McCord held her gun steady, pointing at Brad Parker. Beckett grabbed her gun away from Parker, "Where's the antidote?"
Parker didn't respond. Beckett pointed her gun at Parker's crotch, "Where's the antidote? Tell me now. I have nothing to lose without it."
Parker looked at the fury in Beckett's gaze, "It's in the glove compartment of my car. It's a blue Saturn"
"Is it locked? Hand me the keys with your left hand. My gun isn't moving from its target."
Parker handed Beckett his keys. She raced to the car. An ambulance arrived while she was running to the car. Kate retrieved the vial of antidote and ran to the medic who was kneeling next to Rick's prone body, with his fingers against Rick's neck feeling for a pulse. Mrs. Reed's maid held the door open for the other medic. "I'm Agent Kate Beckett with the Attorney General's office. He and Mrs. Reed have been poisoned. This is the antidote," Kate pulled written instructions from her pocket. "These are the dosing instructions from Dr. Goldberg. Please hurry. He's dying."
The medic looked at the instructions and reached for supplies from his bag, "Roll up his sleeve while I prepare the injection. Where's Mrs. Reed?"
"She's inside. There's only 1 vial of antidote." Kate pushed Rick's jacket sleeve up and rolled his shirtsleeve up. The medic swabbed Rick's antecubital vein and injected the antidote. Rick didn't react to the injection. Kate brushed the hair from Rick's forehead and caressed his cheek. The medic took Kate's other hand and pressed it to the injection site.
Mrs. Reed's maid ran from the house. "They sent me for the antidote."
"Here's the vial and the dosing instructions. I need to stay here with him," the medic handed the items off to the maid. She ran into the house. He keyed a radio microphone on his collar. "This is Unit 47. I need a second unit sent to my location, and I need it STAT. Do you copy?"
"Copy that. Second unit being dispatched." Responded a voice over his radio.
"What kind of poison are we dealing with, Agent Beckett?" The medic continued to work on Rick while he talked.
"It's a neurotoxin. He collapsed when we arrived. He was exposed about a day ago. We've been searching for the only vial of antidote….How is he?"
While Kate spoke the medic placed an oxygen mask over Rick's face and ripped Rick's shirt open. He held a finger up as he slipped the earpieces of a stethoscope into his ears and listened to Rick's heart. He wrapped an automated blood pressure cuff around Rick's arm to check his vitals and rolled up the sleeve on his other arm to start an IV. He reached for his radio again, "Dispatch, be advised we have two patients exposed to a neurotoxin to be transported. Which hospital is protocol to transport them to?"
"Are patients critical or contagious?" The dispatcher responded.
"This is a toxin, not a bacteria or virus? Is that correct Agent Beckett?"
"Toxin is correct. Is he critical?"
"His breathing is shallow and his heart is slow." The medic spoke to dispatch again. "It's not contagious, but my patient may be critical."
"Ambulance is on its way."
Kate leaned down to whisper words of encouragement into Rick's ear. The medic continued to prepare Rick for transport. He asked Kate informational questions about Rick and jotted notes on a pad. Several police cars and agency cars arrived. Rachel McCord stood nearby directing agents and talking on her cell phone. When the second ambulance arrived, Rick was loaded into it. Mrs. Reed was loaded into the original ambulance.
Beckett jogged to where McCord was standing, "I need to go to the hospital. I'll call in as soon as I get there."
"Beckett. Take care of your fiancé. I'll handle the arrest and see you at the hospital later."
"Thanks," Beckett called over her shoulder as she ran to her car. She used her emergency lights to allow her to keep up with the ambulance. She parked in a space marked for Official Vehicles and ran into the ER.
Kate flashed her badge at the ER receptionist, "Agent Beckett with the Attorney General's office. I'm looking for a male patient who was just brought in and was exposed to a neurotoxin."
"Richard Castle. I'm his fiancée."
The receptionist did a double take. Kate thought to herself, 'Must be a fan."
"Agent Beckett, let me call and get his status." The receptionist picked up her phone.
Kate tried to calm her breathing. Now that she could do nothing to help Rick, she felt panic start to form. Her heart was racing and her eyes were moist.
"A nurse will be out to get you in a moment. Wait by that door. He's on his way out now."
Kate moved close to the designated door. A tall man in charcoal scrubs with a haircut similar to Rick's opened the door. "Agent Beckett?" Kate nodded. "Follow me. My name is Keith. I'm the charge nurse today. Mr. Castle is in Room 2 and he is stable at the moment. Dr. Goldberg called ahead with instructions for our doctors. He is on his way in. If you'll have a seat in that alcove, someone will be out to talk to you in a few minutes. Betsy, the receptionist you talked to, said that Mr. Castle is your fiancé?"
"Yes, he is."
"We need to talk to a family member. Do you have the number of his next of kin?"
"In Rick's wallet is a card that designates me as an emergency contact and gives me Health Care Power of Attorney. I do need to call his Mother and daughter, but I want to know his condition before I do that."
"That's perfect. It makes everything easier for us. Someone will be out to talk to you soon."
Kate sat and contemplated how she was going to explain this situation to Martha. Keith returned holding Rick's wallet and a clipboard. "HIPAA regulations require me to ask for your ID. I made a copy of the Emergency Card in Mr. Castle's wallet." He handed the wallet to Kate. Kate pulled her credentials from her pocket and handed them to the nurse. "Great. Would you fill out these forms with as much information as you can? We don't have any medical history available."
"Can you tell me anything about how he's doing?" Kate took the clipboard from Keith as she spoke.
"His breathing is better. We didn't have to intubate him, but he is using an oxygen mask. Dr. Goldberg is in with the other patient from the incident."
"Mrs. Reed" Kate supplied the info to the nurse.
"Yes, Mrs. Reed. He'll see Mr. Castle next. One of our doctors is with him right now. One of the other nurses will come for those papers in a few minutes."
Kate filled out the paperwork. A nurse took the papers, asked a few questions and assured her that Dr. Goldberg would be out to talk to her.
"Agent Beckett," Kate looked up from the floor tile she had been staring at to see Dr. Goldberg standing nearby. "We're very lucky you were able to find the antidote when you did. Mr. Castle is unconscious, but I am optimistic that he will be awake later today. His breathing and other vital signs are improving. He is still on 100% O2, and we're giving him fluids. Have you contacted his family yet?"
"I was waiting until I spoke with you. I know they will have questions."
"I can talk to them if you wish."
"How is Mrs. Reed?"
"All I can tell you is that you won't be filing murder charges."
"Good. How long do you think Rick will be in the hospital?"
"At least a couple days, maybe longer. He is responding well to treatment."
"Thank you, doctor. I'll call his family now. I think I have enough information to reassure them."
"Mr. Castle will be transferred to a room on the Cardiac Telemetry Unit shortly. I don't think he needs to go to ICU. CTU has the equipment to monitor him and a wonderful staff. I'll see you again once he's settled into the room."
"Thank you doctor."
Kate stared at her phone, psyching herself to make the call to Martha. The phone rang in her hand. McCord's caller ID appeared.
"How is he doing?"
"He's stable, and Dr. Goldberg expects him to wake up later today."
"Good, that's good. The Attorney General is happy we were able to save Secretary Reed's wife. He has offered a government plane to fly Castle's family to DC."
"Wow. I did not expect that. I haven't called them yet, actually."
"Kate, it's not your fault. Call them. After you speak with them, call me and I'll have agents escort them to the airport."
"Thank you, Rachel. Is Parker in Federal custody?"
"Yes, he is. We have that under control."
"Thanks. I'll call Martha now."
After a few deep breaths to calm herself, Kate called Martha.
"Katherine, what is going on? Is Richard alright?"
"Rick is going to be fine…"
"GOING TO BE?"
Kate heard Alexis call out to her grandmother.
"Martha. Calm down. Put me on speaker, so Alexis can hear me."
"Kate, what's going on?" Kate could tell Martha had put the call on speaker.
"Rick's in the hospital." Kate heard Martha gasp. "The doctor is confident that he will be fine. How much did he tell you about his visit here?"
"He told us he had gotten you in trouble by trying to help with your case. He said he couldn't tell us anymore, because it's classified." Alexis responded.
"I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to tell you. For now, I'll just say he was exposed to a chemical agent that made him sick. He is unconscious, and will be transferred to a room from the ER before you get here. I'll tell you more when you get here. Federal Agents will pick you both up and take you to the airport. Pack a bag for a few days. The Attorney General is providing a plane to fly you here."
"The Attorney General is what?"
"Castle had the critical inspiration that solved the case. The AG is grateful. Agents will escort you from the airport to the hospital. I'll see when you get here. Rick is going to be fine. It just may take a few days."
"Watch over him until we get there, Katherine."
"I plan to, Martha, I plan to. See you in a couple of hours."
Kate ended the call. She immediately called Rachel and gave her an update. A nurse took Kate to Rick's ER room. His eyes were closed. He had an oxygen mask hiding half his face. The hospital bed looked too small for him. Kate grasped his hand and pressed a kiss to his forehead. She whispered her love into his ear. He didn't respond. His hand was warm, and the monitor beeped in a comforting rhythm. Kate stared at Rick, wishing she could see his beautiful, cobalt eyes. Two nurses came into the room.
"We're going to prepare him for transport to CTU. Would you stand by the door, please?"
Kate moved out of their way. The nurses worked in tandem to unhook and move the tubes attached to the wall. Kate followed the bed as they pushed it down a hall, into an elevator and then through a maze of corridors. The nurses on the CTU floor introduced themselves, offered to bring Kate something to drink and instructed Kate what developments would require her to alert them. Kate settled into the chair next to Rick's bed. She was only aware of the beeping of the heart monitor and warmth of Rick's hand in her own. She watched the rise and fall of his chest and the occasional twitch of his mouth. Dr. Goldberg arrived, checked Rick over and reassured Kate that Rick would recover. Kate resumed her vigil. She startled when Alexis and Martha arrived with a curly-haired young man Kate had never met.
Alexis introduced Pi and asked Kate about Rick. Martha kissed Rick's brow and traced his cheek with the back of her hand. Kate was startled by Martha's quiet. Kate asked Pi to leave the room, since she didn't know him and was uncomfortable discussing the day's events in his presence. Alexis asked Pi to find a vending machine and bring her some water and a candy bar. Once Pi left the room, Kate shared as much information as she felt was appropriate. Alexis didn't push for more information, and Martha just stared at Rick with glistening eyes.
The ladies sat quietly around the bed. Kate was so focused on Rick, she was barely aware of anyone else in the room. Nurses checked Rick every ½ hour. His oxygen level returned to normal, and they removed the cannula from his nose. When Rick's lashes began to flutter, Kate caressed his cheek and called his name. He opened his eyes and grunted. Kate's world righted itself when Rick spoke.