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Picking Up the Pieces


runningwild
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Luke couldn't believe what he was hearing, "He what?" The older Duke cousin didn't even raise his voice, by now he was so devastated by everything and it didn't matter. No matter how loud he got nothing was going to change. "So that's really it.. that's why I'm getting people turning against me left and right because of Cassie. Bo left because Cassie came back to town."

He had gotten quiet for a long minute and wanted to choose his words carefully. Then, he shook his head, "I'm really torn Uncle Jesse. She don't deserve what's happened to her.. and my family doesn't deserve what's happening to them. I love you both, but I don't think I can give up on Cassie."

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Jessie nodded, saddened by the lack of any emotion in Luke about what was happening.

"Luke....you know i've never not backed ya up on anything son...but this time I think yer makin' a big mistake...look at how much trouble that girl caused in the first place...the biggest piece of this whole mess being how your relationship with Bo was affected. He didn't leave because of Cassie....he left through fear of what could happen with her around...he saved her life Luke...Enos told me Bo went in a made her throw up until most of the overdose was out her system before he took off as soon as Enos got there...he's scared of what she'll have done to him, but most importantly of what she's gonna do to you...and now I can see that he has a right to be worried...you don't think clear when yer around her...but in his view, the further away and more busy he is, the less it is of his problem because he isn't thinking about it...outta sight outta mind."

Jesse sighed and scrubbed a hand down his face, he didn't know what to tell Luke about Cassie and his opinions that he hadn't already heard.

"Now if ya ask me, that Cassie Morgan is trouble and if anything she's proved it with all this...you can say all ya like that it ain't her fault but are ya sure ya ain't just makin' excuses...to kid yerself....from my point of view, she's already helped me nearly lose my youngest boy last year and now actually has...and now i'm gonna lose my oldest because he's goin' to jail probably for the rest of his life...I couldn't accept her inta the family Luke...i'll help ya try an' clear her name if ya say it should be cleared...but I can't give ya the acceptance ya want from me...it's be goin' against everythin' I was raised with...."

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So, Bo had saved Cassie from a slow but somewhat instant death. Good thing he hadn't let his hatred for the girl get in the way of his humanity. Unfortunately, she was still clinging onto life at the hospital. In the time she had been there, one of her kidney's had began to shut down and the doctor's weren't sure what they could do for her. Ultimately, they would have to perform surgery.

Luke was helpless to how everyone felt about the situation. Maybe at one time he had felt the same way, but he knew what happened that day. The day when everybody's lives changed. Nothing he could say to his uncle would change his mind. The events were forever imprinted in his mind just the way he wanted to remember them.

"How noble of Bo to rescue her. Remind me to thank him, if he ever comes to visit me in jail." Luke didn't sound bitter; he didn't really even carry any emotion in his tone. It was as if he was coming to peaceful acceptance for everything that was happening.

"Cassie and Bo were trying to find a way to get me out of jail that afternoon. They'd been with each other for almost two days and had gotten no sleep. Sawyer's boss had told him to capture Cassie, so he could pick up the reward for returning her to her boyfriend. Except this fella didn't care if she was dead or alive, when he got threw with her. There was a struggle..after the fella got Cassie.. Bo tried to save her and he got shot. Cassie had nothing and I mean absolutely nothing to do with that."

He paused and took in a long breath. "You can't accept her.. I accept that. There's nothing I can say to change your mind. I never thought I'd see the day when Jesse Duke would be blind to the truth. Now, the family's broken.. and it's uncertain that'll we'll ever see another day together at the supper table." Luke looked his uncle straight in the eye, "I respect you Uncle Jesse, but I'll be damned if you or anybody's going to give up on her.. you might as well give up on me to."

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"Luke I ain't the one that's blinded ta the truth...I ain't even sure what the truth is no more its been told from so many different horses mouths. But fact o'the matter is Luke, if Bo has a reason ta be scared o'Cassie an' what she can do then somethin' you's heard about that incident ain't right. If things went as ya say they did, Bo wouldn't be runnin' out o'Hazzard never to return at just the sound of her name..."

Jessie sighed.

"I didn't say I was givin' up on her boy, i'll help ya clear her name if ya say an' can find proof that she should be cleared...but ya gotta do a lot better than hearin' it from her mouth an' Bo won't talk about it. Bo's fears arn't born from nothin' an' there used ta be a time you's notice that an' see somethin' is wrong...but she's got ya so blinded that ya can't or won't see that no more..."

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Luke just nodded.

"Bo's gone Uncle Jesse.. I'm in jail. There's no hope for anybody getting the truth. You believe what you want. I'm done trying to convince you. Now, go on and take of Daisy I'm sure she's worried sick. I'll be leaving soon to head to the hospital."

The cold of a man's heart is scary and is enough to send a chill through anyone. Luke knew the truth and what he had been saying the whole time was what had happened. (Yeah, it is.)

"Thanks for stopping by."

He was officially done with hearing everything his uncle had to say. There was nothing left to say. No one believed him and here he'd rot for the rest of his life.

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Jesse sighed and shook his head, wishing as he had done ever since this whole thing had started nearly a year ago that his family would get back to the way it had been before. But it seemed that everything had been ripped at the seams and there wasn't a single person who had the power to sew it all back up again...not even himself.

Slowly he stood up and headed for the stairs, pausing before turning round and saying to Luke's back which was now turned to him.

"I want ya to know....that I love ya...an' that i'll do everythin' I can ta help ya, like I have done ever since ya were just a little tyke...since that night ya arrived on my doorstep without a friend in the world...an' i'll always do that Luke...I ain't the bad guy here...no matter how much ya think I am..."

Swallowing gently with tears in the old mans eyes, Jesse walked dejectedly out the courthouse, his old heart heavy.

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Luke sighed hard and his back was to his cousin. (Uncle Jesse had left the courthouse) "How am I doing? As well as can be expected.. I'm worried about Cassie.. I'm going to be doing some hard time in the state prison.. and I guess all those lucky breaks I got in the past are over."

In truth, that's how it seemed. Nothing was going as planned and Luke couldn't be informed of what was going on. Cassie was potentially dying in the hospital and Luke was pushing his family away so that he could harden his heart.

"You should go too Uncle Jesse's going to need all the help he can get.. him and Daisy can't handle all this by themselves. And, they shouldn't have to."

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News had spread all over the state of the fugitive that had been caught and was currently receiving medical treatment. People were breathing easier, but most hadn't worried about this girl. She was but a girl; however, most, like those in Hazzard, refused to believe there was any innocence to her. The ones in Hazzard that felt this way thought that they had some kind of insight to what was going on, but in reality, they had the wrong person.

Sitting in a bar, he had his elbows propped up on the counter top, when the whole place was interrupted by a special bulletin on the television. The newscaster was reporting that Cassidy Morgan had been taken into police custody after eight months of legal issues and finally they decided to issue an official warrant for her arrest. The man because interested in what the television had to tell him, but his facial expression didn't change. It was a solemn one and he refused to give way to an emotions he felt.

Still he couldn't believe what he was hearing. Did this finally mean that he was off the hook? He had in fact committed those crimes that Cassie was taking all the blame for. But, she wasn't intentionally taking the blame because of the situation she was put in that's just where the blame fell.

Tossing a few dollar bills on the counter, he nodded to the bartender and walked out to his car. Sawyer had planned to head back into Hazzard, figuring that no one remembered him enough to pen him to the murder of Jimmy. Revving the engine, he sped off down an old country road. His trip back to Georgia just got a whole lot more interesting.

In the Hazzard hospital, doctors had been keeping a close eye on Cassie since she'd been brought in. Because her kidney had begun to fail, they had prepped her for surgery. Her mind was so scrambled that she couldn't tell them what was going on or why she was there. That's what a couple good years of drugs can do to a person. But still she was little Cassie Morgan on the inside. A real southern belle that had enough charm to bring a man to his knees with a ring. If anyone really got to know her, they'd know that she was fiesty and could scrap with the best of them. That's what brought her up with the Dukes. She's threatened to beat the mess out of Bo when they were toddlers and ever since she had been friends with them.

Poor Bo. Now, he can't even stand the site of Cassie, but if his memory serves him right it wasn't Cassie that pulled the trigger that shot him. He'd been shot by Sawyer, in order to cause a distraction. Two lackeys grabbed Cassie and high tailed it to an old abandoned warehouse. There she was injected with a chemical that slowed her heart and put her in a comatose state. To anyone that didn't take the time to really notice, she was dead. But, it was Luke that noticed her body temperature was still right. But, before he could do anything both he and Sawyer were carted off to jail, leaving an injured Bo and Cassie to figure out how to get him out. But, as soon as Sawyer's boss told her that Harvey, her ex-boyfriend, knew where she was, Cassie panicked.

Now, she was battled for her life in the hospital and undergoing surgery to remove one of her kidneys. The procedure would be painful and the recovering even more so, but that's only if she makes it. With the rate her body is declining from all the medicine there was a good chance she could bleed out. May God have mercy on her.

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But, Bo's memory wasn't serving him right, in fact he hardly remembered anything at all about what had happened that day. All he could remember was having arguments with someone, a man, and Cassie was there. The next several hours were all a blur to him. At the time he had been battaling the pain because his older cousin depended on him to get him out, but that didn't mean the pain wasn't there. He remembered the gun shot going of, and then snatches of things happening that made no sense...then the next thing he knew he was in the hospital with his family around him....all except Luke of course who was with Cassie.

And that was when Bo had begun the year of fear and a little hate of Cassie. He was scared not because she pulled the trigger, he knew it was the guy who had done that and he would have no qualms about punching his teeth down his throat if he ever saw him again, no siree. No, it was the fact that she seemed to have had something to do with it and that's what he had told the police when they had questioned him from his hospital bed. Also what scared him most was the power that she held over Luke...yes, that was what scared him the most. Normally there was nothing Luke wouldn't put before his family, but Cassie was usually an exception. Unless the situation got serious, it was always Cassie and Bo hated it. Cassie could make Luke do anything she wanted and there would be nothing that anyone could do to stop him where she was involved which was where the hate had derived from too. He hated her apparent manipulative ways, turning Luke into the person that Bo didn't know anymore. He wanted his big brother back, and as far as he was concerned Cassie had taken that from him and that was something he would never be able to get back.

It wasn't long before word of what happened reached the circuit, and Bo felt a deep sense of satisfaction at it...but also the little doubt that always nagged at his mind. Cassie had never been a really great friend to him as Cooter had done, no, but she had been there...they had even gotten serious at one point as everyone so liked to remind him. But the feelings he had felt over so many years were just too hard to ignore and the doubt was quashed again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A strange car pulled into Hazzard and looked only slightly out of place. Usually people from Hazzard only thought that anyone driving a fancy car must be there to see Boss Hogg. Sawyer hadn't even bothered to check his rearview mirror. He wasn't so much afraid because he figured that time would tell whether his memory lingered in Hazzard. For now, he looked like a classy businessman. His hair was cut shorter, but still dirty blonde. His beard was trimmed a little neater and he didn't walk with such a hickish sway. There was more class in this man than anybody in Hazzard. The sad thing was that he was a murderer.

Pulling into town, his eyes scanned the sidewalks, as he scoped out people. They were just tending to their everyday business. He shrugged his shoulders and parked his car. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door and got out. Never had the sun shined so brightly, causing him to squint. Closing the door behind him, he headed down the sidewalk. Once again, he wanted to give this town the once over. However, before he had taken a handful of steps, he froze at the sight of the jail. That was no place for him to loiter. He needed to stay out, but he needed to find out what was going on with Cassie.

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  • 1 month later...

As Daisy sat at the farm, her fingernails drummed on the dinner table. This wasn't like her to just sit around, but with everything that was happening she needed a minute to herself. She mostly spent this minute thinking and considering the situation. Suddenly, she rose to her feet and picked up the CB. "Bo Peep to Lost Sheep.. Bo Peep to Lost Sheep." In her attempt to contact Bo, she hoped that somehow he could hear her and would respond.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Daisy's face held a softness that became apparent in her smile. "Bo, I don't need to get me anything nice. That's sweet, but the farm needs all the money that can be spared."

She paused, "When do you think you'll come home for a visit? Everyone misses you. It's just not the same around here." In truth, it really wasn't the same. Luke was still in jail and Uncle Jesse was trying his best to run the farm along with Daisy's help. That's all they could do.

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Bo sighed, not holding the mic button down so Daisy couldn't hear him do it. Slowly he ran a hand down his face and said softly into the mic.

"Daisy I can't come down for a while...I got a lotta races lined up which earns me money...and I can't just up an' leave the team for a holiday in the middle of the season....if I could, I would you know that sweetheart but...I just can't..."

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With a closed fist she let it tap the table in defeat. "I know Bo. It was worth a try though wasn't it?" Daisy paused and let her finger slide off of the CB's two way button. This was her opportunity to think; to say something profound.

"Do you want to know how Luke is?"

Luke was fine. He spent the last few days sitting in his cell, talking to Uncle Jesse once a day and Daisy, when she could find the time to stop in. His only good company was Enos and that was even getting a little old to him. Things hadn't been straightened out, but the wheels were turning and something was going to happen soon.

On the other hand, Sawyer had made himself a quiet little place in town staying in the Hazzard Hotel. He used his free time to float unnoticed around the city, picking up useless pieces of information. Still he always managed to pick up a good word or two about Luke Duke at the Boarsnest. Everybody was asking Daisy how he was and what they were going to make of him.

It wasn't until his ears perked at the mention of Cassie Morgan's name that Sawyer was put back into focus. Having overheard Boss Hogg telling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane a bit of information about the girl, he sighed to himself. Apparently, Cassie had successfully went through her surgery. She had lived. Someone that had abused drugs for so long was lucky to live through an overdose and such a complicated surgery. The odds weren't always likely. Cassie was recovering in the hospital, before the state police arrive to move her to their medical facility in the state prison.

Sawyer had to see her as soon as possible.

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Bo sighed and shook his head, leaning back against the seat as he watched the pit crew and other drivers mill around. Eventually he was able to reply as Daisy repeatedly called his name to get his attention again over the CB.

"Sorry Daisy...was speakin' with a pit crew member...I don't know to be honest...me an' Luke didn't exactly leave on best terms...I don't think he even knows I'm gone to be honest, not that he'd care anyway...he's too preoccupied with Cassie..."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Daisy held her breath for a moment. It would be wise for her to choose her words carefully.

"I understand that Bo. I really do. But, Honey Cassie hasn't been able to make it out of the hospital. She's had a few complications. Luke's been trying to give up the thought of her because he knows that she's gone. Nobody's had the heart to tell him her condition. If she's guilty she'll get what's coming to her soon enough and if she's not well then I guess it's out of our hands."

Pausing, Daisy refused to let her finger off of the button. She wanted Bo to get the full effect of the tone of her voice. She was being as calm and serious as possible.

"He knows your gone Bo. I visited him the other day and the most he could say was how he'd lost the two people in his life that meant the most to him. He paused and then asked me how it happened. Sugar, that's not a question I'm fit to answer, but I can tell he's beating himself up about it. He regrets a lot, but I know he wants you to keep racing because you're finally able to do something you love."

It was at that moment that she finally released the button for Bo to have the chance to speak. She wanted him to take everything in.

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  • 5 months later...

A few weeks sitting in the same jail cell did a lot for a man. Luke looked older and more worn with his beard thick and dark hair shagged. He was always grateful to see Daisy and Uncle Jesse, when they stopped by. That was about his only means of conversation except for when Rosco or Enos brought him his meals. Sometimes Enos would stay an extra few minutes and strike up a conversation, but Rosco hadn't done much to try to make the stay easier for Luke. Uncle Jesse had mentioned once that it had been hard for the first few days, but he thought that Daisy and him could take care of the farm. With two less mouths to feed, they could get things paid.

Bo had written to Uncle Jesse telling him that he'd send money just as soon as he got enough that seemed fit to send. But, he hadn't mentioned anything about Luke. He wasn't exactly bitter, but more apathetic to his cousin. Yet, still in the back of his mind he always wondered what jail was like for him.

Most days, Luke spent a few hours sitting on his bunk with his back against the wall. Sometimes he'd hum to himself, but mostly he let himself drift into deep thought. A lot had happened in just a few short weeks with Bo leaving and Cassie showing up and then having her stay in the hospital. By now, Luke figured that if she'd made it, he hadn't heard if she had lived through her surgery, then she must've been spending time in the state prison. On occasion, Luke would scratch a few words on the tablet Uncle Jesse had dropped off for him. Mostly, he wrote letters to people with no intention of delivering them. A lot of his letters were titled "To My Dearest Cassie" which meant that his heart was still with her. To this day no one could understand that and he knew deep down that they never would.

Cassie had survived her bout with death in the hospital. Up until now she had been pretty bad off, but she was strong which meant that she could survive. Nothing could happen to Luke until Cassie was set for a court date which is why he had been in jail for so long. Luke was innocent and the only thing that Cassie was guilty of was aiding a criminal in his escape. She would do anything to see Luke. Now, she was clean and had the right head on her shoulders.

The door to the jail opened and in walked a well-dressed man with a smirk on his face. "Hello there." His voice was directed towards Enos.

Enos looked up from his desk, "Can I help you with something?"

"I'm here to see a Mr. Luke Duke," he stood patiently.

"May I ask your name, Sir?"

Sawyer smirked, "Sawyer Holloway. I'm here on legal matters with Mr. Duke." He lied through his teeth well.

Contemplating the information for a second, Enos nodded and directed Sawyer downstairs to Luke's cell. "You can talk to him through the bars."

Sawyer nodded and proceeded down the steps. The sound of footsteps alerted Luke and he was curious as to who they belonged to since no one ever visited him this time of day. As soon as the man came into view, Luke looked suspicious. "Who're you?"

A cracked grin let a chuckle escape through Sawyer's lips, "I come bearing news." He stepped into the light so that Luke could see him.

Luke recognized him after a hard look, "Sawyer. What're you doing here? You're the reason I'm here to begin with!"

"Calm down. Calm down. Like I said I bring news."

"What that you're planning on killing me right here? That's what you are isn't it? A killer?" Luke stepped forward.

"No, not at all. I thought that you would like to know that I heard wind of Cassie's mishap and I don't want her to take the heat for what I done." Sawyer seemed genuine in what he was saying.

Luke narrowed his eyes, "That seems to nice of you."

"The girl's a life changer what can I say?" Sawyer nodded slowly. "I figure that I can get her out and you can rot forever."

This angered Luke, but he considered what Sawyer was saying. "How do you suppose you're going to get her out?" Right now, that was all that was important to Luke that Cassie could live her life right.

Sawyer sighed, "Anonymous tip that I saw solely you involved in the whole thing and she was no where in site. Fair enough?"

Luke thought about this for a second. This conversation seemed strange to him, but promising all the same. "Get her out."

Sawyer nodded and turned to go up the stairs. Before he made it to the top he stopped, "That girl can make any man do crazy things." With that he headed through the door.

Luke sighed and let his fingers grasp the bars. Maybe what Sawyer said was true, but there was no way of him knowing that just yet. All he wanted was for Cassie to be safe. He didn't care what happened to him.

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