The Bidding War
(Old West)

by Kitka

Rating: PG due to very mild language
Spoilers: None
Summary: Ezra and Buck duel in a bidding war.
Disclaimer: Ezra Standish; Buck Wilmington; JD Dunne; Casey Wells; Inez Recillos; Chris Larabee; all other characters mentioned within; and The Magnificent Seven are all & TM their respective owners and are used without permission. Everything else is & TM Kitka.


Green eyes looked longingly up from the audience even as the announcer's swift words fell on deaf ears. This was the moment that he had waited for. This was it -- the chance of a lifetime! He had to win this encounter, regardless of the consequences!

"Five dollars!"

"Six!"

"Ten!"

"Fifteen!" the gambler called out, causing all eyes to turn to him in surprise. They had not even began to think that he might waste some of the money he harbored so closely to his heart on any charity event, but he did not even notice the shocked expressions on their faces or even that they were all looking solely at him. He dared not move his eyes away from the prize for even one heartbeat of a second.

"Sixteen!" the familiar voice, perhaps too familiar voice, of Buck Wilmington called out.

"Twenty!"

"Twenty one!"

"Twenty five!"

"Twenty six!"

"Thirty!"

"Thirty one!"

"Thirty five!"

He had known that such a fine jewel would garner many bidders, but he had not expected on the sheer number of men that thrived vigorously, yearning to win the auction. Even as much as he wanted the prize, it seemed to gaze out at him, pleading with him to win it just as desperately as he wanted to win it. He knew he had to do something for a full-fledged bidding war was erupting all around him. "Fifty dollahs!" he called out, his agile fingers arching.

"Fifty one!"

"Fifty five!"

"Sixty dollahs!"

"Sixty one!"

"Sixty five!"

"Sixty six!"

"Seventy dollahs!"

From across the room, two blue eyes glared viciously at the gambler. "Hey, Ez!" he called to him. "We all know you don't want to spend your money in here when you won't be spending it to earn more, so how 'bout just letting some one who really wants the prize win it while they still have a dinaro to their name!"

"Mistah Wilmington, Ah assure you," Ezra called back to his comrade, "that Ah not only want the prize even more than you do but that Ah will win this most beautiful jewel that means evah so much more than any money!" His statement drew loud gasps of astonished amazement from the crowd, but he ignored them with a patience of a cunning fox. "Eighty dollahs!"

"Eighty one!" Buck again called out, his face pure red from the fury building silently within him.

"Eighty five!"

Another gasp came from the crowd, as all heads, even Ezra's, moved to look, stunned, at the newest bidder. "Just you wait till I get out of this darn dress, JD!" Casey Wells called out from a corner of the saloon. "I'll tan your hide but good!" Her sharp exclamation brought chuckles from almost the entire room, including Chris Larabee, and a sheepish, apologetic smile from the embarrassed Kid.

Ezra shook his head but then turned back to face the auction. He started to call out his next bid but was interrupted by the voice of Buck Wilmington that was really beginning to grate on his ears by that time. "Eighty six!"

Ezra inhaled deeply. He knew exactly where this was going... and he knew exactly how to stop Wilmington in his tracks. However, he also knew how sorely it would affect his funds, most particularly the money he had managed to save for his own saloon. His green eyes again shifted to the prize, and he breathed deeply as he took in her stunningly ravishing beauty.

"Going once..."

"Going twice..."

Ezra closed his eyes and then forced his lips to form the words: "Two hundred dollahs!"

The room grew instantly silent except for Buck's angry cussing and furious glaring. Ezra held his breath as he listened to the auctioneer. "Going once... Going twice... Sold to Mister Ezra Standish for two hundred dollars!"

Applause broke out even as Ezra opened his eyes. From across the room, his green eyes were met with a pair of shining, soft brown eyes, and he found that those eyes were all that mattered. As if moving through a dream, he walked slowly to the makeshift auction block; paid Mary Travis, who was collecting the money; and then held his hand up to his prize, his fingers stretching out as if to attempt to grasp some of her radiance. Her free hand slid into his, and their fingers entwined. Delicious chills raced through both willing bodies as he gently guided her down the steps.

Once she was standing before him, he reached out with his free hand and slipped the basket from her other hand. His heart skipped a beat, then thundered wildly and madly in his chest, as she smiled at him and slipped her hands into the crook of his arm. "Shall we, mah dear?" he asked his living dream, gifting her with a charming smile as he did so.

"I'd love to, Senor Standish!" she exclaimed, her brown eyes dancing with the sheer joy that filled her entire being.

Ezra's lips pulled down into a slight frown. "Now, mah lady, Ah really must insist that you call me Ezra, especially after Ah..."

Her smile grew as she quickly assured him, "All you had to do was ask, Ezra." The mere taste of his name on her tongue sent heated chills racing through her again.

Their smiles grew, filling the room with their glorious radiance, as he led her through the crowd, JD's voice bidding hastily away for Casey going unnoticed by both. Even as Buck continued to sputter uncontrollably, Josiah trying futilely to calm his friend down, Ezra led Inez out into the day that had just become both the most beautiful and best day of his life simply because of the treasure he was proud to hold on his arm.

THE END

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