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. This is Christmas story, sorta, set in between “Secrets” and “Epiphanies and Other Realizations” in Wyvern’s Little Ezra AU. A story requested by and written for NotTasha. Thanks to Angela B. for the all the encouragement. 12/30/03
Tis the season of love and joy.
The snowflakes slowly fluttered to the frozen ground. Going virtually unnoticed by the boy as he stepped off the boardwalk and hobbling towards the church to meet with Mr. Sanchez. The child wasn’t thinking about the work that the man had waiting for him. Instead he was wondering about the change that was beginning to settle over the rough and tumble town, and 11-year-old Ezra Standish couldn’t quite understand what all the fuss was for. Christmas, well it was two days before, and the town was a buzz with the season. It was intangible notion; something the youngster couldn’t quite wrap his young mind around. He needn’t understand to go along. Going through the motions was something he was more accustomed too but this time it was different, almost foreign. These men, the friends of Mr. Larabee, went out of their way to include him so unlike most adults he had encountered before. Puzzling over why they were all going out of their way to involve him in their celebration of the festivities. The youngster’s mind was so wrought with these thoughts that he never knew what hit him. Only the blinding pain and the shrill shrieking of a horse reached his brain before the blackness rolled over him.
The ensuing commotion had J.D. Dunne running out from the Sheriff’s office. The young man paled as he forced his way through the growing crowd of people and saw the small crumpled body. Mrs. Potter was already hovering over the boy. Pulling off his jacket J.D. handed it to the woman as he spoke to the closest person to him, “Go get Nate Jackson,” not once taking his eyes away from the child long enough to realize who he had asked. To his left he could hear the mutterings of a man. “I didn’t see him… I swear I didn’t see him…”
The day had slipped into evening when Ezra Standish finally woke up. He had a murderous headache, more than a little frightened as he wondered just where he was and how the he had gotten there. Without opening his eyes he could tell he wasn’t in his room at the boarding house nor was he at the Larabee ranch. Feeling wretched, his stomach rebelled the notion of opening his eyes let alone moving his head. A small whimper slipped out as a spasm seized his leg muscles and he instinctively tried to pull up his leg to his chest. Gentle hands stopped the movement to massage tight muscles.
Tears spilled unchecked down his cheeks. Spurned on by pain and the unexpected comfort he found in that familiar voice.
“Ezra? It’s all right .. Nate left something for the pain, I need to sit you up to drink it okay?”
A long painful moment later Ezra was leaning heavily against that person, sputtering as he drank down about half the vile contents of a tin cup before it was removed. The quiet insistent whisper made him realize he wasn’t sure exactly who the speaker was.
“Ezra, can you open your eyes?” The voice was back again and Ezra was starting to get a headache trying to figure out who it was. “Come on pard…”
Finally mustered an almost inaudible response.
“Huh?” The boy’s normally eloquent drawl was slurred and coarse. Tired eyes fluttered open, it took a few seconds Ezra to realize that he was propped against black shirted chest and the comforting voice vibrating through it belonged to Chris Larabee.
The normally sharp witted child blinked owlishly up at the stubble covered chin confused. Mr. Larabee merely smiled at him as he spoke. “A little water and you can go back to sleep.”
Doing as he was bid he managed a second sip of the tepid liquid before drifting back in the warmth of sleep.
Listening to the child’s quiet breathing, Chris slunk a little farther down on the headboard, maintaining the gentle but firm hold he had on the on the frail child who lay with in his grasp. Relishing the warm feeling that embracing the slight boy left him with, rarely did he get to do it when Ezra was awake. The gruff lawman had said a lot of prayers over the last few days and was thankful that they hadn’t gone unanswered, his boy had survived being trampled by a horse. Larabee was just happy to hold on to sleeping child and for the first time in days allowed himself to relax enough to do the same.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Light filtered through the window as Nate Jackson carefully prepared one of his herbal teas unaware he was being intently watched. The healer was silently relieved and pleased when had returned to find that Chris finally succumbed to his exhaustion, not that he would ever admit to it, that the gunslinger had been comforting the boy. Nate had just set the brew on the side table when he realized that glazed green eyes were staring at him.
“Morning… how ya feeling?” The tall man lay a large hand across the boy’s brow testing for fever and happily found none. The boy blinked and looked back at him as if realizing for the first time he was speaking so Nate quietly rephrased the question. “Yer head hurt?”
“Yeah…” Ezra answered slowly really too tried and uncomfortable to put forth much effort. Normally he would be chattering up a storm right now that was something his aching head just wouldn’t permit.
“Bet you’re tired of being inside my clinic too huh?” Jackson teased as he crouched down next to the bed to get a bet look at his patient. Peering into unfocused eyes he smiled trying to reassure the child. The Lord was indeed watching over them all, Ezra had finally awakened after three long frightening unresponsive days. Luckily it seemed that other than a nasty headache and bruising Ezra had been spared anymore broken bones. The busted leg had taken months to heal made it through intact and good thing too because the boy was finally moving under his own steam.
“I don’t know about you kid… but I am.”
Chris’s voice broke the healer’s train of thoughts causing him to erupt into a spate of laughter before breaking into a broad smile.
“How ‘bout you get him to drink this and I’ll see what I can do about something to eat. Both of ya should be hungry after three days?” Nathan lightly slapped Larabee on the knee as he stood up.
For his part Ezra remained quite as he lay snuggled next to Chris trying to remember happened. Watching as Nate moved about the room before returning his gaze to the tin cup.
Three days… Christmas!
The sudden realization had the boy struggling to sit up, knocking the cup and its contents to the floor. Larabee for his part maintained his hold on Ezra.
“Whoa.. whoa… whoa, what the matter?” Chris steadied Ezra, holding off the healer with a wave of a hand. Nathan and with an understanding nod he returned to his tasks, knowing that something were better than medicine.
A tense moment slipped by, the young southerner sagged back against his guardian as a wave of pain gripped his aching head. “Christmas… I made you miss Christmas…everything you wanted to do…”
Quiet panicked words tumbled out halted when Chris shushed him by whispering in his ear as he gently caressing the side of his face.
“Don’t you fret about it, I got all I wanted for my Christmas and all the days that follow!”