Heart and Shoulder


AUTHOR: Celina
EMAIL: ccci@nautilus.com.br
CATEGORY: MG/SL friendship
RATING: PG
SPOILERS: "Random Acts" and "One more for the road"
ARCHIVE: Please!! Just let me know where
DISCLAIMER: None of this character belong to me, they are all property or Warner, Constant C, Michael Chricton, etc...
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is one "how is could have been" about Mark and Susan and their strong friendship. Forget about Union Station and anything that mentioned Susan's departure. Pretend she never left the show!!!
SUMMARY: Still pretty shaken up by the attack, Mark has a major change of attitude, while Susan tries to help him get over the trauma.



"When you have no light to guide you

And no one to walk beside you

I will come to you

When the night is dark and stormy

You won’t have to reach out for me

I will come to you, ohoh, come to you

Sometimes when all your drems may have seen better days

And you don’t know how or why

But you’ve lost your way

Have no fear when your tears are falling

I will hear your spirit calling

And I swear that I’ll be there, come what may

‘Cause even if we can’t be together

We’ll be friends now and forever

And I swear that I’ll be there, come what may

We all need somebody we can turn to

Someone who’ll always understand

So if you feel that your soul is dying

And you need the strengh to keep trying

I’ll reach out and take your hand"

I WILL COME TO YOU_HANSON

Mark stared at his relection on the mirror of the hospital’s male bathroom, as he remembered the attack on that very same place only a week ago. Someone had snicked inside and spancked him real badly. He didn’t knew who or why, but now he had to deal with the torturing physical and spiritual pain that the abuse had caused him. He wasn’t the same anymore, he knew that. That sweet, gentle and confident Mark Greene had been replaced by a mad, scared, frustated and rude guy. He just wanted to make people pay for his suffering, even if these people were his best friends. For him, now, everybody was a potential suspect. He couldn’t bear such injustice with him since he hadn’t done anything to deserve that broken arm, sore ribs and a black eye. And that was nothing compared to the hurt inside of him. Since that day he had spent nights awake, feeling lost and alone, wanting to die. He didn’t give a shit about anything else, he just wanted to get a revenge, someone had to pay for that and the possibility of the police never finding the guy only made his anger grow.

His thoughts were interrupted by Jerry, the desk clerk, entering the bathroom. He asked if he was ok and Mark reflexively said "yes". He was getting sick of people asking him that at every five minutes. The staff would look at him with a sympathetic smile, that for him was more like a pity smile, and they’d ask how he was doing, or if he was ok. Urgh, he hated that. Of course he wasn’t ok. He had been beaten up with no reason and whoever had done that to him was free. How could he be ok?! But of course he didn’t want to show to anyone how defeated he felt inside, so he would take a deep breath and mumble a false "yes".

Mark turned around, opened the door and left the bathroom. In the hall he met Lydia Wright, one of the nurses.

_Dr. Greene, there’s a shot gun coming in five minutes.

_See if Weaver can take it .

_She’s upstairs in a meeting with Dr. Anspaugh.

_And Susan?

_Want me to page her?

_Of course, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked ... _ he said angrily.

_Ok.

Lydia winced and turned around to the desk. She had been warned of his bad mood during the past few days, but she had no idea it was that bad. Mark sighed and felt bad for yelling at her. It wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t nobody’s fault.... He walked over to the admission’s desk and started to pick up some scattared charts to review. Some minutes after he could see the paramedics bursting through the bay doors wheeling a gurney and Susan and Anna running to them. He watched as they headed for the Trauma room. He had never dismissed a case like that, but he didn’t feel he would be helpfull at that moment. He was the one whom needed help.

Twenty minutes later, Dr. Susan Lewis reached the desk.

_Hey, Jerry, where are the lab results of Mr. Reed? _ she asked leaning on the counter to sign some charts.

_Not ready yet.

_What about the scans of Mrs. Mitchell?

_The old lady on 4?

_Yes.

_Here they are _ he said handing her a yellow envelope.

_Great, thanks Jerry. Call the lab and tell them to hurry up this results. I need them by noon.

_You got it. _ he replied picking up the phone receiver.

She walked to the board and wrote something on that.

_Dr. Lewis, I’ve called psych, but they will only have someone to come down here on the afternoon. _ Dr. Anna Del Aminco said.

_Can you keep an eye on him? This guy is not willing to live any longer.

_Ok, no problem. _ she replied turning to curtain 1.

_Thanks _ she called out.

She looked around. The ER was awfully quiet, but she knew it wouldn’t last long. So she decided to get something to drink in the lounge. Getting there she was horrorfied to see Mark destroying the lounge with a chair. The coffee machine was on the floor smashed along with the glasses, mugs, the vase and everything they kept in there. The window glass was cracked up in pieces, the table was on the floor... Susan watched freezed as Mark yelled "son of a bitch" a couple of times and threw the chair against the lockers. She couldn’t let he continue doing that, but she was afraid of what he might do if she interfered. He should be out of his mind to do such a thing. Mark was definitely losing control.

He stopped for a moment, the reality finally sinking in, when he saw Susan standing by the door. His heart ached when he saw the fear on her face and her look .... she had never looked at him like that. She was montionless, just observing his actions. Mark tried to pull himself together, but he could still feel the anger running through his veins. In a brutal move, he left the room, leaving Susan in state of shock in room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>>>>>>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Wanna cry for you
Would it do any good?
If I rained for you
It would just be water
And the night's with you
And the storm's in your hand
And you're down and you're down
And I can't lift you"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>>>>>>>>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few moments later Susan was in the admission’s area, working on the computer, but her mind was on Mark. She wished there was something she could to help him. The attack had really messed up with him. He wasn’t the same anymore and he wasn’t even trying to get better. Maybe if she had talked to him earlier, maybe he wouldn’t had gotten to the verge. Not that she hadn’t tried, but everytime she did that he changed the subject or said that he didn’t feel like talking. He was falling apart inside and he refused any help to stand on his feet again. Susan cursed herself for not beeing there enough for him. That was her job as his best friend. And she knew that if he continued like that, closing himself up, soon that would be nothing left to do. Suddenly she heard a familiar voice calling her name.

_Susan.....

She turned around to see Doug.

_Is that true what I heard?

She looked at him puzzled.

_About the lounge and .....

_Yeah.

_I can’t believe he got this far ...

_Neither did I, but when I saw him smashing every single thing in there, I just .. _ she shook her head sadly.

_Does Weaver know about this?

_I don’t know, but she will be pissed.

_Jerry, what the hell happened in that damn lounge? _ Kerry showed up yelling.

_Dr. Greene lost control for some reason and ended up tearing everything... _ Jerry started to explain.

_I think this is the time when we left the scene _ Doug whispered to Susan.

_Let’s go before ...

Susan and Doug started to walk away, but Kerry didn’t let them get out of that.

_Doug, Susan!

_...she sees us _ Susan finished her sentece in a whisper. _ Yes?

_Too late! _he whispered back.

_Do you know anything about this? _ Kerry asked in a demanding tone.

_Uh.... _ Doug gasped and looked at Susan.

She scratched the back of her head nervously, before answering.

_Yeah, that was what hapened, Kerry. _ Susan replied.

_And where’s him right now?

_I don’t know. Nobody could find him after the incident.

_He better hide while he can, ‘cause when he gets back... _ Kerry said walking away angrily.

Susan and Doug looked at each other, knowing exactly that the storm was still bound to come. Carol showed up from the other way.

_What happened? You two look like you’ve seen a ghost _ she commented.

_Haven’t you heard? _ Doug asked.

_About Mark?

They nodded.

_Yeah, have you found him?

_Nope. He disappeared _ Susan said.

_I think it’s time for us to do something .... _ Carol said.

_I’m gonna look for him _ Susan said walking away quickly.

_Should we join her? _ Carol asked.

_She can handle this. _ Doug assured her.

 

Mark drew in the smoke of his cigarrette, as his body shook slightly. He was at the hospital’s roof, watching the cars come and go on the city below, while he tried to recover from his explosion that would probably cost him a long lecture from Kerry and Anspaugh. He was reclined on the grid when he heard footsteps behind him. He didn’t bother to turn around. Susan walked towards him slowly. He stared at her out of the corner of his eye, as she leaned her back against the concrete and stood there speechless. She folded her arms across her chest and looked at him. After some moments, he said.

_You know, I’m not familiar with the mute language, so .....

_Are you alright? _ she asked serious.

_I’ve never been better... _ he replied ironically.

_Wanna talk about what happened down there?

_No. _ he said roughly.

_Mark..... let me help you! I can’t stand seeing you like this...

_I’m fine thanks.

_No, you’re not. I saw you down there and you’re everything but fine. _ she said firmly.

_You know what I wanted? I wanted you all stop this damn crap of breathing down my neck all day long, asking if I’m ok, taking conclusions of what I’m feeling, ‘cause you don’t know, ok? You just *don’t know* how it feels! _ he said, his voice increasing at each word _ So, stop pretending like you do. If you wanna help me, leave me alone! Go take care of your own business .... _ he was now yelling.

Susan listened to his words in pain, but without showing any emotion what so ever. She shook her head when he stopped, and looked straight into his eyes.

_I’m sorry for carring! _ she said calmly, before turning around to leave.

He let a big breath out when he saw she disappear out of his sight. He turned to stared at the view below and threw his cigarrette on the floor angrily. He went down and reached the ground heavily. With his face in his hands he cursed himself for treating the person the most cared about him in the world like that. He was such an asshole for making her suffer. She just wanted to help, but couldn’t she see that nothing could make him feel better?! He had hit rock bottom and he was putting no efforts to get through that, to reach the top again. What he didn’t know was that if he didn’t reach out for the friends he still had, if he didn’t even respect the way they worried about him, he would end up bitter and alone, with no one by his side. Insisting in push everybody away would cost his own peace of mind and spirit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>>>>>>>>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Susan was on the doctor’s lounge, alone in the dark with her elbows leaned against her knees and her hands interlocked through her hair. She was on the couch, exhausted of a long shift of twelve hours and still have more six to go, not to mention that she couldn’t forget the way Mark had mistreated her a few hours ago. She hadn’t seen him since that "fight"on the roof, and honestly she thought it was for the best. The memories of that dreadful day when she got a call from the hospital saying that Mark was envolved in a Trauma, as the patient came back to her mind. She wasn’t on duty, but she immediately ran to see how he was doing. She spent the whole night by his side, holding his hand, while he slept over the effects of the drugs. She was * so* worried that she couldn’t eat, she couldn’t sleep, and didn’t take a step away from his bed that day. Susan was terrified to lose her best friend, the person that knew her better than herself, the one that would do anything to cheer her up after a long day, the one she would turn to whenever things got a little bumpy. All of this memories were running through her mind along with the clear memory of their last encounter a little earlier. How could he have said that? She cared, a lot. And she just wanted the best for him. Where was the harm in that?! Susan was so focused on her owns thoughts that she didn’t even noticed when Doug entered the room. He looked at her with a glance of concern.

_Suz, are you alright?

Susan looked up, finally noticing his presence on the room. She brushed her hair out of her face and took a deep breath.

_Uh, yeah, it’s just been a long day ... _ she replied rubbing her face.

_For all of us _ he said walking up to his locker.

She watched as he took off his lab coat and searched for his coat on the messy locker.

_I’m worried about Mark, Doug _ she said looking straight at him.

He turned to face her and noticed she was as concerned as he was about their best friend. He walked up in her direction and sat beside her.

_Well, that makes two of us. _ he said resting back on the couch.

_I don’t know what to do anymore, at each day he seems more distant and lost... I’ve tried to talk to him today, I’ve offered my help, anything he needed, asked if he was okay. And you know what he did? He yelled at me, he said that I should take care of my own business, that he didn’t need a baby-sitter. _ she said, her eyes showing how that had hurted her.

_I tried to talk to him too, but he pushed me away this morning. I thought you were the only one that could get to him...

_I did too. But it turned out like that. And I feel so useless right now, ‘cause the moment that he most needs someone to stay by his side, I can’t. Here I am, supposed to be his best friend and I can’t make him feel better....

_He’s shutting us out, Susan. And there’s nothing else we can do.

_So should we just sit and watch as he destroys himself !? I don’t think so.

_He has to want our help. It’s not just up to us. We can keep offering our help but we can’t go any further if he doesn’t allow us to.

Susan sighed heavily.

_There’s got to be a way we can help him, Doug.

_Don’t worry, we’ll find it. Meanwhile let’s keep an eye on him, to make sure he won’t do anything stupid. Again....He will open up sooner or later...

Doug looked at her, searching for her opinion on her statement. She stared at the floor before turning to face him.

_Yeah, let’s hope...

He nodded and patted her back softly.

_Well, I have to get out of here ... _ he said getting up and standing in front of her. _What about you?

_Still six more hours to go. _ she replied wearily.

_If anything happens, call me ok?

She looked up and nodded. He looked at her briefly and turned around to go. Susan watched as the door slammed shut and she was left alone againg in the lounge. After some minutes of deep reflections, she reached for the stethoscope on the table and left the room.

A few moments later Susan was going out of exam room 3 when she bumped into Kerry.

_Susan, I’ve been meaning to talk to you _ she said in a kind voice.

Susan looked at her, a little surprised and curious.

_What’s up Kerry? _ she asked as the two of them walked through the corridor.

_I talked to Anspaugh about Mark’s situation and we both think that it would be for the best interest of the hospital if he took some time off. He’s not totally recovered from the attack and...

_And why are you telling me this ?

_Because you are the one who knows him better and you can say if this is a extreme measure or if it can be applied now?

Susan pondered for a second.

_Mark is not acting normal since the attack and this is pretty much public knowledge, but I think work is the only thing holding him back to do something stupid right now ...

_Maybe a professional help would come in handy _ Kerry suggested.

_It would be great, but he refuses to talk to us, his friends, about the attack. Can you imagine with a professional?! He wouldn’t bear it.

_So, what is your suggestion?

_I guess we could watch him over these next few days and if he gets worse you can use the extreme measures. But I think they won’t be necessary, he just needs a little time to get over that.

Kerry shook her head slightly.

_Yeah, it seems fair.... If you have any news, let me know.

_Okay.

Susan and Kerry took their separate ways down the hall and Susan headed for the desk. She hesitated for a moment when she saw Mark there, but she shouldn’t feel that way, as he was the one who had to be embarassed for cutting her off earlier. She took a deep breath and told herself to be cool, to act normal and pretend she didn’t care about him. She approached the desk and passed right through him, without looking.

_Dr. Lewis, here are the labs results you wanted... _ Jerry said waving a paper on the air.

_It was about time... _ she said quietly as she took the paper from his hand. _Thanks, Jerry!

_Dr. Greene, there is a massive MVA coming in. Two cars versus a bicycle. Three minors and two critical. ETA 3 minutes. _ Haleh said.

_Ok, page Benton and Weaver. Call Doyle and Carter to take the minor ones.... Where’s Del Aminco? _ he said.

_She went home about twenty minutes ago _ Jerry warned him.

Susan now was leaned on the counter, carefully listening to them talking and watching Mark out of the corner of her eye. He needed a doctor to help in the major trauma, but he still hadn’t mentioned her name. Was he trying to ignore her or it was just a way to not face her again?!

_Is there anyone else available? _ he asked already knowing the answer .

Jerry raised his eyebrow and moved his head in Susan’s direction suggestively. Mark sighed heavily as he turned around slowly to look at Susan. She had her eyes fixed on some paper work, pretending she didn’t know what was going on.

_Susan? _ he called.

_Yeah? _ she asked not looking up from the paper.

_Could you give us a hand with this trauma? _ he asked, his voice reluctant.

She paused for a second before looking up quickly.

_Sure. _ she replied faking a cool voice.

He nodded as he noticed her cold statement towards him. But what was him expecting after the inconsiderate things he had said to her? He turned around, trying to find a way to apologize to her. He couldn’t go on like that, he needed help, he needed her help. But he was still too darn stubborn to admitt it to himself. Susan came closer to him and for a second he thought she was going to say something. But she just bent down to pick a yellow smock they kept under the counter. He followed her moves with his eyes untill she was by the front doors. He put on a smock and joined her.

The paramedics bursted through the door only seconds later wheeling the gurney in.

_What have we got? _ he asked as they headed for trauma 1.

_Joseph McFarden, 58 year old, he was stuck under the car wreckage for about 15 minutes. He has multiple lacerations on the face and chest, a deeper cut on the forehead that’s bleeding a lot, he doesn’t feel anything down his waist. Posible rupture of splin. Pulse is fading, BP 60/95.

_Ok, on my count, 1..2..3... _ Susan said as they moved the patient to the other gurney. _ Let’s get a head CT and the portable RX, chest and spyne.... _ Susan ordered.

_Mr. McFarden, can you tell me where it hurts? _Mark asked as he pressed his hands over his stomach. _ No, what about here?

_A little, yeah _ the man replied.

_Let’s clean up this cut here.. _ Susan said to the nurse.

_The splin is intact. It’s probably just a sore muscle from the car weight over him _ Mark told Susan.

She nodded as she heard his heart beats with the stethoscope

_Peritoneal lavage kit _ she ordered.

Mark looked at her as if to ask her why.

_Well, we have to check on if there’s any internal bleeding. The splin may not be injured, but there’s other organs. We can’t risk something like that .... _ she said looking at him.

Mark pondered for a second and nodded, agreeing with her decision. She turned to the tray beside her to prepare the peritoneal lavage. Mark walked around and uncovered the patient’s legs and carefully pinched his legs.

_Do you feel that, Mr. McFarden?

_There’s blood on the cavity. Lavage’s positive _ Susan said raising the seringe full of blood in her hands.

Mark looked at it, seeing her judgement was right.

_Let’s call the OR, quick! _ he said firmly. _Can you move your toes? _he asked pressing the palm of his hand against the patient’s feet.

_I don’t think so _ Joseph replied in a faint voice.

_Try again, harder _ Mark asked.

Joseph’s toes moved slightly against Mark’s hand.

_Good. What about that? _ he asked pressing a needle softly on his thigh.

The guy didn’t answer.

_Mr. McFarden? Mr. McFarden? _Mark called louder.

_He’s lost consciousness! _ Susan said.

_V-Fib_ the nurse said as the monitor went off.

_Damn it! Crash cart! _ Susan yelled as Mark started to do the CPR, compressing the patient’s chest.

_Charging....200! Clear! _ she shocked him, with no response. _ 300! Clear!

_He’s got a pulse! _ the nurse said.

_4 micrograms of athropine IV pushed . _ Mark ordered.

_Fifteen liters of O2 by mask. Let’s get a blood gas. Where’s the damn surgeon? _ Susan asked.

Later on in the ER........

Susan was taking off her gloves out of Trauma 1 when she saw Mark catching up to her.

_Can you take this abdominal pain in 4? _ he asked showing her a chart.

She threw the gloves on the trash can and then she looked up at him.

_Ok. _ she replied, her voice as cold as ice.

He handed her the chart and she started to walk away.

_Hey, uh, good pick up in there! I wouldn’t have imagined the lavage would be positive... _ he said, wondering if it had sounded as stupid to her as he did to him.

What the hell, he needed to start some conversation!

_Thanks. Tell this to Weaver and maybe she will cut me some slack _ she said, avoiding eye-contact with him.

_Susan, I need to talk to you _ he said after some awkward silence.

_I’m all ears _ she replied not stopping on her tracks.

_Can you look at me for a second?! _ he asked touching her arm quickly in an attempt to make her stop walking.

_What? _ she turned around angrily. _I’m taking care of my business, what do you want now?

She hated to treat him like that, but it might be the only way he would realize that he had hurted her deeply.

_I want to apologize for... _ he started

_For beeing a huge ass when your friends show concern about you?! _ she interrupted, her voice now was more hurted than angry.

_That’s how it’s gonna be? _ he asked.

_What?

_Your attitude towards me? Is that how it’s gonna be now?

_Well, you didn’t appreciate the friendly one so now I’m trying to go for a careless one...

_I’m sorry. I’m deeply sorry for the way I came out earlier. I wish I could take it all back. I’m just....I’m so frustrated with myself, that I thought I needed to punish someone. But of all the people in the world you were the last one that deserved that.

Susan looked away, still not buying his explanations.

_I know I had no right to dump my misery on you, but please, Susan ....._ he paused to keep the forming tears in his eyes from falling down.

She looked at him, suddenly moved by his tone of voice. God, how much pain his features showed! It made her want to take back everything she had said to hurt him.

_Don’t give up on me! Please, it’s all I’m asking. I need you .... _ he confessed, almost pleading, his voice growing thicker with emotion.

For the first time since the attack, Susan could feel that Mark was showing what he really felt. For the first time he was beeing the same old Mark, willing to reach out for a friendly hand to get him through the dark. She couldn’t help a painful stung in her heart. It was her turn to rescue him, to be there for him, the same way he did with her when she lost little Suzie. His eyes transmited how lost and how desperate he felt inside. Susan shook her head slightly, her eyes full of tears.

She reached for his hand and stroke it softly.

_I will never give up on you. But I need you to not give up on you too. I can help you, Mark, you just have to let me in. _ she replied looking straight into his eyes.

He had tears streaming down his cheek, she did too. They moved closer for a warm, tender and true caring embrace. He felt secure in her arms, like she could take away his suffering and she felt glad to finally be doing something to make him feel better. She rubbed his back and neck softly as he rested his head on her shoulders.

_Everything’s gonna be alright. I promise you this. _ she whispered.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>>>>>>>>>>>~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I'm powerless to change your world
I'm powerless to stop the hurt
I'll give you my heart, give you my shoulder
Give you my heart, give you my shoulder"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>~~~~~~~~~~~

Moments later in the lounge.....

_I really did some damage in here _ Mark said, as he entered the room, followed by Susan.

_Yeah....

_Kerry must be pissed.

_Not so much. She’s worried about you. All of us.

He nodded and sat on the couch wearily.

_Want some coffee? _ she asked.

_No, I wanna try to sleep tonight.

Susan looked at him closely.

_Are you having trouble sleeping?

_Uh, yeah, actually.

_For how long?

_Since the attack... _ he replied quietly.

Susan walked up to him and sat beside him.

_You should have told me sooner.

_It’s probably just stress ....

_I wish I could do more for you. _ she said facing him.

_You already are. Once again, I’m sorry for this afternoon!

_It’s ok. It doesn’t matter right now. *You* are the only thing that matter !

_Thank you! _ he replied carefully placing his hand on her knee.

Susan looked at him and smiled, a little surprise by his gesture but not at all despleased. She put her hand over his and squeezed it gently.

_And thank you for trusting me! _ she said.

They exchanged meaningful looks and smiles.

_Is there anything I can get you? _ she asked, a hint of concern on her voice.

_I’m ok. Really!

Susan raised her eyebrown and looked at him with a suspicious statement. Mark grinned at how funny she looked doing that.

_What? _ she asked out in curiosity.

_Nothing _ he replied with a quick laugh.

She sighed in relief to hear that laugh. She knew they still had a lot to face straight ahead concerning the attack and its consequences, but that smile was definitely a proof that they were in the right way.

The door flew open and Connie popped her head in.

_Susan, Dr. Weaver is calling for you.

_Ok, thanks Connie, I’m coming. _ she replied and turned to Mark _ See? She doesn’t give me a slack ... _ she muttered.

He smiled slightly.

_Better you than me!

She grimaced sarcastically and got up.

_I’m gonna see what she wants. What time are you off?

_In one hour. You?

_Two hours. Catch up with me before you go, ok?

_Okay.

She smile sympathetically and turned to leave the room. Mark rested back on the couch and closed his eyes for a second, still feeling his sore ribs ache. Thank Goodness he had made up with Susan. He needed her more than anything right now, but there was still too much he felt he had to tell her. He needed to tell her about his feelings, his sleepless nights, the gun he had bought, his constant fear.... He could count on her, that much was obvious. But he was still trying to find a way to open up to her, sincerely. He felt he was going down into a deep endless hole, with nothing to break his fall. No, maybe there was something or someone .... and he know exactly who it was.

Two and a half hours later, Mark leaned against the door of his apartment, his body trembling, his lungs crying for some air. He had just done the stupidest thing in his life. He could still hear the gun splashing down on the lake and the image of the three scared teenagers backing down and stepping on the train after he had pointed the gun at them. What was he thinking? Nothing, or maybe everything. He wasn’t in a very stable emotional state and the last thing he needed was people messing with him. When he saw those guys following him as he steeped out of the train, some kind of alarm rang inside, a powerful sense of self-protection came over him. He wouldn’t allow anybody else hurt him or even try to take advantage of him. Deep down, it was only his way to "do justice"to what had happened to him. Yes, once more the ghost of the attack came to haunt his mind. Right in that moment, it was like re-living that torturing day, but there he could take care of the situation. He had a gun. And they would probably do anything to get money from him, and Mark couldn’t bear the possibility of suffering another violent abuse. So, he took the gun out of his bag and turned to threat the three guys behind him. He had lost control, he knew it. What if he had shot? What if he had killed someone deliberately? Now, when things were starting to settle down, he had talked to Susan, he had asked for her help, he knew he wasn’t alone anymore.....So why? Why? After the train had pulled away, he realized how insane he had acted. It dawned on him that it would only lead him to self-destruction. He couldn’t even stare at that thing in his hand. He ran as fast as he could and threw the gun in the water, like if it could erase his actions... But it couldn’t. He was losing his mind gradually and painfully. He was hitting the ground...

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Susan reached the admission’s desk to sign off. Exhaustion was the only thing she could feel.

_Hey, Jerry. Did Mark leave already?

_Yes, a couple of hours ago.... But he asked me to tell you not to worry and the only reason he left without talking to you was because you were busy in a trauma ...or something.

_Oh, ok. _ she said absently, not really believing in Mark’s excuse.

"He was propably too tired.." she thought.

_Well, I’m out of here! See you tomorrow! _ she dropped a few charts on the counter and walked towards the door

_Bye, Dr. Lewis _Jerry replied.

Susan walked to the parking lot, as her mind again was focused on Mark. Was he really telling the truth? She wondered if she could do anything for him. Nothing came to her mind. Well, she would call him to make sure he was alright when she got home... Yeah, that was the best to do.... But something in her heart was telling her the a phone call wouldn’t be enough. Something inside of her knew that he *really* needed her. She didn’t know exactly why she was feeling that, but she decided not to risk. The last thing he needed was to be alone. At least she would check him out closely. She got in the car and took the other way around, in the direction of his apartment. Yeah, she was feeling drowsy and tired, but a friend needed her help, and not a usual friend, a very special one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>>>>>>>>>>>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Wanna run for you
Would it do any good?
If I flew for you
You would still be standing
And it's hard watching
'Cause I'm part of you
And it's hard not to
Not to know what I can do"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>>>>>>>>>>>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Susan got out of the elevator bringing a box of pizza and some cokes on a bag. She walked through the hall and rang the bell of Mark’s apartment. She hadn’t been there many times, whenever thay wanted to do something together, like a movie or a margarita shoot, they would get together in her place. She rang the bell once, no answer. She waited a few seconds before ringing it again. "He might be sleeping" she thought. Soon she heard a sound from the inside.

_Mark, it’s me Susan!

He stood quiet for a moment, a guest was the last thing he wanted right now. He was afraid of losing control again and end up hurting her. Not to mention, that the effects of the sleepless nights were finally crashing down his sore body. He leaned his head on the door. She had had all this trouble to come to his apartment, the least he could do was talk to her. Slowly he turned the knob and opened the door. She smiled. He tried to, but didn’t suceeded.

_Hey, am I bothering you? _ she asked cautiously.

_Uh, no.... _ he said weakly.

_I thought that we could have some pizza and talk a little bit...

_That would be great, but I think I wouldn’t be the best companion right now. I just... want to be alone ... _ he said hesitantly.

He didn’t want to hurt her on bailing on what she had planned. She was so sweet to come over. He wished she had done this at a better time. But he doubted that time would come any time soon.

_I know you want to, but that’s not gonna happen Mr. _ she replied with a grin and entering his apartment. _ Beeing alone is the last thing you need.

He looked at her astonished by her action and couldn’t help a smile to see how hard she was trying to make him feel better. She looked at him carefully, noticing the blatant defeated statement over his face. She decided not to ask him anything, not yet. She would go ahead with the night, try to have fun and if he felt he had to, he would open up. She knew that.

Susan put her stuff on the table and turned to see him still standing by the open door, watching her movements.

_Close this door, otherwise the cold air will get in _ she teased.

Mark shook his head and closed the door behind him. They sat on the kitchen table and started to eat. Mark was most of the time quiet and lost in his own thoughts. Susan was worried, but still trying to cheer him up. Then, all of the sudden he blurted out.

_I bought a gun.

Susan’eyes grew wide open as she tried not to choke with the pizza. Before she had any time to say something, he continued:

_And a little while ago, when I was coming home in the train, some guys tried to mess with me, they teased, asked me for money. I said I didn’t have any. So, they followed me on my way out of the train. I walked fast, by they remained behind me, following each move I did, clearly wanting to scared the heck out of me. ..

Susan had her eyes fixed on him, as he spoke these words. Right in that moment, the worst crossed her mind. Mark could have hurted someone in the state he was in, specially with a gun on his hands.

_So, I turned around and pointed the gun at them. I yelled at them, told them to back off and get in the train again. They did what I said and then, I threw the gun in the lake.

He paused for a long second, his statement showing how deeply affected he was by what had just occured.

_I didn’t want to hurt them, Susan. I really didn’t. I lost it, I know. But I was afraid, you know. I couldn’t bear another abuse.

She was still shocked by his revelations. She didn’t know what to do, what to say or how to behave.

_Please don’t look at me like this _ he said.

She shook her head and mouthed some word that he couldn’t hear.

_This is not me....

Susan got up and walked closer to him. She knelt down and looked straight into his eyes.

_You shouldn’t have bought that gun, Mark. You could had hurted someone or even yourself. But you realized how stupid it was and threw it in the lake.

_It doesn’t change anything!

_No, it doesn’t. But it’s not my place to judge. You were right this afternoon when you said I didn’t know how you felt. I really don’t know the torturous surrender you’re in. But I want to, more than anything, I just want you to share your pain, your feelings, so I can help you through that. _ she paused for a second _ I’m worried about you Mark. I know it’s been a hard time and you fell like shutting everybody out, but I won’t let you do that. I am here for you. _ she said taking his hand in hers and holding it tightly.

Looking deeply onto her eye, he could find the confidence and support he was needing. For a second he felt like nothing could trouble him anymore. He had Susan. And she would help him get over that situation. The truthfulness in her eyes said that.

_Thank you! _ he said as he broke down in tears.

She stood up and hold him tenderly. He put his arms around her waist and rested his head on her belly. She put her hands over his face, stroking it softly na pulling him closer. Like a helplesss child he cried , finally allowing the tears to fall down since the attack. So much angst, fear, sadness, frustration, despair were bruising his soul that he felt like he would die. She let him cry how much he needed, just making sure to give him the comfort to open up freely. The important thing was that he wasn’t alone in that tough moment. He had someone to lean on, someone who cared and that would care until the end.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>>>>>>>>>>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I'm powerless to change your world
I'm powerless to stop the hurt
I'm trying hard to be your tower of strength
I'm trying hard to bring you back to joy

When the night just cuts you through
And the dream is lost to you
When you're worried and confused
I will give you my heart, give you my shoulder"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>>>>>>>>>>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Susan reached for the top shelf to pick some mugs in Mark’s kitchen. She had made some tea for both of them. They had talked for nearly one hour and a half and she knew that there was still a lot he needed to share .

She headed for the living room, with the two mugs on her hands and was very surprised to notice he was sprawled on the couch, sleeping soundly. She got closer to make sure he was really sleeping, turned off the tv and went to his bedroom to pick up a warm blanket. Once in the living room, she covered him with it gently and took off his glasses, placing them on the table.

She watched him for a while, all his words rushing back to her mind. He told her about his nights awake because of the aching ribs and muscles, and of course the constant fear inside of him. His heart would race everytime he heard a strange noise in the apartment or someone behind him on the street. The threatening image of the man’s restroom in County, the face of a despleased patient, some case of a pretty beaten up patient, all of this only made him fell worse. In his mind there was nothing to relieve that dark sensation that followed him since that day. And what made he even more angry was that he couldn’t remember much about the attack itself. The clear image he had on his mind was from the moment he woke up in the Trauma room with Doug, Carol and Susan around, all of them worried to death about his condition.

When the reality dawned on him, when he realized the state he was in, and the physical and spiritual consequences crashed over him, his defensive started to be his shield. He didn’t trust anyone else, anyone. And beeing back at the hospital was at one side painful, ‘cause everything made him remember that afternoon, and on the other hand it was a way to keep himself busy, with other things to focus.

Susan stood most of the time just listening to him, paying exclusive attention to his words and the way he felt. She wanted so badly to take away his pain forever, and make him feel good about himself again, but it wasn’t up to her entirely. It would be a gradual process, and as she had heard once, only time could heal old wounds. But during the long process of this she would be at his side unconditionally.

She sighed as she walked towards the door. It was late and she was on the next day. She turned around to look at him again. For the first time in nine days, he was getting some sleep peacefully. It had to be a good sign. She smiled slightly as she turned around and left the apartment.

On the next day Mark woke up at 10:00 pm, amazed at how much he had slept. He sat up at the couch as he head drifted back to the previous night. Her presence seemed to still fill the room graciously. Susan and her strong words and acts made him feel ready to face the day with no dark feelings. He walked up towards the bathroom when the phone rang. He picked up the receiver and the room suddenly felt brighter when he heard that voice.

_Hello? _ he said drowsily

_Hey, Mark. Did I wake you up? _ she asked

_Uh, no.

_So, how’s everything?

_Okay, actually. I had a great night of sleep and I think I owe this to you.

_What do you mean?

_Well, after I opened up to you last night, I felt like a great burden had been taken out of me, you know... I guess I needed to be sure that I wasn’t alone, I needed to know that someone cared. And yesterday, when you were here giving me the strengh I needed, you shoulder for me to cry on, I just...I felt that I could really get over the attack. If I stumble again, I know you will be there to help me up again.

Susan smiled on the other end of the line, trying to keep a stray tear from falling. His sincere voice made her extremely glad. She had finally achieved what she wanted. She had given him the strengh he needed, she had given him the confidence to go on.

_Mark, you don’t know how hapy I’m to hear that...

_Thank you Susan. For everything. For giving me the faith to go on, for simply beeing my friend.

_You don’t have to thank me for anything. Just know that you can always count on me.

_I know that.

They were silent for a moment.

_Feel like going out later? _ he asked.

_Of course.

_So, I’ll pick up say around 7:00?

_Great. I’ll see you then.

_Great. Bye.

_Bye.

They hung up the phone with a certain glow on their faces. They didn’t know exactly why, but they didn’t even bother to find out. They loved each other’s companion and their friendship was the silverline at that moment. Yeah, glimmers of a romantic interest between the two of them were present in their platonic relationship. But if something was meant to happen, it would naturally. With ho rush or drama, they would let themselves go with the flow and be there for each other. It was still too soon to predict anything. The only certainty they had was that Mark Greene and Susan Lewis couldn’t be apart, they completed each other in every way. And if it would lead to a deeper connection eventually, they didn’t know. As friends or lovers, they would always be together.

The End!!

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