A follow-up to the Congo arc, this story interweaves with the actually aired episodes
"Luka...you can trust me." The words came easily to Dr. Johannesson as he watched the younger man. He was scared, that fact was far too obvious to his eyes, but what else? He studied him further, there was a nervousness to him, the fear of letting anyone inside the walls he surrounded himself with evident. His friend Gillian had told him he spoke little of his past, or his future...that he was a man who lived only in the moment, not because he wanted to but because he had to. What had made him feel the need to shut himself away from the things that made him who he was? More importantly, what had made him decide that he wasn't worthy of a future?" There were so many questions and so few answers in the meager notes he had been able to obtain on his new patient.
An extended sigh brought his attention fully back to the man in front of him and he allowed himself to closely take in his appearance. His face held a paleness to it, no doubt due to the anemia he was still battling, but there was more to it then that. The dark circles under his eyes could be excused by the interrupted sleep, the thinness to his recent illness. The nervousness was there, from the way he licked his lip, to the chewing of his thumb when his hands weren't cradling the cup. He had to find a way to get past the fear if he was going to be able to help him.
"How can I be sure?" The question came after some hesitance.
"Because I give you my word." The doctor's reply came in full honesty.
"Your word?" Luka failed to withhold the snort of disbelief that followed.
"Yes, my word. Luka." He leaned forward, then rested his forearms on his thighs. "Not everyone you meet is someone you have to distrust. Not everyone you meet is out to hurt you. I know you find this hard to believe right now, but it's true." How long had the young man in front of him been drowning in this fear?
Luka raised a hand, then wiped it over his face as he pulled his eyes from the doctor's face and to the window. Windows were a means of escape...had always been that to him. How many times had he looked out a window and lost time to memories of his past?
"Where did you go, Luka?" The doctor's voice broke into his thoughts and he blew a breath out before shaking his head to clear the thoughts.
"Pardon?" His eyebrows knitted together in confusion as he tried to put the words into perspective with the earlier conversation.
"I asked where you went, just now, I think you were not here, in this room. Where do you go when you shut the world out?" He was pushing again, but it seemed right at this moment.
"Nowhere..." It was true, he hadn't been here, but he hadn't gone to his past either, that much was a relief.
"Is that the way you make things easier? The way it becomes less difficult to face things?" His notebook was forgotten as he kept his full attention on reading the hidden signals the young doctor sent through his body language.
Luka shrugged...he was tired, and it seemed easier then denying what he knew was the truth.
Dr. Johannesson caught the slump of the man before him's shoulders and glanced at his watch...6:30...had so much time already passed? "Luka, I would like to talk more with you, but I think now, maybe, you need rest."
Luka nodded to the words, already feeling what little energy he'd had receding.
"I would ask if you wanted to rest here but I think you would refuse, so I will offer you instead a ride home, and then ask you to come back this afternoon to see me again." The offer came easily, the return appointment set before there was a chance of refusal. Standing he waited for the younger doctor to follow suit. "I will get our coats and be right back."
Luka had intended to protest, but as soon as the thought hit the man had already left the room, by the time he returned he'd forgotten the intention.
"Come, let's get you home before you fall asleep." The doctor's tone was reassuring and when he put his hand on Luka's arm the younger man didn't feel the need to shrug it off. Dr. Johannesson found himself smiling with that realization...it was a start, a small one perhaps, but still a beginning, and if that was the most the man could give he was willing to take it.
to be continued...