Author's note: This moment falls at the end of Season 2, Episode 13, Kansas.
The Home Front: Noah
A New Home
Noah chuckled at Jimmy’s quip about eating crow as they pulled their mounts up to the hitching post. He used the moment to hide his wince as he dismounted. The bullet hole in his arm throbbed unremittingly and his bruised knee ached something awful, along with a dozen other scrapes and cuts. But it could be a whole lot worse. He could be dead. Or in chains down the river. And he had these new friends, brothers one might even say, to thank for his current freedom and health.
Turning at the sound of Lou’s voice, greeting them, he asked, “What’s goin’ on, Lou?”
He shared a knowing look as Kid went bounding off to greet his lady love. Those two had been nigh on unbearable since getting back from their little rendezvous a few weeks ago. He had to laugh when Lou shied away from the Kid though, shy about displaying her affections even in front of the rest of the family, who all knew her secret.
Family. He rolled that word around in his head a bit. Yeah. That’s what they all were. And they’d readily accepted him into their midst, no questions asked. Sure, things had been rocky occasionally. But wasn’t that true of most families? Lord knew, he and Sally had butted heads more than once.
“Nothin’,” Lou answered, a devilish gleam in her eye. Noah tilted his head a bit, trying to figure out what she was up to as she put two fingers in her mouth and whistled sharply. Grinning, she pointed toward the barn, where the others were standing in front of the open barn doors. “Just that.”
Turning to follow the direction of her pointing figure, he came to a stuttering halt. With all that had happened in Kansas, he’d put his daddy’s silver saddle out of his mind, planning to deal with the loss later. But there it was, the summer sun glinting off the polished silver, on the back of a pretty bay.
He shook his head in disbelief as he stepped toward the horse, at first slowly, awkwardly, then slightly faster, more assured. By the time he reached the horse’s side, he couldn’t hold back a face-eating grin. One hand reached out to caress the saddle. This saddle, his daddy’s prized possession, had meant home to him for almost as long as he could remember. When they’d hung his daddy, that saddle had come to represent all a father should be a in a young boy’s life.
And these folks, these strangers, these… friends, these…. family members had gone out and gotten it back for him, not even knowing just how much it meant. He wondered how they’d paid for it. For sure and certain not a one of them had that kind of cash lying around. Looking up, scanning their faces, he realized he’d have to let that curiosity die with him. He could never insult them by asking a question like that.
As he looked around, Rachel caught his eye. Beaming at him, she practically sang out the words, “Welcome back, Noah!”
Welcome back? No, more like ‘Welcome home!’ he thought, laughing in joy at the realization that he had indeed found a new home, his white teeth flashing in the bright prairie sun.