There's No Place Like Home

AUTHOR: Lindsey
DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is how I would write the 8th Season Opener, with Sherry Stringfield coming back and all.  This is my first time writing a 'ER' fanfic (or any other kind) so your questions, comments and suggestions are GREATLY welcomed and appreciated!  I may add more to this story in the future, depending on the feedback I get.  So, if you like this story, and would like to see it continued, please don't hesitate to e-mail me!  Thanks!
SUMMARY: Susan Lewis returns to County General who knows what could happen!

"Kerry, how many times do I have to tell you?  I'm not going to close to trauma.  We have no trauma patients so we have no reason to close to trauma."

Mark was getting impatient.  He'd been arguing on the phone with Kerry Weaver for 20 minutes.  Kerry was on vacation in Las Vegas, and she had left Mark to run the ER for a week.  Everything had gone smoothly until today.

Kerry was screaming so loud that everyone around the admit desk could hear her clearly.  "Mark!  I'm still the Chief Resident of the ER and what I say goes!"  "Kerry, the ER is dead.  We have no patients!  We could use a little action around here!"

Everyone was tuned in to Mark's conversation with Kerry, even if they didn't act like it.  After all, they had nothing else to do.  The last trauma they had was 2 hours ago.  They were all trying to keep themselves busy.  Malucci and Carter were having wheelchair races up and down the hallway, Jing Mei was talking on the phone to Linda, her baby's adoptive mother; Luka was catching up on some paperwork and Abby was doing, well, Abby was doing nothing.

"Kerry, I'm tired of arguing with you.  Obviously you know something I don't know.  I'll close to trauma."  Kerry was calmer now.  "Thanks, Mark."  But Mark didn't hear her.  He didn't hear a single thing going on around him.  He looked up when the automatic doors to the ER swung open, and in walked Susan Lewis.  "Mark!  Mark, are you there?!"  Mark could barely speak.  "Uh, Kerry I'm gonna have to call you back."  Kerry just laughed and hung up the phone.


Susan smiled.  "Hi Mark.  Long time, no see."

Mark couldn't believe his eyes.  After 5 years, Susan was in Cook County General, in Chicago, standing right in front of him, looking even more beautiful than he remembered.  Mark finally managed to give her a hug.   "Susan, what are you doing here?"  "After 5 years of working at a place where no one gets along, where I dreaded going every day I finally managed to transfer back here.  Every morning, I woke up and my first thought was of County and Chicago and you.  And I know this is where I belong."

Now everyone in the ER had stopped what they were doing and were now staring at Mark and Susan.

"Who's she?" Malucci whispered.  Without taking his eyes off Susan, Carter managed to say "I'll explain it to you later, Dave."

Mark couldn't take his eyes off Susan.  He wanted to kiss her, to hold her in his arms, to make love to her.  But he knew he couldn't now.  He was married, with a little girl at home but Susan didn't know that yet.  

Just then, Elizabeth Corday walked up to Mark and wrapped her arms around him.  "I got out of surgery early.  I thought we could have dinner."  Mark looked from Susan to Elizabeth.  "Umm sure.  Give me a minute, though, okay?"  Elizabeth looked at Susan, "Sure. Who's this?" she asked.  "Um, Elizabeth, this is Susan Lewis.  She was a doctor here at County for 3 years and now she's going to continue working here.  And Susan this is my wife, Elizabeth Corday."  Susan didn't really try to hide her surprise and disappointment.  She shook Elizabeth's hand and said, "It's nice to meet you, Elizabeth."  "It's wonderful to meet you, Susan."  Elizabeth took a picture out of her pocket.  "And this is our daughter, Ella."  Susan forced a smile.   "She's beautiful.  Congratulations."  Elizabeth smiled to herself.  She knew exactly what was going on.  "Mark, I'll go get my coat and we can go, all right?"  Mark forced a smile, "Yeah, sure, Elizabeth."     

"Why don't I introduce you to everyone?," Mark asked.  Susan smiled.  "Sure, that'd be great.  I see some unfamiliar faces in the crowd."  

Mark started to raise his voice "Everyone well since I already have your attention, I'd like to introduce you to Dr. Susan Lewis.  She worked here at County from 1994 to 1996 and now she is returning to work here, so make her feel welcome because she may know more about this place than you do."  

Dave Malucci was the first to introduce himself.  "Nice to meet you doctor Lewis, I'm doctor Dave, Dave Malucci."  Susan smiled and shook Dave's hand.   "It's great to meet you, Dave."  Dave was grinning from ear to ear as he tapped Jing Mei on the shoulder and said, "Sorry, Deb, guess I won't be askin' you out so much anymore."  Jing Mei just rolled her eyes and said "Oh no, Dave, how heartbreaking.  How will I ever survive?"  Dave winked "So you do got the hots for me, huh?"

Jing Mei went up to Susan and hugged her.  "Susan, it's great to see you again!," Jing Mei said.  Susan smiled, "It's great to see you, Deb!"  Jing Mei just smiled.  She hated to be called Deb, but right now it wasn't worth explaining.   

The next person Susan spotted was John Carter.  She remembered having a small crush on him when he was a med student.  And now, now he was drop dead gorgeous.  "Hey Carter!  Great to see ya!"  Carter smiled and gave Susan a hug.  "Welcome back, Susan. It's great to see you again."  "It's great to see you again, too, John."  "One word of advice though," Carter said, just loud enough that Jing Mei could hear him.  "Deb isn't Deb anymore.  She's Jing Mei.  I still call her Deb, though, just to piss her off.  Isn't that right, Deb?"  "Shut up, Carter!" was Jing Mei's only reply.  Carter smiled, "See what I mean?"

Abby Lockhart was next to introduce herself to Susan.  "Hi, Susan, I'm Abby Lockhart, ER nurse."  Susan shook Abby's hand.  "Great to meet you, Abby."   "It's great to meet you, too," Abby replied, forcing a smile.  

Luka Kovac went up to Susan and shook her hand.  "Susan, I'm Luka Kovac.   Nice to meet you."  "Hello, Luka, it's great to meet you, too."  

"Okay, everyone, time to get back to work," Mark shouted.  

"What work, boss?  There's no work to do.  Especially if we're closed to trauma," Dave said.  

"Malucci, just find something to do.  I'm calling Kerry and telling her, whether she likes it or not, we're opening to trauma.  Besides, I think I know why she wanted us to close for awhile," Mark replied, as he picked up the phone and dialed Kerry's hotel number.  "Oh, and Carter, will you do me a favor?  Will you give Susan a tour, just so she can get reacquainted with everything?", Mark asked.

"Sure thing, Dr. Greene," Carter replied.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As Carter showed Susan the trauma rooms, the waiting area and the lounge, he couldn't help but think how good it was to see her again.  He remembered how he used to have a huge crush on her when he was a med student.  And now those feelings were all coming back to him, unexpectedly.  

"Here's the lounge and-"  

Susan cut him off.  "I don't need a tour, Carter.  I know this place like the back of my hand."     

"Oh, okay.  That's fine.  I'll, I'll see you later then."  

As John was walking away, Susan stopped him.  "Carter!"  John turned around to look at her.

"What I'd really like to do is go get some coffee or something.  Would you like to join me?"    "Um, sure.  My shift ends in 20 minutes, come find me, okay?"

Susan smiled.  "Okay, great.  I'll see you in a little while then."    

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As John and Susan walked into Doc Magoo's, John couldn't help but feel like a little kid.  Five years ago, he played this moment over and over in his mind.  The day when he and Susan would go on a date.  He tried to push the thought out of his mind.  He knew that this was just an innocent cup of coffee, to catch up on the last five years.  As they sat down at a booth by the window, he found himself wishing that it wasn't just a cup of coffee.  Susan pulled him back to reality.  "Where were Peter and Carol and Doug today?"  

"Peter just started his shift and Carol and Doug?  Wow, you have been gone awhile."  

"Why?  What happened?"  

"Well, a lot has happened.  Carol and Doug were on-again, off-again for awhile, I think.  But then, 2 years ago, Doug decided to move to Seattle."


"Yep.  He asked Carol to go with him, but she said no.  Only later to find out she was pregnant."  

"Oh my God!  Was it Doug's baby?"  

"Yes, they were Doug's babies."  

"Babies?  She had twins?!"  

"Yeah, two twin girls.  Born on Thanksgiving, 1999."  

"Wow I guess I have been gone a while."  

"Things got much more complicated, at least for me, anyway."  

"They did?"  

"Oh yeah.  Wanna hear a Valentines Day story?"  

"Uh, judging by your tone, I'm guessing this doesn't involve Cupid and red hearts."

Carter laughed.  Susan loved his laugh.  "No, Susan, no it doesn't."  

"What happened?"  

"I had this med student, Lucy Knight, and she had had this patient who she thought was suffering from a migraine.  It turns out the guy was schizophrenic.  Lucy kept telling me to come check him out but all day I just kept blowing her off.  I told her to attend to other patients, while Lucy, she wanted to wait with her patient for the psych consult.  She finally gave in and attended to her patients.  A while later I went to check on Lucy's patient"  John didn't think he could tell Susan what had happened to him and Lucy.  He still loved Lucy.  That he couldn't deny.  But he knew he had to move on.  Thinking of her would only tear him apart all over again.  

Susan looked worriedly at John.  "And?", she asked.  

"And he stabbed me."  He barely got the words out.  The look on Susan's face was enough to make him wish he hadn't told her.  

Susan gasped.  "Oh my God."  

"That's not the half of it.  Lucy, Lucy had been stabbed, too.  But she didn't survive."  John's last sentence was barely audible.  The pain of losing Lucy was still there, he realized, and it probably always would be.  

Susan rested her hand on top of John's.  "John, I am so sorry."  

"Oh, and then there's the part where I get addicted to painkillers, get caught, and go to a 90 day rehab program in Atlanta."  John was trying to keep his tone light.  But Susan knew better.  "Carter you have no idea how sorry I am."  John smiled, "Thanks but I'm doing much better now."  

Susan knew she probably shouldn't ask this, it was none of her business, but she had a feeling there was more to John and Lucy's relationship than the fact that he was her supervisor.  "One question though?"  "Sure."  "Did you love her?"  John looked down, then back at Susan..  "Yes, I did love her."  

Both Susan and John were silent a few moments before Susan gathered her things and got ready to leave.  "I had a wonderful evening, Carter, but I'd better get going.  I got a call earlier that my apartment won't be ready until tomorrow so I'm going to find a hotel for tonight."

Susan and John were both standing when he said, "You can stay at my place tonight."  


"It's your first night back in Chicago.  You really want to stay in a hotel room?"

"Well I guess not.  It's only one night, though."  

"So?  You can spend that one night at my place.  I can sleep on the couch, it's no big deal."

Susan really didn't want to be by herself on her first night back in Chicago.  "Sure, Carter.  That'd be great."  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*2:06*  Mark had looked at the clock every half hour since 10:00.  He couldn't sleep.  Every time he tried, Susan just reappeared in his mind.  He knew nothing was likely to happen between them.  At least not romantically, anyway.  But even if he did become good friends with her again, what would Elizabeth think?  Mark sighed as he rolled over and tried to sleep.  It was going to be a long night.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Back at John Carter's, he and Susan were still awake, too.  But not because they couldn't sleep.  Once they had gotten to John's, they had sat down on the couch and talked more.  Susan shared everything that she'd done over the past 5 years.  She talked about Chloe and baby Susie and Chloe's husband, who, Susan thought, was a good influence on Susie.  

Susan and John were both exhausted.  John had a shift at noon but he really didn't feel like going to sleep.  He and Susan had had a great evening together.  

"Well, I'd better let you get some sleep," John said as he picked up her suitcase and took it to his room.

"Thanks for letting me stay here tonight, Carter," Susan said.  She was smiling at him.  God, he loved that smile.

"It's no problem.  Anything to help out a friend."

Susan had been wanting to kiss him all night, but each time she wanted to, something inside her stopped her.  As they were standing in the middle of John's bedroom, she pushed that voice aside and kissed him.  To her surprise and delight, John kissed her back.  After they pulled apart, Susan asked, "Is that all we are, Carter, friends?"  John smiled, a little embarrassed.  "I'm not sure anymore," was all he could say.  

Somehow, although it wasn't too hard to figure out, one thing led to another that night, and the next morning Susan found herself in John's bed, with John beside her.  "Good morning, sunshine," John said, smiling at her.  Susan just laughed.  God, it was great to be back in Chicago!

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6   Part 7   Part 8   Part 9   Part 10   Part 11   Part 12
Part 13   Part 14   Part 15   Part 16   Part 17   Part 18   Part 19
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