This is my first attempt at fan fiction writing. Thanks to Fliss for giving me this challenge and to Donna and Lacy for their encouragement. My days have become a lot richer because of the three of you.
I have written this for pleasure only, with no profit in mind. The characters belong to all of us, forever. All mistakes are my own.
Scott had been waiting too long. It seemed forever since he carried his new found brother into the hacienda, surrounded by Murdoch, Teresa, and Cipriano, wondering how things had gone so wrong so fast. Johnny had been talking to him. They had made their peace and joked a little. They had even started walking toward their father. But Johnny had not taken more than a few steps before collapsing over Scott’s shoulder. At first Scott thought it was a minor injury, but one good look at the bullet hole and blood and he knew this was trouble. What if his brother died? His stomach clenched. That would be the end of the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Scott couldn’t recall ever feeling this way about another person. Then again, he had never had a brother before, and certainly not a baby brother. ‘Baby’ hardly described Johnny Madrid, and yet he felt a protectiveness toward him deep within. He now knew he would do anything to keep Johnny safe and in his life. Why did he not fully realize this before seeing Johnny shot off his horse today? Johnny had to make it.
He was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of moaning coming out of the next room. Johnny! Dr Jenkins was in there with him. Sam had ordered the rest of them out of the room after arriving and seeing the looks on their faces. Scott wasn’t squeamish, especially given his time in the war, but seeing his unconscious brother lying so still was different. He even felt a little nauseated at the sight of Johnny’s bloody shirt. Where was this heightened sensitivity coming from? How could his feelings be so strong about this man he had met just days ago? And not an easy man to understand either. Wild, unpredictable and cocky, certainly nothing like him. But Scott had this thought, ‘His blood runs in my veins.’
The moans became louder. Scott could wait no longer. It didn’t look like Murdoch could either. They moved as one to the door and opened it. Scott let Murdoch take the lead as they rushed back into the room.
“Murdoch, Scott. I thought I told you to wait.”
“It’s been too long Sam. How is he?”
“He’s going to make it.”
Five words never meant so much.
Murdoch felt his knees weaken. He found a chair and sat down, relief flooding through him. While waiting for word from Sam he had imagined the worst, and was surprised by what it did to him. Looking over at Scott he could see his utter relief too. Could it be that his two sons, strangers to each other and so different, could already be forming a bond? The thought pleased him. He wanted it to be true. Murdoch wanted them to have that chance.
He also wanted the chance to really be a father to them. It had been a difficult start. Murdoch realized now that he had been too quick to draw conclusions about his younger son. Things needed to be different from now on. He didn’t know how to be a father, but he wanted the opportunity to try. Johnny looked so young and vulnerable lying there. Not like a gunfighter at all. He could almost see his two year old, his lost baby boy. He wondered if he had seen it before, but refused to really know it. He thought, ‘I’ve been protecting more than the ranch’.
Johnny stirred, turned, and looked at his father, then his brother. A shy half-smile formed on his lips and he looked away. Softly he said, “What are you two looking at? Haven’t you seen a gunshot wound before?”
He winced from a sudden pain and Murdoch jumped up, taking several steps toward him.
“Whoa, hold on, I’ll be OK!” Johnny said, holding up both hands.
Murdoch hesitated, unsure what to say or do next.
Dr Jenkins interrupted, “As I tried to tell you Murdoch, give me a chance to finish taking care of his wound. Then you can have all the time together you wish. But I warn you, he will need rest.”
Murdoch nodded, and with a quick pat on Johnny’s leg they left the room. Murdoch wondered how he had ever stood losing him. But he knew in that moment he could not bear to lose him again. He hadn’t allowed himself to really think about it since the boy had returned. He could see that now. Johnny had risked everything for Lancer, and for him.
He wanted both his sons. He needed both his sons.
Now more than ever.
Johnny waited patiently on his stomach while Dr Jenkins dressed his back wound. It hurt, but it wasn’t the first time he had been shot. He knew he was getting the best care he’d ever had. He just didn’t know what to make of it. He wasn’t used to being fussed over, and he certainly wasn’t prepared for what he had seen in the eyes of his father and brother. What was it he saw? Concern for sure, but there was more than that. He closed his eyes, feeling a little overwhelmed. He needed to get a grip on his emotions fast. Murdoch and Scott would be coming back, and soon.
”Now you are going to have to take it easy, young man,” said Sam.
“Sure Doc, but I don’t think they’ll give me much of a choice anyway.”
“I suggest you let them take care of you, Johnny. It won’t be easy letting them help you, but please give my old friend a chance to be your father again. That is what he wants, even if he isn’t good at showing it.”
Johnny nodded and wondered if what the doctor said could really be true. He was trying to sort out what his mother had told him from what he was learning since coming to Lancer. It was hard to accept that he had grown up with a lie. But Mama knew how to stretch the truth. No one knew that better than Johnny. From what he had seen so far of Murdoch Lancer, he was nothing if not an honest man. Johnny knew he wanted to learn the truth about his father, wherever that led.
He was already beginning to understand how much having a brother meant to him. Today Scott had saved his life. He was really something, running out and covering him with that rifle. If Johnny hadn’t seen it with his own eyes, he would have found it hard to believe. Having a brother was something he never expected out of life. Neither was having a father for that matter.
After Sam was done with the dressing, he helped Johnny turn over and get propped up on some pillows. He then called Murdoch and Scott back in the room and left them to each other.
Johnny looked at Scott and said, “You alright Boston?”
Scott crossed his arms and said with a grin, “I am now.”
Then he looked at his father and said, “So, do you know what to think of me yet, Old Man?”
Murdoch paused, and then a smile lit his face. “Yes, Son, I think I do have a better idea of it now. I’m happy you made it back home.”
Johnny closed his eyes. For the first time in his life he felt like he really was . . .
This was inspired by a challenge Fliss and Geraldine set up some time back. I used it as a springboard, so I didn’t follow the exact parameters. Thanks to them for their original idea.