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Chapter Three

It had been three days since Dave Malucci started working at County.
And for three days, John had managed to avoid him. He saw him every
once in a while, in passing, but it was easy to avoid someone if you
pretended he wasn't there.

At least, pretended to pretend he wasn't there, if that made any
sense. Because every minute of every single shift (and even
afterwards), John was hyperaware of the fact that Dave was there.
Right fucking there, after being gone for five years without a single
word. Not a single fucking word.

Angry? Oh, yeah. John was pissed. He was pissed beyond words. Dave
broke up with him, asked for three years but never called afterwards,
never wrote, nothing. And now, five years later, he just.. shows up??
Just waltz's right back into John's life like this?? What was he
expecting, exactly?

Yeah. John saw the look in his eyes, when he would dare to meet them.
Hurt. Dave had the audacity to look *hurt*, because John was ignoring
him. Well, what did he expect? For John to just take him in his arms
and tell him everything was going to be all right?

And the fact that he wanted to do that was beside the point, really.

But, like he'd been saying, for three days, John had managed to avoid
Dave. On the fourth day, however, things changed. It was all Dr.
Weaver's fault. She thought she was so authoritative, asking John to
take a trauma with Dave to show him the ropes.

"Come on, Dr. Weaver," he said, eyeing an unsuspecting Dave from
across the room, who was frowning and cursing softly at the computer
for whatever reason. "I don't want to babysit. Can't I just take this
trauma alone?"

"No, you're going to not only pair up with Dr. Malucci, but you are
going to assist him as well," she said, and he was going to object
when she glanced at Dave. "Dave! Get over here."

He looked up quickly, glancing at John just as fast before coming
around the front desk and to her side. "Yes, Chief?"

Chief. How cute. He was on her good side already, and everybody knew
it. He doted on her and she mothered him. Drilled into him but cut him
slack when he needed it, and not only that, but let things slide that
she wouldn't ordinarily. It was the kind of relationship her favorites
had taken years to develop, and here Dave had done it in less than
four days. The same kind of charm that had hooked John in so many
years ago, just in a different way.

"Dr. Carter here is going to assist you on a trauma," she stated,
looking between the two men. "You've met Dr. Carter, haven't you?"

Dave cleared his throat. "Yeah, I have."

"Great. Don't have too much fun." And then she was gone.

"So.. " Dave began, his eyes everywhere but John. He cleared his
throat again. "Um.. trauma."

He looked up and John looked away, jaw clenched and eyes narrowed.
"You wait outside. I'll meet you in Trauma One."


It wasn't going well. John wouldn't listen to what Dave said, he just
did what he wanted, pushing Dave aside until he was running the trauma
himself. The young man stood by the end of the gurney, arms crossed
over his chest. He wasn't angry. He looked.. defeated.

"If you don't want me here, I'll go," Dave said, and they both knew he
wasn't just talking about the trauma room. "Just say the word, John,
and I'll leave."

He didn't look up from the chest tube he was placing. He didn't care.
At least, he didn't want to. But when he saw Dave nodding out of the
corner of his eye, saw him turning, saw him walking away, right out of
his life for the second time..

"Grab an eight-oh ET tube and intubate," he suddenly said. "She's
going to need it once her pulse ox gets under ninety, and that's going
to be any second."

He glanced up just in time to see Dave's smile. "You got it."

He sure did, he thought. He had it bad.


To be continued..
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