Just a short fluffy one-shot in time for Valentine's Day :) The pairing is Katy/Fred


South Africa, Spring 1930

Fred Radcliff was bored. He was an active man with a fairly small attention span, and to be unable to move around as he wished was like an itch he couldn't scratch. Speaking of itches he couldn't scratch, he thought dolefully as he peered down at the heavy plaster cast on his left leg. The thing was driving him absolutely mad, and he'd only had it for two days.

Unfortunately, as his wife had said, his predicament was entirely his own fault. He had set out on a hunting trip with a group of Khoi men, something that had become a regular weekly occurrence in the ten years he and Katy had lived in South Africa. He loved being out on the savannah with nothing in sight but trees and plains and a herd of wildebeest in the distance. It made him feel like a warrior. Of course, having been a pilot in the Great War, he was technically a warrior. However, as his accident proved, he was certainly meant to do his fighting in the air, not on the ground.

Luckily he was hardly more than a mile away from the compound when the ridge they were crossing crumbled beneath him and he fell fifteen feet, landing with his left leg beneath him. He remembered feeling the bone snap, a very unpleasant feeling. The rest of the day he recalled only in patches: the men hoisting him up to carry him back to the compound, Katy's face lined with worry, the excruciating wagon ride to the nearest town with a doctor, the jolt when the doctor set the bone.

He had been forced to stay in the doctor's small examination room overnight, but was allowed to go home the next day. When he and Katy had reached the compound, a group of Khoi men were waiting outside their hut. They had teased Fred about his failure to notice that he was walking too close to the fragile crest of the ridge; however, the group sobered when Katy interjected to tell them that Fred had managed to break his tibia in three places. Thus he was to be confined to his bed for the next week. And thus his current bored state.

He had a perfect view out the open window from where he lay propped up in bed, but it overlooked nothing interesting, only the dirt courtyard. After watching a fly buzz lazily outside the mosquito netting for half an hour, Fred closed his eyes, hoping sleep would help the time pass more quickly.

A familiar voice cut through his stupor. Out in the courtyard, his wife and a group of Khoi children had gathered in a circle, sitting with their worn schoolbooks propped on their knees. Odd, he thought. Although Katy was a kind teacher, she also tended to be rather formal, and to his knowledge, she had never held her class outside.

However, he wasn't complaining. From where he reclined, Fred had an unobstructed view of his wife. He felt a smile sneak across his face, and he was suddenly much more awake than before. Katy Morgan Radcliff seemed to be the one aspect in all his life to which his short attention span did not apply. They had been married for eleven years, but every time he saw her it felt like the first time he saw her walking up the aisle of that hospital.

Outside, Katy was speaking to the children. He couldn't make out her words, but he could just hear the rich tone of her voice. He had known that voice to cut down a man's pride with a single sharp word, but he also knew that its soft whisper could make a man feel like the most important fellow in the world. Her dark brown hair was pulled back to keep it out of her face, but she was constantly pushing back strands that had fallen from the loose bun, drawing his attention to her slim, graceful hands.

It was obvious when the children were dismissed for their break, because they instantly abandoned their books and ran off to play. Katy put her book aside as well and leaned back to watch the children play, but Fred's eyes remained on her. When she closed her eyes and tilted her face to the African sun, his gaze was drawn to the slender lines of her figure, and when she laughed at something one of the children did, warmth flooded his entire body, as if he were the one lying in the sun. Everything about this woman captivated him, and he knew that if he were physically able, he would have gotten down on his knees right then and there and thanked God for bringing Katy into his life.

All too soon, the sun was sinking in the sky and Katy was once again dismissing her students, this time for the day. She disappeared from his sight only to enter their hut a few minutes later. Smiling, Katy stopped beside their bed and looked down at him with her arms folded across her chest. "So, what have you been doing all day?"

"Eh, nothing much," Fred shrugged casually.

"Hmmm…Really?" Katy dragged out the word, her dark eyes dancing with amusement. As she turned away, he reached through the mosquito netting to grab her hand.

"You never hold class outside. You did that for me, didn't you?" He grinned slyly.

Katy rolled her eyes and moved toward the door. "I don't know what you're talking about. I simply thought the children shouldn't spend such a lovely day cooped up inside." At the doorway she paused.

"Tomorrow's supposed to be an absolutely beautiful day," she smirked at him over her shoulder, "just thought you should know."

Suddenly, Fred didn't think his week would be quite as boring as he'd thought.