Series: Light, Water, Muses.
Category: Sequel to Reflections.
Personal disclaimer: Zo Goldston, so briefly introduced in Reflections, is mine! I hope you enjoy her and any other newcomers, as well as my version of Cook County General.
Disclaimer: “ER”, the characters and situations depicted are the property of Warner Bros. Television, Amblin Entertainment, Constant C Productions, NBC, etc. They are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement. This site contains stories between mature, consenting adult females.
Notes: All words in italics are phonetic foreign words, mostly Greek.
Spoilers: There are references to events in ER season 7, but most of this tale is an, 'alternate universe' version of season 8.
Summary: A time of reunions… and eye-openers.
++ Kerry ++
Well, I'd hidden in here long enough and should face the music before Mel went off shift. I gathered a few things so that I would have no need to return here during my exile and headed outside.
Only to be greeted by gales of laughter down at the admit desk. I knew the sound and shape of Mel, John, Randi and Maggie, but who was the fifth person? When I was only a few yards away, John spotted me and all eyes followed. Two things struck me right off. I knew the blue-eyed blonde woman and the whole crowd of them seemed happy to see me. I couldn't help by smile back tremulously.
“Susan,” I greeted her softly, shocked that my voice was trembling slightly. “How have you been?”
“Better,” she replied even more softly, the gentleness in her tone unlike the woman I had known years ago. “Now that I'm home. Mel got a Resident salary out of Doctor Romano and you get two Attendings for cheap.”
I didn't understand and could only shake my head in confusion. Mel came to my rescue with a sigh. “John brought Susan in for an informal interview and you were still upstairs with Romano. I didn't know about Doctor Doyle here. So they agreed to combine the two salaries and split it down the middle. What did that son of a bitch do to you that was made him so gleeful?”
Her even tone had never changed and that nonchalance helped steady my frayed nerves. Delaying my reaction, I offered a friendly hand to Susan. “Welcome back. Thanks for helping Mel out with the hiring problem.”
Then I returned my gaze to Mel's concern. “Doctor Chen and I will be on two weeks suspension and you're in charge. Is there anything I need to go over with you right this minute?”
Visibly stunned, Mel only shook her head. “Suspension?”
“Yes. Sorry to drop you like this Maggie, but Mel will get you set up. I'll see you soon Susan,” I managed to say fairly calmly and headed for the exit. There was a sharp desperation to get out of there and wished with a vengeance that I could actually run. Instead, I gripped onto the crutch as though it was my lifeline and hobbled away as fast as I could. By the time I hit the swinging doors, I was in tears and halfway across the ambulance bay, I was blind with them.
++ Maggie ++
“I really hate that smug, self-centered prick,” Mel stated calmly and I looked up to see that the corners of her eyes were tense.
“I couldn't agree with you more,” I murmured darkly, the venom in my voice crystal clear.
“You have to be patient this time,” Susan commented placidly. “You let me handle Doctor Romano.”
Part of me wanted to bristle. She didn't know what I had been through with that weasel. Then I looked in her pale eyes and saw that she really just might understand. She had been Mark Green's best friend, and he had obviously kept her abreast of some of the stuff that had happened here. There was a deeper kinship here.
“When can you start?” Mel suddenly asked as the doors settled into place behind Kerry's abrupt departure.
“The sooner the better apparently,” I snorted.
“Come back tomorrow and get your paperwork settled.”
“How about you Susan? Because it appears that I'm in need of a second in command, and you're getting volunteered.”
“So much for dodging responsibility,” Susan snorted mockingly and I chuckled along with Mel. “It's a little more complicated for me, I'm afraid. My life is in Arizona right now and it takes a bit of effort to move so far. And I'll need to find a place.”
“I've got a spare room,” I heard my voice say and John's eyes rounded. A dirty look was my only reaction.
“Really?” Susan mused. “You sure you want the company?”
“Yeah, sure. It'll be nice to have a roommate with no strings attached.”
With all mocking seriousness, we shook on the deal and returned our attention to the others. Susan briskly rubbed her hands together and grinned. “So, John my boy, I suppose we should head to this amazing poker game.” Even as John opened his mouth to respond, she turned back to me. “You should come with. It'll be fun.”
I barely heard her as something caught my eye and my guts twisted up into knots.
++ Elizabeth ++
I felt the gaze long before I looked up to meet it. Like a bad movie special effect, everything seemed to slow as the dread crawled up my spine and hit my brain. The familiar brown eyes were equal parts frosty and blistering. Oh no. Hadn't my week been shitty enough? Tomorrow was the year anniversary of Mark's wedding proposal and I feeling fragile and strung too tight. How the hell was I supposed to handle this loaded situation?
Robert continued to ramble for a moment before he too trailed off into silence. It was like an old Wild West standoff, both parties fanning out in preparation to gun the others down. What did I do? How could I try and defuse this before it spiraled out of control?
In the end, Maggie took the decision out of my hands.
She gave Susan Lewis, whom I abruptly recognized, a quick squeeze on the arm and began walking towards me. I could almost hear the spurs jangling. Then she was standing so close I could feel the heat of her belly and breasts, and see the spokes of color in her expressive gaze. For a crazed moment I had no idea if she was going to slap me…
Or kiss me.
Instead, there was a firm grip on my right hand, and Maggie was smiling like a hungry predator. “Doctor Corday, what a pleasure. I look forward to working with you again.”
The strong hand wrapped around my own suddenly squeezed convulsively and I nearly winced. The maneuver succeeded in getting some inane reply out of me that obviously satisfied Maggie, who turned her attention the man beside me.
“Doctor Romano,” Maggie said in a voice like icy tundra and gave him a bare nod of her head. There would be no handshake for him, as she was still gripping my hand tightly. “Thank you for working with us to cover the personnel issues here in the ER.”
Then she met my eyes again and I could see the weight of age and experience that had only just been blooming when her life here had fallen apart. I had a hand in those shadows and I felt the weight of it keenly in my heart. The young woman, not so young anymore, had been a good doctor and hadn't deserved what had happened. The gay issue had become a fixture in my subconscious because of her. And Kerry and Zo had really brought it to the forefront in my mind. In them, I had found understanding and acceptance to something that had been drilled into me as being aberrant. Maggie had never had that from me. Romano had found it all to easy to knuckle me under with threats to Peter's career. Now, perhaps I would have the chance to rectify some of those mistakes. Something passed between our gazes... something electrical and suffocating. I was astonished yet unsurprised to realize that this intense woman intimidated me.
It was far stranger to feel the thrill that zinged through me like low voltage electricity.
++ Mel ++
Maggie looked positively smug as she sauntered back to the rest of us.
“What did you say?” Was immediately out of Susan's mouth and we all waited expectantly. Maggie was instantly all innocence, hand dramatically to her chest. Oh, she was going to be a handful, but in a good way.
“Say? I was merely greeting my fellow MDs. That you insinuate that I would say anything to the contrary...”
Lydia strode by with a wry comment. “This isn't the Oscars, girl.” We laughed while Maggie looked appropriately crushed and Lydia rolled her eyes. “You jokers should swing past the poker game tonight and catch up.”
John lit up like a kid on Christmas and was immediately all over the two woman to get them to go. Yep, they were fitting back in just fine.
++ Elizabeth ++
I was shaken by my meeting with Maggie and the rest of the day was a blur. I had been taking Xavier's Thursday graveyards so that he could play poker with the others. I had never before been thankful for working a solid twenty-four hours! Right now I couldn't even imagine facing all of them at the loft. Perhaps it was cowardly... but I just couldn't.
In time, the dawn began to lighten Chicago's autumn skies and it was time for me to return home. Still in a daze, I went to the El and brooded all the way to Jackson Park.
What was it about Kerry and now Maggie that rattled me so badly? And why not Zo? None of this made any sense. All I could hope was to get over whatever this strange fascination was and move on with my life. Yes, I decided firmly, that was exactly what I would do.
What quickly began to happen to me was a complete lack of control that terrified and thrilled me.
After my compliment in the kitchen, my relationship with Kerry rapidly evolved into friendship. Oh, in the ER she was as nasty and short-tempered as always, but I understood now that it was how she maintained control. As we began to spend breaks together and swap stories of medicine and childhood and the things that had shaped us into the people we were today, the bond was cemented. It was wonderful and enlightening. She was clever, funny and charming beneath the facade she wore at work. Occasionally, that side would show and the staff was enthralled.
It was Maggie that was making an even bigger impact than my or Susan's return. The nurses adored the young woman, now that her youthful arrogance had mellowed like fine wine into potent competence. Her gregarious, sports-fan personality was a hit with the patients and staff alike. When she would get bantering with Kerry, or more likely, Susan, it was like a comedy routine.
I was fascinated but dared not get anywhere near their relationships. It wasn't like me, I knew that, but something inside me was changing and I was scared.
Then there was the matter of overhearing Zo and Kerry. At any given time my ears would perk up and listen attentively to the faint sound. It was becoming torture. One night my lizard brain woke me to listen, half-asleep and open to suggestions. Without thinking, I ran both hands down my relaxed body, gasping when I tweaked my nipples, erect and straining in the cool air. They were active tonight, Kerry voicing a sharp yelp that was faintly echoed by Zo's laughter. I smiled but remained in my hormone-induced trance.
Listening to their pleasure made my hands wander ever downward. My flatmates had been feeding me good, healthy food and the new flesh was reassuring around my bones. Leaving my tender nipples, I traced the slopes and hollows of ribs, belly, hips. I was truly lost in the pleasure now.
Loneliness and celibacy hadn't sat well with me, but I'd dreaded any man's touch after losing Mark so abruptly. 'Who needed a man's help?' My inner voice sneered and I half-moaned and half-chuckled. Even as my fingers slid into the burning wet between my legs, I kept my ears trained to Kerry's vocalizations. Nothing for long moments while I stroked myself and squirmed. Damn… it seemed that my lizard brain had lost its opportunity to subvert my sense of protocol. Then I heard it. Kerry wasn't done quite yet. Embarrassed and relieved, I let my fingers pick up the pace. Close now, my fingers deep inside as well as stroking my aching clitoris, I hovered there on the edge.
“C'mon,” I muttered between clenched teeth and rolled over to bury my face in the pillow. “C'mon, Kerry, c'mon…” Then that sharp tone of surrender pierced through wood and plaster, at last allowing the wave of pleasure to break over me. Screaming into the pillow, I was left gasping and panting.
And feeling very naughty.
What was happening to me? Was this burn new? Had I always been attracted to women? And why would this be happening now? Childhood experiments hardly counted...
Attending girl's schools until college had left my healthy libido with few outlets. So I had cultivated a select few and the memories washed over me. Touching and tasting and learning with my peers, desperation and curiosity driving us on...
Red-faced and confused, I moved my hands to clench the pillow suffocating tight against me and brood. While I adored Zo well enough, she didn't have the almost dangerous fascination that the ever-enigmatic Kerry Weaver did. As my friendship with the small woman grew, I began to realize that it wasn't just me that was secretly so taken with her. There was something perilous and magnetic about her, drawing a person in like moth to flame. And it was certainly a sensual fire she kindled in me, as my trembling body was proof of. This was insane…
And I flatly refused to deal with whatever the bloody hell Maggie Doyle did to my sanity.
++ Kerry ++
Once more I had tried.
Because I was so desperate to know.
To know what I was.
Where I came from.
I only wanted to hear the voice of the woman who had given me life. There was a part of me, a small, scared corner of my little girl soul that just wanted to know.
It rang... and rang... and rang yet a third time.
Was this her voice?
“Umm... hello. My... my name is Kerry Weaver. Please... did you give up a daughter up years ago?”
Please, oh please.
A gasp, a stammered denial of words I barely comprehended.
And a dial tone.
Shattered, I stared at the phone. Shattered, I stared at the unforgiving plastic until once again my dark lover came to me.
Wrapped me in love.
And saved me from despair.
++ Elizabeth ++
The next day was the start of my transition to nights for a couple of weeks. Hot sunlight in the skylights sent me into a 'late for work' tizzy before I remembered. Well, I was certainly awake now! Muzzy-headed from oversleeping, I sat on the edge of the bed and cradled my head in my hands. Only to catch the scent of guilty pleasure on my fingertips. And froze.
A knock on my door nearly made me jump clean out of my skin. “You decent?” Rang Zo's voice and I dove for my robe.
“Yes,” I was finally able to verbalize as I cinched the tie around my waist and my roomie stepped in. Broken nerves fled in the face of coffee mug in her hands. “For me?” I whimpered and she laughed.
“Yep.” Four lanky strides and she was handing the mug over. “Want some company?” There was something in her tone that made it less of a request and more of a gentle demand. My lizard brain cackled madly. How did she know? It was eerie sometimes, the way Zo just knew things about people. If I weren't a scientist, I would probably be convinced that she was psychic or some such nonsense. Nodding mutely, I gestured at the library corner and followed her over there. Zo sprawled back gracefully into one of the overstuffed chairs and gazed at me with that astute, fathomless gaze. Blissful coffee let me duck away from that look for long moments. “We didn't mean to disturb you last night.” I was so shocked that I very nearly dropped the mug. Oh god, what was I supposed to say? Your girlfriend is turning me into a shameless hussy? I was half-mad with the wondering Kerry and Maggie kindled in me. Did Zo really know what was going on with me? Or did it just seem that way? The ocean eyes were the same; enigmatic and gently demanding. “I'd hate to think we were keeping you up, even if the thought is titillating.”
“You know,” I breathed hoarsely and she shrugged.
“I know that you're fascinated with Kerry. Oh relax, Liz, I'm not here to growl at you or get into some stupid, jealous pissing match.” The quirky grin made me relax despite myself. “She's hard to resist. Unless I'm totally off base here?”
There it was, the easy way out.
I could pretend that all this was a huge misunderstanding and go about my life… but the denial stuck in my throat. This young woman had been very good to me and was a terrific friend. How the hell was I supposed to come clean without ruining that friendship? Or dying of embarrassment…
The silence stretched out until I couldn't stand it anymore. At times like this it was obvious what the woman's doctorate was, damn psychologists…
Only the need for air shut off the torrent of words and Zo's smile turned predatory. Goodness… I'd never seen that look before. Swallowing nervously, I realized that I was feeling very similar to when I listened to Kerry moan.
“So let me get this straight, so to speak,” Zo purred in a voice of black velvet and sultry midnight. My skin crawled deliciously while my lizard brain squealed in startled delight. “Listening to Kerry turns you on? How interesting… I'll have to try harder to make her scream. It's been a goal of mine since I first dragged her into my bed and began to find out what was really beneath that icy exterior.”
A thick silence hung over the room while I gaped and Zo eyed me from beneath inky lashes. Then she chuckled to break the tension and I could breathe again. Images burned behind my eyes as clearly as though I'd witnessed them myself. Zo's clever, dark hands coaxing away Kerry's clothes to caress creamy skin. Their flesh, naked and sweaty among the navy sheets customarily on Zo's bed. Kerry, flushed the color of salmon roses, tensed and arched, fingers clutching the sheets crying for relief, Zo's black curls splayed over her belly, dark hands holding her hips, anchoring her…
“Yes,” Zo chuckled. “Just like that.”
Her voice fractured the images, leaving me breathless and flushed. “This is insane,” I whimpered and Zo's smile turned sympathetic.
“Maybe, but enjoy it. For now it'll be our little secret. Kerry'd blow an artery if she knew you were listening, and I like getting a piece of her cute little butt way too much to tell her.” Zo's expression turned carefully thoughtful and she rubbed her chin. “Y'know, there's a puzzle piece here you've neglected to mention.”
Dread crawled up my spine, froze my brain and glued my teeth together. Oh please lord, please have her not read me like a book...
“Maggie makes you hot and bothered.”
Dammit, it wasn't fair that I should be so fucking shocked to hear someone actually verbalize it! As though those six words were some kind of catalyst, some part of me surrendered to the idea. The reward was sweet torture as the images flooded through me. Those dark, earthy eyes with that powerful personality blazing within them. Her slim, sturdy frame and easy movements as she went through her days. What were her nights like? What was she like, asleep? Or... or amorous?
I really hadn't wanted to admit to the feelings young Maggie was causing, but I knew that there was no escape. Zo startled the hell out of me by leaning in and placing a gentle hand on my knee. There was a grave understanding in her eyes that calmed me.
“Don't waste the opportunity. Chemistry can open most doors and communication can turn it into more than just hormones. I like Mags, she's a great person. You guys have some history, I know, but I think that could be a strange beginning. You don't strike me as the type to back down from a challenge, Liz.”
Patting me, Zo stood and stretched before moving to the door. She paused there and I met her eyes. “There's more coffee in the kitchen as well as lunch.” Then her expression morphed into a grin and I found myself smiling back. “You can't have my Kerry, but I think you've got something just as rewarding and challenging in your reach if you want it.”
And she was gone.
And I was left with my confusion, my pain and… my hope.
To be continued…