by Joy K

Adapted from six 100 word drabbles based on the M7M challenge from March 20, 2006: “write a drabble about the guys going on a trip somewhere and after they leave, they realize they forgot something – something important. Tell us what they forgot.”

Chaos. That was the only word to describe Team Seven preparing for a group vacation. Bags were strewn across Larabee’s driveway after packing them in Josiah’s vehicle, then hastily unpacking when the old suburban refused to start. Josiah insisted on providing the transportation so they could all ride together, so Nathan drove Josiah to the nearest car rental place while Buck, JD and Vin occupied themselves playing some odd version of tackle Frisbee that only they understood. With a little extra free time, Chris finished a repair in the barn that he’d need to do when they got back anyway. Ezra, weary from too long undercover and too early a morning, sat quietly on the porch sipping a cup of coffee. No one badgered him to play or to help. He needed this trip more than any of them.

In less than an hour Josiah and Nathan returned. Josiah was more frustrated because they didn’t have a vehicle big enough to haul all seven men and their supplies. The rental company said this vehicle would seat seven, but they must not have intended seven full-grown men.

After a brief debate about the merits of riding together versus overcrowding, Chris’s truck became the second vehicle to haul them to their destination. The vehicles were repacked and after making last minute trips to relieve themselves before the long ride and refill their coffee mugs, the men piled into the two vehicles.

Cruising along above the speed limit, they hoped to reach the boat launch before the last ferry departed.

Vin and Chris enjoyed silence of riding alone in the truck. JD had opted to ride in the rental vehicle. Where JD went, Buck followed. It would be crowded, but it could handle five. They were just happy the noise makers were in the rental.

Josiah shook his head wondering how long it would take to fix his suburban this time. But he had to admit, this vehicle had everything. Nathan was just enjoying the ride, but JD and Buck would play with the stereo, DVD player, and individual heat/cool controls until they reached the lake. He was glad Standish had opted to join Chris and Vin in the relative quiet of the truck, sparing himself the noisy banter. The man needed some rest.

Ezra stepped onto the porch with a freshly filled coffee cup. He shrugged as the vehicles turned the bend in the driveway. He didn't want to fish anyway.


The trip back was pretty much silent with six men feeling guilty over leaving their seventh behind.

They'd missed the boat... and not just the literal boat. They'd pushed hard all day without stopping and hadn't even realized Ezra was missing until they'd reached the dock and found the last ferry of the day had already departed. It had been a very short discussion of whether to stay or go back. No one would enjoy themselves knowing Ezra was sitting at home probably feeling abandoned.

Ezra always seemed to be the odd man out, the man on the fringe, and the team worked hard to include him, especially after long cases where’d he’d been out of touch. They missed his sarcastic wit and companionship when he wasn’t with them and although they recognized his need for downtime to regroup after a case, they never left him alone too long.

Arriving home well after midnight, it was no surprise that the Jag was no longer at the ranch.


The note they found was the clincher.

Waited a few hours before heading home.
Tried to make contact but no one answered.
Hope you enjoyed yourselves.
Ezra P. Standish

Chris cursed. How could they have made such a screw up? How had they missed Standish when they left? Ezra wasn’t someone easy to miss. His complaints about rising early or lousy accommodations were always there to grate on the nerves. Somehow they’d managed to leave him. Chris had assumed Ezra would go for the luxury of the expensive rental vehicle, and Josiah had assumed Ezra would go for the quiet of the truck so he could sleep on the way to their destination.

Never again. Never again would they go anywhere without a roll call.

"We'll straighten this out," assured Josiah, handing the note back to Chris.

"First thing in the morning," agreed Nathan.

"Not too early," said Vin, brushing by them to claim the recliner. "Ezra likes his sleep."

"Find a place to sack out," said Chris. "We go together in the morning."


Ezra slept, blissfully unaware of the turmoil. He'd stayed at the ranch awhile taking a short ride on his horse, and enjoying some of Larabee's finest liquor while he read the newspaper. After a couple hours, with a smile and a lilt in his step, he left a polite note assuring them he had waited and had attempted to contact them. He stopped for takeout from his favorite restaurant, picked up the new DVD he wanted to see and made his way to his condo. It had been a great, but oddly quiet day.

He couldn't define that small bit of dissatisfaction.


"He helped himself to my best brandy," said Chris with a growl.

"He deserved a little enjoyment," said Nathan, finishing his coffee.

"So did we," mumbled Buck, around a breakfast roll.

"Let's go," said Josiah. "We've got a friendship to mend."

"Hey, guys!" called JD breathlessly from the doorway, "Ezra's coming up the driveway."

The men stumbled over each other heading out the door. Ezra drove the Jag into his normal parking spot and turned off the engine. He opened the door and got out with a confused look on his face.

"Hey, Ezra!" said JD.

"You're back so soon?" he asked.

"Of course, you fool," said Buck, walking over to him and giving him a bear hug. "We couldn't go without you."

Ezra ducked his head hiding his slight grin.

"You missed the boat," he accused as he regained his composure and Buck released him.

Chris nodded. Ezra was going to make them pay for the slight.

“Why didn’t you just wait for the next boat?” Ezra asked.

“Would've had to turn around as soon as we got there. Not much point in that,” said Vin. “Besides, we forgot something.”

“I was certain you had packed all the snacks,” Ezra quipped sarcastically.

“He meant you,” JD said, stating the obvious.

“I hadn't realized I was a piece of baggage.”

“Ezra,” Chris growled.

Ezra grinned his trademark smile. "I'm sorry your weekend went awry."

“We're the ones who are sorry, you idiot!” Nathan huffed in frustration. Ezra was being intentionally oblique.

“Nathan,” Josiah warned. Calling Ezra an idiot wasn't helping mend fences.

“Whatever for?” asked Ezra. “I had a perfectly enjoyable day. Some fine brandy,” he glanced at Chris watching the blond shake his head, “some delicious food, and a good movie.” He gave Vin a slight nod sensing his scrutiny. He could tell Vin had put the pieces together and knew he wasn't very disappointed about staying home. How long could he milk this for? It would be fun to have them at his beck and call for a few days. “What more could I ask?”

“I don't know, Ez,” said Vin. “Maybe a few friends to enjoy it with?”

Ezra remembered that odd feeling of dissatisfaction last night and realized that he missed being with his teammates. He was glad he had missed the fishing, but he was sorry he missed the comfortable companionship with JD and Buck bickering and teasing, Nathan checking up on him, Josiah telling a story, Chris's growls and Vin's quiet friendship.

“I thought I'd go for a ride,” Ezra said quietly.

“Mind if we tag along?” Vin asked.

Ezra smiled. “Sounds like a perfectly enjoyable day.”

Vin laughed and slapped Ezra on the back. “Let's ride.”

Ezra shook his head with a grin. He'd wasted a perfect opportunity to have his friends at his beck and call.

Mother would be so disappointed.

The End