Pairing: Ezra Standish/Vin Tanner
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Don’t own them, not making any money off them... you know the drill.
Notes: This one is dedicated to Steel; whose “I’ve Got A Secret” Challenge inspired it.
It all started out as just a funny little PWP about their real names.
Thanks to Tess for the beta.

Warnings: None.
Summary: Ezra and Vin play a game, the prize? Personal information.


What’s In A Name?

by TimberWolf

Ezra sighed, loudly. He waited a moment, but no response was forthcoming from his partner. Only the steady clopping of Puck and Peso’s gait and the occasional creak of leather broke the afternoon’s silence. Finally, Ezra had to speak up, “Vin, are you still with us?”

The tracker started with a guilty flush, “Sorry Ezra, just thinkin’ about things.”

“What things?”

“Oh, different things.” Vin sighed softly, “Life ’n’ death, how quick the time goes.” He turned a short sideways glance on the man riding at his side, “You ‘n’ me.”

“Is that all?” Ezra joked lightly. His smile faded at the silence, and he swallowed heavily before murmuring, “Regrets?”

Vin looked up sharply, shaking his head, “No way, Ez. I just... feel’s like I barely know ya sometimes, is all....”

“You know me Vin.” Ezra spoke with quiet intensity, hoping Vin would believe his sincerity. He’d never shared as much of himself with anyone as he had with this man.

“I want to. I wanna know everythin’ about ya. But sometimes it feels like you’re keepin’ me on the surface. Always at arm’s length.”

“You know more about me than anyone, Vin. I daresay more even than Maude.”

Vin snorted. “I don’t even know your name. What’s the P stand for, anyways?”

Ezra flushed, looking away. With a quick grin he turned back to the tracker, hoping to deflect the question, “All right, Mr. Tanner, I have a proposition for you.”


“I suggest a wager.”

“A bet?”

“Exactly. You would like certain information about me. And I am equally eager to acquire intimate knowledge of your history.”

“And so?”

“And so, I propose a series of challenges. If the challenge is successfully met we’ve earned an honest answer to a single question. Agreed?”

“You’re on, Pard. Shake on it?” Vin pulled Peso to a halt, dismounting and extending his hand toward the gambler.

Ezra grinned a wide, lascivious smile, his gold tooth flashing in the sunlight. “I’d prefer a kiss.” He swung his leg over and jumped down, dropping Puck’s reins to the ground. Ignoring the tracker’s outstretched hand, Ezra pulled him into a loose embrace.

Vin chuckled, wrapping his arms around the gambler’s shoulders. “Greedy,” he murmured before pressing his lips softly against Ezra’s.

Ezra licked his lips as Vin pulled back, savouring the faint taste of the tracker still left there. “Most definitely avaricious, where you are concerned. Didn’t I say you knew me well?” He chuckled, planting another quick peck against the tracker’s grin before releasing him.

Vin laughed softly. “The first challenge Ezra?”

The gambler paused, scanning the area around them quickly. Finally he pointed, “See that copse of trees? Fifth tree from the left, third branch up.”

Nodding his agreement, Vin lifted his rifle, took careful aim, and fired. The branch cracked and fell.

“Nicely done,” Ezra grinned widely, “question?”

Vin stood still and silent, studying Ezra thoughtfully a moment before asking quietly, “What were you arrested for in Ft. Laramie?”

Ezra sighed softly, his smile fading. “I believe the warrant read Fraud and Theft.” He turned away, studying Puck’s bridle, brushing soothing strokes over the gelding’s nose.

“Did you do it?” The question was quiet, barely audible.

“Ah, now that would be two questions, Mr. Tanner,” Ezra murmured, not meeting Vin’s sharp gaze.

“Ezra...” Vin placed a gentle hand on the gambler’s tight shoulder.

“Would you believe me if I said I didn’t?” Ezra held his breath, unaware he was even doing so, as he waited for the answer, not sure he was ready to hear it. Not sure he would ever be ready.

“Of course I’d believe ya.” Vin shrugged.

“No questions asked?” Surprise coloured Ezra’s voice as he turned to stare at the tracker.

“None. No need. I wanna know all ‘bout ya, but I ain’t gonna push.” He brushed his hand along Ezra’s smooth cheek. “And I’ll always take ya at your word, Ez.” Vin smiled softly at the relief evident in Ezra’s green gaze. “‘Sides, gotta earn those questions first, don’t I?”

“Yes indeed. But I believe it is my turn. Name your challenge Vin.”

The tracker grinned. “Seems to me you’re always braggin’ up how smart yer horse is...”

“That he is,” Ezra grinned. “As clever as the trickster he’s named for.”

“So, get him to steal my gun. Right outta the holster.” Vin laughed, crossing his arms over his chest. “And when you fail your challenge, I get another question, right?”

Ezra’s gold tooth flashed in his wide grin, “Don’t count your victory yet, darlin’.” He whistled brightly, calling the chestnut gelding to him. Looping Puck’s reins over his saddle horn, Ezra made a big show of whispering into the horse’s perked ear, grinning the whole while. With a final brush down the gelding’s nose, Ezra stepped back nodding as he said, “Go to it Puck, you know what to do.”

The gelding snorted and with quick hop, turned and bolted for the trees.

Watching him go for a moment, Vin burst out laughing as he turned back to the disgruntled gambler.

“Puck!” Ezra shouted.

Vin stood with his arms wrapped around his belly, aching with laughter. “Give it up, Ez,” he gasped.

Ezra only grinned.

At that moment, Vin felt the horse move up behind him as his hat was lifted from his head and tossed to the ground.

“Not good enough, Ez. I said my gun, not my hat.” He chuckled as he bent to pick up the item in question.

“So you did.” Ezra laughed out loud, pointing in Puck’s direction.

The gelding stood quietly, holding the butt of Vin’s weapon in his teeth.

Grasping at his empty holster, Vin muttered, “How the hell....” He tossed a glare at the gambler before turning in the gelding’s direction. Puck’s bright brown eyes sparkled as if with mirth, while at Ezra’s three-note whistle, he dropped the gun into the tracker’s outstretched hand.

“Smart ass horse,” Vin grumbled, as Ezra laughed, “perfect match for his smart ass owner.” But he couldn’t stop the grin that stole across his face.

“Let’s start with a simple one then Vin,” Ezra grinned, “what’s your full name?”

The tracker was silent, looking quickly away from the sharp green eyes taking in his reaction.

“Vin?” Ezra’s grin faded to a small worried scowl.

Vin shook his head, refusing to meet the gambler’s worried gaze. “Ask me somethin’ else Ez. Anything else.”

“What?” Surprise and confusion were readily apparent in Ezra’s short exclamation.

“Not my name,” Vin sighed, “Anything but that.”

“Why?” Ezra stepped closer, reaching toward Vin, but the tracker stepped away.

“I just can’t. Don’t ask me.”

The gambler’s arms crossed as he watched Vin pull away. “Can’t or won’t?”


“It’s only your name Vin. What could be so terrible about that?”

“Not terrible, just embarrassin’.” The tracker flushed, bright colour washing over his cheeks.

“Vin...” Ezra started.

Vin interrupted, shaking his head, “Please Ez, anything else.”

“You don’t trust me.” It was a statement rather than a question. Ezra sighed, pain lancing through his chest at the realisation. What hope did their relationship have without trust?

Glancing up quickly at the flat pain in Ezra’s voice, Vin scowled. “Ez, you know I do.”

“Then tell me. Please?” Suddenly, learning the answer was less about discovering Vin’s name than it was somehow about any hope of a future with this man. Ezra’s palms began to itch as he waited for Vin’s reply.

Desperate, the tracker tried deflection. “You didn’t tell me yours, remember?”

“Percival. Ezra Percival Standish.” Ezra’s calm determined voice belied the blush that stained his cheeks at the admission.

Wide-eyed, Vin shook off his momentary surprise, pulling Ezra into a tight embrace, pressing his lips against the gambler’s own. “Thank you.” He took a deep breath and let it out with a long sigh, pressing his face into Ezra’s neck.

“Vin?” Ezra questioned softly, running his fingers gently through the tracker’s long curls.

“I’m gonna tell you Ez. Just... no one knows this.” Vin sighed again, pulling himself upright to look into the gambler’s bright green eyes. “I haven’t heard this name since my grandma died when I was ‘bout four and a half. She was a real devout lady. She picked it and promised my ma she’d pay for all my schoolin’ if’n they called me by it.” Vin pulled back slightly from Ezra, but was immediately caught tight in the gambler’s arms.

Ezra brushed his fingers along the tracker’s cheek. “Vin, it’s all right. You don’t have to...”

Vin interrupted quietly, shaking his head, “You were right Ez. I want ya to know everythin’ about me, as much as I wanna know ‘bout you. I’m just tryin’ to explain.”

“It can’t be such a terrible name...” Ezra smiled slightly, “Vincent? For the saint?”

“Nope.” The tracker shook his head.

“Alvin? Irving?” Ezra guessed, grinning.

“Naw, worse.”

Ezra looked questioningly at Vin, waiting for the tracker to tell him.

Vin ducked his head, flushing again as he quietly whispered, “It’s... it’s Divinity.”

Quiet reined a moment, as Ezra swallowed.

Vin blushed deeply, hiding his face in Ezra’s shoulder.

“Well, Vin,” placing careful emphasis on the tracker’s chosen name, Ezra coughed, clearing his throat before continuing. “It’s not so bad.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Vin, I’ve only once in my life ever felt truly blessed by the Almighty, and that was the first night you told me you loved me.” Meeting the tracker’s bright blue eyes, Ezra let his love burn brightly in his own eyes as he shrugged, adding, “Divinity doesn’t seem like such a terrible misappelation... but I swear to you, if you never call me Percival, I’ll never reveal your given name.”

A huge, bright grin lit Vin’s face as he murmured, “Deal!” He pulled the gambler close, pressing their lips together with a chuckle. “Love ya, Ez.”


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