1865. A farm outside Mumfordville, Kentucky. Two teenage boys, one a blond wearing overalls and the other a brunette in a suit, stood in the middle of a field.
"Fine!" the blond shouted, the elongated vowel betraying his Southern accent.
"Fine!" the brunette shouted back, crisp English accent blurring the vowel.
"Be that way!" The blond pivoted on his heel and stalked away.
"I shall!" The brunette stormed the other way.
The blond stormed into the house, letting the door slam with a satisfying BANG.
The brunette let the gate slam behind him as he strode on into the fields surrounding the farm.
Intent on her work, the older woman bent over the wood stove did not even look up as she spoke. "David, I'm very upset with you. That's no way to talk to your brother."
The blond boy stalked to her side, gesturing angrily toward the window. "Ma, Micky ain't my brother! He ain't nothin' but some British brat we 'dopted!"
Ma sighed and straightened, pushing a strand of greying blonde hair behind her ear as she turned to face her youngest son. "Just 'cause he ain't 'Merican like you's no reason t'yell at him."
The man at the table spoke up, turning cloudy white eyes in the direction of the dispute. "Y'owe Mick a 'pology, squirt."
David groaned, running both hands through his fine blond hair in an expression of frustration. "Aw, Bobby. ... You, too?"
Bobby frowned and shook his head. "Lissen, kid. I ain't on nobody's side, here. I had enough o'that in the war." Though he could not see it, he could imagine David's wince plainly. "I heard you two fussin', and you started it."
Micky walked through the family's grazing fields, the argument with David still ringing through his head. He absently twisted the ring he wore on his left pinkie and closed his eyes involuntarily as the memories came rushing in.
Suddenly, he was back at the train station at Richmond. He saw his mother place the ring on his finger and kiss him goodbye after his parents boarded the train. He saw David's engineer father board the train and help him off as the train began to pull out.
Micky did not want to remember the next few moments, but they were seared into his mind as with a branding iron. He felt agony afresh as an out-of-control train hurtled around a bend and slammed into the train his parents were on. Their car had been crumpled like a piece of paper -- they had not suffered; there wasn't even time to scream.
Micky was suddenly an orphan, and David was suddenly fatherless.
Micky's eyes snapped open as the tears coursed down his face. It was sweet of Mrs. Jones to take him in till his people in England came for him. But it had been two months... would they ever come?
In the meantime, Mrs. Jones told him they had adopted him -- informally, of course -- till his people could claim him.
Suddenly, Mrs. Jones's call broke into his thoughts. "Micky! Supper!"
"Coming, Mrs. Jo..." Micky paused, chewing thoughtfully on his lip. If he was indeed adopted... "Coming, Ma!" The word David and Bobby used with her felt odd on his tongue -- but somehow wonderful at the same time. He smiled as he raced to the house, unaware he was being watched.
The curly-haired man watching from the trees grinned and turned to his friends. "Jackpot!" the older Micky crowed. "Found 'em!" Then, he chuckled. "Well, me, anyway. Let's go!"
Mike held up a hand, halting his excited partners' progress. "Hold it, man. Dressed like we are? I doubt we're in Medieval England again!" Disgruntled mumbles of assent were his only reply for a moment.
Peter suddenly took Davy's and Mike's hands and said, "Hold hands so we don't get separated. Micky, turn us all invisible, and let's go."
"Hang on a sec," Davy said, letting go of Peter's hand and shrinking to six inches high. Peter lifted him to his shoulder, where he held onto the green-dyed leather and Peter's hair.
Satisfied he was settled, Peter took Micky's hand. Micky nodded and widened his eyes, then narrowed them.
The forest then seemed empty. Movement was heard as they walked toward the house, punctuated by one lone remark from Davy.
"This is damned unnerving!"
The Monkees caught up with the family just as they were leaving the house. They invisibly hitched a ride on the wagon to the train station.
An old-time steam engine pulled up and after a few moments, the passengers began to disembark. Families scanned the crowd anxiously, looking for their long-separated kin.
Suddenly Mrs. Jones began to jump and wave. "Pete!" she screamed, "Pete!" She broke into a run, racing toward the platform.
Peter's double, dressed in a Union uniform with his fine blonde hair cut raggedly, broke into a wide grin and raced toward her. They met on the platform, embracing and crying. "Ma," he sobbed. "Oh, Ma! I can't believe I'm finally home!"
David and Young Micky surged forward to join their family, forgetting all about Bobby. "Pete?" Bobby called. "Ma? David? Mi-Micky?" He took a step forward, disoriented and confused.
Suddenly a hand closed in his. "You're going to be okay," his own voice, just a shade deeper, said in his ear.
Bobby froze, too startled to even call out. When he found his voice, he hissed, "Who....who are you?"
"Friends," a familiar baritone said. Bobby blinked. Put a Southern drawl in the voice, and he would sound like Pete! "Your family's up on the platform," the voice continued, and we're taking you to them."
"How.... how do I know I can trust you?" Bobby asked.
"Because we've not a mind t'hurt you," a British voice said. "You can't see --- how did it ---?"
Bobby sighed. "Battle o'Mill Springs. Took a musket ball across the nose. Broke my nose -- scarred it, they say -- and made my eyes white. I can't see past the whiteness."
"Cataracts," the voice like his said.
"Can you burn them off?" the almost-Pete voice asked.
A moment, then the voice like his sounded full of regret. "Can't take the chance. My lasers might end up hurting him worse."
Bobby frowned. "Las-ers?"
"We're here," the his-voice said. "Lettin' you go now." And the hands were removed.
Then Bobby felt familiar arms encircle him and Ma's warm voice said in his ear, "Bobby, we're sorry! How'd you get here from way back there?"
Bobby blinked, even as he hugged back. "Some friends brought me, Ma. C'mon, meet them! They sound almost like us!"
"Meet who?" Ma asked, her voice full of confusion. "Bobby.... honey.... you're alone. There's nobody there."
"But...." Bobby whirled around as if he could see.
Once the Jones family was back at home, Pete told his family the best news he could have delivered -- he had been at Appomattox a week prior. Confederate General Lee had surrendered.
The war that had taken their father and Bobby's sight was over. Pete, the middle brother they often worried would never return, was home to stay.
A loud and joyous celebration broke out, including David's breaking out a fiddle and laying it in Bobby's hands. Music rippled out into the night, and the voices rose in song.
Young Micky slipped away from the others and walked out into the field. He couldn't stand to be in that house one more minute. Seeing the family ties made him feel so alone. He missed his parents... missed England.... missed everything he had known and loved. At the moment he felt like the ultimate outsider, intruding on the family's joy and happiness.
He no longer had parents....David blamed him for his father's death.... he had no right to be with them. Not now. Not when their family was finally coming together. Not when his family was gone forever. Tears flowing freely down his face now, he raised his face to the clear night sky and screamed with all his might. "Mum!! Dad!! Why'd you have to leave me?!! WHY??!?!"
In a fit of pure anger fueled by indescribable pain, Young Micky ripped his mother's ring from his left pinkie and flung it into the trees. The motion was so violent; it drove him to his knees. He remained there, pounding the earth with his fists even as it was dampened by his tears, screaming out his agony to the wind.
Strong, calloused hands gripped the boy from behind. He screamed even as he turned -- and struck out.
Fortunately, Pete was prepared. He ducked the blow and crushed the brunette boy to his shoulder, holding him and rocking him as the grief ran its course. "Ssshhh...." he soothed. "Shhh, it's okay..... You belong now, Mick.... you're part of our family...."
Young Micky turned his head from side to side as best he could, sobbing, "....David.... hates me......can't understand.... still has a mother...."
A smaller hand touched his arm. Startled, Young Micky turned to find himself looking into the tear-streaked face of a blond boy his own age. "......I'm sorry....." David choked out. ".....too busy blamin' you for Pa's death.... never give a thought t'how you felt...."
Pete sat on his heels and smiled, watching his natural-born and adopted little brothers embrace. He raised his eyes and mouthed, Thank you, knowing in his soul healing had finally begun. For everyone.
When the ring came sailing their way, Davy caught it and used his tracer to return it to its rightful shape as the final crown segment. He smiled as it vanished, returning to their home dimension and Mike's wife Phyllis. "Crown down. Five jewels to go."
Peter watched the tableau on the field and whispered, "They've made their peace -- he'll be looking for that ring."
With a nod, Micky slid his pinkie ring off and lay it on the ground at the edge of the clearing, where it would be plainly seen.
"What are you doing?" Mike whispered.
"Found that in London a few weeks ago," Micky smiled. "No skin off my teeth, got plenty more." He held up his hands, where three rings still glinted -- one on each of his ring fingers, one on the middle finger of his left hand. "Besides, it looks identical to his. He'll think it's the same one he threw." Micky sighed as he moved into the tight knot the others were forming. "Guess that's the end of that ring's adventures."
Mike threw Micky a tight smile as he triggered his watch and the Monkees vanished, heading toward their next adventure.
Voices approached the woods. Pete, David and Young Micky raced into the clearing. "Here it is!" David called. He picked up the ring and turned it over in his hands before he tossed it to Micky. Micky smiled and slipped it onto his pinkie, sighing in relief.
But as it turned out, its original owner had been wrong. The ring's adventures were far from over.
Fifteen-year-old Micky Doelyns kept the ring close by for years. His birth family never did come for him, and he accepted the love and care of the Joneses as his family of choice. He kept the Doelyns surname as an acknowledgement of the family he lost that horrific day in Richmond.
In 1872, twenty-two-year-old Micky married. The pinkie ring was an ersatz wedding ring till he could afford a real one. When he could afford one, five years later, his bride wore the first one around her neck, till he felt comfortable enough to replace it on his pinkie, where it stayed.
Micky became a successful businessman, and a more successful husband and father. For their 40th wedding anniversary, he took his wife and adopted teenage son to England. After a wonderful visit with family and childhood friends, they booked passage home upon the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. "You deserve the best," Micky told his family.
Four days into the voyage, something went horribly wrong. Huddled on deck with his family, Micky took a crewman aside and explained that his son was a minor and could he please find a place? The crewman nodded and pointed. Micky took his son aside and pressed the ring into his palm, closing his hand around it. "This was your grandmother's. You're a Doelyns --- wear the name proudly, my boy." Then he kissed his son on the forehead and steered him to safety. His wife refused to leave his side and she, too, kissed the child and bid him farewell.
For the rest of his life, Micky Doelyns Jr would never, ever forget the sight of the massive Titanic slipping beneath the waves. He would never forget the crashing of the huge ship snapping in two like a twig. He would be forever haunted by the screams of the dying in the water as they faded one by one by one. He would hate to be cold, as the cold reminded him of the frigid April night and the sight of his parents carried to their deaths with hundreds of others.
Micky, Jr. became an actor in America. The ring never left his finger, and became a way for audiences to recognize him even through the heavy makeup he wore in his myriad roles. Eventually, he took a wife and adopted a son.
Micky Doelyns III was rebellious, and caused his father a lot of pain. As a symbol of a break with his father, he altered the spelling of his last name to Dolenz. When he found his one true love, music, he began to straighten up. He found some friends who supported him, helped him -- became the brothers he'd never had. Together, they formed a band.
On their own talent and merits, they began to be noticed. They began gaining a fan base, and getting popular. They signed a record contract and put out a single. When it hit number one, he received a package the very next day from his aging father. Inside was the pinkie ring and a simple note:
From that moment on, the pinkie ring never left the musician's hand ---- as he played drums for the Monkees.
Micky's ring had come full circle.
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