LOVE IS BLIND

Officer Jon Baker was waiting for his partner Frank Poncherello at their usual meeting place. It was a clear morning with a bright blue sky, typical for a Californian spring day. As per usual Ponch was late.

Jon didn't mind the delay as he leaned back on his motor. He was thinking about last night. He had taken his girlfriend of 18 months Cassandra Clark, to a new French restaurant that had opened up recently. Over a candle lit dinner and French champagne, Jon had summoned up the courage to ask Cassy to marry him. She had responded with an over whelming yes.

Jon was still waiting for Ponch to arrive when he noticed the red pick-up truck that was speeding down the freeway. It was all over the road, changing lanes without any regard to the other road users. Jon quickly jumped into action, strapping up his helmet and starting his motor. He roared off after the pick-up.

He radioed in. "LA 15 7 Mary 3 in pursuit of 23-103, Southbound on Harbor Freeway near the Hollywood overpass."

"10-4 7 Mary 3"

Jon was slowly gaining on the vehicle which was still deviating from lane to lane. With lights flashing and sirens blaring he weaved his way through the traffic, and finally caught up with the pick-up which had no intention of stopping.

"LA 15 7 Mary 3 I need a 10-28 on a red pick-up Charles Edward David 358."

"10-4 7 Mary 3"

Jon was nearly level with the pick up when his radio came to life again.

"LA 7 Mary 3 Red pick-up truck Charles Edward David 358 is wanted in connection with a hit and run. Proceed with caution."

By now Jon had pulled alongside the pick-up.

"PULL IT OVER!" He shouted at the driver.

The driver glanced at Jon and yanked his steering wheel hard to the left. He had no chance. The pick-up veered into his motor, knocking him off and sending him skidding along the freeway into the path of an oncoming truck. The driver had seen what was happening and was able to serve and hit his brakes hard. He managed to avoid hitting Jon but the severe movement of the truck resulted in the load shifting. There was silence for a moment as the load teetered, but that was broken as the glass windows finally toppled over, and with an earth shattering crash fell onto the road. The glass splintered into hundreds of smaller pieces, many of them landing on Jon as he lay hopeless on the freeway.

00000

Ponch had only been a few minutes away when Jon had pursued the pick-up; he had heard the call to proceed with caution and was expecting his partner to respond. When he didn't hear him call back he frowned; it wasn't like him not to answer a call. Ponch soon found out why. Coming upon the accident scene he saw straight away that an officer was down and his heart sank when he realized that it had to be Jon.

"LA 15 7 Mary 4 11-99 REPEAT 11-99 7 Mary 3 is down send 11-41."

Ponch pulled his motor over, pushed down the kick stand and ran over to his partner all in one motion. He was lying on his side, covered in blood and wasn't moving. Ponch gasped in horror as he saw him.

"Jon, oh my God!" He reached out and felt for a pulse, breathing a sigh of relief as he felt a faint beat.

Ponch soon realized that even though Jon was covered in blood, there didn't seem to be any major wounds, just a lot of small nicks and some larger cuts. Then he saw his face. He nearly fainted. Jon's face was covered with small pieces of glass which seemed to be imbedded in his skin; his eyes had swollen up and Ponch could see bits of glass sticking out around his eyes. Jon started to moan and stir.

"Keep still Jon," Ponch reassured him in a soft voice. "The ambulance will be here soon."

"Ponch is that you?" he moaned faintly.

"Yeah Jon, it's me. Keep still you've had an accident. There's glass all over you so you need to keep still."

"Ponch, where are you?" Jon reached out in front of himself. "I can't see you."

"I'm here partner." He took hold of his hand. "Your eyes are swollen that's why. Please Jon, just keep still."

"Ponch, my eyes are stinging and my face feels like it's on fire. Make it go away." Jon pawed at his face and tossed his head from side to side. Ponch quickly grabbed his other hand and held it firm.

"Baker, keep still you're only making it worse." He could see that Jon was in a lot of pain and that he was very distraught. Ponch noticed that the ambulance had arrived. "Jon, the ambulance is here, keep still and let them help you."

The paramedics rushed over and got to work. They gave Jon a shot in the arm to calm him down and to help ease the pain. The shot worked straight away and he stopped tossing his head about. He was promptly loaded in the ambulance and rushed off to hospital.

Ponch looked around the scene of the accident. Grossman had the traffic under control, Baricza was pulling up and a tow truck had arrived. He waved at Grossie that he was going with the ambulance, jumped on his motor and roared off.

00000

Ponch pulled up beside the ambulance and bolted to Jon's side. He was now as pale as a ghost, where his skin could be seen underneath the weeping blood.

"He's gone into shock," explained the paramedic. "We need to get him straight into the ER and start cleaning him up."

Jon was wheeled into the ER while Ponch went straight to the waiting room. It was a routine that both of them had done several times over the past eight years that the two had been partners. Ponch went to the pay phone and dialed the number for the station; he asked to be put through to Sergeant Joe Getraer.

"Sergeant Getraer how can I help you?" answered Joe.

"Sarge its Frank, I'm at the hospital with Jon."

"How is he Frank? I was just leaving to come down."

"He's gone into shock. There's so much glass in him and his face is a mess," Ponch jabbered.

"Glass, what are you talking about Frank?" interrupted Joe.

"A truck load of glass windows came down and covered him in glass."

"Oh my God, do you know how bad he is?"

"Not really but his eyes are badly swollen," he paused. Fear descended on him and he took a deep breath so he could speak again. "Sarge, he couldn't see and there was glass in his eyes. He said his face felt like fire and he was so distraught. I've never seen Jon like that. God it was awful."

"Calm down Frank, you sound like you're beside yourself. Go and get a cup of coffee and I'll be right there."

"Okay," he took another calming breath. "Oh, has any one told Cassy what has happened?" She worked in the main office at Central.

"I don't think so. I'll bring her down with me."

"Thanks Sarge."

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Joe and Cassy arrived at Valley General Hospital about 15 minutes later. Cassy ran over to Ponch as soon as she saw him. "Have you heard anything yet?"

Ponch stood up and shook his head. He pulled her into a comforting hug as he had a soft spot for Jon's attractive blonde girlfriend. "I'm sorry Cassy, but I haven't seen anyone since they took Jon into the ER."

"Joe said that you were concerned about his eyes."

Ponch didn't know what to say, so he looked over at Joe for help.

Joe gave a slight nod of his head. "Tell Cassy what you know Frank, she'll find out soon enough. I'll go and get some coffees."

Ponch took her by the hand and sat her down on one of the chairs in the waiting room. There was only one other person in the room with them. The young woman looked up briefly, nibbled on her candy bar and went back to her article.

As Cassy listened to him, she felt tears welling up in her eyes. Ponch didn't hold anything back and told her exactly what had happened to Jon and how his eyes had looked. By the time he was finished, Ponch had tears in his eyes too.

"I can't believe this Ponch, after last night we were so happy and now this. It's not fair, it's just not fair," she started to cry as the news about Jon's condition sank in.

Ponch leaned over and hugged her again. "Come on Cassy, Jon needs us to be strong for him. It probably looked a lot worse than it really is."

She pulled away and looked at him. "I know I have to be strong but its hard Ponch, when you love someone so much and you know that they're hurt."

"I know Cassy, I know it's hard. It's never been easy for us either when the other is hurt. When I had my serious accident, the first person I saw when I woke up was Jon. You know that he stayed there all night, sitting in an uncomfortable chair just watching me. He had enough strength for both of us to help me get through, and that's what we need to do for him now. Cry as much as you need to out here but be calm when you go in to see him."

Cassy dried her eyes and took a deep breath. "You're right, I've shed my tears and I'll be composed or at least I'll try. Did Jon really sit there all night? That sounds like what he'd do."

"Yeah he certainly did, your boyfriend is one great partner and friend."

"Yes he is," Cassy agreed, thinking of Jon's warm smile and his amazing blue eyes. It was his eyes that had initially caught her attention, when she had first met him nearly two years ago. She silently prayed that those eyes would survive this accident.

"Jon mentioned yesterday that he was taking you to that new French restaurant." Ponch wanted to change the subject for a while. "Was it as good as I've heard it is?"

"It was lovely, very romantic and the food was delicious. Didn't Jon tell you about it?" Cassy's face lit up as she remembered last night.

"No, I was running late this morning and I didn't speak to Jon before…..before he came off his motor. But by the look on your face it must have been a good night."

"Yeah, I guess you could say that," she paused, trying to keep the smile off her face but she couldn't. "Jon asked me to marry him last night."

"Oh Cassy, that's great," Ponch broke out in a grin. "What did you say?"

"Oh you idiot," she laughed. "What do you think I said? Yes of course."

"That's really great. Congratulations." He gave her another hug as Joe walked up with three coffees.

"Have you heard some news?" asked Joe. "You look happier."

"No Sarge, no news. But I bet you can't guess what my partner did last night."

"No Frank, I can't guess. What did Jon do last night? Do I want to know?"

"Yeah you want to know, but you won't believe it." Ponch broke out into one of his famous smiles.

Cassy butted in knowing that he would drag the news out. "Jon asked me to marry him."

"Oh Cassy, that's wonderful. Congratulations. You two make a lovely couple."

"Thanks Joe, that means a lot to me."

All three were soon lost in their own thoughts as they sipped their coffees and waited for news on Jon. It was another hour before a doctor came out to see them.

"Hello there, I'm Dr Locke; you're waiting on news about Officer Baker?"

All three stood up but Joe spoke first. "Yes Doctor we are. I'm his Sergeant Joe Getraer, this is his partner Frank Poncherello and this is Jon's fiancé Cassy Clark. Why has it taken so long for news?"

"I'm sorry about that. Please sit down so I can explain." Dr Locke waited for them to sit back down, and then he took a seat as well. "I'll give you the good news first. Officer Baker has a lot of cuts and bruises on him. None of which are serious as he took no real harm from the actual fall off his bike, just some bruised ribs."

"Then why has it taken so long?" Ponch interrupted voicing the thoughts of the other two.

"Frank, let the Doctor speak."

"It's okay as I know you're concerned. He had a lot of glass imbedded in him, and it just took time to remove it all."

This time it was Cassy who interrupted as a sudden feeling of dread came over her. "But there's bad news too, isn't there?"

"I'm sorry, but yes there is. There is glass in his eyes which we haven't been able to remove yet, and we won't know for sure until he wakes up, but at this point we think he's lost the sight in his eyes."

"No! That can't be true," Cassy gasped as tears formed in her eyes. Ponch found her hand and clasped it tightly. "Please Doctor. Tell me it's not true." Tears were now sliding down her cheeks.

Dr Locke handed her a box of tissues from the magazine table. "As I said before we won't know until he wakes up, but in all honesty it's not looking good. Now I've spoken with one of the best eye surgeons in the state, Dr Stevens, who will be arriving here tomorrow from San Francisco. He's confident that he can remove the remaining glass, and hopeful that Officer Baker will regain his sight. We just won't know any more until he gets here."

"When can we see Jon?" asked Joe, who was in a mild state of shock similar to the other two.

"You can go see him now if you like. I've given him an injection to help with the pain in his eyes, and he is sedated at the moment but that should be starting to wear off."

"Why is he sedated?" Cassy asked, as she wiped her eyes.

"It was the best thing for him while we removed the glass and cleaned him up. He was in a lot of pain when he came in. He's on the second floor in room 47." He stood up and started to walk off when he stopped and turned around. "Just be prepared, his face is very marked and his eyes are swollen."

Cassy gasped out loud.

"His face will heal as they're only superficial. Just be concerned about his eyes."

"Thank you Doctor." Joe stood up along with Ponch.

"Cassy?" Ponch said gently. "Are you coming?"

"Yes Ponch," she replied weakly as she stood up. Her face had gone deathly pale. She grabbed his hand for support. "Let's go."

They walked down the corridor and turned left into the elevator. They got out and one of the nurses pointed out where room 47 was. They hesitated outside not entirely ready to face what lay behind the door.

Cassy had a sudden surge of inner strength. It wasn't just anybody in room 47. This was Jon, the man she loved, the one who made her feel special, safe and secure all at the same time. The man who had asked her to marry him just the night before, and he needed her to be strong and that was exactly what she was going to be. She opened the door and walked inside. Ponch and Joe followed behind her.

Jon had an I.V line attached to his arm, cuts, bruises and some stitches in his face; Cassy was prepared for these but the sight of his eyes still shocked her. Even though they were closed, she could see that they'd been severely traumatized. His eyelids were red and swollen, there was a small row of stitches under his left eyebrow, but the worst was the discharge coming from both eyes. She leaned over the bed and softly kissed his forehead.

"Hi honey, we're here now. Ponch is here and Joe as well. We've been worried about you," she spoke in a soft calm voice as she reached down and took hold of his hand.

The two men went to the other side of the bed. "Hi partner, we're all here for you. Just let us know what you need." Ponch held onto the bed rail as he gazed at the still form of his partner and best friend.

"Hang in there, Jon. We need you back and everyone sends their best," Joe said softly before he turned away from the bed. "Frank, I should be getting back to Central. Let me know the minute he wakes up. Okay?"

"Yeah Sarge," answered Ponch as Joe left the room.

Cassy pulled a chair over and sat down next to the bed, holding Jon's hand again she began to talk to him. "I hope you don't mind but I told Ponch about last night. He's happy that we're getting married and so is Joe. I've been thinking about a date. What do you think of a wedding in the fall? Everyone gets married in spring but I thought we could be different." She stopped talking for a moment and looked at Ponch. "Do you think this helps, talking to Jon about everyday things?"

"Of course it does Cassy. It's exactly what you need to do and you're doing a great job. Jon would be proud of you." He joined her on the other side of the bed and put his hand on her shoulder. "Hey, I'm proud of you too."

"Thanks Ponch."

"I'm going to get something to eat. Would you like something brought back?"

"No thanks, I'm right for the moment. I'll just keep talking to him."

"Good girl. I'll be back soon." Ponch walked out in silence. He was proud of Cassy for the way she had pulled herself together. Who knew what lay ahead if Jon's sight was gone. Just how was he going to handle it? Ponch sighed; he just didn't want to think about it yet.

Cassy kept talking to Jon for the next hour. She held his hand and gently caressed his arm, and tried not to think of how life would change if he lost his sight. But she did know one thing and that was no matter what happened she would be by his side all the way.

Jon started to stir. "Cassy is that you?"

She squeezed his hand. "Yeah honey it's me, you're in the hospital. You've had an accident."

"I can't open my eyes," he mumbled.

Cassy's heart sank as she could see that his eyes were open. "Your eyes are open hon."

"But I can't see you. Its dark Cassy," Jon moaned, disorientated. "My eyes hurt. What's wrong with my eyes?"

Cassy wasn't sure what to say, but she knew that she couldn't lie to him. "We were talking to Dr Locke earlier. He told us that there's a Dr Stevens coming tomorrow to look at your eyes."

"What for Cassy, I'm blind aren't I? That's why everything is dark."

"Yes Jon. You have glass in your eyes from the accident. But they're hopeful that they can remove it and you'll get your sight back." She leaned down over the bed rail and hugged him the best she could, and then softly kissed him on the lips.

"How did I get glass in my eyes?" he asked. "Is that why they're stinging so much?"

"Do you remember the accident?"

"Yeah, I remember going after the pick-up. It veered into me and then I must have come off," he answered. "But where did the glass come from?" He was confused.

"You nearly got hit by a truck but it stopped in time," Cassy sighed. "But it had a load of windows on board which came down and covered you in glass. You have a lot of cuts on you."

"Gee, I must be some sight then," he managed a small grin.

Cassy interlocked her fingers with his. "Yeah, you're a sight for sore eyes as they say."

"Very funny"

"Sorry, I couldn't help it. It's been a long day." She kissed Jon's hand and held it between both of hers.

"I'm just relieved that you're here to tease."

"So am I baby, so am I."

The door opened with a squeak and Ponch came in. He flashed one of his big smiles when he saw that Jon was awake, but it quickly faded when Cassy shook her head.

"Hi Jon, so you're finally awake. It's about time partner." Ponch walked to the side of the bed and spoke in a softer voice. "You sure had us worried. When I saw all that blood on ya I didn't know what to think, but you look better now."

Jon turned his head towards the sound of Ponch's voice. "I can't see you Ponch."

He put his hand on Jon's arm. "I know. I'm sorry I wasn't there when it happened. If I wasn't running late you may not be here now."

"Don't blame yourself. It was just one of these things that can happen."

"Thanks Jon." Ponch got a chair and sat down. "Your eyes, are they still stinging?"

"Yeah they are. How did you know?" Jon asked.

"You told me. You were muttering about your eyes and face."

"I was? I don't remember much," Jon replied, frowning as the pain in his eyes got worse.

"No, I suppose you wouldn't." Ponch decided a change of topic was needed. "You sure know how to keep things quiet. I would never have guessed."

"What are you on about now, Ponch?" Jon asked. He was used to his partner changing subjects abruptly.

"Proposing last night, you sure kept it quiet. Anyway congratulations, it's great news."

Jon squeezed Cassy's hand. "Thanks partner, I just wasn't prepared to take any more chances."

"Chances, what chances?" asked Ponch perplexed.

He kissed Cassy's hand. "On letting this lovely lady slip through my fingers and losing her."

Ponch laughed. "Oh you are smooth."

The door opened and Dr Locke walked in followed by a pretty red haired nurse, whom Ponch immediately took a fancy to.

"How are you feeling Officer Baker? I'm Dr Locke and this is Nurse Collins." He bent down and shone a light in Jon's eyes. "Can you see the light?"

"No," answered Jon.

"I thought as much. There's not much we can do at the moment until Dr Stevens arrives. Are your eyes sore?"

"Yeah"

"We can help with that. Nurse Collins will bathe them and that will ease the irritation for a while. I'll be here in the morning with Dr Stevens." He turned and spoke to Ponch and Cassy. "I suggest you two say your good-byes and leave Officer Baker to get some rest."

Ponch rolled his eyes as the Doctor left. "I guess it's time to go then. Bye Jon, don't go giving the nurses too hard a time," he paused for a moment. "Cassy do you need a ride home?"

"Yeah Ponch, I will."

"I'll give Bonnie a call and see if she's free." He lingered by the bed and looked down at his partner shaking his head in dismay. "I'll come by in the morning Jon."

"Yeah, okay Ponch."

Cassy leaned over the bed, kissed Jon firmly on the lips and ruffled his thick blonde hair. "Bye honey, I'll miss you tonight."

"Not as much as I will baby. Love you."

"I love you too. Bye." She reluctantly walked out the door and left him behind.

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Dr Stevens arrived early in the morning and went straight to room 47 to examine Jon.

"Good morning Officer Baker, I'm Dr Stevens. I except they told you that I was coming down to see you. How did you sleep?" He had a friendly bedside manner which immediately put Jon at ease.

"Not too bad considering. Please call me Jon."

"Okay Jon. I'm going to shine a light in your eyes so I can have a look at them. Dr Locke tells me that you can't see anything at all."

"Actually, when I woke this morning I could work out where the light was coming through the window."

"Good, that's good. Now can you see this light?" He shone the light in Jon's eyes.

"Yes, a faint light. That's good isn't it?" Hope filled Jon's voice.

"Yes. Arr yes I can see the problem. Yes that's good." Dr Stevens was talking more to himself than to Jon. "Right Jon, you have two small splinters of glass in your left eye and one in the right eye. These little beauties are the cause of your problems. They have traumatized your eyes to the extent of blindness. Your sight may come back on its own accord or it may not. In any case the splinters need to be removed. I've got a theatre booked ready to go, and we can have you up there in less than an hour," he paused for a breath. "You haven't had breakfast, have you?"

"No, no breakfast. Do you think my sight will come back?"

"Yes. I'm confident that we'll get sight back in the right eye. I'm not as sure with the left eye as there's more damage in that one."

"Will there be enough to go back to work?" Jon asked, afraid of what the answer might be.

"Only time will give us the answer to that, I'm afraid." He studied Jon's chart. "Now Jon, when you come out of the operation your eyes will be bandaged. They'll need to stay on for a week. I'll be going straight back to San Francisco for another operation so I won't see you afterwards, but I will be back in a week's time. Your eyes will need that time to recover, and then I'll remove the bandages. With an ounce of good luck your sight will be back."

"Do I have to stay here for the week? I'm not overly fond of hospitals." Jon screwed his face up at the thought of staying there any longer than he had to.

"No, you can go home as long as someone is with you and you rest. Unless you have other injuries from your accident?" he inquired.

"No nothing that rest won't fix. Cassy, my fiancé will be able to stay with me. Can I go home today?" Jon asked eagerly.

"I'll leave that up to Dr Locke, but how does tomorrow sound?"

"Okay," Jon reluctantly agreed.

He put the chart back in its place. "I'd better get going and get ready. I'll see you in a week's time."

Jon put out his hand. "Thanks Doctor."

Dr Stevens shook it. "It's my pleasure."

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Cassy arrived at the hospital early the next morning to take Jon home. She'd organized to have the week off to stay with him while his eyes recovered from the operation. She walked into his room and found him sitting on the bed. His eyes were bandaged with a large white bandage that wrapped around his head. He was dressed but something looked awry.

She smiled when she realized what it was. "Hi honey, wouldn't the nurses help you get dressed?" She leaned down and found his lips. Sitting down next to him, Cassy began to undo the buttons on his shirt.

"Cassy, what are you doing? It took me ages to get dressed," Jon mumbled.

"You're a button off." She buttoned the shirt back up with the buttons now in their correct positions. "There, that's better. Why didn't you wait until I arrived? I would have helped you."

"I thought I could manage to dress myself, but obviously I couldn't," Jon replied, disheartened.

Cassy reached for his hand. "Cheer up hon, things will get easier."

"Yeah, I suppose they will. After all I could have the rest of my life to get used to this."

She squeezed his hand. "Don't think like that. The Doctor was confident, wasn't he?"

"Yeah I suppose he was."

"You don't sound convinced Jon."

"Probably cos I'm not." He stood up. "Can you take me home? I've had enough of this place."

Cassy picked up his bag and guided him out of the room. They hopped in the elevator and went down to her car.

She pulled into the parking lot of Jon's apartment block and parked her car in the vacant spot next to his blue pick-up. Jon had hardly said a word on the way home.

Cassy looked at him. He was clutching the door handle with his right hand and his face had a tautness she had never seen before. "Are you okay honey?" she asked as she removed the car keys from the ignition.

"No," he lashed out. "How can you ask that? I can't see, so how could I be alright."

Cassy sat there stunned. She hesitantly reached out and touched his arm. "Jon, it's only for a week."

He turned towards her voice. "That's easy for you to say as you're not the one sitting here. I don't have an ironclad guarantee that my sight will return to normal."

"Yes, I know that," she sighed and clasped her hands together. "Where has this come from? Yesterday you were positive about the outcome. What's changed?"

"I've just realized that I could be relying on others for the rest of my life, that's what," Jon answered with such resentment in his voice that Cassy was left bewildered.

They sat in silence. Cassy not sure what to say to him while Jon clenched and unclenched his hands. Finally he spoke. "I appreciate that you're staying with me for this week, but if we don't get the outcome we want, you're free to leave ya know."

Cassy was momentary shocked but she realized what Jon was doing. "So the other night when you proposed to me, you didn't actually mean it?" she questioned him, the tone in her voice daring him to deny it.

"Of course I did," he shot back.

"Then why are you saying that I can leave? It's for better or worse, you know."

"Yeah, but…."

"But what Jon?" she asked. "I know what you're trying to do."

"What am I trying to do?" he sighed, knowing the answer.

"Give me a way out." She grasped his hand. "I love you Jon Baker, but you're going to have to try a lot harder than that to get rid of me."

He squeezed her hand. "I'm sorry Cass. I'd be lost without you but I don't want you thinking that you're obliged to stay with me……"

"Shhhh," she leaned over and kissed him. "I'm here because I want to be here, not because I have to be. I know being married to a policeman has its risks, but it's my choice to make."

Jon reached up and found her face. He caressed her gently and smiled in her direction. "God I love you," he uttered. "This is going to be a long week, and I promise I'll try my best not to be too grumpy."

Cassy slid her hand down between his thighs and kissed him again. She giggled as she felt his sharp intake of breath. "Come on, let's get you inside. I know something that'll take your mind off your troubles for awhile."

He chuckled. "Oh, do you?"

"You betcha I do." She opened the car door. "Come on, I've missed you."

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It was the knock on the door that woke Cassy up several hours later. She was lying on the couch with Jon snuggled up against her back. His arm was flung over her side holding her tightly. Cassy managed to move her arm and glance at her watch. It was now well past lunch time. She tried to get out from his grasp without waking him but with no success as he stirred.

"Where are you going baby?" he mumbled, still half asleep.

"Someone's at the door."

"Tell them to go away and come back here."

"It's probably Ponch. He did say he was going to stop by sometime today." Cassy sat up and realizing that she couldn't answer the door with no clothes on hurried into the bedroom and grabbed Jon's robe. Wrapping it around herself she headed towards the door, pausing long enough to throw a blanket over Jon. There was another knock which was louder than the first. Cassy opened the door slightly and peaked through the gap. She was right. It was Ponch standing on the other side.

"Hi Cassy, are you going to open the door or do I have to force my way inside?" Ponch grinned, his pearly white teeth flashing against his olive skin.

"I'm not dressed," she whispered. "Can you wait a minute?"

"I promise I won't look," his grin broadened. "I'm on a late lunch break and I just want to see Jon."

By now Cassy was feeling rather embarrassed. "Yeah well," she muttered. "Jon's not dressed either but I suppose you can't stay out here." She opened the door fully and Ponch sauntered inside.

He tried to look casual and not notice the discarded clothing spread over the floor, but he couldn't help himself as he raised his eyebrows and shook his head. "I won't ask what you've been up to Cassy, I won't."

Cassy couldn't help but laugh as she darted towards the bedroom to get dressed. "You'd better not Ponch, you'd better not," she said as she closed the bedroom door.

Ponch wandered over to Jon who was now sitting up with the blanket wrapped around him. "Hi partner. You're looking well," he chuckled. "Been sowing those wild oats, have we?"

Jon laughed but the tinge of red to his face gave his discomfort away. "Hi Ponch, yeah what can I say?"

"Umm not much really, as the evidence speaks for its self." He sat down next to him. "How are you really Jon?"

"Physically I'm fine, but…"

"You're worried aren't you?'

"Yeah Ponch, I am. If I don't get my sight back fully I'm finished, off the Patrol."

Ponch tried to sound positive. "There are other positions you could take Jon. The front desk or maybe work the scales?"

If Jon could have looked at him, his look would have killed. "Yeah right Ponch. The scales? Front desk? You've got to be kidding me! Would you do that?"

"No, I guess not."

They sat in silence for a moment, each of them thinking about life without Jon riding his beat.

"The doctor was confident? Wasn't he?" Ponch asked.

"Yeah, he said the odds were in my favour, but there's still that chance ya know."

"Yeah I know partner. I know."

Cassy came out of the bedroom dressed casually in shorts and a tee shirt. She was somewhat less embarrassed than before.

"Have you had lunch Ponch?" she asked. "I can make you a sandwich if you like?"

"Thanks Cassy, that would be great but I'll have to eat and run."

"No problem. How about you Jon, a sandwich or something else?"

"Anything will be fine Cass, I'm not hungry," he muttered as he leaned his head back on the couch.

"Yeah, okay." She headed off to the kitchen, but not before Ponch had seen the worried look on her face. He got up and followed her.

"He's got a lot to think about, Cassy. Food is the least of his worries." Ponch helped himself to the juice in the fridge.

"I'm not concerned about what he eats. Well, not yet." She got three plates from the cupboard. "I'm worried about his state of mind though. You know what he's like and how he keeps things bottled up. By the end of this week he'll be convinced of the worst. I'm sure of it."

"Yeah I know what he's like. Hell, most of us men are like that," Ponch grinned evilly in her direction. "You'll just have to keep his mind on other things for the next week."

"Oh, and just what did you have in mind?" Cassy looked at him innocently as she sliced the tomatoes.

Ponch laughed. "You know what I mean."

"Come on, lunch is ready," she giggled.

Ponch picked up his glass of juice, took his lunch and followed Cassy back to the lounge room. She handed Jon his lunch and sat down next to him. "It's ham, cheese and tomato, hon."

"Thanks," he mumbled.

Cassy and Ponch glanced at each other and shrugged their shoulders as they began their lunch. Ponch tucked into his with gusto but frowned when he saw that Jon was just picking at his. "If you're not going to eat that, can I have it? There's no sense in letting it go to waste."

Jon handed the plate over. "I'm sorry Cass, but I'm just not hungry."

She rubbed his arm. "It's alright hon, I understand."

Ponch finished Jon's sandwich and stood up. "That was delicious Cassy, thanks. But I'd better get going before Joe comes looking for me. I'll call by later this evening."

She smiled at him. "Anytime Ponch, and thanks for coming by."

"Hey, what are best buds for? Huh Jon."

"Sorry Ponch, what was that?"

"Nothin Jon, I'll see you later tonight, Okay?"

"Yeah, alright," he uttered.

Cassy walked with Ponch over to the door and stepped out into the corridor with him. "I'm worried about him Ponch, really worried," she said as she rubbed the back of her neck.

"I know Cassy, I am too." He gave her a hug. "If you need to talk about anything you know I'm here, don't you?"

"Yeah I do. Thanks."

Cassy stayed out in the corridor for a moment after Ponch had left. She just didn't know the best way to handle the situation. She sighed and wandered back inside. She went over to the stereo and flicked through the cassettes where she quickly found the one she wanted and put it on. It was one of Jon's favorites. She walked around the apartment and picked up his clothes.

"Would you like to get dressed?" She placed the clothes on his lap.

Jon smiled in her direction. "I suppose I should."

"Yeah," Cassy agreed. "Might be a good idea as you never know who might drop by." She moved the coffee table over to one side of the room as she talked. "You get dressed and I'll be back in a minute."

She went back to the kitchen, quickly tidied up and had a look around the room. She moved anything she thought would be in his way. By this time Jon had managed to get himself dressed in a haphazard sort of way.

Cassy walked back over to him, taking his hands she pulled him to his feet. "Dance with me?"

"Here?"

"Yes, here."

"Why?"

"Because I need to be close to you, do I really need a reason?" Cassy pulled him close and slipped her arms around him as she moved with the music.

"No, I guess not." He wrapped his arms around her as he finally understood her need. He bent his head down and nuzzled her hair as he breathed in the sweet smell of her.

They held each other tightly and swayed to the music. Cassy rested her head on his chest where she could feel his heart beating. She slipped her hands under his shirt, slowly moving them up and down his bare skin. A soft moan escaped from Jon as she continued to caress his back.

Jon moved from Cassy's hair onto her neck, sending shivers down her spine as he softly kissed her. He slid his hands down her back and under her tee shirt, making her moan in pleasure. They continued to hold and caress each other for some time, as they moved in time with the music. The cassette came to an end and the music stopped, though either Jon or Cassy seemed to notice.

Cassy moved her hand up and gently brushed her fingers over the many cuts and scrapes on his face. She looked up at him and gasped as she realized how lucky she was to still have him here.

Jon sensed her thoughts and spoke in a whisper. "I'm still here baby, and we'll work this out together one way or another." He reached down and brushed his lips over hers. It was the lightest of kisses. He kissed her again while he fumbled around with her tee shirt. Finally he realized what she was wearing and pulled it over her head and off her arms.

Cassy returned his kisses while she undid his shirt buttons, gradually slipping his shirt off his shoulders and down his arms. Jon chuckled. "Why did you have me get dressed, if you're going to undress me?"

"This is more entertaining hon, you know that," she replied with a soft moan as she got the shirt off. She breathed in the smell of him and groaned. "God you're beautiful, have I told you that before?"

"That should be my line Cass." Jon moved his hands behind her and undid her bra. He pulled it off and let it fall to the floor. "You're beautiful." His hands roamed around her body, ending up on her bare breasts.

"I'm serious Jon, you're gorgeous. You mean the world to me, you know that don't you?" She touched his face again.

"Cassy, sweetheart of course I know that." He pulled her close and kissed her again. "But it's nice to hear you say it. You mean the world to me too. I love you, more than you know." He kissed her again and again leaving her breathless.

She moaned as he continued to caress her. She took his hand and led him into the bedroom.

00000

Cassy was in the kitchen the next afternoon cleaning up after lunch. She sighed as she threw away the remainder of Jon's lunch. He'd managed to eat more than he had yesterday but not by much. She understood him not having an appetite but it was beginning to worry her. Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock coming from out in the corridor. She put the dishcloth down, wiped her hands and opened the door.

Cassy smiled warmly at the man standing on the other side. He was holding a helmet in one hand and a small brown paper bag in the other. "Hi Joe, come in."

"Thanks Cassy, I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" He followed her inside and gave her the paper bag. "Some fruit and nuts. Betty thought you and Jon would like them."

"Thanks Joe. I'll enjoy them even if Jon doesn't." She put the bag down on the bench top.

Joe raised his eyebrows. "Jon not eating?"

She sighed. "Not much. He's out on the balcony, go through and see if you can cheer him up."

Cassy went back to the kitchen while Joe walked towards the balcony. Jon was sitting out there listening to some music.

Joe stood at the entrance and watched him for a moment. His heart sank when he saw the state one of his best officers was in. He was slumped in a chair and his fingers were mindlessly tapping on the table top. Joe took a step closer and spoke. "Hi Jon, how's it going?"

"Oh, Sarge" He turned his head towards the sound of Joe's voice and stopped tapping on the table.

Joe pulled out a chair, sat down and put his helmet on the table. "So Jon, how are you?"

"Just honky dory, can't you see that?" he sneered.

Joe frowned and shook his head. Jon was worse than Frank had led him to believe. "You've got every reason to be worried Jon, but……"

"Has that partner of mine been speaking to you?" he asked, totally annoyed.

Joe answered. "Ah, well he may have said something."

"Like what?" He sat up straighter.

"He asked me if I could look into other positions on the Patrol, you know if …."

"If I don't get all my sight back," interrupted Jon. "I know what you mean."

"Sorry."

"So have you?" he snapped.

"I told Frank I would speak to you first. There are a few positions you could take and I could to talk to the Captain if you like."

Jon exploded. "Ponch had no right to do that. He should mind his own God damn business."

"Ah Jon, he's concerned about you, that's all. Frank hasn't been himself since your accident."

Jon sighed heavily as the anger dissipated. "I know Sarge, I know. This has been hard on everyone, especially Ponch and Cassy."

"Cassy's okay, isn't she?"

"Yeah, but she's putting on a brave face. I know she's worried about me." Jon rubbed the back of his neck.

"We all are, Jon."

He leaned forward. "Don't bother about talking to the Captain; it's my motor or nothing, Sarge."

"You sure about that?" Joe frowned, hating the thought of losing Jon altogether.

"Yeah, I've been thinking about going back to Wyoming." He slumped back in his chair.

"Wyoming?"

"Yeah, there's nothing for me here if I can't ride my motor." The despondency coming through in Jon's voice alarming his sergeant.

"How does Cassy feel about that?" Joe asked.

Jon sighed. "I haven't mentioned it as I've only been thinking about it."

"You'll have to talk to her Jon, that's a big decision to make."

"I know." He paused. "Please don't mention this to Ponch."

Joe sighed too. "If that's what you want Jon, my lips are sealed."

"Thanks."

00000

Cassy closed the door behind Artie Grossman as he left. She walked back to Jon and giggled. "Today Grossie, yesterday Bear, day before Bonnie, who's coming tomorrow?"

Jon grinned. "Harlan."

"Harlan? How do you know?" She sat down on the couch next to him.

"It's the roster."

"The roster? Just what are you talking about Jon Baker?"

Jon chuckled. "The Duty of Care roster. Bonnie made it up a few years ago. When one of us is in hospital or out of action like this, we're supposed to follow the roster and visit when it's our turn. Bonnie must have pulled it out again and got everyone organized."

Cassy giggled. "That sounds like Bonnie; she was always doing things like that when we were kids."

Jon put his arm around her as she snuggled in beside him. "Yeah, ever since she came to Central she's been busy keeping us in line and doing her bit to cheer us up when we need it."

"So, has it worked?" she asked. "Do you feel cheered up by all the visits?"

The tone in her voice made him stop and think for a moment. "Oh God Cass." He gently touched her face. "The visits have helped but you're the one who has managed to cheer me up. You and that goofy partner of mine."

"Me and Ponch, huh?"

"Yeah, but mostly you." He leaned over and found her lips. "Cos I'll never be inclined to do that with Ponch."

She ran her hand over his chest. "God I hope not or I'd be outta here in a flash." They both laughed as they continued to enjoy each other's company.

Cassy came up for air. "In all seriousness you are like one big family. You're always looking out for each other."

"Yeah, that's true," Jon agreed. "That's what I'd miss the most Cassy. The friendships and the sense of family there. It's a special place that's for sure."

"I know Jon." She took hold of his hand and held it tight. "Only two more days, then we find out."

00000

Jon was awake early on the morning of his Doctors appointment. Cassy was snuggled up next to him in bed with one arm resting on his chest. He lay there and thought about all the possibilities that this day could bring.

He'd get his sight back, go back to the Patrol and life would go on as normal. He sighed. Or he wouldn't have any sight and life would never be the same. Then there were all the in between's. Some sight back but not enough to go back to work, or he could be blind in one eye but not the other. Jon sighed again and rubbed his forehead. He just wanted this day to be over. Beside him Cassy stirred, he touched her gently on her hand and caressed her arm. Cassy. What would he have done without her? Jon couldn't think about that and he didn't what to think about her life if…..he just couldn't think about it.

Cassy stirred some more and snuggled up closer. "Mmmm that's nice," she murmured.

Jon continued to caress her arm. He moved up to her shoulder and ran his fingers through her silky, blonde hair. He moved downward, over her bare back, down to her buttocks and back up again. He smiled to himself. He had never been loved as much as he had this past week. Well, what else was there to do? Cassy stirred again and began her own journey over Jon's chest. Any thoughts he had were pushed away for the time being.

00000

Cassy picked up her bag, found the car keys and took hold of Jon's hand. "Ready?" she asked.

"As ready as I'll ever be, Cass."

"Jon"

"Yeah"

"You know that I'll be there for you, no matter what happens today, don't you?"

He squeezed her hand. "Yes Cass, I know that. You worry too much about me. Come on, we don't want to keep the doctor waiting."

"No, we don't." She led Jon out the door and down to the car.

They had been driving for about ten minutes when Jon surprised her. "What do you think about moving to Wyoming?"

"Wyoming? Where did that come from, Jon?" she slowed down to exit the freeway.

"Oh, I've been thinking about it this week."

"And you've just decided to mention it now?" she questioned him.

"Yeah, sorry," he replied sheepishly.

"Would you be happy back in Wyoming?"

"I think so…..oh I don't really know Cass, as I'm not sure about anything at the moment."

Cassy turned into the hospital. "We'll have to talk about it later as we're here now."

"Oh."

Cassy parked the car and glanced over at Jon. He looked like the world was about to fall in around him. She touched his hand. "Come on, it's time to go."

They walked into the hospital. Jon was holding Cassy's hand so tightly that she wondered if it was going to fall off. They stopped at the Nurses Station and found out where they had to go. In no time they were seated in the examination room, waiting for Dr Stevens. They didn't have long to wait.

"Jon and Cassy isn't it? How are you both?" Dr Stevens looked at Jon. "Nervous?"

Jon relaxed slightly. "Yeah, I guess you could say that. I've never been more nervous in my whole life. Not even when I asked Cassy to marry me."

Dr Stevens chuckled. "Well this will be over just as quickly, I promise. Now if I can get you to sit up on the table, then we can start."

Jon got up on the table and Dr Stevens started to remove the bandages. He took off the top layer and then started on the dressings directly over Jon's eyes. "It might take a few seconds for your eyes to focus Jon, but that's normal. There, that's the last one." He stepped back as Cassy held her breath, waiting.

Jon slowly opened his eyes; he blinked a few times and then closed them again. Cassy's heart sank. He reopened them and looked around the room until he found her. He smiled. The biggest smile Cassy had ever seen. "Hi beautiful," he grinned.

Cassy flung herself into his arms with tears flowing down her cheeks. He buried his head in her hair and hugged her tightly. He looked over at Dr Stevens, who was grinning broadly. "Thank you."

"My pleasure Jon, my pleasure." He watched them for a moment before speaking again. "Now if you don't mind, I need to examine Jon's eyes, do an eye test and remove some stitches."

Cassy pulled away. "Sorry." She couldn't keep the grin off her face.

He chuckled. "Don't be. This is what we doctors live for, happy endings." He shone a light in Jon's left eye and then in the right eye. "Good, very good. Everything looks as it should be. How do they feel?"

"Wonderful," Jon replied.

"Good, let's remove these stitches in your face then." He removed the stitches and handed Jon a mirror. "Have a look."

Jon had a look at his face for the first time since the accident. Most of the cuts and scrapes had healed, but his face was still marked. "Gee, if this is what I look like after a week, what did I look like a week ago?" He looked at Cassy and grinned. "You must really love me, huh?"

Cassy laughed. "You know how that old saying goes Jon, Love is blind."

Dr Stevens gave him his eye test, which he passed with flying colors. Jon signed the necessary papers and they were right to go. Cassy gave the doctor a big hug as they left and Jon shook his hand. "I don't know what to say Doctor; we just can't thank you enough."

"Believe me Jon, just to see your happy faces are thanks enough."

"Well, thanks again."

They walked out of the hospital hand in hand. Cassy smiled as she looked over at him. "Do you want to talk about Wyoming now?"

Jon laughed. "How about we go and see Ponch, and tell him the good news."

Cassy grinned. "Yeah, let's do that. Then we can go and celebrate."

"Just what did you have in mind?"

"You'll have to wait and see Jon Baker, wait and see."

The End