Faith Hope Love Repeat pt.4

Hello, everyone. Enjoy.

Dakota sighed and looked down at her hands.

"I was born in North Dakota on the Standing Rock Reservation. My parents owned a store and we made things for people to buy. To make people and kids happy, we followed the ways of our ancestors. People living around the reservation didn't like it so they tormented us. They said we were revealing against their government, but we weren't. We were just remembering our past. The good and the bad so that we may know who to be and who not to be. We did all we could without abandoning our ways." Dakota explained.

"There are a lot of people who have a problem with those who are different. It still doesn't give them an excuse to destroy lives." Daniel answered.

"Tell them that. My only friends were kids of my own tribe. Kids outside of my tribe thought that we were murdering rebels. They thought it was cool. My mom and dad tried to hide me from people so that they couldn't hurt me. It didn't stop them."

"What about the good memories?"

"I have a lot of good memories learning about my heritage. Learning how to make toys and clothes... I was the best teepee builder. I knew just about everything about my tribe. I was the fastest and strongest."

"You still are."

"I am strong in a different way now. I am not fast."

"Yes, you are. You're just drained."

"I am."

Dakota grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around herself.

"You're freezing." Daniel said. "I should have brought you another blanket."

"I'm fine, Daniel." Dakota lied.

"No, you're not."

Daniel moved closer to Dakota who back away.

"Daniel, please, don't touch me." Dakota begged.

"Let me treat your head." Daniel answered as he pulled out a first aid kit. Dakota nodded and allowed Daniel to treat her wound. When Daniel was done, he looked at Dakota's eyes and saw the pain in her eyes whenever she looked at him. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing."

"Dakota, you're in pain. What's wrong?"

"You. You are what's wrong. You're the first American I've met that hasn't tried to hurt me. It's hard to take."

"I bet it is."

Dakota smiled softly and Daniel caressed her cheek.

"Have you ever..." Dakota started.

"What?" Daniel wondered.

"It's stupid."

"Not to me. Nothing you say could ever be stupid."

"Have you ever heard stories about your ancestors and wished that you had lived in their time?"

"Yeah. All the time."

"I would go back in time to when there was mostly peace between people. Before your people brought war."

"My people didn't do it. My family was peaceful."

"I mean it's like you. Not your kinship, but others. What about you?"

"I guess I'd be in Scotland or Ireland 100 years ago."

"Why can't we be peaceful? I just want to see peace. I don't want to see this war."

"Me too, but the only way it's gonna stop is if everyone puts aside their pain. It starts with people like us seeking good and peace."

"Yeah."

The wind blew and Dakota shivered. Daniel pulled her close and Dakota didn't fight.

"I'll bring warmer clothes for you." Daniel suggested. Dakota nodded and curled up against Daniel.

A few hours later, Daniel went home and saw Evan, Sally, and Crane come home.

"How was it?" Daniel asked.

"We have a lot of offers. People are willing to donate just about everything we need." Evan answered. They went inside and heard Adam upstairs.

"He's been like that all afternoon. He's had no relief." Brian sighed. Brian looked at Daniel and slapped him on the back. "Where were you all day?"

"I wanted to get away for a while." Daniel answered. Adam coughed again and Brianna started crying. Brian went upstairs to the nursery and picked her up.

"It's ok, honey."

There was a knock at the door and Evan opened it.

"Dr. Wolf." Evan greeted.

"Evan, I came to check on your brother and give him his meds." Dr. Wolf answered. Dr. Wolf went upstairs into Adam's room and saw Adam in bed coughing while Hannah tried to keep him calm. Dr. Wolf examined Adam and then gave him some medicine. "His results came back as bacterial pneumonia. Hopefully, with his antibiotics, he'll start to get better. If not, he'll need to be hospitalized."

"Ok." Hannah sighed. Adam groaned and rolled onto his side.

"Hannah?" Adam whimpered.

"I'm here, honey."

"I'm so tired. My chest hurts."

"I know."

Adam coughed and Hannah helped him sit up. When it was over, Adam relaxed and went to sleep.

"It isn't gonna be pleasant for the next few days. His cough is going to get worse before it gets better." Dr. Wolf said.

"I know." Hannah answered. Dr. Wolf left the room and left the house.

That night, Daniel snuck upstairs to the attic and found more warm clothes for Dakota. He packed them into a bookbag with a sleeping bag and blanket and went downstairs to bed.

The next morning, Daniel woke up early, did his chores, and ate breakfast. He took some up to Dakota who laid curled up in a ball shivering to death. Daniel pulled out the sleeping bag and laid it out. Then he picked Dakota up and laid her down on it. He covered her up with the two blankets and watched over her. Dakota whimpered painfully as she began to wake.

"Hey, it's ok, honey." Daniel whispered as he caressed her cheek. "I brought you warmer clothes and a sleeping bag and a blanket."

"Thank you, Daniel." Dakota mumbled.

"I can't stay long. I have to go to town and help my brothers and then I have work. I left you enough food to last for today and tomorrow. Same with the water. If you need more, you know where to find me."

"Thank you."

Daniel kissed Dakota's forehead and left the cave. He raced back to the house and saw Brian, Crane, and Evan waiting.

"Where were you?" Brian questioned.

"I had to do something up in the woods." Daniel answered.

"Yeah, well, it can wait a few days. We have to get stuff for the sanctuary and put it up."

"I know. Besides, it's not even 8 am."

"What have you been doing up in the woods?" Crane asked.

"Nothing." Daniel lied.

"Then why go up there."

"It's a secret."

"Secrets can be found out."

"Let's get out of here."

They walked outside and got in the truck and drove to town. They picked up feed, lumbar, and more for the animal sanctuary. When they arrived, they saw that some people had dropped somethings off. They started to build shelters for the animals.

Upstairs, Adam was sitting up in bed while Hannah massaged salve onto his back and chest. Hannah could tell that Adam was falling asleep and she shook him slightly.

"Don't fall asleep on me, Adam." Hannah said.

"Sorry." Adam croaked. Then he started coughing. When Adam was done, he groaned and rested his head in his hands.

"I know, honey. When I'm done, I'll give you something for the pain."

"I really don't want to take it."

"But you need to. It'll help you rest and you need to or else you won't get better."

"I just want to see Brianna and Luke."

"I know you do, but you can't."

"I know. They could already have my germs, but why make it worse?"

"Exactly. They'll get over this soon, Adam. In a few days, you should start feeling a little better."

"I hope so."

"You will."

Adam sighed and looked at the window.

"What are they doing?" Adam wondered.

"Well, they went to town and collected some of the donations. Some dropped off the rest." Hannah answered.

"I wish I could be out there helping instead of suffering in here. My chest hurts, my head hurts, my whole body hurts from trying to cough."

"I bet. Now, lie down and try to rest."

Adam laid down and tried to rest. Hannah gave Adam his medications and Adam went to sleep.

Over the next week, Daniel wasn't able to visit Dakota because he had to work. As soon as he had the chance, he took some water and food up to Dakota. He saw Dakota in her cave sleeping. He put his hand on Dakota's forehead and Dakota moaned and woke up.

"Hey, I would have been up here sooner, but I was really put to work." Daniel whispered.

"At least you're here." Dakota answered as she sat up.

"You look a little better."

"My wounds are healing and I am warmer now."

"Good."

Dakota took the containers and sat them down.

"Daniel, do you..." Dakota trailed off.

"What?" Daniel wondered.

"Love me?"

"I don't know. Maybe. AT least, I think I do. Why?"

"I can't... I have spent the past 2 weeks trying not to trust you and every time I see you, I fall head over heels for you. Then when you're not here, I miss you and I'm scared. I don't know why. I've never felt this way nor should I."

Daniel kissed Dakota on the lips and Dakota kissed back. Then she pulled away.

"I can't do this." Dakota whispered.

"Why not?" Daniel wondered.

"I'm scared. I shouldn't be but I am."

"It's ok to be scared. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm scared every time I come up here."

"You're afraid that someone will find out."

"Yeah, I am. I don't want you to suffer."

"Thank you, Daniel."

Daniel kissed Dakota's cheek and hugged her close.

"I've been working to save enough money to buy a truck. It'll take me another month or two, but I'm hoping that when I have the money, I can buy a truck, take a week off, and take you home." Daniel explained.

"You would really do that for me?" Dakota wondered.

"Yeah, I would."

"Why?"

"Because I care about you a lot more than I probably should."

"Thank you."

AT the house, Adam was finally well enough to get out of bed and move around the house. He walked downstairs with Hannah's help and saw all but Daniel.

"Where's Daniel?" Hannah asked.

"Up in the woods, probably." Brian sighed. Adam and Hannah sat at the table and Brian handed the cups of coffee.

"He's been up there a lot over the past couple of weeks." Crane answered.

"Why?" Adam wondered.

"Maybe he has a girl up there." Guthrie joked.

"Nah, if he did, he would be showing her off. You know, Daniel." Evan replied.

"Not if this girl was hiding from someone." James stated.

"Meaning?" Adam wondered.

"I asked Daniel about why he was going up into the woods, but he wouldn't say anything except that he made a promise not to tell."

"We need to figure out what he's doing for he gets himself hurt." Crane sighed.

"No. No, we don't." Adam answered.

"What do you mean?"

"He's 21 years old. He's a man now. Maybe he does spend to much time up there. I'd rather him spend it up there than in town doing what most guys his age are doing. Besides, I'm not fighting that battle with him. I've done it for the most several years. He isn't slacking off here at the ranch and he's still working at the garage. In fact, he has a full-time job there now. He's trying to make his own stand. We need to let him. Even if he keeps this secret till he dies." Adam explained.

"Adam's right." Brian agreed. "At least he isn't wasting that time here bothering us with his boredom."

"What about his music?" Hannah wondered.

"He hasn't given it up from what I can tell. I see him writing and playing when he is here." Crane answered.

"He may be trying to earn enough money to get him going." Brian suggested.

"Well, let's not interrogate him or follow him. If he's gonna tell us this secret of his, he will." Adam stated.

An hour later, Daniel came home and ran into the house and saw everyone at the table eating.

"Sorry, I'm late." Daniel said as he took off his wet snow gear.

"Well, get over here before your supper gets cold." Jane ordered.

"Yes, ma'am."

Daniel sat down at the table and ate his supper happily.

"What are you so happy about?" Ford asked.

"Nothing." Daniel lied.

"Well, it has to be something because your leg is thumping and you're humming."

"It's nothing I'm willing to tell you so lay off."

Adam looked at Ford and shook his head.

"Adam, how are you feeling?" Daniel wondered.

"A little better. Fever's gone, but I still have my cough and chest pains." Adam answered.

"And fatigue." Hannah finished.

"Yeah."

"Could be worse though." Daniel remarked.

"Yeah." Adam agreed.

After dinner, Daniel grabbed some music sheets and his guitar. He sat down on the floor in the living room and started strumming chords and writing them down. Brian sat down in a chair and saw what Daniel was writing.

"Zaltana Dakota. Who's Zaltana Dakota?" Brian asked.

"No one. Stop looking." Daniel answered.

"Dakota's the name of a tribe and two states. I have no idea about Zaltana." Crane suggested.

"Both names are girl's names." Brian stated.

"How about you two shut up and leave me alone?" Daniel suggested. Daniel went to his room for some peace and quiet. He started strumming some more chords and writing them down.

The next day, Hoops and Mike came over to help with the animal sanctuary.

"Hey, Brian, how's Adam?" Mike asked.

"He's a little better. His fever's been gone for 24 hours now without the help of medication. His cough is still bad and he's pretty worn out." Brian answered.

"At least the fever's gone."

"Yeah."

Daniel was inside taking care of Luke and Brianna so that Hannah, Jane, and Sally could go shopping in town. Daniel sat in the nursery watching Brianna sleep. Luke laid in his crib with a toy in his hands. He cooed and giggled and Daniel smiled down at him.

"One thing about running this animal sanctuary is that everyone will have a job to do and we will all be equal to each other. Brian will have his purpose and Crane and you." Adam said. "But is it what you want?"

"I don't know. I like working in the garage and I still want to go as far as I can with my music. I want to take a couple of classes at Columbia this fall. I've signed up for it."

"Good. I hope you can handle the busy schedule. Between school and work, you won't have time to go hiking up in the hills."

Daniel groaned and looked at Adam.

"I know you're hiding something, but I'm not gonna ask who or what. All I ask is that you come to us if you need help. Don't get yourself up to your ears in trouble." Adam advised.

"I will, Adam. I want to tell you what I'm doing up in the woods. I don't want to keep it a secret, but I promised that I wouldn't tell." Daniel admitted.

"Then don't. Don't break that promise. Don't break the trust that you've been trying to earn. Don't make it hard to help this person."

"Why are you letting me get away with what I'm doing?"

"You're 21. You're a man. Besides, you've shown me in more ways than one that you can be trusted but you need your independence in order to do that."

"Thanks, Adam."

Adam had a coughing fit and sat down in a chair. When he was done, he groaned.

"I'm gonna go back to bed." Adam groaned. Adam went back to bed and left Daniel to his thoughts.

Over the next couple of weeks, Adam recovered and they finished building a temporary animal sanctuary in the barn. Daniel continued to write his song for Dakota.

TBC