WOW, this ended up longer than I intended. Sorry. Ran away from me a little. ^_^ Anyway, this ending up slotting perfectly into the No Man Is An Island ‘verse, but I’m pretty sure you can read it without knowing anything about the other story. All you need to know is that Jehan and Combeferre went to medical school together and were roommates. Which… you probably didn’t need me to tell you. ^_^
Anyway, I have one more prompt to do, but I have class in two hours and some work that I should at least TRY to get done before then, then I have rehearsal tonight, so maybe I’ll get to the other sometime later or tomorrow? Sorry for the delay!
And if anyone else wants to send prompts, feel free!
Reacting to the other one crying about something
Long days were par for the course in medical school. They often began before dawn and ended long after the sun had gone down for the night. In between, students moved from lecture to lecture, from exam room to exam room, from building to building, with hardly a chance to even look at the sun in between. It was no mean feat to suffer from seasonal affective disorder even at the height of summer, but most of Jehan’s classmates were managing it. The long hours took their toll on him, as well, but Jehan had always thrived on adversity, and so he thrived here, too—a nightblooming flower. But even nightblooming flowers had to sleep sometime.
Jehan had had the first shift tonight, from 8 to 2 AM and he was long past ready to crawl into bed and sleep like the dead. He was also long past ready to be done with medical school and internships and residencies and who knew what else. He was tired of looking in the mirror and seeing darkened bruises where his lower eyelids should have been. He was ready to be done with all of it, and settled into a comfortable practice somewhere where he could set his own hours.
More than anything, though, he was ready to be done with this—the first thing he had noticed upon walking into the apartment he shared with Combeferre was that the lights were off. Usually when Combeferre had an earlier shift than he did, he would leave a light on somewhere in the apartment for him. The only times that he didn’t were if he’d hidden himself away in his bedroom before the sun went down and hadn’t emerged since. So, either he’d gotten so wrapped up in studying that he’d lost track of the time, or…
Jehan pushed open the door to Combeferre’s room to find exactly what he’d feared he might. Combeferre was curled up in the corner of his bed, knees tucked to his chest, and a forlorn look in his eyes only visible thanks to the streetlamp outside. Jehan slipped into the room and eased the door shut behind him, moving slowly and quietly so as not to startle Combeferre. He didn’t get even a flicker of acknowledgement until he’d kicked off his shoes and crawled up onto the bed, himself. From this distance, he could see that Combeferre was tense, every muscle locked. There were half-dried tear tracks on his face, as well. And even as Jehan reached out to brush the remaining wetness away, his eyes flooded anew.
Seeing that, Jehan abandoned his subtle tactics and instead pulled Combeferre out of the corner and into the center of the bed, tucking him into the curve of his body and wrapping his arms firmly around him. Once so secured, Combeferre began to tremble in earnest, soft sobs shaking loose from him that even he couldn’t control. Jehan held and petted and soothed, whispering whatever calming nonsense came to mind.
This just happened sometimes. The pressure of their ridiculous schedules, the weight of having the lives of others in your hands, the constant adrenaline surge of emergency rotations… they all took their toll. Tonight it was Combeferre. Three weeks ago it had been Jehan. Combeferre would speak to him about what had set him off, if he could… or he wouldn’t. It didn’t matter. What mattered was this. Right here. Right now. Jehan tightened his hold.
After another few minutes, Combeferre’s tears trailed off into a last few hiccuping sobs, then ceased altogether. A few minutes after that, he spoke, still hoarse from the force of his crying. “I blew three *fucking* veins trying to place an IV. *Three*. And then the catheter kinked and wouldn’t flow and I had to do it, *again*. I swear if it hadn’t been an 8 year old kid I was fucking up on, the residents would have been laughing their heads off at me. They probably were as soon as they got out of sight.” There was a slight pause, then Combeferre continued, his voice now a distraught wail. “I made a little kid cry, Jehan. What kind of incompetant moron does that?”
No hesitation. “You’re not incompetant and you’re not a moron and kids veins are squirrely as hell, especially when they’re dehydrated, but…”
Combeferre twisted around to look at Jehan, an eyebrow raised. “…but?”
“…but the residents probably did laugh at you. I think it makes them feel better when someone as brilliant as you screws up. It doesn’t happen often and it makes them feel less insecure.” At Combeferre’s snort, Jehan smiled. “I’m not kidding! You’re a better doctor than most of them already and you’re only a fourth year student. You give them performance anxiety.”
At that, Combeferre finally smiled in response, a brief laugh escaping as he turned away. “You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”
“Of course, I am, but that doesn’t make it a lie!”
Combeferre allowed himself to snuggle back against Jehan for another few minutes before finally sighing and sitting up to rub at his eyes. When Jehan sat up, too, Combeferre pressed his head briefly against Jehan’s shoulder and said, “Thank you.”
Jehan smiled and leaned over to press a brief kiss against Combeferre’s temple. “Any time, Combeferre. Any time.”