Two weeks had passed and although Victor was still unaccounted for, it seemed that he no longer posed a threat to anyone. Elton didn't pose a threat either, as Dr. Romano had quickly arranged for the injured inmate's immediate transfer to Northwestern until Elton was physically ready to return to prison.
After taking a few days to recover from his experience, Dave had returned to juggling a hectic schedule of single parenthood, working with Chase, spending time with his 'family', and working in the ER.
To Dave, it was easier to keep life simple and to his schedule than to look beyond; the testing had caused him to sacrifice sleep at different periods, but he had managed to keep afloat of the chaos.
Blinking, Dave turned away from the river and found that Jeanie was standing there with Chase on her arm and a concerned expression on her face. Chase was holding a small bouquet of fresh flowers.
"Hey, Chase, where did you get those?" Dave asked, his thoughts quickly coming back into focus.
Chase grinned, "I picked them in the park," he replied happily. "They'll help John feel happy."
"John and Abby will love them," Dave replied in an awed voice. "Anyway, we should finish this walk in the park so I can get to the El on time. I have an appointment at Mercy before I go to County."
Jeanie smiled as the three of them began walking down the path, "Did you tell anyone that you were doing this, Dave?" she asked in a concerned voice. "For something like this, you should have support."
"I told Doctor Romano and Amy in private," Dave replied quietly. "Doctor Romano's going to meet me at Mercy while Amy covers for me until I get to County. He insisted on being there to support me in this."
Jeanie nodded and gently put an arm around him, "Don't look so nervous," she said in a gentle voice, relieved when Dave didn't pull away. "You're trying to do a good thing and you should be commended."
"I'm not even sure why I did it," Dave replied in a troubled voice. "Except for Carter's mother…"
As they stopped at a tree near the edge of the park, Jeanie sighed and Dave quickly looked at his watch, "Oh man, I have to run to the El if I'm going to get to Mercy on time," he said in an anxious voice. "I'll see you two later and I'll tell you how everything goes. Don't tell Carter or Abby anything, okay?"
"It's our secret," Chase replied, grinning at Dave before he smiled at Jeanie. "Right Jeanie?"
Jeanie nodded and smiled at Chase, "Yep," she replied gently. "I'm glad Doctor Romano will be with you today, Dave, as you tend to get a little nervous when you're in stressful situations by yourself."
"It's that obvious, huh?" Dave asked, knowing that Jeanie was right. "Anyway, I should get going."
Again, Jeanie nodded and gave Dave a gentle hug, "Just take one part of the day at a time," she said in a gentle voice as they pulled apart and Chase hugged Dave. "If you feel scared, remember to say so."
"Bye Jeanie, bye Chase," Dave said, forcing himself to smile for Chase's benefit. "Have a good day."
Chase grinned as he let go of Dave and sighed happily as Dave walked off, "Jeanie, why do Doctor Dave's eyes look so sad?" he asked in a worried, child-like voice. "He's doing something really good today."
"Chase, I don't want you to worry about Dave, okay?" Jeanie suggested gently, not at all surprised that Chase was able to see the stress and sadness in Dave's eyes because he saw Dave like a big brother.
Chase nodded, "Can we pick some more flowers for John before we go visit him?" he asked eagerly.
"Of course we can," Jeanie replied in a motherly voice. "After that, we can get them all wrapped up."
Offering a silent prayer in her heart for Dave, Jeanie led Chase back to where he had gotten the flowers.
Patient Room - Chicago Lakeshore Hospital
"Did you bring em?" Lucas asked in a nervous voice as he saw a nervous looking Nathan enter the hospital room in his work clothes with a large backpack in his hands. "I can't believe you made it."
Nathan sighed as he set the backpack on the hospital bed, "Mom and Luka are going to kill me for lying when they find out that I snuck over here just so you could go to a meeting," he said in a worried voice as he opened the backpack and pulled out a pair of socks, boxer shorts, a sweatshirt, and jeans.
"The meeting's just downstairs and I need support," Lucas replied as he ripped his gown off and quickly got dressed in the warmer clothes. "Mom's scared to death to come here anymore and Luka's too busy to come out. I could go myself, but I miss my family. You're not in school anymore and I miss you tons."
Nathan smiled, "It's the least I could do," he replied in a gentle voice. "I'm sorry I didn't bring shoes."
"It's okay," Lucas replied as he set the gown on the bed. "I'm one of the few pre-teens in this 90-day program, so it'll be nice to at least have someone at the group meeting I know. It's really scary…"
A nurse suddenly entered a room pushing a wheelchair, "Aw man, I have to ride in one of those things again?" Lucas whined, hating that he couldn't walk anywhere but the bathroom. "Nathan…"
"If you don't ride in that thing, I'm leaving," Nathan replied. "Just follow the rules, okay Lucas?"
Lucas pouted, sighed, and slowly got off the bed and into the wheelchair, "You're one to talk about following rules," he sniffed. Nathan merely grinned and followed closely behind as the nurse wheeled Lucas from the hospital room and down the long hallway towards the rehab center's group room.
Nathan chuckled, but he immediately felt heartsick when he entered the room and saw a nervous looking Sarah huddled in a corner chair dressed in oversized pants and a tank top. Their eyes met.
Trying to remember the counseling he had received during his own time in counseling, Nathan quickly averted his gaze and focused his attention on Lucas; this time was about Lucas, not about himself.
Swallowing hard, Nathan followed the nurse over to the far corner of the room where she set the brake and promptly left the room, "Nathan, I'm sorry I didn't tell you she was here," he suddenly heard Lucas whisper to him. "We're not in any of the same groups and we're not supposed to talk about…"
"I'm fine," Nathan lied even though he felt a headache coming on. "Today is about you, okay?"
Lucas nodded and just to reaffirm that he was okay, Nathan gently took Lucas's hand and patted it.
The timer hit 00:00:00 and Carter let out a sigh of relief; the dialysis was finished for yet another day.
"How's the bloodsucking machine treating you today?" Abby's amused voice suddenly asked.
Carter smiled as he looked away from the small timer he had next to the dialysis machine and saw that Abby was standing in the doorway with the baby in her arms, "Hey," he said in a tired voice.
"I heard a rumor as I was coming up here," Abby commented in an anxious voice as she carried the baby over to the bed and set her down so that Carter could touch her. "DCFS found a placement…"
As Carter gently caressed the baby's hair, he sighed, "It was going to happen sooner or later," he replied in a somber voice as the baby cooed. "I meant what I said, Abby; we'll still have each other forever."
"I know," Abby replied softly as she sat down on the edge of the bed and turned towards them.
There was suddenly a knock on the wall and Adele wheeled into the room with a large file full of papers in her lap, "Hello, you three," she said in a pleasant voice. "I was wondering if I could talk to you both…"
"I heard a rumor about DCFS finding a placement for the baby," Abby spoke in a nervous voice.
Adele smiled as she wheeled closer to the bed, "Yes, it took a while, but we did find a placement for the baby," she replied pleasantly, opening the folder. "There were some initial reservations, but after we did some legwork and had meetings about it, we decided to let you two adopt the baby if you want."
"Are you serious?" Carter asked in a pleased voice. "That's so incredible; if only I weren't so tired…"
Abby smiled, but then looked confused, "I don't understand," she replied softly as she gently picked the baby up and held her close. "I thought that DCFS would never give me another chance after…"
"Well, Abby, Doctor Malucci put in a good word for you and also referred us to Doctor Weaver for another character reference," Adele replied, smiling at how Abby and the baby seemed to get along.
Abby was silent for a moment and then kissed the baby, "I talked with a judge and he signed the papers already because of your family circumstances," Adele explained as she opened the folder. "All you and John need to do is sign a few papers and the birth certificate. Have you or John thought of a name?"
"Um, John, I was thinking that we could honor the one who helped deliver the baby," Abby said in a gentle voice as she turned to look at John. "We could call her Magdalynn Dalynia Carter; Maggie for short."
Carter was silent for a moment and then smiled, "I think it's a lovely name," he replied in a tired voice.
"I agree," Adele commented as she wrote the name on the birth certificate. "If you'll just sign here…"
Abby nodded and quickly signed the papers with a pen she had in her pocket. She then took the papers from Adele and offered them and the pen to John. John took the pen and carefully signed everything.
"Adele, I was wondering if you could take a family picture for us," Carter asked as he pushed the papers back to Abby and sighed. "Abby's got a camera in her purse and I want to have a memory of this…"
Not wanting to tell Carter that she felt nervous about having her picture taken, Abby sighed patiently and quickly got her camera out of her purse, "Abby, can you hold Maggie close to me?" Carter asked in a tired voice as he knew that as weak as he was, he would drop Maggie. Abby nodded and complied.
Adele took the camera from Abby, "Oh, what a beautiful shot," she commented as she got ready to take the photo of them and saw Abby hold the baby as close to Carter as possible. "One, two, three…smile!"
Carter chuckled as Adele handed the camera back to Abby, "Congratulations," Adele said, seeing that Carter and Abby were both very excited. "I have some work to do, but all of you have a good day."
Carter leaned over and gently kissed Maggie's forehead as Adele wheeled herself out of the room.
"You should take Maggie shopping for some baby stuff," Carter commented in a tired voice after the picture had been taken. "She doesn't have anything and you should also pick a room for her nursery."
Understanding that Carter was trying to subtly tell her that he wanted to sleep and that she should take a break from babysitting him, Abby nodded, "Something a little better than the crib at the edge of the master bed," she replied in a gentle voice, hating that Carter was so tired. "I love you a lot, John."
"I love you too," Carter replied weakly as he sighed and allowed his tired eyes to close so he could sleep.
Abby sighed and quietly left the room with Maggie in her arms so that John could rest without any disturbances. However, once she was gone, Carter sighed, coughed and slowly opened his eyes.
"God, if you're out there, can you do me a favor?" Carter whispered softly. "Can you help me live so I can enjoy my blessings?"
"…That's it for another group session," the calming voice droned as Nathan walked back into the room.
Nathan sighed and sipped the last of the water in his paper cup before tossing it in the garbage bin by the door. He frowned when he saw that Lucas had moved out of his wheelchair and was now sitting in a chair beside Sarah, talking to her in a low voice. Swallowing hard, Nathan quickly moved into the hall.
Lucas had lied to him, Nathan reflected sadly as he slowly walked down the hallway. His nine year old brother had promised him, their mother, Luka, Dr. Dave, and their grandfather that he wanted to get better and never wanted to socialize with Sarah or Rachel again. Obviously, none of that was true.
Suddenly feeling his headache coming back, Nathan silently made his way through the front entrance of the rehab center part of the hospital. He ignored the sudden cold wind and quickly flagged down a cab, deeply relieved that he had thought to get some money from the stash under his bed that morning.
The driver greeted him in Spanish as he got into the cab and Nathan nodded silently even though his Spanish was excellent; his headache was slowly growing worse and he needed to relax before work.
"Dónde quiere ir?" the cab driver, who was concerned by Nathan's pained expression, asked gently.
Nathan massaged his forehead and sighed as he closed the door, "Cocine Condado Hospital," he replied nervously, praying that his headache wouldn't grow into a migraine during the ride to the hospital.
Even though he was concerned by Nathan's actions, the driver nodded and began to drive off in the direction of Cook County. Nathan sighed and leaned against the window to try and calm himself down.
Mercy General Hospital
Dr. Romano sitting on a small bench looking concerned was the first thing that Dave saw as he entered the quiet hospital atrium with nothing but his white lab coat covering his oversized scrubs and sneakers.
"If you keep running around Chicago without a coat on, you're going to end up catching pneumonia," Dr. Romano commented as he saw Dave and stood up. "I was getting worried about you; are you okay?"
Dave nodded, "I was just thinking about this on the EL and on my walk from the EL to Mercy," he replied in a nervous voice. "I've only told a few people, but if I don't match, I'm worried it's gonna disappoint…"
"Why don't we see what Nephrology has to say first, hmm?" Dr. Romano suggested, hating the fact that Dave was worrying about things before they happened. "Now, do you have the information they gave you from when you got tested here? If you didn't bring it, I happened to make a copy of it…"
Dave reached into his lab coat pocket and pulled out a piece of paper, "I have it," he replied nervously.
"Okay, we should go upstairs then," Dr. Romano stated in a gentle voice. "Do you remember the way?"
Dave nodded and silently headed towards the elevator. As he pressed the button, Dr. Romano came up behind him and gave him a concerned look. The doors slid open and Dave sighed; he was really scared.
The elevator ride was silent although Dave suddenly let out a gasp when the lift suddenly stopped at the door slid open. Both Dr. Romano and Dave were surprised to see Dr. Pratt in front of the elevator.
"Dave, Doctor Romano, I was just looking for you," Dr. Pratt commented in a pleasant voice. "Come on."
Dave looked confused, "My appointment's up in Nephrology, Greg," he replied. "Not here in the ER."
"Nephrology's backed up and Doctor Banfield agreed that you can be seen in the ER," Dr. Pratt replied in an apologetic voice as Dave and Dr. Romano stepped off the elevator. "We'll go to Exam Room One."
As they walked through the ER, Dave focused his attention on all of the old hallways he used to walk down with various patients back when he was finishing his residency; most of the nurses were different from the ones he had worked with, as were the doctors, but the memories were still very fresh.
"I see you're still deep in thought about this," Dr. Pratt's gentle voice suddenly rang into his ear.
Dave blinked and, suddenly realizing that they were inside Exam Room One, he blushed, "Sorry," he replied in a nervous voice, immediately noticing a chart in Dr. Pratt's hand. "What are the results?"
Two Hours Later - Cook County ER
"Nathan's supposed to be at home doing schoolwork," Luka growled in an irritated voice as he gazed at Amy, who was seated comfortably at the desk with the phone, several charts, and a plate of food in front of her. "When I phoned the house, there was no answer. I bet he took a taxi to see Lucas…"
Amy sighed and cast a glance at Katie, who was sitting at another part of the desk with her school workbooks open in front of her wearing jeans, boots, and a sweatshirt with her hair in a ponytail and ed scrunchie, before glancing back at Luka, "I had a feeling that Nathan was going to visit Lucas when he asked me to bring Katie with us to work today," she replied calmly. "Nathan feels a bit guilty, Luka."
"Why does Nathan feel guilty?" Luka asked in a concerned voice. "He has no reason to feel guilty."
Before Amy could reply, Mark came hurrying past them and pressed the emergency doors, "Luka, Amy, are you busy?" he asked in a worried voice. "I just got a call from a cab company and there's a taxicab on the way here with a passenger who complained of a headache and threw up in the back of the cab."
"Luka, do you mind sitting here with Katie for a few minutes?" Amy asked as she slowly got to her feet and immediately stretched. "I'm going to help Mark with this patient and then come back to the desk."
Luka frowned, "Are you sure you're not too tired?" he asked in a worried voice. "If you are, I can…"
"Luka, I'm fine," Amy replied in an amused voice as she walked towards Mark. "Katie, listen to Luka."
Katie nodded and continued doing her work as Amy and Mark rushed outside, "Daddy Luka, can I tell you a secret?" she asked in quietly as she looked up from her books. "I'm worried about Nathan."
Luka gave Katie a concerned look, so Katie sighed, "Nathan wakes up in the middle of the night because of bad dreams and he's outside a lot in the dark," she explained in a worried voice. "I hear him, but I just sit at the window and listen to him cry in the backyard. He thinks about that bad man and Lucas a lot."
Katie's eyes suddenly widened, "Mommy and Doctor Greene are walking through the waiting room with Nathan, Daddy Luka," she said in a scared voice as she frowned. "Nathan looks really tired and sick."
Luka turned and frowned when he saw Amy leading a sick looking Nathan across the waiting area while Mark walked alongside them. Luka cast a glance at Katie and then ran over to the door to open it.
"That taxi driver's mad," Nathan mumbled in a faint voice as Amy led him over to the desk where Frank was working on paperwork. "I puked all over his cab and all over him just because of this headache."
Amy sighed, "A stress migraine," she replied softly. "Frank, are there any exam rooms available?"
"I just need a little nap before my shift," Nathan cut in tiredly. "A little sleep will make it go away."
Frank sighed, "Maybe you'd better just be a kid for today and let your mom take care of you," he said in a firm, yet compassionate voice. "You work harder at this job than any other desk clerk I know, Nathan."
"Is Kerry still upstairs with Henry, Frank?" Amy asked in a gentle voice. "Nathan needs peace and quiet."
Frank nodded, "Oh man, I was supposed to visit Joe in daycare," Nathan groaned as he swallowed hard.
"Joe will be fine," Amy replied softly as she put an arm around Nathan. "Let's go to the Suture Room."
Nathan sighed, but didn't argue as Amy led him slowly down the hallway. Luka looked at Frank just as the phone rang and Katie suddenly hopped off of her chair and came around the other side of the desk.
"ER," Frank said in his usual formal voice after picking up the phone. "Okay, I'll tell him to go upstairs."
Mark looked at Luka, "Doctor Greene, Doctor Weaver says for you to meet her up in Doctor Anspaugh's office right away," Frank said in a firm voice as he hung up the phone. "Romano's up there too."
"Oh man, it's probably about Ray Barnett," Mark commented in an irritated voice. "He tried to sluff through his paperwork yesterday and Malucci caught him. I have NEVER seen Dave get that mad and he threatened Ray with a written reprimand next time. Good thing that Ray isn't working today."
Katie looked up at Luka, "Can I go give Nathan a hug?" she asked in a worried voice. "I wanna help him."
"Your mom is going to take care of Nathan for now, sweetie," Luka replied softly as he gazed down at Katie with an affectionate look on his face. "Why don't we go get lunch upstairs in the cafeteria?"
Katie nodded and held her arms up, "Can you carry me?" she asked in a worried voice. "Please?"
"I'll watch her school stuff," Frank offered as Luka smiled and gently scooped Katie into his strong arms.
Luka nodded and carried Katie down the hallway towards the elevators hoping Nathan would be okay.
When Mark reached Dr. Anspaugh's office, he saw that the door was closed, so he knocked and was surprised when the door immediately opened. He walked in and was surprised to see Dr. Anspaugh sitting behind his desk while Dr. Romano, Kerry, and a very nervous looking Dave sat in chairs on the other side of the desk. Dave was holding an open folder in his lap and he was gazing at the floor.
"Dave, what happened?" Mark asked in a worried voice. "Are you in trouble with administration…?"
Dr. Anspaugh sighed, "Doctor Greene, would you mind closing the door?" he asked in a firm voice.
Mark nodded and closer the door, keeping an eye on how nervous Dave looked, "What's up?" he asked.
"Mark, why don't you have a seat?" Dr. Anspaugh suggested kindly. "Doctor Malucci, go ahead."
Dave nodded, sighed, and looked at Kerry and Mark, "A few weeks ago, I got tested to see if I could donate a kidney to Carter because we apparently share the same blood type," he explained in a nervous voice, trying hard not to throw up in his lap or on the folder. "Anyway, I am a perfect match..."
Suddenly feeling intimidated by the shocked looks Kerry, Mark, and Anspaugh were giving him after he said that, Dave swallowed hard, "An old colleague of mine, Doctor Pratt, and Doctor Romano helped me to find out the results and to also meet with the surgeon. The surgery's scheduled to be in two days."
"Do you want to tell John about this personally?" Kerry asked in a gentle voice. "He'll be happy…"
Dave quickly shook his head, "I don't want a lot of people knowing," he replied nervously. "Okay?"
"Why don't you want many to know that you're doing this?" Kerry asked in a confused voice.
Dave sighed, "I don't want to be seen as some sort of hero," he replied softly. "I'm not a hero, okay?"
There were murmurs of agreement, "Anyway, the surgery's going to be at Mercy and I'm going to use what few vacation days I have on my Attending contract to recover," Dave continued as he closed the folder, picked it up, and got to his feet. "I need to talk to Amy and Luka now about this; excuse me."
Without waiting for a dismissal, Dave silently left the office, "Now that Dave's gone, I want to make arrangements to help him out," Dr. Romano stated calmly. "That is, if you are all willing to help me."
"I'm so sad that John was too tired to visit," Chase said in a sorrowful voice as he followed Jeanie out of the elevator and into the ER, which was surprisingly quiet. "Do you think he'll like the flowers?"
Jeanie nodded and put a protective arm around Chase, "Yes, I think that John will like the flowers when he wakes up again," she replied in a gentle voice. "I think giving him flowers will help him feel better."
"Jeanie, Chase, what are you doing back down here so soon?" Dave's voice suddenly filtered down the stairs as Dave suddenly came into view and down the stairs. "I thought you two were seeing Carter."
Chase pouted, "John was asleep when we got there, so we left the flowers in a vase," he replied sadly.
"I told Anspaugh, Weaver, and Greene about my upcoming surgery," Dave stated in a tired voice. "I don't know why on earth they looked so concerned; maybe they think I'm crazy for doing it."
Realizing that Dave was indicating that he had matched, Jeanie smiled, "So what if they do?" she replied in an amused voice as she gave Dave a gentle hug. "You're doing a great thing for John, Dave."
"I know," Dave replied as he suddenly spotted Luka lingering outside of the suture room looking worried. "Jeanie, Chase, what do you guys plan to do for the rest of your day? Life skills practice?"
Jeanie shrugged, "We might go by the library and get some books," she replied. "Why?"
Dave shrugged and silently made his way over to where Luka was standing, "Luka, what's up?" he asked.
For a moment, Luka looked surprised to see Dave and then he sighed, "Nathan's got a bad migraine," he replied in a concerned voice as he suddenly spotted Jeanie and Chase. "Who's that with Jeanie?"
"That's Carter's cousin, Chase," Dave replied, smiling at them. "Jeanie and I work with Chase a lot."
Luka nodded and smiled, "I think I'll go say hello," he replied pleasantly. "Amy wants to see you."
Dave nodded; he figured that Amy would want to know how the appointment at Mercy had gone.
As Luka walked towards Jeanie and Chase, Dave sighed and pushed open the door, "Amy?" he asked.
"Dave, come in," Amy replied as she swiveled around on a bedside stool to face him. "How are you?"
Dave sighed and walked into the room, unsurprised to see Nathan sound asleep on the gurney with an IV in one hand, Katie cuddled up beside him and a blanket over the two of them, "Luka said that Nathan has a migraine," he commented as he gave her a concerned look. "Did Nathan go visit Lucas today?"
"Yeah, he did," Amy replied softly as she slowly got to her feet. "How was your appointment?"
For a moment, Dave was silent and then swallowed hard, "I'm a perfect match," he replied. "Doctor Romano helped me with everything today and I agreed to do the surgery in two days and I'm scared."
Amy nodded, "Did you call Magdalynn and tell her?" she asked softly. "She'd want to be there for you."
"In her last letter to me, Magdalynn said that she's back in Matenda and that it's difficult to make phone calls because of all the fighting," Dave replied in a worried voice. "She knows that I got tested and she says that I should do whatever I feel comfortable doing to be a Samaritan. I sure miss her a lot, Amy."
Amy smiled, but decided not to press the subject as she knew that neither Dave nor Dr. Rogers were sure about anything, "Are you wanting to drop Daniel off on your way to Mercy in two days or do you want to come over the night before and have some pre-surgery support?" she asked in a gentle voice.
"I'm not allowed to eat or drink anything the night before, so I doubt a party with your family would be the best remedy for anxiety," Dave replied, chuckling. "Besides, I'm scheduled to work that day while Daniel's in school."
Amy nodded and sighed, "You're doing a good thing, Dave," she stated firmly. "Don't be scared of that."
"I'm not scared of helping Carter," Dave replied in a somber voice. "I'm just wondering why I ended up being the perfect solution to Carter's problem when I'm not even a close friend. It's a little unnerving."
For once, Amy was at a loss for words and watched silently as Dave left the room without saying a word. She silently prayed that he would feel better soon before turning her attention back to watching Nathan and Katie as they slept peacefully.
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