The third-opinion

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"It's Huntington's"

"We can't be sure"

"The redundant genetic testing you ordered is just going to prove it's Huntington's. Hopefully you are footing the bill or the patient is going to hate you"

Sometimes Patrick wished he could just tell his friend to shut up. He could, but Tony wasn't going to listen. It's not like he ever did anything Patrick wanted. If Tony wasn't such a brilliant neurologist, Patrick would think he was just disagreeing with him on purpose.

Patrick knew Tony was right in his diagnosis. Hell, Patrick knew deep down that the diagnosis was Huntington's. For some reason he just couldn't believe it. He couldn't tell Charlie he had an incurable degenerative disease. He'd told patients they had hours to live before. Charlie was different. Charlie was Koala, his koala.

He sighed, for a moment forgetting that he was on the phone.

"You sound emotionally invested in this," Tony commented.

"I'm not. I'm just not as cruel as you," Patrick said.

"I'm not cruel. 60 percent of patients I deal with don't even understand stuff I say or are in a coma."

"Whatever," Patrick said. He was tired and experiencing things he shouldn't have been as a doctor. The day had been long and strenuous; he wanted to go to bed.

"Who is he?" Tony asked.

"Who is what?"

"...The patient that's got you doubting your own skills. Who's he? The brother of a girl you like?"

Patrick huffed.

"And now you are in a mood. Sheesh. Hurry up and get laid," Tony joked.

"I'm sleepy. Goodnight," Patrick said.

"It's early!" Tony protested. He hadn't talked to Patrick since he bid him farewell at the airport.

"Early? It's 12 am," Patrick said. "You seem to forget. It's nighttime for me."

Tony groaned but ultimately let Patrick hang up.

Sleep didn't immediately come for Patrick. He went over the diagnosis over and over again. Charlie seemed to know what the diagnosis was. Patrick had had to convince him to do the genetic test, hoping he was wrong. The chances of being wrong were too slim. Patrick had witnessed the uncontrollable movements, not once but twice. The family history was there.

Interestingly Charlie had refused to do the psychological exam. Patrick wasn't going to be the one doing it so he couldn't be the reason. Maybe Charlie already knew what the psych exam would say.

Charlie was going to deteriorate and the thought scared Patrick. It scared him to the depth of his core. Once the disease attacked his executive functions, Charlie would be a shell of himself.

A sense of regret gripped Patrick. He'd spent 8 years away, years he could have spent near Charlie. But how could he have not left? Charlie had made it clear what their relationship was.

*

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