First PPP fic. Rosie/Carter, of course. This was meant as a one shot, but the the ending happened... and now it will be a series, my first here at FF. net.
Carter needs to get some air. She comes home from yet another morosely unimportant day at school to find a misplaced princess on her window seat, all perfect posture and crossed ankles and annoyingly proper nouns and prepositions. After explaining the concept of sharing to the foreigner, she leaves to mull things over in the field behind the sheds. Picking up a large stick she frustratingly swats at the yellowing knee high grass as she walks the beaten path.
After sitting perfectly still for about 10 minutes, Rosie decides to make a better introduction to Carter and makes her way outside. She sees Major Mason out at the dock, busy with his small motor boat, so she walks carefully in the shifting dirt and gravel toward the sheds, where she sees the outline of Carter, off in the distance, in the middle of a large and open field.
Gazing at the expanse of land around her, Rosie is struck by the total absence of lush green mountains framing the blue, blue sky. She has never seen anything so wide open before. Out in the distance the tops of the trees meet the heavens as if one would just need a sturdy ladder to ascend to the clouds.
Carter stops and rolls her eyes when she hears Rosie call out to her, disbelieving in her inability to have a moments peace while this nuisance takes up residence in her only sanctuary. Carter keeps walking, hoping maybe the tall grass will hinder the princess's chase.
Carter hears Rosie's cry and is instantly angered. The girl is obviously desperate for attention, probably not used to being without any servants for so long. But then Rosie screams her name, and Carter hears a pain rip through her high voice, and Carter feels ice slip down her spine. She spins around, her dark hair flying out to blur her vision for a moment, to see Rosie collapsed in the grass, her torso just visible in the high grass.
"Carter! Carter, help me, please!"
Carter rushes through the thicket, swatting fiercely with her stick before her fast pace. She arrives at Rosie's side to see her clutching her left calve and rocking back and forth, biting her lip and squinting against tears.
"Move, move, let me see. What happened?"
"I-I don't – something bit me Carter, I don't know –"
Carter removes Rosie's hand forcefully and rolls up her jeans as gently as she can to reveal an unmistakable rattlesnake bite on her leg.
"Oh god, Rosie! How dumb can you be! This is Louisiana; we have rattlesnakes in thickets like this! It's why you either stick to the path or you swing a stick before you step, to warn them!"
"I'm sorry, I didn't –"
"Just shut up, I have to get the poison out. Was it deep? How long was it attached? And what color was it?"
"It- it was… mostly brown…" Carter squeezes the wound to see to a small rivulet of blood trickle out of the two rough punctures, and Rosie chokes back a whimper at the pain.
"Was there a design, Rosie? A – a pattern? On the snake? Did it look like a black diamond pattern?"
"I, I don't know for certain! It happened so fast, I'm afraid I didn't get a good look at it. Carter – what's going to happen to me?" Rosie's voice betrays her fear. Carter looks her in the eyes and sets her face to stone.
"Nothing, if I can get this poison out quick, then get you back to house. It was a quick bite then?"
"Yes it was only –" Rosie stops talking as Carter lowers her head and places her lips over the wound and starts sucking. Her hair brushes against Rosie's leg and the feeling is unfamiliar. The girl lifts her head and spits a few seconds later, then sucks again. Rosie feels light headed, and she's not sure if it's from the venom or Carter. Rosie leans back and shuts her eyes tight, her palms trying to lay flat on the ground so that her fingers don't dig into the dirt.
It's only a few minutes before Rosie opens her eyes to see Carter already standing and holding a hand out to her. Rosie takes it and feels Carter wrap her in a supportive embrace and Rosie hobbles on one foot as they move carefully out of the thick grass.
"It wasn't very big, if I remember correctly. That's a good thing, yes?"
Carter nods curtly in agreement. They make it out of the thicket and head back on the path, the breeze roaming across the field and making the whole scene look as if everything around them is moving in slow motion, leaves flying and floating to ground and tall grass rippling like a ocean current.
"Dad keeps a stock of anti-venom in the first aid kit. You'll be fine Rosie." Carter squeezes Rosie's hand that is draped over her shoulder. Rosie appreciates it.
Once inside, Carter lays Rosie gently on the window seat in her room, and tells her to keep her leg down. She rushes off to grab the first aid kit.
Rosie daintily wipes away her tears and holds back the few that threaten to spill again. She does not like the numbness that seems to be growing in her leg. She chances a look at the wound and is surprised to find it only slightly red and swollen around the small but jagged punctures. She leans back and releases a huff of air quietly.
Carter appears kneeling in her line of sight and opens a plastic container with first aid supplies. Rosie watches intently as Carter prepares a syringe with anti-venom and runs her hand lightly over the wound, testing the swollen flesh. Carter looks up into Rosie's eyes.
"You don't have to watch. Sit back, I'll make it quick."
Rosie shakes her head slightly, "No, it's all right. I want to see. To learn from this… experience." Her voice is soft and Carter can tell she is afraid still, so she grips her knee tightly before preparing the injection. Rosie feels a strong pinch at her flesh and squeezes her jaw as her forehead crinkles.
Carter makes quick work of cleaning the wound with alcohol that stings Rosie's flesh and nostrils and then bandages it quickly, expertly.
"Have you had to do this before, Carter? Were you ever bitten?"
"No, but I always listen to dad when he tells me his stories from his missions. I know a lot of field first aid because of it."
Rosie nods minutely and sits back, watching the way Carter's eyes shine determinedly in the light of the table stand lamp. The way her brow is furrowed and her head is tilted to inspect her handiwork and secure the bandage in place.
"Thank you Carter, for your assistance. That was very –"
"That was a stupid thing to do. Very stupid." Carter sits back on her heels and places her hands on her knees, curling them into fists. "That kind of reckless running around won't fly out here. Its dangerous! You could have, like, died! You better stop expecting everyone to just drop what they are doing to –"
Rosie feels affronted and interrupts, "I do not expect anything from anyone, Carter Mason. I may be naïve to your lifestyle and your country and your wildlife, but I am not an ignorant, helpless damsel. If worse came to worse, and I was alone, I am confident in my own ability to survive. I have had extensive studies on a variety of subjects, I am certain I would have called upon something useful to me in such a situation."
Carter's mouth drops open in shock. She slams the first aid kit closed and stands up quickly to leave the living room. "I hope you can learn to survive out here – I've been trying for 16 years and haven't made much progress," she throws over her shoulder just before she disappears behind the slammed door.
Rosie slumps her shoulders and looks down at her clasped hands. The sun that drifts in through the window warms her back. She doesn't move again until the warmth has left and Major Mason pops his head in to check her injury and call her to dinner – which she politely refuses.
To be continued