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mag7 fic
Title: The Bounty
Sixth story in 'The Continuing Ezra Standish Saga'
Author: Bernadette
Rating: PG
Warnings: Bad writing ahead!
Fandom: The Magnificent Seven
Genre: Hurt/Comfort
Summary: Four bounty hunters arrive in Four Corners looking for two wanted men. One of them is Vin Tanner who is wanted for murder and the other is Ezra Standish.
Main Characters: Ezra, Vin and the rest of the seven, and some OC's
Disclaimers: The guys are owned by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, and The Mirisch Corp.
Beta: Not betaed – written in the early days when I didn’t know what the words grammar and edit meant. *is ashamed*
Notes: Sixth story in the ‘Continuing Ezra Standish Saga’.
Spoilers: None.
Word Count: 16,708




Part Three


Chris and the others had broken camp early that morning had headed out towards the ranch that was a few hours away. When they had begun to see it in the distance, they slowed down being careful just in case Vin was there. They had followed the trail to this house so they would have to suspect that Vin was there. As they got closer, they could see some horses tied to a rail in front of the house. Chris told the others to get ready. They saw someone come out onto the porch as they pulled their horses to a halt.

"Can I help you gentlemen?" asked Halen.

Chris smiled at him. "Looking for a friend of ours. He disappeared from Four Corners a few days ago and we think that some bounty hunters took him."

"Ain't nobody here like that, just ranch hands," he answered back.

"Then you won't mind if we have a look around do you then." Chris got off his horse and the others followed.

"Actually I do," growled Halen as he placed his hand on his gun.

Chris was about to move towards the man when he heard Vin's voice.

Vin had thought that it was Chris's voice that he had heard so he called out to him not sure, if he would hear him or not. The gunshots that he heard told him that Chris had heard him. He heard the door open and thought that it was Chris coming in but he saw both Kincaid and the man had caused Ezra so much injury. The man held a gun on Vin while Kincaid cut the ropes from his wrists. Vin made to move towards him but the man cocked the gun, Vin stopped in his tracks.

"Get up," Kincaid said.

Vin stood up and he pushed him towards the door. They then went out to the porch where Vin saw that Chris and the others had already taken care of the men that had brought him and Ezra here.

==============================================


Chris had heard Vin's voice call him from inside the house. He pulled his gun and shot the man on the porch. Buck had also gotten off his horse and as he did so, he saw two men coming from around the corner of the house. He shot one of them while Josiah had shot the other. They were about to go into the house when they saw two more men come out using Vin as cover.

"You’re going to let us go or he’s a dead man," growled Kincaid.

"Either way both of you are dead men," Chris gave him a cold smile.

The second man that was with them moved back into the house. Vin saw him out of the corner of his eye and he knew what he was going back in there for. He had to do something. "Chris, you have to stop him!" Yelled Vin as he struggled to get away from Kincaid.

Chris didn’t question Vin. He raised his and shot the man. He didn’t aim to kill as he didn’t shoot people in the back. He shot him in the leg and the man fell to the floor screaming in pain. Kincaid was distracted by the shot and Vin finally had his chance. He used his elbow to push Kincaid away from him, Chris fired again this time with deadly accuracy. Kincaid fell to the ground. Nathan went up to make sure that Vin was alright but he had run back into the house. Chris and Nathan exchange confused glances and followed him in. Buck and Josiah stayed to check if anyone was alive. They found that all but the man in the doorway of the house was dead. They saw that Chris had already taken his gun and they followed to others in to find Vin.

Vin had rushed back into the room that he and Ezra were held in. He had to make sure that he wasn’t dead. He saw that Ezra was still lying where they left him. He gently turned him over being careful of his ribs. He still looked the same, the only other difference was the wound that he had seen earlier and that he was even paler. He heard the others come in after him.

"Vin, what are you doing?" asked Chris. He saw Vin leaning over someone. He saw that the man had a red jacket just like Ezra. Chris held his breath and moved over to Vin hoping that he was wrong and knowing that he would not be. The others all had the same thought.

"Nathan, you have to help him." said Vin.

"Buck, go and get my bag." Nathan knelt down next to Ezra. "What is Ezra doing here, Vin? What happened to him?"

"We haven't got time to go into that now, Nathan. I know he has two broken ribs on his right side. He was kicked in the left side as well so I don't know if there are any broken ribs there or not. He received a blow to the head two days ago and another one earlier," Vin stopped for a breath. "They kept beating him Nathan and I don't know why." Chris walked out of the room; he decided that he was going to talk to the man that was still alive.

"Vin, why don't you go and sit on the bed and I will look after him. Okay?" Nathan helped him up and moved him towards the bed where he sat down and watched Ezra again.

Nathan and Josiah gently lifted Ezra up and placed him the bed. They heard him moan as they took his jacket and shirt off. They both stepped back as they saw the amount of bruises that crossed his stomach, sides and chest. Nathan then moved back and felt his sides. He felt his right side first feeling the broken ribs that Vin had told him about. Ezra moved under the pressure that he had placed on his side. He then moved his hands to the left. The ribs were not broken on that side but there were at least three that were cracked. He checked the old wound on the side of Ezra's headfirst. The cut wasn’t deep but it must have bled a lot and he realised that it was Ezra's blood that they had seen at the first camp site. He then saw to the fresher wound. The bleeding had slowed but it still needed some pressure to stop it completely.

Buck returned then as though he had heard Nathan's thought. He took one of the bandages out of the bag, put it in Buck’s hand, and then placed his hand against the wound. "Keep the pressure on it, Buck. We need to stop the bleeding." With Josiah's help, he then began to bandage Ezra's ribs, pulling the bandage as tight as he dared. Once he had done that, he looked at his head wound again to find that the bleeding had stopped. He then sent Buck back out to find some water to clean the wounds.

While he was waiting for the water, Nathan went over and checked on Vin. He had seen the blood on his wrists and he wanted to make sure that he was okay. "Let me have a look at those hands, Vin."

"Look after, Ezra."

"Just let me look at them while I’m waiting for Buck to come back with the water." Vin gave in and put his hands out in front of him. Nathan turned them over seeing the broken skin and the blood. "I’ll have to clean these and bandaged them," said Nathan.

"After you’ve finished with Ezra." Vin looked over at Ezra.

Buck came back with the water and Nathan began to clean Ezra's wounds. He then bandaged the wounds as best he could. Nathan then stepped back and looked at Ezra. He looked at his pale complexion, the bruises all over his chest, and the bandage around his waist. He wondered why Ezra had always had to go through so much. It was as though somebody was doing this to him on purpose, as though they were controlling his life. No one should go through this much physical trauma but for some reason Ezra did.

He went back to Vin. "That's all I can do for him for now, Vin, so let me take care of your wrists." He took his time cleaning them and then bandaged them for him. Vin then drank what was left of the water.

When Nathan had finished Josiah sat down next to Vin. "So you want to tell me what happened here, Vin?"

"The man on the porch was Kincaid's brother, wanted to hang me today. You guys got here just in time." he looked over to Ezra. "The other man, I don't know who he was and Ezra wouldn't tell me," he then returned his gaze to Josiah. "But he was scared of him when he first saw him; he then became his usual self and pushed the man to far. They took him away twice and beat him."

"How did he get the first wound on his head?" asked Nathan who was sitting on the bed with Ezra. He was checking his pulse to find it steady but weak.

"That was my fault," he saw the others look at him. "I talked him in to trying to escape, he told me that it was the wrong thing to do at the time but I thought that they were taking me to hang and I had to get away. But they stopped us before we got anywhere, the leader asked us who's idea it was. I said it was mine thinking that they were going to do something to me but they did it to Ezra instead. That was in the evening and he didn’t wake up until the next night.

Nathan frowned at that. "When was the last time either of you ate something, Vin?"

"Day before yesterday. I forced Ezra to eat something. It seemed to make him feel better."

"Did he sleep a lot?"

"Yeah, he seemed to," Vin looked at Nathan. "Is he going to be all right Nathan?"

"I will have to wait for him to wake up, Vin. I can't give you an answer yet." Nathan looked down at Ezra, at that moment he had no idea how he was going to be.

==============================================


Chris watched as Vin had rolled Ezra over, he saw the wounds on his head and the bruises on his face. He was shocked to see him here and what they had done to him. They had only expected to find Vin but to come in here and find Ezra and the state that he was in. Chris was angry, he thought that Ezra had left town again. He heard Vin tell them what happened and the man that was in the hallway was responsible for it. He turned around and left the room. He wanted to know who the man was and why he had treated Ezra the way that he did. Then he was going to return the favour.

Chris knelt down next to the man and placed his gun against his head. "Who are you and why did you do that, Ezra?"

The man just looked at him; he wasn’t going to talk. If he did then he knew that this man would kill him. He could see it in his eyes. He returned the glare.

"If you don't tell me I’m going to kill you," growled Chris.

"You’re going to kill me anyway," he smiled back at Chris.

Chris stood up and kicked the man in his wounded leg. The man grabbed his leg but he didn’t cry out. He may have preferred that someone else did his dirty work but he wasn’t a coward like his brother. He wasn’t going to give into this man.

Chris kicked him again. "Tell me who you are." Chris watched as the man gritted his teeth. He didn’t say anything to him. He didn’t think that he was going to talk. He kicked the man again just for the fun of it and he finally passed out from the pain. Chris left the house, took some rope from his saddlebag, and went back in. He dragged the man outside, tied him to one of the railings, and left him there. He then went back to see how Ezra was doing.

When he entered the room he stood back against the wall, he saw Buck leaning over Ezra pressing a cloth against his head. He had seen Buck go out and get Nathan's bag but Buck had ignored what he was doing. He watched as Buck left the room again this time to get water. As Nathan took care of Vin's hands, he watched Ezra as he lay on the bed. He watched as Nathan returned to Ezra and then cleaned the wounds after Buck had returned with the water, he watched as he bandaged Ezra's ribs and then his head. He then watched as he cleaned and bandaged Vin's wrists. He heard Vin explain what happened and heard Nathan tell him that he didn’t know if Ezra was going to be okay.

It had been four hours since they had found Vin and Ezra, Vin had since fallen asleep on the bed and Ezra had not regained consciousness. Nathan had not moved from his bedside. Buck and gone out and tried to get information out of the man that Chris had tied to the railing outside but he had no luck either.

Two more hours had passed. Vin had woken up and looked over at Ezra. "Has he woken up yet?"

Nathan looked over at him. "No not yet," he turned back to Ezra. He had not moved at all since they had walked into the room.

"It's going to be dark soon so I think that Buck and I will look after the horses and then make us something to eat," said Josiah as he walked out of the room. Buck nodded and followed him out.

Chris, Vin and Nathan stayed with Ezra.

Ezra had remained unconscious for the entire night and most of the next day. The men had taken turns sitting with him and had also taken turns trying to make the man outside talk but they could never get anything out of him. They had even thought at one time that the man was as stubborn as Ezra was. Vin had been sitting with Ezra when Nathan came into the room. He went over and checked his breathing to find that it was steady and that his pulse was becoming stronger, he couldn’t understand why he had not woken up as yet, it was midafternoon the following day so it made it more than twenty-four hours that he had been unconscious.

Ezra had woken up an hour earlier; he had heard Vin talking to him telling him that he was going to be alright, that the others had found them. When he heard this, he had decided to allow them to think that he was still asleep. He knew that if he let them know that he was awake that all they would do is ask him questions, they would want to know who that man was and he didn’t want to tell them. So he pretended that he was asleep. He heard someone else come into the room and felt a hand on his chest feeling a slight pain at the pressure on the bruises that he knew was there. He then felt a hand on his forehead. He knew that it would be Nathan. He hoped that he didn’t put his hand anywhere else, that was going to cause pain because he didn’t think that he could hide it anymore. Nathan though tested the bandage that was wrapped around his waist, Ezra couldn’t help himself, an involuntary cry of pain escaped from his lips.

"Ezra?" Nathan said.

Ezra could no longer pretend. Nathan knew that he was awake now.

"What?" He whispered. He didn’t open his eyes; he didn't want to look at anyone. He was still feeling the same emotions before all of this had happened and now feeling more since it happened. He wasn’t in a good mood. He was feeling guilty still, anger and self-disgust at what had happened in Four Corners. He was angry at what had happened here but at least the fear he felt didn’t last long and he was able to kill one of them.

Nathan looked at him. "How are you feeling, are you dizzy, feeling sick or anything like that, have you got a headache?"

"No, no and yes."

"Think that you could drink something, I can put something together that will help the headache."

"Thank you," said Ezra. He still had not opened his eyes. He heard Nathan leave the room but knew that Vin was still there.

"Hey, Ezra, want to open your eyes and look at me for a moment?" asked Vin as he leaned closer to Ezra.

"No," Ezra answered.

Vin sighed. "You have to open them sometime, may as well be now."

Ezra knew that this was true. He opened them squinting at the light that caused a pain to shoot through them. "Just don't expect me to turn my head, it hurts to much."

"Fair enough," said Vin. "You want to tell me who that guy is?"

Ezra did turn his head at that. "Is he still alive?"

Vin saw him grimace as he turned his head. "Yes, he’s the only one though, but he won't talk. Everyone has tried but he won't say anything." Vin looked him in the eye but Ezra turned away grimacing again at the pain that it caused.

"Please do not ask me, Vin, because I won’t tell you now or in the future." Ezra closed his eyes again.

Before Vin could say anything else, Nathan came into the room with a cup for Ezra. He moved to the bed. "Vin, you’re going to have to help lift Ezra up a bit so he can drink this without choking on it."

"Sure, you ready Ezra?" asked Vin.

He nodded and felt arms lift him from underneath. He gave out a small cry at the pain that came from his ribs. He quickly drank what was in the cup and coughed at the taste of it. This caused more pain to go through his body. They helped him lay back down on the bed.

"That should make you feel a bit better, Ezra." Nathan sat on the bed.

"Nathan, Vin could you please leave me alone for a while," said Ezra.

"I don't really think that I should do that, Ezra." Nathan looked at Vin with a questioning look on his face.

"Nathan, please." Ezra opened his eyes and looked at him.

Nathan could see all the emotions that were in his eyes, he could also see the pain. Nathan gave in. "Only for a while then." He got up and motioned for Vin to follow him out.

They left the room leaving Ezra alone. Nathan didn’t want to do it but when he saw the look in Ezra's eyes, he knew that he needed to be alone, but he wasn't going to leave him alone to long.

==============================================


Ezra lay alone for an hour before he tried to sit up; he had been thinking about many things, about George Lascon, about his Uncle Jack and his brother Eric and what they use to do, this also made him think about all the times that his mother had left him with family. And the longer he lay there the angrier he got about everything. He wanted to be rid of the anger. He tried to sit himself up and felt the pain that caused him to collapse back onto the bed. He lay there for a few minutes more and tried again. He managed to stay upright this time holding onto the edge of the bed while the dizziness passed and the pain eased. He then grabbed hold of the bed pole and pulled himself up. He had to steady himself again to wait for the nausea to ease. He actually thought that he was going to throw up. When he thought that, he could do it he began to walk to the door. He had his left arm wrapped around his waist to try to help the pain but it didn't. He was able to get to the door and found that he was more steady on his feet than he thought he would be.

He walked through the door only to hear Nathan telling him to go back to bed but he just pushed Nathan's arms off. Someone else tried to grab him. He didn't know who it was though. He just pushed them away. He was surprised that he managed to do anything. It was amazing what you could do when you were releasing so much anger and hatred that had built up over such a long period of time.

Ezra looked around but couldn’t see the person that he was after. "Where is he?" he asked no one in particular.

Nathan had looked up when he heard the door open and saw Ezra walking out clutching his side with his arm. He could see the pain on his face and couldn't understand how he was managing to stay on his feet. Even though it was only a short distance between them, he ran to Ezra and grabbed his free arm.

"Ezra, what are you doing up, you should be in bed." Ezra just pushed him away.

Vin moved over to help Nathan but he pushed him away as well. The others were watching not knowing what Ezra was doing. Then they heard him ask where that man was - that was the only person that he could be speaking about.

"He's out front still," Nathan answered him. "Why?"

Ezra heard the answer but didn’t acknowledge the person who gave it. He walked to the front door. He didn't see anybody else all he saw was the anger that had taken control of him. But he did see that his guns were lying on a table near the front door. The anger had allowed him to see them as they were what he needed to release the anger that had built up in him. He picked up one of his guns and walked out the front door still holding his side. The others followed him beginning to understand what he was going to do. Chris had decided that he would let Ezra only go so far and then he would stop him.

Ezra walked out to the porch and saw his Uncle sitting on the porch with a bandage wrapped around his leg. Ezra moved up to him. He pointed the gun at him. Vin went to stop Ezra but Chris held him back. "Just wait a sec, Vin, we might find out what this is about."

"And if he kills him." said Vin surprised that Chris stopped him.

"I don't think he will." Chris watched Ezra carefully though just in case. He waited for Ezra to say something but he didn't instead, he pulled the trigger.

Ezra was going to say something but he couldn't so he aimed the gun at the already bandaged leg and pulled the trigger. Eric Standish screamed when the bullet entered close to the other wound.

"Hey will somebody stop him before he kills me," he screamed.

Chris moved closer and smiled. "What makes you think that he’s going to kill you?"

"Because he . . . " but he saw the look on Ezra's face. A look that said if you say anything, I will kill you.

Ezra then aimed at the other leg and pulled the trigger again. The man on the porch screamed again.

"Stop him will you!" He was holding both wounds trying to stop the blood from flowing.

Ezra was beginning to become unsteady on his feet. He aimed again and this time Standish felt the wood splinters hit his face and the bullet lodged in the railing next to his face. Ezra aimed again but he was beginning to sway.

"That's enough," said Chris. He stepped next to Ezra and tried to take the gun out of his hand but he held on it not wanting to let it go. Chris grabbed hold of Ezra's wrist, moved it away from the man on the porch, and forcefully pulled it from Ezra's hand. Ezra turned and looked at him. Chris saw a haunted look that he had not seen since the incident with Jack Standish. Ezra walked away still managing to stay on his feet and made his way back to the room.

Chris followed him in and sat on the bed that was on the other side of the room. He watched again as Ezra sat himself down on the bed and then lay down. "Do you want to tell me what that was all about, who that guy is?" Ezra didn’t answer him. "Ezra?" Chris got up and went over to him. Ezra didn’t look at him. Chris saw a glassy expression that seemed to hold no emotions. Ezra had completely closed himself off this time. It wasn't just the wall that he usually put around himself.

"Nathan," he called.

Nathan came into the room followed by everybody else. Chris looked down at Ezra. Nathan moved to the bed and saw what Chris called him for. He could see the look in Ezra's eyes. He waved his hand in front of them but Ezra didn’t react. "He's in shock," Nathan said to the others. "Buck could you pass me those blankets on that bed. We need to keep him warm. Nathan made him as comfortable as he could and then left the room. He made the others leave also.

"Why’s he like that, Nathan?" asked Buck.

"He's been through a lot lately, Buck, and not just this. His mind has shut down, he can't take anymore. The only thing we can do is make sure that he gets plenty of fluids and food and wait until he deals with it in his own way." He was looking down. He didn’t want to see the expressions on their faces.

They had seen Ezra do many things. He was very capable of looking after himself and other people when needs be but he had trouble looking after the emotional things when it came to life. And because he didn’t know how to deal with the emotions that he was going through his mind did, what it thought would be best for him. It had shut down. He knew he would not be able to get through to Ezra; they would just have to wait until he came out of it. If he did that was.

"Josiah, could you go and sit with him, I don't want to leave him alone for a minute anymore? I’m going to fix up that guy outside and then I suggest that someone take him to the nearest town and put him in jail." He walked out then leaving the others in their own state of shock. They couldn’t understand why someone who was so strong physically couldn’t deal with his emotions. But they also knew that it had a lot to do with his mother. Josiah went into the room while the others sat down knowing that whoever stayed would be taking turns again to sit with him.

When Josiah went in Ezra was still lying on the bed with his eyes open. He was just looking sideways at the wall. "Ezra, can you hear me?" Josiah didn’t think that he would talk but he had to try anyway.

After Nathan had taken care of the man on the porch, it was decided that Buck and Chris would take him to a town and then go back to Four Corners. Nathan said that they would wait a couple of days to see how Ezra would go and then see if they could get him back home. Once Chris and Buck had left Nathan went back to check on Ezra. He had fallen asleep and stayed that way for two days. Nathan worried the whole time as they were not able to get any fluids into him.

They had taken turns sitting with him and talking to him hoping to wake him up but it didn't work. It was Nathan who was sitting with him when he did finally wake up. He didn't make any noise, just opened his eyes and looked at Nathan.

"Ezra?" Hoping that he would answer him. But he didn't. Nathan saw the glassy look was gone though.

"Glad to have you back. I'm going to go and get you some water and something to eat. And I don't want to hear any arguments from you okay."

Ezra nodded and forced a smile onto his face.

It was another day before they left for Four Corners. They each tried to get Ezra into conversation but he had not said a word since he woke up. The glassy look was gone from his eyes but he was just not talking which was something that they couldn’t handle because usually they found it hard to shut him up.

When they got back home, Chris and Buck were standing on the porch of the saloon with JD. They had told him everything that happened. All three were glad to see Ezra riding in with the others but when they stopped, he got off his horse and walked straight into the saloon without saying a word.

"He okay?" asked Chris.

"Not sure, he hasn't said a word since he woke up yesterday. Can't get anything out of him," Nathan looked at him. "I haven't seen him this bad before. I know he has been through a lot but this, I just don't know."

They went inside and found Ezra sitting at one of the tables, they went over and sat down with him. Ezra didn’t look up when they did. They sat with him until he got up and made his way to his room. Josiah went to get up but looked back at Nathan when he held his arm.

"Leave him be, Josiah, he has to work this out himself. We just have to wait for him to come back."
Josiah nodded and sat back down again. They all sat there quietly wishing that they could help their friend knowing that they couldn’t. It was up to Ezra now; all they could do was wait.



The End





Part One | Part Two | Part Three


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