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11 December 2008 @ 11:06 am
'A Quarter For Your Shoe' (01/06)  
Once upon a time, strangevisitor7 asked to borrow my character Charlotte Sparrow for a Mag 7 fic she was writing, and that was the beginning of the end for me. Her request sucked me hook line and sinker into the fandom since I was curious and bought the DVDs. This story came about due to puppy dog eyes from Casey, who really wanted a Christmas themed Ezra story, and a hefty dose of Ezra's dimples! They're hard to resist.

I think this story stands alone quite well, so you don't need to have read any of the previous stories. (If you do want to read them though, you can find them here.) The premise is that Charlotte was one of the relatives that Maude used to leave Ezra with, and he's adopted. I think that covers the important bits.

Characters: Ezra Standish, Maude Standish, Original Characters
Notes: PG, Magnificent Seven, many thanks to strangevisitor7 for the beta and the puppy eyes.
Summary: All Ezra wants for Christmas is his mother.


A Quarter For Your Shoe ~ Part One

Richmond, Virginia, December 1847

"Shall we go into town tomorrow and see about getting you a new suit for Christmas, Ezra?"

Charlotte's young ward just shrugged, not even turning away from the front window that he'd been staring out of for the last half-hour. Soon, it would be too dark for him to see anything, though what he was watching for was his mother, she was certain.

Sighing, Charlotte walked over to the boy, laying a gentle hand on his shoulder. Maude had dropped him off two weeks before, just a week after Ezra's tenth birthday, and it seemed that all the progress Charlotte had made with the child over his last several visits had disappeared like so much snow on the wind. He'd been sullen and moody, and nothing Charlotte did or said seemed to make it through the walls he'd erected around himself. Normally, the prospect of a shopping expedition would have had him so excited, she'd have a hard time getting him to even eat his supper. This time though, he didn't seem to care.

"Mrs. Holcombe is making roast chicken for supper; she knows it's your favourite. And spice cake for dessert," she finished brightly.

He pulled away from her, crossing his arms around himself. "I'm not hungry," he muttered.

"Be that as it may, Ezra, you will sit down to supper with me," she told him firmly. "It would be rude of you to snub all Mrs. Holcombe's effort on your behalf."

Tilting his chin truculently, his green eyes looking far too hard for a boy his age, he took a step forward. "She's just a servant. Mother says you don't have to treat servants like other people!"

Of course Maude would say that, she thought darkly. Reaching out, she put a hand on each of the boy's shoulders. "Ezra," she said sternly. She looked into his eyes, seeing defiance masking fear. What had happened since his last visit to cause such a dramatic change in his behavior? In a gentler tone, she continued, "All human beings are deserving of our respect, no matter their occupation or class or the colour of their skin, dearest. You should endeavor to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself." She put a finger under his chin, not letting him escape her gaze. "And while you are under my roof, you shall treat all the servants with the respect due your elders. Is that quite clear?"

"Yes, ma'am," he replied stiffly.

Well, that would have to do for now. Pulling him into her arms, she hugged him, an embrace he didn't return. Her heart broke a little as he just stood there. Taking a deep breath, she released him. "Why don't you go wash up and change for supper? Livy will come fetch you when it is time to dine."

"Yes, ma'am," he said one more time. Not 'Cousin Charlotte' – that form of address had been noticeably lacking during his stay this time around.

As he walked dejectedly from the room, Charlotte closed her eyes tiredly. What could she do to heal his hurt?

-=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=- -=-

Charlotte watched as Ezra came down the stairs. He didn't look any happier than he had before, but he had done as she asked and changed out of his play clothes. Her maid, Livy, followed behind him giving her mistress a little shake of her head and a look that told Charlotte that Ezra had been difficult. Difficult, but apparently not quite willing to outright disobey. The boy stopped on the bottom step, head down, his bangs hanging almost to his eyes. A haircut as well tomorrow, she made a mental note.

She put a smile on her face. "Don't you look dashing!" she exclaimed. "In fact, I am sure I am dining with the most handsome young man in all Virginia." Extending her hand for Ezra to take, she looked over at Livy who had come to stand next to her. "Thank you, Livy, for helping him get ready."

"My pleasure, madam."

Ezra had ignored her extended hand, so Charlotte took his instead. "Wait till you see, Ezra," she told him as she drew him along with her down the hall, "the dining room has been decorated for Christmas with evergreen, holly, ribbon, and extra candles. I was hoping you could help us decorate the rest of the public rooms this week."

Stopping, he tugged on her hand. "Will mother be here for Christmas?" he asked in a voice devoid of emotion. But she knew the question was anything but a casual one.

Leaning down, she stroked his hair with her free hand, wishing she could give him the answer she knew he wanted to hear. "I just don't know, dearest," she said softly. "But if she isn't, I promise you we will still have a wonderful holiday. I will do whatever I can to make it a perfect day for you."

Wrenching his hand from hers, he shook his head violently. "I don't want to spend Christmas with you!" he shouted. "You aren't my mother! I don't want to be here!"

"Ezra—" Charlotte began.

"No! Leave me alone!" He whirled away, practically knocking Livy over as he ran back down the hall and stormed up the stairs.

Stunned, Charlotte followed, but stopped at the stairs. Gripping the banister, she fought back tears. Livy, coming up behind, squeezed her shoulder sympathetically.

"That boy!" she said disapprovingly. "What's the world coming to when a child speaks to an adult in such a fashion?"

"It is all right, Livy." Letting go of the banister, she turned to look at the maid. "He is angry and hurt and I am the obvious person for him to vent his unhappiness at."

Livy clicked her tongue and shook her head. "It's not all right, madam, not right at all! Not when you're crying, it isn't." She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket, dabbing at Charlotte's cheeks, before handing the square of cloth to her.

Charlotte nodded her thanks, taking a deep breath and wiping her eyes. "He just wants his mother, and as he pointed out, I am not her."

"No idea why," the maid muttered. "That woman has all the motherly love of an alley cat."


"Well, I'm sorry, madam, I am, but I'm only speaking the truth. You give more love to young Master Ezra during his short visits with you than his mother does the rest of the time."

Sighing, she patted Livy's arm. "Maude loves Ezra, she just doesn't show it the same way I do." She knew that to be true. Maude did love her son, but the confidence woman's own past made it hard for her to express that love. Charlotte knew how fortunate she was to have had a loving father and a safe secure childhood; Maude had never had anything like that.

Livy shook her head, but held her tongue this time. "Are you going up to him then?"

"No, he needs some time to himself. I am the last person he wants to see right now."

"Then you need to go to the dining room and let Mrs. Holcombe feed you." She took Charlotte's arm, prepared to pull her mistress along after her if need be. "I know you all too well, madam, you get all melancholy and then you don't eat."

Laughing softly, Charlotte acquiesced to her maid's kindly scolding, letting her lead her back down the corridor. "Very well, Livy, I promise I will eat something." She patted the woman's hand on her arm. "Would you please take a plate up to Ezra in a little while? I have no wish for him to go to sleep hungry."

"Very well, madam."

"Thank you."

"Now, madam, you go eat," Livy instructed, opening the dining room door.

Charlotte nodded, walking slowly to her chair and sinking into it. The festively decorated room mocked her; how silly for her to have thought any of it would matter to the little boy under her care. Well, tomorrow was another day, and she prayed that it was a brighter one for her and for Ezra.


SivanShemeshsivanshemesh on December 11th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
I love Little Ezra stories...

Eagerly looking to read more of this.

Great start, of course Ezra would want his mother... and the idea of how is he going to deal with it, while with Charlotte?

Keep writing,


Sivan Shemesh
Ith: Holiday - Xmas Glowithildyn on December 11th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Being new to the fandom, I'm still a little nervous posting M7 fic. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
I will call her George: Mag 7 - Ezra - Immortalstrangevisitor7 on December 11th, 2008 08:47 pm (UTC)
DO I have to say how much I love this story? Because you already know I do!!

*hugs* you for succumbing and writing this. I adore the relationship you developed between Charlotte and Ezra.
Ith: Holiday - Xmas Red Ballsithildyn on December 11th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you're enjoying it, especially since I'm writing this mostly for you [g] Not that I don't hope other people will like it to, but you know what I mean :)
I will call her George: Mag 7 - Ezra (3)strangevisitor7 on December 11th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
*hugs* And a wonderful Christmas gift it is!!
tpena19tpena19 on December 12th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
Great look at imortal Ezra's childhood with Charlotte. Looks like this will be an interesting fic. Can't wait to read how their relationship advances.
Ithithildyn on December 12th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
Thank you! Pleased to know you're enjoying it.
The sanest lunatic you've ever met: mag7: all you dreamerssdwolfpup on December 12th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
I haven't read any of the related stories, but I really enjoyed the beginning of this one! You've set up a great little world.
Ithithildyn on December 12th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
Thank you :) Glad the 'stand alone' aspect worked out!
catyuycatyuy on December 12th, 2008 07:34 am (UTC)
Ooh another Charlotte and Ezra story.
Do you need me to tell how good this is, or can you take on past experience how much I love you and your fics.
Ithithildyn on December 12th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
The two of them just seem to be on a roll :)

Yes, you do need to, because I have the self-confidence of a snail [g]

Thank you!
sfulton229sfulton229 on December 12th, 2008 07:40 am (UTC)
Awww! Poor little Ezra! It looks like Maude made a promise that she isn't going to keep and is trying to drive a wedge between Charlotte and Ezra. Charlotte is trying so hard to give Ezra a happy childhood but is having to undo so much of what Maude has done. I put my money on Charlotte making things much better. Thanks for sharing this and I'm looking forward to the next part.
Ithithildyn on December 12th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading and commenting!
fractured_sunfractured_sun on December 12th, 2008 11:00 am (UTC)
*hugs little Ezra* this is lovely, though very sad. Even after meeting the others he never really quite gets over it (and none of them ever seem to really notice either). I always feel so sad for him, I'm glad you've given him Charlotte to look after him.
Ithithildyn on December 12th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
I always feel bad for Ezra too. You just want to hug him.

Thanks for reading!
tygermama: The Hogfathertygermama on December 13th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
\o/ More Charlotte and Ezra just in time for Christmas is a better present than a PONY!
Ithithildyn on December 13th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
LOL! Or a plastic rocket?
tygermamatygermama on December 13th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
HEEHEE! Or a shiny hat, Buddha could never come up with anything this good.

::hugs Merry Christmas!::