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Lucas could feel himself wince at the bite in Nathan's words. The words echoed in his psyche and hit way too close to home. They reminded him too much of Jason. The bad memories just kept washing over him. He tried taking deep breaths, breathing from the gut, trying to regain composure.

The only thing he could muster was a quiet but firm "no" at Nathan's questions. Did he get off of it? Did Nathan really think he was like that? Well, he probably gave him good reason to but... God, he wanted to throw up. He was ashamed, but at the moment more angry than anything. He had resolved not to lose look weak, but somehow that translated into anger. Lucas could sense the disdain dripping in Nathan's voice. His fists trembled slightly by his sides.

"Exactly. What does it matter to you?", he asked sharply, words like knives. "If that's what you want to do, go for it. Just give me a shiner and go home then, Nathan. This really doesn't concern you", he continued. He couldn't look the other man in the eye but figured just settling for staring at the wall behind him would be convincing enough.

Distantly, Lucas registered the shakiness in the other's voice and knew it meant something. He was too proud for that though, and blinded by anger. He had always been too proud for his own good.  Still, part of him wanted to take Nathan up on his offer, but then what? It would never go as he hoped anyway. He couldn't rely on someone he had just met. He couldn't do that to someone he actually liked and respected. Might as well end it here. A laugh bubbled up in his throat like bile, tortured and ugly.

"What, are you ashamed of being friends with someone like me now? What if I do like it? You think money can solve everything, huh?", he shot back, each question like a physical one-two to the chest. He knew he was wrong. He was so wrong. Yes, money could solve everything. No, he didn't like the place. No, Nathan wasn't doing this out of nastiness or pity (he hoped, he really did), but he couldn't accept him finding out how desperate he was. After his heated words, he exhaled heavily through his nose. Unclenching his jaw, he shoved past Nathan, walking towards his bus stop. Shit he would probably miss it, and only a few busses ran at this hour. 
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Lucas shook his head. No, no boyfriend. The thought of relationships made him feel a tad bitter, in fact. He felt like nothing good would ever come out from one. Which was ironic because if somebody like Nathan (who was he kidding? Nathan, in particular) did ever take interest in him, he didn't think he would be able to say no.

"You'll make me your best man, won't you?", Lucas laughed at Nathan's response. He thought it was admirable, even a little endearing, how collected and well put-together Nathan appeared to be. He was everything that Lucas was not. His smile slowly shrunk on his face, slightly taken aback by Nathan's more or less serious confession. He didn't know where to begin with processing that information, and settled for just saving it for later. There was one thing that stood out to Lucas though.

"You... you're not scared I'll out you or anything? Like to the press?, Lucas asked before shaking his head, dismissing the question. He would never do that anyway, so there was no point in asking. Even though the two of them had shared some time together playing cards and making small talk, he didn't think Nathan would trust him that much though. It made him nervous, and his throat was a bit dry.

"Yeah— Tired", he grinned sheepishly, jumping at the next topic. He quickly got up on wobbly legs, ready to follow Nathan to the guest room. When Nathan disappeared to fetch him blankets, he was still too awkward and panic-stricken in his drunkenness to sit down. He patted himself on the face a few times, imagining how red he must look.

Soon he was settled in, falling back onto the luxurious bed. Nestled in the softest of sheets, sleep finally came freely to him. 


Lucas had woken up the next morning wondering when someone had changed his ceiling. They weren't stained with leakage, and there was a wealth of sunlight pouring over his face. The sheets smelt clean and fresh and he buried his nose into it, trying to remember where he was. Oh right, Nathan. Actually make that "oh shit, Nathan". He sat up quickly, almost tripping over the sheets wrapped around his limbs. He eased the door open and inspected the quiet apartment. As he thought, empty. Lucas sighed and wondered how big of a mess he must have made last night. He consoled himself thinking it mustn't have been too bad, considering he woke up in a room of his own without another body next to him. Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, Lucas checked his phone for the time and was surprised with a text message. He only ever got the occasional message from his roommate asking if Lucas needed any shampoo or anything, or his sister checking in on him. He definitely did not expect Nathan to care enough to leave him a message. He smiled and shot him a quick text before grabbing a shower before he left. 
Thanks for letting me crash! Eloped with your cat, btw. See ya. 

Since Nathan's message had seemed innocent enough, he assumed nothing extraordinary last night. For all he knew, he could have passed out on the couch as soon as he stepped through the door. He decided to think that was the case, better not to ask. 


Lucas found himself texting Nathan on most days, more often than not. It would be a blatant lie to say they both weren't busy, but Lucas enjoyed the periodic text he got to send to the other, and reading his messages too.

Dr Schneider had even commented on it once, when he was briefing them for the morning and Lucas was too preoccupied trying to think of something clever to say.

"Wipe that disgusting smile off your face, Odierno. You better not have a girlfriend", the old doctor had told him and the entire health care team let out little sniggers. 

"Never thought I'd see quiet little Dr Lucas texting like a teenage girl", his colleague had said to him, punching his shoulder as they filed out of the staff room. 

Lucas frowned petulantly. He wasn't really upset at all though. Talking to Nathan, no matter how briefly, broke the monotony of his life. Just a month ago, his entire routine had been a continuous cycle of hospital, apartment, bar, hospital, apartment, hospital. Rinse and repeat.


Monotony is still monotony though, and routine catches up to you soon enough. It's another nameless, faceless, relentless Saturday night at the bar. The old boss had reassigned him to his usual shifts on the weekends, and he can almost imagine his bank account heaving a sigh of relief. Today is a pair of skin tight leather shorts, looking as if they were painted on, and a cropped shirt to match. Lucas had made it clear that he absolutely refuses to go shirtless, but he can't escape the shorts. He tugs them down (but they'll probably hike up later) and makes his entrance on stage. They start with a sultry, slower song and Lucas takes it easy, just swaying his hips, eyes closed. He goes through the motions, from the furiously fast songs to the final roll call on stage. He's starting to think he can actually live it down, the fact that he does this to finance his unhealthy hobby and rent. That soon changes though.

Lucas is in his trust coat and beanie, all bundled up and ready to head to the hospital when he sees a face in the dark of the alleyway. He had dealt with the occasional creep before, what Alex affectionately calls his "fanboys". Typically they are just lonely older men. They never get aggressive with him, but still make his skin crawl. He swallows and prepares for another one of these encounters, his speech already poised on the tip of his tongue and ready to go. Sorry, I'm not that guy you see up on stage. I don't really like this. I'm in med school. Please understand.

He's mouthing the words to himself silently, they give his confidence. All of that is shattered when he sees the familiar face though, even under the hood and shades. He wishes the ground would swallow him up and is seriously considering just pretending not to know Nathan. His mouth seems to have other intentions though, and a choked out "Nathan?" beats him to it. 

"H-Hey, long time no see. What are you doing out here? It's really cold", he asks, a slight twinge in his expression. Keep cool, Lucas. You might be able to play it off like you were just taking a short cut down this alleyway. Or something. But now his memory is flooding back to him and he has a vague feeling he had basically lead himself into this awful situation. 
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Lucas tipped his head back, smirking. Lying this way, his glass supported precariously by the tips of his fingers, you could see the pale expanse of his neck. 

"It's called the Rockhard", Lucas said. If he had been even a tinier bit sober, he would be cringing at how bad the bar sounded, just going by the name. "Careful, I don't think someone like you would be caught dead there", he contorted his eyebrows, making some face that he thought was supposed to be convincing. Needless to say his motor functions were pretty much shot when he was drunk. 

Lucas stared as Nathan spoke, maybe a bit too openly for comfort. His light grey eyes traced over the arrogant slope of the other man's nose, the little dimpling from his strong cheekbones. He was completely enamored, even if it was just beer goggles or whatever. At Nathan's question though, he snapped back to reality. After finally realizing what Nathan was asking, he let out an unexpected laugh. 

"You're kidding. The only girl I like is my mom!", he jested. If only someone could tell him his drunken humor wasn't actually funny. "No but really, I'm not too... keen on girls I guess", he couldn't help but make himself obvious. 

"How about you? You don't have any supermodel fiance who's gonna bust in here and toss me out, do you? Or are you and Hiver already engaged?", he asked, making exaggerated hand motions at every action he described. It was a light hearted question, but he kind of hoped Nathan wasn't unavailable.  Nathan probably already found it beyond weird. Plus that would make everything awkward for him, he was probably going to pass out any time now with the way that his eyelids were drooping. They felt heavy and his mind felt that pleasant haze that indicated sleep would be claiming you soon. 

"That would be... really bad... me being here", he mumbled, leaning his head onto his arm, smirking sleepily.
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Lucas nodded, his lips pressed thinly in a smile. The view was great. Magical even, like he had expected. The momentary serenity in his face spoke for itself. He reclined back into the couch as Nathan handed him his drink and sat himself down. 

"Alex is real nice. We work at the bar together", he beamed. "He gave me these", he said, pointing to the bottles on the table. He didn't think too much of Nathan's words, that Nathan was worried. It made him feel nice though. Lucas wouldn't get his hopes up like that just to be crushed. Nathan was a responsible adult, unlike Lucas. He cared as friends cared, and nothing more. Nathan was overly polite, probably was raised that way, able to socialize smoothly and effortlessly. To be able to proffer niceties through his teeth. That's what he kept telling himself in the back of his mind, though not in so many words. It was more like a vague feeling. Lucas, intoxicated and carefree, swung his socked feet to and fro. Although he usually kept a calm exterior, that veneer quickly dropped when he wasn't sober. He almost seemed to revert to a child in his mannerisms. 

"You like me?", he laughed, seeming to be listening selectively now, answering as if the other questions hadn't been asked. He had definitely heard them though, he just didn't wish to ruin this moment. Not yet, anyway. He owed it to Nathan to explain why he was here, but not yet. That one statement made him too giddy, and he wanted to dwell in it a little first. 

"Well if you like me, and I like you, who's driving the car?", he cracked up at his own nonsensical ramblings. He thought his joke was awfully funny, even if nobody was laughing. That was the kind of drunk he was. 

All of sudden, Nathan lurched forward. At that, his eyes widened. At this proximity, Lucas could easily count the eyelashes on the other man, smell the expensive cologne on his neck. Lucas had never been this close to anyone before, well not in a situation like this anyway. He definitely wouldn't classify the encounter with Jason the same as the situation right now. Lucas had never kissed anyone either, which for a fleeting second he thought Nathan might change. He held his breath.

Then Nathan pulled away, and Lucas exhaled. He didn't know if he felt relieved or disappointed, so he laughed. The unnecessary noise felt jarring even to his own ears.

He looked down at his glass, scratching at the back of his nape. 

"Psh, you're not a bad host. I should say sorry...", he began. "I just... thought I would drop by to see Hiver! You said I could on your card right?", he lied, exaggeratedly looking around for the ball of fur. Yes, that was a perfect excuse. "Anyway, don't worry about it! I'm just drunk because well, it's sort of comes with the job, ha ha. I work at a bar. Yeah, I know, probably weird seeing your doctor show up at your house looking like a tramp", he rambled on. 

"I swear I don't do anything though! Anything, er, sexual", he said suddenly, as if the thought had just occurred to him that Nathan might think that way. He waved his hands in front of him, cheeks red from both the alcohol and the embarrassment. Suddenly realizing the colour in Nathan's cheek as well, he grinned.

"Hey, you're so red. I thought I was the wasted one here", he jested, quickly forgetting his embarrassment and leaning in to gently prod at Nathan's cheek. Nathan had a strong jaw, not an ounce of baby fat. He was gorgeous. Lucas thought he might be gaping a bit. Hopefully not.

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Lucas frowned petulantly as Nathan stripped him of his gifts and coat. Good thing it was warm. Glancing at the mirror to his right, he saw his reflection. His shoulders looked banged up, purpling under the skin with bruises. He really couldn't find it in him to care anymore though, as the other man led him through the elegant apartment. Lucas drank the sight in, the gleam of the clean chestnut floors, the intimidating glass windows (they were more walls than windows) that gave a magnificent view of New York City. Even as he plopped his drunken ass onto the couch, his eyes were busy taking in the luxurious apartment. He settled into the couch, feeling the soft leather mold to his form. 

"Wow", he breathed. Lucas felt all at once in awe and completely out of place in Nathan's apartment. Maybe if he wasn't wearing something so trashy looking he would match the decor better. Distantly, a pang of guilt struck him. If he was sober he would probably think he was making a complete fool of himself, just inviting himself over. Too bad he definitely was not sober. At Nathan's questioning, he just smiled lightly. The alcohol allowed him to do that, but he still felt like the lowest living creature on earth. His eyes betrayed that feeling. 

Hiver was a wonderful break of tension though, crawling into his lap sweetly, sniffing at his palms. He petted her, and the feel of it was soothing.

"I like Hiver a lot too, maybe even more than... you?", he said, giving a roll of his neck and pointing at Nathan with a small flourish. He grinned. He was being careless with his words, and he should have known better. It was liberating though. He didn't know if it was the liquid courage or the company. Everything felt very light, even if his heart still felt immeasurably heavy. 

"Eh, how about both! Alex told me about it once... It's called... it's called uh, a Bloody Pepper?", he quirked a brow, trying hard to reach the memory he wanted. It was harder when you were drunk. He didn't even register the fact that Dr Pepper probably wasn't Nathan's typical staple drink. All he could think about was getting more alcohol in his system, and maybe petting Hiver a bit more. 

"I'll get it!", he proclaimed as he stood up, Hiver still in his arms. He made his way back to the foyer and retrieved the wine. With an armful of wine and fur, he came back, grinning. Hiver, smart cat that she was, leapt out of Lucas' hold before it was too late. 

"Let's drink, yeah?", he said, settling himself back on the couch. Cheers to a terrible night. 
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Lucas went to his night shift knowing full well that this would be his last daybreak spent with Nathan. He was relieved, as any doctor should be, that Nathan had recovered so well. He was a man in his prime after all, Lucas was glad his worst case scenario hadn't become a reality. He blew puffs of warm air onto his glove-clad fingers, walking briskly towards the beautiful large entrance of the hospital. As quickly as he could, he made his way to the staff locker room. He changed into his work attire, deposited his grungy old messenger bag, and left, slipping the pack of cards into his pants pocket. As he waved and greeted the doctors and nurses he passed on his way, he thought of ways he could maybe beat Nathan at cards tonight.

Something felt wrong in his gut as he approached the room he often frequented though. Peeking past the door, he was surprised to see that Nathan was no longer there. No, instead of that it was a thin-looking teenage girl, all hooked up and draped in hospital equipment and tubes. He froze, making sure he really had the right room.

"Are you my doctor?", a small voice drew his attention. It was the girl. Who definitely was not Nathan. She had limp blonde hair and donned a pink hospital gown. Nope, definitely not Nathan.

"I— uh no. No, I'm not. Sorry about that", he flashed a smile that resembled more of a muscle spasm, and left. 

Nathan, that dick, he thought as he inserted his quarters into the vending machine (a little more forcefully than was necessary, to be honest). He sighed at the comforting clank of the soda can hit the metal floor of the machine. Cracking it open, he took a big gulp, feeling the carbonation fizzle up his nose. He sniffed. He had checked, and he had not gotten his days mixed up (which he was prone to doing). Lucas supposed Nathan had just got discharged a day earlier. He had nobody to blame for that, really. He couldn't help feeling just a little bit cheated though. Damn. Guess that was goodbye. How boring. 

Lucas finished his evening shift uneventfully, distracting himself with organs and fluids and stitches. Like everything else, Lucas forced himself not to dwell too much on Nathan's leave. Over the years he had found it was much more productive to just shove useless feelings to the side, and absorb himself in work. This was no different. 

At seven, Lucas is off his night shift. With a little less spark in him than when he arrived, he greeted the metal door of his locker once again. He let the white coat slip off his shoulders, pulling his bag off the little hook in the locker. Something fluttered to his feet. It was a handwritten note, on a thick piece of card paper. It was Nathan. Just for good measure, he flipped the card, fingers tracing over the embossed type. Fischer Ignis. Nathan Fischer. Lucas couldn't stop the small grin that was now pinching at his cheeks. Well, guess he wasn't as much of a jerk after all.


Lucas is up on stage again. This time in a pair of shiny white shorts that hug his ass, and a mesh shirt. The bass is so loud he thinks the beating of his heart is trying to get in sync with it. He is up on stage with another boy, younger than he is and definitely more lively. The kid's raking in the money, even if it is a Thursday night. He had been right earlier about his boss, the old bastard had subjected him to a month of exclusively weekday shifts. Not that he minded too much, but weekends did bring in the most tips. The song changes smoothly, and Lucas is supposed to be performing a new routine they had cooked up. His focus on the dance doesn't last long though. 

Even over the music from the bar, he can hear husky laughter filter through the entrance door. It's a group of well-built guys, maybe late twenties, all testosterone and alcohol. They get the occasional gaggle of straight men here once in a while. Guys who are here for shits and giggles, guys who are too piss drunk to differentiate one dance joint from the next. This particular group is different though. Lucas recognizes that face, and not too long he is held in a locked gaze with one of the guys. He is tall, with a kind eyes but chiseled jawline. He's starting to grow a little stubble.

Lucas would recognize that face anywhere. A tidal wave of bad memories flood his mind. He inconspicuously motions for one of the newbies to take over his spot on stage. The boy flusters but climbs on as he slips off. Lucas' heart is racing and he could really use a smoke and some fresh air. His fingers are shaking when he tries to get his zippo to cooperate outside, just his trust trench coat over his stage outfit. He feels his ears plug up, like they do when he is anxious. He's jittery. God, so jittery that he doesn't register the graceless footsteps getting closer and closer to him. 

He is slammed into a brick wall before he knows it. 

"We haven't seen each other for a while, have we, Luke?", the voice is handsome even when slurred. Lucas is being held in a vice grip by the scruff of his coat, eye level with the other man.

"Jason", he breathes, cigarette already long forgotten, probably ashing away on the asphalt somewhere. 

"You've grown up so much. Look just like your fucking sister now, fucking fag", the voice turns gruff with the insult. Lucas winces as the rancid breath hits hit face. Jason might now be shorter than Lucas, but he easily overpowers him in muscle mass. Lucas is being shaken against the cold surface, neck whipping and head banging against it. 

"You just had to fuck up everything didn't you? Never thought I'd see you here", the man continues, ending with a disgusted scoff. The look on Jason's face is so hateful. So hateful. He throws Lucas to the ground, and Lucas thinks he can hear a rib crack maybe. Maybe it's not his ribs though. Maybe he's just imagining things.  One thing he is sure of though, he feels like shit. Jason reminds him that he is shit, and will probably never let him forget it. Just because he spoke his mind once so many years ago. Ever since then he had always felt wrong.

Lucas coughs into the sleeve of his coat, and that apparently sets the intoxicated man off. He's completely enraged now, his voice even cracks with emotion as he hurls more insults at Lucas.

"I was going to marry that girl", Jason says through labored breath. 

"What is it with you fucking queers! Can't be nice to you for one fucking second without you getting all over my dick. Jesus, you're disgusting", Jason spits. Lucas wants to die. Even more, he wants to let the tears out. He doesn't though, he just stands up and rushes back into the back exit of the bar, slamming the door behind him. The doorknob rattles for a second and his heart leaps. Quickly stuffing his things into his bag, he gasps sharply, trying not to cry. On his way out, he begs the bartender for a few bottles of whatever isn't popular. He just needs to get smashed right now. The bartender, Alex, gives him two bottles of their finest wine and an expensive whiskey. Lucas figures the other man must have felt sorry for him, showing up looking so wrecked. 

Lucas shoves the wine into his bag, opening the whiskey as he makes his way to the bus stop. Taking two swigs from the bottle, he shivers. He knows alcohol doesn't warm you up, he's been to med school after all, but right now he would really like to believe it. He's absolutely freezing, one layer of clothing separating him and his skimpy outfit from the cold winter air. Every single thing is making him so hyper conscious of himself, from the fact that he isn't wearing proper pants right now, to the fact that his hair makes him look so roughed up. He feels dirty. 

He gets on the first bus that shows up and takes the seat furthest from the front. He rides the bus for almost an hour, nursing the bottle of alcohol, before he starts feeling buzzed and lonely. Instinctively, his shaking hand reaches for the slip of paper in his pocket. He reads the words, savors them, smiles a little. 


143 West Street is located in a swanky section of New York. Not like he's surprised. It takes a bit of stealth and discretion to slip his way into the building unnoticed. It's harder than it looks, as he's completely shitfaced and definitely not looking like new money (old money or any money, in fact). He pushes the button that will take him to the highest floor. He giggles. A penthouse suite. He had always wondered what it would be like to live in one of those. Living at the top of the world.  It must be magical, he thinks as the bell dings and the elevator doors part for him. 

He lets his index finger slam down on the buzzer a few times, smiling to himself. The door opens unexpectedly fast, given that it is in the middle of the night and all. And that Nathan probably wasn't expecting guests. Lucas feels something warm meet his face upon that. Must be the heating coming from the condo. 

"Hi. Red or white?", Lucas says, lifting up his two bottles of vintage Chateau Margaux like trophies in his hands. His eyes are crinkled and red, and he is staggering. He hopes Nathan doesn't mind too much. 

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Lucas felt like a weight was lifted when Nathan finally raised his face once again. Albeit a small weight, he was seriously starting to question why the other man could affect him so easily. To say his life was boring would be a total lie, but Nathan felt like a surprise. He was caught off guard, and all at once feelings of wariness and enthusiasm arose inside him. 

"Sure. No guarantees I'll be gentle though", he returned the smile, waiting for Nathan to deal the cards. 

"Actually, wait", he paused the other mid-shuffle, hand grazing Nathan's. He quickly pulled back, though, thinking for a moment. 

"Let's play a game of Cribbage or Crazy Eights something. I'm getting bored of destroying you at poker", he teased, leaning back, palms positioned behind his back. There was a mischievous glint in his eyes that probably hadn't made an appearance since his high school days, when he was still that energetic gangly young boy. 

Apparently Nathan had no idea how to play any of those games, causing Lucas to shake his head. Rich kids, he had though to himself as he scootched over to explain the rules of the game to Nathan. After a few minutes of questions and petulant frowning from the other man, Lucas had successfully enlightened the other in the ways of Crazy Eights. They played a few rounds, with Nathan winning, much to Lucas' disdain. He blamed in on beginner's luck. 

Lucas sat cross-legged on the hospital bed, shuffling the deck for another round.

"So, looking forward to being tossed into the real world in a few days?", he asked conversationally. It wouldn't be long now until Nathan would be discharged. Lucas wondered if they might never meet again after that. It was a sobering thought. He hadn't had good company in a long while. His colleagues at the hospital, the boys at the bar, they all seemed like background props. Faceless and nameless, essentially. They were very impersonal, as Lucas had made it that way. However, he felt like he had a friend in Nathan. Without realizing it, the corners of his lips were tugging downwards slightly. 

"Or should I break your leg so I can keep you here?", he continued. His words were playful but his voice revealed nothing of it. This was not looking good. 

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Lucas was hesitant at first, gently knocking on the side of the door as he entered the room. He gripped at the pack of cards like a lifesaver. However, all such feelings flew out the room when he heard the tone of Nathan's voice. A simple "you came", had never felt more welcoming to him. He offered a bashful shrug, smiling without teeth.

Cautiously, he positioned himself on the end of Nathan's bed, fiddling with the thin sheets.

Lucas was finally starting to ease up, shoulders sinking, until he heard Nathan speak. His eyebrows drew together at the sound of the apology. He shook his head. It was ridiculous for Nathan to be apologizing to him. To him, and for him. For his father who threatened to hit him. Lucas wouldn't consider himself the luckiest guy in the world, but he was eternally thankful that his relationship with his father was nothing like that of Nathan's and his. A barrage of words welled up inside him. He had so much to say. Lucas could tell that Nathan was going through difficulty over the issue though, and held his tongue for a moment. He would have fashioned his teeth into knives with the sharp, concise words he could say, but settled for a simple "don't be silly". There was no need for his opinion, he reminded himself. 

Really, he felt Nathan had absolutely nothing to apologize for. If anyone had to apologize in the room, it would be him.

"That... didn't go as planned. I'm sorry too. So there's no need to thank me", he spoke slowly, savoring each word.

"I mean, I'm not sorry I stepped in. I'd rather you than me. I mean—", he blushed. Objectively, there should be nothing wrong with him saying that. Something inside him felt vulnerable though, he couldn't pinpoint what, but he felt exposed by that one simple admission. Scratching at his already disheveled hair, Lucas sighed. He took a few deep breaths, composing himself once again. 

"I was expecting to look cooler, you know? More professional. But seriously, I'm sorry if my stepping in made things worse between your you and your father. That really wasn't what I wanted. Forgive me?", he bit out, glancing up towards the man across from him. He truly hoped he didn't just tear a wide one through the already gaping rift. He wouldn't be able to face the other man again if he had. 

Lucas searched Nathan's face, but the latter had turned his gaze down. Lucas felt queasy. He couldn't get a good look at his face, but Nathan's eyes looked glassy, reflecting the bright white light. 

"Hey...", he shifted over towards the head of the bed, closer to Nathan. Gingerly, he raised his hand to place it on the other's shoulder. If he didn't know better he would say he was trembling. He hoped Nathan wasn't mad, but maybe that would have been better. Lucas was awful at comforting people. He always found himself at a loss for words, he was more of a physical person in regards to comfort. 
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Much to Lucas' glee, he would indeed be seeing more of Nathan.

He was recovering nicely, obediently accepting treatment and medication. It often amused him to see the proud Fischer heir sit and nibble quietly at his hospital meals. Everyone knew they were disgusting. Microwaved pieces of cardboard masquerading as actual food. Nathan seemed to mellow down significantly since Lucas had met him. Often he would see the other man being accompanied by a nurse to his I.S. sessions, just as Lucas was heading home. 

In the afternoons, Lucas headed back to his own neighbourhood by metro. His roommate would never be home when he was, as he was someone who actually had a more regular day to day schedule. Lucas' apartment building was adjacent to a dingy little business building. It had a Subway, a barber, a few dentist offices and a small convenience store. Lucas frequented the Subway and convenience store the most, picking up daily necessities and the occasional bite to eat. He would buy his things, trudge up seven flights of stairs (his building was so old it didn't have an elevator) and take a shower. In a few hours he would have to return to the hospital for his regular hours of residency; follow Dr Schneider around with the rest of the healthcare team. He liked being on his feet all the time, and he definitely enjoyed working more than being in school. Things were always transient, and exciting. 

After hours of  afternoon rounds at Hackensack, he would bus back to the bar for his shift. 

If the hospital was white, the bar was muddled shades of electric blue, pink, and black. 

He had had this job since his med school days, and at first was even the talk on campus. It wasn't often you heard a solemn med school student sharing juicy gossip. After the first year, the novelty had thankfully died down though. He was tired of having to give soulless waves at the male classmates who would drop by just to see if the legend was true. They never tipped either. 


Lucas is backstage powdering ridiculous amounts of shimmer onto his shoulders when his hospital-issue pager goes off. Not that irritating thing again. He glanced at the mirror, checking at his eyeliner, before the incessant beeping annoyed him into checking it. 

Complex cardiovasc going on in 1 hr. Thought u would like 2 c. -RS

At that, he quickly shoved himself into a pair of sweats and shrugged his sweater and trenchcoat on. Roll call would have to make do without him tonight. Dr Schneider rarely ever informed them of a procedure he deemed  interesting or unique enough. He was kind of jaded that way. A tight-lipped, weathered surgeon of fifty-eight years. He let one of the other boys know he was leaving, rushing out into the cold again. The bar had not even opened yet, a few bartenders and table boys trickling in, but he guessed he would have to give tonight a skip. His boss would force him into doing solely weekday nights for months because of this, just to spite him, but so be it. 


It's about six in the evening when Lucas comes crashing through the doors of the hospital once again. Nurses shake their head at the sight of him, wide grin tugging at the corners of his face. He's about to stop by Nathan's room and maybe toss him a friendly insult or two when he sees an unfamiliar back facing him. The figure is well-built, and imposing. Nathan and the older man, who Lucas presumes must be the Mr. Fischer, are talking heatedly. Lucas takes quick steps forward, with all intention to coolly and professionally stop the dispute.

Except, the older man is raising his fist, and before he knows it Lucas finds himself with a split lip and an aching head. This wasn't good, he thought, wiping the blood off his face with the back of his hand.

"Mr Fischer. I do believe Nathan is more than old enough to decide his own length of admission", he said, lips stinging with every syllable. He tried his very best to look the picture of confidence and expertise, but he was trembling under the burning glare of the older man. His busted face didn't help. 


It's a strange, slightly embarrassing, thing to find yourself being a patient when you are usually on the other end of the stethoscope.

Lucas cringes at the betadine ointment the nurse is dabbing at his face, trying not to whine. Once all cleaned up, he decides he might as well spend his downtime in the hospital as well. He seeks Nathan out for another game of cards. He's quiet ashamed of himself, being unable to handle the incident like he wanted to, but he figures he should face the other man anyway. Say sorry in case he has inadvertently caused more friction between the father and son. Besides, nobody else will play Russian poker with him. 

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Lucas smiled back brightly. In the back of his mind, he was glad Nathan trusted him enough to let him at it with his phone. He certainly knew he wouldn't let anyone look through his. Some contacts in his phone could be more than a little incriminating. He wandered over to the coat rack, retrieving the phone from the jacket. It was a sleek looking smart phone. Lucas would have expected no less. Swiping through pictures of the adorable felines, he smiled to himself. As he stared at the pictures of the cats, he occasionally acknowledged Nathan with a nod nod or mumble, too distracted with the pictures.

He perked up when he sensed the insecurity in Nathan's voice though. He was talking about his work, and Lucas would be stupid not to notice it was a bit of a taboo issue for the other man. Truthfully, he had never heard of Fischer Ignis, but he listened like he knew.

"Wow. That must be.. a lot of pressure", he said finally, unsure of how to respond. Being in such a high position likely wasn't easy, and to top if all of Nathan was riddled with some unknown lung disease. Lucas thought he was taking it well. Not as much of a pansy as he initially thought he was. 

"Don't worry. You're not that bad. Always room for improvement though", he joked but his eyes were tender. He had a vague feeling he would be seeing a lot of the other male from now on. 


Voluntarily taking the night shift used to be a once in a while gig for Lucas, he did have another job after all. The bar functioned solely at night, and he only took early shifts at the hospital to step back and take a breather from the metallic shorts and neon lights. After hearing about Nathan's extended stay in the hospital though, he found himself on night shift every day. 

The routine would be the same. He would rush over from Lower Manhattan, up to the hospital, change, do a few tasks for the doctors, wander around, and then visit Nathan. By now, the man had had most of his tests done and processed. 

Like clockwork, the hospital would die down around five in the morning, and Lucas found himself in Nathan's room. 

The second night of Nathan's stay, he came in with a small tote bag of things, a thermos in his other hand.

"I come bearing gifts", he had said, trying to keep a straight face. 

In the bag was a pack of playing cards, envelopes full of blood analyses and x-rays, and a beat up chess board he had brought from home. He didn't know what Nathan preferred, but figured nobody could say no to hot chocolate. He didn't know what had come over him, but Lucas decided not to question it. His brother had always said not to question something that made you feel good. Then again, that was his rambunctious dirt bag of a brother. He had always called his brother a dirt bag in the most loving of ways though.

And that's how he found himself huddled under a flickering hospital lamp, trying his best to eat Nathan's queen off the board.  

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"It's alright. Sometimes I call the little kids staying in pediatric Mr Smith or Ms Alesworth or whatever. Like they're all fancy and grown up. Gives us both a little kick, I think", he laughed a bit. Contrary to his more or less flat manner of speech, Lucas had a melodious laugh. Clear as bells. He didn't let Nathan know that doing that stemmed from the hope that those kids Lucas talked to might have the chance to actually grow up into Mr Smith's and Ms Aleworth's. The almost permanent residents of the pediatric ward did not have very bright futures ahead of them.

"Oh, I'm sorry to heat about that. About Salome. Hiver, that sounds so fitting though!", he clapped his hands together, amused just by hearing about the kitten. 

"Ah, I do, but I can't exactly say I'm a cat person just yet. I haven't had one before", he ran his fingers through his hair, smiling slightly. He would love to be able to take care of a little furr ball of his own though. Cats would probably be the only pet independent enough for his busy schedule. He felt calm thinking about what it would be like to have something to curl up against him when he went to bed. 

"Say, if you ever need anyone to babysit Hiver...", he said stumbling over his words. An awkward laugh escaped through his lips. It was meant to be a joke, but he found himself getting too serious about babysitting stranger's cats. It seemed like tonight was coaxing a lot of unusual behaviour out of him. Shit, Nathan probably thought he was some creep. The guy probably sent all his cats to some five-star cat hotel anyway. It was worth a shot though.

"So uh, what exactly do you do anyway?", he asked, trying to change the subject. Lucas was still wasn't in the know about this supposed Fischer empire. As knowledgeable as he was to certain things, he was absolutely clueless about things like current affairs or new movies or anything. 

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 "Nice" wasn't something people usually described Lucas as. Not since that incident anyway. To say he had changed a lot, would be an understatement. Words usually associated with his present self would be cold, overambitious, even impersonal. He was undeniably courteous, but courteous in the way a crystal glass was against a pair of warm lips. He did what he was supposed to do, exceptionally well, but that was that. He knew that. He had chosen that. Nonetheless, he felt a little glad Nathan thought he was nice. His stomach felt light and jittery. 
He wondered if Nathan was very different now than from his usual self. If he learned anything from his residency, it was that most people changed when they were very sick. They either got desperate for company, or bitter as hell. 
"I'll be right here", he nodded to himself, looking at his feet. 
"If I leave, who knows, you might try to run off again", he ventured for something light-hearted to say. 
Sitting opposite the other man, plastic cup cradled in his lap, he blinked. 
"Something about me?", he said, biting his lip. Lucas was quiet for a long time. He wished he had something he could offer, something to say that would make Nathan like him. It was terribly hard though, finding it in himself to divulge personal things. Like a muscle that hadn't been used in a long time, his social skills really have atrophied over the years. Knitting his eyebrows, he started tapping his feet. 
"Um. Yeah.. this is my first year of residency. I'm turning 25 this year. And neither. My drink of choice is Dr Pepper. Unhealthy but...", he quirked the corner of his lip. He looked back at Nathan, searching for acknowledgement. At the mention of a cat, though, Lucas' face instantly perked up. He had always wanted a pet, and was especially fond of cats. He thought they were very clever, and very cute. 
Coming from a relatively large family though, having another mouth to feed was out of the question. He'd probably have had to give up a meal to afford kitty litter. Now that he was an adult though, why hadn't he gotten a cat yet? He would have to look into that soon. 
"You have a cat? What's its name?", he asked, trying to hide the excitement in his voice. "Is it a boy or girl?"
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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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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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"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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"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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Lucas couldn't help but just stare at the other man as he blabbered on about Fischers and business trips and broken necks and China. Granted, his face was a lot more worthy of starting at once cleaned up. His concentration broke at the sound of the plastic cup crashing to the floor. He harshly pressed his eyes shut as the sound tore through his fuzzy head. He was still working off the shots he had downed at the bar, bought by grubby patrons who would pat his butt and and practically drool onto the stage.

He figured he should try to shut the guy up (which at this point he couldn't tell if he was a lunatic or an actual multimillionaire heir). He took two quick strides to the patient's bedside, reaching over for the coat rack and plucking a crisp business card from the jacket pocket. Waving the little thing in front of the other man, he frowned.

"Alright, alright. I got it, Mr Fischer. Please try to refrain from overexerting yourself", he smiled slightly.

Curtly, Lucas took out his own dinosaur of a cellphone and began to dial the specified number. Calling was practically the only function on his phone, come to think of it. Wedging the phone between his ear and shoulder, he picked up the glass from the floor, tossing a tissue from the nightstand onto the wet spot and mopping it with his foot. As he listened to the repetitive beep of the dial tone, he looked back to Nathan.

Might as well answer the guy's question while we wait.

"Hemoptysis is just a medical name for coughing up blood. We sent for some tests for you. Best case scenario: pneumonia. Worst case scenario: cystic fibrosis. That's just my expert opinion though", Lucas shrugged. Simultaneously, he finally reached a human voice on the other end of the line.

"Hello? This is Doctor Lucas Odierno, calling from Hackensack University Hospital? Yeah sure, I'll wait"

"You sure this guy is your father? If this is a practical joke I will personally make sure you mysteriously die in the night", he said in his sternest voice, but immediately regretted it when he noticed the blood in Nathan's hands. In his years of internship and residency, he had never seen someone cough up blood so viciously. It was like something wrecked through the other man's body every time he had a little fit. His eyebrows furrowed as he pushed the man back onto the bed. He needs to lie down.

"Hi, yes, I'm calling on behalf of Nathaniel Fischer?"


After verbally wrestling with the secretary and finally reassuring Christian Fischer that his son was "indeed in one piece and will remain so under our care" and that "yes, his condition is quite serious, he should be admitted for at least two days", Lucas sighed and sat down by the bedside.

"You really weren't kidding, huh?", he said in a small voice, picking for specks of glitter from his face. Sometimes he wasn't sure which job he liked better, dealing with customers at the bar or patients at the hospital.

"I thought you were crazy honestly. Was glad I wasn't your attending physician", he smirked.

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It is 2:01am when Lucas braves the cold New York streets once again. The bar is due for closing time in an hour but his boss always did have a soft spot for him, letting him bundle up in the dressing rooms with his books and notes for half of his shift. The old man specifically brought in a little cot just for him, so he guesses he has a soft spot for the old geezer too. Its common knowledge around the guys at the bar that he barely ever sleeps, opting instead to make use of his time to pore over anatomy books. His companion all night had been a sad excuse for a textbook, Clinically Oriented Anatomy (the sixth edition), that he had bought second hand from his old roommate. The guy was the type who doggy-eared. Lucas hated those types. Neanderthals. Post-its existed for a reason, he would often mutter through gritted teeth.

It's 2:09am when he makes it to his first bus stop. From here he has to catch his bus, trek across time square and make another transfer at the dingy bus terminal. It takes him approximately an hour and a half, and when he gets to the hospital he can probably snag a coffee for free if he can manage a meek smile for the Starbucks girl.

Whenever he walks past the bums at the bus terminal, he always gets embarrassed at how similar his gloves look to theirs. He's not poor, not exactly. He's a first year resident at one of the best hospitals in the city, he mutters as he inspects the condition of his gross looking fingerless gloves. They're the wool kind, the kind that builds up ugly, dirty little balls of thread on the surface as it ages. He should probably splurge on a new pair for Christmas, he thinks as he steps onto his last transfer.

Its half past three when he walks across the pristine white floors of the hospitals. He is putting his things away in the locker room when he hears the incessant yelling. It's quite grating on the ears, honestly. And that's saying a lot, seeing as he is right by the ER, and a lot of people arrive screaming there. Lucas quickly shucks off his trench coat and puts on his coat and ID. He hasn't properly changed yet, but its not like his clothes are worth a whole lot anyway. Definitely not the fall-winter collection of any high-end brand that he can't pronounce the name of. He is on standby tonight and he can tell a wreck when he hears one. He steps out to helps the paramedics wheel the man in, feeling the biting cold on his face. Efficiently, he makes a mental checklist of all the statistics the paramedics have informed him of. He checks for vitals and condition coolly. The man on the stretcher is clean-cut, young, gives off an aura of good-breeding, not the usual alley-cat bleeding his guts out from a stab wound. His sharp features and bleached shirt are covered in red, but he still manages to look quite impressive.

"Severe hemoptysis", he says to the nurse, before turning back to the man. "You can call me Doctor Odierno, I guess", he says.


He goes through the regular process with the patient, who he learns is one Nathan Fischer. The name rings a bell but he doesn't pay it too much mind as he issues the standard questions. How many times have you coughed up blood before this? Has it increased recently? What other symptons do you have? A senior doctor soon takes over, and he watches from the side as the standard set of tests are ordered for the man. Everyone eventually clears out of the room, but Lucas finds he can't bring himself to leave. Standing under artificial white light, in his bloodied lab coat, he blames it on the fatigue. He wonders if monday mornings are always hard, even for those whose days make no distinction.

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! lucas odierno
! 25 years old
! youngest of three children
! older brother is an aspiring director, older sister is a nurse
! first year resident in hackensack university hospital
! wants to pursue neurosurgery
! lower middle class family background
! a gay bar in lower manhattan
! public transit and trench coats
! veritable insomniac
! colour codes everything
! methamphetamine
! bites lips constantly
! idealist
! opportunist
! ambition before everything
! appears aggressive in regards to his goals
! actually very passive in all aspects
! never dated a girl
! never dated a boy
! hides inexperience with sharp words


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Lucas Odierno