I didn't take so long this time did I? These have been a couple of pretty busy weeks, but I wanted to get to this point of the plot so badly! Thank you so much to everyone who reviewed, favourited and followed, if you cant take two seconds of your time to send me a really tiny review, it would mean the world to me!
To those of you anxious for Batman to make an appearance, he's coming REAL SOON, in like one or two chapters he will definitely show up, don't worry!
I think this is the longest chapter I've ever published, I hope it's not too long, a lot of interesting things happen, I'll be waiting for your reviews!
"Hey sweetie, how are you? I heard about your patient… What are you doing?" Susie said entering Ann's office.
She walked into the small bathroom the office had where her friend was changing into scrubs when she should be ready to go home.
"You're not going home?" she inquired.
"No." Ann replied curtly.
"Where are you going then?"
"To the morgue."
"The morgue?" Susie asked, puzzled.
"Yes." Ann was pulling her hair into a bun and looked devastated.
Ann sighed deeply and turned around to face her friend. "I asked the forensic surgeon if I could be present during the autopsy."
"You did what?" Her friend snapped. "Why do you torture yourself this way? It's not like you! It's not like it's the first patient you've lost."
"This is different."
"Why? Why is it different?" Susie sounded genuinely worried.
"She was fine. I went through the video of the operation the whole day, Jefferson worked wonderfully and her post-op labs were perfect, this shouldn't have happened."
"Sometimes people never wake up from the anesthesia, you know that, it sucks but it happens. You have to get over this." Susie said, holding her friend's shoulders.
"I told her she would be alright. I told her son she would be alright and now she's dead. So don't tell me to get over it, I have to get to the bottom of this." Ann rubbed her eyes and then moved her hands to her hair in frustration. "She didn't like being alone, her son was here constantly, or a nurse, or a friend… and now she's down there all alone…" She explained, her voice breaking a little bit.
Susie bit her lip in worry. "Okay. What can I do to help?"
Ann smiled warmly. "Nothing, just this thing you're doing right now."
Her friend smiled back. "Call me if you need anything."
And just like that she left, leaving Ann alone once again. She took a deep breath and took the elevator for the morgue. She wasn't a big fan of this part of the hospital, who in their right minds would be? But this was something she felt like she had to do, she owed to Katherine, to her son and to herself.
"Ah, Doctor Samuels, I was about to start." The on call forensic surgeon Miles O'Brian greeted her.
"Don't mind me." She replied, but she couldn't take her eyes off Katherine's pale face. For the first time in a long time, she felt like crying for a lost patient. O'Brian went to get a recorder and she got closer to Katherine's dead body.
"Katherine Armstrong, 43 years old…" she heard him begin to work.
She knew the drill; she knew how an autopsy worked. She knew it was going to be unpleasant and hard. She took Katherine's hand in silence and closed her eyes. 'I'm sorry, forgive me' she thought, hoping for it to reach Katherine's soul wherever she was.
Ann let the surgeon work and tried to be helpful. She could find no abnormalities on Katherine's body; she started to feel antsy and desperate. No weird masses, nothing suspicious, nothing clear that would explain her sudden death.
"What is this?" Ann mentioned while she was examining the body. She saw an almost invisible hole on her left abdomen. She took a magnifier to get a closer look.
"Huh, looks like a needle hole, maybe she was administered something through it."
"No, nothing of the sort appears on her records." Ann stretched out the skin around the hole to check for anything.
"It's a really small hole, maybe it's nothing."
"It's not nothing." She said, clenching her jaw.
O'Brian rolled his eyes, playing down her conclusion. "It's a fairly conclusive case of complications for anesthesia Samuels, I'm sorry. I don't know what you were looking for but it's just not there."
"Did you take blood samples for testing?" she asked, still suspicious.
"There's no need, Ann. Seriously, it's pretty clear case." He insisted.
"I think it's important, it could be important, please O'Brian."
He sighed and nodded. "Alright, if it means that much to you, but if the chief comes down to yell at me for running unnecessary tests I'm telling him it was your idea."
He began sewing her up again and looked at Ann. "You don't have to stay for this part you know…"
"I know." She said absent-mindedly. She took a stool and sat right next to the table, holding Katherine's hand. She knew her colleague probably though she was crazy. 'I'm with you, you're not alone. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.'
Bruce's lips were relentlessly attacking Ann's as he cornered her during their elevator ride. His masterful hands roamed around her back making her sigh in contentment. She met his embrace equally passionate and smiled as his attack resumed to her neck. Ann heard the elevator bell ring but Bruce just wouldn't stop and she couldn't help but laugh out loud.
"We're here already."
"I know." he muttered between kisses.
"Your neighbors are gonna to call the cops for public scandal."
"So…" Ann explained, finally managing to step away from Bruce. "…I wouldn't like to be remembered as the skank who had sex with Bruce Wayne on an elevator."
"You could do a lot worse you know…" Ann playfully slapped Bruce's shoulder.
"So this is where you live." Ann stated when the doors opened to his penthouse.
"Uh huh." He said. "Problem?"
"No! It's just, you know, a little flashy for my liking." She said approaching an ornament on the wall. It was a golden tiger head, with an open mouth so the fangs were showing. "This looks great." She stated sarcastically.
Bruce laughed. "It was a gift."
"From who? The Shah of Persia?" she asked jokingly.
Two days had passed since Katherine's sudden death. Bruce and her friends had been trying really hard to cheer her up and it was kind of working. Especially since her newest patient, Elizabeth James, was doing much better. She'd still have to stay in the hospital for a while, but her recovery filled her with hope that maybe she wasn't a mess who couldn't do anything right. The thing that angered her the most was that her new blood labs had come back clean, just like she had expected.
"Trust me; you don't want to know him." He replied, giving her a sweet kiss on the cheek. This was an extension of the newfound intimacy between the two. It seemed like he wasn't trying to keep his hands off her anymore. In fact, quite the contrary. She was glad to see how he sometimes struggled to stay away from her.
"I hope you're not talking about me."
Ann turned around and faced the one and only Alfred Bruce kept talking about. He received her with a contagious smile.
"Of course not." She replied. "It's very nice to meet the infamous Alfred."
"Infamous? What have you been telling her Master Wayne?"
"Only good things, I swear." Bruce justified himself amidst laughter.
"I hope so." Alfred then smiled to Ann radiantly. "It's very nice to meet you too, doctor Samuels."
"Please, just call me Ann."
"Alright Miss Ann." He replied. "I have prepared you a snack in case you were hungry, tea with cookies and some slices of chocolate cake."
"Alfred, I think I love you." She stated walking inside.
She was oblivious of the look Bruce and Alfred shared before watching step into the huge living room.
After their snack, Alfred made some delicious dinner for the two of them to enjoy in the penthouse. She'd liked the English butler; she realized now he was more like a father to Bruce. She'd appreciated his sense of humor and the nice and polite way in which he had treated her, it made her believe Bruce didn't bring many of his dates home and she felt a little bit special for that.
Ann had thought maybe she'd end up sleeping there since the evening kept stretching on until well into the night but Bruce was busy that night. He wasn't very specific and she was feeling so happy that night after such a crappy week, she wasn't even going to question it.
To make it up to her, he gave her some truly breathtaking good night kisses when he drove her back to her place.
The next morning Ann resumed her daily routine of making breakfast in a hurry because she'd preferred to lay in bed for those sacred five more minutes after the alarm clock rang instead of gaining some tranquility afterwards. She was a masochist that way.
She was gathering all her stuff to finally depart for the hospital when her phone started ringing. It was Susie.
Ann snorted derisively; it was just like her to call when she was late. "What?" she almost barked. "No, of course not, I'm late Susie, why would I be watching TV this early in the morning?" she snapped opening the entrance hall. She encountered herself surrounded by journalists, video and photo cameras all over her, who started screaming questions at her as her mouth and eyes opened widely. She slammed the door shut but she could still hear the yelling from outside.
"What the hell is going on?"
It had taken her almost two hours to finally reach her office in the hospital. To the time spent getting outside of her apartment and getting inside of her workplace she had to add the time it took her to get rid of some of her colleagues, some of which she hadn't even talked to in her life. It was hell. Everybody kept asking her about her relationship with Bruce.
Had she been too naïve to think that their relationship would stay between the two of them for the rest of their lives?
She slammed her office door, making that her second one to slam that particular day. Susie was already waiting inside.
"What is going on?" she desperately shrieked to her friend.
"You're the new celebrity in town, babe." Susie replied with a smile.
"It's not funny!"
"I think it's a little funny that you hate those magazines and now you're in every single one of their covers. Ah, the irony."
"Yes, I love irony." Ann answered taking her coat off. "What happened? Where…? I just…"
"You guys got a little too lovey-dovey in front of your apartment yesterday." Susie explained while handing her a magazine with her picture on it. It read: 'Bruce's new girl: True love or Gotham's newest gold digger?'
Ann took the magazine and threw it to her trash in anger.
"Hey! That's mine!" Ann's gave her a murderous look. "Okay, you can throw it if it makes you feel better."
"I know… Have you talked to Bruce?"
"He won't pick up the damn phone." Ann put on her white collar. She'd been unable to reach Bruce and it wasn't for lack of trying. Just one more thing to piss her off that morning.
"You should try again, maybe he can help."
"How is he going to help? Is he going to have the Batman get rid of all the journalists camping outside of my apartment?"
"Hey! I'm just trying to help! Don't get mad at me! I'm not the one dating Gotham's Golden Boy!"
Ann sighed. "I'm sorry." She muttered. "It's being a crappy day and it has only started."
Susie got closer to Ann and caressed her arm trying to comfort her. "I know. The life of a celebrity is never easy." She received another threatening look from her friend. "I'll shut up now."
Despite the constant mockery and questioning, Ann's stressful day was finally coming to an end. She entered Elizabeth's room completely exhausted.
"Hey Doctor Ann." She was greeted by her patient. "Tough day?"
"You could say that."
"No kidding. I'd have tough days if I had to stay away from that hunk to go to work." Elizabeth laughed while looking at the TV. Apparently they were broadcasting a special on Bruce and her. Just peachy. "Is he really your boyfriend?"
Ann looked at the TV screen. There was Bruce, dressed in one of finest suits, in the red carpet of one of the latest charity events he'd gone to. He was a hunk alright, but her boyfriend? They'd never referred to each other as such but they were behaving like any other couple she knew.
"Apparently he is."
"He's so hot." The young girl addressed. "You did good girl, what an ass…"
That last comment made Ann laugh. "Yeah, no complaints on the ass area from me." She joked. "How are you feeling, any dizziness?"
"Nope, I'm ready to go home."
"Didn't look like that yesterday when you threw up your lunch like there was no tomorrow." Ann smiled.
"Oh, come on, that's yesterday's news."
Ann laughed again at Elizabeth's carefree tone, like she hadn't been in the brink of death only days ago. "We'll run some new tests in case we find something new. Still no memories of what happened?"
"No, I can't remember a thing. I'm sorry doc." Her patient looked disheartened every time she mentioned the incident.
"Don't worry. It'll come back when it has to." Ann reassured her. "Okay, I'm going to finish my rounds, I'll check on you again when I am done and give you some more details of Gotham's newest gold digger. What do you say?"
"You know how to raise a girl's spirits Annie." Elizabeth replied with a smile.
Ann walked to the ER then, to make sure everything was in order with the residents. It was a little overflown and when Dorothy asked her if she could bring her some supplies she just couldn't say no.
She took the elevator again, between some staring and pointing and finally reached the storage room where they kept most of what Dorothy needed. Unfortunately, it was packed with people and she just wasn't in the mood so she walked a little bit more for the almost unused but always full storage room that almost nobody used because it was a little farther away.
When she walked inside, however, she wasn't alone. There was a man kneeling and looking at some boxes. She didn't recognize him and he wasn't wearing a uniform.
"Hey! Who are you?" she asked, in shock.
The man turned around and in a matter of seconds she felt a throbbing pain in her head. And then everything turned black.
"So all in all, not Ann's best day, huh?" she heard someone say next to her.
Ann struggled to open her eyes; the pain in her head made it all the more difficult. When she finally managed to do so, she found Susie, Jack and Dorothy all over her. The ER was now a mess and there were six or seven police officers roaming around.
"What…" she mumbled.
"She's awake! Oh, thank God." Susie said. She could hear in her voice she'd been crying.
"Annie, can you remember what happened?" her boss asked.
"A psycho hit me in the head, that's what happened, ouch!" she complained when Susie touched her forehead.
"Do you know where you are? Can you follow my finger?" Asked Jack, moving his index finger from left to right.
"You're going to need some stitches." Added Susie.
"I'm in the hospital where I've worked for six years, my name's Ann Samuels and I don't have a concussion, just the worst day in the world." she protested, trying to get up from the bed.
"No, no, no, no standing up, sit still while I saw your forehead." Her friend held her still where she was.
"Annie! Are you okay? What happened?" she heard someone yell while running towards her.
When her eyes fixed, she saw that it was Bruce.
"You called him?" Ann whined to Susie.
"I didn't know what to do! You were unconscious and wouldn't wake up!" she justified.
"I'm fine; I just have a killer headache." Ann explained while Jack started stitching her up.
"I'm so sorry, I was on meetings all day and I…" Bruce started, talking really fast, clearly a nervous wreck.
"It's okay." Ann held his hand in reassurance. "Don't worry about that, alright?"
"How can I not worry?" he squeezed her hand. "First all the press harassing you and now this." Bruce gently kissed her temple. "I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault." She hissed through the pain of Jack's stitches. "This is nothing."
"Six stitches is not 'nothing'. And who knows what could have happened if that awful man hadn't run away but do more damage…" Susie said, her voice breaking a little bit.
"Hey, stop, both of you, I'm fine, you should be the ones comforting me, remember? I'm the one with a breach on my head." She joked around, trying to ease the tension. Where Susie looked scared, her boss looked angry as hell.
"You're right." Susie said, wiping her eyes a little bit.
When Jack finished, Bruce sat next to her, caressing her arms and hands non-stop. He looked truly scared.
"I'm fine." She whispered lovingly.
"We'll see." He replied, now stroking her cheek.
"What's with all the police in here?" she then asked.
"Are you kidding?" Susie looked outraged. "You were attacked in a hospital, in the middle of the day, the guy just ran away and nobody knows what he was doing here, they're conducting an investigation."
"Excuse me, doctor Samuels? I'm Commissioner Gordon, we'll need you to come by the police station later for an official statement, but are you feeling well enough to answer a few questions so we can start looking for whoever did this to you?" an officer approached her and then looked at Bruce.
"Can't it wait, Commissioner?" Bruce asked.
"It's okay, I'm good. Ask away." Ann interrupted Bruce.
"Can you remember what happened? How you were attacked?"
"I entered the storage room and a man was kneeling down, looking at something… When I tried to grab his attention he just turned at hit me in the head. I can't remember anything else before waking up here."
"Do you remember how that man looked like?"
"Uhm… I didn't see him very well, it was dark and it's all happened so fast…" Ann stated. "He was tall, I think, with long hair. And he had a scar right here." She said pointing to her lip. "But I'm afraid that's all I can remember."
"Don't worry; maybe it will come back to you. We'll arrange for a drawer to come and help you make a facial composite."
"I'm sorry for the inconvenience ma'am; we'll keep in touch." He smiled at her and left after she smiled back.
"This is your prescription." Jack announced, giving it to Bruce instead of her.
She abruptly took it from his hand. "This is a really heavy pain medication."
"Your head is going to hurt more than it hurts right now, trust me, you'll need it." Her boss replied. "Make sure she takes one every eight hours" he looked at Bruce again, and then turned to look back at her. "And no work for at least two days, and then we'll discuss it."
"Oh, come on!" she protested.
"If you come back before I allow it, I'll make sure you only see an OR from the gallery for the next six months, are we clear?" Jack threatened.
"Fine…" she finally caved.
"You're in charge, make her sleep and don't let her operate heavy machinery." Jack instructed Bruce before he left for her discharge papers.
"That's going to be easier said than done." Bruce said to himself.
A/N: Thoughts? ;)