Dave and Luka did nothing to announce their relationship to their co-workers.
Kerry did notice that they seemed to be spending some of their off-duty time together, but she was glad that Luka seemed to have found a friend, even if it was someone as unlikely as Dave. And if she noticed how often their off duty times seemed to coincide, she said nothing about it. She figured that Luka might be a stabilizing influence on Dave, and Dave might be able to get Luka to lighten up a bit.
It was a few weeks later, and Luka was at Dave's apartment.
"You were definitely flirting with her," said Luka.
"I was not," replied Dave, with mock indignation. "Okay, maybe a little, but just to keep in practice."
"Hmm, well you could definitely do with the practice, because frankly you suck at it."
"Well it's true. Your 'chat up' lines are the worst I've ever heard."
"Well they worked on you, didn't they?"
"As I recall, your effort to chat me up consisted of knocking me off my feet while yelling 'don't do it Luka'."
"Whatever works works," said Dave with a grin.
Dave was in the middle of washing up, when the phone rang. "Can you get it, Luka?" he asked.
"Okay," replied Luka, picking up the phone. "Hello?"
"Dave?" said a woman's voice on the other end.
"No," replied Luka, "I shall get him for you."
"Tell him it's his mother," replied the woman.
Luka held out the phone to Dave, "It's your mother," he said softly.
Dave took the phone. Luka was unable to hear the other side of the conversation.
"Yes Mom it was."
"He's a friend of mine from work."
"Yes Mom, we are."
"Mom," Dave said indignantly. "Of course I'm being careful." He rolled his eyes in Luka's direction.
Dave spoke on the phone for a few more minutes, before hanging up. "That was my Mom," he told Luka unnecessarily.
"You told her about us?" asked Luka, slightly surprised.
"Well yeah," replied Dave. "I mean she asked, and I couldn't lie to her."
"So she knows about your sexual preferences?"
"She knows that I'm bisexual, yeah. I told my folks a couple of years ago, once I'd figured it out myself."
"So how did they take it?"
Dave shrugged. "Pretty okay. My mom was upset at first. Thought it was her fault for the way she raised me. I think it sort of helped, me being bi, rather than gay. This way she feels there's a 50/50 chance of me settling down with a girl rather than a guy. Her biggest worry is about me catching something."
"And your father?"
Dave sighed, remembering his father's reaction. "He took it bad at first. Didn't speak to me for about a week. Then the day before I was supposed to leave, he asked to talk to me outside. Man, I was sure he was going to disown me or something, but he just looked at me, and told me that... that I'd always be his son. And that whoever I wanted to bring home, boyfriend or girlfriend, he'd make them welcome."
Dave's voice choked as he could hear his father's gruff voice. "I love you son. I may not like the way you choose to live your life, but I won't interfere in it."
Luka put his arms around Dave and hugged him close. "You are lucky to have such understanding parents."
"Yeah, I know," said Dave, leaning against Luka.
"So did they make your 'friends' welcome."
"I've never brought anyone home to meet them."
Luka looked at Dave curiously as he continued. "I know that when I do bring someone home with me, that my parents will do their best to welcome them. But I also know that they're not entirely happy with my lifestyle. I just don't want to put them in a situation where they have to deal with it face to face; unless it's someone I'm 100% sure about. I dunno if that makes sense or not."
"It makes perfect sense," said Luka, as he kissed Dave on the cheek. "You are a good son to be so considerate of your parents feelings."
A week later, Dave and Luka had their first big fight. Afterwards, neither could remember exactly how it had started, but it ended with Luka storming out of Dave's apartment.
Dave thumped the wall and swore. "Dammit to hell," he shouted, wondering why he couldn't learn to keep his mouth shut once in a while. Abruptly he hurried out the door, hoping to catch Luka before he got to his car.
"Luka," called Dave, as he ran down the street. "Come back man, I'm sorry."
"Go back inside," said Luka, as Dave caught up with him.
"I'm sorry man," said Dave, grabbing Luka's arm. Luka shook it off angrily. "Dammit Luka, don't walk away from me."
Luka turned around angrily. "You had no right to say such things."
"I know, I know. I'm an idiot, I speak before I think. I'm sorry Luka; I never meant to hurt you. Please, please don't walk away."
Luka's anger died away as he watched Dave standing there in front of him. "Someday your mouth will get you into big trouble," he said, sighing. "But not today." Putting his arm around Dave's shoulders, he said, "I overreacted. I should not have walked out. I am sorry."
"I'm the one who should be sorry," said Dave as they walked back to the apartment.
Stopping outside Dave's door, Luka waited for him to unlock it.
"Uh-oh," said Dave as he frantically patted his pockets.
"Uh-oh, what?" asked Luka.
"I was in such a hurry to catch up with you that I forgot my keys. We're locked out."
Luka stared at Dave, "What are we going to do? Is there anyone who has a spare set?"
"Clare, my neighbor has one, but she's away for a few days." Dave thought for a moment. "I know, give me your credit card, maybe I can use it to force the latch."
Luka looked at Dave skeptically as he pulled out his wallet. "Are you sure about this?" he asked, handing Dave the card.
"Trust me man," said Dave. "I've seen this done loads of time on TV."
Luka watched as Dave fiddled with the lock. There was a small snapping sound. "Oops," said Dave.
"What? What's happened?"
Dave held up the two pieces of Luka's credit card. "Looks like I forced it a bit too much."
"My credit card. You broke my credit card. Do you have any idea how many forms I had to fill out to get this?"
"Sorry Luka," said Dave. "But I think we have more pressing matters on hand, like how the hell we're going to get back in to my apartment." Dave thought for a moment, and then snapped his fingers. "The bathroom window."
"What?" said Luka, who was still staring glumly at the remains of his credit card.
"I left the bathroom window open," replied Dave as he headed for the exit doors. "If you give me a hand, I should be able to climb in."
"But you live in a second floor apartment. You'll never be able to climb up so far."
"Hey, wall climbing is my middle name. When I was growing up, I used to climb in my bedroom window anytime I got home late. I'll be fine."
Luka stood looking up at Dave's bathroom window. "It's too high," he said. "You'll never make it."
"Sure I will," said Dave confidently. "If you give me a leg-up, I can reach that drainpipe. And it goes right by the window. Easy."
"Um," said Luka, who was not quite as confident. Sighing, he braced himself to help Dave reach the drainpipe.
Dave grunted as he pulled himself up by the drainpipe. "You know, when we get inside, I'm going to give you a spare key to my place. It would save a lot of hassle."
"Agreed," called Luka. "But that doesn't help us now."
Dave grunted in response as he reached for the next handhold. Grabbing hold, he put his weight on it, and then yelped in surprise as it broke away in his hand. His foot slipped and he was left scrabbling frantically as a single handhold supported all his weight.
"Dave," yelled Luka, frantically, as he stepped forward with his arms outstretched to catch him. He knew that if Dave fell, there was probably nothing he could do to help him. He watched in anguish as Dave hung there precariously.
Dave felt like he'd been hanging there for hours, before he finally managed to get secure foot and handholds.
"I'm okay," said Dave, breathing heavily from his sudden scare.
"It's too dangerous. Come down, and we'll get the police or the fire brigade or something."
"It's okay, I'm nearly there."
Luka bit his lip in frustration as Dave continued to climb. Finally he was standing on the window ledge, pushing open the window. Dave squeezed his head and shoulders through the narrow frame. Balancing precariously, he looked around for something to grab to pull the rest of his body through.
Luka watched as Dave suddenly slithered through the window. There was a loud crash. "Dave, Dave," called Luka frantically. "Answer me Dave."
It seemed like hours before Luka finally heard Dave answer. "Go back to the front door and I'll let you in."
Hurrying back to the front door of the apartment, Luka found it standing ajar. Dave was inside, sitting with his back against the wall and a pained expression on his face.
"Dave," said Luka, kneeling by his side. "Are you all right?" Even before Dave answered, Luka could see the pallor on his face.
"Think I busted my ankle," replied Dave, through gritted teeth. "I heard a crack when I hit the floor, and I can't put any weight on it. Had to crawl as far as here."
Luka carefully examined Dave's ankle. It was already swelling, and obviously sore.
"I'd better bring you to the ER," said Luka. "You're going to need an x-ray, but I would say it's definitely broken."
"Shit," said Dave. "You do realize that people are going to find out what's going on with us, if you bring me in."
"I don't care if they find out," said Luka, as he looked around for something to splint Dave's leg with. "Dammit Dave, you could have broken your neck."
"Hey, chill out Luka. It's just a busted ankle."
They drove to the ER in silence. Luka was still upset over Dave's accident, and Dave lying across the back seat was in a lot of pain.
Pulling up in front of the hospital, Luka helped Dave out of the car. "Can you hop inside, or will I get a gurney?"
"I can manage," said Dave, balancing on one leg. Leaning on Luka for support, he hopped gingerly towards the ER doors.
Once inside, they were soon spotted by Haleh. "What the hell happened Dr Kovac?" she asked.
"Suspected broken ankle," replied Luka, "Can you get us a gurney?"
"Don't need a gurney," muttered Dave.
One look at his face told Haleh otherwise.
Luka and Haleh lifted Dave onto the gurney and wheeled him to exam one.
"Looks like you were right," said Mark as he held up the films for Dave and Luka to see.
Dave swore under his breath as he saw the clean break.
"Shit, guess that means I'll be stuck in plaster for a couple of weeks."
"Looks like it," said Mark. "Don't worry. It's a clean break, should heal up quickly. We'll get you strapped up as soon as we can, and then you can go home."
"Thanks Dr Greene," said Dave, as Mark left the room. Turning to Luka, he said, "Well, looks like I'll be off work for a few days at least."
"What will you do?" asked Luka, sitting down beside Dave.
"Guess I'll go home, visit the folks. Let my Mom spoil me rotten." Dave paused for a moment before continuing. "Maybe if you could get a few days off, you'd like to come with me."
Luka stared at Dave, "What are you saying?"
Dave took Luka's hand. "When I was climbing up the wall and I nearly fell, all I could think about was you. And how I didn't want you to see me fall. And I realized that I've never felt this way about anyone before. I.... I love you Luka."
"I would be honored to meet your family Dave," said Luka. "You have come to mean more to me than I ever thought possible." Leaning in to Dave, he put his arms around him and kissed him gently on the lips. "I love you too Dave," he whispered in his ear.
The sound of Haleh clearing her throat made them break apart. "Do you want me to come back in five minutes?" she asked with a knowing smile on her face.
"It'd take a lot longer than five minutes," replied Dave, making Luka blush.
"Really?" said Haleh, "I'd never have guessed."
"You do not seem surprised," said Luka.
"Oh we've known about the two of you for ages," said Haleh, "We even had a poll going as to when you'd admit it to the rest of the ER."
"So who won?" asked Dave.
"Lydia. None of the rest of us figured you'd keep it a secret this long, Dr Dave."
"Some things are worth keeping to yourself," said Dave smiling at Luka.
"Definitely," replied Luka. "Some things are too precious to share."