Story Title "Pushed to the Brink"
Takes place after Season 1 Finale
Story premise: Eli has a setback after waking up from brain surgery. Is Nate crumbling under the weight of everything that's happened?

"How long was I out?" Nate asked his mother as he turned toward her and stretched in the hospital bed. Just then a nurse came by instructing Nate (Dr. Stone) to drink some water right away. He held the cup and sipped slowly.

"About 4 hours," his mom replied, stroking Nate's arm a bit.
"Man am I tired, mom, and so glad you're here..."

"Shhhh..they gave you something to calm you down, just relax some more," she urged. He took another sip of water. He felt his eyes getting heavy so he put the cup down on the table next to him.
As he was drifting off to sleep he heard his mother. "Nate honey?" she said softly. "I will go see Eli now, so I should be here again when you wake up."

-----

5 hours earlier

Mrs. Stone's phone rang, and her son Nate was on the other end, she could hear him crying and he was obviously distraught. Oh no, things were going so well yesterday when Eli woke up, she thought to herself.
"Mom please come, Eli needs you. I need you here too." Labored breathing, then "I just can't do this alone."

"What do you mean do what alone? Was everything ok with Eli's testing?"

He explained to her that the neurological testing was going fair but now has been put on hold. "There's an infection, mom, and we're not sure we caught it in time. There's swelling in his brain."

Eli has a high fever, he added, was put on a ventilator and moved to the ICU while everyone waits to see when the antibiotics will kick in.
"Oh Nate, you offered to call me for his doctor? Nate are you okay?"

He was still trying to catch his breath and may need a doctor himself, she thought! "Nate wherever you are, you need to lie down and get help. Something's not right."

Nate felt someone giving him a mask for oxygen and he started to come around. Maybe I blacked out? I thought I was talking to mom on my cell? He was on the floor in the ICU waiting room, being attended to by 2 EMTs.

"Dr. Stone? How do you feel?"
"The room is sort of spinning ...this floor is hard."

"We're getting gurney for you, Dr. Stone, to bring you downstairs. We're treating you for shock."
Nathan started to tell them "My brother, he's ...I was waiting for..."

"Shhh...don't try to talk now. Just rest. Here's something to help you relax."

Nate barely felt the sting of the injection in his arm.

1 day later
Beth was so confused and worried, she could not reach Nate yesterday and today she could not find him anywhere. He was not at work that she could tell (calls to his cell and office were going to voice mail), or at home. She went to Eli's room, or what she thought was his room but Eli was no longer there. The hospital directory did tell her where Eli was moved to but the nurse at ICU said she had not been there yesterday and no, she had not seen Nate in to see Eli today. Beth wondered what had happened to Eli to be moved to ICU -- though there was not really anything she could do to ask the hospital to talk to a non-family member. This is just too weird, Beth muttered under her breath.
Taylor was thinking how upset she was with Nate, who had kept her pretty informed about Eli until now. Eli was in the ICU for what? What was his prognosis? She had gone to visit him in his old room and did not know he had been moved until then. There were no messages from Nate! She approached the nurses' station just as Beth was leaving. Taylor recognized her.
"Aren't you Nate's girlfriend?"

"Oh yes... hi Ms. Wethersby!"

"Have you talked to him? I.." (Taylor wanted to wring his neck was more like it!)

Beth interrupted. " I can't find him anywhere. I can't get him on the phone, it is like he has disappeared altogether, I'm so worried."

Taylor frowned. "I came to see Eli, now you're saying Nate is NOT here with him."

Beth nodded.

Taylor sighed. "We need to find Nate's supervisor and fast."
The nurse overheard the confusion, and offered to talk to Dr. Winters, Eli's attending physician. She went to the back of the station, then came back about a minute later. "If you go to the waiting room Dr. Winters will come find you in 5 minutes. What are your last names?"

Taylor and Beth told the nurse and went to go sit down.

A few minutes later they were having the conversation that could start to shed some light about what was happening with the Stone family. "I am currently in contact with Mrs. Stone, the patient's mother," Dr. Winters explained. "It is my understanding that Dr. Stone is ill."

Beth was quiet. All Taylor could think was, He picked a fine time to call in sick! She kept that to herself but asked, "Is there anything you can tell us about Eli at all?"
Dr. Winters paused. "Listen, I can call the mother to let her know that you asked about her sons, and that you need her to get in touch with you."

Taylor bit her lip, it was not what she was hoping to hear, but she did answer him and asked him to please do that. Both Beth and Taylor gave their phone numbers to the doctor.

"I'm going to wait here," Beth told Taylor, "at least till 1. Maybe I'll hear from Nate or his mom, or even see her." It was now noon.

Beth overheard Taylor call her boyfriend (and co-worker), Matt. "Matt, I'm still at the hospital. Not sure when I will be in to work just yet. How's Eli? Oh honey I am not sure, something very confusing has happened. No, of course he's not dead, why would you say such a thing? I will call you later."

Elsewhere in the hospital...Nate was trying his best to concentrate on answering Dr. Gardner's questions. To Be continued next chapter...