Identity CrisisBy AngelfirenzeDisclaimer:
DC and Dark Horse Comics, respectively; Heel and Toe; Warner Bros.; Whedon, et al. own all. Interpol. "Untitled.". Capitol, Parlophone, Matador, 2002. Summary:
Swimming in the shirt they'd given her, she looked as though she might fall apart if he looked at her with enough venom.
But something in him never wanted to.Notes:
Written with marag
's blessing; I got this idea and had to run with it, but you know the other stuff by now...
And I have an idea about Slayers and those allowed to remain with families or anything approaching them.Notes, continued:
And, hey, did I mention this is, like, incredibly
AU? I mention stuff from the original Buffy canon out of the original timeline, simply because I like the lines. Though they're most likely altered here to fit my purpose.
Also, 'C. diff' is Clostridium difficile, which is a bacterial strain that, in excessive amounts, overwhelms the intestinal tract and causes dehydration through vomiting and diarrhea, much like cholera (Vibrio cholerae), only not as quickly.
Hemochromatosis is an excess of iron in the blood, turning it into a thicker consistency than can easily navigate the blood vessels, causing pain and lack of oxygenation, among other horrid things.
Quote. Don't look at me, I just know stuff. Unquote.Timelines:
Buffy, (including the following comics) post-Viva Las Buffy
, Slayer, Interrupted
, and A Stake to the Heart
; post-'Becoming, Part II';
General storyverse, post-Acquainted with the Night
, which is encompassed in its own wonderful universe
where Gregory House was once our dear Timothy Drake...
House, M.D., 'No Reason' -- AU after that.Part V: Expedience...I will surprise you sometimes, I'll come around when you're down...
Cameron paced back and forth, along with Chase, Wilson, and Cuddy, as they watched House being operated on from the theatre below. Only Foreman had managed to stay seated, though his frantic fidgeting with his hands was a clear tell of how nervous he really was.
Cameron spoke, for what must have been the twentieth or so time, asking the question that she hadn't been able to let go of since House's brief return to consciousness hours before.
"What on earth did he mean, 'My name is Tim Drake'? His name is Gregory House, it's on his medical degrees and everything!"
"He said 'Timothy', actually," Chase said absently, his eyes locked on the tableau before them.
!" Cameron snapped, momentarily halting her pacing to glare witheringly at him, but Chase ignored her.
It had taken everything in Wilson not to blurt out that House had known what he was talking about, not to admit to House's past. Not only would everyone -- particularly Cuddy -- feel betrayed and taken for fools, but they'd think he was crazy. House had suffered catastrophic damage and blood loss as a result of the gunshots that he'd taken. Wilson was perfectly healthy. It couldn't be excused, so he said nothing.
He'd tried calling Bruce Wayne several times, even having Cuddy call a few, but each time, they'd gotten nothing. Wilson only hoped Mr. Wayne wasn't out of the country or something.
Then there was House's blood type. House had told Wilson, himself, that he had no living relatives -- certainly none of his own AB Negative -- that they'd all either died or been murdered. Wilson had been distraught at the idea at the time, but now he was absolutely devastated.
His best friend was lying on an operating table, his carotid arteries dissected and hemorrhaging, say nothing of the effect everything that happened had had on his brain, heart, and kidneys -- God, when they'd done the X-Rays, he and Cuddy had each stared in utter awe.
The state of House's blood vessels, ventricles, and arteries before
having been shot was...dear God...HOW DID HE MISS THIS?
That question kept circling his brain like a dog at a run and he couldn't look at Cuddy because he knew she felt even worse. She'd been his attending when he'd had the infarction, yet she'd failed to do something so simple as give him an X-Ray. Trying to remind her that by the point she'd taken over, they were just trying to keep House alive wasn't going to work, Wilson knew.
Cuddy didn't think there was any excuse, so she wasn't going to accept one. End of story.
He could hear her crying faintly beside him and somehow his arm was suddenly around her shoulder and then he was crying, too. Foreman, Chase, and Cameron were probably staring at them, but it didn't matter.
House -- Tim was going to die, none of it mattered.
Bart was carrying Buffy while she was tucked in his arms to protect herself and her clothes from the force of the air around them. Buffy had gotten impatient, simply picking him out of what amounted to a lineup, and telling the rest of them they'd meet them all in Princeton.
He would have laughed if he didn't know she was the only way Tim would likely survive. Bruce had, by now, heard the messages Wilson had left in his office and was, no doubt, a wreck on the plane flying at a safe speed up in the air behind them. Bruce was blaming himself, they both could see, and no amount of persuasion was going to work.
The only thing Bruce would accept was Tim awake, his bright blue eyes on Bruce's face again. The only way to achieve that was to get Buffy to Tim's hospital as fast as meta-humanly possible. The details could be worked out later.
Once Dick had explained that Buffy likely had either A, B, or AB blood herself because Tim was her father, she'd jumped at the chance to give it to him.
A quick scan by both Clark and Kon (Buffy hadn't even flinched at the fact that she was supposedly meeting urban legends left and right) told them her Rhesus factor was Negative like Tim's own and perfectly -- in fact, inhumanly clean.
She'd immediately started to cry and said they had to get to Princeton now
and one of them
was going to take her.
She wasn't going to lose her last chance at a parent who might actually accept her. Not that all of them, or even Tim, knew that.
It was a security guard who called up to the operating theatre and alerted Cuddy to the fact that man named Bart Allen and a girl named Elizabeth Drake were at the front desk, desperately asking about Dr. House and whether Elizabeth would be able to give him any blood. Cuddy didn't stop to think about how on earth any of it was possible, she simply dashed down and admitted them into the hospital, practically dragging Elizabeth up to Hematology and having her blood drawn and run through the usual checks for diseases.
She was absolutely shocked to find that it was not only AB Negative, but absolutely chock full of white and red blood cells that House was currently losing at a rate he couldn't afford, so much so that Cuddy was tempted to diagnose her on the spot with hemochromatosis.
Cuddy honestly couldn't understand how Elizabeth's blood seemed not to be hurting her at all. As it was, bloodletting that House needed
could only seem to help her, if Cuddy was correct.
She didn't stop to think about the fact that Elizabeth didn't even balk at having multiple needles in her arms at once, nor the sheer amount of blood they'd needed to take.
On the contrary, she kept up the same anxious expression the entire time, apparently more frustrated that she couldn't get any information about House's condition than the fact that they'd taken so much of her blood.
In fact, if it hadn't been for the fact that Cuddy had helped perform the draws and tests, herself, she wouldn't have believed it when Elizabeth just about growled in irritation when she found out she was going to be admitted and given multiple Ringer's Lactase drips to make up for what she'd just lost before trying to jump to her feet and find Dr. House, herself.
It had only been that Mr. Allen placing a hand on Elizabeth's shoulder and whispering something in her ear that had probably kept her from dashing from room to room, looking for House.
They admitted her for observation to make sure she would be alright, but in the meantime, the seven bags they'd taken from Elizabeth were rushed upstairs to Dr. House's operating table and promptly administered.
Cuddy didn't know whether to express gratitude or irritation at their mysterious (and slightly combative) guests, but gratitude won out when House started to respond as soon as Elizabeth's blood entered his body, practically jump-starting it almost like a car.
Immediately, he stabilized and, beyond all hope, was wheeled into the ICU (Elizabeth demanded that she be placed in the bed next to him if she was going to have to stay there. Cuddy didn't object given the amount of blood she'd lost) anesthetized, but completely alive and more well than they could have dreamed.
Bruce cursed his old age for the worst as he finally managed to walk back into Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital and Drs. Wilson and Cuddy met them at the Clinic front desk just beyond the vestibule.
"Hello, Mr. Wayne, we have -- " Cuddy could barely contain herself, but it was nothing compared to the astonishment that Wilson was displaying. " -- Astonishingly good news for you. I -- House is going to be just fine, it looks like."
Wilson tuned out after that. He, even if only privately, knew he was staring quite rudely (he couldn't help it) as not only Batman faced him, but both Supermen, Superwoman, Nightwing, they'd already met Impulse/Kid Flash -- the original Flash (House had said something about Wally
retiring and his friend Bart taking over) was staring around impatiently -- Green Arrow, Green Lantern...
God, it was a kid's dream right here in their lobby, there were so many heroes. Even the reformed Catwoman, if Tim's description was correct...and...oh, God, Cass
-- er, Batgirl.
She'd kissed him at Bruce's birthday party and Wilson had to fight the fact that he knew he was blushing and getting hot all over again. House was more important than that, they all knew it.
But House's best friends stepped forward along with Bruce and Dick and Wilson asked that Cassie, Cass, Greta, Cissie, Anita, Kon, Bart, Bernard, and -- of course -- Dick and Bruce be given 24-hour passes (Wilson knew they'd probably rotate their timing) to see House and Elizabeth once they were moved to the ICU. They were debriefed about scrubbing up very well first, but Wilson had a feeling that little chat hadn't been necessary.
He turned and walked over to an elevator, stopping it midway up because he couldn't hold his cries of relief back any longer. House's family was
here and damn it, he was about to know it.
Finally, Wilson scrubbed in as though he were going into surgery himself, even scraping under his fingernails with the soap, hoping to God he didn't have C. diff or something lurking under them, and walked into the ICU to see House. Elizabeth was lying in the bed closest to him, but he could tell she'd somehow maneuvered her bed toward his.
The thought was cast out of his mind when he saw his best friend...alive.
He'd never felt so relieved to see House's face, no longer pale, even if his head and face were shaved and practically every inch of him was covered in stitches.
"I have to say," Elizabeth whispered, her eyes full of tears as she stared up at the bags of her blood that were still suspended over House's sedated body. "This wasn't exactly how I expected to meet my dad."
Wilson's eyes widened just as Bruce and Dick each came in, scrubbed and wearing sterile yellow paper gowns, themselves. Each of them were beaming at Elizabeth, apparently beyond words as they stared back and forth between House -- Tim -- and Elizabeth.
Wilson forced himself to take a breath as he watched Bruce lower himself into a chair and Dick stand behind it, pride obviously shining out of their eyes at Elizabeth, who -- incredibly -- was blushing.
"Uncle Dick, please help me convince Dad he doesn't owe me for this," Elizabeth said in a tiny voice, a complete contrast to the take-charge young woman who'd come storming into the hospital mere hours earlier.
"Good luck on that one, kiddo," Dick said quietly, biting back another grin. "He hates taking advantage of others, no matter how much he might need to, much less his daughter
"But he didn't take advantage of me! I gave willingly! Now if I could just get my sugar cookie and my clothes back, we'd be just dandy!"
"Wait," Wilson cut in, unable to help it. "Wait -- you're all saying -- " Wilson caught himself and forced himself to whisper. "You're saying Elizabeth is his daughter?"
He looked back at the girl to see fresh tears cascading down her face (Oh, God...House's face...if you looked at it from the right angle. Maybe if he'd stayed in Gotham and not had the infarction or kidney problems...) as she gave a small wave.
"If it makes you feel any better, my friend Willow and I kind of broke the law to find out."
Bruce snorted and Wilson suddenly felt like laughing.
"I...yeah, that sounds like -- " Wilson sighed and looked back at Bruce and Dick. "When House's team -- if I were in a more jovial mood, I'd say they're like Elizabeth's siblings, practically -- were rushing him to the ER for triage, he woke up and said, 'Hello. My name is Timothy Drake.' Cameron's been obsessing about it ever since."
"I to-o-o-old you," Elizabeth said in a softly mocking voice and Wilson looked back at her to see her faintly sticking her tongue out at Bruce and Dick, both of whom were grinning.
"Told them what?" Wilson asked before he could stop himself.
Elizabeth giggled, "I got this total damsel-in-distress vibe from Dr. Cameron in my dream -- I mean, a lot of stuff happened, most of it involving Dad fighting and arguing with himself, uh, his younger self -- "
"Robin," Wilson whispered and Elizabeth nodded before continuing.
"Yeah, and when you guys were all tied to these trees in what Bruce says are Gotham's Palisades, she totally wanted Dad to save her. I kept getting all these crush vibes. Dad's gotten pretty good at ignoring them, but they're obvious as all get out."
Wilson had to stop himself from snorting, blinking several times before everything else Elizabeth had said hit him. "Wait -- you dreamed about this? You're one of -- you're a 'caped crusader'?"
Elizabeth sighed, rolling her eyes, "Is that really what they call you guys? I mean, does everyone know?
These questions were directed at Bruce and Dick, the latter of whom had rolled his eyes. "And Giles thought I
was bad at keeping a secret identity. I'll have you know, I was pissed when people found out. I thought there was a flashing sign on my back that said, 'Hi! I'm a Vampire Slayer, Ask Me How!' Seriously irritating!" she finished in a hiss, further aggrieved when Dick started laughing silently at her consternation.
He seemed to do that a lot, the jerk.
"Honestly, Dick," she hissed further. "What
is so funny about me and Dad? Between you and Bernard, I really want to get some punching practice in!"
Dick immediately stopped laughing then and Bruce, in turn, held back a snort.
"Dick is most likely laughing because you're both so incredibly alike," Bruce smiled softly, reaching forward, finally, to take her hand. He marveled that it was practically engulfed by his own, yet one twitch from her wrist would snap his arm in half. "He's rather impatient to get digs in at Tim."
Elizabeth rolled her eyes before looking at Wilson. "So. Now that Dad is out of mortal peril for the time being, my name is Elizabeth Drake -- though, legally, it's Buffy Summers. Hank Summers was my stepdad until he and my mother got divorced. Joyce Jamison Summers was my mother until she threw me out earlier this week. So I came to find Dad.
"Like I said, Willow -- she's my best friend and I really need to find a computer so I can email her and tell her I'm not dead because she and Xander and Giles are probably all worried. If they've gone to talk to my mom, Giles probably got her to tell them that she threw me out. Willow probably figured everything out five seconds later, though she won't tell Giles or Xander because they'll try to guilt me back into going to Sunnydale if I know them, and I do
. I'm not going. Wow. This full disclosure stuff gets easier every time. Imagine that."
Wilson blinked at this impressive display of lung function from someone who just had what had to be the safest possible amount of blood to possibly drain from her body taken out. She should be completely winded, if not knocked out altogether. But she said something about being a Vampire Slayer. But, more importantly -- oddly -- she'd left Sunnydale, wherever that was, to come find Ho -- Tim. He was 'Tim' to all of these people and Wilson would try to think of him that way right now, especially given the fact that he'd woken up saying his own name.
But people would pass that off as House having been delirious. Except Cameron. Oh, dear God. Cameron
. She was going to try to bug Hou -- Tim about it as soon as he woke up.
Wilson sighed irritably, "Okay. To everything you just said, okay, but something else that's more pertinent at the moment is that House woke up saying 'Hello, my name is Timothy Drake' while he was being taken down to triage. Now, we're the only ones who know what that means, but Cameron -- Dr. Cameron, she's..."
"Got that crush on Dad and she's not going to let his real name be put down to blood-loss hallucinations or anything else ever so convenient?" Elizabeth asked pointedly and Wilson nodded miserably.
To his surprise, Elizabeth smiled. "It doesn't matter, really. From everything I saw, Dad's ready to be himself -- his whole self again. Which is good because I need to find my whole self and I'll need his help. I don't want to hide anymore and if there's anywhere I don't have to, it's Gotham -- or Metropolis or anywhere else these guys hang out. With Dad's family and friends flying and running around all the time, I'll look downright inconspicuous."
And here she stuck her tongue out at Dick again, who made a face back despite being at least three times her age. Elizabeth bit back a grin.
"But he said he wanted to go home, Dr. Wilson. At least for now. That he needed to. And he's sick, right? So he can't stay here, he'd hate it. If he's so close to this place and unable to work, what do you think that'll do to him?"
Wilson paled at the thought, "He'd be a basketcase. No, no, I understand. Don't worry, he's got years
of vacation and sick time saved up. With Cuddy's help, he should get all of it even if not all of it would be paid."
"I've told Tim there's nothing I wouldn't do for him and I've meant every word of it," Bruce affirmed and then he looked back at Buffy again. "Though, you might have to move to a different room, unfortunately, if Tim's just that picky, though I really don't think you'll have to worry about it. He picked a new one when he stayed last."
Elizabeth stared at Bruce for a moment before saying in a tone Wilson couldn't decipher, "I've been sleeping in Dad's old room, haven't I?"
Bruce's smile was all the answer he would give. Elizabeth looked away again, blushing once more, tears trailing down her unnaturally rosy cheeks.
Tim found once again that everything hurt. Not exactly a new experience, but infinitely more unwelcome. He moaned, feeling the back of his head protest at any movement and, instantly, there were hands arresting him and gentle voices telling him things he couldn't understand.
He moaned again, harder this time -- trying to reach everywhere, anywhere to assuage the dull, hard throbbing all over. But he couldn't and it was just agonizing.
"It's okay, Dr. House," someone was telling him from far away. "It looks like the Fentanyl isn't binding to your cells, so we'll try more morphine..."
Then there was glorious relief flooding everywhere through him and for the first time in so long, it didn't hurt to be Gregory House or Timothy Drake or anyone...it didn't hurt.
Slowly, Tim managed to open his eyes to find Bruce, Dick, and Wilson staring intently at him, the joy in their faces making him uncomfortable. He tried to turn away from it, but he couldn't.
Wilson frowned slightly, "Sorry, House, but your neck is in a brace for the time being. Your carotids have bruits in them -- the first bullet tore one of them and the other was ripped in the fall you took.
"Um...not to mention, we're giving you fluids to keep the pressure in your kidneys from tanking again -- you started to go into multi-system f-failure on the table, a-apparently. Your ventricles dissected after the trauma from being shot caused aneurysms to form in your brain and then those ruptured...you had about four or five tiny strokes.
"Your left pupil is blown, as you'll probably see when we can finally set you on your feet again. It'll take a while for that to recede...if -- if it does. But the damage to your heart wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, either -- everything was either minimal or reversible. And -- Elizabeth, here, gave you AB Negative blood to replace what you kept losing. She was quite insistent upon it, actually. Not surprising, though I guess you'll find out why eventually. But Cuddy's kicking herself because it's safe to say you have Fibromuscular Displaysia and have all your life."
Tim frowned, blinking at the ceiling irritably, unable to focus (he didn't really care what Wilson was saying, either, but couldn't say as much) as Dick, Bruce, and Wilson's faces danced before him and he wondered why he didn't feel like vomiting.
He didn't try talking. He honestly didn't feel like it, he was so tired. But then a girl was standing over his bed, herself clad in scrubs, biting her lip so hard Tim was confused as to why it hadn't broken yet. Her hair was brownish-blonde (he could see that it had been dyed -- her now-showing roots were black, like his own), her eyes hazel, and she was so tiny. Swimming in the shirt they'd given her, she looked as though she might fall apart if he looked at her with enough venom.
But something in him never wanted to.I guess I'll have to count on her, then...
Tim tried to speak, this time, and found that his throat was clogged with something. He could feel the nasogastric tube taped to his face and wondered if there was blood in his throat. He tried to shift, but couldn't move anything.
Guessing what he wanted, Tim supposed, the girl came closer. She really was crying now and Tim could see bandages on both of her arms where they'd taken her blood. The girl took his cold hand in her warm ones and leaned down, holding back a sob as she whispered in his ear, "Hi, Dad."