Royally Burned [2/3]
Hank was out of the helicopter before anyone else was, Divya helping him with the stretcher and then returning to the task of manually pumping oxygen into the burned spy's lungs as the flight medic came around to give them some help.
"Has he taken a turn for the worst?" Boris asked, greeting them inside as they wheeled the man into the area that had been arranged. And it certainly was arranged well, Boris in the limited time having arranged a full medical suite of all the latest technology in the scale of twenty minutes. Hank was assuming he'd had most of it already on hand.
"In a manner of speaking." Hank relented a bit, motioning for Divya to help pull the spy onto the waiting bed – replacing her hand on the pump for the oxygen mask. "On two? One – and two." he winced a bit, pulling on the sheet as Divya lifted and once moved, they worked to settle him better.
Hank glanced up and realized Boris was gone, in a way appreciating this. Boris hadn't stuck around to wait for him to consider patient confidentiality but then again, Boris could have been a source of information – if he'd known the spy. Hank didn't think that the case but something was nagging at him about Boris allowing all this trouble to be spent for one person.
"Okay I don't want to put him on a ventilator yet, not if we don't have too. Divya get a blood draw – we're analyzing it here and now, as soon as possible. He's apparently having some of immunological and metabolic reaction to some sort of aggravating agent, possibly a suppressant of the neurological neural pathways. I can't be sure of what but it's possibly causing respiratory arrest."
"So it could also be pulmonary repressive." Divya said, already part way through the blood draw he'd ordered. "That rules out most sedatives."
"In some cases, yes. Definitely on the scale we're talking about here. The lack of pupil response is worrisome." Hank ran his hands over the spy once more, after settling a proper amount of oxygen through the mask on his face – wincing, "He's neurological responses are declining. Every single one of them."
Divya gave him a worried glance at that, "I'll... put the ventilator on stand by."
"If he doesn't level out? I'm afraid that's a great idea. But we need more ideas. He's going down hill on us too fast to get a handle on this."
"I'll get to work on this-" she said, indicating the vials of blood in her hands, "Do you need me here?"
"No just stay close. I've got him."
But the problem was... at this point neither of them did. Hank wasn't even so sure, save for full life support, that he could even pull the man out of a crash. But he was not letting him go without all the fight he could manage.
He did another neurological exam, another once over, and it was about when he reached his hands – on chance that he noticed the slight bluish tint. Hank looked up at the spy and gave him a penetrating look, drawing in a breath and turning to Divya, "Toxin. It has to be some sort of toxin. He's displaying cyanosis."
"Hank..." Divya said, peering intently into the microscope in front of her, "You're right." she moved to stand, tension both in her posture and in her voice enough to cause him a feeling of near alarm.
"What is it?"
"Tetrodotixin." she handed him a readout, "Strong levels of Tetrodotixin. It wouldn't have even shown up if there hadn't been an extraordinary amount of it."
It was practically a death sentence.
"Okay. Let's combat the symptoms and start thinking about reversing the effects and the toxicity if we can. The most we can do is provide life support until it passes. I'll start an airway, it might reverse the cyanosis or halt its progress at the least." Hank drew in a breath and moved to get to work, trying to distract himself with actually having something to do now. And from the fact that his patient had a near one to five percent chance at surviving – at the very best.
Once basic life support was established, including an established airway, the distraction beyond the bad news dwindled to nothing. The rest was a waiting game, but he wanted more. He wanted to increase the odds, give the man more of a fighting chance. He just couldn't believe Micheal Weston was a bad person, not with all that he'd heard, and even if he had been it wouldn't change the fact that this was his patient. A patient fighting for their life as it hung in the balance.
The near sense of powerlessness was overwhelming.
"There has to be something that we can do to give him more of a fighting chance." Hank said.
"There's certainly no anti-toxin formulated for Tetrodotixin poisoning. Not that I'm aware of."
"No there isn't. But let's keep him warm, monitor his breathing and keep up on the IV fluids. Monitor his heart for any signs of cardiac arrhythmia, we'll do an EKG every thirty minutes."
"You got it."
Hank put a hand on her arm as he moved past, "I'll go tell Boris and check up on him. You don't mind staying?"
"Of course I don't." she smiled. "So long as you catch me up on everything that's going on later."
"I promise." he assured her, giving a last glance at their patient before leaving the room swiftly. He wanted to check his lover over, make sure he was okay, update him about Weston and then do some heavy research into Tetrodotixin. They'd have to be prepared for any type of turn for the worst it could throw at them. Which was plenty.
"Hank." Boris greeted him, looking a bit surprised to see him but offering a bit of a smile nonetheless and a glance over, "I wasn't expecting you so soon." he dropped a few files in his hand on the desk and gravitated over, Hank moving to meet him halfway.
"That's because there's not a lot I can do." Hank said, drawing in a breath.
"What do you mean?" Boris asked, "Patient confidentiality withstanding of course."
"In this case? I might make an exception. Can you sit down? I said I was going over you when we got back and I meant it."
"And here I thought I could escape it." Boris said lightly.
"You didn't have any episodes like you did on the way here? God forbid you weren't shot were you?" he asked, studiously looking him over and his hands following at times with his gaze over his lover's body.
"I'm intact –" Boris raised his arms, as if to show him, "No holes. As you can see."
"Any episodes Boris?"
"No... Hank." the Austrian smiled at him but his tone was a bit tighter than usual, Hank even detected some irritation there and while he might usually rebuke the medical fussing he was giving him, though he wouldn't call it fussing, he suspected it might be something else. He'd known the man long enough, and seen him through enough, to recognize when he might not be feeling well but not be able to say it exactly out loud.
Before he could ask though, Boris nodded towards the door Hank had entered from where they sat – knees lightly touching, "How's our patient?"
"At the moment... stable. His injuries aren't all that severe. I'm suspecting possibly a concussion, some bruised ribs – possibly a few broken – and he has some contusions and abrasions. We've seen to all his injuries but those aren't the worst of his problems. The man he was fighting injected him with a lethal amount of Tetrodotixin. It's a –"
"I know what it is Hank." Boris said, drawing himself back a bit and looking shocked but taking the information in stride. "You said lethal?"
"If he survives the first twenty four hours? He might be okay. The rest will be recovery. It's a miracle already he's survived the first twenty minutes."
"I will have to inform a few of his close acquaintances immediately."
"He has some?" Hank asked, surprised more than anything to hear this but from Boris, the man with a thousand secrets, he shouldn't be too entirely shocked. "Who? Is there anyone we can contact? Believe me if he has loved ones, they should be brought here as soon as possible."
"It's that serious." Boris said, meeting his gaze levelly.
Hank didn't hesitate to respond, "Yes. His chances right now, as we speak, are less than five percent. At best."
Boris stood immediately, "I'll make some calls. Do your best Hank."
For a moment, Hank hesitated but then he pushed himself to his feet, knowing when Boris had effectively dismissed him. It wasn't as if he meant too, it wasn't as if he ever meant to hurt his feelings and none were hurt here but he was in a bit of a hurry, he did have a critically ill patient to see to. And so he left without argument.
Divya looked up as he walked in and gave him a bit of a smile, Hank trying for one himself, "Don't suppose I can ask if there's been any change?"
"He's still the same in the few minutes you were gone. In his condition, frankly that's positive."
"Yeah." Hank murmured, looking down at the spy from his bedside, lifting up the blankets just enough to check the swelling on the ribs they'd wrapped, "I hate to say it, but let's take these bandages off." he looked up at Weston's face, the tranquility there of the blissfully unconscious and nothing of his injuries or life threatening circumstances. "I wouldn't usually recommend it but he needs all the room he can have to breathe."
They eased the bandages off, Hank setting them aside and reaching down to check the man's pulse. The machines monitoring his vitals were right there but there wasn't anything more reassuring than the feel of a pulse beneath his fingers. It was weak but steady and he withdrew, finding it hard not to keep trying to find something to do. At this point, the hurry up and wait game was on.
"Did Boris say anything more about him? Who is he Hank?"
Hank nodded towards the other side of the room, spotting one of Boris' guards nearby. "Can we have some coffee or something?"
Without a word the guy stoically moved from his position by the wall and gave a bit of a tilt of his head in acknowledgment as he left, Divya giving Hank a bit of a smile, "Not that talkative types are they?"
"No," Hank said, breathing a laugh, "They aren't." he glanced back at the spy and took a seat at the nearby table and began to tell her all that he could about what had happened. Even from his vantage point, he realized there wasn't a lot to tell. Most of what he knew about the man himself was instinctual. That he was a good person, for whatever reasons he'd been burned. Boris had confirmed that himself in a few words, doing all this alone for Weston spoke of a great deal. Hank was grateful in many ways that Boris' stashed medical equipment was no longer being used on Boris himself.
"And Boris said he might have loved ones?" Divya asked.
"I think he does. Boris said he was going to make some calls."
She let out a breath at that, turning her slightly troubled gaze over to their patient – whose life hung in the balance. "I just wish there was more that we could do... quite honestly Hank I've never experienced this before."
Hank's immediate response to assure her of something, anything, was interrupted by his phone vibrating and glancing down at the caller ID – he answered it with a smile, "Hank speaking."
"Green or peach. And don't say green because I know you'll just mean peach." his younger brother answered.
"Now you just mean green!"
"No I actually mean green."
"Almost clever Henry, almost. Where are you by the way? I just got the most amazing call. Paige is coming back and I'm planning the most incredible welcome home party ever-"
"Really? She's coming back? Evan that's great news!"
"Yeah okay well it's last minute and she's coming back tomorrow so we need to mobilize here. Where are you?"
"Yeah.. about that? I'm going to be tied up for awhile. I have a critically ill patient that I can't leave."
"For how long?" Evan asked.
This gave him a pause and he gave the spy under his care a bit of a troubled look, "I'm not sure. But I'll keep you posted."
After saying his goodbyes, Hank set his phone aside and moved to take his tablet out of his bag, pausing and looking up but not exactly at Divya – staring at the floor as he told her what he hadn't before. "There was something else... at the museum."
"What?" she frowned.
"I honestly don't know if I should tell you or not." he said, meeting her gaze levelly.
"Well it looks to be bothering you a great deal."
"Because it is. But I'm not even sure I'm all that ready to talk about it." he called up a few applications on his tablet and a few internet browsers, drawing in a breath and trying to break down what might be able to give their spy a fighting chance and maybe ultimately in the long run save him.
Hank quickly looked up, first to Divya and then to where her gaze was drawn – at Weston. He was on his feet in a second, seeing some sort of muscle spasm, his only warning before the seizure hit.
Racing across the room he reached out not to hold him down but steady, Divya doing the same on the other side – Hank glancing up at monitors, none as of yet signaling a crash – only a rapid heart rate as the spy jerked and convulsed on the table.
"He's almost out of it." Hank said tensely, glancing between the monitors, wincing as the body beneath his hands gave another jarring jerk and then finally stilled, only a few more twitches remaining as any sign of what had just happened – those rapidly passing as well.
Divya let out a breath, her and Hank sharing a serious and concerned glance.
"I hope we won't be expecting more of this..." she said, brushing her hair back.
Jogging back over to his tablet, he flipped through the research he had on hand for Tetrodotixin poisoning, shaking his head in frustration, "There's not much we can do but treat the symptoms. The medications listed treat the symptoms? But not the Tetrodotixin itself. I just can't believe that a poison that's been around since the dark ages doesn't have some sort of medication to combat it. At least an anti-toxin." sighing, he resisted the urge to toss the tablet onto the tablet with far more force than usual.
"Believe me I wish there was something more we could do as well." Divya murmured, giving a troubled look over at the spy.
Hank gave him the same troubled look, "Along with that EKG, let's check his core temperature every hour on the hour. More if it starts dropping more noticeably."
Divya nodded and Hank resisted the urge to toss the tablet down again, sitting down a bit heavily into the chair at the table across the room instead with an equally heavy sigh.
The hours came and went and passed so slowly, it seemed as though time itself was trying to torture them. Hank held no illusions, the waiting game was always the hardest. Signs of improvement were enough to hold even the most nervous of medical professionals anchored by some sort of hope – but Weston wasn't budging. In fact – all they had was a core temperature drop of an actual degree by midnight, another seizure, breathing difficulties and signs of a brief tachycardia episode during an EKG.
When Boris came by to check on them shortly after midnight, all Hank had for him was a weary – grave look.
The Austrian took in the look and his expression nearly mirrored it, behind the stoic impassivity the man usually held around himself, "Any... signs of improvement?"
Hank just shook his head and stood, moving closer to his lover and pitching his voice low, "Please tell me he has family. Someone, anyone who can be here."
"About that Hank... I recently had a visit from the CIA. I had enough connections to withhold information and due to my diplomatic status in some circumstances I do not believe they can touch Weston here however... I'm not sure how long that will last."
"They can't take him." Hank murmured intently, "Any movement now will kill him."
"I figured as much." he drew in a breath, "At any rate whatever they do have is purely speculation. I denied any involvement with him and I trust you will do the same."
"Of course Boris." he assured him, trying to also assure him without words just how much his privacy meant to his lover. That would never change and he had no intention of it. "And you..." he smiled, stepping closer in the emptiness of the room save for an unconscious spy and a few of Boris' guards and putting a hand on his lover's side, "Should be sleeping. You shouldn't be up this late."
"I find myself unable to sleep." Boris said, taking his eyes away from Hank's and resting it on the man behind them to Weston.
"I don't have a choice but I know how you feel. I couldn't either." he studied his lover a bit intently, half turning to give the same look over at Weston before looking back to Boris, "Just how well do you know him? I can't believe you'd go to all these lengths for just anyone."
Boris hesitated, looking up his guards. After a moment of decision he caught the eyes of one and nodded them both out, waiting until they were gone and the door was shut before he started speaking. Even then and while they left, he looked undecided and weighing if he should.
"I suppose... I owe you many explanations Hank." he hesitated, "Especially about what happened today."
Hank raised his head a bit, nodding slightly, "That would be a start."
Boris gave him a bit of an unsteady smile and reached down for his hand, nodding towards the window beyond where there was a place to sit. The moonlight filtered from within, beyond the reach of the soft lamps near Weston, and the sky was cloudless. From here even they could just see the beach and under any other circumstances, it would have been romantic.
"I have... never been an open book you know." Boris started, glancing down at their hands – one of his clasped with Hank's.
Hank just smiled a bit, nodding, "I know." One of the vast and many reasons why he loved the illusive billionaire.
"A long time ago Hank, a very long time –" he said, looking up and directing his gaze out the window, "I was employed in certain... clandestine circles. I worked really for no one but everyone. I was loyal, I did what I was told and I did it well. I was also young and naive... point be had I found myself too in Weston's position eventually. My status however in life gave me some measure of escape. My … father –" he smiled, "Brushed me off and said he would find another place for me. And so he did. In doing so I salvaged my life and my reputation and escaped my burning. In a manner of speaking. For the longest time, I could not leave New York. When I could, my heart had grown fond of the place and I stayed – I retired here."
Hank at some point while listening intently had taken both of Boris' hands in his own, both of them pretty much failing to notice, and he gave them both a brief squeeze now, "Before you think it?" he asked after a heavy moment, "This doesn't change my love for you. And it never will. I was just... caught off guard today."
"It wasn't something you should have had to see." Boris said, raising his eyes to him at last.
"I did and it's over... and it seems pretty obvious that you didn't want to resort to that as much as I probably didn't want to see it."
"True." Boris said, finding a bit of a smile but he looked very tired when he spoke it. "Very true Hank."
"Come here." Hank murmured, bringing a hand up to the back of his lover's neck and drawing him in for a slow – tender kiss that was too brief for both of them but all they could certainly afford. "I love you." he murmured against his lips, "Thank you."
Boris opened his mouth to say something, or to kiss him again he wasn't sure, but they were interrupted by the sudden loud and demanding sound of alarms going off – Hank realizing with a jolting flash of panic that seized his chest and nearly stopped his own heart what it was. Micheal.
He was on his feet and moving before he even realized he was doing, quickly glancing over monitors – reaching out for the spy himself, "Boris – I need Divya." he said, sending a look over at his lover.
Boris moved quickly for the door, Hank turning back to his patient and assessing what was wrong so he could right the problem. The problem with that … is that everything appeared to be wrong.