Title: 'Recoil'
Author: Anna Rousseau annadelamico@yahoo.co.uk
Genre: JC/LKn
Rating: PG-13 Violence
Set: AU S6 'Be Still My Heart'
Archive: Just tell me where.
Song Used: Yeah it's *that one again*, but how could I leave it out of a BSMH AU story? 'Battleflag' by Lo-Fidelity Allstars.
Summary: What if Paul Sobriki had not of stabbed Carter and Lucy, and it'd happened like some rumours suggested.

Notes: I got the idea after discussing this rumour with my great fellow ficcer and pen-pal Carrie Verkman, and I thought it'd be fitting for a 1 year anniversary tribute.

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, I don't own the rumour, I don't own the lawsuit.

'RECOIL'
========


"It's blue?" The incredulous voice of Lucy Knight rang clear in the still night air of St. Valentine's Day; its only accompaniment a series of high pitched sirens yelping in the distance. She drew her jacket closer to her body, in a vain attempt to keep out the passionless, gelid Chicago winter air.

Walking briskly beside her, on his way back to the ER after a quick caffeine boost at Doc Magoo's, was Dr Dave Malucci. He quickly replied, "Yeah."

"Weird." Lucy commented, dodging an icy puddle.

The night shift workers in the ER had just handled a tough trauma; a gangbanger had shot his brother who had been sleeping with his girlfriend, who was also killed in a fit of jealous rage. Neither of them had survived, despite the staff's best efforts.

Both the med. student and resident had needed time to crash after the incident, so had resorted to cherry pie and coffee at the popular diner before the ER's annual St. Valentine's Day party.

Dave was carefully carrying a pristine white card box that held the slightly less conventional blue cake for the party. They had volunteered to pick it, since the nurses were so busy, preparing the trauma rooms in case of another major emergency.

Dave grinned charmingly at Lucy in reply to her statement, "Weird becomes your middle name when you start working at county."

"True," Lucy said with a wry smile as she swung the double-doors open with her shoulder, immediately hit by the volume of chatter which informed them immediately that the party was starting up.

"I guess that Dr. Weaver's not here!" Lucy said drily as she took the cake from Dave and passed it through the window to the admit area, where Chuni was waiting attentively with a 6 inch butcher knife.

"Thanks!" The Latino nurse replied with a grin.

Dave, who was pulling off his leather jacket, took Lucy's as well before motioning to the gleaming blade. "Isn't that a bit excessive, I mean, what if one of the pysch. patients got it?"

Chuni laughed back at Dave, who obviously thought his joke was quite impressive. Lucy gave a chuckle as well, thanking God that nothing like that had happened in County.

Lucy gave a start as some booming music from a ghetto-blaster was switched on began to fill the corridors of the ER, replacing the hustle bustle with its electronic tones.

***

Your construction
Smells of corruption
I'll manipulate to recreate
This air to ground saga
Gotta launder my Karma

***


"Be right back," announced Dave, who set off in the direction of the lounge to put away their jackets. He turned around for a moment and shouted to Lucy, "Love this band."

She hadn't really liked the music at first, but it had grown on her and now she felt like dancing to it. Though the problem was, she deliberated, who was going to dance with her with her?

Lucy had someone in mind. She glanced, like a stealth predator, around the ER.

Dr. Kovac, Carol, Randi, Chuni, Lily, Dr. Benton, Dr. Finch, Connie, Haleh, Dr. Chen...but where was Carter?

Resisting offers from Dave to dance with him, Lucy politely excused herself and went in search of her supervisor. She patted the pocket of her lab coat protectively before pulling out its content, a plain red envelope with 'Carter' cursively scrawled on the front in silver pen.

***

I said hallelujah to the sixteen loyal fans
You'll get down on your knees
And it's time for your sickness again
Come on and tell me what you need
Tell me what is making you bleed
We've got two more minutes and
We gonna cut to what you need

***


She looked down the corridor and spotted the tall figure of the supervising resident, who was just exiting Curtain Three, a concentrated look etched across his face as he studied a chart.

Taking quick strides in Carter's direction, Lucy headed away from the boisterous party, passing an ER nurse and a transport tech who had just exited the drug lockup giggling. The traditions of Valentine's Day never were forgotton at County, regardless of the consequences.

"Hey Lucy," Carter said above the music, as she approached him, as he pushed open the door to Curtain Three and slotted a metal chart in the rack behind the door.

Lucy peered into the room and glanced at the three gurneys, "It's dark in there. Are they actually sleeping with this music on?"

Carter gave a small smile and a shrug, "Like we all say, patients need their rest, and this certainly proves it."

She handed him the envelope casually; "I just came to check to check on Paul Sobriki. This was at the desk for you, so I thought I'd bring it."

"Thanks," Carter said, looking at her with a bemused expression of suspicion as he used his index finger to open the envelope. "Yosh gave every one a card this year, didn't he."

Lucy was for a moment disappointed, but she could see from Carter's eyes that he was joking. "So, you think its schizophrenia?"

Carter looked up from the card: he was trying the best to give her the impression that he was trying to puzzle it out, "Yeah, he's had his first psychotic break. I'm just waiting for a pysch. consult."

"Right," Lucy replied, as she thought over Paul's situation, glad that he had been diagnosed before he could do and harm to himself or someone else. It made her think though, it could have happened to her, she could have been the one who had just discovered they were seriously ill. In a way, Lucy realized she was lucky that she was healthy, and could appreciate life fully.

Cross fingers, touch wood.

"You were right Lucy, good pick-up," Carter told her. She nodded and took a breath before she attempted to be heard over the music, which was still loud at the other end of the ER.

"I think I'll stay with him, y'know, make sure he's OK till someone comes," Lucy replied, watching as Carter took in the proposal contemplatively.

"No, no," he replied as he led her down the hall, "he'll be OK, Malik's staying with him. Anyway, you don't want to miss the party, do you?"

Lucy gave him a smile as they walked slowly down the hall, she gestured to the card he was still holding, "Well, I think that your secret Valentine wants a dance."

"Hmm," Carter replied in a mock-serious tone. "Well, this 'LK' can find someone else to dance with, you can just tell Dr. Kovac that I'm, y'know," he lowered his voice secretively, "not that *way*."

"Gay?"

"No, I don't have a problem with that. It's just...y'know, he's not blonde," Carter joked.

She gave him a playful punch on the arm and giggled. All of a sudden, Lucy was thrown off balance and her attention was diverted by the sharp impact of an unknown object to her left side. She reeled back into Carter who caught her quickly before she fell on the floor. Her sethoscope tumbling from her neck to the floor.

"Oh, Lucy!"

Lucy looked up and saw Abby Lockhart looking down at her apologetically, "I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking."

"No damage done," Lucy replied as she stood back upright, noticing that Carter's hand lingered on her waist for longer than necessary. Lucy lent over and picked up her stethoscope, swinging it by her side.

Carter looked over to Abby, who was wrapped up in an anorak, her eyes red and cheeks tear stained. "Are you OK?"

Abby waved her hand to dismiss his concern. "Oh, yeah." She sighed and raised her voice over the music. "I was upset about Mrs. Connelly."

Lucy knew that Carter could tell why Abby was upset. Lucy had heard that they'd lost a geriatric patient an hour ago, and Abby had taken it pretty badly. It was understandable though: the ER was the total opposite of obstetrics when you thought about it. From the look in Abby's eyes she knew it too.

"Don't worry about it, that's how the ER works, if you want to talk sometime..." Carter said, his tone kind and supportive.

Abby smiled gratefully at Carter's offer, "Yeah, OK."

They all started to amble back to the party; Abby walking slightly quicker than Carter and Lucy who were still discussing Carter's mystery Valentine.

"So, if Dr. Kovac was a blonde, you'd go with him," Lucy asked as they stopped in front of Chairs. She flung her stethoscop back around the collar of her short lab coat with a well practised air.

Carter chuckled in that way of his which was extremely silly, yet totally endearing, "Absolutely."

They both laughed, their faces crinkled up and dimpled, as the song went into a bridge.

***

Got a revolution behind my eyes
We gotta get up and organize
Got a revolution behind my eyes
We gotta get up and organize
Got a revolution behind my eyes
We gotta get up and organize
Wanna revolution behind your eyes
We gotta get up and organize

***

Carter could not stop himself from laughing at the thought. Looking down at the card he held in his hands Carter smiled. He was captivated by the sight of Lucy giggling, with him, her face full of youthful vibrance. She glowed with happiness, and after the grueling hours they'd spent with the gangbangers riddled with bullets, it was a welcome breath of fresh air.

The music hit a loud echoing bang, and he jumped, along with Lucy, from the shock of the loud and violent noise. He was about to laugh with her about their nervy reaction to a just a loud noise when the mood between the two of them had irreversibly changed in a millisecond.

His eyes trailed down to her crisp, white shirt. "Lucy!"

"Carter?" A distorted voice replied, in a shaky, unsure tone.

It had happened so quickly that Carter hadn't taken it in and it took a while for him to process the images he saw before him. His eyes told him the worst, but his brain was disbelieving. It wasn't happenning.

Not her. Not here.

Lucy's face suddenly, yet slowly conorted, becoming blanched: a shaking ghost stood before him waring a pained and fearful expression. It gingerly reached a hand down to Lucy's stomach, fingers touching the bright red stain that was rapidly advancing across the white cotton.
Engulfing her consciousness and never halting.

The hand retracted and Lucy looked at the unsteady dripping finger with morbid fascination. Her head slightly moving from side to side without acceptance.


***

Come on baby tell me
Yes we aim to please

***

"Oh God." Lucy blinked, her eyes fixed to her still outstretched hand, fingers trembling. Her voice bearly a whisper.

Lucy's blue eyes, opened wide, stared into his questioningly, fearfully. There was a knowing look there in those pools of sapphire, and there was nothing Carter could do to dampen her fervent panic.

"No, God. No." Her speech became dry and crackled from the mere effort of talking.

Her breathing started to become painfully laboured. Every motion a stab of pain which coursed through her body like the blood that ebbed and flowed across her pure-white lab coat.

It was red now.

Not some patient's blood. Lucy's blood.

Abruptly, Lucy's legs gave way and her arms flailed, reaching for Carter, grabbing onto the Valentine's card held limply in his hand. Her hands slick, without grip, covered in blood.

Lucy's bloody fingerprints, an impression of her last struggle, left bright stains on his lab coat's collar.

Six of them. Palm, thumb and fingers four.

Catching her before she fell, Carter felt incomprehensibly detached from the situation. He stared down at her limp form from where he knelt, watching her silent lips form words she couldn't bring to expel from her mouth. Tearing his eyes away from Lucy, Carter looked up to a see a lone figure in the corridor. The ambulance bay doors crashing from his entrance.

It had only taken seconds.

The gangbanger from that morning was staggering back from the recoil of a gun, glinting maliciously under the fluoresant strip lights, held in his hand. A finger had applied pressure to the trigger; the barrel aimed at the doctor kneeling over his med-student.

Carter's whispered prayers were unheard above the chaotic rhythms of the song as the bullet violently hit his left shoulder, extracting a cry of agony as his head hit the linoleum floor with a sharp crack.

***

Come on baby tell me
Yes we aim to please

***


Carter blinked, his cheek flat against the cool floor. He could stay like this, without movement. The pain was lulling him to sleep, eveloping him with a strange serenity. His eyelids were heavy, too heavy to keep open. No need to move. Loss of conciousness would be welcome, the pain was making him weary.

His eyes moved slowly, the ER looking daunting from their unusual persepctive. Then he caught sight of Lucy, opposite him, her eyes watering, her breathing shallow and fast.

Carter pressed his hand to the floor and used every last joule of energy in his body to sit. His other hand reached up to his shoulder, wincing as he pressed the wound. Moving slowly with excruciatingly slow actions, he bent over Lucy, his lips trembling as her eyes met his. Carter rested his free hand on her red-stained hair and tried to keep back his tears.

Lucy choked slightly and hoarsly whispered to him, barely audible above the music. "You're bleeding."

He looked at the blood on his clothes. From his shoulder, from Lucy. Her eyes were becoming glassy and distant. Carter drew her closer with his arm, "No, no...I'm fine," his voice broke and he gulped, "I'm OK."

Lucy nodded slowly, knowing that he was lying. Her fingers relaxed and the Valentine's card dropped from her grasp. It's cover slightly torn, the red foil heart splattered with blood. Carter took his hand away from her hair and gingerly picked it up. Turning the pages, trying to stay awake for Lucy.

"Do you know who it's from?" Lucy croaked, her chest rising quicker and quicker with every pasing second. Her eyes closed tight for a moment before resuming her terrified gaze.

Carter gave a weak smile, shifting slightly, trying to find a more comfortable position. But every muscle that moved sent arrows of pain down his arm. "We decided. Dr. Kovac."

Lucy rolled her eyes and closed them her mouth curved slightly. "No. Me, stupid."

"I know," he whispered shakily. Carter watched as she let her arm drop to the floor and land in the crimson moat surrounding them. Droplets of blood jumped up and left their clothes with polka-dots.

As soon as it had became distressed, Lucy's breathing stilled and her body went limp. Carter felt his cheeks become wet as he stroked her hair. Slowly, trying not to aggravate the bullet wound, he fell back to the floor. The darkness was clouding his eyes with the persistance of a ocean storm, the pain advancing until it took control of his senses, carrying him into the cool and assuring black.

And then a third suicidal shot was fired. And another body lay in the corridor.