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Reflex

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Joel pretty much feels nothing but pain when he hits the ground, though that creeps in slowly before hitting him full force. He opens his eyes to little flashing lights so he screws them shut again, trying his utmost not to tense but, right now, his body is nothing but tense. It feels like every bone in his body is broken but it's the discomfort that reminds him that he's still alive.

Amidst his irrational thought stream comes a comforting touch, latex against his skin and although he doesn't know whose touch it is, he knows, deep down, that he's going to be absolutely fine. When he cracks his eyes open, he recognises who exactly that touch, those fingers pressing into his bruised body, belongs to.

Teresa Ortiz, the paramedic from the other night and that night and goodness knows how many other nights and days on the job. A now familiar face. She examines his body, talking softly, asking whether that hurts or whether he can feel this. He answers as he needs to, despite it hurting to speak.

"I think I broke my nose," he gasps, pain centred around his face.

"Yeah you did," Teresa affirms and she smiles wistfully.

He opens his eyes again, just a little and observes the brunette leaning over him, her fingers pressing again and he can't help it, can't help but watch her and the concentration on her face. It makes him smile and she's not meant to realise, but she does.

"What're you smiling at?" She asks, returning the smile. He shrugs it off, though he knows that it's a little more than nothing. He says he doesn't know and, maybe then, he doesn't know what he's smiling at, but something tells him that, eventually, he'll know exactly what it was that, despite all the pain, put a smile on his face.