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She had been surprised that he agreed that she go with Garrett. Even the blond was surprised. He had expected William to get angry, to lash out at him. A few hours had passed since then . Garret had given the couple some time to themselves while he played with Rose Anne in the garden. There were things those two had to talk about in private. When they finally did come out of the house, Keziah was wiping her cheeks. No doubt she had been crying.
"I’ll make sure they're all safe. If you have any sort of idea of where you're going to be…well…I can try to send word when the child is born. You deserve to know." Garrett wasn't a bad man, only worried about his friend.

When they finally did leave hours later, Keziah was holding as sleeping Rose Anne as the carriage started to move. It would have been easier on foot of horseback but Keziah's belly and Rose Anne presented a problem. Garrett lived on the edge of Lexington in a simple home. He was unmarried but kept a well maintained home. After he had helped Keziah and Rose Anne from the carriage, the man went about taking some of their belongings inside. "You and your daughter go ahead and rest. I'm going to ask around...see if anyone had the desire to tell where William was at.

((Forgive the post. I'm very tired.))
Garrett looked skeptical. How could he tell that Keziah would bear a little boy. He glanced at the woman and found that under the blush that now stained her cheeks that she too was wondering why William had said they were going to have a son. The man had a sour look onhis face as he regarded the man. "I understand that hey are your family but why come here when we've already had Redcoats looking for you?" The news of Benedict Arnold's assassination had reached Lexington long before William and Garrett knew that there were some that would turn him in rather quickly now that they knew he was here.

"All I'm doing is looking out for Keziah..." He glanced at the woman again. He held no fancy for her. There might have been a time when they were younger and had toyed with he possibility of marrying each other but those days were long gone.
He had come to learn, just as she had, that he would much rather call her a friend, a sister, rather han a wife. He knew that some people mistook the looks he gave her.

"And that's okay, Garrett. But..." Keziah didn't want hdr family to be in danger, she didn't want to see her husband be captured and given a traitor's death. But at the same time she hadn't seen her husband for so long. Rose Anne hadn't seen her father for so long. She paused her thoughts when Rose Anne walked her way to Garrett. The big man smiled briefly and picked her up, holding her carefully. He had mourned Samuel's passing too. It was rather sad to thk that the man who'd helped Garrett with making a little stick musket was gone.

He sighed softly. "Keziah you know that I'm just looking out for you. I can take you and Rose Anne to safety, give you a safe place to live until you birh your child..." This was her call. He wouldn't, couldn't force her to go with him, just like her husband couldn't force her to stay. "And after the child is born...then...I will help you find your husband again. If he isn't captured first." It sounded harsh, and it was, but Garrett made it clear that if William got caught then there wasn't much he could do. He wasn't willing to risk his life for something that would have no gain.

Keziah looked down at her belly then up at Rose Anne. She needed to do right by them. They were her priority now. She looked back at her husband and sighed. She wasn't sure what to do. She wanted to stay with im, be a family again, but if he was going on the run then she and Rose Anne couldn't go. "William..." would he be upset if she asked to go with Garrett? "I don't know what to do..." she said weakly.
Keziah carded her fingers through his hair. She was crying but not as heavily as he was. Rose Anne was crying now too, simply because her parents were crying. Keziah did her best to hush the girl while attempting to comfort her husband. She didn't know how long they'd stayed like that; Keziah holding a still crying Rose Anne and William on his knees with his face pressed to her belly and her hand in his hair. A sudden knock made the woman jump and she unlatched his arms from around her before passing Rose Anne off to William. She hurried to the door, wiping her cheeks before opening it.

On the other side stood her first husband's brother. He was a tall man with thick reddish blond hairand the same blue eyes as his brother. He was also Gabriel's maternal uncle. "Where is he?" The man demanded, looking at Keziah with a serious glare. The little woman was dwarfed by this man but she held her ground, returning his glare with one of her own.

"What do you want, Garrett?" Keziah put a hand on her belly, more as a means of protecting her baby if it came down to if. She didn't thinkthat Garrett would strike her but he was quite angry and sometimes angry men did things they'd regret. When it became clear that neither would budge, Keziah relented and allowed him in. "If you fight in front of our daughter I will not hesitate to boot you out." She hissed, closing the door behind Garrett.
The man sized William up, eyeing him carefully. So this was the man she'd replaced his brother with. Garrett had grown up with Keziah, justlike his big brother Charlie had. By no means was he jealous of their union, Keziah was very much like a sister to him. She had been closer to Garrett than most others. It was after the death of his brother that their friendship had become even more strained than it already was. See, having a female friend had been tolerable until she bled for the first time and he had become a man. Things grew strained between them then.

"Why?" He asked in an icy voice, glaring at William. Men had come through Lexington asking for him but none had breathed a sord of where the farm was. Edward Black had been a well respected man and was a pretty damn good shot with a musket so most tended to take his threats seriously. But it hadn'ttaken a genius to put two and two together. Gabriel had even voiced that it was odd for a man coming back to see his family would stumble out of the forest rather than running down the road, as imperfect as they were. "Why come back to Lexington at all if you're just going to put them in danger?" Garrett should just take Keziah and Rose Anne to safety. She had been someone close to him, family even. He'd promised his brother that he'd make sure Keziah stayed safe. All Charlie wanted for his wife was a happy life. He hadn't been able to give her that life and so as he was on his death bed, growing sicker by the day, he had asked his brother to help his wife in any way he could. Garrett was going to keep that promise.
She paused midway through wrapping a wound on his forearm when he began telling her of how he assassinated Benedict Arnold and how that made him a traitor. For a long time she didn't know what to say, or even think. She just sat there on that over turned bucket quietly as Rose Anne waddled over to her and pat her knees to try and get her attention. "Ama!" The little girl said, throwing her arms in the air. Keziah moved almost robotically, picking up the little girl and settling her in her lap. She buried her face into Rose Anne's soft silvery locks and took a deep breath before looking up at her husband. "He might not have turned out a traitor." She said quietly, resuming her task of bandaging him up. She was upset and it showed. Her lips were set into a firm line and she worked quietly and quickly.

"And because of your actions you've put your family in danger. They know where our farm is, William. They will not hesitate to string you up…or even…" Tears welled in her eyes and she tried to blink them away. The thought of her husband being strung up was enough to make her cry but the thought that somehow they'd lump her and Rose Anne into the category of traitor…of what they could do to her babies…that's what broke her heart. She'd already lost so many people, she didn't want to lose anymore. Keziah finished tying the final bandage in place before she got up with Rose Anne in hand. "Where do you suggest we go? If you can't clearly tell, I am in no condition to be travelling." She gestured down to her belly. Honestly she didn't know how far she really was. For all she knew the baby could come any week now.

"And Rose Anne…she's but a babe. We cannot leave her with someone while we run. I refuse to give my children up!" All sorts of possibilities flashed in her head, each worse than the last. It hit her that this was the first fight she'd had with any of her spouses. "And what shall we do if they come here? Hide in the forest and hope that they don't find us or give up and come out with a white flag?"

She wiped her face and the child in her arms looked at her with a concerned face before grabbing her nose. Keziah gave the girl a watery smile before looking at her husband with a harsh glare. Maybe Keziah should just take her daughter and go find a friend in Lexington to live with for a while. The possibility that they'd use her to get to William was in her mind though. What could a pregnant woman do against a bunch of soldiers?
Telling him of her father's passing had been painful. It hadn't been that long ago. She even told him of how when she first had grown ill in the mornings her father just smiled wide and looked down at her belly, telling her that she was with child. It had been embarrassing when he asked which time she thought had done the trick. "He didn't let me work around the house as much." Her laugh warbled a bit and her eyes were watery as she spoke. Edward had been so excited at the idea that his daughter would soon have a child. It was a shame that he'd never get to meet the child growing within her. He'd been there when the little one started kicking, his large had had been splayed across her expanding belly as he told her of how when her mother had been pregnant he used to talk to her and Samuel.
Keziah told him about Rose Anne and how much she'd learned over the past seven months. "She shall be a year old soon. It doesn't seem like too long ago that she was first brought to me." There was much more she had to tell him, like how much she missed him and even how worried she was that she could have been a widow again.

Holding him at arm's length, she studied her husband quietly. He seemed tired, more tired than she remembered him being. "Gabriel…go fetch a pail of water and a scrap of cloth." The boy nodded, used to Keziah's demands by now. The boy was a sweet one, always eager to do what was asked of him.
When the boy brought back the water and rag, Keziah simply took Rose Anne from William. "Wash up, then I'm going to look at your injuries." There was something that was nagging at her. If he was free to come home after all of these months, why hadn't he come up the main road rather than through the forest.

She was happy that he was home, and happy that he seemed excited about her growing belly. For months she had worried that he would be upset or angry, fearful even. She remembered the way he had looked at Elizabeth while she had been pregnant. Her father had assured her that seeing a strange pregnant woman was one thing but seeing your pregnant wife was another. Gabriel ran to fetch another pail for Keziah to sit on. She thanked the boy with an affectionate pat on the shoulder. As her husband was washing up, she looked at him, carefully holding Rose Anne in a way that wouldn't harm the unborn baby. She sent Gabriel on his way, allowing him to take two of their chickens and a basket full of potatoes and other foods. It was the least she could do for him and his family. They had been so kind to her these past months and weekly his mother would come to check on her and help with Rose Anne.

"So husband…tell me of your travels. And how you managed to get those kinds of injuries." Keziah said once the boy was gone. Rose Anne fussed until she was set down and she began waddling around. For a moment, Keziah focused on her with a small smile. "She's missed you. For the first few days after you were gone she cried. No matter how much I held her or my father held her she still cried." The little girl waddled around, gipping tightly onto William's pants before holding her arms up to him.
There were a lot of things that could change in a year. Everything from your friends to the way you dress and do your hair. This past year had brought many change, some good, others bad. Sometimes it seemed like the bad outweighed the good. The days had passed on quietly. The snow had fallen and she wondered if they'd make it through the night. When spring came around she wondered if he was proud of the life coming back into the earth. She thought of him often. There were late nights when she'd think to the stories he told her. Of how he held her when she cried. Of how he used to push her dark hair from her face with a gentle smile. Of how he'd kiss her on the forehead.

Keziah missed him but she was not bogged down by his absence. Life still passed on. He was buried under the tree with her mother and lost brother. Edward Black had led a good life, married an equally good woman and started a family. He'd passed just as winter was in full swing. He'd taken ill one night, complaining of being dizzy. She allowed him to sleep through supper, content to hear his loud snores. The next morning when she woke, he was silent. They buried him a day later. The men from Lexington, friend of his, had come and dug his grave. The women tended to his body and helped clean the house and watch the baby as she mourned.
Saying goodbye to her husband was hard. Saying goodbye to her father…now that had been more painful. It occurred to her one night that she was, save for the baby at her hip, largely alone in this world. Her husband was off fighting in a war that he'd been sucked into. Her brother was still missing, and her best friend had died.

Rose Anne had grown beautifully. He had been proud of her. She had taken a shine to him and would often follow him around after she learned how to walk. He took her out to the fields, shown her the deer that hopped the fence to dig through the snow in hopes of finding food. He had told her the same stories he had told his own daughter. The baby didn't understand why he wasn't there anymore, and in time she wouldn't remember him. Keziah would keep his memory alive, telling her the stories he'd once told them.

Edward had been proud of his son-in-law, as he'd told his daughter one night after Rose Anne had gone to sleep. "He's a fine fellow. I am glad that you met him." Edward, like Keziah, had no doubt that he'd keep his promise as best to his ability. In war, nothing was guarantee. No man knew if he was going to make it to see the next sunrise. They had heard bits of what was happening in the war when it would pass through Lexington. Edward would deliver the news to his daughter during dinner.

Today was just another day colored by her mourning. She and Rose Anne were tending to the garden. Well, Keziah was tending to the garden and Rose Anne was digging in the dirt with her chubby little hands. She's grown so big. Briefly, Keziah wondered if William would be excited to see her. The last time he had seen Rose Anne was when she was being bounced on Keziah's hip. "Ama!" The little girl cooed, throwing her hands and some dirt into the air. Keziah smiled towards the little girl, her daughter.

"Good job. Our soil needs a bit of over turning anyways." Things were getting physically harder for her. Had been for the past few months. The men from Lexington, old family friends, had come to help around the farm, sending their sons to aid the woman. Most of everyone knew that she was married, that her husband was off fighting in the war. There were no offers of marriage presented to her, especially since there was no news if her husband had died. Rose Anne squealed and put her hands into the dirt again, giggling wildly as she pulled up an old root. One of the boys from Lexington was there, helping quietly. He was a young thing, only about twelve, but already he was a hard worker.
He was working out in the barn, tending to a few of the cattle, when something caught his eye.

"Missus Kutcher!"

Keziah looked up at the sound of his voice. The boy came racing towards her, wide eyed, and for a minute she thought he had been injured. "Missus Kutcher!" They'd taken to calling her that. It was only right after all, she was a married woman. When he reached her, mindful to not bump into her, he put his hands on his knees and panted, pointing out to the fields where a figure was steadily making their way across it. For a long time she worried that it would be soldiers telling her that her husband had died. There had been some concern when Redcoats had come to Lexington, asking for her husband. None really told them where the farm was, only that he'd passed through Lexington. No doubt the reason lay more with the threats Edward had given before his passing. When the figure came closer, Keziah almost couldn't believe her eyes. William was here, well still in the field and she couldn't jump the fence to reach him. The boy, Gabriel, picked up Rose Anne and followed after Keziah quickly, unable to fathom how a woman in her condition could move that quickly. His own mother had taken to waddling around rather than actually walking.

"William!" She yelled. Now that he was closer she could see the way he walked. Almost instantly she knew he'd been injured. She was a nurse after all. Gabriel and Rose Anne hung back. The boy was acutely aware of how much bigger William was. Would the man think something was going on here? Gabriel was a young boy but his older brothers had spoken of how if Keziah's husband never came back they'd like chance at her. It had disgusted him that they even thought that way. He was still pure, untainted by the views of older men. They wouldn't be thinking that way once they learned her husband was back.

"You're hurt." She frowned.
She didn't want him to go but there weren't many other options. They managed, or rather he managed, to screw over history and now this had become their problem. She balanced her adopted daughter on her hip as she said her goodbyes. Keziah looked up at him when he said that they could run. They could…but here, just outside of Lexington…this was home. Her father wouldn't want to leave the graves of his wife and stillborn son, not when he had decided that he'd be buried next to his wife.

Keziah sighed quietly and bounced Rose Anne gently when she grew fussy. She hadn't even known him for that long, hell she had married him after not knowing him for that long, but she did want him to return. She wanted him to give her children and to grow old with her. They'd been through a lot together already. Being taken in by the militiamen for a month and forced into an awkward position of posing as husband as wife had meant that she'd come to enjoy his presence in the room.
The woman kissed him again before handing Rose Anne over to him. The child cooed and reached for his nose, making quite a serious face as she tried to get it. Keziah laughed and wiped her eyes. She wasn't even laughing hard enough to cry. Hopefully she wouldn't break down here.

Edward was watching them quietly. Unlike his daughter, he would not cry for the man. He had made a promise to Edward and the older man expected that promise to be upheld. His daughter had told him of the other times that he'd kept his promises. It wasn't a bad track record honestly. He frowned when his daughter began crying. Even though they were a distance away from them, he knew her well enough to know that she was trying to keep it together.
He grumbled at the militiamen to give them their privacy, that it was a hard time for the both of them.

A few hours later, the men were gone and Edward was left to chop wood by himself. Keziah was repairing a few sets of clothes. She hadn't spoken much since her new husband had left, and that was fine. She was still caring for Rose Anne, although the baby was fussing again.
Being married again wasn't what she had expected. She knew that it would be different, that comparing it to her brief marriage to Charles was like comparing the sun and the moon. Her wedding to Charles had been as simple as this one, but rather than strangers they'd been surrounded by family and friends. Quite a few of her late husband's family showed up, giving her wishes and silent prayers that this husband wouldn't die young either. What made this marriage feel so different was the fact that he would be gone in the morning. It made her heart heavy but she couldn't tell him to not go.

When they reached home, she had given Rose Anne her dinner, given her a bath and settled her down for the night as her father joked around with his new son. She knew he still mourned for Samuel but he was happy to have someone like William around to help like Sam used to. When she was sure that Rose Anne would sleep soundly, she kissed the baby on her forehead before smoothing back her wild blond hair. Even though she hadn't birthed the child, she loved her as if she had. Keziah changed out of her day clothes and into a soft nightgown, knowing that it likely would not make it through the night. She hoped it would, it was comfortable and she'd hate to have to sew it back together tomorrow. When her husband had entered the room, Keziah smoothed out her nightgown and smiled up at him.

Keziah moved closer, taking one of his hands in hers and kissing the backs of his knuckles. She'd be lying if she said that she hadn't thought about what tonight would bring. When she looked up at him again, she had another shy smile on her lips. "Welcome home, husband."

---

It was well before sun up when she woke. Keziah had stayed in bed, just listening to his even breathing. She didn't know when she'd hear it again. It was…comforting to say the least. Sounds like that had always brought her comfort and on most days she would just sit by the fire and listen to Rose Anne's breathing when she took a nap. Keziah hoped that she wouldn't cry today but the possibility was there. She smoothed back his hair and smiled a bit as she rolled over to face him. She caught sight of the nail marks she'd left on him and a soft flush came to her face. "William..." Keziah said softly, reaching out to stroke his cheek with her thumb. "It's morning."

Rose Anne would be waking soon. The child was very good at deciding when she'd had enough sleep and sometimes she'd wail until one of them would pick her up from her cradle. Keziah would likely tend to her when she did wake up but for now she was content just lying in bed with her husband.
Keziah wiped her eyes and looked at him as he dropped to his knee. She was so worried that things would go bad, that he'd be taken away from her just like Charlie had been. In a sense he was but she hoped he'd come back. She watched William take the ring from his finger and when he asked her to marry him this time she accepted. "Yes." Keziah said as she took the ring from him and pressed her lips to hers in a chaste kiss. When she pulled away from him, her cheek were covered in a pale blush. She'd gotten to know him well over the past months and she was surprised that he, given his history with women, wanted to settle down with her.

She clutched his ring tightly in her hand, it was too big to fit around her finger, and she glanced back at the house. Keziah had a feeling that her father knew what had gone on between them not too long ago, but knew he'd be happy about this. The man was very good at knowing when something was up. Marriage was…well it was fairly easy. Typically a lot went into the planning and courting but the actual wedding part was lacking.

Keziah led him into the house. If they were going to do it then she wanted at least Rose Anne and her father there. They really didn't even need to go into Lexington and find a priest. They could actually do the wedding here, with just those present. So long as there were witnesses really.
Once inside, her father took one look at their linked hands and he smiled. "About time." He said with a small chuckle. Keziah had told him of the cover story that she and William had used. He was bouncing Rose Anne on his knee as he watched them. He'd come to genuinely like William. The younger ma had caught on quick to farm life and it reached a point there Edward didn't even have to remind him or tell him to do a chore. "Are you two sure this is what you want? Marriage isn't something you can just end lightly."
With the news of General Washington's death, both Edward and his daughter felt dread. With the man gone who would lead the Army? Who would see that they would become free? They didn't know much about how this war would end, well Keziah had been told by William that the colonists won and that Washington had become their first president…and now none of that would happen. Keziah felt tears roll down her cheeks and she wiped at her eyes, a little ashamed that shed been crying. Rose Anne cooed, reaching her arms out towards William. The babe had started to gain control over her little arms, mastering the art of reaching towards people and things.

She looked at William and wondered how afraid he was. With Washington gone then he'd never get back to his time. She didn't want him to go back, she wanted him to stay here. During the first and last time they'd been intimate with each other, Keziah had, in the midst of things, babbled about how she wanted him to stay. The Sergeant was speaking, easing towards a topic that made her breath catch in her throat and more tears spill down her cheeks.
William had to go back. Not to his time of course, it likely no longer existed. But he'd have to go back with the Sergeant. Back to the War. The War had ceased to be just some event for the man, something interesting to learn, this was his life now too and by extension it became hers as well.

A hand came to rest on her shoulder and she looked towards her father, who stood there with a grim look on his face. Edward wouldn't admit it but over the months William had grown on him. He'd stopped seeing the man as someone he had to watch around his daughter and instead had started seeing him as someone with whom his daughter could be happy with. He should have been proud that William had been given such a rank but the older man could not be happy. He pulled Keziah in close and hugged her, knowing that this was hard. Edward knew about the night they'd spent together, it wasn't hard to see that something had happened between them, something that they clearly didn't want him knowing about. Keziah was always a bit traditional, insisting that things be done in the proper way, although she was nowhere near as traditional as her mother or Samuel.

When things fell silent and their guest had no more to speak of, Edward told the man to head inside, that they were about to have lunch soon anyways. It'd be better if he got a little rest and a bit of food in his belly before taking William away. Edward sighed, scooped up Rose Anne and escorted the Sergeant inside so the other two could talk alone.

Once alone, all Keziah could do was look at the uniform that had been handed to William. With no baby to occupy her arms, she let them drop to her sides. For a few minutes she didn't know what to say. Her bottom lip trembled and she fisted her hands into the skirt of her dress. Finally when she did speak to him, her voice came out shaky and broken. "You'll come back, right?" She reached towards him and buried her face into his shirt. "Can't leave me a widow again and Rose Anne needs her father."
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