Disclaimer. I make no money, and do this for fun….
Johnny is 19 and Scott is 25.
No Betas, mistakes all my own….This was done quickly, when I was away for a week…
“What? Don’t say it!” Johnny whined, squirming to look at his older brother, who he just knew was giving him the ‘look’!
Scott shook his head. His younger brother, was just fresh from his sick bed, “Say what, little brother?” he asked sarcastically. “You…”
“…You know darned well and good Scott…” Johnny interrupted, rolling his eyes, “be careful….don’t get wet….you’re just outta your sick bed…don’t take risks…you might catch a cold.” He sighed. “You know all that kinda shit!! The kind you all been sproutin’ since I got a cold…” he snorted, fed up with his family’s fussing. So what if he’d just got himself well from a bout of Pneumonia! He was well, wasn’t he?
Scott all but sputtered. “A cold! Is that what you call it…hmm?”
“Well perhaps if you would simply do as you were told…”
”Jeez, Scott stop fussin’ will ya!”
Scott shook his head, watching as his brother skipped from one rock to the other, to get to the other side of the river for God only knew what. It was a small creek, but it was also deep in places and if he fell he would get soaked.
“You do know, you are insane, little brother …? Do not get wet!!” Scott scolded sternly, going all Lieutenant Lancer on his younger sibling. “If you get yourself wet, it won’t be the only damned thing you’ll have to worry about, you hear me?” he threatened.
Full of uncontained energy, Johnny simply grinned at him, then dipped his head, in that sly way of his and did as he pleased. “You thinkin’ on maybe tryin’ your hand at bein’ a papa?” he snickered. “Go ahead and try and see if it don’t get you thrown into this damned creek. And as for me bein’ insane, don’t know nuthin’ about that…brother…” he argued. “But I sure as Hell know how to have fun!” He scooped up some water then chucked it at Scott!
Scott skipped to one side, successfully avoiding the water completely. “Hey!” he yelled laughing despite himself. His younger brother’s playful antics amused him but still he was getting a little worried nevertheless. Johnny had been close to death, only a few weeks ago and he was fresh out of his sick bed; Sam releasing him only that very morning. Scott didn’t want to risk him getting unwell again and Sam had left them all strict instructions. Johnny was to stay indoors. He’d relented somewhat when Murdoch suggested he could perhaps sit in the sun on the front portico but that was all. They all knew the Doc was just being careful because when it came to Johnny, he always pushed for more than his body was ready for.
‘Why did I have to come this way?’ he asked himself watching his younger sibling play.
They were already disobeying Sam’s orders by letting him ride, but Johnny had been like a wired spring, and Murdoch had decreed that letting him ride Barranca with his older brother, on a warm spring day, was probably the lesser of the two evils and he trusted Scott to keep a tight rein on his little brother. Up till now he had, keeping his own horse and therefore Johnny’s at a comfortable lope.
Scott’s blood pressure went up to dangerous levels. “I told you NOT to go near that creek and if I remember correctly when you disobeyed that command I then went on to tell you not to get WET!” he all but roared out the last word, nodding at Johnny’s pants, which were now soaking after he’d slipped into the water, waist deep! “I seem to remember warning you that might happen. Once again my stubborn little brother, you didn’t listen.” He sighed getting a tad peeved and off of his horse now worried. Although the sun was out, it wasn’t all that warm! At least not warm enough to go swimming, especially after a bout of pneumonia!!
He stormed in his direction making the young man back up, his hands held out in front in mock surrender.
“I could cheerfully ring your neck, you do know that don’t you?” Scott pulled a now laughing Johnny out of the water and without warning the boy had the audacity to lunge at him. However used to his little brothers wily tricks now, Scott peeled to the left his lightning reflexes reacting to leave Johnny flailing and falling flat on his belly, into a combination of mud and a fresh pile of horse manure!
“Fuck…! Why’d ‘ja hav’ta move?” Johnny complained making Scott grin despite the worry. “Aw Hell, Scott…Shit!” Johnny exclaimed scrubbing at his face with his gloved hand.
Scott simply smiled, “Well maybe I was too quick to judge. Maybe there is hope for you yet!” Scott snorted, despite how he felt about Johnny getting wet. “At least you know the difference between …shit…and mud…” he clapped his hands. “Well done little brother of mine. You make me so proud! You’re wet and dirty now. What the hell is Murdoch going to say when he sees you? He’s going to kill you, you do know that don’t you and then he’s going to kill me.” He sighed.
“Nope, he’ll kill you first for letting me get wet.” Johnny laughed. “And then he won’t have the energy to sort me out.”
Scott nodded, “I think his first target will be you… little brother…especially after I explain how you willfully disobeyed me.”
Sarcasm was Scott’s particular gift and Johnny hated it. “Fuck off, Scott!” he told him scornfully. ‘Gonna rub your face in this shit when I get up,’ he thought uncharitably.
Both young men lifted their heads when they heard the voice of God roar!
“Johnny! Scott, wait up!”
“Shit!! He followed us?!” Johnny swore, truly worried now. Scott’s anger he could deal with, for the most part but his old man’s truly scared him.
“It looks that way doesn’t it” Scott agreed gleefully.
“Boys, where are you…? You’d better not be near that damned creek ….Stop mucking about and get over here. It’s time to get on home for dinner. JOHNNY, Scott…come here!”
“Think I might just get onto Barranca and…”
“Oh no you don’t little brother, you’re going to face the wrath of God. I told you to stay away from the creek but you ignored me…”
“Aw come on Scott …he’s gonna kill…”
Johnny spun around, only to come nose to chest with his father. He backed off. “Jeez Murdoch, do you really need to bellow like that, when you’re so close?!” Johnny gasped flinching at the close proximity of his father. “I already got me a ragin’ headache, with all Scott’s naggin’!”
Murdoch’s face flushed a little at his son’s suggestion he might be loud, but still. He glared at the state of his younger son. Johnny was soaked to the skin and covered in a mixture of mud and horse manure. “What on earth have you been up to?” he turned to his older son then. “Scott?”
Scott shrugged, “Ask him. He wanted to come here Murdoch.”
“You’re soaking wet! Hell, I’ve only just let you leave the house…Against Sam’s orders I may add! You gave me your word you wouldn’t do anything to compromise your health John! You promised to follow Scott’s instructions to the letter, as I recall.”
Scott laughed at that.
“You looked me straight in the eye and asked me to trust you and here I find you soaking wet!!! What are you even doing at the creek? It’s hardly the weather yet for swimming and you hate fishing. I thought you would take a ride towards the forest or town maybe but the creek? Why here, Scott?” he asked his older son now.
Scott shook his head, “I don’t know, Murdoch. He refused to listen to me and short of grabbing the reins from his hands, Sir, and tying him to the saddle horn, there wasn’t a whole lot I could do. Besides when I tried to stop him, he simply galloped off.”
Johnny put his hands over his face and groaned. “I ..eh…hardly galloped Scott …it was just a fast lope Murdoch, honest.”
Again Scott scoffed. “Sure it was little brother. He dictated where we would go, sir. I didn’t mind because I didn’t think he would be as insane as to risk getting wet. I was wrong, since he took to hopping from one slippery stone to the other, tempting fate like he always does. Having fun, he told me,” he added, hiding the smirk. He didn’t enjoy getting Johnny in trouble but he was still royally pissed at him for disobeying him the second they rode under the Lancer arch!
Murdoch growled and Johnny groaned again. “Thanks again, brother,” he said under his breath. “Could’ve just said it was an accident and I fell in…Jeez!”
Scott held his hands in the air, “I’m not lying for you and you’re welcome ...”
Murdoch glanced at his fair headed son, bleached from the sun, so it shown gold, when the sun hit it. “Don’t look at me like that, Murdoch. You know how he is. I tried to stop him, but as usual he wouldn’t listen….” Scott told his father honestly.
Johnny shot him a look like thunder. “Judas!” he seethed.
Murdoch turned his angry gaze at his younger son.
“Well I didn’t mean to slip and fall in, did I…? Jeez what the fuck is all this fuss about? It’s only a little water…I’ll live …Had worse ya know? Been on….
“Don’t you dare say one more word, boy!!” Murdoch scolded, taking a step towards his younger son.
Johnny backed up; his hands in the air as he stumbled backwards, “Murdoch I…” It was all he got out, before he was manhandled out of his wet pants, and soaking underwear and a warm blanket was thrown over him. However just before his father wrapped it around him completely, he held him in place. “I’ll just warm you up some,” he told him grinning as he landed a few hard handed smacks to his now very poorly protected backside!
Johnny yelped as Murdoch then lifted him off of his feet and threw him over his shoulder and then strode in the direction of his horse.
Scott followed, his pace quickening to keep up.
“Murdoch, please!! Jeez, lemme go!” Johnny yelled in protest, to no avail!
Murdoch put him down but held onto his shoulders as he addressed Scott. “Scott do you have spare long johns in your saddle bag?”
“Yes sir, I do and they are also clean.” He grinned. “Good idea, sir. I wonder I didn’t think of it myself. They’ll be a little too long but I’ll simply roll the legs up…
“I’m sure you would’ve had I not come along,” Murdoch told him, “And had he not argued the point with you son,” he scowled. “Can you help me hold him?”
“I am right here ya know!” Johnny fumed. “I think I can get into a pair of long johns by myself. I ain’t fuckin’ well, three, ya know?” he turned to his brother who was now holding onto him.
“You let me go, Scott, or so help me I’ll…” Once again he felt himself being lifted into the air; his legs dangling as his father spoke. “You will do as you are told. Do you hear me? Or do you want another trip across my knee, boy?”
“NO WHAT?” Murdoch snapped, annoyed by his attitude.
Johnny immediately regretted his tone of voice. “No sir,” he said dipping his head. He was dressed only in his shirt and Scott’s long johns and he didn’t fancy a trip over Murdoch’s knee. ‘Jeez, it was mind bogglingly embarrassing!’ Murdoch grabbed him by the scruff and pulled him over the front of his saddle.
“Jeez Murdoch, I can ride please, lemme go!”
“NO!” Murdoch harrumphed, wrapping Johnny in a blanket and holding on or so he thought. Johnny wriggled free of the offending blanket, throwing a leg over the saddle horn. He then allowed gravity to pull him towards the ground, leaving Murdoch holding nothing but the blanket; a bemused look on his face!
Wearing only his pink shirt, and Scott’s long johns, Johnny stood there, not really knowing what to do. He took a furtive glance at his own horse but the prospect of riding on a hard leather saddle, devoid of his leather pants, didn’t make him want to rush to the animal anytime soon. However that said, he also knew he couldn’t just up and run either…‘Jesus what do I do now?’ he thought frowning.
Reading his son’s mind, Murdoch smiled and asked, “Now what, son?” He chuckled just a little, until his son shivered. That was enough for the man to kick his horse forward. Whereupon he grabbed his son by the scruff once more, yanking him up and over the front of his saddle this time on his belly!
Johnny gasped in awe of the big man’s strength, but it did kind of make him proud that his old man was that strong at the same time; wishing he would grow some or at least get to be as tall as his older brother. That was until he felt that same hand, land on his now very exposed backside, several times over; the growing sting making his eyes water considerably!
He yelled in protest, to no avail.
Once his backside was suitably warmed Murdoch righted his now rather subdued son, and wrapped him once more in the blanket, cacooning him in his strong loving arms and rubbing the warmth back into his now chilling body. In fact the only part of his anatomy that was warm was his backside!
Johnny being Johnny, cussed in Spanish but Murdoch simply held him closer and kicked his horse into an even walk. “Some pants when we get home and some soap for that mouth is in order I think. Scott you get Barranca and follow us.”
“You don’t state the obvious now do ya, old man…” he told Murdoch, trying for all he was worth, to look his father in the eye, as he addressed him. He couldn’t however since his father’s grip was too tight and he was facing forward, like some damned kid. “I was thinkin’ of maybe leavin’ my pants off…Maybe for the rest of the day. I kinda like the feeling of wind blowin’ on my balls…” he sassed chuckling softly to himself at his own joke … “Jesus old man, but this blanket don’t half itch!” He didn’t mention the bar of soap his father had also alluded to.
“For someone sitting in front of his old man, pretty exposed in certain areas; one would think he would be more respectful,…” his eyes warmed slightly as he said the words, “You’re sounding very sassy to me boy!”
“Well I am sittin’ on the very target you’d wanna git hold of, so I guess I am feelin’ a tad safer, for now… ” he challenged, teasing now and snickering a little nervously; his eyes twinkling with mischief. His old man didn’t sound quite as angry with him now, so he figured some light teasing was something he would get away with.
He was right since he felt Murdoch chuckle once more. “You just sit still and snuggle into me…keep warm, my son,” he ordered.
Sometimes he found the fussing from his new-found family stifling and at other times, like now, well if he was honest, despite the residual sting in his ass, he enjoyed the attention his father gave him; the care he showed in his eyes; the worry. It offered him something he’d never really had before. Well, in abundance anyway. Now as he relaxed into his father’s broad warm chest, he found himself appreciating his loving attention, more and more.
“That could all change in the blink of an eye, my boy.” Murdoch whispered into his ear; his eyes jovial as he spoke. “You know…? Sitting on the very target I want. You want to test me?”
Johnny instantly shook his head. “No, no…” Johnny told him snuggling in some more, “I believe ya,” he told him earnestly.
Scott laughed as did Murdoch. He felt Johnny chuckle good naturedly, finally accepting his father’s love, relishing in it in fact.
“Hey Scott, you gonna take a bath when we get on home?” Johnny asked looking very young in his father’s embrace. “We all know how much you like soap,” he teased. “Jeez never seen a man takin’ as many baths as you do brother, huh Pa?”
Murdoch closed his eyes, relishing in the endearment. “Well you could learn something from Scott’s meticulous care of his own body John. Especially when you’re doing something as reckless as hop from one stone to the other over a deep creek, whilst still recovering from pneumonia…hmmm?” Murdoch shot right back not missing a beat. “And you know very well, that Maria insists upon you taking a bath every night now after work too and rightly so, if you ask me. After a day working on the ranch, you two stink!”
Scott laughed out loud. “Why thank you father for telling me that. If Grandfather could see me now …..” He shook his head a smile tugging at his lips.
Murdoch chuckled. “I’d pay to have him tied to you after a day pushing beeves son,” he snorted. The mere thought of the superior Bostonian sticking his nose into the air, made them all howl with laughter.
“Hey Scott, if he ever visits again we could do that…You know, stick real close when were both of us ripe after our day on Lancer!” Johnny laughed raucously. “Hug him a while,” he snorted laughing out loud now.
Scott coughed choking on his own spit, “Which is why, I have a bath every night and is exactly the reason why Maria insists you take one too…little brother.” Scott smiled. “I win,” he gloated glancing at his father who laughed too.
Johnny huffed, realizing he had just backed himself into a corner, on the bath argument. “Ain’t had so many baths in my entire life,” he groused hunkering even further back into his father’s chest, to enjoy his warming embrace.
Home now and Murdoch deposited his son onto the ground; the warm woolen blanket still around his body, covering the necessary. Murdoch pointed in the direction of the bathhouse knowing full well Maria would’ve prepared a hot bath for Johnny anyway, since it was now close to dinner time. He was inwardly very grateful for the care Maria showed his children, especially Johnny, whom she knew to be a wild, reckless soul.
He watched as Johnny and Scott trudged toward the bath house, Scott with his right arm around his younger sibling’s shoulders to make sure he didn’t bolt and simply run upstairs to his room to change!
Maria was at the door, watching them, as they approached and she stepped aside to allow them past, a slight smile tugging at her mouth, as she saw Johnny with the blanket and not much else, edge out of her reach just in case she felt inclined, as she had in his recent past, to take a swipe at his behind as he passed her by.
She did however tap her wooden spoon on her hip ominously and he found himself swallowing.
“Your, bath is ready!” she said sternly noticing he was devoid of clothing and pointing in the direction of the steaming water. “And why are you not wearing your pants?” she asked speaking in English as she reined in her temper.
Johnny stopped dead in his tracks. “Aw now, Mamacita, don’t fuss… That bath looks kinda invitin’…” he said changing the subject. “Think I’ll just wait a minute, till it cools down some.”
“I want an answer to my question,” she nagged.
Johnny sighed, “I fell into some water if ya must know. So all in all, I ain’t really all that dirty,” he told her, his eyes twinkling. He was sorely tempted to open the blanket to give the woman a show; a wicked smile coming, as he thought how she would react. Then his eyes drifted to her right hand and her wooden spoon and he thought better of it.
“El baño es caliente para mantener el pecho claro . El jabón será para fregar muchacho! Póngase en oferta!” (The bath is hot to keep your chest clear. The soap will be for scrubbing boy! Get in now!)
He wasn’t ready to give in, "Sólo déjame ir arriba ... te prometo que te lavo y me puse ropa limpia . Hay más que suficiente agua en el cuenco para limpiarme "(Just let me go upstairs…I promise I’ll wash and put on clean clothes. There’s more than enough water in my bowl to clean me up) He grinned trying to push past her.
She cuffed him on the ear then, just as Murdoch came up behind them to see what was going on. He leaned over her shoulder and took a good look at his son, sniffing the air, which smelt of pond crud. “You’ll do as you’re told, boy. Get into that bath now, whilst it’s still nice and hot. The steam’ll do your chest some good,” he ordered, pointing.
Johnny grumbled, but he knew it was pointless to argue. The man was a veritable rock and Maria was one scary woman when pushed. So he turned towards the steaming water… “You mind?” he asked, tempted to drop the blanket and his long johns onto the floor in front of the woman now. Would’ve too, had his old man not been standing beside him; his right hand dangerously close to his exposed ass!
Maria huffed and stormed out of the bathhouse, whispering, ‘it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen your naked backside and probably it won’t be the last…’ to Johnny’s deep frown. He eased his body into the hot bath, making hissing sounds as he lowered himself slowly and carefully into its warm depths. Leaning back now fully immersed, Johnny closed his eyes and smiled; enjoying at last the heat as his body acclimatized to it.
He actually flinched when his old man spoke; his voice resounding around the room like thunder in the valley. “Your clean clothes will be here soon…So stop lying there soaking and get to scrubbing. Dinner is at six and you will be at the table on time. Now…scrub…or I will,” he ordered.
Sighing, Johnny picked up the soap, gave it a sniff and began to scrub.
All scrubbed and dressed, he stepped over the threshold of the Great room, stopping dead in his tracks, as a particularly foul smell hit his senses!! It was overpowering and he waved his hand below his nose. “Phew! What the fu….Hell… is that?” he corrected, truly amazed at the stench in the room. “Smells like somebody died in here, Murdoch,” he added by way of a distraction.
“It’s rotten fish,” Murdoch sighed. “Consuela took some fish out of the ice house and let it defrost and forgot about it a few days ago and Teresa found it. Unfortunately she opened up the package.”
Scott had just walked into the room and was now holding his nose, “Good grief, sir!” He exclaimed.
Murdoch simply nodded, “I know!” he said, holding onto his own nose too.
Johnny was making his way towards the French doors now.
“Where are you going?” Murdoch asked.
“I don’t know about you two but I’m outta here…Gonna go saddle up Barranca, Murdoch…”
“’Cause I sure as Hell ain’t stickin’ around here with that smell…it stinks! I’d be as sick as a dog if I had to eat here. I’m goin’ to town for dinner…!” he exclaimed.
Murdoch and Scott looked at one another and nodded in agreement. “Good idea son. Are you feeling ok?” Murdoch asked running his hand along his son’s brow.
“I’m fine!” he sighed, rolling his eyes.
Within minutes, three men, young and old, rode under the Lancer arch, all of them looking forward to the nice early evening ride, and the meal they were going to order at the hotel in Green River. The cook there was known for her pies and Johnny’s mouth was already watering.
Meanwhile back at the hacienda Maria chased a now screaming Teresa with her wooden spoon. “Perder buena Teresa alimentos o Brian ... haciendo los hombres se van ... venga a su hijo.” (Wasting good food Teresa O Brian; making the men leave… come here child)
Johnny laughed out loud. “Hey Papi, can we invite Val?” he asked
“I don’t see why not my boy…I don’t see why not.” Murdoch smiled.
They rode into town, he to the right of Johnny, Johnny in the middle and Scott flanking his left… It was a pattern they had instinctively adopted, he and Scott. In order, Murdoch knew, to protect Johnny.
All his dreams were being fulfilled before his very eyes, as he looked upon his two very fine looking sons. One as blond as the rising sun and the other was as dark as a raven’s wing; the two so different it was hard to believe they were indeed brother, ‘well half-brothers,’ he conceded. But that didn’t seem to matter to either of them. They were simply brothers.
Scott was everything he had dreamed he would be, intelligent, well educated, respectful, strong willed, independent, and confident. A man, albeit a young man, well equipped to lead. There was no doubting Harlan had done a good job raising Scott but Johnny was an entirely different matter.
It was true that Madrid was dead in the eyes of the world and although Johnny didn’t hide who he used to be, he didn’t advertise the fact either. Of course the locals had always known who he was, but as time had worn on and they saw for themselves who Johnny really was they had come to accept him into their fold and now he was simply Murdoch’s wild teenage son. More and more they simply saw a mischievous boy, instead of the cold capable gun-fighter, they had once thought him to be. Johnny was a Lancer now.
Murdoch saw acceptance for Johnny, despite his obvious mischief and rebellious ways. It was clear from the way they asked after him, that he was thought of with great affection. Johnny had won the hearts of the locals by his generosity of spirit and Murdoch was proud of both of his sons in completely different ways.
Murdoch was seen to be a positive influence on his wayward boy and Johnny’s acceptance of his authority reassured them that he was simply a lost boy returned to his father in dire need of guidance, which they, all of them, gave, openly now. Something that would not have happened when he had first arrived in the valley. It warmed Murdoch’s heart to see the people of Green River treating Johnny like they would any other recalcitrant teen after church on a Sunday, although he knew the opposite was felt by Johnny! But enough harm had been done to both Scott and Johnny, and now it was time for healing.
Murdoch was pleased to see how easily Scott slipped into the role of older brother, especially since he hadn’t even known of Johnny’s existence until he had met him just outside of Morro Coyo. Murdoch had instinctively known Johnny was the more vulnerable of the two, despite his obvious bravado and he was happy to see that Scott had seen through him too. In spite of who he was and Johnny’s loud decree that he could take care of himself, Johnny could be easily hurt and he constantly did things that could and often did cause him injury!! But in order to allow him to grow and to relax enough to simply be John Lancer, son, brother and heir, they did everything they could, to make him feel protected enough to let the inner child out. The suppressed child within, who was lurking just below the surface.
It made Murdoch’s heart soar like a hawk to see, more and more, the child within because it meant Johnny was settling down. The fact that Scott was more than willing to fulfill a role in his younger son’s life was the icing on the cake. Murdoch wasn’t a fool, he knew, Scott had been pivotal to Johnny’s staying on at Lancer, in the beginning. Scott intrigued Johnny so much the kid had been willing to give Lancer a chance.
Murdoch would be eternally grateful to Catherine for the son she had blessed him with, for without Scott, Murdoch didn’t think he would have his younger son.
Murdoch glanced at his boys before dismounting. ‘Both from very different backgrounds but both of them survivors in their own right. Scott from that God-awful War and Johnny from his very difficult childhood. Well they do say opposites attract!! It’s certainly true with my boys,’ he chuckled, knowing in his heart, he wouldn’t change either of them, even if he could.
They dismounted and he wrapped an arm around each of his son’s shoulders. “Let’s go eat boys,” he declared, at which point Johnny howled, “Yahoooooo!” throwing his hat into the air!
The End by Heather.