(Little Ezra - Old West)
by Clay Kalle
Disclaimer: All rights belong to their rightful owners. This was written purely for entertainment and practice, not profit.
SUMMARY: Fever tends to bare it all.
"'ther." A painful pant, chest heaving and eyes fluttering open; long lashes casting awkward shadows against flushed cheeks as a set of glazed green eyes peeked at the world in confusion, "'ther."
"Shush, now, child." The voice was low and soothing, the words almost whispered into the red-tinged ear as the man passed the cool cloth against heated flesh, his hand gentle, his touch tender, yet the child was not satisfied, his breath hitching with agitation.
"'ther? 'ther?" His head lolled restlessly, damp hair marking its repetitive journey, soaking the once-white pillow eagerly with each anxious roll and turn, until a big dark hand rested on the feverish forehead, stilling the delirious mumbling along with the panicked movement.
"Relax, Ez; you're safe. You're here with us, now, so don't fret none." A thumb stroked a temple, "No mother of yours is coming to take you away, squirt, so you just worry about gettin' all better."
For a while, the child was calm, the room silent sans the heavy breathing as Ezra struggled with each inhaled breath, his face too pale and his cheeks too hollow, yet the healer was happy with the improvement; glad to hear the boy speak - despite the difficulty to decipher what was being said most of the time, glad to see those glimpses of green eyes looking up at him after the hours spent staring at flesh curtains that hid a play of mischief and intelligence, hoping and praying they had not seen its last show.
"How's he doin', Nate?"
"Ain't much different than before you went to take care of yer needs," Nathan smiled tiredly at the worried guardian, who had quietly let himself in and was approaching the young boy, before quickly reassuring, "He's doing fine, Chris, considering. He ain't in any danger, and should be alr--"
"'ther?" Ezra's inquiry was accompanied by a searching hand, which Chris hastily took in one of his own, his other brushing the matted hair back. "F-father?"
It took but a moment for Chris Larabee to overcome the surprise of the foreign addressing, leaning forward to place dry lips on the warm forehead.
"I'm here, son. Always will be."
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