Disclaimer: The boys you know aren't mine. The ones you don't either belong to me or to Manchester Memorial Hospital, the folks I work with every weekend. Not their real names, but I know who they are, and so do they. Point is, don't sue, the most you could hope to gt is my cat, and she doesn't like strangers.
A/N: This is for Doc and Kim, first of all, for helping me when I was in this situation. I love you guys. This is just for fun. After "Worst Case Scenario, I needed something lighter. Enjoy, and please review.
"Hey! I need some help over here!" Jim Reed exclaimed, as he helped Pete Malloy hobble into the Emergency Room at Central Receiving. Pete could only move at a very slow speed, and it was taking every ounce of strength Reed had to keep him upright. Donna, one of the nurses, came rushing over with a wheelchair.
"Pete, what happened?!" she exclaimed.
Malloy was in too much pain to answer, or at least give more than a weak groan, so Reed answered for him. "We stopped a car with a box tied to the top, coming loose. Pete went to help the guy and the box fell. Pete tried to catch it, and it fell on him. Now his back's hurting him something awful. Got a knot the size of a basketball on his lower back. He threw up and everything!"
Donna nodded briskly as they eased Malloy into the wheelchair. The motion hurt badly, but he tried not to let it show on his face. Reed was already being enough of a mother hen without knowing how bad he was really hurting. He couldn't believe he threw up from pain. That was just embarrassing.
They took him to room 5, then Donna and Reed helped him onto the bed. Even with their help and his determination he wasn't able to hold back a moan as the pain shot from his back through every inch of his body. Once they got him settled, he turned to his side and curled into a ball. "Reed!" he managed weakly. "Get me a bucket!"
Reed looked around frantically for a moment, then slid the garbage can over to the side of the bed before Malloy emptied the remains of his lunch into it. "Why's he throwing up? He hurt his back!" Reed was confused and a little scared. Pete was NEVER sick, and very rarely hurt, so why was he now both at once?
Donna wet a cold washcloth in the sink, folded it, and placed it on Pete's forehead, then addressed the worried partner. "Some types of pain cause that kind of reaction. It's a nerve response. Have you ever been kicked in the testicles?"
Reed flushed at the nurse's question. "Uh…well, once or twice…"
"And did you throw up?" Malloy chuckled, despite the pain, at his partner's embarrassment.
Reed nodded, still blushing furiously, and shot Malloy a look that promised certain death. "I…uh…think I get it." Pete laughed, but had to freeze as another bolt of pain and its twin bolt of nausea shot through him. Reed was back at his side instantly, awkwardness forgotten. "He's hurting real bad," he told the nurse. "Can't you get him something for the pain?"
Malloy made a face. "I can talk for myself, you know!" Jim and the nurse both looked at him for a moment, then he sighed. "Okay…I'm hurting real bad. Can't you get me something for the pain?"
"I'll see what I can do," Donna said with a smile.
Thirty minutes, one absolutely torturous exam, and three shots later, Reed was sitting backward in a chair at the nurse's desk listening carefully to Dr. Jeffries explain Malloy's injuries. He liked the doctor. He put it plain, and had a sense of humor about him. "He's pulled at least six muscles. And sprained both sacroiliac joints, the joints where the sacral spine meets the pelvis. How he did that, I don't have a clue. Never seen both of them sprained at the same time. What in the world was in that box?" The young doctor ran his fingers through his short blond hair, and grinned at Reed. Ten years in this job left him with remarkably few new things to see.
Reed smiled back. "You're gonna love this. It was a concrete lion."
"A concrete lion. You know, one of those concrete lawn ornaments?" The doctor laughed, but cut off when Reed's smile faded. "He's going to be fine."
"So it's not that serious?"
"Nope. Painful, yes. Serious, no. He'll need a few days of rest and a heating pad, but he'll be fine. He's got a good partner." Dr. Jeffries stood up, clapped Reed on the shoulder, and said, "Let's go check on your partner."
Reed followed the doctor. "So he's going to be in a lot of pain?"
A burst of laughter came from the room ahead. Dr. Jeffries opened the door to see Pete sitting on the bed carefully folding a paper football, then flipped it at the nurse. The doctor grinned wryly at Reed. "I'd say he's not feeling anything about now."
Pete smiled a wide, toothy smile at the sight of his partner. "Hiya, Jimmy! This lady says I'm ready to go home. Think you can help me get there?"
Reed turned to the doctor. "What did you give him?! He's higher than any narco bust I've ever had!"
Dr. Jeffries shrugged, still grinning. "You said you didn't want him in pain…"
Pete, meanwhile, had finished another football out of his notebook and flipped it toward Reed. It was about two feet wide. Pete frowned. "You shoulda caught that, Jim! You played football!"
The doctor's grin softened into something almost sympathetic. "Has he got someone who can look after him? I don't usually give grown men enough of anything to make them this loopy, but between the pain meds, the muscle relaxers, and the anti-emetics to keep him from tossing his cookies again…well, it seems he doesn't have much of a tolerance."
Reed shook his head. "He doesn't. Won't even take an aspirin unless he's dying." An annoying little voice in the back of Reed's mind reminded him how badly Pete had to have been hurting to allow himself to be given that much medicine. "I'll take him home with me. It's almost the end of watch anyway. Let me go call my wife." He glanced over his shoulder at his friend one more time before retreating to the nurse's desk.
Malloy was very carefully, with the precision he usually reserved for cleaning his weapon, putting layer after layer of clear tape on the newest football of the lot. "He's very intent on that tape job, isn't he, Donna?" Dr. Jeffries said with a smirk.
Pete looked up at him and said very seriously, "If you don't use enough tape, the IV will come out. That's what that paramedic said last time they brought me in here, that they had to use that much tape. But I think they overdid it. Pulled all the hair off my arm! Hurt almost as bad as…whatever I was here for. I think he did it on purpose!"
The doctor and the nurse looked at each other and burst out laughing. Reed looked apprehensive walking back up to them. "You're laughing. That scares me."
Dr. Jeffries shook his head. "Nothing. You're partner just complaining about the paramedics."
"Paramedics? But I brought him in!" That didn't sound good.
But the nurse laughed. "I think he's thinking about the last time. When he was unconscious and Ray had to tape all the way around his arm to get it to stay. I'll go get his discharge papers."
She was gone, and Malloy was again deeply involved in his tape job, so Reed turned back to the doctor. "How long is he going to be like this?"
The young doctor shrugged. "A few hours, I'd say. Have fun." He pressed the prescriptions into Reed's hand. "When it wears off, he's going to be hurting pretty bad. He'll need this. Instructions are on the script." He smiled once more, and walked out, leaving Reed with a very stoned Pete Malloy.
As Pete seemed content to play with the tape, Donna returned with his discharge papers for Reed to sign. "Pete," She said, "I brought you a sticker, for being such a good patient." She looked at Reed and shrugged. "If he's on the level of a five-year-old for the moment, I might as well let him enjoy it, huh?" She presented him with the Superman sticker that said "Super-patient!"
Pete studies it closely for several seconds. "This isn't right," he told her, confused.
"What isn't right?" Jim asked, thinking his partner was about to say something rational, like that he was too old for stickers. But he had underestimated the amount of painkillers his friend had been given.
Malloy held up the sticker. "I'm not Superman. Superman doesn't break like I did."
Reed tried to cover the laugh that was threatening to emerge. "Who are you then?"