This Isn't Funny, You Know

by Twig

Disclaimer: Yeah, sure they're mine... when the world belongs to me... but then, the world is not enough (okay, okay, bad pun/joke... blame me for being a James Bond fanatic). What I mean to say is, the boys aren't mine, even though I do hurt them, but I hurt the ones I love, and therefore I love these boys, and please don't sue me because I would just get depressed.
Author's Note: I envisioned this while on my busride to watch "The World Is Not Enough". I should've been envisioning James Bond, but alas, Ezra interrupts with a lovely vision of his own.

Ezra, unable to sit, not so much pushed, but rather deliberately shoved each digit of the phone number of the Denver ATF office into the cellphone in his hand with a scowl on his handsome face. Ezra would rather smash the phone against the wall, curse loudly, and then jump off an office building, but alas, he couldn't. The dignified old lady sitting in front of him was staring at him with a disproving look on her face. Ezra could almost hear her say,

"Now, now, young man. That's no way to act in a public place! And that's no way to dress either!"

At that particular thought, a cold, strong wind blew against Ezra, sucking out every last drop of warmth from his already cold body.

Knives were evil things, Ezra decided. Especially when the sharp edge was applied to his expensive shirt, and vest, and jacket. Ezra had to force himself not to cast a regretful look towards the ruined suit jacket discarded a few blocks back.

The phone connected.

"Larabee," the familiar voice said, sounding... neutral.

Ezra could imagine that neutrality to be corrupted fairly soon. "It's Ezra."

"Ezra, do you have any idea how late you are?" It was Buck's voice.

Fantastic, Ezra grumbled. Chris had the speaker phone on.

"Ezra?" Nathan this time.

Ezra, very carefully, and very slowly, started to tell them the story. The dignified old lady narrowed her eyes several times during the narrative. She could almost be saying, "Watch your language young man!"

Ezra glared at the old woman, but she refused to be threatened.

Ezra finished his tale.

There was, according to Ezra's expensive Rolex, 3 minutes and 37 seconds of silence. Ezra thought Chris had put him on hold.

"Mr. Larabee?" he dared to ask.

"Yes?" came the breathless sounding reply. It would be improper to call it a squeak; afterall, Chris Larabee did not squeak.

"What do you, any of you, have to say?"

"Um, Ez, can't you get him to stop?" Vin asked, sounding as equally breathless as Chris.

Ezra clenched his teeth. "No. He refuses to stop just because I'm... in a predicament. He has a schedule to uphold afterall." The sarcasm dripped off Ezra's tone.

Buck said, "Well, you gotta admit, Ez, the man has a job to do."

"So do I! It wasn't my fault Bowen decided to go for a ride on a public transport. Not to mention that my Brioni suit is in four distinct pieces, ten, maybe even fifteen, blocks back. And Mr. Larabee, I have no doubt the ATF will be happy to compensate for it."

"Wait a minute," Chris said, sounding not so breathless anymore. "You ain't chargin' a coupla thousand bucks to the ATF."

"I doubt very much Mr. Cameron would approve of sewing four pieces of my jacket back together!" Ezra snarled into the phone. "And, and I'm standing here with more skin exposed than I would like to. Would someone please propose a solution to my problem?"

"Where are you right now?" JD asked.

Ezra looked out the window. "I just passed Cornerstone and Fifth. The driver just ran a yellow."

"Can't the driver just stop for awhile?" Vin asked.

"You're just rephrasing the same question!" Ezra exclaimed. "No! No, he wouldn't."

"Can't you ask?"

Ezra narrowed his eyes, which would have been a formidable look if only Ezra had someone to direct it at other than the old lady still glaring at him. "Don't you think I've tried that already?"

"Well, how are we suppose to help you?"

"Maybe if someone would just stop at one of the stops and get on the bus."

"Which bus?"

Ezra sighed. "Number 3, GrandView."

"And you just passed--"

"Cornerstone and Fifth!" Ezra snapped. "Except I'm at Birch and Fifth already!"

"That's kinda out of the way from here," Buck said.

"I just want off this bus!" Ezra yelled.

The old lady apparently had had enough. "Young man! This is deplorable behaviour! You are loud, disruptive, and rude. Why don't you either sit down or get off?"

"What's that?" Ezra heard Vin ask over the phone, but Ezra didn't bother to reply.

Ezra snapped, "Dear Grandmother, do I look like I can sit down or get off? If I could, I would've been long gone by now. God knows how much I hate public transport."

The old lady got a second look at Ezra's condition, but her displeased look remained upon her face. "Mr. Driver, I would like to get off at the next stop, please," the lady said.

"Thank god!" Ezra proclaimed more loudly than needed.

The bus pulled up at the next stop, and the old lady got off, but not before tossing another contemptuous glare at Ezra.

"What was that about?" Vin asked again.

"Some wizened crone doesn't like the way I conduct my conversation." After a pause, Ezra continued, "Is any one of you gentlemen willing to come help me?"

Buck said, "Urr, like I said Ez, Cornerstone--"

"Birch!" Ezra cut in. "Better make that Blake now."

"--Blake and Fifth is kinda out of the way," Buck finished.

"Why don't you wait until the bus is at the endstop, and we'll get you there," JD suggested.

Ezra growled.

"Or maybe not," JD amended.

"Ez, I'll come get you."

"Thank you, Mr. Tanner. And remember the bolt cutters."

The connection ceased.

Twenty three minutes, five stops, sixteen passengers, ten strange looks, three leers, and two gropes later, Ezra heard a distinctive honk by the side of the Number 3 GrandView Bus. It was Vin's jeep. Never had Ezra been so happy to see that pile of junk come within his viewing distance.

Vin honked two more times, then sped off, presumably to arrive at a future stop of the bus. Ezra watched as the jeep hunkered along the road, then disappeared off it.

A few minutes later, the bus pulled up to a stop. Ezra breathed a sigh of relief when it was Vin who boarded the bus. Vin was proceeding to climb up the steps with a package in his hands and walk towards Ezra, when the bus driver called out,

"Hey, pay the fare or get off."

"I'm just here to help my friend. I'll get off with him at the next stop," Vin explained.

"I don't care if you jump off. You get on the bus, you pay the fare."

Vin sighed and reached into his pocket for change. Ezra watched expectantly. A sheepish expression began to form on Vin's face.

"Don't say it," Ezra warned.

"Sorry, Ez. Ain't got no change."

Ezra positively growled, reached into his pants pocket, pulled out a stray twenty, crumpled it into a ball, and tossed it at Vin. "There!" he shouted.

Vin caught the crumpled bill from the air with ease, uncrumpled it, and stuck it in the general direction of the driver. The driver, on the otherhand, pointed at a sign that read "EXACT FARE PLEASE. THE DRIVER HAS NO CHANGE".

Vin glanced at Ezra.

"I don't give a damn, Vin. Just get me outta here!"

Vin shoved the twenty down the farebox and hurried to Ezra. "Gee, Bowen did a real number on you, didn't he?" Vin remarked as he got a good look at Ezra's condition.

"No, really?"

Vin flashed Ezra a small grin. His blue eyes twinkled. Ezra recognized that twinkle.

"What?" Ezra demanded.

"You know what I forgot?"

"What?" Ezra repeated the sharp syllable.

"A camera."


"No, wait." Vin set down his package on an empty seat, fished around in his jacket and pulled out a Polaroid camera.

"You do, and I will kill you. That is not a threat, Mr. Tanner. That is a promise."

"C'mon, Ez. Have a sense of humor."

"You try having a sense of humor after standing in a bus for an hour and a half, cuffed to the top rail, freezing cold from all the open windows, a Brioni suit in four pieces, and your co-worker attempting to make light of this whole situation using a Polaroid camera. I apologize, Mr. Tanner, if I do not find this funny at all."

And without a warning, the flash went off.

"You are a dead man, Tanner." Ezra was finally able to shoot someone his formidable look, but Vin wasn't even fazed.

"I can leave you here," Vin suggested.

"You'll be even more dead when I get my hands on you."

Vin just flashed Ezra another annoying grin. His grin faded when Ezra's lips started to pull up to a sinister smile.

"You recall a certain... incident five months ago?"

"Which incident?" Vin was getting a bad feeling about this.

Ezra's lips twitched even more as he recalled the event. "Remember a certain amorous young lady called Lyra Sinclair?"

Vin's grin disappeared entirely.

"I see you remember her. You recalled a certain--"

"Just spit it out, Ezra."

"No need to get snippy, Vin. Anyway, I remember how you were supposed to seduce her--" Ezra's grin grew bigger as a deep red flush crept upon Vin's cheeks, "-- and quite unfortunately, she caught onto your schemes. You were, quite literally, caught with your pants down."

Ezra had a hard time picking out a name that would appropriately describe the color Vin was turning into.

"Guess who has photographic evidence of that particular incident?"

Vin's jaw dropped. "You didn't."

"Yes, I did. And I, unlike you, was perfectly willing to let embarassing evidence sit. If you insist on being puerile about this incident, I suppose I'll have to respond in kind."

The flush upon Vin's face began to fade. "I suppose we'll have to have a truce."

"First, why don't we alleviate me of this discomfort?" Ezra shook his cuffed wrist, the metal of the cuff clinking against the metal of the rail.

Vin grabbed the package from the seat and unwrapped it to reveal a set of bolt cutters. Two loud clicks later, Ezra was free from his bondage just as the bus pulled over at a stop.

Ezra hopped off the bus, followed by Vin.

"Thank you, Vin." Ezra smiled at the man.

Vin, however, couldn't quite smile back. "About those pictures, Ez...."


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