By Enola Jones

Ezra was normally so fastidious that the sight of him dragging in through the front door and dropping tack and coat as he walked was so unusual as to catch Vin's attention.

"Hey, Ezra." When Ezra raised bleary green eyes, Vin just pointed.

Frowning, Ezra turned. When he saw the debris he'd left, his shoulders slumped and he let out a sigh from the depths of his soul.

As he watched Ezra finish cleaning his mess and slouch to the table, Vin asked, "Chaucer taken care of?"


An eyebrow rose at the strange laziness of speech as Vin ladled up a bowl of chili and set it and a hunk of bread in front of Ezra. As he watched his son blindly eat, he mused, "You look exhausted."

"I am," Ezra sighed. "Lizzie wore me out."

Vin literally had to catch himself from staring. Lizzie was sixteen considered an adult but Ezra was only fourteen! Surely he didn't mean.... "She what?"

Ezra nodded, closing his eyes. "The girl can ride, Pa. She took me and Chaucer on a merry chase until both horses were blowing. Then she taught me how to run snares like Chanu taught her." He yawned. "Then we rode a circuit by the river and then we came home."

Vin whistled low. "Sounds like you had a busy day."

"Mm." He lurched to his feet. "Need to go to bed before I fall asleep in the chair."

"Need some help?" At Ezra's headshake, he gave his son a quick hug. "Goodnight."

"M-hm. Love...." And Ezra wove his tired way into the bedroom.

Leaving a father behind who was grateful he'd just misunderstood and who decided to spend a little less time around Buck Wilmington!


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