Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and I don't make any money off of them.
A/N: Thanks as always to ritt, the world's best beta and sounding board!
"I never should have let him stop the car."
Charlie's words drew Alan's attention away from the observation window in front of him. "Charlie…"
"No, Dad," the younger man insisted. "I mean it. I should have known something like this would happen."
Before he could respond, a doctor appeared and placed a gentle hand on Alan's elbow. "Mister Eppes," he greeted. "I know you've been waiting for a while so I wanted to let you know we should be getting those test results back very soon now."
Alan nodded. "Thank you, Doctor Montgomery. Tell me, what are your initial thoughts?"
The doctor hesitated for a moment but relented upon reading the concern in the older man's eyes. "The injury itself doesn't look too bad. Might need a little surgery to get the leg bone set, but hopefully not. Mainly I want to make sure there's no infection or other medical complications before we treat him." Montgomery glanced at his watch. "Speaking of… those results should be ready any second now. Let me go check."
As the doctor left, Alan turned his attention back to the observation room and closely watched the man inside as he played with a small, purple stuffed elephant.
"At least he seems happy," Charlie observed as the man in the room tossed the elephant to the side and reached for a large, red and yellow ball.
"He does," Alan agreed as the figure in the room caught a glimpse of them and smiled. "Hey, Donny," he responded even though he doubted his son could hear him through the glass. He moved away from the window and took a seat in a nearby chair, looking up as two women wearing white lab coats and compassionate expressions pushed a tray of medical instruments down the hallway.
Charlie perched on the chair next to his father and sighed. "I hate the smell of antiseptic. Too many bad memories."
Alan reached over and patted his knee. "I know, son. Hopefully the doctor will be back soon with good news."
The two men sat in silence, looking up every time a member of the medical staff walked by and hoping that it was Doctor Montgomery, wearing a smile and bearing good news. But the minutes ticked by with no such luck until a half hour had elapsed and Alan's back was ready to call it quits from such a long period in the uncomfortable chair. He stood upright and stretched the kinks out of his back as he looked at his youngest son. "I can't take this anymore," he announced. "I'm going to go see your brother."
Charlie's eyes widened. "But Dad-"
"Charlie," Alan said with a reassuring smile. "There's nothing to be afraid of. Besides, you don't have to come with me." Alan had gotten no more than three steps away before Charlie appeared at his side, shaking his head.
"I can't believe I'm doing this."
"Donny will appreciate it, son. You'll see."
The two men reached the door and Alan quietly slipped inside, sensing Charlie hesitantly joining him.
"Look!" Don exclaimed in a joyful, babyish voice. "It's Dad and Charlie! Hey Dad and Charlie!"
Alan couldn't help the smile that appeared on his face, although he noticed Charlie frowning at the childish voice. He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen his oldest so happy. "Donny," he chuckled. "And…" He glanced at the bundle of fur on the floor in front of his son. "Does he have a name yet?"
"Working on a couple," Don grinned as he turned his attention back to the tiny dog who was nipping at his hand. "What was it Charlie said… Oh yeah, I was thinking 'Hazardous' might be a good name."
"Hey!" Charlie protested indignantly. "The way that thing was yipping and growling when you stopped the car-"
"He had just been hit by a car," Don defended the dog. "I imagine you wouldn't be too pleased either."
Charlie was still trying to formulate a response when the door opened and Doctor Montgomery joined them. "Good news," he announced. "Our little patient here is going to be just fine. The blood work came back clear and the x-rays show a nice, clean break on his leg. All we need to do is have you sign some paperwork so we can set the bone, put a cast on it and he's ready to go home."
"Home?" Charlie and Alan asked simultaneously.
Don shrugged as a flush crept up his cheeks. "He kind of grew on me," he admitted as he stroked the Yorkshire Terrier behind the ears. The little dog wagged its tail and used its three good legs to climb into Don's lap and curl up against his stomach.
"I suppose I'll be dog sitting while you're at work?" Alan asked with mock irritation.
Don leaned down until he was nose-to-nose with the little dog. "Think of him as your first grandchild," he teased as a pink tongue began lapping his face.
Alan snorted as he glanced at Charlie. "Hazardous indeed."
Charlie merely smiled as he watched Montgomery hand some papers to Don. "Wait for it," he whispered to his father.
Don's face paled as he read the top sheet of paper. "Are there supposed to be that many zeroes?"
"Hazardous," Charlie announced triumphantly as Don pulled out a credit card. "The vet bill is just the start. Food, dog toys, treats, household accidents, annual shots… Don's wallet is never going to know what hit it."