Another fanfic in the Africa ER Arc...
Contains Spoilers to Kisangani
He should be trying to get some sleep...but how could he? Standing on the steps of the small clinic Luka stretched and listened to the pop as his back protested the amount of strain he'd been putting on it. It was quiet now...quiet that is if he ignored the sounds of the gunfire in the distance, the quiet moans of his patients inside. Taking a seat on the steps he withdrew the crumpled cigarette package from his pocket and slipped one of the filters into his mouth before lighting it. As he took a long drag he tried to force himself to relax.
He was exhausted, had been for days, he shouldn't be having any trouble finding sleep, so why was he? Gillian...his thoughts went immediately to the woman and he found himself glancing at his watch. If all had gone well she and Carter would have returned to Kisangani...they would be safe and within the week the two of them would return to their homes. With luck she would forget about him, and Carter? He took a long pull on the cigarette as he pictured the fear on the young man's face. How long would it take for him to forget what he had been through?
He tipped his head back watching the smoke as it curled around him. If only he could forget...no...that was the problem wasn't it? He didn't want to forget. As long as he found himself immersed in the chaos of the clinic his own life didn't matter. He took yet another drag on the cigarette, letting it burn at his throat before releasing the smoke. How long could he use this place to escape?
He found himself standing as the question surfaced and started down the steps. What kind of a normal person would see this as a place to hide? He stopped as he reached the yard and let his eyes sweep the ground around the clinic. The smell of death...of blood...of sweat, and fear still hung heavy in the air...but still he had volunteered to stay. He took a final pull on the butt before flicking it away only to find himself searching for the glow before walking over to stamp it out.
He was willing to risk his life for these three children and their parents...why? He slapped a mosquito as it bit his neck then wiped the sweat on his pantleg. Did he think he could somehow redeem himself here for all he had done in Chicago? How many lives would he have to save to undo all the damage he had caused to others? Ten, twenty? How many lives would it take would undo the mistakes that had cost Rick his life? How many to make up for almost killing Erin? He swatted yet another mosquito in frustration....how many to finally erase the guilt he felt over the deaths of his own family?
Pulling the front of his tee up he wiped the sweat from his face. How long could he hide here? That was what he was doing after all...he knew it, odds were Carter did as well. Would he tell? Glancing at the clinic he cocked his head, making sure it was quiet before walking away from it. He had hid from his past before...after leaving Vukovar, before coming to County...always moving...why had he stopped? What had made him decide to allow people to get close again?
That was the danger wasn't it? When he let people get close to him they always got hurt. Some were lucky...like Carol...somehow she had sensed the danger and escaped before she got hurt..but not Abby. He pulled the pack out again and found himself lighting another cigarette, surprised to see his hands trembling as he did. Abby had given him a chance to feel something and he had wasted it...and yet here he was, allowing himself to do the same thing to Gillian.
Gillian...why had he accepted her offer of companionship? Why hadn't he just focussed on the work? He took an overly long draw on the cigarette then released the plume of smoke. Maybe if he stayed here long enough she would return home and forget him. God, he was tired...tired of thinking...tired of worrying about how much pain he had caused to others. He glanced at his watch again, Midnight...he needed to try and sleep...he needed to try and find some peace from it all...at least for a few hours, if only that was possible.