One is the Loneliest Number


AUTHOR: Carolina
EMAIL: super_carolina1@yahoo.com
CATEGORY: Cast Angst
RATING: PG
SPOILERS: Such Sweet Sorrow
ARCHIVE: Feel free to archive it wherever you'd like, just let me know so I can go see it :)
DISCLAIMER: The characters John Carter, Luka Kovac, Abby Lockhart, Dave Malucci, Robert Romano, and Kerry Weaver do not, I repeat, do not belong to me. Although I do have the action figures.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Tonight I was feeling a bit blue, so I wrote this small piece.
SUMMARY: A peek into the lives of some of the characters of er.



John Carter signed his last chart and threw it on the desk, letting it knock down a couple of pencils as though it were and avalanche of snow. After twelve hours of ungrateful patients and periodic episodes of head and pack pains, his body was about to succumb to exhaustion. He pulled the door to the lounge open and walked to his locker, his legs asking permission to each other before they each took a step. After the dial was turned twice to the right and once to the left, the small door came open towards him and he retrieved his things, his mind thinking ahead to the softness of his bed and the serenity of solitude.

"Dr. Carter?" A patient peeked his head into the lounge.

"Yes, can I help you?" Carter walked outside with the man.

"I was your patient today, remember? Asthma?" the man said.

Carter snapped, "Of course! What can I help you with?"

"I forgot to ask you how often I should use this new medication, the pharmacy didn't know"

Carter took the medication from the man's hands and read it carefully, thinking how his life had reached a point in which he couldn't remember his patients anymore, on account of his disinterest.

"Right" he gave the man his bag back, "Just use your normal medication and only use this one when you get an asthma attack. You should still come to the hospital if you feel you can't handle it" Carter put a hand on the man's back and smiled.

"Thanks Dr. Carter" The smile vanished as soon as the man turned around.

The streets of Chicago didn't look the way they used to be. That sparkle and excitement the city hosted was long replaced with dark alleys and suspicious strangers to Carter. Even the hot dogs he so much loved from that famous street vendor didn't taste as good, although apparently it's popularity was still at its highest peek.

The lights from the inside of his grandparent's house were not shinning tonight, a glance to Carter's watch offered an explanation. He stepped in, careful not to wake the three inhabitants of such an enormous household, and out of sheer instinct made his way into his room in the darkness, his only companion. With a swing, his bag went flying to a nearby chair and his shoes were left in the middle of the room, still laced.

Every night was a repetition of the same ritual. Carter laid in his bed, looking at the ceiling. But the darkness made it impossible for him to see its color. Every morning, lying on his bed, he made a silent promise to whom ever was up there, that he would turn his life around and travel back to those days in which happiness could be found everywhere. It was in his job. It was in his friends. It was in every grateful patient, even in the not so grateful ones. It was in his independence and in his accomplishments. It was in his life.

But then the night came, and like a dreaded hurricane, it tumbled all his strength away. No. Happiness doesn't live here anymore. It disappeared when that knife opened the gates of hell. When he saw Lucy lying on the floor. When he later learned she was dead. When his parents were too busy sight seeing the world to visit their dying son in a hospital room. When he couldn't even recognize himself in the mirror. When he realized John Carter was just a fool, tricked by childhood dreams of eternal love and a happy life.

He turned on his bed and saw the hours slowly pass by on his alarm clock. And now, another morning had arrived. In this, he saw an indication that life indeed continued. But it could continue without him. John Carter didn't have the any strength left in his body to keep running in hopes to catch a train which was now so far away, it was just a memory. What is the point of longevity if there was no one there to celebrate it with? To love and to honor. To run to when things didn't seem so good, or bad. To take away these feelings of regret and loss, and guilt. To revoke this self punishment that was killing him inside. John Carter couldn't go on anymore.

He needed consolation.

-------------------------

Luka Kovac sat alone at his apartment long after Carol Hathaway had caught that plane to Seattle. His eyes rested unwillingly on a television set he had never grown accustomed to. With the click of a button, the screen went black, and he rose from the couch and walked to his bedroom. Turning the lights on was an unnecessary task. It was also an opportunity for his mirror to play its tricks again and show him the real Luka Kovac. The man everyone watched from afar, but no one dared to know inside. The man women looked at with dreamy eyes and melted at the sound of his Croatian accent, but never thought twice to walk away from. The man he was most scared of. Himself.

It all started nine years ago, with the wailing of a siren and the destruction of a building. After that, darkness made its presence be known even on the sunniest of days, and the starriest of nights. With the wailing of a siren a life was thrown into a precipice. A life he had once considered to be blessed and precious, because once upon a time, he had everything. He had the love of a beautiful wife and the admiration of two lovely children. He had a job he was proud of and friends who would walk on fire for him. He had his heart beating to the rhythm of a Swiss watch, predictable and reliable. He had dreams of seeing his children grow up while he grew old. He had love. And that was his solace.

For the past few months, he thought he had found happiness again. Carol Hathaway was a ticket to a ride which would take him back to his family, to his old self. But deep inside he always knew it could never be. He knew because of the way she looked at him with pity and not love. He knew because of the way she pulled her head back before he tried to kiss her. He saw it in her eyes. He knew he was standing on very thin ice, and he knew sooner or later the ice would break. It broke today. And now, no one was near the hole he had created to offer him a hand. And he was too weak to dig himself out.

Luka turned around on his bed, but he knew sleep wouldn't come, not tonight, not for the past nine years. His mind was a battlefield in which hope and renunciation had taken away his sanity. So far it was ten to one in favor to disillusion and loneliness was batting with the bases loaded. It was during times like these when the memories of his family would come and save the game, only he wasn't sure he wanted salvation this time. What for? What else could possibly come after this? His father once told him that "Things that happen once are likely to never happen again. But things that happen twice, will most likely happen and third" For the first time Luka wished his father was wrong, because he wasn't sure his heart could handle any more pain due to unrequited love. Love was uninvited into Luka's heart. It took too much room, forcing him to expand his delicate organ, only to be forced out again, leaving emptiness behind.

But Luka knew he had to get up in the morning, like every other morning after his family was taken away from him. That was his punishment for a crime he couldn't remember having committed. The seasons kept coming and going. The sun kept whipping his skin with rays of gold which would darken his pigmentation. It kept raining tears of mint and he'd get drunk on bitterness trying to accelerate the days, hoping one of them would bring forth his final destination, and he'd be reunited with his family again. But the hours kept coming empty handed. His pillow was tired of being soaked with silent tears, and his apartment was tired of being the setting of such a low rated show. Yet there was nothing that could form a smile on Luka's lips, or to keep him fighting for. There was nothing. Luka Kovac couldn't go on anymore.

He needed a second chance.

-----------------------

The day had started a long time ago for Abby Lockhart, who walked past the front desk without having the strength needed to look at people in the eyes. Yes, this day had started a long time ago. It started when her lawyer told her the divorce would be finalized on May 11. It started when her ex husband swung his fist against her face for the first time, making blood percolate from her delicate skin. It started unconsciously when she said 'I do', and now it would be over in a matter of hours.

Her hand pushed the door to the lounge carefully and inside she spotted Chuny and Lydia in which seemed to be another gossip fest she couldn't possibly be interest in. With a smile, she acknowledged the two women.

"Hey Abby, we're going for a beer, do you wanna come?" Chuny said in that Spanish accent Abby envied.

"Um, sorry Chuny, I'm really tired, so I'm just gonna go home. Have fun though." Abby said with a sincere smile. It seemed like doing all the nurses scut work had opened a spot for her in their 'No Doctors Allowed' Club. She turned around and opened her locker. Immediately, a white envelope fell at her feet, and being very cautious about letting anyone see it, she picked it up and slid it on her bag. After an unenthusiastic good bye, she was out of the hospital.

The door to a very empty and very small apartment was opened after another bad day at work. Abby threw her bag on the couch and without a warning, her body followed. Rubbing her forehead was a habit only used when something had pushed her over the edge. Today, not only her misdiagnose had caused a young girl to nearly die, it also cost Dave a warning from Elizabeth Corday. She took a deep breath and sank on the thick pillows of her couch, remembering the days when she was happy at work. When the doctors would leave the room and she proceeded to treat the patient with tenderness and comfort, two things she had too much of and no one to give them to. Those were also the days when her ex husband began to turn into a monster, and she had nothing to turn into. The nurses, her only friends, had already alienated themselves from her because she had announced her plans of going to med school, and the only members of her family lived too far away to even visit. So she concentrated even further but found that there was always something in her life which prevented her from being truly happy. Even when she was a girl her parents were always too busy fighting to pay much attention to their children. You grow into what you see.

Her eyes shifted to the bag sitting next to her, and she took out the white envelope she had received on her mailbox this morning. Without any hesitation, she signed the papers where it was necessary and threw them on the table in front of her, wiping a stationary tear which was formed out of anger and disenchantment. 'This is your life, Abby Lockhart.' A failed marriage, an unfulfilling job, and loneliness. Too much loneliness. So much so that the only reason why she woke up every morning was to avoid a warning at work. So much that she had long ago closed to door to any prince charming who might stop by. Love was still needed. She still craved the warmth of another person next to her on the bed. And her hand longed for another to intertwine its fingers with. But with love comes heartache, and uncertainties. Abby was too tired and mistreated by life to give away the remaining of her heart to someone else, because she was certain she would not get them back, just like the last time.

Letting her body fall back on the couch, she hugged one of the pillows tight and said good bye to whomever might be waiting for her out there, because she wasn't sure she could make it into his arms. He would have to come for her this time and wake her up from this nightmare, the road was just too long for her to walk alone. Abby Lockhart couldn't go on anymore.

She needed love.

----------------------

Dave Malucci sneaked his bike into his apartment building, careful not to let the landlord see it. Under normal circumstances, he would leave it outside with the rest of the bikes, but tonight, his bike was the only thing he had of value. He opened the door to his apartment and left it on the living room between his stereo and the window. His stomach hadn't protested yet since he got that hard truth from Elizabeth Corday. So he went straight to bed.

Dave had enough people telling him he was a slob all day, but hearing from someone as respected as Dr. Corday... she somehow dug it into his heart. The other truth was that Dave already knew this, he only had to see it in the eyes of his co workers. He knew that part of their jokes were true, part of every joke is. But what was he supposed to do? Leave his guards down and let another person hurt him again? No. It was better this way. It was better to let people know Dave the slob and shallow man, than Dave, the man who got his heart broken by the only woman he had ever really loved. This Dave would never get hurt again.

But the other Dave was brought back to life by Elizabeth's words. He could feel him inside of him, fighting to be allowed to resurface. And now, lying alone on his bed, he could see him in the mirror which sat in front of him. And he was crying. So he began to cry as well. He cried for his life, for his past and for his future, for the many friends he had lost and for the many who were waiting to come, for his family, for all the promises he had broken and for himself . For being such a coward.

Memories were the only thing he held from his past. Memories of his childhood and his affectionate family. Memories of a new girl in town, of courtship at an early age and of a marriage proposal which ended with him waiting at the altar, alone. As alone as he was right now. And later a new start in a new place, and new aspirations. Chicago was something he stumbled upon in med school, and a decision he somehow regretted. It was a city for the brave, and Dave was just another observer of life. He was an understudy for those who woke up in the morning and had everything. What he had given up on a long time ago.

Dave turned around on his bed and looked at the time, wishing it would just hurry or at least stop. 'No one thinks much of you as a doctor' He didn't care because he didn't care much of himself as a person. Not this Dave. This Dave will get up in the morning and go to work. This Dave will make jokes to cover the tears of the other Dave. This Dave will force his heart to remain where it is, and will not let it fall in love again. This Dave was safe. From everyone but himself. And he had forced himself not to care, until now. Because tomorrow morning he would have to get up again, and face more insults from his co workers, friends and superiors. Tomorrow, life would find another way to remind him of her, and to remind him that he was living a farce. Life would find a way to make things harder, it did every day. But this is the end of the line. Dave Malucci couldn't go on anymore.

He needed a change.

----------------------

Robert Romano unlocked the door to his car and stepped in after making sure no one was around. He had faced yet another day of procedures, surgeries, and incompetent doctors. And somehow he had managed to stay on top of things, like the winner he was. He unlocked the door to his house and stepped in, immediately being welcomed by his only companion, Gretel the Dog.

"Hey girl, are you hungry? Let's get something to eat." He patted the soft fur of the animal as they walked together to the kitchen. He poured some dog food on Gretel's favorite dish and put it on the floor. After that, he went back to the living room and stared at a mess of charts he had left from the night before. After Gretel was done with her food, she headed to her bean bag and fell asleep. Romano watched her carefully, "You're welcomed" he shouted before he let out a big sigh. The only thing which was crazy enough to spent eight consecutive hours with him, only really needed him to provide her of food. And now that that task was done with, he was alone again.

He turned off the lights and went to his bedroom. After getting ready for bed, he curled up under the sheets and closed his eyes, only they fluttered open again. He stared at the ceiling because next to him there was no one to stare at. How could there be? He had scared nearly every single woman he had met in his entire life because of a stupid notion that boys take after their fathers. Robert would rather die alone than hurt the woman he loved, the way his father did to his mother before he abandoned them. Wasn't it true that he also was a prick? Just like daddy? Everyone at work seemed to think so. In fact, he was absolutely sure many hated him, those who had gotten to know him better. And who wouldn't? No one loves a man who is empty. What is there to love. But you have to be a rocket to make it to the moon. Isn't that why he got his nickname? Or was it because people couldn't wait to get rid of him on a dangerous mission?

After his father left, he promised himself he would do whatever it would take not to be like him. He took care of his mom when she was sick, he began working at fourteen to help her with the rent and utilities, he studied hard for a scholarship to make sure she didn't have to pay for college, and he got into surgery to give her all the things his own father did not have the will to give her. Amongst all those things was love. Love in every possible way he could manifest it. From respect to a house the most luxurious suburb of Chicago. His love for his own mother would always be there. But another part of his heart was saved for someone else. Someone he knew would never come, because he wouldn't allow her to. For years he had made sure no one got to know the real Robert Romano, the man who was desperate for love, but who was also reluctant to get it. The morning would come soon, and after that another one, and another one. But still the left side of his bed was empty. And it would never be filled, even though with it, his heart would be filled as well, and he could finally show everyone that the real Robert Romano was capable of loving and welcoming all kinds of feelings. But he still needed that someone. Because without her, Robert Romano couldn't go on anymore.

He needed redemption.

----------------------

Kerry Weaver finished the previously interminable stack of hospital documents before she turned the small light from her desk off and, leaning on her brace, walked towards the front desk.

"Dr. Weaver? There's a lawyer on the phone, he says one of his patients was the victim of malpractice and he needs to speak to whoever is in charge, so..." Randi showed the phone to Kerry.

"Randi? What time does it say on that clock?" She pointed.

"Seven fifteen" Randi just answered, knowing where Kerry was going.

"Exactly, my shift was over fifteen minutes ago, find someone else who is in charge" Kerry said as she limped into the lounge and got her things. After another argument with Chen over a day off, Kerry walked out of the ER to go and find her car.

She opened the door to her apartment and with no difficulty, turned the light on as she put some charts on the table neatly. Pouring herself a glass of brandy always kept her calmed and ready to face another day. Tonight she didn't have the strength to face anything, so she turned all the lights off and sat on her bed, looking at her feet. Her foot. The source of many speculations and gossips in the ER. After stories of how she went limp from getting polio in Africa, to having had an accident when she was a girl, it would really disappoint everyone to know she was just borne that way. But she enjoyed this guessing game, so it was kept secret.

She let the soft comforter embrace her as her eyes looked around her room. A room in which in years there had only been one person, and many prayers. Prayers for strength and courage, for light and guidance, for patience, and for love. All been heard except the latter. But love had been in her heart, and she knew it could easily come back. What she needed right now was a friend. It had been months since Jeanie Boulet moved away, and today, Carol Hathaway tendered her resignation. Two faces she could never turn to in a time of need, two friends hollered away by love, and leaving behind a lonely woman. A woman who needed someone to talk to, someone to scrape away these dried tears, someone to laugh and to share her life with. Someone. Perhaps love would never find its way into Kerry's heart. Perhaps it already had, and she let it go because she couldn't recognize it. Perhaps it wasn't late and it was under her nose. She didn't care. Love was a dream she could go back to anytime she wanted. And what she wanted now, was her life back.

Being the head of an emergency room is not the easiest job. Not for a man, not for a woman. In the years Kerry had been in that position, she had only gotten appraisal for a job well done. And that was the reason she kept going. Because she had built all this by herself. She had respect from her employees, the admiration from her patients and colleagues. Kerry Weaver had it all, yet her life still seemed empty. Most everyone at worked feared her for being the boss, and for the same reason they would keep their distance. And she was tired of being her sole source of comfort, her own best friend. The woman who limps for no reason. A human being who didn't even know her real parents, and who was too scared to find out. The person everyone went to when they needed a day off, but no one approached to go out for a beer or just talk.

This was Kerry Weaver the woman, and she was asking for a change she knew could only bring her heartache. In one hand, she held her job and her future, and in the other, she held her heart. None could be held at the same time, and the hand which held her heart fell on defeat, so did the hand which held her future. Kerry Weaver couldn't go on anymore.

She needed companionship.




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