A Simple Twist of Faith

Author's Note: Just to let people know, I am playing around a bit with Peter's family history. So not everything in here is true according to the show, but it's not also impossible. Stay tuned, that little twist I promised is coming up next chapter! Send feedback!
Megan oka@golden.net

Carter had become increasingly agitated. The pain from his injuries was starting to get to him. He realized he hadnít gotten around to taking any pain killers as Peter had arrived before he got to it. If that wasnít enough, he was not only facing the end of his career, but he was starting to worry about a repeat attack. Nothing had been stolen. Why break into someoneís apartment to beat them up, but not take anything? Frustrated, tired, and in pain, Carter laid his head down on the kitchen table.

"Carter, man, you okay?" Peter quietly asked, before realizing what a stupid question that was. Receiving no response, Peter quietly walked over, careful of the broken glass, and placed his fingers on Carters neck to check his pulse. He was relieved to feel a steady pulse, and was shocked when Carter suddenly jerked his head up, and jumped from the chair.

"Whoa, take it easy, man, Iím not going to hurt you."

Carter took a minute to get his bearings. Had he just dozed off at his kitchen table in front of Benton?

"Iím sorry Dr. Benton. I think you should leave now so I can get some rest."

"No, Carter. Youíre hurt. I donít know how bad, so you need to be checked out. You probably have a concussion. If you were unconscious for any length of time then you need over night observation. Not only that, but someone broke in here and beat the crap out of you for no obvious reason. The police need to be notified."

"Iíll do it in the morning. I really donít feel well enough to go to the police station." Carter realized too late that he had just voiced the fact out loud that his injuries were getting to him. This did not go unnoticed by Benton.

"Come on, Carter. Lets go." Peter moved towards the front door to take Carter to the hospital.

"No, Dr. Benton. I..."

"Carter! You are in no position to tell me what to do. Letís go."

Peter held the door open for Carter, who walked out with shoulders slumped and head down. *I canít do anything right,* he thought to himself.

The ride to the hospital was spent in silence. Carter rested his head against the window, and Peter concentrated on the road; a million thoughts racing through his mind. It was only now starting to sink in that Michael was actually dead. Not that he particularly cared much. His father had told him of Michaelís existence when he was 10. Said Michael was a mistake that had happened when he was very young. Peter had never even met Michael. The only stuff he knew about Michael came from his father when he decided to talk about him. Apparently Michael was much older than he was, and was a constant gambler. Michael would occasionally write to his father asking for money when he got in over his head. Once Peter got into med school, family was the last thing on his mind. He hadnít heard anything about Michael since then.

Peter pulled into the hospital parking lot and turned off the ignition.

"Weíre here, Carter," he stated.

"I know."

Together they walked through the ambulance bay doors and into the chaos that was the ER. Jerry, who was at the front desk, did a double take when he saw Carter.

"Dr. C., are you alright?" he asked.

"Whatís open, Jerry," Peter asked in a tone that demanded Jerry mind his own business.

"Ah..." Jerry started, glancing at the board. "Exam 4."

"Find Dr. Greene and Haleh, and have them meet us there."

Jerry was left standing stunned, as Carter and Peter retreated to the exam room. Jerry knew Peter Benton was not someone you disobeyed. Consulting with the board, the desk clerk went in search of Dr. Greene and Haleh.

Just as Peter had gotten Carter settled on the gurney, Dr. Greene and Haleh entered the exam room, sharing concerned and astonished looks.

"What the hell happened?" Mark demanded.

"Carter was attacked in his apartment. He has sustained..." Peter started.

"_He_ is fine," Carter interrupted. "This isnít necessary. Itís not as bad as it looks."

"Well it looks pretty bad, Carter," Haleh interjected. "Iíll get a BP."

"Thank you, Haleh. Mark, I want this kept quiet. The last thing Carter needs is another rumour flying around."

"Iím surprised to hear that coming from you, Peter, considering what happened this afternoon. I thought you were going to rip out Carterís throat. Arenít you upset?"

"Itís a long story, Mark, that I donít want to get into right now. When weíre done here the police will need to be notified," Peter said as he got out his stethoscope and listened to Carterís chest.

"BP is a little low, 90/50, pulse 85," Haleh stated.

"Did you lose consciousness at all?" Mark asked at he looked at Carterís eyes with his penlight.

"Yeah. Iím not sure how long though."

"Dr. Carter," Anspaugh greeted as he entered the exam room. "The rumour mill is working overtime tonight. I heard from a tech on the fourth floor that Peter beat you up because he was upset about this afternoon."

At hearing this, both Peterís and Carterís mouths fell open and they stared at eachother.

Benton was the first to speak up.

"I can assure you Dr. Anspaugh, thatís not what happened."

"Oh, I know that Peter. I need to speak to you about the incident this afternoon, Dr. Carter."

"May as well get it over with. Right?"

"Dr. Greene alerted me to some disturbing lab results. There was a high level of epinephrine, and a fatal level of potassium found in Michael Bentonís blood."

"Oh, God. It was my fault."

"To make matters worse, Michael Benton was in v-fib earlier in the day and epi was administered. That explains the epi in his blood. Unfortunately it doesnít explain the potassium. With the given time frame, the speed potassium works, you are the only person that was with Michael who could have injected the potassium. Given you were also involved in a similar incident a few days ago involving an elderly man, I have no other choice but to place you under suspension until further notice."

"I understand," Carter said dejectedly.

The rest of the night passed slowly for Carter. He was sent for a head CT, but had to wait forever due to the fact that radiology was once again backed up. Not only was radiology slow, but the cops had yet to show up.

The gossip was also out of control. Everyone had their own say as to what really happened, and wouldnít hesitate to spread it around the hospital. Crowds kept gathering around his exam room or radiology.

Mark Greene stood in the middle of the room where Michael had died, and looked around. Something felt off about this fiasco. Carter kept a cool head during traumas. He almost never made mistakes, if ever. Itís pretty hard to misread potassium as epinephrine. If he had made a calculation error, and overdosed, that would be believable. But misreading like that?

Mark couldnít stop his mind from flashing back to his own attack. The horror and fear he had felt at being attacked in the hospital was something that will change his outlook for the rest of his life. Carter had been attacked in his own home. The assailant had taken the time to learn where Carter lived. Nothing was stolen so it wasnít a robbery. Peter had said there was no damage to the outside of the apartment door, so either Carter didnít lock it, or the attacker took the time the pick the lock.

Michaelís body and the gurney heíd been on had been wheeled down to the morgue, leaving a big open space where the bed had been. The table that had been beside the bed was still there.

Dr. Greene walked over and picked up the bottle of potassium. Partly to reassure himself it really was potassium. He also picked up the syringe that was lying beside the potassium, put the cap on it, and shoved it into his pocket. He was surprised it hadnít been disposed of yet. *Things really are getting lax around here.*

As he turned to leave, light glinting off a piece of metal under the table caught his eye. Walking over, he picked it up. His breath hitched in his chest as he read the label.

Part 4
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