Title: Guilt and Vows

Author: Fab_fan

Fandom: Fried Green Tomatoes (Movie)

Rating: PG (A few swear words)

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.

Summary: What happened after Frank left town?

Idgie stared out the window into the nighttime darkness. She lifted the lit cigarette to her mouth and inhaled deeply, drawing in the smoke and holding it inside until it burned her lungs like a fire. Then, she let the white trail out slowly from her lips. She leaned against the wall beside the window. Her eyes lingered on the empty dirt road that ran in front of the house. The same dirt road Frank Bennet must have drove in on.

She took another drag of her Camel. It made her insides twist up into a knotted ball when she thought of that bastard walking into her home and threatening Ruth and Buddy Jr. That sonofabitch wasn't going to get anywhere near them. She'd kill him first. She hadn't lied the day she took Ruth back to Whistlestop. She'd told him she'd do it, and she would. Hell, she'd wanted a chance at him ever since she saw that bruise on Ruth's face.

Idgie swallowed roughly and twirled the burning stick of ash and tobacco between her fingers. She glanced down at it and felt a stinging at the corner of her eyes. She pursed her lips and fought it off. She wasn't going to cry. Not her. But, she couldn't stop the fact that Ruth's husband had entered her house and she couldn't do anything about it. She wasn't even home when it happened. Ruth and Buddy Jr were left with no one but Sipsey and Smokey Lonesome to do anything about it. Where had she been? At the cafe with Grady playing poker and talking about nothing. Instead of being home with the woman she loved and their little boy, she'd been out having a good time.

Guilt tore at her, and she raised the cigarette back to her mouth, needing it to help calm down the raging emotions going through her mind. Ruth and Buddy could have been hurt, and she wouldn't have even known until it was too late. All she could do was come back home to find Ruth holding Buddy, scared and worried because Frank had told her he was coming back for them.

As Idgie finished her cigarette and stared out the window, she didn't notice Ruth standing in the doorway watching her. Ruth could feel the tension pouring off of Idgie like a tidal wave. It was nearing midnight, and normally they would be in bed asleep. After Frank left, they'd put Buddy down and went about their routine. She was still rattled from Frank being there, but having Idgie nearby made her feel slightly better. Idgie climbed into bed with her and held her, silently soothing her. But then, after about an hour, Idgie'd gotten up and left the room. Ruth could hear her amble down the hall and stop a short distance away. She must have been looking in on Buddy. Then, her footsteps started again until she walked downstairs. The bed felt cold and empty the second Idgie'd clambered out of it, and Ruth felt a shiver of fear race down her spine in the absence. Frank's face flashed in her mind, and she crawled out of bed, checking in on the baby before searching out the other woman.

She walked slowly up to Idgie and rested a hand softly on her back, "Are you alright?"

Idgie stubbed her cigarette out and let the last bit of smoke trip out of her mouth, "I'm fine." Her voice was normal, but Ruth'd known her long enough to know that was a lie, "What're you doing up?"

Ruth rubbed a tiny circle with her thumb, Idgie's nightshirt crinkling at the movement, "Looking for you."

Idgie frowned, "I didn't wake you, did I?"

"No, but I don't like sleeping by myself." She attempted to peer around to Idgie's face, "Why'd you leave?"

Idgie bent her head, "Just needed a smoke, that's all."

If that was all, Idgie wouldn't be trying to hide her face. For a liar, she sure wasn't doing a good job at it, "Idgie..."

The younger woman turned and stared with such intensity Ruth felt it in her bones, "I won't let nothing happen to you or our son. I swear I won't. I'd die first."

"I know." it wasn't a secret that Idgie would do anything for her and Buddy. Hell, she'd saved them from Frank and brought them home to Whistlestop.

Idgie wasn't finished, though, "Frank Bennett won't do nothing to you. I'd kill him before he could." Her eyes scrunched as she worked to hold back her emotions. She didn't need to upset Ruth with them, "You and Buddy are safe here." with me.

"I know. I believe you." Ruth let her hand fall to her side and laced her fingers with Idgie's. She ran the pad of her thumb over Idgie's knuckles. "I don't want you to do anything crazy." Idgie was the type to go off, damn the consequences.

Idgie shook her head, "If he ever comes back here..."

Ruth squeezed her hand, "What's wrong?" There was more in that voice than bravado. There was genuine remorse.

Idgie didn't say anything.

"Idgie, what's bothering you, honey? This ain't just about Frank." Lord knows she was as scared as she'd ever been. Seeing Frank again and knowing he saw Buddy Jr sent bolts of terror through her. But, Idgie was feeling more than that, and she wasn't fooling Ruth one bit. "Don't tell me nothing, either. I'm not stupid, Idgie."

"I know you're not stupid." Idgie mumbled, dropping her head.

Ruth put her finger under Idgie's chin and lifted it, "Tell me."

Idgie blinked, a sheen in her blue orbs, "I wasn't here."

Ruth frowned.

Idgie sniffed, "I was out while that bastard was trying to take our son." She pursed her lips, "It won't happen again."

Ruth sighed and pulled her into a hug, "Oh, honey. It's alright. It wasn't your fault. You didn't know."

"I'll be there." Idgie vowed.

A few months later when Big George showed up at the follies Idgie was participating in, the moment he got across that something was wrong with Buddy Jr, and it had to do with Frank Bennett, she was running as fast as she ever had out of the building and down the road toward the house. She was going to be there to protect her family.