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 Post subject: Keepsakes, by Jack Raby, Sharon/Cottle, PG
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:05 am 
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Location: Namur,Belgium
Title : Keepsakes
Author : Jack Raby
Characters : Cottle, Sharon
Rating : PG
Genre : Drama
Word Count : ~ 950
Timeline : End of Downloaded
Disclaimer : Not mine
Beta-testing and invaluable suggestions : SabaceanBabe
A/N : this is my very first fiction.



Keepsakes


He stands there, squeezing the stiff little body close to his chest and feeling the cold penetrate to the marrow of his bones. All his love and hope for a bright future seem to be sucked out of his whole body leaving him just an empty shell, lying on a misty shore. The room around him is blurry. It lasts for a few minutes or hours, he can’t tell, when he suddenly hears himself screaming out of despair.

Lost in his memories, Doc Cottle stares blankly through the two-way mirror of the small, dim control room in the brig, barely aware of his surroundings. He shakes himself and peers through the glass at the young woman lying on her cot, her back turned to him. He bites down hard on his unlit cigarette as a pang of guilt seizes his insides. Damn sick, hard-hearted woman. How did she manage to make him do that? After all he’s done for her! He, who should have been the last one to impose such a hardship on two loving people. As if those two hadn’t experienced enough suffering. What a deep sense of gratitude the President has for a woman who has saved our asses so many times! But they are at war. He is a soldier and he’s not the one holding the reins.

Pulling himself together, he absent-mindedly slips his cigarette into his pocket, grabs his small black bag and heads out to the passageway. Spotting the marine guarding the brig, he grunts, “Open the door, please.”

“But, sir, this thing is dangerous.”

Thing,” spits Cottle, about ready to jump out of his skin. “All I see around here is a hapless mother crushed by the loss of her baby! If I were you,” he snaps, his voice hoarse, “I’d think of what I owe her. Now open that frakking door!” The man huddles in on himself a little and opens the hatch.

She lies on the bed, face crazed, eyes swollen and tears running down her cheeks. Her whole body seems to exhale a single cry: Why? Why him, why me, why us? Oh, Gods, why? But the Gods remain silent about humans’ business. Man has been granted freedom, for the best and the worst. But how to accept this? They may all tell you it’s just fate or bad luck, but all you feel is guilt and anger. Anger at the whole of creation because nobody could prevent this, or, even worse, that you were perhaps somehow responsible for it. And above all, there is guilt because you think you were unable to take sufficient care of your baby to avoid what happened.

Cottle is uncomfortable as he steps into the cell, imperceptibly hesitating on the threshold. He slowly, respectfully approaches the folding bed.

Without warning, Sharon bolts upright, her face contorted with grief and resentment, as if yelling silently at him, “Bastard, how dare you!”

The doctor steps back, raising his hands in a soothing gesture, but with his bag hampering his movement, he feels clumsy and finally lowers his arms. With the unpleasant memory of her hands around his neck, he hears himself saying in a too-strident voice, “I didn’t kill her.”

Her silence is more painful than any screaming and his guilty feelings come back full force. His throat itches and he struggles not to cough. He finally adds, depression in his voice, “Nobody did.”

He thinks he must look as miserable as he feels, for her expression softens a little. Trying to regain his composure, he proceeds, adopting a more neutral, professional tone of voice, “I have to check your incision and remove your sutures.”

For the first time, Sharon opens her mouth and answers, a gloomy look on her face, “I don’t care. Nothing matters anymore.”

“I don’t care.” She sits in a plush chair, gently rocking a teddy, his teddy. Cottle comes closer and sits on the armrest. Wrapping his arms around her shoulders, his hand gently caresses her long, brown hair. “He’s given us so much we don’t even realize yet. He’s watching over us now and will always be by our sides. But he needs us to be strong and confident. This has happened to both of us and with the help of our love, we can make it.” She squeezes the fluffy little animal nestled in her folded arms tighter.

“Don’t deceive yourself, young lady. Your little girl… Hera still needs you… and her father, too. Don’t let her birth be in vain. She needs loving parents to keep her in their hearts. You’re angry and resentful and we probably deserve it, but don’t let guilt and rage rule your heart.”

Sharon sits motionless on the edge of her cot, staring straight forward with empty eyes, seemingly oblivious to what he’s saying. “Do what you came for and leave me alone.”

Cottle makes her lie down, sits at her side and begins to take care of her incision, wondering, incidentally, at how quickly she heals. After removing the sutures, he applies a fresh dressing. Then, noticing her swollen breasts, he gives her a shot to help her milk to dry up. Finally, after carefully repacking his instruments in his bag, he withdraws a folded piece of white fabric and slips it into the young woman’s hand. Then he stands up, tells her goodbye with a nod of his head, and heads to the door, waiting for the Marine to open it.

When he’s gone, Sharon clenches her fist around the cloth, presses it against her heart, and gently weeps.


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 Post subject: Re: Keepsakes, by Jack Raby, Sharon/Cottle, PG
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:42 pm 
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I've always adored this, Jack- you really GET Cottle's voice, and you flesh out what was behind the actions very nicely. Doc Cottle's about saving lives, not taking them away, and always has been.


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 Post subject: Re: Keepsakes, by Jack Raby, Sharon/Cottle, PG
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:07 am 
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Very nice piece. Good focus, and you do have Cottle's voice down.


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 Post subject: Re: Keepsakes, by Jack Raby, Sharon/Cottle, PG
PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:08 pm 
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I didn't have much comment on this the first time it was posted, over at Kindreds. As an expectant father I did not want to let my mind dwell on the topic it presented. I avoided rereading it or even thinking about it. It was just too scary.

Now that, thank God, I have a healthy child of my own I dared to read this again so I could comment. Wow, this is good. I don't know about the grammar or the structure. When I was reading it, it flowed naturally enough that those things seemed to disappear (as I think good writing usually should) in the scene itself. What strikes me most is how emotional it is... How much of an emotional reaction (and that's as specific as I'll get) it got out of me, the reader. Maybe it is because of what has been going on in my life lately but I can't recall any fanfic that is more emotionally powerful than this short one*. Great writing.

Oh, yeah, and I think Cottle seemed to be very in character too. :ok:


*Although mamaboolj's ficlet Hera's First Birthday was heartrending, too.

Now I have to go read something happy.

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 Post subject: Re: Keepsakes, by Jack Raby, Sharon/Cottle, PG
PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:42 am
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Location: Namur,Belgium
Thanks for the kind comments.

And I'm glad you finally could read it, Chris. I easily understand it was not something for you to read when I first posted it.

For me it has been a set of firsts : first fan-fiction, first time I wrote in English, first time I wrote a fiction actually, first beta-tester ;) ...


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 Post subject: Re: Keepsakes, by Jack Raby, Sharon/Cottle, PG
PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:58 am 
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Chris got it, I git it the first time I held Rachel

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