DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters from ER. They are the
property of Warner Brothers, Constant C Productions, NBC, etc.
KEYWORDS: John Carter, Lucy Knight, Drama/Romance
ARCHIVE: You are welcome to download this story for your own reading,
but please do not archive it on any website without my permission.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I wrote this series more than a year ago, but this
is the first time it's being posted to Fanfiction.net. When I started
writing this, it was actually set in the future. Just pretend that
Paul Sobriki never walked into the ER ;-)


John Carter gulped down the rest of his milk and quickly got up from
the table. "Sorry to eat and run. I didn't realize how late it was."
He grabbed his boots and sat down again, tying the laces with
nimble fingers. "Just leave the dishes in the sink and I'll do them
in the morning."

Kerry Weaver finished chewing a mouthful of baked potato and sour cream
before replying. "Don't worry about it. Just get going." She waved
a hand at him. "You get double dish washing duty tomorrow."

He grinned at her as he reached for his coat. "Have I mentioned
that you make a mean salad?"

"Stop trying to butter me up, Carter. And don't forget your hat.
It's a cold one, tonight."

"Yes, Mom." He pulled on his gloves and was ready to face the frigid
night air. "Don't wait up for me."

"Ha ha." She went back to her dinner as Carter hurried out the front

The blast of cold air shocked his system and he stopped for a moment,
shivering. Whoa, saying it was cold seemed like the understatement
of the year. When did Chicago become comparable to the Arctic?
And this was only November. It could only get worse from here.
He tugged his knit cap down farther over his ears. He started to
step forward and then stopped. What was that sound? Sounded like
a cat. He looked down and found a pair of green eyes staring up
at him. Now, that had to be the cutest kitten he'd ever seen.

"Well, hello there. Where did you come from, kitty?" He crouched
down and removed one glove, holding his hand out. The kitten sniffed
tentatively at his fingers and then a small, pink tongue darted out to
lick his hand. The kitten was all black, except for four white paws
and a white-tipped tail. It almost looked as if her feet and tail
had been dipped in milk. The kitten meweled again piteously, her breath
appearing in little white puffs.

Carter exhaled slowly, considering his options. He couldn't just
leave the poor thing out in the cold. The kitten would freeze
to death overnight. She must be lost, or more likely a stray.
He wondered how Kerry felt about cats. One way to find out.

He scooped up the kitten and turned back into the house.

Kerry heard the front door slam and she glanced up from the newspaper.
"What did you forget, Carter?" she called out. She raised her eyebrows
as he walked towards her holding what appeared to be a kitten.
"Oh, no. What is this?"

"I found her on the doorstep. She must be lost or something."
The kitten seemed comfortable in his grasp and he stroked the soft
fur behind her ears. She purred contentedly, a low and somehow
soothing sound.

"Well, it can't stay here." Kerry removed her glasses and frowned
at him. "Absolutely not."

"Come on, Kerry. At least just for the night. She'll die out in
the cold." He tried to give her his most persuasive look.

She sighed. "It's not that I don't like cats. I'm allergic."

"Oh. You seem fine."

"Only because you're ten feet away from me. Get any closer and
you'll witness a great sneezing fit, among other things."

"If I had the time, I'd ask one of the neighbours to take her in,
but I'm already so late..."

Kerry pushed her chair back and stood up. She didn't look pleased
but her voice was gentle. "All right, you've convinced me.
You better get going, Carter. I'll take care of it."

"Yeah? You sure?" He always knew she was a softie beneath her
tough-as-nails exterior. Well, maybe he hadn't *always* known,
but he'd certainly come to know a different side of her as her

"I'm sure." Her look softened. "She *is* adorable. Let me take her."

As Carter handed the kitten over, her legs splayed out comically.
It only took a moment for the kitten to relax again in Kerry's arms.

"She likes you." He watched as the kitten batted at a loose thread
on Kerry's sweater.

"Ouch." Kerry winced as tiny claws dug into her skin. She gingerly
lifted the offending paw and looked up at Carter. "Go," she ordered.

"Right. Thanks, Kerry." As he got to the door, he heard Kerry sneeze.
Twice. He smiled to himself and headed out into the night.


"Give me the bullet!" Carter said sharply, as the gurney was wheeled
towards Trauma 1.

"Twenty-three year old male, GSW to the chest. He's lost 500 cc's
of blood. Gave him 15 litres of O2 and started two IV's of
normal saline. BP's 70 over 50, pulse 140 and thready," the paramedic
named Eric responded in rapid-fire delivery.

They entered the trauma room and prepared to move the young man.

"On my count, 1, 2, 3...," Carter said, as many hands transferred the
patient to the hospital gurney.

"Happened right outside his apartment," Eric said, shaking his head.
"Attempted mugging. Name's Michael Travis. His mom's on the way."

With this, the EMTs left the room. They had done their duty and
now the young man was in the hands of the ER team.

"Can I lead with this one?" Lucy Knight asked. She saw Carter hesitate
and she said firmly, "I'm ready."

"Ok, Lucy. Go for it," he agreed, stepping to the side so she could
position herself.

"Let's get a CBC, blood typed and crossmatched for six units, and some
O neg going," she said quickly. "Keep his IV's wide open." She checked
for breath sounds. "Weak breath sounds on the right. I need to intubate."

"I'll do it," Carter jumped in.

"I need a chest tube tray, seven and a half..." Lucy began.

Lily interrupted her. "BP's falling, 40 palp. He's going into v-fib!"

Carter immediately started compressions while Lucy grabbed the defibrillator
paddles. "Charge to 200...clear!" She shocked him and watched the monitor.
There was no response. "300...clear!" Again, no response. "Charge to
360...clear!" Nothing. The monitor flatlined.

"He's asystole! No pulse," Haleh said urgently.

Lucy took over the external heart massage while Carter finished intubating.
"Give him an amp of epy and one milligram of atropine."

They did their best to bring the man back to life, but to no avail.
Lucy's arms were aching from the continuous compressions. "How long
has he been down?" she asked. She'd lost track of time.

"It's been 33 minutes," Carter replied. "It's time to call it."

Lucy knew he was right, but she had to convince herself first. She looked
into his pupils. Fixed and dilated. She checked for a pulse and found
none. She finally listened for a heartbeat, hoping against hope...
but all was silent. She looked up at the clock. "Time of death 19:35,"
she announced wearily.

One by one, they filed out of the room until only Carter and Lucy
remained. "You did great, Lucy."

"Yeah, great," she echoed softly, staring at the dead body of
Michael Travis.

"I mean it. You told me you were ready, and you were. You did
everything right. The poor guy didn't have a chance." Lucy remained
silent and Carter moved to stand in front of her, partially blocking
her view of the body. "Hey..." He waited until she looked up at him.
"I'm proud of you."

The barest ghost of a smile came to her lips. "Thanks."

Jerry pushed open the door, his voice unusually somber. "Mrs. Travis
is here. She's asking about her son."

"Ok, Jerry. I'll be right there," Carter said, as Jerry left them
alone once more.

"I'll do it. I'll go talk to her."

"Are you sure? I can come with you," he offered.

Lucy shook her head. "No, I'll do it," she repeated. She removed her
bloody gloves, gown and goggles and disposed of them. She found
Mrs. Travis by the admit desk, looking lost and scared. She led
the mother down the hall and sat down with her.

Carter watched the two of them from a distance. Mrs. Travis leaned
forward in her chair, covering her face with her hands. She started
weeping, the sound of her uncontrollable sobs filling the hallway.
Lucy put an arm around her, and the older woman turned to cry into
her shoulder.

Mark Greene came to stand by Carter's side. "I hear Lucy did pretty
well in there," he remarked.

"Yeah, her first time running a trauma. She was calm and collected.
I was impressed."

"Well, she had a good teacher."

Carter thought back to when Lucy had been his med student. That had
been two years ago. "I haven't been her teacher for a long time."

"Sure you have. Not in the official sense, but you've helped her
along. Just like I helped you when you were a first-year resident."
Mark gave him a good natured smile. "That's what being a teaching
hospital is all about. And as the chief resident, you need to
remember that."

"I know. I mean, I do, Mark. Sometimes I think, 'how would Mark
Greene have handled this when he was ER chief?' and I go from there."
Carter said this half-jokingly, but it was close to the truth.
This position was still fairly new to him, and he found that line of
thinking sometimes helped when he was uncertain about something.

Mark chuckled. "Well, I'm flattered, Carter. But you'll find your
own way. It just takes a bit of time." With that, he moved on to
check on his patient.

Carter looked back down the hall to find Lucy coming towards him.
He noticed how strained she looked.

"She wants to see her son, but I stalled her. Can we get someone
to cover him up?"

"Of course. I'll take care of it."

"Ok. I'll stay with Mrs. Travis."

Carter watched her walk away. He was definitely proud of her.


Lucy stared blankly into space. The cup of tea she had made for
herself sat untouched on the table in front of her. Was Carter right?
Had she really done everything she could? Maybe she should have tried
giving him more epinephrine. Maybe she should have continued the
external heart massage for longer.

She inwardly scolded herself. This line of thinking wasn't helping her.
She was tired. She didn't remember what it felt like not to be tired.
She used to enjoy the fast pace of working in the ER. That's partly
why she had chosen the emergency medicine sub-I. It suited her
personality and she thrived on the challenge. Now she was a full-
fledged intern, and the first time she ran a trauma, the patient died.
Deep down, she knew it wasn't her fault. But that didn't make her feel
any better.

"Excuse me." Carter held the lounge door open as a nurse squeezed
past him. Before he stepped in, his eyes roamed over the faces of
the various doctors and nurses milling about. His gaze came to rest
on the back of a familiar blonde head.

She was leaning forward now, staring into her tea cup. Her short,
bobbed hair swept across her cheeks, hiding her peripheral vision.
She suddenly noticed a pair of legs in green scrubs that hadn't
been there before. She looked up to see Carter sitting across from her.

"How long have you been there?" she asked, obviously startled.

He gave a short laugh. "Don't worry, you're not that out of it.
I just sat down now."

She finally took a sip of her tea. It was lukewarm. She felt
his concerned gaze on her face and leaned back into the chair,
holding the cup in her lap. "I'm fine," she stated.


"You don't have to tell me it's not my fault. I already know that."

"But you still feel responsible," he guessed, judging by the troubled
look in her eyes.

"Maybe. A little," she admitted. She uttered an almost inaudible
sigh. "But I'll get over it."

Carter was about to say more when Jerry strolled in, zeroing in on
Lucy. "Lucy, Brad's here."

Her eyes flew up to Jerry's face. "Now?"

"Yeah. He's been sitting in chairs for a while. I knew you were
kind of, uh, busy, so I didn't come get you right away."

"I'll be right out." Lucy took one more swallow of her tea and
got up, rinsing out her cup.

"I thought you were on until seven tomorrow night," Carter said,
starting to make himself some coffee.

"I am," she murmured, wondering what Brad was doing here. She
wasn't even halfway through her 36-hour shift.

"Well, nice of him to visit, then."

"Mmm," she said absently. She brushed her fingers through her
hair and tucked the strands behind her ears. Forcing a more
pleasant look on her face, she headed to the waiting area.

She spotted him before he saw her coming. "Hi, Brad," she said

Bradford Prescott turned his head at the sound of her voice and
rose to meet her. A smile flitted across his handsome features and
he gave her a brief kiss on the lips. "Finally! You look like hell.
I see they're still running you ragged around here."

Lucy's smile faded several watts. "I'm pretty busy," she agreed.
"What are you doing here?"

"What do you mean? We're seeing a movie tonight, or have you
forgotten?" He sounded annoyed.

"You must have gotten the date mixed up. That's Thursday night."

"What? Are you sure? I've got it written down right here."
Brad placed his briefcase on the chair and removed his black
leather appointment book. He flipped a few pages and showed her
the entry written in red ink: 'Meet Lucy at the hospital, 8 pm'.
And indeed, it was written under Tuesday, November 7, 2000.
She was slightly amused that he actually needed to show this to her.

"Well, you should have written that under Thursday. I'm not off
until seven tomorrow night."

"Oh." He tossed the book back into the briefcase and closed it
with a snap. "I guess we got our signals crossed."

"I guess. I might be able to get away for a quick bite to eat,
though. How about that?" she said, feeling bad that he had come
all this way.

He grimaced. "If you're going to suggest Doc Magoo's, I think I'll
pass. I can't stomach the grease."

"All right. There's always the hospital cafeteria..." Her voice
trailed off as he glanced at his watch, shaking his head.

"If you don't mind, I'd rather wait until Thursday."

"Sure." *It's just as well* Lucy thought. She didn't feel
hungry anyway and she certainly wouldn't be much company tonight.

"I'll give you a call later." He dropped a quick kiss on her cheek
and went on his way.

Lucy wandered over to the admit desk and found Jerry. "How's the
board looking? I'd like to get some sleep."

"Go ahead. It's covered."

"What's open?"

"Uh, Exam 4. Where's Brad?"

"He left. He got my schedule mixed up and thought we were going
out tonight."

"Oh. Uh, how long have you known this guy?"

"About three months," Lucy replied. Brad was the son of a business
associate of her mom's. The last time her mom had come to Chicago
had been for a business meeting, and somehow she had set the two
of them up. They had gotten along well and had been casually
seeing each other ever since. "Why do you ask?"

"No reason," Jerry said quickly. "Just curious."

"Well, you know where to find me."

"What was *that* about?" Chuny asked, as Lucy walked away. She had
overheard most of the conversation and was now giving Jerry a
strange look.

"What? Just asking a question," he said defensively. "There's
something about the guy..."

"Who, Brad? He seems nice. He's cute!" Chuny perched on a stool
to use the computer.

"He just rubs me the wrong way," Jerry muttered.

"Awww, you're getting all protective over Lucy. That's so sweet!"
Chuny gushed.

Jerry rolled his eyes. He was sorry he'd opened his mouth.