"Joan? Joan Redfern! I don't believe it!"
She glanced over her shoulder, eyes widening slightly and turned apologetically back to her patient. "Would you please excuse me for one moment? Thank you."
He hadn't changed at all. Not one hair was out of place from what she remembered of him. Except perhaps that grin. That was something she didn't think she could ever become accustomed to. She took her time closing the curtains around the patient's bed and wiped her hands on her apron. If only she could afford more without seeming rude. She needed to think.
"Mr Smi - Doctor," she greeted quietly, eyes focused somewhere around the area of his chin. "What - what are you doing here?"
He opened his mouth to answer when an actual doctor swooped upon them, the thin, weedy moustache Joan recognised and had come to loath quivering as he spoke.
"Nurse Redfern. Who is this? There are to be no visitors at this time."
"I'm sorry, sir," she said, hands clutched neatly in front of her. "He's ... an old acquaintance. He won't be staying long."
"This isn't the first time I've caught you dillydallying on the ward, Redfern. I've had enough of it."
"It - it won't happen again, sir."
Joan flushed pink. To think, being scorned like a naughty school child in front of a being capable of travelling galaxies by someone half her age. It was little less than shaming. He stalked off, keeping a beady eye on his staff and she turned back to the Doctor.
"Yes, well, as you can see we're quite busy here. There is a war on, you know. Now, if you'll excuse me."
She escaped before he could stop her, her cheeks still rosy and her eyes shining. Old acquaintance, indeed. That realisation hurt more than she could have described. He was not a friend or a colleague or, God willing, a lover. John Smith might have been but the man on that ward, surrounded by groaning soldiers of war ... He was anything but.