Disclaimer: Okay, here goes. They don't belong to me, I didn't create 'em, I'm just "borrowing" them for a little fun. (Trust me, they enjoyed it. :) I'm not makin' any money off of this, I just needed to get it out of my head before my Muse hurt me severely.
Ratings/Pairings: NC-17 for (m/f) Ezra & Inez
By Laura H.
Inez absently wiped the bar down with a rag, her mind wandering away. It had been two days since the seven men had disappeared from the town, riding after a group of rustlers. During that time, the dark woman had found she missed their comforting presence. Just the quiet way Chris Larabee and Vin Tanner sat for hours gave her a feeling of safety. Her eyes drifted to an empty table. Usually, it would be filled by anyone foolish enough to mention poker in the presence of Ezra Standish. But, as it had been since they left, the table remained empty. Inez realized she missed the ruffling sound of the cards as Ezra's long fingers coaxed them to do his bidding.
A shiver passed through her as she thought not just of the way his fingers and hands moved, but his whole body. He had a simple grace and elegance to his form that concealed so much inside of him. Inez thought she had seen that inner man once or twice, but never on the outside of that controlled form. Always, the flashes of who he was capable of being came from those deep green eyes that could hold anyone in their drowning embrace.
Inez looked up as she heard someone running down the boardwalk outside. Mary's form flew by, her blonde hair streaming behind her. Inez and the few men at the bar walked outside to investigate. A sigh of relief passed through her body as Inez quickly identified the seven gunmen amongst the twelve that rode in. The others she assumed to be their now captive rustlers. A flash of worry crossed her features as they stiffly dismounted, more than one moving as if injured. The five rustlers were dragged from their mounts and literally thrown into the jail by Buck and JD. Her eyes found the object of her search, and Inez watched as Ezra leaned heavily against his horse.
Ezra took strength from his mount, allowing himself to lean heavily against the horse for a moment. A hard ride to catch them, the fight afterwards, and then another long ride back. Ezra winced as he breathed too deeply, his bruised ribs protesting the movement. The fight had begun with a shot, but ended with fists as the men tried to circle round their attackers. Ezra closed his eyes as he remembered his opponent. Lady Luck had apparently wanted to pay him back for leaving his poker table to go on the venture and sent him the biggest of the bunch. Outweighed by about twenty pounds, the small gambler had been hard pressed to keep himself from being turned into raw meat by the outlaw. He had come out of the fight with a busted and now swollen lip, a cut above his left eye, some bruised ribs, and a number of other minor injuries.
The others had come out about the same, some worse than others. Ezra watched the man in black as Chris allowed Nathan to check the temporary bandage that had been put on his arm to stop the bleeding from a knife wound Larabee had received. JD and Buck had matching black eyes, Josiah's face was marked by a dark bruise on his jaw, and Nathan and Vin had bruised knuckles. Ezra allowed a small grin to touch his face as he remembered watching them and their opponents. Both men knew how to fight with their fists and Ezra had felt he was watching a professional match.
It was decided that JD and Buck would watch the prisoners. Josiah wandered down to the stable to put away his horse, Vin following him as they both led away the extra horses. Ezra watched as Mary Travis cautiously reached out to the men's leader. Chris turned to her and smiled softly, the harshness leaving his face to be replaced by a look of tired comfort. Chris brushed Mary's hair back from her face before offering her his arm. She took it and they both started down towards Nathan's clinic. Ezra watched, his face revealing none of the violent emotions that tore through him. He was startled from his silent reverie by Nathan's gentle touch on his arm. Jumping slightly, the gambler hissed in pain from his ribs.
"Maybe I should take a look at them ribs again, Ezra." The healer took Ezra's chin in his hand, turning the smaller man's face so he could look at the bruised visage. "Might oughtta keep you at the clinic tonight too. That guy clipped you pretty good." Ezra gently removed himself from Nathan's grasp, backing up without being rude as only Ezra could do.
"I thank you for your concern, Mr. Jackson. However, it is nothing that a good night's rest in my own bed will not help to cure. Good night, sir." Ezra slowly walked towards the stable, unaware of the dark gaze that followed his every move.
Inez dried a glass, her eyes never leaving the table that now seemed much happier that it's occupant had returned home. /It's not the only one,/ she thought to herself. She had long since stopped denying the raw attraction she felt towards the quiet gambler. Everything was back as it should be. Or was it? Inez had noticed, after they first arrived back in town, that once again, Ezra's true self was in his eyes. While he had watched Chris and Mary stroll away, she had watched him, seeing the flash in his eyes. Longing, need, and finally sorrowful resignation. She couldn't bring herself to picture that Ezra resented Chris for having Mary. In fact, he often praised the two when they weren't around. The only reasons she could come up with for such a reaction to the scene was a longing for what Ezra thought he himself could never find.
Ezra shuffled the cards as usual, only slower because of hands still being sore. Inez swore that his hands were even more loving and caressing of the cards at this slower pace and her breath caught in her throat at the thought of his hands moving over her, bringing out every pleasure to its fullest. She just barely caught the glass as it slipped from her inattentive fingers, blushing strongly even though no one could have known what she was thinking.
Nathan rose from the back table, unusually, the last to leave. He had been watching Ezra, hoping the man would go up to his room of his own accord. However, Ezra seemed to be quite content right where he was. He watched Ezra take another pull from his flask. /Hell, I'd be pretty content too,/ he thought. He knew that the contents of the flask where hardly enough to make Ezra drunk, but it was a comfort and was probably deadening the dull pain of his injuries. He placed a hand on the gambler's shoulder, once again startling the other man.
"Mr. Jackson. May I interest you in a game?" Nathan shook his head and watched Ezra's eyes for any glimpse of concussion or other injury. Ezra's emerald orbs stared clearly back at him, hiding his feelings and thoughts.
"Nope. I'm gonna get me some sleep. You'd better do that yourself, ya hear, Ezra?" It was more of an order than a concerned suggestion. Ezra nodded, not promising anything to the healer. Nathan noticed this and walked out, his soft voice mumbling about the stubbornness of a certain Southern gambler.
Ezra laid out a game of solitaire on the table, but his mind was still moving through other memories. Each one always ended with him alone, no one to care about his well-being or his battered heart. They started from his childhood when his mother took care of him at her convenience, and then continued on into his adult life. He had had several affairs, but Ezra had never, not even once, felt the soft twinge of caring that had passed between other couples he watched. Just the simplest move of Chris smoothing Mary's hair had enclosed more caring and feeling in it than the wildest night of sexual pleasure. He was glad that someone had been able to draw Chris out of his usual depression, but found himself slipping into one of his own as he realized that the others had all gone off to something, while all he had was a deck of cards and a flask of whiskey. Sighing, he took another drink.
A noise made him look up. The last man had just left the saloon, leaving just himself and Inez. She started as his eyes focused on her, blushing at being caught staring. Ezra rose from his chair, steadying himself on the table as a small wave of dizziness hit him. Draping his jacket over his arm and grabbing his hat, Ezra walked over to the bar.
"Well, Good Night to you, Señorita. I shall retire so you may close up your establishment." With a nod of his head, Ezra walked over to the stairs. He made a valiant effort, but only made it halfway up before the combination of his headache and the whiskey had him leaning against the wall, struggling to see clearly. He felt someone by his side and looked up into the concerned eyes of Inez. She pulled at his arm as if to drape it over her shoulder. Ezra tried to protest, but she would have none of it.
"Do not argue, Señor. I will not have you falling down the stairs and hurting yourself more." Helping him to the top of the stairs, Inez had a difficult time keeping herself from just pressing her body to his, the slight smell of whiskey and sweat on him almost intoxicating. Inez helped the gambler into his room, making sure he was seated firmly on the bed.
"Thank you, my dear," he said, his eyes holding her to the spot. She could tell he was not drunk, and held her breath as he ran his fingers down her cheek, to her shoulder, and then down to grasp her hand. He brought it to his lips, their soft heat teasing her skin.
Ezra released her hand, smiling up at her as he rose. Inez nodded and walked back out the door, closing it softly behind her. The smile fell from Ezra's face and his somber mood finally took control of his features. He had thought, just for a moment, that he had seen something in Inez' eyes. Not just the simple concern for a friend, but the longing desire for a return of feelings. He unbuttoned his shirt, throwing it carelessly over the single chair in the room to land on his hat and jacket. Checking the dark bruises, Ezra saw the sadness of his eyes in the mirror. He turned away almost angrily, refusing to allow himself to grieve for lost things that were never his.
His hands froze on the fastenings of his pants as a soft knock was heard on his door. Making sure his gun was within easy reach, Ezra opened the door. Inez stood nervously, a bowl of water and a cloth draped over its side resting on her hip.
"I thought it might help with your pains, Señor." Ezra, still slightly in shock at finding her there, silently motioned her inside, closing the door behind her.
Inez set the bowl carefully down on the small table by the bed and then proceeded to clear off the chair in the room. Ezra watched her silently as she tidied up his room quietly, finding a solid comfort in her quiet presence. His eyes moved over her body, feeling the stirring of arousal as she stretched to grasp at something just out of reach. Ezra shook his head slightly. /Don't even start thinking about it,/ he told himself, ignoring his own advice just as quickly as he had given it.
Inez turned and caught his eyes on her, a flash of desire lingering in them. She turned before he saw the mirroring look in her own eyes and moved the now empty chair closer to the bed. Making sure she would be able to reach the bowl and the bed from this position, she sat down and indicated that Ezra was to sit facing her on the bed. The gambler did as requested, placing a hand on his ribs as he eased himself down to the mattress. Inez dipped the cloth into the water, and then brought it up to dab lightly at his swollen lip. A heavy scent came to Ezra from the cloth.
"Lilacs?" he mumbled as a soothing sensation covered his bruised face. Inez nodded, moving the cloth over his face, taking it back to re-wet it when necessary.
"Something I got from Nathan when I cut my hand a little while back. It should soothe the pain." She moved down to grasp his hand, running the cloth over the knuckles. Ezra began to visibly relax and Inez smiled at him, noticing the relief in his eyes. She released his hand and held out her own for his other one. He moved it cautiously, and Inez bit her lip as she saw the dark bruise over his ribs. She quickly treated his hand and then sat back, deciding how best to get to his ribs.
Ezra watched her as she thought, losing the battle to his desire as she sat there. The rise of her breasts as she breathed, the way her tongue flitted over her lips, the remembered touch of her fingers moving over his skin. She seemed to come to a decision, and Ezra snapped his eyes back up to her face.
"Perhaps if you were to lay back..." She helped him recline back so that his legs still hung over the side of the bed, but the rest of him was stretched across it. Inez carefully moved to sit on the bed beside him, bringing the cloth to rest against his chest. Ezra inhaled sharply as the cool water flowed over his chest. Inez began to rub the cloth around his body, watching in fascination as the little rivulets chased their way down to the sheets. Suddenly, Ezra reached up and took her wrist gently in his hands. Inez looked at him questioningly, noticing that despite his soft touch, the rest of his body was straining with tension.
"My dear, as relieving as your touch is, I believe you should stop now." A burning need was lighting his emerald gaze, and Inez looked down to see his erection straining against his pants. Barely restraining herself from ripping his pants off his body, Inez brushed a hand lightly across his groin. Ezra groaned loudly, his hips bucking upwards. His grip on her wrist tightened considerably. Inez smiled and held his gaze.
"Only if you want me too, Señor."
Ezra bit his lip as she moved her hand across him again. He released her wrist an reached up to pull her head down. Inez gasped as he pressed their lips together, his tongue running out along the edges of her lips, asking, begging for entrance. Parting them slightly, Inez immediately felt Ezra's tongue roll through her mouth, making itself familiar with every inch of the warm cavern. Tentatively, she joined her tongue to the intruder, gaining confidence as the kiss deepened.
Ezra winced slightly as the kiss made his lip sting, but pushed the pain back from his mind. He felt the woman give into the kiss, returning as much as she was given. Moving her carefully so as not to stretch his ribs, Ezra brought her down to lie beside him. His hands hovered over her breasts, not wanting to push things too fast for two reasons. The first was his fear that she would bolt or he would awaken from an amazing dream. The second ran much deeper. He wasn't in need of just a quick romp through the sheets. Ezra wanted this to last, to feel the pleasure of knowing he had brought his partner to new heights of ecstasy.
Inez lightly took his hand in hers and pressed it down to her breast, feeling those strong fingers finally beginning to run over her flesh. The gambler reached under her with the other hand, his quick fingers making short work of the buttons of her dress. Pushing the dress down off her shoulders, Ezra released her mouth and ran it down her neck, his lips leaving a trail of fiery wetness across her skin. Inez sucked in deep breaths, gasping as she felt his tongue lash out to taste the skin of her breasts. She arched her back, her fingers wrapping themselves in his hair as he laved her breasts with his tongue, switching between each one as the mood took him.
Ezra continued pushing the dress from her body, smiling against her flesh as she raised her hips to allow him to move it down to her legs. Slowly, Ezra slid down her body until he was kneeling on the floor by the bed, pulling off her remaining clothes off as he went. Inez lay before him, her eyes filled with desire as he looked at her naked form. She sat up, reaching for his jeans. Ezra slowly pushed her back down, kneeling between her legs. Inez relaxed as she felt his hands begin a slow massage of her inner thighs, a sigh of contentment forming on her lips.
Her sigh quickly turned to one of sudden rapture as Ezra leaned down, parting her folds and lashing out his tongue to taste her. Inez bit her lip as her hips bucked, her hands flying down to hold his head. Ezra allowed her to grind her hips against his mouth for a short time before reaching up and holding her down, taking his time as his tongue darted out to lick her here, taste her there.
Inez felt the climax building inside her and threw her head back as it ripped through her body. Ezra watched, his green eyes glinting with desire as he watched her pleasure. Reaching down, his fingers found her throbbing nub of pleasure and grazed over it. Another wave of pleasure sliced through her sweat-soaked body. Keeping his thumb there, Ezra slipped two fingers inside her, causing her to thrash about with delight.
Inez clutched madly at the sheets, a smile coming to her lips as she remembered all the dreams she'd had about this man. The pleasure he brought could not be imagined as he worked her body to the fullest extent of its measure. Inez began to toss her head back and forth, mumbling. The gambler was able to pick out "Please..don't stop....Ezraaaaaa..." The sound of someone moaning his name in pleasure sent shivers through his body.
Ezra leaned down on top of her, her legs widening to accept his body. Inez groaned in disappointment as she found him still wearing his pants. As he removed his hand from her body and leaned down to kiss her, she pushed the small man over on his back. Straddling his hips, Inez reached down and almost ripped his pants open, shoving her hand inside. It was Ezra's turn to groan as she grasped his hardness, running her hand up and down its length.
Regaining control, Ezra rolled them back over, moving off the bed long enough to take off his remaining clothes. Inez gasped at the vision of perfection before her. His skin glowed with a soft sheen of sweat, his body seeming almost to have been chiseled from stone. Inez looked back up into that usually controlled face, shocked to see it covered by unmasked desire and passion. As he climbed back onto the bed, Inez stared into those emerald eyes that up to now had been her only window into the true self of the man in front of her. They glowed with intense heat and excitement.
Ezra lay on top of her, spreading her legs with his knee. Inez willingly opened her body to him, gasping as she felt him so close to her womanhood. Leaning down, the gambler kissed her, slipping his tongue into her mouth at the same time he moved into her body. Inez cried out, wrapping her legs around Ezra as he thrust into her. Following an ancient rhythm, Ezra moved inside her, his slow strokes driving her to the edge and over it. But he didn't stop. Inez felt him continue to move in slow, controlled thrusts. Control. Always in control. /Dammit Ezra, lose control for once!/ Inez thought.
Moving her mouth from his, Inez leaned down and began to nibble at his collarbone, light nips and grazes of her teeth while her hands wandered over his back. Suddenly, Ezra felt a sharp pain as she bit down on his shoulder hard, her hands digging into his arms. It was if she could here his control snap. With an almost inaudible growl, Ezra sped up his movements. Inez captured his mouth, returning his bruising kiss with equal force as she once again reached her point of climax.
Ezra felt her muscles rippling in orgasm around him. Unable to hold off any longer, he thrust in deeply once more and emptied himself into her body. Falling down beside her in exhaustion, Ezra reached over for Inez to pull her close. Only to find her not there. Looking up, he saw her dipping the long forgotten cloth into the water again, bringing it back to his side. Ezra closed his eyes as he felt the cool water upon his fevered skin, washing away pain and pleasure both at the same time.
"Thank you, my dear," he mumbled, trying to fight off the sleep that tugged at his brain. A soft kiss touched his forehead.
"*Thank you*, Señor," Inez replied, smiling as she watched him drift off to sleep.
Nathan watched Ezra carefully make his way down the stairs, the dark circles under the gambler's eyes more than enough proof that he should have kept him at the clinic last night. It was obvious the smaller man hadn't gotten much sleep. Nathan pushed a chair out from the table in Ezra's direction.
"Thank you, Mr. Jackson." Ezra signaled for a cup of coffee and savored the flavor when it arrived. Nathan stared at the gambler as he took a deck from his pocket and began to shuffle them absently.
"I thought I told you to get some sleep last night, Ezra. Not stay up and play cards." Nathan gave his sternest look to the gambler, watching as a faint smile crossed Ezra's lips.
"Trust me, Mr. Jackson. I took the best possible care of my affairs last night." Ezra lifted the cards towards Nathan, fighting to keep a large smile off his face as he thought of his "affairs last night". The healer sighed with exasperation, knowing that he would get nothing out of Ezra. The other man began to shuffle anew, turning up a card every now and again. Nathan watched the green eyed man turn up the Ace of Spades consistently. His attention was turned however as Buck ambled in and walked over, flirting heavily with one of the girls before sitting down.
Ezra payed no notice of Buck, instead staring at the card on the table. Instead of the Ace of Spades he had been playing with, the Two of Hearts lay on the table. He placed one finger on the top heart and then moved it down to the bottom one. A contented smile covered his face.
"Well, let's get this game started. Ezra?" The gambler looked at his companions, still fingering the card.
"Deuces wild?" Buck asked. Ezra's grin widened as he looked at the woman behind the bar and then back to his card.
"Yes, gentleman. They are."
Like, don't like? Let me know at RiShtan@aol.com or NMGambler@aol.com