Name: Beating of His Heart
Summary: A heart donor has finally come in and Denny is proceeding into surgery. Izzie's scared. Will fate work out?
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
Authors Note: I have yet to see a Denny piece so I'm going to be the first to post one. I like Denny too much and I really hope he gets a transplant. So, here's my story.
Dr. Izzie Stevens wrung her hands together, folding her delicate fingers over each other nervously. A wisp of wavy blonde hair blinded her line of sight; she quickly swiped it away, curling it behind her ear. Her stomach churned, knots yanking together in a tighter pull. She suddenly felt nauseated. The pad of her palm clasped over her forehead; she closed her eyes and breathed deeply.
Her brown orbs fluttered open, long eyelashes beating against her fair skin. Her manicured nail slipped between her parted lips, nicking her teeth. Nurses in their colorful uniforms brushed past her, the cold air that they left in their wake crawling on her. They surrounded a man in a hospital bed, tubes and rhythmically beating machines enclosing him in. The nurses and few other interns hastily worked in preparing him for his surgery, unhooking bags hung on various stands. The man, his hair disheveled from so long in the room patiently waiting ruffled in a messy style, was solely focused on Izzie. She couldn't take her eyes away from Denny Duquette.
She smiled at him and he returned the smile, his eyes lighting up. She shifted her feet, glancing towards the clock hanging above the doorway; twenty minutes and Denny would be under the knife. Her eyes traveled downward and saw Dr. Alex Karev standing outside the room, staring inside through the glass window, clipboard gripped in his hands. A black pen was set on his ear, the top peaking out from his hair.
Izzie turned back abruptly when Denny groaned, an aching sound rolling out of his throat. He'd been shifted to the rolling bed, the one that would drive him into an elevator and into the OR. Izzie would be there with him the entire time; she wasn't going to leave him. The nurses went through their routine of making the patient comfortable, going to any lengths to ease his fear. But Denny felt no fear; not a string in his body was scared. He couldn't be…not in front of her. The three nurses accompanying the doctors to the surgery maneuvered around the gurney and wheeled him forward, headed to the door.
Izzie inched forward and walked beside Denny, keeping his attention on her, as they journeyed through the hospital. Izzie brushed her hand over Denny's, feeling the roughness of his working hands. She sprinkled her fingers over his knuckle, gently rubbing the bones. She watched her movements, unaware that Denny was still watching her, admiring her. He twitched her hand, smiling at her reaction. She shivered, a shallow breath filling her lungs. Electricity shocked his senses. He took her hand in his. They grinned.
They descended down the labyrinth of halls, catching the attention of a number of residents and interns. They passed the nurses station where Dr. Meredith Grey and Dr. Derek Shepard were discussing a patient that a MRI had just detected an aneurysm; both doctors had turned and bid good luck to Denny. The "Magical Heart Patient" had become somewhat of a modern Superman within the stale walls of the hospital. Izzie looked up and saw Dr. Preston Burke, the attending doctor that would be performing the transplant, waiting at the end of the long hall, hugging a clipboard to his chest, glasses neatly perched on the bridge of his nose. They halted; Denny held Izzie's hand tighter, feeling her muscles stiffen.
This was going to be the hard part.
"Good afternoon, Denny." Dr. Burke bid, smiling to the man. Denny nodded to him. Dr. Burke looked at Izzie; she looked paler than usual. "Dr. Stevens, are you all right? You don't look well."
"She's nervous." Denny answered, reading the young blonde expertly.
"There's nothing to worry about Stevens. Denny's in good hands."
"I know." Izzie agreed, glancing sideways at Denny.
"Are you well enough to accompany me into surgery? I don't think this man would want otherwise." Izzie nodded. "Well, then, you'll have to leave Denny here and follow me."
Dr. Burke disappeared behind the swinging doors, leaving the doctor and patient. He looked back only once, knowing for a fact that Izzie wasn't going to follow immediately; he wasn't disappointed. She still stood by his side, refusing to let him be wheeled in just yet. She paralleled her body to his. They stood in silence until the nurse urged that they needed to be on their way.
Denny spoke first. "Izzie, if something goes wrong and I—"
"You're not going to die. You're not!" Izzie interrupted. Tears welled along the rims of her eyes, but she didn't move to deplete them. A love had grown in her heart for this man, this man with the tender words and kind eyes. This man that has had a burden bestowed on him, yet he can still find a way to see the positive in it all. He can still find the silver lining. Her. The nurse to her left cleared her throat. Izzie opened her mouth to say something; this could be good-bye. "I have to go now."
Denny nodded. He lifted her hand still entwined in his and laid down a gentle kiss. Izzie laughed, embarrassed as a heat rose to her cheeks, overpowering the urge to let tears fall. "Don't worry about me, Izzie. I'm strong. Besides, the worst thing about saying hello is having to say good-bye."
Izzie titled her head to the side, the nurse pushing the gurney forward. Their grip on each other broke apart, his fingers fleeting from her hold. She watched through a daze as he was wheeled into the OR, descending past the tinted glass doors. She pondered his words, suddenly overcome with a fear that he wouldn't be alive when he came out. She closed her eyes and breathed, gathering herself. She tied her hair in a ponytail and disappeared, stripping off her white coat.
Nearly two hours later, the operating room was deathly silent. Dr. Burke, a metallic knife positioned in his hand, hovered over Denny's open chest, inspecting the thumping heart showered with blood, but cold to the touch from it's lingering in an icebox. He probed the heart with his gloved fingers, moving into a more invasive inspection. His surgical mask muffled his observations, which he shared with the people in the room. Izzie stood opposite him, studying the procedure, but she was really keeping an eye on Denny. So far the surgery was running smoothly; not one complication had been endured. It appeared Denny was going to survive this fall.
Izzie's eyes flickered up to the monitor next to Denny's head, the recordings of his pulse and heart rate transforming into a lullaby for her flustered soul. As long as that machine kept beeping at a regular pace, her anxiety would remain collected. Dr. Burke sighed, leaning back into a straight posture.
"Okay. Surgery was a success. Let's sew him up and get him to recover." Dr. Burke announced, catching the sigh of relief from Izzie.
He looked at her; she looked away. There was a rush of human bodies as the task of ending the victorious surgery presented itself. With the hardest part over, it was free sailing. Dr. Burke looked back down and froze. Fresh blood seeped from Denny's chest, spilling over his opened skin and down his sides. Dr. Burke applied pressure to the wound immediately, calling for assistance. The event had just reversed from good to bad.
"We have internal hemorrhaging, people. Give me something that can stop this!" Dr. Burke yelled, sensing the suddenly frightened atmosphere turn worse.
Cases and cases of rags were plopped down next to him as he depleted more and more now bloody towels. The amount was growing; the bleeding was unceasing. Izzie froze. The color drained from her face. Hundreds of thoughts swirled in her brain at that very moment; she felt like she was a deer caught in the headlights, unable to move though her body willed her to. Her limbs were subconsciously moving, but she was not. A nurse in the back reported that his heart rate was plummeting. Dr. Burke looked at the monitor; the line blared across the screen was flattening, few rises passing.
Izzie couldn't think, couldn't move. She was worthless, she felt defeated. Dr. Burke yelled. "Dr. Stevens, move!"
The plastic chair was uncomfortable; the coldness of the metal legs grazed her legs while the bolts in the bag snagged strands of her hair. She leaned forward, crushing her elbow into her knees, and ran her fingers across her lips, back and forth. Tears stained her cheeks. Her eyes quivered as they inspected the sight before her. She'd seen dying people before, stood in there hospital rooms while she gave out information or consulted with family members, but all those times…they weren't him. They weren't personal. He was.
She knew well in her mind through training and instinct that becoming emotionally involved in a patient, especially one of Denny's status, was not a good decision. It almost always led to disaster, anyone could tell her that, but Denny…she was willing to risk it. Denny's body was lifeless; sleeping soundly on the white sheets pulled up to his chest, crinkling his paper nightgown. A machine to help him breathe was stashed in the corner, deserted; his chest now rose and fell to the rhythm of his own beating heart. He could breathe on his own.
Izzie hadn't abandoned his side for the whole afternoon. Chief Richard Webber had come in and, upon seeing her concern for this man, had given her the afternoon off, which was a rare occasion in such a popular and often busy hospital. Denny's hemorrhaging ad finally been stopped, but his vitals remained low. Nurses rotated in and out constantly, jotting down the results at different times on the same slips of paper. Denny had been lucky; such complications during this type of surgery normally had to be followed within the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours with another surgery to correct the bleeding. He still wasn't awake.
Izzie wrapped her fingers around the perimeter of the cup of water left on the table beside her, but she set it back down. She was restless; she didn't know what to do. She wanted to help Denny in some way, but she couldn't figure how. She stood and brought the stethoscope currently slung around her neck over her head then held it limply in her hand. She reached Denny's side in two strides, looking down at his sullen facial expression. There was no smile; he looked alien without it. She was so used to his sly little smiles and cute sideways gazes that to see him without them were completely cold. She popped the ends of the instrument into her ears, guiding the metal circular piece over Denny's uncovered chest.
Denny suddenly twitched, his head lolling to the side, his eyes drooping open. Though a hazy vision, he saw the outline of Izzie standing by his side; a ghostly smiled tugged at the corners of his lips. His hand lifted off the bed and kissed Izzie's, halting her movement. Her eyes shot over to him. "That's cold."
She drowned her vision, tears blurring him. She wiped her hands over her face, giggling to herself. His head fell to the side, the exhaustion of the operation setting in. He felt drained of all his energy. "Are you with me?" Denny nodded weakly. Izzie quickly sat on the side of the bed, her hand instinctively grasping his arm. "Thought we were going to lose you."
"I'm here, Izzie." His eyes found hers. "What happened?"
"Internal hemorrhaging. Vascular complication. We managed to stop it before it damaged anything." Izzie explained, fidgeting with the stethoscope now hooked around her slender neck. "You got lucky."
Denny laughed. "Were you scared, Izzie?"
Izzie licked her lips. "How could you ask me that, Denny?" He bore his eyes into hers; she couldn't lie. "Of course I was."
"You didn't need to be—"
"But I was. I thought you were going to die for a while."
"I wouldn't leave without saying good-bye."
Izzie snapped her mouth shut, swallowing the words that were going to creep out for his next remark. She bowed her head, unclasping the stethoscope around her neck. "I want you to hear this."
Denny didn't protest as she poked the ear tips in his ears, then held the opposite end over his beating heart. Denny lay there, listening to his new heart. Izzie watched happily as his reaction progressed from confusion to overwhelming joy. Tears welled up in their eyes. He had a heartbeat, a working heartbeat. Izzie covered his hand with hers. He'd received what he'd deserved.