(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: Some bubbles are not meant to be.
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"That's it, Ez. Just blow, nice and steady, don--"
"--'t blow too hard."
"My apologies, Mr. Tanner; I'm afraid I was unable to follow your instructions correctly."
"That's alright! I believe I've popped a coupl'a dozen before I got the hang of it, and I still do kill a few sometimes, actually. Here, let me show how to do it again, a'right?"
Ezra Standish nodded, his face assuming a pinched expression as he prepared himself to watch the rerun of the initial teaching, and Vin was entertained by the sight of pink tongue barely visible between tightly pressed lips as the boy tensed with concentration. Smiling, the tracker brought the circle to his mouth, his fingers manipulating the wooden handle until he deemed the height and distance appropriate.
"All you have to do is be steady and slow. Too much air and," the man ended his advice with a loud noise that resembled the sound effect Ezra's bubbles provided before disappearing, which earned a grimace from the child as he was reminded of his recent failures.
Expanding his lungs, Vin gently blew into the glistening circle, the warm air expanding the transparent surface of water and soap, and Ezra's eyes widened slightly as he studied each move the relaxed man made: watching as the chest deflated steadily while the bubble grew larger by the second, the cheerful object eventually wobbling off the wooden nest to sail the unknown skies, independent and free.
Handing the stick back to the child, Vin grinned, "Your turn now, squirt. And don't you go worrying; a little practice and y'all be beating JD at them bubbles in no time, win that bet all easy."
Ezra smiled widely at the man, his dimples displayed and eyes twinkling with mischief at the mention of the reason he had requested Vin's guidance, and Tanner found himself mesmerized by the transformation, recalling when the boy had first arrived into their lives, donning a blank façade and thick shields. To see the child so trustingly open and playful, the tracker was unable to fight off the desire to lay a gentle hand on the bony shoulder as the child dunked the circle in the soapy water, and when the initial tension melted, Vin felt his heart swell and he smiled secretly; he could not remember experiencing such a pleasure at bursting a bubble.
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