Your Winter

AUTHOR: brin
CATEGORY: Carter/Abby/Luka
RATING: PG-13. Strong language
SPOILERS: End of Season 7. I have not seen any Season 8 when I started writing this, so it won't be in this chapter.
DISCLAIMER: All characters from ER used in the story are property of NBC and the writers of ER. I own none. Would if I could, but I can't so I won't.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is my first fic involving Abby and Luka more often so I do apologize if I do not portray their characters accurately. I'm getting a feel for it, though.
LYRICS: Borrowed from Sister Hazel "Your Winter".
SUMMARY: Little aftermath thought of Carter and Abby's relationship, as they go into remission from their previous conversation. Only this time, Luka gets involved.

The gray ceiling on the earth
Well it's lasted for a while
Take my thoughts for what they're worth
I've been acting like a child
Your opinion, what is that?
It's just a different point of view

What else, what else can I do?
I said I'm sorry, yeah, I'm sorry
I said I'm sorry, but for what?
If I hurt you then I hate myself
I don't want to hate myself, so I don't want to hurt you
Why do you choose your pain if you only knew
How much I love you (love you)

I won't be your winter
And I won't be anyone's excuse to cry
And we can't be forgiven
And I will be here

Oh picture on the shelf
It's been there for a while
A frozen image of ourselves
We were acting like a child
Innocence in a trance
A dance that lasted for a while
Read my eyes just like a diary
Oh remember, please remember
Well I’m not a beggar, but once more
If I hurt you then I hate myself
I don’t want to hate myself, don’t want to hurt you
Why do you choose that pain if only you knew
How much I love you (love you)

I won't be your winter
And I won't be anyone's excuse to cry
And we can't be forgiven
And I will be here

I won't be your winter
And I won't be anyone's excuse to cry
And we can't be forgiven
And I will be here

I won't be your winter
And I won't be anyone's excuse to cry
And we can't be forgiven
And I will be here

Abby stormed out of the lounge and went outside. She stayed against the wall of the building as she began pacing back and forth, furious with Carter. What the hell was wrong with him? Why was he acting like such an idiot? A lovesick idiot, she reminded herself, then groaned. She wished she never had to hear that come from his lips. He couldn’t love her, he couldn’t possibly. She was with Luka. And he… was by himself, which was why he always wanted to hang around her. She cursed herself silently as she removed a cigarette from her pack and lit it. Stopping briefly to take in a breath, she saw Luka come out of the ER, walking towards her.
Immediately she looked down. The last thing she wanted was for Luka to start asking questions about her and Carter. She wasn’t ready to answer yet.
“Hey, you okay?” he asked in his thick accent. He was always concerned for her whenever she would run out of a building. She was silently thankful the question wasn’t about Carter.
“Yah, I’m fine,” she answered quickly. Anxiously, she puffed at her cigarette.
“You sure? ‘Cuz you seemed a little upset back there.” He always noticed her, especially at work. “Was it something to do with Carter?”
Damn him. Damn him for bringing Carter up. She only gave him a look.
“I take that as a yes.” He watched her pace back and forth for a moment. “Was it something he did?”
“Luka, I don’t want to talk about it.”
“What did he do?” He was curious to know what it was that got her so upset.
“Luka, it’s… it’s nothing, okay? We just had a fight, and… and,” she pointed in the direction of the lounge, “he’s just being an asshole right now.”
Luka held back a smile. “Is there anything I can do about it?”
“Not unless you could possibly get him the hell away from me,” she mumbled. “I just… I just want to be left alone right now, okay?”
Luka nodded. “Okay. Don’t stay out too long. Kerry’s not in a good mood today.”
“Join the club.”
Luka smiled as he turned and walked back inside. His eyes quickly scanned the admit area and, concluding that Carter was nowhere to be found, he pushed the door to the lounge open and stepped in.

Carter looked up stoically as Luka came into the lounge; he continued to pour his coffee and set the pot back under the maker. Leaning his back against the counter, he took a long sip, keeping his eyes focused on the rim.
“Do you mind if I ask you a question?” Luka asked casually as he played with a coffee mug.
Carter raised his eyebrow. “Sure,” he said, placing his mug on the countertop next to him. He crossed his arms and furrowed his eyebrows, acting like he was interested.
“Is there a problem between you and Abby?” Luka asked first. He was a little hesitant in getting in the middle of the two, but if Abby was upset in any way, he wanted to know why.
“Why do you ask?” answered Carter almost immediately. He knew it had to be about Abby. It was always about Abby.
“I just… noticed you two seemed a little uneasy around each other.” Uneasy was hardly the word. Everyone in the ER could hear them yelling in the lounge at one another. It was more than just a simple problem. “Is anything wrong?”
“No, nothing’s wrong.” Carter picked his mug back up. “It’s just… it’s nothing okay? We’ve just been a little tense lately.”
“A little? Carter, you haven’t spoken to one another in over a week, and today all you did was yell at each other. I hardly think it’s nothing.”
Carter stared at the dark liquid. He wasn’t, he would never tell Luka what he’d told Abby. Not unless he wanted to be humiliated and have his ass kicked. He was already suffering enough knowing the one person he loved didn’t love him back. What was the point of telling another person?
“What is it, Carter?” Luka asked, his voice sympathetic this time. “Look, whatever it is, you can tell me.”
A small laugh escaped from Carter’s throat. “Yeah, right. I don’t think so, Dr. Kovac.” He dumped his mug down the sink and put it back by the coffee machine. “I’m not sure this is something you’d want to hear.”
“What? Tell me. Whatever it is, I don’t care. I only want to know because I want to be able to help Abby, and she’s not telling me anything.”
“Well, then I am definitely not telling you. If Abby doesn’t want you to know, then I sure as hell don’t either.”
“Carter, would you just please?” Luka begged. “I never get anywhere with Abby. If she had a problem about anything, she wouldn’t tell me. Now please, just tell me.”
Carpe diem, Carter thought. Seize the fucking day. That was what he told himself earlier when he told Abby, right? Telling her was probably a lot harder than saying it twice. But this was to her boyfriend, her lover. Her lover wasn’t Carter, it was Luka. Just get it over with, he told himself.
“I told her that I loved her,” he forced out, looking at the ground.
“What?” Luka asked loudly.
“See, that’s exactly why I didn’t want to tell you,” Carter defended himself in an innocent tone. He watched as Luka fought to contain himself.
“You told her you loved her?” Luka finally asked.
“Yes, I did. And now you know.” Carter threw up his arms. “I’m sorry, Luka. But it’s the truth. I can’t hide it anymore, and now she knows, and now she probably hates me. So you don’t have anything to worry about.” His throat was becoming raw with emotion; he needed to get some air. “Just consider me backing off. I won’t be a threat to your relationship anymore.” He quickly left the lounge, not wanting to hear any more of Luka’s replies. Before long, he was up on the roof, freely able to express his emotions to no one but himself. As tears rolled down his cheeks, he cursed the feelings of love. He wished there was never such a thing.

Title: Your Winter (Cont’d)

Note: All right, you talked me into continuing this story, although I was thinking of it. I couldn’t, however, wait for my other story to be finished to continue this one.
The disclaimer still stands, as well as spoilers and other things that I mentioned in the first fic. I suggest you read that one before continuing on.

(These lyrics were borrowed from Ms. Enya.)

Only Time
Music: Eithne Ni Bhraonain - Lyrics: Roma Ryan

Who can say
Where the road goes
Where the day flows
-Only time
And who can say
If your love grows
As your heart chose
-Only time

Who can say
Why your heart sighs
As your love flies
-Only time
And who can say
Why your heart cries
When your love lies
-Only time

Who can say
When the roads meet
That love might be
In your heart
And who can say
When the day sleeps
If the night keeps
All your heart

Night keeps all your heart

Who can say
If your love grows
As your heart chose
-Only time
And who can say
Where the road goes
Where the day flows
-Only time

Who knows - only time
Who knows - only time

Carter was hanging his coat in his locker, making small talk with Malucci, when Mark came into the lounge.
“Hey Carter. You’ve got a new med student today,” he said, his face beaming for the resident.
Carter paused, giving him a curious look before pulling on his lab coat. “You serious?” he asked. “I’m getting a med student?”
“Yah, well, unless you think you’re not ready.”
“No, I’m ready,” he said eagerly, giving his supervisor a smile. “Thanks, Mark.”
“No problem.” He went to leave. “He’s already here, should be in Exam 4.”
“Okay, I’ll be right there.” His day was going good. Excited to be able to get back into what he was capable of doing as a doctor, he started to walk towards the exit.
Malucci watched him go, a silly grin on his face. “Hey Carter, make sure you don’t kill this one, okay?” he joked, taking a sip of coffee.
Carter froze just a few feet from the door. His whole body tensing, he turned and stared at Malucci. “What did you say?” he asked, taking a few steps towards him.
Dave held up his hands. “Hey, man I was only joking. I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry?” Carter yelled. He roughly shoved Dave in the chest, causing the man to fly back into the counter and dropping his mug. It shattered on the floor. “You’re sorry?” he screamed. Before Dave had a chance to reply, Carter punched him hard in the face, then grabbed him by the shoulders and whirled him around. By this time Dave recovered from his initial shock and tried to fight back. As the two stumbled around the lounge, Carter’s thoughts were hooked on one simple thing, kill Dave Malucci.

The noise traveled outside in a matter of seconds. Everyone could hear the screams and bumps as chairs and tables fell to the side, along with a few crashes. Dr. Kovac and Malik were the firsts to react, running towards the lounge doors not knowing what was going on behind the blinded windows. As Malik put his hand on the doorknob, the door flew open and Carter and Dave came crashing out. Both men’s hands were on each other’s throats. Dave already had a deep bruise forming on his right cheek.
The two eventually stumbled to the floor, with Carter on top. As he swung his arm back for another punch, Malik grabbed onto it and hauled him off of Dave. Luka quickly came between the two when Carter tried to lunge at him again.
“Okay, that’s enough,” Luka demanded, putting his arms out to brace both of them back. He looked from Carter to Dave. “What is going on here, huh? Why are you two fighting?”
Neither of them spoke. Carter was visibly trembling, his face still ashen, and he tried to calm himself by taking deep breaths. His eyes still held a death grip on Malucci. He still couldn’t believe what Dave had said to him. How could he say such a thing? He thought Dave was his friend.
Luka studied Dave, who’s right side was already swelling from the assault taken on it. He was looking at the ground. “What did you do, Dave?” he asked.
Dave immediately looked up. “Hey, he started it,” he said, pointing a finger at Carter. “He’s the one who punched me in the face.”
Carter tried to attack him again. Malik gripped onto him and pulled him back. “Why don’t you just repeat what you said to me,” he said icily.
Malucci started to open his mouth, then quickly shut it. Glancing around, he saw that most of the nurses were watching from their stations. Mark and Kerry were standing by the desk, their faces in awe by the situation.
“I said I was sorry,” Dave said meekly, his eyes returning to the floor.
“No, before that. You told me to be careful that I didn’t kill my next med student,” Carter gritted his teeth. He jerked his arms away from Malik’s grip and stormed down the hallway.
Eyes still focused on Kovac’s shoes, Dave felt the hairs on his neck prickle as everyone around turned their attention on him.
“How could you say such a thing?” Luka asked softly, his hand still gripping Dave’s shoulder.
“I… I don’t know,” he muttered. His face was heating up from embarrassment. He slowly pulled away from Luka. “I’m… I’m really sorry.” He slowly trudged away, his shoulders slump.

To be continued…

Title: Your Fall (Continuation of Your Winter)
Disclaimer: I own none. Would if I could, but I can’t so I won’t.
Spoilers: Season 7. Probably Season 8 since I’m passing into it.
Rating: PG13, mostly
Note: This is a continuation of the fic “Your Winter”.
Summary: After Carter announces to both Abby and Luka his feelings, he’s left to deal with them. A new med student briefly adds to his troubles. Abby and Carter talk.

Brushing off his memories of the recent events, Carter maintained a professional stance as he entered the Exam room to meet his new student.
“Hi, my name’s Dr. Carter,” he said to the young man.
“Jake,” his student answered, shaking his hand.
“Well, Jake, let’s get started. I’ll give you a tour, and then we can go to work.”
“Sounds good, doc.”
Carter felt a twinge of annoyance, which he chose to ignore. Hopefully this med student wouldn’t be as big of a pain. Hopefully.

He found her in a booth at Doc Magoo’s, crunching a few crackers into her soup. He sat down on the opposite side and gave her a smile.
“You feeling better?”
Abby smiled. “A little, I guess. I’m sorry Luka, it’s just… I’m not handling things very well right now.”
“It’s okay,” Luka assured her. “Carter talked to me about it.”
“He did?” she asked, a little surprised. “What did he say?”
“He told me that he was in love with you. But he also said that it is all right, that he’s stepping back.”
“Really.” She poked at her soup, her appetite gone. “You’re not mad?”
“Why should I be? It’s a perfectly natural thing to fall in love with someone.”
She took this into thought. What if the other person was falling in love back? “I heard something about a fight,” she said, hoping to change the subject.
Luka stiffened. “Yah, it was Carter and Malucci.”
“Carter?” she laughed. “John Carter got into a fight with Malucci? That’s almost too hard to believe.”
“If I were Carter, I would have killed him myself.”
Her smile disappeared. “Why? What happened?”
Luka sighed. He didn’t want to have to explain all that happened, but Abby hadn’t been there. And since she was still sort of friends with Carter, he knew she had to know about this. “Carter was assigned a medical student, and Malucci… he told him not to kill this one.” His thoughts went back to when they had tried to save Lucy. How could Dave have been so stupid to say such a heartless thing?
Abby rolled her eyes. Sometimes Dave could say some really mean things, but this, this kicked the bucket.
“How is he?” she asked.
“Who? Carter or Malucci?”
She hesitated. “I was hoping Malucci would be dead, so I’m assuming Carter.”
“No, we stopped him before he could get that far. I don’t know how he’s doing. I guess all right.”
She looked down at her hands, neatly folded in her lap. “I think I’ll talk to him after my shift.”
“Maybe you should.”
She looked at him curiously. Luka, her boyfriend, was allowing her to talk to the man that had recently pronounced his undying love for her.
“What?” he asked. “I think he needs someone to talk to. It should be you.”
Nodding, she turned her head to the window. Yah, it should be her.

Carter jotted down a few notes on his clipboard as he watched young Jake Tanner finish stitching a young man’s hand. This guy was impressive. Graduated top of his class, and was planning on being a surgeon. He remembered back to his own surgical days. He hoped this man had the guts to go through it all. Hopefully he won’t get stuck with Dr. Benton. The thought almost made him smile.
The door to the suture room opened and he looked up to see Rena step inside. She had a smile on her face, but it faded when she saw Carter sitting not far from Jake.
“Rena,” Carter said, surprised to see his old girlfriend. What was she doing here?
“Hey, Dr. Carter,” she said quietly. Her gaze broke away from him and went to Jake, who was stripping off his gloves.
“Hey babe,” he said. Rena went over to him and they kissed.
At that moment, Carter found himself sinking lower in his life.

(Lyrics borrowed from Ms. Deon, who I think has the most beautiful voice. I modified a couple words for it to fit this subject.)

Take me back into the arms I love
Feed me like you did before
Touch me once again and remember when
There was no one that you wanted more
Don’t go, you know you’ll break my heart
He won’t love you like I will
I’m the one stays when he walks away
And you know I’ll be standing here still

I’ll be waiting for you here inside my heart
I’m the one who wants to love you more
You will see I can give you everything you need
Let me be the one to love you more

See me as if you never knew
Hold me so you can’t let go
Just believe in me, I will make you see
All the things that your heart needs to know

I’ll be waiting for you here inside my heart
I’m the one who wants to love you more
You will see I can give you everything you need
Let me be the one to love you more

Some way all the love that we have can be saved
Whatever it takes, we’ll find a way
Believe me, I will make you see
All the things that your heart needs to know

I’ll be waiting for you here inside my heart
I’m the one who wants to love you more
Could you see I can give you everything you need
Let me be the one to love you more

The smoke burned as it passed through his mouth into his throat and lungs. Closing his eyes, he released the gas into the air in a swift blow. Seeing Rena again had really thrown him further downward, no matter how he tried to stop it. He wasn’t even sure why it was seeing her with a new boyfriend upset him. Maybe because she had a boyfriend. She had one, Abby had one. Mark was married. Dave… well he didn’t want to have to think about Dave at that moment. The mere thought of the bastard sent a shiver down his spine and a desire to hurt something. Like he’d been hurt.
He dabbed the ashes onto the concrete next to him. He should’ve given up smoking a long time ago, but whenever he would, something would happen to bring him right back to it. After that kid with AIDS had died, after the shooting in the ER, even after he’d relapsed, his cigarettes were always his first comfort. He wouldn’t even go to his family. Gamma was constantly bothering him day in and day out about his work to the point where he would avoid her. His grandfather had been gone on business for the past month, not that he ever talked to him, anyways. His parents… they were in Europe somewhere he thought. He couldn’t even remember the last time they had spoken. Before all this had happened. They hadn’t really spoken since he left for medical school.
Abby had been his comfort at one point in time, but now he’d screwed that up. Telling her that he loved her was probably the most stupid thing he’d ever done in his life. Did he actually think that it would have made any difference for her to know? Did he expect her to just ditch Luka and come running into his arms? If he did, then it was all wishful thinking. He didn’t want anything bad to happen to her and Luka; he’d told her that. But, he couldn’t help what he was thinking. A part of him wished they would break up, and wished that she would fall in love with him. He prayed that something bad would happen to Luka, that he would just disappear so he could have Abby.
What a selfish prick he was turning out to be. He shouldn’t be thinking this way about his best friend. But he couldn’t help it. It was how he felt.
A sharp chill entered the air, causing him to shiver. He pulled his coat more tightly around himself and drew his knees up. He looked over the edge. He was perched precariously on the ledge of the roof, his back resting against a cement wall. He flicked his cigarette into the air, watching as the bits of ash were released and floated downward. He slowly drew his head back, placing it against the wall with a short tap. He brought it forward a bit, then back. Absently, he began thumping his head against the wall, as if to beat out the silly sense that he was in. He was ashamed of his thoughts. Ashamed that he was being such a horrible friend to Abby. Friends didn’t just tell people that they loved them and then refused to be a part of their lives just because they couldn’t deal with their own feelings.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, he thought, timing each word with the rhythmical beating of his head. He wondered briefly if, just by tipping to the side, all of his problems would be solved. No, then he’d only cause Abby more pain. He knew she cared about him, if only as a friend. He’d have to live with that knowledge, knowing he could never be more with her. He did it before, all of his life.

Abby stepped up the stairs leading to the roof door. She tried to sort out in her head what she was planning to say, but then realized she had nothing to say at all. She paused in front of the door. What was she going to say to him? She wasn’t sure anymore how she felt about anything or anyone. She cared about Luka a lot, but she also cared about Carter. Men. Why did they have to drag her into their lives?
Taking a deep breath, she pulled open the door and walked out onto the concrete. Her tired eyes took in the landscape. She could see him sitting not far from her, up on the ledge, his head slowly moving away and towards the wall behind him. She saw that characteristic often in him, whenever he was tired or frustrated with something. Another characteristic was noticed when she saw the cigarette pinched in between his two fingers. He’d told her he quit.
She crossed her arms and made her way to where he was. Stopping by his side, she glanced over him, looking down at the far away city.
“It’s a long ways down,” she commented.
He froze in his movements, opening his eyes slowly. When he saw it was her, he sighed.
“Hey,” he greeted her. He crushed his cigarette out and tossed it aside, wrapping his arms around himself. “You off?”
“Yah. You?”
He nodded, not even looking at her.
“Um, I wanted to talk to you,” she said then figured that was obvious. Why else would she be up here freezing her ass off?
“’Bout what?”
“Us. You, me. Something like that.”
“What about us?” he asked, his voice lethargic.
“Well, um, I thought about what you said to me, earlier. And…”
“I take it back,” he interrupted.
“What?” She was caught off-guard.
He shrugged. “I didn’t mean it. Just forget it.”
She struggled for a word, any word to say. “Well… but…”
“Just forget I said anything, okay? I take it back.” He folded his hands and studied them.
She didn’t know what to say. A part of her was torn to hear him say such a thing. Another part was relieved. “Are we still friends?”
“Sure. If you want to be.”
She let out an awkward laugh. “Of course I do, Carter. We’ll always be friends.”
Her last words stuck out in Carter’s mind. We’ll always be friends. He felt worse than he ever did before.

To be continued…

Title: Your Summer
Disclaimer: Still stands as before. I’m only an innocent writer, trying to satisfy my needs. I own nothing, except for the words that are written here.
Spoilers: Seasons 7 and 8
Note: This is a continuation of “Your Fall”.
Summary: Carter and Abby try to continue their relationship as friends. Luka is suspicious about Abby’s true feelings. Carter finally sees his parents at a family funeral.
Lyrics are borrowed from O Town “All or Nothing”.

Luka lay back in the bed as Abby began to get dressed.
“So how are you and Carter?” he asked. It was one of the questions she heard every day from him, since she told him about their conversation on the roof. About Carter saying he didn’t love her anymore. Sometimes the truth hurt, but this lie hurt even more.
“We’re fine, Luka,” she said, although she and Carter hadn’t spoken much since then. “Why do you have to keep asking?”
“I just wanted to make sure,” he defended himself. “You don’t always tell me what’s going on between you two. I either hear it from him or from someone else at the hospital.” He held a light hearted tone.
“And you don’t have to keep asking me,” Abby told him, pulling on her shirt. “Everything’s fine Luka. Believe me.” She stepped into the bathroom to comb her hair.
“Are you going with him today?” he asked loudly so she would be able to hear him.
She groaned. Carter had approached her yesterday about going to a funeral with him. He didn’t want to go, typical Carter, but he was required by his grandmother to be there. Apparently his grandfather on his mother’s side had died of a heart attack. Most of the Carter family was going to be there. Since Carter was roped into going, he wanted Abby to come along to keep him company. He’d figured she would say yes, but she had told him maybe, if she wasn’t busy.
Now she wished she was. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be with Carter, she did. But under what terms? She was still torn between being his friend and wanting more. A bit of her was curious, curious to know what it would be like to be truly loved by him. That part was also the irrational side of her, thinking it would be great to get a new boyfriend, especially one that was so into her. The rational side kept jumping in, saying it wouldn’t be possible. She and Carter couldn’t possibly work out. They were friends. It would just be too weird. And besides, she was with Luka, her rational side told her. It would break his heart if she dumped him. Stick to what she was used to.
She fought back a few stray strands of hair. “I haven’t told him I would go,” she finally confessed. “It’s a funeral, Luka. I hate funerals.”
“Who’s exactly is it?”
“His grandfather’s. He hardly knew him.”
“So why is he going?” Luka asked, a little perplexed.
“It’s a Carter thing,” she explained, coming out of the bathroom. “Something about being insanely rich and powerful. Everyone’s supposed to be there at every event. You know, show themselves before going back into their holes.”
Luka laughed, shaking his head at the insanity of it all. “Why does he want you to go?”
“I guess so he doesn’t have to face his family alone,” she shrugged. “I dunno. A little support, maybe. He’s told me some pretty awful things about his family.”
“So do you want to go?”
She looked down into his dark eyes. “I don’t know! Quit, quit asking me these questions, Luka.” She ran a hand through her hair. “I wasn’t planning on going. I don’t know. I’ll let you know if I change my mind.” She grabbed her coat off of the chair. “I have to go to work right now.” She kissed her fingers and pressed them against Luka’s forehead. After she left, Luka fell back to sleep.

Carter stared in disbelief as he watched both his mom and dad exchange hugs with Gamma. They couldn’t be bothered to visit him at the hospital, but they would show up at a funeral. Well, it was his mother’s father, he mused. Guess he was more important to her.
He had arrived too early and was forced to join in conversation with his uncles and aunts. Even some of his cousins were there, people he had never met. Each meeting left him more and more intimidated. He wished Abby had come with him. When she was there at the banquet with him, he felt that he could face anyone. Now, now he was scared to even speak to his grandmother.
He caught her motioning to him. Straightening his tie, he walked over to the three.
“Hi Gamma, Mom, Dad,” he nodded at them in greeting. His mom turned in surprise and, in seeing her son, enveloped him in a long hug.
“We meant to call you a hundred times.” I bet, he thought. He tried giving her a smile.
“You still working at that hospital?” his dad asked.
“Yes, sir.”
“Oh. I thought you would have quit after that incident that one time.” He didn’t even remember the date.
“Roland,” his mother warned. “Let’s not get into that here.” She took her eyes upon Carter, looking him over. “My, my, you’re looking well, John.”
“Thank you.” He hadn’t changed much in the last year, but it had been ages since they’d seen each other. If he couldn’t remember the last time they were together, why should she?
The conversation was over, as far as his parents were concerned. Nothing more was needed to be said. They continued their conversation with Gamma, while Carter stood there and played with his tie. Leave it to the Carter family to turn a funeral into a social event. God he wished Abby was there. He needed her to squeeze his hand, reassure him that he wasn’t alone in the world. That he hadn’t been abandoned.
Standing so close to his parents, he could feel their coldness towards him. And the coldness he bounced right back. His despisement for both of them was growing intensely.
He heard his father say something, but it flew right over his head. “Huh?” he asked bewilderedly.
“I was asking you if your grandfather has spoken with you yet about his new plans for the company.” His father had a glass of brown liquid in his hand. Carter suddenly wondered where they were serving liquor. He could use some right now.
“No, sir he hasn’t.” He already knew what it was his grandfather would be saying. Come back to the company.
“Well, he was wondering if you would reconsider his offer to add you to his staff.”
Carter bit back a well deserved sassy comeback. “To be brief, sir,” he said, stressing the last word. “I don’t care what Grandfather has to say. He’s already offered, and I have already declined. And I will continue to decline long after he finishes asking.” His throat was burning for a drink. “Now if you will excuse me, I think I’ll be leaving now.”
His mother grabbed a hold of his arm before he had a chance to turn around. “John, you’re not leaving are you? I mean, how could you? It would be terribly rude of you just to walk out before the ceremony even began.”
“Let him go, Eleanor,” his father intervened. “It’s not the first time he’s ever walked away from his family.” His eyes stared into Carter’s as he sipped his drink.
A lump now formed in Carter’s throat, but before they had a chance to see any of his weak side he was gone.

Luka stared at the phone before placing it back down on the receiver. Abby had called saying she was going to go to the funeral. She was going to go for Carter.
He leaned back on the couch, his face hardening into a deep frown.

I know when he's been on your mind That distant look is in your eyes I thought with time you'd realize it's over, over It's not the way I choose to live And something somewhere's gotta give A share in this relationship gets older, older You know I'd fight for you but how could I fight someone who isn't even there I've had the rest of you now I want the best of you I don't care if that's not fair Cuz I want it all Or nothing at all There's nowhere left to fall When you reach the bottom it's now or never Is it all Or are we just friends Is this how it ends With a simple telephone call You leave me here with nothing at all

He had a feeling she was falling for him.

She had found him easily. He was in the same spot as before, even the same position, the same rhythmic thumping against the concrete wall, the same cigarette, well not the same one but similar. His eyes were closed, his head tilted towards the night sky.
“I was looking for you,” she started, a little uneasy to see him like this.
He jerked suddenly and placed both hands down to keep himself balanced. He cast a weary glance in her direction before smiling. “I didn’t even hear you.”
“You could have told me you left the funeral, before I had to go there myself.”
He looked up to see her wrap her arms around her tiny body. God she was beautiful. He tried to push the thought out of his mind. Where did that even come from? “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I didn’t realize you were coming.”
“I was running late. Don’t worry, I understand. I met your parents.”
He chewed on his bottom lip. “Sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. They were actually pretty nice to me. Wanted to know where you went.”
“Well, after Dad started going off on my grandfather and his stupid company, I didn’t feel like staying. Hell, I didn’t want to go in the first place.” He slid his legs off the ledge and let them dangle, although his feet touched the ground. He stared at the burning end of his cigarette. “Then Dad had to make some crack about me always walking away from the family. That basically did it for me.” He finally looked back up at her. “Sorry you had to meet them.”
“It’s okay.” She’d actually spent over an hour with his parents while they went on and on about how John never called them or tried to visit. They had heard about his drug addiction from Gamma and questioned her persistently about his state of mind. She could only tell them that he wasn’t taking drugs, which his father was convinced he was. No matter how much she defended him, they didn’t believe her.
She didn’t notice Carter put out his cigarette, or stand up, or even walk closer to her. Not until she felt his warm arms wrap around her body did she realize how close he actually was.
“You cold?” he asked quietly, his dark eyes staring down at her. She had to look up before she answered.
“Not now.”
Their faces were slowly inching towards each other. As she drew in a breath, his head dipped down and he captured her lips with his.

Abby had promised Luka she only thought of Carter as a friend. But, ever since he had found out about Carter’s love for her, he had been suspicious as to whether or not she was telling him the truth.

There are time it seems to me I'm sharing you with memories I feel it in my heart but I don't show it, show it Then there's times you look at me As thought I'm all that you could see Those times I don't believe it's right I know it, know it Don't make me promises baby you never did know how to keep them well I had the rest of you now I want the best of you it's time to show and tell Cuz I want it all Or nothing at all There's nowhere left to fall When you reach the bottom it's now or never Is it all Or are we just friends Is this how it ends With a simple telephone call You leave me here with nothing at all Cuz you and I Could lose it all if you've got no more room Nowhere inside for me in your life Cuz I want it all Or Nothing at all There's nowhere left to fall It's now or never

Carter deepened the kiss, tightly wrapping his arms around her frame. His tongue sought entrance into her mouth and he was delighted when she responded. Did this mean they could be more than friends, he thought? His heart leapt for joy as he convinced himself that the answer was yes.

Is it all Or Nothing at all When you reach the bottom it's now or never Is it all Or are we just friends Is this how it ends With a simple telephone call You leave me here with nothing at all

To be continued…

Title: Your Spring
Disclaimer: Own only the words written. The characters are property of NBC and the writers of ER.
Spoilers: Seasons 7 and 8
Note: This is a continuation of “Your Summer”.
Rated: PG13 for strong language.
Summary: Abby has to make a decision about her and Luka with Carter’s influence. Meanwhile, a patient is unhappy with Dr. Carter’s diagnosis.
Lyrics: Borrowed from Michelle Blanche “Everything”

Turn it inside out so I can see
The part of you that’s drifting over me
And when I wake you’re never there
But when I sleep you’re everywhere
You’re everywhere

Just tell me how I got this far
Just tell me why you’re here and who you are
‘Cause every time I look
You’re never there
And every time I sleep
You’re always there

‘Cause you’re everywhere to me
And when I close my eyes it’s you I see
You’re everything I know
That makes me believe
I’m not alone
I’m not alone

I recognize the way you make me feel
It’s hard to think that
You might not be real
I sense it now, the water’s getting deep
I try to wash the pain away from me
Away from me

‘Cause you’re everywhere to me
And when I close my eyes it’s you I see
You’re everything I know
That makes me believe
I’m not alone
I’m not alone

I am not alone

And when I touch your hand
It’s then I understand
The beauty that’s within
It’s now that we begin
You always light my way
I hope there never comes a day
No matter where I go
I always feel you so

‘Cause you’re everywhere to me
And when I close my eyes it’s you I see
You’re everything I know
That makes me believe
I’m not alone
‘Cause you’re everywhere to me
And when I catch my breath
It’s you I breathe
You’re everything I know
That makes me believe
I’m not alone

You’re in everyone I see
So tell me
Do you see me?

He followed her scrub-topped figure all through the ER until she became aware that someone was behind her. She abruptly turned into the storage room and waited for him to appear. It didn’t take him long.
“Did you tell him yet?” Carter asked immediately when he knew they were out of earshot.
Abby gave him a deadly look. “Carter, I haven’t even figured out what I was gonna say to him yet.” She glanced out into the hallway to make sure no one was walking by. Carter let out a sigh and placed his hand against the wall.
“Are you going to tell him?” he asked more calmly this time, knowing Abby was feeling more than stressed out. She was already biting her fingernails.
Abby removed her thumb from her mouth. “I don’t know yet, okay?” She looked into his eyes, eyes that had pleaded her so badly the night before to dump Luka, to tell him that she had someone who loved her more, who worshipped the very ground she walked on. She watched as those eyes turned sad and hopeless as he looked down at her, begging her. “I don’t know,” she finalized. “Now I need to get back to work.” She slipped out from under his arm and disappeared in the crowd.
He leaned his back against the wall and exhaled through his mouth. Don’t push, don’t push. He had to keep telling himself that. He couldn’t force this all on Abby; it just wasn’t fair for her to have to make this decision. But after they had kissed, he had known that they were right for each other, and he was willing to wait until she would tell Luka and break up with him. As heartless as it sounded, Carter prayed that it would happen. Making himself turn his mind back to his patients, he exited the room, deciding to lay off of Abby until she did her thing. The only problem he had now was finding his med student.

Abby gnawed on her nails until they were far from noticeable, all the time watching Luka at the desk. It was right, so why did it feel so wrong? Was it right? Carter kept telling her it was right, but she wasn’t so sure. She truly cared about Luka, as well as Carter. But Carter was different than Luka. She could actually have conversations with Carter, about anything. They had fun together. No matter what they did when they were together, it was fun. Whether it was at work, or at the AA meetings, or just at her apartment watching a movie. The last time she had fun with Luka was on their first date when she beat him at Foosball. After that though… It wasn’t what she had in mind for the ending of any date.
She and Carter went on a date. Wasn’t that what it was, being his escort for a family fundraiser? They’d eaten and danced. They even became childish delinquents and let the air out of her ex-husband’s car. Luka would’ve never allowed her to pull a prank like that.
She continued to weigh her options. Not only did they go on a date, but they had kissed. That was cheating, wasn’t it? She frowned at the possibility.
She had to face it. Her relationship with Luka was over, far from over. It was running on overkill. She needed a fresh start. She needed something new. Why was she thinking up these excuses now? Because Luka would be asking them when she told him. That was what she feared, that he would keep questioning her and she would back out. Take the easy way out, as Carter had put it lightly. He thought her staying with Luka was the easy way, and would result in nothing. Of course, that was because he loved her.
Noticing that she had bitten past the nail and was now progressing on the skin, she pulled her hand away from her mouth and headed towards the desk.
“Luka,” she said, calling his attention. He looked up at her. God, he was beautiful. Didn’t she say something like that with Carter? Wiping her thoughts away, she asked, “Are you on break?”
“Sure.” He put his chart down and stepped away from the counter.
“Good,” she said nervously. She wished she had something to do with her hands. Shoving them in her pockets, she walked towards the elevator. “Let’s go to the roof.”

Carter watched silently as Jake, his med-student, explained his suspicions for doing a head CT on their patient, a male in his mid-forties complaining of migraines and nausea.
“He’s a bit altered, kept going on about dogs in Central Park.”
“Did you get a family history?”
They were both outside the door, peering in through the blinds at the man who was pacing around inside.
“No history of migraine.”
“Did you rule out meningitis?” Carter asked, noting the patient’s symptoms on the chart.
“No, I was waiting to present the results to you.”
“Have you ever done a spinal tap?”
“No, I haven’t.” Jake sounded eager.
“Well, there’s a first for everything.” Carter placed a hand on his shoulder and the two went inside. “Mr. Sethers, how are you feeling?”
The patient stopped pacing. “How do you think I’m feeling? I’ve been waiting here for over a fricking hour. What the hell kind of hospital is this?”
“Well, sir, I’m sorry, but we’ve been a little busy lately.” Try everyday, he thought as he pulled on a pair of latex gloves.
“So what’s your diagnosis?” the man asked.
“We’re not sure yet. We’ll take you down for a head CT, but for now we’d like to do what’s called a spinal tap, to test for meningitis.”
“Unbelievable,” the man raved, throwing his hands in the air. “I came here because I had a headache. Don’t you have an aspirin?”
“Sir, it’s a good possibility that you might have meningitis, which could be serious if it isn’t treated.”
“How is it you think I have meningitis?”
“Your symptoms show sign of infection. You have headaches, nausea, a slight fever…”
The man laughed.
“Which is why we need to rule it out. If the tests show that you don’t have it, it could be something else.”
“So, how do you go about doing these tests?”
“We do a procedure that’s called a spinal tap. We take a needle and insert it into your back to collect some spinal fluid…”
“Wait a second,” he interrupted. “You’re gonna stick a needle into my back? In my spinal cord?”
“Not exactly,” Carter replied. “The needle actually goes inside these tube-like coverings around the spinal cord.”
“Nah uh,” the man said, shaking his head firmly. “There’s not way you’re sticking a needle into me.”
“Mr. Sethers, you could have a very serious disease, and if it’s left untreated…”
“Save it Doc. I’m not paying a shit load of money just so you can tell me I have some deadly virus.” He pulled on his coat.
Carter was on his feet in a second. “Mr. Sethers, please reconsider this.”
“Let me think about it. No.” He started walking towards the door but was cut off when Carter stepped in front of him.
“Please, just think about what you’re doing,” Carter insisted. “If you want I can explain this a little more so you can have a better understanding.”
“I don’t need it, not get out of my way!”
“Please reconsider this,” Carter said again, his voice pleading.
“No, now get the hell out of my way.” He tried to push Carter out of the way. Carter put his hands out to stop him, which resulted in the man throwing Carter aside.
Carter’s back came in contact with the corner of a counter and he cried out as a bolt of pain passed from his back down through his left leg. He crumpled to the floor.

“Luka, I think you and I should break up.”
Whoa, that came from nowhere. Luka felt as though his stomach had gained twenty pounds. “How come?” he quietly asked.
“It’s just, it’s not working out. We both know that.” She pressed the back of her hand to her mouth. “I think we’d be better of as friends.”
“Does this have to do with Carter?” His voice hasn’t risen since their conversation had started. She stared at her feet. How was somebody supposed to answer that?
“Yes,” she finally answered honestly. She was ending their relationship, why not be honest to him for a change.
“Are you doing this because he wants you to or because you want to?”
A part of her was angered by that question. “If it was just him wanting me to, I don’t think I would. He’s wanted me to do this for a long time. Now I’m finally making the decision, because it is my decision! He didn’t tell me to, nobody did. I did! This is what I want, Luka, not him. And I don’t want you to hold anything against him because of this.”
Luka shrugged slightly. “Why would I? I only want you to be happy, Abby. If this makes you happy, then do it. You deserve it.”
The tone of his voice touched her, along with his words. She gave him a smile then a hug, which he returned.
“Thank you, Luka.”

To be continued…

Title: Your Equinox
Disclaimer: Don’t own characters. They belong to more important people.
Spoilers: Seasons 7 and 8. I apologize. I sometimes get influenced by the real world of ER. =)
Note: Continuation of “Your Spring”.
Rated: PG, PG13. Somewhere around there. Heavy language used later on.
Summary: (I used to hate writing summaries but they’re kinda fun now. I like to twist the story around and make it seem irresistible, like they do on t.v.) Carter continues along his day like he always does after a serious event. Dave tries to apologize to him. Luka gets talked into challenging Carter to a game of basketball and the two men place bets… on Abby. The turnout is not what anybody expects.

Lyrics borrowed from Blessed Union of Souls “The Last Day”

See the outline of the frames of where the pictures used to be
Closest full of clothes are empty now
This mess belongs to me
Leaving me room for all the baggage I’ve been keeping locked inside
I said I’d get over her but I lied

Yesterday she walked out of my life
She said it was the best for both of us
The other day I was doing fine
Yesterday was the last day of my life

Every minute I’m gonna watch the phone I can’t believe
It’s so pathetic how my imagination gets the best of me
Maybe I’ll phone her up
Won’t act grownup
Then she’ll hang up the line
Now I just have to get a life

Yesterday she walked out of my life
She said it was the best for both of us
The other day I was doing fine
Yesterday was the last day of my life

Yesterday she walked out of my life
The day before I was feeling fine
Yesterday was the last day of my life

Why did I doubt her? (Yesterday)
I’m better without her (Yesterday)

Yesterday she walked out of my life (There she goes)
If she don’t care, why the hell should I
Yesterday was the best day of my life

Yesterday she walked out of my life
If she don’t care why the hell should I
Yesterday was the best day of my life

Yesterday was the last day of my life

Carter awoke to the same physical sensations he had felt when he’d blacked out. Only this time, he felt a different pressure against his back and he screamed out, grabbing onto the hand that was probing him.
“Whoa, whoa, Carter, calm down,” he heard Dr. Benton say. A pair of arms pushed him back down onto the bed. He opened his eyes and found Benton, Lydia and Malucci hovering over him.
“I take it you’re not okay,” Malucci said, snapping the end of his glove.
“Malucci, I could easily have you find something else to do,” Benton said, glaring at the resident. He placed his hand on Carter’s shoulder and helped the young man sit up. Carter winced as he did so, biting down on his lower lip.
“Easy man, easy,” Benton warned.
“What happened?” he asked as soon as his legs were dangling over the edge of the bed. Benton lifted the back of his shirt up.
“You took a nasty fall. Hit your back.” Benton gently fingered the dark bruising that was forming around Carter’s permanent scars.
Carter hissed in pain, straightening his back as he tried to stretch the tender muscles. “Is it bad?”
“We’ll know more when we get an MRI,” Benton answered.
“An MRI? It’s that serious?”
Benton noticed the fear in his voice. “No, man. We’re just being cautious all right?”
“Hey, you should’ve heard Festus,” Dave came in. “She was so pissed about having psycho patients that she’s having security cover this whole floor.” He patted Carter on the shoulder.
“Malucci,” Benton barked.
“Sorry. Oh, hey Carter, I wanted to uh, apologize for what I said before.”
“What, Dave?” Carter was confused.
“What I said, last week.” Dave was clearly nervous. He didn’t handle apologizes too well. “I didn’t mean any of it.”
Carter gasped as another small muscle decided to spasm. “Look Dave, I don’t really care right now okay?”
“I just wanted to tell you, all right?”
“Okay, Dave.” He gritted his teeth and pulled away from Benton’s touch. “That’s enough.” He yanked his shirt down and slid off the bed carefully. “I’m fine, all right?”
“Carter, don’t give me that. You can hardly stand.” Benton continued his scolding as he watched Carter balance from one foot to another. “We still have to get you up for an MRI.”
“I don’t need it, Dr. Benton. I’m fine.” He took a couple of unsteady steps, favoring his left leg. “I’m just a little weak right now.”
“You’re limping,” Benton pointed out.
“Just like old times,” Carter said with a smile. He found his lab coat draped over a chair and he reached to grab it.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“I have a shift to finish.” With his back to him, Carter put on his coat, frowning deeply as the muscles in his back protested of his swift movements.
“No you don’t. I’m sure Mark and Kerry will let you go home early.”
Fixing on a neutral face, one that showed no pain, Carter turned. “Really, Dr. Benton. I’m fine.” He threw in a pair of puppy dog eyes. It would work on Kerry.
Benton groaned then glanced at his watch. “I will page you when they’re ready for your MRI,” he said sternly. “And you better show up, or I will physically drag you there.”
Carter didn’t doubt that for a moment. “Okay.”
“Carter,” Benton said as Carter was leaving, “you take it easy.”
Carter gave him a grin. “Always.”
Benton silently shook his head.

Luka positioned the ball over his head and, with a flick of the wrists, tossed it into the hoop.
“Let me get this straight,” Abby said, trying to understand. “You suck at softball. How could you possibly be able to know how to play basketball?” She dug her hands in her pockets, looking for a cigarette. The temperature had dropped since the sun had set and she was cold.
He smiled broadly at her. “I had lots of practice here.” He gestured around them at the makeshift basketball court they had outside the ER. “It’s kind of fun once you get the hang of it.”
“I bet it is.”
He held up the ball in one hand. “You want to play?”
“No,” she laughed. Finally her fingers came upon a lone cigarette. She took it out and played with it. “I’ve never been good at this.”
“C’mon. It’ll be fun,” he coaxed.
“No.” She laughed again. Lighting the cigarette, an idea came into her head. “Why don’t you ask Carter?”
Luka scowled a little. “Carter?”
“Yah. He plays out here all the time. Why don’t you go ask him?”
Luka stalled, spinning the ball in his hands. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“I thought you said you didn’t have anything against him.”
“I don’t!”
“Then ask him. Please Luka, just try to be friends.”
He grimaced. Bouncing the ball once, he cupped it in his elbow and solemnly walked towards the entrance. He’d ask Carter, but only because Abby wanted him to.

Carter held a grimace of his own when Luka came into the lounge asking him if he wanted to play basketball. Basketball, one on one, with Luka Kovac? Why didn’t somebody just shoot him now? Why the hell was he asking him? Luka never spoke one word to him unless it was professional, and even then it was curt.
He looked down at his loafers. They definitely weren’t basketball attire.
“Look, Luka, I’ve still got some charts to finish here,” he said. Actually, he had been taking some time to rest his back, which had been aching for the past four hours. He’d gone to his MRI, which showed nothing. That had satisfied Dr. Benton, though he did insist that Carter take it easy and ice his back to reduce the swelling. Dave had been exceptionally nice to Carter all through the evening, helping with his patients and even agreeing to run the labs for him. He’d offered to help ice his back but Carter refused, instead allowing Lydia to do it. He would’ve liked to have Abby be his nurse, but he hadn’t seen her for most of the day.
“The charts can wait,” Luka insisted before wondering why he was. “C’mon. It looks like you could use a break.”
Carter considered the offer. After seeing his skills for softball, he doubted Luka knew much at all about basketball. And if he could beat him…
“What’s your wager?” he asked, standing up.
“Your wager, your bet. Depending on which one wins or loses…”
“Oh, I see.” Though he didn’t really.
“How serious are you?” Carter asked as they pushed the doors open leading outside.
“As serious as you are.”
Carter spotted Abby not far from them, standing under the hoop. “If I win, I get a date with Abby.”
Luka didn’t have to think hard. “Fair enough. If I win?”
“If you win, then I’ll stay away from her.”
Luka easily contained his laughter. So Carter wasn’t aware that Abby had broken up with him. That made this easier. He figured he could beat him, and if he did, he wouldn’t have to worry about Abby being with Carter. If not, then it was inevitable. The reason Abby broke up with him was because of Carter.
The two shrugged off their coats and loosened their ties. Carter’s mind flashed back to the time where he and Doug Ross had had a one on one after Harper had cheated on him. Funny how ironically similar this was, he thought as he watched Luka tug out his shirt. All for a girl, none of the less. Only this time, he felt a little more like Ross. He suddenly worried whether this was a good idea or not.

“Hey you guys,” Chuny called out to the other nurses. “Drs. Carter and Kovac are playing basketball.” She looked out the ambulance bay doors to see them start off the game.
“Who do you think’ll win?” Lydia asked around.
“Definitely Carter,” Malik said.
“I think Kovac,” Haleh replied.
Quickly, bets were placed.

Abby had positioned herself far away from the “court”, not wanting to get in either man’s way. The game had started out evenly, a score for Carter here, a score for Luka there. She mentally kept track, rooting equally for both of them.
After the first five points were scored for Carter, he felt his back pleading to take a break. Like all the times before, he ignored the pain, telling himself that it only got better with a little pain. He was busy concentrating on that one thought that he didn’t see Luka come at him. Before he had a chance to move, he was pushed in the chest by Luka. Both men became entangled in one another and they fell to the ground, Carter first on his back and Luka on top of him.
The force of Luka’s body was like a ton of bricks as it crushed down on Carter’s chest, pressing out all the air from his lungs. His back felt more pain as it impacted with the cement ground under him and when Luka fell on top, it only added to that pain.
“Oh God, Luka!” Carter screamed. “Get the fuck off of me!” His back was shooting severe amounts of pain up and down his body. It was more intense than any other feeling he’d ever felt before in his life, not even when he was a kid and fell off his horse, breaking his arm.
Luka tried to scramble off as quickly as he could. Carter kept on screaming loudly as he tried to grasp his back to stop the seizing agony. He rolled on his side as he tried to gasp for air. Luka placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Carter, Carter are you okay?” he asked.
“Carter?” Abby called as she ran over to the two. She immediately knelt by his side. “Oh my God, Luka what did you do?” she asked accusingly, smacking him on the shoulder.
“I didn’t do anything!” he yelled back.
Carter was sobbing now, his body in a fetal position on his side with his head in his arms. Abby soothingly rubbed his back, but he only shrieked once again.
“No, don’t touch me! Please.”
Luka got to his feet. “I’ll get a gurney.” He took off running while Abby tried to calm Carter down.

All the nurses were watching intently when Luka burst through the doors.
“Yo man, what happened?” Malik asked.
“I need a gurney!” Luka ordered, ignoring his question. “Somebody page Dr. Weaver!”
“Weaver was off at six,” Randi told him. “What happened?”
“Page Dr. Benton and get him down here!” Malik arrived by his side and the two pushed the gurney outside.

“Carter, John it’s okay.” Abby ran her hand along Carter’s forehead, noting the perspiration. He was crying quietly, his tears running onto his arms and the concrete. She heard a bang then the sounds of running feet as Luka and Malik came over with a gurney.
“Carter, can you stand up?” Luka asked gently. Carter shook his head vigorously. “Okay, is it okay if we help you up?”
“No,” he pleaded. “No, please. Just, just give me a minute.”
“Carter we need to get you up.” Luka put a backboard and put it under him then tried to roll him back onto it.
“No Luka please.” Carter resisted the movement, wanting just to crawl into a ball, but his back wouldn’t allow it, neither did Luka.
“We need to get you inside to examine you.”
“Luka,” Abby protested, grabbing onto Luka’s arm before he could move Carter again. “Would you just give him some space?”
“Abby, I’m trying to help him!”
“You’re not helping him! You’re only making it worse.” She was like a lioness protecting her cub as she hunched over Carter’s body.
“Abby, I cannot help him if he stays out here like this. He needs to go inside!” Luka was getting sick of arguing with her. He was more worried as a doctor than in any other form. “Carter, we’re going to move you on your back, okay?”
Carter nodded, tears still flowing down his cheeks.
“Okay, easy now, easy.” The three of them managed to move Carter to his back where he began whimpering. Abby was again by his side.
“John, what hurts?”
“My back, Abby. My back is killing me,” he cried softly.
“One, two, three and lift.” Luka and Malik lifted the backboard with Carter on it and gently settled him onto the gurney. Carter moaned, extending his left leg as he cringed. Abby grasped his right hand as he was rolled inside.

To be continued…

Title: Your Everything
Disclaimer: Characters belong to the writer gods, who forgot Roland Carter. I just write what’s in my head.
Spoilers: Seasons 7 and 8
Note: Continuation of “Your Equinox”.
Rated: PG13
Summary: A battle is fought over Carter’s care and a major issue is brought up. Later, the winner of the bet is announced.
Lyrics: Borrowed from Lifehouse “Everything”

Found me here
Speak to me
I want to hear you
I need to feel you
You are the light
That’s leading me
To the place
Where I find peace again

They wheeled the gurney into Trauma One where Haleh and Lydia were waiting patiently. Once it was positioned in place, Luka turned his attention back to Carter, who had grown quiet.
“Carter?” he asked. “Are you still feeling any pain?”
Carter’s face was white. He stared straight ahead at the fluorescent lights and didn’t answer.
“Haleh, give him 5 of Demerol,” Luka ordered. “Lydia, start an IV.”
Carter’s eyes grew wide and he finally looked at Luka. “No, Luka,” he exclaimed, starting to sit up, which only caused him to cry out in pain.
“Carter, just relax.” Luka pushed him back down.
“No, Luka, please. I mean it, please don’t give me anything.”
Haleh stood by, a syringe of the narcotic in her hand, unsure what to do.
“Luka please,” Carter continued, his voice hoarse. “Please don’t give me anything.” His terrified eyes shifted to the syringe then back to him.
“Lydia, 10 of Versed.”
“What! No! Luka, don’t! Please don’t put me out!” Carter screamed.
“Carter, you need to relax before we can examine you,” Luka explained. “And we also need to give you some pain medication.”
“No. No medication. Please, Luka. Don’t give me any narcotics. Really, I mean it.”
Luka had to stand still and consider the options. Carter had to have been in a considerable amount of pain for him to have been screaming like he did. However, he was also a recovering drug addict.
“Abby understands.” Carter turned his head to where Abby was standing, at the end of the gurney. “Abby please. Please don’t let them give me anything.”
Abby reached out and grasped his hand. “It’s going to be okay Carter.”
“No, you don’t understand. I CANNOT take anything. Please…” he broke off and crunched his eyes shut as another wave of pain was distributed throughout his body.
“It’s okay, Carter.” Luka gently pushed him down again. “I’m still going to give you some Versed to help you relax, all right?” He didn’t wait for a response. “Haleh, go and get some Tylenol for now.”
Carter allowed Lydia to administer the Versed into his arm, all the time his eyes locked on Abby.

You are the strength
That keeps me walking
You are the hope
That keeps me trusting
You are the light
Into my soul
You are my purpose
You’re everything

Luka watched as Carter relaxed his body, though he fought not to.
“I’m going to roll you on your side, okay?” he asked before placing a hand on Carter’s back. With Malik’s assistance, the two managed to place Carter on his side. Gently, Luka pulled up the back of his shirt. Everyone had to hold in their gasps of surprise at the dark purple, almost black, bruise that covered half of Carter’s lower back. With two fingers, Luka stroked the area and he felt Carter tense.
“Just keep relaxed,” he told him and he continued to examine him.
Carter kept quiet. He didn’t like being under the scrutiny of so many people. He gripped Abby’s hand tighter.

You calm the storm
When you give me rest
You hold me in your hands
You won’t let me fall
You still my heart
And you take my breath away
Would you take me in
Take me deeper now

Dave burst into the trauma room with Haleh on his heels.
“What happened?” he asked around, seeing Carter lying on the gurney on his side with Luka examining his back. Malik was by his feet, ready to grab hold if Carter were to protest again. Carter had his hand in Abby’s, who was glaring at Luka.
Dave walked over and stood behind Luka, peering over his shoulder. “Shit, that’s bigger than it was last time,” he said, commenting on the bruise. “Hey Carter, you didn’t have another patient attack you, did you?”
Luka turned around and Dave could feel the tension in the room rise as Abby kept her eyes on them both. “What are you talking about?”
“Before, when Carter was pushed by that guy. Got his back all twisted up. What happened here?”
Luka didn’t answer; instead he turned back to Carter and lowered his shirt.
“They were playing basketball,” Abby said, folding her arms. Carter looked like he was on the verge of falling asleep.
“Basketball? You kidding me?” Dave coughed a laugh. “What happened?”
“It was an accident,” Luka said. He was angered by the looks Abby was giving him. “It was your idea,” he told her.
“Is he okay?” Dave asked, standing on his toes to see over Luka. “He didn’t pass out did he?”
“No, I gave him some Versed.”
“Oh. What about pain medication?”
“Just some Tylenol so far.”
The two looked down at Carter’s still form.

How can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me
How could it be
Any better than this

Benton suddenly burst into the room, wearing blue scrubs and a pair of gloves.
“What the hell happened?” he demanded, going by Abby’s side to get a look at Carter’s face.
“It was an accident,” Luka said. “Carter fell on his back.”
“You pushed him,” Abby accused.
“Dr. Benton?” Carter whispered, turning his gaze up to the tall doctor.
Benton knelt to eye level. Carter’s eyes were dilated and hazy.
“Dr. Benton? Please, don’t give me anything.”
Benton raised his eyes to Luka with a questioning look.
“We’ve only given him Tylenol so far,” Luka said.
“And Versed,” Abby supplied.
“We needed to calm him down.”
Frowning, Benton straightened up and affectionately rubbed Carter’s shoulder.
“It’s okay, man.” He walked around to the other side, stepping back so that he and Luka could speak somewhat privately.
“What are you planning on doing?” he asked quietly, not that it mattered. Carter was drifting off, although he tried to ask Abby some questions that weren’t making sense.
Luka covered his mouth in frustration. “I don’t know yet.”
“Well, you can’t keep him sedated.”
“Yes, I am aware of that. He needed to be calmed down.”
“All right, all right.” Benton clasped his hands in thought.
“He refuses to take anything.”
“Well, I’m not surprised.”
“What happened earlier today?”
“What? Oh, someone knocked him against a counter and bruised his back. Nothing too serious. The MRI was clear.”
“It’s pretty bad now.” They both looked back at Carter. “He was screaming a lot.” Luka’s throat was swollen. He tried to swallow but was unsuccessful. Memories of him killing that guy not long ago were coming back. He’d feel horrible if anything were to happen to Carter. He already was feeling bad enough for inducing this pain on him.
“Do you think we should page Dr. Weaver?” he asked Benton.
“What difference would that make?”
“She was in charge of his recovery, no?”
“Look, let’s give him some morphine, before that Versed wears off.”
“He refuses pain medication.”
“The only reason he is, is because he was addicted to them before. He’s in too much pain to just sleep it off.”
“Did you give him anything before?”
“I gave him some aspirin. He said it helped.”
“Then let’s just see if the Tylenol helps.”
Benton sighed in frustration and backed away from Luka. He brushed his hand over Carter’s face, who wearily opened his eyes.
“Hey man,” he said, bending his knees. “You still in any pain?”
Carter’s mouth felt like a wet sock. “It won’t go away.”
“Look man, it’s… it’ll be okay if Dr. Kovac can give you some medicine, all right? It’ll take away that pain.”
“No, no meds,” Carter slurred, his eyelids drooping.
“Trust me Carter, all right?”
Carter didn’t respond. His eyes were now slits.
“All right, Lydia, um, give him 5 of morphine for right now.”
“Are you running this or am I?” Luka asked angrily.
“I’m just helping the patient while you’re standing around.” He took the prepared syringe from the nurse and injected the liquid into Carter’s IV line.
Abby stared at the syringe, watching the morphine disappear into Carter’s system. Her eyes shifted to Carter’s sleeping form. At least when he wakes up, there would be no pain.

Drip by drip, Saline along with Morphine was administered into the sleeping body. Abby sat by his side, her hands clasped in her lap as she waited for him to awaken.
The door opened slowly, revealing both Luka and Benton.
“How is he?” Luka asked quietly, knowing already there had been no change.
“He’s still sleeping,” Abby replied. She tore her gaze away from her ex and settled her eyes back on Carter’s face. Leaning forward, she brushed back a few strands of hair from his forehead.
Luka noticed this act of affection and felt sad, but only for a moment. She didn’t deserve to be with him, anyways. She didn’t want to be with him.
Benton made a few notes on a chart and returned it to its slot at the end of the bed. “I’ll be back in a few more hours,” he told them.
Luka and Abby waited quietly until he left the room after tucking the sheets closer to Carter’s body.
“Abby, I’m sorry this happened,” Luka said, standing by the end of the bed.
“Luka, this wasn’t your fault,” she tried to say but he shook his head.
“I was the one who made him fall,” he admitted. “I was angry at him but it wasn’t his fault. He was just being himself and I… I guess I blamed him for a lot of things.”
She reached over and took his hand, giving him a squeeze. “I forgive you, Luka.”
He smiled kindly at her. Releasing her grasp, he said, “I’d better get going. Uh, would you like to get some dinner later this week? Just to talk.”
“Sure, I’d like that.”
He lingered at the door. “And tell Carter he won, okay?”
She turned in her chair and asked, “Won what?” but Luka had already gone. Sitting back, she pondered over what he’d meant. The basketball game? If she recalled, Luka had been three points ahead of Carter.
A small groan broke her out of her thoughts. Carter’s eyes were opening. She leaned forward again and took his hand.
“Hey,” she greeted him softly. “Welcome back.”
Opening his mouth slightly, he focused his blurry gaze on her. “Hey.” His voice was hardly audible.
“You’ve been out for almost six hours.”
He furrowed his brow. “Have I really?”
“Yup.” She smiled.

How can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me
How could it be
Any better than this

He drew a line down her hand. “How long have you been here?”
“Oh, I never left. Somebody had to keep a watch over you.”
He grinned sheepishly. “What happened?”
“I think the Versed knocked you out. Um, Dr. Benton gave you some morphine.”
“Morphine?” he asked fearfully.
“It’s okay. He said it wouldn’t cause a problem.” She noticed his face fall. “It’ll be okay, Carter.” She ran her fingers along his cheekbone.
“Thank you.”
Letting her hand rest on his, she said, “Luka stopped by. Told me to tell you that you won.”
“I know. I heard him.”
“What did you win?” she asked curiously.
He stared longingly into her eyes. “You.”

Cuz you’re all that I want
You’re all that I need
You’re everything, everything
You’re all that I want
You’re all that I need
You’re everything, everything
You’re all that I want
You’re all that I need
You’re everything, everything

How can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me
How could it be
Any better than this

Would you tell me
How could it be
Any better than this

The end.

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