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September 7, 2010

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John Dixon slowly trailed down the hallways of Memorial Hospital, holding his coffee and appreciating its heat in the slight chill of the September morning.

He’d been back in his old hunting grounds for all of thirty hours, and this was the first time he’d really had to breathe. Chris was finally listening to sense, and was stable for the moment while they waited for the tests to come back. The Hughes were reeling from the loss of Nancy, but that seemed to have made them all the more determined not to lose Chris. And imagine that his old flame Lyla’s daughter Katie was now apparently head over heels for Chris; though how long –that- flame would last was perhaps more debatable when Chris wasn’t at death’s door.

He truly hoped that Chris would live, though he equally hoped that this would teach him the idiocy of this apparent self-destructive streak. Katie, he’d heard, had lost her (latest) husband (one of those Snyders) just months before. And Kim had already been through so much in her life. (John made very few apologies for the fact that he wasn’t a nice person, but one of the few things he felt truly ashamed of was how much of Kim’s pain had been inflicted by himself.) Hell, even Bob, that sanctimonious old ass, shouldn’t have to lose his mother and his son on almost the same day. And while Andy and Chris weren’t particularly close, John didn’t want to have to tell his son that his half-brother had died.

“Just say it then. You love me, but you’re not in love with me anymore, you’re in love with Reid?” A young man’s angry voice echoed from a room just a few feet away.

John rolled his eyes and snorted. Clearly the town’s drama hadn’t decreased over the years he had been gone. And apparently the caustic young Dr Oliver wasn’t as immune to it as he probably wanted to be.

“Yes, I am in love with Reid.”

The more things changed, the more things stayed the same, John mused, because that was certainly another man’s voice answering.

“He’s not right for you. There’s something about him. He’s selfish; he’s going to hurt you.”

“No, I don’t think that’s true.”

“But you don’t know.”

“Yeah, but you never really know what anyone’s going to do, do you?”

“I deserved that. After the accident, I pushed you away because I blamed you. It was easier than blaming myself. I… I wanted to punish you.”

A gay relationship as dysfunctional and toxic as any straight relationship. (And John had had his fair share of toxic straight relationships.) Well, that was certainly an argument for gay equality.

“Well, mission accomplished. Noah, I wanted to be there for you. I wanted to help you through it. But you cut me out of your life.”

And now John recognized the second voice- Luke Snyder, Lily’s little boy. They’d had a phone conference or two after Lucinda had tricked him to helping Luke’s foundation.

“So what- this with Reid, this is all payback?”

“No. This is me realizing that although, yes, we loved each other, we were not right for each other.”

“But you and Reid are?”

“Yes.”

John shook his head and moved on. He had to check on those test results for Chris.

It was actually strangely nice to think about, though.

He remembered decades before (probably just before Lyla got pregnant with Margo) there had been a scandal when one of the most promising of the other interns had been arrested at some mafia-run gay bar. He’d left in shame; if he were lucky, he’d ended up in some underfunded hospital where they didn’t ask too many questions. Honestly, John didn’t even remember the man’s name. He’d been glad to be rid of the competition, though even then he’d thought it unfair.

And now, Dr Reid Oliver, one of the best neurosurgeons in the world, was openly dating Luke Snyder, grandson of Lucinda Walsh.

John had watched Lily from her childhood, and Luke from birth. John still remembered how devastated Oakdale had been when they’d all thought Luke and Holden were dead- and how the town had seemed to breathe again when they’d turned up alive in Malta. He even remembered the look on Luke’s face when Lily had crashed her sister Rose’s funeral dressed as an Atlantic City showgirl and tried to get Luke to dance with her.

If Luke Snyder thought Dr Reid Oliver was ‘right’ for him, John sincerely hoped he was.

God, he’d gone soft in his old age.

Chris’s deterioration and the loss of the Bay City donor heart drove all other thoughts out of John’s head until he quietly walked into the locker room and found Luke and Reid deep in conversation.

“I could kiss you for this, but even you can't walk into some strange hospital, grab a donor heart, and put it in your cooler and walk away.”

“Just watch me. I’m not going to let some arrogant self-proclaimed savior of humanity take this heart from Chris.”

“That’s weird. I used to know another surgeon who was an arrogant self-proclaimed savior of humanity.”

“Yeah, wonder what happened to him.”

“I'm going with you, just to make sure you don't get arrested or anything.”

“No, this has to be handled doctor to doctor, all right? Let me do what I do best -- make trouble. And I need you to cover for me here, because if they know what I’m doing, Chris will get all brave and noble, Bob will default to protocol and procedure, and Katie and Kim will chew their fingers off with worry. I have enough pressure as it is.”

“Or I could just help you borrow the med-evac helicopter without telling Bob,” John interrupted.

After the successful operation, John had found Reid and Luke kissing fiercely in a private corner. Ah to be young again, John thought. Life and death situations often made for some of the best sex.

He’d coughed discreetly, and convinced the two to go home and get some ‘rest.’ He’d chuckled as he heard Reid quietly comment into Luke’s ear that the big damn hero of the story always got to fuck the prince as his reward.