Despite the Past

by Katherine Dana Mercer


The mood around the hospital was very drab and depressing.  Johnny bounced in but stopped when he saw how depressing it was.


"Who gave you a license to be cheery?" Dixie snapped, but there was no heart in it as she was very depressed.


"I...uh, what happened?!?!?!"  Johnny was confused.  He didn't know about Dr. Brackett's suicide attempt the night before.


"Dr. Brackett tried to kill himself," a bright, ordinarily perky young nurse said subdued as she walked past Johnny.


"What?!  Why?!"  


"The note they found said he was too in love with Dixie to go on living any longer as she's in love with someone else," the young nurse said, eager to gossip about Dixie and Kel who she both hated.


"Oh, wow.  Wow.  That' is he...?"  Johnny was stunned.  Well, beyond stunned...he was shocked.


"He tried to kill himself  Johnny how do you think he is!" Dixie hissed.


"That's not what I meant."  Johnny wanted to calm his friend down.  He loved Dixie like a sister.  "I meant...well, medically, you know?"


"As good as can be expected considering how they found him" Dixie replied, trying to calm down. She knew Johnny was just curious and trying to help.


"How did they find him?" Johnny asked carefully.  He did not want to upset her again.


"He tried to hang himself" the young nurse contributed from behind Johnny. "Shut up!" Dixie yelled at the nurse. "Just shut up!"


Johnny put an arm around Dixie and led her into the lounge.  "It's not your fault, Dix."


"But it is my fault!" Dixie sobbed, hysterically. She looked at Johnny and feels incredibly sad.


He held her close, rocking with her.  "You didn't know that he'd react so badly to you getting involved with Joe Early."


"But I should have!" Dixie wailed, burying her face in Johnny's shoulder. "I should have known"


"Oh, sweetie."  Johnny squeezed her shoulder.  "This shocked everyone."


"I’m so scared, Johnny" Dixie said. "What if he dies and I never get to see him again?"


"But you said it yourself last week--you're not in love with him anymore.  Maybe if--WHEN--he recovers, you two can work at being friends.  That should help you both."


"I know I'm not in love with him anymore, but that doesn't mean I want him dead" Dixie said. "I do still care for him. It may not be love but I don't want to see him hurting." She sniffled.


"I know."  He held her.  "Why don't you talk to him?  Even now?  Tell him what you feel.  I'll go with you if it will help."  Johnny smiled at her.

"It's going to be so hard, Johnny."


"I know it will, darlin'.  That's why I'll be there with you."  He was fighting to hide his feelings for her.  He could understand how Kel had felt.


Dixie smiled as she wiped away her tears. "Thank you Johnny."


Johnny walked with her into the room.  There was lots of medical stuff.  You could still see the rope mark on his neck. 


Dixie bit back a gasp at how bad Kel looked, as it would be very unprofessional of her as she was a nurse.


Johnny sensed this.  "It's okay...he's our friend.  You don’t have to be professional."


"How do you always know what I'm feeling?" Dixie asked Johnny, smiling through her tears.


"Because...well..."  He pulled her outside to talk to her.  "I hate telling you this now, with the timing being kind of crappy, but I love you.  I always have."


Dixie looks at him stunned. "You what?"


"I..."  He got nervous now.  ""


Dixie looked at him again.


Johnny was scared, but he had to try.  He leaned forward, kissing her lips gently.  He hoped she would kiss him back


Dixie hesitates slightly before kissing him back, she knew she shouldn't but she wanted to, oddly enough.


He slipped into an empty treatment room with her.  He wants her.  He kissed her again.


Dixie smiled playfully at him.


"This much so soon...."


"I know... but it's so right..."


He began to unbutton her uniform as she undoes his shirt and they joined together in a wave of passion. 


"I hope no one catches us," Dixie murmurs. "That would be awful." She smirked seductively.


Johnny smiled, enjoying the afterglow.  "I know..."


Two months later, Dixie came up to Johnny, crying.  "You jerk!  I can't believe you did this to me!"


Johnny looks confused. "What did I do?" he asked.


"I'm pregnant!"


"Oh no" Johnny said pale.


"I'm two months pregnant...that was when we had sex.  No one can be the father but you."  Dixie looked at her belly.  It was starting to bulge a little even at 2 months.  "Look at me!"


"Oh my God" Johnny said, looking shocked.


"I have another appointment next month.  Did you wanna come>?"


"Of course I do."


When she got to 5 months, Dixie was really getting huge.  She laughed, smiling at Johnny.  "Your kid is going to be huge...."


"He's your kid too you know" Johnny said affectionately.


She gasped as the baby kicked her, hard.  "Oh...the baby's kicking."




"Yeah...feels like a whole Army...he's active!"




At work later that day, she ran into Kel...who was staring at her, thinking that the baby should have been his.  "Kel...please...I'd like to be friends."


"How can I be friends with you" Kel snapped.


"Old lovers can still be friends."  Dixie stepped closer to him, sighing sadly.  She couldn't get too close, though, because of her pregnancy.  She really looked closer to 7 months than 5.


"It's too painful, Dix," Kel said stepping back.


Dixie nodded.  "I guess....I understand..."  She sighed.  "I just don't want to spend the rest of my life ignoring you.  I'm married now and I'm going to be a mom...I can't change that....."


"I hope the two of you have a very happy life" Kel said quietly.


"I still want you in my life.  I care about you."  


"And I care about you"


Dixie nodded.  It would have to do.  Three months later, she and Johnny got into a huge fight.  She was really mad because he wanted her to stop working after the baby came.  "I can't do it!  Not for good!"


"And why not? Afraid I can't support the three of us?"


"On a fireman's pay?" she scoffed.


"And just where are we gonna leave this kid, anyway?"


He glared at her. "If you're not home to care for him..."


"My mother will come over....."


"I don't want to depend on her every single day"


"If you force me to stop working...well, I'll file for divorce," she threatened.


"So you're gonna divorce me for just trying to do what I think's best for my family"


"You don't care about your wife, though, what she wants..."  Dixie was very hormonal and tired of being on her feet.  She sat down, rubbing her stomach.  She could barely fit in the small chair anymore. 


Johnny stood behind her and rubbed her shoulders. "Of course I care about you, sweetie. I'm really just trying to do what's best. If I'm going' about it the wrong way, I'm sorry."


She nodded.  "I'm sorry too."


He smiled at her.


In the middle of that night, she woke him urgently.  "'s time."




"The baby!"  She screamed.  


He jumped out of bed.


She moaned.  "Thank God you're a paramedic...we'll never make it to the hospital..."


"It's gonna be okay sweetie"


She was a nurse and she knew she probably shouldn't right then, but she started to push--the baby was that far into the birth canal.  The baby's head came out.  "Johnny...."


"Just relax"


She pushed more and the rest of the baby came.  He started crying right away.


"Well at least he's crying. That's a good sign"


"He's so tiny...why was I so huge?"


"Oh, my God, Dix, I bet you're having twins"


She screamed again.  "I bet you're right..."


"Just keep breathing, Dix."


She pushed more and the second baby came out.


"It's a girl!"






She moaned softly.




"I don't know."  She sighed.  "It felt...weird....but it's passed....."


"You sure?"


"Johnny!"  she screamed and clutched her stomach again.  




"It hurts...."


"It's okay, Dix. It's okay."


When he came back in, she was moaning softly still.


He looks at her concerned.


They didn't know there was a third baby that was breech.


"Don't worry, Dix, it's all gonna be okay"


"We better get the twins to Rampart to be looked at.  I'll be okay..."


"You sure?"


"Yeah.  I gotta go in anyway, huh?"  She moaned again.  "If something's really wrong, they'll find it."


"They sure will."


Kel met them as the ambulance arrived.  Johnny looked nervous, balancing the twins.  "Um...hi."


Kel just looked at them. "What's wrong?"


"Dixie's still hurting pretty bad."


Kel looked concerned instantly.


Dixie's labor with the third baby had stopped.  She smiled slightly.  "Hi, Kel.  I think whatever's wrong is over now...doesn't hurt anymore...just feels strange."


"You should still get checked out though, Dix."


"Oh...I'm fine."  She nodded.  "How are my babies?"


"They're fine. A little small, but they're fine."


"Good."  As she stood up, the pain started again, not labor pain, but the pain of the baby's position.  "Oh, God...oh, God, it hurts....."


Kel lunged forward and caught Dixie as she started to pass out.


"Kel...don't let me die..." she whispered.  "I think I'm gonna die."


"You're not gonna die, Dixie."


She laid back on the exam table, moaning.  "There' hurts so bad..."


"We're gonna take good care of you, Dix."


When he examined her, he saw the third baby's feet about to emerge.


"Dix... there's a third baby..."


"What?!  I don't feel contractions."


"Trust me. I'm lookin' at a pair of feet -- there's a third baby."


"is he gonna be okay?"




She pushed, but nothing was happening.


"This baby's breech, Dix."


"I gotta get it out...he'll die..."


"Don't worry. You're not gonna die."


"He will....."


"No, Dix. He won't."


The baby was delivered surgically...he was blue when Kel worked him free.  Dixie was crying--they had used local anesthesia.


"Don't worry, it'll all be okay," Kel murmured soothingly.


They had to put the little guy on a vent, but he looked like he would be okay eventually.  Dixie hugged Johnny at the news...then smiled over at Kel.  "Thank you...."


Kel smiled slightly.


"Guess we can be friends, huh?" Dixie smiled at Kel.




"You saved Nick's life....."


Kel smiled uncomfortably. "I did my job."


"You're damn good at it."


Kel smiled uncomfortably again.


"We had a question for you," Dixie said.  "Would you be the godfather to the triplets?"


"I'd be delighted."


Dixie smiled.  "Thank you.  The one you delivered is Nicky...the first born is David...and the girl..."  She smiled wider.  "Her name's Kelly."


Kel looked at her and smiled warmly.


"I hope you don't mind."


"I don't mind at all."


They knew they would always be friends, despite the past.