Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Ghosts 25/37

Chapter  25

An ER Fanfic following the "Bishop Stewart" arc

Abby lay watching Luka long after he had finally fallen asleep.  While he had tried to pretend the meeting with the Priest was a simple social call, nothing more then his desire to check on him, she had known there was much more to it then that.  With a sigh she rested her head on his bare chest, then released a soft sigh as his arm curled protectively around her in response to her actions, before his hand settled in the small of her back.  Nothing mattered more to her then offering him the sense of security he seemed so desperately to need right now.

Unable to sleep, she found herself focussing on the rise and fall of his chest as she threaded her fingers through the curls that graced it.  Would he ever really share all that had happened to him with her?  Would he feel he could trust her with the life he had lost so many years ago?  "Shh."  She whispered the word as he moaned softly in his sleep and she felt his breathing alter in response to what he was seeing in his dreams.  "Shh,'s only a dream..."  She lifted a hand to his face, as if the touch alone would be enough to anchor him and allow the memories that seemed to be moving in to fade.

<Croatian>"Luka...we have to leave the city." Danijela's eyes searched out her husbands as they sat together near the window, watching the flashes in the distance.  "I'm scared...what if something was to happen to you?"  Shifting his attention fully to his wife, Luka drew her to him before folding his arms around her.  "Danijela...nothing is going to happen to me."  He offered the reassurances softly, keeping the conversation low so as not to wake the two small children who slept nearby.  "Would it make you feel safer if you took the children to your parents, or mine?"  He lay his cheek against her hair, offering the suggestion even though the thought of being separated from them was one he couldn't bear to imagine. It was almost a relief when he felt her relax against him, "No...we won't leave you, I won't raise them alone,'re their father, I want you in their life."  The shakiness of her words betrayed her deeper emotions and he couldn't help but notice that.  "Danijela...your safety...their safety, is what's important.  I can't leave now, but you can."  He tightened his arms around her before letting his eyes move to the scene outside, drawn by the bright flashes of the explosions in the distance.  "I won't leave without you."  Danijela's voice had taken a firmer tone and he immediately brought his full attention back to her.  "Whatever we go through Luka, we go through as a family."

Luka moaned softly as the words resounded in his mind, the realization that they had proven so untrue strong enough to wake him.  Lifting a hand he wiped the wetness from his cheeks before daring to meet Abby's questioning eyes as she raised to look at him.  "Luka?"  Shaking his head he pulled his eyes away, searching for something....anything to distract him until he could regain his control.  "Luka.."  Abby's hand on his cheek forced him to look at her and he swept his tongue across his lips in preparation of having to speak. "You have to put some closure to this."  

That she would lend voice to what he already knew said much and he blinked back fresh tears with the realization before nodding his ascent.  "I'm afraid to give them up..."  His voice broke as he spoke.  "You won't be giving them up, you'll be letting them rest.  Luka, they're gone...they have been for a long can't keep blaming yourself for that."  She could feel the tension beneath her and knew he was approaching the need to flee "Danijela would never have wanted you to stop living."  Knowing she had entered dangerous ground, Abby sat up, letting the blanket pool around her as she looked down at him.  

Seemingly taking his cue from Abby, Luka sat up as well, dragging a hand through his hair as her words worked their way through him.  When he finally spoke his voice was quiet and laced with the pain of his losses. "I should have been with them."  The tears he had battled to hold back fell with the admission and Abby could do little more then move to him, wrapping her arms around him as she allowed him to grieve his losses.  "No, you shouldn't have been.  You have to go tonight, Luka, you've held onto this alone for too's time to let it go."  Tightening her hold she kissed his hair, knowing that anything else she might say would be lost as he long suppressed grief found an outlet for release.

"It's a good turnout."  Alexander Fletcher let his attention shift to the growing audience then back to the Priest who stood beside him.  "I wasn't sure what to expect...the Bishop set this in motion before his passing...I just carried through on it for him."  Father Joe glanced to the audience as well, unable to hide his disappointment as the one person he had so counted on being present still remained absent.  "Alexander."  Angelique's voice drew the Priest's attention back and he smiled warmly as the woman joined them.  "I'm sorry to have kept you waiting....I got caught up in a conversation with a couple from the Balkans."  She lay a hand on her companion's arm as she reached them.  "I figured as much." Alexander returned the smile, "Angelique Forquet...may I present Father Joe."  He made his way through the introductions quickly before looking back to the those assembled.  "I think it's time to begin, if you will excuse me?"  

Without waiting for a response the man made his way to the podium, offering a broad smile as the room quieted.  "Good evening, my name is Alexander Fletcher, I want to thank all of you for coming, that in itself says much. For many of you I know it was not an easy decision, but the fact you are here says you recognize that it's time to take action.."  As he continued to speak he found himself looking from person to person, searching for the signs that would clue him into what he could expect from them as the talk progressed.

As her associate spoke Angelique found herself watching the crowd as well, it had been the same in the earlier cities and would no doubt repeat with those remaining, or so she thought before her attention was drawn as the door opened to admit a late arrival.  He entered warily and at his appearance Angelique found herself reaching for the back of a nearby chair to steady herself.  It couldn't be...she took in the somber, dark expression, older yes...he would be...but how?  Maybe she was only seeing him because she had wanted to so badly, she blinked as if that would clear her vision, it had to be him.  "Luka."  The name escaped as a whispered confirmation even as she found herself moving towards him.

to be continued...

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