eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from Houes - hands (hands)
eric_foreman ([personal profile] eric_foreman) wrote in [community profile] alwaysright2010-02-15 01:02 pm

November 7 - Early

The lights were off in the doctor's lounge. Foreman sat on the couch, a frown etched on his face, his hands clenched together. Light was starting to come in the window. He had no idea how long he'd been sitting here. It hadn't been worth the bother of flicking a light switch, or even moving. If he moved, he'd want to lash out. Punch a wall. As if he could solve anything with a melodramatic gesture.

His stomach churned with hunger cramps. His eyelids gritted every time he blinked. The headache he'd gotten yesterday hadn't disappeared, even though he'd swallowed four aspirin. Pain radiated in sharp pangs up both sides of his neck and throbbed around his eye orbits.

Casey had polio.

He still couldn't believe it. His thoughts kept circling back, and every single time he'd run up against a brick wall. Polio. It was fucking impossible, but the test results were there. Brennan had run them, and that alone should be enough of a tip-off that something was wrong...Foreman snorted. Like him. He'd been wrong. No matter how much he didn't want it to be true, it was there in black and white. Brennan might lie but the test didn't. And treating the girl with vitamin C, for fuck's sake. When she'd looked up, astonished, to tell them that her legs hurt--

He'd never felt smaller in his life. Useless. Moron. The insults followed on the heels of every thought. Thought he was so fucking amazing, only to have his face rubbed in the truth. Cuddy should fire him. The new fellows had figured out what he couldn't. Despite him.

He'd apologized. The words had stuck, heavy and hurtful, in his throat, but he'd done it. He'd said to Amber yesterday--yelled, maybe--that he was willing to admit it when he was wrong. And he had; he had that much pride, to acknowledge when he'd screwed up. But they didn't care about that, and why should they? Why should any of them listen to him, when he'd been holding back the diagnosis by cutting Brennan off the case?

Everything he'd prided himself on had been punctured. He'd swallowed down his denials and let them get on with whatever the hell they needed to do. If House came back, he'd reward them. He might not be able to get rid of Foreman, but he'd managed what he wanted to do last week--humiliate him into leaving. Foreman hadn't been miserable because he'd had Amber, but now, he knew, he wouldn't have her either. She'd doubted him, and she'd been right to doubt him. Why the hell should she apologize for going behind his back, when clearly they'd needed to do that just to solve the fucking case?

The thought of telling her that--of admitting it--he couldn't manage that. Not yet. He'd crawl home and lick his wounds in private. All of last week's happiness, and the frustration too, it was over. If he'd lost Amber's respect, if he'd lost her, it was his own damn fault. There was nothing he could do.

He didn't look up when the lounge door opened. What was the fucking point? He wasn't needed. Whoever it was could ignore him and leave him the fuck alone.

"Hey."

Chase. Foreman glanced over his shoulder at him and didn't say anything.

"Whoa. Problems?" Chase grinned. If he said one word about Amber, Foreman was going to show him just how much harder than House he could punch. "I heard about your patient. Polio!" He whistled for emphasis.

Foreman shrugged, locking out any reaction. "I got everything wrong," he said. And, even though five seconds ago he would have loved to smash Chase's face in for mentioning Amber, he said it anyway. "Amber went behind my back to treat her."

Chase shrugged, like he didn't see the problem either. Christ, why did Foreman tell him anything? "While you were screwing up? She did what she thought was right," Chase said. "Would you really rather she follow everything you say? You don't want a robot for a girlfriend."

No fucking help at all. Foreman retreated back into stony silence, turning away from Chase.

"Anyway, you can't have gotten everything wrong," Chase said, shrugging. "You're not that bad." He clapped Foreman on the shoulder and disappeared into the locker room.

Foreman snorted to himself. It had looked like heat stroke. Even House had thought it was a boring case--he wouldn't have left if he'd had the least interest in it. Anger tightened Foreman's shoulders, until his fists were clenched again. Everything in him said polio was impossible. There was no logical reason why vitamin C should cure it. And if Casey's blood samples from when she was admitted were still available--shit. Shit. Foreman pushed to his feet, ignoring the stiffness in his body from sitting so long. He might still be wrong. But he had to know. He had to check.

He headed for the lab with Chase's words still echoing in his head. She did what she thought was right. Amber had said the same. But what neither of them understood was that being right wasn't enough. If you were right, you had to prove it. You had to have a chance to prove it, instead of having everything you were trying to do screwed up by one false step. What was best for the patient--what was best for her was the truth, now. And what was best for her then was not for her doctors to be playing games with her treatment. He still couldn't forgive Amber for what she'd done, but if she was wrong now--fuck. Fuck. He didn't know why he was still thinking about her when they'd already had this argument. More than once. It was impossible, it couldn't be solved.

But he still cared about her. And he wanted her to get what she wanted. It couldn't be at his expense; he'd already fucked up everything for himself. There was nothing Amber could do to hurt him anymore. But he could still help her. Maybe--or maybe this would just give her one more chance to laugh in his face, to tell him he was playing the martyr.

Foreman turned into the lab and went straight to the fridge, checking first that they had a vial of Casey's blood from her initial blood tests. It was there. It was one test. Once he knew he could say anything he damn well wanted. He pulled on a pair of gloves and started working.

When he sat back, the assay results in front of him on the computer screen, he felt numb. He tapped the print button and stripped off his gloves, still unable to take his eyes away from the screen.

He was an idiot. He knew it. But he took out his phone and texted Amber anyway--Path lab. Something to show you.

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