Polished Wood

by Megan

Disclaimers: Mag 7 don't belong to me

Comments: For the Tenth Anniversary challenge also thanks to Meredith for her quick beta of it.Written for the anniversary challenge\

Polished wood glowed in the soft sunlight that was streaming in the glass windows. The painted walls and wooden floors added to the feeling of warmth and quiet meditation. The pulpit sat on platform, carved and sanded smooth. Bibles rested on each pew, waiting for hands to take them up.

Josiah sat on the platform, staring at the now finished church. A job he had set for himself ten years ago, was done. Ten years of hammering, nailing, painting, removing bullet holes. His hair had gone whiter, the joints hurt a little bit more on cold days, and the crows had mysteriously disappeared about five years ago.

Sitting there, he allowed the memories of the first time he saw this church, sitting half destroyed in a lawless town. Now, it sat in a growing town, more people coming here to live, to ranch, the railroad making the town a stop for ranchers to bring cattle in for market and a stop for people on their way to other places.

The once one street town had expanded to several streets. The once boarded up buildings, were now active with several different business.

Eagle Bend had been the bigger town back then, but due to the Seven, everyone had gravitated towards Four Corners.

The promise of safety and of knowing that there were people who would protect you from outlaws was a lure that no one could resist.

Blinking at the empty church, a parade of memories flashed before his eyes the first time he started working on the church, tossing Chris the poncho, talking to Buck before his sword fight, watching Oliva while they found her mother, hiding the women, who were running for a new life, the other seven helping out with little projects on the church, the gathering of one or more to resolve a problem or just to have a quiet place to think.

As the town grew and the railroad came, the church still stood, was still worked on. Other churches had tried to spring up, but they quickly died when people wouldn't stop coming to this one. No one questioned it, but, through the years, people gathered here to celebrate and to mourn.

JD's wedding to Casey, with the Josiah overseeing, and the rest of the seven being ushers and the best man. Or rather, come to think of it, making sure JD didn't bolt.

Then the marriage of Nathan and Rain, which had the Seven performing the same function, of making sure th groom wasn't going to bolt.

They were happy times, the community coming together to celebrate. There was also sorrow.

The deaths of Nettie Wells, Judge Travis, and of other citizens that had died through the years. The time people had gotten together and tried to draw strength together in tough times during a cold winter, or strong storms, or the fire that almost destroyed half of the town. The town at those times had come together at the church, giving each other the strength that they needed to get through it.

The church had seen many things. It was where the Seven went into the horse business. Chris, Vin and Buck did most of the work and selling and raising, the others helped and invested money into it.

The ranch had flourished, their horses were now the most sought after horses west of the Mississippi.

The money that they received from it didn't matter, half of the time they forgot to even mention it, even Ezra. JD had taken over being sheriff, not that the rest of the seven didn't pitch in to help him when he needed it or when one of them was bored.

There had been several tries to get the Seven to give up their duties as sheriff, but every ploy had failed, ether the new sheriff ran away or the problem was something only the Seven could resolve.

After the fifth attempt failed, it was decided to leave the Seven as the law. Soon, their names became the men you called if you had trouble. Their reputation was enough to convince most bad guys to give up before they even reached the town.

Jock Steele had come back to town several times, writing more about their adventures. For some reason, people had enjoyed the stories. For the most part, they ignored the whole thing, barely acknowledging it when someone new in town mentioned it.

It was quickly pointed out, that the men here didn't care about that.

It wasn't like the last ten years had been perfect though. The church had been shot up, looking a lot like Chris's shack after Nichols' family had shot it. It had taken the Seven several weeks to fix the holes.

To this day, whenever a outlaw started to aim for the church, the Seven seemed to concentration their fire on that man. Criminals learned quickly not to aim at the church.

The fights among the seven strong willed men had been epic - shouting, fists, hitting, but it always ended up with each of them saying sorry in their own way.

There were times where one of them felt that the rest would be better off without them. Those stopped when everyone realized that being tied to your horse and dragged back into town was rather embarrassing.

Josiah stood up, feeling his knees protest. Walking over towards the door, he looked outside at the bustling town.

The town had survived through everything that was thrown at it. Turning, he looked back at the church. Everything seemed to be perfect. Walls painted, pews shined. Bibles waiting to be touched.

Under that, Josiah could still see every bit of imperfection in it. The way that none of the pews seemed to line up straight, where paint had dripped on the floor by someone, the one wobbly bench in back where one of the legs was cut just a little too short, or the places where the bullet holes weren't quite filled in all the way leaving shadows on the wall. Yet, the church as a whole looked warm, strong, inviting.

With a shake of his head, Josiah cleared his head out of memory. Turning back to the door, he was about to leave when he noticed something. Stopping, he peered closer at the door frame. There was a crack in it.

Frowning, he sighed. The church didn't seem to be as finished as he thought. He was going to have to fix the door frame before if fell in half. Smiling, he headed out the door, he would get to it when he came back from dinner. There were probably some other things that needed to be fixed. "Another coat of paint on the outside wouldn't hurt, either," he thought.

The End