DISCLAIMER: ER is the property of Constant C Productions, Amblin Entertainment, and Warner Brothers Television.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To Sometimes We Stumble Into Grace

But Your Love is My Relief
By Chris


She could start wanting this if she wasn't careful.

She watched Kerry make her way around the front of the car and open the passenger door. She took the proffered hand and let herself be pulled up to her feet. Surprising strength, that was just one of the things she lov-

She could start needing this if she wasn't careful.

She let Kerry gently guide her up the steps and through the front door, already open. How had that happened?

"I got out and opened it while you were sleeping."

Abby grinned.

"Reading my mind?"

"Mmmm, something like that. How are you feeling?"

"Like someone beat the shit out of me for sticking my nose where it didn't belong."

Kerry closed the door behind them and helped Abby remove her coat, then stood there looking at her.


"Well, I can't say I disagree with all of that statement but…I-I'm proud of you. For sticking your nose in…"

Abby's stomach lurched at the idea but before she could follow through Kerry continued.

"However, I'm sure if you'd stopped and thought about it, you could've come up with a better way to handle things."

There was no chastisement in the comment and Abby nodded slowly.

"Sorry…not better…safer, maybe? I for one would've had a much more relaxing evening."

Abby's eyes widened as Kerry turned and shrugged out of her coat but she didn't continue and Abby couldn't trust the outcome if she pushed.

"Would you like something to eat?"

Abby's stomach lurched again and she frowned at Kerry.

"I don't think so but thanks. Got anything to drink?"

If Kerry hesitated at the question, Abby couldn't tell. She simply moved into the kitchen and opened a cupboard, reaching up and pulling down a bottle of scotch.


"Sure. Not my thing but what the hell, I feel like celebrating. Join me?"

Kerry did hesitate at that.

"No, thanks, I only drink when I shouldn't."

"Well that pretty much describes my entire existence…where do you keep your glasses?"

"Cupboard by the sink. Help yourself. I don't feel like going to bed just yet…maybe I'll start the fire?"

"Sounds terrific."

Kerry blinked once, cocked her head as if she was waiting for something and then disappeared into the living room.

Abby grabbed a tumbler from the cupboard and poured herself a healthy serving. She raised the glass and inhaled the heady scent, her brain rumbling in approval. About to tip the contents into her ready mouth, she caught her reflection in the glass of the cabinet door. Bruised, bloodied, battered, God she needed this drink.

If you needed my help, you only had to ask.

Abby brutally quashed the voice inside her head and took her first swallow, eyes watering as it burned a path down her throat. The second swallow went down easier and she was about to polish it off in one fell swoop when she heard Kerry moving about in the next room. Thankfully the hesitation only lasted a second and she finished her drink.

She poured herself another, already bringing the glass to her lips before setting the bottle down. She missed the counter by about an inch, scotch spraying the cupboard and floor and the noise summoning Kerry back into the kitchen.

"Everything okay?"

"Beyond being hopelessly clumsy you mean? Yeah, everything's fine. Sorry about the mess, I'll clean it up."

"Don't worry about it, I'll get that. Go relax in front of the fire."

Abby felt irritation slide over her and she stood uncertainly watching as Kerry grabbed a sponge and some paper towel and awkwardly knelt down, her crutch on the floor beside her.

"You don't have to do that."

Kerry glanced at her, a tolerant smile on her face.

"Oh really? Just leave it for the kitchen faeries, I suppose."

Abby reached down and jerked the sponge out of her hand.

"I can clean up after myself, I don't need anyone to do it for me."

She stood there, unable to look at Kerry as she snapped at her.

"I'll get it okay? It can't be good for you to be on your knees like that."

If she'd put her mind to it she couldn't have said anything more cruel. Kerry seemed to shrink before her eyes, then finally got to her feet and quietly left the kitchen. Abby finished mopping up the floor, disposing of the paper towel and rinsing out the sponge. When she walked into the living room it was deserted.


She reached over and turned off the fireplace and settled into the couch. Goddamn she wished she hadn't spilled the rest of that bottle. What the fuck just happened?

Now that was a fucking cop out. Nothing had happened, she'd fucking stood there and done it. Like came to care came to need came to push (away) came to shove (harder) and she honestly couldn't remember having shoved anyone that hard in her entire life. Except maybe Maggie. Sobriety. Happiness.

What a fucking chickenshit.


Not That Pretty, Not That Special and she'd turned around and inflicted the same shit on someone else. Not just someone else…

Abby stood up and walked to the front door, pulling on her coat and slowly buttoning it, raising the collar.

Fuck, she couldn't leave, she had no way of locking the door.

"Goddamn it!"

She leaned her head forward and bumped it quietly against the wall. Another bump, harder this time, a little louder. The pain felt good, something to focus on instead of the blackness roiling inside her head, familiar, welcome even.

Her stomach rolled and she tore off her coat and raced to the bathroom. A minute of dry heaves primed her to puke the single content of her stomach into the toilet. She started crying as the heaves started again but there was nothing else to throw up and the feeling made her cry harder.

She sank back onto the floor and rested her head against the shower door.

"Goddamn it," but her heart wasn't in it and it came out barely above a whisper.

She dragged her forearm across her face, wincing as it made contact with her wounds.

Unholy mess, she made such a fucking mess of things. No one in the world had the strength to put up with the sheer volume of shit she had to offer.

Abby scrambled to her feet and made her way up the stairs to Kerry's bedroom. She flipped on the light and stood there until Kerry turned over.

"I'm used to pushing people away."

Kerry eyed her with a combination of curiosity and dismissal.

"Well done."

Abby took a tentative step toward the bed but halted at a warning look from Kerry.

"Come on, Kerry, I know you're made of sterner stuff. One little comment--"

"From you."

Abby felt icy cold washing just under her skin and she pushed a fist against her mouth to stop her teeth from chattering.

"I told you I would never hurt you."

And the eyes that Abby looked into were like something from one of those nature programs that run obscenely early on Sunday mornings. Wolves caught in a leg trap, defenceless and wounded, unable to let anyone close enough to help them, desperately trying to gnaw their way free.

Abby opened her mouth and Kerry flinched as if she was about to be struck.

"Kerry, wait, please. Please. I didn't know. I'm so sorry, I didn't know. I had it all backwards, you see? I thought you were a fucking hardass ice cold bitch. I didn't know you always gave the benefit of the doubt until you learned different."

Abby knew she was pleading and she hated it and she knew it was the least she could do, the very least.

"I didn't know I could hurt you."

Abby reached out a hand and if it wasn't forever it sure felt like it but Kerry finally closed her eyes and all was forgiven and Abby walked forward and lowered herself onto the bed, wrapping herself around Kerry and letting her tears soak into the warm skin of Kerry's neck and although neither of them spoke it was understood.

This might not be the hardest part.

The End

Return to ER Fiction

Return to Main Page