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By the time Dave and Dylan left to take Lisa to Dave's place, John was
more than ready for a pain killer and a nap.

As he swallowed down a Vicodin, he mused over the fact that he hadn't
been this worn out since his first week of physical therapy. John
began to worry that watching over Dylan for the rest of the week was
going to be more than he could handle. But as he stretched out under
the covers, he began to realize that it wouldn't be as bad as today.
For one thing, he'd been feeling extra tense and anxious, since he'd
worried that Dylan wouldn't like him, or that he wouldn't like Dylan.
Or even worse, that Lisa wouldn't like him and would then insist that
Dave end their relationship or never see Dylan again. Coming between
Dave and his son was one thing that John vowed never to do. No matter
how much he loved Dave, he would never put him in the position of
having to make that kind of a choice.

But, he and Dylan had gotten along, and Lisa seemed to genuinely like
him, so John felt a bit more confident on that front. He'd also not
taken his pain meds that morning, not wanting to risk falling asleep
just as Dave returned from the train station with Lisa and Dylan. So,
he was now paying the price for that. After meeting Dylan and seeing
first hand how energetic the boy could be, John saw that he needed to
slightly alter his plans for each day. Oh, they'd still go places and
see things, but nap time would definitely be scheduled for each day.
They could get up, have breakfast, go out, come home and nap, then go
out again, get home in time to meet Dave, eat dinner, then he could
crash while Dave played with Dylan. That seemed like a good plan, and
John smiled as he shifted in an effort to find a more comfortable

He also needed to find the time to talk with Dave about bringing Dylan
to see him at work. John knew that Dave would be thrilled to show
Dylan off to everyone else, but he also knew that they'd risk Dylan
mentioning that they were together. The boy apparently hadn't
hesitated to tell people on the train about his daddy's boyfriend, so
why would Dylan hesitate at County? And it just wouldn't be right to
tell the child to keep his mouth shut about it. What good was it to
try to teach him that it wasn't wrong for two people of the same sex
to be in love and then tell him to keep quiet about him and Dave being
in love?

John himself didn't mind if everyone knew that he and Dave were a
couple, and that surprised him. He was pretty sure that if he and
Dave had met a year earlier and started a relationship, then he
wouldn't have been so quick to be outted. But the stabbing changed
the way John looked at things. He was in love and didn't care who
knew it, or how they felt about it. Finding and loving Dave, and
having Dave loving him back were the best things that ever happened to
him. And with everything else around him falling apart, John needed
to hold onto as many of the good things as he could. For instance, he
and his grandparents were now reconciled, so that fell into the `good
things' category. His parents staying in Tokyo when he was stabbed
fell into the other category. And on some days, being alive fell into
the other category, too, but John tried to not dwell on those days.
This week, he wouldn't allow himself to have any of those days. They
would all be good days, and if he were lucky, once Dylan was back
home, those good days would linger. Smiling, John closed his eyes and
drifted off to sleep, confident that if he dreamt, they would be good
dreams, and not the usual nightmares of late.


Dave eased the door open, not really surprised to find himself walking
into a seemingly empty apartment. When he'd left to take Lisa to his
place, he could tell that John was in some pain and needed to rest,
and that was most likely what he was doing now, just like Dylan.

Dave grinned as he shifted Dylan on his shoulder. The excitement of
the day had caught up with Dylan as they were driving back from
dropping off Lisa, and he'd been sound asleep for about five minutes
now. Dave knew from experience that Dylan would remain asleep for at
least an hour. He closed and locked the door, then eased Dylan down
onto the couch, covering him with the afghan that was draped over the
back. Dave placed a tender kiss onto Dylan's forehead, then he got to
his feet and headed into the bedroom, figuring that he might as well
get a bit of a nap, too.

Dave left the door slightly ajar, so he could hear it if Dylan awoke,
then he looked toward the bed with an indulgent smile. John was
curled up under the blankets, as soundly asleep as Dylan seemed to be.
Dave toed off his shoes and emptied his pockets onto the dresser
before crawling under the covers on his side of the bed. John
immediately moved close, molding his body against Dave's, and Dave
found himself wondering how it was that John thought they could get
through this week sleeping apart? Dave was still adamant about not
giving in to John's fears of having Dylan walking in on them, and he
knew he'd find some way to ensure that they made love during this
visit. And Dave sure as Hell wasn't going to even think about John's
other idea of having Dylan sleeping with Dave while John took the
couch. Dave wasn't going to go without having John in his arms each
night, and he couldn't imagine that John would find the couch to be
very comfortable right now.

Dave kissed the top of John's head, and then smoothed one hand down
John's arm as he got comfortable. This, having his lover at his side
and his son nearby, was what life was all about. Being surrounded by
those he loved was something that Dave had craved for a long time, and
now that he had it, he wasn't willing to give it up, not for anything.

John shifted against him, and Dave recognized it as one of the signs
that he was waking up. "Shhh…" Dave soothed as he ran his hand up and
down John's arm once more. "Go back to sleep, John."

John shook his head, and Dave couldn't help but grin as that made his
T-shirt move against his chest, tickling him. "We need to talk.
Where's Dylan?"

"He's asleep on the couch," Dave replied. "He conked out on the way
home. He's had quite a day so far."

"He's a great kid. You and Lisa have done a good job raising him."

"Well, it's been mostly Lisa, but I've tried to spend as much time
with him as I can."

"I was thinking that you'd like to show him off around work."

Dave heard a bit of hesitancy in John's voice, and he mentally steeled
himself for what was to come next. He so very much wanted to have
John bring Dylan to the hospital, but he had been afraid that John
wasn't ready to have others know about them. And if the hesitancy in
John's voice was anything to gauge by, he was right. Well, as much as
Dave wanted everyone to know about them, he wasn't going to push John
about it. God knew the man was dealing with enough already and didn't
need that kind of pressure on top of everything else.

"I think that a lot of people at work would be astonished to know that
I produced such a great kid," Dave said, hoping that his words were
carefully neutral.

"They shouldn't be." John's voice was soft, yet certain, and that
made Dave's heart swell. John believed in him, and that meant a lot
to Dave.

Dave gave John's shoulder a gentle squeeze. "Forget them. Go on back
to sleep, babe."

John shook his head, "Dave, have you…" John sighed, "I mean would you
like it if I brought Dylan to the ER to see you?"

There it was. Now that the subject had been brought up, Dave found
himself relaxing a bit. John could voice his doubts about it while
still finding a way to let Dave know that it was all right if he
wanted Dylan to come to visit him. And then Dave would do his best to
reassure John that he didn't have to do that, and that they could keep
their relationship a secret, thereby relieving John of any guilt he'd
surely feel over not wanting anyone knowing that they were together.

"Sure, it would be nice, and Dylan would most likely get a kick out of
it," Dave said the obligatory words. Now it was John's turn to poke
holes in the idea, and then Dave could gracefully back off and all
would be right with the world. And then maybe John *would* feel a bit
guilty and let Dave make love to him while Dylan was napping, or once
they went to bed for the night. Dave grinned, yeah, sometimes a bit
of Carter guilt could lead to some very nice things indeed.

"So, you wouldn't have a problem with it if he said something about me
being your boyfriend?"

Okay. That wasn't in the script. And Dave couldn't tell from the
tone of John's voice what he was feeling.

"Um, no. I wouldn't have a problem with it. Hell, I'd shout it from
the roof if you gave me the okay, but…"

John suddenly pushed himself to his elbow, his eyes intently gazing at
Dave, and a small smile on his face. "You would? Funny you should
say that, because I've been thinking the same thing."

Dave slowly smiled as John's words sank into his brain. "You have?
You mean you'd like for me to shout it from the roof? That you'd have
no problem at all with me telling the world just how lucky I am to
have you as my boyfriend?"

John's small smile quickly turned into a grin. "More along the lines
of me not having a problem telling the whole world just how lucky I am
to have *you* as my boyfriend. So, how about it? Do you want me to
bring Dylan to work for a visit? Or do you think that others finding
out that you're a great father AND gay on the same day might be too
much for them to handle?"

"Hell, it's an ER. If anyone faints, we can revive `em," Dave
replied. He rose up on one elbow so that he faced John. Leaning
closer, Dave reached out with his free hand to caress John's cheek.
"And do I get to kiss you in front of everyone, too?"

John chuckled. "You really want to risk sending everyone up to the
C.C.U., don't you? Well, you only get to kiss me in front of everyone
provided I get to kiss you in front of everyone, too. Or first. Who
knows? I might just surprise you and everyone else by walking in and
planting a good one on you the second I see you."

"Not if I see you first…" And with that, Dave closed the small gap
between them, kissing John tenderly. His hand moved from John's
cheek, gliding along the skin until he was able to grasp the back of
John's neck, holding him in place as he deepened the kiss. God, but
he wanted so much more than a kiss right then, but with Dylan napping
in the other room, and the door ajar, Dave just wasn't willing to risk
it. But, come Hell or high water, he was determined to make love to
John that night. There was a reason that the door had a lock, and
Dave was going to make good use of that reason.

Despite his reservations about making out right then, Dave couldn't
help but feel his passion rise as John moved a bit closer, their
bodies touching in too many places. Dave broke off the kiss and
grinned as he noticed that John was just as hard as he was right then.

"Damn…we're definitely taking a rain check for tonight, babe."

Dave was expecting to get an argument from the other man, but John
just grinned. "You bet we are. As for now, I need to get back to my
nap, and you know I sleep better when I'm sleeping next to you, so…"
John motioned for Dave to lie back down, and once Dave was prone, John
snuggled in close, resting his head on Dave's shoulder.

"Much better." John said, and Dave could have sworn he heard a slight
sigh in there, too.

John had draped his arm over Dave's waist, and Dave rested his hand
along it. "I agree. It just can't get much better than this."

To be continued…
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