A/N – Nigel deserves love. Definitely a lot more of it than he got from the writers. This story started out as a really ridiculously bad first chapter back in 2006, before I knew how to write characters with flaws. I rewatched the series a couple of times this year and rewrote the whole thing from scratch. It's my first full fic written in third person (totally out of my comfort zone, if you know me), and it also handles characters that are nearer and dearer to my heart than some members of my family. It's a total leap posting this online, but I'm hoping that I'm not the only one who misses the gang and wants Nigel happy.
Now, without further babbling, please enjoy the story…
1 - First Day Clothes
The world was a blur. Nothing seemed to be in focus as Woody paced down the hallway briskly. He was vaguely aware of various announcements over the loudspeaker and hospital personnel brushing past him, but he couldn't quite process much of anything past that.
The only thing in his mind right now was a room number, and the fact that somehow Angie had been shot.
Angie Hoyt took a deep breath as she smoothed down her shirt. She had been used to scrubs for so long, that the form-fitting button-up shirt and pencil skirt felt surprisingly confining. She knew that she had practically no reason to be so nervous. The residency was hers, but first days always made her skittish, even if she already knew almost everyone at the morgue from Pogue Mahone.
The elevator seemed to move at a sluggish pace as Angie gripped the railing, feeling the smooth grain of the wood beneath her palms. The reflective metal doors slid open and the image they displayed of Angie gave way to show a woman of equal height, with auburn hair and welcoming, grey-blue eyes. Lily smiled as the doors disappeared.
'Hey! I was hoping I'd catch you before you got going. What do you say to the unofficial orientation?' Lily said, taking Angie by the arm as she walked out of the elevator.
'Is it any more fun than the official one?' Angie asked, beginning to feel her nervousness melt away in the glow of Lily's warmth.
'I can guarantee it.'
Around fifteen minutes later Angie had met a good portion of the clerical staff and learned all the kinks in operating the coffee machine, despite the fact that she didn't actually drink coffee.
'Trust me, this will all come in way more handy than you'd think,' Lily had said. She was in the midst of telling Angie something along the lines of who to go to with various work-related dilemmas, when a distinguished, if scruffy, head with closely-cropped hair and an increasingly receding hairline poked into the room.
'Hey, if you two are done with the pajama party, Bug is waiting for Angie to assist. She does have work to do here, you know.' Just as quickly as he had appeared, he was gone. Lily shot Angie a wry smile as they both rose from their seats in the main break room.
'The deceased is is a female, mid-twenties, has uniform contusions along the waist and chest characteristic of the victim's seatbelt,' Bug spoke aloud to the recording device on the table a few feet away. His voice was calm and monotone, his english accented but perfectly enunciated.
Angie nervously skittered about, helping where she could and observing everything as closely as possible. Bug worked slowly, methodically, but efficiently. Angie was sure that he didn't enjoy her hovering over his work, but he was careful not to let it show. She appreciated his efforts, and tried her best to stay out of his way until he needed her.
Bug continued to talk out loud as he went through the process of the autopsy. Angie's nerves calmed as she fell into the routine of watching Bug's movements, predicting when he'd need her to hand him a tool or assist in the autopsy itself. Before she knew it, Bug was stitching up the woman's chest. He walked over to the table by the wall and switched off the recorder.
'And that about does it,' Bug said, turning back toward the resident. She smiled.
'Thank you for being so patient with me Doctor-' Angie paused. She had met Bug before, briefly, but no one ever called him by anything besides his unusual moniker. He put up a hand.
'Bug is perfectly fine,' he replied with a small, dry smile. Angie nodded, her smile lingering on her lips.
'Well, thank you for letting me assist, Bug.'
Bug nodded his acknowledgement and turned to leave the autopsy room. Angie followed him, her pumps clicking on the polished floor. She made a face at her first-day clothes, and longed for the day when she could wear something a little more casual once she settled in. She heard the door swing shut behind her just as her phone let out an abrupt tone.
Angie made her way down the hall as she fished her phone out of the pocket of her lab coat. She smiled. It was a text from Moira. Angie knew that Moira was dying to see how life in Boston was treating her. She smiled, missing Moira already. Angie had seen her just a few days before when she had flown to Chicago to sort out the last of her affairs, but they had been roommates all during school and in all the time since. It was hard enough starting a whole new life even without leaving her best friend behind. Angie tried to send her friend a short message back as she continued down the hall, her thumbs struggling over the keypad as she walked.
Suddenly, she was jolted out of her train of thought as she bumped into someone, sending her phone flying through the air and clattering to the ground. Getting her bearings, she looked up at her partner in collision, who had picked up her phone, and with a soft click was deftly replacing the battery that had popped out after it hit the ground. Her gaze was greeted with a familiar toothy grin.
'If you wanted to knock me off my feet, all you had to do was buy me a drink, love,' Nigel said with a wink, handing Angie her phone back. She took it with a thankful smile.
'I think maybe you should do the buying. You know us residents, we don't have two cents to rub together,' Angie replied, slipping her phone back into her pocket. Nigel flung an arm around her shoulder and walked down the hall with her.
'Well, since it is your first day and all, I may take you up on that offer,' he said. Nigel was at least a head taller than her, and she had to crane her neck slightly to look him in the eye when he stood this close.
'After all the paperwork that I'm headed for, a drink might be nice. Is everyone going to Max's tonight?'
'I'm not sure,' Nigel said, tucking a strand of his straight, black hair behind his ear, 'but you know the gang. Blasted drunks, the lot of them.'
Angie laughed, letting herself be carried down the hall by Nigel's enthusiasm like a wave carries a cork.
Letting out a laugh as she walked into the bar, Angie waited just inside for Woody to follow her in.
'This was you, wasn't it?' Angie asked as her cousin gave her a light hug, mindful of her left shoulder.
'Don't look at me, Ange, this was Jordan's idea.'
'Seriously?' A hint of incredulity came through in Angie's voice.
'Well, you're officially doomed now, the least we can do is buy you a couple of drinks,' a voice said from behind her. Angie turned to face Jordan, who also gave her a quick embrace before following her to the bar.
A quick survey of the room showed the usual crowd: Nigel, Bug, Lily, and Macy, in addition to Jordan and Woody. Of course, Max was behind the bar, and behind the large group was a new guy that had only been coming around the last couple of weeks. Paul, or maybe Peter. Something like that.
Gratitude settled into Angie as she realized that Jordan must have used some pull to get everyone here. As much as she had talked to Nigel and Lily during her time at the bar and her general stay in Boston, she hadn't had a chance to get to know Bug or Macy much, and the guy in the back was practically a stranger. This was a welcome party, and Jordan wanted it to be a good one.
'So, what do you think?' Jordan asked, her patented mischievous smirk spread over her dark, graceful features.
'I'm thinking I probably owe you one,' Angie replied, mirroring Jordan's expression. Jordan chuckled.
'Or three,' she joked.
'I'll just have to give you my firstborn.'
'Nah, I don't have any change on me.'
Woody shifted uncomfortably, his fists clenched at his sides.
'What happened?' he asked, looking over Angie's exhausted form laying in the hospital bed. Angie winced as she tried to sit up a little straighter, and Woody felt a pang of anger and worry flash through him.
'There was... this guy that came into the ER... he had a gun on him somewhere...' she took labored breaths between clunky groups of words, 'I don't know what happened...' a breath, 'he grabbed me when I... turned for a syringe...'
Woody couldn't take anymore. 'Don't worry, Ange, we can talk about it later. You need to rest.'
Angie nodded sleepily. It looked like the pills her nurse had given her were finally kicking in. She leaned back and was asleep in minutes.
A/N – I know I've dropped the OC right into the gang, but the flashbacks at the beginning and end of each chapter will continue, so you'll see how they all got together. Please review and tell me your thoughts. Reviews keep me going even more than coffee.