The final chapter! I have ta say, I'm a little sad it's over. But
there's another story brewin, an' I'm already writin it. I want ta
thank all the faithful reviewers for taking their time ta read and
review my story. I've never had so many reviews on one story! Ow and
thanks for adding me to that wonderful C2 community, I feel real
honoured 'bout that... One little fun fact 'bout this chapter. If
there are any Lost-fans, try ta find the reference to that
wonderful show. Virtual cookies for the first one ta spot it!
Well, let's git on to the story one more time... Enjoy!
"What's wrong?" Bo asked, a sudden bout of queasiness swirling in his stomach, as he saw the doctor's frown deepening.
Letting out a small cough, dr. Ramirez turned towards the young man who had been sitting with his cousin for most of the day.
"Well, your cousin did wake up, an' that's a real good sign, but I'm worried 'bout his temperature, it's skyrocketing right now, and it could be the first signs of pneumonia settin in."
"An' if it is?" Bo asked, feeling down all over again, "I mean, will he be okay?"
"His chances are a lot better now then they were last night, cause he woke up, so that's a good sign. We're just gonna keep an eye on him, and start givin him some medication which 'll help him fight off the pneumonia," his eyes softened a bit as he continued, "Seein how strong he had ta be to wake up, I'm thinkin yur cousin will be alright mr.Duke. You go in an see him now, I'm guessin your other family members 'll be here soon, so I'll send em in when I see em, okay?" the doctor said, a small twinkle in his dark brown eyes.
Bo gave the doc a grateful look, "Thank ya doc," he said before entering the room again to keep Luke the company he needed.
That good ole doc sure had me shakin in my boots there for a while. I sure hope this 'll be the turnin point for them boys. A Duke can only have so much bad luck…
When Jesse and Daisy entered the hospital, which they had reached in record time, they hurriedly ran upstairs, no longer out of worry, but out of joy. After entering the ICU, doctor Ramirez told them what he had told Bo, putting a small dent in their joy as they went in to sit with Bo who was sleeping in his chair…
For three days Luke mostly slept, morphine keeping him from waking up a lot, causing him to linger in a restful slumber. The three people sitting in his room most of the time, talked to him, slept or waited, not leaving their bedridden cousin alone for long.
After the third night of improvement, Luke was transferred to a regular room, where a lot of the machines were unhooked. He looked healthier, the paleness of his skin had turned into a slight pinkish colour and the tube had been removed from his throat, leaving it raw and painful, as a small tube hooked up to his nose provided for the oxygen he couldn't quite get in yet.
The whole family was sitting in the hospital room that evening, Bo in his own clothes by now, as he had been back to the farm a few times the last couple of days. His ribs were still a little achy, but he managed to do small chores on the farm.
Daisy was reading her magazine, while Uncle Jesse and Bo were playing a game of chess when a moan from the hospital bed caught their attention. Luke was obviously having a nightmare, tossing his head from left to right slowly, sweat forming on his forehead as he started mumbling.
"I don't know nothin… please… Henry… I didn't…so sorry…"
Jesse and Daisy looked at each other in wonder, not knowing what he
was talking about, Bo got the meaning of those words. He got the
meaning so good, that he decided that wasn't a nightmare Luke
should be stuck in right now.
Getting up he gently touched his cousin's shoulder, guiding him back to reality.
With a sudden jerk, which hurt his ribs, Luke woke, his eyes glazed over as if he was still stuck in that dream world.
"Luke? It's okay, you ain't there no more," Bo spoke softly, catching Luke off guard as the final clouds of nightmarish images left his mind.
"How did ya-?"
"Ya talk in yur sleep cuz…" Bo said, a twinkle in his eyes as he continued, "Ya never wondered how I knew the names of all yur girlfriends? Ow an' the place ya stashed yur piggybank when we was youngins?"
This made Luke smile a little, his cousin had a way of doing that. Cheering him up when he needed it. As he was thinking that, a yawn forced itself upon his lungs, making him flinch, even as his eyes started to close.
Jesse and Daisy watched their exchange with amusement and wonder. How did Bo know what Luke was talking about?
Deciding they should let Luke sleep some more, Jesse didn't bother asking questions, but he made a mental note to get back to it some other time. Guiding Bo and Daisy out of the room he turned questioning eyes towards his youngest charge, knowing he wouldn't tell everything, but at least he would know something.
Seeing his uncle's questioning look, Bo knew what he meant. He also knew Luke would tell them himself some other time. He could only provide some solace for now.
"When we was up in that tree? We talked…" he said, seeing how his uncle understood.
"Now ya know I ain't tellin ya ta tell me things ya don't wanna tell, but I'm jus curious… What did ya talk 'bout son?"
"Ow we talked 'bout a lot uncle Jesse. Girls, our lives, Vietnam…" he let the sentence linger in the air, as the importance of those words hung between them.
nodded, suddenly realizing the meaning of those words. Luke was a
closed off person, not one to open up a lot. After his time in the
marines, Jesse had been worried for a while. He knew about the
nightmares his nephew was having those first months, and he had
noticed the limp Luke had when he came home. After trying to talk to
the stubborn young man dozens of times, he had given up.
Keeping a constant eye on his eldest charge, seeing how he adjusted to his life in Hazzard slowly, the worry slowly disappeared to the back of his mind. But he knew that the whole war thing would come back ta haunt him some time in the future. It was only logical that he confided in Bo when that time came. And the old man was glad that he did.
Not asking any further, the Duke family lapsed into comfortable silence, making their way to the small cafeteria for dinner.
One week later
Staring at the ceiling wasn't all what it was cracked up to be. And Luke could know. He had been lying here, no longer under the influence of the mind numbing morphine, for 8 days, 15 hours, 16 minutes and 23...24...25 seconds.
When the cracks in the wall started to move, Luke knew it was time to leave. And if he was lucky, that was exactly what the good ole doc was coming to tell him when he entered his room after counting off second 42...
Bo entered the hallway just as the doctor left Luke's room, a big smile on his face.
"What's got your face so bright taday, doc?" Bo asked the nice doctor who had become a close family friend this past week and a half.
"Hi Bo, well your cousin was real glad ta see me. Especially since I told him he could go home tomorrow…"
This earned him a big grin from the young Duke boy, as well as a clap on his back.
"Why, that's great!" Bo exclaimed, earning glances and giggles from the young nurses standing a few feet away.
"I'm not sure if them nurses would agree with ya, you and yur cousin sure had the hospital gossip goin, son," he said, winking at the slightly blushing young man, before resuming his rounds.
Bo entered the hospital room, seeing the large grin on Luke's face mirroring his own.
"I see ya already heard the news," Luke said, pushing himself up into a sitting position.
"Yup," Bo said, sitting down for another game of chess, something Luke and him always enjoyed.
"Hey Luke?" Bo asked, his voice a little unsure.
"Are ya ever gonna tell uncle Jesse what ya told me? I mean… don't ya think he needs ta know?"
Knowing what his cousin meant, Luke shook his head.
"Nah, it happened a long time ago, an' I don't wanna worry uncle Jesse any more than he already does now, with us crashin cars an' gettin stuck in trees."
Bo chuckled, "I know what ya mean cuz, but don't ya think he can decide for himself if he worries 'bout us?"
"He sure can, I jus don't want him ta worry bout something that happened a long time ago. Something I want ta forget, even though I probably never will…"
Lapsing into a comfortable silence, both boys turned their attention back to the game in front of them, accepting each others opinion. Bo, sensing that Luke had made up his mind, decided to let the subject rest, knowing it was already a miracle Luke had told him. And things worked out. They were both alive an kickin, something he hadn't expected when they were stuck in that tree, bleeding and surrounded by hungry predators. It truly was a miracle. They were here, in one piece, playing chess. Something they had done their entire lives, and probably would do the rest of their lives.
A sudden smile crept on his face, just as Luke took his Queen.
"What are ya so happy 'bout cuz? I'm winnin bigtime here…" Luke said, knowing how Bo hated to lose a good game a chess.
Still wearing the broad smile, Bo shook his head, "Ya sure are cuz, ya sure are."
And as blue eyes met blue eyes, Luke got infected with the same joyous grin, a sudden understanding in both their eyes.
"Yeah… I really am…"
Ya know that? I always knew them boys could mind read. Somehow one of em always know what the other one's a thinkin. An' right now, they's probably both thinkin it's good ta be alive.
The roar of a powerful engine tore through the dust covered roads of Hazzard county. The 12 tones of Dixie were heard as they came to a screeching halt in front of the small farm.
"Now how does it feel ta be home again cuz?" Bo asked, looking at their beloved farmhouse.
"Ta be honest?" Luke asked, smiling a broad smile, "A little painful to the ribs, but most of all… Yeeehaw!" the yell filled the inside of the car, drifting through the windows into the county.
Chuckling Bo got out of the General, climbing through the window of the welded door. Looking over at Luke, who was still sitting in the passengers seat, he made his way over to the other side.
"Need some help gettin out cuz?"
Looking a little uncomfortable, Luke looked out the window, shame filling his eyes.
"Uhh, yeah I guess I do…"
"Don't worry none cuz, you'll be climbin in an' out again in no time. Besides, we helped uncle Jesse in this car lot of times, an' ya know how he likes that!" Bo laughed.
After gently helping Luke out of the orange stockcar, they both made their way to the farm.
"Bo, are ya sure Jesse an' Daisy are home? It looks like nobody's home."
Looking the other way, Bo hid his grin, "I don't know Luke, maybe they's doin the groceries…"
Opening the door Luke was met with the entire town of Hazzard. Familiar faces greeted him, Enos gave him a firm handshake, which turned into a hug so tight it almost crushed Luke's windpipe.
"Possums on a gumbush Luke, I'm sure glad you's okay!" he exclaimed with the usual Enos charm.
Other people were seated in the entire house, filling it with sound and laughter. Even the Learson's had come over, showing them their new truck. They weren't mad over the whole crashing the old truck, and even went as far as to help them with the spilled crops.
Several pretty girls talked and flirted with both Duke boys, Luke getting a little more attention then usual. At the end of the evening he sat outside, chatting with Sarah Ray, Betty-Jo's pretty cousin, when he started yawning. The other guests had already left and he had also said goodbye to Sarah Ray. 'She sure was somethin…'
Stepping back inside he took a seat on the soft and inviting couch, sitting down with the rest of the family. He listened to their soft chatter; Daisy's pretty voice, his uncle's deep timbre, and Bo's youthful one and he slowly closed his eyes.
"Ya know Boss even sent a get well soon card?" Daisy said, sipping from her drink.
"That little fat man get's weirder every single day, I wonder what he's got up his sleeve now?" Bo said, disgust filling his voice.
"Now Bo, JD has got a heart too. Let's not forget that, even though he doesn't seem ta use it much…" Jesse replied.
"Luke, whatta ya-," Bo started, before seeing he wouldn't be getting any reaction from that side.
Luke had his eyes closed, head resting on the headrest, as a light snore came from his slightly opened mouth. Sleeping peacefully, not a care in the world.
Uncle Jesse grabbed a thick blanket and covered his eldest nephew with it before turning to his other 'children'.
"I'm off ta bed, y'all let him sleep now, he needs it. Goodnight."
A few minutes later all Dukes had found their beds, or couch, sleeping peacefully as the farm was wrapped in a dark blanket. The only sound in the cool night air were the crickets, sounding just as happy as all the inhabitants of Hazzard.
An' all was quiet in Hazzard County. Well, until the next time an adventure takes a wrong turn, and ends up on the Duke doorstep in Hazzard County, Georgia…