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Binding Ties
by Sarah Lewis

Summary: With the birth of a new baby, the Madigan famly grows, not just in size but also in love.

Go to New Addition!

Christmas Day 1870

"Oh, she's so beautiful!" Emily Madigan exclaimed, holding her baby sister for the first time. "She's the best present I ever got! Don't you think so, Sam?"

"Yeah, I guess so." Sam answered, scuffing one of his new boots against the floor. "What's her name?"

"Well, Kate liked Mary and I wanted Katherine," Con answered. "But we've decided she should be named Margaret, after Maggie, who did so much in getting baby Margaret here."

"Her full name shall be Margaret Mary Madigan," Kate broke in, still pale from the long labor, she rested against several pillows.

"Little Margaret." Emily said. "She looks like a Margaret to me."

"Yeah, she does." Sam said. "We could call her Daisy,too."

"Yes, we could." Con replied, pleased with the children's reaction to the baby. He hadn't been too worried about Emily because she had been excited at the prospect of a real family. But Sam, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. At first, the young man had seemed glad to be reunited with Kate and Con and even Emily. However, instead of growing closer as a family, the Madigans had only grown apart.

Con and Kate had been wrapped up in preparing for the new baby, who had arrived earlier then expected, and Emily seemed to hover between wanting to be with Sam and being with Con and Kate.

"Sam? Don't you want to hold the baby?" Kate's tired voice broke into Con's thoughts.

"Yeah, I guess so." Sam answered.

Con was a little surprised but didn't show it as he took the infant from Emily and showed Sam how to support the baby. "Maybe I was wrong about Sam," he thought, hoping it was true.

That night, after Emily and Sam had gone to bed, Con and Kate talked for a bit.

"Sam's having a hard time of it, isn't he?" Kate started the conversation.

"You should be asleep, like they are," was Con's answer.

"I slept all afternoon. Answer the question."

"Then, yes, he is.

"Do you think it has to do with Emily?" Kate questioned. "He seems so happy around her though, it's hard to think that."

"Possibly. But the boy is growing up, Kate. He's not little Sam anymore. He's fifteen now." Con took the baby from his wife.

"That's still a child, Con."

"See, that's the problem. You and Maggie still treat him like little Sam."

"It's hard to see him as anything else." Kate leaned against Con and looked at Margaret, who was lying quite happily in her father's arms.

When I was fifteen, my dad had me out breaking horses and fixing fences. Wasn't much older then Sam on my first cattledrive."

Sam is much too young for a cattledrive," Kate mused. "But we could get him a colt or filly in the spring, couldn't we? Let him break it in?"

Sure, Katie, if he wants it."

"He will, Con, I know he will." Kate's voice trailed off as she fell asleep against Con.

Holding Margaret in one arm, Con pulled the heavy quilts over the three of them. "Night, Kate, Margaret." He put the baby between Kate and himself and went to sleep."

New Addition starts here!

Emily and Hannah Scott weren't sleeping but rather talking. "Isn't Margaret just the sweetest baby you ever saw?" gushed Emily.

She most certainly is." agreed Hannah.

"I can't believe I have a little sister! Everything is just perfect now." Emily sighed.

"What do you mean?" Hannah snuggled down into the quilts on her bed.

"I've never had anything or anybody. But now I've got a mum, a dad, a brother, and even a baby sister!"

"Thanks a lot!"

"You knew what I meant. I never had a family before, least not that I remember. But you are my best friend." The two girls were similar in looks but that's where it ended. They were like night and day to each other yet best friends.

"I know, I know. Let's go to sleep, ok?" Hannah murmured, already half asleep.

"G'nite, Hannah." Emily flipped over to her side and shut her eyes, then opened them, too happy to sleep even if it had been a long day. She smiled in the dark, thinking of little Margaret and how sweet the little baby was.

Unbeknowst to the adults, not one child except Margaret was sleeping. Like the girls, Sam was also up. Unlike the girls, he didn't have anyone to talk to. So he struggled with his thoughts alone in the dark. "She's a mighty pretty baby," he thought. "Con did say no matter how many other kids there were I'd always be number one. But I don't think he means it anymore."

Sam had looked forward to going to the States to reunited with Con and Kate. He didn't really mind Emily but a baby? A baby would ruin everything, or so he thought. Deep down inside, though, he knew it wouldn't matter if Margaret had been twins, he'd always be special to Kate and Con. But after being an orphan for so long, it was hard to share his place even with a baby.

Maggie tossed and turned, unable to sleep despite the fact she hadn't slept the night before. Finally she gave up trying to sleep and lay quietly in her bed with her thoughts.

"I am happy for them, I really am. But I look at that baby and I think of what Charles and I could've had. But it can never be," she thought, trying to avoid thoughts of Charles but it was so hard. She thought of what could've been and what had happened. Then she turned her thoughts to little Margaret, named for Maggie, who was to be the baby's godmother.

"That little girl is so beautiful, so precious. Let her live, God, please." Maggie prayed. "Kate can't go through losing another child."

The next day, Kate and the baby slept late but everyone else was up early despite the lack of sleep. Although they had been unable to get through the snowstorm the day before, Jack and Con braved the cold and the tall snowdrifts to fetch the doctor.

"I know this is probably a waste of time," Con remarked as they rode along.

"Don't worry, mate. We'll get that doc, he'll check Kate and that baby of yours, then we'll get Maggie and the girls to make supper." Jack laughed the remark off but he knew Con was worried especially since Kate had already lost one baby.

"Maggie knew what she was doing. She was as good as any doctor. But Kate wants the doc to come check the baby anyway." Actually, Con wanted him to come as much as Kate but he was trying to not worry too much.

"Like I said before, we'll get the doc, bring'em to the house. He'll do his job and everything will be fair dinkum." Jack shivered, he wasn't used to snowy weather.

"I know, I know."

The two men fell silent as they rode the nine miles to the doctor's home.

"Sa-am!" Emily called in a sing song voice. With her cockney accent it sounded somewhat out of place on the American frontier.

"What?" Sam poked his tousled head out from his warm blankets.

"Are you still sleeping? Con and Jack already left for town, to get the doctor."

"If I'm talking to you, I can't be sleeping." Sam grumbled.

"Let's go see Margaret." Emily said, bouncing on Sam's bed.

"Stop it! And if Margaret is smart she is still sleeping." Sam burrowed beneath the blankets again.

"You're no fun," Emily said.

"Go bother someone else."

Emily sighed. Hannah was still sleeping. Con and Jack had already left for town and she thought Kate was sleeping. "Maybe Maggie is up." she thought, walking down the stairs to the kitchen.

In the kitched, Maggie was up and about, making coffee and breakfast. "Good morning, Emily." she said, showing no sign of the lack of sleep in her voice. "Would you like some tea?"

Emily sat down at the square table. "Yeah, I guess."

"Emily? Something wrong?" Maggie asked.

"Not really. How come Sam don't care about having a real family like I do?" Emily had started to answer in the negative then changed her mind.

"I don't really know, Emily. It might come from that he doesn't see Kate and Con as his parents as you do. Or maybe he feels he is too old to be adopted and having a real family." Maggie made a mental note to speak to Kate and Con about Sam's and Emily's views on the family.

"I'm not that much younger then he is and I still want a real family. It's all I've ever wanted and now I finally have it and Sam doesn't seem to care at all!

"Give him time, Emily, Margaret was only born yesterday. Sometimes it takes a while for families to adjust to a new baby." Maggie knew the problem lay deeper then the baby though she wasn't exactly sure what had been eating at Sam for the past few months. "I'm sure once you've all adjusted to her, you'll become a real family like you want,Emily.

Emily thought about Maggie's words while Maggie finished breakfast and the other kids came into the kitchen. During breakfast, Emily was quiet, something that was unusual for the talkative teenager. She was thinking of ways to make the Madigans a real family, not just in name but also in love.