September 19th, 2002


more M7 fic rated PG

No real blog today, as I'm off on an excursion with John Crichton. No, not that one, the other one. Speaking of John Crichtons, I taped a bit about Farscape being cancelled on Ten news. They were destroying the sets and everyone was standing around crying. It was pretty awful.

Some good news from me though. I have a garden again. No, not a home, heaven forbid, but at work. Now that my new desk is crammed up against a south facing window, I've stuffed the sill full of palms and ferns. I love it. I don't care what anyone else thinks. Furthermore, as they snuck a restructure onto our relocation, gutting the section, I made the cut, I have a revised statement of duties (they change my job description more often than I change my bed sheets) that no longer includes application development or database administration. Yes! To everyone I pissed off and offended since May while labouring under these disciplines for which I had neither training or aptitude, I apologise. I'm free! The sun is shining and I'm free! And I'm writing again.

This is the next part of the M7 fic, I think I'm up to part 4, or whatever part it is. This bit is probably rated PG for just a bit of gunplay, and yes she is, no, he isn't, just in case you were wondering.

    Ezra was sitting out in his garden. He hadn't been out here in a while, yet it
    was still his sanctuary. He remembered long mornings just sitting here, not so
    long ago, unable to speak or move, waiting to die. He turned the cards over in
    his hands. They weren't trembling now.

    Buck's hand tousled through his hair.

    "You've been indoors too much," Buck scolded gently. "It's grown
    dark again." He was still playing with the auburn strands, missing the
    burnished copper tones it had sported when Ezra had sat in his garden, day after

    Buck dragged up a chair and sat down beside him.

    "You okay?"

    "I don't know," Ezra admitted.

    "I worry about you, you know."

    Ezra flicked him a look.

    Buck sighed. Ezra never took kind words at face value.

    "I'm sorry, Ezra."

    Ezra flipped the card in his hand over.

    "My fault, trying to be a hero." He laughed softly.

    Buck put a hand on his shoulder.

    "You'll get over this," Buck tried to reassure.

    "What if I don't?"

    "You will," Buck insisted.

    Ezra flipped over another card, reading his fortune, scowling at it slightly.

    "I love you," Buck offered up quietly to the sky and the trees as
    witnesses, as much as to Ezra.

    Ezra said nothing. He just kind of leant over into Buck's shoulder and Buck
    held him there, dropping kisses on the top of his head and rubbing up and down
    his back.


    Chris, Buck and Vin were sitting back in a lazy game of cards, playing more
    to pass the time than anything else, none of them having Ezra's skill and flourish
    with the deck. They were smoking and drinking and gossiping the way men do,
    swapping tall and taller stories, passing on what news they had heard, running
    through the recent obituaries of a couple of men they'd known.

    "Ezra ain't playing tonight," Chris observed through a haze of smoke.

    "He still poorly?" Vin asked, concern lining his eyes. Chris saw
    it and bit down harder on his cigar. He hated to be reminded of history.

    Buck shrugged, saying nothing. Who really knew, with Ezra? Certainly not he.

    "I think he might be going over the bookwork at one of the hotels,"
    Buck offered. Ezra now owned a hotel at either end of town.

    "Taking care of business," Chris grinned, teasing, not at all bothered
    by the vicious look Buck shot back at him. Chris could take anything Buck could
    dish out in return and they both knew it.

    "Our Ezra, the respectable businessman," Vin mused, shaking his head

    "Yeah, who'd have thought?" Chris grinned again, rearranging the
    cards in his hand.

    Buck kept quiet. They didn't need to know Ezra had just swapped the dismally
    low stakes gambling to be had in the saloon for the considerably higher stakes
    of acquiring businesses, investments, partnerships in some truly outlandish
    sounding enterprises and sinking more money than Buck could think of without
    sweating in the stock markets. More often than not Buck would find Ezra in his
    room, long after the saloon had closed, mulling over his private ledgers, playing
    his money with nerves of steel. Buck didn't like to think of it, and he kept
    aside the little cash bonuses Ezra pushed towards him for his help in managing
    Ezra's growing little empire as an emergency fund should Ezra's luck turn south

    Ezra was indeed taking care of business, watching over the bank that held Buck's
    tiny nest egg from the shadows, his cheroot long since abandoned, lest it give
    his position away. His highly tuned con man's sense that something wasn't quite
    right, that something was up. It was twitching along his nerves, and, carefully
    dismissing his businesses as targets, after having alerted his staff to report
    anyone acting what they might consider suspiciously, himself excluded, naturally,
    he'd settled on the bank that had suffered an attempted robbery several days

    Something was afoot, he could feel it, and the loitering wisps of shadows gave
    form and substance to his fancies. Soft murmurs, the faint jingle of equipment,
    the heady scent of gunpowder all alerted him to the fact that another robbery
    was about to be attempted. Unable to alert his fellow peacekeepers without giving
    himself away, he slipped his Remington from his holster and softly tested the
    familiar weight of the gun in his hand. There'd be no missing tonight.

    A muffled, sandbagged explosion from behind the bank rolled out into the main
    street, startling people from their business, sending them staggering into the
    streets as Ezra imagined the heavy money bags, his money, being shoved into
    saddlebags. The image of the money, its cool weight and smell came to him so
    strongly he could almost taste it.

    "Going somewhere?" he drawled lazily, gliding from his hiding place
    to block the picked open doorway, Remington resting easily in his hand. His
    gold tooth caught the moonlight as he flashed a grin to his shadowy rivals,
    admiring their work. A heavy fist struck out from the darkness and sent him

    "Now that just ain't gentlemanly," Ezra complained, wiping the blood
    from his mouth as he sprang back up. "Whatever happened to honour among

    "You tell me," Chris demanded harshly from behind Ezra, as unsure
    now as he had been a moment ago as to whether Ezra was helping or hindering
    the bandits.

    Ezra ignored him, running after the rapidly retreating mob with Chris, Vin,
    Buck and JD behind him.

    Chris wasn't mistaken, though. Ezra had seen the handiwork and recognised the
    job as easily as a signature. He knew damn well who was making off with Buck's
    money as he aimed carefully and fired.

    Ezra's bullet went wild, sailing over their heads with a whistle, but it brought
    them to a stop.

    "You missed," Chris observed.

    "Meant to." Ezra answered, distracted.

    He holstered a gun and walked up to the shortest of the thieves while his friends
    saw to the rest of the gang.

    The thief slapped him hard and tried to break away but Ezra would have none
    of it, slapping them down just as hard onto the ground and standing over them,
    ready to fight again. Outraged looks flashed between Ezra and his captive and
    it didn't take much more for the boys to realise Ezra and this thief had a history.
    Nor were they the slightest bit surprised. No, that wasn't what surprised them.
    It was when they dragged the ring leader into the gaol and discovered under
    lamplight that their prisoner was a woman, that's what surprised them.

    "Amanda," Ezra murmured, acknowledging her by name.

    She rose from the cell bunk like a goddess, slinking to the bars, all feline

    "Ezra, my dear boy, all grown up. And so handsome, too."

    Ezra blushed a little.

    "Come here," she coaxed. "I've missed you so much."

    He came close, she hooked a finger in his waistcoat and pulled him closer,
    kissing him gently on the lips.

    "They do know each other," Chris remarked to Buck, smirking.

    Buck sulked, watching the kiss go on and on, far longer than was proper and
    decent, especially in a gaol.

    Chris finally pulled Ezra away from the bars, admonishing him with a stern
    "Enough," his amusement quickly replaced by annoyance, still not sure
    on which side of the bars he should be keeping Ezra.

    "Ezra didn't have no part in this," Buck defended, knowing exactly
    what Chris was thinking.

    "No," Ezra rebutted, dusting down his coating from the manhandling
    he'd received. "I told you there was something in the works, but none of
    you would listen to me. You forget that it was my money as well that they were
    attempting to appropriate."

    "If you knew the bank was going to be robbed, why didn't you say anything?"
    Chris wanted to know.

    "Would you have believed me? Especially after I admitted to knowing the
    would be felons?" Ezra drawled in reply, bristling under Chris' suspicion
    and interrogation as always.

    "You knew?" Amanda accused.

    Ezra shrugged. "I saw you show up in town. I kept my head down, kept my
    eye on you. I knew you'd go for the juiciest plumb in town."

    "You didn't say a word." It was Chris' turn for accusations.

    "Well, no. There was only my word for it, and we know how much you value
    that. And if, in the unlikely circumstance that you actually believed me, you'd
    only stake out the bank and scare her off, sending her to the next available
    target, like the safe in my hotel."

    "So you let them rob the bank."

    "I watched them and I helped apprehend them, red handed."

    Chris leant forward. "How do we know you weren't in on it?"

    "Because they didn't get away." Ezra met Chris' eyes, defiant.

    "You set me up." Amanda accused, furious.

    "Don't be cross, Darlin'. I owed you one," Ezra reminded cheerfully.

    "Are you still carrying a grudge after all these years, Ezra," she

    "You left me holding the bag. I trusted you. You were closer than a sister
    to me and you set me up," he accused, hurt.

    Chris and Vin exchanged a knowing look. She was like a sister to him. That
    explained it.

    "I'm sorry," Amanda pouted.

    "Are you? I thought you were teaching me another valuable lesson about
    honour amongst thieves, the sort of lesson my mother is so good at dispensing."

    "No, Ezra, I never meant - I ran into - I ran into my own trouble. I'm

    He gazed at her, willing to forgive her. Ezra drew back from the bars.

    "How much for bail?" He looked directly at Chris.


    "Yes, bail. How much?" Ezra wasn't joking.

    "She's a thief."

    Ezra turned his appeal to Buck. "Three hundred do?"

    "You vouch for her?"

    "I give you my word."

    Chris was about to say something but thought better of it, catching a look
    from Buck. He got down the keys from their nail on the wall.

    "Well, alright. It's your money, Ezra," he warned, tossing the keys
    to him.

    "Are you sure you want to vouch for her, Ezra?" Chris asked again.

    "It's my money."

    "You really own a hotel now?" Amanda's eyes sparkled through the

    "Two. Ezra's becoming quite the pillar of society," Chris taunted,
    his sarcasm dripping on the word pillar, letting everyone know he was thinking
    Ezra deserved a pillory rather than a pillar.

    Ezra ignored him. "I'm trying to go straight. God knows why but there
    it is. Please don't mess things up for me here, Amanda. If you skip bail I'll
    look like an accessory."

    "I don't want to go to gaol."

    "I'll represent you." He saw her look. "I didn't ask you to
    come to my town," he reminded.

    "You could have let me go."

    He shook his head slowly and she pouted further.

    "Straight?" she asked again, unable to believe it.

    "Think of it as a stepping stone to a higher level of respectability,"
    he murmured. His eyes gleamed for a moment and Amanda caught that gleam.

    Chris saw the sly look and knew, damn it, he knew Ezra was playing an angle.
    He always was. Ezra just couldn't help himself.

    Chris leant back against the wall, watching. If Ezra was in on this, there
    was no point in keeping his partner behind bars, not until he figured out what
    the two of them were up to.