"You did good, kid." Tyler said to Cody as the trio returned to the ambulance.
Cody grinned, "Thanks."
"Hop up front for just a minute."
"Okay." He opened the passenger side door and climbed in.
Tyler opened one of the back doors and gestured for Jo to get in, "After you."
She knew what he wanted. There was no escaping now. Sighing, she hauled herself up into the box and waited for him to follow.
Tyler positioned himself between Jo and the cab window just to be safe. "Lemme see it."
Slowly, Jo shrugged off her jacket, unbuttoned her uniform shirt, and laid them across the stretcher. As she turned her back to him and began to work her undershirt up, her shoulder protested with a hard spasm.
Seeing the brief pause that came with the movement, Tyler took over, carefully lifting her undershirt up enough for her to slide her left arm free. The bruise was bigger than he thought it would be. It was a mixture of black, purple, and dark red.
"Is it bad?" Jo asked.
"Well, it's not good." he answered, leaning in close so he could better examine her injury. "It's bigger than I thought it'd be, but the skin's not broken." Carefully, he put his hand on her shoulder, "Move your arm for me."
She moved her arm slowly, trying to ignore the pain.
"You'd know by now if anything was broken." Tyler said, dropping a quick kiss on the back of her neck. "It's one nasty bruise, though."
"I'll be okay." She let him help her put her undershirt back on before leaning backward into him and resting the back of her head on his shoulder, "Sorry I was short with you earlier."
"It's okay." He wrapped his arms around her, letting his open jacket envelop her, and kissed her cheek, "You were stressed."
"That's an understatement." She sighed, "I'm so glad he pulled through."
"I don't like working on people I know. Especially the people I work with. …Can we stop by and check on him later?"
He kissed her again, "Of course."
"I'm a nervous wreck."
"I know – you're shaking." He tightened his hold on her slightly, being careful of her shoulder, "You need to file an incident report."
She sighed, "I hate those things."
"Better safe than sorry."
"I know. I'm not hurt, I'm just sore as hell."
"Yeah, well, Boone's kinda anal when it comes to paperwork, so…"
She chuckled as she pulled away slowly and went to put her uniform shirt and jacket back on. "Whatever you say, babe." She turned around to face him and gave him a gentle kiss, "Thanks."
He frowned slightly, "For what?"
"For everything." Without warning, her stomach rumbled.
Tyler laughed, "I think it's time for lunch."
Jo grinned despite her blush, "Past time. But, let's make sure the fire department doesn't need us anymore before we go."
"What made you get into EMS, Tyler?" Cody asked before taking another bite of his hamburger.
Tyler shrugged, "A lot of things. Things I don't really understand sometimes." He paused for a moment, "I think mostly, though, it was the fact that I wanted to help people. The farther I got into it and the more I learned, the more I wanted to do."
"You've worked a lot of places, haven't you?"
He nodded, "Quite a few, yeah."
Cody sipped his soft drink before asking, "What city was your favorite?"
Tyler dipped a fry into a cup of ketchup, "Here, actually."
"The atmosphere." He elbowed Jo, "And this one."
Jo grinned and elbowed him back.
"What about you, Jo?" Cody asked.
"My brother. As a kid, I pretty much worshiped the ground Rabbit walked on. When we grew up and he got his EMT, I thought it was so cool. I was fourteen and he was eighteen, and I wanted to be just like him. Once he started telling me about all the runs he made, I was hooked."
Cody nodded, chewing thoughtfully on a fry. After a moment, he said, "I think I want to start taking EMT classes. Maybe even paramedic classes."
"It's a big decision." Tyler said.
"And a big responsibility." Jo added.
"I thought you were gonna do something art-related." Jo said.
Cody shrugged, "There's not a lot of money in art."
She chuckled, "There's not a lot of money in EMS, either."
He smiled and changed the subject, "So, how long have you two been together?"
Tyler thought for a moment, "We've been partners since March, so…nine months."
Cody nodded, "Uh-huh. But, how long have you been together?"
"Um…" Tyler hadn't been prepared for that one. "Define 'together'."
Cody half laughed, "Oh, come on, dude! Like it's not blatantly obvious!"
Tyler faltered, looking to Jo.
She shrugged, "I dunno."
He gaped at her, "You're the chick. You have to know. It's a chick thing."
She gave him an odd look as she did some quick mental figuring. "Roughly six months? Maybe six and a half?"
"Yeah, pretty much. And, don't call me 'the chick' again, okay? That was weird."
"I didn't think partners were allowed to date." Cody said, breaking up the awkward moment.
"We're not." Jo answered, shrugging, "But, Tyler's good friends with the captain, and, well, we're too good 'a team to break up. So nobody says anything."
"Huh." He looked at them for a moment before speaking again, "Soooo…can I see your scars from that shooting at the bank?"
Without hesitation, both medics answered with a simultaneous "No."
Three runs later, Jo finally caught a break long enough to go check on Matt. His nurse told her that Ashley had gone down to the cafeteria and that he was asleep, but if she would promise to let him rest, she could see him. Jo promised and added Scout's Honor just for good measure.
She couldn't decide if he was asleep or unconscious. He looked awful lying there with all those wires and tubes coming from his body. It was like seeing Tyler for the first time after they'd been shot. She fought the memory away as she approached his bed and took his hand.
Out of habit, she looked up at the monitor beside his bed, studying the readouts and numbers. All things considered, he was doing pretty well. It was a good sign.
Who knew that just working with him for one day would've made her care so much about him? But, in this line of work, your coworkers quickly became your family, and family takes care of its own. He was a good kid with a level head and a lot yet to learn. And, he had scared the living daylights out of her when he'd flat-lined.
She leaned down beside him, resting her head slightly against his, and gave his hand a gentle squeeze. "You crazy kid." she whispered, "Don't you ever scare me like that again, you hear?"
Slowly, weakly, he squeezed her hand.
Jo smiled, "Atta boy. You hang in there, and you get better, okay?"
She could hear footsteps heading toward his room. It was probably one of the aides. As she straightened up, she planted a quick kiss on his forehead, "I'll come check on you again soon."
NOTE: Probably going to finish this up with the next chapter.