I don’t own Lancer or any of the characters from the TV show. I only take them out for a quick run around the ranch every so often.
There is no warning really except for some of the language used. I apologize if it bothers you, but you have been warned.
Word count: 4,720
I looked out the window of the study one more time, trying to see thru the darkness that covered Lancer. It was so dark outside, I knew I wouldn’t be able to see anything.
I slowly turned and walked to the bar in the corner. I poured a glass of tequila and went to sit on the couch. As I looked into the flames of the fire burning cheerily in the fireplace, I thought the hacienda was too quiet.
It was just Teresa and me here right now. Murdoch and his sons were gone, who knows where. Scott and Johnny had disappeared almost 5 months ago. Murdoch had been gone 4 months now, trying to find his missing sons. The bare minimum in ranch hands had stayed, including Jelly. The rest gone with the Patron to find his missing sons. Val had even gone with them. Maybe his tracking skills would come in handy.
My eyes looked at the topaz liquid in the glass I held. Tequila. The drink Johnny would always drink. I took a sip and I felt the fiery path to my belly.
Maria had come in, even though it was way past the time for her to return to her own home.
” Miss Laura. Can I get you something to eat? You did not eat any dinner.”
I lifted up my tear filled eyes and smiled sadly.
“No Maria, I’m fine. Go on home. I’ll see you in the morning.”
She looked at me sadly and wished for the millionth time that she could find some way to ease my pain.
Softly, she whispered, ” Good night sweetie.”
As she went thru the kitchen, Teresa was there sitting at the table with a cup of coffee. She looked up as Maria came in.
“Did she want anything?”
“No Miss Teresa. She just sits in that room, watching the flames and drinks Juanito’s tequila. I’m worried about her.”
” I know. I am too Maria. Go on to bed. I’ll watch over her tonight. Good night.”
Maria walked past her and gently kissed her head.
After Maria left, Teresa finished her cup of coffee, and she went into the den.
“Laura, honey, can I do anything for you?”
I turned my green tear filled eyes to her and softly said, ” No Teresa. All I want is for Johnny to come home. Scott and Murdoch too. It’s too quiet here and I miss Johnny. “
She sat on the couch with me and said, ” I miss them too. Maybe you’d like to work on your needlework. I could keep you company. I have needlework to do too.”
I tried to smile and I said, ” No, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. And it’s for Johnny for Christmas. I have time to finish it…..after he comes home.”
“Are you sure? We could talk or maybe play chess. I know Scott taught you. It could maybe take your mind off things, at least for awhile.”
I slowly finished the glass of tequila and stood up.
” I’m gonna go to the barn, take care of Barranca and Charlemagne. You go on to bed Teresa. I’ll be okay.”
I opened the door and walked slowly to the barn. I knew Jelly was about, there was a lantern still burning. I walked to the stalls that held the two horses, on the way, stopping at the stall that held my horse. I caressed his huge black head.
“Maybe we’ll go for a ride tomorrow Dancer. I’m sorry I’ve neglected you. I’ll make it up to you boy, I promise. “
He laid his black head on my shoulder and as I scratched his neck, he leaned against me, offering me what comfort he could. Before I left, I scooped another measure of oats in his pail and made sure he had water.
Then I moved to Charlemagne and did the same. When I got to Barranca, he softly whinnied and sort of head butted me.
“Easy boy. I know, you miss him too. I wish he would come home too.”
I put my head against his golden neck and I let my tears fall. Barranca held still, as he seemed to know I needed a sturdy shoulder to lean on for a bit. I twisted my fingers into his almost white mane and just gave into my sorrow.
Crying in huge wracking sobs. Soon, I felt a hand on my shoulder, turning me into his shoulder. I heard Jelly’s gruff voice trying to offer comfort and his hands rubbed my back gently.
“Come on Laura sweetie. You need to be strong for Johnny. I know you miss him mighty bad, but you need to stay strong. You’re the wife of one of the owners honey, and the men are gonna need for you to be strong, while Murdoch and his boys are gone. You can have your sorrow honey, God knows I cried more than my share these last few months. But Laura, you need to be strong now. You can always come in here and you and me can always have ourselves a cry. You need to show the men and even Johnny, you can be strong. It don’t mean you don’t love him and miss him. We can’t let the ranch run down, now can we? I knows you loves this place as much as Johnny does. Do this for Johnny sweetie. He would be proud of the way you were strong.”
I lifted my head from Jelly’s shoulder. Softly, I said, ” It’s so hard to be strong Jelly, when my heart is in a million pieces.”
“I know it is. But you and me, we can fix those broken pieces one at a time. You have to put your feet, one at a time one in front of the next. You can do it Laura, I know you can. And Johnny will be so proud of how strong you really are. So what do ya say honey? Can we dry your tears and start to be strong?”
Smiling softly thru my tears, I said, ” Okay Jelly. We can do it together. Right?”
“Yes’um we sure can. Now you give Barranca his extra oats like you done to the others and then you go in and get yourself a good nights sleep, and in the morning, we’re gonna patch all them pieces together. You and me.”
I turned to the little man and softly said, ” Thanks Jelly. “
I gave Barranca his oats and water and patted his golden neck. I walked to the house when I was done. I went upstairs to the room I shared with Johnny and took my clothes off.
As I knelt by the side of the bed, I said a silent prayer to bring them home safely.
I slid into the bed, feeling the soft cool caress of the sheets against my skin. My tears had stopped and I slowly drifted to sleep.
When my eyes opened at 5am, I washed my face and got a pair of pants, a clean shirt and my boots on. I brushed my long blonde hair into a long ponytail and went downstairs to the kitchen.
Maria was there as was Jelly and Teresa. I sat in Johnny’s chair and as Maria put my cup of tea in front of me, she asked if I wanted breakfast.
“Yes Maria, a couple eggs, bacon and your delicious biscuits please.”
She softly smiled and thanked the Gods I was eating. I lifted my eyes and I saw Jelly smiling at me. He gave a quick nod and just finished eating. As my food was put in front of me, Maria gently kissed the top of my head, and caressed my cheek softly.
As we ate, Jelly told me what he thought needed my attention, and I told him to send a crew of about 6 guys to fix the fence line after the rains we had the last few days. I also told him to send another crew to round up the strays and put them back where they belonged.
As Jelly finished his coffee, he said, ” I’ll get right on it Laura. You gonna exercise them horses today?”
“Yea, I’ll start with Dancer. I neglected him long enough.”
After I was done eating, Teresa asked if I was okay and I told her that Johnny would be depending on me to keep the ranch running. And I was stronger than even I knew.
She stayed and Maria and her were in control of the house and I took over the running of the ranch.
As I was just coming back into the courtyard from running Dancer, I saw Sam’s buggy coming in. He got out and said, “Laura, good to see you up. You’re doing better I see.”
” Yes, I had a long talk last night with Jelly and he got me to see that they were gonna count on me to keep the ranch going. And that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Sam smiled and said, ” Well, I guess Johnny was right when he said you were strong enough to be a rancher’s wife.”
I pulled my watch from my pocket and said, ” Stay for lunch Sam?”
“Sure Laura, be glad to.”
Jelly came out and took Dancer from my hand.
” Lunchtime Jelly, see ya in a few.”
Lunchtime was full of talking and not a sad occasion. Sam said he’d be back in a few days to see how I was doing.
Weeks turned into another month, and I was stronger than I’d been. I was currying Dancer when a rider came into the courtyard.
It was Jimmy, his PA ran the telegraph office.
“Morning Miss Laura. Got me a telegram for you. Pa said you would be real happy to get it, so I dun rode Mavis as hard as I could.”
” Well, if you want to rest Mavis a bit, I think Maria has made some cookies. Why don’t you go to the kitchen and tell her I said to give you a handful and a glass of milk, while Mavis rests.”
He smiled and ran to the kitchen door. I looked at the telegram and sat on a hay bale. God, I hated telegrams, they were never good news. But then, Jimmy said his Pa said I would be happy, so I opened the yellow envelope.
It was from Murdoch. They had found Johnny and Scott in Modesto and they were coming home. Oh my God! I yelled for Jelly! He came rushing out.
“Murdoch found them. He’s bringing them home! They’re coming home Jelly!”
2 weeks later, a wagon rolled in with Murdoch driving. The hands that had left with him and Val too. I didn’t see Johnny or Scott and I started to panic.
Murdoch saw my panic and said, ” They’re in the wagon Laura. Relax sweetie.”
As the wagon stopped, I raced to the side and peered in. Scott was awake, but in extreme pain. Some hands helped him inside to his room. Johnny was unconscious. I looked at Murdoch.
“He was badly hurt honey. I gave him morphine to keep him still while we came home. The pain was too much and I didn’t want to chance him being hurt more. When Sam comes, we’ll see how bad he is yet.”
Men helped carry Johnny up to our room. I pulled the covers down and as Murdoch took his boots, gun belt and pants off, I reached for a night shirt for him, knowing he hated them. I went to open his shirt to take it off, and Murdoch stopped my hands.
” Honey, maybe you should turn away and let me get the night shirt on him first.”
I lifted my eyes to his and I said, ” How bad is it Murdoch?”
” His back is raw and infected honey. They opened it up bad. Scott said they used a brine soaked whip on Johnny. It’s bad honey.”
My tears simmered again, and I said, ” No, I’m his wife Murdoch. I’m stronger than you think. I can do this. Let me please.”
He saw my determination and stayed close by in case I needed him. As I slowly peeled his shirt from his body, I saw the streaks of infection that caressed his chest coming from the back of his body.
If it was that bad in front, then his back must really be a mess. As Murdoch held Johnny’s body forward, I looked at his back. Angry red infected whip welts greeted my eyes. I went and got a bowl of water and some towels, and I began to clean them as best as I could while he was unconscious.
When I was as done as I could be, I slid the night shirt over Johnny’s head and laid him on the bed. I pulled a chair up to the bed and got clean water and clean rags, and began to wash and cool Johnny’s sweaty face, neck and body, while we waited for Sam.
Murdoch saw I was handling it and he left. He saw Jelly in the hall and he said, ” Is she okay Jelly?”
“Yea Boss. She got stronger to take care of Lancer while you all was gone. That little gal did things I never thought she could. Johnny will be mighty proud of her when he wakes up.”
Murdoch smiled and said, ” I’m already proud of her. This couldn’t have been easy for her Jelly.”
” Not at first Boss, but she and I had a talk, and she saw what she had to do and she dun it. I’m mighty proud of her too.”
Murdoch went to see how Scott was and found him being tended to by Teresa. He went to his study and took a good healthy glass of whiskey.
His mind went over the last 9 months and he was only grateful that he had found his sons. He was most concerned about Johnny. The infections, the fever, his being unconscious. He sat in his chair and tried to think.
Soon, his exhaustion won out, and he fell asleep on his desk.
Sam had come and went to tend to Scott and Johnny. Scott’s back was infected, but wasn’t as bad as Johnny’s. When Sam peeled his night shirt away, I heard his soft hiss.
“Brine soaked. Bastards!”
And he gently turned Johnny to his belly and began to clean out the infections. Even tho Johnny was still unconscious, I still held his hand. I softly spoke to him, calming his subconscious.
I thought I saw his long dark lashes flutter once or twice, but Sam said he was too deeply unconscious for that.
When Sam had cleaned the infections as best as he could, he put a large white pad on his back with some smelly ointment on it, and then he wrapped it around with clean bandages to hold it in place.
“Let him lie on his belly for a few minutes, to let that ointment get a good hold, and then we’ll turn him over.”
I silently nodded.
Sam reached over and I felt his hand cupping my chin, and he lifted my face up.
“He’ll be okay honey. I brought John into this world, and I’m not ready to give him up. He’s a fighter. Laura, you have been so strong thru all of this. Johnny would be proud of the way you handled things here, and even now. I know I’m proud of you. And Murdoch, he’s proud of you too. Just be strong a little more honey. For John, okay?”
I locked my eyes on his and I quietly said, “I have to be strong Sam. I’m a rancher’s wife. I’m a Lancer.”
He patted my cheek and said, “Yes you are, sweetie. Come on, let’s roll Johnny over.”
I stayed by Johnny’s side for 3 months, while he battled against his injuries. His eyes would open but I knew he wasn’t focused on anything, and then they would close again.
All the time I spoke softly and calmly, hoping to get thru to him on some level.
Finally, one morning, as I laid against his warm bicep, I felt a soft caress to my cheek. I lifted weary eyes and I saw Johnny’s blue sapphire eyes looking at me. I saw a small smile and he said, in a soft tiny whisper, “Laura, how long?”
“You been home and safe at Lancer 3 months, Johnny. Scott is here and doing okay. Your back is healing Johnny, but it’s a long process because the whip was put into brine. Scott told me. But they aren’t infected and your fever broke last night.”
Johnny slowly closed his eyes again, but I felt his hand reach for mine and he held tightly. I still sat by his side and once again those brilliant blue eyes opened.
“Scott tell you who it was and why, honey?”
“No, I think he wanted you to tell me when you were stronger.”
I heard the soft sigh and he said, his blue gaze locking on me, ” Honey, you have to stay calm, this is not going to be easy to hear.”
I looked at Johnny and quietly said, “I’m okay Johnny. Tell me please baby.”
I felt the grip on my hand get even tighter. Johnny softly, in almost a whisper said, “Your father and your brother.”
I shook my head.
” No! It can’t be!”
I saw the truth in Johnny’s eyes and I kind of crumpled against the chair.
“No, I don’t believe it! Why Johnny? They were here at our wedding. They saw how happy and content I am. It doesn’t make sense Johnny.”
Johnny tried to sit up to comfort me and I heard the soft hiss as the pain caressed over him.
“They weren’t happy, Laura. Your father had plans for you to marry someone called Martin. A big business deal and you were the collaterol. “
“Martin Bigelow. Oh my God! Johnny, he’s an old man. Why would my father want me to marry an old man?”
“A business deal Querida. Your brother owed this guy a lot of money. In payment for his debt, your father put you into the pot. They ambushed Scott and me outside of Stockton. They were going to kill us slow, so you would understand.”
“And then I would crawl back to my father when you were
gone. How could he be so cruel Johnny? I’m his daughter!”?
Johnny lowered his eyes and he softly said, ” No Laura, you weren’t. You were adopted. Your brother is who always mattered.”
I tried to absorb what Johnny told me and he caressed my cheek gently.
“You are a Lancer now Laura. It doesn’t matter, the past. Your
future is here, at Lancer, with me. That’s all that matters. Here baby.”
Johnny, ignoring the pull of his pain, lifted his body and I felt his arms wrap around me.
“Shh, it’s okay Querida. You are my wife, a Lancer, and that’s what you shall remain. You are safe here and I’m getting stronger every day. I will not let him hurt or take you away. I promise you Laura.”
I laid my head gently on Johnny’s shoulder and I felt his arms caressing me, soothing my frantically beating heart. After I had calmed, I pulled away and gently pushed his body back down.
“You are still very injured my love. There will be time when you are healed better for your caresses. For now, I’ll lie in your arms gently.”
I smiled and his hand came up to caress my cheek.
“Have I told you yet, Querida, how proud I am of the way you held Lancer together? I heard Jelly talking to Murdoch. He was right, I am very proud of you. A true rancher’s wife Laura. I couldn’t ask for a better wife, partner or companion than you.”
I saw the love that flared into Johnny’s eyes and my smile caressed my lips. My hand slid to his cheek and up into his very long inky black hair, and I heard the soft sigh slip from his lips, and I knew his eyes would be closed.
As the days after Johnny woke had passed, into weeks and then months, the threat from the one I thought as my father lessened.
Johnny was soon released to work with Jelly on light work for awhile. I’d watch from the door of the barn as he and Jelly repaired the leather around the ranch. Johnny’s fingers, nimble and sure, as the leather needle went in and out with precision and skill.
I knew Johnny didn’t mind the leather repairs, but I also knew he longed to be on Barranca’s back, riding like the wind.
At night, Johnny and I would make love for hours, slow and leisurely. Always going just over the edge, never daring as it was before.
Johnny would always say he wasn’t as well as he thought for love making of that intensity, and I softly accepted it. I knew there would be a day, soon, that Johnny’s desires for me would take control of him once again.
I loved Johnny with all my heart, and I missed the intense love making. He had been thru a lot and I vowed to give him the time he needed. I knew the old Johnny, the intense lover of before, was not far behind.
I would wait and hold my own desires at bay. I too, was feeling the pull of heated desires.
When the air cooled after dinner, we would mount Barranca and Dancer, and we would ride, at a slow pace, to our meadow.
Johnny and I would lie in each other’s arms, away from the eyes of the ranch. Free to touch and be what we wanted. We still did not release our intense love making, not yet. But what we did enjoy brought us both a sense of peace and calmness we seemed to need.
Johnny’s hands would open my shirt and my pants, and I would feel his soft caress to my soft skin, creating in me an ever increasing volcano, waiting to explode.
My fingers would slowly do the sane to him. Caressing softly his chest, belly, feeling the shiver that my feathering touch across his nipples would create. My touch to his hard body would always issue a soft sigh from Johnny. He would take my pants and his off and he would make slow wonderful love to me.
Caressing my body deeply and fully, our combined pleasures colliding over us, I longed for the wild Johnny I loved even more. Even when we returned to our bed at night, we would lie naked in each other’s arms, gently caressing each other, reaffirming our love for each other with gentle touches and caresses.
One night, just before Johnny and I fell asleep, his soft voice lifted to my ears, ” Laura, are you ever sorry?”
I felt my heart clench in my chest and I swallowed hard.
“Sorry for what Johnny? “
Although I knew what he wanted.
“For marrying me.”
I sat up and I looked at him. My eyes searching his as I said, ” Never for one second have I been sorry Johnny. You are my life and I love you so much, it sometimes hurts.
His hand softly caressed my cheek and then up into my long golden hair.
“Would you want to have my child, Laura?”
My eyes sparkled and he saw the true depth of my love and I said, ” Yes Johnny. I want so much to have your baby.”
Johnny pulled me to his chest and I heard his heart beating strong and steady, and for a brief moment, I thought how close I had come to losing him. We fell asleep, and I felt Johnny’s caresses as my eyes slid shut.
Almost overnight, it was as if the old daring Johnny had returned. Our love making became intense and hard and my heart felt alive once again in Johnny’s arms.
As we laid in each other’s arms one night, breathing rapidly, Johnny quietly said, ” I feel something inside you, Querida. I believe you may be carrying my child.”
I softly laughed and said, ” Johnny, we haven’t been trying for long enough yet.”
“Still, I can feel I, Querida. “
For a week after that, my heart wanted to believe and I made a trip to see Sam while Johnny worked with Scott. I told Sam what Johnny had said and Sam smiled.
“Well, let’s see what good old science says okay.”
When the tests were done, Sam smiled gently.
“Well, I guess we can add vision seer to Johnny’s many talents. You are pregnant my dear. “
I softly smiled and said, ” How could he know Sam?”
Sam turned to look at me and he said, ” Johnny has had many special gifts Laura. He can read people and know what they feel, his magic with animals and now this. Some people are just gifted. John continually amazes me.”
I sat in Sam’s office and Sam asked if he should send for Johnny, and I said that he should. I waited for Johnny to come galloping into town. He raced into Sam’s office and fell to his knees by my side.
I felt his caress and saw the worry in his sapphire eyes.
“John, relax. She is fine. In fact, you were correct. She is indeed carrying your child!”
The look that came to Johnny’s face was a mix between disbelief and utter joy.
“You are, Querida? Oh baby! I knew I was right!”
Johnny picked me up and I felt his arms around me and he spun me around, as his lips caressed me.
“Oh baby, this calls for a celebration. We’ll have a lovely dinner at the hotel and then go home and tell everyone.”
We went to the hotel and we had a lovely meal to celebrate. We even got a bottle of champagne when Mrs. Rivers, the owner, asked what we were celebrating.
Johnny told her I was pregnant. A few tables away, Johnny and I were unaware of the evil man listening to our conversation.
Before we left, he had gotten up before us and slunk into the night. When Johnny and I were leaving, he had just tied Barranca to the back of the carriage, and then we were attacked.
I watched as the one I called my brother, beating Johnny until he was unconscious. I then realized he had been the one who had hurt Johnny before.
We were dragged into an abandoned building and I dropped to my knees to check on Johnny. I was yanked up and pulled to the one I thought of as my father.
“Well, seems you are to be congratulated, whore! “
I flinched at the word and said, ” What do you want? I am not any concern of your’s any longer. I know I am not your daughter, I never was.”
“True, but you still are worth my son’s life when I still give you over to Martin Bigelow. “
I looked at Johnny and I saw there was a bloody gash on his head. I started to go to him, and that creature I thought of as my father stopped me with a hard backhand.
I went to my knees and I realized I was within reach of Johnny’s colt. I dove for it, and as I lifted it up, they froze.
“You don’t have it in you Laura.”
I looked at him and said, ” You don’t know me, I’m stronger than you will ever know. I’m a Lancer, I’m Johnny’s wife.”
I fired 2 shots, and watched them drop. I then went to Johnny’s side and caressed his cheek.
“Baby, open your eyes Johnny. It’s okay. We’re safe now.”
As Johnny slowly opened his eyes, he slowly sat up and saw the two dead men. Johnny reached for me and held me close.
“Laura, you okay baby?”
“Of course, I’m Johnny Madrid Lancer’s wife.”
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