My pals in the "How To Train Your Dragon" fandom are gonna be super pissed that I updated this story before I posted chapter five of "Sequeled". (Sorry guys, chapter five is coming. It'll get here eventually.) In any case, this is the final chapter of "The Doctor's Reform". I had it already written, so I figured I might as well post it. You know, just in case anyone is actually reading this. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments send me a PM or post them in a review.
Charlene had forgotten to return Howard's pen, and she knew how much he cared about the orderly arrangement of his office supplies, so she had come back to the room to return it...just in time to witness Howard bust Heinz in the nose with a steel hammer.
Charlene dropped the pen. She could hardly believe what she was witnessing. Blood was gushing from Heinz's nostrils, spilling out over his face like some ghastly faux-beard. And Howard was...was he laughing? Yes, she supposed she he must have been.
Suddenly, Howard turned, stalking toward the glass. Charlene nearly screamed as he came toward her, and an insane thought raced through her mind.
"Can he see me?"
For a moment it seemed as though he could. He grinned sadistically into the one way glass, before stooping to retrieve a new device from his leather-bound briefcase.
Charlene's heart was racing like a damn metronome on fast forward. What the hell was he holding? What was he going to do to Heinz?
Then she spotted the long, silver pins, and nearly choked. She was the one who had told Howard that Heinz was afraid of needles, wasn't she?
He had had some kind of a traumatic experience when he was as a young boy living in Europe. A young doctor (an intern presumably) had stuck him "at least a dozen times" trying to find a vein through witch he might administer a measles vaccination. He had made a point of mentioning they were also "were out of the blue band-aides with the little pelicans on them." Which didn't seem like a very important detail, but Heinz had a tendency to obsess over very unimportant things, and Charlene could understand why a thing like that might be important to a little boy.
"Heinz is like a little boy," she thought bitterly.
She tore her eyes from the dreadful events that where taking place beyond the one way glass, but the image was still in her mind. Though she was no longer looking at it, she saw the blood and the tears and the razor sharp silver pins glinting beneath the heat of the fluorescent lights. It was a vivid as a photograph, and yet the image no longer stirred horror or repulsion at the pit of her stomach. This feeling she had was not disgust. It was pity.
She noticed Howard come toward the glass again, kneeling to place the instruments back into his briefcase. He lifted the case off of the floor and began to walk toward the exit. Charlene began to panic. She didn't want Howard to find her here! She didn't want to look at him! She didn't want to speak to him! Damn it, she was terrified of him!
Without thinking, she dropped down out of sight, hiding herself swiftly behind a few large fed-ex boxes that where under the extra desk where Howard kept his extra office supplies.
A few moments later, Howard stepped into the room, looking quite pleased with himself. He set his briefcase beside him on his desk, fired up his computer, and began typing.
Charlene, couldn't believe what she had just done. Why was she, a grown woman, hiding behind a fed-ex box in her boyfriend's office? She couldn't exactly reverse it now. She couldn't just jump out and yell "surprise"! That would just make her look ridiculous...but there was something else too wasn't there?
They were lying on his desk just a few inches away from his brief case, mocking her with their closeness, and their false attainability. There had to be some way to distract Howard long enough to grab those keys. But how?
"Damn. Charlene still has my pen, doesn't she," said Howard to himself.
He got up out of his chair and walked through the door leaving his keys on the desk.
"I guess I better go find her," he grumbled from the other side of the door. She heard his footsteps fade into the distance.
Quickly, she darted to the desk, grabbed the keys, and locked the door behind him.
Her heart was racing now. What had she just done? She had to be out of her mind. So out of her mind that she was...that she was hearing the instrumental to "Furgalicious"? No that couldn't be right. She wasn't hallucinating it. It had to be a...a...
"...Cellphone," she whispered desperately.
Yes, it was definitely a cell phone...god damn! Of all the most ridiculously in opportune times for a cell phone to be ringing it had to be ringing right fricking now. She hoped to Christ that Howard wouldn't come back and try to answer it, and decided quickly that she wouldn't give him the opportunity. The noise was coming from a cardboard box on Howard's desk. She darted toward it, and pried it open with her meticulously manicured French tips.
The box seemed to contain a number of Heinz's personal effects, most notably a lab coat and a black turtle neck sweater. She lifted the articles of clothing from the box, shivering as she did so. Heinz's cloths always smelled like wiener schnitzels and motor oil.
She could see a red cell phone, lying at the bottom of the box, along with an assortment of other items that people generally carry around in their pockets. It was still vibrating, spewing out a very electronic sounding, cell-phoneish, impression of "Furgalicious". She grabbed it and flipped it open, breathing a sigh of relief as the thing faded to silence.
There was a text message on the screen.
"OMG i m so BORED right now. I hope that u bust out of whatever asylum they put u in soon. Not that I miss u or anything. It's just that i m SO bored."
Was a message from one of Heinz's evil associates? If so then they needed a serious grammar lesson. Another message appeared on the screen.
"If u can read this please respond."
"What the hell," said Charlene aloud as she began to text her reply. "I've already done one crazy thing today. Why not text a reply to a perfect stranger? I mean, I'm going to be fucking dead in a few minuets so what does it matter?"
She read over her message carefully.
"Heinz is in trouble," it read. She figured that would get the point across.
She pressed the send button, and waited a few moments for the stranger to reply.
The words "Who are you," popped up onto the screen.
"A friend," replied Charlene feverishly. "Hienz is being held in a government facility. They hurt him real bad so I you where planning on breaking him out then please do it soon."
The words "Where is it?" popped up on the screen.
Charlene quickly texted the location of the government building and pressed the send button. Oh, yes, she was certainly past the point of no return. She snapped the cellphone closed and placed it back at the bottom of the box placing Heinz's sweater and lab coat on top of it. The hung onto the lab coat a second longer, suddenly possessed by an insane urge to stuff it into her purse and take it with her. Reluctantly, she closed the box and set it back on the table in the place that it had been before. Then she unlocked the door, placed the key's back on Howard's desk, and exited the room.
"Aw, fuck it." she grumbled, as she turned and sprinted back to Howard's office, locking the door behind her once more.
She found the door separating the office from the room where Heinz was being kept, and managed to unlock it. The door swung open and she sprinted inside.
Heinz who had pressed himself into a corner was holding his bloodied kneecaps to his chest with his scrawny arms. Was still sniveling quietly, and rocking himself backward and forward. Charlene crouched down on the floor next to him, and put her arms around his quivering frame. His blood was spreading on her expensive white suit jacket, but she decided that she didn't care. She held him tighter.
"Ch...Charlene...," he sniffled opening his eyes to look at her.
His messy brown hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat, and Charlene brushed it backward with her fingertips, clearing it away from his eyes, while at the same time noting the way that his hairline receded. A thought crossed her mind. A thought that disturbed her. They where certainly getting old.
"Charlene...I...I'm sorry," he wept, wrapping his bloodied fingers around the waist of her white suit jacket and leaving streaks of crimson along the fabric's crisp surface. "I...I was never there for you when you needed me...and I...I took advantage of your good nature and I..."
"Shh...," whispered Charlene tracing the tear tracks on his hollow cheeks with the tips of her fingers. She was careful not to scratch him with her long manicured nails. "It's OK Heinz."
"...Ow," he moaned, nuzzling his face against her dark hair, a crimson stain spread on the shoulder of Charlene's white suit jacket where he rested his head.
She turned her face toward him and, gently, kissed him on the cheek.
"It's OK Hienz," she repeated.
"No, It's my fault that I'm in this mess...that you're in this mess," Heinz continued to cry. "I shouldn't have tried to do the things that I did. I should have known that something like this would happen...but I can ch-change, Charlene. Really, I can. I'm too old for whole tri-state area thing, anyway. It's not like it was when I was a kid, back in Germany, sitting under that big tree in the back yard. Things are diffent now, and I'm an adult. Adults are responsible for their actions."
"I don't want you to change, Heinz," said Charlene, and she felt her own tears drip down her cheeks as she stared into his big, round, eyes for what was likely to be the last time. "I love you just the way you are. It's true that you can be a little childish and irrisponsible sometimes, but that's OK. You just need someone to...to take care of you...It should have been me, Heinz. I should have taken care of you. That was the promise I made when I married you. But it fell apart somehow."
She wiped the blood from his broken nose with the sleeve of her suit jacket, and kissed him, this time on the lips. She let her mouth part slightly as he explored the roof of her mouth with his tongue. He had always been a terrible kisser, but that didn't matter very much. She kissed him back passionately, running her fingers through his disheveled auburn hair as they embraced.
She pushed him away, staggering quickly to her feet as she removed her blood stained jacket and stuffed it into her perce.
"I'm sorry, Heinz," she said. "But I have to go...before someone finds out that I'm in here."
"Please don't go..." whimpered Heinz childishly. A fresh stream of tears dripped down his face. "P-please Charlene...I'm so afraid."
"I'm sorry," said Charlene, not looking back as she exited through the ominous, metal, door that was built into the wall next to the hideous mirror. "But I can't stay."
Two Days Later
Charlene sat on the couch in her living room, eating a box of pink-frosted Camp Fire Girl Cupcakes and watching TV. The news was on, but she wasn't listening to it. She was too busy watching Howard, who was asleep in one of the reclining chairs near the kitchen. He had proposed to her the previous day, and she had excepted. Not because she really wanted to marry him, but because she suspected that he knew about her braking into Heinz's cell. Maybe if she became his wife he would keep that under wraps. She was hoping that that would be the case.
Vanessa stode into the room, looking furious.
"Vanessa," said Charlene. "Your not in uniform."
"No shit I'm not in uniform," said Vanessa, and Charlene noticed with a pang of horror that she was no longer speaking with "Lupe's" accent.
"Lupe...," began Charlene watching Howard with terror, hoping to Christ that he wouldn't wake up.
"Lupe's dead," muttered Vanessa. "Boarder control chucked her back over the fence, and she shot herself...You're talking to Vanessa now."
"How could you marry him?" Vanessa shouted. "After all of the horrible shit he did to dad?"
"What are you talking abou-"
"I know about what he did to dad. The government and all that shit, I got a call from the platypus and he told me everything. So don't go pretending like it didn't happen. I saw him. And he looks...he looks terrible."
"You saw him?" whispered Charlene desperately. She chose to ignore the bit about the Platypus. "When did you see him?"
"Just this morning," said Vanessa.
"Where did you see him?" asked Charlene.
"Well, wouldn't you like to know," grumbled Vanessa. "I'm not going to tell you where he is so that you can turn him into the police."
"...Did he escape?"
Vanessa tapped the top of the television with the black fingernail on her right hand.
"It's on the news," she said.
Charlene watched the television. She suffered through the sports section, and then a charming story about an old lady who decided that she wanted to make purses and accessories out of old bottle caps. Then she saw the story that Vanessa had been talking about. A "terrorist" had apparently escaped from a secure government facility.
A "file photo" of a man in a white lab coat flashed on the screen. The man was grinning stupidly and the background behind him was a sunset on the beach. It was certainly photograph of Heinz, a photograph that Charlene had taken herself on the final evening of their honeymoon. A news man in a red tied warned her that this man was "armed and extremely dangerous". That he had escaped the secure government facility without a trace, and taken the security cameras with him.
Charlene smiled as she bit into the last of her pink-frosted Camp Fire Girl Cupcakes, because she new that Heinz was safe. She didn't know how, but he was safe. She suspected that the recipient of her text message had something to do with it, and wondered vaguely who it might have been.
Never once did she suspect that the "person" who had arranged Doofenshmirtz's rescue was in fact a platypus.