Summary: The first time Jack loses a patient
Word count: 230
Note: For gottalovev who wanted "first times" for her day as Queen at lostsquee. Sorry you're getting Jack angst instead of Sawyer porn! I hope everyone else gave you lots of yummy first kisses!
The first time Jack loses a patient on the operating table, he spends six hours working on the man, six painstaking hours trying to repair a spine that’s nearly severed. A nurse wipes the sweat from Jack’s brow and his concentration on the small rectangle of blood and bone and nerves is so intense, after a while he doesn’t even know she is there.
But the man still dies. After Jack calls time of death, he rips off his mask and throws it to the floor. No one says anything. The euphoric rush he’s learned to count on at the end of a successful surgery doesn’t come; instead he is drained, numb.
He walks out to inform the family. He’s had to be the bearer of bad news before, but never when it was his surgery. His face says it all, he knows, before the words are even spoken.
He expects to share in their grief, sure he’ll choke up, but he makes it through the rote statement without betraying an ounce of emotion.
It’s only later on, at home, as he tries to wash away his disappointment in the hot spray of the shower that he feels the sting of tears.
The next time, there are no tears, not even those he saves to be shed later, in private. He learns to wear the numbness like another surgical mask.