Evening's Treat
(Old West)

by MAC

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: Halloween fun.
Author's Note: PWP guaranteed
Completed: 31 October 2002
Feedback: gentlerainfall@yahoo.com welcomes comments

Silent as the gliding bat that coasts in for a landing, the man moved through the night, his dark clothing and billowing black duster making him resemble that mammalian creature of the night. Chris Larabee felt his spurs sink, rowel deep into the frosty sludge that had been a sleety rain earlier in the day. Now that the pale sun had fled the sky, the ground was hardening up even more but still had enough give for a man to press his heels into the earth.

Ezra stood framed in the brightly lit entrance to the saloon, a paper cut out shape against the flare of color and light behind him. His hands rested on the two swinging doors of the gathering place, his pose motionless as he watched the night in silence. Standish ignored the boisterous activities behind him, concentrating all his energy on spotting the return of the Seven's leader. His patrol should be over by now. Ezra looked up toward the clearing night sky, stars starting to shimmer through the thinning veil of clouds. Come home, Chris. I don't want you out there tonight.

Pushing his hat back off his head, the gunslinger turned lawman walked with a deliberate stride, not hurrying but ground eating. He needed to be with Ezra. Time away from the man was becoming more difficult to manage, especially at night, when waking dreams could haunt him. Ezra filled his hollows and crevices, literally and figuratively. Chris smiled. Observers would not have recognized the expression, the tiny crinkling of crows' feet, the careful elevation of corners of the mouth, just barely visible. He swallowed a mouthful of saliva that had suddenly swamped his throat as he imagined his friend unclothed and rosy in the gaslight, lying on that great big feather bed.

There. Movement near the alley. That way led from the livery. He's back! Ezra rose higher, pushing up on his toes, pressing down on the bat wing doors. Smiling a greeting at the dark night shadows, green eyes glittering like a cat's.

There. The southern gambling man stood waiting. Waiting by the backlit doors. Ezra. Chris' pace never faltered but seemed somehow more concentrated as he crossed the fire-lit street. Comin' to call tonight, Ezra.

With a stomp and jingle, Chris' booted feet moved up the three short wooden steps to the boardwalk fronting the saloon. He faced the doorway, drawing to a stop in front of the barred entrance, chest hard against the louvered doors, hands coming to rest on the bat wings, just wide of the gambling man's. He inhaled.

Ezra breathed out gently and tilted his head to the side, as if curious at this sudden apparition out of the shadows of the night. Was it a trick of the lighting, or did Chris seem more intense than usual? Ezra slowly dropped back down on his heels, eyes never leaving the locked stare he held with heated hazel ones.

Inside, men laughed, women giggled, mugs thumped and sloshed, bottle necks clicked and rang against short, squat glasses that bore signs of scratching and chips but no breaks. The soft slap of cards and paper bills, the scraping of coins on bar top and table, the brusque grunts of bass and tenor filled the space up, until it was like a wall of sound that cascaded behind the still man in the bright red jacket and brocade vest. The man who stood like a guardian against demons of the night. Facing a demon of the night.



Chris exhaled, head tipping slightly closer over the tops of the low cut doors.

Ezra breathed in, dropping his head back a bit, chin lifting as he looked up into the solemn face of his own private demon. Private leman. He savored the scent of sagebrush and horse sweat, leather and gun oil, whisky and maleness. He sucked in the smell of Chris and held it deep inside. Then he stepped back on one heel, pivoting to swing open one door, and watched the gunman drift by.

With a crash of sensations, Chris was enveloped by the saloon's heat and sound, sights and smells vying for attention as Buck's voice rose. "Heya, Pard! Glad you made it back without losing your head tonight!"

Chris walked over to the Seven's table, nodding to the rest of his men as he asked, "My head?" Yep, gonna lose it inside Ezra's sweet mouth, that's my treat for tonight.

"You know," JD chorkled, "Like the headless horseman."

"Josiah's just been tellin' us the story of that teacher, Icabod Crane," Vin put in as he tipped back his chair a bit and sipped from his topped off whisky glass.

Nathan shook his head and a wide smile grew. "Ain't no truth to it, 'course, just another way to scare young'uns."

"Don't know about that," Josiah said, a look of pure innocence on his face as he raised his large beer mug. "Mighty strange things happen in this world. And, this is the night for some of the strangest to occur."

Like Mr. Larabee gracing my bed. Ezra came up behind the man in black and smiled down on his colleagues without speaking.

"Finished stargazin', Ez?" Vin's secretive grin made Chris turn and study the gambler. Been waiting for me, huh? He winked with the eye furthest from the seated group.

Forever, love. And you took forever. I know, I timed you. Ezra's green eyes glowed in the brighter light of the crowded room. He slid to the side and took the chair next to Josiah. "It is a good night for watching the heavenly bodies." Only one I really want to see, need to see.

We need to get up to bed soon. Witchin' hour's nearly here and I aim to be under your covers by then. Not gonna play night owl tonight. Larabee sat down between Vin and Buck. "Quiet out there."

"Jest wait, Old Dog, will be gettin' on midnight soon. That's when," here Buck paused and frowned, leaning forward with wicked glee to hiss toward JD, "When the goblins come out."

"Aw, ain't no such thing." JD grimaced and shrugged, gulping down some of the light ale he'd been drinking.

"Maybe, maybe not." Buck's frown turned into a happy grin as he straightened and then took a swallow of his own beer. "Not sticking around to find out, kid. Got plans with Miss Molly for a real sweet night, gonna be a treat."

"Josiah, you on duty tonight?" Chris ignored the banter, but then he usually did, unless Vin was involved. And he already knew what Vin would say. Didn't want Tanner to get started tonight. He'd likely say something that Ezra would not want said. So Chris wasn't gonna give him an opening. Shit head had figured out their private arrangement some time back. Just smirked and teased, but never told. Good thing too, or he'd be wearing that smile backasswards. Ez is private property. No trespassing. Vin knew that too.

"Yes, and I shall keep a weather eye on our little commune as the souls rise."

"Josiah! Would you quit with that!" Nathan shook his head and pushed back from the table. "I'm going to bed. Don't expect no unseemly noises tonight either." He sent a warning look toward Buck and Josiah. Both men looked shocked, then amused.

"Now, Nate, only noises I intend to make will be in harmony with Miss Molly."

"I shall be quiet as a church mouse. Just gonna keep a look out for flying pumpkins and the like." Josiah's toothy grin said it all.

Jackson stood and shrugged. "Sometimes, you all are just about useless." His laughing voice eased out any negation from the parting comment.

"JD? You want to keep me company this dark and gloomy night?" Josiah asked with a mellow look.

"Sure thing. Not that anything's likely to happen. Kids are all on curfew thanks to the judge and Ms. Travis."

"Sometimes, JD, men can be kids when the mood strikes." Josiah rose now too, JD trailing after. Buck tipped his hat at the remaining men and wandered off as well.

Standish had ignored the pleasantries as he basked in his gunman's presence. It was enough, for the moment, to be there near him. The fall of night had made him edgy. Now, he wanted only one thing.

"A trick?" Vin's voice broke his concentration.

The gambling man blinked and refocused on their tracker who spoke again, "Ez? I asked if you could show me one last card trick afore you head on up to bed."

Chris lifted the glass that Vin had filled for him, letting the whisky slide down his throat, eyes never leaving the short southerner. Only one trick I need tonight.

"Of course, Mr. Tanner." Ezra's cards appeared from his vest pocket and danced among his fingers. "A particular one you have in mind?"

"Drawing to an inside straight?" Vin's face was calm and smiling.

"Now that, Mr. Tanner, is a trick of the trade, not one for general parlance," Ezra chided mildly, tucking his cards back away. Only drawing I want is inside of me, that's the only place I want investigated tonight, and not by you, my finely buckskinned friend.

"Maybe another time?" Vin's eyes were traveling now from his best friend to their conman and back.

"Yes." The southerner's extensive vocabulary seemed to have dried up.

Vin suddenly grinned and put his now empty glass on the table where it joined the other refuse of a long evening. "Think I'll take a swing around town before beddin' down."

Larabee nodded once. "Good idea. Watch yourself." 'Cause I won't, not tonight.

"Always do." Vin's slouch hat went down over his head and he climbed to his feet. "Night boys, play nice."

Oh, no, not nicely at all, thank you very much, but play we shall. "Shall we, Mr. Larabee?"

"'bout time." The man from Indiana stood, settling his gun belt on his hips, eyes moving around the room, taking in the people and action, noting, dismissing.

Ezra got up with grace, smoothing the fine wool of his duck coat, tugging minutely at his cravat. Finally. He made a slow inventory of the room, noting who was where, deciding there was no potential trouble waiting for their departure. "I'll just bid our hostess a pleasant evening."

Chris turned and headed up the back stairs. Don't take too long, Ezra, we need some time together now.

I'm coming. Plan on doing that quite a bit tonight. Ezra's dimples grew. He sketched a bow toward Inez who tossed her head and flashed a lovely smile. Some creatures were made for the night. Such a dusky beauty. But, not to compare to the pale rose waiting upstairs now for him.

With prenaturnal intent, Ezra now moved up the stairs himself. A figure of otherworldly quality as his shape melted into the shadows at the head of the stairs, he disappeared from sight around the corner of the balcony and on down the hall. The door stood open. Vacant. A cobweb brushed against his sleeve as he swept down the hall.

Appear. Now. Ezra? Where are you? Chris lay back on the bed, fully clothed; he was like an inky blackness against the coverlet.

The dim hallway gilded the gambler's shape as he entered the room with ghost-like quiet, to hover over the reclining man. "Trick or treat?"

"With you? Always a treat."

Ezra turned away with a chuckle and locked the door. Doors should always have locks. He came back to the bed and settled comfortably down on top of the man in black. "Then I shall make sure it is very, very sweet."

And it was.

Happy Halloween.


If you enjoyed this story, we're sure that MAC would love to hear from you.


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