TRIAL & ERROR Chapter 3
The saga continues… House and Wilson head to New York, searching for more answers…
Rated M/Adult for language and mature themes (like ALL my stuff!!!), although this particular chapter is relatively tame…
All the usual and applicable disclaimers and warnings apply, such as don't like - don't read; I don't own House or any other characters, or anything or anybody else, blah, blah, blah…
TRIAL & ERROR, Chapter 3
House MD fanfic by NiteJasmine
The trip to New York was arranged quickly. Wilson wondered what the hell they could possibly accomplish by going, since the person they were going to see was in a coma, in critical condition, and under heavy security. But he didn't question House about it. If it would help provide some answers about what had happened to him over the missing four days, then he would go along with it.
He had called Cuddy and given her a sketchy outline, vaguely hinting that House may have gotten into some trouble over the weekend, but not giving her too may details about House's injuries or his flashbacks. Cuddy said she would keep House's team occupied, and then she had sighed and said she was glad Wilson was helping him get things straightened out, and keep in touch with her. His next call was to his own office, where he had his staff clear off and reschedule his patient appointments for the next couple of days.
House packed a small, quick bag and tossed it into Wilson's car, and after stopping briefly at Wilson's place so he could grab a few things, they were heading north on the freeway towards the big apple.
They were well on their way when Wilson finally asked.
"Just what exactly are you going to do once we get there House?" He asked quietly. "This Dr. Martelli is in a coma, and apparently under heavy security. You can't be expecting to just walk up to her bed, wake her up and have a chat."
"I'm hoping that seeing her will trigger some more memories," House answered. "When I saw her picture, I remembered her face, her voice. I know she can tell me about what's in the vial, and what happened to me. She's the key. I don't know how I know that, I just do," House paused. "And maybe she will wake up and I can buy her a cup of coffee," he finished with a note of sarcasm.
Wilson snorted and nodded in reply. Then he added, "Just don't get your expectations set too high. We may get nothing by coming up here. The odds are that we may not even be able to get anywhere near her."
"I know," said House quietly, then turning to look out the side window at the scenery rushing past. He yawned, leaned back in the seat and closed his eyes. "Wake me up when we're going to stop for food." House fell asleep and no ugly dreams interrupted his slumber this time.
"Sure," Wilson answered.
After one food & fuel stop, they made good time and arrived at New York's Mercy Hospital, pulled into the Visitor's lot and found a parking spot. Wilson shut the engine off and the two men sat there in silence for a moment, staring out at the monstrously huge stone building.
"Try not to do anything that will get either of us arrested," Wilson offered.
"No promises," House countered. "Come on," he said, opening his door and climbing out. Wilson locked the car and they headed inside.
It was an unfamiliar layout, but a hospital is a hospital, and it didn't take them long to find their way to the ICU coma ward. They became more and more conspicuous as the brightness and steady hum of the rest of the hospital got further and further behind them.
They saw four black clad security guards at the entrance to one of the rooms down towards the end of the long hall they were in. Two were standing, the other two were sitting on a couple of padded conference chairs. House slowed his pace, Wilson slowed with him.
"Must be her room," House said, keeping his voice low. "And it's looks like shift change."
Wilson nodded in agreement. "So now what?" he asked.
"Follow my lead," House replied, still heading slowly down the hall, deliberately allowing enough time for the first two security guards to depart, leaving only two to deal with instead of four.
House put his best 'official' face as he quickly approached the last bit of distance to the room, and brashly reached for the door like he absolutely belonged there. The two security guards immediately grabbed him and pushed him back before his hand ever got to the doorknob. Looking quite offended, House stumbled back away from them, greatly exaggerating having difficulty keeping his balance.
"Hey!" House commanded loudly, "Watch the cane, you morons! Do you realize that you are assaulting and harassing a crippled doctor? You looking for a lawsuit or something? I have a witness!" He blurted, pointing to Wilson, who also did his best to look indignant.
The two guards stepped back, but blocked the doorway. One of them put his hands up, trying to shush the noisy man in front of him.
"Sir," the guard said, "Please, keep your voice down. And I'm sorry, but you cannot go in there. Authorized medical personnel only."
House gave the man a disgusted look.
"And just what do you think I am, the florist's errand boy?!" House railed, digging out his ID from PPTH from his pocket. He waved it quickly and closely in front of the guards face, as he spoke, but not letting either one get a really good look at it.
"Dr. Gregory, critical trauma specialist. My assistant, Dr. James," Wilson flashed his ID, just as quickly, as House contined. "I was summoned here all the way from Princeton and it has been a long drive," House continued loudly, pushing his way towards the door again, "so I would like to see my patient and get my evaluation done before the raiding hordes show up for their rounds of tests. Check with the administrator's office. We are authorized. So step aside, unless you want me to tack on interfering with medical treatment to a patient onto that lawsuit."
With that, House started to push between the guards towards the door again, but they refused to budge. Before House knew it, he had been spun around with an arm behind his back and was firmly shoved face first against the wall, Wilson quickly in the same position right next to him. One of the guards called for backup.
"Oh, this is great," muttered Wilson.
Three more security guards appeared as if my magic and the two visiting doctors were quickly searched, then ushered hurriedly straight to the Administrator's office.
They were eventually shuffled into a large oversize office and seated in front of a balding, rotund man who collected their IDs and dismissed the security detail. The name plaque on the massive desk read Dr. Thomas Varaldi, Hospital Administrator. House looked around a bit as the man spoke briefly on the phone, checking and verifying their identities. Wilson wondered how long it would be before Cuddy started speed dialing his cell phone, demanding an explanation. Finally, Dr. Varaldi hung up the phone.
"Dr. Gregory House," the man said, handing both of their IDs back to them and looking squarely at House. "I've actually heard of you"
"Don't believe everything you hear," House countered, "All those charges were dropped."
The Administrator was not amused.
"So what brings two doctors from Princeton all the way up here to see one of my patients?" He asked, leaning back in his chair and folding his hands across his chest.
House briefly told his story.
"…so wherever Dr. Martelli was," House finished, "I was in the same place, at least for a little while. I was with her. I saw her, I talked to her. Whatever happened to me, she knows about it. She's the key. Maybe just seeing her can help me remember something. That's why I need to see her."
"That's a pretty wild story," Dr. Varaldi replied skeptically. "You expect me to buy the fact that you have no coherent memory of the last four full days? That's absolutely ridiculous. And kidnapping? Americans don't get kidnapped and tortured these days. I think you've been watching too many late night movies."
"Take a look at your patient doctor," House responded evenly. "That's exactly what happened to her. And to me."
The balding man narrowed his eyes at House.
"Why should I believe you?" he asked.
"Her wrists and ankles, they have bruises like these?" House pulled a sleeve up to show him the dark purple rings. They were only barely beginning to fade.
The man quickly leaned forward in his chair, his eyes going wide at the sight of the bruised wrists. This tall doctor with the cane was right, his patient did have the exact same bruise patterns.
"Where did you get those?" he demanded.
"That's what I'm trying to find out," House answered. "She has them, doesn't she?"
"Yes, she does," Varaldi reluctantly agreed. "And OK, I admit I'm intrigued. Maybe there's something to all this. But there's no point in letting you see her. She's comatose. It would solve nothing."
Wilson finally spoke up.
"But doctor, what could it hurt?" The young oncologist asked. "Maybe seeing her will help him remember something. And that could be very valuable to the authorities. I'm sure no one wants to be accused of interfering with an ongoing police investigation or have to deal with obstruction of justice charges."
House looked over at him with mildly raised eyebrows, impressed with the implied threat his friend had come up with.
Varaldi huffed, then shook his head.
"No," he said flatly. "And that's final. Besides, those aren't the only bruises she has. She took a savage beating and sustained some very serious injuries. Whoever did that to her dumped her and left her for dead. She's already recovering two complicated surgeries. And as long as she is a patient in my hospital, she is my responsibility. I am only looking out for her best interest. It's my job to keep her safe, to keep the vultures away from her. So, as much as I would like to help you, I'm really very sorry…"
The Administrator continued talking, but House was looking down at the floor, momentarily lost in another brief flashback. This one was even more disjointed.
Amanda's face. Paddles in her hands. She saved his life. Blue vial. Amanda, next to his bed, protecting him. Buzzing tingle all over. Blue vial. Fear. Exhaustion. But no pain. Blue vial. Her soft, warm voice. "I'll stay here and keep the vultures away from you for a while, you should get some sleep…" The vultures…
House snapped his eyes back up at the Administrator behind the desk, he was still talking.
"You're lying," House interrupted loudly, fixing a bold stare on the man.
"House…" Wilson said, a cautious warning tone to his voice.
"She's not in a coma," House continued, undeterred. "She's awake. And you've talked to her." House sat there with a smug look, then leaned forward on his own chair. "So why not give me my turn."
The big man was momentarily stunned. His mouth opened, but no words came out.
"Ten minutes," House continued, getting to his feet. "Just give me ten minutes. If she doesn't want to talk to me, I'll leave."
The Administrator sighed heavily, annoyed that this odd doctor had seen somehow seen through his lie.
"You've got five," he said finally, and also got up. "And I'm going with you."
House nodded. Varaldi walked past them and over to his office door. He paused and turned to House.
"How did you know?" He asked. "We've been keeping her in the coma ward for her safety, and the coma story has kept the media at bay. No one has had any reason to question it. So how the hell did you know she wasn't in a coma?"
"Keep the vultures away," House replied. "She said that."
"Yes, she did," he said, nodding. This guy was so intensely odd, but damn, he was dead on right. He still had serious doubts that there was anything to this wild story of his. But his young associate had been right, he could not risk the hospital being accused of obstruction of justice. And he had the feeling that this was just the kind of guy who would squawk to all holy hell to the media if he didn't at least humor him with this little visit to his patient.
The Administrator cleared them past the two rather disgruntled security guards at the door, and the three men entered the softly lit room. It was silent except for the soft beeping of the full bank of monitors.
House paused, took a deep breath, and slowly approached the woman laying on the bed. The light was on over her head. Wilson came up and stood next to him, and gasped softly.
"Jesus," he heard the younger man whisper.
The woman was an absolute mess. She had IVs in each arm. There were blood filled drainage tubes filling several bags hung around the bottom of the bed. She was in a heavily medicated sleep, breathing in shallow, even breaths. Her face was covered with dark purple bruises. Her nose was bandaged, the oxygen tube taped in place. Her lip had been badly split open in two places and had small sutures holding the repairs closed. One eye was badly swollen. But House still recognized her.
Varaldi walked to her and gently rubbed her arm, calling her name in a firm but gentle voice and asking her to wake up. She finally fluttered her eyes open with a light groan.
The Administrator stepped back, and House moved up next to her bed, where she could easily see his face. She looked up at him blankly. Then slowly, he saw her struggle to focus, and then he saw the dawning look of recognition in her eyes.
"Greg." She finally managed to say, barely moving her injured mouth. She laid there just staring at him.
"Yeah, that's me," House said gently.
"Holy shit," Varaldi said in disbelief. "She really does know you."
"I was wrong," she said slowly to House, holding his gaze.
Then Amanda suddenly looked very frightened, and tears began pooling up in her eyes. She turned her head and looked away, then closed her eyes, the tears spilling down her bruised cheeks. She took a slow, trembling breath.
"I was so wrong..." she whispered.