Keeping Score

by Twyla Jane

DISCLAIMERS: This is fan fiction. No profit involved. It is based on the television series "The Magnificent Seven.” No infringement upon the copyrights held by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that production is intended. Mog created this Wonderful A.T.F. Universe. Thanks Angela B. for the continual encouragement. This is my answer to Violette’s Magnificent Seven October 2003 “Chase” Challenge. One or more of the boys must be involved in a chase. They also must, at some point in the story, use a minimum of 3 different forms of transportation (horse, car, rollerblades, elephant, bicycle, airplane, etc...) Note: Walking/running doesn't count as transportation :-) You must also include at least two of the following words:  chocolate, barefoot, pillow, blackberry, glue, tree, purple, cat. I am interpreting this challenge in my very own twisted way. I freely admit I watch far too much Real TV.

“STANDISH!” Chris bellowed as he fished out keys from his coat pocket, watching as a grumbling Ezra made his way out the ranch house and down the gravel drive. The twilight sky had yet to show signs for the morning sun. Standish made his feelings about rising at such an obscene hour quite clear, muttering under his breath grousing on about how he failed to see the necessity for him to be departing from Larabee’s ranch home rather than from the confines of his own comfortable townhouse. After all he was a grown man and could arrive to a prearranged destination on time. 

“I don’t really want to hear any of your lip this morning … just spare me the aggravation and get your carcass in the truck.” Chris wasn’t in the mood to listen to Ezra gripe. “I just want to go do this and get it over with.”

“I still don’t know why I couldn’t use my own transportation?”

“Can it Standish, just get in.” Chris growled out as he climbed into the driver’s seat he failed to see Ezra childishly and silently mimic his words before finally relenting, sliding into place in the passenger’s seat. “Just once I’d like for you to do as I ask… just once.”

The only response was a loud snort that didn’t bode well for a peaceful day, Chris actually had a sinking feeling regarding the upcoming day as he shifted the truck into gear and drove down the gravel driveway.


Less than hour later that ominous feeling came through in the form of a flat tire and a heavy rain.

Traffic whizzed by. Every other vehicle it seemed hit puddle that was more the size of a pond than an ordinary rain variety kicking up a tidal surge of water sending it rushing towards the stricken vehicle washing over a very irritable Chris Larabee. He stood there in the poring rain looking at the damage. The big black truck listed to one side resting on the almost bare wheel rim all that remained of the tire was a portion of the side wall. The rest was strips of rubber strewn about the highway. What made matters worse was that Ezra had refused to get out of the truck. Not that he could really blame him, Standish had smacked his head breaking off the rear view mirror at some point during the long frightening moment that it took Larabee to fight to get the vehicle back under control after the tire blew.

A decidedly unhappy and wet Chris opened the driver’s door and looked at the man sitting across from him. Ezra barely acknowledged his presence other than flinching slightly at the sudden intrusion. He sat unmoving with head resting in hands.

 “You okay?”

“No, but I shall survive.”

Shit! Chris let out a sigh this wasn’t going at all well. “Ez, I need your help…”

“Have you tried calling Triple A?”

“Yeah… can’t get cell reception…”

“All right, anything to get this deplorable day over with!” Standish didn’t even look at Chris, the unhappy undercover agent climbed out of the truck’s cab slamming the door in his wake.

A split second was all it took. The driver’s door slammed into Chris’s back sending him sprawling, eventually landing hard on the asphalt, dumbly watching as his truck with Standish, inexplicably attached to the passenger door, spin away.


Legs pumping, Chris flew along the road side sprinting after the truck dragging Ezra. He couldn’t move fast enough. He just kept his attention glued to his truck and the white jeep whose sideward momentum had it sliding down the shoulder.


Not wanting to think about the ramifications, he needed to get there. The harder he ran the farther away the vehicles got until the Dodge Ram had finally slammed to a stop crumpling into a median thirty yards down the road.

Oh God

Oh God

With burning leg muscles and leaden feet Chris covered the last few yards. He couldn’t see Standish.

The Jeep’s young male driver staggered out of the crumpled vehicle, momentarily distracting Larabee’s attention. When red haired teenager’s dazed blue eyes connected with Chris’s they rapidly changed from being filled with a mix of bewilderment to eye popping fear. The slack jawed youth tried to articulate something but Larabee didn’t have a chance to ask what was wrong as a wall of water hit him. Air was forced from Chris’ lungs as something bodily connected with him, a millisecond later the man was sailing through the air. The velocity that had violently propelled Larabee airborne abruptly decelerated as he careened off the hood of the Ram before smacking hard into the pavement. Lifting his sodden, bloody head Chris, saw or thought he saw Ezra wedged underneath the truck. Running a grubby hand over his face Chris tried to blink the haze away, the twisted wreckage began to distort and blur as strength ebbed and darkness swept in.


A fiery pain began to burn in his left leg before Chris had even opened his eyes it was that and the loud voices that greeted him to the waking world.

“Watch his head!”

Huh! Watch whose head? No… No…

 “Got it! Nice and steady now. On three… One… two… three!”

The frightening thought that they were about to move him had Larabee’s eye lids peeling open. Paramedics were hovering over him as they worked in unison to slide him on to a back board, quickly securing him then carefully lifting him on to an awaiting gurney.

“Okay one more time nice and steady now. On three… One… two… three!”

The lighter than air feeling, the feeling of floating was quickly cancelled out by pain. Larabee could hear the soft sound of metal sliding and locking into place forced to stare skywards by a neck brace as he was wheeled away

Before the muddled mind could make sense of what was going on Chris was in the Ambulance watching the doors slam shut and the scenery distort as they pulled away with sirens blaring.


Bright lights overhead hurt the eyes, there didn’t seem to be a spot on Chris’s body that didn’t hurt and a frantic commotion surrounded him wasn’t helping. A frightening flash of memory had him fighting, struggling against those very people that were trying to help. Larabee began to continually rasp out a name. “Ezra! Where is Ezra?”

“Sir... Sir Can you tell me your name?” The weary looking Emergency Room physician leaned over him flashing a penlight into his eyes; it was no comfort at all that the Doctor looked no older than Dunne.

“Larabee… Chris Larabee…” Chris answered the question then asked a question of his own. “Where’s Ezra Standish?” 

“I don’t have an answer for you right now but if you let me finish examining you I’ll find out… Now can you tell me what day it is?”

“It’s Tuesday…where’s Ez…” Larabee’s patience was beginning to wear thin he needed to know where Standish was and made the poor decision to sit up. Not only did Chris fail to notice that he was still strapped to the back board but the ill thought out movement sent waves of pain coursing through his battered body.

“Mr. Larabee you are going to have to calm down…”

Larabee’s dazed brain was finally beginning to come back on line; he reluctantly acquiesced to his situation considering he was in no position at all to fight at least for the moment. For that he needed help. “Doctor I’ll do that … but could you please call someone for me… Buck Wilmington… ” Larabee rattled off the cellular number.


There were certain things that Buck Wilmington dreaded in life, unexpected phones calls from Denver Memorial were at the second on the list, it could have been some uniformed officer sent out to break even worse news, at least Chris was alive. There was no word on Ezra yet at least that’s what the Emergency Room staff relayed to him.  Buck tried not to think about it, getting through mid-morning traffic on this miserably dark rainy day was hard enough wouldn’t help anyone if he ended up in an accident. Keeping those thoughts at bay was easier said than done and Buck was grateful when he finally steered his ancient truck into the hospital parking lot. Pocketing the parking slip the big man climbed out the cab of his truck and stepped out into the heavy rain watching as an ambulance lights flashing disappeared from view obviously heading towards trauma entrance. Not able to dispel his growing anxiety Buck shrugged up his jacket, setting off at a steady pace through the deluge across the lot and to the main entrance of the Emergency room.


Floating in disorienting haze resulting from nearly unbearable pain, Chris tried to follow what was going on around him and was failing miserably. There were several things he did understand, first he and Ezra had been an accident, second they wanted to prep him for surgery to repair the damaged leg, and he adamantly refused to allow his attending physician to administer anything for the pain until he could get a satisfactory answer regarding Standish’s condition and whereabouts. The third fact he understood all to clear and was most frustrating, no one could or would give him a satisfactory answer. Chris wanted to be pissed but couldn’t muster the energy, leaving him to wonder just what the hell they had put into his I.V.; he was trying hard to hold onto that anger and the reasons behind it because he needed answers.

“Hey Stud.”

A familiar voice had his eyes fluttering open making him wonder just when they had closed. He didn’t have to wait for his vision to clear to know who it was. “Buck?”

 “In the flesh … listen to me… stop fighting and let these folks help you.” Buck smiled as he spoke though Chris could still see the worry etched across his friend’s features and concern in those eyes.

Wilmington leaned over the bed and lightly grasped his hand. That didn’t reassure Chris at all and the injured man wearily pressed on with the same questions he had been asking since his arrival. “Ezra? What happened…I have to…” 

“Chris, he’s alive… I just found out from the doctors that he is in route… seems there was some trouble getting him out from under the truck…” Buck’s quiet’s words that were meant to help ease his worries made his chest tighten with fear and regret.

“This was my fault.” Chris rasped out.

“Don’t do that to yourself…. please let the Doc do his thing and let me find out about ole Ez.” 


Thankfully Buck’s promise was enough. Chris finally relented, allowing the inevitable to happen and was quickly whisked away for surgery.

The problem was Wilmington wasn’t so sure he would be able to keep his word; the mustached agent had been relegated to the waiting room since speaking with Larabee unable to get past the double doors again that led into the emergency ward. One of the nurses had been kind enough to let him know that Standish had arrived. After that he had tried to sweet talking the woman who worked the admission’s desk into finding out more about Ezra unfortunately thirty minutes had passed by without another update. Buck had used the time to step outside and call back to the office promising to keep them posted .All he could do after that was sit there and wait unhappily forced to return to his vigil waiting in the hard plastic seats.

Just as his back side started to grow increasingly numb someone called out his name.

“Mr. Wilmington?”

Suddenly Buck was up and trailing in the wake of a short, thin white coated woman straight through the double doors.


Buck didn’t know whether to laugh or cry with relief at the sight that greeted him as he stepped through the curtain surrounding the cubicle. A battered, torn up bloodied Ezra Standish strapped to a back board, despite his obvious injuries was arguing with several members of the medical staff.

“Fine example of the medical establishment…if you would just…”

“Hey Hoss… Whooey you look like fresh road kill…. before you ask Chris is going to be fine…”

Buck never once lost his smile as he almost repeated verbatim the same speech he had given to Larabee all while Standish did everything except growl to ward off the attentions of the emergency personnel. Ultimately in the end Buck reassured Ezra that all was well as could be and to let him do the worrying.


Everything hurt, granted the medication had taken the nasty edge off the pain Larabee wasn’t happy on so many different levels as a faceless nurse pushed him along the hospital corridors, Chris hadn’t the energy to look up and acknowledge her presence the effort was beyond him at that moment, while Wilmington walked along side them talking. “Doc says he made it through the wrist surgery just fine… ”


“Ezra, he’s okay, made it through the surgery no troubles…”

“This is my fault Buck.”

 “How is that?”

“If I hadn’t forced Ezra come with me, he wouldn’t have gotten hurt.”

“Maybe so, but maybe if ya hadn’t gotten a flat tire, driven along that road at that particular time, oh hell while we’re at it cowboy, if the world was never created this would have never happened but shit happens besides Chris Larabee you of all people should know you can’t force Ezra to do anything!”


Larabee had been a dark frame of mind since coming home from the hospital. Not even Ezra’s arrival had lightened his mood.

 In desperation to lighten the his friends had hatched a warped plan

“I ain’t gonna do it! You do it!”

“I’m not doing it!”

“Chicken shits, gimme that…” Tanner snatched the DVD and headed into the living room.

“Remember to hit repeat!” J.D. called after him.


“If I could just…”

Larabee muttered as he stretched out as far as he could to touch it but the object lay just out of reach. His salvation lay mere inches from his fingertips and try as he might he couldn’t grab on. Positioned tauntingly close, yet elusive enough, denying him any chance of relief Chris sagged back and closed his eyes letting out a frustrated sigh vowing that there would be hell to pay. Scratch that. He would make sure that they were going to die a slow, agonizing death because what they did was an all time new low even for Standish.

Then it stopped. The room fell silent. Chris mentally cringed knowing that the lull in sensory activity was just a prelude to a renewed onslaught on his senses. He let out a frustrated groan, rolled on to his side again struggling to extend his reach even the toes on his barefoot flexed in the attempt, for the first time managing to do what he had been unable to do all morning. Fingernails grazed across the hard plastic sending it skittering farther out of his reach as the familiar chorus began. A resurgence of molten fire coursed from the tip of his toes to his hip sucked his strength away forcing him back onto the recliner effectively quashing any potential tirades spurned on by his growing aggravation. A string of softly hissed obscenities spewed from his mouth as he tried to ride out the agony of his fractured femur, sorely wishing he hadn’t told Jackson in explicit anatomical terms a little less that an hour earlier just where he could cram those pain pills. Stubborn pride kept him from relenting and asking for more. His so-called friends had left him to fester and fume on the couch. Suspiciously the wheelchair and crutches had suddenly disappeared from the living room.

After lying there, breathing slowly for several long moments the pain began to gradually ebb away. The singsong melody, despite all his efforts, continued to play as a tired heavily accented voice finally reached his ears. “…that sir was an unwise move on your behalf.”

 “Shut up Standish!” Growled out from the depths of Chris’s downward spiraling mood, it was bad enough he had to listen to the constantly repeating piece of music but he was trapped in this hell with the glib southern pain in the ass was just out and out cruel.

“Mr. Larabee, you act as if I had some influence in this matter!” The man’s quiet voice grated on his nerves, knowing that Standish was right didn’t help matters. Larabee’s own obstinate nature was what had gotten them both into this mess.

Stifling a sarcastic retort he glanced over the hunched figure occupying the couch. The normally professional looking attire the suave undercover agent wore was replaced by necessity with an ill-fitting oversized flannel robe and sweatpants, making him appear more like a child playing dress up. The comfortable clothing did little to hide all of Standish’s injuries. A glistening coat of antibiotic cream covered the wicked case of road rash that ran down the side of Ezra’s bruised face disappearing beneath the cervical collar. A purple fiberglass encased arm poked out of the right over sized sleeve resting on a small pillow while hidden under the layers of clothing was the left firmly wrapped in place to protect the disagreeable joint after it had been reset. 

“Ezra, I wasn’t talking about the accident!”

“Neither was I!”

“Damn DVD, wonder which idiot bought it.”

“Well I would surmise by the infantile content… if pressed I would hazard a guess, Mr. Wilmington.”

“Yep it stinks of Tanner as well… hey Ezra about the truck.”


“I’m sorry”

“An unnecessary apology for an unhappy chain of circumstances.” Ezra quietly stated pausing briefly before he unintentionally raised his voice several octaves directing his attention to unseen cohorts in the kitchen. “Mr. Wilmington although I find your choice in entertainment amusing... there is no need to punish me for Mr. Larabee’s behavior.”

Obviously Standish wasn’t mad but it was crystal clear to Larabee that the man was keeping score and wasn’t about to let Chris off the hook without a little retribution.