Knowing What To Do
Disclaimer: DOC does not belong to me. The show was created by the Johnson brothers.
Spoilers: Till We Meet Again
Summary: Missing Scene of Till We Meet Again. Clint tells Doc Johanson that he's not coming back to Montana.
Challenge: i2eye Fan Forum's 4th Anniversary M/S & A/S Challenge. DOC #10.
A/N: Big thanks to Tracy for looking this over for me! Thanks, Tracy!
Finished: October 9th, 2011
Sarah handed him the phone.
"Hey Doc! How ya doin'?" Clint said as soon as Sarah handed him the phone. Sure, they sent each other e-mails at least once a week, but sometimes it was nice to actually talk, hear the intonations, the pace, the familiar voices... Face to face would have been even better, but it was good to talk on the phone nonetheless.
"Hello Clint, it is good to hear your voice again," Doc Johanson said.
"Funny you should say that, I was just thinking the same thing," Clint replied with a smile on his face. There was a small pause.
"Does that mean that you've thought about the offer Sarah's told you about?" Harley's tentative voice carried an obvious spark of hopefulness.
"Yeah, I've thought about it."
He sure had.
He would love to see Doc and Dottie and all his friends from Montana again. Like he'd told Nate, he'd always seen himself as taking over Harley's practice. It had been his dream, even when he'd moved to New York. Had figured he'd be going back to Montana at some point; his future had always been in his past.
It wasn't that he now hated the idea. He didn't. It just no longer had the same appeal as it used to. He'd never expected the New York city life to become part of him the way it had. It had not taken the Montana out of this country boy, and he didn't expect that to ever happen either, nor did he want it to. And it was true - he did long to get on his horse and gallop over the green pastures, past the crystal-clear lakes, while looking at the sunrise over the mountain tops, breathing in the clear air. He'd love to have a serious conversation with his mentor and adoptive father while waiting for the fish to bite, and to give Dottie a hug himself instead of asking Doc to give her one for him.
So here it was - his dream - on a silver platter before him. All he had to do was accept it. Yet it now fell short. Gradually, Clint had discovered that his dream had changed along the way. Whenever he now thought of the future, another person immediately came to mind. A few days ago he'd gotten a brief glimpse of a life without that person, and it had rocked his world. For a moment he had forgotten how to breathe. He had known for certain then what he'd skirted around for some time - he, Clint Cassidy was in love with Nancy Nichol.
The relief he had felt when he saw her standing there alive and breathing - it had once again frozen him in his place. He'd watched as Tippy had practically run around the front desk to give Nancy a hug, wishing desperately he could do the same, but his limbs had refused to cooperate. He couldn't tell her then - it hadn't been the right time or the right place. 'But perhaps I ought to tell her today,' Clint mused, as all these thoughts whirled through his mind, before answering Doc Johanson.
"Doc... I'm not coming back to Montana," he said slowly but decisively. He waited. One beat. Two. Then: "I think I kind of knew that already," Doc Johanson said wistfully. "Dottie and I had hoped... but you've built your life in the Big Apple." There was a pause before the older doctor continued. "Clint, you're my son in every way that counts. I didn't want to presume to know what your choice would be without giving you the option first."
Clint swallowed. "Thanks, Doc. That means a lot to me. And to be honest, I had to really think about it. There was even a moment where I seriously thought I would be coming back; thought it was what I was supposed to do... I love you guys so much, and you've given me so much already... but I can't, Harley... not when I know my heart is here."
"I know that, Son," Harley's voice said fondly. "It is right like this. God has other plans for you at this point."
Clint breathed a little easier, knowing the person who had effectively been a father to him during the majority of his life, understood. "Thanks, Doc."
Harley smiled on his side of the phone and caught the look on his wife's face that seemed to say, 'I told you so'. He grinned wryly. Oh well, there were worse things than having your wife be right about something. "Well Clint, got to go. Give Nancy our love when you see her."
A grin spread on Clint's face. "Will do. Give Dottie a hug for me will ya?"
"With pleasure, Son, with pleasure."
They said their goodbyes, and Clint handed the phone back to Sarah. The female doctor wore a wistful smile herself. Apparently this was the way it was supposed to be. "So," she asked in order to change her mood, "Did he tell you how many fish he caught this morning?"
Clint laughed. "Nope, so probably he didn't catch any, or he'd have said so."
They both laughed at the truth of that statement.
"So - time for that New York hot dog?" Clint asked.
"Definitely!" Perhaps her and Clint weren't meant to be, but that didn't mean she couldn't enjoy his company while it lasted, right? They continued to chat while they walked towards a hot dog stand. Clint's mind however was on someone else. Perhaps he could invite her for dinner...