Author's Note: This was written in response to a challenge for M7Land community on LiveJournal. The basic challenge had you submit a request for two names and you had to write a love letter from one to the other. You ran the risk of getting some seriously funny pairings.

Pairing: Ezra & Hilda

Miss Petrie,

While this letter is written much too late for your perusal, I have been told that placing one's feelings down on paper is beneficial. Who knows, perhaps if there is something beyond this mortal coil, you may, perchance, see and understand the emotion that drives me to this literary effort.

It may be best if I explain why this letter is necessary. My life has been a rather lonely existence, with trust being a rare commodity. I trusted no one; and the reverse held true as well. I have been a scoundrel, and I make no apology for this. According to the rules by which I was raised, it was indeed every man, or woman, for themselves – a fact my own dear mother has seen fit to instill in me. I rarely found anything or anyone who could teach me otherwise. At least until I met up with six strangers in a town that seemed like any other tiny Western backwater destined to dry up and blow away.

However, this little town has taken on a new light over the time I have been here. It has become almost, dare I say, home. It is not the town that has drawn me into its web, but the inhabitants that roam its environs. In the strangest twist of all, I find that I have become ensnared by the…brotherhood that has formed between the seven of us who have taken up defending Four Corners. You will remember them of course; one in particular I know keeps a special place for you in his own memory.

Each of these men has become vital to me in a way I could never have predicted given my rather rootless existence. I am not quite sure exactly how it all came about, or what prompted me to remain past my original thirty-day agreement, but I would not trade this time I have shared with them. Whether Josiah is correct in his assertion over a coming judgment, I am sure I do not know, but I certainly feel that mine may now be less harsh than it would have been thanks to the examples set for me by these men.

Between them, I believe Mr. Larabee and Mr. Jackson have had the greatest influence on my somewhat shady character. Mr. Jackson has been the sander that polishes away the knots and hard places in my attitude, while Mr. Larabee's steadfast line of challenge has propelled me to match his expectations of best behavior. I will request that you not let them have a clue to this however. It would quite destroy the game we have going between us. One must never show one's hand too soon.

On the other hand, JD and Vin have helped me understand why such character should indeed be practiced. Whether it is JD's innocence or Vin's honor, they have both managed to face difficult times and choices and still have pride in their names. I have changed mine so often it is a wonder I still remember what to answer to. These men have no reason to hide from the truth, and it is a stand I can only wonder at…and even be jealous of.

Josiah can be a trifle confusing I must admit. He cannot seem to make up his own mind on where we stand, but usually manages to expect the best from me and I feel driven to give it – all while denying I am doing any such thing of course. Appearances must be maintained, you understand. The last of our members I am sure you remember quite well. Buck Wilmington cannot help but stand out in anyone's memory. He is perhaps the most jovial person I have had the honor to meet and his joie de vivre and strong sense of loyalty has kept us going during difficult times.

I have to believe that I have contributed to our small band, and while I have difficulty believing that my loss would be any great detriment, these men have gone above and beyond the call of duty more than once to keep me with them. Even after our unplanned dispersal when that marshal came to town, they still came to find me to help save the town. No one had ever done that before – no one had ever considered me "one of theirs" to such an extent. I may still be less than trusting (or truthful for that matter) with the rest of the world, but I find a great comfort in knowing that I have six men who will guard my back while trusting me to watch theirs.

This has been a rather long, and somewhat rambling introduction in order to get to the point of writing this letter. It has been necessary though. You must understand how intertwined we have become with one another, to the point that the loss of any one of us would devastate the others. I can only speak for myself, but I live in a private dread of the day when the inevitable occurs. Our brotherhood is whole while we are seven strong.

In recognition of this, I must inform you of the depths of my admiration and gratitude for your actions. When you reached for that gun, and saved Buck's life, you saved us all. I do not know the particulars of your personal life before it intersected with ours in this place, but the thought of you and your selfless actions will be enshrined among the best in our memories. Wherever you may be now, in whatever form of afterlife that may exist, please know that you have my utmost regard and deepest affection for preserving what has become the most vital and necessary part of my life – the lives and well-being of my brothers.

In sincerest gratitude, I will forever remain,

Yours truly,

Ezra P. Standish

Author's 2nd Note: I hope you liked this! I have not abandoned my stories, and I am trying to get out new chapters within the next couple of weeks!