Disclaimer: I've never claimed to be a doctor, nor even a student of medicine. I will be doing some research so any medical situations are based on generic fact but in reality this is fanfiction, so I won't be spending inordinate amounts of time doing extensive research about medical conditions and surgery and the like. Please forgive me any medical flubs (and be realistic, do you think the writers and producers of GH get it right half the time?). Thanks! Enjoy!
Oh, and I don't own nor lay claim to any characters or settings in this fic-they are the property of GH and its creative team. Thanks!
Timeline: A few weeks after the adventure on the Maarkam Islands (and in this story Sam has not woken up yet and Robin does NOT know about John's paternity)
She stirred, disturbed by a gentle touch on her brow. Eyes fluttering open, Robin was met with the handsome features of Patrick Drake. He was leaning over her, a silly grin on his face as he brushed her hair away off her forehead. Robin grinned back at him, the events of the evening playing in her mind; she worriedly wondered if Patrick regretted their intimacy.
It was only after several failed attempts to be together that things had finally worked out perfectly for Robin and Patrick. There had been wine and dancing, and Patrick had been very romantic. There had been no pressure, and though it slightly dampened the mood, Robin made sure she provided Patrick the option of stopping-she was HIV positive, she kept reminding him; but he insisted he was sure. He wanted her, he had said.
It had been gentle, Patrick slow and careful; not only careful in regards to protection for himself, but careful with Robin as well. It had been years since she had been with a man and without knowing it she had neglected part of herself. When Patrick touched her, that part of her that had been hibernating awoke with startling passion.
The ensuing night was a blur of limbs and sweat and the most intimate closeness possible; a closeness Robin had forgotten she'd missed. Eventually they had fallen asleep together, in each other's arms, and Robin had never felt safer.
"Good morning, Dr. Scorpio," Patrick smiled as he softly kissed her, tickling her lips and eliciting a slight giggle.
"Morning," she responded, searching Patrick's face for any sign of regret. There was none she could see and her nerves eased a bit.
"How do you feel?" Patrick asked, his wanton gaze changing to reflect a slight look of concern.
Robin felt herself blush and she raised her hands to cover her face, laughing at her embarrassment.
"Sorry," she spoke from behind her hands; "It's been a long time…I feel…well, I feel satisfied," Robin kept her hands over her face, listening for Patrick's response. There was a long silence and Robin started to worry that she'd turned him off by sounding like such a cheesy girl.
As her heart started to sink, Robin felt Patrick pull her hands from her face. He was still gazing at her with that look-a look of want and desire. He only shook his head slightly as he leaned down and kissed her again, this time with purpose and passion.
Robin gave in, returning his kiss and soon she was thinking of nothing but him
A few hours later Robin sat in her office at the hospital waiting for a conference call to begin with her associates in Paris. She took her anti-viral medication with a remindful sigh, but the damper of swallowing the pills didn't last long.
Even though it had caused her to be late to the hospital that morning, Robin smiled at the memory of her time with Patrick. She felt almost giddy with the amazing smoothness of it; how they had fit together perfectly. There had been no awkwardness usually associated with the first time with someone.
Robin was still replaying the last 12 hours in her mind when her phone rang, startling her and bringing another flush to her lightly freckled cheeks.
Allowing a nervous laugh, Robin answered the phone. Almost immediately she moved thoughts of Patrick to the back of her mind. Work became her focus as she began reviewing the data from her latest trial with the medication she was developing with Dr. Cera Ponteau and Dr. Georges Freinot.
"Dr. Scorpio, can I get your opinion on a patient?"
Robin gave a slight smile as Patrick came up behind her, letting his hand linger at the small of her back for longer than was necessary. Standing at the 8th floor nurses station, Robin was going through the phone messages that had accumulated while she had been on her conference call.
"Certainly, Dr. Drake," Robin responded, turning a smiling face up to Patrick and shoving the stack of messages she was sorting into the pocket of her lab coat. "What's the situation?"
Patrick led her to the empty waiting area where he sat, indicating Robin to do the same. Silently he handed over the chart he was holding and Robin, who was starting to grow concerned, opened it immediately.
The chart belonged to Sam McCall who was still in recovery from the emergency surgery that Patrick had performed. She had not woken up and it was determined she was suffering from swelling along the base of her skull. The swelling was located in a region of the brain where it would soon be pressing against a sensitive bundle of nerves that if cut off from blood flow would cause total and permanent paralysis.
Robin read the chart, her eyes widening and her thoughts immediately going to Jason; he was leaving Sam alone to keep her alive, but the damage was already done. After all that Sam had been through Robin couldn't imagine what further problems could possibly arise, but here was yet another issue. Raising her head finally, she questioned Patrick with raised eyes.
"I thought you might want to consider her for part of your study. Are you not still working on a treatment protocol for paralysis of this particular nerve bundle?" Patrick watched her expectantly and Robin couldn't help but feel mightily impressed. Instead of immediately rushing Sam back into a potentially life threatening surgery, he was considering another option.
"I would consider her," Robin nodded as she handed the chart back to Patrick, "but Alexis would have to agree to it and given the options, I can't say that my treatments would be any more successful or certain than another surgery. Time is of the essence here."
Patrick sighed as he slowly nodded.
"Time is not on our side. I'd say at the present rate of inflammation she has maybe three days before the nerve damage becomes irreversible," Patrick slowly stood and held out his hand to Robin, "would you like to join me in talking with Ms. McCall's mother?"
Robin smiled, although with less joy then she might have felt on any other occasion, and accepted Patrick's hand. Together they moved towards the ICU, where Alexis was keeping vigil by Sam's side.
"Wait, wait, wait," Alexis had her hands to her temple and she was shaking her head. "Please explain this to me again, simply, in terms I can understand."
Robin exchanged a look with Patrick then took the floor, once again explaining the options that existed for Sam.
"The surgery Dr. Drake performed on Sam caused irritation in the membrane of the brain. It's a fairly common side effect, and one that is dealt with in many brain surgery patients. It's part of the reason it takes most patients some time to wake up as well. The difference here has to do with the particular area that is swelling and the specific nerves that would be affected. The swelling, if gone unchecked, will press against the main bundle of nerves that control all motor functions. Sam would become paralyzed, and at this point there is no recovery from this kind of paralyzation. Once the nerves are cut off from the blood supply, they die. To keep this from happening we need to take action; right now there are two treatment options. The first is to take Sam back to surgery-," Robin paused for Patrick to interject, indicating he should explain the risks surgery would include.
"If we go back to surgery, Sam could go into shock and not survive, or the inflammation could get worse as I would be going back in where the original surgery was performed," Patrick stopped and nodded to Robin.
"The other option is a treatment protocol I am developing with some former colleagues in Paris. It's completely non-invasive but still in the early stages of development. We've had only six case studies and the results have been split equally. The protocol worked in half and didn't work in half. If it helps, three of the six cases have been here with me in General Hospital, and two of those three were successful. The other three were treated in Paris and they had success with only one patient," Robin stopped and watched Alexis.
The older woman still had her hands on her head. Slowly she lowered them and closed her eyes.
"Just when I thought things were turning around," Alexis said softly as she turned and stared through the window at the unconscious form of Sam.
"How soon do I need to make a decision?" she asked softly.
"Time is critical. If you choose the medication I would need to know by tomorrow so I can get the protocol written up and the drugs ready for administering. We have roughly three days before the inflammation gets to the critical point," Robin approached Alexis and laid a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry."
Alexis nodded and Robin watched a tear fall from the corner of her eye. Robin could only imagine the pain and stress of watching your child suffer and succumb to injury that was beyond your control. Fleetingly she empathized with her father's concerns about her HIV, but this was very different. Robin was healthy, Sam was not.
"It won't get better on its own?" Alexis asked hopefully, turning to Robin and Patrick.
"It's very, very unlikely Ms. Davis," Patrick spoke up. "Spontaneous reduction of the inflammation occurs in maybe 1 of cases. It's extremely rare and if you want to wait and see if it happens you risk total paralysis of your daughter."
Alexis nodded and turned to look at Sam again.
"I'll let you know," she said, then walked back into the room where Sam was trying to heal.
"God, that was horrible," Robin muttered as she sank into her chair in her office.
Patrick closed the door and nodded, walking behind Robin's desk and laying his hands on her shoulders, gently rubbing her tightening muscles.
"I can only imagine the pain Alexis must be in; and to have to make this decision again; whether to have surgery or do the medication-," Robin stopped suddenly.
Turning in her chair she faced Patrick, leveling her eyes at him, "What's the real story here?"
"What do you mean?" Patrick retorted as he leaned against the wall, cool as ever.
"I mean, usually you would be first in line to get back into the O.R. and perform yet another risky and dangerous surgery, if for no other reason than to prove how great you are," Robin crossed her arms and challenged Patrick to prove her wrong.
"Well I am the best there is," Patrick grinned.
Robin stifled a laugh. Her hands flew in the air in exasperation.
"Why do I even try," she murmured as she stood from her chair and walked around her desk. She eyed the mountains of paperwork piled up and the pages of data she had to siphon through. Here she was, having a stupid disagreement with Patrick when she should be working.
In her distraction, Robin didn't notice Patrick move from behind the desk. She started when she felt his arms around her waist, and when Patrick's head popped over her shoulder she couldn't help but smile.
"In all seriousness, I do believe you can help Sam. I just wanted Alexis to be informed of all the options. Besides, I love to hear you talk in medical terms," Patrick whispered softly in Robin's ear.
Robin couldn't stop herself from leaning into him, her frustrations dissolving.
Spinning on her heels Robin caught Patrick by surprise. She pushed him gently towards the small loveseat that lined her office wall and as Patrick collapsed without protestation Robin leaned over him, teasing him with soft kisses on his face and neck.
"Why, Dr. Scorpio," Patrick breathed as he pulled Robin down to the couch.
It took a few minutes for Patrick to find his pager on the floor of Robin's office. Finally getting his hands on the beeper, he read the message then offered Robin a look of apology.
"It's a patient," Patrick sighed as he buttoned his shirt and straightened his tie.
Robin nodded understanding, adjusting her own clothing and running her hands through her hair. As she stood, Patrick reached out and grabbed her hand, pulling her tightly to him. She could feel his body heat emanating and her own body reacting.
"Will I see you tonight?" Patrick questioned as he buried his face in the crook of her neck.
Robin could only nod.
As Patrick stepped back they locked eyes and winking, Patrick stepped out of Robin's office and into the quiet halls of General Hospital.
Robin, in slight disbelief over the turns her life was taking, picked her lab coat off the floor and tossed it across her desk. As it landed, pink slips of paper spilled out of a pocket and fluttered to the floor.
Robin bent down as she remembered that she'd stuffed her phone messages into the pocket of the coat. Picking them up she ignored most of the messages until she stumbled across one that peaked her curiosity.
The paper simply read, All is well. I got what I needed. I'll see you soon, love mom. There was no return number or other clue that might indicate where she'd called from.
Smiling, Robin hoped that she would get to see her mother again soon, and not on an island in the South Pacific, but in a developed country with climate controlled buildings; and no bounty hunters.