The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

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¿Qiuén es Este Hombre, Mi Sobrino?

(Who is This Man, My Nephew?)
An episode tag for The High Riders
This has not been proofed by anyone. All mistakes are mine.

Is he really who they say he is? He looks too young to be the hero of our people. If everything that was rumored were true, there was much more to this man than anyone here gave him credit for.

Cipriano watched as the young man slept. The Patrón thought it best that, should Johnny wake, he would be more at ease if he saw his uncle beside him and not a stranger. But wasn’t Cip a stranger? Johnny couldn’t possibly remember from before… Hermana, why were you so foolish? This boy shouldn’t have suffered because of your wandering and selfish ways…

Was it only yesterday they all watched in horrific fascination as the streak of gold raced across the open pasture with the banditos so close behind? What did Johnny think he was doing, besides making a grand attempt to get himself killed? But wasn’t that what Madrid had been known for? Do you think so little of yourself that you take all these chances, Sobrino? Have all the rumors been true?

Cipriano studied the face that resembled the beautiful sister he remembered. There was not much of the Patrón to be seen in this niño. He did not have the height of his father, but he did have the brilliant blue color in his eyes, and Cip detected muy stubbornness. Now, that was like the Patrón! And Cip had to chuckle.

Then he wondered if Johnny would stay. Would he take his rightful place as a third owner of Lancer or would the wildness dictate he leave and live his wayward life without the boundaries and repetitions that ranch life demanded, like his mother? If he did that, would the next word they heard of him be that of his death?

Cip shook the morbid thoughts away, chastised himself for… how had the Patrón said? ‘putting the cart before the horse’. Johnny had not even regained consciousness from the bullet in his back, and Cip was concerned about him leaving. Dale tiempo… (Give him time.)

Again, Cip had to wonder at his sister’s impulsive behavior. It had condemned Johnny to a tragic life at an impossibly young age. How had he survived?

And, Cip wondered, how had he excelled? But time was against him, and the tio knew the young man’s days were numbered. He needs to stay here, he needs familia, he just does not know it yet.

The latch of the door ticked, and Cip turned as Murdoch quietly slipped into the room. Coming to the bed, the Lancer patriarch looked down at his son… so young…

“Has he been awake?” he asked, his words tinged with anxious hope.

“No, Patrón. It will take time,” Cip consoled. And he looked into the face of Murdoch Lancer and saw the need for a chance, a desperate yearning to have his family as it should have been all along. Say it, Patrón! Say the words! Do not push them from your mind! But, Murdoch sighed and left the room.

The Partón needs to learn to say these special words, things that will tell his niños that he loves them. And to tell them the truth of what happened when they were so young. Señor Scott will need to hear why you left him in Boston, and you will have to tell Juanito about his Mama. Of her unstable mind and her ways…

In the silence after the Patrón left them alone, Cip, once again, thought back to the moment of the golden horse as he galloped toward the house. None of them knew at that point if Johnny had joined the ranks of the banditos until they saw him fall to the ground and lay still. They all thought him to be dead. Cipriano caught the gasp of… was that pain and grief from the Patrón he so clearly heard? But then Johnny raised his gun and took out some of Pardee’s men. He then heard the sigh of relief that Johnny was alive. It was so vivid in Cip’s mind as he recalled the valiant deeds of his Sobrino that kept Lancer safe.

But, what of now? Would Johnny stay and claim what was rightfully his? Would Johnny and his brother become the siblings the Patrón fervently hoped for?

Señor Scott had been a surprise. When he arrived three days ago, no one thought he would stay, but the man from Boston proved them all wrong. Cip tended to avoid early opinions, but he suspected that Scott Garrett Lancer was a good man. Bueno! The Patrón, he deserves strong and honorable sons! And Cip’s recollections went back to the night time visit from the Easterner as he checked on his brother.

The clock in the great room had struck two. The moon cast silver patterns that danced across the floor as they sifted through the curtains that fluttered in the soft breeze from the open window. A buttery flood oozed into the darkness as Scott eased the door open and the comfort of the hall lamps cast its warm glow in the room. Scott came to the bed and gently sat on the edge as he watched his brother sleep.

Brother! He’d always wanted a brother. But did he want this one? It’s not like I can pick and choose… I will have to give it time.

Cip read the thoughts that flitted across the lean, handsome face, the questions, and apprehensions. Scott had felt betrayed when Johnny had not come to his aid in Morro Coyo as he was assaulted by Pardee's men. This ‘brother’ had watched three men try their best to pound the stuffing out of him, and Johnny just let it happen.

Cipriano read that in his eyes. “Do you understand, Senór?” Cip whispered.

Scott’s head came up and met Cip’s gaze. “Do I understand why he didn’t help me in town?” he asked.

Cip only nodded.

Scott broke the tension with his smile. “I do now, I understand why he couldn’t say what he was doing or wasn’t doing. But I regret not discussing plans with him. If we could have…”

“There was no time, Señor.” Cip took a deep breath. “I know that you fought in a war. But not all wars are the same. They do not all have the same rules and are very different. Where your hermano comes from, there are no rules. Perhaps, Señor, if you give it time, both of you give it time, you will begin to find common ground. It is in you and Johnny to come to terms in the issues of family.

“Where he has been, the people call him their hero. He fought for them and almost died for them. He is a good man, Señor. I hope you get to know him. You owe it to yourself and your hermano.”

Scott turned his attention back to Johnny, and he smiled. I am looking forward to our first conversation as brothers he thought to himself. He quietly got to his feet and faced the Lancer Segundo. He reached out his hand, and Cipriano grasped it in his. “Thank you, Cipriano.” Then Scott made his way from the room and vowed to give this time to work out.

Cipriano sat back in his chair as he thought of Scott. What would it have been like for these two muchachos to have grown up here at Lancer? He leaned to the side and settled his chin in his hand. Then began to chuckle. Oh, the Patrón, he would have had his hands full! This niño would be muy travieso! (much trouble). The chuckle began to shake the broad shoulders of the Lancer Segundo.  The path to the woodshed would have been clearly marked!

Dawn stained the sky pink as a soft, brief knock sounded at the door. It slowly opened as Teresa came to stand next to Cip with a steaming cup of coffee. He smiled at the girl and accepted the brew.

“Gracias Teresa!”

“How is he, Cipriano? Has he been awake yet?” the girl asked of her new brother.

“No, chica, but he has slept deeply all night.”

She sighed, and Cipriano knew what was on her mind.

“Give it time, chica. You cannot know a man or what is in his heart in these short hours.”

Teresa smiled, she knew Cip spoke the truth. Oh, she so wanted this to work! For Murdoch and for the boys! She wanted them to be a family. To be her family!

Cipriano refused to relinquish the watch over Johnny. He wanted this time to be with his nephew. Murdoch could rest. Scott would help to put things in order after the attack and to establish his role as the Patrón’s son, and he needed to develop a feel for the ranch. Cipriano could take this precious time to be with Johnny.

He was certain Johnny would not remember him as his Tio, but Cip would like nothing better than to re-establish that relationship. The wildly active toddler with the raven-wing black hair and jewel-like deep blue eyes had stolen the Segundo’s heart when he lived here those two precious years so very long ago. And for all those long years after, Cip had wondered what had become of his nephew, until the Pinkerton’s reports began to arrive. Johnny Madrid, the Hero of the People, was his Sobrino! And Cip was proud as if he were Johnny’s father. And he was as terrified as Murdoch had been as he thought about the dangers.

But he is here now and hopefully, he would stay and accept his birthright. He has the scars to prove he is not afraid to fight, and their people held him in high regard for his valor. He was honored and celebrated and now… he was here, where he should have been all along. Por favor, Sobrino, quédate! (Please, nephew, stay!)

¿Qiuén es este hombre? And Cipriano grinned widely, This is who he is! His pride in this young man caused a lump to form in his throat, for his Sobrino was strong and brave and courageous. And finally, home where he belonged. I will help them all to become familia! All they need is time…



~ end ~

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