Title: Don’t leave me this way – part 1
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time. No copyright infringement intended. The idea for the story and the story itself - including all chapters and all possible pre- and sequels - belong to me.
Summary: Sequel to ‘Worries, hesitancy and too much thinking’.warnings: some angst and hurt/comfort
“What happened?” JJ wanted to know as the rest of the team arrived at the hospital. They’d quickly briefed every guest at the wedding about what had happened and taken care of everything before they’d driven to the hospital themselves.
“We still don’t know anything.” Fran replied for her son who had already been pacing the waiting room when she’d arrived and hadn’t stopped a second yet.
“She didn’t even wake up.” he mumbled more to himself. He’d insisted on going with her in the ambulance and held her hand the whole time. But he hadn’t seen a single sign that she was alive. And that they hadn’t heard anything yet certainly wasn’t a good sign.
At this moment a doctor walked around the corner and into the waiting room. Derek immediately stiffened.
“Penelope Garcia?” the man asked.
“Yes.” Derek rushed forward. “What can you tell us?”
“Not much so far, I fear.” the doctor sighed. “She’s running a very high fever. You said she was coughing up blood?”
“That’s what it looked like.” Derek affirmed impatiently.
“Well, that’s indicating that she has internal bleeding. I’m sorry, we’re not sure what she has. We have to run a few tests to be sure.”
“What can you do to help her?” Derek wanted to know.
“First of all we need to test everyone who has had contact with her, too.” the doctor replied. “We need to make sure that none of you are showing any of her symptoms.”
“What are you doing to help PENELOPE?” Derek snarled through gritted teeth.
The doctor sighed once more: “As long as we’re not sure which illness she has we can only treat the symptoms.” Even he could tell that the other man was about to punch him so he quickly continued: “But we already called in another doctor, a specialist for contagious diseases who happens to lecture at our hospital at the moment. He’ll find out what she has, he always does.”
“And then?” Hotch jumped in. “What is the prognosis?”
“It depends on the disease.” the man cleared his throat. “Dr. House will come to see you after his lecture, which should be in less than thirty minutes. I’m sure he’ll soon be able to tell you more.”
“Will you be able to stop the bleeding?” Derek wanted to know. “I mean, does she need transfusions? Has she woken up already? Can I see her? What are you…”
“Derek!” Fran softly interrupted him. “Give the doctor time to answer your questions.”
“She has indeed woken up and asked for a Derek Morgan. I suppose that’s you.” the doctor answered him. “You can see her, but until we’re sure what kind of disease she has you’ll have to wear medical scrubs and a mask.”
Nodding briefly Derek followed the doctor, eager to finally see his baby girl and make sure that she was going to be okay.
But when he stepped through the door and into the isolated room his hopes faded. She looked incredibly pale. Carefully he stepped closer and smiled when she opened her eyes. At least she had regained consciousness again.
“Hey.” Penelope whispered. “You look gorgeous.”
“So you like me with half of my face covered?” he teased.
“No” Penelope chuckled which turned into a slight cough, “but I always wanted to marry a doctor.”
“Does that mean I was only your second choice?” he returned the banter but the tone in his voice gave away his worry.
“No, you have always been my only choice, hot stuff. I’m sorry, I blew it…” she whispered as her eyes fluttered shut and she remained silent for a moment.
Derek watched her with growing worry. She looked weak and really ill.
“I should stop falling asleep on you.” Penelope sighed when she cast up her eyes again.
She tried to sit up but Derek kept her from doing so. “Don’t, baby!” he scolded her. “You should take it easy.”
“I’m so sorry, honey, I should have listened to you.” she mumbled sadly. “For almost five years I’ve been waiting for this day and now... You think that’s a sign?”
“Yeah, it’s a sign that you should spare yourself.” Derek smiled as he sat down on the bed.
“Do they already know what’s wrong with me?” Penelope wanted to know.
Derek frowned and replied sullenly: “They’re pretty much silent about that. The doctor said they had to call in a specialist and then run a few tests. But they didn’t even venture a guess.”
“I guess they don’t want to until they’re sure.” she coughed. “I mean, if they assume it’s something serious they’ll frighten us needlessly and if they assume that it isn’t…”
“This IS serious.” Derek interrupted her. “You should look at yourself. You look like hell.”
“Well, thank you, my prince charming.” she tried to tease him.
But there wasn’t much that could have lit up Derek’s mood at the moment. He was much too worried about his baby girl. If only someone would tell him what was wrong with her! But they didn’t even seem to know themselves. Derek wasn’t sure what was worse, not knowing what was wrong with Penelope or knowing that the doctor’s didn’t know either.
“Hey” Penelope reached out to take Derek’s hand in hers, “don’t worry so much. You’ll only get wrinkles all over your face.”
“Just promise me that you’ll get better soon.” he whispered.
But Penelope didn’t get a chance to answer since the door was opened and a man limped into the room, resting his weight on the walking stick instead of his right leg.
“My name is Dr. Hartnell.” the man said. “How may I help you.”
“I was told… you never visit… patients, Dr. House.” Penelope said between heavy breaths.
“Sometimes I’m forced to.” the man shrugged. “Looks better in the personal file, you know.”
“What are you talking about?” Derek asked bewilderedly while the older man smirked slightly.
“William Hartnell was the first Dr. Who.” Penelope explained and took another rattling breath. “1963.”
“So, what are your symptoms?” Dr. House asked getting straight to the matter.
“She’s got a high temperature.” Derek replied instead. “She coughed up blood and then passed out. And she’s having problems breathing.”
Dr. House frowned and took a step closer. “Are you taking drugs?”
“No.” Penelope replied meeting his gaze.
“Sure” House mumbled and examined her, “you know that we’ll find out, right? We have to do some blood tests anyways.”
“Excuse me, buddy.” Derek said through gritted teeth.
But Penelope held him back and formed a voiceless ‘it’s okay’ before she turned back to House: “Go ahead. I have nothing to hide.”
“Did you have sex recently?” House asked unaffectedly.
Derek crossed his arms in front of his muscular chest and exhaled noisily: “And how exactly is this your business?”
“I’m just interested in other people’s sex life since I don’t have one on my own.” he said, lowering his voice as if he was telling a secret. When Derek just raised an eyebrow he rolled his eyes: “It could be a STD.”
“Then I’d have it as well.” Derek grunted.
“Oh, so you’re her boyfriend.” House said with raised eyebrows.
“Fiancée.” Derek corrected him about to punch that guy’s face into an indefinable clot of flesh for treating his goddess the way he did.
“Oh.” was all House answered, but he examined Derek and then once more Penelope.
“What.” Derek snarled, clearly breathing fire. This guy was supposed to be a specialist, the best in his field? How in hell should he help Penelope?!
“I’m just wondering” House shrugged, “she’s not exactly your type, right? I mean, you could get someone more…”
“That’s enough!” Derek huffed as he raised his fist.
“Derek, don’t!” Penelope held him back giving him a pleading look. This guy could say whatever he wanted to – all that mattered was that he could find out what was wrong with her.
“Maybe you… were looking somewhere else… lately?” House suggested giving Derek an expecting and yet somewhat childishly innocent look.
“Oh, at first she’s taking drugs and now I cheated on her.” Derek growled. “What kind of doctor are you, huh?”
“People lie.” he replied. “Test results don’t.”
“Well then” Derek snorted, “go ahead and test her blood for whatever you want but find out what’s wrong with her!”
“I assume she doesn’t have enough blood left to test all of it since she’s constantly coughing it up.” House shrugged.
In the blink of an eye Derek had rushed towards him and seized him by the collar: “Why the hell do they let you talk to patients at all?!”
“They don’t LET me, they FORCE me to do so.” House defended himself. “I didn’t ask to be here.”
“Neither did I.” Penelope softly said causing the men to turn their attention back from their fight to her and therefore their actual problem.
“I can only help you if you’re both honest with
“We’re telling you the truth.” she assured him. “Because there is no need to… tell lies.”
“Time will tell.” he mumbled.
“Why don’t you just do your fucking job and try to cure her already?!” Derek hissed.
“You’re quite stubborn, right?” House turned his attention back to Penelope. “You refused to see a doctor when the first symptoms occurred. You certainly thought whatever it was it would go away without treatment. Or maybe you thought it was just the flu.”
“So, you know what she has?” Derek asked suspiciously once again crossing his arms in front of his chest.
“Well, I think you’re lucky, Miss Garcia.” House said good-temperedly. “Not only because you have the great honor to be treated by THE specialist for mysterious infections and extraordinary sex practices… which has absolutely nothing to do with your case.”
“Are you going to tell us what’s wrong with her or do you just enjoy hearing yourself talk a little longer?” Derek grumbled.
“Ouch, that hurt.” House mimicked in mocked pain. “And I always thought people worship doctors. You know, the whole demigod…”
“Would you mind telling us what’s wrong with Penelope?” Derek cut him off, once again ready to punch him, doctor or not.
“You know, I’m a little concerned that this doctor who called me in is not exactly… gifted in his field.” House told him instead. “Okay, he’s still young but… It’s really annoying to be called in on such an uninteresting case.”
“So it’s nothing severe?” Derek concluded, a sign of hope audible in his voice. At the prospect of his baby girl being well again soon he even ignored that House had called Penelope’s case ‘uninteresting’.
“This is just an acute outburst of bronchitis.” House shrugged. “Coughing up blood is rare but not unusual, if it’s bad or isn’t treated in time. Some antibiotics and you’ll be able to leave this hospital in… not more than three days.”
Derek sighed with relief. This was the first good news he’d heard in a long time.
“Next time when you run a fever, call a doctor immediately.” House advised and limped out of the room.
Relief clearly showing in his eyes Derek bent down to kiss Penelope’s forehead.
“Careful, hot stuff” she whispered, “I’m still contagious, I guess.”“I don’t care.” he smiled. “As long as you’ll be alright.”