Disclaimer: No, I do not own anything. Only in my dreams….

A/N: Thanks to all reviewers! And I really appreciate all of you who are sticking with me. Sorry for the long wait on this one. Life (i.e. school) has been crazy busy lately… But I'm back! So please read and review!

-I'd also like to give a personal shout out to my beta reader, TheGongOfDoom, who has been a gift sent down from heaven to me! Thank you for all your help!

Chapter 5:

Tami was finally finished with her work for the day. She was tired from all of the meetings and complaints that were constantly passing through her ears.

That, added to the stress about J.D.'s case, was stretching her thin.

Eric and Tami had agreed earlier to meet at their home, and then they would check on their kids before heading over to the hospital together.

The front office lady starting reading the end-of-the-day announcements, and soon enough the final bell rang. Tami packed up her stuff and locked up her office for the night. As she was leaving the main building, Tami waved meekly at the people she passed. Upon reaching her car, she found a note stuck in her window shield. It read:

Tam,

I apparently have a meeting tonight to work on the game plan for Friday's game. It should be over by 7. Sorry I am going to be a little late! We can still go tonight, if that's ok with you. Love you!

-Eric

"Well, that's not too bad of a delay," Tami mused.

She hopped in her car and started the drive home.

###########

Eric sat discontentedly in the dimly lit conference room.

He knew it would come up at some point, but he wasn't ready to discuss J.D.'s absence yet. So, he decided to try and end his agony in the most convenient way possible.

"Gentlemen, while I know we have yet to figure out our game plan, I have to end this meeting now. Tami needs me at home, so.."

"But coach! We only have 4 days left until the game?!"

"I know that! We will continue this meeting tomorrow at lunch, so that we can finish it before practice."

The other coaches got up grumbling their opinions, and said curt goodbyes as they left.

Coach Taylor sighed and sat a minute before getting up. Eric dragged himself over to his car, and eventually headed for his destination—home.

############

Meanwhile, Tami was preparing the family dinner for that night.

Since it seemed like everyone, or rather herself and Eric, needed a pick-me-up, Tami decided to make burgers that night. Even Julie, the self-proclaimed "non-flesh eater" would eat her momma's veggie burgers. Homemade burgers, of any kind, were a family favorite at the Taylor residence, so it seemed appropriate for a meal to pick up their spirits.

She started humming a little tune as she cooked.

Gracie Bell sat in her high chair watching her momma cook. She's slur out a few words every now and then, so Tami decided to play a little game with Gracie.

"What's Momma doing, honey?"

"Foods"

"Yes good! Momma's making food."

"Foods! Foods!" Her daughter chanted with laughter.

Tami couldn't help but laugh along with her daughter. She was just too cute.

"Now, who just walked in the door, Gracie?"

Tami sharply turned to face the front door, and surprisingly found her husband standing there.

"Dada!" The toddler cried.

"Sure is!" Eric replied, making his way over to their youngest child.

He picked up Gracie and swung her around in a big hug. Tami smiled at little Gracie's squealing. The smell of cooking meat caught her attention, and she turned back to the stove. Eric came up behind her and planted a kiss on the side of Tami's face. He wrapped his arms around his wife's waist and nuzzled his face in her hair.

"I thought you had a meeting?"

"I did, but it was moved to tomorrow at lunch."

"Well then, I'm glad you're home early!"

"Me too. It smells great!"

"Why thank you kind sir," Tami said while batting her eyes at Eric.

"Eew. Do you have to do that in the kitchen," announced Julie as she walked into said room.

"What?"

"Ugh, never mind."

Julie's parents laughed and broke apart.

"Well hello Jules, how was your day at school?"

"Fine. Actually, I'm pretty sure I aced my English test!"

"That's great, sweetie!"

Tami asked them to start setting the table, and soon enough dinner was ready. The Taylor family said a quick prayer, before digging in to their meal.

"Mmm this is soo good Mom!"

"Fine job Mrs. Taylor, fine job."

"Yumm!"

Came the chorused praise from the hungry Texans.

Their dinner conversation flowed easily from one topic to another. Once everyone was stuffed to the brim, the smiles on Tami and Eric's faces wavered some. They knew they had to leave soon, and the anticipation of seeing J.D. was growing quickly into a nervous restlessness. The family cleared off the table and did the dishes. Once the kitchen was clean and leftovers were sealed up in the fridge, Tami and Eric gathered their brood in the living room.

"Alright Julie, your Mom and I have to go to the hospital for a little while. I don't know what time we'll be back, but I promise we will keep you updated through text."

"But wait Dad, why are you going to the hospital so much?" Asked Julie with a confused expression.

"It, I-I um…"

"Is it because of J.D.? I mean, everyone knows he was in a car accident, but I thought it was just a small one?"

"Yes, we-well. It-it's just, um.."

Eric was at a loss for words. Tami saw this, and decided to step in.

"Julie, I promise once we know more we will explain everything. It's just a little hard to say right now."

Julie gave a little nod and smiled warily at her parents.

"Ok. Just, promise to tell me when you can?"

"We promise, honey."

Tami assured her oldest with a smile and squeeze of the hand.

"We should be heading out now, Tam. You girls play nice now!" Eric said and kissed both girls on the head.

"Ohkay dada, wee good."

"We will Dad, love you!"

"Lob u"

Eric smiled at the two before getting up and grabbing the car keys. Tami gave the girls a hug and said her goodbyes, before joining her husband at the door. They waved and stepped outside, hand-in-hand. The drive over seemed quicker than the previous one, and the Taylors soon found themselves walking to the hospital entrance. Once inside, they went back and found a nurse to help guide them to the right floor. The elevator music was playing soft country music, and soothed Tami's nerves somewhat. She squeezed Eric's hand with a smile, and leaned up to kiss her husband.

"You ready?" He murmured, nose-to-nose with his wife.

"I think so," she responded with a tiny grin.

They gazed at each other with affectionate eyes, and wordlessly they knew that whatever happens next, they would be able to face it together.

Upon reaching their destined floor, they stepped out of the elevator and headed for the front desk of the hospital's ICU. A nurse greeted them as they approached.

"Hello! How can I help you?"

"We are supposed to meet with J.D. McCoy's doctor…"

"Oh! Yes, you must be the Taylor's. Doctor Roberts told me that you would be coming in soon. His office is down that hallway on the left. Take the second right, and his office is straight ahead from there."

"Thank you ma'am."

"No problem. And Mr. Taylor?"

"Yes,"

"Take care of him, he… he needs it."

At first Eric was confused to whom the nurse was referring to. "She couldn't be talking about J.D., could she? But then it dawned on him, who else could she be talking about. He gave a nod of recognition towards the nurse, and then guided Tami towards the doctor's office. They took a little more time walking there, reassuring themselves that they could handle it. Tami knocked on the door once they reached Doctor Roberts' office. They were immediately greeted by a somewhat-short, light-skinned man that introduced himself as Doctor Gary Roberts.

"Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, please come in."

They walked in and sat down in the two chairs that were facing the desk where the doctor was currently seated.

"Now, how are you doing?"

"Fine,"

"Yes fine, thank you."

"Good, good. I believe the nurse gave one of you a briefing on Mr. McCoy's condition?"

"Yes."

"Alright, and I trust that whichever one of you was briefed, passed along the information to the other?"

"Correct."

"Great! Well, I have a lot to tell you in a very short amount of time. I have an emergency surgery that came up earlier that I need to get to in about 15 minutes."

Both the Taylors swallowed back the fear that had just come into their minds. They were worried that seeing J.D. was not going to be an option for them anymore.

"However, I will still allow you to see J.D. He might be unconscious, though. He's been sleeping a lot. Probably a way of dealing with reality, and the stress of his situation."

Tami and Eric both let out an audible sigh of relief. They were going to see J.D.!

Doctor Roberts smiled at the couple before continuing.

"Now, let's get back to business. What happened to J.D. is going to take a long time for recovery. He's got a lot of broken bones throughout his body, but the puncture wounds to his lung and stomach are especially worrying to me. We managed to stop the internal bleeding in time, and stitch the wounds, before either organ could have permanent damage, but, we're still worried about possible infections."

The doctor paused to take a breath and assess how the Taylors were taking this, before continuing.

"The burns on the right leg are less severe than we originally thought, but they will most likely scar. Now the ones on the left leg, however, will require more treatment. He will definitely have scarring there, but with cream it can fade over time. He will have to go through extensive physical therapy, especially due to how the burns damaged the muscle in that left leg. The fractures in his jaw and cheek should heal up fine. The broken ribs will take a lot longer to heal, and he'll have to be careful with any activities, like walking or going up stairs, he does for a while."

Tami and Eric nodded, absorbing the disturbing information as best they could.

"There is something very important I need to talk to you about, regarding two of J.D.'s other injuries. But, I'm afraid I will have to tell you next time we meet," Doctor Roberts said as he glanced at the clock.

"Thank you, Doctor."

"Not a problem. Just please… be gentle with what you say to him, regarding the accident, should he be conscious and up to talking. We don't think he's accepted the fact that his parents are deceased."

"Oh, ok. Thanks again Doctor Roberts."

"I hope to see you again soon, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor."

The Taylor's exited the room with a grim expression on their faces. From what the doctor said, it sounded like J.D. was also having some pretty serious mental problems.

"He is worse then we thought," Tami whispered in disbelief.

"Yes, but we still have to be there for him. To support and be strong for him." Eric added.

Tami nodded her head in agreement. Upon realizing they had no clue which room J.D. was in, Eric stopped one of the nurses passing by in the hall, who directed them to where J.D. was. They were silent the rest of the way over to ICU room #4A. Upon reaching the closed door marked with 4A, Tami stopped a few feet away. She pulled Eric in to a tight hug and kissed him on the lips. Once they broke apart, both let out a shaky breath before facing one another again. With a gentle smile, Eric squeezed his wife's hand. Tami graced him with a smile of her own, and nodded her head.

And with that exchange, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor quietly turned the doorknob on J.D.'s door, and stepped inside the darkened room…