A/N: Ok, well I'm not a doctor and I've never seen any one actually OD on heroin, so I don't really know how realistic this is. I did a bit of research on the internet on how they treat it and such, and I'm no stranger at seeing people on drugs, so hopefully this will work out alright. If not, I'm all for constructive criticism.
Anyway, read on and enjoy.
Jack had already been at work for eight hours when he was paged to the ambulance bay.
He was tired and longing for a hot cup of coffee but set off at a jog all the same, arriving just as a stretcher was being unloaded.
"It's a heroin overdose," the paramedic closest to him said, "Male, aged 19. Breathing slow and irregular."
Jack looked down at his new patient and sighed. He'd had too many cases like this and it seemed to him that those afflicted were getting younger and younger as time went on.
The boys blond hair was streaked with red highlights, and sticking to his forehead with sweat. Jack could see that where his black nail polish was chipped his finger nails had turned blue. The boy's skin was ashen. A breathing mask was fixed over his face.
"We nearly lost him on the way here."
Jack was now jogging along next to the stretcher as it was rushed into the E.R., struggling to wake up and take in all the information the paramedics were firing at him. He told himself sternly to forget about his longed for cup of coffee.
"Come on, baby brother, you gotta wake up!"
Jack looked up to see a man he hadn't noticed before, English by the sound of it, running alongside the stretcher, holding the dying boys hand and gazing intently into his face as though his will alone could be enough to bring him back to life.
There were several rings on the mans fingers and his nails bore the same chipped black polish as the younger man. Dressed in a ripped black t-shirt and crumpled black jeans, with dark circles under his eyes, the man looked as if he hadn't slept or washed in days. Under his hagged face Jack could tell that this man was quite young too, maybe mid-twenties. The man looked up at Jack.
"Is he gonna be ok?"
Jack shook his head, "I don't know yet. You'll have to wait - "
"He's gotta be ok!" the man interrupted, desperation plain on his face, "You have to save him!"
Jack took in the mans dazed eyes and twitching hands and surmised that his patient wasn't the only one who had been indulging in illegal narcotics that day. Junkies. Jack hated dealing with junkies.
"He's my baby brother. I promised our parents I'd look after him."
Jack scowled at the jabbering man in front of him, "Well where were you while he was overdosing on heroin?"
The man grimaced, "I, I was…" he trailed off.
"You'll have to wait," Jack said shortly as he turned to the nurse who had appeared next to him. "We need a stomach pump and activated charcoal."
"What…" The man following the stretcher looked lost.
"I said you'll have to wait!" Jack snapped.
The man stopped abruptly, letting go of his younger brothers hand, and he stood in the hospital hallway helplessly, watching the stretcher wheel away.
Jack struggled to insert the tube down his patient's throat. Semi-conscious now, the boy was struggling weakly against him, whimpering softly. The nurse was trying to hold him still.
Jack exhaled angrily as the boy knocked his hand away again.
"What's his name?" Jack asked, wiping his forehead with the back of his arm.
The nurse consulted her clipboard.
Jack took Charlie by the shoulders and leant forward so their faces were close together.
"Charlie, listen. My name is Doctor Sheppard. You need to calm down so I can help you."
The boy seemed not to hear his words and tried to push him away but Jack was relentless, and after a few more attempts Jack managed to get the tube properly positioned.
The nurse took over while Jack checked his patients IV and then his vital signs. They looked ok. Not great but ok.
Liam had been sitting in the waiting room for nearly two hours. He was beginning to feel the itch. He needed another hit. He tapped his rings on his chairs armrest, but this brought on glares of annoyance from the other people waiting, and even the nurse in charge of the reception desk frowned at him.
Liam stopped and clenched his hands into fists. He ground his teeth, stood up and stretched, sat down again and tried to get interested in one of the outdated magazines that littered the table in front of him.
"Screw this," he muttered to himself, tossing the magazine back down on the table.
He waited until the nurse behind the desk was distracted before standing and easily slipping undetected through the doors. He had to find Charlie.
This wasn't meant to happen, Liam thought to himself as he wandered through the hospital corridors, sticking his head into each room he passed in search of his brother.
Charlie was never meant to get involved in drugs. Charlie was too bloody young and innocent. Charlie was the songwriter. Charlie was the music. Charlie wasn't meant to be collapsing in their hotel room, his fingernails and lips turning blue before his brothers eyes. Liam had thought he was dead.
Squeezing his eyes shut, Liam shook his head to force out the awful thought, and as he did he heard his brothers name.
He stood still, alert as he tried to figure out what room the voice had come from. Finally he moved to the closest room and pulled back the curtain.
It was a small cubical with simply a bed and a chair. An IV stand with a bag of fluid stood next to the bed, slowly draining down the tube and into the hand of the young man on the bed.
Charlie was being held almost in a sitting position by the doctor who had snapped at Liam earlier. Looking only half-conscious, Charlie was throwing up a thick black liquid into a plastic container the doctor was holding.
"What's wrong with him?" Liam gasped, appalled, "What is that?"
Jack glanced up at Liam, his eyebrows folded in a frown. "You're not supposed to be in here," he said sternly.
Liam ignored him, staring at his brother, heart racing.
"What is it?"
Jack sighed. "It's activated charcoal," he said briskly, "It absorbs the chemicals and reduces their toxicity."
"Charcoal?" Liam repeated dully.
Charlie managed to raise his head slightly.
Liam moved forward immediately and clasped his brothers hand, careful not to touch the IV.
"I'm here, baby brother. Don't worry, everything's gonna be fine."
"Don't leave me," Charlie mumbled.
"I wont," Liam said earnestly.
Jack frowned but didn't say anything.
Liam looked up at Jack, "He is gonna be ok, right?"
Jack sighed as he lowered Charlie back down on the bed.
"He'll live," he said grimly.
Until the next time, Jack thought. He'd lost count of how many times he'd seen the same heroin addicts treated for overdoses, then leave and keep using until they found themselves back in hospital.
Charlie was sweating and fidgeting when Jack next came in to check on him.
"How are you feeling?" Jack asked, even though it was fairly obvious that the boy in front of him was dying for a fix.
"When can I leave?" Charlie asked immediately, willing his hands to stop shaking.
Jack frowned at him. His shift was nearly over and he was eager to get home and relax.
"We'd like to keep you in for another 48 hours."
Charlie's eyes went wide, "That long?"
"It's standard procedure," Jack said, going through his usual motions of checking his patients vital signs and IV.
"But I feel fine now!" Charlie argued, his voice tinged with panic.
Jack thought about his long-awaited cup of coffee and the several other patients he had to check in with before he could go home.
"Believe me, I have better things to do rather than baby-sit junkies," he said distractedly.
Instantly the fight went out of the boy in front of him and he slumped back on the pillows, looking crestfallen.
Jack sighed, "Look, I'm sorry. My bedside manner leaves something to be desired, but you suffered an acute overdose of Acetomorphine - "
Jack noticed Charlie looking confused.
"It's an alternative name for heroin," he explained. "It's a powerful respiratory suppressant. We need to keep you in here so we can monitor your breathing."
Charlie remained downcast. "I didn't mean to turn out like this, you know. It's not… I'm in a band. And my brother… It just gets kinda crazy. I don't know how…"
Charlie trailed off and Jack gazed down at him. The boy seemed to be so lost, finding himself in a place with no idea how he had got there. Jack sighed and sat down in the chair next to Charlie's bed.
"You're 19, right?"
Charlie bit his lip, "I turn 20 next month."
Jack rubbed a hand over his tired eyes. "I know of some rehabilitation clinics," he said. "Good ones. I can refer you to one."
Charlie glanced at him uncertainly.
"I - "
He was cut off by the curtain of his cubical being pulled back.
Liam bounded into the room, eyes bright and pupils dilated. He nearly stumbled into Jack.
"You look like a dug up corpse!" Liam announced with a grin. "When are you getting out of here? We've got rehearsals."
Jack cleared his throat. "He needs to stay in for observation."
"What for?" Liam swept his gaze over Charlie. "He looks fine."
Jack shook his head, "Mr. Pace, your brother could have died."
The grin vanished from Liam's face. "He didn't though," he said defensively.
Jack frowned and turned his attention back to his patient.
"I'll get you some pamphlets for those clinics we were talking about," he said, standing up and leaving the cubical.
"What clinics?" Jack heard Liam ask as he walked away. "What about the band?"
Jack shook his head again. He felt sorry for the kid, who was in such a mess so young. He normally didn't have much sympathy for the junkies that ended up in the hospital. Not many of the staff did. They were notoriously rude and difficult to deal with, and even after all the help and support they received they'd go back to their drugs. It seemed almost pointless.
But Jack thought this one might be different. The boy seemed innocent enough, just confused and lost down the wrong path in life. Jack thought he might be able to guide him back to the right path; he might even be able to save him.
Jack gathered up the pamphlets with a feeling of hope and made his way back to his patients cubical, thinking about what he could say to make this boy want to save himself, and what he could do to make the road to recovery more manageable for him.
But Jacks hopes were dashed when he pulled back the cubical curtains. The room was empty.
The young man and his brother were gone, leaving no trace to show that they had ever been there, albeit an IV stand that dripped fluid onto the floor.
Jack stood there for a long moment, gazing at the empty bed, feeling his stomach sink as it became clear to him that the boy had left and was probably halfway to his next hit, despite the fact that his last one had nearly killed him.
Jack knew that he had been foolish to get his hopes up, when experience had taught him otherwise, but somehow he felt that he had failed.
Jack screwed up the pamphlets in his hand and tossed them in the bin.
Almost three years later, when the plane he was flying on crashed onto an island, Jack recognized Charlie amongst the other survivors almost immediately. His hair no longer had red streaks in it but he had the same chipped black nail polish that stood out clearly in Jacks memory.
If Jack had been a man of faith he would have wondered what forces had landed him on an island with the same young man whose face had haunted him throughout the years, but fate and destiny had never held much weight with Jack so he simply marveled at the coincidence of it.
When the young man mentioned his band, DriveSHAFT, Jack just shook his head, thinking back to the boy in the hospital bed trying to explain his addiction.
Jack watched Charlie vanish into the jungle and come back with glazed eyes, wandering aimlessly around the beach. Jack wondered vaguely what would happen if Charlie overdosed here on the island but decided not to think about it. Surely his supply would run out before that happened.
Not long after, Jack caught the young man searching through the medical supplies, and Jack noticed how his hands shook and how beads of sweat glistened on his forehead.
And Jack said nothing, until the two of them found themselves trapped in a cave-in together. Jack was thinking of asking Charlie how long it had been since his last fix and maybe admitting that he had treated him for an overdose a few years back, but Charlie beat him to it.
"I know you recognize me," Charlie said into the dark silence of the cave.
Jack was stunned at this sudden announcement and forgot what he'd been about to say.
"I remember you too," Charlie continued, fiddling with his DS ring and not looking at Jack. "I'm sorry."
"What for?" Jack asked.
"For leaving the hospital that day." Charlie glanced up at him. "I wasn't going to. I just needed…"
Charlie trailed off and started again.
"Liam, my brother, he said if I went to rehab, the band… We'd just started to make it big…"
Jack shook his head, "You don't need to explain Charlie."
Charlie was quiet for a moment.
"Why didn't you say something before?"
Jack thought for a while and chose his words carefully.
"We all get a fresh start on this island. Who you were and what you did before doesn't matter here."
Charlie peered at him through the dark.
"You really think that?"
Jack nodded. Once again he thought about the extraordinary synchronicity of it all – that the very boy who he had been unable to shake from his mind, wondering where he was and whether he was still alive, if he had ever kicked the drugs or if he was still living in a haze of heroin, was sitting right in front of him, dropped onto the same island in the middle of no where. Jack felt his feelings of hope reawaken.
Maybe there was something to this fate idea after all.