No infringement of the following characters and situations is intended.
Warning: Rated [MA] Mature Adults only. Contains m/m themes and violence
Title: Tennessee Waltz
Series: Magnificent Seven
Status: Part 7/9 Sequel to Fall From Grace
Archive: Yes to EBoS
Pairing: Ezra/Buck (some other pairings, suggested pairings, unresolved longings and jealousies)
Date: May 2002 - November 2003
Disclaimers: Don't own these characters, MGM and the rest do. No copyright infringement is intended or inferred.
Warnings: slash, H/C, extreme violence, m/m hanky panky, drug use, nudity, coarse language, adult themes
Spoilers: Season 1 & 2
Summary: Chris tries to spare Ezra the blood on his hands.
Vin managed to pick off another rider but that still left three to catch up and snag onto the end of the train. The butt of Vin’s rifle dislodged one but that left two to climb on board. The tallest had Vin in his sights as he climbed over the iron grill while Vin was busy reloading. Chris shot clear through the door and then there was one.
That lone would be train robber looked up to see seven pieces drawn on him and he knew better than to try and argue with those odds. He threw down his piece and let himself be carted off by the train guards and thrown in the mail carriage, shackled to the wall.
Chris sank back into his seat, sharing an intense look with Vin. That close call had been a little too close for his liking. Buck was busy placating their fellow passengers, who were not entirely sure these seven men amongst them weren’t in cahoots with the horsemen, and Ezra, he just poured himself another measure of laudanum and returned to staring blankly out the window.
Buck walked slowly into the cemetery that sat past the end of the town. The light was fading and it was bitter cold. There was a white frost on the ground tonight, for sure. Maybe even a scattering of snow.
Ezra was crouched by his daughter's grave, marked now by a tiny wooden cross Josiah had made and daubed with whitewash. Ezra had ordered an elaborate stone monument to be carved back east, but Buck rather preferred the little white cross. He'd watched Josiah carve the little cross by evening's light as they'd sat together on the church steps in silence. Buck liked the simple little cross, but he always preferred the simpler things in life. Except Ezra. Ezra was complicated.
The conundrum sat there now, hunched over the grave like a gargoyle, not moving, oblivious to the cold.
"Ezra, come home. You catch you death," Buck pleaded softly.
Ezra didn't stir, or even acknowledge Buck's presence. Buck slumped slightly with the realisation of Ezra's true purpose.
"You can't stay out here all night. You'll die of frostbite."
"I want to."
"I won't let you."
"You going to drag me back?" Ezra challenged.
"If I have to."
"Damn you," Ezra hissed. "Leave me alone."
No. Buck wasn't going to go through this again. He wasn't going to lose Ezra, he wasn't going to let him slip out of his grasp again. He would drag him back, kicking and screaming if he had to.
"I'm tired of this," Buck growled, grabbing Ezra and pulling him to his feet.
Ezra snapped to life, fighting him off with a sudden fury.
"Leave me be!"
"Damn you. What does it take for you to leave me alone!"
So that was it. All the pushing and the shoving and the hate and the fucking. Ezra wanted to run again. Buck let him go suddenly, so suddenly that Ezra nearly fell backwards.
Ezra had pushed him and played him over and over, testing his limits. Buck was a patient man, but he'd been sorely tried of late, and that patience had just run out. No more. He was tired of being Ezra's whipping boy. If Ezra wanted to screw up his own life, so be it. Buck was tired of running after him.
"You selfish son of bitch. You think you're the only one of us who's done things, terrible things we regret? You think you're the only one who's lost someone they loved more than life itself? You think I'm not I'm not all torn up inside having buried two children who were like a son and daughter to me. You think I don't care?"
"I never said that." Ezra spoke quietly.
"Actions speak louder than words, Ezra. You want to stay out here and die - you want to leave me. I love you but it don't mean nothing, does it."
Buck paced in angry strides.
"Boy, you've got some nerve. After all I did for you: I tended you, I helped run your business, I loved you with all my heart. But that ain't good enough for you."
"You misrepresent me," Ezra whispered, petulant.
"Do I? You want to throw everything away, well fine, but don't expect me to let you go by yourself this time. I can't do that again. I won't be left behind. You want to die, here, now, fine, but I'm staying right here with you."
"Ezra, damn you, yes."
They stood in a Mexican stand off, staring each other down, furious. Then Ezra just laughed suddenly. He laughed long and hard and his laughter turned to tears and he sank down atop the mound of dirt that marked his daughter's grave.
"Damn you, Beauregarde," he whispered as he wiped the tears from his eyes.
Buck sat down beside him. "Oh, I reckon I'm damned several times over," Buck surmised. He caught Ezra's eye.
"I'm really sorry. You know that, don't you? I'm sorry I kept you here, I'm sorry I didn't let you go to them the moment you felt something was wrong."
"They were already dead."
"I'm sorry anyway."
Ezra shook his head. "It wasn't your fault."
Buck gazed out across the soft lavender twilight. "You've sure been acting like it was." His breath hung in the cold night air. "You walked away, you took up with Chris, you killed all those men."
"The last I don't regret."
Buck flicked him a look. Chris was right. Ezra did have his mother's cold, hard streak after all. Buck blew on his hands to warm them.
"I don't want to know what passed between you and Chris, but why didn't you think I could be a friend to you when you needed one most. I thought I'd earned that."
Ezra shook his head, unable to find the words for once. Buck had been too close, a part of the family he'd lost. He'd been grieving for Buck as much as his wife and child. He'd just shut down, shut that part of his life away. He'd been so cold and dead inside, and then he'd seen inside Chris' eyes and seen the same horror and self loathing at his own emptiness. For once, he didn't have to explain himself to Chris. Chris knew, in a way no one else could.
"I know you and Chris suffered the same loss, and I'm sorry for it," Buck sighed. "But that don't give you the right to freeze me out, not after all we've been through."
"It over between you and Chris?"
"It was just the one terrible night," Ezra fibbed slightly.
"Well, alright." Buck rubbed his hands down his trousers, trying to warm himself.
"I didn't want - I wanted to forget, to burn out the pain, cut it out, do something. You were too close, you were part of what I'd lost, and I couldn't forget. Every time I saw the look in your eyes..."
Buck exhaled sharply.
"Okay, are we done then?" he asked quietly.
Ezra's head snapped up, reading Buck's eyes. Now was the moment. Ezra could fix his mask in place, get up and walk away, forever.
Buck was still searching his face for an answer.
"I love you, Ezra, and I'm sorry for your loss, but a man's got his limits."
Buck crouched down so barely an inch or two separated them. "I thought by now you'd trust me, I really did," he murmured, distressed, and Ezra watched as the big man finally broke, the half sob escaping from him with the tear that fell down his face. Buck's heart was breaking, and Ezra had done this.
"Buck," Ezra whispered, at a loss. Buck, who'd been his rock, was shattering before him. Buck was crying, over him. Ezra had never had anyone cry over him before. At least, he'd never stuck around to see it.
Should he stay or should he go. In an instant the decision was made. He surged forward, caught Buck's face in his hands and pressed cold lips to colder lips.
Buck drew back for a second, angry, then he sensed Ezra was serious and he opened up to him. It happened as quickly and overwhelmingly as their first heady kiss.
"God, I love you," Buck murmured against Ezra's throat before kissing him again. He started to push Ezra back against the ground, matching fierce and hungry kisses. His hand sunk into the frost covered earth and Buck drew back, not willing to take Ezra on top of the grave of his infant daughter. He pulled Ezra up by his coat lapels.
"Come on, let's get you back to town and warmed up," Buck chivvied, brushing dirt from Ezra's fancy clothes like an over protective mother. Ezra snuggled up against him, wanting to be held, wanting to be warm again. He hadn't been ready for Buck's comfort before. He wanted pain, enough pain to blind himself. Now he wanted tenderness and sweet touches and the feel and smell of Buck against him. Buck let Ezra wrap his arms around him and hold him for the longest while. Then the last of the light began to fade and it was a long walk back into town. Buck slung his arm around Ezra, Ezra tucked up beside him, fitting so naturally it felt so right. One more quick kiss and they began the slow walk back together.
The saloon was empty bar one Chris Larabee, who stood leaning up against the counter, quietly helping himself to some of Ezra’s best stock.
For once Ezra didn’t make a comment and Buck just nodded to Chris as he walked Ezra up the stairs to Ezra’s room.
Ezra's breath suddenly caught.
"Ezra?" Buck asked, concerned, stopping himself mid-thrust.
"I felt -"
"What?" Buck asked, even more worried that he'd hurt Ezra.
"I felt...you." Ezra himself seemed surprised. "I haven't been able to feel anything, but I felt you. I felt..."
Buck held his breath, wanting Ezra to say it, needing Ezra to say it.
"You," Ezra admitted in a rush of breath, meaning everything.
Buck answered him with a kiss, warm and deep, and pushed forward again.
"Feel that?" he asked, smiling.
"Yes. More. I want to feel you," Ezra pushed up urgently to meet Buck.
"Uh huh," was Buck could say, caught up in the act again of making love to Ezra, pushing in deep, making Ezra groan and twist and come wetly in his hands before they fell apart again.
Buck shifted up on the pillows, still holding him, and wrapped his legs around him as they kissed. Ezra gave him a fierce kiss, rose up and he was inside Buck and Buck arched up on the pillows, then gazed at Ezra, feeling Ezra fully inside him.
"There's my darlin' boy," he smiled and Ezra began to push forward, slow and fast, the way Buck liked it, sweet and hard. Buck kept his hands on Ezra's body, feeling him move. His eyes were locked with Ezra's, watching him take his pleasure. Buck had made love to a great many people, more than he could truthfully remember, but Buck had never loved anyone the way he loved Ezra. From now on, he wasn't willing to share him with anyone else. Not any more.
He saw the slight flutter travel along Ezra's skin, the sudden darkening of Ezra's eyes, the increasing intensity of his hold on Buck. Ezra wasn't simply going with the flow any more, he wasn't just a passive whore for Buck's enjoyment, he was back in the moment, alive, heart beating, skin warming and eyes that burned.
Ezra pressed forward and ground a kiss onto Buck and Buck knew instantly how it was going to be. This was going to be a savage kick at death, a fierce fucking to prove they were both alive and ready to howl at the moon. Ezra wanted to scream and punch and bite at all the hardships he'd endured and Buck was going to fight back, unwilling to let Ezra win every argument.
It was going to be nasty and cruel and when they were left lying breathless in their bed, licking at their respective wounds a tenderness would take over and they would come together as lovers, twining and kissing as soft as summer rain and petting as gentle as young girls, discovering each other again, soothing over old hurts and finally curling together to sleep, at peace in each other's arms.
Buck lay down beside him, exhausted, wrapping his strong arms around Ezra, never wanting to let him go. Ezra laughed, not wanting to leave and snuggled against his lover. Dear Buck, he always gave him what he needed.
Ezra played softly with the first grey hairs breaking through Buck's moustache.
"I did that, didn't I," Ezra accused himself softly. He felt Buck's deep rumbling laugh in answer.
"You're hard on a man, there ain't no denying," Buck agreed, teasing fondly. "You're hard on this poor old body of mine," he whined further.
"Am I?" asked Ezra, rolling on top of Buck. "How hard am I?" he asked, face alight with mischief.
"Very hard," Buck agreed huskily, swallowing Ezra's tongue as he kissed him deeply.
Coming up for air, gazing into those eyes, Buck grew soulful. "I'm sorry, Ez. About everything."
Ezra went quiet, then just pressed closer to Buck. Ezra was still gun shy about the things that affected him deeply. He kept things locked tightly away and Buck knew Ezra wanted to forget what had gone before. It was alright with Buck. Chris had put him through much worse and Buck wasn't about to give up on Ezra, not when he needed him most, not when there was still feeling between them.
"Hush now," he murmured, brushing Ezra with a kiss, settling him down to sleep. It was over and done now.
Buck stirred from his sleep to find Ezra already awake, smoking quietly, considering. No, plotting.
Buck was instantly awake. He rolled onto his elbow, eyes regarding Ezra, questioning.
"No, I was too busy thinking."
Buck held a breath. Here it comes.
"And what is going on in that busy little mind of yours?"
"I want to build a house."
Buck looked at Ezra, confused.
"You already have a house."
Ezra did, a grand little pile on one of the ranches he had acquired.
"Not a townhouse."
"Not a townhouse," Buck repeated.
"Yes, a house, in town, for you and me." Ezra explained patiently, grinning at the very idea. "A grand house. I'm sure a man of my wealth and standing should have a townhouse, not a little room rented above a saloon."
Buck was about to remind Ezra that he already owned this little room, the little room that Buck loved so much, but he could see that Ezra had plans, a desire for something more.
Still, he listened to Ezra chatter, barely daring to hope. Could Ezra finally be putting down roots? A house wasn't some rented room in a saloon or a hotel, a house meant bricks and foundations, a house was something more permanent. A house meant Ezra was reaching for something he had never known - a home.
Ezra had suddenly soured on the practice of keeping his lovers at bay, keeping Buck out on the ranch and his family in another city. Now Buck was all he had left and he wanted to keep him close. This was the reason for the house. Ezra had decided to make his stand, here.