LHOTP inspired fan fiction by Kalin Goble
This story takes place the day after Darkness Is My Friend (season 6). It is of how Almanzo hears about that night and goes to visit the Ingalls, which changes his perspective of Beth, forever.
He stood there in the Oleson’s Mercantile, not knowing what to think of the story he had just heard Doc Baker telling Nels and Harriet. He stared at the box of sugar he was supposed to pick up for his sister, not wanting them to know he was eavesdropping on the story being told. As soon as Doc bid good-bye to the Olesons, Almanzo followed him out into the street.
“Doc Baker, I heard you talkin’ too the Oleson’s about what happened last night, is everyone okay?” he asked still confused about the whole story.
“Yes Almanzo, everyone is just fine, we all got some awful bad wounds, but it’s nothing that time won’t heal”, Doc Baker replied, with it obvious that he had an injury to the head, which made it hard for Almanzo to imagine what could have happened to the Ingalls the previous night.
“Hope you feel better soon Doc. Well, bye”, Almanzo said, knowing, that with Harriet’s mouth, the whole town of Walnut Grove would know the story, or at least some of it, by noon.
As soon as he waved to Doc Baker, he turned and walked back into the Oleson’s Mercantile to purchase the few items Eliza had asked him to pick up while in town, knowing he would never hear the end of it if he didn’t get them. As soon as he reentered the Mercantile, he saw half the women of Walnut Grove gathered around the counter as the story was being told from the gossiping mouth of Mrs.Oleson. He decided it would be no use to try to even make his purchase with all the clamor going on in the small store, so Almanzo walked out of the building and hopped in his buggy to head home.
As soon as he passed the outskirts of town, the worry of how the Ingalls were doing got to him, so he directed Barnum toward the little house. When he pulled up, he saw Caroline outside collecting eggs, so he moseyed over to where she stood.
“Morning Mrs. Ingalls”
“Oh, hi Almanzo, what brings you by this morning?” Caroline said, turning toward the tall man her daughter had fell in love with.
“I was just in town and heard about what happened last night, and I was wondering if everyone’s doing okay”
“Yes, it was nice of you to come out to see. Charles is in the barn, he just had a bad headache, no bad wounds, thankfully”
“And Mary, the children”
“They’re fine, Mary was just so scared, the children didn’t know what was happening, but in a few days, they’ll all be just fine and everything will be back in order”
“Is Beth okay”
“Just fine, she is having a hard time talking about it, when I left the house this morning to do my chores, she was still sleeping”
“Oh”, Almanzo said, wanting to see that Beth was safe.
“She should be awake by now, how about we go see, and I can get you a cup of coffee”
“Thank you Mrs. Ingalls” Almanzo said, following Caroline to the house.
“Laura” Caroline called up to the loft
“Yes Ma”, Laura’s sweet voice replied.
“You have a visitor”
“Coming” Laura said, climbing down the ladder to the blue eyes of Almonzo gazing at her.
“Almonzo stopped by to see how everyone was doing”, Caroline informed her
“How would ya like to take a walk, it’s a beautiful morning. That is if your ma don’t mind” Almanzo asked, wanting to talk to Brth alone
“No, no, you go on ahead, I’m sure Laura could use the fresh air”
“Thanks Ma” Laura whispered as she kissed her ma and turned back toward Almanzo as he held the door open for her
“Almanzo, what brought you here”, Laura questioned as she walked by Almanzo’s side in the woods behind her house.
“I was in the Mercantile this morning and heard Doc Baker telling the Oleson’s that you were being held hostage last night and that you and your sister were held captive by three fugitives. I wanted to come by and see if ya’ll were doing all alright”
“Oh, yeh, well, I guess we’re all okay so…”
“Yeh well, your ma said you were having a hard time talking about it, want to tell me what happened”
Laura shock her head ‘no’, as tears started to fill her eyes. Not wanting Almanzo to see her cry, she turned her back to him so she could cover them up.
Almanzo slowly turned her around to face him again and wiped her tears away.
“Beth, ya know we’re friends, if ya need to talk, I’ll always be here”, Almanzo said, getting lost in her newly found honey, brown eyes.
“Thank you Manly, I know you’re always here for me, but it’s just”
“What Beth” Almanzo said in a loving tone.
“It was just so scary, one of them was hurt really bad and, so, I was asked to go get a doctor, and they told me if I told anyone else that I’d never see Mary alive again”, tears now freely flowing down her cheeks.
“Aww Beth, You’re okay now” he said, his eyes full of love and gentleness.
“I know Manly, but it was just, it was”
“Shh, it’s okay, I’m here” Almanzo said, suddenly feeling the need to hold her tight and keep her safe.
“Thank Manly, for everything”
“Beth, you’re one of my dearest friends and I’m just glad you’re safe”
Almanzo looked into her eyes and saw a woman, but this was Beth, braids flying, a bat in her hand at lunch, Beth. Of course she was changing but Beth, how was she this woman, this hurt, fragile woman standing before him.
“If you want to tell me about it, I’m here. But if you don’t want to talk about it, I understand, but I think it would be good for you to get it all out”
“I think it would be good to talk about it too”, Laura said as she walked over and set down on a big rock.
As soon as Almanzo followed her and set down, she began to tell him everything. How, it being a Friday, not a school night, she wanted to take the opportunity to spend the night with Mary and Charles had agreed. She told him of how Mr. Oleson came to check on them in the storm so she had opened the door after he had left, thinking he had returned. When she had opened the door, to her horrified surprise, there was a man holding a gun to her head. She continued on, telling him of how she couldn’t find Doc Baker, so the only person she could think of was her pa. By the time she had finished her story, she had tears flowing down her freckled cheeks, Almanzo couldn’t help but hold her, so he took his arms and wrapped them around her small body, hoping it would help her to fill safe, but at the same time, enjoying the hug.
Pulling away, but not wanting to, he said “Well Beth, I’m so thankful you are okay, I’m so glad you confided in me.”
“Manly, I wouldn’t trade your friendship for anything in the world”
“Beth neither would I” Almanzo said, giving her his loving grin.
“Well, we’d better get back before your ma, and especially your pa, get worried” he said jokingly
As they stood up and began their way back to the little house, Almanzo didn’t see his braided hair ‘best girl’, he saw a newly developed woman, he saw Beth, but it was a new Beth, a more mature Beth, a Beth he always wanted to be there for. And, somehow, he had a filling, deep inside, that this ‘change’ he now saw would not only affect Beth’s life, but it would affect his in a way he had never known possible.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."