Disclaimer: I didn’t steal the Lancer characters…quite the opposite; they stole my heart and have yet to return it.
Author’s note: This was written for the 41st Anniversary of the airing of Lancer for the celebration at LoJML.
~*~ L ~*~ A ~*~ N ~*~ C ~*~ E ~*~ R ~*~
For the past forty days, the occupants of Lancer ranch woke to grey, wet mornings. The rains had been the slow gentle type that soaked into the earth, replenishing the water table. The precipitation usually ended just before lunch, with the exception of a couple of days when it had misted until well past dark. As welcomed and needed as the rain was, it was a relief to rise on the forty-first day after the start of the rainy spell to find the sky blue, with wide swaths of lavender and pink rolling through it like ocean waves. The whole house seemed to sense the change and began stirring earlier than normal; anxious to be set free of the confines of the house as familiarity was beginning to breed contempt amongst the dwellers.
Maria had remarked after Scott and Johnny hurried through breakfast and then rushed out the door that she wondered if Noah had been as happy as she was when he was able to turn the animals loose after their forced captivity. Murdoch shook his head in agreement as he followed after his sons to shut the door they had left wide open. He paused a moment to enjoy the brilliance of the sun, his mind briefly occupied with the question of whether or not the sunlight had looked this brilliant on that forty-first morning for Noah.
Pushing the door closed, Murdoch sighed as the solid wood brought the dark back. Turning on his heel, he strode purposefully to the Great room and his accounting work. Perhaps he would finally be able to concentrate to get it done with Johnny out of the house. His youngest could be quite a distraction with his inability to sit still for any length of time. Before sitting down to his desk, Murdoch pulled the curtains of red velvet completely to the side and opened the French doors.
Crisp, cool air flowed through the room, ruffling the drapes as it rushed in. The smell was as clean as freshly washed clothes hanging on the line, still damp and filled with the light scent of soap. After an hour of figuring, Murdoch stood, breathing in deeply, and then moved out from behind his desk. His mind needed a diversion from the taxing calculations of book keeping chores. He was drawn like a moth to a flame to the sunlight that streamed through the open doors and into the room with the breeze.
The beams of light revealed the fine iridescent particles that floated and swirled in the air current. Reaching out a large calloused hand, index finger extended, Murdoch tried to catch one of the shimmering specks but it was a useless act, the movement of his body disturbed the air flow and the glimmering spot danced deftly away into a shadow where it abruptly disappeared. He tried repeatedly but no matter how calmly he approached, the elusive figment evaded his touch.
On his last attempt to capture a shining fragment, it waltzed out of his reach and vanished in darkness as a shout of laughter from Johnny echoed across the yard. A melancholy smiled replaced the look of intense concentration that had been on Murdoch’s face as thoughts of his youngest filled his mind.
Johnny could be as skittish as dust in the wind. When he was happy and at ease the light of the moment revealed the sparkle of Johnny Lancer’s personality. When he felt threatened or on his guard, Madrid’s mask would hide all his natural luminosity in the darkness of shadows.
Moving out onto the patio, his ears once again heard the sound of Johnny’s mirth, Murdoch’s eyes sought out the location of his son. He chuckled as he caught sight of both of his sons. Scott was standing in the middle of the pasture. The past forty days of morning showers had fed the green grass until it was knee high. The tall blades swayed in the breeze, every once in a while laying over so that the sunlight reflected in the puddles of water hidden by the lush growth.
Murdoch’s chuckle turned into an affectionate laugh as he watched Scott lift his arm and begin twirling his lasso. The rope whispered a song as it moved gracefully around. Johnny darted about his brother, dancing enticingly close only to abruptly change directions at the slightest indication the lariat was about to sail towards him. Much like the dust particles in the air, Johnny’s lithe body seemed to move free and easy, just when it looked like he would settle, in a blur of motion he was gone again. Every once in a while his feet would find one of the puddles of water and diamond like glints of moisture would splash upward, followed by an infectious giggle from Johnny.
Scott’s laughter filled the morning sky as his little brother became more daring. With his head thrown back and his face turned up to the sun’s warmth, the blue highlights in Johnny’s raven’s wing black hair gleamed in the sun’s rays. He held his arms out and began swirling in a circular path, taunting his older brother to catch him if he could. Scott’s patience paid off as he took advantage of Johnny’s completely unguarded moment in the sun. With a quick snapped of his wrist, the loop whooshed out and dropped neatly over the trim figure.
Both boys were laughing as hand over hand Scott pulled Johnny ever closer to him. Murdoch’s breath stalled in his throat and pushed with painful pressure against his heart at the significance of what he had just witnessed. The time to pull Johnny in, to strengthen ties with him was when he came out into the light and revealed the part of him that was Lancer. Johnny Lancer wanted to come home, to have family and to belong. Sure Madrid would always lurk in the shadows, should Johnny Lancer ever need his darkness to shield him from being burned by revealing too much, too soon for his comfort. Murdoch had faith now that as time continued on Johnny would become more at ease with being Lancer, a son and brother. The happy father now understood that he and Scott provided the light that allowed Johnny Lancer to come out.
Murdoch’s attention turned back to his sons in the pasture as their shouts of delight filled the air. Johnny was struggling out of the rope as Scott tried to hold on to him. Seized by the joyfulness of the moment Murdoch jogged towards the field, intent on helping one son hold onto the other.
September 24, 2009