Author: Athea (
Fandom: Magnificent Seven, Old West
Pairing: Ezra Standish and Josiah Sanchez
Title: Settling the Dust 3
Summary: The storms continue.
Note: All italics are from the Song of Solomon from the Old Testament.
Date: 8 September 2001

I finished my patrol with a sigh of relief. All the warmth in the world was waiting for me back in the church and I could hardly wait to get back there. However, Chris was waiting for me at the jail and I saw that he had something on his mind. Sometimes it was difficult for him to speak about emotions and that was what I saw preying on him.

But I had someone waiting for me.

Still, it was my job to help my fellow man so I sat and patiently waited for Chris to speak. Ezra tells me that I can be very intimidating when I look at someone. Of course, he was tickling me into laughter at the time so I took that with a grain of salt.

"You and Ezra are happy?"

I looked at him and wondered if we had a problem. "Ezra holds my heart in his hands and I trust him to keep it safe. Of course, I hold his, too."

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "That's what I thought. How did you know that he was interested?"

I chuckled. "When he asked me if I loved him."

Chris looked startled. "He asked you?"

"Ezra is in charge of our relationship, Chris and so far, he's done an excellent job."

"He is? But you're the elder."

I could see that he was having a real problem with that concept. "I may be older but when it comes to matters of the heart, Ezra has impeccable instincts. He knows what he needs from me and what I need from him. I love him with everything in me and he returns that love four-fold."

"Oh," was all he said while he bit his lip and went back to staring at the wall.

Impatience finally won out. Ezra said he'd have a hot bath waiting for me and if I didn't get back there, he'd come looking for me. "Chris, is there someone that you have feelings for? Somebody you think might love you back?" He looked up startled and I sighed silently. Some people really needed work on their people skills. "I'm guessing that it's Vin."

"How did you know that?" He got up to pace and I hid a smile.

"You met and knew each other at once. Some souls are like that, Chris. When you get a chance at love, does it really matter whether it's in a woman's body or a man's?"

"He's been passed around all his life. And then there was Charlotte. Damn it, he's my friend but ..." he looked at me with his heart in his eyes. "I want more. I want him to be with me all the time not just once or twice a day."

"Congratulations, my friend. You are definitely in love. Now all you have to do is tell him." I watched him keep pacing. I didn't think that would do it. He's a complicated man and he's very good at complicating his life. I sighed, that bath was looking further and further away.

The door to the jail flew open and Ezra stalked inside. "Josiah, you're soaking wet. Why are you still here?"

I stood and he hugged me tightly. "Chris needed to talk, little love."

"About Vin?" My green-eyed lover smiled at me and frowned at Chris. "When are you going to put him out of his misery, Mr. Larabee? I told him to just ..."

The door flew open again and Vin appeared. "Ezra, damn it, I told you that I was coming over here."

"He's making Josiah stay here instead of coming home for his bath. I trust you're going to talk to him." Ezra told him sternly while taking my hand and leading me to the door. "JD said he'd be here within the hour. So talk fast and then head to the saloon to my old room. You'll need the privacy. Come along, Josiah." He glared at them. "If he catches cold I'm siccing Nathan on both of you."

They looked suitably cowed and I meekly let Ezra lead me from the jail. It looked like Chris might just have his own lover to take care of him from now on. And I wasn't worried about me catching cold but I was a little concerned that Ezra might have exposed himself to the elements. His coat wasn't thick enough for this cold rain so I tucked him closer to me and drew my long duster around both of us.

"Silly Chris is about to meet his match." He said with a cheerful grin and slid his arm around me. "I'm going to work on JD next. I want everybody to be as happy as I am."

"Are you truly happy, little love?" I looked up and gauged the distance to the church.

"Very, very, very happy, Josiah. But I'll be happier when we're both warm and fed." He loved and scolded me in the same breath.

I just chuckled and opened the church door. Luckily no one was there so I was able to sweep him up in my arms and carry him into our room. He chortled all the way and I was hard pressed to keep from kissing him right then and there. But he had plans and I soon found myself stripped to the skin and taking the first bath. He'd made tea too and it warmed my insides while he scrubbed my back. I had to admit that it all felt very good.

"When did you talk to Vin, little love?" I asked him while he lathered my chest hair. He really enjoys that.

"Hm-m. Oh, when I went over to get some supplies from Mrs. Potter, he was there getting a new handkerchief. So, I asked him to help me carry everything back and he did. That's when I asked him when he was going to put Chris out of his misery and he almost dropped the jar of honey." He kissed me sweetly and I thought I detected a bit of that honey there already.

"That means you went out twice?" I frowned but he just kept rinsing me off.

"Of course, it does but neither of us has to go out again tonight and Mr. Brewster says that tomorrow will be sunny and fair. His knee tells the weather." He winked at me and made sure my legs were well washed before rinsing me and urging me out of the tub. Briskly he rubbed me with the big towel that he'd had the Chinese laundry make out of two normal towels.

I had to admit that I'd always found a 'normal' towel to be less than adequate. It was just one more thing that Ezra had invented or found to take care of me. He'd written away for a set of china cups with larger handles so I could actually get my fingers through them. And he'd noticed that I loved my honey so he'd found a supplier who had several different kinds for us to try.

When I remonstrated with him for spending his money on me, he simply sat in my lap and told me that he'd rather make my life easier so I had more time to take care of him. There was something wrong with that logic but I was damned if I could think what, especially when he began kissing me.

I tend to loose all memory of what I was saying or thinking when he does that.

"Josiah, where are you?" His curious voice came from my feet where he was rubbing liniment into them while I sat on the bed with no memory of how I got there.

"Why I'm right here, little love, getting the best foot massage that I've ever had in my life." I stroked his hair and felt him purr. "Why my feet?"

"Because that's where sickness can start, Nathan said so." He finished my right foot and began on the left. "So, if you take care of your head and your feet, then the rest of you will stay well. Your hat protected the top but your left boot has a problem with the sole and that's why that foot got wet. I don't ever want you to get sick, Josiah."

I noticed the sniff and wondered who in his life had gotten so sick that he was so determined to protect me. "Ezra, did someone you love get sick and leave you?"

Those bright green eyes were swimming in tears when they raised to mine. He nodded and looked down again. "Mother left me with relatives a lot. One of them was my Great Aunt Hepzibah. She told Mother I'd be a great help to her. As soon as Mother left, Aunt Hepzibah sat me down and told me that she had all the help she needed but what she really wanted was someone to bring laughter back into her home. That was my job and she wanted me to have fun everyday and make sure that some of it came back with me."

I couldn't stand it any longer. Pulling him up into my lap, I cuddled him as close as I could. "She sounds wonderful, Ezra. I'll bet you made her laugh every single day."

He nodded and shivered a little. "I loved her, Josiah. I was only eight but I knew that she loved me."

"Of course, she did, little love. When you love someone with all your heart, they just have to love you, too." I picked him up and carried him to the tub. "Now, let me wash you and then you can tell me the rest of the story."

He sniffed again and I fished my handkerchief from my jeans on the floor. He thanked me and blew his nose hard before laying it aside and letting me wash him. It wasn't the time for play so I made sure he was warmed up and clean before helping him out and drying him. Then we went back to bed with the tea tray and I cradled him close under the warm blankets.

"I was with her for almost a whole year, Josiah. She was so much fun and she had almost as many stories inside of her as you do. But the weather turned cool and rainy and she went out to church anyway. When she came home she was wet and chilled. Nana warmed her up and gave her a shot of whiskey and honey while I ran errands. But the next day, Aunt Hepzibah had a fever. Then the doctor came and bled her of the bad blood. But she didn't get better and two days later she was dead." He curled up against me and cried as if it had just happened.

"Little love, I 'm so sorry that she left you." I held him close and scattered kisses over his beautiful face. "She loved you so much that you gave her probably the best year she'd ever had in a long full life. Storytellers are only really alive when they have someone to tell their stories to. You gave her such a treat."

He sniffed and pulled a handkerchief from under the pillow, blowing his nose again and balling it up in his hand. "I loved her stories and I loved her. It was such a long time before someone loved me again. That's why I won't let anything happen to you, Josiah. Never, ever let anything bad happen to you."

I was speechless at his declaration. Tucking his head under my chin, I tried to come to grips with the fact that he truly believed that no one had loved him except for two people, his Aunt and me. Clearing my voice, I reminded him that we were not alone now. "Ezra, we're part of a family now and I don't think there's a single one of us who doesn't love you just the way you are. I'm just the lucky one that you love back."

He chuckled. "Silly Josiah, friends and lovers are two different things entirely. But I know what you mean about family. We are one, aren't we? I like that thought. I love you though, more than anyone in the world. Aunt Hepzibah would have loved you, too. I hope she knows that you love me."

"I expect, little love, that the guardian angel who saved you from that bank robber was your Great Aunt just looking out after her favorite nephew. And who knows but that she sent you this way so the two of us could meet." I kissed his temple and he lifted his head to reach my lips.

Never will I tire of kissing him. He is honey and spice and everything that tastes of love to me. Perhaps we both had guardian angels who steered us to each other. If so, I was the most grateful man in the world that we'd finally met. Finally we had to breathe and he made me finish my tea and eat more bread covered with honey and cinnamon. That odd combination tasted quite good and we shared the last slice in alternate bites until it was gone.

Setting the tea tray aside, I gathered him close and kissed him slowly but thoroughly until we had to breathe. "Ezra, would you please make love to me?"

He smiled slowly and stroked his hand down my cheek. "I never stop making love to you, Josiah. Every thought of every moment of every day that I have is spent in loving everything about you. Your gentleness and caring, your strength and power, even your truly horrible singing voice, all tell me that we're making love always."

"My truly horrible singing voice?" I smiled down at him and flexed my fingers over his ticklish stomach.

"When you're reading aloud, you sound like an angel." He hastened to reassure me. "But I think you should leave the hymn singing to Nathan."

"Well, if you think so, Ezra. Nathan does sound wonderful, doesn't he?" I smoothed my fingers over his pretty nipples and watched them harden to pink peaks.

"Hm-m-m, Josiah, he's very good but you have much the better speaking voice." He stretched like a sleek cat and his eyes gazed into mine. "And I think that you're right. I need to make love to you and make sure that you realize that you belong to me." His hands pushed against my shoulders and I rolled onto my back while he swarmed over me. "I love you, Josiah."

"And I love you, little love." His kisses are more potent than wine and I found myself remembering more of the Song of Solomon. When those tormenting lips left mine to travel slowly down to my nipples, my hands stroked tenderly through the soft curls on his head. His purr was music to my ears.

"His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved and this is my friend." He hummed in appreciation so I continued. "How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof; now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples."

Ezra chuckled and gave each nipple one last lick before moving down to my navel.

"Thy navel is a like a round goblet which wanteth not liquor."

He tickled me until I had to laugh and he joined in before swooping down on my cock like it was his favorite treat. It was getting harder to concentrate but I persevered.

"The roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak. I am my beloved's and his desire is toward me." I said those lines triumphantly and he hummed around me until I thought I might have to release.

But he left my cock reluctantly and held out his hand for the bottle of liniment that was sitting on the table beside my head. Opening it, I poured some onto his close held fingers and he smiled that beautiful smile that told me I was in for a long session of lovemaking. Putting the bottle back, I rolled over onto my stomach and prepared to be teased. But he simply stroked me tenderly for long moments until I felt one of those elegant fingers breach my entrance and slide the liniment deep inside of me.

"My beloved is gone down into his garden, the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine; he feedeth among the lilies."

I felt the slight burn of three fingers then the welcome feel of his cock sliding in and taking me gently. He kissed my back and stroked my sides tenderly until he was sure that I was comfortable. Then he began to move, slowly at first but with increasing power behind each stroke. He helped me up onto my knees so I was on all fours and finally able to push back for more of him while his hands held my hips steady for him.

"Oh God, Josiah, I love you." Ezra was panting now and I was too. "And I most definitely love," he impaled me on his cock and I felt the first scalding drops of his seed deep inside of me, "this."

One of his hands was pressing the nerve at the base of my cock and my own urge to come was barely averted. Flooding me with his heat, Ezra sighed and rested on my back for a moment. I held him up and wondered what else he had in store for me. Whatever it was, I'd enjoy it.

"Dearest ... beloved Josiah." He sighed my name and I felt the lonely ache deep in my heart disappear completely. "I want you to come inside of me."

And my cock jumped in response.

Chuckling, he gently eased out of me and used a corner of the sheet to catch the dribbles before rolling me onto my back. "How's your knee, Josiah? I forgot about it earlier."

I couldn't stand the worried look on his face and I grasped his hands to bring them to my lips. "You didn't hurt me, Ezra. All your massages have my knee feeling wonderful. One of these days we shall dance together and you'll see how much better I am."

"Good. Mother made sure that I learned to dance at a very early age." His hands were slowly sliding the liniment onto my cock, which was twitching with impatience. "Now just stay there for me." And he straddled my hips before leaning in to kiss me.

And again, I succumbed to the sweetness that was my Ezra.

In fact, I was so intent on kissing him that I almost missed the moment when he angled himself and forced the crown of my cock past his entrance muscles. That stimulus alone almost made me climax but I was worried that he hadn't prepared himself so I broke our kiss to ask.

But he beat me to it with an impish smile. "I spread some inside of me before I left to find you and while I was getting you ready for me, I put some more in. It's a good thing I'm limber."

"Dear heaven, yes." I watched him in amazement while he squirmed a little and slowly but surely sat down on me. "How does it feel, beloved? Too much?"

He was panting a little and I could feel little flexes around me that had me biting my lip. "You feel even bigger than normal, Josiah. I feel like I'm impaled on a tree trunk." That image made me jerk inside of him and he chuckled. "I can feel your heartbeat through your ... mighty ... shaft." Each word was punctuated with a squeeze of his inner muscles.

My beloved is a master of the spoken word and I'll be the first to admit, the master of my heart. Whether he's inside of me or I'm inside of him, he is in charge of my heart and soul and body.

"I love you, Ezra." Never had I meant it more.

"I love you too, Josiah. We're so very lucky that we found each other. I'm sorry that you had to wait so long for me." He began to rock up and down a little, a look of bliss on that beautiful face.

"The long wait was worth every second of time." I forced myself to let him keep control although my cock was demanding more. "And every moment that we're together is a blessing straight from God."

He smiled down at me and began to move more vigorously. "A blessing indeed. Now, I want you to give me all of your strength, Josiah. Don't hold back."

And I thrust up while he was coming down. We both groaned as I felt his channel walls squeeze around me and his hot spot was massaged by my cock. I'd been on the edge for so long that this time was going to be fast. But Ezra's cock had returned to life and I not-so-gently stroked him while he writhed on top of me. His panting was music to my ears and when I felt myself begin to pulse, I squeezed his cock right into release.

He fell forward onto my chest and I raised too heavy arms to hold him close. We were both breathing deeply and I could feel my cock begin to shrink. I was more content than I'd ever been in my entire life. Our cozy room was a haven from the rain that I could hear dancing on the roof. I was a lucky man to have such an abundance of warmth and pleasure so late in my life.

"Josiah, don't ever let me go." He murmured against my throat, kissing me just over the pulse that he liked to listen to.

"Never, beloved, I'll never stop loving you and holding you close." I kissed the top of his head and breathed in the warm, spicy scent of his soft hair.

"I won't let you go either, Josiah. And I'll never let anything bad happen to you." He raised his head and looked at me with tear filled eyes. "I love you more each day."

"Now, isn't that a nice coincidence, Ezra? I love you more today than I did yesterday." I smiled at him and watched his eyes begin to sparkle. "Even if you are matchmaking among our friends."

"I wonder what Chris and Vin are doing right now?" His grin was naughty to say the least and I thought about what the two men might be doing.

"If they're very lucky, little love, then they are resting just like this. Safe and warm and loved." I told him.

"Yes," his smile turned tender. "Warm and loved. I hope all of us are feeling that right now, although I need to work on JD. Buck is too afraid to even try to seduce him. But JD is pining for him and we're going to have to think of something to bring them together."

"We?" I groaned at the loss of his heat, slipping free of his body.

He was biting his lip and I rolled him over so I could check to make sure that I hadn't hurt him. Other than a little reddened, he was fine and I grabbed the edge of the sheet to perform some quick cleanup. Then he was back in my arms, snuggling close.

"We, Josiah. I think they're more like us than Chris and Vin are. There's the same twelve year gap between them and Buck's more worldly like you while JD is probably as innocent in the ways of love as I was." He licked under my chin and I chuckled, moving so I could kiss him.

When we parted, I gazed into laughing emerald eyes. "Then JD will have to seduce him because Buck never will. JD was pretty shocked when he opened the door and saw you inside of me."

"But intrigued, Josiah. He finally broke down and asked me what it was like to love a man instead of a woman. So, I told him how wonderful it was." His smile was just a little smug. "So, you're the one who needs to work on Buck, tell him how lonely JD is and how much he aches to be held by someone who loves him."

I knew that ache well and so did my Ezra. "I'll see what I can do, little love. I wish everyone could feel how good it is to love and be loved."

"We'll just keep showing people how nice it is until we've converted everyone over to love instead of hate." He nodded solemnly and I just had to kiss him again.

If only the world could make love instead of war, I thought wistfully while I cuddled Ezra close and feasted on his lips. The world would be a much nicer place and happiness would replace fear in men's lives. Ezra had the right idea. Start with one person then two, until you had brightened the whole town into love.

We'd have to start on that tomorrow, I decided while kissing my way down Ezra's elegant throat to his tasty nipples. But not now, now was for making love with the man who held my heart and my future in his caring hands while the rain fell all around us.

'Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it. For this is my beloved.'

The end for now