Daisy was standing in the middle of the yard, just in front of the barn watching Bandit come back to her with the stick she had just thrown. Jesse had Flash in the tin tub and was giving the basset a bath. Although the Dukes enjoyed having the dogs to look after, they served as constant reminders of the past two weeks. MaryAnne's death followed by Rosco's disappearance had shook up the town, especially Boss and Lulu, who were beginning to lose hope that he would be found or would be coming back. Everyday, the boys had driven through the county trying to find him, but having covered nearly every inch of Hazzard, they could only conclude that Rosco wasn't in Hazzard any more and for all they knew, probably not even in the state.
To add more weight to allready heavy hearts, Enos left just after the turn of the new year to go back to LA. Everybody knew it was coming, seeing as he put in to return just before Thanksgiving, but losing the entire Hazzard County Sheriff's Department in less than three weeks was more change then Hazzard had been known to have experienced. And Cletus, who had spent most of the last year or so helping out with an ill relative over in Greenville, returned to Hazzard to be offered the job of temporary acting Sheriff, not knowing if he was just filling in until Rosco returned or would end up finishing the rest of Rosco's term which Rosco had just won in the election in November. Which meant Cletus would be temporary Sheriff for the next four years, unless Boss decided to hold a special election.
Before Daisy threw the stick again, the boys came out of the farm house.
Bo had a piece of paper in his hand. "We're headin' to town, Uncle Jesse," he said. "Is there anything else besides what you have on this list that you want me and Luke to get?"
"No, that's all. Ain't got no more money to spare to add any more to the list anyway."
The boys chuckled. "We'll see y'all later," Luke called as he and Bo walked to the General and climbed into the windows. Bandit barked before Luke turned the ignition. Bo looked at the dog and smiled.
Luke started the General and drove out of the yard.
* * *
Sam brought the Firebird to a stop and looked at the sign on the side of the road.
Welcome to Hazzard County.
He paused a moment, paying attention to the residuals from Rosco. The former sheriff was apprehensive to return but felt he had little choice. He was caught between a rock and hard place. Stay in Finchburg and try to heal the wounds by living in the past, which he realized wasn't going to work, or return to Hazzard, where those same wounds could maybe be healed by the friends and family he had left, but he was afraid to face them.
"No doubts, Rosco," Sam said. "No doubts."
After a moment, Sam took his foot off the clutch and stepped on the gas and Maverick crossed over into Hazzard County.
* * *
With the back seat of the General loaded with groceries, the boys headed back to the farm. As they came upon the intersection of Peach Tree Lane and County 11, they almost didn't believe what they saw.
There, coming down County 11, was Maverick, with royal blue paint reflecting brillantly in the late afternoon sunlight.
"I don't believe it," Luke said. Before the boys got to the intersection, the Firebird turned and headed towards them.
It was like seeing a ghost. The boys stared as the car went past, each barely recognizing the driver.
"Luke, it's him," Bo exclaimed.
Luke pulled the steering wheel hard to the left and swung the General around 180 degrees.
The orange car had triggered some strange residuals from Rosco. Sam wasn't sure what to do as he watched in the side mirror as the General turned around and came after him.
Rosco had already made a decision. On impulse, Sam shifted gears and stepped on the gas, pulling away from the General.
Bo was at a loss. "Luke, why's he runnin' away?"
"I don't know, but we ain't gonna let him get away and disappear for another two weeks."
Luke stepped on the accelerator and caught up to the Firebird.
Sam didn't know what was going on. He couldn't figure why Rosco was running away. The faster the car went, the closer Sam felt to losing control of the car. He didn't know where the road he was on lead to, or what lie ahead.
Suddenly, Sam saw the road turned. He gripped the steering wheel and jerked it to make the turn. The Firebird threw dirt around the turn, fishtailed and the straigtened as it tore onto the straightway.
Rosco, however, was too tired to keep up the run. Maverick started to slow down and the General came up to the left side and then cut infront of the Firebird.
Luke turned the General sideways to the right. Sam pulled the wheel of Maverick to the left and the car slid to a stop.
The boys climbed out of the windows and walked around to the driver side of Maverick where Sam was stepping out of the car.
"Rosco, why did you take off on us like that? Where have you BEEN??" Luke asked. "Boss and Lulu and everybody in town's been worried sick about you."
"I-I'm sorry," Sam said. "I had to be alone for awhile."
"Awhile? Rosco, you've been gone two weeks," Bo said. "You couldn't call Lulu and Boss to atleast tell them you were allright?"
Sam didn't know what to say. Rosco gave no impulse for Sam to act on, only the feeling that he didn't want to talk to the boys. Sam looked at the boys and saw they were genuinely concerned about Rosco, where he'd been, what he'd been doing. Remembering what Rosco looked like, Sam figured that was probably enough to cause half the concern. Sam shrugged and looked down at the road.
"Rosco, where'd you go?" Luke asked.
Sam paused. "I went fishin'," he said. Rosco would offer no more of an explanation and Sam continued to look down at the road.
The boys looked at each other, not knowing what to say.
"Uh, we've been taking care of Flash and Bandit for ya," Bo said. "If you're home for good, we can bring them to the house."
Sam looked up at Bo. If you're home for good... He nodded. "I appreciate you lookin' after 'em for me."
"It was no problem, Rosco," Luke said. "We've enjoyed having them, but they've missed you. Especially Flash."
Sam was back looking at the road again. "I've missed them."
"Well, why don't you go ahead and head on home and we'll bring them to ya," Luke said.
"Allright," Sam said and nodded, glancing at the boys. He turned and got into the car and then drove around the General and down the road.
The boys stood watching the Firebird disappear around the turn. "You'd barely reacognize him," Luke said.
"I know," Bo replied. "He ain't never gonna be the same."
Luke shook his head. "None of us will be. I just wish he'd talk to us, though."
The boys paused in thought for a moment, then Luke said, "Well, let's get these gorceries home, tell Uncle Jesse, Daisy and Boss and Lulu and then we'll take Flash and Bandit to him."
* * *
Sam brought the Firebird into the yard. A residual from Rosco told Sam that Maverick belonged in the barn, so Sam brought the car to a stop and went to open the barn door. He returned to the car and drove it into the barn. He spotted the tarp bunched up at the back of the barn, just where Rosco had left it two weeks earlier, grabbed it and placed it over the car.
When Sam stepped out of the barn, he paused a moment. He suddenly realized that he didn't remember driving to the house, or how he knew where he was going. He then wondered if it was getting close to Rosco sending Sam into having a bad headache again, since the residuals were getting progressively stronger and the impulses Sam felt were strong as well.
Sam hoped it didn't happen until after the two young men in the orange car brought Flash and Bandit to the house.
Flash and Bandit...
Sam remembered the photo of MaryAnne as a little girl with the golden retriever pups and then the sudden image of a basset hound and a German Shepherd. Now he had names with the images, although he never really felt that they were nameless dogs. Sam looked at the house and then started to walk to the back door.
The boys, meanwhile, were telling Uncle Jesse and Daisy about seeing Rosco again.
"It was like seeing a ghost," Luke said. "I mean, it was Rosco but," he paused shaking his head. "I don't know."
"Did he say where he'd gone?" Jesse asked.
"Fishin'," Bo said.
"That's all he would tell us," Luke said. "Me and Bo told him we'd bring Flash and Bandit by later. Maybe we can get him to talk then."
"We better let J.D. and Lulu know about this," Jesse said.
The boys nodded.
Back at the Coltrane house, Sam was looking around in the living room when Al suddenly appeared.
Sam swung around to face his friend, startled.
"Gosh, I wish to hell you wouldn't just pop in like that."
"Sorry. You did it. You got Rosco back to Hazzard."
"How did you do it?"
Sam paused. "Pictures."
"Yeah, there was this photo album that I was looking at. Or that Rosco was showing me or whatever, but there was a picture of MaryAnne as a little girl with two puppies, which got Rosco thinking of the two dogs he left behind here in Hazzard."
Al looked at the handlink. "Flash and Bandit."
"Yeah. At that point the way he was dealing with MaryAnne's death collapsed. I think he realized what you had said. That he couldn't live in the past."
"Well then, we've got a couple of good things going for us at the moment. Ziggy's figured out a way to put Rosco back together from the two different time periods by trying a targeted leap, although it's going to require some very close cut timing."
"A targeted leap?"
"Yeah. And I think it'd be best if we can have him concious long enough to prepare him."
"I think it's getting close to him waking up, based on what you told me that happened last time."
"Very strong. I drove here on residuals and impulses alone. I don't even remember driving here after those two young men stopped me."
"Two young men? In an orange car?"
"That's the Duke boys." Al looked at the handlink. "They've been taking care of Rosco's dogs and will be bringing them by here in little while." He paused. "Oh great."
"You're thinking of Rosco waking up at Project?"
"Yeah. We have to think that if the other leaper isn't successful then this time line will continue on and if Rosco were to suddenly become ill, it won't help him in adjusting. Although it would be best for Rosco to talk to people right now, he'd be better off getting them to leave."
Sam nodded. "Rosco's not too particular in talking to anybody right now anyway."
* * *
After putting the groceries away, the Dukes gathered up Flash and Bandit and drove to town first, with the boys and Flash in the General and Daisy, Jesse and Bandit in Dixie. They stopped at Boss's house to tell him and Lulu the news.
Boss, however, was in Atlanta and wouldn't be back for atleast another hour. Lulu almost couldn't believe that what the Dukes were saying was true.
"He's home?! He's okay?! Oh my Lord, I've been so worried about him. Did he say where he'd gone, and why he didn't call us?"
"He didn't say much to us when we saw him," Bo said. "He's like a different person."
"Oh," Lulu cried.
"We're gonna take Flash and Bandit over to him," Luke said. "You can come with us if you want."
"Yes," Lulu said. "Yes, I'll do that."
"Alright," Luke said.
"You can ride with us, Lulu," Daisy said.
* * *
With Al watching, Sam followed the impulses of Rosco, who hesitantly walked through the house. There wasn't a room or an object that didn't trigger a residual about MaryAnne. At one point, when Sam was upstairs he came to a stop in the hall by the door to what had been MaryAnne's room. The door was closed, but Sam saw images of what was behind it. He looked at the door, but on impulse from Rosco, looked away just as quick.
"You okay?" Al asked.
Sam paused and swallowed. "I don't know if this is going to work," he said. "Al, this is killing him."
"He has to stay, Sam."
"I know. I just hope I can keep him here."
When Sam returned downstairs, he caught the glimpse out the window of an orange car as it came into the drive. He stepped over to look and saw the not only the orange car but a white Jeep as well.
"What is this? The whole town?" Sam said.
Al looked out the window as the people came up the walk. He looked at the handlink.
"That's the Duke family and Rosco's sister, Lulu."
After a moment they heard the knocking on the door. Sam took a deep breath and went to open it. He saw Luke holding Flash with Bo, Daisy, Jesse and Lulu just behind him. Bandit stood next to Luke with Daisy holding the German Shepherd's leash. The basset tried to squirm out of Luke's arms to Rosco and Sam reached for the dog.
"Told you she missed you, Rosco," Luke said. As Sam settled the dog into his arms, he felt a slight tinge of comfort and happiness, but also some guilt, for having left her behind along with the German Shepherd.
Sam looked at the Dukes. "I wanna thank ya again for lookin' after them for me."
"Oh Rosco, we're just glad that you're home and safe," Daisy said.
"Yes," Lulu said. "Rosco, J.D. and I have been worried sick about you. Why didn't you call?"
"I'm sorry," Sam said. "I know I should have, I just..." He shrugged. "I just didn't."
He paused and turned to put Flash down inside the house. Daisy handed Sam Bandit's leash and Sam let the German Shepherd into the house as well. He turned back to the Dukes and Lulu and on impulse continued, "Where is Boss?"
"He's in Atlanta right now," Lulu said. "He's been absolutely worried about you and you and he really need to talk to each other."
"Rosco and Boss Hogg had a falling out just before Rosco left," Al said.
Sam looked at the Dukes and Lulu. "Yeah, I suppose."
"We all wanna talk to ya, Rosco," Jesse said. "We're here if you just need somebody to listen."
"That's right," Daisy said. "We know how special MaryAnne was to you, as she was to all of us. You're not in this alone, Rosco."
Sam looked at the young woman. To Rosco, she reminded him a little too much of MaryAnne and he looked away. "I appreciate that," Sam said. "But I think I just want to take some time to get used to being by myself in this house."
There was a moment of pause before Luke spoke. "Okay," he said. "You just remember what Uncle Jesse said, if you wanna talk to anybody, we're here."
Sam nodded. "I'll remember."
"Alright. We'll see you soon," Luke said.
Daisy stepped forward and gave Sam a hug. "You take care of yourself, Rosco," she said.
Sam nodded again. Rosco still couldn't really look at the woman. The Dukes started to walk off the porch, but Lulu paused a moment.
"When Jefferson gets back, I'm bringing him over here so you two can talk."
Sam started to shake his head. "Lulu, I--"
"I don't want any arguing, little brother. You two HAVE to talk to each other."
A residual from Rosco that told Sam not to argue with the plus size woman. Even thought Rosco didn't want to particularly talk to anybody, he agreed anyway, just to get her to leave.
"Alright," Sam said.
Lulu nodded and then gave her brother a hug. "Now don't take off like that again, you hear me?" She looked at him. "You can't try to get through this alone, Rosco. MaryAnne wouldn't want you to."
Sam closed his eyes to the shot of emotion. He slowly shook his head. "No," he said. "No, she wouldn't."
"You just remember, even though she's no longer with us, she'll always be here." She placed a hand over her heart.
Sam nodded. "I know," he said with a sigh, "and she always will be."
* * *
The Dukes had no more than dropped Lulu off back at the house when they saw Boss's white Cadillac coming into town as they were leaving. Lulu told Boss of Rosco's return home before he even got out of the car, and she got into the car and told him to drive over there immediately.
And he did. Boss had been wrestling with his own guilt over MaryAnne's death and worrying about Rosco for the past two weeks that he to get it out of his system once and for all.
Sam and Al heard the big door of the Cadillac as it closed. Sam went to the window and saw Boss Hogg and Lulu coming towards the porch.
"Al," Sam said, turning back to the Admiral. "I ain't going to be able to make them leave this time."
* * *
Rosco opened his eyes.
He paid attention to his senses for a moment, and tried to make sense of the dissconnected images and memories that flashed through his mind.
"MaryAnne..." he whispered. The images continued to float through his mind, like a series of photographs that were out of order and that Rosco couldn't recall if it had been real or was all a dream.
He suddenly had people beside him. He realized that the room he was in was very blue, but his vision was so blurred he couldn't comprehend the faces that surrounded him.
"Where...am I?" He blinked, but it made no improvement to his vision. He closed his eyes for moment.
MaryAnne was lying on the ground, looking up at him. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the crimson color on the front of her shirt. "Rosco..." she whispered, reaching her hand to his face.
"Oh my God..." Rosco said, shaking his head in disbelief. "Oh my God, it didn't." His eyes flew open and he looked at the blurred faces around him. "It didn't happen did it?"
He was standing by a hospital bed and reached down to take her slim hand into his. He spoke softly to her as she lay still in the last few hours of her life.
"No," he said. "No, no, no, no...."
He couldn't even look at the State Trooper as the Georgia state flag was presented to him after the bearers had carefully folded it after lifting it off of the casket.
As the soft material touched his hands, he caught a glimpse of the name on the granite headstone.
Suddenly, Rosco tried to move but was again gripped in paralysis. "No!" he cried. "No, it didn't happen!! MaryAnne!!!
Ziggy announced that Sam was feeling the affects of Rosco being awake and Doctor Beaks grabbed the already prepared tranquilizer and administered it.
Rosco fought a moment longer. "No," he pleaded. "Oh MaryAnne..." He then relaxed and closed his eyes, never to know for sure if it was all real.
* * *
Sam started feeling dizzy as he slowly opened the door after Boss knocked. Al was looking at the handlink and was learning from Ziggy that Rosco had woken up but that he was calm at the moment.
Sam looked at Boss Hogg. "Boss," he said. Sam had a hard time concentrating on the residuals from Rosco about Boss Hogg, because he was starting to be bombarded with the memories of when MaryAnne died.
"I'm glad you're okay and home, Rosco," Boss said. "Can I come in so we can talk?"
The dizziness was starting to grow into a headache. "Uh, yeah. Sure." Sam backed away, pulling the door open a little more to let Boss and Lulu in.
Sam looked past them to Al. He shook his head as he leaned on the door
to support himself as the headache grew more intense and the memories
Boss turned back to Rosco. He saw his brother-in-law was leaning on the door and was starting to look pale. "Are you okay, Rosco?"
Sam shook his head. "No, I'm not feeling very well." He closed his eyes at the image of MaryAnne reaching up to him.
"What's wrong?" Boss asked, approaching Rosco.
The pain was becoming unbearable. Sam didn't know who or what was going on around him.
"I couldn't save her," he whispered as he slowly sunk to his knees bringing his hands to his head. Boss and Lulu knelt down beside Rosco on each side of him. They both grabbed a hold of him as he leaned forward.
"Ziggy," Al said. "Rosco has to be sedated. It's affecting Sam."
"But, the leap..." Sam mumbled.
"What?" Boss said.
"Al, he has to be concious."
"Sam, will you shut up," Al said.
"Who's Al?" Boss asked.
Lulu touched the back of her hand to her brother's face. "J.D. he's running a fever."
Sam saw a life time of images flash before him. As his memory started to become more complete, and for a split moment had a complete understanding of who he had lept into, his vision started to go black and he collapsed on to the floor, unconcious.
* * *
While an ambulance from Tri-County Hospital was racing to the former Hazzard Sheriff's house, Jesse Duke was putting his red hunting cap on and was about to head out to the barn when the phone rang.
"Hello, Jesse Duke here."
"Jesse," Boss exclaimed. "Jesse, Rosco's sick."
"Sick? What's wrong?"
"I'm not sure, but not even a minute after Lulu and I got here he became pale and collapsed. He's unconcious now and Lulu and I can't get him to wake up."
"Did you call an ambulance?"
"Okay. You sit tight. I'm on my way."
Jesse hung up the phone and ran out of the house.
The boys were under the hood of the General and looked up when their uncle came out of the house.
"J.D. just called. Rosco's ill."
"Ill?" Luke repeated. "But he was fine when we left a little while ago."
"Well, he ain't fine now. He's passed out or something and J.D. can't bring him around."
"Well, let's go," Bo said. He and Luke got out from under the hood and Bo brought it down. They then helped Jesse into the General and climbed in as well, with Bo at the wheel.
At the Coltrane house, Al was having the fits. This was what he and Sam were trying avoid and that wasn't happening. Then Sam started babbling about Project, which pretty much turned the course of events for Rosco. And it wasn't necessarily for the better.
Boss had managed to drag Sam the short distance to the couch and with Lulu, lifted him up on it. While Lulu held her brother's hand, Boss was lightly patting Rosco on the side of the face, trying to bring him around.
"Come on, Rosco," he said. "We're not gonna lose ya again after just gettin' you back home." But it was no use. The effect of Rosco waking up at Project combined with the weakened physical state of the half of Rosco that was with Sam, Sam wouldn't be coming around on his own.
The Dukes arrived just after the ambulance and in time to watch Rosco be lifted into it. Boss stood watching the ambulance as it drove away with Lulu, who was softly weeping.
"What happened to him?" Boss wondered to himself. "Oh,
what have I done?"
* * *
When Sam opened his eyes, he moved with a start and looked around. He realized he was in a hospital room and there was an IV attatched to his hand. The Admiral was standing by the bed.
"Easy, Sam," Al said. "You're in a hospital."
Sam sighed. "I'm sorry, Al."
Al shook his head. "There was nothing you could do, but this isn't going to help Rosco much. They have him under close watch and now that you've woke up they'll be coming in a few minutes."
"Close watch? For what?"
"Well, just before you passed out you started babbling about Project."
"Aw geez. They're going to think Rosco's lost it."
Maybe. Maybe not. About the only good thing I have to tell you is that the shoot out in Hazzard Square in the other time period is to occur in about an two hours."
"You have to get Rosco ready," Sam said. "He has to be awake for it."
"I know, but we don't know what kind of effect it'll have on you."
"Nevermind me. If it works, this time line will no longer exist."
"But what if doesn't work, Sam? Rosco could end up in a padded cell in this time line."
"That's a chance we're going to have to take. I don't really know who she was, Al, but to Rosco she was more than just a cousin. She was like daughter to him. Maybe even more than that. She was very special to him and you wouldn't believe how empty he feels now. We have to set it right, Al. If it doesn't work, then I'll spend the rest of mine and Rosco's life trying to help him cope. No matter what happens to him."
Al sighed. "Alright. When we wake him up, we're going to try to keep him as calm as possible, maybe use a milder tranquilizer. If he is calm, it doesn't have that bad of an effect on you."
"Okay. And Al, even if you have him under a tranquilizer, if he asks questions about anything, you answer them as best you can without getting him upset."
Al nodded. "I know."
* * *
Boss, Lulu and the Dukes were talking to Doc Appleby about Rosco's condition. The Doc was concerned about the two weeks Rosco was gone, and since Rosco didn't tell much to the boys about where he'd been, Lord only knew where, what and possibly who Rosco might have been with or had seen. The Dukes, Boss and Lulu figured Rosco was just physically and emotionally exhausted, which was pretty much true, but Doc Appleby was concerned about the sudden headache.
"Wait," Daisy said. "The same thing happened to Rosco the day..." she looked at everyone. "The day MaryAnne died," she said softly.
"That's right," Jesse said. "And he came to no more than fifteen minutes later, saying he felt fine."
The Doc nodded. "I remember now. At the time I determined he was fine and the only possible explanation I could come up with was that maybe he was over tired." The Doc shook his head. "It could be something much more serious than that." He paused and looked at Boss and Lulu. "Lulu, J.D. I'd like to run some tests on him."
"What kind of tests?" Boss asked.
"Well, one of the tests is a CAT scan. Seeing both incidences involved very bad headaches, a CAT scan will let us take a look at his brain to see if anything's wrong."
The Dukes along with Boss and Lulu were at a loss for understanding.
"You mean, he's going crazy?" Bo asked.
"No, no. A CAT scan basically takes a special picture of the brain and helps us determine if it is functioning correctly or not, or if there is anything physically wrong with the brain, like a blood clot, or something like that."
"MaryAnne was right then," Luke said. "She had thought that maybe he had an aneurysm or a migraine headache."
"I doubt if it was an aneurysm," the Doc said. "If it had been, he most likely would have died at the moment. However, a migraine headache is possible."
"What other tests did you want to run?" Boss asked.
"An EEG. It'll also help us determine if the brain is functioning the way it should be by measuring his brain waves, by seeing how it reacts to different stimuli." Doc looked at his watch. "I better go check on him now. If he's awake, I'd like to start these tests right away."
Boss looked at Lulu, who nodded.
Boss nodded as well. "Will you let us know if he is awake?"
Doc Appleby nodded. "I will."
* * *
Rosco, meanwhile, was moving in a dream. Or so it seemed. He was barely aware of the hands that had a firm hold of his arms and led him out of one room and to another. His eyes failed to really comprehend what was around him. He didn't know where he was, and he couldn't keep a coherent thought long enough to vocalize in question. His mind was completely blank. Tiny pieces of memories came to him once in awhile, but like waking up from a dream, there were barely there and fading just as quick.
To the personel of Project, Rosco moved like a zombie. To keep both Rosco and Dr. Beckett in a calm and undisturbed state, yet concious, Rosco had been injected with a milder tranquilizer than had been used on him when he awoke in a fit. Al could see the Hazzard Sheriff's blue eyes that stared ahead at nothing, like an autistic child, only partially aware of the world outside their own.
"How long, Ziggy?" Al asked.
"Two hours and forty-two minutes."
"Alright, I'm going to check on Sam."
* * *
In the few moments that Sam was by himself, he paid attention to the residuals from Rosco. Things were more complete to Sam now, Rosco's own life, the understanding of what MaryAnne meant to him and the pain that would be with him for years to come. Sam knew him better now than he did when he first lept in. At the same time though, Sam felt a little like a spectator and he wondered what kind of impulses Rosco would supply now. Sam knew he had to try to convince the doctors here that Rosco was not going looney, but having babbled about Project, he had to come up with a good....
Shuck and jive.
Sam smiled and nodded. A good shuck and jive for the doctors.
Out of the corner of his eye, Sam saw as Doc Appleby came into the room.
"Hello, Rosco," the Doc greeted.
"Doc," Sam said.
"How do you feel?"
Sam shook his head. He was a little dizzy, but he figured that Rosco was awake again at Project and the staff was getting him ready for the targeted leap. "Nope, no headache."
The Doc went back and closed the door. "Rosco, do you remember this happening to you before?" the Doc asked as he came back to the side of the hospital bed.
Sam paused in thought. "Um, yes."
"Do you remember when it was?"
Sam looked at the doctor. Although Sam himself didn't remember, Rosco did. "It--" He swallowed. "It was the day MaryAnne...died."
Doc Appleby nodded. "Rosco, I want to run some tests on you. I'd like to try to find out what may be causing these headaches."
"Y'all think I'm goin' squirrely don't ya?"
The Doc looked surprised. "I didn't say that, Rosco."
"You don't have to. I can tell by the way you're lookin' at me."
"Rosco, I, nor does anyone else, think you're losing your mind. I can only imagine what you've been through the past few weeks, but what Im concerned with here is that there may be something physically wrong with you.
Sam had an idea of what Doc Appleby was getting at, which was both good and not so good. The good thing was, if Sam was right, they didnt think Rosco was going crazy. On the other hand, if the tests Doc Appleby wanted to run were what Sam thought they were, there would certainly be a slight problem.
"What kind of tests?" Sam began to realize that Rosco really didn't like being in a hosptial and the thought of being a temporary lab rat didn't appeal to him.
"One test is called a CAT scan, where we take a picture, so to speak, of your brain. The other one is an EEG, where we measure the brainwaves."
Rosco had no idea what the doctor was talking about, but Sam did. "You mean, you want to find out if it's all working right?"
Rosco started to partially understand now. As long as they don't think I'm some kind of loony.
Sam nodded at the doctor. "Okay," he said. "When do we do this?"
"Well, the EEG I can do now. The CAT scan will have to wait 'til tomorrow."
* * *
As the Doc went to begin the preperations for the EEG, he told Boss and Lulu that Rosco was awake and that they could see him.
Al, meanwhile, had appeared and found out about the up coming EEG.
Nope, Sam said. And I know what youre thinking. If Im in the middle of an EEG when all this leaping is going on, theyre going to get a very interesting readout.
Sam stopped suddenly when he heard a light knock on the door. He turned his head to see Boss Hogg peer in cautiously.
You can come in, Sam said.
The door opened wider and Boss and Lulu came in.
How you feelin? Boss asked.
Sam nodded. Fine.
You sure gave us a scare there, Rosco.
Scared me too, Sam said. He paused a moment looking at Boss Hogg. Sam started to get residuals about the falling out Rosco and his brother-in-law had had a few weeks earlier. Rosco had said some things that seemed true at the time, but he was regretting having said it at all, and judging from the guilty look in Boss Hoggs brown eyes, it had struck a nerve.
Boss, listen, I--Im sorry for what I said. It aint your fault for what happened, I was just very upset and very angry and I said things I didnt mean.
Boss was shaking his head. Rosco, Im at least partially responsible for what happened. After all these years, I never realized how special she was to you, until my doing took her away. Im afraid I owe you big time, and I aint ever gonna be able to repay it.
She was just doing her job. Which is more than I can say for me. If I had been doing my job the way I was supposed to be, none of it ever would have happened.
You two cant go on blaming yourselves for the rest of you lives, Lulu said. What happened, happened and I think MaryAnne would be the first to tell you both that. And I know if she was here, she looked at Rosco, it would break her heart to see you like this.
Lulu, if she was here, I wouldnt be feeling so miserable.
Whos to say shes not? At least in spirit?
Sam paused and looked around the room. He looked toward the end of the bed and saw how Rosco could almost picture her standing there, her face and blue eyes weary with concern for him. The thought of her being there in spirit, like a guardian angel watching over him, gave Rosco the first slight feeling of comfort that hed felt in weeks.
Boss and Lulu watched as Roscos partially bearded face softened into a bit of a smile.
Yeah, she is still here in a sense aint she?
Sam looked at Boss. On impulse, he put his hand out and said, Do we agree to stop blaming ourselves for what happened?
Boss nodded. He shook his brother-in-laws hand. Sam looked down when he felt a piece of metal be placed in his hand. When Boss took his hand away, Sam saw the Sheriffs badge.
Rosco started to protest. Boss, I--
Just think about it, Rosco, Boss said. Cletus has been filling in as Sheriff since Enos went back to LA, but I dont think after 28 years you can just give it up. I know you better than that.
Sam studied the badge. Rosco was not ready to make that decision yet, but instead of giving the badge back he continued to hold on to it.
* * *
After Boss and Lulu left the room, Sam didnt have a chance to say anything to Al when another knock came at the door. When the door opened, Sam recognized the Duke family as they came in.
Rosco was surprised to see them, and on impulse Sam spoke.
What are you Dukes doing here? he asked reflecting Roscos surprise.
What do you mean what are we doing here? Bo said. We wanted to know if youre okay.
Oh. Well, I dont know why you Dukes have been so concerned about me. You certainly have no cause to be, seeing as Ive been such a thorn in your side all these years.
Thorn in our side or not, nobody deserves to go through what youve been going through, Rosco, Jesse said. Besides, we havent always been on different sides.
Sam looked at the Duke patriach. He got a residual of an event that involved the older Duke, Roscos uncle Eli, Rosco himself and something having to do with out running a very determined ATF agent.
There are times Id like to go back to those days, Sam said. Like right now. He looked at the Dukes. Cuz, I dont know what Im gonna do now.
Luke noticed the badge on the night stand. Why dont you go back to being Sheriff again?
Sam looked at the dark haired Duke boy. He then looked at the badge and shrugged. Maybe, he said.
Youve got plenty of time to think about that, Daisy said. The first thing is to make sure youre okay.
Im sure Im fine, Daisy, Sam said. He paused. Dont know why they wanna take a picture of my brain though." He looked at all the Dukes. "Boss has always told me I aint got one.
The Dukes chuckled. It was a typical Rosco line they were glad to hear.
Next Chapter...From Darknss to Light