Rating: PG. Warm fuzzy alert, shields up!

Series: Refractions.

Category: Sequel to Reflections.

Pairings: Zo/Kerry, Elizabeth/Maggie, Joan/Sandy

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: The obligatory Christmas/Hanukah/Yule, etc chapter.

Part 13 Happy Holidays

++ Zo ++


There was one kid in particular that was totally underfoot the whole night. Her name was Maria and she chattered incessantly at me in both English and Spanish until even my ADD brain was having trouble keeping track. Her mommy had gone into labor and Maria had grown bored enough to wander the hospital. As distracting as she was, I would rather have her with me where it was safe than prowling the hospital on Xmas eve. Fortunately, she was content to clamber over the nearby chairs in the waiting lobby of the ER and carry on a notably one-sided conversation with me.

The massive ER piece that I had decided to entitle 'Life & Death' was my project for this evening. Two days ago, the delivery service I'd contracted had gotten it here. But since it was effectively a donation for the hospital, I was going to hang it myself. Sure, the hospital had given me some money for it, but it covered little more than supplies. Which was fine, because this piece was meant to be here. While my hospital family slaved away on Q Public, I was hoping to bring a little color and emotion to the dingy waiting room.

Easier said than done... learning to paint, to me, meant learning every facet of the art. I had taken classes including every skill conceivable relating to a canvass and paint. I knew how to mix paints from their component supplies, including the old-fashioned way. I knew how to choose wood and stretch my own canvasses. And, in this case, I knew how to hang the completed work. It wasn't my canvass that was making me mental, but what the staff had bought to go with it.

It was a plexiglass cover so that the painting would remain unharmed. While I was touched by the gesture, the thing was proving to be a bitch to get into the right place. It wasn't until I drafted Maria's little hands to help that I was able to finally finish up.

“Do you like it?”

Maria snuggled into my lap where I was sprawled in a chair and eyed the colorful behemoth. “It looks like here,” she finally decided and I hugged her.

“That's exactly what I was trying to say.”

++ Maggie ++


I had kept an eye out on Zo and her little shadow all night. Eventually the exhausted and frantic father had come running and a reluctant Maria was off to meet her new baby brother. It was a good memory to add to my stock of Christmas eve/day. Too many people had died on my watch over the years. Too many families were ripped apart by tragedy on the holidays. Sighing heavily, I continued rummaging around my locker, even though I'd completely forgotten what I was looking for. The door thumped open and I half-heartedly glanced over my shoulder, only to smile widely. I'd know that delicious body wrapped in familiar scrubs anywhere.

“Merry Christmas,” Elizabeth purred and sashayed over to wrap my exhausted body in a crushing hug. Two and half weeks of getting to know this woman had been the greatest delight of my adult life and it honestly seemed to be mutual. “Oh my, what's this?”

She had snuck a piece of mistletoe onto the top edge of my locker and I didn't even hesitate to tug her into a long, slow kiss. It was the kind of embrace where the rest of the world faded away, the kind where souls felt like they were touching. Hard to believe how much we had changed with time, how differently the fireworks between us burned. We'd had a ferocious argument not a week into the relationship that had nearly come down to a fistfight. But the make-up sex was shattering. Talking later, we agreed that the high emotions were too much a part of who we were, both together and apart. But with communication, we had a damn good chance of a solid relationship. There were many interests we shared and many we didn't, and even more that we were curious about, so the interest level was high. Elizabeth remained unfazed by the idea of my noisy Irish-Italian family that filled half the police force of the Windy City. The jury was still out as to whether she would meet them today on Christmas or some later date.

I couldn't help but grin at the idea of my icy-hot lover meeting my family. They wouldn't know what hit them....

“What?” Elizabeth grinned, our noses still touching.

“Just picturing you sparring with my family. You'll run circles around them. All they have going for them is numbers. Now c'mere and give me a kiss that will last the whole shift.”

Elizabeth was good enough to comply with the request.

++ Kerry ++

In the hours before dawn on Christmas day, the new shift was on-scene and I happily let Zo bundle me into the truck and take me home. For a major holiday, it hadn't been to bad. It was busy, but not insanely so. It was the skeleton crew that killed me. With about a third of our usual numbers, it had been a long night at Cook County General. Maggie made me leave first, laughing that the longer she stayed the later she was to her family's get-together. I still envied her to some extent.

But I had my sweet Zoey. Even with the anniversary of her parent's death a week away and hundreds of miles between her and siblings, my girl was pretty chipper. Any deep darkness in her soul was exorcized onto the canvasses, and some of them lately were pretty dark.

I jerked awake as the truck slid to a halt and the engine died. “Home, baby,” Zo purred and I stretched and yawned. My hip ached fiercely from the long night and bitter cold. A long bath would be in order, but presents first! “I know that grin. You want presents.”

“Hell yes!”

“Sleep first.”

“No!” Obstinately, I halted at the bottom of the stairs and crossed my arms. “Presents.”

Zo paused on the steps, eyebrow raised at me as though she couldn't believe what I'd said. Playing up to her expression, I pouted like a child and tried to hold back my smile. “Okay,” Zo drawled slowly and began to stalk back towards me. Watching Zo move was true poetry, every line of bone and muscle like a well-oiled machine. My libido rose to the occasion and my heart swelled with adoration as she stepped in so close that I could smell her. “I'm going to take you upstairs,” Zo whispered in a soft, sultry voice. “I'm going to take you upstairs and give you a gift the likes of which will brand your memory forever.”

I could only giggle as she scooped me into a fireman's carry and made good on her promise.

++ Maggie ++

Dragging my weary-ass body to the doctor's lounge, I thumped heavily through the door, nearly tripping myself in the process. A yawn that made my eyes water and my jaw ache didn't help any. But a grinning Elizabeth pouring over paperwork made me grin helplessly. “Be with ya in a sec,” I yawned again and she chuckle. God, I was so tired. A Christmas Eve all-nighter in the ER, plus a chunk of hours this morning was not my idea of a good time.

“Do we get a nap before family?”

Snorting expressively into my locker, I rummaged around for my jacket and backpack. “I still don't know if I want to share you. But I suppose my ma'll beat me if I bail on her. God, my brothers are gonna be such pigs to you.” The whining note my voice had slipped into made her laugh.


“Good lookin' babe like you.” I ranted, stripping off the lab coat and stuffing it unceremoniously into the locker. “And that accent! Jeez, my idiot brothers think New York is another country. They're gonna think you're from another planet.”

“Maggie,” Elizabeth laughed at my grumbling rant and I finally looked over at her, grinning mischievously. “Come here.”

So I sauntered over, warmed thoroughly when she grabbed me by the hips and pressing her face to my tummy. It was a intimate, loving embrace. “I'd like to show off that I was smart enough this time to do whatever it took to make you happy. Your family will have to be my family. Perhaps Susan would like the company as well.”

“Yeah, that's cool,” I murmured, warmed with pleasure at her words. “But you really have no clue what you're getting into.”

“Maggie, I'm an only child that was raised by nannies and boarding schools. I have no clue period.”

“Yeah, good point. Okay, sexy, don't say I didn't warn you. Let's get out of here.”

“With pleasure.”

“No, that's later,” I leered and we left among our laughter.

++ Elizabeth ++

Despite my bravado back at the hospital, I was scared to death. What in the hell had I been thinking? It was the spark of excitement and relief in Maggie's expressive eyes that had made me push it. She wouldn't say it, but she really wanted this. So, here we were, on the crowded street where Maggie had grown up.

The whole street was crawling with people, from babes in strollers to old men and women hobbling along on stiff legs and aluminum walkers. Maggie slammed on the brakes as a storm of snowballs pelted the car from all angles. A chorus of howls and yelling sounded out like a war cry.

“Should I be in fear for my life?” Susan deadpanned dryly as bodies came out of nowhere to descend on Maggie's much-beloved convertible. “Told you we should have taken my car.”

There were what sounded like a hundred hands slapping at the metal frame and the heavy cloth roof, while Maggie shook her head and sighed melodramatically. A roughly opened door sent two of the heavily-bundled figures sprawling into the snow, and Maggie dove on them amidst much cheering and cat-calls. I shivered in the bitter winter cold that flooded into the once-warm interior and Susan thrust my coat at me.

The chaos outside sounded like a cross between a sports match and a brawl. Taking a deep breath to fortify my nerves, I grabbed Maggie's beloved White Sox jacket and gingerly opened the door. Several bodies required a nudge to move enough to let me step out. I smiled as best I was able at several curious looks and let Susan out. Much to my amusement, Susan jumped right into cheering for Maggie, who was still wrestling a much larger, male body in the snow.

There was a thunderous roar of approval that went up when Maggie came up on her knees, and the man's arm was in a firm police hold, incapacitating him. Slapping him affectionately in the head, Maggie climbed to her feet and strutted like a boxer, half-soaked and flushed from exertion and cold. She was adorable and magnificent. A jacket materialized from the crowd that was pressing in to hug her and say hello. That soothed one worry, namely exposure, and I watched the gathering of people.

It was astonishing, really, the quantity of people and the range of ages. Even more astonishing, was that Maggie knew every one of them. It made me realize what I had missed in my sterile upbringing. But, as I threatened to get morose this Christmas day, my sweet, sassy lover smiled at me from the center of the whirlwind and my heart soared.

She was all the gift I needed.

++ Kerry ++

Hard to believe it had been five months and four days since we'd first come together. The more I got to know Zo, the more I adored her. It was already as though I had always been with her for a lifetime, our good and bad balanced, our strengths and weaknesses well matched. If someone wanted me to explain it, I couldn't do it, but I also couldn't see it any other way. For the moment, I was perfectly content to be curled up on the deeply stuffed futon mattress before a roaring fire, watching my firecracker dance around the tree as she decorated it.

Honestly, the little pine was pathetic, but not surprising, since Zo had removed it from it's tentative foothold in a deserted lot somewhere near the waterfront district. But she adored the spindly thing, lovingly covering every branch and needle with glory. And having a jolly good time doing it, too.

We had yet to get to the collection of presents beneath the tree, despite my earlier protests. Her enthusiastic lovemaking had been a very effective distraction. Outside of bodily necessities and some Christmas baking, I hadn't left this cozy spot. Even my hip was quiet tonight, pleasantly warmed and relaxed from my sweet lover's endless attention the whole leg. It was still a miracle to me that she never made me self-conscious about my lamed leg, merely quietly and matter-of-factly working her own life around it.

Lost in my thoughts, I was almost startled by Zo flopping down on the mattress. “Merry Christmas, my love,” she purred, steadying my mug, before plucking it from my fingers and setting it aside. Not that I cared, because she was far more interesting than cocoa.

“Merry Christmas,” I murmured back, rolling onto my back so that I could reach up with both hands and trace her distinctive features. For long minutes, she remained quiet, perched on her elbows and smiling ever so faintly, blue eyes intense. Always so overwhelmed by her, tears filled my eyes.

“What is it?” Her voice was feather-soft, loving and kind.

“Just,” I paused to sniffle and Zo tenderly brushed the wet from the corners of my eyes with her thumbs. “Love you so much. Still blows me away.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” she whispered, and the rest of the world faded away from us.

It was the best Christmas ever.

The End For now… Stay tuned for book 4: Rapids

To be continued…

Return to the Information page
Go back to the last chapter
Go back to the main Light, Water, Muses page to go on to the next story, "Rapids."