by Sue Hixon

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters. "The Magnificent Seven" belong to MGM and Trilogy Entertainment.

Comments: This time I thought I would write about Vin just for something a little different.

Thanks: Many many thanks to my good friend and beta Debra M for all her help, I would be lost without her.

Vin pulled the rifle up snug against his shoulder and peered down the sight at the target. The shooting competition had lasted for a few hours and finally it was down to just Vin and a young kid named Sam. The kid was a little on the short side with a big floppy hat pulled down over his eyes. He wore a ridiculously large coat that was rolled up at the sleeves. Vin guessed he couldn't be more than 16 or 17 because he could see no facial hair on the boy's chin. Vin slipped his finger inside the trigger guard and gently squeezed the trigger. The bullet blew a hole in the center of the target only a little to the left of the bullseye. The crowd clapped and whistled.

Vin put down the rifle and stepped back from the line, now it was the kid's turn. The boy seemed to hesitate then he drew a deep breath and stepped up to the line scratched into the dirt. He nudged his hat up a bit and looked down the sight on his rifle. A hush fell over the crowd as they waited for the boy's shot.


The sound of the shot reverberated around the street, everyone stared at the target to see whether the boy's shot would hit dead centre.

"Bullseye!" came the cry from the judge. The kid had won. Vin nodded at the boy when he looked his way, the kid held the rifle like he was born with it in his hand.

"Nice shooting, Pard," Vin said.

The boy nodded in return, "Thanks" he muttered and turned and walked towards the judges table to collect his prize.

Vin watched the boy walk away and frowned. There was something about the boy that bothered him but he could not quite put his finger on it. Vin shrugged and headed towards the saloon to join his friends. Now the competition was over he was ready for a few gutwarmers and maybe a few hands of poker.

The boy collected his prize of $30.00 and put it into the inside pocket of his jacket. He walked a short way up the boardwalk and then turned into the alleyway. Right at the other end of the alley he found the old man sitting against one of the buildings dozing in the sun. Sam had been confident in his own skill but he had heard about the tracker and his sharp shooting ability from the previous town. He had hoped the tracker wouldn't be competing today but was still determined to win. He and his grandfather needed those winnings desperately and he was deeply relieved he had won.

"Grandpa," he said and gently shook the old man's shoulder.

"I'm awake, you don't have to rattle my bones Sam," the old man answered.

"Sorry Grandpa," the boy replied softly before helping the old man to his feet and turned to get the horses that were tethered nearby.

"I won grandpa just like you said I would," Sam said. He slid his rifle into the gun boot on the side of his saddle and mounted the dun gelding.

"I knew ya would Sam, I knew ya would," The old man answered back with pride in his voice. "Now let's get out of here and find somewhere to camp for the night." The boy and the old man made their way out of the alley and headed down the street towards the outskirts of town.

Vin stepped back out onto the boardwalk. Chris didn't want to play poker and he sure wasn't going to play with Ezra alone. Vin heard horses approaching to his right and turned to see who it was.

It was the boy from the shooting match and an old man riding an ugly looking paint. Vin watched them ride by and once again wondered about the boy - there was something odd about him. At that moment a gust of wind blew the boy's hat from his head. Vin saw a river of honey blond locks tumble down the boy's back. It was then that Vin realized that Sam was not a boy but a girl. He grinned to himself as the girl turned her horse back and leaned down from the saddle to collect her hat. Sam stuffed her hair up under it again, wheeled her horse around and caught up with the old man. Vin watched them until they were out of sight and looked around to see if anyone else had seen what he saw. No one else appeared to have noticed. Vin went back into the saloon, he was smiling a little as he sat down with the other peacemakers.

"Does something amuse you Mister Tanner?" Ezra asked dryly. He was out of pocket by a goodly sum because Vin had lost the shooting match. He also had not counted on the boy being such a good shot.

"Nope." Vin answered back and grinning to himself still he leaned back in his chair. Despite Ezra's small losses he was thankful he had followed his instincts. The first time he looked into the kid's eyes he had known winning had meant far more than being the best shot to the kid. Vin was familiar with that need for survival and recognized it in others. Subsequently he had held back on the last shot.

As he listened to Ezra's complaints about him losing, Vin still smiling, leant back on his chair, tipping his hat forward.

"Good luck to ya, kid" Vin muttered to himself.

The End

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