"It's just too comfortable."
The brunette stood up and looked down at the blonde before whispering, "It's just comfortable, there is nothing new…"
"So this is it?" The blonde looked at her, tears pooling in her blue eyes. She watched the dark eyes whose tears had already started to fall.
"This is it," the brunette confirmed and watched with a dull ache in her chest as the blonde shook her head while picking up her bag.
She stood up and went to the front door before turning to the taller woman.
"Calliope, this is all you… just so you know."
Callie woke with a start and groaned as the strong sunlight hit her eyes with sheer force. She rolled and buried her face in the pillow, escaping the directness of the light. She let her senses adjust to being awake, inhaling the scents of the pillow. She smiled as she heard the sound of children laughing and playing. She stood up, wrapping the sheet around her naked body, and went to the window. It was hot but it was dry and the air smelled dusty, but she was used to it. She giggled as she watched the children play soccer on the street below her and smiled.
"Toni! The ball!"
The soccer ball darted over heads and continued its speedy journey down the street. Callie laughed as she watched the young boy chase after it and the other children heard her chuckles and looked up at her. They waved and greeted her and Callie was reminded of her attire. She quickly slipped into the shower, getting used to the coldness of the water against her warm skin. She dressed quickly and stepped into the kitchen where her colleague was sat reading the newspaper and drinking coffee.
"It's fresh," he barked, his voice gravely.
"And good morning to you too Felipe," Callie joked.
"Our budget has been cut again," Felipe said as an apology.
"Didn't know we had a budget to cut," Callie answered whilst sipping her coffee. She smiled as she inhaled it. Coffee is always coffee.
Felipe laughed, "Jorge has gone to shout at them."
"Ah yes, because that is an effective way of doing things," Callie nodded as she walked out. "Does he remember the last time he did that?"
"The two weeks in prison?" Felipe smiled. "Of course he doesn't."
Callie laughed and left the small apartment and descended down the stairs into their work space. The clinic was supposed to be a hospital. In fact, it was called San Bartholomew Hospital, except it consisted of three rooms. One room – the ward – consisted of two beds and a chair, another room – the surgery – held a table and the basics of surgical implements and the third room – the treatment centre – had two old benches, a desk and a chair. This was where most of their work took place, and this was where Callie stood as she watched the fourth and last member of their staff, Rita, talk quietly to an old man.
She stepped outside and greeted the children who were intensely involved in their game of soccer. She noticed one child not playing and grinned. She walked over to the stoop where the young boy was sitting and sat next to him. She kissed him softly on the forehead.
"Morning Paco," and smiled as the boy mumbled a morning, engrossed in his book. She snatched the book of him, and smiled as she read the front cover. "You learning medicine now."
Paco smiled shyly, "I like it."
"You going to help me today," Callie asked and laughed when the young boy's dark eyes lit up. "Tell your brother."
She watched the little boy chase after his big brother, "Toni!"
She went inside and placed her empty cup on the desk.
"Am going on rounds," Callie informed Rita and watched as Paco skipped into the room and went straight to the cupboard. "You got your kit, Dr. Paco."
The little boy nodded and wrapped his stethoscope around his neck, and lug her bag onto the floor. She went to pick it up.
"No, no… I'll take it," Paco ordered and picked up the bag with all his strength before dropping it. He pouted at it. "Okay, you take it."
"We need to make you stronger," Callie laughed as she threw the bag over her shoulder.
"I am strong," Paco announced, flexing his thin arms.
"You're a scrawny kid," Callie stated as she walked out, followed by her young intern. She watched the little boy skip ahead of her. He was smaller than an average eight year old. But that was not surprising. He was being raised in the poverty-stricken area of La Paz. His father was lost to drugs and his mother raised them on the salary of a prostitute. He and his brother Toni spent their days on the street, so to not intrude on their mother's workspace.
When Callie first arrived at the hospital, she would notice the little boy peering through the window watching them work, fascination in his big dark eyes. Yet, every time, she approached him, he would run away. This would continue for weeks until on one occasion his older brother dislocated his shoulder. Paco ran to the clinic with tears his big eyes, pulling at the brunette's hand but refusing to speak. She relented and allowed herself be dragged to the injured older boy. She recognised the dislocation immediately.
She eased herself next to the older boy who was struggling not to cry.
"What's your name?" She asked as she studied the injury.
"Toni," the boy mumbled.
"I'm Callie, and who is this?" she gestured to the small boy.
"My brother Paco," Toni informed her. "Don't touch it."
"I am just going to stroke it… so do you go to school?"
Toni shook his head, "We have no money. I work on the farms."
Callie frowned, "How old are you?"
"What do you like doing?"
"I play soccer. I want to be a big soccer star." Toni stated with ambition.
"Really, and you Paco?"
"He doesn't like talking to strangers," Toni stated, as he watched the younger boy wipe his dirty face with the neck of his torn t-shirt.
"That's good… when I was your age, I was told not to talk to strangers," Callie informed as she placed a hand under the boy's elbow. "But I like talking, so I will keep talking… so where do you play soccer?"
"Wherever we can and the police don't chase us. But we don't have a pitch, so there's never a real goal… OW!!!!!!!!" Toni screamed as he felt the pop in his shoulder and glared at the brunette before realising the pain was no more. He grinned, "Hey, you fixed it!"
Callie laughed, "Yes, I did."
She glanced over at Paco who was smiling widely, dimples adorning his cheeks, and she felt a kick in her stomach with a simultaneous joy in her heart. "I need to put your arm in a sling now, so let's get you to the clinic… and… you boys hungry?"
Toni nodded and stood up whilst Paco ran forward and grabbed Callie's hand. Since then, Paco became Callie's young intern.
"We're here, Callie," Paco yelled as he reached an old blue door, knocking Callie back into the present tense. She watched as the boy knocked on the door. A young girl answered the door and glanced shyly at Callie before stepping aside. Callie stepped in and her working day began.
"Is Hogwarts a real place?"
Callie looked up from her paperwork at the little boy and smiled, "Maybe… we will have to go to Kings Cross and find out one day."
Paco grinned again, his dimples lighting up his dark skin before returning his head to the pages of the book.
"Still can't believe he is reading Harry Potter?" Felipe grumbled as he picked up the phone.
"Were you expecting Shakespeare and Dickens?" Callie quipped.
"If I knew you would give him that to read I would have discouraged you from teaching him to read." Felipe answered before returning his attention to the phone.
"I have returned," Jorge announced as he slammed the door open, before grinning and ruffling Paco's hair. "Hey there kid… you a doctor yet? Because we're going to need one."
"Jesus, Jorge!" Callie yelled as she took in the black eye and the bleeding cuts. "Sit down!"
She pushed him onto the chair before looking at him, "Are you drunk?"
Jorge laughed before looking into the dark brown eyes watching him, "I am Dr. Torres, I am drunk and I have broken ribs."
Callie shook her head before taking the wet cloths Paco offered her, unsurprised by his automatic presence. She dabbed the cuts. "You have got to stop yelling at the board, every time they say no. You're lucky, you're still alive."
"You know they don't take us seriously… we treat the scum of the earth." Jorge looked at the little boy. "Hear that Paco. You're scum."
"Jorge!" Callie slapped the older man. She watched Paco run away. "You're an ass. Go and lie down. Sleep it off!"
She ran out into the darkened street, "Paco!"
She could hear the quiet cries and turned around the corner of the clinic. She saw the little boy crouched against the walls. She slid down the wall, next to him and wrapped an arm around him, pulling him into a hug. "Shush baby, Jorge is just an ass! You are not scum."
She rocked him, allowing him to cry. She could hear distant gun shots and no longer was surprised to hear them. When she first arrived in La Paz, everything frightened her, but now it was the norm. The shouting, the guns, the loud engines, the noise of every night was part of her life now, yet she was luckier than the little boy she was cradling, because she can remember a life without it, though she avoided remembering them.
She does however remember the phone call to Paolo. She had phoned him on her last night in Seattle, not knowing it was going to be her last night there. He had told her about San Bartholomew and it needed someone who specialised in traumatic injuries. She had not known that Paolo had more than work-related interests at heart in convincing her to come and join the small staff for no pay. He tried, she rejected, he left and she stayed. There was nothing to return to though. She picked up the now sleeping boy and brought him back into the clinic, and laid him on the bed in the ward. She kissed him softly on the forehead, and returned to the treatment room to wait for Toni to come and get him. She glared at Jorge who shrugged.
"I didn't mean him…"
"I am ignoring you," Callie said as she returned to her paperwork. "You're such a pig!"
Jorge snorted before struggling to get up and turning to the brunette, "And you are beautiful, Calliope."
Callie looked up, her eyes filled with anger and hurt.
"Don't call me that," she whispered.
She watched him study her and then walk away. She turned back to her paperwork and frowned. She could feel those memories return and she mumbled her own name back to her, "Calliope."
She shook her head knowing that tonight would be another restless night.