AUTHOR: Alanna diAblo
CATEGORY: Friendship/Romance/Angst
SPOILERS: Blood Sugar Sex Magic, a little one for Secrets and Lies but you probably won't catch it.
ARCHIVE: Yes please, but email me when you do so I can do a happy dance.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own 'em.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Enjoy guys. I hope this isn't to corny for you. I tried to make as un-sappy as possible. Wow, ok, my grammar isn't that bad in the story. And please see the author's note at the end when your done. :)
SUMMARY: She didn't want someone to yell at her, she didn't want someone to tell her what to do, she needed someone to listen to her and to support her.

* * * *

The doors to the lounge flew open and Carter awoke with a start. The light hurt his eyes,so he closed them and lay back down on the worn couch. "What...what time is it?" He managed to mumble to the presence in the room. He knew the double shift yesterday had been a mistake, but Chen was out with the flu, and no one else could stay. *They* had lives.

"Eight fifteen." Replied a familiar voice. "You'd better get up, your shift starts in fifteen minutes." The person walked over to their locker, and Carter groaned. Waking up with a cramp in you shoulder, and smelling like the hospital was on a great experience. Carter rolled over onto this side and winced with pain. He was about to fall to sleep again, but the 'clang' of a locker door slamming shut prevented him from doing so. Now fully awake-or as awake as he could be under such circumstances- Carter smiled in the person's direction.

"Oh, Good morning Doctor Weaver."

"Good morning Carter. Get up. You have five patients waiting already."

"But you said I had fifteen minutes!" Carter yelled desperately. But Weaver has already left the lounge. So Carter sighed and sat up. He pulled on his shoes, and glanced at himself in the mirror. His hair was a little messy, but he ran his hand though it a few times and managed to calm it down. He took a moment longer to watch his reflection, adjusting his hair this way and that. Someone caught his eye and he smiled in the mirror, sheepish about being caught checking himself out.

"Good morning Abby. How are you?" Abby smiled politely and practically dragged her feet over the floor to her locker. Carter noted that she looked tired, more then usual any ways. Her hair and makeup were normal, but if you looked beyond the facade, and into her eyes, you could tell something was wrong.

"I'm just fine thanks." Abby almost spat out; she was frantically searching for something in her locker. Carter was a little disappointed with her answer, and it must have showed on his face, because Abby then added: "Look Carter, I'll tell you about it later OK? My shift starts in five, can I don't know where I put my damn-" Something fell in Abby's locker, and nearly everything in it fell out. Abby rolled her eyes. "Just great..." She said, and looked up to the ceiling letting out a sigh.

Carter was trying to hold back a smirk, but Abby saw him before he could cover it up. She ignored him though, and began shoving her junk back into her locker. Carter took the hint and began to leave. "So we'll talk later." He called from the door. Abby didn't turn around, but did stop what she was doing and nodded. Carter grinned and left quickly. Abby heard the door close, and smiled to herself, pushing some old scrubs back into her locker.

* * * *

"So," Said Carter. "What's up?" They were sitting in a booth near the back of Doc Magoo's so they could have some privacy. After a long day at work, it was nice to finally sit down and have some peace. It had started to snow, and the ground was already covered with a few inches. The sky was a deep purple.

Abby sighed and took a sip of her coffee.

"Well, ,just the usual: work, bills, bi-polar Mother..." She trailed off. "I'm just sick of it all. I mean, I love my job, but I need..." Abby looked out the window to the snow falling softly outside. Carter watched her for a moment.

This was so strange. Lately, it was he who went to Abby for his problems, Abby suffered on her own. Sometimes, Carter contemplated whether or not he was keeping himself too distant from Abby, that they were so far apart that Abby felt she could no longer seek solace in him. But Carter was wrong, and he was glad he was wrong too, because here they were talking.

Carter knew he had to let her think before she spoke, and not interrupt her; to give Abby a chance to clear her mind. Abby would talk when she wanted to -she always had - but Carter gave her the time to think, most other people didn't have the patience.

There was a long silence before Abby turned away from the window. Abby held her cup of coffee in between her hands, and looked down into it. Then she took a breath and began.

"I don't know Carter. I guess I've been feeling lonely. You know I've never really had much support from home. All of my life I feel like I've been...I don't know...dependent...I just can't do it anymore. I am killing myself by living this way."

She wasn't crying, but Carter could tell that she was upset.

"I just needed to get that off my chest I guess. It seems so stupid when I say it out loud, but it's really been bothering me." She smiled at him weakly.

"If it makes it any better, you're one of the strongest people I've ever known."

They both knew it sounded a little cliché, but it was just what Abby needed to hear at the moment. She didn't want someone to yell at her, she didn't want someone to tell her what to do, she needed someone to listen to her and support her.

Abby sniffled, and smiled at Carter. "Thanks." She said, and got up and pulled her coat on.

"Hey!" Said Carter, trying to break some of the tension. "You're not leaving me here with this expensive bill of-" Carter read the receipt. "Five twenty-eight!"

Abby pulled out three dollars from her pocket, and put them on the table. Carter quickly pulled out his own money and slapped the wadded bills on the table. "Where are you going?" He grabbed his coat and followed her to the door.

"A walk." Abby replied calmly, stopping and looking up at him. "You can come if you want." Carter looked at the snow coming down.

"In *this* weather?" He asked with a grin. "All right, but don't come crying to me when you get a phenomena."

A rush of cold air hit them as they exited Magoo's. They fell into stride, and it was quiet between them for a couple of blocks. "So," Abby said after a while. "When does your shift start tomorrow?" Carter turned his head in her direction.

"Not until two." An idea hit him, and he grinned. "So I can come over 'for coffee or something' now." Abby laughed softly and rolled her eyes.

"Who said I was going to ask you to come over 'for coffee or something'?"

Carter raised his hands in defense. "Well, for one, we *are* walking towards your apartment. Two, this past summer you did invite me, remember?" Abby looked at him quizzically. "Our day of 'Aquatic Mischief'?" Carter suggested. Abby's features softened at the memory.

"Oh yeah." She said more to herself then to him. "Sure, come over then."

* * * *

"I still think that 'Fear-Factor' has got to be the stupidest show ever." Carter said. They were splitting a bowl of popcorn and two sodas; Abby had forgotten that she had run out of coffee that morning.

"Well it's my house." Abby said, and continued to watch her show. Carter snatched the remote that was lying by her side.

"I'm the guest." He said, and switched the channel to college basketball.

"It's *my* t.v." Abby challenged, and she grabbed the remote and switched it back to Fear-Factor. Carter didn't do anything, except glance and the bowl of popcorn. Just as "Tom" was about to eat something that *really* did not look appetizing, Carter grabbed a fistful of popcorn and threw it at her.

As Abby jumped in surprise, dropping the remote, and Carter reached for it. Abby lunged herself across the couch at him, but he'd grabbed it, and he stood up. She landed awkwardly on her side, a shocked expression on her face. Carter snickered at her and she glared at him.

This was just like what Abby and her brother did almost daily after homework was done: fight over who go to play 'couch-commando.'

"Oh you're gunna get it Carter." Abby growled, gritting her teeth. Carter knew it too, and ducked out of her way. Abby hit the living room floor pretty hard, causing the table to shake. "Ow..." She moaned, holding her ankle. Carter, in his doctor mode, went rightover to her.

"What's wrong? Do you think you broke it?"

Abby nodded, and continued to hold it. As soon as Carter bent down however, Abby grabbed the remote from his now loose grasp, and sprinted into the other room. "I got you!" She called out behind herself, and she laughed. But Carter was gaining on her, and she'd run out of options on where to run to by the time she had hit the foot of her bed.

Abby turned around and put her hands up in surrender, but Carter kept running at her, and knocked her onto her back, pinning her to the bed.

They were both panting hard, and took a moment to catch their breath. Carter reached down and pulled a strand of hair out of her face, and she smiled warmly at him. Their breathing slowed, and the atmosphere between them changed. Their eyes locked on each other.

"You gunna kiss me or what?" Abby asked, still slightly out of air.

Carter sighed and tore his eyes from her's, and leaned back so he was still straddling her, but his arms were no longer pinning her down.

"What?" Said Abby, a little concerned. She tried to sit up, but found the best she could do with Carter sitting on her, was prop herself up on her elbows. "At least look at me John." He did, and she instantly wished she hadn't asked him to because he looked so hurt. "What?" She asked again. "Please tell me what's wrong." Carter sighed and looked away from her again. Abby reached over and touched his hand, and he looked back up.

"I wish I could."

When she looked back at him, confused and hurt, he added more. "Believe me, I really want to, but," He paused. "I don't know if your sure about it." Abby's jaw dropped.

"I-" She began, but he put a finger to her lips silencing her. She sank back down and watched him. She had to hear it sooner or later, and Carter knew that he had to be the one to tell her.

"You just told me tonight that you had a lot to think about. Problems with work, and your family to deal with. Your relationships with Luka and your mother..." Abby sighed and turned her head to the side. Carter stopped talking until she returned her gaze to him. "Abby, I'll always be here if you need someone to talk to." Abby swallowed. "But before things get complicated with us, you should sort out other things first. There'll be plenty of time for us." He whispered. "I promise." Abby looked at him longingly, then let out a sigh, breaking eye contact. She was a bit hurt, but deep down she knew Carter was right. There would be time for them someday.

"Well," Said Carter. "I'd better go clean up that popcorn." He traced her jawline with two fingers, then quickly got up, pulling himself away. He decided he would give Abby some time alone to think, and began to leave her room.

"That's what happened with Luka." Abby's voice hung in the air.

Carter turned around. "Hm?"

"That's what happened with Luka. I went to him when I was feeling lonely...and then..." She looked up at him and he nodded, knowing what she meant, but she couldn't say. "But he doesn't know me like you know me." Abby got off her bed and walked over to him.

Carter was a little stunned to hear all of this, but some-what relieved.

"I guess Luka was right." Abby continued. "Because you do make me happy." Abby smiled at him and leaned into his body. He embraced her to him, and stroked her head with his hand. She sank into his warmth, and a sense of security enveloped her.

"I'll tell you when." She murmured into his chest, and pulled herself away from him. She walked towards the living room; feeling like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

Carter stood in the bedroom doorway for just a little longer, savoring the moment. He had wanted to kiss her, he was about to, but that would be taking advantage. Regardless Abby's opinion, it would be wrong of him to do something like that while she was so vulnerable.

He had wanted to kiss her a number of times: That night after they broke into Luka's apartment, on walks by the river when they were leaning on the railing, when they were sitting on the couch in the lounge together. But he did know her well, and knew that she needed time to figure things out before adding even more to her already full plate.

Someday, when she had her life in order, he'd kiss her. Someday he'd kiss her and it would be perfect. But today was not that day. But Carter knew that it would happen someday. Someday...

* * * *

Hey all. So what did you think?
I didn't want to say this up at the top, because it always makes me not want to read a fic, but this is my first ER fic. *Please* I know that you have a life, I know you have better things to do, but please send me some feedback at least telling me you read this. Why did you like it? What made you hate it?
I love constructive critisism! And if you write, send me a story, I'd be happy to R/R for you.
Well, thanks for listening and have a spiffy day.

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