Title: Trick of Fate

Rating: K+

Summary/notes: This takes place around the beginning of Season 3, and is an alternate version of some of the events from the last few episodes with Dana. Dana has already found out that she's not pregnant, and had her teary heart-to-heart with Lu. She has decided to adopt the HIV baby, but nobody knows yet, except Nick. The baby's mother, Paula, is still in the hospital, and Dana has been caring for her. (P.S. I made up a last name for Paula, but if someone knows it, please let me know.)

If you have any questions about timeline, or if any details are wrong or incomplete, particularly the medical stuff, don't hesitate to review or email me (email address in my profile). Also review anyway, because I love to hear what people think of my writing.

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Dr. Lu Delgado was walking down the hallway of the Rittenhouse Hospital Intensive Care Unit, on her way to check on a patient who'd been admitted earlier that day. As she passed through the waiting room, something caught her eye. A scruffy-looking little girl was sitting by herself in one of the chairs along the wall, clutching a stuffed monkey with one hand and rubbing her eyes with the other. Worried about the fact that the girl was alone, and that her itchy eyes might be a sign of a more serious condition, Lu went over to the girl and knelt down to her level.

"Hi, sweetie, I'm Dr. Lu," she said gently. "Is something wrong with your eyes?"

The little girl nodded. She seemed shy. "They itch," she said, barely audible.

"Maybe I should take a look at them, see if I can make them better. Is someone here with you?"

The girl nodded again. "She's in the bathroom." With that, a woman came around the corner and approached the two of them.

"Annie? Who's this?" asked the woman.

"I'm Dr. Lu Delgado. I work down in the Rittenhouse Women's Health Center. I was just passing by, and I noticed that your daughter seemed to be rubbing her eyes. She tells me they itch."

"Oh, I'm not her mother," said the woman. "I'm her social worker. Annie here has been in custody of the state for the past few months, and I've brought her here to see her mother, Paula, who's in Intensive Care."

"Is that so?" said Lu, interested by this little girl's situation. "Well, if you don't mind, I'd like her to come down to my office for a few minutes so I can take a look at her eyes and try to figure out what's wrong."

"I suppose," said the woman reluctantly, "but not for too long, because visting hours are almost over, and it's very important that Annie see her mother today."

"I'm well aware of the visiting hours," retorted Lu. "I'll make it snappy."

Once the three had arrived in Lu's office, she began to examine Annie's eyes and ask questions of the social worker at the same time. "So, Ms. …?"

"Caldwell. Alice Caldwell."

"Ms. Caldwell, have you been observing Annie for the past few days?"

"Yes, Dr. Delgado, I have."

"Call me Lu. Please. I notice that Annie's eyes seem to be red, in addition to her complaint of itchiness. Have you noticed any other symptoms?"

"She's had a little bit of a fever for the past few days. We've been keeping it down as best we can with Tylenol, but it never really returns to normal."

"That's probably a sign that she's fighting some sort of infection. In this case, I believe that Annie has bacterial conjunctivitis, which you probably know better as 'pink eye'. I'm going to write a prescription for some antibiotic eyedrops, which should help this to clear up in a few days—it shouldn't be anything to worry about. Call me in a week if she hasn't gotten better, okay?" Lu handed Alice the prescription slip, and turned to Annie. "Feel better, okay, sweetie?" Annie nodded shyly. "You can go see your mommy now." Then to Alice, "What did you say her name was?"

"Paula Fogler," replied Alice.

"Hmm," thought Lu aloud, "she's not one of my patients. "Do you happen to know who her doctor is?"

"Dr. Stowe?" said Alice hesitantly.

"Oh, sure. Dr. Dana Stowe is my partner here in the RWHC. She's an excellent physician. I hope Ms. Fogler is getting the best of care from her."

"Thank you, Dr. Delgado. We'll be in touch this week. Say goodbye, Annie."

"Bye, Dr. Lu!" said Annie with a smile—she had warmed up quickly to the amiable doctor. As she watched the two of them go, Lu knew she would have to ask Dana about this patient Paula. It was late at night, and Dana had already gone home, so the inquiry would have to wait until tomorrow.

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"Good morning, Lana, any messages yet?" inquired Dana Stowe as she strolled past the reception desk.

"Nothing, Dr. Stowe, except Lu wants to see you in her office." Following Lana's instruction, Dana went over to the door of Lu's office and knocked.

"Come in," came the voice of her partner. Dana pushed the door, entered, and sat in the char opposite Lu, who was working at her desk.

"Hey Dana, what's up?"

"Lana said you wanted to talk to me, but first, I've got news for you. You remember that HIV baby that was abandoned in the ER several weeks ago?"

"Sure. Baby Jane Doe. Nick's been trying to keep her here, right?"

"That's right, and now I've decided to keep her with me."

"What do you mean, Dana?" Lu was confused.

"Well I've been thinking a lot about what you said, that it doesn't matter how I become a mother, just that I become a mother. So I've decided to adopt the HIV baby and raise her as my own. As luck would have it, her mother was admitted to this very hospital yesterday, and I've been caring with her. She has signed away all parental rights to the baby, so as long as the judge agrees, she's mine."

A look of shock crossed Lu's face. "Wow, that's a really admirable thing to do. But are you sure you can handle it? I mean, she'll need so much extra care."

"Who better to give her that care than I, who can be both her mother and her doctor, round the clock?" Dana's point was a valid one.

"I guess you're right. And I guess congratulations are in order." Lu smiled at her partner, and the two shook hands.

"And now, Lu, what did you want to talk to me about?"

"Well, I wanted to ask you—" beep beep. Beep beep. Lu glanced down at her pager. "ER. Gotta go. Sorry Dana!"

"Don't worry, Lu, I understand. We'll talk later." And with that, Lu sprang up from her chair, threw on her white lab coat, and took off down the hallway toward the ER.

"Who paged me?"

"Over here, Lu," called a nurse.

"Let's hear it," Lu said to the nurse as she pulled on a pair of sterile rubber gloves and walked over to the bay where the nurse was standing.

"Female, approximately five years of age, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Probable dehyrdration."

"CBC, UA, Chem Panel. IV Lactated Ringer's." Having called out her orders to the nearby nurses, Lu looked down at the patient for the first time, and suddenly realized why it was she whom the nurse had paged.

"Annie."

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Hopefully you enjoyed it! Don't forget to review, or email me with comments/questions! I'll try to update ASAP, but school is pretty intense and hectic, so it'll either be tomorrow or next Friday, depending on how much I have to say tomorrow. Thanks guys!