Greetings all. I'm trying to get back into writing regularly, and since the great blockbuster novel idea isn't panning out, I thought I'd go back to the old faithful fan fiction. I dug up The Hurting Time Has Come, reread it with intent to tack on a new chapter, but decided I could improve it greatly...So. Bear with me.

The Hurting Time

An ER fan fiction

By Michelle )

Rating: R Language, Violence

Pairings: Primarily Carby, Luka & Sam

Notes: Different spin on the stabbing storyline.

Disclaimer: This is a fan fiction. The characters established on ER are not mine. All original characters belong to me.

Notes: Feedback feeds a writer's soul. If you read it, feed it. Thank you.

Prologue

We're walking on the path by the water. Lake Michigan. is a deep, intense blue. It's peaceful, serene. The steady rhythm of the waves on the shore has a lulling effect on us, and we don't talk. We don't need to talk. Just being together is enough. Just feeling him next to me, his arm around my waist, our steps in perfect harmony, is all I need. Walking like this with him, I can almost believe everything is right in the world.

He steps suddenly, and I nearly stumble. He catches me and pulls me to him. His kiss is electric, I feel little sparks erupt in my mouth, in my gut. Seems all my nerves jump to awareness, tingling with anticipation.

He severs the kiss and pulls his head back just enough that he can look into my eyes. He smiles, and I feel a smile tugging at my lips. His left hand slips in his pocket. I know what he's doing. I just... i know /i . I've known it was only a matter of time, and what would be a more perfect place than right here, beside the water?

"Abby," he starts, his eyes focused on mine, mine locked on his. He drops to one knee. It's a graceful, effortless motion. He's probably rehearsed it a hundred times. Off to the side, I see another couple has stopped to watch us. As soon as I notice them, I've forgotten, I'm completely focused on him.

"Abby," he says again, and pulls his left hand out of his pocket. "Will you marry me?" He's holding a small black velvet box. He opens it, presenting a beautiful silver diamond ring. It must be ten Karats. My hands fly to my neck, and I step back. Even though I've imagined this moment a thousand times before, nothing could have prepared me for how it truly feels.

I open my mouth, but I can't speak. I look down to make sure my feet are still on the ground. He's looking up at me, expecting an answer. "Yes...Yes..." I manage weakly, with barely any volume at all.

It's enough. He's sliding the ring on my finger. It's huge. It's...oh God. He just proposed to me. He wants to marry me. And yes, yes, yes. Yes, I want to marry him. I've never wanted anything more in my life.

I don't care that he's one of the richest men in the world. His money isn't an issue. Sure, it's nice. It's really nice knowing I'll never have to worry about money. But...even if he was as penniless as the bums on the street corners, I'd love him.

My feet are definitely not on the ground anymore. He's holding me against him, swinging me around. The gathered crowd is clapping. He's smiling, grinning like a Cheshire Cat. My head is in a fog of complete joy, but I'm aware enough to put my hands on either side of his face and lean down to kiss him.

Chapter 1

I'm sitting on the toilet in the women's room staring at the stick in my hand. It's pathetic, hiding in here. I could have asked Susan to run a blood test. But that would mean telling Susan my suspicions. And I'm not ready to do that.

I don't know why I even bothered with this stick test. I know what it's going to say. I i know /i I'm pregnant. My breasts are tender, my ankles are swollen. So sitting here is really kind of pointless. But here I sit. Watching and waiting for the inevitable plus sign that will change my life forever.

I've seen the plus sign once before. When I was married to Richard. It changed my life because I couldn't accept it. I could not have Richard's baby. I wasn't ready to be a mother. I've lost track of how old the kid would be. I stopped counting when I left Richard.

It's been three minutes. Feels like three years that I've been sitting here. I close my eyes, willing the plus sign to be there when I open them again. One. Two. Three. I'm going to count to ten. Then I'll open my eyes.

I crack one eye open. There is only half a plus sign there. A minus sign. Not pregnant. I don't know if I'm relieved or heart broken. It's probably for the best. We aren't married yet. Soon, I think, and look at my ring finger. There's a distinct band around the finger. I don't wear the ring at work. I don't want anything to happen to it.

Ideally, we should wait until we're married to have a child. I'm not really even ready to be a mother. I know he would help me figure it out, but still. It's best this way. I know that. And yet I feel an emptiness in my soul as I throw the stick and the box and the hope in the trash can.

I bury the evidence deep. I take a deep breath and step out of the restroom. I'm looking down at the floor, trying to find the strength to look up, and I notice a strange foot print on the floor. In my mind, I know it's smeared blood. I know it even before I kneel own to get a better look at it.

Bloody foot prints lead to the men's bathroom. Of course I'm going to follow them. Impossible not to follow them. But, because it is a men's room, I knock. I should call for security. Carter, Luka, someone to go in and check this out. But it's up to me. I have to do it.

No one answers my knock. "Hello? Anyone in there? Are you hurt?" I ask. The footprints lead away from the door. Whoever it was is long gone. And yet, I push the door open.

So much blood. Way too much blood. And I know him, the man laying face down in it. It takes a moment for my eyes and my mind to connect, and then I'm kneeling, not caring about the blood on the floor. Needing to check for a pulse, breath...anything. I need to call for help. Dear God. I need help.

"Luka!" I yelp. "Luka, can you hear me? Luka, come on. Luka!"

His eyes flutter. He's looking at me. I don't think he really sees me. "Car..." he says, but it's a whisper and I have to lean in close to hear him.

"Car? Your car? Luka? I don't understand. Did someone try to steal your car?"

His eyes close. "Car..." he says again. Trying to make me understand. It doesn't make sense. I have no idea what he's trying to say. His eyes open, and I could swear he's looking right past me. "Car...ter..."

"Carter? You want me to get Carter?" I start to stand, but my shoe slips in the blood. And that's when I see him. Carter. On the other side of the small room. Face down in a pool of blood.

I scramble to the door. I can't wait another second. I need help. Oh God. Oh please. Tell me this is a dream. A nightmare. A horrible, sick, terrible nightmare. Whatever it is, it isn't real. Please, God, tell me this isn't happening.

My feet want to slide and I can't get the door open. I want to go to Carter. I need to be near him. I have to get help. I don't even know what happened. I don't even know if Carter is breathing.

"Help!" I scream into the hallway. It's deserted. "Help!" I yell, louder. "In the men's room! I need a gurney! Two! I need two! Help!"

Reality didn't set in until they were both upstairs in surgery. We had done all we could do for them in the ER. Now it was a matter of time, of waiting, hoping, and praying. The rest of the world seemed to respect our need to regroup and draw strength from each other because the phones didn't ring and no urgent traumas came in. Most of us settled in the lounge, seeking comfort in being together.

Any other time, Luka would be in the middle of the room, giving a pep-talk, using that lulling accent of his to try to keep everyone calm. The only reason we seem calm now is because we're all in shock. How could this have happened? Luka and Carter attacked in the men's room...and no one knew who did it. Or why. That's the really scary part. It seems to be a random act, right here in our hospital, which means no one is safe.

I'm sitting on the couch between Susan and Kerry. Susan has her arm around my shoulders, Kerry has her hand on my knee.

I close my eyes and I see Carter here, on this couch, trying to rest a little between patients. How many times had I wandered in here to find him with his arm flung over his eyes to block the light? The image shifts in my mind, like in the movies where one scene takes over another, the calm peacefulness of an innocent cat nap turned to the bloody war zone of the men's room.

They had been stabbed. Luka had taken two hits, to his back and one side. Carter had been hit three times. I close my eyes against the memory of them lying there on the blood-soaked bathroom floor. So much blood. Too much.

I shiver, and Susan pulls my head to her chest. She strokes my hair and whispers to me, gentle words of faith and encouragement. I try to remember how handsome Carter looked last night, and how his kisses make my head swim with desire. I hear his voice calling my name, like the soft whisper of the wind. I give in to the pressing need to cry. I want to cry until there are no tears left in me.

Well, there you have it. Newly revised chapter one. Please use the review button, it's there for a reason. Let me know what you think. New and improved chapter two should be up shortly...Thanks for reading!