|Pairing: Ezra/Chris |
Rating: PG-13 for some bad words and violence.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended, this story is strictly for fun, not profit.
Sequel/Series: Prequel to For As Long As I Live
Author's notes: Thanks to Kris and Sherri for beta'ing this story.
Summary: Chris gets a second chance at happiness.
Chris took another sip of his beer as he gazed around the crowded bar. The smell of
cigarette smoke and stale beer was almost unbearable now. But then, they had been there
for hours, it was bound to start affecting them.
He watched Ezra speaking with DA Travis, noting the dark circles under the green eyes,
the ashen quality to the pale features, the weary slump of shoulders.
"He's exhausted," Vin commented from beside him, also looking at their
"Can you blame him, brother?" Josiah asked. "He spent the last three
months undercover, only meeting with one of us once a week, if that. You try doing that;
never being able to let your guard down, knowing you can't trust those around you, knowing
that if they find out who you are, you're as good as dead. It wears a person down."
"I'm just glad this is over," JD said. "Another case over, another bust
successful. I hope we get some down time before we get a new case, though. I sure could
use the rest."
"I already talked with Travis. We have the next week off. Trent was a big fish and
the higher-ups are very happy we got him. They think we deserve the time off. I was
waiting for Ezra to join us to let ya all know," Chris told them.
Before anyone could utter another word, Buck returned to the table, carrying six beers
with him. He handed a bottle to each of the others, then sat down. "Why the long
faces? Let's do what we came here to do, celebrate another successful bust! Too bad Inez's
is closed for repairs. I miss that place."
Nathan smirked. "You mean you miss chasing after Inez. When are you going to give
up? She'll never say yes. 'Nunca', remember?"
"I'll die trying," Buck replied with a grin. "That's one fine woman
Chris exhaled softly as he watched Ezra run a weary hand over his face. "I wish
Travis would stop grilling him for more information, he's had enough."
"And you haven't helped either, Cowboy."
"What's that mean?" he asked Vin.
"The months before he went under and the few times you went to meet him during the
case, you were a real bastard. The smallest thing was enough to start a fight. Ezra didn't
need that," the sharpshooter replied gently.
Chris looked down at the bottle in his hands, fingers busy pulling at the label.
"Why did you do it, Chris?" Nathan asked. "Even with that mask of his,
it was easy to see how much you were hurtin' him."
"I've seen Chris do this once before," Buck spoke up suddenly. "When he
found out he was in love with Sarah. Damn, he was a right down bastard to her. Started
fights for the stupidest things, tryin' to keep her away."
"What happened?" Josiah asked curiously.
Buck chuckled. "She told him to quit it, 'cause she could see right through him.
He stopped fightin' her after that and not soon after they got married."
"Would you stop talkin' about me as if I'm not here?" Chris snapped.
"Just tryin' to make a point, pard." Buck smirked. "You're in love with
Ezra, that's why you've been giving him hell lately. Only difference is Ezra doesn't
understand why, he can't see through you like Sarah could. All you doin' is hurting him
and that ain't fair."
Josiah gulped down most of his beer. "Not to mention a waste of time."
"What do you mean?" JD asked.
"The day before Ezra went under, he and I went out. Spent the night at Inez'
place. He got so drunk I had to drive him home. Amazing how the spirits can loosen a man's
"What did he say?" Chris asked, curious in spite of himself.
"Enough for me to know your feelings are returned," Josiah replied, his eyes
never leaving Chris'. "You're making a mistake, brother. If you wait too long, you
might lose your chance."
The other men remained quiet after that, letting him ponder all that had been said. He
frowned at his thoughts. He really was in love with Ezra; the undercover agent had gotten under
his skin, refusing to leave his every waking thought, no matter how hard he had tried.
But he wasn't certain he was ready to venture into a new relationship, especially with
someone like Ezra. They were as different as the sun and the moon, the desert and the
ocean. And after all the pain Sarah and Adam's deaths had brought him, he was wary to try
On the other hand, Josiah was right. He was wasting time and a second chance at
happiness. Would it be easier to simply let Ezra go and then see him find someone else to
love? Especially now that he knew the other man felt the same? Would he be able to know
Ezra was in someone else's arms, being loved, caressed, possessed by someone other than
him? That someone else was saying the words he wanted to say?
Ezra left Travis' table feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. The case was
finally over, he was finally back with the others, but he was having a hard time getting
rid of 'Elijah Summers', gun dealer and all-round scumbag. He needed some time away from
the office, from work and especially from Chris Larabee.
The other man had been driving him crazy lately. The last months had been sheer
torture, having to put up with Chris' uncalled for anger and aggression towards him. He
just couldn't figure out what he had done to earn him such harsh treatment. It hurt beyond
words, especially considering how he felt about the other man.
"As Mr. Dunne would say, unrequited love sucks," he muttered ruefully to
himself as he approached the bar. "A beer, please." he asked the bartender.
"Did it hurt?" a voice asked from beside him.
"Excuse me?" he asked the man sitting on the barstool to his left.
"Did it hurt?" the man repeated.
"Did what hurt?" Ezra queried with a frown.
"When you fell from heaven." the man replied, a huge grin on his face.
Ezra rolled his eyes. "Please. At least be original. Better yet, get sober. Now,
if you excuse me..."
He turned to join the others at their table, but the man rose from the stool and
blocked his way. "Wait, please! It's just... God, have you looked at yourself in a
mirror lately? I really, really, *really* want to jump into your pants."
Ezra exhaled sharply. "I don't think so. There's already one asshole in
The man laughed. "Has a sense of humor too. You just get better and better,
cat-eyes. What's your name anyway? Can I call you pussycat?" he purred, trying to
wrap his arms around Ezra's waist.
"I hope you have medical insurance, because there's a trip to the hospital in your
future. The *near* future," Ezra snapped at the man, his patience at its limit as he
struggled to keep the wandering hands off his body.
"Aw, come on, pussycat! Don't be that way, you know you want it!" the man
whispered, his hands slipping down to Ezra's ass, kneading the firm mounds possessively.
Ezra growled angrily, and was about to push the annoying man away, when Chris appeared
out of nowhere like the wrath of hell. He grabbed the man by the collar, pulling him away
from Ezra and punching him in the face with all his might.
Ezra watched the man stumble back and crash into a table before falling to the floor
and lying there in an unconscious heap. He blinked to clear his mind, then turned to
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" he snapped.
Chris looked at him, surprise clear on his face. "What do you mean, what do I
think I'm doing? I was getting that jerk off your back! You obviously weren't going
"I don't need a guardian, Mr. Larabee. I can take care of myself."
Chris snorted. "Right. Well, you were doing an admirable job then, Ezra. I could
see it by the way that bastard had his hands all over you."
"Lord, you are the most... most... *exasperating* man I have ever met in my
life!" Ezra growled. "I believe it's best if I leave before I say something we
might both regret. Excuse me." And without waiting for a reply, he stormed out of the
bar, painfully aware of the curious stares of the other customers.
Once outside he kept walking until he reached the Jag. Releasing a shaky breath, he
leaned tiredly against the vehicle, arms resting against the hood. He laid his head on his
arms, taking deep breaths until he was certain he was calm enough to drive.
He heard the footsteps seconds before the voice reached his ears. "I'm sorry,
Ezra. I don't know what I did, but I'm sorry."
"I... I don't understand." he confessed, his voice muffled by his arms.
"What don't you understand?" Chris asked softly.
He lifted his head, but didn't turn to face the other man. "Why... why are you
doing this to me? One minute you act like you can't stand to be in the same room with me,
the next you are defending my virtue. I just..." He shook his head dejectedly.
He felt the other man's warmth as he moved closer, then suddenly gentle arms were
embracing him, pulling him back until he was resting against Chris' body.
"I'm sorry," Chris whispered again, breathing the words into his ear and
causing him to shudder. "I love you." he said, tightening his hold as Ezra
tensed and struggled to free himself. "I didn't want to face what I felt, what I
feel, what could be between us. It was easier to push you away, to keep you at arms
length. I'm done fighting, Ezra. Are you?"
He stopped struggling then, whimpering softly, letting the other man take all of his
weight. "Yes," he panted. "Lord, yes... Please..."
"Shhh, it's okay," Chris whispered, his lips brushing over Ezra's temple
tenderly. "We'll be okay, Ezra, I promise. I'm going to drive you home and you're
going to get a good night's sleep. As the woman said, tomorrow's another day. We'll talk
in the morning, decide what to do with our lives, where we want to go with this. Right now
you're too exhausted and I'm not much better. Keys?"
Too tired to argue, Ezra gave him the keys to the Jag. "Chris?" he called as
he slumped back in the passenger seat.
"Will... will you stay? The night, I mean?" he asked hesitantly.
Chris smiled, caressing his face gently with the back of his hand. "I'll stay...
Forever," he vowed, leaning forward and sealing their lips together.