This is the first Dukes story I've written in years. It's set at the beginning of season 5- the boys are off on the Nascar Circuit and Enos is off in LA. It may turn into more, but right now it's a one-shot.

Daisy surveyed the damage to the Boars' Nest and sighed. The fight had been slow to build, but once it started it had been fast and destructive. It was going to take hours to clean up and since Jerry, the bartender, was on his way to Tri-County ER with a broken nose, she was going to have to do it by herself. Making her way around the bar, she winced slightly. It had been an accident, but she'd ended up getting knocked into the bar and would probably have a good sized bruise on her back come morning.

Making a decision, she popped the top of a beer bottle and sat down on a barstool. 5 minutes give or take wouldn't make a big difference by 3AM. She shifted to a comfortable position and smiled when she thought of what Bo and Luke would have done if they'd seen the hit she'd taken. IF they'd been around. Of course, if they'd been around, the fight would have never happened. If they were still around, a lot of things would be different. Suddenly furious, she turned and flung the beer bottle against the wall.


"Oh my God, I'm so sorry!" Daisy hadn't heard Cooter come in and she'd almost bounced her bottle off of his head as he was making his way to her.

"So just who are you that pissed at?"

"I'm not. Not really. I just………" Shrugging, she stared at him. "What brings you out here this late?"

"I was finishing up a job out front of the garage and heard a couple people headed home from here talking 'bout the ruckus. Thought I'd come and check up on ya." He brushed clutter off a table and put a chair up on it, letting her know he was there to help her. "Ya call the boys?"

"Why would I call them? They're in Richmond-" She stopped. "Oh, you mean Coy and Vance. Nope. They were here a couple of hours ago, but they were wiped out and went home to bed."

"So that's who you're upset with?" Cooter reached over the bar and grabbed two more beer bottles, handed her one, then sat on the barstool next to her. "If they'd known what was comin' they wouldn'a left, you know that."

"I knew, Cooter. But they left."

"Did you tell them there was trouble brewin' here tonight?" She didn't answer, and he thought about her first instinct being Bo and Luke when he mentioned calling 'the boys'. "Am I right in guessing that this is more about Bo and Luke?" Tears filled her eyes and Cooter moved to put his arm around her shoulders. "And I'm thinkin' that them missin' the 4001st fight in here isn't why you're cryin'."

She took a long drink of the beer and sighed again. "Don't get me wrong. I'm real proud of those boys. I'm glad they're out there doing what they always dreamed of doin'. And I'm glad Coy and Vance are here. We couldn't handle the farm without them. They're my cousins and I love them." A single tear slid down her face and her voice dropped to a whisper. "But I really miss my brothers."

Suddenly it hit Cooter just how hard Bo and Luke leaving had affected Daisy. She'd said good bye to them with a smile on her face, and she'd seemed really close to Coy and Vance quickly. Everybody had expected Jesse to take it hard, and Vance had told him how hard they were working to keep Jesse from missing them so much. But it occurred to Cooter that in all of this neither of them had ever mentioned how Daisy felt about them leaving. Including Daisy.

"Cooter, I wouldn'a HAD to tell them trouble was brewin' in here tonight. They would have known the second they walked in."

"I 'rekon they would have. But then they've known just about everyone in here since we was all kids."

Standing she walked away from him. "I'm not bein' fair, I'm not givin' Coy and Vance a chance, I'm bein' selfish, I know all that, Cooter. I don't need you to remind me."

"Daisy, I ain't remindin' you of anything. I'm just sitting here with a good friend that's havin' a real bad night. You're about most UNselfish person I've ever met. I don't think anybody has any idea how you're feelin' about all this."

"And they won't, right?" Her eyes met his. "You're right. I'm just havin' a bad night. I just wish one of them would have stayed tonight. Maybe. I have absolutely no idea how good they are at stoppin' a fight."
"But Bo or Luke would'a put a stop to it, right?"

"It's not just fights and keepin' peace." She sighed again and finished her beer. "It's having people around that know me. I mean REALLY know me. The silliest little things seem to hit me the hardest. I sit down to the table in the morning, and Vance gives me black coffee with the sugar bowl. Bo or Luke know just how I like it. I go to do laundry and the good clothes don't smell like their aftershave. The timing on the General just never seems to sound as smooth after Coy messes with it. It's like even the General knows something's missing." She moved to the table Cooter had placed the chair on and placed another chair next to it.

In silence, they moved around the bar and cleared every table so they could move all the chairs up off the floor. Finally all that was left was the floor. And that was going to take a while.

As Daisy went for brooms, Cooter finally broke the silence. "So how did you get the fight to end?"

"Called Roscoe." Her tone told Cooter how not happy she was about that solution.

"Daisy, calling Roscoe to stop a bar fight is about like usin' a fuel tanker to put out a forest fire."

"Don't ya think I know that? What choice did I have? Poor Jerry tried, got his nose broke for his effort. It only took getting bounced off the bar once for me, -"

"Now hold on a minute, somebody hit you?" Cooter was instantly ready to go start another fight right then.

"No, I didn't get hit. Ernie hit Potter and Potter ended up takin' me with him into the bar. It was an accident. Well, not the Ernie hittin' Potter part, but the part where I ended up on the floor. I'm okay, but that's when I figured I had to call the Sherriff."

"And things got worse, right?"

"Yep. Roscoe shows up, shoots another hole in the ceiling, starts threatening to cuff and stuff everybody, and they all about trample each other gettin' out. Then Roscoe starts gettin' on me about keeping things under control and how it's somehow all my fault." She sounded like she was about ready to cry again, and Cooter reached over the bar and took two more beers.

Daisy shook her head. "I can't. Lord only knows how much Boss is gonna make me pay for, here, and I can't afford another beer."

"They's on me, girl." Smiling, Cooter popped the top of the bottles and handed one to her. "At least it wasn't poor ol' Enos in the middle of this."

Stopping, Daisy stared at him. "Don't be so sure, Cooter. He's got a fuse as long as the state of Georgie, but once he's fired up? He's a pretty tough boy to deal with."

"Are we talkin' about the same deputy?"

"You didn't see him when he got his hands on those bank robbers. The ones that got him that job in L.A. They was threatenin' me and he really handled 'em." Her eyes met Cooter's again and she sighed. "He's been writing letters. Lots of them. Three thousand miles away he can finally tell me things that he couldn't tell me when he lived three miles away."

"Is that a good thing or not?"

"I don't know. I mean, if he'd told me some of the things he's written to me…….."

"He wouldn't be in LA?"
She shook her head. "I don't know. I wouldn't exactly have told him to not go. But what difference does it make, now? He's gone. Bo and Luke are gone. And I just miss them" Her voice cracked from the effort to withhold tears. "So much. I miss having Bo to talk to about anythin' that we were both afraid to tell Uncle Jesse or Luke." She smiled. "Bo would usually break down and tell Luke – not anything I'd told him, but if he told me something he was afraid to tell he eventually would. Luke would take one look at me and know something was on my mind. He'd ask, but not to push me, just to let me know he was there, ya know? And I know I used to say they annoyed me sometimes when they got real protective of me, but now that they're not here I miss knowing that they had my back."

"Like tonight?"

"Yeah. Like tonight. If they were in town they would have never forgiven me for calling Roscoe instead of them."

"Daisy, it's different with Coy and Vance – not just that they're different fellas. I mean that you were already growed up when they moved in. Luke and Bo got ya when all three of ya were kids. And girl, I gotta tell ya, ya don't exactly give anyone the feelin' that you need somebody watching your back."

Daisy knew what he was trying to do, but she couldn't help herself. "You're here. You got the feelin'."

Moving to her, Cooter hugged her. "I'm always here for ya. You know that. I ain't Bo or Luke. Or even Enos, but I'm here." Holding her against him, he grinned. "You know what? In about three weeks the boys are in Hotlanta. What say you and me go watch them race?"

Daisy screamed in his ear so loudly he winced. "Cooter! I would love to! You mean it? Just go?"

"Yep. Just go." Backing away from her a bit, he gently touched her face. "Anything to make you smile, Daisy."

"You know the thought of seein' the boys would do it. Thank you!" She kissed him quickly and threw her arms around his neck again.

So? One shot or story? I've had a request to 'go there' with Cooter and Daisy, but I can't decide. You decide for me. LOL.

Thanks in advance for the read.