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.

"'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 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 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,, 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:

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 wasn't footsteps from the apartment upstairs...voices coming in from the, 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.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Rainy Days Pt 3/10 (Sick in 10 Hurt Comfort)

Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG
Character: Luka Kovac
Words: 301
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.

The rain had been falling steadily for days, a damp chill hung in the air and scattered puddles pooled on the floor of the tent. Weather like this seemed to suit Luka's mood and where many of the men grumbled about being confined inside he saw it as a relief, for it meant he wouldn't have to defend his decision to do just that.

There was more to it today though and as he lay on his cot he gave in to the hoarse cough that seemed ready to rip his lungs from his chest. He wasn't alone in the battle, the cough was prevalent here, weakened immune systems, combined with spartan living conditions made an ideal breeding ground for it.

"Son, you need to drink something." The old man was at his side again, Luka opened his eyes as he felt a cup being pressed to his lips. "It's tea, take some." The man's tone remained coaxing and even as he wanted to refuse he knew that he couldn't.

"Slow sips," as he issued the warning the man supported Luka's back so that he could drink. "You've got a fever, son." When Luka's response was nothing more then several more of the deep harsh coughs the man frowned.

"Maybe you need to see the doctors, make sure you don't need some medicine, it sounds pretty bad." He tried to coax a few more sips into the younger man before giving up and easing him back down on his cot.

"No..." Luka shook his head in refusal only to have to turn away as another round of coughs tore through him. By the time they eased he was exhausted and the last thing he wanted was to continue arguing with the man.

"No, just sleep." His eyes closed before the final word was finished, time would tell if they would be enough.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Photographs and Memories Pt 2/10 (Love in 10 Hurt Comfort)

Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG
Character: Luka Kovac
Words: 633
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.

If he had hated being in the medical tent it was nothing compared to being here among those who were alone like he was. The small black and white picture of Jasna and Danijela became his escape, and he would retreat for hours into the world it held. The world that was lost to him. Laying on his side he would stare at their faces, their smiles, and if he concentrated hard enough he could forget that they were gone. The voices in the tent would grow more and more distant until he would cease to hear them completely, and then suddenly he would be back among those at the party where it was taken, back among those he loved. If only he could make it last., but it never did.

"Come on son, you have to get something to eat." He felt the man's touch on his shoulder before he fully registered his words and he flinched, the action yanking him violently out of his thoughts. Yanking him back to the crowded olive green tent that was his world.

"There's only another twenty minutes left for you to get lunch, you should go get something to eat." The man who hovered over him was his father's age if not older and Luka instantly felt bound to maintain the code of respect he would give father, but it wasn't easy.

"I'm not hungry, leave me alone." He tried and failed to keep the bitterness of having been interrupted out of his tone.

"You may not be hungry now, but you will be later, and you need to eat to regain your strength." The man persisted, seemingly unfazed by the younger man's refusal.

"I don't care what you think I need to do, I don't want to eat. Just leave me alone, please." He had turned away from the man as he spoke, unable to look at him for fear that he might see his father's face in the mans.

Truth was he hated leaving the small tent for any reason, because going outside only served to remind him of all he had lost. It wasn't just the physical losses, the fact that everything he had, down to the clothes on his back had belonged to someone else. No, it was the other reminders that going outside brought him. The sounds of husbands and wives carrying on conversations he and Danijela would never again have. The sight of fathers and daughters sitting together, of a son calling to his father across a crowded room. No, it was safer to stay here, within the safety of the small tent and go hungry then face those reminders over and over.

It was hard to know how long the man remained behind him, he was sure that he felt his eyes on his back for a least several minutes. How was he supposed to live like this? At least in Vukovar there had been the hospital to distract him, but here there was nothing, no, not nothing. The small photo found it's way into his hands once more and as he laid it on the cot he traced the images with his finger. If he had only known on that day that this would be all he would have left of them. He sniffed back the tears that began to form with the thought. As he closed his eyes, he could bring the picture of his small son into focus, would there ever be a time when he wouldn't feel guilt at not having anything thing physical to connect them? Would he ever not feel that he had loved Marko any less because he wasn't in the photograph with his mother and sister? There was one greater fear though, and that fear was the one which caught his breath in his chest, what would happen if he closed his eyes one day and Marko wasn't there anymore?

To be continued....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Moving Day Pt 1 Injured/10 Hurt Comfort

Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG
Character: Luka Kovac
Words: 325
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 posted previously here.

He'd been in the camp for more than two weeks, his leg was healing, the infection around the bullet entry and exit points beginning to clear, as was his pneumonia. If only there were medicines that could heal the rest of his wounds so easily. The nurses had begun forcing him to leave the tent, forcing him to get the exercise and fresh air he needed but didn't want. Today was different, today he was being moved away from the watchful eye of the doctors and nurses, his cot was needed for someone in far worse shape.

"Luka, it's time." He heard the woman's voice as he lay on his cot, pretending to sleep, his back to the room. "I know you're awake." It was a means of escape he'd used far too often since his arrival, and while it had worked in those beginning days, the nurses had soon seen through it.

"Do you need help getting up?" Her voice remained close and even without looking he knew she was close enough to move in to assist him if he would allow her to do so.

"I can do it." His tone was cold, he hadn't wanted to be in this place and now he was being moved to somewhere else he had no wish to be. Reaching for the crutches that lay propped at the foot of the cot he forced himself to his feet. When he was sure he had his balance he began the slow walk to the tent's opening.

The camp was never quiet and now that he was being moved out of the medical tent and into one of those designated for single males Luka knew he would find it more difficult to adjust to life within it. At least among the injured he couldn't deny the reason he was there. He didn't think of himself as a single male, and he wondered if in fact he ever would.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Revenge/Theatrical Muse Challenge

He had never thought he would want to kill someone.

He was a doctor, or would be one day if he survived all of this, he was sworn to do no harm, but it was all he could think of now. The images of the lifeless bodies of his wife and children haunted his waking and sleeping hours.

He had thought he might be able to hide from them in the hospital's traumas, but the more hours he had worked the more often the faces of his patients became those of his own family.

No, the only time he seemed to find relief was in those wee hours of the night when he stood in the darkness and watched the snipers exchanging fire.

If he concentrated hard enough he could feel the rifle in his hand, he could imagine the jerk as he fired, follow the path of the bullet as it rocketed across the street before striking the target on the receiving end.

In his mind he could imagine the bullet as it sliced first through clothing, then skin, muscle, organ or bone, killing them as they had killed his family.

But only in his mind, and only for those few seconds, because the truth was, it wouldn't matter how many of them he killed, it wouldn't bring back his wife or his children.

So, instead he would continue to heal and hope no other father would find himself wishing he could kill to escape the images of those that might have been saved.

September Prompt B:Who do you most look up to?/Ineffable Fandom


Life has never been easy for my father and like many of his age he's made sacrifices to his own dreams and desires for the good of his family. It was always my father's dream to be a painter, and while I can always remember his having canvases around the house when my brother and I were growing up, if asked he was always an engineer, for it's that which put food on the table.

My father was a strong man, a man who somehow always managed to keep his emotions to himself no matter how serious the situation he found himself in. I don't think I ever realized just how difficult that was for him until I lost my family, and he in turn lost his daughter-in-law and his only grandchildren.

I couldn't bring myself to break the news of their deaths to him right away. I didn't know how to tell him they were gone. How did I tell him that the dreams we'd had for the future would never happen? I stood alone at their graveside, and even as he begged me to come home afterward I stayed behind hoping that death would find me too.

When Vukovar fell I barely escaped the City with my life, after several days on the run I finally collapsed, wounded and exhausted and sure I would at last be joining my family.

I was wrong, instead I awoke to find myself in a displaced person's camp. As I struggled to regain my health, I also fought another battle, and that was the one with myself over how I would tell my father.

In the end it was he who found me first. Where I had expected to hear blame for my failures to protect my family, instead I received reassurances that I had done all I could have for them. That what had happened wasn't anything we could have planned for so, where I thought I might find rejection I instead found comfort.

I wasn't ready to hear everything my father had to say then, it would be years before I could accept it. He never gave up on me though, and he never let me give up, no matter how badly I might have wanted to.

As my father grows older as I grow older, I find myself beginning to see sides to him I couldn't when I was younger and I realize just how little I knew him. My father is more than just my father to me now, he is also my by best friend, despite the miles and worlds that separate us.

I treasure the times we have together in ways I never thought I would, and I can't wait until the moment when I can lay his new grandson into his arms. That moment is one I was sure would never come. The gift one I was certain I would never be able to give him. The truth is, I know I would never have been able to even think about it without having him standing beside me, offering his support and encouragement, and whatever else I needed even when I wasn't aware of it at the time.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Absolution/Realm of the Muse

Muse: Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 542 (excluding definition)

–noun 1. act of absolving; a freeing from blame or guilt; release from consequences, obligations, or penalties. 
2. state of being absolved. 
3. Roman Catholic Theology. a. a remission of sin or of the punishment for sin, made by a priest in the sacrament of penance on the ground of authority received from Christ. 
b. the formula declaring such remission.

I was raised Catholic, when I was young, and even as I was growing up, it wasn't unusual for my mother to go to church twice in one day.  When I met the woman I knew would one day be my wife, I wasn't surprised to learn that she was deeply religious as well.  When we married and our thoughts turned to children, there was never any question that they would be raised as we were. 

When Danijela and our children were killed, I blamed not just myself, but I blamed God as well.  What kind of a God takes the lives of children, babies, before they even have a chance to taste life?  I hated him for what he had done and I begged him to take my life as he had taken theirs.  When he ignored my prayers, my pleas, I reached the point where the only thing I felt for him was hatred and disgust and I knew I had to walk away from my faith if I had any hope of moving on with my life.

For eight years I lied to myself. I pretended that the charade I lived was a reality and I might have continued believing it had I not met Bishop Stewart.  Somehow, he saw through me and over the months I treated him he found a way to chip away at the walls I'd carefully erected around myself to hide the truth.  Little by little he discovered my secrets, the guilt, the deceptions, working toward that night when he coaxed me toward that final step, absolution.

I'll never know how he knew it was something I needed to do.  I never told him that he was one of a very few who would ever hear the whole story.  In the years since they'd died I could never bring myself to relive it, not even with Tata, though he'd asked on so many occasions. It was just something I couldn't bring myself to talk about, a pain that was mine alone to bear.  But with him it was different and when he asked to hear my confession I couldn't not allow it.

The tears I shared with him in those early morning hours were ones I had held inside for far too many years, companions to the guilt and blame that I bore more openly for those who knew me.  The loss of my family had changed me, it had stripped a part of who I used to be away and for many years I was sure I would never see it again.

With absolution I've finally found a measure of peace, an acceptance,  and while it cannot totally erase the feelings of loss, it does make them easier to bear. Words alone will never be enough to express how I feel toward Bishop Stewart for doing what no one else had been able to do.  I thank him for coming into my life when he did, for not giving up on me when I tried to push him away.  I thank him for giving me back my faith, and the connection to my family that religion has always held in my life.  But most of all, I thank him for my life...


The Boat Picture

Picture Prompt for The Boat/Calm for 100 Moods

"What do you think?" Luka asked the question quietly as he paused, letting the small boat drift, his oars still in the water.

"It's beautiful, Luka."  Danijela smiled, watching the face of her new husband as he seemed to always be watching her.  "You like coming here."

"I always have, since I was a little boy."  He returned her smile as he pulled the oars from the water and laid them in the boat near his feet.  "Coming to Baka and Djed's was something I always looked forward to, there was so much to do, and it was so different from being in the City."

"It's so quiet, so calm."  Danijela had slipped her shoes off and lifted her feet now so that she could prop them in Luka's lap.  As he began to rub them she released a contented sigh.  "I could get used to this, maybe we could stay here, instead of going to Vukovar."

Luka laughed, before shaking his head.  "I wish we could but you know classes will be starting soon, we've got to go and find a place to live before that happens.  Don't worry, we'll have plenty of times to come back, my grandparents will never sell this place, and who knows, maybe one day we can move here with our children."  He gave a final squeeze to her feet before reaching once more for the oars and dropping them back into the water.

"I think I'd like that Luka."  Danijela smiled at her husband again before leaning back and letting the face warm her face, "Yes, I'd like that alot.

Muse: Luka Kova/ER
Words: 272

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Reflections in the Rain

Reflections in the Rain

1. Reflections in the Rain Prompt: Picture 004
2. Character: Luka Kovac
3. Warnings: tissue alert
4. Pairings: n/a
5. Your character's fandom: ER
6. Word count: 278
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.

So many lost people...I don't know how I didn't realize it before.  I saw them every day, but I didn't really <i>see</i> them.  It didn't matter where I was, at work, going back and forth between there and the apartment, going to the market or to get water.  I see them now only because I've become one of them too. Ghosts, shadows, it doesn't matter what you call them, it's just the realization that they were invisible to me until that day, that moment when my life touched theirs.

I've lost count of the number of times in a day when I find myself losing time because my thoughts have drifted off to places that are no longer part of my life.  Of the moments when a scent or a sound can call forth a memory of something that will take me away to a place other than where I really am. 

Today is one of those days and I see it in the faces of others like me as I pass them on the street.  Where have you gone baka?  Have you returned to the day you met your husband?  To the day you married? Does the puddle that reflects your past offer you a window to a world you could only hope to find again in your dreams?  Is there a puddle here that will do the same for me as well?

I pull myself away from the old woman with great effort, knowing I have to move on.   When in truth, I want nothing more than to stay at her side, in hopes that I might find the images of my family in the water's reflection as she seems to have found hers.


Friday, September 1, 2006

Monogamy/Theatrical Muse Challenge

You don't break up families.

I said that to Kerry once, in a different context, and maybe not in a completely truthful way, but it's the same here. You would think I would know how it feels to be on the receiving end. You would think I, more than most would want to prevent anyone from experiencing those feelings themselves.

You would think that would be the case, but it wasn't. It didn't stop me once from involving myself with a married woman, even though there was a time when I would have considered it the most heinous sin I could have imagined. it didn't stop me from seeing a different woman on multiple days of the week just so I wouldn't have to spend them alone. It didn't stop me from paying for sex, for becoming someone I wasn't and finally endangering the lives of others. No, it never ceases to amaze me how far I fell before I found myself again.

When I met Danijela and even in those years before, I would never have thought of violating the tenets of God, of violating my word to her, of one day becoming an adulterer. I would never have thought myself possible of giving myself to anyone but the woman I would one day marry, the woman who I was sure I would grow old and die with. When she was taken from me I went years without thinking of another woman in the way I had thought of her.

When the time came for me to finally take that next step it came slowly for me, and I admit that it was my desire to once more become a father that drove me to it. I think it was having that attempt at restarting my life fail that started me on the path that eventually led me to fall into the behaviors that I now regret so much.

I look back on what I did now and I can only hope that all that has happened to me since has somehow tipped the scales slightly in my favor, for I know there is no way they could ever possibly return to being equal. It's hard to imagine that I could change so much in so few years, but somehow I did, and it took my own near death to finally find my way back.

So it comes back to where it all began, you don't break up families, and unless you remain monogamous, how can you do anything less than that?