Cori leaned up against the wall, running a hand through her hair. It'd been 18 hours since she'd gotten that page that Nick had to fetch her for. She was so exhausted she couldn't see straight and all she could think about was curling up somewhere and sleeping until the end of time. One after the other, pediatric cases seemed to just fly through the ER doors and she barely had time to go to the bathroom let alone stop and think.

"OK Cassandra," she said tiredly as she tossed the last pair of gloves into the hazardous waste bin. "I'm gone. I'll be in my office for a few minutes and then I don't want to hear a beep out of my pager for the next week and a half."

Cassandra laughed and waved good bye to Dr. Cori as she turned and headed for the elevators. As the head ER nurse, Cassandra had seen her fair share of bitchy doctors whining about their rotation through the ER as consultants. Not once during the last three weeks had she heard Dr. Cori complain. Of course, if the rumors were true that she would be asked to take over as Head of Pediatrics, she seriously doubted Dr. Cori would.

"Hold the door please!"

Cori stuck her hand in between the elevator doors to hold them as a short balding man ran into the elevator. "Ah! Doctor Eleszara, just the woman I wanted to speak with."

"Doctor Filmont." Cori's voice wasn't exactly warm towards the man. Everyone disliked the Chief of Staff.

"Exhausted, I can understand that."

Cori looked over at him and saw that he hadn't even bothered to look back at her where she leaned against the rear was of the elevator. Of course, the man was oblivious most of the time. He thought the staff liked him. "You said you wanted to talk to me?"

"It can keep until you're rested. Go home, get some rest and then come see me when you're back on your regular rounds."

Cori sighed. "Doctor Filmont, I'm here, go ahead and talk to me. I'm tired, not dead."

Filmont laughed and turned around. "Spunky, I like that. You know that the nurses talk, right?"

"Doesn't everyone?" The doors opened and She stepped out, Filmont right next to her.

"True, but they've been talking about you. Now," he stopped when he saw her eyes rolling. "They're not talking ABOUT you, they're talking about you. They like the fact you don't pull a superiority trip on them because you're a doctor and they love the fact that you took the time to find out how things worked down in the ER as opposed to running them like you wish. They are, as well as myself, impressed with your courtesy and lack of complaint about the rotation through the ER."

"If this is just a pep talk, I think I'll go home and come back. Or is there something more important at the end of this?"

"There is. I fired Cornbury. I want you to take over as Head of Pediatrics."


An hour later, composed and calmed down, Cori stepped off of the elevator into the parking garage. It was just turning to dawn and she had the next three days off to get her sleep caught up on and her life back in line the way it should be. If she was lucky she might even get to see Nick more than 30 seconds at a time.

"I hear congratulations are in order."

Cori turned to see Dr. Brennan coming out from between two cars. She had just arrived.

"Yeah, I suppose so." She didn't want to do this right now. In the last few months, Rae had become increasingly unbearable to be around.

"Oh I see. Make you Head of a Department and you turn your nose up at the rest of us."

"Oh go to hell Brennan. I'm too tired to deal with your jealous bullshit."

"Jealous, of what? You? Come on!" she laughed spitefully. "Look at you, what do I have to be jealous of? Just remember, Eleszara, Nick came to me first."

Cori sighed. So this was it? "Yeah, he came to you first. But YOU remember THIS - you pushed him away when he came to you a second time. You acted like a petty spoiled child and pushed him away. He came TO ME. He moved on WITH ME. You had him and you lost him. Get over it." She turned away and started off towards her car again.

"He'll never love you the way he loved me."

That stopped Cori in her tracks and she turned back to Rae slowly. "That may be, Doctor Brennan. He loved you so much, he moved half way around the world to be with you. And look at what it got him. A year's worth of headache and doubt. I can only hope to inspire that sort of love in him again and that he can eventually love me as deeply as he thought he loved you. You see, unlike you, I don't play both sides of the fence. If Nick had still been hung up on you, I would have walked away and left him alone. But he's not, he doesn't love you anymore Rae. Why do you insist on hanging on to him when he wants and NEEDS to be free? Or is it something deeper?" Cori advanced slowly on Rae, backing her up against her car. "There is. You can't stand to come in behind me. You've been jealous of me all along, jealous of the way Nick looks at me. It all started when your husband supposedly hit on me at that charity function. Ever stop to think that he actually DID hit on me and you're the reason why?"

Rae's eyes narrowed and she reacted without thinking, reaching out and slapping Cori across the face. After she realized what had happened, she covered her mouth with her hand and gasped. "Oh God Cori, I'm sorry! I… I didn't-"

Cori's head had snapped to the side when Rae had blindsided her with that slap. A hand came up to cover her cheek where she felt the heat rushing to and slowly she turned back towards Rae. "Yes you did. I'm sure at one time your husband loved you and you were a decent human being. But having two men at once had colored the way things are to you. You have turned into a selfish woman with no care for anyone but herself. Your patients are a different matter, of course. But, did you ever stop to think that you are the reason why your husband spends so much time away from home? That perhaps he can't stand to be around you any longer? That night, at the fundraiser, he was drunk and he told me that he knew you were sleeping around, had a man on the side. He couldn't believe it, thought you loved him enough not to do that. He also wondered how you would feel if he were to do the same, whether you'd feel the same or worse than he did. That's why he tried to hit on me. And stupid you fell for it too. You jumped in like a woman with a guilt problem and accused me of sleeping with Sean before you heard anyone else around you. They all tried to tell you to calm down, that nothing had happened. But you wouldn't listen, would you?" Cori sighed tiredly, suddenly feeling more exhausted in the last 20 minutes than she had in the last 18 hours. "Let him go, Rae. Let Nick go and let him be happy. That's all he ever wanted for you." Turning to go to her car again, she shook her head. Rae Brennan would never let him go.

"How do you know what he wants for me?" she asked quietly.

Cori turned back and sighed. With a shrug she answered, "It's what I would want for my lover if I were in his shoes. That, and I talk to him. We spend hours talking when we can. It's nice, you should try it with Sean once in a while."

Rae watched as Cori got into her car and pulled out. She remembered Nick's words a year ago when he'd told her that he wanted her to be happy.


Cori sighed as she pulled into the parking garage of her high rise apartment. As exhausted as she was, she was amazed she'd made it home in one piece. Another day without Nick there, she thought as she stepped into the elevator and took it down to the main floor. What she wouldn't give to have Nick take the day off and sleep in with her. Not that she'd be much company.

"Good Morning Dr. Cori!"

Cori smiled at the cheerful doorman as she came around the corner. "Good Morning Tony. How's the wife?"

"She's doing fine. How's the kids?"

"Oh, same as usual. Had a busload of them in the ER last night. I think I'm about wiped out. Have a good day!" She waved at Tony as she stepped into the elevator and punched the button for the 10th floor.

Almost in a daze she stepped off and made her way down the hallway towards her apartment. With two bedrooms, this one was costing her quite a bit. But, she needed that second room for her office and it was well worth it in the long run. Closing the door behind her, Cori dropped her overcoat and purse on the floor, then turned and put the locks in place. As she aimed herself towards the bedroom, she stripped piece by piece until she was down to her socks, bra and panties.

The room was dark still, the drapes pulled tightly closed against the morning light. Stretching slightly, her shoulder popped and she yanked back the covers. "God I could sleep for a week…" she groaned as she fell back against the pillow.

"Then do it quietly," came the muffled growl as an arm reached out to pull the covers up over her and pull her closer at the same time.

Cori giggled and turned over to face Nick who was just opening his eyes. "What the hell are you doing here? I figured you'd be at Presidio this morning."

Nick smiled and snuggled Cori up close, throwing one leg over hers and lightly bussing the tip of her nose. "I knew your last day of the rotation was today, so I scheduled it off. Knowing your penchant for sleeping like the dead, I stayed up last night and only went to bed about 10 minutes ago."

Cori smiled, soft tears welling up in her eyes.

"What's this?"

"Nothing… you're too sweet Dr. Koko."

"I aim to please, you furious little banshee of a woman." Nick winked as she turned over. He swatted her rump and then settled in for a good long nap, his arms wrapped around her tightly as they both drifted off…


- finis.