Word Count 2,656
I don’t own Lancer or the characters from the show. I however, do run them around the ranch every now and then. There is no rating on this story.
I sat in court, behind the prosecutor’s table with the Lancers. On one side was Scott, the other Johnny. We were all there for testimony against the man who illegally took Lancer from them and sent Johnny to prison. A maximum security prison.
Scott and Murdoch filed appeal after appeal, but they were all denied. Johnny was sentenced to 5 years. Finally, being released early after evidence was found to have been forged from the beginning.
As I was reunited with Johnny, I felt his hesitancy. 3 years he was shut away, alone, trying to survive. He had been beaten his first night there. Besides his chest being one massive bruise, he’d had a few ribs badly bruised.
The Doctor there didn’t do anything to help Johnny, and never even taped them up. The work Johnny had been forced to do, took a lot out of him. At night, he had to sit up in a corner of the cot in order to breathe.
When he was finally released, Val took him instantly to a Doctor who taped them up and told Johnny he was lucky they hadn’t been broken.
Scott, Murdoch and I had found a small house in the town where the prison was, and we tried to stay optimistic that Johnny would be alright and he’d survive.
When Val finally brought him home, I felt the difference. He was quiet and withdrawn. My heart broke that he wasn’t the same man anymore. I felt he still loved me, but the fire in his heart was no longer there. He was a broken man.
I tried to help Johnny as best as I could, and it helped…..some.
I knew he loved me and I just had to build on that one single thought.
When the other table of people came in, I felt Scott and Johnny tense. Especially when Teresa sat behind her new husband. The man who had begun all this trouble. Scott had looked at her with such hatred, I thought he would get up and walk over to where she sat, and he would simply strangle her.
Johnny said nothing. He sat and looked at her with a look from his Madrid days. Nothing would get thru and I guess that was how he had survived prison as well. I felt my hand reaching for his and he turned to me, and lifted my hand to his lips and gently kissed it.
I saw Teresa had seen and she dropped her eyes. Johnny’s soft smile for me, caressed my heart, and he gently kissed me.
” Things will be okay Querida. “
Testimony began and I saw each of the Lancers tense.
Murdoch and Scott each testified and I saw what it took from each of them. Johnny would testify after lunch.
As we left, Johnny’s hand tightly clasped mine, Teresa saw and shot Johnny a look of pure hatred. No one thought anything of it. As we went to the hotel for lunch, I tried to eat something and Johnny softly whispered, ” Want to go back to the hotel instead Honey?”
Before I answered, Johnny stood and lifted me up.
” Get us when it’s time to go back. “
We went to the room. As the door shut, Johnny slowly walked to me and I felt his arms wrap around me. He pulled me to his chest.
” I know what this is about? I’ve been standoffish and not as you remember. I’m trying Honey. I’m trying to find my way back to you. I closed off my emotions while I was in there, purely survival instincts Baby. I love you to the core of my being Sweetie. It just will be a long process. Please don’t loose hope Laura. I will find my way back to you.”
I felt his gentle caress to my cheek and as his hands went to my cheeks, he tilted my face up and his lips came slowly to mine. I felt the fire inside of me starting to build, but I held it all inside.
Softly, against my cheek, Johnny’s soft voice saId, ” Don’t Querida. Let me feel your love. It can help me come back. Don’t put that fire in your heart out Querida, it’s what keeps me going.”
I felt my arms lifting to slide into his soft waves of inky black hair, and my lips opened to welcome his tongue inside. As the kiss slowly deepened, I heard Johnny’s soft contented sigh. I knew he was finding his way back.
Johnny slowly led me to one of the beds and he laid us down.
He pulled me to his chest and I put my head on his strong chest, his arms going around me.
I felt his soft caress to my cheek and my eyes slowly closed.
All too soon, Scott was at the door saying we should head back in. As we stood and straightened ourselves, I put my hand to Johnny’s cheek.
” Stay calm no matter what questions come at you. Please Johnny.”
” I will I promise.”
We took our seats again and as our lawyer called Johnny up, he squeezed my hand and gave me a soft smile. As Johnny took the witness chair, my heart broke that he had to go thru this all again.
I looked at Teresa and she had an almost evil smile on her face.
As the questions began, I saw an almost calm air come over Johnny. When the questions turned to his prison time, I felt Murdoch tense more.
Johnny told of being attacked the first night there, saying one of the men told him that this was payback from Teresa’s husband. He told of the massive bruising and the cracked ribs, how the Doctor there didn’t do anything to help him. Of how he had to sleep sitting in a corner of the cot in order to breathe.
The hard work only aggravated his abused ribs and the whole time, Johnny never complained to anyone. He simply cut off his emotions till he was released, and could get back to his family and his wife.
Our lawyer smiled and said, ” How long have you and your wife Laura been married John?”
I saw his eyes flicker to me and a soft smile slid to his lips.
” Five years now.”
” Do you love her John?”
” With all my heart.”
I smiled at him, tears filling my eyes.
” Was there ever a time you had feelings for someone else John?”
” No. I’ve always loved Laura, even when we were courting.”
I heard Teresa’s soft gasp and I saw her eyes turn to me. I smiled softly at her and she glared daggers at me.
Then our lawyer gave Johnny a shot, that caused my heart to stop.
” You heard the testimony of Teresa Fogel? How she claimed she loved you and you returned that love to her on several occasions.”
I saw Johnny look at her and he had such hatred in those deep sapphire eyes, I was suddenly afraid he’d explode.
” Yes, I loved her, as a sister. That’s all I ever thought of her as, my sister. I never had romantic thoughts about her ever.”
” Even at a New Year’s Eve party, when she appeared in a rather revealing red dress?”
Johnny smiled and said, ” I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t say she looked lovely, even beautiful. But my heart already belonged to Laura. Teresa knew I loved Laura and not her.”
Teresa’s head lowered and I knew she finally realized that Johnny never did love her.
” And what do you feel for Teresa now John?”
Johnny lowered his eyes and I heard his soft sigh. As he lifted his eyes, I saw nothing.
” I despise what she did to the family she professed she loved. I dont feel anything for her.”
” No anger, no love, nothing John?”
” Like I said, I despise her. To feel anger I would have to feel, and I feel nothing for her.”
Her eyes closed and I saw tears slide down her cheeks.
After Johnny was excused, he walked to my side and as he sat down, he gently caressed my lips with his.
Our lawyer stood and said simply, ” I’d like to redirect Teresa Fogel, if I may Your Honor.”
As Teresa slowly stood, the Judge reminded her she was still under oath. As our lawyer approached, he simply said, ” Why did you pursue John Lancer, even after he’d proclaimed his love for Laura?”
She lowered her eyes and said, ” Because she wasn’t right for him, I was. I loved Lancer and I would have made a better rancher’s wife than she would.”
” But he told you on several occasions, did he not, that be loved you as a sister, not as a lover.”
” If I had time, he would have seen I was right for him.”
” Teresa, didn’t you realize that would never happen? Johnny told you he loved Laura and they were married 3 months after they met. Didn’t that tell you he’d loved Laura all along?”
She shook her head and said, ” He would have turned from her after……”
The she slid her mouth shut.
” After what Teresa? You are under oath here young lady. Please answer. After what?”
She seemed to smirk and all but shouted. ” After he found out she’d been a working girl for a bordello in Spanish Wells!”
Johnny’s hand tightened on mine and he softly said, ” Shh, it’s okay Baby.”
” When were you going to inform John Lancer of that?”
” The day they were married, but I didn’t get a chance to.”
” No further questions for this witness. Redirect to John Lancer Your Honor. “
Johnny sighed and went up again, shooting daggers at Teresa.
” John, you just heard Teresa’s testimony, is there anything you would like to add?”
Johnny smiled softly at me and said, ” Yes there is. I already knew of her life as a working girl, as she knew of my life as Johnny Madrid.”
” And when did you both find out these supposedly devastating facts?”
” 2 weeks before we married.”
” It didn’t matter to you?”
” No, I loved her. She was a changed woman, as I was no longer Johnny Madrid. We accepted each other’s pasts and moved on to our marriage.”
” How long have you and Laura been married John?”
” As I said before, 5 years and I’ve never been happier or more content in my life. Laura also is content, or she wouldn’t be carrying my child inside of her.”
Again the soft gasp from Teresa caused Johnny to smile at me.
” How long have you known that John?”
” About 2 weeks ago. I could tell. A man knows when something is different about the one he loves.”
” Yes they do John, and congratulations.”
Johnny walked back to me and he looked at me with a soft knowing smile, and I knew I could never keep anything from him. I smiled back and he pulled me closer to his body. My head fell to his shoulder.
The Judge adjourned for a few hours to go over the testimony. Fogel was again led back to the jail. We went to the hotel and I softly said, ” How did you know Johnny?”
He smiled and I saw the desire and longing in his sapphire eyes.
” Like I said, a man knows when the one he loves is different. I just had an idea. I’m sorry if I ruined your surprise Querida.”
He gently pulled me to his chest and I said , ” I’m glad you know. I couldn’t find the right time.”
We went to the dining room to eat, and Johnny softly said, as he gently raised my face, ” You will eat Laura Lancer.”
Laughing, I ordered some stew and a bowl of strawberries and Johnny’s smile was slow to come to his lips. Leaning over he quietly said, ” If I remember correctly Mi Amour, that is how you got pregnant in the first place. You and your berries!”
His lips caressed mine and I knew at that moment, Johnny’s heart was again open and mine once again. We all ate and Johnny received congratulations from Scott and Murdoch. Even Val came by and offered his wishes with a gruffy shake of his head.
When we were summoned into the Courtroom, I was suddenly nervous. I prayed Fogel would be found guilty of all of this illegal activity, as well as all the others he had paid to plant evidence.
As the Judge came in, he nodded to Val, who stood behind Fogel.
” Stand Mr Fogel.”
As he did, the Judge said ” After considering all the evidence, a good amount that was forged against the Lancers, it is this Court’s decision you are found guilty, and I am ready to pronounce my ruling. You will be hanged one week from Monday, by the neck until you are dead. Also, there are arrest warrants for your employees as well as your wife. Marshall Crawford will you see to that please. Court adjourned.”
As Fogel was handcuffed, he turned to Teresa and also handcuffed her, as well as the few others in the room. They were all taken to the jail.
As the 3 Lancers and I stood on the sidewalk, Murdoch tiredly said, ” Let’s go home boys, to Lancer.”
Instead of me taking the small surrey back, Johnny scooped me up in his arms and we headed to Barranca. He put me in the saddle and gracefully leaped up and we took off towards Lancer.
We didn’t go to the house, we went to our meadow. He let Barranca wander and as Johnny laid me on the cool grass, I saw his eyes glide over my body. I saw his love and desire for me shining in his sapphire eyes, and he began to unbutton my dress. He didn’t take it off, just opened it.
I felt the warmth of his hand as he placed it gently and lovingly over my still flat belly.
” My baby is inside of you Querida, growing. That’s the most precious gift you could ever give me Laura.”
Smiling, I put my hand over his hand on my belly and I said, softly, ” But how did you really know Johnny?”
He laughed and said, ” Sam told me. He was worried about you at that trial and wanted me to watch you. I told the Court to finally jar her out of her dreams. It’s always been you I love Laura, never her.”
Smiling, I slid my hand to his cheek and he gently pressed against my caress.
” I know Johnny, I’ve always know how you feel. Even when you told me your past Johnny, I loved you. Knowing you were a gun hawk named Johnny Madrid made you somehow exciting.”
I shivered as his hand began sliding lower.
” You weren’t afraid knowing that’s who I was?”
” Never Johnny. I knew it was in the past, as my life was. All I ever wanted was to be your wife Johnny. And I am and now I have your baby growing inside if he. I feel somehow complete now. “
Smiling, Johnny’s lips came to mine and I felt the desire rising in his body. Just before his hands removed my dress completely he softly said, ” Mi Amour, Mi Corazon, my Querida forever.”
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