A/N: I haven't written fanfiction in several years, so we'll have to see how this goes. I appreciate anyone who reads or reviews this story. And I don't own shit.
Raising a Hand
by LQ Aredhel
JD knew it was for the best, but breaking up with Julie still felt like a big mistake. They'd gotten along great; she had been someone he'd actually wanted to go the distance with. He felt even more horrible when he recalled all of his friends telling him that he would screw it up with her, just like he always did. But then, they'd also said that he actually chose correctly this time; that breaking up with her because she didn't want to have a serious relationship was okay. Ten why did he feel so horrible?
Of course, after breaking up with his girlfriend, all JD wanted to do was cuddle. It wasn't really something he could ask Turk to do...well, he could, but Carla would probably get mad and start yelling. JD sighed. There was really no one to turn to for the kind of comfort he so badly needed.
Which was why he'd wandered a couple of blocks down from the hospital after work to a bar and decided to get hammered. Besides, there was nothing more life affirming than the dull thud of a hangover after a night of ranting to strangers.
JD sat on a stool at the bar and assessed his surroundings. The place was dark and smelled of liquor and cigarettes: perfect. There were three other guys spread out along the bar, a few people playing pool, and a couple making out in a dark corner. JD settled in and ordered an appletini.
"Actually, make it two," he decided. He wasn't just out drinking with friends or looking for a girl. He was there to forget for once night about his insanely bad luck with relationships. And to forget how perfect Julie had been. How they got along perfectly,joked together, fell down together, and even bought land together. God, the memories wouldn't go away.
After quickly finishing his appletinis, JD began ordering shots of whiskey. He even tried a scotch, thinking of his favorite alcoholic, but the taste made it hard to keep down so he went back to whiskey.
"And my friends all say that I'm afraid of commitment!" he complained to the bartender half an hour later, though the man was barely listening. "But, I broke up with her because she wouldn't commit! So how much could they really know, right?" The bartender gave a noncommittal grunt and wandered off to help other customers.
"Hey, I hear you," said a voice beside him. JD looked to see a man sitting a couple of stools down watching him sympathetically. JD guessed him to be in his mid-thirties, good-looking, with glasses and short brown hair. Coming out of his stupor, JD realized that the man had spoken to him.
"Yeah, see?" JD squealed at the bartender, who was now too far away to hear him. "Someone sees what I'm talking about." Then he yelled, "I'm not crazy!" a little louder than he'd intended.
"I once dated this person," the man began, moving to sit next to JD, "who refused to commit to our relationship. It was frustrating; no matter what I did, they still tried to pull away. I guess they just didn't trust me." He took a long drink from his glass, which JD vaguely noted was ginger ale.
"I'm telling you," JD slurred, "sometimes, you just have to let 'em go." He downed a shot of whiskey, wincing, and patted the man on the back. "You're better off, buddy."
The man smiled at him appreciatively. "Is that why you're drinking alone?" he asked, pointing to the line of empty shot glasses in front of JD. "Because of your girlfriend?"
JD sighed. "Yeah, I guess so. All my friends are working, and I don't want to talk to them anyway, buncha know-it-alls."
The man stuck out his hand. "Well, I'm Daniel."
JD shook the offered hand. "I'm Johnny." He'd sort of said it was a joke in his mind, and didn't realize until later that the man wouldn't get the joke, because he didn't realize that his name was JD, not Johnny.
"Johnny," the man repeated. "Are you a doctor, Johnny?" He gestured to JD's scrubs.
JD giggled. "Kinda. I'm a re-si-dent," he said, sounding out the last word slowly. "I do doctor stuff, though. My girlfriend -- ex-girlfriend -- always thought it was cool to tell people that I'm a doctor. She thought it was just spiffy."
Daniel smiled, looking a little confused; he had kind, blue eyes. "I'm kind of a doctor, too. I had a PhD in Marking, and I teach at the local college."
Smartypants, JD thought, frowning.
"Another ginger ale?" the bartender asked Daniel.
"Yes, please," Daniel replied, smiling shyly.
"Three more shots for me!" JD called out. The bartender rolled his eyes, nodding. "So why aren't you drinking, Smartypants?" Oops... he hadn't actually meant to call him that.
Daniel didn't seem to notice. "I'm just not a big fan of alcohol," he explained. "Tastes gross."
"You're in a bar," JD reminded him, mouth hanging open.
Daniel seemed annoyed by this. He glared at JD. "Ginger ale is on the menu, isn't it?"
JD paused and thought about it. "I didn't see a menu."
The two sat in silence for several minutes as JD, his mind thick with drunkenness, slowly realized that he'd made Daniel angry. He found this particularly painful as, at the moment, he felt as though Daniel was his only friend in the whole world. He thought hard to come up with a way to make it up to him.
"Sorry if I made you mad," JD began stiffly after downing all three shots brought by the bartender. "Can I buy you a beer to make it up to you?" The minute it left his mouth, JD realized it was a stupid thing to say: the guy didn't drink.
But JD turned to see Daniel's face softened and smiling. "Don't worry about it, my therapist says I have issues," Daniel assured him. "In fact, since you're way too inebriated to drive, I can give you a ride him. If you want?"
JD was touched by this offer, even more so because the alcohol made every emotion he felt seem a hundred times more powerful. So even as something shouted in the back of his head about getting into cars with strangers, he accepted and paid his outstanding bill with a wad of cash fro his jacket pocket.
When he finally stood to leave, the dozen shots of whiskey suddenly kicked in, and JD found himself being held up by a worried-looking Daniel.
"Okay, there?" Daniel asked when JD was finally able to stand by himself.
"I am great," JD relied, grinning. "Just a little dizzy." And the next thing he knew, he was on the ground. Then the world went dark.
Daniel's face was the first thing that JD saw when he woke. He actually let out a screech when he saw the older man hovering just above him.
"I guess you're awake now!" Daniel shouted back from his seat on the edge of the bed. JD slowly realized that he was in an unfamiliar bed and in an unfamiliar place.
"Did you kidnap me?" JD asked, his voice breaking. His head was still swimming, making the room spin around him, though Daniel's face remained still as it broke into a smile.
"Kidnap you?" Daniel repeated, amused. "You passed out in the bar. I don't know where you live, so I took you to my place. I mean, I hope that's okay? I didn't really know what else to do."
Daniel suddenly looked around the room nervously. "Listen, I ave to head off to work soon, so..."
JD was swarmed with guilt. "Yeah, I'll get out of your way." He sat up and felt as if he'd been hit in the head with a sledgehammer. Through his pain, he heard Daniel talking rapidly.
"It's not that; you're no problem. Stay as long as you'd like, sleep, shower, whatever. I just wanted to let you know that I'd be gone."
"Thank you. Wow, that's really nice of you." JD pushed away the voice in his head telling him that they were plaing out one-night stand dialogue. Mostly he was just happy to feel cared for.
Daniel gave him another adorably shy smile. "It's no problem really." Then he looked at JD with such apprehension, his eyes darting from JD's eyes to his lips and back, and JD realized that he was still sitting up in the bed and his face was mere inches from Daniel's.
Oh my God, he's going to kiss me, JD thought, and as he waited for it to happen, something in his hazy mind told him that something wasn't quite right with the whole situation. Something was off.
But then Daniel stood and turned away from the bed, clearing his throat loudly.
"Anyway, I'm just going to shower and get going," he explained, moving to the door. "It's only six a.m., so unless you have somewhere to be, feel free to sleep it off some more."
Daniel gave him one last shy -- almost apologetic -- smile before leaving the room and closing the door behind him.
As soon as the door closed, something in JD's head clicked, and he realized what was so off about Daniel almost kissing him.
Daniel was a man.
After realizing that Daniel, a man, had almost kissed him -- and, more importantly, that he'd been about to let him -- JD no longer felt like dozing in the man's bed. So he hopped up, grabbed his wallet from a nearby table, and wandered out of the room.
JD gulped when he heard the shower going in the bathroom. His thoughts were still slow and hazy, but he continued to remind himself that Daniel was a man, and that JD was straight. Still, he couldn't help but feel almost affectionate towards the man for being so kind to him. JD felt that he owed him something. I'll send him a card, he finally decided.
JD exited the apartment building. He recognized where he was -- only about a dozen blocks from his apartment -- and walked home.
By the time his shift started at nine, JD felt much more clearheaded about the whole man-kiss business. He'd simply written it off in his mind as a weird night when he got way too wasted. He made a quick mental note to follow the whole "never get into cars with strangers" mantra next time. But part of him still felt indebted to Daniel; if it weren't for him, JD would probably be in the alley behind the bar right now. Anyway, he knew where the guy lived, so he could always send him a thank you card or something. For now, JD concentrated on getting ready for work.
Somehow, with all the excitement about Daniel, JD had forgotten the reason he'd gone out drinking the night before. After he finished his rounds about thirty minutes into his shift, the reason suddenly showed up in front of him.
"Hey Julie." JD greeted his ex-girlfriend in a state of partial hope and partial dread; she was holding a cardboard box. It could contain anything from a new puppy to a bomb! JD suddenly imaged the box exploding and puppy parts flying everywhere.
"Oh my God, how could you?" he said out loud. Julie didn't even grant him a weird look. It just made JD all the more fond of her.
"JD, I came to give you your stuff back," Julie explained, passing him the box.
He frowned. "What stuff?"
"You know," she began, "like your Scooby-Doo slippers, your 'Hug Me' t-shirt, and then there are these blueprints your drew up of ideas to get Dr. Cox to see you in the 'Hug Me' t-shirt--"
"Thank you, Julie," JD cut her off, glancing down the halls to see if his mentor heard about his brilliant idea.
"Yeah, so...," Julie trailed off and they stood awkwardly for a moment.
"Look, Julie, I really am sorry about this," JD told her, fidgeting with the box in his arms.
Julie simply nodded and looked at the floor. "Yeah. I just really thought that we had something special."
"We did! Julie, I--"
"Goodbye JD." And she turned and left. JD watched her walk down the long hallway and stumble as she turned the corner.
JD sighed and turned away too quickly and slipped, sending the contents of the box flying through the air.
God, we were perfect for each other.
"Wet floor," the janitor said nonchalantly above him as he mopped away some of JD's possessions.
Sighing again, JD remained laying on the floor for a few minutes, waiting for his butt to stop aching from the fall: it was probably bruised. He wondered whether he would ever find someone as compatible with him as Julie was. Was the perfect woman really out there? Beautiful and nerdy and clumsy -- what kind of idiot would let that go?
JD rubbed his hands across his face and sighed. Now was not the time to wallow; last night had been wallow-time. But he felt his eyes tearing up anyway.
"Oh, you've got to explain this one, Clarissa. Sleeping on the job? And right in front of my patient's room noless; very professional. What the hell is this?" JD heard paper crumpling and shot up from the floor.
"It's nothing," JD explained quickly, plucking the blueprints out of Dr. Cox's hands. "I'm thinking about being an architect."
"Really, because that looked an awful lot like my apartment."
JD giggled nervously. "So Dr. Cox, any big cases today for the 'ol dynamite duo?" JD asked, changing the subject by pissing him off; worked every time.
Dr. Cox feigned surprise. "No. No. No, Hannah, because the dynamite duo died when Black Spy slept with White Spy's wife and the bloodbath really began; but you, however, have puh-lenty of big cases because I'm going to go ahead and sign over half of my charts to you. Do you know why?" JD shook his head, lowering his eyes. "Jude because you look extra meek today. Newbie, not that you don't always have that 'come hither and beat the crap out of me' look about you,but today, it's just extra lady-like: I can hardly believe you didn't curtsy when I came over here. And...Newbie, have you been crying?"
JD's eyes widened and he patted down his cheeks in search of moisture. There was none, but his eyes may still have been puffy from earlier.
He opened his mouth to spout off an excuse when Dr. Cox interrupted him. "Nope! Don't want to know. I don't want to know, Maribelle, I really don't." And Dr. Cox hefted half a dozen charts into JD's arms and walked off, mumbling to himself.
"I totally got the 'Clarrissa Explains it All' reference!" JD called after him down the hall. "I miss that show."