Ghost In My Pocket
Figured it was time to get something up to help take your minds off of all the shit flying around. Finished this a couple nights ago, did a lot of checking over this morning, just needed the excuse to post it.
Summary: Despite being a first responder, (Y/N) has never lost a patient, and doesn’t have a lot of experience with death overall.
Even so, they’re pretty sure that when someone dies, they’re not supposed to turn whatever room you walk into into a personal haunting zone.
It seems, however, that Lin-Manuel Miranda lives to prove them wrong.
Or, he would, if he was still - you know - alive.
Warnings: Character death, blood, train crash, serious character injury, precarious driving, grieving, spirits, arguing, yelling/shouting, swearing, general lack of knowledge of medical procedures, medical equipment and medical lingo, etc.
Pairing: Lin-Manuel Miranda x Gender Neutral Reader
Note: This was a bit of a challenge for me, guys. First of all, I was trying to drag it out a bit (You can kind of tell… Sorry about that… Working on imagery.) Second, I was trying to make it gender neutral. (let me know how I did?)
Also, it moves kind of slow - especially at the beginning. Will be made into multiple parts.
I’m really excited for this series, guys! More so than any of the others! I have a lot of ideas for this and where it’s going, and I think if I play my cards right, it has a lot of potential. Special thanks to @timeforhamilton and @imaginebeinghamiltrash! Both of them were so supportive, and let me bounce ideas off of them a lot and run a couple drafts past them. Couldn’t have done it without you two! :)
(Y/N) grit their teeth as the ambulance rattled around another corner at breakneck speed, jolting their hasty prep before they reached the scene.
They might have gotten used to riding in the thing a long time ago, but by all means, they didn’t have to like it.
Conrad glanced up, and the two of them shared a look, both with feet planted firmly on the ground and one hand in a white knuckled hold on the metal handles on the sides of the doors, both fully prepared to throw them open and rush out.
“Ready?” He asked.
They nodded in response.
Blood roared in their ears and their neck began to burn in response - the adrenaline rush, yes, (Y/N) was quite familiar with the feeling.
It was one they got every time they were sent out.
They had no clue as to what they might be finding once they reach the scene of whatever disaster was waiting for them.
All the preparation they could’ve done, they already did.
All they could hope to do was be able to recognize what to do in the situation.
They glanced over their shoulder, dully noticing Conrad doing the same in the back of their mind.
“Carson? Minty?” Minty’s calm and collected nod send her dark, ponytailed cornrow braids rippling ever so slightly.
In what was visible of the rear view mirror, (Y/N) was sure they saw Carson purse his lips in grim agreement, before he responded.
“You know me,” his words became strained at the end of his brief statement, struggling with the wheel and a sharp turn that sent them all stumbling just a little bit before regaining their balance. “’M ready for anything.”
(Y/N) wasn’t so sure about that.
They’d never say anything, but they’d definitely seen Carson gag a few times when seeing their patients at first. Occasionally, his nose would crinkle at the smell of antiseptic or blood, and once in a while, he’d even allow distressed tears to flow at the rushed shouting in the back of the vehicle, not being able to see what was going on (perhaps that was for the best) and instead imagining something so much worse.
(Y/N) couldn’t fathom how he’d managed to gain a job as an ambulance driver, but figured that it might’ve been the next best thing to what he knew he couldn’t do - be a doctor.
It didn’t matter - the man was loyal, and had a good memory.
He knew the streets of NYC alike the back of his hand, and thanks to him and his shortcuts and knowledge of streets and addresses, they never lost lives by not getting somewhere in time because they were lost or stuck in traffic, even though all cars should know to move - it was still New York, after all. They couldn’t control the people.
Besides, (Y/N), despite knowing that there was much left to be desired about them as a whole - not just Carson - liked to think of their little team as the “dream team.”
They worked well together.
They understood each other.
And, most importantly, they saved lives.
Without Carson, things wouldn’t be the same. Maybe they were just being unreasonable, not completely trusting another driver, but they had a feeling that somehow, at some point, without Carson, something would go wrong.
Looking at Conrad and Minty exasperatedly as the three of them shared a look at the response, they knew that both would never tell, either.
If it was for one of their own, they’d take it to the grave, and Carson would be mortified if he found out that yes they could actually see his reactions to everything.
A faint, acrid smell entered the air.
“Smoke,” Minty muttered grimly, wrinkling her nose.
They were getting closer.
“Must’ve - must’ve been a pretty bad crash, I guess, huh?” Carson chuckled nervously, his foot stomped on the gas pedal.Conrad rolled his eyes - contrast to Carson, he’d always been a bit cynical, and while he considered the three of them his greatest friends, he often got rather annoyed with Carson or tried to scare him, which caused Minty and him to get into fights when she got angry or annoyed with him trying to freak out their driver, which meant that (Y/N) had to play peace keeper more often than not.
Nonetheless, in this instance, they could share both Carson’s worry and Conrad’s annoyance - yes, it would, quite obviously, have been a very bad crash.
It was not everyday that two trains collided on the MTA Long Island Railroad system, after all.
Their group was one of about a half dozen ambulances already rushing to be on sight.
(Y/N) always got impatient during the ride over, but Minty was probably worse.
That, at least, was something they understood.
It was a trait that they all shared to some degree - even Carson.
For every second they stood there waiting to reach their destination, they were loosing precious time.
People were dying even as they gunned it down the street.
For people who’ve been trained to save lives at the fastest rate they could move and work, anything delaying them doing anything anywhere for even a second could pretty much mean the end of their world.
They didn’t have time for anything else, anyways.
(Y/N)’s eyes did another scan of their work area - an anxious habit of theirs.
Was there anything out of place? Was there something they missed? Would that be the one slip up that caused them to make a fatal mistake?
As usual, the answers to all of these were no, but still, every thirty seconds of silence and nothing to do made them on edge, and at least checking everything over gave them something to think about.
There was only one thing they could really think of that needed fixing.
“Conrad,” they said sharply, causing his eyes to snap to them.
“What?” He asked curiously, honestly wondering what they could have to say to him at a time like this.
“Hair,” was all they needed to say for him to get the message.
A grunt of frustration was released from him, and (Y/N)’s hand clenched around the once-cool metal of the handle, feeling the plastic of their gloves shift and crinkle at the movement.
They could feel the cool metal of the support for the small table cutting into their leg as Conrad had to dispose of his gloves, grumbling, before slipping out a ponytail and putting up his shoulder length blonde hair so it wouldn’t be in the way, reaching for a new pair of the clean gloves as quick as possible as the rancid smell grew more defined and slipping the material over his digits with practiced ease they all seemed to have. (Well…except Carson.)
Carson honked his horn as the ambulance drew closer, adding to the noise of the siren. Leaning out the window, he shouted, “Get out of the way!” At some drivers or pedestrians ((Y/N) wasn’t sure which one it was) that weren’t moving fast enough for his liking.
His knee bounced up and down restlessly, and (Y/N) saw Minty’s jaw clench as the woman also forced herself to look away from Carson.
Although they were both trained to be calm in this position, both of them were beginning to pick up more and more anxiety from Carson as he got more and more nervous that all the hinderances on the street were going to make it so they wouldn’t get there in time.
In a way, sometimes his job was more important than all of theirs.
(Y/N) leaned their head against the cool metal of the door, instead, turning away from the sight of their coworkers dealing with their own destructive thoughts.
(Y/N) hated to see people in pain - it was part of the reason they’d gone into the medical field - to help people. (It was also part of the reason that for how much they loved their job, it also brought them immense discomfort.)
But this was always much, much worse: the waiting.
Whenever someone got hurt in books or movies, they always emphasized how horrible it was - the pain, the blood, the screams, the panic and sickness and death - but they never mentioned the waiting, never talked about those agonizing minutes or hours or days it took to get to their injured comrades, and, indeed, injured strangers, to see how bad it really was, and wonder if they were going to make it before they even got there. The mind could make up the darkest scenarios to haunt one if they’d let it - and waiting is a weakness in that it gives one more time to cave to the mind’s bittersweet persuasion of darker thoughts, and allowed more time for said thoughts to fester and grow.
Soon enough, the sound of other sirens reached (Y/N)’s ears, mixed with the wails of those both injured and frightened, and they sighed quietly, mentally preparing themself for the scene ahead of them.
(Y/N) was used to the horror painted crime scenes and accidents, was used to screams of those who thought their loved ones lost to them and screams of those who still had enough left in them to scream. Those things didn’t phase them anymore as they once might’ve.
Sometimes they wondered if that still made them human.
Every time they had to ride in that vehicle they had to make a point to remind themself that they were still human.
It was in the seconds before they reached the accident that it mattered most for (Y/N) to tell themself this as much as possible, because if they didn’t know who they were, then they didn’t know what they were doing, and if they didn’t know what they were doing, they’d end up killing someone with that type of carelessness.
“Up ahead,” Carson threw over his shoulder, leaning back a bit as his foot put further more pressure on the gas pedal. “ETA one minute!”
The sirens were getting louder, mixing and mingling with the sirens of other emergency vehicles on their way.
What seemed like only seconds later, the vehicle was skidding to a halt and Conrad and (Y/N) were throwing open the doors before it even stopped.
(Y/N) leapt out, trying to read the scene as best and quickly as possible.
“Gurney!” They called almost as soon as their scan began.
Chaos was the best word for it, really.
Both trains were sideways on the tracks, windows shattered and walls crippled.
Fires were everywhere, people were screaming to be let out, and a foul black smoke was filling the air.
In the back of their mind, they registered Minty and Conrad rushing past them with the gurney, going to the first person they saw who really needed it - a woman, struggling to breathe, but still managing as she let out pained moans when she could afford it, her torso caved in on one side.
Broken ribs, (Y/N) immediately deduced - lucky her lungs didn’t collapse, though from the looks of things, it was close, and they’d have to get her to the hospital as soon as possible to check for internal bleeding.
If there wasn’t any already, well, then, they wouldn’t need to spend much time with her in the ambulance itself, as long as they were careful not to jostle anything too much and kept an eye on her.
The multiple shallow cuts on her were bleeding profusely, but they could all be quickly and easily patched up - probably by one person if luck was on their side.
“Gurney!” They called out again, not wasting any time.
Minty came racing out of the ambulance with their other gurney, immediately picking up on where (Y/N) was going and moving to follow them, picking up the speed so they wouldn’t waste time and (Y/N) could help carry the gurney.
This one was a man, and they had to pull him out from a broken window.
(Y/N) wasn’t happy that there wasn’t another exit for him, because they’d had to waste time knocking some of the glass out so he didn’t get scraped up even worse, and pulling him through, but in these situations, nothing was ideal, and they had to work with what was given to them.
They hastily lifted him up, careful not to jostle anything, and secured him on the gurney.
As they raced back to the ambulance, (Y/N) mentally cataloged his injuries.
He had been much further up than the other woman, closer to the wreckage, and as such, had gotten much worse injuries.
His right arm was twisted at an awkward angle, his upper left ribs were caving in and he’d be one lucky son of a bitch if they hadn’t managed to puncture his lung - they couldn’t yet tell - his left ankle was swelling and bruised, and - oh.
That made things a lot worse.
A rather sizable gash in his stomach, standing out among the rest of his cuts and presumably made by the shattering window glass when the trains were caught in the accident.
Dust, scrapes, bruises and a little bit of blood scattered both him and the woman.
Conrad had leapt up when he saw them coming towards him, and as soon as they jumped in the ambulance, he dropped everything he was doing to help the woman and slammed the doors closed behind them, instantly going back to what he had been doing as Minty and (Y/N) started working on the other patient.
After the seventh time they rode together after getting Carson as their driver, they had stopped needing to scream phrases such as, “GUN IT, IDIOT!” “MOVE!” “START THE DAMN CAR!” etc., and he had learned simply to start moving as fast as possible as soon as he heard both the doors close, and that didn’t change this time.
Minty made quick work of getting getting the equipment she needed out, while (Y/N) completely skipped over the broken limbs and went to cut the fabric around his wound and staunch the bleeding in the man’s stomach.
(Y/N)’s body went on autopilot again, like it always does during these times, and they allowed themselves time to examine both the patients, something they had always liked doing.
As creepy as it sounded, it helped ground them, reminding them that somewhere out there, these people had families to get back to, friends, no matter how small or broken or in denial, and that their life was in their hands now, and it was up to them to get them home.
Distantly, they could hear Conrad trying to talk to the woman, seeing if he could find out what was hurting to see if he’d missed anything, if he could get her name, trying to keep her mind off the pain, and it registered in their brain that they should be doing the same thing.
Should they, though?
(Y/N)’s eyes flickered up.
Contrary to (Y/N)’s earlier belief, Minty wasn’t trying to stop the bleeding on the rest of his cuts, which were small in comparison to the one (Y/N) was watching, but would become a problem if left unattended, but cutting open the rest of his shirt.
Dammit, (Y/N), pay attention! They shouted in their head as they saw what was going on. Now is not the time to get distracted!
Their brow knitted in concern as the man gasped again and again, desperately trying to breathe, all the while the woman’s breaths were settling down.
Looks like he wasn’t very lucky with his lungs after all.
Damn. Traumatic Pneumothorax.
Well, that certainly made things a hell of a lot worse. (It also told them that no, they should absolutely not try to get him to talk, thank you very much.)
(Y/N)’s eyes widened as he seemed to get paler and paler.
He was getting less and less oxygen as the movement in his lungs only became more restricted.
“Minty!” They snapped warningly.
“I’m going as fast as I can!” She shot back just as sharply, her hands flying to try to set up the chest tube.
(Y/N) glanced down, grimacing at the sight - despite their hardest efforts, the blood didn’t seem to be stopping.
They pulled one hand away, the other immediately trying to pick up the slack, and turned their hand over, so they weren’t spreading the blood when they touched his hands.
They felt both to make sure it wasn’t just a coincidence, but the skin was cool to the touch and by all means clammy overall.
His eyes flickered from them to the ceiling, from Minty to Conrad to the woman on his right to the medical equipment surrounding him, never staying on one thing for long.
Lack of concentration.
“BP’s dropping!” (Y/N) shouted, bordering on frantic.
They’d never had a patient get this bad before. They put two fingers to his wrist - the lack of oxygen was getting to him, his heart rate was getting faster and faster.
His eyes fluttered as they rocketed around yet another corner.
(Y/N) could only curse at the movement, though they knew that Carson was doing the best he could.
The sudden movement would only be making the man more disoriented, and that was exactly what they didn’t need right now.
Not only would he be getting tired from the lack of oxygen he was getting, he’d also be getting dizzy from his rapidly dropping blood pressure, which would also add to the fatigue, and he was sure to be panicking about not being able to breathe.
Their free hand went back to fruitlessly trying to stop the gushing liquid life.
“Hey, can you hear me?” Minty was, somehow, able to stay calm despite the situation.
(Y/N) wasn’t sure how she did it, at first, but then they remembered that Minty had been doing this for a lot longer than they had.
(Y/N) hadn’t had any patients get this worse, but Minty might’ve.
Hell, (Y/N) had no idea how many people their partners had seen die over the years before they came along to join their little team.
It was their job to be calm in situations like this, for God’s sake!
Get yourself together, (Y/N)! You’re not going to be helping anybody if you’re uselessly panicking!
The man’s eyes slowly moved to Minty’s general direction when she spoke.
“You’re gonna be alright, okay? We’re gonna get you home.”
Normally Minty kept her promises to people.
(Y/N) wasn’t sure if she could manage to keep this one.
Finally, Minty had managed to get the chest tube set up properly, and begin the process of draining the air between his lungs so they could expand properly, but even if that was one problem solved, he had fainted before she got far, a combination of the combined dropping blood pressure and prolonged time without oxygen.
(Y/N) was honestly surprised he had managed to hold on as long as he did.
If anything, he was resilient - they’d give him that.
(Y/N)’s hand flew to his wrist again, where his pulse was slowing down - most likely a result of beginning to be able to breathe properly again - and they let out a sigh of relief when they felt it steadying out.
But then it kept going - slower and slower and slower.
“Minty,” they glanced up sharply, meeting her eyes, before looking back down at his wrist, and then back at the injury on his stomach that just wouldn’t stop bleeding.
Her eyes followed their gaze, and immediately understood, one of her own hands flitting to take his pulse more accurately, by his neck, her eyes trailing back to look at his stomach as she did so, where she obviously saw the same problem as (Y/N) did.
“His pulse is getting weaker,” She confirmed.
“Conrad!” (Y/N) now had both hands on the stomach wound again, but was gesturing their companion over with his head.
As his patient was mostly stable, the injuries far less severe, he was able to drop what he was doing and move there quickly.
“He’s not breathing!” Minty observed.
“Ah, damn it…”
Conrad skipped the hands-only part of CPR, knowing it could only put him in a further critical condition with his lungs and ribs the way they currently were, and went straight to administering mouth-to-mouth.
As he tried to breathe life into him, Minty worked in tandem, trying to help inflate his lungs with the chest pump.
It didn’t seem to be working, and when Minty’s fingers again went to his neck, her eyes widened and she shouted, “I can’t feel a pulse!”
(Y/N)’s hands went to his wrist and waited for a second - they couldn’t feel anything either.
“He’s going into cardiac arrest.”
Needless to say, they didn’t waste any time in getting out the defibrillators were out.
“Clear!” Conrad shouted as he was charging them up.
Reluctantly, (Y/N) stepped back.
“Clear!” He yelled again when they were reaching the point where they were ready to be used.
Minty gave one last squeeze of the chest pump before dropping it and taking a step away.
“Clear!” Conrad yelled for the third time, as per protocol, before setting the paddles on his chest and sending the shock through.
In the back of their mind, (Y/N) registered Carson give a little squeak from up front, but they ignored it.
Minty once again checked his pulse once the shock had passed, and shook her head.
“Clear!” Conrad shouted again, and Minty withdrew her hand.
(Y/N)’s heart was pumping so fast they were afraid it would beat straight out of their chest, though they knew it wasn’t physically possible.
Come on come on come on…
Conrad brought the paddles down again, and again, Minty checked his pulse and shook her head.
Again and again they tried, always with the same results.
“Clear!” Conrad went to charge up the paddles again, refusing to let him go, but Minty held out a hand to stop him.
“Stop,” she said in a quiet voice. And then, grimly, “I’m calling it. TOD 6:52 am.”
(Y/N) swallowed hard.
While Conrad began to pack away the defibrillators and Minty began to extract the chest pump, (Y/N)’s eyes flickered to the woman a little to their left.
They locked eyes, and her chest heaved again, silently, and more and more tears ran down her face.
(Y/N)’s stomach dropped.
Distantly, they were aware of Minty and Conrad finishing putting away the equipment and beginning to look over obvious physical traits, trying to save some work for the coroner on identifying him.
They heard Minty ask what color his eyes were, and was sure that he was opening up his lids to check before they filmed over, but (Y/N) could only focus on the woman.
Not only had they let this man die, but this woman was still sitting here, in pain, but very much alive, and while (Y/N), Minty and Conrad might have to live knowing that while they hadn’t been able to save him, they had tried, she would have to live knowing that less than five feet away from her, a man had died, and she hadn’t been able to do anything for him at all.
An overwhelming sense of guilt and hopelessness overcame them in that moment.
They’d never lost a patient before.
It was somehow so much worse than they’d thought it would be.
Pursing their lips, they painstakingly broke the connection between them and the woman, managing to bring their gaze back over to the man.
While the other two had their attention turned away, they reached up, and with blood soaked hands, slowly slid his dark brown eyes shut.
Now, they supposed, he looked more like he was sleeping again.
When the four of them got off their shift that night, they parted silently.
It was almost as if, without words, they’d all quietly and shamefully admitted that somewhere along the way, they had made a mistake.
They might not know what it was - they might never - and there was a mistake in there somewhere, regardless.
And that was a thought that just about tore (Y/N)’s heart to shreds.
(Y/N) went home to their apartment, sat on their couch, and did what they hadn’t been strong or stupid enough to do in front of the others.
Before the day had started, (Y/N) knew that there were risks in the job, knew that losing someone was a possibility, that they’d had to deal with it.
But before the day had started, (Y/N) had also prided themself on having never lost a patient.
(Y/N) didn’t have a lot of friends - Minty, Carson, Conrad, and maybe one or two others, though they didn’t see them often - and what family they had were few and far in between, scattered across the country - some of them in other countries.
They’d never had all that much to lose.
Death was new to them - a foreign concept.
(Y/N) didn’t think of it often, found it easier not to - they were less likely to make a mistake if their mind wasn’t thinking of the horrible result of it.
With how many people dealt with it around the world each day, and how most of them were still walking around with a strong face, they had thought it would be easier than it was.
God, they had gotten rid of the air in between his lungs, he was on his way to breathing again!
He was right there.
If (Y/N) could’ve just stopped the bleeding-
“Why so gloomy?”
(Y/N) couldn’t help it - they leapt up from the couch, letting out an almighty screech as they did so, and whipped around to see where the voice had come from.
“Wh - how -”
With their heart practically still in their throat, they didn’t seem to be able to form a coherent sentence.
“What the hell?! I thought you died!”
And truly, (Y/N) did, but nonetheless, standing there in front of them was a man, with shoulder length black hair, a t-shirt and jeans on, a worn notebook tucked under his arm.
Dark, intelligent eyes met their own, and (Y/N)’s breath caught at seeing the orbs that they had last caught just before sliding them closed.
He gave them a deadpan look, which did nothing to help ease the terror rising inside of them or their rocketing heart beat.
“Gee, thanks. Nice to see you, too, buddy. How’ve you been?”
The sarcasm threw them even further off guard.
“I - you…what the hell?”
“You’ve asked that already.”
(Y/N) shook their head, ignoring what he’d just said. “What’s going on?”
The bright blue man - who the longer (Y/N) looked at, the more they were sure that this was definitely the man who had died in the ambulance earlier that morning - set down his notebook that they were sure wasn’t with him earlier on the coffee table, where it landed with a thump.
How the hell did it make a noise? It’s - what even was it, anyways? He was a ghost, they were pretty sure, but what were they supposed to call that? It wasn’t with him earlier when he died, but it looked to be the same color as him, and like him, ever so slightly transparent. That meant that it shouldn’t have been able to make a noise.
While (Y/N) was momentarily distracted, still staring at the journal and trying to figure it out, the man made himself comfortable on their couch, eyes surveying the apartment curiously.
“Nice place you’ve got,” he remarked, snapping them out of their thoughts.
They could only stare at him a little while longer, before asking the one thing really on their mind in this whole situation.
“What’s going on?” They repeated, their voice very small this time around.
They could feel their obnoxious heartbeat finally beginning to calm after the initial scare, but it was still faster than normal.
He blinked at them, and for a moment, said nothing, before he blurted out the words,
“Stop blaming yourself.”
“I need t-” (Y/N) cut themself off for a second before shaking their head again. “…what?”
“Okay, this could take a while. Have a seat,” (Y/N) rose an eyebrow at that. Their head still whirling from whatever the hell this was, they hardly noticed the irritation it was causing their eyes as the tears were drying.
A dead man they’d never met before that day was sitting in their living room, inviting them to sit down in their own home without even seeming to realize what he was doing.
How the hell was this their life right now?
Never mind, they decided. I really need to sit down right now.
“So here’s the deal,” he turned towards them. “I’m dead-”
“I see that,” (Y/N) muttered, but he seemed not to hear them.
“But I can’t get out of the In Between. According to this lady who is, apparently, a Grimm - in pretty sure that’s their slang for Grim Reaper, but I didn’t get to ask - and who calls herself Jerrah- really nice, by the way, awesome fedora, too, you should totally meet her sometime-” (Y/N) really hoped that they wouldn’t be able to meet her for a long time. “The reason I can’t move on is because I have unfinished business here. And, apparently, that unfinished business is you.”
(Y/N) blinked once, then twice at the silence, dragging their eyes to look at his face rather than at his emphatically gesturing hands, which had been distracting them the entire time he had been talking.
Realizing this guy was waiting for them to say something, (Y/N) quickly scrolled through their mind and tried to remember where exactly he’d left off.
“Me?” They finally asked, the words coming out more like a scoff. “I don’t even know your name. I was a catalyst in you dying. We’ve never been in the same room as each other for more than ten minutes.”
He shrugged. “Well, yeah, but according to her, you blame yourself and that’s something I have to fix.”
At his flippant words (Y/N)’s heart practically stopped. Gritting their teeth, they took a deep breath and breathed out through their nose, their eyes closed.
It was going to be a long, long night.