My Follow Up
© 2007 gekizetsu

Sequel to My Worst Case Scenario. Yeah, I know, I said it was a oneshot. I'm a lying liar who lies. They won't shut up. 5900 words, PG-13 for language.


What pissed him off most was that he wasn't there to see it.

He heard all about it second and third hand because Kelso was so angry he wouldn't even discuss it. That alone was the best thing about the whole incident, because rarely in his fifteen year tenure had he even managed that. Jumpsuit was annoyed by the repairs and cleanup, moreso than when Cox annually destroyed a lab. Everyone knew he was going to destroy a lab. It was like the first bloom of spring or finding yet another opossum struck dead on the side of the road: natural and predictable.

No one knew Newbie was going to have a shouting match with Kelso. Therefore, no one knew Newbie was going to lose it after having a shouting match with Kelso; probably not even Newbie himself. Luckily he'd confined his tantrum to one of the men's rooms and had simply shattered all the mirrors. Rookie stuff, but, for Newbie?


Kelso had suspended him without pay for two weeks, that much Cox knew for certain, which meant balancing the kid's patients on top of everything else. That pretty much took the fun out of it. He'd have to find the kid later and rip him a new one. That would bring the fun back.

It had only been two weeks since the thing with Ruhl, and they were due to go back and give pretrial statements the following day. Maybe that had something to do with the timing of JD's breakdown. Carla didn't know; JD's black half didn't know; Barbie didn't even know. They'd all just stared at each other nervously when he'd asked, because breaking things intentionally in a temper tantrum was not something their JD was capable of. Hell, the kid had been moody and more annoying than usual the last couple of weeks, it wasn't that much of a shock.

The Janitor glared at him as he passed. "You tell Scooter - "

"Bah, just go on torturing him like usual when he gets back," Cox said. "Now you've finally got a reason besides just his existence."

Why the hell was everyone assuming he was going to track JD down? Yeah, he was, but was he that predictable? He'd have to do something about that.


JD heard someone try the door without knocking first, and knew immediately who it had to be. Always wanting to make a grand entrance, that guy.

Turk had called, six times; Elliot, Carla, even The Todd ("Suspension five!"), but JD had refused to answer. He just really didn't want to talk to anyone, not even his own internal voice. Not for awhile. Once shift was over and everybody got home he knew he was going to be inundated, and that would be fine, but not yet. He wanted the next day to be over with. He'd just get past that, and then he'd figure out what to do. He'd calm down or bounce his own head off a wall or take up needlepoint. It didn't matter, so long as the whole ridiculous thing was over. Sooner or later he'd have to apologize to Kelso or risk losing his job. Apologize for yelling, fine, for freaking out, but not for anything he'd said.

He heard the door rebound against the wall as someone threw it open and came barging in with a growl. Yep, not the paper boy. Not unless the paper boy had become a werewolf.

He heard a pause and a quick intake of breath, and opened his eyes. "I'm alive," he said.

Dr. Cox was standing there putting his disgruntled expression back together, and JD knew it might have been a little odd to be lying sprawled in the middle of the livingroom floor. He filed the first reaction away, though, like he did most things he observed about his mentor.

"Not for long," Cox growled, advancing on him. "Adorable tantrum, there, Holly, really third class. Get tired of looking at your girly reflection? Couldn't get your hair quite right and decided to take it out on all the offending reflective surfaces you could find?"

JD gazed at the ceiling and briefly imagined himself as Snow White, with Cox as the Wicked Stepmother, who's the rantiest of them all, but his heart wasn't in it. If he didn't respond, Cox would tire himself out and go away like usual. So it was kind of interesting to be yanked off the floor by the front of his scrubs and put right up against the nearest wall, and to find Cox making a genuinely crazy face at him.

"What's with all the touching?" JD said.

"Listen, dumbass," Cox said. "All the prima donna act did was leave the rest of us taking care of your patients. So, brilliant move there, Newbie."

"I didn't exactly plan it," JD said, tilting his head to the side with a barely repressed eye roll, tone much closer to insolence than he'd intended. "I couldn't wait to make more work for you, I get up every fucking morning and hope I reach that goal. Just like you've always suspected."

Cox dropped his hands but didn't step away. He had yet to blink. "You're turning into a real bitch, Jessica. Congratulations."

JD fixed his gaze over Cox's shoulder.

Cox was distinctly disturbed that there was no muttering of 'so's your face' from JD. "No one's gonna put up with this bullshit for long," he said, "so, whatever's twisting your frilly little panties into a Gordian knot? Get over it. The world's not going to pause just because you're having an existential crisis or renewed awareness in your own mortality or whatever the hell this is."

"Don't act like anybody needs me," JD said, eyes still on the facing wall. "I'm barely competent as it is, so what the hell difference does it make?"

Cox realized he was being baited. It was a shame he'd already slammed the kid into the wall and had nowhere else to shove him. He finally took a step back. "What'd you say to Kelso that was bad enough to get yourself suspended?"

"What, it's not all over the rumor mill already?" JD said, finally looking at him. "C'mon, there's no way somebody besides Ted didn't hear that whole thing. I've never wanted to hit somebody so bad in my life."

Cox smirked.

"He was gonna move one of my patients to County for not having insurance," JD said flatly.

"I'm not gonna defend him," Cox said. "The old bastard's been making those decisions since God was a teenager, and you knew it coming in. This isn't the first patient you've had moved, either, so - " Cox paused and rolled his eyes. "Aw, c'mon, Newbie." His voice rose to a mocking whine. "What, you've gotta fight the big fight now because you got shot at?" He dropped his voice to a growl. "This is how the health care system works, you know it, and you just got yourself removed from it for two weeks over some little thing, and now there's one less doctor over there fighting for his patients. Real nice, best way to handle it."

"That's great, coming from you," JD snapped. "You go around or go right on through any time something doesn't go your way, no matter who it pisses off, and you're telling me how to handle things?"

"You're not me," Cox said, voice dropping even further in anger. "You can't be me, you shouldn't be me, and you don't have the kind of tenure to get away with storming around the hospital acting like belle of the ball. The soapbox isn't gonna get you anything but knocked on your ass from a little higher than normal. So cut it out and go back to making the little gestures."

JD frowned at him and folded his arms across his chest. Cox dropped his eyes and huffed an impatient sigh.

"For Christ's sake, you actually used your hands to break the mirrors," he said, gesturing at the scrapes and scratches on what was visible of JD's hands and forearms. "With all the stuff we have lying around that place, you couldn't find anything to pick up and swing?"

JD shrugged. "I kind of skipped the planning stage on the whole rampage," he said. "That's sort of what 'rampage' means."

Cox shook his head and used a forefinger to brush the end of his nose. "Feel better?"

JD thought about it. "No," he said. "Now I just feel kind of dumb. Nothing new for me, though, huh?"


Cox left JD to his sulking.

He did not entirely like JD's new way of handling things.

Mainly because he wasn't sure how to adjust to it.


"So if you were going to kill me, how exactly would you do it?"

Cox was used to ridiculous things coming out of JD's mouth, so he was neither surprised nor put off by the question. Mainly he just narrowed his eyes without looking away from the road.

He'd ordered him to be ready to go exactly the same way he'd done it the first time, when it was just a workshop and not the mess it had become. They were required to give pretrial statements, or more specifically JD was since he'd been the only one to really speak to the guy.

The kid looked as tired as Cox felt.

He hated it and appreciated it in equal parts that he always knew what JD was thinking. There was no guessing, with that one. Or there hadn't been, anyway.

"When you were banging my head on the wall a couple of weeks ago," JD said. "I mean, the only time. Well, the only time so far. You said if I did anything like that again you'd kill me yourself."

Cox had one of those moments where he realized something surreal was happening, something that only happened when JD was around. The kid warped any situation he was in. He couldn't decide whether this was one of those times JD just didn't understand the concept of literal vs figurative, was choosing not to, or was just in a mood to push his buttons. The younger doctor was behaving a little more JD-like than he had been the day before, but there was an edge to everything.

"Your door is unlocked," Cox said. "There's nothing stopping me from just tossing you out onto the highway right this very moment, La-La."

JD kept staring at him, but he did reach back and lock his door. "Is that a...Teletubbies reference?"

"Someone's gotta keep an eye on what Jack watches," Cox said. "I mean, look what's happened to you." He paused. "Most of it makes me want to put the nearest sharp thing right through one of my eyes, possibly both, with the little cutesy dialogue and the voiceovers and the nonstop primary and secondary colors, I mean really, who in their right mind aspires to heading up these little projects and immerses themselves day after day in any of it? The baby's face in the sun is really kind of...I mean, some of it is sort of..."

"Soothing?" JD said, then looked away quickly.

"It's one thing for people with children to watch these things, Newbie, if watching is what it can be called, but purposely watching over the age of five just tells me so, so many things."

"I get stuck," JD said defensively. "I was just flipping channels, and there it was, and it pulled me in."

"If we have to converse, and apparently we do, I'd much rather it be about killing you than about what kids in your stage of development are watching on TV," Cox said.

"You're the one who brought up Teletubbies," JD mumbled. "Just, you know, stick to girl's names if it's such a problem."

"I'm so glad we can have these little heart-to-hearts," Cox said. "The ones where I remind you to watch your attitude and then tell you to shut up altogether, and then you actually do it."

"You didn't answer me," JD said, slumping down in his seat a little and letting his seatbelt butt against his chin.

"I have no idea what you're reaching for with this line of questioning, Tinky-Winky, but it's never actually going anywhere. You do realize that I am a doctor, and I could easily have put something in your coffee for the last three mornings that would build up in your system over time and cause you to mysteriously appear to drop dead, only to awaken in your very own coffin six feet under roughly twenty minutes after the last shovelful has been patted into place?"

JD froze and looked at his coffee for a moment. Had it tasted any different lately? Had Dr. Cox been anywhere near his coffee, ever, in the last few days? He wanted a headstone made of chocolate and then laminated or something, because it would be so hard to keep the squirrels from nibbling it, or to keep it from melting in the sun. It would have to be that crummy fake chocolate that cheap Easter bunnies were usually made of, to survive, which was sad but made better sense. And if his coffin was made out of chocolate too, then when he woke up, he could just eat his way out...he needed to change his will, immediately.

A sharp whistle broke his concentration.

"Carob is just wrong," JD yelled.

Cox reached over and flicked a finger against the side of JD's head just to hear the sound, then put both hands back on the wheel as if nothing had happened.

JD rubbed his head. It was turning into their last roadtrip all over again. "You'd pitch me off a roof, wouldn't you," he said accusingly.

"I don't know what's gotten into you," Cox said in a warning tone that had genuine irritation behind it, "but tuck it away in one of your various nooks and crannies, because today is not a good day for it."

"You'd probably do something right in front of everybody that didn't include anything really personal," JD said. "You know, the roof, or out a window, or a pillow over my face in the on-call room. I think it'd be a spur of the moment thing, a crime of opportunity."

He didn't notice Cox's knuckles getting progressively whiter on the wheel.

"You wouldn't actually put something in my coffee or inject me with something, because that would mean you thought about it first. It wouldn't actually have anything to do with what you know about anatomy or being a doctor, you'd put a scalpel right in my throat or something because it was there and you'd had enough."

Cox's nostrils flared.

"I'd never see it coming, either, because I'd be happy to stand out on the edge of the roof with you, right, even if you said 'I'm gonna shove you off the roof now, Clarissa' because I trust you and you'd have a reason for doing it."

Cox pulled over onto the shoulder and was out of the car almost before he'd finished putting it in park.

JD waited a moment to see if he was going to be pulled right out of the car. They were on an overpass, not the best place to pull over, but the best place to pitch him over the side of something. Either that, or he was about to find himself hitchhiking to San Jose, which wouldn't be all that bad since he was wearing a suit. A guy in a suit was not going to carjack you. A guy in a suit was okay for hot coeds to pick up.

He'd been pushing Cox's buttons since the workshop. He couldn't seem to stop. He knew he was doing it and the compulsion was stronger than his innate sense of self preservation.

Cox did exactly what JD had envisioned him doing on the ride back to Sacramento that had never happened: he was ranting in a circle around the car. Actually ranting, in a circle. It was almost funny except that it was really pretty disturbing. He was glad he had avoided it the first time, because Cox was waving his arms and pulling his own hair and growling between exclamations that JD couldn't quite make out with the window up and the door closed.

He waited until Cox was on the far side of the car, then got out and tried to look casual while not leaning on the car and not getting too close to the concrete barrier separating him from the drop to the road below. He didn't want to actually invite a tossing. They could just bury him that way, though, because he was already in a suit. Convenient. He wondered what size spatula they would have to use for people who tumbled off overpasses. They could make a giant spatula for the front attachment of a bulldozer, and hopefully he would be less scrambled and more over easy.

"...and then it's like you're bipolar in addition to having a stunning case of ADD, Martha, and while it's perfectly normal for a girl your age to have so many issues, it would be nice if you could possibly shut the hell up occasionally, because there's only so much that –"

"You don't get it," JD said.

He said it in a conversational tone at a conversational volume, but Cox heard it over his shouting like he always did and came so damn close so fast that JD backed right up against the car.


"You heard it the first time, bat-boy," JD said. His tone was still conversational but a key higher. "It's always about you, everything is, except this time it really is about you and you don't get it. You're so goddamn self absorbed, but you missed this one? It's a good thing you insist you're not my mentor, because you're kind of dense."

Cox put his hands up like he meant to grab JD by the ears or who knew what, and JD squeezed his eyes shut and yelled "I said kind of, don'tkillme!"

"What. The fuck. Are you trying to say."

JD opened his eyes again and knew Cox was truly angry this time, because there wasn't even a nickname to go with it. And. His eyes. His eyes were genuinely scary instead of just enraged or annoyed. Hitchhiking wasn't that dangerous; it had worked out fine in college and he was less twig-like now than he had been then. He could make it. It didn't seem like he had enough breath left to say what he had to, but he managed anyway.

"You don't take anything seriously," he said. "You don't. You act like you do, you want people to think you do. I don't expect you to take me seriously, you never have and you're never going to, and it doesn't matter anymore because I know better. But goddamnit, Perry, is it too much to ask you to quit being all-knowing and impervious long enough to not practically beg a guy with a fucking shotgun to blow you away?"

There. If he cursed a lot then it meant that he was all business! Cursing in a suit gave him double credence.

Cox looked heavenward as if asking for strength. "This is your big problem?" he said, several degrees calmer. Or at least pretending to be.

"Um," JD mumbled. "One of them."

Cox sighed.

"It was such a big joke to you, just kind of an annoyance, like the rest of us were stupid to be scared," JD said. "You had no problem believing that a cop had wandered in and was telling everybody it was okay."

"What do you want me to do, Newbie?" Cox said. "Apologize? The whole damn thing was ridiculous. Will that shut you up? An apology?"

"You know, you patronize me every other goddamn day of my life," JD shot back. "How about you skip today?"

Cox jabbed a finger at JD's chest, making contact hard enough to bruise. "You're the one who ran out into the middle of the mess, you idiot! And I'm not taking things seriously? You wanna go there, Newbie? You wanna talk about this? You spend two-thirds of your so-called life with your head in the clouds. No one can get through a conversation with you without you drifting off. You can't keep a goddamn girlfriend, you haven't made an ounce of progress in even pretending to try and grow up, and you're fuckin' telling me to take you seriously?"

They were shouting at each other on the side of the road. They had reached an all time high.

"You self-righteous asshole!"JD shouted back. "Pompous bastard jackass ass-bastard!"

JD would later insist he was the one who threw the first punch, but in reality, it was mutual.

It was a testament to the lack of temerity of California's commuters that no one pulled over to get involved in any way. Road rage was, after all, not necessarily relegated to the occupants of two separate vehicles. Sometimes all it took was one vehicle.

For once, JD waited until later to be amazed about something, and in this case it was the fact that he'd actually hauled off and hit Dr. Cox. In the face. Hard enough to split his own knuckles.That hurt like hell, as much if not more than his eye, because Dr. Cox had popped him dead center right off the bat.

"You fight like a girl," Dr. Cox said, holding his jaw. "What a surprise."

"Still kicking your ass anyway, though," JD said. "What's that say about you, Percival?"

Cox actually threw him over the hood of the car for that, and luckily the shoulder was wide enough that he didn't end up in traffic. He stood up and straightened his clothes and found Dr. Cox doing the same. Cox smirked at him, and then they were both laughing like it was the funniest thing they'd ever seen.

"Let's go up to the roof as soon as we get back," Cox said. JD laughed even harder. "Are we done, now, Terri? Anything else you wanna complain about?"

JD shook his head. "Did any of it sink in?"

"Don't push your luck," Cox said.

"You'd think I didn't care about you if I didn't," JD said. "Can I drive?"



The court clerk who checked them in looked them both over and took in the still-forming bruises on their faces. "Everything okay?"

They both looked at him in confusion. He gestured between them, specifically at their faces. "Run into some trouble?"

"No, no," Cox said. "I hit him."

"We hit each other at about the same time," JD said.

"I hit him first," Cox said.

He appraised them carefully, likely looking for a trace of humor. There was none. "You guys do this all the time?" he said.

JD shook his head. "Special occasions only."

"Deaths in the family, hostage situations," Cox said. "The usual."

"You guys need...I don't know, ice or something?"

"Nah, we're doctors," JD said.

"I'm a doctor," Cox said. "This over here wants to be one, someday."

"That's a no, then," he said. "Can I leave you in the same room without a referee?"

"That might actually provoke us," JD said. "A little. Him, anyway."

The clerk looked at JD for a long moment as if waiting for a secret plea for help. Then he shook his head and walked away.

"Blink if you need help, Katie," Cox said.

JD looked at him. "They think you beat me all the time."

Cox shrugged. "Maybe I should start."

"How's your jaw?"

"Oh-ho, I've been hit harder than that by Jordan," Cox said. "Don't flatter yourself."

"That's not saying much," JD said. "Jordan's really strong. She might even be a cyborg."

"That would explain a lot," Cox said. After a pause, he added, "How's the eye?"

"You didn't hit me half as hard as you could have," JD said. There was a lot that was said and left unsaid with the statement, but they both let it go.

It was quiet for a long moment. Then JD said, "Jordan hit you?"

"I don't ask you about your sex life, do I, Newbie?"

JD blushed. "No, mostly you just mock it."

"As it should be."

A few minutes of silence later, they were gestured in to give their testimony.

It was a small conference room with a wide mahogany table and standard office chairs. Low lighting, tape recorder visible on the table, pitcher of water and glasses. A couple of court clerks and a security guard hung back while Ruhl's attorney, Karl Bascomb, introduced himself. The prosecuting attorney, Johansson, introduced himself and then hung back, looking impassive.

The story wasn't hard to tell; JD hadn't been telling much of it after his initial statement to the cops beyond a rundown for Turk and Carla. Even for Elliot he'd only stuck to the basics and the facts. He hadn't wanted the attention.

Well, at least he'd thought it wouldn't be hard to tell. Then he got to the Bad Part.

"I walked up to him," JD said. "He looked really surprised, and he didn't point the gun at me or anything. He had everybody backed into a corner. Nobody was hurt. He told me to stand with everybody else, so I did, and I started trying to talk to him. Told him he could just walk out with us and pretend he'd been at the conference, he could still get away. He was really distracted, he kept checking the gun and looking up and down the hallway like he didn't know what to do next. The fire alarms started going off in the other buildings on campus – we could hear them. He wanted to know who else was in the building, and I told him I was by myself, everybody else was gone. Then the fire alarm in our building went off, right next to us, and I was looking right at his face when it happened. He didn't mean to pull the trigger, I could tell by how shocked he was. He shot the guy standing next to me but he didn't mean to."

Cox was staring at him, eyes narrowed. He was hearing it all for the first time.

"Mr..." Bascomb paused and flipped a page.

"Cary," JD said. "Mike Cary. He's still in physical therapy, but he was told he'll get all the function in his right arm back."

Bascomb nodded. "He told us you'd been in contact."

"The guy left a bloody handprint on the wall," JD said. "I was kind of worried. That was when everybody broke for it, and Ruhl let them go. He acted like he was in shock, too, like he wasn't sure what was going on, and I said to just let everybody go, I'd stay. The alarm shut off, and I tried to get him to keep talking. I got just a little of the story about his wife, about what he was trying to do. Then a door slammed down the hall, and he said 'you told me no one else was here'."

"The last of the people with me let go of a door too fast," Cox said. "We were still moving room to room, trying to get out without being seen or heard."

"He hit me with the gun a couple of times," JD said, and he didn't see Cox grimace as he said it. "Barricaded me into a room while I was down. He said he was going to see who was still in the building, and when he did, that would be my fault."

Johansson scribbled a note. "That explains the door of room 212," he said. "When we mapped everything out, we were able to explain everything but the door, because no one indicated in their statements that they'd been locked into a room and had to smash their way out with a fire extinguisher." He flipped through a manila folder and slid a photo across the table to JD. "That was just you?"

JD looked at the photo without touching it. Cox leaned over and took it. The wood around the gaping hole where the knob had been was shattered and splintered; the thick wood of the solid-core door had buckled a little just below there. It looked like the victim of something frantic. "Yeah," JD said softly. "That was just me. When the knob was off, I reached through and tipped the chair that was there out of the way and went looking for him."

"Why didn't you leave the building at that point?" Bascomb said. "You risked exacerbating an already volatile situation and getting yourself injured."

"Why don't you let the kid tell his side?" Cox snapped, and the sound of his voice startled JD.

Bascomb's eyebrows shot up, and he glanced at JD.

"There was someone else still in the building," JD said. "He'd just told me he was going after them and it'd be my fault."

"Did he specifically say he was going to shoot anyone?" Bascomb said.

"No," JD said. "He just said, 'let's see who comes out, and that'll be your fault'. He didn't tell me what he was going to do, so I wasn't sure. He was really, really stressed out and acting desperate. So I started running hall to hall, thinking maybe I could keep distracting him."

"Where did you find him?" Bascomb said.

"Near the north stairs," JD said. "I heard him before I saw him, he was walking down the hallway yelling that it was okay to come out, it was all over, proceed to the exits. He was trying to fool people into coming out.

"When I came around the corner, it was one of those things where you see everything slow down. Everything just kind of levels out and you can see every detail and when you think about it later it's even more pronounced. I don't know if he would have done it, I'm not sure if it was in him or not, and because I wasn't sure I had to do something to get his attention." JD pantomimed the cocking of a slide-action shotgun in midair. "The door was opening and one of the empty shells went flying when he chambered another round or whatever it is shotguns do, and it flipped end over end for the longest time, just hanging there catching the light and the barrel started to come down and I just started shouting at him. I don't even remember what I said."

"He said, 'You even look at him, and I'll drop you'," Cox supplied. "'Come on, nutcase, you want someone to take this out on, let's go'."

JD turned his head to look at him, trying to keep the surprise off his face.

"How did you know Dr. Cox was behind the door?" Bascomb said.

"He'd stay until everybody else was out," JD said. "It's just what he'd do."

"Then..." Bascomb prompted.

"He swung around and pulled the trigger," JD said. "I didn't really think he'd do it, so I wasn't running yet, I just ducked and got sprayed with drywall. I started running, and he kept shooting at me, he was aiming for me, but he was running too so it was all over the place. When I hit the doors to the outside and went out, he stopped halfway down the hallway like he'd realized what was happening. So I went back in after him. I had to get him out of the building before anyone else came down the hallway. I yelled at him and he got mad enough to come out after me."

"What did you say to him?" Bascomb said.

JD dropped his eyes. "I could've tried to talk him back down," he said. "I should have. I made things worse, I think, I mean, the cops could've felt like they had to open fire on him the way he came out with the gun pointed – "

Cox kicked one leg of JD's chair with enough force to jostle him. "I said he hadn't had the balls to save his wife so he didn't have the balls to make anyone pay for it, either," JD said, flushing with embarrassment. "He had every right to shoot at me. I just wanted him out of the building." He fidgeted, keeping his eyes down and his hands in his lap, picking at a fingernail. "That's everything."

Bascomb closed his binder. "It matches the accounts of the rest of the witnesses," he said. "You're the only one who had any significant contact with Mr. Ruhl, though, so we'll need you back for the trial. You'll be notified of when and where to appear."

JD nodded. "Thanks."


JD walked back to the car a step behind Cox like it was the end of a marathon, nearly stumbling with exhaustion. Hell, he had two weeks' suspension to sleep through, so it was no big deal.

"Newbie," Cox said in a purposely offhand tone without looking at him. "You gonna be okay?"

"Hells yeah," JD said automatically.

He fell asleep in the car almost immediately and didn't feel the hand that briefly cupped the back of his head and then patted him on the shoulder.


"What the hell happened to you?" Carla said when JD walked in.

"I walked into a door," JD said. "Clumsy me."

Dr. Cox walked in behind him and growled at JD.

"Oh my God!" Carla said. "What happened to both of you?"

"Walked into a door," Cox said, then stalked away.

Carla looked at JD expectantly. "It's a lot more common than you think," JD said. "There was this one time, with a revolving door at the mall – "

"Fine, never mind," she said. "I can't let you two go anywhere, can I."

"Oh, we won't," JD said. "I might have to, for the trial, but they pretty much don't want the both of us together anywhere again."

He walked away whistling.

Carla shook her head. "World would be a safer place," she mumbled.


Two months later

JD made sure he had everything and was heading out the door. It had gone to a jury trial and he was testifying over the next two days. Turk was going to give him a ride to the car rental place and besides Kelso, only Turk and Carla knew why he was off. It would be the last of the whole thing, and he could put it all away and quit thinking about it.

He gave the knob a last rattle to make sure the door was locked, and as he turned away, he startled back up against it. There was a cup of coffee being shoved under his nose.

"Hurry up," Cox said. "Does it really take that long to do your hair, Loretta? Are you still working from instructions in a styling book, or pictures of your favorite Disney characters, or one of those string-game books? It looks like you've been playing Cat's Cradle with it all morning."

"What are you doing here?" JD said.

"They'll be so disappointed if you show up at the courthouse for once without having been roughed up a little," Cox said. "They won't recognize you without it, and won't let you in. Shut up and get in the car. And don't touch anything."

JD watched him stalk away. He looked at his coffee.

A sharp whistle drifted to him. "Newbie, come!"

JD grinned and followed.