Oct. 17th, 2013

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"Its not that strange. Its Italian", he replies.

Probably a dime a dozen in this city. He toys with his fingers for a while, content to just let the quiet humming of the hospital machinery wash over him. Not two seconds pass by before his daze is broken by Nathan's groggy questions. He turns his gaze to the other man, chuckling softly with amusement at Nathan as he promptly passes the hell out. Clarice huh? What a big shot. 

Lucas checks his wristwatch for the time and decides Nathan's timely loss of consciousness is probably his queue to move onto the other wards now. Hands on his thighs, he stands up and does a little stretch, rolling his shoulders. He spins on his heel but pauses to quickly tuck the sheets over the sleeping patient, nodding to himself when Nathan looks decidedly warm.

The wee hours of the night in the hospital are rather lonely. The only activity being scheduled surgeries wheeling off into ORs and the shuffling of sullen night shift nurses. The hospital is almost eerie, as he passes by the gift shops. Sleepy flower bouquets and get-well-soon teddy bears bathed by dim blue lighting. It's Lucas' favorite time of the day though. Or night, rather. Occasionally, he'll hear an old-timer hacking up a big wad in one of the rooms, but it dies down. Sometimes he stands by the infirmaries and watches the subtle rise and fall of the chests of premature babies. Not a lot happens, really, but it thrills him. 

A few hours pass, with a small amount of patients to see. The common mugging victim he has to stitch up, old ladies who fell down the stairs and broke their hip maybe. They are few and far between. When he gets some alone time once again, he finds a small staff room. He decides its a better time than any to go get a little boost again. It's been about a week since his last. 

These rooms are the size of cleaning closets usually, stuffed with a tiny bunk bed for use of the weary surgeon or slacking resident. 

Lucas pulls the plastic baggy out of his coat pocket. He makes himself comfortable on the floor, laying the white chunk of ice on the bag. He rolls his sock down, retrieving a small blade. Its all muscle memory from here. He had never intended to, but he's probably done this more than dozens of times at this point. It started off in his desperate med school days, when even on 4 hours of sleep he could barely find it in himself to manage all the study, study, studying. Med school isn't particularly hard, but he needed to graduate two years ahead. Substance abuse had always put him off, figuring he was too good for that. It was exactly the same belief that he was too good to get hooked that led him to giving it a shot. I'll try it just once, destroy this research paper I spent so long on. 

Fast forward eight months and here we are. Lucas Odierno, snorting a line from a linoleum floor.

Not like anyone can tell, he thinks as he shuts the door behind him. He's feeling the high surge through his arteries as he strolls through an especially long hallway. Around the corner, he sees a figure leaving a room. He thinks he knows who it is before he even gets that close. 

"Mr Fischer. I don't think those sweats are hospital standard issue, are they?", he says casually, ring finger hooking into Nathan's pant pocket and flapping it around. He looks to the man's face and notices how pale he is. Even his face looks kind of damp, as if it was clammy with sweat. His motions are kind of unsteady too. He gently places his hand on the other's shoulder, another one supporting his forearm. What a handful. 

"I hope you're not trying to escape", he mutters under his breath. "Are you looking for something? Should I send for a nurse?", he asks quizzically, speech rushed. 

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"High fashion...", Lucas repeats to himself, smiling a bit. This Nathan Fischer was an interesting character, to say the least. A lot of aspects about his lifestyle and appearance seemed to contrast against his own. Earlier, on his way out of the man's room, he had witnessed a suit-clad figure arrive at Nathan's hospital room with a large leather rucksack, presumably containing his belongings. It was usually family that would bring personal items to patients, but the stranger definitely did not scream "family". "Yes man" was the first word to come to mind. He was very curious indeed. 

That nagging feeling of curiosity would have to wait though, the man next to him was looking absolutely terrible. Lucas couldn't help but frown, even as Nathan cracked a joke and tried to shrug him off. Stubborn bastard, you're really in no state to be on your own. In his mind he was running through all his medical knowledge, speculating on what might be wrong with the other male. He could hear the tremor in his voice, eyes focusing on each individual rivulet of sweat on his forehead. The prognosis wasn't good, if Nathan kept up like this. 

He was a bit troubled, and the ice he consumed earlier definitely was making his usually hectic train of thoughts even more rapid. All his senses seemed to be kicking into hyper realism.

"Men's room's down there", Lucas says, hiking a thumb over his shoulder.

"Down to the vending machine and swing lef—", he couldn't finish his sentence though, quickly noticing as his companion lost all strength in his legs. Lucas was quick to be by his side again, catching him from the front. His arms under Nathan's armpits, he lifted him to his feet again. Lucas felt his nose prickle and before he knew it there was a perfect red stain on Nathan's shoulder. Shit. Not again. He thought that he had been good to go again. Obviously not though. Wiping under his nose, he quickly moved Nathan's arm over his shoulder so that he could walk the man to the washroom, his bloodied hand shoved into his coat pocket.

"Listen, I know you're some big-shot tough guy, but just let me walk you to the washroom", he said quietly as they trudged down the hallway.

"You're feeling a bit off. Wash your face, you'll feel better. Promise".


"And uh, about the nosebleed. I'll wash the shirt for you. Or buy you a new one", he bit out. 

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Hospital bathrooms were not unlike hospitals itself. Sterile, white, blinding. He felt stark naked, and he couldn't tell if it was from the intense aura Nathan seemed to exude or the harsh lighting. The guy seemed to have a serious aversion to any form of help. Either way, he wished he had a hole to crawl into. 

Depositing Nathan by the sink, he quickly washed his hands. He scrubbed under each and every cuticle with care. Like everything else Lucas did, he did it thoroughly, with vigor. From his peripherals, he could tell that Nathan was busy checking his face in the mirror. I wouldn't worry about your face when the rest of your body is probably feeling like shit. Lucas sniffled, wiping at his the blood from his philtrum. He flicked his wrists, flexing his fingers and effectively getting water everywhere. 

He turned back to the other man only to be met with a shit-eating grin. Nathan going on about his shoes. Nathan going on about how he was definitely no son of a rich doctor. Lucas felt his stomach sink a little. Even if the guy didn't mean it, he had definitely hit a nerve. Was it just him or was Nathan's tone downright belittling? Was he just being too sensitive? Fuck, it's not like he knows. It's not like he can see right through me, right? 

His face was getting hot. He splashed some water on his cheeks for good measure before turning back to the man.

"Thank you for the offer Mr Fischer, but I think I like my shoes pretty well. If you really insist on flaunting your money though, how about my monthly rent?", he gave a small huff that was supposed to resemble a friendly chuckle. Hopefully the other male would just laugh it off instead of saying anything more. 

"Oh, no need to thank me", Lucas replied lightly. Wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't my job after all. Allowing Nathan to attach himself to his arm, he lead the both of them out the latrine, down the hallway once again. The soft sound of feet padding on linoleum filled the quiet hallway. 

Lucas could feel the dampness of the hand on his arm, and bit his lip. He thought maybe he understood a little, no matter how far-fetched it sounded, why Nathan made himself so unapproachable. 

"You act like the press is gonna come barging through the doors if you so much as let someone wipe your mouth for you. I mean, its not like I would know, though. I don't know a lot about you. I don't know a lot about most of my patients. What I'm trying to say is Is the sky really falling like you say, it is? My shoes aren't that bad, are they? Vulnerability isn't a bad thing, I think. So what if my shoes are ugly, there has to be a place for ugly shoes somewhere in this world. Might as well be my feet right?", he gushed all at once. He immediately wished he could swallow every syllable back up. It wasn't like him to say so much, usually, but his pent up energy had to go somewhere. Usually, he would be vibrating, busy with things to do. Pacing yourself down to the speed of a patient with some sort of lung disease wasn't what he had in mind for the night. 
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"Well thank you, Nathan. You can call me Lucas"

Lucas rolled his eyes, cheeks reddening. "I'm also starting to like you"? And that comment from before. God, don't tell me he's that rich playboy type. Lucas mulled over the idea briefly though, before addressing Nathan again. He was once again perched on the seat by the bedside, meant for visitors but as of yet unoccupied by anyone actually related to Nathan. That fact saddened him a little. He thought it wouldn't hurt if he tried to befriend the other man.

They were face to face as they spoke, Lucas meeting Nathan's eyes. He smiled slightly at him fumbling over his words, it was obvious he never had to try to tone down the aristocracy in his voice. Amusement aside though, Lucas tried his best to understand where his temporary companion was coming from. Everything that Nathan implied his life was like sounded too foreign. Maybe eventually he would understand though.

"You might be right there, don't think I could enjoy myself half as much with someone breathing down my back", he nodded.

"No, it's no problem. There isn't a whole lot I can do this early in the morning anyway", he said conversationally as he stood up to pour himself a drink. Handling the plastic pitcher, he poured two cups of water. He hummed, eyes glued on the artificial, brightly colored flowers. Unlike many inhabitants in the hospital, those plastic flowers were one of the few things that couldn't wither. They didn't breathe. Or cough or hack or wheeze or spit blood. They didn't slog through endless days like he did. In the small section of the hospital the two of them occupied, probably the only two people (voluntarily) awake, he felt a certain kinship.

"You know— Shit, can you take a deep breath? No?", he asked quickly, already hunched over the patient on the bed. It took him by surprise how suddenly Nathan's condition took a turn for the worse again. It's because I let my guard down. Idiot, idiot, idiot. Where's my pager? His mind was racing, one hand fishing through his pocket, the other on Nathan's back.

The panic subsided though, and presumably the pain in Nathan's chest as well. Lucas heaved a sigh. 

"You're scheduled for a few blood tests today, CT, x-ray; maybe a bronchoscopy if we still can't figure out what's up", he said mechanically. In the state of emergency, his mind had already shifted back into gear as a doctor, instead of a lonely boy trying to make an unlikely friend. 

"A nurse should be with you soon. We usually take blood in the morning.", he says, sipping at his water and offering Nathan a cup with his other hand. 

"I'm just a resident though. I might be back later with Dr. Schneider and the whole team... Um, I'm sorry. I'm probably not the best person to talk to"


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Lucas Odierno