Chapter Eleven

Turk leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees as he absently rolled his cereal bowl between his hands, not noticing when it tipped suddenly, depositing a large dollop of milk sodden oats on the rug between his bare feet.

"You are the dumbest creature on the face of this planet." He announced to the face opposite his own. "The dumbest."

He was so absorbed in his thoughts that he didn't hear his wife step out of the bedroom and cross the floor.

"Turk, I think Rowdy is already aware of his shortcomings. It seems a little unfair of you to goad him like that first thing in the morning."

Her husband looked up at her. "Huh?"

"What is more worrying is the fact that I have reached a point in my life where I no longer think it's weird that you talk to a stuffed dead dog."

"Oh. I wasn't calling Rowdy dumb Carla." He screwed his face up in confusion. "Why would you think that?"

"Maybe it was the fact that you are sitting looking at him and calling him dumb?"

"I was talking about me." Turk huffed as he pushed himself up from the couch. "I'm the dumbest person on the face of this planet."

Carla took in her husband's serious expression and moved over to him, lightly rubbing his arm.

"OK. Tell Carla, what's wrong?"

"Dan. He left."

"What do you mean he left? He just got here yesterday." Carla sounded confused.

Turk nodded and gave her a small, wry smile. "Well he's gone again."

"Is he gonna come back?" Carla asked.

"No," Turk watched as Carla's hands flew to her hips and her brow crinkled into a frown. "And baby, before you get started I gotta say you're preaching to the choir here!"

"Doesn't he get that JD needs him?"

Turk sighed resignedly. "I don't think he got much further than his own overwhelming discomfort at being in a hospital room with his brain damaged brother. He just couldn't deal."

"That's what he said?"

"Nah, he spun me a loada crap about getting back to work." Turk let out a small, mirthless laugh. "You know he didn't even spend more than fifteen minutes with JD before he bailed, I mean sure he'd hung round most of the day but as soon as JD was actually conscious and the pressure to actually provide some level of support arose, he was outta there."

"Great." Carla whispered as she dumped herself down on the couch next to her husband.

"He didn't even say goodbye to him." Turk muttered as he scooted up to his wife, pulling her into a gentle hug. "And I didn't even have the stones to tell him he'd gone."

Hmm. That's very nice. Since when did the nurses in this place wake patients with smoochie kisses. Whoa and a little tongue!

Oh God, I hope it isn't Laverne or Paul. Oh no, brain stop, stop thinking now and mouth stop kissing back in case it is Laverne!

Or Paul! I meant to say Paul as well, although on balance I would definitely consider Paul if I did have to choose between ...

Oh, for the love of God why can't I just stop thinking!

"And I thought this would be a quick wake up call."

Elliot! It's Elliot; oh it is so good to see you! It feels like days since ... when were you here last? It's all a bit blurry and I can't quite remember.

"Oh, so you are awake." Elliot pulled away from him and sat on the edge of the bed. "I think you faked for a minute to get more tongue." She smiled hesitantly. "I'm sorry I bailed the other morning. I thought maybe you didn't want me helping and then I realised that you really didn't want me helping and then I had to go and sulk about it for a while until Carla good and kicked my butt with one of her more painful 'talking - at – you' sessions. So, here I am, butt kicked and now understanding that what you need from me and saying... Um... sorry. I'm sorry." Elliot blinked a tear away and leaned forward draping her arm gently across JDs chest, pressing her face into the side of his neck.

"Mm sssorrry ...ttoo"

"What?" She replied as she snuggled against him. Suddenly she bolted upright. "What? You spoke, JD you spoke! I'll get Dr Cox!" She moved to get up but JDs left hand suddenly found its way to hers and tried to pull her back.

"Nno, s'o..kk"

"Did this happen yesterday?"

JD nodded, suddenly looking tired again.

"Why didn't Carla tell me? I miss a couple of shifts and... " She trailed off, looking embarrassed. "I didn't ask her. I saw her last night and I didn't even ask. JD, I'm a horrible girlfriend."

JD stared at her as she sat on the edge of his bed looking forlorn, picking at a thread on her scrubs top. Suddenly he laughed. He hadn't heard himself laugh for what felt like forever and the noise made him jump.

I laughed. I laughed and it sounded like me, it sounded like it's always sounded!

Elliot stared at him. "It's not funny JD. I'm the worst girlfriend in history."

You just made me laugh.

"My mom was right."

And it sounded like me; it sounded like the old me.

"I bet there's a little bell that went off in her head just then, an 'Elliot just proved me right bell' that rings every t..." Elliot's monologue was stopped by JD tugging on her hand.

" ...g..g..." JD couldn't get the word to come out.

"Girlfriend?" Elliot supplied, her brow crinkling.

JD nodded. "Ll..ove ... y..y.ou."

Elliot leaned forward and cupped his face in her hands. "I love you too." She whispered as she pressed her lips against his.

Suddenly the door to the room swung open and Dr Cox was almost beside the bed before Elliot had chance to pull away from JD. Her face flushed and she nervously searched the room for something to be doing.

"Dr Cox I was just ... well I was about to Check JD's chart." She finished triumphantly.

"Well that's just admirable Barbie being as you are not his doctor and last time I looked you had a full service of neglected patients of your own oh and in the interests of those poor patients I feel it's my duty to let you in on a little secret."

Elliot crinkled her brow in confusion as she stared at Dr Cox.

"The charts, well we usually keep 'em at the foot of the beds and not stuck to the patients faces, see it tends to make the whole reading of them thing a little easier." He flashed her an almost maniacal grin as he bounced up and down on his heels. "Anyway enough of us and the job that you are so obviously not doing, rumour has it that Kathy here got her chat back." He turned to stare at JD who'd been silent since he entered the room.

JD nodded.

"Oh you so do not get away with that Newbie. I want to hear a full sentence so I can go ahead and get over the fact that you can now once again annoy the living crap outta me." He raised his eyebrows expectantly.

"Dr Cox..." Elliot interrupted.

"Oh no Barbie, don't you dare. I know it's every woman's dream to have a man they literally have to talk for so I hate to rob you of your moment but I want your girlfriend to wear the pants and do the talking today." His words were sarcastic and laced with amusement as he spoke but when he fixed Elliot with his gaze she could see he was serious.

"Come on Baby Jane let's hear it."

JD swallowed. It wasn't just the fact that anything he did say sounded distorted and slurred it was that he didn't actually know what to say. 'Hey Dr Cox, how are you doing?' seemed more than a little empty while 'Hey I feel and sound like crap' was, to be honest, totally redundant. That and the fact that it would probably take him a good half hour to say either of those sentences left him back at square one; wordless and more than a little humiliated at not even being able to speak.

"How about we just start with me saying I'm glad you finally spoke and you saying 'thanks'?" Perry asked.

"" JD slurred out. "Ss..ound...h..horr..horr..." JD took a deep breath and squeezed his eyes shut. ""

Elliot noticed Dr Cox's jaw tighten and his shoulders slide down almost imperceptibly and she knew it was worse than he had hoped.

"You sound just fine kid, just fine." He ran his hand through his hair and nodded.

Detective Jeff Monroe flipped down the visor in front of him and leaned against the steering wheel in order to get a better view of his teeth. Grinning into the tiny mirror he squeaked his forefinger across them once or twice and then performed a cursory tongue sweep before snapping a quick smile at his partner who sat next to him.

Lexy Harris groaned inwardly. She's seen this style of pre-interview preening before and it never ended well. She drew in a deep breath as Jeff smoothed the front of his shirt and flicked at an imaginary piece of lint on the cuff of his suit jacket.

"So," She began lazily, "our victim. Let me guess, he's single and lives with his dear elderly mother whom you met at the hospital when you did the pre-lim report?"

Jeff just laughed.

"No?" Detective Harris carried on. "Ok, then he's gay and one half of the most adorable gay couple you've ever met and you met the other half when you did the pre-lim reports."

Jeff raised his eyebrows at her as he reached across to the glove compartment for his note book.

"Wait!" Lexy gasped as she pressed her finger tips to her temples. "It's almost like I'm psychic ... Yes that's it... this must be a vision! Our victim has a hot girlfriend whom you met when you did the pre-lim reports and now she's being treated to the teeth scrub and cologne assault of Detective Jeff Monroe! Goddamn it Jeff please tell me you are not going to do this again! Look at the whole heap of shit it got you in last time not to mention I had to work for six months, yes six months with stinky O'Connor on traffic, all because you and your tail don't know when to quit!"

Jeff smiled patiently at his flustered partner as he positioned his shades on his nose and brushed his hand through his hair. "What can I say sexy Lexy, the girl's into me. I can tell." Winking under his shades Jeff Monroe hopped out of the car, slammed the door and started purposefully toward the main entrance of Sacred Heart.

Perry trudged down the corridor to Dr Shulers office. He wasn't enjoying today and it had only just started. His head was pounding, Jack had kept him up half the night and Jordan, who couldn't be woken by an earthquake, had been no help. But that wasn't the real reason he was so pissed and he knew it. He was pissed at himself for Christ sake, pissed because he'd been so stupidly hopeful! Him, Perry Cox, hopeful. He snorted to himself at how ridiculous he'd been. He didn't know why he'd done it, expected JD to be ok once he could speak. He'd seen how his body had reacted to the first simple tests Schuler had performed so logic, logic, Perry Cox's firmest friend, had dictated that his speech would be just as badly affected but still he'd hoped.

All he had wanted was for Newbie to be the same old verbally annoying kid and then Perry could cope with the physical, if he could just get that one sense of normality back, he could cope, but now he was less sure and a Perry Cox who is unsure of himself is not a happy Perry Cox.

He didn't knock at Schuler's door when it leapt up at him. In true Cox style he just barged his way in.

"Good to see you Perry." Schuler drawled without even looking up.

"I have a plan, for this PT buddy crap. Now this thing with his back should be OK with the brace on so we need to get him up and out of that bed soon." Perry paced the carpet his fingers alternating between shoving through his hair and lacing together to crack his knuckles. "I don't think the time your two track suited specials can give him or me joining in occasionally will be enough so I'm gonna talk to Satan and get some time off. It fits in well with me because Jordan tried to turn our tardy nanny into stone this morning and now, well, we have no nanny, so I'll be bringing Jack into the crèche here but some of the time he'll need to be with me, so I figure I can get Newbie into the therapy room and Jack can play on the mats. Whaddya think?"

"Are you offering to take time off your beloved job to help a fellow human being, at no gain for yourself?"

Perry stared at the other doctor and gritted his teeth. "Yes."

"OK. It's a good idea. Like I said before the more one on one he gets the faster he'll improve. The buddy system usually helps so this could only help more. Darren has a session planned tomorrow at ten. Be there and learn, oh and let Dr Turk know too will you? He's been eager to help as well."

Perry made for the door but Schuler interrupted his progress.

"I meant what I said about learning from Darren Perry."

Perry rolled his eyes at Schuler.

"I mean it. Darren knows what he's doing and you are well aware that physical therapy isn't just a matter of bending arms and legs, you can do more damage doing it wrong so you will listen to Darren or he will throw you out."

"It's a deal." Perry muttered, nodding his head.

"Better go see Satan then," Schuler smirked. "He's gonna want a piece of your soul for this Perry."

"He's already got it my friend, he's already got it." Perry replied as he left the room.

JD lay on his back staring at the ceiling in his room. It wasn't anything new, it was all he did now but what was new was the way he was feeling. He'd gotten used to feeling angry and totally confused by turns but the feelings he was experiencing now were new and he couldn't quite name them.

Anger was in the mix somewhere, he knew that, the way he couldn't stop himself from shaking told him that, but at the same time he felt ... bereft, inconsolable, sorrowful and mostly humiliated.

And it was all that new guys fault. And who the hell was he anyway? JD hoped Elliot would come back and explain to him what had just happened but he didn't hold out much hope.

He'd fallen asleep, a new and disturbing talent he had that disjointed his days and fragmented his memories until he wasn't sure about anything. When he woke up it was to four people entering his room. Elliot was there and Ted was with her and suddenly he was explaining that there were police officers with them. At that point a sharply suited arm thrust in front of him with the hand extended and when JD hadn't grabbed the hand and shaken it immediately his own limp right hand was grabbed from where it lay across his stomach and shaken.

"Hey, kid, I'm Detective Monroe and this is Detective Harris. We're working your case and we needed to see if you remembered anything about what happened."

Kid? Kid! We're probably the same age.

"I know your colleague here tells me that you can't really speak too well at the moment but can you give it a try?" He didn't wait for JD to nod. "Do you remember the moment you were attacked?"

JD shook his head.

"OK. Anything like a sound or smell, any words you may have heard?"

JD closed his eyes and thought. "P-pp-ushed a-and d-d-d..." JD struggled over the word.

"Looks like this'll take a while." Monroe muttered quietly to his partner who stood next to him.

Hey, I'm right here jerk! I can here you and I'm trying my best. You try getting hit with a goddamn baseball bat and see how y ... A baseball bat? A baseball bat, that's what I heard fall on the ground. Shit, shit, why would someone ... do??

"B-bat. P-pushed ... n d-dropped-d m-my I-P-ppod. H-hheard it d-drop."

"Your I-Pod?"

JD shook his head. "B-bassse b-ball b-bat."

JD felt a surge of pride flood his stomach. He'd remembered something. It wasn't much, he knew but to have dragged it from his tangled memories that really held nothing of the attack felt like a miracle to JD and he felt his throat tighten and his eyes prickle. He'd remembered and maybe, just maybe that meant something. Maybe it meant he could get other stuff back too. Blinking he let his gaze fall back on the detective, the detective who was giving him a condescending smile and patting the back of his hand.

"That's great kid." He said patronisingly, as if JD achievement meant nothing at all. Monroe turned his back to the bed and spoke to Elliot and Ted. His words were too quick for JD to hear but he knew they were talking about him and he knew that what felt like an achievement to him was nothing to the detective and in that second JD felt stupid for being so proud of that tiny thread of memory.

Suddenly he was aware of the table being wheeled over to the bed and a piece of paper sliding across it, a pen rolling on top of that.

"We just need you to sign that the interview has taken place." The female detective said gently.

"He's not ... well I could do it." Elliot said.

"Sorry, it has to be the victim." Monroe replied his hand resting comfortingly on Elliot's shoulder. A move not unnoticed by JD. "It's not a problem." He continued, moving back to the bedside. "It just has to be a mark that's witnessed." Saying that he took JD's right hand in his and curled the pen into his limp fingers, his own much larger hand pressing the pen into JD's palm. He scanned the paper and then pulled JD's hand toward the bottom.

"Right here. A cross will do buddy." And with that he scrawled on the paper, his hand guiding JD's, forcing it to make a wobbly cross, the pen digging uncomfortably into JD's fingers, and then let JD's hand rest back on the table as he folded the paper and slid it into his jacket.

You could have asked and I would have tried. I'M SITTING RIGHT HERE, YOU COULD HAVE ASKED ME TO TRY!

"I think we're done." Monroe announced to everyone but JD and the whole party stepped awkwardly to the door and left.

You could have asked me, you could have talked to me like I was an adult... you could have just asked me, you arrogant prick! And I saw you squeezing my girlfriends shoulder!

JD lay back and gazed up to the ceiling, trying to calm his breathing and the shaking that had now taken hold of him, the fingers of his left hand twisting the fabric of his blankets.

"Are you trying to damage hospital property Scooter Pie, because that blanket now has a hole in it."

JD hadn't heard the door swing back open and he really, really didn't want to deal with the Janitor right now. He closed his eyes, hoping he'd be gone when he opened them but all he succeeded in doing was squeezing a couple of fat tears out of the corners of his eyes.

"OK cry baby, I won't report you this time. Besides I'm not in here in an official capacity, I'm just hiding."

JD opened his eyes and looked at the Janitor.

The Janitor sniffed. "Yeah, some jerk in a suit failed to read my strategically placed wet floor sign and ended up face down in the hall. He ripped the knee of his pants." The janitor shoved his mop into his bucket and screwed the water out of it before slapping it onto the floor. "Don't understand his problem. He could always make them into shorts. They'd make good shorts."

JD closed his eyes and smiled despite the tears still running down his face.