All the Wrong Words

RATING: A for apples and angst.
SPOILERS: Up through to present day season 7-ish.
ARCHIVE: Please?:)
DISCLAIMER: If they were mine, I'd probably make 'em a lot more happier. Oh, and I'd make it mandatory for Carter to wear suspenders all the time. Power? Goes right to my smutty little head.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: And yet more Carter angst regarding the burnt out tapes of 'All in the Family' and 'Be Still My Heart' I own. I guess it's also a little bit of Abby angst. And just sort of came out of me after one cup of coffee too many, and uh, it's odd.
I'm still a little unaccustomed to this whole angst thing, so *please* (notice the asterix's?) let me know what you think at:
SUMMARY: Carter has a bad night and seeks comfort with a friend.


"What's done, cannot be undone." -William Shakespeare


He wants to turn back.

He shouldn't be here. It's too late. Too dark outside.

He should turn back.

This is wrong. She won't know what to say. She won't want to say anything. Why should she?

The blinking hall lights play games with the unhinged banister, and the peeling corners of the hall. The hostile shapes flickering momentarily and then return into harmlessness. He can hear people next door. They're laughing. TV's are being watched, and people are laughing.

And he should leave.


He doesn't know where else to go. Who else would have him. He needs her. Just because she's the only one who even looks at him with something less than sympathy, something less than pity. Doesn't talk to him in awkward dissected sentences that couldn't possibly offend him, as though he hasn't run every scenario enough times in his head, as though they could possibly think of something more painful to say that his mind hasn't created a hundred times before.

He should leave.

He should.

His knock is quick, efficient, painless. He wants to go.

He can hear movement, life. Padding footsteps and then a voice, that takes an eternity to be heard. Oh god, what will he say?

"Who is it?"

He pauses. He should go.

"It's me. It's John."

The footsteps seem relieved, and the door opens bathing him in light and the presence of Abby.

"Hi. Uh, I woke you didn't I?... I'll leave."

He said making no effort to do so.

Her hair was ruffled, one side of it flattened from where she had been lying down, and she was wearing a pair of blue flannel pajamas that were two sizes too big for her. She looked all of seventeen.

She shook her head quickly, her eyes bright and awake. She looked concerned. "No. No, I'm OK. You want to come in?"

He nodded, following her into the recesses of her apartment. It's a lot cleaner than his. But more empty, and no articles that strike him as being her own, and he thinks that they probably came with the house, that she's still deciding how to make them her own.

Her kitchen is bright. Filled with all the necessary bits of furniture and appliances. It reminds him of a kitchen he's seen once on TV.

She puts on a kettle, and then turns to face his awkward movements.

He should leave.

"I've been studying." She explains quickly. "Catching up on my medical journals, you didn't wake me, honestly." She pauses, and he can feel her uncertainty, her questions. It is three am after all. "Carter, you need to talk?"

Exhaling and not meeting her eyes, he looks away. "I don't know." He smiles faintly. "I-I-"

He can't find the words. He has a million different words in his vocabulary and he can't find any.

She smiles warmly, forgiving him this uncertainty, motioning for him to sit on one of the chairs surrounding her small wooden table. It's old, and worn down from too many late night cups of coffee.

This wasn't hers either.

A silence envelops the room. Even the sound of the steaming water getting muffled, and muted under it. He hasn't got the words, and she doesn't want to supply her own. He's still wearing his jacket.

Her eyes flicker across to one solitary heart shaped card standing patriotically in the corner of the room.

Oh God.

She's aware of what day it is.

And a vision, of her body, of the coffin, of the haunting and surreal events of her death. She remembers him. His face. The pain of seeing him self-destruct right in front of her. The pain of not knowing what to do.
She feels that way now. As thought any words that she could say, any comments that she could make would be frivolous, inappropriate.

But she doesn't want him to leave.

It's been a year and the world doesn't let him forget. She imagines the wounds still fresh in his skin. The silences of the rooms he enters. How many times has she heard the comments, the cruel insipid unknowing comments.

She wonders how many times she could have stopped it all. How much a part of this she plays.

She finally answers the hissing wail of the kettle, pouring the steaming water into two coffee cups. She places one before him, and wraps her hands around her own, and sitting down, she leans in towards him, as though he were the only source of heat in the room.

He looks up into her eyes, his own glistening with wet, with pain. Instinctively she covers his hands with her own.

He makes a sudden movement, his hands leaving hers to reach into the folds of his jacket, and she hears the sound it makes as it hits the table. And she hides the sudden fear that burns inside her when she sees it, shiny and taunting in the light.

It's not used.

"I tried." He says, almost laughing, "I really did. I wanted to. I-I couldn't even do that right. I couldn't do it."

She's silent, her own eyes heating up as she watches him.

"Abby. I-I-"

She nods, and finally reaches an arm around him, pulling him closer. He doesn't resist, and falls into her easily, the undeserved hurt coming out in quick sudden sobs.

She doesn't speak. She hasn't got the right words, the right spells, the right medical training to make it all right.

And she holds him like this, for an eternity after an eternity. Her hands shifting across his back, his hair, trying to erase it, erase all the darkness in his eyes.

"It's all wrong. Everything's wrong."

The words come out awkwardly, ashamed of their existence.

She feels bad. Guilty of being so powerless. She wants to make it OK. She wants him to know that she's going to make it OK. Because she has to. Because he can't take it if she doesn't.

Oh god, please.

Please make it OK.

She doesn't say anything.

And she thinks that he's right. It is all wrong.


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