"Luka?" Abby switched the light on as she came down the stairs. While it wouldn't have surprised her to find him in the kitchen, seeing him standing at the patio doors was something else.

"What are you doing?" As she came alongside him, she couldn't help noticing that he held the small photo of his first wife and their daughter in his hand.

"Did you have a dream?" It was difficult to completely keep the concern from her voice. Was she ready for another cycle of his sleeplessness?

"No, not really." Luka shook his head, while there was a time when he might once have concealed the photo from her, that was no longer the case and he turned it so she could see what he held.

"What's going on then? You're not up for no reason." Sliding her arm around his waist, Abby found herself pulling him closer with the question.

"She would have been 22 today, Jasna, a year younger than Danijela was when she died. I still see her as this little girl playing with her doll." Luka lifted his hand to wipe his eyes as he spoke.

"There's nothing wrong with that, Luka, she's always going to be your little girl."

"Yeah, it's just hard to believe how fast time flies, and I can't help wondering what she might have been like if..." His words trailed off as his gaze seemed to become lost to something outside the window.

"If what, Luka?" As much as she hated pushing him for more, too many years had been wasted in their not talking about his past for her to go back.

"I just wonder what she might have been like if she'd had the chance to grow up." Luka's words seemed to come from a long distance away, almost as if he were talking to someone other than Abby.

"Would she have chosen marriage and a family like her mother, or would she have decided she wanted a career? She was such a bright little girl, and she was so looking forward to the day she would go to school. She never even got a chance to do something as simple as that." The reminders of how much his daughter had missed out on were too much and as his voice broke, Abby felt the tremble run through him.

"Luka, whatever she did, you know you would have supported her in it, just like you would have done for Marko, you'll do for Joe when the time comes. You're a wonderful father now, and I know you were a wonderful father then. You can't go back and change the past, but, you can remember all the things that made your daughter so special to you. You have to know she'll always be part of you, and because of that, she'll always be a part of us, and it's that which will keep them all alive.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 508

It's funny how quickly we're adjusting to life in Boston. Both Abby and I had held doubts about leaving our friends in Chicago, about leaving County. Of course, that choice had already been made for me when my father took ill, but, it hadn't made the decision any easier. With all that had happened in the months I was away, we both knew, if our marriage had any hope of surviving, we had to start over, and Boston seemed as good a place as any. The City held the keys to our future, and we are determined to make the most of it.

One of the first things both Abby and I decided with the move was that we needed the time apart each day that working in different facilities gave us. So, while she took a position in Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, I took one at The Kaplan Family Hospice House. There was something about working at the Hospice in Chicago and especially spending time with Walter that made me realize that there was more to medicine then just the fast pace of the ER, and this seems to be it for me.

One of the other things that has been important for us is making sure that Joe has time not just with children his own age, but time with both Abby and I. Unlike Chicago, we've decided to use daycare instead of a nanny for him, and several days a week we trade play-dates with two other families. The times we seem to enjoy most though are those when both Abby and I have a shared day off and we can take Joe out to see the City. It was on one of those outings that we first found the Carousel on Nantasket Pier, and after experiencing Joe's excitement, it's now a place we visit regularly. In fact, when we learned that the entire Carousel could be rented for birthday parties, we knew that it was the perfect way to celebrate Joe turning three.

It's funny, less then six months ago Abby and I were convinced we had made mistakes we couldn't undo and we were on the verge of losing everything we had between us. It would have been so easy to have walked away, but, we didn't, we took a chance and look at us now, we've become stronger for the experience in every way possible. Our life is here in Boston, our future is here, and for the first time in my life I actually believe that the life I thought I would only have within my memories of Danijela is possible with Abby. Who would have thought?

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 445

How were they supposed to make a decision like this? Their families were here, Jasna wasn't even two, and still, he was expected to take them away from everyone and everything they knew so he could go to school in Vukovar. He'd brought them to the beach as a treat, a way of making up for all of the hours he'd left them alone already. At least here Danijela could call her sister or mother when she needed company, or when the baby became too much for her, at least here she had her friends.

Watching the two of them now as they stood at the water's edge he couldn't help but feel selfish. What right did he have to demand so many sacrifices of them? Maybe he should talk to Danijela about staying behind, she and Jasna could move in with either of their parents, and as hard as it would be to be away from them, he could go to Vukovar alone. How long would they be separated, a few years? They'd have a lifetime to make up for that, and in between he would find a way back to visit as often as he could.

"Luka, aren't you coming down to the water?" Danijela's call drew him out of his thoughts and he looked up in time to see his daughter running to him.

"Yeah, I'm coming." Shaking off the remainder of his concerns he rose and scooped Jasna up as she reached him, holding her high over his head as she squealed her delight. The discussion would be there when they they got home, today was meant for happier thoughts. As he settled the toddler on his hip he gave her a kiss.

"Ready for a swim? Let's go see Mama." His smile broadened as he reached his wife and as soon as he embraced her it was as if his earlier worries were nothing more then smoke, gone with the wave of a hand. As he lowered Jasna to the sand he was sure whatever decision they made would be the right one, they were meant for each other, they'd known it from the moment they'd met, and nothing could change that.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 362

As he sat in the darkness of the livingroom, staring at the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, Luka found his thoughts drifting.

For so long the coming of the holiday season had been a time that he had dreaded. It wasn't just because their approach followed so closely on the heels of the anniversary of Danijela and the children's deaths, though he knew that likely was part of it. For so long he had held those few brief years that Danijela and he had shared as a marker, a marker that in his mind nothing would ever again equal. All of the memories of those short years they'd shared together he'd cherished for so long, capturing each fragment as a snapshot in his mind, that he only needed to close his eyes to see again. It didn't matter how many years had passed, they were there as a reminder of what he had lost, the life he was sure he would never again find.

He'd tried of course, tried only to fail. In those early years he'd foolishly thought he could reclaim the feeling by going home to the things that used to be safe. Abandoning Vukovar and then the camp that became his home in the months after it fell, he'd returned to live with Tata. He'd somehow thought that if he were with him and Niko, surrounded by the familiarity of traditions he'd grown up with he'd find again what he'd lost, but, it was too soon and the pain was too great. There were far too many reminders of Danijela there, too many memories of Jasna's smile, and later her excitement as she discovered all the holidays had to offer. There were memories too of Marko, but far too few, as he lost his life before he'd even had a chance to live it. As difficult as it was to leave Croatia and those he would leave behind, it would have been even more painful to stay. He had no choice, he said his good-byes and hoped one day Tata would understand why he had to go.

It wasn't until he found his way to Chicago that he gave myself permission to start living again and even then it wasn't intentional. He went into County expecting it to be like every other hospital he'd picked up shifts at, another place to escape his past, another place to hide, and then he met Carol. Even now he couldn't say he thought about there ever being anyone else in his life but Danijela until he met her. Looking back on that time now, it was clear he'd never seen what developed between us as anything more than a friendship until it was too late. In Carol he'd found someone willing to listen as he relived the parts of his life that were lost to him, and he liked to think his presence in her life filled a need she had. She allowed him to laugh again, and through her daughters he was given the gift of fatherhood even if it was only for an hour or two a day. Sharing that first Christmas with her and the twins allowed him to believe that maybe Tata had been right, but, then she was gone and he was back where he started, or so he thought.

His thoughts were brought back to the present as Joe's laugh drifted down the stairs. Listening more carefully he heard the splash of the bathwater, then the give and take of first Abby's, then Joe's voices as they talked about the evening to come. This would be his son's first Midnight Mass, and while Abby wasn't Catholic herself, she had agreed to share this moment with them. Turning back to the tree, he allowed the lights to draw him back into his thoughts...

He never could have predicted what came next, Abby was so different from Danijela, so different from Carol, and maybe he'd needed that. He couldn't help wondering if things might have turned out differently had they not been attacked by that mugger on that first date. He had no doubt that his actions that night changed him, they had to, He had another man's blood on his hands, he took someone's life to protect theirs, to protect Abby. He'd replayed that night so many times and he'd wished it could have ended differently, but, the fact remains, he'd killed him, and his death forever bound them together. He wanted things between Abby and him to work, but, the truth was, he wasn't ready for a relationship, she was right, He was married to a ghost, and until he could come to terms with his past he couldn't begin to think of a future with anyone else.

It was easy to see his mistakes now, he couldn't then and because of that his life had begun to spiral out of control. It wasn't enough that he became someone that even he no longer recognized, he became someone that he was ashamed of. He was out of control, in every sense of the word and he'd reached the point where his actions began to affect those around him. If there was any bright spot in all of those months of darkness, it was seeing Abby happy, because, as hard as it was knowing they'd had their differences, it couldn't change the fact that he still had feelings for her. He was sure that was why he bought the snowglobe that year, there was something about the world inside of it that gave him hope and there'd been so little of it during that time. Abby wouldn't know it came from him until much later, but he would know, and it gave him something to cling to in the weeks and months that followed.

When he'd left for the Congo, he honestly believed he had gone as low as he could go in his life. Everything he had worked for, everything he had believed, he'd betrayed it all. If he were to look back on the man he was then, it wasn't just that he didn't recognize myself in what he'd become, it was how much he hated him. While he hadn't even admitted it to himself, he welcomed the threat of danger he was going to face, and went so far as to taunt it, without even caring about the consequences. In his mind, he had nothing to lose, he had already lost everything and he was ready to die. If only he could say he knew the moment that everything changed, but, he didn't. It might have been when Patrique sacrificed his life to save his, it could have been when Sakima risked the lives of both herself and her daughter. He honestly didn't remember much about those last days, those last weeks. There was no question that he was there, or that it changed him. It was only that he owed far too many people to begin to thank them all.

Could he ever have imagined that he would be where he now was? The question lingered as he climbed to his feet, Joe's laughter drifting down the stairs, too much of a draw to avoid any longer.

"What are you doing Joe?" The words were out of his mouth before he reached the stairs, and it took barely a moment more for the toddler's answering squeal of delight to reach him.

"Tata...Tata! Escaping his mother's hold as she tried to finish dressing him, Joe darted to the stairs, only to wrap himself around his father's legs as the man reached the landing.

"Joe, come back here." Abby appeared in the doorway, the boy's coat and tie in her hand.

"You're not helping you know?" She gave Luka a look of exasperation as he picked their son up.

"We've got time yet, but, if you need to finish getting ready, I'll take over here." Shifting Joe to his hip, he extended his hand for the boy's coat and tie, then, as Abby came close, he leaned in to kiss her.

"You smell nice." He gave her a smile as he straightened again.

"I smell like bubble bath thanks to your son's joy of splashing." The smile on her face betrayed the anger in her words.

"Well, I like it. I'll take him downstairs with me. You want to go down and see the tree, Joe?" Ducking Abby's answering swat, he turned his attention to his son as he carried him down the stairs.

"Tree." As he caught sight of the blinking lights Joe pointed to it, then attempted to wriggle free of his father's hold. "Joe, down, Tata."

"Okay, but, let's finish getting you dressed." Setting the almost 3 year old on the ground in front of him, he knelt so he was close to his eye level.

"Stand still now so Tata can do this." As he caught his son's eye, Luka clipped a red and green striped tie to his shirt, then helped him into a red double breasted suitcoat.

"Go bye-bye?" Joe pointed to the door as Luka finished and released him.

"Pretty soon, we're waiting for Mama. Do you want to get your book while we wait?" He pointed to a chunky book that sat on the coffeetable.

"Book." Joe offered the word as confirmation before picking up the treasured picturebook, but, stopped short of carrying it back to his father as he noticed something new on the table. Almost simultaneously Luka and Joe both seemed to register the appearance of the compass, though the toddler couldn't know the significance of the object. As it caught his attention he let the book drop. though as he went to grab for it, he found his efforts thwarted by his father.

"Mine..." The wail went up as soon as the item disappeared from view, and he moved closer to Luka in an attempt to snatch it away from him.

"No, Joe...it's Mama's."Luka tried first to hide the compass behind his back, then slid it away from view into his pocket, as Joe continued his attempts to get it away from him.

"What's Mama's?" Abby's voice on the stairs announced her arrival, while at the same time providing the distraction Luka needed to move the compass out of his son's reach.

"Mama!" As Joe saw Abby, his interest in the item was forgotten, and he ran to greet her as if it had been hours instead of minutes since he'd last seen her.

"Hey, Joe, did Tata get you all dressed up?" As her son stretched his arms up to her, Abby picked him up before giving him a kiss.

"Are you ready to give Tata your surprise?" Abby leaned her head closer to the boy's to whisper in his ear.

"Santa, Santa...down, Mama." At her son's demand she set his feet back on the floor before going to the bookshelf and retrieving a brightly colored paper bag which she handed to him.

"There you go, Joe, give it to Tata." Abby's smile began before she finished the instructions, as her husband knelt so he was at Joe's eye level it only grew broader. When Luka pulled it from the bag she lost it, they had come so far, been through so much, and now, to experience this moment. It was hard to know if the tears that were wetting her cheeks were ones of joy or ones drawing off the sadness of how close they had come to losing it all. Watching Luka now as he hugged his son, the child's gift in his hand, she was left to wonder, could their life be any more perfect?

Joe's gift to Luka

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 1943
Looking at how much my son has grown in the last six months makes me realize how much I've missed by being gone so long. It's not just the changes in his size, it's missing his first steps, hearing him say his first real words. In those six months he went from being a little baby to a toddler, and I missed all that came with those changes.

Standing here now on the front porch of my father's house, holding him in my arms, trying to soothe him as he fusses over new teeth that are working their way in, I'd be lying if I said it doesn't bring back memories of days long past. I look at him and it's impossible for me not to make comparisons between Marko and Joe. I know he's older now then Marko was at the time I lost him. Still, I can't help but find myself wondering if my first son would have been more like Joe if he'd had the chance at a normal childhood, instead of one that seemed to revolve around war. If he'd had the freedom to run and play outside, to know something as simple as going to the park, instead of being cooped up in our small apartment in Vukovar, with only the hallway as his playground. Would he have had Joe's sense of humor once he really started talking? Would he and Jasna have argued like Niko and I do, or would they have been inseparable as we were when we were young?

I think back on the times my father spent with Jasna and Marko, the days we spent at the beach before we moved to Vukovar, and it makes me so sad knowing Joe will never know that. He'll never know his grandfather as Jasna and Marko did, he'll never get the chance to sit in his lap as he reads him a story, or hear him sing the songs Niko and I grew up with. It's not fair, for either of them. He waited so many years for me to find someone. No matter how stubborn I was, he refused to give up on me, he knew I would have a family again, even when I didn't. Why couldn't he have held on just a little longer?

"Shhh, Joe, I know they hurt, baby, let Tata put some medicine on." Fishing the tube of Orajel out of his pocket, Luka squeezed a small dab of the gel onto his finger then rubbed it over the gum where his son's molars were starting to come in.

"This is going to make it feel better, let's go inside and get you some Tylenol and some juice, too." Shifting the still fussing boy to his shoulder, he patted his back as they headed inside. The teething process was one that was unavoidable, but, lucky for Joe, he was nearing the end of the cycle, once his molars were in he was done until the baby teeth themselves began dropping out. It was only after his son settled in his highchair and his needs were taken care of that Luka allowed his thoughts to again wander.

The guilt over having waited so long would likely remain for some time, he couldn't change that, and at least his father had been able to see pictures of Joe. But, why now? After all these years, why was he taken now, before he had a chance to meet the grandson that for so long I had denied would ever exist? The questions were ones he would never have answers to. He couldn't continue to dwell on them though, his father would never forgive him him for that. No, this time he would do what he hadn't been able to do when he'd lost his family, he'd keep living his life to the fullest. This time, he wouldn't retreat from the world, for Joe, for Abby, but, mainly for his father, he would show him that he'd heard the words that the elder Kovac had imparted on him, and when Joe was old enough he would pass what his father hadn't been able to, on to him as well. Joe might not physically know his grandfather as he was growing up, but, Luka would make sure that he would know the man in every other sense of the word. With the decison made, Luka felt the sadness that had been hanging over him lift, and as it did he was sure it was a sign that his father was giving his blessing to his decision. They were going to be all right, he was sure of it.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 783
As I stand here watching Abby say her final good-byes, I can't help but look back at all that has happened to bring us to where we are at this moment. There's no denying that we've reached a crossroads in our lives and as hard as it was for Abby to sever that final connection we knew that it was something she had to do if our marriage was going to have any hope of surviving.

Abby and I both owe so much to County, not just for the jobs that we were provided with over the last nine years, but for the life experiences that came with them, both good and bad. In my case, my first shifts at the hospital were as a substitute and in the beginning I made no real effort to get to know anyone because I realized I would only be there a few days before I moved on to another hospital and as the weather changed, another city. Even as I say that I know it's more an excuse then the actual truth, because if I were being completely honest, I know that I kept to myself for another reason. One based far more on a selfish need to protect myself from reopening the very same wounds that had forced me to leave everything I knew and come to the States in the first place.

I became very good at keeping secrets in those early months, early years in America, and even better at running away when my efforts failed, and while on the surface I might have appeared happy with the life I was living, in fact I despised it. No one ever knew any of that of course, this too became another secret to be hidden away, tucked safely in a box with the memories of the family that was no more. For all intents and purposes my life in America was everything anyone could want and when I would call my father I would share tales of the wonders of the Cities I saw, the foods I had eaten, anything but that which might reveal the truth. I'll never know if my father saw through the lies, if he did he never said anything about it to me, and maybe that was for the best, with me so far away he could almost pretend Danijela and the children were still alive if he wanted.

Eventually, there came a point when I realized that the life I was living wasn't really much of a life at all and I needed to find a way to change what I was doing. Knowing and doing are two different things though and as easy as it was for me to isolate myself from people, it became much harder for me to try and find my way back. I made a lot of mistakes before I realized and in fact accepted that I wasn't ever going to be able to reclaim the parts of myself who had been husband to Danijela and father to Jasna and Marko. It wasn't for lack of trying of course, no, I desperately wanted to be that person again, he just wasn't there. In time I would discover someone similar, but, it would take many years, and many more mistakes.

As I was trying to find my way, I guess you could say that Abby was doing the same and while we dated for over a year not long after she started working in the ER, neither of us were capable of a serious relationship. For you see while I was mourning the loss of my family due to their death's, Abby was coming to terms with the failure of her marriage. As ugly as our first break-up was, we somehow managed to salvage a friendship from it, not immediately of course, but, gradually, once the anger and hurt had faded away.

I can count on one hand the number of people at County I would consider true friends, and Abby is one of those, it took me a long time to realize that. It took me even longer to realize that if I was ever going to get past what had happened to my family and move forward in my life, I was going to have to open up about them. I'm not sure that either Abby or I planned for our relationship to move back to the romantic stage, it was just one of those things that happened when we weren't looking, and by the time we realized it was there, it was too late to go back. When Abby discovered she was pregnant, it could well have put an end to things had we not both been able to make some compromises in how we felt about things, and maybe that was the start of our realization that what we had between us might just work. If we had any lingering doubts, they were gone with Joe's birth and all we went through in the months after. The threat of losing him made us realize just what was important to us, and our decision to marry once he was safe seemed a natural progression of where our lives, where our love, needed to go. Maybe we were blinded by what we were feeling, or maybe we just lost sight of something and God felt we needed a reminder, I don't know, but, our happiness was short-lived.

The call about my father's illness came before we even went on our honeymoon and it's what has led us to where we are now. If that call had never come, if I'd stayed in Chicago, none of what came after would ever have happened, but, it did happen, and I left my new wife and our son to take care of the father I hadn't seen in years. If I had known then what my leaving would do to my marriage I can't help wondering if I would have gone. If I could have prevented Abby from making the mistakes she made, would I have stayed, even if it meant I would never see my father again, or reconcile with my brother? I don't have answers to any of my questions, I only know that Abby and I have reached a crossroads and we've decided we have to try and save our marriage, even if it means leaving everyone and everything we know to do it. So, that's what we're doing, I've resigned from the Hospice, and Abby has finished her last shift at County, we're going to Boston, I hope we're making the right choice. I hope we'll find there what we need to survive this.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 1130
I wish that I were anywhere but on this plane right now, I know my head certainly isn't into preparing for a job interview, but, it's too late to cancel so, on to Boston I go. In truth I'd rather be at Ike's with Abby and our friends and co-workers from County, I owe that much to Greg after all the years I've called him friend. Then again, I know that I couldn't have handled listening to all the stories of how he has touched everyone without numbing myself first with far more beer than is healthy.

Even now I find myself wanting to signal the stewardess as the feelings start to pull my thoughts places I'd rather they not go. Just like that, Greg's gone and with him, all of his hopes and dreams for the future, why? Why him? What did he do to deserve having his life cut short? I still don't believe it, but, there is no denying that it was his name on the headstone. Seeing his brother, his father, hearing the words of the Priest as he offered the eulogy as tribute to the life ended far too early. Maybe if I had seen him with my own eyes it would be easier for me to accept, then again, I've watched what that's done to Abby. I've listened to her describe the effect it's had on all of those who tried and failed to save Pratt's life. Would I really have wanted his blood on my hands? It's times like this that I truly struggle with my faith. He had so much to give, so much good to offer, why him? It just doesn't seem real.

I can't stop thinking about the last time I saw him, about how happy he was, everything was finally coming together for him, both in his career and his personal life. He was so excited about applying for the position as Chief of the ER, and I know he would have been perfect for the job. I think about how far he had come from his first days at County, and where he was on that last day when I saw him, it was like night and day. So, why did this have to happen now?

I should try and reach his brother, I can only imagine what this is doing to Chaz right now. All the years they never knew the other existed and just as they are beginning to really know each other, Greg is taken away from him. I know he is going to need someone to be there for him, someone to step in and mentor him as his brother would have. Do I dare offer myself as that substitute?

Oh, God, I need a drink, or two, or three. I should have stayed home with Abby, I should have been there for those who needed to talk instead of here. I hate that this might now be seen as running away, then again maybe it is. Chicago holds too many memories, too much sadness, too much pain, too much loss, not just Pratt, but, Gallant, The Bishop, Carter, Carol, too many others to count. As much as I hate to admit it, we need a fresh start, a new beginning to our lives, just Abby, Joe, and I.

So, Greg, I'll miss you my friend, but, remember, in the words of my father, "we part only to meet again," so be sure and keep the beers chilled.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 586
I don't remember my rescue, our rescue. The truth is, I remember very little of the time I spent with Chance and her mother in that small window-less shack we were kept in after leaving Matenda. There are times I can remember the oppressive heat as it turned the hut into an oven. I can sometimes remember how it felt when my untreated malaria sent my temperature soaring, leaving me shivering under a blanket that was little more than a rag itself. There is so much though that I don't remember, so much that I know I should.

There are times I think I remember the ride to the clinic. If I try to retreat into the blackness where all of the mysteries of those lost days, those lost weeks hide. If I go there, sometimes I think I can snatch glimpses out again. But, more often then not, the memories that surface are those of what happened at the hands of the Mai Mai, and far too often, they're the memory of Patrique as his life was taken while he was begging them to spare mine. It's then I find myself counting the minutes until they bring the next dose of sleeping pills. The next dose of anything that will let me stop remembering, the next dose that will send me back into the fog of nothingness.

I'm not prepared to talk about what happened to us but, now, with my arrival at County I know it's coming. How many times will I get away with feigning sleep when someone shows up at my room, full of questions and wanting to talk? They thought I was dead, and now, here I am, how can I not expect there to be questions? Even as they have questions for me, I still can't get escape the questions I have for myself and they play through my thoughts like they're on some never-ending loop. What made my life worth more then everyone elses? I'm not just talking about Patrique's, Why would Sakima have risked not just her own life, but that of her daughters as well? How could she know they wouldn't rape her again, or worse, drag Chance into that tent? What could she have done to stop them? How could she have thought my life was worth putting that little girl in anymore danger than she'd already been placed in?

It's hard to know how long my recovery will take, I know it involves more than just how I come back from the malaria. While Gillian hasn't said anything outright, I can see on her face that she's worried about what will happen once she goes home, and I'm left to do all of this on my own. I haven't said anything to her, I have my own fears, and I know I'll have to deal with those for my recovery to really be complete. I owe that much to those who I've hurt, that I've killed, and far more then that to those who sacrificed their lives for mine. The very things that drove me to the Congo in the first place, now become just one more symptom among all of the others that I have to find a way to conquer before I can honestly say I've recovered. I don't know if I can do all of this on my own, and at the same time I know I have to, but that'll come later, for now, I just need to sleep, 'cause I'm tired, so very tired.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Words: 595
He should have sensed something was wrong sooner, should have heard it in her voice during the phone calls when they had been separated the first time. This was supposed to be their chance to strengthen things between them, a chance for him to show her the world he had come from. Instead he was left wondering if he even had a marriage to strengthen, and of all the things that might have happened, he had never expected anything like this. Sure, he could have missed the signs of her drinking, how hard would it have been for her to conceal the effects during their phonecalls? Or even regulate when and how much she was drinking so that it didn't interfere with the calls at all. Yes, he had the excuse that he had been distracted during most of their conversations. As much as he missed her and Joe, it still didn't change the reason for his being there. His father was ill, as far as he knew she and Joe were perfectly healthy except for Joe's fall, he had every right to be more concerned about what was happening with his father. Never in a million years would he have thought Abby capable of anything worse then that, but, she was, and she had. Even as he scooped Joe up, Luka knew he should stay and talk to Abby, but, the stronger urge was to put as much distance between him and her as he could, and it was that one which prevailed.

As he buckled Joe into his carseat, he could hear the sound of Niko's voice as his brother tried to console Abby in the house. He'd be lying to himself, and to her if he wasn't affected by what this was doing to them. This wasn't him falling back into old habits despite what Niko had said, he wasn't running away again, he just needed time to think, and the only way he could do that was if he put space between them.

"Ready to go for a ride, Joe?" With his son settled, Luka walked around the car and climbed behind the wheel.

What had happened to the promises they had made to each other? The question was one of the last he had asked of Abby before he had walked out the door, and one which she had in turn thrown back at him. After all they had been through, after all the times she had run to her own mother or brother's side when they needed her. Who was she to condemn him for choosing to be at his father's side during what proved to be some of the final month's of his life? But, what if she was right? Was there guilt that was rightfully his to claim in all this? Then again, even if he accepted part of the blame as his, was it enough to have led her not just to begin drinking again, but to think that sleeping with Moretti would somehow make things better.

It was all too much for him to wrap his head around and perhaps that's what led him to drive without really having a set destination in mind. How often had he and Danijela done just that in the early days of their relationship? Time off had been such a luxury for him, and time alone for the young couple even more so before their move to Vukovar. How many times would they borrow a car from one of their parents, bundle Jasna up, pack enough food for the day, and set off just to be by themselves? As Joe fell asleep and he found himself hypnotized by the monotony of the highway, he wasn't surprised to find his thoughts returning to those days.

It wasn't until he caught sight of the sign announcing his approach to Vukovar that he realized just how much of a pull back to his past his thoughts had played on him. His first instinct was to immediately stop the car, to turn around before he even entered the City. He hadn't been back since the fall of the City, so why now? His eyes shot to Joe, and he found himself looking for similarities in the boy's sleeping face to the two children he had lost all those years ago. Was that it, was the threat of losing Abby and Joe so strong that it would bring him back here when nothing else had been able to before this?

There was no question of where he had to go now that he was here and while he couldn't quite bring himself to stop the car, he at least slowed as he passed first the hospital, and then the site where the apartment had once stood. There was no question of his stopping as he reached his final destination, and with the car parked, he reached over to free Joe from his carseat.

"You want to go for a walk, Joe? Let's go get some directions." He sat his son on the ground before taking his hand and starting toward the office. Seventeen years...it was hard to believe so many years had passed, but, just driving through the City he had seen the changes, he couldn't have expected things to standstill, it was a lifetime ago. Following the directions in his hand he led Joe between the rows of tombstones, so many lives cut short. Too many, as he neared those for his family he stopped to pick his son up, needing his closeness now, more then ever.

There were no fancy headstones here, no stone monuments with elaborate floral displays, just row after row of markers identifying too many who had died before their time. As he finally located his family he regretted not having thought to have at least stopped for flowers for them.

"Tata, cry?" It was only when Joe touched the wetness on his cheek that Luka realized he was doing just that. Instead of answering, he kissed his son before sitting him on the ground so he could approach the graves on his own.

Danijela Kovac...Beloved Wife and Mother 1968-1991
Jasna Kovac...Beloved Daughter 1986-1991
Marko Kovac...Beloved Son 1989-1991

Seventeen years since he had lost his first family, and now he stood the chance of losing another if he didn't find a way of coming to terms with what had happened. Sinking to his knees at the end of the graves he motioned Joe to him before pulling his son into his arms and closing his eyes. Something had drawn him back to this place, the answer had to be here, it had to be.

"Talk to me Danijela, tell me what to do."

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 1234
5. Ficlet: In honor of Father's Day, have your muse write a fic about fathers or fatherhood. Who is a father figure for them or who in their lives might they play the father to? Or, talk about the relationship of your muse to their father in detail.

This Father's Day comes with a mixture of both sadness and joy for me, for while I have my beautiful son to share the day with, there are shadows hanging over the day that I can't ignore. For the first time in my life, I'm without my own father, having lost him earlier this year after a hard fought battle with cancer. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't see my father as often as I should have since I came to the States, but, it was never because of anything he did, and I know he knew that. When the news came however of his illness, there was no question of my going back, he was my father, I'm a doctor, I had to know that the care he was getting was the best it could be. I tried to convince my father to come back to Chicago where I knew there would be specialists we wouldn't find in Croatia, but he refused to leave his home, his friends and family. I think without saying it he knew there would be no coming back from the journey he was starting on, and if his time was coming he wanted it to end in that place that had taken my mother and others before her. I wasn't with my father when he died, and that's something I will never forgive myself for. However, if I have that as a last regret, I can find comfort in knowing that my father knew that Niko and I had at long last reconciled, and if asked to choose between the two, I have no doubt which he would have selected.

It seems a lifetime since I'd thought of Father's Day as a holiday I could look forward to, perhaps because it's arrival only served to remind me that for almost 17 years my children had laid buried a world away from me. I know it wasn't fair to my father for me to look at it that way, but, how could I feel any differently? Each year as the holiday rolled around I would see the stores beginning their promotions, see the ads on television, and I would know that I would never again know that sensation of feeling my child's hand in mine, I'd never again share a story with them, never listen to a whispered secret, or chase away the monster that hid in the shadows or under the bed. Even as I thought of those perfectly normal things I was missing out on, I couldn't help but remember the hell Jasna and Marko were forced to endure in those final weeks of their lives, the sacrifices we asked of them, and the all too real fears I wasn't able to protect them from.

As hard as it is living with my losses this Father's Day, there is an undeniable bright spot in the day for me and while there are times when my thoughts drift to those no longer here, I only need look at Joe to find what I need to go on. I don't know how to explain how much my son means to me, how much he has given back to me. He is my life, my reason for waking up in the morning, and I would do anything for him. I can't explain how hard it was being away from him for those six months I was in Croatia nursing my father anymore then I can explain how full my life was when he was with me for those weeks when we went back to bury him. I look at Joe now and I am fully aware that he is just a month older then Marko was when he died, and I can't help but find myself making comparisons between my two sons.

There are times though when I find myself holding my breath, when the fear creeps in and I wonder if God will find a way to take this child from me as he took my first two. I can't help but think that this is likely to be something that will stay with me until Joe passes the age Jasna was at her death, and only then will I be able to really let go of their ghosts. I want Joe to know his brother and sister even if it is only their memories because they are a part of me, and as such they are a part of him. So, on this Father's day, I'm finding a way to celebrate not just my father, but the father I was to those long gone, and the father I am now, for I know each are equally important, and without those who are now gone, I wouldn't be the man, I wouldn't be the father I am today.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom ER
Words: 815
Ficlet: You're troubled by a dream, or a nightmare, tell us about it and it's lingering affects as you wake from it.

He shifted slightly, nestling deeper into the cushion of the feather pillow, there was some kind of an argument filtering in...gentle coaxing ignored by the protests of his daughter, louder then she intended as she struggled not to wake him.

"Jasna...stop playing in that and eat." Danijela's voice, still quiet but growing firmer.

"I hate it." The sound of chairs scraping on the wood floor...and what else? He was drifting away from it.

"Eat." The single word enforcing her demand followed by the little girl's cries as she expressed her own futility.

"Jasna..if you wake Tata." Another warning and sleep was lost, he pushed the pillow aside and rolled to his side to watch them.

"Jasna, listen to Mama." Propping himself up on one arm he lifted his other hand to wipe the sleep from his eyes.

"But, Tata, I hate it...." He almost let the smile break as she exaggerated the word in emphasis, and might have had he not seen the look on his wife's face as it deepened to stop him.

He lay in that mist of half sleep, the pillow bunched up, under his head, the noises in the room barely registering. He'd been working 12-16 hour overnight shifts for close to two weeks and in the confines of the small apartment he took his sleep when he found it. On those mornings when he wondered where he had found the strength to walk home, let alone climb the stairs to the apartment, sleep came easily, the voices of his children unheard. He pressed the heel of his hand into his eye in an attempt to break the last tendrils of sleep that held him.

"Jasna...you have to eat." He couldn't fault the little girl, rations had been tightened and for three days there had been little more then the watered soup flavored by cabbage and turnip, with not even bread to supplement it.

"Jasna...come to Tata." He forced himself to sit, resting his back against the wall as she came and crawled onto the bed with him. Folding his arms around her he drew her onto his lap, letting his fingers run through her hair before he spoke.

"How about I make you a bargain...you eat the soup Mama fixed and Tata will go and find some bread and cheese for dinner." His smile broke as he watched his daughter's reaction.

"Cheese?" Her own face brightened in disbelief.

"Luka...you spoil her...you should sleep before you have to go back to the hospital." Danijela scolded as she scooped their sleeping son up from where he had fallen asleep at the table and tucked him into his crib.

"I can sleep later, with luck it will be quiet tonight...this is more important." He kissed the top of his daughter's head before releasing her.

"Tata, can I come with you?" He shook his head in refusal.

"No, baby...you go eat your soup...let Tata get dressed." He scrubbed a hand over his face in an effort to wake himself up more.

"But, I hate it, and I wanna go with you." The five year old draped herself across her father again, looping her arms around his neck as if by holding onto him, she could convince him to let her go with him.

"Jasna, you know it's not safe, you need to be my big girl and stay here with Mama and Marko where nothing will happen to you." The words seemed to echo in his head as he kissed her again.

Nothing will happen to you. How could he have been so wrong? A cry of anguish broke from him as his own questioning of his actions put an end to the dream.

"Luka, what's wrong?" Josip Kovac appeared in the doorway of his son's room, the look of worry on his face unavoidable. It had been over a year since the day he had seen his son, his daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren off to start their new lives in Vukovar, and now Luka was back, a mere shadow of himself, and his family was gone. Seeing his youngest son's face, and the tears that wet his cheeks, said enough, in an instant he was to him, and after taking a seat on the bed he pulled him into his arms.

"Luka, I'm so sorry." Luka had only arrived the day before and he had said almost nothing about what he had been through, but, knowing his family had been lost, and seeing his physical condition, he could only imagine. He had seen the reports on television, read everything he could get his hands on as he'd waited for news on his son and his family, but, he'd always held out hope that they'd been among the lucky ones. Lucky, his son was alive, but at what price? Josip laid his cheek against Luka's head as he rubbed slow circles on his back, what else could he do but be there for him, offering comfort, the only thing he knew he could give in a time such as this.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 952
Ficlet: Talk about a situation in your muse's life and their motivations for having done what they did that was in line with their personal beliefs. Even if the beliefs are controversial or out of the ordinary, or if the character had suspicions, guilt or regrets, talk about it. If they have no such inclinations toward such sentiments, explore those.

After my family died, I retreated inside myself. At first it was all I could do to force myself to get out of bed, to eat, to even face another person was unthinkable. As hard as it was, I somehow found a way to do each of those things, my Country was still at war, doctors were in short supply, though I hadn't been able to save my own family, maybe I could save someone elses. With my home gone, I lived at the hospital, I threw myself into my work, often working round the clock, sleeping only when I could no longer stay on my feet, but, it wasn't enough.

As Vukovar fell to the Serbians the hospital was over-run by soldiers, many were killed immediately a lucky few were able to escape, I was among them. I later learned that those who survived, patients, staff, and doctors alike were taken to a farmhouse outside the City where they were tortured and shot before their bodies were buried in a mass grave. Yet again, my life had been spared.

After my escape from Vukovar, I spent time in a Displaced persons camp, I couldn't understand why I kept cheating death while so many others were lost. If I had felt guilty before, it didn't begin to compare with what I felt now, unwilling to allow anyone close for fear they might become yet another casualty I pushed everyone away. Eventually, I returned to my parents home, hoping that I would find the safety there I had found as a young child, but, it was gone, and all I found were reminders of all I had lost. When the chance came for me to leave and come to the States I took it, maybe there I could finally find the peace that so eluded me in the Country I had once thought I would never leave.

With the war in Croatia over and my life in the United States a world away from the reminders of my past it was easy for me to forget the demons I had been running from. I became complacent, and I allowed myself to think I could have a chance at a normal life again. Or maybe I wasn't thinking at all, maybe that in itself was the problem on that night by the river.

The evening had started so innocently enough, a stolen kiss at work, a night out with a co-worker, dinner, drinks, if only we could have known how badly it would end. I don't know that I even thought about my actions when the mugger attacked us, I felt the blow as he hit me with the pipe, I remember hitting the ground, then there was nothing. I awoke to hear Abby scream and I knew only that I had to save her, I had to do for her what I had failed to do for Danijela and my children, for those at the hospital. I don't remember any actual thoughts, just the raw emotions and the hate directed to the man attacking her. In an instant my hands were on him, I drove him to the ground and I remember slamming his head into the pavement over and over again.

I don't remember how many times Abby called my name, I didn't even realize how close to killing him I'd come until we reached the hospital and saw them working on him. I listened to their words and only then understood that I had taken his life, I had killed a man with my bare hands, but, I had protected her, how could one be wrong while the other was right? I remember being disgusted with myself even as the police and those around me were telling me my actions were justified. My faith had always told me that all life was sacred, yet, how far would he have gone if I hadn't have stopped him? The questions were ones I would never have answers for, they were ones that would haunt me as I tried to find a name to put to the face that I'd seen stretched out in the morgue. I had taken a life, and I couldn't help but wonder how that made me any different then him.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words 810
I don't know that I ever truly questioned my decision to turn my back on my faith until I met Bishop Stewart. The Church had played a large part in both Danijela's and my upbringing, and it was only natural that we would carry that into our children's lives. When I lost my family, I felt betrayed by God. I blamed him for taking my family from me, and the day I laid them to the rest was the day I walked away from the Church.

Over the years since, both my father and brother had tried to convince me that I was wrong. Oh yes, they'd tried to coax me back, explaining how God had a reason for everything that happened, and how I couldn't possibly hold him responsible for the violence of war. They questioned how I could blame him for deaths caused by people little different then them or I. And of course, there was that greatest of all excuses, the one produced when all others fail, how could he possibly be everywhere at once? It didn't matter how much they talked, how much they prayed for me to see the light, I refused to listen, my family was gone, my life was over, and nothing they could say could undo that.

When I came to the United States I tucked my abandoned faith away with all those other parts of myself that I no longer wanted to acknowledge. No one knew me, I could be anyone I wanted to be, and when people got too close, I did what soon came to be too easy, I ran away. Why I didn't run away after my first encounter with Bishop Stewart I'll never know. Almost from the moment I began treating him something happened to connect me to him in a way that even now can't explain. He saw through me in a way no one else ever had, and without my realizing it, from those very first visits he began guiding me back.

I never told Abby, but, as concerned as I was about the Bishop's health, I found myself dreading the thought of once more entering a Catholic Church after so many years away. Then, once I was in the Rectory, and seeing the state he was in, listening to his story, hearing of his own lapse of faith. If someone like him could have doubts, I wasn't sure what to think. Somehow, without knowing it, the Bishop had found a way to set in motion my way back, even if I still didn't quite know it.

I honestly believe that it wasn't until that moment where he offered to hear my confession that I fully accepted what he was offering me. I remember his words to me, and he was so right, I had carried the weight of my guilt for so long, and I didn't know how to free myself of it. I don't even remember the last time I had fully told the story of that fateful day, or when I had allowed myself to remember it in such detail without using it as a reason for blaming myself for my failures. I only know that he allowed me to not just relieve myself of the guilt I'd carried since the day I'd lost my family, but, he gave me hope for the future, something I didn't believe existed. How do you thank someone for a gift such as that? How do you thank someone for giving you back your life?

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 595
I Walk Alone

by N/A
I look deep inside of me
there's a place but its not plain to see
I belong where no on else can be

Searching for myself again
Here I'm all alone and when
I Close my eyes -- no one else can see

I Walk Alone, can't you see
I don't belong, let me be
Everything I dreamed of being -- is me
And I got myself to lean on,
got both my feet on the ground

And you don't know me,
I don't know me
I can't see you ,
you can't see me
close my eyes and leave the world behind.

So I got no heart, got no home
Got no somewhere I belong
I don't know if everything is just fine

I Walk Alone, can't you see
I don¹t belong, let me be
Everything I dreamed of being
and I don't belong, can't you see
I Walk Alone, let me be
Everything I dreamed of being -- is me
And I got myself to lean on,
got both my feet on the ground

So I got no heart and I got no home
And I got no somewhere I belong
I don't know if -- everything is just.....

And I got myself to lean on,
got both my feet on the ground
And I got myself to lean on,
got both my feet on the ground

And I look deep inside of me
There's a place but it's not plain to see
where I belong where no one else can be

And I'm searching for myself again
And here I'm all alone and when
I close my eyes and no on else can see

Is it possible that I want too much? Carol, Abby, and now Sam...maybe it isn't possible to have again what I once had with Danijela, maybe, my hopes for again becoming a father are dreams never again to be fulfilled. How many times can I continue to put myself out there, make myself vulnerable to the pain that seems destined to come. Open myself up in the hope that maybe this time things will be different? Maybe it's time to leave again. Maybe it's time to me to pack things up and start over. I've allowed too many here to see my weaknesses and what have I gained from it? More pain? More loneliness?

I look back on the years I spent alone after Danijela's death, the emptiness I felt, and I remember wondering if I would ever find someone like her. Even as I was thinking that though, I found something holding me back and I knew that to allow someone in, I had to expose the past I had become so adept at hiding, and I don't think I was ready for that. I tried with Carol. In those early months I worked at County, she was the only one who knew the secrets of my past. Only with her did I dare share the story of my past, that carefully hidden memory of that fateful day in Vukovar when I lost Danijela and our children. I should have realized that what I thought might be possible between us could never really happen, and as much as Carol was trying to make it on her own, her heart belonged to another as mine once had. If my sight hadn't been clouded by my growing feelings for the twins, and for Carol, I'm sure I would have realized that what we were sharing wasn't love. If anything, it was more a common bond of loss, for we both were still grieving for those no longer with us and the only difference between us was that in the end she was able to go to hers where mine was gone forever.

I know it was my lingering feelings for Danijela that stood between Abby and I, and maybe too the fact that we didn't really talk. We tried, and I think that while we both would have liked for there to have been some way to make things work, the truth was, neither of us was ready for that to happen. If anything, the way we broke up showed us that better than anything else could have. I'll forever regret the words I threw at Abby that night, and I'm glad to say we have moved past them and found our way back into a friendship, I hope the same will be true for things with Sam in time. If it was difficult ending things with Carol, it was worse with Sam if only because I had come to have such strong feelings for Alex. As much as I loved Sam, I think the feelings I held for Alex ran even deeper, and they drew on that part of me that had grieved the loss of Carol's twins. As was the case with Abby though, so it was with Sam, and I found myself unable, or maybe unwilling to share the parts of my past that she seemed to think she needed to know. Worse then that though were our differences on what we wanted in a family and as much as I wanted more children, she knew she did not. In the end, all she could do was walk away.

So, here I am, back where I was so many years ago, alone, lonely, and wondering what the future has in store for me. Maybe it's time for me to move on, I have to question my decision to stay at times, especially with all that has happened, but, then I see Abby, and I wonder, maybe it's worth giving it another try...

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 675

Run...don't think about the snipers.

Run...don't think about the snipers, just think about making it to the water and home again.

Run...don't think about getting hit. It sounded so simple as he repeated the phrases over and over in his head, if only it was.

Run...don't think about the snipers. Shit. He ducked his head as the glass in the windows of a nearby building shattered, sending shards raining down onto the pavement he had only just cleared.

Run...don't think about how close the sniper's bullets had come. It wasn't like he had a choice in the matter, the water was a necessity of life and if he didn't make the trip to the pump they would be forced to do without. He couldn't do that to Danijela, he wouldn't do that to his babies, not when they had already sacrificed so much.

Run...don't think about the snipers, don't think about things you cannot change, think about now, this moment. Think about survival. That's what it all comes down to doesn't it? All the sacrifices, living among so much destruction, among so much risk, all you can do is struggle to survive and hope that maybe tomorrow things will be a little better. Maybe one day you'll wake up to find the risk is gone, you'll wake up and find the world has returned to what it once was. But not today, today there is only one thought you can think of...


Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 248
"I know that I probably didn’t do the right thing that day. I am usually much stronger than that. But what can I say? Things happen."

We all make mistakes, it's part of being human, but sometimes you reach a point in your life when it's almost like every move you make is one meant to send you down a path of self-destruction. I wish I could say I know the exact point in time when I became aware of what I was doing, but, I don't. I do remember that at the time, It didn't seem to matter that my actions were hurting other people, I didn't care about the consequences to my actions, or maybe I was just too numb to see any of it for what it really was. I think in my own head I was looking for a way to feel anything other than the loneliness that was eating me up inside, and if it hurt someone else in the process I didn't care. I just needed to stop feeling so alone.

I wish I could say that what I was doing never impacted my work, but that would have been as much a lie as anything else. From my liason with a patient's mother in a storage room while her daughter waited alone in an exam, to the one night stands with those who I later expected to work with as if nothing had happened, all I saw in each of them was what I needed in those moments I was with them. I didn't care about what the experience might mean to them, I didn't think about what would happen once the moment had passed, all that mattered was that I got what I needed from them. All that had mattered, was for those minutes, those hours I felt something other than alone.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 287
"Everyone has secrets. The question is whether it is one that they wish to keep hidden, or to reveal or even want to acknowledge within themselves."

For many years I built my life around the secrets I kept. After I left Croatia and came to the United States I tried to put my past behind me, and the only way I thought I could do that was by never talking about it. It wasn't easy, I rarely stayed anywhere long enough for people to get to know me, my past was a secret I kept locked away, and in turn I remained a stranger to everyone. In fact, whenever people tried to get to close to me, or when it seemed that the outside world was starting to threaten the bubble of isolation I'd formed around myself, I just left.

It wasn't until I came to Chicago and began working at County that I began revealing any of my past, and even then I was very selective about who I spoke to about it and even more selective about what I told them. Carol was one of the few with whom I felt comfortable enough with to share the details of the day I lost Danijela and our children, with others it's enough that they only know that at one time I was married, and that I'd lost my family in the war.

I never used to worry about what people might think about me. I knew I was never going to be in any one place long enough for it to matter if I built friendships, the only thing that mattered was doing my job. Even now, very few people know the details of how my first family died, but, I'm no longer running from my past, and I've accepted that what happened then is as much a part of me as what happened yesterday, or what will happen tomorrow. While that doesn't mean I will automatically tell everyone I meet about my past, neither do I feel the need to conceal it from the world in secrets doled out to a chosen few. Those I lost are always going to be with me, and after so many years of denying the fact, I've finally realized that there is more to their lives than just the day I lost them. I understand now, that as long as I can remember those days, for those few moments I can almost feel like they are with me again.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 391
“I want to die while you love me, While yet you hold me fair, While laughter lies upon my lips, And lights are in my hair.” - Georgia Douglas Johnson

There are times when I almost forget where I am. I awake in my father's house to smells and sounds that I remember from so long ago, and in that still cloudy consciousness of half-sleep, I can almost make myself believe that Danijela is in the next room. That our children lie safe in their beds, and at any minute they'll wake from their night's sleep. In those moments I find myself listening for the sounds of their laughter, or the calls for Mama and Tata, that announce their readiness to start the new day. If my sleep holds me a little deeper, I can imagine my arms still hold my wife as she sleeps curled against me, I can smell the scent of her shampoo as my cheek rests against her hair, and the faint residue of perfume she must have dabbed behind her ears at one point during the day.

As my drowsiness leaves me and I leave that realm of sleep, I can't help but remember where I am and I'm left alone with only the sadness and sense of loss such remembrances carry with them. How can I not remember that Danijela and those babies, our babies have been gone so long now that had they lived they likely would have been parents themselves? It seems so hard to believe that so many years have passed, and I can't help but realize that the time we had together was no more than a breath when compared to what might have been.

It's times like these that I can't help but feel grateful, for despite all the hardships we faced, we never doubted the love that existed between us. From the moment we met we knew our lives were meant to be spent as one, we just didn't know that time would be so short, and I wonder if we had if it might have changed how we lived it. For all the times I have wished that I had died with Danijela and our children, I would never have wished to change places with any of them and as difficult as it has been to live my life without them, I would never have wished for one of them to face a life alone the way I have had to do.

I hear laughter now, and from the other room comes the call for Tata, and as much as I miss those I have lost, I've finally allowed myself to move on. After all these years, I've found another to open my heart to, another I've committed my life to, and together we have a son. I have to believe Danijela would understand because I've finally found someone who makes me feel the way I felt with her. I've once again found someone who makes me feel complete, someone I want to spend the rest of my life with, and I finally know what it feels like to be happy again.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 482
I Had A Dream

by Paul Revere and the Raiders

by N/A

I had a dream
I had a dream
Had myself a dream today
The same one
Havin' it most every day now
Since you been gone
Wake up in the mornin' and I find
You're not in my room
You're in my mind
Suddenly the sun has lost its shine
Baby, baby, baby
I had a dream
I had a dream

I had a dream
I had a dream
Had myself a dream tonight
The same one
Havin' it most every day now
Since you been gone
All alone upon a mountain high
Lookin' at your pictures in the sky
Turned around and looked into your eyes
Baby, baby, baby
I had a dream
I had a dream

How do you tell someone you made a mistake when they won't even talk to you? How do you tell them that the things you said weren't really the things you meant? That if there was a way you could take them back, or if you could undo it all you would without a moment's hesitation?

I don't know how we got to the place that we did. A place that would allow both of us to hurl words at the other that were meant to hurt far more than any physical blows would have. How do you begin to apologize for having issued insults only someone harboring a deep hatred of someone could have said?

If I harbor guilt at what I said to Abby, far worse was hearing what she had to say to me. I don't think until that night I realized that she felt jealousy toward Danijela and my feelings for her. I know we've talked about her, the life we had, and she has to realize that my wife's death couldn't change my feelings for her anymore then it could change those for my children. It doesn't mean I can't have similar feelings for her, and as angry as I felt, I knew in my heart the love I felt for her was still there.

I hate thinking about those first weeks when Abby barely looked at me, let alone spoke. If I entered a room she would find a reason to leave and perhaps even worse was seeing her relationship with Carter starting to develop. I didn't want to wish bad things on them, bad things on her, but how could I not if there was still hope for us?

It took time but Abby and I finally found a way to move past what had happened between us. I think we both realized that neither of us really wished the other any ill will, and the words we'd spoke were ones of anger and nothing more. As we found a way to forgive we also found our way back to our friendship and I think that in itself was the one thing I had missed the most. I want Abby to be happy, and if this is what it takes then I can live with it, and whatever happens from here happens, only time will tell if anything more comes of it. In the meantime, well, I can dream can't I?

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 413
Fictional Prompt: You're in bed with a blonde and a duck.

For the first time in far too many nights he had finally been able to sleep and even as the sun began to leave a thin trail across the stone floor, Luka found it still too soon to leave the warmth of the down comforter. The gentle breathing of the one sharing his bed warned him that sleep still held them and he found a smile spreading across his face as he turned onto his side so he could draw them closer.

"Quack, quack." The squeak was unexpected and he raised up on his arm to fish the small animal out from under the weight of his body. As the small hand reached for the duck he relinquished his hold and instead wrapped them around his young son.

"Go back to sleep, Joe, it's too early to get up." He brushed a kiss against his hair before releasing a sigh of his own and closing his eyes again.

"Quack, Quack..." The sound of his son's play with the duck echoed in his ears, as he tried to give himself back to sleep, definitely too early to get up.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 189


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