A/N: I know I usually write Harry Potter fanfiction, but I have been watching the Little Men TV series lately, and I am quite fond of the series. I have found a lot of inspiration, and am enjoying my little stories as well. I hope you enjoy this one as well.
Disclaimer: I don't own Little Men—the book or the TV series.
Friends No More
They had been friends a long time. Ever since the day they had gotten lost in the woods after their race. His day of graduation had brought many tears—from Asia, Mrs. Jo, and Bess, even some of the boys. But Nan hadn't cried. She had hugged him goodbye, and told him to stay out of trouble. And then, he had headed west, hoping to find a job on a ranch, working with animals.
Then, on the day she graduated, he returned to Plumfield, if only for a little while, to see her once more. Everyone had been pleasantly surprised by his visit. Everyone except her. She had changed over the years into a lovely young woman. When she saw him, she just looked at him with a knowing smile that he couldn't quite decipher. When Mrs. Jo had finished hugging him, and he had shaken hands with Nick and Nat, he turned to her, unsure of how to proceed. In the past, he would have said something clever, perhaps hugged her if it was an emotional moment. He needn't have feared, however. His uncertainty was overshadowed by the understanding in her eyes. She stepped close to him and into his embrace, and all his doubts slipped away.
As his arms wrapped around her, he realized that his homesickness for Plumfield hadn't been for the place, or even for Mrs. Jo—as much as he had missed her. His Nan was the one he had truly longed for. Since when is she mine? He questioned. Just because he thought of her that way didn't mean she returned his feelings. Suddenly, she was pulling away, speaking. He focused on her words just long enough to hear "…still beat you!" just before she turned in full gallop toward the woods. Releasing a deep, masculine chuckle, he raced after her. She still wanted to try to beat him at everything.
When he caught up to her, they raced side-by-side for a few minutes before coming to rest at the same place they had stopped all those years ago. The log was gone, having rotted away. But the place still felt the same. Held the same memories. She paused, looking up at the canopy of trees. "The place isn't as scary now, is it?"
"No. It seems kinda nice." He replied, looking at her upturned face.
She turned to face him then, smiling that same, mischievous smile that had graced her features when they had met. It was the smile that said she knew that girls could do what boys could. And now that she was graduating, planning to go to a women's medical college, her smile said that the knowledge extended to women and men as well. But there was a difference in her smile.
"So, medical school, huh?" he asked
"Yeah." She replied "Women are just as intelligent as men. I think we learned that well enough in school."
Nodding in agreement, he teasingly asked, "So, is there anything men can do better than women?"
Laughing with him, she replied "Not much."
Slipping easily back into their familiar banter, he said "Not much? So, you admit that men can do some things better than women?"
"Only some." She accredited with a gleam in her eyes that told of a hard-learned lesson.
"I thought you'd never admit that. After all, you can still beat me here." He wasn't ashamed of admitting that she could best him at some things. After all, she was going to become a doctor, and he was a ranch hand. He wanted to ask her if she would come with him out West when she finished her schooling, but wasn't sure how to get from their current conversation to that one.
"True. And I will always be able to. But there are some things that women can't do as well as men."
Startled, he stared at her. "What do you mean?" he asked, wondering what had happened to make her believe something that she had argued against so vehemently as a child
"Well, while it's true that women are just as smart as men, and that they can be just as fast, and learn to mend a fence as well, women just don't seem to have the same ability to be oblivious as men are. But I suppose that's fair. After all, have you ever known a man that could darn a sock or cook properly?"
"Oblivious?" he asked. When his brain had finally wrapped around the main part of the conversation, he realized that she was partially teasing him. "So, men are more oblivious than women?"
"Mmhmm." She nodded.
"How so?" he wondered
"Well, for example, you have no idea that I'm totally in love with you, and would give up medical school if that's what you asked of me. But I know you won't ask it of me. And I know you won't ask that of me because you are as much in love with me as I am you."
As her statement came to an end, he could only stare. "You love me?" he breathed, feeling as though his heart would beat right out of his chest if his brain ever fully grasped the information.
Smiling at him, and grasping his hands in a gesture that fully anchored his heart, she said, "Yes, Dan. I love you."
Laughing, he embraced her. "I thought I was supposed to say it first?"
Her smile grew wider. "I suppose so. But we never did do everything according to what was proper, did we?"
"No. I suppose we didn't." he replied, pulling back enough to look at her face. His own suddenly became serious. "I love you very much Nan. But I won't ask you to give up medical school. I have a good job out West. And I'm savin' up money to start my own ranch. Nat and I have been writin' to each other. He wants to spend a few years at the music school, and then he'll be coming out to help me start it. It'll be really nice having my best friend around, but it won't be a home without you. When you finish medical school, will you come out West? We sure need some skilled doctors out there."
"You know I would love to come out West and set up a medical practice. But, Dan, I am a woman now. And as much as it may not seem like it since I'm going to medical school, I do like to be proper now and again. I won't be coming out there as your mistress, and I couldn't bear it if I was only your friend." She was still as blunt as ever, but that was one of the qualities Dan loved so much about her.
"No, Nan. We won't be friends anymore." When she began to look confused and slightly upset, he quickly continued. "Not like we used to be. We'll be much more than friends. And as for you being my mistress, well, I respect and love you far too much to ask that of you. Though I would like you to be mistress of the house, just as you are the mistress of my heart. Will you marry me, Nan?" He finished by dropping to a knee and pulling out a simple gold band with two sparkling jewels entwined on the band.
Her smile returned a thousand times brighter, she nodded. "Yes," was all she said, and that was all she needed to say. A single tear of happiness dripped from her eyes as he placed the elegant band on her finger.
"They aren't real diamonds," he apologized, but she wouldn't allow the sheepish fall of his face.
"I don't need real diamonds. They'd probably just get stolen anyway."
A smile came on his face that threatened to break it in two. Grasping her face in his hands, he leaned down to kiss her. As their lips met, the love threatened to overwhelm them. Moving her hands to his shoulders, she encircled her arms around his neck. This was where they belonged. In each others' arms, supporting one another, and sharing a love that had been given to them solely for the other. They couldn't share it with anyone else. Only each other.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the story. Leave a review.