I'm technically proficient

...despite certain attitude issues

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I need help [RP for Lee] (spoilers for tonight's ER)
standing in the elevator
After a strangely jarring conversation with the new hospital chaplain, Abby finds herself taking the elevator upstairs, to the surgical department. Making her way to her husband's office, she waffles outside the door, pacing, stalling.

It's not until she sees one of the surgical nurses casting a curious look in her direction that she knocks softly on the door, then pushes it open. She takes a deep breath, running her fingers through her hair, and lets the door close behind her as she steps into Lee's office.

She begins to speak but has to clear her throat before she tries again.
Hey...how's the leg feeling? She approaches her husband slowly, gesturing to his injured leg.

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She returns her hand to the steering wheel, gripping tightly. What?

You don't need me, or want to need me, whatever. Amounts to the same thing, doesn't it? He can't look at her as he speaks, afraid of how she's going to reply. You never come to me when things are hard, you want to do it on your own. I don't understand why. Why you didn't want me there when your father was dying. Why you wouldn't tell me you wanting a drink...do you think I'm incapable of being any help?

I need you. I *need* you. She swallows, not knowing how to tell him that, were it not for him and Lily, she may not even be trying right now. Doesn't know how to admit it to herself, even. I need you to help me with this. But you can't do it for me, Lee. It doesn't work that way.

I know I can't do this for you. He sounds bitter. But it didn't have to get to this either. You could have let me be there for you when you went to Texas. You could have told me what was going on when you came home. You could have said you needed help then. You never talk to me about things, not the important things.

Stopped at a stoplight, she turns to face Lee, though she can barely look at him. I shouldn't *need* help staying sober. Do you know what this is like? I should be able to do this...I hate this. She looks back at the road as the light changes and she pulls away from the intersection. I'm...ashamed of this, of me. Her voice is quiet, she almost hopes he doesn't hear her.

He hears her, doesn't agree with what she's saying but he hears her. But you can't. Why can you talk to your AA sponsor and people at meetings but not me?

She grips the steering wheel so tightly her knuckles turn white; all she hears is 'you can't' and it hurts, even though it's true. Because they know. They understand what it's like to fight with yourself like this, to want something so badly you should never want... She feels uncomfortably exposed; hopes she's not crying.

I'm your husband...Hands move through his hair in frustration. He doesn't know how to make her understand that he needs to be let in sometimes, that this being shut out of her life hurts him in ways he can't even describe. How am I supposed to be married to an alcoholic, be supportive of your attempts to stay sober if you won't even talk to me about it? When I said this wasn't you, I meant it. It's not the you I know because you never let me see you. You shut me out.

I don't want you to know this part of me! You shouldn't have to! She's surprised herself with the sudden outburst, swipes at her eyes as she turns onto their street.

He's relieved that they are nearly home, this conversation getting too heated to have in the car. For better or for worse, Abby! I married you for better or for worse. I didn't only marry the part of you that I like...I married the whole person.

You didn't sign up for this, Lee. I know you didn't. She, on the other hand, is dreading being home.

What I didn't sign up for was you excluding me from your life, I thought all of this bullshit would stop once we were married. To him this isn't just about her falling off the wagon. I told you long before we were together that I didn't judge you for being an alcoholic. I was glad you were honest with me about it. But maybe that's how you like it, being honest with strangers instead of the people who love you.

She parks in their driveway but makes no move to get out of the car. What does that even mean, Lee? I'm more honest with you than I've ever been to anybody else. Ever.

Sure. Honest about the fact that you won't discuss things with me. He unfastens his seatbelt but otherwise makes no move to exit the car. I thought you wanted to spend your life with me. But you don't. You want to keep part of yourself completely separate. Anything that deals with you being less than perfect you don't want me to have any part of...and I hate that. I hate it.

Of *course* I want to spend my life with you! Me not wanting you to have to deal with this shit has *nothing* to do with wanting to spend my life with you! I hate it too, you know that? I wish this wasn't me, Lee. I do.

You don't want me to deal with an addiction you have? Always an addict, Abby, we both know the adage. He can't hide his contempt for her at the moment. You didn't want me to deal with your father dying. Your mother being bi-polar. What next? Should I ever run into your ex husband am I not allowed to talk to him? We do run in similar circles after all. Anything else I'm not allowed to know about? Some other facet of your life you want to keep me out of?

I want to protect you from this because I *love* you! She doesn't understand how he can't see that.

Fine. He spits back, resenting that she doesn't think he can cope with her problems. The next time my blood test comes back with bad news and I start a new round of chemo? I'll protect you from that. You don't have to come with me to Evanston any more either. I'll protect you from having to deal with my sister. In fact, why don't I shelter you from everything and just stop talking to youcompletely?

You won't need to tell me about the chemo because if your cancer comes back you're not fighting it, remember? She shoots back, stung by the digs, not sure how they've gotten here from her saying she needs help in the first place.

That'll be a relief for you, won't it? He doesn't even care what they were originally discussing at this point, he's just venting his frustrations.When I'm dead you won't have to hide anything from me.

She just stares at him for a long moment, stunned, before unfastening her seatbelt and getting out of the car. She slams the door closed and walks into the house, finally noticing she's trembling when she fumbles with the key.

Once inside, she methodically collects all the bottles of alcohol she's hidden throughout the house and brings them to the kitchen, resisting the urge to smash the glass as she begins to pour the liquid down the sink. She's crying as she does so; it takes all the wavering willpower she has left to not drink the alcohol instead of dispose of it.

As soon as she's in the house he starts to regret yelling at her. Without her there to assist him, it takes Lee longer than usual to get out of the car and make his way inside. And once he is indoors, he stops short of entering the kitchen, stunned by what he's seeing.

He's had no idea that Abby was drinking anything other than the vodka in the freezer, at home anyway. Her collection of bottles shocks and dismays him as he stands there watching her cry. How the hell did things get this bad and how could he have not known?

When she's finished she feels drained, absolutely empty, and part of her still wants to take it back, insist she can still handle this. It scares her to be without what's become a crutch of sorts, and it scares her even more, what she knows is coming.

She turns from the sink and startles when she sees him standing there. She hadn't heard him come in, and she keeps her head down, broken, ashamed that he's seeing her like this.
That's all. She manages, referring to the alcohol.

He leans one of the crutches against the wall, not needing it to walk the short distance between them. Moving to her he wraps his free arm around her shoulders and presses his head against hers. He isn't prepared for this, has no idea what to say that could comfort her so he stays quiet.

The enormity of the situation hits him again as he sees the empty bottles, feels her smaller body against his. She's not well and it tears him up inside to admit how serious this is.

She's shocked when he embraces her, and she can't do anything but lean into him. She balls the edges of his shirt in her fists, clinging to him as she takes slow, deep breaths.

After several moments, she speaks softly, voice muffled into his shirt.
I'm so scared...

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