Magnificent Seven Old West

A Dollar a Day, Room and Board by Rhiannon

Main Character(s) Seven

Summary: As seven men prepare to go their separate ways in The New Law, each of them remembers the day a year ago when they signed on to protect the town.

Written as a series of 100-word drabbles.

Acknowlegements: Thanks to the Vinfeedback group members for their encouraging feedback and to Jen for the necessary beta check.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. I don't own the rights to the Magnificent Seven and I don't make any money from this work.

By unspoken assent, six men gather one last time in the main street of Four Corners while the seventh paces his cell, anger and frustration building. 

Each of them in his own way has settled in the town and although in his heart not one is ready to move on, five have already made the decision, judging their situation untenable. Of the two remaining, one man’s incarceration currently denies him a choice and the other is not yet ready to accept the inevitable.

And each man silently relives that day just over a year ago when his life changed forever.

+ + + + + + +

It never crosses his mind to say, "No." Why would he? Barely off the stagecoach, he’s already worn a sheriff’s badge!

His adventures these past few days have surpassed all the stories he eagerly devours in those dime novels and his acceptance into a group of men fighting to save an Indian village has far exceeded even his wildest dreams. Now he had the chance to stay on for thirty more days and learn at the feet of these tough, experienced men. He’s determined to show them what he’s made of.

“I’m in, if everyone else is,” he exclaims eagerly.

+ + + + + + +

He might have chosen to stay regardless. There’s great potential in a growing town like Four Corners for an entrepreneur such as himself, particularly one with the legitimacy of a paid “position” behind him. It’s certainly worth thirty days of his time – he has no particular plans. Furthermore, while his status as a convicted felon has not significantly hampered his activities, the offer of a pardon is a definite incentive. It also tickles him enormously to think of his mother's reaction when she finds out that they are paying him to enforce the law.

He smiles. “Where do I sign?”

+ + + + + + +

He had been content with his isolated, solitary existence a few miles outside Four Corners, his solitude broken only by occasional forays into town to collect supplies. But the recent mission left him wondering if it’s time to shift the focus of his penance and re-join humanity. The church is in need of both repair and a preacher, and he has already proffered his services. This offer opens up the opportunity for some welcome companionship and he has to admit, he wouldn’t say no to a little more action.

“A man could stay pretty busy in a town like this.”

+ + + + + + +

He understands small town mentality. Folks needed someone to blame and the medically unqualified black man was an easy target. He accepts it as he accepts the prejudice that has dogged him all his life. He doesn't even blame those he’d helped yet who still turned their backs, unwilling to get involved. It's the way of the world. He’s needed here and he enjoys the company of these new friends, most of whom don't seem to care about the color of his skin.

“I figure if you men are going to be getting shot I might as well stick around.”

+ + + + + + +

Meeting Chris again was a shock. He isn’t sure yet how he feels about it, especially as Chris is so thick with Tanner. Their easy friendship is the kind that takes time to build and he’ll admit to feeling a pang of jealousy on discovering they’d only just met. Still, his own close friendship with Chris is in the past and the past needn’t affect the present. This is a nice enough town, brimming with female companionship. Besides, the greenhorn kid has signed on and someone has to watch his back.

“A few women around here I'm not acquainted with.”

+ + + + + + +

He should say, "No," to the offer and head for Tascosa. It's past time to settle things. He's tired of looking over his shoulder, constantly moving on, mistrusting every stranger. Yet he trusted Larabee from the first, even blurted out the truth about the bounty and gratefully accepted the man's offer to ride with him. Truth is he craves the easy friendship Chris is offering. His gut tells him that Chris wants to stay on so he reckons it’s an easy decision to make.

“I got some things need taking care of,” he says softly. “But I guess they'll keep.”

+ + + + + + +

Recent events have awakened something within him that he had long ago buried beneath the single-minded hunt for his family's killer – a deep-rooted sense of justice. Helping those people felt right and he's surprised at how strongly he feels drawn to the prospect of staying on to help the people of this lawless town. He’d made a promise to ride with his new friend to Tascosa and if Vin had turned down the offer, he would not have hesitated to keep that promise. Now, though, he has another reason to stay.

“I have a feeling I'm going to regret this.”

+ + + + + + +

Now these memories belong to the past and an unclear future beckons. 

One man anticipates his impending reunion with a raven-haired beauty.

Another looks heavenward, willing God to answer his prayers for direction.

The third stifles unexpected emotion, fixing his thoughts on plans to make his fortune.

The youngest resolutely retains hope that he’ll see his friends again. 

The fifth paces, thoughts narrowing to escaping this cell without committing another apparently criminal act.

The final two exchange a glance. For now, they go their separate ways, but soon their paths will converge and take them east, to Texas.

The End

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