Seamus for Cfc Fc
He had moved who even knew how many bags of feed since he had come to the Loch, but perhaps it was the footing in the hay this time. Perhaps he was distracted, perhaps the distribution of oats in the burlap a little different, or perhaps he had just been a bit off in the bend of his knees or the grip of his arms around it. It didn't really matter. What did matter was that this time, when he'd lifted, something sharp and sudden had shot through his chest, and he'd gasped aloud, dropping the bag with an anticlimatic soft thud as he fell to his knees, grabbing tightly at his shirt as his eyes squeezed shut against the urge to cry out.
Seamus fully expected to see blood on his hands when he pulled them away, but there was nothing, and the pain had subsided to a dull, throbbing ache. Cautiously, he unbuttoned his shirt, his fingers probing the heavy, knotted scar that ran through the patterned and named crosses there. It looked no different than it had for the past four years, and he moved his arm slowly, flexing the muscle to...ah, but shit, there it was. Despite all the skill of the surgeons, the knife had taken its toll, and what would have just been a simple strain felt instead like something had given way. A stream of curses muttered past his lips, and he didn't even notice anyone approaching until the shadow fell over him in the lamplight.
"Don't worry on yourself, I'll be fine," he managed, "just think I mighta – Ma?" He had expected Fiona, maybe even the wife or girlfriend of one of the hands come looking for her man, but the sight of his mother there in the Macmillan's barn was stranger than if it had been the Queen herself, and he felt as suddenly nonplussed as if he had been six years old with a pocketful of forbidden sweeties. "What -"
"Come to visit for Christmas, I have," she chuckled, but there was an undercurrent of concern to it. "Susan told me I'd find ya out here, but looks like ya hurt yourself, boy. Is it bad?"
He shook his head, trying not to let his mouth knot petulantly as he pulled away from her extended hand. "Nah, just pulled a bit o' somethin'. The..." he trailed off, fingering the scar awkwardly but not wanting to say it. They hadn't talked much since she'd come seen him in hospital, and they'd not talked at all about that business. The one that had left ten centimeters of twisted pink on his chest and eleven years left on his sentence.
"Nonsense. Ya let your Ma see." There was no arguing the stubbornness that his own merely echoed, and he meekly allowed her to pull his hand away and his shirt open. There were a few more strands of gray in her hair than he remembered, and a sort of shame crawled under his skin as he wondered how many of those were his.
Then his attention was yanked back as she prodded harder, and he was too startled not to yelp aloud. "Jesus, Ma!"
"Oh, you'll be fine. You're right, ya are. Just pulled it, and a bit o' heat and rest and you'll be fine enough and fast enough. Ya heal strong, ya do." She smiled at him, but it didn't reach her eyes, her hand lingering. "Ya heal damned strong."
The silence was longer now, and heavier, and she let him pull away and do up his shirt without protest, settling herself on the bag of feed he had dropped to just look at him in a way that made him wish she was lecturing. Finally, the quiet was too much, though he didn't know if it had been seconds or minutes , and he cleared his throat, still unable to quite meet her eyes. "I didn't mean it to go like this, Ma."
"I don't reckon ya did," she patted the bag beneath her, but they both knew what wasn't being talked about, and what was. "But if ya think I'll not be askin' ya the hard questions because ya got hurt a bit by it, ya best to have another think comin'. Much's I don't never want to see me boy hurt no ways, there's some ya bring on yourself, there are."
"I know." Seamus felt strange standing when she was seated, but there was nowhere else to sit, and he contented himself with leaning against one slatted partition, as if that made things somehow less laden in the dusty air between them. "I just...I reckoned there were things ya never wanted to know 'bout, so I've kept them to meself. It ain't that I'm hiding nothin' from ya, it's just..." It choked a moment, but he forced himself past it, telling himself he'd faced so much worse and knowing it to be so much a lie. "...I don't want ya thinkin' o' me that way. I want..."
"If ya think that knowin' is gonna change shite-all o' how I love ya, you're daft as a pile o' pig turds. Dafter twice that if ya think I don't know more than enough already." His head snapped up at this, and she was bloody near smirking at him. "Your Ma ain't no fool, and there's more out there than ya think."
"Seamus Cornelius Patrick Finnigan, I was born in 1954 in Belfast. Don't ya dare try t'shelter me." She stood now, putting both hands squarely on his shoulders. "Ya tell me the truth, and ya trust me, and ain't nothing gonna change naught between us, is that clear?"
There was nothing for it but to nod. "Aye, Ma."
"Right." She took a deep breath, blowing it out hard to toss a loose curl away from her face that had fallen free of the rest. He knew he had no choice now, and he braced himself, praying he could make it through whatever she was about to ask. Yes, fine enough, maybe she knew some of it, but there was so much she couldn't possibly know and couldn't possible forgive him for, no matter how endless she thought her capacity. Bodies torn to hash and empty bottles and faceless women reeled sickeningly through his head in the long wait, but when the question did come, it nonetheless dropped his jaw open in genuine shock as he felt the color drain from his face.
"Ya tell me now, how long ya been in love with Sue?"