"How do you do it?" John Carter looked like death warmed over as he approached, his eyes red rimmed, his clothing rumpled.
"Do what?" Luka Kovac immediately reached for the other doctor's arm.
"Let's go in the lounge, we can talk there where it's more private." Once they were inside he sat two coffee cups on the counter.
"How's Kem?' With his back to the other man he finished filling the cups, then carried them over to the couch.
"Not good, neither of us are, I don't think we can get through this." Carter picked up he cup closest to him as Luka sat it down.
"You will." The Croat's vote of confidence came quietly.
"Because you did?" John didn't mean for his words to come off as harshly as they did, but the bite was still there, in them.
Luka released a slow breath and sat his own cup back on the table before turning to fully face the other man.
"John, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's going to be easy, because it's not." Raking his hand back through his hair, Kovac took a moment to search for the feelings in himself that he worked so hard to bury, feelings he knew he would need if he were to help his grieving friend.
"It hurts so much." Carter's voice broke as he spoke, and tears began welling in his eyes.
"I know, I wish I could say one day it won't hurt, but, I can't." Luka reached over and firmly gripped the other man's shoulder as he continued.
"I can tell you that some days are better then others, and eventually you'll find a way to bury the hurt away, and move on with your life." He felt the tremble under hand, but it was to late to stop.
"But, you'll always have that raw spot, that emptiness, and nothing anyone can do or say will change that, so, all you can do is grieve. Over time you'll find that is taking less and less of your day and that's when you can start looking forward again." When Carter's shoulder's sagged and the tears finally fully broke, Luka knew the conversation was over and all he could do for his friend in those moments was hold him, and so he did. While he had conquered his own grief, what Carter was going through now was his alone, and all he could do was stand by him as his friend. If only he'd had someone to give him that strength in Vukovar.