Thursday, June 23, 2005

Ghosts 27/37

Chapter  27

An ER Fanfic following the "Bishop Stewart" arc

Watching what he knew had to be a reunion, Father Joe found himself torn, to watch or not to watch?  His immediate comparison was to the fascination people had with watching an accident or other traumatic event unfold before them.  The morbid curiosity outweighing the knowledge that those involved deserved some sense of privacy.

Glancing to Fletcher for a moment he found himself grateful that the man had continued to speak, even though he was sure he was aware of the drama unfolding at the rear of the room.  The impact of his words on those in the audience keeping most of their attention on him and away from the two doctors.

Returning his attention to the two he found himself wondering if the Bishop had arranged the reunion...but how?  Had he somehow known the seminar would draw the two together?  His forehead creased as he realized the enormity of coincidences that would have had to occur to make it happen.  No, he couldn't have done it...there had been no time.  The folder that had contained the young doctor's file had come after his death, he had opened it himself, he wouldn't even have known of the woman's existence, let alone her connection to him.  Even having read the file he hadn't made the connection when he had been introduced to her, she'd simply been a name in his files, one of many who had held pieces of his life in trust for him.

No, he was sure this had not been prearranged with her, her reaction at first seeing him, the expression on her face, she had been as surprised at seeing him as he was to her.  The question had it happened?

Angelique found herself battling her own emotions as he touched her cheek, voicing his disbelief even as he tried to maintain some hold on his own.  "It's really me, Sweetie."  She kept her voice low, her words for his ears alone as she lay her hand over his, he was trembling.  As she lifted her eyes to his face she noted the color had fled from it, he was close to fainting, she had seen the symptoms often enough to be sure of that.  Whether it was shock, or something else, she had to get him somewhere more private, somewhere away from all the people.

"Sweetie, you need some air...let's go out into the hallway."  She knew she couldn't rush him, she wasn't even sure yet that he had fully registered her as being real.  As she lay her hand on first his back, then slid it around his waist to steady him she became more convinced of it.  She had to get him out of here...somewhere they could be alone, somewhere away from the prying eyes of strangers.  " need to come with me now, it's all right."  She kept her voice quiet, coaxing him gently to move to the door and ultimately into the hallway.

Her hand on his might as well have been a jolt of electricity, he was losing it, he was sure of it. Luka's stomach rose and plunged again, the queasiness threatening to envelope him if the dizziness didn't claim him first.  She was talking to him...he had to be imagining her...she couldn't be here, not in Chicago, not after so many years...oh God, he was going insane.

He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry as he struggled to separate what was real from what had to be his imagination...what was happening to him?  Listen to the words... focus on the touch...he almost flinched as he felt the weight of her hand on his felt so real.  When her arm moved to his waist he latched onto it as if it was a life preserver, her words drawing him closer to reality...she had to be real...oh God, please make her real.

Once she had Luka in the hallway Angelique found it much easier to fully concentrate on his condition.  He was still trembling, and his face remained pale, but at least his breathing seemed to be returning to somewhere near normal.  Glancing around the empty hallway, Angelique frowned, then brought her attention back to chairs.  "Sweetie...I want you to sit down, that's it...take your time."  She kept a firm hold on him until he had eased himself to the floor and lay his arms across his knees.  As she knelt in front of him she lay a hand on his arm, "You're all right."  She continued to offer the reassurances until it seemed the trembling was subsiding.

For five, then ten minutes neither spoke, as if anything said might shatter the fragile hold he had built.  When he finally lifted his head and seemed to focus on her she was left with the feeling that he still hadn't fully convinced himself he wasn't lost in a dream.  "You aren't dreaming of me Sweetie...I'm here."  She couldn't help smiling as the words left her, her hand remaining on his arm even as she spoke.

"But how?"  His question was unexpected, and his voice quieter then she remembered.  She shook her head slightly, it's a long story...I'll tell you later."  He seemed to accept that and he let his head drop as if that act alone had exhausted him.  Moving her hand to his head she found herself stroking his hair, using the action as a way of calming herself as well as him.  They had so much to talk about, but this was not the time, or the place...

to be continued...

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