Disclaimers, et cetera, in Part 1

They actually caught a break and got a spot, just after someone pulled out, a few feet up the street from Kerry's. Randi got out, went around to the passenger side in case Kerry needed a hand. Kerry didn't ask for any, but Randi noticed that she seemed to be moving more slowly than usual. She followed close behind Kerry.

Kerry noticed and called over her shoulder, "I'm fine, Randi!"

"I know. Humor me." She handed the keys back to Kerry at the foot of her steps, then stopped on the middle step, watching while Kerry unlocked the door.

Kerry pushed her door open and turned back to face Randi. "Look, why don't you come in? The least I can do, after ruining your evening, is pay for a cab to take you home."

"I'm okay with just taking the El, Kerry."

"I know," Kerry smirked. "Humor me."

Randi couldn't decide if Kerry was just being polite, or if she wanted company. Either way, she had nothing better to do for the next hour or so.

"Okay, Chief. And, for the record, you may have caused me to change my plans, but you didn't ruin my night. This has been kinda cool, actually. I was thinking maybe I should take you out and get you drunk sometime. You're a lot more fun when you've had a few." Randi winked at Kerry and patted her on the shoulder as she slipped past her and into the front hallway.

"Thanks. I think." Kerry locked the door behind them and asked Randi, "Have you eaten? Can I get you something?"

"Um, maybe. Where's the kitchen?" Randi was more concerned about Kerry than herself, though. She headed off in the direction Kerry indicated. By the time Kerry stepped into the kitchen, Randi had already found a couple of glasses and filled them with water. She set one on the counter in front of Kerry.

"Drink that down, and at least one more. Last thing I need at work tomorrow is a hungover Weaver. You should probably try to eat a little something, too. Now, where do you keep the aspirin?"

Kerry's head was spinning, though not from the alcohol. "Um, back to the hall, second door to the left, in the medicine cabinet."

"Cool. Uh, how's the hip? Could you maybe use something for that?" She hoped Kerry wouldn't take that the wrong way. No such luck.

Kerry seemed more embarrassed by the question than Randi did. She studied her shoes for a moment, then replied quietly, "Prescription-strength ibuprofen, also in the cabinet, just one."

"Hey, Kerry. I didn't mean anything by that. I'm just trying to look out for you. When's the last time somebody did that?"

Kerry nodded, and Randi headed to the bathroom. She got as far as the hallway before she realized what she'd just said. There could be only one right answer to that question, and it would only remind Kerry of what she no longer had. Damn it.

When Randi walked back into the kitchen, Kerry was perched on a stool at the center island, her glass of water untouched, looking like someone had just kicked her puppy. Randi wanted to kick herself. She stepped over to the redhead, dropped two aspirin and the ibuprofen on the counter in front of Kerry. "Here. Take those."

Kerry complied without really looking at Randi.

Randi pointed to the glass in Kerry's hand. "Finish that." Kerry did, and Randi took the glass and refilled it, putting it back on the counter by Kerry, who didn't touch it.

Kerry finally looked at Randi, looking almost as bad as she had earlier at the bar. "Kim and I... It was all my fault. She needed me, and I... I failed her. I..."

Randi put a hand on the redhead's shoulder. "Kerry. I don't know what you did, or didn't do, but it doesn't sound like the kind of thing you can go back and fix, or you would have already. There's not much point in beating yourself up over it now. The only way to make up for something like that is to just try and do better the next time, and the next."

Kerry looked a little better, but she still sounded pretty bitter when she replied. "Yeah. Well, I tried that, but it didn't seem to work out."

"Maybe it just didn't work out the way you would have liked. That doesn't mean it wasn't worth it. You tried. That's all you can do."

Kerry nodded, wondering at the fact that she was sitting here in her kitchen, taking advice from Randi. She didn't say anything else.

Finally, Randi got tired of sitting there, staring at each other. "You miss her, don't you?"

"Yeah. I do. But it's more than that." Kerry looked more lost than Randi had ever seen her. It was almost scary.

"I just... I don't know who I am anymore, Randi."

Randi couldn't just stand back and watch this any more. She stepped closer to Kerry. "C'mere. Just let me do this." She pulled Kerry into an embrace, moving between Kerry's legs as they fell open, pulling the other woman even closer.

Kerry didn't resist. In fact, she snuggled into Randi's arms like she'd found the thing she'd been looking for all night. Randi had one arm wrapped firmly around Kerry's waist, and she used the other to rub in soothing motions along Kerry's back.

Randi spoke quietly, but clearly. "You're Kerry Weaver. You've been through some stuff in your life, but you've gotten through it. You're a survivor. You're one of the best doctors County General has got. You can be tough, when you wanna be, but you can also be kind, compassionate, and loving, I'll bet. Most of the time, you don't give a damn what other people think of you, because you're not trying to measure up to anyone's standards but your own. You just found out something about yourself that you didn't know, or didn't let yourself know 'til now. You may not be sure what it all means just yet, but you can figure it all out. You may be feeling a little lost right now, but you will find your way, eventually. It doesn't all have to happen at once, you know."

Kerry was silent a moment, before asking, "Randi?"


Kerry's voice was small, "I'm still not sure why you're being so nice to me, but... Thank You."

"Yeah, well. Welcome to the softer side of Randi. Don't tell anyone though, I've got a rep of my own to maintain." Randi smiled at her own joke when she felt Kerry shaking with quiet laughter in her arms. After a moment, she pulled back a little and peered into Kerry's eyes.

"As for why I'm being nice to you: what part of 'I like you' didn't you understand. I do like you. You looked like you could use a friend tonight. And, you know what? I'd like to be that friend, I think. Excuse me for saying so, but if Dave was right about anything today, it's that you need something in your life besides work. So, if you wanna hang out sometime, or if you need a kind of queer, 'Dear Abby' to offer you advice, or whatever, you can call on me, if you want."

"Thanks, Randi. For everything."

They were still holding each other, but more loosely, now. "You're welcome, Kerry, but you can stop thanking me anytime now. I should thank you."

"For what?" Kerry sounded skeptical.

"For letting me see you. I think I like the view."

Kerry nodded. "I could say the same." She pulled back, leaving one hand against Randi's hip, and grabbing her glass with the other. She downed about half of it, then said, "Why don't you just stay here tonight?"

Randi took a step back, shaking her head slightly. "Not that you're not attractive, or anything like that, Kerry, but I kinda have this rule about not going to bed with drunk women. Whatever you're going through, whatever you think you need, a cheap onenight stand isn't it. You're better than that, and so am I. Besides, I don't really want to be the one you turn to on the rebound, or the 'gee, if I can sleep with another woman and like it, I really must be gay' transition girl."

Kerry tried to keep from smiling too broadly at Randi's response. "Um, Randi. I'm... Well, I'm not sure whether I should be flattered by that or not, but I just meant... It's late, we both have early shifts tomorrow, I've enjoyed your company and wouldn't mind having someone around tonight. You're welcome to sleep in my bed, of course, but I didn't mean... I wasn't propositioning you."

Randi looked embarrassed. "Oh. Yeah. I knew that." She rolled her eyes, for effect. "Hey, waitaminute. Why not proposition me? What the hell's wrong with me?" Randi teased, trying to defuse the tension.

Kerry held up her hands in surrender. "Oh, no. There's no way I can win with that conversation."

Randi smirked, "Yeah, you're probably right, there."

"So, would you be okay with sharing the bed, or should I make up the couch?"

Randi thought about a second, then asked, "How comfortable would you be, really, with me in your bed?"

"I..." Kerry hesitated just long enough to make Randi's choice clear.

"Uh-huh. Couch it is. But just give me a blanket and a pillow and I'll be fine, really."

Kerry nodded. "Okay."

"You know, I am kinda hungry. You got stuff to make sandwiches?"

"Yeah. That sounds like a good idea, actually."

Kerry slid off the stool and went to the refrigerator. She started handing off various items to Randi, who laid them out on the counter.

As they set about making their late-night snack, Kerry asked, "So, tell me more about your friends..."

The end