A follow-up to the Congo arc, this story interweaves with the actually aired episodes
It was the sun creeping across the room that woke him and as it warmed his face Luka cracked one eye, only to close it again with a groan. Instantly, his eyes reopened and he frowned as his mind struggled to identify the unfamiliar surroundings.
"You're awake." Mrs. Johannesson's voice put the missing piece into place and he sat up as she appeared in the doorway. "Good morning, feeling better?" Her eyes swept over him quickly with the question.
"I think so..." He pushed the covers aside in preparation of getting up.
"No, you don't..." The older woman stopped him, a tone of warning in her voice. "You stay right there in bed, as bad as your fever was last night you can stand the rest. I'll go down to the kitchen and get you something to eat."
"You don't have to do this, I've imposed on you enough." He made the attempt to rise again only to stop at the glare the woman leveled on him.
"It's not an imposition, if you need the restroom it's next door, otherwise, you'll stay there until Martin says differently." When he made no further attempts to get out of bed, the woman smiled. "I'll be right back with some breakfast for you...and don't you dare say it isn't necessary." She silenced the protest he was about to make before he could voice it.
Resolving himself to his fate, Luka waited until the woman had left before venturing to the bathroom. As much as he hated to admit it, she was probably right, even the short walk to and from the room managed to be an exhausting chore, and by the time he returned to the bed his legs were weak. The continuing fevers seemed to take away whatever gains he was making and it was a frustration he couldn't deny.
No more then ten minutes later he heard the sound of footsteps and Ingrid reappeared carrying a small tray. "I wasn't sure what you'd like, or what your stomach might handle." She offered the apology as she settled the tray on his lap.
"I'm sure it'll be fine, thank you." Luka took in the choices open to him. A bowl of oatmeal shared space on the tray with toast and eggs, as well as tea, and glasses of both milk and orange juice.
"Eat what you can, Martin should be done soon and then he'll be up to check on you." Unable to resist any longer she touched his forehead in an attempt to check his temperature, then, seemingly satisfied she moved away. "Just leave the tray on the table next to the bed when you're done, Luka, I'll pick it up later."
"Thank you, again." He managed a smile for the woman that only deepened as she offered one in return.
Only when he had begun to eat did she answer, "You're welcome, Luka." Then, with a second smile she disappeared from the room.
His appetite was light but Luka forced himself to eat, a few bites of oatmeal, a forkful of eggs...a swallow of juice, only the milk seemed to totally agree and as he finished the glass he returned it to the tray. As much as he regretted admitting it, what he wanted most was to go back to sleep. With great care he maneuvered so he could transfer the tray from his lap to the table without upsetting what remained on it. There was no way of knowing how long it would be before the doctor appeared, and while he could easily leave, he knew he wouldn't. Settling back against the headboard he prepared himself for the wait, and within minutes he had fallen back to sleep.
When he woke again the sunlight had faded and the room had settled into shadows. How long had he slept? He glanced at his watch then shocked by what he saw looked again...it couldn't be right, could it? He pushed the blankets aside and swung his legs over the side of the bed, giving himself time to steady himself before standing. Once he was in the hall he could hear the voices downstairs and after a momentary detour to the bathroom, he made his way towards them.
"Look who's up?" Martin Johannesson was the first to notice Luka's appearance and he smiled as he greeted him. It took his wife a moment longer as she was in the middle of preparing dinner and had her back to the door.
"Good afternoon." Luka's greeting held a touch of embarrassment to it.
Good afternoon, Luka...you look much better." Ingrid's smile seemed to fill her face as she turned and dried her hands on the apron she wore. "I'm making dinner, if you're hungry now though I could fix you something."
"I'm fine, thank you. I guess I slept through my session." His attention turned to the doctor as he spoke.
"That's all right, you needed the sleep...we can talk now if you'd like?" He watched the young man carefully for his reaction to the offer. "Perhaps about the dreams?"
Luka knew his face had paled at the mention of the nightmares...uncertainty at just what and how much had slipped out overriding even the trust he had for the man. He swiped his tongue around the inside of his mouth, far too aware of what his silence was saying.
"I think we should talk about it while it's still fresh." The doctor rose and headed towards him. "Let's go in my office."
"Martin..." Ingrid's concern left her unable to resist intervening. "Let him at least have a a few minutes to wake up."
"I'm all right..." Luka found himself momentarily torn between the two, but after offering the reassurance to the woman he followed her husband into the office. Dr. Johannesson waited until Luka had taken a seat on the couch before sitting himself, selecting the chair adjacent, rather then the one behind his desk.
"How often do you have the nightmares, Luka?" He folded his hands in his lap as he waited for the younger man to respond.
"I don't know...it just kind of depends." He lifted one hand in nervousness and began to gnaw at the side of his thumb.
"Depends on what?" Gently, gently, the doctor found the reminder to himself coming automatically.
"How tired I am...if my temperature is up...sometimes..." He hesitated without meaning to. "If I've been thinking about things too much."
"The dreams aren't about what happened to you in Croatia are they?"
"No...not usually." He didn't want to go here...not yet.
"You were speaking in French..." The doctor continued employing gentle interrogation to advance them.
"I guess." What all had he said? His eyes darted between the window and door, the need to flee surging unexpectedly.
"You also mentioned something in English...you told me to leave you alone...that I wasn't safe with you. Who were you talking to Luka?" Whatever the dreams held they were a key to much more, and unless the man chose to talk about them, he couldn't even begin to help him through it.
He wasn't ready for this...the panic rose quickly, fear of what he might have said overriding even the trust he felt towards the man. "I don't remember..." He swallowed, the feeling of nausea becoming even stronger with the avoidance.
"I think you do, Luka. You've trusted me before...."
"Patrique..." The name came out little more then a whisper. "I told him to leave...I told them all to leave but they didn't listen." His voice was unsteady and he found himself tucking his hands between his knees as if that might steady him.
"Who's Patrique, Luka?" The doctor resisted the urge to reach over to his patient, as much as he wanted to offer the sense of grounding, he knew there were times he had to stand back.
"If he'd have just listened..." Luka's voice took on a faraway tone.
"Listened to what?" Baby steps...he cautioned himself.
"I told him to leave...he wouldn't listen...because of me." He wasn't even aware of the rocking he had begun as a means of calming himself.
"What happened to Patrique, Luka?" Dr. Johannesson's attention was fully on the man in front of him as he watched the progression of his retreat into himself.
"He was killed..." He continued the rocking as he forced the words out. "They shot him, because of me."
to be continued...