by K

Disclaimer: Don't own any of the Seven. Not making any money from this. You know the drill.

Notes: A little AU story, that just came to me.

Comments: Love it? hate it? please write and tell me.

They say that night is the darkest before the dawn, when every last degree of the previous day's warmth has disappeared and all hope for a new day seems lost, this is the time that despair is at its greatest

He looked at his men, despair was great, fear in their eyes, pain in their faces. He felt sorry for them, for every soldier that was in this war. The things that they faced. War was everyone's worst nightmare and to be in it was the worst. He tried to cover his fear, trying to bring hope to his men, but after ten months of fighting hope was running low.

They knew they would never look at the stars in this sky the same way, they knew they would never look at anything the same way again. They were obsessed, tortured, going through one sleepless night to the next wondering what's going to happen next. Wondering if they would survive, wondering if they would ever see their families again.

With every day that passed their hopes, their faith, their souls seemed to drain from their bodies. They had seen and lived so many horrible things. They had seen men fall in such horrible ways that it made them sick just to think about it. Death followed them like their shadows.

The darkness was all around them, they huddled together like frightened little children, waiting for the sun's light to chase the ghosts away. They were cold from fear, cold from the night's breath. They wanted to make a fire to warm their tired, aching bodies but they could not as the fire would attract their enemy. So they huddled even closer together trying to keep warm, to keep safe, waiting for what ever was going to happen.

As they were waiting for the sun their minds began to wonder, looking at the memories that they had received, memories of yesterday.....

'There they were, hiding in that ditch, covered in mud and sweat. They hung onto their guns, like it was their lives, and then it began.

Bullets flew in the sky covering the morning's light. They raised their guns, and started to fire. Many lives were lost when the enemy finally fell back. The battle was won but the cost was too high. The ground that was once brown now was covered in blood. The sickly scent of blood and death floated in the air as they headed out, leaving their friends behind.

As they were walking they could not hear the enemy. The woods were silent, a little too quiet, not even a cricket's buzz. Nothing.

They kept on walking knowing if they rested they could die. They kept to the darkness, running from tree to tree, bush to bush trying to survive. After what felt like hours they finally made camp.

They were still breathing heavily as they fell to the ground with exhaustion. They were cold and tried and hungry. They were always on the run, never having enough time to sleep or eat. Even when then they finally had time to eat there was nothing much to eat. They had to eat weeds, sometimes bark, or if they were lucky a rat.....

The main leader was General Orrin Travis .He was in charge of everyone on this awful war. He had split the men into different groups. He needed the different groups to take up different places in this battle field. They had to search and destroy any enemy places. Travis had lost half of his men already. He had already organised the retreat. But he needed a group to scout the place, and last the night before back up came. This is when Team 7 came into place. Travis chose seven men to remain, to defeat the last of the enemy. The leader was Captain Christopher Larabee. Under his control was his best friend, Buck Wilmington who could handle a gun, and could break into anything that had a lock on it. Next was Josiah Sanchez, who was a master in psychology and good with mines, and explosives. Nathan Jackson, was their medic. Ezra Standish was a master at any cons. He was good in the intelligent class. He would be the man who would decipher any codes. Next was JD Dunne, master of the communication systems. He could also hack into anything. The most valuable member was Vincent Tanner, who could shoot anything at a distance. He could also track down anything. He was a tracker and a sharpshooter. They were chosen to remain because each member was the best in their fields. Together they were the best in the whole army. They were just put together and headed out that day.

JD and Vin were the youngest of them all, only sixteen years old, and they had a lot of courage. JD used to have lovely brown hair, he was always willing to help. Now his hair was black, his once pale milky white skin was covered in dirt, mud, sweat and blood.

Vin, he had these blue eyes that could see right through your soul, with reddish brown hair and the smile could melt any girls heart, but now his hair was like everybody else's - dirty, covered in mud and blood. Their bodies were skeletons, not even his eyes were saved, eyes that were once blue and young, now were old and tired.

Ezra was only eighteen, he too had lost the spark. Nathan, who was nineteen, had lost the youth that was once there, now the only thing left was this man, who was losing his soul. Buck still had the spirit, he tried to bring laughter, to bring back the spark that would save their lives, but even Buck could not handle ten months of death. Then it was Josiah, who had just turned twenty-six. He turned to faith trying to make sense of the waste in life. Finally it was the Captain, Chris Larabee who was the youngest Captain in the war, only twenty-five years old and he was in charge of this group. It was his responsibility to take care of them, and to bring them home. This group has been through a lot, and now it felt like his men had become his soldiers, his brothers, his family...

They had seen the worst that war could throw at them. They had seen their friends blown up. They had seen men die right in front of them, they still had their blood on their clothes. They had seen so many body parts that they could become doctors, they had seen more body parts up close than most doctors.

Ezra looked at his bag, then a smile began to form. The captain knew this meant trouble, but he would do anything for the hope to return so he gave Ezra a quick little nod. Ezra grabbed his "back- pack" and started to rumble through it, looking for something. Everyone one else didn't notice, they were just too tired to do anything. Finally Ezra took out a silver bottle. He quickly opened it, and took a swig. Then he passed it down the row. Buck, Josiah, Nathan and Chris smiled as it was their time for a drink.

The whisky burned as it went down their throats , but it brought back pleasant memories, memories of their homes, memories of their loved ones.

Even though it was not allowed to drink during a battle, the captain knew they all needed a little bit of hope, a little something to bring hope to their lives.

When it came to Vin and JD, they both looked at the container, trying to figure out what could be inside.

They had a quick game of 'rock, paper and scissors' to see who would be first to try the drink. Vin won. JD carefully raised the container, closed his eyes and opened his mouth. He took one big gulp, followed be some coughing as the whiskey burned his throat. The others laughed.

Vin knew that the same would happened so he took a smaller amount, but the results were the same.

Everyone laughed and laughed, not because it was that funny, but finally they had a good memories that they could take back. JD and Vin looked at them with a little bit of anger, but they knew it was funny so they too started to laugh.

They knew laughing was not that good, especially that it would attract the enemy.

They did not care anymore, they were just too tired of feeling scared. This was the first time in ten months that they had laughed. In a way they laughed as a sign of relief. They laughed because they had reason too, they laughed because they needed too.

After they had finished laughing, the sparks that were once in everyone came back, the fire in their eyes began to burn. A new sense of hope came back into their lives. The Captain could already see the change. Normally they would just huddle together and try to sleep, sometimes they would cry for their friends, sometimes they would just look into the unknown, but tonight, their pale faces had a bit of colour in them. Hope had returned, bringing energy and strength to fight another day.

Buck started to talk about all the women he was going to see. Ezra was talking about all the gambling he was going to do. Nathan and Josiah were just shaking their heads. After awhile JD and Buck started to argue about something that no one knew. Ezra started to make bets on who would win. Nathan and Josiah started to talk about their life after the war. Nathan wanted to go back and continue his studies so he could become a real doctor. Josiah wanted to become a missionary.

Vin and Chris sat in silence, the peaceful kind. They didn't need thoughts to understand what they were thinking. When blue met green, a warm feeling entered their souls. For the first time in many years they felt like they belonged.

"How you doing?" Chris asked.

"Fine , you?" Vin asked.

"Pretty good," Chris smiled.

They watched as JD and Buck still carried on fighting over some cartoon. Ezra was playing with his cards, by the looks of things Josiah was losing everything, but Nathan still had some money. Chris looked at his young friend, somehow he felt his demons rest with Vin around.

The morning came, they packed their bags, getting ready for another day's battle. Normally there would be silence, but now you could feel the difference. They all had the strength to make it through today. Their hope was strong, they had energy, almost as if another person had entered their tired aching bodies. Even the woods came alive, now all the animals began to sing.

They headed out into the unknown, but this time they were not wondering if today was their day to die, this time they were thinking of home, of the good times, knowing that they were going to make it.

They others made a line, waiting for the captain to lead on but he never did. The look on the captain's face told them that he was a million miles away. They guessed he was thinking about home.

They headed out, it was like the whole world changed with them. Even the woods became alive. They walked in as soldiers, they left as friends. The darkness of the world had turned into light. The war was still there, but it was not as important as it used to be.

It felt as if they had already won the war. They had beaten the darkness. Suddenly a roar ripped through the sky. They fell to the ground with out even thinking. They grabbed their guns.

"FIRE!!!!!!" Chris screamed to his men.

The battle started, men were falling every time a gun went off. After only a few minutes, the battle was won.

"Is everyone okay?" Chris spoke with concern, as he looked into everyone's eyes.

Suddenly all colour drained from his body, as he looked at Vin lying there.

"Vin!!!" he screamed as he ran to his fallen brother.

To be continued....