AUTHOR: Lynne Facella
EMAIL: Mulderette@aol.com or Lynne1919@aol.com
SPOILERS: Be still my heart through May Day..
ARCHIVE: Sure, just ask so I know where it is going.
DISCLAIMER: All characters are the property of Warner Brother, NBC,
etc. and no profit is being made from this.
SUMMARY: Carter tries to get his life back with rehab and the help of his friends, despite some opposition.
"Ladies and gentleman please fasten your seatbelts. We are
approaching Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport."
Dr. John Carter wearily opened his eyes and fastened the seatbelt
around his waist. He glanced over at Dr. Peter Benton seated beside
him. The two men had been silent for most of the three hour plane
ride. Carter turned towards the window. He was in an utter turmoil
over all that had taken place that evening. The accusations from his
colleagues, the ambush in Curtain three as they demanded he either
check himself into a drug rehab or he was fired. How fitting that
the little saga would end in the same room he and Lucy had been
stabbed in only three short months ago. Carter felt like he had aged
a lifetime in those three months.
"Hey man, you doing okay?" Benton's gentle voice drew Carter out of
his thoughts. He looked at Benton briefly and nodded. He didn't
even know what to say to him. He was humiliated by everything that
had happened, Benton's confrontation with Carter, Carter punching his
former teacher in the face, dissolving into tears and ultimately
finding himself being comforted in Benton's arms.
"Are we going right there when we land?"
"No Carter, it's 3:30 a.m. We'll check into a hotel room and get
some sleep. Anyhow you need to get some clothes and stuff in the
morning before you check in." They had left Chicago without even
stopping to pack. Once Carter had calmed down Benton had driven him
directly to the airport. Carter had been surprised when Benton
walked up to the ticket counter and bought himself a ticket also. He
hadn't said a word but just quietly accompanied Carter to the plane.
Carter had never felt so scared and lonely in his life and the
presence of Benton had helped to comfort him somewhat. He couldn't
even believe any of this was happening.
Finally the plane landed and the two men got a shuttle to the nearby
Hilton. Benton checked them in and they went up to their room. Upon
entering, Carter immediately threw himself onto one of the beds and
grabbed the remote control to the television. Then he started
rapidly clicking through the channels. Benton sat on the other bed
and reached for the phone. He doubted that Kerry was still at the
hospital but he decided he had better call in anyhow and let someone
know what was going on. He was surprised when the front desk clerk
actually told him to hold for Kerry.
"Peter what is going on? I have been so worried," Kerry voice came
on the other end of the line. "Did you have trouble with Carter?"
"No. Everything is fine. We're in Atlanta."
"You went to Atlanta with him?" Kerry asked. "How is he?"
Peter glanced over at Carter who was apparently engrossed in some
late night infomercial but he knew that he was listening to every
word he said. "Okay," he replied shortly.
"He's with you now?"
"Yeah. We're going to get some rest."
"Okay Peter. I know you can't really talk. Call us tomorrow after
he is checked in...and try to let him know just how much everyone is
pulling for him."
"I will. Bye Kerry."
"Everybody all updated?" Carter asked somewhat sarcastically.
Benton sighed. "Carter...everyone is just very worried about you.
You know that they all care."
"Yeah....whatever...." Carter got up and made his way towards the
bathroom. "Guess we had better think about getting some sleep."
Benton sighed. He still was finding it difficult to take in
everything that had happened in the past few hours. John Carter
abusing drugs...It wasn't something he would have ever suspected.
Then again, he hadn't really been focused on Carter too much lately.
Once Carter had gone back to work Peter had sort of assumed that
everything was okay with him. He supposed he should have paid more
attention but he was busy with work and his relationship with Dr.
Cleo Finch and just hadn't thought too much about it.
"Damn" he thought, he had not even told Cleo he was going to
Atlanta. Hopefully someone would fill her in. He didn't want to
call and wake her at this hour, especially because she had seemed
rather peeved after he and Elizabeth had gotten out of surgery the
day before although she denied it. He wondered what had been up with
that...maybe she had just been in a mood or it had been his
Carter came out of the bathroom clad in boxers and a T-shirt. He
silently hung his clothes up in the closet and crawled into bed. He
was exhausted. He burrowed his head into the pill and actually was
asleep before Benton came out of the bathroom. He climbed under the
covers and observed Carter noting how young he looked and what a
shame this all was. Finally he too fell asleep.
Carter was the first to awaken. He slowly opened his eyes and for a
few moments was disoriented. He had no idea where he was. He looked
around the room, took in Benton sleeping in the bed beside his and
slowly things started to fall into place. "Oh my God," he thought to
himself as he remembered the events of the previous day. He slowly
sat up and cringed as the muscles in his back rebelled. He needed
some pills. He glanced over at Benton who was still asleep and crept
over to his bag which held the precious bottle. He grabbed it
quickly and was about to hightail it to the bathroom when Benton's
voice froze him in his tracks.
"Carter, what are you doing?"
Carter looked at Benton defiantly. "This is my prescription. I am
allowed to take these."
Benton rose out of bed and went over to Carter, grabbing the bottle
from his hand. He looked at the bottle, a prescription for Vicodin
ES, removed the cap and handed Carter one tablet.
Carter gave a false laugh. "Come on....I had a long plane ride and
then slept on a hotel mattress. It won't kill me to take two."
Benton took a deep breath, trying not to get angry. He had not slept
well and his stomach was growling. "Carter the prescription is for
one pill. Just take it. We have a lot to do today and I for one
would like to get some breakfast."
Carter mentally weighed his options for a few seconds, wondering if
it was worth it to be more insistent and finally deciding it
"Do you want to take a shower first or should I?" asked Benton.
"I will," proclaimed Carter. He grabbed his clothes out of the
closet, knocking the coat hangers around loudly and stalked off to
the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. He knew he was acting
like a child but just couldn't seem to help himself.
Benton laid back on the bed and decided he had better try to reach
Cleo at the hospital. She came to the phone immediately. "What on
earth are you doing Peter?" she asked coldly.
Benton rolled his eyes. "Look Cleo, I'm really sorry I didn't get a
chance to call you but things were just kind of crazy last night."
"I know, I heard," she stated. "I just don't understand how you
ended up in Atlanta. Couldn't you have just put him on the plane?"
Benton could feel his blood pressure rising. He hadn't even been
awake for ten minutes and everyone was trying to pick a fight with
him. "No Cleo. I could not have done that. Carter was in no state
to be tossed on a plane by himself. He is not doing very well right
now and I have no idea what would have happened if he came here
"I just don't understand this tie you have with him," Cleo
persisted. "You don't even work with him anymore. He ditched
surgery. There are other people who work with him who...." her
voice trailed off as she noted Elizabeth watching her, a slight frown
on her face. "Well I guess you'll just have to do what is best for
Carter." she finished up.
Puzzled, Benton wondered why she had changed her tune so suddenly but
decided not to pursue it. "Look I'll check in with you later. Once
I get Carter settled at the rehab I'll be back, sometime later today
"Alright Peter," I hope he's okay. Bye." She hung up the phone
almost feeling glad that Carter would be in rehab in another state.
She knew that Peter thought highly of him but this was getting
ridiculous. Carter was a grown man and he didn't need Peter holding
Elizabeth walked over to Cleo. "I'm sorry, I couldn't help
overhearing. Was that Peter?" How is Carter doing?"
"He's fine Elizabeth." She forced a smile at Peter's ex-lover, whom
she really could not stand. "Peter is getting Carter into the rehab
today and then he'll be flying back."
"Well, that's good," stated Elizabeth. "I'm glad that Peter went
with him. I think he really needed his help."
"Yes...well, I have work to do." Cleo turned away and walked quickly
down the hall.
Elizabeth watched her go and wondered what exactly it was that Peter
saw in her. Hopefully one of these days he would see the light. He
really could do better than Cleo Finch.
Carter was finally able to relax somewhat in the shower. As the hot
water beat down on his body he could feel some of the tension ebbing
away. He finished his shower feeling markedly better than when he
had first awoken. Benton was watching a morning news show on t.v.
when Carter came back out again. "Dr. Benton..." he began
softly. "I'm sorry about before."
"It's okay, Carter."
"No. It isn't okay," stated Carter. He put his head down, unable to
look Benton in the eyes. "I just want you to know that I really
appreciate you coming here with me. I know you didn't have to do it
and I just wanted to say thank you."
"You're welcome, Carter," Benton replied. "I just want you to be
Carter nodded. "Guess you better get showered before the maid shows
"I put the do not disturb sign on the door," said Benton. He noticed
that Carter's gaze had wandered and had settled on the prescription
bottle which Benton had placed on the night stand. Benton picked up
the bottle and his clothes and went into the bathroom.
Carter watched as Benton closed the door behind him. An overwhelming
sense of despair overtook him as he leaned his head back against the
headboard. He just had no idea how he was going to get through any
of this...no idea at all.