Change In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes by MonaCK, Cathy Roberts
Summary: It's a slashy A/U story about how Season 8 might have been and contains no spoilers for the current season. By MonaCK and Cathy Roberts
Categories: Regular Characters: Dave Malucci, John Carter, Luka Kovac, Other-Female, Other-Male
Genres: General
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 31 Completed: No Word count: 177069 Read: 446528 Published: August 30, 2004 Updated: September 10, 2007
Chapter Twenty-Seven by MonaCK
"Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes, Part 27"
By MonaCK and Cathy Roberts


John walked to the front door and watched as Dave drove away, the
taste of the man still on his lips. It was tempting at that moment to
run after Dave and tell him to stay, that John wanted him forever.
And he did. But he also wanted the man who was upstairs.

John closed and locked the door, then climbed the stairs to the second
story. By the time he reached Luka's door, his arousal had ebbed, and
John felt more than ready to have that discussion with Luka. Well, as
ready as he'd ever be.

He knocked lightly on the door. "Luka? Are you still awake?"

Luka was laying down in his bed, arm covering his eyes. The emotion
of the day was still quite high, and now he was worried that John
wasn't back yet. What if Dave had gone off and found him, and had
managed to convince John to spend the night with him? What if John
had left both of them?

It seemed that his life was full of what if's these days, and he was
thinking about this fact when he heard the knock on the door.

"Yes.. come in," he answered, as he sat up on the bed. The light was
on in the room, and Luka inclined his head towards the door, wondering
what was awaiting him in terms of his talk with John.

John quietly opened the door, then closed it behind him, leaning
against it as he looked over to where Luka sat on the bed. "I didn't
wake you, did I?" he asked, even though he could plainly see that Luka
was still dressed and on top of the covers. Still, it made
conversation, and put off their talk a little bit.

Luka quickly shook his head. "No.. no you didn't wake me. I was
just...waiting for you. Did...your walk clear your head a little bit?"

Awkward. Luka suddenly felt awkward. That closeness that had been
there just twenty four hours prior was almost gone, and this saddened
Luka more than anything else. He was hoping that once the air
cleared, and John was more sure of what he wanted, that Luka and John
would be able to work back towards...something.

"I didn't go for another walk, but the fresh air did me some good.
Although I'm no closer to knowing just how to phrase what it is I need
to tell you than I was before," John admitted with a shy smile. He
indicated the love seat at the foot of Luka's bed. "Mind if I sit down?"

"Of course you can sit," Luka said, sitting up further in the bed.
"And whatever it is that you have to tell me...I usually find it's
best to just say things that are your mind, John."

Even though John had assured Luka earlier that he hadn't come to a
decision yet, Luka had to admit that he was still a little bit nervous
as to what was in John's thoughts.

John chuckled. What Luka was saying made sense, but only if you
really knew what was exactly on your mind, he thought. He sat down,
turning around in the love seat so he could look at Luka while he
spoke. "I think that it's only fair that you and Dave be treated
equally. Get equal chances at things. Or at least offered equal
chances." John really wasn't sure how Luka was going to handle what
he had to say, but he plowed on. "Dave asked me to stay with him in
the guest cottage from time to time. I told him I would, but that I'd
also give you the same chance. So, if you want me to, I can sleep
with you. I mean, spend the night with you, here in your room...from
time to time. Or at least every other night or something like that."
John knew he was rambling but he couldn't help it. It wasn't easy
telling the man you loved that you were going to be sleeping with the
'other' man you loved and that you hoped he understood.

John looked away from Luka and his eyes rested on the aquarium against
the wall. How many times was he going to have to move that, John
wondered. He had helped Abby take it to Luka's apartment, then helped
Luka move it here. John didn't want to think about when he'd be
helping Luka move it away.

Luka considered this for a moment. Luka knew without a shadow of a
doubt that he would be very jealous of any nights that he spent
completely with Dave, but Luka couldn't say anything about that -- it
was not his place. "I...I'm not sure that it's a good idea that we
share a bed...all night anyway," Luka finally said, after a moments
consideration. "I mean...I want to spend time with you, but if I get
used to sleeping next to you at night...I'm always going to be
wondering about you on nights when I sleep alone. So I think it
might be better until you come to a decision for me to sleep in my
bed...and you to sleep in yours."

Luka brought his eyes up to John's, hoping that he wasn't completely
hurting the man with his words. But one thing he wanted to try to do
was to be as honest with John as possible. And Luka needed to protect
himself, at least a little bit. If Dave could handle only having John
half the time, then good for him. Luka couldn't handle it at all.

"Oh," John quietly said when Luka was done speaking. It wasn't the
answer he had been hoping to get. How could he hold onto Luka if he
couldn't be with him? John wanted to argue the point with Luka, but
if Luka didn't think he could handle it, then John knew it would be
wrong for him to force Luka into having him around. But it did seem
to John that Luka was, more or less, looking at things from the
viewpoint of John choosing Dave, and he hadn't done that yet.

John got to his feet. "Well, I just wanted you to know that. If you
change your mind, then let me know." He looked at Luka, trying to
read the expression in the man's eyes. "I haven't made my choice yet,
Luka, and there's no reason for you to just assume that I'm not going
to choose you. Just as Dave can't assume that I'm not going to choose
him. It just doesn't seem...fair...that I'll be able to make love to
Dave but not to you, but if that's what you want...well, I won't argue
with you about it."

Luka opened his eyes, surprised. "No...no, John...that's not what I
meant at all. I...I would still like very much to...to make love to
you. But I don't think I can spend the whole night with you, meaning
that I would prefer to sleep alone. But...but I have to admit that I
would still very much to have some of the closeness we had begun to
share together..."

He hoped he wasn't asking for too much. And Luka wasn't even sure he
could handle *that* much of it. But without a doubt, Luka knew he was
sunk if he got used to falling asleep with John by his side.

"Oh," John repeated, but this time he didn't feel as down about
things. Luka still wanted him and that was a good sign. Sitting back
down, he smiled at Luka. "I don't want to lose that closeness,
either. It's been nice, very nice. Abby said that if she knew you
were so talkative, she'd have never let you go, but instead she would
have sat on you until you talked with her the way you do with me,"
John said, his thoughts about leaving right then long gone. Luka
wanted him, and John had to admit that the idea of making love to Luka
was one he enjoyed. He just wasn't sure if Luka would be willing to
make love right then, although John wanted it very much. He didn't
think he could get it up for Luka, his body had been through too much
during the day for him to think he could, his recent arousal
notwithstanding, but he would most definitely enjoy doing all he could
to pleasure Luka.

Luka couldn't help but laugh. "Well...Abby was the one who never
wanted to talk," Luka admitted, a small smile on his face. "She was
always much more comfortable talking to you than talking to me. I
tried to get her to open up to me...but..."

Luka shrugged. "I guess you're just very easy to talk to, John."

Luka wasn't sure where they were supposed to go from here. He knew
that John had been with Dave earlier in the evening -- and Luka still
wasn't sure how he felt about that.

"Yeah," John smirked. "They always want to 'talk' to me, but no one
ever wanted to...never mind, it's not important, especially now."
John had been about to comment that no one had ever wanted to be with
him, but now he was faced with two men who wanted to be with him. How
did that old saying go? "Be careful what you wish for, you just might
get it," he muttered.

Luka rose a brow. "Hmm? What was that? Be careful what you wish for?
And what exactly are you wishing for, John," he said, as he rose off
the bed. His libido was getting the better of him, and even though he
wasn't sure if his heart was completely into it yet, Luka had a desire
to get closer to John once more. Sitting down on the love seat next
to John, he turned to face him once more.

"So what do you wish for?"

John smiled. "I can't tell you because I promised to not mention it
any more," he quickly replied. "Truthfully, I was thinking about how
much I used to long for someone to love me the same way or more than I
loved them, and now look at me. I have two sexy and wonderful men who
feel that way and I don't know what to do about it."

Luka was silent for a moment, keeping his hands to his side as he
thought about his answer. "Well, honestly John, one day you'll know
the answer to that," he said, as he brought his eyes to meet John's
once more. "All...all that Dave and I can do is hope that you make
the decision that makes *you* happiest, because I...I think that's
what we both want...is to see you happy..."

John reached up and laid his hand against Luka's cheek. "And all I
want is for each of you to be happy, but that's not going to happen,
is it?" he asked, unable to keep the sadness out of his voice. It was
breaking his heart to see how much Luka and Dave were hurting,
especially since John knew he was the cause of that hurt.

Luka's eyes fluttered closed, and he brought his own hand up to cover
Johns, as it rested against his face. "I can only speak for myself,
John, but any time I get to spend with you makes me happy...and if I
end up having to adjust that so that we are only spending time
together on a friendship level...then that is what I'll have to do."

Luka brought his own fingers to John's cheek, caressing his skin ever
so gently. "I do love you, John, you know that, right? And it's
because of that that I'll do anything that you want me to do..."

John turned his head enough so that he could capture Luka's fingers in
his mouth. Doing something, even if it was merely sucking on Luka's
fingers, was far better than arguing with Luka over what he had said.
Because they both knew that Luka wouldn't really do anything that
John wanted, or else he would have easily agreed to John's desire to
not to have to choose.

Luka's eyes fluttered shut once more, enjoying the feeling of John
suckling on his finger. And the very sensation was making his penis
stir to life as it was reminded of how John's mouth felt on that
particular area of his body. Taking John's hand from his cheek, Luka
brought it to his mouth, and mimicked John's actions, sucking on
John's fingers as well.

Luka decided at that moment to try his best to forget about the issues
and enjoy the fact that John was there with him -- right at that
moment -- even if he knew that that might not be the case the
following day.

John moaned as Luka began to mimic his actions, and he was happily
surprised to see that he had been wrong about his physical condition
-- his cock was instantly hard the moment Luka's lips touched his fingers.

John let go of Luka's fingers, but he kept a grip on Luka's wrist as
he began to kiss his way up Luka's arm, intending to end his journey
at Luka's mouth.

Luka had begun a mini-assault on John's hand, bringing each finger
into his mouth as he suckled on each one, like it was a special treat
that he should enjoy and savor.

His 'snack' was interrupted by something much much better, though. As
John's lips left a trail of pleasure throughout his body, his mouth
was soon just inches away from Luka's.. and Luka took this opportunity
to kiss his lover fully and passionately. Yes. This was what he
wanted, and once again, Luka couldn't help but feel that right where
he was was where he belonged.

As their kiss deepened, John began to undo the buttons of Luka's
shirt, suddenly desperate to be skin to skin with the man. He needed
and wanted so badly to please Luka, to keep him close, and the only
way he knew to do that was to make love to the man and be better at it
than anyone Luka had ever had before.

It was a challenge that John usually liked taking, but this time it
seemed much more important that he not fail, and that added a whole
new urgency to his movements. He remembered Dave's questions on if
Luka knew how to please him, and John felt that perhaps the time had
come to give Luka some 'hints' about things like that. Anything to
keep Luka's interest.

Luka was breathless as he broke away from the kiss. And his eyes were
wild with desire as he looked at the man before him. He penis swelled
even further at the thought of being in bed with John. Yes. His
desire for the man was growing with every passing moment.

Soon, he realized that John had completely taken off Luka's shirt, and
Luka felt to be fair that he should do the same. Nimbly, he opened up
the buttons on front of John's shirt, and his fingers moved down to
play with the fly of John's pants.

"Shall we take this to the bed?"

"Yes," John eagerly agreed and the two men got to their feet, making
it all the easier to finish undressing each other. John drew back the
covers, then looked over his shoulder at Luka, a shy smile on his
face. "Can I ask you a question?" It was time to drop some hints,
John decided. Or to maybe even be fully direct about what he wanted.
As long as they still ended up in bed, it really didn't matter to John
how they got there.

Luka's hands moved towards John's back, the desire to touch some part
of his skin was overwhelming. As John asked his question, he nodded.
"Of course you can ask me a question. What's on your mind?"

"Have you...have you ever given much thought to bondage?" John looked
down, not quite sure if he wanted to see the look in Luka's eyes at
that question. It wasn't a bad choice since John ended up looking
directly at Luka's erection, and he smiled as he thought about all he
could do to that cock to make Luka squirm and feel good.

Luka was silent. So silent that the room was almost deafening with
the quiet as Luka tried to form his answer to John's inquiry.
Bondage? That was...tying people up. Luka wasn't sure how he felt
about that.

"What do you mean by bondage?"

Luka's expression was pensive as he asked, but he wanted to make sure
he knew exactly what he was dealing with.

John shrugged. "You know...tying someone down to the bed and having
your way with them...you know what....forget I asked. It's stupid."
He began to crawl onto the bed, embarrassed at having asked Luka that
question in the first place.

Luka opened his mouth, and then shut it again. "If it's something
that you're interested in, then it's not stupid," he said, as he
followed John onto the bed. "I'm...I'm not sure if it's something
that I am interested in, but I do want to know what you like and you
don't like. Why don't you tell me about it, and we'll see where it
goes from there, okay?"

Luka sensed John's apprehension, and reached for him, pulling the
younger man into his embrace. "If you don't tell me about it, how am
I going to know?"

"There's not much to tell, really. You just tie something to my
wrists, then tie the other end of the tie or rope or whatever to each
bedpost. Same thing with my ankles. And then you have your way with
me," John said, but he could feel his cheeks burning and he still
didn't dare to look at Luka's face. What if Luka thought that was
repulsive or sick or too kinky? John didn't want to see that in
Luka's eyes if he did feel those things.

Luka shut his eyes, thoughts invading his mind that he did not want to
deal with, but he knew that he had to. If Luka outright refused, John
was going to take that as a rejection, and Luka didn't want that. He
owed John some kind of an explanation.

"I'm not sure if I'm entirely comfortable with that...and you have to
understand why...where I came from...I can't even begin to describe to
you the type of torture I saw with my own eyes, not the least of which
involved my own children and wife being killed. After...after they
died, I walked through the streets. The things I saw...people being
tied up...people being beaten...unable to move...unable to
think...John, I'm very very sorry, but this is something that I just
cannot do to someone that I love."

Unwillingly there were tears in his eyes as the memories came rushing
back to him. He was no longer in the mood for sex, the mood was gone
for him. In his mind he was back in Croatia...wandering through the
streets, looking for anyone that he knew, anyone who had
survived...and instead being met with visions that he never wanted to
see again.

John could feel the tension suddenly envelope Luka's body and he
immediately regretted ever asking Luka that question. "I'm sorry...I
had no idea. It's okay, Luka." He looked up and his heart broke
once more at the look in Luka's eyes. The man was obviously
remembering those times, and John felt guilty for being the catalyst
for that. He gently touched Luka's cheek. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay, you couldn't have known," Luka said, his voice soft. He
kept his body very still, the moment that had been so nice only
minutes before was completely gone, and Luka suddenly wanted to do
nothing more than go to sleep. "I'm...I'm sorry as well. Can...can
you just stay with me for a little while? I don't think...I'm
sorry...I don't want to disappoint you..."

"I can stay here for as long as you like." John reached down and
pulled the covers up over the both of them, then wrapped his arms
around Luka, holding him tightly. He wanted to do all he could to
comfort Luka, and if Luka didn't think that he could be comforted by
sex, then John wasn't going to force the issue. A small voice in the
back of his head reminded him that sex didn't always fix all hurts.

"I promise that I won't fall asleep here since you don't want that,"
John said, remembering that Luka had said he didn't want to get used
to having John sleeping beside him.

Luka nodded, putting his own hands over John's as he pulled himself
into the younger man's embrace. "You...you can stay the night if you
want. I don't want to get used to it, but for tonight..,for tonight I
think it would be okay..."

Luka was feeling more needy than he remembered feeling in a long time.
The rush of memories had done that to him -- the feeling of
loneliness after he lost his wife and children. And Luka found that
he did not want to be alone again. And there was no reason for it --
at least not for that night. He just...Luka just hoped he wasn't
setting himself up for a large fall.

"Thank you...for being here tonight," he said, his voice laced with
exhaustion. And before he could even form another thought in his
head, Luka's eyes drifted shut. Feeling safe, he feel to sleep rather
quickly.

As John held Luka close, he found himself wondering how he could ever
forsake the man. It was obvious that Luka needed someone around to
love him and take care of him, and he obviously felt that John fit
that role. Dave...Dave was self-reliant and didn't act as if he
needed anyone around. But John knew that was mostly an act. Dave did
need people, he just didn't like admitting to that need.

And so, John was once more left no closer to a decision than before.
It was a long time before his eyes closed and he fell asleep.

***************

"One Bourbon...one Scotch...and one Beer....I ain't seen my baby since
the night before last...gonna get goosed man...I'm gonna get
gassed...gonna get stoned baby...gonna get drunk...gimme a triple shot
of that stuff...one Bourbon...one Scotch...and one Beer..."

Dave was drunk. And as luck would have it, it was karaoke night at
the hotel bar. Dave had just enough liquid courage in him to think
that going up to sing was a good idea, much to the chagrin of everyone
around him. He had picked the song "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One
Beer" by George Thoroughgood, which was not only a song he could
stumble through, but it was also one of the longest songs in the
Karaoke Host's repertoire.

He finally finished singing, and obtained a smattering of applause.
Stumbling back to his seat, he sat down, feeling quite depressed. He
was here. John wasn't. John was likely fucking another man at that
very moment, and Dave was unable to get that thought out of his head.
The waiter brought over another drink, and as Dave took a sip, he
pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.

Fuck it. He was going to give John a call...tell him how much he
loved him...beg him to dump the Croatian, and be only with him.

It took a couple of tries, but he finally got the call to go through.
And it rang straight through to John's voicemail. He waited for the
message to finish, and then he began to speak.

"John...John, man, it's...it's Dave, I...God...I love you so fucking
much...and...and I'm so sorry for causin' all of this. I'll do
anything...anything to make things like they used to be...I...I can't
be like this. I can't stand the thought of you bein' with anyone
else...please...tell me that you'll come back...please..."

Tears had begun to roll down his cheeks, and the waiter dropped off
Dave's check, clearly sure that Dave was too drunk to be served
anymore. And as Dave shut off his cell phone, he gave his room number
to the waiter, and made is way upstairs.

He practically fell into his room, and he crawled onto the bed, not
even bothering to get undressed. And soon he passed out -- too drunk
to even think about doing anything else.

******************

Sunlight streamed into the window, waking Luka from an otherwise sound
slumber. A sleepy eye on his alarm clock told him he did not need to
be awake for a few more minutes, but it seemed that he could no longer
sleep. His head was swimming with thoughts, most of them having to do
with the man peacefully sleeping by his side.

Extracting himself from John's embrace, Luka sighed as he got up from
the warmth of his covers. There was no point in him laying there
anymore -- he was sure that sleep would no longer return, so he
decided to take a shower and get ready for work.

Stripping down to nothing, Luka grabbed his towel, and headed into the
bathroom, intent on spending a long while under the hot spray of the
shower.

John slowly opened his eyes, at first not sure where he was and then
he remembered falling asleep in Luka's room. His joy at that was
quickly dashed as he remembered just why it was that Luka had given in
and allowed him to stay all night -- he had made Luka remember some
horrible things by asking a stupid question. Guilt washed over John
once more and he reached out to touch Luka, to make sure the man was
all right.

And all he found was a cold sheet. Then John heard the sound of water
running and he realized Luka had gone to shower to get ready for work.
He briefly thought about joining him in there, but Luka hadn't wanted
to have sex last night and John wasn't sure if he would be in the mood
for it right then.

Maybe Luka had changed his mind about wanting him, period, John
thought. It wouldn't surprise him if Luka had -- not after the way he
had botched things up between them. John got out of bed and began to
put on his clothes, intending to return to his own room to get ready
for his shift at the hospital. Maybe it was better this way, he
thought. With Luka rejecting him, John no longer had to make a choice
-- but it still hurt.

Luka felt much better after his shower, almost like a new man. It was
amazing what a little hot water could do to a man's psyche, and he
actually found himself smiling as he finished brushing back his hair.

A few moment's later, he pushed his way back into his bedroom,
stopping dead in his tracks when he noticed that John was gone from
the bed. Somehow, Luka wasn't expecting that, and he wasn't sure why.
Though...Luka did realize that he had brought it on himself. He had
probably given John some sort of a complex when he had gone to shower
without waking John first...but John had just looked so peaceful,
laying there.. sleeping...

But now, John was gone -- likely back in his own room to get ready for
work. So Luka quickly got dressed, and then headed over towards
John's suite of rooms, where he knocked softly on the door.

When John had walked into his room, he heard the sound of either his
cell phone or his pager vibrating against the wooden top of his
dresser. He quickly walked over and checked both objects, discovering
that it was his cell phone vibrating to let him know he had a voice
mail message.

He punched in his password, then listened to a message from Dave. A
very drunk Dave. And again, John's heart broke. How could he go on
hurting Dave and Luka the way he had? Or rather, since Luka no longer
wanted him around, how could he keep hurting Dave? And John knew
that's what would happen if he stayed with Dave -- he'd just keep
hurting him over and over again. Just as Dave had accused him of
doing the day before.

John was brought out of his thoughts by the sound of someone knocking
softly on the door, but he wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone. "Go
away," he called out, but even as he said the words, he knew he needed
a reason to tell someone to leave him alone. "I'm...getting dressed,"
he weakly added. How could he go to work and face Luka all day long?
How could he come home and face Dave? John dropped his cell phone on
the bed as he sat down on the mattress, and he rested his head in his
hands as he wondered just how it had happened that he had managed to
hurt two very special people so badly.

Luka furrowed his brow. "John, is..,are you okay? Please..,let me
in." There was a tone in John's voice that indicated to him that
there was something very wrong. And Luka was concerned enough that he
wasn't going to leave just yet.

The door wasn't locked. John realized that as he listened to Luka's
voice. Hell, he didn't need to have Luka put his rejection into words
-- not right then, anyway. John quietly walked over to the door.
"I'm getting dressed, Luka," he said as he turned the lock to keep
Luka and everyone else out. "Just go away."

Something had happened...something...and then, in his heart, Luka
knew. John had made his decision. John didn't want to be with
him...maybe because of the fact that Luka hadn't slept with him the
night before...maybe because he wasn't into...bondage or whatever it
was called. But whatever the reason, Luka knew when he was no longer
wanted.

"Fine," he finally said, after a moments silence. "I'll see you at
work..."

Luka didn't want to stick around to deal with this any longer. He
didn't have the strength to try to figure out for sure what it was
that he had done wrong. So instead, he decided to avoid the problem.

"Yeah," John said from the safety of his room. "I'll catch up to you
there." He blinked back tears as he turned away from the door. There
was no way he could handle seeing Luka at work -- not that day. Maybe
not any other day.

He picked up his cell phone and quickly dialed the number for the ER,
leaving a message that he wasn't going to be in. So what if it meant
he was shirking his responsibilities as Chief Resident and maybe even
hurting his chances of being an attending? It had been stupid of him
to think that he could have chosen Dave over Luka and then been able
to exist merely as Luka's friend. Or vice versa. Just plain stupid
all the way around. There was no way he could ever handle that, and
he nearly laughed out loud at himself for ever thinking he could.

John curled up under his covers and just let himself cry until he fell
asleep.


To be continued.
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