It was a week before I showed my face in the hospital again, one whole week. It was the day Sammy was going to be given the all clear or not; for going home. When I finally mustered up the courage to walk back into his ward. The people who worked there all looked at me with sadness and understanding, not a single one of them unaware of the events that transpired in the cafeteria seven days ago.
I also found out that since that day Doctor Cox, Elliot and Dan had taken it in turns to go by and visit Sammy, give him cuddles and to check on his care. Each one of them assuring the Doctors and Nurses that i would be back, that i just needed time. Whilst Dan had found me, and convinced me to go home, things weren't just magically better inside my head. It took a lot of talking to him and eventually a counsellor; for me to even begin to understand and accept all that had happened over that last 2 months.
We got pretty drunk the day Dan found me. I don't remember much.
Two days after that we finally had Kim's funeral, naturally neither Turk nor Carla attended having been forced to stay away for my sake. A strange thing happened that day and I finally realised why the hospital hadn't been pushing for her body to be sent to a funeral home sooner. Let's just say I owed Dr Kelso and his connections a great deal for that one.
My friends spent the next few days trying to convince me that I was good enough, that Sammy wasn't going to miss out on anything because i was going to give him the world. They spent hours, telling me how I'd never be alone, that they would be there for me no matter what and all Sammy wanted was his Daddy, who apparently could tell something had changed because he was crying more.
That made me feel even worse, even more of failure to him, but eventually something they said seemed to get though to me and I found the inner strength to get up, to have a shower and to go back to the hospital, to be with my son.
I felt like the world's worst human being nonetheless. After all what kind of father just disappears on their sick kid? Becomes un-reachable to the rest of the world and mopes around in a spiral of self pity?
Not a very good one that's for sure.
Still from the moment my feet touched that hospital car park, I was more determined than ever to not let the grief over come me, and to be the person my little boy could always rely on. I had gone through the hardest time of my life and more was yet to come, but for the first time since Kim died, I could finally feel the emotional rollercoaster levelling out.
Taking a few careful steps into the ward, JD felt as if his heart was almost trying to beat out of his chest as he slowly approached his son's incubator. He knew realistically being afraid of looking into the plastic cot was silly, but a part of him couldn't get over the fear monster that was grasping up at him trying to plant the horrible thoughts of all that could have gone wrong in his absence that his friends just didn't have the heart to tell him about. What if he was more fragile than before? What if he had started rejecting his new kidney, what if, what if, what if?
Dan carefully placed the palm of his hand on his brother's back and watched him carefully as he guided them both towards his nephew, being extra careful to ensure he wasn't in any way pushing JD forward, faster than his mind was ready for. He knew his brother well enough to know the internal monologue which was probably running through his head by now and was determined he would run in sync with it.
It wasn't long before they both reached the limit to their forward movement and had to come to a halt, with the only option left being to look down. Taking a deep, calming breathe , JD blinked softly before allowing his eyes to travel downwards. A small gasp escaped his lips as his eyes finally landed on the tiny baby, laying awake on the soft cloth and drooling as he watched the faces appear above him with interest.
He had grown, of that JD was sure, he looked bigger, maybe not by much but the little baby grow they had put him in was definitely fitting better. He'd put on a bit of weight too by the look of it, his face appearing less skin and bone and more of the pudgy baby fat you would expect. His skin had turned a healthy pink and his bright blue eyes almost shone.
Resisting the urge to pick him up and never let him go, the young doctor reached into the makeshift cot and ran his finger down the babies cheek, a barely audible 'hey Sammy' leaving his mouth as he gazed into his son's eyes. Hardly daring to believe that he was really looking at the same baby that just a few weeks ago was given such a low chance of survival.
He really really couldn't believe he had just upped and left something so utterly precious to him. At the time, his head was a swirl of emotions, not being able to focus on anything but the thoughts of betrayal and grief. He couldn't get the thoughts of if Turk had acted sooner then maybe Kim would still be here, out of his mind. They weighed his whole soul down, creating this mass of darkness and depression within him that just got worse with every drink.
He wasn't a big drinker all things considered, but it was the only thing that kept him going, and the second and third ones always made him feel so much better, it was when he lost count that each sip seemed to make him feel worse and worse about the whole situation. He didn't know what would have happened if Dan hadn't found him when he did and that alone terrified him.
He wanted to run, to escape from everything that had happened over the last few weeks and build a little den inside his head where none of this was real, where it was just some terrible nightmare. Yet now, being back in the hospital children's ward, his skin once again coming into contact with his son's, all those thoughts seemed to ease, while the sadness was still very much there, it didn't seem as unbearable as before.
If he was a shrink, he would probably have said, it was just his mind beginning to process what had happened and work through it, digging its way out of the tunnel and heading towards the light. He wasn't a shrink though and even with all his medical training, he couldn't see it like that. He wasn't getting over anything, or moving on, he was simply trying his hardest to live each day as it came and be there for the one person his whole world now centred around. The little baby who must think the whites of the ceiling were the only sights in the world.
"You okay little brother?" Dan asked softly, placing his hand on JD's shoulder and giving it a quick, reassuring squeeze. The man nodded and glanced back at Dan in gratitude, having no idea of the place he would be in if it wasn't for him. They say you need the support of those closest to you in times of bereavement and the dark haired doctor could honestly say he hadn't realised how true that statement was until that very day. Dan was well and truly his rock and he had no idea what he would do without him.
"Yeah." He replied, before reaching forward and carefully lifting Sammy into his arms as the baby started to make a sort of gurgling noise, clearly unhappy with the lack of attention from the above adults.
"I think somebody is happy to see you." Barry called out as he stepped into the ward, placing his chart down on a nearby table and walking towards the brothers with a smile fixed happily on his face."How you feeling?"
"Okay, yeah... better I think, I've arranged to see a grief counsellor for a little bit... I need to be strong and I need to be able to provide everything for this little guy and hopefully they will help me be the best I can be." JD replied, ignoring the beamingly proud look that appeared on Dan's face as he said it. That had been the one main thing Dan had been working on over their hiatus week, getting him to agree to some professional help... Admittedly he was rather reluctant at first after the subject was originally brought up, until his brother had pulled out a Doctor Cox recommended phone number. He had only had one session so far but was already beginning to feel like it really would help.
" Well that's great news JD . " The man who looked far too much like Elliot said with a chuckle, reaching out to ruffle Sammy's' hair' in the process. Truth be told he was worried about the young man's ability to cope with looking after such a fragile baby full time, but hearing that and seeing the difference in him now to the day he left, those worries were quickly put to bed. He no longer looked like someone who could break at the slightest bit of wind and he supposed that was down to JD's brother as well. The pair certainly seemed closer than ever before.
"In which case..." He continued, causing both JD and Dan to turn their attention from the drooling infant and back towards him, their brows creasing in confusion, neither of them having expected a continuation to the sentence before. " I'm pleased to say after checking and rechecking Sammy's progress, and after hearing what I just have... Samuel Perry Dorian is officially being given the all clear to go home."
"Are you serious?" Dan almost squeaked as his eyes lit up in excitement and he almost bounced on the spot. The older doctor gave a small laugh and nodded his head in confirmation, causing Dan to reach forward and grab hold of the Doctor's lap coat and shaking him slightly as he grasped his hand to shake it repetitively.
"Oh my god that is just the best news ever!" Dan cried out, his goofy old Dan grin finding its way back onto his face as he turned around to talk to the baby still in his brothers arms. " You hear that Sammy! Your coming home! And your daddy and I and auntie Elliot are going to spoil you rotten, yes we are!" He continued, pulling silly faces and bopping the baby on the nose with his index finger. The older Doctor couldn't help but laugh at the sight, before both his and Dan's attention simultaneously snapped over to JD, both of them realising he had yet to react.
For a moment JD didn't move, he didn't even look like he was breathing, his mouth was slightly agape, not a muscle in his body making any sort of movement, even his eyes remained fixed in their positions. The panic of not having on call medical attention at their disposal hitting him like a ton of bricks. The fear monster rearing its darkened head once again as he felt its icy touch against his skin and all the 'what if's' come springing back into his head.
Surprisingly amongst them however was a slightly louder voice, one that was refusing to be drowned out like all the other times, one that sounded strangely like Kim.
You're a doctor,
You live just a few minutes from the hospital,
Sammy is doing well,
You don't have anything to fear.
Our Son is allowed home!
It screamed, fighting back against the darkness like an epic medieval battle. It had lost so many times since this whole thing had began and it was not loosing now.
Ever so slowly, the corners of JD's mouth twitched and he smiled.
"Really?" He whispered, not daring to believe that the fight for his son's life was actually over.
"Really... He's perfectly fine." Barry confirmed, stepping forwards out of Dan's grip and giving the new father a pat on the shoulder. "Congratulations."
With those words the full on grin finally broke on JD's face and he swallowed trying to control yet another burst of emotions which flew through him. He felt excitement, worry, happiness and joy, and grief for what could have been all in one fowl swoop. A part of him knew it wasn't going to be an easy ride, that in the future anything could happen, but he also knew, they did not discharge premature babies, unless they really were satisfied everything was going to be okay.
As Barry backed out of the room, more than likely to go and get the little boy's discharge papers, Dan took the opportunity to wrap his arms around his brother and pull him into him, being careful not to squash the little baby which was held between them.
"He's coming home!" JD spoke, shaking slightly as he broke away from the man who was four years older than him and placed a gentle kiss on his son's forehead. " He's actually coming home!" Together the two of them almost jumped around the ward, the reality of the situation and the special care he was probably going to have to have being put on a back burner as they just rejoiced in the fact the most important part of the battle was over.
"Yeah he is." Dan almost cheered as he reached forward and started waving Sammy's little hands in the air, causing his younger brother to let out a small laugh at the sight, almost certain Sammy was going to have the best uncle in the world.
Later, he would probably freak out about the task ahead, cry about the fact Kim wasn't sharing this moment with him and panic about not having the apartment truly ready. But not now, now all he could think about was his son was well enough to visit the outside world for the first time in his short little life.
"Wait." JD said while pulling a face, as Dan stopped what he was doing and began to collect the various teddy bears which were scattered around their corner of the ward. Dan immediately halted and opened his mouth to ask what was wrong, before the same smell that had just hit JD, hit him as well and they both almost gagged.
"Okay... so how the hell do you change a diaper."
To me, that day would always be fixed as the happiest day of my life despite the fact it was brought on by the saddest. My son coming home felt like a miracle in itself, and although the apartment didn't stay as our home for very long, it didn't matter, because Sammy was finally free of tubes and prodding and it meant that one day, one day I could tell him about the hardest part of my life and how he turned it all around. I could finally look forward to the first time he sits up by himself, to rolling over, to speaking, to going to school, to getting married, the works.
He was free and a part of me felt like I was to. That amongst all the doubt, the pain and the grief of loosing Kim, something good came out of it and that good was going to continue to grow and bring so much light into my world.
6 months later...
"Have you got the diaper bag?"
"I thought you had it?"
"No you were getting it, I got Sammy"
" Damm it!" JD cursed as he jumped back out of the blue hybrid car and ran back into his apartment building. Today was finally the day! They had been planning the big move for months, working out where to live, where to work and even where to find possible parks they could take Sammy too. It had been a long process but they had officially finished packing and everything was already on the back of moving trucks and awaiting set off. All that was left was them, their hand luggage and three one way tickets to New York. JD had gotten himself a job at Lincoln medical and mental health centre which was also a teaching hospital in the South Bronx region. They had a nice little apartment a few blocks from there and Sammy's first appointment with the Specialist was scheduled for just under a week. They were going to move sooner, but it took so long to get into a routine and to choose what to keep and where to live that they had inevitably left things to the very last minute. So last minute in fact that JD was actually due to start work in three days.
"Would you hurry up or will we miss our flight!" Dan called out, as he tried his hardest not to fall about laughing, his little brother running would forever be the funniest thing he had ever seen. No matter how old he got his running style never changed, nor did it improve, it seemed he would always look like a new born calf just finding its feet. " Don't worry Sammy, Uncle Dan will make sure he's around often enough to teach you sports, you won't have to rely on Daddy for that one." He continued as he carefully placed the eight month old baby in his car seat. While they were both moving to New York, Dan had found his own apartment, having decided living with Johnny for 6 months was more than enough and the kid was finally capable enough to go solo. Dan hated to admit it, but he had been for a while, he was the one, not JD that wasn't willing to move on. However he had found a place just a ten minute drive away from them and had got himself transferred to the New York branch of his real estate agency. JD had assured him numerous times he would be fine by himself and Dan should just move back home but the older man was having none of it.
"Yeah yeah I'm coming." JD shot back as he hurried back over to the car and threw the last few bits of hand luggage into the boot.
"DUDE! Delicate ears! Keep talk like that away from the b-a-b-y." Dan replied, putting on his best offended look as he attempted to cover Sammy's ears whilst smirking and giving himself a mental pat on the bag. God he had missed teasing him far too much, to know he was in the right mental place to be able to take it again was such a relief it was unreal. Finally their relationship could get back to how it used to be, even if they were now a lot closer than they had ever been in their lives.
"What are you...OH GOD DAN." JD groaned as he pretended to bang his head against the car door, before climbing in to the passenger seat and face palming. You could always count on his brother to lower the tone of any conversation.
"DA" Sammy gurgled with a giggle, deciding that whatever his father and Uncle were talking about was hilarious, especially the head banging, he liked the head banging. It was as funny as when he knocked something over and watched them come running with panic stricken faces.
"I love that I'm his first and only word." Dan continued as he too got into the car and slammed the door behind him, winding the window down instantly as he realised just how hot it was in there. His eyes almost automatically went side ways to catch his brothers reaction and again he smirked in triumph as he saw the scowl and glare perfectly and expectedly in place and directed towards him.
"He's saying Dad." JD argued, folding his arms and looking Dan dead in the eyes, just daring him to disagree. Sammy had started saying 'Da' about three weeks ago now and both men were convinced he meant them. The problem was he said it to whichever of them was in the room at the time, so there was no definitive way of proving who was correct. Of course Elliot was quick to point out that 'Dan and Dad' were pretty much the same word for a youngster, not that it helped in the slightest.
"Oh for goodness sake" A voice instantly recognisable as Doctor Cox's called out causing both Dan and JD to turn around and look in the direction it was coming from. " My poor god son is going to grow up wishing he was deaf at this rate." He continued with a shake of his head as he appeared near the back passenger door and smirked at the little baby who was now looking up at him in wonder. Approaching the car from behind him was also none other than Elliot, Keith and the Janitor.
"What are you guys doing here?" JD asked instantly as he climbed back out of the car and rested his arms on the roof, watching them with his head tilted to one side. Elliot was dressed in a Yellow summers outfit, Doctor Cox was in his blue scrubs, the janitor was in his usual dark attire and Keith looked pretty much like a tomato. With the way they were standing, all in some weird line, the Younger Dorian couldn't help but think one thing... POWER RANGERS.
Almost as if she knew what he was thinking, Elliot started laughing, before heading around the front of the car to give her friend one last goodbye hug with a little extra squeeze thrown in. It was going to be weird, not being able to pop in on him whenever she felt like it. He had pretty much been the one consistent in her life for the past seven years and seeing him about to drive away from them forever was just to strange for words. If she was honest with herself, it brought up feelings she thought she had long ago buried.
"We couldn't let you leave without saying one last goodbye" She replied with a sad smile, before twisting her head around JD's body slightly to give Dan a brief wave. "I know we had the goodbye drinks last night, but this felt more fitting." She continued, causing Doctor Cox and the others to nod in agreement.
"Hey, it won't be forever, we'll be back for your wedding." JD said with a gentle nudge to her ribs, indicating with his head over to where her husband to be was stood. After a slight hesitation, which went unnoticed by everyone apart from Dan, who looked at her inquisitively, Elliot nodded in agreement. They had set a date, they were to be married in four months.
"You better be, I need my little page boy." She retorted, before releasing JD and making her way over to the back of the car to give Sammy a kiss. She could never resist the smell of a baby and Sammy was no exception.
"You better watch out Keith, you'll be expecting one of them before Christmas." Dan joked, causing the other man to pale slightly as he looked from his fiancé and the baby to Dan and back again. It wasn't that he never wanted children, but he was still an intern, only just beginning his medical career and he wasn't quite ready to be a father, when so much of his time had to be spent studying. "You may want to check she's still on her birth control" He continued with a wink, causing Elliot to stop what she was doing and pull a face at him.
"Ha ha, your hilarious" She replied, before stroking Sammy's cheek and slowly backing away to go and stand with the others.
"Thanks for seeing us off." JD piped up, as he walked around the front of the car to shake each one of their hands, a small grin twitching at the side of his mouth as he approached Doctor Cox, he would get his hug, even if he had to trick it out of him.
"Take care JD, Sacred heart is losing one hell of a doctor." Doctor Cox spoke up rather reluctantly as he took hold of the other man's hand for a firm and final shake. However he soon found his body being pulled forward and JD's arms wrapping around him. For a moment he just stood there frozen, before begrudgingly returning the favour. "You'll pay for that one." He hissed, though more good naturedly than he would have done in the past as the two pulled apart.
JD just gave him one of his usual goofy grins before taking a small step back so he could take a good look at the four people who had done so much for him since his son was born.
"I'll miss you guys, don't forget to phone every once in a while alright?" he almost squeaked as a small lump appeared in his throat. They all nodded at this and Keith and the janitor gave a small wave with their hands.
"Turk and Carla wanted to come to, but Carla has a scan today to check on the baby and they felt it would be easier all around if they didn't." Elliot piped up as she reached into her bag to retrieve something. Things hadn't really got any better between them since the incident 6 months ago. Turk and JD shared a few conversations when they ran into each other in the hallways after JD had returned to work, but nothing like they once had. Carla had refused to go back to the hospital so they hadn't really seen much of each other at all. Some relationships can be repaired, others just come to their natural end, while apologies can help, sometimes they really do just come too late. " Turk did ask me to give you this however." She continued, while pulling a red envelope from her purse. "Though I'm not quite sure why its painted green."
"It's a joke we had back in med school, we used to play pranks on people by sending them stuff in different coloured envelopes. If its red it was bad, if its Blue it was cool and if its green it means something may just explode... don't ask." JD replied, chuckling at the memories that the last line brought back. God they had had some fun back in those days. Sobering up rather quickly, he gave Elliot a small smile before reaching over and taking the letter.
"Guys we have really got to get going." Dan called out, as he started the car engine and signalled for JD to get in. With a roll of his eyes and a nod in his brother's direction, he pulled a face at his friends, before winking and making his way back around to the passenger side of the car.
"Stay safe." Elliot called out as she joined Keith's side and slowly took hold of his hand, swallowing hard to prevent herself from crying.
"We will, bye guys... Janitor have fun finding someone else to pick on." JD shouted out, grinning as the man in the jumpsuit smirked and nodded his head in confirmation.
"Oh don't you worry my friend, there is a whole group of interns on their way, it's going to be a good year." The janitor replied, before turning to leave, he didn't really do the whole long goodbyes thing.
"One last thing..." JD continued, opening the car door and signally to his brother to get ready to drive as soon as he jumped in. " The Penny in the door really was an accident." With that he ducked inside and slammed the door shut as Dan, instantly sped off, turning around in his seat just in time, to see the janitor mouthing 'I knew it!' as they drove off down the road.
As they got further and further away, they could just about see their friends still stood in the same spot waving until they became nothing but specs in the distance. When they were finally completely out of sight, JD gave a small sigh and turned back around in his seat, glancing at the letter which still remained in his hand.
"You going to read it?" Dan asked softly as he reached over and turned the radio on. For a moment JD looked like he was contemplating it, turning the envelope over to peel back the opening, but then he stopped himself, shook his head and placed it into the diaper bag.
"Maybe later, I'm too excited about the future right now to think about the past." He replied as he stretched his neck backwards and rested his head against the back of the seat. It was about to become one hectic few days as they sorted out the beginnings of their new life.
"It's not in your nature to hold a grudge" Dan pointed out, glancing at his brother to watch his reaction, while making sure he still kept some attention on the road ahead.
"I'm not, I forgave him a long time ago, everyone makes mistakes... I just can't forget."
With a nod, Dan turned his attention back on to the road and the two of them fell into a comfortable silence. Each of them thinking about the journey ahead of them and wondering where it would inevitably leave them in a few years time. One thing was for sure, it was well and truly the start of a brand new chapter in their lives and neither of them could be more excited for it.
(a/n) Okay that's it! Just the epilogue to go now! May have taken me five years but I finally got round to finishing this story. Woooo! Hopefully I can get that written before college starts again in September. Hope you all like the chapter and this ending didn't seem to rushed. Big thank you to everyone who has stuck with it throughout the crazy paced updates as well! The last one will be coming up soon I promise, but for now, please review ;)