Chapters 1-18 by You're out of your vulcan mind
Chapters 19+ by Mara-DragonMaster
"So Ma'am, you know the victim?"
Eloise crossed her arms and tipped her head, sighing pointedly. They were in one of the hospital's conference rooms, the only place they could be alone. "Tom."
The assistant detective who'd been assigned the case looked up at her sheepishly. With his blue gaze and young face he looked far too young to be on the force. "Sorry Elly." He apologized. "If it's police business– ya' know, we have to be formal."
She smiled wearily at him, nodding in understanding. They'd been friends for a while, since she'd had to call the station a couple of times with problems with Michael. "If you want to be formal you're supposed to use my formal title."
"That just sounds weird."
She leaned forward, resting her arms on the table. "So drop the formal stuff."
The detective raised his hands in defeat. "Fine. Elly, how do you know the victim?"
"We went out once. Thursday night."
His eyes lit in recognition. "You mean he was the one that…"
"Yup." The corner of her mouth lifted in a rueful smile. "He was the one that punched Michael."
Tom shook his head with a grin. "Lucky guy."
She looked down at her hands. "Not so lucky." She said quietly.
"Well." He sighed, looking down at his notes. These sorts of cases always made him feel awkward. "I've got the medical report, and all the personal information you could give. I need to call his employers. D'ya know who I should–"
"Can I… deal with his employers?" she asked. "I mean, do they really have to know?"
Her eyes pled with him. "Look, you know his boss. Dr. House?"
"He's going to make Robert's life a nightmare. And after what he's been through… Don't you think he should have the right to choose who knows about this?"
"Elly. Really, don't do this to me." He warned, but he sighed when she gave him her puppy dog eyes. "How would you explain the injuries?"
"Car accident. You would even be able to get his information."
"This is against the rules." He warned.
"I can't say no to you."
She beamed, her relief evident. "You are amazing."
"But!" He held up a finger. "But you have to call his bosses. You get the relevant information and give it to me. And you me–" he pointed between them. "Never had this conversation. I don't know nothing about what you told them and where the records came from. We could get the case thrown out if I lied in my investigation." He shook his head. "And you are guilting me about what this guy deserves– this guy does not deserve to have that monster who did this to him go free."
"Alright." she nodded. "Thank you so much, Tom."
"Eloise! Hey! Dr. Peney!"
Eloise froze; the boss had finally come in.
"What is the meaning of this?" Her boss, a large, beefy, red faced man with a poor diplomatic attitude held her two week's notice in his hand.
"I think I clearly explained everything in the letter."
"You– you can't just give… Why do you want leave?"
She sighed and turned around and began listing all of the different reasons. "I can't stay here anymore: the gossiping and back-biting has finally got to me. I can't work with Dr. Steward: he's a pig and won't leave me alone. I have a few personal issues I need to deal with, and I can't do that if I'm also trying to deal with this place."
"If you have issues with people here maybe you should try working them out. However, I accept your resignation. But," he narrowed his eyes at her and drew himself up. "You can just forget about me giving you any sort of recommendation. I don't approve of people who run away from their problems."
Eloise smiled ruefully. He was not going to be missed. "I'm sorry to hear that, Sir. I wish we could have parted on better terms. How's the wife?"
She was always surprised a human could go that red and not burst something.
Dr. Cuddy frowned over her paperwork, trying to make her way through the mounds of forms and files that had somehow accumulated in her in-box. So deep in concentration was she that the sudden ringing of her phone made her jump. Shaking her head at herself, she picked up the receiver. "Dr. Cuddy."
"Hello. Dr. Cuddy? I'm Dr. Peney from Princeton General. We met at the convention– I was with Dr. Chase."
"Oh, yes. Hello. How can I help you?" Cuddy absently continued reading the paper in front of her.
"I'm actually calling about Dr. Chase."
Her ears pricked up. "What about Dr. Chase?" she asked curiously, looking up from her work.
"It appears he was in some sort of accident."
Cuddy mouth opened in a silent gasp.
"We'll know more when he wakes up. We were just informing you we need his medical records."
"No– you won't need his records. We'll have him transferred here." Cuddy stated with a tone of finality to her voice. Obviously they were better equipped to treat him, and this was Chase's place of work.
"I don't think that is an option Dr. Cuddy. Dr. Chase is not in a stable enough condition to be moved right now. And I believe that he would appreciate some privacy in the whole matter."
Cuddy felt a prick of indignation; she didn't like the tone of authority in the other woman's voice, not when it came to one of her doctors. Then she paused– why would Chase 'appreciate privacy in the whole matter'? "Then when he is in a stable enough condition, I believe it would be best that he is treated here– by people he knows and works with."
"When he regains consciousness he can make that decision for himself."
Cuddy acquiesced that he might appreciate having a choice, but the insinuation that he might not want to come didn't sit well with her. "Alright. I do suppose that is for the best."
"It is. On that point I would also like to request that you do not inform Dr. House about this incident."
"Dr. House is Dr. Chase's employer. I have to let him know."
"I know Dr. House. Dr. House does not believe in privacy. He really doesn't understand the whole personal boundaries concept, and I would really prefer that Chase be allowed some peace, at least for now."
Well– she had a point there. Cuddy certainly wouldn't want House to know if she were in an accident; as long as it wasn't serious. And House would never let Chase recover in peace. "Fine. So what am I supposed to tell him?"
"You'll figure something out. Vacation? Sick leave?"
They chatted a bit more. Chase's medical records were to be faxed over, and they had come up with an explanation that they hoped would satisfy the ever-curious diagnostician.
When Eloise was finally able to hang up she leaned back and sighed, pulling her hair out of its ponytail. As it fell around her face she ran a hand through her hair. She was exhausted.
Wandering back to the ICU where Chase had been moved she looked in, leaning against the doorframe. He was still asleep. His injuries were much more visible now that he had been completely cleaned up; he looked so vulnerable now. She felt suddenly that she had to protect him, that he was her responsibility.
She sat down on the edge of his bed. They'd only spent one night together– technically speaking– but spending that time with him had given her the confidence to finally leave this place, to finally break away from all things Michael Steward and move on. She took his left hand; his right had been badly smashed and broken. Brushing away a bit of hair that had fallen across his face, mindful of his nose, her eyes held him softly.
"I won't let you go through this alone. I owe you so much." She whispered.
His eyelids flickered in response. His heart rate went up. He was waking! Eloise checked the monitors as he stirred. He mumbled something, and then his eyes flicked open.
She held his hand again, seeing the terror in his eyes as he tried to figure out where he was. His heart started to race as he looked around, lost and confused. His breathing became ragged. Still holding his hand she pressed a cool hand to the side of his face, leaning close.
"Chase! Chase, listen… Robert."
He stopped and started to calm when she said his name; his eyes turned to her.
She kept her voice calm and quiet. "You're alright. You're safe now. Do you understand?"
He nodded briefly. His heart rate was still elevated but his breathing began to return to normal.
"Do you know who I am?"
He nodded again. "Eloise." His voice was raspy and thin, and he winced as he spoke.
She smiled at him reassuringly. "Yeah. It hurts to speak, right?" he nodded. "We had to intubate you. It'll get better after awhile. Just nod or shake your head until then." She kept her hand on his. "Do you remember what happened?"
His eyes looked haunted, and he slowly nodded again. She pressed her lips together sadly, and then she also nodded.
"Right now, we told your bosses that you were in an accident. They don't know any of the details yet." She said. "House doesn't know any of it. I wanted you to decide what they know and when." There was a moment of silence. "Is there anyone you want me to call to be with you?"
He shook his head, but his fingers curled around her hand, his split lips thin.
She brushed her thumb over his fingers. "Don't worry." She reassured. Her voice was soft. "I'm staying with you till the end. You're safe now."