Disclaimer: Heck I dont own them just borrowed them for a bit
Note: My first venture out of the Gen realm and an introduction
Archivists Note: This combines all three stories in this AU. They are; "Late Night Calls and Other Surprises", "Unexpected", "Imaginary Crimes".
The telephone rang several times before a hand snaked out from underneath the covers and picked the handset off the cradle careful not to wake the man that had been his companion, friend and lover for the past two years, who was still sleeping blissfully at his side, Bucks hushed voice was gruff as he spoke.
He..llo? Even though the darkened bedroom was quiet he could barely make out what the person at the other end was saying. What what Despite his efforts not to disturb Bucks growing volume roused Chris. No no I understand Ill be there as quick as I can. With that Wilmington ended the call, pushing the warm blankets off as he swung his legs out of bed flipped on the small lamp on the nightstand. He sat there a moment with shoulders slumped rubbing a hand over face before raking his fingers through his dark hair.
Whats the matter? Chris groaned as he rolled over, throwing an arm up to shield his eyes from the light.
I gotta take care of something.
Jesus, its two oclock in the morning cant it wait?
No. With that Buck stood up not bothering to tug down the one leg of his sweatpants that had bunched up around his knee instead snatching up a thick hooded sweatshirt and slid it on.
Chris I gotta go Ill explain later. Although he stopped just inside the bedroom door Buck spoke without turning around. Paused for a long second then slipped through the door.
An hour later
The airport was virtually empty other than the odd traveler fitfully snoozing away in the waiting areas. Wilmingtons long legs strode up the escalator heading to the arrivals area. Quickly spying the place he needed to go.
Knocking once before entering Wilmington stepping inside the small room, spying a small neatly attired young boy sitting on its far side. Despite the fact it was just after three in the morning the child was wide-awake and fidgeting in his seat. Buck briefly spoke with the security agent before turning his attention completely over to the boy, who although he was nine years old was a bit small for his age.
Hello youre Maudes boy Ezra right? It was a statement rather than a question on Bucks part.
Yes sir. The boy slid off the chair and stared with big green eyes at the large man looming over him.
Did she tell who am I? Buck realizing that he might actually frighten the boy crouched down in front of him so that he was eye level with the small child.
Yes Sir, You are Buck Wilmington, Mother said you were my father that I was to stay with you.
Did she tell you anything else?
No Sir. The liquid green eyes held his gaze
Wheres your suitcase? Buck scrubbed a hand across his chin.
I dont have one. The boys head dropped a little as he made the admission.
Ill take you home with me well figure this out in the morning.
Slowly standing up Buck extended his hand to the boy, who gave him an odd look before doing what was expected reaching out and grasped it. Trailing behind slightly as the walked out of security into the Main terminal. Each lost in their own thoughts, young Ezra Standish wondering if this would be any different than staying with any of his other relatives and Buck wondering exactly how to explain to Chris just exactly why he had never mentioned having a son before.
The man Mother claimed to be his father wasnt at all what he had expected. The boy could see no obvious gain in her leaving him with Mr. Wilmington, her true purpose mystified him obviously it would be revealed at a later time The woman constantly reminded him to keep his eye on the prize. But he secretly wished life were different, that he could be like other children. Any such frivolous notions as Maude termed them long ago had no place in their world. In his nine short years he learned when not to question his mother and prided himself on being able to figure people and situations out on his own, after all Mother had taught him well. Ezra pushed the thoughts away and shifted slightly to watch Buck as he drove. The sun hadnt crested the horizon. A pre-dawn twilight made the world a hazy gray just light enough to see. The battered old trucks dashboard cast an eerie green tinge over the tired mustached face and he could tell that Mr. Wilmington wasnt just thinking about what lay in the road ahead. The boy knew this probably did not bode well for him.
As the truck sped forward it was all Buck could do to keep his mind on the road and his driving. The unexpected call had thrown him and he couldnt find the words to explain to Chris.
What could he have said, sorry Chris love of my life, I forgot to mention I have a son. Must have slipped my mind Im going to pick him up now oh and by the way hes the same age as your
The horrid thought made his heart sink.
The boys death had almost killed Chris. A high-speed police chase had a SUV rocketing at speeds of over 90 miles an hour flew through a red light plowing into the small station wagon Sarah and Adam were in as the just as they drove into the intersection. The resulting crash and explosion killed the occupants of both cars. Life and its cruel twists on that very same day informed the easy going Wilmington that he was a father, the second hand information came via an old friend, an acquaintance back from his old days who had known Maude and he had been an item for half a moment. The innocent comment passing left Buck with knowledge that he had a son, but when and where that child was born or even the infants name was denied him. A small detail, that simply couldnt be provided or even properly tracked down. A painful blow to man who loved to love and be loved no matter what a persons gender was. The tragedy of Sarah and Adams deaths had eclipsed his own pain and Buck put his heart and soul into Chris. It took almost everything he had during those early day to keep the angry and distraught man from slipping over the edge. Somewhere along the line, that strong friendship they had turned into love and transforming them into lovers but Buck never once forgot that he had a son. He hadnt set out to deceive Chris but never quite knew how to broach the subject and tell him about a boy neither of them might get to know. A low quiet rumbling noise broke him away from his thoughts.
Puzzled as to its origin he strained listening for the sound again, a second later the odd grumble came from the passenger seat. Buck glanced over at the boy as a panic stricken look flittered over the childs face and just as quickly it was gone. Struck at the particular moment by that face, its fine features hauntingly like Bucks own mothers but the green eyes those were definitely from Maude.
Hungry? The soft-spoken question was answered by a slow shake of the boys head but youngsters belly said otherwise let out a loud growl making the big man wonder when Ezra had last eaten. Well he could at least solve this problem as he spotted the blinking neon sign of an all night truck stop.
Five minutes later, the pair slid across the blue vinyl covered seats as they settled into a booth. Sticky menus were plopped in front of them as their haggard looking waitress stood next to the table waiting with pad in hand to take their orders.
Coffee light and sweet Buck spoke up as he scanned the breakfast choices. Joanie, as her nametag indicated, plucked a pen from her hair and scribbled away. Buck ignored her and his attention was glue to the boy sitting across from him. Ezra what would you like?
The nine year-old straightened up and politely replied. Black coffee and lightly buttered toast
Bucks eyes widened for a second before he smiled. How about Milk, Orange Juice and a bowl of oatmeal instead or would you rather have eggs and toast?
Id rather have the black coffee and toast The comment slipped out before the tired boy could stop it and for a second he feared that Mr. Wilmington would get mad but the man just rolled his eyes and chuckled instead.
You are definitely Maudes boy Buck quashed down the laughter long enough to ask the waitress to bring the boy coffee, juice, eggs and toast. For the first time since they had met Ezra relaxed a little. Tired and more than a little hungry, sitting in an establishment a little before five in the morning about to eat greasy food that fact alone that would horrify his mother. Ezra sat there watching Mr. Wilmington as he laughed, this man was different than the others Mother had left him with and he seemed nice enough. The boy decided to savor the moment, knowing that this like most things wouldnt last.
He sat tucked away. Hidden away in such a tiny place. His small frame painfully twisted and wedged between a tall kitchen cabinet and the wall. Squeezed into space normally reserved for dustpans and cornhusk brooms.
Ezra wasn't taking any chances, knowing that this time like so many others the escalating argument in a nearby room was his fault. Mother had explained ever so briefly before she shooed him out into a waiting cab that Mr. Wilmington like to ride both sides of the fence and was currently living with a man.
The boy hadn't quite understood what she had meant, until they arrived at the ranch and an agitated blonde man met them at the door. Buck introduced the man as Chris Larabee and then in turn introduced him as his son. Mr. Larabee at first looked stunned the agonizing betrayal was obvious but that quickly melted away into explosive anger and a barrage of vulgar expletives.
The boy would have run back out the door they had entered but that the volatile screaming match blocked immediate egress. There was a loud crash was followed by silence Ezra took this as his cue to evaporate into the woodwork quickly and quietly slipped into the kitchen. All the while fighting the urge to plug his ears and hum. The nine year-old knew it simply not wise to seek such comfort, experience had him straining to hear what was transpiring between the two men.
"WHY BUCK!" The loud voice that clearly didn't belong to Mr. Wilmington and it made him cringe. "WHY FORGET WHY HOW ABOUT WHEN? EXACTLY WHEN WERE YOU GOING TO TELL ME?"
The response was a slightly muffled "Chris I this was a bad idea " it was followed by a lengthy pause and panicked, "Ezra?"
Realizing his name was called out again he said nothing, the voice got closer so the boy merely held his breath.
"He was just here " The phrase was followed by a softly uttered "Dammit!" Buck called to him again "Ezra come on out we're gonna go now."
Frozen in place the boy peered out as the two men entered the room, Mr. Wilmington entered first sporting a bloodied nose followed by an agitated Mr. Larabee, knowing no way he going to answer. Ezra tried his best to be good, well mannered and remember proper etiquette no matter what the situation. The effort for the most part went unnoticed though his crimes whether imaginary or real never went unpunished. There was no hope that this time would be any different, Ezra knew he was only delaying the inevitable.
The big mustached man scanned the room as was turning to leave when he noticed the tip of a very small shoe poking out from behind one of the lower kitchen cabinets.
"Ezra?" Knowing he had found the boy, Buck peered behind the cabinetry. Spying the boy he reached in to pull him out as he did so the nine year old shrank even farther back desperately trying to dodge the grasping hand. "Ezra come on we're going to go..." Wilmington stopped finally realizing that the kid must be terrified. "Aw ... I'm sorry ... Shouldn't have brought ya here ... Shouldn't have done a lot of things..." Buck blew out a nervous breath raking a shaky hand through his black hair. Slowly standing up he moved away, his shoes making a distinctive squeak on the linoleum tile as he walked across the kitchen wiping the blood from his face using the front of his t-shirt.
There was a brief tense one-sided conversation the resulted in Larabee leaving.
Wilmington called out to the boy again. "Ezra... I promise its okay to come out.." Opting not to crowd the frightened child by squatting down against the far wall, far enough away to ease the tension but near enough to see Ezra.
There was something in Mr. Wilmington's voice that made him almost believe. Not in the same way that young children believed in the man on the moon, no Ezra had seen and experienced too much in his short life for such a foolish notion. This was different; there was a mixture of regret and anxiety coloring the older man's voice and a deep sadness behind those blue eyes. That and the simple fact despite what he wished he could neither neither disappear nor stay in there forever.
The boy took a deep breath before inching his way out of the cramped space. Genuinely surprised that Buck didn't attempt to touch him instead 'his 'father' stood up and stepped back allowing to him emerge unhindered from behind the cabinet.
"I'm sorry... Shoulda figured out another way to do this... " Whatever else Buck was going to say quickly faded away, mystifying young Ezra. No one had ever bothered apologizing. Explanations, lame excuses the boy had heard an ear full of those, but somehow this was different.
These thoughts flittered through his mind as he watched Mr. Wilmington; the man seemed unsure what to do next. After a lengthy pause the big man spoke. "Come on let's go "
"Where?" Ezra asked as he stood not too far from where he had been hiding and stared up at the mustached man
"Not sure, we'll figure something out." Buck answered, then he turned and slowly stepped from the room glancing over his shoulder to make sure that Ezra was following.
A silent Larabee glared at them as the recently reunited father and son crossed over the threshold into the gray morning light.