A/N: Truth be told, I hadn't planned on giving this story an epilogue, but it was pointed out to me by a reviewer that Perry's POV was really missed, and I'll be the first to admit that I very much missed writing from his perspective as well. But anyway guys, before this story is officially wrapped up, I just wanted to again give my sincere thanks for all of your feedback and reviews. I love hearing what you have to say, and am beyond excited when I see readers out there enjoying the story. Well, that's it from me. Hope you like the finale!
Disclaimer: I own a very large nothing.
-One year later-
Perry awoke in a comfortable warmth, the light of early morning filtering into his room, covering both himself and the person next to him in a soft, gentle glow. It was the older man's favorite time of day. All was still and quiet, and he was able to silently study the brunet wrapped in his arms. It was one of the few times Perry felt okay with feeling, well, open.
Dr. Cox let a warm smile grace his features – something you used to never see on the older man when he first woke up – as JD curled further into his hold; still very much asleep in whatever dream world his mind was concocting for him.
Perry watched him silently, hardly believing that a whole year had passed by since the two of them first became "official." Though it'd been another six months before the older man had actually allowed JD to move in. Not that the idea of living with him was a bad one. Alright, so maybe it had caused him three or four migraines when first thinking it over, but still – his waiting had been for a reason. JD wasn't good at waiting himself, and usually that ended his relationships, so he hadn't wanted to enforce one of the brunet's main flaws. Not to mention his own various flaws with Jordan. No, he'd been in no rush to have JD move in, just to have the both of them freak out and fall apart; just like all of their other attempts at past relationships.
The last six months, however, had been going over much better than Perry had ever anticipated. Sure, they fought once in a while, and sure, they weren't vomiting rainbows and walking on sunshine, but they were in a nice, caring, loving relationship, which was more than either of them had ever had.
Perry's attention was once again drawn to the man in his arms, who was mumbling incoherently, squirming in his little ball of warmth. Dr. Cox could feel the corner of his mouth turn up in a grin as he went about trying to interpret JD's words.
In the beginning of their relationship, Dr. Cox had teasingly told JD about his sleep talking, to which the younger of the two had gotten surprisingly defensive. Apparently, it was something he considered embarrassing, to which Perry, on any other occasion, would have teased him about even more. But the truth was, he found JD's sleep talking to be rather endearing. He didn't want to tease him only to have the kid subconsciously knock it off.
"S' gonna now…s' gonna…"
Perry's grin only widened as he stretched out his arm, pulling back a strand of loose hair and tucking it neatly behind his protégé's ear. "What's gonna, Newbie?" he whispered quietly.
"S' one ova 'dare…"
Perry leaned over, planting a kiss on the younger man's forehead. "Alright, Newbie. Go back to sleep."
Perry smiled again, though this time, it was brief. Mornings were his favorite, yet they never lasted long. Especially on days like today, where they had plans beyond work.
The two had been lucky enough to get off on the same day, but unfortunately for Perry, that luck also spread over to Gandhi, Barbie, and not as unfortunately, Carla. They were all coming over today for what was sure to be a rousing good time. Okay, so it was just going to be diner and a movie (at their apartment, thank God, seeing as there was just no way Dr. Cox was going to pay ten dollars to watch two hours of whatever crap the rest of them would've chosen) but still…
The older man begrudgingly sat up from his position on the bed, swinging his legs over the side and heading straight for the shower. He paused to take one last look at his sleeping protégé; the early morning light still making his pale skin glow a soft sort of gold.
"Nice boxers, Trish."
Perry watched as JD stopped mid-stride, staring down at his smiley face boxers and blushing. "They're new…"
"So I see."
"A 'good morning,' would've done just fine, you know…"
Dr. Cox just rolled his eyes. Even now, he forgot that JD wasn't exactly a morning person. To his credit, it was an easy thing to forget, what with JD seeming like the perfect candidate for a person who would hop out of bed with a smile and a song.
Perry continued to sip at his coffee as JD poured a mug of his own, but not before leaning over and placing a kiss on the older man's cheek. Dr. Cox grunted into his mug as a way of returning the gesture, but he did not miss the slight slump to JD's shoulders after he did so. Odd… Six months straight and he'd seemed absolutely okay with that kind of response. What was going on now?
No, not just now. Lately; as in the past couple of weeks. JD had been acting…distant. Not cold or ignoring or even rude. Just a little distant. Was something bothering him? But if something ever bothered JD, Dr. Cox was always the first to hear about it. Okay, so maybe Gandhi got to hear about it first on more than one occasion, but JD never failed to tell Perry if something was wrong, so why would he be holding back now?
"I'm gonna go take a shower!" JD exclaimed, the bounce in his usual step already returning. "Turk and Carla are coming here around twelve, and Elliot's going to be a little late since she's bringing Michael with her."
"Why's she bringing him?"
"Oh, c'mon, Michael's perfect for her! They've been together since we've been together."
"A couple of weeks more than that, if I remember your story correctly."
"Whatever. I was rounding. Anyway, hurry up and get ready! Turk and Carla will be here soon."
Dr. Cox gave a low growl, though truthfully, he was a little relieved. Whatever he imagined was wrong with JD was clearly just that; his imagination.
Or it could be that you're actually hanging out with his friends today and he's really excited, no matter what mood he's been in lately. That doesn't mean you imagined it, ya' idiot. Something could still be wrong.
Dr. Cox shook his head, silently cursing Newbie for having somehow given him his own inner monologue. Still though, what if something was bothering JD? He'd tell him, right? Perry took one last sip of his coffee before heading into his room to get dressed. He'd think on it later. Right now, he had to prepare himself.
The mod squad was coming over, and soon.
Surgeon and doctor embraced as both Carla and Perry took to rolling their eyes, though at least with the nurse, she wore a smile while doing so. "Thanks for having us over, Dr. Cox."
Perry shrugged. "It beats having to leave the apartment."
"Well, you're being rewarded for your efforts, as I'm going to be the one cooking tonight."
Dr. Cox perked up instantly. "Oh yeah? What're you cooking?"
"Chicken parmesan with linguine and garlic bread."
The older man inwardly melted at the very sound of it. "I think I'm actually glad you're here."
Carla swatted his arm playfully as JD bounced up to the curly haired doctor; the pout he knew was coming already set in place. "Hey! I'm a good cook too, you know!"
Perry tried not to smirk at JD's pouty face. One year later and he still took the bait so easily. "Oh, I know you're all a flutter when you tie on that little apron of yours and go about gallivanting through the kitchen, but I happen to like the Dominican flair Carla adds to her cooking, so put those lips away and – "
"That's not what you said last night…" JD muttered as an interruption.
"Put those lips away," the older man reiterated, "And enjoy the fact that you're getting a free meal."
JD walked away, still pouting, as he went to join Turk in the living room; the two of them sitting on the couch and going through the movies that the surgeon had gone out and rented before hand.
Perry turned towards Carla, a triumphant smirk tugging at his mouth, but the Latina wasn't looking at him with amusement or even a knowing grin. She looked mad. Or concerned. Or maybe both. Ah, damn it. "What?" he asked curiously.
"Can't you cut back on the teasing just a little bit?"
"Carla, you're only seeing this sort of thing while you're actually here. We don't act like that constantly. Besides, Newbie knew what he was getting into when he got into this thing. I told him I wasn't always going to be as open as I was when I was on that love potion."
Carla, who had been getting ready to retaliate, stopped at his words, eyes widening slightly at his own. "Is that it then?"
"Is what it then?"
"Why you hardly ever show him affection?"
"I show him affection all the time!"
"Not just 'Dr. Cox' affection, but open affection. Is that why you don't do it? Because of the love potion?"
Dr. Cox closed his eyes in quiet restraint; really wishing he had kept his big mouth shut and hadn't gone ahead and brought up what originally caused their coming together. Truth be told, he could never feel regret or anything remotely negative for the man who sold JD the potion, or the day he'd accidentally drank it. It was what brought the two of them together, so he wasn't going to complain.
The thing that bothered him though, was how well he could remember feeling while that stuff had coursed through his veins. His logic, his desire, his fear.
Whenever he had laid eyes on JD during those first couple of weeks, he'd been like a school boy with a crush; something he never even felt when he had been a school boy. Not that he'd never found a girl pretty when he was younger, but never had he dealt with it like that. He could remember feeling embarrassed and open and – God save him – vulnerable. He could remember wanting to run to the local florist, buy JD a dozen red roses, and thrust them into his palms. Thankfully, the "Real Dr. Cox," side of him had won in that case, and he'd gone with buying him a muffin instead.
No, he could never be mad at the love potion or regret having drunk it. He was, however, scared to put himself in such a vulnerable position again. Plus the addition of his ex-wife running out on him; an experience he really didn't want to re-live with JD... "It's not that," he finally answered, but Carla knew he was lying, and he knew she knew it too.
"Dr. Cox, I get why you're hesitant, I do. But you don't have to go all out and shower Bambi with romantic gifts or whatever it is you think would be required to show him real affection. Just the tiniest gesture would have JD on cloud nine for weeks."
A sudden thought struck Perry then; his concerns from earlier coming together with their current conversation. "Is that, I mean…have you noticed the kid acting different lately?"
Carla nodded, eyes going soft. "JD loves you for you, Dr. Cox. He doesn't expect you to be over the top romantic, but lately he feels…he thinks…"
"What?" Perry asked, unhappy with how much the worry was showing in his voice.
"He thinks you're not interested anymore. He thinks…he thinks you plan on breaking up with him."
Perry's eyes popped as his mouth practically dropped to the floor. "I…he…what!?"
"He doesn't want you to be all gooey and romantic. He knows you're not, and he wouldn't expect you too, but you have to remember that JD's past relationships haven't even made it this far. He's happy, but he's also really insecure. He's over analyzing everything he does, wondering if it's good enough to keep your relationship going, and while just a couple of weeks ago he wouldn't have thought twice about something you usually say or do, he's now over thinking it, taking it as a sign that you're losing interest. He just needs a reminder, Dr. Cox. Just the tiniest of reminders to know you still care."
The older man swallowed. He had no idea JD was that nervous about the two of them, nor did he know what it was he could do to make the kid realize how much he cared without feeling completely and utterly vulnerable. No. He knew whatever he did would, in fact, make him feel exposed, but was it a risk worth taking? Was it a fear he could look past?
A sudden knock at the door brought the Irishman out of his contemplation, his attention now turned to the practically skipping JD as he went to answer it. "Elliot!" the brunet shouted excitedly, embracing her the moment she stepped through the doorway.
"Hi, guys! Wow, the apartment looks great! Dr. Cox, thanks for letting us come over. See, Michael? I told you it'd be alright if you came."
Michael stood politely beside Elliot, nodding appreciatively to Dr. Cox for allowing him over. He loosened up considerably as Turk and Carla came over to greet him as well, while JD went about giving him a hug of his own. "Hey, Mike! How've you been?"
"Good! The ultra –" The dentist was cut off with an elbow to the ribs, Elliot's voice going high with frustration. "Mike! We were going to wait until after dinner to tell them that!"
"I forgot, I forgot! I'm just really excited, that's all!"
"Aw, babe!" Elliot stood on the tips of her toes, reaching up to place a soft kiss on her fiancé's lips while combing his black, curly hair with her fingers. A loud clearing of the throat from the eager-to-hear-the-news Latina drew the two back down to reality.
"Well, you can't keep us waiting after whatever slip-up was just about to occur," Carla said in response to Elliot's, "Sorry about that," look. "So what's going on? You two were late for a reason, so let's have it!" The nurse's brown eyes were shining with anticipation, already having an idea as to what was about to be announced.
Elliot met her gaze with the same excited look and more some. "I'm pregnant!" she shouted happily.
Carla squealed, Turk shook Michael's hand, while JD practically bounced up and down around the blonde haired doctor, talking about how Jack, Jennifer, Sam, and Izzy would be more than excited to get a new play mate.
The whole room seemed to vibrate with the joy that was Elliot's news, but all Dr. Cox could do was stand there and wonder what it was he could say to convince JD that he wasn't going to leave him; that he was still very much in love.
Dinner had been great, and Dr. Cox would have been more than satisfied to let it rest comfortably in the pit of his stomach while the film in front of them went about playing on the TV screen. But he couldn't get comfortable. He couldn't relax. Not with Carla's words set on repeat in his head, or the longing glances he would catch JD giving the snuggling couples that sat with them. Tonight had honestly been tolerable, but truth be told, he wanted them out. Not because of their actual company, and not even because of the horrible movie he was currently being forced to sit through – The Notebook. God save me – but because he wanted to think in quiet concentration as to how he could put JD's fears to rest; about what he could say and if, for that matter, he could even bring himself to say it.
He wanted them to leave so he could make things right.
Dr. Cox got his wish around quarter after twelve, when all of JD's friends (and okay, maybe his friends now too…) finally left the apartment and headed for home. After hours of ignoring the film and thinking on what it was he could say, he finally thought of something he could tell him. It was honest and true and damn hard for Perry to admit, but would something so meaningful to him come across as insignificant to JD? Would he be able to understand what it was for Dr. Cox to confess something so private? Something he honestly loved?
"Ready for bed?" JD asked from the kitchen, having just put the last plate from their dinner into the dishwasher.
"For bed; are you ready? It's no big deal or anything. I just thought you'd be tired after today, but, um…I can go in alone. It's not a big –"
"Yeah, Newbie, I'm ready. Let's go in."
JD gave a soft smile as the two of them made their way into the bedroom, crawling under the covers and flicking out the main light.
Dr. Cox watched JD pull the comforter up to his chin, the light from the bedside lamp revealing the worry he'd been noticing in the younger man for the past two weeks. Perry swallowed. The last person he'd confessed this to had told him it gave her the "Heeby Jeebies." Would JD feel the same way?
The brunet, who had been staring at the ceiling, immediately turned at the sound of the older man's tone, his blue eyes flashing with even more worry than his expression. "Perry?"
Dr. Cox swallowed. It was now or never. "I watch you when you sleep."
JD turned on his side to face him, though his expression was one of confusion. "What…?"
"I…I watch you when you sleep. In the morning. You, um…you're usually still sleeping when I wake up, and sometimes the light hits you just right, and…and even when it's still kind of dark, I just really…you look so peaceful, and I…I watch you. It's, um…it's my favorite time of the day."
Dr. Cox held his breath as the silence that followed seemed to stretch out forever. Great job, Per. You just officially freaked the kid out. Now he's gonna – wait…are those…is he…? Perry watched, startled but silent, as unshed tears filled JD's eyes to the brim. "It's your…it's your favorite time of the day? Just watching me sleep?"
The older man just nodded, still too nervous to say anything more.
JD filled the small gap between them, bringing their lips together in a kiss that held a great sense of relief and a great sense of love. When the brunet finally pulled away, Dr. Cox was quick to notice the lone tear that had escaped the younger man's eyes, trailing down his cheek and curving past the corners of his upturned mouth. JD was smiling, his worries from just a moment ago completely and utterly gone.
"You know I love you, right Newbie?"
JD nodded, still all watery smiles. "Yeah, Perry, I know."
The older man let out the smallest of sighs, surprised at how utterly content he felt at seeing JD so happy. "Good," he finally responded. "Now get yourself over here. I want to be the big spoon."
JD wiggled closer, giggling into the curly haired doctor's neck. "You're always the big spoon."
"Are you complaining?"
"Yeah," Perry whispered, draping his arms around JD in a warm embrace, "Me neither."
A/N: Well, there it is! I wanted to show that they still had their struggles, like most couples do, but that they were in a healthy, loving place with one another. I know it was kind of mushy, but hey…it's an epilogue to a love story, and after working so hard to get to that point, I figured they deserved a happy ending. lol Well, that's it from me. I hope you enjoyed it. :) Until next time!