Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 337
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

Find a picture of something that reminds you of your partner and explain why.



It was our first date, we went to a bar for a drink, and...there was this foosball table there. I'd never played before, and while she denys it, I still say she cheated. I'd like to say it was the perfect first date, but it wasn't, things happened that neither of us could have expected, things that could well have ended things for us even before they had begun.

I'm not saying the date, date part was bad, well, other than the fact that she cheats at foosball, we had a good time. We drank a little, talked about nothing that meant anything, had something to eat, and we enjoyed each other's company. Oh, yeah, and I kissed her. We had a good time. When it came time to leave we decided to walk along the river, that's when things fell apart.

If I could go back now and undo that decision, I'd go it in an instant. No one wants to believe they hold that kind of rage inside of them, but, even worse than it being exposed, is having someone else witness it. You see, I killed someone that night. I didn't mean for it to happen, I just reacted, and as a result a man died. Abby could have walked away, turned her back on me forever, I wouldn't have blamed her if she did. Who wants to be with someone capable of such violence? I even tried to push her away that night, I was disgusted with myself and disgusted by what I'd done. Yes, the man had tried to mug us, but, he didn't deserve to die for that.

Abby didn't give up on me though, and while things didn't work out for us then, we eventually found our way back to each other. It took time, and we both went through a lot of changes to get to where we are, but, we have a beautiful son now, and we're happy, and you can't ask for more than that.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 2165
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

I thought I knew every kind of fear. I'd lived through a war. For weeks I had dodged the gunfire of snipers as I went for water, queued for food, or simply covered the distance from our apartment to the hospital where I was undergoing my residency. Too suddenly though I learned there was a much greater fear, a fear that tears through you, one that leaves you powerless in it's wake. The day that the mortar struck our apartment, I was forced to face that fear. When I found my wife, and my children buried in the rumble of what had once been our home, only to learn that my son was already gone, I couldn't even stop to grieve for him. How do I begin to describe the fear that consumed me as I struggled to keep my little girl alive while praying for someone to find us in time? They didn't though. Find us in time. I lost them all that day, and a part of myself with them. In the days and weeks after, I prayed for a sniper's bullet to find me. I prayed for the next mortar to hit in the place where I just happened to be, but, they never did. Even as Vukavar fell, and the Serbs were nearing the hospital doors I was one of the few who were chosen to survive, all the while wondering, why me?

Survive. That's all I did over the next thirteen years. Though I'd managed to escape from Vukovar I was shot in the process, and after several days of travel with no treatment of the wound, and little food I'd had enough. Infection was setting in, hunger was tearing at my insides, all I wanted to do was close my eyes, go to sleep, and hope I'd never wake again.

I did wake though, and instead of being once more with my family as I'd hoped, I found myself in a Displaced Person's Camp. I begged them to let me die, and when that failed, I tried to will myself to death. I refused the food they brought, I ignored the attempts they made to talk to me, and still they wouldn't leave me alone. I couldn't understand why these people who knew nothing about me were so determined to keep me alive when it was the last thing I wanted. In the end they won, for despite my best efforts I found myself growing stronger and while I might not have wanted to hear it, I learned that what I was feeling was all too common among survivors. The feelings were ones shared by many, and they alone were not enough to call death to me.

I spent several months in the camp, and when I left it was to find myself filled with a new fear, the fear of returning to a life that was no more. It was a fear I would never conquer and it would in fact eventually drive me from not just my family and friends, but the land I was born in. It took only days for me to realize how hard it would be for me to be back in my father's house. To wake everyday and find him trying so hard to make me feel that there was still a life possible for me. Worse yet, seeing the look on my father's face when I caught him watching me when he didn't know I was. How can I explain what that was like? While I was grieving my family, he was grieving not just them, but, also the loss of the man I had been with them, for there was no longer any doubt to him that he had died on that day as well.

As difficult as things were with my father, they were far worse between my brother and I. Whatever love had once existed between us seemed to be lost amidst daily arguments and ugly words hurled at each other in unbridled anger. It soon became clear that if I was to have any hope at all of surviving my losses it would have to be done somewhere else. Somewhere far from the constant reminders of those I had loved so much, far from the reminders of those who were stolen from me forever. On the day I made that decision to leave Croatia, Niko and I had our final fight, a fight that would rip away the bond that had existed between us since childhood. He wouldn't understand why I felt as I did, or maybe he couldn't, he accused me of being selfish, of running away, of not caring about anyone but myself. If only he had understood what I'd already accepted, I knew that if I had any hope of healing I had to first find out who I was again, and I couldn't do that amongst all the memories of the past that was no more. I had to go away, I had to start over again.

I didn't find my way to Chicago immediately, and once I was there it wasn't easy to undo the safe-guards I'd set in place to protect myself from people getting too close. In time I did though. In time, I gave myself permission to trust again, to love again, and along the way I even made mistakes, terrible mistakes. I admit, when that happened, I came close to running away, to self-destructing. I turned to all of those things I knew I shouldn't do, and when I found no peace in them I did the worst thing I could imagine, I put myself in harm's way all the while hiding behind the mantle of doing good. Funny thing how life has a way of paying you back for your actions, and my lesson came not just with the facing of a new kind of fear, but at the cost of another's life as he tried to save mine.

At the time I went to the Congo I know I was thinking that my actions might somehow be seen as my way as making amends for the mistakes I had made. Mistakes that had led to Erin's being injured, and worse, to Rick Kendricks death. They never would of course, but, I couldn't see that then, and I certainly couldn't see the dangers I was walking into. If anything I taunted them, placing myself in harm's way more then once out of both arrogance and stupidity. Remembering John's final words to me on that day he left Patrique and I in Matenda, I can't help feeling now that he must have known, or at least suspected, that he might very well be saying good-bye to me for the very last time. How could I blame him?

What happened in those next days and weeks comes to me now in pieces, lost mostly to nightmares brought back from the haze of the untreated malaria that I had existed in for so long. In a way that again makes me the lucky one, for unlike Chance and her mother I'm not forced to relive those horrors day after day. Unlike them, I'm given the luxury of forgetting, a respite that they will never know. There are somethings though I will never forget, most importantly the sacrifice made by Patrique as he gave his life to spare mine. The very same risk that Sakima made when she too pled for my life, ignoring the risk to herself and her young daughter. How can I begin to understand what they saw in me even as I had already given up? But I lived, we lived, and somehow, in the midst of all of that carnage and death, John found us, and he brought us home.

When John found the three of us in that tiny hut, I was near death, and where once I might have given myself up to it, I knew this time I no longer had that option. No more did my life belong to me alone, I owed all that I was, and all that I would be to others now. From Patrique, to Sakima, and even to little Chance, from this point forward, my actions reflected not just on me, but on how I felt toward what they had done for me. Their sacrifices had ensured I remained alive, and the gift they had given me was one I could no longer waste.

So many years have passed since that day I was placed on the plane back to Chicago. I remember asking John where I was going and him telling me I was going home. On that tarmac, he saw what I couldn't, and after years of uncertainty, I can honestly say, I do now. It's not come without one final test though, and with it another glimpse of fear, a fear far beyond anything I could ever have imagined. You see, I'm a husband again, and a father, and if I fear anything more than the loss of my family, it's the affect my own death might have on my wife and small son.

As a doctor you always try to do the best you can do for every patient you treat, but, we're only human, and despite those best efforts we can miss things. Curtis Ames was one of my patients where I missed something, and instead of accepting that what happened, he became obsessed with getting revenge. It wasn't enough that he sued me and lost, he began stalking me, and worse he began stalking my family. I tried to warn him off, and it only angered him more. I should have realized then what would come next, but, I didn't, why would I? When I stepped into our apartment and found him there with that gun on Abby and Joe, I knew what I had to do. As hard as it was not to run to them ,to wrap my arms around them and comfort them, I had to be careful, I had to keep my distance. I couldn't let him know how much they meant to me. If anyone was to be hurt, it had to be me, not them, they had to live, as hard as that would be for them. It was all I could do to look at Abby's face, to see the pain written so clearly there and know she was begging me to stay. How could I expect her to understand that in leaving with Curtis Ames I was doing what I had to do to protect her and Joe, to save them?

I wouldn't know until later the agony that Abby went through in those hours I was gone. How the not knowing was far worse then anything I could have imagined. I couldn't know the fear she felt when she heard the sound of gunfire from his house, how those minutes between when the police stormed the residence until I came through the door seemed like hours instead of the minutes they actually were. I couldn't know how all of these things would change us, but they did, and in many ways they still are. We're working through it, and in time, maybe we can put all this behind us as I have managed to put the worst of my past behind me. I'm not saying it'll be easy, or that reminders won't surface, but we have each other, and if anything can save us that'll be it, or at least, I hope so.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 510
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

We almost threw it all away because of stupid mistakes we'd both made. Before we made the decision to leave Chicago, Abby and I weren't even sure our marriage would even survive everything we'd been through over the last year. Here we are though, in a new City, with new jobs, new friends, a new life, and as difficult as it has been, we're finding ways to let the pain we caused each other go.

When the news first came of my father's illness, there was no question that I had to go back to Croatia to see him. If I had been thinking with a clear head, I'd have done whatever I could to take Abby and Joe with me. I wanted so badly for him to meet them, to know them and love them as much as I do. After everything happened, I couldn't help but wonder if it all couldn't have been prevented if only I'd waited for Joe's passport. If Abby and Joe had been there instead of Chicago, she'd never have become so overwhelmed by what was happening with her life. She'd never have started drinking again, she'd never have put our son's life in danger, she'd never have cheated on what we had with her boss. All of those things that came from my being gone so long could have been prevented.

It was hard coming home and feeling something wasn't right, then, learning the truth of what my absence had cost us. How do I reconcile myself to knowing that while I was worrying about whether my father would live or die, she was trying to escape from everything in a bottle. How do I apologize to my son for abandoning him for my father, because in a way I know I did just that. For almost 6 months I left him, and all I could teach him, to be at my father's side, even knowing there was little I could do for him. But, even knowing that, how could I not? He was still my Tata. He was the one who had nursed my bruises when I'd fallen as a child, the one who'd soothed the demons of my nightmares. He'd been the one to try and ease the pain the loss of my family had cost me, and hardest of all, he'd let me go when I knew I could no longer stay in Croatia and face all of the reminders of those losses.

I couldn't have known my being with him would almost cost me this family, but, even if I had, how could I possibly choose between them? How could I say one was more important to me then the other, when in truth I needed both to be who I am. Abby and I are still not fully back where we once were, but, everyday seems to find us closer, and I no longer fear that we'll lose what we have. We're a family, and we're in this for forever, I'm sure of it now.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 551
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

How do you put into words the emotions that run through you in those moments just before you say those two words that you know will change your life forever?

When I'd asked Danijela to marry me all those years ago, we had both been sure that we would be together for the rest of our lives. We were so young, so innocent, and all that mattered was our love and being together. We couldn't wait to welcome children into our lives, to show them the love our parents had shown us, to impart the wisdom that we'd been given, to know the joy that our parents must have known as we watched them grow. Little could we know that few of the dreams we had for our life would come true, that the years we'd thought we would have to look forward to would be cut so short. I lost my first love, my wife Danijela after little more than five years of marriage, our daughter, Jasna was only a few months younger, our son, Marko, had barely reached 18 months of age. I was sure my life was over, sure I was destined to die alone with only my grief for companionship.

When I left Croatia, my brother accused me of running away, in truth I knew that if I had any hope for a life it had to be somewhere far from the reminders of those I had lost. Even then, for the longest time I from myself drifting into relationships that I thought would allow me to recapture what I'd had with Danijela. Some saw it for what it was, others, like Abby the first time we were together, realized that I wasn't ready to give up my love for Danijela, that I needed more time, even if I wasn't able to see it.

Over the years that passed, Abby and I formed a friendship that hadn't existed between us when we'd first dated. It took time, but I finally understood what she had seen in me, and I finally saw that the need that I'd been trying to fill with sex never would have allowed for anything more because there wasn't any room for anyone but Danijela. It was only when I could let her go, that we stood a chance, and while she may never have said it, she knew when the time was right we'd both feel it.

I don't think either of us expected for her to get pregnant before we knew where our renewed relationship was going, it was just one of those things that happened. I dreaded the time it took for her to decide if she'd keep him, I wanted Joe from the moment I knew he held life inside of her, but, it was her choice, and as hard as it would be, I had to support her decision. The months that followed were trying, but we grew as a couple and once Joe was born and we had him home, I knew I wanted to make Abby my wife. It took longer for Abby, but the day finally came. While once I might not have believed it, the day did come when I asked her to marry me again and when she accepted, I knew I had found love again, and this time it would be forever.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 578
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

I used to think that the most important thing in my life was my goal to become a Doctor. I was raised by working parents and we didn't have much growing up, but we were happy, and healthy. I think I saw medicine as a way to pay back for all I'd received and at the same time I knew I'd be able to provide for my parents as they grew older. When I met Danijela my entire focus shifted and from the moment I saw her, I knew without a doubt, that I would marry her. Danijela and I were both Catholics, as were our families so there was never a question of her using birth control, if God wanted us to have children, then we would have them. It wasn't until I held my firstborn, my daughter, in my arms that my entire purpose in life seemed to shift. No longer was I Luka Kovac, Medical Student and Husband, no, on that day I became, Luka Kovac, Tata, Husband, and Medical Student.

Losing my children left a hole in me that I thought I would never be able to fill again. Oh, I tried over the years, I'd find myself with women who I knew I wasn't really attracted to, or ones who had children already. I told myself that if I couldn't have my own children, there were certainly other children who needed me. It never worked though. Maybe I was fooling myself, but, for whatever the reason, something always happened, I'd no sooner allow myself to become attached and something would happen to yank them away. The last time was the hardest, but in the midst of the pain of that loss I found my way back to Abby.

Neither of us expected things to happen the way they did, I think we still held onto some fear because of the way things had happened the first time we were together. There was no denying though that we'd both changed in the years since then. The fact we'd become friends again first had to have helped. We weren't in the relationship out of desperation, we truly were falling in love, and one day that love was taken to the next level without our realizing it.

I can't explain the emotions that went through me when Abby first told me she was pregnant. I think I was afraid to believe it at first, afraid that if I did I'd lose everything we had already built. I knew how Abby felt about children, her fears that they might end up with the same illness she watched her mother and brother battle. When she told me she'd decided to have an abortion I tried to be supportive, but deep down it was tearing me apart. All I could think of was that once again my dream was gone, and then came the surprise. When Abby told me that she couldn't go through with the abortion I was overwhelmed, in that moment my love for Abby knew no bounds. To think that she would put aside all her fears for that tiny life inside of her, how could I not love her even more than I already did? Abby's warmed to being a mother, and I've watched that blossom even more as Joe grows, every step he takes, every word that comes out of his mouth, his smile, his laugh, what greater gift could anyone ever receive?
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 1018
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

I wish I could say this has never come up, but, if I did it would be a lie. The truth is, we came too close, close enough that I had to move out of the house for a period of time in order to get a better perspective on how I felt about the situation. I suppose, in all fairness, I should go back to the beginning of things because the blame can't fully be laid on one of us over the other.

Things started shortly after Abby and I were married, we were planning where we wanted to go for our Honeymoon when I received a phonecall from my brother in Croatia. Niko and I had not been on speaking terms since I'd made the decision to leave Croatia for the United States so I knew immediately that something was wrong, and it was. Our father has always been the strength of our family, when our mother died, during the war when I lost my family, and in the time after. As much as I knew the time would come, I still wasn't prepared to get the call saying his health was failing, but there it was. Tata, my father had been diagnosed with cancer, I had to go to him.

When I made the decision to leave, I didn't know how long I'd be gone. In a perfect world I would have liked to have had my wife and son with me, Tata had never met Abby, he'd never had a chance to hold his grandson. Unfortunately, we weren't expecting to travel out of the country so soon, and we still didn't have a passport for Joe, we decided I'd go alone. I thought I'd go there, find out how my father was doing, and convince him to come back to Chicago with me for treatment. I'd forgotten how stubborn he was.

My father refused to leave his home. He refused to leave his friends. My father had spent his entire life there and nothing I could say could convince him to leave. I had no choice but to stay as we first went through the beginning of his treatments, then a worsening of his condition, by the time a surgery robbed him of the ability to walk, I had been there almost six months.

I never wanted to be away from Abby and Joe that long, I certainly didn't plan for it to happen, and I understood how difficult it was for Abby to juggle her work at the hospital and Joe's care even with the nanny. I didn't realize at the time that the stress of my being away and the extra pressures were going to cause her to relapse on her drinking, and it was that relapse that caused the additional problem.

We reached a point with my father's condition where it seemed that his condition had stabilized and I thought it would be safe for me to fly home for a short visit. In the time that I'd been in Croatia I had managed too to rebuild my relationship with my brother and we thought it would be a nice surprise for Abby if he flew back with me to meet her and Joe. Unfortunately the reception wasn't what we'd expected, and Abby was angry at my bringing him back without talking to her first. We'd only been there a couple of days when the call came that our father had died, and at the same time Abby told me that she'd started drinking again. I wasn't as supportive as I should have been, I'll admit to that, but, I had to go back to Croatia to bury my father and settle his affairs. We decided that Joe would go with me, and she would go into rehab, and when she finished she'd fly over and join us. I never realized at the time that she was hiding a secret far worse then the fact that she'd begun drinking again, far worse than the fact that she had put Joe's life in danger by driving with him in the car while drunk. It was only when Abby arrived in Croatia that she broke the news to me that she'd slept with her boss during one of her drunken binges.

When we returned to Chicago things weren't the same between us. It wasn't just that I no longer had my job at County, though that was part of it. I couldn't get past the fact that she'd betrayed our vows, and I couldn't wake up every day and face her until I came to terms with what I was feeling, I decided I needed some time and space to work things out, so, I got an apartment and moved out.

I found a new job at a hospice, it was a huge change from working in the ER, but, I think it allowed me a chance to really come to terms with my father's death. Abby and I remained friendly and Joe shared time between both apartments during the separation. Eventually I realized that I still loved Abby and despite what had happened I was willing to try and forgive her, to do that though we both decided would require that we make a change. As hard as it would be for both of us, Abby and I decided to leave Chicago. We decided that a new city, new jobs, new friends, would allow us to fully put what had happened behind us and move forward. It's not easy, but, for Joe, and for our relationship we have to do this. I love my wife, and I love my son, and if this is what it takes to salvage our lives then this is what we have to do. I can only hope that it works because I don't know if I can survive losing another family.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 314
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

I wish I could say that Abby and I have been able to plan for all of the things we've been forced to face, but, I can't. I'd be surprised to learn if anyone could. From the first time we were faced with something like that, to the most recent, we can only accept that they've happened and find a way to learn from them, and hope our relationship is strong enough to survive them. It isn't even that some are welcome surprises, which is what I would have considered the news of Abby's pregnancy. We see things so differently though, and as much as I wanted that child, there were several days when I wasn't sure if Abby was going to keep him. At the time I'd told Abby that I would accept whatever decision she made, but, after having him in my life, I wonder now if I would have stayed had she chosen to abort him, and then I realize it's best not to go there.

We're facing the challenges of something completely different now, and I can only hope that we'll survive it as we did Joe's birth. I want to believe it's possible, I know we're doing everything in our powers to make that happen, and that includes both moving and changing jobs. I'm not sure that either of us thought something like this would happen to us, but, who does? Who wakes up and says today I'm going to cheat on my husband? That's what Abby did though, and we can't undo her mistake, all we can do is accept that it happened and try to move forward. We're hoping Boston will allow us to do that. Away from the people and places that offer constant reminders, we're determined to give our marriage another chance, I can only hope that it's not too late.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 461
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

Maybe it's the nature of my work, or the amount of hours I put into it, but, it seems most of the women I'd seriously dated since arriving in Chicago were employees of County. I say seriously because I did go through a stretch a few years before my wife and I got back together where I was dating outside of the hospital as well as inside.

Dating within your workplace does come with it's own problems and I've suffered the consequences of those relationships and one night stands on more then one occasion. I guess the worst of those was after I'd spent a night with one of our nurses and even though I'd warned her that nothing was going to come of it she didn't believe me. The next day at work was a nightmare, it didn't matter what I said to her or how I said it, she just wanted to bite my head off. Of course that wasn't good enough for her, then she turned around and filed a complaint against me for my poor attitude, and after getting the other nurses to sign a petition supporting her, she got me suspended for several days. It was not long after that happened that I started looking outside the hospital for companionship.

It took my going to the Congo for me to get my head back where it needed to be with regard to what I was looking for in a relationship, and I realized that I needed more then just nameless sex. I realized I was finally ready to start thinking about having a family again, and it wasn't too long after I'd recovered and returned to work that Sam and her son, Alex came into my life. Sam was another nurse and I really thought we could be happy, we could be a family, but, the things I wanted, she didn't want, and one day she decided enough was enough and moved out. It was hard for me after that, I didn't understand what I had done to make her want to leave, and it was while I was trying to come to terms with the failure of our relationship that Abby reappeared.

When I say that she reappeared, I don't mean that in the physical sense, she was always there, but, she somehow realized that I needed someone to talk to, that I needed to grieve again. I guess in a way I saw losing Sam and Alex as losing another family and that was hard for me to accept, but, Abby understood. The time we spent apart did wonders for both of us, and we found a strength in our relationship that had been missing the first time we dated. Neither of us realized it at the time, but, that would continue to grow as we were forced to face all the challenges yet to come. So, yes, I would, I did, date someone I worked with, and eventually we married, and I don't regret one moment of it.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 662
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

My wife is an alcoholic. This isn't anything new, and for a long time I thought it was up to me to dictate if she could or couldn't drink. I guess I thought if it wasn't a problem in our relationship it was her business, or her problem. I know that I never believed that it was so bad that it would affect her work or the kind of mother she was to Joe, or the kind of wife she was to me. Funny how much can change in such a short time...

When Abby and I got married we thought that we had finally conquered all of the obstacles that life had thrown in our way. We were so happy, and then I got that phonecall that changed everything. I know now that I couldn't not go to my father's side anymore then I could expect Abby to have left Joe behind to join me, so I have to be willing to accept partial responsibility for what happened even if I couldn't have known about any of it. Neither Abby or I expected that my father's illness would keep me in Croatia for six months, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her juggling work and caring for Joe alone, but, I still can't fully forgive what she did.

I've tried to understand how Abby thought drinking would help anything. I've tried to understand how she could put Joe's life in danger on more then one occasion because she was too drunk to realize what she was doing. I've tried to understand how she thought sleeping with her boss could change any of what was happening but, the truth is, I don't understand. There is a part of me that feels betrayed by her actions, another that is hurt, and yet another that is sickened by it, mostly though I'm confused. I had thought the vows we made to each other meant something, I know they did to me, maybe I was wrong. Maybe she saw things differently and while I was worrying about my father's health and whether he would live or die, she was looking for an escape.

When I came back to Chicago with my brother Niko, I saw it as a chance for Abby to finally get to know some of my family. Neither of us could have known that in those few days between when we left Croatia and when we arrived in Chicago, our father's condition would deteriorate, and we certainly never expected to hear that we had lost him. I naturally assumed that Abby would go back with us for the funeral, she was my wife after all. Was it wrong for me to think she should be at my side with my son? When she broke the news instead of her drinking and her decision to enter rehab, what was I supposed to say? No, she couldn't go? The rest of her news would come later, when her rehab was finished, and she joined Joe and I in Croatia. Unfortunately, what should have been a time for us to move closer instead added more distance.

I wish I could say we had worked everything out by the time we returned to Chicago, but, we hadn't, and in fact I made the decision to move out for a while we both tried to make sense of all that had happened. Eventually, we came to the decision that our marriage was worth saving but, in order to do that some changes would need to be made. Both Abby and I have quit our jobs, and we've made the decision to relocate to Boston, this is our chance to put everything behind us and start over. We can make our marriage work, I know we can, our vows were more then words on pieces of paper, and I'm determined to prove that to her, I can only trust that she feels the same way.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 936
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

I suppose in a way you could say that Abby and I have had several periods of separation, some intentional, some forced by circumstances brought on by one or both of us. All inevitably followed by our decision to reunite and give it one more try. It wasn't always that easy, or maybe easy isn't even the word I want, I know that's certainly the case with the first time we broke up.

When Abby and I made the decision to begin dating for the first time, it was not long after Carol Hathaway had left County. Now, just to clarify, Carol and I never really dated, but, we did become very good friends, and I became very attached to her two young daughters. For me, it was a way of filling the emptiness that had been with me since my two children had been killed, I can't really say what she was looking for in our relationship. I hadn't been at County long when we started spending time together, but, she was alone, and she had those two beautiful baby girls, how could I not offer to help her when she asked. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy her company, and to be completely honest, she was the first person I even remotely let my guard down with since Danijela's death. I think in a way we needed each other, and that need is what allowed our friendship to grow as quickly as it did. When Carol decided she had to leave, I was lost, not so much because she was going to be with the father of her daughters, but because I felt as if I had lost my children all over again.

Abby was the one who initiated things for our first date, and though she couldn't know it, she was only the second woman in my life I had ever dated. Some people would say that what happened on our first date was a warning to us but, if it was, neither of us was listening. We struggled with our relationship for a year, but, we both carried far too much baggage and in the end we parted following an argument where we both said things we regretted almost as soon as they were said.

While it didn't happen immediately, over time Abby and I were able to put aside the anger that had marked the break-up of our relationship. It's funny in fact how quickly we realized what was important to us once it was no longer there in front of us. Unfortunately, by the time that happened she was in another relationship, but, I welcomed her friendship again and I suppose in a way it allowed me to learn more about her without the pressures of an actual romance.

During the time Abby and I were apart, I went through a rough patch, lots of drinking, casual sex, living fast, it was like I became another person, and he wasn't someone I liked very much. I had reached the point where I hated everything about my job and myself when I decided to go to the Congo. It's funny, being there, going through everything I did, it almost cost me my life, but it also saved me from myself. I wasn't able to go to work right away because I'd contracted malaria while in the Congo, so, I was left with a lot of time to think about what I'd been doing with my life. I realized that I couldn't keep wasting it the way I'd done before I'd gone to the Congo, and by the time I returned to work I was a different person.

I'm not exactly sure when I made the decision to return to the Congo, but from the day I walked back into the ER, I knew I wouldn't be staying. I couldn't help feeling that I could do so much more there than I could ever do in Chicago, and then I met Alex. It's funny, here is this kid, pops up out of nowhere and we just connected. I thought I found someone else to care about, or maybe it was just another instance of my needing to be a parent. I didn't plan to start dating his mom, but over time it happened, and one day I realized that with him, with Sam in my life, I didn't need to go anywhere. I thought everything was going fine between us, eventually they moved in with me, we were like a family, we had everything we could want, and then she thought she might be pregnant. Suddenly, it all fell apart. Nothing was the same to her, and she decided that what I wanted from the relationship wasn't what she wanted. It turned out that she wasn't pregnant, but, it didn't matter, they moved out, and I was left feeling like I had lost another family. I couldn't handle it, I started drinking too much again, and Abby was there for me.

I don't think either of us expected anything to happen that first night, but it did, and it just felt right. We agreed this time around to take things slow, maybe that was what made the difference, well, that and her eventually learning she was pregnant. It wasn't long after that we decided she'd move in with me. It hasn't been perfect since the birth of our son, but, we're working through our ups and downs, we have to, there's too much at stake not too, besides, I love her too much not to.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 290
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

I'm not really sure when it started, if I think back now on how things were when I was young and with Danijela it seems like we talked about everything. We didn't have secrets, we talked about not just what was going on in the moment, but, our dreams for the future as well. I know I'm not like that now, it's something that Abby has complained about more then once, and it bothered Sam enough that she arranged for us to see a therapist.

No, that's not true, if I'm honest with myself, I do know when it started, and why. Losing my family was like losing the best part of who I was and for over seven years I didn't look at another woman. Danijela had been the love of my life and without her and our children I no longer had a reason to live. I shut down, it was the only way I could go on without my family, and part of my shutting down was closing off the doors to my past, and anything that might let anyone see anything deeper then the image I was projecting.

I'd like to say that knowing what I've been doing is enough to make me stop, but, it's not. I can try, but, there are no guarantees that there still won't be things I keep to myself. Things that are still too hard for me to face, even with the woman I want to spend my life with. I guess all I can do is hope she's willing to give me time, one day, maybe I'll feel the time is right. One day, maybe I'll feel safe enough to open myself up to her completely. One day.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 860
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

2. Discuss some aspect of your relationship that you feel has had a negative effect on you as an individual.

No relationship is perfect, I know that, I'm not some naive love-struck teenager swept off my feet by the first girl who smiled at me. Well, maybe once I was and she was perfect, at least in my eye, and yes, she was my first. I look back at my courtship and marriage to Danijela and I'd be hard pressed to find anything in it that has had a negative effect on me, unless you count how it ended, and the lives that were lost with hers.

I was 25 when my family was lost to me, Danijela was just 23, our daughter was 5, and our son was 18 months old. I'd proposed to Danijela when she was just 16, and we became husband and wife shortly after her 18th birthday, and we both truly believed we would spend the rest of our lives together. We were wrong, and it would take me close to ten years before I would even go so far to even ask another woman out for coffee, let alone consider dating. Danijela had meant everything to me, and when I buried her and our children it was as if I'd buried my reason for living with them.

Abby was only the second woman I went out with when I finally decided to give "living" a second chance. There was a time when I wondered if what happened on our first date wasn't a sign that it wasn't the right time for us, but, if it was, neither of us listened. By the time we both realized that there were things in our lives, both past, and present that made our being together "wrong," we'd both already said things to each other we couldn't take back.

Abby and I were lucky, despite the things we said to each other, despite what we might have felt when our relationship ended, our friendship endured. We didn't see it at first, I guess in a way we both had to find our way out of the maze we had created for ourselves, and that took time. We did it though, and eventually we found our way back to each other, and then came Joe, and marriage...and then things began to unravel a bit.

I couldn't have planned for my father to get sick, and it wasn't as if I didn't try to get him to come to the States for treatment, but, he wouldn't and I was left with no choice but to stay with him. I never planned to be gone as long as I was, and if there had been a way for Abby and Joe to join me, she had to know I would have made arrangements for them to be on the next plane. She had to know I would have done anything to have had the situation different than it was, but, there is nothing she can say, that can justify what she did while I was gone.

I can't think of anything more important in a relationship then trust, and Abby took that away from us. Not just because she chose to start drinking again, not just because her drinking put our son's life in danger, I don't even know if the fact that she cheated on me is what fully stole it. I think maybe it's the knowing that while I was away worrying about how much longer my father had to live, while I was wondering if he might have the chance to meet her and Joe before he died, she was lying to me. Even when I managed to come back with Niko, even in those few days, while my father was still alive and we still clung to hope, she still couldn't be fully truthful with me. I have to wonder now, how many other things will be hidden in half-truths as we go on with our lives together?

I'm not ready to give up on our marriage. I love Abby, despite her betrayal of our vows and me. I would like to think that the vows we spoke to each other on our wedding day were more than just words on a piece of paper. I'd like to think that what we have between us is strong enough to withstand any obstacle that fate might place before us, but, now I'm not so sure. My father died while Niko and I were back here in Chicago, I'll never get those final days with him back. Joe returned to Croatia with us to bury him, I would have liked Abby to have been with us, to have had my wife at my side as I said good-bye to my father, that too is something I can never reclaim. There is no way to deny the damage that Abby's betrayal has done to our relationship but, with time and work on both of our parts, I think we can heal.

Abby and I have both decided that an important part of our recovery is a fresh start, as much as going home has made me long for a return for Croatia, we've decided to stay in the States. There is no question that changing jobs is a necessity, especially where Abby is concerned. We've talked it over, and if we want this to work, we have to make a clean break from everyone and so, that means changing cities as well. We both want this to work, it has to, not just for us, but for Joe. We can find our way back from this, I know we can...we have to. I refuse to believe anything less. This is our life, there aren't anymore second chances.
(Locked from Abby.)

Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 870
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

This last year has been a difficult one for Abby and I, we've had to deal with both personal and professional challenges, and we've both made choices, even mistakes that will affect us for years to come. I know that neither of us planned for any of what has happened, and if someone had asked me where we would be in our relationship at this point a year ago, I'd never have imagined this. I think the I think the hardest part of all of it was learning that Abby was capable of such a betrayal, because, I never would have believed it possible had it not happened. Even now, knowing it's true there are times when I want to believe it isn't

When Danijela and I met, it was like finding the other half of myself. Because we were so young, we had to wait almost two years to marry, but, we were okay with that because we knew we had our entire lives ahead of us. Once we were married, it was like everything was falling into place, I was working toward becoming a doctor, and we soon had two healthy children. Sure, maybe we weren't yet completely where we wanted to be, but we had each other and we knew the rest would come.

We were wrong. The perfect world we thought was coming was gone before it could even begin. Once I lost my family I gave up on ever again finding anyone who would make me feel the way Danijela did. For the longest time I refused to let myself stay anywhere long enough for anyone to learn anything about me, but, far worse, I refused to let myself get close to anyone. I'd failed my family all those years ago and I was determined to make sure I never forgot that. Then I moved to Chicago.

If you had told me that coming to Chicago would change my life I wouldn't have believed you, why should I? As far as I was concerned nothing was any different about County than any other Hospital I had worked at, I didn't plan to do anything different, and then Carol Hathaway had her twins and somehow the door was opened again. Carol was alone with those two beautiful babies, she needed someone, and I let myself believe that maybe I could be that person.

I wasn't that person though, as much as I might have wanted it, the feelings I'd shared with Danijela, were the same ones Carol shared with the father of her daughters. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to retreat back into my old ways once Carol and the girls were gone. I can't even explain why I didn't, but, that hesitation left the door open and somehow, Abby found her way in.

I wish I could say that Abby and I got it right from the very first time we decided that we wanted to be together, but, it wasn't that way with us, from that very first date things went wrong. I can't speak for Abby, but, I know she had to feel jealous of the feelings I still held for Danijela, still hold for her. How could she not wonder how she could compete with a woman who had been dead for 8 years? Eventually she realized she couldn't, we both carried too much baggage and as if to prove it we parted amid hurled insults meant to wound the other as much as we both felt we'd already been hurt.

It took Abby and I five years to find our way back to each other. It wasn't an easy journey, it took slow steps by both of us, and even then there were rocky times before us. Somehow, we worked through things, or I thought we had, we brought our beautiful son into the world, we finally married, and then before we could even get comfortable, everything fell apart on us again.

I'll never know why I was forced to choose between my father and my family, I'll never know why Abby felt that betraying her vows would make things better for her. Whatever the reasons, neither of us can undo what we both did and the damage it has done to our relationship. Both Abby and I have decided that what we have is worth saving, but, that can't happen if we stay in Chicago. Despite all this, the feelings Abby and I have for each other haven't changed, we still love each other, and for the sake our family, for the sake of our future, we've decided to start over again. I can't say that I will ever feel the same way toward Abby that I felt toward Danijela, I don't know that I have to, I do know that I'm not ready to give up on us. I love Abby, I want her to be happy, I want us to be happy, only time will tell if we can get there again.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 884
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

Happy is not exactly the word I would choose to describe what I'm feeling with how things are with our relationship right now. Abby and I are working through a difficult time. We've both made mistakes, we've made some choices that, knowing what we know now, likely wouldn't have made, but, most importantly, we're trying to repair the damage. Knowing that, if I had to choose one word to describe how I feel, disappointed would probably be the one.

When Abby and I got married, we were happy. We had a healthy son, and despite the worries we might have had during those first weeks of his life, we believed he had conquered all the obstacles that had been placed before him. I know that neither of us expected what came next, and maybe if there'd been some warning I might have reacted differently. There wasn't any warning though, only the call saying my father was seriously ill and without thinking my response to go to him was made.

Neither of us expected for me to be in Croatia as long as I was, and we certainly didn't expect to find out that my father's illness was far more serious than what the phone call had led us to believe. There had been no discussion about my going, it had been years since I'd seen him, I couldn't risk not going, but Joe still didn't have a passport, he and Abby had no choice but to stay home. In the beginning we thought I might be there a couple of weeks, but, then I learned it was cancer, I couldn't convince him to return to the States, and I couldn't just walk away.

I can't describe how difficult those months away from Abby and Joe were for me, and I can only guess about how bad they were for Abby. My time was spent taking care of my father between stays in the hospital, re-fitting his house to accommodate the wheelchair when he could no longer walk, and lastly, reconciling with my brother. The phone-calls from Abby were difficult, and far too many ended in fights that I know now were fueled by my wife's return to drinking.

I have to wonder if my father didn't realize that his death was imminent, even if he never discussed it with Niko or I. About six months into his treatment there came a time when our father's condition seemed to improve, and despite my protests he convinced me to leave his side and return to Chicago. I should have known better, but, his condition was stable, there were people I trusted able to look after him, and I missed Joe and Abby. I would have given anything to have been able to take him back with me. To give my father the chance to meet Abby and Joe? But, it would have been too much of a drain on him, and instead he convinced me to take Niko in his place. As I look back on his good-byes to us before we left for the airport, I can see now that he was saying his final good-byes, I just didn't see it then. Within a couple days of our arrival in Chicago, we received the phone-call notifying us of his passing.

In those days prior to the call, there was such a mix of feelings running through me. I was thrilled at being home again, seeing how much Joe had grown, and reconnecting with both him and Abby. As happy as I was though, I sensed something was wrong, Abby almost seemed to be avoiding me, and her reaction to my bringing Niko back was nothing like what I expected. It wasn't until we knew I'd have to return to Croatia to bury my father that Abby told me that she'd started drinking again. Something had to be done, this wasn't only about her now, she'd put our son's life in danger. This was not going to be easy for us, and while I could understand that she might have felt overwhelmed by all that had happened while I was gone, I would never understand her doing anything that might have hurt Joe. There was no question of her going into Rehab, and while she was there, Joe would go back to Croatia with Niko and I to bury our father. I wish I could say that was the end of things, but it wasn't, and it was only when Abby joined us in Croatia that I learned how much worse things could get.

So, that's where we are now. We've decided that we're not ready to give up on what we have between us, we love each other, we have a son together, and we both believe our marriage is worth saving. In order to do that we know we need to make some changes and part of that will come when we leave Chicago. The decision to leave everything and everyone we know was not an easy one, but, to save what we have we know it needs to be done. So, while I'm not happy with where my relationship is at right now, I have hope for us, and I believe in time, we'll be all right.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 511
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

My first marriage has been a source of difficulty between Abby and I since we first started dating, so much so that it was part of the reason that we broke up. I'd like to say that all of the problems that existed then were solved before we married, but, I don't think they were, and likely they never will be.

I know the hardest thing for Abby to accept about my relationship with Danijela is that no matter how much time passes, I'll always love her. It doesn't matter how many years pass, or how many years of marriage Abby and I have between us, she'll always know that a part of my love belongs to someone else.

I've never gone into much detail with Abby about what happened to Danijela and our children. She knows they died during the war, but, in all of the years I've been in the States, I've only told two or three people the specifics and one of those was a Priest who was hearing my confession. There was one time when I slipped, I told a story to Abby and a few others from work about Danijela. They were all talking about their first time with someone and how old they were, I tried to get out of taking part and couldn't. I saw the reactions on their faces when I finished talking about her, about us, some of them couldn't even look at me, it was like they didn't know what to say. Even after I tried to reassure them that it was a good memory it didn't matter. After that, I didn't talk about them to anyone, even though there have been times that I wanted to.

When I lost my family, I lost everything everything except a small black and white photograph of Danijela and our daughter Jasna. For close to 17 years that picture has been my connection to the life that I thought, that we thought would last for the rest of our lives. I carry the photograph in my wallet, and even after all these years I still find myself pulling it out once or twice a day, if for no other reason then to tell them I still love them. If I have any regrets, it's that I can't do the same for my baby boy, because, I never found any photos of Marko. To see him, I have to rely on my memory, and I dread the day that it fails me. Worse though is that I'll never be able to show Joe what his big brother looked like, and I hate that.

So, as hard as it might be for Abby to know I still hold onto the photograph of Danijela, as hard as it may be for her to know that she'll always be sharing me with those no longer here, she knows I love her. Whatever problems we have, we can get through them, I know we can. We may have our rough patches, but, this time I know it's forever.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 522
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

It's never been easy for me to talk about the life I lost. I left Croatia initially because I didn't want the constant reminders of the places Danijela and I had started our life. When I arrived in the United States, I chose to work as a fill-in doctor because it allowed me to do my job and avoid getting close enough to anyone that they would ask about my past. It worked for a while, and then I found myself in Chicago. Don't get me wrong, things didn't change for me overnight, at first Chicago wasn't different than any other City. County wasn't any different than any other hospital. I didn't go in thinking that it was time for me to start talking about my past, and it wasn't until they asked me to work there full-time that anyone learned anything about me. But, this isn't about other people, this is about Abby.

I can't be sure, but, other then her knowing that I'd been married and that I'd lost my wife and children in Croatia, she really knew nothing about me. Okay, maybe that's not entirely true. If you were to ask her, it's because of the feelings that I still had for my wife that things didn't work out for us the first time were were together. I couldn't really blame her, I think it was too soon for me to rush into things, and even later when I dated Sam, she complained because I wouldn't talk to her about Danijela and the children.

In my mind I couldn't really understand what good it did our relationship for me to talk to them about the life I had with Danijela. Maybe, it was more I didn't think they would understand that despite the number of years she'd been gone, I still loved her, I still love her now, and I don't see that ever changing. Danijela was my first love, she was the mother of my first children, and it wasn't as if we chose to end our relationship. The life we shared was torn away from us, neither of us wanted it to be over and to this day there is still pain when I think of it.

The hardest part of all this is that despite how uncomfortable I am about talking to Abby about Danijela and our children, I know that I need to share their lives with Joe. Jasna and Marko are his brother and sister and he deserves to know who they were even if he will never have a chance to meet them. Even at the age he is now, I see glimpses of Jasna and Marko in Joe. Of course, the more painful aspect of that is knowing that he is already older then Marko was when he died, and I know I'll continue watching for those signs until he passes the age Jasna was as well. How do I explain that to Abby? Maybe I don't, maybe this is something for Joe and I to keep between us, I just don't know.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 377
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

My partner will always have to understand that I....will always love Danijela.

This has always been a sore spot between Abby and I, in fact, I have no doubt that it was one of the key reasons behind our breaking up the first time we were together. I know that Abby wanted to be sympathetic the loss of my family, even if it was a subject we only tiptoed around in the time we were first together. In fact when we were hurling insults at each other, one of the worst things she could think to say to me, was that I was married to a ghost. In a way, I wonder if she wasn't right.

I rarely spoke of my family to anyone, and in my first two years at County, I could count on one hand the number of people who knew any specific details of Danijela or our children. Sure, in time, people knew I'd lost my wife and that I'd lost children as well, but few knew the details, and even fewer would dare to ask me anything about them.

Danijela was my first love. We met when she was just 16, and we both knew that we would one day marry. We had two years to get to know each other, and when she turned 18 with our parent's blessings, we married. I have no doubt that had the war not taken Danijela and our children from me, we would still be married, we would have watched our children grow, and shared their joy as they found their first loves. We weren't given that chance though, and while they were ripped away from me, my love for them, for Danijela, remains.

Abby's initial reaction was not an isolated one, I went through the same thing, if not worse when I dated Sam, and in the end, she too found it too much. Things with Abby this time are better though, and while we don't talk often about Danijela and our children, I no longer feel like I have to keep everything to myself. It's a start, and as with anything else, we can only hope things will continue to get better for us as time goes on.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 409
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

3. Talk about something that you have no tolerance for in a relationship.

I will be the first to admit that I have kept things from my wife. I'm not saying that these are necessarily things that impact our lives now, but they are secrets none the less, parts of my past that for whatever reason I've decided are mine alone. Even as I admit to this, I also have no doubt that were you to ask my wife, she might very likely admit the same herself, for we both we married before, we experienced love and loss, and so much more, but none of which has bearing on where we are now.

As readily as I admit and accept that there are and will be secrets between us, there is one thing of which I have no tolerance for and that is lies. I would far rather have Abby keep the truth of something from me, no matter how difficult that may be, then to have her lie to me about it in order to spare me whatever perceived pain that truth might cause me. I don't care how strong your relationship is, or how long you've been together, as soon as the lies begin, the foundation everything is built off of can only begin to crumble and it isn't long before other aspects begin to decay as well.

Let me clarify something though, just because you make the decision to tell the truth doesn't mean your marriage will be free of problems. No, I'd be lying myself if I said that. If anything it's more likely that things will get worse before they get better because those things which might tempt you to lie are often far worse then those which you choose to keep forever a secret. Abby and I are working through that hard truth at this very moment as we deal with the consequences of her having revealed the truth of a drunken one night stand to me. Do I wish she had kept the truth a secret? I don't know. Though, I think I sensed that there was something wrong between us even before she told me, and I have to accept some of the blame because her indiscretion occurred while I was out of the country for an extended period of time. All we can do now is give things time, and pray that eventually it'll work itself out and our relationship will be the stronger for it when we finally do.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 725
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

How do I not make comparisons about what I want from this marriage and what I had with Danijela? How is it, that I can have achieved so much in regard to my career, and yet I feel like I've lost so much when I make similar comparisons to my marriages.

When Danijela and I married we were both young, naive, and inexperienced in the ways of the world. Everything we knew about life and the world in general had come from our parents, family, friends, and probably most importantly the Catholic Church. I was 20, Danijela had just turned 18 when the day of our marriage came, neither of us had lived anywhere but in our parent's homes, we had known no other loves but that which we shared between us, and our venture into intimacy consisted of no more then holding hands and stolen kisses. As much as we loved each other, we both knew that our marriage would be difficult in those first months, and possibly even years, as I had just entered medical school and we'd already decided she would stay home as both of our mothers had. When Danijela almost immediately became pregnant there was no turning back on that decision and we struggled to make ends meet on the little I made working shifts at the hospital, when not in classes. As difficult as things might have been they only seemed to strengthen what we had between us, and when first Jasna, and then three years later Marko joined our family we couldn't have been happier. We both knew we were living our dream and while times were tough, all we had to do was hold on until I finished medical school...and then the War came.

My marriage to Abby was so different then that of mine to Danijela, we neither one of us had family with us when we exchanged our vows, in fact, Abby didn't even know it was happening until maybe an hour before the ceremony. It wasn't that she didn't want to be married, but, it just seemed like there was always an excuse to delay things, and I know it was because she was afraid, though of what I'm not quite sure. Joe was almost a year old, and I guess I thought if I didn't do something myself it might not ever happen.

It's funny how a piece of paper and a ring, changes things. Even though Abby and I had been living together since shortly after she learned she was pregnant with Joe, suddenly being married seemed to change things between us. It wasn't anything huge, just little things, not even things you could put your finger on, but you could feel the strain and then came the phone call about my father. I didn't have a choice about going back to Croatia, and as much as I hated leaving Abby and Joe behind, there was no way they could go with me. Looking back on it now, I know there are things I should have dome differently, but, at the time all I could think about was how sick my father was.

Even though I made mistakes in how I handled my father's illness, and being away from my family, the ones Abby made put Joe's life in danger, and it took me time to come to terms with that. So, what do we do now that we've both acknowledged that we both could have handled things differently, more importantly, how do we insure it doesn't happen again? I think the biggest problem Abby and I have always had between us, is that we don't really talk. If we've gained nothing else from this, it's that we need to talk to each other.

As Abby and I get ready to try and rebuild our relationship, I have to tell myself not to set goals for us that are too high, failure can't be an option for us. So, for now we will work at rebuilding the trust between us, making sure that we find time to talk not just about what is happening between us now, but where we see ourselves going, and if we're lucky, one day we'll find it coming naturally, and then I'll know we have finally found our way fully back to each other.
Patient's Name: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Word Count: 624
Partner Patient’s Name (canon): Abby Lockhart

Abby and I had been together on and off for almost seven years at the time that she agreed to become my wife. I'm not sure that what we had between us would ever have been considered a normal relationship, we both carried too much baggage into it for us to even consider something like that, but, we always loved each other, even when, during the worst times, we tried to deny it.

Both Abby and I had been married before, but, our experiences with marriage couldn't have been more different than the lives we had lived prior to them. Where I was raised in a stable Catholic family by two loving parents, Abby's childhood was one marked by the chaos of an absent father and a bi-polar mother. Where my first wife was also my first love, as well as a woman who shared my hopes of re-creating what my parents had with their marriage, Abby's seems to have been simply a way to escape the life she had been dealt. Had my family not been killed in Vukovar during the war, I have no doubt Danijela and I would still be married today. As sure as I am of that, I know too, we would both have remained together until one or the other's time on this earth came to a natural end. This too marked a difference between Abby and I, as her first marriage ended in a bitter divorce that would continue to cause financial problems for her for many years after the ink had dried on the papers that severed it.

The first time that Abby and I tried to make things work between us, was not good. Maybe it was too soon for either of us to have been thinking about entering into a serious relationship, or maybe it was just that there were things in our own pasts that we had to come to terms with before we could start on a new life. Or maybe my killing a man on our first date was a sign we should have heeded from the start. Whatever the reason, we separated with words meant to wound, words we both regretted too late to call back.

It took years for us to find our way back to each other, and during that time we renewed our friendship, watched as one or the other stumbled into and out of relationships that could never be, and in my case faced death. I'm not sure that either of us consciously made the decision to become a couple again, things kind of just happened and before either of realized it, it had happened. Then, when Abby discovered she was pregnant we knew we had to begin to look at what we were doing more seriously. I don't think it was until that moment that Abby decided she was not going to have the abortion that I truly knew we were where we were on the path supposed to be on.

On the day she agreed to become my wife I allowed myself to believe that anything was possible if you wanted it bad enough. I won't say that everything since that day has been perfect, far from it, but we're working things through, and with all that has happened, Abby and I have made the decision to leave Chicago. We've decided to walk away from the reminders of the mistakes we've both made and start fresh, in a new place where no one knows what we've been through, where we don't have to prove anything to anyone but ourselves. I think maybe we can make it work this time, I know we're both willing to try, for Joe, for each other, but most importantly, for ourselves.
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