Gegroet Grijze Jager fans! Speciaal voor ons thema deze maand heeft Tessa, een Amerikaanse fan, een fanfictie voor jullie geschreven. Deel 1 hebben we twee weken geleden al hier geplaatst: https://www.degrijzejagerfanclub.nl/blog/fanfictie-please-dont-leave-me-1-2/
Deel 2 is bij deze ook voor jullie beschikbaar, lees hieronder maar gauw verder!
Veel leesplezier :).
Wil je meer van Tessa’s werk lezen of ben je benieuwd naar hoe dit verhaal verder gaat? Check dan haar accounts:
fanfictie op archive of our own: https://archiveofourown.org/users/teaspoonbooks27/pseuds/teaspoonbooks27
Let op: deze fanfictie is geschreven in het Engels en is niet geschikt voor fans onder de 12 jaar, in verband met heftige thema’s. Ook zijn de beschrijvingen vrij expliciet en niet gemakkelijk, houdt hier dus rekening mee.
In her fifteen years of midwifery, Susan had seen a lot of death, infant and maternal. It was the worst part of her job, delivering a stillborn or holding a dying mother’s hand. But today, she saw something that was just as bad, if not worse.
Susan had heard all the stories about the handsome young ranger who lived in the cabin in the woods. Stories of his heroics and his ingenuity. So when she was woken up in the middle of the night to assist the doctor at the ranger’s cabin, she thought she knew what to expect. Any man with that much fame and courage would be arrogant and emotionless. She figured she’d find a stony, proud faced man who’d stand outside while she and the doctor attended to his wife. She had met more men like that than she could count.
That is not what happened.
Instead, Susan found an absolutely terrified young man. The fear made him look almost like little boy and it made her desperately want to wrapped her arms around him and tell him everything would be okay. But she had a job to do, so Susan push that foolish urge to the side got to work assisting the doctor. It wasn’t until Alyss’ heart had stopped beating and the physician stepped back that she looked over at the man in the corner. Hearing Ranger Treaty beg his wife to stay alive was the most heart wrenching experience she has ever had. And his wild, pained, scream after was the second.
“Go fetch Lady Pauline and Ranger Halt back at Castle Redmont Susan. I will stay with Ranger Treaty until they arrive. Also bring a wet nurse back for the child.“ The doctor instructed. Susan nodded, she had forgotten about the baby. Poor little one, she thought, what will happen to her now that she didn’t have a mother? It was rare that men raised a child by themselves. Even more so when the child was a daughter.
Will hadn’t spoken a word since he had stopped talking to Alyss. He just got up on the bed and cradled his wife’s lifeless body. Her blood saturated his clothes and coated his hands. It was cold and sticky now as it started to dry, going from a sharp red to a rusty color. The doctor tried to speak to him, but the only thing Will could hear was his own heart pounding in his chest. It echoed in his ears and he wished it would stop. Wished it was Alyss’ heartbeat instead. He had no clue how much time had passed by when he felt a familiar hand rest on his shoulder. He looked up at Halt’s face, grief and pity etched deep in the lines around Halt’s eyes.
“You need to let go of her son. The physician is going to help the undertaker bring her over to the cemetery at Castle Redmont.”
“No.” Will tightened his grip on Alyss. Halt cringed at the hoarseness of Will’s voice. He was certain that Will’s throat was dry and sore. He was also sure that Will hadn’t even realized he was in pain. No doubt the crying and shouting had been murder on the young man’s vocal cords.
“I am going to brew some coffee. Then when it is done, we will sit together in the living room while the doctor and the undertaker do what they need to. “ Halt wasn’t expecting a response and he didn’t get one.
“How is he?” Pauline asked her husband as he left the bedroom, shutting the door behind himself.
“Awful. He is in shock. He doesn’t want to let go of her body. But Pauline, it’s like a warzone in there. He is drenched in her blood. He need to bath and eat and sleep, but I don’t think he is even capable of standing up right now. “ Halt sat down next to his wife at the kitchen table. The wet nurse was with the baby in the other bedroom, which Will and Alyss had been making into a nursery. Will had even made the crib, carefully carving laurel branches and oak leaves into the posts. Halt remembered how proud Will had been when he showed it off to Halt last week. How much things can change in such a short amount of time.
“We will need to organize a list of things that need to be done and how we can help him.” Pauline said, practical as ever.
Halt stood, “The first thing is a hot cup of coffee, heavy on the honey.” Halt filled the pot and placed it over the fire. Then he grabbed some paper, ink, and a quill from Will’s desk. He set it in front of Pauline. She layed the supplies neatly out, ready to get started. When she picked up the quill however, Halt noticed her hands were shaking.
“Pauline,” Halt gently placed his hands over hers, “we don’t need to do this now. We can just take sometime to ourselves while the coffee brews.”
Her husbands soft voice was all it took for Pauline to burst into tears. Halt pulled her into an embrace and just held her as she cried.
“I-I just can’t believe she’s gone Halt. She was like my daughter, and I’m never going to see her smile again. Or hear her laugh.” Pauline’s words were garbled as the tears poured but Halt could still make them out.
“She was still so young. She had just become a mother. There was still so much for her to do in this life.” Pauline continued. Hearing his wife’s pain was like a dagger to his heart, but Halt had nothing he could do or say that would make it better.
Pauline and Halt stayed like that, holding each other, until she was all out of tears and was drying her cheeks with her handkerchief. The coffee was done and Halt stood up to pour it into two mugs. He knew that Pauline wouldn’t drink any now, it would only make her shakier than she already was. He added an overflowing spoonful of honey to Will’s cup and stirred it in, careful to not let any of the coffee spill over the rim. Then he stepped out onto the veranda where the doctor and the undertaker were waiting.
“I think it’s time we get started.”
They both stood and followed Halt inside and to the bedroom. Will hadn’t moved since Halt had last seen him, but the air in the room had begun to smell and grow stale. Halt was familiar with all stages of death, all rangers were, and he knew that the longer they left Alyss’ body with Will, the worse things were going to get.
“Will, let’s have some coffee by the fire while these men do their job.” Halt tried to sound authoritative, like he had when Will was an apprentice, but it didn’t come out with nearly enough power. Because Will wasn’t an apprentice who need to but down his bow and do his geography lessons. He was a man who need to put down his dead wife and let her be taken away.
“I already told you that I am not letting anyone take her away from me. She’s safe here Halt. This is her home, she belongs here with me.”
“I know Will. But that’s not Alyss anymore. She’s already gone.”
Will stared blankly up at Halt. Halt sighed turned to the doctor and undertaker, “I don’t think that we are going to convince him to leave with me. We are all going to have to work together to take her body away from him. I’ll keep a hold on him but we will need to do it as quickly as possible.” Halt spoke in a low voice. The two men nodded. They both had experience with widowers who were in denial, and they knew that, unfortunately, sometimes the only way to remove a body was by force.
Halt walked over to Will and wrapped his arms around the young mans arms, pinning them to his sides. As soon as he did, the doctor and undertaker took hold of Alyss’ body. Will shouted and tried to fight Halt off but he couldn’t manage to get his arms away. The other two men covered the body with a sheet and quickly left the room. They had a horse and wagon outside to carry her back to the graveyard. Halt didn’t loosen his grip until he heard the wagon rattling down the path towards town. Without Halt’s support behind him, Will collapsed, sobbing into his hands. Halt rubbed his back as he cried. Will was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, it was no wonder that he hadn’t been able to think rationally when it came to the undertaker removing Alyss. Halt waited until the sobs had stopped and Will ran out of tears.
“How about that coffee? Then we’ll get you cleaned up.”
Halt guided Will up and into the living room. He was going to have him take a seat on the sofa, but diverted him to a kitchen chair at the last moment. He realized that if Will sat on the fabric of the couch, the blood and grime he was now covered in would ruin it. Halt pushed the still warm mug into Will’s hands, then sat across from him, next to Pauline. While Halt was in the bedroom with Will, Pauline had put out a plate of bread and jam. She set it in front of him and said, “Eat something dear.”
Will robotically took a bite of the bread. Then his face went pale and he leaped up and rushed outside. He had barely made it out the door when he threw up the megar contents of his stomach. Halt and Pauline shared a look. If Will couldn’t eat something as simple as toast without it upturning his stomach, then they weren’t sure how they’d be able to get some calories in him.
“Perhaps we should get him cleaned up. It might have been the smells of… everything.” Pauline suggested. Halt nodded, but he knew it wasn’t the smell that was rolling off of Will, and it wasn’t the bread either. It was the terror and grief over what had happened.
After he was sick, Will went straight to a couch and fell on it, asleep before he even hit the cushion. So much of trying to save the sofa, Halt thought drily.
“He needs to get clean Halt, her blood is caked on him like a cloak.” Pauline wore a worried frown.
“I know, but I think sleep is the most important thing right now. We can clean him up once he wakes. And while he sleeps, I have a letter to write.”
“Should I go fetch someone to deliver it?”
“Yes. Find someone who can bring a letter to Castle Araluen immediately. Will is going to need all the support he can get. He needs Horace.”