Title: Jupiter  
Disclaimer: No I don't own the guys, darn it. But I did make up the story.
Archive: At the Challenge site, and my site when I get there, otherwise let me know.
Warnings: none that I can think of
Type: Challenge answer for both the Nov. Children Challenge and the Sept. Teddy Bear Challenge
Rating: G
Pairing/Main Characters: Ezra with appearances by Vin and Nathan
Status: complete, not betaed, as usual for my stuff
Notes: Have fun reading

–by Celesta SunStar

Ezra wasn't quite sure how Vin had managed to talk him into this, but he was resigned that he couldn't be mad at the Texan simply because he had proved to be a good student. Ezra honestly didn't mind that it was very dark, and a bit chilly and that no matter where he moved that a little drop of water would eventually find it's way down the back of his neck.

Okay, so he did mind, but those were only minor difficulties.

He also didn't know why Nathan had invited himself on this… this trip, but he was… happy, no wrong word, …resigned with the situation. Even if the fussing over his minor injury of a broken ankle was reaching life-threatening situations. Life threatening for Nathan as the situation stood.

Really, he was being very good-natured under the circumstances.

"Hey Ez, how come when we're in a bust with bullets flyin' everywhere, you get through without a scratch, but we go on a kiddie tour `cause it's easy, and you trip and break you ankle?"

"Because, Mr. Tanner, peripheral vision is more useful in areas of higher visibility."


"He can't see as well, Vin," Nathan responded with a chuckle.

When they got back to Denver, payback was going to be a bitch.

Ezra subtly checked his watch, and sighed when he realized that he would be stuck here for another half an hour. Earlier, assured of the ability of the two whole Federal Agents abilities to care for their wounded comrade and five tired children, the pair of tour guides for the `Wild Cave Tour of Carlsbad Caverns,' had left with the majority of the group so that they could get the personnel and the equipment to haul the vehemently protesting Agent Standish back to the surface. The children had been left with them because the guides had wanted to move fast and the kids had been tired and relatively slow in the first place. The kids had been settled down with snacks and when Vin wasn't busy heckling Ezra, he would amuse them by telling stories.

Ezra idly wondered why the claustrophobic sharpshooter enjoyed exploring dark holes in the ground and vaguely remembered hearing Vin comment that if he couldn't see the walls, then they couldn't close in on him.

"Mr. Ezra?"

He thankfully shook himself out of his wandering thoughts and looked over at the little eight-year-old girl that had been the youngest in the group. Her older brother was thirteen and was the oldest child that had stayed with the Agents.

"Yes Miss Rose?"

Rose looked shyly down at her toes for a second and then shoved a small stuffed tiger into his hands. "Todd carried Jupiter for me in case I got scared, but I thought that since you got hurt that you could borrow him, `cause I don't want you to be scared." She rushed out in a single breath.

Seeing the hope in the little girl's eyes, he didn't have the heart to refuse her kind offer. "Why thank you, Miss Rose. I shall take the utmost care of Jupiter until he can be returned to you."

In return he received a bright smile and a giggle as she hurried back and cuddled up against her older brother. Ezra turned to Nathan and glared a warning at the smiling medic. Nathan patted his shoulder, "Don't worry Ez, I know why you did that I won't say a word about it."

Ezra relaxed a bit, but his hand tightened on the stuffed animal when Nathan continued. "Besides, I already have plenty of material to tease you with, what with that broken ankle and all."

Yes, Ezra reflected, when they got back to Denver and he was back on his feet, payback was going to be a bitch.