Fandom: Magnificent Seven
Series: Stolen Moments
Episode: Ghosts of the Confederacy
Notes: this series presupposes that Vin and Ezra had met before the pilot episode.
Summary: Vin and Ezra get reacquainted.
Stolen Moments #1
Vin Tanner watched as Nathan, the colored healer that he and Chris Larabee had rescued from a lynch mob that morning, sighed and rose from his chair at the table he, Chris, Buck and Nathan had claimed as their own.
"Reckon I'll turn in." The big man said, "Daylight ain't that far away." He gave them a nod and left.
Vin pushed back the drink he'd been toying with, rather than drinking. "Reckon, I'll hit the hay, too," he drawled.
Chris looked up at him and nodded, in silent acknowledgement of his leaving. "You think that gambler will show up?" he asked casually.
"Can't never tell with a gambler." Vin said but there was a knowing smile on his face.
Chris cocked an eyebrow. [You know something I don't?]
The grin widened. [Yep.] He inclined his head to the gunslinger and left.
Larabee stared after him a moment then shook his head. He sat his own glass down and rose to leave. "See you in the morning, Buck."
His old friend nodded. "Be there."
Larabee stood on the saloon porch for a few minutes just letting the night sounds of the town become familiar. He saw Tanner come out of Watson's, apparently having gotten his things from the room the man had let him use over the store. He frowned as the tracker started down the street towards the livery then turned into the alley near another saloon.
His curiosity sparked, he stepped off the boardwalk and followed. By the time he reached the alley, Tanner was climbing the back stairs to the rooms over the saloon. He wondered where the man was going. He hadn't struck Larabee as being the kind of man to waste his time on saloon girls.
He let the tracker get up the stairs before he moved quietly up as well, stopping at the top to peek around the corner and look down the hall.
Tanner was tapping at one of the doors.
It opened and the gambler from the saloon stood there with a gun pointed at the tracker.
Tanner just grinned and pushed into the room, "Gotta love a man that answers the door with a gun in his hand," he said. His voice was laced with amusement.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't use it?" The southern drawl held annoyance. "I could have used some help..." The door closed on the rest of what he said.
Larabee stood a moment contemplating the discovery, that apparently Tanner knew the gambler, knew him rather well in fact. Then he shrugged it off and headed for his own room. He trusted Tanner. If there was something he needed to know, Vin would tell him.
Inside the room, Ezra Standish continued his tirade. "I could have used some help with those cowboys. You stand there like a fucking statue, grinning in the damned mirror!'
Vin snorted. "Ya had it under control. 'Sides ya know I wouldn't have let them kill ya." He dropped his saddlebags on the floor and shrugged out of his coat, hanging it on the bedpost. His hat followed. Then he sat down on the edge of the bed and began pulling off his boots.
Ezra turned from returning his pistol to the holster hanging on the opposite side bedpost and regarded him with open hostility. "What makes you think you can park your boots under my bed tonight?" He demanded.
"You let me in." Vin stated simply, tucking his socks into his boots. He stood up and started to unbutton his shirt. "Got an itch. Figured you might have one, too. Couple of fellas like us can't trust just anybody to scratch the kinda itch we get."
"You're leaving in the morning. Going off to get your fool head blown off." Ezra pointed out.
"Yep. All the more reason ta scratch it while we can."
"You are incorrigible." Ezra walked around the bed and reached out to untie the bandanna around Vin's neck, tossing it aside. He began unbuttoning Vin's pants.
The first gray light of dawn was streaking though the window when Vin blinked awake and rolled out of bed with a sigh. He quickly dressed and gathered his things.
He leaned over the bed and slapped Ezra on his temptingly bare ass. "Roll out, bad boy. Time to go."
"Who said I was coming?" a sleepy voice growled.
"Ya done come. Now yer going. So, move it." Vin ordered.
There was farther grumbling from the bed but by the time Vin was to the door, Ezra had crawled out of the bed and was stumbling towards the washstand to wash and shave.
Vin stood a moment in the doorway. "You are comin'?"
Ezra waved a hand at him, "Yeah, yeah. I'll be there." As Vin closed the door behind him he added in a mutter, "The things a man will do for a big dick."
The fighting was over. Anderson was dead, his men scattered to the wind. The villagers were celebrating.
Vin sat with Larabee, looking over the village. In the morning they would be moving on.
"He all right?" Larabee tipped his head to indicate Standish, who was walking away from the festivities towards the solitude of the cliffs.
"Why'd he leave?"
"Why'd he come back?" The glint in Larabee's eyes said that he knew what the answer would be but was asking for the hell of it.
"Don't know." Vin provided the expected answer, with a grin.
Larabee grinned back at him then reached over and handed him one of the bottles of whiskey sitting nearby. "Man looks like he could use a drink."
Vin took the bottle and headed up to the spot where Ezra had disappeared. He found the gambler sitting on a rock, idly shuffling his cards. He held out the bottle and sat down beside him.
Ezra tucked the cards away and took the bottle, opening it and taking a swig.
They sat in silence passing the bottle back and forth. It was a long time before Ezra spoke. "I've never tried to fool myself. I know what I am. I'm a gambler, a conman, a liar and a cheat. I live by the odds. When they get too long you cut your losses and move on."
"That why you left? The odds got too long?"
"The odds got horrendous." He took another swig of the fiery liquid.
"You came back."
Yes." A long silence then, "I've never had anyone depending on me before. Always before when I moved on, I left no one behind me. I never considered myself a coward. The odds were too long so the prudent thing to do was leave and I am a prudent man, appearances to the contrary."
He turned the bottle in his hands then handed it back to Vin. "But as I was riding away, for the first time, I felt like a coward."
"So, you come back."
A deep sigh was the only answer for a long moment then Ezra nodded. "Yes. I had never thought that I was a coward until this morning. Then I knew that if I kept riding, that I would always know, deep down inside that I was a coward. It would have followed me forever."
"Would've destroyed ya." Vin took a swig from the bottle and handed it back to Ezra.
"Yes." He held the bottle, not drinking until Vin reached over and tugged it out of his hand and he turned to look at the tracker.
"You ain't no coward, Ez." Vin sat the bottle down and put his arm around Ezra's shoulders pulling him close. "Ya got more balls than most anybody I know."
Ezra relaxed into the embrace letting his head fall onto Vin's shoulder, his arm wrapping around Vin's waist.
They sat a long time in silence, just holding on to each other.