I am so so so so so so so so so so so sorry for leaving this story to rest for so long, sorry that you had to see it slowly gathering dust and fading away into obscurity… I found some little morsels that I'd written on my computer and touched them up; I hope they satisfy your appetite.
I also found an 'alternative' ending that I'd written up on a rainy day… I may post it, but… well, it's sad...
Thank you so much to EliH2 for beta reading this chapter for me and coming up with great changes! You're truly excellent, and you know the characters so well. I couldn't have posted this without your help.
Chapter 11: Of Hair and Hats
Things have died down a bit since my outburst yesterday. I think everyone is just ignoring that anything ever happened, which is good for me because I didn't really mean to say anything at all. And that odd curl of guilt makes my tummy all queasy even thinking about it. Though that could just be all those meds.
I'm just so tired. Tired of everything. Tired of being in this bed, and tired of feeling like a mini marshmallow being repeatedly squashed by a giant boot… It just isn't me, all this being sick malarkey.
Oh, the ludicrous things I would do for an Eagle right now.
The me in my head gets spun through the air so fast it feels like I'm flying, the wind stings my eyes and skims through my perfectly styled hair. I'm flying! Actually flying! I'm not in a hospital bed, I'm feeling the comforting muscleyness of my Chocolate bear's shoulder underneath me as he spins me round and round and round.
"Wheeeeeeeeeee!" I say, earning an odd look from Dr Cox who's standing stiffly by my door like a particularly angry barricade. I feel a little bit dizzy from my mental flying escapade, but I shake it away to give my caring mentor a special smile.
He glares at me.
You see, Dr Cox is on me-sitting duty. He's gone to ridiculous measures to make sure I'm under armed guard every minute of the day, and he monitors what goes in and out of the room in case I might be trying to make a break for it. It's a wonder he hasn't put bars on my window yet, although now I think about it he has been having sneaky talks with the Janitor, and just a few hours ago, I saw that very same Janitor wink at me, nod to the window, and brandish his screwdriver menacingly…
I narrow my eyes with suspicion, glancing from my open window to Dr Cox and back again. I hope he doesn't put bars on it. At the moment that blissfully open window, with its slight warm breeze and twinkle of sunshine, is my only source of freedom. I sigh. Dare I say it, but my trip yesterday may have caused my mentor go insane.
I mean, he even followed me to the toilet, and well, I get a little nervous under pressure. I stood there shivering and trying to remain standing upright by leaning heavily on the wall while Dr Cox fixed me with his signature death glare from the doorway. I'm so weak right now that it takes most of my strength to get out of bed in the first place, but I really don't want a catheter right now to add to my embarrassment.
On the other hand, trying to pee while my mentor pierces my flesh with his angry angry eyes is just too much.
"Dr Cox," I say through chattering teeth, throwing him a pleading glance, "please could you… gimme a minute?"
"Look, I don't give a damn if you can't peepee while someone's watching ya Loretta. You should've thought about that before you decided to nearly goshdarn kill yourself."
Oh, he exaggerates so. My lungs really don't feel like they're eating me anymore, not much anyway... only when I try to stand up… but it's all perfectly normal for a patient to go through this… I'm just not used to me going through this.
Well, the table's have turned J-Dawg. It's time you got used to it.
I know why I'm stuck with Dr Cox and not someone who actually wants to be here, even though everyone's made silly excuses about not being able to stay with me.
The thing is, Carla and my C-bear have gone to find Elliot and Dan… and I sure hope they find them soon. Not just because I really really miss those guys, but also because Dr Cox seems to be a little more snippy today than usual. It may have something to do with the fact that I'm currently practicing my big baby blue puppy-dog eyes on him.
He is trying to ignore me by sitting in a chair with a paper, but he can't escape me that easily, we're stuck with each other and that means – oh yes indeedy – I'm going to finally get my Super Perry Cox Hug of Dreams!
Of course, Dr Cox kinda needs a little convincing.
I pout my lower lip out a little.
He rolls his eyes. "Ah give me a break Newbie - you're not getting your girly, and frankly disgusting, hug, 'cause you're not dying." He growls in that Coxian way I know so well.
I don't want to say it. But I do. I lower my eyes, fingers tracing the bed covers. "I might." I say quietly, having taken off my breathing mask for a little while despite my protesting lungs. I don't really believe it… of course I don't, I may be sick but I'll get through this, right? But man, I'll do anything to finally get that hug. The Super Perry Cox Hug of Dreams.
Dr Cox just grumbles, flitting his icy blue eyes up to mine and back to the paper he's pretending to read, "You most certainly are nawt Cindy, now shut the hell up and sleep. After that stupid stunt you idiots pulled yesterday, you should be glad I haven't gaffataped your sorry ass to the ceiling." A slightly sickened smile. "Aaaaand I think I should point out that even if you were about to peg it, I still would nawt hug you there, Newbie. Whatever disgustingly girly illness you've contracted is probably contagious."
His insults bounce off me like I'm a human-shaped trampoline. "Aw come on Dr Cox. Pleeease?"
His eyes darken, like there's a storm a-brewing. I fear I may have pushed too much, and I resist the urge to run for cover, or at the very least, pull the covers up over my head, lest his evil laser vision sizzles me on the spot. "Newbie," he starts dangerously, "so help me, despite that cocktail of mind-numbingly good drugs your on, I am not above anesthetising you up to your eyeballs. Now shut the he-ell up and go to sleep."
He's going easy on me. I guess I must look sicker than I thought. I sigh and turn on my side, breathing mask back in place because oxygen is yummy. I snuggle into the covers, getting comfy.
But… after about a minute or two, I give up on sleeping. I must have a death wish or something, because even though I know Dr Cox is really not in the mood for me right now, I realise that talking to my mentor would be a much more fun use of my time. All I seem to do nowadays is sleep, and even though I can feel old Mr. Sandman pulling at my eyes with his magical sleep dust, I think Dr Cox might still be rather annoyed at me for my little trip outside yesterday. I need to make amends.
"Dr Cox?" I ask him quietly, burying my chin in the blankets.
Dr Cox grunts and lifts his newspaper higher to cover up his snarling face. I guess he doesn't want to talk, but as usual, this doesn't stop me.
"Dr Cox?" I rasp, removing the mask and the sweet oxygen accompanying it. It makes me dizzy for a moment, but it passes.
He ignores me.
"Dr Cox…? Dr Cox! Helloooo?"
The knuckles holding the paper whiten and Dr Cox lowers the paper with a look so sharp that it could skewer a teddy bear at thirty paces. I close my mouth with a small snap. The apology can wait.
He puts the paper back up.
Huh… well I guess I am a little tired; these blankets are so warm and my head's so full of fuzz… At least I'm not feeling as sick as yesterday, which might have something to do with all those tasty drugs the nursing staff around here seem to love filling me up with. Although I'm up and down so much I'm starting to feel like a yoyo...
If I was a yoyo, I'd like to be one of those cool ones that light up and walk the dog and things. "I'd sparkle whenever I wanted to." I add dreamily, eyes blinking sleepily, letting my thoughts wander into a small daydream in which I'm covered in glitter and basking in the joy that only shiny things can bring. A dopey smile. Then my mind reverts back, like it always does, to what I always seem to be thinking about.
Me, being unavoidably sickly. In my mind's eyes I see my yoyo string being cruelly cut and I fall helplessly on the floor, rolling and rolling and getting more and more dizzy. Okay, now I feel sick. My head spins and I keep falling until I jerkily wake myself up. My eyes open and close owlishly.
J-dizzle, get a hold of yourself.
There'll be no sparkling whilst I'm stuck in this bed, my breath fogging up the oxygen mask like a small cloud. Clouds don't sparkle. I have half a mind to break out again, although I have a pretty strong feeling that there's no chance of that happening… what with Dr Cox on guard duty. And I don't want to make anyone upset or angry again. Seeing Carla's hurt face was enough to make me stay wherever she wanted me to.
Besides, I think I've had all the fresh air I need… and I'll get better soon so I'll be able to dance outside to my heart's content… you know, if I get better, that is… I mean, when I get better… because I will get better.
"Do you think I've got a good chance of making it?" I whisper, almost to myself. As a doctor, it's hard to lie to myself and I find my brain going through all the checks on my own body, like I would any other patient. "Maybe." I answer breathlessly.
Dr Cox seems to hear me, however, and gets a tinsy bit angry. The paper makes a small thump as he crumples it up and chucks it at my head.
I blink a little because I didn't expect a crumpled piece of paper to hit me right between the eyes, and now they're watering a bit. It sure doesn't help my headache any.
"That is it Newbie - I don't care if I'm on sick idiot watch, I will kill you and/or disfigure your face if you say another word. I mean it, Betsy!"
I nod tiredly and close my eyes as my head protests the movement. I guess he doesn't want to talk to me right now. That's okay, I understand. I know I'm probably not good company. I wouldn't want to talk to me either.
"And for god's sake Megan…" I hear Dr Cox grumble, almost softly, "you're gonna be fine. You complete pansy."
Dr Cox's POV
God damn it, the kid looks half dead. And it just makes me want to strangle him until he snaps the hell outta it already. I hate that I'm stuck looking after him while Carla and Ghandi go sniffing after those other two idiots. And yeah okay, I'd rather be the one in here than leave Newbie in the incapable hands of some of the so called "doctors" on the staff, but after his escape attempt yesterday...
He scared me.
I grunt and glance at the kid as he lies with his face half buried in the covers. There's just a tuft of his hair poking up and… it's not right for Newbie to look that exhausted. I've almost had enough of this. But I'll be damned if I'm gonna leave Newbie to deal with it alone. I'd be just as bad as Barbie and the kid's halfwit of a brother. I scowl at the very idea.
Ah shit. And I just threw away my only companion, the paper that is. And now I've got nothing better to do than just watch the kid while he sleeps, just like his mummy would if he had a stomach bug.
I growl a little to myself, swiping at my nose as I pointedly turn my back on the kid and fold my arms. Priscilla's not getting any sympathy from me after what he pulled yesterday. I swear to god, if he hadn't have looked so goddamn ill, I would have punched him then and there. As it was, he was mostly out of it by the time we got him back inside, girly eyes closing and his forehead all creased with what I know had to be a one he-hell of a horrific headache.
So instead I've just done the rational thing and barricaded him in his room indefinitely.
Now, Ghandi on the other hand.
I sure let him have it once Newbie was knocked for six.
"You are a complete and utter idiot. A sorry excuse for doctor, let alone a goddamn 'best friend' to the kid. And you sure better hope that you're forever glued to Carla's side from now on Basketball head, or so help me, I'm going to end up maiming and or lobotomising you until you have an excuse for clearly nawt thinking about the damage you've just done to your girlfriend's recovery. Don't think you'll ever get to see Newbie again unless you have your hand held by someone else 'cause I've sure as hell have lost any trust that I may have been resting on your flabby excuses for shoulders. Dear God."
I'm actually quite impressed that the words came out of my mouth instead of the inhuman gnashing of teeth that I sometimes resort to. But please. How could anyone be so stupid?
Well, of course this is Ghandi and Newbie I'm talking about here. I mean they're the two most idiotic excuses for men I have pretty much ever laid eyes on…
I sigh, pinching the bridge of my nose to get rid of the stress headache. I once caught the two of them making a pool out of jello. They'd spooned out the entire month's supply of jello cups in the cafeteria.
Yeah that's right, a goddamn jello pool in the middle of the hospital. I caught them, half naked, giggling like a pair of hormonally driven schoolgirls, around a monstrosity of jello Newbie had somehow piled into a blow up swimming pool while the cafeteria was closed.
"Avast ye!" Newbie said, the back of his girly head bobbing up and down with sickening glee, "I be boarding yer jello ship Captain chocolate bear."
"Dude," Ghandi grinned, like some deranged overgrown kindergartner at the sight of the wobbling mass of green jello, "this is so awesome!"
Newbie was beaming, I couldn't see his face, but I could hear the sickening sweetness of it in his voice. "Happy birthday Chocolate bear! I knew you'd like it, and for the pièce de résistance I -" that is until he felt the prickling of my death glare on the back of his neck and turned around to see me glowering at him from the open doorway. "Ah!" he squealed, hands automatically covering up his pathetic excuse for a manhood, "Dr Cox – uh - It's not what it looks like I swear!"
It sure as hell was what it looked like. Those two idiots were stripped down to their underpants ready for a jello paddle and everything.
I snort at the memory and refold my arms, glancing back at Newbie again, because I just can't help myself. It's like having a sickly puppy beside you and not being able to take your eyes off it in case it somehow snuffs it in the ten seconds that you did.
As I think this, Newbie's face screws up and he mumbles into his pillow. A shaking hand comes up to rub at his forehead sleepily but he doesn't wake up.
Shit. The kid's in pain. I get up and adjust his medication, noting it down on the chart for something to do. If those idiots don't come back soon, I don't know what I'm gonna do. I've sure as hell got to get out of here, god knows what the kid's turning me into.
I hate to leave Bambi in the hospital, but deep down I know that he'll be safe with Dr Cox. Well, I'm not sure that safe is the right word, but there's no way Dr. Cox will let anything else happen to him. I'm pretty sure he'll have poor Bambi under strict house arrest, I mean I won't be surprised if we get back and find that Bambi's been strapped to the bed with his mouth gagged.
I sigh. Bambi needs more than this from all of us… he needs comforting. He's always been so quick to give his heart out to others, and it's high time that we started giving it back to him. I don't care what Elliot and Dan are going through right now, it's nowhere near as bad as what our Bambi is facing. He needs us. And Carla Espinosa is sure as hell going to drag them back to the hospital kicking and screaming if I have to!
Turk's worried, he's getting all antsy and I know he doesn't want to be here at all, he wants to be with JD.
"Turk honey, Dr. Cox has it covered; you don't need to worry about JD okay? We'll be back before you know it, I promise."
He pouts a little, but I give him a dangerous glare and he knows that in truth I'm actually going pretty easy on him, especially after the stunt him and Bambi pulled yesterday. He's in my bad books right now. So he can sure as hell help me out with this.
We've been to a load of bars already, and there's been no sign of Dan or Elliot anywhere. But just as I'm ready to move on to a new area entirely, I see a familiar blonde head come though a doorway just ahead of us.
I practically sprint over there, Turk hot on my heels and shouting something like "you crazy woman – slow down!"
And it's definitely Elliot, and that's definitely Dan hanging onto her like she's the only think that's keeping him upright. And it definitely smells like they've been drowning their sorrows for a while.
"Elliot!" I say breathlessly and she snaps her head up in surprise. I had a huge speech all lined up, a rant worthy of Dr Cox himself, I said it over and over in my head while we were searching. "What do you think you're doing bailing out on Bambi like that? do you have any idea…" My anger at them had grown so much these past few days… and yet, just one look at their forlorn faces and I just… I can't… they both look so… lost. Just lost. And in spite of it all, I find myself forgiving them almost instantly.
Though they could probably both do with a slap.
Sure they're drunk and they haven't been there for Bambi, but we all deal with these kinds of bad situations in different ways; we work at a hospital for god's sake, we know how hard an illness like this can be on a patient's family. And we sure as hell are Bambi's family.
"JD needs you." Is all I manage. Some strong willed Carla Espinosa I turned out to be.
Turk catches up with us, panting. "Where the hell have you guys been?" he manages, once he gets his breath back. Elliot starts to blab something about Dan but Turk cuts her off. "Look, save it okay. It's not me you have to apologise to. Just…" he sighed, and I let my baby take control of the situation for once. He can be so commanding when he wants to be. That's one of the reasons why I love him so much. "Get in the car, we're going back to the hospital, and you guys are talking to JD and apologising and - and everything. Right baby?" he still looks to me for confirmation though.
I nod, my eyes dark and determined, "JD's got his radiation treatment tomorrow and he's going to need all of us."
Elliot nods as if that was her plan all along. "We were just heading back to the hospital... we just…" Her blue eyes glittering under the messy blonde bangs. "needed to sort some things out."
Dan dips his head a little and doesn't speak.
They don't even protest when we steer them both to the car and drive back to the hospital like there's no tomorrow.
Turk's at the wheel and his mind is only on one thing - getting back to his Vanilla bear. I can't say I blame him. We've been away for hours, and who knows what we'll go back to, I check my phone for the millionth time. No messages from Dr Cox. I try to calm myself down a bit. Bambi will be fine.
Looking up I catch a glimpse of the two of them in the back of the car in the wing mirror. Elliot is looking ahead, resolutely.
She looks pretty rough, but I can see that she's ready to go back. I mean, Elliot's always been a more than competent doctor. Well, when she can get her head in the game she is. And right now she's got that look in her eyes, the look that she has when she's dealing with a particularly hard medical case and the test results have just come back. She looks sad, but ready. I know she can do this.
I turn my gaze to Dan. His head is resting on the window of the car door, and his eyes are shut. I wonder for a moment if he's so drunk that he's passed out. My heart melts a little as the light from outside the car illuminates his face for a moment and I catch the barest hint of wetness on his cheek.
I've gotta get back to my Vanilla bear, or I swear I'll go crazy. I think I'm getting a little overprotective of my brother bear, but at the moment… man, I just don't care. I put the pedal to the metal and before we know it we're back at the hospital. I might have run a few stop signs, but Carla didn't even seem to notice. She must be as nervous as I am.
I stop the car, unclipping my seatbelt as I lean back and look at the passengers over my shoulder.
"We're here." I say, kinda pointlessly, because they look like they're in their own worlds right now. Elliot nods and gets out of the car. It's Dan who's the problem. He's had a couple more than he should have by the looks and smell of it. And even though he looks like crap I can't help thinking how he could possibly do this to Vanilla bear. He should be there for his brother, but as usual... I mean, it's Dan…
My baby gets out and opens the back door, and Dan almost falls flat on his face. Aw man, I scooch around the car to where Carla and Elliot are struggling to keep Dan upright. We manage to get him up onto his feet between the three of us and lean him against the car. He blinks blearily at me and gives me a crooked smile. He's wasted. But he's the least of my problems at the moment.
I find myself hopping on my feet and Carla gives me that look. Baby, we're so close!
She frowns but says, "All right Turk, we can go. But JD's fine. I'm sure of it." She turns to Elliot with a hand on her hip. My baby means business and Elliot knows it. "We're going to check on Bambi. I'm trusting you both to get yourselves cleaned up. You're here now. And JD needs you. And If I don't see you in that hospital, in Bambi's room, apologising, in less than an hour - you'll have me to deal with. You got that?"
It's clear that if they don't "got that", then there'll be hell to pay. I am so hot for my sassy woman right now.
And I'm off, not bothering to hear Elliot's reply because under all that blonde hair and fuss, we all know that she's a good person. And a good friend. However, all that's on my mind at the minute is getting to my best friend. I'm literally running to JD's room, because I've left him alone for way too long. And yeah, he's trying to be brave, but I can see it's starting to get to him. There's only so much smiling can hide ya know?
We're through the front doors. Laverne gives me a quirk of her eyebrows as I fly past. I skid along the corridor, "Vanilla bear!" I sing. My trainers squeak against the floor as I turn on my heels, graceful as a ballerina.
When I get to his room though, it looks like J-dizzle's fallen asleep. He's snuggled up in the covers, eyes closed and oxygen mask in place. Man. I catch my breath and enter the room as quietly as I can.
Dr Cox is sitting in the chair by V-bear's bed. I give him a small, slightly nervous smile and he gives me a wicked grin in reply and brandishes a syringe at me with those scary eyes.
Man, he can be creepy when he wants to be. Looks like V-bear's gonna be out for a while then. At least I kinda hope that that's what the syringe was for, I know Dr Cox said he didn't want me in JD's room without an escort, so I sure as hell hope he's not threatening me with that needle or anything.
I back away a little, and bump into Carla. My heart stops beating so frantically. There's no way that Cox will get me when my baby's around. I resist the urge to poke my tongue out at him, but I do give him a little smirk.
"Oh Bambi," Carla says.
Dr Cox gets up and stalks out the room without a word.
Dr Cox's POV
Carla and her pet monkey finally came back to relieve me from guard dog duty, meaning I can finally get on and shout at some interns like I re-he-eally need to. Not that they've done anything wrong that I'm aware of… hell, of course they've done something wrong, they're interns for God's sake.
I just need anything… anything to get rid of this pressure that's been weighing down on my shoulders just having to watch over the stupid kid. But first I decide to see if the two idiots bothered turning up.
And to my surprise, I see them turn the corner. Barbie and Newbie's poor excuse for a brother. I clench my jaw. Dan's drunk by the looks of his bleary eyes and staggering gait, and Barbie's face is pink from the embarrassment of no doubt having to escort him through the hospital past all the nurses at the station who know exactly who she's been avoiding.
So they finally realised they were being idiots and came back for the kid did they? I glare at them as they get nearer, their tails between their legs. Yeah, they sure as hell better look guilty. As if the kid hasn't got enough to deal with already without his best buddies legging it outta there and leaving him to deal with it alone.
I whistle at them as they get nearer, a clear sharp dog whistle, which shocks them out of whatever they were moping in. Guilt I hope.
"We-he-ell, look who finally decided what selfish bastards they were being and crawled back for forgiveness." I greet them, with a smile. Well, it's nawt really a smile, actually I'm baring my teeth in a sort of feral snarl. But it does the job. I fold my arms, and flick my nose. Eyes like steel.
Barbie opens her mouth to reply but I cut her off. She isn't worth my time.
"Outta the way Barberoo. I got important people to see. I don't know how you're planning on making it up to the kid. I sure as hell wouldn't forgive ya for leaving me to die alone. Mmm, yeah. Ta ta, bye bye then!"
I storm off, not having to glance back to know that Dan and Barbie are wilting under the weight of their own guilt.
Oh god. I can't believe I did this to JD, I… Dr Cox is so right, I left JD all alone, just when he needed me most and – Oh no. Oh Frick! I can feel it, the onslaught of tears… Oh god, not now, if I start blubbering that'll be it, I can't hold it in, and I'll look like the bride of Dracula when I try and apologise to JD.
Stop Elliot – don't cry, don't cry – but it's too late, I can hear myself whimpering. I try to hide my eyes behind my blonde bangs as Dan starts looking uncomfortable and I burst out an "I'm sorry!" and leave him standing awkwardly in the corridor as I run to the toilets.
I sob for a while. Sitting on the cold tiles of the toilet floor and trying to calm myself down. And after a few moments the tears dry up. Then I manage to sort my face out, but you know it's pretty obvious that I've been crying, what with the way my eyes and cheeks are as pink as the nursing staff's scrubs. But once the tears started it was so hard to stop them.
It all comes down to the fact that this is JD that's tucked up in a hospital room, looking all frail and exhausted and so… patient-like. This is my JD.
And I don't ever want to lose him.
It's never been like this before, the people who are sick, the people who die, they've always been fleeting. I know it sounds terrible, but at the end of it all there's always been JD and me and Turk and Carla and Dr Cox. It's like we were invincible or something. We've all had losses, but they've never been so personal before. At least, not for me.
The way I usually deal with these things is to slip right into doctor mode. It's familiar territory and it comes so easily to me. But I can't; because what JD really needs right now is a friend.
I look determinedly at the mirror. Okay so, my eyes are bright pink around my blue irises, and my makeup is totally ruined. Frick. But to be honest, I find myself just not caring anymore; I've put this off for far too long. I nod at myself resolutely, blonde hair bobbing.
I go to JD's room without another thought. Because I know that's where I should have been all along.
My poor Bambi. I don't have the heart to wake him up just yet; he looks like he could use the rest. I push my fingers comfortingly through JD's hair in the way I usually do. Only my heart drops when I realise what I've done.
"Oh no no no baby," Turk screeches, his eyes wide, "what the hell did you do?"
I look at the small patch of dark hair caught between my fingers and my heart nearly stops. But being the strong Dominican that I am I try to think this through logically. I mean, Bambi's hair will grow back anyway, and we all knew his poor locks would suffer with all this chemo. We've seen it happen a million times before.
I have a feeling he's going to need one hell of a Carla mothering hug when he wakes up though; his hair is his pride and joy.
I mean, he takes hours on it every single day; that man uses more product than me and Elliot combined!
I can't even think how many times he's opened the bathroom door and run into mine and Turk's room with a look of pure unadulterated happiness on his face after using some new hair mousse or gel. "Carla, C-bear," he'd shout, with his Bambi grin plastered to his face, the one that makes his face light up like a light bulb, "smell me! Smell my head! I smell like Watermelon surprise!"
I smile sadly. He hasn't done that in a while.
"Baby," I can both see and hear the panic in Turk, unlike me he doesn't seem to be able to hide his emotions very well, and he's dancing on his toes like it's the end of the universe, "oh man, JD is going to kill you! What do we do? Do you think you could put it back?"
"Turk," I say softly, "you're being ridiculous. His hair'll grow back after the chemo and radiation therapy, and you know that there's absolutely nothing we can do about it. JD will understand."
Turk doesn't seem to think so; he squeezes his eyes shut and puts his hands over his ears. "Put it back woman! Just put it back!"
And all the commotion means that Bambi starts to wake up.
It takes him a couple of minutes to fully open those big baby blues of his, and I feel the familiar flutter of worry in my heart and rub his pale cheek with the hand not containing his poor bedraggled hair.
"Honey, are you feeling alright? We didn't mean to wake you." I say with a stern glance to Turk who has his mouth shut firmly and his eyes wide, as though if he makes any sudden movements JD will explode or something. Then I realise that he's trying to hold it in.
"Vanilla bear." He manages to say.
And because of that weird bond my baby and Bambi have, JD knows something is wrong within about two seconds of getting himself to focus on us.
"What? What is it?" He asks, sounding exhausted but his blue eyes look concerned as he takes in our worried faces. As if he thinks something's bad has happened to us. Oh Bambi. Then he looks to me, down to my handful of his shiny hair and then back to Turk with hurt eyes.
"V-Bear, don't freak out man okay, I think you look good like that - I mean being bald suits me, right? Maybe we could be shiny head brothers!"
Bambi blinks a little and softly takes the tufty handful of hair from my fingers. "Oh." He says. A trembling hand goes up to his head and he gets another handful of hair for his troubles.
He lets his fingers fall shaking into his lap.
"Shiny head brothers." He says softly, a smile straining his mouth. "Yeah."
"I'm sorry honey," I say, not knowing what else to do, "it'll grow back in a few months, you know that Bambi."
JD just nods, still staring at the loose hair and letting his finger tips stroke it softly. "Yeah," he says his voice cracking a little, and he may be smiling on the outside but I can tell his heart isn't in it, "yeah, it's no big deal guys… it's not like I haven't gone bald before right? I can pull it off easily..." a bigger grin, but his eyes were scared. "It's fine."
I remember that time he shaved all of his hair off for a patient, but even then it took him a while to actually go through with it and he was so ecstatically happy when it began to grow back, he was jumping around the place showing off the stubble with glee and getting people to rub his head for luck. I know inside he's gotta be taking this hard, and that plastered on smile is not fooling anyone.
Turk reaches over and gives Bambi a well needed hug, and because it's JD, a bit of a snuggle.
I guess, until now, nothing has physically changed for him. Sure, he can't leave this bed and I know he's got to be hurting and exhausted, but now he's pretty much been labelled as a cancer patient. It seems like this leukaemia is slowly taking pieces of the Bambi we love away.
Oh would you just listen to yourself, it's only hair! I'm not having my Bambi looking all mopey like this over something as silly as hair.
I put my hands on my hips, and instantly Bambi and Turk give me that look. They know I've just gone into Dominican mode. There'll be no sad faces with Carla on the job. "Now you listen here Bambi, I'm not having you getting so upset over this. Now I'm gonna go and get you a hat or something because you know how cold the ward gets sometimes… And at least your hair will grow back; you know Turk hasn't had any hair at all since I met him." I give Bambi my biggest teasing smile.
It works and Bambi even gives me a small smile back. A real one this time.
"Hey!" says Turk, offended, or acting it anyway for Bambi's sake, "you know I rock this look!" then a small pout. "Baby, I thought you loved me just the way I am…"
"I love your shiny head C-bear," says JD, smile growing larger with every second. Then his eyes go out of focus and he whispers dreamily, "smooth as freshly churned butter…"
We both smile at the daydream, I've hated the way things have changed so much and Bambi's daydreams give me that well needed return to normalcy. We're all worrying so much, and out of all of us it's JD who's trying to make us feel better, to get us back to how we all used to be.
Turk slaps Bambi gently on the shoulder to bring him out of it and grins mischievously. "Thanks man, but you know," here he winks at Bambi and I know he's got something in mind, "it does get pretty chilly up there in the nighttimes," he gestured to his hairless head, "so we'll just let Carla get you a real nice hat, so you don't catch a cold."
"Can it be a cowboy hat?" asks Bambi sweetly. And I realise, with a quirk of my eyebrow, that Turk somehow communicated the idea across to JD without me noticing, probably through that weird bond they've got.
Turk grins from ear to ear. "Hell yeah it can! And baby, while you're at it, could you pick me one up too? And a poncho. I got some obsession for the western right now."
They both give me their puppy dog eye impressions and I sigh exasperatedly, but decide that I'd rather have the two of them doing awful Clint Eastwood impressions all day than have Bambi looking like he did five minutes ago.
Dr Cox's POV
Just a quick check up. That's all this is. I definitely haven't been stalking around the hospital trying to distract myself for long enough that it's acceptable to go back and look at the kid. Ah, shit. I growl at myself. Wondering how on earth I let the damn girl get so close to me.
I walk into Newbie's room, and I just can't get over what my eyes are seeing. My face falls into the automatic scowl. "… Just what… the hell… is that Clarissa?"
"I'm a cowboy." Says Newbie innocently. Yeah, you got that right, Newbie's sitting up in bed with those familiar exhausted blue eyes and a goddamn cowboy hat perched on his head. It's glittery. I re-he-heally don't want to ask. And, dear god, that looks like a poncho splayed out on the bed covers. No doubt he was too tired to put it on, and for once I'm grateful that he was.
And look-ee-here, Carla and her pet monkey have left him alone. Against my orders. There's gonna be hell to pay.
"No, you are nawt a cowboy," I growl, "you'd only ever be a cowgirl and no, you know what - I don't think you'd even pass for that." I roll my eyes, and take my familiar stance at the end of the bed, "Let me guess, your hair's finally suffocated from all the girly goop you subject it to and has decided to leave your embarrassing head in hopes of being able to breathe. Am I right? I'm just gosh darn always right." I hold up my hand to shh the girl as he starts to answer back.
"But Dr Cox -"
"Uh bup bup! Now you just listen here sweetcheeks, if it makes you feel better looking like a complete idiot then quite frankly I don't give a crap. Now it's your radiation treatment in about half an hour and you better get yourself ready. If you think you've got it bad now, well you just sure as hell haven't felt nothing yet. There will be a lo-ho-ot of you wishing you could die."
Gosh, I just love to fill the kid with confidence. Yeah, I know I'm going hard on him. But hell… I feel like I need to test the kid, he needs to start fighting back or this is gonna beat him. The brim of his oversized cowboy hat falls over his eyes as he lowers his head.
"Oh Perry, you exaggerate things. I'm gonna be fine." He says calmly. Right answer kid. I grunt noncommittally, but he sure as hell knows it's really in agreement. What we don't need right now is Newbie giving up, no matter what bad news gets shoved in his face.
Newbie rubs his eyes and lifts the thing up to look at me, where in god's name he found that hat is beyond me, but it probably has something to do with basketball head. "And this hat really suits me; I've been fighting off smokin' hot babes left right and centre all day." I snort but that just makes Newbie's monstrous grin grow wider, "You're just jealous!" he says and adds, "Punk." For good measure.
Well, someone sure is perky today. I'll batter him back down like the good old days. "I sent those nurses in here Jezebel, and I don't think taking urine samples and checking to see if you've pooped yourself means they like the look of you. At all. Besides that, one of them was a guy."
Newbie pouts. "Jealous." He mumbles and folds his arms.
And that's when Barbie finally walks in. It sure took her long enough; sure, maybe if I was a little less hard on the gal she would've been here earlier. But she's going to have to deal with it sooner or later.
She's been crying, her face is all blotchy and a large part of me is glad that she's feeling like crap. So she does have a heart after all. After what she pulled on my… I shake my head with a grimace… after what she pulled on Newbie, she better have a damn good explanation for legging it away from the kid when he needed her the most. Newbie follows my angry gaze to the door, his blue eyes going wide.
And then he cracks the biggest smile.
"Elliot." He says softly, with all kinds of wonder and hope lighting up his face like a damned Christmas tree, as if he never thought he'd see her again. Kid's grinning like an idiot, like Barbie's just grown a horn out of her head and turned into a unicorn... and just for a second - a not even worth mentioning miniscule moment… I'm glad that Barbie came back.
That is until Priscilla reaches his arms out for the blonde bimbo and she runs to him like some damn Hallmark moment. It's enough to make me sick and I hastily make an exit. After the obligatory rolling of my eyes and the gagging noises of course.
Barberoo can handle the kid for a while; I've got me a date with Newbie's idiot of a brother. And I have a gut feeling I'll find him sulking in the staff shower room, most likely naked, and yes, most likely I'm gonna have to give him a swift kick up the ass and remind him he's got a sick brother who needs his bone marrow soon. I'll also remind him that if he even so much as thinks about doing a runner again he'll have me and my extensive knowledge of, and access to, a whole bunch of dangerous medical chemicals, to deal with… I shake my head disgustedly, somehow nawt being able to get the frankly hideous mental image of Newbie's naked drunken brother out of my head.
I growl. The kid sure as hell better thank me for this…
I've written a little bit more. We'll have to see if I can type it all up and make it coherent enough :) We'll get inside Dan's head I think. Thank you so much for reading and putting up with this.