But It Isn't What I Want

By Jean

Usual disclaimers.

This takes place during ‘Chase a Wild Horse’. James Stacy’s eyes and body language speak volumes. There are a number of scenes when it’s obvious that Johnny is almost being forced into a course of action he doesn’t want.

Thank you again, Karen for your help and encouragement.


He had acted on instinct. He couldn’t tell if it was the sound of someone reaching for their gun, or if he’d somehow caught it out of the corner of his eye. Perhaps it was a sixth sense that had helped to keep him alive; but he had turned, drawn and fired before even he had been consciously aware of the danger.

He regretted the necessity of his actions, he regretted most of all that everyone he knew and had begun to love had seen Madrid in action, but he’d really had no other choice. He’d stood alongside Murdoch as Stryker took his son away from the corral, hoping for some understanding, but his father had looked at him through half-closed eyes, his condemnation striking Johnny more painfully than any beating he‘d taken.

He’d slunk back to the house, his head down, unable to remember feeling so low, even during the worst of times with his mother or when he was on his own. Then he’d never known anything else (not that he could remember, anyway) but for a time he’d experienced a different way of life. He had a brother, with whom he’d begun to develop a promising relationship, a father who he wanted to love as much as he’d previously hated, a sister and a home. A home! He’d never stayed anywhere for long and most places had been basic at best - hovels at worst. He could never in his wildest dreams have imagined living anywhere like Lancer.

For the first time in his life, he’d known love, something he’d always wanted; to be loved and feel safe. He accepted they’d have difficulty with his past. Today they’d seen how he’d lived and his father couldn’t accept it. That would mean that he wouldn’t accept Madrid.

Johnny knew that, deep inside him, the toddler Murdoch remembered and wanted to see still existed. At times he would come upon the footprints in his brain, but the boy hid, frightened by the life he’d been forced to live. The persona of Madrid protected the child that had been Johnny Lancer. He had been prepared, reluctantly, to cede control to Lancer in time - but not yet and not now.

Johnny sat on the arm of the sofa, waiting for the storm that would inevitably follow Murdoch’s crushing disappointment in his younger son’s actions. As he was growing up, the ‘inevitable storm’ usually resulted in another beating, though he doubted Murdoch would be foolish enough to try that one. His head remained down, his arms wrapped around himself; a habit he’d developed from his earliest days when there was no-one else to hold him when he was hurting; physically and emotionally.

He was trying so hard to change, trying to become someone ‘fit for the company of decent people’, but he needed more time. The way Murdoch was pushing it was a bit like a steam train going flat out and the engineer expecting to be able to stop on a dime and go into reverse.

He heard his father come into the house, and waited for the explosion which didn’t come. He could feel Murdoch’s accusing glare on his back. There was nothing else he could have done; other than let Stryker’s son shoot him - maybe Murdoch would have preferred that.

Still the accusing glare, Johnny didn’t have to see his father’s face to feel the disapproval. Why did Murdoch just keep looking at him? Why didn’t he say something? So Johnny forced the issue, and his father wasn’t satisfied with the explanation .

His father didn’t want him, if he was denied by his own family, there was nothing left for him. All he’d ever wanted was to be loved and wanted - the pain was beyond tears, beyond feeling. He belonged nowhere, wanted by no-one.

Say something , old man. Tell me you still want me…please, still want me. Tell me you want me to stay…PLEASE!

But Murdoch was going on about how he should decide who he wanted to be

“I’m already who I am, Murdoch.” he thought “ Don’t know how to be anyone else. Please accept me, love me. Just want to be part of something better than I’ve had. I want to be your son, Murdoch, I want you to be my father

Wes came in and announced he was going. Perhaps if he said he was leaving too, Murdoch might say he didn’t want Johnny to leave, he just might show his emotions…but, no, just offered him his wages. He belonged nowhere!


“Just like old times” Wes said

“Yeh” he agreed. Trouble was, he didn’t want the ‘old times’ he wanted to return to Lancer. He wanted something more than he’d had. He wanted a future and for a very short time, it seemed as though he just might achieve it but the door had been slammed in his face again. The old priest had been right, he’d never be fit company for decent people. He’d been told that as a result of his actions following his mother’s death and although he’d tried to prove the priest wrong, seemed like he was the one in error.

He didn’t want to go, he wanted to return to Lancer - but could he?


Scott rode into town, took his horse to the livery stable. Would he say he wanted Johnny to stay? He’d said so last night, but since then he’d had a chance to talk to Murdoch, get his side of the story. He talked to his brother, but in all the time the were talking, Scott didn’t say he wanted him to stay. He had no choice but to leave..


Wes was dead, killed by the stallion whose capture had started the chain of events. Johnny wanted, needed to talk to his father.

“I was wrong Murdoch, please let me come home”

Murdoch’s words killed any hope the boy may have had that he could return, but Teresa had given him the explanation. Murdoch was trying to protect him! You would only do that if you cared for someone. His father did love him, he wanted him, wanted him to be safe!

Maybe, just maybe, they could work through this. Perhaps Johnny Lancer could have a chance to live again. Madrid went through the door. He would stay in control long enough to protect Lancer, then he might - just might, return control.




Submission Guidelines