A/N: I guess the title says it all. This isn't a story I thought I would write, but it came to me and insisted. I didn't want to make this part of Dream Lover because I think and hope for many reasons that the show won't go this route, and I want a happier end to that story.
Warnings: Spoilers for Episodes 13:1 and 13:2, some adult language and much angst."Circling the Drain"
Luka Kovac did not want to go home. It had been ten days since they had lost the baby. Eight days since the service. Six days since Maggie had left. Three days since he had gone back to work. Two days since she had started smoking. One day since he had searched the apartment for alcohol. A lifetime since he'd known what to say to her . . or what to do.
She had withdrawn into a place he couldn't follow. She hadn't cried, not once, not when they said goodbye to their son, not at the service, not when they, well really he and Maggie, had buried him. They hardly talked, and when they did, it was never about anything that mattered. It was unraveling before his eyes. The irony of the fact that he had stopped for a drink himself after work was not lost on him. He said a silent prayer as he put the key in the lock – for what he wasn't sure.
He wasn't surprised. He knew it was coming could feel it in the air like a thunderstorm approaching. Abby sat at the table, a cigarette in her hand, a bottle of Scotch in front of her, open, a half empty glass at her side. There it was. She looked at him. Was that defiance? At least there was a spark of something left in her.
He threw his keys down on the counter and put his hands on his hips for a minute. Well then . . .fuck it. He walked over and got a glass for himself. He sat down and reaching for the bottle, he poured himself a glass full of the amber liquid. The bottle was mostly full. She'd had a glass . . maybe two. Thank heaven for small favors. She watched him, saying nothing. He picked up the cigarettes and lit one for himself. Then he downed the booze in one shot.
Finally he spoke. "You want to go down. Okay. I'm coming too. Let's chuck it all. . .our careers . . . .our health .. .. .each other. I can't stop you Abby – cause I've been trying – but I can damn well join you." He took another big drag on his cigarette.
She had been watching him, but finally, she broke his gaze. She stubbed out her cigarette. "I'm just so tired. Tired of fighting it. Tired of trying to get things right . . . . that are never going to be . . . right. I'm just tired Luka, you know?"
"Yeah, Abby, I know."
Then it happened, finally it happened. Abby started to cry. He watched for a second as the tears began to flow from her eyes, slowly at first, and she could wipe them away. Then something in her broke, and he saw it. He pushed back his chair, and knelt in front of her. Abby wrapped her arms around his neck and let herself cry as she hadn't since she was a little girl.
"I want my baby, Luka. I want my baby."
"I know, Abby, I know". He rocked her and stroked her hair.
"I don't know."
It became the wracked sobbing he remembered from the war. The heartbreaking cry of a mother bereft. When finally she stopped, he picked her up and carried her up to their bed. She weighed next to nothing now. She pressed her face into his chest. He laid her down, pulled off her slippers and covered her up. She curled up on her side, facing the wall, as she'd done every night since Josef had died. Then he got into the bed next to her and curled himself around her.
The last thing she said to him was "I thought he'd make it Luka. I really thought he'd make it." Finally, she slept, but Luka did not. Luka remembered.. . . ..
His hands were tied. They still were. But now no one would come and untie them, no one would make it easier for him to breathe. Would they? After they stabilized her with fluids and oxygen, they'd paged Luka. Hearing his beeper going off next door, Haleh had opened the door between them. Abby and Luka looked at each other, both helpless and scared.
The rest was a blur. He'd made it over to her, his legs buckling under his weight, forgetting where they were, he had buried his lips in her hair, murmured her name. She'd touched his bruised face.
"Luka, the baby"
He stood up then, barked useless orders. Everything was already being done. Then they were in surgery and the baby born, limp and blue, but alive.
"Damn, it's not stopping." Coburn muttered. Abby was bleeding.
"Take it out."
"Just another minute."
He'd looked at the suction canisters already full of her blood and the monitors with her pressure falling.
And she had.
Abby had lived, but not by much. She'd gone into DIC and needed multiple transfusions of blood, platelets and clotting factors.
Meanwhile Josef had struggled. When he was two weeks, they thought he would pull through. Abby let her apartment go, and he'd packed up the boxes, moved them to his place. They were still full, lining the walls, stacked in the corners.
"I want us to be a family." That's what she had said. What were they now?
When he was almost a month, he developed a complication – NEC – necrotizing enterocolitis, his bowel was dying. When they prepped him for surgery, he knew. He arranged the Baptism. Abby didn't want it. Didn't want to believe he wouldn't make it. Luka had been in the room with Josef for most of the surgery. In the end, he went up to Abby watching through the observation window, said nothing, but took her hand.
After surgery, Dr. Anspaugh had said it all. "I'm so sorry." Three numbing words. They'd held his tiny hands while the tubes were removed. Then Luka wrapped him up, and Abby sat in the rocking chair holding their son until he was gone. Luka had taken him finally and kissed his head, and they'd gone home. Not a word was said. Not one. What was there to say? "Why didn't I . . . .?" "Why didn't you . . . . ?" Useless any of it would have been useless. He was gone and that was the only truth that mattered.
Maggie had let them say their good-byes alone. She had come back to the apartment and cooked.. . . .food that no one wanted or ate although they made a pretense.
"I'm so sorry, honey." Maggie had said as Abby had started up the stairs to bed.
Abby had shrugged, eyes blank. "It's like I said Maggie. Some people just aren't meant to be mothers." Luka cringed at the memory.
Maggie had made the arrangements for the memorial. It was held in the hospital chapel. Abby had told him she would meet him there. She wanted to take a walk first. He had begun to think she wasn't going to come. But she did. She walked in just before it started and took her place between Luka and Maggie. He'd reached over and taken her hand. They'd made it through the hugs and the sympathy . . somehow.
Abby had left the rest up to him. He couldn't go through with cremation, so instead, he'd made arrangements for a private burial. But once they arrived, Abby wouldn't leave the car. So he and Maggie watched the tiny casket being lowered into the earth. Luka spoke a prayer in Croatian. And they walked back.
The next day Luka drove Maggie to the train station.
"She'll get through this."
"She's stronger than you think Luka, stronger than she thinks. She will. She will get through this."
Luka nodded again. He just wanted this to end. . to be done.
"Take care of her. She won't let me. Maybe she'll let you."
Luka nodded for the third time. He wanted to scream. Instead he simply said.
"I will. Thanks for everything."
"Bye Luka. I'll call soon."
He had a couple of days before he had to go back to work. At first, Abby had wanted to go back early – but Coburn said she wasn't releasing her for work a day before the sixth week mark, and maybe not even then.
"Maybe we should unpack your boxes."
"You don't want your things?"
"No, not really."
"She finished the room. Maggie, she finished the baby . . . Josef's room. It has animals on the walls."
"Haven't you been in?"
"No. Did you want . . . . did you want to put things away?"
"You need to eat."
"Maybe later, I think I might try to take a nap."
And so it went.
When the soft, pink light of dawn began to creep into the room, Luka extracted his arm and went downstairs.