"But it's not a block of ice, it's a block of yogurt." JD grinned, holding it up to show him it was opaque.
Dr. Cox rolled his eyes. "Okay, Sheryl, a block of yogurt. Why are you carrying a block of yogurt through the halls?"
"Mrs. Casey told me she liked her yogurt vanilla and very, very cold, so I put it in Tupperware and then in the freezer, and it just... froze like this." He tapped the block of yogurt with his knuckle. "I hope she doesn't mind... but she doesn't have any teeth."
Perry just shook his head.
"Sure, I like you, but you can't trust my judgement."
JD knew Dr. Cox was pretty drunk, but even so — he liked him?
"I mean, I am an emotional cripple who's living with his demon of an ex-wife."
JD could hardly believe it. He liked him! He really liked him!
"I don't really have any friends."
Not even the double-prize decoder rings he'd found with Turk was that awesome. His son's birth was pretty close.
"Or a life."
JD had never known a happier moment.
"I mean, since Ben... you're probably my best friend."
Until that one.
"Never tell anyone."
So if it wasn't the weather or the water, what in the hell was it?
Dr. Cox watched JD stare after Mr. Brown after he was taken away by Doug, his brow furrowed as though he could still figure out a cure. "Newbie."
"Huh?" He didn't even look at him.
"Stop obsessing over the ones you've already lost and get to work on the ones you can still help."
JD nodded, and, after a moment, walked away.
Though he wouldn't have admitted it, Perry couldn't help but admire the kid for caring that much even when they were already gone.
"So, a dead Santa," said Turk.
JD looked absolutely crushed. If Perry hadn't known better — hell, he didn't really know for sure — he would have said he still believed in old Saint Nick. "But what'll happen to his reindeer?"
Perry couldn't let that pass. "Oh, come on, Anne, don't tell me you're still that naive."
"The guy actually owned reindeer," Turk said, glaring.
"Oh." Perry felt a little bad about it, then. "They'll go to his next of kin."
When they turned away, he shoved a candy cane into JD's hand, hoping it would cheer him up just a little.
"Boy, you don't see that every day," Turk said.
Dr. Cox was walking toward the nurse's station, JD at his side. The younger doctor was smiling, talking animatedly, and the older doctor wasn't yelling at him. He wasn't even scowling like he usually did. He was actually...
"He's smiling," Carla said, surprised.
"I'm scared, baby."
Carla put her arms around Turk protectively, squeezing him tight. "Don't worry, Carla will protect you."
Dr. Cox flicked JD's ear, but the younger doctor just laughed in response.
Carla hugged her husband a little tighter. "Maybe it's not the end of the world. Somehow."
In the morgue, the dead, who had been listening all along, began to murmur anxiously about the the impending sex show.
"Who does it in a morgue? I mean, really!" Mr. Edwards exclaimed.
"Well, they don't know we can see and hear them," Ms. Baker reminded him. "If they did, they probably wouldn't be here."
"Still, all these dead bodies... I wouldn't want to have sex anywhere near me. It's creepy."
"Well, I did think the little one was a bit of a fruit," Mr. Heinbach said. "Dr. Cox surprises me, though."
Moaning drowned out the rest of their conversation.
"A TV cop, maybe — the vain, bad cop, who has something going on with the sexy district attorney."
"For the last time," Perry growled, fighting to stay calm, "I will not roleplay with you. The sex was a mistake."
JD stopped talking, but he didn't stop following him, and he didn't stop smiling. He was sure it wasn't a one-time thing.
Perry sighed, turning away. "And you wouldn't be the district attorney. You wouldn't fit the role at all. You'd be the criminal I'd just caught."
"For indecent exposure?" Perry grunted. "I have handcuffs!"
Perry raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really?"
JD couldn't say what Perry wanted. He had started being nice to him — finally, after more than five years of working together — and then the sex had ruined everything.
Maybe it was because it had been in a morgue, though it hadn't seemed to bother him at the time.
Maybe it was because he'd come before it had even started. But Perry got off, still.
Maybe it was because he didn't want people to think he was getting special treatment.
Or maybe, JD realized, watching Perry snarl something at Jordan, it was because he didn't want him to get close.
"Turn your life over to God as you understand him."
"For Christ's sake, Paige—"
"For your sake, Perry."
Perry groaned, putting his hands over his face. "Why are you even here?"
"Jordan told me about your daughter's baptism. Since I didn't even know you had a daughter, I figured I'd stop by and say hello. You could have told me."
Perry hated Jordan. "You'd have found out at Jack's graduation."
Paige ignored him. "You've got to stop forcing your feelings away. Love is worth the pain."
He looked at her through his fingers.
"God doesn't want you to be unhappy."
"Well, not samurai precisely, but a Japanese sword."
JD took the sword, running his fingers over the sheath. It wasn't even just the fact that it was a sword — a real sword — but the fact that it was Dr. Cox who had given it to him that made it so absolutely amazing. "Wow... Thank you."
Perry put his hands in his pockets, trying not to regret the show of affection. "It was all I could think that wasn't made for girls or children."
JD looked up. "I love it."
"It's an early gift." Perry swallowed. "Merry Christmas... in a week."
"He's a behavioral field biologist who studied wild rodents or marine mammals, depending on who was providing the funding. Care to guess which bit him?"
"Excellent job, Tammy! Moving on..." JD hummed as he led the interns to the next patient. It was turning out to be the best Christmas season ever. He'd already gotten sex and a sword, both from Perry, and it wasn't even Christmas Eve.
JD stopped in front of Mr. Harltey's bed and turned, smiling. "Yes, Nurse Bailey?"
"We need you in room one forty-three. Dr. Cox just had a heart attack."
"Full speed ahead and forget the presents."
JD squeezed Perry's hand, but didn't look him in the eyes, pretending to check his vitals. "But you already got me a present."
JD tried to smile, but he could tell Dr. Cox was feeling desperate. "But it's a really cool sword."
Perry was silent for a moment.
Although they were surrounded by death all the time, JD couldn't even imagine what it was like to come that close to it. It had been frightening enough to have his appendix out, but to actually think he was dying?
"I love you."
They'd just failed to plan any vacation activities and so decided to go out for a rousing round of jerk off the patient.
Except it wasn't a vacation, it was just a day off. They weren't really out, either; they hadn't even left the hospital.
JD could tell Perry was enjoying it anyway.
"Jesus Christ, Newbie," he panted, thrusting up into the other doctor's hand. "You must get more practice than I'd guessed."
"You have no idea," he said.
Perry laughed, but it melted into moaning, so JD figured it was worth it to have the embarrassment with the experience.
Turk finished preparing the coffee, brought the cups to the table, and sat down. "He's gonna be okay?"
"Yeah," JD answered, taking a cup. "He's going to be out tonight. But at first — not knowing if he was going to even get up again at all..."
They sat in silence, not breaking it until they were both half-finished with their coffee. "So. You and Dr. Cox."
JD nodded. "Yeah. I must crazy, huh? I fell for someone who loves to hate me."
Turk shook his head, smiling. "Love knows no logic, JD."
JD grinned. He could always count on Turk.
"Take them." JD shoved the gifts into Perry's hands, stepping back. "Merry Christmas!"
"Eve," the other doctor reminded him, but he opened the tiny gifts anyway. "A key?"
"To my apartment." JD bounced on his heels nervously. "You don't have to use it, but I thought—"
"And Red Wings tickets."
JD nodded, still bouncing slightly. "They were really hard to get, but I thought, hey, you got me the sword, and—"
Perry flicked his ear and murmured, "Thanks, Newbie."
JD grinned and stopped bouncing.
"I was afraid you'd get me a Hello Kitty notebook."
"I know who I'm dealing with."
He might have been made of polished mahogany except that when he moved, he moved like liquid. JD watched him move through the apartment, trying not to drool at the sight of half-naked Perry. Jack was still in the room, after all, though Kim had at least come to pick up Sam, and Jennifer was already in bed.
"No Christmas tree?"
"Jordan took it with her," Perry explained, scooping his son into his arms. "And it's time for bed for you, Jacko. Let's go."
JD let himself drool a little and hoped Perry would take him to bed soon, too.
"I have no sex appeal, a rum-pa-pa-pum," sang JD, in spirit with the season.
"What's that, Gretchen?" Perry asked, sitting next to him. Jordan had just come to take Jack and Jennifer to her mother's for Christmas morning.
The words were out of his mouth before JD could stop himself. "No Christmas sex! Who doesn't have sex when they're with someone on Christmas?"
"Be more of a girl, Newbie. My kids were in the other room."
JD sat back and pouted.
"But they're gone now."
I am very easily swayed, JD later reflected, laying sweaty in Perry's bed. Oh, well.
"They are all tanned and healthy-looking."
"That doesn't mean they are, Snowflake." That was Perry's name for Tammy, who always had to be the special and unique one. She irritated him. He hit her with the clipboard. "This is California. Anyone with a wad of cash has had massive amounts of plastic surgery. Exhibit A: my ex-wife. Now go."
JD walked toward Perry through the dispersing interns. "Tammy seems to be at the top of the 'People Who Annoy Dr. Cox' list. Is she going to usurp my position?"
Perry smiled. "No. There will never be another Newbie for me."
Turk came in, his jacket dripping, a little furry face sticking out through the V in the zipper in the front. "Vanilla Bear!"
"Chocolate Bear! Rowdy!"
"He wanted to see what your new place," Turk said, setting Rowdy next to Steven. He gave JD a slightly more serious look. "You're really ready for this?"
"Absolutely. It's been over a month already!"
"Stop trying to convince him not to move in," Perry said. "He won't even listen to me."
Turk still wasn't sure, but Perry hadn't said or done anything about Rowdy — or Steven. That had to be a good sign.
Her arms and legs were flailing and her mouth was moving, but Elliot couldn't seem to form any words. Her eyes were so wide JD had to fight the urge to push them back into her skull.
"You moved in with Dr. Cox? Why, JD?"
"Why did Keith move in with you?"
"Because we're serious!" She stared at him, then scoffed. "Come on, you two are not that—"
He gave her a look.
"Oh my God, you are that serious."
"Yeah." JD blushed a little, smiling. "We're that serious."
"Ha! Good luck dealing with that bastard," she said, walking off.
"That thing is moving," Turk said.
"That, my friend," JD said, lifting it up, "is because it's alive."
"Who's is it?" At JD's look, Turk's eyes widened. "No way. Dr. Cox let you get it?"
"He thought it would be nice for the kids to know that there are dogs that are actually alive," JD explained. The puppy — he'd named it Rowdy the Second after getting permission from Rowdy the First — wriggled in his arms, trying to escape.
"'The kids.' Man, JD, you're more domestic than Carla."
If this is domestic, JD thought, I don't want to be wild.
"Oh my God!" Carla said. "Are you crazy?"
"Maybe, a little," Perry admitted, shrugging. "But Newbie agreed to it. He'll be even worse off."
"Dinner with Jordan, and he's worse off?" Carla paused, then clicked her tongue. "Thaaat's right. You've never been in one of these situations with JD before."
"What? Carol worships the ground I walk on."
"Carol doesn't know what should stay between you."
Perry's face fell. "Oh, God."
"Anything you thought was safe with him? Not so much."
Perry didn't need to be told; he was already well on the phone, ready to cancel the dinner immediately.
He was three steps away from delivering a death blow to the intruder. He raised the sword over his head, ready to strike—
"For God's sake, Pauline, I did not get you that thing so that you could stab me with it."
JD relaxed, letting it fall to his side. "Oh, thank God. I thought you were a bandit come to steal all our worldly possessions and strip me of my virtue."
Perry rolled his eyes. "Jordan did the first and I did the second already. What were you thinking?"
JD shrugged. "Ninja doctor?"
Perry shook his head. "Of course."
"It's stopped," Carla said. The other nurses leaned in closer, straining to hear something — anything.
"I hear rustling," one said, her eyes going wide.
"That was definitely a zipper," another agreed, and at the sound of a doorknob turning, they all darted away, those who couldn't get down the hall fast enough making themselves look busy.
"Hey, Bambi," Carla greeted when the supply closet door opened, unable to hide the smirk she was wearing.
"Just had to get some supplies," JD said, not noticing.
Carla pretended not to notice Perry sneaking out of the closet after him. "Right. Some supplies."
"Not to mention the intermittent glowing in the dark, which had been helpful when I was looking for my keys," JD said, tapping the jar.
"You're telling me that a firefly led you home in the dark." Perry stood behind him, arms crossed. "That has got to be the most ridiculous—"
"I'm going to name him Perry," JD stated suddenly and decisively.
The other doctor scoffed. "Do you really think that will make me let you keep it, Georgia?"
"Well, you do have an ego the size of Texas," he pointed out.
"...Right. Just keep it out of the bedroom."
Someone wiped the mud out of his eyes, and a stench that made him gag filled his nostrils. "Really, Newbie. Pigs? I mean, I know they have about the same level of intelligence as you do, but this seems just a tad ridiculous."
"J-janitor," JD sputtered, spitting out more mud. "They're his pigs."
Perry offered his hand. "If you still smell like one of them when you get in bed tonight, you and Rowdy are switching places. C'mon."
JD pouted, but he realized that even the offer to help him up meant more than Perry was ever willing to say.
Molly shook her head. "I'm just surprised you guys didn't figure it out sooner."
"Well, I kind of thought Perry was straight," JD said. "And that I was, too."
"I always thought denial was your thing."
"Only when it's important stuff."
"Of course." Molly set down her coffee, checking her watch. "I've got to go or I'll miss my plane."
"Take care, Dr. Clock."
"And Johnny?" She put her hand on his shoulder. "You're good for him."
JD smiled. It wasn't as though he didn't believe that on his own, but it never hurt to have reassurance from a psychiatrist.
A year later — a year after the best Sacred Heart Christmas ever — a stranger drove into town.
"He's so handsome," Elliot said.
"Absolutely hermoso," Carla agreed.
"He's just dreamy," JD added, staring over the nurse's station with them.
"A-hem." The three jumped, turning quickly to find Keith, Turk, and Perry standing behind them, looking irritated.
"But not like you, baby," the girls and JD said in unison. Two of them got smiles for their efforts, but Perry just grunted and walked away.
The handsome, dreamy Dr. Ray Paulson went home that day with a black eye. Perry denied any involvement.
"You really should go," said Dan.
JD looked hurt. "What? I thought you and Mom wanted me here for Christmas."
Dan shook his head. "Nah, not if it's that much trouble, little bro. Besides, you've got that doctor of yours back in California. Wouldn't want you missing out on that."
JD looked back at the car at the curb. "You mean that doctor? The one getting our bags?"
Dan looked like his eyes would fall out of his head. "No way."
JD grinned. "Way."
Dan opened the door wide, then called up the stairs. "Mom, you'll never believe who's here!"
"They're only nine inches tall," the man pointed out.
Perry considered them for a moment, then shook his head. "No. I want to be able to see them from the back of the hall."
The man nodded and took the figures away, looking for another set. JD was busy looking at the various cakes on display. "I wonder if they have sugar-free cakes."
Perry wasn't really concerned about cake flavors.
"Are you going to invite your sister?"
He looked over at JD, who was carefully avoiding his eyes. "Of course, Newbie. I told her she could come to the weddings."