Dark Travels: The Beginning

Disclaimer: I own nothing that belongs to Watson, Kripke, or any other entity that created the wonders that are Magnificent Seven and Supernatural . I make no claims and mean no infringement. I just like to make up this stuff.

AU: This is meant to be the originating story in an alternate universe I've concocted, called Dark Travels. The recipe includes a healthy dose of the M7 characters, the sweetening of a Little Britches alternative, and the spice of the series, Supernatural. Bake at 350æ on Brimstone and voila!

Status: Right now I consider this a series only. As soon as I establish the AU I will consider it open, and will welcome all comers. If you're interested in playing in this sandbox, please feel free to email me.

Warnings: It's bound to be a little darker than the typical Little Britches, but kept to a FRT at most. Some language and the occasional bouts of supernatural interference in day to day life.

Character Descriptions can be found at: http://www.freewebs.com/laramees_lair/darktravels.htm

Four Corners, Indiana

Part One: First Impressions

The sleek, black Lamborghini glided to a stop before the large, rambling home. The front lawn was a broad expanse of flowering plants, ferns, and pine trees, lending a heady fragrance to the air. The driver's door opened and a slender exited; a very young, handsome man. He carefully removed his driving gloves, dropping them back inside the car before closing and locking the door. As he looked the house over, he unconsciously brushed at his clothing. A frown was evident even behind his designer sunglasses.

"God Lord," the man sighed. Removing his glasses, he blinked at the bright sunlight, and then returned to his scrutiny. "Mother, you most certainly are a devious, malicious..." he didn't finish, simply shaking his head as he slid the earpiece of the glasses under the edge of his obviously expensive shirt.

The click of his heels on the decorative walk echoed his displeasure as he approached the door. Wrinkling his nose at the large, badly decorated wreath hanging there haphazardly, he rapped his knuckles on the doorjamb. Waiting for a count of ten and getting no response, he knocked a second time, a little louder. Another count of ten, and he stepped back. "Wonderful. So much for being 'welcomed with open arms', Ezra."

A soft sound came from elsewhere, the young man identifying it as coming from the rear of the home. Shrugging, he moved back down the stairs and across the lawn, noting that it was in need of mowing. Rounding to the rear of the house, he nearly collided with a large wind chime, made of metal tubing.

"Well, well, I see you've decided to join us, little one."

Ezra Standish rankled at being called 'little one'. True he was slightly shorter than the national standard, but still!

"Here, let me just brush that off... there! Now, don't you feel better? You're a real beauty."

Frown deepening, the young man sought to find the speaker. Then, just at the edge of what looked like an herb garden he caught sight of something... no, someone. He realized that he was looking at a very silver head. Clearing his head he said, "Hello? Excuse me; I'm looking for a Mister Josiah Sanchez?" The silver head moved and a pair of startling blue eyes stared at him.

"You Ezra?"

"Uh... yes. Yes I am. Are you Mister Sanchez?"

The silver-haired man rose; the popping of his knees loud enough for Ezra to hear from where he stood. He wore dirty overalls and a tee shirt with the sleeves ripped out. As Josiah walked toward him, the young man watched him wiping large, dirt-covered hands over the denim. And he was barefoot.

Josiah reached out a hand, but withdrew it when his visitor took a step back and visibly cringed. "Sorry. Welcome, Ezra Standish. I've been anxious to meet you since I heard from your mother. How is sweet Maudie?"

Choking on a laugh, Standish said, "She's fine. Mother sends her regards."

Noting the Southern drawl, Sanchez asked, "Do you have her manners as well as her accent?"

Stiffening, the smaller man said, "If you mean, was I raised to be a gentleman, why yes, I was instilled with those attributes."

With a big, booming laugh, Josiah slapped his knee, eliciting a cloud of dust. "By damn, you sure do, son! Well, shall I show you where you'll be bunking?"

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt your visit..." he trailed off, his gaze moving toward the garden, trying to see who it was his host had been talking to.

"No problem at all, son, the mandrake will still be there when I come back to it later. So, shall we take the tour?"

"Uh... yes, that would be fine."

"Follow me, then." The big man waved a hand in invitation and then led the way into the house. If he heard the gasp of distaste from behind him, when he walked in, leaving dirty footprints on the hardwood floor, he ignored it.

A short time later, Ezra had been shown around the first floor and the basement, which had been converted into a combination family room and study. The first floor had a huge, country style kitchen, dining room, breakfast nook and parlor. He climbed the wide staircase behind his host, covertly studying the pictures hung along the stairway wall. Most of them were quite old, but interspersed amongst them were more current photos, including what looked like school pictures of two boys. Without thinking, he asked, "Are these your grandsons?"

Not breaking stride, Josiah said, "Nope."

Frustrated by the lack of information, Ezra asked, "sons?"

With a chuckle, the older man said, "Way too old to be raising kids, son. They'll be your bunkmates."

"Ex... excuse me!? I'm to share a room with two children?!"

Turning to face the flabbergasted man, the house's owner asked, "You got a problem with kids? You're not much older than they are."

Flushing angrily now, Ezra muttered, "It's not the age, it's the mileage!"

Grinning broadly, Josiah said, "Ah, a connoisseur of the cinema. You seen Dark Knight yet? Chris and Buck promised to take the boys to see it this weekend. You're welcome to come along."

Pinching the bridge of his nose, the young southerner asked in an exasperated tone, "How many persons live here, might I ask?"

"Well, Nate moved out to the carriage house after he and Raine got married last month, so there'll just be the six of us." Nodding as if agreeing with himself, he turned and continued up the staircase.

To Ezra's dismay, they only made a cursory tour of the second floor, Josiah pointing out closed doors, indicating who the rooms beyond belonged to. "Chris has the one closest to the stairway; he's the lightest sleeper so he can hear if either of the boys needs something. The door down the same wall belongs to Buck. The doors on the other side belong to me. After Nate moved, I took over his bedroom as well, for a study. Figured since this is my place, I deserved at least one perk. When the boys get rowdy, I can get away for a while. Like I said, I'm gettin' a little long in the tooth to be raising kids. Now, I'll take you up to see where you'll be staying."

Putting on a stoic expression, the young man struggled to hide his misery. He had come to Josiah Sanchez, at his mother's bidding, to learn what he could about the spiritual world. His mother had provided the man with a rather large stipend to be used for his room and board. And he was to be living in an attic, thrown together with two babies! It was far more than he should be made to bear.

As he followed up the last flight, Ezra felt as if he were marching to the gallows. Perhaps his mother could be persuaded to change her mind about... all of this.

They reached the top of the stairs, finding a closed door. Standish was more dismayed as he saw a tattered piece of construction paper taped to the surface, proclaiming in crudely scrawled letters of crayon, "Vin and JD's Room!"

Josiah shook his head when he realized what the young man was looking at. "Don't mind that, it's been there since they moved in last year." Reaching out, he turned the knob, the door opening with an annoying squeak. "Darn it, I keep forgetting to oil the hinges."

Beyond the doorway was another, short flight of stairs that they walked up to what Standish quickly recognized was an attic. He had seen more than a few in his life. At the top, the bigger man's body blocked his view, but Ezra could imagine what lay beyond. He envisioned childish clutter; remote cars, Lego blocks, or whatever children played with these days. He prided himself on having left childhood quite a long time ago. And never was he one to play with toys.

He was half right. The left side of the long room was something out of a madman's nightmare. He wasn't even certain what he was looking at, there was so much clutter. The right side, however, was a study in efficient organization, bordering on the obsessive. The bed was covered very neatly in a worn, but beautiful, quilt. The desk beside it held a computer and a series of shelves that were neatly filled with paper and CDs. There was a shelving unit that contained what he assumed were games and toys, neatly arranged by their owner he assumed. Even the floor looked freshly swept and mopped.

Pointing first to the left and then to the right, Josiah announced, "JD... Vin."

"I see," Standish responded in a non-committal tone. "And I will be...?"

Turning to point toward the other side of the safety railing around the stairs, Sanchez indicated smaller area on the far side of the stairway. It had been walled in, to make a separate room. The young man couldn't help but heave a sigh of relief. Then he noticed another sheet of construction paper - this one less tattered than the other - taped to the door. On it, in green marker, a childish scrawl proclaimed "Ezra's room, keep out!"

Taking a key out of his pocket and unlocking the door, Josiah passed the key over to the newcomer. "JD means well, but sometimes he's a little too curious. That's why the 'sign'; Vin put it up there to remind our little ferret that this is personal space now."

"And, what was it before?" Ezra stepped forward and opened the door to what was now his room.

"Just... storage," Sanchez explained, sounding a bit uncomfortable.

He was about to ask about the home owner's discomfort, but found himself speechless. The room was perfect!

There was a full sized bed in an alcove in the far corner; mahogany and brass. He saw that a pocket door had been installed so that he could close off that area if he wished. There were two doors at the other end of the room; one of them he saw led to a small bathroom. The other, he assumed, was a closet. There was an old fashioned, roll top desk, refurbished to fit a flat screen monitor and computer in it. A rocking chair sat at the room's single window; the window itself was covered in heavy drapes that matched the bed covering and the cushions on the rocking chair. There was a tasteful entertainment center against one wall, and held a television, DVD player as well as a device that looked like an old fashioned radio. On closer inspection, however, he saw that it played everything from LPs to CDs. In the middle of the room was a loveseat and matching chair, both arranged so that the TV could easily be seen from either. Even the bed was in a position that allowed for viewing. Everything was coordinated and tasteful. He noticed that even the flooring had been recently re-done, the shine nearly blinding.

"Oh, my..." the young man managed to murmur, his tone shocked.

With another, jovial laugh, Josiah said softly, "We used the money Maude sent for your room and board; figured a boy your age could use privacy. Raine did the decorating; the rest of us just did the grunt work. Is it okay?"

At first the young man could only nod. When he finally found his voice, he said in an emotion filled tone, "Oh, my yes. It is very much 'okay'!"

"Good. Okay, let's bring your things in so you can settle in, all right?"

Trying not to opening cringe at the thought of this grubby man carrying his personal belongings, Standish quickly replied, "That's all right, Mr. Sanchez, I travel light, so it will be no problem to bring it up myself."

"All right then, I'll leave you to it; I'm gonna go get a shower and start dinner. The boys will be home in a while."

Nodding, Ezra tried to respond pleasantly, "I look forward to meeting them." He wasn't certain how to take the laughter that came to him as Josiah padded back down the stairs.

Part Two: Getting to Know You

The young man was startled out of his thoughts when he heard a knock at the door. He had put away his things, which took less than an hour, and had been listening to music while he relaxed in the rocking chair. He had showered and changed his clothing, as a gentleman should always dress for dinner. Moving quickly across the room, he opened the door to find a dark haired boy standing there. He was quick to note that even though he didn't appear to be moving, his demeanor was that of someone who never stood still.



"I'm JD and I'm s'posed to come and get you for dinner it's ready so come on down do you like your room cause I think it's awful boring if you want to borrow some of my posters you can it would make it look more fun you know?"

"Um, no... thank you. I prefer my room like this. It suits my... my nature and personality." He replied when the boy seemed to take a breath, although he wasn't convinced that the child standing in front of him required breathing.

"Oh okay well if you change your mind let me know I've even got a couple that have cars on them is that car out front yours 'cause that is one sweet car I figure Da's gonna drool over it when him and Unk get home they're supposed to be home anytime but sometimes things take longer than they figure so come on let's go eat dinner!"

Ezra wondered when ha had been transported to a dimension where people didn't need to breathe and could just talk forever without taking a break or pausing to indicate punctuation. Shaking his head he followed the boy, pausing only long enough to lock his door.

A moment later they were entering the dining room. It was filled with some of the most amazing aromas he could imagine, the table was covered with a white linen tablecloth, and there were china and crystal place settings.

"Don't get used to it; this is how we eat for special occasions." A young, attractive black woman just coming from the kitchen, a platter filled with a very succulent looking roast, surrounded by potatoes and carrots. It joined a variety of other foodstuffs, most of it looking homemade or homegrown.

"Yeah, usually we eat on plastic stuff, even the tablecloth, 'cause we can be pretty messy. Hi, I'm Vin." A slender boy, his hair longer than fashion dictated, entered the room behind the woman. He grinned at the newcomer.

"And I'm Raine, evidently I need to work on my manners." The woman smiled at Ezra as well.

"Ezra... Ezra Standish. I'm pleased to meet you... both of you," he shifted his gaze from Raine to Vin and back again. "If I remember correctly, congratulations are in order. Mr. Sanchez mentioned earlier that you and... Nathan?... were wed last month."

"Why thank you, yes we were."

"But that's been a long time ago." JD interrupted the genial conversation.

Rolling her eyes, Raine swatted at the youngest boy and said, "You'll understand one of these days, Ferret."

"May I help?" Ezra asked, still grinning at the interaction and beginning to believe that he might enjoy his time here after all.

"Nope, just have a seat. The others should be in, in a moment, and then we'll start."

"Do we have to wait I'm starving!" JD whined.

"Boy, that didn't work when you were five, so cut the whining," A voice boomed from the next room.

"DA!" JD screeched, already running out of the room. Behind him, Vin moved only slightly more sedately.

"JD!" The voice called out in near-perfect imitation. A second later a tall, handsome, dark-haired man entered the room, JD now hanging upside down in front of him. The man seemed just as boisterous as the child. Stopping, he held out a hand, still dangling the boy before him. "Hey, you must be Ezra. I'm Buck, Buck Wilmington."

Shaking the hand, using the confident grip his mother had trained him to use, Standish said, "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Wilmington."

"Shoot boy, don't go callin' me 'mister', makes me sound old and respectable."

"And the good Lord knows he's not either," JD added, the line obviously part of a family joke.

"Hey, there little Ferret, I am holdin' you upside down, I could just go give you a swirly."

"Ew!" JD screeched in protest.

"Can you two make any more noise?" Another voice came from the next room, followed by a bearded blond.

Standish noted that, beneath the weathered and slightly haggard features was a very handsome man. He was slightly shorter than Buck, but seemed just as well-muscled and fit. Both men looked rather tired, and this second man seemed to be holding himself somewhat rigidly, as if he might be injured.

Vin followed close beside the blond, a happy, relieved grin nearly splitting his face. He was carrying a well packed backpack, the leather as well-worn as that of the jacket the man beside him wore. While this pair was much quieter and reserved than the first pair, it was obvious at once just how much love they shared.

As his friend had, Chris Larabee reached out a hand to Ezra. "I'm Chris Larabee, I see you made it here safe and sound. Did the Preacher show you around?"

"No, sir, Mr. Sanchez did." Ezra looked around him, puzzled at the soft laughter his comment had invoked. "I'm sorry, did I say something funny?"

"Nah," Josiah said in a reassuring tone as he entered the dining area, accompanied by a very tall, handsome black man. "They call me the Preacher, Ezra. No reason for you to know that." Turning to the new arrivals, Sanchez said, "Welcome home, brothers. You're just in time for dinner."

"I'm starved," Buck admitted. "I've been smellin' that roast since we hit town."

"Well go wash up, I'll set two more places, and then we'll hit the grub."

"You don't have to tell me twice!" Buck was out the door before he finished his sentence. Behind him, Chris left the room in a more sedate manner.


The eight people sat at the large table, the aroma making more than one belly grumble as they delayed eating long enough for Josiah to say grace. As soon as "Amen" was voiced, JD grabbed the nearest bowl, dishing out a helping of green beans.

Poking the smaller boy in the ribs, Vin said, "visitor manners, dork."

"Jerk," was JD's response, accompanied by sticking out his tongue.

"Gentlemen, either use your manners or we feed your dessert to Gladys," Chris warned.

"Yes, Sir," the two boys said in unison.

Ezra did his best not to chuckle at the exchange, hiding a smile behind his napkin. He joined the rest in taking something out of each serving dish and passing it to the person on his right, who turned out to be Nathan Jackson.

"So, Ezra, is that your ride out there?" Buck asked, ignoring his son's giggle and a mouthed 'told you'.

"Yes, sir."

"Fine ride for a young 'n."

Forcing himself not to take offense, Standish replied, "I suppose so. Mother procured it for me on my sixteenth birthday."

"Niiiiiiice!" Vin grinned, pumping his fist into the air.

"Don't even think about it, kiddo. You know that hunting's not a high paying job." Chris admonished. "No way is your first car going to be something that nice. Heck, I've never had something that nice!"

"So, how'd your mom afford it, then?" JD asked around a mouth full of roast.

"JD!" Raine scolded.


"I believe Raine is objecting to you being very, very nosy," Buck reached out and tweaked the child's nose.

"Well, someone has to work with him on manners, considering his da's a big kid himself," Chris joined the conversation.

Ezra watched the exchange with keen interest. He couldn't recall a time when he was invited to join a group of people who seemed to genuinely enjoy one another's company.

"Don't worry, they're harmless," Nathan leaned over and whispered to the newcomer.

With a grin, the young man replied, "I certainly hope so!"


After dinner the group moved into the large family room downstairs. JD and Vin quickly retreated to the far end and, after a brief, animated discussion, put Transformers into the DVD player and dropped down in front of the television. Ezra, although there was that part of him that longed to join in viewing the movie, his mother's training won out and he joined the adults in the conversation area.

"I take it the hunt went well," Josiah introduced the topic.

"Yep, lots of bruises, Chris is hiding sore ribs, but all in all a success," Buck announced, earning the glare his friend favored him with.

"So next time I'll let demon-boy clock you one instead of running interference."

"Ah, Pard, you know that's not gonna happen."

"Yeah, well we'll see."

"You truly are hunters of the supernatural," Ezra couldn't help interjecting, awe in his voice. He blushed furiously when five pairs of eyes zeroed in on him. "I... uh... well that is to say..."

Deciding to rescue their visitor, Josiah guessed, "You didn't really believe your mother, did you, son?"

He studied his manicure for several beats, trying to gather himself back under his usual control. Heaving a sigh when he couldn't put together a polite response, he simply opted for, "No, I didn't. I mean, I have had... uh... a few experiences, but... well, mother was always able to explain them away, privately. Of course while we were in the company of her... customers... she... well, she would make as much of the event as she could."

Smiling, Sanchez replied, "Doesn't sound like Maudie's changed much over the years."

"So, your ma's really a hustler?" JD suddenly appeared, hanging over the back of Ezra's seat.

"I thought you were watching a movie?" Nathan said, raising an eyebrow.

"I don't like this part; it's just Sam givin' a report in school."

"My Mother is a... business woman." Ezra replied stiffly.

"JD, go back and watch the movie, later we're going to have a discussion about why you need to apologize to Ezra." Buck instructed firmly, watching as his son silently moved away and returned to his seat in front of the television.

"Sorry, Ezra, he doesn't mean to be rude, he's just... curious."

"No offense taken. I believe I'm going to retire for the evening. It's been a long day."

"Sleep well," Raine spoke up, smiling sweetly.

"Breakfast is at nine, since it's the weekend," Chris informed the young man.

"Thank you." Standish nodded and left the room.

After their guest had disappeared up the stairs, Josiah said sorrowfully, "I was worried that his mother might have created some... scars for the boy. It's difficult to live with a parent who's more involved with their own life than in yours."

"Well, then, hopefully we can help get rid of some of those scars," Nathan replied.

"We can only try, brother. We can only try."

Part Three: Finding Your Way

Ezra woke to distant sounds that, after some contemplation, he identified as those made by a waking household. It had been some time since he had shared a house with anyone else, and couldn't remember a time when he shared a home. The sounds seemed almost alien to him.

"Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore," he whispered to himself, smiling as he stretched and climbed out of bed.

At precisely 9:00, Ezra Standish entered the dining room, where the others had already gathered. Once again he detected the aromas of home cooking, and found the table already laden with a variety of serving dishes.

"Good morning," Raine greeted the young man.

"Good morning," he replied, smiling at her.

"I'm impressed," Josiah said. "You managed to sleep through the rugrats' wake up routine."

"Rolling his eyes, Vin protested, "I'm not a rugrat."

"Sure you are," JD giggled, "You're Angelica!"

"Yeah, well you're Phil, and you eat boo—"

"Vin!" Raine yelped. "Please sweetie, we're about to eat."

Ducking his head but unable to hide his reddening features, the boy mumbled, "sorry."

"So, you're not rugrats," Josiah tried to lighten the mood, "maybe you're yard apes!"

"Yeah!" JD exclaimed, proceeding to leap around the room, doing his best to imitate a primate. "Oo, oo, oo!!"

"Good lord, has he been in the sugar already?" Chris entered the room, dressed in sweats and a loose tee shirt.

"Morning, Unk!" The subject of scrutiny called out, making his way toward the blond.

"Good morning, and settle down. Time enough to burn off that energy after breakfast."

"Yes sir!"

"Did I hear a herd of elephants in here?" Buck asked as he entered the room.

"No, just your son." Vin replied, grinning as he regained his composure.

"Oh, joy. Hide the sugar bowl."

"Too late!" The others exclaimed.


After breakfast, Ezra was invited to join Chris, Buck and the two boys as they ran errands and tended to other weekend chores. He found himself walking up and down the aisles at a Super Wal*Mart and helping corral the boys as they picked up supplies for both the house and, he would learn later, to re-supply for future hunts. Then it was on to the Home Depot, before driving back to the house. He rode in Buck's vintage Impala with Wilmington and JD, while Chris and Vin traveled in the blond's truck. Both vehicles were black and well maintained.

And he learned the he shared a love of classic rock with both Buck and JD.

After they unloaded the truck bed and put everything away, Wilmington said, "Ezra, we're goin' to lunch and then we promised the boys we'd go see The Dark Knight. Would you like to join us?"

"I wouldn't want to impose."

"You're not imposing, you helped with the chores, it's only right you join in the fun."

Smiling, Ezra said, "I'd love to join you, then."

"Well, all right," Buck grinned.


"Hey, Ezra, you wanna keep Dad company? I wanna ride with Uncle B and JD."

"Uh... why, certainly," he turned to Larabee, "If that's all right with you?"

"It's fine with me," Chris replied with a smile. He and his son had concocted the entire thing during the earlier drive. Vin had observed that the newcomer seemed a bit 'freaked' and might enjoy riding with someone a little less 'goofy'.

A short time later, Standish found himself 'riding shotgun' in the man's very comfortable truck. There was jazz playing softly on the radio, and he seemed to be a million miles away from riding in the Impala, listening to Carry on My Wayward Son accompanied by a pair of very loud and, in one case off-key, voices. While he had been impressed by Wilmington's singing ability, the noise level had become quite intimidating after a time. With a sigh, he relaxed into the plush leather seat.

Glancing at his passenger, Chris said, "It gets a little noisy with Buck at the wheel, doesn't it?"

"Uh... well... yes. Yes it does."

"Son, you don't have to worry about what you say around me, or the others for that matter. A man has the right to speak his mind." He paused and then added, "And you're welcome to ask anything you'd like."

"But, I don't wish to offend anyone."

"You won't. One thing you learn in our profession is that life's too short to sweat the small stuff. Besides, with what we do, you've got to trust the folks you're with, because they may be the only ones keeping you alive."

Standish sat quietly for several minutes, absorbing that information. Then he decided to test Larabee's statements. "So, how did you get into this profession?"

Chris was completely still for so long that the young man beside him thought that he had found the "but" that would contradict everything he had just said. Finally he spoke, his words so soft that they were nearly swallowed by music.

"Vin's the only family I have left. The night he turned six months old... a demon... a demon killed my wife and our older son. The bastard murdered my wife and set Vin's nursery on fire. Before I could get there, Adam tried to save them, but the demon... well, Adam was dead as well by the time I got to the nursery."

Feeling as if he had just asked the man on the other side of the cab to eviscerate himself, Standish managed to stammer, "I... I'm sorry. I - "

"Ezra, like I said, you can ask. It's been almost ten years." Stealing himself, Chris asked, "What else are you curious about?"

The young man realized at that moment, that the underlying message had been revealed. He was now considered a part of the rather oddball family group. "So, how often do you face a true supernatural event?"

"Josiah's been doing this for twenty, twenty-five years, so he can suss out the stuff that's real. Pretty much everything we've faced has been real."

Nodding, Ezra asked next, "How long have you all been together?"

Buck and I have been friends since we were eighteen. He joined me in this line of work eight years ago, and we hooked up with Josiah six years ago. Nathan and he had known one another since Nate was younger than JD; his father was a hunter as well. He met Raine four years ago on a job. She's probably the newest member to the group, other than you. She was raised by her father, who was a hunter as well."

"What about JD's mother?"

Another pregnant pause and then, "She was killed... vampire."

"They're real as well?"

"Yeah. Pretty much any supernatural creature you've ever heard of is real. Maybe not exactly like the lore, but close enough."

"My..." the young man mumbled. "I knew about ghosts, but the rest... my..."

"Yeah, it takes a little while for it all to sink in. Don't worry about it; it'll be real enough, soon enough. For now, we're here. Let's go get something to eat, okay?"

Staring at the "golden arches" with a somewhat shocked expression, Ezra mustered up the courage to reply with, "Okay."


That night, Ezra lay in the darkness of his room, trying to digest everything he had absorbed in the last 36 hours. To his amazement, he had been accepted into the group as one of their own; they treated him less and less like a visitor and more like a family member all the time. He wasn't just acknowledged for what he could do or provide; he was included in every aspect of the family's every day life.

And, wouldn't mother be horrified. He had enjoyed McDonalds!

The End

September 4, 2008