One of Us

Andy and Ryan were standing next to each other on the roof of Three Rivers. Neither of them were seen very much together, unless it was about a transplant for a patient. They were not together now because of that. Koul had gotten his transplant, and was now living with his new heart. Andy still remembered his words. "I thank you all." He still couldn't believe the bravery and resilience his patient had. It was he who accepted his death, and it was he who had been at peace. Andy, nor Ryan, had not been at peace. None of them would have accepted his death. Both of them were now quiet, remembering the agony and growing despair of the day.

"I was close to tears that day, Ryan," Andy said quietly. The younger man with the light brown hair looked at him with solemn eyes.

"So was I." The former zealous and hyperactive transplant coordinator had a somber expression on his face. "I think David tried to deny that he felt any feelings at first, and I know that doctors shouldn't have deep bonds with their patients, but I couldn't get Koul's face out of my mind. He was our family."

"He told me that he could feel death hovering over him like a bird, and he wanted me to accept his death." Andy sighed. "You're right, Ryan. Doctors have to distance themselves from their patients because we never know when they may die." He swallowed. "But I couldn't with Koul. He came to my hotel and played Guitar Hero with me. We understood each other, even thought we were born thousands of miles from each other. He's my friend, a friend that I can't replace."

Ryan noticed the pain on the doctor's face, remembering how close his superior had been to tears in Koul's darkest hour. "Just like with Scott Becker," Suddenly Andy's face became pale when Ryan mentioned his patient who had died weeks before. "I'm sorry," Ryan whispered as Andy remained silent. "I shouldn't have said that."

"No," came Andy's hoarse answer. "I was that way with Scott too." His blue eyes met Ryan's. "I don't regret our bond, Ryan. He was…like the son I never had. Even though I was crushed by what happened to him, I can never forget him."

"Koul's our family, you know," Ryan said as Andy quieted. "He's one of us."

"So are you," said Andy said with a smile. Ryan's eyes widened.

"I am?"

"Yes, you are. I remember when you told Brandon's wife that he was getting a heart. You've come a long way since then, Ryan, and you're one of us now. You heard what Koul said. He considers you family, just like me."

Ryan was silent for a moment. "I remember being excited about meeting Dr. Bovell. I heard that he was your rival, Dr. Yablonski, and I thought that he was amazing." Then he shook his head. "I was wrong. Even though he's amazing with machines, Dr. Bovell isn't you. You care deeply for you patients, Dr. Yablonski, and you never give up hope even in the darkest of times." Respect and revernce appeared in his eyes. "Your rival doesn't have that, your bedside manner, and he also doesn't treated me like a seocnd-class citizen. You are amazing."

Andy nodded, and both of them stood not speaking a word in comfortable silence as the moon rose above them.