An ER Fanfic set following the "Bishop Stewart" arc



The symptoms of pneumonia were becoming more pronounced and Abby was finding her resolve to protect Luka's privacy dwindling. She shifted positions on the bed next to him, lines of worrying etching themselves in her face as she listened to his strained breathing. She'd given up trying to keep him covered, the heat his body was putting off seeming to be enough. Reaching for the washcloth she dipped it in the water glass then held it to his lips, forcing some of it into him before she wiped the sweat from him. She should call Mark, ask him to come, she could trust him to maintain Luka's privacy, couldn't she? She tucked her hair back behind her ear, why couldn't he just wake up and tell her what she should do?

He'd worked 3 straight shifts with no break and as he opened the door to small apartment he paused, Danijela was sleeping and the small room held the chaos of four people living in what was meant for one. He listened for the sounds of his children then his brow creased as he searched the darkness for the other two-forms that should be lying with her. Setting his case down he closed the door before walking across to the bed, Jasna lay curled against her mother, one arm encircling a battered rag doll the thumb of the other wedged in her mouth. Leaning to her he brushed her hair from her face before laying a kiss on her forehead, only then did he hear the soft giggle behind him. Turning he saw Marko sitting on the floor, the remnants of a loaf of bread and jar of jelly surrounding him. "What have you done little man?" He moved over to his 18 month old son, trying to look angry but failing as the jelly covered face beamed with his success. Extending a hand, the small boy offered the evidence of his crime. "Tata, eat." As he settled on the floor next to him the boy crawled over, offering the half chewed crust he held. "Marko, eat." Luka smiled as he drew him into his lap. "I see that. You couldn't wait until morning?" He suffered the jelly coated hug and kiss that followed, "You know what Mama is going to do when she sees this?" He asked quietly, enjoying the time with the small version of himself. The boy nodded at the question. "Mama say, Marko, bad. Marko, no." Luka couldn't help laughing at the seriousness of the response then he nodded. "How about we clean it, and you up before Mama sees then, it can be our secret, ok?" The boy nodded, a grin filling his face once more.

The drugs the doctor had given him made it easy to lose himself to the past. He could forget about the loss, the pain, the horrors he had seen. He could return to the times when all had been right, the time when he had been complete. The dreams were as real to him as when they happened and his stomach growled softly as it reacted to the scent of the fresh bread and jelly. "Marko." He whispered the boy's name as the image of him faded and even in the half sleep he was forced to acknowledge that his son was lost to him forever. A fresh wave of coughing stole whatever remained of the dream and he found himself wondering which was worse. Did it hurt more to repeatedly relive their losses time after time, or to feel their touch as if it were real as he slept, only to know the emptiness of their absence when he was awake?

It was impossible to know if it was the intensity of the coughing as it seemed to tear him apart or the vividness of seeing his son again, but by the time it subsided his cheeks were wet with shed tears. He barely registered the woman moving around him, he wanted nothing more then to return to the safety of his dreams, to the place where he could be with his family again. "Stay with me sweetie, I need you to drink something." Her voice was quiet, her French accent pronounced. He flicked his eyes to her as she coaxed him to drink several swallows of water in an attempt to ease his parched throat. "Good, not too fast." Her voice was quiet and he found it drawing on deeper memories as she set the glass aside only to begin to wipe the tears and sweat from his skin. "I know it's hard, best to sleep now and try not to think of it." He found himself nodding in agreement as she brushed her fingertips across his eyelids, then lay the freshly moistened cloth on his forehead. "Sleep now." she coaxed soothingly, and he did.

"Baka, it hurts." The boy clutched his stomach as the pain tore through him again. "Shh, I know Luka, Djed has gone for the doctor." The silver haired woman settled herself in the chair next to her 10 year old grandson, then dipped the washcloth she held in the basin of water beside her. "Tell me of the trains Luka, how is it when Tata takes you down to the sea?" She knew she had to distract him, and as she spoke she wiped the beads of sweat from his face. He was burning with fever and his belly was taut to the touch, if they lived in the city they could have taken him to the hospital already, instead they had to wait. "Make it stop hurting Baka." He rolled onto his side, drawing his knees to his chest even as he wrapped his arms around his stomach. "I know Luka. Djed is coming soon." With a resigned sigh she rose and left the boy to go to the kitchen, pulling a bottle of vodka she poured a small amount in a glass then carried it back to the room. When she was re-seated she brushed her fingers across his forehead. "Sweetie, I want you to drink some of this, it'll make the pain go away." She raised his head then held the glass to his lips, hoping the alcohol itself would dull the pain he felt. "I know it tastes bad, but you'll feel better. Good, that's enough." She offered the boy a smile as she brushed the damp hair off his face, her smile deepening as she recognized the effects of the alcohol on him. "You can sleep now sweetie. Djed will be home soon."

"Baka, it hurts." Another spell of coughing drove him back to consciousness and still under the cloud of his dreams his hoarse voice spoke to those he thought still there. Angelique glanced over to him as she finished cleaning the cut across the woman in front of her palm, than returned to her. "I don't think it needs stitches, you were very lucky." She wrapped the bandage around her hand then taped it off. "Try and keep it dry and come back tomorrow so I can change this." Laying the roll of tape aside she smiled to the woman then stood and moved to his side. "Shh, what hurts sweetie?" What was it about this one that was different from the others?

For the last 48 hours he had fought the affects of the infection to his leg and the pneumonia and through most of it she had stayed nearby, resisting the urgings of her staff to leave. Why? She had treated patients in far worse condition then he was...it wasn't that he was so young that she should feel protective of him, or so badly injured that she knew he would die and she didn't want him to be alone. No, he had touched her in a way she had yet to define, but there was no doubt he had touched her. "Tell me what hurts sweetie?" She had taken to using the endearment since he had yet to provide a clue to his identity and if he had noticed, or minded he had yet to say anything. She brushed his hair off his face as she studied it. "Leg." His voice was barely more then a whisper, ragged from the coughing, it came as little more then a croak as he shifted a hand to the thigh. "Leg or knee sweetie?" She drew the covers back to get a glimpse of both, the bandages stark against his pale skin. She was losing him again. Even the pain not strong enough to keep him conscious. "I'll check them both, it's all right for you to go back to sleep." She offered a smile as a confirmation of her permission then watched as his eyes once more closed and he let himself retreat to his dreams.


To be continued...
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