ANOTHER OLD OC THAT I'M REDOING! (And Wistage is my new OTP and I'm gonna make it happen)
This character belongs to Kittyluvver, do not use without permission.
"The process of triage: ascertaining those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive; those who are likely to die, regardless of what care they receive; and those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome."
Doctor Triage is a female NightWing. She is the Chief of Surgery at Pyrrhia General Hospital. Widely considered and sought as the best surgeon on the continent of Pyrrhia, Triage is known for her uncompromising demeanor and dedication to her work.
Triage is a canon NightWing without the power of telepathy.
"Surgeons don't compromise. We defy death, we exceed perfection. We operate for seventeen hours straight if we have to. We're trained to be good, to be kind. To never give up. To be better than the best. So that others might live."
Bright blue latex gloves, sterile and pale, stretch from clawtip to forearm and disappear into her sleeves. Darker blue surgical scrubs, plain and custom-made, a name tag and maybe a single black pen clipped to her chest pocket. Long horns, long wings. Slender arms and delicate paws made for work of the highest precision. Deep blue eyes, peering out from beneath a set of horn-rimmed glasses perched high on her forehead.
Her manner could best be described as clinical. Cool, detached, humorless. She has the kind of gaze that pierces right through you, that makes you wonder if she looks at you and sees a beating heart, a pair of lungs, a spine, a brain, a bundle of organs, nerve endings and veins and arteries. Instead of a living dragon with a free mind, with hopes and dreams.
But look a little deeper, and you'll see something else in those sharp blue eyes. A nameless grief, the mark of the deepest wound not quite healed, the bitterest anguish never quite forgotten. What is it? What is she concealing behind her scrubs and surgical mask? What is she hiding from the world? Who is Doctor Triage, deep down within her dark and secret heart of hearts?
"A doctor puts on his white coat to save lives, defy death. But once he takes it off, he's mortal, just like anybody else. We're all gonna die. We don't get much say over how or when, but we do decide how we're gonna live. So do it, decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in, breathe out, and decide."
No one really, really knows the whole Triage. Rather, everyone seems to have a different account of her - all true, but none quite complete. Ask seven different people, and you're likely to get seven different opinions. Ask her interns and support staff, and they'll call her the Ice Queen of the Operating Room - and in reference to a NightWing, that's half reverence and half insult. Ask the patients that she's saved, and they'll call her a heroine, a miracle worker. Ask her enemies, and they'll call her obsessive and yet cold, uncaring. Ask her friends, and they'll tell you that she's suffered, borne more pain than any one dragon has the right to bear alone.
Ask her yourself, and on a good day she'll tell you to cut the chatter and bring her the charts of the patient with the Class A inoperable metastatic lung tumor. And a refill on her coffee. On a bad day she'd just transfix you with a single cold glare.
But love her or hate her, there's no denying that Triage is very, very good at what she does. In the operating room she wields her scalpel and sutures with the precision of an artist, and addresses the task at hand with singleminded purpose. She is incredibly focused and driven, painstaking to the point of a fault. Her job is to create miracles, to save lives, to never make a single mistake, and to do so she strives for a level of utter perfection that not even she can never attain.
Because she knows a single slip of the hand could be horrific in consequence. An errant incision on the optic nerve could leave a patient blind for the rest of his life. A single misplaced suture on the pulmonary could turn into an arterial bleed, effectively suffocating the patient on his own blood. The possible ramifications are endless, each one more terrible than the last.
So she washes her hands three times before and after each surgery. She cleans and lays out all her instruments herself, in perfect order. A 20 centimeter cut is exactly that, 20 centimeters - not a millimeter more or less. She works quickly but methodically, and does not lay a paw out of place. Every move in every surgery is carefully planned and choreographed, and every deviation from the script is deeply unsettling to her. If she's not in the operating room, she's practicing for her next operation. Yes, she practices, over and over until in her eyes it is finally perfect. It may take hours, days, weeks. As long as it takes.
And she expects the same from everyone who works alongside her - something that does not always sit easily with her fellow doctors when she tries to impose her exacting methods on them as well. She demands perfection, to the point of being blatantly unreasonable.
But she's not OCD. She's not mean. She just can't afford to make another mistake. Because what happened to her, she swore she would not inflict upon any other.
But of course, sometimes, despite all the preparation, all the perfection, she fails. In her line of work, failure is an unavoidable, ugly reality. Sometimes an ER patient is brought onto the operating table, and life withers away before Triage can even begin to start repairing the damage. Sometimes the tumor is simply too big, too malignant, too risky. Sometimes, Moons forbid, Triage herself will falter. Despite the pedestal she stands on, despite the standards that she holds herself to, she is only a dragon. She's not infallible. She cannot play god.
Sometimes, there's simply nothing more to be done.
And then you will see a whole different side to Triage. Not the face of the precise doctor that she shows the world. She mourns for every dragon she loses as if they were her own kin. She blames herself for everything that ever goes wrong - even if there was no discernable fault of hers, Triage will find one and cling to it. She knows, painfully, that each anesthetized stranger that is rolled out in front of her has family, and friends, who loved and cared for them. She dreads having to go out and face the patient's family and deliver the dreadful news. Because she knows the grief and horror of losing someone she loved.
So she goes back into the OR, and cleans her tools, and washes her hands a few dozen times, and waits for the next patient, the next case, the next day.
"I looked up, and his blood was all over my gloves. My husband's blood. And that's when I knew that Brightdawn was going to grow up without a father. Because I killed him. I loved him more than anything in the world. And I killed him.
Triage wasn't always the Ice Queen of Pyrrhia General. Once she was a young dragon, full of hope and life, before she sealed her emotions from the world and dedicated her entire self and every waking moment to the surgeon's trade.
Her father was Vainglorious, the Professor of Political Science at the University of Pyrrhia. She had a younger sister named Lightbringer. Triage and Lightbringer lived a happy, privileged childhood, surrounded by an academic environment, and given their father's position it came as no surprise when both sisters were readily accepted into the University of Pyrrhia upon graduation from grade school. Triage chose to pursue a career in medicine, while Lightbringer opted for the hard sciences - mildly disappointing their father, who had hoped for his daughters to go into politics like him.
However, missing from Triage's childhood was a maternal figure. Triage was never exactly sure what happened between Vainglorious and their mother, as Vainglorious kept no pictures and never talked about her. To this day, Triage does not even have so much as a name. Their father cared deeply for her and tried his best to raise them well, but the abscence of a mother left a scar on the young dragonesses' psyches. This is part of the reason why Triage is so distressed at her own inability to be around for her own daughter Brightdawn.
At the University Triage found herself roommates with another pre-med track student named Wisteria, and the two became fast friends and academic rivals. Maintaining the same focus and drive that she would later use as a surgeon, Triage excelled in her courses and vied for the top spot in the class, but she lost the valedictorian spot to a certain dragonet named Phi. That rankled quite a lot, but Triage has managed to move past it. Mostly. She still can't quite see eye to eye with Phi.
Shortly after graduation Triage and Wisty both secured positions as interns at Pyrrhia General Hospital, but the two quickly grew apart - Wisty wanted to pursue psychology, while Triage was bent on becoming a surgeon. Triage soon became known for her excellent performance in her first few operations, and the promising new intern soon caught attention from the higher-ups - including the Director of Cardiology, a green-eyed NightWing named Stormchaser, who took her out for coffee one day.
And slowly, steadily, Triage fell in love with him.
They dated on and off for nearly a year, while Triage grappled with herself. As a dedicate of medicine, pursuing a relationship had never been a priority for her. The intensity of her own emotions frightened her, leading her to run away and then come back a few times. But eventually even she grew into the role, and things stabilized. Soon he proposed, she accepted. They were married, and Triage thought that she couldn't be happier.
Meanwhile, Triage's reputation was quickly growing. Since her coming to the hospital, throughout all the surgeries she had done, she had never yet had a fatality. Unfortunately her own success had given her quite an ego, and she began taking on more surgeries, riskier surgeries, driven by her own sense of hubris. This became a point of contention between Triage and Stormchaser, putting a bitter note in an otherwise happy and loving marriage.
Triage and Stormchaser were married for nearly two years when Triage found out that she was pregnant. A few months later, a female NightWing dragonet hatched, and Triage named her Brightdawn. As a new mother, Triage thought she couldn't be happier.
Then, of course, it all went wrong.
One night, Triage and Stormchaser had their worst fight yet. Today, Triage couldn't even remember what it was about - something about money, or the baby, or something stupid and trivial. Stormchaser left the house to go for a walk to clear his head, and it wasn't until a few hours later that Triage got a call from the hospital Emergency Room.
Stormchaser had become a victim of an escalation in IceWing-NightWing violence. He sustained severe injuries, and was in critical condition. Triage rushed back to the hospital, where she found Stormchaser barely conscious. He asked for her to perform the cardiac surgery on him, talking her through the procedure. He told her he trusted her and loved her, before succumbing to anesthesia.
"Tree. You can do this. A reconstruction of the aorta - you could do this in your sleep. I love you, and I trust you with my life. And when I wake up, I want you to be the first thing I see.
And Triage made a single, horrible mistake, one what would haunt her for the rest of her life. Her paw slipped two millimeters. She accidentally nicked an artery. Stormchaser bled to death on the operating table.
Triage tried to revive him for a whole thirty minutes after his heart stopped. But there was no hope left. The other doctors had to pull her away from her husband's body.
That was the first, and last time that Triage let anyone see her cry.
Left a widow, to raise her daughter on her own, Triage was never the same again. Her husband's death was what compelled her to become as precise and perfection-driven as she is today. She swore that she would never do it again. She would never make a mistake that would take away someone that someone else loved as much as she loved Stormchaser.
Maybe she feels that, once she's saved enough lives, it might go a little ways towards making up for the one life she loved the most and left behind. Maybe, after this vena cava, she'll feel a little better. Maybe, after that teratoma, the world might be a little brighter. Maybe, after enough perfect operations, she can start to heal.
Maybe, just maybe, her pain will finally end.
It never does.