(I’ve been reading Irish history books again, which has put some wind in my sails re: the Wind that Shakes the Barley au, so here’s a snippet of that because it’s au week and I’m on the road and otherwise unable to contribute. Enjoy.)
The funeral’s a sad affair. They always are. All of them in their black, Graham lying dead in the best coffin his mam could afford.
After a bit it gets to be too much. The mourning, the candles, the sad songs.
“So you’re still leaving?” Emma asks, wrapping her shawl tighter around her. He nods.
“Are there not enough sick people in Ireland, Killian?” Jefferson asks with a wry smile. Liam scoffs beside him. It’s an old argument—old and new and neverending.
“Ah, but he’s not going to help the sick, he’s going to save his own skin,” Liam says. It’s nothing he hasn’t heard from his brother before but it still raises his hackles.
“What would you have me do? Stay here? Stay here and—”
“Fight, defend your country, not run away like some coward—”
“Oh, I’m a coward now, is that it?”
“Aye, only a coward would leave rather than stay to help his people. You, Killian Jones, are a coward, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
“I’m a coward? But Graham—”
“Graham is a hero, Graham died for his—”
“Graham was killed for not saying his name in English, does that make him a hero, Liam? Is that a martyr to you?”
“Graham was a true Irishman, which is more than can be said for you.”
Killian rolls his eyes but doesn’t respond.
(This is not the first time they’ve had this exact conversation.)
“When do you go?” Emma asks quietly.
“Tomorrow,” he answers. She nods. Smiles softly (sadly) at him.
“Well, be safe, yeah? And don’t you forget about us here.”
(He gives Graham’s mam a hug and a kiss on the cheek before he leaves, same for David’s. Shakes hands with the men and boys he grew up with and watched grow. Hugs Mary Margaret. Emma he gives a nod, as a hug would be improper.)
He says goodbye to the only friends and family he’s ever known, because tomorrow he’s leaving Ireland to study medicine in England—a traitor, as far as his brother’s concerned—
But what is there to stay for?
(At the train he watches a man beaten near to death by the English guards for no real reason that he can understand.
Are there not enough sick people in Ireland, Killian?
He tends to the man as the guards clear the train—apparently it is theirs now, as is anything else in his country they see fit to steal—and once he’s got the man patched up the best he can he turns around and goes straight back home.)