Character/Pairing: Locus, Emily Grey, Locus/Emily
Prompt: medic au
Summary: Nobody ever said redemption was easy. You didn’t just shed the skin of a monster overnight.
Date Written: 16/07/2016
Nobody ever said redemption was easy.
In fact, it was hard work. Maybe it was easier if your worst crimes were saying the wrong thing to the wrong person or not showing up on time but when your sins usually began and ended with a rifle in hand, redemption turned out to be a pain in the ass.
Even when he was among people that knew nothing about his past history, forgiveness was a fickle beast.
You didn’t just shed the skin of a monster overnight.
You didn’t become a saint after a year.
‘But‘, he thought, fingers placing the scissors down among the tools on the surgical tray. ‘Maybe in a decade or two, I’ll feel something.’
“There. Bullet free.” Locus spoke to no one, staring down at the slumbering patient and the neatly completed work of the stitches that crawled up the expanse of his side. He preferred patients like this – quiet.
Peeling off his bloody gloves, Locus sighed softly.
How he’d come to the conclusion all those years ago to undertake this profession still eluded him. The original motivation had been simple enough – after having taken so many lives in his past, it seemed only appropriate that he should choose a path that involved him saving as many as he could. That basic thought had brought him into the medical field but now residing in it, he wasn’t entirely certain this was where he should have wound up.
“Wowee, you sure work fast these days!! I’d say that operation was your quickest one yet!!” The intercom crackled, a familiar cheerful tone suddenly cut through the silence of the operating room and Locus resisted a flinch. Great. Had she been here the entire time?
Reaching his hands up, Locus undid the sloppy bun holding his hair up and let it fall back around his shoulders before he bothered to look up. Standing up in the viewing room, hiding behind the glass stood a familiar face. Grinning from ear to ear, her unruly curly hair framing her freckled face, Emily Grey was the picture of unprofessional. Even while working, she never seemed to care for the lab coats and clipboards, instead favouring a more casual approach to her appearance. The armour he remembered her once wearing was long gone; there wasn’t any need for it in these days of peace. Extending her hand again, she pressed a button on the wall and continued. “I’d say he’s going to make a full recovery.”
“Naturally.” Locus replied simply, turning from the window and tossing the gloves into the nearest receptacle. “His wounds were not life threatening.”
“Still such a grump.” She chirped happily. “Can’t you just accept a compliment when it’s given to you?”
“There is nothing to compliment. I performed my assigned duty efficiently.” He responded, back turned to her as he gathered his tools and began to wash them.
He could hear her dissatisfied grumbling over the speaker before it went silent. For a moment, he thought perhaps she had given up on the conversation out of sheer boredom but when he hear the airlock release on the operating room door, he knew that hope was dashed.
Emily Grey never gave up so easily.
That was how he’d wound up at this hospital in particular, hadn’t he? Under her insistence, he came to realize that if he wanted to make amends, he needed to do so on the front lines. Even after years of refusing, of bouncing from barracks to barracks to patch up the victims of war, she had never relented and when the peace treaties were signed and his medic career had been at a stand still, she had been there with an open invitation.
“You haven’t saved near enough lives yet to make up for everything, have you?” She’d said and he could still perfectly remember her bright, twisted smile that day.
He supposed if he had to work with anyone, it was nice to be around the right company. The war may have left the planet but war would never leave them. The scars ran too deep; in more ways than one.
A hand planted firmly on his back and Grey’s face peeked out from behind his shoulder. “You’re going to be like this forever, aren’t you, Locus?”
“If you disapprove, I suggest you change departments.” He retorted, simply focusing on the task at hand. He made sure to clean every inch of the tools, setting them aside to be properly sanitized later.
“Mm, nope! Are you kidding? This place is so much fun!! All the blood and guts and new fangled diseases and illness and boils that just go pop pop pop !” She sighed, akin to how some may after describing a pleasant day instead of potentially infectious skin irritations. “That kind of thing just tugs at a girl’s heart strings, you know? Like love at first sight!”
“I don’t believe that to be quite true.” Locus replies, drying his hands on a nearby towel. “Not that I’ve much experience with such matters.”
“Boils?!” Grey perks, that familiar twisted grin in place as he turns to look at her.
“Love.” He corrects, replacing the towel upon the rack.
Grey huffs her cheeks, sighing dramatically. “Love is boring anyway. You have some estrogen and testosterone, throw in an increase of cortisol, a sprinkle of dopamine and a dash of oxytocin and when you get down to it, the act of falling in love is terribly trivial.” She laughs, a little manically.
“You’ve… quite the interesting take on it.” Locus replies after a moment, a little unsure how to reply to such a scientific outlook.
“What can I say?” She beams, planting a hand firmly on her chest. “I’m a romantic!” She slides her hand from her chest to along her arm. “Now when I see a limb barely hanging on or symptoms I’ve never seen before, that’s where the real rush comes in! Watching the human body destroy itself and then survive is just so thrilling!” She swoons visibly, her knees buckling a little before she rights herself. “Now that’s love.”
“I’ll try to remember that.” Locus responds, unsure what else to say. He seems to get a break from it for a moment as a couple nurses enter the operating room. They move over to the patient, starting the process of tidying up the room and prepping the patient to return to his own. Locus’s work here was done; he saw no reason to stick around.
Moving past Grey, he stepped out of the room without a glance back but he didn’t need to to hear her hurried feet chasing after him. “You seem to have quite the memory, from what I’ve heard.” She giggles, following after him. As she catches up, she stares over at him with her hands tucked happily behind her back.
There is a knowing smirk upon her lips that Locus isn’t entirely comfortable with.
“How so?” He inquires.
“A previous patient of yours told me.” She looks up at the ceiling with a grin, eyes wide as she recites the words from memory. “’Just keeping smiling; you’re not dead yet.’” Looking over at him, she smiles. “Now where could he have gotten that from? That’s some pretty sound advice, if I do say so myself. Something, in fact, a genius might have uttered a few dozen times.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Locus replies rather immediately, tone firm as if to end the conversation there but, of course, Grey took no such bait.
Her manic grin grew, wide and telling as she gazed over at him. She hummed loudly, clear disbelief on her breath before she responded, “You can’t lie to me, scar boy.”
“I don’t see how that’s relevant.” He countered, gaze forward even though he could practically feel hers burning into his skull.
She began to hum louder, obnoxiously so until his annoyance got the better of him and he snapped, “Stop that.”
“I’m just saying,” She sighs happily. “That’s solid advice coming from you.”
“The purpose of this all is to ensure not only the survival of people but that they have an improved quality of life, is it not?” Locus responds, coming to halt at the intersection of hallways.
“Maybe.” She shrugs, truly looking as if she didn’t care one way or another and some part of him was certain that was probably the case. “It’s just weird hearing it from somebody who’s never once taken his own advice.” She grins widely up at him. “It wouldn’t kill you to smile either, Locus.”
Without missing a beat, he replies, “I’ll smile when I’ve earned the right to.”
Turning, he begins to head down one of the hall branches.. only this time, he didn’t hear her footsteps following.
Grey, instead, lingered in the hall, hands coming behind her back once more. Staring at Locus retreating, her smile remained on her face. “You can’t stay in the war forever, Locus.” She called out to him. “You’ll have to come home some time.”
He didn’t respond; he usually didn’t. Not that it really mattered, she reasoned. He’d heard her; she knew he did. The fact that he was still here at all was proof that he’d not only heard her voice but was beginning to truly listen.
“Just keep smiling.” She said aloud, the words practically written into her genetics by now. Staring up at the ceiling, she let the words linger in the air before she beamed, squeezing her hands together and giving a pleasant sort of squeak.
“Well, he’ll figure it out one day. No need to rush; nope, no need to rush at all.”
FIN ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always encouraged! You are welcome to leave a review below; no account required. I am eager to hear from each and every one of you!