Fic: A Beautiful Mess, 19/?
Summary: Luke is a pediatrician! He is officially Dr. Luke Snyder.
Spoilers: References to Luke's past from canon and that's about it.
Disclaimer: Wish they were mine but they're not.
Note: This was inspired by this entry in lure_prompts by the brill _alicesprings. Feedback, concrit, etc. welcome! ♥
Luke's doing better since his talk with Lucinda and he's feeling comfortable enough to talk to Reid about the things that bother him before they become too much of a problem. Luke's share of personal tragedy has far exceed anything that Reid can find in some weird, twisted spy novel. None of those things happen in real life but most of those things have happened to Luke Snyder.
The kidnappings (multiple), the drinking, and let's not forget about the ex-boyfriend who thinks that it's perfectly okay to show up at a Thanksgiving meal several years after breaking up.
Luke tells him another story about his past.
It happens just before he'd planned to leave for med school.
Luke's mind had been made up when he'd received his letter of acceptance. Noah had the audacity to play on his guilt, use the excuse of leaving behind his friends, and his family. Noah's never had family and he claimed to have needed Luke.
Years ago, those lines would've worked, and kept him in Oakdale. Luke would've rescinded his acceptance and would accept the responsibility that he had at home.
That time, in that moment, Luke realized that he had to leave. He wanted to be more than the boy from Oakdale. He wanted to "help others and do something more with his life," Reid remembers him saying that repeatedly.
Noah made things difficult for him, always pushing him away, always stringing him along like Luke was his own personal yo-yo. When Noah wanted him, he'd pull him back to him and when he didn't, he'd release the string. The release always hurt the most and Noah made sure that it stung, blaming him for things that hadn't been Luke's fault.
Even when Luke had been away and getting his doctorate, Noah expected him to drop everything to be with him when he was in LA or drop everything to talk to him on the phone, only to get upset when Luke said he was busy. Luke knew it was finally over when Noah threatened to end the relationship for the 1,000th time and Luke didn't care. They weren't in a relationship and it wasn't Noah's decision to start things up again whenever he felt like it. It was truly over for Luke.
Luke recalls a period after that when he allowed himself to explore his sexuality. Being with only one man who hadn't really enjoyed being physical with him in a way that he wanted, had left him extremely inexperienced. Luke tells Reid that he hadn't been looking for a boyfriend. The self-hatred that he had for himself made him incapable of accepting the thought of someone loving him. So, every experience was purely physical. He didn't like anal sex that much but enjoyed taking blow jobs, rarely giving, unless he was in a giving mood. Sex had been a release and a temporary distraction, nothing more. Any time someone did want to take it a step further, he'd end it.
But, Luke being Luke, he's always been cautious. Even his regular sex encounters had been with the same few men. "Regular fuck buddies," he'd said. Even as he admits it, a blush spreads across his cheeks, ashamed, and embarrassed to admit it. Reid shares that he's done his fair share of exploring his own sexuality. The boyfriends he'd had, and he uses the term loosely, didn't last for more than a month, if that.
Luke admits that with Reid, it had been different. It remains different with Reid. Luke has finally allowed himself to love and be loved. It's a huge, giant step in the right direction. Reid makes him feel like this is how love should be and Reid's stomach flips when Luke says it. They end the conversation and make love before they sleep.
The day after this intense conversation is Matt's surgery. Reid turns on his side and sees Luke's eyes already open, one hand resting on his chest, and the other arm at his side. Reid takes in a deep breath and tucks his hands underneath his pillow as he watches him.
"Hey," Luke greets him with a small smile. "Sorry, did I wake you?"
Reid shakes his head. "Been up long?"
"Not too long," Luke mirrors Reid's position, turning to rest on his stomach, and placing a hand against Reid's warm back. "Last night was ..." he trails, searching for the right words.
Reid thinks that he knows what these words are. Luke poured out everything last night. Allowing Reid to see that much of himself left him vulnerable and Reid took care of him as much as he could when they had sex, making sure Luke knew that he hadn't made the wrong decision in trusting him with that information.
"Your poured your guts out, Dr. Snyder," Reid finishes for him.
Luke chuckles, "Something like that, yeah." His hand slides up Reid's back and moves to play with his hair that curls at the nape of his neck. "Are you freaked out at all?"
They've been together for almost six months now. He remembers spending most of those first two months freaked out by how deeply and how quickly he'd fallen for Luke Snyder. But, this? "Nope," he answers quickly.
"Good," Luke smiles, that smile wavering again as another thought appears to cross his mind. "Are you leaving soon?"
"Yeah," Reid lifts his head so he can look at the clock. "Prep's in about an hour."
"I'll go with you. I told them that I'd be with them."
Reid can't stop him from doing whatever he wants to do. Although he's still concerned, this is about Luke's relationship with Matthew and his mother. Matthew's officially out of Luke's care and their personal relationship exceeds that of doctor/patient. Reid finds him in Matthew's room often, the two of them playing games together or if Matthew's sleeping, Luke speaks with his mother.
Reid can't envision himself interacting with a patient that way but Luke is different. He gets to know his patients and Reid's known that about him since the beginning. This thing with Matthew is special and Reid can only hope that the kid's a fighter.
"Whatever happens, Reid, I know that you all tried your best. You got him the best care and I'm so grateful for that," Reid watches as he puts on a brave face, trying to maintain some kind of partiality and distance as he speaks.
"The kid's lucky to have you in his corner. Before coming to Middle of Nowhere, Illinois, I'd just about given up on the idea of doctor's giving a crap about their patients. It's either about having a boat load of money or their name displayed in every medical journal around the world," he rolls his eyes, disgust in his voice as he talks about those people. "But, it isn't about that for you."
"And even if you love hearing everyone say how you're the greatest neurosurgeon in the universe --" Luke quickly continues to speak before Reid has the chance to interrupt, "-- and you are, I know that it isn't about that for you either."
It's something that Reid can't refute but it's true. He's earns that title because of his success rate as a surgeon and not because he gets a big cut from the insurance companies or because he writes the most articles. He wants to do the work and he wants to improve the quality of life for someone who may not otherwise have one because of their medical problems. He cares about that and he does care about his patients.
Reid doesn't respond but leans in to kiss Luke.
People look at Reid and see only what's on the surface. Luke looks at Reid and sees everything.
"All right," Reid says as he pulls away. "Let's get a move on."
Just as Reid's about to get out of bed, Luke reaches up, and pulls on his arm. "Reid." That catches Reid's attention and Luke turns around, moving into a sitting position. He reaches forward and presses Reid's lips to his once again. They sit there kissing, morning breath and all, but Reid can certainly feel something else transferring between them. He feels like Luke needs this and he's aware that he needs this too.
When they pull away, Luke smiles at him, gives him one more kiss, and then they get out of bed.
They take a shower together, helping each other wash away the remnants of last night's activities. They manage to keep any touching above the waist. It's always difficult for Reid to resist Luke especially when they're in confining spaces but their minds are focused elsewhere. Everything remains chaste except for a few shared kisses while they're helping to soap each other.
Afterward, they get dressed. Chris has Luke's shift covered for today so he's dressed casually and won't have to change into his scrubs. Reid's clean scrubs are at the hospital so he'll change they get there.
They get breakfast to go and head directly to the hospital. Luke's driving so Reid eats his on the way. His order is double what Luke orders so Reid's just getting a head start.
When they arrive, Luke takes breakfast into the doctor's lounge, and Reid changes into his scrubs. He's meeting Matthew's other two doctors here but while they wait, he and Luke eat their breakfast together. They've both been silent, Reid concentrating on what he's going to go over this morning, and Luke probably thinking about Matthew. Silence on Luke's end is always unusual but Reid allows it today, not wanting to hear Luke's fears about the surgery. If he hears those things, it'll stick in the back of Reid's mind. That's something that he doesn't need right now.
They finish breakfast and Luke tells him that he's going to see Matthew. With a kiss, Luke leaves just as the other two doctors walk into the room. They all greet each other before Luke walks out. Then, they get down to business.
The surgery is a difficult one. They're all aware of that. They've taken x-rays to display every area of the brain that they're able to see, making sure that they know where that tumor is, how they're going to attack it, how they're planning to remove it. Each of them contribute. Dr. Huang is in charge of the surgery as the pediatric neurologist. Dr. Feldman has been monitoring him as his pediatric oncologist. Reid will be monitoring the surgery even though pediatrics isn't his specialty. He's still more familiar with the brain, any brain. He's been with Matthew since the beginning of this and he won't leave now.
Matthew's surgery is scheduled for 1:00 in the afternoon. The two doctors make sure to eat before then since they'll be in there for a few hours while they attempt to remove the new tumor. While they do that, Reid goes to his office to check on several other patients, letting Jaymie know that he'll be unreachable for the remainder of the day, and told her to leave early.
He goes into the surgery the way that he goes into other surgeries. He's relaxed, confident, and eager. Even though he's not the one who's going to be operating, he'll still be there, and he'll be able to see that gray mass that he admires so much. This is the brain of a child, still developing, still learning a variety of things, and not as defined as an adult. Seeing a brain as it is, it's really the great equalizer. He thinks this way in every surgery. Underneath all the skin, underneath the skull and bones, everything's the same. Everyone's the same underneath.
Matthew’s being rolled into the operating room by a nurse. He’s already on a surgical table, the IV in his arm, and hooked up to machines that will monitor his vitals. The beeping is steady, continuous, and Matthew appears comfortable.
Just as Reid adjusts his face mask, he hears, “Dr. Oliver?”
“Right here, Matt,” he steps closer and looks down at him on the table.
Matthew smiles a little, the drugs already taking their effect, “I’m glad you’re here.”
“Wouldn’t be anywhere else, bud. Unless they’re giving away free Jello somewhere then I’m so outta here.” With Luke making frequent trips to Matthew’s room, he’s stolen his fair share of unopened Jello snack packs. It makes the kid laugh every time and today is no exception. He laughs again and Reid smiles back behind the mask. “I’ll make it up to you later,” he promises. “You just rest now.”
“‘Kay,” Matthew agrees, his eyelids droop, getting heavier until he closes his eyes.
“Patient’s under,” a nurse announces to them.
He looks at the clock on the wall. It's 1:08. Time for surgery to begin.
It’s now 3:17.
Dr. Huang has been working on removing the tumor piece by piece, taking advice from Reid about where to make his incisions, what areas to avoid when he’s too close to them but he’s mostly doing everything on his own. Reid’s making observations on the monitor that allows him to see all the action up close.
There’s more blood than he anticipated. The suction is going in to clear the space but he thinks that this is an unusual amount. At first, he thinks that there’s a bleed but then there’d be more blood than this so he knows that that isn’t the cause. It makes things difficult to see but Dr. Huang is moving slow enough that they’re all able to see where the cuts are made.
Suddenly, the monitors begin to start beeping frantically. Reid watches Matthew’s blood pressure dropping, the monitors register his heart beating quickly, and the nurse gets distracted, unable to see anything in the brain because of the amount of blood.
They’re all trying to remain calm but it all goes quickly. There’s yelling and he isn’t sure if that’s him yelling or someone else yelling at him. They’re becoming frantic and Reid moves closer to see if he can determine what the cause of this is. He suctions the blood himself and then he sees it.
It’s too late.
Dr. Huang moves him aside and uses the suction, taking pause when he sees what Reid sees. He tries to do the damage control and he works quickly.
The monitor registers the flatline and Matthew’s heart stops right there on the table.
“Turn off the alert,” Reid says to one of the nurses. They don’t need to hear that the monotone beep of the monitor. They all know what’s happened.
“God damn,” Dr. Huang murmurs, shaking his head, and looking down into the brain. “Damn,” he keeps saying.
“Time of death,” Reid speaks first, glancing at the clock. His voice is caught in his throat, a raspy sound coming out when he speaks again, “3:34 p.m.”
Closing his eyes briefly, he tries to reverse time, tries to predict that this is going to happen, wanting to go back and fix all of this. He wants to try to revive Matthew, bring him to life again, and fix what can be fixed.
“Dr. Oliver,” he hears his name and he opens his eyes again, realizing that this is the reality. There is no going back. There’s only looking forward. “Dr. Oliver, I’m going to inform the mother,” he hears Dr. Feldman say.
Reid shakes his head, responding quickly, “No. I’ll go.”
“Reid you’re too --”
“No,” Reid repeats, his voice firm. He turns away and walks through the doors to clean up. He removes his gloves and washes his hands. He removes his mask, throwing it away, and keeps his surgical cap on before walking out to the waiting room.
Unfortunately, he runs into Luke before he can make it there. “Re --” his name gets caught in Luke’s throat the second that Luke looks at him. The smile quickly disappears and is replaced by a look of concern. “Reid?” he questions, quietly.
Reid looks back at him and responds to the unspoken question the only way that he knows how. “I’m sorry, Luke.”
Luke’s face crumbles, breaking down almost immediately. Reid takes one step toward him and envelops him into his arms. Luke’s arms wrap around him tightly as he begins to tremble, crying silently against him. The only thing that Reid can do is hold him close and feel his own heart breaking for him.