A/N: Title is from a Bible verse -- John 14:2, "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?"


In My Father's House

He used to escape from here, to the distant future where he was a big city doctor, world famous for discovering the cure for the common cold. He used to escape to here -- to want nothing more than to eat off his mother's china and take summer trips down to Vermont with his dad. All he wanted was to discover the cure for the common death.

Now he simply was, and he wasn't sure if there was anywhere left for him to escape. This place was welcoming, but oppressive. He was used to sneaking out of this house as a teenager, and then the freedom of living on his own, and later the insult to human sanitation that was the Swamp. Being the adult son in his father's house, living in his childhood bedroom was not what he'd imagined doing at thirty-two.

All of his things were just the way he had left them more than three years ago, dumped in piles around his room, scattered bits of a once successful Boston medical practice which had only been open for a year, a once bachelor pad with a lease that had lapsed, a once young boy who wanted to grow up to be just like Dad, but at the same time wanted desperately to get out of this place. For as old as this boy was, he'd accomplished very little.

How long had it been? Years that seemed like centuries ... yet the only difference was the thin layer of dust that lay over the clutter -- and the feeling. The last time he'd been here, he'd been filled with a sense of purpose. He'd thought that he could change the world. Now he knew he couldn't. The horrible things that people did, killing, hating, deceiving -- that all went unpunished, rewarded, even. Kindness and healing, compassion were the things for which men suffered. What would happen to the boy who reserved his hate for death and life for fighting it?

He held firmly on to the idea that something he had done in his life was worthwhile. Sometimes he would spend hours looking at the list sitting next to a letter on his desk -- the one with the name of every boy BJ had operated on in Korea. It was intended for Erin Hunnicutt, later, when she was older and could understand. But he was beginning to think that he found more comfort in it than she ever would. It was his one reminder that he and the other doctors had been doing the only sane thing in a pit of insanity. That list was the only evidence that he had done anything to make proud the boy who haunted this room.

"You coming down for dinner?"

"Aych." Already Maine was coming back to him. It was home. It even smelled like home -- and oddly like Korea, the same damp dust and woods, though with the gingko trees conspicuously absent.

He picked up the letter that lay next to the list and read it for perhaps the tenth time that day. "I've gotten my first full night's sleep in two years," it read.

And he wrote back, "How do you do it? How can you sleep without Charles snoring?"