DISCLAIMER: All "ER" characters and institutions are the property of Warner Bros., ConstantC Productions and Amblin Television. This is written strictly for entertainment value, no infringement of copyright or ownership is intended, and nobody is making a profit on this piece. As always, any errors in continuity, characterization, or common sense are entirely my own fault.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: For late 7th season.

By Scott J Welles

Part One...

Memories of Kerry were everywhere she looked.

It hadn't been this way with others. Annie had sat in that chair, but it bore no trace of her presence in Kim's life. Sondra had cooked at her stove, but Kim couldn't see her imprint there. Josie had shared her bed, sat by her fireplace, drank her coffee, and yet Kim didn't see her ghost hovering after their breakup. They were just rooms, things, furnishings.

But Kerry lingered in her life. The way she brushed her teeth, the way she slumped on the couch after a hard day, the way she breathed softly in her sleep...

Damn you, Kerry, why can't I get you out of my head?

She could pick up the phone and dial. Kerry would be there. Or, if she wasn't, her machine would be ready. She didn't have to leave a message, just listen to that voice. Even its mechanical echo was better than nothing...

"No, goddammit," she said aloud. "It's over between us."

But her hand wouldn't let go of the phone. It raised the receiver to her ear, and conscripted the aid of her other hand to reach for the numbered buttons. Oh, so both of you are against me now? Traitorous, mutinous appendages, driven by their hunger for the feel of silken red hair, soft skin, moist warmth...

With a growl of frustration, she slammed the phone down again.

She'd sworn to herself that she'd never let Kerry back into her heart. Not after the shorter woman's cowardly betrayal of her trust. No matter how lonely she was, there were some promises you made to yourself that you just can't break. The cost is too high.

But, God, being alone hurt so much...

Before she could change her mind, she jerked the receiver up and dialed swiftly. Locked her joints in place while she listened to the ringing. Heard the familiar voice on the other end.

"Hi, it's Kim," she said, tersely. "Are you up for it tonight?"

Paused, listening.

"Yeah, I'd call it a Code Blue." An old euphemism between them.

Paused again.

"No, I haven't eaten yet. You want me to order something in?"


"Okay, you can do that. Whatever you want on it, I'm not picky."

Shorter pause.

"Yeah, see you then." She hung up.

Kim sighed, stretching and trying to undo all the kinks in her tense body. Making that call was something else she'd decided never to do again, but there were some nights when you just know that one promise or another is gonna get broken. It was just a question of which one.

The knock on the door came fifteen minutes later. She forced herself out of the chair where she'd been pretending to watch TV and answered it, already knowing pretty much what waited on the other side. Tee shirt, jeans, basketball jacket. Dark hair and cocky grin. Large, flat cardboard box.

She opened the door. Yup, she was right. "Hey, Doyle."

"Hey yourself, Legs," Maggie responded breezily, entering. She presented the box with a flourish, the tantalizing aromas filling the air. "Deep dish veggie, extra large," she declared.

"Great," Kim said, her smile only skin deep.

"You want to eat now, or later?"

It smelled great, and Kim's stomach was empty, but her appetite wasn't playing ball yet. "Not right now," she said.

Maggie nodded and put the pizza box in Kim's oven, turning the heat on just enough to keep it warm. Turning to regard Kim appraisingly, she said, "Okay. You want to talk about it now, or later?"

As a psychiatric professional, Kim knew that she should take things in the order that Maggie was offering them; food, then talk, or both at once. But right now, she didn't care. "Not right now," she said again.

Accepting this with a nod, Maggie pushed away from the oven and walked over to join Kim. "Okay then, we know what that leaves."

Kim responded instantly to the arms around her waist, pulling Maggie close and kissing her hard. There was no gradual transition, no coy seduction, just a quick cut to the chase. Maggie returned the kiss without reservation, aggressively taking the lead and exploring Kim's mouth with her tongue. Her hands gripped Kim's body in all the right places, crushing it tighter against her own.

Tearing her lips away from Maggie's with difficulty, Kim let out a gasp that was equal parts guilt and relief. Maggie's mouth remained glued to her skin, making their way down the side of her neck. Kim's legs screamed for the presence of Maggie's between them. "Doyle...bed," she croaked, her voice betraying her. "No foreplay, just fuck me now..."

Maggie released her with obvious reluctance, and Kim pulled away and strode into the bedroom, pulling her clothes off with ruthless efficiency as she went. The bed was made, comforter neatly tucked in, and she lay naked on it, ready for Maggie.

Her visitor, also nude, all but dove on top of her, embracing the blonde woman and kissing her way down her body. Maggie's talented mouth caught a nipple easily, alternating gentle licking with hard sucking. Kim's body responded as she knew it would, crying out in pleasure that bordered on pain, and clamoring for more. Her fingers twined impatiently through Maggie's hair. "God, Doyle, I said...dammit, Ke..."

The burst of sensation as Maggie's fingers entered her distracted her just in time, and the name she didn't want to say was prevented from escaping.

Maggie yielded to Kim's directions and worked with steady confidence to make Kim climax. Foregoing her usual teasing, her thrusting fingers brought Kim to orgasm in record time, but her mouth kept its hold on Kim's breast as the woman beneath her arched her back reflexively.

Kim panted, still awash in the immediate aftermath of her orgasm, as Maggie withdrew her fingers, letting the nipple slip wetly out from between her lips. "More," Kim said, her voice raw and impatient.

Maggie obligingly slid down without ceremony, spreading Kim's legs and applying her lips and tongue with more enthusiasm than usual. Kim couldn't hold her voice in this time, letting herself cry out in a wordless mix of physical rapture and emotional despair. Maggie ate her for what seemed an eternity, and she came again, her insides contorting deliciously.

When at last Maggie sat up, Kim lay still and took stock of her own body's sensations. Hair tangled around her head, skin tingling, body slick with sweat, comforter scrunched and wrinkled beneath her.

Maggie moved up and lay on her side next to Kim. "Ready to talk now?"

"No." Kim rolled over, pushing Maggie onto her back and pinning her against the headboard possessively. She claimed the ripeness of Maggie's swollen areolas with her hands and mouth, suckling each in turn like some exquisite tropical fruit while trying not to imagine that they were Kerry's. Maggie's gasp of surprised indignity quickly transformed into desire as she wrapped her legs around Kim's hips. Her hands gripped the headboard as Kim's hands descended, the blonde's short nails raking over her stomach and pelvis, down between her legs.

She attacked Maggie's sex with a passionate intensity that was driven by anger as much as anything else. Each thrust of her fingers was a condemnation (damn you, Kerry!), the suction of her lips and teeth on Maggie's nipple a demand for answers (why didn't you stand by me?), and she knew that Maggie was enduring Kim's actions almost as much as she was enjoying them. A glimpse at Maggie's face showed her lips peeled back from clenched teeth, a look of defiance and determination on her face.

Maggie came, her hips bucking off the bed, and then collapsed like an exhausted athlete. Kim felt like they'd been wrestling, rather than having sex.

She rolled onto her back, perpendicular to Maggie's body, and let herself wind down. She turned her head the other way, not looking at her sexual partner, not wanting to see her face right now. Sex with Maggie was always a guilty pleasure; as terrific as the brunette woman was in bed, it always felt like a cheap one-night stand with a stranger from a bar.

This time, it was even more so. It felt like she'd just cheated on Kerry. The fact that their relationship was over and done with in Kim's mind did nothing to mitigate this feeling.

"Wow," Maggie said at last. "You're angry at someone."

Kim didn't reply.

"Don't need a shrink to tell that much," Maggie added. "I mean, it was great and all; I'm used to the rough stuff. But you've got it bad for her, whoever she is."

After a long silence, Kim said, "I'm sorry if I hurt you. I didn't mean to do that."

Maggie nudged her. "It's okay," she said. "Really."

Kim wished she could say the same.

"You want to eat and talk now?"

Feeling the trembling in her body -- a combination of emotional upheaval, post-orgasmic shakes, and low blood sugar -- she knew she'd better eat something. And as much as she didn't feel like talking about Kerry, she knew Maggie deserved some explanation for the way Kim was using her. "Sure."

They sat at the breakfast table and ate. Although Maggie had always been comfortable hanging around in the nude whenever they got together, Kim didn't. She'd compromised and pulled on a blue dress shirt, but nothing else; she knew Maggie enjoyed the sight of her legs. An image of Kerry wearing this same shirt came to her, and she ignored it determinedly.

Maggie had also donned a shirt, this one a large football jersey handed down from Kim's brother. It came to mid-thigh on her and fell fetchingly off of one shoulder. Kim idly wondered whether Maggie put it on in deference to her feelings or to prevent hot tomato sauce from dripping onto bare flesh.

Kim managed to set her inner turmoil aside for a while, contenting herself with the fulfillment of two primal requirements, sex and food. She wolfed the pizza down gracelessly, knowing that Maggie wasn't one for formalities. Dining with Kerry, she'd always felt a sense of elegance and propriety; even when she cut loose and really had fun, Kerry always managed to keep a semblance of order around her. Where was she tonight, Kim wondered? Out screwing some guy, reasserting her heterosexuality, maybe? Letting some man pump into her, driving out whatever she'd shared with Kim? No, Kim chastised herself, that was an unworthy thought. Gay, straight, or bi, Kerry wasn't the go-out-and-get-laid type. She wouldn't fuck someone out of spite, like I just did.

Forcing herself to stop dwelling on it, Kim let her eyes roam over Maggie Doyle, sitting across from her. She recalled how they'd first met; each was doing her internship at the time, one in Trauma, the other in Psych, and neither had any real time to go looking for relationships. They were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend, but didn't really click with each other; each wanted to be the aggressor, and they just didn't mesh right. After a couple of dates had ended in nothing more than pro forma goodnight kisses, they called it quits and went their separate ways.

Then, running into each other by chance at a low period for both of them, they struck up a conversation, as past acquaintances do...and then found themselves in bed together. It was a clear case of 'love-the-one-you're-with', and both felt bad about it afterwards, but as Maggie put it, neither one had had any luck with the women they were picturing during sex, so why not have it with each other? Better a substitute lover than none at all.

Kim wasn't sure she agreed, but it was done. And a few months later, when another relationship hadn't worked out, she found herself calling Maggie.

It was a sort of unspoken agreement between the two: each acted as a kind of stand-in for the lost loves and unrequited crushes of the other. It was a temporary solution to their mutual problem, and never satisfying in the long run, but loneliness and heartbreak have their demands. It was better, Kim supposed, than getting drunk.

"So, Doyle," she spoke up, after her body's craving for food had been blunted, "who were you thinking about in there?" She nodded toward her bedroom.

Maggie swallowed, wiped sauce from her lips, then said, "Charlotte." She smiled. "Tall, kind of rawboned-Texan-farm-girl type with a smile that'll break your heart."

Kim forced a smile. "Didn't know you were into country-and-western."

"I'm not," Maggie replied. "At least not the music."

"So what's wrong with her?" Kim asked. The mere fact that Maggie was with Kim tonight indicated that this Charlotte woman was unavailable. "Already taken? Celibate for religious reasons?"

Maggie just shook her head. "Keep going."

"Don't tell me. Straight."

"Uh-huh." Maggie took a large bite of her pizza slice, looking momentarily wolfish in the process. "Dovn't 'at juft figgrr?" she mumbled around the mouthful.

It sure did figure, Kim reflected silently.

Maggie swallowed. "She was fresh into town when I met her, first time in the big city and just as wide-eyed as you can imagine. We hit it off right away, all smiles and instant sister-bonding. So we've been out a couple of times, just as friends, y'know, 'cause I'm not sure if it's really going where I hope it's going?"

"Uh-huh." Kim recalled the first few times she'd gone places with Kerry. Leading up to that one unforgettable dinner when she'd screwed up her nerve and made her move...

"So this one night, we're out having a bite, and she's all bubbly and upbeat, like she's excited about something, and I figure tonight's the night we close the deal." She paused to take another bite and swallow it. "So guess what she turns out to be excited about?"

"She met some guy?"

"Worse. Her husband's coming back from overseas service."

"Married? Oh, man." That horrible moment of doubt when Kerry mentioned her husband...

"Then, get this, she tells me she knows this other guy where she works, and he and I have so much in common..."

"She tried to set you up? Ouch!" Kim had to laugh.

"Yeah, tell me about it. So close, and yet not even close at all, huh?" Maggie grinned ruefully. "So how about you? Who was I, in there?"

The laugh went away. "Kerry," Kim said quietly.

The silence hung between them, and then Maggie said, "So, no details?"

Kim shook her head.

"Aww, c'mon, you've gotta give with the details, Legs! Paint me a picture of this woman, already!"

"Not now, okay, Doyle?" she said. "It's just too soon. Hurts too much."

Maggie, catching the look in her eye, backed off. "Okay. No problem."

Each took another slice. Maggie always finished her crusts as well, but Kim preferred to leave hers.

"She just couldn't face up to it," Kim spoke up suddenly.

"Hnnh?" Maggie mumbled, her mouth full.

She set her slice down, only a single bite out of it. "If you're straight, if you're not interested in women, that's one thing," she said, talking as much to herself as to Maggie. "Fine. I respect that. If you're not ready to come out, I can understand that, too, all else being equal. That's a choice you have to make for yourself. But when there's so much at stake, and it comes time to take a stand..."

Maggie watched her and listened without interrupting.

"Bad enough when the Robert Romanos of the world try to make you ashamed of who you are," Kim rambled, "but to feel that kind of pathological self-hatred, or paralyzing fear, the kind that drives a young girl to suicide rather than accept herself..." They were blurring in her mind, Kerry and that patient who'd accused her of molestation. She'd tried to love the one and help the other, and both had betrayed her. One betrayal had threatened her job, the other had broken her heart.

"This is not some scared teenager we're talking about here," she added. "This is a mature woman who's accomplished things. Who's overcome hardship and liabilities both physical and emotional..." She changed thoughts in midstream. "But she's so afraid of losing face in the eyes of the precious fraternity, like image is more important than integrity..."

"Oh, Christ, one of those, huh?" Maggie looked disgusted.

Kim nodded. "Her whole administrative accomplishment thing, her career path, all that... she leans on it like another crutch."

A strange look came into Maggie's eyes. "Another what...?"

"Crutch." Kim mimed leaning on one, for clarity. "She's partly disabled."

Maggie remained frozen, pizza slice halfway to her gaping mouth. Then she put it down and leaned forward. "Umm...did you say her name was 'Carrie'?"


"Spelled like Carrie Fisher?"

"No. K-E-double-R-Y. Why?" Because we like you...

A grin of amazement spread over Maggie's features and she sat back in shock. "You're fucking kidding me, right, Legs?" she said. "You're telling me that you bagged WEAVER?!"

Kim blinked at her. "You know her?"

"Kerry Weaver, ER doc, this high?" She held up a hand. "Red hair and glasses, scar on her throat?"

"I guess you do know her."

"Know her, shit, I used to work with her!" Maggie laughed. "I did two years of my residency at County!"

Kim frowned. "I thought you were at Southside?"

"I was, and they brought me over to County when Southside closed. I transferred to Mercy a couple years later, to get out from under Romano." She shook her head. "Jeez, I can't believe it, Weaver's on our side? And you nailed her?"

"What makes you think I slept with her?" Kim snapped irritably. "You assume we were involved, but you thought she was straight. How do you know I'm just not disappointed, like you and whatsername, Charlotte?"

"Uh-uh. No way, Legs, this is more than an unrequited crush or a fantasy. I can tell when you've broken up with someone." Maggie looked at her intently. "She's not just another dream girl. You were lovers, weren't you?"

Kim didn't nod or speak. She didn't need to.

Part Two...

Maggie let out a whoop and stood to hug her. "Man, Legs, I knew you were good, but...congratulations!"

Kim raised a hand to stop her from approaching. "Doyle, slow down. Don't congratulate me; it didn't work, remember?"

"I know, but...you and Kerry Weaver? Wow!"

Kim felt a twinge of resentment. The women she and Maggie talked about after sex were supposed to be private, their own special fantasy women or lost loves. It was irrational to be upset that Maggie knew Kerry before she did, but she still felt that way. "You talk like I found the Holy Grail or something. Did you have your eye on her?"

"No, she wasn't really my type. But I mean, in three years, I had no idea she was gay. I got, like, zero vibe from her." Maggie was still giving Kim that admiring gaze that was starting to get on Kim's nerves. "What happened with you two? Why'd you break up?"

"It's not important." Kim closed the pizza box and picked it up, turning to throw it away.

Maggie stopped her with a gentle hand. "Yeah, it is. You need to talk about this."

Kim shot her an angry glare. "Who's the psychiatrist here, anyway?"

"You are. I'm a second opinion. So what would you say to you?"

She let out a sigh, unable to hold the glare in the face of Maggie's concern. She sat again, and Maggie took her seat as well.

Kim started at the beginning and told her. All of it. Acquaintance. Curiosity. Friendship. Hopefulness. Exploration. Reluctance. Rejection. Pursuit. Surrender. Contentment. Concern. Paranoia. Betrayal.

Maggie listened carefully, a small frown marring her brow only slightly. "That doesn't sound like the Kerry I know," she said at last.

"There can't be two of them," Kim said with a mild snort.

"No, there sure can't. So why didn't she speak up in your defense?"

Fingers raked through her blonde curls. "Because she's too afraid to admit the truth," she replied. "She talks tough when she's on the big boys' good side, but doesn't have the spine to stand against them."

Maggie shook her head decisively. "That can't be right. Not Kerry Weaver."

"What makes you so sure, Doyle?"

There was a serious side to Maggie Doyle that Kim hadn't seen before. "Weaver stood up for me once, when Romano was pulling the same shit. She took him on solidly, and would have backed him down if he hadn't covered his ass by taking the ER Chief position. The Weaver I remember wasn't a kiss-ass or a coward. If the fight was right, she was there for you."

Hearing this, understandably, just made Kim angrier. "So if she could fight for you just because she worked with you, why not for me?"

Maggie thought about it and shrugged. "Nobody's perfect."

That brought a harsh, bitter laugh.

"I agree with you, Legs, she should have spoken up. But even though she was wrong to stay quiet, I can kinda see where she's coming from."

"And where's that? Maybe you can enlighten me?" Kim crossed her arms.

"Hey, you and I, we came out when we were how old? Fourteen, fifteen?"


"Okay, there you go," Maggie said. "Was it easy for you?"

Kim paused before answering. "No."

Maggie smiled with one corner of her mouth. "Try it with an Irish Catholic family sometime."

"So what's your point, Doyle?"

"Well, that was back when we were young, the time when you're supposed to be discovering things about yourself as you enter adulthood. How much tougher do you think it must be at forty? When you've established a life for yourself and you're set in your ways? It's gotta be harder to turn your world around after you've taken root to a degree."

"So you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I get it." She swept her hair back again. "You don't think I know all this? That I haven't thought it all through?"

Maggie showed her palms. "I'm not trying to defend her..."

"I didn't ask her to come out of the closet, Maggie, I just wanted her to speak up and defend me professionally! That's her fucking job!"

"I know."

"Sure you know, she did it for you!"

Maggie let the burst of anger go without yelling back. Then, when Kim clearly had nothing further to say, she replied, "I hate to break it to you, Legs, but people let each other down sometimes. Even the people they love. Especially them, sometimes."

Kim said nothing.

"In my case, her self-esteem wasn't on the line, so she could be objective. With yours, she had her sense of identity at stake. You did deserve support, obviously, but it ain't necessarily as black-and-white as all that." Maggie shrugged. "It's your call, of course, but I think you should give her another chance."

Kim took her time in bestowing a long, skeptical look on her. "Now why," she said at last, "would I want to take her back, even with what you've said? Why should I take that risk?"


"Give me one good reason why I should let that uptight, insecure, two-faced little closet case Kerry Weaver back into my life?"

Maggie's voice was low, but steady. "Because you still love her."

Kim gazed back at the young trauma resident sitting across from her, absorbing her words. Mentally, she began the automatic process of analyzing the woman's statement, judging its veracity, and critiquing the basis for its conclusion. That segued neatly into the rebuttal process, an autonomic reflex for any psychotherapist, sifting through her internal database of potential arguments, searching for precisely the right words to refute and contradict Maggie's declaration.

"Oh, fuck you," she said at last.

Standing, she picked up the pizza box again and carried it to the counter, turning her back on Maggie Doyle as she began wrapping the leftover slices in Saran Wrap for storage in the fridge. That completed, she left the breakfast nook and retrieved her clothes, pulling them on again. She threw the blue shirt in the laundry hamper, vowing to eradicate all traces of Kerry Weaver's scent from it. If that didn't work, she'd throw the goddamn shirt away.

All the while, Maggie stood in place, turning to watch Kim's movements, but never moving herself. Never taking her eyes off of Kim.

This isn't how a Code Blue's supposed to happen, Kim raged. Doyle comes over, we have hot sex, we swap sob stories and bullshit wet-dream fantasies about the women we can't have, we laugh and groan and sigh, and we feel better afterwards. We don't pull this 'you're-in-love-with-her' crap. Besides, Kim was supposed to be the cool shrink, and Doyle the hothead. When had they traded places?

Frustrated by Maggie's uncharacteristic silence, she finished dressing and stalked back to where Maggie still stood, arms crossed, face open, still wearing only the big jersey. "Look, Doyle..." she began, and then ran out of words.

"Kim," Maggie interrupted her, putting both hands on Kim's shoulders, "look at me."

Kim's eyes met hers.

"Now kiss me."


"Just kiss me."

Kim kissed her. It was nice. It was fine. Would have been better without the pizza breath, but there you go.

They parted. "So what's that prove?"

"Now close your eyes," Maggie told her softly.

Reluctantly, Kim obeyed.

Maggie's hands moved up to cup her face tenderly. "Now think about her." She didn't have to specify who she meant.

Kim let out a deep sigh and went along with it.

Kerry... Kerry, okay? Tough little gal, wants to be the ramrod of the ER, but she's scared stiff someone will know she slept with a woman... Afraid she'll have to deal with the 'lifestyle' that comes along with loving me... Not so afraid that she didn't come back for more, I noticed...

Said she'd try to be quiet when she came in late... No, wake me... Wanted to see she was really there, know she still wanted me... Crawling into bed, so tired, but her face lit up when I smiled... Holding her tight... Not about sex, just holding... Watching me from the bed as I dry my hair... Kissing her hand, so soft for someone who acts so hard... Tender and lovely...

Go back, earlier, the first morning, looking lost and confused, just between you and me, okay? Okay, if that's what you need, for now... Then she's gone, and I'm afraid it's over, just a one-time fling, out of curiosity... But no, she's at my door... Alone and vulnerable, needing to be loved... Such sadness in her eyes, it's all gone wrong, and she turned to me... Reaching out to me, hoping for something she's never seen, never felt, never expected could be real...

Kerry, so strong and yet so soft... Both an iron fortress and a fragile blossom... So lovely...

Oh god, Kerry...

"Now kiss me," came the whisper from millimeters away.

Their lips flowed together like water, transforming into wine, parting wetly to exchange breath, tongues touching, caressing, embracing. Warm arms slid around her, tightening, pulling her close. Smooth skin and muscles, soft curves, filled with blood and heat and life. Exotic, enticing scent...

The urge rose again, more real than the shadowy world outside their embrace. She felt it, the need to love and be loved, to feast on the radiant pleasure of the other. It rose like warm water to fill her every pore, almost bursting out of her skin...

Maggie pulled away, breathlessly, still holding Kim's face close to hers. "Jesus..."

Kim's eyes opened, astonished at how much passion she could feel for one woman while kissing another. There was a fresh wetness in her groin.

"I've never been kissed like that before," Maggie whispered.

Kim felt herself trembling, the desire for Kerry singing through her. Just to hold her, to be with her.

"Now tell me you don't love her," Maggie challenged quietly.

"I..." She swallowed and leaned her forehead against Maggie's, reeling with emotional turmoil. "I can't."

Maggie stroked her hair.

"I'm sorry," Kim whispered. She was speaking at once to Maggie, to Kerry, and to herself.

After a while, Maggie said, "I should go. Got the morning shift tomorrow..."

Kim nodded, but instead of releasing her, lowered her lips to Maggie's collarbone, just visible above the jersey's neckline. She kissed softly, then moved her lips lower.

"Kim, what..." The mild protest quickly faded as Kim's hands glided over her back, waist, hips and buttocks, down to her bare thighs. Deft fingers slid beneath the jersey's hem, then up under it over stomach, ribs and breasts. The peaks of her nipples were sharply outlined through the shirt before Kim's hands covered them. Maggie moaned aloud and made no further argument, leaning against the refrigerator door.

We can't do this anymore, Kim thought as she inhaled Maggie's scent. I won't use her as a sexual surrogate when I've lost my heart to another. But I will make love to her one more time, let her sample the love she helped me find in myself.

Kim took a nipple in her mouth, shirt and all, feeling it swell between her lips even through the cotton. Her fingers gently rolled the other one in counterpoint, eliciting deeper moans from Maggie in the process. Maggie's hands gripped her shoulders, asking for more. She bent her knees obligingly, sliding down to a kneeling position even as Maggie pulled the jersey up over her head and discarded it.

Eye level with Maggie's hips, Kim spread her thighs cautiously, imagining they were Kerry's, with her limited support and range of motion. Careful not to hurt her. Her fingertips gently parted the swollen lips, caressing the bud of her clitoris. The standing woman shivered under her touch, hands on the back of Kim's head.

Leaning forward, she kissed Maggie's sex the way she'd kissed her mouth before. Slowly, tenderly, lovingly. Lips parting, tongue venturing within as if by invitation, sweet stroking, effervescent exploration. Coaxing and cherishing. Sharp contrast to the rough-and-tumble sex earlier. This was lovemaking, the same guiding, nurturing lovemaking she'd shown Kerry on their first night together. No demands, no pressure, just 'let me love you'.

Maggie cried out, her knees shuddering as though on the verge of collapse, clutched Kim's face deeper into her, and came. Her orgasm was unlike those Kim had induced in the past, richer and more complete. A product of the whole body, rather than specific organs. She sighed deeply as she slid down to sit on the kitchen floor, Kim kneeling in front of her. "Oh god, Kim...thank you."

Kim sat back on her haunches, breathing slowly and allowing her perception to readjust. It wasn't Kerry in front of her, open and ready and begging to be taken back, no matter how much she might wish it was. Maggie Doyle, flushed and glowing, was the only one with her.

"That was a goodbye, wasn't it?" Maggie said.

"Yeah. I can't do this anymore. It's not fair to Kerry, and it's not fair to you." Kim stood, reaching a hand down to help Maggie up.

She took it and stood. "You, either."


Maggie walked back toward the bedroom to collect her clothes, but Kim remained where she was. The passing thought struck her that it was the first time she'd made love to a nude woman while fully clothed, herself. My, aren't we adventurous? Well, it had seemed only fair; Maggie'd borne the brunt of Kim's anger toward Kerry, so she should experience the tenderness as well. Sex as a finder's fee. Or severance pay.

"So what are you gonna do?" Maggie asked her, a few minutes later at the door.

"You mean about Kerry?"

"No, dummy, about the national deficit."

She sighed through her smile. "I don't know, Maggie. I guess I'm going to think about it."

Maggie gave her a sudden hug, just as a friend. Something else they'd never done before. "Think hard, okay?"

Kim patted her back before they parted. "Maggie...why are you so intent on pushing me back to Kerry?" Especially if it meant they wouldn't be having sex again.

The dark-haired doctor looked at the door, rather than Kim, while she spoke. "I wasn't really thinking about Charlotte before, you know. Or hadn't you ever guessed?"

A sudden understanding filled Kim, and she felt even smaller.

"Nobody ever loved me that much," Maggie added, looking at her now. "I liked to pretend it was me you were thinking about, but...if I can't have that, somebody else should. And for the Kerry Weaver I knew, it's long overdue."

Kim couldn't say anything.

Maggie knuckled her shoulder and opened the door. "Night, Legs," she said with a cocky smile before vanishing.

For a long time after she was gone, Kim sat still, aware that Maggie Doyle, for all the times they'd slept together, had left no traces in her home more permanent than the disposable pizza box. Like the others, she was out of sight, out of mind.

But not Kerry.

She picked up the phone again, this time by choice. Dialled the number. Waited through one ring, then two. Heard the click.

"Hi, this is Dr. Weaver's residence. Please leave a message and your call will be returned promptly." The terse, clipped greeting was typical of Kerry. All business.


I do love you, Kerry. I've never said the words, but I...

She realized that no sound was coming out of her mouth, and she couldn't make it start.

Slammed down the receiver without saying a word. Turned away from the phone. Shrank from the possibility of rejection, knowing that Kerry would never take her back.

She should say it anyway, declare her feelings while she had the chance, before she buried them under denial again. Even if Kerry no longer wanted her, she should make the gesture of saying it out loud.

But dammit, dammit, dammit...the words hurt too much.

The End

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