I killed a man tonight. And while I see death on an almost daily basis, I know this one will haunt me for the rest of my life. This wasn't a death I can write off to fate, or even injuries too severe for those of us treating him to stabilize. The truth is, this death was preventable. Tonight's death came at my hand, and for one single reason. I lost it.

Abby and I had gone out for the evening and instead of taking a cab after dinner, we went walking down by the river. Out of nowhere we were attacked by this mugger and I remember hitting the ground. When I came to, Abby was screaming and I went after him, but, instead of simply stopping him, I laid into him, sending him to the ground. It wasn't enough that I hit him, or that I kept hitting him, I also shattered his skull by repeatedly pounding his head against the pavement. If Abby hadn't stopped me I'd have killed him right there, I'm sure of it, as it was, they ended up taking him to the hospital, but, it was too late, his brain was already mush.

I came to America, to Chicago to find myself and hopefully start a new life, but, now I wonder if that's even possible. Do I want to know the person capable of this? Maybe the bigger question should be, will anyone else here want to have anything to do with me once the word gets out about it? Who knows what it might take to make me snap again. What if it were to happen at work, or worse, to someone I knew? My God, what kind of an animal does this make me?

I look at this City and I think I could disappear into it so easily, but, the truth is, I never could because the one person I most need to escape from is myself. Maybe Niko was right, maybe I am running away. Maybe my not being able to deal with all that happened back home is only going to keep building up in me until I'm left with these unexplainable rages that I can't control. How am I going to be able to live like this? It's not like I can justify my actions, so, what do I do? Run away again? What would that accomplish? Do I find yet another place to bury this as I've tried to bury so many other things in my past that I'm not ready, or not able to face? I don't know how much more of this I can take before it's too much.

As much as I know it's not possible, I still find myself clinging to that thread of hope, and so, I close my eyes and I wish, no I pray for that miracle that will make all of this go away. I pray for that miracle that will give me back those I've lost and the life that we used to have, but, it never does. No matter how often I try, I open my eyes and I'm left instead with the view of the City and all of those hopes that I fear will never be fulfilled.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 545
2. Character: Luka Kovac
3. Warnings: Angsty
4. Pairings: n/a
5. Your character's fandom: ER
6. Word count: 485
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.

They keep asking me how I feel and all I can think to wonder is how am I supposed to feel? I nearly lost my life, as did Abby, and my son still struggles for his. None of this should have happened, and all I can think of is how much I hate those responsible, and how if they weren't already dead I would kill them myself.

It's hard to keep these feelings to myself but, with everything else that's going on it doesn't matter what's going on in my head. I need to keep my focus on Joe, and Abby, and somewhere in there I have to concentrate on my patients, and I'm starting to wonder if I have enough room in my head to keep the hatred hidden away.

Standing in the NICU, seeing my son laying there, so fragile, his tiny body swallowed up by tubes and wires, it's not fair. If Steve and his friends had never come here none of this would have happened. If they had never escaped he'd still be growing safe in his mother's womb, protected from harm until it was his time to be born.

They forced this on him, forced this on all of us, and I worry about what his future holds with his having been born so early. I'm a doctor, I know the risks, and as frightened as I am of what all this could do to him I know I'll love him with all my heart no matter what.

How do I keep all of these fears from Abby though, how do I keep my anger at bay when all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs or break something? I hate having no one to confide in, I hate having to be the strong one all of the time, but, what else can I do? Abby needs my strength more then ever and whatever I'm feeling has to feel worse to her. I promised her I would be there for her, and when she needed me most, where was I?

Even as I know that all of this was beyond my control, I can't help feeling like I've failed not just Abby, but my son as well. If I couldn't protect Joe before he was born, how can I be sure I'll be there when when he needs me in the future. Maybe that's my greatest fear, that I'll fail him as I failed Jasna and Marko. Maybe I've misplaced my hate all along, and instead of Steve and the others it's really my own actions that I'm holding responsible. Maybe one day I'll be able to put it to rest and forgive myself, but, for today, all I can do is hit my knees and pray that he'll make it one more day, because each day brings more hope that he'll live.
2. Character: Luka Kovac
3. Warnings:
4. Pairings: n/a
5. Your character's fandom: ER
6. Word count: 581
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.

The adrenalin was still pumping as Luka made his way out of the bar. He could have killed the man, he should have. He'd done it before with the mugger, let his rage, his need to protect someone blind him from seeing anything but stopping the person. Even having made the threat that he'd come back for Brian if he ever went near Abby hadn't been enough to squash the deeper feelings. Even now with his hand aching from the blows, he couldn't shake the feeling that he hadn't done enough. Even there, among all those witnesses, the only thing that had registered with him was the knowledge that he wanted the man dead before he could hurt anyone else the way he had hurt Abby. Why then had he stopped? Why had he failed her?

The sudden rush of images flooded his brain with such intensity that it forced bile to rise. Bracing his hand on the building's rough bricks, he gave in to the momentary weakness until he had nothing left to give but dry heaves. Seeing Abby's face for the first time, the bruises, her humiliation at having to go through the rape exam. Brian had stripped everything from her with his attack and in that instant he knew he couldn't just stand by and do nothing. He had stolen the sense of security that she should find her own home and he'd robbed her of the strength that had allowed her to overcome all the obstacles that life threw in front of her. The woman he'd seen sitting on that gurney, the woman whose injuries he'd examined was only a shell of the Abby he continued to love.

Pulling back from the building he found himself staring at the door to the bar as if he expected Brian to come walking out at any moment. What was it going to take for him to shake the emotions this man's actions had reawakened in him. Reawakened. That really was what it was all about. He hadn't been able to explain it when he'd killed the mugger, but he'd known there was more to it then just the mugging, something that had fueled an almost primal rage that was beyond his ability to control. In time he realized it wasn't only because the man had chosen to attack he and Abby that he'd lost his life that night. No, there was a deeper reason, one that he didn't want to acknowledge until he had no choice. That man had died not just for his crimes, but for those done all those years ago to Danijela and their children. He hadn't been able to to claim revenge to those responsible for his families death in Vukovar. No, the ones who had taken their lives would forever be faceless strangers, but the anger he felt toward them was still there, tucked away, waiting for the day it would be unleashed. The mugger was just the first to feel it's wrath, and he died not just for his sins, but, for those committed by those faceless strangers. Tonight had been Brian's turn.

He'd never know why he'd stopped short of killing Brian, just as he would never know if the rage would reappear. No, only time would reveal that answer, and all he could do until then was try to come to terms with the feelings, make peace with them, and hope that if they ever surfaced again he could somehow control them.
Vukovar 1991

"Mama...there's nothing to do." Despite the consequences that she knew would come from her actions, the five year old's voice altered to more of a whine as she gave in to the frustration that had been building for far too long

"Jasna, lower your voice before you wake Tata." Danijela offered the warning to her oldest child with barely a glance up from the laundry she was sorting and folding.

"You've got plenty of things you can do, if you can't figure something out yourself, you can come help me or play with Marko." At the mention of her youngest child, she immediately glanced to where the toddler was sitting on the floor, an assortment of cups scattered around him.

"I don't want to play with Marko, he's a baby. I want to go outside." With her anger peaking her chair very nearly toppled over as she shoved it backward in her haste to vacate it.

"Ou'si'" Marko almost immediately echoed his sister's word, and as a smile spread across his face he abandoned his own play to scramble to his feet so he could follow her.

"Jasna...now look what you've done. You know you can't go outside." Danijela's voice held mixed emotions in it, as angry as she might be at her daughter for fueling things, she understood only too well how hard it must be for the children to be confined to the small apartment day after day. With a sigh she lay the stack of clothing on her lap to the side before rising.

"What's going on?" Danijela had just scooped Marko up, when she heard her husband's sleepy voice over her young son's protesting cries.

"Tata, we want to go outside." Jasna immediately changed her target, and before Luka had even sat up she was climbing onto the bed where he was.

"I'm sorry they woke you, Luka." Danijela offered the apology as she continued with her efforts to calm Marko.

"It's all right." He gave his wife a tired smile before turning his attention to his daughter as she finally settled beside him.

"Tell me what's going on, Beba?" After wiping the last of the sleep from his eyes Luka sat up and slid his arm around her.

"I just want to go outside, Tata, we don't get to do anything anymore." Whether it was because of her closeness to her father, or simply because the anger that she'd seemed to hold had been released, the girl's voice no longer held it's earlier anger.

"Jasna, we've talked about this, you know it's not safe for you to be outside. I wish it was different but, it's not. How about if I get dressed and you can take your jump-rope into the hallway, would that be okay?" As he offered the compromise, Luka idly stroked his daughter's hair.

"It's not the same thing, Tata." Even as she voiced her discontent, the five year old realized that what her father was offering her was likely going to be the only option open to her other then playing in the apartment.

"What do you say, Jasna?" Luka dropped his hand to her shoulder as he asked for her final decision.

"I guess that's okay, but, just me and you, not Marko, right?" In that moment it seemed equally important that her escape from the apartment be something that she alone experience.

"Marko can stay here with Mama, besides, I have a surprise for both of you." Tossing aside the blanket that still covered him, Luka climbed off the bed and went to retrieve a small bag from the pocket of his coat. With the sack in hand, he motioned for Danijela to join the as he returned and took a seat on the side of the bed closest to his daughter.

"Tata, Marko, up." As soon as he got close to his father, the 18 month old's mood brightened.

"What do you have, Tata?" Jasna's curiosity grew as she saw the bag, and by the time he had it open she had almost draped herself over his shoulder to get a better look. As he withdrew a red sucker she elicited a squeal of delight, which was echoed by Marko.

"Let me give this one to your brother, okay?" Pulling the cellophane off he handed the sucker over to the toddler before reaching again in the bag and producing a second one.

"Here you go, Beba." Luka handed the second one to his daughter and wasn't surprised to see that it went immediately into her mouth. Realizing almost as quickly what she'd forgotten, the girl removed it and rose up to kiss her father's cheek.

"Thank you, Tata." She followed the words up with a smile, then, with the sucker back in her mouth, she climbed off the bed and coaxed Marko to follow.

"You're welcome, Beba." With the children now occupied, Danijela moved to the spot her daughter had just left.

"Where in the world did you find sweets?" She found herself trying to steal a peek in the bag as she questioned him, but, as he had with the children, Luka was being equally secretive with her.

"No peeking." The chiding came with one of his quiet laughs and it was only after he'd secured payment of a kiss from her that he revealed the chocolate bar that was her surprise.

"Luka, where did you find it?" Danijela's smile grew as broad as those of the children's when she saw what he'd found. After so many weeks of sacrifice, to have found something like this, she didn't even want to think about what it might have cost him.

"Did you get something for yourself? Take part of this." She'd already begun to section the bar off when her husband stopped her.

"We'll talk about what I want tonight, after the kids are asleep, you just enjoy it, I'm fine." It wasn't until he said them aloud that he realized how much truth the words held, despite all the sacrifices they were living with, in this moment, they were truly happy, and they couldn't ask for more than that.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 926
How do I begin to describe what it was like? We had all been through so much already, we'd lost families, friends, we'd seen everything we'd worked for taken from us until all we had left were the clothes on our back and still they demanded more. We all knew now that anytime we ventured out onto the streets we very likely risked it being the last thing we did, but, what choice did we have? We couldn't stay sequestered in the hospital forever, someone had to make the runs out for water and food, not just for ourselves, but, for those patients we were trying to provide care for.

Trying to provide care...that says so much about those final days in the Vukovar hospital. I can't remember when we'd last had electricity or running water, the supplies we had were so limited and we struggled to provide the best care we could, and still the patients kept coming. For too many of us the hospital had become our home, a safe haven amid the death and destruction that made up the insanity of the world outside it's doors. We should have known that it couldn't last, that the time would come when the little safety that it provided would crumble away, leaving one more pile of debris amidst the ruin of what had once been such a beautiful city.

There'd been no warning on that last day, out of nowhere word reached us that the City had fallen and as the Serbian soldiers made their way through the streets, chaos took over. Those who were mobile were encouraged to flee, if they were lucky they might be able to get out of the City...if they were lucky. Did luck even exist anymore? As a doctor we swear an oath to care for our patients, how could we think about leaving them, but, the youngest of us were told to do just that, someone had to make sure that people knew what had happened, what was still happening.

Even as we were fleeing out of the back of the hospital we could hear the gunfire, we could only guess at what was happening, the truth would come later and it would prove to be far worse then any of us could have imagined. The only hope for survival in those first hours was in looking out for yourself and my first thought was that I had to find somewhere to hide, at least until dark. The fear left me shaking, I knew that at any moment a soldier could spot me from a window or I could become a target for some sniper's bullet, but, I had no choice, I had to keep going.

I'd no sooner left the hospital then I took shelter in the ruins of a bombed out apartment house nearby, with some digging I'd discovered a pocket of space under some fallen wallboards and plaster. While it wouldn't give me much room to move, it would hide me until the soldiers were gone, I had no other choice, already I could hear the trucks on the street, and behind it all, the sound of gunfire. I crawled into the space and had barely pulled the boards back over the opening when I heard the soldiers voices as they entered the building.

How do I begin to describe the terror I felt as I listened to the sounds of the debris and broken glass crunching under their boots? I could smell the smoke from their cigarettes, hear their laughter as they joked of those they had killed, and I knew it would only take one cough from me and I would be next. When the boards over my head creaked, and the dust rained down on me I felt my breath threaten to choke me, I was sure my time had come. I'd almost resigned myself to my fate when from somewhere in the distance came the sound of fresh gunfire, and just as quickly they were gone. A scream soon after announced the success of their pursuit, but, I, at least for now, seemed to be safe, they didn't come back.

I lost track of how many hours I lay under the rubble. I could hear them in the streets, the Serbian soldiers, but even worse, I was sure that I could hear gunfire from the hospital, and screams, so many screams. I hated myself in those moments for leaving my patients, hated myself for not having the courage to stand up to my mentor and stay for the sake of my patients. Listening to those sounds, I wondered if I would ever be able to forget them, and then I knew I couldn't, I had to remember, I had to be the voice for those who no longer had one, I owed them that much, and somehow with those thoughts circling my thoughts, I slept.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 933
Note: This is based off an actual event, read more on The Vukovar Massacre here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vukovar_massacre
2. Character: Luka Kovac
3. Warnings: Spoilers to Season 14
4. Pairings:N/A
5. Your character's fandom: ER
6. Word count: 399
7. Rating: PG
8. 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.

"Would it have been so hard for you to have waited for me to come back?" The anger in his words surprised him, almost as much as the fact that he was standing in front of his father's grave in the middle of the night.

"Did you know when Niko and I were making the plans to go that you wouldn't have much longer?" The questions were only two of far too many that had been swirling around in his head since the call had come, telling them that Josip Kovac was gone.

"I'm sorry, Tata." Luka sank to his knees at the graveside, his anger fading almost as quickly as it had surfaced.

"We should have been here." Should have, but, weren't. He should have known there wasn't enough time for them to go to Chicago and make it back before something happened, why hadn't he seen the signs?

"I'm sorry, Tata. When I think back on all those times when you tried to tell me that I'd find someone else who would make me feel what Danijela made me feel. We missed so much because I wasn't ready to move on. You tried to tell me that it wasn't too late for me to be a father again, and because I didn't want to hear it I stayed away." As he spoke, Luka brushed his fingers across the top of the headstone before leaning a copy of his and Abby's wedding photo against it.

"I see so much of Marko in Joe, I wish you could have seen it for yourself. If only I had gone back for him sooner, you could have seen for yourself. I'm sorry, Tata, I wanted you to see you were right, and I was too late." His tears were falling freely now and he rested his forehead against his arm as he whispered the prayers he'd turned his back on for so many years. Once done he crossed himself before standing.

"Watch over Danijela and my children, Tata, tell them I love them, and how much I miss them, make sure they know that not a day goes by that I don't think of them. I'm going to miss you so much, Tata, but, I promise you this, even though Joe will never have the chance to meet you, he will know you, I'll make sure of that, I promise."
2. Character: Luka Kovac
3. Warnings: Set during Season 9/Kisangani
4. Pairings:N/A
5. Your character's fandom: ER
6. Word count: 946
7. Rating: PG
8. 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.

"I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of." ~Michel de Montaigne

What's wrong with me? What person in their right mind uses a place like this as a means of escape? But, that's exactly what I'm doing. I've reached the point where there's nothing left in Chicago for me. I might as well be working among strangers at County these days for all of those that want anything to do with me. Come to think of it, can I really blame them?

I can't deny how badly I've treated anybody, and I'm not talking only about those I was sleeping around with, or those like Erin who I very nearly killed. When was the last time I treated anyone with any sense of respect? I don't know how to go about undoing any of it, it's not like I can just show up and ask everyone to forgive me for what I've done, let alone trust me if I say it won't happen again?

Even if I get past that, there's still the decline in how I look at work in general, and I wonder when it stopped being important to me. When did I become the doctor that would think it okay to leave a patient alone to take her mother into the supply closet for a few minutes of my own pleasure? I used to look forward to my shifts, I'd look forward to whatever experiences and challenges my patients would bring me, not anymore. During these past weeks, all I did was show up and go through the motions. It didn't make any difference if I was setting a broken leg, or fighting to keep someone's heart beating, I couldn't seem to feel anything for them. I don't see my patient's faces anymore, I don't see them as anything but the condition they present to the ER with. What's wrong with me?

If only this downward spiral were isolated to work, I could change jobs and everything would be fine, but, it's not, and it won't. Outside of the hospital my life seems to only have crumbled just as badly if not worse them my career, and when I think of the depths I've sunk to in order to feel something, anything, I hate myself. If I hadn't left Chicago, if I hadn't come here now, how much lower would I have been willing to go? Drug, alcohol, something far worse?

Laying in the darkness on his cot, Luka begged his thoughts to quiet. Pushing his damp bangs back off his forehead with a sigh, he realized just how pointless it was. Between them, the heat, and the sounds of those fleeing from the fighting sleep was impossible to find.

As he sat up and dropped his feet to the floor, he couldn't help but envy those around him. How many hours would he need to put in before his body would decide he deserved the luxury of more than a few stolen minutes? It was as pointless for him to stay sitting here as it had been for him to try and force his mind to shut down and let him sleep. Grabbing the pack of cigarettes and lighter from the wooden crate that served as a nightstand, Luka rose and quietly made his way to the tent's doorway.
Shoving the tent-flap aside, he was met by a waft of stale air as he stepped outside. He'd have given anything for a cool breeze, but,tonight that too seemed out of his grasp, and he was left with the feeling that it was all part of some master plan. For the short period of time it took him to light his cigarette, Luka managed to distract the thoughts that had kept him from sleep, the reasons that had brought him to this place. In that brief moment of peace, he drew the smoke deep into his lungs, savoring the burn of it before releasing it around him. When John had asked him about his smoking, he's told him that he wasn't a smoker. Even here he'd been unable to stop himself from lying.

It was funny how quickly something so simple could undo everything, but in that moment of realization his haven of peace had disappeared. His mind was already looking for ways to torment him, forcing him to relive those things that had led him to escape to the Congo in the first place.

Drawing deep on his cigarette, Luka was torn by the irony of his situation as he watched those fleeing the fighting move through the compound. What sane person sees a place like this as an escape? The Congolese themselves were evacuating and here he was, looking for answers that he had no way of knowing he would ever find. So, what choice did he have but to wait, wait and hope for a sign, or for answers, or both. Taking a final pull on his cigarette, Luka pinched the butt off before flicking it away.

He could only hope things would turn-around, they certainly couldn't get much worse, but, nothing was going to happen if he didn't get some sleep. Taking a final look at the passing line of weary villagers, Luka turned and pushed the tent-flap aside. Maybe he could learn something from them, like them, if he could manage to cling to just a single thread of hope he too could start to find his way to a new life. It was that thought that he clung to as he disappeared back into the stifling darkness of the tent. It was somewhere to start.

How is it, that I can see fireworks one way when by myself, yet see them as something completely different when I share them with my young son? This was the first year that Abby and I decided to take Joe to a public fireworks display, and I know I had my doubts at first over whether he was old enough to enjoy them that way. I thought about how many people would be there, about the weather, and more then anything else, there was the noise, and I really did agonize over whether it might be too much for him.

Even as I told myself I was worrying about how Joe would react to the fireworks. I knew deep down that my worries had nothing to do with Joe or the fireworks, but were instead tied to memories of something that happened a lifetime and a world away. How many nights did Danijela and I find ourselves sitting on the floor of our Vukovar apartment, each holding a crying child as the night-sky was lit by a missile bent on death and destruction? How many nights did we try to find ways to distract Jasna and Marko from first the whistles and later the explosions as those same missiles found their targets? Yet, even as we as parents knew the danger outside the window. We couldn't deny that to those two children, those same missiles could appear as things of beauty. Even as we shielded them from what we knew would be coming, Jasna and Marko were as transfixed on the criss-cross trails that wove across the sky as if they had been fireworks.

In the end, as difficult as it was, I managed to suppress those memories, and my fears of how Joe might react. Abby and I took Joe to the firework's display and his reaction is one I'll never forget. Something else came out of this too, because I finally think I'm realizing that, as hard as it might be for me, I can't keep making decisions for Joe, based on what happened with Jasna and Marko. His life is never going to be the same as the one they lived. I can't deny him the chance to experience life to the fullest just because Jasna and Marko had theirs cut short. I'm sure we'll have our stumbles along the way, but, this was a good place for us to start, and I know it can only get better for us from here.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Words: 424
A week, had it already been that long?

Luka's eyes settled on the small black and white photograph that lay under his hand. A week ago he and Danijela had been looking toward their future, making plans for where they would go when his residency was finished. The decision had already been made to leave Vukovar. It wasn't just the war, being so far from family and friends had been hard on them both, but now, with Jasna ready to start school, and Marko walking and talking so much more. There was so much they wanted to share with their parents, with their grandparents, with all of those who meant so much to both of them.

A week they'd been gone, and all he had left of them was a single photo of his wife and daughter and memories of a life that was gone forever. No, he had more than that, he had the ache of loneliness, the guilt from promises he'd made and would never keep. Why was he so special? Why couldn't his life have been the one forfeited?

It's gone. As if losing my family isn't enough, my faith is gone as well. How could it not be? What kind of god steals life from those who haven't even had a chance to live yet? All these years we've wasted, believing in what we thought was a just and loving god, and this is how He repays us?

I'm tired, I want to sleep but, I can't because I know they'll be there. It's been a week, and everytime I close my eyes they are there, questioning me, begging me to save them. Over and over I see my baby boy's bruised body as I free him from the rubble that buried him alive. I hear Danijela's cry of anguish as I tell her Marko's gone, but, nothing is worse then repeatedly failing my little girl, knowing that because I was too tired to go on, she too had to die.

I want to be left alone with my grief. I'm tired of hearing how sorry everyone is, sorry's won't bring Danijela or our babies back. I want the pain to stop but, it won't, and I wonder if this is what I deserve for not dying with them. I was supposed to protect them and I didn't. How do I explain my failure as husband and father to protect them to our parents? How do I tell them that they'll all gone? I want to crawl inside a bottle and never come out, and even as I wish that I know I can't. I'm the keeper of their memories, and as long as I live so do they, but, it doesn't make me miss them any less.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 468
I wish I could say I understood everything that was happening to us, had happened to us, but, I'm not even sure I understand it yet. It took Abby and I eight years to decide we wanted to marry, and even before we had a chance to experience that new-found joy, fate once again decided the bond between us needed tested. Before we could even embark on our honeymoon I received a call that my father had been diagnosed with Cancer, half a world away his life was falling apart, what could I do but go to him?

I know I didn't hesitate to say I would be there when I received that call, on hindsight, I should have at least discussed it with Abby, but, at the time I never even thought that far. Within hours I had booked my flight to Croatia, there was no choice of Abby joining me, we couldn't leave Joe, and he didn't have a passport so we couldn't take him with us. All I could do was go by myself, after all, how long could it take to make the arrangements to bring him back here and get him the treatment he needed?

I had been away from my father for too many years, forgotten how strong-willed he was, stubborn even, and despite the benefits that coming to the States might bring to him, he refused to leave his home and his friends. I was torn, frustrated, what was I supposed to do, I couldn't abandon him in the condition he was in, but, by staying at his side I was in a sense abandoning my wife and son.

In those first weeks I was away, Abby tried to be supportive, but, as the weeks turned into months and my father's condition worsened I noticed a change in her, the tone of our phone calls changed, and far too many ended in harsh words that neither of us meant. I wish I could have understood what was happening to her during those months I was away, I wish I could have known how difficult things were for her as she struggled to balance her career and the care of our young son. I know she tried to tell me, but, with all that was happening with my father I just didn't hear her, and for that I will never forgive myself.

There was more though, I knew what Abby's past was like, I know how hard things have been for her, why didn't I realize that things might become too much for her? Why didn't I realize that she might look for a way to escape from the stress? By the time I finally came home the Abby I had left was gone, replaced by a woman who was hiding too many secrets, and those secrets were eating her up inside.

I know now that I shouldn't have brought my brother back with me when I came back, but, I so badly wanted Abby to meet him, I wanted to share a part of the family I had been estranged from for almost ten years. If I had hoped to find any measure of happiness in our reunion I was mistaken, I should have come back alone, but, I didn't realize there were so many secrets being kept on her side, and there was so much distance on my own.

The news of my father's death only further compounded things and I'd no sooner arrived home then it was clear that I would need to leave again, this time though I would not be going alone. As difficult as it was, Abby somehow found the strength to confess about her drinking relapse, but, in doing so she created a rift between us that I am struggling to overcome. While I might be able to forgive her drinking, I cannot forgive those times when her drinking endangered the life of our son, and that in itself is why Joe is returning to Croatia with me while she checks herself into Rehab. We have so much work to do, and I have to believe that our love is strong enough to get us through this, if one thing above all else allows me to rise above the frustration that this brings, that's it.

I will never forgive myself for the years of self-imposed separation I put between my father and I. I will never forgive myself for denying him the chance to know my new wife, and the grandson he thought he would never again have. I will never forgive myself for the pain I caused him because of the words that Niko and I had when I left Croatia for America all those years ago. As much as I cannot forgive myself for in respect to my father though, I know it is not too late for Abby and I, and it is for that reason that I will count the days until she can join Joe and I in Croatia when her Rehab ends. When we spoke our vows to each other, we pledged to remain together for better or worse, I have to believe those words meant something then, but, more importantly, I have to believe they mean even more now, for whatever reason all of this has happened I know we can make this work, we have to.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 804
Loving is not just looking at each other, it's looking in the same direction. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

How could it be that two so young could be so in tune to each other? I often wondered that about Danijela and I. How we seemed to know what the other was thinking before we had even spoke, or how we would finish each other's sentences as if we were of one consciousness. It seemed always to be like that though, and maybe that in itself is what drew us to each other from those very first days.

My Mama once said she believed Danijela and I to both be old souls. She would say that watching us together seemed only to convince her more that we must have been married many times before. In those few years she was alive after Danijela's death, she realized how lost I was without her, without our babies, and she tried to ease my grief by reassuring me that we would be together again. She was so sure of it, and even when it came time for her to say her final good-byes as she lay close to death herself, she made a point of reminding me of it. Even if I couldn't see it then, I do see it now.

Of course, I wasn't thinking of any of this in those early years we were together, we were so busy discovering who we were and planning the lifetime we were sure we would have together. We had so many plans for our lives and for those of the children we would one day have. It all seemed so perfect, we would settle close to our parents, so our children could know the joy of spending time with their grandparents as we both had. We both agreed that they would aways be surrounded by the love of not just aunts and uncles, but their cousins, and a community who might as well be family. People who knew them, and who they knew, people they could go to for anything, at anytime.

For too many years I blamed God for robbing Danijela and I of this life together, I hated him for stealing away our children before they had a chance to know the joys of this world. Looking back on what little time we had now, I realize that I had misplaced my anger, that I had short-changed all the good Danijela and I had given our children by focusing only on the bad. Far worse though was my throwing away all the time Danijela and I had shared between us and only living for those last few hours that led up to her death. If Mama was right, if this was just one in a series of times we were together and more are to come, what right do I have to decide that nothing but those last few hours have meaning? How is that fair to Danijela? How is that fair to our children?

From the moment we met it seemed that Danijela and I had begun making plans for the future we would share together, why should that change for me now? For the first time in far too long I can look toward what will one day come again, knowing in my heart that in our next life, we will once more find each other, and we will again be man and wife as we are destined to be.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 664
I don't know what prompted me to take her back to my apartment, I could just as well have gotten any room, in any hotel, the place for what we both knew was coming really didn't matter. Neither of us expected anything special out of our time together, for her it was simply a business arrangement, for me, I don't know, maybe I just needed to know I could feel something.

Once we were in bed I tried not to think about what she was, I didn't want to believe that I was capable of sinking so low, but, the fact was, I had. I forced my mind to shut down and gave in to the carnal instinct that I wished I could deny had been driving me for these past few months.

My lips find hers, and I silence her questions before she can ask me anything more then the small-talk we exchanged before leaving the bar. It doesn't take long for need to take control, skin against skin, her experience becoming all too clear.

I'll never know what led me into that bar that night, what prompted me to sit at that spot at the bar, but had I not done just that I would never have met her. I wasn't looking to meet anyone, I'm not even sure I had any intentions with my being there other than erasing the memories of the day with alcohol.

When she first came up and sat down bedside me I didn't think anything of it, conversation was the last thing on my mind, but, once it was there I didn't turn away from it. When she suggested we go someplace else, I was ready for the companionship, learning it would cost me stopped me only for as long as it took me to down my drink.

It was only after she was gone that the disgust at what I had done registered with me. What would Danijela say if she saw how far I had fallen? How would I begin to explain the changes in me that would justify my ending up in bed with a prostitute? When did my physical needs become more important then anything else in my life?

Yet, after that night was over, after I had time to think about what I had done, as sick as I was with what I had done, I called her again. What kind of a man am I?

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 411
Another cemetery, another good-bye to someone who was taken too soon. Why is it we only realize how little time we have spent with those who mean so much after we lose them? It wasn't that I didn't know that my father would die, I'm a doctor, I understood exactly what he was facing, but, I thought we had more time, I was wrong.

I look back now on all the years I wasted, years when I was too busy running from my own life to think about anyone elses. Standing at my father's graveside with my small son in my arms, for the first time in my life I found myself ashamed, and in those minutes I wished I had the power to turn back time and undo all the hurt I must have caused him over the years.

When I was a child I idolized my father, my tata. Tata was a train conductor and one of Niko and my greatest joys as young boys were those times when during school breaks, he would allow us to ride along on his runs with him. If we were together we would chase each other from one end of the train to the other, proudly bragging to any and all that it was our father driving the train. Our greatest pleasure though came on those times when we had time alone with him on those trips, when we would sit on his lap as he steered, and he would let us pull the chain to sound the whistle at the crossings.

Tata was a proud man and while we were never rich, he always made sure we had everything we needed and as difficult as it might be, he even managed to find a way to afford those few extras. As we grew older, our tata became our adviser, making sure that both Niko and I knew what it meant to be men and the responsibilities that came with that. It only made sense too, that when I met Danijela and knew that she was the one I would spend my life with it was he I went to before anyone else.

I don't know that I ever saw my father happier then I did on that day when he first learned he was to be a grandfather, a djed, unless it was on the day that I first laid Jasna in his arms. Tata loved my baby girl so much, and she in turn fell in love with him, becoming his little princess, delighting us all when on our visits to see him she would follow him everywhere. But, as much as he adored my little girl, when Marko came along I was sure his his heart would burst for the joy he felt. If only I could rewind time and erase the look on his face, the grief that enveloped him when I broke the news to him that they as well as my beloved Danijela were forever gone. Never again would he hold his princess in his arms, never again would he hear their laughter, or turn to find one or both following in his footsteps. If only I could rewind time, but, at the time I wasn't thinking of his grief, I was too busy being consumed by my own.

I think it was my time in the IDP camp that made me realize that I had to leave. As hard as it was to leave him and all I knew I had to find a way to forget, and I couldn't do that where there were so many memories around every corner. It took time too, for me to realize that despite what Niko said, my leaving didn't make me a coward.

It took time for me to finally talk to tata about the choices I'd made in my life, time for me to finally go back and face the ghosts that lurked around every corner. I wish I could rewind time just far enough that tata could hold Joe in his arms as he had held Jasna and Marko. He was so happy to learn he was once more a grandfather, to learn he once more had a daughter-in-law, if only I could rewind time enough so that they could know the man that he was. I only wish I could rewind time so they could have the time to love him as I always will.

I'm so sorry, tata, I thought we had more time.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 751
002. "I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope." --Aeschylus

I didn't ask to end up in the camp, I didn't have any choice in the matter. When Vukovar fell to the Serbs it was chaos, soldiers were everywhere, they were within minutes of over-running the hospital as a lucky few of us made our escape. I didn't see myself as lucky then, I was deserting my patients, running away from those who chose to stay with them. I think for a long time I even saw myself as a coward. After all, I survived when those who stayed didn't.

I was wounded during my escape and after several days on the run, exhaustion and blood loss caught up with me, I was ready to give up, I was ready to join my family. I was found by some aid workers in a ditch not far from the road, they were the ones who took me to the camp.

In the beginning I didn't want to live, I'd had enough. I'd managed to keep going after losing my family, now I had lost everything else, what was the point? I spent almost two weeks under medical care before being moved into the general population, but, even then I hadn't yet accepted my fate. I clung onto my guilt as if it were a lifeline that could somehow lead me back to the life I had lost, while those around me were looking with hope toward the future they saw beyond the tented compound. It would take me a long time to get where they were, a very long time.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 278
Disclaimer: While some of this is based on series canon, most is based off historical fact and an original fic I have written on Luka's life after Vukovar.
As he counted out the coin to the vender Luka knew the single flower couldn't begin to make up for the sacrifices his wife had made.

They had been married almost three years and in that time they had welcomed a daughter into their lives and moved to Vukovar, leaving family and friends, as well as the frivolity of their youth far behind them. There were days he couldn't help but wonder if he'd made a mistake in asking Danijela to marry him before he'd finished school and gotten his degree. While he spent all day in classes and far too many evenings either studying or at the hospital, she was left alone to deal with not just the running of their household, but the care of their small daughter as well, and only that morning she had told him she suspected she was pregnant yet again.

She had been so nervous when she had first broke the news to him. Her fear over facing the pregnancy without the support of their family even greater then the concerns over how they could possibly afford yet another mouth to feed. What would it take for him to make her understand that he was willing to give up everything for her? In a way, maybe the rose in itself was doing that, for what it had cost him he could have bought them a loaf of bread, or a small wedge of cheese, he could have treated them both to the luxury of fresh pastries, but, this was for her, and her alone.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 240

"What do you think Joe, ready to go Trick or Treating?" Luka Kovac adjusted the hood on his young son's monkey costume as the boy kept himself amused with his tail.

"Pretty funny isn't it, too bad Mama had to work, maybe we can go see her when we're out, would you like that? Go see Mama?" As was his habit when he was alone with Joe, Luka found himself carrying on the conversation with his son in Croatian. His answer was immediate as the boy broke out in a wide grin and reached for him.

"Ok, monkeyboy, time to go?" Scooping up first his son, then his keys and finally Joe's treat bag and the banana that completed the costume, he settled the child in his arm and headed for the door. As they stepped outside the apartment they were immediately greeted by the sights and sounds of the neighborhood's children as they ran up and down the sidewalk, their goodie bags clutched tightly in hand.

"What do you think, Joe? See the pumpkins? You've never seen anything like this have you?" He watched his son's reaction closely, as they walked down the steps and joined the other Trick or Treaters and their parents on the sidewalk, the experience a first for him as well. A year ago he would never have thought this moment possible, and now, they both had so much to look forward to, if only Abby could be sharing it with them. He let the thought go as they turned to walk up the pumpkin lined walkway.

"Ready to get some candy, Joe?"

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 270

(Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] _freaksrus for putting Joe in his costume for me.)
A cry of pain from Luka jarred both he and Abby into consciousness, and almost immediately was followed by the sound of their son Joe's cries as his sleep was interrupted as well. Pulling his injured right hand close to his body and cradling it with his left, Kovac was oblivious to the chaos he had created, consumed instead by the agony caused by his having inadvertently rolled over onto his hand while sleeping.

"Oh, Luka..."Abby could only imagine the pain he was in, but,after leaning over to give him a kiss she reluctantly pushed her covers aside in preparation of seeing to their still crying baby.

"I need to go see to Joe, I'll bring your pain meds when I come back." If she expected a response from him of more than the low moan that he had subsided into she was disappointed, and she almost wondered if he had heard her at all.

She hated Curtis Ames for what he had done, not just to Luka, but to their family. He had terrorized them, threatened their baby, luckily he was young, that night would never haunt his sleep like it did hers and Lukas. But, those were only the emotional wounds, the damage to her husband's hand was something else. The surgery could only do so much, and now, all they could do was wait to see how successful it was.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 234
2. Character: Luka Kovac
3. Warnings: None to speak of
4. Pairings: Luka Kovac
5. Your character's fandom: ER
6. Word count: 520
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.

His shift had been one of those that left him drained and as he slid his key into the lock to the apartment Luka felt the exhaustion left by the long day wrapping itself around him.

"Abby, I'm home." He dropped his satchel and keys on the small table next to the door as he entered the apartment.

"In here. Joe...you hear tata?" Abby's voice carried in from the nursery. "We'll be right out, I'm just doing a diaper change."

"Okay." Moving to the refrigerator, Luka pulled a beer out and twisted the cap off as he made his way back into the livingroom and took a seat on the couch.

"How was your day?" The question followed his first pull off the beer, though he didn't really expect an answer before Abby joined him. Reaching for the remote he switched the television on, only to move quickly through the channels before settling on a soccer match.

"Ready to see tata?" Joe's answering giggle forced him to turn and he immediately reached up to take his freshly changed son.

"Hey, Joe...how's my big boy?" After giving him a kiss he settled the baby onto his lap.

"You got a package today, I think it's from your father." Freed of Joe's care, Abby had moved over to the table to gather up the mail and as she brought it back to the couch she handed a small padded envelope to him.

"You didn't open it?" He was already tearing into it with the question.

"No, it wasn't addressed to me." Abby found herself watching him, just as curious as he was by the unexpected gift.

"It's a book." Luka handed the envelope to Joe, hoping to distract him as he flipped through the pages of the old hardback, it looked familiar, but the significance behind his father having sent it to him was lost. Frowning he looked for a note, and as he opened the book fully to the page marked by the folded slip of paper he saw it. Realization hit him with a force that almost took his breath away as he saw the childish crayon scribbles that seemed to deface the book. Opening the paper revealed a short paragraph in his father's cramped scrawl.

Luka, my son,

I found this on a shelf while cleaning some things away, I think it's our angel Jasna's work, and I knew you would want it. Give my love to Abby and baby Joe.

I love and miss you,

Without saying anything he refolded the letter and slid it back into the book before turning it so that Abby could see the page.

"It's a drawing of Jasna's...I guess she couldn't find any paper." He smiled, despite knowing that had he found it at the time it had happened the small girl would have earned his wrath.

"So many years have passed, how could he know?" The words came softly as he laid his hand on the faded crayon lines, irrational hope looking for a connection to the small girl so long gone.

"He knew I'd want it."
July Prompt 002: Refuge Quote/Artistic License

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." --Albert Schweitzer

2. Character: Luka Kovac
3. Warnings: None to speak of
4. Pairings: Luka Kovac
5. Your character's fandom: ER
6. Word count: 587
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.

Depression was something the doctors and nurses working in the displaced person's camps saw in almost every patient they treated. It didn't matter how young or how old they were, it didn't matter how mild or how serious their injuries, the depression seemed to be a constant. How could it not be when almost every one of their patients had lost everything before coming to them? Knowing about the illness was one thing, treating it something entirely different, and worse yet was coming to terms with the loss of a patient who they should have saved but for their giving in to it.

As their patients conditions improved enough that they were moved out of the medical tents and into those that would house them until they left the camp, they often found it lifting for many of the women. As they fell back into the more normal routine of taking care of their children and other family members, of setting up households it was easier for them to set aside the circumstances that brought them to the camps If only the men had similar reasons to get through the day, unfortunately they didn't, and already suffering the losses of family members as well as jobs and careers,they now found themselves unable to even provide the basic necessities for their own survival. Despite the reasons that brought them to the camps in their minds they were failures, that they would be sucked into the the blackness of depression was inevitable.

Even now, as she entered the men's tent Dr. Forquet could feel the heaviness in the air. There was none of the music or laughter found in the family tents, none of the personal touches that showed that those here were trying to move forward. It would be easy of course to dismiss the staleness in the air to the smoke from their cigarettes, but it was more then that, the closed flaps and tent sides spoke to yet more reasons. There was no light here, no brightness, no life. No, those here had already begun to give up on not just themselves but whatever the future might hold for them and she had to find a way to change that. A soft cry from the basket in her arms reminded her why she was here and she moved to the closest of the cots.

"Luka...are you awake?" She was already drawing the attention of those around the man she was trying to rouse and she took a seat across from his cot, setting the basket on her lap as she waited for him. He was one of the younger ones, one of those she was most afraid of losing because he had lost so much and had already given up on any hope for a future.

"Their mother was killed, I'll see you get everything they need, and they'll need to be fed around the clock." She was already lifting the tiny kittens from the basket as she spoke, passing them off to waiting hands as each was freed of the towel that had hidden them from view.

"Luka, please, will you take one?" She held the smallest of the litter toward him, letting it's cries do what she and none of the other's had so far been unable to do.

"Please?" A smile made it's way onto her face as he nodded and finally accepted the tiny kitten. Small steps...but, a start toward healing, toward living, for both of them.
Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives. --William Dement

2. Character: Luka Kovac
3. Warnings: Season 13 spoilers
4. Pairings: Luka Kovac/Abby
5. Your character's fandom: ER
6. Word count: 388
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.

"Tata...make them stop!" Jasna's scream tore him from sleep's arms and thrust him abruptly into consciousness, forcing him upright as he searched first for his young daughter and then the source of her cries, before he went to her.

"What is it baby?" He'd no sooner left the warmth of the blankets and gathered her into his arms then an explosion outside provided the answer for him.

"Make them stop!" Her plea was muffled as she grabbed hold of his shirt and buried her face in his chest.

"Shhh, Jasna, shhh." Laying a kiss on the top of her hair he tried to soothe her, first with quiet whispers, then by rubbing her back as he held her on his lap and rocked her.

"Luka..." Another voice came louder...muffling even the sound of the explosions as she called his name.

"Danijela?" Her name came instantly to his lips even as the remnants of the dream slipped away and he too late realized his mistake.

"It was just a dream, Luka." Her fingers brushed through his hair as she spoke and even as he rolled over to face her he found himself dreading the look he might find on her face.

"I'm sorry." The apology came automatically before he raised a hand to touch her face.

"You don't have to apologize." Sure that he was now fully awake, Abby lay back down beside him. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"I don't think so." He rubbed his eyes, then moved closer to her so he could rest his head on her breast.

"Luka...I don't mind, if you need to talk about it." Even as she asked Abby wasn't sure she wanted to know what haunted her husband's sleep. While they were making progress on talking about his past she had no doubt there was much more that he hadn't shared with her. Maybe she should trust him and let it be, when he was ready to tell her about the dreams he would, or at least she hoped he would, but not today. Before he could say anything she lay a finger to his lips and shook her head.

"Go back to sleep, Luka." She released him from further conversation as she combed her fingers through his hair. "Shh, go back to sleep..."


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