AN: So, this has been sitting around on my laptop for a while, and in celebration of not losing everything on my laptop, I decided to post it. But I feel I should warn you, it's a major angst-fest. Please let me know what you think. :)
Chapter One: And I Got Ready Fot The Future To Arrive
And the wind began to blow and all the trees began to pant
And the world in its cold way started coming alive
And I stood there like a business man waiting for the train
And I got ready for the future to arrive
(Woke Up New, The Mountain Goats)
It's only when Turk walks out of the operating room that he feels the tears running down his cheeks. It's only then he's aware of the child's blood on his scrubs. It's only when the rest of the surgical team follows him out of the OR that he notices that they are all crying too.
Dr Wen walks into the scrub-in room as everybody else is leaving. He puts a hand on Turk's shoulder. "There was nothing you could have done. There was too much damage done before you could even try to fix it." That doesn't make Turk feel any better.
He stands there, in that scrub room, and time seems to stop. Turk knows it has to be moving, but it doesn't feel like that, because all he can see and hear is himself calling the time of death of a four-year-old.
Turk's legs start moving, but he doesn't feel as though he's controlling them. They take him along the corridor, the empty corridor. They lead him towards the stairs but Turk as to hold on to the banister because he's not sure he can hold himself up. He is taken into the ICU.
The ICU is quieter than usual. There's no noise of talking, just the faint sounds of medical machines. Any other time, this would bother Turk, but now he doesn't care. He can't think of anything but what happened in that OR.
He wanders. Somewhere. Anywhere. He only stops walking when Dr Cox stands in front of him.
"I can't." Turk's voice is quiet and it's shaky. "I can't be the one to tell them."
"Ghandi, you… there's no one to tell, Turk."
Turk looks up from the ground and sees that Dr Cox's eyes are red and tearful. He hopes that what Dr Cox said doesn't mean what he thinks it does. He doesn't want to believe what Dr Cox said, but he has to. Because Dr Cox never cries and Dr Cox never calls him Turk.
"I'm really sorry, Turk."
But Turk doesn't hear him. He starts walking again, but he doesn't know where he's going. He can't think. He can only hear an amalgamation of what Dr Cox said and himself calling a child's time of death.
He walks and before he realises it he's outside the hospital. His shift isn't over yet, but he doesn't care. He is still in blood-covered scrubs, but he doesn't care. Because the world he's standing now is a different one to what he entered the hospital this morning in. This new world is colder, and Turk doesn't like it.
People outside are laughing. They're laughing and they're happy. The world is spinning madly on, but Turk doesn't understand that.
Turk sits in his car, but he feels completely uncomfortable in there. The frame of the car seems to close in on him. His hands feel awkward gripping the steering wheel. He can't get his head around controlling a car, when the same thing has just claimed the lives of three people he loves. Loved. But he has to go home, he needs to go home.
Carla. He has to go home and tell Carla all this. It's all going to devastate her, and Turk doesn't know how he'll be able to hold her up when he doesn't know where to find the strength to hold himself up.
And Izzy. She's too young to understand completely, but she'll know something's wrong. She'll see Mama and Daddy crying and she'll ask questions. And Turk doesn't know how to answer them.
This new world he's in doesn't make sense.
As Chief of Medicine, it's Perry Cox's responsibility to tell the other staff members of the situation. He says the situation, because if he calls it anything other than that, it would be impossible to remain professional for everyone else, especially when it's hard enough to stay professional for himself.
There's a certain camaraderie, a certain solidarity in the hospital that Perry has noticed at times like this. Everybody is untied by shock, and by grief and by concern for the other members of staff who were closer to those at the centre of the tragedy than they are. Were. They fight and beat Death every day, which is why situations (that word again) hit them harder. But, even if they weren't doctors and nurses and even if they didn't fight Death every day, it would be impossible not to be hit hard by this.
Perry concludes his talk to the hospital staff (including the janitor) by saying that they need to stay strong because the patients need them to keep it together. They really can't deal with any more deaths today. But if anybody wants to talk about it, the hospital's grief counsellor, Dr Hedrick who is standing to his right, will be available at any time to talk.
As grief-shaken hospital personnel file quietly, solemnly out of the doctor's lounge, Hedrick says, "That applies to you to, you know."
The shorter man smiles comfortingly (or at least an attempt at comforting). "Feel free to talk to me at any time if you need it."
Perry and Hedrick had never been the best of colleagues, but this is not the time for petty conflict.
"If you want," Hedrick says, "I can even call the family members."
"No thank you. This is something I need to do."
Hedrick nods, and leaves Cox to his own grieving process.
One of the nurses has been good enough to have the contact details on the nurses' station for him. He goes to the nearest phone and dials the number written on the page. When the person on the other end of the line answers, it hurts Perry to think that they have no idea what's about to hit them.
"Hello, Dan," he says nervously. "This is Perry Cox speaking. I think… I think you should down, buddy."