For my cousin, JM, happy birthday...
Nurse Gantry was busy with her rounds in the ICU. Her patients were unconscious most of the time, save for a few that woke up for a minute or two every now and then.
In room 2707 was the most famous of them all. Detective Mac Taylor was brought in a little over a week ago in a critical condition and things seemed to go from bad to worse for the hero cop.
A serious head injury was diagnosed not long after he had come in- a skull fracture with brain haemorrhage. The doctors had to drill a hole in his skull to drain some of the fluid that was putting pressure on his brain- whether there was any brain damage had yet to be determined. That, along with the knee injury and the stab wound and the broken ribs, as well as the various bruises and contusions, made for a very sick man. And don't forget the fever that had weakened the man even more thanks to the cold temperature of the Hudson River.
Of course, she had read the stories the newspapers wrote about the man, his medical file was a good read on itself, but she also learnt a lot by looking at the man's friends. In the course of the last week, only a few people were allowed to visit the poor man and only for short periods of time.
One of these people stood at the door now. It was a dark haired woman with warm eyes. Nurse Gantry knew her as Jo. She was Detective Taylor's partner and the mother of the girl who was trapped with the injured man on the bus. The poor girl. She had only been here once, but couldn't stand to look at the older man and had run from the room crying hysterically. Jo on the other hand looked to be a strong woman and very much in love with Mac Taylor. It was the small things the woman did. The stroke of a hand here, the brushing of hair off of an injured forehead, the look in her eyes as she watched the man on the bed-yup, she was definitely in love with the sick man.
During the day the others came to visit and Nurse Gantry was working a double. A long shift, but it provided her more time to get to know her special patient.
The next visitor was an enigma. The young man always seemed nervous, but looked at the man on the bed with a kind of reverence. Almost like the man couldn't believe the older man could be hurt. Nurse Gantry heard Jo call him Adam. Adam seemed like a child in a man's body and never really spoke when he was with the injured man. Instead he stood there and looked at the unconscious man. Nurse Gantry had once told him that he could touch Detective Taylor, that he wouldn't hurt him. Adam had looked at her like she'd grown an extra head.
"No, I can't touch him. Are you crazy?" he had said and almost ran out of the room. It was the last time she spoke to the man. She had seen his friends in the waiting room comfort him and protect him unconsciously. Like a family looking after the youngest one.
Lindsay had introduced herself to every nurse that came to check on the patient while she was there. Nurse Gantry loved being there when the young woman was talking to the injured Detective. She always had colourful stories about her little girl, Lucy, and even some funny anecdotes about Adam.
Danny was also a frequent visitor. He spoke to the injured man about the case and gave him updates on what was going on at the crime lab. It was kind of sweet to listen to the one sided conversation. It was like he was trying to get the older man to wake up and give his point of view. Or maybe give some advice.
There were two doctors that came around. The younger one was always caught watching the machines and reading the patient's chart. Almost like he was trying to make sure that his friend was fine and only trusted his own eyes. He always gave a rundown of the progress to the unconscious man and explained everything in great detail. His parting words every time he left were supposed to be reassuring. Nurse Gantry just didn't know who he was reassuring- himself or the injured man.
"You're gonna be fine, Mac."
The older doctor had the strangest stories and sometimes those stories were kind of scary. Almost like he watched a few too many horror movies and decided to try them out himself. The thing that freaked Nurse Gantry out was: "Please don't end up on my table, Mac". Those were always the parting words of the white haired man.
The Chief of Detectives was also a frequent visitor. The man looked so fierce, but seemed too softened up towards his subordinate when he though no one was looking. Like he was afraid that someone might see the respect he had for the injured man.
Another fun person to listen to was detective Don Flack. He was full of jokes and always had a quirky come back to Nurse Gantry's banter. He would always turn to the bed and say, "you see Mac? Someone understands me."
The loyalty and love from all these people for the person in her care was almost palpable and it made her look after this patient with extra care. She felt like she owed these people that. They looked after her family and her city, and then she would look after their friend.
Just before leaving after her shift, she made her last rounds and went to her patient in room 2707.
"Time to wake up, Detective. There are people who really miss you." With those words she left, she really needed a hug from her little girl at home.
The ninth day of the detective's stay at the hospital, Nurse Gantry was working the late night shift. As usual, the waiting room was full of people waiting for the five minutes every hour visit to room 2707. The seasoned nurse was busy checking the temperature of her patient when she spotted movement in the bed. She hurriedly threw the chart in her hand on the trolley and moved up to the head of the bed. She was greeted by the most wonderful sight of Detective Taylor's open eyes.
"Well, hi there, Detective. I must say it is good to see you awake," she said, while pressing the call button to alert the doctor.
Across town a man was smiling broadly as he walked out of the alley. He hid his hands in the pockets of the old jeans he was wearing- to hide the blood stains. They were going to be thrown away soon anyways. Or maybe burned would be a better option.
The murderer left behind the empty shell of a man who had the most unfortunate luck to look like him and also worked at Trinity Hospital. The murderer walked to his apartment to change and clean up. He knew going today would be useless; there would be too many people around room 2707. No, he would wait a day or two. That wasn't too much to ask of the brother of the bus driver- The same driver that had so valiantly died when the Tourist Bus met its end in the Hudson River. Taylor was supposed to die there, too. Yet, he survived and word was that he'd woken up. He wouldn't be alive for much longer. Steven smiled at the thought of killing the injured man as he lay weak and vulnerable on his hospital bed. His death would not be quick.
"I think we need to move him to a different room. Now that he is free of the vent, it's going to be easier," Detective Flack was saying to his group of friends.
"Isn't it too soon?" Adam asked, "I mean, he only just woke up and it's been over a week and nobody tried anything."
"Yeah, Adam, I know," Flack answered, frustration colouring his voice, "but we need to make sure that nothing happens now that he's awake. It could be what they wanted."
"Flack's right, Adam, if they find out that Mac's awake, they might take their chance," Danny piped up.
"So what do we do now?" Lindsay asked.
"We move him to a new room, get only a selected few that can go in there including doctors and nurses and we keep an eye out. We make sure that there is always one of us with him until we can find these bastards and put them where they belong," the voice of Chief Sinclair had all the CSI's spinning around.
"Any idea where can put him then, sir? Anywhere else in this hospital is kind of public," Flack said.
"The Isolation ward isn't. I already spoke to the director of the hospital and everything is set. There will be two nurses that will care for Taylor, along with his doctor, and no one else. A guard outside the door and us on rotation," the chief answered.
"Us?" Adam asked nervously.
"Yeah, us. He deserves the best to look after him and it's going to be us. Me included, I owe him that much," Sinclair said as his eyes met each shocked gaze. One by one the team nodded their consent.
"I can work out the schedule," Adam said and the others nodded. The rest got their orders and left one by one to do their part in the move to make their boss and friend safe.
Heya! I know it's a little shorter than the last couple of chapters, but it's supposed to be a cross-over chapter before the fun starts anew. My muse from Fleasia is sitting in the corner laughing at what's to come for our beloved Mac. This chapter was a little later than what I planned, but unfortunately there are some things that come up when you least expect it.
Reviews for this story kind of took a nose dive, but there are a lot of people reading it. Please drop me a review and let me know what you think. My muse tortures me if I don't get feedback. Thanks to those who took the time to review, though. It is appreciated.
Anyway, like I said before, I only own the plot and the evil guys (who are guests from the planet Fleasia), the rest I just play with.
Thanks to C. Nicole, my wonderful beta.
Till next time…Flea,
P.S – 'Where loyalties lie' second last update next….