ATF Universe

Disclaimer: The following is a work of fan fiction based on the CBS television series, The Magnificent Seven. It is in no way intended to infringe on the copyrights of CBS, TNN, MGM, The Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp., or anyone else who may have legal rights to the characters and settings. I do not claim ownership of the characters. This story is strictly for entertainment. No monetary gain will be made from it.

Notes: This isn't really a whole story, it's more like a snippet. Please read the whole thing (trust me <eg>). Thanks to JLL and Robyn for their encouragement and "suggestions" (blame them for the added smarm) <g> Also, thanks to Mog for creating the ATF/AU. Finally, a special thanks goes out to my pic guru, you know who you are <g>

Comments: Song lyrics are to Be Not Afraid written by Bob Dufford (1974). I've often heard this song at funerals, and it always makes me want to cry.

Everything seemed to be a blur . . . nothing seemed real anymore. In fact, nothing had seemed real for days . . . the shooting, JD lying in his arms . . . especially the doctor in the ER saying that there was too much damage and they couldn't save him. The viewing at the funeral home didn't seem real either, even though it was an open casket and you could see that it actually was JD in there. How could he be sitting here looking at the casket containing his best friend and kid brother? He looked around the crowded church and saw all the people who had come to say goodbye, but the only ones who mattered were sitting in the pew with him . . . the remaining five members of his family.

Be not afraid, I go before you always

Don't listen to the words of the song . . . can't let go yet, no tears . . . wait 'til I'm alone . . . alone . . . ALONE . . . Oh God, what am I going to do without him? He brought so much "life" into all our lives. How can he be gone?

Come, follow me. And I will give you rest

+ + + + + + +

As the mourners left the church on their way to their cars for the drive to the cemetery, the clouds that had been filling the sky parted and the sun came out but there was still a bitter cold in the air . . . almost like Mother Nature wanted it to be a wonderful day but it couldn't be perfect because something very wrong was happening today.

+ + + + + + +

What was Father O'Brien saying?

"We commend to Almighty God our brother, John Dunne, and we commit his body to the ground . . . "

No . . . no . . . no!

". . . earth to earth, ashes to ashes . . ."

NO . . . NO . . . NO!

". . . dust to dust."


As he heard the blood-curdling scream Buck bolted upright, looking for where the scream had come from . . . then he realized it was him, he was the one screaming. But, had he really been screaming out loud? Or was that still part of the nightmare he'd been living the last few days? He looked around, trying to get his bearings.

He was in his bed, in his room. It was pitch black and it was freezing, but he was drenched in sweat . . . and then he remembered. He remembered what he had dreamt about. He raced down the stairs and into JD's room, almost kicking the door in because he was so scared. But then he caught sight of what he was afraid he wouldn't find...JD, asleep in his bed, thanks to the painkillers the doctor had prescribed.

Thank God . . . thank you, thank you, thank you.

As he walked over to the chair on the other side of the bed, Buck tried to calm himself and slow his breathing down. He didn't want to wake JD, the kid really did need his sleep to recuperate from this last set of life-threatening injuries, but Buck just had to put his hand on JD's chest to make sure he was breathing and his heart was beating. God, kid, you even scare me in my sleep.

"Buck? Are you all right?" JD asked, as he placed his own hand on top of Buck's, which was still resting on JD's chest. JD remained in a drugged half-sleep, yet he could sense something was wrong with his best friend.

Buck looked at the exhausted kid in disbelief. He can barely keep his eyes open and yet, he's worried about me.

"I'm all right," he said as he squeezed JD's other hand, "You're the one I'm concerned about. Go back to sleep JD . . . Doc said you need your rest."

JD definitely knew something was wrong - Buck looked scared - but the kid didn't have the strength to fight off the sleep that wanted to claim him. As he closed his eyes, he yawned, "I'm sorry...I can't...but tomorrow..."

Buck watched and, as the long lashes fluttered closed, he reached out to pull the covers up closer to JD's chin. He left his hand on JD's chest, once again seeking comfort in the rhythmic beating of JD's heart.

Yeah, I'm all that I know you're all right little brother. With that, Buck finally let go. Tears stained his face and burned his eyes, tears that he couldn't shed in his nightmare.

But those tears of despair and fear were mixed with other tears, tears of relief and joy from the realization that it was just a nightmare and JD was alive and here, with his big brother beside him, watching over him as he slept.

Just the way it should be.

+ + + + + + +

JD awoke to feelings of comfort and security. He didn't understand why...until he saw Buck sitting in a chair with his head on the bed and one hand on JD's chest.

Thanks, Buck, JD smiled as he realized that Buck must have spent the night watching over him. A frown suddenly erased the smile, as he started to remember images and words from the previous night. Was that all part of a dream? Or did it really happen?

As sleep and the effects of the drugs dissipated, JD realized that what had happened last night was not a dream and he remembered being concerned for Buck, at how haggard and scared he had looked. What did he say? 'You're the one I'm concerned about'?

As he looked over at the sleeping form of his best friend, he whispered, "I am going to be all long as you're here." A with that JD fell back into a peaceful slumber...with his big brother beside him.

Just the way it should be.


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