Summary: A heartfelt plea as the family tries to reunite in the wake of Marie’s death.
Rating: K+ (2,655 words)
A/N: I’d like to thank misskitty4adam for encouraging to have a go at writing something, so here’s my first attempt.
Please, Not Again
Adam sat alone at the breakfast table smiling, he was trying to recollect when he last had a day with no chores, and only Hoss to take care of and no Joe. As much as he loved his youngest brother, these past two months had been really stressful. Ever since Marie, Joe’s mother had been killed in a riding accident. Joe seemed to be constantly crying, and at night he’d wake up from a nightmare. Poor Joe was unable to comprehend why his mother wasn’t coming back. As for Poor Hoss he just went around looking dejected all the time, and was often to be found at Marie’s gravesite. Marie was the only mother Hoss had ever really known. His own mother had been killed by an Indian arrow, when he was no more than a tiny baby. Pa in his grief took himself off for days at a time, trying to come to terms with all that had happened. All Adam could do was try and keep everything together, Joe followed him everywhere he went, and even slept with him.
Ben got up early, and helped Joe to get dressed. After breakfast he went out and fixed the buggy up, ready for their trip to Carson City. Maybe spending the day together, he could cheer Joe up, and reassure him he wouldn’t leave him and go away again, unless it was a business trip, and he would tell him if that was the case. He felt guilty because in his own sorrow at Marie’s death, he had momentarily forgotten his precious sons, and poor Joe had suffered the most.
Hoss came bounding down the stairs, and headed straight for the breakfast table, and promptly piled his plate with eggs and bacon. At ten he was nearly as tall as Adam, whom was six years older, and he probably weighed more than him. Noticing there was only Adam at the table, he asked if Pa had gone away again.
“No” replied Adam, “he’s taken Joe to Carson City, and guess what you and I have the whole day to ourselves to do anything we want to.”
“Please, please, can we go fishing” asked Hoss with his mouth full of egg.
Adam grinned then said, “don’t talk with your mouth full.”
“Oh heck you sound just like Pa,” Hoss replied.
Adam never could refuse him anything, and besides he could catch up on his reading.
Hop Sing made up a parcel of food for the boy’s and told them to take blankets with them, as the grass would probably still be wet after all the rain they have had. Turning to Adam he said, “You look after brother, and fetch plenty of fish home for supper.”
“That will be my job as I’m better at catching fish, and I can look after myself thank you very much,” Hoss said with a big grin on his face.
They mounted their horses and set of for the day.
They rode around the lake until they came to a small cove, “This is perfect, and it’s the best place for catching fish,” Hoss shouted over to Adam.
It was the ideal spot nice and sheltered, the grass was the greenest it had been for quite some time, and with the sun on the lake it looked as if it was covered in thousands of gems. The lake and surrounding area was a breath taking sight on a day like this.
Hoss set up his fishing rod, and Adam found a nice sheltered spot under a tree, both settled down to enjoy themselves.
Not long after Hoss yelled over to his brother,” Adam I told you I was better at fishing, just look at the size of this trout.”
Smiling Adam looked over just in time to see it falling off the end of Hoss’s rod. Adam tried not to laugh but couldn’t stop himself, even Hoss joined in seeing the funny side of it.
Both settled down again to enjoy the rest of the day. It was the noise of a horse whinny that startled Adam. Looking to where it came from made him go cold, Hoss had moved away from the lake, and right next to Hoss’s head was a horse rearing up. Grabbing his rifle from his scabbard he fired two shots into the air. The horse turned to get away, following it was a foal covered in mud. Adam fired one more shot, and both mother and baby ran off. Time seem to go in slow motion as Adam dashed to where his bother laid. He was lying face down with his legs in a bog. It was hard to tell if he was breathing, using all of his strength he had, he managed to pull Hoss free. How he wished he was as tall and strong as his Pa, as he tried to turn his brother over. He noticed that his left leg was broken, and there was a very nasty looking bump on his head. Getting his canteen, and some spare clothing he always carried in his saddle bag, he dashed to where Hoss laid, and proceeded to try and clean him up a bit, all the time talking to him, but not getting any response. Adam cursed himself for not noticing that Hoss had moved away from the lake.
Adam knew what had to be done, the broken leg had to be set, and as soon as possible. If not the leg would swell, and then it would be harder to do, and more painful. Before looking for pieces of wood to make a splint, he applied another cold compress on the bump, still Hoss never stirred. He had no trouble finding the right type of wood needed, getting his knife out he set about smoothing the rough edges as fast as he could.
Getting back to where his brother lay, he tore more strips from his spare shirt. Mentally he tried to prepare himself for the task at hand. Taking Hoss’s boot off, he took hold of the leg with both hands, and pulled as hard as he could. Tears were streaming down his face as he heard the bones click together. Hoss gave out a loud groan, but fortunately he remained unconscious. After Adam had finished splinting the leg, he got up as fast as he could, and puked his insides out. Even though he was shaking by what he had just done, he knew it could still go all wrong, if he didn’t get his brother to a doctor.
It was a beautiful day for a ride out, Ben tried his best to get Joe talking to him, but he just sat there looking forlorn, not even wanting to look at him, this really saddened him. Ben’s thoughts turned to his other sons, poor Adam had been left to carry the load of Hoss’s and Joe’s misery, and to try and keep the ranch going, every time he had taken off. He thought of all the sadness Adam had seen on their journey across the country, following Ben’s dreams. He is such a caring boy, and so like his mother Elizabeth, when Adam found out his mother had died giving him life, he felt guilty and sad.
Now Hoss, whose real name is Eric, is growing up to be a very big man. I called him Hoss as the name means someone big and gentle, and that is certainly him. Even at his age he is able to care for both small and big creatures, he just seems to know how to help them. That talent he definitely got from his mother, who also loved all kinds of animals.
As for his youngest son Joe, well he used to be like a mini tornado, tearing around the ranch. If there was trouble to be found, he’d find it. It took all of them to keep him safe. How he wished that little boy would return soon.
Adam thoughts were on the best way to get Hoss home, he decided to make a travois to transport him back, he was so concerned about getting the job done as fast as he could, he never noticed the change in the weather. Finding enough pine branches, he set to using his knife to get rid of the rough edges, when he felt the first rain drops. Cursing he lashed the branches together, and set them down next to his brother, he then covered it with one of the blankets.
Turning he shouted, “Hoss, Hoss I need you to help me, I can’t move you by myself.” He had to repeat himself a few times before Hoss understood what Adam needed from him. Grabbing Hoss’s body Adam shouted one-two-three, and both brothers reaching deep inside themselves, manage to get him on the travois.
Once the travois was secured to his horse, he rode off heading for home.
The weather took a turn for the worse and their horses were getting jumpy. He knew there was a small cave nearby that they could shelter in. It was a struggle getting the travois with Hoss on it into the cave, it had taken all the strength he had, and he just collapsed on the floor, feeling sorry for himself, and wondering if he’d ever get Hoss home safely.
He knew he had to get their clothes dry, he didn’t want his brother to catch pneumonia. A fire would help to keep them warm, and hopefully keep predators away. His brother seemed to be resting easier now, Adam knew he should have kept a closer watch on his brother instead of reading that damn book.
OH God hadn’t Pa suffered enough, please don’t let his Pa lose anyone else. “PLEASE NOT AGAIN,” he bellowed.
When Ben reached Carson City, he headed over to the Fleming’s chicken farm. Mrs. Fleming said she would be pleased to look after Joe, he and Tommy were both the same age. Ben would be able to get the ranch business done, and pick up supplies. After he concluded his business, he went over to the store to get the two younger boys a surprise, and get Adam the book he needed for his studies for college.
On arriving back at the Fleming’s he heard Joe and Tommy laughing, running around the yard being followed by six puppies. It brought tears to his eyes seeing Joe so happy. Running up to his Pa Joe started pleading, to be able to keep one of the pups, but Ben didn’t need any convincing, it was just what the boy needed, something of his own to care for.
All the way back to the ranch Joe hugged and talked to the puppy. Ben hoped that Adam and Hoss had also enjoyed their day. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but he was determined to do all in his power to make things right, and help his boys grow up and become self-assured and happy men. His sons were precious gifts his wives had left him.
As soon as Ben pulled into the yard, Hop Sing dashed out shouting, “Mr. Ben, Adam and Hoss not back from fishing, you go find them, me look after little Joe.”
As Ben saddled his horse, he kept praying that they were safe, and just sheltering from the storm.
It was hard going the path was rough, but at least the rain was starting to ease off. When he arrived at the place that Hoss loved to fish at, he saw his fishing rod, but no sign of the boys. He got off his horse and looked around, he found Adam’s book by the tree, picking it up, he mumbled to himself, “That boy always has his head stuck in books, when he’s not working.”
He scolded himself, how could he even think like that, that boy gave a 110% of himself for his brothers. Ever since the day an arrow had killed Hoss’s mother, Adam Had looked after his brother, even though he was only seven years old at the time. Inger had been the only mother Adam had ever known and loved.
Getting worried over the boys he said aloud, “WHERE CAN THEY BE?”
Adam had cuddled up next to Hoss trying to keep him warm, he heard a horse approaching, and grabbing his rifle he looked over to the entrance, only to see his Pa approaching.
He shouted out, “Pa, Pa, Hoss is injured!”
Jumping from his horse Ben ran over to Hoss. “How long has he been like this?” he bellowed.
“Since this afternoon. I couldn’t get him home because of the storm,” Adam replied.
“Well we are taking him home now, so please put that fire out,” shouted Ben.
Adam said he would ride into Carson City for the doctor.
When Adam arrived home with the doctor, they went straight up to Hoss’s room, where Hop Sing and his father were cleaning him up.
Turning Ben greeted the doctor, and Adam could see the worry and sadness in his father face. Adam walked out of the room, cursing himself for not keeping a better watch over his younger brother.
The doctor check Hoss’s head wound, satisfied it was okay, he then turned his attention to plastering Hoss’s leg properly.
Turning to Ben he said, “Adam was very brave to straighten the leg; it saved Hoss having to go through more pain.”
After the doctor left, Ben sat next to Hoss holding his hand, when he heard Hoss asking for Adam. He looked around the room noticing his son wasn’t there.
Hop Sing said, “Number one son in barn, always goes there when upset.”
In the barn, Adam sat curled up in a corner, scared and worried about Hoss. Ben stood and watched his son, feeling guilty at ignoring him, especially knowing how much he loved his younger brothers. Adam needed him as much as his other sons did. He sat next to him and put his arm around Adam. Adam knew who it was, but couldn’t face him.
“I’m so sorry I let you down Pa, you must hate me.”
Taking Adam’s face in his hands, Ben could see the boy had been crying. “Hate you? I’m proud of you. I could never hate you, I love you. You have always done your best for your brothers, and I know it’s not always been easy” He put Adam’s head against his shoulder, Ben could feel him trembling. When Adam seemed to be calmer and not crying Ben said, “Son never ever question my love for you or your brothers, it will always be here.”
“I love you Pa,” Adam said as he wiped his eyes.
Ben suggested they go into the house to see what his brothers were up to.
As Adam and his father entered Hoss’s room, Joe came bounding into Adam’s arms picking his little brother up, he asked, “What you got there buddy?”
Joe replied, “It’s a dog silly, and Hoss is going to help me train it, and it’s called socks because of his white paws.”
Hoss grinned and called Adam over, “I’m sorry I went off without telling you, but I saw that foal struggling in the mud, I didn’t think just went to help it.” Then with a straight face he asked, if Adam had remembered to bring the fish he caught home for their supper. Everyone burst out laughing.
Looking at his family Adam knew that going to college would be one of the hardest things he’d ever do. He loved them all so much, but his father had always encouraged him to follow his dreams, and he wouldn’t let him down, no matter how hard it was going to be
Tags: Adam Cartwright, Ben Cartwright, Hoss Cartwright, Joe / Little Joe Cartwright