By Dori

This drabble depicts a missing scene from the Lancer episode Zee.


The transformation was complete—the courthouse was a saloon once again.  Officially, this had been the case as soon as the judge pounded his gavel and announced that the bar was open, but most people were too caught up in the drama surrounding Scott Lancer and the beautiful dark-haired girl—his former prisoner—to worry about obtaining refreshments.

Even after Johnny headed to the bar and made his request—“How about a drink?”—most people remained avid observers of the interaction going on in the street.  Beer in hand, leaning over the batwing doors, Johnny had witnessed—along with the rest of the town—the far from chaste kiss that Zee had bestowed on her erstwhile jailer.

Now Johnny sat alone at a table, nursing his drink and watching the model citizens of Green River go back to their business.  None of them seemed the least bit concerned about the fact that their cowardly actions had left a good man hung out to dry.  Perhaps it was his cynical nature, but he hadn’t been surprised in the least that not one person had the backbone to stand their ground when Zee came up with that story about being Tom Mangrim’s daughter.  Except Scott! With a rueful smile, he remembered thinking it was just like his high-minded brother to stubbornly force the whole town into following the law.

At the time, however, Johnny—unlike the rest of Green River—shared his brother’s reservations about Zee’s identity.  He may have felt contempt for the spineless actions of those milksops, but he had also been convinced that the only danger Scott faced came from that untamed hoyden and her reckless antics. 

Johnny had been pretty unmerciful—teasing his brother about not being able to handle one little girl, but he’d never expected the kind of trouble that Tom Mangrim had brought in his wake.  The townspeople had been justifiably reluctant to admit to the events surrounding Zee’s jailbreak, but the prisoner herself had been more forthcoming.  Zee told him about his brother’s grim determination to stand alone against Mangrim and his whole gang, when the easy thing to do would have been to simply turn aside and wash his hands of the whole mess. 

Of course, Mangrim had been running a bluff, pure and simple.  But when Scott came out of that jail, rifle in hand, he had no way of knowing that, and Johnny took an enormous amount of pride in his brother’s courage, nerve and just plain grit.    

The younger Lancer had been miles away from town that day, and unaware of the imminent menace, but that didn’t keep him from regretting the fact that he’d been unable to be there to watch his brother’s back.  It was probably because of those feelings of guilt that he was a bit remorseful about giving Scott such a hard time the day of the robbery—letting him do all the loading and teasing him about the shortcomings of his Harvard education. 

Offering up an apology was out of the question.  Scott would certainly insist that it was unnecessary.  Johnny was just going to have to figure out his own particular penance.  He watched his brother walk back into the saloon and pushed out a chair in invitation.

Judging by the enthusiastic way Scott had returned that kiss earlier, he might appreciate an afternoon or two off, so he could head to town.  Johnny made a silent decision—a few hours of extra chores was a small price to pay, and he would willingly do so in honor of his brother, the hero.



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