A/N: I got the idea for this story when I was watching Season 2 of Grey's Anatomy on dvd. The structure and the concept is pretty similar to the show, though it's not a blatant rip-off. When I started this, I had a couple of other stories going and I wasn't even going to post it, but in re-reading it tonight, I thought it made a decent OneShot. Hope you guys like it.
One more thing. . . This story is dedicated to Kim, aka She Who Sparked My Interest in Grey's in the First Place. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Chica.
My father used to say that there is only one God. Only one God in charge of everything - our happiness, our comfort, our health, and our living and dying. And I used to believe that. I used to believe everything that my father said. Until he was the one on the operating table with an inoperable brain tumor. An inoperable brain tumor that a surgeon decided wasn't so inoperable after all. He saved my father's life on the day that changed everything. On the day that I realized that maybe my father was wrong, at least in part. Maybe there is only one God, but he sure as hell has a whole lot of help out there.
"Good morning, Dr. Hamilton."
"Look at you. All happy and stuff," Dr. Zoey Hamilton smirked. While Dr. Jeremiah Isaacs was the very best neurosurgeon Chicago's Methodist Hospital had to offer, with a bedside manner that could put any patient at ease, he wasn't exactly known to his colleagues as overtly friendly. "What's goin' on, Dr. Isaacs?"
Dropping a chart on the desk in front of her, Dr. Isaacs smiled cordially and patted her shoulder. "Oh, this isn't happy, Dr. Hamilton. This is just the face I put on when I'm so frustrated, I would like to cut a patient's IV line and pretend like I don't hear him screaming for help," he corrected. "Your patient," he pointed to the chart, "has asked for you every hour, on the hour, since ten o'clock last night."
Glancing up, she couldn't help but smile. She had known him for over twenty years. When her father had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, Dr. Isaacs was the angel who had operated. He had gone above and beyond the call of duty in making sure that her family understood the risks, but that they knew he would do everything in his power to save the man they all loved.
He was the reason she had entered the biology program at Northwestern. He was the reason she had applied to the University of Michigan Medical School. And he was the reason that she had chosen to do her internship, and her residency at Methodist.
"Did you explain to him that even doctors have to go home sometimes?" Zoey asked, looking over the chart she had come to know so well over the last three days as an amused smile danced over her lips.
Dr. Isaacs readjusted his glasses and shrugged. "Apparently, the company of my wrinkly, old ass is just not as pleasing to this guy as your young, nubile one," he said. When she gave him a surprised look, his amused smile returned. Patting her shoulder, he chuckled. "Sometimes, being so damn likable is a curse, I would imagine."
Shaking her head, Zoey tightened her ponytail and walked off in the direction of her neediest patient's room. He wasn't a bad guy. He was a patronizing frat boy who thought sexual innuendo was a suitable way to a woman's heart, but he was still immature. He would learn how to gracefully grow into that beautiful smile someday.
Though she wasn't stunning like a supermodel, at Methodist, she was Giselle. The majority of the staff was male, none of them McDreamy, and until she caught on to the knitting craze that seemed to be sweeping the halls, none of the women would be fitting friends, either.
Not that she had much time for friends these days anyway. How any doctor found time for a personal life, she would never know. But that's what she had signed up for, and it was the life that she was willing to take. She didn't need friends.
"How booked are you, Dr. Hamilton?"
Checking the beeping pager at her hip, Zoey looked up and smiled at Dr. Eliana Castro, the Chief of Surgery. Eliana was the epitome of style and grace, with the kindest eyes Zoey had ever seen. She also had a tendency to wear her stress on her sleeve, and at the moment, it was weighing her collar down. "I have a surgery at 12:30, but I can clear some time until then. What do you need?"
Sighing, Eliana handed her a chart and shook her head. "He's coming in for a consultation with Dr. Norton at 9:00, but Dr. Norton is on the golf course until noon. Can you run some preliminary tests and stall for some time until he gets back?"
With a quick glance at the file in her hands, Zoey shook her head and pouted her bottom lip. "An athlete, Dr. Castro? A professional athlete? Seriously?"
Eliana smirked and shrugged her shoulders. "I'm sorry, Zoey," she said, though she didn't really sound sorry at all. Virtually all doctors agreed that professional athletes were the worst patients. They were pampered, spoiled, and catered to by almost everyone in their sphere of influence. They were babies - multi-million dollar babies.
"Ugh," Zoey groaned, stomping her foot for effect.
"If it makes you feel any better," Eliana smiled, patting the young resident's shoulder, "he's only a professional athlete on a technicality. More like an actor, really."
When she was gone, Zoey took another look at the chart. Professional wrestler? "I hate my job!"
"Dr. Hamilton," another voice rang out as she headed toward the elevator. She pressed the button without looking back. She knew the voice of her only female intern all to well. "Dr. Hamilton, there is a heart transplant surgery scheduled for two o'clock and I know that I'm not supposed to ask to be assigned to a particular attending," the young woman spoke without breathing, "but I would really, really love to be involved in this particular procedure."
As the elevator opened, Zoey turned to her and shook her head. "Carpenter," she started, readjusting the chart in her hand before running her fingers through her dark hair, "Are you going to pout all afternoon if you don't get your way?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
Keisha Carpenter shrugged her shoulders. She was known for huffing and puffing when she didn't get assigned to the "good" cases. Interns were known for their extreme competitiveness, and most of the residents had no patience for the childish tantrums, but six months into the internship, Zoey was beginning to grow accustomed to it.
"I want to make something crystal clear, Carpenter," Zoey began, throwing an arm out to stop the elevator from closing. "Regardless of how many intensely complicated procedures you are allowed to scrub in on during your tenure here, and regardless of how steady your hand is, and how quick your instincts are, the whiny little tantrums are going to keep you from being a great surgeon. If you can't learn to suck it up and act like a professional, you might as well quit the program now." Releasing the door, she nodded her head. "Dr. Isaacs will begin the transplant in about twenty minutes - you better go scrub in if you're going to help."
After making the rounds with her patients and making a few assignments for her interns, Zoey headed toward the nurse's station. She'd only been at work for three hours and her feet were already killing her. She checked her watch, feeling her heart drop when she realized that it was time for the nine o'clock consultation. Oh, this day is never going to get better.
"Is Dr. Norton's nine o'clock here yet?" she asked the nurse on duty.
The young man behind the counter nodded. "Been here for about thirty minutes - in room 12," he pointed down the hall.
"You a professional wrestling fan, Jake?" Zoey asked, glancing over the chart that Jake handed her. When the nurse shrugged, she turned up her nose. "So you don't know what a TLC match is?"
Jake huffed and smiled slightly. "Tables, Ladders, and Chairs," he informed the doctor, who only shook her head and muttered something about "stupid muscle heads" as she walked away.
Pushing the door of the room open, Zoey was surprised to find five men standing around the bed, all talking to the man in the bed at once. She took a moment to watch them, finding herself incredibly amused by the irritated look of frustration on the patient's face. That is one beautiful face, she thought to herself. Though I could do without the braids. The purple braids. But still. . . the face is beautiful.
"Um, guys," the patient held up a hand to get the attention of everyone at his side. Inclining his head toward the door, he gave a half-smile and waited for them to notice the visitor among them.
Clearing her throat and shaking her head of the inappropriate thoughts that had just gone racing through, Zoey stepped forward. "Good morning, gentlemen," she greeted. "Dr. Norton was detained, so I'm going to do some preliminary tests until he gets here."
"And you are?" one of the men beside the bed asked. He was well over six feet tall and graying on the sides of his head. The polo shirt that he wore stretched over his broad chest and shoulders, the look on his face adding to the stern, intimidating air he carried.
But he wasn't the one making her bumble like an idiotic school girl. He wasn't the one with the warm eyes and the sweet smile, waiting expectantly to hear her name. That honor went to the young man in the bed, cringing as he tried to sit up.
The look of pain brought her back to a clear head space as Zoey shook her head and moved to the foot of the bed. "I'm Dr. Hamilton," she introduced. "Gentlemen," she turned to the five at his sides. "Can I get a minute with Mr. Hardy?"
When the room was cleared, Jeff Hardy smiled at the doctor who was checking his monitors. "Everything cool, Doctor?" he asked, his soft, Southern drawl steady as he watched her move around his bed.
And he's fuckin' Southern, too? Great. Just fucking great. With a forced smile, Zoey tried to look at everything but his face. Those hazel eyes were just too distracting, even for a consummate professional. "So, you wanna tell me what happened to this knee, Mr. Hardy?" she asked, sinking to a stool beside the bed before she pulled the hem of his hospital gown back.
He hissed another gust of air as she began to press the swollen tissue around his knee cap. "Call me Jeff," he said through clenched teeth. "And I'm not sure when it happened exactly," he answered when she finally stopped touching him and began to make notations on her clip board.
Zoey raised an eyebrow. "You don't know exactly?" she asked skeptically. If there was one thing she hated more than anything else about her profession, it was patients who lied about the extent of their pain or discomfort. "Ya know, Mister," she stopped and shook her head, smiling slightly, "Jeff," she corrected herself, "this whole thing will go a whole lot smoother if you can give me as much information as possible."
Jeff gave a small smile and shrugged. "I know it was in the course of the match. I jumped off of so many ladders, crashed through so many tables, and took so many chair shots, that I really don't know exactly when the knee thing happened." With an apologetic expression, he sank back against the pillows and looked at the ceiling. "When I'm in the ring, I don't notice. I never notice the pain until I get backstage and the adrenaline wears off," he explained. "That's when the swelling started."
She thought about what he had just told her. So many ladders. So many tables. So many chairs. Does this guy even hear himself speaking? Does he have idea what he's putting his body through? "We're going to do an MRI, figure out the extent of the damage, but I would venture a guess that something is probably torn," she said, pushing back from the bedside, afraid of what she might say if she stayed too close. "We'll wait until Dr. Norton gets back to do the MRI, since you're technically his patient and all," she smiled, knowing that there was a slight blush in her cheeks. Now I'm fucking blushing. What the hell is wrong with me?
"You think I'm nuts, right?" Jeff asked as Zoey approached the door. When she turned, shook her head, and pushed her hair behind her ear, he licked his lips and sat up slightly. "What kind of brain dead moron gets smacked in the back of the head with a steel chair, causing him to free fall from a twelve-foot ladder, crashing through three wooden tables?" When she shrugged, he smiled good-naturedly. "In case you were wondering, I know it's not rational. I just," he stopped and closed his eyes as the pain shot through his leg again. "I just know that it makes me feel alive."
Crossing her arms over her chest, Zoey looked him over. There was no ring on his finger, not that she should be checking. "Kinda like operating on morons who leap off of twelve-foot ladders and crash through wooden tables makes me feel alive?"
His grin spread into a wide smile and he chuckled to himself with a nod. "Guess we need each other then, huh?"
The flirtation was slight, but it wasn't lost on Zoey. It was inappropriate, but she couldn't stop the tingling sensation that was spreading through her gut as she exited the room and let Jeff's handlers back in. The fluttering feeling in the pit of her stomach wasn't foreign - she'd had crushes before. But not for a long time. And never on a patient.
He's Dr. Norton's problem now. You've done all you were required to do. Now you can just put him behind you and go on with your shift.
Turning immediately, Zoey groaned slightly. "What is it now, Dr. Castro?" she asked the Chief, who slowed her step when she had fallen in line with her lead resident.
"Dr. Norton was called away on a family emergency," she stated. "Can you proceed with his patient until further notice?"
That's just fucking great! Though she nodded dutifully and forced a smile, Zoey's heart sank at the prospect of spending any more time with Jeff Hardy, the man who was already turning her insides to mush.
That one God that takes care of everything? He's got a really strange sense of humor, I think. I know my calling in life, but I wouldn't have if my father hadn't gotten sick. I found the love of my life, but it means never having the time to become romantically involved with another human being. Even if that other human being is strikingly handsome, with the sweetest Southern drawl on the planet. Sometimes it's not as ducky as it seems, being one of God's special helpers. But I have to believe that there's going to be a reward in my future somewhere. Hopefully, that reward has purple hair and some torn knee cartilage.