azombiewrites: (The Magnificent Seven)
[personal profile] azombiewrites
Title: A Life for a Life
Rating: PG
Fandom: The Magnificent Seven
Category: OW
Main Characters: Ezra, Chris and the rest of the seven.
Disclaimers: The guys are owned by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, and The Mirisch Corp.
Summary: Death Fic - A bank robbery goes bad and one of the seven is mistakenly shot by one of their own.
Spoilers: None
Status: Complete




A Life for a Life



The gunshots echoed through Four Corners as the bank robbers tried to make their escape. They were not succeeding. Four of the six gang members were already down. Three dead and one seriously wounded. The gang had gone head to head with the seven lawmen who protected the town and they were losing. If they had known what they would be up against they would have just kept going. What they needed was something to turn the fight around. The two remaining gunmen were willing to do anything to get out alive. They had already left the stolen money behind in the middle of the street with one of their dead friends. They had no intention of joining them.

Henson, the leader of the failing group looked around his surrounding area for a means of escape. His partner in crime was positioned across the street near the bank. He nodded to him, his friend was going to give him cover while he carried out his plan. What his friend didn't know was that it was now every man for themselves. He had to get away, he wasn't going to be buried without a name. They didn't know who he was and he wasn't a wanted man. He saw a flash of red. He ducked as the shot passed close to his head and he began to crawl towards the store behind him. He hoped the man in red would follow him. He did.

***************************************


Ezra Standish, one of the seven lawmen that were getting the upper hand with the bank robbers, saw one of the remaining two enter the general store. He knew there were people in there that the man could used as hostages. The gambler raised his gun to take a shot, but it was too risky. The large store window was behind the enemy. If he shot and missed, the bullet could hit an innocent bystander. It had happened to JD once, it wasn't going to happen to him.

He had to make a quick decision. He had to either go for the front door or the back. He looked over his shoulder to see that the others were pinned down. He was on his own. That was okay. He had taken care of himself before, this was no different to those times. He decided to go for the back door, the man would be expecting him to go through the front. Ezra quietly made his way down the alley, he stopped when he heard a scream from inside in the store. It sounded like Mrs Potter. He thought of the widow and her two children, the last thing he wanted was for them to become orphans. Although Ezra had a mother, she had left him alone often enough for him to know what it felt like to be an orphan.

Ezra made it to the back entrance without an incident occurring. He stepped up to the door, it was open. Someone had left in a hurry. He knew it wasn't the bank robber. He hadn't had time. Ezra stepped through the door into the back storeroom. It was empty of human life. He walked slowly towards the door that led into the large store. It was slightly ajar. He looked through the opening for any sign of the outlaw. He didn't see him. Ezra had only one option left, he had to go into the store. He wasn't going to allow Mrs Potter or anyone else in there to loose their lives.

Another scream arose from within the building. It was a child's scream. Ezra burst through into the store to find the man he was trying to stop holding the Potter child hostage. Ezra could see the fear in the young girl's brown eyes. Her mother was pleading with the man to let her go. The gambler saw the mourning process begin, she thought her daughter was going to die at the hands of the bank robber.

"Put your gun down or the girl here dies." The heavy set man growled at him.

Ezra couldn't help but smile. It was what every bad guy with a hostage said. But the smile dropped from his face when the man caused the Potter girl to scream in pain. After the man repeated his threat, Ezra put his gun down on the counter beside him. He stepped away from it. Ezra listened as the gunshots continued the game outside but now he was in a game of his own.

"Move away from it." Henson smiled as an idea came to him. "Take off your jacket, vest and shirt."

The fear in the hostage's eyes caused Ezra to do as he was told without any hesitation. When he removed the jacket, the man who had his gun pressed against the young child's head, saw the shoulder gun and derringer. Ezra didn't wait to be told, he took them off. The man nodded towards the far wall. Ezra moved in that direction without taking his eyes off the man.

"Lie down." Henson ordered him. He watched as the half naked man before him hesitated. "They won't be hurt if you do as your told. It's not them I want."

Ezra once again did as he was told. He lay on the ground for a few minutes before he was told to get up again. He waited for another gunshot to sound outside but it didn't happen. The rest of the gun fight was over. He stood up and turned around to find the man wearing his clothing. The red jacket was a tight fit but in the darkness that was beginning to fall, it could fool the others.

"Put my clothes on."

"What?" Ezra slipped his tongue over his lower lip.

"You heard me." Henson wasn't going to repeat himself.

Ezra put on the dirty shirt and jacket. It was a baggy fit but his friends might not be able to tell the difference in the dark. The man was going to pretend to be him and make his escape. Ezra stood where he was as the man let the young girl go. Ezra felt the tension leave his body when he saw the look of relief on the mother's face. She took her daughter into her arms and kissed her. She then looked towards Ezra, the fear was still in her eyes. Ezra realised the fear was for him.

"Move." Henson used his gun to point to the store room door.

Ezra started to head towards it when he saw movement near the back door. It had to be one of the others. He waited for his chance. It came a moment later when Chris Larabee yelled at Ezra to stop. Ezra was about to yell out to him to tell him that he wasn't the enemy, that he was just dressed in his clothes, when the gunman grabbed him from behind. Ezra began to struggle against him when he saw his gun pass his face as the man took aim at his leader. He had only been struggling for a few seconds when he felt the hot agony of a bullet as it entered his chest. He looked towards Chris as he felt death coming for him. His leader was staring at him. Ezra saw the recognition enter the blue eyes and then nothing else as his eyes closed and Henson allowed him to fall to the floor.

*************************************


Chris was finally able to move from his wall of safety, the moment the last gunman was down. He broke his cover and ran towards the alley that led to the back entrance of the General store. He had seen Ezra head that way after one of the bank robbers. He had to make sure the gambler was alright, he hadn't heard any gunshots coming from the area but that didn't give him any reassurance. Ezra had a way of finding trouble that didn't always involve violence. When the dark clad gunslinger made it to the back entrance he found it swinging open in the breeze. He had taken the time to be careful in the darkness that was beginning to fill the alley, but he knew the gunman wasn't waiting for him. He looked into the doorway, but all he could see was more darkness. He heard voices inside but couldn't make out the words. He saw the redness of Ezra's jacket behind another figure. Ezra had caught the bank robber. Chris was about to relax when he saw the gunman begin to struggle with the Southerner. The man was beginning to get the upper hand and Chris decided to fire his gun. His intention was to injure the man but as they struggled he moved his upper body into the line of fire.

Chris stepped further into the building and saw the face of the gunman more clearly, it was Ezra. The leader of the seven saw the blood seeping slowly from Ezra's chest before he fell to the ground. He quickly recovered as he saw the gun that was held by the man wearing Ezra's jacket move in his direction. He fired again and killed the man instantly. Once he knew the danger was gone he allowed his gun arm to fall to his side. He stepped slowly forward and looked down into the face of the man that was lying on the floor. Ezra's eyes were open, the life was slowly leaving them. Chris looked at the wound in the gambler's chest, the wound that he had caused. He dropped his gun when he saw that the chest was not moving anymore. It was no longer rising or falling. He stepped back and turned away from the man he had killed.

"Nathan . . . " It was only a coarse whisper that left his tight throat. He could feel the tightness moving down to his chest and stomach. "Nathan!" This time his voice was stronger. He could hear the footsteps running towards him. He refused to turn around and look at the body on the floor. He couldn't look at the man he had killed. The man had been a friend, someone who would give his life for him and know he took his in an error of misjudgment. Chris felt the guilt as it began to build within him. He didn't think he could go through all of that again.

"Chris?" Nathan had run even faster when he heard Chris' call. He found him standing in the door way with his head down. "Are you hurt?" He touched his arm and Chris flinched back from him. He had made a mistake, he couldn't work with these men anymore. He would have to leave.

"No." He lifted his eyes and was grateful that Nathan was looking past him but he looked back down when he saw Vin move closer to him. "Ezra . . . I killed him . . . swapped clothes . . . killed Ezra by mistake."

"What?" Nathan couldn't believe what he had heard.

"I said I killed him!" Chris yelled into Nathan's face. "I killed Ezra!!" Chris pushed past his friends and made his way down the alley. He had to get away, he headed towards the livery.

Nathan and Vin watched Chris move away from them and then headed into the General store. They first moved to the man in the red jacket. He was lying on his back. Nathan rolled him over. "It's not Ezra, Chris was wrong."

"Chris said they swapped clothes." Vin reminded him as he watched the still form of the second figure. He knew what Chris had been talking about. He thought he shot the gunman but it was Ezra.

Nathan moved to the other form. Mrs Potter joined him at his side. Nathan looked down into the open eyes and placed a hand on his chest. He held his breath and waited for the movement of his breathing. There was no movement. "Shit Ezra, not you, not now."

"Nathan?" Vin asked from behind him. He watched as Nathan shook his head.

Nathan continued to watch Ezra. He had allowed his own breath to be released as he began to mourn their loss. Vin knelt down beside him and picked up Ezra's hand. He gripped it tightly feeling the warmth still in them. "His hands are warm Nathan."

Nathan took the hand from Vin and felt the heat that was still emanating from the gambler. "Ezra!" Nathan leaned over him and slapped his face.

Ezra blinked and closed his eyes. His chest moved but the movement was so slight that Nathan was only just aware of it. The Southerner was barely breathing but he was alive. "We have to get him to the clinic."

***************************************



Ezra had laid there, his body unwilling to co-operate with his brain. He wanted to breath but it was difficult, only small amounts of air made it to his lungs. He wanted to take a deep breath but it hurt too much. Even his eyes wouldn't work. Was this death? Would he have to suffer the expressions of his friends, see the pain on their faces. He couldn't close his eyes. He saw Chris lean over him, heard him yell for Nathan, he listened as Chris told them that he had killed him. No he was still alive. Were they going to think that he was dead and take him to the undertakers. He had to let them know he was alive, he had to relieve Chris of any guilt that he was feeling. But he couldn't move.

Ezra saw Nathan and Mrs Potter then Vin. He felt Vin lift his hand and squeeze it, he tried to return the emotion but he couldn't find the strength to grip his friend's hand. Then he heard the words that brought him some relief, after that he felt the hand as it hit him. Must have been Nathan, likes doing that to me. Ezra then felt someone lift him up into strong arms. Josiah. A young voice asked how he was. JD and where JD was, Buck was sure to follow. He felt the chill of the night as it hit his warm skin. Where was Chris? Ezra tried to open his mouth to ask for him but that part of his body didn't work either.

He drifted off but the sudden pain that flared up in his chest caused his body to begin it's work. He fought against the hands that held him down. He knew they were helping him but his body instinctively tried to get away from the pain. He wanted to relax but couldn't. He saw the blackness at the edge of his vision but it wouldn't come for him.

"I'm almost finished Ezra . . . just a few seconds more . . . got it." Nathan was speaking to Ezra, hoping that his voice would give him some sort of comfort to help him through it. He began to clean the wound then bandage it.

"Chris?" Ezra gasped out. He didn't have to say anymore, he knew they would know what he wanted.

"Vin's looking for him Ezra, they'll be back soon." Josiah assured him.

Ezra closed his eyes and berated the darkness that came for him after Nathan had finished.

"Is he going to be okay?" JD asked from the foot of the bed.

"Yeah, bullet just missed his heart, must have been in some sort of shock there for a while. We thought he was dead, didn't seem to be breathing or anything."

"So now we just have to let Chris know." Buck grimaced. He knew how his friend would be reacting to the thought that he had killed Ezra. He didn't think that he could go through it again.


***************************************



And neither did Chris. He sat on the porch of his cabin. An empty bottle of whiskey lay on the floor next to him. His right hand held his gun. His mind was full of torment and guilt. He didn't want to go through it again. He didn't want to live with the guilt. Not again. He lifted the gun to his head and after seeing Ezra's lifeless eyes one too many times, he pulled the trigger.

And that's how Vin found him. The leader of the group was sitting in his chair, his arm hanging towards the floor, the gun sat on the porch next to his fingers. His head was leaning back, the blood had soaked half of his face. A man who had already died of guilt because of his wife and son's deaths died again, but this time it was a physical death. He left the world to join his family not knowing that Ezra Standish still lived.


The End


Notes: This story was based on a dream I had. I thought about changing the ending because suicide is something I know Chris would never do but I decided to write it just as it happened in the dream.






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