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22 October 2008 @ 12:59 pm
'Charitable Impulses' (01/01)  
Several months ago, strangevisitor7 asked if she could borrow my original character Charlotte for a Magnificent Seven fic she wanted to write, and I agreed. Now at that point, I'd never even seen the series, so I decided that her story would be a little AU detour for Charlotte. Cut to now, and I've become a huge Mag7 fangirl, and I adore Ezra and all the guys. So I've decided that the events in Casey's story, Child of My Heart, are now canon for my Echoes the Sea series. Yes, I know, like I needed another fandom to add to the mix! But Ezra's just irresistible, and Tony really liked the idea too! I wrote the first draft of this about six weeks ago just to quiet the bunnies, never intending to write in yet another fandom, but I'm weak. So you can expect to see a lot of Ezra in the coming months -- I surrender!


Characters: Ezra Standish, Tony Stark, Charlotte Sparrow
Notes: PG13, Iron Man, Magnificent Seven, Highlander, a story in the ‘Echoes the Sea’ series. This takes place before Real Friends Buy You In-N-Out. In these stories, Ezra is an Immortal, as is Maude. Charlotte was Maude's teacher, and one of the people Maude would leave Ezra with when he was a child. Many thanks to strangevisitor7, she who shares the 'Immortal Ezra Psychic Connection' with me, for the beta.
Summary: Charlotte keeps telling herself it's all for charity.


Charitable Impulses

San Luis Obispo, California ~ February 2008

"Why did I invite Tony to this again?" Charlotte Sparrow asked mournfully, watching from the back of the ballroom as the billionaire jacked up the bidding for the photograph currently being auctioned off.

Ezra Standish glanced across the room to where Tony Stark was leaning against the wall, a drink in one hand, bidding paddle in the other. "Because you wanted to raise the most money you were able to for the hospital's new trauma unit," he reminded her, putting his arm across the back of her chair, fingers resting against her bare shoulder. “And because he’s your best friend.”

”Oh, yeah.” Leaning against him dejectedly, she sighed. "Okay, a better question would probably be: why did I let you talk me into posing for that?" She jutted her chin at the offending photograph. "God, it's a grape... bikini!"

Chuckling in her ear, he replied, "Because you could hardly refuse my request considering my generosity in providing the portfolio for tonight's little fundraising soirée."

At the turn of the last century, Ezra had won photography equipment as partial payment for a marker in a poker game. While Maude had thought he should sell it for a tidy profit, he had instead begun to dabble in photography, discovering he had a true gift for the art. These days, Ezra, known currently as Edward Zachary Sanbourne, was a renowned 'photographer to the stars'; his original prints highly sought after by the rich and famous. When Charlotte had asked him to volunteer his considerable talent to help her raise money for charity, he'd immediately agreed, creating a collection of photos taken around the San Luis Obispo County area of the people and the land.

She made an inarticulate sound, slumping even farther down into her chair. "But there's so much of me and... grape bikini, Ez!" she repeated.

"As I am constantly reminding you, it is not a 'grape bikini' as you so charmingly refer to it. It is an artistic representation of one’s connection to the land; as are all the photographs in this collection. And it is some of my best work," he finished, sounding slightly peeved.

"It's beautiful, really it is! And I appreciate all you’ve done to make this event a success, you know I do.” She looked up at him apologetically. "But there's a big difference between the concept and seeing it larger than life on a stage in front of all these people. All these people who know me! And Tony's not helping," she finished with a wail.

Once Tony had seen the photo in the auction catalogue, he'd gleefully informed her that it was going to be his. Initially, she'd bid on it for herself, but had soon realized it was futile. She was a wealthy woman, but being a successful vintner and businesswoman didn’t put her in the same financial league as the billionaire weapons manufacturer. Now her friend was systematically crushing his competition and taking great delight in the whole process. She was never going to live this down.

"Yes, well, your Mr. Stark is certainly enthusiastic," he replied with a grin.

Snorting, she said, "That's one way to put it!" Glancing around the room, she shook her head. "I can only wonder what they all must think."

Ezra raised an eyebrow, a wicked gleam in his eyes. "Are you sure you want to know?"

She looked up at him sharply. "I'm probably going to regret this, but yes. Please, do tell."

He leaned in closer, speaking softly into her ear, "Why half of them think you're doing him, of course."

Smacking his hand, she said, "That is an incredibly crude term! I must have failed miserably when you were a child for you to use such language. Obviously I should have boxed your ears more often."

Charlotte had been a second mother to Ezra, raising him when his own mother, Maude, a former student of Charlotte’s, would leave him behind to pursue some con or scheme. After Ezra’s first death, Charlotte had become his teacher as well. More than a century later, the two Immortals were still family to each other and very close.

Ezra just laughed, totally unrepentant at her scolding. “You never boxed my ears,” he reminded her. “In fact, you never once raised a hand to me the entire time I was growing up.”

“I think you begin see my point,” she pointed out with a grin.

He kissed her on the cheek, matching her grin. "Don't censure yourself too harshly, dear cousin. I think we can safely blame Mother for any lack in my morals and manners. And crude it may be, but it is apt and to the point."

Shaking her head at his explanation, she replied, "I don't suppose it’s all that much of a surprise considering."

"No, it isn’t. Your good friend does have quite the reputation with the fairer sex."

”That’s putting it mildly! Fine, what about the other half?" she finally asked.

The smile on his face was positively evil. "I'd say a good portion of those fine people think you and I are ...," he trailed off meaningfully.

"Seriously?" she demanded.

"You needn't look so appalled, Charlotte. I will have you know I have never received any complaints from the ladies I have kept company with.”

"Don't pout, Ez, your face will freeze that way," she chided dryly. "Yes, I am well aware of your popularity; I see the gossip magazines. And you know very well that wasn't what I meant." She couldn't help herself, she had to know. "And the remainder?"

Ezra held back laughter with some effort. "Why, both of us, of course!"

"You're just winding me up!" she accused. He shook his head solemnly. "There are people who think that the three of us—? Together—? Not really!" The last word was practically a squeak.

"Oh yes, dear cousin, really and truly."

Laughing softly, she stretched her legs out, staring at her shoes. "If they only knew."

"What? That in actuality you live the chaste life of a nun?" he asked wryly.

"I don't!" she protested. "There have been men!"

"Oh? Please do enlighten me.” He patted her shoulder. “And World War Two doesn’t count."

"Very funny! And I am not discussing my sex life with you, thank you very much," she grumbled.

"Wouldn't that be your lack of a sex life?"

"Why don't you go hit on that redhead who's been eying you all night?" she told him, ignoring his needling. "You can tell her that you would love to light her, or whatever photographer pick-up lines you use!"

"I assure you, I have never used a line that pathetic," he said archly.

"Hah! Say you lost the coin toss with Tony so he gets to take me home this time."

"Shocked! Positively shocked!" He put a hand against his chest. "As if I would ever utilize such a ploy to acquire female companionship."

"Liar," she shot back with a grin. "And besides, someone should benefit from my apparently varied and active sex life."

"I got here just in time," Tony Stark said cheerfully, dropping into the empty chair on the other side of Charlotte. "We're talking about your sex life!"

"No, we're not," she replied firmly as Ezra choked back laughter. "I see you were victorious."

"Was there ever any doubt?" Tony asked airily. "And now, I need to decide where to hang it. What do you think, Ez? My office at Stark Industries, on the wall above the bar?"

”It would indeed be an excellent placement," he agreed, eyes twinkling with mirth as Charlotte began muttering under her breath.

Tony nodded. "But then I was thinking, what about putting it in the outer office? Right behind my secretary's desk; then everyone can see it!" he teased.

"I'm not playing, Tony. You and Ez have your fun, go ahead." Crossing her arms, she sat up straight in her chair, pouting.

"Come on, Birdie,” he cajoled, using his pet name for her. “Don't be grumpy. I made a lot of money for your hospital charity tonight."

"Yes, you did, and you know I love you for it." She kissed him on the cheek.

"That's more like it," he said, flashing his megawatt sexy smile.

"And now, you get to take me home," she informed him.

"I do?" He managed to make those two words sound like a proposition.

"Uh huh, lucky guy that you are. Ez lost the coin toss, so you have the honour tonight. Then he can hook up with the hot redhead who's making her way over here."

Tony looked at the other man in surprise. "You told her about the coin toss routine?"

She smacked Ezra on the arm. "I was kidding! You mean you two really do that?"

"Well done, Tony." Ezra rolled his eyes. "I hadn't actually told her, as you might have gathered." She smacked him again. "Why am I the only object of your abuse?" he protested.

"Because I expect better of you!" she shot back.

"She knows me," Tony pointed out helpfully, grinning.

"Well, thank you. I think." Ezra looked like he was trying to decide if it was a compliment.

Standing, Tony took Charlotte's hand, helping her to her feet. "So I'm taking you home. Will there be pie?"

"For you, there's always pie," she assured him, brushing his cheek with her fingertips.

"He gets pie?" Ezra sounded decidedly put out.

"Yeah, but you get the redhead," Tony reminded him with a smirk.

Ezra ignored him. "There will be some left over, won’t there?"

"Pie or redhead?" Charlotte snickered at the pained look on Ezra's face. "Have fun," she said, leading Tony away and leaving Ezra to the devices of his admirer.

“As for you—" she put her hand in the crook of Tony's arm "—you can assure me that photo is not going in your front office."

"I don’t know. Depends on how good that pie is, Birdie," he told her as they left the room, squeezing her hand.

"I have full confidence that it will meet with your approval. And then you can tell me about your trip to Afghanistan next week and your shiny new Jericho system. I want to hear all about it!"


I will call her George: Mag 7 - Ezra (2)strangevisitor7 on October 22nd, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
I completely and utterly adore the interaction between Charlotte, Tony and Ezra. It was meant to be!! I love this snippet of the future for Ezra and Charlotte. So glad I convinced you to post it!!! *hugs*

'Immortal Ezra Psychic Connection' we now have a name for our Ezra obsession. XD

Edited at 2008-10-22 08:18 pm (UTC)
Ith: Iron Man -  Partyithildyn on October 22nd, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
Glad you like it! And whether I'm happy you convinced me to post it remains to be seen :)

Or IEPC for short [g]

Edited at 2008-10-22 08:19 pm (UTC)
lizbet0lizbet0 on October 22nd, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
A grape bikini! Oh, poor Charlotte! I can just imagine it! (She'd look fabulous, I'm sure, but I'm equally sure she'd be mortified by all the public attention it would bring.)

I have to admit, I've never seen the Magnificent Seven, but have run across them in several fanfics. They sound very intriguing! Too bad I don't have cable anymore. (Hmmm...I need to check Netflix & Hulu, methinks...)

I love all your Charlotte fic, by the way. Thanks for writing more!
Ith: Vintage - Charlotteithildyn on October 22nd, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad you enjoyed this really odd strange fic!

It's a great series!
Julie Frost, SFF writer: Tony Stark--Anteatersagilebrit on October 22nd, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, golly, I love this. Tony would absolutely "systematically crush" the competition for anything he wanted, because money is no object to him and he CAN. And Ezra's crestfallen "He gets pie?" was adorable.
Ith: Iron Man - Burn Outithildyn on October 22nd, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)
I'd forgotten your desire for anything even remotely IM related, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised you read it! [g]

I think Ezra might decide that pie and poker with Tony might be more of a draw than the redhead.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
conjured_1: pepperconjured_1 on October 22nd, 2008 11:15 pm (UTC)
This I love! So funny. So sharp. So wonderful. You nailed the characters - or at least how I would view them together. Stark and Standish, wow, what a combination. Wouldn't I just love to be Charlotte... C'est magnifique!

Edited at 2008-10-22 11:15 pm (UTC)
Ith: Iron Man -  Partyithildyn on October 22nd, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the whacked out world of my brain :)

Stark and Standish, attention sluts extraordinaire! They just walk into people's nice, established two fandom crossovers and take over.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!
tygermamatygermama on October 22nd, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
this was GREAT! Tony and Ezra snarking and picking on poor Charlotte (until she loses her temper and refuses to make them any more pie)

(I need to find someone to make me an icon for this universe)
Ith: Iron Man -  Partyithildyn on October 22nd, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, I'd think Tony and Ezra would be a handful [g]
ex_egorstan on October 23rd, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
Was wearing a big grin on my face by the end of this! Really enjoyed it.

I'm going to have to watch that 'Ironman' movie one day.

Um ... one thing, I know what a bikini is but I don't know what a 'grape' bikini is, unless it's the colour? I can be pretty dumb at times.

Ith: Vintage - Charlotteithildyn on October 23rd, 2008 12:29 am (UTC)
Yes, you must watch IM soon! It's the fandom that ate my brain this summer [g]

Grape as in the fruit. Charlotte is a vintner and the photos were all about connections to the land, so she's basically wearing a lot of grapes!

Glad it made you grin :)

Edited at 2008-10-23 12:30 am (UTC)
(no subject) - ex_egorstan on October 23rd, 2008 12:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ithildyn on October 23rd, 2008 12:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
rodloxrodlox on October 23rd, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
super and fun!
Ithithildyn on October 23rd, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
Thanks :)
ronneemronneem on October 23rd, 2008 02:13 am (UTC)
Oh this is delightful. And watching Ezra snark with Tony is great. I can just see it continuing for a very long time... to Charlotte's outward indignation but secret admiration 'cause her boys are getting along.

Love it. Thanks
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra Smileithildyn on October 23rd, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
Thank you :) I'm so pleased you enjoyed it!
bumpkin_isbumpkin_is on October 23rd, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
Absolutely adorable!!!! I loved this. :) Thank you so much for sharing.

keep penning,
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra Wallpaperithildyn on October 23rd, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
sfulton229sfulton229 on October 23rd, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
Hee! This is just so much fun! Ezra always did seem to have a creative side and photography from almost the beginning would give him a lot of practice. Tony is having so much fun teasing Charlotte and Ezra is just adding to it. Love that Ezra wanted the pie almost more than getting laid; that's some great pie! I would think given when Charlotte originally lived, exposing that much of your body would be extremely daring; no wonder she's a little upset. Ezra and Tony aren't helping, either. Nice punchline at the end; Tony's life is about to be changed big time. Thanks so much for sharing this; Ezra can be quite the sneak about engaging affections and it sounds like Tony Stark is much the same. Looking forward to more, especially finding out just where the photo wound up.
Ith: Iron Man - Burn Outithildyn on October 23rd, 2008 05:06 am (UTC)
Lots of changes coming! Since these are being written backwards almost, when I get back to where I started, I'll have to mention the photo. It will be a nice angsty moment :)

Thank you for reading!
tpena19tpena19 on October 23rd, 2008 05:08 am (UTC)
Glad to hear of your conversion, isn't Ez kick arse? + super sexy gambler + wicked gunfighter = hott!

"grape....bikini" *laughs out loud* Poor Charlotte, I would have been so red. And I could just picture her "boxing" Ez's ears, heh.

Oh, LMAO! threesomes, bad photographer come-ons, the coin toss routine, and pie!! Great story. Ez as a photographer, I can SO see it. Hope to read more.
Ithithildyn on October 23rd, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
Yes, he rocks!

Ezra is so good at wrapping Charlotte around his little finger. But he saves it for what he really wants [g]

Glad you enjoyed it :) I had fun writing it!
dejladejla on October 23rd, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
Well, it does serve her right--of course, if she hadn't invited him, he'd have found out about it and done something worse...

And it's interesting--no alpha male reactions here between the two of them. I wonder if it's because Ezra isn't giving off vibes of sexual interest in Charlotte the way that Methos does?

Also, funny dialogue. Very funny!
Ith: Vintage - Charlotteithildyn on October 23rd, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
Charlotte and Ezra have a brother sister thing going on for the purposes of their current personas, and officially, they're cousins, Charlotte's only family. My mental background for the three of them is that they pal around a lot together. Remember that trip to Bali that was mentioned in 'Practical Applications'? Somehow Ezra and Tony were the ones to almost get her killed, though I have no idea how yet. They haven't told me!

Glad you enjoyed it!
catyuycatyuy on October 23rd, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
But I want my Methos back.
Wait, now I'm having visions of Ezra, Amanda and Methos all messing with Duncan.
Ithithildyn on October 23rd, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)

Seriously going to try and start working on the WIP with Methos :)

bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on October 31st, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
Cute and funny. Rather like potato chips, leaves me wanting more. And I don't even watch Ironman or read Marvel comics. Tony Stark is out of Marvel, right?

Ith: Iron Man - Burn Outithildyn on October 31st, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks :) I'm glad you liked it.

I SWORE I wasn't going to toss M7 into my series, but alas, I was unable to resist. I'm a brand new fan of the show and only bought the DVDs to better understand a friend's SPN/M7 crossover. I got hooked real fast :)

Yes, he's Marvel, and I only know that because my roommate is a comic fiend. She had to remind me several times. After all the comic book movies she's dragged me to over the years, one finally stuck [g]
she who is the teller of tales: ezra - headline newslyl_devil on November 7th, 2008 01:38 am (UTC)
I really, really want more Immortal Ezra. He's just so awesome! And the banter between him and Charlotte and Tony - even better.

Please tell me you're writing more? Please??
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra Smileithildyn on November 7th, 2008 01:40 am (UTC)
I plan for more, but it's the 'when' that's in question :)

Glad you enjoyed it!