When One Door Closes
Disclaimer: I don't own them, or the show they rode in on. I wrote this for fun, and no profit is made from it.
Archive: Starwinder's, You Want Fries With That?, and The All-Ezra FanFic Archive --- all others, please ask.
Summary: Needs met.
Warnings: An act of physical violence between the characters; reference to prior acts. This may not be for everyone. You have been warned.
Author's Note: Answer to Cowboy Dreams Hazel Challenge: "Write a fic that has a lie / an untruth as a central or pivotal point in the story." Originally exclusive to Cowboy Dreams Archive, now timed out.
Completed: 30 August 2003
Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org welcomes comments
The slamming of the door was like a period to their lives. Chris took a deep breath, his entire body taut as a bowstring, knuckles white on fisted hands. He dipped his head to stare at those alien attachments, seeing the dab of red blood stark against the rise of bone, muscle, and cartilage beneath skin. Ezra's blood on my fist. He took a second deeper breath and suddenly sank to his knees, tears streaking his face as his body collapsed, tension fled, sorrow filling him.
How could I have been such a fool? The man is a chameleon, as changeable as his surroundings. Has it all been a lie? Am I the only one who loved? Cared? If he really cared, he would do what I want. Need. Chris wiped away the wet evidence of his grief with impatient swipes of his now stiff-fingered hands. A growl rose low in his throat, grumbled up his windpipe, and burst forth from anguished lips - a howl. It felt so good that he just kept on doing it.
Ezra paused. He stood by the door of the Jag, hand frozen in space, key extended toward the door. The hand was rock steady, his breathing even, low. Only his damp green eyes gave away the ravaged state of his soul. When had things become so wrong between them? He wanted to scream his rage and distress, instead he pursed his lips, the shadows beneath his eyes darkening. A smear of blood was all that was left of the trickle at the corner of his mouth, but the jawline was even now discoloring. He worked his mouth, feeling the ache where destiny had collided in the form of Chris Larabee's fist. His lover's fist.
It was the first time Chris had ever hit him. Strike that. It was the first time his lover, Chris, had ever hit him. Chris Larabee, his boss, had been known to reinforce his critiques with fisticuffs upon occasion. Ezra tilted his head in thought. Behind him another howl rose up, causing his neck hairs to rise as well. Ignoring the cacophony of twisted pain behind the closed door of Larabee's ranch house, Ezra Standish forced himself to quietly practice his art. One of his many skills, to divorce himself from emotion when under stress - and under cover, locked into place. His analytical mind chopped free of the encumbrance of his injured pride and badly bruised heart.
Fact. He and Chris had just had a very strange and elliptical argument that ended badly, physically. Chris kept insisting that Ezra needed to take a sabbatical from his position in the ATF on Team Seven. Ezra had simply dismissed, repeatedly, this insistence. Chris finally had grabbed him, nearly thrown him against the living room wall, and snarled in his face, threatening to fire his ass if he didn't do as he was told. Wrong move, Chris. Ezra smiled bleakly. You don't order me around like that. No one does. Not even you.
Seeing his own failing now, his inability to see past the confrontation at the moment of explosion, Ezra nodded wisely to himself. Yes. I failed to see that Chris wasn't really saying that I needed a vacation, but rather that he needed me to take one. Why? Ezra scratched at his chin with the tip of the key to his car, ignoring the trembling of his hand. Because he is overstressed at my near-demise yesterday. The bust that should have gone smoothly instead went awry. For several heart-pounding seconds, Standish's position had been strafed by automatic fire. If he hadn't had the good fortune to take cover at the bottom of a steel-reinforced crate, he would have been so much tartare. Hardly appetizing for a lover.
Another howl. Ezra's eyes narrowed and he straightened from his slumped posture of contemplation. Resolution replacing despair. Heart lifting, he turned to face the house and his Chris within. He needs me.
Flight discarded, anger melted in the face of logic and love, Ezra pocketed his car key and walked back toward the front porch and front door of the ranch house. As he moved, his steps quickened into a stride with purpose. He wrenched the door open and stopped dead for a scant second at the sight of his distraught lover, hunched over on his knees on the floor, head thrown back in a succession of blind gasping howls.
"Chris!" Ezra dropped down beside Larabee and grabbed hold of trembling shoulders, shaking the man slightly. "Stop this! Chris!!"
The bellowing had become nearly automatic now, it soothed him to throw all of his pain out with the heady mind-numbing sound. It tore at his throat and emptied his lungs, draining his anger and fear in sheer volume. Somewhere in the cataclysmic purging, Chris heard Ezra's voice. Sharp and firm, commanding. He tried to stop, to listen, but his body was so totally lost to him that he couldn't.
Ezra shook Chris again, but Larabee seemed oblivious, still grating out sound and fury. Nothing for it, the smaller man reared back on his heels and swung widely with an open hand. SMACK.
Like a circuit cut, Larabee stopped. In the silence that followed, Ezra yanked the taller man against him, one hand sliding up Chris' back, over his collar and deeply into his hair, to push Chris' head down on to Ezra's shoulder. Both arms tightly encompassing Larabee's weary body, Ezra held on, swallowing hard. If he had had any doubts about how much Chris loved him, he had no more.
They stayed that way, swaying slightly, both on their knees on the hardwood floor, Chris' arms having automatically circled Ezra's waist, even as Ezra clutched Chris fiercely. With a shuddering inhalation, Chris tried to raise his head only to find it pushed firmly back in place against Ezra's muscular body. "Stay there." Ezra's voice was soft now and gentle. "Rest. With me."
Blinking away scalding tears that were drying up now, Chris nuzzled in against the curve of his lover's fine neck. "Love you too much," came out as a muffled, sodden sound.
"No, no," Ezra had to clear his throat at the catch he found there. "One can never love too much, my dearest Chris, my heart's life." He stroked tenderly at the rough tumble of blond hair that ruffled against his bluing jaw. "I shall take leave-"
"Don't go, Ezra!" Chris' cry and body jerk nearly tumbled both men over until Ezra could settle them again.
"Ah, no." Ezra felt Chris' fear. He spoke quickly to soothe his distraught dearest heart, "Chris, I'm not leaving, no, no. Just taking leave of absence from work, as you have asked. I see now that this is something you need and for you, my dearest Chris, I shall do it."
Ezra was kissing Chris' forehead now, tucking his chin in to duck down and press through the pale bangs that often fell across it. He brought his free arm around so that he could force Chris' chin up with two gentle fingers, dropping his mouth down on to those hard dry lips that sought his out eagerly. The kiss was comforting and consoling, completing them again. Restoring their equilibrium.
"Stay here? With me?" The questions came out hoarsely, in short gasps as Chris regained his breath after their long, replenishing kiss.
"Yes." Ezra dove in for another toe-curling kiss, his tongue spearing deep inside of Chris' inviting mouth, tickling the roof and toying with the teeth, laving the tongue met there. A groan from Larabee finally roused Ezra from his bemused and enraptured loving. The floor's hardness, their awkward positions, suddenly were felt.
The imp in Ezra emerged in semi-hysterical relief at their congress and Ezra was thrusting a kneecap and thigh between Larabee's, tugging the man up so that he could ride it. Chris groaned again, the earthy sound clearly full of pleasure as he arched back, his cock flushing full and hard against Ezra's extenuated thigh muscles. With a grunt, the blond began to rock in place. Ezra held him loosely, hands dropping to Chris' waist to encourage the wanton movements. Ezra felt his own shaft thicken in response to his lover's passionate sounds and rutting thrusts. Urgently, they clung to each other. The denim of their jeans was stiff and rough enough to create a heated friction and in seconds, they were both frantically flying higher and higher, Ezra's wordless sounds joining Chris' as they both sheered toward release.
A breathless, soundless moment of white-hot blindness, and both stiffened as their cocks pulsed out gushes of warm, salty cum inside the pouches of their pants. Ezra sagged down and was gathered up by Chris who shifted over onto one hip and lowered them both down the rest of the way to the floor. Relaxed and spent, they lay against each other, small sounds and movements like aftershocks from their earthmoving event.
Ezra felt like melted candle wax, puddly and warm. He smiled as he licked lightly at Chris' neck. "Love you so very much."
"Me too." Chris squinted up, then twisted and lifted so that he could half-lean over Ezra. He stared down into those crystal green lamps that glowed so warmly, brightly. For me. "Ezra, I'm sorry. I should have just said it out plain, that I was scared, that I needed to keep you away from harm, if only for a while."
Ezra smiled and lifted his head up to kiss those penitent lips. Their lips brushed lightly and then Ezra let his head sink back down as he studied Chris' still pain-creased face. "It might have saved us some unnecessary roughness if you had." He lightly touched his own jaw.
Chris blushed and lowered his eyes. Ezra reached out and stroked along the man's hard jaw until those lovely hazel eyes opened wide and stared back down into his. "Chris. It's alright, really. You just needed to knock some sense into me. We'll work on seeing that it doesn't reoccur, but we are past it now."
"I promise it won't ever happen again. Ezra, I love you so damn much it hurts sometimes. But that doesn't give me the right to hurt you. Never again. I give you my word."
"And I accept." Ezra cupped Chris' face, studying the remorse writ plainly there. "I accept your apology and your word."
An innocent light, full of humor and sweetness lit those green eyes that Chris so treasured. He waited, knowing that Ezra was about to zing him somehow.
"Ahem. Now that we have that out of the way, it is time to discuss the length of time for this sabbatical. I was thinking of-"
"Not long enough." Chris let a bit of gruffness enter his voice as he settled on his elbows on either side of Ezra's ribcage.
"You didn't let me finish."
"Never gonna be long enough."
"How about," Ezra paused as if thinking deeply. "How about the rest of our lives?"
Hazel eyes widened in shock and fearful hope, then suspicion. "Ezra?"
Ezra had intended to simply tease his too-serious lover, but seeing the look of longing on Chris' face, he suddenly realized several things. It felt right, it felt good. He could give this to Chris. If it would make his lover happy, Ezra knew, bone-deep, that he would do it. The unexpected decision was wonderfully liberating. It gave the man he loved, the man who loved him so completely, that which they both needed. And, it made sense. It made eminent sense to remove himself permanently from the line of fire. Chris was seldom on the front lines and this way, the two of them could more serenely contemplate a secure future together. He could find other ways to exercise his considerable talents for his own sanity's sake, the good of his five other friends, and the love of his life. With complete assurance, Ezra nodded his affirmation and repeated his question as a statement. "For the rest of our lives."
Chris pushed up away from Ezra, his lips burning from their last kiss, panic setting in. Could Ezra really be serious? He wanted to believe but-
"Chris?" Ezra sat up, ending with a lapful of Larabee as the man sat back stunned where he'd been straddling Ezra's hips. Ezra pulled Chris in close and kissed him again. And again. Damn addictive man. "Chris! Snap out of it, please!" He rubbed his cheek against one of Chris' and whispered in his lover's ear, "Believe it, believe me. It's time. This was it, that moment when we discovered what we each need most. I need you more than air to breathe, water to drink. I most definitely need you more than that job."
"But, it's your life." Chris' words were soft in Ezra's ear as Larabee hugged Ezra to him.
"No, Chris, that's not true. Maybe once, but no more. YOU are my life." Ezra kissed the ear he'd been speaking into.
Chris shivered. Something had shifted, changed, in their relationship. Ezra was giving up everything for him. He'd only asked for a respite from fear of losing Ezra. That's all. And Ezra had refused point blank, even challenged him. Provoked him to the point that he'd punched his lover right in the face. Chris cringed and nearly withdrew from their embrace, but Ezra's strong arms would not release him. He could feel Ezra's heart thudding against his chest. Slowly he nodded as, with an overwhelming sense of relief and a soaring heart, he accepted Ezra's decision.
An errant gust of wind swept through the house from the open back porch sliding doors. It swirled around the reclining lovers and shoved hard against the open front door, slamming it shut with a reverberating finality. And this time, Chris and Ezra were both on the same side of the door.
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