Title: A Dog's Tale
Fandom: The Magnificent Seven
Main Characters: Ezra and the rest of the seven.
Disclaimers: The guys are owned by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, and The Mirisch Corp.
Summary: This story is based on a dream I had a few days ago. I just had to write it down.
A Dogs Tale
Ezra Standish was in a hurry, he was supposed to have met his friends at the Standish Tavern twenty minutes ago. He had excused himself from travelling with them; there was a report to finish and he wanted to stop at an ATM to collect some cash. JD had offered to go with him but he had refused the young man’s company.
He now stood at the machine waiting for it to spit out the two hundred dollars he had asked for. After waiting for thirty seconds he began to pound the pavement with his feet.
“Would you please hurry the fuck up!” Ezra growled at the machine and hit it with a closed fist.
With a mechanical thank you the machine returned his card and receipt and asked for the next victim to make a transaction. Ezra stood dumbfounded before the screen, then he reacted when he realised what had happened.
“Oh no you don’t! Where the hell is my money!” this time he kicked it. “Where’s my fucking money!”
The receipt, it will say that two hundred dollars hadn’t been withdrawn.
“Ha! Got you there you dumb-assed machine!” Ezra stared at the piece of paper. The balance was two hundred dollars less than it had been five minutes ago. “God damn it!”
Now how was he supposed to get his money back? He had no proof that the machine didn’t hand out the cash.
“There a problem mister?”
Ezra spun around to find an addict with a gun that was now only three inches from his face.
“Trouble . . . no, not really. Why?” Ezra shook his head and looked into blue orbs that told him this man was desperate for a fix. The sweat that covered the teenager’s face and the tremors that shook the thin frame confirmed what the eyes were telling him.
“Oh, just that I would be pretty disappointed if you didn’t get any money.” the crooked smile revealed two broken teeth.
“Shit.” Ezra muttered.
“It didn’t give you any money?”
“Now that’s too bad. What have you got in your wallet?”
“Nothing, that’s why I’m here at a cash machine.” Ezra spoke before thinking
“Move.” the teen motioned for Ezra to make his way down the side of the building.
Ezra had to think of something, a way to get out of this alive and unharmed. Plus, he had to do it quickly, because he wouldn’t put it past Chris to kill him for being late.
“Taking me down a back alley isn’t going to get you any money.” Ezra warned him.
“It’s not money I’m after any more.” the smile widened.
“Excuse me?” the undercover agent was actually offended by what the man was suggesting.
“Oh quit it will you! I’m not like that.”
“Then what do you want instead of money?”
“I don’t have a car with me, I walked here."
Ezra felt a boot slam against his knee. He cried out in pain and fell to the ground with his hands holding his right knee.
“I’m not messing around here mister. You either cooperate or you die.”
“You’d kill a . . ." another cry of pain escaped when he was struck in the side. “Would you please stop doing that!”
“Get up and start walking.” he ordered.
Ezra began to laugh, he couldn’t help it.
“What the hell are you laughing at?”
“I’m sorry, it’s just that I always laugh when I come up against a criminal who’s stupid.”
A second kick stopped the laughter. “Jeez, how do you expect me to walk when you’ve probably broken my knee. Then, I’ll be stuck on desk duty for who knows how many weeks. Mr Larabee won’t be impressed.”
“If you don’t get up I’ll break the other knee.” the teenager threatened.
“You do realise, that if you don’t kill me . . . I’ll kill you.” Ezra gave him a cold glare that would have caused Chris Larabee to cringe.
“What . . . ? he stumbled back a step and almost dropped the gun.
“I said, you either kill me, or I’ll kill you.” Ezra struggled to push himself up into a standing position.
“I’ll kill you if I have to, now get moving!”
Ezra did as he was told. He had planned on taking the man down but it was going to be harder with an unusable leg. Pain tore up through the leg and registered in his mind each time he had to put weight on the limb. Ezra hadn’t gone far into the alley when he stopped and leaned against the wall and looked back at the man who was going to steal his car.
“This far enough for you?”
“What is your problem?”
“Me, you really are stupid aren’t you. You’re my problem! Or are you forgetting that you’re mugging me for cash I don’t have.”
“You’re beginning to piss me off, you know that.”
“Of course I know that, I piss everybody off.”
“Then why are you still alive?”
“Now that is a good question.”
“Maybe you’ve finally met the person who’s going to kill you.” the mugger suggested.
“I don’t think so, you’re a coward.”
“We’ll soon find out won’t we.” he pushed Ezra forward.
Ezra took the opportunity to turn and grab the gun arm. He held it tightly and pushed the lighter man into the wall. The next thing he knew, his leg gave out on him and he was on the ground with the man on top of him. Ezra used both hands to hold the thin wrist and pushed the mugger off his body. The man landed beside him. Ezra pushed himself up onto one knee, his bad knee. He really could be an idiot sometimes.
The mugger tore his gun from the pain ridden man’s hands. He didn’t want to kill him, he’d never taken a life before and he didn’t want to start now. But he had to slow the older man down long enough for him to get away. A pile of rubbish against the wall showed him what he could do. He used his foot to kick the already injured knee to give him an extra few seconds.
Ezra swore at the pain that felt like it was going to take him from this world. Through watering eyes he could see his mugger moving away. Thank Christ for that, he was going to keep his car and his life. Why did he always have to shoot off his mouth when he was in a dangerous situation?
The mugger came back and lifted the thick piece of wood above his head. He smiled when he saw understanding flash in the green eyes staring up at him. Ezra did what he could to protect himself. The wood swung in an arch and a sickening thud sounded through the silent alley.
My nose was close to the ground as I walked slowly through the alley. My sense of smell was hard at work looking for food and water. Well, water I could do without but I really needed something to eat. I stopped when I sensed humans close by. My feet moved slowly and silently as I made my way down the alley. There, not too far from me were two men, one lay on the ground, the other stood above him holding a piece of wood in his hand.
A low guttural growl escaped my mouth. I was actually threatening to attack. Pride was what I was feeling right now, usually I ran away. But there was something about the man lying on the ground, something that told me he needed my help. Yes he was unconscious but we animals can sense these things.
Now how in the hell was a female golden retriever supposed to help an unconscious human. It wasn’t like I could drag him out into the street for someone to find. And I sure as hell wasn’t Lassie, I couldn’t find someone and bark at them to come with me to find a man lying and bleeding in a dark alley. At least I could stop the skinny one from hurting the handsome one anymore. Umm, and he was handsome. Now that’s the sort of guy who could take me home any time. Not that I would just let anyone take me home, I’m not that easy. The last owner I had dumped me on the sidewalk and I never saw him again. I’ve only just managed to stay ahead of the man from the dog pound.
My growl became louder and the skinny one finally noticed me. He dropped the wood in fear and stepped back. I must have looked pretty savage to have succeeded in scaring him off. But I was wrong. He started to search the other man’s pockets. A wallet, a set of car keys and a mobile phone was taken. A line of angry curses were emitted from his mouth when he searched the wallet. There mustn’t have been any money in it. He then threw it at the man who lay on the ground.
I decided to gather my courage and bark. My bark was louder than my bite. I got that saying from humans. Barking and growling was all I seemed to be doing. My next option was to charge. It worked. The man dropped everything and ran; he disappeared around the corner back onto the street.
Now, what to do about this pretty boy. Firstly I sniffed his body, there was still some life in him, he wasn’t dead yet. Maybe if I licked him he would wake up. My legs took me closer to his face and I licked his cheek a few times. It didn’t work. Well, I did say I wasn’t Lassie.
I smelled blood so I moved around to the other side of his head and saw a pool of it forming beneath his skull. My tongue flicked out and I took a few licks. It had a metallic taste but it was better than nothing. Hey, I needed something to drink. If I was such an animal, I would eat him. All that was left to do was to sit and wait for him to wake up. If he realised I tried to help him he might take me home with him.
Ezra woke up to a world full of pain. His eyes flickered opened and he stared into a fuzzy form of something. He frowned at what was either standing or sitting in front of him. Slowly, his eyelids closed again. A groan full of pain and pity escaped him. He’d had the stupidity to put himself into this painful shit bucket. The mugger would have taken everything. His knee was no doubt broken; it felt like it was. So he would have a hell of a time walking out of here. Maybe someone will come along and find him here. With his luck, he highly doubted it.
His eyes had opened - beautiful green eyes - but they closed again and then he made a noise.
“Whoof! Whoof!” like he would actually understand me, but at least he would know he wasn’t alone.
The eyes opened a second time and like the first time, he seemed to be staring through me. I lifted one of my front paws and placed it gently on the side of his face. I felt happy when a small smile tugged at his lips.
Ezra still couldn’t see the figure clearly but the bark told him what it was. He had always wanted a dog but his mother had never allowed it. Now it was his job that prevented him from getting a dog. He couldn’t leave the dog at home alone - well he could if the dog had plenty of things to occupy him or her. He could turn the spare room into a playroom for the dog. Take it jogging with him in the evening, that way it would get the exercise it required and there would be plenty of things he could do with a dog on the weekend. He pictured the animal up at Chris’ ranch. A dog would love it up there. Now there was an idea, when he was undercover he could ask Chris to look after his pet. If he really thought about it, he could make it work. Ahh, what the hell was he thinking? What sort of life would it be for a dog?
But dogs were loyal, they gave you unconditional love. A type of love that he’d never had before. Even his friends still found faults that caused them to become angry with him. A good dog would never show any anger towards it’s owner; unless the owner treated the dog badly. Ezra would never do that. He wondered if this dog had a owner and if it did, where was that owner. Silently, he wished he could focus his eyes better and look for a tag or some other indication as to whether the dog had an owner.
Ezra lifted an arm and gave the animal a pat. In return it moaned in pleasure and licked his hand.
“Nice doggy.” Ezra mumbled and his hand fell back to the ground.
This was a nice guy, with all the pain he must be feeling; he took time out to give me a pat. I slumped down next to him and nuzzled my wet nose against his face. I was very content in this position and would happy to stay there for the rest of my short life. I was two years old and I knew that dogs didn’t have a long life span when they roamed the streets like I do.
The smell coming off his body was nice. I could also smell sweat and the natural odour of a man but it was the nice smell that I liked. I wondered if he owned a dog and if he didn’t, would he like to own me.
I needed a home, I didn’t have one. I didn’t have any friends either, I roamed the streets alone. I had friends once but they turned on me over something as stupid as food. We could have shared but they wanted it all for themselves. So I allowed them to fight each other over it and I left. And now, I have no friends.
I rolled over onto my side and was now facing him. My eyes searched the features of the face in front of me. Maybe he had children that I could play with. I’m no longer capable of having children. My owner had me fixed; he didn’t want a litter of puppies running around his back yard. Did this man have a back yard? It didn’t matter, I didn’t need a back yard, as long as he took me for a walk in the morning and evening, I didn’t care. If he worked all the day, it didn’t matter; there would always be the weekends. I just wanted a home, a family, someone to take care of me; feed me, bath me, play with me and take me for walks. That’s all I wanted. I suppose it was too much to think this man would get up and take me home with him.
Time passed slowly - I could tell by how dark and quiet the streets had become. No more cars travelled the road and no more humans walked the streets. Morning was only hours away. Someone would pass by the alley during daylight hours and hopefully I would be able to lure a human close enough to see this nice man and get him the help he needed.
I sat up when his eyes opened suddenly. My close position might have scared him. He smiled at me again, he knows I’m here with him. I reached out again with my paw when he tried to sit up. I didn’t have the strength to keep him down. It didn’t matter, he couldn’t manage it. The smell of vomit assaulted my nostrils when he rolled away from me and threw up. When he moved onto his back I moved forward and tried to lick the mess from his mouth and chin. He lifted a hand to stop me so I barked at him then continued what I was doing. He doesn’t seem to mind it, he’s actually laughing.
I sat back down when I was finished and watched as he rolled back onto his side. I knew he wanted to touch my coat so I lay down close to him so he didn’t have to lift his arm very far. I’ve always enjoyed the touch of a human. The way they rub and play with my ears, how they rubbed their palm against my stomach. My previous owner use to do that in the early stages of our relationship but he changed, he grew angry, he yelled at me, but I still loved him. Then he left me alone.
This man only had the energy to run his fingers through my coat. I grimaced in embarrassment. My coat was dirty and knotted. I crave a bath, a rub down and a brush. I’m quite cute when I’m clean and I usually smell nice too.
I looked down when I no longer felt his touch. His eyes were still open and he was staring up at me. I barked playfully and wagged my tail. He smiled back at me.
Ezra found it quite funny when the dog actually tried to lick the vomit off him. Was it that hungry? It was such a shame. If this dog had an owner, he would have arrived by now. This dog was alone, just like he was. He rolled over and attempted to pat it. The animal seemed to sense what he was trying to do and came closer. It barked at him. Ezra smiled.
He didn’t have the strength to continue to pat her. He knew it was a female, he could see it in her face. She had delicate features and even though her coat was filthy, tit was still soft. His hand fell to the ground but he continued to watch the animal.
“Don’t suppose you have a name do you?”
She was still out of focus but he could tell that she had tilted her head at an angle and was now giving him a strange look. He really wanted to take this dog home. It would be good to have someone to come home to, someone to be there when he woke up in the morning. Someone that would be happy to see him.
“My name’s Ezra . . . Ezra Standish and it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
For some reason, having this dog near him in a time of crisis made him feel better. There was pain, a lot of it but it was a comfort to know he wasn’t alone even if it was only a dog lying next to him. He felt tired; he knew he was going to lose consciousness again. Before that happened he had to find a way to get some help for himself.
Ezra reached forward with his hand and gripped the dog’s neck. There was no instant tension in the animal’s body. That was good, the last thing he wanted was to get bitten but somehow he knew this dog wasn’t going to bite him. His trembling hand felt around the dog’s neck. No collar, which meant no tags, which meant no owner. This dog was a loner, and not by choice.
He pulled his hand back and it fell on something that felt familiar. His wallet, he was sure it was his wallet. The mugger must have thrown it back because there was no money in it. Then why hadn’t he taken the credit cards. His ID, he must have seen his ATF ID and panicked. Well then, if he dropped the wallet then he may have dropped other things. First things first though, he would have to search his own pockets to see if everything was taken. If he found them to be empty then he would begin the search for his keys and more important, his cell phone.
I could tell that he was looking for something, but what, I didn’t know. He had lifted his head then started to go through his pockets. It was only a few seconds before his head hit the ground again. My, hopefully new owner, was out like a light. What was he looking for. I suddenly remembered the things the skinny man had dropped. Was that what he was looking for. Umm, maybe I am Lassie. There were only three things, they should be too difficult for a dog to find; could they. The wallet he’d already found, so there were just the keys and phone. I got up on all four legs and stepped away from the nice man. I turned my head to look over my shoulder at him. Then I walked around him. I instantly saw the shiny keys. The light from the street lamp was reflecting on the metal. I picked them up with my teeth and carried them back to him. The phone, now I had to find the phone. This object was harder to find. I could only see in black and grey, so even with my excellent night vision, it took me a few more seconds to find the phone. I also picked it up and carried it back and laid it down carefully next to my owner.
Ezra woke up again, but this time his thoughts were consumed by Chris Larabee, the man would now be worried about him, they all would be. And here he was stuck in an alley with a dog that he wanted to take home. He felt like a child again. A memory from yesterday filled his mind. He was standing in front of a pet shop window staring in wonder at the Golden Retriever puppies. They were amazing, and as a seven year old child he wanted one. He didn’t consider the cost or what it would take to look after one. He just wanted it like a child who wanted the toy he could never have. He had begged his mother for an hour before she slapped him and told him that he would never own a dog. Never. He’d never asked for one again.
Ezra opened his eyes and stared into the face of the dog. The dark brown eyes stared at him for a moment then looked somewhere else. It seemed as though the animal was protecting him. He was sure a few hours had passed and yet this animal was still sitting here. It hadn’t left him. Did the animal think that he was its owner? It was a nice thought.
The dog barked and got Ezra’s attention. He had no idea what it wanted. If the animal was like Lassie, there wouldn’t be a problem with communication. Communication! His phone! This time he kept his head resting on the ground while he felt his pocket where the phone was usually kept. He sighed when he found it empty. The asshole had taken his phone.
A shrill sound made him and the dog jump. It was his phone. It was still here somewhere. He closed his eyes so he could judge where the noise was coming from. The cell phone was right next to him. Ezra found it on his second attempt.
“What the hell took you so long?” Ezra growled into the phone.
“Me?” Chris yelled back. “Where the hell are you?”
“I’m lying in an alley with a broken knee and a broken skull, but on . . . “
“Where are you Ezra?”
“You didn’t let me finish.” Ezra berated him. “But on the good side there’s this nice dog here with me. She’s been looking after me.”
“Where are you Ezra?”
“I told you, I’m in an alley.”
“Ezra, I can’t get you help if I don’t know where you are.”
“I stopped at the ATM near the office, the one on Blakemore if I remember correctly.”
“An ambulance will be there in five minutes, we’ll be there in four.”
“Take your time Mr. Larabee, I’m not going anywhere.”
“Stay on the phone Ezra, keep talking to me.”
“As you wish.” Ezra hung up the phone and laid it down on the ground.
Four minutes, he had to stay awake for four minutes. He couldn’t be sleeping when they came. The dog would disappear and he didn’t want that.
“Don’t you go anywhere, you hear me.” Ezra stared at the dog that was still out of focus. “Sit . . . stay.” he didn’t know if it would work, he just had to try.
Had four minutes passed yet? If he could see his watch clearly he would be able to find out. That’s if he still had a watch. He listened to the silence that was broken only by his short rapid breaths and the dog’s breathing. The warmth of the dog’s breath washed over his face. The animal was still close to him.
I could hear the sirens. Help was coming for him. Did this mean I had to leave? I didn’t want to. He had told me to sit and stay. I suppose I could sit in the background and wait and see what happens. I looked up when cars screeched to a halt in the street. Six men ran into the alley calling for the man. They all stopped suddenly when they saw him lying on the ground. What are they waiting for? Why don’t they help him? I barked at them. One of the men, started coming towards me while the others huddled around the man on the ground.
The one walking towards me had brown eyes just like me. He was talking softly and moving slowly. I couldn’t sense any danger coming from him so I stayed where I was. Would he allow me to go with my new owner or would he take me to the pound? Could I take the risk? I decided that the man on the ground was worth it.
I was able to see through the gaps and felt relieved when I saw they were looking after him. One man was sitting on the ground and had placed the man’s head in his lap and was gently stroking his forehead. I could hear the whispered voice as he spoke to him. Another was checking the damaged knee. A cry of pain caused me to jump to my feet and bark at the dark man. The words spoken by the young man calmed me down.
The injured man was looking at me, he smiled at me. Things were okay, they weren’t intentionally hurting him. I settled down and allowed the younger one to touch me. He rubbed my ears and I groaned and pushed my head closer to him. He continued for a few seconds more and then he stopped. I showed my disappointment by lifting my paw and resting it on his knee. Keep doing it please. He didn’t. He was now too busy watching what was happing with my owner. I wish.
“Would you please stop doing that, Mr. Jackson?” Ezra tried to pull his leg away from Nathan. The result was a bolt of pain that he couldn’t help but voice. He heard the dog bark a warning.
“Medics are here.” Buck announced.
Ezra heard the medics running towards him. He groaned in horror. He didn’t want to go to a hospital; he hated them.
Ezra clenched his fists as they lifted him onto the gurney. They had quickly wrapped a pressure bandage around his skull and his knee had been fixed with a support but it still hurt when they had lifted him. As he was being wheeled down the alley he saw the dog sitting where it had been for the last five minutes.
He motioned to her to come with him. He smiled when the dog jumped to its feet and ran towards him.
Here I lay, basking in the warm glow of the sun. My owner - who for some reason had named me Chas, he seemed to think that it suited me - was sleeping in a chair with his bad leg propped up on a second chair. I barked as one of the horses in the paddock glared at me. He was angry; I had been chasing him all morning.
I licked the hand that hung over the side of the chair. My master had been playing ball with me this afternoon and tired himself out. He couldn’t run with me no, but he could throw the ball which I had fetched and brought back to him. I’ve never had so much fun in my life.
I could stay here until I died, but this wasn’t home, this was Chris’ place. My home was in the city but every weekend we come up here so I could exhaust myself playing. Later when my master’s leg was better he was going to continue to bring me here. He would be able to run around with me then. I love this life. This is what I’d always wanted; friends, unconditional love and fun. And fun is what I’m having. I know when Ezra goes back to work I’ll be alone until he comes home, but he’s made up a room full of toys that I could play with. Chris had also said that sometimes I could go into Ezra’s office and stay there. He growled at the others after that statement. He told them that because I was going to be there, it didn’t mean play time and that they would still have work to do.
If it could be like this for the rest of my life, I would never have a complaint. This man - I looked up at his gentle face - loved me. He wanted to take care of me. I knew he had never owned a dog before, it was the way he did things and the way he allowed me to do things that I normally wouldn’t be allowed to do. Chris had shown Ezra how to train me. Told him what to feed me and what not to feed me, although the occasional treat was given. I know chocolate is bad for dogs but I loved it and I would do anything to have a small piece of chocolate. Ezra now knew that and he kept some in the fridge for me. I liked it that way, I had to move it around in my mouth, and it took me longer to eat it.
And the best thing of all. Ezra allowed me to sleep on his bed. Yes, that’s right, I sleep on Ezra’s bed. He puts a thick blanket on it though so I won’t dirty his sheets. A lot of hair falls off my body and it can get pretty messy on the bed.
I loved this man, his friends and this life.
Ahh! A rabbit! I took off after it, knowing with confidence that when I return, my master will still be there. I had a home now and that was never going to change.
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