Reason for Being

by Neily

ATF Universe

Disclaimer: Don't own them, just borrowing them for a while. [and so on]

Note: It was really late when I wrote this and I must have been getting tired and maudlin or something!

"Vin, do you ever speculate why we're on this earth; what grand purpose or design there is for all terra firma's insignificant little inhabitants? " queried Ezra Standish, tossing back his thirteenth shot of bourbon.

"The truth?........No, not really," said Vin Tanner with some amusement, reaching to refill his own glass. He decided to humor Standish; after all the man might be a colossal pain in the ass, but he had excellent taste in liquor. " Why? You got some cheery thoughts, you wanna get of your chest? " Tanner had never seen the reflective side of Ezra, when drunk. Not only was it enlightening, but also exceedingly entertaining.

"Indeed. Consider this," said Ezra, gesturing broadly with one hand, "We're all born, simply to spend our lives laboring at one thing or another from birth to death. When we're young it's learning to eat and walk and so on. Then comes school, then the delightful entrance into puberty, and of course more school. After that, comes the initiation into the workforce, and all of its joys, and, unless you end up being a divinity later in life, all is under someone else's governing. We spend our entire lives being dictated to on some level or another!"

"And you'd be going where, with this?" asked Vin, interested despite himself.

"Going where with this? Going nowhere with this!! That is just the entire crux of the matter!! There is absolutely no place to go!!" Standish said vehemently, gulping down another glass of bourbon. " No matter what you do, or where you go, you're always answerable to somebody, somewhere for something!!!"

"Uh-huh," replied Tanner, grinning, "And of course this..umm..deep conversation would have nothin' at all to do with your being suspended for...well, how would we put it? 'Bein' caught with your pants down'? "

" Well what if it does," muttered Ezra, embarrassed. "Dictated to by Mr. Larabee; a man who could hardly be said to 'play it by the book' himself!! And in turn, he is dictated to by a collection of insufferable bureaucrats who don't have a clue what it's like to perpetrate the appearance of being some pagan rubberneck for months on end. And for what, may I ask, do I do all this for? To be verbally impinged upside the head and banished for weeks - all due to the merest sign of a human moment, oh my mistake , a screw up! Cast out by our illustrious leader and the administrative miscreants, who are all convinced that this miscreant is on this earth just to try and piss them all off!!"

"You piss people off without trying, Ezra," Vin said gently, without rancor.

"Truer words were never spoken," whispered Standish, visibly declining; all vehemence dissipating so quickly that it was like watching a candle get blown out. " Makes you wonder what the hell the maker was thinking when yours truly was created."

Ezra looked bleary and unsure, a trace of sadness evident in his expression. Tiredly, he closed his eyes. Tanner sat quietly regarding the man; completely surprised by the words that had been uttered. He realized suddenly that Ezra's earlier outburst of disgust, while in appearance aimed at Chris, was in reality self directed at the southerner. The insight left Vin feeling sad and a tiny bit ashamed with himself for his earlier indifferent thoughts, having caught a glimpse of what really went on beneath Standish's facade of self assuredness Ezra shifted sideways in his chair, claimed by sleep, his face appearing more innocent and youthful then his job and his age should have allowed.

Vin smiled slightly at the sight, and prepared to leave, thinking to himself that he would make it a point to drop by and visit Standish the next day. He would tell Ezra that, while he, Vin Tanner, had no great, profound thoughts on the meaning of life in general, he was convinced that everyone had some sort of purpose, even the Ezra Standishes of the world.

'It might not be much,' thought Tanner to himself, 'but at least it's a place to start.'


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