AN: WARNING!!! Medical information from this point on is totally made up!!! This is 95 fiction with 5 inspired by facts found at this website:
http// www. sciencedaily. com/ releases / 2007/ 07 / 070721192754. htm
(remove spaces before trying link)
When he reluctantly returned to Ricky's room, House was indescribably relieved to find Chase had stopped crying. He was sitting in a chair next to Ricky, brushing his twin's hair. Normally, House wouldn't have been able to resist a joke, but this time he couldn't even think of one.
"They'll keep him hydrated," House said, pointing to the IV. It was a pathetic attempt at comfort, even to his own ears, but he couldn't think of anything better. "It won't be, you know, painful or anything." Well, not for Ricky at least.
"I don't want to talk about it," Chase said numbly.
"Okay, listen." House pulled up a chair from the table to sit across the bed from Chase. "Keeping in mind that hitting your boss is generally not a good career move, have you ever considered that maybe your brother could be right?"
"No," Chase sneered at him. "And if that's all you've got to say you can leave."
"Are you really just going to sit here until he dies?" House snapped. Of all the stupid, morbid, self-destructive ways to sulk!
"How many times have you upped an unsalvageable ICU patient's morphine so they'd be comfortable while they died a little bit quicker?" House pressed. "How many times have you told a patient to sign a DNR, just in case? Or moved just a little bit slower so a family wouldn't have to make a decision like this? If it were any other patient…"
"But it's not any other patient!" Chase said. "What are you trying to do here, anyway? It's not my call anymore. He's going to die, okay? It doesn't matter whether I'm convinced or not. So, just leave us alone."
"What us? You're not the one who's dying!" House reminded him.
"Shut up!" Chase shouted. "I don't want to hear it anymore, alright? I've been doing this for ten years! What the hell do you think you're going to tell me that I haven't already heard a million times? What, should I put myself in his position and realize that I wouldn't want to live like this? Should I ask myself what Ricky would tell me to do if he could still speak? Or maybe I should just suck it up and realize that he's already gone, huh? Go away, House. Just go away."
Chase clearly had nothing more to say to him, nor was he in the mood to listen. Probably for the best, really, as anything House said at the moment would be coming directly out of his ass. There really was nothing more he could say that Chase didn't already know. He'd failed. He didn't solve the puzzle in time and now it was too late. One more file to add to the bottom of the drawer, along with Ester's and his own. He got up and walked to the door, but when he reached it he paused. Ricky was out of his hands, but what about Robert?
What would it take to get Chase through this? Maybe he could arrange a religious experience of some kind? Maybe set one of the bushes lining the parking lot on fire, hide with a megaphone and…No, stop, not the time to mock Chase's faith, or former faith as the case may be, he was still a bit fuzzy on Chase's current beliefs. And besides, House doubted God was the one Chase needed to talk to. He had a habit of not answering. And as for his earthly representatives, they would probably just assure Chase that his brother was now in a better place. And how exactly was that supposed to make the surviving loved one feel any better about the Hell they were left behind in? Find comfort with friends and family? Nuh-uh!
Chase had it right, didn't he? The only person who could give Chase the answers he needed right now was the clone slowly dying in that hospital bed. Chase could ask himself - and probably would ask himself for the rest of his life – what Ricky would really feel about this whole situation. But if Ricky could give those answers they wouldn't be here now would they?
Wait a second…wait a second! This was reminding him of something…Oh, it was just there! Right at the back of his mind…he almost had it…Yes! Oh, yes, it's perfect! There's almost no way in hell it's going to work, but if it did it'd be perfect!!! House started jabbing his floor number over and over again, cursing the elevator's slowness, all with a huge grin on his face. Perfect!
Wilson was already in his office waiting for him, but House breezed right past him. He started tearing through his bookshelves, pulling off any journal he could find and tossing it aside just as quickly, only pausing once or twice to flip through the pages before discarding it as well.
"So…how'd it go?" Wilson asked warily as he ducked out of the way of a flying publication. "Did you talk to Chase?" House grunted and waved his hand vaguely at him. "Is he alright? House!"
This was the scene Cameron and Foreman entered. They had both been searching the hospital for either their colleague or their employer, yearning for an update on the status of the Chase family. However, when they saw House rampaging through his desk drawers now, still apparently looking for a journal, any hope for answers quickly dissolved into deeper confusion.
"So…" Foreman drawled. "What'd we miss?"
"Jakub had the tube removed; Chase flipped out; House tried talking to him; and I don't have the slightest idea what the hell he's doing now," Wilson recapped quickly.
"Oh my God," Cameron sighed. "Is he still with his brother? Maybe we should go talk to him."
Neither Wilson nor Foreman looked particularly pleased with that suggestion, so instead they followed House, who was apparently moving his rampage from the office into the conference room leaving a trail of publications and muttered cursing behind him.
"What exactly are you looking for?" Foreman asked warily.
House stood up from bending over the lowest drawer of the filing cabinet and stared at Foreman incredulously. He glanced pointedly at each of the medical journals scattered across the floor and then back at Foreman. Then he shook his head and went back to digging through the drawers.
"Which one?" Foreman said between clenched teeth.
"If I knew that," House snapped. "I would have…" he stopped when he spotted a familiar cover. "Found it!" He yanked out the journal, plopped down at the table, and started tearing through it for the right article.
"Well?" Cameron asked impatiently. "Are you going to tell us?"
"Here it is," House crowed. He pushed the article across the table for them to read and then sat back with his arms crossed behind his head. The three other doctors scanned the article with oscillating levels of interest, hope, disgust, and outrage.
It outlined a foreign case study in which a coma patient was exposed to a virus coded Kamian-9 after the primary physician. The virus was deadly if untreated, but when the coma patient contracted the disease it had the startling side-effect of waking the man up. In a move that never would have made it past the American Medical Association, the doctor gathered and exposed 15 other long-term coma patients to the virus; 3 did not contract the disease at all. Nine more contracted the virus, but did not awaken before the virus had to be treated. The remaining three, like the original patient, woke from their comas and remained awake and lucid as long as the virus was active in their system. Unfortunately, as soon as the virus was treated – which had to happen within 7-10 days in order to prevent fatality – the patients all fell back into their comas.
The virus did nothing to reverse whatever was actually responsible for the patients' comas; it bypassed it temporarily by boosting the electrical activity in the brain. Apparently the virus stimulated neurons particularly in the reticular activating system and the SubCoeruleus nucleus, which affect sleep patterns, and increased electrical coupling between those cells. As a result, some patients were stimulated into a wakeful state – in fact the patients that did awaken also suffered from mild insomnia until they went back into their comas. It was interesting while it was happening, but practical application was limited. It was cited as an interesting guide mark for future research and then forgotten. The study had yet to be duplicated.
Since the virus was deadly and the effect only temporary, House had disregarded it early on and not thought about it since. He was looking for a way to wake Ricky up and keep him awake. But now…well, even if it didn't work at least he could say he tried everything. And if it did work maybe Ricky could tell them something that Robert hadn't been able to. At least he'd finally be able to make his wishes known and take the burden off his brothers. It was perfect. It was brilliant.
"Are you out of your mind?" Cameron screeched.
It was apparently going to be controversial. Dammit, why couldn't anyone ever just let him do his job? When were they going to learn? House always knows best.
"Ricky is a perfect candidate," House exaggerated. "His other tests show limited brain degeneration. His scans resemble sleep patterns more than anything else. C'mon, you've seen them! If the virus is going to work on anyone..."
"And what if it does?" Foreman challenged. "Then what? We let him die conscious instead of comatose? He'll only be awake while the virus is active, and if we leave the virus untreated it'll kill him!"
"So we give it a try," House insisted. "And if it doesn't work out, we're no worse off than we are now."
"What about Chase?" Cameron demanded. "You can't put him through this!"
"Well, actually," House disagreed as he pushed his rolling chair over toward the phone. "Since the Kamian virus is easily treatable and therefore even easier to obtain, I can." He started dialing, but paused when he saw Foreman and Cameron still staring at him. "Shoo!"
His underlings fled the office, no doubt to undermine him in some way. Forget 'ducklings' might as well call them the Three Stooges. Wilson remained with his arms crossed and a slightly constipated expression, like he didn't know whether to encourage or berate.
"Are you sure about this?" he finally asked.
"Hell no," House answered. "But the worst thing that can happen is the clone dies, and right now that's a given anyway so…"
"Are you sure that's the worst?" Wilson pressed. House paused.
"When I took this case, Chase told us he'd tried everything," he said gravely. "It's important to him, being able to say that."
Wilson nodded. He actually understood. Many times patient families came to him after a loved one had passed, wracked with guilt because the treatment had dragged out ineffectively and their loved one had spent their final days, weeks, or even months in terrible pain. They wondered if it might not have been better just to let them go, and in some cases it probably would have been. Even so, almost all of them came to the same conclusion eventually: they'd had to try.
"You better hurry," was all Wilson said before returning to his own office and his own patients. House agreed; he would have infected Ricky with the virus that evening if he could have, since it would only take a few hours for the sample to arrive. Unfortunately, another obstacle was being erected in his path. Damn stooges.
House was on his way to Palliative to launch his latest idea to Chase when his pager went off summoning him to Cuddy's office. When he arrived, Cameron was standing nervously by the couch trying desperately to look resolved and righteous. Foreman was sitting down looking pensive and undecided. So, at least he knew which one had spilled the beans. Cuddy was sitting behind her desk with her hands folded and her lips tight.
"What the hell are you thinking?" she said bemusedly. House glared at Cameron, and enjoyed watching her wither.
"This virus is our only chance," House insisted.
"House, this virus is fatal!" Cuddy argued.
"Only if it's not cured in time," House said. "Which, miracle of miracles, we know how to do."
"Yes, and according to the case study, when we do Ricky goes right back into his coma," Cuddy retorted. "Assuming the virus brings him out of it at all, which is not guaranteed. It only worked in 20 of the exposed patients, and that was a very limited sample."
"But if it does work, he'd be awake," House said. "He'd be able to tell us things that Chase can't. Maybe give us a clue as to how to wake him up for real." The others still looked skeptical, and House growled in frustration. "Come on! What's the problem? If we do nothing, he's going to die anyway!"
"We're not worried about him, we're worried about Chase," Cameron said. "Let's assume for arguments sake that the virus does wake Ricky up. The chances that you'll find a way to keep him awake are practically nonexistent. You want to give Chase back his brother for a couple of days, and then take him away again? You can't do that to him, House!"
"You think he'd rather just let his brother die like this?" House said. "Knowing that there was one more thing he didn't get to try, always wondering if it would have worked, never getting to say goodbye?" That, at least, seemed to be getting some second thoughts from Cameron and Foreman. But Cuddy was still in administrative mode, so an emotional ploy wasn't going to work with her. "Besides, Robert Chase is not our patient. Richard Chase is. He's the one we're obligated to help now."
This was the part of being an administrator that sometimes just wasn't worth it. Everyone was staring at Cuddy, waiting for her to decide between a patient and one of her own doctors. If this didn't work, it could very well break Chase for good. Of course, if it did work, who knows what could happen? Chase's entire life had revolved around taking care of his comatose brother for over nine years. For the past three years, that included fighting a legal battle with his other brother, who also just wanted to do right by his siblings. Which one was right? Cuddy honestly couldn't say. But legally, the decision now belonged to Jakub, so…
"All right," Cuddy consented. House beamed. "After you get consent from Mr. Chase. He's the new guardian. He has to approve this."