|Disclaimers: Not ours, all theirs, not making any money...|
|Feedback: Please ;) Flames will be shared with friends and laughed at.|
|Send comments to: Jackie and Ingunn|
|Authors Note: This PWP resulted from a chat we had one night (LATE one night...). The whole conversation Ezra and Vin have in the kitchen is taken directly from the chat - with Jackie starring as Vin, and Ingunn as Ezra. Strange what one innocent little typo can lead to;) No butterflies were hurt in the writing of this fic!|
|Originally posted in the Euro-Posse 2002 Gathering Exclusive Zine.
"Ez?" The name was hissed.
"Ez?" The voice hissed again, a little louder this time.
Ezra sighed and put down his pen. Swivelling in his chair he turned a resigned looked on Vin.
"Mr Tanner. I cannot see the reasoning in your continued desire to whisper. We are alone."
Vin grinned. "Hell Ez, I know that. Jist didn't wanna startle ya is all."
"Of course, Mr Tanner." Ezra answered not believing Vin for a second. He had something up his t-shirted sleeve, and Ezra knew with certainty that eventually he would be pulled into yet another of Vin's hair brained schemes before he could say 'rescue me'.
Vin got up from his chair and walked towards Ezra's desk where the under cover agent was seated.
Ezra watched Vin's progress, shaking his head in exasperation as he watched the sniper's head move from side to side, as if looking for an enemy.
Ezra sat back and sighed when Vin pulled a chair over to the desk and sat down. 'Here it comes' his mind warned him. 'Run! Now!'
Ezra watched the Texan as he looked once more to his left and right and then leaned in to whisper to him.
"Chris got some fancy cigarettes or somethin' from an ol' friend o' his. D'ya reckon he'd notice if we mebbe took one each?"
"Mr Tanner. Why on earth would we want to do that? Neither of us smoke, and I for one have no inclination to change that."
"Aw hell, Ezra. Where's yer sense of adventure. I don't wanna smoke either, but the way Chris was starin' lovin'ly at that cigarette box, just got me all curious. Likely we'll choke soon as we suck the smoke in, but what's the harm in tryin', just fer the hell of it, huh?"
Ezra screwed up one side of his face and studied Vin's eager expression. His heart sank. "Mr Tanner, I was dreading this day. I knew it would happen, I was just very unsure of when."
Vin sat back and frowned. What was Ezra talking about? He opened his mouth to speak, when Ezra continued.
"Do you know where the box is now?"
Vin grinned. "Sure I do. It's on his desk. He put it there yesterday."
Ezra stood and, when Vin made no move to do likewise he looked down at the seated agent.
"Well, what are we waiting for? I have never been known to turn down the sampling of all of life's finer things, and although I am quite sure I will regret this for time infinitum I, like you cannot resist the temptation of discovering the cause of Chris's obvious elation at his gift."
Vin stayed where he was, sitting back in his chair frowning up at Ezra, his mouth was slightly open and he wore a quizzical expression on his face.
"That mean ya wanna try one?"
Ezra rolled his eyes. "Yes it does, Heaven help me. But I think we should hurry ourselves, before our colleagues return."
Vin grinned and stood up. "Knew you'd see it my way, Ez."
The Texan slung a casual arm around Ezra's shoulder and the two agents walked into Chris's office. "There. Told you it was on the desk."
"You're acute observations amaze me Mr Tanner."
Ezra watched as Vin carefully lifted the lid of the brown cigarette box. He cocked his head to one side, a lop sided grin on his face, when Vin let out a whoop of joy.
"Woo Hoo! He won't even notice two'r gone, Ez. There's a whole box of 'em!"
Vin grabbed two cigarettes and handed one to Ezra. Turning it around between his fingers, Vin's face turned quizzical. "Funny lookin' thing, don't ya reckon?"
"Well, as you say, Mr Tanner. These are an exceptional brand of cigarette. Therefore they are entitled to look distinct."
Vin nodded his head slowly. "Yer right. Now we gotta light 'em." He turned blue eyes on Ezra. "Kitchen?"
"Yes, good idea. We can open the window and allow the incriminating odour to escape."
The two men left Chris's office, careful to ensure that everything was as it was before they entered, minus two cigarettes. They walked the length of the main office and entered the kitchen through the door near Vin's desk.
"Here Ez, I got the matches." Vin reached into a cupboard and retrieved a box of matches. He slid it open and struck a match, holding it out to the undercover agent. He huffed when Ezra just looked at him. "Put the darn thing in yer mouth Ez, it won't smoke itself."
"Mr Tanner, as it was your inspired idea to enter into this uh, experiment, I feel that you should be the one to inhale first."
"Aaahhh!" Vin exclaimed and threw the almost non-existent match on the floor. "Ya took so long with yer damn sentence there, the match burned away and scorched m' fingers."
Ezra smiled broadly. "I do apologise Vin."
Vin scowled. "Yeah right." He put the cigarette between his lips, took another match from the box and struck it. "Here goes." He mumbled, and lit the object of his attention.
Inhaling deeply, he wasn't ready for the itching at the back of his throat. He quickly took the cigarette awkwardly out of his mouth and bent over as he began to wheeze and cough. Still bent over, he turned watery eyes on Ezra. "Yer turn." He rasped holding out the matchbox to his amused friend.
The smile dropped from Ezra's face. "Oh dear, I'm not sure this is a good idea."
"Ezra, do it!" Vin coughed and spluttered a little more and then stood up straight. "Tain't s' bad, after the first li'l bit."
Ezra looked at Vin wryly, not believing a word of what Vin was telling him. But, always a man to follow through with his agreements he placed his cigarette awkwardly between his lips and lit it.
He held his breath, not wanting to choke like Vin had done. As the smoke rose, he screwed up his face and squinted his eyes. The smoke continued to rise and turned his eyes watery.
Vin watched curiously. "Ez, yer goin' red pard. Ya gotta breathe."
Ezra finally gave in and inhaled deeply, trying to suck air into his starved lungs, but only succeeded in filling them with smoke. He hardly had time to take the cigarette from his mouth before he too was reduced to choking and spluttering all over the kitchen.
"Fine tobacco." He wheezed, trying to widen his watery eyes to look at Vin, who seemed to be floating off of the floor.
Vin grinned and nodded his head. "Let's finish 'em." He said.
Ezra knew he was a lost cause when he felt his head nod in agreement. Why did he let himself get dragged into Vin's foolhardy schemes? They always ended in disaster.
Vin put the cigarette awkwardly to his lips, and inhaled a little more gently than the first time. He felt a rush of light-headedness and grinned stupidly as he exhaled the smoke.
"Reckon I like this. M' heads a mite swimmy but I heard it goes like that the first time ya smoke."
"You mean, you never even tried, Mr Tanner?" Ezra asked as he walked over to the window and opened it wide, letting in cool, fresh air.
"Had a coupla puffs one day when I was about thirteen, but don't rightly recall how it felt, jist knew I didn't like it."
"Yes, that sounds close to my experience of the unfortunate habit." Ezra replied. He inhaled on his cigarette again, and like Vin his head felt as though it were floating.
By now, Vin had taken another drag and was swaying from side to side. "I like this." He said through a stupid grin. "But I reckon I need t' sit down."
He walked backwards, and kept going until his back hit a wall. Still smiling stupidly, he slid himself slowly downwards until he was seated on the floor, his back resting against the kitchen wall.
"That looks very comfortable, Mr Tanner. Mind if I join you?"
"Be m' guest, Mr Standish." Vin swept his arm out to his side to further his invitation and Ezra staggered over to him and after a series of awkward manoeuvres, was finally seated next to Vin.
The two agents sat in silence for the next two inhalations of their stolen merchandise. Both men looked bemused and bewildered, wondering why they still felt light-headed and weightless.
"Reckon I know why Chris was so happy when 'e got these." Vin observed, holding his cigarette in front of him and studying it intently.
"Yes, Mr Tanner. I understand you completely." Ezra screwed up one side of his face. "Which I must admit, I do find disturbing."
Vin grinned stupidly and Ezra giggled as he watched Vin's head wobbling from side to side. "Your head looks as though it is hovering, Vin."
"Feels like it too Ez."
The two men lifted their shoulders and giggled like children.
"Ooh. Ooh! Look!" Vin pointed to the window and Ezra looked up and watched as a bright orange butterfly hovered outside, as if deciding whether to venture inside or not."
The two men both took another drag on their cigarettes as they watched the butterfly with bated breath. Finally, the butterfly made its decision and flew through the open window, into the kitchen.
"Yay. We got a fr .." Vin's elated cry was cut off as the butterfly flew straight at him and its wing got stuck to his lip.
Ezra watched, a look of horror on his face. "Vin, hurry! Spit it out."
Vin did not hesitate. "Plah!"
They both watched as the butterfly was spat from Vin's lip and landed on the floor between them.
"Oh Lordy, a soggy butterfly." Ezra observed, staring at the still, orange insect.
"Butterflies dead." Vin stated sadly, after watching his unexpected meal intently for a few seconds for signs of life
"Slightly chewed, yes." Ezra answered the sad agent beside him, his face equally sorrowful. The southerner tentatively moved an index finger towards the stricken insect and prodded it lightly. "But, no. It's still alive."
"Not in butterfly heaven?" Vin turned enquiring blue eyes on his fellow agent, his voice an octave higher.
"No, still alive." Ezra repeated, taking another puff of his cigarette as he eyed the butterfly thoughtfully.
Vin smiled happily.
Ezra's eyes widened. "Quickly. Do Mouth to..um what would it be that we do to resuscitate a butterfly, does it have a mouth?"
"Reckon not Ez. Reckon it'd be mouth to butt. But y'd have t' watch out fer them pokey things there." Vin pointed at the stricken butterflies antennae, looking seriously at Ezra before sucking on his cigarette and exhaling slowly.
"Maybe we should try something else." Ezra decided, not relishing the idea of blowing on the butterflies rear end, if he could find it. "What about heart massage? Do butterflies have hearts?"
Vin bobbed his head. "Yeah, reckon so. 'Cos they smile."
"Of course, now why didn't I think of that." Ezra once more pointed his index finger and gently stroked the butterfly a few times where he surmised the insects heart would be.
Vin watched the proceedings intently. "So, is he still alive? Or is he past his fly by date?"
The two agents looked at one another and snorted. Their shoulders shaking as they laughed. Ezra was the first to pull himself together. "Mr Tanner, this is a serious matter. We are laughing at this poor creatures plight."
Vin's face fell, his bottom lip quivering.
"I believe we have revived him with the heart massage my friend." Ezra stated when he caught sight of an orange wing moving slightly. "Vin, flap his wings gently and see if that helps."
"Okay Ez." Vin slowly lowered his hand and carefully took hold of one of the butterflies wings. He lifted it gently using his thumb and forefinger. "Ooh. Aw hell." He looked at Ezra, a look of shock on his face, and held up a small piece of orange wing. His voice shook as he spoke. "I think I broke 'is arm."
Ezra looked horrified as he stared at the tiny piece of orange between Vin's fingers. He took a drag on his almost finished cigarette and looked down sadly at the butterfly. "Wing's all bent and folded." He said, subdued.
"Ouch, that's gotta hurt. Poor li'l butterfly."
Ezra's head shot around to face the Texan. His head swam and he felt as though it was no longer attached to the rest of his body. "Well done." He said accusingly.
Vin cocked his head and looked at him in puzzlement. His head was feeling much the same as Ezra's, and events were beginning to take on a surreal quality.
Ezra continued. "Very well done. First you chew him and now you break his arm. What have you got against butterflies anyhow? " The agent frowned as he heard himself begin to speak more like the Texan sitting forlornly beside him, than the refined gentleman he knew himself to be.
"I didn't chew 'im." Vin said quietly. He took a last long draw on his cigarette and extinguished it on the floor.
"Oh?" Ezra responded.
"I didn't fly into him. He flew into me." Vin defended.
"Well, you broke his arm!"
Vin's head drooped. "Yeah, I did break his arm."
The two men looked at each other, sadness on both of their faces.
"Fly-less. Naked." Ezra stated. "Maybe we could tape it back on." He shook his head, deciding that that was a bad idea.
"What do butterflies do if they don't fly?" Vin asked.
"Uh, crawl?" Ezra guessed.
Vin was lost in thought, as he watched the smoke from the now finished cigarettes swirl around the ceiling. "Are they called a butterwalk?"
Ezra turned his wobbling head around to face Vin, his eyes wide. "A butterwalk?" he thought for a moment.
"Well, it's logical ain't it, Ez?"
"Yes it is. Very logical."
Vin had another thought. "Maybe if we throw it to each other it'll feel a mite better, 'cos it'll be like it's flyin'"
"Ooh!" Ezra liked the idea. "Let's try." The southerner picked the butterfly up carefully and placed it in the palm of his hand. With an upward movement he threw the orange insect in Vin's direction and the Texan quickly raised his hand and the butterfly landed safely in his palm.
The two agents looked at each other and grinned.
"Hey, he likes that. I reckon." Vin raised his hand a little and carefully threw the butterfly back to Ezra who caught it safely once more.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TWO DOING?"
The two startled agents had not heard the other five members of their team return, and turned their woozy heads in the direction of the open kitchen door.
Chris was standing his hands by his sides, glaring at his two agents, and the other four men were waving their arms in the air, with their noses screwed up.
"Phew, boys." Buck said, a look of amusement on his face. "What've you been doin? I dunno, can't leave ya for five minutes "
"Shut up Buck!" Chris turned back to look angrily at the two men seated on the kitchen floor.
Vin recovered first. "We been helpin' the butterwalk fly, Chris." He stated, in a tone of voice, which made Chris seem like he had asked a stupid question.
Ezra sniffed sadly.
"'Cos he got spat out."
Chris turned and glared at the four men standing alongside him as they were unable to hide their amusement and snorted and guffawed in unison.
"And the mouth to butt was not our thing. But, we tried something else. We had to be careful of the pokey bits on his head but we did some heart massage." Ezra added.
"Yeah, 'cos we knew he had a heart, 'cos he smiled." Vin continued.
"And that worked for a while." Ezra turned accusingly to Vin. "Until he broke his arm."
"I was jest tryin' t' flap 'is wings." Vin dropped his lip, but was soon happy again when he heard Buck laughing.
The Texan carried on the explanation. "We wanted to make it feel better, so we helped it fly."
"D'ya want to help it fly Chris?" Ezra enquired seriously, sending his four friends into hysterical laughter.
Chris was getting more and more agitated by the second, but before he could answer, Ezra threw the butterfly in Chris's direction. "Catch!"
Ezra and Vin watched in dismay as Chris made no move to catch their orange friend, and before they could issue a cry of warning, Josiah took a step further into the room.
"'Siah stepped on the butterwalk." Vin cried out.
"Oh Noooo!" Ezra responded.
Vin moved onto his hands and knees, ignoring his now familiar light-headedness. He crawled the short distance to their fallen comrade, and looked at it sadly. "Reckon we should do the mouth to butt, or the heart massage?" he asked Ezra, who had crawled along beside him.
"Well, maybe the heart massage will work if we can scrape it all off Josiah's Boot." The southerner lifted his head and looked towards the door. "Get some glue, JD."
Chris ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation. What was wrong with them? He had his suspicions, but did not want to voice them .yet.
He pulled out a chair and sat down at the table, so he could watch the unbelievable scene playing out before him. The other agents followed their bosses lead and soon all five were seated and watching Ezra and Vin intently.
"Ooh I found a pokey thing." Vin was saying as he lifted a minute item from the floor.
"Oh good." Ezra answered. "Have you found his butt? In case we need it for mouth to butt."
Vin scanned the floor. "Could this be it?" He asked holding his hand up and squinting at an invisible object.
Ezra moved closer and stared at Vin's fingers. Erm .maybe."
"I've nearly had enough boys." Chris said loudly.
Ezra looked up and held a finger to his lips. "Shhhhh! Yer scaring the squashed butterwalk."
Buck leaned over in his chair and whispered questioningly in Chris's ear. "Butterwalk?"
Chris shrugged and continued to watch. His lips twitched at the corners.
Ezra looked back at Vin. "Well, poor thing can't even walk anymore."
"Reckon he's a butterslither now." Vin's eyes grew wide. "Ooh, think I found his smile." He said excitedly.
"If he still has his heart, then it's definitely his smile." Ezra answered.
"This could be his heart." Vin leant across and pulled something from the bottom of Josiah's boot. "Theres a bit of pokey thing stuck to it."
More snorting erupted around the kitchen table.
Ezra raised himself to a kneeling position and took the matchbox from the table. "Here, Vin. Put it all in here."
"'K Ez." The two agents took what they had collected from the floor and placed it carefully in the matchbox. Ezra put his finger slowly inside. "Think that piece goes there." He said, moving his finger minutely.
"Ooh his butts too high."
"Oops, I shall rectify that Mr Tanner."
"Where'd ya put his smile, Ez?"
"Look in that puddle of something just there." Ezra pointed without looking up. "Oh dear. The pokey bits are crooked."
By now Buck had a handkerchief held up to his mouth to try and stifle his laughter. JD was not even trying to hide his mirth. Josiah was looking on amused, every now and again bellowing in glee, and Nathan was looking on bemused, wondering whether he should be calling an ambulance.
As for Chris. Well, Chris was beginning to boil. He was an unexploded bomb that was nearing detonation.
They continued to watch, knowing they were going to love the explanation as to how Vin and Ezra came to be in this condition.
Vin and Ezra were working painstakingly at their task.
"Aw hell, Ez. Bend it back the other way."
Ezra stared at something between his fingers. "Oops." He looked up into Chris's glaring eyes, but ignored the fearsome look. "Why didn't ya catch it, Chris?" he asked accusingly. "Then 'siah wouldn't have stepped on it."
Vin joined in. "Yeah! Chris's fault."
The two men sniffed unhappily.
"He was happy 'til HE walked in." Vin turned evil blue eyes on his boss.
"Yeah!" Ezra watched as Vin looked down at the matchbox once more. "Aw, hows he doing?" He could hear his voice and couldn't understand why he sounded more like Vin than himself. He was losing his mind he decided.
"Reckon he's dead?" Vin answered with another question.
"Dunno, he ain't smiling anymore." Ezra decided to correct himself. "Not! He's 'not' smiling."
"Nah, I reckon he's real dead. He's a Butterdead."
Chris shifted in his seat. Why wasn't he hauling the two obviously 'high on something' agents into his office? He smiled as he answered his own question. 'Cos he was kinda enjoying this and wanted to see what happened next! Oh he was angry. VERY angry, but anger could wait, just a while longer.
"Poor armless butterdead." Ezra said, not being able to resist the pun. He sniffed. "Well, we tried, Vin. We really did." He nodded his head at the five men at the table, waiting for them to agree with him.
"Sure ya did fellas." Buck replied, the only one able to speak at that moment. "Ya did real good."
Ezra turned back to Vin. "Should we make a buttergrave for him now?"
"Yeah, and fill it up wi' rocks." Vin agreed.
"Oh yes, good idea, Vin!"
"Butterdeads like rocks I reckon. I mean, it's not like they'll squash 'im"
"Yes, well, its not as if there's anything left to squash." Ezra had a sudden thought. "Maybe some flowers would be nice too."
"Yeah, buttercups!" Vin cocked his head to one side. "Oh no, that's what they drink from."
Guffaws floated around the table once more.
"J'siah can say a few words." Vin thought that would be a nice touch.
"I'd be happy to." Josiah said, enjoying the exchange. He was making the most of the situation. It was very unlikely that Ezra and Vin will be in this state again! Chris shot him a warning look; the two agents did not need any more encouragement.
"But, don't let Chris talk." Vin added belatedly.
"Oh no. Not Chris, the big meany. Butterwalk killer." Ezra sniffed.
"Butterfingers." Vin smirked, and Ezra joined him.
Vin raised his hand and swept it along in the air, as if reading. "Wanted dead or alive. Chris Larabee butterwalk killer!"
The men at the table knew they could not last much longer. Nathan cast a glance at Chris. The team leader was grinding his teeth; he had nearly had enough.
"Nothing left but buttercream." Ezra said sadly. "Lets scrape it all up and put it with the rest of the remains."
"Alrighty." Vin leaned over and whispered loudly into Ezra's ear. "Hey, lets put it in Chris's coffee!"
"Ooh good idea, Vin. Maybe he'll find a pokey bit swimming around in his cup!"
"Yeah, Chris'll yell and we'll have to tell 'im to be quiet or they'll all want one!"
"Yes! Then we'll have to kill more butterwalks." Ezra's expression sobered at the thought.
"Aw hell " Vin sighed. He was cut off by a loud bellow.
"RIGHT! THAT'S IT!!"
Chris jumped to his feet and took two steps so he was standing over Ezra and Vin who were still on their knees, looking up at their leader with startled expressions. "Nathan, Josiah, help me."
Chris reached for Vin's arm and pulled him to his feet. Nathan did likewise with Ezra and Josiah pulled out two more chairs, which the surprised agents were pushed into.
The leader stood over the two men and stared menacingly down at them. "What have you two been smoking?"
Ezra and Vin cast each other a guilty look but said nothing.
Chris narrowed his eyes, it had suddenly dawned on him. "You been in my office?
Vin and Ezra continued to look guilty.
"Did you touch my cigarette box?" Chris sighed heavily when the two men glanced at each other warily.
He was about to speak again when Vin found his voice. "We jest wanted to see what yer fuss was about."
Chris sat down again and ran his fingers wearily down his face. "Boys, they weren't the cigarettes I got as a gift. I put them loose in my draw. I put the joints from the small bust we did yesterday in there to keep 'em safe 'til I got down to the evidence room." He looked hard at Vin and Ezra. "I didn't know there were gonna be two jack ass agents wanting to steal 'em and smoke 'em."
Ezra gulped. "Joints?"
Chris nodded. "Joints."
Chris's lips twitched at the look on the faces of his two high men. He could hear snickers travelling around the table and knew Vin and Ezra were not going to live this one down in a hurry.
"We're high?" Vin squeaked.
"High as kites, boys." Buck butted in before Chris could answer.
Nathan rose from his chair. "I'll make come coffee. Guess I better make it decaffeinated."
Vin's head suddenly darted around. "Where's the butterdead?"
"Oh dear. On the floor." Ezra answered with a groan.
Chris stood up quickly, his chair scraping noisily across the floor. He walked to where the matchbox still sat in the middle of the room and picked it up. He looked back at the two gleeful agents who were waiting expectantly for Chris to bring it to them. A wicked smile grew on the team leader's face as he turned and walked slowly and deliberately to the window. He turned to look at Vin and Ezra once more and watched their faces turn to looks of horror as he slowly extended his arm out of the window and threw the matchbox into the air.
Vin's eyes filled with tears. "Don't matter none. He's in butterheaven. His body was only a shell."
"We're murderers." Ezra said quietly.
"Yeah maimers and murderers." Vin agreed.
The two high agents looked at each other and laughed gleefully.
Buck decided to join in the fun. "The butterdead was trespassing on government property."
Vin and Ezra looked at each other. "He has a point." Ezra said ruefully.
"We still murdered 'im though."
"Yes, Mr Tanner, we did." He thought for a second. "Well, technically I would say it was manslaughter."
Chris strode over to the table and towered over the two men.
"Shut up, right now. Or this butterfingers is gonna take the two butterfly murderers, who look like butter wouldn't melt in their mouths, and keep 'em on desk duty for the next two months!!" he said in the angriest voice he could muster.
Chris turned green eyes to Vin. "What?"
"Melt in our mouths." Vin explained.
Chris shifted his weight. "What does?" he asked.
"Butterfly. It melts in our mouths."
Chris's face turned stormy with frustration. "GET OUT!" he yelled pointing to the door. "ALL OF YOU!"
Six agents scurried from the room. Vin and Ezra; being a little unsteady, were helped by the others.
Chris sat down at the now empty table and picked up Vin's full mug of coffee. He sipped at it and took a few deep breaths. What next? He asked himself as he closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.
When he opened them again, Chris's eyes were drawn to the open window, and he watched dumbfounded as a bright yellow butterfly hovered outside for a few seconds and then flew into the kitchen and settled on the edge of the table in front of him.
He looked down at the insect, his lips twitching at the corners. What were the odds?
He looked at it intently through his now softened green eyes and leaning towards it he asked it a question.
"You got a death wish?"
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