HOUSEGUESTS

By Tracy and Rebecca


Providence, RI

"Set the table, darling!" Lynda Hansen's expression was oddly exuberant. "You're, actually, we're having company!"

Syd gave her mother a puzzled look. "No one told me!"

Lynda laughed. "Not only guests, Syd. Roommates!" She opened Syd's curtains and leaned over to catch a glimpse of a busier-than-usual Providence street. "I hear you're meeting some friends from Chicago at the Providence Medical Convention. Well," she paused dramatically, "I have a friend from Chicago, too!" She turned to face the doorway. "Lilly, let's have Syd meet your new roommate!"

"Hey, Syd!" A blonde-haired teenage girl bounded across the room to give Syd a big hug.

"Lilly!" Syd's voice wavered as her eyes filled with tears. "I can't say how much I've missed you!"

"I've missed you too," Lilly's voice was soft and gentle. "But you can stop worrying about me. I'm in a much better place now. I have lots of friends, especially my new roommate."

A girl with long, brown hair and wide blue eyes entered the room. She was a few years older than Lilly. "Hi, I'm Lucy. I'm from Chicago. In fact, I think you know a good friend of mine, Elizabeth Corday."

"Lizzie?" Syd was incredulous. "Of course!"

* * *

Chicago, IL

Elizabeth Corday hadn't intended to fall asleep on the couch in the hospital lounge. After an unexpected double shift, she'd merely sat down and closed her eyes. The next thing she knew, she was having a very strange dream. Something about Rhode Island.

"That's odd," she commented in her British-accented voice to no one in particular. She and seven other doctors were about to fly to Providence, Rhode Island for a week-long medical convention. A few months earlier, Elizabeth and Dr. Sydney Hansen of Providence had met when Syd filled in during another doctor's vacation They had become fast friends, and Elizabeth couldn't wait to see her again. There would certainly be a lot of catching up to do from the previous months.

Mark Greene, the tall, bespectacled attending physician, came into the lounge. He and Elizabeth had been a couple for nearly a year. "About ready to go?"

"I believe my suitcase is packed," Elizabeth reached up to give Mark a quick kiss. "Do you have the tickets?"

"No, Kerry said that Malucci was taking care of that." Mark knew how much Elizabeth disliked the flip, flagrant Dr. Dave Malucci. "So I guess we'd better cross our fingers for luck."

In the main hallway of the ER, Elizabeth and Mark were joined by Kerry Weaver, Dave Malucci, Abby Lockhart, Peter Benton, Cleo Finch and John Carter, all ready for a week in Providence.

John Carter counted heads. "It looks like we're all here, so I'll bring my Jeep over for the luggage. I hope Mark's van can carry eight people!"

Peter winked at Cleo. "We may have to sit on each other's laps!"

Kerry rolled her eyes.

* * *

Providence, RI

After a long flight, which gave everyone a much-needed opportunity to catch up on sleep, the representatives of Cook County Hospital were standing in the lobby of one of Providence's most prestigious hotels, where the convention was to take place.

"Oh, no. Oh, NO!" Malucci was frantically digging in his pockets for some elusive item.

Elizabeth wanted to say "I told you so," but used the last bit of patience she could muster to keep quiet.

"What is it, Dave?" Kerry was clearly as annoyed as Elizabeth. "You didn't lose something important, did you?" She pushed a strand of auburn hair behind her ear, pulled on her reading glasses and prepared to investigate the situation in her typical administrative fashion.

"Not exactly," Malucci said, taking a credit card from his wallet. "But we'd better hope I grabbed the new corporate card for the reservations, because this one's expired."

"You let him take the hospital corporate card?" Mark was shocked that Kerry would do such a thing.

"I didn't," Kerry defended herself. "I told him that he could call the hotel!"

Abby sank into an overstuffed armchair. "So this means we have no rooms?"

"Afraid so," Mark stated.

They sat in silence for a few moments before Elizabeth saw someone waving at her.

"Syd?" Elizabeth called to the tall, dark-haired woman who crossed the lobby to join them. "How are you?" She was so glad to see her friend that she temporarily forgot about their problem.

"Great!" Syd answered. "I hope you had a good flight into the city."

"We did," Elizabeth replied, "but now we're in a bit of a jam." She told Syd about the situation with the rooms.

"That's no problem," Syd said, grinning. "You can stay at my house!"

"All eight of us?" Elizabeth couldn't imagine how it could work.

"Sure," Syd was undaunted. "We've got plenty of extra space."

Twenty minutes later, the doctors were introduced to the rest of the Hansen household: Jim, Robbie, Joanie and Hannah. Within an hour, everyone was more or less settled. The women were staying in Syd's "guest cottage," and the men were sharing the two upstairs guest rooms.

* * *

"So, Syd, how's everything going at the clinic?" Elizabeth asked an hour after they'd gotten settled at the Hansen home. Elizabeth and Syd were sitting in the living room having some catch up time.

"OK, I guess," Syd replied. "The clinic is not nearly as busy as to what you're used to."

Elizabeth laughed. "Nothing is as busy as the ER. I think I see a total of twenty patients or more a day." Elizabeth looked out the window toward the back yard. The rest of the crew, along with Robbie and Joanie were talking among themselves. "Joanie seems nice."

Syd rolled her eyes at the comment. "You don't know her, half the time she's nice but the other half she can be a real pain, believe me. After all, she is my sister."

"Didn't you say she owns a business?" Elizabeth asked.

"Yes, she sells dog food, it's called Joanie's Barkery." Syd got up and headed for the door that led toward the backyard. "Let's go see what the others are up to."

Elizabeth followed Syd outside and found the rest of the crew talking to Jim and Joanie. Abby was playing with Hannah and talking to Joanie at the same time.

"Well, look who finally decided to join us," Carter said winking at Elizabeth.

"Oh, be quiet," Elizabeth said punching him playfully in the elbow. She sat down in the grass beside Abby and Hannah. "So, what's going on out here?"

"Not much, just talking," Abby said. She placed Hannah in Elizabeth's lap. "I was just about to go take a well-deserved nap."

Elizabeth nodded and turned to Joanie. "Hannah is so cute." Elizabeth kissed Hannah on the head.

"Thanks," Joanie said giving Elizabeth a warm smile. "Mark was just telling us about life in the ER. Is it as exhausting as he makes it sound?'

"Yes, it is." Elizabeth placed Hannah on the grass to let her play and turned back to Joanie. "I had to work a double shift right before I came here and I'm exhausted. I got to catch up on some sleep while on the plane. Syd was telling me about your business. Are you running it alone?"

"Yes, at the moment," Joanie said. "I did have someone who worked for me, but he got offered another job and had to move away."

"Sorry," Elizabeth said. She turned to Kerry, who was quietly talking to Syd. "Syd is there a place where we can eat?"

"Yeah, there's a place down the street called the River Club," Syd said. She checked her watch. "It's almost three, do you want to grab a late lunch?"

"Yeah, that'd be great," Kerry said. She stood up and headed for the door.

* * *

That night, Syd was laying on the couch, trying to fall asleep. The group had gone to the River Club for a late lunch and then had gone bowling. Syd was exhausted and wanted to rest up before the big convention the following day. Syd awoke when she felt a tap on the shoulder. She opened her eyes and saw Lynda standing next to her.

"Mother, what are you doing here?" Syd snapped. She sat up and rubbed her eyes. She looked around, hoping Lilly would be with Lynda. "Where's Lilly?"

"She'll be here," Lynda said sitting down on the couch beside her daughter. "Syd, how could you invite this many people over, there is barely enough room for our family, let alone eight other people."

"Mother, they're just here for the week," Syd said rolling her eyes. "Please mother no more lectures." Then Syd heard two female voices talking in harsh tones to each other.

"No, I will not ask him out for you," Lilly said.

"Come on Lil, please just this once," Lucy begged.

"What's going on?" Syd asked when she saw the two girls appear.

"Guy troubles," Lilly said. She turned to Lynda. "Lucy can't ask out her own dates." She went over to Syd and sat down beside her, like she was waiting for Syd to say something. "Well, aren't you going to say something?"

"Say what?" Syd asked giving Lilly a questioning look.

"Tell Lucy what to do about Justin," Lilly said. "Like you did with me and Mark. Remember? I was scared to go to the dance so I told him off. You convinced me otherwise."

"Lilly I don't think Lucy wants me to give her advice," Syd said. She turned to Lucy. "I suppose you know that your friends are here?"

"Yeah, that's why I came," Lucy said. "How's Lizzy, Kerry and most of all Carter?"

Syd laughed. "They're all doing fine, but they miss you Lucy."

"I know," Lucy said sadly. "I miss them too." She sighed. "I can't forget that day, when Paul totally changed my life forever."

"Well, enough talk," Lynda suddenly said. "Girls, why don't we show Syd what is in store for her and her guest this next week."

"I think I'd rather wait and find out for myself," Syd said but before she could say anything more Lynda dragged her toward the door. Suddenly Syd found herself in the conference room of the hotel where the medical convention was going to be held. Syd turned and looked at her mother. "Mother, why did you bring me here?"

"So that you can see what's in store for you this week. Oh, look there's Eric Burns," Lynda said pointing toward the far side of the room where Eric, a guy Syd had liked for a long time was standing talking to some other doctors.

"I didn't know Eric was going to be here," Syd said. She waved to him and he waved back. Then she turned to Lilly and Lucy who were standing behind her. "Don't start with me, my feelings for Eric have changed. Ever since he showed up at my doorstep." Then Syd heard people screaming, and a guy she didn't recognize came toward her. "Why is everyone screaming?"

'You'll find out,' Lucy said and then they were gone.

"Hey, why can't you tell me?" Syd called.

Syd awoke with a start and looked around. She soon realized that she was in her own bed in the garage with her four roommates. Syd sighed and laid back down, letting the memory of the dream sink in. Then she heard the door open and Cleo walked in, already dressed.

"Morning," Cleo said. "Your Dad and sister are already in the kitchen. I figured I'd better come and wake you before breakfast is gone."

"Yeah," Syd said. "What time is it?"

"Almost seven," Cleo said proceeding around the room to wake the others.

* * *

An hour later everyone was gathered in the kitchen of the Hansen household. Joanie was making pancakes and Robbie kept asking her if she was announcing another wedding. Kerry took Hannah out of her high chair and held her, trying to keep her from crying.

"OK, Hannah," Joanie said. "We all know you're hungry.

"Do you mind if I feed her?' Kerry asked.

"Not at all,' Joanie said. She put Hannah's food on her tray. "Thanks."

"Not a problem," Kerry said putting Hannah back in her high chair. "I love babies." Kerry sat down and proceeded to feed Hannah but she wouldn't eat. She just kept crying. Kerry turned to Joanie who was putting pancakes on a plate. "Joanie, has Hannah been sick recently?"

"Yeah, she just got over a cold," Joanie said.

"She sounds congested," Kerry said. "Do you mind if I have a listen to her lungs?"

"Go ahead," Joanie said.

"I'll help," Syd said. "Maybe together we can find out what's wrong with her."

Kerry smiled and followed Syd up to Hannah's room. She laid Hannah down on the changing table.

"Here you go," Syd said handing Kerry the stethoscope that Joanie kept on the shelf.

"Thanks," Kerry said. She listened to Hannah's lungs. "Syd, she probably has the croup. Did you prescribe anything to her?"

"Yes, some coughing medicine to ease the cough. She finished it two days ago," Syd said. "Don't worry I'll have Joanie bring her by the clinic later. I have to go in before I come to the conference to make sure Izzy has everything under control.'

"Speaking of the clinic, I'd like to see where you work," Kerry said.

"You're welcome to," Syd said.

* * *

When Syd got to the clinic later that morning she met Izzy at the front desk. "Morning."

"Morning Dr. Hansen," Izzy said. "What time to do you have to leave for the conference?"

"At noon," Syd said heading for the office.

"When you're done putting your stuff away. You have a patient in room three complaining of a stomach ache. His name is Paul Sobriki," Izzy said. She handed Syd the folder.

"Thanks." After Syd put her stuff away she went to room three to find Paul sitting on the examining table. "Hi Paul, I'm Dr. Hansen, the nurse said you've been having stomach aches."

"Yeah, for the past two days," Paul said.

"Let's have a look, shall we?" Syd said. She asked Paul to lie down and examined his stomach. After a few seconds she looked up. "You just have a bad case of heart burn. Nothing a little medicine won't cure." Syd wrote something on his chart. "I'd like to run a blood test, just to make sure we're not dealing with anything more serious here."

"I don't like needles, get away from me," Paul screamed.

"Paul, this will only take a second," Syd said.

"No," Paul said struggling to get free.

* * *

Meanwhile, Elizabeth, Kerry and John entered the clinic. They saw a lot of people and wondered where Syd was.

"This is nothing like the ER," Kerry said.

"It's busy enough," Elizabeth said. "I'll go ask where Syd is." Elizabeth went up to the desk and asked a nurse if she could see Syd. The nurse told her she was with a patient and to wait a moment. Elizabeth headed for the front. Then she heard screaming coming from an exam room.

"Paul, listen to me," Syd was saying. "I'm trying to help you."

"Wonder what's going on?" Elizabeth asked Kerry and John.

"Probably a tough patient," Kerry said. She moved closer to see if she could tell what the problem was.

"Give him something to calm him down and tell me when the results are in," Syd was saying. Syd had finally managed to take Paul's blood. Syd pulled the curtain aside, she smiled when she saw Kerry. "Hi."

"Hi," Kerry said. "Rough patient?"

"Yes, he's terrified of needles," Syd said. "I finally had to give him something to calm him down." Syd handed Paul's folder to Izzy. "See if you can get any medical history."

"OK, but how do we know where he's from?" Izzy asked taking the folder from Syd.

"I think he said he was from Chicago, call County General see if they have any history on him."

"Will do," Izzy said and walked off.

Syd turned to Kerry, Elizabeth and John. "Sorry about that."

That's OK," Kerry said. "Nice place."

'Thanks," Syd said.

"Who was the patient?" Carter asked.

"Paul Sobriki, you probably know him," Syd said.

Kerry, John and Elizabeth looked at each other.

"Syd, he's dangerous," Kerry said.

"How do you know that?" Syd asked. 'He's just afraid of needles, what's wrong with that?"

"Syd, Paul is the one that stabbed Lucy and me," Carter said. Syd was shocked. She couldn't believe what Carter had just told her.

Everything seemed as if it were in slow motion as Syd turned around to see Izzy heading into Room Three. She tried to call out to Izzy, but it felt like an eternity before her voice came out.

"Izzy!" Syd screamed. "Don't go in there! He's..."

A blur shot past her, toward Izzy. It was Carter. He grabbed Izzy's arm and pulled her back from the door. "Syd! Is there a way to lock this door?" He looked as though he'd seen a ghost, but was somehow able to keep his senses enough to get the situation under control.

"No, I-I don't think so," Syd stammered.

Carter looked around the room. "Get me a chair, a bench, anything. We've got to barricade him in here, or he's going to hurt someone!"

Numbly, Syd raced down the corridor and returned with a couple of chairs from the waiting room. She and Carter tilted them on end and wedged them under the doorknob.

Elizabeth and Kerry had braced themselves against the wall on the opposite side of the hall. Elizabeth was still staring at the door, and Kerry was crying softly onto Elizabeth's shoulder.

"What was that?" Izzy was still confused over what had just happened.

Carter, face flushed and out of breath, answered. "Paul is a mental patient who attacked a medical student and I when we had to do a spinal tap. He thought we were stabbing him, so he came after us with a knife. Lucy, my student," he took a deep breath, "was killed." "I'll call the police," Syd, feeling a little calmer, walked toward the main desk to use the phone.

* * *

Compared to the morning's events, which circulated quickly throughout the Hansen house, the afternoon's medical convention seemed rather dull. Nevertheless, Syd was pleased with how her presentation on running a free clinic for families in an urban area had gone. Everything had pulled together, despite the day's rough beginnings, and the audience really seemed to like it. Several of her friends from Chicago had also presented research.

Joanie and Jim cooked dinner that evening, as everyone was too tired to go out.

Carter was unusually quiet.

"John, are you all right?" Peter was concerned about the man whom he had come to know as a colleague, not only as a student.

"To tell you the truth, I think I'm better than I have been since the attack," Carter said in between bites of Joanie's spaghetti. "I've felt so... guilty and... powerless, that I couldn't save Lucy. At least I could stop him from hurting anyone else. I know it can't bring her back, at least someone was spared."

The others nodded in understanding.

A few hours later, everyone was in bed, exhausted after the long day. Syd was stretched out on her sofa in her apartment when she felt the familiar tap on the shoulder.

"Syd, honey, get up!" Lynda was standing over her. "It's important!"

Syd sat up and rubbed her eyes. "Typical for today," she commented.

Lynda was smiling. "I have a surprise for your friends." She looked at the Elizabeth, Kerry and Abby, who were also awake and listening. "Meet me in the living room."

"Who is that?" Abby asked as she put on her robe.

"That's my mother," Syd answered. "I'll explain later. Believe me, it's a long story!"

Carter, Mark, Peter and Malucci were already in the living room when the women opened the door.

Lynda stood in front of the fireplace, taking center stage, as she had in life. "Hello, everyone. I'm Lynda Hansen, Syd's mother. I lived here until, well, a little over a year ago. Syd and I talk every night in her dreams, but I thought tonight would be a good time to meet all of you, although I feel like I already know you, from what a friend has told me." She motioned to someone in the hallway. "Come in, darling; your friends are here."

Lucy Knight stepped into the room and smiled shyly.

"OK, I must be dreaming?" Abby said. She turned to Syd. "What's going on?"

"Abby, you are dreaming," Syd said with a laugh.

"Don't be afraid, it's all right," Lucy said gently. "I'm not in anymore pain now. I'm in an awesome place and I have some really cool friends." She went over and put an arm around Abby. "I know that you miss me."

"Yeah, we do, Kiddo," Elizabeth said. "How are you?"

"Fine, but I feel like I'm back in high school again. My new roommate Lilly has me going to all the parties."

"I'm not surprised," Syd said.

"Lucy, have you ever talked about what happened?" Kerry said suddenly.

Lucy looked down at her feet. "No, not really but it doesn't matter now. It's not me I'm worried about, it's Carter." Lucy looked Kerry straight in the eye. "Please tell me he's OK?"

Kerry smiled and gave Lucy a quick hug. "He's fine, but he's still in pain. It's been really hard these last couple of months. I've noticed a major change in his work. He needs to see you, Lucy."

"Lucy?" Carter asked. "Is that really you?"

"Yes," Lucy said. She went over and hugged Carter. "How are you?"

"OK, I guess," Carter said. "Actually that's a lie, I'm not doing so great. I can't get over losing you, Lucy. You were the best intern I'd ever had."

Lucy smiled. "Gee, Carter, I didn't know you cared."

Carter laughed at the joke. "I guess I didn't tell you enough that you were an awesome student, and a very hard worker. I'm sorry I never told you what I've learned from you. You taught me a lot, Lucy, you were my teacher as I was yours." Carter noticed Lucy still had on the hospital gown she'd been wearing the day it happened. "I guess you know Paul's here in Providence?"

"Yeah, actually I did," Lucy said. She turned to the rest of the group who were sitting quietly. "This was not your fault, it was Paul's and Paul's alone." She turned back to Carter. "Remember I'm not completely gone."

Syd awoke with a start. She smiled to herself, it had been great letting everyone see Lucy. Then she heard everyone stir and they finally awoke.

"I don't know about the rest of you, but I had a strange dream," Kerry said. She got up and sat down beside Syd. "I dreamed I saw Lucy."

"Me too," Elizabeth said. "It was so real, it was like she was really here."

Syd just sat back on the bed and laughed.

"What's so funny?" Elizabeth asked.

"Did a lady in a blue dress happen to be there?" Syd asked.

"I don't know, I don't remember it all. All I remember is that I saw Lucy," Kerry said. "Why would we all have the same dream?"

"Maybe Lucy is trying to tell us something," Abby suggested. Then there was a knock at the door.

"Come in," Syd called. The door opened and Joanie appeared in the room holding Hannah.

"Syd, Hannah's cough is getting worse. I was going to bring her by yesterday but when I tried to get on Federal Hill there were police cars everywhere."

Syd took Hannah from Joanie. "Come here, sweetie." Syd listened to Hannah's lungs. "Joanie, I think Hannah is coming down with Bronchitis. I'll get her some medicine at the clinic. Don't worry, she'll be fine."

"Thanks," Joanie said taking Hannah back from Syd. "Breakfast is ready."

"Syd are you opening the clinic today?" Kerry asked after Joanie was gone.

"Yes," Syd said. "I figured since Paul didn't do any harm, it would be OK to resume a normal schedule." Syd saw the pained look on Kerry's face. "Don't worry, I've got a police officer coming to make sure Paul doesn't come back." Syd got up and headed for the door. "Breakfast."

Later that morning, Syd was busy examining a patient when the curtain was thrown open. Syd turned around to see Kerry standing in the doorway.

"Sorry, I didn't know you were with a patient," Kerry said.

"Its OK, I'm almost done," Syd said. She turned back to her patient. A fifteen year old girl who was in remission from Leukemia. "Sorry, Julia."

"That's OK," Julia said. "Who was that?"

"A friend," Syd said. "I will talk to your doctor and see if we can give you something to make you not so sick." Syd helped Julia jump down from the table. "When do you go back for a check up?"

"Tuesday," Julia said. "Tomorrow." Julia started heading for the door but then turned around. "That friend of yours, she looks familiar. I think I've seen her somewhere, but I don't remember where."

Syd laughed. "Go on, and come back and see me if you start to feel bad again." Syd watched the girl go and then turned to Kerry who had come up behind her. "Hey, what's up?"

"I just came by to see if you needed any help. The convention doesn't start up again until two."

"Yeah, I'm understaffed today because of what happened yesterday," Syd said. She led the way toward her office and shut the door. "I'm actually kind of glad you're here. I'm closing up in a few minutes and I didn't want to be here alone on account of Paul."

"I know," Kerry said. She sat down on the couch. "Believe me, I completely understand. I was so worried that he would hurt you, I thought we'd had him taken care of but I guess not."

"How's Carol, I haven't kept in touch with her as much as I have you and Elizabeth."

"Carol left, she doesn't work for me anymore. She went to live with her longtime boyfriend Doug Ross," Kerry said.

Then Izzy poked her head into the office. "Dr. Hansen, everyone is about to close up. Would you like me to stay until you are ready to leave?"

"No, Kerry's here, thanks Izzy," Syd said.

Izzy nodded and left the room.

Syd turned back to Kerry. "I just have a few things to do and then we can go. Where are the others?"

"Back at your house," Kerry said. "I wanted to come and see if the clinic was like the ER. You probably don't get much action around here do you?'"

"No, I mostly see people with colds and stuff like that," Syd said as she cleaned up her office. Then the door burst open and a lady with dirty blond hair burst through the door. "Can I help you?"

"I would like to thank you Dr. Hansen for putting my husband in jail yesterday. He came to you for help. Paul didn't mean to hurt that girl."

"Mrs. Sobriki, I did what I thought was best. I had patients to protect. I didn't want to take the risk of someone else getting hurt," Syd said.

Samantha sighed. Then she noticed Kerry. "I remember you, you're one of the doctors that treated him. What ever happened to the people he hurt?"

"Cater is fine, but Lucy died," Kerry said. "Mrs. Sobriki, is Paul still getting treatment?"

"Yes," Mrs. Sobriki said. She turned to leave. "I'm sorry Paul caused you so much pain," she said looking at Kerry.

Syd sighed and sank down on the couch. "What a week."

"You're telling me," Kerry said sitting down on the couch beside Syd. "Are you ready to go?"

"Yeah, let me just put these files away," Syd said. She and Kerry walked down the quiet hallway together in silence. "Well, let's get to that convention, shall we?"

* * *

As Syd and Kerry were coming out of the clinic they could feel raindrops on their coats.

"Guess a storm's coming?" Kerry said. She headed for the car. "I took a taxi here so I'll have to ride with you."

"That's fine," Syd said as she got into the car. The rain was coming down harder now and Syd could hear thunder in the distance. As they were driving down the road Syd saw an ambulance up ahead. She turned to Kerry.

"I wonder what happened?" Kerry asked.

"Do you want to find out?" Syd asked.

"Sure, maybe we can help."

Syd pulled over and got out. She went over to the ambulance. "What happened?"

Fifteen year old girl lost control of the car. Her eighteen year old sister was with her," a paramedic said. "Are you a family member?"

"No, I'm a doctor," Syd said. "Are they all right?"

"The older one is, just a broken leg. The fifteen year old is still unconscious."

"Any identification?" Kerry suddenly asked.

"Yes, the older one is Shannon and the younger one is Julia."

Syd gasped. Julia had come to see Syd because her stomach had been acting up. Syd pushed her way passed the paramedic and looked inside the car. Julia was unconscious and Syd knew she needed medical attention fast.

"Syd!" Kerry called to her friend. "Do you bring your cell phone?"

Syd reached inside her coat pocket and nodded.

"Give it to me," Kerry said. "Just in case we need a little extra help." She dialed the Hansens' number and spoke to the other doctors from Chicago. "They're going to meet us at the hospital."

Syd and Kerry followed the ambulance in Syd's car. Soon the rain was falling so hard that it was nearly impossible to see. After what felt like an eternity, they arrived at the hospital, just in time to find the Cleo, Mark, Peter, Malucci, Abby, Carter and Elizabeth getting out of Jim Hansen's car. They followed Syd and Kerry inside.

The admitting nurse's frustration was apparent in her weary expression. "Evening, Dr. Hansen. Welcome to chaos. The rain's caused so many car accidents, we can hardly keep up."

Syd smiled grimly. "Well, it may please you to know that I've got eight friends with me, all doctors. They're from Chicago..."

The nurse returned Syd's smile. "We're not going to care where they're from tonight, Dr. Hansen. Do you really think they'd mind looking in on some of the traumas?"

Kerry answered for the group. "Where do we start?"

* * *

Kerry and Mark were helping Syd look in on Julia. She was still unconscious, despite the Providence doctors' efforts.

"What medication did you say she was on, Syd?" Mark asked.

Syd handed him the file.

"Kerry, look at this." Mark showed the papers to Kerry, who frowned and nodded.

Mark turned to Syd. "Is it possible that she missed a dose or took it on an empty stomach?"

"Maybe, I don't know," Syd answered. "She came in with stomach pain."

"Mark and I just wrote a journal article on this," Kerry said. They found a nurse, and, soon a new medication had been given to Julia, to counteract the effects of a missed dose. Soon she opened her eyes and was asking about her sister. Mark, Kerry and Syd breathed a collective sigh of relief.

"They need help with the other traumas," Kerry said. She headed for trauma two, where a lady about twenty-five lay on the examining table. Kerry listened to the lady's heart and lungs. "No breath sounds on the right, we need to intubate NOW."

Elizabeth ran and got the tube. She inserted it down the lady's throat. "What's her BP?"

"90 over 60," Syd said. She turned to Kerry. "She has to broken ribs and a split collar bone. She's going to need surgery."

"Call the OR and tell them to prepare for surgery," one of the Providence doctors said.

"OK, she's ready to go to surgery," Kerry said. After the nurses had wheeled the twenty five year old down the hall Kerry turned to Syd. "Well, ready to do another one."

Syd sighed, she didn't know if she could do another one ever again.

* * *

Two days and many conference sections later, the eight guests in the Hansen house were packing their bags, for it was time for them to return to Chicago.

Syd was sorry to see them go, but was glad to have spent more time with Elizabeth. She was also happy to have had the chance to get to know Kerry better. She may have a reputation as being bossy with some of the other doctors, but as a friend, she couldn't be nicer.

"Thanks again for letting us crash with you," Abby said as she put her suitcase into Syd's car. Jim, Joanie and Syd were driving their friends to the airport. "I don't know what we would have done if it weren't for you! I think all the motels were full from the convention."

"I'm glad you could come," Syd answered. "Keep me posted on any conferences out your way."

"We'll do that," Kerry said.

Once the plane took off, Elizabeth found that she was very sleepy, and dozed off for a few minutes. Lucy was in the seat beside her.

"Elizabeth, I can't tell you how glad I am you came to Providence," she said.

"Me, too. It gave us a chance to catch up. And I think Carter will be all the better for the trip, also."

Lucy smiled. "I don't think you entirely understand. Since you've been to Providence, I can visit you in your dreams anytime. You can tell me what you've been doing, and I can fill you in on all the cool new stuff I've been up to."

"That only proves," Elizabeth said with a grin, "that it was worth every minute."

Lucy gave her friend a hug, got up and walked back down the aisle, sitting beside Mark. "Guess what," she began. "I get to visit you anytime I want!"

It would take a little while for Elizabeth to get used to the idea that eight people could have the same dream, not to mention that she could still talk to her friend in her dreams. She made a mental note to invite Syd to Chicago at the soonest possible opportunity.

THE END

2000 Tracy and Rebecca
tf80800@navix.net

DISCLAIMER: Characters mentioned in this story that have appeared in the NBC series "Providence" are the property of National Broadcasting Company. No copyright infringement is intended.

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