The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link
subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link
subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link
subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link
subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link
subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link
subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

Winj

 

Giving Thanks

 

 

 

Teresa surveyed the dining room table once more, critiquing her work. Everything seemed to be in place for the next day's feast. She loved Thanksgiving and this year was going to be even more special with Scott and Johnny home. She and Maria had been cooking and baking for two days. Made even harder by the boys sneaking about snatching their goodies almost before they came out of the oven. She smiled at their hijinx.

"It's beautiful Teresa, I just have one question," Scott said as he came up beside her.

"What?" she asked in a near panic that she may have forgotten something.

"Where are we going to eat tonight?" he grinned.

"You will just have to eat in the kitchen, Scott Lancer," she said and gave him a tap in the gut.

Johnny came bounding in then and looked the table over. "Kitchen?" he asked.

"Yep," she answered and he was off. It made no difference to him where he ate. As they sat down to supper, Teresa thought she may as well broach the subject of the next day's activities. "Well, would you two like to know how we usually celebrate Thanksgiving at Lancer?" she asked.

"Oh of course, we don't want to break any traditions," Scott said teasingly.

"Well, first we have a big breakfast, then you will all have to hurry and finish any work absolutely necessary. When you come in, you'll get all cleaned up and dressed in suits and we'll have dinner," she finished.

Johnny stopped with his fork midway to his mouth. "Dressed in what?" he asked.

"Suits," she said simply.

He looked at Murdoch who shrugged. "That's what we do," was his only answer.

"Forget it," Johnny said.

"But Johnny."

"I said no, Teresa. I ain't dressin up just to eat a dumb bird," he stated adamantly.

"It's not the bird, Johnny. It's the holiday," Scott explained.

"It ain't my holiday," he groused.

"What do you mean by that?" Murdoch asked.

"I mean just what I said. It ain't my holiday."

"Of course it is, Johnny. It's Thanksgiving," Scott smiled.

Johnny glared at him. "Right. Not MY holiday," Johnny said.

"I don't understand Johnny. Didn't you celebrate Thanksgiving when you were little?" Teresa asked innocently.

Johnny rolled his eyes at her. "Thanksgiving is an American holiday, Teresa," he reminded her.

She blushed at her forgetfullness.

"You are American," Murdoch said a bit harshly.

"Yeah, well it ain't somethin I ever paid any attention to. Besides, I never had anything to be thankful for," he said and stood up, stalking away.

"Well, what's the matter with him?" Scott asked anyone.

**********************

Murdoch knocked on the bedroom door but didn't wait for an answer. "What's wrong with you?" he demanded.

"Nothing," Johnny clipped.

"What kind of nonsense was that downstairs? Teresa and Maria have been working like dogs for two days to get ready for this dinner and all you can do is feel sorry for yourself?" he glowered.

"I'm not feeling sorry for myself, Murdoch! I also am not getting dressed up in a suit that I can't stand just to eat dinner! I'll find something else to do," he yelled.

"I don't understand you," Murdoch said.

"I know you don't!" Johnny shot back.

"Why can't you let it go!" Murdoch yelled.

"What are you talking about?" Johnny answered.

"The past! Why can't you let it go and accept your family?" Murdoch demanded.

"You mean, accept you! Why should I? Have you accepted me? NO! Just shut up and do what I say, right Murdoch? Forget about disagreeing with the powerful Murdoch Lancer. No, we can't have that! Don't question me about anything! Don't ask me what I've done, just tell me what you've done! That's what you want!" Johnny shouted.

"How dare you!" Murdoch hissed.

"Exactly! How dare I question you!" he spat.

"I want to know what this is all about, young man!" Murdoch said through gritted teeth.

Johnny glowered at his father. "I am American? No, Murdoch, I'm not! Not until YOU said so, anyway. Not until YOU decided to send for me!" Johnny lashed out.

"I didn't mean anything by that Johnny and I told you it took time to find you," Murdoch said, trying to calm down.

Johnny walked up to his father and stared him in the eye. "You keep right on telling that lie to anybody who'll listen, old man, but I know the truth," he said in a low, cold voice.

Murdoch's eyes narrowed as he stared into the hate-filled eyes of his son. "What does that mean?" he growled.

"You figure it out," Johnny hissed and walked out.

************************

Scott nearly got bowled over as his brother came tearing down the stairs and towards the door. "Johnny, wait!" he called but Johnny didn't stop. Scott followed him to the barn. 'Great!', he thought. "What's going on?" he asked.

"Ask him!" Johnny spat.

"I'm asking you," Scott said calmly.

"Then you're gonna be disappointed, brother. But then, what else is new?" Johnny said sardonically. He saddled Barranca faster than Scott thought it was possible to saddle a horse.

"Johnny, wait. Talk to me," he said as he grabbed his brother's arm.

"Scott, let go of me. I'm not in the mood to have you try and solve all my problems. It ain't your job, noway!" He jerked loose from his brother's grip and mounted his steed, taking off before he got settled in the saddle. Scott watched him go and wondered how many more times he would be standing here like this, left to wonder what had happened between them this time and how he was going to fix it. He sighed and went back inside. He knew it would do him no good to go after Johnny right now.

*********************

Johnny rode up to the saloon still steaming. He walked inside and up to the bar without bothering to look around. At the moment, he didn't give a rat's behind who was in there. "Tequila," he grumbled to the bartender who gave him a sidelong look.

"Bottle?" he asked.

Johnny nodded his head, grabbed the bottle and the glass and sat at a table. The bartender brought him some lime and salt and retreated quickly. He wasn't thrilled with being around this particular Lancer when he was in a bad mood. Johnny sat with his back to the wall, he wasn't so mad that he wanted a bullet in the back. Yet he had still to look around the interior of the place and had no intention of doing so. He sat there with his bottle and drank half of it in five minutes. 'Why is it that when I want to get drunk, I can't?' he thought, ruefully.

"Madrid."

Someone had called his name and was standing in front of him. He sighed and looked up slowly. "What?" he snipped.

"Who got your hackles up, boy?" the man asked.

"What's it to you? And who are you and what do you want and make it quick," he said.

"Whoooeee. Maybe I'd better come back later. Don't sound like you're in the mood to talk business," the man said with a slight grin.

Johnny narrowed his eyes and studied the man in front of him. "What kind of business?" he asked.

"May I?" the man asked and pointed to a chair.

Johnny nodded once.

"I want to hire you," he said.

"For what?" Johnny asked.

"What'ya think? I want you to kill someone for me," he said.

"Who?" Johnny asked, his interest peeked.

"Well, first I gotta know if you're already workin for somebody else. I mean, I wouldn't want no conflict of interest." Johnny smiled ever so slightly and shook his head. "Good. I guess I got lucky then. Ain't many gunfighters round here. Thought I was gonna have to go elsewhere," the man grinned.

"Mister, as you can see, I ain't in the mood so just tell me who you are, who you want killed, why and how much," Johnny said flatly.

The man's face got a little red, but Johnny knew it wasn't embarrassment, it was anger. "My name is Jacobs, Marcus Jacobs. I'll pay you a thousand dollars, but I don't see as how it matters why," he said.

"If you want to hire me, it matters. If you don't want to tell me, go find yourself another gun," Johnny said.

The man considered him then shrugged. "The man I want dead took something from me a long time ago. I can't get that back, but I can get my revenge," he said.

Johnny saw something flicker across the man's face. Was it pain or hate or maybe both. "What did he take from you?" Johnny asked.

"A woman," he said.

Johnny sighed and tried to hide the grin. "Mister, did he force her?" he asked.

"No, of course not!" he answered.

"Then it sounds to me like the lady made a choice and you just couldn't accept it," Johnny said.

"I could have accepted it if he'd married her but he didn't. He chose some Mex!" he hissed.

His eyes narrowed and he stared a hole through the man. "I think you better watch your mouth, mister and realize who you're talkin to," Johnny said, his voice colder than the November air.

The man's eyes widened in surprise as he realized the mistake. "Look, I'm sorry, I don't reckon it was her fault. I just got mad thinkin about it. Look, we was both courtin the lady and she decided she wanted him and I accepted that. But then I heard he married this other gal, a Mexican lady, instead. I heard my woman left town all embarrassed and hurt and she died not long after. Some say it was from a broken heart. He had no right to treat her like that. She told me she loved him and I know she did, but he won her then threw her away," he finished his story and Johnny felt a little sorry for him.

"Sounds like a real ladies man," Johnny said dryly.

"That's just it, he ain't. He's just a rancher. I never saw nothin special about him," he said.

"Well, maybe that's cause you ain't a woman. Look mister, I'd like to help you but it don't sound like something worth killin a man over," Johnny said.

"I didn't think it mattered much to a gunhawk long as he gets paid," the man said with a slight sneer.

"It don't to most, but it does to me so like I said, maybe you better find someone else."

"Maybe this'll help. I heard tell he threw that Mexican woman and her kid out after a couple of years. Threw 'em right out on the road."

Johnny held his breath and stared at the man. He leaned forward, staring the man in the eyes. "What's his name?" he asked softly.

Thinking he had hit a nerve and found his killer, the man smiled. "Murdoch Lancer."

********************

Johnny felt his jaw tighten and his anger rise. "Who was this woman you were in love with?" he asked.

"Her name was Madelaine Hawthorne. She was a real beauty, a lady. She was from Colorado, came out here with her husband but he got killed by Indians. She had a dress shop in town. Lancer was seein her for awhile before I showed up but he hadn't given her any reason to think it was goin anywhere so I started courtin her too. Well, Lancer got his back up then and started payin attention. She told me she couldn't see me no more after about a month. I told her I was in love with her and wanted to marry her right then but she said she'd made up her mind. He hadn't even proposed but she said she knew he would. Look, this is kinda embarrassin," he finished.

"I'm sure it is. So, Lancer married the other woman instead. How long had he known her?" Johnny asked.

"Couldn't have been more than a month, six weeks maybe," he replied.

Johnny shook his head, he was really confused. "So he'd been seeing this Madelaine all along, then started up with the other woman. Was it when you came along he started seeing her?" Johnny asked.

"Matter of fact it was. Guess he couldn't decide who he wanted. But Madelaine was convinced she could win him," he said.

"I'll bet she was," Johnny whispered more to himself than the man. "Mr. Jacobs, I'm gonna have to think about this. Where can I find you?" he asked.

"I'm at the hotel. Room 204," he answered.

"I'll let you know soon," Johnny said and left the saloon.

************************

He rode home, pure rage in his heart at the lies he'd been told. He had always known his mother was pregnant when they married but Murdoch had insisted he had loved her. More lies! As he dismounted and tied off Barranca, he pulled in his emotions to face his father. One of the hands offered to bed down his horse but he waved him off, he wasn't staying. When he walked in, Murdoch and Scott were in the living room. Scott stood up when he saw his brother.

"Do you want me to leave?" he asked.

"No, you might as well hear this too," Johnny said.

He walked over and stood in front of his father's desk. There was no emotion on his face, nothing but the blank wall he had used for years. "I'm only going to say this once, so listen up. I'm done with you. I'm done with your lies. I know the truth and I can't stay here under this roof with you anymore. If you thought you were sparing my feelings, you were wrong. I'm going to choose to believe that's what you were doing because the alternative is not something I can live with. I believe that my mother left here of her own free will. That's not in question. What is in question is why she left and I'm beginning to figure that out too. I tried, Murdoch. I really did, but you don't believe that. The point is, it's not working and it's not going to. You told me once to make up my mind who I wanted to be. I choose to be Johnny Lancer, but I don't choose to live with you. You'll buy back my third of the ranch and I'll be on my way. I'm leaving here tonight and I won't be back," he finished his monologue, almost making it through with that wall but at the end, his voice betrayed him slightly.

"I don't know what you think it is you know, Johnny. But I wish you would talk to me about it," Murdoch said.

"No, no more talk. I am going to give you a heads up for Scott and Teresa's sake. There's a man in town who wants you dead and he's looking to hire a gunhawk to do it. His name is Marcus Jacobs. You might want to take care of that," he said and walked up the stairs to collect his belongings.

Murdoch stared after him in total shock. He had not heard that name in twenty years.

"What's he talking about, Murdoch. What does he know?" Scott asked.

Murdoch looked at his eldest and shook his head. "I don't know, son. But if he's been talking to Jacobs, he doesn't know the truth," Murdoch said and headed for the stairs. "Johnny, you have been lied to but not by me, son," he said as he walked on in to the bedroom.

"You're gonna tell me Jacobs lied to me to hurt you. Only probem is, he didn't know I was your son. He called me Madrid. He wanted to hire me to kill you. Thousand dollars, too. Don't think I wasn't tempted," he said sarcastically.

"Johnny, stop this. I know you can't possibly hate me that much. Not now, after all this time," Murdoch said.

"You don't think so? Tell me about Madelaine Hawthorne, Murdoch. Tell me how you chose my mother over her and why. No wait, I'll tell you. You married my mother because she was pregnant. Madelaine left town disgraced and my mother left you because she didn't love you or you didn't love her or both. Am I close?" he said.

"No, son. You're not. I married your mother because I loved her. Yes, we got married sooner than I would have thought and yes it was because she was pregnant but I did love her, Johnny. Madelaine was a wonderful woman, but when I met your mother, I knew I couldn't see her anymore. She wouldn't accept it, though. She said I was wrong and I would tire of Maria and come back to her. I knew she was seeing Jacobs to make me jealous but I told her to go with him because we had no future. Johnny, what can I say to make you understand, to make you believe that I loved your mother?" Murdoch asked, pleadingly.

"Well, you just had all the pretty girls after you, huh?" Johnny sneered.

"Please son, don't do this. Talk to me. Whatever happened earlier, whatever you meant, tell me. I know we can work it out. I don't want you to leave. I can't let you leave me again."

Johnny looked into his father's eyes and he couldn't stand the pain there anymore. He was so angry, but deep inside, he believed Murdoch. He turned his back. "I was angry. Those things I said were just all pent up inside over the past few months. We fight but we never settle anything. We just don't talk about it. I thought I had stopped running but I guess I was running on the inside. When Jacobs told me his version of things, I was in a pretty bad place to begin with and I guess that just topped it off. I don't know how you could convince me, Murdoch. Maybe I don't have any right to expect that. But the thought that you only married her to make an honest woman of her, I can't take that. Because if that is what happened, then you don't care about me," he said, the frustration of the past few months evident in his voice.

"Johnny, I can't tell you how much it hurt when she took you away from me. You were my boy, my baby boy. I was so proud. I loved you like crazy. I took you everywhere with me. Your mother had more than one fit over me riding you on my horse. But you loved it and your laughter when we were riding was worth facing her wrath. Your laughter filled this house, son, and my heart," Murdoch said huskily.

"Was, were, all in the past," Johnny whispered.

"Yes, son. But now we have a chance again. To know each other, to love each other. If you could only give it a chance. I know it's been hard. I know I'm not an easy man. But I am trying, too."

"Murdoch, you just don't understand. None of it is in the past for me. It's all about right now. I don't remember any of that. I wish to God I could, maybe it would be easier then. The problem is, you need to know me to love me. I ... I loved you before I ever met you. I hated you and I loved you because somewhere deep inside me, I knew the truth. I just couldn't let myself accept it. I knew she left and I knew you were looking for us. I knew because she told me you had people after us and that just didn't make any sense with everything else she told me. When I got older and especially after she died, I figured it out. I just wouldn't let myself believe it, not until I came here and Teresa confirmed it for me. So you see, I didn't need to know you. Just knowing you cared enough to try and find me was all I needed," Johnny said softly, his voice trembling slightly.

"Why didn't you come to me, Johnny? If you knew..." Murdoch asked, his heart breaking with this news.

"I told you I couldn't let myself accept it, believe that my mother had lied to me. How could I do that and still honor her?" He sounded lost, as if he was losing something he had desperately clung to all his life, knowing he had to let go of the misconceptions and accept his father. But that meant admitting what she had done and it was the hardest thing he had struggled with since coming home.

"I understand, Johnny. I was afraid you still hated me and tonight, when you were so angry, I saw it in your eyes. I couldn't take that. I never stopped loving you, Johnny. I only let myself forget how much. I wish you could remember that time, too. You were a happy child, always smiling and laughing and running around. Once you got your legs under you, there was no stopping you."

"Please stop," Johnny whispered, his voice trembling. "I can't live with knowing that time and knowing what happened after. I can't stand it," he said. Murdoch put his arms around his son and Johnny turned into his father's embrace. "I'm sorry I said all those things to you. I was hurt that you didn't understand," Johnny said softly.

"Tell me, make me understand," Murdoch pleaded.

Johnny sighed and pulled away just a little. "All this talk about Thanksgiving and family and traditions. I don't have any of that, I never did. There was no Thanksgiving and the rest wasn't any more special. We didn't celebrate holidays. It's hard to know what to do, how to act, what's expected of me," he explained.

"Oh Johnny, nothing is expected of you, son. Only that you try. Only that you're here with us. If something makes you uncomfortable, you don't have to lash out, just tell us. We won't be angry with you."

"I don't care if you get angry with me, I can take that. What I can't take is being felt sorry for. I don't want your pity," he explained.

Murdoch stood back and looked down at his son, shaking his head in wonderment.

"What?" Johnny asked.

"Most people in your position would expect, even demand, to be given sympathy. Why do you hate it so much?" he asked.

"Because I made my choices. No one forced me to be what I was. Anything that came from it was my fault. I can't expect sympathy for that, besides, it's a sign of weakness," Johnny said, hanging his head.

"No, Johnny. It's not a sign of weakness. I wish I could make you understand. Maybe it was your choice but you certainly weren't given many. I learn more about you every day, even when we're fighting," he said with a smile.

Johnny laughed a little at this. "Don't you mean, especially when we're fighting?" he asked.

He hugged Johnny to him again. "I do love you, son," he whispered.

"I love you, too," Johnny said.

"You want some help unpacking?" Murdoch ventured.

Johnny laughed. "Again? No, I have to take care of something."

"What?"

"I have to see a man about a job," Johnny said and smiled.

"Let me take care of that, Johnny. It's my problem," Murdoch said.

"No, let me take care of this one. I know exactly how to do it. Will you trust me?" he asked.

Murdoch smiled at the question, the test. "Alright son, but do you want some help?"

"Nah, there's not gonna be any trouble," he said.

*******************

Johnny rode away from the house and Scott made a beeline for the door. "Scott, don't," Murdoch said.

"But," he started.

"He's coming back. He's taking care of something for me," Murdoch explained.

"I should go with him in case he needs some help," Scott said, worry dripping from his voice.

"No son, he said he could handle it. Just trust your brother."

Scott's jaw dropped open at this remark. "What happened up there?" he asked.

"That's between your brother and me but sit down, son. I want to talk to you," Murdoch said. Since he had passed over one hurdle he figured he'd give another one a shot. Scott sat down on the sofa and Murdoch sat next to him, his arm over the back of the couch behind his son, ready to grab hold if this one decided to buck. "You know I loved your mother, don't you?" he asked.

Scott stared at him. "Yes, sir," he said a bit unsure where this was going.

"But do you know that I always loved you, too. Even though you were so far away, I never stopped thinking about you, son."

"Yes, sir."

"You don't sound too convinced," Murdoch said.

"I know that what happened with my grandfather when he was here was what kept you away from me," Scott said.

"But, I should have fought it, right?" Murdoch asked.

"Well.."

"I understand how you must feel. I wish I had been more sure of myself then. I let the power and money and influence Harlan has intimidate me. When I married Maria and Johnny came along, I felt I was in a better position. I saved up some money, a lot of money to fight for you. It took a long time to get that much cash together," Murdoch explained.

"What happened?" Scott asked.

"Maria left and I was devastated. It's no excuse, son."

Scott put his hand on his father's arm. "It's the only excuse that I could accept," he said.

"Without her and the stability of a family, I felt I was in the same place only worse. Now I had a wife who had run off, well you can see how that didn't look very good," Murdoch explained. Scott nodded his head. "But still when you turned twenty-one, I thought about it again."

"But I was in the army, then," Scott finished the thought.

Murdoch nodded now. "Harlan did write to tell me about you being imprisoned during the war. He told me you had changed when you came back and that he was trying to help you. I didn't think a change in lifestyles would help with that," Murdoch said.

"If only you had known," Scott said with a small smile.

"Known what?" Murdoch asked.

"That a change in lifestyle was exactly what I needed. Just like it was when you sent for me," Scott explained.

Murdoch's face fell. "I thought it was best if you were in familiar surroundings," he said.

"I understand, Murdoch. I do. You couldn't have known and I'm sure grandfather didn't think I needed a change. He insisted I needed to get back to my old life. But that wasn't going to happen, I couldn't do that. I didn't want to do that. No, when that Pinkerton agent approached me, I thought it was the perfect way to put it all behind me and start over. And as usual, I was right," he ended sounding a bit smug.

Murdoch laughed and dropped his arm around Scott's shoulders, squeezing tight.

*********************

Johnny rode up to the hotel and headed straight for room 204. He knocked lightly on the door and waited. Jacobs answered and surprise lit up his face. "I didn't think I would hear back from you so soon, Mr. Madrid. I'm not sure if that's good or bad news. Please come in," he said as he opened the door wider.

"Thanks," Johnny said as he removed his hat. He scanned the room, it was nothing special. "Mr. Jacobs, I'm gonna get right to the point. You think I'm Johnny Madrid, well I was at one time but not anymore," he started.

"You mean you've retired," Jacobs surmised.

"Yes I have. And for a very good reason. I listened to what you told me very closely. I believe that you believe what you say is true. Most of what you know is hearsay, gossip. We both know that's not reliable information, so I'm going to tell you exactly how it was. Madelaine knew about the other woman, she knew Murdoch Lancer was going to marry this woman. He told her as much. He also told her she should be with you as he was already committed."

"Who told you that?" he asked.

"Doesn't matter, it's the truth. One thing about me, Mr. Jacobs, I don't lie. Now, I didn't tell you the truth tonight but I didn't lie either. Some might say that's splitting hairs but I had a good reason. The fact is, Madelaine couldn't accept what Murdoch told her, plain and simple. He didn't mislead her, he tried to give her to you. It was her choice and she made it. Now, you might not be able to accept this and you might still want your revenge. But I'm telling you right now, I may not sell my gun anymore but I'm still damn good with it. If you send a gunhawk after Murdoch Lancer, I'll send him straight to hell. Then, I'm comin after you and I will find you and you will join that gunhawk. Do you understand?" Johnny locked eyes with the man to drive home his point.

"Why do you care?" Jacobs asked taken aback by the coldness.

"Because sir, that woman he married instead of Madelaine Hawthorne, was my mother."

Jacobs stared in disbelief at the young man. "You're Lancer's son?" he gawked.

"That's right. I've talked to my father and I believe him and nobody is gunning him. Nobody," he said with a voice of steel. "I think you need to go on about your business and try to forget the past. It can only hurt you, believe me I know," Johnny finished and out of the room, leaving Jacobs with his mouth hanging open.

*****************

Johnny apologized to his little sister the next morning and promised he would behave but he warned her he wouldn't wear the tie. She agreed to the compromise and gave him a big hug. That evening they sat down at the dining room table and waited for the bird to make it's entrance. Teresa brought in the turkey and sat it in front of Murdoch as Maria started bringing in the rest of the food. Murdoch had out his carving knife and fork ready to go at it when Teresa stopped him. "Aren't you forgetting something?" she asked.

"Geez, do we have ta pray too," Johnny mumbled.

"No, Johnny. It's a tradition that we each take a turn and tell what we're most thankful for this year," Teresa explained.

"You're kidding," Johnny said deadpan.

"I think that's a wonderful idea," Scott said.

"You would," Johnny clipped.

"Well, I'll go first. It's easy this year. I'm thankful that Scott and Johnny are home," Teresa said.

Scott smiled at his brother. "Well that is an easy one but I have to go even a step further. I am thankful we're all here together, but I'm especially thankful to have found my brother," he said.

Johnny smiled at him and almost blushed. "Yeah well, you would steal that one. I guess it's my turn, huh?" he said.

"Just be yourself, son," Murdoch reminded him.

"Yeah. I'm thankful for a lot of things. First, that I'm still alive after all this time, and that I found my family. I'm thankful for a big brother to worry about me and a little sister who worries too much. And I'm thankful to have a stubborn father who hasn't given up on me," he finished and let himself breathe.

"I'm thankful my boys are home with me and that Teresa is healthy and happy. I'm also thankful that my sons haven't given up on me." Murdoch raise his glass and toasted. "To our family, may we spend many more Thanksgivings together and may our family only grow bigger and stronger in the coming years. Uh, that's a hint boys."

Johnny began to think that holidays weren't all that bad after all.

 

 

~end~
2003

Want to comment? Email Winj