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He spotted him as he was walking down the hall in the middle of the
night. He passed the room at first, glancing inside, and then stepped
back, curious. Dave was laying down on an exam bed in the dark, but
even so he had a pillow over his face, his arms crossed over the
pillow. John stood there for a moment, just watching him, and then
turned to leave. He rolled his eyes, turning back.

"That's not the most effective way to commit suicide," he said, from
the doorway.

Dave didn't even move. "I have a headache."

John stepped further into the room. "Did you take anything?"

"Aspirin." The way he said it, that New York way, it sounded like
"eah-sprin." John smiled, amused.

"How long ago?"

"A half hour. I'm on my dinner break. Maybe it'll start working by the
time it's over." That would be a half hour later, and John doubted it,
especially if it hadn't started working by now. "Or my head will just
fucking explode. Either way works for me."

John glanced at his watch. "I'm off at midnight. Do you want me to
take you home?"

"I'm on until seven. Seven to seven."

"It's okay," John replied. "It's a slow night. I'll talk to the
Attending. If they need you, they'll call you."

Dave peeked out from under the pillow, his tired eyes narrowed.
"You're not.. buttering me up because you're going to kill me later..
are you?"

John frowned. "Do you want a ride or not?"

"Yeah, sure," Dave quickly replied. "I'll just.. wait here. Is that okay?"

John nodded. And, no, he really *didn't* have a clue what he was
doing, but you already knew that.


Twenty minutes later, John was signing his last patient's discharge
papers and handing them to Randi.

"Hey, you're taking that Dave guy home, right?" she asked, removing
the paperwork she needed.

"Yes.. " he replied hesitantly, eyeing her suspiciously.

"He's really cute," she said with a smile. "Is he seeing anyone?"

John began to stammer, surprised by her question but, most of all,
surprised by the fact that she was interested in him. It had never
really occured to him that perhaps other people might find Dave
attractive, and want to date him. And that they might persue him. And
that Dave might accept.

"Shit," she suddenly hissed. She shook her head, almost pissed. "I
knew he had to be taken. A guy like that?"

"Sorry," John responded, quickly heading for the exam room he'd last
left Dave in. He wanted to make sure no one had snuck in and hit on
Dave while he was gone. But lo and behold, he was still there with his
head under the pillow, quiet and unmoving. He almost looked like he
was dead. "Dave? It's twelve o'clock.. Dave?"

Suddenly, his heart was ramming in his chest. He reached forward and
pulled the pillow aside, his hand on the side of Dave's face, shaking
his head. "Dave!"

"What??" Dave exclaimed, his eyes opening. He looked up at John,
startled. "What? What's wrong?? What is it?"

John stepped back, remembering to breathe. "Don't do that!"

Dave sat up, rubbing at his eyes. "I promise to never fall asleep again."

"I thought you were dead," John blurted out, still fazed. Then, he was
embarassed. "You shouldn't sleep with a pillow over your head."

Dave looked at him. "Sure thing, Mom."

"I'm serious!"

"Okay!" Dave replied, his expression showing his puzzlement. "Um.. are
you still taking me home, or.. ?"

John knew he was acting strange. He was just out of his depth, and
maybe out of his mind. Excuse him, if that made him a little off the wall.

He glanced at Dave. "Are you ready?"

"My bookbag's in the Lounge," he replied hesitantly. "Can I go get it?"

"Sure," John replied, trying to calm. He was feeling.. nervous.
Anxious. Did that mean the same thing? He couldn't remember. "I'll
bring the car around and meet you in the ambulance bay."

"Am I being timed?" he asked, flashing a grin. "I won't have to jump
in as you're driving by, will I?"

John pulled a face. "Ten minutes."

Dave laughed. "I'll be done in five."

"You're on."


They got his bicycle in the back and hopped in, and started towards
Dave's apartment. John knew the street that it was located on, so he
drove without instructions, and Dave was quiet. The car was quiet. Too
quiet. Dave must've sensed it too because he reached for the radio
without even asking, flipping through the stations like he used to
when they were younger. Aerosmith was on, and Dave quickly let go of
the dial, cursing softly with surprise; it had always been his
favorite band, and John guessed it probably always would be.

John glanced at him, then back to the road. "Do you see him?"

Dave looked at John, and then out the front windshield. "Where?"

John shook his head. "No, I mean.. your son. Do you see him?"

"Oh," Dave said, leaning back in his seat. "Yeah, I'm not one of those
dad's who's all 'oops,' and then that's it. Or even just like.. pays
child support and never sees him. I love my son, I see him all the
time. Or used to, anyway."

"What are you going to do now?"

"His mother's moving to the States with him," he said, visibly
excited. "I talked to her about coming here and bringing Matty, you
know? Grenada's too small. There's just.. more here."

"So.. that's why you came here? For him?"

He could see Dave look at him from the corner of his eye. "Yeah, I
guess." Dave smiled broadly, he could see that too. "Plus, I missed
the snow. And maybe a few other things, too."

John looked at him, and Dave kept smiling as John turned back to the
road. "Right," John said, mostly because he couldn't think of anything
else to say. His mind was too busy running around in circles over the
fact that Dave was relocating his entire family to the United States
for.. for what? For him?

Oh, man.. the things you did for love.


To be continued..
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