TITLE: Love & Honor
CHALLENGE: The Episode Title Challenge issued by Katy
UNIVERSE: ATF (Thanks to Mog it's creator)
RATING: General
ARCHIVE: yes please
AUTHOR: Wildcard
EMAIL: wildcard@midgee1.fsnet.co.uk
DISCLAIMER: They sadly are not mine, I don't have any rights to them and not making any money from this .  The characters used are the property of MGM and Trilogy and probably some more that I don't know about.  No financial or creative rights are claimed to the characters from the Magnificent Seven Television series.

NOTES: This has been lurking in my head and Katy thought it a good idea to write it down for this challenge. So here it is in memory of my late hubby as he liked to do this particular chore with me.  Thanks again Katy for  giving this the once over - Hugs.


Chris picked up the laundry basket as an afterthought as he headed downstairs and bumped into Ezra who came out of the kitchen carrying a steaming mug of coffee.

"How's the shoulder doing this morning, Ezra?" He asked, nodding at the arm that had been strapped up by Nathan.

"This sling is only being worn to keep our Mister Jackson pacified."

Chris chuckled and replied, as he walked past heading to the laundry room, "Yeah right I'll believe you thousands wouldn't."

As he stuffed the clothing into the washer he groaned and realised he hadn't stripped his bed.

"Is there something amiss Mister Larabee?" asked Ezra as he looked across to Chris.

"Not really, only I forgot to strip my bed and put the sheets into the laundry basket. "Chris moved past Ezra for the second time and headed back on up the stairs with Ezra calling out to him.

"Remember to turn the mattress it will aid in receiving a good nights repose."

Chris groaned and knew that he was only trying to be useful and sighed again as he stripped the bed and decided on impulse to turn the mattress over as Ezra had suggested. This chore he knew he hadn't done in a long time and couldn't remember if he had performed it since Sarah had died or not.

He removed the mattress from the bed and saw a piece of discoloured paper sitting in the middle of the base.  He picked it up and without thinking stuffed it into the back pocket of his jeans to look at later once the chore had been completed.

With mattress turned he began to remake the bed in some fresh cotton sheets, as the weather had grown warmer.   The sun came streaming into the room as he flipped the sheet open so it fluffed up into the air before it settled down onto the bed.   He tucked it in like Sarah had taught him and he smiled again remembering this one chore they shared together.

Sarah had always waited for him to help her make the bed and they often had ruffled up the clean sheets after the bed had been barely made as their joy for each other took over.  Chris fluffed up the pillows once the cases were on and then placed on the top sheet like before as it ballooned up into the air.  This time it seemed to freeze in time and a beam of sunlight passed over it and down into his face and as he felt the heat of the sun he felt and smelt the air around him as it so much reminded him of Sarah.

Chris felt the ache of her loss but continued to finish making the bed. Then once all was in order he sat down removing the piece of paper from his pocket.

It was in this position that Ezra found him sometime later. He'd called to Larabee, but got no response and his body language made it clear to Ezra that he was deeply upset.

Chris had felt the bed give as Ezra sat down next to him and knew some form of explanation would be called for.  He wiped his eyes with his hands and glanced across at Ezra who was waiting patiently staring out the window that had superb views across the property.

"Sarah liked to watch out the window when lying in bed." Chris said, surprising even himself of how clear and strong his words sounded.

Ezra remained quiet without turning towards Chris, but nodded then later replied.  "Your wife had an eye for a spectacular view."

"She had good taste." Smiled Chris remembering the day they chose the property to be their home.

Ezra remained silent giving Chris time to gather his thoughts as he knew there was more to come.

"I found this," said Chris as he held out the discoloured piece of paper towards Ezra. "It was under the mattress when I turned it over."

Ezra looked down at the paper and could see faint writing but it wasn't clear enough for him to read from this distance even if it was held upside down.

"It's a note from Sarah," Chris said as his voice wobbled with emotion, "can I read it to you Ezra?"

Ezra felt his own heart constrict with emotion as he looked into Chris's face and knew he was entrusted to share in this special moment. "You do not have to inform me what is inside the missive."

Chris laughed as his eyes shone with unshed tears.  "Yes, I do." There was a brief silence then with shaking hands Chris read out Sarah's note.

"First of all Chris I love you" Sarah's clear hand had written only days prior to her death. "So, who told you to turn the mattress?"  Chris and Ezra shared a knowing look then Chris continued to read. "Who ever it was must have tidier habits than you as it is now 8 years since we married and so far I have found 6 of these notes undiscovered by you under this bed.

Ezra couldn't help but smirk a little and it didn't go unnoticed by Chris.

"I'm much tidier than I used to be," said Chris, by a way of explanation," all Sarah's influences."

"Maybe this seventh note will be lucky enough to find you my love."  Chris gulped as he read the final words in the note. "I love you just the way you are, even though you are a grump in the morning."  Chris's voice broke as he let the note fall from his fingers as his emotions overcame him.

The note was delicately picked up by Ezra who stared at the note seeing the delicate hand that had written it and the kisses that had ended the sweet love message, Sarah Larabee had left under the mattress. Ezra carefully refolded it the exact way Sarah had and gently slipped it into Chris's hands and left the room.

When Chris came downstairs he heard the sounds of a commotion coming from his sitting room and knew the other members of his team had arrived to watch the game on his large screen TV.

Before he had time to enter Ezra intercepted him and with a hand signal motioned him into the kitchen to talk in private.

"I informed our comrades that you were resting as you had a headache and managed to forestall Mister Jackson with my own injury."

Chris smiled warmly. "Thanks Ezra." Then waved the small note in front of Ezra. "And thanks for this."

Ezra started to say 'thank you Mister Larabee' as usual but change his mind.  "No, thank you Chris for entrusting me with such a valuable treasure."

"Well Ez," started Chris with a broad grin as he wrapped an arm around Ezra's shoulder and gave the uninjured one a warm squeeze of affection.  "That's what friends do, share confidences."

Ezra smiled at Chris, whose face was real close to his and he whispered. "Looks like Sarah was correct Seven is a lucky number for you after all."

"She always said she was a smart woman." Smiled Chris.

Ezra freed himself of Chris's arm and headed to the sitting room, but couldn't help but blurt out on impulse. "She did choose you after all."

Chris stared after his undercover agent and started to laugh as Sarah had done exactly that.