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24 Hour Shift

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6:00 - 1:00

“Sleep is a luxury that you won’t have the time for,” Doctor Kang drawls, staring down at his clipboard and not sparing the scared gaggle of new interns so much as a simple glance as he keeps on talking. “I expect you all to be here on time and respond to any and all of my calls,” he continues, making the residents listless on their feet at the sharp tone of his voice.

Wonpil shares a look with the quiet boy standing beside him. Yoon Dowoon, his nametag reads in a messy sort of scrawl, just this side of unreadable to make Wonpil think that he won’t have much problem getting the infamous doctor’s hand-writing down. He looks as scared as Wonpil feels, eyes wide as he stares at Doctor Kang and the busy whiteness of the hospital bustling behind him.

“Your shift will start at six o’clock am and end at 5 o’clock the next morning,” Doctor Kang explains, smirks just that little bit wider when Wonpil and a few of the other interns whimper at the thought. Honestly, Wonpil had hoped that after graduating from medical school his sleep schedule would normalize a bit. By the sounds of things, that doesn’t seem too likely to happen.

“If I see any of you slacking off,” he goes on, completely oblivious to the lanky blonde man that’s carefully slinking his way over to him. Wonpil stares, as do the rest of his fellow residents. The man is wearing a bright set of yellow scrubs, a white coat thrown over them that doesn’t do much to hide the bright color. He has a pair of golden glasses sitting crookedly on his nose and what Wonpil can only describe as a shit eating grin playing on his lips. “I will not hesitate to-”

“To what?” the man cuts in suddenly, draping an arm over Doctor Kang’s shoulder and smirking down at the man. “You’re such a hypocrite, Brian. If I remember right - and I do, you were always the one passed out in the maternity ward back in our residency days.”

There’s a few nervous giggles from the interns’ side. Wonpil just shifts awkwardly on his feet, shares another look with Dowoon when Doctor Kang lets out an annoyed breath of air.

“Jaehyung,” Doctor Kang sighs, snaps his clipboard against the other man’s chest in one smooth, practiced move that almost seems like a reflex due to the familiarity of it. “Shouldn’t you be off cutting people open?”

“Not until ten,” the man replies, grinning brightly. “Are you done scaring the new interns yet?”

“I don’t know,” Doctor Kang shrugs, raises an eyebrow at the other man and then nods his head towards Wonpil’s little group, who all make an effort to stand up straighter. “Do they seem intimidated enough to you?”

“Hm,” Doctor Park hums before he breaks his gaze away from him and turns to stare at them. “You over there,” he says suddenly and points to a petite girl, who startles and squeaks when she finds herself the focus of the Doctor’s attention. “What would you do if a patient came in with a case of Mumps?”

The girl - Nayeon, Wonpil thinks her name is - blinks once, twice, and then blurts out a textbook perfect answer on how to treat the disease.

“Wrong,” Doctor Park says simply, making Nayeon fumble and Wonpil falter, because had the he asked him, Wonpil would have answered the exact same thing.

“Jaehyung-” Doctor Kang starts to say, but before he can get another word in Doctor Park waves a dismissive hand his way and goes on, “what about you. What would you do?”

It’s only when Wonpil feels a hand clutching at his arm that he realizes Dowoon is the one under Doctor Park’s scrutiny now. The poor boy is gaping a bit, ears turned red at the tips. His right hand is gripping Wonpil’s arm in a subconscious attempt to remain calm. Wonpil would find it cute honestly, were he not so worried about the very likely possibility of Dowoon passing out under the sudden attention.

“I, uh,” the boy stutters, swallows loudly after a heartbeat and then forces himself to continue. “I would put the patient in quarantine first because - because Mumps is contagious and uh, and that’s dangerous for the other patients so, yeah. Quarantine first.”

“Huh, you actually got it right,” Doctor Park says, smiles slightly at Dowoon in a way that has the boy slumping over in relief. Then he turns towards Doctor Kang and says, “I like this one. I’m keeping him.”

“You are not,” Doctor Kang snaps back. “You can’t take my interns away.”

“Sungjin said I could though,” Doctor Park shoots back, smirks smugly down at the other man.

“I don’t care what the chief said, these are my interns and so they stay with me. I don’t trust you with them,” he says, but Doctor Park is already gone, hauling a slightly panicky Dowoon away as he mutters something about showing him an open heart surgery and teaching him the best way to get the nurses to be nice to them. Wonpil grimaces, sees Dowoon send him one last alarmed look before Doctor Park disappears behind a corner, his newly appointed intern along with him.

“Honestly, that man,” Doctor Kang sighs and Wonpil just barely manages to catch the faint smile that curls up his lip before it’s gone, replaced by a now familiar serious expression. “Anyway, where was I?”

Doctor Kang keeps on going, explaining to them in too many details how exactly they would be punished if they didn’t answer one his calls. Wonpil doesn’t hear him though, too caught up in the conversation happening beside him.

“I’m glad we got to stay with Doctor Kang,” Nayeon is whispering to another girl, “Doctor Park seems a bit all over the place, if you ask me.”

“Yeah, not to mention that Doctor Kang is really easy on the eyes, right?” the other intern - Daehyun - answers, elbowing Nayeon playfully.

“Shut up,” Nayeon hisses. “I’m here to learn. Besides,” she adds, nodding her head to where Doctor Kang is still talking, gesturing to demonstrate something. “I heard from the nurses that he’s married. Cutest couple in the hospital or something like that.”

“Really? What a pity.” Daehyun pouts. “Oh yeah, look. He’s got a ring and everything.”

Wonpil squints, catches the glint of a golden band wrapped around Doctor Kang’s ring finger before the man in question turns towards them and raises an eyebrow, judging.

“Got a question over there?” he asks. The girls blush brightly, shaking their heads rapidly, while Wonpil does his best to appear like he had been listening to him the whole time. “Right, well,” he says. “Lets keep on going. As a trauma surgeon, I will teach you how to be able to react quickly and treat patients efficiently…”

Doctor Kang goes on and this time Wonpil makes sure to pay attention. Like Nayeon said, he’s here to learn, so he pushes all thoughts of Doctor Kang’s love life out of his head and concentrates on what the man is saying instead.

He just hopes Dowoon will be okay.


2:00 - 8:00

Wonpil is just about to take a bite out of his plate food when the door the hospital cafeteria slams open with an ominous bang, making him freeze with his chopsticks halfway to his mouth.

“-so that’s how I learned not to mess with the chief when he starts ranting about budgets cuts, you know?” Doctor Park’s voice drifts over to them. Wonpil looks up from his food - or what the cafeteria thinks can pass as food - to find the man making his way to the line by the food counter, Dowoon shuffling silently behind him. “I just wanted a new MRI machine, honestly Sungjin didn’t have to start screaming like that.”

It’s when Doctor Park has his tray of food in his hands that Dowoon finally spots Wonpil sitting at a table in the corner of the cafeteria, Nayeon and Daehyun beside him. Wonpil lifts his hand in greeting, smiles at the other resident when he sees the tense line of Dowoon’s shoulders.

Dowoon smiles back, waves at him sheepishly. Of course, Doctor Park notices because he pushes at Dowoon’s shoulder and says, loud enough to be heard over the buzz of conversation, “go, ditch me for your friends.”

“No, I-” Dowoon fumbles, tray shaking in his hands. “I didn’t mean-”

“Go.” Doctor Park rolls his eyes good naturedly and grins a bit to show that it’s fine. “I have other people to annoy.” With that, he turns on his heels and heads to the other end of the cafeteria, where Wonpil only now realizes Doctor Kang is sitting by himself. Without looking behind him, Doctor Kang reaches out and moves a few papers sitting in front of him so that the other man can plop down opposite him and set his tray down.

“Hey,” Dowoon says as he comes to stand beside their table. Wonpil gestures for him to sit down in front of him and, after a moment of hesitation, Dowoon complies.

“How did your morning go?” Wonpil asks, more than a bit curious to know what Dowoon went through with Doctor Park.

“It was, uh,” Dowoon pauses, seems to look for words before he settles for saying, “interesting. It was interesting.”

“I bet,” Daehyun huffs, pointing at him with her chopsticks. “Did you really get to see an open heart surgery?”

“Yeah,” Dowoon answers as he plays around with the beans in his plate, making them form a frowny face. Cute, Wonpil can’t help but think, biting back a chuckle. “But I just stood to the side and listened to him rant about how he had to use his yellow scrubs today cause his partner is a slob and forgot to put on the laundry.”

“You mean he's married too?” Nayeon asks, turning around to peek at the table where Doctor Park and Doctor Kang are sitting. Doctor Park is talking animatedly, mouth moving a mile a minute as he gestures, while Doctor Kang scribbles something in a few documents, gaze never straying from his papers. Still, Wonpil can see him nod now and then, smiling lightly whenever Doctor Park pauses to chew his food.

“I guess,” Dowoon shrugs. “I didn’t see a ring but he’s a surgeon, so he might have taken it off.”

Daehyun hums. “Honestly, as long as I get to be in the OR the next time, I don’t care,” she sighs. “Don’t get me wrong, Doctor Kang is one of the best in the hospital and I love learning from him, but actually being there to see a surgery, that’s what I want. I want to see some action.”

Wonpil sneaks another look the doctors’ way, just in time to see Doctor Kang reaching out to steal a fry from the other man’s plate. Doctor Park swats his hand away, murmurs something that sounds suspiciously like think of your cholesterol, Brian and hands him a carrot stick instead. Doctor Kang scowls, taking the offered carrot before he starts chewing on it viciously.

Huh, Wonpil thinks, more than a bit surprised about the domesticity of the whole exchange, but before he can think much about it a nurse comes running in, calling for Doctor Kang.

“A bus just crashed,” she says, making Doctor Kang snap to attention. “Eight injured confirmed so far, and they’re bringing all of them here.”

Doctor Kang takes a deep breath, shoulders squaring, and it’s only when his expression shifts to something much more closed off that Wonpil realises how relaxed the man had seemed before. He stands up, nods once at the nurse, and then turns to look at them.

“Let’s go,” he says, voice ringing true. “You’ll have to pull your weight now.” He leans down then, says something to Doctor Park that has the man nodding and rushing away, taking a startled Dowoon with him.

“You know how I said I wanted to see some action,” Daehyun murmurs a few moments later when they all stumble into the barely controlled chaos that is the hospital’s ER.

“Yeah,” Wonpil gulps, trying to get his hands to stop trembling when he sees the state of most of the patients.

“Well,” Daehyun says just before Doctor Kang snaps at them to get moving, “I take it back.”


9:00-5:00

Wonpil legs are trembling when he finally collapses down in one of the chairs in the entrance hall of the hospital. He groans, lets his head fall back against the armrest. Wonpil can’t feel his fingers by this point, gone numb from all the hours he just spent stitching people closed and patching up wounds with gauze.

He hears someone come to stand beside him, feels them nudge his shoulder in an attempt to get him to open his eyes. Wonpil blinks, forces himself to attention until Dowoon’s face sharpens into focus.

“Here,” the other says, hands Wonpil a can of iced coffee that he takes with shaking hands.

“My hero, thank you,” Wonpil tells him when he’s done chugging half the thing down, smiling tiredly up at him.

“It’s no problem,” Dowoon shrugs, blushes just that little bit enough for Wonpil to quirk up an eyebrow. Interesting. “How was the ER?”

“Exhausting,” Wonpil answers as Dowoon plops himself down on the chair beside his. “But I felt like I helped, it was… I don’t know how to describe it, but I felt like I made a difference, you know?” Even if all Wonpil did were some sutures and bandages for the minor injuries, it was still enough to cement the fact in Wonpil’s mind that he chose the right path. Helping people, even if it’s nothing big like what Doctor Kang did today, that’s what Wonpil wants to with his life, he’s sure now.

“No, I get it,” Dowoon murmurs and he’s tired too, Wonpil can tell, but there’s also that glint in his eyes, the one that Wonpil knows his own mirror. “I get it.”

They grow quiet then, let the silence talk for them. It’s comfortable, not anywhere near strained like Wonpil would have thought, and for the first time in eight hours Wonpil finally feels himself beginning to relax. With their first shift as residents finally done and the entrance to the hospital beginning to light up with the soft glow of the morning sun, Wonpil feels oddly comfortable, at ease almost.

Doctor Kang comes stumbling in, feet dragging as he stops in front of the hospital doors and looks up at the clock hanging above him. If Wonpil feels exhausted, then he can't begin to imagine how worn down Doctor Kang must be. The man had saved not one but three patients today, diagnosing them quickly enough to fix the problem in time. Wonpil and the rest of the residents hadn’t been able to do much more than watch him in awe and go where he told them, reeling from their first experience in the ER.

Wonpil has half-a-mind to stand up and offer his seat to the man when Doctor Park makes his way over to the him. Doctor Kang looks up when he hears him come, smiles at him in a way that speaks of fondness when Doctor Park says, “I heard from the nurses that you got puked on, I hope you took a shower.”

Doctor Kang rolls his eyes, reaches into his pocket to take something out and Wonpil hears Dowoon choke on air beside him when Doctor Kang pulls out a simple golden ring, exactly like the one he’s wearing himself.

“Here,” Doctor Kang says as he takes Doctor Park’s hand in his and slips the ring on. “Next time you have a surgery, you better leave it at home.”

“What,” Doctor Park smiles, “no going down on one knee?”

“I already did that once,” Doctor Kang shoots back, still smiling despite the tired slump of his shoulders. “Not doing it again.”

“You hurt me,” Doctor Park answers, putting his hand over his heart. “Right here.”

“I’m sure you can fix that,” Doctor Kang says. “You handle hearts for a living, don’t you?”

“Only yours, baby. Only yours,” Doctor Park shoots back, which just makes the other man snort and bark out a tired laugh.

“Let’s go home,” Doctor Kang says, tugging Doctor Park down into a soft kiss.

“Yes, let’s go.” Doctor Park smiles back before he wrinkles his nose, frowns, and says, “no more kissing until you clean up though, you didn’t take a shower did you?”

“I’ll do it when I get home,” Doctor Kang huffs, which just sends them both right back to bickering, the sounds of their playful fighting drifting away as they step out of the hospital and into the streets.

Out of the corners of his eye, Wonpil sees Dowoon blink a few times before he blurts out, “I can’t believe they’re married to each other".

“I know,” Wonpil says, though now that he thinks about it, he should have known, really. It’s not like they had been hiding it either. “The nurses were right though.”

“About what?”

“They are the cutest couple in the hospital.” Wonpil grins then, stands up and reaches out a hand to Dowoon. “Unless you wanna give them a run for their money?”

Dowoon chokes, again, and stares at him for a few seconds that have Wonpil doubting if he read things right before he reaches out and takes his hand in his own, intertwining their fingers.

“We could try,” Dowoon says, grinning shyly back at him.

And honestly, Wonpil thinks, all things considered, he really couldn't have asked for a better first shift.