Always the Quiet Ones
ARCHIVE: anywhere you like. Just let me know.
DISCLAIMER: ER, its characters, and situations, are copyright Warner Bros. Entertainment, Amblin Television, Michael Crichton, and Constant C Productions. No infringement of, or challenge to, their status is intended. This original piece of fan fiction is being written for entertainment purposes only, and I am gaining no monetary compensation for it.
This is a work of fiction. All characters and places discussed are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or actual places and locations, is purely cooincidental.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: WARNINGS: violence, strong language, drug use
SUMMARY: Peter discovers Carter in the aftermath of an apparent suicide attempt, but all is not as it seems.
The ambulance bay doors burst open.
Frank glanced up from the computer screen at the sound, and immediately jumped to his feet.
"Get a gurney!" Peter bellowed, shifting the weight of his burden. "Somebody get a gurney!"
Kerry Weaver rushed up to see what all the commotion was about, and froze. Peter Benton was standing in front of the doors, holding the limp body of John Carter in his arms.
Cleo Benton ran up to him, pushing a gurney she had grabbed from the hallway. Kerry hurried to join them as Peter gently placed Carter on it.
"Peter? What is it? What happened?"
"Attempted suicide. Slit wrists and a heroin overdose," Peter answered shortly. "Weak, thready carotid pulse. Resps 6 and shallow. Pressure 80 palp. GCS 5."
"What?" Kerry asked in disbelief, staring up at Peter across Carter's still form.
"Heroin, Kerry! It's a heroin overdose!"
"I don't...I don't understand...what happened?" Kerry stuttered as they rushed Carter into Trauma Two.
"On my count," Peter began, ignoring rather than forgetting that he was no longer an employee. "One, two, three!"
As Carter was lifted from the stretcher to the gurney, Kerry found her voice again. "Well, was it accidental, or...?"
In response, Peter lifted Carter's bandaged left wrist. "What do you think?" Peter turned away from her quickly and began shouting orders to the nurses. "CBC, ABG, Chem 7, Tox Screen, type and cross for three. Get an IV going, dextrose at 50%. And I want an EKG, stat!" The nurses also seemed to ignore Peter's status, and jumped into action immediately.
Kerry stared down at Carter's face, still not understanding what was going on. Suddenly, she shook her head and forced herself to focus on the task at hand. "Chuny, call Kovac. Peter, you need to step out."
"Seven point five ET tube," Peter called out to Haleh, and then glanced at Kerry. "No." Haleh exchanged looks with Kerry as she held the sealed tube out to the surgeon. Peter opened it quickly, stepping to the head of the gurney.
"Peter, you don't work here," Kerry reminded him, reaching out to take the ET tube from his hand.
"Kerry..." Peter began, his tone threatening.
Kerry was unaffected by his menacing voice. She glanced out the door at Cleo, who pushed the doors open quickly and stepped in. "Out, Peter!" Kerry commanded.
"Peter, come on," Cleo said softly, reaching out her hand to him.
Chuny ran back in. "Kovac will be here as soon as he can. He just needs to clock back in."
Peter shoved the tube into Kerry's hand roughly and backed away slowly. He allowed Cleo to place her hand on his arm to guide him out of the room, but suddenly turned back to Kerry, who had just begun the intubation procedure. "What the hell has been going on around here, Kerry? When I left he was fine!"
"Get out of here!" Kerry spat, her anger boiling to the surface.
"I thought you were supposed to be taking care of him!"
"Out! Now! Before I call security!"
"Come on, Peter," Cleo said, her voice more insistent than before. "Come on."
Peter pulled his arm away from her roughly and stormed from the room, slamming the doors open as he walked through them.
Luka walked through the doors from Trauma One at the exact same moment, pulling gloves on as he did so. "What have we got?"
"Attempted suicide," Kerry said, her confusion from only moments before replaced with efficiency. "Heroin overdose and he slit his wrists."
"Carter?" Luka asked, his voice full of surprise.
"Yes, Carter," Kerry answered. "Got it!" she called out, pulling away from the successful intubation. "Bag him."
"Give me Narcan," Luka ordered Chuny. "A 5 milliliter syringe."
Kerry glanced up from checking Carter's pupils. "What are you doing?"
"Point two milligram Narcan IM," Luka answered.
Kerry shook her head violently. "It's not enough," she said. "He's not been moving enough oxygen. It won't do any good."
"We should give it a chance. We should be careful of his addiction, Kerry. If you give him any more, you could send him into withdrawal."
"He doesn't have time for us to play around with this, Luka," Kerry replied, anger welling again. "Haleh, let's get him in restraints just to be safe. I want 1 milligram of Narcan IV every two minutes. Hyperventilate him."
"Kerry, don't you think we should just slow down here?"
"And watch him die? No!"
Kerry watched as Luka's eyes darkened. He seemed to be glaring at Carter, but then he turned the expression on her. "It's obvious you don't need me here, then. Since you've got everything under control."
"Luka, what are you...?"
Luka pulled his gloves off and stormed back out. "Call me when you have a real emergency, Kerry."
Peter watched as Luka slammed his way through the doors. Without a word to Cleo, he turned to follow Luka into the empty trauma room.
"Damn it!" Kerry cried out in frustration. "Chuny, get that Narcan going! And somebody get another doctor in here!"
"You know, John, I could just say I have an emergency, and take the rest of the day off."
John Carter looked up and smiled, laughing when he saw the expression on Abby Lockhart's face. "An emergency? And what kind of emergency would that be?"
Abby leaned down and wrapped her arms around his neck. "The kind that only you can help me with," she whispered, nibbling lightly on his earlobe.
John grinned and turned to face her. "You know, they make things to help you with that kind of emergency. So you don't need me."
"Oooooooooooh," Abby purred as John stood. "So now you're turning me down?"
"Actually, no," he answered, placing his hands on her hips and pulling her closer to him. "It looks like I'm turning you on."
"You always do," she returned, leaning in to kiss him.
John broke the kiss quickly, and pushed her away. "I know. But...today, I am going home alone. And you are finishing your shift."
"But what are you going to do without me?" Abby pouted.
John shrugged. "I don't know. I'm sure I'll think of something." John grabbed his bag and pulled open the door to the lounge. "There's this cute blonde on the El..."
Abby growled, and threw her coffee cup at John's back as he laughed and walked out the door. "I hate you!" she screamed, her words echoing down the halls of the emergency room.
She stomped her foot at the closing door and crossed her arms, watching the empty styrofoam cup roll across the floor. A few seconds later, the side door opened.
"Love you," John said, smiling.
"Love you too," Abby answered, smiling back at him.
The blood was everywhere.
Carter lay in the bathtub, water pouring down over him from the shower above. Blood was seeping from the deep horizontal slashes in his wrists and staining the water a deep red as it pooled around him. His left arm, which hung awkwardly over the side of the tub, was dripping blood onto the floor.
Peter took it all in in less than a heartbeat: the syringe on the sink, the spoon and the lighter on the floor, the razorblade that lay on the side of the tub. He pulled his cell phone from his pocket quickly and dialed as he knelt beside his friend and felt his neck for a pulse. "Cleo!" he shouted when she answered. "Start the car and open the back door!" Peter stood quickly, digging through the medicine cabinet for bandages. "No, I don't have time to explain! Just do it!" He found two ace bandages and pulled them out quickly, unrolling them and kneeling beside the tub again. "Look, Cleo, I don't have time. Just open the damn door!"
Peter turned the phone off and flung it to the floor, not wanting to take the time to put it back in his pocket again. He turned the water off and wrapped one of the bandages around Carter's left wrist quickly, tying the ends together. He repeated the process on Carter's right wrist, then stood and grabbed an armful of towels. He tried his best to wrap Carter in them as he scooped the young man up in his arms and ran from the room.
"What did you do to him? John!" the old neighbor woman cried from her door as Peter rushed past her.
Peter ignored her and made his way down the stairs as rapidly as he could, shifting his arms occasionally in an attempt to keep from dropping Carter as they descended. "Open the door!" he shouted at the super, who had just appeared in response to the call from the neighbor. "Open the door now! I have to get him to the hospital!"
The super hesitated for only a second, the sight of the blood that covered Peter's shirt and coat convincing him to do as the man had commanded. "What should I do?" he asked as Peter rushed out the door.
"Call the police! And don't touch anything!"
"Peter!" Cleo cried out as she saw him coming down the stairs. "Peter, what happened?"
Peter climbed into the back of the rented SUV, laying Carter down on the back seat and pulling the door shut behind him. "Just go, Cleo!" he ordered, feeling Carter's neck again for a pulse, and then leaning down to listen for breath sounds.
"But shouldn't we call...?"
"We can have him there before they would even get here! Now go!"
Peter pinched Carter's nose shut and placed his own mouth against the younger man's as Cleo pulled the car away from the curb and screeched toward the hospital.