punch_kicker15: (Giles reading)
[personal profile] punch_kicker15
Title: The English Patient: Seven Times Giles Visited the Hospital (and One Time He Didn't)
Author: punch_kicker15
Rating: PG-13
Characters/Relationships: Gen, Giles, OFC, with cameos from the Scooby Gang
Summary: Giles through the seasons, seen through the eyes of Dr. Carolyn Adachi, a resident physician at Sunnydale Hospital.
Word count: 2799


ONE
June 2, 1997:

Tonight was my night off for the month, but I got called back to work anyway. There was some sort of crisis; dozens of patients showed up every ten minutes or so. Every time we thought we’d finally caught up, another wave of injured people would arrive. When we finally got everyone either admitted, discharged, or in the morgue, I had a pounding headache behind my eyes. I sneaked up to the roof for a smoke.

Right after the cigarette started working its magic on my headache, I heard someone coming up the stairs. It was a patient--a tall British guy, the only concussion case we’d treated tonight.

He asked, “Could you spare a cigarette?”

Even though I was technically off-duty, I felt obligated to say, “It’s probably not a good idea to smoke right after a concussion.”

He laughed. “I’m quite sure that it won’t be smoking that kills me.” That was kind of odd, because most smokers say something more like Hey, something’s got to kill me.

But what the hell. I believe in letting patients make stupid decisions. (I smoke, so hypocrite, heal thyself.) I handed him a cigarette and my lighter.

“Thank you, Dr.--”

“Adachi,” I finished.

“Rupert Giles.” I could see the wheels turning, the “ethnicity categorized” look on his face, right before he asked. “Dono kurai anata wa ni sunde imasu?”

I thought, Oh, God, not this shit again. “Look, I don’t speak Japanese. I was born in America. My parents were born in America. My grandparents were born in America--”

“I’m sorry. Completely my fault. A bit of wishful thinking.” He rubbed his forehead, and winced when he hit a sore spot. “I’ve only been here a few months, and I was hoping to find another expatriate here. And another Japanese speaker. I’m getting rusty without any practice.”

It took a minute for me to realize that he was apologizing. Usually people just get defensive. “Good luck finding someone. I can’t even find anyone who speaks Spanish here. How is that possible in Southern California?”

That earned a small smile from him. “Sunnydale is rather--insular.”

“That’s one word for it. If it makes you feel any better, sometimes this town feels like another planet to me.”

The conversation fizzled out after that. I finished my cigarette in silence and went back to work.

TWO
March 3, 1998:

Today I completely phoned it in at work. I couldn’t eat, even though I know I get brain-fogged when I’m hungry. Carrying on like everything was normal felt impossible.

I caught a break between the laminectomy and the inguinal hernia repair, and headed over to the stairwell on the far west side of the hospital. As soon as the door closed, I leaned against the wall and started to cry.

Maybe ten minutes later, the door swung open, and I panicked. If Dr. McCarthy or Dr. Ellison saw me crying, I’d never hear the end of it.

But it was just Mr. Giles. I’d seen him visiting one of our fever patients, a blonde teenager. I’d also seen him a couple times in the last few months--he has an alarming propensity for concussions--but hadn’t really talked to him.

He asked, “Are you alright?”

It was one of those idiotic questions that make me hate social interactions. There’s no way that I would bawl my eyes out in a stairwell if I were alright. But the only polite response to that question from an acquaintance was “yes.”

Fuck politeness. “I lost a co-worker today.” I dabbed at my eyes with a Kleenex. “Dr. Backer was, um, unconventional with his methods, but he really cared about his patients. And he was like a dad to the residents here.”

Mr. Giles said, “I’m sorry. Is this the first time you’ve lost a colleague?”

I shook my head. “No, but it’s the first time it’s been someone I was close to. It’s just--different.”

He murmured. “I understand.”

I made the mistake of looking him in the eyes. I caught a glimpse of something powerful there--grief, regret, or anger. I looked away. “I better get back to work.”

Later that night, after the hernia surgery, I wondered if Mr. Giles had wandered into one of the most secluded spots in the hospital by accident, or if he’d sought it out for the same reason I did.

THREE
November 24, 1998:

Tonight when I asked Janine if she was handing off any difficult patients, she said, “Just the impalement injury patient. She fell on some rebar in an abandoned factory. But she’ll bite your head off if you ask her what she was doing there.”

Halfway through my rounds, I checked on the impalement patient.

“How’s your pain level right now, on a scale of one to ten?” I asked.

“Probably at one.” She plastered on a big fake smile for me, but she couldn’t hide the telltale puffiness around her eyes. “The drugs are great. I highly recommend them to anyone who got some rebar through the gut. I’m fine.” I heard a tinge of desperation in her voice, as if she were trying to convince herself as much as me.

I asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

She sighed. “I just want to be left alone.”

“I can help with that.” I walked to waiting room to find the visitors for Ms. Chase, and as I turned the corner, I heard some familiar voices. It was Mr. Giles and the group of teenagers that follow him around.

Mr. Giles sputtered, “Let me get this straight. Spike, the slayer of slayers, came back here, and you let him go? Can you imagine the carnage he could create--”

The blonde girl coughed and inclined her head in my direction.

Mr. Giles turned to face me. “Hello, Dr. Adachi. We were, er, rehearsing a play.”

Yeah, right. How dumb do they think I am? Do they think I haven’t noticed the astronomical casualty rate? Or the bizarre methods of injuries or deaths? Whatever.

I said, “Ms. Chase’s surgery was successful. But she needs rest. I’m sorry, but she can’t have any visitors today.”

As they gathered their things and walked out the door, I heard Mr. Giles muttering, “I swear I will never go on a retreat again.”

FOUR
January 18, 2000:

Today Janine asked, “Does it seem like it’s been quieter around here the last couple of months?”

I was bored, so I said, “Yeah, Let’s run some searches on the charts and see.”

The stats backed us up. The vast majority of trauma patients in the last three months were car accidents and gunshot wounds--exactly what you’d expect at any other hospital in the U.S.

We had about a half an hour to bask in the normality of it all, when Mr. Giles staggered into the ER. Alone. Usually the blonde girl with the preppy name (Muffy or Bunny or whatever it is) or the redhead or some other kid comes with him. That was kind of odd.

After Janine and I got him bandaged up, I said, “We thought you’d left after the high school blew up, but I guess you couldn’t stay away from the thrilling and violent world of librarianship.”

He laughed. “I’m afraid not.” Then his expression grew melancholy, as if I’d hit a nerve somewhere. “What about you? Why are you still in Sunnydale?”

I paused for a second, because it was really kind of a personal question. But it wasn’t an intrusive or sexist or racist question. And I wouldn’t be keeping a journal if I didn’t like talking about myself.

I smoothed down a bandage that had come undone. “I came here because I wanted a lot of experience with trauma care. And I stay because it’s kind of hard to switch residency programs mid-stream. Besides, I’m not sure most of my trauma experience will transfer well to a hospital in any other city, you know?”

He nodded. “I believe Cleveland might have some similar trauma cases.”

“Really? That’s interesting. But I’m not sure Cleveland is much of an improvement.”

He swallowed the pills Janine had laid out for him. “And what would you do if you were no longer needed at your job?”

I said, “Party, because everyone’s in perfect health.”

He didn't even crack a smile at that. “After the celebration. What would you do?”

“I--don’t know.” I slumped back in my chair. “I’ve been in med school and residency training my entire adult life. I don’t know what else I’d do.”

“Exactly,” he said, as if I’d said something profound, instead of just blathering about my uncertainty. Maybe the Percocet had just kicked in.

FIVE
May 1, 2001:

Today Ben Wilkinson finally showed up for work, and then acted surprised when Dr. McCarthy fired his ass. Total dick move on Ben’s part. He’s been around long enough to know that we’d all assume he was dead after two weeks of no-show, no-call. Janine said that he made a scene after being fired, so I guess he’s just consistently dickish.

The rest of the day was relatively boring, gossip-wise, until Mr. Giles approached while I was grabbing a cup of coffee.

I put the coffee down, and looked him over. No visible bruises or wounds. I was about to make a crack about concussions--after the tenth, the eleventh is free--when I caught the grave expression on his face. Not the time for jokes.

He gestured towards a blond girl sitting on the exam table. Even from across the room, I could see the telltale signs of the latest mystery syndrome.

He grimaced at the sight. “Dr. McCarthy thinks it’s too early to tell whether she’s like the other patients in the psych ward. He also said you’ve seen a lot of these cases. What’s your opinion?”

Man, fuck Dr. McCarthy for passing the buck on this. It was obviously another case of the mystery syndrome, but he didn’t want to have to tell them. It’s a shitty conversation to have--in some ways, worse than breaking the news of a death, because at least there’s finality and certainty in death.

I debated punting the question back to Dr. McCarthy, but that seemed cruel. “I think it’s highly likely that it’s the syndrome we’ve seen in the patients in the psych ward.”

He asked, “What’s the prognosis?"

“It’s a global aphasia that has been resistant to all treatment approaches so far.”

He glanced back at the girl. “Have any of the patients recovered?”

“None. A few have died.”

He closed his eyes for a minute, and buried his face in his hands, as if he wanted to shut out the bad news. Then he took a breath and let his hands fall to his side. “Dr. McCarthy has suggested she spend the night in the psych ward. What should our next steps be?”

I lowered my voice so no one else could hear. “Don’t keep her in the psych ward here. It’s like the Dark Ages compared to other facilities. I’d send her to Santa Barbara Psychiatric Center. They’re humane and current with all of the latest treatment options. I can put you on the waiting list, but it might be a couple of months before there’s an opening.”

“And until then? What would you do if she were your sister, or your daughter?”

I thought, cry my eyes out and stay in bed all day, but that wasn’t helpful. Instead, I said, “I hate to say it, because I’m sure it means a lot of work for all of you, but she might be better off with home care until an opening comes up”

“Thank you, Doctor. I think we’ll try that until we find a more permanent solution.”

Across the room, the girl squawked and yelled something about triangles. He trudged back to her side.

SIX
May 21, 2002:

The weirdest thing happened today: some walls at the prison blew up. One of the guards was hit by falling debris and showed up with a bunch of scalp lacerations.

I’d just finished the last of the sutures when Janine came by. “Your British friend is here, and he’s in bad shape.”

I followed her to the exam room. Mr. Giles was lying on an exam table. Janine wasn’t kidding. He was pale, bruised, and trembling. He looked like he’d aged ten years since the last time I’d seen him.

He sat up and grabbed Janine’s wrist, “The girl I came in with--how is she?”

Janine eased him down on the table. “Dr. McCarthy is examining her right now. Don’t worry. Her boyfriend’s with her, and he’s making sure she gets everything she needs.”

“Xander’s not--” he started, but winced as I touched the top of his shoulder.

I said, “You have a dislocated shoulder. Do you want some pain meds before we pop it back in?”

“No,” he said. “Get it over with.”

He was remarkably quiet as we popped the shoulder back in, and later when Janine palpated his ribs to check for fractures. Most patients yell a little bit. I could see beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead, so I knew he was hurting just as much as any of the yellers.

I checked his chart. “So last time you were in, morphine gave you chest pains, and we know that oxycodone makes you dizzy. How about tramadol? Have you ever had a bad reaction to that?”

He sat up again. “I’d rather not have any medication.”

Sometimes I hate the rules of professional conduct, because I really wanted to roll my eyes at him. “Look, I don’t want to ruin whatever fantasy you have about toughing this out, but you need pain relief to heal properly.”

“I’ll take them later.” He reached for his glass of water, and winced as his shoulder popped. “I need to feel this for a little longer. I earned it.”

SEVEN
April 29, 2003:

When the Harris kid showed up with an enucleated eye, I knew Mr. Giles would show up sooner or later. But since Janine quit, I was up to my ears in paperwork at my desk and didn’t have a chance to find him and say hello.

I was almost finished with Ms. Perkins’ history and physical write-up, when someone paged me. It was Mr. Giles.

I rushed to the waiting room. “If this is about Mr. Harris, he’s getting the best treatment possible.” Kind of abrupt, but I’d been pulling sixteen-hour shifts lately, and I didn’t want to waste a second on chit-chat.

Mr. Giles blinked, then said, “That’s good to hear, thank you.” Then he lowered his voice. “Actually, I’m here because I wanted to pass on a word of warning. I’m sure you’ve noticed the mass exodus from Sunnydale. You should join it as soon as you can.”

I looked to see if anyone was listening; but there’s a lot less time for eavesdropping when the hospital is chronically understaffed. I said, “I have patients who don’t have any family or friends to take them out of here. I can’t leave until we get them out.”

He nodded. “Right. Good luck to you.”

There was something different in his affect; he seemed withdrawn, and almost cold. I’d never seen him so impassive when one of the kids was in the hospital. That, as much as his words, made me realize that he was warning me about a truly epic disaster on the horizon.

I grabbed a cup of coffee, logged into my email, and sent a blast to every med school classmate, asking for help getting our patients transferred to other hospitals.

CODA
May 20, 2003:

Today I checked my desk one last time to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, and then got Ms. Perkins settled into the air ambulance. She squirmed in her stretcher.

“Do you need another Percocet?” I asked.

She glared at me over the top of her bifocals. “No. I just want to leave now. Something here is making my skin itch. I felt the same way right before the big earthquake in ‘97.”

I made a note in the chart to check for allergens when we checked her into Bingham Medical Center.

Ms. Perkins gripped my hand tightly as the helicopter launched. One of the paramedics shouted, “Holy shit!”

I looked out the window and saw nothing but dust. As the helicopter climbed, the air cleared. Below us was a huge crater where Sunnydale used to be. We escaped just in time.

I hope Mr. Giles got out, too. He seemed stubborn enough to stick it out to the bitter end.

Maybe I’ll see him again in Cleveland.
 

on 2016-07-21 04:39 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] dragonyphoenix.livejournal.com
Delightful. Adore the references to Cleveland!

on 2016-07-22 05:10 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Delightful. Adore the references to Cleveland!

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. I love the idea of Cleveland having another Hellmouth and would totally read (or maybe write) about the Watchers and/or rogue demon hunters who fight demons while Buffy was in Sunnydale.

on 2016-07-21 09:17 pm (UTC)
littleotter73: pondering (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] littleotter73
Awesome! I loved the story told through Dr Adachi's eyes. It was interesting and even though they saw each other just over those seven times, it was clear that they both held a high regard for each other and built a relationship of trust over the years. And I had a good chuckle about Ben being a dick. LOL

Well done! :)

on 2016-07-22 05:15 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Awesome! I loved the story told through Dr Adachi's eyes. It was interesting and even though they saw each other just over those seven times, it was clear that they both held a high regard for each other and built a relationship of trust over the years. And I had a good chuckle about Ben being a dick. LOL

Thanks, I'm glad you liked the mutual trust and respect. And I think that one thing that everyone in the Buffyverse (whether Scooby Gang member or an outsider) could agree upon, is that Ben was a dick. :)

on 2016-07-31 05:26 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] gilescandy.livejournal.com
I enjoyed this very much. I often get a kick out of speculating what Giles' life might look like to outsiders, and the ER doctors of Sunnydale would have seen him a lot. Great job. Hope I have time to read the other one very soon.

on 2016-07-31 06:14 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I've always enjoyed fics with outsider POVs, and writing one was a lot of fun.

on 2016-08-01 10:14 pm (UTC)
dhw: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dhw
This is bloody excellent! It may even be my favourite thing to come out of SoG this year (and there's been a lot of good stuff). I adore the concept and just love your OC.

Absolutely love it!

on 2016-08-02 04:21 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Oh, wow, I'm really flattered that you like this story so much, especially considering all of the other great stuff that's been created for SoG this year.

Thank you for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. :)

on 2016-08-24 09:54 pm (UTC)
double_dutchess: (Giles worried)
Posted by [personal profile] double_dutchess
I loved reading about Giles' and the Scoobies' adventures from Dr. Adachi's point of view. Very good and original!

on 2016-08-26 04:49 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
I loved reading about Giles' and the Scoobies' adventures from Dr. Adachi's point of view. Very good and original!

Thanks! I've always enjoyed fics that give an outsider's perspective on the Scoobies, and I'm glad you liked my attempt at it.

on 2017-01-01 04:17 pm (UTC)
ext_1707915: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] rbfvid.livejournal.com
Oh, this is great, it's on of the best outsider POV pieces I've red in buffyverse fandom!
And there are so many spot-on details, like "I can’t even find anyone who speaks Spanish here. How is that possible in Southern California?”
Absolutely love your story (and a bit sad that I disovered it with such a delay ).

on 2017-01-05 06:29 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Thanks! I'm delighted that you liked the outsider POV and the little details. This is one of the favorite stories I wrote this year, and it's such a nice surprise to have people discover it now.

on 2017-01-04 07:04 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sparrow2000.livejournal.com
I'm finally getting a chance to catch up on some of the SoG stories that I didn't get to at the time.

This was beautifully executed. Using the external view of the events we know so well worked so well and makes us see Giles and all the rest of the trauma the Scoobies experienced through fresh eyes.

Really nicely done.

on 2017-01-05 06:39 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Thank you! I really love outsider POV fics, and I'm so glad that aspect of the story worked well for you.
Posted by [identity profile] livejournal.livejournal.com
User [livejournal.com profile] sparrow2000 referenced to your post from 5 things from 2016 Summer of Giles that caught my eye (http://buffyversetop5.livejournal.com/427535.html) saying: [...] eyes, and in ’s The English Patient: Seven Times Giles Visited the Hospital(and One Time He Didn’t) [...]

on 2017-01-05 03:30 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] snogged.livejournal.com
This was fantastic!

on 2017-01-05 06:40 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!

Here from buffyversetop5

on 2017-01-05 07:22 pm (UTC)
yourlibrarian: Angel and Lindsey (ScoobyXmasTop5-eyesthatslay)
Posted by [personal profile] yourlibrarian
Great idea for an outsider POV story. I particularly liked this:

Fuck politeness. “I lost a co-worker today.” I dabbed at my eyes with a Kleenex. “Dr. Backer was, um, unconventional with his methods, but he really cared about his patients. And he was like a dad to the residents here.”

So many of the victims simply get abandoned within the plot and it was nice to see an example of those ripples having an effect. I also liked that last line and it suggestion that it's not just the people on the front line who play their parts.

Re: Here from buffyversetop5

on 2017-01-07 07:47 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
So many of the victims simply get abandoned within the plot and it was nice to see an example of those ripples having an effect.

Thanks! That sort of evolved in the process of writing the fic, figuring out the way that events that were huge for an outsider might seem routine to the Scooby Gang, and vice versa.

I also liked that last line and it suggestion that it's not just the people on the front line who play their parts.

Thanks, that was something that developed late in the writing process. I sometimes struggle with how much to fuss over a story, and it's nice to hear that the later additions to the story were appreciated.

Nomination

on 2017-01-08 12:11 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] gilescandy.livejournal.com
Congrats!
Your Story, The English Patient, has been nominated for The Watcher Watchers Award in the 2017 Headline Awards, celebrating Anthony Head and all of his work. Judging and voting will begin on Jan. 21st, and winners will be announced on Feb. 20th. Please let us know if you would rather not participate. Good luck! Find us at Headlineawards on Tumblr or tonyhead_awards on LJ.

on 2017-01-10 04:58 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] thenewbuzwuzz.livejournal.com
What an awesome point of view! It was really fun recognizing canon events and characters from this angle (Muffy? Bunny?) and seeing the everyday life of a doctor in Sunnydale. The mundanity was great, and so were the poignant, understated glimpses at Giles' feelings.
"I can’t even find anyone who speaks Spanish here. How is that possible in Southern California?" :D

on 2017-01-16 12:17 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad you liked the outsider POV on canon events and Giles' feelings.

on 2017-01-15 08:39 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] thismaz.livejournal.com
I do enjoy outside POV and that one was delightful, for it's continuity and for the evolution of their relationship.

on 2017-01-16 12:40 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Thanks, I'm glad you liked the evolution of the relationship!

on 2017-02-18 10:35 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] feliciacraft.livejournal.com
A wonderful story!

I never thought about it, but Giles would totally strike up a friendship with a doctor at the hospital given the frequency of his visits!

on 2017-02-21 06:24 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] punch-kicker15.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it.

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