A/N I actually tried to post this last night (as promised to Mononoke-hime x sukai kurora) but I kept getting an error about how either my document was empty (?) or there was a processing error. Seeing as I had spent hours typing various characters/letters/words into my 'empty' document, I was pretty sure it was a processing error... LoL Anyway, sorry about the delay. I know, I know, I say that a lot but I really do have a lot on my plate lately. *sigh* I'm not complaining, though because once I finish what's on my plate, desert will be a 'dream come true'! Okay, enough with that metaphor and on with the story. I hope this is worth the wait. ~Kelcor

Andy took in each detail of the room with practiced precision - Scott was slouched against the wall, breathing slightly laboured; the smell of gun powder still hung in the air, which told Andy the gun must have gone off just moments before he had seen the two teens tear out of the house. A few crumpled bills littered the floor. It was the sight of the gun that had Andy faltering, however, seemingly tossed aside in fear and desperation as the shooter fled the scene. He froze mid-step, his mind flashing back to Joey, the shotgun, the pooling blood...

A pained grunt from a barely conscious Scott forced the doctor back to the present. He shoved the gun away with one foot, not wanting to put his own prints on it - old habits died hard - but also not wanting it anywhere near him or Scott, then rushed to the boy's side. Even as he dropped to his knees next to him, Andy was pulling his cell phone out and dialling 9-1-1. It took a moment for him to realize there was no signal. He snapped the phone shut with a curse and returned his focus to the injured teen in front of him.

Andy palmed Scott's face, dismayed at the heat emanating from the kid's flesh. Next, he checked for a pulse. It was strong but revving way too fast for Andy's liking. An object from the corner of his eye grabbed his attention - a discarded crack pipe. He glanced back at the money again. Drug deal gone bad? With something akin to revulsion, Andy snatched up the pipe and stalked over to a nearby window. He opened the window, braced himself against the pelting hail, and tossed the pipe out into the snow filled yard, then quickly slammed the window shut once again.

"Scott? Scott, can you hear me?" Waiting anxiously for an answer, he lifted Scott's shirt to inspect the wound. Just a graze but still deep, it was bleeding enough to have Andy concerned. Finally, a mumbled response reached Andy's ears.

"Just hang on, Scott," he whispered, then rushed out of the room and down into the abandoned kitchen. After a frantic search beneath the cupboards, he found an old pot. Obviously, not lustrous enough to include in the packing, but it would do nicely for Andy's purposes.

He filled the pot with water and placed it on the bottom step leading upstairs, then, not wanting to leave Scott alone any longer than necessary but needing supplies, Andy ran outside to get his medical kit from the backseat of his car. He was shocked by how much snow had already accumulated on the vehicle. As an afterthought, he also grabbed a handful of water bottles out of the trunk.

The wind picked up speed, blowing snow in his face with an almost animalistic ferocity, nearly knocking Andy off his feet with the longer than usual gusts. Ducking his head against the hurricane-like gale, with med kit and water bottles tucked against him, he made his way back to the house... and walked straight into the trunk of the tree in the centre of the yard. He had veered nearly ninety degrees off course. He closed his eyes and stood still for several long moments, trying to get his bearings. He could not afford to get turned around again. Scott needed him. Picturing the position of his car at the curb, the tree and its proximity to the house in his mind, Andy finally turned to his left and prayed he was headed in the right direction.

As soon as he reached the front door, Andy breathed a sigh of relief and darted back inside. He grabbed the pot of water from the bottom step as he raced back up the steps, taking the stairs two at a time.


Andy did his best to clean the wound, slapped some gauze on it, then tried his cell phone again. Still nothing. The storm must be blocking the signal. There was no way he would be able to safely navigate the roads in this weather, they were going to have to wait it out. The sun had already gone down, which meant Andy had to find some other supplies to get them through the night.

After scavenging through the other bedrooms and the linen closet outside the bathroom, Andy was finally able to find a couple of forgotten blankets and an old lumpy pillow - better than nothing.


Detective Rena Yablonski rushed through the sliding doors and found herself in a very crowded ER. Her eyes scanned the large area for her estranged husband. Though, she was the one who initiated the break, so did that make her the estranged one? But she didn't want to think about their separation right now. Truth be told, she never wanted to think about it, because a small part of her died every time she did. Tonight, however, her main concern was of a more life or death nature. Andy's life or death.

Her partner, Detective Phil Lombardi darted through the doors behind her. He stopped at her side and joined in her scan of the ER. When neither of them were able to find the object of their quest, Phil's eyes landed on her. "Andy's a survivor, Rena. I have yet to see anything that can keep that man down."

"He's not answering his cell, Phil. If he's not in surgery, he always answers his cell."

"Well, before we jump the gun, how's about we find out if he is in surgery, okay?"

Not trusting her voice, Rena simply nodded her agreement and they both stepped up to the elevators.


Andy sat with his back against the wall, arms crossed over his bent knees, head leaned forward against his arms. He was exhausted. It had been hours since he had first arrived to find Scott injured and there was still no sign that the storm was going to let up any time soon. He had to get this kid to the hospital. There was only so much he could do without the proper equipment. The flesh wound caused by the bullet wouldn't be an issue, as long as it didn't get infected, but Scott's heart condition was still undetermined. Andy had planned to review the results from the previous night's tests after checking on the kid but, once realizing Scott had bolted through the night, finding him had become his number one priority. Which left Andy with no idea of how bad Scott's heart had been damaged by his drug use.

He looked down at the teen, unconscious beneath one of the blankets, head propped up by the lumpy pillow. The other blanket Andy had piled in a nearby corner for himself for later. Or for Scott, should his condition worsen. Feeling his anxiety piquing, Andy pulled himself wearily to his feet, intent on walking off his steam by pacing back and forth in the small room. He didn't get far before his eyes fell on the window, and the tree beyond. The tree that was swaying dangerously close to the house, to the very room he and Scott were currently taking shelter in.

"No. No way. Please, God, no." Even as the words left Andy's mouth, he was diving to the floor, covering Scott's body with his own, as the large tree came crashing through the window, taking some of the wall with it. The last thing Andy felt was the biting cold of the wind, and the scorching pain of torn flesh, before he lost consciousness and joined Scott in the black void of oblivion.


Phil watched as Rena paced back and forth across the office. His partner loved her husband so much. But, as Rena had stated herself many times before, their relationship was a tragic example of when love, even the undying kind, was just not enough.

"Dr. Jordan," Rena began.

"Call me Sophia, please."

"Sophia," Rena said, the corners of her mouth twitching up into a small smile of gratitude toward the woman who, for all intents and purposes, had become somewhat of a mother figure to Andy. "He hasn't answered his cell phone in hours."

"Cell phone signals are down all over the city. I wouldn't worry too much. Andy can take care of himself."

"Why does everyone keep saying that," Rena growled, her frustration becoming clear. "I know he can take care of himself. I know him better than anyone. But I also know he has a soft place for abandoned kids, so much so that he is more than willing to put himself in danger to help them. I looked further into Scott Becker's history..."


"And," Phil said, inserting himself into the conversation to give Rena a chance to compose herself. "The kid seems to be a good kid who made some bad mistakes. Unfortunately, he hangs with some not so good people. Some of them have pretty violent records under their belts."

Sophie sighed inwardly. If she were to be completely honest, she was worried about Andy, as well. It just wasn't like him to not check in, especially during a storm this bad when people tended to ignore the warnings and go out anyway, then get into accidents, resulting in a busier than usual Emergency Room. When her top surgeon had failed to respond to her pages, she'd just figured his cell phone wasn't working like everyone else's. Now, she was beginning to doubt that assessment. She glanced up from her musings, just as Dr. David Lee passed by her office. Sophia rose to her feet and rushed to the door.


The handsome Asian doctor turned just before entering the elevator. He saw Rena and Phil behind her and immediately aborted his previous route and headed straight for Sophia's office.


When Andy woke, he was pinned between something soft and something heavy. After a moment, he realized the 'something soft' was Scott Becker, and the 'something heavy' was a large pine tree and what looked to be part of a freakin' wall on his back. Bracing his hands on the floor, on either side of Scott, Andy took a deep breath, then pushed up and back. The debris moved but not much.

"Scott," he said, startled at how weak his voice sounded even to his own ears. "Scott, I need you to wake up for me, kid." Andy almost couldn't believe his eyes when hazel finally opened to meet blue. As the kid's sight gradually adjusted to the darkness of the room, he recognized Andy. His eyes widened significantly when he saw the tree laying across Andy's back.

"Hey, buddy. You with me?"

Scott nodded but his gaze remained transfixed by the pine branches framing Andy's profile.

"Look at me, Scott. Look at me," Andy instructed. The kid's eyes finally focused on Andy once again. "That's right. Good man," he soothed. "Now, I need you to do something for me, okay? Can you do that?" Another nod. "I need you to carefully pull yourself out from under me, Scott. You've got a wound in your side, so move slowly. Okay?"

Scott nodded again. He felt like it was all he could do anymore, like he'd lost his voice. But he recognized the urgency of the situation, saw the strain in the doctor's face, knew the weight on his back had to be incredible. He eased himself up onto his elbows and slowly started pulling himself backwards, further into the room. He barely heard the doctor's words of encouragement over the thrumming in his ears. The pain in his side was bad, no doubt about it, but what hurt the most was his chest.

Andy heard the loud creak of protest from above and, once the kid was out of harm's way, he took another breath, then threw himself out from under the debris. He looked back just in time to see it crash the rest of the way to the floor.

"Good job," he said, turning to Scott with a smile. The smile disappeared, however, when he saw the kid curled forward on his side. "Scott? Scott, what is it? Tell me what's wrong."

No matter how hard he tried, Scott couldn't, for the life of him, remember this doctor's name. "Doctor... ah, man... it hurts!"

"What hurts, Scott?"

"My... chest," the teen muttered between clenched teeth.

Andy cursed for the second time that night. He had never been much for cursing but this situation seemed to be bringing out the 'best' in him. He prayed that this wasn't going to be a full on heart-attack because CPR wouldn't be much more than a band-aid in this situation, not like he could get the kid to the hospital anytime soon, either.

Thankfully, the pain seemed to recede and Scott slowly eased out of his fetal position and lay on his back on the floor. It took mere seconds for the shock of the situation to wear off, and for the bitter cold of the air to settle into their bones. Scott started shivering first, followed quickly by Andy.

A huge hole stood where the window and the wall surrounding it used to be. The crest of the tree, which hadn't looked all that large when outside, took up close to the entire room and blocked any attempt at escape through the doorway. Andy just hoped that daylight would provide further options.

He grabbed the spare blanket, then helped Scott move further away from the window. The two huddled into a far corner. Andy pulled Scott against him, ignoring the teen's indignant struggles and weak protests, and wrapped the blanket around them, tucking the edges behind their backs. He wrapped both his arms around the injured teen, careful of the wound in his side, and settled in for the night. Saying another prayer, to a God he wasn't sure existed, that someone would find them before it was too late.


Andy woke to the odd sounds and familiar voices. "Andy... me... David... out... here... got him... 's okay..."



David sat on the furthest bench seat, Andy bundled up in his arms. He couldn't help but feel a bit frustrated by the fact that Scott Becker, the reason for all this, was in the seat ahead of them, the seat closer to the heater. But he knew that's the way Andy would want it so he set aside his frustration and concentrated, instead, on getting his friend warm again.

"Ryan," he called up to the front, "how long before we get back to Three Rivers?"

"I'm going as fast as I can," Ryan returned, sounding more than a little flustered and scared.

"Leave him alone, David," Miranda piped up from her position next to Scott, doing her best to warm the teen just as David was doing for Andy. They both exchanged fearful gazes, then David acquiesced and didn't say another word for the duration of the trip.


This time Andy regained consciousness to the sounds of beeping monitors, softly murmuring hospital staff, and... snoring? There was something very familiar about that particular snore. His curiosity forced his eyes open and he saw Rena sitting in a nearby chair, forehead resting on Andy's arm, fast asleep and, you guessed it, snoring softly.

Andy's lips twitched up in fondness as he gazed down at the only woman he had ever loved. "Hey," he whispered, not wanting to startle her.

She came instantly awake and looked around in confusion for a brief moment, until her eyes settled on Andy.

"Hey," he said again.

"Hey," she replied, her relief showing clearly on her face. "How are you feeling?"

"Better now," Andy told her honestly. Then he remembered the previous night. "Scott?"

"He's fine," Rena reassured him. "I'm told he's going to need your expertise someday soon but not today. They warmed him up - warmed both of you up, actually - and he's coming along nicely. David even stitched up the bullet wound in his side... after he stitched up your back." She couldn't stop the single tear from streaming down her cheek.

Andy thumbed it away before it reached her jaw line, then cupped her face with his palm. Their eyes locked and, like always, they said everything they needed to say without saying anything at all.


A/N2 Please Review? They really do keep me going. Every time I log into my email and find a review from one of you, a huge smile breaks out on my face. Some emails I don't open right away. Any reviews/PMs from you guys? Yeah, they get opened RIGHT AWAY! Pathetic? Maybe. Do I care? Not so much. LoL ~Kelcor