This popped into my head after the May 11-13 episodes and includes the spoiler that has not come into being (not yet, you never know) of Luke telling Noah he's the only man for him. This was how I wanted that to play out. So spoilers for all that. I also didn't send this to a beta because I still have not gotten into the habit of sending my one-shots to a beta. Whoops? I swear I'll do better in the future!
Oh, and I'm also pretending that the set dressers were not running out of money and am giving Noah the haircut he should have had before his surgery. I'm just saying.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize.
At first it had been hard to look at Noah: the white bandages covering his head stood out like a gleaming banner pronouncing the fresh wounds on a shaved head that lay beneath. It would be a shock to see Noah with no hair and a very kind nurse had warned him the hair may never grow back properly. It was a petty thing to worry about, Noah's hair, but Luke was afraid if that changed, maybe it meant Noah would too. The breathing tube overtook most of Noah's face and with the heart monitor wires snaking out from under the hospital gown he looked like some sort of alien creature.
The steady beeps that filled the otherwise silent room should have soothed Luke, but with each new blip he grew more and more agitated. He needed out of here, needed to get away from anything that reminded him of Noah or Reid so he could clear his head and think. Luke needed to sit and sort through the last months of his life but no matter where he went another distraction always seemed to pop up. When he was here, with Noah, he could only focus on his recovery. With Reid...The neurosurgeon clouded his brain and made it impossible for Luke to think of anything other than, well, making out. And other things. When he had dated Noah, each stage of their relationship fell neatly into clearly-labeled boxes: unavailable crush, boyfriend, one true love, heartache. With Reid, nothing went where it was supposed to, feelings never shifted in the direction he wanted. As Reid said, it's complicated, but that didn't necessarily translate into something bad.
Shaking his head slightly, Luke stared at Noah's prone figure on the bed, feeling as though he might explode from it all. He gripped Noah's hand tightly, scrabbling for some peace. The filmmaker had been his anchor, had kept him grounded but now...now Luke felt even more lost the harder he tried to hold on. It didn't help that his lips still tingled with Reid's kisses, his skin stung with the burn of Reid's touch or that Luke's fingers ached for the chance to tug at the damp curls of Reid's hair again.
Guilt bubbled up inside him and Luke abruptly released Noah's hand, as though the unconscious young man could feel what Luke felt, before rubbing his palms on his jeans. Things with Noah hadn't been easy or simple, just idealistic. They were each other's first in almost every way and with that they thought came a sanctity that would shelter them from anything. And it did, for a time, but looking back Luke wondered if Ameera hadn't started cracking that imagined protection, allowing the stress of following outside forces shatter it to a million pieces.
With a sigh, Luke rested an elbow on Noah's bed, his eyes roaming over the other man's face, waiting to feel the butterflies such a sight use to create. He waited in vain.
"Oh Noah," Luke sighed, his eyes flickering around the room. Even though Noah couldn't respond, Luke still couldn't look him in the face for this conversation. "Things would be so much easier if I could sit here and say how much I love you and that you are the only man for me." He returned his gaze to the unresponsive Noah, ignoring the voice in his head whispering "coward." Because who else would say this to someone in a coma? "And if this surgery had happened right after the accident, I probably would have. But things have changed, I've changed. I meant what I said to Reid, you will always be a part of me, but I'm starting to see now how unhealthy our relationship had become, for both of us. And now..." he trailed off. Unconscious or no, Luke could not say the next part out loud, the part he should be saying to Reid. But he felt Reid pulling away even as he told Luke he wouldn't give up. It was probably too late.
"Now....what?" A new voice asked, making Luke jump as he turned to face it. Reid stood in the doorway, one hand gripping the handle and the other Noah's chart. His face, a face that held so many soft and caring emotions less than an hour ago, was hard and unreadable.
Luke stood, glancing back at Noah briefly. "Not here, okay?" He asked softly. He wasn't about to have this conversation over the unconscious body of his ex-boyfriend. Reid studied him for a moment before stepping away from the door and walking across the hall to the empty room. Luke followed.
"What were you about to say, Luke?" Reid asked as Luke closed the door, his arms crossed protectively across his chest. "Now.....what?
"Now..." Luke licked his lips, their encounter in Reid and Katie's apartment rushing back to him in full force, making it hard to breath. He shut his eyes briefly, pretending he was alone so he could say this without stuttering. "Now I think I want to explore whatever it is going on between us." Luke opened his eyes, Reid's face still closed off. "You make me feel alive, desired and when I was with you today I felt like I couldn't breathe if we stopped kissing." Something flickered across Reid's face, encouraging Luke to take a step forward. "When I'm near you, I can't think of anything else but touching you: your skin, your hair, your..." he inhaled sharply when Reid moved closer. "I feel like I will die if I don't touch you. It drives me crazy, I feel like I'm suffocating with or without you and it's the most amazing feeling." They stood within mere inches of each other and Reid reached out to cup Luke's face, his eyes fluttering close at the contact.
"You have no idea how long I've waited for you to say that," Reid muttered, his voice low and needy. He leaned in and Luke could feel his breath mingling with his own.
"But," Luke said, his eyes still closed though he could feel the tension in Reid's body and when Luke spoke, their lips touched and it took all he had not to chase his words with kisses. "It will never work with Noah still between us. I need to end it with him for good and so do you." The young man opened his eyes but they were so close he could only focus on the doctor's cheek. "Once he's healthy you have to give his case to someone else." Luke couldn't see the emotions running through Reid's eyes but eventually the older man nodded, their skin rubbing together and Luke's breath caught at the tiny explosions of sparks beneath his skin where they touched.
Suddenly Reid's pager beeped, the mechanical high-pitched noise jolting both men from the bubble of tension they had created. Reid glanced down at it quickly before meeting Luke's eyes, his face hard once more. He didn't have to speak, Luke knew it was Noah as the doctor brushed passed him without another glance. It wasn't a rejection, Luke knew, it was Reid putting his emotions in a box so he could concentrate on his patient and nothing else. The younger man stood in the empty room for a moment, clinging to the last warm remains of the moment they just shared before stepping into the cold white hallway to watch anxiously through the glass as the man he desired worked to save the life of the man he once loved.
Please let me know what you think!