So I just saw Cranford recently and fell in love with the characters…especially Dr. Harrison! :) When I saw the scene towards the end where Sophy is sick with typhoid fever and Dr. Harrison rushes in to help her, the first thing I thought was that I absolutely had to write a fanfic for the scene. This is what came out…I hope you enjoy reading it!
Sophy felt hot. Damp tendrils of hair clung to her neck, and the heat was so intense that her brows were puckered up. She wished she could have a cool drink of water. It would be so nice. It would feel so good.
She wasn't sure where she was at. It was hard to tell. She knew that she had a fever and was dreadfully sick. Mainly, though, she was thinking about Walter.
The dear little boy. Sophy hated to think of how he had died. It had come so swift and sudden, and she had sat there helplessly, watching the brother she had brought up fade away in a little tub of water with his toy boat sailing by his hand.
Salty tears played at the corners of her eyes, stinging and burning. Sophy struggled to open her eyes but found the effort was too great.
There was a noise somewhere in the distance. It sounded as if someone were coming into the room. Somewhere inside of her, Sophy began to feel as if she herself were no longer in the room. What did she belong in that world for anyway? Walter was calling her, begging her to board the boat as he sailed to the equator.
She caught drifts of the conversation back in the other world––in her room. She thought there were two different voices, but she couldn't make out what was being said. She heard tones and resonances, and then one of them made her heart leap. Dr. Harrison––Frank. It was him, she could tell it was his voice.
She fought harder this time to open her eyes, but still they remained glazed shut. Sadness swept over her. Now that Dr. Harrison was here, she wished she could stay awake. But she felt more powerless by the second. Her cheeks were flushed and she found it hard to breathe.
Still, there was something she had to say. The urge was stronger than the grasp of the fever, and she stuttered the words out. "Walter…died…crossing the equator."
She saw him there, for a moment. Very clearly in her head, as if he were there, she saw him sailing in his little sailboat, all dimples and smiles. The smile slid off his face and he choked for breath. Then, he went over. Over the equator, and he was gone.
Sophy felt fear grasp her body. She didn't want that to happen to her––she wasn't ready to leave.
And then Dr. Harrison's strong arms held her and he propped her up against her pillow. "I know, my love, but I'm going to bring you home now."
Home. Sophy drifted into a state close to unconsciousness, her lips quivering as the word brought back a rush of memories. Home. Home was picking fresh wildflowers with her sisters in April. Home was picking cherries and watching the joy of her younger siblings. Home was sitting next to Dr. Harrison when he took her on buggy rides. Sophy wished she could rewind to a few months before, when she was seated happily next to him. Never in her life had she felt as much at home as she had when she was with Dr. Harrison.
There had been a tie so strong between them, back then. A bond that could not be severed. They were made for each other, they had both known it and been aware of the other's knowing, so there had been no need to rush. They had enjoyed the wonderful feeling of being in love for the first time, and Sophy had always felt that they had the entire future ahead of them.
Now, her heart cried out in distress as she realized it was not to be so. She would not get out of this bed again. She was dying.
Wild with fear and sorrow, Sophy's mind shut off and she felt the numbness flooding her body. It was odd, this feeling of her whole body being numb and yet every pore screaming from the heat.
I'm sorry. She wished she could speak aloud to Dr. Harrison, but there was no way that she had the energy to do so now. I can't do this on my own.
She was in a boat, sailing to the equator. Sophy looked around restlessly. Hot vapors clung to her, misting her body with heat so strong that it made her shiver. Her boat was a small vessel, with one lone sail and a cramped seat. She realized she was shaking. Was this it? Was this the equator? Was this the end?
Only one thought could console her. She would be with Walter again. She would follow his boat and find him.
At the same time, her heart wrenched. She would miss her old world, all her hopes and dreams. And someone back there…someone whom she had once loved––whom she still did love, truth be told. But did he love her? A silly young girl who had no rank in society––who could talk all about her younger siblings and their little quirks but knew nothing when it came to gossip and talk of new dresses.
Yes, her heart told her fiercely. Yes, he could. And he did. She must believe it. And at the same time, she must gently let Walter go. Must let him sail his own course, even if it was separate than hers.
Her boat veered swiftly and continued on in a different direction for a short time. Then it crashed into a beach, upside down, and Sophy found herself tumbling onto the ground.
She was back in her room, though her eyes still refused to open and she was half asleep, half awake. The only thing she did notice was that the heat began to seep away, replaced by a wonderfully refreshing flow of pure coldness. She didn't hear the soft moan that escaped her lips as she let the icy coldness calm her body. Her eyes still shut, she didn't see Dr. Harrison as he grasped her hand in relief and came close to tears.
She felt his hand, though. She felt the gentle squeeze, the reassurance that he was there, and she realized she wasn't doing this on her own. Her love was right there beside her, fighting every bit as hard for her life as she was.
Cool lips kissed her fingers, and then a soft whisper. "You can sleep now."
Sleep. Sophy, barely conscious anymore but in a state of dizzying contentment, let her dreams take her to another world.
It was some time before she woke up. What did wake her up was a touch. Frank's fingers gripping her hand.
Sophy tried to open her eyes. This time, it worked and her eyes slid open with ease. The first thing she saw was Dr. Frank Harrison's face as he watched her, the tender love in his eyes obvious.
"It is you," she said, her voice full of emotion. Tears welled up in the backs of her eyes as she offered a smile.
His eyes softened even more. "Yes."
"I dreamed about a boat, dragged out of the water, but upside down in the sand." Breathless laughter tinged her next words, though her face was full of seriousness. "Why did I dream that?"
Frank's fingers around her hand tightened, and he replied, with strength and confidence, "Because you are not going anywhere."
Sophy knew he was right. In that brief moment, as his hand held hers, she knew she was home. Her heart full of love, she snuggled back in bed. Finally, she was back in the world she belonged in.
Please review. I'm always looking for new ways to improve my writing, so let me know if there was anything you didn't like or that you thought I should take out. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!