Inspired by Phyllis’ May 15 drabble challenge to give one of the guys a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ of some kind, and Yolande’s Feb 2004 challenge to show what kind of mischief the boys get up to when they’ve got time on their hands.
(Moved to Blackraptor November 2009)
Thieves! Brigands, hooligans, sneaky underhanded bastards!
Wrenching the buckle of his gunbelt loose, Ezra flung the apparatus onto the bed, allowing his hastily tied covering to fall to the floor. He kicked it across the room in a fit of pique, completely unmindful of the fact that he wore a hat, boots and nothing in between as he began pacing the room.
An impressive collection of swear words picked up over a lifetime in saloons and gambling halls poured from his lips in a quiet but vindictive stream.
Bad enough that he had suffered public defeat! Worse that he had been cheated – again! – and still could not figure out how. Only one man could have been responsible for purloining his wardrobe from right under his nose then leaving it in a neatly folded pile right outside his door. Only one man was sneaky enough, stealthy enough, clever enough and flat-out twisted enough to have done it.
Well, perhaps two…but he was quite sure Vin had been otherwise occupied.
Oh, the treachery.
He would pay this insult back in spades. As soon as he deduced an appropriate method of reprisal, his vengeance would be…
Ezra’s gaze fell upon the dresser, catching sight of the tin of bleaching powder he always kept to boil his good white shirts in. A wicked smile tilted the corners of his mouth. Oh, yes, indeed.
It had been a week since the departure of Big Lester Banks and the death of Achilles Thompson and it was more than time for life to get interesting again.
“Any of you know where Ezra was taking that crate of berries yesterday?” asked JD, glancing around the saloon.
No one knew, but suddenly the answer became clear as Chris Larabee came storming into the saloon. Mouths fell open, eyes bulged with shock, and every gut began shaking with laughter.
“Now, don’t that look purty!” Buck guffawed, eyes sparkling. He grinned unrepentantly at Chris’ warning glare. “I think you found your look, pard.”
“Pink,” Larabee growled, jerking the plackets of his shirt out in disgust. “Every shirt I own has been dyed pink! I’m gonna kill him!”
Vin’s eyes teared with laughter. “Should’ve known messin’ with Ezra’s clothes would come back to bite you, cowboy.”
“I didn’t touch his clothes!” Chris roared indignantly.
As Chris continued to rant and threaten, trying and failing to defend himself against the disbelieving jibes of his friends, Nathan Jackson hid his own mischievous grin behind his hand. It did him good to see JD laughing again, to listen to the friendly banter of his friends. It would do Chris and Ezra both some good too, not to take themselves so seriously. This had been a tough week for all of them, a week filled with pain, self-doubt and heartbreak. They had all needed a break; a laugh. Sometimes laughter really was the best medicine of all – even for a healer.
Besides, he’d owed Ezra a payback for accusing him of having no sense of humor!
Ezra never actually accused Nathan of having no sense of humor, though he easily could have! As for the rest, it occurred to me that we never saw Nathan or Chris between the scene where Nathan, Ezra and Buck are having breakfast and the end when JD is leaving. I also wondered why Ezra had no clothes after the big game. He had no real reason to have bet them - his clothing never would have fit Lester - and it seemed unlikely that he would have not thought to grab them if he took the time to put his gunbelt on! And Ezra taking the effort to sneak in and dye all of Chris’ clothes? Hey, sometimes menial labor is worth the effort! Nathan just better hope that Ezra and Chris never figure out his part in things.