tears of pride and sorrow

Dans un autre monde - Part 6

Part 5 is available here

Author Note: A short one before I leave for a happy hour with former work colleague. It’s a very, very short one, almost a continuation of part 5 since it deals with Claire’s feeling regarding Fergus. As usual, let me know what you thought of it!


Summer came and went and there was no hiding my pregnancy anymore. Roger went back to school and I spent my time during Faith’s naps either helping Mrs Graham with the light household chores or reading medical textbook the Infirmary head nurse brought to the rectory. The divorce was finalized by September and Frank sent me the remaining of my inheritance from Uncle Lamb. Faith’s second birthday was bitter sweetly celebrated with cake and presents and soon it was my own 30th birthday. I was now 8 months pregnant and as big as an elephant, at least according to my daughter. I was experiencing things in this pregnancy that I hadn’t had the chance to experienced when I was carrying Faith. The strangest one came one night while I was enjoying a cup of chamomile and a tiny little foot seemed to want to stick out of my huge belly. Tears filled my eyes as I softly touched it, whishing Jamie was here to share this moment with me.

Although I had begged Mrs Graham and the Reverend no to make a fuss out of my birthday, I spent October 20th 1948 being pampered and spoiled. The weather being warm enough, the Reverend, Roger, Faith and I went on a picnic by the Loch before coming back to the rectory to the aroma of a freshly baked chocolate cake.

“Happy birthday, me dear!”

“Mrs Graham, you didn’t have…”

“Come and sit, Mistress Claire” cheerfully said Roger, pulling a chair for me to sit.

“We got you some wee presents as well” announced the Reverend, handing me a wrapped rectangular box.

“But first we eat cake, right father?”

All three adults laughed at Roger excitement for desert. Later that night, after having put the children to bed, the Reverend, Mrs Graham and I sat down for one last nightcap.

“Ladies, not that I am not enjoying your company, but I better head up to bed myself. Good night and my dear Claire, again, happy birthday.”

“Thank you, Reggie. And good night…”

I let out a groan as I felt a swift kick to my kidney. I had thought that Faith had been quite active while I carried her, but it was nothing to this new baby. I must be black and blue from the inside from all the kicks I received.

“The bairn is restless tonight?”

I nodded. “Doctor Beaton thinks it’s a good sign…”

“Aye, a very good sign indeed! Does he foresee any complication for the delivery?”

“He doesn’t think so. This pregnancy is very different from my first one… Compared to Faith’s, it is the ideal pregnancy. I practically didn’t suffer from any morning sickness…”

“Then ye are one of the few lucky one! Oh, before I forgot, I got ye a wee something…”

“Mrs Graham, you didn’t have to! You have already done so much…”

“Don’t fash, dear. Here take this.”

I frowned as she handed me a folder.

“What is it?”

“This is the gift of peace of mind. When ye told me the name of yer wee laddie, it felt familiar, but it wasn’t ‘till the Reverend received a batch of books from Edinburgh that I made the connection.”

I opened the folder and gaped at the paper held in it. It was a copy of a very old trade card for a printer and book seller named F.A.M.B. Fraser in Edinburgh.

“My Fergus?”

“Aye, me friend Eliza works at the County archives and found this for ye. Yer lad started as a printer and book seller. It’s now called Fraser Press and it is one of the country most prominent publishing houses. Still belongs to yer lad’s descendants.”

My Fergus had survived and thrived… He had survived and thrived without neither Jamie nor I… His professional success must mean that Jenny and Ian had taken care of him after… My little boy…

“If ye want I can ask Eliza for more information like who he married, when he passed… Ye could even visit in Edinburgh if ye want. The Reverend has his entry…”

“No… Knowing he lived through adulthood is enough knowledge for me. I… I couldn’t bear to learn the date of his death or anything else… This and what you just reported tells me he lived the life Jamie and I had hoped for him.”

I cried, cried tears of joy, tears of sorrow, tears of pride… My little boy lived and seemed to have made a good life for himself. What else could a parent hope for?

“Thank you, Mrs Graham… You can’t imagine what it means to me to know that my little boy…”

I carefully put the card back in the folder, holding it as if it was the most precious thing in the world. And honestly, it truly was. That card was the proof that my boy had lived. That card was the proof that Faith’s brother who had patiently taught her French comptines had lived.

I went to bed that night with a huge weight lifted off my chest. I still felt guilty of having left my Fergus behind, not having said goodbye… The baby must have felt my conflicted feelings for it kicked me swiftly.

“No need to beat your poor mother, little one…” I whispered. “Mama is only thinking about your brother, how much he would have loved you…”

And so, up until sleep claimed me, I told the baby all about its older brother. It would know everything about this older sibling who wouldn’t get to grow up alongside him or her.

Part 7 is available here

A grenade.

Anakin senses it before he sees it. The sound of it clattering against the ground echoes in his ears as he watches from across the battlefield. Obi Wan has no idea as he deflects the rain of blaster bolts showering him and his squadron of men. His name is ripping its way up Anakin’s throat as the grenade detonates and explodes in a fume of smoke.

His ears are ringing as he runs towards him. He can’t see– there’s too much smoke– and he feels fear swell and tighten in his chest.

“Obi Wan!” Anakin’s voice is too desperate, too loud; but he doesn’t care. Everything is too loud as he slowly turns, scanning the clearing haze for any sign of the one person who means everything to him. He tries to tune out the other noises, using the Force to focus on their bond.

“Anakin.”

When he hears Obi Wan’s voice he can feel the blood drain from his face. He’s known Obi Wan almost his entire life, and he’s never heard the other man’s voice tremble with such fear and pain. He can feel his legs start to move and before he knows it, he’s sprinting towards his voice.

When he sees him, Anakin can feel his stomach drop. He’s laying on the ground, one hand loosely clutching his abdomen where the pieces of shrapnel have been sprayed into his flesh. There’s blood everywhere– covering his hands and soaking his tunics. He drops down onto his knees next to him, his hands starting to tremble as they hover above Obi Wan’s body.

Hot tears slide down Anakin’s cheek as he presses his shaking hands against his abdomen. The other man yells in pain as pressure is put on the pieces of shrapnel lodged into his skin and his bloody hands grip Anakin’s wrists weakly. They lock eyes and Anakin can feel his heart stop at the fear he sees swimming in the blue.

“Ana..kin,” Obi Wan gasps as he struggles to breathe. He presses his hand against the side of Obi Wan’s face, up in his hair, his thumb stroking his face. Reassuring him– pleading– that he’ll be alright. He sees the look in the other man’s eyes and more tears slide down his cheeks with unwilling understatement.

Obi Wan’s chest is rising and falling rapidly, his hands still gripping Anakin’s with all the strength he can muster. He knows that Obi Wan doesn’t have much left in him as he lowers his face down to press his forehead against his.

Anakin knows he isn’t a singer. He’s not even close to being compared to how beautiful Obi Wan’s voice sounds when he sings. But right now, he doesn’t care.

He locks his fingers with the other man’s as tears drip down his cheeks. His voice is shaking and cracking as he sings softly, “Never knew I could feel like this, like I’ve never seen the sky, before.”

His eyes search Obi Wan’s, looking for some kind of relief in them. Some kind of sign to let him know that Obi Wan knows he isn’t going to die scared and alone. That he won’t let him. He watches as the other man smiles weakly, his lips shining with blood as he raises an equally bloody hand to grip the back of Anakin’s neck. He squeezes lightly and Anakin knows he understands.

Their bond is humming with its last moments as they sit there together. It’s filled with love and pride and sorrow as tears stain their faces and they hold each other. Obi Wan’s hand moves from Anakin’s neck to cradle his cheek and he smiles weakly. His voice is barely a whisper as he sings softly, “Come what may, come what may.”

Anakin rests his hand above Obi Wan’s on his cheek as more tears slide down his face. For a split second, they’re back in that first night– Obi Wan’s hands dancing across his bare back in the moonlight as he sings to Anakin for the first time. He’s jolted back to blood and death as Obi Wan’s voice begins to quiver and fade and Anakin grips his hand roughly. He sees the light going out of Obi Wan’s eyes and he drops his other hand to stroke his cheek gently as they both sing, “I will love you, until my dying day.”

A choked sob escapes Anakin’s lips as Obi Wan cradles his face in his hands, “Goodbye… old friend.”

Anakin watches with trembling lips as he slowly closes his eyes and goes limp in his arms, his hands falling from Anakin’s face as he takes his last breath. The tears come, hot and angry as they wet Anakin’s face and he cradles his dead lover in his arms. He bows his head against Obi Wan’s, tasting salt and copper on his lips as he screams and sobs alone on the battlefield.

He doesn’t know how long he stays like that before the others have to come rip him away from Obi Wan’s body. He’s kicking and yelling and crying as two clones take him by his arms and he feels a jab in his neck as they drag him away– his vision slowly going dark as he’s pulled further and further from the only thing that mattered in his life. He wakes up a day later in the med unit, but he wishes with every fiber in his body that he hadn’t. He doesn’t ever want to wake up without Obi Wan again. He gives a bitter smile. Thanks to the dangerously high dosage of medicine being pumped into his arm right now, he won’t have to.