Dust Bunnies and Other Ferocious Critters
by Twyla Jane
DISCLAIMERS: This is fanfiction. No profit involved. This story is based on the television series "The Magnificent Seven". No infringement upon the copyrights held by CBS, MGM, TNN, The Hallmark Channel, Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that production is intended.
NOTE: This is my attempt to answer Gunney's Children's Challenge. The lovely ATF AU was created by Mog. I want a story involving one or three of the boys and a group of children. They can be any age, and for any reason. A large empty space (cave, warehouse, pit, stage, etc. ) has to be closely involved. And to be a little more evil include an African Safari animal, a Native American, or a Marquee (big circus tents: white, four sided with tassels.) for bonus points. Good luck! This lovely AU belongs to Mog. The ideas, well heck they are my own.
A small hand jabbed his shoulder, but the effort to open his eyes was too great. Ezra Standish settled for languishing in the gray twilight somewhere between the waking world and the dark oblivion of the unconscious mind while listening to the voices, trying to get his once agile mind into gear and figure out what had happened.
Standish could feel a hot puff of air on his cheek as chubby fingers successfully pried open his lids jolting him with an instant of painfully blinding light. Ezra rapidly blinked his eyes before squeezing them shut in a vain attempt to stem the rush of pain.
"Uh uh.. see looky... see there he's blinking."
"Nuh uh... don't mean a thing... he ain't moving now and how come he ain't yelling? I say he's dead!"
Ignoring the babbling children the undercover agent tried to remain absolutely still, finally after a few minutes the pain began to slowly ebb.
As the two young voices continued to squabble Ezra finally remembered how his day had begun more than twenty hours earlier, so technically it wasn't even the same day but considering what had transpired who was he to split hairs. A haughty laugh slipped unchecked passed his lips and silenced his young observers as his mind wandered.
26 hours earlier:
Sheer madness... He was wondering when the wretched day would end. Ezra Standish was in full-blown street bum regalia, haplessly slumped down in the back of a city bus, waiting.
Waiting and watching.
Watching and waiting.
The filthy clothing was starting to irritate him and the battered combat boots did little for his aching feet. Actually, he mused, right at that moment going barefoot would be preferable to this discomfort. Although the though may have been considered uncouth in some circles Standish's irritation was starting to get the better of him. The most irritating aspect of the day was he was being followed. By a six foot tall rabbit wearing a purple bow tie. Ezra had to blink several times to clear the bizarre image from his mind. Lord how his head ached, Standish was beginning to think that he may have hit his head a little too hard when he slipped and fell. Concrete curb hadn't been at all forgiving. Didn't stop him from scrambling back up and continue to lead the fuzzy oversized creature on a merry chase. Part of his mind understood that it was a man dressed in a silly costume but still it was surreal.
+ + + + + + +
Piss and Vinegar, full of shit... who came up with these colorful analogies?
Standish's mind did an un-signaled left turn when an image of Larabee dressed in a purple rabbit suit flashed through. Mentally shaking the thought away Ezra tried to keep to the task of getting up, he couldn't understand why it was so hard. Letting a muffled groan Ezra momentarily gave up and laid there mesmerized by a piece of fluff floating through the air, wafting across the cement in front of him. Of course the bit of fuzz was more commonly known as a dust bunny, not that he would ever be caught referring to it as such, a Dust Bunny.
A bunny is what got him into this mess. He could hear children bickering nearby.
"See he's breathing, that means he ain't dead!"
"Nuh uh... Bubbles my hamster when it died kept twitching, his mouth kept opening up like a fish.... Uh huh it did, ask Mikey... he'll tell ya..."
"Mikey ain't here!"
"That's because he went to call 9-1-1, he'll be back!"
Their squabbling started to sound like the clucking of chickens as his mind drifted.
24 hours earlier
A rabbit punch.
The knuckled fist had sent him flying.
Ezra would have laughed at the thought if he hadn't been fighting for his life. Because the Rabbit costumed individual had him in a choke hold.
The world was going dim.
A flailing arm connected with his attacker's groin
The iron grip was released and he was off running. Unfortunately his visual was blurry and he wasn't moving in a straight line but he kept going increasing the distance between him and the Mad Bunny. Standish stumbled several times each time getting back to his feet.
This time he fell atop something cool and smooth. He heard an audible crack which was quickly followed by another. Then the surface beneath him gave way.
Ezra was tumbling end over end until the warehouse floor came up to abruptly meet him and he violently slid into oblivion.
18 hours earlier
The tension in the air was almost tangible; the normally bustling office was quiet save the clatter of keyboards, shuffling of papers and the occasional ringing of the phones. J.D. swore he could almost hear the gnashing of Chris's teeth. Something wasn't right, that much Dunne knew but no one was talking about it. Matter of fact no one talking at all at least to one another instead his fellow agents were working, well performing at least some facsimile of work. Vin was gnawing on a pen cap shuffling through a pile of paperwork. Buck was quietly speaking on the phone. Nathan was busily pecking out a report on his computer keyboard. Chris was pacing, and Josiah wasn't even in the office.
Something was wrong, and that was Ezra Standish was undercover and failed to make a scheduled contact.
14 hours earlier
Though Standish had woken several times, it never had been for long. This time was different. He hurt, from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. Moving was out of the question but he tried any way.
With no other choice he slowly rolled over on his side.
He should have taken a full physical inventory first, because the movement ignited an agonizing pain that eventually enveloped Ezra's entire body.
He tried to breathe through it but bile rose up in his throat almost choking him as he violently expelled the contents of his stomach on the cool cement floor.
Nope this was not a good day
It took a moment to get through his fuzzy mind that he was not alone. Ezra lay there straining to hear who was nearby. Something wet hit the back of his neck, it was followed quickly by another drop and another as it began to rain. Standish stayed still ignoring the sudden shower waiting for the visitor to step from the shadows and reveal themselves. Hearing a distinctive vocalization as consciousness drifted away.
A final thought skittered through Ezra's muddled brain.
At least it wasn't a rabbit.
12 hours earlier
No that wasn't right, Ezra was sure of that well at least he thought he was. Dark and cold was Ezra Standish's world. Unfortunately he wasn't sure just where that was all he remembered was a Giant Rabbit in a bow tie. A recollection that had him wondering about his sanity.
Nothing was right.
His brow furrowed at the sound.
He didn't have a cat, what was it doing in his townhouse?
+ + + + + + +
Exactly how much time that had passed by Ezra wasn't sure, the sky had been gray when he woke and much to his befuddlement it was still gray.
Something was not right.
A small finger wavered over his fluttering lashes, far too close. He instinctively moved away. Not wise in his condition, Lord he hurt, the pain coursed through his battered body and he was having trouble .remembering exactly... then it hit him that he wasn't alone. The small boy's face was mere inches from his own, how did that happen? The child's face was dirty, remnants of a jelly sandwich clung to chubby cheeks.
Somewhere nearby, a cat howled, loudly protesting shortly before metal garbage cans crashed to the cement floor. In the din Ezra almost missed the young lisping voice. "See I told ya, the man's right there!"
Standish smiled at the deep voice that followed the child's.
"Ezra seems you can't do anything simply."
+ + + + + + +
A bit of dust floated through the air. Ezra Standish lay watching, somewhere nearby a television blared out the theme of a popular science fiction show, but for the life of him he couldn't name the tune. A chuckle unintentionally slipped out quickly followed by another, Ezra didn't know the melody but he knew where he was again.
"What's so funny Ezra?"
The quiet rumbling voice of Josiah Sanchez reached his ears causing Ezra to grimace, his head hurt.
"I am spending far too much time in hospitals!"
"And that's funny because?"
"It seems my dear man that I am once again residing within the brick walls of an establishment I despise."
"Well you tend to complicate..."
"Why do anything the easy way...where would there be the fun in that?"
"You could have called..."
Ezra laughed again.
"Saying what exactly, that I was chasing down a giant rabbit with a purple bow tie and tumbled through the looking glass..."
"Son that was a skylight..."
"Details, still given the unusual sequence of events even I would have a hard time believing what had transpired."
Standish wasn't about to admit that he still wasn't sure exactly what had happened let alone where his cell phone was. No not today, today it was easier to baffle with a load of bull shit. Nope Ezra merely slid his eyes closed. The thought that followed him into the land of nod was 'Let them figure it out'.