I stopped reading spoilers right around the New Year. That said, two warnings for this story:

Some at the very end is based a little on spoilers I read way back when. So, if you are completely spoiler-free, this probably isn't the story for you.

If you're still "on" spoilers, and have found out that my spoiler bit has been confirmed or denied or anything of the sort, PLEASE don't tell me! Thanks!

Juliet was pleased. A light patient load. The hospital administrators off her department's case for once. Nothing really going on. She stood at the admit desk, idly flipping through some new medical journals.

She turned to Robin, the charge nurse. "Eight patients in four days. Must be some kind of record."

"Isn't it nice?" Robin asked.

Juliet nodded emphatically, and returned her attention to the journal in front of her. Here was a case report written by someone she new. She was going to settle in to read when she heard Robin's warning: "Incoming."

Juliet looked up to see Dr. Jack Shephard at the end of the long hallway, storming toward her. "Sonofabitch," she muttered. She knew exactly what this was about. She could just nip it in the bud, or play along, string him out . . . and that sounded infinitely more entertaining.

"Jack!" she exclaimed warmly, intercepting him before he reached the admit desk. She shunted him off to an alcove around the corner. "What brings you up to this neck of the woods?" As if she had no clue. Would he start with a bit of small talk? Or launch right into it?

"Did you know David had a tryout with the Williams Conservatory?" Ah, he went with "launch right into it."

"I did." Oh, hell, why not twist the knife in a little further, let him know how much she really did know? So, she went on. "And I heard you were there. I would've loved to have seen it. How did he do? He was down on himself for missing a few notes, but I'm sure he did great."

Jack looked exasperated. She felt a wee bit guilty for purposely bludgeoning him with her superior David knowledge, but it was too fun not to. Especially when it got Jack all spun up like it was doing now. "I just . . .it drives me nuts when I don't know something like that. I didn't even know he was still playing."

"Well, now you do." Simple enough, right? Probably not, judging by his next comment.

"Dammit, Juliet. I should know more. I'm his father."

"Really? News to me," she answered flippantly and sarcastically.

Ooops. A little too far. Jack's eyes glossed with tears. Jeez, the guy was so damn sensitive. They'd had variations of this exact same argument so many times that she now knew exactly what he was thinking. He thought she was criticizing his parenting skills. He thought "news to me" meant she thought he was too absent from his son's life.

Not at all, though. It's just every time, every damn time, they had this exact conversation, he'd trot that bit of wisdom out. As if she wasn't keenly aware of David's parentage. As if she just needed to be reminded and she'd all of a sudden capitulate to Jack's side in the ongoing civil war. She wanted no part of it, honestly, and said so now. "Hey, hey . . . sorry. I didn't mean anything by that. It's just, every time we have this argument, you tell me you're his dad. I realize that you know? Look, I'm not your spy, and it's not my role to report his every move to you. Keep me out of it, OK?"

He, too, realized he was being too intense, too pushy. "I'm sorry. It just really bothers me how much more you know about him than I do. That's just human, right? To feel that way?"

"Yeah, I think so. And if it makes you feel any better, I think he was really happy you saw him play."

Jack's face lit up. Times like this, she was reminded how attractive she once found him. How fifteen years ago, she'd dragged Rachel to the med students' holiday party, because she was too much of a wallflower to go on her own, and needed her outgoing, party hardy sister as a crutch. . .

Jack was still smiling, at ease. He pushed his luck. "So, do you know if he's heard anything yet? Did they accept him?"

"Don't know," she said.

"Don't know . . .or won't tell me?"

Oh, hell. Right back into this again? How many times did they have to go through this? Would they ever be able to be just friends again? Without this crazy "Who Knows More About David" competition Jack seemed hell-bent on having? She rolled her eyes, exasperated.

Jack didn't take to the eye rolling. "He's my son, Juliet."

Oh for crying out loud, she thought. Did he think she was an idiot? That she wouldn't catch that "he's my son" was just "I'm his father" worded differently? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Two could play at this game. "Yeah, well, he's my nephew. And you know what that means? It means we do fun things together, and it is not my responsibility to inform on him to his parents. Here's a fun fact I can tell you: I'm taking him to the U2 concert next week. Would you like a full accounting after the fact? I can type it up for you all nice and neat."

"OK, OK, point made." Jack was backing away, his hands in the air in full-on surrender mode after her little tirade. He offered an olive branch, mercifully changing the subject. "U2! How'd you manage tickets?"

"I'm sleeping with a DJ at KROQ."

Jack jerked his head, his eyes widened.

She went on. "It's nothing serious. I just bang his brains out a few times a week, and in exchange . . . great concert tickets."

He was still staring, mouth wide open. She tried so hard to not burst into laughter. How long had she known this guy? Fifteen years? They'd been in-laws for, what, 10 years? Colleagues and friends still, and he honestly thought that she, of all people, was mindlessly fucking a radio DJ for concert tickets?

She swatted him on the shoulder. "Lighten up, Jack – I'm kidding. I got them from a ticket broker online. Paid an arm and a leg."

"Sorry to interrupt." It was Robin. "Juliet, there are two cops at the admit desk. They want to talk to you about Claire Littleton."

"She's Ethan's patient," Juliet answered.

Almost simultaneously, Jack asked, "What was that name again?"

"Ethan?" said Juliet.

"No, no . . ." he turned to Robin, "With the cops . . ."

Robin glanced down at a business card in her hand. "I didn't get the one guy's name, but the big one's a Detective Ford."

"No, not the cops . . .the patient."

"Claire Littleton," Juliet now answered. "She came in last week. Early labor. The cops were asking about her then, too. We released her to bed rest yesterday. Why? You know her?"

"She was in my dad's will."

"Small world," remarked Robin.

"Well, then," said Juliet, turning to Jack, "let's go talk to this Detective Ford, then."

Hey, so the spoiler I heard about was that Miles and Sawyer might be cops in the alt reality. Like I said, don't tell me if you really know!