Characters: Ezra Standish, Oren Travis, Charlotte Sparrow
Notes: PG, Magnificent Seven, Highlander. This takes place around the same time as strangevisitor7's story Child of My Heart. Other Charlotte stories may be found here.
Summary: Charlotte delivers a warning.
Doña Ana, New Mexico ~ February, 1866
“See what you gave up by deciding to settle in Four Corners instead of Doña Ana?” Charlotte asked as she and Ezra walked down the wide, well maintained sidewalks the bustling town.
Ezra patted her hand in the crook of his arm. “I must say that you have a most lovely town, dear cousin. However, I am oddly content with my choice.”
“Then I am pleased, Ezra. My only wish has ever been for you to be happy.” Her hand tightened on his arm, a reflex reaction she hadn’t quite been able to stop as the presence of another Immortal washed across her.
“Are you well, Charlotte?” he asked, obviously noticing the sudden tension.
Her eyes scanned the mill of people on the streets. “Yes, of course, I’m fine. I just felt a little lightheaded for a moment,” she dissembled.
“Then let us find a place for you to sit.”
She finally found what she’d been searching for and relaxed, taking a deep breath. “No need, dearest. I am fine now; it has passed.”
“If you’re sure?” He still sounded concerned.
“Quite!” she said reassuringly. “Now, let me introduce you.” She directed his attention to the two men approaching them. It was Ezra’s turn to stiffen, but Charlotte didn’t have time to enquire as they drew even with them; the town’s sheriff, and an older man in a black suit and hat who carried himself with confidence.
“Mrs. Black, what a pleasant surprise to find you here in town,” the older man greeted her genteelly, touching the brim of his hat.
“Pearl,” the sheriff greeted her with a matching gesture.
The older man turned his attention to Ezra. “I hope Mr. Standish isn’t making a nuisance of himself?”
“Fancy meeting you here, Judge,” Ezra said with a smile that didn’t reach his eyes.
“Ezra, this is Sheriff Jenkins. Hank, this is my cousin, Ezra Standish. He’s currently residing in Four Corners and has come to visit me and the children. And of course you already know Judge Travis.”
“Good to meet you,” Hank Jenkins said, the two men shaking hands.
“I didn’t realize you had family nearby, Standish,” Judge Travis said.
“My cousin is the reason I moved west,” Ezra explained, still sounding wary.
“Is that right?”
“It is, Judge Travis,” Charlotte said, stepping back into the conversation. “Ezra spent a great deal of time with my family when he was a child, and having him here has brought me great joy.” She locked eyes with the other Immortal. “I intend to make sure he has a very long and happy life here.”
Travis nodded, understanding the warning in her seemingly innocent statement. Glancing over at Ezra, then back to Charlotte, he said, “It’s always good to have family around.”
“Indeed it is,” she replied softly. Oren Travis was a good man, but it had been necessary for the other Immortal to know that Ezra was under her protection. She couldn’t risk any misunderstandings should Ezra suffer his first death with her not there to look out for him.
“If you’ll excuse us, Mrs. Black, the sheriff and I have an appointment at the courthouse.” Travis took her extended hand, bowing slightly over it. “It was a pleasure seeing you again.”
“And you, Judge Travis.”
They made their goodbyes and Ezra and Charlotte watched them walk away.
“I think I could use a drink,” she said brightly.
Ezra’s hand on her arm stopped her. “What just happened here?”
“What are you talking about, dear?” Charlotte feigned innocence.
“You just warned the judge off.”
“Ezra, really!” She laughed. “A little suspicious aren’t you?”
He waved a finger at her. “Dear Auntie Lottie, you are a woman of many accomplishments, but you are a terrible liar.”
Sighing in irritation, no little of it due to Ezra calling her ‘Lottie’ which she hated – well he knew – she pulled from his hold on her arm. “Very well, I suppose you could say I was warning him off, but it wasn’t anything quite so dramatic. I am a woman of considerable standing in the community, and I just wanted to make sure that Judge Travis remembers that in his dealings with you.” It wasn’t entirely the truth, but close enough that Ezra should believe her.
He still looked suspicious, searching her eyes. “I have no desire for you to be my rescuer, Charlotte,” he said firmly. “I am no longer a child to be protected.”
She waved away his protest. “We are family, Ezra, and family looks out for each other. So I suggest you reconcile yourself to that.”
Laughing softly, he took her hand. “Yes, ma’am.”
“That’s better. Now, I believe you were buying me a drink?”