Written May 2002
This work is not to be reproduced in any way or archived anywhere without the express written permission of the author.
I told Bob that we'd get Muldoon for Caroline. But it wasn't just for Caroline that I wanted to get that bastard. I wanted to get him for Bob, and for Ben for the people I love.
I know many people look upon me as a doddering old fool. Perhaps I am. But once, long ago, I wasn't I was young and in love. Now I'm old, and I'm alone, with just my memories to sustain me through the long cold nights.
And as I look at Ben, and his partner his lover I smile. I see in my minds eye two other young men, and remember the happiness we found in each other's arms, and in the arms of the woman we both loved with all of our hearts.
Ben is a quiet man, as he was a quiet boy. He's a good man. He was always a good child. I'm thankful for the few years that we were allowed to watch him grow from a babe in arms to the child he was when Muldoon shattered all of our lives.
He loves the Yank; I can see it in his eyes. I'm glad. He's been alone far too long.
I don't think he much remembers his childhood before Caroline died, how I would sit and tell him stories and we'd colour or draw together while Caroline would cook and Bob would be tending the dogs, or what have you. Sometimes Bob and I'd both be gone, and when we'd come home, Ben would greet us, plenty of hugs for both of us.
And Caroline, what a woman. Good Lord, we loved her. Loved her deeply. She kept us both in line, God rest her soul.
After she was gone, she took part of us with her.
And when I'd gotten the word that Bob had died? Well, the rest of me died too. Being able to see him, talk to him, it's a comfort, but I miss touching him. Granted, I should be thankful I can see and talk to him after all, he is a ghost.
Bob and I had our disagreements in life after all, he did get to marry Caroline, but didn't lessen my love for either of them, not at all.
Then, when Caroline died, Bob said taking Ben to his parents' was best. I didn't agree, not really, but what could I say or do? We were two men, totally unsuited for caring for a child by ourselves despite our love for Ben, and there was the matter of Muldoon to still deal with.
We'd go see Benton sometimes, Bob more than I. Bob's parents disapproved deeply of me. Can't really blame them, I suppose. But I loved Ben and Bob and Caroline as much as I could. Still do.
I told Ben during this mess that Bob was half mad with grief. He wasn't the only one. My memories, they're hard sometimes, comforting at other times.
My heart hurts for those days, the days of us loving and laughing and fighting, the three of us. I'm tired a lot now, and seems like I miss Caroline and Bob more and more as each day passes by. And Ben
"Sergeant Frobisher?" At the sound of my name I drop my pen and gesture for Ben to come into my tent.
"Come in, come in."
"Thank you, Sir." He stands before me, and I feel a surge of pride at the way he holds himself. A good man. A good Mountie. We're born and bred to the RCMP, it seems.
He rubs his eyebrow and I wait, knowing he's trying to put into words something or other. He looks up and meets my eyes. "I've been remembering."
"Yes?" My stomach clenches. I don't know how I'll answer him if he asks what I think he's going to ask.
"My father and you and my mother all lived together, didn't you?"
I stare at him, and then look down at the words of love and loss and memories that I've just written in my journal. With a nod I look up at him and wait for his reaction.
"I see. Thank you Sir. For your honesty."
"Ben " I sigh. "We lived, we loved we did what we thought was best."
"Someone could have told me," he says, looking angry, one of the few times I've seen that emotion pouring out of him.
"And what would it have served?" I try to remain calm, try not to let my grief hurt Benton. He pauses, not expecting that question, I suppose. "I loved your mother. I loved your father. They're both gone now and I'm alone." I draw a deep breath before continuing. "Your father thought it best that you go live with your grandparents. I gave in, because I always gave in to him. Love does that to you sometimes, Benton. You'll find out. Just wait until you and the Yank have a few miles under the belt."
Ben looks startled.
"What, you didn't think I couldn't see it in your face?" I laugh then. "Oh, Ben," shakes my head, "you're in love. No doubt about it."
"Yes, Sir. I do love him."
"Nothing wrong with that, Benton."
We look at each other, silence stretching between us and then he quietly speaks.
He hesitates and nervously fingers his Stetson. "Is I mean, ah "
"What?" Perplexed, I stare at him.
"Is it for certain that my father is my father?"
Agog, I stare at him. "What?" Perhaps I didn't hear correctly.
He blushes beet red. "I just I since you three were together, that perhaps you weren't sure " he trails off into silence.
"Ah. I see." I stare down at my journal, the words of the remembrance and memories now a comfort, before looking back up at him. "Would it matter?"
"No, not really. I would just like to know."
"I see." I look out my tent at where the Yank sits by the fire and back up at Ben. "No, Ben, we were never sure who exactly your father was biologically." I feel my ears heat up a tad, slightly embarrassed to be speaking of this with the man I've long considered to be at least partly my son, even though it was from afar. "It never mattered."
"Thank you, Sir."
As he turns to leave the tent, I say quietly, "We all loved you very much."
He stops for a moment then turns back and looks me right in the eye, a smile on his face. I let out a deep breath I didn't even realise I was holding. "I believe you. I remember you showed me how to draw a horse."
"Yes. I did."
He leaves the tent without another word, and I hope that some day he'll understand that we did what we thought was best, even though it was misguided and wrong. We did it for love.
A love like he shares with the Yank. I can see them sitting close to each other, talking quietly, and I'm guessing that Ben's telling him what I told him.
Ah, to be able to change things now I wish I could go back, wish it more now than ever. I wish
They're setting out on their adventure, and I'm watching them get ready to go, wondering if they'll leave without a word, when Ben turns back. I salute him and say, "God Speed, Benton."
He salutes back, and then they're off.
"I love you, Ben," I whisper. I do. I love him like a son, no matter what, no matter whose blood flows through his veins. He was conceived in love, and I'm proud of him.
And if I know anything of Bob and Caroline Fraser, they're proud of our son too.