AN: OK this is set after the last episode of 1909. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to the BBC, I don't own Casualty in the 1900's or any of its characters. If I did I wouldn't have so much student debt.
The door opened but he didn't care. If it wasn't Ethel then he culdn't care less as to who else was in the reciving room at this hour. He was staring at his bootlaces when the occupant of the doorway spoke.
'A Pneumothorax is a build up of air or oxygen in the Thoracic Cavity. It can be caused by either lind disease, or in the case of Mr. _ an impact to the chest from either a fall or an object. The symptoms are a pain on one side of the chest and breathlessness, among others. In some cases a Pneumothorax can be left and it shall clear itself up, however in the case of a tension Pneumothorax as exhibited by Mr. _ the air has to be removed, otherwise complications such as a loss of consciousness, leading to death can occur from the pressure. This can be done by placing a open syringe in the third intercostals space which allows the trapped air to escape.'
Only then did the doctor look up from his bootlaces. It was his Ethel, her voice taking on her doctors tone. So confident not a hint of questioning; she was telling, not asking. And he loved it, more than anything.
'No,' she interrupted, 'Just let me say what I need to say,and then you can reply, please.'
Millas' only response was to nod his head. Walking further into the room she began again.
'You were right as much as it pains me to say it, because well you know me, but you were right. I shouldn't have given up studying for my dream. I know that now but you have to believe me I though it was for the best. You said that it seemed that ever since my brother died that I had given up and I had but not for the reasons you think.
Nursing is a lonely profession, you're surrounded by people all day but you always have to put in an act you can't be yourself. Then after shift, your suddenly on your own. You help alot with that, but no matter how much time we spend together during the day, by curfew we have to go our separate ways. Me to the nurses home and you back to your house. I was always aware of it but the death of my brother has made me feel it more acutely.
It didn't take long for me to start blaming my ambition to be a doctor for my current state. I looked at the future and all I saw was more of the same. Nurses will shun me doctors will laugh at me and Iwill be alone. I felt that it was keeping us apart, and your comment however well meant it may have been about me spending the night with Mr Grey was the final straw.
But as I have previously said you were right. I missed the studying. I hated the fact that I wasn't doing what I wanted. I felt even more lonely in the evenings and then tonight, treating the patients, diagnosing the cause it felt right. As a nurse you care for the patient, make sure their comfortable, clean, healthy but you never get to treat the patient. And I realised today more that ever that that is what I want to do. I want to treat, I want the stethoscope around my neck and I also want, no need you. If you'll have me that is. And even thought I have been severely reprimanded by matron, am banned from the receiving room for a month and she is threatening to take my books away. It still feels right.'
Millas was shocked, he had never seen Ethel so vulnerable and he couldn't help but fall a little bit more in love with her. She wasn't crying or anything, that wouldn't be Ethel she always maintained a compose exterior, but she was being totally and utterly truthful and opening up to him, which meant more than words could ever say.
Standing up he walked over to Ethel who was now sitting on the edge of the table in the centre of the exam room.
'Can I speak now.'
She couldn't help but grin 'Yes I suppose you can.'
'Thank you, and I'm sorry.'
'Thank you for telling me the truth and I'm sorry for not realising how you were feeling. I promise you will always have me even if you don't want me at times. And believe me, I want you to be a doctor's wife, THIS doctors wife, more than you know. But I also want to be a doctor's husband. I know you Ethel, you would never settle or be happy unless you have succeeded or giving it a bloody damn good shot.'
'So what do we do now?'
'Well in a moment I am going to kiss you. Which should take up a fair amount of time. Then we carry on as usual. Together we will prepare you for your exams all the while I'll court you in a minute that such befits you a lady such as yourself.'
'Hey less of the sarcasm, and great plan, only one little thing. Matron's orders.'
'Yes, oh. You really shouldn't have spoken to her like that, and you definitely shouldn't have called me Ethel in front of her.'
'I know, I'll go and apologise in the morning, though I don't see why. I only told the truth.'
'Yes which you and I both know, but she has the power to make our lives miserable, and she would. Now Ada said leave it a week or so then she'll tell matron she needs me back in the receiving room, but that's the best she can do. She's not exactly in matron's good books either at the moment.'
'Well, we'll have to take what we can get. We'll still see each other even if we are not working together. Now enough talking it's getting late and we are both tired, and as much as I want to I will not be able to carry you and put you to bed if you fall asleep. So -.'
'So..' interrupted Ethel, 'I do believe that there is something you owe me.'
'I can't seem to remember anything. Are you sure?'
'Oh yes I'm sure. Are you certain you can't remember anything? You wouldn't leave a debt outstanding now would you?'
The teasing tone in her voice was light and airy but soon teasing wasn't enough. Throughout their exchange their eyes locked and their faces drew closer until they were mere millimetres apart. Together they closed the gap, each revelling in the completeness they felt.
It would be hard work, being together and trying to strive for their future, against society and the rules of their professions, but together they might just make it.