The February 2002 Challenge: offered by Heather
Any AU, any setting....Whatever floats your boat so to say. Some of the seven guys are stuck on one side of a water way (river, pool, pond, puddle, bathtub anything with water) and some of the others (one or two or how many you want) are on the other side. For whatever reason, the one group refuses to cross the water and join the others, despite the fact bad guys can be heard bearing down on them.
Man Against Water
Chris Larabee was a stubborn man, he had been all his life, since the day he was born. But it wasn't a childish stubbornness, it was a stubbornness born of survival. He had yet to meet a man that was just as stubborn or even worse, more stubborn than him. Well, actually he had and he knew them well, they worked for him but he always denied it; no one was as stubborn as him. Now in his forty-fourth year of a sometimes good and sometimes bad life, this man, called Chris Larabee was about to meet his match.
He was meant to meet his friends/co-workers in the bar across the street. He'd seen them go in a few minutes earlier. Now he waited for one of them to order the first round, then he would walk in just in time for them to ask him what he was drinking.
Chris looked down and was about to take a step when he saw it. Water running slowly down the edge of the road. Not in the gutter but on the edge of the road. It was as though the water knew it was a gutter. It was where most people or things went when they were down trodden, when there was nothing left but life itself. This flowing rivulet of water had a life of it's own.
He didn't want to risk stepping in it so he took a few steps sideways so he could pass in front of it. Just when he was about to take that step forward, the water seemed to move faster for a few seconds and was then passing in front of Chris for a second time.
Chris watched as the water actually slowed, almost coming to a stop. He lifted his head and searched the street for someone that might be controlling the water. It couldn't be doing this on it's own. Water didn't have a mind of it's own.
Three quick paces to the right had him in front of the water again. He moved forward and before he could put his foot down the water was there, rapidly passing him then slowing down again.
'What the hell?'
One more try, that's what he decided to do, give it one more try. It didn't work. The water sped up and moved passed him for a third time.
Unaware of his friends leaving the bar to take a position on the street to watch him, Chris said. 'You do that again and I'm going to have to do something to hurt you. Do you understand me?'
What? Did he expect an answer from a thin stream of water?
Without thinking that his threat would be ignored Chris made another attempt only to be left standing on the sidewalk with the water dribbling past him.
'That's it. I've had enough!' Chris pulled his gun out of it's holster and aimed at the slow moving flow. 'You do that again and I'll shoot you.'
'Do you think he knows we're watching him?' JD asked the others.
'Does it look like he knows.' Ezra spoke through a large smile.
'No it doesn't.'
'Ten dollars says that he's going to shoot it.' Ezra suggested.
'You're on.' Buck pulled out his money and gave it Nathan then waited for Ezra to do the same.
Chris took the safety off and was prepared to use force if it was necessary. 'I'm going to count to three and then I'm going to move sideways and then step in front of you. Got that!' After the count of three Chris did what he said he was going to do but the water refused to give in. It knew that a bullet wouldn't hurt it.
'Damn it you mother . . .' he fired a shot and hit the rivulet dead center. The bullet ricochet off the road causing Chris to duck and place his arms over his head. 'You're pissing me off!'
He thought he saw the water smile at him. Chris shook his head, the idea was stupid, and water didn't smile. Something could have reflected off it, maybe. He aimed the gun again and stepped sideways. The water moved with him. Another step and still the water stayed with him.
'Nathan, I'll have Buck's money now thank you.' Ezra took the money and placed it carefully into his wallet.
'Twenty says he'll shoot at it again.' Buck said with confidence.
'I'll take that bet.' This time it was Ezra who gave Nathan the money.
'You bet the other way the first time,' said Vin.
'I know.' Ezra winked at him. 'I think I know Chris well enough to know what he'll do next.'
'And what's that going to be?'
'He's going to hit it.'
'With his foot?' Vin asked.
'His fist,' said Ezra
'He's going to hit a puddle of water with his fist?' Vin shook his head. 'Chris isn't that crazy.'
'Care to make a wager on that Vin?'
'I've got fifty that says he won't hit a puddle of water.'
'I've got . . .' JD went through his wallet, 'thirty that says he doesn't hit it.'
'Another twenty for me Ezra.' Buck handed over his money.
'You guys are a group of idiots.' Nathan told them as he took the money.
'He's not that stupid Ezra,' Josiah chastised him, 'you're only going to lose your money.'
'I know what I'm doing Josiah, and I know what Chris is going to do. He can be that stupid and he is that crazy. Now if you don't mind, we need to watch our illustrious leader.'
Chris could feel his anger growing, he was about to burst like a volcano. He slowed his breath and took a moment to think. The gun, he had to put his gun away. The police were probably already on their way. Across the street Ezra Standish collected his second lot of winnings.
He had to make a decision and make it quick. His thirst was starting to drive him crazy. The decision was to step over it, that way he won't get his boots wet and he would still in win in a different kind of way. The right foot moved. Chris smiled when he realised that he was going to land on dry ground. A split second later the water widened. Chris lifted his foot back and had to fight his loss of balance before he was back on the footpath.
'Son-of-a-bitch.' He didn't know where it came from but he lifted his fist and slammed in down in the puddle. Chris howled in pain as the bones in his fist crumbled under the blow. 'Right! That's it! I'm going the other way.'
He started to walk the other way; his intention was to cross further up the street. He would then go into the bar, have a very strong drink and then go to the hospital. And there was no way he was going to tell anyone how this happened.
'You knew he was going to do that!' Nathan growled as he practically threw the money at Ezra.
'I didn't know he was going to hit it that hard. I mean he would have to be mentally insane to hit it like that.'
'Are you saying that my friend is mentally insane?' Buck moved to stand in front of Ezra.
Ezra stood his ground and said. 'Yes I am.'
'Care to make a bet on that?' Buck grinned down at Ezra.
'Buck!' Josiah grabbed the ladies man's arm and began to cross the street.
Chris turned in shock when he heard his name being called. When he saw who it was he thrust his hand behind his back, hiding it so they wouldn't see it.
'I thought you were going to wait in the bar!'
'We were waiting in the bar.' Buck told him.
'Why are you hiding your hand behind your back?' Vin asked although he already knew the answer.
'No reason.' Chris looked down and saw that the water had backed up until it was level with him. 'How in the hell did it do that?'
'Did what do what?' Buck queried.
'Nothing did nothing.' Chris shrugged.
'You didn't happen to see a puddle of water around here did you?' Ezra had his arms folded and was looking seriously at Chris.
'Uh, no. Why?'
'I understand it was assaulted by an ATF Agent.'
Ezra could only raise his eyebrows and then smiled when Chris's expression crumbled.
'It hit me first-' he stopped when he realised what he was saying.
'Not according to witnesses.' Vin added.
'What witnesses?' Chris knew his face was growing red with embarrassment.
'Six other ATF Agents. Reliable witnesses too I might add.'
'You're going to side with that!'
'It did win me a lot of money.' Ezra shook his winnings in front of Chris.
'You've been watching all this time?'
'Only after you started talking to it.'
'You saw what it did!'
Ezra looked around at the others. It seems that he was chosen to take over as the group's spokesperson. 'We didn't see anything Chris.'
'If you were watching, you must have seen what it was doing.'
'We didn't see anything Chris and neither did you.'
'I did . . . I saw . . .' Chris sighed. 'I didn't see anything.'
'You hit your hand against the wall.'
'I hit my hand against the wall.'
'That's a good boy. Now why don't we get that hand seen to.' Ezra began to walk with him. 'And Chris, next time use your foot.'
'Yeah, I'll have to remember that.'