Ain't gonna lie. I've never written these characters before. On top of that, I haven't watched the last few months of ATWT episodes. They're recorded, I just haven't had the time to. I randomly came across spoilers about ten days ago and I started writing this almost immediately. I only knew base facts so it deviates from ATWT. A good deal. Which for some of you, may be a good thing? I think it was for me, haha. Living in denial, thank you very muuuuch :P As I said, I've only watched episodes up to April. So any inaccuracies can be blamed on that. And I may write more. We'll see. Just depends if it's received well ;)
It happens quickly- too quickly. He's standing there and Reid's by his side and then Chris is flat lining and his life depends on his new heart being there now and Reid is offering- and another blink and he's gone, off to get the heart himself and bring it back in time for the transplant before something happens.
Logically Luke knows this but there was barely a moment to say anything to Reid- like be careful or I'll be here- and he feels unsettled. Like something bad's about to happen.
Time lags then, drags on like something's holding the hands of his watch from ticking merrily away like they ordinarily do- excluding during business meetings, of course. He watches Katie pace, tears in her eyes, and feels like she does, even though he doesn't know why. Reid is fine, right? He's just racing off to go get a heart and he's a competent driver but- but...
His eyes close as he remembers Reid crashing his car into Kim's months and months ago- what made him stay in Oakdale despite his best efforts- and his fingers are digging into his palm hard enough that he thinks he's about to break skin. "Please," he mumbles.
"Did you say something, Luke?" Alison asks, eyes shining as she too waits. Chris and her may be distant history but she still cares. The phone at the nurse's desk rings.
"No," he sighs, trying not to draw blood as his hands protest. Ring.
Kim and Bob look as one at the orderly who smiles sheepishly at them and finally answers the phone, her brows immediately drawing together as she listens. "I... yes. I understand. We'll be ready for you," she manages, her voice oddly distant. She moves away from the desk and joins their fragmented little cluster.
Luke isn't sure why but he draws closer as she talks quietly to the Chief of Staff. "There's been an accident," he hears and his ears begin buzzing. "A train-" his eyes well up and he loses track of what she's saying for a moment. He only refocuses when she says what he's been dreading. "...Dr. Oliver's car. Ambulance and emergency vehicles are on their way."
"No," he gasps, screams, whispers- whatever volume he just spoke at, everyone looks at him as he shakes his head in denial. "No!"
Margo is waiting with Tom and she gets called to the scene within moments too to organize road blocks and keep passerbys from holding up rescue efforts. Luke snaps out of his stupor- how did he end up sitting down with Alison's arm comfortingly around his shoulders?- and races after her, not even paying attention to the small squeak Ali makes when he disappears. "Wait! Wait! Margo! Detective!" He's at her car before she can peel off.
"Luke-" she blinks, startled and a little worried by the crazed look in his eyes.
"Please," he begs. "Please let me come- I need to be there. Reid, he- he's-" He's frustrated and trying not to cry and the words just don't want to come.
Something about the look on his face reminds her of Casey and she nods sharply. "Get in and do what I tell you when we get there. Do not make me regret this," she tells him, having no time to argue with the devastated young man.
"Thank you," he half-sighs, half-sobs, slumping down in the passenger seat as she finally speeds off.
Her radio is going throughout the ride, some of which Luke understands, most of which he doesn't. She ignores all of it until something's said about route 95 and jaws of life, which has her grabbing for the radio as she drives one handed. "Roger that," she says smoothly. "ETA two minutes."
Luke swallows. "What was that? Jaws of life?" He starts to tremble as he thinks about what that could mean- the condition Reid could be in. No, no... no... we- we were just getting close. Not... not this, not now... why did he have to-?
His torturous thoughts are interrupted as Margo begins to explain. "I'm not going to lie to you. It's serious. By what I'm hearing, the car's totaled to the extent they can't safely just pull him out in the normal fashion. So they're bringing in the jaws of life. We're almost there now and I want you to stay back. I know you're going to want to be at Reid's side from the start but he's pinned and the workers are going to need space so please, stay by the car or I'll be forced to cuff you to it."
He barely focuses on her words as they come upon the scene and all he can see is flashing lights as the ambulance waits, parked at an angle near the tracks, for its patient. Police cars and an emergency response vehicle are nearby as well. "What's the status?" he hears Margo yell as soon as his brain starts working enough for him to pull himself out of the car.
"Still working on the car!" a faceless, nameless worker calls back. "We're nearly there."
"What about the heart?" he says distantly. He's barely even certain what he's saying, but repeats it, louder, after licking his lips futilely. He feels dizzy and sick- he can see the bent metal of Reid's car, pressed against the train that's so so much bigger than the car. He wonders if Reid is trapped in there, conscious and scared- his claustrophobia is so bad- but he hopes that his lover remembers- just think about the wonders of the human brain, everything will be fine, like it was last time when they were stuck in the elevator months back.
Margo says something to one of the EMTs and they approach the car hesitantly, avoiding the jaws of life to crawl onto the hood of the car. Luke holds his breath as they look inside, wanting to see what they can see- not stand far away and wait on tether hooks to find out how Reid is- but feeling nauseous and shaky at the very thought of it, too. The man abruptly reaches in through the shattered windshield and pulls out a cooler, Margo slumping in relief as they find out it appears to be unharmed. "It's a miracle," the befuddled EMT mumbles as they put it into the ambulance for quicker transport to the hospital.
Luke shakes his head, tears trickling down his cheeks. "No... It's Reid." He rocks back and forth, his side brushing against Margo's car as he waits and waits and waits.
Reid comes to to a full-body ache that's unlike anything he's felt before. Every breath hurts, every heart beat throbs against his protesting rib cage. "Oh God," he moans breathily, barely even recognizing his own voice. Even rolling his eyes around hurts and he swallows down nausea, as he realizes how pinned in he is by metal and pain. Think, Oliver. THINK. His fingers twitch around something hard and cold and he opens his eyes once more, wondering when they slipped closed. Oh no, the heart, he remembers with a flash, how he was racing to get back to Oakdale and was on the outskirts when he heard a train and- well aware that Chris didn't have time- raced towards the tracks just for his car to choose then to die, inching to a stop right in the middle of the train's path. He never did like the necessary evil of cars, after years of dealing with accident victims and hit and run sufferers. To be a victim himself, well, if he didn't hurt so much, he'd almost laugh.
To his amazement, the cooler seems intact which means the heart may be safe as well. He's shattered, the car's a mess, but his mission is still doable- the heart is all that matters in this moment. For Katie, for Bob, even for Chris himself. He shudders and cries out as fresh pain stabs through him, his head swimming with the need to fall unconscious. No, I can't. Not yet... need to get... He's struggling to unclench his right hand from the cooler, remembering that his cell phone is in his jacket's right pocket but oh God every movement feels like heated knives stabbing into his skin and- and...
"Hey buddy?" he hears suddenly and jerks, immediately crying out in pain. "Don't move, ok? I've called this in, help will be here soon."
Not soon enough, he thinks, his eyes drifting closed.
He's not sure how much time has passed when he comes back to but he sees the glow of emergency lights reflecting off of the train and the car and so many other places, things seem to be swirling around so he closes his eyes desperately and just listens.
"What's the status?" a familiar female voice calls out, just barely hearable over the nonstop buzzing in his head.
"Still working on the car! Nearly there!" he hears faintly and almost sobs in relief- the sooner they get the cooler out, the better. He has little hope for himself but if he can finish what he set out to do, then he can-
"What about the heart?" echoes softly up towards him and his eyes shoot open. Luke. Luke is here. Oh God. His face crumbles as he wonders what he was thinking, so willing to give up when Luke is feet away, watching and waiting and hoping, his at times annoying brand of optimism refusing to let him think the worst, to let him give up on Reid.
Abruptly the buzzing cuts off and Reid swallows as silence takes over everything. He thinks for a minute maybe he's died after all but then the car shifts around him and he looks up, finding a face peering into the busted windshield. He does the only thing he can, lifts his arms bit by bit until the cooler is resting against the warped dashboard, within reach of the man staring down at him.
"Dear God," the EMT mutters, trying to carefully pry his frozen fingers from it. "Hang in there, ok? We'll have you out soon."
He struggles to nod, gasping as his grip is finally broken and the cooler is eased away from him. As soon as it's gone, his head falls back and he tries not to cry. His mission is done and he can let go now, escape this head-to-toe agony... but... Luke. His worthless hands twitch as the incessant buzzing resumes nearby. He thinks it should be a lot louder but everything's muted now, hidden behind a blanket of pain as he clings to consciousness, despite how scared he is right now- his claustrophobia making everything seem a thousand times worse now that he doesn't have protecting the cooler to focus on.
The sun beating down on his car isn't the cause of the sweat dripping down his forehead, nor the cause of his uneven breathing. He gasps in desperately, his head bobbing slowly against the headrest with each breath. Just... think about a happy place, he remembers Luke saying back when they were stuck in that damn elevator. He closes his eyes and tries to focus, his breathing easing slowly as he envisions standing in the hall of Memorial, Luke in front of him. It's a conversation they had just a bit before Reid left to get the heart- earlier Luke had finally told him he loved him and Reid somehow found the courage to admit that he shared the younger man's feelings before leaving for Bay City. All he could think at the time was how happy Luke looked, meticulously memorizing every inch of his face.
Luke watches as the police car bearing the heart drives away, sirens blaring, before turning and locating the EMT worker who had gotten close enough to free the heart from the wreckage- close enough to see Reid's condition. "How is he?" he demands, chasing after the EMT and ignoring Margo's attempts at stopping him. "Reid? Was- was he conscious? Please, you have to tell me."
The EMT locks eyes with a disapproving looking Margo, who hesitates momentarily before nodding. "He was conscious," the man hedges, his dark blue eyes looking troubled as he turns to face Luke. "He held the cooler out to me. But I'm not going to lie to you, he was... very weak."
"How weak?" Luke asks, his eyes shining as he looks back towards the car, fear seizing his heart as he waits for the EMT to say something.
"I... I had to pry his fingers off of the cooler," he admits after a moment. "He was unable..." He cuts off as Luke sags suddenly, his shoulders slumping with this news. "Whoa, whoa. Kid, come on, don't-"
"I'm ok," Luke mumbles, blinking away the sudden dizziness that had overcome him. "Oh God, Reid." He abruptly regains his strength and stands straight as the EMTs start moving around.
"We're through!" the workers call out, scrambling to get Reid out of the opening the jaws of life left in the mangled car. They work fast, one second he's still inside and the next Luke is watching as he's being placed carefully on a stretcher.
He feels like throwing up as soon as he gets close enough to look- Reid's hair is caked down with blood from a head wound, the rest of his face covered in small nicks and scrapes- the windshield shattered, Luke remembers in horror-, his right wrist is swollen and bruising already and his pantleg is soaked through in blood. He thinks for a second about what kind of injuries the doctor's clothes could be hiding and starts shaking. "Reid," he chokes out, stumbling closer and ignoring the EMTs who try to keep him back. "Reid. It's me, it's Luke. You hang on, alright? I'm- I'm here, I'm right here. You're going to be fine, I promise."
"Sir, we need space to work so we can get him in the ambulance as soon as possible," a sympathetic looking woman tells him, her fingers curling around his arm. "Please."
"Reid, I love you," he calls out before allowing her to drag him away.
Margo is waiting for him, a sad look in her eyes. "Come on, Luke, we'll wait in the car until they're ready, then we'll follow them to Memorial," she urges, pushing him towards the car.
He shakes his head. "Reid needs me," he whispers.
She takes a deep breath. "I understand you want to stay with him but his condition- well, the EMTs will need all the space they can get to work on him in the ambulance. You understand, right, Luke?"
He nods numbly, eyes drifting back to the totalled car still wrapped around the train, workers clustered around it trying to clear the area. He doesn't look away until the ambulance sirens blare, the transport vehicle taking off quickly towards Oakdale.
"Here we go," Margo says with a somber look at her passenger, peeling off after it.
They reach the hospital in record time and Margo heads inside as Luke lurks by the ambulance, waiting for Reid to be wheeled out. When he finally is, he looks worse, the cuts even more obvious now against his pale skin. An oxygen mask is pressed against his face and his shirt is sliced open, revealing bruises and more cuts across his chest. "Oh God," he mumbles, trailing after the procession as they make their way into the hospital.
An already exhausted looking Katie stumbles closer, tears in her eyes and Luke shakes his head at her, not really thinking as he blocks her from the stretcher holding his too vulnerable looking boyfriend. "Don't even- don't come any closer." He sounds dangerous, close to the breaking point and she pauses, flashing a frightened look at him as Henry walks up and supports her.
"Luke-" Henry attempts but Luke roughly shakes his head.
"No, not you either. You don't like him anyway, so just- just stay away." He turns from them and watches as the hospital workers take over from the EMTs in a flurry of activity, one of the many doctors yelling out orders to clear an operating room for as soon as they've stabilized him a bit further. He blankly follows to outside the room they push Reid into and rests his head against the cool glass, praying quietly in a way he hasn't since Noah's surgery. Please, please...
"Luke," he hears softly from behind him and turns to find Bob staring at him sadly. "Mind sitting down?" He looks horrified and rushes to glance back into Reid's room but Bob grabs his arm, gently squeezing. "No, no, I'm sorry. There's no news, I just think you look dead on your feet and should sit down for a minute. Look, these chairs- we can see Reid's room from them. I promise, I won't take you away from him." He squeezes his shoulder once more before leading him over.
As they sink into the chairs, Luke crashes the back of his head against the wall and shudders as he remembers how blood-soaked Reid's clothes were, all the cuts and injuries mocking him as he looked him over. They sit in silence for what feels like hours before Luke finally chokes out, "Chris?"
Bob nods quietly from next to him. "The heart arrived- they're in the middle of preforming the heart transplant right now. Barring any unforeseen difficulties, it should go well."
Luke barely listens past the heart arrived, his hands fisting around the rough fabric of his jeans. "Reid did it," he mumbles, closing his eyes around a stream of tears.
"Yes he did," Bob agrees softly, the appreciation and sadness flooding his voice. Reid and he may have had issues, especially when Reid first arrived in Oakdale, but a mutual respect has grown out of it and the neurosurgeon risked his life to save his son's life, even after months of arguing and insults... not to mention Chris his rival for being the Chief of Staff when Bob retires. It says a lot about Reid's true nature underneath his brash, sarcastic exterior.
Luke releases a shuddering breath and rocks forward, tangling his fingers in his hair. "God... he looked so fragile," he mumbles, unused to seeing the man like that. Even when held by claustrophobia or talking of losing a patient, he's never looked so broken.
Bob rests a hand between Luke's shoulder blades and leans forward. "He's a strong, stubborn man. You just keep believing in him, Luke. We'll do our part, you have to believe he'll do his."
"Most of the staff here can't stand him," he whispers, blinking away tears.
Bob shifts and grips his jaw gently. "You listen to me." As Luke looks over at him, a little bit of regret shining in his glazed over eyes at his words, the eldest Hughes smiles, shakes his head slightly. "He's one of us now. We may not get along with him all the time but while he's in that OR, he's going to get the best care possible. I promise you that."
"Ok," Luke whispers, trusting Bob easily.
He feels like he's weighed down to the bed, an incessant beeping by his ear aggravating him as he slowly regains consciousness. Opening his eyes feels like the most arduous task ever, his fingers twitching as he finally flutters them open enough to get some sense of what's going on around him. He's in a hospital room... His eyes slip closed and an undeterminable period of time passes before he struggles to look around again. His fingers twitch and something tightens around his hand. "Reid?" he hears.
Luke... When he tries to look around, his neck won't move and he starts to freak out, remembering being pinned in to something and oh God, he thought he was rescued but what if he's paralyzed and the beeping is louder, his chest suddenly tight and-
"Reid! Calm down, Reid!" Luke's face appears in his line of sight, worried and exhausted. "Please, just breathe. Breathe, Reid. They had to put you in a neck brace because you suffered some whiplash. I promise, you're not in danger, see?" He lifts his left arm and kisses his knuckles gently, smiling against his skin as he wiggles his fingers in response to the feather light touch of his lips before tenderly placing it back down on the bed, still clinging to it.
He hesitantly takes in a breath and the beeping from earlier starts to slow down as Luke relaxes and leans over, so they're nose to nose. "Don't ever scare me like that again," he says, obviously only half teasing.
The adrenaline fading away from Reid causes his eyes to slip closed once more even as he tries to focus on Luke's relieved smile.
The hospital is the quietest it ever is the next time he opens his eyes, which means it's late at night. It doesn't surprise him to find Luke is stretched out in a cot next to his bed, his hand hanging over the side as he faces Reid. He can move a little easier now, the drugs finally letting go of him slowly, so he lifts his left hand and brushes against Luke's fingers, smiling bitterly as the younger man shifts and rolls over, wrapping himself around the tangled sheets on his bed. Least he won't be uncomfortable, he thinks sleepily, dozing back off despite his best attempts.
It's hot, the sun is beating down on him but he doesn't care, not taking his hand off of the wheel long enough to adjust the air conditioner. The cooler with the heart within is the only thing that needs to be cool right now, after all. He's only a few minutes from Oakdale now, so Chris Hughes will get his transplant soon and he can erase the memory of Katie's angry, tear-filled eyes as she blamed him for keeping Chris' condition from her.
He can see city limits when he hears something that makes his blood freeze- train whistle. There's no time! He floors it, desperate. I don't have time for this! As he rushes closer to the train tracks, he sees it off in the distance and he shrugs it off- it's far enough away, this is no big thing. Except the car doesn't agree with him as its engine suddenly sputters and the speed slows down until it dies completely, right on the train tracks. His eyes widen. Oh hell no. He tries restarting it once but one quick glance up shows how the train is bearing down on him so he grabs the cooler, fumbles with the seatbelt and tries to push the door open all at once to get out and get away, but there's no time. He curses desperately and curls around the cooler, trying to protect it from the upcoming crash- too stubborn to give up his mission this close to Oakdale after all.
The impact is jarring, the loud sound of bending metal and steel the last thing he's aware of as darkness takes over him.
"No!" Reid gasps, jerking fruitlessly as he attempts to sit up, intense pain coursing through his body immediately letting him know what a stupid move that was. His mind still a little foggy, he swallows thickly and mumbles something incomprehensible, trying to calm his racing heart and desperate breaths.
"Reid!" Luke sleepily exclaims from next to him, rolling off of his cot to stand next to Reid. "What happened? Do you need a doctor?"
"I am a doctor," he replies without thinking, his eyes drifting closed.
"I know that, just..." Luke's voice drifts away and he rests a hand on Reid's face. "You talked." He sounds awed. "Hey, hey, Reid, stay awake. Please, just for a little bit. Doctor Bob wants to examine you."
"Of course he does," he mumbles, leaning into Luke's touch. It takes a lot of effort due to his various aches and pains but he finally manages it, gazing up at Luke sleepily. "How's Doogie?"
Luke lets out a tired, almost pained laugh at the nickname before sitting next to Reid carefully. "Of course that would be the first thing you ask. He survived the transplant, they're watching for rejection right now."
"So the heart was still viable?"
"Yes. Amazingly enough. I guess only the most stubborn of things can survive a wreck like that." He gazes at Reid with an amazed, loving look in his eyes.
"Guess it comes in handy now and again," the neurosurgeon whispers, overwhelmed by the intensity of Luke's gaze.
"Well look who finally woke up," Bob Hughes' tired but cheerful voice interrupts their moment, as he appears at the end of Reid's bed and smiles at him.
Reid sighs, fighting his eyes as they try to slip closed. He needs to know how bad it is. "Yes, yes. But I'd like to go back to sleep sometime in the next century... so what's the verdict?"
He's chief of staff for a reason, his caring attitude and efficiency at his job making Reid's head spin- he'd never be as good at the handholding as Bob is, and being on this side of things proves it to him. But he's always been up for a challenge so he shrugs it off for now as he listens to Bob explaining his injuries as he examines him and tests his awareness. "There was significant internal damage," the doctor offers after a moment of thought, choosing to be straight forward with the acerbic neurosurgeon and start with the worst of the injuries as he checks his pupils with a pen light, Luke's hand in his the only thing grounding him as his head throbs even more at the biting glow. "We had you in an OR almost immediately and it's under control now. Your wrist is fractured but has been casted and should heal nicely. You have broken ribs and some head trauma... we have you in a neck brace because of some minor whiplash... we'll be watching you for further complications but considering you're awake and aware-" He pauses to glance at Luke, who nods in relief, "- I don't think there will be. You're a very lucky man, Dr. Oliver."
Reid chuckles dryly, the dull, clinging pain that he can feel despite the medication that's leaving him sleepy and complacent keeps him from feeling too lucky. Even so... "I know."
"Anyway, I just wanted to make sure you're doing alright... And to tell you thank you." Reid blinks and Bob smiles. "My son is still alive thanks to you. We'll be keeping a close eye on you both for awhile but yes, I imagine soon enough you both will be back on your feet, arguing and driving the interns crazy." He smiles as Reid sighs at the thought, unable to shake his head from the neck brace. "I'll let you rest now. Luke, you should get some sleep too."
"Yes, Dr. Bob," he murmurs, hand still wrapped around Reid's.
As soon as it's just them again, he yawns a little before raising his eyes to look at Luke. "What exactly happened with that car anyway?"
"Police are working on the assumption that it overheated," he mumbles, eyes downcast. "Do you remember last week when you were too busy due to those surgeries so... I took it in to get its oil changed and detailed? Apparently they missed something. I'm so sorry, Reid."
He thinks briefly about what could've happened if Luke had been the driver when it chose to do something like that, his heart seizing immediately at the thought, and squeezes his hand. "Hey, not your fault," he whispers. "Hell, maybe we can sue the mechanics. Get you on People's Court or something." It's meant to add a little levity to the situation and though Luke does chuckle a little, the pain remains in his eyes as he peers down at Reid.
"Five thousand wouldn't be enough," he mumbles as Reid's eyes widen. "I was so scared." He pushes closer to Reid and carefully kisses him, making sure not to jostle the canula feeding oxygen into him to keep his levels stable as he heals.
Using his good arm, Reid strokes Luke's hair and sighs, his breath tickling Luke's face as they stare at each other. "I was too," he says honestly. He squirms a little, cringing as his body protests, and then sighs. "I remember hearing your voice while I was pinned," he murmurs. "Was I imagining things?"
"No," Luke responds, surprised. "I was there with Margo when they were trying to get you out. I didn't think you would be able to hear anything over the jaws of life."
"Jaws of-?" Reid grimaces. "Crap. I think I just shouldn't drive again."
Luke smiles weakly, not ready to joke about it just yet but he nods anyway. "Sounds like a good idea."
"But you can afford me a chauffer, couldn't you?" he smirks, even as his eyes slip closed again. Luke's hand wraps around his once more, squeezing comfortingly as he drifts.
"Anything you need," is the last thing he hears as the pain and medicine takes him back under.
Katie is waiting for him the next time he awakens, an uncomfortable look on her face as he stirs and realizes the brace is gone. "How long was I out?" he mumbles, rubbing his throat gingerly, unsurprised that moving even his non-casted arm hurts. He bites down a groan and turns his head to look at her- ok yeah, that hurts but everything does, so why not one more thing?
There's a lengthy pause as she jerks at his voice, standing quickly. "Um, it's- it's 2 PM," she says, slowly reclaiming her seat when he doesn't yell at her to get out. Lord knows she deserves it after how she treated him before he risked his life to save Chris'- God, a train. A train. "How are you feeling?" Her eyes fill with tears as she takes in the numerous cuts across his face and arms. Margo mentioned the windshield was shattered. He must've been so frightened.
A sarcastic response is swirling around his tongue but he takes one look at her and her wounded stare and swallows it down. "I'll live," is all he says, shifting with a small grimace as his torso throbs in time with the movement.
Her face crumples and she rests a hand on his cheek, trying and unable to find a place where she won't touch one of his many injuries. "I'm so sorry, Reid. I know you were just trying to respect Chris' wishes, I shouldn't have taken my fear and anger at him out on you." She looks from the bandage on his forehead to his arm to all of the machinery he's connected to and sobs quietly. "This is all my fault."
"I'm the one who played chicken with a train," he mumbles. "It's not your fault, Katie. Just be glad that Chris survived, and I'll be fine with some rehab."
"What did I do to deserve you?" she asks with a wavery smile, looking like she'd hug him if he could move without wanting to pass out in pain.
"Usually when people ask that, it's not complimentary," he says dryly, causing her to giggle a little.
"Only because they don't know you like I do."
"I've tried telling him that," Luke speaks up from the doorway, causing both to jerk and look at him. "Hey."
Katie looks uncomfortable again and quickly stands. "Um, yeah. I'll give you two some privacy."
"Katie, wait," Luke stops her before she can leave. "Listen, I was a little harsh with you last night. We were both scared and doing things we didn't mean... I'm sorry, ok? Don't run off on my account."
She looks relieved at his apology but shakes her head. "Don't apologize, Luke. I deserved it. And I need to check on Chris and Jacob... besides, you two definitely deserve some alone time." She smiles shakily at Reid. "I'll come visit you again soon, Reid. And thank you."
He nods, distinctly uncomfortable, as she dashes out of the room. Luke takes her seat and smiles at him. "This is weird," he mutters.
"I've gone from being most hated to the hero of Memorial," he explains. "Next, Kim will come in and thank me profusely."
Luke chuckles. "Is the great Reid Oliver uncomfortable with all of the attention?" When Reid doesn't say anything, Luke's jaw drops. "You're joking me. You are? Reid, come on..."
"What? I'm just not- used to it. An article, a recommendation, some accolades, fine. But a family like the Hughes acting like I've invented a way to stop global warming, and..."
His boyfriend laughs for real this time, the first since Reid rushed out of the hospital, and leans over, kissing him. "Just enjoy it, silly. Oh, and one more thing."
"I want to be the first to sign your cast."
Reid's jaw drops this time. "What? No! I'm not having silly scribbles on my arm for everyone to see."
The impish grin doesn't leave Luke's face and Reid groans, knowing he's beat.
The next time he wakes up, Luke is nowhere to be seen- hopefully dragged off somewhere by one of his many well-meaning relatives for some rest and real food- and Hank of all people is standing over him, a pensive look on his face. He looks tired too, but not worn down like Katie or Luke, just the tiredness of a newly wed best friend who's desperate to help Katie through this. Reid's never understood their relationship and he's pretty sure he doesn't want to- all the dancing around of Henry's feelings for the blonde makes him dizzy and he's not even directly involved. How exactly Barbara Ryan deals, he's not sure.
"Hank," he greets thinly, shifting slightly and closing his eyes as the now familiar pain makes itself known once more, digging into his gut and spreading outwards. His head aches and he can now feel the itchy bandage pressed against his hairline.
The awkward man rocks forward on his feet and twists his hands. "I- I just wanted to say that I appreciate what you did. Katie couldn't take losing someone else so soon, losing Brad almost killed her. You know that, you've lived with her. She was drowning and you helped her... I still don't like you but... thanks."
Reid closes his eyes, rolling them slightly before he straightens a little and raises an eyebrow at him. "Always a way with words, Hank," he says with a hint of irony. "This isn't necessary. If I hadn't kept Doogie's secret for so long, it wouldn't have gotten this bad and none of this would've happened. So I did what I had to. Nothing more, nothing less."
He nods, his eyes dark and troubled. Reid is as much a mystery to him as he is to Reid but one thing they share is honestly caring about Katie- no matter what Reid says, his actions prove how he feels about his roommate. "Alright. Well, I'll let you rest," he says, stuttering awkwardly once more.
"At least he didn't say anything about the cast," the doctor mumbles tiredly once he slips out of the room, poking at the garish writing on his arm, a shaky version of Luke's handwriting, impeded by small imperfections in the plaster. You should know by now I always get my way- L. He sighs, cursing the pain medicine for making him sleep so heavily that he missed that happening. Might not have been able to stop it but he could've at least made it close to ineligible. He shifts and closes his eyes.
Another day passes slowly and Reid's finally allowed up and about- albeit in a wheelchair so as not to put stress on the healing incisions across his abdomen that he's not actually gotten a good look at since waking up, or aggravating the other injuries received when he was forced into the dashboard after the impact. Luke's stubbornness mixing with his own is the chief cause of this brief venture out so early into his recovery; he's not a very social person but staring at the same four walls for hours on end whenever he is awake has grated at him until he's snapping at almost everyone. He tries to bite his tongue whenever Luke's around because he still looks like he's waiting for the bottom to drop out, Reid to develop an infection or brain bleed or something, anything that would hinder his progress. But so far everything is clear and when a nurse and Dr. Bob agrees to the small trip out, as long as the nurse stays by Reid's side, Luke smiles so wide that he almost looks normal, if not for the haunted look in his eyes.
Reid closes his eyes as the nurse carefully pulls the sheets off of him. He hasn't seen himself yet, too weak, chilled and achy to move the thick coverings away from his body whenever he is conscious but when Luke carefully takes his hand and squeezes, he blinks his eyes open and looks down. There are cuts all over his arms, which he knew of, but now it's obvious how bad it really was by the deep dark bruises decorating the area from knee to thigh- explains why his legs throb in time with his stomach- and bandages wrapped around his legs, more than likely from where the dashboard pinned him and sliced into his skin when the train bent the thing up like a pretzel around him. He can't remember much but he has a good enough imagination and has seen enough wrecks that he can picture it in his mind's eye.
Luke must be picturing it too- and God he was there, watching as they tried to cut him free so he has the real thing stuck in his head-, based on the pale, fretful look on his face and dammit, it's killing Reid to see him like this. Especially when he thinks of how close he came to giving up while on those tracks so for a minute he forgets about the nurses and other people around and lifts Luke's hand, gently kissing his palm to snap him out of his frightened thoughts. When it works and his wide eyes are leveled on Reid's face, the neurosurgeon smiles hesitantly at him. "Ready to get out of here for a bit?"
"Yeah," he says, forcing a smile as the nurses ease Reid up into a sitting position.
It hurts and his head is swimming in a way he hasn't felt since his last hangover but the tile is cool and comforting under his feet and even though there's an uncomfortable tugging sensation across his abdomen- stitches obviously, lots and lots of stitches-, Luke's hand is warm and gentle on his shoulder as he takes in a deep breath.
"Ok?" he asks softly, feeling how tense his boyfriend is.
"Yeah," he breathes, realizing his hands are clenching the sheets bunched around his legs tightly. Luke's free hand slides down and rests on his knuckles, gently tugging until he releases the fabric. "I'm ok." He blinks the dizziness away after a moment and forces a smile at Luke, who probably sees straight through it but chooses not to comment.
"Just go slow, ok?" he asks with a pensive frown as the nurses ease Reid up and over onto the wheelchair.
He nods, closing his eyes at the motion. He despises feeling this weak, his breath sounding unnaturally loud in his ears as the bustle around him intensifies- IVs being hung from the back of the chair and soft murmurs his soundtrack for a few moments. He clings quietly to Luke's hand and just waits as he becomes re-accustomed to sitting up.
"Ready?" Luke asks after a minute, squeezing gently as the nurse takes her place behind the wheelchair.
"Yes," he says quietly, shifting tentatively as she begins pushing him out of the room. He keeps his eyes stubbornly on either the floor or walls or on the bit of Luke he can see out of the corner of his eye as they go down one hallway and another. He ignores the stares he must be receiving from coworkers and patients alike, just focuses on the sound of the wheels spinning on the floor, Luke's hand on his arm and how the air feels through his short hair as they continue on.
Luke whispers to the nurse to turn around after awhile and he blinks, realizing they're outside of the cardio wing but it's too late- "Reid?" He looks up to find Katie walking towards them, that hesitant look back on her face as she peers at him and Luke in turn.
"Hi, Katie," he says dumbly after a tense moment.
She smiles, her eyes a little wet. "It's good to see you out of that bed," she whispers, hand fluttering around waist level, as if wanting to touch him but uncertain where to. Luke's possessive hand on his shoulder is probably a really good deterrent.
Reid glances at Luke before turning back to his roommate. "How's Doogie?" he asks, attempting normalcy even as Luke stiffens next to him. It's a sensitive subject, he knows, but avoiding it does no one any good. He's suddenly hit by tiredness as the two people closest to him prolong the tense moment and returning to his bed doesn't sound that bad right now.
"He's awake, and doing so much better," she says after a few moments of staring at Luke. "I just don't know how to thank you."
Luke's hand digs into Reid's shoulder and he grits his teeth, trying not to make this harder on anyone by snapping at either of them, though he's tempted to. Instead of vocalizing anything right away, he waves off her comment. "Tell Doogie to worry about that, not you," he says with a gentle smirk as she huffs a small laugh, relief and appreciation flashing across her face.
"He... he's been asking to see you," she says slowly, eyes falling away from them now. "If it's too soon, I understand but while you're here-"
Luke's fingers are going to tear his shoulder apart if he doesn't loosen his hold so he quickly jerks his arm, looking up and over as his boyfriend's jaw drops in shock at what he was inadvertently doing to Reid. Reid rolls his eyes at Luke, reclaiming his hand and squeezing it to show things are ok. "As fascinating as a visit with Doogie sounds, Katie, I should probably head back," he says. He pointedly makes no plans to return for the conversation Chris Hughes seems to think they should have. They work together, he'll see him eventually but right now, with Luke almost vibrating with tension next to him, it's just not the right time. He thinks it may never be.
"Ok," she says faintly, a pained smile on her face. "Feel better."
He nods at her and turns to the nurse who had stepped away through this conversation. "We're ready to head back now."
"I'm sorry," Luke offers once they're out of sight of Katie. "I didn't mean..."
"I know," Reid says tiredly. "Much as I don't like him, Chris didn't put me in front of that train- that was all me. I could've found another way, waited out the train, something. But I didn't, so here we are."
"You could've died," Luke mutters, his vision swimming as he keeps up with the wheelchair.
"But I didn't." Reid tugs on his hand. "No what ifs or could'ves, Luke. I'm fine, you're fine, let's just move on."
He finds himself nodding though he knows it'll never be that simple. For either of them.