I wake. Confused. Pain imprinted, a permanent tattoo. Fumble for memory. Train. Seatbelt stuck. Where am I?

I draw a tense breath, search the room.

"Luke?" I mumble. The sound of my voice shocks me. Weak, like a wounded animal.

I try again.


Suddenly he is there, holding my hand, strong and steady.

I find his eyes, and manage to hold his gaze in what I hope is a reassuring manner.

I am scared shitless. I don't want to die.

I fight to stay conscious, force the pain from my mind.

He's talking, fevered run-on sentences.

"Reid, Reid what were you thinking, trying to outrun a train? But it's okay. I'm here now. I'm here."

This is all wrong. I can tell by my sluggish tether to the world that I'm heavily medicated. But where is is the cotton ball feeling from local anesthesia?

It hits me, an ice cold sledgehammer to my gut.

I'm on "keep me comfortable" medication. They think there's no hope.

Fury grips my chest, followed by a blinding fear.

I stuff it down, with relentless effort.

I grit my teeth, and look up at Luke with determination.

"Surgery?" I ask. I try to rub his hand, but my grip is as weak as a kitten's. "What - prognosis ..."

I give myself a pat on the back for getting that much out.

Luke's face darkens and he closes his eyes for a moment.

Drawing strength. You can do this, Luke.

"They - they - they said there's nothing they could do. Just keep you comfortable." He caresses my cheek with his right hand, his voice crumbles into nothingness. The sound is like a rusty nail on my brain.

"No no no." I shake my head, and I know it appears to be a limp motion. I lift my arm and squeeze his wrist.

"You listen to me, Snyder." I say fiercely. "I never give up on a patient. Don't you give up on me. Please, Luke -" my voice cracks, against my will. "go back out there and tell them I will sue the shit out of them if they leave me here to die. I swear to god - " I try and pull myself off the bed to get closer to his face, but it's useless. He leans closer, eyes shimmering.

"I swear to god," I repeat. "I'm not fucking leaving you, and that's it."

His eyes are as big as saucers. I would find it adorable under ordinary circumstances, but my anger has dissipated, leaving me exhausted and woozy.

"Go," I rasp.

Luke nods and runs out of the room.

I rest my head back against the pillows, and sigh softly.

Within minutes, a flurry of nurses and doctors enter the room. They wheel me away, and I find Luke's face in the background.

He's smiling.

He fights through the swarm of doctors, and kisses me tenderly.

I slip him some tongue. What the hell.

"I love you," I whisper. "I'll see you soon."

"You will," he replies.

I drift into a light sleep. Bob is muttering something about anesthesia, and the procedures they'll be doing.

He mentions a heart monitor, and I snap out of my haze.

"Put me on a damn EEG," I growl. "And ignore the DNR in my wallet. I want to live, you got it?"

"Of course, Dr. Oliver." he answers.

I close my eyes again. Knowing that I've done everything in my power to get medical care, and the nimrods in Memorial will have to do the rest.

Shuttling me off to die without a cursory examination. Can you imagine?

I think when I recover, I should take Luke and get the hell out of this town.