When they bring him in, Luke's first instinct is to vomit. Reid's covered in blood from head to chest. It's crusted against his eyelids, dripping from his mouth.
The blood is everywhere. Luke chokes out a sob, and crosses the room to stand next to Reid. He doesn't hear the paramedics telling him to step away. He simply hunches over his boyfriend, staring in childlike wonder at the redness cloaking his beautiful features. He is paralyzed, he is broken.
Seconds drip by, and someone grabs his shoulders and gently guides him away from Reid. The doctors must do their work.
Luke sits in the corner, staring into vast and empty space. The same someone gently rubs his shoulders. He thinks it might be his dad, but the person doesn't register.
Reid. he thinks. That's Reid in the gurney.
Hours pass. Luke eventually gets up from the chair, and paces back and forth in shocked silence.
He is waiting for something. He will not allow himself to voice this aloud, but he is waiting for news of Reid's death.
Three hours later, Bob finds him in the waiting room.
Luke has chewed his nails to the quick, and the frayed nails are bleeding slowly. He doesn't notice. The person who pulled him away from Reid has vanished.
Luke stands up, ramrod straight, to stare into Bob's caring eyes.
"Reid -" he whispers. He swallows, forces his voice to be stronger. "How is he, Bob?"
Bob's eyes are blank. Luke knows he has given the same news a million times, but this time it's personal.
Bob blinks slowly, and finds Luke's eyes with an unfocused glimmer.
"We did everything we could," he says softly. "He had a deep skull fracture. We repaired it. We removed his spleen, and one kidney. His heart - " Bob's voice cracks audibly. "It was badly damaged in the accident. We've installed a pacemaker. But the worst of it - "
Luke blinks rapidly. Bob's words aren't making any sense.
"What are you saying?" he says. "Are you saying he's gone?" He's surprised at how calm he sounds. Shock, he thinks. This must be shock.
Bob hears Luke's words, and tries to shake himself back into professional mode. Reid is more than his employee. Reid is the son he always wanted. He takes a few steps forward, and grabs Luke's arm.
"There was internal bleeding that we didn't staunch in time. He has numerous minor injuries. The stress of all that was too much for him. I'm so sorry, Luke. He flatlined for several minutes. His brain activity was compromised. I don't know if he'll wake up, and be the same man."
Luke feels a quiet rage burn inside him. He tries to stuff it down. Bob does not deserve his anger. He bites his lip hard, drawing blood.
"I want to see him," he manages.
Bob nods, unsurprised. "You have to prepare yourself, Luke. His head is shaved. We've put him in a medically induced coma. Now we just need time for his body to heal."
"So he looks like shit, is what you're saying." Luke breaks in. "He got hit by a train getting a heart for your selfish son. He somehow forgot how to operate a seat belt, and got hit by a train. I get it, Bob. I want to see him."
Bob doesn't reply. He leads Luke to Reid's room in intensive care.
He watches Luke enter the room, shame washing through him. He shakes his head firmly, and leaves to check on Chris.
Luke enters the room with determination. Reid is deathly pale, and hooked up to oxygen. The nurses did a perfunctory job of wiping away the blood; his eyelids are still covered in it. Luke clenches his jaw and storms into the hallway. He grabs the first nurse he can find.
"I need damp washcloths," he says curtly. "Apparently no one in this hospital can do their job."
The nurse, encountering the usually polite Luke Snyder, nods quickly, and gives him the washcloths within minutes.
He enters Reid's room once more, closing the door. He walks to the bed, sitting down on the nearby stool.
"Hey," he says gently to the unconscious Reid. "It's me. I'm here now." The tears come fast and furious now. Luke, for want of something to do, grabs the washcloth from the bucket and begins to clean the blood off Reid's face.
The blood will not come off easily. Luke frowns and scrubs with a little more strength. He does not want to disturb Reid anymore than necessary.
He successfully scrubs the blood off Reid's eyes. He tosses the washcloth, red with blood into the basin.
He stares at Reid's silent body for several moments. His throat hurts from repressed sobs.
The sight of Reid terrifies him. Reid's bald head stands in sharp relief to the bandage on his forehead. His skin is so pale as to be almost translucent.
Luke gingerly strokes Reid's cheek with his index finger. When Reid doesn't react, he relaxes slightly.
He heard from every pop psychology magazine that talking to someone in a coma is good for them, so he exhales deeply.
"Reid," he murmurs, voice husky. "I - " he bites his cheek in frustration. This feels useless. He feels the oncoming grief rampaging towards him, a hurricane unrelenting.
"Please wake up," he whispers. "Don't leave me."
He takes Reid's hand and holds on firmly. It's not enough. The storm of emotions in Luke is about to overwhelm, and Reid is his only anchor. He looks around the empty room, and out into the hallway. No one is watching him.
Luke stands, and gently folds himself into the narrow mattress. His head rests on Reid's shoulders. Luke's hot breath gusts against Reid's ear. Luke gently, so gently, rests his arm on Reid's stomach.
He begins to speak.
"You know, I've been waiting my whole life to meet someone like you," Luke says. "I thought I'd found everything I needed with Noah, but you just knocked me on my ass. Whenever we fought in the beginning, it felt like foreplay. I was so attracted to your strength, your boldness. That little kernel of feeling you showed me so rarely. I remember - " he sighs. "I remember the first time I knew you were something special, when you ordered me out of that patient's room. No one had ever spoken to me like that before. I found it incredibly sexy."
He waits for a moment, hoping for some response. When he feels nothing, he resumes talking.
"But the first time I knew I loved you - oh, I can't even remember exactly. It was gradual, you just kept surprising me. You sneaked up on me, Reid Oliver. Maybe it was when we were in the elevator, or maybe it was when you quit your job. But one day, I woke up, and realized I hadn't thought about Noah in months. It was you instead. Your passion, your vulnerability, your desire for excellence, your - " His voice cracks, as a sudden flash of train invades his thoughts. "Your courage. Only you would try and steal a heart for someone who hates your guts. You must really love Katie."
A small grin breaks on his features. His hand travels slowly up Reid's chest to rest on his cheek.
"You love Katie, and I love you." he says tenderly. "I love you, Reid."
He closes his eyes for a long moment, feeling Reid's cool skin underneath his hand.
When he hears a noise, he ignores it at first, thinking it's part of his imagination.
Reid's eyelids flicker. His eyes are a slit of blue. He feels the reassuring touch of Luke's hand of his cheek. He tries to turn his head, but can't. His body is a mass of pain.
Luke reacts immediately. He sits up and stares at Reid's face.
"Reid?" he whispers, brokenly. "Reid, can you hear me?"
Reid clenches his teeth, but even that causes a spasm of pain. He blinks rapidly, tracking Luke's face.
Tears falls down Luke's cheeks in a river. He does not wipe them away. He grasps Reid's hand gently.
"Reid," he says desperately. "Reid, just hang on. I'm gonna get a nurse."
He eases off the bed, and turns to exit the room. He feels the weak grip of Reid's hand on his arm.
"Luke," Reid gasps. He can hardly concentrate long enough to speak. The pain has invaded, settled in to stay. He blinks quickly, tries to hold firm to the world. Luke is his only tether.
"Reid, Reid, please." Luke begs. "Talk to me."
Reid's eyes are glazed. He finds purpose in Luke's warm gaze.
"Love ... you ... too," he manages. He is very tired. He feels his injuries pulling him into an abyss.
Luke watches in despair as Reid's eyes roll back into his head. He waits, with bated breath, for something dramatic to happen. For the monitors to beep haphazardly. For some sign from above, that Reid is gone.
Luke exhales, a tremulous breath he didn't know he was holding. Reid woke up. Reid woke up. Reid woke up.
He turns and runs into the hospital. He grabs a nurse by the shoulders, shaking her.
"It's Reid," he murmurs, the words creating a cacophony. "He woke up, he talked to me. He grabbed my arm."
The nurse nods and immediately pages Bob.
Bob arrives within seconds, slightly out of breath. He takes one look at the disheveled Luke and enters Reid's room.
"Bob, he woke up." Luke repeats, hanging onto the words with a childlike fervor.
"Let's just see what's happening, Luke." Bob says calmly. He flashes his penlight into Reid's eyes. He listens to his heart beat.
Bob stares at Reid's unconscious body. He looks up at Luke, his eyes glistening.
"He's not out of the woods yet, Luke. But this is a wonderful sign."
Luke gazes at Reid intently.
"Thank you, Bob." he whispers.
Bob leaves the room, and Luke approaches Reid's bed once again. He can barely breathe.
He grabs Reid's hand and slumps against his boyfriend's shoulder.
"Did you hear that?" Luke whispers. "You're gonna be okay. Get some rest. When you wake up, we are getting out of this crazy town." Luke closes his eyes and drifts into an exhausted sleep.
Reid is swimming in a drugged haze. He feels the grasp of Luke's hand, the warm breath puffing against his cheek. He briefly opens his eyes, relishing the strength of Luke.
Reid squeezes Luke's hand tightly, though he is asleep.
He can't leave yet. Luke is his anchor. Luke is his home.