Note: The opening dialogue in this story was written by Robert Hamilton.
This story is dedicated to E!lf and is in response to a challenge she posted on
the AllE! Fan Fic List.
The Girl on the Balance Beam – Alternate Ending
By Audrey W.
This picks up where John Gage is taking care of Roy DeSoto’s head wound at the scene of the train fire. . .
“You sure you’re okay?” Johnny wondered.
A bit disoriented, Roy replied, “Yeah.”
Gage motioned toward his partner’s right temple. “Is that the only place you’re hurt?”
“Yeah. . .my leg. . .” He glanced at the men still battling the flames in the train car.
“Yeah. . .”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“Oh. . .it just hurts a little.” He took a quick glance downward.
“This job gets a little dangerous.”
“I don’t know what you’re gripin’ about,” Johnny commented as he readied to clean the head wound. “It’s not everybody . . .gets a paramedic with ‘em every day. You know, I’m surprised you--Roy!”
Gage immediately found himself lurching forward to catch his partner as the injured paramedic started to drop. The younger man struggled against the sudden dead weight as he called out over his right shoulder, “Cap!. . .Cap!”
As soon as he saw the situation, Captain Stanley was over to assist. “What happened?” he asked as he helped lower Roy to the ground.
“I don’ know. He was talking to me, seemed to be doin’ okay, I mean considering. . .and then all of a sudden he just went out on me.”
Now on his knees, Johnny leaned over his partner as he pulled a penlight out of his shirt pocket. “Can you get the biophone, Cap?”
A very worried Captain Stanley trotted around to the passenger side of the squad and removed the biophone from its compartment. He also grabbed the drug box that had been on the hood of the truck.
“An ambulance is already on the way. Should be here any minute,” Hank informed as he set the items on the ground near Roy.
“Marco! I need you to give John a hand here!” Hank called out, then proceeded to contact Rampart when he saw the fireman respond to his directive. The other men glanced over in concern, then returned their attention to the smoldering train car that had been moved away from another containing over 10,000 gallons of ammonium nitrate. Though there’d been the one injury, everyone’s quick action at the scene had prevented a huge disaster had the train cars not been separated.
“His pupils are normal and reactive,” Johnny stated. He then checked Roy’s pulse and respirations before getting a blood pressure reading.
While the captain relayed the vitals to Rampart, Roy began to stir. Johnny immediately leaned closer.
Without an attempt at a verbal response, the senior paramedic rolled to the side as if to push up, but Johnny quickly grabbed his shoulders and gently guided him back to the ground. Marco kneeled nearby waiting for instructions on how to help.
“Just stay still,” Johnny directed the injured man. He forced a smile when Roy’s eyes opened and peered up at him. “Hey, partner. Nice of you to rejoin us.”
The other paramedic simply winced.
“Do you remember where you are?” Gage asked.
“. . .train fire. . .”
“Good deal. Now for the big one. Do you know your name?”
“Roy. . . DeSoto.”
Before Johnny could ask anymore questions, Roy went on to give the day and date as well. The fact he was one step ahead of his younger partner on the routine questions brought some relief to the other men.
“My leg. . .”
“The right one?” Gage wondered.
A pause and then a slight nod.
He carefully palpated his friend’s leg, working his way down as he kept a practiced eye on his partner’s face for a reaction. When he got to the calf, there it was; the tell-tale grimace.
Johnny reached for the scissors on his belt as he directed, “Marco, get the trauma box.” He then cut open Roy’s pant leg up to the knee as Captain Stanley looked on with hopes it wasn’t anything that would put Roy out of commission for a long period of time.
What Gage discovered was some bruising with a minimal amount of swelling within the calf and shin.
“You think it’s fractured?” Hank questioned.
“More’n likely,” Johnny responded with a quick nod. “They’ll have to x-ray it to be sure. I don’t think it’s the tibia though. He shouldn’ta been able to walk like he did if it was. But the fibula’s not a weight-bearing bone.”
Marco had returned with the trauma box and soon Johnny had his partner’s lower leg splinted as a precaution. He then started an IV as directed by Rampart, though no pain medication would be allowed until the doctor had a chance to examine Roy.
Once the ambulance arrived and Roy was ready for transport, Johnny and the ambulance attendants prepared to lift the stretcher with the paramedic to place him inside. Hank Stanley leaned over and gave him a light squeeze on the right shoulder.
“Take it easy, pal.”
Roy nodded slightly, the pain still evident on his face.
“I’ll be over to see you tomorrow,” the captain continued. “Check on how you’re doing.”
He figured he’d be stopping by Rampart when he did, but there was always that slim chance things weren’t as serious as they appeared and Roy would be released the following morning. He was certain the senior paramedic would be there for overnight observation at the very least though.
He watched as the men loaded the stretcher in the back of the ambulance and Johnny climbed up inside as well. Marco handed Gage the necessary boxes for the ride in.
“Take good care of him, John,” the captain remarked as he closed one of the rear doors. “We’ll see you back at the station; I’ll have headquarters send in a replacement.”
He closed the other door and gave them two slaps. Hank watched as the emergency vehicle drove away, lights and siren in use.
Thank God he’s still with us. That door could’ve killed him. . .
While en route to Rampart, Johnny rechecked his partner’s vital signs. When he noticed the senior paramedic eyeing him, he smirked in an effort to hide his concern.
“Don’t worry. Not only do ya have your own personal paramedic, but you got one of the best.”
“Humor doesn’t. . .help.”
Gage feigned a hurt look. “Oh thanks.”
Roy started to grin, but the expression was replaced with a wince.
“Still hurtin’ pretty bad, huh?”
“My head. . .feels like . . .it’s being hammered on.”
“I’m not surprised.”
“My leg. . . hurts. . .”
“I know, but you know I can’t give ya anything for it with the head injury. Hang in there. We’re almost there.”
Roy closed his eyes against the pain as his partner looked out a window, glad to see a familiar landmark that indicated they were indeed close to Rampart.
When they arrived at the hospital, and the ambulance was backed up to the emergency entrance, the driver hurried to assist with the stretcher. He grabbed the end with Roy’s feet and helped guide it out as Johnny kept hold of the other end. Once it was clear of the ambulance, the legs and wheels were brought down for support.
Johnny hopped out of ambulance and followed alongside his partner with the IV bag in his hand, the tubing slack between them, as Roy was wheeled inside and down the corridor.
“In Two,” Dixie McCall directed as they reached the treatment rooms. She opened the door and stood holding it while Roy was taken inside. She and Johnny exchanged worried looks as he passed by.
She let go of the door and allowed it to close on its own while she made her way over to assist Doctor Brackett with the familiar patient once Gage and the ambulance attendants transferred him from the stretcher to the exam table. The younger paramedic remained in the room, but the attendants left to be ready for their next call.
Roy peered upwards, his eyes squinted. “Hey, Doc.”
“How’re you feeling, Roy?”
“Like someone’s pounding. . .inside my head. . .with a sledge hammer.”
The answer didn’t surprise the doctor in the least.
“Did he lose consciousness on the way over here at all?” he asked Johnny as he removed the gauze bandaging to examine the wound on Roy’s right temple.
The younger man shook his head. “No.”
“I’m okay. . .”
Both Gage and Brackett looked down at Roy.
“Uh huh,” Johnny humored him. “Why don’t we let the doc decide that, huh?”
Brackett shifted his attention to the leg. “If you ask me, neither one of you hose jockeys knows the definition of ‘okay’ when it comes to yourselves.”
Gage eyed Dixie then quickly looked away when she gave a small nod in agreement. Would they ever forget the times he had claimed to be fine when he wasn’t?
Just like Johnny, the doctor noticed the grimace from Roy as he gently palpated the increasingly bruised and swollen lower right leg after removing the splint. “Can you move your foot at all, Roy?”
With effort, he complied.
“The ankle seems to be unaffected. I think we’re dealing with a break midway; could be a hairline fracture. Dix, call x-ray and have them send the technician we had on standby over stat. I want a full skull series as well.”
The nurse did as directed while Johnny stood worriedly eyeing his partner. When Roy glanced up at him, he once again quickly changed his expression to a crooked reassuring grin and gently patted the injured man’s shoulder.
“Hang in there, man. You’re gonna be okay.” Right away his gaze was on Brackett as he wondered what the doctor’s reaction would be to those words. There was a small smile in place of the previous serious expression.
Before long the x-ray technician entered the room and the others waited in the corridor just outside the door. Marco had driven the squad to Rampart and joined them.
“How is he doing?”
“Better,” Johnny responded, careful not to use the word ‘okay’ again.
“I really thought he would be hurt a lot worse when that door landed on him.”
“Me too,” Gage agreed. “Man, I couldn’t believe he just walked away from that once it was lifted off. It was all I could do to keep up with ‘im!”
Brackett folded his arms across his chest. With a slight grin he commented, “I’d say luck was definitely on his side.”
Knowing the men had been through a lot in the past forty minutes or so, Dixie offered, “Why don’t you two go grab some coffee in the doctors’ lounge. We’ll let you know the results as soon as we have them.”
The two firemen looked at one another. Both agreed they could sure use some.
Dixie came into the lounge where Johnny and Marco were waiting. With the rest of the engine crew responsible for the cleanup at the scene, they were holding out as long as possible until they had to return to the station. The dark-haired paramedic looked up expectantly from his seat on the black nogahide couch, his still nearly full coffee cup in both hands. She smiled to ease the worry evident on his face and Marco’s as well.
“Don’t look so down.”
“What’d the x-rays show?” Gage wondered.
“His fibula’s got a hairline fracture. It’s mainly going to be a matter of him keeping off it for awhile. He won’t require surgery.”
Johnny breathed an audible sigh of relief. “And the head injury?”
“Everything looked good. He’s just got a grade one concussion. Other than a few lingering headaches, he should be okay.”
A smile spread across Johnny’s face; both for the news on his partner and for her choice of words.
Marco grinned. “This really is his lucky day.”
Though he continued to feel relieved about the news they’d just been given, Johnny recalled another special person at Rampart he’d been concerned about who wasn’t so fortunate recently.
“Dix, how’s that little girl doin’? The gymnast. . .”
“She’s going to be just fine, too. Her dad more than learned his lesson. I’d say we can plan on seeing her in the Olympics when she’s ready.”
“That’s great. Really great. Now if I can just keep Roy outta trouble from here on out. . .”
His comment was a reminder to Dixie that Gage and DeSoto didn’t need any competition to prove themselves. The way they looked out for one another and the victims they were called out to care for, they were already a gold medal team.
*Click above to send Audrey feedback