Battered but not broken

   Author: Rach74
Summary: Short ficlet set after 'The Hanging Gale.' Dr Davis, Father Liam's friend observes his friend's depression when he is left alone after his devastating losses, but all is not lost.

He is so lost. I can see the pain within as clearly as if it were spoken. That cold, cold anger has been lost to despair. I had hoped that he would find some level of peace with Conor and Maeve leaving for a new life, but while it briefly seemed to sustain him, it was not enough. Yes, he goes through the motions, giving comfort to those that seek it, but his heart is no longer in it. He pretends that he is well, tries to deceive us all. Gives mass and claims that his faith is renewed. I can see the lie in his face, and I am sure he knows I see it, but he says nothing, and nor do I. The journals he so passionately kept are neglected, and tired eyes watch me with the bleakness of an empty heart. I cannot remember when last he smiled. He is so quiet as we work together each day to tend the sick. I make sure he eats and he does not argue, but neither does he seem to care. I wish to see a return of that inspiring, passionate belief that things will get better, because God is within each of us. But each day he seems to move further away from the path that I know he was born to follow and I fear for his sanity and his health.  

Mary left to find a new life in Liverpool, leaving the scars of the past behind her, to start anew for the sake of her child. I sometimes wish that for Liam’s sake she had stayed. But that is selfish of me, but it hurts to see such misery in someone whom I care for. There was a brief light in his eyes when he received mail from Mary, telling him she had a son. Daniel Michael Phelan. It seemed to open his heart a little, and was when he began to take mass again. I write the same Crie de Coeur’s to the papers and they react in the same blind and stupid way. I look after those that need it, and wish there was some magic cure to ease a wounded heart and soul to peace.  

Running footsteps stir me from my dinner, and I answer the door to a breathless Liam, his eyes are glowing with a fire I have not seen in months and his body is thrumming with life.

“Tis a miracle, they are safe, they are safe. Conor and Maeve, and the children, they are safe!”

Trembling fingers wave the letter at me and I take it gently from his fingers, reading it, my smile echoing Liam’s own.He sits heavily in the proffered chair and covers his face, a sob torn from him. I lay a gentle hand on his shoulder and stand in silence as he cries.

“Wonderful news.” I say quietly after a time, and he looks at me, eyes shining with more than tears.

“It is more than I dared hope, so much more. Thank God. Thank God.”

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