And Unto My Care
by  Cindy Carrier


He wasn’t going to make it through breakfast.  The cold, the god-awful, shivering-painful-head-bursting-muscle-aching-deep-down cold was easing now, giving way to the all-encompassing heat that would soon burn through him, fire his flesh, suck him dry…Just get up, slowly, easy, that’s it… just stand, say – something…

“If you don’t mind…” Napkin down, step away… “I’m – I’m not…” Slow, straight to the stairway, just walk…

“Not feeling well, son?” Murdoch’s voice whipped over him, brittle, accusatory. He thinks I was in town all night…“I don’t need to remind you how short-handed we are…”

“Understood, sir, but…” He kept moving, trying not to stumble even though he could hardly see, forgiving his father’s ignorance… He doesn’t know – he hasn’t seen this…


A cool palm cupped his burning cheek, gentle fingers holding. Another hand settled on his arm, grasped him just as his quivering knees began to give way.

He reached out, snagged a handful of shirt, clung to his brother with relief.  Johnny…

“When?” Johnny’s voice demanded softly. His hands shifted, pulled Scott into his side, held again.  “When did it start?”

“Couple days…” His own rasp, finally. 

“The quinine – did you take it?”

The room spun under his nod, awash in a brilliant swirl of pink and black that was his brother. His pounding head found Johnny’s shoulder, rested against the soft fabric there.

“You know what this is?” Murdoch, his voice worried now, gripped him.  Too hard, he tried to say, but the words stuck in his throat and he coughed instead. 

“I know…” Johnny said softly, knowingly. He remembers the last time – how bad…

“Johnny…” he worked out.

“I’ll take care of you, brother,” Johnny whispered back, reading his thoughts. “Just like last time. All right?”

He understands… Scott sighed.  “All right…”






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