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Chapter 3 - Reward

Ezra found himself in Captain Anderson’s office once again.

He waited in silence, surveying the room around him. It was notably clean and distinctly organised, everything had a place and not one item was out of place. Ezra had an urge to reach out and push a teacup off of the coaster, so it rested on the table and not the coaster.

It was a delicate looking teacup, most likely fine bone china - not the type of cup he could imagine Captain Anderson using, whatever that meant. It was just such a contrast, a delicate feminine looking cup being used by such a hard character – someone so blunt and strong. He could not picture Captian Anderson drinking something such as tea. He obviously did.

When he glanced back up he saw that the other man was watching him, “Find my teacup fascinating, Jackhurst?” He asked face indecipherable to Ezra.

Ezra thought he was amused by his antics, just something in his eyes told him he was, but that may be wishful thinking. Ezra was slightly embarrassed that he had been caught staring so he made up an excuse for his odd behaviour.

“Not at all, I just thought I saw a spider crawl in there.” He deadpanned.

Captain Luca’s hand darted out, impressing Ezra with his reflexes. He snatched the cup off of the coaster and glanced inside. Shaking his head he put it back down, making sure that the handle was facing east, adjusting it minutely until he was satisfied, “Hilarious,”

After a long pause, Ezra spoke, “ said you had something to give to me?” He prompted. Ignoring the part of his brain that was imagining lewd things.

Captain Luca scrutinised Ezra, his eyes narrowing, before walking over to a filing cabinet that stood in the corner. Opening it, he searched through the files, once locating Ezra’s file he returned to stand behind the desk.

The file remained closed, “As you know we were the top of the leaderboard for the assault course,” he opened up with and Ezra nodded, “I gave the other nine their rewards whilst you were occupied.” He informed him.

Ezra was eager to know what the reward would be but stood patiently waiting for Captain Luca to reveal the much-awaited prize.

Captain Luca opened the file and pulled out two photos, holding them out to Ezra, “You have been granted permission to have two photos of your loved ones.”

Ezra could not stop the smile that spread across his face at that news. He reached out and took the photos. His eyes locking onto Captain Luca's, happiness radiating from him.

Ezra did not notice the change in Luca, what with being distracted by the photos. However, Luca could not miss his own reaction to Ezra's joy.

Ezra's face had lit up at the mention of photos, his smile wide, his eyes crinkling at the corners as they shone with pure happiness. The colour beyond anything Luca had ever seen before - the most wonderful eyes. It knocked him for six. Taken by utter surprise and overwhelmed him.

It was as if Ezra radiated happiness and the waves washed over everyone around him, causing them to be affected. Luca thought he looked stunning when he was smiling so naturally and open. Luca glanced away, striving to conceal his sudden and unexpected feelings he schooled his features into a blank mask of indiffEzrace.

Ezra looked at the two photos that had obviously been sent by his family, most likely Mia.

One photo was of his parents. His father had his arm slung around his mother's shoulders and she had hers around his waist. They were laughing at something, their whole countenance was relaxed and full of love.

Ezra’s heart ached to see them, to hug them and apologise for taking them for granted. He had only been here for two days, he did not think, no matter how long he stayed here, he’d ever get his temper under control – it was just his nature. Firey – passionate and headstrong when it came to something he believed in. However, being here had made him realise that he did take his family for granted, expecting them to do all his chores and feed him without so much as a thank you in return. He had failed to appreciate how amazing his family are, and just how lucky he was to have them.

Some of the people at this camp had fallen in with the wrong crowd, had difficult upbringings, or even lost their parents. Ezra really should value what he has.

He looked at the second photo and let out a small chuckle. It was taken the very night that he was arrested for losing his cool when some creep was coming onto his sister. His mother had taken it, Aiden, Mia and himself were standing in front of a huge fountain, arms around each other and grinning at the camera - smiles stretching from ear to ear. Once again his heart ached to see them.

He held a photo in each hand, switching his attention between the two. He was extremely thankful that he had these, they would keep him going if times in here got tough.

Not entirely feeling in charge of his own feelings, and his handle on them slipping further upon hearing Ezra chuckle, Luca knew he had to recapture his lost control, "Are you going to stand there all night, shitty brat?" he demanded.

Ezra hastily but carefully put the photos in his back pocket, "Thank you, sir." He sincerely responded.

Luca's face showed no reaction to Ezra's words, "Not my doing, your group won the reward - I was just the delivery man." He sounded bored, but Ezra wondered if this was how he always was - reserved.

"Don't stand there all night, you're making the place look untidy." Luca scolded.

The brat was just gaping at him, he evidently wanted to say something, Luca wanted him to just get on with it. He had seen his face far too much already today, he was starting to become quite fond of looking at it.

Ezra hesitated before speaking, "Can I maybe take some sticky tape, so I can put these pictures up?"

Captain Luca's eyebrows rose for a fraction of a second, "No," he informed him, "the others have not been given any, I can hardly show favouritism."

Luca wanted to give the fucker that tape, but he really could not, "Just keep them in your nightstand drawer, or on your nightstand." He suggested in an attempt to help.

Ezra shrugged one shoulder, "I guess, thanks anyway."

They watched each other briefly before Luca snapped, "Be gone with you, you're wasting my time."

Ezra smiled at him, he liked the way the captain talked, he was rude and brash, but he liked it, "I can go?"

"Stupidity is not a crime, so you're free to go." Luca countered in his low voice.

Ezra laughed lightly as he walked out the door.

As long as Captain Luca was not actually furious with him, he found his insults, words and comebacks amusing.

Returning to the quarters he placed his photos on the nightstand. He then spent the short period until dinner time talking with Curtis. They ate dinner without any drama - maybe horse face had been put off from antagonising Ezra because of his punishment cleaning the toilet.

Finally back to their quarters for the evening, Ezra removed his boots - he searched his locker until he found some boot polish, and set to work.

Curtis asked him what he was doing, although it was pretty obvious, "You heard Captain Anderson this morning, he tore us a new one because we had not shown up with an acceptable uniform." He shrugged, "No way am I facing his wrath tomorrow. If you show up with unpolished boots after his lecture, you're a dead man."

Curtis gulped and dug out his boots from under his bed, "Fuck - you're right."

Everyone had heard Ezra's comments and soon all ten men were cleaning their boots in relative silence.

Horse face was complaining, now cleaning his second boot, "Captain Anderson is a jerk!" He declared, his words heard by all.

"He's scary for sure," Curtis pointed out.

"He's a midget with a height inferiority complex, so tries to make up for it by being intimidating," Justin replied.

Ezra rolled his eyes, "He does not try - he succeeds in being intimidating. If you think he's not intimidating why don't you call him a midget to his face." Ezra challenged.

That shut Justin up. He valued his life it seemed - no one would ever call Captain Anderson a midget and survive to tell the tale.

Ezra scoffed releasing a jeering mocking laugh, "That's what I thought."

They did not receive any more visits from Captian Anderson, and Ezra was slightly disappointed. The lights were switched off early - well early for Ezra who was a bit of a night owl. Usually staying up late into the night talking with friends, playing video games or just doing general internet unproductive stuff. He was not a morning person, his body having only gone to sleep a few hours prior.

Therefore, he was wide awake. Stretched out on his back staring up into the darkness. Feeling ludicrous he huffed and sat up. He had decided to sneak out and just...fuck knows, not do anything, not to escape or to steal food, just anything but lying awake listening to the others snore.

Not wanting to get his newly polished boots dirty, he tiptoed out of the room without wearing any shoes.

Thankfully the door was not locked. He opened and closed it carefully.

He glanced around quickly to ensure he was alone and to allow his eyes to adjust to the change in darkness. The check confirmed that he was the only person around, he set off towards a bench he remembered seeing on their walk to the obstacle course this morning.

Nothing was planned, he just needed to get out of that room, but now he was walking he thought it would be nice to sit on the bench and look up at the stars. This facility was in the middle of nowhere and there was no buildings or polluted sky obstructing the view. Just wide open clear skies, full of stars.

It had not taken long to reach the bench. Ezra sat and took in the sight in front of him. A few moments into his impromptu stargazing the cold night air began to creep over him, surrounding him. He curled his toes up in his socks, wishing he had worn his boots and located a jacket. It was summer, so it was not exactly freezing - but not exactly vest and thin pyjama bottom temperature either.

He heard a noise behind him, turning to face the direction it had come from, his stomach dropped when he noticed Captian Luca coming to a stop a few steps away from the bench.

"Jackhurst?" He asked uncertainly.

Shit! Now he was in serious trouble, he was sure being out of bed without permission was forbidden.

"Er...Yes...I'm sorry, I could not sleep and I was going stir crazy inside. I just needed some fresh air." He rushed out as he stood.

Ezra knew he was in trouble but his mind could not help but notice how good Luca looked in the moonlight. He was wearing his normal daytime attire, with a thin jacket over the top.

He waited. No response.

"I'm sorry..."

"Where are your boots?" Luca demanded, cutting off Ezra's apology.

Taken off guard by his words Ezra took a moment to answer, he glanced down at his sock covered feet as if noticing the lack of boots for the first time, ""

"You fool. Do you not realise how disgusting it is out here, you're going to have filthy feet and god knows what you could have stood in." He rebuked, mildly disgusted that someone could actually walk outside without footwear.

Ezra blinked at him a few times, "Um...that's why I didn't want to wear my boots - I had just polished them and didn't want to get them dirty." He explained. Shocked that he was not being questioned why he was out without permission, but being questioned about what he had worn whilst out.

Lifting his hand to rub the back of his neck nervously, still waiting for the reprimand he was sure to follow.

Luca removed his jacket and threw it at Ezra, who caught it automatically, "Here moron, wear my jacket before you catch a cold."

Ezra stood rooted to the spot, jacket held in his hand, gawking at him.

"Did I fucking stutter?" Luca asserted icily.

He quickly put on the jacket, it smelt pleasant - clean, with hints of Luca's cologne. He resisted the urge to pull it tighter around himself and take a deep inhale.

Ezra just stood there unsure what to do next. Luca exhaled noisily before sitting on the bench.

Ezra frowned at the grass, "W-what shall I do now?" He asked, unsure - voice shaky.

Luca's eyes shifted to glance at him. "Whatever the fuck you like Jackhurst, I'm not your mum."

Ezra shoulders dropped, the tension rolling away and relief flowing in at his words. He was not in trouble. He was free to do what he pleased, within reason.

Against his better judgement, he sat back down on the bench, a small gap between him and Captain Luca.

They both glanced out at the sky. Sitting in silence.

After a long stretch of stillness Ezra was sure Luca was not going to talk, until he snorted, "Polished your boots,"

"I did," angling his body to face Luca, "I assumed your rant this morning was to ensure we did not make the same mistake twice." He replied, amused.

"You'd be correct in your assumptions - not as dumb as you look." Was Luca's comeback - he was still facing outwards and barely glanced Ezra's way.

"Oi...I'm not dumb!" Ezra objected offended.

"I know that, now." He pointed out.

Ezra pouted, before realising he probably should not be doing that - that was acceptable behaviour around his friends, but his superior - his captain, he should not be acting so immaturely.

But, whatever this was - whatever was happening, was not the standard Captain - boot camp teen relationship.

Ezra caught Luca glancing at him from the corner of his eye, this made his stomach do a small flip.

"Sulk all you want, brat, you're not helping your case."

Ezra grinned at his words, he was sure they should be having an opposite effect on him, but he really did enjoy Luca's sense of humour, lack of tact and no filter.

"What would help my case?" He asked, maybe a little too suggestively.

Luca turned his head to regard Ezra fully, after a moment's silence he said, "I think you should return to your quarters, before Pet-Commander Sayers, finds you."

Fuck he had definitely crossed the line. At least he was not being punished, just dismissed.

Feeling put in his place, Ezra quickly stood. He removed Luca's jacket, handing it back to him, "Thanks, for that - and um....for not punishing me for being out of bed." He stated meekly.

"No rules to say you're not allowed out of bed at night." Luca clarified as if he was trying to make a point to Ezra, that he was not going easy on him, just that he could not care less as he was not breaking any rules.

"Oh, right," Ezra felt disappointed, it was nice thinking he was getting special treatment, "Night, sir." He said as a goodbye, slowly walking away.

He took a few steps when he heard the clear deep voice call out, "Just because there is no rule, Jackhurst, does not mean it is not seriously frowned upon."

Ezra smiled at that, continuing on his way - deciding it best he did not answer or show Luca how happy that made him.

Luca put his jacket back on, rubbing at his face with his hands. He could not sleep - this was a regular occurrence for him, considering he was an insomniac. What was not a regular occurrence was finding his usual nighttime spot taken by someone else. Not just anyone else, but this brat that has come into his life and awakened something inside of him.

To find Ezra in nothing but a vest, his arms and collarbone exposed - Luca had to give him his jacket, not only to stave off the cold but to prevent himself reaching out and licking that sinful collarbone.

Technically Ezra should not be wandering around outside, but there were no set rules to say he could not. It was just heavily implied. Luca could not find the strength to send him away - so when he sat next to him on the bench, he made a point of staring out in front of him, and not at the somewhat messy haired idiot.

The bastard had to pout - his lips looking kissable and then he spoke in a suggestive tone- the sound of his voice making Luca's cock twitch, he knew he was in trouble. That was why he had sent him away, his voice firm. He was not sure he could be trusted around him for much longer.

Ezra had the audacity to look forlorn when he was ordered to go, and before he knew what he was doing Luca was saying something to reassure him. He had never cared what people thought of him before - most people were scum, but he found himself caring about what Ezra thought of him.
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