Summary: Joey wants to go home. He misses Albert. Captain Nicholls knows how much he misses home and tries to comfort him. They build a friendship and he decides to take him back home. Enjoy!
AN: So I was listening to "Home" by Westlife and this little (More like massive haha) one shot came out haha :( a friendship story between James and Joey! Enjoy folks :) R&R!
Disclaimer: I OWN NOTHING!
I've walked for hours. I was to join the war. It sent chills down my spine. War... It just doesn't sound nice at all does it? My surrounding changed, I was scared I wanted to go back to Albert... He always made me feel safe. I freaked out. I reared up snorting. My nostrils were flared and the man finally let go of me. I galloped forwards. I didn't know where I was going though. People watching me... Horses snorting and whinnying. This reminded me of the day I left my mum. I flew across the cobbles and then a man stood in front of me flailing his arms in the air.
"Wow Joey. Wow..." he shouted grabbing the rope that was flying round my neck. He gave me a pat and led me into a small stall made of 8 thin planks of wood. There was a huge black horse in the one next to me. He made me seem small.
"Good by Joey. Come on now. Good." the man said. I tried to barge out but he put up the bar shouting, "Back up!" I did as I was told but I curled my neck and pawed the ground, flinging the dirt behind me into the back board. The big horse next to me reared slightly.
"Joey this is Topthorn." he said and patted the horse called Topthorn. "Topthorn this is Joey." he said and then added, "If you want a fight get it over and done with because you'll need everything you've got when we move out!"
"Gently Perkins! I don't want to sour him." came the voice of the Captain who bought me. As he walked he took off his leather gloves and handed them to a man along with his cap. Perkins had a tight grip on my rope and he kept pulling my head around. I kept fighting with him and he said,
"There is nothing gentle about the war Captain!"
"I want him fit and shining. He's my horse." the Captain said grabbing the rope from Perkins' hand. "As you wish..." he walked off mumbling to himself. "Good boy Joey. Your alright boy." the Captain whispered, reaching a hand out. I jumped backwards and he encouraged me to come back. I realised he meant no harm. I smelt his hand... And pushed my nose into his warm hand. He stroked my nose softly. He was so gentle, so kind. He wouldn't let anyone hurt me would he?
"Your alright... You just miss your owner don't you lad?" I nodded my head. I missed Albert with all my heart. It was so painful to see the tears form in his bright eyes. My heart ached now and I lowered my head. He kneeled to my hight. "I promise Joey I will take you home. You see your not the only one who misses home..." he said sadly and my ears went forward. He misses home? But he wanted this job didn't he? I snorted and he chuckled. He stood up and gave Topthorn a quick pat before getting his cap back and his leather gloves.
He walked round and he pulled out a sketch pad. He smiled. I smelled the sketch pad and he laughed. "Want to pose for your owner Joey?" he said with a friendly smile. I nodded my head and stood up tall. He sat himself down and began drawing me. His hand moved so quickly across the paper. His pencil hardly left it, and he hardly went for a rubber. He occasionally looked up at me getting all the details he needed. When he was done he held it up. He got stares but he didn't care. I nodded in approval and he began to write a letter.
'Be sure to tell him I miss him lots.'
I nodded my head and he said, "Don't you worry Joey I'll tell him your, safe and well and that you miss him. I won't forget to add you in my letter." I watched him as he wrote. He wrote quickly. His writing swept across the page, and he would occasionally flick his wrist. When he was done he read it to me.
"Dear Albert Narracott,
I'm glad to say that your Joey is doing well. He was a bit unsure but he is fine now. He's missing home and of course you. Every time I mention your name his head bows low. You obviously meant a lot to him and I fear that I made the wrong decision to loan him from you. Inside there are some pictures of him. He's a right poser your Joey. We will be doing a practice charge soon no doubt and I don't know when we will be shipping out. I hope to return him soon, back to your care but for now I will make sure he is safe! I must be off now.
Captain James Nicholls"
"What do you think Joey?" he asked folding it up and placing it in an envelope to be sent away. He always asks my approval even though I can't reply with words. I walked up to the bar that separated us and I shoved his shoulder with my nose. He chuckled and asked a passing groom to send his package away.
"I'll see you later my boy." he said giving me one last pat as he left to his quarters. It was a weird feeling... Having no one here... Just another horse. I pawed the ground angrily. I wanted him to come back. I wanted to feel safe and loved. He was my rock until I got back to Albert. I whinnied after him, rearing in my stall. Topthorn leaned over nipping at my neck and then he shoved me, so I shoved him back and nipped his ear. He snorted and then looked back out over the mass off cavalrymen. He was looking for someone. I could see it in his wide brown eyes.
The Captain seemed different from most of these men... Calm when he walked, confident, unafraid of what could be around the corner for him. He held his head high and he spoke words of encouragement, kindness and he wasn't afraid to stand up for people. The other men you could just tell they were frightened.
Captain Nicholls' POV...
I left Joey and made my way to my quarters. I saw Charlie on the way. "Ah James... How nice of you to come and say hello." Ah Charlie always a happy sole. "Hello Charlie. Are you fine?" I asked as I started to walk past. "Yes I'm well thanks James. I've seen that horse of yours... A fine animal he is." Charlie said with a half smile.
Joey was a fine animal, strong legs, strong shoulders and neck and he held his head high. He wasn't afraid. He would run into the fray, he wouldn't shy away from fear. Albert did a fine job. There's always a pang of guilt when I think of him. I could lead his horse to its death and he would never know until someone told him. I couldn't bare that thought, so I quickly dismissed it and carried on my walk. The occasional tip of my cap and a wave happened on the way and then I could finally sit on my own, be on my own, be away from people that expected to much from me. I quickly jumped through my door and leaned against the other side. I could feel my heart ache. He won't be able to forgive me if I lose his horse... He won't and he was so kind... He wanted to join up so badly just to be with Joey. The memory started to replay through my tired mind.
"I see what's your name lad?"
"Well Albert how old are-"
"19 sir..." he said standing tall making him stand an inch taller than myself. I looked up and said,
"Is that the truth?"
"No sir, but I look 19 and I'm taller than most 19 year olds and I'm not afraid-"
"The law states the proper age for soldiering... I'm sorry."
His eyes filling with more tears. I took my cap off and held it to my chest, "I promise to look after him as well as you have done and to respect him Albert, and if I can... I will return him to your care."
I put my cap back on my head and said, "Now... Say goodbye."
End of Memory...
A single tear rolled down my cheek. I quickly wiped it away and sat down at my desk. I put my head in my hands, this was so hard. I quickly heard footsteps and made myself busy drawing some pictures of Joey. Soon Jamie wondered in.
"Are you alright James?"
"Yes I'm fine..." I mumbled not looking up from my drawing. If I looked at him he would know I was upset. "Alright... I like that horse of yours, a fine beast he is but no match for my Topthorn." he boasted. I couldn't help but laugh. Joey was a great match for Topthorn. Strong, fast and brave.
"I wouldn't be so sure... I think he has potential." I said with a smile. "Yes well we will see who's the better horse in the training charge." Jamie said as he walked back out of the room. I let out a huge sigh. I hate training charges. I've always lost to Jamie, but not this time. Soon Charlie came in. I didn't look at him so he went straight to the mirror on the other side of my room.
"What do you think of my new cap?" Charlie asked.
Why get a new cap Charlie? I smiled and said,
"I don't think it really makes a difference Charlie."
He turned round and sat himself down in the chair in front of me, with a smile on his face. "I wouldn't be so sure! They could be like 'Well that fellow has a nice cap so we will shoot the other one first!'"
I shook my head. Does he ever think of the other possible answer?
"Or... They could say 'I really fancy that cap' and shoot you first."
I watched Charlie's smile slowly fade as he thought for a moment. I chuckled and he threw his cap away and said,
"I never thought of it that way..."
Daft Charlie... Never thinking of the other option. I carried on with my work, thinking about Joey... Thinking about Albert... Thinking about home.
Trying to get someone to come back is tiring work. I slowly stopped, I hadn't given up... I was just tired. I wouldn't be able to sleep. It's my first night with out Albert. I'll be alone... No one coming to see me in the morning. I dropped to my knees and lay on my side, my eyes wide open. All I could see was black... I closed my eyes slowly and fell into a dream.
I was galloping over the hills with Albert on my back spurring me forward. Faster... Faster I went. He was laughing, and we flew over the hills. This was the only time we could truly be free. The wind felt nice on my heated body, blowing through my black mane, brushing through my tail. Albert spotted a car. A funny little red car that looked so familiar. In it had, Lyons son and a girl. He was talking about something... I couldn't make out what it was though. Suddenly we started falling behind, but the girls eyes were trained on us.
"Come on boy! Let's show her how to fly!" Albert shouted, making me fly past the car. We charged towards a wall, but I stopped myself before it... Sending him flying into the ditch on the other side. He landed with a thump. The car drive past and he looked at me. In my head I laughed.
"So I guess your not going to be a jumper."
I snorted and shook on my head.
End of Dream...
I heard a voice trying to wake me but I didn't want to wake. I wanted to lay here shaking, feeling scared, feeling the pain of remembering. "Come on Joey, wake up boy." I felt a hand a warm hand on my cold shoulder. Just stroking my shoulder, making me feel worse. "Your alright Joey. We aren't going today. It's only a training charge boy." the voice of the Captain sounded through my ears.
I felt them twitching and I heard him chuckle. I let out a heavy breath, opening my eyes slowly. He stood himself back up, straightening up his uniform allowing me to pull myself to my feet. He gave me a pat and brushed me. It felt so different, so nice, so soft. He then tacked me up. My bridle was fine but my saddle felt heavy. This was a strange saddle, it was bigger... It was uncomfortable. I shifted around and he knew something was wrong.
"It's alright Joey." he said causing me to calm, his tone had a hint of nervousness to it though. What was he nervous about? His friend Charlie I think it is walked past with his grey horse. "Morning James." he called as he mounted apon the back of his horse. "Morning Charlie." he called back with a smile.
They were all in blue today. They defiantly looked smart today. He mounted upon my back. He walked me next to Charlie. They were having a friendly chat as we rode to the open field that we would be training in. The Captain pushed me into a trot as he made his way to my new friend Topthorn. Excitement rushed through my veins. This was a feeling I didn't want to lose. It felt so good.
Captain Nicholls' POV...
Jamie as usual looked rather confident that Topthorn was the top horse in the cavalry, but to be honest I believed different. Joey moved under neither me. He was excited, I could feel it, maybe it was me, I felt quite excited really.
"Let's see what you two jokers are made of!" Jamie said not making eye contact with either me or Charlie. A grin formed on my lips and I said,
"This is what silent confidence looks like!"
"I'll see you two at The Duke of York!" Charlie said looking forward.
I rested a hand on Joey's neck stroking it softly. He was ready, I knew he was.
We all pulled out our shining swords, holding them upwards.
We shoved them forward and Joey curled his neck, breathing heavily. I wasn't so good either, my breathing was quick and my heart was racing. It was rather foggy this morning and the path before us was unseen. "You ready boy?" I whispered and he nodded his head in reply.
Every horse leapt forward. We charged through the mist and when we were seen it was a race between me and Jamie... Joey and Topthorn. The sound of beating hooves on the ground drummed through my ears. I couldn't even hear my own heart beat... Jamie started to pull away from us. He was moving so quickly, Joey wasn't going to give up and neither was I!
"Come on Joey! We can do it boy! COME ON!" I shouted and he started to gallop faster. The cold wind whipped around me, hitting off my face cooling me down. Joey matched speeds with Topthorn and I glanced round to see Jamie's face drop. I spurred him faster and he did. As I started to pull away I turned back to look at him. I had a grin plastered on my face and I shot forward.
"Come on Joey!" I shouted and he kept moving swiftly across the grass. The ring was just in site. 'Ping' went through my ears and the ring landed perfectly on my sword.
"Wow... Wow..." sounded Jamie, pulling Topthorn to a stop. I managed to stop Joey and I turned to see a shocked Jamie. I laughed and said,
"How nice of you to turn up!"
Joey whinnied and pawed the ground. "Now it seems he has stamina." said Jamie. "He has everything." I mumbled giving him a well deserved pat. He really did have everything, but I just can't help but want to take him home. "Is everything alright James? You just proved your horse was good, you should be proud." Jamie said and I just turned Joey round and walked off.
"Good boy Joey... You did well." I patted him softly on his neck. Tears were welling in my eyes as I entered I got back and put him in his stall. I untacked him, he'd worked so hard today and it was warmer now. He kept shoving me. I laughed and reached deep in my pocket, and pulled out a sugar lump. His ears went forward and I held out my hand for him to eat it.
"I'll take you home soon boy. I can't take the guilt. You'll get home soon... I promise."
Guilt? He feels guilty? He shouldn't feel guilty. He looks after me. He stood in front of me and took his cap off placing it to the side. He put both hands on my face. I pushed my nose into his chest and he rested his forehead on mine. I felt tears drop onto my face, matting the hair on my face. I let out a heavy breath and he whispered, stroking my face softly,
"I'm so sorry Joey... I'm so so sorry."
I wanted to stay like this for a while. Even though I can't speak to him just being here makes everything better. He was shaking, his hands, his shoulders... His knees. I closed my eyes, slowly, taking in all the shaky breaths, all the shaking and all the quite sobs.
"James you left rather quickly after the charge are you sure your alright?" Charlie said as the two of them strolled over.
He never moved. He kept a hold of me tight. I shoved my nose into him softly trying to get him to reply but he was so scared. They walked into the little stall. They both looked down. "James what ever is the matter with you?" Jamie said putting a hand on his shoulder. Charlie saw he was crying. "Why are you crying?" he asked looking at me giving me a small pat.
"I can't take the quilt any more... I want to take him home." he whispered, moving his hand up my face and down my neck. It's like they've never seen someone cry.
"Ah James your too soft sometimes you are." Jamie said and then Charlie added,
"Remember we are at war."
Captain Nicholls' POV...
You don't know how painful it is, to get constant flashbacks of what you've done. I hurt someone in a way I never thought I ever would. I physically ripped Joey away from him and he never knew. Seeing his face, seeing the tears falling from his eyes, seeing him run to his horse holding him close, fearing that if he let go that he would disappear.
"Captain Nicholls! I have a letter addressed to you." I pulled away from Joey and took the letter.
I miss Joey loads, I wish for him to be safe. He deserves respect from such a person as yourself. I hope all is well and he's not to afraid. I still can never forgive my father for what has been done, but he is looking well as you said. I hope you both return after the War is over, safe and sound. Good luck to you all.
That broke my heart. I lowered my head. Joey walked over I rested my hand on his warm face and smiled a sad smile. "My bonny boy. He always believed in you Joey. I have too. But it's to hard for me Joey." I choked out. He snorted resting his head on my shoulder. I stood up and wrapped my arms loosely round his strong neck. He wrapped his neck round my shoulder.
"I have to take him back." I said and Jamie and Charlie sighed.
"We're moving out soon and you won't have a mount."
I didn't care I would buy another horse I just had to get Joey home... Where he belonged... With Albert. I took no notice of them and threw his tack back on. I tied the Pennant back onto his bridal where Albert had originally tied it. They tried to stop me... But I knew this was the right thing to do. I mounted apon Joey's back and galloped across the cobbles and down the track. His breathing was heavy as was my own and he kept pushing himself forward. He knew where he was going... He was going home. He knew the way... Everyone remembers the way home. I followed his route and we flew through the town I bought him. I got stares but this was the right thing... This is where he belongs. We left the town behind and we flew across the hills of Dartmoor. Such a beautiful place... A horses heaven, fields that roll on for miles, trees everywhere. We galloped up one final hill and walked along the horizon line. There were three figures in a hilly field. That must be them because he's fighting with me. We made our way down the hill to the farm.
"Mum... There's someone out there... On a horse..." I mumbled and my mum and dad looked at me.
I stood up and wondered out of the gate. I made my way to the front gate and watched this person come down the hill. The sun was just setting so who ever it was, was just a black outline. "Who is that?" I whispered and walked forward a bit more. I watched the person as they reached the flat ground. The horse started galloping across the ground sending the dirt flying in the air. The person came to a stop and hopped off the horse and started walking straight for me.
"Hello?" I asked into the darkness.
"Hello Albert..." came a voice that was some how familiar. The moon light shone down on the horse first. A white marking... Socks?
"JOEY!" I shouted running to my horse, my friend and my brother. I flung my arms around his neck. I cried, I haven't cried for a while. I thought he wasn't ever going to come back. I looked up and saw who the person was. I pulled away from Joey and looked him dead in the eye. He smiled and took off his blue cap, placing it under his arm.
"You-You said you weren't going to take him back until the war was over?" I said as tears filled my eyes.
"He was missing home Albert... And I couldn't get what happened out of my head. I hurt someone in a way I never thought I ever would. It kept eating away at me. He deserves to be at home... With his family." Captain Nicholls said giving Joey a loving pat.
I heard footsteps behind me and Captain Nicholls looked from me to the owners of the footsteps. I looked behind to see my mum and dad. "Joey's back! He brought Joey back to me!" I cried as I ran to my mum. I hugged her and then looked at my dad. He took his hat off to the Captain who bowed his head with a small smile and placed his cap back on his head making his way back to the town... To buy a new "mount" as he called it. Joey was finally back where he belonged... He was home!
AN: Awww :') Nicholls brought him home. How sweet is that :') hehe. I hope you've enjoyed this insanely long one shot haha. Please review. Thanks :) All Welcome