AN: Hey guys! I'm back with more. And yes, in the future, chapters will be longer. The first one was particularly short because I wanted to introduce the story without giving too much away. On with the story!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except a ridiculous amount of clothes and a fairly large ego. Don't sue me. Please.
The elevator doors opened smoothly. For a moment, Dr. Cox continued to lean against the wall before sighing, and sticking his hand between the doors just in time to prevent them from closing. Stepping into the hallway, he trod towards the door to his apartment, watching his feet as he went. He was exhausted. A double shift on Christmas eve never boded well, but this particular one had been even nastier than expected. Between Newbie's insistent badgering and the five car pileup on the highway, he felt like it had been weeks since he had paused to rest. He was looking forwards to collapsing on his couch with a bottle of scotch and catching a game. He might even order some food, thus reducing his need to move to the very minimum. As he reached his apartment door, he twirled his keys around his finger before grabbing the key to his apartment. Moving to unlock the door, he paused for a moment, surprised.
Hanging around his doorknob was an eerily familiar Polaroid camera. It was Ben's. Had Jordan come home early harboring a yearning to screw with him? And if so, then why this? Seeing the camera would upset her about as much as it upset him. He closed his eyes, not wanting to deal with this right now.
After a moment, he re-opened them, and glanced back at the door. The camera was gone. Oka-aay... he hadn't realized how very exhausted he was. He must honestly be hallucinating. Oh, he was so going to kill Bobo. Interns were the only ones allowed to be so overworked that they hallucinated. Respected attendings on the other hand should only hallucinate if they were having a mild mental breakdown due to a recent trauma and consequently decide ne-he-hever to leave the hospital. Yeah... he had dealt with Ben's death well. Why must his tired mind conjure up painful memories?
Shaking his head, he turned the key in the lock, and stepped into the apartment. No reason to dwell on it.
Dr. Cox tossed his keys on the coffe table, went over to his liquor cabinet, unlocked it, took out his bottle of scotch and a cup, and trod back to the couch. Unstopping the bottle, he poured himself a generous glass and grabbed the remote. Turning on the television, he took a sip.
God, it felt good. He needed to let himself relax more often. As he flipped through the channels, he continued to down the alcohal. Finally he settled on a basketball game and allowed himself to sink further into the couch.
About an hour later, when he was on his third drink, he heard someone knocking on his door. Groaning, he hoisted himself off the couch. However, before he can make it all the way to the door, it opens of its own accord.
"What?" Perry muttered to himself. There was no one there. It was probably just some kids messing with him. Well, they picked the wrong day! Growling, he stomps towards the doorway. Looking around the hall, he doesn't see anyone. "Little jerks think they can play with me? I don't think so!"
A blast of cool air came from the hallway and he shivered, quickly closing the door. He would figure this out later.
"Merry Christmas Percival!" Dr. Cox jumped. He could have sworn... nah, it was probably just the wind. Wait... how in the hell was it windy inside anyway? Damn repairmen from last week must have screwed something up.
Shaking his head, he closed the door. He turned back to the couch. And just about jumped out of his skin. Sitting exactly were Perry had been a moment ago was Ben. He had a playful smile on his face and was twirling the remaining scotch around in the bottom of the glass. "Hey Per-Per," he greeted in a childish tone. He seemed infinitely delighted with the stunned look on Dr. Cox's face.
Dr. Cox didn't reply. He just stood there, dumbstruck, repeatedly rubbing his eyes with the palms of his hands. After a moment, he gathered himself enough to speak. "You… you're dead." Without waiting for a reply, he stumbled towards the couch and collapsed onto it.
"Well, that's one way to put it. I however, prefer existently challenged. Here." Ben handed him the half full glass of scotch which Perry quickly gulped down.
After another few minutes, in which Dr. Cox remained stonily silent, Ben spoke again. "So… are you planning on talking anytime soon? I mean, you hit one of the major issues with the whole, 'you're dead' bit but honestly? I expected so much more."
Taking that as encouragement, Dr. Cox tried to voice some of what he was thinking, "How… why… what… you're dead!" Ben rolled his eyes.
"Sure are repetitive today aren't we? I already covered this. I'll try to be clearer. Yes, I'm dead. I am a spirit. Ghost. Incarnation. Specter. Spook, whatever! Really you shouldn't be surprised. It's not like this is the first time you've seen me."
"I thought… I wasn't hallucinating?"
"Nope" Ben replied, popping the "p."
"Okay then…" For a moment, Perry paused, continuing to massage his head. "So… why in the hell are you here? Not that it's not nice to see you… but, I'm assuming there's a reason?"
"Oh yes, I was sent." Ben said, nodding knowledgably.
"No idea. Let's just say… I was sent by the universe. Ooooo…." Ben joked.
"Okay… fine. Why?" Dr. Cox asked, grinning a little bit. He really had missed his best friend.
"To warn you. See, at the moment, some things are really messed up. A lot of things really. And it's going to get even worse. Screw up a bunch of the plans of the powers that be. But you," at this Ben pointed at Dr. Cox, "can fix it. However, you are both unobservant, uninformed, and tend towards stagnancy…"
"Hey!" Perry protested. He wasn't used to being insulted. Especially not by his dead best friend. Ben gave him a pointed look. "Fine, I guess I can occasionally be the first and last, but I will have you know that I am very well informed. I'm the…"
"Best damn doctor in that hell-hole of a hospital!" Ben finished for him, impersonating his threatening, superior tone. Dr. Cox laughed.
"You do know me." His laugh quickly petered off. "Ben… one thing I've always wanted to ask you, and now that I have a chance… Well, why didn't you see any doctors? Did you know you were out of remission? Why didn't you tell me?"
Ben's smile waned as well. "I… I didn't not see any doctors. For the first nine months, I did. Went in at all the right times. It seemed like everything was going great. Then the last doctor I saw figured out the leukemia was back. And my marrow… was nearly all dead. They had no idea how the other doctors had missed it for so long, and there wasn't anything they could do. So I just… I wanted to have a good time before I went you know? I'm sorry I didn't tell you. You were just so upset last time, and I knew you would waste all you're time trying to somehow fix it. Really sucked that I went when I did though. Never intended for that. Bad timing on my part."
"Yeah…" Dr. Cox squeezed his eyes shut, rubbing them. "Let's not talk about it. So… what's this warning you're here to give me?" Quickly changing moods, Ben chuckled again.
"Actually, I'm here to warn you about the warning. Otherwise, you'd probably have a heart attack. You will be visited by three spirits. The first will come at one in the morning tomorrow. The second at the same time the day after that, and the third will come at midnight on the third day."
"Seriously? More ghosts? What, are those three patients finally going to haunt me?" Perry asked with a bit of trepidation. Talking about opening all of the skeletons in his closet at once.
"No, you won't know these guys. I don't actually know why they do spirits, it's just a thing." Ben looked him over. "I have to go. I'm running out of time. But you listen to those spirits all right? It's important. To you and everyone else you care about."
Startled, Dr. Cox sat upright and looked at his friend. "Don't… can't you just stay a little longer?"
Ben shook his head unhappily. "No, I can't. It isn't my choice. If it was, I would stay. Believe me." He smiled sadly. "It was good to see you. Take care of yourself. And my sister and nephew. Bye Per-Per." With that, the window to his apartment burst open, and Ben was pulled through, leaving the room icy.
Perry stared at his open window. "Bye Ben," he muttered to himself.
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