by Englishspirit

Characters Seven, OC

Summary: A teenage boy starts work in an old West Town and meets some interesting co-workers.

The lyrics of the song as near as I can remember are from "Ride Forever" by Paul Gross and I first heard the song on the TV. program Due South. I think it kind of fits the Seven. I don't own them so I have to make do with the DVDs. Thanks to everyone kind enough to leave comments, I will try to improve.

"We're gonna ride forever,
ya can't keep horsemen in a cage.
Should the angels call,
well it's only then, we might pull in the reins."

Eric looked out of the door of the bank and gave the deepest sigh that a fifteen-year-old boy could give. He had opened the door to try to catch the slightly cooler early evening breeze. It hadn't helped much.

It was hot, he was dressed like a geek and he was working. He watched as tourists strolled along the boardwalk across the street. It was too hot to do more than stroll and definitely too hot to work but here he was, in an ancient bank office rolling up fake silver half-dollars.

I shouldn't complain he thought to himself, after all, it's a job, it's a good job and I'm lucky to have a job. He wanted money so he could go to camp with his friends and his parents had told him in no uncertain terms, he was going to have to earn it.

He had heard about the old west town of Four Corners opening up as a tourist attraction that summer. It was close to home and better than some burger place, so he had tried for a job as a cashier and got this one instead. He was putting props up in the stores for the next day.

Mr. Travis, who had started the old west attraction, had given him some old fashioned clothes and introduced him to his boss. Mrs. Potter had started him out doing odd jobs, which was how he ended playing with fake money in the stifling bank. It was his first week and to be honest, it really wasn't all that bad.

He liked watching the actors dressed in their costumes and how they put on fake gunfights, bank robberies and stagecoach holdups. He wasn't a little kid or anything but, it did look cool, and he hoped that maybe if he proved he was a good employee, he would get a chance to work with some of the actors.

He picked up the rolls of coins and walked around the desk, his mind busily trying to think of ways to get noticed when he thought he saw a shadow by the door. It was like something flicking past his eye, he stumbled and the rolls of coins dropped to the floor with a crash.

"Man that was dumb." he muttered to himself as he knelt down on the floor and started to gather up the rolls. "Well I'd say it wasn't the smartest thing you could have done son." a voice teased.

Eric looked up with a gasp, he hadn't heard anyone come in but a man, obviously one of the players, was leaning against the doorway. Eric took one look at the good-natured smile and he had to smile too. "I would have to agree with you there, I don't know why I got so clumsy all of a sudden." he joked as he admired the guys moustache, it sure looked real.

The man laughed again and as Eric finished picking up the money, he heard another voice, somewhat younger. "Ah it wasn't your fault, its Bucks, he startled you." Eric looked up and saw a shorter man behind the first. He was an actor too Eric figured, because he wore a Bat Masterson type hat.

"J.D. you didn't even see what happened." The man called Buck argued. J.D. just smiled at Eric and said, "It's Bucks fault anyways, hey you missed a roll or two." The man pointed behind Eric and when he turned to look, Eric groaned at what he saw.

Three of his rolls of money lay on the other side of the floor to ceiling iron bars, which separated the bank office from the vault. Eric tried to reach between them to snag the coins but only managed to roll the money further away. "Great, just great, Mrs. Potter is not going to be happy." he muttered to himself. There was no way he could open the door. It had an old-fashioned lock and who knew if the key even still existed.

"Trouble?" a deep no nonsense voice asked. Eric turned around shivering despite the heat. Man, he thought to himself, these guys are really pulling out all the stops. A blond man with cold blue eyes was looking at him from the doorway. He was dressed all in black and wore a black hat and duster.

" sir...I mean I dropped the money and it rolled between the bars and I can't get to it." Eric had no idea why he felt so nervous talking to the guy in black, it was like his dad, the high school principle and his coach all rolled into one.

"It was all Bucks fault." a voice said from outside the bank, "Kid I'm gonna tan your hide right now!" the man with the moustache warned and moved away from the door back out to the street. Eric could hear them arguing faintly and suddenly he wished he wasn't alone with blue-eyed man.

As if in answer, a different actor came to stand in the doorway, he wore a fringe coat and hat and his hair was longer. "Hey Chris" he nodded in greeting to the man in black and the other tipped his hat, "Vin" he said. "Nathan and Josiah want to know what's the hold up, we got work to do." The newcomer said.

"Not what, who." The blond man replied, nodding toward Eric who suddenly felt as small as a mouse. He had wanted to impress Mrs. Potter and maybe get on the good side of these old west performers so he could get a better job, but he had a feeling he was going to be lucky to keep the one he had.

"What's the problem pard?" the one called Vin asked curiously. Eric pointed helplessly at the money behind the bars. "I don't want to get my boss mad, I tried to get it but it rolled too far and I don't even know if there is a key to this door anymore and well...I really need to keep this job."

Eric hated to sound like a whiney child but he really didn't know what to do. He stood up with another heart felt sigh. "I guess I'll just have to get Mrs. Potter and admit I can't be trusted with money even if it is fake." He said half seriously.

He looked at the two men in the doorway and was somewhat surprised as the guy called Vin looked at the one in black who slowly smiled. Vin nodded, chuckling quietly. "Get Ezra," The one called Chris said, still smiling. Vin grinned in return and winked at Eric then he was gone.

Eric looked at the older man in confusion. He had no idea what was going on, only that he was in big trouble. He looked around the dimly lit room for a broom or something to use as a rake, but there was nothing. "Don't worry kid; Ezra's got a real talent for money, fake or otherwise." The man assured him.

"Thank you Mr. Larabee." A very southern voice said, "Though I wish to assure our young friend that skill is also an important component and I happen to possess both in abundance."

Eric stared at the man as he walked into the bank with something like awe. This was incredible; he thought the other men's clothes were authentic, even down to being dusty, but this guy, oh man! He had on a red coat, tailored pants, a shirt with frills at the chest and cuffs. He was even wearing one of those old-fashioned fancy waistcoats.

"Where did you come from?" Eric blurted out then reddened in embarrassment at how that must have sounded. "I… um…I mean I haven't seen you before, well any of you but I'm new here and well if you can help me out, I would appreciate it."

The man, Mr. Larabee, smiled a little, "Oh we're all around though Ezra here tends to stay in the saloon mostly."

"Where I was unceremoniously dragged from a rather lucrative game of chance by the way, however it is my eternal misfortune to be obliged to participate in whatever righteous endeavor our glorious leader may have. Now, how may I assist you sir?" Ezra asked.

Eric didn't get a chance to reply because a voice from the shadows by the doorway spoke up in exasperation. "Misfortune? You were going straight to… misfortune! Ezra you beat all you know that? You tried to con...the Judge of all. You stood there, cards in your hands, grinning and asked if he wanted a game! All this time and you still have no shame, brother!"

"Mister Jackson, I will have you know that I was admired for my audacity, wit and quick thinking and further more I was not…"Ezra began in an indignant voice, rolling his eyes but still managing to glare at the tall man in the doorway.

"You were starting to smoke Ezra." The man in the black hat interrupted, not bothering to hide the slight smile on his face though his voice was serious. "The kid here needs those half-dollars back, so take care of that lock and hurry it up; by the way I know how many rolls are on the floor, so no fooling around."

The man in the red coat, sighed dramatically and raised a hand to his heart, "Patience, Mr. Larabee, ya'll are sorely in need of that virtue." Eric had no clue what the adults were talking about and he wasn't sure what to make of these guys. They argued but it was in a good-natured way so he figured they must be friends and had worked together before somewhere.

"I don't see what you can do sir." Eric said as politely as he could, after all the men were trying to help. "Unless of course you got a key to that door." He heard soft laughter from outside. "Have some faith son." A man wearing a cross around his neck said, he was just barely visible as he stood in the street in front of the bank.

Eric tried to smile as he turned back to the iron doors. He suddenly heard a sharp whistle and his mouth dropped open in surprise as he caught the rolls of silver half-dollars the man in red tossed to him.

He couldn't say a thing, just kept looking down at the money and back up at the man called Ezra. "How… I didn't see…I didn't even hear the door open!" He finally stammered out.

"Yes well, I hope in the future you will be more careful with your financial responsibilities." The man said grinning as he spoke. Eric wasn't sure but he thought he saw the flash of a gold tooth in the dimness of the room. "Good day." The man touched his hat and walked out of the bank. The man in the black duster touched his hat as well and followed his friend out into the night.

Eric stood there for a few minutes, and then belatedly realized that he had never said thanks to his new friends. They really saved my butt he thought to himself as he dumped the money rolls on the desk and rushed outside.

No one was there. He stood looking up one end of the street and then the other. There were a few tourists heading for the exits as the sky darkened into twilight but he didn't see any actors in costume. Everything is closed, they couldn't have gone into any of the stores, Eric thought to himself.

Biting his lip in frustrated puzzlement, he almost yelled as a hand fell on his shoulder. He turned around to see Mr. Travis looking at him oddly, "I'm sorry sir", he said "but did you see where the actors went when they left the bank?"

Mr. Travis just looked at him in surprise for a moment, "No Eric, I didn't see anyone but you come out of the bank and anyway, all of the actors left about an hour ago."

"But they were just here." Eric protested, "At least six or seven of them, they still had their costumes on and they were standing right outside the bank, you must have noticed them."

Mr. Travis shook his head and laughed, "Sorry Eric, no one was here and I would have noticed a crowd of performers hanging around, unless of course..." and with a twinkle in his eye the man whispered. "they were ghosts."

"I am still breathing and
I still have my pride,
I have my memories,
a life that never died,
like a wind that blows in thunder
or a stallion on the fly
I ain't gone, no I ain't gone."

The End