Authors Note: It's been a while since I dabbled in the M7 fandom with our favorite guys. I discovered this story on my computer a few days ago and was reintroduced to the wonderful world of Magnificent Seven. I'm so happy theres still an active base of writers out there! Please share your feedbback and I'd love to see who the new writers are out there. I hope you enjoy this different look at our boys!
JD Dunne's nimble fingers moved rapidly over the keys of his laptop. His feet were keeping the rhythm of his typing underneath the kitchen table. The fifteen year old was adding the finishing touches to his computer skills project. The assignment was a simple one. He was supposed to design a computer game that your peers might find interesting. Unlike most of his friends who created games full of trigger happy double agents, sword wielding elves, and bloody carnage, JD's game served a much higher purpose. At least he thought so anyway. His RPG took place in the middle of a virtual United Nations meeting room. People would take on the role of ambassadors and they would discuss solutions to the world's problems. JD was smart enough to know that his idea was unlikely to become the next World of Warcraft, but he hoped it would at least get him an A in the class.
JD stomach rumbled loudly, the noise echoed throughout the whole kitchen. He had been ignoring it for the last hour, but his hunger was finally getting the better of him. Eboni said that she would be home for dinner, but the clock on the kitchen wall revealed that it was almost seven. JD sighed. He was disappointed, but not surprised that she wasn't able to keep her promise. She had probably had to take over a class again. A sudden thought flashed through JD's mind.
"Maybe she cooked me dinner when I was at school," he said aloud. He sprinted to the left side of the kitchen and flung the fridge door open. He sighed again. There was nothing in the fridge but a cold pizza, a half a gallon of milk, and a couple pieces of fruit. Nobody had bothered to go grocery shopping since his uncle had left on his business trip two weeks ago. The refrigerator was just the rest of the big Victorian house….empty.
Not for the first time this week, JD felt lonely. He reached for the cold pizza and the orange, and began counting the days to when his uncle Ezra would be home again. He talked to him three days ago. Ezra thought he would be home in another week if he could finish wrapping up the insurance deal.
His uncle had sounded strange on the phone, like he had been distracted. JD knew that his uncle worked for an insurance firm that dealt with some of the richest and most powerful men in the world. It was a high stress job, but his uncle had always seemed to enjoy it. He stopped to think about is uncle for a moment. In reality, Ezra Standish wasn't really JD's uncle. He had been a close friend of JD's mother.
Rachel Dunne has been a manager at a hotel in Denver. Life hadn't been easy for the two of them. His father had died in a strange kind of accident before he was born and his mom hadn't talked much about him. Somehow the two of them had managed to make ends meet.
That was until his mother had developed a rare form of brain cancer. Ezra Standish had shown up one day expressing his desire to help in anyway he could. His mother told him that Ezra was an old family friend andand had seemed pleased by the southerner's offer to help.. They had moved into Ezra's big house. JD had taken an instant liking to the man who talked funny, but became like the father he had never had. Over the course of the year, his mother kept getting progressively worse. Finally on a cold February day, her pain and suffering ended.
He remembered being held in Ezra's arms and crying, knowing that things would never be the same again.
When Rachel died, Ezra had offered his home to the young man. JD had readily accepted, and the rest was history. That had been a little over a year ago now.
The door leading out the garage opened and a young woman rushed inside, carrying two bags with her.
"I'm sorry JD! I got caught up tutoring some students," she apologized.
The pleasant aroma from the bags reached JD's nose, but he was much more excited to see the petite olive skinned woman.
"Ebbi!" JD exclaimed, dropping the pizza on the ground and rushing up to hug the young woman. The woman was surprised, but gratefully returned the hug.
"What's this?" she asked, with a smile. Her brown eyes were shining with pleasure. "You made me promise to no signs of affection."
"It's nothing," JD answered, instantly letting go. He turned his head to hide his blush.
"You hungry?" she asked with a smile.
"Yup," JD answered, making his way towards the bags. His stomach began to rumble again. "What did you bring for dinner?"
"I stopped by Inez's and picked you up some hamburgers. I promise I'll cook tomorrow There just wasn't time. Do want to set the table while I run upstairs and change?" she asked, indicating the business suit she was wearing.
"Okay," JD agreed, overjoyed that he wasn't going to have to spend the night alone.
Eboni smiled and disappeared into the living room. JD could hear her high heels clicking up the hardwood stairs.
He reached into the bag and pulled out three hamburgers for himself and two orders of fries. The other bag contained a mandarin orange salad. Eboni was a vegetarian.
The young woman had showed up a few months after he had been officially adopted. Ezra and JD had gotten along great. Ezra would never replace his mother, but he had worked hard to be a good guardian to his adoptive nephew. One of the perks of his insurance job was a large pay check that Ezra thoroughly enjoyed spending on JD. JD remembered hearing a heated argument between Ezra and a mother on the PTO.
"Mr. Standish, I am worried about how you are raising JD. Clearly you have a mixed up idea of what parenthood is." The petite blonde woman had gotten right in the man's face.
"Is that so Mrs. Ventos?" Ezra had asked sweetly.
"My Ryan mentioned that you have bought JD the new Lexon Computer., the one that costs over 3,000 dollars"
"Yes, JD has taken quite a liking to computer program design and I thought this computer will help further his talents. It also came with an excellent web cam that will allow us to communicate during business trips."
"That's exactly my point; you can't expect buying a toy will replace being there for him. Neither will his own horse, all these trips you send him on, or tuition to a fancy prep school."
"Ms. Ventos, how many times has Ryan been to the principal's office?"
"That's beside the point. I…"
"What are his grades?"
"Mr. Standish, I don't see how this…"
"JD has informed me that Mr. Ventos has been to the principal's office at least five times in the last two weeks and is in danger of failing two of his classes. Tell me Ms. Ventos, are these desirable behaviors the results of your esteemed parenting skills?"
"Mr. Standish, that is uncalled for."
"So are your comments. When your son behaves half as well as JD or even manages to accomplish half of the achievements of my esteemed nephew then maybe I will take your concerns under consideration."
These conversations happened more than once and Ezra usually shrugged them off in public. In private, it was another matter.. Ezra had told JD that he had hired the twenty-four year old to look after him in exchange for room and board. At first, JD had found the young woman with
long black hair and penetrating brown eyes intimidating, but the hesitation hadn't lasted long. She had become the sibling that JD never had. Eboni was working on her doctorate degree in foreign relations and would also go on extended trips, but either she or Ezra would be home so there was always somebody with him.
By the time Eboni came back down in a pair of sweats and hoodie, JD had the table set. The two sat down to dinner. JD immediately started scarfing down his dinner. Ebbi watched him with a look of disbelief.
"I still don't know where all that food goes," she stated before taking a bite of lettuce. "I saw Buck today.
He says to make sure that you're keeping up to speed on your homework."
"Really?" JD asked. Buck Wilmington was one Ezra's partners. There were five of them in all. JD had met them all, but he had had formed a special relationship with the easygoing man. Occasionally if both Ezra and Eboni were gone, Buck would stay with him. "And if I don't?"
"He says you're about due for another noogie," Eboni laughed.
"You can tell him that someday I'll be the one giving him a noogie!" JD stated.
"You've got a bit to grow before you even stand a chance," Eboni laughed.
"I know," JD answered with a sigh. He thought about his small stature. He was the smallest one in his class. Even most of the girls were taller than him. "I don't think I'm ever going to grow…"
"Maybe you will," Eboni answered comfortingly. "And if you don't, that's okay too. My father wasn't a large man either."
JD's interest perked up a little bit. He enjoyed hearing stories about Eboni's father. He had helped supply the Afghani government with weapons to defeat the soviets during the 80's. When the Taliban started to take over the country, he had helped organize the escape of many Afghani citizens. One of them had been Eboni's mother. Eboni had been three years old at the time of their escape. JD had met Eboni's mother many times. The retired lawyer enjoyed spoiling him. Eboni's father had been killed working overseas not long before he had been born. Eboni said he was her inspiration for continuing her work in forgiven affairs. He knew that she spoke several languages and was helping him learn Arabic.
"So I got an interesting email from your principal today," Eboni stated in between bites of her salad. "Seems like he is suspicions that somebody broke into the school grading system."
"Really?" JD asked innocently, but beads of sweat were beginning to pour down his forehead.
"None of the students' grades were tampered with, but whoever hacked into the system added grades for the entire faculty, seems like some of them were less than stellar."
JD took a long gulp of milk. He could feel Eboni's penetrating stare on him He looked sheepishly down at his plate, wondering what he was going to say. He hadn't hacked into the system to be bad. He had just wanted to see if he could do it. He knew that he would be in serious trouble if he got caught.
"They won't be able to remove the fake report cards until they bring in a professional on Monday, so I took a look myself. Some of them seem rather accurate," Eboni continued. "Pretty good joke if I do say so myself. It looks like somebody used the same virus you pulled off our computer at home a few days ago. Good think Ezra took it to work with him." She paused. "I think Ezra will be proud." JD put his glass down and looked at Eboni. "As long as the prankster doesn't get caught.," she added.
"There's no way he'll get caught," JD answered.
"See that he doesn't," Eboni answered seriously, before diverting her attention back to her salad.
The doorbell rang. JD got up to answer it.
"You eat," Eboni stated, "I'll get it." She got up from her seat and walked into the living room.
JD heard the door open. A loud "Rrrr" followed by a scream. He shot out of his chair and into the living room. Eboni was being pinned to the ground by a tall, thin man with long brown hair. The man was dressed in sweats and sweating hard. It looked like he had just been running.
"You bastard," Eboni growled trying to free herself.
"Now what are you going to do?" the man drawled.
Eboni had managed to free her leg enough to wrap it around the intruder. She twisted and got the man off balance enough for her to slide out of his grasp
"Impressive," the man stated.
" Should have kicked you in the balls," Eboni answered grumpily. "I have a half a mind to do it to you now."
"You never know if somebody might be looking to attack you and JD," the man stated, pulling himself to his feet."Always best to be on your guard."
"I doubt they would ring the doorbell," Eboni growled, but took the man's offered hand and let him pull her up.
"Never be too careful," the man answered. He looked up and saw JD standing in the doorway. He smiled.
"Hey Kid, how are you doing?"
"Hey Vin," JD answered, returning the smile. The night was turning out much better than he expected.
Vin Tanner also worked with his uncle, although he was not sure why. He was not the type of man that JD imagined would enjoy selling insurance. Vin had been a sharpshooter with the army rangers a few years ago. Tanner was not a very talkative man, but seemed he seemed to enjoy telling JD stories about his days in the military.
"You keeping up with those training exercises I gave you?" he asked.
"Yup," JD answered.
"Between his putzing on his computer and running with you, he's not spending nearly enough time on his homework," Eboni accused.
"Oh come on Ebbi, you know I don't need to spend all that extra time studying," JD whined. "I get an A on all my tests anyway."
"I know," the young woman answered proudly. "You know he's got the top grade in almost all his classes right now?" she asked Vin. "The teachers told me at parent-teacher conferences last night."
"Really?" Vin asked.
JD nodded and looked down at his feet, blushing.
"Way to go Kid!" Vin slapped JD on the shoulder. "Ezra will be proud of ya."
"Yeah," JD answered sheepishly. "What are you doing here Vin?" he asked, looking for a change of subject.
"Well, ahh," Vin stuttered slightly. "I came to see if you wanted to go for a run with me. You know, start getting those legs of yours in shape for track season."
"Yeah!" JD answered, enthusiastically. He looked over at Eboni. "Can I go?"
"Did you get your homework done?" she asked.
"Come on Ebbi, I can finish it all in study hall tomorrow. I never have anything to do anyway."
Eboni paused a moment. Vin stepped on her foot lightly.
"Alright, go ahead. But this won't become a habit," she stated sternly, but she was smiling.
JD shot up the stair to change into some running clothes and put on his shoes.
Eboni let out a loud sigh as soon as the teen was up the stairs.
"Parent teacher conferences?" Vin asked with a smile.
"Ezra asked me to go," she answered. "If Travis had told me I'd be keeping tabs on a fifteen year boy when he offered me the job, I'd have told him he was crazy."
"You're doing a great job Eb. He's a great kid."
"I'm not the only one," Ebbie looked up at Vin. "He still talks about the time you took him to the shooting range."
"Really?" Vin asked, obviously pleased. "I should see if he wants to go again sometime. Make it a treat for his good grades. Besides, he's fun too take. He's a little high strung, but he tries so hard."
"Make sure you tell that to Ezra," Eboni stated. "Is there really a reason you stopped by?" She asked. "Or was it just to ruin our peaceful evening."
"Shit, I almost forgot." Vin lifted up his shirt and pulled out a manilla folder that had been tucked into his shorts He held it out the woman.
"Geez thanks," she scoffed holding the envelope out at arm's length.
"Ezra sent these to the office a few hours ago," Vin stated.
"They're surveillance photos of Ricco and his men. Ezra wants them scanned into his computer and then you're supposed to give the copies to Chris. Ezra thinks they are planning on coming to the states soon."
"What's that?" JD asked, bounding down the steps.
Eboni dropped her arm so the folder was at her side, out of JD's view.
"Ahh…Vin's income taxes," she stated.
"Yeah…" Vin answered. "Could never figure out those things on my own."
"Ohh," JD replied, confused. "Why don't you pay for somebody to do it like Ezra does?"
"You think I got that much money Kid?" Vin asked with smile. "Come on, race you the stop sign."
Eboni watched out the window until she could no longer see the two men. The young woman smiled knowing that their four anxious men waiting for her phone call.