22 December 2008 @ 05:53 pm
The Gift  
Abby was working all of Christmas week and loathing most of it. It was depressing to be in the ER during a major holiday for so many reasons. It sucked to be the doctor telling someone that Grandpa wasn’t going to make it to Mass with the family, that Junior was getting a bone marrow transplant for Christmas (if he were lucky) and not a new bike and it really, really blew chunks when someone asked her if she planned to see her family during the holidays.

No. Of course she wasn’t. Maggie and Eric might get a phone call if she could find the time (and the courage) but she wouldn’t be spending time with them. She was frozen in New York, they would moderately chilled in Florida. She was working herself ragged and they were decorating a tree with popcorn chains and drinking the spiced rum eggnog she couldn’t have. They were a family unit she didn’t feel like she was a part of any longer. Some of it was her own inability to adapt to the knowledge that her baby brother was all grown up and the refusal to accept that he didn’t need her to take care of him any more. A larger part of the problem was fear. Fear of the bipolar disorder both Maggie and Eric suffered from and it was a shared terror. Maggie and Eric were afraid that Abby didn’t understand them, didn’t know what it was like to be inside the disease and Abby, for all she tried not to, she could never let go of her need to control and doctor the situation. Not being able to save them scared her.

What about Ruairí and his children, weren’t they her family? Abby was still undecided on that front most days. She knew it took more than blood and DNA to make a family, though she had at least a thread of that in common with Caitlin and her brothers, too. She lived with them. She…cared about them all and usually she realized that they cared for her in return. But did that make them family? Did she want it to? Did they? Not that it mattered much at the moment. She wouldn’t be seeing much of them either with the few short hours she wasn’t working being largely devoting to sleeping or commuting back and forth from hospital to home.

That was the other thing that she hated. The commute: the subway, the walking, and the smelly cabs. They left her with all of this time to think about things like family and that her fingertips were so cold she could no longer feel them(this made not spilling coffee down the front of you difficult). And presents. She had no time to shop and even less of a budget to work with. She had begged off the Secret Santa at work but that still left her with at least Cait and Ruairí to worry about…well, Cait. She had a gift for Ruairí even if it was corny and lame.

And still not wrapped. Dammit!

All right, Lockhart. Improvise. You’re an ER doc. A trauma physician. The specialty evolved out of wartime medicine practiced on the battlefield. Thinking fast under pressure is something you are trained to do. This rolled around in her head as she approached the building she called home, let herself in and finally found herself riding the elevator to the upper floor. She had the gift on her. In her pocket, actually. And she was supposed to give it to him tonight.

They were celebrating on Christmas Even since Abby had somehow managed to have the night shift off though it meant she was on home call and also had to drag herself back to the hospital first thing in the morning. She had roughly two minutes to figure out what she would do and as she gave it a final consideration, the brunette tipped her nearly empty coffee cup back and drained it. She looked at the Styrofoam cup thoughtfully.

Well…it would fit.

Out in the hallway, before fumbling for her keys, Abby popped the lid off the cup and used one wool glove to soak up the coffee remnants then dug through her pockets until she found what she was after. She doubted anyone other than Ruairí would understand the significance of the silver-plated metal buckle. Actually, even if he recognized the girth buckle from a horse’s saddle, she was still going to have to explain why she was giving it to him in a coffee cup (the lid was back on) for Christmas.

His keen hearing must have alerted the púca to her presence because the door opened before she got her key into the lock. Smiling up at the silver-haired man, Abby thrust the cup into his hand. “Merry Christmas. Sorry about the ‘gift wrap’.”

Abby Lockhart//ER//818
Current Location: home
Current Mood: anxious
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[identity profile] sonofgranite.livejournal.com on December 27th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
"Nollaig shona duit, love. Merry Christmas." Ruairí accepts the cup, blinking a little at the rattle of something inside, but his first consideration is ushering Abby through the door of the festively decorated condo. His second, of course, is kissing her soundly, which he wastes no time in doing once the door closes.

He has a couple of gifts waiting under the tree for Abby: two pieces of hair jewelry, practical as well as lovely, one in sterling silver (http://www.gaelsong.com/images/popup/J4006p.jpg) and the other in pewter (http://www.gaelsong.com/images/popup/J4007p.jpg). The largest box is full of personal luxuries, massage oils, bath soaks, chocolates, scent, a silk robe, and dozens of other items. Each has instructions for how Abby can, if she so chooses, have her púca lover pamper her with them during her precious time off.

But for right now he focuses on her gift. Once they're seated on the couch, he pops the top off the cup and shakes out the coffee-scented piece of metal. Well, what's this about? "A girth buckle, Abby? Is the rest of the saddle waiting elsewhere?" he chuckles.
[identity profile] abbytude.livejournal.com on December 27th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
Abby gladly accepts and returns his kiss, it feels good to come home to a welcome like that after the day she'd had and would likely have again tomorrow.

Instead of answering him immediately or investigating the packages under the tree, she carefully unwinds the scarf from her neck, pulls the hat from her head and tucks her gloves into her coat pockets. The brunette doctor lets him stew on the odd gift for a while longer, partially from her own impish impulses and also due to a bit of nervous uncertainty on her part.

Oh well, if he laughs at her, he laughs at her. "It's mine. Sort of." She gives him a small smile, slips out of her coat. "It came off the saddle I've been using...since May."

Nearly eight months of sporadic riding lessons and she hasn't said word one about them to hum until now. Abby winces, hopes he doesn't find it insulting that she didn't ask him to teach her basic horsemanship skills. "Surprise?"

Her taking lessons isn't his present however. "I ah...I know it's pretty lame--no pun intended, but you've been hinting around at wanting me to go riding with you. Um...on you, since we've known each other. I won't say no the next time you ask, okay?"
[identity profile] sonofgranite.livejournal.com on December 27th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
For long moments Abby's revelation startles him, even confuses him a bit. Riding? Since May? The last time he'd coaxed her onto a horse she'd wound up panicking, and he'd not pushed her since then. So why--?

Then she offers her explanation, softening the surprise in Ruairí's eyes softens to something closer to wonder as understanding slowly seeps in.

Abby's offering him a gift of acceptance.

Since the day they met, when he terrified her by transforming, Abby has largely ignored the physical reality of what he is and what he can do. That she's now willing to not only see him transform but ride him after he's done so says a great deal about how far the two of them have come.

He leans over to give her another kiss, this one sweet tenderness itself. "With me or on me, sweet," he says softly. "The choice is yours."
[identity profile] abbytude.livejournal.com on December 27th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
Abby hugs him tightly as she presses a kiss just beneath his ear. "Only after you put that buckle back where it belongs."

She isn't going to get emotional about this, huge displays always make her uncomfortable. Fighting, denying and finally coming around to accepting something has long been her m.o. Loving a man who is more than a mere man is no different. Ruairi, a puca. A man who turns into a horse. It no longer scares her. No reason to make a big deal over it, right?

Except that the look in his eyes tells her it is a big deal. "I love you."

She amends quietly, giving him another squeeze.
[identity profile] sonofgranite.livejournal.com on December 28th, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)
It is a big deal. Knowing that Abby really is that comfortable with him starts a warmth deep in Ruairí's chest. "I love you too," he murmurs in a voice a touch huskier than normal. He sets the buckle on the table next to them so that he can give her a proper, two-armed hug, nuzzling her neck.

When he comes up for air from that, he's wearing a brilliant smile. "Do you want to start on your presents yet?" he asks.
[identity profile] abbytude.livejournal.com on December 28th, 2008 01:07 am (UTC)
"No." She scoots just that much closer to him. Being home, having a few minutes to relax and actually hear her own thoughts is present enough. "Where's Cait?"
[identity profile] sonofgranite.livejournal.com on December 28th, 2008 09:36 am (UTC)
"Mmmm." He holds her close, leaning the two of them back into a corner of the couch and tucking her head under his chin. "She called a little while ago. Someone was needed to transport some Toys for Tots and food bank donations, and she volunteered. She shouldn't be more than an hour or so longer."
[identity profile] abbytude.livejournal.com on December 28th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
Abby nuzzles the warmth of his neck, pressing a kiss or two to sensitive skin as she listens to him talk. "So...we're alone?" Superfluous question but it does give her the opportunity to look up at him with a predatory grin.

"Traffic is disgusting, it's a massive wall of vehicles and nothing is moving. We'll be lucky to see her by New Year's." Slight exaggeration.
[identity profile] sonofgranite.livejournal.com on December 28th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
"We are," Ruairí confirms, dark eyes sparkling as he grins back at her. "Just you and me."

His hands start to wander as he continues, dipping his head to punctuate his words with kisses that wend along Abby's jaw back to her ear. "She could ... park the car ... someplace safe ... get home under ... her own power."

A gentle nibble at the skin under her ear and he meets her eyes once more, this time with a smile mischief-tinged. "But since I suspect that at least half the reason she volunteered was to give the two of us some time alone, I doubt she will ... for a while yet." He lets his hands slide down Abby's spine and over her backside as he tilts his head for another lingering kiss.
[identity profile] abbytude.livejournal.com on December 29th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
Abby shifts until they are pressed snug against each other, smiling as she stretches out against the length of his body, making herself comfortable as she realizes that there is no reason to move for a while. "Best. Present. Ever."

Small hands flutter along his sides and across his broad chest, capable fingers massaging firm muscle. She's no longer quite so exhausted now that there's this new possibility and opportunity open to them. "And the other one doesn't have plans to drop by, does he?"

Abby's referring to Ruairi's other New York dwelling offspring, of course.
[identity profile] sonofgranite.livejournal.com on December 30th, 2008 05:35 am (UTC)
He makes soft noises that are by turns contented and intrigued as Abby's hands stroke his body. In return he gently kneads her hips and the muscles of her back, hoping to soothe away the day's stresses.

Ruairí chuckles at his lover's question. "The tall one, you mean? No, I think he and Pippa have planned a night in. He'll no doubt drop in for a hello and some of Cait's cookies tomorrow, though."

As she makes herself comfortable, he does the same, stretching underneath her and snuggling a little deeper into the couch.
[identity profile] abbytude.livejournal.com on December 30th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
"I won't be here tomorrow. I don't care what he does then." She's only half-serious about her snarky dismissal of Rory, most of it a healthy dose of dislike for having to go into work Christmas day.

Sliding her hands under his sweater to both warm them and play her fingers over his bare skin, Abby sighs contently. "This is all the Christmas present I need. But, since I am lazy and greedy, you can tell me what's in the boxes under the tree so I don't have to get up."