AN: Am I the first fic for this? Am I? I think I am. In any case, this little show stole my heart, and I'm so glad they're going to make more episodes :D This isn't anything much but I hope if you're reading, you enjoy it.
Now, usually I am the type of fan who sticks to canon in all ships. I don't ship any non-canon pairings in any of my other fandoms. And yes, YJH doesn't pair Whirly/James as such, but there were hints, for instance she was clearly put out when he asked Jennifer to be his date for the wedding. My problem is this: I cannot ship Whirly/James because I know James ends up with Helen! And so, I find myself, for the first time ever, shipping something different.
Please leave a review if you enjoyed (or didn't!)
Whirly Tyson is not one for worrying. In fact, many people would list this as one of her most defining failings: act first and worry about the consequences later, if at all. No, it is not in Whirly's nature to worry, and that is why she is most certainly not worried now.
After all, McAloon is neither a child nor a complete idiot. The reason he is not yet home from the calving is he has done the sensible thing and stayed at the farm house for the night, instead of braving the storm and torrential rain in that tiny little car of his. He has not broken down or crashed or been swept off the road and anyone in the least worried about any of that would surely be very stupid indeed.
"I'm sure he'll be back soon, Whirly," a voice says, and Whirly suddenly notices James' presence in the room. He's giving her a sympathetic smile and she frowns at him.
"McAloon." James begins to collect up the sheaf of papers he's been studying. "You're worried about him."
Whirly gives a snort of derision. "Hardly. McAloon can look after himself."
James nods. "Yes. That's why you've been looking at the clock every twenty seconds, and drumming your fingers on the chair so hard you're wearing holes in it."
She raises her eyebrows. Oddly enough she has been drumming her fingers but she's sure she must do this all the time and James is only just noticing.
He stands. "Well, I'm going to turn in. Goodnight, Whirly."
And with as much nonchalance as she can muster, she says "Goodnight, James," and doesn't resume her drumming until she hears James' tread reach the top of the stairs. But not because she is worried. Whirly Tyson has never been one for worrying.
The rain continues to lash against the window and Whirly sits and waits.
Twenty-seven minutes later, not that she is counting, there is a knock at the front door. She stands at her leisure because only a worried person would rush immediately to open it.
She turns the key and it takes her a few seconds to recognise what looks like a drowned rat on the doorstep as her friend. McAloon is utterly soaked and decidedly miserable.
Hastily she stands aside to allow him to enter and notices that he's pale and shivering. Actually, his lips are far bluer than she remembers them being, too.
"What happened to you?" she snaps as she pulls his sopping wet coat off his back.
"Engine cut out," he manages to murmur. "Had to walk the rest of the way." Droplets are still falling off his hair and down his face, and she would feel sorry for him if what he'd just said wasn't so ridiculous.
"You idiot," she tells him angrily as she pushes him through to the sitting room. She's not sure why she's so upset, it's his own stupid fault. She positions him in front of the fire and points at the settee. "Sit down," she commands. "I'll go and get you a robe, or something."
She returns, armed with a pile of towels and his dressing gown, only to find him still dripping on the hearth rug. "I told you to sit down," she scolds. Forlornly, he does so, and she scowls at him. "You really are an idiot," she reminds him darkly. "Have you even heard of hypothermia?"
McAloon smiles slightly. Whirly is decidedly not relieved because there is no room, she is too annoyed. "I have. Sorry, Miss Tyson."
She flings a towel at him. "Get dry," she orders, "I'll make some cocoa. Not that you deserve it."
McAloon makes some feeble attempts with the nearest towel but he is still shivering. It ends up being easier just to sit there and wait for Whirly to return. He does, however, manage to remove the wettest of his clothes and put on the robe.
When Whirly returns he braces himself for more scolding, but she wordlessly sets the cocoa down on the table in front of him, grabs a towel and begins to dry his hair, albeit violently.
"How far did you walk?" she says finally. "Could you not have just stayed at the Ainsleys' place?"
He considers. "I was already four miles away from there. It was late and I didn't want to wake them all up again."
"Four miles?" he winces as she gives his head a particularly vicious swipe. "The farm's ten, eleven miles away! You walked seven miles in the pouring rain? What were you thinking?"
"Eight or nine at the most." he reasons, "So it was probably only five to walk. You know, some people might be a bit sympathetic."
"Some people might care," she returns. "I'm just trying not to let you freeze to death."
He smiles to himself. "Even so."
She seems satisfied that his hair is dry and joins him on the settee. Since he hasn't picked it up, she presses the mug of cocoa into his hands and watches as he takes a tentative sip.
"Not sure how comfortable I am accepting drinks from you," he jokes, "you might be so angry you've poisoned me to teach me a lesson."
She rolls her eyes. "I'm not angry."
He nods. "Ah, yes. I forgot, the scowl is just your natural face."
She says nothing.
"I mean, because it can't be that you were worried about me," he continues, grinning. "Not the great, fearless Whirly Tyson."
"Don't flatter yourself, McAloon," she mutters, leaning back into the chair.
"I wouldn't dream of it."
They sit there like that for a while. Whirly thinks about how, if she had been worried at all before, she would be feeling very relieved now.
"Thank you for your kindness, nurse Tyson," McAloon murmurs, hoping his voice conveys the right balance of sarcasm and sincerity. At first he assumes her silence is more typical Whirly aloofness, but then he hears her soft breathing and realises she is asleep.
He grins. Making as little sound as possible he rises, and drapes an unused towel over her. He may or may not drop a kiss in her hair before he goes to seek the warmth of his own bed.
In the morning, he still can't decide which it was.