randomweaving: (a light in dark places)
[personal profile] randomweaving
Title: Survivor
Characters: JD/Perry, JD/Jordan, Jordan/Perry, JD/Perry/Jordan
Series Rating: NC-17 (eventually)
Description: A terrible accident requires JD use all his skill to save the mentor he idolizes. But times of crisis can bring people together in unusual ways...
Author's Note: Beta by [livejournal.com profile] yutamiyu who rocks all! Thanks again, you are totally awesome.

Warnings: Eventual OT3. Het content.



JD stayed away as long as he could without feeling guilty, drinking two cups of coffee and waiting until he thought he could handle himself again, if only for a bit. Fuck. What was he supposed to do? He didn't know how to react to their teasing, but he decided he'd just have to shrug it off, ignore it the way he did Per--Dr. Cox's rants and bad moods. Just not let them get to him...Even if he'd be lying if denied his crush.

Sighing, he gathered coffee and food for Jordan, knowing she must be hungry, and made his way back to the room, to find he'd missed the anesthesiologist's arrival. The morphine pump was set up, the clicker near Perry's right hand. An awkward arrangement, given that his right arm was in a sling, but the left hand was splinted, so... Fuck, he's gonna hate it when one of us has to help him eat.

Pushing that thought away, JD offered a fair approximation of his usual smile to Jordan, along with the food he'd grabbed. "Hey. Thought you might be hungry."

"Thanks," she said, accepting the food. She nodded at the pump. "You'll have to turn that on in about an hour," she informed him, clearly relaying a message she'd been given. "There are orders for it in the chart. But he can't use it yet, because you gave him the Demerol too recently."

JD nodded, settling down into his chair and picking up the chart, glancing through it to read the anesthesiologist's notes. Peripheral IV, eighteen-gauge needle, left elbow. Not ideal, but neither of Perry's hands was in any position to give them easy access for a line, so Perry would just have to keep his arm relatively straight.

Perfect, he thought wryly, glancing at the sling. One arm he can't bend, the other he can't straighten. He's going to be thrilled.

"How long has he been out?" he asked, deciding that maybe the most dignified course of action would be to completely ignore the humiliating events from before.

"Since about five minutes after you left," Jordan said. "That Demerol kicked in nicely. I think the only thing keeping him alert was the pain."

JD, who'd tensed up when she mentioned his leaving (because really, it hadn't been the most graceful departure ever), felt himself soften with sympathy. He glanced over at Cox, trying to keep his face professional, but knowing his expression probably belied the pity he felt for his mentor, and the empathetic pain that tore at his own heart.

"He's been through a lot," he agreed softly. "Honestly, it's nothing short of astounding that he's doing as well as he is. Most patients waking from that sort of surgery have to deal with nausea from the anesthetic as well as pain from whatever sent them into surgery in the first place."

Jordan shuddered. "Thank God for small favors that he didn't," she replied. "He'd've had a hell of a time trying to roll over to throw up."

"No kidding," JD muttered, sighing a little. He finished reading the progress notes left by anesthesia, then shut the chart and hooked it back over the end of the bed. "He should be out for awhile," he said at last. "But when he wakes up again, we should see if we can get him to eat something. I've ordered a clear liquid diet, as tolerated, so we can get him some broth--might be easier to keep him on things he can eat through a straw for awhile. For all of us."

"Good plan," Jordan murmured, lips twisting wryly. "It always seems like the ultimate cruelty to break something in each arm, you know?"

"It does," JD agreed, looking rueful. "He'll have to have help with pretty much everything, for awhile. And he won't be able to walk, with that leg and his arm broken..." JD sighed, realizing as he further assessed his mentor that the older man would probably be in the hospital a lot longer than he'd like. But they couldn't send him home, not just with Jordan. She might be strong, but JD doubted she'd be strong enough to deal with the sheer bulk that was Perry Cox.

He bit back a sigh, thinking briefly of Ben. Jordan's brother had been huge himself, taller even than Perry, and if he were alive he'd no doubt be more than willing to help. He'd probably also bring a great deal of levity to the situation--that man had been good-natured about everything, even his own condition.

He pushed those thoughts away, looking up and jumping a little when he realized Jordan was watching him.

"You're thinking hard," she said.

He chuckled lightly, no real humor to the sound, and nodded. "Just trying to figure out what all he'll need, when he gets out of here," he replied softly. "He's not going to want to stay any longer than absolutely necessary, but...he's going to need a lot of care for the next few months. Especially until his arms heal." Maybe they could keep him on a catheter for awhile...but even so, they wouldn't want to do that for too long. The risk of infection was pretty high, and a bedside urinal would serve just as well, even though P--Cox would need some help with it. He could use a bedpan, too, once they removed him from the clear liquids and it became necessary again--he wouldn't like it, but...well, he wouldn't like most of what they were going to have to do.

"Well, I can take as long as I need," Jordan said, waving her hand.

JD hesitated, then decided to bite the bullet. "He's...he's going to need more than just one person, I'm afraid," he said softly. "Pe--Dr. Cox is a big guy, and he's going to need to get out of bed and move around, to prevent bedsores and to keep both of you from going insane, most likely. We might..." he sighed, running a hand through his hair, then shook his head. "We might need to keep him a little longer, until he's more mobile," he said at last.

Jordan snorted. "Yeah, right," she said. "You try telling him that."

JD cringed. "Look, I'm sorry," he said softly. "But you know him. He's stubborn. He'd try to do more than he was able, and he'd end up hurting himself...it's just not safe, Jordan. You might...you might look into getting some sort of home health aide, but I think he'd like that even less..." His lips twisted wryly. Because he's so thrilled to have me, and all his interns, and everyone see him like this. Fuck...

Jordan didn't answer, just chewed her sandwich with the same insufferable expression she'd been wearing most of the time lately. JD sighed internally, wondering what she was planning to do to him now. He sat back in his chair, again resting his heels on the bed, steepling his fingers and resting his chin on his thumbs. "I'm not looking forward to telling him just how bad it is," he said softly, after the silence had stretched out too long.

Jordan set down the sandwich she'd just raised to take a bite from, looking slightly ill. "He'll be all right."

"Yeah. After a lot of work, and time, and..." JD shook his head. "He's gonna know he'll never be the same."

"He's alive," Jordan said softly, gaze fixed on her ex-husband. "That's what counts."

It's what counts to us. He's still gonna hate it... But JD merely nodded, moving his fingers to rub his temples. When was the last time he'd slept? "Yeah. Yeah, it is. You guys'll get through this."

"We will," Jordan said, and she gave him a significant glance, but she didn't say more.

JD shrugged off the look, having given up trying to understand what sort of rays she was shooting out of her eyes at him. There'd been too many of them in the past few days. He shifted, stifling a yawn, and leaned back in the chair, trying not to fall asleep. Not that there was anything for him to do awake, at the moment, but...still.

"You need to sleep," Jordan said suddenly, and he jumped, startled by the abruptness with which she spoke. When he looked up at her, she was frowning at him, eyes roving over his body then returning to his. "You look like death warmed over, kid."

JD straightened, dropping his feet to the ground again, and shaking his head a little. "I'm fine; I just had some coffee. I'll take a rest in a bit, after the pump's running."

She scowled at him. "What good are you doing anyone if you exhaust yourself?" she asked. She bent forward, picking something up off the floor. When she straightened JD saw it was a pillow, which she proceeded to toss over the bed at him. He caught it, and she said, "Doze off. Do your little medical doctor sleep thing. I'll wake you when he needs the pump started, and then you're going to the on-call room and getting some actual sleep. Got it?"

JD's lips twitched as he once again put his feet up, settling the pillow behind his head, not bothering to stop another yawn. "Fine. Then you can sleep after I get back."

Jordan didn't reply, merely tilted her chin at him. And despite the uncomfortable position, JD was asleep within minutes.

* * *

Keeping her promise, Jordan awoke him in about an hour. Perry was stirring, the lines around his eyes and between his brows growing tight again with pain, and JD was quick to activate the pump, keying in the code that would allow Perry to control his dosage of pain medication by clicking the button at the end of the control still clipped next to his hand. When he'd finished, Jordan shooed him out of the room, insisting he go sleep, and JD obeyed with little argument, collapsing into one of the on-call room beds without even bothering to remove his shoes and falling asleep almost instantly.

It was dark, when he woke again, and a quick glance at his digital watch told him he'd been sleeping for nearly nine hours.

He threw himself out of bed and sprinted back to the ICU, pausing only long enough to duck into the bathroom and relieve himself, and to splash water onto his face. It was easy to see why Jordan had insisted he get some sleep--he looked as exhausted as she did, the dark circles underlining his eyes, which were bloodshot and a little saggy. There was a crease on his cheek from the fabric of his pillow, and his hair still lay limp across his brow. With a growl that unknowingly mimicked one of Perry's, he shoved it back, and then resumed his trek to the ICU, knowing Jordan would desperately need to be spelled.

When he arrived, though, he paused at the window of Perry's room, heart catching as he took in the sight before him.

Jordan had, at some point, crawled up onto the bed next to Perry. She now lay along his left side, one arm resting lightly on his belly, her head tucked in to his shoulder. His arm was wrapped around her waist, splinted hand sticking out at an angle; in his other hand, his fingers curled limply around the morphine clicker. They were both asleep.

To his own surprise and shame, his eyes filled with tears, and he turned away, leaning back against the window, raising a hand to his face. Of course Jordan didn't need him to hurry back. He bit his bottom lip hard, clenching his free hand until he could actually feel his nails digging into his palm.

"Okay, Bambi?"

He started, badly, and flushed when he met Carla's eyes. "Ish," he replied, trying to smile for her.

She nodded, reaching over and squeezing his arm lightly. "I don't blame you. He's doing fine, though. Elliot checked in a time or two, while you were sleeping...no one had the heart to wake you, even if Jordan hadn't threatened to scalp anyone who tried."

JD smiled slightly. "She did?"

Carla chuckled. "Mmhmm. I would've said it myself, but she already had everyone running scared."

"She's good at that," JD replied, looking back in the window and sighing. "I should go in there, but I don't want to wake either of them..."

"I don't think you will," she said, shrugging. "They're both pretty well out of it. But you still look exhausted--why don't you go back to sleep? They're both doing fine."

"Elliot's still here, right?" JD asked, rubbing his forehead. At Carla's nod, he let out a long sigh. "I'm going home. I need a shower, decent sleep, I want to change... If either of them asks, I'll be back in the morning. When my shift starts."

Carla nodded, squeezing his arm, and he turned away, wandering back toward the door. If either of them asks.

Yeah, right.

* * *

He didn't know what time it was, but it wasn't morning. He frowned, lifting his head and staring at his clock, wondering what had awoken him.

When his phone rang again, he had his answer. He leaned forward, snatching it off the table, and picked it up. "H'llo?" he mumbled.

"DJ?"

"Jordan? What's wrong?" He scrubbed a hand over his face, trying to wake himself up. Why would she be calling? It wasn't like another doctor couldn't take care of things until morning, and if something was going wrong, well...she was in a hospital, no way he could get there before someone else just as qualified could.

A pause. "Where are you?"

JD blinked. "In bed."

"In bed where? I checked the on-call rooms..."

JD frowned. "I'm at home, Jordan. Carla didn't tell you? She said everything was under control there. And since you and P--Dr. Cox didn't need me while I was out earlier...I came home to get a shower and change and sleep in my bed for a while. I'll be back in the morning...but Elliot's on tonight, and she's really good, in case something goes wrong."

There was a very long pause. Then Jordan's voice, oddly high-pitched, said, "Oh. Well...I didn't see Carla anywhere, but...well, okay. Uh. Sorry I woke you, I guess."

There was a click, and the line went dead.

JD sat where he was, staring at the glowing letters of his alarm clock for a few moments, wondering what the hell that had been about.

And before he fully realized he'd decided to go find out, he was pulling himself up and tugging on fresh scrubs, grabbing his helmet and keys from the table and thundering down the stairs to Sasha. Least I got a shower...

Fifteen minutes after she'd hung up on him, JD was pulling open the door to Perry's room. "Hey. What's going on?"

Jordan looked up at him, eyes shining. She'd moved back to the chair, but was clutching Perry's arm; on the bed, there was a low moan.

JD frowned, moving forward, and saw that Perry's skin was pale, beads of sweat standing out on his brow. The older man was clutching at the morphine clicker, but whether he was awake was difficult to see. "Shit," he muttered, very softly. The general anesthetic must've worn off, and the morphine dosage was already as high as they dared make it.

"How long has he been like this?" he asked, coming over and laying a gentle hand on Perry's forehead, all his hesitance disappearing in concern.

"About an hour," Jordan said softly, biting her lip. "I woke up, and he...fuck, I shouldn't've..." she shook her head, lowering her face to her hands. "He said it would be okay, but it's not okay, DJ, look at him!"

"Oh Jordan..." JD shook his head, leaving Perry and circling the bed, crouching down in front of her, gently tugging her hands down and taking them in his. "No, it's not because you were sleeping with him, I promise. The general anesthetic has worn off, that's all. We can't...it's not safe to give him more morphine than he's already on, but it's all he's got, now." He squeezed her hands gently. "I'm sure it helped to feel you next to him."

She snorted, but looked searchingly into his face. "You think so?" she said quietly.

"Would've helped me," he replied simply, squeezing her hands again. "And he loves you so much..."

She released a shaky sigh, lowering her eyes to gaze at their joined hands, then nodded, slowly. "Okay," she whispered. "Yeah--sorry, it's just...hard, to see him like this, and not be able to do anything."

"It really is," JD agreed softly, thinking there was no point in denying it was hurting him, too. "But you can do some things. You can talk to him, stroke his hair, tease him...Just let him know you're here. That should help a lot..."

She looked at him for a long, silent moment, and in the darkness, her face was less readable than usual. But finally, she said, "Then do it."

JD's face went pale, and his eyes widened. "Me?" he asked, surprised when his voice didn't crack.

"Yeah," she said. "Maybe you can get through to him."

"I..." JD started to protest again, but a soft moan from the bed stopped him. "All right," he said, brushing his hair back from his face as he stood up, taking his place back by Perry's side, reaching out a bit hesitantly to once again lay his hand on the other man's forehead, fingers digging soft channels through his curls, gently massaging away the tension there. "Hey, Dr. Cox. Perry. Um...Sorry I took off for a while, I just needed to get fresh clothes, make sure Rowdy had food and water..."

Perry twitched, head turning toward JD's voice, into the gentle caresses of his fingers.

JD tried to push down the surge of tenderness that swelled in his breast before Jordan could see it in his face, but he didn't manage to. He kept up the gentle massage, trying to let himself forget everything but Perry. "Anyway. I'm back now, and I won't be leaving again until Jordan makes me go sleep more. I'd try to make her do the same, but I think she'd squash me." He looked up, winking at Jordan, his usual grin slipping into place on his exhausted face. "So I guess that'll have to wait until you're awake again. At least...I don't think she'd try to squash you right now," he added, voice teasing.

Perry was slowly responding to JD's voice. It was hard to tell, at first, but as he spoke, the older man began to relax. He kept his head turned toward JD, pressing ever so slightly into JD's touch; slowly, his brows relaxed, the line between them fading as whatever spasm of muscle was keeping Perry in pain finally relaxed. Perry released a sigh of what could only have been relief, and as JD watched, the older man's eyes fluttered open, blinking dazedly up into his. "N'bie?" he mumbled.

JD smiled softly, fingers still buried in Perry's hair. "Hey, Dr. Cox," he murmured, for once forgetting to put up any goofy mask or dorkish grin as he looked into the other man's eyes. He just smiled, open and relieved and tired, unaware of what it did for him.

Perry blinked, and a slight smile appeared on his own lips in answer, though it was still tight with pain. He glanced at the morphine pump, and thumbed the clicker, but when JD started to pull his hand away Perry made a small noise of protest. He turned his head toward JD's hand until JD's palm cupped the side of his face, nose nuzzling ever so slightly at JD's wrist. "Thanks," he whispered, before going limp, relaxing once more into sleep.

JD looked down at him, feeling the wiry softness of stubble against his fingers, the remembered brush of Perry's nose against his wrist, the whispered thanks... "You're welcome," he whispered back, before swallowing hard and pulling away, collapsing into his chair with a soft thump.

He looked up, dazed, and saw Jordan watching him with a small smile on her face. "Thanks for coming back," she whispered.

JD smiled, a little uncertainly, and laughed softly. "I guess he just needed his doctor," he said, shrugging a little.

"No," Jordan said, softly but with conviction as she gazed back down at Perry. "He needed you."

"I..." JD bit his lip, not sure what to say. "Well. You know what to do for him, next time."

Jordan looked up at him sharply. "You think I didn't try talking to him?" she said.

"I don't...I'm sorry." JD scrubbed his hands through his hair, still looking at Perry, wondering why it'd worked when he'd talked to the other man, if it hadn't when Jordan had. "The timing, maybe..."

"Fuck the timing, DJ, this has nothing to do with jealousy," she said. "Actually, no, scratch that. It has everything to do with jealousy. But not from me." She leaned forward, staring at him, eyes intent. "Do you honestly think that just because you care about him, it excuses you to just take off when you see someone else caring about him? Because I have to tell you, I don't. Green is an ugly color on you, kid. Stop wearing it."

"I..." JD blinked at her, surprised and more than a little stung. "I'm sorry I left without telling you. I thought Carla would let you know where I'd gone. And I just thought..." He sighed, and shook his head. "Never mind. You're probably right. I just hadn't expected you to...to tell him. Or for him to want me taking care of him after he knew."

"Sweetie, I didn't have to tell him anything," she said. "He knew, at least on some level. And he's not so shallow as to think less of you for it. Hell, kid, it's usually kinda flattering, to find out you're the object of someone's crush."

Did she just call me "sweetie"? JD shrugged a little, worrying at his lip. "He doesn't like being vulnerable, I know that. Figured it might make it worse, you know? Bad enough to him that I'm seeing him like this as it is...worse if he knew I liked him?" He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Or something like that. Medicine I can do when I'm tired, being logical about my own life...yeah, not exactly."

"Right," she said, leaning back and giving him a dubious look. "Because him knowing you liked him, then watching you bolt when it gets hard is definitely a desirable alternative."

"I went home to take a shower and get some sleep," JD replied dully. "I was coming back in the morning." It'd sound even worse to say he'd thought after not needing him for nine solid hours, another five or six wouldn't make that big a difference. So for once he kept his mouth shut.

Jordan watched him for a long moment. Then she said, "I didn't spend four hours whining to various board members just so you could sit with him as his doctor, JD. I did it because I thought you'd want to be here more than that. Was I wrong? Because I promise you, I can get you your patients back, and you can check in on Perry whenever you have a spare minute instead. That's your call. But I need to know."

JD bit his bottom lip hard. "I want to stay. I just...I don't want to intrude, on you two, and..." He let out a long breath, wondering how he could tell her he just wasn't up to the teasing, the digs, the wind ups, just now. It was supposed to be hard on her, on Perry, they needed a way to release tension, he shouldn't deny them if it was targeting him. He'd deal with it. "I'm sorry. And thank you. For...for letting me be here, and for telling everyone not to wake me up, before."

Jordan huffed softly. "Families look out for each other," she said, so softly JD wasn't sure he heard her.

"What'd you say?" he asked leaning forward in his chair, hoping like hell it'd been what he thought it was.

"You heard me, DJ, now sit back and shut up. When he's sleeping, we're sleeping, that's the deal from now on." She grabbed a blanket and tossed it at him, then wrapped herself in her own and settled down into the chair, closing her eyes.

But there was a tiny smile playing at her lips, and JD felt an answering one spread across his own. He shifted in his chair, wrapping the blanket around himself, and dozed off while watching Perry sleep.

* * *

Next Chapter

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