- Death-Minor Character
- First Time
- Ménage or More
THERE YOU’LL BE
Standing with the other family members waiting for the planes to land Evelyn Johnson, formerly of the United States Navy Nurse Corps, pressed a hand over the distinct swell of her stomach. Her pregnancy and the fact that she was unmarried had brought her nursing career to an abrupt end when she could no longer hide her condition. She hadn’t been surprised; in fact her greatest surprise was how long she’d gotten away with hiding it for.
Her parents had been horrified when she’d written to them to inform them of her condition.
They’d written back immediately demanding that she get married before news of her shame reached their neighbours and that if she refused to do so then she was no longer their child.
She had cried for hours after receiving that letter.
Only the arrival of the telegram she clutched in her other hand had brought her out of her despair; We’re okay. Danny injured. Flight home delayed until he’s better. Love Rafe.
They were alive.
Her boys, as she’d come to think of them, were alive.
Hearing that Danny was injured concerned her but Rafe would have said if it was serious.
That has been over a month ago, at which point she’d gone to a pawn shop near the room she was renting with her meagre savings and bought herself a simple engagement ring. It changed people’s attitudes towards her; she could now say that the reason she was married to her child’s father was because he had been called upon to take part in the Doolittle Raid.
People actually congratulated her after they heard that.
She was still unsure of how it would work out, which one of her boys she would end up marrying. If she could she would gladly have married them both, her feelings for them having grown in their absence to the point where she could think of one without the other.
The sound of an approaching plane drew her eyes to the sky.
This was it.
She’d been informed via another telegram that Rafe and Danny would be coming home today, arriving at an unknown time but definitely at this particular airbase. She’d taken three different buses in order to be there to welcome them home and had dressed herself in her most recently purchased dress; black with a pattern of white ribbons fluttering as though they were caught in a breeze all over it. The fact that it was made of Rayon Crepe De Chine had been her main reason for spending her money on the dress as the fabric was nice and stretchy, hugging the swell of her stomach without straining at the seams. The shoes she’d paired with the dress were her most comfortable pair of black heels whilst her little bolero jacket, hat and gloves were a crisp white to match the pattern on the dress. They hadn’t lasted long in the heat, however, and even her hat was resting on the ground beside her handbag. Her hair was pinned up at the front but otherwise hung loose in gentle waves.
Her hand left her stomach to shield her eyes from the sun glinting off the gleaming metal fuselage of the plane as it came in to land, bouncing a few times before rolling to a stop.
Another plane landed behind it.
Which one would they be on?
Her feet carried her forwards before she made the conscious decision to move, several other women doing the same much to the approval of the news cameras set up to capture the touching reunions on film. The hatch of the first plane opened, dropping to become steps, and she found herself holding her breath as she waited to see who would step out.
The first few men she didn’t recognise.
Other women did, calling out their names and running over to them.
And then suddenly there was a face she recognised.
He hesitated in the doorway when he caught sight of her, exposed as she was, before turning back to offer his arm to the figure lurking behind him. When they stepped out, moving in tandem down the steps, she couldn’t hold back her gasp of shock at the sight.
It was obvious that he was unsteady on his feet, relying on Rafe to help him.
The reason why was equally as obvious.
The injuries that Rafe had warned her so briefly of were more severe than she’d expected.
Danny’s left arm was…gone…
Her hand moved to cover her mouth in an open display of her shock.
Her poor Danny had been…
And then they were directly in front of her.
They spoke as one, the longing and relief in their voices absolutely identical.
Tears spilled out of her eyes, flooding down her cheeks as she sucked in a shuddering breath before throwing her arms around both of them, her stomach coming to rest between theirs.
President Roosevelt himself could have arrived then and none of them would have noticed.
Evelyn couldn’t stop crying, her hands clutching desperately at their shoulders whilst they held her back as tightly as they could, burying their equally tearful faces in her luscious hair.
How long they stood there none of them would ever know.
Eventually, though, Evelyn pulled away from them and wipe at her cheeks as she suggested,
“Perhaps we should find somewhere more private where we can talk properly?”
Seemingly unable to speak both of the men before her nodded, each of them wiping at their own cheeks to remove the last traces of their own tears, and followed her over to her pile of belongings. Rafe immediately stooped down to pick them up for her, allowing Evelyn to take his place tucked into Danny’s side to offer support when he lost his balance. Then, moving together, they left in search of somewhere private and found a small patch of neatly mown grass between two buildings that was definitely off the beaten path which would suit them.
“Shall we sit down?”
“Yes, but before we do…” Evelyn gasped out in response to Rafe’s suggestion, turning to press her lips first to Danny’s in a truly desperate kiss and then to Rafe’s. “Now we can sit.”
“I’ll need help getting down,” Danny confessed once he’d recovered from the kiss, gesturing to where the sleeve was pinned up making his lack of arm all the more obvious. “Still not…”
“It’s ok, Danny,” Evelyn interrupted his apologetic explanation. “I’ll need help getting up.”
Her statement brought about startled chuckles from both of them.
“I could hardly believe it when Rafe told me,” Danny murmured breathlessly, reaching out until his hand hovered an inch away from her stomach as though he was afraid to touch. It was instinctive for her to take his hand and press it against her stomach before reaching out for one of Rafe’s, adding it to the mix. “I never thought I’d be a father. Is it…are you okay?”
“We’re fine,” Evelyn murmured as the three of them stood for a moment before helping each other to sit down on the warm glass as close together as they could possibly be with Evelyn tucked in between them. “Everything’s fine. But what about you? What happened?”
“I don’t know how much we should tell you…”
“I listened to some of it over the radio,” Evelyn confessed, interrupting Rafe’s hesitant response. They were understandably startled. “I got an officer who’s life I helped to save during the attack to sneak me into the typing pool so I would know what was going on…”
Rafe chuckled deeply,
“Of course you did…”
“How much did you hear?”
“Some of the raid itself,” she answered Danny question, her hands instinctively moving to return theirs to her stomach as the baby shifted within her. A look of wonder overtook their faces for a moment before they forced themselves to focus of her words. “But there wasn’t much of an opportunity to listen in after they began shooting at you as the door was shut.”
“Of course they did,” Rafe chuckled. “Can’t have just anyone listening in to our missions.”
“Like nosy Navy Nurses…”
“Well I’m not a nurse anymore so that doesn’t count,” Evelyn countered Danny’s teasing comment, noticing as their smirks fell from their faces, their gaze dropping to her stomach. “Although that would make me a nosy civilian and that could constitute spying to let’s not mention that, shall we? And, yes, before you get all upset I dod lose my job because of the baby but I don’t care; I can go back to work after its born if I want to as a civilian nurse.”
It was then that Rafe caught sight of the diamond ring on her left hand, asking thickly,
“So who’s the lucky fella?”
“One of you two, I hope,” she responded with a smile, bringing her hand up to show them the ring. It truly was simple, a single stone on a plain gold band, but she liked it nonetheless. “Or else I’ll be in even more trouble with my family and neighbours than I was before I started wearing this and telling them that the only reason I wasn’t married was because my fiancé was busy taking part in the important raid that was going to get back at our enemy.”
The two men shared a look over the top of her hand.
“Rafe,” Danny announced suddenly. “You should marry Rafe.”
“I’m getting a medical discharge but he’ll still be flying,” Danny pressed on. “If you marry him then you have a right to know where he is and…and to be notified if something…if…”
“We can worry about that later, Danny,” Evelyn hurried to shush him. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bring that up so son. We’ve got more important things to discuss first. Like how you were injured and whether or not the two of you are okay and whether we’re together…”
It was Evelyn’s turn to be shushed as her breathing picked up noticeably.
“We’re okay,” Rafe reassured her firmly. “And…and Danny and me have talked a lot over the past couple of months and I think I’d like to see if this can work between us. I’d never thought something like what we could have might be possible but now that the opportunity is there I can’t stop thinking about it, picturing our future, and when Danny was injured I…”
“…will you tell me what happened?”
As she spoke Evelyn found her hand moving from where it had rested over Danny’s on her stomach to hover just above the empty sleeve, hesitant to touch in case he wasn’t ready.
“Because we launched early and were further away from our targets than we ought to have been we didn’t have enough fuel to make it as far inland as we intended once we’d reached China,” Rafe explained, obviously fighting to keep his voice as steady as possible even as all three of them became choked up at the sight of Danny’s missing limb, the stump ending an inch above where his elbow had previously been. His jacket sleeve, pinned up as it was, concealed the bandages which covered the stump and they in turn covered the unpleasant scarring… “To be honest I didn’t think we were even going to reach China for a while…”
“Me neither,” Danny sighed, his gaze locked on where her fingers were hovering by his arm. “But then we saw the coast and had just enough fuel to find somewhere suitable to land.”
“Only problem was there were Japanese soldiers everywhere,” Rafe continued, his words causing her to let out a gasp. “I waved Danny off, told him to land somewhere else but both my engines had cut out already so I had no choice but to land then and there. We came under heavy fire and, God, I thought I was done for. But then outta the sky comes Danny…”
“We couldn’t just leave you to be killed or captured, Rafe, not when we could do something about it.”
“But you could’ve been killed!”
Evelyn could feel the tension rising between the two of them and realised, quite suddenly, that they hadn’t spoken about what had happened before now.
“Rafe,” she murmured, giving the hand on her stomach a squeeze. “What happened?”
“They strafed the Japs just as they were about to overrun us but in doing so they crashed. Hard.”
“We couldn’t just abandon you. I couldn’t just abandon you,” Danny insisted tearfully. “How could I look Evelyn in the eye if you’d been killed and I could’ve done something to save you? How could I look at myself in the mirror if I abandoned you to save my own skin?”
“We knew the risks before we started our strafing run,” Danny insisted, his tears spilling over once more. “Anthony knew the risks. I knew the risks. If I had to go back and do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing, Rafe, I wouldn’t change a damned thing…”
She’s seen his name on the casualty list but hadn’t realised that he’s been in Danny’s crew.
“…what happened after you crashed?”
“Rafe pulled me out,” Danny answered her soft query, his watery eyes locking with those of the man they loved. “My arm was in pretty bad shape and I had something in my neck…”
Rafe reaches into his pocket and produced an alarmingly large piece of metal, twisted and blackened and deadly sharp. A frightened gasp escaped her; that had been in Danny’s neck?
“I wanted to pull it out but…”
“You should never pull something like that out of a wound!” she found herself interrupting Rafe in alarm, her voice sharper than she’d intended. “It could be stopping the bleeding…”
“I know. That’s what the Chinese doctor who ended up treating Danny said. At the time I just wanted to help take some of his pain away,” Rafe confessed, returning the shrapnel to his pocket. “It was only more Japanese soldiers arriving that stopped me from taking it out.”
Evelyn’s heart began thundering in her chest.
They’d both come so close to not coming back to her…
“We patched Danny and the rest of his crew up as best we could in the woods after we fled the open ground,” Rafe continued, his own hand moving to line up with hers as it continued to hover inches away from Danny’s stump. “All of them were worse off than we were…”
“Harder landing, that’s all.”
“And eventually the Chinese resistance found us and got us somewhere safe. They found a doctor who, well, who cut Danny’s arm off to save his life. I had…I had to hold him down…”
Evelyn felt her stomach twist unbearably at the pain in his eyes.
“And then they hid us until the arrangements could be made to get us home.”
Danny shifted, pushing his arm up into both of their hands so that they had no choice but to carefully cradle the stump inside the thick fabric of his jacket, a sad smile on his tired face.
“I’m okay,” he murmured softly for both of their benefit, using his remaining hand to pat theirs. “It’s going to be difficult, I now that, but I’m okay. I’m more worried about Rafe.”
“They’ll want you back in a plane as soon as possible,” Danny explained, guilt flooding his voice. “The Japanese aren’t going to back down and I won’t be there to watch your six.”
Arms moved, all three of them responding instinctively and wrapping each other up in as tight a hug as they could manage, bodies slotting together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.
“I’ll be okay. How could I not be now I’ve got the two…the three of you to come back to?”
His words drew their gaze down to her round stomach once more.
“So, what should we do now?”
“Well, one of you needs to make an honest woman of me,” Evelyn reminded them with a tearful smile, her words bringing forth chuckles from her two boys as they dropped their hands to her rounded stomach once more just as the child growing within her pushed its little arms and legs out, the strange feeling causing both men to gasp in unrestrained wonder. “And then I think we should see where life takes us. The three of us. Together.”
“Together…” Danny breathed. “I never…”
“Together,” Rafe reiterated. “Always.”
A/N I had intended making this chapter longer but I have a horrible feeling I’m already over the word count so when I post this to my AO3 account there will be a little bit extra for people to enjoy. As it is there’s an epilogue to come and then it’s time for the second part of the challenge. x