Disclaimer: I disclaim! I disclaim! De plane! De plane! Whoops, wrong
show. Don't own Mag 7, but did create
this setting to place the characters in.
AU: NYC AU
PARTS: One – 8 pages, TNR, 11 point font, normal margins
ARCHIVE: wherever you like.
NOTES: Answering my own
silly challenge: "Some, one or all of the boys are on the edge -- not
figuratively, literally. It can be the
edge of a cliff, the roof of a building, a scaffolding on the side of a
skyscraper, a ledge on the side of rock face, you name it, so long as it is a
long drop down. They can be standing,
dangling, falling, climbing, whatever works.
How you get them there, and get them out of it, is entirely up to you as
well. I only have one other little
caveat. You must use one, some or all
of the following words in the story: birthday, chocolate, shower, and
fool. It is April after all. Any universe, any style. Good luck!
(The use of Cadbury, founded 1839, gets a gold star.)"
DESCRIPTION: Ezra and
Vin chasing down an informant/witness and the foolish things people do when
they're not thinking.
Ezra skidded to a stop, his mouth opening in surprise as he
watched Vin leap without hesitation off the warehouse roof and onto the boat's
stern after the fleeing informant. The
informant twisted around as he got back to his feet, his expression equally as
astonished to see the former bounty hunter make the same desperate leap as
him. Scrambling across the slick poop
deck, made wet by an early April shower, the informant slid down the ladder to
the main deck and jumped over bits of coiled rope and other machinery. Vin mimicked him almost step for step,
though his moves were more fluid and less hurried.
Ezra glanced up once at the overhanging sky, then, moving a few
steps back on the metal roof of the warehouse, took a running leap to land on
the boat's stern just as Vin and the informant had.
For a brief moment, he flew, legs pumping open air as he tried
to remember his long jump training in school.
He came painfully back to earth as he impacted wood, rope and various
other very hard things that one finds lying about on a sailing boat – hurt a
damn sight more than sand.
"Gah...ow," he grumbled, getting to his feet on the
poop deck. Grimacing as a sharp pain
lanced up his leg and into his back, he tried to figure out where the informant
thought he could run too.
The ship – an old fashioned sailing boat with three masts called
the Fool's Errand – was facing out to sea.
On three sides, there was nothing but water. If the informant kept running, he would end up having to jump
into the East River. Surely he wasn't
Ezra's eyes widened as he realized that, no, he wasn't that
crazy...he was crazier.
The informant had reached the center mast and glanced up it for
only a second before running to the side to jump up onto the rope ladder. Quickly, the man started climbing.
Vin skidded to a halt and turned around to look at Ezra. The lawyer shrugged, and looked around where
he was standing for another means up.
Vin, meanwhile, followed the man to the ropes and starting making his
way up after him.
Not far away, Buck's jeep pulled into the Brooklyn pier, scaring
the hell out of the longshoremen and Port Authority officers as he skidded off
the main road over to the dockside.
Nathan rolled down the rain speckled window and peered up at each ship
they passed while Buck checked out the warehouses. Where the hell were they?
Ezra tested a rope that connected the crow's nest at the top of
the center mast with the stern. Shaking
his head and wondering whether or not he himself was crazier than the
informant, he gripped the rope and swung his legs up. In moments, he was shimmying upwards, every so often stopping to
see how far up the other two had gotten.
From the looks of it, they were about halfway. If he hurried, he might be able to beat them to the top. Steeling his resolve, he started pulling
himself along even faster, hand over hand.
The informant slipped several times on the wet ropes, his feet
falling through the holes in his haste.
Vin was more methodical, climbing as if he did this sort of thing
The informant yelled in pain suddenly as he slipped again fell
sideways, the rope ladder swaying with him.
Vin gripped the ropes tightly as they swayed, just trying to hang on,
for a moment understanding why some people were so terrified of heights. Hearing them falter, Ezra stopped where he
was only a few feet from the top and watched as the informant's legs flailed
about trying to get their hold on the ropes again. Frowning, the lawyer hastened his progress yet again.
In just another moment, Ezra was at the top, the rope he had
been climbing being attached to a metal ring just above the crow's nest
platform. Letting go with his legs, he
swung himself onto the platform and pressed his back against the mast. He felt another rope that ran down the
length of the mast, and he gripped the slick coil in his right hand.
The misty rain dusted his face, and he wiped his eyes with a wet
That was dumb, he thought inanely, as it had made his face feel
even wetter than before.
When he looked again, he saw the hand of the informant gripping
the platform's edge, and the lawyer smiled.
Still gripping the rope with his right hand, he reached out with his
left just as the informant's head appeared over the edge.
"Need a hand?" he asked politely.
The informant's eyes widened, his mouth opening in an
"Come on, Mr. Kingman," Ezra continued. "You'll
be all right. The police will protect
you, and we need your testimony.
"Easy for you to say, lawyer!" Kingman yelled back,
ignoring Ezra's hand and climbing the rest of the way up. "It's not your neck on the
line!" he snapped, warily watching
the other man from the edge of the platform.
Vin stopped on the rope ladder just below the top, listening.
The boat tipped gently to the right, and the informant gave a
faint squeal as his shoes slipped on the slick wood and he fell into Ezra. The lawyer grabbed his arm with his free
hand to stabilize him.
"Look, I'll push you back in the direction of the rope
ladder. Vin will head down first, then
you, and I'll follow. Sound
logical? I mean, where were you
planning on going anyway?"
Kingman shook his head, "Down the other side."
"Ah," Ezra nodded.
Logical. For a crazy man. "Listen, we're not going to let you
go. A woman's life is on the line
here. Your testimony will get her
"And get me killed when I tell who really did pull that
job," Kingman muttered.
"The police will protect you."
"Personally, at this point in time, Mr. Kingman, I don't
see as you have many options."
The informant snorted, then he smiled. "Fine, whatever you say," he agreed, backing out of
Ezra's grip. He turned around and looked
across at downtown Manhattan, the bulk of it hidden behind fog, his hand
snaking across his chest to his belt.
"Knife!" Vin yelled suddenly from below, seeing the
glint of the metal just as Kingman pulled it out. Ezra let go of his rope as the informant spun around to slash at
him, the lawyer forced to jump backwards. Poorly timed, his feet slipped as the
boat tipped in the same direction, and, for a brief moment, he felt completely
weightless as he feet slipped off the edge of the tiny platform at a strange
angle. His hands both reached out, and
he rejoiced at the feeling of another coarse rope stretched out along the
yardarm of the tallest sail just under his left fingers.
"Ezra!" Vin yelled as the lawyer fell, his heart
leaping into his throat as he saw Ezra grab at the rope on the way down. The lawyer swung hard against the sail's
arm, and he winced at the audible crack he heard. But Ezra held on somehow, despite the agony of feeling his arm
The informant's laughter only lasted a moment before he realized
his impromptu slash had sent him barreling forward in the same direction as
Ezra. Falling forward off the platform
with a scream, his own arms flailed wide seeking purchase.
Ezra somehow caught him with his right hand, grabbing at Kingman's
chocolate colored leather jacket. The
leather held and the informant swung into Ezra's legs, dropping his knife in
the process. Wrapping his arms around
the lawyer's legs, Kingman held on for dear life as Ezra let go of his jacket
to get his other hand around the rope along the yardarm.
"Hang on!" Vin yelled, scrambling up onto the platform
after them. He ignored Ezra's annoyed
look at the obvious statement as he made his way to the yardarm and, using
another rope for balance, stepped gingerly out onto it. The arm tipped precariously, imbalanced, and
the informant squealed as Ezra's hands slipped down the wet rope closer to the
end of the yardarm. The lawyer gritted
his teeth at the burning, but didn't make a sound.
"Okay, okay, bad idea," Vin said quickly, backing up
onto the platform again. Looking
around, he hoped to find some loose rope or a winch or something that could
above!" Yelled a voice from
below. Vin's face lit up with renewed
hope and he leaned over the perch to see Buck and Nathan standing on the deck
"I need rope!" he yelled back. "And get help! These guys fall, it's not going to be a soft
Nathan saluted and ran back down the ship to the gangplank near
the stern. Port Authority cops had
chased them in, and were clearly trying to decide whether Nathan was friend or
foe as he ran down the plank towards them, waving his arms like a madman. Several raised their guns to point at him.
Ezra hissed in pain, his fingers beginning to numb.
"Coming up!" Buck yelled. He had picked up a coil of rope and placed it over his
shoulders. Then he jumped up onto the
rope ladder and started to climb. Vin,
meanwhile, was testing the strength of the winch he had found located above the
nest. He frowned to find that the rope
was firmly attached somewhere below.
Suddenly, it came free.
Vin almost lost his precarious footing as it came loose in his hand, but
quick hands soon found purchase again as the boat tipped in the other
direction. Looking down over the edge
of the platform, he saw that two longshoremen were standing at the base of the
mast, waving up at him. One was
attaching something to the rope at the bottom, then indicated to Vin to let go
of the rope. The apprentice detective
did so, and watched as the two men started quickly pulling the rope so that
whatever they had tied to it was quickly being brought upwards.
Vin grinned to see that it was a couple of safety belts.
"Just hang on, Ez.
Ezra was too tired to respond, his eyes tightly shut. Kingman, however, gave a faint moan.
In a few moments, Buck had reached the top and was securing his
rope to the main mast. Throwing the end
of the edge, he looked at Vin and frowned.
Vin was already ahead of him, securing a safety belt in place
around his waist. He quickly outlined
his plan to Buck and Ezra, ignoring the plaintive cries of the informant as he
whined about wanting to wait for the FDNY.
"You want to live to see your next birthday, Kingman,
you'll shut the hell up," Vin growled at him. Knotting the rope that Buck had thrown over to the clasp on his
belt he pointed to the two longshoreman to gather it up and pull. They both did, pulling the rope at an angle
away from the nest.
Buck patted Vin on the back as the bounty hunter sat down on the
platform, then allowed himself to fall off, the other safety belt hanging off
The rope tightened, and he swallowed. Gripping it tightly in his right hand, he indicated to the
longshoremen to keep pulling him outwards.
The did so, moving themselves down the deck towards the stern
again. Nathan and a couple of officers
joined them, helping to give Vin more angle as he found himself being slowly
pulled towards Ezra. The lawyer still
had one eye pinched close, but the other was open slightly, watching as Vin got
Vin slipped down the rope slightly, and, with a single prayer,
he let go of the rope with his hand to get to the loose belt on his
shoulder. Wishing he could save Ezra
first, he reached Kingman and told him to keep still. The informant nodded faintly and tried to keep still as Vin wound
the belt around his waist and secured it.
Turning to look behind him then, he indicated to Buck to throw the rope
that was fastened to the winch.
The detective did as he was told, tossing the thick cord
over. Vin caught it neatly in one hand,
then proceeded to knot it around the clasp on Kingman's belt.
"Okay, let go of Ezra and onto me," he said. "Slow movements."
Kingman was shaking as he let go with one arm to reach over and
grab Vin's arm. Then, with a scared
bleat, he let go the other and grabbed Vin.
The four men securing Vin's line grunted at the extra weight,
but held on.
Slowly, they walked back down the deck until Vin and Kingman were
both level with the central mast.
Three other Port Authority officers were ready with the end of
the rope attached to Kingman via the winch.
The gave it slack as Vin instructed Kingman to let go. The informant looked up at Vin with
terrified eyes and shook his head.
"Let go of me," the apprentice detective growled,
"Or for the life of me, I'll untie that know and watch you drop! We don't have time for this."
Kingman looked at his face, as if testing his sincerity, and,
slowly nodded. Shutting his eyes, he
took two deep breaths, then let go.
Down below, the three officers held tightly to the suddenly
tight rope, and gently started to lower Kingman down. In moments, the informant was on the ground, crying as he was
cuffed. One of the officers undid the
belt around his waste, connected it to the rope, and quickly sent it upwards
Vin, meanwhile, had yelled for Nathan and the others to pull him
over to Ezra. The lawyer had been
relieved at the loss of the extra weight, but his fingers had also reached a
point where they were numb with the wet and cold. He wasn't even all that sure he had fingers anymore, except that
his arms still ached and he hadn't fallen yet.
But what if they let go?
It was a horrible feeling, not being in control, not knowing
whether you could even trust your own hands to keep holding on.
His eyes, heretofore shut, opened suddenly as Vin touched his
"Hold on," the former bounty hunter said, "I'll
get you down." Ezra just nodded,
now unable to take his eyes from his friend.
"Buck!" Vin yelled, "Throw the belt!"
The detective took a deep breath and tossed it, blowing air out
of his cheeks as Vin caught it easily.
The apprentice nodded his thanks, then turned and slipping down the rope
slightly, got into a position to secure it around Ezra's waist. Ezra's ice green eyes never blinked as he
watched. Vin wasn't even sure that the
lawyer still breathed.
"I can't feel my fingers," Ezra whispered suddenly,
startling Vin a little. The apprentice
detective looked up, met his eyes, and nodded.
"It'll be okay," he promised. Turning around again, he called for the
rope. Buck tossed it.
Working quickly, Vin tied the rope to the clasp and smiled.
"Okay...let go the rope and grab onto me."
Ezra nodded, then, furrowing his brow, he looked up and stared
at his hands. They didn't move.
"They...I can't...," the lawyer's lower lip trembled
slightly as he looked back at Vin.
Vin frowned, seeing the problem. Ezra had a death grip on the rope, and his dislocated shoulder
wasn't helping matters.
"Okay, not a problem," the apprentice detective
promised. Moving very carefully, he
reached down and pulled up the jeans cuff on his right trouser leg to reveal
his boots. Reaching inside the leather
to the hidden sheath, he pulled out a short knife. Ezra's eyes widened.
"You're....you're not going to cut my fingers off!" he
gasped, his mind no longer thinking clearly.
Vin gave him a look, "Jesus, Ezra, no. I'm cutting the rope you're hanging
onto. Christ, what a mind you have
sometimes." Pulling himself up on
the rope, he reached up and felt the thick corded rope. Pressing his knife against it, he started to
After about thirty seconds, he gave up. Disgusted, he stopped and looked back at
Ezra. The lawyer was still watching him
with a desperate expression. Vin gave
him an apologetic look.
"Rope's tougher than hell.
It'd take me a day and a half to cut through it with this," he held
up the knife. With a slight shrug, he
slowly replaced it into his boot. Ezra
"Now what?" Buck demanded, seeing their predicament.
"I don't know! You think of something for a change!"
Vin yelled back, his tone angry because of his failure. Ezra shut his eyes again. Buck frowned, then smiled. Leaning over the platform, he looked for
yelled, "Ezra's fingers are stuck!
Death grip! Any ideas?"
"Nice pass, Buck," Vin muttered, rolling his eyes
The part time clinic doctor looked surprised at the question,
then shrugged. "I don't know. Massage them, maybe? Get the feeling
Vin sighed, then looked at Ezra. "Okay, but don't think I'm going to do this
regular." Pulling himself up on
his rope again, he reached a hand up and started rubbing Ezra's fingers. After a while, he gave up and just started
to pry them off. Slowly, very slowly,
First Ezra's left hand....the lawyer gasped in pain as the
dislocated arm fell lifelessly to his side....Then his right....The three
officers holding onto Ezra's rope grunted at the sudden weight, unable to stop
the man's sudden lurch as he swayed in the direction the unyielding mast.
In the same second, Vin reached out and grabbed Ezra's right
arm, stopping him just before he slammed into the wood. The lawyer gasped, trying to stop his trembling
as Vin steadied him on the rope.
Several uniformed officers and longshoreman clapped.
"You all right?" Vin asked, looking at Ezra who was
now trying to snake his right hand around to grip the rope. The lawyer nodded, annoyed at his still
"Next time," he promised softly, "I'll just wait
at the bottom."
"Not sure why you didn't this time, actually," Vin
admitted, smiling a little. "I
mean, where else was Kingman going to go, but down the other side? You could have just met him down
Ezra's eyes opened, and he glared at the former bounty hunter.
"Thanks Vin," he snarled.
"I needed to hear that right now."
Vin just grinned, happy to see Ezra responding properly to him
Gently, steadily, both men were lowered to the ground.
Buck and another officer drove Kingman to the nearest station,
while Nathan spent the better part of an hour trying to explain to the Port
Authority, the Brooklyn police, the longshoremen's union, the ship's owners and
various others just what the hell had happened.
A paramedic was checking out Ezra for the tenth time, insisting
that he should really go to the hospital to get his hands, his shoulder and his
twisted ankle seen too. She couldn't
understand why he didn't want to go in the ambulance with them. After repeated attempts to convince him it
would be best, she gave up, made him sign a waiver, and stomped off. Ezra smiled, and pressed his hands tighter
around the mug of Cadbury's cocoa in his hand and shifted deeper into the
blanket around his shoulders.
The ship was owned by an English couple – the Cadbury's in the
food locker was a given.
Vin sat down next to him, also garbed in a blanket and nudged
him in the side. Ezra frowned as it
almost made him lose some of the cocoa.
"How come you didn't want to go to the hospital?" Vin
asked. "That shoulder has to be
killing you. Plus, I always thought you
loved the attention."
Ezra just smiled in response and looked over at where Nathan was
still trying to talk his way out of several citations and a bill for damages to
Vin shook his head and took a sip of his own cocoa. Ezra stiffened next to him, and he noticed
the lawyer was now grinning and staring out at the dock.
A limousine had pulled up.
Vin's jaw dropped.
"Want a ride?" Ezra asked, standing up gingerly and
putting the crutch the paramedic had given him under his good arm.
"When did you....?" Vin asked, amazed.
"Cell phones are wonderful things, Mr. Tanner, and I happen
to have this one programmed in just for times like these. Now, I repeat, want a ride?"
Vin just grinned, and stood up next to him.
Nathan placed a hand to his head, the headache beating louder in
his skull than ever. As yet another
Port Authority person showed up, this one informing him that she was a legal
intern and demanding the story again, he looked around for help.
And found himself alone.
"Hey!" he yelled at the departing limo, as Ezra waved
at him from the window.