Author's note: Normally I only write fanfictions which fit the canon, because only that way they seem possible and so they are as real as the episodes themselves.
But there is one episode I have a big problem with – "Laura Ingalls Wilder" – because I found myself asking "but what if Eliza Jane wouldn't have moved away?". I don't like that Laura and Almanzo don't find together because they worked their problems out and talked to each other, but because the problem was simply gone.
Those two should be the solution not his sister – in my eyes.
And so I wrote my very first "what if?" fanfiction to find an answer to my question.
If you don't like these sort of stories – I DID write another one which fit the canon and solve my problem, but I wanted to publish this one first, because it's longer and I guess more exciting and now that it's finally autumn – I found that more appropriate...
I hope you enjoy it! :)
Long Way Back To You
Laura sat in the stage coach that would bring her back to Walnut Grove.
In less than half an hour she would see her family again after four terrible long months.
But even though she has missed her Ma and Pa and siblings very much in all her time in Radener - she wished she wouldn't have agreed to celebrate Christmas with them.
What a Christmas would it be anyway? She couldn't think of a sadder one.
He would be there.
She would see Almanzo for the first time after four months. When she had left Walnut Grove in August she had been sure she would be able to forget him as soon as she would start her new life in a new town. But nothing has changed.
He was in her thoughts every day and every night. And if anything, she felt as if the pain in her heart grew from day to day.
Everytime she saw a happy couple she had to force herself not to cry.
Everytime she saw a buckboard with a load of grain approaching the school, she wished it would be Almanzo who changed his mind and wanted her back.
But he didn't want her back.
And her heart broke every time all over again.
Laura looked at her gloves, so the other passengers wouldn't see the tears shimmering in her eyes. She had never talked about him in her letters to her family and neither had they, but she was sure that Almanzo had moved on - contrary to her.
She knew she would see him tomorrow in church; laughing, smiling, maybe even with another woman on his arms.
Her stomach ached at that thought. Laura was sure that the women in Walnut Grove must have felt as if would be Christmas already when Almanzo was *finally* no longer engaged with her. She could even see it in her inner eyes how they must have wooed him.
Laura made a face and forced herself to think about something else.
Caroline and Charles waited by the post-office for the coming arrival of her daughter. They both were so excited about having Laura finally back in their arms and yet they knew that something was wrong. Laura has never mentioned Almanzo in one of her letters, but her being away for so long - even though there had been other free days - made it obvious that she hasn't gotten over it.
But they wouldn't have believed that anyway.
Her parents knew how much she loved Almanzo and that being apart from him wouldn't be enough to get him out of her heart.
Almanzo laid in his bed, his arms crossed behind his head.
It was time to get up, but he didn't want to.
He didn't want to see her today.
Thoughts of Laura had kept him awake all night long. He was afraid of seeing her.
Afraid she could come with somebody else, looking more beautiful and happier than she ever has with him.
Afraid of seeing how she has moved on with her life ... while he was stuck in memories with her.
He sat up and rubbed his face. He hadn't asked his sister if she knew if Laura would come or not. He knew it anyway. She had been gone now for four months, but never would she celebrate Christmas without her beloved family.
He once had been part of it too. He once had been loved by her…
Almanzo had tried everything these previous days to become sick. He had chopped wood outdoor without his coat on. He worked in the barn with wet hairs. But nothing had happened. He was as well as always.
Now he had no excuse not to go to the church today.
Eliza Jane watched her brother silently while he hitched up the team. Never had it took him so long as today. She knew that he wanted to delay the trip to the church. He hoped that everybody would already sit so he didn't have to see Laura's face.
Almanzo has forbidden his sister to talk about her, but she knew that she was on his mind all the time.
She didn't recognize her brother anymore. Before Laura has moved away, it has always been Almanzo who cheered his sister up, who was sure that everything would work out somehow.
But now he didn't even smile anymore. At least not how he used to smile before. It never touched his eyes.
And how could he? Eliza Jane still couldn't get over their break-up. Never in her life has she seen a happier couple than her brother and Laura.
Never has she been so sure that two people are meant to be like them two.
And now it should be over?