OMG GOTHAM I just read your latest Vietnam AU ficlet and you CANNOT
leave us like this with that cliffhanger! Please say you have another
installment coming asap! P.S your blog and all you mods over at Imagine
are making this Droughtlander a lot easier to get through :)
carefully balanced the tray as he ascended the stairs, bare fleet sliding along
the worn wood boards hewn by his six times great-grandfather back before the
Revolution. Quietly down the hallway, then gently elbowing open the door to the
room his parents had lived in when he was a boy.
awake – she never slept long by herself, sensing his absence even in sleep. She
blinked at him from against the headboard his grandfather had carved, hair all
wild, the low neck of her sleep shirt slung to expose one bare shoulder.
He set down
the tray on the bedside table he’d made her for their anniversary, handed her
the black coffee she craved each morning, and smiled as she tilted her chin,
waiting for his kiss.
And then her
hand snaked over his to take the mug from his fingers, withdrawing from his
mouth just enough to take her first sip of the day. Eyes still locked with his,
the corners crinkling with amusement – and so much joy to be starting yet
another day with him.
outside their window – he turned –
tripped over a half-unpacked box of catheters someone had carelessly left in
the hallway leading to the Chu Lai recovery ward.
Claire darted right, away from the gunshots and screams and God knew what else
was going on back at the mess hall.
her hand tight, grimacing as the healing scars on his back jostled in rhythm
with his quick strides. And at the very real fear that what he’d dreamed of
almost every day since he’d woken up at Chu Lai – making Claire her coffee each
morning – would never come to pass.
He had no idea
where they were going – but knew that he would protect her to the very last
drop of blood in his body. And that he trusted her with his life.
She led him
back to a tiny office – from the haphazard papers piled on one desk next to a
Red Sox cap, this had to be where Claire and Dr. Abernathy spent most of their
off the light and shut the door, locking it. Jamie dutifully pushed Joe’s desk
up against the door, heedless of papers sliding off to flutter silently to the
floor, and then hoisted the desk chair on top for good measure.
automatic fire filtered through the door. Us, or Charlie?
swallowed and turned to see Claire pulling another, smaller desk toward the
door. Quickly he helped her wedge it at an angle against the other desk, then
watched her diligently stack thick medical volumes on top of the desk.
need a hell of a lot more than an AK to get into this room.
But it could
still do a lot of damage.
rasped, gesturing toward the floor with one hand.
The last thing
either of them needed was to be hit by a random bullet sprayed through the
So Claire sank
to her knees, resting her back against the drawers of the desk. And as Jamie dropped
to her side, he watched her shoulders slump as the adrenaline ebbed out of her
A soft rumble –
a bomb, perhaps? Or a grenade?
thinking, he opened his arms, and Claire collapsed into them.
For the first
time – would this be the last time? – he held her. Pressed her face against his
neck. Nudged her side so that she slid onto his lap, arms twined around his
shoulders – mindful of his scars.
them so that his body was completely between her and the desks – and the door.
If he died
today, it would not matter. For it would be in the service of this
extraordinary woman – whom he loved more than his country, more than his sister
and nephew, more than his career.
More than his
Michael, and Bride, protect us. O blessed Michael of the red domain, shield my
beloved, my white dove.*”
His lips moved
almost soundlessly in the *Gaidhlig,* right next to her ear.
safe from harm. In this place, and in every place.*”
bootsteps in the hallway – and the floor shook.
down from the ceiling.
“*On this day,
and on every day.*”
explosions somewhere close.
shaking – trying to be so brave.
mind peace, and her soul strength. And give me the fortitude to do right by
her. Let me be what she needs, for however long she allows it. Let me be
right outside the door.
his body around Claire’s, fingers digging into the rough olive fabric of her
uniform, molding her to him. Terrified to even draw breath.
tilted her chin, and he drew back to watch her in the dark.
exactly like she always did in his dream.
to die,” she whispered, eyes shining with tears.
And so he did
what always came next in his dream – fuse his mouth to hers.