The Long Road Home

The next morning, once both engines had woken up, Joan coupled up to Baron by his tender, and began to try and pull him back home. She slipped at first, but after a minute she finally got him rolling as she chuffed backward toward home.

"What is the controller gunna do this time? You can't work in this condition Baron…"

"Who knows…Either shut up in a different shed or…scrapped…"

"DON'T SAY THAT" Joan nearly shrieked, clearly on the verge of tears. "I won't let that happen!"

"Sorry…" was all Baron could manage to say, and they didn't speak again until they reached the Ocean Bridge.

"Baron…I'm sorry I yelled…"

"No no it's fine…I shouldn't have said that since you…feel the way you do about me."

"Do you…really think they'll scrap you?"

"Depends really… if they come up with the money then it'll be okay."

"And if they don't?"

"Then like I said, I'll be left in the shed if they want to keep me, and if they don't then I'll either be sold for parts or scrapped."

Baron's driver spoke up to them, "I'm sure they won't scrap you old boy, you have given far too much to this railway to be scrapped, somehow they will find a way to at least get you running again."

"I sure hope so."

Back at home, Joan pulls Baron into the station, where several people are gathered, having gotten word from some signalmen that Baron was spotted on his way home. Smokey, Bradley, and even Kayri are in the station waiting for them, along with the controller and some workmen.

"Yeah Joan! You really got him home!" Smokey yelled happily.

"Great work Joan," the controller boomed.

They came to a stop near the other engines. "Baron what happened?" Bradley asked.

"Cracked boiler put out my fire, I cannot hold water, so I can't run."

"We need to find the leak and patch it up, unless it's a very serious crack, in which case patching it won't do."

"Let us hope it does fix you," the controller started, "Because if it doesn't then you'll be taken off work until we can fix you."

The controller walked away and some workmen climbed aboard Joan and Baron, but before they set off Baron heard Kayri speak up.

"So you're…going to be alright then?" she said quietly.

"Yeah I'll be fine…maybe," he said angrily as Joan pulled him off toward a vacant shed for the workmen to start the job.

Two days later Baron still sits in the shed, having found out the crack led down the entire length of the bottom of his boiler. Even if they sealed the crack, the seal wouldn't hold a full tank of water. Baron was taken off work, and the several engines positions were switched around. Kayri and Joan were forced to work together to pull Baron's train, while Bradley took Kayri's. Smokey had to get up extra early every morning to get all the trains ready by himself. Things were not looking good, and after a few days, Butch and Rampent began teasing Kayri in place of Baron.

On the fifth day, Kayri approached Joan on their day off, Joan had been helping Smokey make her train for the next day to give him a small break.

"Joan can I talk to you please…"

"…I guess, Smokey I'll be right back okay?"

"Got it," he said loudly from across the yard.

Kayri led Joan away from Smokey so he wouldn't be tempted to eavesdrop on them.

"This better be good Kayri…" Joan said strongly, Kayri knew all too well that Joan had come to hate her quite a lot.

"I…want to apologize," she started.

"For what?" Joan was a bit surprised by her words.

"For making fun of you…for the way I have acted towards you and Baron…everything."

For some reason Kayri's words only fueled Joan's anger even more, "Go tell that to Baron…I don't want to hear it from you…" she said quietly, leaving Kayri alone and heading back to work.

"I will…"

End of chapter 6

Lol sorry that took longer than the others, I have been very busy lately.

Here is another answer to another question.

"Will the Fat controller ever buy the engines if you do incorporate the NWR?"

Again that's all up in the air right now, I really don't know, If I had to answer then I would say probably not, because, as I said before, I would rather not make this series become about the NWR, I would rather have it be based around my characters, not theirs.

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