“Have you ever seen a rabbit play the harp?” Simon asked earnestly.
Fiona looked down at her patient, who was now sitting up cross-legged in his bed, still completely naked. “No, lad, I dinna believe I ever have.”
“That’s funny,” he remarked, wonder shining in his clear blue eyes. “Neither have I!”
She smiled at him, hoping that the pity wouldn’t show through. “We have somethin’ in common, then.”
He took her by the sleeve and tugged gently. “Sit, please.”
“Simon, I’m terribly busy…”
“Sit, please,” he repeated. “Sit, please?”
She sat on the edge of his cot. “Is there something that you want, Simon?”
The young man nodded vigorously. “Yes. Yes. I want my little brotherWant my brother! Fiona, I want my brother. Yes!”
He began to make choking noises and turned away suddenly, and it took Fiona a moment to realize that he was sobbing.
“There, there,” she said soothingly, stroking his hair as she had stroked his brother’s mere hours before. “He’ll be all right. He’s getting much better, you know. Uncle Alasdair says he must have a friend in the gods, ta survive a transaction like that. An’ whatever friend that is willna abandon him now.”
“Want my brother,” Simon whimpered, wiping away a stream of snot with the side of his hand.
“I know, I know. You’ll see him soon, I promise you.”
“Aye. Very soon. Perhaps if you lie back an’ take a wee rest, he’ll be ready ta see by the time you awake. Sound good?”
“Alrighty then,” she continued with forced cheer, helping him to lie down on the mattress and tucking in his sheet around him. “See you in a few.”
He snuggled into his pillow, fixing his one visible eye upon her. “Fiona?”
“Have you ever seen a snake play the pipe organ?”
“Shh, Simon. Go ta sleep.”
When his eyes had shut and his breathing had slowed, she stood up quietly and continued along on her rounds, wondering exhaustedly how much longer it would be before her volunteer stint would be over and she could go to bed.