Kerry Weaver wants to scream. They're walking out? Now? They know she needs them here, in the ER, not out there sitting around. She can't believe Carter's done this. He knows the ER can't go on for much longer without the staff, and that she'll have to give in to his demands.
This is extortion. This is goddamn blackmail. She knows it and he knows it and she's going to make sure he pays for this, for putting her in this situation. She's fought for extra security measures, she's been fighting for years, and he suddenly waltzes in and decides to take action with complete disregard for all the work she's put in?
She leans against the wall for a moment, takes a breath and tries to calm down. Only she doesn't want to calm down. She wants to go outside and slap him in the face and tell the rest of them that there are people in need of medical attention in here, who need help now, and she can't handle it all. There's only a few med students left inside; the rest have joined Carter on his crusade. How does he do it? How does he get everyone to follow him?
She knows what's going to happen, of course. She's going to give into his demands, go way over budget and get reprimanded for it even though it's the only viable solution, and he's going to come out of it the hero.
"Hey," Susan Lewis looks about as stressed out as Kerry feels.
"Hey," Kerry responds in surprise. She saw Susan walk out a few minutes ago; she thought she'd joined Carter and the others. "Shouldn't you be out there?" she can't help asking.
Susan shrugs. "I'm needed in here," she says.
Kerry nods. This is an attitude she understands. This is why she's in here, doing the best she can to keep things under control, while everyone else is outside. She knows they don't have the money for metal detectors. It's simply not feasible. They don't get it. It frustrates her.
"You okay?" Susan asks.
"A little stressed," Kerry admits.
"It's going to be okay. Isn't it?"
"Yeah, sure," Kerry sighs. "I just have to go out there and tell them they've won."
"It's the right thing to do," Susan says.
"No. The right thing to do is what you're doing, putting your responsibilities to the patients ahead of everything else," Kerry tells her.
"I wish I could believe that."
"It's the truth," Kerry says, wanting to reassure her. She touches her on the arm, gently. Susan flinches. Damn it. "I didn't mean -"
Susan bites her lip. "I know," she nods. "Just -"
"Just what?" She's not sure why she's pursuing this. She already feels like she needs to apologise for being a lesbian. The last thing she needs is a speech from Susan Lewis saying that although she respects her sexual preference, she's just not comfortable being touched, blah blah blah.
"Just - I don't know."
"Oh, for god's sake, Susan, just -"
She doesn't get a chance to finish what she's saying because Susan's stepped in closer and is kissing her, and she's not sure what's happening but she knows she likes it, and she's kissing her back. Susan's got her up against the wall, their bodies pressed together, and she starts running her hands along Susan's back, then her hips, then slipping her hands in between their bodies and touching her breasts - gently, gently - and -
And that med student, Erin something-or-other, is walking down the corridor trying to look as though she's not looking at them.
Great example to be setting, Kerry, she tells herself.
Susan realises it a moment later, and they pull apart. Susan's staring at the ground, waits until Erin passes before she speaks. "I'd better get back to -"
Kerry nods. "Right."
She watches Susan walk away. She knows what she has to do. She has to go out there and tell Carter he's the hero.
But she feels like the one who's won.