Thomas eased his son back in bed. The emotional release from their reunion drained what little energy Lucien had. Thomas stroked his hair as he watched his son sleep. He couldn't stop the tears from falling. Seeing his boy lying in bed triggered a memory of the last time he had seen his son sick. Lucien was eight years old and Thomas remembered how, even as a doctor, he kept his distance from his son. It terrified him to see his own child ill. Not knowing how to deal with his feelings always caused him to act a bit callous toward Lucien. This instance was no different. Genevieve, on the other hand, was the one to coddle Lucien. He shook his head, ashamed that he never felt comfortable enough to express his love to his son. Never again. He had missed out on so much. He knew he should have listened to Genevieve.

He held on to Lucien's hand for what seemed to be hours. He noticed a change in Lucien's temperature first. His palm became sweaty. As Thomas looked up, he could see the distress on his son's face. Tears began to accumulate in the corners of Lucien's eyes as his brows furrowed. Thomas knew he was having a nightmare but he was wasn't sure if it would be wise to wake him. He couldn't stand seeing his son like this so he tried to rouse him.

Lucien woke with a start. He was confused at first then remembered his father was there. He wiped his eyes and tried to calm his breathing. Thomas waited for him to speak. Speaking softly and looking at his father with deep dejection, Lucien said, "Mei Lin and my baby girl are dead." Thomas didn't know what to say, opening his mouth twice to speak, but couldn't find the words. His heart broke for his son and for himself. He had a granddaughter. He never knew she existed. He squeezed Lucien's hand and Lucien continued. "They were killed just after I had been captured. I was just dreaming about them."

A tear escaped Thomas' eye as he said, "I'm so sorry son."

He gave his father a sad smile. "It's been a long time but, in my dreams, it still feels like yesterday. I guess all we can do is move forward."

Thomas returned Lucien's sad smile saying, "Yes, but you move forward by keeping them close to your heart, my dear son. Your mother has never left mine."

Lucien nodded. "I'm glad you're here, father. I'm hoping we can move forward as well."

"I'd very much like that, son." Looking at him expectantly. "Will you come home? Join my practice?"

"I don't know, father. I have a lot more recovery time left." Then after a moment, noticing his father's sudden deflated look he added, "But…when that is up…yes. Yes, I think that would be great. Thank you, father."

Tears shown in Thomas' eyes. "Very well. I'll have Jean get your room all set so it will be ready for you whenever you are ready."

"Jean?"

"Oh, I didn't tell you about her, did I?" He smiled. "Jean is my housekeeper and receptionist. She has two boys that also live with us. Her husband was killed in the war and she lost her farm." He grinned. "I think you two will get along just fine."


From the doorway, Jean had heard everything. She had decided to check on them and was delighted at what she saw. Thomas was sitting on the edge of his son's bed, holding his hand. They were talking. The tension between them had dissipated. Now it was time to heal. Her hand was flat against her mouth and nose to keep from making any sound as she listened, her own tears streaming down her face. She didn't know Lucien but she felt like she did from all the stories Thomas told of his son.

This poor damaged soul. He had been through so much. She knew he had married but she didn't know he had a child. She squeezed her eyes shut at the thought of losing one of her sons. She couldn't even imagine. The overwhelming feeling of loneliness this man must have felt. His wife and daughter gone. Disowned by his father. In a prison camp, receiving beatings and God knows what other torture he must have endured. One thing was for certain, Jean knew this man's strength was great. He looked fragile and skinny on the outside, for now, but on the inside, she knew he had to be quite a fighter.

She silently promised him at that moment that she would do all in her power to help him get his physical and emotional strength back. The mention of Jean's name startled her out of her thoughts. She heard Thomas tell Lucien about her. She smiled at the last part and couldn't help but agree with him. There was something about Lucien. She couldn't quite explain it. Something about him just made her feel safe and warm. She had never experienced such emotion for someone she had never actually met before.

Jean was excited. Lucien had agreed to come and stay with them. She couldn't wait to introduce him to her sons. She couldn't wait to take care of him. She stopped herself, shaking her head. You don't even know him, Jean. Slow down! She thought it must be the excitement she felt for Thomas reuniting with his son that was causing her to lose control. She heard her name again and looked up to see both men staring at her.

Thomas gave her an all-knowing smile. "Jean, please come in. I want you to meet my son." He had an idea that Jean and Lucien would get along well but he hadn't thought of them being anything more than friends. Until now. The look on Jean's face was one thing but then he turned to see his son. The look on Lucien's face as he watched Jean was priceless. Yes, this was something more and Thomas was more than happy to sit back and enjoy the show.