JD's Song

by Sara Burns

I never thought I'd die alone
I laughed the loudest who'd have known?
I traced the cord back to the wall
No wonder it was never plugged in at all

I took my time, I hurried up
The choice was mine I didn't think enough
I'm too depressed to go on
You'll be sorry when I'm gone

I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn't wait to get outside

The world is wide, too late to try
The tour was over I'd survived
I couldn't wait til I got home
To pass the time in my room alone

I never thought I'd die alone
Another six months I'll be unknown
Give all my things to all my friends
You'll never set foot in my room again

You'll close it off, board it up
Remember the time that I spilled the cup
Of apple juice in the hall
Please tell mom this is not her fault

I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn't wait to get outside
The world is wide, too late to try

The tour was over I'd survived
I couldn't wait 'til I got home
To pass the time in my room alone

"Adam's Song"
- Blink 182

He didn't think he'd die alone. He used to think so right after his mother had died. He had lost all the hope he had of a family, until he came here to Four Corners. Then he'd gotten six older brothers that he hadn't even been looking for. He had tried to push himself away at first, he didn't want to get attached. He knew if he got attached then he would just lose them all and be alone, the pain would be fresh again. The pain was an entity of its own. It could sneak up on you in the middle night, while you're having sweet dreams. Or it could sneak up on you right in the middle of the day, when you're as happy as you'd ever been. That's what had happened to J.D.

Six months after J.D. had gotten to Four Corners, he was growing really close to the men around him. He knew the men he had met would never leave him. He cared about them. He had let himself care about them because they had convinced him that they had cared about him as well.

He wouldn't have thought it possible the first day he had rode into Four Corners on a coach. Right into the middle of a gun fight.

A small smile touched J.D.'s lips as he rode on through the desert. The sun was relentlessly beating down on him. On his face mostly. He had lost his hat somewhere along the way, he didn't exactly remember when or where. He didn't think it mattered anymore. Nothing really mattered much anymore. He had to find the right spot. He had already told the others good-bye, as if they cared.

J.D. turned his horse to the river and slipped off. His knee buckled under him and it probably would've hurt if his body hadn't been numbed. And soon, please God, his mind and heart would be numb too.

2 weeks earlier
Four Corners

"Oh bury me not. . . . .on the lone prairie . . . ."

"J.D.! What the hell is that supposed to be boy? You sound like a calf that just lost its momma!" Buck Wilmington reach over to the boy who was tipped back in his chair and jerked him forward, his front chair leg landing on Vin Tanner's foot.

"Dammit Buck!" Vin jumped up from the table and started hopping around. The other six men sitting at the table in the saloon would have found it funny, if it hadn't been the bounty hunter's foot that the chair had fallen on. Although, going unnoticed, Chris Larabee had let a small smile touch his chapped lips.

Vin Tanner finally, gently, put his wounded foot to the floor, also studying the other men's faces, as if daring them to even smile, although Vin probably would have laughed out loud if it had been one of the other men.

Vin looked to Nathan Jackson, who was looking at his foot intently.

"It's not broke Nate, don't worry about it," Vin reassured the black man who had been deemed the town "healer." He was the closest thing Four Corners had to a doctor, and he was damn good at what he did. He had to be with the other six men in the town.

Nathan looked to Vin's face and turned back to the table, studying the cards in his hands.

Vin let his face drift to Ezra Standish, then thought better. Ezra was a master at hiding his feelings, but he knew the gambler was laughing on the inside. Vin sighed. He wasn't really looking for a fight, just feeling a little ornery. He smiled on the inside, and it only showed in his eyes.

Vin Tanner then moved his face to Josiah Sanchez, preacher/gunslinger at your service. He could take your sins away then send you to your God. Nah, Josiah was far too big for Vin to be pickin' on. He quickly turned his gaze to Buck Wilmington, not even looking at the fierce Chris Larabee.

Buck smiled up at Vin, and the fight was on. Vin grabbed Buck's hat off of the top of his head and threw it onto the chandelier hanging above the poker table. Buck looked at Vin, stunned at his sudden attempt to. . . . . play?

By this time everyone at the table was snickering except for young J.D. Dunne, who was laughing so hard he was crying. He couldn't count how many times on his hands and feet that Buck had thrown his bowler hat onto that damned chandelier. Buck had never liked J.D.'s hat, and the boy could never figure out why.

Vin and Buck suddenly stopped and both of the men focused their attention on the laughing boy at the poker table. They grinned at each other and headed towards J.D., who hadn't noticed that everyone had stopped laughing but started grinning . . . . at him.

J.D. finally lifted his head and noticed everyone was staring at him, only a second before Buck grabbed him around the middle and Vin grabbed onto his feet.

"GUYS! Hey guys! This ain't funny! I didn't do nuthin'! Whatcha doin to me???" J.D. yelled the whole way outside and would still have been yelling if water hadn't filled his mouth. He had been thrown in the water trough.

J.D. pulled himself out of the trough and found himself looking at six smiling faces.

"What did ya do. . . . " But J.D. couldn't finish his sentence because he had slipped and fallen back into the water, but hitting his head on the side of the trough, hard. So hard the men stopped laughing due to the crack that had broken the otherwise silent night.

"Mr. Dunne?" Ezra was the first to speak.

Nathan quickly made his way to the water trough and looked down to see J.D. lying face down in the water. He quickly grabbed him and lifted him out of the trough, accompanied by a panicked Buck and a silent Josiah.

+ + + + + + +

"What's wrong with him Nate?" Buck hovered above the black man, who was now short-tempered. He had been in the room upstairs, the closest thing he had to a doctor's office, for about 2 hours now, and the whole time the other five would not leave. He knew the men cared about the kid, but this was way too much emotion for such a little room.

"Get out Buck! Everybody just get out! I can't check on him with all you people in here yakin' in my ear and askin' me what's wrong. I don't know yet!" Nathan looked around at the stunned men; he was a little stunned himself.

"We's just worried about the kid Nate." Vin Tanner was standing in the corner, no doubt feeling guilty about the incident that had caused the boy to be in this shape in the first place.

"I know Vin, I'm just wearin' a little thin. I'll come out and tell ya'll what's wrong when I know okay?"

"Alright Nate." Chris Larabee had spoken and, reluctantly, the other men followed him out of the small room. Ezra, the last man out, shut the door behind him.

Chris looked at Vin and Buck. The two were no doubt feelin' guilty about what had happened. Someone always took the blame for the kid, although the kid always took the blame for himself, and he would've this time too, if he had been conscious.

Nathan finally came out of the room which was holding J.D.

"Well Nate?" Chris asked with a spark in his eye. He saw Nathan wasn't extremely upset.

"Well, I think he'll be fine Chris."

Relieved sighs came in a chorus.

"He just bonked his head real good, he'll have a headache when he wakes up, but he should be fine."

"I'll sit with him tonight," came two voices at once. Vin and Buck looked at each other and a small grin touched each one of their faces.

"I don't think he really needs to be sat with, but I guess ya can if ya want. Just don't be makin' no noise or I'll throw ya both out!" With that said, Nathan made his way down the hall to his own room.

The other men, excluding Buck and Vin, left to their own rooms. They were all pretty tired, although they hadn't done much today. The last interesting thing that happened in town was a couple of days ago when some hot-shot poker player was accused of cheating. A gun was pulled but no one was shot. The man went to jail and was let out when he sobered up.

Chris suddenly stopped himself from wishing something bad would happen, just so he could have something to do, although the idea did pose a promise of a little fun.

The night went by slowly for Buck and Vin who had passed the time whispering and throwing things at each other. Up until about three thirty that morning when the young man in the bed began to stir after being accidently hit with a small pillow.

"Hmmm. . . . wha. . . . . what happened? Why am I at Nathan's?" J.D. slurred to the two men standing over him.

"Well, ya fell in the trough J.D." Buck looked down at the kid, paler than usual.

J.D. tried to sit himself up then gave up the effort. "If I remember right, I was thrown in the water trough Buck." J.D. tried to sneer, but couldn't manage through a cough.

Vin looked at the boys flushed face with concern. "You feelin' okay J.D.?"

"I'm fine." Worried glances were exchanged above J.D. "Why do you guys always give each other," J.D. stopped mid-sentence and coughed, "that look when I say I'm fine?" J.D. folded his arms.

"Nothin' J.D. Just that. . . . well. . . . sometimes you just tend to not tell the truth sometimes, exactly. . . uh. . . "

"You callin' me a liar?" J.D. said in a weak voice. He tried to scowl but realized he was way too tired for that. And before he could stop himself, he fell asleep.

+ + + + + + +

"Nathan!" Nathan awoke from a dreamless sleep to a pounding on the door and someone calling his name.

"Huh? What?" He could only imagine what was going on now as he quickly pulled some pants on and ran to his door.

"What?" he asked sharply staring at a pale Vin Tanner. He immediately softened his tone.

"What's wrong Vin."


Immediately Nathan flew down the hall to the room that held the young man. He ran inside to find Buck patting J.D.'s cheek and shaking him, trying to wake him up.

"What happened?" Nathan asked as he lowered himself beside J.D.'s all too still form on the bed.

"He woke up and we was talkin' to him then he just stopped and passed out. He won't wake up." Buck said the words almost too quickly for Nathan to comprehend, but he had heard them. He instinctively placed a hand on J.D.'s forehead and pulled back with a hiss. "Damn he's hot!"

"He gonna be okay?" Vin asked from his self-appointed corner.

"I dunno. We gotta get that fever down though." Nathan grabbed a basin full of the wash water that was resting on the night stand. He soaked a washrag in the lukewarm water and placed it on J.D.'s forehead, sending Buck and Vin to grab the blankets off of his bed and to get blankets out of the closet.

The men worked constantly to get J.D. warm and the fever cooled. The dreaded fever finally broke around seven o'clock that morning. Vin, Buck, and Nathan were all scattered about the room, the morning sun streaming in through the one window, when Ezra and Josiah knocked on the door.

"Come in," came a weak reply from within.

Josiah opened the door to find three very exhausted people, sitting wherever they had found a spot to hold them.

"Something happen last night boys?" Josiah asked, not trying to hide the concern in his voice.

"J.D. got a bad fever, but it broke earlier. I think he'll be fine now, but I sure's the hell need to get some sleep," Nathan replied in a husky voice.

"I am positive that young Mr. Dunne's condition will elevate as the day passes by us."

"Hope so Ezra, hope so." Buck whispered.

"You guys can't get rid of me that easily," a weak voice shot out from the pile of blankets on the bed. Then a giggle. "I think I'm lost."

All the men in the room smiled as Buck and Vin rescued J.D. from the dreaded pile of blankets.

"How you feelin' this mornin' J.D.? You okay?" Nathan asked feeling his forehead, glad to find it was cool.

"Yeah. I'm okay now." J.D. tried to sit up and get out of the bed but was pushed down by four different hands. "C'mon guys! I'm okay!"

"It was probably just a bug. He seems okay. Let him up," Nathan said, returning the smile that J.D. had tossed at him.

The six men walked out of the room all at once and started across the street to the saloon, spotting Chris halfway there.

"Hey J.D. How ya doin'?" Chris said, sizing the boy up.

"I'm fine Chris!" J.D. said happily, slightly surprised that his idol had asked him about his health. He knew Chris a little better now but still considered him a true and complete hero.

The men headed to the saloon and sat around the same poker table they had sat at last night. The men tossed worried glances at J.D. as he started giggling uncontrollably.

"J.D. What you laughing at?" Buck put his hand on top of J.D.'s head.

"Your hat!" J.D. pointed at the chandelier and the gentle hand on his head swatted him.

"Ow!" J.D. cried when Buck hit the knot that grown there overnight from his fall in the trough.

"Sorry J.D. I forgot." Buck smiled apologetically as he stood on the chair and retrieved his hat.

"Well gentlemen, I must bid adieu for a minute amount of time. I have a telegram to send." Ezra stood and started to leave.

"To who Ez?" Nathan asked.

"Why my dear mother Mr. Jackson. She has decided to take up in Sweetwater and of course I want to wish her well." Ezra replied in the true voice of a southern gentleman.

"Yeah right." Ezra chose to ignore the comment that had come from the young boy as he made his way out of the saloon and on to the telegraph office.

"You know you're gonna get it later for saying that J.D." Buck smiled at him. "If I don't decide to take care of ya first!"

J.D. smiled at the man. He then looked around at the others with a big grin on his face.

"Why you smiling like that J.D.?" Vin asked in low voice.

"Thanks guys."

"For what?" Chris was curious, maybe the boy was sick again, he wasn't making no sense.

"You know, for being here when I woke up." J.D., like any other male, had a little trouble expressing his 'sentimental side'.

The other men, lucky for J.D., just smiled at him and resumed the freshly started game of poker.

"You want to be dealt in J.D.?" Nathan asked as he paused at J.D.'s spot.

"No. I think I'm gonna go out for a ride." J.D. stood up to make his way to the livery.

"Ya want me to go with ya?" Vin asked from under his hat.

"Nah. I'll be fine. I'll be back in a little while." J.D. stepped out of the saloon and continued on to the livery.

+ + + + + + +

Approximately fifteen minutes after J.D. had gone to saddle up, Ezra stumbled into the saloon, looking incredibly pale.

"Ezra? Something wrong?" Nathan, although not what one would call 'best friends' with Ezra, was automatically worried about the man. He looked like death had touched him and left a souvenir.

Ezra silently handed a yellow colored piece of paper to Chris who read it slowly and shook his head, passing it on to the next person. The telegram had finally reached Buck who, surprisingly, did not explode, but turned incredibly pale and started shaking. Chris would have preferred the explosion.

"Why can't these people just leave the poor kid alone?" Buck said quietly as he gave the telegram back to Ezra, who stared at it like it was a snake, then read it aloud.

People of Four Corners-

I have taken over the telegraph office of Eagle Bend - I am sending a fair warning to one named J.D. Dunne - whom, in an unresponsively act - killed the man who hired me sister - Annie - For this death for Mr. Dunne is imminent - I will arrive day after tomorrow.

Buckshot Roberts

The men sat silently, thinking of what to do. J.D. couldn't escape Buckshot Roberts. He was a professional bounty hunter, and now he was hunting J.D. The men's sorrow-filled thoughts were interrupted by one word from Chris Larabee.


+ + + + + + +

"Ambush? What the hell are you talking about Chris?" Buck looked at Chris like he had just lost his mind.

"I've met Buckshot Roberts. Fortunately, I wasn't the one being hunted," Chris said with a far-off look in his eye. "I know how good we are, and this guy could kill us all before we even cleared out belt." With that said, Chris took the shot that had been sitting in his hands.

"What do you mean ambush? Just jump out at the guy and shoot him? I always thought you to be a fair man Chris."

Chris glared at Nathan. "I love that boy just as much as any of you, and don't you deny it. Buckshot is good, and I'm not ready to lose that boy."

"Chris, uh. . . . what are we gonna tell J.D.? He can't stay here. We gotta make him go somewhere. On a trip or something."

"Do you gentlemen think we should inform our friend of this most dreadful predicament?" Ezra asked, glancing around the table.

"No," said Vin, who had so far been silent.

"Vin's right. If we tell him he's gonna wanna face Buckshot himself, and I know he ain't that good." Buck removed his hat and ran his fingers through his hair. He knew J.D. would boast and brag, but he knew he didn't want J.D. dead. They had to get him out of this town.

"Do you think one of us should accompany our young brother on his journey?" Josiah asked from under his hat.

"We all need to be here." Chris stated firmly. God, couldn't they leave J.D. alone about Annie? That was a long time ago, and J.D. had already punished himself inside more than anyone else could do to his body.

"So what are we going to tell J.D.?"

"Tell J.D. what?" J.D. came in smiling, taking the seat beside Buck. "You know guys, it's just not polite to talk about people behind their backs." J.D. lost his smile when he saw all the men staring at him. "What'd I do?"

"Nothing J.D. We just got a job for ya is all." Buck smiled at him and the other men.

"Really? What is it?" The youngest member of the group couldn't hold back his enthusiasm.

"Uh. . . .we need you to uh. . . . go to Eagle Bend for a day or two."

"Yeah," Buck said, interrupting Chris. "There's been some crimes up there and they need some help."

This sounded a little too funny for J.D. Yep, he looked into Buck's eyes, they were lyin'.

"Oh really," J.D. started. "What kind of crimes?"

Buck looked at Chris who shook his head. "Uh, you know, thievin', killin', stuff like that," Buck smiled.

"Yeah right! I'm not leavin' you guys, especially now that you're lyin'. Somethin's goin on ain't it? Tell me what it is."

Chris felt his heart crush. They had to make J.D. leave. "Well maybe we want you leave 'us guys' J.D. Ever think of that? Maybe we just want a little peace and quiet for a little while." Chris had to stop himself from telling J.D. everything and that he hadn't really meant it.

J.D. stared at Chris, a hurt look strewn across his young, pale face. "What? You want me to leave?"

Buck was about to jump out of his chair when Chris said what he did. But then he realized what Chris was doing. He would rather have J.D. mad at him then dead. "You heard Chris." Buck would have said more but he didn't trust his voice.

"Yes 'child', why don't you leave us fine gentlemen alone. Now gentlemen, who would like to be dealt in?" Ezra had caught on as well, so had the others at the table.

So had J.D.

"Nathan?" He looked at Nathan with pleading eyes.

"What? I don't want ya here neither. You caused me more trouble then these others put together." Nathan looked back to his cards.

J.D. looked to Josiah, not even speaking. "The lord will always love you son."

By this time J.D.'s heart had broken into a thousand pieces. All the pain had come rushing back. The pain of losing his mother. The love he felt when he thought the others cared about him was gone. Replaced by emptiness. Replaced by nothing. He really had no one. But maybe. . . .

J.D. turned his hurting gaze to Vin Tanner who just looked back, not saying a word.

"Fine," J.D. whispered. "Fine! You want me gone? I'm leaving." J.D. stood, barely holding in his tears. "So you guys never really cared." J.D. stood silently staring at the men, tears flowing freely down his pale cheeks. "You'll be sorry when I'm gone. . . . you'll have no one to laugh at. " J.D. raced to the doors, letting out a sob when he got outside of the saloon. He ran down the walk to the livery. He'd get his stuff later. He had to think. He saddled his horse quickly. The saddled slipped off while he was trying to latch it around the horse. A cry of frustration and hurt pierced the day. Tears were streaming down his face.

Finally the horse was saddled and J.D. took off. Not exactly knowing where he was headed. Not knowing if he was going to return. Hoping the men were happy.

Thoughts of lost love and self-doubt drifted through J.D.'s mind as he rode on. Where would he go? He didn't want to go anywhere. He didn't want to be anywhere. Damn them! Maybe it was time to leave. A sinister decision crawled it's way into J.D.'s shattered heart. Yep, I guess I'm leaving.

+ + + + + + +

Buck cemented himself to his seat, not letting himself up to follow the kid, to tell the kid the truth. To tell the kid how much he really loved him.

"Chris," Buck's husky voice broke through the silence that had enshrouded the men.

"Buck," Chris whispered back.

"When this is over, I'm going after him. I'm finding him."

"I'm going with ya Buck," Chris Larabee replied. He hadn't felt this kind of hurt since his wife and child had died in the fire.

"That is the most difficult thing I've ever had to partake in," Ezra sighed.

"Me too Ez, me too," Nathan sighed. God, he hated doing that.

Josiah looked over beyond the swinging doors of the saloon and saw J.D. riding past, fast. He had the horse running.

"I can track him," Vin said with confidence.

"At least he not heading towards Eagle Bend," Buck sighed.

"Well brothers, I think we should talk about how we're going to get Mr. Roberts to fall into our little trap."

"I have an idea." Chris Larabee sat up in his chair. He had never killed someone in cold blood; it was his code not to. But this had gone too far.

The Next Day

"You ready Buck." Vin turned to the man beside him. They had been positioned on top of the bank. Across from them was Nathan and Josiah. In the street stood Ezra and Chris.

"I'm ready to kill this son-of-a-bitch and go find J.D."

All the men silently sat, awaiting the arrival of Buckshot Roberts.

"Rider comin' in!" Vin yelled from his spot on the roof of the bank, then crouched down so no one could see him from the ground.

The lone rider pulled up in the middle of the street, slowing the stallion he was on.

Chris walked forward slowly. "Can I help you?" He said, not in a totally pleasant voice.

"I'm Buckshot Roberts and I guess I won't kill you if ya tell me where the boy is. I get no bounty for bringin' you in, but I'll sure kill ya anyway."

Chris studied the man. Probably as tall as Chris was, fatter though. Yellowed teeth, five o'clock shadow. Hadn't bathed in probably a month.

"I don't know what boy you're talkin' about mister, but I suggest you move on before we have a 'situation'." Chris backed up, ready to administer the signal. The signal was when he raised his hands.

"Ah hell, let's just have ourselves a situation!" Buckshot got down off of his horse and started advancing on Chris, who raised his hands.

The gunfire came in a short wave. It was over. As Buckshot fell Chris and the other men saw someone had been standing behind Buckshot about twenty yards back. The six men stood in the road, having come off of the above buildings, ignoring the bounty hunter that had fallen.

"J.D.! Hey kid!" Buck started to run up and hug J.D. who had his gun pulled, he had shot Buckshot in the back. He turned his gun to Buck.

"I was just coming to get my stuff," he said in a voice that was not J.D.'s.

"Son, we need to talk."

"I don't need to talk," J.D. said flatly as he lowered his gun and made his way to the room that wouldn't be his for much longer.

Buck started following the boy but was stopped. "Let him alone for a while Buck," Chris said in a husky voice.

"I say we go to the saloon and wait for young Mr. Dunne. I , for one, need a little libation." Ezra flashed his gold tooth which made the others smile.

"Amen brother," Josiah sighed out as he followed the rest of the men into the saloon.

+ + + + + + +

J.D. stood in his room alone watching the men in the street smile and head into the saloon. He had even helped them kill whoever that man was, they still didn't want him around. The tiniest spark of hope that had been left in J.D.'s broken heart burned out.. He knew what he was doing now. He had no where else to go. He sat down at his desk and began to write.

+ + + + + + +

"It's been two hours Chris, I'm going to check on him!" Buck stood from his seat at the table.

"Alright! We'll all go, we all got a little apologizing to do." Chris stood beside Buck and was followed by the rest of the group. They slowly made their way across the street. Chris kept throwing worried glances at J.D.'s window. Something wasn't right. He could hardly stop himself from bolting up the steps to J.D.'s room. They got to the top and saw something on J.D.'s door.

Buck snatched the note from the door and read it aloud.

Buck, Chris, Vin, Ezra, Nathan, Josiah-

I know how you all said you didn't really care about me, but I still felt obligated to write this note. There was no way to get around it. Although you all just wanted me around for a laugh, you guys were all I had. I got to thinking about the past, when momma was still here, before she died. When I was about sixteen, when I still felt alive. I couldn't wait to get into the world. That was the happiest time of my life before I came here. Momma wasn't sick, we were both happy. Then momma died, and I don't know how I made it through that by myself, but you guys helped. What I guess I'm saying is I got no place to go, I got nothing to do, and I got no one to go to.

Buck swallowed back the lump in his throat, ignoring the tears on his face, and continued.

I guess I'm saying goodbye. I'm too depressed to go on. And you guys meant something to me, even if I meant nothing to you. I'm giving all my stuff to you guys. You can argue over who gets what, I don't care. I'm not gonna need it anymore. That's if you even want it. You guys will forget me soon enough. I hope momma knows this isn't her fault. Bye guys, guess the tour is over.

J.D. Dunne

Buck hands were trembling. J.D. couldn't possibly be thinking about killing himself. Buck raised his head and looked at the other men who had grown pale.

Suddenly Buck spun around to the door that had been holding the note.

"J.D.!!! Open this door!" Buck screamed, he wasn't about to be gentle. The door was locked. Buck backed up and then ran to the door, bursting through the old wood.

+ + + + + + +

J.D. didn't think he'd die alone. He stared up at the men as the door burst open. It took a minute to realize it was Buck who had busted in. J.D. once again felt the weight of the gun in his hand.

"J.D., son, don't be doin' this. We only said those things to get you out of town. We was doing it for your own good. We love you J.D. Put the gun down." Buck slowly advanced on J.D. who seemed to be staring at the gun in his hand.

J.D. lifted the gun and pressed the barrel to his temple. "Good-bye Buck."

Buck threw himself on J.D. and wrestled the gun away.

J.D. began sobbing uncontrollably. Buck tossed the gun to Chris, who caught it then wiped the tears away from his own face.

Buck hugged J.D. Hugged him so tight, he was never gonna let go.

"No," came a weak voice from the small form Buck was holding. "You. . . . you don't want me."

"J.D. We want you to stay." Vin slowly made his way over to the two who now sat on the floor. "We were lyin' when we said all that stuff."

J.D. looked at the men standing around the room. Did he dare believe them? No. He couldn't lose that love again. He would just agree with them until they left him alone.

"Okay," J.D. said and pushed himself away from Buck. "I'm. . . .I'm fine now. I just. . . . .I'm okay now."

"You sure son?"

"Yeah Buck! I'm okay now. I'll be fine." J.D. wiped the last of his years away and forced a smiled on his face.

"J.D. we need to tell you why we said those things. So you understand this." Chris started forward, causing J.D. to back away.

"I forgive you guys okay? Now, please leave, I'm really tired." J.D. forced a fake yawn and sat on his bed.

"I think I'll just sit with you tonight J.D. That alright?"

"Buck," J.D.'s voice had slight panic to it. "I don't need to be sat with. I'm fine. I believe you guys, okay? Please leave."

Chris pulled Buck outside and left the rest with J.D. "I don't believe him. He shouldn't be left alone. People don't get better that fast."

Buck stared at Chris, he knew something wasn't right about the way J.D. was acting either. "I know Chris, that why I said I'd stay with him tonight."

"I'm gonna stay in town tonight. Come get me if anything happens, but don't leave him alone." Chris stuck his head in the room and motioned for the others to come out.

They followed Chris, reluctantly, and left Buck alone in the room with the shattered shell of J.D.

+ + + + + + +

Three hours later, darkness had taken over the room. Buck would have gone to get a lamp or candle but he couldn't leave J.D. by himself. He hated to feel this way, but he didn't trust the boy. He had tried to kill himself. At that moment Buck realized how much they all meant to the boy, and how much the boy had meant to all of them.

"J.D.?" Buck leaned over to the silent form lying on the bed.

"Hmmm?" J.D. answered. He was till awake. He had been thinking about all that he had gone through. During the last three hours, J.D. had mostly convinced himself that the men were lying. But why would Buck be sitting with him if they didn't care?

"I want you to know how much I really care about you J.D. Seeing you with that gun in your hand just. . . " Buck choked back a sob, "Just scared the hell out of me son. I can't stand seeing you like that, or seeing you like you are now." Buck laid his hand on J.D.'s shoulder and felt the boy flinch a little.

Thousands of things swept through J.D.'s mind in the instant that Buck had touched him. He loved the man, he loved the man just like a brother. In that instant, J.D. knew he was telling the truth. It still hurt. The newly made wound was still entirely opened, who knew if it would ever close? But he did feel better. He reach out and gave Buck a hug.

Buck felt the boy arms close around him and almost cried again. "I need you son."

"I need you too." J.D. whispered. It was going to be a long, hard crawl back to life, back to reality. But he knew he could do it. He knew he had to, or he would be looking for that gun again. That idea had not left his head entirely. J.D. smiled up at Buck, although the room was too dark for buck to see. Yes. J.D. was gonna make it through this.


I never conquered, rarely came
But tomorrow holds such better days
Days when I can still feel alive
When I can't wait to get outside
The world is wide, the time goes by
The tour is over, I've survived
I can't wait 'til I get home
To pass the time in my room alone