Title: Uh Oh
Author: JD
Claim: Luka Kovac/ER
Table: Do It Yourself
Prompt: Chickenpox
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Luka picks up more then his son Joe from Daycare
Warnings: Mild language abuse, bad Abby.
Notes: Set post Season 15/ Boston

"Tata home!."Joe's squeal, was quickly followed by the clomp of him running to the door to greet his father. While it was a nightly event, or at least nightly on those days when Luka had a shift, Abby found herself stopping what she was doing as the normal reaction to the toddler's attack did not happen. Snagging a dishtowel on her way out of the kitchen, she was surprised to find both her husband and son already settled on the couch with Sponge Bob on the tv when she found them.

"Luka, are you all right?" It was hard for her not to ask the question as she took in the Croat's appearance, from the flush in his face, to the general look of a fatigue.

"Long day..." If he'd meant to say more it was lost to his cough as he turned his head to avoid exposing Joe.

"It looks like more then that." As she touched his forehead, Abby immediately frowned.

"You are running a temperature. Let me take Joe, I want you to go to bed, I'll bring some Tylenol up in a minute." Before he could protest, she had already moved around the couch to take their son.

Abby, you're over-reacting, I'm just tired." As he saw that his words were falling on deaf ears he reluctantly rose.

"All right, you win, I'll take a nap."

After settling Joe at the table with something to eat, Abby made her way up the stairs to check on Luka. Ever since his return from the Congo they'd known his malaria might return, was that what was happening now? She heard heard his coughing even before she entered the room, and as she took a seat on the edge of the bed she could feel the heat coming off of him. His fever was climbing.

"Luka, I need you to take these." When it took several attempts for Abby to rouse him and get him alert enough to take the tablets, her fear of the malaria's reappearance only grew.

"I'm going to get a washcloth for your head." As she spoke, she brushed his damp bangs away from his face, before rearranging the comforter that he'd hastily pulled over him when he'd first laid down. By the time she returned, he'd returned to his fitful sleep, and she knew, her night would be one spent watching him and worrying that far worse would be coming.

Over the next several hours she checked on her husband often, trading one washcloth for another to try and comfort him. When Joe was finally put to bed she move permanently to his side, taking the work she still needed to do with her. First up, Joe's backpack, from the day he'd started in daycare she'd fallen into the habit of leaving the sorting of it's contents until the end of the day. In fact, she was almost sure that Luka was in the habit of going through it before even getting home, even if she'd never called him on it.

Unzipping the bag , she first pulled out a shirt and pair of pants, both in need of a wash, then dropped them on the floor. What came next was a little unexpected, it wasn't like Joe to get warning notes, but that's what the heading said, or did it. With her full attention on the piece of paper she began reading, and the further she got into it, the deeper the furrow between her brows got.

"You have got to be kidding me." She glanced quickly up from the paper as Luka again coughed in his sleep. It was too much of a stretch. So what if a couple of kids in the daycare had turned up with chickenpox, Joe had been vaccinated, he wouldn't bring it home. But, how many times in the last week had he been the one to pick Joe up? Had he had chickenpox as a child or ever been vaccinated for it? As she sat there watching her husband's restless sleep, Abby knew her questions were not going to gain any answers and the next best thing would be to examine him, maybe there were symptoms beyond the fever, cough and fatigue he was already showing.

Replacing the papers in Joe's bag, she sat it on the floor before going to Luka's side and removing the now dry washcloth so she could feel his forehead. His fever had yet to break, and from the sound of his cough, it seemed to be settling deeper into his chest. Spots, she needed to see if he had any of them. Pulling aside the comforter he'd buried himself under, she rolled him to his back so she could unbutton his shirt. As she fumbled at the buttons she couldn't help chastising him at the same time for not having undressed. What was he thinking? When she raised his tee shirt to look at his stomach and chest, her actions roused him enough that he attempted to push her hands away.

"Luka, stop, Luka." There was no fight in him to resist her and she easily captured his hands with one of hers, and there they were, not many, but a good start.

"Shit." Rolling him to his side, she repeated the inspection on his back, only to find even more evidence of the chickenpox. This was not going to be fun, she knew it already, but, at least there was a good side to it all. Knowing he'd caught the chickenpox, ruled out the early worry that his malaria had resurfaced, and if she had to choose one over the other, she'd rather stock up on the Calamine lotion and Aveeno bath and suffer through him itching.
A New Challenge

Seeing You with New Eyes/ Second Look Hold me Til death us do part Lost Fever
Haunting Past Confession Chickenpox/Measles War Hungry
Title: Escapes (Drunk in 10 Hurt Comfort)
Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG-13
Character: Luka Kovac
Words: 694
Summary: Luka finds himself walking a dangerous tightrope /Set around the Season 9 episode, "The Advocate"
Warnings: Deals with adult subject matter.

"I should go." The woman's voice woke him and Luka roused from sleep, turning over toward the sound of it, only to rub his eyes as he tried to force his still blurred thoughts to clear.

"Hmm?" He blinked several times, before pushing himself up on one arm, unable to immediately put a name to the woman's face.

"Good morning." The blond smiled before leaning over so she could kiss him.

"I said," She allowed the blanket to drop, exposing her nakedness as she tempted him further by trailing her finger along his jawline. "I should go, unless you want to pay for me to stay longer."

"No, that's okay...I have things I need to do today." He closed his eyes, trying to ignore the feelings her attentions were stirring in him.

"Why don't I believe you?" The prostitute smiled before she moved closer, anticipating the potential for success, and the monetary rewards that came with it, before she crawled on top of him.

"We could play a little before breakfast, or play with breakfast?" She leaned forward so she could kiss him between words, before finally settling herself on his lap.

"I can't. Look, I'm sorry...you need to go." If it hadn't been for his stirring erection under her he might actually have succeeded in convincing her of his sincerity. Now, if she would just stop running her hands over his chest so he could think.

"Valerie, please...aaaah" He sucked a breath of air in quickly as the woman laughed and leaned forward to flick her tongue around one of his nipples.

"You have to go." Realizing he would have to be the one to take action Luka pushed the woman off of him and rolled out of the bed, ignoring the fact he was naked, before grabbing the pants he'd discarded the night before.

"I'm going to get dressed, the bathroom is there, shower if you want, but you need to go. I'll be downstairs." Without giving her a chance to protest he snagged up his shirt and left the room. Pausing on the landing to dress, he couldn't help but question what was he doing with his life? The answer came almost too quickly and too clearly and it was something he found himself unwilling to deal with.

Rather then returning to the woman in the bedroom he knew his only other escape would be found downstairs in the kitchen and it was there he went. Pulling open the refrigerator door he grabbed a bottle of beer from it he twisted the cap off and took a long pull off of it. The day hadn't even begun and he was ready to hide from it in the bottom of a bottle.

"You're sure you don't want me to stay?" Valerie's voice interrupted his thoughts and he looked up to find the prostitute watching him from the doorway. How long had she been there?

"I'm sure, you should go." He took another drink, seeking fortification from the contents.

"Will you call me again?" She moved over to where he stood only to take the beer away from him.

"I'll give you a special rate." She took a drink then handed it back.

"Sure...I don't know when though." Even as he agreed he wanted to believe that this was a one time thing, that he hadn't fallen so low as to have to pay for sex more than once.

"You're a nice guy, Luka, if you ever just want to talk, call me, maybe we can go to coffee or something." Valerie raised up on her toes to kiss him once more, realizing that whatever hope she'd had for prolonging things had finally ended. "Take care of yourself, I'll let myself out."

"Yeah, sure." As the door closed behind her whatever momentary physical comfort he'd gotten from being with her vanished with her, leaving behind only more of the guilt and despair that had driven him to her in the first place. Opening the refrigerator he pulled the remainder of the six-pack out and carried it to the living-room.

There was only one escape left for him now...
Title: Nightmare(Fight in 10 Hurt Comfort)
Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG-13
Character: Luka and Joe Kovac, Abby Lockhart
Words: 548
Summary: Luka can't escape Curtis Ames even in his own home.
Warnings: Spoilers to Season 13

"Abby...I'm here, what's wrong?" As he slid his key in the lock Luka was surprised to find the door already unlocked, and as he pushed the door open he froze in his tracks.

"What are you doing here?" He was surprised that he could speak at all as he saw Curtis Ames standing there in the apartment, worse though was absorbing the rest of the scene before him. Abby was sitting on the couch, her face red from crying, as she stared at the man who now held her son, their screaming son. She must have fought him, one eye was swollen almost closed and her lip was split.

"Put him down." Luka started to move toward the man only to stop as Ames gripped Joe's arm even more tightly, prompting an acceleration in the intensity of his screams. "He's just a baby, what kind of a man are you?"

"Please, don't hurt him." Abby added her plea's to Luka's. As much as she wanted to stop him, she was afraid to move, not so much for what might happen to her but for what he still could do to Joe.

"Please...let me have him." The infant's cries were becoming choked sobs as he looked from one parent to the other, clearing not understanding why neither were coming to his aid.

"Ames...it's me you want...let my son go. Whatever you want, I don't care, just put him down." Luka hated that he was having to plead with the man, but he knew too he would do anything to save the child's life, even to the point of sacrificing his own.

"You want me to put him down?" Ames dangled Joe by one arm, taunting each parent in turn as the baby's screams renewed their intensity.

It was too much for him to watch, shooting Abby a glance before he moved into action Luka charged toward Ames, ready to fight for his son's life.

"You shouldn't have done that." In the next moment Ames defiantly released Joe and pulled the gun he had in his pocket, knowing that neither parent could reach the child before he hit the floor.

Luka's scream of horror woke him from the nightmare and left him gasping for air, and it took him several moments to realize that none of what he'd been seeing was real.

"Luka, are you all right?" Abby sat up beside him, rubbing his back, only to realize that his t-shirt was soaked with sweat. "What was it?"

"Joe, I need to make sure he's safe." Even as he voiced the concern Luka found himself unable to move.

"I'll go, Luka." Abby was already climbing off the bed as she spoke, understanding the need for urgency. When she returned with Joe in her arms she wasn't surprised to find that Luka remained exactly as she'd left him.

"Here he is Luka, see, he's safe, he's safe." Sitting next to him, she carefully placed the infant in his arms.

"Safe....he's safe." Luka repeated the words quietly before leaning his head against Joe's.

"Yeah, he's safe, it was only a dream, Luka." She offered the reassurance quietly as she laid her hand on his back, wondering if he even heard it. Would this nightmare never end?
Title: Of Those Left Behind
Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG
Character: Luka Kovac
Words: 601
Summary: Luka faces the prospect of life alone and receives support from one of his teachers.
Warnings: Deals with potentially sensitive subject matter related to the War of Independence.
Notes: Visit my Chart at: http://dr-luka-kovac.livejournal.com/24138.html

"Luka, you need to eat something." Even as he made the request the older doctor knew he was fighting a losing battle with his resident. Barely a week had passed since the young man had buried his wife and two small children, a week since he had lost his home, and what he saw as his life.

"I'm not hungry." Luka gave the plate that had been placed in front of him little more than a glance before pushing it away in refusal, the very thought of eating enough to turn his stomach.

"What exactly are you hoping to prove by not eating?" Catching a nearby stool with his foot the doctor pulled it over, then lowered himself onto it so that he could talk more privately with the man in front of him.

"Look at me when I'm talking to you, Luka." He waited for the young doctor's eyes to reach his before continuing.

"What do you think you're going to accomplish by not eating, I want to know?" Ante Srna locked his eyes on his student as he waited for his answer.

"I don't know, nothing, why does it have to mean anything?" Truth was he didn't know, the grief that had been been feeding on him since the funerals had left him incapable of thinking of anything beyond it.

"Why can't you just leave me alone?" Luka raised a hand to wave the man off, hoping that the gesture alone might be enough to put an end to the conversation. Why couldn't they just let him go to work, let him lose himself in the the chaos of the hospital?

"Because I care about you, Luka, and I'm worried about you." He took in the younger doctor's appearance with a worried shake of his head.

"You're not eating, you're not sleeping, I can't know that you're not going to make mistakes that could cost someone their life."

"I need to be working." Anything to keep him from thinking about his family he wanted to say, but didn't.

"Until you eat and get at least eight hours of sleep that I can verify I am not going to let you touch any patients, I'm sorry, I can't take that risk." He shook his head, it was his turn to stop the words before they came.

"Eight hours and you eat something." Ante Srna pushed the plate of food back over toward his resident before standing and placing his hand on the man's shoulder

"Luka, you'll get through this, I know it doesn't seem like it now, but you will." He gave his shoulder a squeeze before releasing him.

As much as he wanted to believe the man it was still too soon and Luka found himself unable to agree, but rather then argue he remained silent. He knew he was retreating farther into his thoughts to avoid allowing the emotions to fully surface, but he had no choice, if he released them now he was sure he would never gain control of them again.

"I need to go see some patients, if you want to talk just page me." As much as he hated leaving, the older doctor knew he too had no choice, life had to go on, his resident's losses were no different then any of the hundred other people's they might see on any given day.

"I'll check in on you later." He gave Luka a sad smile and turned away from him, grabbing a chart as he did. As much as he hated to say it, the young man would learn to live with his grief because he had to, his life would go on, whether he saw it now or not.
Title: Fear Pt 9/10 (Fear in 10 Hurt Comfort)
Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG
Character: Luka Kovac
Words: 373
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 experiences 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 profile page. For the already completed prompts to this Challenge Community visit the Chart at: http://dr-luka-kovac.livejournal.com/24138.html

How long could he hold his breath? How long could he pray that they wouldn't find him, that his fate wouldn't become the same as those he'd left behind at the hospital, or those gunned down in the streets as they tried to escape to safety? Squeezing his eyes closed he buried his face in the crook of his arm to shield it from the falling dust and gravel, and to muffle any coughs that might break through.

The wait for the men searching the building around him to leave seemed to take forever and it was equally terrifying. Would the wallboard that concealed him from the Serbian soldiers be strong enough to support their weight of them as they walked back and forth conducting their search? Would the next step one them took disturb the board that hid the small opening that separated life from death for him?

He could smell the smoke from their cigarettes, he could feel them burn at his throat with each breath he took. Is that how he would die then? Would he suffocate as their smoke and the dust from their footsteps stole away what little air his hiding place offered him? Had he made it this far only to die from lack of air before he could make his escape?

The crack of an isolated gunshot sent the men into gales of laughter and he was forced to swallow back his own bile as they joked of someone's death as if it meant nothing. Then, suddenly, from nowhere a hand had his shoulder and he realized he'd somehow given himself away, his fate would soon be that of those from the hospital, his life was over.

"Luka, shhh...quiet, it's just a dream...shhh..." The words came quietly in Croatian close to his ear, as he slowly came awake in the darkness.

"It's okay son, you're safe, it was just a dream." Sitting up on his cot Luka gulped for air as the old man whose cot sat next to his rubbed his hand over his back. The remnants of the dream were still lingering, but as the man continued to offer reassurance, they began to recede, and for tonight, the fear had been defeated.
Title: Escaping the Loneliness Pt 6/10 (Lonely in 10 Hurt Comfort)
Author: JD
Fandom: ER
Rating: PG
Character: Luka Kovac
Words: 864
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. Visit my Chart at: http://dr-luka-kovac.livejournal.com/24138.html for the chapters prior to this one.

He hated leaving the tent but there were times too when he could stand it's confinement no more, when it felt like the green canvas was closing in on him and the only way he could stop it was by leaving it. Slipping the photo of Danijela and Jasna into his pocket, Luka reached for the crutches.

It was an isolation of his own making, he knew that, it wasn't that others in the tent hadn't tried to include him in their conversations. It wasn't that they hadn't offered to include them in their games of cards or chess, or that they hadn't invited him to join them for meals. How many times could he have expected them to continue accepting his refusal before they stopped asking completely? If only Danijela could see him for who he was now. What would she think of how much he had changed, of how different he was from the man she had fallen in love with, from the man she had married?

That his thoughts had drifted to his late wife did not surprise him, she was a constant companion to his loneliness, a reminder of the life he no longer had. In truth though there were far too many things here that brought forth those reminders, it was why he hated leaving the tent. Why he hated listening to the conversations of those here as well as outside. On most days he could escape the reminders through sleep or with memories of what his life had been before Vukovar, but not today. Today nothing had worked and the feelings of loss were threatening to tear him apart and all he knew was that he had to get away from the reminders.

The rain that had fallen on the camp for the past several days had finally moved on, leaving behind mud, puddles of water, and soggy tents filled with people working to dry out what meager belongings they had left to them before the next series of showers arrived. The camp itself was divided into sections, rows of canvas which housed single men, single women, and those with children, and families, it was the last that he found the most difficult to move through, and which unfortunately seemed to always prove unavoidable.

It was never easy moving along the camp's rutted paths on crutches but with them now muddy it required even more of his attention, but it also slowed his pace. As he neared the area on the approach to the family tents it was unavoidable that the conversations within and around them would reach his ears.

"Tata!" He heard the call of the small girl almost as soon as he entered the walkway between the tents and it tore into him in a way he hadn't thought possible. "Tata!" Her cry was repeated, and then answered by the booming voice of a man who could only be her father. He didn't dare look for the two, knowing that it would only deepen the sense of loss, the sense of loneliness he was feeling.

He'd tried to explain what this was like to some of the doctors when they'd asked him about it, but, how could he expect others to understand something which he still couldn't fully understand himself? How did he tell someone that it felt like whole pieces of who he was were missing? That nothing he could do, nothing that anyone else could say, and nothing they could do would ever be able to replace them? How do you tell someone that even in a room full of people you feel totally alone because the very people who make you complete are no longer with you? How do you tell someone that your reason for living is no longer there?

Never could he have believed that one word could have caused so much pain, more pain even then the bullet that had ripped through his leg had caused. More pain then the sound of hearing a child calling for their father and wanting to answer, but knowing you can't. He'd thought that nothing could be worse than the grief he'd felt at losing his wife and children until he had come here, he'd been so wrong.

And then he is past those tents and until the next time he can, if he is lucky, push most of those feelings into the darker places of his thoughts. It's not easy though and some days are worse than others. On those days he feels more alone than at any other time, and then there are days like this one when he can't. Days where everything reminds him of something he no longer has, of someone he no longer is. These are the days he escapes to the pathways.

Maybe this is how he would spend the rest of his life. The very thought is enough to make him quicken his pace and cause him to stumble as the crutch slips in the mud as it searches for a footing to keep him upright. And then he is somehow back where he started and at least for today he can put the thoughts aside as fatigue wins over and it takes all his remaining strength to make his way back to the cot that at least for now, he calls home.
Title: 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.
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....
Title: Moving Day Pt 1/10 (Injured in 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 on the journal link on my info page.

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.