A Slight Case Of Indifference
(ATF)

by Kimber

Disclaimer: Don't own them, but if I did they'd still be on the boob tube.


Ezra looked on as his one time lover was committing himself to someone else, each man flanked by their best friend. He felt like his heart was breaking, but keep it all inside. No one knew that they had once been lovers; at least for him it was as if they were lovers. The other person had never progressed past the fuck buddies part of their relationship.

He looked around and noticed how happy everyone was for the couple, but knew that none of them would have been as supportive if he was one of the men now standing before them exchanging their vows. Ezra found he could no longer shake himself from the depressive mood that was starting to weigh him down.

Standish knew he needed to take his leave soon, but there was no excuse that he could think of he to use that would not alert his ex- lover. He needed to maintain the appearance of indifference, however slight it might be. There was no way he would be the one too break up the group of men he'd come to think of as family.

Nathan and Rain sat on his left, Josiah on right. Both men exchanged glances behind the undercover agent, conveying how worried they were for the man. They knew that Ezra and Chris had once been lovers, who in their right mind wouldn't have seen the attraction and feel the heated passion between the two men.

Sanchez wanted to hurt Chris for hurting the young man beside him. He knew from the beginning that there was something special between Chris and Buck, and hated that Larabee had used Ezra like he did. But then he wasn't Chris, maybe he did love them both but Wilmington was what he really needed to settle down. Josiah had seen the worried glances Chris had sent their undercover agent's way throughout the day.

Vin stood next to Chris acting as best man to his best friend. The one thing he was going to do when it was the right time was inform is best friend his intent of claiming Ezra as his own. He had patiently stood by allowing Chris the chance to work out whom it was he wanted in his life, knowing Ezra loved the hardheaded fool. But he had promised himself if Larabee chose Buck, then Standish would be his for a lifetime.

The ceremony was over in a matter of minutes, ending with the kiss of all kisses. `That is `til I kiss Ezra like this next year.' Vin smiled to himself.

Tanner made his way over to where the southerner was standing off to the side. He could see the sadness in the green eyes as they looked out over the yard. The ceremony itself was held at Larabee's ranch, outside, with the food set up inside the house with chairs and tables strung everywhere for the reception. Then he watched as the shutters came down, as he got closer to his target. `Damn, Ezra I will make them shutters go away whenever you look at me, I promise.'

"Hey, Ez, come dine with me." Vin grinned.

"Sorry, but I'm not-"

Vin never let him finish, "Sorry, my ass, come one." The sharpshooter gently took the southerner's hand a tugged him along with him to the kitchen.

Ezra didn't want to make a public scene and allowed Tanner to lead him toward the house. He was about to lay into the man when Nettie called them over to the serving table. "Well, boys. I hope ya brought your appetites."

"Why, Miss Nettie you bet we did." Vin winked at the older lady as she smiled knowingly at him.

She was the only person that knew his true feelings for the undercover agent and had offered her support and best wishes. She had told him that to win a man like Ezra was to make him feel loved and not lusted for. "Prove to him he is the only one you want in your life as a life long partner." She had said. The woman had never liked Maude, and blamed her for all that was wrong with Ezra's ability to trust others or let them in.

Vin looked over at Ezra and winked, "I find myself very hungry." He looked Ezra up and down and letting a little of the hunger he felt for the man show in his eyes.

Ezra looked at the sharpshooter, shocked at the way the man was looking at him. `I feel like I'm on the menu.'

Tanner walked over and grabbed the two plates that Nettie was holding. "Come on Ez, let's find a table."

Now instead of him being led he followed the Texan as they again went outside. They walked until they came to a table on the outskirts of the crowd, giving them some privacy, having grabbed a couple beers on the way.

Both men took a seat as Vin placed the plate of food in front of the southerner. "Don't have to eat it all, but would like to see ya eat as much as you can."

Ezra stared up at the other man and noticed the care and worry in the man's eyes. "I will do my best, Mr. Tanner."

"Vin, I want you to call me Vin." Tanner smiled gently.

The undercover agent noticed the warmth and something else in the man's eyes he had never seen before, `or maybe I never noticed it in the past.'

"Ez, can I come over tomorrow?"

Ezra looked at the man with a guarded expression, "Why Mr.I mean Vin, would you want to come over tomorrow?"

Vin put down his fork and leaned his arms on the table. He looked straight into the green eyes he'd been dreaming about ever since he'd first met the man. "I want to come over and talk with you. You see I have plans for us and I just thought I would let you know what they were."

"You have plans for us?" Ezra asked.

Vin shook his head yes, "Oh, yes. I have plans for us."

"Would you care to enlighten me now, or must I worry all night long that you are taking me somewhere I'd prefer not to go." Ezra drawled.

"Are you tellin' me you don't want to go to heaven, Ez, cause I want to take you to heaven and beyond." Vin chuckled at the shocked look on his soon to be lover's face.

Ezra felt his chest tighten, as he felt the heat of desire radiating from the blue eyes of one Vincent Tanner. "I will not be used, again."

"Not planning on using you, just giving you everything you deserve and more."

"And what do you know of what I deserve?" Ezra snarled.

"You deserve to be loved for the rest of your natural born days," Vin purred, "and I'm just the man for the job."

"Vin-"

"Tomorrow Ezra, now eat, before I take you into the barn and show you how I'd like to work up an appetite." Vin winked, as he took a slow bite of fried chicken, sensually licking the meats juice off his lips, all the while devouring the man across from his with his eyes.

They finished their meal in silence, Tanner amazed at how much the southerner actually ate. Ezra was surprised at how hungry he was, not surprising since he'd not eaten anything today and very little the day before.

The reception continued on through the evening, with Ezra finding it easier to offer his well wishes to the happy couple with Vin by his side. He found it easier to smile when people would randomly come up and say what a handsome couple Chris and Buck made. It didn't stab him in the heart as much now as it did before the ceremony. Maybe it had to do with he could not get a set of blue eyes out of his head and the promise of tomorrow.

Epilogue

Ezra found it hard to catch his breath; he had never been made love to for so long or so intense that he could ever remember.

"I think I'm dying, and if so what a sweet death it is." Ezra drawled, as he turned on his side to cuddle next to the man that made him feel this way.

"I know what you mean, baby," Vin's voice still raspy from the spent passion of loving his reason for living.

Ezra's eyes began to drift shut when his lover cleared his throat and said, "Ezra, it's a year and it's time for me to ask you that question."

"Must it be now, I just want to feel your arms around me before I slumber." Standish softy replied.

"Well, could mean the difference between life and death, mine that is." Vin's voice was serious, bringing his lover fully awake and aware of the nature of the conversation.

"Then you have my full attention." Ezra could not keep the insecurity out of his voice. He knew Vin was going to ask they to break up or back off a little bit.

Vin rolled them till he was on top, so he could watch the windows to his life mate's soul, looking for any signs that his lover would be lying to him. He was shocked at the look of sad acceptance and realized that his lover had thought he was going to break it off, `after tonight he will never have any reason to doubt my love again, but if he does I will be more than happy to show him how wrong he is.'

"Ezra P. Standish, I love you with all my heart and wish to ask for your hand in marriage." Vin leaned down and rubbed his nose against his lover's.

"Marry, you want to marry me?" Ezra was barely able to keep the shock out of his voice.

"Only you, I want to spend the rest of my life with you." Vin vowed.

Ezra felt a weight lift off his chest as he started to believe that he had finally found what he had been looking for all his life. He had started to believe it was never going to happen and had settled for a sexual relationship with another man, just a slight case of indifference that led him to where he was now. Now he had the man of his dreams, the one man that showed him what true love and understanding was all about, and the patience to help him find his way home.

Ezra used his legs to reverse their positions as he now was on top, looking down at his lover and soul mate. "Mr. Tanner, I would find it an honor and a privilege to accept your proposal of marriage. You see I love you with everything that is mine to give and wish nothing more than to spend the rest of my life showing you."

Vin's hands traveled down and gently cupped Ezra's bottom. "You can show me right now if you'd like."

Ezra smiled as he started to move seductively against his lover and reply, "With pleasure my love."

One month later two men stood outside facing each other while a small group of people gathered around to watch them say their vows to one another. The only person standing up with them as their witness was an older woman, who could not stop the tears falling as she watched the two men promise themselves to each other with their hearts showing in their eyes. Nettie was very happy for her two men.

Chris smiled as he remembered Vin's words to him a year ago, "You made your choice, now understand me. I'm going to make Ezra mine, and if you stand in my way I will knock you down. You may not have noticed, cause you wasn't really looking, but you broke his heart. Now it's up to me to fix it."

`Well, Tanner, you worked your magic and made him whole. Something I did not have the patience to do.' Chris smiled, as he reached over and squeezed his lover's hand.

Ezra smiled as he heard the compliments from those gathered, "What a handsome couple they make." The words made him smile at his lover and realize he was home, and home was wherever his true love took him. He turned and noticed the five men that he'd come to care about like brothers smiling happily for him and Vin.

"Love you, Ez."

"I love you as well, my love." Ezra leaned in and kissed Vin with more passion then anyone had ever seen him publicly demonstrate before. "Forever, to heaven and beyond."

"Damn straight," Vin growled, right before he pulled his southerner back for another soul-searching kiss.

Five voices were heard offering a toast to the cheering crowd, "To heaven and beyond."

THE END
well, of this story...

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