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Charlene

 

 

The Family I Found

An episode tag for The High Riders

Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: Lancer fic. They ain't mine, Fox owns them but it seems they are too stupid to use them. 
Synopsis: Johnny's musing.
I hope y'all enjoy. un-betaed. Char :-)

 

Father.

That sure don't sound right. I can't believe that mountain of a man is my father. What a whirlwind week. The horse I stole from the rurale captain takes a fall with me in the saddle when I'm ten miles from Morro Coyo. Came all that way and lost the horse when I was so close. Hated having to put him down, but it was best for him. Horse didn't have a lot in the looks department, but he sure had heart. Got me here from Mexico. I'm gonna miss him, but so far life's been so busy, up 'til now I ain't had much time to think about it.

So there I was on foot and not looking forward to a long hike with a heavy saddle on my shoulder when I heard the unmistakable rumble of a stagecoach. So I hiked up the hill, into the middle of the road, and flagged down the stage. I think the driver and guard were kinda wondering if I was part of a hold-up team. Wouldn't be the first time a stage was took that way. I know guys ... well I ain't thinking on any of that right now. But anyway, they were relieved when I just asked for a ride and I was even more relieved than them when they offered it. Had to toss them my gun though, and I had to think on that a second or two, a man like me likes to have his hardware close to hand. But the thought of a long, hot walk had me tossing my gun, shucking on my jacket, and climbing into the coach with a smile at the nice old lady passenger. Driver didn't give me a chance to sit down before he lurched off and I half fell into this dude's lap.

And what a dude he was. All gussied up in ruffles. Weren't no doubt he was a greenhorn from the East. Was even less doubt that he thought little of me and my dusty self. Would've like to have climbed in his head and read them thoughts on his brain. Of course, knowing him now, I bet he was thinking with them ten dollar words he loves to throw about.

Brother.

Now, that was a shock. I didn't know what I was expecting to get outta this trip except a thousand dollars for my time. A brother sure wasn't part of the plan. That he was an Eastern tenderfoot, or I thought he was, was even less part of the plan. Can't say that I'm complaining about it now though, even if I was a bit ... what would you call it ... unsure, reluctant, mad, disbelieving ... well whatever it was then, I'm starting to like the idea.

There's a lot more to that brother of mine than them ruffles would've let on. I sure acted like an ass when Teresa told us we were brothers. "My Mama only had one kid and that was me." Didn't even think 'bout the Ol' Man having more than one woman 'til Teresa told me. Hell, I won't even the first kid he had. Scott's older than me by four years.

Then Teresa takes us home. Home. Hadn't thought of it as such when I was on the way. I can still remember my first view of Lancer. Teresa was right, Lancer is the most beautiful place in the whole world. So much went through my head when I first saw it ... longing, regret ... too many emotions to think on. Made me right dizzy and still does, but maybe that's because I'm still resting up from the bullet in my back.

Then we were there. Here. At Lancer. You would've thought we were princes or something arriving at the castle. Hell, I reckon in a way we were. All the men were sweeping off their hats and bowing to us. I've seen plenty of dons down in Mexico. I know the respect they're given by the vaqueros, but I'd never been on the receiving end of it. Have to admit it felt damn good, if unusual, to be treated like I was somebody special.

Then my insides started flip-flopping like a fish out of water when I walked into that great room. There he was. My father. The man who had sired me and then, I thought, kicked me and Mama out. I grew up hating him, or so I thought, but there he was bigger than life and all I wanted was for him to want me. Yet, he wasn't exactly welcoming and Madrid pushed his way into the room.

Then something happened that chilled me to bone. I was mouthing off, like I do when I'm fighting to stay in control and he turned toward me and my blood ran cold. His eyes were like fiery ice. I've heard people talk about my stare ... Madrid's stare. Heard it called deadly cold. I never really knew what folks meant until I found myself staring into Madrid's glare. Only it won't Madrid but that mountainous man named Lancer. Scott may have gotten his Mama's eyes, but I had the Ol' Man's. Right down to the ability to cause fear in a man's gut when that look was directed at him. And Madrid's stare had no effect on ol' Murdoch Lancer. Not one bit. Probably because he had it first. It was unnerving.

Things just sort of took off from there like a wild horse on the range. The old man offered me a third. Of what, I asked. Lancer. All I had to do was get the man who put a bullet in Murdoch's back. Day Pardee. Well now me and the Ol' Man got something else in common ... we both got Day's bullets in the back. But a third of Lancer. Damn. I've had good paydays before but Lancer. Damn. I'm one lucky sonova...

Anyway, no sooner had he told us that then there was a fire and that led to me going to town and meeting up with Day, finding out his angle which was what I figured he was up to. Me and Day go ... well went ... back a long way. We'd worked together before. Hell, we rode together for four months before I took off and went and joined the revolution. Working with Day was killing my soul. I had to leave before I became like him. I was bad, but Day was worse. I sure didn't want to fall that far. Day thought I was just like him. His mistake. His first one. his second was never knowing my real name.

Well Day's gone. It was close, The Ol' Man, my dude brother and me butted heads on how to make it happen but in the end our plans came together and we won. The ranch was saved and I got a bullet in the back for my trouble. Reckon ol' Day'd say I was fool, but then what's he since he's been buried under Morro Coyo's version of Boot Hill? Bigger fool than me, that's for sure.

And that's how I came to be laying in this bed, my own proper bed, in my own room in my own house. one big ass house at that. That great room's bigger than most of the places me and Mama lived in. Don't know what she was thinking, leaving here with a gambler. Yeah, him I remember. he used to whomp me with his belt. But I ain't thinking about that now neither.

I'm thinking about this new life, in this family I've found. A sort of sister, a dude brother and my father. It's gonna take some getting used to, changing my way of doing things, but I kind of like the idea already. I told the old ... I told Murdoch, my father, I ain't too good at taking orders. It;s the truth. But he wants to call the tune and I agreed to that so I'm going to try. I think for this family thing we're going to try to build it's gonna be worth it. Yep, it's definitely going to be worth it.

 

~end~

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