Erik found Charles in the supply closet when he wanted to get something. He was sitting on top of a few boxes with his head down, clearly crying, if the sniffling meant anything.
He didn't even seem to acknowledge Erik's call, only moving his head side by side in a "no" gesture.
Erik looked at him closely and at that Charles looked up and his heart broke. The look on his face spoke volumes about the pain he was enduring at losing a patient. The sad thing is that this would be the first one but not the last for the resident.
"Hey, you okay?"
Lately, for some reason the cases he worked after Charles started at The Brotherhood Hospital were the ones he remembered, so he had a clear image of bringing Charles's patient in after they found her in the parking lot passed out and then declaring her dead, with Charles working side by side with him trying to save her and then storming out after he called the time of death.
"I should've fought harder for her," Charles said with a raspy voice, giving away his crying.
Erik closed the door of the supply closet, not wanting anyone to walk in on them while having this conversation and sighed. "Don't do this to yourself."
"No, I knew something was wrong and I didn't fight for her."
"You did fight for her."
"No, I didn't!" he exclaimed and stood up, tears welling up in his blue eyes again as he gestured. "She was my patient, mine! Not yours for you to help me or Shaw's for me doing what he wanted and then I hesitated, and I screwed up, Erik! And now she's dead and won't get to go back home to her kids, they don't get to see her mother again — "
"Hey, hey — " Erik got close to him and held his arms in an attempt to calm him down.
"And, and—" Charles continued, hyperventilating a little, "and you should have seen her husband when I told him — "
"Charles, it's called a silent heart attack, it comes with little to no warnings, you couldn't have known — "
Charles threw his hands in the air, disengaging Erik's hold. "I know what a silent heart attack is, I know!" he sobbed."That doesn't mean anything to her family and it doesn't do anything to me".
He covered his face with both his hands while trying to calm his hiccups down. Erik threw caution to the wind —the personal rule he set for himself about not getting close to the new resident flying out the window — and hugged him tightly, in an attempt to comfort Charles.
Soon enough, the sniffling and hiccups stopped and Charles looked up, all his raw emotions on his face reflected in his bright blue eyes and it seemed like the first time they were really seeing each other.
"Erik — "
All coherent thought left Erik as he gently grabbed Charles's face with both his hands and kissed him, gently nipping his bottom lip. They stepped back for air, breathing on each other's mouths; foreheads, and nose touching, and Erik thought it was the end when Charles dived in for more, giving his lips a series of slick, loving pecks before finally stepping back to look up at him again.
They were both breathing hard and the reality that they were kissing just hit Erik.
Shit, what did they just do?