Sunday, June 19, 2005

Ghosts 21/37

Chapter   21

An ER Fanfic set following the "Bishop Stewart" arc

As Father Joe stepped into the ER, he still hadn't formulated in his mind, what he would say to the young doctor.  In the two weeks since he had last seen him he had replayed their last meeting over and over in his thoughts.  He had questioned his actions and he had prayed for guidance and still he hadn't come up with any way that would have changed his actions.  He had lost count on how many times he had reread the young man's file and each time he was struck by the impact of the lose and trauma the man had endured.  How could he have expected the man to react any differently then he had when confronted so blatantly with the lecture?  If the doctor had returned to the church, he had done so at times when he had known he wouldn't have to face him...was that act deliberate, or coincidental?  As the electric doors closed behind him the Priest let his eyes sweep the organized chaos of the corridor before him, intent on locating the tall doctor within it.

"Excuse me, Father?"  The woman's voice caught him off guard and he turned to her suddenly, letting a smile fill his face to mask his surprise. "Didn't you come in before with the Bishop?"  The Priest took in the short dark haired woman as she fully approached him, then stopped, trying to place her among the many he had dealt with on the earlier visits.  Bishop Stewart, yes I did...I'm sorry, did we meet then?"  A small frown drifted in as he failed to register her in his memory. Picking up on his discomfort Abby shook her head, "Not formally, no, I did help with him though.  Did you need to see someone yourself?"  As she asked the question she found herself going a quick inventory of the man's condition before looking back up at him.  "Actually, no, I was wondering if Doctor Kovac was working...I'd like to speak with him."  He cast his eyes around the corridor again before returning them to her. " think he's in Trauma Two....he might be busy...if you want to have a seat in chairs I can go see if he has time to see you."

Why now?  That was the question that lingered as Abby watched the man walk to wards chairs...there was a part of her that wished she had never seen him, a part of her thatwanted to go to him now and tell him that Luka was too busy to see him.  It had taken most of the last two weeks to undo the damage the last month had taken on him and now this man wanted to bring it all back to his thoughts.  Before she could act at all the choice was taken from her hands, and her stomach sank as she saw Luka emerge from the trauma room.  He was still making final notes on the chart in his hand and he paused to finish them before handing it to Haleh.  "As soon as his bloodwork and X-Rays come back let me know...until then I want his vitals every 15 minutes, ok?"  He dropped his eyes to the nurse as she nodded then immediately lifted them as he caught sight of the Priest behind her.

Angelique Forquet glanced out the small window of the plane, watching in silence as the lights of Paris faded from view...she was really doing this.  As she leaned back in her seat she couldn't help feel that this time seemed so different from all of the other times she had left home. She had never seen herself as a public speaker...and given her record, there was no way she would have ever been mistaken as a diplomat, no, she was a doctor plain and simple.  She knew what her friend Alexander Fletcher wanted from her, they had spoken at length about it in his subsequent calls to her.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder wasn't just about coping emotionally with traumatic incidents that had happened to was also dealing with the many physical ails that manifested from it.   

The lecture series he was presenting had been scheduled as an 8 city tour and they were just halfway through it when his colleague had fallen ill and Alexander had called her.  She knew firsthand what it was like for the survivors he had told her...the fact she had no experience on the lecture circuit didn't phase him at all, he wanted her to finish it with him.  Besides he'd added with a gave her a chance to visit the states in the middle of winter, surely that was incentive enough. Once she had agreed, the reality of her decision struck...and she began to sift through her files, drawing out the records of those she had treated who matched her criteria.  She should have realized his would be among them...he was a classic case...reaching under her seat she withdrew her briefcase and opened it, revealing the pile of folders inside.  As she opened the one on top and flipped through it her mindquickly retreated to the memories of him.

He hadn't known what to say and so he had said nothing, but the look of shock on his face at the request was unmistakable.  He couldn't do it...he couldn't let himself be part of treating them..he couldn't hold their lives in his hands when he wanted nothing more then to end his own.  Why couldn't she see that he didn't want to start all over again?  He swallowed the lump in his throat then ran his tongue across his teeth as he searched for any words that could explain, then finally settled on the tired excuse.  "It's too soon."  He dropped his eyes to the ground, as if ashamed by them as the words left his mouth.

"Sweetie..." Angelique lay her hand on his arm, feeling the tremble of repressed fear that ran under her fingers.  "You didn't stop when your wife and children can't stop now."  She found herself searching his face for a clue on how to reach him .

<Croatian>"I'm not strong enough to start over again." The words came out barely louder then a whisper as he retreated to the safety of his mother language, and she found herself struggling to translate them.  This wasn't about physical strength and he had to know she knew that as well.  "Not strong enough?"  She shook her head in disbelief.  "Luka, can you say that?"  She moved to stand in front of him, then lifted her hand so she could hold his chin and force him to see her.  "You are stronger then you just can't see it yet..  You have to give yourself time to heal, but I promise, it'll get better."  She paused allowing her words time to sink in before she continued.  "It'll never get better."  His reply was laced with pain and grief.  "Yes, it will, can't see it because it hurts too much still, but it'll get easier as you heal.  One day you may even fall in love and have another family, you just have to give yourself time."  

She could see his hold on his emotions starting to fray and as the shudder ran through him, beneath her hand she ached to pull him to her and do nothing more then hold him and allow him to grieve.  She couldn't do that here though, if she had learned anything about the young man in the short time she had known him, it was that this was not the time or the place.  His pain and grief was still to private to share and she would honor that for him.  "Luka, " She dropped her hand to his arm as she spoke. "Let's go back now, Sweetie..."

to be continued...

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