A follow-up to the Congo arc, this story interweaves with the actually aired episodes
He was beyond wondering what might happen next, it was so much easier to just let go. Laying there among those who's fates had already been decided he knew it was simply a matter of time before he would join them. He could hear the quiet sobs of Chance, the calming words of her mother, but he was too tired even to turn his head to find them. Even the act of brushing the flies off his face was more then he could manage with his bound arms pinned under him, so instead he was forced to endure the feel of them as they crawled across his skin. He knew they were nesting among his eyelashes, feasting on the blood that oozed from the cuts on his face, but he had no strength left to do anything about it. Maybe this was how he would die, how they all would die, abandoned as if they were already dead, left to rot among the corpses in the midday heat. Luka moaned softly as the memories continued to play out. Macabre movies that seemed to have no end to them.
Dr. Johannesson stirred from the light sleep he had allowed to himself as he sat with Luka. His patient had slipped into a less agitated sleep and he had thought the worst of his nightmares had passed, now, as he listened to the quiet moans, he wasn't so sure. "Shh...Luka...shh." The older man leaned forward as Luka moaned more deeply, then after a moment's hesitation briefly touched his forehead. He was warm...too warm. It would be easy to call one of those in the man's file, ask them to come for him, relieve himself of the responsibility. This wasn't his specialty after all...he was a psychologist, and clearly the symptoms now were related to the malaria. Or were they? He was the one who had encouraged the man to release the memories he had allowed himself to repress, what right then did he have to walk away from the results?
It didn't take long for the smells in the truck to leech into his clothes, to latch onto him as if they were part of him. The sweet smell of death, the iron bite of blood, all too soon it was an inescapable part of every breath. As the truck engine was started, the smell of exhaust soon mingled with the rest, they were moving, but where? He wasn't afraid. The clarity of the thought struck him. Whatever fear he might have possessed was gone, laying among those who's fates had already been decided, he was sure there could be nothing worse.
How long had they traveled? He had felt each rut and pothole as they began to move, then somehow, unbelievably, he had slipped into an exhausted sleep, the bodies below him his mattress. He hadn't even realized the truck had stopped until he felt the hands pulling on him, jerking him roughly from the truck only to drag him inside a small hut. Would the bullet find him here?
Luka jerked as the hands in his dream grabbed him, for an instant fear predominating all else. As his eyes flew open he pulled himself away from those he still saw before him, coming to rest only as his back connected with the wall and he could move no more.
"It's all right, Luka...it's only a dream." How many times had he offered those same reassurances to the young man before him? Dr. Johannesson made no attempt to move closer, allowing Luka a chance to adjust to the fact he was no longer trapped in his nightmares.
If it were only that easy. Luka's breathing came heavy, his chest rising and falling too rapidly as he struggled to suppress the sense of panic the dreams had left him with. Wiping a hand across his face he released a weary breath before allowing his eyes to finally come to rest on the older man.
"You were having a dream." Martin offered the clarification in response to the look of confusion on the man before him's face.
"Yeah." Luka wiped the remaining sleep from his eyes, then let his arm come to rest on his now upraised knee. "I'm sorry."
"You have nothing to apologize for, Luka...we all dream." Dr. Johannesson offered a gentle smile. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"I'm not sure I can...not yet anyway." Why was this part so much harder then the rest? Luka propped his elbow on his knee only to then conceal his face in his palm.
"I understand, there'll be time, would you rather go back to sleep?" The doctor kept his eyes on the younger man as he spoke.
"I don't think so, I should go home." His words lacked commitment even though he had lowered his arm and scooted forward so he could swing his legs over the side of the bed.
"I'd rather you weren't alone." Martin himself, had yet to move.
Luka couldn't stop the snortthat came in response. "I don't plan to kill myself."
"I never said you were planning to kill yourself. Luka, what makes you think that's the reason I want you to stay?" The doctor leaned forward with the question.
"Why else would you want me here if it wasn't to keep an eye on me?" The question held the feel of one not used to being taken care of.
"I know this isn't easy for you, that none of the things we've talked about have been easy." Dr. Johannesson chose his words carefully as he tried to explain. "You've been alone too long, Luka...hidden your feelings away as if that would make then disappear. From what I have seen, work was your escape, but then things began to overlap and unfortunately even that sanctuary was lost to you." He paused, reading the expressions on the man before him's face. "For the first time in far too long you've begun to allow yourself to face not just your past, and all that you've been through, but your feelings about it as well. I know that hasn't been easy for you, more importantly, I don't think it's something you should have to face alone."
His mouth had dropped open in surprise as the older man spoke, and as he finished talking he swiped his tongue across too dry lips. How long had it been since someone cared about him the way this man seemed to? He shook his head in disbelief, only to watch as a smile came across the doctor's face in response.
"Why is it so hard for you to believe? Martin's smile remained with the question.
to be continued..