Disclaimer: Holy crap -- if these characters were mine, none of this would be necessary. The particular version of 'Across the Universe' I'm channeling is by Rufus Wainwright. It's odd how many people have covered that same David Bowie track. *mystified* Anyway, the stats: Rufus Wainwright. "Across the Universe." Poses. Geffen, 2002.
Summary: For now, though, she closed her eyes and dreamed.
Inspiration: The Wishverse philosophy from the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Or is it the Dreamverse from the first season? Maybe both. Either way, this is officially supernatural in nature. *nods*
Notes: I suppose it's not a bad thing that an actual episode cured my writer's block. Too bad about that Foreteen epidemic, though. I feel like digging mass graves is in order...
Sequel to Bottleneck, Diversion, Casualty, Bystander, Abyss, and Capitulation
"Yeah well, what you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar." - Jayne Cobb, Serenity
Blythe watched Greg curl up in his bed Dr. Cameron insisted they give him in the ICU, his head and heart trailed by so many wires she couldn't tell them apart. He was sleeping more soundly than she'd ever seen him and it unnerved her, knowing that people were probably dying all around him down in the ER and on the other sides of these walls, even. But he'd been chatting with the nurses, banter and flirtation flying so fast and thick through the halls between various personnel she almost wondered if Greg was the man she knew at all.
Then he'd said something about a particular nurse's rear end that made her mouth drop open and her hand dart out to smack him and she knew who he was again. He'd barely reacted, focusing instead on something above his head (his eyes blinking rapidly, his face becoming slack) and suddenly she remembered he was here for a reason.
She watched as Dr. Chase inserted a minuscule tube into the special IV Greg had in his chest and injected something that put him to sleep almost immediately. Now he was quiet and limp, his chest rising and falling and she could just...watch him.
She remembered doing it sometimes when he'd been younger, certainly smaller. John could never be home during those times. She never knew whether the twist in her stomach (when she heard the engine turn off and feel like she needed to be seen doing something -- anything -- that had nothing to do with Greg) was fear or relief.
But now John was gone and Blythe found herself watching her son looking surprisingly small again in the set of scrubs they'd allowed him in lieu of a gown, encased in the glass walls of this room -- it was almost (but not quite) like when he'd first been born and they'd finally allowed her to see him after the threat of infection had cleared in her case. But she knew she wouldn't be able to start over, that the clocks couldn't be rewound, years unraveled and when she opened her eyes tomorrow he'd still be just as he was now.
For now, though, she closed her eyes and dreamed.
...Images of broken light, which dance before me like a million eyes -- they call me on and on, across the universe...
Her nightmare was disjointed, full of a child's screams, the yells of a man, the thrashes of leather hitting skin -- more screams, half-choked pleas for mercy, ignored...always ignored.
A child's scream pulled her back to consciousness and Blythe felt her heart leap into her chest as the body on the bed descended into the maddening fury of another seizure. Blythe darted to her feet, at the side of the bed before she could register even being awake, and without thought wrapped her arms around the tiny body thrashing around before her.
The screaming continued, jolting Blythe out of her shock and she hugged Greg to her, trying desperately to keep him from banging his body against the rails of the bed even though they were padded. She couldn't reach the call button and instead yelled for help as loudly as she could.
Within moments, Drs. Chase and Foreman came running in, both disheveled in their own pairs of scrubs and Dr. Foreman already issuing orders for a sedative, but a nurse was already at Greg's other side, swiping his IV with something before she injected 'Ativan' right into his chest. Within seconds, Greg's entire body stilled and his sobs abruptly ceased.
His hair was sweaty and stuck to the side of her face as she carefully pried him away from her, blinking hard to try and clear her vision. This couldn't be...shouldn't be happening. Her son was a full-grown adult, not a little boy of no more than three years old.
It didn't -- couldn't have mattered how much she'd wished again and again to start over. It was too late for that, now, and she had to make herself know that and see Greg as the man he was, not the boy she wished he'd be again.
"What the hell?" Dr. Foreman's voice cut into her thoughts and Blythe froze, opening her eyes again and staring down at Greg's unconscious (tiny -- she could wrap her hand around his wrist and have plenty of room left...) form in utter shock.
Dr. Chase was staring curiously at Greg while unconsciously blessing himself. A stab of anger lit through Blythe as she remembered how religion had been used to punish Greg before remembering that that was her fault, too. She could -- should have stopped John. She didn't. She had no right to blame Dr. Chase's mechanic movement on anyone, nor to assume that he was disturbed by Greg. She'd seen it in his eyes only the previous day -- Dr. Chase loved Greg in a way neither she nor John had ever been able to.
Before she could say anything, he was striding forward and carefully removing Greg from her arms. She didn't protest -- she never had, of course -- and watched as Dr. Chase lay Greg back down on the bed and began to examine him. He'd fallen out of the scrub pants they'd given him, but the man-sized shirt covering his little boy body more than made up for the slack.
"Foreman, tell Cameron to grab a Peds gown on her way here, and schedule a full-body scan -- " he turned his head at the last second, glaring purposefully at Dr. Foreman's paused form. "Don't tell Wilson or Cuddy and don't let Cameron or House's new team tell them, either -- tape Kutner's mouth shut if you have to."
Dr. Foreman nodded quickly and ran out of the room, leaving Dr. Chase to take a deep breath and quickly scrawl down whatever he heard in Greg's chest before pulling out a blood pressure cuff and taking Greg's temperature, as well.
The nurse who'd come into the room gave him an offended scowl and protested, "I just took -- "
"I know that," Dr. Chase said quietly, gently pulling back Greg's eyelids and shining a small light into them. He glanced at Blythe before turning back to the nurse. "Can you give her something, too -- she's going into shock."
The nurse did as she was told, maneuvering Blythe back into the chair she'd slept in, all the while muttering that she couldn't understand how a child had ended up in the adult ICU -- there was plenty of room in the Pediatric ICU...
The nurse's voice was fading away and Blythe could only stare at Greg lying on the bed, Dr. Chase brushing his damp hair back from his forehead. Blythe thought her breath might hitch, but something was sliding through her and making it hard to think. There it was -- the pink blot on Greg's scalp that she hadn't seen regularly since he was a baby. His hair was clumping together so that it could be seen again.
Blythe closed her eyes and let the heaviness take her.
...Thoughts meander like the restless wind inside a letterbox -- they tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe...
When she awoke, Greg was peering at her, his little face clasped in his hands as though he were watching television while sprawled across his bed. He was properly dressed in a small gown now, his feet clad in footies.
He was still three years old, blond again, his face round and his eyes wide. There was none of the cynical vacancy she'd come to expect from their interactions -- as though he knew that showing interest was the surest way to attract retribution for unknown crimes.
Blythe felt her heart begin to pound, an ache coursing through her so sharply she gasped. Greg frowned worriedly and clambered into a sitting position before reaching for the call button and clasping the large remote in his little hands.
"Dr. Chase told me if I needed help to press this button. He said I could use it for you, too. Do you need help, Mommy?"
Blythe laughed despite her fear and trepidation and managed to shake her head. She blinked rapidly to dispel the tears that threatened now as Greg continued to peer at her as though he thought she were wrong.
Well, hell, she thought bitterly. I damned well am.
"I'll be alright...sweetie. Mommy...Mommy just needs a bit of rest." And a psychiatric exam, but I don't want to burden anyone...
Greg's mouth quirked sideways into the contemplative pose she remembered so well as he returned to his previous position. "Dr. Cameron came to see me while you were sleeping. She said they're going to do tests on me."
Then he frowned and started, "I don't want to ta -- " before stopping abruptly and looking down at his legs.
"You don't want what, sweetheart?" Blythe asked carefully, though she had a good idea what he was getting at.
"Nothing," Greg mumbled, visibly beginning to fidget before forcibly stopping himself. Blythe felt her breath hitch again and realized that John had probably punished Greg for speaking out of turn and moving too much. She exhaled slowly and tried to speak calmly.
"Well, if you change your mind, you can tell me later."
Greg didn't nod and didn't look up from his lap. Instead he curled slightly in on himself and began to pick at his fingers before throwing his hands back to his sides.
Blythe forced herself to keep watching him, knowing that John had been training him in such a way. Knowing that she could have stopped him.
"Did they say they were going to move you?" she asked quietly, trying to forget that he'd been a fully-grown doctor only the night before.
Greg shook his head 'no' before audibly responding, "No, ma'am."
Whatever else Greg's team had said, she probably wasn't going to find out if she couldn't speak to them herself. She unevenly responded, "Alright," before getting slowly to her feet.
Greg was no longer hooked up to the machines around him but there were still little stickers stuck to his head and chest. Some of them were curling away from his skin.
"Did you pick at these?" she asked sternly before she could help herself and Greg's head snapped up, his eyes widening with fear as he hurriedly shook his head 'no'.
"I didn't! I promise! They just started to fall off, Mommy!"
Blythe took a sharp breath, blinking at the terror she heard in his voice. He honestly thought she'd punish him!
Then she bit her lip, kicking herself. Of course he did. John would have already done so, several times, for half the things he'd done since the funeral no matter how small.
She forced herself to look Greg in the eye and said, "Okay, I believe you. I was just asking. You're not in trouble, Greg."
Greg nodded, but she could tell he was still concerned that she'd start yelling. Blythe sighed and turned to glance at the clock. It was after noon now, confirmed by the bright sunlight streaming in through the uncovered windows.
"Did you have lunch?" she asked, easing herself back into the chair and continuing to watch Greg.
"Yes, ma'am. I had a cheese sandwich and veggies but...but I didn't want to eat the peas. I didn't. The peas were different but I don't think I like them."
Blythe nodded absently at his instant report. Greg had never willingly eaten her peas. She supposed he didn't like the gravy she served them in.
"Did they bring you dessert?" she asked, wondering when on earth she'd wake up and everything would be normal again.
Chase glared tiredly at Hadley and Taub, who were both staring wide-eyed at the epilepsy monitoring unit screens directed into House's -- Greg's room. Kutner was watching, as well, but his expression was more pensive than shocked.
"We're out of jobs," Hadley had declared as soon as she'd seen the truth of what Chase, Foreman, and Cameron had insisted upon meeting her on the fourth floor where they'd all evidently spent the past few hours digging through House's things, trying to figure out what to do with the now-three-year-old version down in Neurology.
"Our old boss, your current boss, has been regressed physiologically to the age of three and you're concerned about your damned job?" Chase asked incredulously, staring at her in total disbelief now. "Are you sure this isn't Amber Volakis I'm speaking to, dressed in a Hadley suit?"
Hadley shot him a dismissive scowl before gesturing at the monitors again. "Are we even sure this is House? Dr. Gregory House? Are we sure he didn't snatch some kid up off the street and sneak out of here just to avoid tests?"
Chase rolled his eyes and leaned down on his hand to peer at her, "His mother pointed out the birthmark on his scalp after we sedated him again. She let us take blood from both herself and him -- she's freaked the fuck out in case you hadn't noticed! She keeps peering at the door, expecting us to come in with anti-psychotics!"
Chase didn't share that if anyone deserved to be locked up, it was House's parents. He'd seen House's medical file when they'd done the ketamine coma and still marveled that two people could be so singularly horrible to a child.
Chase resisted the urge to frown at himself, remembering that what they had done wasn't much better.
He blew out a breath and tried to think of what he would like to hear if he were in House's -- Greg's situation. With that he left the room.