Disclaimer: Magnificent seven belongs to MGM, CBS and Mirisch. No copyright infringemet intended.
Note: Thanks to Mog for creating the ATF AU and to Eleanor Tremayne for telling me when bore-write. Eleanor was also the one that came up with the name Caruso. ( And also the one who let this plot bunny loose )
Set one week after Red Cross 2
Ezra carefully hobbled out of the elevator, it having deposited him on the 7th floor of the Denver federal building. Only as far as your office, Ezra my boy and you will be home free. That is if a tasteless cubicle done up in some of the worst grey tones it has ever been my misfortune to see could be called home.
"Good morning, gentlemen" he called out as he continued to carefullly hobble in the direction of his office space looking like a 90 year old with gout. Hmmph-seems hobble will be the name of the day. I know the doctors assured me nothing was broken but it still hurts like there was no tommorow. Wonder how long it will be before Mr. Jackson shows up to enquire about my health? Ill give him 10 minutes before he starts prodding and poking. Ah well, look on the bright side Ezra. At least your throath have abandoned its attempt at trying to swallow barbed wire and there is not a frog for miles around.
"Morning Ez." Josiahs baritone rumbled through the air. " How you feeling today. You look a mite better."
"Most assuredly so, Mr. Sanchez. Never better." Ezra tried desperatly to straighten up to prove his point, to no avail. Bone deep bruises effectively put a stop to the attempt and he settled for hobbling- humph- at a slighty faster rate.
"Hia, Ez. Glad to see ya feeling better." The next wellwisher was an always-scruffy looking Vin Tanner. I wonder if there are courses one can take to achieve that particular look. It cannot be easy to pull off. "Oh, and Chris wanted to see ya in his office the moment ya got in." Oh, swell. I wonder what our estemeed leader wants with me this time. He cant possibly be upset about the car, can he? No of course not. He probably just wants to tell me Im on restricted duty or some such. In other words, a week of paperwork awaits me. Oh joy.
"Thank you Mr. Tanner. I will attend to him directly."
"Oh, and Ez."
"I put Caruso on your desk for ya. Hope ya dont mind."
Caruso? Dont tell me Mr. Tanner has managed to find a Caruso recording? That was thoughtfull of him.
"Thank you Mr. Tanner. That was very kind of you. I look forward to enjoying it later. At the moment however, Mr. Larabee beckons."
With that Ezra changed direction and hobbled- humph- towards Chriss open door, totally missing the devilish twinkle in Vins eyes. After a long and ardous trek across the office landscape, he reached his goal and knocked on Chriss doorsill and immediately followed that by sticking his head in the door.
"You required my presence, Mr. Larabee?"
"Yeah, I did Ezra. You better take a seat before you fall down. You look like shit."
"Thank you for that astute observation Mr. Larabee. It is always nice to be apreciated."
After swaying in the doorway for a moment, Ezra decided to take the man up on his offer and hobbled-once again-towards the chair parked in front of Chriss rather impressive desk, followed all the way by Chriss intense scrutiny.
Yes Mr. Larabee. I know I look like "shit". Thank you kindly for pointing that out to me. I had almost managed to forget that my apperance could have been better.
After carefully positioning himself on the edge of the seat, trying to keep as much of his bruised body from contacting the upholstery as possible, he returned Chriss gaze with as much confidence as he could muster. And was rather shocked to see genuine concern in the other mans eyes.
Well, what do you know Ezra? Seems the man actually cares. Come to think of it, I seem to recall Mr. Larabee bellowing rather loudly at me in the ambulance, telling me to stay awake or there would be hell to pay. It worked to, for about half a minute I think.
"You know, you didnt have to come in today Ez. The doctors told you you needed to rest."
"I am well aware of that fact, Mr. Larabee. However, it was growing tedious at home and so I felt the need for a change in location. I also have to finish the paper work on the vehicle pursuit I was engaged in before finding my way into the river."
"It could have waited Ez. You know you are on light duty the next week, and Im gonna have Nathan keeping an eye on you to make sure you do just that. Only half days and only paperwork." Concern coloured Chriss voice as he watched Ezra trying furtively not to put pressure on his battered body.
Ah, yes. The always-aggravating Mr. Jackson. I am just going to have to keep my distance from the man for the next week (possibly the next year or so.)
"Thank you Mr. Larabee, for your concern. I will endevour to take it easy. Will that be all?"
"Yeah, Ez. Thats all. You had better get to your desk and sit down for a spell. Take all the time you need on the report."
Oh, good. No mention of the car I managed to demolish. Rest assured Mr. Larabee, I will not be the first to bring that up. Might think twice about submitting the bill for the 3 piece suit that was ruined as well, just to be on the safe side.
"Thank you Mr. Larabee. Good day to you." With that, Ezra carefully extricated himself from the chair and hobbled-humph-out the door and towards his own office space. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Vin keeping an eye on him and flashed him a dimpled grin. He tried to give him a 2-fingered salute as well but gave up the attempt when it became clear that his hand refused to move above shoulder level.
He probably thinks Im going to keel over right in the middle of the floor. Not today Mr. Tanner.
Having finally reached his intended target Ezra paused at the entrance of his cubicle and steadied himself against the wall to prevent himself from keeling over. Vin had edged closer and Ezra gave him a fair facsimily of the Larabee glare.
I said not today Mr. Tanner.
Vin however, still not very good at mind reading, just looked at him and smirked. With a sigh Ezra tottered into his cubicle, his eyes only on the chair.
"WHAT THE HELL." Ezras normally smooth southern drawl echoed and rebounded all over the office floor. Prominently placed right in the middle of his desk was a big glass bowl. In the bowl was a bit of water and some foilage. Right in the middle of that was a small rock and on top of the rock was a frog, a green frog. A frog that looked eerily familiar. Ezra took a closer look. Yep, it was the same one. He could tell by the way the beady little eyes looked at him. Next to the bowl was a note. Ezra carefully picked it up like it was a snake about to strike and perused the content:
Me and JD took the little fellar to the vet to have him look at his throat. Turns out this kinda frog issposed to croack like that sos ya needent worry bout it none. Called him Caruso cause it kinda fit. Weve been taking good care of him for ya. Poor little fellar was just kinda upset that he almost got squashed by your car but he is feeling fine now.
PS: He kinda likes to eat live crickets and stuff so make sure you feed him live critters.
"VINCENT TANNER, YOU ARE A DEAD MAN" Ouch- should not have yelled that hard.
"Brother Vin, you might consider leaving the building for a while."
"Nah Josiah. The way he is moving today I have plenty of time to get away. Sides I think ol Ez will warm to the little fellar. He is kinda cute."
"IM GETTING MY GUN MR. TANNER"
"Uhh, mebbe not. Se ya later Josiah." With that Vin headed for the elevator at a fast trot. He would come back later when Ezra had had time to calm down. He was sure Ezra would come to like the little frog, he just needed some time. Yep, just a little time sall.
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