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Look Who's Talking

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Shaun is working his normal routine, you know, doing his rounds, checking his residents, I's and O's. He meets up with his interns in one of his patient's rooms and he asks a resident to give him the works. This particular patient has been on dialysis for months and is now finally getting a working kidney to help replace the old one. Guess years of smoking, drinking, and eating unhealthily didn't turn out so well. Well, maybe that was just Shaun's opinion, which he didn't voice unnecessary ones anymore, but that's beside the point. He did the usual things in his usual day. But what was unusual was the fact he got a call from someone just one state away, now if this was his usual routine in his said usual day, he wouldn't pick up, but this isn't his usual, is it?

"Hello?" Shaun asks, wary about who was on the other side.

"Oh! I am so glad you decided to pick up, I was afraid you wouldn't even answer much less look at the number, but I am glad you did," The woman voiced through the phone.

Shaun froze, not out of fear, but out of shock and surprise. He didn't have to take a guess on who was on the other side of the phone, he knew the voice very well. The voice belonged to none other than Allegra Aoki. She was a well-respected Chairman for the foundation that controls St. Bonaventure, and he knew that, which is why he was so confused as to why she called him.

"I'm sure you're confused, Ms. Aoki," He said, "But I work for a different hospital now, I have been for a while,"

"No, I am sure of that. I have called for another reason," She said with the same softness in her voice.

"...Oh, uhm," Shaun was kind of confused as to why anyone from St. Bonaventure would be calling him. He even got distant with Dr. Glassman after a while, sometimes they text but since they aren't face to face anymore they don't really talk, "What's this about, then?"

"I'll try and make it quick as to not hold you from your job. You know, Dr. Andrews needs you back just for a little bit. Maybe even a couple of months? They need another neurosurgeon since they are running low and you are their best bet," She explains.

"You? Are calling for Dr. Andrews? Why can't he call me himself?" Shaun asks

He hears a sigh come through his phone, "Well... we both know how you guys started on the wrong foot and ended on the wrong foot and he doesn't want to upset you by calling for your help by calling back after all these years," He makes a face, but she doesn't know that, "He really needs your help, Dr. Murphy,"

He thinks for a minute, "Where would I stay? I live in Washington now and I hope you don't expect me to pay for another temporary place myself,"

"Don't worry about it, I can figure out something. So, what do you say? We can do this as early as you can let your Chief know what's going on,"

"Sure, I can do that, Let Dr. Andrews know what the plans are," He tells her

"Great! We can get you a way to get here as soon as you're ready. See you soon, Shaun,"

"Yeah... see you soon," and with that Allegra hangs up the phone on Shaun, presumably happy to have received such good news from Shaun Murphy, the resident that had left them all those years ago.

Shaun goes on with his work after the round was done, he had surgery today which could take a couple of hours, so after that, let's see..... lunch... planning... other stuff... meeting... Done! After his meeting, he is free to get his stuff packed and then head over to St. Bonaventure overnight.

He walks over to the front desk to continue his job, then heads to the cafeteria to get his lunch... well more like brunch, since it is 11 am.

The rest of the day actually goes to plan. Planning goes well and he thinks the surgery could go well, but since he is leaving the hospital he is going to hand it to Amelia, whom he trusts to complete this surgery. The "other stuff" was really him doing more research, not for anything in particular but just to catch up on this going on around the world, everyone knows medicine is constantly changing or having new information. A good doctor would keep up with it. The meeting was... well, a meeting. A meeting about the new interns and hosting something to meet up with them. He doesn't really like meeting with interns because they talk too much, but he talks a lot too so he can't really say anything. Now... Well, now he's done. He has texted Aoki that he should be ready soon and he'll be able to take the next flight that will take him.

Heading home is the easy part, the hard part is knowing which items to pack and which items to leave. He knows packing his clothes and his textbooks... hmm.. Yeah, also transfer his patient files to his work laptop, he forgot to do that. Really that seems to be it along with the phone, charger, and headphones. So he gets his things ready and he walks himself outside, already phoning Allegra.

He tells her he should be heading to the airport to wait, even though the plane won't take off for another 45 minutes. Shaun thinks it's silly taking a plane that would take not even an hour to get somewhere but it's better driving a couple of hours himself, but he won't complain. Especially since he's not the one paying for it. At the airport, it's not quiet like it usually is at night. It's actually bustling with people trying to go somewhere in time for Christmas. Maybe if people did things on time, they wouldn't have to rush or even have this problem. Then again, he doesn't celebrate Christmas, at least not since he left Bonaventure a couple of years ago. He would go to Dr. Glassman's house to eat dinner and then swap a gift or two before watching Home Alone or some kind of movie together.

He doesn't want to think about that right now...

Maybe he can do it this year with him since he's going to be at St. Bonaventure for Christmas. What would Glassman say? Would he be angry? He hasn't spoken to him in so long he may not even want to deal with Shaun anymore...

Shaun isn't trying to get ahead of himself... breathe... Okay he's overthinking it, he needs to not worry, maybe he'll be happy to see him again. Maybe he'll be happy to spend Christmas with him again, after all, it's been like seven years without him.

Without a doubt, 50 minutes go by fairly quickly and they're already calling people to board. He gets into a single (some double if they have kids) file line and walks to board his plane. He gets to sit by the window, which is perfect for him since he always likes to stare out the window on rides. The plane starts to roll and before he knows it they're finally at lift-off. He lifts up his headphones and starts to play a playlist he has saved. He started building his own after he started getting into music. He has since then found his own music taste and just placed all the songs he likes together into one big playlist.

The plane has a smooth ride for the first half and Shaun almost falls asleep during it if it weren't for his music, but he doesn't dare to shut it off. Then the second half was pretty bumpy, not turbulence bumpy but a shake here and a bump there, kind of thing. He wonders if it's the wind or the plane's fault. Maybe if he can construct the model of the plane he could figure it out, but alas he doesn't know what model this is, he really isn't a plane buff or anything. Seeing the light of San Jose below makes him feel nostalgic, even though he has only lived here for two years and it makes him feel a sickness in his stomach. Something kin to loneliness, maybe sadness mixed in there too.

The plane lands and he collects his luggage while other people walk off the plane. He watches as fathers and mothers walk along the aisle with their children in hand, wondering what it was like. He silently wishes that he had that experience when he was a kid. He looks back o when he was a kid, he knows it wasn't the best. He wishes it was, but there's nothing he can change now. All that matters is the here and now, right? Well, now he's an attending and has a very good and stable career in neurosurgery, and everything is going just the way he wanted when he started med school. He can't believe how far he's gotten. It didn't feel real, like it didn't feel like something that was tangible or something in his reach, but here he is. Defying anything that he has ever thought or anything anyone has told him, and no one can tell him otherwise. It feels good.

He walks off the plane, following the other people off and into the airport. He can see other people already waiting for planes, but unlike the one he waited at, it was quiet and tiredness hung around in the air, and you could feel it. He didn't feel so tired but he bet that it will catch up on him later.

Aoki told him she had a Lyft ready for him and that he needed to wait outside for it. It was drizzling outside and a little cold, but the roof and walls outside the airport kept him from being stuck in the cold and the lights behind him kept him company. A thought struck him and it made his breath hitch. He should text Dr. Glassman, hello, just to see what he says... if he even replies... Shaun pulls out his phone and looks at the time. 11:45...

If he guesses right, Dr. Glassman may be awake, depending on what he is doing, or planning for tonight. He opens his messaging app and pulls up his keyboard, fingers dancing around as if he doesn't know what to type. Slowly, he types out a simple "Hello." and he quickly exits out, worried about his response.

The Lyft pulls up, "Shaun Murphy?" he asks

"Yes," Shaun affirms, "That is me," He gets into the backseat of the car, and he thanks the driver. Opening up his phone he scrolls through Instagram, hoping to find some comfort from the photos that light up his screen. The ride is long, it taking a while for them to take a turn that he actually remembers. He watches as the people walk by, living their daily life. He wonders what missions these people are on to be walking around at midnight.

He feels his phone vibrate and his heart skips a beat. Dr. Glassman answered him back. Hey, Shaun. How are you? and as Shaun was typing a response he received another, What are you doing up so late?

Shaun answered his first question and with the second he asked his own, Do you know?

A couple of seconds pass by when Dr. Glassman replies, Yeah, I do.

Well, I am heading there now, before finding somewhere to stay.

A couple more moments of silence before his phone buzzes again, I can wait for you.

With that Shaun ends the conversations with his reply and watches the rest of the ride, passing by him out the window, then, the lights of the hospital light up his face as he opens the car door. His eyes flick around to the sights. Yep, it still looks the same. He feels a pain in his chest and he doesn't understand where it is coming from. He looks around while he is walking to the doors of the hospital and he sees Dr. Glassman standing inside at the doorway, looking out. It almost made him stop in his tracks, but instead, he kept walking forward with growing nervousness.

He walks inside to greet him but they just hold eye contact. For a few moments, it feels like... Shaun just hugs him and he hugs him hard. Glassman just hugs him back. Shaun hears him let out a heavy sigh, almost like he's been holding his breath the minute Shaun left him. Almost like he's crying. They hear clicks of heels before a voice, the one Shaun heard over the phone.

"I see you boys found each other," She says with a small smile. Shaun and Glassman let go of each other to look at her. She's wearing a grey dress that stops at her knees are her hands are clasped in front of her stomach. Her hair is still black and cut in that little bob she always had.

"Ah, Yes. Hello, Ms. Aoki," Glassman says. You can see the wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. Allegra takes note of this. He hasn't smiled like that in a long time. He knows it just as well as she does, but she doesn't mention it, "I thought you had went home?"

"Well, I had to stay to see Shaun and welcome him. I was the one who called him to come. He agreed to come as soon as he could," She said, gesturing to Shaun while she spoke.

"You? I had thought Andrews had done it. I knew it was too good to be true," He half-joked.

Allegra smiles wider as she laughs and looks at the ground, "Yeah, he can have a hard time convincing others.. especially ones who haven't... had the best past with him," She gotten a little more serious at the end but the tone of the conversation hasn't dropped so no one is worried or tense, "Shaun, come this way, you need to greet the others. You can come to if you'd like, Dr. Glassman,"

Glassman just gestured for her to lead the way and off they went. They walk up the stairs while Allegra was talking about the hospital and what has been going on. Shaun follows her up the stairs and to an office with a wooden door. Inside the room stoop Audrey Lim, Neil Melendez, and Jessica Preston.

"Oh, hey!" Audrey places down her papers that she was holding and faces Shaun more, "I knew you were coming, I just didn't know when. How are you?"

Shaun purses his lips, suddenly becoming uncomfortable in the room. These people had a problem with him back them why are they acting like this now? it's not a secret that they didn't enjoy him being around. It just left a bad taste in his mouth.

"Fine, I guess," He knows he's being passive-aggressive but he doesn't care.

Audrey notices this but doesn't say anything, "Oh... Well, that good, I hope working back here is good too!" She smiles at him still.

Next to her is Melendez, He greets Shaun the same way, "Hey, Shaun," he holds his hand out to shake his hand but quickly remembers he doesn't like touch. Before he could pull his hand away Shaun shakes his hand, Neil is surprised but quickly hides it. From Neil's view, Shaun just has these dead eyes. What has time done to him?

Jessica greets him like he an old friend, "Hey, Shaun! I'm so glad you've decided to join us back!" She smiles wide at him, which made Shaun feel obligated to smile back. If anyone noticed it was forced, they didn't say anything.

Jessica starts explaining the situation, "So, Shaun. We know your field is neuro, which is very helpful to us. We currently only have two neurosurgeons, and on of which is Dr. Glassman himself. You flying out here to be with us for a little bit really helps us out. Having two surgeons isn't bad but we really don't want to risk it and we could really use some extra help while we look for more qualified and ready attendings to join us,"

Shaun just nods along, listening to what she is saying.

"We already had residents who could be under your supervision, you can handle them I'm sure. They are second years and they are respectful, they'll be easy to work with," Jessica affirms, she then goes to pull out a clipboard with many papers clipped to it and a beige-yellowish looking folder out with even more papers, "Now I know this may look like a lot but these are just the few patients we need to hand over to you,"

Shaun takes the papers and folders from her, flipping and overlooking them, "Okay, Yeah, I can do these,"

"Great! You can get started in a day after you have a day off, then after you can get your assigned residents and start your work!" Jessica grabs her things, "Sorry, though, I have to go, bye," She waves while adjusting her purse and grabbing her paper, "Bye, Glassman,"

Oh, that explains why she was talking so fast. She had to go.

Audrey speaks up again, "Your second patient there," she points, "He was in a car accident and we are trying to see if we can help him regain feeling in his arm again, which is where you come in. He is both our patients,"

Neil adds, "The one under it was with me, but he's all yours for the same reason, though I may need to come back every now and again," Neil gives him a neutral but warm facial expression, "You wanna head out with us to drink? It's on me," Neil asks.

"Not tonight, I recently worked and I'm pretty tired," Shaun declines, "Maybe another time?"

"Sure," He gathers his things to walk out with Lim. By the door Shaun hears her gasp and whisper, 'oh! I see what you're doing!' and Neil denying her response.

Shaun sighs, flipping through his papers again before hearing Glassman speak up, "Do you have anywhere to stay yet?"

Shaun shakes his head, "No, I guess I'll need to find a nearby hotel then,"

"Well... I was wondering if you'd stay with me until you had to go back, since this is only temporary," Glassman asks.

"I could stay here for months, you know. I'm not sure you'll be able to handle that,"

Glassman laughs out loud to that, "Handle that? You're not a kid, Shaun,"


"So, what's your idea?"

Shaun doesn't hesitate, "Sure, I can stay with you for a while, " Glassman just smiles at that and places a hand on his shoulder, surprised that he doesn't jerk away. He still moves, but he doesn't jerk, which is progress. Though he still takes his hand off and leads him downstairs to the parking lot.

Shaun gets into Dr. Glassman's car and watches as he turns the engine, hearing it roar. He pulls out and drives off. Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea...