Categories > TV > Bonanza > Much Ado About Little Joe

In Which Ben Collects Joe

by Cartwright_Fan 0 reviews

Ben wants Joe to come home.

Category: Bonanza - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2006-02-25 - Updated: 2006-02-25 - 1190 words

Chapter Three: In Which Ben Collects Joe

THE FOLLOWING AUTHORS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS CHAPTER:Mlle.Sinistra, Amer Esper, Mini Cochise, Karine, dodo, and LJsStalker.
Recap from Ch.2 "Don't remember why or how I shot him, but suddenly, my gun was out, I fired, and Adam was lying in front of me. I don't even know if he is alive. I just ran. Jumped on my horse and ran."
Suddenly, the sound of horses' hooves were heard cantering towards the homestead.
Frank opened the door and Ben Cartwright came inside.
"Is Joseph here, Frank?" asked Ben, concern lining his face.
"Yes, he is, Mr. Cartwright. In fact, we was just about ready to head to the Ponderosa," said Frank.
"Hey, Pa," said Joe, coming into the sitting room, "how's Adam?"
"It was just a flesh wound in the leg. He's resting at the house with Hoss," said Ben.
"I didn't mean to shoot him, Pa," said Joe, "it was an accident."
"I know, son," said Ben, kindly, "Adam told us. I've been looking for you. Come home."
"You were looking for me?" asked Joe, "why?"
"So you'd know about Adam," said Ben, "please come home with me, son."
Joe thought for a moment, and then took his hat and gun belt.
"Thank you, Frank and Sally, for dinner."
"You're welcome. We always help good friends," said Sally.
"You're welcome to the Ponderosa, any time," said Ben.
"Thank you, Ben," said Frank, "goodbye, Joe."
"'Bye, Frank. Sally," said Joe, "ready, Pa?"
"Yes, Joe, let's go home," Ben said, giving his son a loving smile.
However, Joe just headed for Cochise, without looking back, his only thought being on the reception he would receive when he returned. /His father may have forgiven him...but what of Adam? /He swallowed hard as he vaulted onto his horse, his face dark and full of misery. With a final wave of his hand to his old friends, he cantered away, his father following, watching the back of his son as they rode on in silence.
"Everything alright, Joe?" asked Ben, "you've been quiet since we left the Harveys'."
"Yeah, I was just thinking," Joe replied.
"About what?"
"About how Adam will react when he sees me."
"I'm sure he'll want some kind of apology," said Ben, "though I don't think he's all that upset about it. He kept repeating over and over that you didn't /mean /to shoot him, it just happened."
For a few miles, they rode in silence, Joe's mind obviously far away as his father kept a watchful eye on his son. It was as if Joe was undecided on whether to return to the Ponderosa or not. Ben almost thought he was about to dart away in the opposite direction at one point, as he gave his father a nervous glance, but then he seemed to make a decision and sat up in his saddle. He would face his brother head on, and take any punishment thrown his way. Steadily they rode, father and son together, nearer and nearer to home. Then, without warning, a shot was heard and with a cry, Ben fell to the ground, blood flowing from a wound to his head.
"PA!" Joe cried, jumping off Cochise.
He ran over to his father. The bullet had only grazed Ben's forehead, but Ben was unconscious from the fall off Buck. Joe stiffened as a gun was shoved into his back.
"Stay right there, boy," a voice like cold steel said.
Out of the bushes, came a man with a sickly sweet voice.
"Good work, Fenwick. Now, bind his hands, while I put the old man behind these bushes," he said.
"I wonder what's takin' Pa so long to come back with Joe," said Hoss, staring out the study window, "they shoulda dun been here already."
"I know, Hoss. You've only said this four times in as many minutes," said Adam, from his spot in the blue chair, his plastered leg resting on a cushion on the table.
Hoss paced around the great room.
"It ain't right. There's something wrong. Pa said that he won't be away too long. Something happened to them."
"How can you be so sure?" Adam asked.
"Just call it Cartwright intuition, Adam," said Hoss, his face masking the true worry and concern he felt.
Adam sighed deeply.
"Well, I can't do anything, but you could head over towards the Harvey place. You would probably meet up with Pa and Joe before you went a couple of miles, but at least it would stop this pacing around you're doing."
"You sure, Adam? Would you be okay?"
Adam nodded with a slight smile.
"I've got Hop Sing fussing around me like a mother hen, and plenty of books to read. I will be fine, Hoss," he said.
With a quick nod, Hoss walked to the front door, picking up his gun belt.
"Be as quick as I can, Brother," he called out, as he opened the door, then closed it behind him.
Adam gazed thoughtfully into the flickering flames of the fire, his smile disappearing in an instant. A deep wave of apprehension flooded over him for he, too, felt something was just not right, but for the life of him, he couldn't work out what.
Hoss rode Chubb to the Harveys'. Halfway between the Harveys' and Virginia City, he found Buck and Cochise, standing by the side of the road, quietly eating grass. He couldn't figure out what Buck and Cochise were doing without their riders. Suddenly, he heard a moan and some rustling in a nearby bush. Taking out his gun, he went to the investigate and saw Ben, semi-conscious, rolling around on the ground, a small wound on his forehead. Hoss reached into the bush and got Ben out.
"Pa?" he asked, shaking his father slightly.
"Hoss?" asked Ben, coming to completely, "where's Joe?"
"I ain't seen 'im, Pa," said Hoss.
"They must've taken him," said Ben.
"Who?" asked Hoss.
"Whoever shot me," said Ben, "we have to look for him."
"I hope those sick people who took him, don't hurt him," said Hoss.
"I hope so, too."
"If they touch one hair on his body, I'm gonna wring their necks with my bare hands!"
A few miles away, hidden within a deep cave, two men sat around a small fire, their eyes continually looking over at Joe. His hands were tied behind his back and there was a large bruise covering his left eye. Still groggy from the fist that had hit him on the chin, he looked back through narrowed eyes, trying to make sense of his abduction.
"Who are you? What do you want with me?" he asked with a croaky voice.
The bigger of the two men rose up and walked over, standing above the young man.
"Why, Joe, don't you remember me?"
Joe looked confused for a moment, before it dawned on him.
"Jack Bonner?" he asked.
The man in question cackled.
"I told ya he'd remember me, Stacey," said Bonner, "Joe, this is my partner, Gardener Stacey. Stacey, Little Joe Cartwright."

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