ANC Lancer Universe
Disclaimer: The Lancer characters are the property of Twentieth Century Fox but it was my idea to bring them forward in time.
Author’s Note: This was inspired by a comic sent to me by Binnie. A portion of the last frame just screamed Johnny.
Thanks Kit for the quick beta.
~*~ L ~*~ A ~*~ N ~*~ C ~*~ E ~*~ R ~*~
The sound of pounding feet ended with a breathless exclamation. "Oh, I thought you were watchin’ an Elvis movie without me." Johnny sauntered into his brother’s room to the strains of his favorite tune, Trouble, his white socked feet sliding easily on the hardwood floor as he executed a rhythmic running man dance move.
The wheels of his computer chair squeaked as Scott shoved back and twirled the chair to face his kid brother. He shook his head, a flash of light from the scanner crawling across his royal blue shirt. “No, I’m just inspiring myself with his music while I work on a special project for Dad.”
Abruptly stopping his dancing display, Johnny’s eyes twinkled with mischief as he glided over the highly polished floor, sliding to a stop by bracing himself against the desk. “A special project for Dad.” Chortling, he pointed to a speaker, “He gonna start blastin’ Elvis tunes from attack copters as he invades drug cartel compounds?” His busy hands with restless fingers picked up the case to the CD. Quickly scanning the list, he hooted when he found what he thought was the perfect song. “Oh, man, this one is perfect! Big Boss Man. The bad guys will hear this and be runnin’ through the jungle like piss ants from a stomped-on anthill.”
Smacking his kid brother in the belly with one hand, Scott snatched the case with the other. “Nobody makes battle plans for General Murdoch Lancer. This special project is for Dad for Father’s Day.” Arching his eyebrows, Scott inquired, “You do realize Father’s Day is coming?”
Rising up on his tiptoes, Johnny plopped his butt on the corner of the desk, his hands reaching to pick up a cluster of loose photos. Frowning, he scanned the unfamiliar photos, and answered without looking up. “Yeah, I remembered. I even bought presents already. I upgraded Dad’s Kindle Touch to a Kindle Fire and I got Ha one of those new Livescribe Plus smart pens.”
“Where did you get the money for that? I thought you were broke,” Scott replied, nailing his brother with a ‘what have you done now’ look.
A snarky grin exposed his white teeth as Johnny, his voice lowering, whispered, “I am; but Ha’s not.”
Snorting in disbelief, Scott pursed his lips. “Ha doesn’t just hand out money,” he said, knowingly. “Never has; never will. He expects you to earn it.” The blond’s eyes narrowed and his chin came up and forward in a haughty manner. “Anything worth having is worth working for,” he declared in a perfect imitation of his grandfather’s clipped Boston accent.
“I did earn it,” Johnny boasted. Thumping his own chest with an unbending finger, he added. “I detailed Ha’s Bentley to get the money for Dad’s; and sold some stuff on Craig’s List for the money for Ha’s.”
Disbelief contorted Scott’s face. “I can’t believe you parted with anything. You’ve kept every collar from every stray dog you’ve ever owned; and you’ve got a drawer full of marbles you haven’t played with in years.” He waggled a finger in front of his brother’s nose. “Your room looks like an episode from Hoarders.”
“Hey!” Johnny protested, “I like being able to see all my stuff…besides I didn’t sell anything of mine I sold some shit Teresa left here.” He giggled and ruffled his brother’s hair. “So what’s this special project for Dad?”
“I’m making Dad a slide show of old family photos set to Elvis tunes. You know Dads really are as sentimental over homemade gifts as Moms are.” He lifted the scanner lid and placed another photo on the bed.
“I don’t do the homemade thing anymore, not after the paper weight disaster.” Johnny grimaced and shifted to pick up another stack of pictures.
Laughing until he was choking, Scott finally managed to get it out. “A paper weight was a great idea. It’s just unfortunate your rock turned out to be a recently deceased turtle; and by the time Dad opened the box the smell was heinous.”
Johnny continued to shuffle through the pile of pictures. “I was only five,” he pouted. “It looked like a damned rock to me.” All of a sudden his back stiffened and his eyes went wide. “Hey…what the hell’s the deal with this picture?” He waved the photo that obviously offended him under his brother’s nose.
Grasping his wrist to stop the wildly waving hand, Scott peered at the picture. Laughter bubbled up in his throat. “OMG! I so remember this!” Shifting forward in his chair, Scott reverently took the photo from Johnny’s hand, sheer joy relaxing his face as he stared at it. “Dad had just come home from a mission in Central American.”
“So fuckin’ what! That doesn’t explain why I was being abused in the picture,” Johnny exclaimed, gesturing at the undeniable evidence.
Popping his brother’s knee, Scott declared, “You weren’t being abused. And stop cursing! Dad’s actions were the last resort of a desperately tired man.” Happy memories softened the blond’s features. “School was starting in two weeks, and Mama was taking me to get new clothes. You were about twenty months old and into everything; and very prone to wandering -- or should I say running -- off so Dad suggested we leave you home with him.” The growing smile dimpled his cheeks. “He said he wanted to spend some quality time with you; get reacquainted.”
“Well, excuse the hell out of me for not seeing this as quality time.” Johnny pointed an accusatory finger at the picture.
“Before you get on your high horse, let me finish explaining.” Scott smiled as Johnny relaxed and moved to perch on the arm of his chair so he could view the photo as well. “After we left, Dad soon realized he might have bit off more than he could chew.” He held up a hand and began to tick off the then toddler’s offenses. “You climbed the baby gate and slid down the banister, you scaled the book shelves like a rock wall, you scrambled on top of the table and tried to reach the chandelier,” he paused and switched to his other hand as he continued to list transgressions, “you tried to flush a sippy cup down the toilet, you pulled down one side of the drapes to the big window, you escaped out the French doors;” he paused to take a deep breath, “and as Dad ran out to get you, you came speeding in the house driving your little red Porsche, ran over his foot, knocked over an end table with an antique gas lamp on it, did a u-turn and sped back out the doors and drove your car into the pool.” By the time he had finished he had used all his fingers and started again on the first hand.
Giggling until he wheezed Johnny sputtered, “What?”….snort snort sniff… “And Dad did this instead of killing me?”
“When Mama and I got home, that’s how we found you,” he nodded at the photo. “Mama got the camera and took the picture; and Dad never even opened his eyes. He just told her all the things you had done, and…”
Scott tapped the picture with his forefinger. There his brother was, in living color; frozen in time, the play-pen turned upside down, his father’s feet resting firmly atop the reinforced bottom. Johnny was peering out at the world, his face pressed against the mesh. He was pouting.