Title: Mile High Guardian
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from the Magnificent Seven or the Sentinel TV shows.
Chris had been right about both Vin and Ezra getting even more involved with activities down in Purgatorio. They were currently up to their elbows in the one thing that none of the Seven would have believed Ezra would be caught dead in; dirt. It wasn't just any dirt either. It was the homemade compost that the people who lived in Vin's building had made for their community garden. They were hard at work screening the compost so that the kids could take the finished product to their parents, mostly mothers, who would put it in their garden beds.
"Whatcha thinkin' bout?" Vin asked. He dumped another shovelful of compost in the screen that Ezra was busy shaking.
Ezra shook the screen over the tiny wheelbarrow that a small girl child was using. She grinned up at him before taking off with the full wheelbarrow. A large bunch of small tools had been an earlier gift that he had smuggled into the garden tool shed. With Vin as a lookout no one had seen them and that meant that the proud mothers would not know who to go to in order to refuse the gift. "I do believe that if a few of the older children were willing to do a bit of scavenging, I think we might be able to put together a way to extend the season a bit. I saw something at one of the estates of one of my dear mother's paramours. He was notorious for his ingenuity at gardening. Of course he had more money to throw at his hobby than a great many people, but I do believe that we could manage a way to enclose the garden beds so as to make mini greenhouses."
"What wouldja need?" Vin asked. Most of these garden beds weren't a hobby for the people in his neighborhood. They were a vital source of food for the families who worked in the gardens. Having the ability to extend the growing season would help but greenhouses were expensive and no one here could afford them.
"Two feet sections of rebar, plastic tubing to fit over the rebar, plastic to go over the tubing and some type of clip to secure the plastic to the tubing," Ezra listed. "My then stepfather had a large enough structure created that he could walk inside but I see no reason that we could not construct something that would be just large enough to protect a single bed."
Vin still looked puzzled, so Ezra concentrated on his memory of the fall that he had spent wandering around the man's gardens. He and Vin had been working on figuring out how to 'show' each other pictures through their bond. Ezra had figured that because they had been able to share memories, that they should also be able to share other things. It turned out that he was right. Vin examined the memory. Ezra's former step-father had created a very simple hoop greenhouse. The idea did seem like it would be workable here. Heck, if they got really ambitious they could figure out a way to cover the entire lot that way too.
He shot back the image of the narrow lot covered in a large rebar and plastic hoop house with little greenhouse hoops underneath. Ezra grinned and pointedly looked at the children with their new tools. Vin shook his head. There was no way that they would be allowed to do that. The tools were pushing it as it was. The ladies in his building weren't stupid and the tools that Ezra had chosen were very high quality and very pricy as a result. Vin had caught the looks the ladies had shot their way when the tools had been discovered in the shed. They knew who it was that had bought the tools; they just didn't have any proof. And Ezra was a master at providing just enough doubt that they couldn't be certain it was them.
Vin looked over the lot next to his building. It was only 30 feet across by 150 feet long. Currently it was filled with families working hard at getting the garden beds ready for the spring planting. The hardest part of enclosing the entire lot would be coming up with the plastic, a single piece that size would cost quite a bit of money. That would have to be researched. The rebar they could practically get for free. The plastic tubing would have to be pvc for strength. He thought that the kids could get short lengths of pvc for the smaller hoops and plastic sheeting was cheep. If they could get the smaller hoops done today, the beds could be planted before the bad weather hit on Monday. The cold tolerant plants were already waiting to be planted.
Carmella stood scowling at the pretty boy who was a friend of Senior Vin. He had come here in a fancy jeans, boots and a t-shirt that she knew cost more than her mother spent on the wardrobes of all five of her brothers and sisters. He was the only one who could have bought the little tools that were just the right size for her little sisters to use. She didn't know whether or not to be pleased or angry that he had given them the tools. He hadn't rubbed it in their faces, which was in his favor. On the other hand, there was no way that he didn't have an agenda. He was rich and no rich man came down here without wanting something. She just couldn't figure him out and that didn't set well with the teenager.
"Carmella!" Vin called. She wandered over but didn't stop staring suspiciously. "I need a good scavenger to go out and get some stuff." He repeated Ezra's list. She nodded and left, taking with her a group of her friends. This was a much better job than digging in the dirt for their moms. Plus, everyone knew that Vin didn't ask for things unless it was important. They were glad to help the man who worked so hard to make their community a better place.
Neither of the two men were blind to the girl's animosity but they ignored it. Ezra would have to prove himself and that took time; time that Vin had already invested. Not that Ezra hadn't been there before, he'd come and helped out along with the rest of Team Seven. But as far as the people living here were concerned, they were still strangers while Vin was the one who looked after them. It would take time for the people of Purgatorio to see them as Sentinel and Guide.