The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

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Buckskin

 

 

Aquí Gatito Gatito
(Here Kitty, Kitty)
 A get well card/story for Melanie Maben.

It was weak from lack of water and food. And when he picked it up, it hung limp in his hands. The bones under the hide felt sharp on his fingers, and he wondered how long this little fella had been out here on his own. Johnny Madrid Lancer, ex-gunhawk, gently eased the tail up… Oops, sorry chica, and he smiled. He wondered how long this little girl had been on her own. Taking his canteen, he settled himself on the ground with the half-grown kitten on his lap and poured water into his cupped hand. She did not move. He dipped his fingertip into the water and held it to her mouth, and she still did not move.

“Hey Chica, ya need to take this water, you’re gonna feel better, I promise…” The soft, gentle voice kept up the litany, soothing, lulling, comforting. He dipped his finger, again, into the water and let it drip onto the tiny pink tongue protruding from the mouth. The large green eyes opened, focused, and licked the moisture from Johnny’s finger. Tipping the canteen again into his palm, he was then able to entice the forlorn kitten to drink.

Once the water had been introduced, the soft-bristled tongue lapped it up quickly as Johnny filled his hand two more times. Finally sated, the little furball sat on his lap and turned to look up as its rescuer. Green eyes met blue, and Johnny had to smile.

“C’mon, Chica, let’s get you somethin’ ta eat,” and he stood, picking up the cat, and he grinned when she settled on his arm as he walked to Barranca and mounted. “I can tell ya right now that the ol’ man is gonna have somethin’ ta say about me draggin’ another stay home. But I gotta tell ya that he understands, really. He makes an awful lotta noise at first, but he’ll calm down after a bit. Maybe he won’t even know you’re there…” Not likely, but she don’t need ta know that…

Chica found a comfortable spot cuddled in the crook of Johnny’s arm and elbow. Her head dropped until it was in the palm of his hand, and he was able to curl his thumb and rub the top of her head, and he felt the sweet purr build in her throat.

Coming in the back door, Johnny scouted for Murdoch, hoping he could get the cat up to his room before he was seen. Successful in his attempt, he crossed the kitchen as Teresa and Maria went into the pantry, discussing items for a welcome basket they would bring to the new neighbors tomorrow. Murdoch was at his desk, his head bowed with pencil in hand, entering numbers into the ranch ledger. The coast was clear and Johnny silently went up the stairs to his room.

Closing the door behind him, he gently laid the cat on his bed as he curled a blanket around her, draping the edge of the cover over her, creating a den. Satisfied with her surroundings, she began to purr, and Johnny knew he had the time to find her food.

<><><><> 

“Johnny, what are you looking for?” Teresa asked as she watched her brother digging through the pantry shelves. When he turned to face her, she saw it. The ‘look’. It wasn’t guilt, nor was it apprehension. It was more like ‘dang, someone knows now’, but he held his ground.

“Need somethin’ ta feed a cat. Found it alongside the road, nearly starved…” And he needn’t say more.

Teresa’s face softened, and her mouth formed an ‘O’, then she sighed.

“Got anything I can give her?” he asked with the smile she couldn’t refuse.

“I have just the thing, Johnny. Oh, ah, Murdoch doesn’t know, does he?” Teresa asked with a conspiratorial smile.

“Nope, an’ I’m not tellin’ him!”

“Where is it?”

“My room. I’m goin’ upstairs; can you bring somethin’ when ya get it ready?”

“Yes, I’ll get it right now!” And she couldn’t help the smile as she thought about Johnny Madrid’s soft heart.

She knocked on the door, then opened it and went in. There on the bed was Johnny, stretched out with a small patch of gray-black fur curled against his side. Teresa approached the bed slowly and placed a towel down on the blankets, then carefully put a small dish of broth on the cloth.

Lightly stroking the fur, Johnny roused Chica from her slumber and, again, dipped his finger in the bowl to alert the twitching nose of food. The pink tongue licked the liquid before it had a chance to drip.

Teresa pushed the dish closer, and Chica began to lap the chicken broth as if starved. “There is more broth, Johnny, if you think she needs more.”

“Think it’s a good idea ta wait a while. Don’t want her gettin’ sick,” Johnny murmured softly. Nodding her head in agreement, Teresa smiled and left the room.

<><><><> 

He was trying to sleep. Morning always seemed to come early, but sleep, right now, was out of the question. Every time he moved his foot under the blankets, his bedpartner pounced on his toes with every motion. It seemed as though the dish of broth and a little sleep had the cat recuperating at Johnny’s expense. But as time went by, Chica grew sleepy, and again curled at his side.

The kisses were sweet as she nuzzled his ear, sending a shower of goosebumps flooding down his body and he wondered where she’d been all of his life. He held her in his arms, her golden hair spilling over his hands, and he was lost in heaven! The kisses were intensifying, she was humming in his ear, and he couldn’t help the grin…

Johnny’s eyes shot open, and he stopped the movement that would have had him sitting up. The kisses were real, and the goosebumps were real, and he forced himself to endure the sweet torture as Chica cuddled into him, showering him with affection as she licked his ear.

<><><><> 

“Johnny! I’m glad you’re home for lunch!” Teresa bounded out the back door.

“Musta done somethin’ good! Ya never greeted me like this before!” Johnny said with a laugh.

“No, it’s not anything you did, Johnny. It’s what you’re going to do!”

He stopped in his tracks, suddenly suspicious. “What am I gonna do…?

“Johnny, the cat, she belongs to the new neighbors! They have been missing her terribly! You have to take her over there! I didn’t tell Melanie that you found her. I wanted it to be a surprise!”

<><><><> 

Johnny dismounted, then stopped for a moment before stepping up onto the porch. The warm, contented bundle inside his coat was purring again. Johnny had, in the short time he’d known her, grown partial to the cat song and wanted to enjoy it one more time. But he gathered himself together, then knocked on the door.

It was soon pulled open, and Johnny’s breath caught in his throat. It was her! And he was momentarily speechless.

“Yes? May I help you?” she asked, but a frown began to crease her forehead when he didn’t answer.

Shaking himself out of his reverie, he spoke. “’Scuse me, Ma’am, I, ah, I think this belongs ta you…” and Johnny pulled his coat aside and handed the fur bundle to the shocked woman. It’s HER! How did I dream of her?

“Oh! Cynder! I thought you were gone!” And heartfelt tears trickled down her face. “Oh, please, come in! Mr…?”

“Lancer, Ma’am, Johnny Lancer,” he answered softly.

“Please, come in. My name is Melanie!”

Guess some dreams do come true!

 

 

~ end ~
February 2020

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