a/n: One of my favorite all time TV episodes was from St. Elsewhere. It was called "After Life" in which Dr. Fiscus is critically shot in the ER and drifts between Purgatory, Heaven and Hell while his team drastically fights to save him. The episode aired in 1986. Anyway, after being reminded of this episode yesterday, I had this huge inspiration to do this very same story a la House in which Chase is the beleaguered victim. Why Chase? The St. Elsewhere story has a multitude of religious (Catholic) references, so Chase was the natural choice. That and I pictured a really cool purgatory scene with his dead parents. If you know the episode I'm talking about, the plot is already given away so I hope you like the dramatic liberties I have taken given the characters and settings are different.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, and I certainly do not own the St. Elsewhere story either. I thank them for letting me borrow!
Time frame for this story should be anywhere after The Mistake and before Euphoria.
It was just another hectic day in the clinic. Chase was finishing up his shift and was standing at the lobby desk finishing some notes on a chart. Cameron arrived ready for her shift to start.
"Tag, you're it." Chase told her with a huge smile, glad his shift was done.
"Gee thanks. It looks like we have another wild bunch today." Cameron visually scanned through the assortment of patients waiting in the lobby. She could tell that her shift was going to be a harrowing one. "Did you even see any patients?"
"Non-stop, all day. I'm completely spent. I was just about to see that gentleman over there. It seems he and his wife had a fight and she whacked him with a frying pan. He just needs a few stitches." Chase handed her the man's chart.
Just as Cameron opened the chart to take a look, an older woman stormed into the lobby, stopped into her tracks and started gazing around. Her black and grey hair was disheveled, her clothes rumpled and she had a stagger so bad she could barely stand straight. After a minute, she finally found the man she was looking for.
"There you are you cheater!" The woman screamed across the lobby with slightly slurred speech. "I knew this is where I would find you. You are such a wimp when it comes to pain."
"Leave me alone," the man shouted back. "I'm hurt here."
"You are really going to be hurt now." She pulled out a handgun from her pocket, took aim, and started firing. Given her drunken state, her aim was misguided as bullets flew wildly everywhere. People in the lobby started screaming and in complete panic scattered to take cover. Her gun emptied after 6 shots were fired.
"You missed me!" The man shouted at his crazy wife and walked over to disarm her.
"Call security!" Cameron over heard a nurse say from behind the desk.
Cameron was absolutely panic stricken, but in her stunned state of mind she quickly sat up from her position on the ground and looked around to make sure no one was hurt. As the commotion died down, everyone started to get up trying to recover from the shocking incident.
Judging from the movement in the room, she noticed that all was well and there were no wounded. She saw Chase still lying on the ground next to her and gave him a nudge. "The coast is clear Blondie."
Chase didn't move though. Intense fear overtook Cameron as she tried again. "Chase?" She rolled him over to find blood seeping through his shirt from a wound right where his heart was. She grabbed his neck searching for a pulse.
"No, no, no…" Cameron repeated over and over again as she couldn't find any sign of life. She looked up at the woman and man who had come over after realizing something was wrong.
"He's dead." Cameron announced to them in complete horror. The couple instantly bolted out of the hospital just seconds before the cops arrived.
It had been a long while since Chase had felt such a high hot sun. It reminded him of summers at home. The weather was winter like earlier today, so how did it get so hot? He scanned the area all around him noticing the intense beauty of the rolling grassy meadows. They were so pleasing, yet so isolating as not a soul could be found anywhere. The place looked very familiar. He then remembered the summer vacations his family used to take to Queensland when he was a boy. How did I get in Queensland? He asked himself.
He kept walking, but he really didn't know where he was going. He felt weak and flush. Then a sharp pain shot from his heart. He looked down to see blood lightly oozing from a fresh wound directly from his heart. How can that possibly be? If I had a bullet wound there, I'd be…
"Dead?" Chase turned around alarmed by the voice finishing his thought in spoken word. "You look like you saw a ghost."
"Yeah, well I usually have that reaction when I see ex-patients of mine that are dead." Chase said to the man. He was trying to remember his name. He had an Aussie accent, so he knew it was someone he treated during his internship.
"Clyde Norman. Yes, you were a fresh face out of med school. You handled my death very well for someone so green."
"Not quite. If you were, you wouldn't have that fresh wound. There is still hope for you. Come on, there are a couple of people you might want to see."
"What is this place?"
"Limbo, Purgatory, The Outback, anything you want to call it. We just call it home."
"Robbie, what are you doing here?"
The shock combined with his weak feeling was just too much to bear. Chase sank down to his knees, facing the feet of the woman he just thought he saw. He looked up and saw the sun highlighting the silhouette of a thin frame towering over him lovingly. "Mum?"
Cuddy and House arrived within 30 seconds after hearing the commotion. They rushed over to Cameron, whose face was pale and drained from utter terror. She was on the ground frantically performing compressions on Chase. "My God, what happened?" an obviously distraught Cuddy asked.
"A woman came in here gunning for her husband, missed him, but got Chase instead. His heart has stopped and he isn't breathing."
House and the EMTs took over. "I need a chest tube!" House shouted. He made the cut in the chest and inserted it. Blood poured out at a rapid rate. "Damn, it looks like the bullet nicked the heart. We need to start manual heart compressions." He made another cut next to the heart, this time the incision was much wider. "Cameron, put your hand in there!"
Cameron slid her gloved hand into Chase's chest. "Feel around the wound area and look for the hole in his heart." House ordered.
"Got it!" she yelled after a few seconds of searching.
"Put your thumb there, grab his heart and start squeezing."
As Cameron leaned over Chase compressing his heart at regular intervals, House grabbed the BVM Resuscitator and started pumping air into Chase's lungs. "Let's get him to the OR, now!"
They carefully lifted Chase onto the gurney, with Cameron continuing to squeeze his heart. "Get on the gurney with him." House commanded Cameron. "You cannot stop the compressions at any time."
They frantically rushed into the open elevator and piled inside. Cuddy looked at House with intense worry as the doors closed to the elevator and they headed upstairs.