[center It wasn’t fair... sometimes life could be really unforgiving despite your best efforts, and standing here over the body of his latest patient, Mårlin could think of nothing more than the injustice the woman had suffered. Drawin in a deep breath, he shut off her monitoring equipment and turned to depart the room, aware that soon she would be collected and escorted to the morgue for the pathologists to care.
Tucking hands into the pockets of his scrubs, he toyed with the idea of leaving early, but knowing himself, he’d never make it past the doors. This was a Friday night they were talking about, and with a full moon to boot? They’d have stuff rolling into the ER until the wee hours. Whether they were completely inundated was entirely up to fate, but he was willing to bet his entire cheque it would be a nasty kickoff to the weekend. Better to message the love of his life now and let him know he’d be late. Well... he wasn’t exactly the love of his life [i in that particular moment]. He’d very unapologetically changed his name over to ‘Asshat’ most recently after one of their less excusable scraps.
“Hey, do you have a minute?” A soft voice beckoned his attention, and he released his phone, all other things forgotten.
“Always, what’s up?”
“I know you have surgery soon, but would you mind helping me out with triage?”
Shaking his head at the petite brunette before him, Mårlin waved a hand emphatically until she surrendered her clipboard. “I’ll take 3, 4, 6, and 8 if you want to follow up with 1, 2, and 5. Bed 7 is empty, so no need to worry about that for now, I guess.”
“Are you sure?”
“Isabel, you’ve been here since three AM, I really don’t mind.” He assured her, already floating off to tend to their charges.
When he was younger, he never would’ve foreseen that he’d end up a caretaker in this absolute of a capacity. He was a licensed nurse practitioner now, but he’d missed being a surgical nurse. Which meant still picking up shifts as often as possible at the hospital. It had always been hard on his relationships in the past, family included, and it still proved a sore point when he wasn’t coming home most nights out of the week.
Usually, it all blew over, but on a particularly bad night, things had gotten a little out of hand. The end result had been him in a hotel for a few days to cool off, and well—it was an incident passed, but it still made him wonder when enough would be enough. Sure, neither of them were perfect. It wasn’t like his husband was a saint, either. What they had might not have been perfect, but at least they tried.
Biting his lower lip, a nervous habit he had from time to time, Rin did his best to get through each patient with meticulous care. Anything that went missed for the silliness of unnecessary distraction could mean grave consequences, and he couldn’t take yet another burden on his conscience today. Not after Mrs. Clemens had gone. Just a few more hours and his shift would be over. He’d sink into a hot bath, shimmy into some PJs, and call it a night.
[i What a joke.]
A few more hours, he’d thought. Out before the rush, he’d said. Emergency surgery not likely, they’d promised. The blond couldn’t believe he’d even let himself be deceived for a second about what had been in store for him. As he made his way out to the lot, he was already summoning a cab, sporting the kind of jelly walk that told all too well of his proximity to collapse.
“Huh?” He snapped out of his daze at the sensation of a gentle hand nudging his shoulder. “Oh, Dr. DiSanto.”
“You headed home?” Cameron DiSanto was one of their neuro guys, but unlike a good percentage of the surgery gods, he actually [i wasn’t] a dick.
“Yeah, actually. Are you done?” He lowered his phone, every part of him aching.
“Just made my escape. Give you a ride?”
“It won’t be out of the way?”
“Please.” He scoffed, cocking his head toward his car. “I’m doing it just to clear my conscience. You in a taxi in that state gives me Taxi Driver flashbacks I’d rather not have to associate with you.”
“That’s pretty dramatic.” Mårlin rolled his eyes and ducked into his co-worker’s benz, settling in against cool leather. His body practically sighed at the relief of melting into the contours of the passenger seat.
The door shut and Cameron soon occupied the space adjacent, turning over the engine as he belted himself in.
“Why don’t you ask your husband to pick you up on nights like this?” Just couldn’t help himself, could he?
“I appreciate the concern, but I’m sure he has enough without having to come get me.” He mumbled, exhaustion taking over. He was fading pretty fast here.
“I think I still have your address saved. You wanna rest your eyes until we get there?”
“Mm?” He hummed, eyes shut agains the glow of the dash and hands resting limply atop his small duffel. Mårlin practically fell asleep right then and there before the car even left the lot. Vaguely, in his light snooze, he was aware of turns and the occasional soft bump, but he was otherwise useless.
A gentle hand shook him awake after what felt to be only a few seconds, and he straightened drowsily in an unfamiliar place.
“We’re here,” Cam offered gently. “Need me to walk you to the door?”
“Uh-uh,” He yawned, patting the man’s forearm. “I’m good, thank you. I really—“
“I get it,” He chuckled, shooing the blond. “Get inside before you pass out again. Tell your husband I said hi.”
Nodding loosely, the man peeled himself out of the car and gently hissed at the crisp autumn air. So cold in comparison to the toasty interior of Cameron’s car. Maybe heated seats were really a trap. You suffered more once you knew them.
He shut the door behind him, vaguely wiggled his fingers in farewell, and made his way up to their door, fiddling with his keys until he managed to get into the foyer. Cameron drove off once he was inside, and the second the locks were turned, he hurried along to the thermostat. Holy—shit, why the hell was the house so [i cold]?