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Disclaimer: CBS owns the show and the characters/settings, I just borrow them and try to make them cute. No copyright infringement intended.

This is for DD as they all are, because she asked me to and pouted at me and encouraged me in her sleep. lol
“Chicago?” Miranda asked, hoping her voice wouldn’t fall on saying it like her heart had when she’d heard the news. Not that she was clear on why it had done so to begin with, but she didn’t want him to hear it.

David shrugged. “My residency’s almost up,” he said by way of explanation, trying not to get his hopes up when he saw what looked like a tinge of sadness in her eyes before she looked away from him and back at the computer screen. “It’s a good offer.”

“I thought you got an offer here,” Miranda countered, staring at the screen but not really focusing on it like she probably should have been.

“Yeah, but this one is higher pay and I’d be working mostly on my own,” he replied, and could have sworn he saw her face fall in the reflection from the screen. “Not that I don’t like working with you…”

“No, I understand,” Miranda said, because she did. David’s role at Three Rivers had been to learn, and no matter how good a surgeon he’d turned into he would probably always be looked upon in that light. Especially with Andy around. While they all got along reasonably well, the transition from being a resident to a full fledged surgeon was frustrating, especially when you stayed at the same hospital. It was why she’d come back here from Philly, after all.

David didn’t press the issue, and Miranda didn’t say anything more. She just got up from the computer and tried to make herself look busy. She didn’t know exactly what was going on with her today, but she knew she couldn’t be around him right now. It was too hard. So she walked off toward one of her patients’ rooms with no real reason for going there in the first place.

David watched her go and sighed. From the look and sound of things, she was upset that he was thinking of leaving. It came as something of a shock. They got along really well, but she’d never seemed too receptive to his advances and he’d slowly come to terms with the fact that they’d never be more than good friends. The reaction she’d given to his news wasn’t the reaction a friend would have given, though, and he was a little confused by the whole thing. Still, he knew it wouldn’t do him any good to approach Miranda about it, so he shook his head slightly when she turned the corner and went about his own business.

Miranda did the same, or at least tried to look like she was. “Hi Mr. Carther, how are you feeling today?” she asked with artificial brightness as she entered the patient’s room. This guy was in his mid forties and had been admitted with chest pain, although they were still running tests on him and hadn’t figured out the exact cause as yet. He seemed pretty stable at the moment, but she figured it couldn’t hurt to check in with him anyway. It would keep her from being around or thinking about David, and right now that was the only thing she really needed.

“I’m all right,” he replied, although he didn’t exactly sound it. His breath was coming in short wheezes and gasps, and Miranda frowned in concern and took out her stethoscope.

“Sounds like you’re having some trouble,” she told him, hoping he’d fill her in on what he was feeling. He seemed pretty reserved and from what she’d been able to gather he hadn’t been all that forthcoming with the nurses when he was brought in, but she held out some hope that if he was feeling bad enough he might speak up.

No such luck. He simply nodded and tried to lie back as much as he could so she could get a good sound on the scope. What she heard in those few seconds worried her. It sounded like something was blocking the man’s breathing, and she didn’t like not knowing what exactly that was. “We’re gonna need to run some more tests,” she told him as she stepped back and put her scope away. “We need to figure out what’s causing the wheezing sounds along with the pain.”

Carther just nodded slightly and seemed a bit bored by the information, but Miranda had stopped caring. She just left the room and went to find Andy, hoping he might be able to help. When she’d finally located him and told him the situation, he ran through a list of things it could be and told her what tests to order, and to notify him when she knew the results. She was about to walk away and head back to doing rounds when he cleared his throat. “Did you hear about the offer David got in Chicago?”

It stopped her in her tracks, and she hated the fact that she was being so obvious about it bothering her. “Yeah,” was all she said. Andy didn’t pry, just gave her a wry sort of smirk in acknowledgment and walked away, presumably up to one of the surgeries he had scheduled for the day. She had one at three herself but had about an hour to kill before then, so she figured she’d just keep doing rounds to avoid David and the conversation she knew was coming at some point.

As she went from room to room checking on everyone and making sure things were as they should be, she tried to figure out what was going on in her head. She and David were friends and colleagues and often spent time together after work, but that was no reason for her to be upset that he was thinking of taking what would undoubtedly be a better job for his career development. In fact, her reaction was a contradiction to that, and she was hard put to try to figure out why she’d reacted the way she did.

It didn’t come to her immediately, but somewhere during the course of walking all over the hospital she found herself thinking of all the sweet little looks David would always shoot her when he thought she wasn’t looking, and even sometimes when she was. His reputation around the hospital had preceded him when they’d met, and she’d been under the impression that his flirting with her since that day had just been part of his routine to get with every woman he possibly could at Three Rivers.

But the looks…he didn’t look like that when he talked to or about any of the nurses he’d seen, even when he went on a second or even third date with some of them. His eyes never got soft when they were mentioned, and he never smiled as if involuntarily when he talked about them. But he did both when he talked to her, and the way he looked at her sometimes made her wonder if it was really just routine after all. She’d never given any thought to the notion that he might actually care for her, mostly because she wasn’t sure she could handle it if she allowed herself to fall for him and he wound up not caring about her as more than a conquest after all.

Given her romantic history and the way things had turned out in that regard in the past, she’d been far more comfortable keeping him at a distance and being his friend. She hadn’t entertained the thought that he could be interested in order to spare her heart. If she never thought about it, she wouldn’t think of him in that way, and she wouldn’t get hurt.

As she was finishing her rounds and checking the computer one last time before heading up to do her surgery, she ran into David, who came to check on some potential donor stats at the same time. When their eyes met and she saw him smile, she had to look away to keep from blushing, and knew she was in serious trouble.

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