The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

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Barbara

 

Johnny

 

A Father's Love

December 28 is Andrew Duggan's birthday and the day fan fiction uses for Murdoch's birthday. I hope you enjoy it.

Murdoch sat on the front porch of his oldest friend Dr. Sam Jenkins drinking coffee with him. They were watching the quiet activity of the town. Christmas had just passed three days prior. People were still visiting friends and family. Some were waiting on the afternoon stage to take them back home.

"Well old friend, Happy Birthday to you; another year older."

As he smiled ruefully he looked at his friend. "Don't remind me Sam."

"Is Maria planning a celebration for you?"

"No Sam. We are just having a quiet dinner. Of course, you are invited. I can count on you, can't I?"

"Of course you can."

Refilling his cup Murdoch continued. "Paul and Teresa should be back today, arriving on the noon stage. I have to pick up the mail when it arrives so I will pick them up as well."

As they sat in silence, Murdoch noticed two little boys. A little blond looked about ten years old. His little dark haired companion, about four years old, was racing about and tripped, falling in the dirt. The older boy rushed to help his companion up, checked for injuries and started brushing off his clothes. The blond put his arm around the younger boy, promising he would ask Pa to buy each a peppermint stick. Murdoch sat looking longingly at the two boys as they headed off.

"Murdoch? You okay my friend? I kind of lost you there for a minute."

Turning his attention back to Sam, Murdoch spoke. "I was thinking about my boys. How I wish I had them with me. If I could bring them both home to me that would be the greatest gift I could ever hope to have. I know Scott is being well cared for. I will give Harlan Garrett that."

Gazing into his coffee cup gathering his thoughts, he finally spoke again. "It is Johnny I am so worried about. The Pinkerton agents have no new leads. Every time they get close, Maria goes into hiding. I have seen some of the children in Mexico; dirty, thin, shabby clothes, begging for food, or for money. I often wonder if that is my sweet Johnny's fate. Why did she have to take him? Was it to hurt me? If it is, she succeeded. My heart is broken."

"Murdoch don't" Sam could see the sadness in Murdoch's eyes; the unshed tears threatening to fall.

"This time of year is even harder. Both of the boys have birthdays in December. Then there is Christmas. Even Teresa is a December birthday."

"I get updates from time to time from Garrett's butler. He sneaks letters to me to let me know how Scott is doing. The boy wants for nothing. Garrett sees to that. The only thing he doesn't have is a father. Garrett won't allow any contact or he threatened to take Scott away to Europe, and I would never know how he is doing. There would be no chance of getting him back."

Pouring each another cup of coffee, lacing it with some bourbon Sam smiled. "For medicinal purposes old friend."

Murdoch was silent for a while as he sipped his coffee. "Birthdays, Christmas. I wonder if Johnny gets to celebrate these or anything else with Maria running from town to town. Is he safe, loved, cared for? Does he have enough to eat? All of this weighs heavy on my mind constantly."

Sam placed a hand on Murdoch's shoulder. He knew he was hurting. Sometimes a touch helps more than the spoken word.

"I sit trying to figure out what I could have done differently. If I would have paid more attention to Maria, maybe I could see she was unhappy. I was too busy trying to create and grow Lancer. I don't know where it all went wrong. If she was that unhappy I would have let her go. Why did she have to take my dear son?"

A tear traveled down Murdoch's cheek. "I have spent many sleepless nights in Johnny's nursery. His little clothes, his toys, his bed, everything just as it was the night he was taken away. It makes me feel close to him. I sit in that rocking chair and speak of my dreams for him. I know it is foolish, but it helps me hang on to the hope that we will find him. Then he will be back here beside me."

Sam changed the subject to try to lift his friend's mood. They made small talk about the weather, happenings in town and an upcoming wedding.

The afternoon stage came rumbling in on time. As the passengers exited, Paul O'Brien stepped down. He turned to lift Teresa down. Teresa ran into Murdoch's arms.

"I missed you, little lady. Did you have a nice trip?"

"Oh yes, and I bought you something for your birthday. Daddy said I can't give it to you until after supper."

Murdoch spoke to Paul briefly, then handed Teresa a nickel. "Paul, why don't you take Teresa to spend that nickel on some candy? I have to wait for Henry to sort the mail at the post office. Once I get it, we can head home."

As Paul and Teresa left, Murdoch turned to Sam to continue their conversation. Just then, Jimmy the telegraph operator's son came running, calling to Murdoch.

"Mr. Lancer, Mr. Lancer. I have a telegram for you and Pa says to get it to you right away."

"Thank you Jimmy. Tell your father thanks." He handed the boy a dime, bringing a smile to his face.

Murdoch opened the telegram, and started to read it. It was from the Pinkerton agency. Murdoch was hoping for good news. He started to read.

'MR.LANCER stop. WE HAVE FOUND YOUR WIFE AND SON. IT IS WITH GREAT SORROW THAT WE HAVE TO ADVISE YOU OF THE DEATH OF BOTH. THERE WAS A FEVER IN THE SMALL TOWN THEY WERE LIVING IN AND BOTH DIED. THEIR DEATHS HAVE BEEN VERIFIED BY THE PADRE AT THE MISSION WHO CAME TO KNOW THEM WELL. HE SHOWED ME THE PLACE THEY ARE BURIED. PLEASE ACCEPT OUR CONDOLENCES IN YOUR LOSS. stop
AGENT FETCHER
PINKERTON DETECTIVE AGENCY'

Murdoch's face turned white. He began to struggle to bring air into his lungs. His hands were shaking as he read the telegram again, and again.

Growing concerned, Sam tried to get his friend to calm down. "Murdoch, what is it? Tell me!"

Murdoch dropped the telegram, and as he finally got some air into his lungs he started loudly yelling in a voice of pure agony.

"NO, NO! Not my Johnny, my child. First she took him from me and now you take him. GOD, I hate you. Nooo, it is not right! He was an innocent child. He did not deserve to die. Damn you Maria! No!"

The quiet of the night was shattered with Murdoch's mournful cries. Scott stepped out of his room just as Johnny threw open his door, colt in hand.

"Scott, what's going on? That sounds like Murdoch!"

"I don't know Johnny, let's go check it out."

Scott knocked on Murdoch's door but got no answer. The mournful cries continued. He threw open the door and he and Johnny rushed in. They found Murdoch in the throes of a nightmare, blankets and quilt tangled around him. He was drenched in sweat.

Just as the boys made it to Murdoch's bed, he opened his eyes and sat up, gasping for air. He had a look of confusion on his face which had tears streaming down.

"Sir, are you okay?" Scott asked as he got a cloth and soaked it in the wash basin, trying to wipe Murdoch's face; hoping it would calm him."

Johnny, growing worried, sat on the side of the bed to be near his father. He grabbed Murdoch's hand. "Murdoch, what's wrong?"

Getting his breathing under control, and seeming more aware of things, Murdoch grabbed Johnny, crushing him to his chest and kissing the top of his head. He kept repeating over and over "It's not true. It is not true. My son is alive, he is alive. I've got my boy, my Johnny!"

Still locked in Murdoch's crushing hug, Johnny was able to look toward his brother. "Scott, is he alright? I never seen him like this."

"I think it was just a bad dream, a nightmare Johnny."

"Umm, Murdoch?..Ah..Pa? You are crushing my ribs. I need to breathe."

Murdoch released Johnny but then placed a shaking hand on each side of his face. He was looking into the deep blue eyes of his son.

"Johnny, Johnny. I thought I lost you. I thought I lost you for good!"

Scott went to the side table next to Murdoch's chair and poured some brandy. "Here Sir, drink this. Johnny and I heard you calling out. Do you want to talk about it?"

"No Son, thank you, but no. Maybe in the morning. I am sorry I woke you boys. Go back to bed. I'm fine."

"Hey, that's my line!" Johnny quipped as he smiled at his father.

"Now that you woke us, it is past midnight so it is the 28th. Happy birthday old man. We got big plans for your day; presents, big dinner, everything."

Murdoch smiled at his two sons. "I have all the presents I need right here in my room. There can be no greater gift for me than to have my sons home and at my side. Good night boys, and thank you. I love you both."

"Good night Sir." Come on Johnny, let's get back to bed.

"G'night. Happy birthday!"

 

 

 

~ end ~
28 December 2019 - Happy Heavenly Birthday Mr Duggan

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