Oh, The Places You'll Go

Five Times Guy Says, "Let Me Finish".

Notes: Because no wanker springs from the womb fully formed and "Let Me Finish" is one of my favourite Guy phrases. Pre-series. quiesce did beta again and taught me more about American dietary supplements than I wanted to know. Thanks for that.


He swings his legs under the table and pushes the now cold eggs around his plate. Cook has made him a really special breakfast on his special plate with his special knife and fork and he hates to let her down, but his throat is full and he knows he can't swallow. At the other end of the table his father is somewhere hidden behind a big, pink newspaper. Guillaume wishes he had a newspaper to hide behind, maybe they'd forget about him that way. He pushes at the untouched sausage and his fork scrapes the plate.

"Guillaume," admonishes his father and turns a page without looking at his son.

Guillaume does not feel tears pricking at his eyelids. He does not. He's six and his step-sister Martha told him that if you cry after your sixth birthday the Pansy Monster sits on your head and counts to a thousand and that's a lot.

His step-mum tip-taps into the room. She tip-taps everywhere. Guillaume can track her around the whole house; he knows that the wooden floor in the dining room sounds different from the tiles in the hall sounds different from the concrete of the cellar steps. She even tip-taps on carpet. Guillaume thinks her feet are actually shaped like shoes with pointy heels. He hates pointy heels.

"Transom's packed everything into the car," she tells the newspaper. "Do hurry up and finish your coffee, the boy needs to be there at nine sharp." She hovers, tapping her foot.

"Yes, dear."

Guillaume hears the rattle of a coffee cup and grips his fork tighter, stabbing it into the scrambled egg. There is a rustle and his father's face emerges as the newspaper is folded.

"Come, Guillaume. Leave that now. It is time to go on your new adventure. It is exciting, no?"

No, thinks Guillaume. No, it's not. He stares down at his breakfast, though he can't quite seem to get it in focus.

"Guillaume!" his step-mother's voice is sharp and too loud. Pointy voice and pointy feet. "Put your fork down and come along. We must be going."

Guillaume knows that once he puts his fork down, his special fork, he won't be picking it up again for weeks and weeks and forever. He's supposed to have three square meals a day, that's what Father says and here he hasn't had the first one. How can Father make him go if he hasn't had the first one? He can make it last ages and then they'll be late and then the school will be cross and they'll say they don't want him and he can come home and Cook will let him help bake biscuits and then he'll take a handful while they're still warm and go and lie under his bed and read every one of his Dandys. Guillaume lets himself feel a little hopeful. He looks up.

"Let me finish?"

The tip-tapping comes towards him, then recedes. There's a clunk and a clatter and Guillaume is left looking down at his empty place, fork still in hand.

Tomorrow, he will ask for cornflakes.

*

"No, I don't get it," says Marbles (so nicknamed because he's missing a few). "D'you mean that if the classical heist fails because the parishioner is in quasi-Gstaad at the point of contact then the possession passes directly to the opposing team slash solo parishioner?"

"No," scoffs Guy, hoping his tone covers up the fact that he's making this up as he goes along, that he's already forgotten the first thirty or so rules he invented and that the whole Guyball thing had only been an attempt to impress the babes at neighbouring Greenhough (pronounced Gru-NOFF) School during a rare mixed social. A rather successful attempt, he smirks internally. Clarissa St. John-Surtees had let him touch her boob under her bra. Sports god is clearly the way to go — misunderstood, miserable poet has never got him more than a sympathy snog.

"No," he repeats. "Concentrate, Marbles. This is for the Guyball World Cup Final."

"You do realise that it's us versus Stumpy and Fluff, right? The other chaps in our dorm. It's not like England against France in the Five Nations."

"Switzerland. Against Switzerland."

"Toblers, I might not know which way the ball bounces for a split ubique to be legal, but I do know that Switzerland is not one of the Five Nations. It doesn't matter how many letters you write to the RFU — it's not going to happen. Does Switzerland even have a national rugby team?

"That's not the point," sulks Guy.

"It is. It really is." Marbles begins to unstrap his topmiler. "Look, I've got half a ton of prep or it's deten for me and I'm on last uppers with the Paterwhip. We'll train more tomorrow, ya?"

"Don't be a drag, Marbles. There're only three pages of rules left. A hundred lines of Pliny is a small price to pay for being in the vanguard of a sporting movement. Let me finish."

Marbles sighs. Guy smiles the slow, crooked smile that means he knows he's won and sits down next to Marbles, slinging an arm around his shoulder.

"Let me tell you all about how to convert an ordinary maison into a chateau-arabesque. It's really quite simple ..."

*

It's unheard of for a Fresher to win the traditional Rag Week pub crawl and still retain either liver function or, indeed, their place at medical school. Things tend to happen. You have to train for these things, build your constitution, learn to drink like a ... like a doctor. Guy is having none of this. He has a sponsor list as long as your arm (Old Boys' network proving itself useful, and not for the last time) and he is going to do them proud. If for values of proud you have drinking your own body weight in alcohol and remaining in a vaguely upright position. So he's lined his stomach with some day-old fried rice, gone for the pint over the half option at most of the establishments on the list and eschewed company and sense in favour of running between pubs. He is well ahead in both quantity consumed and time.

Now, weaving his way back along Huntley Street to the Medics' Union he's beginning to feel decidedly queasy. Bastards in the Jeremy Bentham have served him a dodgy pint. That's what it is. He squints at the stained piece of paper in his hand. One more hurdle to cross. Jump. One more cross to jump. Hurdle. Fuck. He can't see straight. Does that say 'yard'? Really? Ohhhhhh shit. He stumbles on the first step and crashes against the railings. The shock jolts him and he finds himself clinging on to the iron bars for dear life as he hurls the almost entirely liquid contents of his stomach the ten or so feet down to the basement. He's at it for long enough to notice the rhythm of it all. Retch — gap — splatter, retch — gap — splatter. It's kind of impressive. Almost musical. Stands to reason even his sick would have talent.

He feels a heavy weight on his back and turns round to find himself faced with a six foot white rabbit. There's something dimly familiar about this.

"Harvey?" he ventures, wiping his mouth with his sleeve.

"No, mate. Harvey's a few pubs back. Marlborough Arms, I think. I'm Dave. You okay?"

"Yes," says Guy, almost entirely sure that he might possibly be okay. "You are a rabbit, aren't you?"

"That would seem to be the case." The rabbit waves a paw towards the puddle of vomit below. "You should maybe call it a night, yeah?"

"Can't. Have a–" Guy squints at his paper again, "–a yard to drink. Then bed. Maybe here. This step looks comfob–, comborf–, comfulb–, nice."

"Got balls, I'll give you that," says Dave the Rabbit. "Come on." He bounds up the steps and holds the door open for Guy.

The Medics' Union is quiet for a Friday night — most of the students are still out on the pub crawl. Guy's grateful that he doesn't have to utilise his power-elbows to get through the throng. There's no way three people propping up the bar could be called a throng. A thr, maybe, but not a throng. He swaggers, no, staggers, over and leans heavily against the wooden counter.

"Barkeep!" he calls in what he considers to be his man-of-the-people voice. He slaps the piece of paper down on the bar. "Barkeep, I need a yard of your finest ale, none of that pint for a quid shite that's half water and half piss. Proper stuff. The black stuff." He lifts one hand off the bar to point at the Guinness tap and sways violently to one side. Dave the Rabbit is there to push him upright again. Guy thinks he loves Dave the Rabbit.

"Nah, I don't think so," says the pink dread-locked girl behind the bar. "You've 'ad enough." She's dressed in the bright yellow t-shirt that denotes a Student Union employee.

"Pleeeeeeeeeease, oh fair maiden," begs Guy. "You shine like the, like the SUN. I'm Ica-ic-icarus. See how I melt when you're near." He sucks in his cheeks and wobbles.

"You taking the piss?"

Guy straightens up.

"No." He spreads his hands and opens his eyes wide in his best innocent look. It's only a matter of time before the next chancer comes through those doors and Guy wants to win. Now's not a good time to annoy the barmaid. He tries again.

"No. Sorry. Had a few. Need one more. A yard, please." He bats his eyelashes. "It's for the children," he says and waves his sponsor form at her.

"I don't know." She's wavering now, and Guy knows it. He's on the home stretch. It's in the bag. He's going to break all known records. He is a winner. He is a– She's looking at him strangely. He may have switched his internal monologue off again. Oops.

"Go on. It's just this last one and think of how happy the kiddies will be. Let me finish. You know you want to."

An older man comes to stand beside the girl. He regards Guy through amused eyes.

"Let him have it," he says to her. "Should be a laugh." He addresses Guy. "What'll it be?"

"A yard of Guinness, please."

"No," says Dave the Rabbit.

"No?" queries Guy, squinting at Dave the Rabbit. Is he trying to sato–, sabojar–, fuck up Guy's chances?

"A pint of Guinness takes almost two minutes to pour properly, right?"

Guy nods, pulling the corners of his mouth down in an attempt at proving his ability to follow logic.

"So a yard of Guinness is going to be a minimum of two pints, yeah? That means over four minutes to pull. You want someone to come through those doors and finish before you because your drink is too slow?"

Guy shakes his head violently; his stomach regrets this. He turns back to the bar staff.

"A yard of regular brown stuff then."

The yard glass is ceremoniously taken down from the wall and filled. The occupants of the Union begin to gather around Guy in a reverent semi-circle. The barman flips up the counter and the girl walks out from behind the bar, eyes locked on the glass, careful not to spill a drop. She makes her way over to Guy who takes a step forward, Dave the Rabbit stepping into place behind him. The glass is passed over. It's heavier than Guy was expecting, he needs both hands.

"Got to be down in one," she says. "Can't spill it."

"Twist the glass," calls one of the not-quite-enough-to-be-a-crowd.

"I know," scoffs Guy and wonders if being able to not spill a single drop of a magnum of Bolly will prove at all useful in this instance. Probably not. He raises the glass to his lips.

"Chug, chug, chug, chug." It starts quietly and develops into a roar as Guy feels the cool liquid rushing down his throat and into his already over-taxed stomach. There's beer dribbling down his chin, but hardly enough to count. He's tipping the glass higher and higher, nearly there, he's going to do it, he's really going to do it. He's draining the dregs and ...

"Yes!" He brandishes the empty glass aloft. "Yes, I–" Bam! The alcohol in his bloodstream reaches critical level. "–oh shit." And he goes down; Dave the Rabbit choosing to save the glass rather than Guy, a choice for which he will later get free beer from the barman and a blowjob from the barmaid.

When Guy wakes up, he's being wheeled on a stretcher towards the doors of A&E, Dave the Rabbit's ears bobbing in front of his face. It takes him a second or two to remember what happened. His lips move.

"What?" asks Dave the Rabbit, bending closer, ear tickling Guy's nose.

"I win," whispers Guy and throws up over a fluffy, white paw.

*

"Shit, I can't get it past the cords."

"BP's dropping. 90 over 45."

"I can do this." Guy tilts the patient's head backwards, pulls the jaw forwards. He must have done this a million times. But this trachea isn't playing ball. Or at least not any type of ball that Guy can play and that's a lot — from rugby, through Guyball and squash and, of course, pocket billiards.

The tube won't pass.

"Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck."

"I'm calling the senior registrar."

"Don't call the fucking senior reg. I'll have it in a minute."

"BPs 80 over 40. She doesn't have a minute."

The nurse lifts the phone and dials, flicking her eyes between the monitor and Guy. Guy can feel his face heating up. Fucking bitch. They all think that just because he's not a prole that his father's money got him where he is today. It's not true. His father's money got him the yacht moored on the Hamble, his rather sophisticated bach pad and his sports car (which is not a penis extension, his dick is quite big enough and he has plenty of witnesses), but it's his hard work that's got him to where he is today. Okay, maybe not hard hard, but he did have to put in some effort.

Guy takes a deep breath, adjusts the laryngoscope and tries again. Come on, Guy. You can do this. You're the best. You're the greatest anaesthetist that ever lived. You're ... aiming down the wrong hole. Shit! Retract.

"He's on his way," says the nurse. And, right on cue, the doors bang open and a burly man in an ill-fitting white coat barrels into the room.

"Fucking up again, Secretan?" he booms in his indecipherable provincial accent. "Why they let you loose in here on your own is a mystery to me. Give it here." He holds out his hand for the laryngoscope. Guy shakes his head.

"I've got it," he says. "Let me finish."

"Ten seconds, Swiss Cheese. I don't need a dead body on my watch; I'm meeting the lads down the pub in half an hour."

Guy takes another deep breath, re-sites the laryngoscope. Where are those cords? Got the fuckers! Just got to pass the tube. Slowly, slowly, twist and ... yes!

"Bag her," he says to the nurse and punches the air, index fingers raised in victory. "Who's your daddy?!" His arms droop a little. "Not literally, obviously, because I'd've had to have been minus ten at least to be your daddy. Not that I couldn't, my spunk is that virile." He ignores the look of scorn on the nurse's face and punches the air again, turning towards the senior reg.

"Yes! I rule."

"Not bad, Secretan. Of course, it would have been better if you hadn't waited until she was at death's door before you performed your little miracle there."

"Yeah, well, I only saved her because she's such a babe. Once she's upright I'll have her straight on her back."

Guy ignores the thumping of his heart and the contemptuous huff of the nurse. He folds his arms, but not because they are shaking. Not that at all. He is so fucking good at his job. So fucking good. Yeah. He is Guy Secretan. Doctor Guy Secretan and there's nothing in his universe that he can't do. In the whole sodding cosmos, probably.

"Let's find some gimp to cut her up," he says. "I've got a hot date in," he checks her chart, "approximately six days from now. There's no time to waste."

*

In the on-call room Mac is crashed out. It's been a long day: rounds, then clinic, then seven hours straight of surgery, and all of those in the company of Guy which is enough to wear the hardest man to sand. And then there was the exploding bubblegum incident and it was all hands on deck, or to the pump, or, on reflection, both. Now, at stupid o'clock in the morning, Mac sleeps the sleep of the just. And he dreams.

He quite likes this dream, actually. He's floating naked on some kind of lake, which appears to be made from some kind of viscous substance, possibly jelly, possibly raspberry flavoured. And he's not alone. There's something, somebody, warm pressed up against him; he can't turn his head to find out what or who because there's some law about jelly-related buoyancy which he doesn't quite understand that means he will sink if he moves. But it's OK, because he know it's a good something/somebody.

How does he know this? It may have something to do with the fact that the unknown companion has taken Mac's cock in its unknown hand, wrapped long, unknown fingers around it, and started to stroke with smooth, languid strokes. Mac likes this. He thinks he probably deserves it after the day he's had. It wasn't very sporting of Mrs. Murchison to go and die on the table like that. She could have at least waited until she was in Recovery when he could have blamed it all on Guy. This way he has to go through the whole self-recrimination thing and really, that gets rather tiring. This thought makes him fidget. The disembodied fingers respond by speeding up a little. It feels good. It feels really good. Mac's dream self spares a moment to wonder why he usually has to dream about being a Post-Office clerk in Leyton, or about a motorcycle helmet shop that stretches into infinity and the helmet he wants is at the other end. But only a moment. He has better things to think about.

Mac's perfectly relaxed. Apart from the part of him that isn't, clearly. And that part's almost as far from relaxed as it's possible to be which is annoying because Mac's asleep in his scrubs and he knows from all-too-embarrassing experience that there's one thing that doesn't separate fantasy from reality: if he comes in his dream, he comes in his real-life pants and that's not something he fancies waking up to. Dream Mac curses Real Mac for being such a pragmatist because he really, really wants to come now; he's shaking so hard he's wobbling the jelly. Real Mac points out that reality trumps fantasy and while that may not be fair, it saves on having to put jizz-encrusted, personally name-tagged scrubs into the laundry for the staff to giggle over. He wakes up.

He wakes up but he's not sure he has because the something/somebody warm is still pressed up against him and the unknown fingers are still hard at work. He has to stop this or spend an hour pre-washing his trousers. He grabs at the unknown wrist, stilling its motion and opens his eyes.

Oh, fuck.

"It's, er, it's an experiment. Let me finish?" asks Guy, only the teeniest bit sheepish.

Mac thinks he probably has a tube of Travel Wash stowed in his locker somewhere.


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