By Maquis Leader
Author’s notes: This story is set in the Season 6: Reloaded universe. It stands alone and you don't need to read the other chapters before you read this one. See the note on the main page.
Previously on Third Watch:
Episode 13: Making Advances
“Hey, you got this under control?”
“Is that your way of saying you’re not helping?” Grace looked up from scrubbing the floor of the bus.
“I uh… it’s just that I need to see someone inside.” Carlos shifted nervously.
“Oh, God, are you going to go hit on the nurses again?” She shook her head. “I hate to break it to you, stud, but they’re so not interested.”
“Hey, I’ll have you know that certain nurses are very interested in me.” Stud? Yeah… she’s so wanting me. “Yeah, I’ve got a chick to go see – try not to be jealous.”
“You got to be kidding me.”
“So… you’re good here, and I’ll be back.” He winked at her before turning to go inside the hospital.
“Carlos, I thought you and Grace were gone?” Mary Proctor looked up as he walked past the desk.
“She’s still cleaning the bus out. I can’t believe it takes her so long to do it, I thought she was a vet, you know?”
“We can’t all be as skilled and talented as you, Carlos.” She said dryly.
“Yeah, I know.” Carlos shrugged. “But I’m a tolerant guy.”
“And we’re all so grateful.”
He nodded as he walked toward the elevator. “Think I’ll go up to three and visit that blond nurse. She keeps calling me.”
Mary looked at him.
“So, I should go say ‘hi’ before she like starts stalking me or something.”
“Or something.” She went back to her paperwork.
“Later.” The elevator doors opened and Carlos sauntered in, smiling at the brunette standing inside. “Hey.”
When she ignored him, he made a show of adjusting the stethoscope around his neck. “I’m here checking on a patient I saved.”
“How wonderful for you.”
“I do that all the time.” He straightened his shoulders. “It’s just part of the job.”
The elevator doors began to open and she slipped through.
“Later.” Checking his reflection in the glass of the frame holding the safety inspection certificates, Carlos smiled. “Bet she looks me up. She was checking me out.”
When the elevator opened on the eighth floor, he stuck his head out and looked around. The nurses at the nurse’s station looked at him and he smiled. Not seeing anyone he knew, Carlos stepped off the elevator.
“Can I help you?” One of them asked.
“Ah… no… I’m just checking on a patient.”
“Wouldn’t they be down in the ER?” She arched an eyebrow. “Are you lost?”
“No.” He frowned at her. Obviously her age was keeping her from being charmed by him. Maybe she was gay. Or a lesbian or whatever they called themselves. “This patient is up here. I didn’t bring him in.”
And you’re checking on him why?”
“Yeah, he was shot here, actually.” Carlos made a show of thinking about it. “Right downstairs as a matter of fact.”
That seemed to piss her off. “This is ICU, and visitors aren’t allowed unless they’re family.”
“Well, we’re sort of family.” He showed her his pin. “See?”
“EMS?” She snickered.
“I’m with the 55.” He looked his jacket and shirt over. “Damn, I thought that was on one of these.”
“Why don’t you go back downstairs?”
“Listen, me and Bosco go way back. Well, not way back, but back.” Carlos smiled at her, adding extra sex appeal. “I thought I’d see how he’s getting along.”
“Officer Boscorelli is in a coma.” Her tone turned cold. “If you were family, you’d know how he’s ‘getting along’.”
“I know he’s in a coma.” Possibly she was gay and definitely mentally deficient.
“Then you know how he’s doing.” She went back to the charts.
“Look, I just want to stop in and say hello to him. You know that people in comas can hear, right?”
“That’s the rumor.”
“Bosco and I know each other, okay?” He walked up to the desk and leaned closer. “And I just want to – I dunno – let him know somebody gives a crap.”
“There’ve been plenty of people in to see him who give a crap.” The nurse looked up at him and softened a bit. “Oh, all right, you can have a few minutes. He’s in 472.”
“Thanks.” It had taken a few minutes, but his charm had obviously won her over. “And I’d stay and chat, but I should go see him and then get back to work saving lives.”
She watched him saunter away, shaking her head.
Carlos made a slow pass of Bosco’s room, strolling nonchalantly past and peeking inside. Seeing no one, he turned around and went back, acting casual in case any of the nurses were checking him out.
Bosco lay in bed, his head swathed in bandages, tubing running into his body from machines beside the bed, forcing air into his lungs and fluids into his veins.
“Damn…” Carlos swallowed hard. He’d seen plenty of people bloody and exposed, watched them pulled back from the grip of death by skilled medicine, but he’d never seen what happened afterwards. Somehow, this was far more frightening than anything he’d ever seen.
“Jesus, Bosco.” He walked closer, trying to see the person he knew under the bandages and wires. “Are you in there? Man, what the fuck did you do this for? It’s not like they’re gonna give you a raise.”
Only the left side of Bosco’s face was exposed, his cheek and nose, the rest covered like he was a mummy in a bad horror flick. Carlos didn’t recognize him at all. Reaching for the hand lying on the bed, he checked the wrist band. Boscorelli, Maurice L.
“Maurice?” Carlos snickered. “No wonder you got a bad
He pulled up the chair that was close to the bed and sat down. “So… um… well… you’re there, right? Because I read this paper on coma victims, and it said that people in comas can hear what’s going on around them. Can’t respond ‘cos you’re in a coma – but you know…”
He cleared his throat. This wasn’t his thing, sharing his feelings. He wasn’t even sure what his feelings were most of the time. “So, I figure I should stop in and say hi.”
Carlos nodded. That was why he was here. “Hi.”
The beeping stayed steady. He shrugged. “Guess you’re going to be typical and not respond then. That’s all right, you probably want to sleep ‘till those wounds heal anyway. Gunshots can’t be fun. I got stabbed once and that hurt like a bitch – you know, they said it was shallow and didn’t need stitches – but damn it hurt. So I guess a bullet would hurt a lot more.”
“You know, when you wake up, you’ve got to tell me why the hell you did it, ‘cos I’m not getting it. I mean, I do my job – but no way I’m jumping in front of a gun for nobody. Though I did try to take on one of the guys – hit him with a coffee cup and then jumped him.” Carlos puffed out his chest. “I was kicking his ass – then he got lucky and threw me through a window. Good thing for him, ‘cos I was about to open up on him, you know?”
“Hey…” He leaned closer. “You remember when we were in that stupid sensitivity training? You had the ‘can’ problem, remember? Mexi-can and Domini-can? And I was there to learn compassion. Yeah, ‘cos that’s so much more important than helping someone, right?”
“Well…” Carlos looked around, making sure no one had come into the room. “You know how I told you that I didn’t mean what I said when I left? That it was all crap? Well… that was… okay, I did mean it. But…you know how it is, right? It’s easier to not give a shit. I mean, we could have maybe been friends but – I just – it’s chancy, you know? Friends just – they just end up – like Doc did, you know? I don’t want to deal with shit like that.”
He sat back and stared at the still figure on the bed. “Why the fuck did you do this, Bosco? ‘Cos – this isn’t the job. You know, we do the job and we love the job – but this isn’t the job, man. If we were friends, I’d be all busted up – but we’re not – you know? So – I just – I don’t get it. I just want you to tell me why.”
There was a sound behind him and Carlos turned to find Faith standing just inside the doorway. “Hey, Yokas, how’s it going?”
“Good, it’s going good.” She looked past him to where he was holding Bosco’s wrist. “What are you doing?”
“I… ah…” Horrified to realize he was holding Bosco’s hand, he dropped it and stood up. “Checking his pulse! I was just checking his pulse!”
“Yeah?” A smile curved her lips. “’Cos the machine there – it does that for you. Kinda loudly, too.”
“Hey, machines… better to double check, right?”
“So, you’re visiting Bosco?”
“Uh… yeah…” He nodded. “He owes me twenty bucks, so I told him he better wake up.”
A dark blonde brow arched up. “Bosco borrowed money from you?”
“Well… “ She’d always been immune to his charms. Some old married woman thing probably. Carlos snapped his fingers as if just remembering something. “I borrowed twenty bucks from Bosco – that’s what I meant to say.”
“Bosco lent you money?”
Damn it! The one woman in New York I can’t charm! “I was… it was… so he better wake up.” He turned to shake a finger at Bosco. “I’ll kick your butt, you got that? So... wake up!”
He brushed past her and headed for the door, leaving her staring.
Figures, the one woman Bosco managed to get wrapped around his finger has to walk in and hear me acting like a woman. Punching the button on the elevator, Carlos rode to the ER floor, too upset to check out his reflection on the way down.
“Are you done, yet?” He jerked the door of the bus open and climbed inside.
“Do you see me sitting here?” Grace held her hands up. “Am I still scrubbing the damn floor?”
“Just log us back in.” Starting the bus, Carlos dropped the gearshift into drive.
“What happened? Did she turn you down?” She giggled as she called them back into service.
Ignoring her, he guided the bus out of the parking lot and onto the street. Looking up at the windows of the eighth floor, Carlos sent a prayer up to whoever might be listening. Praying was definitely not something he did on a regular basis – more like never – but just in case… ‘Cos he’s sorta almost a friend, okay?