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He pressed the phone to his ear, pacing in a small circle around the carpeted hallway. She answered in a heart beat.




Anxiety brewed in his chest, he couldn’t have been anymore disgruntled. His shirt was wrinkled, his hands were sweaty, his face bright red from the struggle he made to find his phone.


His anxiety grew at certain things, but they were reasonable in his mind. Nobody likes getting told what to do, nobody likes to be touched without permission. Nobody likes not knowing were something is..


“Shaun.. I can’t understand you.. What? What about being stuck?”


“My apartment.. I-I left my keys on the counter, I left my keys on the counter.”


Shaun Murphy felt morally obligated to always be in order. It was just how he was, He made sure to stick to his strict routine and strict rules. Things like locking himself out of his own apartment was not part of his routine.


“I made a list. I made a list. I left my keys on the counter, I left my badge on the drawer, I left my keys on the counter. Stuck stuck stuck stuck-“


His face grew warm as did the pool in the bottom of his stomach. He tensed up, a hand lifting to his left ear, but not touching It. Just hovering.


“Shit.. Okay. Look I’m going to be right over alright? I need you to breath in the meantime. Keep your hands safe..”




Alone..... alonealonealonealone..


Shaun shakily returned his phone into his backpack’s side pocket, next to his scalpel. Dr. Glassman had weened him off of needing it in situations like this, of course he planned on exercising that today.


“I left my keys on the counter..”


Crescent shaped marks found there way to his cheeks, his nails dug into his temples, harshly scratching all the way down to his cheeks. He rubbed the skin with his nails, up and down, again and again. It made his hands busy.


His red face contorted into something of fear, he messed up, he messed up. He knew he could’ve done better he could’ve done more to prevent it.    


He could’ve done more to help Steve.


The doctor didn’t realize he was crying until he choked on a sob. His back touched the ugly creme painted wall. Had he been pacing? He couldn’t feel his legs.


Hands found their way to his hair. He tugged. Sharp. Everything felt dizzy.


“Shaun..? Shaun!”


Claire was here.. Oh.. Claire was here.


And didn’t she look a mess. If it wasn’t for his current state he would’ve commented on it. Her long hair was unkept and tied up in a bun on the side of her head. He knew it was meant to be on the top. Her shoes were unusual, black flats that seemed to be heavily worn. Though he never seen her wear them.


“I-I.. left my keys on the counter- I-“


“I know shaun I know.. I’m going to get your keys-“


“The door is locked.”


“I know.. I called a local locksmith on the way, They fix things like this all the time.. I promise they’ll be here soon.”


Shaun’s breathing sped up, More people? More people meant more sounds, meant more hands. Hands hurt him.


“Shaun? Get out of your head please.. Look at me, Look at me. Breathe.. Breathe..”


The uncomfortable shift of his eyes to hers lead his deep breaths. They really did help him relax, it made the pool smaller. He grew uncomfortable with the eyes on him, his knees suddenly grew so much more interesting.


“Thank you..” Shaun pressed his cheek into his right knee, casing a shift in energy.


“Did you do that to yourself?”


Claire carefully squatted down to his level, watching his body language to make sure she wasn’t making him feel uncomfortable. “Can I touch your face?” She asked gently, following his eyes to the floor.




A few fingers brushed against the raised skin, inspecting it. A sighs left her, one open stared back at here among all the other closed ones. It was angry and jagged from his nails, not deep enough to cause any problems but it was a cut nevertheless. She examined the area further, finding the same jagged markings on her friends neck. Those of course were healed over leaving scabs and some even scars.


Now she finally could put two and two together..


“You have to tell Dr. Glassman about these.”


He glanced at her briefly, in a panicked kind of way. Only to return to his blank stare off into the floor.


“Then I will tomorrow.. He’ll be mad.”


She huffed, seeing as she got tired of squatting for so long. She decided to join him on the floor. “And why- uhm.. I doubt he’ll be mad at you. Its not a relapse of any sorts.” She caught herself, always forgetting not to ask questions.


“It was something I did as a teen. I started doing it again only recently.” If it was possible, his normally robotic voice sounded disappointed. He was disappointed in himself.


“I can talk to him about it if you like.. I’m sure if he’s upset about it he’ll take some of it out on me and be a little less harsh on ya”


“Claire.. Why are you so nice to me?” he asked in his robotic tone.


“The real question is, why aren’t more people nice to you Murphy.”