GAME CHANGERS

by

MoodyRedMuse

Disclaimer: I dont own 'A gifted man'.

Spoiler: S01E13 'In case of complications'

Genre: Drama/Romance

Rating: Mild T

A/N: I don't know exactly where this came from, but it happened. When I saw the promo for that episode last week it kinda hit a nerve I guess and that was enough for me to come back from my self-imposed exile from all things writing/posting... I don't know... I was at odds with myself all along as I was writing this fic in the middle of the night. Part of me didn't wanna do this but a bigger part of me, just had to. So, here it is.

Chapter 1: Complications

Early in the morning Michael testified in a court case regarding a man who set a deadly fire to a complex before having a tumor removed at Holt Neuro. In that fire a little girl died and her mother blamed Michael for testifying on behalf of his former patient. That guy walked because of Micheal's testimony.

Later that day the dead girl's mother took the Clinic staff hostage with a loaded gun and the urge to make Michael pay for his words.

Michael was gun pointed to his head and brought to his knees as the mother of the late girl mourned her death and cried her eyes out. She went ballistic every time Michael tried to talk her back to her senses. Michael tried to explain the motives behind his testimony, but the woman wouldn't have it.

His cellphone rang and he was forced to ignore the call. A couple of seconds later the clinic's land line phone started to ring too.

It was Rita.

She knew something was wrong. Michael never ignored her calls. She called 911 and sent the police over to take a look to the clinic and make sure everything was okay and next thing she knew she was on a cab on her way to the clinic herself. She had a bad feeling about the whole thing. A very bad feeling.

The police and her arrived at the same time.

She rushed inside and her heart was pounding in her chest. She completely ignored the police's advise to keep out. She struggled to get in there with a couple of police officers and she made it. After that, everything happened so fast that Rita didn't even know what hit her.

Well, she did. She got hit by a bullet but she didn't know exactly how that happened. All she knew was that Michael wasn't hit by it and that was all that mattered to her. Then everything went black. She started feeling really cold and she could hear Micheal's voice fading and the other voices too, but she couldn't get what were they saying. . She knew she had done the right thing and she was in peace with herself. She closed her eyes and let silence engulfed her, then she saw or heard nothing else.

Anton neutralized the shooter from behind.

Every physician in the room tried to stop Rita's hemorrhage.

Michael rode in the ambulance with her. Operated on her. Saved her.

He never left her side in Holt Neuro's ICU during the first twenty four hours. He wouldn't eat or sleep, just looked at her. Anna was there too. She said nothing. She just looked at him with deep sadness in her eyes and compassion in her heart. She'd put her hand on the small of his back and softly circled her thumb time and time again, caressing him. She repeated that ritual for hours. He wanted to pray for Rita's recovery but he didn't remember how. So Anna prayed instead.

At midnight, Kate talked him into going home to get some rest.

Rita used to be the only one who could talk Michael into doing something he had set his mind on not doing. But Kate tried for hours and Michael finally caved when Rita's husband showed up.

He thanked Michael for saving her and told him that Lenny was on his way, so he better followed Kate's advise, he said. Lenny and him were going to take it from there. Lenny was on his way as they spoke, he was gonna be there any minute, he reassured Michael.

Apparently Rita was stable enough to allow Michael to hope for a full recovery. Just a glimpse of a hope, but that was better than... well, he didn't even want to think about it.

Then again, Dr. Holt knew better than to let himself get too excited over appearances when it came to the kind of bullet wound Rita had suffered.

Rita took the bullet for him in her spine. She was going to be very lucky if she ever walked again. But Micheal's top priority was to save her life and anyhow, it was too soon to evaluate whether she was going to be paraplegic for the rest of her life after getting in between a bullet that had his name on it and him.

Around 12:15am Kate drove him home. His car was still parked in front of the clinic since the shooting and she wasn't about to let him drive after not sleeping for days, anyway.

The next day, during her lunch break at the clinic, Kate showed up at his place to check on him.

She barely slept the night before. She was up all night thinking about him. Admiring his composure during the whole ordeal, his amazing talent, his strength.

Kate wondered how Michael and Rita ended up having that sort of mother/son relationship. How did they go from just working together to where they were. The mere fact that they worked together for years didn't explain it. Besides, he was her boss, they weren't exactly equals or just co-workers and they still managed to become more than good friends. Just by looking at them interacting with each other, sometimes not even using words, anyone could easily see how deeply they cared for one another. And when Rita did what she did for him she proved just how much Michael meant for her. What they had was very unusual and yet wonderful.

Michael's face when Rita got shot was printed on Kate's brain. The shear terror and pain. The desperation. She could have swear that Michael felt that bullet too.

And what troubled Kate the most was her own sense of powerlessness. She witnessed Michael at his lowest when he was trying to save Rita, when he was chained to her bed keeping a falcon eye on her. He wouldn't leave her side. He put everything on hold, all his other patients, the police, the media. Everything. Kate couldn't believe he let her even set foot in that room but she managed to sit quietly by his side for a while a couple of times, offering him her support and just some kind words every now and then but mostly keeping him company in silence and making sure he had some water at least twice. He only left the room briefly to use the bathroom, not without asking her to stay there in his place first. She almost felt honored by his request.

And even knowing that she was doing all she could for him or more accurately, the little she could do for him, she still felt there was nothing she could do to help his suffering and that made her feel like she was in pain too.

She didn't understand why she felt so close to him in that terrible moment but she just knew that she would do anything to make him feel better, she couldn't stand to see him like that.

At 8am she gave up and decided to stop fighting insomnia. She got up and went to the bathroom and then made her way into her kitchen to make some coffee. Then her phone startled her and she found herself hoping to hear Michael's voice but it was her husband's instead.

Harrison was calling to let her know that his business trip was going to take a little longer than he had anticipated. A month longer to be more exact.

When Kate told him about the shooting and what had happened to Rita he had the decency to ask the mandatory stupid question: -"Are you ok?". To which her response was: -"Yes, but Michael isn't and we are all very worried about Rita."

He said: 'Right, I understand.'

She lost her temper when she heard that and she retorted: "How can you possibly understand when you are in a five stars hotel across the world?"

She felt offended by his lame attempt to empathize with her. She felt hurt because her husband didn't want to jump on the next plane home to be by her side after knowing what she was going through, she wasn't really surprised by his attitude though. At this point she didn't expect much from him and lately he hadn't been proving her wrong.

After a few long minutes of a quite heated and escalating argument, he hung up. She was glad he did.

Kate took a shower, skipped breakfast and went to the clinic to start her working day.

During the morning she debated several times on whether to phone Michael or not. She concluded that checking on him in person was the best way to go,so at noon she made her way to Micheal's house after making arrangements for Zeke to be in charge while she was gone.

The storm broke when she got in her car and she remembered she didn't have her umbrella with her but walking under the rain the half block that separated her car from Micheal's doorway didn't really bother her all that much.

-"I'm so sorry if I woke you, Michael. I just wanted to make sure you were ok."

-"No, it's really ok , you... didn't, you didn't wake me up Ka.. Kate."

His stuttering didn't alarm her. She thought it had something to do with the amount of stress he had been under during the last few days.

He, on the other hand, didn't even notice he was struggling with words. All he could think was: 'Oh my God! She is beautiful!'

The vision of Kate Sykora standing right in front of him, soaking wet. Her wild blonde hair damped and covering half of her porcelain face and her own oblivion to how breathtakingly gorgeous she looked under the pouring rain -which made her even more beautiful in his bewildered eyes- swapped him off his feet and deprived him of the ability to form a simple sentence without stuttering his way through the conversation.

-"I, I...slept for twelve straight hours and, and... woke up about... about five minutes ag...ago to the loudest thunder I... I... ever... heard."

At that point Michael realized how dumb he sounded and tried to get it together. He covered his face with his hands and then ran them through his hair.

Then he faked a yawn and added: -In all honesty I was just about to jump in the shower and then go back to ..."

Kate interrupted him saying that she had called Holt Neuro earlier to see how Rita was doing and that they said that she was stable. They both knew that stable meant that there were no complications. Stable, in that case, was good because it meant that the patient wasn't getting worse. They also knew Rita was not off the hook just yet. She had a long way to go. It had only been two days -almost- and she wasn't out of the woods, so to speak.

-"Oh! thank you so much for doing that, I was about to do that myself when ..."

-"When I showed up?"

-"Yes, actually. -he gave her a small smile- But I wasn't gonna get going just because of Rita, in fact I was also planning on getting something to eat at the cafeteria. My fridge has never been emptier, it's pitiful really..."

-"Alright then, I have more good news for you Dr. Holt. I got some chinese for you on my way over. I noticed you haven't been eating all that well lately or... at all, for that matter and I figured that cooking wasn't on your top 10's priority list, 'cos let's face it Dr Holt, you look pretty...beaten." She smiled sheepishly and swung the take out bag in front of him.

-"Thanks Dr. Sykora, you look pretty yourself..." He said, as he swiftly took the bag from her.

-"Well, I admit I have my reasons to look pretty beaten as well...I.."

- "I didn't say beaten..." He looked right into her baby blues when he said that. He pierced her with his. She blushed.

-"Oh!"

-awkward moment-

-"Why don't you come on in and join me?" He got out of her way and motioned to invite her in. -"Oh my God! I'm sorry, I didn't realize I had never let you in. You are soaking though and through Kate. Let me get you a towel. He headed to the bathroom as Kate walked through his door. She swallowed hard, hoping he wouldn't notice. She was nervous and her mouth was suddenly very very dry.

Now was her turn to stutter. -"Where are the, the... dishes? And the glasses? And ... and the napkins? And, and... "

She started rambling with a slightly higher pitch than usual and she thanked the heaven above for the towel Michael gave her, because she could cover her flushed cheeks with it, pretending to be drying up her face or while she tried to dry up her hair.

But the towel did nothing for her when Michael took her by the arm ever so gently and guided her though the kitchen, showing her around and pointing where everything was as she named each item she thought they were going to be needing to have a decent chinese lunch.

-"I'll be right back, just a quickie... shower and we'll dig in, k?"

Kate felt slightly weak in the knees when she heard him pronounce those words -the thought of a quickie with Michael and the sudden image of him in the shower...- She was extremely embarrassed and even more aroused. Not to mention totally flushed. So after a long pause she said: -'"Hmmm sure! Whatever you say Dr. Holt."

Michael smiled at her again and left the room feeling relieved. He didn't want to stand close to her for a minute longer, he couldn't stand it. He felt his blood running south rather rapidly and the fact that he was just wearing the bottom part of his pajamas wouldn't help at all. Coincidentally, a topless Michael Holt standing so close to her, didn't help Kate's case either.

When Kate found herself alone in his kitchen she drank a glass of water to put out the fire she felt was taking over her cheeks.

She took two deep breaths and started setting the table ready and serving the food anticipating Micheal's return.