Disclaimer: Body of Proof or anything related to it does not belong to me.
A.N. TPTB honestly had me going for a moment. I had such faith that they wouldn't kill of such a main character like this and then they shook that faith until it was nearly gone. And then they pulled their little trick out of the bag at the end. Good going, guys! I commend you! So here's my little piece.
Minus 48 Hours
Kate was sure that this particular near death experience would give her nightmares for weeks. She had witnessed firsthand what the Marburg Virus had done to those it had killed. Their organs had been turned to mush, bleeding into their bodies. And she had been a hairs breadth from that particular fate. Her organs were badly enough damaged as it was that her complete recovery from the virus could take months.
But, for now, she was feeling stronger. Not much better, but stronger. And she wasn't alone. Somehow, that was more important to her than the fact that she wasn't going to die after all.
When she had woken up, Doctor Stafford had gently explained to her what Megan had discovered- that Travino had, in fact, died from the alcohol in his system, rather than the antidote. That, plus the fact that she hadn't gone into cardiac arrest when the drug was administered, meant that there was hope that it would work after all.
Now, just over an hour later, she had managed to prop herself up in bed and talk to the four people who were steadfastly refusing to leave her side.
"Did you catch the guy?" Her first words were rough, her voice hoarse from coughing, "Or did you all manage to get fired?" Her words were met with gentle laughter from her friends whilst Megan reached her a glass of water that she sipped gratefully.
At some point, as they told the tale of how Jacob Mount was identified, caught and eventually killed, chairs had been procured. By the time the story was finished and Kate was gently inquiring as to how Peter was holding up, Peter and Curtis sat side by side near her bed and Megan had perched herself at Kate's side on top of the bed, despite Curtis's protests that she'd "kick a sick woman out of her own bed." Ethan had been drawn away by the inquisitive looks of Luise, the shy girl who Kate had met with her mother the previous day. The young Doctor was slowly drawing Luise out of her shell and the gentle giggles that now came from the girl did everyone in the ward more good than the vaccine.
"He's being wasted as an M.E.," Kate commented quietly to Megan. "He'd make a wonderful children's doctor."
Megan shook her head. "He'd hate it. It would break his heart to watch kids suffer." She smiled ruefully, "He cares too much."
"Too much?" She raised an eyebrow. Privately, she agreed. The problem about being a doctor for the living was that eventually, one of your patients would die. She knew it would kill young Ethan Gross to watch a child die and be able to do nothing to stop it. It was much easier to be a doctor for the dead. Not that she was going to tell Megan that.
She resisted the urge to grin when she heard Curtis whisper a warning of "Battle Stations," to Peter. Megan, on the other hand, just nudged her gently, refusing to rise to the bait.
For the next hour or so, Kate was happy to just sit and listen to the quiet chatter that surrounded her. Her throat ached and talking took more out of her than she'd ever care to admit. Her friends had stayed at her side for well over two hours when Peter cleared his throat and rose, preparing to leave.
"I managed to get in touch with Dani's mom," he explained. "I need to go and meet her and the M.E.O."
Kate nodded. Over the past few days, in particular when she had been stuck in the isolation ward with little else to keep her mind occupied, she had remembered the young woman fondly and wondered if her family had been reached. "Give her my sympathies, okay?"
Peter nodded as Curtis pulled himself to his feet, "I'd better go meet her too," he said. He gave her a firm stare before adding, "But I'll be right back here afterwards, okay? So don't you be going anywhere."
Kate shook her head, "No, you're going to go home and sleep." She looked around, including Megan and Ethan in her order, though it wasn't as stern as usual. "All of you. You've been working round the clock. You all need to sleep- God knows when you'll be called into work again."
Both Peter and Curtis nodded, knowing the truth of her statement only too well. Megan nudged her again, murmuring, "You sure?" so that only she could hear. Kate nodded once, a small smile of thanks gracing her lips.
"I really don't mind staying a while longer," Ethan blurted out boldly. Kate smiled kindly at him. Megan had told her that Ethan was the first to call the hospital after she had been admitted, trying to learn any news about her condition. That knowledge warmed her- the young man had a naturally good heart, but it was still nice to know that he cared.
"Go, Ethan. You can't run on coffee forever," she told him.
She could see a retort appearing on his lips but before he could speak, Megan launched herself off the bed and grabbed his arm. "Come on, Ethan. Sleep is the best medicine." Kate could tell that particular comment was aimed at her, rather than the young doctor who knew well enough not to even try and defy Doctor Hunt.
Megan reached across the bed and squeezed her hand gently, saying, "I'll see you soon," before dragging Ethan after Peter towards the exit of the isolation ward. Curtis, however, lingered.
She didn't know it, but it had broken the big man's heart to watch her the previous day, struggling even to walk. The difference from the strong, confident and independent Doctor Murphy that he knew was startling and it was in that moment that he had truly lost hope for finding a miracle that would save her and the others who were infected. As he had watched her desperately trying to hold back her tears he had wanted to reach through the glass and hug her, reassure her. And maybe reassure himself in the process.
Ethan was right, he though morosely. He really was a big teddy bear.
"I can be back here in a couple of hours, tops," he informed her, desperate for her to know that she didn't have to spend another night in this hellhole alone.
Her hand wrapped around his, "I'm going to be fine," she told him, feeling a lump in her throat at his kindness. "I feel better already. But you won't if you don't get some rest."
He nodded, placing his other hand on her shoulder and bending down look her straight in the eyes. "You rest up. Feel better soon."
As he turned to join the others, Kate slid down in the bed, closing her eyes. She was lucky, very lucky. She was lucky to still be alive and lucky to have friends who were willing to put their entire lives to the side just to keep her company.
She wasn't sure how long she'd been asleep when she awoke to a sharp prick in her arm. Charlie Stafford gave her a grin as he sealed the vial of blood. "You look better already," he commented.
Kate blinked a few times, eyes adjusting to the light. That alone was enough to convince her of the validity of his statement. "I feel better," she rasped. She coughed to clear her throat, "Though apparently I don't sound it."
He looked away from covering the small needle prick with a plaster. "If you feel better it's a good sign that the vaccine's actually working. Though we won't know for sure until I compare this," he waved the vial of blood at her, "with the blood I took from you just before I gave you the vaccine."
She hadn't even realised that he had taken her blood at that time.
"As soon as we know the vaccine's working as it should be," he continued, "we'll be able to turn this into a normal ward, instead of keeping you all in isolation."
She nodded, grateful for that snippet of information. "How long will the vaccine take to eliminate the Marburg?" she asked, curious.
Stafford shrugged, ruefully. "We estimate around seventy two hours- the same timeline as Marburg. But as you," he gestured around the ward, "are our first test subjects, we can't really be sure." He smiled again, "I'll keep you and your friends up to date though, if only to keep Doctor Hunt off my back."
Kate had to laugh at the comment, but her laugh turned into a cough that wracked her entire frame. She felt Stafford gently help her sit up and pass her a glass of water. He rubbed her back until the coughing subsided.
"They say laughter is the best medicine, but I can't always agree," he uttered regretfully. "Rest up, Doctor Murphy. I'll let you know the test results as soon as I get them back."
With nothing to keep her attention, Kate slipped in and out of consciousness throughout the evening. The ward was mostly quiet, the only noise being the beeping of the machines, almost reassuring in its steadiness, and the wracking cough of one tortured soul across the ward, muffled, though it was, by an oxygen mask.
At four in the morning, that quiet turned into sheer chaos.
Kate awoke to shouting and the clatter of wheels and feet as they sped past her bed. It was then that she registered that one machine was not, in fact, bleeping steadily. Instead, it echoed a consistent tone that never paused.
Her own monitor was beeping at her insistently, each beep getting closer to the last as she pulled herself up in the bed.
"Clear!" She heard from across the ward. It was followed by a buzz and a thump, yet the heart refused to beat.
"Clear!" Her own heart was in the mouth. She could feel not only her own fear, but the terror of those around her.
"Clear!" Live, please, just live, she pleaded silently.
"He's gone," she heard, the words muttered by one of the doctors. "Time of death: four-oh-three A.M."
Kate was sure she wouldn't sleep any more that night. The virus had claimed another victim.
A.N. I'm not a doctor. I know nothing about medicine or medical procedures or anything like that. So if there's a mistake, it's my own ignorance that's at fault. Part two should be up shortly.