Author's Notes: I am such fan of Daniel Boone (a quirk my husband mocks me for from time to time) - And I've got a few episodes that are my favorites - I love The Christmas Story - I thought it had some really good scenes in it - although the tradition of having non-Native Americans play Native Americans is particularly ridiculous in this episode. I love the pilot episode and The High Cumberland because it was so different, but my favorite episode was The Hostages from season one. It was really good, and when Becky's character was still really strong. I am, as you know if you've read my pieces - A Dan and Becky fan. I guess in a larger sense you could say I'm a fan of marriages which involve true love. ;)

This is a one-shot which follows up on The Hostages. If you've seen the episode - you don't need an explanation, but just in case. Becky is taken away to a Seneca stronghold. The British are involved and it is all just an attempt to force Dan's hand to cooperate. He finds her and sneaks in, and of course she is expected to be freed, but rather he informs her that she needs to stay put so he can untangle the mess with the British and whatnot and tells her, oh, by the way, you'll spend the next three days going through some horrible ritual to get you ready to marry your new husband.

He succeeds, of course, after a race to the death - which was kind of ridiculous by I was eleven the first time I saw it and thought it very romantic. In a benevolent act, the Queen of the Seneca, Esther who's got a thing for Daniel (who doesn't) sets them free, and they walk back home to their children who gleefully jump into their mother's arms.

This story takes place on the trip home, which in the tv episode seems to have taken a few hours, even though it took Daniel and Mingo days to get where Rebecca was held - in this version I have it taking a few days. I hope you enjoy and appreciate your reviews.

A special note for the unnamed reviewer == I'm trying to write more Dan and Becky, but wasn't sure if I had any readers, so this is for you. ;)

Ever Willfully,

Red

*** DB***

The Hostages - Freed

Rebecca Boone knelt down by the stream and lifted her cupped hand to her lips. She was startled at her reflection. Her hair had been plaited into two braids with strips of leather woven in. Her clothes and shoes all given to her by the Seneca. She glanced up into the bright morning sky and smiled. It was the first time since they had burst into the cabin ripping her from her family and her life, that she truly felt safe. She glanced at her husband who was watching her.

"You sure are a pretty little Seneca." He remarked eyeing her.

"I was almost a Seneca permanently." She said looking up at him with a wry smile.

"Ready?" He asked.

"Yes." He held out his rough, strong hand and clinging tightly to it, they continued toward home.

They walked nearly constantly until nightfall. He kept asking if she wanted to stop and rest but she always answered no. She wanted nothing more than to be home with her children. The last time she'd seen and heard their daughter, Mima had been calling out to her struggling against a large warrior. He'd told her again and again that the children were safe and well. But she ached to wrap her arms around them. She imagined Israel's sweet face looking up at her.

"I'll see if I can't catch some supper." He glanced at her after they had set up a small camp for the night. "You alright by yourself? You give me a holler if you need help. I'll hear ya."

She nodded. "Don't go far." She said, too stubborn to admit that the idea of separating from him terrified her. They hadn't talked much all day. She had a strong suspicion he was feeling guilty for the things he'd said about her and to her. As for her, she was keeping herself tightly together. She'd been kidnapped, dragged across the continent, forced to work, rejected by her dearest love, forced to watch him fight for his life and now facing the return march back across the continent. Truth be told, she was tired and wanted nothing more to climb into her own bed with her husband and children beside her.

She built up a good cooking fire while he hunted, telling herself over and over that he hadn't been gone that long; that he'd be back any minute now. She busied herself finding some soft leaves to make a bed for them. They had left with the clothes on their back and his meager supplies. He'd strode out to bring her back without hesitation in a near panic and therefore, grabbed few supplies.

She turned back to the fire watching the sun sink, chewing her lower lip. When he finally strode back into their stark camp with two small rabbits, she'd had to swallow down her tears of gratefulness and joy.

"Sorry, that took so long. Not much game around." He looked at her. "You alright?"

She nodded not trusting her voice. He worked quickly putting the rabbits on the stick she had ready and setting them over the fire. He glanced at her and taking off his coat, he wrapped it around her shoulders.

"You're shivering." He said. "Sit down, Becky." She sat obediently on one side of the fire and he on the other as he turned the rabbits on the spit.

"You must be wore out. They didn't let you sleep?"

"No." She poked the fire with a little stick, not looking at him.

"Tell me what they did." He demanded and she looked up surprised by how angry he sounded.

"Oh, I don't know. They steamed me in that tent and then made me wash in that icy river. They must have done that seven times. The old women scrubbed my skin with pine bristles. I'm unbelievably clean." She looked up at him with a smile but he turned away.

"What else?"

"They kept me awake like you said. They made me walk for hours and hit me with branches. Not hard really, just over and over. They made me breathe in smoke and oh, I don't know. They chanted over me. Then they dressed me up like this." She stretched out her arms indicating her clothes.

He said nothing - just sat still moving only to turn the rabbits. It took her a while to realize he wasn't angry but rather guilty.

"I knew you'd come for me." She said softly. "The whole march there, I kept looking for you."

"I must've left just a few hours behind you - maybe half a day. I wanted to light out there soon as I saw but the children were so distressed and I had to make sure things were settled at the fort. We didn't know if more attacks were coming." He sighed.

"I wasn't worried you wouldn't come; not for a second."

He hung his head and she could have laughed out loud understanding now why he'd been so quiet since they had walked out of camp. She rose and sat down beside him.

"I'm alright." She said. "They didn't hurt me. I'm fine. I'm strong enough to manage three extra days with them. You needed it to get us free and you did. Look around you. You are bringing me home, just like I knew you would."

"Those things I said . . ."

She remembered the shocking pain of his words as he rejected her. She'd been stunned and furiously angry with him. The worst was how that woman had gloated and laughed at her. Truth be told she'd cried then. She'd been broken hearted. She'd awoken later with him beside her and she had greeted him with all the fury she could muster. She had been completely devastated and until she'd seen the anguish in his eyes and felt his arms around her she hadn't understood what he was trying to do. Of course, realizing that she'd have to stay had stung but she knew she could withstand it, knowing in the end she'd be here with him. And she was.

"You explained that already." She said looping her arm through his but he shifted away from her.

"No but I can't have you thinking . . ." He sighed and stretched. "Your eyes, mo shearc, I won't forget it." He glanced away from her.

"It was a momentary pain. I was just scared at first that what you said was true." She bit her lip trying to imagine a world without him. He had his flaws. He wasn't a man for sweet talking and how he loved to roam the world wide, but he always came back to her. And when he did think to sweet talk, he did just fine. He was her everything. She endured the days and the nights without him, for the shining glory of the days he was with her. She glanced at him and reaching out she ran her gentle fingers along the line of his steady jaw.

"What are you thinking?" She asked him.

"Of your face when I said I wouldn't bring you home. I'm . . . sorry doesn't begin to describe how I feel. You have to know," He swallowed and turned to face her then. "You have to know, there's nothing I wouldn't do, nothing I wouldn't venture to have you in my arms again."

She blushed then, overwhelmed. He did sweet talk. It was just few and far between, but he did better than fine when he got around to it.

"You marched across a continent and fought to the death to bring me home, Daniel. I'm fairly clear on how you feel." He nodded satisfied and turned back to the rabbits; his face hidden from her. She had spent the bulk of her life, hiding her tears and emotions, so it was easy for her to spot it when he did the same. She smiled at his back.

She felt a dull ache in her calf which she been feeling all day long, and untied the mockasins they had put on her. They reached to her knees. Freeing herself from them, she saw the angry purple bruise, that was causing her all that discomfort. It must have happened when they had hit her with branches or perhaps when they had pushed her down. She rubbed it absently.

"Rebecca Anne! You said they didn't . . . they hurt you!" He said with wide eyes, horrified as he gazed upon the bruise.

"Its just a bruise . . ." She began but ignoring her, he pushed her hands away and examined her leg.

"I got some mint." He said reaching into his vest pocket. "It'll ease the ache some. Why didn't you say something, ah grah?" He turned from her and made a poultice, using the mint leaves and water. He gently lifted her foot and wrapped her calf in his handkerchief that was soaked in the remedy.

She shook her head and laughed at him. He was such a contradiction! A tower - ready to strike or a gentle hand ready to soothe. She remembered clearly the first time she'd seen it. They weren't married and still building the walls of the fort when eight Shawnee walked in. He'd stepped in front of her angry, protective. His voice to them harsh, but all the while he had one hand stretched out behind him, resting on her stomach - letting her know he was there or letting himself know she was safe, she was never really sure. All the same, his tenderness surprised and melted her. She knew what her mother would have said about her allowing a young man to put his hand on her but the wilderness was not a respecter of decorum and courtesies. After they had left, he had turned toward her, his hand shifting to her hip.

"You alright, Miss?" His green eyes worried.

"I think the least you can do is call me Rebecca if you aim to kiss me." She had said and he had grinned at her and lifting her hand he had kissed it.

"Yes, ma'am." And she had chosen laughter over annoyance. The rare sound of her name on his lips always sent shivers down her spine, and she knew the very first time he'd said it, that she would love him for always even if he chose the wide world over her.

But he hadn't.

He held her ankle in his hands now, gently messaging her lower calf, careful of the bruise.

"Ya got any other injuries your hiding?" He asked sitting back on his heels and studying her.

"Not that I know of. Might be some scratches on my back." He sighed clearly irritated with her.

"Why do you have to be so stubborn?"

"Daniel! I am fine. A few bumps and bruises. I'm not made of glass."

"You seem so small sometimes. It's worrisome." He admitted.

"That is just because you are a giant."

"No. It's because you are so dear to me." He looked down and she reached out and rubbed the side of his face with her hand.

He caught her wrist in his hand. "Well, I reckon, since you can't be trusted." Her eyebrows rose in anger. "The only way for me to be sure you are uninjured is to take an inventory." He grinned at her, and she blushed - all anger washing away.

"I reckon so." She agreed with a smile and he leaned forward kissing her.

***DB***

She awoke to the smell of burnt rabbit and nestled in his arms, she looked up into a sky filled with stars.

She let out a long slow breath remembering how difficult it had been for them both when he'd last held her dreading letting go. He had stayed as long as he could reassuring her, but he had to leave; had to leave her behind.

"Three days." He'd whispered to her.

"I can manage that." She had said wiping tears from her eyes. "Don't worry about me."

"That's all I'm gonna do, darlin'." He had said surprising her, and she was hit with a fresh wave of tears. "No matter what, I'm getting you out of here."

"I believe it." She had said softly. He'd been unable to speak then, and instead had kissed her one last time and turned to dart out of the tent so she couldn't see his tears, but she caught him by his sleeve.

"I love you, Daniel." She'd said fearing that she might never see him again. She wanted it said so he'd have no doubts.

"Ta mo chroi istigh inonat." He said and disappeared out the tent. She had sobbed until the dawn when the old women had come for her.

His voice startled her, as he spoke softly in her ear.

"I couldn't think of any other way to wrangle you loose, darlin'. I'm sorry for it. I'd never choose any other girl over you. Never. You are the heart inside my chest."

It was then, after she was safe, after she was in his arms again, for good, that she began to weep. She turned and sobbed against his chest, surprising herself and no doubt him. She had a habit of tucking her tears and fears away from him. But weary from three days without sleep; weary from the fear and stress, she found herself unable to lock it all away.

"Hush, now 'Becca. Day after tomorrow, you'll be home sleeping in that soft bed of ours, your children no doubt clinging to you at every turn. I promise it, love. "

"I'm sorry. I can't seem to . . . I'm so happy to be here with you. I could never endure . . ." She found forming complete ideas impossible.

"Hush now, 'Becca love. You cry all your tears. Ain't no one here but you and me and these bright stars. I'll hold you tight and won't never let go."

She knew he only told the truth to her. He was not a liar, unlike her father. Daniel always told her the truth. Her tears subsided and she smiled up into his face.

"Ta mo chroi istigh inonat." She said falling back into her first language.

"You are my heartbeat." He repeated. "Ain't that the truth?" He kissed her. "But ain't you hungry, Becky?"

She laughed at him. "The rabbits are burnt."

"A clever girl like you can make anything taste good." He said tickling her side.

"Stop!" She said laughing and sighing she said, "I'll see what I can do."

Their midnight supper under the starlight was one of the best meals he'd ever eaten. He smiled at her and wondered again at how beautiful she was in her borrowed clothes. He almost hated that she would soon return to her own dresses with her beautiful hair twisted and tucked away.

The only moment better than freeing her from that Seneca stronghold, was watching her face as she stepped in their cabin and was swarmed by their children. Her face was joy itself as she lifted Israel up into her arms and pulled Jemima close to her side. She'd smiled up at him, her eyes bright with happy tears, and he had swallowed down his own tears thinking of how happy she made him.

Late that night, he'd sat up watching her sleep, her red hair loose and spread out across her pillow, Israel nestled in her arms. Jemima slept beside her, a smile on her face even in sleep. He sat beside the bed in a chair, his feet up on a chest. There was no space left for him really.

Looking at his little family; reunited and safe, filled with a perfect, contented peace, he didn't mind at all.