Worth Waiting For
SPOILERS: no real spoiler
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is my first fanfiction. Please let me know what you think.
SUMMARY: Starts where season 9 ended. It's what I think could happen between Abby and Carter in the season premiere. For now it is complete, but I may add more later if I get bored or think of something fun to write.
Carter looked at her, unsure of why he went straight to her, of what it was about her that made him unable to stay away. Before he left for Africa, he was so fed up with Abby, so sick of her self-pity, her family, her inability to trust Carter's love, all of it. Carter could not remember a time when he was so hurt and angry with anyone. He had always dropped everything to run to Abby's rescue, but when he needed her most, she was nowhere to be found. Not only was Abby emotionally and literally unavailable for Carter when his grandmother died, she ruined his gamma's funeral by bringing her emotionally unstable brother, an offense that seemed unforgivable. He needed to get away from her, from everything.
The trip to Africa turned out to be a great thing for Carter. He was so busy that he had no time to worry about work, or his relationship with Abby, or anything else. His time in Africa was devoted to one thing and one thing only: saving lives. John Carter was good at saving lives; it was what he did best and what he loved to do. The days he spent in Africa were some of the worst, scariest, yet most rewarding days of his life and they had the wonderful affect of putting life into perspective for him. Although he had no real time to devote to thinking about Abby, she was constantly on his mind. The whole time he was in Africa he tried desperately to forget about her, to move on, to remember how she hadn't been there when he needed her but she was always on his mind and as he flew home, Carter realized how short life was. He knew nothing had changed between him and Abby, yet all he wanted to do was go to her. If only Carter could get back to Abby, back to where he belonged, everything else could work itself out.
Abby looked like an angel, sleeping peacefully before him. All he wanted to do was hug her, and tell her everything was ok, that they would live happily ever after. He leaned over and brushed away her hair before giving her an ever so soft and gentle kiss. She did not wake up, so he sat down on the bed beside her, uncertain of what to do. He was hot, exhausted, and every bone in his body ached. Carter wanted nothing more than for Abby to wake up and take care of him but he suddenly remembered the hurt in Abby's eyes during the last two conversations they had had. The conversations in which Carter told Abby to go away, and the conversation when Abby realized Carter was leaving for Africa, without any intention of saying goodbye. Carter felt so ashamed. He knew how much he had hurt Abby, he saw it in her eyes, and in the way she tried desperately to keep from crying in front of him. How could he have hurt Abby, the only woman he ever loved?
Abby awoke with a start. "Jesus Christ, John! What the hell are you doing here?" Her voice was harsh and unwelcoming. Then in a more quiet, exasperated and hurt tone, "You scared the crap out of me. Why are you here?"
"I don't know. Maybe coming here was a mistake…I just, I felt bad about leaving, and I don't know, I don't know…I guess I just I wanted to…er…see you," then with more confidence "I needed to see you." His voice was filled with sheer exhaustion and remorse.
Abby gave him a long hard look, and softly but firmly said, "John, you need to leave. I worked all day and I'm trying to sleep. I can't get into this with you, not now, not tonight…" Her voice trailed off as her eyes filled with tears.
"Abby, I know that I've been an ass, and I shouldn't have left, but I think we can…." but he couldn't finish because Abby regained her composure, looked him square in the eyes and said softly but firmly, "John, go home. I'm not going to do this now, I won't. Just go."
John had no choice but to leave. He wearily made his way home and took a cold shower before collapsing into bed, too tired to analyze what Abby meant when she told him to leave. The next morning Kerri woke Carter by calling and asking if there was any way he could work today, as Susan was home sick with a stomach bug and Luka was still in Africa. Despite the fact that he had been back less than twelve hours and was exhausted there was no saying no to Kerri so John wearily got ready and headed off to work.
The Emergency Room was as busy as it had been when John left for Africa, and he was hit with two major traumas as soon as he got in the door. He noticed Abby wheeling in the first patient so he told Kerri to take that one and he quickly ran to the second, unsure of how Abby would react to seeing him. His patient was a 7-year-old little girl named Claire. Claire and her father had been in a very serious car accident and it was immediately clear to John that the little girl wasn't doing well. She had massive internal problems and most likely a head injury. He began attempting to stabilize the patient but her heart stopped and she crashed.
Meanwhile Kerri's patient, Claire's father, had already been pronounced dead. Kerri realized that Claire might still have a chance so she told Abby to go help John while she prepared the death certificate. Abby was reluctant but knew saving the little girl was more important than an awkward moment between her and Carter so she ran to help him. Abby and Carter worked well together and she anticipated his every order. She helped him shock the little girl and together they brought the near corpse back to life. After several stressful moments, it was apparent that Claire would make a full recovery, although she had a long and painful road ahead of her. Once she was stabilized, they called Elizabeth and had an OR booked for her to correct her internal injuries. As the little girl was whisked upstairs, John and Abby looked at each other, happy they had saved Claire, yet uncomfortable in each other's presence.
John was the first to break the silence.
"Great save, huh?"
"What? Oh, yeah."
"I mean she has a long road ahead of her, but it's great we got her back."
Abby looked down nervously and Carter broke the silence once again.
"So, uh, wanna get some coffee or something?"
"I dunno, John….."
"Come on, it's coffee, maybe pie…we can talk.."
Abby and Carter sat across from each other at Doc Magoos and waited for the waitress to come. Carter ordered coffee and pie, but Abby stuck with only coffee.
Carter looked at Abby. He gave her one of his deep intense looks.
"So, um, how've you been?"
"All right," Abby answered shortly and coldly. She was acting civil and polite, but not friendly or warm. "How was Africa? How's Luka?" Asking about Luka seemed like a low blow, but Abby didn't care, she was still upset with Carter because of the way he left.
"Luka? Oh, he's fine. He's really in his element there…he seemed happy, happier than he ever is here." Carter didn't wait for her to respond. He paused and looked at Abby, making sure he had her full attention and said, "Abby, I shouldn't have left like I did. I was upset, really upset and hurt. Not just at you, or Eric but in general. Gamma's death….well…it really….ya know…" His voice trailed off. He shook his head, looked at her and said "Anyway, I shouldn't have left like that…but Africa, it put things into perspective for me and I really want to fix things with us…"
"Is there an US?" she replied quickly. Carter was obviously taken aback by the question.
"I dunno, Abby," he said angrily. "I thought we had something, but if you're ready to give up then maybe I was wrong."
"What the hell, John! YOU are the one who LEFT! You told me to leave you alone and then you ran off to Africa for three weeks without even telling me you were going or saying goodbye. I was worried sick about you, I didn't know if you were dead or alive. You never even called to check in and THEN you show up at my apartment at two in the morning…expecting what? For me to wake up and throw my arms around you? For me to invite you back into my bed after you all but broke up with me?"
"Broke up with you? I didn't break up with you. I was upset! MY GRANDMOTHER DIED….so I went to Africa, something I've always wanted to do anyway. How did my needing some time, and volunteering in Africa turn into me breaking up with you? How did you hear that?"
" John, I screwed everything up. I wasn't there for you when you needed me….you deserve better….." Her voice trailed off, and he started to respond but Abby stopped him, "Please let me finish. I can't turn my back on Eric. He's sick and he needs me, and that means that I can't be what you need, what you deserve. You have always been so good to me. You've been right there whenever I've needed and you should have someone who is there for you too. Carter, you should cut your loses now…that's what I thought you were doing when you left, and as sad as it made me, I kinda felt relieved because I thought that you finally realized that I'm not everything you deserve...." With that Abby stood up and walked away with tears in her eyes and her head down.
John watched her walk out of the restaurant and head towards the hospital. He didn't know what to do. He figured he would think about things for a while and talk to her again in a couple days if that was what he decided he needed to do. All the sudden, Carter changed his mind. He realized that his and Abby's biggest problem was they both gave up to easily. He had just let the woman he loved walk away, something he should never have done so he jumped up and sprinted out the door after her.
Catching her just before she entered County's doors, John grabbed Abby by the shoulders and turned her around so that she was facing him.
"Abby," he said, gasping for air, "I love you! Forget everything else for now. I love you."
"John…." She began, but before she could say anything else, he kissed her.
"Abby, we'll figure everything out, but you can't deny that this isn't worth fighting for."
"You're right," she said, giving him the slightest smile, although she still had tears in her eyes. She rested her head on his chest and leaned into him, glad that he was home from Africa, glad that they would keep trying, and glad that she was with the only person who had ever made her feel safe.