DISCLAIMER: This all belongs to Michael Chrichton as part of his amazingness. I don't own, never will, and well, this ship just usually stays in my head.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Part of the Dead of Winter 2008 Advent Calendar. Special thanks to sillyme for beta'ing.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Hello, My Name Is
"There's no reason for you to be here," Abby said disdainfully. She'd seen Susan come in looking unsure of herself. It was so rare to see the blonde walk into a room like she didn't own it. She ran the ER with a soft efficiency that came across as blunt, emotional, but somehow firm. Now, as Abby saw her walk through the doors, a little less confident, it was as if she'd seen a completely different woman sitting down behind her than the one she called Dr. Lewis.
"Just know that I am," Susan replied softly. She wanted to reach out, to set a hand on Abby's shoulder, but she knew that was probably the last thing the brunette would want. For now, she'd sit and she'd listen to the stories told from the podium and wonder if Abby would tell one, too.
But Abby didn't.
Susan wasn't sure if it was because she was there or because Abby didn't have one to tell this year. She'd tried to get the other woman to come to her place for Christmas. Granted, the invitation was extended to everyone in the County General ER, but Abby shrugged it off and said she had plans. She was having a holiday party, though she could convince Abby to stay the night and at least spend Christmas morning with someone familiar. But Susan knew Abby was lying when she declined the initiation; Susan always knew when Abby was lying.
Now wasn't the time for those thoughts. Things were changing between the two. They weren't exactly friends, but they weren't exactly enemies either. Susan often caught Abby looking her way and didn't know what to make of it. She had her suspicions, but they were hers alone. And there was no way Abby Lockhart shared them. Or so she thought.
"What did you do yesterday?" Susan asked absently. She stirred her coffee with her spoon, watching the swirls form and dissipate. It was Abby's idea to get coffee since Susan's shift didn't start for another two hours.
Now, Susan was thinking it was a bad idea taking the other doctor up on the offer.
"Does it matter?" Abby snapped. Susan looked up and met Abby's eyes. She didn't realize what an incredibly stupid question it was until she saw the look in the brunette's eyes. It was something sad but something else, too. Susan just couldn't put her finger on it.
"It was just a question," Susan finally responded. She didn't understand why Abby was so hostile all the time. They had their spats, they had their fights but Susan never did anything she thought was out of line. Abby, though, really just liked to push the blonde's buttons.
"I think you already have your answer. I had to attend an AA meeting the day after, seems my Christmas wasn't that merry."
"For what?" Abby shot back angrily. Susan genuinely was sorry, and Abby couldn't stand it from the blonde. "I don't need your pity. So, I had a shitty Christmas. We all can't have a perfect little holiday-"
"-I spent Christmas alone," Susan suddenly interjected, her hand stilling itself mid-stir. She wanted to look up, but she couldn't.
"Alone? What about-"
"-He's out of the picture," Susan finished, finally looking up. "I hadn't told anybody, yet. It didn't seem to matter." She was so nonchalant about it Abby couldn't quite believe this was the same overly emotional boss she often argued with at work over the simplest of cases.
"It always matter," Abby said sadly. She didn't quite know how to respond, but she felt she had to. "Even if we don't want it to, it does." She reached across the table and put her hand over Susan's. "If you want to talk about it-"
"-I don't," Susan shook her head. "I'm okay. I will be." The guy wasn't right for her; the guy was never right for her. The girl, on the other hand but once again Susan stifled those thoughts. Especially since that girl was sitting right in front of her.
"All right." Abby knew things had changed. Susan showing up at the AA meeting had been the last thing she ever would've thought could happen in her life. But when she saw the blonde enter, she knew things would never be the same. For now, it'd be enough. It'd have to be for both of them. It's not like Susan Lewis could ever No... Abby just wouldn't let herself go there. Not again.
Susan found Abby in the 'on call' room. She seemed to be sleeping, facing the wall and leaving just enough room in the small bed for another. Susan wondered if Abby did this intentionally or not, but there was only one bed and she was the one on call.
"Get comfortable," Abby said, startling Susan as she lay down. "Here." Abby took Susan's hand of her own accord and wrapped her arm around her waist. "Just relax."
"-Don't, Susan," the brunette said quietly. "Just sleep."
"Okay." Susan was too tired to protest or argue. She didn't know what else to do but curl up next to Abby and hold her. She soon drifted off to sleep, the exhaustion from the somewhat busy day in the ER finally catching up to her.
Abby, meanwhile, was wide awake. She smiled when she finally felt Susan relax once asleep. The brunette was tired, too, but that could wait. She wanted to relish the feel of Susan's arm around her, the closeness they were now sharing. It wasn't as if they'd share it awake.
Abby didn't know how long they'd have to lie like that, but she'd savor every moment until Susan's pager went off or some resident knocked on the door to ask for help. She knew good things didn't come her way often but for now, in this moment, lying with Susan in the on call room was as close to good as it could be. They'd have to talk about this eventually, but for now, and without knowing it, they both believed the same thing about the future. It might just be something more.
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