Brian never left Fergus’ side when he woke up. He felt so guilty even though Fergus kept telling him he wasn’t to blame. Jamie had disappeared for a little bit and came back with a redcoat in tow. He wasn’t averse to them since he had served both his time in prison and parole.
“As ye can see, she came onto the property. Seemed quite deranged, aimed a pistol at my boy and...well let it off.” The redcoat nodded and took Fergus’ state in. “Normally I wouldn’t involve you but this woman...she needs to be properly punished for this…” the redcoat nodded and took Laoghaire’s name and where she lived.
After the redcoat left he embraced Brian. “Dinna worry son, ye did nothing.” Brian still sniffed a little. “Dinna weep son. Dinna weep.”
“But dad, I am to blame. Don’t you see? If I hadn’t tried to knock the pistol out of her hand it wouldn’t have went off and then Fergus wouldn’t be lying there, shot…” He trailed off as Fegus grabbed his hand.
“Mon Frere, please. Stop torturing yourself, I am fine. And Milord has made sure Laoghaire will be punished.” He smiled at Brian. “No need to weep anymore.”
Once outside Brian breathed in the fresh air and exhaled slowly. As much as he loved Roger he missed John so much when he was away. Jenny emerged and gave him a cup of tea. “Thanks Aunt Jenny.” He managed a small smile in gratitude.
He was sipping his tea gently when he heard hoofbeats and the servants get ready to take a horse to the stables. Looking at the entryway he felt his breath hitch when he saw the rider. “John!” Putting the tea down he practically ran to him and hugged him close. “Let’s go up to our room…” he turned to the servant in the courtyard. “Can you find Roger and ask him to meet us up there please?” the servant nodded and went to tell Roger they were all together once again.
In the room John held Brian close as he sobbed again. John soothed Brian gently and reassured him, though no one could, that he did nothing wrong. After a while, Brian felt new arms around him and realised Roger was here too. Both of his boyfriends were there and they were both focused on Brian right now, and why wouldn’t they be? He was hurting and they wanted him to stop hurting. After around 30 mins of this Brian slumped in their arms and they put his sleeping form in their bed and went downstairs, Roger clapping John on the shoulder as they went.
“He’ll be fine. He needs some rest and lots of cuddles.” John smiled at Jamie when he got a cup of tea.
Jamie merely sighed, “He doesna believe anyone that he did nothing wrong.” John looked at him. “I know, I know...but he’s my boy. And Laoghaire threatened him as well. Dinna think I forget…” His train of thought completely came off the rails as a knock at the door brought them all out of their thoughts.
Marsali and Joan were in the care of two redcoats and Claire stared at the two girls. “Ma was arrested…” It was Joan’s desperate cry that came first. As she pressed into her sister and sobbed the redcoat continued.
“Her mother wanted them to be in your care.” Claire sighed and looked at both girls.
Fergus came downstairs groaning in pain. “Marsali! Mon cheri!” He threw out his uninjured arm and Marsali flew into it. He held her close. “I am sorry Mon cheri! This is my fault…”
“Fergus, don’t you dare! If ma hadna came down here and reacted really badly to you and I we wouldna be here. This is ma’s fault!” Marsali kissed his cheek and stroked his wooden hand.
After supper Brian, John, and Roger lay in their bed. “I came back because I have news…” John sat up and rested on his hand. “I have been given a new post...in Jamaica…” Brian and Roger’ breath hitched.
“Jamaica?! What about us?” Brian knew in some way that Isobel would be going with him but they had no business in Jamaica and it would be months and months between meetings.
“I will always love you…”
“So ye came here to end things?”
“No! I wanted to leave my reassurances that no matter the distance, you will both have a part of my heart.” Bringing Brian’s hand up to his lips he kissed it gently. “And to know no matter what I will always be bound to you!” Brian stroked his face gently.
“It could never have lasted anyway...you...you’re…” He broke off and turned away.
“Married?” He sighed. “You must know the difference between love and duty. You’ve seen both...you must know you are love, she is duty.” He took Brian’s chin between his fingers and turned him to face him. “You’ll always be love.” It broke his heart to see the tears in Brian’s eyes.
“How long?” Brian leaned back into Roger’s chest and stared at his other boyfriend.
“A month or so...it’s really two but I only need a month to prepare, so I’m here spending the rest of my time with you. The man I love.” He smiled sadly. Brian looked away again. “I am so sorry. It’s come out of the blue for me as well.”
“Well if we only have this month. Let’s not waste it fighting.” Brian lay back down and wrapped his arms around them both. “I love you, both of you.”
Roger kissed Brian tenderly on his temple and John kissed his cheek. “We love ye too, babe.”
Down the hallway a form was sneaking gingerly to another room when he bumped into a bigger mass. “Ah, iffrin! What are ye doing creeping about in the dark a lennan?” Jamie asked a startled Fergus who merely stammered. “Let me guess, the lovely Marsali is just doon there? Ach lad, come now. Back tae bed. Ye’ll see the lass in the morning.”
When the last goodnight had been said by the occupants of the second biggest bedroom then silence finally fell on the Fraser-Murray house.