|lucas_apollo (lucas_apollo) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-11-03 14:01:00
|Entry tags:||apollo, sigyn|
Walking in Circles
Who: Lucas and James
What: Pax doctors bump into each other at work.
Where: LA County Hospital
When: Monday, October 30, 2017
Lucas had just finished up with his current patient, ordering another battery of tests and instructing his team on the patient’s care, and now he was headed to the elevators to get a well-earned lunch break. He received a text from radiology that some test results were done for another case and while he was distracted bumped headlong into another man headed down the hallway.
“Ohh, I’m so sorry,” he said, steadying himself with one hand on the man’s arm and then stepping away, “need to pay more attention to where I’m going,” he laughed.
Lunch? What was lunch? Something James wanted, yes, but bloody fuck - he just could not find the canteen. He’d been at the hospital since 6:00 in the morning and the turbocharged coffee and granola bars he’d consumed kept him going, but he was starting to feel the pangs of hunger creep in. Working inpatient care would do that - it was just constant, a non-stop grind, and he’d forgotten what working in a hospital was like. He was rusty at it, since he’d done his residency so long ago - then he worked in outpatient facilities, in different clinics and such; if he wanted 40 hours a week or less, he ought to open his own practise - but he actually sort of liked the hustle and bustle of inpatient care. It was more diverse, not to mention the compensation was higher - he needed the money, he had to admit. Tending bar, generous tips included, just didn’t earn him enough to have much left over at the end of the month. And he had lived modestly, from paycheque to paycheque when he was in Boston.
At any rate, he planned to just grab something quick and then find the break room (also a challenge) for a fifteen-minute snooze but he found that he had no idea where he was. This hospital was huge and - well, he was shaken out of his thoughts when someone bumped into him. A fellow doctor, by the looks of it, when James took note - he had his own name, James B. Byrne, MD, Psychiatry, stitched on his doctor’s coat.
“No worries, mate,” he flashed a smile. “I seem to have found myself in a different ward entirely, when I was just looking for the canteen. Er - cafeteria,” he added. Sometimes people got confused when he used alien terms. “I got a tour when I first started but it’s like a maze regardless.”
Lucas smiled happily, “well you're in luck, I'm headed that way,” he said, glancing at the man's coat, “Dr. Byrne,” he added. He offered a hand to him. “I'm Lucas,” he said, his own nametag reading ‘Dr. Peters, MD, Diagnostic Medicine.’
“Come on, I'll show you to the cafeteria,” he said, guiding the man down the hall the way he had been going, towards the twists and turns towards the elevators.
James shook the man’s hand, a relieved sigh escaping him. “Thanks,” his smile turned a bit sheepish - because it was always embarrassing trying to learn your way around your new workplace, especially when much of it looked the same. The signs were helpful, or sometimes they just got him further turned around.
“Don’t suppose you were heading to the doctor’s lounge right after that?” he asked. He’d been there a few times, it was actually quite comfortable. Nice and quiet. “I think I need a cat nap to get through the rest of my shift. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to work the extra long ones.” In a hospital, anyway. When he tended bar, he usually did 3 PM to 3 AM shifts, mostly during the peak season.
He could really go for something substantial now, and not just half a sandwich - he decided he would get hot soup and a salad, that would do. There were healthy selections, at least. James didn’t understand some hospitals that had shit places like Chick-Fil-A on the premises. Really?
“I think a trip to the lounge could be arranged after some lunch,” Lucas replied, turning yet another corner and finally leading them to the elevators. There were many elevators on each floor, but the ones they wanted would let them out the closest to the cafeteria. He hit the call button. “It took me a good month to find my way around with any confidence, so don’t even worry about it,” he said.
“So you’re new here then,” he commented as the elevator opened, “to LA, or just to the hospital?” Lucas had moved to LA because of a job offer he couldn’t refuse, and he’d never looked back after that. Granted, recently learning that he was also somehow the Greek god of medicine...among other things...was definitely a lot to wrap his brain around. It wasn’t as if this guy would understand, even if he was a psychiatrist.
“Very new to the hospital, yes,” James confirmed. He made note of where he was, not just following blindly - with any luck, he wouldn’t have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to get back to the psych ward, and between there and the canteen and the physician’s lounge. It was the little things that mattered. “Not so much to the area but I did somewhat recently move here and into...a building that has certainly changed my life, I will say.”
That made him chuckle quietly. He couldn’t even fathom what was in store next for those who lived in the same building. “What about you? Do you live close by?” he wondered.
Something in what the other man said seemed to flick a lightswitch on somewhere in the back of Lucas’ brain and he hesitated just slightly before answering. “Yes I do, actually,” he said, stepping out of the elevators as they let them out on the ground floor. The cafeteria wasn’t far, and he led him around the corner to the main entrance. “In a building right on the beach called Pax Letale, have you heard of it?” he asked watching James carefully for his reaction.
Oh, good, the same building. Pax Letale. Fate worked in mysterious ways sometimes, didn’t it? It figured that James found someone else who worked at the hospital and also happened to live in his building. There was a pang of sympathy felt because, well, he knew firsthand how trying it was - and he hadn’t even been there that long.
“I’ve heard of it,” he smiled wryly. “I live on the second floor, in fact. Let’s find a private table or something, I’m sure we’ve a few stories to exchange regarding, ah...management.” And the general weirdness. He was too hungry to let it get to him though, the usual flip-flopping stomach when it came to Pax not present, so he simply found a fresh salad and a cup of hot soup with a lid to bring with him. Plus coffee. Always coffee.
Lucas allowed a little grin as the two of them gathered their lunch - Lucas got a roast beef sandwich with carrot and celery sticks and, of course, a coffee - and they found a table relatively far away from any of the others sitting and having their lunch. “So,” he said, unwrapping the cellophane around his sandwich, “I assume by now you know we don’t live in an ordinary building. How much about what’s going on do you actually know?” he asked him carefully. He didn’t know much himself, he’d only just learned about Apollo recently, but he was hoping they might be able to help each other out.
“Where to begin?” James laughed dryly. “Well, let’s see. I loved that the welcome gift when I moved in was a creepy mask, then there were the keys and...recently...” He took the lid off of his soup container, giving the contents a stir. It looked good, Italian wedding or something like that - it didn’t matter to him as long as it was hearty and filled him up, until he was free of his shift.
The psychiatrist could also use a smoke break, since nicotine and dealing with Pax often went hand in hand but he’d brush that aside for now. “I was...it’s not just me in my own mind, apparently. If you know what I mean.”
He had a feeling that Lucas did.
Lucas was watching him carefully, and nodded. He found he quite enjoyed the irony of a psychiatrist talking about not being alone in his own head. “Yeah, I do,” he said with a wry grin. He put his sandwich down and extended a hand to shake James’s. “Apollo, Greek god of medicine and prophecy, among other things…” He'd learned about Greek mythology in college, but not nearly as in-depth as his current research was taking him. Apollo was the god of pretty much anything they felt like pinning on him, it seemed.
“I've only just recently made his acquaintance,” he admitted, picking up his sandwich and taking a bite. He hadn't heard from Alice beyond a few friendly texts since that encounter, but he had more than enough to think about for now anyway.
James had always studied the sciences (if you wanted to call Psychology a science - it was one of the softer ones, anyway) and medicine, so his mythology knowledge wasn’t as sharp. But he’d at least heard of Apollo, because who hadn’t? He laughed a bit, shaking Lucas’ hand. “There are worse gods to be,” he noted. Like Loki - he was going to be forever concerned that the god within Nishka would push her boundaries and cause her harm indirectly; Sigyn protested this, however. She seemed to think Loki felt a kinship with his host and wanted to keep her safe - but James wasn’t convinced.
“And I’ve only recently made her acquaintance,” he spoke of his own...guest. “Sigyn, of the Norse. They call her Victory Woman, among other things - goddess of fidelity, or what have you. I didn’t know much about her before I did some research.” And he had to admit he respected Sigyn - she was dignified, and conducted herself with that same dignity James hoped to pursue with all his own affairs as well. “It’s...well, it’s something. I can also say with certainty I understand how bizarre it may sound, to yourself and outsiders.”
Lucas took another bite of sandwich while James was speaking, then nodded again when it was his turn. “Well, I have to admit I don’t know as much about the Norse, beyond Thor and Odin and Loki from those Marvel movies,” he said with a little smile. “It’s interesting that you ended up with a female god though. I haven’t exactly taken a poll of the building, but so far as I know, you’re the only one with an...internal visitor...of a different gender.” Granted, his circle was fairly small at the moment, and he’d only learned about Percy’s friend Hermes and Alice’s visitor Uke Mochi. He’d heard from them about others, but being a doctor, he tried as much as possible to respect others’ privacy.
“How special,” James quipped dryly, with a smirk. “I’m not the only one, however. Sigyn’s husband, Loki, is in my....ladyfriend.” He wasn’t sure what to call Nishka, and he hated the term girlfriend (though would use it if necessary). It would be a lot better if they ever got engaged, and then married - fiancee and wife sounded so much better than most other terms.
Lucas’ eyebrows rose. “Now that is interesting,” he said, leaning forward a little. “Did you guys get together because of your matching deities? Or was this just a coincidence? There's so much we don't know about this…” he said, taking a sip of his coffee.
“Coincidence, I’d say, considering we went more than thirty years of our lives without knowing of the deities,” James chuckled a little. Of course, they could always spend endless hours stressing about how much was Loki and Sigyn and how much was them, but why bother? James knew what it was like to question who he was, and he didn’t want to get bogged down in that. Now, he was comfortable with who he was. “I think the most important thing is to not get too caught up in the questions. You’re still you, I’m still me. Maybe we won’t ever find all the answers but I’m still going to be me.”
He started on his salad next, mixing some dressing on there - just packets of oil and vinegar, some pepper too, since he didn’t like a lot of goop on what was supposed to be a healthy lunch portion. “At the very least, you can feel free to give me a shout if it gets to be particularly annoying,” he added. “I wouldn’t call living with a god in your head easy.”
They were quiet presences (or at least, Sigyn was - she didn’t speak up much, it was more that he could simply feel her there if he concentrated enough) but regardless. They obviously had some sway and influence over their meatsuits.
Lucas nodded, “I'll definitely keep that in mind; there's very few people we can talk to about this sort of thing, right?” He supposed anyone in the building would be safe to talk to, though he had his reservations about the building management.
“Very few without invoking questions of the badly curious kind.” There were just some things the average person didn’t need to know - and the weirdness of Pax was one of those things. People didn’t do well with what they couldn’t explain; cognitive dissonance could be dangerous. “But at any rate, it might be nice to meet somewhere that’s not the hospital,” James noted.
“Agreed,” Lucas nodded. “Though it's nice to have someone to talk to over lunch, I usually just spend the time reading the news on my phone, and lately that's just damn depressing,” he shook his head.
“Well, I live on the tenth floor, so if you're ever in need of some guy talk you can look me up. Though I imagine you've got a pretty full schedule as it is. They treating you like a resident? They always pick on the new guy,” he chuckled, popping the last bite of sandwich in his mouth and picking up a carrot stick.
“That would be grand, actually,” James smiled, a relieved sort of thing. He would be taking Lucas up on the offer - it was nice having women for friends, but there were some things that probably fell under ‘guy talk’ that they just didn’t want to hear. Like grunting or awkwardly spewing about their feelings. “But aye, I’m certainly flashing back to my residency days. It’s been awhile since I’ve worked in a hospital - I’ve always done outpatient work, in clinics and things of that nature. It’s a change, but a good one.”
He would just have to get used to things, figure out that precarious work-life balance. James didn’t ever balk from a challenge, so he would endure as he always did. One thing he was not used to, however, was being hit on by nurses and medical assistants - male and female. It was a wonder he wasn’t permanently red-cheeked.
“I should get back to it though,” he sighed, glancing forlornly at his lunch - or the emptiness of the paper and plastic dishes, anyway; he’d devoured the whole thing, hungrier than he thought he’d been. Having a longer lunch meant that a little siesta in the lounge would have to wait, but alas. “I’m sure I’ll see you around, however.”
“Hey, no problem,” Lucas said, smiling up at him. “Do you need an escort back to your ward?” he asked, getting up and collecting his now empty tray. He didn’t mind guiding him back, he keenly remembered what it was like being new to the hospital and getting lost in the maze of corridors.
That might be a good idea. He’d very likely get turned around again and end up in a janitor’s closet or something. “Thanks, mate, I’d appreciate it,” James laughed, in a self-deprecating sort of way. But every new hospital employee experienced this, so, he wasn’t too concerned. He’d just dig his heels in and learn his way around, come hell or high water.