DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of the characters from "Punky Brewster". They belong to NBC. I do however own Dr. Larson.

A/N: I know a lot of people have seen "Ouch!"before, but before I saw it just a year ago, I played out a scenario just for fun and I liked my version ever since then. So here it is. I hope everyone likes it! BTW: For the sake of different versions, Punky is nine in this one, not eleven.

"Facing Her Fear"

Punky tossed and turned in her sleep. She was having a nightmare and she wanted out of it. Actually, she wanted out of the whole darn situation, but she knew that wasn't possible at the moment, so the little girl would take whatever she could get.

"Henry!" Punky cried in her sleep, her voice breaking with tears. "HENRY!"

Woken up by his daughter's scream, Henry Warnaemont sat up in the cot that the nurse had given him and made his way over to the bed. He put a hand on Punky's shoulder, trying to wake her up.

"Punky? Punky, come on, sweetheart, it's only a bad dream, honey. Wake up, sweetie."

Punky pushed Henry's hand away before opening her brown eyes and surveying the room before her. She was sort of disoriented and she didn't know where she was at first. But as Punky gazed around, she realized with a pang of fear and realization that she wasn't at home. Then as a fresh set of tears coursed down her cheeks, the events of the day came floating back to her. As the memories of the day played in her mind, she felt Henry pull her close and start to stroke her hair. She leaned against his chest and let the tears fall. She was scared and in pain and she wanted nothing more than to go home and not have to face what was coming the next day.

"Shh, shh, shh, it's okay, Punky. It's okay. That's my girl. That's my girl. Shh, it's all right, sweetheart."

"Henry, I'm scared!" Punky confessed tearfully. "I don't want to have an operation tomorrow! I want to go home! Please, just take me home, please!"

"I'm sorry, honey," Henry said, hugging Punky close and wanting nothing more than to do that very thing, "but I can't. This operation has to be done. You want your tummy to stop hurting don't you?"

Punky nodded as a sob escaped her lips. As she closed her eyes and tried to sleep, the events of the day came floating back to her. . . .

"Tag!" Punky cried as she tagged her best friend, Cherie Johnson on the shoulder. "You're it, Cherie!"

Cherie giggled as she ran after her best friend. As they rounded the bend in their back yard, Punky stopped and clutched her right side. She suddenly felt pain go through it and she collapsed to the ground, still conscious, but feeling really dizzy. Cherie ran to Punky's side and tried to help her up, but it was no use, Punky was feeling too weak.

"Get Henry!" Punky ordered, her voice cracking with tears of fear and pain.

Cherie didn't need telling twice. She remembered just two weeks ago when Punky had saved her life when she, Cherie had gotten locked in Henry's old refrigerator. She had wanted to return the favor and this was her chance. She ran into the apartment building, all the while, screaming Henry's name.

The building manager came out of the apartment he and Punky lived in and gave Cherie a stern look.

"Cherie, please stop yell-" He broke off when he saw the panicked look on Cherie's face. "What is it, dear?" He asked.

"It's Punky!" Cherie blurted out. "We were playing tag and she just fell down. I think her tummy's hurt."

Henry followed Cherie outside where Punky was still sitting, clutching her right side. When she saw Henry and Cherie, she breathed a sigh of relief, although she was still crying.

"Punky, sweetheart, what happened?" Henry asked, getting to his daughter's side.

Punky turned her pale face to meet her father's gaze.

"Henry, it hurts really bad!" Punky said, the tears finally coming. "My tummy hurts!"

"Okay, all right. Come on, honey. Let's get you inside." Henry picked Punky up and carried her into the house. All the while, Punky was whimpering in pain. When they got inside, Henry set Punky down on the couch and told Cherie to stay with her while he got Mrs. Johnson.

Cherie nodded and started to pat Punky's shoulder.

About ten minutes later, Mrs. Johnson came into the apartment, followed by Henry. She knelt down beside the couch and started to examine Punky. Being a registered nurse, she knew what was wrong the second she touched the pained area and Punky let out a sob and pushed her hand away while squeezing Cherie's left one with her own.

"We need to get Punky to the ER right now," Betty told Henry. "It looks like she has appendicitis."

"What?!" Henry, Cherie and Punky said in unison, making Betty smile a little.

"We'll take my car," Henry said, lifting Punky up once again. She clung to Henry for all it was worth and Betty ended up driving because Punky didn't want Henry anywhere but with her. Betty didn't mind of course, but she knew the state Punky was in, she needed to get to the hospital fast.

When they reached County General, Henry took Punky and Cherie inside while Betty found a parking spot. They went into triage and a nurse named Lucy, saw them right away. She examined Punky and started an IV to hydrate her. After that, she called the doctor to look her over.

"Dr. Larson will be in soon," Lucy assured them both. "Is there anything I can get you, MR. Warnaemont?"

Henry shook his head.

"No thanks," he said, starting to stroke Punky's hair. It was up in pigtails as usual, but there was a part of it that was down.

About ten minutes later, Dr. Larson came in. She had red hair and green eyes. She looked very kind.

"Hi there," she said. "My name is Dr. Arielle Larson. Or you can call me Arielle if you like. What's your name, sweetie?"

Punky winced in pain before answering the doctor's question.

"Punky Brewster," she said, her voice small and frightened.

"Well, it's nice to meet you, Punky. So I hear your tummy's hurting."
Punky nodded.

"All right, let's have a look. I promise, I'll be as gentle as possible." Dr. Larson then moved to the other side of the bed and started to examine Punky's stomach. She touched it gently and tried her best not to hurt the little girl. She didn't want to cause her anymore pain.

"Ow!" Punky cried out, clutching Henry's hand for support. "That hurt!"

"I'm sorry, sweetie," Dr. Larson said sincerely. "Does it hurt anywhere else besides your right side?"

Punky shook her head.

"Okay, honey, let me talk to your Dad for a minute and then we can get you feeling better, okay?"

"Okay," Punky said, as she closed her eyes, trying to ignore the pain.

Dr. Larson patted Punky's shoulder gently before turning her attention to Henry.

"Has Punky ever had bad stomachaches before, MR. Warnaemont?"

Henry shook his head.

"No, not like this. She gets them if she eats too many sweets, but I try and prevent that from happening. You know how kids are."

Dr. Larson nodded. She knew how they were. She had two of her own in fact.

"Okay. Well, I'm going to give Punky some medicine to try and help with the pain and then we'll go from there." She then left to get the medicine.

Just then, Mrs. Johnson came in, Cherie behind her.

"What took you so long?" Henry asked. "Was parking that bad?"

Betty shook her head.

"No. I just ran into some people I knew and then Cherie was hungry."

Punky grimaced.

"Please, Mrs. Johnson, don't mention food."

"Sorry, sweetie." Betty smiled warmly at Punky as she walked over and patted her shoulder. "Are you feeling any better, honey?"

Punky shook her head.

"I wish." She said.

Just then, Dr. Larson returned. When she saw Betty, she smiled.

"Hi there. I haven't seen you around here lately. And is this Cherie? My, she's gotten so big. Hey, kiddo!" Dr. Larson gave Cherie a hug, which the little girl gladly returned.

"You two know each other?" Henry asked.

Betty nodded.

"Yes, we went to medical school together."

Henry nodded.

"So did you find out what's the matter with Punky?" Betty asked, wanting to get her niece feeling better.

Dr. Larson nodded.

"Yup. I think Miss Punky has appendicitis."

"I told you so!" Betty said, grinning at Henry.
Henry glared at her, but his mouth was twitching at the corners.

"Can you make it better?" Punky asked, looking hopefully at Dr. Larson.

Dr. Larson nodded.

"I sure can. But it requires minor surgery. That means you're going to have to stay over night."

Punky nodded and then the full weight of what Dr. Larson had just said sunk in. She shook her head and turned to Henry for protection.

"An appendectomy is a very simple operation," Betty assured Punky who had tears in her eyes. "You'll be home before you know it."

Punky shook her head again before turning her attention back to Henry.

"Henry, please, don't make me do it. I don't want an operation! Please!" She burst into tears and launched herself at her father.

Henry took his daughter into his arms and stroked her hair gently, but there wasn't anything he could do. This operation had to be done.

"I'm sorry, sweetheart, but I can't do anything. This has to be done," Henry said, rubbing Punky's back as the little girl cried on his shoulder. "But I promise, I'll stay with you tonight and I'll be there before and after the operation is over, okay?"

Punky nodded, but continued to cry. She didn't like the sound of this and no matter what Henry said, it wasn't going to help her fear. . . .

Punky buried her face deeper into Henry's shoulder as the tears continued to fall. She didn't want to do this, but she knew she had to. It was going to be scary, but since there was no alternative, Punky was going to try and be as brave as possible. She was going to summon all the Punky power she had and hope it helped her.

As Punky fell back to sleep, Henry kissed her cheek and stroked her hair gently.

"Sweet dreams, Punky. I love you very much. I'll see you in the morning." After Henry was sure Punky was asleep, he tucked her back in and went back to the cot. As he lay down, he sighed. He knew tomorrow wasn't going to be an easy day, but he was determined to help Punky through it, no matter what it took.

The next day, Punky awoke feeling sick to her stomach. SHE was still plenty scared, even though she was trying to be brave. Arielle had come in to check on her before the surgery and Punky had shied away a little. She knew Arielle, although she didn't want to, was going to take her away from Henry soon and that was something Punky wasn't looking forward too.

"Don't worry, sweetie," Dr. Larson said, sensing Punky's fear, "It's not time yet." SHE patted Punky's shoulder gently and then started to check things over. She then left the room to get the versed and make sure things were ready.

After Dr. Larson left, Betty and Cherie walked in. Cherie gave Punky a hug and Betty offered Henry some breakfast.

"It's healthy," she said, smirking.

"No thanks," Henry said. "I rather go to McDonald's and get something to eat. They have real food."

Betty gave him a Look.

Punky winced as more pain surged through her tummy. She looked away from whatever Betty had brought for breakfast. It was starting to make her feel a little sick.

Just then, Dr. Larson came back. She gave Punky a reassuring smile as she came over and started to give her the versed. She told her to squeeze Henry's hand and just relax.

Punky did so, but she couldn't shake the sick feeling she was beginning to get.

About five minutes later, Punky pulled away from Henry and clapped a hand over her mouth.

Cherie noticed before anyone else and was at her best friend's side in minutes. She placed a small bowl in front of her and helped her to sit up as best she could.

Betty watched the interaction with pride. She had taught her granddaughter well.

As Punky brought up the contents of her stomach, Henry rubbed his daughter's back and Cherie patted her shoulder with her right hand while holding the bowl with the other.

After Punky was done, she was in tears and all she wanted was Henry. She launched herself at him and he took her into his arms, trying to calm her down. She was starting to feel tired, but she still felt sick.

Dr. Larson came back and frowned when she saw the scene before her.

"Oh Punky!" Dr. Larson said gently. She reached out to pat her shoulder, but Punky pushed her away. She didn't want anything to do with her.

"Punky, it's okay," Henry assured his daughter, "it's going to be okay." He hugged her close and gave her a kiss while stroking her hair. After Punky had cried herself to sleep, Henry laid her back down and tucked the blanket around her. He then kissed her cheek and held her hand as Dr. Larson rolled the gurney down to the OR doors.

Once there, Henry knew the drill from talking to Betty. This was as far as he could go. He gave Punky another kiss and patted her shoulder. Then he walked back to the waiting room.

When they entered the OR, Punky awoke a little bit. She felt herself being lifted up and placed upon another bed. She whimpered a little.

Dr. Larson put off putting the heart monitor on her and took to stroking her hair gently.

"Shh, shh, shh, it's okay, Punky. It's all right. You're okay. Everything's all right. Close your eyes, honey. Try and sleep." She then started to sing to her, hoping it would help her drift off again. She didn't want to give her anymore medicine for fear of it making her stomach hurt worse.

Punky calmed a little at Dr. Larson's gentle touch and her sweet singing voice, but then a stab of stomach pain made her cry out and she was awake once again.

Dr. Larson started to rub Punky's shoulder gently and then as much as it pained her to do it, she prepared to give her something to help her fall back to sleep. The reason this medicine was rarely used was because it burned a lot. Dr. Larson put it in Punky's IV and her heart broke at the cry of pain that issued from the little girl's mouth. She had her eyes closed, but Dr. Larson could tell she was in pain.

"Shh, shh, shh, it's okay, Punky. It's okay. You're going to be okay, honey. It's all right."

"It's. . . ." Punky started to say, her voice full of tears, but stopped as the sick feeling came back. She tried to clap a hand to her mouth as she had done before, but she found that her strength was gone due to the medicine.

Dr. Larson saw her distress and got her a bucket and helped her to sit up. The moment Punky did so, she felt her world start to spin. Whatever they used to clean the room was making her feel dizzy or maybe it was just the medicine and the tiredness. She closed her eyes and let Dr. Larson help her face forward. She didn't want to see anything right now and even though she, Punky had only known Dr. Larson for a little while, she trusted her.

"There ya go, sweetie, you're okay, Punky. You're all right." Dr. Larson soothed as Punky got sick two more times. After her stomach had calmed down, Dr. Larson helped her to lay back down and started to stroke her hair again. She then prepared to help her fall asleep a different way.

Since Punky's eyes were closed, she didn't see what Dr. Larson had in her hand, but as she felt something touch her face, she tried to push it away, but it was no use. She was too worn out. She let the tears fall as Dr. Larson tried to assure her that she was okay and to just breathe.

"It's okay, Punky, it's all right. Just breathe, sweetie. You're okay. Just breathe."

Punky tried to obey, but she felt trapped and she wanted out. She then felt the tiredness returning and she stopped trying to struggle. She then felt sleep overtake her once again.

A few hours later, Punky awoke feeling sick to her stomach once again, but she was also a little tired. She noticed that she was in a different room and whatever had been trapping her before was gone. She tried to call Henry's name but was only successful in starting to cough and feeling more sick.

"Punky? Punky, it's okay, honey, you're okay. How do you feel, sweetie?" Dr. Larson asked. She came over and put a gentle hand on Punky's shoulder.

"Sleepy," Punky replied truthfully. "I want Henry!"

"Shh, shh, it's okay, sweetheart. You'll see Henry soon. You just need a little more rest. Is your tummy feeling sick?"

Punky nodded as she tried to fight back the urge to throw up again.

Dr. Larson helped her to sit up and placed a bucket in front of her.

After Punky was done, DR. Larson helped her to lay back down and then she gave her some medicine to help her remaining stomach pain.

"Is it over?" Punky asked hoping it was.

"Yes," Dr. Larson replied. "You passed with flying colors, sweetie. You did great."

Punky nodded as she let sleep take over for the third time that day. She was just so tired from the days events, all she wanted was to go back home and sleep in her own bed. But even more than that, she wanted Henry.

"Punky," Henry said, stroking her hair gently. "Punky."

Punky opened her eyes and found herself back in the room that she had been in before the operation. She still felt a little sick, but her stomach wasn't hurting as much.

"Henry?" Punky asked.

"I'm right here, sweetheart. Mrs. Johnson and Cherie will be here soon too."

Punky nodded.

"Can we go home now?" She asked.

"Soon, honey, really soon. I'm really proud of you," Henry said, kissing Punky's cheek.

"You are?" Punky asked, her voice a little scratchy from being asleep. "Why?"

Henry smiled at his nine year old daughter.

"Because you faced your fear."

Punky nodded as realization hit.

"I guess I did, didn't I?"

Henry nodded.

"You sure did." He gave her a hug and started to stroke her hair as Punky tried to get a little more rest. She had had a tough day and she needed all the rest she could get. Punky was proud of herself that she had faced down her fear and she knew if she could survive this, then she could survive anything. Especially when she had Punky power and of course, Henry and Cherie and Mrs. Johnson to believe in her.

THE END