A male nurse stops Topher in the hall. "Sir, are you alright?" Topher's eyes travel down his own body. His shirt and jacket are stained with Lexie's blood and dried mud from the ravine. His knee has also started to act up, and with the added limp, he knows what must be going through the guy's head. Incoming Trauma. Topher has seen his fair share of hospital dramas; his girlfriend has always been rather fond of them.
"I'm fine. I was just looking for the bathroom."
"You—I really think it would be best if you'd let us run a few tests. Just to make sure there's nothing wrong."
"There's nothing wrong, I promise. I—there was a wreck on the side of the interstate. I brought one of the victims in." Topher pulls out his badge. He doesn't like to do it—it's always seemed like an abuse of power—but he isn't in the mood for spending the rest of his afternoon and most of his evening taking MRI's and CT's. He's too claustrophobic.
"Oh." The nurse falters, then visibly brightens. "Oh. The girl."
"Yes. Yes, the girl. Is something—is she alright?"
"I—here, let's get you out of that, first. Okay? I can give you the rundown while you change into some scrubs or something. I'm sure we've got some lying around." The nurse leads Topher in seemingly random directions for a solid fifteen minutes before he finds the supply closet. "Sorry," he says. "It's my first day here. I'm working on my paramedicine clinicals."
The only scrubs close to his size are bright green and ride up, but Topher makes do. "What do you know about Lexie?" He forces his head through the scrub top. "The girl, I mean. Is she doing well?"
"She came out of anesthesia while a cardiologist was working on her heart," the nurse responds, unable to keep from grinning. "Crazy eyes, you know, and gagging. So they put her back under, right? And the aortic valve was cut, because when she flipped out the scalpel slipped."
Topher has yet to hear any good news. A severed heart valve does not sound good. "And?" he prompts, trying to nudge the boy with kind words. Instead, he sounds short and testy.
Luckily for Topher, the paramedic doesn't notice. "And she should really have died. But now she's gaining ground. It's a regular fucking miracle. I mean, she still has eight something hours left in that OR, but apparently she's doing amazingly well."
Lexie wakes up in a hospital, though she can't remember how she got here. Her fatigues are gone; the only thing separating her body from the sleeping, slouched doctor in the corner is a thin paper dress. She pulls the sheets up to her chin. It must be serious, whatever she's here for, if they've got a doctor posted at her bedside.
Jesus. How bad could it be? She tries to account for her injuries, but feels nothing. Paralyzed? It flits across her mind for only a second, but quickly dissipates when she sees her toes wiggle under the blanket at the foot of the bed. The pain comes a moment later, dulled by the misty loll of morphine. Once she starts to seek the parts that hurt, she has no trouble finding them. Her leg, her arm. Her chest. Her face.
She sits up straighter, and sucks in a breath as her back spasms. The doctor jolts, eyes blinking with a lopsided, groggy rhythm. "Hey," he says, smiling. She notes that he is moderately attractive, with dark brown eyes and the type of dirty blond hair that looks good mussed or neat. A deep distrust settles heavily on her throat. She swallows it, and it tastes bitter going down. "It's good to finally see your eyes."
Lexie continues to watch him. She suspects she's in America, but for all she knows, the plane ride home could very well have been a dream. It's been known to happen to her, vivid dreams. Usually they're about Michael. But if she's dying, who knows? That might bring about a bit more variety. Maybe soon her grandfather will come visit and take her to the other side.
"What's going on?" Lexie asks. Her voice is raspy and it claws at her throat with long, brittle nails.
"You were in an accident," the doctor replies, casting his eyes down. "A car accident, off of the interstate."
"I don't remember that." Her voice is caught, unsure of whether or not it should sound alarmed or accusatory. Another muscle spasms, just above her hips. "Ooh, fuck."
"Your body does," he mutters, just loud enough for her to hear. "Do you need more medicine? Should I call a nurse?"
Oh God. She knew it. He's a stupid little shit. Of course he is. Look at those straight white teeth, or the long eyelashes. And the small patch of freckles on the bridge of his nose? So goddamned adorable it made her sick. "You're a doctor, aren't you? Can't you just give me something now?"
He's obviously puzzled, and she makes a point of tracing the seams of his scrubs with her eyes. "Oh, no," he says, shaking his head once he catches on. "No, I'm—look, I'm a detective. I'm the one who brought you in."
"A detective," Lexie repeats, unimpressed.
She snorts, flinching when her breath gets caught in between her ribs, rotting and breaking into small, burrowing irritants. "A detective with manners? You're an oxymoron." Then, simply to see if it will perturb him, "Or a liar."
He cocks his head to one side, studying her with a reptilian kind of intensity. Once he's made up his mind, he tugs at his chair and moves it so close to her bed that she can count nearly every hair on his chin. "Detective Ashcroft," he says, offering his left hand to her good one, "Well-mannered, lying oxymoron."
She can't help but grin. "Lexie Ross, obnoxiously rude bitch."
"It's an honor."
"I'm sure it is."