DISCLAIMER: ER and its characters are the property of Constant C Productions, Amblin Entertainment, and Warner Brothers Television.
SEQUEL/SERIES: Follows In the Kingdom of the Blind and Solace.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

This. Here. Now.
By Susan P


"Why are you doing this, Abby? What do you want?"

"I...don't know exactly. I mean--" she held up her hands, trying to forestall further protests before she could finish, "I can't tell you what I'll want tomorrow, or hell, what I'll want five hours from now, for that matter. I don't know myself. I just know what I want right now--at this moment--and I don't want to let this chance slip by because I feel like I'd really be missing something. I'm a grown woman. You can't push me into doing anything I don't want to do--well, except at work, but we're not there now. Maggie might have that power over me, but trust me, you don't.

"Whatever this is, it isn't some experiment for the sake of," she made quotation mark signs with her fingers,"'trying something new.' And I'm not offering out of some twisted sense of obligation. Trust me, if I'd wound up staying at Susan Lewis' last night instead of here, she wouldn't be getting this offer."

She was rewarded with a 'hmph' from Kerry that sounded like some combination of hilarity and indignation.

She took a step forward, but Kerry immediately stepped back, still studying her feet, or some unseen pattern in the carpet. She sighed, but pushed ahead.

"I just know that, after everything that happened yesterday, I needed something, someone. And when it came down to it, you were the only one I really felt comfortable enough to ask. I didn't intend to break down in your arms last night, but I did and I'm not sorry I trusted you with that. When I left the hospital last night, I was sure I wouldn't be able to sleep--that I wouldn't feel safe enough to, or that I wouldn't be able to relax enough to. I didn't intend to spend the night in anyone's arms, let alone yours, but I did and I haven't slept that well in...I don't know... Since the Westlakes moved in, I guess.

"When I woke up in your arms this morning, it felt good. Safe. I wasn't embarrassed or uncomfortable--even when I realized I'd lost the towel, sometime during the night. I--"

"I'm not your mother, Abby," Kerry murmured.

"What?!" Abby tried to figure out where the hell this was going.

Kerry finally looked up, but fixed her gaze at some point above and beyond Abby's left shoulder, refusing to look down, or even meet her eyes.

"I said I'm not your mother. You need a friend--someone to turn to for comfort--you've got it. But as much as you might feel you need a surrogate for the mothering you didn't quite get as a child... I can't be that for you. I can't be the one whose bed you crawl into when you wake up scared from a nightmare or a thunderstorm. Hell, at least you've got a mother you can still turn to, imperfect as your relationship with her might be. As much as I might need a little simple body-to-body comfort myself, it just isn't quite that simple for me any more. Not when it comes to having a naked--"

"Damn it, Kerry. Look. At. Me" Abby cut her off, and the demand in her tone got the desired effect. Kerry's eyes were now trained on hers.

Abby let some of her exasperation show, "God, I've never had to work this hard to get anyone into bed in my life!"

"I'm sure you haven't," Kerry managed to sound appreciative and envious, all at once, but at least she was still paying attention.

Abby started moving toward her, slowly and deliberately. Predictably, Kerry matched every one of her forward steps with one backward, but her gaze didn't waver.

"Kerry, I'm not offering to have sex with you because 'my mommy didn't love me' as a child," her whiny, singsong tone clearly conveyed her disgust at the idea. "Waking up in your arms felt good. Right, somehow. You were so stiff in my arms, it took me a couple minutes to figure it out, but I did. You want me, but you were trying so hard not to let me see it. You held yourself so still, afraid of touching me, even accidentally. Even now, you don't want me to see it, but I do. I see it in the way you've avoided looking at me directly until now--in way you seem so terrified of letting me get close enough to touch, though I'm not sure which of us you're more afraid of. Part of me thinks there's something very...sexy about watching you struggle with your desire like this. But mostly it's just frustrating, because I want to do more than watch..."

Kerry's retreat was abruptly halted by the wall she suddenly found at her back, and the shock knocked the wind out of her for a moment. Abby leaned in a little closer, bracing a hand against the wall above her left shoulder.

"I want this. I want to see what it would be like to be the focus of all that intensity I know you're capable of, and I want to watch you... I wanna be the one who makes you lose a little of that precious control of yours. Believe me, if I didn't, I wouldn't be standing here, naked, trying to convince you to join me. Pride alone dictates that I should've given up long before now, or at least put on some damn clothes! And. For the record, I have never wanted to do to Maggie what I'm thinking of doing with you right now. Even if this is my only chance, I want to take it--even if it were only for a one-shot deal, I'm willing to live with that."

That was it. Her last shot at convincing Kerry. If none of that did the trick, it was unlikely she could say anything else that would get through to her. It was up to Kerry to decide, now.

She thought she almost had her. She could see Kerry's breathing become shallower. She could almost feel the vibrations going through the other woman. But then Kerry's eyes drifted away and caught on something for a moment, and she snapped out of it.

"I've got to get ready for my shift," she said, seemingly all business. Abby knew better, though. Kerry carefully slid away from her and started fluttering around the room, gathering clothes.

She filled the nervous silence with instructions. "Don't bother going in today, Abby. Take some time. You're welcome to stay here, if you'd like. The fridge is stocked, and there's an extra key hanging by the door to the basement. Just, call Luka, or someone, at the hospital to let them know you're okay. All right?"

Abby hadn't changed position. At first, she had craned her neck to follow Kerry's movements, but once it seemed clear that Kerry wasn't likely to change her mind and give in to what she knew they both wanted, she just slumped, leaning more heavily against the arm braced on the wall and hanging her head.

"Yeah," was all the reply she could manage.

She heard Kerry's nervous, "Okay," and then the soft click of the bathroom door closing.

"Damn it!" She banged her head against the wall, lightly, but the vibrations it sent through her skull made her recoil in pain. "Ow!" She reached up to not quite touch her injured face ad the dull ache she'd shoved aside while paying attention to other things returned with a vengeance.

She turned around and wearily leaned back into the wall where Kerry had been. "Kerry?"

"Yeah?" Kerry called out from behind the door.

"Where do you keep your painkillers?"

"Oh, umm..." the door clicked, slid open about an inch, eyes peered out at her, then quickly slid away, embarrassed, "in here. In the cabinet. Just, um, give me a minute." And then her form was gone from view. Abby could hear the shower curtain slide one way, then back, before Kerry called, "Okay."

She wearily pushed herself from the wall, stepped over, and pushed her way into the bathroom. "Thanks."


She could almost hear Kerry holding her breath while she rummaged around in the medicine cabinet to find...ooh, prescription strength Ibuprofen. She took one and turned the tap on, scooping up a couple handfuls of water to wash it down. She tried very hard to avoid the purplish face staring back at her from the mirrored door of the cabinet--her ego had taken enough of a bruising this morning. She could feel the tension in the small room, could almost hear it over the sound of the running water. She looked over and watched Kerry's silhouette behind the curtain, debating. She then stepped over to the door and noisily shut it. She held her breath and waited. It was only a moment or two before she heard a pained groan and a breathy, 'Oh, God,' from Kerry. Then she very slowly and carefully turned the knob and eased it open enough to slide through, after which she pulled the door closed, just up to the edge of the door frame. Kerry was right, she did have at least one phone call to make.

Call Luka, Kerry had said. She knew what Kerry had thought. That, if she turned to her former boyfriend, she would quickly forget about whatever aberration had led her to proposition Kerry and fall into his arms instead. Shit. It wasn't that simple for her, either. Not now.

Once she had called the hospital and spoken to Luka, not bothering to be quiet about it, she slipped back to the bathroom door and quietly let herself back in. Kerry just seemed to be standing there, in the middle of the tub, turned toward the wall. She couldn't see what, if anything, she was doing, but she could hear the hitch in her breathing. Oh God, was she crying?

Abby stepped close to the tub. She took a chance and pulled the curtain aside, just enough to peer in. Kerry was just standing there. Left forearm braced against the tiled wall in front of her, head buried in the crook of her arm, eyes closed, panting as if from some exertion. But what was she... Oh, wait... Abby caught on to the movements of Kerry's right arm, and just where they were focused. She was doing what Abby had been contemplating herself, trying to relieve the ache between her legs.

Abby was moving almost before she realized it, though she maintained enough presence of mind to be very, very quiet about it as she slid the curtain aside and stepped into the tub. Thankfully, the sound of the shower spray covered the noise she made, or Kerry was just too engrossed in her fantasy to pay attention, and she was able to sneak up behind the redhead, unnoticed until she made her move.

She got as close to Kerry's back as she dared, then positioned her right hand at the apex of Kerry's thighs, hovering just below Kerry's. She took a deep breath, held it a moment, then pressed into Kerry's back and covered her hand with her own.

"Here. Let me help you with that," she breathed against Kerry's ear. The other woman jerked forward at the touch, moving away from the heat at her back, but that much closer to their now conjoined fingers.

"Ugh, Abby!" Kerry croaked out, reacting to the increased pressure against sensitive nerve endings. "Abby...we can't..."

But her undulating hips were telling a different story, and Abby decided she wouldn't let Kerry deny this all so easily.

She moved closer, wrapping her left arm around Kerry's abdomen and pulling their bodies together again while her fingers continued with their work. Her voice was low but intense as she spoke against Kerry's ear. "Damn you and this self-sacrificing bullshit. Tell me you don't want this... Tell me you don't want me, and I'll stop."

When Kerry was unable to utter the lie, Abby leaned in to kiss the back of her neck. "Good." She pulled Kerry back from the wall slightly, then pulled their hands away from her crotch. Kerry whimpered at the loss of contact. "Patience," Abby soothed. She brought their hands up, then gripped Kerry's by the wrist and pulling her fingers into her mouth, tasting Kerry's essence. Once she had thoroughly cleaned the evidence of desire from Kerry's fingers she pulled them from her mouth, then positioned Kerry's right arm against the wall right above her left. "Mmm. Until my face heals a little more, I may have to settle for that little taste."

Kerry's groan--whether it was from Abby's words, from what she was feeling, or from the promise of a possible future encounter--was music to Abby's ears.

Abby shifted her weight slightly, then reached to pull Kerry's left arm from the wall. She slid it downward and back until she was pressing Kerry's fingers between her swollen lips. Kerry's fingers slid easily between her desire-slick folds and she moaned at the contact even as she again explored the heat and wetness between Kerry's thighs.

"You want proof that this is what I want, Kerry? Feel it. Feel how wet I am. For you."

The double assault on Kerry's senses caused her to throw her head back and she groaned low in her throat.

Abby pulled Kerry's hand away, difficult though it was, and presented those slick fingers to their owner for a taste. She couldn't suppress her sharp intake of breath at the sight of Kerry sucking avidly on them; she almost wished she'd used her own fingers so she could experience the pleasure of Kerry suckling them. But when Kerry shuddered in her arms, she was grateful she'd decided to wrap her left arm around Kerry again to steady her.

Abby concentrated on the woman in her arms. Talking her through this as she slid two, and then three fingers into her center and kept pressure against her swollen clit with the heel of her hand.

Kerry leaned back into her, letting her head fall back against her shoulder. She turned her head until Abby could feel Kerry's hot breath against her neck.

"Yes, that's it. I've got you, Kerry. Just let go. This. Here. Now. Take this. Just focus on what you're feeling now and enjoy this."

"Yesss," Kerry hissed.

"Just let me..."

"Oh, God, Abby..."

"...do this for you."

She was getting closer, Abby could tell, both from the jerky movements of her hips and from the strain in her voice.

"Yes. Please..."

"Oh, Kerry." Abby slid her left hand up to cup one of Kerry's breasts, looking down over their shoulders to watch the play of her own fingers against the hardened nipple and the undulation of Kerry's hips below. She clamped her thighs around her own throbbing heat as her vaginal muscles contracted in sympathy.

"Oh, don't stop."

Abby could feel the threat of the oncoming muscle spasms around her fingers as Kerry thrust against her palm. Kerry's left hand reached back to grip Abby's hip, fingers digging in.

"That's it, Kerry. Come for me."

Those words sent her over the edge and she thrust once, hard, before going rigid in Abby's arms.

"Yesss! Abby!"

Abby could feel the muscles around her fingers clenching and releasing and she experienced some minor spasms of her own. "Oh, yeah. That's it. Oh..."

Then there was nothing but the sound of the shower spray and their own breathing as they helped each other through the aftermath. Once Kerry's breathing had calmed considerably, Abby swayed backward and loosened her grip on the other woman a little, waiting to see what she would do.

To her surprise, Kerry turned in her arms and slumped against her chest, arms sliding around her in a loose embrace.

"Oh, God, Abby... That was..." She gave up and just nuzzled into Abby's neck.

"Yeah. It certainly was," Abby couldn't help but smile and their mutual inarticulateness.



Kerry looked up at her a moment, "I would..." then ducked her head, shyly. Abby noticed she was blushing and thought it incredibly charming.

Kerry tried again. "I'd really like to, um... Aww, damn it!" Kerry pulled back, looking pissed.

"What, Kerry?" Abby asked, confused by the change in mood.

"Oh, I'm sorry. It's just... I wanted to...return the favor." Kerry blushing and rolling her eyes was enough to make Abby want to lean in and kiss her, but she managed to control the urge.

"But, I've got to get to work."

Abby almost laughed. "We've got a little time, Kerry. You ducked in here primarily as a diversionary tactic, remember? I checked the clock, too, and if I'd let you run out of here as you planned, you would've been a good half-hour early, at least. Plus, I bought you a couple extra hours..."

She smirked at Kerry's questioning look. "When I called County, I talked to Luka. He was worried, so I told him I stayed here last night." At Kerry's raised eyebrow, she added, "He wanted to ask, believe me, but he didn't. Anyway, I told him I'd kept you up talking half the night--that really had him itching to ask something, I could tell--and that I was gonna let you sleep another couple of hours. I told him I'd get you up in time to get there by eleven." She held up a hand to forestall the protest she knew was coming. "Don't worry, I asked him not to mention that I'd been here and to act like you'd called in yourself. Told him to make up some excuse. He'll probably tell 'em you were still puking your guts out from yesterday."

Kerry laughed. "Oh, Susan will probably love that..."

Abby smiled, glad that Kerry hadn't taken offense with what she'd done. Gratified to feel a still-chuckling Kerry settle in against her shoulder again, she took another chance to tease her boss, turned...what? It was too soon to be sure of that answer.

"Yeah, what was up with that? You give this big lecture on not eating the drug company's promo-goodies and then you eat one yourself?" She kept her tone light, still not sure which line she might be crossing.

Kerry just shrugged, "Actually, I think it was some bad calamari from the night before, but it'll make Susan feel better to think I'm a hypocrite, so I'll let her have her fun."

"Kerry!" Abby was shocked.

Kerry just shrugged again as she looked back up at Abby. "It's this game we play. Or played, anyway. She was always so willing to resist me or believe the worst about me that I gave up trying early on and let her think whatever the hell she wanted. Hell, I even encouraged it a few times. Out of spite, I guess. Things don't seem quite as bad this time around, but we're still both a little stuck in that pattern, I guess."

Abby reached up to stroke along Kerry's cheek. "Wow."

"What?" Kerry canted her head to one side, curious. "You. Just...you." She continued tenderly stroking Kerry's cheek and looking at her in wonder. "I swear, if I didn't think it would hurt like hell to move my facial muscles that much, I would kiss you senseless right now."

The emotions clearly visible in Kerry's eyes flickered from concern to smoldering desire, and back again. Abby suddenly wondered how she'd managed to miss noticing just how expressive those eyes could be--until now.

Kerry reached up to brush a few wet strands of hair from Abby's face. "How are you feeling?"

Abby sighed. "My face hurts. It's manageable--not too bad, but just there. So, smiling, laughing, imitating Samantha Stephens--all roads to pain." She managed a small grin at her own joke, relieved to see a corresponding one form on Kerry's face. "My back is a little sore, too. From the impact against the floor, I guess. Oh, I stole some of your 600mg Ibuprofen. It's dulled things, a little, but I still feel it. The headache's pretty much gone, though. I'll be okay in a couple days."

"The pain--nothing out of the ordinary--given the circumstances? Nothing missed from yesterday?"

"Nope. I'm okay, Kerry, really."

"Good. So," Kerry snuggled back into their embrace. "two whole hours, huh? Any ideas as to how we should fill the time?"

"Oh, I have ideas..." Abby smirked. "Do you need to take a real shower, first, though?

"Um, I should probably wash my hair, at least. In case I don't have time...later, to take a real shower before I leave."

"Okay. Can I-- Will you let me do it? I could use some time under the hot water, anyway. My back."

"Okay." She ducked in and planted a kiss on Abby's collarbone, touched that she would even think to ask. She then backed away to grab the shampoo and hand it over. "Don't linger too long, though. I have much better plans for you."

"Oh, I can't wait..."

Abby did linger over her task a little, enjoying the feel of both the water pounding against her sore muscles and of Kerry's hair sifting through her fingers, but she didn't delay too long. She was just as eager as Kerry to move on to...other things. After Abby helped her rinse her hair, Kerry took a moment to scrub at her face and armpits.

"Abby, why don't you grab a couple towels for us while I rinse off. Unless you wanna wash up?"

Abby shook her head. "I can wait until after you leave for a real shower."


Abby slipped out, grabbed one oversized towel, ran it over her hair and then wrapped it around herself before grabbing another and holding it out for Kerry just in time to wrap her in it. She dried the redhead off quickly but thoroughly, before making an elaborate show of tossing it away, out of reach. She took the opportunity to really look at Kerry for the first time. Kerry looked embarrassed, but mutely allowed the inspection for several minutes before finally declaring, "All right. Enough of that. My turn, now."

Kerry stepped forward and pulled the towel away. She gently gave Abby's body another pass with the towel, ensuring that she was reasonably dry all over before tossing the towel on top of the one already lying there. She slowly led Abby into the bedroom and back to the bed. Her gaze was intense as she directed Abby to, "Lie down." She watched every movement as Abby climbed onto and lay on her back in the middle of the bed.

"Are you comfortable on your back? No pain?"

"I'm fine," Abby squeaked. As much as she'd wanted to be the focus of Kerry's intensity, it was more than a little intimidating.

Kerry slowly climbed over her, still watching her reactions, before gently lowering herself and settling her weight into Abby.

"Still okay?"

"Oh, yeah," Abby breathed, reveling in the softness and warmth of the woman above her. Her arms encircled Kerry almost automatically. "Better than okay."


Kerry shifted her weight and braced her left arm against the mattress, then reached up with her right hand and began lightly tracing patterns across Abby's face. Her touch was soft, so gentle that she could barely feel the pressure, even with the bruises.

"I don't want to hurt you."

Abby knew that Kerry wouldn't--couldn't--but didn't trust her voice to speak, so she just shook her head once, hoping Kerry would understand.

"If I do, or if you want me to stop for any reason..."

Abby nodded mutely, wondering at her sudden lack of language skills. She could only stare into Kerry's eyes, lost in the sensations caused by the fingers crawling across her skin. The touch wasn't exactly sexual, but there was something powerfully erotic about it and her desire for Kerry grew and seemed to fill something within her.


Yes. Oh, God, whatever the question is, the answer's yes. That's what she wanted to say--she even opened her mouth to try--but again she couldn't seem to vocalize. She just lay there, hoping Kerry could read the consent, the need, in her eyes.

She couldn't have imagined anything better than having Kerry's fingertips paint an invisible landscape on her skin. Until Kerry replaced them with her lips. Her kisses were impossibly tender as she rediscovered the terrain of Abby's forehead, temples, cheeks, nose, and chin with her lips, finally coming up to plant a series of soft kisses against Abby's lips.

Abby's voice broke free then and she groaned low in her throat. She began to kiss back, trying to draw Kerry in deeper, only to have the other woman pull back from her. She whimpered her frustration.

"Sshhh," Kerry soothed. "Easy. Or kissing may wind up being a road to pain, too."

She wanted to declare it worth the risk, but Kerry cut her off before she could.

"I may not be able to take away the pain you're already feeling, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna add to it."

The concern in Kerry's tone touched her as much as the declaration disappointed her.

Kerry must have read that much in her expression. "If it'll make you feel better, I'll offer you a rain-check for a good and proper--or maybe 'improper' is the better term--make-out session, if and when you're up for it."


It was the last coherent thing Abby uttered for quite some time as Kerry then proceeded to worship--there was no other word for it--her with fingers and lips and teeth and tongue. She made all manner of sounds, of course--some she was later convinced could not have possibly come from her own throat--but nothing that could be credited as language, really. Unless the multiple variations of 'oh' counted. She had said that a lot. But it wasn't until her second orgasm--she had come almost immediately when Kerry's tongue made contact with her clit the first time--broke over her, her clit enveloped in the heat of Kerry's mouth and Kerry's fingers curled within her, that she managed one word, one name.


Kerry rode through the waves with her, gentling her tongue-caresses more and more, until the bucking of Abby's hips subsided. She then pulled away from her task and nuzzled her face against the young woman's belly, breathing out a quiet, "Oh, Abby." She lay like that a few moments until she felt Abby's fingers begin stroking through her hair.

She took it for the invitation it was and hauled herself back across Abby's body and into her arms. They stayed like that, snuggling wordlessly, until they got their breathing and their hearts back under control.

"Kerry?" Despite the hoarseness, Abby was glad to discover that her voice actually worked again.

"Mhmm?" Kerry shifted to look up at her.

"Are you okay? Um, I mean... Do you need me to...?" she let the question trail off.

Kerry smiled contentedly at her. "No. I'm good."

Abby couldn't help but chuckle. "I can attest to that." She smiled even wider when Kerry ducked her head trying to hide a shy grin. She reached out to raise Kerry's chin and bring her eyes back into focus. "Do you have any idea how cute you are when you blush?"

That of course only made Kerry blush all the more. "I must be looking pretty adorable right about now, then..." she smirked.

Abby gently cupped Kerry's jaw, idly brushing her thumb along her cheek. "You are! What would the ER staff say? What would Susan Lewis say?" Abby teased.

"Who are you and what the hell have you done with Kerry Weaver?" Kerry managed a passable imitation of Dr. Lewis, actually--she had the delivery down, at least.

They shared a brief chuckle over that before Kerry settled back into her arms. "Oh, I don't want to leave. What time are we at?"

Abby looked over at the bedside clock and groaned. "Almost nine-thirty."

"Damn. Not much time, if I take the El in," Kerry said, almost to herself.

"Why can't you take your car?"

"I...was going to leave it. In case you might need it." Kerry propped herself up to peer intently into her eyes. "Stay here today, Abby. I don't want you going anywhere near your place today. Not with that bastard still there. If you want, I can go pick up some of your things for you and you can stay here a few days. In the basement, if you'd prefer. Or, I could take you to a hotel... I mean, whatever we decide about...this... I just want to make sure you'll be safe."

"Tell you what. I'll make you a deal. You take the car, come back here after your shift and we'll both go back to my place. I'll probably have to face Brian Westlake sooner or later, anyway, but it would be nice to have a little back-up. I'll stay awhile, and we'll see what happens. And, just for the record, I intend for it to be 'when,' not 'if.'"

"What?" Kerry looked confused by that last part.

"That rain check. You owe me some serious make-out time, and I plan to collect," Abby grinned. "Not to mention make up for a little something I owe you, now."

"That sounds... Like a plan."

"It does, doesn't it? Now, hold me awhile longer. We've got a little time."

Kerry took the request to heart and burrowed her face into Abby's neck.


"Yeah?" she was already beginning to sound sleepy.

"What would you have done if I'd refused you again and thrown you out of the shower?"

"I'd have...gotten dressed, I suppose. And we'd have had one hell of an uncomfortable two hours to kill. Or one of us would've had to get the hell out, I guess. I'm very, very glad it didn't come to that."

"Me, too. I'm looking forward to figuring out what happens next with you."

Abby sighed and tightened her grip on Kerry. "So am I."

Kerry's lips curled into a smile against her throat. "Just do me one favor, okay?"

"Sure. What?"

"When you decide to collect on that rain check? Not in the middle of my ER, okay?"

Abby shook with laughter beneath her. "Deal. I trust I don't even have to ask the same of you?"

"Oh, no. Interesting as it might be to have you on your knees, 'servicing' me in, say, the drug lock-up, I think I can manage to control my urges."

"Are you sure? 'Cuz that sounds kinda good, actually. But not the drug lock-up. Everyone goes there to make-out." Abby's deadpan delivery worried Kerry enough that she had to check her eyes to verify the twinkle in them. Once she spotted it, she blew out a breath and relaxed again.

But she had to smile at the thought... "Tease."

The End

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