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The Vagus Nerve

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If you asked him which was better a morning shift or a night shift, Tsukishima would probably choose the night shift for many reasons. One being, it gave him time do his household chores that he couldn't do in his morning shift ( because he's so exhausted by the end of it he just face plants on his bed), also night shifts is a bit more peaceful and slower in pace as compared to the chaos the morning shift is. And he actually gets a good amount of sleep before his night shifts.

Actually if he had the choice he would choose neither and then proceed to rethink his life decisions of choosing a career as a surgeon. And now he can't go back, because now he knew the endorphin rush of being in an actual surgery. So it didn't matter if he had to wake up at 3 in morning if he get to perform a surgery.

Although there were many downsides of doing what he did for a living. Never having enough time for practically anything. Having to interact with other human being on a daily basis ( politely too, may I add) and a nonexistent love life.

He was content though, he didn't really mind that much. He didn't have much of a friend circle and the handful he had were also his colleagues so they understood. And the people part he could handle ( he can't! All the patients are scared of him and so are the staff) and he had regular hookups here and there ( he tried relationship, but they never worked) it was his mother, who called every month to check on him, that made his life difficult.

"Oh Dr. Tsukki!!! How was the craniectomy? I heard it was an emergency?"

He looked up from the chart he was studying in the on call room, (one more downside was that he never got some quiet time).

"The bleeding stopped but she's still under observation for any swelling. We have to see how the recovery goes"

Kunimi sat down down on the bed, out of all the on call rooms they had on their floor this one was Tsukishima's favorite. It was smaller than the rest with only one bed, a tiny bathroom and a table with dual monitor setup in the corner. It was further away so no on really came here. It was his go to for some peaceful breaks, until his team found out about this. And now he never got time to rest.

"Ughhh! I couldn't have dinner because there was an emergency" Kunimi stretched his arms above his head "the only thing that's keeping me going is the prospect of a transplant" He sank back on the bed, his hair creating a halo around his head, knees still dangling from the edge.

"You got a donor?" Tsukishima rotated his chair to face him, his interest peaked a little. Transplants were always fun.

"There is a donor available but we don't know if we're getting it. Our patient is down on the priority list"

Kei opened his mouth to give some word of consolation when his pager started ringing.

" Oh is that 4B? I had complaints of pain since I started my shift" Kunimi raised his head in interest.

"No it's a new patient"

"Please ring me if it's important Dr. Tsukki!!"

He always hated it! People calling him "Tsukki", it started out a friendly mistake from the patients side but then people took notice of how it irritated him to an extent that it stayed just for annoying purposes. Usually other staff would just call him Tsukishima but his juniors just loved to pester him (a retaliation for him making them overwork). The only person who called him Kei (and got away with it) was another fellow surgeon who worked in pediatrics.

He looked at his watch as he walked towards the 4-bed ward for his consultation. The hallways were pretty crowded in the day, due to the visiting hours ( he should stop comparing day and night shifts! He didn't have any control over them!). Plus he still had 3 hours to complete his shift, that is to say nothing important came up out of nowhere. He was hoping that this new patient was something insignificant.

When he got to the ward he was greeted with his two over excited juniors and an unconscious patient. He ignored the pair of Cheshire cat grin and went straight to the patients charts.

" His neighbour said he collapsed in the lift, apparently he has fainting episodes all the time." Goshiki explained as Tsukishima went over the patients information.

" He's 63 and lives alone. We tried contacting his relatives, no responses so far. His neighbour admitted him an hour ago" Yachi continued after a moment of silence. The patient looked young for his age, with a leaner build, he had white, wispy thin hair with weird bald spots.

" Did anything come up in the vital check, Goshiki?" Tsukishima asked.

" Oh! Nothing except for a left blown eye!" Tsutomu grinned as if he just found some hidden treasure. That for some reason elevated the amount of annoyance Tsukishima was already carrying.

" So what are you two waiting for? Take him to a CT!"

" We can't until you sign the permit" Yachi looked a bit sheepish. Out of all the junior assigned to him, Kei liked her the best. She didn't asslick like Goshiki did, neither did she aggravate him like Kunimi. Kei took the permission form and signed it hastily.

"Ring Kunimi, ask him to do it" (This definitely wasn't a payback) both his juniors gave him a odd look, which he didn't have enough energy to decipher.

"But he just started his break"

"He had enough anyway. You two go check up on my patients. 4B has been complaining a lot about pain and 4E just had a craniectomy and report back to me about the recovery rate."

"But Tsukishima-san I was hoping I'd get this patient"

"Goshiki if I hear one more complain I'll take away every single patient you have right now."


"Did you get any response?" Tsukishima was just one inconvenience away from exploding. His shift was over but he was still here, inquiring about the ignorant relatives of his patient. He wasn't usually like this but today was just annoying for some reason.

"No! She's not picking up her phone" Kinoshita looked up apologetically. "We can't find any other relative! His wife died a year ago and the neighbour only knows about the daughter".

Tsukishima clicked his tongue, this person's father was admitted and she didn't even care to pick up her phone. He knew he shouldn't judge but after 15 missed call anyone would call back as a courtesy.

"We can't do anything until we have consent"

"Would you need operation?"

"The CT scan did show some signs of tumor in the skull, it doesn't need surgery immediately but the sooner it's removed the better"

"And the patient is still unconscious?"

"Yes, and we're assuming he's not waking up anytime soon."

"You know what, whenever I get time I'll keeping ringing the daughter, I'll keep you posted if I get any response." Kinoshita looked up from the reception desk and gave him a reassuring smile. Given the number of years Tsukishima had worked in this hospital you would assume he would have a good number of friends. But Tsukishima was never good at communication, ironic given his career choice. But somehow (he still doesn't know how) he found himself wedged in a cozy group of hospital staff that he would identify as friends.

Kinoshita lived in the same apartment complex as him but unlike Tsukishima, Hisashi worked at the reception and didn't have any ungodly shifts. They helped each other as much as they could, bringing food when the other was too tired to cook or doing each others laundry in turns.

"Tsukishima, give me a minute I'll get my house key", this was another reason he was in a bad mood. It was his turn of doing laundry and he had to haul 2 huge bags up and down the stairs after a 12 hour shift.

Tsukishima found a vacant chair and sat down. Out of all the places in the hospital the ground floor reception was his favorite, there was no chaos or haste here(unless it was an emergency, but let's look past that) and this was the only place that actually had some positivity. It was extremely spacious with the front wall made entirely out of glass. And the way the furniture were arranged gave it a homely vibe (if you didn't focus on the fact that it was a waiting area of a trauma center).

Maybe a little coffee before he leaves he wondered, but he didn't have the energy to stand up and go to the vending machine so he settled on looking at the machine longingly. Ah! Someone was getting tea from it, and now Kei was staring at the stranger.

The person wasn't wearing hospital gowns so Kei assumed he was a visitor. He looked tall from where Kei sat. The guy wore an oversized green sweater which gave him sweater paws, Kei would've never assumed sweater paws could look good on adults. The guy had long bangs which covered most of his face with the rest of his hair tied at the base of his head. He was too far away for Tsukishima to determine the facial features but even at this distance the guy was cute. And as the guy lifted the tea to his mouth he made eye contact with Kei, and for some god forsaken reason Kei didn't look away. There was no electricity or tension between them, they just kept staring at each other as the guy took a long sip of his tea. (he should look away, this is definitely considered as rude)

"Here's the key. And please try not to loose them, this is the only one I have" Kinoshita dangled the keys in front of Kei's face, eventually breaking the eye gaze he was having with a random stranger (an extremely cute one).

" I told you I didn't lose them! They're somewhere in my locker, I'm just too lazy to go back up" Kei snatched the keys and walked out, he didn't look back to see if the stranger was still looking (because that would be plain embarrassing). He had two giant piles of unwashed clothes and sink full of dirty dishes waiting at home.