Loving Someone Gives You Courage
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage."-Lao Tzu
A/N: Since this is Part II, I'm going to assume that you have read part I, "Vengeance is Mine". We're picking up directly where Part I left off. Enjoy!
Hope tempered with wisdom—with these, and love as Carson said, maybe my brother can be made whole again.
Maybe he can heal. Maybe we can be a family. Maybe he won't always be a tortured soul. Maybe…
There are so many maybes that have to happen if Gilleasbachan is ever to be whole.
All these thoughts dash madly through my mind as I run headlong towards the kitchens to retrieve jello and broth and bring to culinary life an ancient family recipe.
I hope they have something besides green jello. You know the supplies are running low when there is only green jello being served. Next to no one likes green jello, yet somehow the kitchens are continually receiving large shipments of the stuff. I can't help but vaguely wonder if the people on earth are trying to foist off their green jello on the poor people in another galaxy. There's no reason for the stuff's existence.
I pause in my pursuit, turning around to see Dad chasing after me, his long loping stride easily catching up to me. As soon as he draws even, I begin moving again.
"Dad, you don't have to say anything," I tell him perfunctorily. "It's okay."
"Hey, will you stop for a minute?" he grabs hold of my shoulders, jerking me to a halt and spinning me around so that I have to face him.
"Mairghread," he tries to begin again, sighs, breaks off and looks away. In his face I see his struggle written plainly. How is he supposed to handle this? Gilleasbachan is my brother, but he is also a wraith. He is a fellow refugee from another wraith's twisted idea of fun, but he himself is a wraith—it always will return to that simple, irrefutable fact. Yes, Dad accepted me, took me in as his daughter, but can he accept my brother in the same way when the circumstances are so very different? Just as he wrestles with these things, so does he wrestle with the words to express them to me.
"Dad, it's okay," I repeat, taking his huge, calloused hand in my small, soft hand. "I don't expect you to take in my brother like you took in," I try to reassure him as he turns to look at me. "Just, try not to frighten him. He's lived in fear for so long—you know what that's like," I duck my head so I can look into Dad's eyes as he looks intently at the floor. "I understand, you might not be able to look at him like you look at me. Just, please, don't aim your blaster at him," I beg only half-jokingly. "I'm not sure he could handle that and he couldn't hurt anyone. Besides," I smile and remind him, "Gilleasbachan is my brother."
"Fair enough," Dad kisses me lightly on the top of my head and throws an arm over my shoulders, resuming my trip to the mess hall with me.
"So, where are you off to?" he asks, his demeanor easier and more light-hearted since, I suppose, he no longer has to worry about what my expectations are for him and my brother.
"Mess hall. Dr. Beckett said that Gilleasbachan can have some jello and some broth. And I want to give the cooks an old family recipe—hopefully they can make it," I explain, and then, knowing that Dad knows what supplies the kitchen has and what's on the menu better than most of the cooks, ask, "What flavors do they have today?"
"Of broth or jello?" he teases me.
I toss a mock-exasperated look up at him. "Jello, of course."
"Peach and black cherry," he tells me with having to stop and think about it. "And green."
"There's always green," I mutter and almost walk straight past the mess hall. Dad gently pulls me back and steers me inside. With his free hand, he grabs a tray and we walk in tandem over to the dessert counter.
Dad begins loading the tray up with the various jellos and other things for himself as I duck out from under his arm and into the kitchens.
"Simon? Où es-tu?" I call out over the din of the kitchen, trying to spot the petit Frenchman, but to no avail—it's like looking for a isean in a herd of khusarks.
"Oui?" a voice from behind me replies and makes me jump.
"Ah! Simon, don't scare me like that!" I gasp, spinning around. "You'll give me a heart attack."
"Come now, you're but a young woman! A lovely mademoiselle—too young for ze heart attack!" he counters, eyebrows raised innocently.
"I was born over 10,000 years ago, Simon. I'm not exactly young."
"Pfft," he snorts. "Nonsense. Now, what can I do for you?"
"I need some broth for my brother—just something plain and simple, please…"
Simon nods and yells over my shoulder, "'Ey! You, er, Michelle!" The young woman in question pauses in stirring a pot just a few kilograms and a wood fire short of being a caldron and looks at Simon, who tells her, "Some broth, uhn? Du poulet. Vite, vite!" She nods and dives into the throng. Simon looks back at me. "Anyzing else?"
"Yes, there is an ancient family soup recipe I have—I was wondering, if I gave it to you, could you make it?"
"Bien sûr! Over here—there is ze recipe computer," he guides me to a computer covered in protective silicone. "Just enter it in, and let me know when you want it."
I begin entering the ingredients—isean, water, herbs, tava beans, something roughly akin to a carrot… "Could you have it ready for lunchtime tomorrow?"
"If it doez not take three days to make, absolument!" he assure me as I hit the enter key to add the recipe to the database.
"Perfect," I kiss him lightly on the check as thanks. "Merci beaucoup, Simon."
"Bah! C'est rien" he brushes me off as Michelle returns, bearing a thermos, a bowl and a spoon. He takes them from her and hands them to me. "Now, go make sure your brother eats zat, yes?"
"Yes, Simon. Thank you!" I call over my shoulder as I dive out of the chaotic kitchen, back to the dining hall where Dad is waiting for me with a tray piled absurdly high with colorful desserts and a small stack of napkins.
"Dad, Gilleasbachan hasn't eaten in millennia. I seriously doubt he'd be able to eat a tenth of that," I comment as we start back to the infirmary.
"It's not all for him," I am informed simply and handed a cup of what looks like rice pudding. "Eat."
"What is it with people wanting me to eat today?!" I cry out in exasperation. "You, Mum, John, Carson—everywhere I go today, I'm being told to eat something!"
"You didn't have to see yourself keel over after bringing your brother back to life," he informs me quietly, with the tone of fatherly concern I think only I and Mum ever hear him use.
I have no reply for that. I forgot that it was only a few days ago that we left Atlantis to find a drilling platform promising energy, that it was only a few days ago I pushed myself to the brink of death in order to draw my brother back from it. It seems like an eternity to me. But I can only imagine what it would have been like for Mum and Dad. I would have been extremely pale, wasted in appearance, as fragile looking as a wet silk shirt dipped in liquid nitrogen. I probably gasped for breath, my heartbeat was probably thready and intermittent. My eyes were probably glazed and rolled back into my head.
What a horrible thing to have to watch your only child—adopted or not—go through.
"Dad, I'm so s—"
"Don't say it," he cuts me off. "Just don't do it again."
A/N: Yay! Thank you for continuing in this journey with me. As always, please let me know what you think of it by CLICKING THE LITTLE PURPLE REVIEW BUTTON!!! My muse appreciates it to no end, and it throws fuel the fire. Besides, I basically gave you two chapters today. Be nice!