An ER fan fiction by AbCaLuDa

*Standard disclaimers apply. You know what they are.


I am busy with a patient, and even though the door opens I don't look up. I make notes on the patient's chart.

"Can you take a break?" The deep. Husky catch in his voice catches me off guard. I almost drop my pen when I look up at him. His eyes are swollen, he looks like hell.

My shift started less than two hours ago. I'm not due for a break yet. I should tell him no, he'll have to wait. But I can't do that. No matter what he said to me the last time we talked, no matter how hurt and upset I am at him, I can't refuse him now. He needs me, and I never could refuse him anything.

"Give me two minutes. I'll meet you in the lunge."

He shakes his head, his hair falls over his eye and he jerks it away. "No. I'll wait here." He steps out of the room and it's all I can do to finish checking on my patient.

I can see him through the window on the door. He's leaning against the wall, his head tilted back. He looks weary. Defeated. What could have happened since last night? Last night when he told me, or didn't tell me but I guessed, he was going to find Luka in the Congo to volunteer with the World Medical Group or whatever they're called.

Luka! The thought of Luka hurt in Africa sent a shock of fear through me. I drop my patient chart and turn to the door. "Carter?"

He takes my hand and leads me upstairs, to the roof. Oh this is bad. Oh God, if Luka got killed over there…

"Is it Luka?" My voice sounds small, I barely recognize it as mine. I take a deep breath and try not to let my mind create an image of Luka dead in some jungle on the other side of the world.

Carter shakes his head and reaches for my hands. He's looking at me like he's never seen me before. I feel nervous under his gaze. I want him to look away, but when he does that scares me even more. "Carter, what is it? Is Luka dead?" I almost choke on the word.

"No." He's leaning against the railing over looking the street below. He looks desperate enough to launch himself over the side. I try to pull him away but he is anchored there and he won't budge.

"My mother went to Switzerland to see my sister. They were in a car accident. My mother was killed instantly. My sister is probably going to die too. The baby is okay, not a scratch on her. I didn't even know Barbara had a baby. I have to go over there." He looks down at our hands, laces his fingers in mine and brings my hand up to his heart. His pulse is racing. "I'm leaving tonight and I thought…I mean…I know you don't have vacation or anything and I'm sorry about what I said the last time we talked. I really want you, I need you to go with me, Abby. Will you go with me?"

I stare at him. I don't know what to say. I know the answer, the only answer I can give, but I can't find the words. I stare into his eyes and I know I have to do this for him. I nod and a moment later his arms are around me, his face buried in the curve of my neck. I feel his tears spread over the thin material of my scrub top. I bring my hands up to the back of his neck.

* * * * * * * * *

Chapter One

He doesn't let go of my hand until he's standing in front of the door. "I have to go in alone," he says and pushes his hand through his hair. I stuff my hand in my pocket to try to hold on to his warmth.

He goes into the room, and I watch through the window. I feel like I am violating his right, her right, to privacy. She's weak, and the doctor doesn't have much hope for her. She's going to die. It's just a matter of time.

She reaches for his hand, and he brings his up to meet hers. His body shakes slightly and I know he's crying. She pulls her hand away from his and reaches up to wipe his cheeks. He covers her hand with his and holds it against his jaw.

Carter never talked about his sister, except to say she lived in Switzerland an he hadn't seen her since she went over seas. He rarely spoke to her on the phone. They were never close, even as children, but he loved her and in his heart he knew she loved him.

I eventually turned away from the scene and leaned against the wall to wait for him. I stand up straight when he comes out of her room. He wipes at his eyes and tries to smile. He looks so weary, I just want to take him in my arms and hold him until this all goes away like a bad dream, except we both know it isn't a dream and it isn't just going to go away.

"She asked me to take care of Isabelle." His voice is thick and raspy.

I think my jaw almost hit the floor. I don't know why I didn't expect that. Of course she would ask him. He's her brother, the only family she has other than her father now, and Isabelle's father was never part of the picture. "Take care of?" I repeat because I had to say something and I didn't know what to say.

He looks at me for a long tense moment. "There's no one else."

I nod and he nods and he holds his arms out to me. I go to him and he holds me. My arms are around him, my head against his chest.

* * * * * * * * *

Time seems to stand still while we're waiting. The social worker left us sitting on a shapeless couch in a dull, dingy, undecorated waiting room. Cater has a death grip on my hand and I'm afraid he's going to break one of my fingers if they don't bring the baby to us soon. It seems like we've been waiting an hour, but my watch has barely ticked off five minutes.

I wonder what is going through his mind. He hasn't said anything the whole time we've been waiting. He's sitting here, stiff and still, as if he's afraid to move. Only his fingers twitch every few seconds and I see the nerve jump along his jaw.

Finally the door opens and she's there. The social worker, if that's what they're called in Switzerland, is carrying the baby. Carter stands, but doesn't let go of my hand which forces me to stand as well. He flexes his fingers and lets go, wipes his palms on his thighs and steps forward.

The social worker shifts the baby's position and pulls the blanket down so we can see her face. She's beautiful. I've never seen baby pictures of Carter but I think she must look like him.

He takes her and holds her against his chest. He's always had a way with babies in the ER, and this one is no exception. She looks up at him, her eyes locked on his face, and he's smiling at her with tears glistening in his eyes.

I stand behind him, looking at the little angel in his arms. "She is beautiful," I whisper, and he nods without looking at me. He can't take his eyes off her, and I can't blame him. She belongs to him, or maybe he belongs to her now. He's taking her home to Chicago in two days, the day after we commit her mother and her grandmother to the ground.

I don't know what's going to happen after that. I don't know what this will mean for us. I don't eve know if there is going to be an us to worry about after this. I hope so. I hope he will let me help him.

* * * * * * * * *

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