First Little House FanFiction… so bear with me, please! :)

I've always loved Doc, so I've wanted to do an O/C story with him for awhile now. I've finally gathered up the courage to do it!

I hope you enjoy!


Chapter One: To Struggle and Prosper

I wrung my yellow calico handkerchief in my hands, trying to calm the nervousness raving in my stomach. It was more than the normal butterflies that decided to take flight before I arrived to town. It was a queer feeling that excited me and made me antsy at the same time.

I had been on this rickety stagecoach for over two hours, making the trip from Mankato to a small country town called 'Walnut Grove'. Their local veterinarian and on call doctor had visited earlier in the month. I told him of how I was a field nurse during the war. I was young and frisky then, but as of now I felt unbearably broken. Doc Baker asked me if I would like to work with him in Walnut Grove. It took me nearly a month to make my big decision, but here I was on my way to an unknown and exciting future.

"Easy…" the coach driver cooed to the sweating horses. I knew then that I had nearly arrived. The pestering butterflies fluttered fiercer, and I clutched my leather medical bag tighter. I pulled back the flowing lace curtain, revealing a small farmhouse. It was on odd shape, with the left side much higher than the right. The pine that sheltered it's young family was bright and yellow.

After passing the simple establishment, we rumbled down a dirt hill. I dare hold my head out the small opening. Opening my eyes revealed a town with a modest white church, and small buildings lining the streets. As we grew closer, I could see the pleasant people greeting their neighbors. This was so much different from the bustling paved streets of Mankato… I liked the difference.

"Whoa! WHOA!" My driver bellowed, making the bumpy ride calm down like the sea after a storm. I heard him faintly push down the brake and throw my belonging to a pedestrian on the platform.

"Is she in there?" Hiram's familiar voice asked, 'oomph'ing with the weight of my luggage.

As I hastily gathered up my meager belongings at my side, I adjusted the straw feathered hat to the side of my hair. Not knowing who to expect outside, I pulled one of my caramel hair coils over my shoulder.

The door handle clicked, revealing my small frame to my comrade's curious eyes. I leaned forward to capture his, an uncontrollable smile painted on my pale face. It was so good to see a fellow practitioner. His face was illuminated by the glorious and pure sunshine, and the fine creases in his tan skin.

"Clementine!" he laughed, offering me his hand. Carefully I stepped down, wary not to get my good dress caught in the spokes of the large yellow spokes.

The driver looked up into the sky, his weathered face glancing up to the positioning of the sun, "I'd better be heading off, folks!"

Before he had the chance to shake Doc's hand, I scurried over to his team of four bay horses. I had always loved animals, and my first memories were of them trusting me. I had been told I had a special connection with horses especially. I believed this was because I made them feel as special as they made me feel. They were God's most beautiful creation.

I soothingly rubbed each of their velvety noses, causing them to calmly nicker. I kissed each of their noses and I heard Hiram chuckling behind me. I could feel their eyes watching me in astonishment.

"I'm telling you, the only thing she talked to me about was the horses! The whole way there!" The driver good naturedly teased, elbowing Doc in the ribs.

I glided over to the gelding who looked especially tired with his big nostrils flared. I quietly ran my soft cupped hands over his delicate eyelashes. Instantly his head relaxed and dropped with exhaustion.

"Thank you… ," I whispered, scratching behind his petal-like ear.

"Alright, time to go!" The driver hoisted himself back up to his seat. "Gotta catch the next line." He gathered the worn reins into his calloused hands.

Walking to the shade of a tree, I held up a hand, "Promise me you'll give them some water?"

He snorted, "Women… always caring about worthless beasts."

Before I could protest his vile words, he clucked and the exhausted team loped off over the hill out of sight. We quietly watched them for a while, but I could feel Baker unable to contain his excitement.

"It's so good to see you!" I cried, happily wrapping my arms around his neck. I had lived a lonely life, so my heart fluttered as I felt him return the embrace. I had forgotten the calming effects of another's touch.

"Please, come in! It's so hot out here…" He took off his black hat, swinging open a white chipped painted door. The cool air met with my flushed and hot face, making me blow out a puff of air.

I ran my hand under my damp hair, "My, that feels good!"

He good naturedly chuckled, "Long trip?"

I was still shocked by his soothing voice. Though we had only spoken a few times earlier in the month, I had missed his voice. As a field nurse, I was forced to care for some undesirable and rowdy men. Hiram was a different breed… he respected me.

"I'll keep my complaints to myself… but that driver was a heartless man," I sorrowfully shook my head, remembering the exhausted breath that met with my skin of the horse. For money, he would work them to the ground.

Hiram gently hung his black doctors coat and hat on a hook, standing before my in his vest. A golden pocket watched swung across his mid section with each breath. "I'm sorry to hear that, Miss Larkspur…"

Sub consciously I strolled around his practice, thumbing through ancient and decaying books. I ran my pale and thin fingers along the smooth surfaces of vile glass. In a proper office, I felt like I was home.

I never did have a home. My father died when I was just a babe, leaving my brother, mother and myself to fend for ourselves. Leroy died when a large hay bale fell on him while working in our neighbor's barn. I believe that broke and shattered mama's heart. She didn't do much but hold me for the first year. I didn't develop properly as complete meals never came my way. To this day I am unusually short. Five feet and one inch. I traveled as a teenager, never getting a proper education. When the Civil War ruthlessly broke out, I was drafted to be a nurse. Those days are filled with undesirable stories filled with pain. So, I've never resided in a place I could call 'home'. Between my father and his death, I

I believe Hiram knew this, and took me in under his wing. I don't think he truly needed the help, but rather wanted company for himself and for me to have a place to stay. He was a kind man.

I pulled from my mesmerizing trance, "Lovely office you have here, Doctor." I turned on my heel to meet with him face. I caught his eyes watching me with an indescribable look in them. He too, was caught in a trance. After I broke the silence, his face was covered with guilt.

"Oh yes," he turned his flushing red face, hiding his embarrassment. "Are you hungry, miss?"

I tucked away one corner of my ruby lips, dissatisfied with how he addressed me. I walked up behind him with my hands on my hips, "Now, I told you… call me Clementine!"

A smile cracked his cheery face in half. I had missed the laughing arches of a man's eyebrows. I was so used to seeing them furrowed with pain and suffering.

Contently, I adjusted my straw hat to the right side of my honey colored hair, "I'd enjoy a meal with you. I have much to tell you…"

Hiram shyly opened the door for me. My new button up shoes clomped against the hollow floorboards of the homely porch. Once he was back at my side, I happily looped my arm into the crease if his elbows. Scolding myself for being so forward, I hoped he wouldn't mind my sudden acts of affection. I was just so happy to see him, to have a new start and to finally live out my dream.

"Hullo, Doc!" a tall man with thick curly, dark hair waved to the man at my side. His shoulders were so broad and his waist so small, his figure nearly formed a triangle.

I could feel Hiram's heart light up, "Hullo, Ingalls!"

The loose flaps of leather at the sides of his boots caught my eye. He seemed like a simple and decent man. He neared us, his pearly white smile beaming across the dusty road. "And who is this?"

I shyly smiled as I looked down at the ground beneath my feet. A small yellow wildflower was sprouting its way through the earth's crust. Summer was just around the corner, and the blistering heat reminded us all daily.

Lost in my own private thoughts, I didn't catch the men's conversation. As I watched the flower struggle and prosper, a spark of hope ignited from the block of flint. I had passed the hardest part. I had a kind man on my arm; I was in a tight knit and loving town. I had suffered enough and now it was my time to prosper.

"Where are you going to lunch?" Charles' twinkling eyes practically laughed.

Hiram looked down at my wandering face, "Probably just go pick up some things at Oleson's… go on a picnic. Is that alright with you, Clementine?"

I smirked with his emphasize on my name, "Sounds rather delightful!" I gently squeezed his arm as my stomach roared for a meal.

"Goodbye, Mr. Ingalls!" I called, Hiram's cheery voice following after mine as the built man went his own way. I slightly thought my presence was making Doc happier than his was of me. I glanced down the dirt road, watching as frisky children ran around like newborn calves on a spring day.

With this sight I knew Walnut Grove was already my home.

Please let me know if this first chapter was decent enough to continue!

Thank you!