DISCLAIMER: I do not own any characters associated with 'ER.' All characters are products of someone else's imagination and belong to NBC, et al. I do own the character of Madison.

This is my first fic and I've had it in my head for awhile and thought about writing it. This is my story and welcome suggestions, but remember this is my first fic.

FAMILY

You can chose your friends, but not your family. It's not just an adage, it's my mantra for life. My brother had a reputation for being an excellent pediatrician, but hated rules. He always did what he THOUGHT was the right thing and damn him, the consequences and anyone else he brought down with him.
He also had a reputation with women. He always attracted attention. I hated the thought of what would happen if anyone found out that we were related.

As much as I loved him, I knew when I enrolled in med school, I couldn't let anyone outside our group of friends, know that I was his sister. Even his best friend figured it was a good idea. I was afraid the sins of my brother would unfairly judge me in the eyes of my teachers. So, all through school I was Madison Carrington. The dean of the medical school was sympathetic to my cause and made sure my correct name was listed at graduation. I knew I couldn't hide from his reputation when I started residency because, as luck would have it, I would be performing my residency in the very same ER my brother practiced.

I had worked in this ER before as a nurse, having gotten the degree through a vocational program in high school. I needed a way to pay for med school. I was used to the way the ER ran and knew most of the nurses thorough my work. None of them knew the secret I held. I was certain I'd be treated differently since my brother had probably dated half the nurses in the ER. He kept his distance from me and rarely gave me nursing orders. I was 'warned' when I first started in the ER about his reputation. I figured everyone took my distance for either disappointment that he didn't pay any attention to me or self-preservation. Either way, I wasn't compared to him, which was what I wanted.

I approached the desk as I had done many times before and asked for my lab coat.
Jerry stared at me like I'd grown three heads. "I don't have a lab coat for you, Maddie," he said. I went to the box and pulled out a coat with my name on it.
"That's not yours. It's got a different name on it," he said.
"It's mine trust me," I said. "This," I said, pointing at the lettering on the coat, 'Madison C. Ross, MD' "Is me," I said.

I slipped on the coat and went to join my fellow med students, which included my best friend, John Carter.

"What did you do to Jerry," he asked when I came up next to him.
"He is shocked by the name on my jacket," I said.
Carter had discovered my secret when we were in medical school and he and I spent time together studying. He hadn't said anything to anyone and didn't find it weird. He and I studied at my apartment because Doug was usually at work or he was on a date, so our paths rarely crossed in that regard.

We were approached by our mentor for this phase of our residency, Dr. Mark Greene. He happened to be my brother's best friend.

He quickly introduced himself to those that didn't know him and paired us up with our higher level residents.

He approached me and introduced me to Dr. Susan Lewis. I knew Susan from my nursing days, but hadn't worked with her much.

"Maddie, what a surprise! You ready to get started," she asked.
"I sure am, Susan," I said.

"Let's get started," she said. I looked back at Mark who mouthed 'good luck,' and went off with Susan.

"So are you from Chicago? I never got to talk to you much during your nursing shifts. Seems you usually did nights," she said.
"Yeah, medical school made me keep the hours pretty much nighttime. I was born and raised in Chicago. Obviously, I went to U of C for both undergrad and med school," I said.

"What made you want to be a doctor," she asked.
"Because of my brother," I said.
"Oh, was he sick or something," she asked.
"No, he's a doctor. Pediatrician actually," I said.
"Really? Here in Chicago," she asked.
"I guess everyone will find out soon enough. My brother is a pediatrician here in the ER," I said, hoping she'd put two and two together.
We were standing at the desk, surrounded by pretty much the whole staff. Susan looked at me and her jaw dropped. "You're not serious," she said.
"Yeah. I'm Madison Ross. Doug Ross is my big brother," I said.

"How can you be related to Doug," she asked.
"Same parents," I said.

"I know, but you were down here working as a nurse and for med school and no one knew or picked up on it," she asked.
"Mark knows. Mark's known me since I was a little kid. Peter knows because he went to med school with Mark and Doug. I just wanted to do the med school thing on my own merit and I didn't want to have to deal with his reputation. One that I'm very familiar with. I love my brother and I live with him, but I don't have to accept what he does," I said, looking at her.
She smiled. "Doug's a good guy. Just a bit immature," she said.
"That's one way of putting it," I said.
We dropped the conversation and set about working up patients and I slowly learned the ropes of being an actual diagnostic physician in the ER.

When I had a break, Susan encouraged me to get out of the ER, so I slipped into the lounge and grabbed my coat. I was on the way out when I ran into Dr. Carter.
"John, what's Dr. Benton got you doing now," I asked.
"Grunt work. I'm actually getting ready to go to Doc Magoos. I have a whole thirty minutes for a break," he said, giving me a tired smile.

"No one said residency would be easy. Especially surgical residency. How about I buy the poor resident dinner," I said.

"I accept your offer, but I'll pay. I'm a struggling resident like you," he said.

"I'm not loaded like you, but I can pay my own way. I've been doing since I was 18. If Doug hadn't insisted on me taking his extra bedroom and needed a cook, I would have my own apartment. But at least he pays the rent," I said.
"How's everyone reacting to you being Dr. Ross' little sister? You having to explain it much," he asked as we made our way through the rain to Doc Magoos.

"Yes I am. But I remind them I'm nothing like him," I said.

"Course not. You're prettier," he said, as he held the door open for me.

We entered the restaurant and sat down and ordered food.

We ate our food mostly in silence. A comfortable silence that we'd developed during med school when studied. Despite our obvious close friendship, we hadn't crossed that line and, knowing my luck with men, was doubtful we ever would.

We finished in a hurry and headed back into the ER. Just as we hit the doors, his pager went off. I took his jacket from him and watched him run up the stairs. I smiled and headed back into the lounge and found my brother seated at the table.

"How's it going, sis," he asked.

I hung my jacket and Carter's in my locker and turned to face my brother.

"I'm having fun. I'm sure when I'm doing a 24 hour shift in two days I'll think differently," I said, taking the cup of hot chocolate he had for me.
"We'll have to check out our schedules and see what we're working together," he said.
"You just want to make sure someone brings dinner when you're working," I said, smiling at him.
"You're a good cook," he said.

I had long discovered that, unless I wanted to die young, I needed to figure out how to cook because Doug was, for the most part, a disaster. He knew three dishes and you lose your appetite if you eat them every single day. At least he knew how to do laundry and could keep the apartment clean.
"Well, you are paying the rent, so I guess I can cook to keep my room," I said.
"Funny," he said, getting out of his chair. "Did you just get done with dinner," he asked.
"Yeah. Actually, John bought dinner for me," I said.

Doug smiled a sly smile at me. "Don't," I said.
"I'm just looking out for my sister. That's all," he said.

I put my lab coat back on and went out the door.

I spent the rest of the overnight shift with Susan working up patients and presenting them to the attendings.

When the shift was over, I was exhausted but I admit, I loved the job.

I was getting my stuff out of my locker when I realized I still had Carter's jacket. I took it off the hook after hanging up my lab coat and went out into the hallway.
"Has Dr. Benton checked out, Jerry," I asked.
"Most likely. Are you looking for him," he asked.
"I have Dr. Carter's jacket. Just wanted to get it to him," I said.

"Well, here comes Dr. Carter," he said. I turned around and found my friend walking toward me.
I handed him his jacket and he slipped it on, not saying a word.

I said bye to Jerry and dragged the exhausted Carter out the door.
"You can't drive home like this," I told him.
"What am I supposed to do," he asked me.
"When are you back," I asked.

"Tomorrow morning. I have a 48 hour call," he said.
"I have a 24 hour shift during the last 24 of your call," I said.

"That's great. You can identify the body when Dr. Benton kills me," he said.
I suppressed a smile. "Peter's not going to kill you," I said. This earned me a glare from the tired intern.

"Look, Doug isn't home. His girlfriend came in from her flight to Switzerland this morning so he's shacking up at her motel. You can come and sleep on the couch or you can take my bed," I said.
"I can't do that," he said.
"Yes you can. You can get some sleep and then you can get your car in the afternoon. I'd be failing in my duty if I let you go home like this," I said.
Realizing he was defeated, he nodded his head. "Lead on," he said.
I took his elbow and we headed up to EL station.

***I hope you like the beginning. I have an idea for where this story will go. Remember, this is my first fic, so please be kind.***