The cemetery was quiet even though a funeral was being held. Pratt's body lay sealed in a casket that sat above a hole near his freshly made tombstone. A priest stood beside the tombstone as did Kem, Archie Morris, a heavily remorseful Ray Barnett, Neela Gallant, Dr. Banfield, and Jing-Mei. It was a cold day, but everyone was warm in spirit.
Dr. Gallant had been recalled to overseas duty, so he had left and Jing-Mei had come simply because Dave had asked her to. He wasn't able to leave the hospital yet and she wanted to do what she could to help his grief over losing a friend, so she had come to the funeral.
Carter sighed as he hurried into the cemetery after leaving his limo at the gate. He had left Abby and little Maggie on their own that morning so he could be here to say goodbye to Kem properly; he knew that she probably wouldn't stay in Chicago after all that had happened. Abby had understood his need for closure as far as Kem was concerned and had promised to be waiting for him when her got home. She was going to also make meals for Luka and Amy.
"...We lay Gregory Pratt to rest in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," the priest spoke reverently. "Amen…"
Everyone present murmured 'amen' and Kem turned, only to stop in her tracks when she saw Carter there, "John, hello," Kem spoke softly. "I…I wasn't sure you'd come."
"What will you do now?" Carter asked, sensing her reluctance to be around him because the pain of Joshua was just too much for her to bear. "Do you still do counseling?"
Kem sighed, "I haven't done a lot in the last couple of days except for plan this funeral," she replied in a somber voice, her expression sad. "I heard about Dave…how is he doing?"
"He was extubated early this morning and is in a regular ICU room now, but he still can't feel his legs," Carter replied worriedly. "I'm meeting with Anspaugh in a bit to see if the ER can't be made a bit more handicap accessible if Dave ever wants to return to work there."
Kem nodded, "I can't imagine Doctor Malucci as anything but a doctor after I saw him in action in Africa," she replied as she reached into her purse and pulled out an envelope that looked to be full. "The clinic contacted me and said that Doctor Rogers's body was found several days ago in a heavily shelled clinic. They sent her effects for Doctor Malucci."
Carter frowned as Jing-Mei approached, "Who's Doctor Rogers?" she asked curiously, wondering who that was and why Dave was mentioned. "I'm Doctor Malucci's fiance…"
"When Dave was in Africa, he had a brief relationship with a doctor at the clinics we visited," Carter explained quietly. "The doctor stayed behind and ended up going missing…"
Jing-Mei frowned, as Dave had mentioned going to Africa, but not Dr. Rogers, "It was a traumatic experience being there, I'm sure," she commented softly. "Who are you?"
"Makemba Pratt," Kem replied softly. "My husband's kidneys were put in Dave…"
Jing-Mei nodded, her expression sad, "My condolences," she replied in a concerned voice. "Dave wanted to be here, but knew he couldn't. He asked me to come in his place…"
"I might stop by and visit Doctor Malucci before I go," Kem replied softly. "Excuse me…"
Jing-Mei frowned as Kem moved to talk to the others present, "It's not you," Carter spoke softly, sensing that his friend was confused over Kem's aloofness and desire to get away quickly. "Kem and I are on bad terms because we lost a son. You're very kind to be here…"
"Dave was friends with Greg Pratt," Jing-Mei spoke softly. "Otherwise I'd be there…"
Carter sighed, "You look worn down," he replied softly. "If you need a break, Abby and I can have Daniel over for a couple of days so you can rest and spend time with Dave."
"I'll talk to Dave and Daniel, but it's really important to keep Daniel in a routine and not thinking about what happened," Jing-Mei replied softly. "He's very traumatized right now."
Carter nodded, "I'll try and stop by the apartment later for a visit," he promised.
The quiet was a welcome relief to Dave as he woke and slowly exhaled, an exercise he had been instructed to do several times a day. His room was private and it was a nice change from the SICU, but it was still a reminder of what had happened to him just a few days ago.
A basket of flowers sat on the portable table, but Dave ignored it because he wasn't much of a flower person. He also saw a stack of newspapers, which really confused him. He had mostly slept since being extubated, but had a feeling they would make him eat and talk soon.
As Dave lay there, taking in his surroundings, the door opened and Eleanor Carter came into the room carrying a large bag, "Hi," he spoke weakly, sighing. "I…did you send the flowers?"
Eleanor nodded, "I thought they might brighten up the room and I also saw stories about you in all the city newspapers," she spoke kindly, smiling. "You saved three children and you should be very proud of that."
"I couldn't let them die," Dave replied softly. "They were children; they were innocent…"
Eleanor sighed and she set the bag on the bed, "I got you a robe and some other things since it's gotten colder outside," she spoke softly, smiling. "It's supposed to snow today."
Even though Dave was uncomfortable with the idea of being pampered, he nodded and accepted it because he knew Eleanor was trying her best to bond with him. Eleanor opened the bag and put the quilt on the bed before producing a button-up shirt, hooded jacket, loose pants, and slippers, "I asked Jing-Mei what you might like and she told me your size," she said in a warm voice. "We went shopping yesterday when Daniel was in school."
"Could you help me get it on?" Dave asked softly. "I hate this gown…"
Eleanor sighed, "I don't want to accidentally hurt you, so I'll see if I can get a doctor or a nurse to help," she replied softly. "Dave, I know I haven't been there, but I'd like to be."
"I'd like you to be," Dave replied softly. "I'm sorry if I seemed suspicious…"
Eleanor nodded, "I understand," she replied softly. "You didn't know until recently…"
The door opened again and Dr. Romano came into the room, "Hello there, Dave, Mrs. Carter," he said in a concerned voice. "Since the ER is closed, I told Anspaugh I'd take you on as a patient at least for now. I also bring a visitor who carries glad tidings…"
"I'm going to go find a nurse to help with the clothes," Eleanor said as she left the room.
Dave's eyes widened as Amy suddenly wheeled herself into the room wearing sweats, boots, and a large sweater, "Hey," he spoke weakly. "I'd get up and hug you, but I…"
"I know," Amy replied warmly, wincing as she rolled over to the bed. "You and Abby are the godparents to my newest kids, I hope you know that. Michael Marko and Abigail Jasna."
Dave looked pleased, but his smile faded, "Where's Nathan?" he asked in a concerned voice. "I saw Elton drag him out right before I lost consciousness…"
"Nathan was tortured, but he's been transferred to Peds," Amy replied softly. "I don't know exactly what happened, but it was pretty bad. He's still pretty bad, so he'll be here a while."
Dave sighed and Dr. Romano swore under his breath, "You look all ready to go home," he commented softly, sighing. "I'm glad you came to visit me. How are the babies doing?"
"Dave, there's something else you should know," Amy spoke softly. "Elton's dead…"
Dave frowned, but said nothing as his eyes widened, "How?" he asked softly.
"A couple of days ago, around five a.m., Doctor Corday was leaving work when she was stopped by an anxious cab driver who demanded she take an injured passenger," Dr. Romano spoke up in a somber voice. "She agreed and found that the passenger was a badly beaten Nathan. As she was helping him, Elton approached them on foot and Nathan ended up producing a gun from his jacket and shooting him to death on the street before collapsing."
Dave gasped and buried his face in his hands, "Oh, man," he gasped anxiously. "Nathan…"
Amy gently touched Dave's arm, "He's a hero, that kid," Dave spoke softly as he composed himself and looked at his foster sister. "He…he avenged Dana's death. Thank him for me when he can handle talking about it. When I'm allowed, I'd like to talk to him…"
"Yeah," Amy replied softly, sighing. "I've been ordered to go home and rest, but I don't know how much of that I'll actually get with three kids in the hospital and four at home."
Dr. Romano sighed calmly, "The ER will be closed for a bit and I can babysit, so you will get what rest you need," he replied firmly. "You've also got a husband who will help you out."
"Luka's not like Elton, Amy," Dave spoke softly. "You can trust him to help."
Just then, Eleanor came back with a nurse, "I should go so you can rest, but we'll talk again," Amy spoke softly. "I'll call when I'm at home and in bed, all right?"
Dave nodded and Dr. Romano wheeled her out so that Eleanor and the nurse could help Dave dress, "Do you want to visit Nathan?" Dr. Romano asked quietly.
"Luka's up there and Nathan asked me not to go up while the police were there because he doesn't want me to hear the details yet," Amy spoke softly. "I'm scared for Nathan…"
Dr. Romano sighed, "Then trust that Luka will be enough until Nathan is ready to tell you," he replied firmly. "Amy, I know you want to rush in and help, but you have help now and you don't need to be Super Mom anymore. Let Luka handle it and you can go home and rest."
"And how am I getting home?" Amy asked softly. "I'm not allowed to drive."
Dr. Romano scoffed, "I can drive even with a prosthetic arm, young lady, and I'm only here to support Dave," he replied in a mock annoyed voice. "I'm officially on paid leave."
Realizing that her father was right, Amy nodded and Dr. Romano picked her bag up from the hallway floor as they went off to the elevators, "Good girl," Dr. Romano said softly.
They haven't found Nurse Taggart or Alex yet? I wish there was something I could do. Nathan thought silently as he sat in a wheelchair at the window, having gotten himself there without help. He had overheard Luka arguing with the cops on the phone about it earlier and once Luka had left to meet them, he had silently gotten his battered body to the window.
"Nathan…what are you doing up?" Nathan suddenly heard Luka's voice ask softly.
Nathan sighed, wincing as he turned his head and saw Luka standing there with Officer Grabarsky, "I heard you arguing with the cops on the phone," he replied anxiously.
Luka sighed, "I know you're not feeling that well yet, but they insisted on talking to you," he replied in a patient voice. "How did you even get the cuff off without triggering the alarm?"
"I worked in the clinic for a couple years and know stuff," Nathan replied softly.
Luka nodded, "Well, you're going back to bed and staying there," he replied in a firm, but gentle tone of voice. "I can get someone to bring you the hospital cart with stuff…"
Nathan silently allowed Luka to help him back into bed, "And no, we haven't found them yet," Officer Grabarsky spoke quietly. "The police are hoping that you could help…"
"I don't remember much," Nathan spoke softly. "About what that Steve guy said…"
Luka frowned at the mention of Steve, but didn't say anything, "I just know where I was held and that Steve talked about taking Sam and Alex to Canada," Nathan spoke in a quiet voice, sighing to block out the anxiety he was feeling from talking about it. "Do you want to know about what happened to me while I was there? She made sure I didn't die from it all."
"Not right now," Luka said firmly before Grabarsky could speak. "You're not strong enough to talk about that and if the police have a problem with that, I can certainly step in."
Grabarsky sighed, "We'll get both their statements after Nurse Taggart is found," he replied quietly as he handed Nathan a pen and a pad of paper. "Can you write the address of where you were and we'll look into that? We'll also look into the information you gave us."
Nathan wrote messily on the pad and sighed, "It was the house where Elton made Mom live when I was just a little kid," he spoke shakily. "I…I vaguely have memories of it from then."
Luka looked concerned as Nathan thrust the pad at Grabarsky and covered his hand with his face, "And don't tell my mother," Nathan hissed as he broke into tears. "Please…get out."
Grabarsky took the pad and silently left, "I doubt Mom remembers it and I didn't want her to," Nathan spoke softly, sighing. "You can tell her later on at home, but not now…"
"Doctor Romano took your mother home and she's going to rest, but I'm going to stay here," Luka replied in a quiet voice. "Hopefully, you can also go home in a few days."
Nodding, Nathan laid back and closed his eyes to sleep. It was then that Luka noticed the untouched tray of food and realized that either Nathan couldn't eat or he didn't want to.
"The ER's still a mess and it's going to take some time for it to be fixed," Dr. Anspaugh explained in a patient voice as he led Carter and Jing-Mei, who had decided to tag along before going back up to Dave, through the heavily damaged emergency room.
Carter sighed, "When reconstruction begins, are you going to be making it handicap accessible and introducing equipment that can make it possible for doctors with disabilities to work at the same level as those without handicaps?" he asked in a concerned voice.
"We'll do what the budget allows," Dr. Anspaugh replied patiently. "Now…"
Carter scoffed, "Dave will eventually want to come back to work and if you do what the budget allows, he might never get to if the paralysis is permanent," he replied coldly.
"How can a doctor in a wheelchair function in an ER, Carter?" Dr. Anspaugh asked sternly, giving Carter a look. "We opened the ER residency to Romano when he could no longer function as a surgeon and he's doing quite well, but to overhaul the entire emergency department in the way that you're asking will cost millions that we don't have…"
Jing-Mei froze, "So Dave is going to be let go if the paralysis is permanent because the big-shots at County won't take a pay cut to make accommodations?" she asked coldly, her expression upset. "I just barely made a large donation to County. Use that…"
"We have to take on staff from other hospitals and that money will need to go towards their salaries," Dr. Anspaugh replied anxiously. "Several staffers have quit in the last few days and we need to replace them so the department can be fully functioning when it re-opens."
Carter frowned at the mention of quits, but was even angrier that Anspaugh was sacrificing Dave because he might be permanently in a wheelchair, "In fact, I'm going to be contacting you, Doctor Chen, and some doctors from Mercy and Northwestern in the next few days about doing shift work when the ER opens again…."
Carter scoffed and stormed out, determined to take the problem to the media and force County to treat Dave the way a hero deserved to be treated. Dave had risked his life to save three kids and this is how County was choosing to handle it? Carter wouldn't stand for it.
"Now, I've got a busy schedule if you're done looking around," Dr. Anspaugh said firmly.
Jing-Mei nodded and silently made her way upstairs to the ICU, determined to tell Dave before the hospital had the chance. She knew what County was doing was wrong, but she had already donated the money and didn't know how else she could help Dave.
When Jing-Mei arrived at Dave's room, she was surprised to find a nurse and Eleanor Carter helping Dave put on some pants and a nice robe. She sighed as she entered the room.
"I see my surprise beat me to you," Jing-Mei replied softly. "How are you feeling?"
Dave sighed, "Grateful," he replied softly. "Amy was by…she told me about Nathan and Elton…"
Jing-Mei sighed, "It was on the news and Daniel caught it before I could turn it off, so we talked about it," she explained softly. "I know how you feel about Daniel watching the news…"
"It's fine," Dave replied softly. "I'm sure he had questions about what happened."
Jing-Mei nodded, "I told him the truth," she replied softly. "Dave, we should talk.."
Dave frowned and Jing-Mei sighed, "Carter and I went to Pratt's funeral and on a walk of the ER with Anspaugh when we got back," she explained. "Carter asked what accommodations the ER would make if your paralysis was permanent and you wanted to go back to work…"
"Let me guess, it's not in the budget?" Dave replied softly, sighing. "Figures that they'd find some way to get me out of here. I…I don't know what's going to happen, but if you…"
Jing-Mei sighed, "We're not breaking up again, Dave," she replied softly. "I love you."
Dave nodded, "I love you too," he replied softly. "I sold my share of my old clinic to Carter."
"Maybe you and Amy can open another one," Jing-Mei replied softly. "When you're well."
Dave shrugged and ended up yawning, "Between eating breakfast and getting clothes on, I'm worn out," he spoke softly, his expression tired. "Does anyone mind if I take a nap?"
"Of course not," Eleanor spoke warmly as the nurse left the room. "I'll come back later."
Once Dave and Jing-Mei were alone, Dave sighed, "I'd love a cuddle," he spoke softly.
Jing-Mei smiled and silently got on the bed next to Dave, grateful that the ICU beds were bigger. She put an arm around Dave and let him snuggle up close as much as he was able.
The Kovac house was quiet as Dr. Romano led Amy inside, "It's awfully quiet," she commented in a concerned voice. "Lucas and Erinn are in school, but where are…?"
"I hired a babysitter," Dr. Romano replied calmly. "Hello?!"
A moment later, Rachel Greene came into view, "Rachel?" Amy asked softly. "Hi."
"How are you feeling?" Rachel asked in a concerned voice. "How's Nathan?"
Amy sighed, "He was going to talk to the police today, but he didn't want me to sit in on it," she replied in a patient voice. "Why is the house so quiet?"
"I talked Katie into having a nap and Joe's having his morning nap," Rachel replied quietly.
Amy smiled, "Thank you, Rachel," she replied calmly. "How have you been doing?"
"You should probably sit," Rachel spoke softly, her voice trembling with anxiety.
Amy frowned, but sat and Rachel joined her, "I'm going to see what food is in the house and do a grocery run," Dr. Romano called out as he made his way towards the kitchen.
"What's on your mind, Rachel?" Amy asked softly, deeply worried for the young girl.
Rachel sighed anxiously, "I'm in love with Nathan, but I know he's still angry about how I influenced Lucas," she admitted softly. "When I heard he was taken hostage and hurt…"
Tears filled Rachel's eyes and Amy sighed, "So did I," Amy replied patiently. "All during the C-Section and hysterectomy, I wondered where he was and if he was even still alive…"
"I saw on the news that Elton Douglas, that guy who kidnapped him is dead," Rachel spoke in a concerned voice, her expression somber. "Elizabeth told me Nathan killed him in self-defense and I can't imagine how it made him feel. I want to be there for him so badly…"
Amy nodded, "Then be there for him," she replied softly. "He needs good friends, Rachel."
"I…my life is going to get very hectic, but I'll do what I can," Rachel spoke softly. "I…during my stay at the centre, I told Doctor Gallant that Craig molested me and he told me to tell my dad, so I did. My dad's talking to the doctor who I got to do the kit…"
Amy sighed, "I'm sorry," she replied softly. "I…I was a little younger than you when it happened to me by Elton and I know it's a painful experience, but you're strong…"
"Can anything good come out of such a terrible thing?" Rachel asked softly.
Amy nodded, "Nathan came out of it," she replied gently. "Have you been tested?"
"All tests were negative," Rachel replied softly. "But my mom kicked me out..called me a liar."
Amy sighed as Dr. Romano came out of the kitchen carrying cloth bags and a grocery list, "I'm going to go shopping," he said sternly. "Don't you dare lift anything over 10 pounds…"
"Right," Amy replied in a quiet voice, exhaling softly. "I might go upstairs and have a nap."
The door closed and Amy found herself stretching out on the couch, quickly pulling the afghan over herself instead of getting up. She was exhausted and emotionally spent.
Rachel silently put a pillow under Amy's feet and made sure she was comfortable before going into the kitchen to see what needed to be done. She was sure nobody would mind.
Ray Barnett swallowed hard as he followed Dr. Anspaugh into his office and saw that Dr. Weaver was also there, "Hi," he spoke nervously. "Um, thanks for seeing me."
"How are you doing in your remedial work?" Kerry asked in a stern voice.
Ray sighed as he sat in the visitor's chair, "I've been going to AA and NA and also to counselling at Mercy," he replied softly, his expression quiet. "I went to Pratt's funeral today and he was the one who mentored me when he was in the States. I can't believe he's gone."
Dr. Anspaugh looked thoughtful as he sat behind his desk, "This is certainly a change from when we last saw you," he replied calmly. "You completed your internship successfully?"
"Yeah, I finished it and both Malucci and Doctor Banfield signed off," Ray replied softly, exhaling as he thought about Dave. "I heard about the shooting in the ER and how Malucci saved those three kids. I…he always told me that being compassionate was important…"
Dr. Anspaugh nodded, "We don't usually take residents on this late in the year, but the shooting has put the hospital in a unique situation," he replied quietly. "The repairs will take from anywhere between two weeks and a month. Can you work on other floors..?"
Ray nodded, "Have you talked with Sarah lately?" Kerry asked suspiciously.
"I know she's pregnant and I know I screwed up, but I told her to do what she wants with the baby because I can't be irresponsible anymore," Ray replied softly. "She's still into doing what she wants and she lives with her dad, but she's only staying away from the stuff til the kid is born. I told her to give the baby up for adoption because I can't take care of a kid…"
Kerry looked remorseful, but said nothing, "Once the ER opens up again, I'll have you do shifts until the end of the year and we'll re-evaluate then," Dr. Anspaugh said firmly.
"Thank you," Ray replied quietly, his expression nervous. "I won't let you down."
Dr. Anspaugh nodded and Ray quietly dismissed himself, "Donald…" Kerry began.
"Kerry, we don't have a choice," Dr. Anspaugh interrupted. "We need the help."
The hours passed in relative silence and before Amy knew it, she heard soft talking and the sound of dinner being made. She opened her eyes just in time to see Lucas come into the living room with a TV tray, "Lucas, you're home," she spoke in a groggy voice.
"It's almost dinnertime," Lucas replied quietly. "Dad said to set up a tray for you here."
Amy slowly sat up, ignoring the tugging from her incisions, "I only meant to close my eyes for a moment," she replied in a groggy voice. "I meant to be awake long before now…"
Lucas quietly set up the tray and Amy slowly got up, exhaling as she went into the kitchen to find the medicine she had been prescribed to help with healing. She was surprised to find Erinn, Katie, and Joe sitting at the table with soup and grilled cheese sandwiches while Luka sat at the kitchen island. The kitchen was unusually clean and looked fully stocked.
"Mommy, you're awake!" Katie spoke happily. "Daddy Luka said you're healing."
Amy nodded and sighed, "Michael and Abigail have to stay at the hospital and so does Nathan, but I hope we'll all be together at home soon," she spoke in a kind voice.
Luka picked up a plate, but Amy sat down at the island and winced, "Go sit on the couch," he said calmly. "I'll bring your dinner to the living room and we can talk."
Amy silently returned to the living room and gave Luka a look when he came and set her dinner in front of her, "Nathan didn't want you to know because he said he and Sam were held at the house where you lived when he was little," Luka spoke softly, sitting down.
A sad expression crossed Amy's face, "I didn't think he remembered that place and I can't seem to forget it," she replied softly. "I wish he didn't feel the need to be so brave all the time. He's going to be 17 soon and he's already been through more than most adults…"
"Your father's with him tonight," Luka spoke gently. "I hope you like the soup…"
"I spoke with all of the major media moguls in Chicago and the story should be made public in the next week or so," Carter spoke in a quiet voice as he came into his and Abby's living room and found her watching Maggie sleep in a swing. "How are you two doing?"
Abby sighed as her phone rang, "Hold on," she replied as she answered it. "Hello?"
"Good, you still have this number," Sam's voice spoke softly. "Abby, I need help…"
Abby froze, realizing that Sam was on the phone, "Sam, where are you?" she asked.
Carter frowned, "Sam's on the phone?" he asked worriedly. "Sam Taggart?"
Abby nodded, her expression worried, "Abby, please, Alex and I need help," Sam's voice spoke worriedly. "Steve's van broke down and we're stranded in Wisconsin…"
"Okay," Abby spoke anxiously, grabbing a pad of paper and a pen. "Where are you?"
Carter frowned as Abby wrote down the location of a seedy motel in Wisconsin, "Steve…he's dead and we were trying to get back, but this piece of crap car died," Sam spoke anxiously. "Please, Abby, you're a friend and you're one of the few I trust. Can you come get us?"
Abby exchanged a look with Carter and sighed, "Yes," she replied softly. "We can."
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