Jenny: She'll Come Home

Gwenhywfar shook her head gently. Under the general hum of talk, she said, "Don't fret for me. I am in no danger. The pears, Domitia, I am fond of those..."


"You look better already."

Artos glanced round as Jason came up through the garden. It was a fine day, better than the storm of the previous night. He had laid sleepless in his bed, wracked with a dull and throbbing pain that he could not quite ignore. But out in the open air, even though he needed the wall on which to throw all his weight, things were better. He fondled Fripp's head as the dog offered it.

"You have good hands," he told Jason.

Jason dropped his eyes to the inside of Artos' leg, lips pursed. He said nothing about the obvious pain, but he could see the young surgeon considering the work and the fact that he was upright already. But it was the obvious, and shoving his hands into his belt, legs spread, the young man asked pointedly, "So, tell me. What happened?"

Artos shook his head. "I don't know, Jason. I never saw her go. Somehow she got mixed up in the press of a fight and at the end of it there was Pharaoh and no Guttersnipe. We looked everywhere, Jason. We looked into the faces of all the dead."

Jason threw up his head. "She isn't dead?" he blurted out in a husky tone.

"No. She - we think she was taken off somewhere. God knows, Jason, I've been tormenting myself about it ever since it happened. If it weren't for my bum leg I would be out there still, looking for her."

He broke off in miserable silence, hands idling circling around the dog's ear. Jason was staring at his leg again, eyes distant, face pale.

"And now autumn is coming on..."

Still Jason said nothing.

The wind picked up full of the scent of the apple orchard, and he knew they were both seeing her, a little brown-skinned chit with her hair tossing in the breeze, tumbling among the laden branches of the apple-trees, happy, at home. Presently it occurred to him that he was seeing Jason's hand and the shiny pale gall on one finger, and his throat tightened. And he heard himself saying,

"She'll come, Jason. Somehow. She's one of us, and she'll come home."

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