Author's note: Well, thanks to all for your wonderful reviews on my last fic! You sure know how to boost a girl's ego! Here is the second instalment in my one-shots series. It is placed some months before "My fear". Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. As usual, sorry for any spelling and grammar mistakes, and also for the general sappiness and fluffiness, I just can't help it.
Disclaimers: If I owned them, these crappy plots I'm conjuring would be the actual episodes of the show…
He was starting to get pissed. JD knew the signs, he had learned so very well to recognize them, being the one person who usually elicited them: arms crossed, the thumb and index finger of his left hand firmly pinching his nose, his eyes tightly closed, the eyebrow slowly but steadily raising to an impossible extent, the long intake of breath. The young doctor shuddered. This was going to be the apocalypse, the longest and scariest rant ever.
He prepared himself for the inevitable, tightly embracing the nearest pillar, while imagining a tornado forming just out of the older doctor's mouth, sweeping away anyone who would be so stupid not to get into the closest bunker.
He shut his eyes and counted. One. Two. Three. Nothing came. No noise whatsoever. He timidly reopened one eye, to see the whole hospital gone silent, everyone set to look at the curly haired man expectantly. But he just turned and walked away.
But you may wonder how we came to this point. Maybe we need a little flashback.
It was a typical Californian sunny day. Perry had almost finished his twelve-hour shift at the hellhole best known as Sacred Heart hospital, and he and JD were both lingering at the nurse station, happily chatting with Carla. Perry needed to sign his last patient's chart, and he asked the younger doctor to lend him a pen, to which he immediately obliged. As the older doctor was handed the fated object, the two doctors' hands brushed, and Perry absentmindedly started to caress JD's fingers in a unique public display of affection.
Unfortunately for the pair, the gesture didn't go unnoticed by the smiling Latina nurse in front of them. She had the typical dreamy expression meaning 'oooh, how cute!'.
"You know, Dr. Cox, it's amazing how you've changed. If someone told me five years ago that I would have witnessed such a scene, I would have laughed to death".
Perry looked at her questioningly, eyebrow raised, then followed her gaze towards his fingers firmly laced with those of his protégé. He withdrew his hand from JD's, at the same time distancing himself at such a speed that the young doctor briefly wondered if he had superpowers.
'That would be sooo cool'! JD briefly thought, ' I could be wandering down a dark alley in a big city, being surrounded by five or six bad guys threatening my life with big knives. Then I would scream at the top of my voice: "Oh, noooo! Supercoxy, hellllp meeee!", and he would arrive in his spandex costume, then beat the gang into a bloody pulp. Afterwards, he would scoop me into his arms and coolly say: "Your innocence is safe now, thanks to Supercoxy"'.
JD re-emerged from his daydream mumbling: "We have to buy a spandex costume".
"Do I even want to know what you're talking about, Lois"? Perry amusedly asked him.
"See"? Carla intervened, pointing a finger in Perry's direction. "You didn't even rant at Bambi. You wouldn't have let him live after a comment like this before you two..."
He immediately shushed her, and rapidly looked around to see if anyone had heard. He and Newbie had been together for nine months, and he still hated that anyone at the hospital knew about their relationship. It was insane, he knew that, after all it was not like it really was a secret, but he was adamant in keeping his privacy, especially after his final break up with Jordan had become a public affair, commented about by the whole hospital staff (and the patients, too) for weeks.
"Carla, belie-he-ve me, I don't get what you're implying. I have not changed the slightest. Mary-Jane here annoys me just the same as before, and even though I know she's now thinking we are going to live happily ever after in a pink house with a white picket-fence only because I casually happened to hold her hand, that gesture abso-ho-ho-ho-holutely meant nothing to me".
He looked at Newbie after this slip of the tongue, and cringed a bit when he spotted the all too familiar beaten puppy eyes masked by a fake careless smile. The curly haired doctor had clearly hurt him, but Newbie was doing his best not to show how much. It would have been quite an amusing scene, if only Perry didn't feel so guilty.
As if to complicate things further, the one surgeon Perry hoped not to see that day choose that exact moment to come down the corridors. Perfect.
"Hey, VB! Hey Baby, what's up"? Turk leaned in to kiss his wife. JD could see her eyes gleaming. She had found someone to support her theory, Perry had it coming, had it coming bad.
"Hey Baby, we were just talking about how Dr. Cox has developed a softer side since he got 'involved' with You-know-who. Have you noticed it"?
JD groaned. He could see his Chocolate Bear was rising to the bait. He could never let a chance to embarrass Perry go to waste.
"Well, Baby, now that you mention it, yes, I have noticed. You know, he's become less of a caveman, lately. He seems almost civil now, in fact he called me by my real name the other day".
Her smile widened. "Yes, and have you seen how he actually smiles more, now"?
Turk pretended to think this over: "Smile? Oh, yes you mean that facial paralysis that he has when a certain person is around"? They were both laughing so hard by now that they had gathered a little crowd around them.
"Exactly. And the longing looks he directs to that same person when he's walking away"?
JD kept looking at his now fuming lover while this exchange was taking place, rapidly distancing himself from the older doctor. The murderous look in his eyes didn't mean anything good, and he knew Perry enough to predict that his lover would blame all of this on him.
And that's how it went.
JD never thought he'd see the day when Perry Cox would be reduced speechless and without a witty retort to a tease, but now he was witnessing it, he didn't like it one bit.
He followed the older doctor out of the hospital to his car. "Perry"? He softly called. Perry stopped and sighed. "Gosh, Newbie, can't you leave me alone for just a second? What is it with your constant need for my proximity? Always following around like a lost puppy. Give me some space to breathe, would you, Britney"?
JD felt shivers running down his spine at the coldness of the other man's voice. He was used to this treatment before; Perry always got some twisted pleasure in pointing out how annoying he was. But now, after 9 months of being together, after all they had been through, JD simply was not accepting the cold shoulder. Perry would not go back to be the damn bastard of his early days at Sacred Heart.
But the older doctor was already talking before JD could even utter a word.
"Newbie, I think Carla is right. I've gone soft. Since the day we got together, I haven't been myself. I'm all 'oh, look, a daisy, and are these chirping birds all around me? I'm so-ho-ho happy', which is so disturbingly you that it scares me. I've been all wrapped up in you, lately, and I'm afraid that in the long run I'm going to lose the respect I so hardly worked to build".
JD forced away the image of a blanket-y Perry all wrapped around him (oh, sooo warm!), to concentrate on what he actually said.
"What do you mean"? He tentatively asked. He was afraid to know the answer.
"Don't you get it, Mary Belle? You've being rubbing off on me a little too much. I don't want to be considered a clingy, fluffy, hu-hu-ggable teddy bear just because I'm associated with you. The fact that your black girlfriend and her wife have started picking up on me is enough of a sign this is already happening. I think we need some time apart".
JD shook his head as his world shattered under his feet. This couldn't be happening. Why would Perry break up with him? After all, the sex was still great, and they hadn't experienced any major problem as a couple yet. JD was putting all of himself into the relationship; he was doing everything possible to make it work. Where did he go wrong again?
He looked up, trying not to break down crying in front of the older man. "I don't need any time apart from you, Perry".
"Well, Newbie, maybe I do. I need to figure out what I want".
JD turned away from him, ready to make his way back to the hospital. "After nine months together I was starting to believe that you wanted me", He whispered, softly, but not enough for the other man not to hear him.
Unfortunately, JD wasn't close enough to properly listen to his lover's murmured reply: "I do, maybe too much, and that's exactly the problem, Janice".
JD made his way back to the hospital, pissed at anything that had happened. He was angry at Carla and Turk, mostly, at how they had dared messing with his life, so when he saw them still laughing about Perry, he couldn't hold back the angry words he wanted to say.
"I hope the both of you are happy, now. What right did you have to insult him like that"? He snarled at Carla.
"Bambi, what happened?" she asked him, concern in her voice.
"He left me, said he needed time to think about what he wanted", JD replied, a little sadder than he intended.
"But, VB, we were only joking", Turk tried, but JD cut him off. "Please, Turk, don't give me that crap". He turned towards his friend's wife.
"Carla, you've known him for years, now. You know how fixated he is about his masculinity. You can't even imagine how much I had to struggle for this relationship, how much it hurts that he doesn't want anyone to know about us in fear his reputation as the strong, manly man is ruined. And now, when he finally began to open up just a little, you go and say in front of the whole hospital that he's gone soft because of me"?
"JD", Carla started, gently taking his arm, "I didn't mean…" But he didn't let her finish.
"You know, Carla, I don't care what you meant. You've ruined one of the best things that happened in my life, thank you very much". He looked at his friends and saw they felt guilty about it, and he hated himself for fighting with them. He knew they hadn't meant any bad, but he was too angry in that moment to apologize to them.
"Now I have to go to pick Sammy from day-care". This said, he turned and walked out, not bothering to stop when he heard them calling his name.
The following few days were hell for Turk and Carla (and anyone so unlucky to be in the hospital, actually). JD was still refusing to talk to them, avoiding them if he had the chance. On the other side, Perry had become (if possible) even more untreatable, and he kept snarling and ranting at anyone, patients included. Even Elliot, who now was a private practice, and should have had no fear of the skilled doctor anymore, was often reduced to tears and more than once she had to lock herself in the supplies closet.
Both Perry and JD barely acknowledged each other when they met in the corridors, and this was clearly hurting them.
Carla felt guilty about what was happening, and she was also mad at Dr. Cox. Breaking up with JD for some silly joke had probably been the stupidest thing Perry had ever done. He had hurt her Bambi, and she was never going to forgive the curly-haired doctor for this. That is why one day she cornered Perry in the on-call room and faced him about what had happened.
"Dr. Cox", she said in her most 'mother-scolding-her-little-child' voice, "Now listen to me, and listen very carefully. I don't care how your relationship with Bambi has affected your masculinity, and don't even get me started on how this 'macho' act is actually stupid and… well, stupid! You hurt JD, and by all means, I'm going to make you pay for it. And please, cut with the ranting and screaming and the whole 'I'm the real victim in this story' show you're putting off, because it's starting to get on my nerves. So, someone pulled your leg about how softer you are since you got together with JD… What's the problem with that? I actually meant it was nice to see how caring of him you were, since I know how much he deserved that kind of affection. Sure, I exaggerated a bit towards the end, but still, breaking up with him for this? It's so idiot of you I can't even form the words for it".
Perry was listening to her rant, his anger slowly boiling up. "Are you finished, Carla"? He snapped. "Here's some news for you. As much as you obviously enjoy believing the world evolves around you, it doesn't. And if you think that the words you said had the power to make me re-think my relationship with Newbie, well, you must be the most ego-centric person to have ever walked on this earth. My decision had no-ho-thing to do with your or Gandhi's really poor attempt at a tease, although I must admit that at the time I was royally pissed off at the both of you. But do you really believe that my superior mind and intelligence could be affected by that idiot of a surgeon and some plain nurse? Not at all, Carla, not at ah-all". This said, the skilled doctor turned. He didn't want to belittle Carla, but it really wasn't her place to judge his actions.
"Well, Mister", she planted herself in front of him again, one hand on her hip, the other holding out the index finger, pointing directly to the doctor's chest, "I'm sorry if this plain nurse is trying to fix things up between you and JD. And you better tell me why then you left him if it wasn't for my teasing".
"It's not your business, Carla"! Perry snapped. "I don't have to tell you the reason for my every action". "You and JD are my family, Dr. Cox"! she snapped back. "Of course it's my business if you make your lives miserable".
This seemed to calm the older doctor down. "I… I don't know why I left him, Carla. It's just, I was there, holding his hand, and I suddenly realized what I had with him was serious, even more so than what I had with Jordan. These months, they've been so intense, and he's become such a part in my life, and in the life of my children, as much as I've become part of his and Sam's life… We are almost a family. This kind of scared me". He intensely looked at the Latina nurse. "If you plan to tell this to anyone, though, I will kill you, very slowly, and your daughter will be forced to grow up with Gandhi alone. Can you imagine how he would rise her"?
Carla shuddered at the thought, and shook her head, signalling the curly-haired doctor to go on. "I… I think I fell, Carla. I fell deep". He stopped speaking and waited. He was almost taken aback when the nurse threw her arms around his neck, embracing him tightly. "OH MY GOD! You're in love! That's just wonderful"!
He tried in vain to disentangle himself from her. "Yes, it is. But you remember that I broke up with Newbie. He probably doesn't want to have anything to do with me anymore".
The Latina woman maliciously smiled and winked at him, and he briefly hoped he would always have her on his side. It would be hell dealing with her, if it wasn't so. "Leave it all to me, Dr. Cox. I know how you can get together again".
That's how a few hours later Perry Cox found himself on the roof of the hospital, nervously fidgeting with his lab coat. The door to the roof opened, and Newbie's head emerged slowly. "Carla"? he called, "Are you here"? He closed the door behind him, but stopped as soon as he spotted the older doctor. "Oh, it's you. I'm sorry, I'm going away". He turned, hand on the doorknob, when Perry called him.
"Newbie, wait". The younger doctor turned to face him. "I have to tell you something". JD patiently waited, but Perry seemed speechless.
"Well"? The brown-haired doctor urged. "What is it you wanted to tell me"?
Perry took a large intake of breath. "I didn't want to break up with you, Giselle".
"No? I thought that the words 'We need time apart' actually meant just that. Now, what you are trying to say is that in the undecipherable Coxian dictionary, they really stand for 'let's stay together forever'? Because if it is so, I really need to buy a vocabulary of yours, so that I can understand whatever the hell you say to me. What I don't get is why you needed time apart from me, things were going fine between us, weren't they? I never showed you nothing but love, never asking for anything in return, not even for you to say that you love me back, although you know how much I need to be reassured. What is it that you wanted from me, huh"?
Perry got closer to JD. "I'm sorry", he said, "Things were going even too much fine between us, that's why I stepped out. I didn't want it to turn out a complete fiasco like my marriage with Jordan".
"But I'm not Jordan, and our relationship is not like what you had with her".
"I know now. What we have is much more involving than anything I ever experienced, and I needed some time to think it over to understand what it really meant to me".
JD smiled at this. Nine months and still Perry wasn't able to say he loved him, always finding metaphors to express that simple concept. "Have you? Have you understood what it means to you"? He asked, before being assaulted by the older doctor's hungry lips. JD could do nothing but return the kiss, letting himself get lost in it. When they eventually parted, Perry's eyes were actually sparkling in amusement as he asked: "Is that enough of an answer, Clara"?
"No, actually it isn't, but I'm going to take it anyway. Does this mean we are still together and I have to stop searching for a new lover"?
Perry growled menacingly at his boyfriend, painfully tightening his hold on the other man's waist. "What were you saying, Rose? Let me get this straight, so that your few brain cells can grasp this simple notion. You are mine. If I catch you looking at anyone in a way I don't deem appropriate, that person is dead, and you are shortly following them to the grave, where you can have a little girl-zombies pyjama party. Are we clear on this subject, Julie"?
JD laughed, actually imagining that kind of pyjama party. 'Maybe I can insert that scene in my Dr. Acula movie'! he thought.
"Relax, Perry, I was just teasing you", he said. He then linked arms with the older doctor, leading him towards the door. "Anywho, have you thought about what to do to get my forgiveness for breaking up with me? Because I was thinking that a PS3 could do wonders to melt my anger away"…
Perry just groaned and wondered what he had done so bad to have gotten this torture back in his life.
Author's note: Liked it? Hated it? Should I improve it? Let me know.