Tuesday, December 19, 2006

157 - What is your worst quality as a significant other?/Theatrical Muse Challenge

I'll always love her.

I can't imagine what it must be like for Abby knowing that she'll never have my love completely, knowing that for as long as I live part of what I have to give will belong to someone long gone. That's how it will be though and no matter how much she might wish it to be otherwise it will never change.

Danijela was my first love, my first wife, the one I lost my virginity to, the mother of my daughter, the one who gave birth to my first son. It seems so long ago when I talk about it but there are times when I could swear it was only mere moments since we were parted, no, not parted, torn from each other at a time when we had only just begun to live.

I try and tell myself that what was between Danijela and I is in the past, that I need to find a way to tuck those feelings away like you would memories in a scrapbook, but it's so hard. Now that Joe is here it seems thoughts of her come more frequently as everything he does reminds me of something that we went through together with Jasna and Marko.

I know it's not fair to Abby, but I don't know what I can do to stop myself and I'm not sure I would want to if I could. It would be easy to say that I loved every moment of my life with Danijela, but that would be a lie. We had our fights as any young couple does, but for each of those moments there were hundreds more that filled me with a joy so so strong that I would willingly accept them all again if only to have her back, to have them back.

It's a sacrifice though that is only a dream, a dream that will never become reality. no, Abby is my reality, and Joe, and the life we are building together. I can't say that this life will be anything like the life I had with Danijela, maybe it's not supposed to be. I can only hope that Abby understands that I need to have that small place set aside to keep my love for them intact even as I strive to move forward with her and Joe, and if she can do that, then I think we can make things work this time.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

General 09.Tangled/10 ER Fics

Missing Part 2

There had to be a reasonable explanation for where Abby and Joe were.  Even as he stood there on the sidewalk clutching the blood stained blanket his mind was scrambling for some reason other than the one he'd first lept at.  He'd call her, that would solve everything, she'd probably just taken him to the park.  He could believe that, even if it didn't explain the blanket.  Pulling out his cell phone he pushed the quick dial for Abby's phone.  Breathe Luka, breathe. He voiced the reminder silently to himself as he listened to the ring, only to frown as he realized that he wasn't just hearing it through the phone he held to his ear. 

"Oh God, no." It was all he could do to re-enter the apartment and realize that the dual ring was indeed coming from inside.  Abby hadn't taken her phone, where would she have gone without it?

"Abby."  He closed his own phone and re-pocketed it as he saw hers on the counter.  She wouldn't have left willingly without it, would she?  She'd have known he'd try to reach her.  Already he could feel his heart starting to race, the worst case scenario already beginning to take root.

"No!" he wasn't going to give in to it...not yet, he couldn't give up on them.  Think, think, his thoughts were becoming a tangled mess and the only thing he was sure of was that Abby and Joe were missing.  What would she have done?  She knew whe was due home...think. 

Her phone, that might be it, maybe the clue was in her phone, maybe she'd left it for a reason.  He immediately reached for Abby's phone and punched redial, only to hear the answering ring of his own phone in response. 

"Damn." He threw it across the room without thinking about the consequences.

"Abby, where are you?"

to be continued...


Saturday, December 2, 2006

03. General Bonus: Nightmare /10 ER Fics

It hadn't helped telling Abby about Ames, if anything it seemed to only have made matters worse, and Luka found himself dreading leaving for work the following morning.  He and Abby had sat up until early morning discussing what they could do to best handle Ames, if in fact he was stalking the family which Abby still fully doubted. There was no question now that they should stagger their shifts, neither of them would be able to concentrate on their patients if they knew the other weren't with Joe. So, it was he who had gone to work and Abby who was the one to stay home, spending the first day with Joe.

"Abby?" Even as he opened the door Luka felt the chill creep up his spine, something was wrong, instinctively he knew it the moment he stepped inside and the panic was immediate. 

"Abby! Joe!"  He dropped his briefcase and ran for the stairs, taking them two at a time only to find that room empty as well. They had to be here.  Backtracking downstairs he stopped when he saw one of Joe's blankets laying balled up on the floor, as he picked it up he couldn't miss the blood that stained it and he felt his heart stop.  Oh God, no.

"Abby! Joe!"  He clutched the thin blanket in his hands as he ran for the door and back outside, stopping when he reached the sidewalk, his eyes scanning up one side and then down the other.  This couldn't be happening, it was a nightmare, it had to be, oh god, please, let him wake up from it.

to be continued...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Personal Ritual/Creative Muses

Personal ritual. We all have them, little superstitions that we all follow. What’s yours?

The routine was one he was sure would never leave him. Where once it had been something he had done upwards to a dozen times an hour, these days it was rare that he caught himself drawing it out more than twice. It seemed only natural for it to be one of the first things he did in the morning, and one of the last things he did at night, a way for him to remain connected to a part of himself that was no more.

You wouldn't think that a small photograph could hold such power, but the one in his wallet did just that, freezing forever the faces of his wife and daughter at a time when they had thought life couldn't have gotten any better. He'd alway regretted that the photo lacked the one face he missed seeing the most, that of the son he and Danijela had shared, their youngest child, just six month's old at the time it was taken.

So, even now, fifteen years after they were all gone, he still found himself slipping the small photograph from the plastic sleeve before he tucked it in his pocket, then repeating the process as he removed it at day's end.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Prompt 1.35.1. What are you most thankful for?/Realm of the Muse

For over fifteen years I have mourned the lost of my wife and children, mourned a life that by all accounts ended with their deaths. I also thought that the person I was to them was buried with them on the day their caskets were lowered into the ground on that cold Vukovar morning. I was wrong.  I never realized that until Joe was born.  Joe...Josip, my son...he's what I'm most thankful for, and of course I'm also thankful for what he's brought with him. 

For the first six, maybe seven years after the loss of my family I refused to let anyone get close to me, I shut myself off from feeling anything, or so I thought. I had been responsible for their deaths, and any attempt to begin a life without them would mean a betrayal to them, and that was something I could never do, and then I met Carol. 

I don't know what it was about her, maybe it was the fact that she was alone, maybe it was just my need to be a father again and the fact that her daughters were without one.  Whatever the reason I allowed myself to grow close to them and when Carol left and took them with her, it was like losing my children all over again.

In the years between then and now I've made other attempts at trying to find myself, find the person I was meant to be, but nothing has ever seemed right, until that moment when Abby told me she was pregnant.  I'd felt it once before, when I thought that Nicole was pregnant with my child, but it was different with her because I didn't have the feelings for her that I have for Abby.  Then, when she said that it was was a lie, I don't know, I think in that moment I knew what it felt like to have hope ripped  from your heart, and in it's place I was left with a gaping hole that I thought would never heal.

In that I was wrong, Joe has seen to that, and his birth not only filled it but,  saw it grow tenfold.  That's not to say it came all at once, his birth was not an easy one, his life was at risk for weeks after he was born and every day I prayed to be allowed to sacrifice mine for his.  I begged God to spare his life, to not force me to have to see yet another child of mine laid in the earth before me, and this time he heard my prayers.  Today Joe is thriving, and each day seems to bring something new for us to be thankful for, and I wonder, could life be any better?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Prompt/Artistic License

It was Joe's first Thanksgiving, Abby and I had planned to celebrate it alone, just the three of us, but work got in the way and our plans had to change. It's funny, you would think that it would have spoiled the day but it really didn't, instead it gave me a chance to do not just something special for her, but for all of those who had to work the holiday.

Without bragging I like to think I'm a pretty good cook, I credit my Mama and Danijela for that, both of them thought that it was as much a man's place to be in the kitchen cooking as his wife's. Abby had been coaching me on what I needed to do with the turkey, and the gravy, and the...jib, no, giblets, up to the moment the elevator doors closed it was "remember to baste the turkey."

It was a huge meal, salads, potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, pie. Somehow I managed to get it all prepared and then pack not only all of it up and get it loaded into the SUV, but Joe as well and I hauled it all to the hospital. Why not share what we had with the closest thing to family that Abby and I have here right now. It's funny, for the longest time I don't think we saw those at work that way, but things are changing, we're coming together and yesterday really showed that in a way words couldn't have.  I think it was a surprise to everyone and a Thanksgiving we will all remember for years to come.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Prompt 15 B Talking Muses/Adult Content


Was it really possible that he had waited two years for her? Slipping out of the bed he moved to join Danijela at the window, sliding his arms around her waist as she stood naked before it.

"Good morning Mrs. Kovac." Leaning around her, he kissed her neck, unable to hold back the smile as he felt his body already beginning to respond to her as their bodies came together.

"Good morning to you, Mr. Kovac." She turned to face him, sliding her arms around him before stretching up on tiptoe to kiss him. "I was just thinking about how lucky I am."

"Were you?" He moved his hands down her skin, feeling the tiny goosebumps beneath his fingertips, stirred to life by the breeze blowing in through the window. "Are you cold? Maybe we should go back to bed?"

"No, not yet." She stopped him quickly, more for the fact of wanting the chance to see him in his nakedness than of wanting to seek an end to her own discomfort. Cautiously she inched one hand around his thigh, only bringing it to rest as she encircled his growing erection with her fingers. At his gasp in response she instantly blushed and opened her hand only to have him close his over hers.

"No...don't..." He leaned in to kiss her again then drew her back to the bed. They had waited two years for these moments, and now as a couple they had a lifetime.

Sunrise/Theatrical Muse Challenge

There was a time when I looked forward to sunrises. Those minutes when the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon were moments that Danijela and I shared together. With the children still sound asleep we would lay in each others arms and talk of our future, or reminisce of our short past. On some mornings there would be no talk, but that is not to say we did not learn as much if not more.

There was a time when I dreaded sunrises. When I would wake and in the clouded blur of half sleep I would reach across the bed for Danijela and instead find only cold emptiness. I used to see sunrises as a reminder of our time together and found myself unable to bear to watch the sky as it burst forth with it's palate of color.

I have a new reason to look forward to sunrises again, my son, Joe. It seems that there are not enough hours in the day for me to spend with him and though I know I have to work, in truth, as soon as I'm home I want to have him near me. I'm sure part of it is a fear that I might still lose him as I lost Jasna and Marko, and if I am close I know that not a second would be lost. I have so much to share with him and he has so much to give me, I worry that I might forget something after so long, that'll I have forgotten what it's like to be a father, or more, to be the father I was to Jasna and Marko. I want to be that kind of father to Joe, not the one who's afraid to let him experience life.

So, I show him the sunrises, and I show him sunsets, but most of all I share with him the stories of those who he will never know, and I hope he'll grow to love them as much as I do, even though they'll never have a chance to meet.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER/Miscellaneous TV
Words: 349

Friday, November 17, 2006

067 Nervous/100 Moods

Title: Joe's Frog
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac,
Prompt: Vulnerable
Word Count: 501
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Contains Spoilers to Reason to Believe.
Summary: Luka deals with a newly received package

I've never felt so nervous, and I don't know what I can do to change the situation.  A package arrived at the hospital yesterday addressed to me, inside was a note from C. A., and Joe's little stuffed frog.  I wanted to throw up, I felt so sick at seeing it, at realizing the implications behind it  I know, I'm not making any sense, I need to explain.

Curtis Ames was a patient who came through the ER, he presented with a variety of symptoms and ended up suffering a stroke while he was there.  He blames me for what happened, he thinks I was negligent, that I didn't do enough, when in fact he refused a treatment that might have helped him even though it held some risks of it's own. So he became obsessed with suing me, he lost his job, his wife took his children and left him, he lost his home, and he blames me for everything.  When I won the lawsuit I thought things would go back to how they had been, I guess I was wrong.  Then the other day, I ran into him at the hospital again, and he told me he was going to appeal, I don't know what he hopes to gain from this, but I know I don't want Abby worrying about it. 

A few days ago Abby said she couldn't find Joe's favorite little stuffed frog, we tore the apartment apart trying to find it, but couldn't find it anywhere.  Then today, it arrives at County, sent to me by Ames. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried.  How long has he been stalking them, watching everything they do? I don't want that man near Abby, and I definitely don't want him near my son. 

I showed the envelope to the police, they didn't think it was anything to worry about, but how can I not worry?  How close was he to my son?  He knew his name, he knew the toy was his, do I have to wait for him to take him before anyone will do anything?  I won't let that happen, I won't lose him, I can't lose him.

I almost told Abby about it, I took it with me to Ikes, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.  I can't have her worrying the way I am. I threw him away in the trashcan outside, Joe's frog. There was just something about the idea of him touching it after Ames had done whatever he might have done to it.  No, I just couldn't handle the thought of that, so I threw it away.

I think for now I'm going to keep this to myself.  I want Abby to enjoy this time with Joe, I don't want her memories of his childhood to be spoiled by fear for his safety, the way mine for Jasna and Marko were.  In time I may have to say something, but not yet, not yet. 

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fear in 10 Hurt Comfort

Title: Fear Pt 9/10 (Fear in 10 Hurt Comfort)
Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG
Character: Luka Kovac
Words: 373
Summary: Luka tries to comes to terms with life after Vukovar
Warnings: Deals with potentially sensitive subject matter related to the War of Independence.
Notes: This ficlet explores more of Luka's experiences in the displaced person's camp following his escape from Vukovar. I have previously touched on this time in my longer fics Ghosts, Time Heals all Wounds, and For One Life which I co wrote with M. Blais. All three can be found on the journal link on my profile page. For the already completed prompts to this Challenge Community visit the Chart at: http://dr-luka-kovac.livejournal.com/24138.html

How long could he hold his breath? How long could he pray that they wouldn't find him, that his fate wouldn't become the same as those he'd left behind at the hospital, or those gunned down in the streets as they tried to escape to safety? Squeezing his eyes closed he buried his face in the crook of his arm to shield it from the falling dust and gravel, and to muffle any coughs that might break through.

The wait for the men searching the building around him to leave seemed to take forever and it was equally terrifying. Would the wallboard that concealed him from the Serbian soldiers be strong enough to support their weight of them as they walked back and forth conducting their search? Would the next step one them took disturb the board that hid the small opening that separated life from death for him?

He could smell the smoke from their cigarettes, he could feel them burn at his throat with each breath he took. Is that how he would die then? Would he suffocate as their smoke and the dust from their footsteps stole away what little air his hiding place offered him? Had he made it this far only to die from lack of air before he could make his escape?

The crack of an isolated gunshot sent the men into gales of laughter and he was forced to swallow back his own bile as they joked of someone's death as if it meant nothing. Then, suddenly, from nowhere a hand had his shoulder and he realized he'd somehow given himself away, his fate would soon be that of those from the hospital, his life was over.

"Luka, shhh...quiet, it's just a dream...shhh..." The words came quietly in Croatian close to his ear, as he slowly came awake in the darkness.

"It's okay son, you're safe, it was just a dream." Sitting up on his cot Luka gulped for air as the old man whose cot sat next to his rubbed his hand over his back. The remnants of the dream were still lingering, but as the man continued to offer reassurance, they began to recede, and for tonight, the fear had been defeated

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lonely in 10 Hurt Comfort

Title: Escaping the Loneliness Pt 6/10 (Lonely in 10 Hurt Comfort)
Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG
Character: Luka Kovac
Words: 850
Summary: Luka tries to comes to terms with life after Vukovar
Warnings: Deals with potentially sensitive subject matter related to the War of Independence.
Notes: This ficlet explores more of Luka's time in the displaced person's camp following his escape from Vukovar. I have previously touched on this time in my longer fics Ghosts, Time Heals all Wounds, and For One Life which I co wrote with M. Blais. All three can be found on the journal link on my info page. Visit my Chart at: http://dr-luka-kovac.livejournal.com/24138.html for the chapters prior to this one.

He hated leaving the tent but there were times too when he could stand it's confinement no more, when it felt like the green canvas was closing in on him and the only way he could stop it was by leaving it. Slipping the photo of Danijela and Jasna into his pocket, Luka reached for the crutches.

It was an isolation of his own making, he knew that, it wasn't that others in the tent hadn't tried to include him in their conversations. It wasn't that they hadn't offered to include them in their games of cards or chess, or that they hadn't invited him to join them for meals. How many times could he have expected them to continue accepting his refusal before they stopped asking completely? If only Danijela could see him for who he was now. What would she think of how much he had changed, of how different he was from the man she had fallen in love with, from the man she had married?

That his thoughts had drifted to his late wife did not surprise him, she was a constant companion to his loneliness, a reminder of the life he no longer had. In truth though there were far too many things here that brought forth those reminders, it was why he hated leaving the tent. Why he hated listening to the conversations of those here as well as outside. On most days he could escape the reminders through sleep or with memories of what his life had been before Vukovar, but not today. Today nothing had worked and the feelings of loss were threatening to tear him apart and all he knew was that he had to get away from the reminders.

The rain that had fallen on the camp for the past several days had finally moved on, leaving behind mud, puddles of water, and soggy tents filled with people working to dry out what meager belongings they had left to them before the next series of showers arrived. The camp itself was divided into sections, rows of canvas which housed single men, single women, and those with children, and families, it was the last that he found the most difficult to move through, and which unfortunately seemed to always prove unavoidable.

It was never easy moving along the camp's rutted paths on crutches but with them now muddy it required even more of his attention, but it also slowed his pace. As he neared the area on the approach to the family tents it was unavoidable that the conversations within and around them would reach his ears.

"Tata!" He heard the call of the small girl almost as soon as he entered the walkway between the tents and it tore into him in a way he hadn't thought possible. "Tata!" Her cry was repeated, and then answered by the booming voice of a man who could only be her father. He didn't dare look for the two, knowing that it would only deepen the sense of loss, the sense of loneliness he was feeling.

He'd tried to explain what this was like to some of the doctors when they'd asked him about it, but, how could he expect others to understand something which he still couldn't fully understand himself? How did he tell someone that it felt like whole pieces of who he was were missing? That nothing he could do, nothing that anyone else could say, and nothing they could do would ever be able to replace them? How do you tell someone that even in a room full of people you feel totally alone because the very people who make you complete are no longer with you? How do you tell someone that your reason for living is no longer there?

Never could he have believed that one word could have caused so much pain, more pain even then the bullet that had ripped through his leg had caused. More pain then the sound of hearing a child calling for their father and wanting to answer, but knowing you can't. He'd thought that nothing could be worse than the grief he'd felt at losing his wife and children until he had come here, he'd been so wrong.

And then he is past those tents and until the next time he can, if he is lucky, push most of those feelings into the darker places of his thoughts. It's not easy though and some days are worse than others. On those days he feels more alone than at any other time, and then there are days like this one when he can't. Days where everything reminds him of something he no longer has,of someone he no longer is. These are the days he escapes to the pathways.

Maybe this is how he would spend the rest of his life. The very thought is enough to make him quicken his pace and cause him to stumble as the crutch slips in the mud as it searches for a footing to keep him upright. And then he is somehow back where he started and at least for today he can put the thoughts aside as fatigue wins over and it takes all his remaining strength to make his way back to the cot that at least for now, he calls home.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Luka Kovac/07. General: Beginnings /10 ER Fics and Peaceful 100 Moods

Title: Time Alone
Character/Pairing: Luka and Josip "Joe" Kovac
Prompt: O7. General:Beginnings
Word Count: 474
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers to Season 13
Summary:Luka spends some time alone with his new son.
Disclaimer: Neither Goran Visnjic's image nor the character of Luka Kovac of ER belong to me. No copy-write infringement is intended by their use, they are being borrowed here strictly for entertainment purposes.

He had dreamt of this moment so many times, but he had never really thought he would see it come to pass, and now, here it was, here he was. Standing in the darkness with his newborn son in his arms Luka couldn't help thinking of his first two children, the two he had lost so many years before.

"Josip...Joe...do you know how much we wanted you? How much I wanted you? " He asked the questions in Croatian, knowing it would be the first of many such conversations the two of them would have.

"Do you know what a lucky boy you are, to be wanted so much?" His brushed the fine black bangs off the boy's forehead only to find the image of another child coming to his thoughts with the act.

"You look so much like your brother did at your age." Tears formed as he made the comparison, knowing as he did that one would never know the other.

"His name was Marko...do you remember me telling you about him in the hospital, and about your big sister Jasna? I wish you could have a chance to know them, that they could know you, but they went away a long time ago." He lifted a hand to wipe away his tearsas he spoke.

"I want you to know about them. I need you to know who they were and what they were like." He moved over to the rocker and took a seat, then settled his son in the crook of his arm before offering him the bottle that sat on the table beside it.

"I want to tell you about Marko's sense of humor, and how Jasna loved to dance. They had a different mama then you do, she's with them now, taking care of them so they won't be alone. Her name was Danijela, I told you about her too, about how beautiful she was. She loved to sing to Jasna and Marko, she would sing them to sleep with lullabies, I wish you could hear her sing, not like tata sings to you. They're in heaven now, and they're your angels Joe, the ones who watch over you when mama and tata can't, like when you're sleeping, so you never have to be afraid. "You're such a lucky boy to have so many people to love you and watch over you." Leaning his head down, he shifted the bottle enough that he could place a kiss on his son's forehead as he finished speaking.

"You are such a lucky boy, Joe, but, not as lucky as I am, because you've given me the chance to be that one thing I never thought I would ever be again. This is the beginning of so much for you. I won't disappoint you Joe...I promise you that.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Prompt 1.31.3 3. Who's the most innocent person you know?/Realm of the Muse

She was just a little girl, a little girl who wanted no more than any other child does, and she was put through so much. I've talked often about the Congo, and what happened to me, what happened to Patrique.  I've mentioned Chance and her mother in passing, but I've never really touched on all they endured to stay at my side.

Chance first came to our attention when she stepped on a landmine near our immunization clinic in Matenda.  She was a beautiful little girl, and now I was going to have to cut off her leg without even the benefit of the bare minimum needed for a field operating room.  No anesthetic, no surgical saws. No, we poured iodine over a machete and prayed that she'd soon fall unconscious so she wouldn't suffer any more pain. Her screams were a nightmare, as were those of her mothers, but we had no choice if we were to save her life. 

We take an oath to first do no harm and then we torture innocent children in the guise of trying to heal them.  I know, it wasn't as if we intended it as torture but if you had heard her screams you couldn't think of it as anything less? 

Even as we worked on her the Mai Mai and Government troops were fighting around us. At any time during the surgery we could have all been killed, but I couldn't leave until we were done, I had to give her that much of a chance. As soon as I had taken her leg and tied off the last of the bleeders I was forced to scoop her into my arms so we could flee into the abandoned fields that surrounded the clinic, it was our only chance for safety.  We spent the rest of that night in hiding, hoping that we wouldn't be found.

Her risk for infection would only grow worse later when we were taken by the Mai Mai and she was deprived of all medical care, but that was the least of the things she would have to face. She was forced to sit and listen to the sounds of her mother's cries as she was gang raped, no doubt wondering if she would suffer the same fate. She was forced to bear witness to the murder of those who were held with us, and then watch as her mother placed their lives at risk once more as she pleaded to save mine with a lie that could have gotten them both killed.

But they didn't die, she didn't die, they survived and she now has a lifetime ahead of her, as do I because of them.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

12A: Pain /Talking Muses

"Breathe, baby...breathe for Tata." Even as he tried to coax one more breath from his daughter he knew his efforts were futile, she was gone, like her mother and her brother before her...they were all gone.  He held his eldest in his arms, burying his face in her sweater as his grief overtook him. 

It took several minutes before he could let her go and then it was only so he could lift her up and place her in her mothers arms. As if somehow in death she could offer the protection they couldn't give her in life. 

He was exhausted, the hours he'd spent struggling to save his young daughter's life had taken their toll, but he couldn't yet rest, not while Marko was separated from them. Forcing himself to his feet he climbed over the piles of rubble that had been their home, until he saw the railings of his young son's crib.  The crib that had become the toddler's tomb.

Dropping to his knees he touched the boy's fingers, the only part of him that was visible.  How long had he held out hope that someone might see him and come to his rescue?  Carefully he began lifting the debris off of him, as if he moved too suddenly it might somehow cause him more pain then he had already felt.

"Marko..."  He whispered the small boy's name as he finally freed his bruised body. 

"I'm so sorry." As he picked him up he cradled him to his chest, unable to hold back his tears any longer. 

"Such a brave boy..." He whispered the words to him as he stood, then grew silent as he carried him over and laid him in his mother's arms, next to his sister. 

How could he leave them here?  Even as he asked the question of himself he knew he couldn't and it seemed only right that he take his place beside them.  Maybe, fate would intervene, realize it's mistake and come to claim him too.  As he stretched out alongside them and wrapped his arms around Danijela and his children he knew how much that was to ask for, but he had to try...he had to try...


Friday, October 27, 2006

October Prompt 06: Experience/Artistic License

1. Prompt 06: Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” C. S. Lewis.
2. Character: Luka Kovac
3. Warnings: sensitive subject matter
4. Pairings: n/a
5. Your character's fandom: ER
6. Word count: 310
7. Rating: PG
8. Disclaimer: Goran Visnjic's image and the character of Luka Kovac of ER are not mine. No copyright infringement is intended with their use, they are for entertainment/writing purposes only.

They'd been without water for over a week, without power, except what could be gained from several small generators for almost as long, supplies were increasingly scarce, and still the casualties came. The hospital staff had been pushed to their limits for longer then that, but what could they do? Doctor, Intern, Resident, Nurse, or Aide, their titles no longer mattered, all that mattered now was providing the best care they could to those who needed it.

The latest wave of casualties were victims of a sniper who had opened fire on a civilians standing in a bread queue. Old men, women, children, it hadn't mattered, all had been targets and those who had survived were brought into the already overflowing hospital.

"Luka, take the little girl." Dr. Bajic jerked his head toward a man who carried a young child in his arms as he hurried through the doors of the already crowded hospital ward.

"Sir, this way." The young resident rinsed his gloved hands in a basin of blood tinged water and wiped them on a towel that lay beside it as he directed the man to a gurney that already held another injured child.

Even before the girl was fully on the table he'd begun his assessment of her, fully aware that every minute he wasted could mean the difference between life and death to her.

These were the lessons he was learning on a daily basis, the lessons his textbooks could never have taught him, but ones he wished could have been revealed under any other circumstances but the ones they were now being taught. These were the lessons that he would never forget, the lessons that would remain with him long after the war ended, long after he finished medical school and moved into a practice of his own. These were the lessons of a lifetime.

Talking Muses 11B pic of Cemetery...

Had it really been that many years?. Standing at the graveside now, it was hard to believe so many years had passed since they had been laid to rest. He bowed his head, letting the thick shock of black bangs fall into his eyes as he whispered a prayer for those long gone. As he finished he stepped forward, touching each name as if he could touch those who rested beneath the stones with the contact.

Danijela Kovac...Beloved Wife and Mother...born 1968...died 1991

Jasna Kovac...Beloved Daughter and big Sister...born 1986...died 1991

Marko Kovac...Beloved Son and Brother...born 1989...died 1991

Lives lost before they had even had a chance to begin living. How many times had he heard their story while he was growing up, seen the small picture of the woman and young girl who held his father's heart captive.

"I've brought him back to you." Joe Kovac wiped the tears from his face as he spoke the words aloud, then stepped forward to touch the newest marker.

Luka Kovac...Beloved Husband and Father...born 1966...died 2041

"Back where he belongs."

Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 190

1.30 2. And in my hour of darkness, She is standing right in front of me/Realm of the Muse

Muse Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 656

I always thought I'd be ready for death when it came for me. I'd told myself I was for years. What did I have to stay alive for? My wife and my children were long gone and the life we had dreamed of was nothing more than a distant memory that on some days I couldn't even remember.

I'd taunted death for years. I'd put my life and the lives of others at risk because I had nothing to lose, never even thinking about the value of their lives.

I'd turned my back on my faith for all those years, holding it to blame for all I'd lost. I had no trouble justifying it, I'd begged for help to save my wife and daughter after I found them. I'd prayed and prayed that someone would find us while I struggled to keep Jasna alive, and instead my prayers were ignored. What use did I have for a God that would allow children to die as he had allowed mine to?

I'd tried to make peace with my faith. Bishop Stewart had seen my hunger for it even as I denied that it was there. He heard my confession, carried my burden to the next life with him as he passed, but it wasn't enough to free me, and if anything only made things worse.

Years later when I found myself facing death in the Congo I remember at first challenging the Mai Mai to kill me. With a gun to my head I assumed an air of arrogance without even considering what it might do to the others there. In those moments I dared them to pull the trigger and instead they walked away. I don't think I expected them to just walk away, but that's what they did, once again I had escaped death.

I wish I had learned from those moments. If I'd taken that look of fear from John, and understood it wasn't just his own life he was terrified for, maybe Patrique would still be alive, but I didn't. I knew everything, I was invincible.

When the clinic was taken by the Mai Mai that second time, I think I finally understood what John had felt that day. Knowing they were raping Sakima and there was nothing I could do, I was terrified of what they might do to Chance. She was only a little girl, and she had already endured so much. Having to watch as one by one the others were drug off and shot, knowing it was only a matter of time until it would be my turn. It wasn't easy, my thoughts were distorted from the malaria, and then to see Patrique killed as he pleaded with them to spare my life.

Then I was alone, but I wasn't alone, I remember the music so clearly, and I could almost feel her presence. I remember looking up and feeling a warmth, a comfort I hadn't felt in some time and I somehow found the strength to kneel in prayer. I hadn't prayed since that day in Vukovar, I didn't even know if I remembered how to, I couldn't even know if those words would be my last all I knew was that I needed to try. And somehow amidst all the violence and death I found a peace, and a serenity I didn't think existed.

That I'm writing this now is proof I survived, I wish I could say I also walked away with a better understanding of what I want from my life, but I didn't. I think that's something that will come in time. I no longer taunt death though, I gained that from that day, I realize what a gift it is and as hard as it is I value each day and the gifts they bring with them, if not for me, then for those who can no longer be here to enjoy them themselves.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

October Prompt a)Fear /Ineffable Fandom

He hated nights like these, listening to the sounds of the gunfire in the darkness, the missiles streaking across the sky then the explosions that followed as they struck their targets. None of these though affected him more than the sound of his wife and children as their fear drove them to tears. How was he supposed to offer comfort for something he had no control over?

"Shh...Jasna," he tried to quiet the small girl, holding his daughter tightly, shielding her small body with his own. Her cries turned to shrieks of terror when bullets struck too close, and riddled the the mortar beneath the windows of their own apartment.

"Shh, Tata's got you baby." What more could he do? It was too late to leave the City, too late to do more then stay clear of the windows when the fighting was at it's worst. He lifted his head briefly to seek out his wife, though he knew even as he did that she would be little more then a mound of blankets as she shielded their young son from the same dangers.

What kind of Father was he? What kind of a life was this? All their children knew was fear and sacrifice, would they even remember how it had been before the war? What it had been like to walk outside and feel sunshine on their faces, to feel the breeze as it tugged at their hair?

How could he ever begin to make amends for doing this to them? For stealing them away from what their childhood should have been and thrusting them into the madness that only adults should have to face? How could he explain to them how he had placed his education above their own safety?

That was his greater fear wasn't it? That he would one day have to explain why he had chosen for them to stay when they'd still had a chance to leave? That he'd have to explain how he could have placed his career over the safety of his family?

"Shh, baby, Tata's got you, " But that would come later, much later, all that mattered now was getting through the night.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 363

Friday, October 20, 2006

Nostalgic/100 Moods

Title: Reminiscing
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac
Prompt: Nostalgic
Word Count: 416
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: None to speak of
Summary: Luka grows nostalgic, as he looks back on what he had with Danijela

Maybe it's because she was my first. Maybe it was because she was the one I chose to marry. Maybe it was because she was the one who would give birth to my children. Or maybe, just maybe, it was because she was taken from me before we had a chance to fully experience all that life had promised to give us.

I knew from the moment I first laid eyes on Danijela that she would be the woman I would marry. You hear about that in films, you read about it in books, but you don't believe it can really happen to you, but it did.

She was 16 when we met, and I was all of 18, we were young, and it wasn't long before we were sharing our plans for marriage and dreams of the lifetime we would spend together. We waited two years to marry, two years to consummate our relationship. We were both virgins and maybe too that made it all the more special, knowing that what we shared between us was something that we'd never given another.

Lying with her that first night I couldn't imagine anyone more beautiful, or anywhere I'd rather be, and if I could have frozen time to that instant I think I might have just to preserve the feelings it stirred within me. She was my angel and I felt blessed with every moment we had together.

Nine months after our marriage we welcomed our first child, and it was as if we had been given a miniature version of Danijela, for Jasna was just that. She had her mother's eyes, her mother's smile, and in time many other traits would reveal themselves in her. But if Jasna was her mother, then Marko was was all the best parts of me, our son was born three and a half years later and it was only with the birth of her children that Danijela fully blossomed. I had always heard stories of women who were born to be mothers, and now I knew one and she loved being one so much.

But fate is cruel and for all of it's gifts it is also a thief and so it chose to steal all it had given us. On one fateful day I lost it all, I lost them all, Danijela, Jasna, Marko, my wife, my children, my marriage, my love, my angels, my life.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What keeps you up at night?Theatrical Muse Challenge

Those who know mean shouldn't need to ask? I've recently become the father of a new son, something I'd thought would never happen again. Fifteen years ago I lost my wife and two young children when a bomb destroyed our apartment building, I was sure my life was over and I'd never again experience what I'd felt with them. I was wrong. Josip's birth has proved that but, it's not been without it's own worries.

Josip, "Joe," was born almost ten weeks premature, he spent several weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit following his delivery by cesarian and underwent emergency surgery himself before he was a month old. He's home now, but, not a night goes by that I don't find myself standing by his bedside watching him, counting his heartbeats by the rise and fall of his chest as he sleeps. I can't help myself, as a doctor I know the dangers he may still face.

Part of me wants to have with him what I had with my first two children, but I know that's impossible. Danijela and I were young, we were surrounded by family and friends, and we had our whole lives in front of us. We lived for our children and for each other. I loved every moment of being a father, even when it meant sleep was in short supply due to their schedule or my own. When I lost them, when I lost that, I lost so much of who I was, that for the longest time I didn't even recognize myself.

Things are different now, but, still I find my past leaves my thoughts clouded with fears for Joe that I know I shouldn't have. I worry that I might lose him as I lost my first two children. Even as the thought finds it's way into my head I hate it because I know that I'm only giving it more strength. I 'm afraid that my fears for Joe will cloud my relationship with him, that I'll be over protective and prevent him from fully experiencing life. I don't want that for him, I don't want that for us.

I'm trying to work through my fears, standing watch over him as he sleeps, feeding him, or simply holding him. I tell myself that what happened then was another time, and another place, something that no one could have anticipated, but, the tinge of irrational fear lingers, if it happened once...

As I sit in the darkness and feed Joe, or just hold him, I know that in time I'll be able to let go of these fears, but for now I need to do this, for me, for him and maybe just a littlebit for those who are no longer here.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER/Miscellaneous TV
Words: 462

Prompt 10 C: Tender/Talking Muses

  Tender Moments

"Luka, are you awake?" Danijela's voice was quiet, fear of waking their two small children in her thoughts even as she sought time alone for herself with her husband.

"Umhm..." The mumbled reply brought a smile to her lips before she moved closer, curling her body into his.

"Lu...ka." She stretched out his name as she whispered it, then brushed her lips along the skin below his ear before nipping lightly at his earlobe. Feeling a bit bolder she inched her hand around his waist, capturing him beneath the thin fabric of his pajama bottoms.

"Danijela." Her name followed his gasp of surprise at her conquest and an increase in his breathing came as her fingers wrapped around him. "The children..."

"Are both sound asleep, now...shh." Her smile came naturally as she felt him rise to her touch. As she slipped her hand beneath the fabric and began a slow, tender stroking of him any other protests he might have had were lost, in these moments they existed only for each other.

Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 171

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Prompt 9D: First Love, Last Romance/Talking Muses

Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women like to be a man's last romance. - Oscar Wilde.

She was sixteen the first time I saw her, with long dark hair that fell in waves around her shoulders and dark eyes that sparkled like none I had ever seen before. It was in a coffeeshop, a place I'd never gone before and only chanced into on that day at that time. I knew she was young, she was with three or four others of around the same age and all of them were dressed in school uniforms of matching skirts, white blouses, and dark sweaters. It took me almost two weeks to work up the nerve to talk to her, but every day up to then I would go, just to watch her and try and work up the nerve to speak to her. I finally arranged to pay for her order before she got there, thinking then she would come talk to me if only to thank me.

We dated for two years, and each day it seemed our love for each other only grew deeper so that when she turned eighteen it only made sense that we would marry. Within the year we would welcome our first child, a daughter, and less than two years later our second, a son. Danijela and I were sure our life was that of which dreams were made, we spoke often of raising our children, of growing old together, of our plans for the future. We never dreamed that before our son reached his second birthday it would all end, but it did, and all that's left to me now are memories.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Haunt/Talking Muses and Numb/100 Moods

Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 215

For three days he had felt like he was sleepwalking, going through the motions without really seeing or hearing anything around him. He was lost, and nothing anyone could say was going to change that. He had buried not just his wife, not just his daughter and his son, he had buried his life as well. He'd barely heard the words of condolence offered by those at the hospital. Neither his family nor Danijela's could risk the journey to Vukovar for the funerals, and he'd refused to have those from the hospital accompany him to the grave-site. The truth was he didn't want to share his grief with anyone. So now, with the funerals over, he was back to haunt the place where it had all begun. Standing on the sidewalk in front of the rubble that had once been their apartment building he found himself once more praying for some lone sniper to center him in their sights, to put an end to the pain that was tearing him apart. How many more days would he do this? What did he hope to gain from it? The questions were ones he couldn't answer and might never be able to, but here he was. Only when it became too dark to see did he finally force himself to turn away, knowing as he did that he'd return again at first light.

Frailty/Talking Muses and Thoughtful for 100Moods

Title: Frailty
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac
Prompt: Thoughtful
Word Count: 770
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Contains Spoilers Bloodlines/Graduation Day
Summary: An overnight vigil in the NICU gives Luka time to rethink his life.

I deal with the frailty of life on a daily basis but it wasn't until the birth of my new son that I fully realized how overwhelming it can be to those on the outside. My son, our son, Josip, Joe, was born ten weeks premature, Abby delivered him by cesarean, and for the first twenty-four hours of his life I stood vigil alone at his bedside. He was rushed immediately from the delivery room to the NICU, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and though I wanted to stay at Abby's side she insisted I stay with our son, without voicing it I think she sensed how fragile he was and feared he might die alone if I remained. It was a fear I shared, but dared not say aloud, maybe because I thought that by doing so it would somehow give it more strength and the thought of losing him, losing yet another child.

Watching over Joe gave me lots of time to think, and one thing that kept repeatedly coming back to me was why was I again being punished? It's been fifteen years since I lost Danijela and our children, fifteen years...a lifetime it seems at times. I kept thinking back on all the years I'd wasted grieving their loss, wallowing in self pity and guilt, worse though was remembering how often I'd prayed for death to find it's way to me so I could be with them.

It wasn't easy to let my past go, I spent close to eight years living with the memories of Danijela and our time together as my means of comfort, my source of love. When I opened the door enough to allow Carol in it was a big step and I know I made mistakes, but at least I was starting to live again. I think I saw my heart as a piece of glass then, something very fragile. It had been shattered when Danijela and our children died, then somehow repaired. I think I tried too hard with Carol, I wanted a family so badly that I wasn't able to see that it wasn't her along that drew me to them, it was the very fact that she was alone with those two children and they needed a father as badly as I needed to be one again. When she told me she was leaving I honestly believed I had lost my last hope of being a father again.

It was hard looking back at the mistakes I made with Abby our first time around, but I think Iit was something I had to do if I want to make sure that those mistakes aren't repeated between us this time. One of the things Abby accused me of at that time was being married to a ghost, and though I didn't want to admit it then I can now. Danijela will always be part of who I am, I'll always love her, and I can only hope that Abby will understand that it doesn't mean I love her any less.

Within that same fragile balance will be the one that will exist between Joe and Jasna and Marko. I want Joe to know his big sister and brother even though they aren't here. I want to share my memories of them with him as he grows in a way that will bring happy feelings and not ones of sadness. I think that in itself may be something I'll have to work on with Abby. When we were together before I never felt I could talk about Danijela or my children with her, or maybe it was that I didn't want to share them with her. I realize now that it's something I need to do if I want her to really understand me and how I reached the place where I am in my life. The years I spent with Danijela were ones that played a huge part in shaping me into the man I am today, but more importantly the father I'll be to Joe.

I see things with Abby, and now with Joe as an open door to the second chances I never dreamed I'd see, not just that of husband and father,but of having a family around me again. It's hard though ,to express the joy this brings me, especially when I realize that it comes marred by the sadness of knowing that Abby will be unable to bear another child. So, with this thought I come full circle to the frailty of life and the cycle begins again.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Joe's Angels/Prayer for 10 ER Fics

Title: Joe's Angels
Character/Pairing: Luka and Josip "Joe" Kovac
Prompt: O4. General:Prayer
Word Count: 394
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers to Season 13/Bloodlines
Summary:Luka asks some special angels to watch over Baby Joe.
Disclaimer: Neither Goran Visnjic's image nor the character of Luka Kovac of ER belong to me. No copy-write infringement is intended by their use, they are being borrowed here strictly for entertainment purposes.

It was quiet in the NICU, well not exactly quiet, but quieter than it was during the daytime, or during the regular visiting hours in the hospital. Now though it was relatively empty, at close to 3 in the morning most of the parents had gone home long ago, or found places to sleep, but not him, not tonight.

As he stood over his newborn son Luka couldn't stop the fear that lurked inside him. What if he were asked to give this son up as he had been asked to give up his first son and daughter? The thought was one he didn't want to think about but still it returned.

Laying his hands face down on the incubator he closed his eyes, he knew what he had to do, despite his doubts he had to take the chance, not for himself, not even for Abby, but for Joe.

He whispered the prayer quietly, the words ones that had brought comfort to him as a child. Ones he had turned from when his family had been lost. Ones he had found his way back to as he thought his own life about to end. As he finished he caressed the case as he would have the small boy's skin.

"Joe...my little boy...you have to fight, for mama, for me." He brought his hand to his lips, afraid that if he lost the hold he had on his emotions he might not get it back.

"You have your own angels Joe, did you know that?" He sniffed back the tears before they could start.

"Your big sister, Jasna, your brother Marko, they'll always be with you, watching over you, making sure you're safe. Can you see them?" A smile tugged at his lips as the image of just that appeared to him.

"They'll always be there for you baby, all you have to do is look for them, you'll never be alone, not even when tata and mama are somewhere else." He swiped his hand over his face as the tears finally broke.

"You have another angel Joe, a beautiful angel who will love you as much as we do, her name is Danijela. She'll hold you, and sing to you, and keep you safe from harm. You never have to be afraid, Joe, so sleep, and get strong, and we'll take care of the rest.

097 Uncomfortable /100Moods

Title: Hidden
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac
Prompt: Uncomfortable
Word Count: 467
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Deals with material of a sensitive nature.
Summary: Luka flees the hospital in Vukovar only moments before Serbian soldiers arrive

We never believed that it would happen to us. That they would target patients in a hospital and those who would treat them, but that's exactly what happened that day, that November afternoon in Vukovar. I didn't want to go, to run away while others stayed behind, placing themselves in danger to save the lives of those too weak or too badly injured to leave. But, I'd made a promise, some of us had to live, if only so we could speak for those who would never be able to.

So I fled, down crowded hallways and stairwells. Even as I heard the gunshots and screams of those whose lives were being lost I wanted to believe that it wasn't happening, that no one could harbor that kind of hatred, or be that cruel. I knew the truth though even as I tried to deny it, I'd seen it for months on the faces of those I had treated in the very hospital that I was now running from.

Once I entered the street I realized that for as long as the soldiers remained the only safety would be in finding a place to hide from them. If I could stay hidden until dark I could then try and make my escape from the City. I had no idea where I would go once I was outside it's walls, but I knew it had to be better than this.

Then I heard them, the sounds of soldiers coming my way and all I could think of was finding somewhere to hide before I ended up like those in the hospital. In the end I found my safety in an abandoned building, hidden beneath broken wall-boards and fallen timbers in a shallow of dirt barely large enough for someone half my size. When one of their trucks stopped in the street outside the building I'd chosen to hide in I was terrified.

When several soldiers entered the building I was sure I'd been found, afraid to breathe for fear they would hear me. I lost track of how long they were there. As I was laying in the darkness, I listened to the the sound of glass broken under foot, felt the dirt rain down on me as someone walked over the very boards that sheltered me. I lost track of how long they were there, laughing over the misery of others, sharing jokes and cigarettes while those I knew as friends were losing their lives.

And then, after what seemed like hours, but might have been minutes, they were gone, but still I dared not move, and so I stayed hidden. Three, four, five hours more, until I was sure they were gone, until I was sure that dark had fully covered the City, only then did I dare reveal myself, only then could I chance my escape.

Bonding/ 005 Son 100 Situations

Character/Pairing: Luka and Baby Joe Kovac
Prompt: 005. Son
Word Count: 312
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Bloodlines/Graduation Day spoilers
Summary: Luka spends time alone with his newborn son.
Disclaimer:Neither Goran Visnjic's image nor the character of Luka Kovac of ER belong to me. No copy-write infringement is intended by their use, they are being borrowed here strictly for entertainment purposes

"Joe, you came a little early, but we're glad you're here." Translation of what Luka said to Joe in Croatian in Graduation Day

<lj-cut text="Bonding">
It hadn't taken much convincing on Luka's part for him to take over Joe's 2am feedings, it seemed only reasonable to allow Abby the extra time to sleep, and he welcomed the time alone with his son. As the baby began to cry Luka reached over to touch Abby's shoulder.

"I've got him." He leaned down to kiss her, only to smile as she barely stirred. It was funny how often he was finding memories of Danijela surfacing with Joe's arrival.  He'd yet told Abby about them of course, he wasn't sure how she would take being compared to the woman she'd once referred to as his ghost.  Pushing the bedding aside he slipped from the bed and went to the crib where their son lay crying.

"Are you hungry?"  He scooped his son into his arms, then lay him over his shoulder, rubbing his hand in slow circles over the boy's back as he carried him down to the kitchen to prepare his bottle. 

He had missed too many moments like this with Jasna and Marko, medical school, the long hours of internships and residencies, he wasn't letting them slip by him again.  As the microwave sounded he opened the door and pulled the bottle out, testing the temperature of the milk against the inside of his wrist before offering it to the baby.   Luka couldn't help smiling as he greedily took it.

"Not so fast, you were hungry, weren't you?"  Taking a seat on the couch he repositioned his son more comfortably in the cook of his arm, as he continued to feed him.  "Not so bad having tata feed you is it?"  The conversation was the start of many he knew he would have with the small boy, and he slipped into Croatian as he spoke to him.  "I'll always be here for you, Joe, I'll always be here."</

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Baby Boy Chapter Three

Character/Pairing: Luka Kovac/Sam Taggart
Prompt:014. Chair
Word Count: 1162
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: None to speak of.
Summary: While still with Sam, Luka finds himself visited by someone from his past, but how could he be?
Disclaimer:Neither Goran Visnjic's image nor the character of Luka Kovac of ER belong to me. No copy-write infringement is intended by their use, they are being borrowed here strictly for entertainment purposes

"Luka?" Sam opened the door slowly, not sure what she would find, she'd already heard from Susan about Luka's calling in about his shift, and the suspicion in her voice that it was somehow a planned conspiracy had not been lost on her. At the darkness in the apartment she slowed Alex's entrance behind her, maybe he was sick. She turned to her son before fully entering.

"Alex, would you go to your room for me? I want to check on Luka, make sure he's ok." Even without intending to Sam found herself keeping her voice quiet, when Alex simply nodded and complied without protest she knew he too sensed something was wrong.

"Luka?" She had just laid her purse on the table and started for the stairs when she saw him, sitting in the dark at the kitchen table, a small candle flickering as he held it in his hand. "Luka?" As she moved closer she realized that what he held wasn't just an ordinary candle, it was a birthday candle, a leftover from Alex's cake just the previous month. When Luka still didn't answer or seem to take his eyes off the flame she moved in behind him and gently placed her hands on his shoulders. "Luka, what are you doing?"

Maybe it was the touch, maybe just the fact that she spoke more then his name but it was enough that he finally pulled his eyes away from the small flame and lifted them to her.

"I forgot." As if it were a magnet he found himself drawn back to the flickering light.

"What did you forget, Luka?"

"His birthday."

He seemed to lose himself in the candle again and Sam found herself tightening her hands on his shoulders to pull him back.

"Who's birthday, Luka?" The realization of the answer came too late to stop the question, and she readied herself for whatever reaction it would bring from him, except the one it did.

"Marko's.." He spoke the name too calmly. "My baby boy would have been sixteen today...I didn't even remember." He seemed not to notice the wax that had begun to drip onto his finger as he held the still burning candle. "What kind of a father forgets their son's birthday?"

"Luka..." What could she say to ease his guilt? Instead of using words right away she stepped closer so she could wrap her arms around him. "It's understandable Luka, what with work the way it's been..." She stopped short of mentioning the problems between the two of them that might have been distracting him.

"Would you forget Alex's birthday?" The question carried an iciness with it meant to sting.

"It's not the same thing." Sam released her hold on him so she could take the chair across from where he sat.

"Isn't it?" The candle was nearly finished and he couldn't bring himself to put it out despite the fact that he knew it was close to burning his fingers.

"Luka...you're not thinking straight. Your son has been gone a long time. I'm sorry if it hurts to have me put it like this, I know we don't talk about him, but that's been your choice." She watched him closely for some reaction, then, when she could stand it no longer, took the candle out of his fingers and blew it out. "Beating yourself up over it now isn't going to change anything.?"

"It's not just that I forgot his birthday..." He began to pick the wax from his skin as he slowly spoke.

"Then what is it?" Sam found herself nudging him on as he seemed to stall.

"It's little things...forgetting that he hated onions...or the way he would tilt his head kind of sideways when he didn't really understand what you were asking him to do." He raised his eyes to hers again. "I tried to remember ...I closed my eyes and tried to see him doing that and it wouldn't come." Even as he looked at her Sam couldn't shake the feeling that he was looking past her, seeing things far beyond what was in the room.

"I don't have any pictures of my son, all I have are my memories of him, if I lose those, then I've lost him completely." There was a break in Luka's voice as he tried to make her understand.

"You'll never do that." Sam stretched her hand across the table to capture his hand only to have him pull away before she could touch him.

"Don't." He stood, scooting the chair back so quickly that it almost tipped over in his haste to get up. "I forgot his birthday, he would have been sixteen today and I forgot." He stood at the kitchen counter with his back to her for several minutes before he spoke again, and when he did his voice had grown even more dispondent.

"Sixteen, the age his mother was when I met her, old enough to drive a car, to have a girlfriend. He missed out on so much, and the thought of my forgetting what little he did experience." His hands tightened on the edge of the counter.

"Luka, stop, don't do this to yourself." Sam rose from her chair and moved to stand behind him, circling her arms around his waist before resting her head on his back.

"He's always going to be there for you Luka, just like your daughter is, and your wife, they're parts of you. Just because you don't talk about them doesn't change that, not having pictures of them doesn't mean you loved them any less than I love Alex. I'm sorry you forgot Marko's birthday, I wish I would have known, I could have reminded you, shared it with you, but it's been your choice to keep them to yourself. Maybe from now on, you'll let me do that, be there for you, so you can talk about them with me the way you're there for me when I need to talk about Alex. Can you do that Luka?"

"I don't know..." He had kept his family to himself for so long. Sensing his hesitancy Sam forced him to turn and look at her.

"Luka," Looping her arms around his shoulders she raised up on her tiptoes to kiss him. "Please?"

"I can try." His agreement came as barely more than a whisper

It was a start.

Baby Boy: Chapter Two

ER/Luka Kovac/Baby Boy: Chapter Two
Title: Baby Boy
Character/Pairing: Luka Kovac/Sam Taggart
Word Count: 602
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: None to speak of.
Summary: While still with Sam, Luka finds himself visited by someone from his past, but how could he be?
Disclaimer:Neither Goran Visnjic's image nor the character of Luka Kovac of ER belong to me. No copy-write infringement is intended by their use, they are being borrowed here strictly for entertainment purposes.

Baby Boy

Chapter 2

by J.D.

By lunchtime Luka had almost been able to convince himself that what he had thought he had seen that morning was nothing more than an especially deep dream that had held him in it's grip even through the early stages of waking. It made sense, or more sense than the thought of his son, a son who had been dead for close to twelve years showing up in his bedroom looking the same as he had on the day he had died.  The question though was why? 

If it had happened in those first years after he had lost Marko he could understand it.  In the camp, after Vukovar, he'd had moments like that, times when he'd heard a child call for his tata and been sure it was Marko or Jasna looking for him.  Times when he has seen a dark head on one of the pathways and it had taken all of his willpower to keep from going to them and scooping them into his arms, sure that it was Jasna or Marko trying to find him, even as he knew it could never be them.

It had been years though since he'd done that, certainly not since he'd left Croatia, even the dreams were infrequent, so why now? No matter how hard he tried he couldn't seem to put his finger on what it was that was that would have opened the door to it, no, not it, him...to him.  To Marko.

It was nearly five when he knew he wouldn't be able to work, how could he? He was beyond tired.  He'd never been able to go back to sleep because his head was filled with too many questions.  Maybe it was that he was afraid of what he might see or maybe it was more who he might see if he did go to sleep. What kind of a father is afraid of their own son?  He hated the feelings that those thoughts seemed to be drawing to the surface.

It was only when he noticed that the apartment was starting to drift into shadow that he realized how late it had gotten.  Sam would be on until seven, he was supposed to be on in an hour, with no sleep and his thoughts as distracted as they were, there was no way he could do it.  He reached for the phone.

"Frank, it's Kovac...is Dr. Lewis around?" He found himself pacing the area in front of the counter as he waited for the woman to pick up the call.  "Susan, Luka...yeah...um, look, I can't come in tonight, I'm sorry, I'll cover for whoever can take it, tell them I'll do two weekends, I really don't care.  I just can't come in tonight."  His face tightened as he listened to first her protests, then her arguments, she might as well just stop, nothing she could say would matter.  "I said I was sorry, I just need tonight off, it's personal. How often do I ask for time off?"  He listened as the woman made one more plea before stopping her.  "No. Susan, I said I was sorry, I'll take however many shifts they want from me for them to do it, I really don't care, and if Kerry doesn't like it then tell her to fire me.  Otherwise, I'll be there for my shift tomorrow.  Thanks."  He dropped the phone in the cradle before the woman could say anything more.

How long could he go without sleep?  He couldn't help wondering if by avoiding sleep all of this might  disappear as mysteriously as it had appeared. But that still left behind the large unanswered question of why, and he wasn't sure if he was ready for the answer to come.

To be continued...

Chapter One here: http://journals.aol.com/azizalsaqr/GoranVisnjic/entries/2006/09/16/confused100-situations/1106

Sunday, September 24, 2006

RotM1.26.1. Write a ficlet that starts out with the phrase "Untie me..."

Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 260
Spoilers to the Congo Arc

"Untie me." Luka barely whispered the words to Sakima as he lifted his bound wrists to her, he couldn't know if it was safe yet, if even his asking was enough to get both of them as well as her daughter killed, but still he asked.

"No."  The woman shook her head, pushing them aside as she glanced to the rag that served as a door for the small hut.  She didn't know why the three of them had been spared the fate of the others, why they'd been brought to this place, but she knew she couldn't risk freeing him yet.

"We must wait." She dipped her scarf in the small bowl of water they'd been given to share and pressed it to his lips, hoping it would distract him. "You should rest."

"Chance?" His concern for the small girl had never left him, despite all they had been through, all she had been forced to witness.

"She's here. Please, Dr. Luka, you must rest." She dipped the cloth again, only to squeeze it over his lips so that it would give him enough moisture to soothe his parched throat.

He was too weak to protest, for the first time in days he was being allowed to lay down, to sleep, turning on his side he tucked his hands between his knees, what did it matter if he were bound or not. He released a quiet sigh and allowed his eyes to close, tomorrow was another day, at least they'd be here to see it.


The Phone Call/Arrived for 100 Situations

"Tata, it's Luka." He hadn't thought about the time difference when he'd placed the call, hadn't thought about the hoarseness of his voice, all he'd known was that he had to break the news to his father. He was worried, how could he not be? Nothing he could do would keep that worry from his voice, but this was his father, his Tata.

"I'm calling from the hospital," He struggled to keep the emotion in control, the fear he had for his son's health threatening, to push him off the precipice.

"Abby went into labor a few hours ago, yeah, I know it's early." He forced himself to stop and take a breath as concerns for Abby only added more stress to that which he already fought to hold on to.

"There were complications, we couldn't wait any longer, she had to have the baby by cesarean." He smothered the escaping sob with his hand swallowing it before it could be heard on the opposite end of the line.

"He's finally arrived." The tears came freely now as he delivered the news, the futility of holding them back realized.

"Tata, I have a son, you have another grandson." He wiped the tears from his cheeks as he heard the exclamations of delight on the other end of the call.

"Tata, his name is Josip." The smile came slowly, as his father's words wrapped around his heart, bringing the comfort he'd been lacking.

"I have to go now, he's in the NICU, I need to be with him, but I'll call you later, I love you, Tata." Tears rose again in response to the words that followed, pocketing the phone he wiped them away. Joe was waiting, there would be time for tears later.

A Father's Plea/Worried:100moods

ER/Luka Kovac 100. Worried
Title: A Father's Plea
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac
Prompt: Worried
Word Count: 484
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Contains Spoilers to Bloodlines
Summary: Could history be repeating itself?

Abby doesn't want me with her, she says it's because she doesn't want Joe to be alone but I can't help wondering if there's more to it. Does she blame me for not being there to protect her when the shooting began in the ER, for not being there able to stop the contractions, to keep our son from coming too soon? Logic tells me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent either thing but and as I stand here watching Joe sleep I can't shake the feeling of hopelessness that threatens to consume me. All the years of training, all my years of hands on experience, and here I stand doing nothing.

I can't help but find my thoughts returning to that tragic day in Vukovar when I lost Danijela and the children. I know now that Marko's death was never one I could accept blame for, that his life was taken before I even found him. For years I second guessed my actions on how I tried to save Jasna, wondered if I might have saved her if only I'd had more experience, if I could have left Danijela and carried her to a hospital. It was the same with Danijela, though I know I could never have left Jasna to die alone to save her mother.

With Joe it's different, here I can only watch, he's so close and I can't even touch him. I lay my hand on the incubator and I imagine my hand is on his chest, I imagine that I can feel each rise and fall as he struggles for each breath and I find my own breaths altering to keep pace with his as if that might somehow help him find the rhythm he needs to survive. I worry for him and find myself praying to the God I had turned away from for all those years, begging him to spare this small life and not take yet another child from me.

I don't think I realized it would be like this, but then too wonder if it's anything I could ever really have planned for? Abby and I talked about how we would parent our child when he or she arrived, but neither of us knew or could have expected him to arrive two and a half months early. We hoped, as all parents do, that he would be healthy, and as doctors we understand too well the realities that his early birth brings with it.

Maybe it's because I've already suffered the losses of two children, but mentally I know I'm not prepared to lose another child. So, with that in mind, I'm willing to set aside the facts and the statistics, and I'm even willing to turn back to the faith that I'd abandoned. For Abby, for all he has yet to experience, for me, please, let him live.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Tell the truth about something you usually lie about./Theatrical Muse Challenge

How appropriate that this should surface today of all days. I've spent a sleepless night alternating my time between watching my newborn son and his mother sleep in the hospital and it's made me realize the disservice I've done to myself and to others.

For years when people have asked me if I had children I have lied and said no, but the truth is I do have them, two of them, a son and a daughter. Yes, I know they died almost fifteen years ago, but that doesn't end the relationship I have with them, the bond that exists and will always exist. They are still my children and they always will be, no matter how many years pass.

I sit here looking at my newborn son and I can't help but look for the things in him that will connect him to the brother and sister he will never know. Will he have my daughter Jasna's smile? I look at his long fingers and I try to remember what hers looked like at that age, and it's so hard to remember. I want him to have Marko's sense of humor, to hear that sound of laughter again, and I know even as I look for similarities I want him to be himself as well. I know I can't expect him to replace them, and it wouldn't be fair of me to ask that of him, but I would like to share my memories of them with him when he's old enough to understand.

Having this second chance at being a father has made me realize how selfish I've been over the last fifteen years. By denying the memories of Danijela and my children I've been sparing myself the pain of reliving their loss, but I've also been denying others the joy of those memories, and I didn't have that right. Looking at my small son now, I realize how wrong it was to do that. I loved Jasna and Marko more than I loved life itself, and it's time I shared that love with others. After fifteen years it's time for me to stop living the lie I've been living, and so, when people ask if Josip...Joe, as Abby wants to call him, is my first, I will say no, but he is my youngest, and I love him with all my heart.
Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER/Miscellaneous TV
Words: 401

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Prompt 1.24.2 What's the most precious thing you ever lost?

Is there any question that it would have to be my children?

I can't imagine that anything in my life would be more precious, and no, not even my own life would be worth more than theirs for I would have traded it in an instant if it could have saved them.

I wasn't given that choice though, Marko was gone before I could even bargain my life for his. My youngest, my baby boy, the one who would have carried my family name to the next generation.

Jasna's death took longer. I fought to keep her for hours, using everything my training had given me as well as praying for the help that I was always told would be there in times of need. In the end it was hopeless and my little girl died in my arms, taking with her my dreams for her future, and the children she might one day have had.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rain through windshield pic/Talking Muses


How fitting that on this, the day that I'm leaving everything I know, that it should be raining.  I've been fighting back the tears, trying to stay strong for my father, and it's as if the heavens themselves are crying for me.  I feel like I'm abandoning Danijela and my children, my father, but I can't stay here, there's too much pain, too much loss.

The wipers sound their cadence as we drive,  breaking the silence in the car brought on by the fact that neither my father nor I have the words to say what we need to say to each other.  How do you tell someone who means so much to you why you have to go away from them to start living again? 

I can't make him understand something I don't even fully understand.  I do know that there are too many reminders here, too many things that take me back to what I've lost, too many places where I see those that are no longer here. 

Instead we drive without words, father and son left to our own thoughts, hoping that when the time to part finally comes the words will be there.  So, until then the only sound breaking the quiet coming from the heavens, the drops striking the windshield, as they continue to shed their tears.

Confused/100 Situations

Title: Baby Boy Chapter 1
Character/Pairing: Luka Kovac/Sam Taggart
Prompt: Confused
Word Count: 900
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: None to speak of.
Summary: While still with Sam, Luka finds himself visited by someone from his past, but how could he be?
Disclaimer:Neither Goran Visnjic's image nor the character of Luka Kovac of ER belong to me. No copy-write infringement is intended by their use, they are being borrowed here strictly for entertainment purposes.

It had been one of those weeks where neither he nor Sam had seemed to connect on any level.  They had argued too much, or she had argued and he had listened, willing to do what she wanted in order to bring about peace.  For whatever reasons their work schedules had ended up as polar opposites which meant what little they did see of each other not spent arguing, had been left to hellos and good-byes as they passed to and from work, or mumbled conversations exchanged through interrupted sleep.  He was sure this was going to be another of those as he caught what sounded at first like a television left on too loud, then more like conspirator's whispers outside the door.

With a sigh Luka rolled away from the sound and pulled his pillow tighter to him, hoping to reclaim the depth of sleep the noises had stolen.  The creak of the door and a childlike giggle broke the new-found silence only to be quickly muffled, and in his mind, amid the tangled threads of sleep, he knew that it couldn't be Alex, because Sam would have taken him to school on her way to work.  He knew too that he should open his eyes, but in doing so he'd also be acknowledging things that he knew couldn't be there and so he ignored it.

Drawing the comforter over his shoulder he let the sounds recede as he felt himself being pulled back down again into darkness.  It wasn't easy, but he finally convinced himself he could dismiss it to so many things, neighbors, noise from the street, a television left on.  He just needed more sleep, that was all, and before long he did.

The shadows in the room had shifted when he stirred again, the disconcerting feeling of something not right pulling him closer to wakefulness.  He lay unmoving a moment more before he felt the hairs on his neck rise and with it came that eerie feeling of one being watched.  Aware that it might be anything or anyone, he felt his body tense and he forced himself to remain still a moment longer before hesitantly easing one eye open.  The gasp left his throat before he could stop it as did the answering giggle just before the dark head,  with it's telltale cowlick,  disappeared from view on the other side of the mattress.

"Marko..."  He almost threw himself across the bed to reach the edge, desperate for another glimpse of the small boy that he knew couldn't be there, but unwilling to take the chance just in case some miracle might have occurred.  No one, he released an anguished cry as he fell forward onto the sheets, had he really expected that his son would be there? After so many years that the boy would be just as he'd last seen him?  But, he had seen him, heard him...he'd been awake when he'd seen him, it hadn't been a dream. Lifting his head Luka glanced about the room, he knew it was impossible as well as he knew his own name. Pushing himself up on one arm he rubbed at his face with his free hand, as improbable as it was, he knew what he had seen.  How could he not know those dark eyes?  How many times in the past had he woke to find his small son staring patiently into his face waiting for him to wake after long hours at the hospital so he could, "play with his Tata"? 

Pushing what little of the comforter that still covered him aside,  he sat up, then swung his legs over the side of the bed so he could sit on the edge. The experience had left him shaken, so much so that even now he could still feel the effects deep inside of him.  There was no point in trying to sleep again, not while his head was whirling, turning itself this way and that as it tried to make sense from things it could not. 

With that decision made he stood and started for the bathroom, he would shower, get something to eat, it would make all the difference.  He talked himself through each step as if that alone would guarantee the success of the actions.  If he stuck to a normal routine nothing else would happen he told himself...this would work, it had to. He was past this, had been past this for years, and despite what he thought he had seen and heard earlier he wasn't going to slip back into the way things had been.

The rest of the morning passed uneventfully, or so he tried to convince himself, though there were times he still found himself looking over his shoulder as if he expected to find someone else there watching him he never saw them again.  Even with no new occurrences he couldn't shake the feeling that he wasn't alone despite the fact that he knew he was.  It wasn't even that he was able to put a finger on what was happening...it wasn't footsteps from the apartment upstairs...voices coming in from the street..no, he'd managed to rule out all the obvious answers.  It was simply a feeling...a feeling that there was something or someone here and there seemed to be no indication that it was going to pass anytime soon.

To be continued...

Stressed/100 Moods

Title: Is this it?
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac,
Prompt: Stressed
Word Count: 510
Rating: PG
Warnings: Spoilers to 21 Guns
Summary: Has Luka finally been given the one thing he had prayed for all those years earlier?
He couldn't breathe...oh, God. As he fell to the floor the realization hit, the one thing he'd always thought he had wanted since Danijela and his children had died was almost here and he was afraid. He wanted to scream, wanted to console Sam, but all he could do was watch in horror as she begged and pleaded to save his life.

He wanted to scream as first their blows and then the well placed kicks landed, wanted to struggle as they lifted him and tied him to the gurney, but he could do neither. Oh, God, it hurt so bad.

He couldn't breathe, and as the seconds ticked away he could feel his life slipping away with them. Why now? Why now when he was so close to being a father, so close to re-capturing the one thing he had never thought he would reclaim.

He wanted to help Sam, try to calm her, talk her through the steps that she was repeatedly trying and failing to accomplish. He didn't want her blaming herself for his death but he knew if she didn't succeed she would.

And then they were gone, and he was alone, left in the dark to die. Was this how it was going to be then, after all those years of waiting? All the years he had chosen not to live his life now, when he was so close to starting over, no, he wasn't going without a fight.

He screamed at his body to do something, anything, and miraculously it did, granted it was only a twitch, but it was something. He pulled at the restraints, the movements not even visible, but he couldn't give up, he wouldn't. Then, the gurney moved, and it only made him more determined.

When he heard the gunshots, he practically threw himself against the restraints, oh, God, no...let her be safe, let them be safe. If he lost them both, not again...he fought to keep the tears back, channeling the feelings into his efforts to free himself before they sucked him back toward the grief that had consumed him for so many years after Danijela and the children's deaths.

He'd never know what drew his eyes to the window at that moment, but as he saw Abby he re-found the hope that for a moment had begun to slip away from him. She was safe, the baby was safe...oh, God, no.

He couldn't miss seeing the bloody hand-print she left on the glass, anymore then he change that he was forced to lie there and watch helplessly as she slid to the ground

No! The scream was a mental one, and he threw himself against the side of the gurney as he made it. Had it not been blocked by the intubation tube in his throat he was sure that it was one that would have been heard though-out the hospital. Someone had to help her, help them, he couldn't lose them both, he couldn't lose a second family.

Have you ever rebelled? If you have, how did you do it?/Theatrical Muse Challenge

I was raised to do as I was told, maybe it's because of where I come from, maybe because I was raised Catholic. It's hard to say exactly why I was how I was, I just know for most of my life I knew better than to question authority.

I wonder how different my life might have been had I not always done what was expected, if I'd acted on impulse. But, I hadn't, unless you count those few months that Danijela and I saw each other in secret as we waited for the right moment to tell her parents of our wish to be married.

I can't help but wonder how different our life would have been had I not done what was expected, had I rebelled, and left Vukovar and my residency at the first signs of trouble. Would my family have been spared?

I know my father considered my decision to leave the church an act of rebellion, but to me it was something else. To me it was more the inability to believe in someone, something that could be so heartless. How was I supposed to feel love for the very thing that had stripped me of those who were the most important to me.

When I think of rebellion though, I think of the day that Carter stood up for what he felt was right, the safety of those in the ER. It wasn't just about the staff, but the patients as well and when Weaver fought him on getting metal detectors he convinced us that a walk-out was the only thing to do. Despite the personal problems we had between us at the time, I had to agree he was right, it had happened too many times, talk hadn't worked in the past and it wouldn't have worked then, but the strike did. Funny thing is, if it hadn't I think he would have probably followed through on his threat to pay for the machines out of his own pocket.