AUTHOR'S NOTE: This one came to me a few months ago, but since I was trying to get "Light" finished, I wasn't able to work on it at the time. (I don't like writing more than one fic at a time.) It takes place during the time Abby is staying at Luka's apartment in S8; set, probably, a few days after "Secrets and Lies."

(And, a word about the layout of the apartment. When I was first watching ER, I missed the existence of the stairway in Luka's apartment. (Blame a very small tv, and the fact that the stairs are never actually used – you just see the railing.) So in this fic, and all the others that are set there, [or have scenes there] his apartment has the same basic layout – an open-plan living space with a kitchen along one wall, a bedroom [probably through a door opening from the non-existent tv 'fourth wall'], and a bathroom with two doors, one opening into the bedroom [as seen in "Hindsight"] and one opening into the living room [as seen in "Forgive and Forget.]. I think this layout works better in story terms anyway…)

I don't own Luka Kovac. I don't own Abigail Lockhart. I don't own ER. I do own this story.


A creaking noise. Almost a groan. Abby wasn't really awake, but she heard it. Must be the sofa, she thought. The leather must be creaking beneath her weight. But it had never done that before, and she'd been sleeping here for a week now.

The noise came again, and Abby opened her eyes. The apartment was dark; very dark. And very quiet. No light from the street, the faint red glow of the microwave clock was dark.

Abby looked at her watch; its light came from a battery. 5:20. She had a shift; the watch alarm wouldn't beep to wake her for another 10 minutes, but she might as well get up. Though, with the power obviously out, would the el even be running? She could ask Luka to drive her in, though he didn't have a shift today, she knew.

She sat up. Outside of the blanket, the room was freezing. Of course; electric heat. How long had the power been out? Grabbing her robe, Abby quickly put it on, and she slid her feet into her slippers. The blanket draped over her shoulders completed the ensemble, and she went to the window.

Maybe, she thought, it was just a localized outage, just the one block. If it was, the el would be running, and she could go to work without bothering Luka. Regardless of the situation elsewhere, the hospital, with its own back-up generator, would have power. There would be heat, and coffee.

Opening the blinds, Abby looked out - and stared. It was very dark outside. No moon, no stars. No glow from the street lights or the many typically illuminated business signs on the block. No light from any window. No headlights, because there were no cars on the street. But, even in the pitch blackness, Abby could still see the hard glitter of the ice. It coated everything as far as she could see in either direction. She could also hear, very clearly now, the creaking noise that had wakened her. It was the wind blowing on the ice covered world. There was another noise too, the faint hiss of the sleet that still fell from the black sky.

How was she going to get to work? The el wouldn't be running in this, even if she could manage to walk the two blocks to the station. She couldn't ask Luka to drive her in this kind of weather. What she needed, she thought, were ice skates.

The bedroom door opened. "Pretty, isn't it?" came Luka's quiet voice. Abby's eyes had adjusted to the dark sufficiently to see that Luka was standing there dressed only in a tee shirt and sweat pants.

"Lovely," she agreed, sarcastically. "Aren't you freezing?"

"A little bit chilly."

"I don't suppose you have a gas water heater, so I can at least get a hot shower."

"Nope, electric." Luka sounded entirely too cheerful.

"Is there anything in this apartment that isn't electric?"

Luka was searching in a kitchen drawer. The scrape of a match, and the warm light, first from the match itself, then from the candle wick. "Sure," said Luka. "There are candles." The glow lit his smiling face. "And there is always body heat."

"Very funny." Abby sighed. "Besides, I have to go to work."

"How do you plan to get there?"

"I'm still working on that one," Abby admitted. "But they have a generator. It's worth the effort if it will mean heat and light and coffee."

"Come over here. It's damn toasty here by the candle. Come warm your fingers."

"I have to go to work."

"Be sensible, Abby. Nobody is going anywhere. Sick people can't get to the ER, and the night shift isn't going to be able to leave." Luka lit another candle from the flame of the first one. "Looks like we're stuck here together. I have lots of warm clothes if you don't have enough."

"No, I'll just go back to bed. It was almost warm under the covers." She managed a smile. "How long do you think it will take to heat water for coffee over the flames of two candles?"

Luka didn't answer; he headed back for the bedroom, taking the candles with him. Abby lay down on the now chilly leather and wrapped herself in the blanket. A moment later she felt something heavy and soft fall on her. "Stay warm," Luka said, and went back into the bedroom again. Abby wrapped the second blanket around her, and went back to sleep.