Fandoms: Magnificent 7 ATF, NCIS, CSI: Miami.
Characters: Ezra Standish, Anthony DiNozzo, Ryan Wolfe.
Rating: PG due to some off-screen violence and child abuse issues.
Backstory: In my ongoing storyline, Ezra is a cousin of sorts to Tony, and Ryan is Tony’s cousin. This story is set when all three are children; Ezra is 10, Tony is 9 and Ryan is 4. This story is part of a three story arc written for International Blanket Fort Day and to be posted to that LJ community but cross posted everywhere.
Ryan was learning a lot during his stay with his older cousin, Tony. He learned that he had another cousin, Ezra. He thought that was weird ‘cause he thought that new cousins were always babies, too little to play with. Ezra was Tony’s age at least, nine or ten years old, and was willing to play with him even though Ryan was much younger.
Ryan was learning that Tony was really, really clumsy. Tony kept falling down. At least that’s what his cousin said when Ryan asked where all the owies came from.
Ryan was even learning new words but neither Tony nor Ezra could tell him what the words mistress, whore, and little bastard meant. Ezra got a real sad look in his eye when Ryan asked him about those words though. Tony even frowned at Ryan and told him not to use those words, while looking at a subdued Ezra. Ryan didn’t want his cool older cousins mad at him so he NEVER used those words, no matter how many times he heard them yelled in an argument by his Aunt towards his Uncle. He had no clue who this Maude person was, but he was afraid what his Aunt would do to her if they ever met.
Ryan learned a lot about hide and go seek this visit too. It seemed like one of Tony and Ezra’s favorite games. Ryan was always the one to hide. They made him promise not to come out for anyone other than Tony or Ezra. He pinky swore and everything. Come to think of it, after one of their games of hide and go seek, Tony always seemed to have more owies.
Sometimes the yelling scared Ryan. He WAS only four after all, and though his own parents didn’t pay much attention to him they rarely yelled at him.
When the yelling frightened him most, that was when Tony and Ezra would play his most favorite game. They would go to Ezra’s room. The southerner would rarely sleep there, spending most of his nights in Tony’s room. The staff almost never ventured in to this room and Tony’s parents never even came to this wing of the house.
To Tony and Ezra’s minds that meant this room was safe. They would pull the blankets and comforters off the bed, use the sheets to cover the ground, and pull in the pillows, arrange the chairs from the desk, and make a fort.
When the yelling turned into Tony’s father calling for the boys, Tony and Ezra would remind Ryan to stay where he was until one of them came for him. They would warn Ryan to stay as still and quiet as possible.
Usually the 4 year old would have his bear with him, and fall asleep while waiting for his cousins to come for him.
This time they were gone a really long time. Tony had a new bruise near his eye and Ezra was holding his left arm close to his body when they came back to the room they had left Ryan in. Ryan was still half asleep when they returned so he heard his older cousins talking. When they knew he was awake they tended not to talk about the owies. This time Tony sounded really angry, Ryan had never heard Tony so upset before, it frightened him.
There were often angry words in this house but never from Tony and never ever between Tony and Ezra. Ryan stayed quiet and pretended to still be sleeping.
Tony was upset, Ryan learned, because Ezra had been hurt protecting Tony. Ryan wasn’t sure what Ezra had been protecting Tony from, but it must have been something really scary. According to Tony Ezra never should have protected him.
Tony glared at Ezra, “You should have stayed out of it.”
Tony had held his tongue while anywhere that an adult could hear the boys, even where the staff could hear them. He didn’t want to take any chance of this getting back to his father. Now in the relative safety of this seldom visited bedroom, he let loose with his anger.
“I should have just let him push you down the stairs?” Ezra finally asked, a note of disbelief in his voice.
“Well yeah,” his younger cousin answered, as if the answer was obvious.
Ryan was lying there listening, totally frightened. Who would push his cousin down the stairs? What monsters were there that lurked in the shadows.
“No Tony, I protect you. You protect me. We both protect Ryan. That’s the way it works.”
Ryan stopped listening after this; as frightened as he had been just minutes ago, what Ezra said now made him feel warm and safe even in a house with loud scary voices. He moved then and his cousins stopped talking. They didn’t want to frighten their much younger cousin, wanting to shelter him as much as possible from the ugliness in this house. They joined him in their fort as they often did when they built one. Maybe they would all sleep here tonight together instead of in a bed.
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