The Tournament

Author: Gothic Spook

Email: Old West

Summary: A poker tournament comes to town.

Main characters: Ezra, but all are in this fic!

Spoilers: None

Archive: Anywhere that wants it, just let me know first!

Feedback: Live for it!

Disclaimer: I don't own the Magnificent Seven unfortunately; I'm just using them for entertainment on the web.

Authors Notes: I have only seen season one and have only just started reading Magnificent Seven fan fiction so please bare that in mind when reading.

"I just received a telegram from the Judge." Chris sat down at their usual table where his six friends sat eating breakfast and drinking coffee. "It seems that Four Corners has been chosen to host the first annual poker tournament."

Forks dropped to their plates and jaws hung open. Chris looked at Ezra's reaction as he saw the young gambler nearly choke on his coffee, coughing a few times to clear his throat.

"Is that a joke Mr Larabee? That particular contest was supposed to be help in Vegas." Ezra had wanted to enter the tournament but knew his duties in Four Corners couldn't permit him, however, if the contest was held in town lady luck may be on his handsome side.

"No Joke Ezra. The organisers felt that there would be too much of a risk in Vegas, too many gangs and too much corruption for the law to handle." Chris couldn't help but smile at the grin on Ezra's face, his gold tooth glittering with excitement.

"Mr Larabeeā€¦"

"The Judge has already said in the telegram that if you have the entrance fee Ezra, you can play."

Ezra let out a scream of joy making not only his friends jump but also every else in the saloon.

"Damn Ez, you must be excited, I aint ever heard no scream of joy come outta you, usually it's a scream of pain!" Buck laughed. "Ow! What was that for?!" Buck moved away from the table and grabbed hold of his leg which had just met Ezra's boots painfully.

"Hey, how much is the entrance fee?" JD asked as he took a mouthful of eggs.

"Twenty five thousand dollars." Ezra took a sip of his coffee as he waited for his friend's reactions, all of them had a different reaction, yet all felt a deep level of shock. Chris didn't react as he had been informed about the tournament in detail by Mary. Vin ran his hand over his face and through his hair to hide his reaction. Josiah's fork dropped to his plate as he grabbed the cross around his neck. Nathan's did pretty well to control his reaction, his mouth just parted slightly as he looked to Chris for conformation. Buck stopped rubbing his sore leg and had to keep from falling off of his chair. JD dropped his coffee to the floor, the hot liquid spilling everywhere as he was too stunned to even gasp.

"Have you got that entrance fee?" Josiah finally asked.

"Yes Sir I do. I had hoped to attend the event in Vegas but realised my duties here would not permit it. I had saved the money in the hope of competing but then decided to save it for a rainy day." Ezra couldn't keep the smile off his face as he thought about the upcoming contest.

"Don't expect this to be an easy task boys." Chris took a sip of his coffee. "Twenty gamblers from all over the country are heading our way, and no offence Ezra, but gamblers usually mean trouble. Mary told me that there are rumours that Doc Holloday is entering which means Wyatt Earp will be with him and most likely that Johnny Ringo will follow with trouble on his mind."

"Did you say Doc Holloday?" Ezra asked as it was his turn to be shocked. Chris nodded conformation. "Good Lord!" Ezra laughed. "This is going to be a memorable event!" Ezra couldn't help but thinking of the last time he and Doc Holloday had met. He wandered if Doc remembers that game as much as he did.

"Contestants will be arriving starting on tomorrow's stage. The whole town is being asked to help out. The hotels have put aside enough rooms for the contestants. The saloons and restaurants are stocking up on food and drinks." Chris finished off his coffee as breakfast was coming to an end.

"Keeping an eye on all the new guns in town is gonna be mighty difficult." Vin commented from his reclined position in his seat.

"Judge wants us to get some of the local boys to help us out." Chris stood up from his seat, everyone else followed his actions. "Let's get to work boys, we have a tournament to prepare for."

The seven peacekeepers made their way out of the saloon and already saw what the up and coming tournament was doing to the town. Everyone was rushing about, stocking up on supplies, many were sweeping the sidewalks, more hay was being taken to livery, and windows were getting a thorough cleaning.

"The town sure seems livelier than usual." JD commented.

"With this tournament in town, there'll be a lot more money from rich folks." Nathan commented as he smiled at the sight of everyone fussing about.

"We'll need to start watches again to make sure no unwanted trouble comes in to town." Chris turned to his fellow peacekeepers. "Vin on first watch, JD you take the jail and we'll start the usual rotation." The two nodded their heads and went on to their duties. "I want everyone to help out around the town, try, and get this place looking clean."

The five remaining dispersed to help out where they could. Josiah went to give the church a good cleaning. With a smile on his lips, Buck ran to help a lady who was carrying a heavy bag full of shopping. Chris went to help Mary hang up posters advertising the tournament. Nathan went to the store to buy more medical supplies, knowing that it was more than likely over the next couple of days his services would be needed. Ezra went to the saloon and helped Inez start cleaning the windows and tidy the place up.

The next morning when the first stage came in everyone was buzzing with excitement. The stage rolled up outside the hotel and came to a stop. The wagon door opened and out stepped a man who wore black trousers, white shirt, black waistcoat and a long black jacket. His bowler hat sat straight on top of his head.

"Looks like the contestants are starting to arrive." Josiah, Buck, and Ezra were sitting outside the jail drinking coffee. The Judge had arrived early that morning and given them all guidelines on what will need to happen during the contest. During the contest Vin would sit high on one of the roofs as a lookout. Josiah would guard the safe in which the prize money would be kept. Ezra would of course play and watch out for cheaters. The rest would have a table each to watch and guard from anyone wanting to cause trouble.

As the man from the carriage was shown in to the hotel two riders came in; a man and a woman. As they came closer to where they were sitting Ezra's shuffled his deck as he watched them.

"My my, well wonders never cease." Ezra placed his hat on his head, put his cards in his pocket, and started walking down the road to meet the two riders.

Buck and Josiah shared a look before getting up and following ten paces behind their gambling friend.

"Well well Mr Standish, wonders never cease." The male rider circled Ezra on his horse. "I should have known you would be taking part in these festivities."

"Lady Luck seemed to have bought these festivities to me."

The man bought his horse back to where his lady companion had stopped hers and then got down. He walked up to Ezra, not showing any emotion on his face. Showing the face of a poker player. He stopped in front of Ezra and everyone who was watching the scene tensed in anticipation. Both men grinned at each other and shared a friendly hug, slapping each other on each backs.

"It's good to see you my friend." Ezra said as they pulled back.

"Likewise." He looked Ezra up and down. "You look good; I have to say I'm surprised no one has killed you for all of them fancy words you like to use."

"And you look like hell." Ezra laughed. "I'm astonished that no one has slain you for just being you."

"Hey Ez." Both men watched as Buck and Josiah stepped up from behind their gambling friend. "You gonna introduce us to your buddy?"

"My apologies, Buck Wilmington and Josiah Sanchez it is my pleasure to introduce you to Mr Doc Holloday and the lovely Miss Marsh." He indicated to the lady which Doc Holloday had ridden in with.

"Mame." Buck and Josiah tipped their hats to the lady before turning to Doc.

"It's good to finally meet someone from Ez's past who he actually likes." Buck was visibly nervous in Doc's presence. The man was a living legend.

"I have a feeling you have had the great pleasure of meeting Mrs Maude Standish." Doc grinned as he remembers that infuriating woman.

"Charming woman." Josiah laughed. "Just don't believe a word she says."

"Indeed." Doc grinned. "Well gentlemen, I believe it is time for me and Miss Marsh to acquire a room at the hotel and then perhaps over a game you and I can catch up on the past few years." He tipped his hat at the three men and then led his horse and the horse of Miss Marsh to the livery.

"From his reputation I would imagine him to be taller." Josiah commented as he watched the two make their way to the hotel.

"He is tall." Ezra defended as the three friends made their way back to where they were sitting.

"He's only slightly taller than you Ez. That's still short." Buck knocked Ezra's hat from his head as he laughed at the smaller man.

"I'm not short!" Ezra managed to grab his hat before it fell to the dusty ground.

"What ever you say pard." Buck laughed as the three men sat back down.

Ezra took out his desk of cards and started shuffling them, grinning at how easily he manipulated them within his finger tips. He and Doc Holloday had met many years ago, both of them were mere students at one of the high class schools Maude had insisted he attend. The two had instantly formed a bond. Playing poker late at night, practising drawing their guns, knowing that in their future profession they would need to be quick draws. Doc was one year his senior and took Ezra under his wing and taught him everything he knew, about poker, gun drawing, and life. The two had separated after they graduated; Doc had gone west while Ezra was dragged away by his Mother wanting to use his new education in her latest con. They had met again nearly four years ago in Tombstone, and had played one of the longest games of their lives, nearly two whole days of the same game, stopping occasionally for the lavatory, stopping even fewer times for food. In the end, no one had come out the victor, the bar keep had thrown them out before they could find who the better gambler was. Neither were upset, they found it quite amusing. The next day Ezra had left early, leaving a note for Doc wishing him luck for the future.

Now it looked as though they may be able to finish the game they started years ago.

As the day went on a few more contestants arrived and so did the organisers of the event, they chose the biggest saloon to hold the contest and everyone started to make the room look presentable.

Doc Holloday and Miss Marsh entered the saloon. Everyone in the room looked at the newcomers, none of them realised this was THE Doc Holloday and so once giving the newcomers a quick glance, they turned back to their previous actions. Doc scanned the room and saw his old friend sitting at a table off to the side with four men, they were laughing. Sensing he was being watched Ezra looked up and saw Doc looking at him, he instantly waved the two over. The four men with Ezra looked over as Doc and Miss Marsh made their way over, seats were instantly pulled out for them both.

"Gentlemen may I introduce the lovely Miss Marsh and Mr Doc Holloday." Ezra introduced his fellow peacekeepers. "Chris Larabee our illustrious leader, Vin Tanner the best shot you will ever meet. Josiah Sanchez our local hand to god and Nathan Jackson the town's healer."

"Pleasure gentlemen." Doc noticed that two of them tried to hide their surprise at who he was, while the other two seemed to be sizing him up. He also noticed that Ezra held a deck of cards in his hands and was shuffling them. He smiled, the boy had remembered. "How is it Ezra that you have become part of such a famous group of men." He saw the others look confused at the famous comment. "Gentlemen word of you Magnificent Seven has reached legendary status. There isn't a soul in the west who has not heard of you. Until I read the novel by Steele I never would have believed that my young friend Mr Standish would be part of such marvel."

"We sometimes ask ourselves that as well." Josiah slapped Ezra on the back as the table smiled.

Josiah told the tale of the Indian village they had banded together to protect and how a month of service had rolled in to two years of peacekeeping.

"I must say I am surprised that you have settled in one town for so long." Doc took a sip of his whisky.

"As am I my friend." Ezra finished his drink. "I would love to stay and talk gentlemen but I believe it is nearly time for my duty at the jail and so I must bid you all goodnight."

"I need to get going for the next town watch." Nathan finished his beer and stood up with Ezra.

"Mam, Gentlemen." Ezra tapped two fingers to his hat and then he and Nathan were gone to their duties. Five minutes later Buck and JD came walking in, having been relieved of duty for the night.

To be continued...

Please let me know what you all think! I'm new to the Mag 7 fanfic comunity and would appreciate feedback! Constructive Critisism is cool as well!