The Briar Patch
A/N: Something new, not really a school fic although Sheldon is still in school. We will be touching on his school every once in a while, but it won't be the center of any thing. As for what is going to happen I guess you'll have to read to find out.
Disclaimer: M/M relations ahead read at your own risk.
Sheldon followed his mother into the newly re-opened Briar Patch antiques. He was barely listening to what the woman was going on about. A small smile on his face, as she paused and turned to look at him. He nodded, although he knew that she knew that he hadn't a clue as to what she just said.
"I swear, Sheldon, whatever am I going to do with you?" Shelly asked her son. Smiling she wrapped one arm around his shoulders, she led him into the store.
"Well, I'm assuming we're still on the lecture of why I can't spend the summer in the city," Sheldon replied, letting one arm wrap around his mother's small waist.
"Sheldon," Shelly started, "you know why I moved here after your father died. And now with other developments, it's just something I want you to think about."
"Other developments?" Sheldon laughed, seeing his mother shoot him a glare. Dropping his voice he met his mother's light blue eyes. "I'm gay, and well that's nothing new."
"Yes, but…" Shelly trailed off, her eyes going to the man that had just stepped out from the back room. Sheldon followed his mother's eyes, his eyes widening when he saw the man. "Sheldon, Sheldon you're staring."
"Sorry," Sheldon muttered looking away. He followed his mother around the shop. But his eyes kept going back to the man behind the counter. He was something out of a fantasy. Hair that was so black it held bluish highlights in the light. It fell the middle of the man's back. Eyes so dark in color they looked black, his face was strong and smooth.
"You're doing it again," Shelly nudged her son. She watched, as he looked at her his light hazel eyes looked guilty.
"Sorry," He grinned, turning to glance at the man again. "But you know…"
Shelly watched as he gestured. Grinning, she went back to what she had been looking at. The Briar patch had closed a few years' earlier when the older couple that ran it had passed away. At least the shop was back open, and from what she could tell not much had changed in its time closed.
"So, back to the argument about me not going?" Sheldon asked. He watched as his mother looking over a small collection of antique chickens. Shaking his head, he wondered why she wanted to collect a farm animal.
"Listen, I understand your need to strike out on your own, really I do." Shelly said placing the figurine she had been holding back down. "But, you're seventeen, hardly old enough to be out on your own."
"But mom," Sheldon huffed, his cheeks turning pink when he saw the man behind the corner look sharply at them. Dropping his voice he met his mother's eyes. "I'm a big boy, and two months at a camp for art isn't going to cause me damage."
"Sheldon," Shelly started. Reaching out she wrapped her arms around his shoulders again. "It's not a camp, it's a summer program. One that you need a place to stay, and money to spend on expenses. I can't afford to send you, and under no circumstances am I letting you stay with your father's older brother."
"Mom," Sheldon said.
"Listen Shel, sweetie, you weren't there when your father's baby brother came out." Shelly whispered. "That bastard, he was cruel. To say it simply, Andy is dead now because of him."
Sheldon stared at his mother. He knew that his Uncle Andy had committed suicide, but never would have realized that his uncle Burnie caused it. Shaking his head, he followed after his mother. It all happened before he was born, and frankly when his father die, Shelly had whisked them off to some small town changing their names back to her maiden name.
"But Dad…" Sheldon trailed off, hoping that his voice didn't sound as pathetic to his mother as it did to him.
"Oh of course not, sweetie," Shelly patted his son's shoulder. "Your father supported Andy in everything he did."
"Oh," Was his lame reply. He followed after his mother, every once and a while stopping to look at something that caught his interest. He stopped at one table finding several interesting Native American items among the others. Picking up what looked to be a hand carved eagle he looked up to see where his mom went.
Seeing her on the other side of the store, he took several steps before something caught his eye. Setting the eagle down he picked up a choker made of silver with turquoise and other stones and what looked to be beads. Examining the choker closer he saw dulled beads that dotted it looked to be made of bone.
"Wow," Sheldon jerked, not even having heard his mother. "That's gorgeous."
"Can I have it?" Sheldon asked quietly, seeing his mother raise an eyebrow at him. "Please?"
"Um," Shelly said picking up the tiny tag that hung off it. Sheldon's eyes were also drawn to the small tag, seeing that it wasn't horribly expensive. "Sure kiddo."
"Thanks," Sheldon grinned, watching his mother smile. Holding tightly to the necklace, Sheldon let his eyes scan the store again. His eyes stopped on the man behind the counter, he met those dark eyes and for a minute all thoughts stopped.
"Hey, look at this," Shelly said nudging her son. Sheldon stumbled slightly, turning to glare at his mother. "Isn't this the coolest?"
Sheldon looked down at what the woman was holding. A small groan escaped him, seeing the painted picture of a rooster. "Oh yeah mom, that's great."
"Sarcasm doesn't become you, child," Shelly laughed slightly. Shaking her head at her son, she turned tucking the item she had found under one arm as she moved towards the books.
Sheldon laughed, turning he wondered around more of the shop. But soon found himself towards the front, his eyes scanning the glass case. He stopped when his eyes landed on one fine boned hand, scanning up he finally settled on the man's face.
"Hey," Sheldon said, seeing the man smile.
"Hello," The man said. Sheldon looked over when his mother came to stand beside him.
"Hello," Shelly started holding out her hand. "I'm Shelly Berg, this is my son Sheldon."
"I'm Takoda Sage," the man said shaking Shelly's hand.
"Oh," Shelly grinned, "you're the grandson."
"Yes," Takoda started. "I'm the grandson."
"I'm sorry about your grandparents, they were wonderful people. Well respected in our town," Shelly said seeing the man grin at her.
"Thanks," Takoda replied. Sheldon watched him, seeing the man didn't look that old. And for a second almost asked him how old he was. He was startled when his mother took the necklace out of hand and laid it on the counter. "Just these?"
"Yes," Shelly said watching as the man picked up the necklace. A smile touched Takoda's face, as he looked up at them.
"Wow, this is still here," Takoda muttered slightly. After a second he looked up at them. "I made this about ten years ago."
Sheldon blushed slightly, turning his head. He only listened with half an ear as Shelly paid for their purchase. He thanked the man as he took the bag. Hearing his mother talk to the man for a few more minutes, Sheldon headed towards the door.
"Thanks again, ma'am." Takoda replied watching the woman nod to him. He turned to the boy as Sheldon walked out of the store with his mother. A smile found his face; Shelly and Sheldon seemed nice. And he hadn't missed the way the boy looked at him. Or the times the mother scolded him for staring.
Sheldon studied his image in the mirror, tilting slightly as he looked at the necklace. Reaching up he let his fingers brush over it. He felt a shiver, knowing that Takoda had made it with his very capable hands. Nice well shaped hands.
"Should I leave you and your necklace alone?" Shelly asked watching her son jump as the boy swung around.
"Mom!" Sheldon stammered. "Are you trying to give me a heart attack?"
"Well if you weren't feeling up your new necklace you would have heard me the first time," Shelly replied grinning as her son turned red. Laughing again she turned away. "Pick up your room, then come down dinner is almost ready."
Muttering to himself he went around picking up his clothing and straightening his stuff. Walking over he flicked on his computer, knowing that by the time he got back it would have booted up. Leaving his room he went down to the kitchen where he leaned against the doorway watching his mother.
"You could help you know," Shelly said over the music playing in the kitchen. Walking over Sheldon turned the music up more, smiling as he started to set the table. He sang along, laughing as his mother joined in. They moved around the kitchen laughing and singing.
Shelly flipped off the radio before setting dinner on the table. Sitting down she looked at her son, seeing Sheldon was staring at his plate. "What is this mom?"
"Dinner, now eat." Shelly said watching as Sheldon looked at her before picking up his fork. "So last week of school."
"Yeah, Callie will be looking forward to the summer now that I'm not leaving," Sheldon said looking at her. Taking a bite of dinner, Sheldon paused trying hard not to spit it back out. He hated nights when his mother experimented with food.
"Is it okay?" Shelly asked watching her son with a grin.
Swallowing Sheldon looked at her. "It's great mom."
"Good, I got the recipe from one of the science teachers at the university." Shelly said going back to her dinner. Sheldon nodded, not daring to say anything else as they ate. "You have dishes tonight."
"I know," Sheldon replied. They finished up, and while Sheldon did the dishes and cleaned up his mother graded papers. After he was done, Sheldon paused in the doorway to the living room to watch his mother. The woman's blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail, her glasses perched on the end of her nose. He smiled, turning back into the kitchen to grab a bottled iced tea.
Walking in he dropped down onto the sofa next to her. Holding out the tea he saw the smile that came to her face, and leaning he read over her shoulder. His mother was incredible; she not only raised him but also taught anthropology at the university in the next town.
"So I was thinking of taking a few courses at the uni this summer," Shelly said glancing at him.
"That would be cool, since you only teach part time during the summer," Sheldon told her, sitting up he picked up one of the papers she had been reading. He could see the mark on it wasn't very good. "Not the best crop of papers?"
"Not really," Shelly replied.
"So what courses are you thinking of taking?" Sheldon asked leaning back.
"Psych, and maybe forensics." Shelly replied.
"Interesting," Sheldon said shaking his head as he got up from the sofa. Walking up to his room, he paused in front of the mirror looking at the necklace again. With a shake of his head, he turned away from the mirror and walked over to his computer.
Sitting down he checked his email, finding a note from one of the others who were attending the art courses over the summer. Pausing briefly he wondered what he should write back, he had been excited about the possibilities of meeting the other.
Leaning back he stared at the others note for some time. They had talked about many things, and found out that they shared a lot in common. With a sigh, he wrote back that he wouldn't be able to attend and regretted that they wouldn't be able to meet. Pushing send, he sighed again and sat back.
Switching to another email, he was surprised to get a response back from his friend. Shifting to that email, Sheldon smiled as he read. They had been going to swap pictures when the time to leave for the summer was closer, and he found out that the other boy still wanted to. Sheldon felt butterflies in his stomach, as much as he wanted to see Todd, he had a slight misgiving about it.
Sheldon decided that it couldn't hurt, at least then he would know what he was missing. Todd had promised that they would go out, mostly as friend but hoping to have it turn into something more serious. Finding a good picture of himself he attached it to the email he was sending. Grinning, the boy leaned back and waited for the other to respond.
It came faster then he thought it would, and Sheldon felt a moment of panic. He wondered what the hell he was thinking, but taking a deep breath he opened the email. The sight that met his had his body going into shock. Todd was gorgeous, short spiky blond hair, deep blue eyes and the most amazingly sexy smile. Not only that, but Todd had sent a picture where he wasn't dressed, only a small thin sheet covered his lap.
Sheldon closed his eyes, taking a deep breath and trying to pull his body back under control. Opening his eyes he groaned. He cursed his mother, thinking that he was going to be missing out on getting to know that better. Closing the email he stared at the screen for several long moments until his mind turned to another person. The man that ran the antique shop was amazing.
At that thought, Sheldon's hand went back to the choker he was wearing. Shaking his head, Sheldon shut his computer down. Getting up he got ready for bed, and climbing in sighed again. He couldn't seem to get his mind off of the two men he had seen today, and with a smile Sheldon burrowed deeper into his bed.
"Sheldon, come on you're gonna be late for school." Shelly shook her son's shoulder again. This time she got a moan from his as her son tried to bury his head further under his pillow. Shelly laughed softly, nudging the boy again.
"Don't wanna get up," Sheldon muttered from under the pillow.
"School, last week kiddo," Shelly said leaving the room. Sheldon snorted, pulling his head from the pillow. So what if it was the last week of school. It's not like he had a lot to look forward to the summer. But at least he and Callie could hang out. Pulling himself out of bed, Sheldon moved towards the bathroom. On his way there he heard his mother called out that she was leaving.
"Bye mom!" Sheldon called passing the stairs. Going into the bathroom Sheldon turned on the water before stripping out of his pajamas. Climbing into the shower Sheldon quickly washed. Getting out he returned to his room to dress. Brushing his hair, Sheldon paused in front of his mirror seeing his hair was sticking up. Shaking his head he picked up his brush, grinning because his mother had felt the need to die the tips of his hair blue.
Finished dressing Sheldon left his room, heading into the kitchen. He was grateful that his mother had left him coffee. Grabbing a cup he placed a bagel into the toaster, while waiting he sipped at his coffee. A grin found his face at the thought of Callie and how happy she would be once she found out.
Grabbing his breakfast he dropped down into a kitchen chair. While he ate, he looked over the notes he had write for his history class. Finishing up he got up, turning off lights and locking doors he left the house to walk the six blocks to the school.
Sheldon dropped into a chair in the lunchroom. Sighing he picked at the food on his tray waiting for Callie to join them. It didn't take long for the hyperactive girl dropped down beside him. "Oh my god, you're so not gonna believe this!"
"What?" Sheldon asked looking at the girl. She was bouncing in her seat, her long curly hair bouncing with her.
"My dad decided that we're going on vacation, I'm spending the summer with my relatives in England." Callie replied bouncing even more.
Sheldon stared at her horrified. Surely he had misunderstood what she had just said. "What?"
"I'm going to Europe," She bounced. "Isn't that great?"
"Sure," Sheldon replied pushing his lunch away. He was suddenly not hungry anymore.
"Shel what's wrong?" Callie asked not bouncing.
"Mom said I couldn't go, that the summer program was too much money." Sheldon muttered. "She said if she could afford it, she would let me."
"Oh," Callie replied. Her eyes were sad as she looked at him.
Sheldon looked at her, seeing that she really looked down. "It's okay, that antique shop reopened again."
"Really?" she asked getting some of her enthusiasm back. Her eyes widened as Sheldon tipped his head slightly to show the choker that he was wearing. "You got this there?"
"Yeah," Sheldon replied. He grinned; it was hard not to when he thought about the necklace.
"Let me try it on," Callie replied.
"Hell no," Sheldon pulled away, seeing the hurt look on the girl's face. "Sorry, but the Sages' grandson made this ten years ago, I um well…"
"Oh?" Callie asked raising an eyebrow at her best friend.
"Callie," Sheldon hissed lightly. "He took over the shop, and well I feel kind of…" Sheldon trailed off, his face was red. Also he should be sticking his foot into his mouth. Most of his school didn't know he was gay, and well he didn't want them too. Small town that it was.
"Maybe we should check it out after school?" Callie asked turning to her cold lunch. She was trying to sound nonchalant, but Sheldon could hear something in her voice.
"Sure, I guess we can do that." Sheldon replied grinning as he watched her devour her lunch. Shaking his head he turned back to his own lunch, but found he wasn't all that hungry. He only listened half heartily as Callie described her grandmother's England townhouse, the country manor and some cousins he had never even heard of before.
"Maybe this isn't a great idea." Sheldon paused outside the door of the Briar patch. He glanced at Callie who was looking at the stuff in the window display.
"It's great idea, besides I want to check out the new owner." Callie replied glancing at him. "Come on Shel, be a man."
"Oh, that was so not funny," Sheldon muttered following after his friend. "Besides, what would you want with an antique shop?"
"Who knows what I might find?" Callie asked pushing the door open and stepping inside. Sheldon stopped behind her letting his eyes adjust to the dim interior of the place. In was only a second later when Callie bent over to whisper in his ear. "Oh he's cute."
Sheldon shot her a dirty look, but Callie just grinned at him as she walked away. Shaking his head he followed after the girl, wondering if he got into more trouble with her or on his own. Stopping just short of the counter he browsed through some of the things sitting on the table.
"Hey," Callie said eyeing the man behind the counter.
"Ma'am," Takoda replied nodding to her.
"Callie Jones," Callie replied holding out her hand to him. Takoda took it, smiling as his eyes went from her to Sheldon. Callie smiled; glancing back to see Sheldon seemed to be very interested in the stuff on the table. "That's my friend Sheldon."
"I know, I meet him yesterday," Takoda nodded when Sheldon glanced over at them.
"So how are you liking our little town so far?" Callie asked bring the man's attention back to her.
"It's nice," Takoda said. "Met several nice people."
"I bet," She said watching as the man's eyes drifted back to Sheldon. "So Shel was showing me the choker he bough here yesterday, and I was wondering if you have any others?"
"I'm not sure," Takoda replied pursing his lips. "I'd have to look through some of the things packed. I could check for you."
"That would be great," Callie replied eyeing the display case in front of her. "I really like his necklace, it's really cool."
"Thanks," Takoda grinned watching the girl.
Sheldon shook his head, he moved around the store listening to Callie as she talked the man's ear off. Grinning he went back to what he was looking at. He had always like antiques, and his room showed for it. Grinning he found a nightstand, looking over it he wondered if his mom would complain about him bring home another piece of furniture that needed work.
"It's nice isn't it?" Sheldon jumped at the voice. Turning he looked up at the man standing behind him.
"Yeah it is," Sheldon said softly. He held his breath when the man's hands reached for his neck.
"May I?" Takoda asked. "It's not sitting where it was meant to."
"Sure," Sheldon replied. He stood still while the man adjusted the necklace.
"I like the hair," Takoda replied shifting to adjust the tie on the back.
"Huh?" Sheldon asked closing his eyes.
"Your hair, its neat," Takoda replied. "My mom would never let me color mine."
"Oh, well my mom colors mine," Sheldon replied laughing softly. "When she gets bored or the mood strikes her."
"Ah, yeah she seemed like a cool lady," Takoda replied stepping away from the boy. He watched as Sheldon turned pale hazel eyes onto him.
"Thanks," Sheldon replied smiling nervously.
"Not a problem," Takoda turned walking back towards the counter. He watched as, Takoda walked away he knew he was staring but couldn't seem to help it. Takoda was amazing, at least to Sheldon he was.
"Come on we have homework," Callie said in his ear, Sheldon looked over at the girl.
"I finished mine," He grinned.
"Good, then you can help me with mine." She said wrapping an arm around his shoulders. Shaking his head, Sheldon allowed himself to lead from the shop. He waived over his shoulder at Takoda as Callie called out good-byes. "Wow, he's like wow."
"Yeah," Sheldon said adjusting his backpack. He laughed at Callie, seeing the girl's eyes had stars in them. "Hey now, I saw him first."
"Hum," she said as they headed towards Sheldon's house. They feel quiet, entering the house. Sheldon lead them into the kitchen grabbing sodas as they sat at the table. Callie pulled out her homework, glancing at Sheldon. "Thanks for the help Shel, I hate this stuff."
"I don't know why they're still giving us homework, it's so close to the end of the year." Sheldon replied glancing at what she was doing. Shaking his head, Sheldon helped her with her homework.
"Honey I'm home!" Shelly called as she entered the house. Smiling at the two teens at the table, she leaned over to kiss her son. "How was school?"
"Fun," Sheldon replied.
"I'm going to England!" Callie said bouncing. Seconds later she looked guilty, her eyes going to Sheldon. "Sorry Shel."
"It's all good," Sheldon replied.
"Well," Shelly replied patting her son on his shoulder. "Callie honey are you staying for dinner?"
"Sure, I mean I'll have to call my parents, but sure." Callie replied grinning as she got up to make the call.
"You okay kiddo?" Shelly asked softly when Callie was on the phone.
"Yeah, but it's gonna be a boring summer," Sheldon shook his head.
Shelly nodded, getting up to walk over to the refrigerator. Opening the door, she peered into the refrigerator. Sheldon watched his mother, listening to her as she muttered. He looked over at Callie as she came back to the table.
"My parents said yes," She said dropping down into the chair again.
"Great!" Shelly replied pulling out a few things. "So what do you guys what for dinner?"
"Pizza." Sheldon answered hearing his mother snort.
"Pizza isn't good for you," Shelly replied looking at them. "Why don't I make a nice tuna noodle casserole?"
"Um…" Sheldon looked Callie, seeing the girl was watching him. "Did that nice science professor give you the recipe?"
"He did," Shelly replied turning away to start making dinner.
"Great," Sheldon replied seeing Callie packing away her schoolwork. Turning to the girl he grinned. "Come on I have something to show you."
"Oh my god, you had the chance to spend the summer with him?" Callie whispered when Sheldon showed her the picture Todd had sent.
"Man I know I probably shouldn't have showed you, but he's just so sexy." Sheldon replied closing the picture. The last thing he needed was for his mother to see it.
"Just think of all the practice for art I could have," Sheldon grinned thinking to himself about drawing Todd. With a wistful sigh he sat back.
"Well you could always draw Takoda, he would make a wonderful model." Callie said turning to drop down on Sheldon's bed. Walking over Sheldon sat down at the head of his bed, watching his friend.
"Mom did say that the university was offering a summer art program." Sheldon replied looking down at his hands.
"Then maybe you should take it, at least it'll give you something to do." She replied watching him. "You never know, maybe you'll meet some hot college guy."
"Yeah," Sheldon replied laughing softly. It was a short time later when Sheldon's mom called then for dinner. Going down, Sheldon tried not to snicker when Callie took her first bite. It was funny though, watching the girl's face.
"Is this new Ms. Berg?" Callie asked softly.
"Why yes it is, Mr. Parker gave me the recipe." Shelly replied grinning across the table at her son. "I think every Monday I should try something new."
"Oh yeah that would be great mom," Sheldon replied although his voice was slightly sarcastic. He knew his mother picked up on it, and would make sure that next Monday they had something really awful. Stifling the moan that wanted to escape Sheldon went back to picking at his dinner.
Sheldon hugged Callie again, tears filled his eyes and he pulled back. "I'm gonna miss you."
"I know Shel, but I'll be back." Callie replied hugging her friend again. Sheldon hugged her tightly, knowing that it would be almost three months before he got to see her again. "And I promise to write every day."
"Okay," Sheldon replied knowing the she would keep her word.
"And I'll email you whenever I can," Callie said pulling back. Sheldon nodded, knowing that three months wasn't all that long. He would be able to deal, even if he was one of the only five kids spending the first month of vacation in their small town.
"Go, before your parents are screaming," Sheldon took a step back, smiling as he wiped his eyes. He watched as Callie nodded one last time before turning and walking away. Sheldon watched her go, watching until he could no longer see her. He still stood there, knowing that he had told his mom he would meet her back at her office by four.
With a final sigh, Sheldon turned and headed out towards the parking lot. He wanted to stay and watch the plane take off but knew he couldn't. At least without getting chewed out by his mother. Getting into the car, he turned it towards the University. He was looking forward to a very bleak summer.
Once at the university he had no trouble making his way to his mother's office. He found the woman going over papers, a horrified look on her face. "Mom?"
"Hum?" Shelly asked looking at her son. "Oh sorry, it's just I figure they would put more effort into their last papers, guess I was wrong."
"Oh," Sheldon replied, "I'm gonna go down and check out that art class."
"Alright sweetie," Shelly replied going back to her grading. Sheldon shook his head, turning to walk back towards the media building. He looked through the papers and posters and read on a few of the things.
"Hey Sheldon," A woman said smiling at him.
"Hey Pam," Sheldon replied to the pretty college student.
"Thinking of taking that art course?" She asked raising an eyebrow at him.
Sheldon shrugged picking up the paper on the course. "I don't know, I'd rather take the advance course, but I have a feeling I won't be let in."
"True, since you didn't take any last year," She replied grinning.
"I modeled, hell I can already do what they do in that class." Sheldon picked up the other paper. "Of course, I'll have to see if I can persuade the teacher to see it my way."
"Well I wish you luck," Pam said moving away. "I'll be home for the summer, working with my father."
"Have fun, bye." Sheldon replied turning his attention back to the papers and posters. After getting the information he wanted Sheldon headed back towards his mother's office.
"Ready to go?" She asked.
"Yeah," Sheldon replied following after his mother. He was ready to start his summer alone, at least he had a few things to look forward too. He found that the antique shop was cool, and there was always the beach. And Pan was due back at the end of the month. At least with Pan, who was quiet he could spend time watching movies.
"Shel?" Sheldon looked over at his mother. "Come on sweetie, smile. The summer won't be that bad."
"I'm okay, just missing my friends already." Sheldon replied.
"Well there is Takoda Sage, you seem to like the Briar Patch." Shelly replied as she turned her attention back to the room.
"I think he's more interested in you, besides he probably closer to your age." Sheldon muttered hearing his mother laugh.
"Sorry sweetie, but that man is closer to your age then mine, and he's alone too in this town." Shelly replied. "Maybe you could see if he needs help at the shop."
"Oh sure, are you telling me to get a job?" Sheldon asked.
"I'm just suggesting that you find something else to do other then sitting at home." Shelly replied. "Since even if you decide to take the course it won't start for another two weeks."
"Okay, I promise not to sit home moping." Sheldon grinned seeing his mother looked pleased. Shaking his head he turned his attention to the outside of the car. It was going to be an interesting summer indeed.
Dark's Ramblings: I hate how first chapters seem to go nowhere. I guess though you have to introduce the characters and stuff. Plus I wanted you all to get a look at Sheldon's mom, since they're close. Anyways hope you enjoyed.
Dark's Preview: Sheldon is finding himself hanging out more and more at the Briar Patch, and Takoda finds that he likes having the kid around.