Word Count 885
15th in the Modern Lancers (series story order)
Disclaimer: Still don’t own Lancer.
Warnings/Spoilers: Modern AU.
Summary: Follows Relative Deprivation.
With a shove here, a shove there, Scott arranged the suitcases in the trunk of the car. Halfway in, he was out of sight from the painfully polite conversation happening at the front of the car.
Giving credit where it was due, Harlan and Murdoch had small talk down pat and you would never know the two had recently competed in a screwed up “Who gets Scott” winner takes all game. One competed with restraint and one with every dirty trick he had acquired in his long life.
Murdoch’s good graces and some impressive verbal finagling were the only reason Harlan was headed for the airport rather than a lengthy session with the local authorities. Harlan had some amends to make in that area, but he had no charges against him– at least for now.
When had Grandfather changed to Harlan?
Making some minor, look busy adjustments with the suitcases, Scott admitted the internal change of address was a recent development. Something had broken during the blackmail conversation of “come home with me or Murdoch faces charges of murder.”
Scott hadn’t believed Murdoch capable of murder. Self-defense, yes. There was a story behind the Degans and Murdoch that he had yet to hear. It shot to the top of his list of things to learn about this father.
When had Murdoch changed to Father ?
Another recent development, this one sat with alarming ease considering he didn’t know everything yet. Now that he had time for reflection, his own actions should have clued him in. His first thought after the revelation was to get Harlan away from Lancer before he could do damage – or more damage. He had wanted space and time to work out what was really going on, what had happened those many years ago.
A light touch on his shoulder jerked Scott out of his own head and looking up at Johnny.
“The luggage being unruly?” Johnny patted the closest case like one would settle down a horse. “Or are you hiding out?”
Johnny hadn’t changed to anything except adding some meaning behind Brother .
“Stalling.” He turned to rest his butt on the edge of the trunk, crossing his arms. “Harlan wants to talk. I doubt anything productive would come out of doing so right now.”
Johnny nudged Scott over to grab a parking spot of his own on the edge of the open trunk. “Your grandfather, and he is still your grandfather for all his scheming, is a scared, bitter old man. He’s fought so long and hard to prevent Murdoch even an ounce of happiness that he’s got you right where he doesn’t want you to be.” Johnny bumped his shoulder against Scott’s. “He falls into the proverbial ‘his own worst enemy’.”
Scott puffed out a breath. “He managed quite well for a number of years.”
Short nod. “Yep, he did.”
“I’m having a hard time forgiving 25 years of not knowing Murdoch.”
“Yep, I get that, too.”
“So having some experience with this, what do you suggest?”
Shrugging, Johnny looked at him for the first time. “Go with polite, you have to think about things. Tell him to have a safe trip, and make sure the only thing he leaves behind is you.”
“Little pissed at him?”
Smiling, Scott shoved off the trunk to stand, tuning into the other conversation. Murdoch and Harlan had resorted to analyzing the weather.
“I’ll drive you.” Johnny kicked out a leg letting the momentum bring him to his feet.
Johnny gently tapped Scott’s forehead with a forefinger. “Head injury. No driving yet.”
“Murdoch said he would drive.”
“Think Murdoch could use the place to himself for an hour while we remove the disturbance of peace.”
“Good point. Thanks for coming with.”
Johnny nodded, heading for the driver’s side as Scott closed the trunk.
Murdoch steered Harlan to the passenger side door.
“We’re set. Johnny will drive.” Scott opened the door for Harlan. Seeing the vulnerable look, Scott said, “You take the front seat. I’ll sit in back.”
The slight easing of Harlan’s shoulders reflected his relief. He turned back to Murdoch to shake his hand. “Thank you for your hospitality, Murdoch.”
“Have a safe trip, Harlan.” No false invitations back or expressions of pleasure for the visit. Murdoch’s stubborn, honest streak. He would keep things to himself, but if Murdoch had something to say, he stated it plain – even in polite pleasantries.
Harlan got in the car and Murdoch turned his attention to Scott. “Will you grab lunch in town or should I have it waiting when you get back?”
Murdoch wore a look Scott couldn’t read, needed to guess at what lurked underneath a simple question. “I can wait until we get home. Johnny?” He looked over the roof of the car.
Johnny grinned, tapped his fingers on the car. “Tell you what, we’ll bring home some take out. I’m in the mood for Thai. Okay with you, Murdoch?”
Murdoch smiled – the odd look gone. “Something spicy. I haven’t had Thai food in ages. Now my mouth is watering.” He gestured to the car. “Get going and hurry back.” Seriousness slipped over his face. “Drive safe.”
“Will do.” Johnny slid in behind the wheel.
Scott opened the back car door, smiled. “See you soon.”
“Counting on it.”
~ end ~
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