May we make them proud?
Summary: takes place during the second part of the Little House Episode with the same name. When Albert runs away, he expects to offer his services as a farm hand to his father, but instead, he finds a young red headed woman who may be the answer to his prayers.
The red head is modeled after me and a bit of calamity Jane.
I do not own Little House on the Prairie.
"Mr. Quinn!" Albert shouted. "Mr. Quinn" There didn't seem to be anyone around. Albert sighed. He saw what looked like a mark and went to look at it.
"Mr. Quinn is dead" A voice from behind him said. Albert gulped and slowly turned around. A woman was regarding him suspiciously. She had long red hair that hung in a braid down her back and she was holding a shot gun. She wasn't wearing a dress like Ma, but pants, with black boots over them, and white ruffled blouse and black vest that laced in the back. She was a slender woman and her outfit showed off her curves. "What can I do for you boy?" She asked.
"I was looking for Mr. Quinn" Albert said.
"As I told you, he's dead. What business did you have with Jeremy?" She asked. Albert gulped again.
"He's my father" He said, looking at the ground. The woman studied Albert real carefully and gasped.
"Albert?" She said, her voice quaking. Albert's head snapped up.
"How do you know my name?" He asked. The woman smiled.
"Jeremy is…was my father too" She said. Albert looked up at her.
"I didn't know I had a sister" He said.
"Why don't we go inside" She said. "You look mighty tired" Albert nodded and followed into the house. He sat at the table as she began making tea.
"My name is Anna" She told him. "Truth is, Pa got real upset after my mama died. He took it out on me mostly. Anyway, when Pa remarried, she died giving birth to you and then Pa was angry with you"
Albert looked at her, eyes wide.
"Oh, don't worry; I never let him hurt you. Of course, I was only 16 at the time and I was afraid of not being able to protect you. One night, I took you to town and left you on the doorstep of a children's home. I figured you'd be better off there. I told Pa that you had been kidnapped, he didn't much care. I was surprised when he told me that he had found you and that He was going to bring you home" She sighed. "He had quit drinking and wasn't as mean, so I didn't try to stop him, but he told me you were blind and that he wanted you to stay with the Ingalls" She looked at him. "Something tells me you were never blind"
"No Ma'am I wasn't" Albert said. "I wanted to stay with my Ma and Pa, so I only pretended" Anna smiled.
"If you don't mind me asking, why have you come here now?" She asked. "Why the sudden urge to see our father?" Albert looked down and tears filled his eyes.
"I did something bad" He whispered, "If they found out, they'd hate me" The kettle whistled and Anna poured the tea.
"So you ran away" She said, handing him a cup.
"Yes, ma'am" Albert replied.
"Albert, please don't call me ma'am" She said. "You are my brother, you can call me Anna" Albert nodded. "Now, did you think that maybe you should have talked to Mr. Ingalls?"
"I can't" Albert said. "He'll hate me" Anna shook her head.
"You went through a lot of trouble to do stay with the Ingalls, and now you just want to leave?" She asked. "That don't seem right. Whatever it is, it can't have been that bad"
"It is" Albert said, the tears falling. "I killed my best friend's mother and my sister's baby" Anna was silent for a moment sipping her tea.
"Was it an accident?" She asked.
"Well…I…" Albert looked down. Anna reached across the table and touched his hand.
"Did you do it on purpose?" She asked.
"No!" Albert said vehemently. "I didn't mean to start a fire. I thought the pipe was put out"
"You were smoking" Anna said quietly. Albert nodded. "Albert, you are more than welcome to stay here, but I'm sure your Pa must be looking for you"
"I can't go back" Albert insisted. Anna sighed.
"Very well" She said. "With Pa gone, there's an extra room, but you'll have to work hard here"
"I will" Albert said.
"Okay" Anna said.
The next day, Anna had breakfast on the table, when Albert asked her a question.
"How come you dress like a boy?" He asked. Anna smiled.
"I don't think I quite dress like a boy" She said. "I can't see any males fitting into this outfit, but to answer your question, it's easier to ride, hunt and set traps dressed like this. Plus, Pa didn't want a girl, so he saw fit to have me dress like a boy. As I got older and was able to make my own clothes, I just added a female touch to them"
"I guess that makes sense" Albert said quietly. Anna smiled.
"Once we're done with breakfast, I have to go to town. I was hoping you'd take care of the animals for me. I won't be long. I'll bring you back a treat" She said.
"Sure" Albert replied. "Everything will be fine"
After breakfast, Anna mounted her horse and rode away. When she reached town, she got peculiar looks, but she was used to it. She dismounted outside the courthouse and tethered her horse to a pole, before walking inside. The secretary looked up at her.
"Miss Quinn, what can I do for you?" She asked.
"I was just wondering, did a Mr. Ingalls come through here?" Anna asked.
"Did you say Ingalls?" A voice behind her asked. She turned to see two men.
"Yes, I did" She replied.
"I'm Ingalls" One of the men said. Anna smiled.
"I'm Anna Quinn" She said, shaking his hand. "I've come about Albert"
"He went to see Jeremy, didn't he?" Mr. Ingalls asked. Anna nodded.
"He got me instead" She replied. "Pa died a couple of months ago"
"Pa?" The other man questioned. Anna shrugged.
"I don't have time to explain, other than the fact that I have a broken little boy at my place, who believes that his family will hate him for what he's done" She said. "He says he can't go home"
"I don't understand" Mr. Ingalls said. "How could he think such a thing?" Anna sighed.
"Do you know what he's done?" She asked. Mr. Ingalls nodded. "Then you know that he blames himself for the deaths of two people close to him"
"Can you take us to him?" The other man asked. Anna shook her head.
"If I do that, he'll run" She said. "I need to return alone. If I am there when you come, than I might be able to calm him and keep him from running"
"Why are you doing this?" Mr. Ingalls asked.
"He's my brother, Mr. Ingalls" Anna replied. "I want him to be happy. I can't give him what he needs. Parents, siblings, school. I'm a hunter, trapper and adventurer. I go where the wind takes me. That's no life for a child. I will always wonder if I did the right thing, leaving him on that doorstep all those years ago, but I do know that he's finally found a family and I don't want him to lose it"
She gave them the address and then got on her horse and left. When she got home, Albert was forking hay. She smiled.
"Let's have some lunch" She said. Albert nodded and they went inside. She deliberately kept Albert inside that afternoon, asking for his help cleaning the place up. It was a couple hours later when there was a knock on the door. "Albert, can you get that please?" Anna asked. Albert hesitantly went to the door and opened it.
"Pa" He whispered. He turned around and dashed to the back door, but Anna caught him before he could make his escape. "Let me go!"
"Albert, listen to me. All this running is hurting your family" She said. Albert stopped struggling and turned to face Mr. Ingalls, with tears in his eyes.
"It's my fault" He cried. Mr. Ingalls shook his head.
"It was an accident" He said. "I love you Albert" That was all Albert needed to hear. He flew into his Pa's arms and they hugged. Anna smiled, tears pricking her own eyes. Mr. Ingalls looked at her.
"How can I ever thank you?" He asked. Anna smiled.
"I'd sure like to visit Albert sometimes" She said. "After all, he is my brother"
"It's a deal" Mr. Ingalls said. Anna watched them leave, tears of happiness streaming down her cheeks. She was sure now that she had done the right thing, for Albert was happy and that was good enough for her.