A Matter of Understanding

by Shatterpath

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 is in no way affiliated with "ER", NBC, or any representatives of Lisa Vidal or Laura Innes. This site contains stories between two mature, consenting adult females.

Additional Summary Notes: So here's the 'morning after' as well as possible long-term repercussions.

Author's Notes: My apologies to the Kim fans, but I'm a recent convert to the wonder that is Kerry and I know Sandy better. Not to mention I like the wild streak I see in her. Oh, and I have a delightful fascination with what lies behind the tortured facades of Abby and Kerry in particular.

Sequel to: A Matter of Clarity

I knew this place.

Whether or not I had actually ever been here was unimportant. It seemed a cityscape like a child's dream gone old and gray, or the kind of place crazy people retreat to in their madness. Foreign yet familiar, I stood on the cracked pavement and intently studied this place that I did not want to look familiar.

But I knew this place.

An eclectic slice of Americana, its greatness and disrepair were obvious. Generic City, USA, a patchwork quilt of everywhere I had ever lived. That stoop over there is where I had played Barbie's with Jenny as a child. That basement door is where I had hidden from my mother's rampage and gotten my first kiss from Pat, my crush at the time. And I almost expected my current neighbor, Joyce, to walk out of the building across the street. The uncharacteristic emptiness of this place was unnerving and I pulled my flimsy scrub top around me tighter. The faded pink cloth was such an odd suit of armor.

"Well shit," my voice scoffed from behind me and I whirled around in shock. "Never thought I'd actually see you here."


She was me. Or a funhouse mirror image of me anyway. Sleek, sophisticated and dressed to kill, the other Abby raked her eyes over me with an appraisal that left me squirming self-consciously.

"Yeah, you always do that when somebody checks you out," she drawled conversationally and her eerily familiar eyes bored into mine. "I suppose you're wondering where the hell you are?"

I could only nod mutely.

"This is your subconscious, welcome home. I'm your Id, your Shadow, your lizard brain. The sensual, carnal Wild side that doesn't get out much. Thanks for the great duds by the way." A shrug was all I could manage and she sighed melodramatically. "Jeez-uz, Abby, you're dreaming, lighten up already! I'm a manifestation of your repressed Wild side and I'm all riled up! After your exquisitely daring leap of faith last night, I felt it only appropriate to congratulate you personally."

"Congratulate?" I finally managed to ask and she sighed again.

"Oh c'mon Abby, I know you're smarter than this. I'm your strong side, the one that tells you when you done good, that bucks you up when you feel lousy." Her dirty look made me cringe. "You really don't listen much." With a wave of her hand, some weird special effect had us standing in a hallway that looked superficially like the place I lived in now. "And behind that door," intoned Wild Thing dramatically. "Is a startling and delightful closet full of fantasies. I took the liberty of laying a few things out for you. Go on."

The door squeaked open, horror-movie style, and the room within flickered to life. There were flashes of childhood dreams of normalcy, finding `Mr. Right', dashed goals of a doctorate clenched in my fist. Wild Thing stood beside me with what looked like an honest-to-god remote control, muttering under her breath.

"No, no, we both that scenario inside and out. Boring! Oh ick, him, Abby? What were you thinking? Ah, here we are. Carol Hathaway. Yeah, I see that you don't get the connection. This is where your life shifted into something weird and terrifying."

Yep, that was true. I watched the arrival of the Hathaway twins change my life. It was like touching Carol and her daughters had given me the dreaded `ER virus'. Within a week I had been transferred down to help for the day and never been the same again. Especially when that copper-haired fury had pinned me with a lightning-bolt glance that left me scorched. Even as I sputtered objections, her strong hand grabbed my arm and dragged me into the fray.

She was a seawall, her strength keeping the waves from crushing the rest of us. But she was an obstruction as well, bottling up our fears and resentments until we despised her.

Yet I had always known that there was ever so much more to Kerry Weaver than met the eye. She marshaled us like troops, she won and lost battles, and kept plowing ahead when we failed, no matter what the cost. Egos were kept mostly in check by the sheer strength of her will. It was more than a little scary to have all my memories and impressions crammed into a single space like this. Was I obsessed?

"Duh," Wild Thing scoffed. God, it was like getting lectured at by Randi.

Coherent ideas formed from the whirlpool. I'd been fascinated with her from day one. But why? Was it Kerry's almost maniacal energy, so much like my mother's, only safer? It had been so weird to watch Kerry try and calm my manic phase mother that day in the ER. And the good doctor with little kids was a sight to see. Perhaps that's where I began to see the woman she was outside of her job. Soft and loving, she was great with them, the younger the better.

For so long it seemed that she was unshakable, unsinkable, unbreakable.

But there were cracks in the armor.






And of course... Kim Legaspi.

I had liked the blonde psychiatrist. She was warm and calm and soothing, purring her way partly past my elaborate internal defenses. Given time, she would have warmed me up. What had happened between her and Kerry? In hindsight, it was obvious that they had been more than just friends.

And, just like that, another fantasy was spun from my imagination. What had they been like? Butter cream and strawberries and roses. Yummy. Just as quickly as it had appeared, the erotic image faded and Wild Thing chuckled darkly. "Yummy indeed. How about your pal, Sandy?"

That first day I had called her over had cemented a friendship I would always treasure. She was a hell of a lot of fun and my new sidekick reminded me of her.

"Randi too?" She chuckled and I flashed her a dirty look.

"Yes, Randi too."

So the image morphed ever-so-helpfully to Randi's hands sliding across my skin. Dark hair fanned over throat, chest, belly...

An abrupt shake of my head fractured the scene, which now showed me all my memories of various men I'd loved and lost. Luka, Richard, faces made hazy by self-destruction and alcohol. "Hey," her voice halted the images and they bled away. "They weren't all bad, right?"


No, they weren't.

Each of them had been what I'd wanted and needed at the time. And while, until now my lovers had been male, my inner eye was telling me that things weren't that simple.

"So you like girls too," Wild Thing interjected. "Big deal. It'll be fun. C'mon Abby, you know I'm right."

I watched a third-person replay of my night with Kerry and Sandy. From this voyeuristic point of view I could attempt to be objective. Nothing had ever moved me the way the feel of Kerry's body against me had. Tasting her desperation and arousal, hearing her animal cries.

"Do you wanna do it again?"

After staring at the memory for a while longer, I faced my doppelganger. Those familiar dark eyes burned with an internal heat that thrilled and frightened me. For she was me, if only I'd let her out to play more often. As the weight of my decision settled into my bones, she perked up noticeably.


On cue, physical sensation dissolved the surreal scene like cotton candy in water.

There were strong hands on my hips, feathery hair splayed over pelvis and belly, a delicious tugging at my clitoris. Arousal screamed in my veins, making me feel heavy and strong. Kerry's familiar voice moaned and the vibrations in my groin woke me as surely as pain or ice water. Before I could do more than tense in surprise, the glorious ache of orgasm ripped through me.

"C'mere, you hussy," Sandy chuckled nearby and Kerry was pulled away from me. Boneless from sleep and satisfaction, I managed to roll my head to the side and peel open one eye.

It was like nothing I'd ever witnessed, watching these women kiss tenderly, lovingly. It was earth-shattering. This physical proof of their attraction in one simple, devoted act was even more profound than my post-orgasmic buzz.

Sandy caressed the back of Kerry's head, feathering the silky red locks into disarray. Their contrasting complexions were a sinful feast for the eyes. Particularly with Sandy's white undershirt for comparison. Delicate facial muscles played as their lips danced together and Kerry kept one set of fingertips resting lightly on Sandy's jaw as though to anchor herself. With a sensual, lusty kiss like that, I couldn't blame her.

They were beautiful; exquisitely, gloriously, beautiful. My happy sigh drew their attention and Kerry rested her head at the base of Sandy's throat. There was wariness in her gaze that reminded me that reality was encroaching.

"You two are gorgeous," I said softly and sincerely and reached out to fondle Kerry's russet bangs. "Thanks for letting me stay. I guess I should get my butt off to work. Wouldn't want to piss off the boss." Much to my relief, they both grinned.

"You okay, Abs?"

Not knowing what else to do, I shrugged Sandy's question off. "I guess so. Just give me a day to process, okay? Will I see you guys later?"

"Count on it."

Scrambling for my scattered clothes, I headed for the bathroom. It was almost weirder to be in this intimate space than in their bed. There were scents in this place that my lizard brain immediately identified as Kerry's. Hot water on my sensitized skin made me jump and groan. My own touch threatened to drive me to distraction as I washed up quickly. Stepping from the shower, I smeared my hand across the mirror and regarded my watery reflection. `Now what?' Asked the silent eyes.

I had no answers.

Quickly drying myself off, I yanked on my dirty clothes and steeled myself before reentering the den of sin. Only a lone red-headed figure lay on the bed with her back to me. Rosy dawn played over skin and hair, turned the pale sheets gauzy and teasing. All those feelings erupted again and left me frozen to the spot. I was ensnared by the sweet groove of her spine, the shadows cast by her curves.

I had to go. I hated it, but I knew that it was true. `Sneak out and pretend it never happened,' my cowardly inner voice whimpered. But, hand on the doorknob... I found I couldn't do it.

When I crawled onto the bed, Kerry's eyes squeezed shut tighter. My heavy sigh ruffled the silky hair as I buried mouth and nose into the strands to nuzzle her lovingly. "You're great, Kerry. Sandy's lucky to have you. And I'll always be in your corner, you can count on it." I let myself have a few lingering, indulgent kisses along her soft neck and hairline before I forced myself to leave. There was no mistaking the strangled sob that made me pause and look back one last time. The sheets were tangled around Kerry's legs, and her face and hands were deep in the crumpled pillow. It ached to see her hurt like this, but it wasn't my place to comfort. So I walked away.

But I really didn't want to.

Sounds in the kitchen caught my attention and made me pause. I needed to call work and let them know I was late. And Sandy hopefully knew where the nearest EL station was. "Can I use the phone?"

Something in my tone, or the set of my body language, warned Sandy that now was not a good time to ask me anything. So she simply nodded and gestured before returning to breakfast. Lydia was annoyed but resigned about my tardiness. So I willingly offered to take the first couple of hours of her next shift and everything was good. As I hung up the phone, a toasted sandwich and a plastic mug were thrust into my hands. "Give me a sec to check up on Kerry and I'll give you a ride."

Before I could object to Sandy's offer, she shouldered past me and vanished into the depths of the house. Since I still had no clue where the EL station was, and a cab would take too long, I shrugged and ate my food. The sandwich was full of eggs, cheese and something spicy that I suspected was mustard. My body was desperate for the calories and protein after its workout last night and I made short work of the simple meal.

"C'mon Abs," Sandy called as she breezed by, yanking on a hooded sweatshirt. It was bright and chilly outside, effectively clearing any remaining mental cobwebs. The ride was quiet as I studied Sandy's profile while she drove and tried to figure out what she was thinking.

"Are we okay?" I finally dropped into the quiet.

"You tell me," was her gentle reply. When I couldn't answer, she sighed and raked one hand through her curly hair. "That was amazing, last night. I just hope you and Kerry will be okay, y'know? She feels a little... exposed."

"I won't hurt her, San. I won't"

I'd said that so fiercely, so unconsciously, that I knew it was true. A winning smile was my reward even as her eyes never left the road. "That's good enough for me. She'll probably be a little weird for awhile, just be patient, okay?"

"Oh, and I won't be? This may come as a shock, Miss adrenaline junkie firefighter, but I don't randomly go home with lesbian couples I'm supposedly only friends with." Her chuckle assured me that I was indeed okay with this half of said couple. "I will say one thing, though. You two have been hell of a boost to my fantasy life."

Sandy was still laughing as I climbed from the car and ran for the ER.

Eventually, the familiar ache of overwork had settled into the base of my spine and I tried to unkink with a hiss. My elderly patient smiled, "you sound tired, honey."

"Long night," I replied cheerfully and unsuccessfully tried to stifle my grin. Scattered memories of Kerry's surrender had haunted me all day. It was delicious torture. No doubt the smirk lingering in my expression had made me the center of some speculation from the ever-present rumor mill. Especially when Sandy stopped by with a plastic sack of Chinese takeout that I nearly kissed her for. It was as if nothing unusual had happened as we chatted for a few minutes.

"Well, you two are chummy," Susan Lewis' voice broke into my thoughts and made me pause in mid-chew. In the maybe three minutes since Sandy had walked out, the staff had been circling like curious vultures. Seems it was the blonde doctor that was going to toss out the bait. A quick glance confirmed that, yes, there were four other people at the admit desk where I had been attempting to scarf my late lunch. My next few words would be crucial. Schooling my features into their usual lightly sarcastic neutrality, I leveled a long look at Susan.

"Yep. She's fattening me up for sacrifice to the pagan lesbian goddesses."

Score! Susan's eyebrows scurried up under her hairline and I smirked in triumph.

"Really, Doctor Lewis, can't I just be her friend? Sure she's sleeping with Weaver, but so what? It's great to have someone who understands the adrenaline-junkie rush without being on the job. Besides, Weaver's a great cook." Thoughtfulness and surprise warred across Susan's face while I spoke, but there was something lingering there that warned me not to leave it here. So I set my chopsticks down and gave her my full attention. "Just `cause they're gay doesn't mean I don't like their company. Is it any different than having guy friends?"

"No, I suppose you're right. But... Weaver?"

"She's different away from this damn place."

Memories of Kerry squirming and crying in abandonment beneath me threatened to change my expression. A lifetime of practice hiding my feelings kept my secret safe behind my eyes.

"Okay," Susan agreed cheerfully. "You convinced me. I'll look harder."

And damned if there wasn't a Starbucks cup of coffee waiting at the admit desk with `Chief' and a bad happy face scrawled on it in Susan's unmistakable handwriting at a quarter to seven that night. The look on Kerry's face when she saw it was classic. Delight mixed with `did someone spit in this' that was quickly and inefficiently covered up by the stern Weaver faade. There was a distinct pinking of her ears and cheekbones when our eyes met and I grinned warmly.

Since I'd volunteered to take the first couple hours of Lydia's shift, I kept an eye out on Kerry. It wasn't easy to see, but she was flustered. Especially when she shyly thanked Susan for the coffee. As for Susan, she was very graceful and warm about the whole thing, accepting the thanks and catching the boss up on the day's events. She was still grinning as she left, pinning me with a knowing and pleasantly surprised look.

Well, if one of the attendings could actually be civil much less friendly, there might be hope after all. Then Lydia appeared and I knew that my time here was done. As much as hanging around Kerry was appealing at the moment, getting out was irresistible. So I propped my elbows casually on the counter beside her paperwork, watching those gray-green eyes flicker over to identify me. "So," I hummed quietly in a range no one else could hear. "Can I see you again sometime?"

There was a sharp wince and some uncomfortable body language. A heaviness sank through me and my piss-ant voice of negativity began to shrill at me. Fire and brimstone was the reward for my impulsiveness, losing the respect of this woman I admired, leaving my heart open to hurt yet again. It was a physical ache to turn away... until there was a familiar warmth on my arm. Kerry's hand. Our gazes met and I saw something there that riveted me. "Thank you, Abby. I think I'd like that."

Things were going to be interesting around County from now on!

The End