Part of the "The Magnificent Seven After Twilight" Collection
Disclaimer: Not mine. That honor belongs to John Watson and company. The ATF was created by Mog.
Notes: This is the first story in a series of ghost stories that the guys are involved in. The stories will all be stand alone and loosely based on ghost stories that I have read.
Ezra Standish fought the impulse to return home. When Chris Larabee invited Team Seven to spend the weekend at his ranch, he made it clear that he expected Ezra to come and wouldn't allow him to decline another invitation. There was no doubt in Ezra's mind that Larabee would hog-tie him and haul him to the ranch in the bed of the Dodge Ram.
No matter. He would not allow himself to become friends with the others. It would easier for him when he would be forced to leave.
The headlights of the Jaguar beamed brightly on the narrow blacktop, spotlighting a small boy walking alongside the road. Ezra guided the Jaguar over to the side and braked to a stop. Quickly he opened the door.
He saw the toddler standing in the red glow cast by the brake lights as soon as he scrambled out of the driver's seat. The boy appeared to be no older than three. His only clothing was Barney the Dinosaur pajamas.
The child stood still when Ezra kneeled down in front of him. "Hi, Im Ezra. What's your name?"
"I want my daddy." The child threw himself against Ezra, burying his face in Ezra's shoulder.
He cuddled the small, chilled body close, shrugging out of his Polo Sport jacket, wrapping it around the boy. Stroking pale blond hair that smelled of baby shampoo, he said, "I'll help you find your daddy, but I need to know your name." He stood, tightening his arms around the child and started back towards the car.
"I'm Adam," he answered.
Ezra opened the passenger door and sat Adam in the passenger seat, tucking the shoulder harness behind the tiny body. He knew the boy would be safer in the back seat, but he wanted Adam where he could see him without looking in the rearview mirror.
"What's your last name, Adam?" he asked, tightening the lap belt.
Tears dripped in from green eyes. "I don't remember."
That's an odd thing for a child to say, he thought, brushing away tears. "A friend of mine lives near here," he said, realizing that against his will, Chris Larabee had become his friend. "He'll help us find your daddy."
Tiny arms tightened around his neck. "Thank you, Ezra." Cool lips brushed his cheek.
"We'll find your daddy. I promise." He brushed a kiss across the top of Adam's head before loosening his hold on the child. He pulled his jacket back around Adam before standing and shutting the passenger door. Swiftly he moved around the front of the car and slid into the drivers seat.
A short distance from the entrance to Larabees ranch, the headlights of the Jag swept over an auburn-haired woman who waved her arms at the car. Ezra hit the brakes, fishtailing slightly. The woman ran to the passenger side of the car as Adam yelled, Mommy.
The woman pulled open the door that Ezra swore he had locked and pulled Adam out of the Jaguar. She hugged Adam close to her as Ezra leapt from the car.
Mommy, I want to see Daddy.
You know that we cant see Daddy now. It would hurt him to much to see us now.
Ezra wondered if the woman and her husband were separated and Adams father wanted nothing to do with his son. His stomach tightened as he remembered another small boy whose father wanted nothing to do with him
Is there anything that I can do to help, Mrs.---?
The woman shifted Adam to one hip and extended her hand. Sarah.
Ezra accepted the soft-hand that felt cool to the touch. Ezra.
Sarah stepped back when Ezra released her hand. Thank you for the offer but there is nothing that you can do to help.
Why dont I give you a ride to your car?
My car is parked a short distance from here. She gave him a quick smile. It would be too much trouble for you to drive us there when we can walk there just as fast.
Nonsense. It is never too much trouble to help someone in need. Ezra turned away thinking the argument settled. He glanced over the top of the car expecting to see Sarah on the other side but there was no one there.
He searched for a half-hour before giving up and returning to the Larabee ranch. Bout time you got here, Larabee growled when he walked through the door.
I was unavoidably detained. Ezra moved to stand in front of the fireplace, soaking up the warmth of the fire.
Ezra, wheres your jacket? Nathan Jackson frowned at him. Its too cool to run around without one.
Thats part of the reason Im late. I found a little boy in his pajamas wondering alongside the road.
Where is he? That question came from the youngest member of the team, JD Dunne.
As much as I wanted to bring someone close to your own age to talk this weekend, Mr. Dunne, Im afraid we found Adams mother, Sarah, just before we got here.
One second he was standing in front of the fire and the next his back was against the wall, Chris Larabees hand at his throat, tightening. Damn, you, Standish.
Chris, dont. Vin Tanner laid his hand on Chris shoulder. The younger mans voice seemed to calm Chris some since he quit trying to shove Ezras throat through the wall. Angry green eyes bore into Ezras before Chris slowly released his grip on Ezras throat and allowed Vin to lead him from the room.
Ezra rubbed his throat. Could someone explain to me with just happened here? Josiah steered him to the couch. Nathan knelt beside him, examining Ezras throat.
What did Sarah and Adam look like? Buck Wilmington asked, his voice rough with pain.
Ezra glanced sharply at him. Why?
Tell me, please.
Adam is about three with blond hair, green eyes and was wearing Barney the Dinosaur pajamas. Sarah is in her mid-thirties with auburn hair. Im not sure what color her eyes were. Now would someone explain to me why Chris became so upset?
Buck picked up a picture from the mantel and stared at it for a moment before walking over and handing it to Ezra. Sarah and Adam looked back at him from the frame. Is Sarah Chris ex-wife?
Sarah isnt Chris e-wife. Pain filled blue eyes. Sarah and Adam were killed with a car-bomb meant for Chris two years ago. Sarahs car wouldnt start and she was suppose to be at an early morning meeting at the high school she taught at so she got Adam out of bed and was going to let the baby-sitter get him dressed that morning. Adam had on his Barney pjs.
A cold chill swept up Ezras back and he gripped his hands tightly together in his lap. Are you trying to tell me Sarah and Adam are ghosts?
I dont know what Im trying to tell you, but I do know that the two people that you saw tonight are no longer among the living.
The full moon lit the cemetery where Sarah and Adam Larabees mortal remains were interred was a short distance from where Ezra had spotted the young boy. Buck had told him where the graves were but he didnt think the ladies man realized that he intended to visit the graves that night. When the others left him alone in the living room to go in search of Chris and Vin, he slipped out. He couldnt stay there not after what had happened.
He shivered as he walked past trees and through the rows of tombstones, looking for the two graves.
Ezra jumped, his hand reaching for a gun that wasnt there.
Chris Larabee stepped out of the shadows of a tree. Didnt mean to scare you.
What are you doing here?
Same thing as you. Theyre over this way.
Ezra stood still as Chris walked away. The leader of the seven had taken a few steps away when he realized that his undercover agent wasnt following him. Ezra? He paused for a second then said, Im sorry for what I did. I realize not that you didnt know about Sarah and Adam. What happened to them isnt something that I like to talk about and the others respect my feelings.
Under the circumstances I cant say that I blame you. Ezra walked over to Chris. Im sorry for causing you pain.
But I should have never reacted the way I did. There this way.
Chris led him to the far corner of the cemetery. From one of the tombstones, Ezra noticed something hanging. Chris reached out and pulled it off the tombstone. He turned. In his hands was Ezras jacket. The jacket that Ezra had wrapped around the little boy.
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org