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We’ve Been Here

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Edward Cullen hates intern day.

He made it through his intern year more-or-less unscathed, partially because his father’s the Chief, but mostly because he hadn’t made any fatal errors. He had made friends, strangely enough, and even some he’s incredibly fond of. And he had survived.

Last year, in another year of residency, he’d dealt with his own interns well enough. Three know-it-all, baby-faced, fresh-out-of-med-school idiots who he had somehow trained into decent residents. Edward and his friends survived it by giving their interns their grunt work, teaching them where they could, and rejoicing with the idea that after 365 days, the idiots that directly reported to them would be second-years who they were only somewhat responsible for.

That was, until their hospital absorbed another area hospital, their surgical residency program was cut in half, and his father very calmly explained that the remaining class would spend another year sharing another batch of interns. As if their styles couldn’t be any different.

Dr. Rosalie Hale, the pediatric specialist, is a bitch to absolutely everyone except the kids she works with. That includes their group of five. She’s kind and nurturing to children, yet absolutely brutal with adults. Her interns survived on sheer instinct and tough skin; her friends survived solely by not taking her too seriously and knowing her brutal advice came from a genuine place. She’s screamed at Edward more times than he can count, and he’s rolled his eyes just as much. He thought they’d hate each other, but they’ve become weirdly good friends.

Dr. Emmett McCarty is kind, too, and boisterously friendly in a way no one else is. He’s raw and able: he could set a shoulder and reset a pelvis without blinking. He was strong, so setting bones and relocating dislocations were easy for him. Emmett was born to be an orthopedic surgeon. But he’s the strength and loudness that they need when there’s a rough surgery or a bad day or when they need something to laugh at. Not in a bad way—Emmett is just a funny guy. He tells funny stories and does funny things, and he knows Emmett is one of those guys born into a big, blue collar family that knows nothing but love.

Dr. Jasper Whitlock is, to put it simply, not. When Edward first met him—a goddamn trauma surgeon straight off of his third tour, covered in scars—he threw Jasper off of the gurney because the patient he was on top of had a pen in his throat. But Alice had squealed and jumped onto him, and he finally recognized the golden-haired man as the guy all over her house. Her husband. After intern year and part of residency, an opening landed at the same time his tour ended, and his qualifications were more than enough to fulfill the open residency spot. Alice explained that her husband was ready to retire from MedCom, and the Chief of Surgery (Edward’s father, and the man who’s wife insisted that Alice Brandon was invited to every family dinner) was thrilled to have a trauma surgeon.

Dr. Alice Brandon is, unmistakably, his person. His very best friend, as much as he resents it; despite the technical focus of her neurosurgery specialty, she’s a sweet, genuine person. She giggles at the nurses, encourages her interns, and hugs. He thought she was weird until, a few hours in, she’d called a rough trauma five minutes early—then he knew she was. Then, she gave him a nickname (ew) and told him that ‘goodness deserved encouragement’. That night, he held the hand of a dying patient, and then he and Alice had laid on the floor of the hospital basement for the rest of the night talking about nothing. That’s how she became his sister. Someone he hated but loved, and someone he couldn’t function without.

He, on the other hand, is the cardio god. Well… the future cardio god. He’s already nailing solo surgeries, and he should have his pick of fellowships next year. Maybe he’ll head to southern California and escape the rain, or maybe he’ll try out the northeast. He never imagined staying in Seattle—his father is a brilliant surgeon at Seattle Grace, after all—but then he made friends.

Insufferable friends that he loves. He moved into Alice’s house after a month; he was looking for an apartment, and she posted a bulletin about how she had availabilities. They went to dinner and she showed him a hundred pictures of her husband, and he laughed loudly because he was so fucking thrilled he really, really thought they could be best friends.

“You’re dark and twisty, aren’t you?” she accused, on her knees on the stool, trying to look menacing.

He finally rolled his eyes. “Absolutely.” He waited for her to settle into her seat before he cocked a brow at her. “I know you are, too. You just hide it.”

It’s been four goddamn years since he’s met his people. And they suffered through teaching interns together.

So assigning them another year of interns makes him want to call Jasper. He’d end his life messily, at least.

But assigning him the interns on their first day? It’s not only his dad abusing his power….

It’s insufferable.

“I have five rules,” he explains as he pointed carelessly at their pagers. He barely paused to let them snatch them up before walking past the nurse’s station towards the ER. They looked decent terrible: three girls and two guys looking the same amount of wide-eyed eager as all interns. He saw some pretty brown hair, through. She had a sweet—no. No. No. “Memorize them,” he continues without fail. “Rule one: don’t bother sucking up. The residents already hate you, that’s not going to change.”

He pushes open the doors to the ER and tries to ignore the sound of them desperately scrambling to keep up. “Pagers,” he continues. “Nurses will page you. Answer pages at a run—a run. That’s rule number two.”

He pauses just as a bed whips in front of him: Jasper’s barking out orders to the nurses and EMTs; but he’s flawlessly directing one bed into a trauma room while shoving Emmett towards the ambulance bay. It’s familiar chaos for an incoming trauma, and he nearly wished he had a moment to appreciate the interns’ faces. He remembers the feeling well: the wondrous, weird, guilty excitement of seeing a big trauma. It’s the terrible, muted horror of realizing there are lives in the balance and you’re the one who might be able to sway that balance.

(He remembers standing in this very ER his intern year, and the tiny intern next to him had grasped his hand in what he thought was fear when a big trauma rolled through. He’d flinched away from the contact until he saw her eyes sparkling and her mouth in a wide smile, and that was when he decided Alice was alright.)

It’s always a heady feeling.

A too-eager looking brunette spoke up first. “Is that a—,”

He had to fight the urge to roll his eyes. “Your first shift starts now and lasts forty-eight hours,” he continued, nodding once as Emmett waved him over grimly. That nod always means the same thing: the balance isn’t a balance at all, there’s no fight to be won, and nothing they do is going to be good or helpful. It’s a nod to get a second doctor to call time of death, and he didn’t love that would be the first patient the interns saw. “Sleep where you can, when you can,” he explained dryly. “Don’t bother with on-call rooms, attendings hog them. Brings me to rule three.”

“Don’t wake him when he’s sleeping,” Emmett interjected with a small smirk. “He’s a dick if he doesn’t get his beauty rest.”

Edward did roll his eyes now: leave it to Emmett to interrupt his intro in the middle of pronouncing a patient. He flipped out his own pen light and checked the patient’s pupils to confirm dilation, as if the severe head laceration that left the patient’s brain partially visible wasn’t clue enough, and he nodded at Emmett.

“Time of death, six-oh-eight,” Emmett announced. “Fresh blood, huh?”

He chuckled lowly. “Rule three,” he repeated as he tucked his pen light back into his jacket pocket. “If I’m sleeping, don’t wake me unless your patient is actually dying, and rule four, your dying patient better not be dead by the time I get there.”

His pager beep-ed loudly, and his motion to grab it was interrupted by the much louder yelling of Jasper calling for him from the trauma room down the hall.

He remembered hearing the same speech with somewhat fondly: their resident, Dr. Tanya Denali, was a spitfire and an absolute terror. She’d scared the shit out of them on day one, and they’d stayed sufficiently terrified throughout intern year. So sufficiently terrified that the four remaining original interns had her speech memorized and had repeated it flawlessly the year before. This year, however, his pager’s timing couldn’t have been better.

The young male intern cleared his throat nervously as Edward turned towards the trauma room. “That was only four rules, and you said—,”

“Rule five: when I move, you move.”

He pushed through into the trauma room, where Jasper’s ordering scans and pushing IV meds.

“Dr. Whitlock?” Edward greets firmly.

Jasper barely spares a glance up at him. “I need you to clear the portable chest films.” He flicked a finger towards the board. “Patient’s a 35-year-old male with abdominal and head trauma, I’ve already got a splenic lac and multiple blunt abdominal injuries. Has anyone paged neuro?”

“Dr. Brandon’s in surgery,” Charlotte, one of the best ER nurses, responded with one hand over the phone’s receiver, as Edward grabs the films from the board. The heart looks good: a few cracked ribs, maybe, but nothing surgical. “She’s about fifteen minutes from closing, she says if you get a CT she can meet you in the OR?”

Jasper nods once. “Copy.” He frowned and looked up at Edward. “What do you see?”

“Cardio looks good. A few rib fractures, maybe, and I see a little cloudiness around seven and eight,” he responds. “You won’t need me.”

Jasper continued his exam with the stethoscope, confirming that cardio function was intact. “You got one of those you can spare?”

Edward met his gaze to see Jasper nodding halfway towards the gaggle of interns behind him. “What do you need?”

Jasper sighed and tossed his scope around his neck. “Someone to get scans while I scrub. Anyone competent enough to get a head CT?”

The honest answer is he doesn’t know, but Jasper has absolutely zero patience for anything that takes up any more time than necessary. Dude’s used to operating in a war-zone, bro, Emmett said once after Jasper throughly ripped a particularly slow intern. So, the truth is, he doesn’t have time to even consider anyone. “I’ll do it,” he offers.

“Cool,” he responds as he tears off his gloves and heads—presumptively—to the OR floor.

He gestures towards the gurney. “Someone take him upstairs. CT is on 5, I’ll meet you guys there.”

Within fifteen minutes, he’s got the scans done and he settles in the gallery to watch this play out. Trauma is a good way for interns to learn, and he doesn’t have any patients needing his attention right now.

Emmett comes in and sits next to him while the interns observe from the row behind them. “How’s it going?”

He shrugs. “Guy hasn’t died yet, so,” he sighs. “Jasper’s probably gonna take out the spleen.”

“Would you suture it?” Emmett asks: it’s his favorite game.

He chuckles a bit at that. “No, it’s probably messed up.”

“Hm.”

“Where the fuck is neuro?” Jasper mutters as the patient’s heart rate kicks up, and nearly instantly, the scrub room door opens.

“I’m here, honey, sorry!” Alice squeaks out as she holds up her freshly washed hands. “I had a little more trouble than I thought in OR 2.”

Edward can see the smile that immediately crosses Jasper’s face, even under the mask. “Nothing you couldn’t handle, I’m sure,” he teases.

“Of course not,” she giggles back, stopping by Jasper just enough peer into the patient as she snaps at her gloves. “Grizzly,” she observes.

They resume working as Alice looks over the CT.

“That’s Dr. Brandon?” an intern asks from the back.

Emmett nods. “Little brainiac,” he chuckles.

“Literally,” Edward mutters as he leans forward and watches Alice be gowned and gloved.

She moves to the table and groans loudly, and he and Emmett both chuckle. “Damn all you tall surgeons. Can someone please bring a stool over here?” she whines as Jasper and half of the OR staff laugh.

Somewhere, behind him, Edward vaguely hears what sounds like a small laugh from one of the interns.

It irks him. None of them know her, anyway.