What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?


AUTHOR: Ash Carroll
EMAIL: GrangersGrrl@yahoo.com
CATEGORY: DM/AL
RATING: PG-13 for mild cursing.
SPOILERS: N/A
ARCHIVE: Uh, sure.
DISCLAIMER: ER and its characters are the property of John Wells and Constant C Productions. I don't own anything except the story, and I don't have any money either, so please don't sue me.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is my second ER fic, so please excuse any glaring errors. I should pretty much have it down by my third or fourth fic. :o) As with my last story, Luka and Abby are not a couple. A small note for this fic: Abby's status as an alcoholic is known by most of her co-workers. I know it's not that way on the show, but in order for this fic to work the way I want it to, people at the hospital need to know about it.
SUMMARY: Abby gets a New Year's surprise.



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Dave Malucci sighed as he stood at the Admin desk, going over his charts. Tonight was New Year's Eve and where was he spending it? Cook County General, with the other poor sods who were unlucky enough to draw the short straws. Not that the people who worked the ER were so bad . . . actually, except for Benton and Romano, they were all pretty decent. Unfortunately, Dave had hoped to go to one of the many parties at the hotels in the city, pick up a beautiful woman and have someone to kiss when the clock struck midnight.

Didn't look like that was gonna happen.

"We've got an incoming," Haleh said, "MVA . . ."

She would've said more, but the wailing sirens outside the ER doors signaled the arrival of their patients, sending the staff into a flurry of activity.

"What do we have?" Kovac asked as he met the first pair of EMTs.

The woman rattled off the vitals with practiced skill and speed. "Seven-year-old male. Unconscious in the field, BP's 90 over 60 and falling. Possible head and spinal trauma, we had to use the jaws to get him out from under the car."

"Conni, what's open?" Luka asked.

"Trauma 3," she replied.

Luka turned to Chuny. "Where's Dr. Finch?"

"I think she's upstairs, checking on a patient."

"Page her and tell her to get down here. Now." She nodded before hurrying off to carry out his order as Kovac and the paramedics wheeled the stretcher into the appropriate room.

Malucci met the second set of paramedics at the doors. "Give me the bullet," he instructed.

"Nine-year-old female. She's conscious, BP's stable, possible concussion."

Dave snuck a quick look at the board. "Trauma 1," he commanded. "Abby!"

The petite brunette turned her gaze upon him when she heard her name.

"You're with me." Dave looked down at the frightened little girl as Abby fell into step alongside the stretcher. "What's your name?"

"K-Kayla," she replied, blue eyes wide with apprehension.

Malucci smiled down at her. "I'm Dr. Dave, and this is Abby. We're going to take good care of you, okay?"

"How's Tommy?"

Abby looked down at the child. "Tommy?"

"My brother. We were playing and then this car hit us."

Abby exchanged a look with Dave before turning her gaze back to Kayla. "Why don't we get you settled and I'll go check for you, okay?"

"Okay."

~*~*~* *~*~*~

"Shit!" Cleo exclaimed as the monitor emitted a low-pitched whine, "charge the paddles!"

Haleh handed her the paddles and after making sure everyone's hands were clear, Cleo pressed them to the boy's naked chest.

Nothing happened.

"Again!"

She shouted for everyone to clear their hands and contacted the metal with his skin. The whine of the machine continued. She used the paddles a third time, relieved when the steady beeping of the heart monitor filled the room.

"Let's get him up to surgery," Luka said, "there's a bleed somewhere and we have to find it fast."

Cleo nodded as they began wheeling the gurney toward a waiting elevator.

~*~*~* *~*~*~

"Good news," Dave said, entering the room. "You don't have a spinal injury. Do you wanna hear the bad news?"

Kayla looked up at him and nodded.

"You broke your arm, so we have to put it in a cast for you."

She looked as though she might burst into tears. Abby squatted in front of her. "You get to pick what color you want."

"Do you have purple?"

Abby smiled. "You know, I bet we do. Let me go get the materials so I can get you fixed up, okay?"

"Okay."

~*~*~* *~*~*~

"There," Abby said, sitting back to admire her handiwork, "good as new."

"Thank you."

"You're quite welcome." She turned around as the door opened, admitting a policeman. "Can I help you?"

"I'm Detective Ryan," he explained, "I have some questions for her."

Abby stepped aside, allowing the man to do his job. She exited the room, catching Luka in the hall.

"Hey, how's the little boy from the MVA?"

He shook his head, rubbing the bridge of his nose wearily. "Corday did the surgery, but he has swelling on the brain. He's in a coma and it doesn't look like he'll be waking up any time soon. You and Malucci treated the sister, right?"

Abby nodded. "She's in there with the police. They're trying to find out if she saw anything, I guess."

His beeper went off, ending any further conversation. he glanced down, checking the page. "It's Cleo," he sighed. "I've got to go."

She smiled tiredly. "Go ahead. Oh, in case I don't see you, Happy New Year."

"You too," he replied as he jogged off down toward the elevator, leaving Abby standing in the hallway, wondering how she was going to break this news to Kayla.

~*~*~* *~*~*~

"Any change?" Luka inquired as he slipped silently into Tommy's room.

Cleo looked up from where she was checking his vitals and shook her head. "No. I got his parents. They're on their way in, but the roads are a mess and it could be hours before they get here. How's the girl?"

"I talked to Abby. She's okay. Broken arm, but that's it. The police are questioning her now."

Cleo nodded, noting the way Luka stared at the little boy in the bed. She remembered hearing that his son, daughter and wife had been killed in Croatia and mentally kicked herself. She hadn't even thought about how hard this must be for him.

"You should go and catch a few Zs while you can," she suggested. "I'll finish up with the chart and wait for his parents."

He shook his head. "I'm okay."

"You've been here longer than I have. Don't tell me you're not exhausted." She cracked a smile. "Who do you think you are, Superman?"

She was pleased when he chuckled at her joke. "Okay, you win," he conceded, stifling a yawn, "but do me a favor?"

"Sure."

"Wake me when his parents arrive."

"You got it," she said, watching as he walked out of the room.

~*~*~* *~*~*~

Abby was walking past Kayla's curtain area when she froze in her steps.

"What were you kids doing playing out in the snow all alone?" questioned the agitated voice of Detective Ryan.

"We were trying to make a snowman," came Kayla's weak reply. "Mommy and Daddy said we could. Tommy ran after the hat. It blew into the street."

"And you didn't try to stop him?! Don't you know that kids get killed when that happens!"

"It happened too fast and I couldn't-"

Kayla was in tears now and Abby had heard enough. She marched into the room. "That's enough! I'm sorry, Detective, your *interrogation* is over."

The man snarled at her. "You know, you doctors are all the same. I have a job to do here and I'm not going to let a two-bit peon like you get in my way."

Abby opened her mouth to give him a piece of her mind, but another voice cut her off before she could utter a word.

Dave's burly frame filled the doorway. "I'm sorry, I believe the lady told you to get lost."

"I have-"

"-no business here," Dave finished for him. "This is a hospital. *I* run the show, not you, and I *will not* have you harassing my nurses or my patients. Go look for witnesses or something, but I suggest you get your slimy behind out of here before I call security to forcibly remove you." Dave thought for a moment, a wicked gleam in his eye. "Or better yet, do it myself. Are we clear?"

The detective looked at Malucci, standing with both muscled arms folded across his broad chest and decided that the young doctor meant business. He made his way to the exit, but Malucci stopped him before he could leave.

"One more thing, *officer*," Dave spat, knowing that using the lesser title would insult him, "I think you owe my patient and my nurse an apology."

Dave was grinning in typical Malucci fashion, but it was obvious from the clench in his jaw that he was dead serious. Abby stood rooted in shock, as the detective mumbled an apology and left the room, then watched as Dave sat down next to Kayla and comforted the frightened child.

"Guess what?"

"What?"

"We finally got a hold of your parents. They're on their way in."

The child relaxed visibly and Dave rewarded her with a smile. "You know, I have a friend at the Admin desk who's going to take you to the playroom and hook you up with some toys to keep you occupied until they get here. Would you like that?"

Kayla nodded and Dave held out his hand. "Come on, let me introduce you."

Dave left the room with a wink at Abby, who stood there dumbstruck. This was certainly a switch from the boorish, crass, testosterone-plagued Malucci she knew and despised. She wasn't sure what to make of it, and that was even more disturbing than the new side of Dave she'd just seen.

~*~*~* *~*~*~

She watched as Cleo and Luka spoke to Kayla and Tommy's parents, leading them toward an elevator so they could go and see their son. Sighing, she snuck a look at the clock.

11:30.

Happy Frickin' New Year.

She'd hoped to be at a party tonight, spending the evening with a cute guy, assuring herself that there would be someone for her to kiss when the fireworks went off and the clock struck twelve. Instead, she got a double shift at the hospital and an obnoxious cop. She could only hope that 2001 would be a better year than this one, and wonder how her night could possibly get any worse.

"There you are! I've been lookin' all over for you."

She jumped, startled out of her thoughts, and turned to look at Dave, who'd come up to stand beside her. "God, Malucci, didn't your mother teach you not to sneak up on people?"

He shrugged. "Hey, it's not my fault you were off in outer space. You got any plans for tonight?"

"Oh yeah," she bit out sarcastically, "I had plenty of time to make plans in between my double shift." Shaking his head, he took hold of her hand and started pulling her away from the Admin desk.

"What the hell are you doing?" Abby inquired, attempting to wrench her arm free.

"Weaver's letting us go early."

She stared at him. "You've got to be kidding me."

He smirked. "No joke. Come on, I wanna show you something."

She eyed him suspiciously for a moment, trying to make up her mind.

"Come on, Lockhart," he goaded her, "you know you're curious."

"Oh, alright," she snapped, knowing full well that he was going to bug her until she agreed.

He grinned, and led her to the elevator, her hand still clasped in his.

~*~*~* *~*~*~

"Where are we going?"

"You'll see."

"How?" Abby inquired sarcastically, forming her lips in a slight pout, "I'm not allowed to open my eyes."

"Watch your step," Dave said, guiding her by the elbow.

She heard a door open and felt a rush of frigid air. "Malucci, it's freezing! Where the hell did you take me?"

"Keep your eyes closed for another minute," Dave requested, helping Abby into her jacket.

She wasn't sure how much time had passed before he spoke to her again.

"Okay, open them."

She blinked to clear her vision. The roof of the hospital was decorated with streamers and confetti, a plaid flannel stadium blanket was spread out in the center and upon it sat two white takeout bags from Doc Magoo's. In one corner of the blanket sat a bucket with what looked like a champagne bottle and a set of plastic flutes; a radio was perched on the ledge, playing soft jazz.

"We couldn't go to any of the parties, so I brought one to you," Dave said with a smile. Then he noticed Abby's less than pleased facial statement. "What's wrong?"

"I can't believe you would be this insensitive," she snapped, then laughed bitterly. "Oh, wait a minute, yes I can."

Dave looked at her in genuine puzzlement. "What? What did I do?"

Abby fixed the foil-wrapped bottle in the bucket with a vicious glare, pointedly ignoring Dave's question. He followed her line of sight and realized at once what had made her so mad. He walked over to the bucket.

"You mean this?" he questioned, pointing at the bottle, "this isn't what you think it is. Come on, Abby, I wouldn't do that to you."

Her ire faded as he showed her the label.

Martinelli's Apple Cider.

Abby was quiet as Dave opened the bottle and poured its contents into the flutes. This was definitely a switch. First he came to her rescue with the obnoxious Detective Ryan, and now he was giving her the best New Year's Eve she'd probably ever had. She was too used to him being a pig; this new side of him was unsettling at best.

"You know, Malucci," she said as he handed her a glass, "you throw me off when you're so nice. You need to act more like the pig you are."

He looked down at her. It was as close to an apology as he was going to get, but he'd take it. Without warning, he leaned in and kissed her square on the mouth. She froze for a moment, not having expected the action, and was surprised to find herself disappointed when he broke the kiss.

Dave sent her a trademark Malucci grin. "Piggish enough for ya?"

Abby cocked her head to the side and smiled slyly. "No, not really. Is that the best you can do?"

Taking the invitation for what it was, he leaned in and kissed her again. This time, Abby was anticipating the action and responded, wrapping one arm around his neck even as she felt his free hand slide to the small of her back. Behind them, the sky erupted in bright orange and red fire, signaling the arrival of the witching hour. Abby gently disengaged her mouth from its happy entanglement with Dave's and smiled up at him.

"Thank you for this. I think it's quite possibly my best New Year's Eve ever."

Dave returned her smile, but didn't move his hand from its resting place at her back. "Mine too," he agreed, raising his glass. "Happy New Year, Lockhart."

She clinked her glass against his. "Happy New Year, Malucci."

Their mouths met once more as the fireworks blazed in the distance and Harry Connik Jr.'s voice floated from the radio . . .

. . . What are you doing New Year's, New Year's Eve?

The End




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