Title: Don’t leave me this way – part 2
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time.
Summary: Sequel to ‘Worries, hesitancy and too much thinking’. After the antibiotics didn’t work House is called back in to find out what’s really wrong with Penelope.warnings: some angst and hurt/comfort
AN: First of all a big thank you to everyone who reviewed or put the story on their favorite’s or alert list! I’m glad you liked the first chapter. And once again thanks to Gretchen for beta-reading. Without her the stories certainly wouldn’t be so enjoyable – if you know what I mean. :)
Secondly, I’m so sorry for the delay – but as some of you know I had to finish the stories for a challenge first. I still have some stories to write for other challenges but fortunately, I have more time – meaning I will (hopefully) be able to update sooner.
Now, I hope you’ll enjoy this chapter. There’s not too much House in this one but more in the next chapter, I promise.
“Good morning.” a young nurse greeted and eyed Derek up as she entered the room. “You know that… there are no visiting hours now, right?”
“So?” he grumbled. “Try and drag me outta here.”
“I’m just saying” the woman shrugged, her voice soft and a little defensive, “you should get some rest.”
“I think you should consider caring more about Penelope than
“Derek.” Penelope quietly scolded him.
“Sir, I can assure you…”
But Derek cut her off: “What? That you’re doing everything in your power to cure her? She’s getting the antibiotics but it’s still getting worse. Shouldn’t it get better?!”
“Dr. House will talk to you in a minute.” the nurse gave him an insecure smile.
“House?” Derek burst out. “I thought this case wasn’t interesting enough for him to be called in ‘cause it’s not… unusual.”
“As you said the antibiotics aren’t as effective as we expected them to be.” the nurse sighed. “That’s why we called Dr. House back in. He’s still sure this is not a case for him. That’s certainly a good sign.”
“Depends on what kind of specialist he is.” Derek grunted.
“I can assure you he’s one of the best doctors you can get.” the nurse objected.
“Except for the fact that he doesn’t like people.” he mumbled.
You could tell from her eyes that she was smiling slightly. “Yeah, he can be challenging. But to be honest, if I was ill I would want him to be my doctor no matter how insulting he can be.”
“Apparently, he can’t help Penelope either.” Derek said gloomily. “Or maybe he just doesn’t want to.”
“Derek.” Penelope’s voice was barely above a whisper. “They’re all doing what’s in their power.”
“I know.” he sighed obviously frustrated. “But it doesn’t help one bit.” He sat back down by her side and took her hand in his. “I’m just afraid of losing you, that’s all. And I want to make sure that House or whoever is working your case really do their best.”
“I know.” Penelope smiled at him. “Just try to be a little polite, would you?”
“I’ll do my best.” he mumbled unwillingly. “But if this wannabe specialist accuses you of anything again I can’t guarantee for how I’m going to treat him.”
“He shouldn’t bother you too much.” Penelope whispered, unable to speak louder. “I feel… sorry for him.”
“Why?” Derek tried to keep the concern out of his voice and his face. But from the look in her eyes he could tell he wasn’t very successful.
“He doesn’t know what trust is.” she smiled at him.
“Have you been on a holiday lately?” House asked without a greeting when he limped into the room – without knocking beforehand. “I mean, outside the country.”
“No.” Penelope replied and squeezed Derek’s hand to keep him from jumping at the older man. “We’ve only traveled to
“Where?” House asked, his attention suddenly caught by that statement.
“Just a few miles out of town.” Derek answered.
House seemed to consider the options for a moment before he asked: “Were you bitten by anything out there?”
“No, not that I know of.” Penelope replied.
“Are there any… bite marks or stings on your body?” House pressed her.
This time it was Derek who answered the question: “I can assure you there’re none.”
House frowned: “Well, the symptoms aren’t all too distinct. They could indicate a number of diseases or infections.”
“Weren’t you the one saying that it was just a bronchitis?” Derek grumbled.
“Because that is the most common reason for coughing up blood.” House tossed back snappishly. “But since the antibiotics aren’t effective it has to be something else.”
“Then what’s wrong with Penelope?” Derek almost yelled at House.
“Did you ever smoke?” House asked Penelope without answering Derek’s question.
“No” she replied with a frown, “I didn’t even try. I watched my uncle dying of lung cancer when I was about ten.”
When House didn’t say anything in return Derek frowned: “Are you suggesting that she’s got lung cancer?”
“We have to run a few tests.” House answered. “First of all, we need to examine her lungs and see if we can find any tumors. I also want to do a biopsy and see if we can find anything.”
“A biopsy?” Derek asked in concern. “That will hurt, right?” He’d heard about a procedure where a needle was inserted into the lungs through the chest or back.
“Well, it’s not exactly enjoyable.” House replied with a shrug. “But we’ll have to do some tests first anyways.”
“What does this biopsy look like?” Derek insisted.
“It depends” House answered vaguely, “first let’s see what the tests tell us.”
Of course, Derek wasn’t allowed to be in the room with Penelope while they were examining her and taking blood samples from her. So he was pacing the corridor in front of it.
“So?” he asked impatiently when the door opened and a young female doctor and a nurse stepped into the corridor.
“We’ll have to wait for the results of the blood tests.” the doctor answered and gave Derek an apologetic smile.
“What does that mean?” he frowned. “Didn’t the check-up tell you anything?”
“It sounds like there’s water in her lungs.” the doctor sighed. “Or… maybe blood. We’re not sure. But that is certainly what’s causing her breathing problems.”
“We will do the biopsy to find out what’s wrong with her lungs and what’s in them.” House explained when he limped around the corner.
“You don’t even know which area could be affected.” the female doctor argued. “Which area do you want to do the biopsy? The results won’t be conclusive.”
“No, but we might find something.” he shrugged.
“Yeah, or more likely you’ll find nothing at all and cause her unnecessary pain.” the woman snorted. “Plus we’re still not sure what caused her to cough up blood. If we cut out a piece of her tissue we might not be able to stop the bleeding afterwards.”
“You won’t do the biopsy.” Derek exclaimed. “Not as long as you don’t even have an idea what it might be.”
Shrugging House pulled up his mask, pushed the door to Penelope’s room open and asked: “Do you have anything made of metal in your body? Implants, nails or something?”
“No.” Penelope replied a little puzzled. “Why?”
“You wanna do a MRT?” the other doctor asked. “Why not X-rays first?”
“The MRT is much more detailed.” he shrugged again and turned to leave the room. “The X-rays certainly won’t show anything anyway. We still need to find out what’s wrong with her and since her bodyguard won’t allow me to do a biopsy...”
Then House turned to Penelope to examine her once again. “Hope you’re not claustrophobic.” he stated and winked at her. “Do a full body scan while you’re at it.” That being ordered he was gone.
Sighing the woman turned to leave the room as well.
“What’s gonna happen now?” Derek held her back.
“I’m gonna try and get the room for the MRT as soon as possible.” the woman replied. “I’ll come and get you then. But I fear you’ll have to wait outside while…”
“Like hell I will.” Derek grunted.
A small smile crossed the woman’s face and she replied: “I’ll see what I can do.”
“Don’t worry.” Derek tried to give his girl a smile through the mask. “I won’t let anyone cause you unnecessary pain.”
She just nodded and drew in an unsteady breath, her face twisting with pain.
“Baby girl?” Derek asked concerned. “Shall I get a nurse so that they can give you something for the pain?”
But Penelope shook her head no. “It’s just… hard to breathe.” She whispered and then started to cough.
Derek helped her sit up and hoped that this would help her breathe. But when he looked down he saw blood sprinkled over the white blanket and immediately pushed the emergency button.
A nurse rushed into the room followed by the female doctor.
Penelope started to gasp and then coughed up more blood.
“She can’t breathe.” the nurse said in Derek’s opinion a little too calm for the situation.
“Get me a syringe!” the doctor ordered. “We need to remove the blood from her lungs.”
The nurse almost ran out of the room and returned only seconds later handing the doctor a big syringe that looked like an instrument of torture.
“This will hurt now.” the doctor warned Penelope. “But it will help you breathe. Ready?”
She nodded weakly and let the nurse move her to lay on her side.
Derek rushed next to the bed and took her hand in his. “It’s gonna be okay, baby.” he whispered and stroked her hand with his thumb.
She clutched his hand tightly and then closed her eyes.
Derek could see her face twisted with pain, even worse than a minute ago, when the needle went through her back directly into her lungs and wanted to make the doctor stop. But suddenly Penelope relaxed a bit and drew in a shallow but steady breath.
“Better?” the doctor asked in a low voice.
Penelope nodded, winced a little when the needle was extracted again from her lungs and then drew in another breath. She opened her eyes to smile at Derek and assure him everything was fine while the nurse bandaged the little puncture mark on her back.
“We still don’t have an appointment for the MRT.” the doctor sighed and placed the syringe that was now filled with blood on a metal table. “But I hope it won’t take much longer.”
That being said she left again.
Derek reached out to brush the tears from Penelope’s cheek. He wished he was at least allowed to take this stupid mask off so that he could kiss her and hold her tighter.
“It’s okay.” she assured as if she could read his mind. “It’s enough that you’re here.”
“I’m not going anywhere, I promise.” Derek smiled. “Well, except if they can’t get you that stupid appointment.” he added a little playfully. “Then I’m gonna go and get you the MRT myself – even if I have to drag out whoever is in there at that moment.”
It took them almost twelve hours to get an appointment for the MRT to be done. Twelve hours in which Derek could practically watch Penelope’s condition getting worse.
Finally around ten p.m. that day the female doctor came back into the room, loosened the breaks of the hospital bed and pushed Penelope outside with Derek following hard on them. At least he was allowed to wait with the doctor in the other room while Penelope was inside the tube and stared at the computer screens.
“What does that tell us?” he wanted to know.
“Nothing.” the woman sighed. “Her lungs are clean, no tumors, no visible ruptures.”
“But the blood must have come from somewhere.” Derek mumbled more to himself.
“That’s why Dr. House wanted me to do a full body scan.” she replied.
“And?” he pressed her.
The woman frowned at the screen but didn’t react to his question.
“What?” he wanted to know. “Doctor… What was your name?”
“Everyone just calls me Thirteen.” she replied absentmindedly.
Derek opened his mouth to add something but was interrupted when House opened the door and let a file drop on the table.
“We have a problem.” both House and Thirteen said simultaneously. Then they both frowned at each other.
“What is it?” Derek demanded to know, ready to punch something.
“I bet the problem I was talking about is bigger than anything you could have found in there.” House said, his face unusually serious. “We have the results of the blood tests. At first they couldn’t find anything so I made them test her blood for every disease they could think of. Guess what?! It’s a hemorrhagic fever!”
“What?” Thirteen’s eyes widened. “That means we’ll have to quarantine the whole ward and everyone she’d been in close contact with. And we all need to be tested as soon as possible.”
“What, you’re telling me she’s got Ebola or something?” Derek jumped in worriedly watching Penelope who was just sliding out of the tube of the MRT.
“Not necessarily.” Thirteen explained. “There’re several types of hemorrhagic fevers. Do they know the type yet?”
“Nope.” House replied. “What did you find out.”
Thirteen sighed, turned back to the screen and pointed at one of the pictures. “Here.”
“Damn it!” House mumbled as he leaned closer to the screen. “You’re right, that really is a problem.”
“What?” Derek wanted to know and tried to identify anything he saw on the screen. But it was just a mass of black and white and shades in between. “What’s wrong?”
“Seems you scored at the wrong time.” House frowned at him.
Derek seized him by the collar and hissed: “What the hell are you talking about?!”
“Apparently, your fiancée is pregnant.” Thirteen explained calmly.
Derek let his hands drop to his sides and stared at Penelope who was lying in her hospital bed again after one of the nurses had helped her to get from the stretcher back into bed.
“What… exactly does that mean for her?” he asked carefully.
“It’s best for her to have an abortion.” House replied without ceremony. “The chances of the baby surviving the infection aren’t good anyways. But it diminishes the chances of your girlfriend surviving. She’s barely strong enough to survive the infection but she’s definitely too weak to keep herself and the baby alive. We’ll give her an abortion pill.”
“Don’t you at least want to know what her opinion is about this?” Derek snarled.
“Trust me, it’s better if she doesn’t know.” House objected. “As I said, she’ll lose the baby sooner or later anyways due to the infection. But if we abort it right now her chances of surviving this are…”
“No!” Derek yelled at him. “I’m not gonna lie to her like that and I’m not gonna do this to her and you aren’t either! This is her decision.”“Well then, congratulations.” House snorted. “You’ve just signed her death warrant.”