Disclaimer: All these characters belong to someone else, of which I know DC Comics and Warner Brothers, but I'm sure there are more people involved… and that certainly does not include me. I just write for fun :)
Summary: What do you think when you see your hero falling from the sky? How can you help him when you realize he's coming to your hospital? From a doctor's POV. One-shot fic.
AN: This is a repost of the story, I edited it a bit and got rid of two or three grammar mistakes. Thank you so much to everyone who left a review! Thanks to Josh and Sarah for beta-ing for me! You guys are the bestest ;)
It is then that I notice the silence. I'm not sure if it is really that everything and everyone has just stopped and hushed up, or if it is only me who can no longer hear anything. It doesn't matter. Because all my attention is pinned on that small, smalll dot falling through the air. Just falling.
It seems like the dot has been falling forever, and that I have watched that dot falling forever as well. Until he's no longer in my sight. Because now he's not falling anymore, though from where I am, standing on the second floor, he would be just a dot if I could see him still.
But he has fallen in the park, barely three blocks away. And everything is still oddly silent, I absently notice, because we are all waiting. Waiting for him to rise once again and so we would see him flying, upward, unharmed… That's what we are all waiting for, yeah. But as the seconds pass and he's not emerging from the top of the trees, a cold realization starts to prick at the back of my mind. What if he's not going to fly upward this time?
The idea is stupid. He's invulnerable, isn't he? For all that I have read, or heard, or seen, everyone just knows he's invulnerable. Nothing can really harm him, except for Kryptonite, whatever that looks like. But the idea just won't go away. And suddenly I realize that the silence is not so quiet anymore either. Whispers start to filter in through my own thoughts, until someone finally says out loud what I have been thinking for the past three seconds: Something's wrong with him.
No. That's absurd. My mind can't get around the fact that he's not flying upward yet, so the idea that something is wrong with him is just, well… wrong. Maybe he won't fly away because maybe he's a little shaken up. Maybe he needs to take a second to take air. Heck, maybe he'll even walk.
My mind starts coming up with all these ideas of why he's not flying and yet he's unharmed. Down on the street I can see people moving, first walking and then running towards the park. And it all strikes me as very odd. He's the one who comes to our aid, not the other way around. And that's the first time that I actually allow myself to think that something is wrong with him.
So the scenes in my mind change. Okay, so maybe he's not exactly completely okay. Maybe, for some unknown reason, he did sort of faint. It would explain why he was falling to begin with. Because really, he never falls. But whatever it was, it's all right now. He'll wake up, a little disoriented maybe, and he… well, my eyes keep searching over the tree line because he will fly upwards any second now.
I realize too that I'm the only one who hasn't moved or said anything since we all stopped looking at the news and turned to look out of the window to watch him fall. Everyone is talking now –no more whispering- and openly expressing their concerns.
The doctor in me keeps coming up with elaborate scenarios. Maybe when he fell the air was knocked from his lungs and he's now just… recovering. Maybe that was the equivalent to fall on your back when someone pushes you. And since he's invulnerable, he's just fine. Maybe he's just exhausted…
When the first call comes in asking for an ambulance, my mind processes the information as if the ambulance was going to take a victim. Which is perfectly understandable since that's what ambulances do all the time here and at any other hospital in the world. We are in the middle of a crisis right now, with the recent earthquake after all. I keep looking at the top of the trees, but my eyes are caught by the movement out there, below me. The news is spreading faster than he can fly, that's for sure, and by the grim, scared, and astonished looks on the people's faces, I know it's not good news.
That's when my heart sinks. That's when my eyes return in a second to the spot above the trees but my mind knows I won't see him flying upwards again.
I faintly hear how the phones ring and ring and Susset answers saying that the ambulance is on its way. On its way. I suddenly realize what the ringing is all about and who the ambulance is going to get. Our hero has suddenly become a victim. It freezes me right to the bottom of my soul. And just as I'm feeling my heart beat on my ears, I know exactly where that ambulance is going to take him.
I leave the window with the view to the park and turn to face my staff. They all already know what I have just come to terms with, and they are all expectantly looking at me. I'm in charge here. And for the first time in my life I wish I wasn't.
I faintly listen to the paramedics' voices through the speakers saying that he's not breathing. My mind races through a dozen different reasons why he's not breathing and how can we help him. But of course, all those dozen different ways are human ways. As I get to the first floor, for the first time in my life too, I truly realize that he really isn't human.
I see the same realization hit my medical staff as we are moving as one to the front doors. He's not human. How can we help him then? What are we going to face? What if we are not capable enough?
As the ambulance stops in front of us, I desperately want to push all these doubts away. To at least keep them quiet as I do what I do best in this world: Help people. But all thoughts collide as the blue and the red flash in front of my eyes. For all I have read, and heard, and seen about anything during my entire life, nothing could have prepared me for that. For the helpless feeling I get of seeing him on a stretcher, coming out of an ambulance. All sounds go away as before, except that part of me is aware that there are thousands of people surrounding us.
The next ten seconds are just accomplished automatically. I can almost see myself from above, efficiently and effectively asserting the situation. We all fall into that mode. We all start doing what routine, practice and knowledge has taught us for years now. We all start treating him as if he were human.
Yet, the instant I touch his hand, this second self of mine, the one who has been watching all this from above, comes down to my body with shocking speed. He's so cold. I remember a patient telling me that she had been saved by him once, and as I'm searching for a pulse –or any kind of vital sign- I can recall every word she had said about how warm he was. Not only his personality, but his body as well. And I wonder how exactly warm defines ones temperature? Whatever it is, his temperature is not right.
Is he bleeding? Is he injured in any way? The dark red cape doesn't let us see if there's any blood, and his tight suit does not allows us to examine him properly. I keep running along the stretcher on pure adrenaline. Why is he unconscious? Why is he not breathing?
As the stretcher comes to a halt, he's stripped away of his clothes, as we do every day on every patient. But somehow, this is different. This makes him vulnerable. His flesh is unblemished, his abs as well formed as his suit had let seen a second ago. He's so human, I think, and I know we are all thinking the same thing as well.
The first thing I do is search for a wound. Any kind of wound. And to my surprise, I find one. All my fear to the unknown, to failure, to not knowing how to deal with this entire situation disappears as the doctor in me takes full control. A stab wound. I have seen hundreds of stab wounds. A stab wound on the lower back. And as I take a closer look to it, I can't help but think that his blood is just as red as ours, acknowledging the fact that he's an alien.
I push the thought aside, and concentrate on what's important. What has been damage? The liver? Main arteries? The lung?
It all is meaningless, I realize a second later, when I glance as the nurse is trying to insert a needle for the IV. It can't get through, because he's invulnerable. Because he's not human. Is there a liver? A lung? Where do his arteries run? Into a heart? I can clearly see his veins and arteries on his arms –unreachable, invulnerable to our attempts- so I shake my thoughts. Whatever has been able to penetrate that skin, it might still be inside of him.
The sound of the flat lines on the monitors are barely distracting. I have to remove whatever has injured him. Is this the reason why he fell? And once it's out, would I be able to repair the damage inside? I close in on something solid, and as I pull it out, seeing its green light, I can only think of it as poison. He has been poisoned. Is this the Kryptonite I've read about before but never seen?
Someone says "clear" and I immediately move out. And it all just goes wrong, because obviously his body does not canalize electroshocks as ours do. The lines continue flat as I deposit that green poisonous fragment on a container and return to finish the job. To see if there's still more.
Everyone is panicking around me. How long has he been without air? How long has his heart been stopped? How long should we fight for his life before knowing there's no coming back? How much, indeed, is he really like us?
I keep searching for more fragments as I listen whispers about if we are looking for the right vital signs on the right places. Can our monitors really pick them out? All we seem to be able to do is give him oxygen. That and knowing for sure his wound is clean. But there, I find one final fragment, though for some reason there's no hemorrhage.
I get it out and it all is as if I had electro shocked him. His heart starts beating on its own and life returns to all of us as he starts breathing too. Uncertain hands find things to do, meaningful things to do, now that we have the hope that he's coming back.
Except that he isn't. The monitors do not get above 40 beats per minute, and everything else stays pretty much flat. His skin is not cold anymore, but not exactly warm either. What? I didn't get it all? Has this poison got into his bloodstream? And if so, how are we going to get it out?
I desperately search his face for signs that he's coming around regardless of what the monitors indicate. How can we be measuring his vital signs as if he were human? Why do we know that 40 beats it's too slow? I don't know how, but we know it is too slow.
And all we can do now is hope he can fight as hard inside of himself as he does for the rest of us. That he will find his way back. That he will stay with us this time around. Because biology aside, he's the best human being we all can hope to be someday.