The Magnificent Seven

Every Little Thing He Does

Author: Birgitt Schuknecht (
Fandom: Magnificent Seven
Universe: Old West
Archive: Shendara's Magnificent Seven Page
Characters: Chris, Ezra
Rating: PG
Category: vignette/missing scene
Feedback: feeds them plotbunnies
Spoiler: for Ghosts of the Confederacy
Timeline: Ghosts of the Confederacy: after the first engagement with Anderson's unit
Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to the characters and related events from the television show The Magnificent Seven; those property rights belong to MGM, CBS and Trilogy Entertainment and I do not intend any infringement of those rights. The story is mine; no material gain will be made from this.
Word count: 1,641 (header and notes not included)
Date: 2002-07-11

Author's Note:
This sprang on me two nights ago while listening to Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by The Police. This piece has virtually nothing to do with the song - I just based its title on said song!

Damn, Larabee, yer past running off. Ya coulda turned yer back on Jackson or told the chief what to do with his damn gold for all ya cared but yer cannot run off now. Get rid off that bile and let the booze take ya to the other side since ya need to RELAX! Hell, ya need to be yer best t'morrow! Chris Larabee swore silently, cursed his volcano temper and the lack of asses begging to be kicked. Looking around he could see all the signs of the exuberant joy that sprang from a victorious fight. A merriment a bit too flashy and too loud to be... lasting.

JD's scornful and outrageous reaction to his admittedly blunt advice had triggered not only memories, but also fears of things to come. And it didn't help to know that nobody was to blame but himself. Nobody had forced him to save Jackson's neck, nobody had forced him to accept Tastanagi's poor offer, nobody had forced him to side with a bunch of maniacs driven by the devil knew-what to join him in a ride to hell with no guarantee of a come-back. He knew his own reasons. Or better, the lack thereof. Lack of reason to settle down, to live another day, to face destiny like a sane being would. Chris was blade running, had been doing that since he'd seen hell-mouth opening before him, daring him to enter. He'd been too much of a coward to meet destiny then and there - and now he took every opportunity to rectify fate, only to discover each morning that he'd managed to survive another day.

Now it seemed he'd found himself a challenge that might be his downfall. And not only his but that of a whole village and of the six other men. So instead of just ending his miserable existence by pressing the muzzle of a gun against his temple just below the hairline and pulling the trigger in what would be a mercy not only for himself but for the goddamn world-- No, ya stupid bastard have to take on responsibility. Join ranks. Get attached. Feel for them. This is war! Ya knows what happens in war. Strangers turn brothers, deserts turn home, life tastes so sweet...

It had been their own decision, their own idiocy to follow him. Still, he felt responsible. They looked at him as leader and he didn't argue their resolution. Fool, silence means consent. Ain't that difficult to remember! Chris felt trapped and he knew there was no way he could allow animal instincts kick in. Or let them run free. So he finally left the others to their own struggles: JD recovering from his first rendezvous with death, Buck recovering from the fear of losing a friend, or better - no, worse! - a charge, Josiah recovering from the realisation that his black birds weren't as interested in him as he was in them. He left them just in time before he couldn't refuse to join them in a circle too close to fight off his demons.

Chris left the little make-shift camp, left the presence of Tastanagi with his seemingly innocent remarks and his too knowing eyes, searching for a place where he'd be able to cool down. He passed the fire where Jackson still let himself be fed by that beautiful girl, Rain. Man, he sure deserved the treatment. Fought well in more than one battle.

As he neared the edge of the clearing, he saw a small fire, informing him the place he'd aimed for had already been taken. With Vin being the first watch that left only one of the others unaccounted for - Standish. Hell, when did he leave the festivities? Hadn't he just been showing some card tricks to a bunch of village kids? Chris felt his temper, having cooled a bit by the walk through the chilly night air, flaring up again, reaching another peak. Every little thing Standish did ignited an impossibly short fuse inside him he hadn't even known existed. Leave him alone. Chris grinned ferally. Nope. Standish's just what the doctor ordered... That fire! Yeah, that's it. Teach him a lesson about safety, about not following implicitly given orders.

Chris knew he was being illogical and he was going to be unfair. There was no real danger. Anderson wouldn't risk an attack during the night; the terrain too steep and rocky; his men would break their necks if they'd tried anything. If there had been only a slight chance of being attacked he'd never allowed the others to drink or Vin to go off on his own - that watch was only an excuse for the man to be on his own. Chris was okay with it. Hell, he was okay with Vin. He was okay with the others. Save one...

What Chris found amusing or admirable in the others let his blood boil when he saw it in Standish. Vin's independence - Chris granted him any moment of much needed solitude. Standish isolated himself, too arrogant and proud to fit in. Josiah's golden-tongued but nonetheless honest comments proved him to be a wise man who hadn't all the answers but who knew to ask the right questions. Standish's fancy talk revealed a man who'd never put his money where his mouth was, except on a filthy poker table. Buck's charming ways meant no harm, at least not for the male part of humankind; Standish used his to wriggle out of any scheme he'd set up to further his own advantage. JD's enthusiasm and playfulness coloured his perception of the entire world, Standish put his into an endless string of cons, great or small. Jackson dedication and skill for healing found their distorted counterpart in Standish's proficiency with cards and coins.

Knew him for what he is on first sight. He's a waste, makes absolutely no sense. Odd man out. Twists and turns, all the way. His joining them, complaining about the hardship of travel one minute - sleeping like a log in the next, equally dextrous with both cards and weapons - awkwardness bordering on clumsiness when given a task involving manual labour... Chris had witnessed how he'd employed the children of the village in preparing the straw puppets, obviously letting them do all the work for him.

Yes, Chris was going to be unfair. He was entitled to... He was pissed. Before he could further approach the solitary figure standing a little apart from the fire, arms wrapped around himself, he saw a movement out of the corner of his eye. Instinctively he crouched on the ground, weapon ready and aiming before his right knee touched the ground. What the--

"Ezra, Ezra!" The small figure darted towards Standish who turned and met the assault with hands outstretched.

"Whoa there! We wouldn't want to alert the entire community, would we?" The boy nodded and Standish knelt down, grabbing the shoulder of his late visitor, listening to the agitated but now whispered tale the little one was relating to him. Chris re-holstered his gun. He recognised the kid who had appeared to be all but glued to Standish's side during most of the day. When the boy had ended Standish rose gracefully, scooping up him in his arms, a bit awkwardly. That shoulder... must still be hurting...

Standish walked over to the spot where he'd placed his blanket and saddle. He sat down, leaned against the saddle and wrapped the blanket around the boy, cradling him in his arms. Then he placed his chin on the unruly mob of hair, started talking, in a low voice, making it impossible for Chris to understand. For all he knew he could be teaching the kid the finesses of cheating in a card game... Eventually Standish fell silent, apparently the kid had fallen asleep. Slowly he bent forward, placing a kiss on the boy's head, remaining for a few moments in that posture. He carefully rose, making his way over to the small buildings...

Chris swore silently. Damn you, Standish, can't ya do even one thing right? Denying a man a much needed fight... He remembered the fascination of the children. They'd flocked around Standish almost the second their band had entered the village. The first attraction might have been his fancy clothes, the wonder being increased by his manners and the way he'd talked to even the littlest of them. After Chris had assigned the men their respective tasks Standish hadn't needed long to engage the kids in helping him. Hell, he'd lured them into doing all the work... When the traps had been set he'd demonstrated his tricks and the spell had been complete. One or the other parent had addressed Standish, worried for their offspring, but he had countered with a ready smile and an elaborate explanation and they'd left, apparently placated. Every little thing he does is magic... Dammit, Larabee, get a grip. That man is a born cheat...

Nevertheless, there was that thought nagging at him. It would be careless and in consequence dangerous to ignore the effects of Standish's scheming. The kids had been distracted successfully, fear and agitation had been replaced by enthusiasm and determination. The oldest of them, the boy Standish had just gone to return to his family among them, had even taken an active part in the skirmish, springing the devices they'd prepared themselves... Chris couldn't blind himself enough with his prejudices to believe that Standish had been unaware of all that. He'd formed a bond and a fruitful one at that. Ya do not even know that boy's name... And he risked his life in the fight...

The anger was gone and had left confusion in its wake. Maybe Standish added up after all. Maybe Chris just hadn't figured out how to reckon him...

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