Notes: Okay, I'm new to the Strong Medicine fandom, and I've only been watching about a month, so if everything's all wrong, my sincere apologies. Please e-mail and correct my mistakes at GrangersGrrl@yahoo.com. I also have to say I am a MAJOR Lu/Peter fan, so my fics will be dealing with that particular pairing. Here are some plot points you need to know:

You can think of this as an alternate universe fic. Pretend that "Rape Kit", and everything after it, never happened. Everything else has happened according to the events on the show. With that said, onward fic!

Disclaimer: I own not, you sue not.

Rating: R (violence, language, adult themes) May become NC-17 later on, depending on the way things go, but at this point, I can't say for sure.

Thanks: To Liza, for beta-ing and brainstorming. You're awesome, girl!

Right Beside You All Along

© 2002, By: Ash Carroll




"Where is he, bitch?"

She couldn't answer, her eyes only able to focus on the metal barrel in front of her, aiming toward her forehead.

"Where is he!" the youth demanded again.

"I can't tell you," she responded, finally managing to locate her voice, "we can't release information about a patient's condition."

Her eyes were so focused on the gun barrel that she missed the blonde nurse inching his way toward her, baby step by baby step. He only had about two feet to go before he reached the young doctor. Unfortunately, the gunman was more impatient than that. He cocked the hammer back, leveling it at her chest.

"Not good enough, bitch," the youth replied, then squeezed the trigger.

Lu clamped her eyes shut as she heard the shot, waiting for the inevitable, but it never came. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as she felt a heavy weight slam into her back, knocking her flying into a secretarial chair. It rolled forward, slamming into the desk, which sent her bouncing off the chair and onto the floor, landing hard on her butt, just in time to watch in horror as Peter's body sprawled supinely across the linoleum.

Pressing shaking hands to her mouth, she stared at him, watching as a bright red stain spread across the left torso of the light blue scrub shirt, gunshots still firing above her head, though she could hear security and police handling the situation. She shook her head, clearing the cobwebs. He'd pushed her out of the way, taking the bullet with her name on it in the process. And now, he was ... she stamped on the thought.

"Get a grip, Delgado," she scolded herself, "he's gonna be fine just as soon as you get your ass over there and help him."

Scrambling across the floor, she knelt next to him, fishing in her labcoat pocket for the extra pair of gloves she always carried. Tugging them on, she rifled through a drawer for a pair of scissors, proceeding to cut off the scrub top so she could get to the wound.

Muttering a curse under her breath, she looked around frantically for something to apply pressure. Spotting a towel on a shelf under one of the counters, she snatched it quickly and pressed it against the wound, praying it would be enough to stop the bleeding.

"Peter," she spoke forcefully, the way she always did when Marc got into trouble, trying to keep the edge of panic from her voice, "you stay with me, do you understand? Don't you dare give up. Don't you dare die on me or I'm gonna bring you back and kill you myself, you hear me?"

She couldn't hear any more gunshots, and it sounded like the police were already assessing the situation. Keeping heavy pressure on the still-bleeding bullet wound, she raised herself onto her knees, shouting for anyone in her general vicinity to come and give her a hand.

Nick scrambled behind the desk. "Lu, what's-"

He paled as he took in the bloody towel, wadded against Peter's lower chest, and the pallor of his skin.

"Aw, shit, Lu."

"We need a gurney. He's lost a lot of blood ..."

She closed her eyes briefly, trying to ignore the queasy feeling at the thought that she was wearing most of it, her stark white labcoat now a bright, angry red.

"I got it," he volunteered, rising to his feet. "Keep pressure on it, I'll be right back."

She nodded mutely, pressing the bloody towel more tightly against the wound. "You better hang in there, Peter, I mean it."

Nick returned with a gurney and a backboard. Working quickly they rolled Peter onto it, then lifted the board up onto the gurney and rushed it toward the nearest trauma room, nurses following behind.

"On my count," Lu instructed, "one, two, and ..."

They transferred Peter to the other bed, Lu pausing to changed her blood-soaked gloves as Nick started giving commands.

"I want two units of O-neg on the rapid infuser, type and cross for two more."

The woman nodded, moving to comply with his orders as he turned to another nurse.

"Call upstairs, tell them to page a surgeon and get an OR ready."

"Yes, doctor."

"Lu, how's it lookin' on your end?"

She blew a strand of hair out of her face, muttering a curse. "I don't have an exit wound, but there's so much blood here, I can't see a damn thing."

"Pressure's dropping," one of the nurses announced, "ninety over forty."

Nick watched the monitor anxiously. "Where the hell are my other two units?"

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the machines started beeping frantically.

"Shit!" Lu turned to a nurse, "grab the cart and charge the paddles!"

The woman did as she was told, squirting the paddles with contact jelly before handing them to Lu. "Clear!" she shouted, prompting Nick to stop CPR and remove his hands.

She pressed the paddles to Peter's chest, the machine continuing to whine steadily as an orderly skidded to a halt, bearing units of blood. "O-neg?"

"Hang it!" Nick barked, as Lu signaled for the paddles to be charged again.

"Ready," the nurse announced.

"Clear!"

Nick stopped CPR again as Lu shocked Peter a second time with still no response.

"You know, Peter, you're not making this easy," she snapped, commanding the paddles be charged again. "Work with me, here, dammit!"

She shocked him yet a third time, relief flooding through her when the machine began beeping steadily.

"He's back," Nick observed thankfully, "now let's get him upstairs before we lose him again."

"Hang in there, Peter," Lu pleaded urgently, "you gotta stay with us, you understand?"

The team wheeled the bed toward the elevator that would transport him upstairs and hopefully away from death's door.

~*~*~* *~*~*~

"Lu, baby, you look like hell."

She raised her head to meet the mocha-skinned woman's eyes. "I've been *through* hell, Lana."

The other woman nodded sympathetically. "How is he?"

"On a vent, recovering from a collapsed lung. Jackson said he coded on the table, they almost didn't get him back. He's in a coma, Lana, and it should've been me."

"Baby, don't say that."

"Why not," the doctor inquired, throwing up her hands in frustration, "it's true. I should be dead right now, and the *only* reason I'm not is because Peter pushed me out of the way."

"Lu ..."

She shook her head. "No. All I could see was that barrel pointed at my face, I was too scared to move. But Peter wasn't. He had to know that when he pushed me, he'd get hit. He had to know there was a chance he could die, but he did it anyway. And now he might not live long enough for me to yell at him for it."

"It's not your fault, Lu," Lana said quietly.

The young doctor looked at her with pained amber eyes. "Then why does it hurt so much?"

Lana pulled her in for a hug. "Because you care, baby, even if you don't want to."

~*~*~* *~*~*~

Walking aimlessly down the hall, she allowed her mind to wander back to the last actual conversation she'd had with Peter ...

She sat alone on the roof, looking out at the city, coffee mug held between her hands as she tried not to think about the mess in the clinic downstairs. A watermain had broken, flooding her office and half the clinic's waiting area. They'd had to close amid protesting patients, all looking for someone to treat them. She'd come up to the roof to clear her mind for a while, before heading back downstairs to begin the arduous task of cleaning up her soggy office.

Footsteps approached and a body lowered itself onto the bench next to her, companionable silence reigning for several moments as they sat together, watching the world go by.

"What are you doing up here?"

She sipped her coffee. "Staying out of the way while maintenance sucks the water out of my office. It was starting to look like the Titanic down there."

He gave her a lopsided grin. "Soggy, huh?"

She pursed her lips, looking out over the city. "Oh yeah. I'm thinking it's gonna take a week just to dry everything out."

He laughed. "Never a dull moment, is there?"

She turned and grinned at him. "Working here? Uh, no. Between Myra and her cramps, and my office turning into a rain forest, it's pretty much one big ball of excitement."

They were quiet for several moments before he spoke again. "Hey, I got an idea. Why don't we go grab some lunch somewhere? If you can pull yourself away from all the excitement."

She looked at him with a questioning glance. "That depends, will there be greasy pizza involved?"

He nodded. "If you want."

She grinned widely and nodded back. "I want. So," she asked brightly, "when do we leave?"

Snapping back to the present, she took a deep breath, forcing herself to concentrate on the charts she was doing, pushing the memories to the back of her mind, even as she wiped the tears from her eyes and tried to quell the thought that they may never have moments like that one again.

To Be Continued ..........................