DISCLAIMER: ER is the property of Constant C Productions, Amblin Entertainment, and Warner Brothers Television. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This has been sitting on my hard drive for quite some time. I think it's about time I shared it! Song: 'Anyone At All' by Carole King.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To lucyvictoriabrown[at]gmail.com
Anyone at All
Funny how I feel more myself with you,
Than anybody else that I ever knew.
Kerry stirred. As ever, it took a few moments for her to remember precisely where she was, but when she did and before she even contemplated opening her eyes she felt a soft smile slip unbidden onto her face. Inhaling, she caught the scent of her lover drifting in the air. Then she opened her eyes as she realised Kim wasn't in the room with her.
The curtains were drawn but a dim chink of artificial light still drifted through the middle. It gave enough light for Kerry to see that Kim was definitely not in the bedroom, but pushing her hand across the bed she found it still slightly warm. That made her smile again as she sighed peacefully. If her predictions were correct, and morning had yet to dawn, she'd be forced to persuade her lover to return to the bed.
Hearing the door open and close, she took a breath and closed her eyes. She felt Kim sit on the bed and could keep up the pretence no longer. Opening her eyes again after only thirty seconds she found she was indeed being watched, by a fully-dressed psychiatrist no less.
'Nice try,' Kim murmured, reaching out and sweeping hair back behind her right ear.
'Worth a shot,' Kerry replied. Her cheeks were growing warm, but she wasn't sure whether it was slight embarrassment at being caught or something else. 'What time is it?'
'Well spotted,' answered Kim with a breathtaking smile.
Kerry felt her stomach tighten at the sight. 'Why?' she finally asked. 'I thought you had a late start, and I don't have to be in until ten.'
'I'm taking you somewhere.'
'At ' Glancing sideways at the clock, she then restarted, 'At five in the morning?'
Kim simply gazed at her with those penetrating eyes; the ones which more often than not made Kerry melt. 'Trust me.'
'Well, you do know I'm not a very trusting person?'
'You know, I had noticed that. So I'll ask you as a personal favour to come with me quietly?'
'What's the alternative?' Kerry teased.
'Oh, I'll just get a hose,' Kim replied nonchalantly.
Considering this for a moment, Kerry then answered, 'I'd better trust you then.'
Nodding, her lover leaned down to kiss her gently. 'Get dressed.'
After watching her out of the room, Kerry chuckled to herself. She felt serenely detached from the world at the moment. If her pager went off heralding a fifteen car pile up five feet away from a bomb blast she thought she'd have a little difficulty extricating herself from Dr Kim Legaspi.
There was nothing for it but to get dressed and see precisely where she was being taken. She couldn't help but be intrigued. Curiosity, the unbidden and unhidden kind, was something quite recently awakened in her. She had the feeling that Kim recognised it as well. That idea, which should have scared her into scrambling away, actually had the opposite effect. No, she almost felt secure in the knowledge that Kim could see through her.
I hear it in your voice; I see it in your face,
You've become the memory I can't erase.
'Come on! At least tell me where we're going!'
Kim studiously avoided looking at her; instead keeping her eyes fixed firmly on the road ahead, emptier than usual but still a little dangerous due to the ice which had been alternately freezing and thawing for several weeks now. Dropping the interrogation for the time being, Kerry turned her attentions to the scenery whizzing past. Trees with icicles cracking and dropping on the road: a beautiful sight. Sometimes she liked winter; sometimes she couldn't stand it. Then again, with Kim next to her she had the distinct feeling that she could be persuaded to like anything or anyone even Romano!
Wrinkling her nose, she let out a short laugh. No, that wasn't possible, even with Kim at her side.
Her lover glanced towards her. 'What?'
She suppressed her smile with moderate success. 'Nothing.'
Kim pursed her lips but said nothing. Kerry watched her for a long moment. She watched how her hair hung gracefully over her shoulders, despite obviously having been granted only the briefest of attentions before they left. She watched how a tongue intermittently flicked out over two lips and she felt herself grow warmer at the very idea. Along with that, she knew Kim recognised she was watching, but something entirely endearing was that she just let her get on with it. Kim was so beautiful, and so used to the attention. It'd be criminal if she wasn't. There were very few things that distracted Kerry at work, but Kim Legaspi walking into the ER unannounced was definitely one of them.
'It had better be worth it,' Kerry warned, looking back out of the window as they began to leave the city lights behind.
'Worth what?' Kim queried, challenging her but still not looking at her.
'Worth me leaving your bed,' Kerry replied.
The blonde didn't quite blush that was a very rare occurrence but her eyes did flicker sideways slightly. 'Our bed,' she eventually amended, meeting her eye briefly.
Kerry just nodded and slipped her hand over onto Kim's thigh, enjoying the fact that it tensed beneath her grip. 'What?'
Kim laughed. 'You know what!'
Shrugging innocently, Kerry turned her face well away this time. She was rather curious as to where they were going, and she didn't want Kim to suddenly turn the car around and return to the bedroom they'd so recently left. Well she did but Kerry smiled at herself once again. She was doing that quite a bit lately.
You could've been anyone at all,
A stranger falling out of the blue,
I'm so glad it was you.
When Kim halted the car Kerry was shook from a light sleep against the car window. A little embarrassed, she sat up straighter and defended herself. 'This is what happens when you drag me out in the middle of the night. I wasn't snoring, was I?'
'Now, that'd be telling,' her lover answered with a wicked smile. Then she pulled the keys from the ignition and turned sideways so her shoulder was resting against the car seat and she was looking directly at Kerry. 'We're here. I know you can't see much yet, but give it a little while.'
Looking into the almost complete darkness, Kerry had to acquiesce to the request. Stretching out her back, she then bit her lip. 'What do we do in the meantime?'
Slipping out of her seatbelt, Kim opened the car door. 'I've got the very thing.'
Slightly frustrated at the blonde moving out of her reach, Kerry flopped back in her seat and allowed the little gusts of wind that followed Kim in and out of the car to wake her up a bit more. She wasn't feeling half as fatigued as she thought she should; taking into consideration the fact she'd been working odd shifts for a while now. That said, she deduced she was sleeping better recently. In the past she'd always had trouble getting through the night; normally she'd awake two or three times. Sometimes it stuck and she was forced to neglect her full quota in favour of a cup of coffee and some paperwork. These days she was behind on her paperwork! When she went to sleep in Kim's bed, in Kim's arms, she rarely awoke before the alarm went off and, even then, she was too comfortable to move. She liked the feeling, but she half loathed it as well. It felt too much like she was relinquishing control. And yet
'You look like you're thinking,' Kim observed as she returned to her car seat with a box in her arms and closed the door awkwardly.
'It's a habit,' Kerry retorted. 'What've you got?'
Pulling back the lid of the box, Kim allowed her to see inside. 'Everything you could possibly want for breakfast. 'Croissants, orange juice, bagels, fruit, cereal bars '
'Potato chips?' Kerry concluded, glancing to her lover with a raised eyebrow.
'Hey, I had to eat something. There a coffee flask on the back seat as well.'
Reaching for a small bottle of orange juice, Kerry stopped short and looked up again. 'You planned this?'
The blonde nodded, almost with hesitation. 'Yeah.'
For a moment she fought to retain her emotions then she realised how little it mattered in the current situation. Kim had already seen her at her most vulnerable. 'Thank you,' she muttered sincerely.
It wasn't in the path, not that I could see,
Suddenly a miracle came to me.
'You didn't have to do this, you know,' Kerry began when she'd demolished a little food and was drinking some coffee Kim had poured for her. 'I mean, I appreciate it but '
'But you're embarrassed,' Kim cut in diligently. 'That was a risk I had to take.'
'So you assessed all the possible risks, did you?' Kerry questioned, dropping her head to the side and fixing her gaze on her lover.
'I tried my best. But you are unpredictable, Kerry. I was actually quite impressed that I got you out of the bedroom.'
She felt herself grinning. 'I admit that was an achievement.' Switching her coffee from one hand to the other, she then used her free hand to massage Kim's palm with her index finger. 'It's just Nobody's ever done anything like this for me before. I don't '
'If you say you don't deserve it, or you don't understand it, I'll reserve the right to scream,' Kim interjected when she stumbled over the words.
Kerry tried to smile but failed miserably. 'I know, I just '
Kim wouldn't allow her to finish, which was fine because she wasn't certain where precisely she was going. 'You're the only person I've ever brought here. Well,' she amended with a shrug, 'the second, I suppose.'
Seeing something in Kim's eyes, Kerry leaned forward to place her coffee cup safely on the dashboard then settled back and watched her lover intently. 'Tell me.'
After swallowing, the blonde nodded and looked towards her. 'I found this place by accident when I was driving around. I did that a lot when I first came to the city, I was restless. I know; you can't picture it, can you?'
Kerry chuckled. 'Stick to the story, less of the wisecracks.'
'Now, why do I suddenly feel like Malucci on a bad day?' Kim quipped.
'Malucci doesn't have good days,' Kerry argued immediately. 'Continue.'
Finally, she did. 'One of my first cases at County was a little girl. I'd been called down to the ER after her mother died and she had no other family. She'd just been orphaned and ' Kim inhaled deeply. 'She asked me what I thought heaven would be like. I asked her what she thought of it as. I didn't know what to say; I was a little surprised by the question to be honest. Anyway, she said that she thought heaven was a beautiful sunrise that you could almost feel. She said that she wanted to feel the world because her mom had always told her that a sunrise was the closest a human being got to being part of the planet.' Kim sighed and brought her fingers to meet Kerry's own. 'The next day I got her and her social worker in the car and I brought them here. It was the least I could do.'
Kerry couldn't help it; she was watching her lover with a mixture of surprise and adoration. Eventually, she realised she was supposed to speak and, as she did so, she entwined her fingers with Kim's slender ones. 'That was an amazing thing to do.'
Safe within your arms I can say what's true,
Nothing in the world I would keep from you.
Now she knew what she was looking for, Kerry kept her eyes on the sky as it slowly lightened. Beside her Kim finished off her bag of potato chips then crumpled the wrapper back into the box and reached to put it on the back seat along with the forgotten coffee flask. On her way back round to her seat she let her lips land on Kerry's cheek and Kerry very briefly turned her head so their lips met. Then she pulled back and smiled and let Kim return to her own seat.
The first vestiges of light brought brilliant colours to dance on the car windshield. Slowly, as the visibility grew, Kerry ascertained that they were at the edge of some dirt track that had come through what seemed to be a vast wood before leaving them with a panoramic view of foliage below them. That was what the sun was going to rise over by the look of it. Briefly, Kerry wondered how she'd managed to stay asleep during the trek down the dirt track and realised, with a small smile, that to miss all those jumps and jabs she must indeed have been snoring.
Kim's hand suddenly met her own. 'Kerry?'
She glanced sideways. 'Mmm?'
'I don't do this.' She illustrated what that was with a mild shrug and a lifting of her hands. 'You know how long it took me to decide that I wanted to share this with you?'
Kerry shook her head. 'How long?'
'Oh, about five minutes after the first time I spoke to you.'
Digging her thumb into her palm, Kerry tried desperately not to react to that. It was hopeless though. She saw that Kim could see through the attempted pretence and finally muttered, 'Wow.'
Kim laughed quietly. 'Yep.'
'I have to say, Kim,' Kerry said eventually, attempting to inject some lightness back into the conversation, 'I don't usually go on long dawn drives with psychiatrists.'
'Do you think you'd do it again?'
'Yes,' she said instantly then felt herself colour. 'Maybe.'
'I'll take the first answer,' Kim said with a smile.
Perfectly at ease with that outcome, Kerry just squeezed the hand she was holding and watched the progress of the rim of the sun as it climbed above the landscape of trees. A few minutes later she was beginning to see why Kim had dragged her out of bed. The colours dancing on the leaves of the trees below were beyond what Kerry was used to. More than that, they were beyond what she thought existed. Sure, you could gain artificial insight these days in almost any colour you desired but this No, this was natural. It also felt very special, and that was due in no part to the blonde whose fingers periodically entwined and separated from her own.
You could've been anyone at all,
An old friend falling out of the blue,
I'm so glad it was you.
Kim was watching her, she knew. She could feel Kim's eyes, blue and penetrating boring into the side of her head, but Kerry didn't look. She was still watching the sky serenely, though the sunrise could be technically deemed as over.
Finally, Kim's finger traced a pattern on her cheek. 'We have to get back.'
Kerry sighed. 'I know.'
'You wouldn't wanna be late for work '
'No,' she conceded. 'They'd automatically assume I was sprawled dead on my kitchen floor. I'm sure there'd be an officer at my door within the hour.' She was only half joking. It was difficult to recall a time when she'd been late for work; the staff would get Well, not worried but They would notice. That was a positive thing, wasn't it?
'Where've you gone?' Kim questioned, breaking into her thoughts.
'Hmm?' Caught, she glanced over to her lover. 'Oh, nowhere. Work,' she said in semi-truthfulness.
Kim didn't seem fooled. She fixed her with a stare. 'And really?'
'Work,' she reasserted. Sensing she was going to be encouraged to elaborate anyway, she quickly continued, 'I was trying to calculate how many times I've been late in Ever.'
'What were the results?'
'Negligible,' she replied with a soft chuckle. 'And I can't go ruining my perfect sweep, can I?'
Shaking her head, Kim leaned in and pressed their lips together for a lingering kiss. 'It'd be bad form.'
Feeling herself react to the kiss, Kerry almost groaned in frustration. 'And if I didn't have a meeting with Romano first thing I'd '
'Still rush in,' Kim interjected, running her fingers down Kerry's cheek.
'Yes,' she agreed with a slight blush. Then, as she looked over to her lover, she found herself blushing for an altogether different reason. It was something she always had difficulty keeping in check these days; just one of the things Kim had changed about her life.
Kim met her eye. 'Don't look at me like that.'
'Like what?' queried Kerry innocently.
'Like you want me to persuade you to go right ahead and ruin your great streak.'
Watching Kim start the engine, Kerry exhaled heavily. 'Part of me does. That's a terrifying thought. For me, anyway.'
Straightening her shoulders, her lover set the car in motion. 'I know,' she said eventually. 'But don't worry, Kerry, I'm not planning on being a bad influence.'
Against her will, she found herself laughing quietly. 'Too late.'
Kim conceded that with a shrug and a smile.
Words can hurt you, if you let them,
People say them and forget them.
'What did you think?'
Kerry didn't have to ask what she was referring to. For a few moments she was quiet as she collected her thoughts and tried to come up with something fitting to describe what she had just seen. It was hopeless though; she actually felt at a loss for words in regards to that particular experience. Then again, another recent experience had left her speechless too. Perhaps it was a Kim thing, she decided with a grin. Looking over at the blonde, she found her waiting with a veiled sense of expectation. 'Beautiful,' she muttered eventually.
'Is that you speechless, Kerry?' Kim queried with a sly glance in her direction.
She chuckled. 'Yes.'
'I'm getting good at that,' her lover went on, focusing back on the road. 'But I don't wanna get too good.'
'And why's that?'
'Well, I like listening to you.'
After gathering herself for a moment, Kerry muttered, 'Thank you.'
'You're welcome.' There was a pause. 'For what?'
'For sharing,' she answered with a smile.
'Anytime,' Kim replied softly. 'I'm just relieved that '
When she trailed off, Kerry prompted, 'What?'
Shrugging, Kim murmured, 'I don't know. I'm relieved we got here. I honestly didn't think we would. And I don't mean the forest.'
'I know that,' Kerry said quietly, her mind trying to come up with a coherent response that didn't sound either immature or ridiculous. She finally settled on, 'I'm sorry for doing my utmost to prevent it.'
'I wore you down in the end,' the blonde said, a small blush growing on her cheeks.
'Ah, so you think you always had the upper hand?'
'You're forgetting, Kerry, I'm a psychiatrist.'
'So that means you know how to manipulate people?' Kerry challenged, arching an eyebrow.
Kim laughed. 'No, it just means I know how to read them. Even you,' she added as an afterthought.
'You know, I resent the implication that you can read me,' replied Kerry after a second.
Her lover just looked over with a lazy smile playing on her lips. 'I know.'
Words can promise, words can lie,
But your words make me feel like I can fly.
'What's the meeting about?' Kim asked suddenly when they were beginning to return to relative civilisation. The traffic was beginning to get heavier and they were being drawn to a halt more and more. Kerry hadn't minded that; she was enjoying the luxury of not being the irate driver herself for once.
'With Romano? The reason we're driving back into the city?'
'Oh,' Kerry muttered, blushing. 'That. Yeah, just boring administration stuff, I think. He wants to get rid of all his boring duties.'
'And he's giving them to you? That's thoughtful of him.'
'Well, Romano's a thoughtful kinda guy. If thoughtful ever equated to complete jackass,' she added with a slight shake of her head.
Kim smiled. 'Do you think anyone'll ever finally flip and accidentally inject him with a sedative?'
'Don't think it hasn't crossed my mind on occasion,' Kerry answered. 'I think Randi's probably got a pool going on who'll do it first though.'
'Good old Randi.'
Turning her head back to examine the stream of pedestrians on the sidewalk, Kerry then found her eyes closing. She felt very peaceful; more relaxed than she had in a long while. The sensation was different. It wasn't necessarily bad though. It was just different. Having prided herself her entire working life on not doing this, not getting close and specifically not in the workplace, her rulebook had gone flying out of the window faster than she'd ever expected. That was crazy.
'What time does your shift finish tonight?' Kim questioned, breaking into her thoughts.
Kerry had to stretch to recall. 'Eight.'
'Do you wanna get dinner afterwards?'
'Yeah, that'd be nice. I'll look forward to it.'
'And I'll keep my fingers crossed you don't get a ten car pile-up come in at ten to eight.'
'I'd cross more than that if I were you,' Kerry said wryly.
'I knew dating an ER doc was a bad idea.'
'Then why do it?'
'Oh, I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment. Besides, I like a challenge when I see one. And if you're anything, Kerry Weaver, it's a challenge.' Kim softened that last statement with a soft smile that Kerry simply couldn't reject. Instead of trying to she watched a mother literally dragging her small son back into his buggy. Definitely fighting a losing battle, that one was.
You could've been anyone at all,
The net that catches me when I fall,
I'm so glad it was you.
When they arrived back at Kim's to drop off what little remained of breakfast and for Kerry to collect her briefcase which she'd forgotten for some reason (her piqued curiosity at the time had nothing to do with it), Kerry flopped down onto the couch, pushing her crutch around to the side. As Kim followed her into the room she stopped short.
'Don't ask me to sit down there with you.'
'For a minute,' she said carefully. 'Thirty seconds?'
Chuckling, Kim came to sit beside her. 'If we don't get there on time '
'We will,' Kerry interrupted, entwining their fingers and then looking at their joined hands. 'I just wanted a minute. It doesn't feel right rushing off after this morning. I'd like to savour the moment.'
Her lover just watched her. 'We'll have more moments, Kerry. I promise.'
'You can't promise that.'
'You're planning on going someplace?' Kim asked, arching an eyebrow.
'No,' she answered. 'But life's unpredictable, Kim. You know, especially when it involves other people.'
'That's hardly a philosophy for life.'
'I know that,' Kerry said dryly. 'But it is realistic.'
Kim gently moved her hand upwards to caress Kerry's cheek. 'How about we try optimism?'
'Is that the psychiatrist talking?'
'No, it's the woman who doesn't want any moment to be the last moment.' Perhaps recognising she'd said too much Kim tried to remove her hand but Kerry clasped it tightly against her cheek before she had a chance. Kim looked at her questioningly. 'I thought you were about to run off.'
'For a split-second there I thought maybe I would,' she admitted. 'But I didn't. That has to be a good sign, right?'
'Yep. Means I've worn you out before your shift starts,' the blonde quipped.
'Or,' Kerry argued, 'it means that I didn't really want to.'
Kim nodded and smiled. 'That too.'
Sighing, Kerry reached for her crutch. 'We should get going.'
Without warning, Kim captured her lips, slowly and tenderly. Then she drew back almost instantaneously. 'Yep.'
You could've been anyone at all,
An old friend falling out of the blue,
I'm so glad it was you.
As they walked into the ER together Kerry felt the old irrational sense of being observed at every turn seeping into her subconscious. But, for Kim's sake, she tried to fight it back down. There was absolutely no reason for anyone in the ER to be suspicious; she'd simply come into work at the same time as a colleague, that was all and there was nothing more to it than that.
'I'd better get upstairs,' Kim commented as she checked her watch. 'I'm late.'
'Sorry,' Kerry apologised, remembering the way she'd drawn her lover back in for several more lingering kisses before they'd finally made it to the front door.
'I think I can live with being a little late,' the blonde replied.
'Good. Then I should start looking for '
' Romano,' she finished with an eye-roll. Turning towards the direction of the voice, she said, 'Robert. What can I do for you?'
He checked his watch, in a much less endearing manner than Kim had just done. 'Did we not have a meeting this morning?'
'Yes, Robert, we did,' she said steadily. 'In two minutes.'
'Which you will inevitably be late for because '
She interrupted with, 'Yes, because I'm stood here talking to you. I'll meet you in your office as arranged in two minutes.'
'No longer, Kerry,' he said as he started down towards the escalators. 'We've got a lot to discuss!'
When he was out of earshot she mumbled, 'I bet.' Glancing back up to Kim watching her, she smiled. 'What?'
'You can handle Romano. I'm impressed.'
Kerry cleared her throat. 'Didn't you have somewhere to be?'
Kim's grin grew. 'Yes, I did. Dinner?'
'Dinner,' she repeated as she watched her down the corridor. 'Yep.'
Anyone at all,
Anyone at all,
I'm so glad it was you.
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