Title: Hero in the Strife- Part 3

Author: Noerf

Rating: PG

Description: 15-year-old Carter plans for homecoming, and the future.

Disclaimer: I'm saving up for enough money to buy the rights to all of ER (especially Carter), but so far I only have $35 in a coffee can. So don't hold your breath.

Archive: Please do! You don't have to ask, but tell me sometime when you get around to it so that I know where my story is at.

Thanks: Steph (my twin, lol), Amy, all the Carbies at FF, my family and friends. And to Amanda/Rox... here's your thanks! There, you happy? :) As always, the big thanks goes to Jesus Christ, author of any talents that I have.

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Twenty students sat quietly in the anatomy classroom. There was the occasional cough to pierce the silence, and the low drumming of nervous fingers on the desks, but the room was silent apart from that. Every student in the class was stressing out over their first big anatomy test. Everyone, that is, except for one boy.

15-year-old John Carter, the youngest student in the class, sat calmly at his desk. He twirled his pen casually around his fingers, a habit picked up by being in Debate. He hardly had to scan most of the questions in order to know the answer. Correct terminology for more than one fractures with bone piercing the skin. John quickly jotted down his answer. Multiple compound fracture. The answers came easily to John because of his sharp memory, but mostly because this was his passion. He loved learning about medicine.

John felt the person to his left nudge him. He turned to Grant Davis, his friend and fellow Sophomore in the elite prep school. Grant's dad was a Cardiologist, and a good one at that, giving Grant his motivation to become a doctor. "John," Grant whispered. John tried to ignore his friend and focus on the test. "John," Grant said again, this time a little louder.

"What?" John replied as softly as possible. Even though he was in the back of the class, the risk of getting caught talking during a test was high.

Grant pointed to a question on his paper. "What's the answer to this one?" he asked.

"Figure it out," John replied, turning his attention back to his own test.

"Come on, John! Just one question!" Grant was beginning to get too loud for John's comfort.

John held a finger to his lips. "Would you shut up?" he hissed. "I'm not giving you the answer, Grant!" John put as stern a look on his face as possible, and Grant backed off.

"Geez, someone's a legalist," Grant muttered. John was tempted to offer his own opinion of someone who tried to cheat off of his friend, but decided against it. He had better things to do, and he didn't want to get in trouble. He went back to working diligently.

When the bell rang, about half the class was still scrambling to get their tests done. John turned his in first, and entered the crowded hallway. He started to walk toward his next class.

"Hey Scooter!" he heard a voice yell from behind him. He didn't even need to turn around to see who it was. He slowed down and allowed his cousin to catch up with him. Ever since seeing John's less than adept dancing skills their Freshman year, Chase had christened his cousin with the nickname.

"I can dance now, you know," John said with a smile. It was true. He had even taken a class to learn how.

Chase raised a skeptical eyebrow. "I have yet to see you prove this," he said. "But," he continued, "the Homecoming dance this weekend would be a perfect chance to prove me wrong."

John groaned. He knew Chase would try to find some way to talk him in to going. It wasn't that he didn't want to go, because he did. But going meant going with someone which meant asking someone. That was the part John had trouble with. "I don't have a date," John said.

Chase shrugged, "Then get one! There are tons of girls who don't have dates yet and would love to go with you."

"Oh sure, they're just lining up," John said dryly.

Chase rolled his eyes. "Are you telling me that you honestly can't tell the way Danielle Miller looks at you?"

"Danielle Miller?" John asked, a little too loud in his surprise.

Chase motioned for him to be quiet. "Yeah, man. She is always batting her eyelashes at you and," Chase let out a dramatic sigh, "swooning."

John shoved his cousin away. "I don't believe you," John said.

Chase laughed. "Why don't you find out for yourself? Ask her," he said, pointing to a spot behind John. John turned around as inconspicuously as he could to see if Chase was telling the truth. Sure enough, there was Danielle Miller, the tall and beautiful head cheerleader. She saw John looking at her, and gave him a broad smile.

John's head snapped back around to face his cousin. Chase was grinning from ear to ear. "Told you," he said simply. "Ask her! She wants to go with you!"

John shook his head. "No, she's probably going with some jock."

Chase could tell his cousin was getting very nervous about this whole thing. He sighed, and said, "Fine, I will ask her for you." He started to walk toward Danielle, when John caught his arm.

"No," John said, shaking his head. "I don't want to go with her."

Chase starred at his cousin. "Are you crazy? She's amazing."

John looked over at Danielle again, who was brushing strands of thick blonde hair behind her ears. She grinned at him shyly. John turned back to Chase. "I don't want to go with her. I don't want to get stuck with the jocks and the cheerleaders. I would feel like such an idiot."

"Man," Chase said, "you are an idiot. But whatever. I know the real reason you don't want to ask her. You still can't dance."

"I can dance just fine. I just don't want to go to the dance with her," John clarified.

"We'll see about that, Scooter," Chase replied. "If you do find yourself a date, let me know. Jenny and I would be happy to go on a double date with you."

John twitched a little at the mention of Jenny. He could never completely forgiven Chase for stealing her from him, but that was in the past. "I'll let you know." With that, they went their separate ways.



The next hour passed, and John still had no idea who he was going to ask to the Homecoming dance. He headed to lunch, resolving that he wouldn't worry about it because it was no big deal. He saw Grant sitting at their usual table, but decided against sitting with him today. He was still mad at Grant for trying to cheat off of him.

John scanned the crowd for a table with a vacant spot. There were a few spots here or there that were open, but John didn't really want to sit with any of those people. One table got his attention, though. The table was vacant except for one girl with short dark hair and glasses. John stood there for a moment, then took a deep breath and headed over to her table. He set his tray on the table, and sat down across from her.

"Hi," John said.

The girl quickly looked up at him in surprise. "Um, hello," she managed to get out. She looked very surprised.

John just sat there for a moment, trying to think of something to say. The girl was just staring at him, and now he was starting to wonder what on earth had compelled him to sit with her. "My name's John," he managed. He felt like such an idiot. He didn't know what to say.

"I'm Ebony," she said with a smile.

"Ebony," he said, grinning. "That's a cool name."

"Oh please," she said as she rolled her eyes. "It's the worst name ever."

"No, I really like it."

Seeing that he was being genuine, she smiled sweetly at him. "Thanks."

"So, are you new here?"

"Yeah. My family moved to Chicago in September."

John nodded. He drummed his fingers on the table, for lack of anything to say. Ebony took a bite of her salad, and chewed quietly.

At that moment, Danielle Miller and her group of cheerleader friends approached the table. Danielle took a seat next to John. "Hi," she said with a cheery smile.

John swallowed his food before answering, "Oh, hey Danielle."

"So, are you coming with me to Homecoming?" She said, flirtatiously leaning in towards him.

John nearly choked on his bite of hamburger. He managed to clear his throat quickly, and responded with, "Sorry, I can't."

Danielle's smile dropped. "Why not?" she asked, sounding disappointed.

He thought quickly. "Because I'm going with Ebony," he said, motioning to the girl across the table from him. This time is was Ebony's turn to nearly choke in shock.

Danielle eyed Ebony coolly. "Oh," she said dryly. "Well, have a good time." And with that, she promptly stood and left the table, taking her friends with her.

John looked apologetically at Ebony. "I'm sorry. I just needed to say something. I hope I didn't embarrass you."

Ebony shook her head quickly. "No, it's fine. I understand." She paused. "Were you serious?"

"What?"

"Would you really like to go with me?"

John's face was blank. "Uh, well... you see... uh..." he stuttered.

"No, that's ok," Ebony said with a smile. "I understand if you don't, just thought it was worth a try." She began to stand up to throw away her trash.

"Hey wait!" John shouted, jumping out of his seat and catching her by the arm. She stopped and looked at him. "Would you go with me to Homecoming?" he asked

Ebony slowly started to smile. "Of course."

"Good. Great. Um, what's your address?" he asked.

Ebony set her tray on the table, and pulled out a sheet of paper and a pen. She wrote down her address.

"Good," John said, neatly folding the paper and putting it is his pocket. "I'll pick you up around 6 then?"

"That sounds good."

"Oh, by the way," John said. "What's your last name?"

"Morris," Ebony replied. "And what's your last name?"

"Carter."

Ebony smiled. "Carter. That's a nice last name. Well, I'll see you Saturday then, Mr. Carter."

"See you," John said with a wave.