Title: Until Forever Ends

Summery: There's a little carbyness, a little angst, and just a tad of drama thrown in for good measure.

Spoilers: Only from Secrets and lies.

Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own a thing. That honor belongs to the very lucky Michael Crichton and company.

Author's note: This story takes place after Secrets and Lies. Please read/review. Oh, please forgive my medical ignorance.

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The sound of the lounge door opening sounded like a gunshot to Abby that morning. She was having the world's worst hangover.

"Sorry, did I wake you?" Carter asked, noticing Abby laying on the couch.

"No, I was just resting my eyes." She lied.

"Uh-huh. Yeah, sure." He said playfully.

"I was." She argued, standing up and going over to stand beside him.

Carter fixed himself a cup of coffee, and then offered Abby one, which she gladly accepted.

"Thank you." She said, taking a drink. It helped a little to soothe her aching head. She didn't know why she had drank so much the night before. Maybe she was just stressed out from spending the whole day at that stupid sexual harassment seminar. Or maybe her and Susan's conversation had just gotten to her. Abby had a hard enough time pretending that she didn't have feelings for Carter, and Susan telling her that he might still be stuck on her certainly didn't help.

Suddenly both Abby and Carter became aware of the silence in the room. It seemed like that was all their relationship was made of these days. Those awkward little moments where both of them knew what they wanted to say, but neither of them had the guts to say it.

"So," Carter said, trying to break the silence, "Uh, Susan and I broke up last night."

"Oh," Abby said, trying her hardest not to smile. She wasn't sure, but she thought that Carter had noticed. He did. "Uh…why?"

Carter let out a sigh, "It's a long story."

"Oh."

Another awkward moment of silence followed. Abby decided to just go for it. "You know, I'm off at six if you wanna-"

Suddenly the door to the lounge burst open. " John, we need you, we got a GSW rolling up." Kerry told him, before she headed off towards the ambulance bay.

Carter gave Abby and apologetic smile, and then rushed off to join Weaver.

Abby sighed, and sank back down onto the couch. "Great," she said to herself, "Just great."

*****************************************

The roof had become Abby's sanctuary over the past year. Somehow being up there and looking out over Chicago made the problems that she was having in her live seem a little smaller. Just then she heard the door behind her open. She'd turn around to see who it was, but she already knew. That's one thing she knew for sure about Carter, he had a knack for bad timing.

"Hey," he said, "Weren't you off at six?"

"Yeah, but I just wanted to come up here for a few minutes."

"Oh."

And…you've guessed it…another awkward moment of silence.

"Carter…there's uh, something that I have to ask you."

"Okay, shoot."

Okay, this was it. It was no or never. "Well, was what Susan said last night, about you still having feelings for me, was that, uh, true?"

Carter took a deep breath and turned to face the Chicago skyline. "Uh…no. Not exactly."

Abby felt like the wind had been knocked out of her. She was not going to cry. Not in front of him. She couldn't. But she could already feel the tears rolling down her face.

"Abby-" Carter started, stepping towards her.

"No." She said harshly, stopping him before he could finish. Nothing he said, no amount of sugar-coating could change the way she felt. She knew that he hadn't meant to hurt her, but the realization that he no longer had feelings for her hurt more than any possible thing he could say.

"Abby, will you let me explain?" He asked, "I…I'm sorry."

Abby looked up from the ground, "Yeah…me too." She said, before turning around, and leaving him there, calling her name.

How could this be happening?! She had pictured this moment a million times. She would tell Carter how she felt, he would say he loved her, and they would live happily ever after. Okay…that's a lie. Abby had never believed in happy endings, but she had expected it to go better than that. In Abby's eyes, her and Carter had always been right on the edge of something wonderful. And all they needed was that extra push to send them over the edge. But instead of falling in love, Abby was just falling. And she didn't know if she was ever going to be able to get back up again.

**********************************************

"What the hell did you say to Abby?" Susan asked Carter, after pulling him into an empty exam room.

" What are you talking about?"

" Oh c'mon, don't play dumb with me Carter. You two were on the roof talking and then she ran out of here crying. What did you say to her?"

"Nothing." He said, but Susan wasn't buying it. "Okay, fine. She asked me if I still had feelings for her, and I told her that I didn't."

Susan just stood there in disbelief. "Why would you say that? What is the matter with you?"

"I don't know. Maybe I'm just stupid."

"Damn right you're stupid. Why would you tell her that you didn't have feelings for her, when you obviously do?" Susan asked, a lttle more harshly than she meant to.

Carter just stood there, looking at the ground. When he looked back up at her Susan could see the tears forming in his eyes. "You don't think it was hard? It was the hardest thing that I've ever had to do. I have never lied to her before. Not once."

"Than why start now?"

This time Carter couldn't stop the tears from coming. "Because she's my best friend. Because she's always been my best friend. And because I am terrified of losing that."

" You think that if you two get together you won't be friends anymore? Carter, that's what would make your and Abby's relationship so strong. The fact that it was built on friendship."

"Okay…but what happens when we break up?"

"What makes you think that you two are gonna break up?" She asked, stepping closer to Carter and taking his hand in hers. "Carter, what you and Abby have is special. It's something that only comes around once in a lifetime. And it may NOT last forever. But you have to take that chance."

Carter sighed, sitting down on the exam bed. "I don't know."

" Carter…do you love her?"

"Yes…more than anything."

"…maybe you should tell HER that."

But before Carter could answer her, Kerry came running into the room, "John, Susan, we have a big MVA rolling up. We need you both."

"Okay, we're coming." Carter said, as he and Susan followed her out to the ambulance bay.

"Carter, take the first one." Kerry shouted to him.

"Tell me this is an easy one Dorris." Carter asked the paramedic as the doors to the ambulance swung open.

" Sorry …we gotta DUI. White female, mid-thirties. Possible head trauma. She wasn't wearing a seat belt and she was thrown through the windshield. She lost a lot of blood. And her blood-alcohol at the scene was off the charts." Dorris said, as she pulled down the gurney.

"Oh my god," Carter said, looking at the woman on the gurney, "Abby! Abby, can you hear me?!"

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"Damn it. I can't see the cords. Trake kit. How's that chest tube coming?"

"It's in."

"Okay, let's trake her." Carter shouted, grabbing the kit.

He had just finished when she started crashing.

"She's in v-fib!" Heleh shouted.

"Get me the paddles…charge to 300…Clear!"

The monitor showed a steady heartbeat. Carter let out a sigh of relief. "Okay, call the OR, tell 'em we're on our way up." He told Heleh, as he wheeled Abby out of the trauma room and towards the elevator. He couldn't believe this was happening. He wasn't sure weather he could do this or not. Mark, who had assisted Carter, sensed his uneasiness.

"I'll take her up Carter. You go help Susan."

"No, no I wanna go up with her. I have to."

Mark, knowing that he wasn't going to win this one, let Carter go.

********************************************

As Carter paced back and forth in front of the OR where Corday and Romano were operating on Abby, he had a million thoughts racing through his head. How could he have let this happen? He had had no idea that she had started drinking again. Or had she just started drinking that night? Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by shouts coming from the OR.

"Shit! She's bleeding out!" Romano shouted.

"Shirley, call the blood bank. Tell them we need three more liters of type- specific." Elizabeth told the assisting surgeon.

"C'mon Lizzie, you need to cross-clamp the aorta."

Carter ran over to the door to see what was going on. Romano looked over at him with something in his eyes that Carter had never seen before…fear. But then he quickly returned to the task at hand. Carter wanted to know what her vitals were, but Romano was in front of the monitors. He closed is eyes and rested his head down on the door. But the sound of the monitor caused him to jerk back up.

"She's in v-fib!"

"Starting compressions."

"Charge internal paddles to 300…clear!"

"Still in v-fib."

Carter turned around and flung his stethoscope against the wall. Then turned back around to face the OR. Corday and Romano were still shocking Abby's heart.

"Charge again. 100 of Lydicane. Clear!"

"Nothing."

Carter closed his eyes tightly, blocking out everything else around him. The sounds of the OR faded away.

"Robert, it's not working."

"No! Charge again."

"Robert…"

" I am not losing this one Lizzie!"

Suddenly the shouting from the OR stopped. Carter looked up and saw that Romano had stopped shocking Abby. He searched their eyes for a clue, but got nothing. Carter felt his heart sink. "Oh my god…how could this happen?"

Romano took a deep breath and glanced over at Carter, giving the young doctor a small smile and a quick "OK" sign. Carter let out a huge breath that he didn't know he had been holding. He felt like, right along with Abby, he too had gotten his life back.

*********************************************

"How is she?" Carter asked Elizabeth, as she walked out of Abby's recovery room.

"She's stable. Her pressure was a little low, but we got it back up. And for the most part the surgery went well. We repaired the damage to the liver and spleen. And the CAT scan showed no head trauma."

"Thank god."

"You can go in and see her if you want. She's just starting to wake up."

Carter took another deep breath. He didn't know how he could face her after what had happened earlier. But if there was one thing that he had learned from today, it was that you can't take things for granted. Life was too short. Carter took another breath and then went inside.

"Hey." Abby said, smiling at him.

"Hey," he said, sitting down in a chair beside her bed, "How are you feeling?"

"Well…pretty good, all things considered."

"…Abby, about before…"

"You don't have to say anything Carter."

"Yeah, I do." He said, looking down at the floor. "I lied. Everything that I said about not having feelings for you, that was all a lie. The truth is, I can't imagine my life without you."

"Carter,"

"No, just, just let me finish. When I saw you laying on that gurney, I felt like someone had ripped out my heart. And then watching Romano…I just can't believe that it took you almost dying for me to realize that I can't live without you."

"Well, you weren't the only stubborn one. I mean, I should have told you how I felt months ago. Maybe if I did it would have saved everybody a lot of pain. You, Susan, Luka. But all I cared about was myself. That's one reason that I stayed with Luka. It was safe and easy. And that's what I thought that I wanted. And whenever that wasn't enough for me I'd go and bitch to you about it. Y'know, it's funny…I was so bust trying not to fall in love with you, that I didn't realize that I already had. And I was so busy complaining about there not being any good guys out there, that I couldn't see that the perfect guy had been right in front of me the whole time."

Carter looked up at her and smiled, "So we're both stubborn and self- centered."

"Yep…we're perfect for each other."

He leaned over and kissed her softly on the lips.

"It's about time." Abby said smiling, before kissing him again.

They didn't have to say anything else. That was one of the great things about their relationship. It was what they DIDN'T say that defined them. It was all of the things unspoken that spoke the loudest to them. They had been hanging by a moment for what seemed like an eternity. They had been on the edge of something wonderful, and now they had just taken the final step. They weren't exactly sure what would happen. But one thing that they knew for sure, was that whatever they were falling into, they would fall together.

The End

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