Alternate Universe "Street Gang"
Third story in the Something... series.
He didn't know if anybody had seen him go out, but he somehow doubted they were unaware of his walking away. Yet, nobody had tried to ask him questions or keep him inside. That was at the same time new and not so new.
It was a new situation to him for it was the first time he was trusted in such a way by adults that were not his mother.
And it was not such a new situation for since the very first night when he had tried to flee and Lady Luck had seen it fit to intervene, he had not attempted it ever again. He had been trusted ever since.
Oh, he was well aware of the fact that sometimes he was being followed, but he had soon come to the evident conclusion that it was more for his own security than out of a sense of mistrust. And the moment he had understood that, his heart had swelled in his chest and he had vowed to never disappoint those friends for it is truly what they had become to him: friends. Almost brothers
Somewhere along the way, he had picked up the habit of walking alone to the park, a way for him to clear his thoughts and feel this illusion of freedom. Illusion only, for he knew perfectly well that he was not free. Whether it could be considered as such or not, he was grateful to the Larabees for welcoming him among their family. They were in no way obligated to Josiah where he was concerned. They didn't have to put up with him. Josiah could have found some other arrangements, just like his mother would have done but they had taken him in, no questions asked. They had included him every step of the way. They had expected him to act as if he were part of the family. They had given him chores and responsibilities.
And then, he had gone and done the unthinkable: he had started to do things without people asking him to. He had packed JD's and Buck's suitcases for the trip to Chicago. He had helped Nathan with his computer troubles and had even suggested that he return to him in case of further troubles! All those days since the return from the funeral, he had stayed not far from the kid and his big brother, he had stayed close to Maggie, feeling this strange need to make her feel wanted, needed in some way or another, just for her not to be hurt by JD's distance. Because even if she understood JD's incapacity to go to her, she was still hurt somewhere in her mother's heart. And so he had stayed close so she could at least dote on one boy
At least, that had been his excuse at the time. But he could no longer ignore the whispers of his heart. He had longed for such a long time to have somebody be that kind, that loving with him because they wanted it, they needed it, not because they felt obligated or were paid for.
\And the wealth of that care, the strength of that love was so overwhelming that he needed this time out of the house to remember that this wasn't his true family, just strangers going out of their way by simple choice. And no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't regret it that they choose to rain all that upon him. He had been chosen by Josiah for a second chance. And chosen by that very special family to be taken in and loved as one of them.
His mind was reeling with the thoughts.
A form stepping out of the shadows stopped him cold. After what had happened to Chris not two days ago, he was taking no chances. He waited for a few seconds, yet in his mind he was getting ready to run away as fast as he could.
"Good evening, Ezra", said a cheerful familiar drawl.
"Mother?" He exclaimed, disbelieving.
If one thing could be said about Maude Standish, it was that she had the strangest sense of timing. Of course, some would also argue about her more than beautiful, ladylike figure, her fiery crown of hair or her cat-like green eyes that her son had inherited. She also happened to have the worst fake smile her son had ever seen but then, only he seemed to be able to see through her sometimes, and it was only because he had spent so many years by her side, being trained to her way of life from the cradle.
And mentally stepping back from her, he suddenly found himself comparing the two motherly role models he had ever really been faced with. And when he found his own mother wanting, maybe he felt a twinge in his heart, but it certainly was no real surprise.
"So, my darling boy, won't you kiss your mother hello?" She smiled that fake smile he hated so much.
He stepped to her and gingerly blew-kissed her. "Mother " Then stepping back away, "May I know to what honor I owe your being here?" He asked poker-faced.
She clapped her hands together in front of her bosom and affected that other positively charming and happy smile he hated about as much.
"Why, I have come to get you, of course, honey!" And when he snorted disbelieving, she took out a sheet of paper from her purse and presented it to him. "I have come to emancipate you, Ezra! Look, I have a paper from Judge Travis relinquishing your custody to me."
'God, please, no!' He blanched as he heard her words. Wordlessly, he took the piece of paper and stepped closer to a streetlight to read it.
'I, Judge Orrin Travis, hereby relinquish the custody of the one minor, Ezra Standish to his birth mother, Maude Standish and revoke any prior right Detective Josiah Sanches may have had.'
'Done, etc. etc.'
"Come on, Ezra, hurry, the car is just around the corner," Maude was saying excitedly as he was still reeling from the shock.
And then, something caught his eye, and he looked at his mother to tell her quietly but coldly. "And you think I would fall for that one, Mother? You really thought I would not notice it's a forgery?"
And then, it was as if a dam had suddenly burst under the pressure.
"Do you know what you are getting me into by forging such papers? Do you even care about what would happen to me if I were to follow you, assuming I really wanted to? Of course not, you think only about yourself! So what is it this time mother? Another con where you need that innocent looking boy of yours? Well, too bad, 'cause he ain't coming!" He ended, shouting to her in his sudden rage and hurt.
"Ezra, what in hell are you talking about?" She mimicked incomprehension.
He laughed mirthlessly. "You really don't get it, do you? Don't you remember who's the best forger at the Standish's? Me, of course," he pointed derisively. "And for very good reasons. First, the Judge doesn't sign his full name Mother, he signs O.Travis. I've seen enough of his paper to know that. Second, Mother, the officer in whose custody I am is not a Detective. Of course, he has passed the examination not long ago, but he's still Sergeant. And third, Mother, his name is Sanchez with a 'z', not with an 's'. And I won't even start on the seals, it's evident they have been forged. Even a rookie would see it. Now, Mother," he finished sarcastically, "I suggest you go back to that hole you were hiding in and leave me the hell alone."
Maude looked at her son and took on an indignant tone. "Ezra, that is surely not the way I have raised you!"
"Raised me?" He cut her off, choking. "Did you say raised me? Come now, Mother, you didn't raised me as well as a a stray cat raises a litter " He finished sadly.
"How dare you?" She rushed, lifting a hand to strike him and gasped when he stepped up to her to hold onto her wrist. And when she gazed into his eyes, she caught a glimpse of something that made her heart tighten so painfully that she almost gasped out aloud but she stubbornly refused to let the sound escape her mouth. And then, it was gone, as fast as it had come. And his next words shook her out of her trance.
"Mother, it is late and I have other things to do than to argue about your views on child rearing. I suggest you do what you've always done and go as far and as fast away from me as you can. Because if they catch you near me, they might try to implicate you in my 'mistake', and I know you wouldn't like that one bit."
"But Ezra "
"Do not worry, Mother, I'll do exactly what you've taught me: I'll take care of number one first and foremost," he said tiredly and smiled inside at how true these words were tonight.
A car pulling around the corner of the street had him turn around and when he turned back to wish her Godspeed he just murmured it, for she had already disappeared in the night. And he had no idea when he would see her again.
But somehow, that last thought, though it was sad, was not as painful as it had been when she had hung up in the Judge's Chamber.
Because he knew that he had now somewhere to go to, a home, a family, a mother of sorts, and mostly friends that would be by his side. That couldn't make up for the void of his upbringing, but it sure was shedding a bright light on his future.
He turned back towards the Larabees and smiled warmly at the hot chocolate that would be waiting for him. Maggie had discovered one of his weaknesses. One, she had been prompt to point out, that he shared with Vin. So if a sixteen-year-old could take it like a man, so could he. He was after all a Standish he smiled to himself.
Continued in Something Blue
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