~ One Day, Cock of the Walk ~

Life was not intended to be this hard, Lainey thought, watching her father sleep. After fighting the nurses and fighting her, Roger Winters had thankfully fallen into a deep sleep. He had been confused and disoriented and more than just a little bit frightened.

There was a lot of that going around. From the moment she'd gotten the call from the staff at Rose Lawn Nursing Home, Lainey's heart had plummeted. If truth be told, she was still just a little bit panicked. And now, without the distraction of medical procedure to occupy her, thoughts of her father's situation were beginning to press the young psychiatrist once again.

Lainey smoothed the sheet covering her father's chest. The gesture was more for her comfort than his. For the moment, Roger Winters was deep in sleep and unaware of her presence. The steady, rhythmic beep of the monitors attached to his body set a comforting cadence in the room.

A discreet cough at the door drew her attention. Neurosurgeon Patrick Drake stood just inside the doorway waiting. He beckoned for Lainey to step outside her father's hospital room.

"I'll be right outside, Daddy," Lainey murmured. She kissed her father on the cheek and followed Patrick outside.

"He drifted off," Lainey told her colleage.

"Yeah..." The brilliant young neurosurgeon shifted awkwardly. He was dark-haired and handsome and the object of female attention at every turn.

Lainey smiled sadly. "God, I remember a lot of nights being a scared little girl who couldn't fall asleep. How I wished I had someone to come in and sit with me."

"Someone?" Patrick prodded gently. "Or a father?" He was no stranger to father issues. His father Noah was also a brilliant surgeon... and after nearly a lifetime of drinking, a recovering alcoholic.

"We had a very, ah, complicated history," Lainey explained. "And now the tables have turned. I'm lucky if I can get my father to recognize his daughter's face." She uttered a painful laugh. "So what," Lainey visibly changed the subject, "did you find?"

The young psychiatrist listened quietly as Patrick listed his findings and his concerns. It wasn't as bad as she had feared, but it was certainly still serious enough for worry. Patrick was recommending surgery, and the sooner the better. His urgency meant that decisions had to be made on Roger Winters' behalf. Some had already been taken care of. Lainey knew her father's wishes concerning the level of medical treatment he preferred. Roger had spelled it out for his daughter the day after they'd buried Lainey's mother Rachel.

"I was just filling in Dr. Winters on her father's procedure," Patrick explained for the benefit of Dr. Ford, who'd just walked up.

The distinguished Chief of Staff of General Hospital would not meet Lainey's eyes. "Oh, there won't be any procedure," he corrected Patrick quietly. "Dr. Winters' medical insurance won't pay for it."

*dialogue between Lainey and Patrick taken from episode #4 of GeneralHospital: The Night Shift