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Butter Pecan 16, Chocolate and Vanilla 27

Author: Lauri
Prompts: Chocolate 27 (determination), Vanilla 27 (routines), and Butter Pecan 16 (wet)
Title: Stay or Go
Story: War Story
Rating: Everyone
Word Count: 1379

Ransome hadn't walked down this street in almost eighteen months.  And the last time he'd walked it in the opposite direction.  His wife and six month old daughter had come with him to the train station then.  Today he was alone.

He tried very hard not to look to the side of the street where he had lived all his life.  He focused rather on the opposite side, where his sister had moved after she married Vergil Dermot.  He could see it now, built in the style popular at the nations founding.  The town's founding too, for that matter.  The Ostins and the Dermots were two of the first five families that had settled Waterfork close to a hundred years ago.

A lot of history to turn your back on, Ransome.  Abagail's there, and her children.  It's the only home you've known though for thirty years.  I'll learn to know a new one then.  Besides I'm not turning my back on history, I'm following in thier footprints, helping make a new town.  Who knows perhaps they'll call it Ostinville.  You're running away, Ransome.  I can't stay here.  I couldn't cope.  How can I raise Felicity here, if I can't even look at the house without breaking down?  No, I need to leave.

He stopped in front of the great brick house in front of him, and took a deep breath.  He told himself he had nothing to fear, after all he'd been in this house many times.  Abagail was there.  And Felicity.  Felicity, who he always said looked so much like Frances.  But Felicity needed him.  He hadn't been there for Frances, but by all the heavens he would be there for Felicity, and right now that meant walking up those steps and knocking on the door.  And yet he hesitated.

You could just keep going you know, they'd never have to know you were here.  Start over completely.  Just get on the train.
I can't do that.  I need money for one and what about Felicity?
Then stay long enough to get your money settled and then leave.  She'd be fine here.  Abagail and Vergil for parents, her cousins for siblings.  Fine schools, fine prospects once she left finishing school.
No, she's my responsibility.  I love her.  She needs her father after all this.  I won't abandon her.

He took another deep breath and then walked up the steps to the front door.  His knock was answered by the maid who showed him into the parlor.  A few minutes later Abagail came in with a red-haired baby on her hip.  The tot looked at Ransome, then turned her blue eyes toward her aunt, "Papa?"
"Yes, Felicity, that is your papa."

Ransome's eyes misted over so he didn't quite catch the grin that split the child's face, "PAPA!"  He found himself across the room in an instant his arms suddenly filled with a child he hadn't seen in over a year.  Felicity was wrapping him in a strangle hold embrace and kissing his face with sloppy baby kisses.  "Papa, back.  He not go away no more.  Papa stay."

Ransome's face was wet with tears and kisses but he looked down at his little girl's earnest face and touched his nose to hers.  "I won't leave you again, that'll be your job."

Abagail let them have a few moments to themselves, then leaned toward him.  "Dinner will be ready in about half an hour if you want to wash up and change, I can take her and get her into bed."
"Actually, I should probably learn how to do that.  Will you show me?"
"Ransome, I'd be happy to help you hire a nanny for her.  No one would expect you to care for her on your own."
"Perhaps, but would any Waterfork nanny be willing to leave town and out to who knows where with Felicity and I?"
"Out of, you're determined then?"
"Yes, Abby, I can't stay in Waterfork, not now, maybe not ever.  There is a great deal of land out there a chance for Felicity and I to start a new life."
"We will miss you, terribly."
"We'll miss you as well.  I will write, just like I have the last five years."
"I suppose it will have to do."  They were at the nursery now, and Abagail opened the door.  "She has already eaten, so what you need to do is change her and then lay her in her crib.  If you will sit her down next to her doll, she'll play while we get her night clothes."

Ransome nodded as he set the little girl down.  She saw her doll, grabbed it and began to play.  Ransome then followed his sister to the clothes cupboard.
Abagail leaned her head closer to her brother and whispered, "I feel I should warn you, she's been crying every night when we put her to bed."
"Crying?  Why, what is wrong?"
"The doctor says nothing is wrong, that it's stage and that we should ignore her." Lines from her frown marred her usually flawless features.
"You do not agree?"
"The doctor does not see the terror in her eyes when we set her down.  He does not understand that the child may not appear to be grieving at other times, but at night, I can see it in her eyes as pure as sky above.  She is afraid that when she awakes the rest of us will be gone as her mother was.  She's too young to understand anything beyond the fact that I brought her to her mother for a kiss before she went to sleep and she never saw her again.
"After the first night, I have been putting her to bed, trying to reassure her that I will be there in the morning.  And then as much as it breaks my heart, leaving her to cry, because I have things I must do."
Ransome nodded, he understood, but he quietly determined that tonight he would stay here until she fell asleep.  He would do it every night he had to until his daughter was reassured.  He owed her that.

He had just finished that vow to himself when he noticed Abagail pulling out a diaper.
"Frances told me she had trained her to use the chamber pot."
"Yes, she only needs it at night.  I believe it is related to the other."
"Hopefully now that I'm back they both will fade."
"I do hope so, Ransome dear."

And so he found himself learning his daughter's night time routine, from bath, to night clothes, to story, to lying her down in the crib.  When Abagail started to move away though he saw for himself what his sister had tried to describe.  Felicity's eyes so full of light and laughter most of the time, became dark and wide.  Her breathing became ragged and she stood in the crib her arms reached out.  "No, no go!  No go auntie!  Stay with Tee, pease.  Do not go, pease."  The tears were wavering just above her eyelashes.

"Felicity, I must go, but your father and I will both be here in the morning I promise."
The little face swung toward her father now, "Papa, stay!  Pease Papa Stay!"
Ransome didn't turn from his daughter but gently told his sister, "Go ahead, Abagail.  I'll stay here with her tonight."
"Ransome, are you certain?"
He just nodded, "Could you have the cook bring me a plate up here?"
"As you wish.  Goodnight, Felicity, Papa is staying with you."
"Papa Stay?"
Ransome came over to the crib gently laid her back down and rubbed her stomach gently.  "I'll stay here all night if you need me, and I'll be here in the morning when you wake.  I promise."
He saw the girl relax but her eyes didn't close yet.  She wasn't about to fall asleep yet.  Ransome smiled and began singing her a lullabye his mother had sung to him as a child.
        Close your eyes my wee one.
        Close your eyes.
        Let the night skies carry
        All your cares.
        The angels guard your sleepy head
        And never turn away.
        So sleep my child sleep well my child
        And wake when night becomes day.
        Close your eyes my wee one.
        Close your eyes.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
Aw, Felicity is such a cutie! I think Ransome's going to be a very good father! He's got the right idea!

I think I now see how you're going to get your characters together :)
Jul. 11th, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC)
Isn't she though! Ransome has a lot to learn of course, but his heart is in the right place.
Jul. 12th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
D: Felicity is breaking my heart here. I do not blame her whatsoever for being terrified about people leaving her. I'm glad Ransome is going to keep her with him--families should stay together if they can.
Jul. 12th, 2012 04:02 am (UTC)
Felicity can do sooo much with a heart. :D And no, especially at that age, I'd almost be more concerned if she wasn't terrified.

This actually used to begin with Felicity and Ransome headed to their new home. I don't think Ransome ever seriously considered leaving her behind, but I wanted to show the temptations and thoughts going through his mind.
Jul. 12th, 2012 02:02 pm (UTC)
I'm really impressed with Ransome here. I thought you did a great conveying how terrified he was at the prospect of being his daughter's primary parent but he stepped up to the plate anyway! That ending was sheer awwww. Great job!
Jul. 12th, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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