I wanted to explain why Vin and Ezra had so much in common. Even though by looking at them and knowing how they were brought up, you wouldn't think they had as much in common as they do. So, this is a Vin and Ezra story that pretty much wrote it self in one day. Enjoy.
It was the first day Vin had in over a week with out any peacekeeping duty. Chris told him and Ezra that under no circumstance were they to take on any peacekeeping duties for the next two days. So he decided to try and do a little reading and since he didn't have a book to try to read, he decided to try and read his ma's diary. He had tried to read it before a few times, but it was hard to read her handwriting. He loved it because it was his ma's and he felt close to her whenever he opened it and tried to read it. When he was little he would sit and watch her write in it and when she died, he kept it safe and let no one read it or know he even had it. The poems she wrote he had lost over the years for one reason or another. He was so afraid if people knew he had her diary, they would take it from him, just like the poems.
After breakfast, Vin went to his wagon and got the diary. He then went to his favorite place in town when he wanted to be alone, the stable's roof.
Vin sighed when he reached the stable roof and saw Ezra lying on his back with his hat over his face and arms crossed at the wrists over his stomach looking like he was sound asleep. "Ain't it a bit early fer ya ta be up?"
Ezra sighed, and removed his hat from his face. "I could not sleep with all the ruckus that was going on downstairs in the saloon. Besides, no offense to you, I wanted to be alone and maybe do a little pondering."
Vin looked down at the diary in his hand and then back at Ezra. "I wanted ta be alone and try ta do some readin'."
Ezra smiled up at Vin. "Well, it seems we both like the same place to get away from our daily life to have time for ourselves."
"Yeah, looks like it. You were here first," Vin said and turned to leave.
"Mr. Tanner, you do not need to leave. There is sufficient room up here for the both of us."
"You sure Ez? I gotta warn ya, I don't read ta myself."
"I am quite sure," Ezra said as he sat up.
Vin looked down at the diary. He wasn't sure if he wanted to let Ezra in on his secret. Chris don't even know about the diary. "I think I'll find somewhere else ta read my book. But thanks anyway."
"Mr. Tan...Vin, please. You came up here to read your book. So go ahead and read your book and I promise I will not make fun of your reading skills. Perhaps I have read it myself and can help you with the tough words."
Vin turned back toward Ezra and laughed. "I don't think ya ever read this book."
"I have read many a book in my life."
"Not this one," Vin smiled.
Ezra raised an eyebrow. "Oh really?"
Vin took the few steps it took to stand over Ezra and smiled down at him. "I's even willin' ta bet ya haven't."
Ezra knew Vin only bet on sure things. Vin knew something he didn't. It was either the book itself or the author or perhaps both. Either way, Maude didn't raise a fool. "Something tells me not to take you up on your bet. But I am intrigued."
Vin sat down next to Ezra and showed him the book. "It belonged to my ma."
Ezra read the word diary on the old leather bond book. "Your mother's diary," Ezra stated.
"I told ya, ya ain't never read this book." Vin smiled over at Ezra.
Vin and Ezra heard Buck yell for Chris. As the two got closer to the stables, Vin and Ezra laid flat against the roof so they wouldn't be seen and overheard Buck ask Chris if he knew where Vin was.
"Did you check the stables to see if his horse was still here?" Chris asked.
"I'm doing that now," Buck answered.
Neither Vin or Ezra said a word or moved from where they hid but could hear the conversation going on between Chris and Buck.
"What do you want with Vin?" Chris asked.
"Um, I just wanted to ask him a question," Buck hedged.
"Buck? It had better not be to ask him to pick up you shift tonight. I gave him and Ezra today and tomorrow off of any peacekeeping duties."
"Oh good, Vin's horse is here and so is Ezra's," Buck said.
"Buck, you are not going to ask either of them to take your shift. They deserve time off after taking on all our duties when the rest of us got sick. Leave them be."
Buck followed Chris from the stables. "But Chris, I need the night off. I'm still feeling a bit sick. I think Nathan let me go a little bit too early."
Vin sighed. "I's got ta get out of town before Buck finds me."
Ezra rolled over onto his back. "I know what you mean. I just want some peace and quiet."
Vin sat up quickly and turned his head toward Ezra. "I know a place and it ain't far from here. There's a lake nearby and the best thing is, none of the others knows about it."
Ezra leaned on his elbows and looked Vin in the eyes. "You think we could sneak out of town without the others noticing?"
Vin smiled down at Ezra. "We's done it before."
Ezra chuckled, "That we have."
The two men made their way off the roof and through the town, Vin to his wagon and Ezra to his room via the back stairs of the saloon. Both men got what they would need for an overnight camp out and met back up at the stables. After saddling their horses, they lead them out the back behind the town before they mounted up and road out, unnoticed by anyone. Once they got out of the sight of the town, they turned toward the main road and both laughed at how they were able to escape the others unnoticed. Vin took the lead since he knew where they were going. Vin turned his horse toward a crop of trees and bushes and dismounted. Ezra followed. Vin then lead his horse through the bushes to an open clearing where the lake was with Ezra right behind him.
Ezra looked around the clearing and at the clear water of the lake. "This is a nice place, Vin. How ever did you find it?"
Vin looked around the place and smiled. "I was looking for some food and found this instead. I was thinkin' I could scare up a rabbit or two from the bushes." Vin shrugged.
Ezra shook his head. "May I assume you had fish instead of rabbit that night for dinner?"
"Yep and they's were good eatin'," Vin smiled.
After they unsaddled the horses and ground tied them so they could graze on the lush looking grass, Vin and Ezra settled in under a large shade tree and Vin opened his mother's diary and sighed.
"Vin?" Ezra asked.
"Ya got ta promise me never ta tell the others I have this."
"Why ever not? I feel they wouldn't make fun of you for having something that belonged to your mother."
"I know but I kept it a secret for a long time. When people found out I had poems my ma wrote I lost them. I don't want ta ever lose this."
Ezra laid a hand on Vin's shoulder. "And you never will. Now, you have my word I will not tell anyone and I am still intrigued as to what your mother had to write."
Vin nodded and started to read the diary. Ezra helped Vin with some of the words. Vin started to read a fifth page that got both men's attention...Daniel's best friend and cousin, for whom he went to West Point with, came for a surprise visit today. They had their baby boy with them. Maude, Pat's wife, let me hold him. I can't wait to have one of my own. Maud said since Ezra started to crawl, he has been getting into everything. Maude warmed up a bottle and let me feed it to him.
Vin looked up at Ezra and handed him the diary. "You read that and let me know if I read it right."
Ezra took the diary and read what Vin had and still couldn't believe what he read. "Yes Vin, you read right."
Vin took back the diary when Ezra handed it back to him. "Our pa's were cousins. That mean's you and me are ...cousins too?"
Ezra nodded his head. "Yes it does," Ezra grinned over at Vin, "Cousin."
Ezra calling Vin cousin made Vin laugh then Ezra started to laugh. Vin read some more of the diary before he sat it aside and announced he was going fishing so they could have something to eat. While Vin went to catch their supper, Ezra went to gather up fire wood to make a fire to cook the fish over and maybe even make a pot of coffee. Ezra wondered why Maude hadn't mentioned she knew the Tanner's let alone that they we're related. By the time Vin caught the fish and had them scaled and ready to be cooked, Ezra had the fire going along with a pot of coffee.
Vin could tell there was something on Ezra's mind. "You wanna tell me about it?"
"I was just wondering why mother hadn't said a word about knowing your parents."
Vin watched Ezra a bit more. "You gettin' one of those bad headaches of yers?"
"I woke with one and I took the medicine that Nathan told me to take."
Vin nodded his head. "Now it's comin' back."
Ezra sighed, "Yes it is."
"Ya got any of it with ya?" Vin was concerned.
"Yes, I have it with me."
"After ya eat, take it and I'll read some more to ya," Vin said as he handed Ezra a cup for his coffee.
"I would like that very much."
As the fish cooked, Vin read some more of the diaryDaniel is just as happy as I am about the baby. He or she will be here in about three months. I told Daniel I liked the name Vincent because he won't have to share it with anyone else in the family. He smiled and said if the baby is a boy, then Vincent will be his name. Daniel bought me a brand new rocker today. He said the next time he gets paid, he'll get a cradle.
Vin put the book down and checked on the fish then handed a plate to Ezra who took it and then filled his and Vin's coffee cups. "Sounds like you're on your way."
After they ate and Ezra took the powdered medication for his headache while Vin took care of the dishes.
Vin leaned back against the shade tree that he and Ezra was taking refuge under from the late spring sun and tried to read some more of the diary quietly while Ezra rested to get rid of his headache. Vin sat up straight when he came to a page and read it.
"Ez, listen ta this," Vin nudged Ezra.Maude Standish was here today with little Ezra. She was here for maybe fifteen minutes and left, without Ezra. When she asked if I could take him for a little while, I said of course I could. I escorted Maude to the door and when I turned back around after shutting the door, three year old little Ezra was trying to see into Vin's cradle. Vin was awake and lying on his belly lifting his head up. It was the cutest thing. I couldn't help myself, I picked Vin up and knelt down to Ezra's level so he could see Vin. The two just stared at each other. Vin started to fuss a little. I explained to Ezra he was getting hungry when Ezra looked up at me. I laid Vin down in the cradle and went to warm his bottle.
+ + + + + + +
Buck dropped down on one of the chairs in the saloon next to Nathan and sighed heavily.
Nathan looked over at Buck. "What's wrong with you?"
"He can't find Vin or Ezra to con them into taking his shift tonight," JD smiled.
Buck glared at JD. "They ain't in town anymore. Their horses ain't in the stables. How do they get out of town with nobody seein' um?"
Nathan chuckled. "They's just sneaky."
"I tried to trade with Josiah before he and Chris left on patrol. He said he had plans tonight and not to go pestering Vin and Ezra."
"Don't even think about asking me," Nathan said. "When I'm done with lunch, I'm headed out to visit Rain, and leave Vin and Ezra alone. They don't want to be bothered, that's why you couldn't find them before they left town.
"Could you at least stay long enough to tell Chris I'm still unable to do night patrol?" Buck pleaded.
"That would be a lie," Nathan smiled. "Besides, lying to Chris is like committing suicide, no thank you."
JD smiled over at Buck. "Looks like it's you and me tonight, Buck."
+ + + + + + +
Vin turned another page of the diary and read on.The boys and I went to the general store this morning. While we were there, Ezra seen a bag of building blocks. Maude didn't bring any toys when she dropped him off a couple of weeks ago, so I told Mr. Ryman to add the building blocks and some of his peppermint sticks and a half pound of chocolate. The chocolate was for me. Ezra was happy to get the blocks. He would play with them for hours. Vin was crawling so when Ezra would play with his blocks, Vin would crawl over to him and his blocks. The next thing I heard was 'Vin, you ain't suppose to eat them.' I couldn't help myself, I laughed at hearing that with a little southern drawl. I had to wash of the 'baby slobber' from Ezra's blocks when ever Vin got a hold of one. I felt so bad for Ezra, I shared my chocolate with him when I'd put Vin down for the night.
Vin and Ezra laughed so hard they had tears in their eyes.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah and Chris were having a nice peace and quiet afternoon patrol when Josiah stopped in the middle of the road. Chris stopped just ahead of him and turned back to face Josiah.
"Something wrong Josiah?"
Josiah raised his hand. "Shh," Josiah said to quiet Chris.
Chris glared at Josiah.
Josiah ignored the glare. "Can't you hear it?"
Chris listened. Then he heard it. "Sounds like someone's laughing."
Josiah nodded. "It does, doesn't it."
Both men turned their horses in the direction of the laughter. They could still hear it but couldn't see anyone. All they could see were trees and bushes. Chris dismounted as did Josiah. Chris parted the bushes and couldn't believe what he was seeing in the clearing. Josiah pushed back the bushes and lead his horse into the clearing and stopped in front of Vin and Ezra both with their arms wrapped around the stomachs and tears in their eyes and laughing.
Josiah looked over at Chris when Chris came to stand next to him. "I wonder what's got these two laughing like a pair of hyenas?"
Chris looked down at the book on the ground next to Vin. He picked it up. "It might have something to do with this," Chris answered as he handed the book to Josiah.
Vin and Ezra stopped laughing, for the most part and smiled up at Josiah and Chris.
Josiah read the word diary on the front of the book then looked at the page that the diary was open to and smiled, then chuckled before he let out a loud belly laugh.
Chris snatched the book from Josiah before he doubled over with laughter which got Vin and Ezra laughing again. Chris looked at the book in his hand then down at his three men. Josiah was now on the ground right along with Vin and Ezra. Chris knew it was a diary without even having to look at the front of the book. Sarah had one just like it. Chris read the diary pages that the diary was opened to and started to laugh himself.Vin was fussing again. This time he needed his diaper changed. Ezra brought me a diaper and a wet rag. As always, I no sooner remove the soiled diaper, Vin has to pee. I can usually get a rag or another diaper over him, but I wasn't quite quick enough this time. I looked up when I heard Ezra gasp, right into his horrified face and in his little southern drawl he said, 'He peed on me and he's laughing about it.' I had to agree with Ezra, it did sound like Vin was laughing.
Chris started to laugh as hard as his three men. When the four men were done laughing, Chris asked who's diary it was.
"My ma's," Vin answered.
"I didn't know either of you knew each other before," Chris stated.
"We didn't either. We's so little at the time, we don't remember it."
"As it turns out, our fathers were best friends and cousins." Ezra smiled at Chris and Josiah.
"Yep, our pa's mas were sisters," Vin nodded in agreement.
Josiah nodded his head. "Yeah, that does explain a lot."
"Our fathers had even went to West Point together."
"And they were lawmen. Just like Ez and me."
"According to Vin's mother, our fathers spent a lot of time together. They even died together when the posse they were a part of got ambushed."
Vin sighed. "Pa died before I's born."
Chris did know Vin's pa had died before Vin was born and that Ezra was quite young when his died. Chris and Josiah stood and looked down at Vin and Ezra. "I'll see the two of you day after tomorrow."
"Hey Chris, Josiah? Don't tell the others about the diary or this place, please."
"Sure thing Cowboy," Chris said and Josiah nodded his head in agreement.
Chris and Josiah left, hearing Vin reading from the diary.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah and Chris entered the saloon laughing. Every time they thought of an infant Vin peeing on a three year old Ezra or the baby slobber blocks, neither man could help but laugh. They were still laughing when they joined Buck and JD. Nathan had gone to visit Rain.
Buck looked across the table to JD then at Chris and Josiah. "Mind telling us what's so funny?" Buck asked.
Josiah smiled across the table to Chris. "Just something we read."
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