Daniel stared out into the darkness of the midnight sky. He thought homecoming would bring him peace, but he was not at ease. He'd tried to relax and fall back into the pattern of his life. He was glad beyond words to be home with Rebecca and the children, but something always kept him at a distance. Mingo had been true to his word, and no one but he and Daniel knew the true identity of Dark Arrow. The memory of Dark Arrow's last moments haunted him. He knew Becky was worried. He had said almost nothing of the journey. He could not share any of it with her and it pained him for he was not a man comfortable with secrets. He looked out at the hollow stars.
He was not surprised to see his wife step out onto the porch. She smiled at him saying, "There you are." She sat down next to him on the front step. "It's cold," she said shivering in her nightgown and wrapping her slender arms around herself. He glanced at her and started to rise to fetch her a blanket, but she grabbed hold of his arm, pulling him back down beside her. "It's alright." Still he said nothing. She kept her fingers wrapped around his arm.
"Daniel," She began. She leaned over and glanced at the side of his face. He was miserable, that much she could see. She nudged him with her hip, but still he was silent.
"Well, you kept your word." She said. "You came back home to me. Although, now that its behind us, I'll have to admit you had me worried." He met her eyes then.
"I'd never break a promise to you." He said. "I fear that temper of yours - its more fearsome than a grizzly." He gave her his sideways grin. She smiled back and opened her mouth ready to speak. He knew what she wanted to say - what she wanted to ask.
"Don't ask me, please, Becky." He said stopping her and suddenly serious. "I can't tell you about it."
She sighed squeezing his arm. "Protecting me again?" He nodded.
"Hmmm." She studied him. She rose and walked down the steps to stand in front of him. She stood in the dust in her bare feet facing him at eye level.
"You don't want to tell me who you found at the end of all this? You don't want to tell me how you stopped it? He looked down and away from her. Gently, she lifted his chin and turned his face back to her.
"I know who you found." She said very softly. He drew in a quick and sudden breath.
"Becky, I . . ." He began. She rested her fingers against his lips, silencing him.
"You forget how much people talk around here. They described everything that they'd heard - including what the attackers looked like." She met his eyes and smiled at him sadly. "I know you killed him. And knowing you, you doubt yourself - whether it was right. You think you failed somehow or broke some law." She rested her hands on his shoulders. He was shaking.
"Dan, laws are for men. That was no man you killed. What he's done; what he did to our boy . . ." Her voice failed her. She swallowed hard. "You are a good man and I won't let him rob you of that too. The world will believe you did this for the people of Kentucky. The rest of it is no one's business but ours. But I know," She said fiercely looking straight into his eyes, "I know, you did it for James."
"Rebecca," His voice was soft. "I did it for you."
She was crying now and so was he. He shook with sobs - for the peace that had been lost all these years for so many people, for the memory of her eyes when he'd told her sister was dead, and for the boy they'd lost so long ago. At the same time, he felt a great unshackling. It wasn't until that moment that he realized that he feared she'd turn from him, if she knew the truth and what he'd done. A relief beyond words filled him at her understanding and acceptance. He pulled her towards him into his lap and buried his face in her shoulder. They wept together as the new moon rose over the land of Ken-tah-ten. After a time, he rose and carried her shivering into the home they'd carved together in the heart of the wilderness. He was home.