Full Circle

AUTHOR: Victoria May
EMAIL: voria27@home.com
SPOILERS: most of season 6
DISCLAIMER: er/ characters are owned by nbc, constant c, warner bros, etc. I am not getting anything but pleasure out of this.
SUMMARY: John Carter's nightmare is finally over.

He saw the knife briefly before it was plunged into his side-stray light managing to squeeze its way through the blinds glimmered on the blade. He felt the razor sharp teeth as they dragged through his skin and then through muscle.

"Stop! Please stop!" He cried out, but it was in vain. The blade was pushed even deeper into his side. His breath caught in his throat and he thought he was going to pass out. But he wasn't that lucky.

The blade was pulled back and he sighed, relieved the nightmare was over. It had to be a nightmare, one of many he'd had since that fateful Valentine's day. He knew he deserved the nightmares, deserved everything that had happened to him since. He even deserved to be locked away by the ones he loved and cared the most about. He had hurt them too, betrayed them. He'd put up a facade of normalcy. He'd tried to convince everyone that he was alright. But slowly he'd pushed everyone away.

He felt hot and pushed his blankets off. His body was sore, it always was after one of his nightmares. It was like his nightmares tried to follow him into the real world. He struggled to sit up and a searing pain ripped through his side. 'What the?' He grabbed his side and was surprised to feel wetness. A feeling of shock spread over him. What if this was real? Slowly, he raised his hand in front of his face. With the same dim light from the window, he could see that his hand was covered in something-blood?

Fear engulfed him and he tried to scream out. A hand enclosed over his mouth and his scream was muffled. He felt the sharp blade against his throat and instantly knew what was about to happen. He was tempted to just let his body go limp and take whatever he deserved. But then he remembered what his doctors had been telling him-it wasn't his fault. Not all of it at least. He knew one thing, and it was that he didn't deserve this. He was trying to put his life back together. That's why he had agreed to come to this 'treatment center'.

He began to struggle, ignoring the pain radiating up and down his side. He grabbed hold of the arm clutching the knife and yanked it up and away from his throat. He kicked at the dark figure now in his line of sight. It was a man, he could tell that much. The man stumbled across the room and attempted to regain his balance. The light from the window caught the man's eye and hatred was all that emanated from it.

Terror seized his body, paralyzing him, as he thought for a moment he recognized the man. Could it be? Trembling, he struggled to see better. To see if his worst nightmares had finally come true. The man came closer and suddenly he could see his face. It was him-he had come for him! He'd always feared he would find him, and now he had. But how had he known he was here? He was halfway across the country and in one of the countries top 'treatment centers'.

Caught up in his own questions and guilt, he never saw the man raise the knife once again and lunge towards him. Before the knife was driven into his throat (like a similar knife had been forced into Lucy Knight's frail throat-funny how he had time to make that connection) he cried out again . .

"I'm so sorry! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so r r yyy." He struggled for breath as he felt his life slipping away.

The man stepped out of the shadows of the room and watched as his victim struggled to take his final breaths. Blood pooled on the floor around him and his eyes were wide and full of fright. Finally death was too great to overcome and his body went limp. His eyes were empty, his breath still.

It was over. He would never have to be afraid again.

John Carter smiled as he remembered how easy it was to get Samantha Sobricki to tell him where her husband had been transferred to. The country's leading center in schizophrenic research and treatment. That was too good for him. It had been difficult to hear Samantha tell him how Paul's treatment was going. On medication, stable, dealing with his guilt. To hear that Paul was being told it wasn't his fault, it was the schizophrenic break that caused the death of one doctor and the attack on himself.

John couldn't bear hearing that Sobricki was being treated as an innocent, while he was being watched like a criminal. Yeah, he had stolen drugs from the hospital, and yeah, he had shot up at work. But he had finally admitted to it, he went through treatment in Atlanta. But when he had come home, nothing was the same. Despite their promises, their "support" he knew what they were thinking. They didn't trust him. They never would.

And the nightmares, they still plagued him. They still taunted him with the knowledge that Lucy was dead; she would never have a chance to become the kind of doctor he knew she would have become. And it was his fault. The doctors at the clinic had not been able to convince him otherwise.

The worse part of all of it was the fear. The fear had intensified since he had stopped self-medicating. He had no escape from it. There was no rhyme or reason for why he should have survived the attack. He should be dead, and he knew that. It wasn't as if his life had been worth sparing. He knew that all he brought was death and ruin. Bobby, Chase, Gant, Lucy. He knew that he had escaped death prematurely, and it would be back. His time was limited, and he knew what he was to accomplish before it finally caught him.

So he had called Samantha Sobricki and asked to see her, as he had done in the past. He had used his charm on her-convinced her that he was concerned about her husband. Pretended to understand how the schizophrenia was to blame for the tragedy of Valentine's Day which had changed all of their lives forever. She had easily opened up to him, confided in him. He remembered how his stomach had churned when she had told him Paul was being transferred to the new Center. But he didn't let on. Instead he had told Samantha how thankful he was that Paul was getting the help he so desperately needed.

Funny thing, the easiest part was actually gaining access to the Center. It was as if fate was on his side. A medical conference was being held at the Center and John had convinced Kerry to let him go. Gaining access to Paul's ward had been a little harder, but eventually John just walked in. After watching doctors and nurses going in and out of the ward, he decided to just walk in and see what happened. He barely received a glance. Apparently, it was a minimum security ward which allowed the doctors from the conference to wander through and look around.

He had found Paul's room quickly and quietly slipped in. Paul was asleep and did not wake up when John entered. The room was dark and John crouched in the shadows waiting for Paul to stir. Finally, the figure on the bed moved. John sprung into action and plunged the knife he had taken from his grandmother's kitchen into Paul's side. The same place Paul had sunk the knife into his own side back in February. Paul had moaned and cried out and John pulled the knife out and shrunk back into the shadows, surprised that Paul had not been shouting for help by now.

But he realized quickly that Paul thought it was a dream, like he himself had dreamt of having the knife plunged into his side over and over. Pushing aside a brief moment of uncertainty, John had lunged again.

Now he stood, staring at the lifeless form on the floor. A bitter smile tugged at his mouth. It was over. His hand relaxed and the knife he had been holding fell to the floor. He turned and walked out of Paul's room and out of the hospital. Damned be the consequences . . . he was free.

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