the kid set his apartment building on fire, just to be rescued. The second was when his college buddy was diagnosed with leukemia. Yeah, his crack addict, artist, college buddy; they hadn't talked in several years…until they'd met in the back of his ambulance. The last time…well that was Lexi. That had been her first trip, subsequently resulting in his first trip.
She was…well…she was a bitch. But…there was something about her, something he couldn't figure out. There was definitely something about her.
Her parents had been killed in a plane crash around her fifteenth birthday. Not long after that she'd been diagnosed with liver cancer. Thrown into a group home she'd been forced to face treatments alone. She'd grown hard, calloused by the process. And damn it, she really knew how to rub a person in just the right spot to make them cringe in discomfort.
Things had looked up for about a day. They'd found a donor, a possible match. That had been the second time they'd met. She'd been just a crass, but he'd been ready for it, and well the hope of finally reaching an end of unbearable pain had to be a bright spot in her day.
They hadn't found a match that day. Lexi's white count had been elevated.
Maybe next week, the doctor had shrugged as he handed off the medical chart to the nurse.
He'd stayed with her in the hospital that day, had worked to buffer the bad news somehow. It really wasn't his thing, but…Alice had asked him to stay. Anything for her… And well, he actually did try to talk with Lexi…when she didn't have her iPod cranked to 20 decuples.
The ambulance ride that evening had been quiet. And as odd as it was, the wise cracks of the not-so-chipper teenager had actually been missed that afternoon. Even for Sack, his partner, the usual complaints of a bumpy ride, or too much AC, had been noticeably absent.
They hadn't taken her straight back to the group home that night. They hadn't told her where they were going, but he couldn't help but smile when she started complaining about the longer than normal ride.
She'd taken a hold of him somewhere along the way, had somehow taken his heart and held on for dear life. This kid was special and for the life of him he couldn't figure out how she'd managed to grasp on like she had. He wasn't supposed to get attached like this. It wasn't part of the job. Doctors were the ones who were supposed to relate to the patients, it was half the reason he quit med school. He was just the middle man, the guy who picked them up and dropped them off. Hell, there were only a few he even really talked to, and he had to admit that was part of the appeal of the job. It was one reason he didn't want to finish med school (minus the fact that he really loved pissing his dad off). He liked not being involved.
But, that afternoon was different. That afternoon, he'd made himself vulnerable and she'd seemed…halfway human.
They'd stopped that evening outside the city. They'd escaped the chaos that was Portland and he'd shared something with this kid. A sunset over the Pacific. The sky had been red that evening, the clouds hemorrhaging across the vastness.
She'd laughed for the first time that day, had smiled and even made herself vulnerable. She'd reached out to him and to his partner, and latched on. They'd been alike that day, had been the same.
That had been over a week ago, almost two weeks now. The headache he'd gotten the day he'd learned she'd succumb to the cancer had yet to ease in its intensity. It could have been from the right hook he'd taken to the jaw from his partner that day. Or maybe it was from the thumping of the bass, the slick guitar rips, droning on from the iPod Lexi had left him that afternoon.
She fell asleep before I did last night. When I woke up, she was just laying there, her roommate had said. She wanted you to have this, she handed over the iPod. The thing had been virtually fused within the kid's ears for the past three weeks, and now…
Now, well…now he found a small comfort in the crooning of some punk/pop band, in the snazzy guitar licks. And now…well…there was something different going on with him.
He wasn't supposed to like this paramedic thing. It wasn't supposed to be something he wanted to do long term. It was just supposed to be something he did long enough to get his dad off his back about med school. It was just supposed to fill the gap until he figured out what he wanted out of life.
But now, he was hooked; he was addicted to the adrenaline rush that came with each new call. Now, he was hooked to each patient on the stretcher. They were connected in history now, their stories had crossed paths and were, for however long they were together, traveling along the same road.
It had been that way with Lexi. They'd shared their story, had played their parts and connected. He'd broken down a barrier that day on the coast, that day as they watched the sunset.
She had too.
She'd smiled that day, had laughed. Her laughter had filled the red sky, had broken into a million pieces and filled each red cloud with her spirit.
She'd laughed that day, had learned to let go.
She'd taught him something that day. She'd taught him to let go and yet to hang on at the same time. He'd let go of his familial obligations and had taken hold of the job he knew he was meant to do.
She'd laughed that day.
And he'd learned he was a damn good paramedic.
He loved his job.