Blast from The Past
SPOILERS: Beyond Repair
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DISCLAIMER: I don't own ER
SUMMARY: After Carter see Paul, he needs someone to talk to and turns to Susan.
Carter heard that terrible voice, and he immediately froze.
No…it can't be…
Carter then turned around. It was who he was afraid it was going to be. It was Paul Sobriki. How can you, a man who killed Lucy and almost killed me, be out already? It has only been two years, and he should never be allowed out at all. I know I'm a doctor, and he has a disease, Carter thought to himself, but I don't care. He is a killer, and a killer should never be allow out. He ruined my life.
"It's you," said Carter, hearing the pure hatred in his voice
"I'm so sorry," Paul said, pleading with the young doctor." But it wasn't me, who stabbed you and killed your friend."
"I know," said Carter, but he knew he didn't . At least the irrational part of him didn't.
"I'm better," said Paul, almost as if he were trying to convince himself too, not only Carter.
Carter tried to walk away, but he couldn't. His feet seemed to be glued in place. He felt like something had to be said, but he didn't know what. Then he just blurted out: "Do you know what it was like having a six-inch knife stabbed in your back not one, but two times? It hurts. It hurts like hell."
"But it wasn't me," Paul said.
"He is really better now," said Paul's wife.
"I don't care," said Carter. He felt the bile rising in the back of his throat. You ruined my life and you killed an innocent woman, he thought, the sweetest woman I have ever known.
Carter couldn't stand to look at Lucy's killer anymore. His feet were now able to move, it seems, and he ran out the ER, Abby calling after him after watching the interaction
Susan, who just finished with a patient, approached Abby after looking for John. "Hey, Abby? Where's John?"
"I don't know," she replied. "He saw Paul Sobriki, and just ran out like the place was on fire."
"Oh, my…Where is he now?" Susan asked, worried that Carter would do something stupid like start using drugs to get over his pain. I have to find him, Susan thought, and I have to help him. I couldn't be here, when he got stabbed and when he had his drug addiction, but I will be there for him now.
"I don't know…" Abby said. "Sorry…"
"Abby," Susan started.
"Don't worry, I'll get Dr. Kovac to cover you. Just go find Carter, he needs you now."
" Thanks Abby," said Susan.
"No problem," said Abby. I wish I were the one, who could help John in his time of need, Abby thought, but he has Susan to help him. I just hope she knows what to do.
Having left the ER, Carter was now walking around the block. The nightmares of Valentine's Day were coming back, all the memories of that horrible day were flowing back to him. He still remembered going into the Exam Room, standing inside, reading a Valentine's card, when he got this sharp pain in his back. He didn't realize what was happening to him until he saw Lucy. Then he knew he'd gotten stabbed. He tried to get to Lucy and help her, but he was too weak and he couldn't move and then he started to go unconscious. I'd have called for help, he thought, but the music was so loud, that damn music. Then what felt like years later, Dr. Weaver came in. I was never in my life so happy to see her.
You should have heard her scream, Lucy, I have never heard anyone scream like that. I thought, great Lucy was going to be fine. But when Dr. Benton told me Lucy died, I couldn't believe it. She was so young, and now her life had been stolen from her.
Carter had started to get over his guilt, but seeing Paul again, all that guilt had come back. I need someone to talk to, he thought desperately. I can't be alone right now. I don't know, what I do if I'm alone right now…
His first thought was Abby. She did try and not let me come face to face with Paul. But she has enough problems of her own. I can always call Dr. Benton, he did help me with my addiction, and he was the one who saved me. But I don't think he needs to remember that horrible night.
He then knew whom he needed to go to.
Susan searched everywhere for Carter. Where could he be? She hoped he was okay. She thought she'd better go home and phone him, she had his cell phone number at home. When she did arrive home, she couldn't believe who was sitting in her doorway.
"John," Susan said. "I was so worried about you. Come on. Let's go inside."
"Susan, I didn't want to bother you, I just need someone to talk to…today, I came face to face with Paul Sobriki…"
"I know," she said as they sat down inside her apartment's kitchen counter.
"How?" Carter asked.
"I was his doctor. I didn't know it was that Paul until Abby told me. Then we tried and stop you from seeing him…"
There was a pause. Then: "Susan, I was so scared. I was talking to Abby, who, I guess, was trying to distract me. But then I heard his voice…I thought, it couldn't be him. He's in jail, there is no way they would let him out. For God's Sake, he killed Lucy and almost killed me. I thought I was going to be sick. I was just getting over the guilt of Lucy's death. Then I had to come face to face with the man who attacked me. Do you know how that feels? It was like he was stabbing me all over again. I know this sounds stupid, but I was scared that he was going to do it again. Then I couldn't look him anymore, I just had to leave. The minute I got to the bathroom, I threw up. And then I just left the ER…I just had a half-shift."
"Carter, I'm so sorry that I was his doctor. I hope…I mean, I hope this doesn't change anything between us. I didn't want to transfer him after I found out because I was afraid it was going to harm his health even more than the fall…I'm sorry, John…"
"Susan, I know that it's your job, don't worry. I still love you"
Susan couldn't believe the words she was hearing. "You love me?"
"Yeah. And you want to know how much?" said Carter
Susan smiled as Carter stood, then leaned over and kissed her.
The next morning:
Susan woke up before Carter did. She looked at him while he slept, then shifted so she could rest her head on his chest.
He looks so peaceful, Susan thought.
Carter woke up, and looked to see who was lying on top of him. "Hi, Susan."
She laughed. "Hey John."
They shared a gentle kiss.
"Thanks for last night," Carter said. "I needed it."
"John, could I say something?"
"Sure," said Carter
She took a deep breath, preparing to speak. "I wish I was here to help you when you were stabbed and when you had your drug addiction. But we can't change the past, so I want to help you deal with the pain you are feeling now.
"Susan, you want to know you were the first person I knew I could talk to. It was you I wanted, Susan. I need you, I hope you need me."
" John, I love you."
"I love you too, Susan," Carter said. As he pulled her close, wrapping her in his arms, he thought, maybe my life is going to be okay