A Good Name

by Tidia

Part of the 'Last Word' Series

Disclaimer: Don't own them; Magnificent Seven is owned by MGM and Trilogy.

Rating: PG

Comments: (1/30/00) Thank you to MOG, a wonderfully, awesome beta! Thank you for her support along with Kim, Shay and Amy on writing this series.

Archivist's Note:   This fic was previously hosted on another website and was moved to Blackraptor in September 2006.

A good name is better than good ointment and the day of death than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting,
For that  is the end of every man, and the living should take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter, because when the face is sad the heart grows wiser.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.      Ecclesiastes, chapter 7

She was unable to get out of bed to make breakfast for her own son this morning.  Unable to momentarily let go of the pain and aching which had become constant the last few months.  Huddled in a thread worn blanket in the one room shack, she shivered uncontrollably.  It wouldn't be too long.  Soon  her son would be an orphan. Her beautiful blue-eyed, brown haired, soulful, five-year-old son who stood upon a stool to rummage through the empty shelves to find a morsel of food.  Her son who with his tattered rags of clothes, barely protecting his small frame, had tended to his sick mother.  He tried to battle the inevitable for her.

A cough racked through her body, echoing in the room, with its one bed, table, and two chairs.  Outside was a dry, barren farm needing the tending of a skillful hand. The land mirrored what was happening inside the house. She closed her eyes, seeking some respite and could feel the need of her soul to leave her worn body.  Something cool touched her forehead. Opening her eyes she saw him- Her boy, her son, her life was wringing out a cloth and moping her brow.  He looked so much like his father.  His crystal blue eyes, and wavy hair were like her own, but the rest was James.

Her son never knew his father.  James, a strong Texas Ranger, had swept her off her feet with promises of eternal happiness. They pledged themselves to each other, and then he was called to duty.  To help in rounding up some banditos who had been causing trouble for the local ranchers.  He had  been killed. She was a new bride for a few short weeks and a widow forever. But the union had produced a son, a little man who reminded her she had to keep on living.

Oh God, she needed time. If only life had shown her some mercy.  She had to teach him so much, not just book learning.  Who would teach him about compassion and friendship? Who would be there to love him and teach him what love was? She was leaving her son to a life, which was going to be wrought with hardship and difficulties. She wanted him to know he carried a legacy of strength from his father.  That he should be proud of who he was, and stand tall.

She wondered if he would remember her, the mother who did not want to leave him.  How she had loved him more than anything.  She gasped at the thought, bringing her son to lay his smooth cheek against her.  He stretched his hand and entwined it with hers.  She felt a moment a clarity and knew what she needed to tell him.  She could only hope he would carry it with him forever.

"Remember Vin, you're a Tanner."  She squeezed his hand with her remaining strength.  "Don't ever forget."