Fandom: Lancer
Rating: PG
Genre: family, supernatural, kidfic, some violence
5 chapters, 10,425 words

Johnny and Scott are kids in an alternate Lancer universe in this supernatural tale.
Written: October 31, 2009
Tags: Kidfic, AU, supernatural, hurt child, kid Johnny, kid Scott, kid Val, Catherine, Angel Day, Maria.

Notes: As you can see, I wrote this a few years ago. I hope you enjoy it, even if there appear to be several POVs!
Please leave comments...

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The Little Angels

CHAPTER 1 - Costumes

"I'm gonna be a rabbit," Johnny proclaimed.

Scott raised an eyebrow at his little brother. "Rabbits are for kids."

Johnny stuck out his lower lip, his brows drew together in a frown and then he blurted, "I'm not a kid!"

With a fond laugh, the older boy roughed up Johnny's already tousled hair. "I think being five years old makes you a kid, Johnny." When his little brother kicked out Scott jumped back quickly. He was used to Johnny's antics, but the small boy was getting faster. "Hey! You know what Pa says: No kicking."

Johnny gave another, half-hearted kick but when Scott slapped out at his arm, he ran for the safety of the kitchen. Scott followed more slowly, shaking his head. Kids, he thought.

~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~

That evening at the dinner table, Johnny, his mouth full of cake, declared loudly, "I'm gonna be a fox."

But Murdoch, in the middle of talking to his eldest son about his schoolwork, wasn't listening. "The Padre says your Latin studies are progressing well, Scott," he said with a proud smile. "You're advancing beyond the level he would expect from an eight-year-old."

Scott flushed and his gaze dropped to his plate, but he smiled all the same. Then he raised his head and admitted, "I prefer the Sciences and reading, Father." He turned to look in his mother's direction. Her eyes were alight when her gaze moved past him to where his father sat at the head of the table. She looked so pretty when she smiled, he thought.

Catherine cut a generous slice of chocolate cake and handed it to Scott to pass to his father. "Now Murdoch, you know that our son is advanced for his age, but I will remind you that he is still a boy." She smiled at Scott and then at Johnny, who had chocolate smeared on his nose, cheeks and chin. "Both of our boys are smart. Aren't you, love?" She playfully touched one of Johnny's chubby cheeks with a finger. Johnny started to speak with his mouth full, but his mother quelled him with a stern look.

He swallowed, licked his lips, reached for his glass of milk and stated again, "I'm gonna be a fox."

"Going to be a fox," Murdoch corrected absently.

Johnny enunciated with care, saying, "I am going to be a–"

Scott interrupted loudly, "We get it, Johnny! You're going to be a fox. Mother, can you get him to stop saying that?"

Catherine turned to the small boy at her side and had to restrain herself from helping him raise the glass of milk. She watched closely, but for once Johnny drank it all without spilling a drop. As soon as he put the now-empty milk glass safely back on the table, she asked him patiently, "Are you going to dress up as a fox for Halloween, Johnny?"

He nodded, and when his long hair fell over his eyes, Catherine lovingly pushed it back. "We'll have to make sure that you have a costume ready for tomorrow night then, won't we? And on Monday we'll take a trip to the barber and get your hair cut."

"A fox," Johnny said firmly, but with a look of entreaty in his big blue eyes.

"Yes, dear. You can be whatever you like." She leaned over and kissed Johnny's forehead then rose to usher him up to bed.

~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~

Once the brothers were safe in their bedroom and tucked up in bed, their mother retreated, leaving the door slightly ajar.

Johnny called to his brother, "What are you going to be?"

Scott turned over with a sigh to face Johnny. He knew if he didn't humor him, the kid would never stop pestering him and they'd never get any sleep. "I haven't given it a lot of thought, Johnny." There was silence in the near dark, so Scott sighed and stretched his legs under the covers. He did have an idea of what he wanted to be for Halloween, though he'd been keeping it to himself. There wasn't much chance of keeping a secret with Johnny around.

Johnny's small voice asked, "You going to be an animal?"

"Something better." From the sound of the movement coming from Johnny's bed, Scott knew he'd piqued his brother's interest. Before he was pestered into revealing his choice of a costume, Scott gave in. "I am going to be a lawman."

After a long silence, Johnny asked incredulously, "Why?"

Scott reasoned that he didn't have to explain himself to some little kid, even if he was his brother. Despite his thoughts, he said in a world-weary voice, "I'm going to be a special kind of lawman, a Ranger. He rides a big silver horse and fights the bad men."

"Does he have a gun?" Johnny sat up in bed. He had a fascination with guns, even though he wasn't old enough to do more than touch Pa's Winchester, and only when very closely supervised. Scott had a .22 and went hunting with the men sometimes, if Mama allowed it. Johnny couldn't wait until he was old enough to go, too. He didn't care about hunting animals; he just wanted to handle a gun. He liked the shiny revolvers and the brass casings on the bullets.

"Yes, he has a gun," Scott said. "With silver bullets. And he wears a star on his chest so the villains know who he is and they run as soon as they set eyes on him." Although at school Scott was reading fables in Latin, he also had a dog-eared copy of a dime novel he'd traded his biggest cat's eye marble for with a boy at school. In the story, Ranger Roy dispatched evildoers with his magic gun and rode a fiery steed. Scott's fondest wish was to be just like him.

Johnny lay back down in his bed. "That's stupid."

"Not as stupid as wanting to be a fox," was the quick retort.

The bedroom door opened and their father's body blocked the dim light from the hall for a moment. "Boys…" Then Murdoch stepped into the room; his shadow fell across the boys' beds. "It's late and we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow. No more talking."

"Yes, sir," Scott promptly said.

Murdoch waited to hear Johnny's response but it didn't come. "Johnny?"

"But Papa, I gotta ask you somethin'."

Murdoch sighed and went to sit on the small boy's bed. It creaked and dipped under his weight. "You can always ask me something," he said with a smile.

Johnny worked himself into a sitting position and looked up at his father with wide eyes. "¿Todos los niños que se mueren convertido en ángeles?"

"In English," Murdoch said. But before Johnny could repeat the question, he replied, "Yes, son, children who die become angels. They go to Heaven."

Johnny asked in a small voice, "Like Tia Maria's little boy?"

Although it was inevitable that the conversation was going to take this tack, Murdoch felt ill-prepared. He was a practical man, but talking to his own small child about the death of young Maria's baby was not an easy task. He could feel Scott's eyes burning into him. When the boys' grandfather had died a few months earlier, Catherine had talked to Scott about her father's passing; Johnny had been deemed too young to comprehend the matter. But now he seemed very concerned about poor Maria's little baby, taken by the Lord barely a month ago.

After he took a breath, Murdoch said, "This is why in two days' time we celebrate el Día de los Angelitos. It's a time for their souls to come back and visit. How would you like to go to Tia Maria's home and make an offering of a toy and some milk? And tomorrow night you can dress up and go down to the casitas. The señoras will be making candied pumpkin and they're sure to offer all the children some sweets." He rose and said firmly, "Now sleep, both of you."

~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~

When Scott returned with his mother from town the next afternoon, he had a brown paper-wrapped package in hand. He opened it once he was alone in his bedroom and carefully unfolded the shirt his mother had bought him. He held it up to admire it. It was blue. There was a red neckerchief to go with it.

Johnny piped up behind him. "What's that?"

Scott resisted the temptation to hide his new clothes, but instead he turned slowly to look at his little brother. "My ranger outfit." Johnny stood with his hands behind his back, an angelic look on his face. Scott placed his hands on his hips. "All right, squirt, what have you done now?"

If anything, Johnny looked even more angelic. "Nothin'."

Scott snorted and grabbed his brother's arm, twisting it until Johnny brought his hand out from behind his back. Johnny yelled and kicked up a fuss, but Scott shouted at him to keep quiet. When he finally had a good look at the thing his brother was holding onto for dear life, Scott couldn't believe his eyes. In Johnny's fist was clutched a long, furry tail of a fox. "Where'd you get that?"

Johnny squirmed until he slipped free of his older brother's grasp and then hightailed it out of their room. Scott called out after him, "I'm gonna tell Mother!"

~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~

Catherine removed her bonnet and checked her hair for stray wisps in her dressing table mirror. She patted a couple of curls into place and tidied her bun. At least her hair was still as blond as when she was a girl, she thought, but then dismissed her vanity as being unnecessary. Her husband doted on her, and had loved her from the first moment they met. Every year of their marriage made them fall deeper in love.

She smiled to herself at the memories of the early days of their marriage. Murdoch had been somewhat put out and not a little bit shocked to find that his bride had an Irish temper. She laughed aloud remembering the look on his face the first time she grew angry with him and threw a kettle at his head - one that was still full of hot water. How he had roared at her. Ah, but after the fights they made up in the best way possible, as only a man and woman could do.

Her daydreams were interrupted by the children's screams, but she was well enough attuned to them to know it was only a squabble. They would sort it out among themselves and by suppertime they would be the best of friends again. She treasured her husband and her sons, and knew that life without them would be very dull indeed.

Catherine sighed and turned to leave the bedroom, but she caught sight of the trunk at the foot of her bed. It was slightly ajar; a piece of cloth was hanging out, preventing it from closing properly. She went over and lifted the lid. The contents, mostly linens, and trousseau dresses she never wore any more, were mussed up. When she leaned over to smooth out the fine cloth she saw some fur peeping out from under it.

It was the fur stole Murdoch had given her for their first anniversary, made from pelts he had trapped himself during that long, cold winter back in Montana. She pulled the stole out and held it aloft, admiring its softness and sheen. But something about it was not quite right. Something was missing. . .

~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~

Down in the kitchen Johnny was munching on a small marzipan candy, shaped like a human skull, when he heard his mother's yell.

"Johneeeeee!"

He looked up at the ceiling and mouthed, "Uh oh."

The Lancer's housekeeper and cook, Mrs. Day, stopped her candy making to look up at the ceiling, too. Then her gaze slid over to settle on the little boy seated at the kitchen table. One of her eyebrows raised in a perfect arch and her mouth twisted sourly, but she went back to rolling out the candy fondant.

Johnny ran for the back door.

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