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Survival

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It's cutting it close, he knows. Chasing to get to the heart, getting it away from that foolish doctor, then rushing it back to Oakdale and in Chris before his time runs out or the heart loses its vitality... scrunching the minutes are making Reid's head hurt but he can't pay attention to that, barking into the phone as he races closer to Bay City.

He's only a few minutes away from the city limits when lights around train tracks ahead start flashing. He sighs in exasperation, looking around. He can hear the train in the distance but it seems far enough away that he speeds up, knowing that it's a few minutes he just can't spare, not if he's going to help Chris.

Unfortunately, the universe hates him so his car chooses the very moment that he floors it to die. Its momentum sends it half over the tracks before coming to a complete stop, right in the path of the on-coming train. His jaw drops at his horrible luck as he looks up. For a brief moment, he panics- the car seems to be closing in as it won't start despite his best attempts but... Breathe, breathe. Remember the human brain, he tells himself, sucking in ragged breaths. Luke's commands from months prior echo in his mind as he fumbles with the seatbelt, finally unclasping it. Next is the door- oh God, the train's so close- but he manages to force it open and stumble out, the cool late September air reviving his senses a little as he manages a sprint to get further away. He's still running when the loud sound of squeeching metal reaches him, followed by a flash of intense heat and pressure that sends him flying forward.

Luke and Casey are talking quietly in the corner when a cell phone goes off, all eyes turning towards Bob. He smiles apologetically at them all before frowning at the unknown number, answering it anyway. A strange feeling tickles up his spine. "Dr. Hughes? This is Sam Thompson. I am with the Bay City Police Department."

He sucks in a deep breath, pinching his nose. "Is this about Dr. Reid Oliver? What's he done now?" They really do not have time for any drama with the unfriendly doctor, his son needs a heart now and if Reid's caused a scene at Bay City that requires the police to be involved, well... He remembers how Reid was in Oakdale at the beginning, getting arrested for crashing into Kim's car, and sighs.

The officer sounds a little odd as he continues talking. "Sir, there's been an accident. We believe you are Dr. Oliver's employer?"

"An accident?" Bob watches as everyone before him stiffens, the color immediately leaching from Luke's face as Katie gasps from somewhere nearby. "Yes, yes, I am his employer. Is Dr. Oliver ok?"

"That's the thing, Doctor. His car stalled on train tracks outside of the city... We were able to match the license plates to him, and found his wallet with your contact information on it inside the wreckage, but he's missing. We're fanning out to search but so far, there's nothing. This area is basically a clearing, it'd be hard for him to hide somewhere."

Bob leans against the nurses' desk wearily, shaking his head. "How bad is it?" As he listens to the details of the explosion, he can't help but think he's never felt so tired or old.

Luke insists on going to see the wreckage almost immediately, brushing off arms that try to restrain him. "I need to find him," he presses, pushing past Casey and Katie. "He's waiting for us to-" It's been an hour, he thinks. He's been alone an hour. I have to get there, I have to-

"Luke, there's nothing you can do that the police aren't already doing," Margo says, her eyes shining sadly as she tries to stop another possible tragedy from happening today. "I've sent my best men down there to help- Reid will be found, I promise you."

Katie takes his hand and squeezes quietly, tears leaking down her face. "We have to believe that he'll be ok." Her very gaze seems to be begging him to just stay. He gazes around at the people scattered around in front of him, also tense and hopeful and in pain for a multitude of reasons, and sags, the fight leaving him. He stays.

Almost two and a half hours have passed and Luke feels like he's about to explode, the morbid thought nearly sending him into hysterics right then and there. Katie's hand on his is the only thing that stops him, as he doesn't want to make this harder on her. There's no word and it's getting darker and chilly outside as more time passes and he tries not to think about how Reid hates the cold; how he's tried suggesting they go down south for the winter. Decides if Reid walks through those doors safe and sound, he'll agree to pretty much anything.

His thoughts are going in circles when the hospital doors open roughly and sure, confident footsteps echo through the waiting area, different people looking up in shock. Luke can't bring himself to look up, can't squelch the hope that's blossoming in his chest. It's happened before, when a nurse walked into work an hour ago, just to be startled by everyone looking up at her as one, then offended when they all looked away, their hope shattered just a little more. So he keeps his eyes on his shoes, pondering how long it would take for the police to call off their search, to just give up on Reid.

He notices distantly as the footsteps head in John Dixon's direction, soft murmurs barely reaching Luke's corner of the room. He doesn't want to know, he doesn't want to know, he doesn't want to know... He picks anxiously at his shirt sleeve and starts thinking about the latest snafu with the cardiology wing, how the wrong chairs for the waiting room had been ordered, and would need to be returned... Tries not to think about the possibility of handling it all on his own from here on out, when his fragmented thoughts are interrupted by the footsteps pausing in front of him. His eyes are now focusing on two pairs of shoes, both familiar in their own way, before there's a shuffling in front of him and warm fingers press against his jaw, dragging his face up until he's eye to eye with worried blue eyes.

His senses clear, hearing and vision returning to him in a rush that leaves him dizzy as he gapes at Reid. "Luke?" Reid asks, voice tense with worry. "Are you ok?"

He has to laugh now, rough and a little frenzied. Reid dies in a train accident and he's asking if I'm ok, he thinks helplessly, swallowing as Reid tugs him forward and cups his face. "You're dead," he whispers, tentatively reaching up to touch his boyfriend's face, almost afraid that as soon as he touches him, he'll disappear.

"No," Reid shakes his head, his lips twisting unhappily as he takes in Luke's bloodshot eyes. "I'm actually very much alive. I managed to get out of the car just before the train hit, and it's a very long, exhausting story involving some good Samaritans willing to take a strange, bloodied hitchhiker to Bay City hospital, where I collected Doogie's heart and convinced a nurse to drive me back here after she checked me out."

"Really?" Luke can't help but ask, sounding impressively young as he runs a finger against Reid's cheek, smiling despite himself as dust and who knows what else smears across his skin.

"Ye-" Reid starts to say when Luke presses forward and kisses him thoroughly, not caring who exactly is watching, tangling his fingers in Reid's hair to bring him closer. He's alive and warm under Luke's fingers and that's all that matters.