It starts, as it always does, with his alarm going off.
He doesn’t know why he sets it. Most of the time, Jazz has crawled into bed with him and woken him up. But he enjoys the thirty minutes to an hour of Jazz’s sleepy company, the both of them drifting in and out of it as Jazz snuggles up close.
He doesn’t have the heart to tell Jazz that maybe he shouldn’t crawl into bed with him, just before he has to get up for work. He doesn’t sleep enough as it is. And Jazz’ll even tell him as much every once in a while, when Savin comes home at eight in the morning, so tired the thought of food nauseates him and he’s almost slurring his words.
Today, however, is not one going to be one of those days. He’s slept, for once. Jazz huffs as Savin gropes for his phone and swipes the alarm away. “Already?” he groans, burying his face in Savin’s chest.
“Yes, already,” Savin says, chuckling into Jazz’s hair. “It’s not you who has to get up, y’know.”
“But you’re my pillowww,” Jazz whines. “You should stay here with meee.”
“Do I need to call you by your full name?”
Jazz lifts his head and glares at Savin. Savin just laughs. “Alright, alright, I won’t call you that.” He brushes his lips against Jazz’s forehead. “The sooner you let me up, the sooner you can go back to sleep, mate.”
Jazz weighs his options. This part, Savin muses, usually takes about five minutes. He could speed it by moving himself, but -- he likes watching Jazz’s nose scrunch as he thinks; the way he chews his bottom lip before sighing and rolling off of Savin and onto his back. Some nights, Jazz tries to pull Savin down on top of him in the process, his grin mischievous.
Sadly, tonight is not one of those nights.
Showering, shrugging on his scrubs, and eating a light “breakfast” (he has a hard time calling it that; it’s 1045 at night, who the fuck calls that breakfast?) doesn’t take him much time. Putting his contacts in, however --
Well, there’s a reason he saves that for last.
He hates them. They’re uncomfortable. But nothing is worse than his glasses sliding down the bridge of his nose in the middle of surgery, so he suffers through them. If he didn’t need to see the details, he wouldn’t even bother with them. He can see well enough without his glasses to get around -- even to drive, if necessary. But surgery…
Savin sighs as he pulls his hands away from his face. He blinks, grimacing a little at the feel of his lenses, but he adjusts as they settle into place. Maybe if he didn’t have an astigmatism, he’d like them better. He hears regular contact lenses aren’t weighted. Less expensive, too.
He glances back towards the bedroom, where Jazz is no doubt asleep, and aches to join him. But he’s in at 1130, it takes twenty minutes to get to the hospital on a good day, and Jazz, thankfully, is off in the morning (thank god for national holidays). He could pester his boyfriend when he got home.
As he slips on his sneakers and picks up his keys, Savin does a mental inventory. Wallet, check. Glasses, contact lenses case, check. (Just in case he gets a few hours of downtime and can nap in the on-call room). Cell phone, check. Lunch --
“Shit,” he hisses, making his back towards the kitchen. He pulls his already packed lunch from the fridge and sighs in relief. Ever since Jazz moved in, he’s actually had lunch most of the nights he works. He’d have to remember to thank Jazz for that in the morning.
He makes it to the hospital at 1123, two minutes earlier than the night before, and the fact that tonight’s a drinking holiday hits him square in the chest.
Drunk drivers tonight, he thinks, gritting his teeth. His favorite.
He punches in, hears sirens, and washes up as the details start trickling through. Motor Vehicle Accident. Two vehicles involved, head on collision. One DoA, one needing extensive surgery. He laughs and shakes his head.
“Bet the survivor’s drunk off his ass,” he says to a nearby nurse, his tone wry as she slips his gloves over meticulously scrubbed fingers.
The nurse just rolls her eyes and walks away. Savin snorts.
She must be new.
He’s in the OR for hours. His back hurts by the time he can finally straighten it. He snaps off bloody gloves, removes his bloody gown, and his fellow surgeon does the same, the two of them nodding at each other as they walk out the OR.
“That went better than I thought it would,” says Chase. He gives Savin a wry smile as the two of them turn to wash up.
“Good catch with the spleen,” Savin says with a nod. “Think we would’ve lost him, otherwise.”
The guy had come in mangled from crashing against his steering wheel, his neck broken and reeking of liquor. Internal bleeding so bad it poured out of him as they cut him open -- but they found the source, patched him up, sent him back to the ICU, his neck stabilized and his heart still pumping.
The first success of the night.
Savin sits in the lounge, celebrating with his lunch in his lap. He kicks his feet up and leans back, waiting for the next inevitable call as he picks at the food.
It comes three bites in, just as Savin dares to sip at his coffee -- extra sugar, extra cream. He needs it to help block out the smell of blood and booze.
It’s another MVA.
“Can’t I get a gunshot victim, mate?” he asks, lifting his eyes towards the ceiling and asking no one in particular. He shoves his food back in the lounge fridge. “Or a stab wound? Is that too much to ask?”
There are three more MVAs, three more surgeries Savin finds himself either leading or assisting in, three more total survivors.
Half of his lunch remains uneaten, despite numerous attempts to pick at it. At some point, his stomach had soured. As used to the amount of gore he sees daily thanks to his chosen profession, some nights are better than others.
He doesn’t feel tired, not as he glances at the time and it’s 503. He was already asked if he could stay late (“Sure,” he says, his hands buried inside another human being and not even looking up. “How late?”), already determined that staying late was a terrible idea (“Jazz’s gonna kill me when I get home,” he whines at Mari, who was doing rounds in the ICU that night and he hadn’t even known about it), and was now drowning himself in coffee despite not feeling tired (“I’ll probably feel tired later,” he justifies, except it’s really because he’s trying to quit smoking and chewing gum drives him insane but chewing the edge of the paper cup between sips doesn’t).
He doesn’t think that he’s four for four. He’s got six more hours to go, and he takes up the bed in the on-call room, his head resting against the thin pillow as he stares up at his phone. If he closes his eyes, he could probably get in a nap.
Except he’s searching news articles, his tongue sticking out just slightly as he thumbs through them on his phone. His first patient of the night sticks in his mind. The other accidents hadn’t been fatal, all of those involved either walking away or ending up in an OR. But the first one…
There’s nothing about the death, yet. Sighing, Savin puts his phone down on his chest and closes his eyes.
Savin sits up, meeting Mari’s eyes. “Dr. Hadley,” he says, glancing at his pager. No missed calls, thank god. He sends Jazz a text with his phone, something generic about being back late and not to worry before shoving it away in his pocket. “What’s up?”
“Something’s bothering you,” she says, sitting on the bed beside him. She has bags under her warm eyes, her usual teasing smile subdued. She places a hand on Savin’s shoulder. “You’ve been staying late a lot lately.”
His pager screams at him, giving him an excuse to look away. “I gotta go,” he says. “Another MVA.”
He’s grateful when she doesn’t argue.
Savin's teeth grind together as he stares down at the woman below him.
She looks so much like his mother that for a moment, his heart climbs into his throat. Blinking his internal image away, the differences become more pronounced. Her nose isn't right. Her jaw's the wrong shape. She's too thin.
She's a few years younger, too, judging by the lines on her face. But her gray is more prominent; more abundant.
“Dr. Bates? Is everything alright?”
Savin relaxes his jaw and turns to Chase, offering him a smile he can’t see. “Yeah. It’s just been a long night, that’s all. I don’t think I’m ever gonna drink again after all this…”
Chase snorts, and the two of them get to work.
He’s six for six when he walks out of the hospital and towards his car. He’s managed one (1) fifteen minute nap around 8am. Jazz texts him back at 1034. It contains multiple heart emojis and understanding.
Savin fishes through his pockets for his keys -- except they’re already in his hands and what he’s really looking for, isn’t there. He weighs the possibility of Jazz noticing him smelling like menthol.
He’s in his car, pulling into the nearest corner store, and buying a pack before he can finishing weighing it. The risk will be worth it. Jazz can be pissed all he wants, the burn is as smooth as ever as Savin takes in that first drag and leans back against the driver’s side door to his car. He won’t smoke in it.
He doesn’t finish the cigarette. A compromise, he tells himself. He’s trying to quit. Cold turkey obviously isn’t going to cut it.
What he doesn’t tell himself -- what he doesn’t allow himself to acknowledge -- is the woman who looked just like his mother. Critical, but stable, once they’d wheeled her out of the OR. Instead, he wonders what it’s like to be an oncologist. What it must be like to chase cancer and try to eradicate it, instead of patching up drunk driver after drunk driver and sending them back onto the streets.
He imagines it might be no different as he slips back into his car and finishes driving home. When he opens the door to their apartment, Jazz grins up at him from his book. “How was work?”
Savin doesn’t quite meet his eyes as he makes sure the pack of cigarettes is out of sight and smiles, toeing off his shoes. “Oh, it was good, y’know? I was six for six.”
It was not a conversation that was easy to have, Jazz found. The week came and went, another dinner done and another night spent in bed with Devin -- this time in Jazz’s, just like he suggested the week before. And during the ride back to Devin’s place, Jazz couldn’t bring himself to discuss the future of his relationship of sorts with Devin.
( Read more... )
Part 1 | Part 2
Jazz struggled to catch his breath, wiping his hand off on his long-since discarded shirt. Even with his eyes closed, he could just imagined the pleased look making its way across Savin’s face.
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Li opened his eyes and squinted at the endless blue sky above him. Not a single cloud marred it; the sun beamed, his frail, thin skin practically sizzling with the heat of it. Salt pervaded his senses; his mouth tasted of it, it was all he could smell. The ground -- if he could call it that -- was jagged and rough, digging into the bare skin of his back; of his legs.
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