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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To Kerry At 4 AM

Sometimes We Stumble Into Grace
By Chris


She was long gone by the time Kerry woke up, no messy morning after bullshit, thank you very much.

Cold, tired and feeling like everything she'd ever known about herself was gone, just like that. Taken from her? Maybe.

Abby rolled the idea around for a minute before shaking her head. Cop out. She might have gone to that bar expecting to offer nothing more than comfort but she'd been clear-eyed and sober when opportunity presented itself. It was like answering a dare.

So what, figure you can take a walk on the wild side because the almighty Chief has been brought to her knees in front of her staff?

Well yeah, actually, but not the way Kerry had meant. Not That Pretty, Not That Special. It had been a mantra in her brain for weeks now. In the front seat of her car, in her bed, Kerry had made that feeling go away. For awhile.

Then had come the morning after and Abby had awakened to discover that she was still the same person dragging around the same shit. Dr. Kerry Weaver was not in love with her; Dr. Kerry Weaver was not going to ask her to move in. At best things would be awkward as hell at work. Great.

She rode the EL three times through the circuit before exiting and wandering the few blocks to home.

Work was the usual chaos until she was sent to find Mark and that became a nightmare in the making. Convinced that he would make a fatal decision without thinking it through, she was relieved when Chen sent for Weaver. Equal parts curse and blessing, Kerry did not ignore her, Kerry did not go out of her way to look at her or touch her. Kerry treated her exactly the way she did every day, no better no worse.

Abby watched in subdued awe as Kerry quietly took charge, talking Mark down, soothing Elizabeth, putting aside their differences to work in tandem with Chen. Kerry wheeling Ella up to PICU was the last time she remembered seeing her.

Back home was worse. Wound up and restless, she tried watching t.v. but gave up to pace her apartment like a wounded animal. She was considering pouring herself a glass of wine when a sudden pounding on the door startled her. Joyce was urgently pleading to be let in and Abby quickly acquiesced.

Jesus Christ, just what she needed, her brainwashed wife-next-door still frantically clinging to the notion this time will be different, this time will be different.

Abby almost laughed at the ensuing thought: last night at a woman's place, tonight a different woman staying at her place. When it rains… Right, definitely no morning after bullshit with Joyce. Abby went to the closet and gathered sheets, pillows and a blanket for her to stretch out on the couch.

If she'd been hoping for rest, Abby was sorely mistaken. Her sleep was fitful and tormented and more than once she called out someone's name during the night. In the morning, she refused to think whose name that might have been.

Later in the day Joyce phoned and after that, everything just fell apart.

Abby almost had a heart attack when Susan casually asked if she'd had intercourse in the last 72 hours. Could she tell?

For Christ's sake, suck it up Abby! There isn't a stamp on your forehead that shouts you've been had by Kerry Weaver. And the bruise on your thigh, definitely when you fell, nothing to do with being well and thoroughly ravished.

Abby plucked at the edges of the sheets and tried to relax. Christ, she felt like an idiot. Humiliated. And so terribly sad. She faltered under Susan's gentle insistence and gratefully accepted the offer of a place to stay. She definitely did not want to return to her apartment, not yet, not until the cops nabbed that asshole.

Susan had not exaggerated about the roll out. It was small but comfortable and she curled up on her side and pulled the covers tightly around her neck. She could see the faint glow from a night light in the hall and it lessened the blackness of the room.

She had done the right thing, she had. Even if she'd been hurt by the effort, to believe anything different would tear the final rent in her soul. Glad of the two pillows Susan had given her that would muffle her quiet crying, she finally fell asleep.

I didn't mean for this to happen.

Jesus Christ, just what she needed.

This time will be different, this time will be different.

I would never hurt you.

But it has.

Abby jerked awake and watched in frightened silence as Susan brushed past her, tightening the sash of her robe. She peered through the peephole and shook her head in disbelief, throwing back the locks and opening the door.

"Kerry. What are you doing here?"

Kerry didn't answer, just stood in the doorway and stared into the gloom of the darkened living room. The silence stretched uncomfortably until she finally spoke.

"I need to speak to Abby, if you don't mind."

"It's two in the morning, this couldn't wait?"

Kerry shook her head.

"I'm sorry Susan."

The sincerely apologetic tone in Kerry's voice melted Susan's annoyance and she moved aside. She carefully shut the door and re-locked it, then turned and fumbled for the lamp on the end table. Without a word or backward glance, she returned to her bedroom.

Kerry moved no closer and Abby waited, her nervousness and a faint stirring of defensiveness pushing adrenalin through her veins. She stared at the diminutive woman before her, trying to reason out why on earth she would track down her whereabouts and pay her a visit in the middle of the night.

Kerry cleared her throat and took a breath before she spoke.

"Brian is in custody."


Abby realized she'd spoken reflexively and she waved a hand in Kerry's direction, gesturing for her to ignore the question.

"Luka tracked him down in some bar and beat him up. Brian turned himself in about an hour later."

Abby nodded silently, still trying to wrap her mind around what Kerry was telling her.

"Are you okay?"

There was something dangerous in the tone, a level of fury barely contained and Abby flinched at the sound. She'd stepped in it this time, stupid enough to think she could manage the situation without help, now Luka had felt the need to defend her and Kerry was obviously pissed off with the whole sordid mess.

Abby ducked her head and squeezed her eyes tightly shut, hoping that when she opened them this would all turn out to be a bad dream. She didn't hear Kerry move and when the bed dipped and a gentle hand reached up to brush her hair back, she cringed. Kerry paused and then carefully traced her index finger down the line of Abby's chin, guiding her face upwards until their eyes met. Her voice was low and tremulous.

"Why didn't you call me?"

Abby froze and then gasped when she felt her heart start beating again.

"I didn't think you'd--"

"I told you I would never hurt you. If you needed my help, you only had to ask."

Kerry rested her hands in her lap, glancing at them briefly before looking up again. Wonder washed over Abby when she noticed tears glittering in her eyes.

"I phoned you and a policeman answered. Scared the shit out of me but wouldn't tell me anything so I called the hospital. I went down there but you and Susan had already left. Luka phoned while I was there and I got the whole story from him. Brute. What the hell did he think he was doing, as if pounding on that bastard would help you any…"

Kerry's hands twisted and Abby reached out and covered them with her own.

"I went back home but I couldn't unwind, just kept pacing and scaring myself. I had to come and see you, make sure you weren't badly hurt. You aren't, are you? I mean, I looked at your chart, I hope you don't mind. Everything seemed okay but…"

"I'm gonna be fine, Kerry, just fine. Thanks."

Abby sucked in a breath and let her eyes slide shut when Kerry leaned forward and gently pressed a kiss against her temple. And another against her unmarked cheek. And another to her battered lips. Soothing kisses, meant to heal. She felt hands pulling her forward and she surrendered and let herself be cradled in the strong embrace.

"I know it's late but will you come home with me please? I have the next two days off and I can take better care of you there."

Abby gave a half-sob half-laugh and nodded against Kerry's chest.

"Get dressed, I'll let Susan know we're leaving."

"Tell her thank you for me?"

"I will."

Abby watched as Kerry disappeared down the hall towards Susan's bedroom.

This time will be different, this time will be different.

She couldn't know that, not for sure anyway.

Kerry suddenly appeared from around the corner and stared at her.

"Come on, we should try and get a little sleep tonight. What are you waiting for?"

Jesus Christ, just what she needed.



The End

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