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Summary

Almost immediately after being freed by Scarlett , Lifeline heads back to Seattle Memorial Hospital to check in on one of his patients . Unbeknowst to Lifeline, Spike Witwicky shows up to make one final plea to show he's a good dad.


Seattle Memorial Hospital

Spacious and modern, yet clean and functional -- that's the entire idea behind the broad hallways and shining corridors of Seattle Memorial Hospital. A healthy, antiseptic aroma pervades every nook and cranny of this facility, and it's professionally quiet. The only sounds are from distantly dinging elevators, and the occasional clicking footsteps against the tiles... doctors and nurses, making their rounds from room to room.


Rebecca, the nurse on call for the weekend, hands Lifeline's Bryce's chart. To Rebecca, Lifers was probably out on a Joe mission. He most likely has not shown his staff the emotional baggage he's carried for the past six weeks. Rebecca seems particularly emotional herself. "Here's Bryce's chart - like you asked." She shakes her head. "He's been through... well, you were M.I.A. with the Joes, but test showed it spread to his liver. That's why we had to be super aggressive...he's been through two chemos the past six weeks.

Bryce is lying...more like planted in bed. Obviously the chemo has robbed him of his hair. His eyes look deathly sunken as the bed seems to have at least partially absorbed the youngster.

Dr. Steen does try to keep his emotions out of his work, but sometimes he can't do it entirely. Out of earshot, he speaks quietly to Rebecca after viewing Bryce's chart. It doesn't look good. "Thank you... see if you can get in contact with Make a Wish, it's probably a good idea to get the ball rolling on that while he can still enjoy it. Let me go talk to him."

Dr. Steen knocks softly on Bryce's door, then he cracks it open. "Hey, you awake? It's just Dr. Steen..."

Bryce turns his head and weakly raises his hand. "Dr. Steen...!"

Bryce gulps and looks over. "I thought you were mad I wasn't handling the treatments and that's why I didn't see you for so long."

Edwin grins, and strolls in to have a seat on the bedside. "Hey..." He pats Bryce gently on his bald head. "No, I'm sorry I've been gone for such a long time. I was... stranded, and it took a while for me to get a ride back to town. I didn't forget about you."

Bryce looks at Dr. Steen and can't help but shed some tears, probably tearing Dr. Steen up inside. "I don't want to do this ever do this ever again - that treatment." He looks at Dr. Steen weakly. "Promise me I won't have to do that again..."

"I know it's bad, buddy," Dr. Steen says. "I know it is. But we have to fight it just as viciously as it fights you. Your body's like a battleground right now."

Bryce shakes his head "No..." but then he quiets down and listens to Dr. Steen. He nods andlooks up at the TV and sees something related to the Autobots. He weakly points up. "Those guys...would be so cool to meet them."

Bryce lies back down and looks at Dr. Steen. "Were you with the Joes all this time?"

"It had something to do with the Joes, yes, but it was... complicated," Dr. Steen admits hesitantly. "So you'd like to meet the Autobots, hm? That would be kind of cool, wouldn't it..." He makes a sad mental note to tell the rep from Make A Wish that this is one wish he can at least partially assist in making come true.

Bryce nods.

"So do you have any questions about your treatment? Have any pains that are really bothering you?" Dr. Steen asks.

Spike Witwicky slowly opens the door to Bryce's room and spots Lifeline, after peering in other people's rooms. He clears his throat. Spike recognizes the immediate fearful, perturbed and downright angry expression on Lifeline's face and puts his hands up.

"Woah...I know...I know...look, I'll make this real quick...look, I'm going to try to get back to my world, you'll never see me again. But I went to a church last night! (to get clothes and sleep) - And, I'm ready to give my life to God." He pushes the wrinkled up note with Lifeline's testament to Lifers.

As he does this, Bryce starts to let out a weak, pained moan. "Noooo..." He clutches Lifeline's arm. "No, please...make him go! make him go!"

Spike frowns and points to Bryce. "Look..look..heay - shut up"

He points to Bryce again "Shut...up...wait your turn...like a good boy" he looks at Lifeline hopefully. "Last time you'll see me...swear to god!"

Spike Witwicky smiles at Lifeline. "I'm gonna give my life to God, so if you can just sign that..."

Edwin looks...extremely angry.

"What did I tell you?? Get AWAY from the boy. I don't want you bothering him anymore! And I don't want you bothering ME anymore, is that clear? Get out. GET OUT. G E T O U T."

Spike Witwicky blanches and looks at Edwin. "Fine! Just sign this then!"

Bryce cries out. "Get him away! Get him away!"

Edwin snatches the paper away, still GLARING at Spike, and he rips it up into tiny pieces. "G E T O U T N O W."

Spike Witwicky looks down in horror. "Goddamnit!" he looks at Edwin. "The fuck?! I brought you the food you wanted! I entertained you all those weeks!"

Bryce cries out weakly. "Noooooooo...."

"STOP CURSING and GET OUT OF THE BOY'S ROOM NOW. You seem to think I've been in some sort of HOTEL for a few weeks, but I recall the experience much differently!" Edwin's advancing on Spike rather aggressively -- though he has no intention of fighting him.

Spike Witwicky backs out and into an empty private patient waiting room.

"Goddamnit...so...you're NOT going to help me, after ALL the driving I did to get your food? And the fact that I AM turning my life over to God, that's STILL not enough?!"

"It's another lie, Spike. Everything out of your mouth is a lie in order to manipulate people to do what you want them to do," Edwin says. "If you had 'found God', you definitely wouldn't have come into the room like your old self, scaring that poor sick boy."

Spike Witwicky frowns in pure disgust and tips up a small tray with some brocheurs. "You know what, fine! See if I help your ass again." He frowns, "Fuckin' elitist, thinkin' he's better than anyone else. FINE - get the fuck outta my way..." He moves to get out of Edwin's way and leave.

Spike Witwicky mutters "Stupid fuckin' ... thinks you're better than anyone else..."

"You know where the exit is. I suggest you go there, or you might find yourself being 'helped' by security," Edwin states flatly.

Spike Witwicky 's cheeks flush and he stares, seething at Edwin. Finally, he can only do what he can do...raise both hands and give Edwin two middle fingers.

He sees a security guard and roars, "I'm GOIN' GODDAMNIT!"

Spike Witwicky slams the door and heads downstairs...and possibly out of Edwin's life forever? Meanwhile, Bryce waits anxiously for Dr. Steen.

"Tell God I said hello," Edwin adds with a smirk, then heads back to Bryce's room. "...I am so sorry for that," he says quietly.

Bryce actually looks a bit better. The excitement may have done him good. "Wow!" Bryce exclaims. You were sure pissed at him!"

Bryce swallows dry air. "Didn't you say you were like a pacifierist?"

Bryce looks up at Lifeline (both literally and figuratively). "I need to be braver...I shouldn't have gotten so freaked out by that freak."

Dr. Steen chuckles. "Yes, but pacifists aren't like Mr. Spock, Bryce. Pacifists have feelings like anyone else. The difference is, they don't believe in starting aggression. Basically, they don't fight out of principle. I don't blame you one bit for being frightened by him, he's a weird guy."

Bryce nods and actually laughs. "Yeah...yeah he is!" He looks at Dr. Steen. "You can't tell me ONE thing about your last mission? I promise, I won't tell anyone. Just like our usual deal..."



Meanwhile - in another part of the hospital...

Spike (the other one) has arrived.


"Welllll....one thing, okay. I was taken hostage, which is why I haven't been around to check on you," Edwin admits.

Bryce's eyes widened. "Oh no! Are you OK?!" He shakes his head, "I'm sorry... I was feelin' so sorry for myself... I totally didn't..."

Spike passes through a beavy of screeners and is finally escorted to the waiting room where his evil self stormed off. Spike makes himself some rather strong, rather crappy coffee and decides to read through Autobot-news-related Tweets on his Droid while waiting for Lifeline. He looks over a few and pauses, taking a few wiffs in the room. "Jesus... who the hell was in here?"

Bryce gulps, "I'm too weak now...but when I get better...I want to help you guys defeat Cobra... or the Decepticons... either one..."

Dr. Steen can't help but smile. "Thanks. Listen, I have to go meet with someone... but I'll stop by later, OK? I'd like you to try to eat some dinner. Even if it's just a little bit."

Bryce nods. "You PROMISE you'll be back?"

"Absolutely promise!" Dr. Steen says, feeling much better. "See you in a little bit, OK?"

Bryce nods and looks on at the untouched dinner. Another battle.

Edwin heads out and down to the waiting room. When he gets there, he doesn't say anything -- just stares at Spike as if trying to figure out if he's real, or just the product of an overactive imagination.

Spike makes a few replies on his Droid, one about the oil spill and why the Autobots haven't been doing more to stop the spillage.

Spike looks at Edwin and sets his Droid down. "Oh shit..." He looks at Edwin, faintly recognizing 'the look' - the look of a person taken hostage, something he knows all too well. He walks toward Edwin. "I'm so sorry... I had to cops screen my phone, I talked to Scarlett... but they couldn't trace the signal." He shakes his head. "Jesus... it's good to see you!"

Spike says, "Primu.. I mean, god, are you OK?""

Edwin sighs in relief, and rather suddenly gives Spike a big hug. "Do me a favor, and... don't ever change, okay??" He doesn't immediately let go, either. Awkward!

Spike nods and pauses, never seeing Edwin like this. He just stands there for about 15 seconds, not knowing what to do. He then finally returns the hug. He gulps. "Uh...I can't promise you that... I mean... I'm like a totally different person than I was ten years ago... hell, even last year, after having my mind transplanted and my house destroyed..." He adds, "But...I'll try..."

"I mean, don't... ever become like that other Spike," Edwin says, looking a bit haunted as he finally lets go. "That guy won't leave me alone."

Spike pauses and then coughs/laughs nervously. "THAT...I can guarantee." He looks around. "Look... I have a fraction of your training, but I know it seems easier to bury yourself in work to forget what you've been through.. but honestly, it'll come back. I'm not telling you want to do, but you should seriously take some time off to heal."

Spike shakes his head. "Dude.. it's so good to see your face!"

"It's good to see you, too... none of those portal people came to get you, did they?" Edwin asks urgently. "...Because the bad version of you kept telling me you were dead, and I didn't want to believe that they would drag you into this, too."

Spike shakes his head. "No...never saw the guy." (Ebony, on the other hand...)

Spike frowns, "Look, stop worrying about me. What about you. I mean...how are you feeling now?"

"It... kind of alternates between okay, and kind of freaked out," Edwin admits. "But I'll be alright. Definitely been through worse. It was really frustrating not knowing what was happening, especially while being told all those lies. After a while, you begin to believe those lies."

Spike nods silently. "Being captive though...it...well, you already know, but it utterly strips you of your humanity." He grins weakly at Lifeline. "Look...can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, what is it?" Edwin asks.

Spike clears his throat. "Well... you had one phone call... and you chose me... and I let you down. I'm honored you chose me, but why not any of the Joes? They maybe could have traced that one call."

Spike blinks, "I'm sorry, by the way... that I didn't get a trace."

"I don't know," Edwin admits with a slight smile. "You're absolutely right, and... I had about 5 to 10 seconds to act on an impulse, and you were the first person who came to mind. I think I just had to know if you were alive, frankly."

Spike blinks and flinches. "Wow...thanks - but...seriously, next time, call the Joes, or the Autobots."

Spike grins weakly, trying to elicit a laugh from Edwin.

Edwin chuckles. "Yeah....next time, sure."

Spike turns more serious. "Anything I can do?"

"I think I'm good for the moment, really. Might need a shrink, but the Army takes care of that business." Edwin ponders. "Oh! One thing...I may need a favor, for a sick boy. He uh.... his wish is to meet the Autobots and talk to them, and... well, right now, he isn't doing too well, so I'm thinking this might need to happen soon-ish."

Spike blinks and looks crestfallen. "Oh man... I'm sorry." Without thinking he nods. "Absolutely... done!"

Spike smiles and says "Well... I'll let you get back to work." With that, he goes in for the patented Obama fist bump...no, too impersonal. He then tries to pat Edwin's shoulder, then he finally gives him a short hug. Totally schooled in the Sparkplug school of intimacy. "You're gonna be all right."



Poor Edwin. It's been a while since he allowed himself to have a genuine friend outside of the Joes. And he's still pretty emotional over the entire day: Dark Spike, Bryce, everything seesawing his emotions. He'll save his tears for later, when no one can see him cry... except for maybe Josie. "Thanks so much. I can't thank you enough for this, really. And... yeah, it's going to be fine."


About an hour later...

Edwin just can't get a break. He's been trying to get out of the hospital to start recouping. But he keeps getting interrupted. Now, just as he's about to check on Bryce for one last time before he leaves (for a day, week, month?) Josh Straight - the hospital's chief insurance liaison with other insurance companies, finally catches up to Lifers. Josh has become a nemesis to Lifeline on par with Deadline as he routinely questions Lifeline's decisions in favor of profits (OK, so he is a bit of a conservative characiture).

Josh waves a hand to Lifeline. "Edwin.. Edwin - wow...you are hard to get a hold of!"

"Yeah, I... tend to keep busy," Dr. Steen says, his smile fading a bit as he spots Josh running toward him. "What can I do for you today?"

Josh gives a stomach-turning insincere grin. "Well... first off, I want to thank you and your team for your work with the Bryce patient...he's an AMAZING inspiration..."

Josh trails off with the inevitible 'but'

"But that's not why you're here, is it?" Dr. Steen prods.

Josh holds his hand up while Dr. Streen speaks to check his cell phone. He looks at Dr. Steen. "Oh..well, no - see...Bryce's family's insurance - they were quite upset... justifiably so, to find out that Bryce received TWO chemo-treatments within six weeks." He adds "...putting him in the hospital for probably another two weeks...with his bill already well over the one million mark."

"It was justifiable treatment -- he's come out of remission, and he needs that level of chemo just to stop further spreading," Dr. Steen says firmly, trying not to let this man get his annoyance levels up.

Josh gives an almost robotic response, "Ah...yes." He clears his throat. "Well...be that as it may...anything else that he receives, will need to be pre-approved...understood?" He adds with a slightly more sterner tone. "As great of a doctor as you are...this hospital is not your ATM."

"You don't understand. *This* is the time to act. If we don't act aggressively right *now*, there won't be any point because the tumors *will* cause him complete liver failure." Dr. Steen sighs in aggravation. "Can you see what I'm saying, here? I'm not doing this to put anyone out of business. I'm doing it to save my patient."

Josh frowns as his cell phone beeps. "Ah..got a meeting." He gives a condescending nod to Lifeline. "Well...just in the future, help us to help you do your job. After all...your staff does need to get paid."

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