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A Moment of Calm

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Time always seemed to slow down around Derek. Angie wondered sometimes if that was a side effect of the Healing Touch or something else, but for all the slower-than-normal time she spent with Derek this was one of the very few truly calm moments they'd shared.

“It's nice up here, isn't it?” The roof of Caduceus at sunset. Derek had found her hauling a stack of charts from the records room up to her office well after her shift was over— more accurately, she'd darted out of the elevator without pausing to look beyond the teetering stack of papers and smashed right into him— and he pestered and bribed and wheedled until she agreed to sneak up to the roof with him to have coffee and leave the charting for later.

Derek adjusted the cardboard sleeve on his cup, gazing out at the city around them. “I didn't think I'd ever get used to Japan, but it's not that different from Angeles Bay, really. At least from up here.” He paused to pop the lid off his drink and blow on it, only to send a curl of steam rolling up to white out his glasses with fog, and he recoiled with a startled jolt.

Angie smiled behind her scarf but managed to wrestle it back down before she tugged the scratchy wool aside to take a sip of her coffee.

“It's alright. Kinda cold.” The coffee was creamy and much sweeter than she would have made it for herself, but Derek had brought her the wrong coffee so many times over the years she'd come to enjoy it.

From the height of the roof it was easy to look out over the city and see the blinking lights of planes, lightning bugs dancing like bees in and out of the airport. Angie caught herself wondering where they were going— America? Africa? maybe even Costigar— and what kind of illnesses might be along for the trip. Maybe the passengers had taken immunization shots that her colleagues had a hand in developing.

Derek leaned forward onto the high ledge in front of them, his hair tossing around gently in the chill air and framing his pensive expression. “It's kinda weird that people we've had our hands in are walking around all over the world.”

That was too much for Angie to hold back a laugh at. Derek stared at her in mock offense until she managed to stop giggling.

“You know what I mean though, right?”

Truthfully, she did. He must have caught her staring at the airport.

“Working with one or two patients at a time can sometimes be...” Derek gestured towards the city with his coffee and just barely managed to not slop it off the edge of the building. “It makes it hard to see the trees or however that goes.”

“Forest for the trees, Derek.” Angie paused to collect her thoughts. “I do know what you mean. The people we've had our hands in are walking around and changing lives themselves now.”

“Exactly!” This time Derek actually did spill his coffee a little in his excitement. “Exactly. Sometimes you just have to stop and appreciate that, you know? I'm so lucky for everything. For being a surgeon, for being at Caduceus, for being able to work with you every day...”

“Oh, stop sucking up!”

“I'm serious! You're the only person around here who can actually keep me from goofing off all day,” Derek said, nudging Angie's arm gently with his elbow.

“That much is true, at least,” she agreed, shooting him a sideways glance.

“You could afford to goof off yourself, you know. Take a nap, let someone else handle the little things. I'm not saying dump all your charting on me,” he added hastily, “but I'm sure there's some interns or something who could help out.”

For all his enduring flakiness, Derek had gotten very good at making Angie forget to be a raging workaholic, even just for a few minutes. They finished their coffee in silence, leaning gently against one another as they gazed out over the distant light and sound of the city.

“You know,” Derek said finally, “they say every person on the planet is only three degrees separated from every other person on the planet, or something like that. So technically every time we perform an operation, we're saving the entire world.”

Angie giggled again, tugging her scarf up a little. “I can't believe you dragged me away from work for this.”

Derek grinned, leaned over and planted a kiss in her wind-messy hair. “You're very welcome.”