Dancing in Circles

Chapter One: Neverending Story

Luka closed his locker and left the lounge. Apparently it wasn't his day off after all. He'd been at the hotel, trying to decide what to do with himself, when he'd gotten a call from the hospital. They needed him to come in, because apparently Dr. Greene had suffered some sort of seizure.

He didn't see Abby anywhere, so he figured she was in with a patient. He wanted to know how her morning had gone once she left the hotel. There had been extra tension floating around her since her mother's arrival, but so far she hadn't said much about the whole situation. He reminded himself to talk to her when he got a chance, just to make sure everything was okay.

As if his thoughts had conjured her, she walked in through the ambulance bay. Her arm was wrapped around her mother's shoulder, and Maggie was splattered with blood. Clearly everything was not okay.

He asked Cleo what had happened, but she had no idea. Luka stepped away from her as Abby herded Maggie through the ER, looking for an empty bed. When she found one she immediately pulled the curtain closed around them. Tension sizzled in their wake.

Luka frowned. Hands on hips, he walked slowly away from the admit desk and watched as Abby emerged from behind the curtain and walked into the empty trauma room next door. He watched through the window as she sat and her shoulders slumped, weary and defeated.

He walked past the curtain area and glanced briefly inside, but Maggie's quiet ranting was background noise. His attention was focused on Abby.

For several moments he stood at the door of the trauma room. Her eyes roved around, but he didn't think she was seeing anything. She didn't acknowledge him.


Her eyes lifted to his. She tried to smile, but it didn't reach her eyes. "I just need a minute."

Luka walked into the room and let the door swing shut quietly behind him. "What happened?"

She was quiet for several moments, then shook her head. "Maggie happened." She ran a hand through her hair and shrugged out of her coat. "I shouldn't have backed off on the blood test. I should have known she wasn't really taking the pills, and I should have followed through, damned if she was late for her interview or not."

"Uh...maybe you should start at the beginning."

Her eyes caught his and held for several minutes. Luka supposed she was trying to decide whether or not to confide in him. Then she sighed and looked away.

"When I got to my apartment this morning there was fabric everywhere and she was in some sort of sewing frenzy. Said she had to make a jacket or some job interview this afternoon."

She got up and paced. Luka followed her progress back and forth across the trauma room. He didn't interrupt her.

"She walked in while I was counting her pills in the bathroom. I convinced her to come in for a blood test. But Malucci walked in on us before I was done, and I just let her go. I shouldn't have let her go."

"What was Malucci doing?"

Abby shrugged. "Hiding from a girl."

She sat back down. "I was working my shift when we got a call that Maggie was hurt outside some store on Oak Street. I got there, the store's front window was shattered, the store owner was irate, and Maggie was manic."

"Is she all right?"

"She needs some sutures on her hand. Can you take care of it?"

"Of course. What about you?"


"Are you all right?"

"Why wouldn't I be all right?" she asked carelessly, starting to pace again.


"No, really. I've been dealing with this since I was a kid. She cycles into a manic phase, she promises to take her pills, then she quits and it starts all over again. This isn't anything I've never faced before. I can handle it."

"You don't have to do this alone."

"I'm not going to drag you into the middle of it. I just need you to suture her hand."

"You're not dragging me into anything. I'm offering to help."

"Thanks, but there's not really anything you can do. There's nothing anybody can do."

"Maybe there's a program we can get her into, get her some help."

"She won't stay in a program, and she hates taking her medication. It's the way it's always been." She walked out of the trauma room and crossed the hall to avoid the curtain area where her mother waited.

Luka followed her, noting the stiff line of her shoulders. He looked down and saw her fist clench and release. This was weighing on her much more heavily than she let on, but she was the most stubborn woman he'd ever met, and she refused to admit she needed help. She tried to fix her mother while ignoring her own pain.

Abby walked into the lounge and stuffed her coat in her locker. "We better get back to Maggie," she said. "If she's left alone for too long, she's liable to disappear."

Luka sighed inwardly. Abby had erected a wall between herself and the world, closing everyone off from her pain, and he didn't have time to scale it now. Maybe once Maggie was taken care of, he thought, Abby would be more willing to talk to him.

"I'll take care of her hand," he said. And maybe he would look into some treatment programs, he added silently. Maybe Abby would open up if she knew that Maggie was getting help.

"I'm right behind you."