Sunday, June 25, 2006


ER/Luka Kovac 046 Grateful
Title: Faith
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac
Prompt: Grateful
Word Count: 557
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Contains Spoilers to the Bishop Stewart arc.
Summary: Luka finds his thoughts turning to a friend gone too soon.

As the mass ended Luka rose and made his way to the small alcove to light candles for his family.  The very fact that he was here said much for how far he had come and to the man who had made it all possible.  With the Bishop entering his thoughts Luka found himself lighting a candle for him as well.  How did he begin to thank the man for giving him back his faith?

As he knelt in prayer before the flickering candles it was hard for him not to think of all the years he'd been without his faith.  He'd missed the comfort he found within it.  When Danijela and the children had been killed he'd needed someone to blame and God had seemed a natural choice.  All of his life he had believed in God's protection yet at the time he was needed most he had failed them.  It hadn't been easy walking away from the Church.  For as long as he could remember the Church had held an important place in his life, in his parent's lives, in Danijela's.  Maybe that was why it was so easy to lay blame there when he'd needed someone to take it.

Even as he knew he'd needed someone to accept blame, he knew too that there were too many other memories to be found within the walls of the church.  It was hard enough forcing himself to get up and go through each day, knowing they were gone, how could he possibly go back to the one place that meant so much to Danijela?  He'd tried once after the funerals, thought that he might find comfort in the familiar service but all he'd found was more pain. 

With the Church out of his life he'd felt lost, and maybe in a way that's what he felt he deserved.  His parents had begged him to return home, begged him to return to the comfort he would find within the Church, and instead he had fled. 

For 8 years he had been running away and it had taken a dying Bishop to finally make him stop.  He hadn't made it easy for the man, he'd used all the tricks that he'd developed over the years but the man had refused to give up, and in the end he had allowed him in. 

How do you begin to express how grateful you are to someone who is gone before you can tell them? There had been so many things he had wanted to say to the Bishop, but time was not on their side.  In a way he wondered if that hadn't been part of the man's plan, for with him gone he'd found himself returning to the man's Church and within those walls he'd finally begun to find some of the peace he'd been missing during the years he'd been away.

He'd found more of course, for within the walls of the Church he'd found that he felt closer to Danijela, Jasna, and Marko then he had at any time since they were gone.  Amidst these flickering candles he had found he could reconnect with all that he'd lost and he would always be grateful to the Bishop for guiding him back to that which he had walked away from all those years before.

Friday, June 23, 2006

What makes you angriest?/Theatrical Muse Challenge

I've faced many challenges in my life, I've seen the results of war closer then anyone should ever have to.  I've seen the damage one person can inflict on another over the smallest of things and I've seen those willing to allow abuse to be inflicted on them in the name of love.  Of all that I've seen though there is one thing which affects me more then all the rest and that is the ability of a mother to place her own comfort above the life of her child.

I can only hope that none of you are ever placed in the position where you will have to watch a child die because of their mother's selfishness, but I have had to do just that.

I remember the first time it happened, a young woman had come into the ER, her pregnancy almost full-term.  She had come into the ER suffering from a stab wound and claimed to not know she was pregnant even though she was clearly 32 weeks along.  While the wound was not fatal for her, the same could not be said for her baby and I knew that unless she underwent a cesarean her child wound not survive.

As I fought to save that innocent baby's life I couldn't shake the feeling that the mother's wounds were self-inflicted.  Here was a young woman who was so unwilling to bring the child she carried into this world that she would do whatever it took to stop it.

I don't remember how many hours I fought for that child's life, I argued that she had no right to let it die and even went so far as to try and get a court to intervene.  In the end it wasn't enough and the baby died, leaving me to assist the woman in the delivery of her now dead son.

I think of all the people in the world who would give anything to be parents,  think of those like myself who have lost their children through no fault of there own, and then I see this woman's face.  Here she had the chance to give birth to a healthy baby boy, a boy she could have then given to someone who was longing for one and instead she let him die. 

Once I make my way past the grief I feel for the child, and the disgust I feel toward the mother what remains is the anger, and I see no way to set it aside.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER/Miscellaneous TV
Words: 421


Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Title: The Gift
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac
Prompt: Touched
Word Count: 362
Rating: G
Warnings/Spoilers: Tissue Warning
Summary: Luka receives an unexpected gift from his Father.

The package had come in the morning mail, wrapped in brown paper, it's front covered with several stamps.  Luka's brow had creased as he removed it from the box and turned it over in his palm, he wasn't expecting anything from his father, yet the handwriting was unmistakable. As he walked back to his apartment Luka tucked the box under his arm as he flipped through the rest of his mail, for those moments his puzzlement set aside. Once inside he dropped the stack of unopened bills and other routine mail on the table, the little box once more at the forefront of his attention.

"What did you do Tata?"  He voiced the question aloud as he settled on the couch and looked over the package again.  There was little weight to it, and the size and shape meant it wasn't a book or magazine his father had thought he should have.  He'd spoken with the man only two days earlier and no mention had been made of his sending anything, yet here it was.  His curiosity fully roused he began to open it. 

The wrapping was nothing special, neither was the box under the paper, as he lifted the flap the secret was concealed still more by the tissue.  His curiosity would have to wait a few moments more to be appeased. As he pulled the thin paper away all that remained was a single paper package slightly smaller then the palm of his hand.  Lifting it from the box he found it held almost no weight, he had no idea what he would find as he pulled the final barrier away.

"Oh, Tata."  His mouth dropped open and tears immediately sprung to his eyes as the secret was finally revealed.  The single blue knitted baby sock was something he had never expected and he lifted it to his nose as if he had somehow managed to retain the scent of the small boy who had once worn it.

"Where did you find this?" The question was asked aloud even as he knew no answer would come from it and he immediately rose to reach for the phone.  He had to know.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


ER/Luka Kovac 035 Enraged
Title: In an Instant
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac, Abby Lockhart
Prompt: Enraged
Word Count: 326
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Violence
Summary: Luka loses control.

I wish I could say that I remembered everything that had happened that night, but I don't.  We were walking on the Lakefront, Abby and I, talking about nothing, laughing, and then, I felt this blow to the back of my head and I fell.  I must have lost consciousness, Abby says I did, I just know I was on the ground and a man was attacking Abby.

I don't know that I even thought about any risk to myself at that point, all I saw was Abby in danger and the potential that she might be killed. I guess I lost it, not guess, I know I lost it.  I couldn't think about anything but stopping him, at any cost.  I pulled him off of her and we started to fight and then.

How do I describe what was going through my head?  I don't know why, but in that instant I remember thinking of how I hadn't been able to save my family, and I knew I had to do whatever it took to save Abby.  I got so angry at him, how dare he put her life at risk...and when I slammed his head into the pavement, the sound. 

I couldn't stop myself, over and over, his blood was everywhere, but as long as he was alive she was in danger.  I could hear her telling me to stop but I couldn't, not while he could still hurt her. Then it was over, the rage gone as suddenly as it had taken over me. 

Someone had called an ambulance, maybe it was Abby, his condition wasn't good, I had shattered his skull, but Abby was safe. I was in shock by then, I know I wasn't thinking straight, I guess I never had been, but, to know he was dying and that I was the one who was responsible. 

How many more lives will be lost to my hands?


ER/Luka Kovac 017 Cold
Title: It's Not Easy Saying Good-Bye
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac, Jasna Kovac
Prompt: Cold
Word Count: 219
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Possible tissue alert
Summary: Luka says good-bye.

Nothing could have prepared him for this moment. 

It seemed only fitting that it should be snowing, that the air held such a bite that his tears would freeze on his cheeks.  Standing next to the coffins that held his young wife and their two small children, he barely felt the cold, what did it matter? His heart had already turned to ice.

Except for the priest he was alone with his family, the grief his alone to bear.  He knew he should have allowed Danijela's family to come, knew his own parents would have wanted to be with him, but the risk was too great. Even now he could hear shells falling, bullets cracking the silence and he wished he could call one to claim him.

The thought of his family being lowered into the frozen ground was almost unimaginable, why did it have to be them? He wanted to stop them, wanted to take them someplace warm even as he knew they were beyond feeling cold.

He knew the priest was speaking to him but the words made no sense, and then it was over.  Without thinking he moved toward the coffins, and in the next moment he collapsed over the smallest of them.  How was he going to live without them?

And still the snow fell.


ER/Luka Kovac 018 Content
Title: Baby Girl
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac, Jasna Kovac
Prompt: Content
Word Count: 265
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Possible tissue alert
Summary: Luka spends some quiet time with his newborn daughter.

How is it possible that someone who can't even hold her own head up can hold me in such awe?  Jasna, my baby girl, you've been here less then 72 hours and already I can't imagine how I would survive without you.

You're so tiny and as I hold you cradled in my arms I feel a peace, a contentment, that I don't know that I've ever felt before.  I think I could stare at you for hours.  With your black hair and equally dark eyes you are a miniature version of your mama and your beauty holds me spellbound.  I wonder how much of her will show in your personality as you grow, and then I know it doesn't matter for whoever you are, I will love you with all my heart.

Why did you have to smile?  I can feel my heart soar to yours and in these moments there is nothing more important then you.  It's hard for me to remember how frightened I was of being a father even as much as I wanted it to happen.  There is so much for your mama and I to teach you and I can't help feeling frightened that we might somehow get something wrong.  Those worries don't linger though and as your fingers grasp one of mine I realize we'll do fine.

I wish I could sit here with you all night, but already sleep is calling you back to it and I know we'll have more times like these to share.  Sleep well my angel, your Tata will be watching over you.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

RotM/ Challenge:Ask an old person you know about their favorite dance?

Luka couldn't exactly say what had prompted his decision to call his father though he'd found himself doing so more and more since he had learned he would once more be a father.  For the first time in too long there was a part of him that was nudging him to return home for a visit, and it had led to his father's tempting him with talk of what he was missing.

"'s not too late."  The older Kovac's words came in his native tongue and Luka comfortably returned to it.

"Too late for what, Tata?"  He settled onto the couch as the conversation progressed, a smile breaking.

"The Brodsko always loved to watch the dancers.  Think of it Luka, you could come back, it'd be like the old times when Mama would make us take her."  His voice held a hint of longing to reclaim some of the past that was no more.

"Tata..that's not fair, besides, it was your favorite too."  He found himself laughing without intending too.

"Think of the food, Luka...the wheel dancing...the tamburitza...the drink?"  The old man persisted, whittling his son down with too familiar references.

"I can't say I don't miss it, and I would love to see it again, it's just that I'm not sure I could get away now what with work and Abby's pregnancy."  He rubbed his brow with his fingertips as he realized the obstacles that he was up against in making an unplanned trip.

"Think about it, Luka...the summer festivals are just beginning, in Split, Zagreb, it's been too long."  Accepting that his son was not going to allow himself to be forced into a decision the man backed off slightly.

"I will, tata, I should go now though.  I miss you."

"I miss you too, Luka, you take care of yourself." Luka's father surrendered the end of the call to his son.

"I will, I love you, tata, I'll call again soon."

"I love you too, Luka."

Even as he heard the click and then the dialtone, Luka didn't immediately return the phone to the cradle.  His father was right, he had found himself missing the connections to his past more and more, maybe it was time to go back for a visit, he'd like for Abby to experience some of what his life had been like before he'd come to the States.  He replaced the phone in the cradle, it was something to consider.



Friday, June 16, 2006

Loyalty/Theatrical Muse Challenge

I wonder sometimes if loyalty to a person extends beyond death.  When I married my wife Danijela,  we made vows to each other and though I know the words ended with "til death do us part," I still found myself feeling guilty as I started to feel feelings for others that were once hers alone, maybe in some ways I still do. 

I know, it's been over fourteen years and I know too that she would want nothing less for me to have the life we always dreamed we would share, but deep inside the guilt remains.  I want to have a wife again, a family again, and now with Abby pregnant that seems a certainty, so why then do I still feel like I'm cheating on Danijela?

For over ten years there was no one, and then...slowly at first, I gave myself permission to feel again, to hope for a chance to know again what I'd had then lost.  At first I talked about Danijela, about my children, it was easy with Carol, after she left, the wounds seemed so fresh, and I just couldn't anymore. I once again tucked those memories away, out of loyalty to her, to my children, or so I thought.

Maybe that's why things became so hard after that.  Why things with Abby failed the first time around.  In a way, I look at what came next as a form of punishment, why should I think that I deserved to have what I had with her again?  I fell into a series of bad habits that would have disgusted her, and I was sure the man I had been was gone forever.  Even as I tried with Sam, I still wasn't ready and so that too had to fail.

But that was then, and now, things feel different, and maybe they are.  What I feel for Danijela will always be with me, and this time with Abby I know that's okay.  Little by little I'm finding I'm able to share parts of that life with her without feeling like I'm betraying their memories and in many ways it's like welcoming them back.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fire/A ficlet for Realm of the Muse

(Yes, I joined another writing prompt community, here's the first of what will be at least 1/week.)

I remember the smell most of all, the smoke as it tore into lungs already strained from my failed efforts to save my daughter's life. I didn't really think about the danger of it at the time, maybe because I wanted so much to join them all in death. I didn't think about the pain a death by fire would bring, maybe because I couldn't believe anything could hurt worse then the pain I was already feeling.

Eventually the only light in the ruins of the apartment were the fires, small lights in the darkness of night. I remember laying next to the bodies of my family, the dust and smoke stealing my breath from me, and wondering how long it might be before I could once more be with them.

In the end the fire failed to claim me, rescuers working their way through the ruins of our lives found us, found me, and despite my protests they tore me away from my family. They couldn't know that it was death, not life, that I wanted in those moments. They couldn't know that I had been praying for the fire to take me to the place where my wife and children were waiting for me. They only knew that I was alive, I was a survivor amidst the destruction that had claimed the rest.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A post for 100moods/Lethargic

Title: The Morning After
Fandom: ER
Character: Luka Kovac, Erin Harper
Prompt: Lethargic
Word Count: 478
Rating: G
Warnings or Spoilers: Spoilers to "Hindsight"
Summary: Sometimes mornings come too soon. 

He hadn't needed Kerry's call, hadn't needed to wake to find Erin half dressed and not remember how she had come to be there.  God, he was tired.  No, not just tired, hung-over, all he wanted he wanted to do was sleep.  Laying there with his eyes closed he could easily have returned to where he been before Kerry's call, just a few minutes was all it would take.

"Luka, you need to get up."  Erin's voice broke into the darkness and called him back toward consciousness.

"I'm awake.  He cracked and eye open with a sigh and tried to remember how they had come to be at the place they were.

"Do you want me to put some coffee on?"  The woman had buttoned her blouse and was moving to the doorway as she spoke.

"Yeah, sure." He rubbed at his eyes and wondered how he was possibly supposed to work when it was all he could to to manage the energy for that small feat.

"You're not going back to sleep if I leave you alone?"  Her uncertainty about doing just that was clear in her words.

"No, not going to sleep."  Even as he spoke the words he was sure he could turn them into a lie with very little effort.

" need to get up off that bed and into the shower."  Erin found herself smiling as she watched the man battle with himself over staying awake.

"I'm going, I'm going..."  His words were quiet, with no conviction surfacing in them at all.

"Luka, I don't believe you, come on..up."  The med student moved over to the bed in hopes of motivating the doctor into action.

"Alright, alright."  Exasperation surfaced as Luka eyed the young woman and her approach and despite his wanting to do otherwise he forced himself to sit, only to immediately regret the action as his head protested the action.  "Bog."  He uttered the curse as his hand went to his forehead.

"That bad?"  Erin found herself smiling despite herself.  The man looked miserable and he no doubt felt worse.  "I'll go find some aspirin and get the coffee on, you get in the shower, it'll help."  She offered a hand in case he was ready to take it.

"Yea, sure it will."  His eyes narrowed at her expression before he reluctantly took her hand and actually rose from the bed.  "I was not supposed to be working today."

"I know, but now you are, take your shower, the coffee will be ready when you're done."  Apparently further conversation was not going to happen and Erin found herself grinning as Luka released her hand and groped his way to the bathroom.  Only when she heard the sound of the water coming on did she finally leave the room, he was definitely going to need coffee, lots of coffee.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Close your eyes and think about what you've been missing in your life lately./TM Challenge fic

Wow, where do I even begin to respond to this?  I am at a point in my life that I never thought I would reach again, close to obtaining once more one of the hardest things I lost from my past.  With the regaining of that gift though, I find more and more moments clouded by thoughts of the two children whose lives were lost all those years ago, and I suppose if I had to lay claim to missing anything more than another it would be my babies, my children, Jasna and Marko.

Jasna and's been fourteen years since they were ripped from my life, and while not a day goes by that they don't find their way into my thoughts, knowing that I am to be a father, a tata, once more, it makes me miss them all the more.

What I wouldn't give to have my son and daughter here with me now, to have the chance to touch them, to hold them, to love them, to give them the chance to be the big sister and brother they were never allowed the chance to be. 

I find myself more and more lately comparing the moments I'm feeling now with Abby to those I shared with Danijela in regard to Jasna and Marko, and I think it frightens me.  Can I be to this child the type of father I was to my first children?  Can I love this one with the level of completeness that I felt toward the two who were taken from me? 

I know part of my fear is self preservation. That deep inside I worry that if I love this child as much as I loved my first two and something were to happen, and then I stop myself and wonder how could I not.

The thoughts of them come without warning, triggered by a word, an action, a smell, and in those moments the pain of missing them can be as fresh as if they had only just been taken.

Fourteen years, a lifetime of changes.  Jasna, my little girl, she would be a woman now, a year older now then her mother was on the day she gave birth to her.  Marko, my baby boy, locked forever in my memory with the staggered gait of a chubby toddler just learning to walk, would himself be the age his mother was when we first met.

It's so hard, and even after so long, and knowing I miss them so much, I know too that I always will.  I think I'm learning to accept that not a moment will pass that I won't catch something in my new child that will trigger a memory to one of them, a look, an action, a sound.  I know I wouldn't be the father I will be to this child without the experiences they gave tome and maybe that's what makes all of the rest of this okay, or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

What was your childhood ambition?/Theatrical Muse Challenge fic

My father is a train engineer based out of Zagreb in Croatia, has been for my entire life, and one of my greatest joys as a child was riding on the train with him as he traveled his routes.  I remember how proud my brother and I were, telling everyone who would listen that it was our father who was driving the train.  I can even remember sitting on his lap in the engine and pretending that I was the one doing the actual driving.  I suppose, like most children, my earliest ambition then was to follow in my father's footsteps and become an engineer as well.

I'm not really sure when I changed my mind about my choice of careers, or even what it was that prompted me to decide that medicine was my true calling, but from the moment it was made I don't think I ever regretted it. 


Who was "the one that got away"?/Theatrical Muse Challenge fic

This is a difficult one because I'm sure I'm looking at it in a way that few will.  She was my first love, my eternal mate, the one often referred to as one's soulmate.


She was my wife, the mother of my children, and it wasn't that she "got away," so much as she was ripped away from me. 

She was young when we met, just 16...but I think we both knew from that first moment that we were meant to be together.  We married when she turned 18, and the hopes of what our future would be like were based off the happy endings of movies and fairytales.

If only I could have known that it wouldn't last...that what we shared was only to be but brief moments in my lifetime.  If only I had known that in one fleeting instant it would all be torn away from us. If only I could have known that I would lose them all and that I would be forced to live the rest of my life with only the memories of them to keep me company, to make me feel complete.

We had 7 years together, 5 of those as husband and wife, we had two children between us, and we loved each other with all of our hearts.

Maybe it was because we were so young, maybe it was our innocence, maybe we were just too much in love, whatever the reason we failed to heed the warnings, refused to believe that anything could take what we had from us.  We were so wrong.

Who looks toward the future and imagines that those you love will no longer be part of it?  We didn't, and so when the war came we pretended that everything would be alright.  When people started fleeing the City we talked about it, but I had my classes and my residency, and we couldn't believe that the horrors happening to others could possibly touch us.  We were wrong, so very wrong.

In an instant everything changed, and in the course of 24 hours I was alone.  Everything we had planned for, all of our hopes, our dreams were shattered and I was left alone to find a way to gather up the pieces of what remained.


Theatrical Muse Challenge fic

If you could ever go back in time and stop at one point in your life and make it different would you? What would you want to stop happening and where would you hope it would make your life go?

It's funny that I should come across this question at the point in my life that I'm at now, if only because I seem to finally have reached a point where I can honestly say I'm happy.  I think of all the years when that wasn't the case, all the years I wasted wallowing in the depths of self-blame and depression.

This is so hard, because were you to ask me this even as recent as six months ago I would have lept on the chance to erase the last fifteen years and reclaim the life that should have been but never was.

Going back to the question though, the time is one that I've replayed over and over in the years since it happened, a time that forever changed who I am and not necessarily in a good way.

It's been fifteen years now, but it might as well be a lifetime for the changes that have occurred.  It was 1991, Danijela and I had been married for just five years and were parents to two children.  Jasna our daughter, was barely five, and our son Marko, was just 18 months old.  I hate the way they were forced to live in those final months of their lives, hate all they were deprived of. I know, there was a war going on and we all had to make sacrifices, but to ask two so young to give up so much, even now the memories of how things were tear me apart.  How can there be any doubt that the thing I would most like to change was the very thing that ripped all three of them from me.

I'd gone to the market on the day that it happened.  There was never much to buy but I had hoped to find some bread and cheese to break the monotony of the thin soups we'd been surviving on.  Jasna had begged me to let her come with me and I refused, I told her it wasn't safe, never knowing that had I said yes. 

I heard the shrill whistle in the air as I rounded the corner to our street and in that next moment I saw the mortar hit our building. The rest comes in the slow motion of a dream, and I remember running across the street and up the stairs toward our apartment.  I passed neighbors I should have stopped to help, but all I could think of was reaching my wife and children.  I knew my son was dead the moment I stepped through the door, his small hand reached up through the bars of his crib as he lay buried under it.  I think I would have remained frozen there had I not heard my wife's cries for help and as hard as it was I left him to go to her.  When I found her I also found my daughter, they were alive, but their injuries were severe.  I don't remember how many hours I fought to save them, I only know that I failed, and in the end I lost them all.

I've tried not to think about how our life might have been, could still be...but, now.  Jasna would be be a young woman, maybe even a mother herself, and Marko, he would be the age his mother was when we first met. 

I didn't think this would be so difficult...the what ifs.

I've no doubt that we would still be living in Croatia, maybe not in Vukovar, but close enough that Danijela's parents and my own family could still share our lives.  Danijela was a wonderful mother and she loved every moment she spent with Jasna and Marko, so I know there would have been more children in our future. After that, what can I say?  We would have watched our children grow, we would have watched them marry and raise their own families, and most importantly, we would have grown old together. 

I would have liked that.

My Mother/Theatrical Muse Challenge fic


Yet another senseless death.  My mother died shortly after the war ended, the grief of all that had been lost finally becoming too much for her to bear.  Mama lived for her family and as hard as it was for me to accept that my wife and children had been killed, it was even harder for her.  She doted on her grandchildren, my daughter Jasna, and son Marko, she lived for the scribbled pictures they would send her.  When she learned they were gone it devastated her, how could the God she believed so strongly in have allowed something like that to happen?  I used to think she was the lucky one, because her death spared her from the continued grief that I was forced to endure.

I find myself thinking about Mama more now that I know I'm going to become a father again.  Each time I talk to Tata I find myself wishing she could share in the happiness he feels.  I think of how much this child will miss out on with her being gone, and then I realize how lucky Jasna and Marko were to have her. How lucky I was to have her as long as I did.

I miss her.

Describe a chance encounter that changed your life/Theatrical Muse Challenge fic

I hadn't thought about the risks to myself when I decided to volunteer my time in Africa.  My life had been spiraling out of control for more months then I wanted to think about and all I knew was I needed to get away.  I didn't look at the dangers that my decision might offer, I'm not even sure I consciously thought about them. I only knew that there was something missing in my life and I wasn't going to discover what it was if I remained in Chicago.

I should have been shocked by the conditions in Kisangani and Matenda but I wasn't, maybe because I found myself making comparisons to how things were during the war back home.  It was impossible for me not to.

It was funny, but I found myself welcoming the exhaustion that came with the work in Africa.  After 18 hours or more on my feet I became numb, and in the twisted way that my mind was seeing it, I found comfort in that.  I found comfort too in the arms of Gillian, but not so much in the emotional sense as much as the physical.

If not for what happened in Matenda I believe I very likely would still be locked in that loop of self-destruction that led me to Africa, but fate has a way of intervening when you least expect it to.

I don't think any of us thought things at the Matenda clinic would progress to the level that they did, how could we have?  When I decided to stay it was my decision, I had patients who couldn't be moved, I was needed.  Patrique, I wish he had left when the others had, but his loyalty to what we were doing, maybe even to me was too strong to let him, and he stayed.  How could we know it would end the way it did?

The calm of the first few days was deceiving and I'm sure my battle with malaria clouded how I was seeing things, but I refused to recognize the growing threat despite Patrique's warnings.  And once I did it was too late, the wheels were in motion and what was coming was more horrific then any of us could imagine.

We fled into the abandoned fields surrounding the clinic to avoid the fighting, carrying those that were too weak to walk.  We took almost nothing with us, the bare minimum of medicines and nothing else.  By morning most of those who had escaped with us were gone, they understood that their own lives were in danger if they were found with us...why couldn't Patrique, Chance and her mother have gone with them?

I blame myself for everything that happened after that even as I know it was beyond my control.  If I hadn't been sick, if I hadn't been trapped in the cycle of abuse that had led me to Africa in the first place.

We couldn't have known the Mai Mai would still be at the Matenda clinic when we returned, but they were, and that mistake would cost Patrique his life.  Not at first of course, but that would be the final outcome.  It's hard to remember the details, the malaria was raging in me by then. 

When John found me in that stifling shack I was close to death.  But, by the time I was able to return to the States the healing had begun, and I couldn't help but see my life far differently then the way I had when I had arrived.  Chance and her mother... Patrique...the sacrifices each had made were not made in vain.  In the midst of all that death I somehow found what I'd thought I no longer had in Chicago, I only wish the cost had not been so great.

Is there ever a good reason to get blinding drunk?/ Theatrical Muse Challenge fic

I used to think there was...

I think of all of those months I wasted after Abby and I broke up the first time.  The first time, I don't even want to think that there might be a second, especially now with the baby, and the chance that we might stand a chance at becoming a family.

Drinking had become an escape for me then, a way to not have to justify the impersonal sex that I was engaging in, the mess that was my life.  I look back on it now and I realize how out of control I was, but at the time, all I saw it as was a means to feel something other then alone.

I suppose I should be grateful that I didn't lose my license. I hold myself responsible for so many mistakes, the least of which was the death of Rick Kendricks.  I think of how I was willing to put not just my own life at risk but those around me like Harkins, and I wonder why I shouldn't I have been held fully to blame? 

I wonder sometimes if I'm not too lucky, my family dies and I live, I make medical mistakes that cost people their lives and I glide on through unscathed, and then there are times like in Africa. 

I look back on what I was like when I first got there, the drinking, the recklessness, not just in how I handled my work, but in the sex.  I look at how I taunted death the first time the Mai Mai came into Matenda, the way I put not just my life but Patrique and the remaining patient's lives in danger by choosing to stay when we were ordered to leave.  And I can't not ask the question of what right did I have to make that decision for them?

I think finally facing my own death made me realize how valuable it was.  Not just in those final minutes, kneeling there in the dirt with Patrique dead beside me, but in the time after as the malaria raged in me unchecked.  I think of Chance and her mother putting their own lives at risk to save mine, I look back at all John did, of what he was willing to risk when he thought I was already dead, and I wonder what right I have to throw the gift that they gave me away with the life I had been living.

So now, I would say is far too great a gift to diminish it's worth by throwing it away, even if only for a few hours.

Theatrical Muse Challenge fic

"Do you believe in love at first sight?" and "How did you lose your virginity?"

It's to her that both of these apply and so I combine the memories together for it seems the obvious thing to do.

I first saw her in a coffeeshop and I instantly knew that she was the one I wanted to spend my life with.  She was so young, just 16 the first time I saw her.  I didn't know that at the time of course, I only knew she had to be the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and when I saw her I felt things I had never felt in my life.

It took me almost a week to work up the courage to speak to her and it was then I learned both her name and her age.  I was older than she by two years and that alone would prove to be our greatest obstacle.  Over the next few months we took to meeting almost daily, first in the shop where I'd first seen her and later, as we grew more comfortable in each other's company elsewhere in the City.  The more I learned of her, the more convinced I was of what I'd felt that first day and it wasn't long before she expressed the same to me, all that remained was for us to be married.  If only it would have been that easy. 

Because of her age we were forced to delay our marriage and it wasn't until the day she turned 18 that we could finally see our dream become reality.  Danijela came from a very religious family, so it was left unspoken that we would never share more then a kiss or a simple touch before our vows were exchanged.  So it happened that the night of the day we became husband and wife was also to be the one in which we both lost our virginity.  She was my first, and for most of my life the only woman I would know intimately.

I'd never really thought about our decision to wait until we were married to take that next step, she was religious, that was her wish and I honored that as I honor her to this day.  The love I had for Danijela only grew from that point in time and within the year we would welcome our first child. And as impossible as it seems, her giving me that gift only served to increase the love I felt for her.

I'll never understand how something that provides so many wonderful memories can also be that which, to this day, still tears my heart to shreds, but such is the case with my life with Danijela.  I will never understand why God felt it necessary to take this woman and the children she gave me away, and for many years I hated him more than those who had taken their lives. 

Danijela and I had seven years together from the day we met to the day I lay her and my children in the still frozen ground of that Vukovar cemetery.  For another seven years I would swear I had buried my heart along with them.  I was wrong, but, that's a story for another day...

What is your most treasured possession and why?/Theatrical Muse Challenge

A photograph...

A creased and frayed wallet sized black and white photograph of my wife Danijela and our daughter Jasna. 

One photograph to tell the story of lives ripped too soon from this earth, and even in that it's incomplete.  What I wouldn't give for that photo to have one more life captured in it.  Marko, my little boy, my son...why was he denied something even as simple as this to remember him by?  Not a day goes by that I don't find myself pulling that photograph from my wallet and wondering why?

I can remember the taking of that photograph as if it had been taken yesterday instead of fifteen years ago.  The occasion was one of celebration, a birthday party for Jasna to mark her fourth birthday. Marko was barely six months old at the time so if seemed only natural that I held him as the photographer captured that image of Jasna and her mother.  If only I had known that it alone would survive to tell the story of those who were no longer here to speak for themselves.

A Theatrical Muse challenge fic

What does comfort mean to you?

I think sometimes you find comfort in small things.  Those things that under normal circumstances you might not notice but which somehow in times of tension, or fear, have a way of erasing everything else.

I remember laying in the darkness of our apartment in Vukovar during the war, the sounds of mortars and sniperfire keeping me from sleep.  In those hours when the chance for death was so near I found my comfort in the sounds of the quiet breathing of my wife and children. At other times, when it seemed there had been more death then life in my day (or night),or when I was questioning my choice of what I was doing with my life, the only comfort to be found was in the arms of my wife.

When those sounds, and even that touch were taken from me I wondered if I would ever know those kinds of comfort again, and it was then I turned to more destructive methods to find relief.

There was a time in my life when I wondered if those early means of comfort would ever return to me.  It's only in these past few months in fact that I can finally allow the hope of reclaiming them to surface.  I know that Danijela and my children are gone and the comfort they brought to me has been lost with their passing, as are the extremes in my life that made me so desperate for the comfort they brought to me.  Having that security doesn't make me want the comfort any less though and so I welcome my now being able to turn to Abby.  Perhaps the most welcoming comfort I look forward to is once more laying in the darkness and listening to the quiet rhythms of my wife and child as they sleep, and with that I know I will find true peace.


A Challenge fic for the Theatrical Muse group

When I awoke the next morning...

I was alone...

Even as I knew it to be true I didn't want to believe it.

In less than twenty four hours I had gone from being a husband and father to being alone.  Now, with the bite of coming snow in the air I was forced to turn my thoughts from the care of my family to laying them to rest.

How does one begin to accept that those very people that made you look forward to whatever the day might bring were no longer there?

I traveled through the next few days in a daze, entering the rubble that had been our home in search of the treasured doll and teddybear that would be laid to rest with their young owners.  I can't begin to describe what it was like as I stepped over the remnants of the crib that had held my young son prisoner knowing he had died under the debris.  To once more face the scene of my own failure, the blood of my wife and daughter still too fresh in it's presence.  All the while remaining aware that even as I saw it as such I had done all that I could despite my inability to accept that fact. 

There was nowhere in those days to find comfort, the Church my wife had loved seemed in my eye to have betrayed them and I wanted nothing they tried to offer.  Grief consumed me and I might have been a dead man myself as I existed in the fog of it, all the while wondering what I had done to deserve life while theirs were stripped from them.

When the time came to lay all three to their final rest it seemed only fitting that the snows came, the tears of rain as frozen as my heart now seemed.  I was alone, and all those who gave me reason to live were gone.


The Call

(I've starting writing Luka fics for a site called 100 Moods, here's the first of the new ones...for Ecstatic)

He was going to be a father again.

The shock of the news had begun to fade and with it Luka found himself being filled with a feeling he had never thought he would never know again.

He was going to be a father again.

It had never even entered his mind that Abby might be pregnant.  Granted they had slept together but, it wasn't the first time and they had used precautions, hadn't they?  He was finding it hard to get his mind to settle on anything specific with the exception of that one single fact.

He was going to be a father again.

When he had lost Jasna and Marko he had never thought he would know that joy again, a smile filled his face before he could stop it.  The sleepless nights, the dirty diapers, could he have ever believed he would look forward to that again?  But he was.

It was true that he and Abby would have to work through how they would handle the parenting, but he had to cling to the hope that she'd let him be part of the child's life, even if they weren't a couple.

He was going to be a father again.  He had to call his own father, the man deserved to know that he would once more have the chance to be a grandfather.  He reached for his cell phone even as the realization was made, only to find himself having to make three tries at dialing the number before he succeeded.  As he listened to the ringing on the other end he found himself unable to stop the smile that again filled his face, and then it was time.

"'s Luka, I have something I need to tell you."