Let It Stand by Debbie Pack

Word Count 1,566

FEEDBACK: dpack@mmcable.com
DISCLAIMER: The following is a work of fiction based on the characters of the television series “Lancer”.  No infringement is intended to anyone who owns a portion of this series.  No money was made on this.
RATING: PG-13
WARNINGS: A little foul language
SPOILERS: High Riders
NOTES/COMMENTS:  This missing scene takes place during the first episode.  After Scott had been beaten up in town by Pardee’s men, Johnny had caught up with Teresa and Scott beside a creek.  The two brothers had argued and Teresa had stepped between them.  She had told Johnny that he was mistaken in his belief that Murdoch had kicked he and his mother off the ranch when Johnny was a babe.  Johnny was unconvinced, but you could see in his eyes the doubt was beginning to grow.  After the fight with Pardee had been concluded and things had begun to settle down, I think Johnny would have had time to reflect on what Teresa had told him.  That and Scott’s actions during the gunfight had a lot to do with Johnny’s decision to remain on the ranch.

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 Dark shadows were beginning to lengthen and intensify as Teresa sat down to continue with the mending she had put off for weeks now.  She sighed as she reflected on the past few weeks and the trying time each of them had been experiencing.


 She let her thoughts drift, while her hands worked with a comfortable certainty she hadn’t felt since before Murdoch’s sons had arrived.  She shook her head silently in amazement. She never would have believed that two brothers, fathered by the same man could be so different, yet so much alike.  Things were definitely going to be interesting around here for a while. And at the same time, it was also going to take a lot of adjustment on her part.


 She was accustomed to being the center of Murdoch’s world.  She had been that center even before her father had been killed.  She had always known of Murdoch’s sons and of the guilt he tried to keep hidden regarding Scott’s absence from his life.  She also knew of the continual search Murdoch paid the Pinkerton men to carry on for his youngest son.


 For years she had listened to her father and Murdoch’s discussions on both young men.  Her father had tried to convince Murdoch for as long as she could remember that he wouldn’t be wrong to write and try to establish communications with Scott in Boston.  But for some reason that Teresa had been unable to discover, Murdoch had refused.


  She felt a catch in her throat as she was reminded of what had brought about the change in his mind to finally contact Scott.  She still missed her father, but Murdoch had eased her heartache and helped fill her loneliness by naming her his legal ward shortly after her father’s murder.  She knew she would always have a special place in the rancher’s heart and he in hers, but she had been a little apprehensive as to how his sons would feel about her presence in their world, when or even if they agreed to meet with Murdoch.


 She thought back to Scott and Johnny’s arrival and shook her head.  Their initial introduction had been shaky at best. It had been pure coincidence the two of them had arrived on the same stage, at the same time. Only a week before Scotts expected arrival date, Murdoch had received word that the Pinkerton men had finally located Johnny.  She had been more than a little surprised to find Johnny at the depot as well.


 She had already made up her mind to welcome the young men as long lost brothers, but Teresa was no fool.  She expected a degree of hostility, but she had made up her mind that Scott and Johnny would have to deal with their feelings about her on their own.


 As it had turned out, they had been skeptical of her, but not any more so then they had been of each other. She frowned as dark memories reminded her of the near tragedy Johnny’s temper had incited on their first foray into town.  If there hadn’t been so much more to Scott Lancer’s character than his fancy clothes had indicated, he would be dead now. 

 She alternately cursed and cried for the lost loneliness she detected in Johnny’s aloof stubbornness.    There was no doubt that the dark young man had lived a solitary life.  Everything the Pinkertons had been able to track down about Johnny told the same story.  Johnny Madrid was a gunfighter and a loner.  Breaking through the shell Johnny had built around himself was going to take a lot of patience from every member of the family, but no more than it was taking from Johnny himself.


During the final confrontation with Pardee, Johnny had proven his loyalties and had nearly paid the ultimate price for his actions.  The wound he had received had been deep, but after cleaning and bandaging the wound, Johnny had assured them he had been wounded worse in the past.  Teresa didn’t doubt that fact.


 Tomorrow, they were due to sign the legal papers splitting ownership of the ranch.  She desperately hoped Johnny would see the wisdom of staying at Lancer and not returning to his former life.  His partnership agreement with Murdoch and Scott had not been bound by his remaining at the ranch. Johnny could very well sign those papers and ride out to parts unknown. She felt a tug at her heart.  If he left, she knew it was only a matter of time until he wound up dead at a very early age.


 
 The soft scrape of a boot on tile was her only alert to Johnny’s approach and at the same time she knew within reason that he had made the sound intentionally.  Johnny was as quiet as a cat and moving  undetected was as natural to him as breathing.  She knew he had wanted to let her know he was near.


  “Teresa,” he spoke softly with a hesitation in his voice and did not seem able to look her in the eye.


 She looked up, barely able to make out his outline in the shadows.  “You should be in bed, Johnny,” she told him, eyeing the still pale pallor of is face and noting the hat he fumbled with in his hands.


 “I’m okay,” he said, then paused again.  “I…I was…wondering if I could ask you a question.”


 It took a great deal of will power on her part not to respond to the quiet plea she heard in his voice, but Johnny was not one for being mothered.  “Sure, Johnny.  What is it?”


 “I…ah…That…ah… story you told me, down by the creek the other day,” his voice hesitated, as if searching for the right words. “About my mother…running off with another man?”  She saw him almost visibly force himself to look her in the eye momentarily.  “Was it true?”


 Teresa felt her heart leap to her throat.  This explained the silence she had mistaken for sullenness since the battle with Pardee had ended.  Johnny was beginning to question the truth of the things he had been told his entire life.  “It wasn’t a story, Johnny.  It’s true.”  She saw his eyes begin to narrow in continued disbelief and quickly continued.  “Not only did my father know the truth, everyone in town knew also.”  She saw a sadness come to Johnny’s eyes and she wished she could ease the hurt she saw cross his face.
 Without a word, he turned from her to walk away.


 “Johnny.”  She spoke up softly. He stopped, but did not turn around.  “Murdoch tried to find you when she ran off, but every lead was a dead end.  He never gave up, and,” she paused as her voice threatened to fail her.  “He didn’t know she had died until the Pinkerton men found you.”
 Johnny stood for a moment more, then continued out of the door without saying a word.


 Teresa put away the sewing basket she had held in her lap and walked to the door to watch as he mounted the palomino and rode away.  She sent up a silent prayer that what she had just old him would help him overcome some of the anger he felt toward Murdoch.  It had to help because if it didn’t, Johnny would never be able to find a place for himself here at Lancer.



 The following day, the finalization of the partnership was to take place.  Teresa had felt honored to be included in the unofficial ceremony between father and sons and had held her breath when Murdoch had instructed the lawyer to change Johnny’s name from Lancer to Madrid.  She knew it was Murdoch’s way of letting his son know he accepted Johnny’s past without question.  She would be forever grateful to John Madrid Lancer for his response to that acceptance.

Then the lawyer had gone to make the correction, Johnny had stopped him with a quick, shy look toward his father.  “No.” he had said.  “Let it stand.”

Teresa O’Brien smiled at the pride that reflected from Murdoch’s face.  Johnny had found his place and Murdoch had found his two sons.
 

THE END

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