Disclaimer: CR-S01, Maria Torres, or any other character/setting/timeline from Trauma Team belongs to ATLUS. The only thing I own is the plotline to this little oneshot.
Author's Note: In the beginning, this was meant to be a Valentine's fic for next year, but over time (and on dA), this turned into an immediate gift fic for chibi-chinita. And for a little added factual bit about me, I seriously ship MariaxCR. Honestly, I can tolerate CRxTomoe, but this couple hasn't gotten as much love as they should, so it's up to risefromgrace16 to save the day! XD...Seriously though, this was also meant to be the first romantic oneshot featuring these two lovebirds until my Santee beat me to it. So again, deal with my unwavering devotion to them, and to those who do support this pairing, rock on. : )
"Another succesful operation. As of now, you've only got 135 years left for your sentence. You should be proud of yourself."
"Thank you, Agent Holden. If you don't mind, I need some sleep now."
It had been the usual routine for Prisoner Number CR-S01 this week: contemplate, prep for surgery, operate for a reduced sentence. Wash, rinse, repeat. It had been this way for the past 2 and a half months since the Rosalia epidemic and he was still visiting Resurgam for his surgeries.
Yet...there was something he couldn't exactly put on his finger that night.
Lately, every time he had been visiting, every time he met up with the other doctors, there was something stirring within his body. Something...oddly sickening, yet enjoyable. Something light and feathery. Something that made him more motivated, more willing to be open with the other doctors, just to at least have some chance with...her.
Yes, that was it. At Resurgam, there was this one EMT that always had something to say to him no matter what: Maria Torres. She reminded CR an awful lot of a wild dog, always ready to attack and full of energy. At first, she usually distanced herself from him and even attacked him when she found out that he was the "culprit" of the Cumberland Incident. But over time, she made amends with him and became more friendly. They even stopped to chat from time to time.
Over time, the framed convict not only began to acknowledge her grating qualities, but her admirable qualities as well. Her energy could always be put to good use, she was always the first to react in any situation, and- let's face it, even he couldn't deny it -she had a rockin' body.
All these feelings...they mean something...just what do they mean?
The convict pondered over these feelings for the rest of the night until he finally fell asleep.
The following week...
Poor CR thought about his theories on his current emotions for the entirety of last week, only to no avail. Some were too unlikely, while some were just downright cracky. He thought about asking Agent Holden at times since he was the only other person he was in contact with for the entire time, but he thought that he wouldn't understand. Even on the ride to Resurgam, he was still thinking about what they were. Only until Holden led him out into the open courtyard did he finally snap out of it.
Worried, Ian asked "Kid, you alright? You seem out of it today."
Back to reality, the prisoner murmured "Y-yeah, I'm fine...so when's the next surgery?"
"Oh, no surgery for you today!"
Turning around, the two saw Maria running towards them. Right when he saw her, CR's stomach began to feel like it was being knotted together. Damn...this has never even happened before!
Gesturing towards her, Holden continued the explanation "The higher-ups thought it would be interesting if you could display some prowess of emergency medicine this week. They found out how you were the last time you were working with her during the Rosalia crisis."
Doing a 'thumbs-up' pose towards herself as well, Maria blurted "Long story short, you're on patrol with me today!"
The entire day...with Maria? CR didn't know whether to be excited or frightened at this news.
"For now, we've just gotta wait in the break room until we get an assignment. C'mon!" Dragging the convict surgeon by the wrist, Maria made her way back inside Resurgam.
On the way inside, CR noticed a petite person waiting near the stairs and an extremely tall and bulky person walking towards that point. Once the dysfunctional duo walked right near the others, the physically weaker of the two recognized them as Dr. Freebird and his friend Claire Blunt. From the looks of things, they seemed to be very happy meeting each other again. They had been hanging out a lot more often these days and the orthopedic surgeon was loads more happier than normal when he was with her. CR also noted that whenever Claire met up with the others in the break room from time to time, Dr. Freebird seemed a tad more nervous and was blushing slightly. Just like me. he thought to himself. Maybe I'll ask him about what's happening to the both of us when I've got the time.
A few minutes later, they were at the entrance of the cafeteria of the hospital. Although the menu had been converted to a buffet-style method of serving, the food was still rather bland. Aside from a lone figure slumped over a table near the other side of the vast room and some cooks, the rest of the place was empty. It would have made for a tranquil environment, at least until Maria yelled "Morning, you halfassed excuse for a doctor!"
The man groaned and scratched the back of his head, groaning "Jeez Maria, can't you give me a break? I hardly even slept last night!" Walking over to the two, he was then recognized as their fellow co-worker and diagnostician, Gabriel Cunningham.
Shooting an angry glare at him, she replied "Then quit napping all the damn time in your office and do something productive for once!"
Almost getting as angry as the paramedic, he shot back "I do...just not as often, but-"
"Ha! See? You're just nothing but a pathetic-"
It took a while for Maria to find her walkie-talkie in one of her pockets. Motioning for the two men to be quiet, she answered. "Yo. Maria Torres here."
While Maria was talking with whoever it was on the other side of the line, CR took the time to look over her for a while, especially her face. It was amazing to him how she could just change her tone and expressions so easily. He wished that he could show his emotions that easily. That was one of the reasons he liked Maria, she was able to express herself clearly with those-
"Checkin' the goods out, I see?"
His train of thought broken, the convict turned to see Gabriel smirking a little wider than usual. Confused by what he actually meant, he only said "Wait...what do you mean by 'goods'?"
Leaning back on his chair, the diagnostician elaborated "Y'know, trying to make a move, scopin' her out...that kind of thing."
Getting even more confused, CR stammered "Um...well..." Then the pieces were put together. Dr. Cunningham was someone who could figure out what was wrong with a person physically, and the surgeon was feeling kind of sick to his stomach as of late. If he could diagnose him or even prescribe him something, then the sinking feeling would go away and he could focus again. With this plan set in mind, he proceeded to present his problem. "...Dr. Cunningham, as a matter of fact, could you help me out with something?"
Raising his eyebrows a bit, Gabe answered "Huh...it's kind of surprising for someone like you to have a problem, but go ahead."
Clearing his throat, he stated "Well, usually whenever I'm around Maria, I get this kind of weird, painful, yet happy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can't really find anything right to say whenever she speaks to me. But the weirdest thing of all is that even when she's not around, when I'm still in my cell, my mind just drifts to her and I start thinking about her. A lot more than usual."
Both men said nothing after a while, then Gabe chuckled. The chuckle turned into a little fit of giggles, which in turn became a moderate fit of laughter as he fell on the floor, rolling a little from side to side. Breaking from her conversation, Maria angrily shushed him before returning. Wiping a few tears from his eyes, the diagnostician got back onto the chair and looked the poor surgeon straight in the eyes. "Really? You being as smart as you are can't figure it out? Alright, since I like you, then I'll just put it bluntly: you're-"
Suddenly, the lights went out. The remaining staff went into a panic while the three doctors remained focused. Maria still continued her conversation "Yeah, the outage just got to here too, goddamn moronic electricians...Wait, there's some survivors? Don't worry, we'll get over there as soon as we can! Torres out."
Switching off her walkie-talkie, Maria then ordered "There's been an overload at the power plant and it's causing a major blackout here. We're fine in terms of supplies and contact, but there's a lot of injured workers left at the plant. C'mon, we've got people to save!"
Once again dragging the framed surgeon, the two made their way to the garage to take out an ambulance. Looking at the two before they left, Gabe put on his trademark smirk as he took out a new cigarette. "Good luck with her, kid. You're gonna need it..." he murmured as he lit it up.
Now that the two were on the ambulance, with Maria driving and CR in the passenger seat, it gave them a little time between the both of them. Noticing that her cohort seemed to be a little more melancholy than usual, the paramedic piped in "So...how's life in a fridge doing nowadays? That agent giving you any trouble?"
Looking away from the front view to at least make some eye contact with her, the surgeon quietly replied "It's fine. They've increased the temperature only a little though."
"Oh, well that's cool, I guess..." More silence followed for a while before Maria got a feeling that there really was something wrong with the man next to her and kept prying. "Alright, now what's really going on? Is there something you've remembered or something you wanna do when you're free or...are you just sick with something?"
CR's breath caught in his throat. Maria was getting dangerously closer and closer to what he's feeling, and he knows that she won't back off. He now figures that he might as well tell her what's going on, although he's going to have to word it a little differently than what he told Dr. Cunningham. God knows what she'll do to him if she finds out it's only around her. Taking a little time to plan what to say, he then proceeded with his final draft of speech. "Well...if you could say it's a kind of sickness, then yes."
Scoffing, Maria then started to yell at him, her driving becoming more aggressive to match her current mood. "Seriously? If you're feeling sick, then you should've just said so and maybe you would've gotten some rest! We're even gonna be running around too, why didn't you tell us you were feeling like crap so we could-"
"Wait, wait!" CR kept her from berating him so he could continue. "I don't mean like physically sick, only mentally sick...Not that I'm saying I'm crazy, because I'm not."
Shifting a doubtful glance at him before laying her eyes on the road again, she muttered "Uh-huh, sure."
Waiting a couple of seconds until she was calmed down a bit, he continued. "This feeling only happens whenever I'm at Resurgam or sometimes when I'm back in my cell. You see, once I'm around a certain person, I get this weird feeling in my stomach, something that makes me feel kind of nauseous, but happy at the same time. Whenever I talk with them, it takes me some time to think of something to say that doesn't get them angry. I tend to think about that person an awful lot, even when I'm away from them, and...that's it. So what do you think is wrong with me?"
Letting a large grin spread across your face, Maria flat out guffawed before answering "You're really worried about something you don't even know? That's kind of sad, considering how smart you are, then again, it's been some time, so you don't really have any idea."
Getting a little agitated, the convict asked "Don't have any idea about what? Could you just tell me?"
Having a little giggle fit, the paramedic just blurted out "You're in love, silly!"
Wait...in "love"? the surgeon thought. "Um...what is this 'love' that you're talking about? Is it some kind of neurological disease?"
"Well...it's not a disease, but it does screw around with your mind a bit. It's nothing to worry about though, it might go away in some time, but it depends..." Maria answered, trailing off for a while.
"Depends on what?" CR was relieved a bit, at least it could go away.
"...Whether or not you're really in love with this person. Do you feel like you'd do anything for them, like doing some boring errands, look after the kids, or even take a frickin' bullet for them, just as long as they're happy in the end?" the paramedic asked. This kind of behavior was unusually somber for her kind.
Pondering a bit at his new found facts and the final analysis of his feelings for her, the convict surgeon's answered was curt and simple. "Yes...Of course!"
Rounding a sharp corner, there were a few seconds of silence before the hot-tempered woman said "...Hmm, not very convincing, but whatever, I'll take your word for it. But the real question is..." Cue 5-second dramatic pause. "...Who's the lucky lady?"
Dammit...this isn't what I wanted. the convict surgeon thought as he started to regret telling Maria about his little problem. Not seeing the worry forming on his face, she continued to pry. "C'mon, I won't stop bugging you until you tell me! We already know it's someone around Resurgam, is it- WHOA!"
"Aw f**k!" the paramedic swore as they stopped right in front of the main entrance. "Crap! That was a close one...you alright kid?"
Shaken by the near death experience, the surgeon stammered "S-sure...are we ready?"
Letting that confident grin grace her face,- God, she's beautiful when she does that. CR internally swooned. -she answered "Damn straight! Remember, I did get an award for this stuff!
"C'mon, help me out with the AED!"
"Doctors, there's still 4 more patients waiting for treatment!"
"Dammit! Alright, we're on it. Kid, look alive!"
The hustle and bustle of the emergency scene was starting to make CR feel dizzy. The blazing heat from the ongoing fire in the power plant didn't help to make him feel better either. If this is what Maria had to go through everyday, then she had every right to be snappy at almost everyone back at Resurgam. Then again, it's as they say "The first moments are the most crucial." If he's going to be a hero outside of the hospital, then he's got to pick up the pace here.
"Yo, Doc! Here's a victim for ya!" the busy paramedic gestured towards an unattended patient.
Dashing over to him, the part-time prisoner observed that he had severe third-degree burns and some shards of glass stuck in one of his legs. Pulling out his given first-aid pack, he carefully sprayed just the right amount of antibiotic gel on the first burn. Once he was finished with that, he mentally measured the length of the tape to keep the gauze still before he applied the former two. Noticing that the man still had a contorted look on his face, the medical wunderkind associated his look with the Wong-Baker facial scale and ranked him as a 8. In order to better help him, he asked "Sir, is anything wrong?"
The man could barely see him as he winced "My...my leg...!"
Looking down to his leg, he saw that the wounds left from the still impaling glass shards were not only bleeding much faster than before, but there was some green stuff popping out around it as well. Must be getting infected. I've got to finish that off and fast! Pulling out the forceps, CR deftly pulled out the shards and sprayed the gel all over the place like there was no tomorrow.
"Sheesh, now you're speeding up?"
"What?...Oh, Maria." While the convict had been taking care of the man's leg, the so-called "hero" had already bandaged up his burns and gave him a transfusion.
"Alright, that should be all of them. Man, this was aging." Maria was wiping some sweat off as she stood up once more.
"Wait, didn't you say there were 3 more left?" The poor guy hadn't even been aware of what had been happening.
"...You're kidding. You mean you've spent all this time on one guy for the past 10 minutes?" She then started rubbing her temples, obviously exasperated. "Never mind that, let's just head back onto the-"
"Huh?" Now they were looking back at the former patient.
"My friends...they're still trapped in there. Pl-please save them..." the man passed out after that.
"So there's still more? Hey there's...never mind, the rest are all too busy taking care of that fire." The paramedic got a determined look on her face.
I know that look...Don't tell me she's going to...! CR then yelled out for her. "Maria, don't!"
However, it was too late. The hot-headed woman started dashing into the soon-to-be wreckage. She only turned her head around and yelled back "I've gotta get the others! You just load that guy onto the ambulance! And quit worrying, I'll be fine!" With that, she vanished into the flames and debris.
Like hell I will! Quickly dropping off the patient at the safe zone, the part-time prisoner followed her trail.
"*cough, cough*...Ugh...Anyone in here? Anyone!"
"Hey...there's help! Over here!"
Quickly running past the flailing wires and fiery machines, Maria was able to meet up with the remaining survivors. "Don't worry, your friend told me that you might still be here. Hang tight, I'll get you out of here." she consoled. However, once she compared how many there were (5) and how many she could carry (2 because of just having one arm for each person), she realized that this was actually too much for her. Thinking up one solution, she asked "How many of you are able to walk?" Unfortunately, there was only 1 able person. Actually starting to fear for her life, Maria's heart started pumping like crazy until she heard that one rising voice.
Looking around in the smoke for some time, Maria finally made out that one familiar silhouette. That one person that she could always rely on...
"MARIA!...Ugh...Anyone in here?"
The man was getting closer and closer. Even though she had told him to stay put, he still decided to blindly run through a burning, crumbling building just to help her out. She knew he was kind of clingy towards her, but she thought that was only because she was one of the only friends he had left. However, what he was doing now was something that showed how much he truly cared. Was this really the right time to quit beating around the bush with him and just say what she felt about him already? No threats, no yelling, no insults, just letting her feelings for him pour out and-
"...Thank God I found you. Are the survivors stable?" No time to think with the guy of your dreams just a few inches from your face.
Huh, I never really noticed this 'till now, but he's pretty cute...Dammit, get it together girl, this is not the time! Snapping out of it, Maria gestured towards the others "They're fine, but only one of them can walk, and I forgot my kit back outside."
"Same here...Wait, with the three of us...That's it!" CR exclaimed, giving everyone else a little scare. "Maria, between the both of us, we can support 2 people each, so the each of us will take a pair of people. Who's the one that can walk?"
"That would be me, sir." The able man stood up.
"Good, you'll be our anchor linking the both of us. Altogether, we could make a human chain that has both wholeness and mobility!" The convict surgeon had never been this riled up, then again, he was staring into the face of danger here.
Suddenly, a support beam hanging over head gave way and nearly crushed the group. Beginning to pick up her half, Maria spoke "Good plan there Poindexter, but let's just get moving!"
"Alright, then. The exit's not far, but we don't have a lot of time. Let's move!" With that, the makeshift human centipede began making it's way through the fiery building, weaving this way and that to avoid certain obstacles. It was rather tough, considering how unnerving the situation was, how fast the place was collapsing behind them, and how much weight there was to carry in reality, but they came, saw, and conquered whatever came their way.
It was only when they had come close to the exit the real problem started to rear it's ugly head. They were only a few meters away from the sole opening, they could see the blinding lights and hear the blaring sirens and the yells of officials and pedestrians alike. "We're...we're gonna make it!" Maria exclaimed.
However, the rate of destruction finally caught up with them. Right in front of their eyes, all the light and sound vanished without a trace, only to be replaced with a pile of flames, steel, and wood. All the shining hope from Maria's eyes was replaced with a dim look of despair. Quite unlike herself, she looked down to the floor and slowly began shedding tears, and with good reason. She knew that as a paramedic, she would have to be constantly race against the clock to avoid danger, and here was an actual situation that would get her killed if they didn't have any other options.
Meanwhile, CR had noticed that his partner was crying and was trying to find any way to get out of this mess. After a few glances, he noticed a set of what seemed to be steel sliding doors at the end of a mostly clear hallway. "Sir, is that an elevator?" he asked the cooperating worker.
"Yeah, I saw a bunch of researchers going down to the testing center that way. They were supposed to be trying to find a way to work with wind power, so the fire shouldn't have spread that far. That and there was supposed to be a special little exit for secrecy's sake, so that could be our way out!" The other workers rejoiced at this fact.
"You hear that Maria? We can get out of here. You don't have to be scared anymore." The red-eyed man looked down to Maria, only to get a slight punch in the gut in response.
Standing tall, the paramedic crowed "You really think I could get so worked up over that? Let's hurry it up, we've got lives to save here!" Even though there were tear streaks on her cheeks that were glistening in the light and her eyes were a bit red and puffy, CR didn't care, just as long as she was back to being her lovable self.
Lugging up some of the dead weight on the way across (Not really dead, but just unconscious), the group finally made it's way to the elevator. Pressing the "send" button so much that it was almost jammed, it seemed like salvation had come at long last when the cabby opened it's doors, some scratch marks on the inside marring it's appearance. "Okay, this is it! Everyone get inside!" Maria yelled as she guided the rest inside. Once they were all in, it was pretty hard to find some elbow room. Jabbing the button once, they were only met with a long beeping sound. "This is just freakin' perfect, now what?" Now she was getting edgy again.
"That's the signal for overcrowding! There's too many people!"
"Wha- Really? It's just five people! Now how are we gonna-"
"I'll stay behind."
Everyone turned to see the solemn surgeon looking straight out. "I'd rather not risk losing all these other lives, so I'll stay out until rescue breaks through. It was nice meeting you all." He was about to make his first step out when Maria fiercely grabbed him by the shoulders and slammed him to the wall.
"Are you f**king crazy? You're gonna get yourself killed out there! I'm the one responsible for you, the only one that cares enough to keep you safe, so you'd better not just walk out like you're the great sacrificial hero of the century!" By now, the hot-headed woman's eyes were starting to fill up with tears again. "You're getting closer to freedom with every life you save. I don't want all your work to go to waste. Please just stay..."
Smiling a bit at Maria's melodrama, he gently pushed her off until they were about a foot and a half apart from each other. "I appreciate the kindness, but you've got a greater purpose than me. I don't deserve anyone, especially someone as wonderful as you." Finally outside, he added "Besides, didn't you say if you loved someone, you'd do anything for them?" With that, the elevator doors started to close.
Wait, "if you loved someone"?...Oh God. "KID! Get back here!" she yelled out, but the doors shut out her plea, instead opting to take them straight to the lab. "No..."
In the meantime, the convict surgeon was starting to suffocate from all the smoke. I don't care that I'm dying, just as long as you're safe Maria. I...I love you...
Soon, he was seeing blurs, then shadows, and finally, darkness.
"So Gabe, you think he's gonna be fine now?"
"He'll be okay, just some excised burns here and there, but it's all cool."
"He nearly died for Christ's sake! Don't you DARE try to be casual about something like that, else-"
"See? He's waking up now. I've got a feeling that there's stuff that's gotta be said, so I'll just leave you two alone."
"Fine, but don't think this is over yet!...Hey, doc?"
"Oh...Phew, thank God...You alright?"
Propping himself up a little, but flinching a bit due to some pain in his right side, CR noticed that he wasn't in his usual prison uniform, but a hospital gown for patients. He also felt his left cheek and side and found that they were covered in gauze. An IV of painkillers was being administered through his left arm. He was, in figurative terms, a wreck. Maria was standing right at his side, a concerned look on her face. Trying to speak despite his dry throat, he answered "Yeah, I'm fine, just a bit...confused. How did I even end up here?"
Deeply sighing, she answered "Well, me and the other survivors got out fast through the lab. Once we were outside, I found some firemen who weren't busy and made them break through the other entrance and get you out. You were unconscious and had some burns on you, so I had to take care of you on the way here."
I see, that explains why I'm not back in my cell. "But isn't the entire city blacked out?"
Chuckling a little, Maria replied "Yeah, but we've got a back-up generator, and the Chief's working Hank like a dog to keep this place up and running."
"Well, that's fine. Is there a water fountain around-"
However, the paramedic thrusted a conical cup of water right in front of his face. "Drink." Scared by her suddenly stern tone, the surgeon quickly downed the drink in one gulp. "All better? You can talk a little better now?" Once he nodded yes, she proceeded to slap him across the face, hard. Right after that, the lecture commenced. "Do you have any f**king idea how worried I was? You just decide to kill yourself just for my sake? What the hell is wrong with you?"
Wincing in pain, he replied "Because you told me...that's what people who are in love do. They'd do anything for them as long as they were happy and safe."
Getting closer to him so that they were literally face to face, she finished "But that doesn't mean you can kill yourself for them. Don't you have any idea about what happens to the person they loved if the other died? If they loved you back, then they wouldn't eat, wouldn't sleep, wouldn't even be happy anywhere else unless they could ever see you again. That's how...how I would feel. Just do me a favor. Don't get yourself killed because of me, just stay with me. Please..." With that, the distance between them became shorter and shorter until their lips met with each other's. Between them, it was the greatest experience that they had with each other so far. Sadly, all humans had to breathe, so the kiss broke after about 6 minutes.
Genuinely smiling, CR replied "I promise Maria, once I'm free, I'll always be with you. While I'm still behind bars, then I'll keep myself safe for you. If you didn't hear me before, then thank you. It's because of you that I can love now, that I'm human." Again, they started to kiss.
"Yoo-hoo, Maria! Is the- Oh, my..." Right at that moment, the Chief, along with the nurses Emma and Darnell, walked in. "Well, well. Hope we're not interrupting anything important!" She had a grin the size of Texas creeping onto her face.
Blushing and pushing herself off her new boyfriend, Maria made an attempt to cover the whole situation up. "Ch-Chief! I, um, was just trying to check on his temperature, y'know, to see if he had a fever or not...?"
Suddenly, Emma dove in and hugged her anyway, while partially squealing at the top of her lungs "Oh my God, Dr. Torres! I'm so happy for you! What happened to get you this way?"
On the sidelines, poor Darnell was trying to get his fellow nurse off Maria who was absolutely steaming (Though she didn't mind what happened beforehand), the Chief was just laughing at the scene going on in front of her, CR had fallen deeply asleep due to the utter exhaustion of what just happened, and Drs. Tachibana and Cunningham were just heading to the chaotic room wondering what had just happened. However, instead of going straight inside, the diagnostician had opted to stay a few paces away from the door. He could already tell what had happened from the voices he heard from the inside. Putting on his trademark smirk, he muttered "You did good kid. You did good..."
Ending Notes: And lo...it is done! Sorry about the possibly downgraded quality and the quick pacing of it all, but when I was thinking this out, I was just thinking "Alright, that's done...Hmm, but it doesn't seem to specify enough/go by fast enough/couple-y enough, better fix it up juuuust a little. No harm done." so...yeah. There were times where I downright wanted to kill it with fire, but I persevered...*does flamboyant/dramatic/heroic pose*.../shot
Hope this goes by you well Chibi, and Happy Holidays to all!