A/N: Thanks to Truckee Gal and Lcorrea for your continued support J
She was lost in the mist, surrounded by burdens and weights that tied her down. Try as she might, they wouldn't leave her alone, so she gathered her skirts in one hand and ran.
She didn't know where she was going but ahead, there was a light and it was growing.
Someone was waiting for her, ready to scoop her up in his arms and shield her from the world's weapons.
She heard the soft voice call out to her, encouraging her to follow. To forget her burdens and allow herself to...
Once again, Rhett gathered his wife in his arms as soon as he saw she was awake. There she'd cling to him and when the tears were over, he'd reassure her of his love, his protection and presence.
"Oh Rhett, I'm so tired. I can't make it stop."
"Stop what honey?"
"It hurts so much Rhett."
He held her close, never pressing but remaining patient as she told him of her dreams that were happening more frequently.
He'd wanted to fight her demons but he was beginning to realise that this was something she needed to figure out on her own.
By day, she was confident as ever, all the night's torment magically wiped from her as she ran the house and tended to Eugenie.
Melly was a constant visitor and she allowed herself to live through Scarlett's journey into parenthood.
"She has the most beautiful eyes. They so remind me of your father's."
"Hm?" Scarlett took a closer look at her child and saw that her eyes, as all babies, were blue but her child's eyes had remained blue.
"Like the bonnie blue flag."
It was meant as a throw away comment but it refused to fade and continued to puzzle Scarlett.
It was later that evening, after the dinner plates had been cleared, that Rhett had to make several attempts to gain his wife's attention.
She looked up at him, her eyes wide and expression puzzled, as though she wondered why he was still there. Some nights he half wondered himself.
"What are you thinking so hard about pet?"
She gave a casual shake of the head. "I want to visit Tara. I haven't seen Pa in so long and I think it's time he met Eugenie."
He frowned. "What's brought this on?"
"Something Melly said about the baby's eyes." Her words were dismissive but Rhett was able to grasp that it was important.
He had no problem with visiting, in fact he was all for it. Maybe some time away would do the trick?
"Very well, I'll make the arrangements."
By the end of the week, they were on the way to Clayton County. Rhett had suggested that they also visit Charleston to introduce the baby to his family.
Scarlett had given a vague answer.
It was late when they arrived and the introductions were put off to the next day, where the baby, unsettled by the new surroundings, awoke the whole house early.
Scarlett was on the way to the nursery when Gerald came from his room, his eyes clear.
"Why, Puss is there a baby in the house?"
"Oh Pa, that's your grand-daughter. I was planning to introduce you at breakfast but clearly, she has other ideas."
He followed her to the nursery and watched his eldest puck up the small bundle and hold her close.
"Gerald O'Hara, meet Eugenie Victoria."
She brought the baby closer and his eyes misted at the sight of maternal affection. Neither party noticed Rhett at the doorway, witnessing the tender moment for the O'Haras.
"Tis a fine name daughter but surely, it's too grand for the child."
"Your mother was the same. Twas me that chose your name and I've never regretted it, Katie Scarlett."
She looked up and saw Rhett standing there. Motioning him over, she cleared her throat of the gradual increase of emotion.
"Well, what do you suggest we call her?"
"She's a bonnie lass, she is."
That name again!
"Bonnie Butler, yes, I think that will do just fine."
They remained in Tara for the month and Rhett saw the bond between mother and child grow all the more.
Scarlett remained ill at ease as the meaning of the dreams evaded her. If only she could reach the light, she was sure everything would be fine then.
When she mentioned this to Rhett, his answer was casual.
"Did it ever occur to you that the light is merely a symbol?"
"A symbol? Of what?"
He shrugged. "Of feeling safe and happy?"
"Could it be that simple?"
He was reminded once again of his wife's youth. Not only in years but in experience. She was his cherished pet but he still had hopes that she would become the woman he wanted her to be.
She didn't dream that night. Rhett's words had struck deep, causing her to re-evaluate her lot in life. Really, she had nothing to complain about and all this deep thinking was giving her a headache. She would be better off leaving it to Ashley Wilkes. He liked to bury his head in the sand. Not Rhett. He didn't cower. He faced life and all it contained. Why, hadn't he told her he loved her, despite thinking she'd make him regret it.
How could someone love a person that much with all their faults? For she believed he did love her, almost as much as he did Bonnie. Surely that should be enough? But it wasn't. Not for Scarlett O'Hara. She'd always known how to get what she wanted and always had the gall to do so.
It was long past time that she admitted that she was no longer the Bell of three counties but that no longer mattered. She was married to a man that loved her enough to take care of her and who was unashamedly attached to their daughter. He loved her enough to support her family as well as give her whatever she wanted. And what had she given him? Aside from Bonnie, nothing. She'd merely played the role of wife up until now, throwing his love back in his face.
What man would continue to put up with such behaviour without wanting something in return? Even a true Southern gentleman would have expectations and whilst Rhett wasn't conventional, he was still a Southerner and they were greatly known for their pride.
That was one of the things she loved about him. He knew what he wanted and went for it. Hadn't he married her before she had time to draw breath?
Rhett heard his wife giggle and turned to face her.
"Care to share the joke, Scarlett?"
Her giggle simmered down as she faced her husband, any trace of joviality had been replaced by sincerity and an open-hearted expression. He saw her mouth turn up at the corners, naturally, into a smile.
"I love you Rhett."
Her words were simple and to the point but they carried with them a depth of emotion and tranquillity. There was no coquetry, no facade. This was pure honesty.
"Say it again."
"I love you Rhett!"
She moved closer to her husband, lowered his face to hers and captured his lips with her own. She allowed herself to share all the emotion that was in her, love, ecstasy and above all, passion. Her passion for Rhett, her husband. The love of her life.
Despite not being of a religious nature, Rhett knew he was in heaven. His wife loved him, loved their child and she was finally matching the ardour he carried for her, enabling him to release all the pent up emotions he'd held from her, to protect himself.
None of that mattered now that he finally had the women he wanted.