The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

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DaleL

 

 

Coming To Terms
An episode tag for Lawman

For the Lancer 50th Anniversary celebration.

He took a sip of tequila his eyes returning to the guard house.

He’d known something was wrong but had cut Barker some slack because he was Murdoch’s friend. Him, who never gave anyone the benefit of the doubt. Now two were dead and Scott hurt all because he had failed to listen to his gut.

Meirda!

Shoving off the pillar he crossed the veranda and dropped into a chair.

He couldn’t stop going over it in his head; like a dog worrying a bone. Scott had told him to let it go. Barker had chosen to throw in with Evans. It was not his fault. He had mumbled something in return unable to look Scott in the eye.

He stretched out, crossing his legs at the ankle noting how the moonlight cutting across the veranda’s clay tile floor dusted the toes of his boots silver.

He had seen the look in Barker’s eye when Murdoch had introduced them, that flicker of surprise and something else. Oh, not that Barker hadn’t been quick to cover it before Murdoch noticed. Only later while he had been sitting in that cell with time on his hands did he realize what that look had been—the death of a dream.

He sighed, raised the shot glass then lowered it again, absently swirling the liquor.

What if he had gotten such a letter? Would it have made a difference? Would he have been willing to forgive his father for what he believed he had done?

His eyes lowered, drifted away from the guard house to focus on the shadows cast by the hacienda.

No. He had been too full of hate after what had happened to Mama. Had wanted nothing to do with his father, vowing to shoot him on sight.

Because of the lies.

Lies told by Mama.

Her legacy.

The contents of that letter to Barker had cut him to the quick. No matter how long ago or under what circumstances it had been written. He had put his two cents in, putting the old man on the spot stating Barker could stay as long as it was for a job only. He didn’t want to admit he was worried Murdoch would keep his promise. He had owed a favor or two in his time and knew the obligations a man felt when a favor was called due.

All he knew was how he felt. What Lancer had come to mean to him. In such a short time really and against his better judgement. He’d let this place and these people become important to him.

Guess he could understand Barker at least in this instance. Working a place wasn’t the same as owning it.

When a man runs out of options he becomes either reckless or dangerous or both.  Evans’ offer probably had seemed like the answer to Barker’s prayers. Didn’t need Murdoch’s charity. Didn’t have to settle for second best. Wasn’t so long ago that once a job was done it had been time for him to hit the road. Those fine, upstanding folks didn’t want a gunfighter hanging around. $5000 would have kept him in beans and bullets for quite some time.

Getting to his feet he leaned a shoulder against the pillar, eyes drawn once more to the guard house. Light shone under the door. Thompson wasn’t taking any chances; was keeping an eye on Barker himself until they rode out this morning.

He snorted, shaking his head. Here he was almost feeling sorry for the man. Barker would have watched him hang for murder. Had tried to convince Murdoch that sending him back to Mexico was for his own good.

But Murdoch had stood by him, believed in him. And Scott. Scott had willingly risked his life out there looking for Evans.

For him.

Still took some getting used to, having people care for him. Made him feel warm inside. Like he belonged.

All this was hard on Murdoch. Barker was his friend. Closer than friend; close enough he had offered him a part of Lancer. He didn’t begrudge Murdoch making the long ride to Sacramento to help Barker. He’d been willing to do the same for Evans. Maybe he would still make that ride but for a different reason.

Dang if it didn’t look like he was coming to terms with what had happened.

He cracked a yawn, shoved away from the pillar and made his way to the door. The wood was smooth beneath his fingers, the ornate knob sliding into the palm of his hand as if made for it. Nope, he didn’t begrudge Murdoch helping a friend because he knew his father had his back. Knew he and Scott and even “think of me as a sister” Teresa came first in Murdoch’s heart.

As they did in his.

 

 

~ end ~
September 2018

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