Disclaimer: I do not own Diagnosis Murder or any of the characters depicted here. I am not making any money from this fictional story.
Steve lifted a slice of pizza from the delivery box and placed it on a plate. He reached for the knife and fork set down on the table in the kitchen of the beach hut that he shared with his father.
Carefully, Steve sliced the slice into about ten smaller pieces.
Steve picked up the plate and walked over to the sofa in the living area of the beach hut.
"There you go, buddy," Steve said gently, placing the plate carefully on the lap of one Jesse Travis.
Said Jesse Travis was sitting, under a blanket in the Sloan's sitting room, where he had been staying to recover following his release from Community General.
Jesse had been involved, through no fault of his own, in a road traffic collision three weeks earlier and, although his bruises where fading, other less visible injuries had made it impossible for him to return to his own apartment and Mark and Steve had both shuffled work commitments around so that one of them could be there to watch out for their recovering friend at any time.
Jesse looked up gratefully at Steve and made a satisfied grunting sound as he clumsily picked up the first small square of pizza and put it in his mouth. Steve chuckled as he returned with the rest of the pizza, picking out a slice for himself as he sat down next to Jesse.
"So Jess, what d'ya fancy watching?" asked Steve through a mouthful of pizza- unlike Jesse he was scoffing a giant slice of the pizza in one rather than a carefully chopped square.
Jesse, who was chewing his way through his last chunk of pizza, looked at Steve pensively.
"Tu-tu-tu," he mumbled, matter of factly, through the pizza, his brow furrowing in concentration with the effort involved in forming even those simple sounds. Steve pretended not to notice that Jesse had not really responded in his normal, pre-accident way and flicked the remote.
"Nature documentary it is then…" Steve teased, much to Jesse's annoyance, who shock his head violently, causing Steve to chuckle. "Fair enough," Steve smiled; changing channel to a movie that Jesse seemed much happier with.
Almost immediately after changing the channel, Jesse nudged Steve gently, indicating to the slices of pizza still left in the pizza box on the table Steve was resting his feet on.
"Still hungry, eh Jess? Some things never change!" Steve ruffled his surrogate kid-brother's hair affectionately, placing another slice of pizza onto the young doctor's plate and slicing it up for him using the knife and fork that he had brought over from the kitchen. Jesse lifted a square of the pizza appreciatively and munched at it, a satisfied grin forming on his face as he relaxed back into the sofa to watch the television with Steve.
By the time the movie finished an hour and a half later, Jesse was asleep, nestled into Steve's side. Steve, although pleased that Jesse was so obviously comfortable, had a dead arm where his friends surprisingly heavy head had cut off the blood circulation.
Carefully, Steve manoeuvred himself out from underneath Jesse, moving his friend into a more restful looking position lying on the sofa.
Whilst Jesse slept, Steve occupied himself with some of the more mundane household chores that had been overlooked since Jesse had been staying with them- it was easy to run out of time to do the dishes or wash clothes when you had a Jesse to look after- unable to speak and poorly coordinated as he was, Jesse was still a handful!
Jesse laid testament to his 'handful' status about a half hour before Mark was due home. Having dusted the entire house, done all of the outstanding washing and being in the process of putting away the newly cleaned dishes, Steve heard a crashing coming from the living area. Rushing through, terrified for the welfare of his fragile friend, Steve was met with, rather than a hurt Jesse as he had feared, a very, very guilty looking Jesse, holding his surfboard and surrounded in knocked over trinkets and broken ornaments.
Jesse had evidently knocked over most of the objects on shelves and tables on his way in from the deck with his surfboard including, Steve noticed with great dismay, a potted plant. All of the dirt from the pot was spread across the carpet, forming a trail leading from the pot to Jesse, standing in the middle of the lounge, looking guiltier every second Steve scrutinised him.
"Jess!" Steve yelled, immediately regretting it as Jesse flinched. "Hey Jess, sorry okay, but what are you doing with your surfboard in the house? How am I meant to clean this all up before dad gets home?" Jesse looked at Steve with those melting puppy dog eyes.
"Aww Jess, now don't even try that with me…" Steve was cut off mid-sentence by Jesse tugging at his sleeve, pointing longingly at the ocean. Steve immediately though of how difficult it would be for him if he were suddenly made unable to surf. Steve looked out through the window to the beautiful ocean.
When Mark returned home shortly afterwards, his immediate though walking into the living area was that he had been burgled: dirt still trailed around the room between various fallen objects, and Jesse's surfboard lay where Mark had left Jesse that morning, tucked safely under a blanket on the sofe. About to worry about Steve and Jesse, Mark heard distant giggling coming from through the patio doors.
Following the sound, Mark was met by the sight of Steve and Jesse knee deep in the ocean, splashing each other furiously. Every so often, Jesse would wobble, but Steve would steady him before carrying on with their game.
Mark smiled to himself. Jesse had a long way to go with his recovery, but Mark knew that he was in the best hands with his son helping him. Turning to see a pizza box littering the coffee table, Mark rolled his eyes, it may not be what the doctor ordered, but for Jesse, now that all his physical ailments where fixed, Steve was the best medicine.
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