Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When do wants become selfish?/Talking Muses

For the life of a Child

There are some patients you never forget, it doesn't matter how long you've practiced medicine, how many patients you've seen, they're always there.  You may not remember their names but if you close your eyes, the faces are instantly called to mind. 

She was one of those, as was her son, and the faces of both haunt me to this day. I remember when she came in, a college student, she was pregnant and had been stabbed. She was determined not to allow us to do a cesarian to deliver her child, and I would have been willing to honor her wishes had not the life of her baby been at risk.  Nothing I could say could convince her to change her mind, all that mattered to her was her comfort, her safety, and she was willing to allow her child to die to spare herself any risk.

At first I think I was stunned, I couldn't imagine how anyone could be so selfish as to put their own life above the life of their child, but, she did just that.  Even as the baby's vitals began to fail she refused to budge and threats of legal intervention did nothing to change her mind. 

We become doctors to save lives, and here we were forced to stand and watch this infant die because his mother wanted to place her own safety above the worth of his life. The delivery of his lifeless body is one of the things that still haunts me, the knowledge that his death was preventable my badge of guilt to wear.

She refused to look at him after he was delivered, she couldn't even honor his memory by giving him that merit of respect, and that to me was her ultimate act of selfishness.  I can only hope the memories of those hours leading up to his delivery remain with her as they do with me. Maybe in time she'll understand that she lost more then her son on that day, maybe she'll see that she lost her soul too.

What do you strive for most in your life?/Canon Muses

When I was younger I thought I knew what I wanted from life, a wife, a family, a career.  When I met Danijela and we immediately fell in love I was sure that our life would be the one we'd always dreamed of, the one our parents had told us we would one day find.  For over four years everything seemed perfect, we were in love, we had two beautiful children, I was on my way to getting my medical degree, how could we possibly know that it would all be ripped away from us?  I don't know that either of us realized what the war would do to us, I know we never dreamed it would steal our future, let alone our lives, but it did.
When Danijela and my children died I felt like my life had ended with theirs. I stopped making plans for the future and simply went through the motions of living.  I remember blaming myself, questioning every move I'd made that day and wanting nothing more than for death to find me so I could be with them again.
It took me years to get past those feelings and it meant leaving my homeland, but eventually it happened.  It took longer for me to realize that I could love again. But, it wasn't just about loving, I wanted a normal life again, a wife, a child, stability.  Maybe that's what we all strive for, I don't know, but I never saw it until I'd lost it and found it again.
Abby and I are talking marriage now, we're talking about giving our son Joe the security of knowing both of his parents will be there for him as he grows up,  as he graduates, and embarks on his own life. For the first time since Danijela and my children were alive I can honestly say I'm happy and I didn't think that would ever be possible.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Prompt 1.48.2. Write a ficlet on the subject of cruelty./Realm of the Muse

I lost track of how many hours we knelt there in the place where we had once saved so many lives. First in that small stifling hut, then later in the dirt, with the African sun beating down on us. The Mai Mai had bound our wrists with electrical wire and we were forced to hold them over our heads. Between the heat and the malaria I was sure I wouldn't last, but if I failed I knew that death would be my fate.

There was no water, no rest, only the screams of those before me who were drug across the compound only to find their death at the end of a bullet. I can't help but wonder if they weren't the lucky ones.

I can still hear Sakima after they forced her into the tent, and even without seeing what was happening I knew. Through it all her young daughter was left sitting outside, forced to listen to what they were doing to her mother. What kind of animals subject a child to that? Even with that thought I found myself praying that she wouldn't be next, because with all they had done to us, there was still worse they could do to that child.

When Patrique was killed while pleading for my life I was sure it was only a matter of time. I watched as each of those who were left was dragged away, kicking and screaming, begging for their lives as if that might somehow save them. It never did. Then I was alone, and it didn't seem to matter anymore if I did as they wanted.

I sat for the first time in hours, and from somewhere I would swear I heard music, or maybe it was the angels that I was sure I would soon be joining. I knew it was time that I made my peace with God, that I cleared my conscience, before they came for me. From somewhere I found the strength to drag myself back to my knees, from there the prayers returned as if it had been mere days instead of years since I'd said them.

The rest is a blur, but, I'm here, while so many others died, and I can't explain why in the middle of so much cruelty I was spared. I don't know that they knew why, other then they thought I was a priest. Why should I think that the prayers I spoke to clear my conscience for death should turn out to be the ones to save me? It never entered my mind, and it certainly makes no sense, but, nothing about that time does.

Monday, February 26, 2007

February Prompt 4 Anger Quote/Artistic License

“The more anger towards the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present." - Barbara De Angelis

"Tata...stop, I told you, I've made up my mind...I can't stay, there isn't anything left for me here." Luka pushed his chair back from the table as he rose, nearly upsetting it in the process.  "At least in the States I have some hope for a life."

"How can you say that? You have a life here." The elder Kovac tried to keep his emotions in check as he struggled for a way to talk to his youngest son.

"Do I?  Where?  Tell me, because I don't see it. What I see is that my life ended when Danijela and my children died, everything we had planned for was buried with them in that Vukovar cemetery."  It was all he could do to hold the tears back as the familiar argument was played out yet again.

"You're alive're healthy and you're alive, do you know how many fathers I know who can't say that about their sons?" Even as the words left his mouth Josip realized the slip, but it was too late for him to call them back.

"Do I know? How can you even ask me that?" His voice rose as his anger crept upward.

"Luka I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that." Crossing the room he reached for his son, only to pull him into an embrace before he could refuse.

"Luka...we all mourn the loss of Danijela and the children, we always will, but you can't live your life like this.  One day you're sick with grief, the next you're so angry with hate you can't think straight, but running away isn't the answer either." He leaned his head in close to his son's as he spoke, fully expecting the young man to pull away from him. When he didn't he rubbed his back and sniffed back his own tears.

"I don't want you to leave, but if that's what you think you have to do to find yourself again I can live with that. Luka, look at me." He released his son so that he could look him in the face as he finished what he needed to say.

"One day you'll find a way to love again, you may even find someone like Danijela to spend your life with, someone you want to have children with." He lifted a hand to stop the words of protest before they came.

"No, hear me out. I know you can't see it now, you hurt too much, you harbor too much hate, but one day it'll come, maybe when you least expect it, but it'll come." The tears were past his stopping them and as he moved back to Luka and folded his arms around him he allowed them to fall freely.

"We'll get through this Luka, I promise you. I know it's hard to see that now, but, we'll get through this." He didn't expect his son to answer, and when instead of silence his son finally gave into the tears he had been fighting to hold back Josip pulled him tightly into his embrace.

 Slowly the walls were crumbling.

Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 520

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Heartbreak/Ineffable Fandom

Vukovar 1991

Laying in the dark, Luka Kovac listened to the sounds in the hospital hallway just on the other side of the closed door, he should be sleeping, but that like many things in his life was something that no longer came easily to him.  Even with working shifts of ten, twelve, fourteen hours, and sometimes even more,  he still found himself tossing and turning on the small cot by the time he found his way to it.

Once a storage place for linens and cleaning supplies the small, cramped room was now home for Luka and two other medical students.  Men who like him, no longer had anywhere else to go. Shelves that had once held linens and cleaning supplies had been removed, replaced by a single cot, the only source of comfort they would find.

It wasn't as if any of the three minded, the losses they had suffered had stripped them of any desire for reminders of what their lives once had been.  The room was a place to sleep, nothing more, and many days even that was impossible to find.

So, again, as was the case on far too many nights, or days, he lay awake, listening to those outside, and wondering if he would ever find his way past this.  He'd forgotten what it was like to smile, what it was like to be happy.  Ever since he had laid his wife and children to rest on that snowy wintry morning he had known only grief, only heartbreak and there was no reason to think it would ever be any different. He had lost his family, his home, his life, and with them all their hopes and dreams for the future were gone as well.  He had survived, as had so many others like him, in body alone, no more then a shell of the man he had been, and he was afraid he would never know anything else.

Luka Kovac 10 General: Questions/10 ER Fics

Title: Missing Pt. 4
Character/Pairing: Luka and Josip "Joe" Kovac, Abby Lockhart
Prompt:10. Questions
Word Count: 304
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers to Season 13
Summary:Could Luka's greatest fear have come true?
Disclaimer: Neither Goran Visnjic's image nor the character of Luka Kovac of ER belong to me. No copy-write infringement is intended by their use, they are being borrowed here strictly for entertainment purposes

It was no use, no matter who he had called the answer had been the same, no one had heard from Abby, no one had any idea where she and Joe might be.  His worst fears were being confirmed.  It was happening again.  Even as the realization crystallized he could feel the tightening in his chest, feel the undeniable shortness of breath.  If he wasn't a doctor and knew better Luka would almost swear he was having a heart attack.  The rational part of his mind was telling him to call the police, to tell them about Ames, about the stalking, the threats, his fears, but, the irrational part of his mind was winning at the moment. 

He snapped the cover of the phone closed and stalked to the door, the blood-stained baby blanket still clutched in his hand.  As he reached Louise's door he pounded on it with enough forced that it reverberated around him.

"Luka, what is it?"  The woman opened the door almost immediately, her face turning instantly to one of concern as she correctly read his expression.

"Louise, do you have Joe?  Did Abby ask you to watch him?" His heart seized in those moments that it took for him to get the questions out and wait for her to answer.

"No, I'm sorry, I haven't seen Abby or Joe today, why, is something wrong?" Her eyes swept over him, then fixed on the blanket he held. "Luka, what is it...come inside." She reached for his arm only to have him jerk away.

"No, don't...I have to find them." He was already moving away as he refused.  "I have to find them."  He turned his back on the woman, his last hope for finding one or both of them safe now gone. It was happening again.

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Song Lyrics/Realm of the Muse

And sometimes you close your eyes
And see the place where you used to live
When you were young...

"We're getting married, Abby and I, after all the mistakes, we're finally going to get it right. I never thought I'd marry a second time, I thought that Danijela would be the only wife I'd ever have. Oh, I know, I've asked Abby before, but, she's always said no, there's always been something holding her back.  Not this time, she wants this as much as I do and more importantly we both want Joe to have the security of knowing his parents loved each other enough to want to really be together. We want him to know we are a family in every sense of the word.

I can't help but find myself remembering how it was when Danijela and I were first married, we were both so young.  She was just 18, I was all of 20 myself, we were in love and we thought we'd have a lifetime together.  If only we had known how short that lifetime would really be, I wonder how much of what we had done we might have changed if we had known how few years we would actually have?

We never had much money but that didn't matter, when you're in love you can overcome anything.  We had a small apartment and when Danijela got pregnant within a few months of our marriage we couldn't have been happier. Sure, it made things a little more difficult, what with me in school and working when I wasn't. We both had the support of our families, and close friends and no matter what the struggle someone was there to see us through them.

I think that's what I'll miss with Abby now. Neither of us have family nearby, the friends we have are those we know through work, and there isn't the connection with them that Danijela and I had with ours all those years ago. Whatever problems we might have we'll face on our own.

I've changed so much since those early years with Danijela, and while I know I can't have the same kind of marriage with Abby that I had with her, it can be every bit as good.  I love Abby and I know this is the right thing for both of us, I can only hope she feels the same way.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Night/Theatrical Muse Challenge

I can't get Curtis Ames out of my head. It's not so bad during the day, even though I can't work yet, I have Joe to keep me distracted, but, even that isn't a guarantee of safety. There are so many things I can't do for him because of what Ames did to my hand. Little things like changing his diaper, or giving him a bath, even dressing him is beyond me. What kind of father can I be to him if I can't take care of his most basic needs? But, at least I have his company and in those moments when I'm watching him I know that I won't be thinking of Ames.

It's when night comes that things fall apart, when Joe and Abby are asleep and I lay awake, reliving all that he put me through. There are times when it feels like I'm watching a movie, when the night plays out in slow motion and nothing I can do will allow me to put it on pause. Those are the nights when the pain from my hand is as intense as the night it was crushed, those are the nights when I don't dare attempt to sleep.

I thought at first I might be able to use sleep as a means of escape. I thought that the pills they gave me for the pain would chase the memories away, or at least blur them enough that I could hide from them. But, I was wrong, so very wrong. The escape the pills give me from the pain seem only to act as a beacon for Ames, and when I close my eyes he is there, taunting me, threatening, and no matter how the dream begins, it always ends with my scream as the vice crushes my hand.

I wonder how long it will be before he stops coming. Then again, what if he never stops, what if this is how I'm forced to live the rest of my life? No, I can't let him control my life but, at the same time, I don't know how to make him stop. How do you stop someone who isn't even alive?

Saturday, February 3, 2007

065 Scream 100 Situations

To Sleep, Perchance Not To Dream (065.Scream )
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka Kovac
Prompt: Scream
My table:
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Misc TV
Words: 484
Summary: Luka tries to get past the ordeal with Ames
Author's Notes: Spoilers to the episode Murmurs of the Heart

I thought I knew what pain was, I was wrong.  I thought I knew what it was to be afraid, I was wrong.  I thought I was ready to die, I was wrong.

I need the pain to stop, and I know I need to sleep, but all I really want to do is hold Joe and Abby close and never let them go. They gave me pain meds at County, they splinted my hand and told me that as soon as the swelling went down I'd have to go through surgery, but they can't give me any guarantees.  What's worse, the thing I need most no one can give me. I close my eyes and all I see is his face, I hear his voice, but worse, far worse is hearing my own scream. 

How many pills would I need to take it all away? How many pills to let me sleep without seeing him, without hearing his voice.  How many pills to spare me the sound of my own scream as the vice crushed more then my hand?  Abby doesn't dare leave the bottle within my reach, I think she's afraid of what I might do.  Truth is, even if I wanted to take my life I couldn't, my faith won't allow it. It wouldn't then,  when I lost Danijela and the children, it won't now, when I may have lost the life I've struggled so long to achieve.

I listen to Abby comforting Joe in the other room and I can't help but find myself back in the living-room in those moments when it all started.  What if I hadn't come out of it alive? I keep hearing Abby as she begged me to stay, the fear in her voice, and I know it wasn't just her fear of what would happen to me.  I promised I would take care of her and Joe, but how could I if I wasn't with them?

I want to scream, but I know what that would do to Abby and Joe.  What right do I have to subject them to more after all they've already been through?   Oh, God...I need the pain to stop.  How many pills to make it go away? I just want the throbbing to stop.  How many pills would it take until I can no longer feel the blood as it tries to force itself through veins pinched too tight by crushed bone? 

If I close my eyes, and give in to the sleep that I know I need, how long would it take for Ames to find his way into my dreams?  How long before my own screams of pain would wake me? I can't deny it would happen, but, how long can I avoid sleep?  How many pills to give me just a few hours free of pain, free of dreams, a few hours of peace?

Friday, February 2, 2007

What are you waiting for?/Theatrical Muse Challenge

I thought I was waiting for death.  After all the years I'd waited to begin living, all the years I wasted, I was sure it was finally going to claim me and I wasn't ready to go.

I didn't know what to think when Abby called and told me to come home.  My first fear was that something had happened to Joe.  I couldn't have stood to lose him, couldn't have gone through the motions of laying yet another of my babies to rest before they had a chance to know what it was like to live.

But if it wasn't Joe, then it must have been Abby, but, I couldn't understand why she wouldn't have told me why it was so important that I come home at just that moment.  I should have known something was wrong, I should have heard it in her tone, if only I had been listening.

Once there the real reason was clear, Ames was there, terrorizing my son, my wife, subjecting them to fear neither should have had to know.  Abby won't understand why I had to go with him, but, I had to, it was the only way to make sure they would both be safe.

I wanted so badly to pick Joe up and hold him before I left, to give him one last kiss, to inhale the scent of him so I could take it with me when I left.  I wanted to embrace Abby, to kiss her and whisper my love for her in her ear so only she would hear.  I couldn't do any of these things though because I couldn't let Ames know how much they meant to me, I coudn't risk him hurting them to get at me.  I hope Abby understood the reason I had to go, in those moments, my life didn't matter, I couldn't resist and take the chance that he would hurt either of them.

I couldn't know what he had planned for me. I only saw the gun, knew that he had lost everything that had meant anything to him and that he blamed me for it, what else could I think?

Sitting in front of his wife's house, watching his children, the man she now called husband, that they called father, I could understand his pain, but it wasn't my fault.  It didn't mean I deserved to lose my family, it didn't mean I deserved to lose my life.  I don't even remember now what prompted him to hit me, I just felt the butt of the gun as it hit my jaw, and the pain, and I think that was the first time I realized he was capable of more than just talk. The first time I felt afraid.

I think up to then I thought I could talk him out of doing anything, we could both go home and pretend this had never happened.  I was wrong, so very wrong. 

He took me to his house, he told me of the dreams he'd had for his life, the dreams he blamed me of stealing away from him. I never thought there could be something worse then waiting to die.  He wanted me to know what it was like to lose the use of my hand.  I begged hm, pleaded with him, I'm a doctor, my hands are my life, other people's lives depend on them, he didn't care.  He forced me to place my right hand in a vice and turn it, I've never known such pain, then he kicked it even tighter and I was sure I would pass out.  In those moments I almost wished he would just kill me so the pain would stop.

But he didn't, maybe it was because the police had found him, found us, I don't know. He forced me to the roof, I could hear the police sirens, there was a helicopter, it was insane, I was sure it was over. He had the gun out, he'd shoot me, then himself and it would be done.  They tried to talk him down, but he wouldn't listen, he wanted me to say I was sorry, to say I was responsible for everything that had happened to him, and in the end I did.  What else could I do? 

The rest was a blur...the gun went off, Ames ended up the one who was dead, and there were police all over the roof. I don't think it really hit me that it was over until I saw Abby in the street, I came so close to losing her, to losing everything, and I don't ever want to know that feeling again.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER/Misc. TV
Words: 781