The Truth is in...

by ranger and taibhrigh

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven and its characters are the property of MGM, Trilogy Entertainment, and the Mirisch Corporation. We’re just borrowing them. No money was made from this, and this was done totally for fun.

Notes: This started out as something entirely different for a Mag7 role play on livejournal, but we decided to share. It was also to be posted during the winter holidays...better late than never...

Written Journal of Vin Tanner - December 15
Christmas is weeks away. JD has been hinting (sometimes that boy needs to take lessons from Ezra on subtlety) about what the seven of us should do. As long as it's not like our first Christmas together then we should be okay.

Written Journal of Ezra Standish - December 18

Where Mr. Tanner gets his ideas from I shall never know - it's not as if mistletoe is abundant in these parts, although his idea to place the plant above the Clarion was a mark of pure mischief that anyone could be envious of. Personally I would have thought that trying to persuade Mr. Larabee to kiss anyone was a way to a quick funeral, the man refuses to do anything he hasn't thought of himself. At least Mr. Wilmington is rather better placed to tease Chris and still be in the land of the living at the end of the day. And as such that makes him the perfect scapegoat.

I didn't think it would take Josiah long to spread the seasonal joy, after all it can't have been cheap to bring back that many sprigs of mistletoe from Eagle Bend. I'm surprised Mrs. Potter believed his amateur story about being given it by a kind spirited man, although with those delightful children I suppose our dear store teller is accustomed to fairy tales. I do hope she is getting a good price for the plant. With my own mother being rather tactless in her dismissal of Josiah's affections I can only wish my friend good fortune with Mrs. Potter. Maybe we can employ the talents of Buck to persuade Mr. Sanchez to use the mistletoe he surreptitiously hung above the store door.

And with the expression on Mr. Tanner's face right now, I do believe a little cunning may be the order of the day...

Written Journal of Vin Tanner - December 18

It was all Ezra's idea. I mean, where would I find mistletoe and why would I pick the door to the Clairion as my target. Besides, Buck is the one that pointed it out to Mary and Chris that they were standing under the mistletoe and had to kiss.

That's it, we'll blame Buck.

What surprised us, though Ezra would say he knew, was that within hours of that one little kiss mistletoe was springing up all over town. Even spotted Josiah hanging a branch of it at Mrs. Potter's store.

~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~

"Ez," Vin called into the saloon, "ya might want to come out here." Vin turned to look back at the door to the Clarion. "Quick-like."

Ezra came through the batwing doors holding a cup of coffee, the steam rising in curls as the heat hit the cold air. "Ah, here be Mr. Wilmington's lesson in subtlety."

"Buck's gonna git em'self shot."

Ezra snorted. "Diversionary tactics my friend, rather him than us."

The two peacekeepers watched as the supposedly innocent snowball fight between JD and Buck seemed to drift across the street, Buck's poor aim with his snowballs herding the townsfolk along the boardwalk. The townsfolk included one black-clad gunslinger.

Vin elbowed Ezra and nodded down the street to where Mary Travis had come to the door of the Clarion to investigate the commotion.

"I have to give Buck points for creativity, although his odds of survival are rapidly diminishing," Ezra said.

They watched as Chris tipped his hat as he made to pass Mary, before he was stopped in his tracks as a rather large snowball flew in front of his path to thud loudly into the wooden walls of the Clarion.

"Sorry 'bout that pard," Buck called as he jogged breathlessly to stand by the boardwalk. "Say Chris, aren't you gonna to give this fine young lady a kiss under the mistletoe?"

"Subtle Bucklin, way subtle," Vin muttered.

Ezra winced at the expression on the gunslinger's face as he glared at his friend. "I do believe Hell just froze over."

Vin snorted, leaning up against the support post to settle in for the show.

"C'mon Chris, it is Christmas after all, spread a little love."

It was at that moment that Casey stepped from the store. Crossing the street she sidled up to JD, curiosity getting the better of her.

"And I thought your timing was impeccable," Ezra drawled, from behind his coffee cup. Taking a sip, he scowled at the cool temperature of the brew.

"You can always kiss me under the mistletoe, JD," she said brightly.

"Yeah c'mon JD, show us old timer's how it's done," Buck added, graciously taking the out he'd been given.

Vin didn't need to hear JD's whispered protests, the kid's reluctance was written all over his face. His fate was sealed, however, when Chris decided that JD's plight was his escape.

Stepping back, the gunslinger made a sweeping gesture with his hand, a strained smile was pasted on his face as his eyes continued to glare at Buck.

"Sure JD, be my guest," Chris said.

JD's reluctance was no match for the heavy slap on the back from Buck that propelled him forward. His nervousness was obvious as he wiped his hands on the back of his pants, energy causing him to shuffle and bounce, ready to snap a hasty retreat as though approaching a rattler. Suddenly he moved and gave a quick peck of Casey's cheek before back-peddling well out of reach.

"Sure could warm yer hands on JD's face right now," Vin said.

Ezra chuckled. "I believe a fresh cup of coffee is in order, and maybe a slight re-think on how to liven up our illustrious leader's festive period," he said as he watched JD's rather spirited departure, and Chris's backtrack in the opposite direction.

Vin sniffed the air. "Reckon it's gonna start snowing again," he said, following Ezra back into the saloon.

~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~

Written Journal of Ezra Standish - December 19

I have to admit there's something to be said for sitting in a warm saloon when it's snowing outside with a libation of better quality than the rotgut found in many an establishment. Maybe it's the season of good will that means I leave my fellow card players with money in their pockets as they depart. I have had a thoroughly enjoyable evening just sitting with my compatriots into the late hours, even Mr. Larabee's grim disposition has thawed somewhat which means I am all the more inclined to ensure he doesn't return to the melancholy that normally becomes him at this time of year.

Throughout the evening our young Mr. Dunne has been rather jittery, and I am positive he is trying to exact his revenge on Messers Larabee and Wilmington for the rather public denting to his young pride in the street earlier today. If his plan is sufficiently cunning I may have to consider his induction into our little tribe.

Written Journal of Vin Tanner - December 19

People think Ez is the only night owl in our bunch. I think I'll just let them keep thinking that. Ez knows, of course. Still not sure how he spotted me sitting up on the rooftop that night, but he did.

Was too cold to sit on the roof tonight, but just right for sneaking around and following JD out to Chris' shack. Who knew the kid had it in him? Not sure how he came up with the idea, unless Ez had something to do with it while I was out on patrol.

Once JD was done with his (part of the) prank and well on his way home, Ez and I helped cover the kids tracks.

Okay, maybe we changed a little of JD's part of it too. It was for the better.

Tomorrow should be fun to watch.

~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~

Several more inches of snow had fallen throughout the day, stopping just as the sun disappeared completely beyond the blanketed horizon. As the clouds faded and the night sky began to brighten, Nathan and Josiah disappeared on the final outer area patrol of the night, leaving Ezra holding court in the saloon with a careful eye on a morose gunslinger. Buck accomplished his goal for the evening and disappeared with Miss Blossom, while JD headed over to the jail to relieve Vin.

Around midnight, Vin and Ezra watched from the frosted saloon window as the young sheriff made his way to the livery. Seconds later the boy was on his way. "Shall we follow our intrepid, young sheriff?"

"Might as well."

Things were working in their favor tonight. With all the season's visitors in town, the livery was overly crowded with horses. JD's horse was sharing a front stall with Buck's grey while Ezra and Vin's mounts had been forced to share a stall in the back. Hopefully, should they return after JD, their absence would not be missed.

The nearly full moon and clear starlit night made it easy to follow the tracks of JD's horse in the snow. The tracks clearly took the path out to Chris' shack and within twenty minutes that was exactly where they were. They were hidden in the tree line right off of Chris' property watching JD nervously check over his shoulder before he ducked into the darkened building.

Ezra tilted his head. "It would appear our young sheriff has a death wish."

"Been round Buck too long," Vin muttered.

They watched as JD came back out of the shack, arms laden with what looked like the contents of Chris' limited wardrobe.

A grin broke out on Vin's face with the realization of what JD's ploy was. "Let's get back to town, I think I know what the kid's got planned."

~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~

Vin watched as Ezra moved the snowman's right arm and hand so that it pointed towards the street. In the three little twigs that made up the hand Ezra placed a branch that looked like a gun. From his pocket he pulled one of Chris' cheroots and wedged it between two of the small pebbles that made up the snowman's grim smile.

Vin busied himself by disguising all the tracks around the area and replacing them with others. Ezra saluted the snowman before stepping back and allowing Vin to hide the rest of the evidence and together they snuck back to the now dark saloon.

~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~

That morning at breakfast, Buck complained that his boots were still soaked and hadn't seemed to dry out one bit over night. Vin couldn't help but glance towards the southerner, but Ezra's face was a mask of pure innocence, not a trace of guilt touched his face. Vin pulled his hat lower as he slouched further in the chair, and wondered how the hell Buck had survived so long if he failed to notice his late night visitor.


Ezra's poker face cracked a little as Chris's stormed into the restaurant, but fortunately no one noticed as JD came running in on Chris' heels and his energy just seemed to take over the room.

"There's...there's," JD's words just rushed out, "a snowman dressed like Chris in front of the jail. You gotta come see!" And then, JD was out the batwing doors again.

Chairs scraped as the other peacekeepers stood to follow their youngest member. None of them looked at Chris, but they could all hear the spurs from his boots as he followed them back out across the town.

There, in front of the jail, was a snowman dressed in black--a black hat on his head, a black duster. Two green marbles made up the eyes, there was even a cheroot stuck in its mouth.

"There seems to be a small hole in the Chrisman's chest?" Josiah commented.

"Yeah," JD answered, "Chris shot it."


"Yeah, Cowboy, why'd ya shot yerself?"

Chris just glared at the tracker.

"Maybe it took the old dawg by surprise," Buck chuckled. "'sides, he's just blown a hole in his favorite duster."

Chris took a menacing step towards Buck, pausing in his tracks to glare at JD when he asked if he could keep it.

"It's certainly in keeping with the festive spirit," Josiah added.

"The kids have already been using it for target practice with the snowballs," JD blurted out.

"And I can't see many miscreants willing to take on such a formidable show of force," Ezra said, his golden tooth flashing in the sunlight.

Chris shrugged. "Fine, it can stay," Chris said, turning on his heel and heading back to the saloon. "I've had enough of the cold and need coffee."

JD waited until Chris was out of earshot before asking again, "So, does this mean I can keep it?"

The older peacekeepers looked at one another and shrugged. "Don't see why not?" Buck said. "But ya have to wait until the snowchris starts ta melt."

Ezra smirked. "Anyone wish to lay odds on whose effigy will be created out of snow next?"

Vin shook his head and started back towards the saloon. "I know where I can get a red coat and a deck a'cards from."

"You wouldn't dare."

"Not before my next cup o'coffee I wouldn't."

Josiah laughed. "Personally, I think there should be seven snowmen guarding our humble town."

"Wonder if Chris will help?" JD asked, following Vin back towards the saloon.

"Iffen you tell him he'll be able to build Buck's," Vin paused. "You know as retribution and all."

JD grinned. "Yeah, that's a good idea. Thanks, Vin."

~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~

By the following morning there were seven snow peacekeepers in front of the jail and Buck couldn't find his boots.

~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~

Written Journal of Vin Tanner - December 20

I think the preacher knows it was us. Josiah can be scary sometimes. Think the only reason he hasn't told on us is the peck on the cheek Mrs. Potter gave him this afternoon.

Written Journal of Ezra Standish - December 20

It wasn't a surprise really that JD was found out, the just boy can't keep a secret. Nor do I believe Buck is quite as forgiving as he protests, especially considering the amount of retribution Mr. Larabee heaped upon him. At least Vin and myself remain free of their revenge, although I did catch several accusatory glares from both injured parties, along with the rather thoughtful gaze of Josiah. JD on the other hand seems unperturbed with the prospect of the possible consequences of his trickery, and perhaps we should all take a lesson from the young man, a little fun here and there certainly pulls our minds away from the painful self-pity that we sometimes allow ourselves to sink into. I wonder what we should plan for the new year festivities?

~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~ 7 ~

Wishing you a most jubilant and genial day of holiday observance.

"We agreed to keep it simple."

"That was simple."



Happy Holidays from Ezra and Vin!