Written By: _alicesprings
Author's Notes: Gapfiller for the June 30 episode. A BIG thank you to the amazing newssodark for helping me work through some problems I was having with it. YOU'RE ACES!
Reid Oliver is a surgeon. He’s always on call - even when he’s not. He hates days off, hates being away from the operating room. He’s not even particularly fond of patients, it’s the brain he loves. Reid Oliver is a surgeon. It’s everything he is and knows, it's everything he’s ever wanted.
The truth is, Reid Oliver hasn’t had anything stronger than a beer to drink in years - Reid Oliver is always ready for surgery. He’d told Bob Hughes that he wouldn’t be rooting around in anyone’s brain the next morning. Instead, he’s rooting around it in his mind, while brooding over the bar at Yo’s.
Patient: Williams, George. Age: 59. Diagnosis: Normal pressure hydrocephalus. Treatment: Ventriculoperitoneal shunt.
Not his favorite surgery, certainly not as meaty as a good tumor, but it’d do in a pinch. You know how stupid I am? I came here to apologize to you. Cut into the skull to access the brain. I was ready to fight to get you your job back, but that’s not what you want, is it? Insert tube into lateral ventricle. Have fun in Minneapolis. Tunnel underneath the skin to the abdomen. I don’t give a damn. Make an incision in the abdomen to access the peritoneal cavity. Insert tube. I don't give a damn. ... I don't give a damn.
Reid shakes his head, gesturing to the bartender with his empty glass. “Another.”
Temporary insanity, Reid thinks. The sooner he gets the hell out of Oakdale, and puts Luke Snyder behind him, the better. Luke has turned him into an idiot, a babbling, nervous idiot who just quit his job. Reid Oliver quit being a surgeon.
One thing Reid Oliver had learned since coming to Oakdale is that you can’t avoid anyone, not even when you want to. Especially not when you want to. So it's no great surprise to him when Bob Hughes shows up and hoists himself onto a bar stool half an hour later.
It is a surprise to learn that Luke had gone in to bat for him.
Hope bubbles up in his chest. It's a foreign feeling for Reid, something he’s experienced once or twice in the last couple of months, though it's usually trampled down as abruptly as it appears. It's uncomfortable. Mostly because it makes him remember he does have a heart after all, loathe though he is to admit it. And Luke Snyder has set up his tent and staked a claim on it.
Luke, it turns out, has given up his seat on the advisory committee in exchange for Reid’s job.
Reid heads for Luke’s place.
“You shouldn’t have done that," Reid says. "I know how much being on the board means to you.”
Luke shrugs. “You gave up your job first, and that means everything to you.”
“Almost everything,” Reid says, then rolls his eyes at his own sentimentality, but Luke smiles and reaches out to rest a tentative hand on Reid’s shoulder again.
“Half the reason I insisted on having a seat on the committee in the first place was because I wanted to spend time with you,” Luke says, a blush staining his cheeks.
Touched, Reid steps a little closer to Luke. “Well, you don’t need an excuse to do that anymore.”
They stare at each other for a long moment before Luke closes the distance between them, meeting Reid’s lips in the softest of kisses. It's a new beginning and it's sweetness and sacrifice and love and everything all wrapped up. It's everything.
Reid lifts his head from the pillow and glances at Luke’s alarm clock. The green numbers glow in the dim room. 6:47am. The Williams surgery is scheduled for 8am. Reid could still go in and do it. His head drops back down onto the pillow, and he noses at the back of Luke’s neck, breathing in the smell that's part citrus shampoo and part sweat but mostly just Luke. Luke shifts a little in his sleep and Reid moves closer still, tightening his arm around Luke’s waist. He lets Luke’s steady breathing lull him back to sleep. Hunter can do the surgery.
Reid Oliver is a surgeon. And he is Luke Snyder’s boyfriend.