This story is now Complete

Chapter 8

"And now it's your turn," Dean stated as he flopped into the chair that had so recently been Cecily's prison. He spread his hands toward Ezra encouraging him to get started.

"Now wait just a minute," Cecily said. "I think I have been very patient, but you gentlemen have ignored me long enough."

"And we're gonna keep ignoring you, sweetheart," Dean said. "Because your brother owes us a doosey of an explanation."

Anger flickered across Cecily's "Sweetheart!" she hissed. "How dare you talk to me in such a manner. Ezra! Do something."

It was clear that she expected her brother to come to her defense. Ezra for his part did want to wipe that smug look off Dean's face, but given the Winchesters' knowledge of his resurrection, he felt he could not risk antagonizing them further at this point. Still, he did scowl at Dean who had the good sense to look appropriately chastised.

"I didn't mean any disrespect, Ma'am." Cecily snorted her disbelief as Dean attempted to back pedal in the face of her displeasure, "It's just that - " he trailed off with a silent appeal his brother.

Sam jumped in before Dean could dig himself future into a hole. "Ma'am, please just ignore my brother and his poor manners." Sam said; his sincerity seemed genuine as compared to Dean's fumbling attempts to get back in their good graces. "He simply means that we wish to hear from Mr. Standish before we revisits the other events of today. Besides I'm sure you would wish to discuss those events with your brother in private."

Cecily would not be so easily placated. "Ezra! Don't just sit there. These men," she sneered the word as she caste a dismissive glare in Dean's direction, "are prying into your life and I want an explanation as to why they deserve to know that information well as the full story about why you felt the need to tie me up!"

Ezra leaned back on the bed and thought about banging his skull against the head board until he blacked out. The only problem with that plan was that the Winchesters would still be there when he woke up and Cecily would still want to know about the traumatic events that occurred while she was enthrall to the cameo.

"Unfortunately, dear sister," Ezra said. "Your curiosity will have to wait."

Not receiving the support she expected from her brother, Cecily directed her appeal to Vin. Ezra had almost forgotten the man was still in the room as Vin had gone silent, barely participating; quite the change from the forceful leader who'd evicted the Winchesters hours earlier in an attempt to keep Ezra's secret. In truth, Ezra was surprised his friend hadn't acted when Dean had insulted Cecily.

"Vin, say something!" Cecily demanded. "Is it true what that man," she waved a hand dismissively at Dean, "said earlier. Did I really shoot you and Ezra?"

After witnessing the burning of the cameo it was obvious that Cecily accepted that she'd been under the influence of the necklace's curse, but it was her actions during that time, which no one was anxious to share that she wanted explained to her.

Vin, his head down, hat covering his face, refused to meet her eyes. "Don't matter. 'Sover. I'm fine."

"But I don't remember," her voice had taken on a plaintive tone. "Please Vin, look at me. Tell me what I did?"

"Weren't your fault." Vin shook his head and glanced over at Ezra. It was clear he did not want to talk about it, but could see no way to escape Cecily's questions.

"Oh!" She gasped. When Vin had looked up she caught sight of the blossoming purple bruises which were livid even against Vin's tanned skin. "Did I –?" She tried to touch the injury, but Vin jerked away.

"Told you I'm fine," he snapped.

Cecily's hand hovered in midair before dropping back to her side. Crestfallen, she did not push for more from the obviously distressed man. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I didn't – " She trailed off into silence, uncertain what to say in the face of the wall that Vin had thrown up between them.

Ezra watched as Vin withdrew from Cecily though he hadn't moved a muscle. Surely he didn't believe the hateful words the evil entity had forced Cecily to spout, but as Ezra studied Vin, he could sense that something truly unpleasant was going on inside the man's mind. Cecily loved Vin and Ezra wondered why his usually hyper observant friend had such a massive blind spot when it came to women in general and Cecily in particular.

"I'm quite tired after all this excitement," Cecily said softly as she turned to face Ezra. "I think – I think I shall retire to my hotel room and rest."

She seemed to sag as the enormity of the day settled itself onto her shoulders; sadness and confusion permeated her being. Ezra wanted shake some sense into Vin, remind him of how good he and Cecily are together, but now was not the time. The Winchester's had been more than patient, and Ezra had to handle that situation before he could fix the unpleasantness that was growing between his sister and his friend.

Ezra rose to take her hands before pulling her into a hug. "Of course. It's been a dreadful day. Perhaps - " He was going to suggest Vin walk her back to the hotel, but a glance in the tracker's direction told him that it was a bad idea. Instead he suggested, "Josiah could you escort, Cecily?"

She shook her head. "No, that is not necessary. You have things to discuss. And besides," she gave him a weak smile, "I'm perfectly capable of walking down the street on my own." Her eyes tracked over to Vin, secretly hoping, Ezra was sure, that he would insist on escorting her. On any other day that would have been the case, but Vin was still a wall of silence.

"That you are my dear." Ezra squeezed her hands gently before allowing her, her escape.

"You know she's gonna be ok," Dean said after Cecily had shut the door. "You can tell her what ever version of events ya want 'cause she won't remember anything."

He shifted his gaze to the older Winchester. Ezra was sure he didn't like the man, Dean had been an uncouth ass, but there was real concern in his voice for Cecily's mental state. He wondered what game the hunter was playing.

"I appreciate your concern," Ezra said stiffly as he settled once again on the bed. "But I don't plan on lying to my sister." It would be a difficult story to tell, but if Vin continued to pull away from Cecily, she at least deserved to know why so she'd have all the tools to hammer some sense into the stubborn tracker. That's if he didn't have the chance knock Vin sideways for his behavior first.

"Suit yourself." Dean's tone implied that the truth was a bad idea. He leaned back in his chair and simply stared at Ezra, waiting for the story he'd been promised.

"," Sam said. "I think you know that anything she did was out of her control. It would be wrong to blame her for her actions or take anything she said to heart." Sam may have acted like he was addressing Ezra, but his gaze was locked on Vin.

Ezra had issues with Dean, but Sam had been nothing but respectful, and it seemed, remarkably perceptive. "I will do my best to emphasize that point to all the parties involved." Ezra replied as his gaze too traveled toward Vin. His friend was leaning against the wall, head down studying the floor like it had become the most interesting thing in the room.

The silence stretched as Ezra studied Vin, wondering how he could dispel this despondent mood from his friend before it spiraled out of control. Across the room Sam cleared his throat, drawing Ezra from his musings.

He shifted to sit sideways on the bed so that he didn't feel like the invalid he was supposed to be portraying as he debated exactly what to say to the Winchesters. Of course he had no intention of telling them the whole truth, in fact he was trying to determine how little he could actually tell them and still satisfy their curiosity.

He was grateful when Josiah broke the silence sensing that Ezra needed a little more time to collect his thoughts. "I know we had a bit of a rough going there for a while boys, but I want ta thank you for what ya done for Cecily and Inez. Don't know that I would have figured it out by myself."

"You would have." Sam said sincerely.

Josiah laughed. "Maybe, but that don't mean I'm not grateful I didn't have ta."

Inwardly Ezra groaned. Where were his manners? Charlotte would be appalled that he'd shown no gratitude and, as much as it pained it to admit it, he did owe the Winchesters for what they'd risked on Cecily's behalf. "I too am thankful that Josiah was acquainted with you gentlemen. You saved Cecily's life and maybe even her sanity, of that I have no doubt."

"You don't have to thank us," Dean said. "Saving people, hunting things. It's the family business. Fact is folks rarely know we've been around; only that their problems are gone. Hell, most times they didn't even know they had a problem."

"Ah yes, a business." Ezra nodded. "I assume you expect some compensation for your efforts here today." He found that he had no problem paying these gentlemen anything they asked. He certainly couldn't put a price on Cecily's well-being.

The brother's shared a look and Ezra could see that Dean was all for asking for some form of monetary compensation before Sam cut him off.

"We don't charge –" Sam began.

"But if you want to make a contribution, we won't say no," Dean finished.

Ezra was confused. "You don't charge for your services? Are you independently wealthy? " They certainly didn't look like men who had money to spare and for them to risk their lives for strangers without compensation seemed the height of idiocy to Ezra; even he got a dollar day for his dangerous activities and he was protecting friends.

Sam laughed. "No, this is just what we do. Dean's a pretty good poker player – "

"Pretty good?" Dean protested. "I'm damn good!"

Ezra smiled, always on the look out for a challenge. Maybe Dean didn't have to leave town right away; at least not until Ezra had a change to see if he was as good as he proclaimed. "Well, if you amenable later; we should put your boast to the test."

"Not so quick to get rid of us now." Leaning back in the chair Dean returned Ezra's lazy smile. "I think I can take ya fancy pants."

Ezra dipped his head accepting the challenge. He certainly didn't have to like the man to take his money. "But surely you can not survive on playing poker alone. Even the best of us have our off days."

"Well – " Sam looked sideways at his brother as if seeking the right way to express his thoughts. "There are certain marginally legal situations we find that allow us to earn money.'"

"You're conmen!" he chortled, finding he had more in common with the bother's then he would have thought possible. Ezra glanced over at Josiah wondering if the former preacher had earned his living in this manner when he had been a hunter in his youth, but that was a conversation for another day.

"Yes! Fine! We admit it," Dean said tersely. "But this ain't about us." He crossed his arms defiantly challenging Ezra to fulfill his promise.

Knowing that the time for stalling had passed, Ezra plunged straight to the heart of the matter. "My condition is one of…well let's just say I can not die, at least not permanently, and I am able to heal rather quickly from any wound."

"How long have you been like this?" Sam asked. "And I'm guessing you've died before today."

This was where the truth and Ezra's version of his Immortality parted company. "After being shot several months back, the ability manifested itself," he explained. "It was confirmed after I was again fatally shot and as you may have guessed Inez's attack also resulted in my death. It appears now that the condition is permanent."

Ezra glanced back at Vin and while his friend still looked a little distressed by the day's events, Ezra was heartened to see that Vin was paying attention to the conversation and couldn't resist the opportunity to make small hand gesture which alluded to Ezra's death by bull.

"So you weren't born this way?" Leaning forward in his chair, Sam seemed to be hanging on Ezra's every word. Both Winchester's, he imagined, were looking for the lie; that moment when they might declare Ezra evil and feel the need to dispatch him.

Ezra had no intention of revealing the existence of an Immortal race and he hoped that Josiah wouldn't contradict him. "I remember having the requisite childhood scraps and mishaps, but since that first death everything changed. I no longer require the aid of a physician."

"So nothing significant happened, like an animal attack," Sam pushed. "Maybe something unusual in the weather or the location of your death that might have caused your -" Sam waved a hand at Ezra, "-thing"

Ezra had to bite back a laugh. Most people would consider being shot by one's own mother a highly significant and unusual event, but that was not the answer Sam was looking for. "I don't believe 'my thing', as you so eloquently call it was caused by external sources," Ezra said. "I've come to the conclusion that it simply possible that this ability is unique to me."

"I believe that Ezra's healing ability is simply a fluke of biology and not due to something supernatural." Josiah said. "Ezra was dead and then he wasn't. He's no different than when I first met him before his ability manifested." Josiah threw a cheeky grin in Ezra's direction before he continued, "'Cept maybe he's a sight more tolerable since he died."

Ezra frowned as the others chuckled, even Vin, who seemed to be recovering somewhat from his emotional turmoil.

"Josiah's right. We do like ya better now that ya can't die."

"That is only because I can happily take a bullet for you," Ezra groused good-naturedly. "I will remind you that it still hurts."

" 'Preciate that, Ez," Vin said softly his momentary good humor vanished as he faded back into his wall of silence.

Ezra realized too late that that's exactly what he'd done when Cecily had aimed her gun at Vin. He really was going to have to find some time to be alone with Vin and discuss the events of the day

"I'm guessin' while your buddies know the rest of the town ain't up to speed on your true nature," Dean said.

"You are correct and such is the reason for my enforced incarceration here in Nathan's infirmary and for Josiah's ill-fated attempts to keep us from meeting." Ezra shifted his gaze between the brothers. "And I would appreciate your discretion in this matter."

Sam nodded immediately. "Of course, we have no intention of telling anyone in town once we're sure – of your situation."


Dean stood up and handed Ezra a flask. "Drink this and iChristo/I."

"What did you say?" Ezra demanded as Josiah burst out with a huge belly laugh.

"I'm guessing they want to make sure your really aren't evil, Ezra," Josiah chucked. "Demons always flinch at the name of Christ and I'll bet that flask is full of holy water."

"You think I'm a demon?"

Dean shrugged. "Best not to take any chances." He held out the flask. "You drink this and we'll say we're done with the questions."

Ezra eye the flask suspiciously as he took it from Dean. "I guess this is a better then you asking for a demonstration of my healing power," he said before taking a swig from the flask. It was just water and Dean looked almost disappointed when Ezra handed it back without any ill effects.

"Would you – I mean could you demonstrate how you heal?" Sam asked.

"No!" Vin snapped. "You ain't cutting him."

Ezra was surprised that Vin had spoken up, but then he wasn't sure what to expect from Vin today. "I have to second that. I believe that kind of demonstration is unnecessary."

Vin pushed himself off the wall and came to stand at Ezra's shoulder. "Now if you boys are satisfied, I think it's time to end this discussion."

"You're right of course," Sam said seeming a little embarrassed that he'd even suggested it. "As Dean said, you passed those tests so we're satisfied and Josiah - " He glanced toward the former hunter.

"If he suddenly starts acting evil, I'll take care of it." Josiah smirked.

"That's very comforting," Ezra laughed. He looked at the brothers. "Will that satisfy you gentlemen?"

They nodded. "We don't have to leave town now do we?" Sam asked looking toward Vin for his answer.

"Nope," Vin said having returned to his position as the authority in the room. "Reckin you're not gonna be any more trouble."

Dean looked expectantly at Ezra. "About that poker game?"

"Tomorrow," Ezra said. "I believe I've had enough excitement for one day and," he glanced sideways at Vin, "there are some things I need to address."

"Tomorrow sounds good," Dean smiled as he gestured to his brother. "Guess we'll be going."

"Thank you for sharing your story. I wish we had some answers about why this happened to you," Sam said as he joined his brother at the door.

"Not to worry," Ezra waved his concerns away. "As Josiah often says; the Lord works in mysterious ways. If not for my ability, Inez would be facing murder charges."

Sam nodded and placed two fingers to his hat in a gesture of farewell. Dean did the same and then the brothers were out the door.

"Now that's something I thought I'd never hear you say," Josiah grinned.

Ezra looked confused.

"That the Lord had anything to do with your Immortality," he explained.

"It seemed a fitting coda to the story."

"Think they bought Ezra's tale?" Vin asked.

"'Spect so. Them boys ain't likely to bother ya any more, Ez, but I imagine they will be talking to Bobby Singer." At Ezra's raised eyebrow, Josiah continued, "Guess you could say he's the archivist for all things supernatural in this part of the country."

"Should I be worried?"

Josiah shook his head. "Bobby an' me go way back. Trained me into the hunting circles. I'm sure he won't be questioning things with me looking after ya."

Ezra smiled. "And I do appreciate you diligence in that matter."

"Guess I should be heading over to the jail," Josiah said. "Best make sure Buck is handling the situation and weaving a plausible tale for the townsfolk.

"A prudent idea," Ezra agreed.

Once Josiah had departed Ezra turned his attention to Vin. "And now, Mr. Tanner, I believe we need to discuss you appalling behavior toward my sister."

Sam followed Dean down the steps and into the nearby alleyway. "So?" Sam didn't think there was a case surrounding Ezra, but he wanted to confirm that with Dean.

"We let it go for now," Dean confirmed. "Josiah, no matter how friendly he is with Ezra, isn't gonna let him run amok if something changes."

Sam nodded; that had been his feeling on the situation too. "Weird biological mutations are not unheard of."

"But this one's pretty weird."

"Maybe we should head to Bobby's. He'll wanna document this for his archives anyway."

"Sure, but not for a few days."

"So what now?" Sam asked, but already knowing the answer. Dean had that look in his eyes that meant Sam would be finding his own entertainment while his brother acquainted himself with the local whore houses and gambling establishments. While Sam often indulged in some of those activities, he found it didn't appeal at the moment and wondered, instead if Josiah played chess. It would also be an opportunity to talk with the man without the pressure of the day's events .

"Now, baby brother, we take that break we didn't get back in Rock Ridge. I really want a drink and tomorrow, I have a date to relieve Ezra of some of his cash."

Sam smiled. Finding Josiah could wait. He figured he could use a drink too. "Saloon?"

Dean returned the smile. "Saloon."