I think about the years I spent just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
— Bless the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts
Mac was sitting in his office, studying statements from the Ruiz case when there was a hesitant knock on his door. Robin stood in the open doorway. “Uncle Mac?”
Mac leapt to his feet, alarmed at his niece’s pallor. “Robin, what’s going on? What’s wrong?”
She entered the office and closed the door behind her. “Uncle Mac, something happened at the hospital this morning…” Her knees felt like jelly again and she lowered herself into a chair. “I saw…” she swallowed hard. “I saw…I saw Dad.”
Mac sat down with a thud. “Robin–that’s just not–it’s not possible.”
“That’s–I thought that too but I saw him, and we spoke–” Robin’s voice thickened and she gripped the strap of her purse. “He asked to see the chief of staff and he was talking to me like we didn’t even–like he wasn’t my father.” Her lips trembled. “He said it was good to see me but he wished I hadn’t been at the nurse’s station. And I told him where Alan was and he just…”
“Robin, you understand that you’re telling me that Robert–my brother–is still alive.” Mac gripped his pencil. “Are you sure?”
“I wouldn’t–” she shook her head. “I wouldn’t lie about this. And if I had dreamed my father came back…it certainly wouldn’t be like this–” Her voice cracked. “He was so cold, Uncle Mac. I don’t understand–it’s not like with Mom where she had amnesia and really didn’t remember me. He knew who I was and–he didn’t care.” Robin clutched at the arm rests of her chair. “I don’t know what’s supposed to happen next or–”
Her beeper went off and Robin closed her eyes. “I have–that’s the hospital–he was at the hospital to meet with Alan. Can you–” She rose to her feet. “I don’t know, Uncle Mac. I need you to…I just need you.”
Mac stood and rounded the desk to pull Robin into a hard hug. “I’ll go right now and see if I can find him. I’ll get to the bottom of this, Robin, I promise you.”
Lucky Spencer rushed to the door. “Mac–I gotta go to the hospital. My dad and my sister were just rushed in and Elizabeth just called–Cam’s sick–”
“That must be why I’m getting beeped.” Robin cleared her throat and wiped at her eyes. “I’ll be at the hospital when you get done that…thing…”
Patrick had been in the middle of discussing treatment options with Tony when he himself had been beeped to go the ER. When he arrived, the place was in bedlam–there were patients every where. Kids screaming, babies crying, people crowded into a very small waiting room.
“Jesus Christ,” he swore. “What happened?”
Robin burst through the ER doors, shrugging into her white coat. “It’s some kind of flu,” she said, breathless as she approached him. “Some really weird strain.” She scanned the crowd and was dismayed at the familiar faces–Alexis was coughing while her husband looked on–Lulu was doubled over, Dillon was patting her back as Robin’s cousin Georgie stood by them. And weirder–Tracy was barking orders at the passing doctors to demand they look at her husband.
When Robin spotted a terrified Elizabeth cradling a hysterical Cameron, she abandoned all other thoughts and rushed over. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
“I d-don’t…know,” Elizabeth said brokenly. “He w-was s-sleeping and I w-went in to c-check on him and he was b-burning up–” her stricken eyes met Robin’s. “You have to help him.”
“Okay,” Robin murmured. She put an arm around her friend’s shoulders and led her towards the elevators. “We’re going to draw some blood, put him on a respirator–”
“What?” Elizabeth asked, panicked. “Why?”
“Because he needs help breathing right now. He’s too young to have struggle like this.” Robin pushed the button. “We have to take him to pediatrics–there are good doctors up there, Elizabeth, who will know exactly what to do.”
“You w-won’t be there?” Elizabeth asked, shaken. “Where are you going?”
“I’ll be needed in the lab–to examine the blood, to find out what strain this is so that we can treat everyone. ” She gripped Elizabeth’s shoulders. “It’s going to be okay.”
The elevator doors slid open and Robin nudged Elizabeth in. She pressed the floor for pediatrics and stepped back. “I’ll be up to check on you in a little while, okay?”
When the doors slid shut, Robin took a deep breath and threw herself into the work and putting all other events out of her mind.
Mac found his quarry standing with a shaken Alan Quartermaine outside the chief of staff office.
“This is all so confusing, I don’t understand–” Alan was saying as Mac stepped up to them. “You’re supposed to be dead and you’re quarantining the hospital?”
“I wish there were time to explain everything but we have to act fast,” Robert said. He heard the footsteps behind and turned to face his brother. “Mac.”
“She was telling the truth,” Mac murmured. “I had to see–” His voice shook and he looked away. It took him a long moment before he focused. “I want to know what’s going on right now.”
“There’s a strain of flu that I’ve been chasing and it was brought to Port Charles–there are people already showing the symptoms. I was explaining–”
“I don’t care about any of that right now,” Mac slashed a hand through the air. “I’m talking about you being dead and gone for fourteen years and showing up to treat your daughter like a stranger.”
“I can’t–” Robert shifted uncomfortable. “I won’t talk about that right now. When the hospital is quarantined and we’ve got a handle on the situation, we can–I’ll talk to her–” he broke off. “She looked good. I–I’m grateful to you–but–” he shook his head. “It’s not the time right now–there are people’s lives at stake.”
“Fine,” Mac all but snarled. “Do you need anything to quarantine the hospital?” he asked Alan. “Any men?”
“No, but we’ll be transporting as many patients as possible to Mercy so that we can concentrate on the flu victims. Some police escorts would be helpful.”
“I’ll call some men.” Mac sent another scathing glare at his brother before storming away.
“Coming back from the dead,” Alan sighed, “It’s never easy.”
“Here are more test results,” Patrick said, setting a stack of folders next to Robin’s work space. “Fifteen total patients so far.”
Robin exhaled slowly. “It’s incredible–I don’t ever remember something like spreading so fast and becoming so dangerous. This a strain like I’ve never seen before.” She made some notes. “Is there, ah, any word on the quarantine? Has it gone into effect?”
“The last non critical patient was transferred to Mercy ten minutes ago. Everyone has been admitted and is receiving what treatment isavailable. Your father–” Patrick coughed. “He’s from the World Health Organization and apparently, it’s a tropical flu that he’s been chasing for years with no real cure.”
Robin rubbed her eyes. “I haven’t seen him since this morning but my uncle Mac said he wasn’t very forthcoming with the explanations.” She reached for some of the results that he’d brought. “I didn’t even–did they move Noah?”
“They tried but he refused to go. He said as soon as his incision was healed, he wanted to be able to help here.” Patrick sat on the stool adjacent to the desk. “He won’t have a transplant.”
Robin’s pen fumbled and she looked at him. “What?”
“He doesn’t want a transplant.” Patrick reached for a nearby pencil and twirled between his fingers. “He says that he’s wrecked his life, he’s not going to put mine in jeopardy.”
“But there’s a high ratio of success–especially between family donors.” She shook her head. “He’s a surgeon, he must know the statistics.”
“Yeah, well…” Patrick snapped the pencil in two and cleared his throat. “You remember what I said earlier about things not possibly getting worse?”
“Yeah, even the great Dr. Drake makes mistakes,” but Robin softened the statement by giving him a weak smile. “You should get back out on the floor.”
He stood. “I’ll stop by later to see how–how the research is going.”
Robin watched him go and sighed heavily. And she’d thought the day had started badly.
A long time later, as she struggled with exhaustion, the door opened again and Robin glanced up, expecting to see Patrick or even Elizabeth. Instead, her father stood here.
“The situation is under control for the moment,” Robert remarked. “I thought we might talk.”
Robin set her pen aside. “What’s there to talk about? Did you have amnesia like Mom and couldn’t remember your life?”
“So you’ve been alive all this time, you knew who you were and that we thought you were dead and you still didn’t contact us.”
“Well, yes,” Robert stated.
Robin picked her pen back up and continued making notes. “Then I don’t see what we have to discuss.”