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It was time to go. He'd more than outstayed his welcome, he was sure of that.

He'd tried to pretend, to ignore that he'd never really been one of them, having no other choice but to stay on the outskirts of their tightknit group, always on the outside looking in.

Having no choice.

Ezra Standish sighed. That was the true crux of the matter. The 'choice' part.

He'd learned his lesson from the very best, Maude, and it had been reinforced -- should he have ever dared to forget -- after the disaster that had been Atlanta. Then after the repercussions of his disastrous first case here in Denver. He didn't belong. And since he had no hopes left to change what seemed predestined to be his fate for all eternity, he might as well stop trying. Why go out of his way to avoid confrontations with his colleagues, why swallow the verbal abuse Larabee unfailingly hurled his way whenever he was in one of his famous black moods?

But still, the situation might have been salvageable. Until yesterday. Until he, himself, must have lost whatever few brain cells he'd still possessed, and acted like a madman. In the middle of another furious dressing down in Larabee's office, the blond team leader in his face, yelling, plainly furious, he'd taken a temporary leave of sanity and -- kissed the other man. Faced with Larabee's stunned non-reaction, which, thankfully, hadn't even included the expected punch in the mouth, Ezra had simply... left.

Evidently it was quite simple. Burn your bridges, leave your... friends, that is, associates, leave your work, leave Denver.

It was more than time to go.

Ezra locked the condo behind himself, went to his Jag. A moving van would take care of his remaining possessions the next day. Outside, he stared in open-mouthed surprise at the Dodge Ram blocking his entryway, and at the silent, determined figure behind its wheel, clearly prepared to wait however long it took.

Upon seeing him, Chris Larabee got out immediately, stepped closer. And Ezra found himself praying to be given a reason to stay.

"The Magnificent Seven" (TV series) ficlet by allaire mikháil, ATF AU setting, 350 words, Chris/Ezra, Ezra POV, rated PG
Inspired, of all things, by Ezra-centric gen fan fiction. The culprits: Violette and Heather F. or rather, their stories.
Read-through by Lumina~ and declared fit to make it on its own -- thank you, honey! <g>

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