by ~~~§ara~~{@

<Sigh> It never got easier, but it had to be done. He had to live, and he just couldn't draw himself away from this magnificent young man. The creature smiled. That's what they called themselves, the Magnificent Seven. They were all so interesting, he hated to kill them.

The creature watched as the last of the seven waltzed into the room, his bright red jacket blinding in the smokey light. He tipped his hat and smiled at the other men. The creature watched him as he sat, he not having any idea he was being watched. The creature wouldn't allow him that.

The creature studied the seven men from his corner of solitude. He had studied the seven men for quite sometime. Never letting himself be noticed, but letting his presence known. Brushing against them. Making the hairs on the back of their necks stand. All of them knew something was wrong, but none could place it. So as not to sound foolish, they never brought it up. That was his favorite part of messing with them. Messing with their minds.

He watched the leader, whose name he now knew was Chris Larabee. He had found out exhilarating things about this man. His wife and son had died in a fire, a fire meant for him. He wasn't at the house when he was supposed to be because of his friend, who had seemed to be completely forgiven.

His friend, Buck Wilmington. A tall Texan. But not a stupid man. A big man, not fat, but muscular, a moustache. A ladies man. I think I like him.

The young tracker beside him. He had learned this mans name was Vin Tanner. The man had a bounty on his head. He knew what it was like to be hunted,. The creature was worried about this man, worried about what the man was capable of, but it amused him all the same.

The black doctor, Nathan Jackson. No, the black healer. He had deemed himself a healer. Surprisingly, he was very good at what he did. He had watched the man remove bullets, stitch wounds. This man was to be respected.

The good preacher, who's name was Josiah Sanchez. The creature rolled his eyes as he held the full glass of whiskey in his hand. They always think they can overcome anything they deem evil, but they always fall in the end. He had to respect the man's faith though.

The creature turned his head to face the man in the red jacket, Ezra Standish. This man he knew he would get along with. And other than himself, of course, no man alive could beat this man at a game of poker. The creature himself had even missed a few of the man's tricks.

The creature then turned himself to look upon the boy. His favorite. JD Dunne, who sat in the corner with the other men, completely silent, concentrating. He had later learned that J.D. stood for John Dunne. The boy was the mere age of 19, so he said, but the creature knew he was only 17 or 18. The youth carried himself like a man though. The boy was even appointed sheriff of the small town of Four Corners.

When the creature had first gotten here the boy was full of energy, joking with all the men, protecting the town. Oh yes, he had seen the boy shoot, and he was fast, one of the fastest he had ever seen actually. The creature then knew he had to have the boy. After the creature had been in the town for about a week, letting the boy know his presence, the boy had lost some energy. He knew something was wrong, he could feel it more than the others. The creature had to have this delightful, pale boy, his black hair sweeping into his hazel eyes. This was the one he was here to take. And maybe the others as well, if he could afford the time. But of course he could. The vampire smiled a fanged smile as he drifted out of the Four Corners Saloon. Soon would come the night. Soon would come the end.

+ + + + + + +

"Dammit J.D.! You gotta eat somethin'. You ain't ate nothin' since, what, Wednesday? And now it's Friday! You eat somethin' before I sit on ya and stuff it down your throat!"

"Ok Buck," J.D. said with dazed eyes.

The other six members of the gang exchanged a surprised look. J.D. never gave in easily. J.D. had caught the look and felt himself grow angry.

"What? Could it be possible that I'm hungry?!?! Well, I was! But I'm not anymore." J.D. stormed out of the room and the others, again, exchanged a look. "That boy ain't right," said the tracker.

"You think somethin's wrong with him Nathan?" asked Buck, who, over the long eight months the boy had been with them, had become the boy's mother, father, brother, uncle and everything else. Buck and J.D. had grown very close, but argued very often. The others teased him about acting like a "mother hen."

Nathan looked at the Texan. "I know somethin's wrong with the kid, has been for a couple of days, just don't know what."

"Well," Buck stood, "I'm goin' after him, see if'n I can get what's wrong out of him."

"Good luck Mr. Wilmington," the highly dressed Ezra said with a knowing glare. He knew, as did the others, that J.D. wasn't going to talk without a fight. He smiled. What would we do without him?

+ + + + + + +

"I can take care of myself. Why can't they understand that? I've proven myself more than enough times. Guess I'll have to prove myself again. Then again, maybe they won't think that much of me 'til I get myself killed!" J.D. Dunne paced back and forth across the jail floor. Arguing with himself, then agreeing with himself. He couldn't understand why they treated him like a child. He didn't even think to realize it was because they all loved him like their own.

"I'm goin' ridin'," the young sheriff said to himself, but as he was stepping through the jail door, a man appeared, and quite frankly, scared the hell out of J.D.

"Excuse me sir," the pale man said in an accent that J.D. couldn't quite place. "I was, uh, wondering if you knew of a place I could stay for the night?" The man smiled with unusually white teeth.

J.D. sized the man up. Long black hair, not unlike his own, wavy and out of place, white skin, about 6 feet tall, lean but muscular, a black cowboy hat atop his head, a black trench coat. Kinda reminds me of Chris, the boy thought, and his eyes.

"Uh, well, uh...." It took the young sheriff a while to compose himself. He couldn't tear his gaze from the eyes of the stranger. The super-pale blue eyes. Glassy eyes, eyes that knew more than he ever would. Eyes that showed strength, and eyes that knew death.

"There's, uh, there's a hotel down the street, right past the saloon." J.D. stared at the man's eyes the whole time and finally tore his gaze away.

"I know sir, I tried, but the hotel seems to be full. Could you suggest any other place where I could stay?" The mans smile grew. J.D. didn't know what was so funny.

"Well, hmm, there's the boardin' house, where I'm at, but I don't know if they'd let ya stay there or not." The young man was getting very bad vibes from the stranger, finding himself wishing he would go away.

"That does pose a problem then, doesn't it? A man needs a place to sleep." The smile never left the stranger's face. "Could I ask a favor of you sir?"

"Name's J.D. , and as long as I can handle it, sure." J.D. forced a smile and stuck his hand out to shake the stranger's, and flinched at the ice cold touch, the touch of death. J.D. jerked his hand away and rubbed it.

"Tarnation you're cold!"

"Yes, it is a bit chilly outside. Do you think I could come in for a minute or two? Just until I get warm?"

Every nerve in J.D.'s body screamed no, but strangely, looking into this man's eyes, he heard himself saying, "Sure, come on in."

The man stepped over the threshold and found his smile growing larger. "Why, thank you J.D., and by the way, my name is Stefan Andolian."

+ + + + + + +

"So, uh, where you from, uh, sir?" J.D. said as he added some coals to the old parlor stove, trying to busy himself so he wouldn't have to look at the stranger.

"Please, call me Stefan, and I'm from many places. I've known many things. Been thinking about settling down for a while." The man paused. "This a nice place?"

J.D. started to say yes, he liked the place, but he didn't like the idea of this man living here. "It's okay, if you like this kinda place. You're probably a city man though." J.D. turned around from the stove and gasped as he saw the man standing right in front of him. J.D. couldn't tear his eyes from the man's eyes. The shade of the pale blue was darkening. J.D.'s eyes widened in terror at the sight.

"Uh, uh, I , uh......" J.D. couldn't find the words he wanted to say. He had never seen anyone this intimidating. Not even Chris could frighten J.D. like this.

The creature started moving closer. "Don't be scared boy, I'm giving you a choice. All you have to do is agree to the terms."

The creature and the boy jumped as one as the jail door slammed open. "Hey J.D.! Been lookin' for ya." Buck said as he strolled through the door, then stopped as he noticed the man. Buck could feel the familiar, disturbing presence in the air.

"Oh, uh, excuse me J.D. I must be going. Remember what I said, we will continue our conversation later, I promise you that." The Creature smiled at J.D. ,and for the first time, J.D. had seen a glimpse of the man's reality and turned an even paler shade than he already was. The man had fangs! But then they were gone. I must be losin' my mind! thought the boy.

J.D. hadn't noticed the others of the seven had gathered in the doorway, giving the new man dirty looks.

J.D. stood frozen in place as the man turned and strolled over to the brave looking men. "Pardon me for leaving so soon sirs, but I really must be going." Stefan reluctantly pushed his way through the men and drifted through the door then disappeared into the darkness.

"Well, that was a weird one, can't say I like 'im. So what was you two talkin' 'bout?" Buck turned to face J.D. and got a scared look on his face.

"Son? You okay boy?" Chris Larabee asked when he turned to see the boy. J.D.'s face was whiter than a sheet and Buck could see his knees shaking. A look of terror rested on the boy's face.

"I don't like him. I don't ever want to see him again," J.D. said in a shaky voice. "Never again."

"Son, what did he do to you? I swear if he did anything to you I'll kill him myself!"

"Nothin' Buck, he didn't do nothin' to me. Just...... I don't wanna see him again. I'm goin' to bed. Night guys." J.D. pushed his way past the 6 other men and slowly made his way to the boarding house, his home for the moment.

The other men didn't even notice the small spots of blood on the boy's neck.

J.D. couldn't help thinking of the man. Where was he from? And what scared the boy the most, what did he want with J.D.?

J.D. finally reached the boarding house and climbed the stairs. Once in his room he fell into his bed, exhausted. He didn't notice the man looking through his second story window, studying him, loving him.

+ + + + + + +

"I think we should kill him," Buck Wilmington said as he watched the boy go into the boarding house.

"Buck, we can't just kill the guy because we don't like the way he acts! We're supposed to be the law here. He was probably just some guy lookin' for a place to stay." Buck gave a dirty look to Nathan.

"You know that ain't right as much as I know it ain't right Nathan! That man was just, well, he just was!" Buck crossed his arms and started to the door, but was stopped by an arm.

"Where ya goin' Buck?" Vin Tanner asked with steady voice.

"I'm goin' to check on J.D. I wanna know what them two was talkin' about. Now let me go."

"Sorry Buck. Leave him alone. You shouldn't get this worked up about one guy. I think we should all take the young sheriff's advice and get to bed," Chris Larabee said as he headed to the door.

"It's not right Chris, you know it as well as me," Buck said.

"God almighty," came a voice from a distant Josiah.

"Josiah? What's wrong?" Nathan said as he ran to the pale preacher's side. "You okay?" he asked as he slipped the preacher into the chair.

"Nathan?" Josiah asked in a rough voice. The others had gathered around the preacher and stared, waiting to see what was ailing the man.

"I'm here Josiah. What's wrong?" Nathan asked in a shaky voice.

"That man, that thing, was the devil," Josiah replied in a whisper, just loud enough for the other five men to hear. "He's the devil."

+ + + + + + +

The vampire slowly made his way to the abandoned shack about 3 miles from Four Corners. He had found the shack lost in the weeds, overgrown, perfect. His daytime lair.

Stefan sighed again in frustration as he thought back to his talk with the boy. He was so brave, the young sheriff. And the meddling fools had stopped me! I was so close! But I can try again tomorrow. As long as they don't suspect too much of me.

The vampire smiled as he thought back to watching the boy. He looked even younger in his sleep, which made the vampire want the boy even more. If J.D. survived the change, he would definitely grow to be powerful, but Stefan wasn't so sure he would except the offer. The boy had a lot of spirit. Not that he would have much choice at all though, the vampire had already bitten the boy once, but the boy wouldn't remember at all. He had bitten the boy low on the neck, right before that ruffian came in and interrupted! Luckily the vampire had heard him and released the boy in time to spare the man confusion.

Another smile came from the creature. He remembered back to listening from outside the jail house. 'He's the devil,' the old preacher had said. This brought a chuckle to the vampire. The devil, if only there were such a thing. Maybe there was, but not that the vampire knew of. He took without a conscious, he killed without a thought. He decided to himself then, the boy would die whether he accepted or not. And then the vampire crawled into his hidden coffin, and slept like the devil himself, with a smile on his face.

+ + + + + + +

J.D. awoke in the morning with the worst headache he had ever had. He's was totally convinced that he was dying. Of course he wasn't, but it sure felt that way!

The young man stumbled out of his bed - well, crawled and then stumbled around. He was already dressed, he never undressed. He was so tired last night. He didn't even remember coming up to his room. That was odd, he didn't drink anything last night. Oh, well, he thought as he grabbed his bowler hat, just like Bat Masterson's, the boy's idol, and stumbled his way down the stairs, gripping the railing so as not to fall and break his neck, which he was sure he would do.

J.D. walked out of the boarding house and over to the saloon. He noticed that it wasn't even that light outside. Must be really early! He thought as he walked through the swinging doors of the saloon, only to see six worried faces staring at him.

"What?" J.D. asked with an annoyed look.

"Hey! You're awake! How ya feelin' kid? You doin' okay?" Buck asked with a concerned look.

"I'm fine." Worried glances were exchanged - they all knew his 'fine'.

J.D. took a seat at the table with the six men. "I'm surprised you all are up this early. It's not even light outside yet."

"Mr. Dunne, I have to inform you that it's eight o'clock."

"Really? Must just be cloudy outside." J.D. sat back and rubbed his eyes.

"No, my dear Mr. Dunne, you don't understand, it's eight o'clock in the evening." Ezra informed J.D. "You have slept the entire day away."

J.D. quickly sat up in his chair, eyes wide. "Eight o'clock in the evening! Why didn't you guys wake me up? I have to look at the telegrams and mess with the horses! I was supposed to help Mrs. Travis fix her table leg today! How could you let me sleep all day?!?! Something important could have happened!"

"We thought you were sick J.D. You've never slept like that ever since we've known ya." Vin motioned to Nathan, "Besides, Nate here said you were tossin' and moanin' in your sleep. Said you had a fever."

"A fever Nathan?" J.D. glared at the healer. "I feel fine!"

"J.D., you probably feel 'fine' because you slept all day."

As the arguing went on, J.D. not believing he had slept the whole day, Stefan walked into the saloon, letting himself be seen by all the men, even wandering over towards their table.

All the men stared at him, Stefan stared back.

"No offense, sir, but we would rather you not come in here tonight. We are. . . . discussing things." Ezra stood and motioned towards the young sheriff. "Please don't make us cause a scene."

J.D. stared at the man, he looked really familiar, but J.D. couldn't place him. The sheriff stood to greet the man. "Hello sir, sorry about my friends here, they're a little . . . . unkindly to strangers. Might I ask your name?"

"Why of course," the man spoke in a deep voice, "my name is Stefan Andolian."

Chris looked at the man then looked back at J.D. He was acting like he had never seen the man before! What was wrong with the boy? Chris looked around the table at the other men's faces and knew that they were thinking the same thing.

The only thing that kept Buck from jumping out of his chair was Josiah's strong grip. The look on Josiah's face was tormenting.

"I was wondering young sir..."

"Please, call me J.D.!" J.D. reached out and took the mans hand, which was a little cool, but not unpleasant.

"Of course, J.D., I was wondering if you could show me a place I could stay for the night?" Stefan stared at J.D. and was totally ignoring the others, until they stood.

"Stay wherever you stayed last night," Buck said in a not totally pleasant voice.

"Buck! What are you talking about? He must have just gotten here. I've never seen him before." J.D. smiled at the man and threw a confused look at Buck.

"J.D.! What are you talkin' about? You talked to this piece of trash last night! I saw ya, I was there!"

"Buck!" J.D. yelled, "I have never seen this man before in my entire life! Dammit, why can't you guys just leave me alone, you make me sound crazy!" J.D. once again stormed out of the saloon as he had so many times before, but this time the man started to follow.

Buck reached up and grabbed the man's arm, un nerved by the negativeness he felt there. "You listen to me, 'Stefan', if you touch that boy, you'll have six bullets lookin' after ya. I guarantee you that!" And Buck spit on his shoes, by this time the other five were standing, daring the man to do something.

"Buck... nice name," the vampire sneered. "You, my dear 'sir', know nothing of what you are messing with, if I want the boy," the man pointed towards the door, " I'm taking the boy!!! And none of you with your pathetic guns can stop me!" The vampire hissed at the others, finally letting himself be known. He no longer cared about them, he just wanted the boy now, but he would still kill them.

The men stood their ground, or were frozen by terror at what they saw. Stefan's face had contorted into something evil incarnate. His eyes were red, his canine teeth were at least two inches long, his skin an icy white color, even whiter against the black he was wearing.

The vampire held all their gazes. "I suggest you stay with the boy, look after the boy, and tell the boy you love him. I can clearly see you do. I'm giving you the rest of the night and tomorrow with J.D., after that you will never see him again." The man flew out of the room, the six had never seen him move.

"Could somebody please inform me what that. . . thing was?" Mr. Ezra Standish said several minutes later.

"That, Mr. Standish, was a vampire." The men stared in disbelief at Vin Tanner.

"Vin, c'mon, a vampire? Vampire's aren't real! Suck the blood from the living and steal souls? Sounds like you need a little rest, son."

"Okay, Buck, but can you explain what just happened here? What that man did?" Vin glared at the rest of the men.

"I don't know what that thing is," said Chris, "but I do believe that J.D. is in a lot of trouble. And I think we should get to him right now."

The six men rose and piled out of the saloon, looking to either side of the street. "Where do you think J.D. went?" Buck asked in a hushed tone. The town was unusually quiet tonight.

"You go look in the boarding house Buck, Ezra. Nathan and Vin, go look in the jail. I'm going with Buck and Ezra. Josiah. . ." Chris looked at the preacher who was unusually pale. Chris put his hand on the man's shoulder. "I think you should fix up the church, if that thing is what Vin says it is, I think that may be the only safe place." Josiah nodded his head and took off in a dead run.

+ + + + + + +

J.D. stood, then paced, then sat, then stood and walked to the window of the boarding house. Rubbing a sore spot on his neck, wondering whether or not he should stay. Sigh. He knew these men cared, but it was smothering sometimes. It was beyond smothering. He sat on his bed. Maybe it's just my fault, the way I act.

J.D. stood and walked to the window again, watching his friends in the street. They're probably talking about me. The sheriff smiled. They care, I'm just being stupid.

J.D. walked to the door. I guess I'll go apologize, I'm beginning to do that a lot, he thought to himself, then froze as the door opened.

"Hello J.D. How are you doing?"

J.D. couldn't move as he stared into the man's disturbing eyes. "Wha . . . what are you doing here?" J.D. stood his ground, but Stefan knew he was scared.

"Why, I've come to finish our conversation. Can I come in?" J.D. stood, trying to keep from looking into the man's eyes. No! His mind screamed. No! His gut screamed.

"Yes," he heard himself whisper.

Stefan once again stepped across the threshold, into the disturbed feeling of the young boy's room. He shut the door behind him and grabbed the boy. "You will be mine! I don't care what your friends say. I am here to make you an offer." Stefan sat the stiff boy on the bed and took a spot on the chair.

J.D. got the nerve built up to talk. "What . . . what kind of offer?"

"Immortality. You'll never die J.D., you'll never be hurt or sick. You have superior strength, and you will live through centuries." Stefan smiled at J.D.

J.D. sneered at the vampire.

"Get out of my room. NOW!"

The stunned vampire drew back. "You are not listening to what I can give you! I could give you. . . . ."

"GET OUT NOW!!!" J.D. jumped off of the bed. "I hate you! I'm not like you! I don't even believe in you!"

The vampire lost his control and jumped on the boy, grabbing his neck and making him look into the vampire's eyes. "I WILL have you," the creature whispered. "Whether you like it or not!"

The vampire turned J.D. to face the door, the vampire stood behind the young sheriff and plunged his fangs into the boy's neck.

J.D. tried to scream but it locked in his throat. The sensation didn't really hurt, but it was definitely not pleasant. J.D. found himself growing limp, the world was leaving him. He was losing his sight. Then he felt something warm flowing over his lips. God he was thirsty! He greedily drank the liquid, it was so sweet. He felt a nagging pain in his gut, but he kept drinking until something took the drink away. He tried to move but nothing would work. That night, J.D. Dunne, the young sheriff of Four Corners, the youngest member in the famous Magnificent Seven. . . . . died.

+ + + + + + +

Buck had heard the yelling up stairs, and knew it was J.D. He tried to open the door but it wouldn't budge. He walked down the hall.

"What are you doin' Buck?" Chris asked with an odd look.

"Get outta the way guys." Then Buck Wilmington ran down the hall and slammed himself against the door. The door broke open and what he saw broke his heart.

"J.D.. . ." he whispered. "What the hell did you do to him you bastard!"

The vampire pulled his head up and smiled at the three men who walked through the door, not trying to hide his blood-covered face.

"Welcome gentlemen. I was just about to leave." The vampire slowly walked towards the window, he could feel bullets pelting his back, but didn't even stop to acknowledge them.

"You said you were going to wait! Dammit! You said you'd wait!" Buck cried as he raced to the still figure on the floor.

The vampire turned around with the same smile, he had never lost it. "Oh yeah. I lied." And the evil creature jumped out the window, never hitting the ground.

"Oh my lord!"A greenish colored Ezra stood in the corner, staring at the poor boy who lay unmoving on the floor.

"Ezra. . ." Chris whispered. Ezra stood unmoving. "EZRA!" he jumped. "Go get Nathan, now!" The gambler ran faster than he thought possible out of the boarding house and down the street.

"Chris." A sobbing Buck sat on the floor by the still body. "He's dead Chris."

"I'm sure he's got a little life left in him Buck. Let's let Nathan take a look at him." Chris was trying to convince himself more than he was trying to convince Buck. They both knew the boy was dead.

Chris tried to pry Buck away, but was not successful. "He killed him Chris. I'm so sorry J.D. I'm so sorry. I let you die, I'm so sorry," aheart-broken Buck Wilmington sobbed as he held the boy in his arms. "He's dead, that bastard killed him. He doesn't have a pulse Chris. I can't leave him."

Chris felt his heart breaking. He hadn't felt this way since he had found out his wife and son had died in the fire. For the first time since the fire, Christopher Larabee dropped to his knees . . . . and cried.

+ + + + + + +

Stefan made his way back to shack in the wooded over area. He had fixed it so no sunlight could shine through the cracks. He smiled to himself, he was happy finally. He had found someone to befriend. By now they have found him and think he's dead, and he is! But they wouldn't realize the meaning of what he was. Tomorrow night he would find his new companion. Explain the rules to him.

The vampire crawled into his coffin and drifted away, thinking of how the boy would take his new transformation. Once again, he slept with a smile.

+ + + + + + +

"Oh God," a gasp came from the door. Buck looked up for the first time since he had found the boy, he was still crying. All the men entered the room.

Nathan ran to the boy and felt his neck, then felt his wrist, then his neck again.

"He's dead Nathan. He's dead," Buck sobbed.

Chris looked around the room and studied the others, wiping his own tears away from his cheeks. He saw the mighty Vin Tanner, who had a bounty on his head, turn away and face the wall. The fine healer Nathan sat back on his knees and covered his grim face. The sophisticated gambler Ezra couldn't help but sob, trying to hold back. The good preacher Josiah said a prayer.

Then the boy on the floor screamed.

The six men watched in horror as the body started writhing.

"Nathan! He's alive! Help him!" Buck screamed with happiness.

Nathan's eyes were wide. It couldn't be! His pulse was gone, he wasn't breathing, he had lost too much blood.

"Hold him down Buck." Vin turned back to the boy, "Nathan, check his pulse," the tracker said in an even voice.

"He's obviously alive Vin!" All the men were smiling, except Vin. "Dammit Nathan! Check his pulse!" Nathan jumped at the man's rough voice.

"Fine!" Nathan reach his hand to the boys neck, and felt . . . nothing.

J.D.'s body was still writhing on the floor, he was gasping, and he had no pulse. "He doesn't have a pulse." Nathan sat back again, not believing himself.

"My dear Mr. Jackson! You must be mistaken," a smiling Ezra said, convincing himself nothing was wrong. "He's moving."

Suddenly J.D. stopped moving. And opened his eyes. He sat up and gasped.

"Easy there J.D.! Easy!" Buck said as he held the boy. "You came back to us."

+ + + + + + +

J.D. had suddenly awakened. Seeing his friends over him like this had startled him. Then he saw. Nothing in particular, he saw everything! He heard everything! A whispered conversation in the saloon below. He saw bugs crawling on the building across the street. He saw his friends. He felt his headache.

"Hey. . . . guys. What happened? Wh . . . why are y-you on the floor?"

The men laughed and surrounded him. "You died son," Nathan whispered. "God gave you back to us."

"It wasn't God!" screamed the formerly silent Josiah. "God would not do that to the boy!"

"I agree. We need to restrain him now! At least until we figure out what's going on."

J.D. gave the guys a hurt puppy-dog look then realized the sun was coming up.

"I died?" he whispered. "I died and you want to tie me down so you can study me?!?!?"

"Damn right," said Vin.

The others couldn't hardly believe what they were hearing. J.D. couldn't believe what was going on. He did the only thing that seemed right at the time. He fainted.

+ + + + + + +

"Dammit Vin! You ain't tyin' the boy up!" Buck yelled at the young tracker, who returned a deadly glare.

They had taken the boy to Nathan's clinic, there they sat debating on what to do with J.D..

"You have no idea what that boy is or what he's capable of Buck! I know! I was there," Vin Tanner said, trying to hide his filled eyes.

"You're the one I think we should be tyin' up Vin," Buck said in a low deadly whisper. "He came back from the dead! It wasn't his time, that's all! God was lookin' over him."

Josiah stood and walked to the other men. "I'm afraid, my brothers, that God had nothing to do with this. Vin," the preacher turned to face the tracker, "I think you should tell them now."

Vin stared at the old preacher, then turned to his friends and sat. "Alright," he whispered.

The other men gathered around the tracker, waiting to hear what he knew, waiting to see if they believed him, and waiting to see if they could save J.D. from a fate worse than death.

+ + + + + + +

Vin sat back and rubbed his eyes, he needed sleep.

"Before I came to Four Corners, even before I had the bounty on my head, I had a love." The others seemed surprised at this for some reason. "She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. We spent every free moment we had together, we loved each other." Vin was smiling. An odd sight, but then his features turned dark and he lost his smile.

"We found her one night, after I had returned from town. She was lying on the floor, dead. She was dead." The tracker paused for a moment to gather himself. "But then she started moving, just like J.D. had. She awoke. We praised God that she was okay. But she wasn't. She wouldn't come out of the house during the daytime, started sleeping all day. She would only come out at night. She got real pale, but she was more beautiful then she had ever been." Vin got back a hint of smile. "I knew she was sick, but I wasn't gonna leave her."

"Then we started finding dead cows, and sheep. Drained of all their blood." Vin paused. "Then we found her daddy. Dead, drained of all his blood." The other men sat silently, almost in shock at what they were hearing. They knew that Vin was not making this up.

"I was watching her one night, I saw her walking back to where the pig pens were kept." Vin held back a sob. "I saw . . . I saw her with a child, A child! She drank its blood. Grew fangs and drank its blood." Vin eyes were glazed over, as if he was seeing what happened all over again. "I couldn't st. . . stop myself. She started coming towards me so I . . . I shot her."

Vin paused for a moment. "She fell. I thought she was dead. We even buried her. Three days later, when I was getting ready to leave, I saw her. She was on a rooftop. I told myself I was seeing things but I knew I wasn't. I couldn't have been. It was her, all covered in mud. Then she disappeared." Vin stopped. "I never saw her again. But I knew what she was. And I looked up on it. She was a vampire. I know you think it's only myth," Vin found himself standing up, "but I refuse to lose this boy to the clutches of that blood-suckin' demon!"

"Vin?" Came a weak whisper from the bed.

The six men turned to see the young man, sitting up in bed. They hadn't even noticed him. Each man turned and gave a gasp at the disturbing sight. J.D. was totally white, his hazel eyes were now a vivid green, his hair was sleek and black, and his skin was beyond perfect, except for the bloody tears that were running down his cheeks.

+ + + + + + +

All the men ran to the boy, with the exceptions of Vin Tanner and Josiah Sanchez.

"God son! You're awake!"

The boys hurt look quickly turned to rage. "Vin! How could you even THINK I would do something like that?!?!" The boy was visibly shaking as he jumped out of the bed.

"Calm down son, sit back down for a minute." Nathan was by his side and grasping his arm, knowing there had to be something wrong. J.D. was ice cold.

"I love you guys!" More bloody tears stained the boys face. "How could you think that I would do something like that?" The boy sat back on the bed and sobbed.

"J.D. You listen to me," Vin said, not in a pleasant tone. "I know what he's done to you! I know what you're becoming, and the hunger you will have. And from listening to my story, you should be one scared little shit." Vin slammed the door after he stormed through.

Josiah stood, he could feel the evil in the room. "J.D.?"

The boy was looking in horror at his blood streaked hands, then raised his face to look at Josiah. "Josiah? What's happening to me?"

"The devil son. And I don't intend to let him have you." The kindly preacher reached down and gave the boy a hug, not letting himself pull away from the icy hands.

J.D. numbly stared at the wall. He felt fine, better than fine actually. He felt like he could run for miles. If it wasn't for his crying, and his friends, he probably would have, and never come back.

Buck Wilmington walked over to the bed and sat. "How you feelin' now son? You doin' okay?"

"I'm fine Buck. I feel fine." He was breaking emotionally. "How could Vin think I could do something like that? It makes me nauseous just thinking about drinking. . . . blood."

Chris Larabee watched from the foot of the bed, studying the young boy. He wouldn't let this man get him.

The sun shone brightly through the window and all the men got scared looks when they saw the boy flinch. "Hurts my eyes. Could you pull the curtain down Ezra? Please?"

Ezra made his way to the curtain and pulled it closed.

"Do you think that, uh, I could be alone guys?"

"Sure kid, just yell if you need anything," Buck said as he ushered the men through the doors. He was about to shut the door himself but he heard the boy call his name.


"Yeah kid?"

"Could you stay for a little longer?" the sheriff asked with those puppy dog eyes they all knew too well.

"Sure kid." Buck closed the door and made his way to the bed.

J.D. collapsed onto the Texan, sobbing uncontrollably. "I'm so scared Buck. I'm so tired."

Buck's heart was breaking as he held the icy, pale boy in his arms.

"I don't want to die Buck."

"I'm not gonna let you die J.D. I'll kill that son of a bitch first." I'm sorry kid, thought Buck, but I think we're too late.

Buck held the boy and cried with him until the boy gave into his exhaustion and fell asleep.

It was ten o'clock in the morning. Buck couldn't wait until night so he could show that bastard the reason they were called the magnificent seven.

+ + + + + + +

The next day went by slowly for everyone. Vin wasn't talking, Josiah was readying the church for the night ahead. Chris walked around dazed, desperately trying to think of ways to save the boy, not thinking of anything at all. Ezra stayed in the saloon, going out once in a while to check on Buck and the kid. Nathan stayed in the clinic, by Buck and J.D.'s side.

"Is he okay Nathan?" asked Buck in a scared voice. "How's he doin?"

Nathan looked at the Texan with sad eyes. "Buck, he ain't got no pulse. How good can he be doin'? If it wasn't for last night, I'd say he was dead."

Buck stared at the healer from his solitude, grasping the boy's ice cold hand. "He is dead, Nathan. He's breathing, but his heart ain't beatin'."

"Maybe you should go get some rest Buck, it would really. . . ."

"I'm not leavin' him Nathan, forget it." Buck stared at the boy's face and pushed the loose hairs aside. Nathan walked out of the room, the least he could do was get some food in Buck, poor man hadn't ate in a day.

Nathan slowly made his way across the street, thinking of ways to help J.D. They had tried reviving him, he wouldn't move. It's like he was a breathing corpse. But Nathan knew he was still there, also knew he would come around once the sun went down. And that scared him more than he would admit.

Nathan found his way into the saloon to see the other four men sitting at the table and yelling at each other.

"You're crazy Vin! We can't do that to J.D.! We won't do that to the boy, and I ain't lettin' you near him!" Nathan was almost in shock to see Chris act like that. Chris never lost his temper. Nathan slowly walked over to the table.

"Chris, I don't want to do it, but it's the only way! We need to put that boy out of his misery, and we need to kill him before he starts to kill everybody else!" Vin's face was red with anger.

"He's not gonna kill anybody Vin! For Gods sake, it's J.D. we're talkin' about!"

"Chris, you ain't listening to me. . . ."

"You're right Vin," Chris hissed, "I'm not listening to you." And with that, the man sat back down at the table. Vin still stood in silence and then attention was turned to Nathan.

"How is our young sheriff faring Mr. Jackson? Is he well?" Ezra asked in a steady voice, no doubt practiced.

"He's as good as can be expected."

Ezra looked outside and noticed that the sun was beginning to go down. "I do believe it would be best to move the boy to the sanctuary of the church, I think he would be safest there."

"I agree, we should get him to the church now."

"I'll go make sure everything is ready." Josiah stood and made his way out the door, thinking, mostly praying for the child he knew they were going to lose.

The remaining men gathered their things and began to leave. All except for Vin. Chris walked over to the table and sat back down.

"Listen Vin, I realize what you've been through, hell, you may be right. But I refuse to give up on this boy. I refuse to let him die like this."

Vin silently stared at the full glass of bourbon in front of him. "I know Chris," the young tracker whispered. "I just can't stand to lose another like I lost her. Especially that kid in there." Vin stood and gulped the bourbon down. "I'm helping, but I swear I'll kill that son of a bitch before the night is over."

"I hope you do buddy, I hope you do." Chris held onto the man's arm as they made their way to the boarding house to get J.D. There was a long night ahead. Hopefully, it wouldn't be their last.

+ + + + + + +

When the men arrived at the boarding house Buck was still holding J.D. in his arms. J.D. was awake and watching Buck sleep. Watching him like he had been blind his hold life and regained vision.

"J.D.? Son, you okay?" Vin asked with a concerned expression.

Without looking up, the boy replied. "Go the hell away Vin," he said in a whisper. "Go away."

"J.D. listen to me. I know I said that stuff, it's not an excuse, but I've been through something like this before, I didn't want to go through it again." Vin felt tears swelling in his eyes. "Please give me a chance. I'm gonna help you."

J.D. raised his head and looked at Vin with his vivid green eyes. Vin could feel those eyes probing his soul, and he shuddered. "Vin, if I give you a chance, you have to give me something."

"Anything J.D. What do ya want?"

"I want freedom."

Chris Larabee and Vin Tanner stared at the boy, clearly confused. Chris spoke, "Freedom? And what do you mean by that?"

J.D. spoke barely above a whisper as he stroked Bucks hair. "When we kill this bastard, I want you to kill me. I can't live the way I am. I want you to kill me."

"J.D. son, we can't kill you! We're tryin' to help. . . ."

J.D. suddenly jumped out of the bed. "If you don't kill me when this is over I. . . .I. . . ." The boys voice dropped back down to a whisper. "I don't know how long I can keep myself from killing anyone else. I'm so hungry Chris."

"I know J.D. but we will find a way other than killing you."

The boy only nodded. "Vin. I forgive you, I know I'm a monster, I should have listened. 'M sorry." The young sheriff once again wiped away the bloody tears that stained his face.

Chris watched with a broken heart, hating that the boy thought this way, and worse, knowing it was true. The man's gaze shifted to the window and realized it was completely dark outside.

"Vin." Vin stood there, as if in a world of his own. "VIN!"


"We need to get the boy to the church. Now." Vin looked out the window and his eyes widened. "Buck! Wake up Buck."

The Texan opened his eyes and blinked. "Wha. . . what do you guys want?"

"We got to take the boy to the church." Buck looked out the window and jumped. "Good God almighty! How long's it been dark?"

Chris stared at Buck. "About thirty minutes, now let's get him to the church. NOW!"

Buck started to lift J.D. into his arms and J.D. pushed him away. "I can do it myself Buck." J.D. stood up on his own and made his way to the door. The other three men in the room couldn't take their gaze off the boy. His movements were liquefied. "Let's go."

+ + + + + + +

The three men and the one newly made vampire walked into the church across the street and greeted the other three men. J.D. gasped and almost screamed.

"J.D. What is it?" asked Nathan.

"He's here!" J.D.'s eyes darted around the room. "He's here." They all turned as one to face the door, and the menace that was standing in it.

"Hello J.D. We need to talk." And the vampire was grasping J.D. before anyone even blinked.

"We need to have a long talk." Stefan whispered only loud enough for the other vampire to hear.

Josiah stood, holding a cross in his hand. "Evil demon! Get away from that child!" The remaining five men gasped as Stefan dropped J.D. unconscious to the floor and fled to the wall. "Damn you preacher. I'll kill all of you!" Stefan sneered. "Starting with the boy. I thought he would make a nice companion." The vampire seemed almost sad. "I was certainly wrong."

"Why might that be dear sir?" Ezra stood his ground and gazed into the vampire's eyes. "Because he wishes not to take a life in cold blood?"

"You!" Stefan pointed around. "You are nothing but cattle to me. You have no idea the power I hold."

Josiah walked closer to the shrinking vampire, holding the cross in front of him. "But you're afraid demon. You have no power here." And Josiah touched the cross to the vampire's forehead. The vampire shrieked in pain, but it didn't last long.

Vin Tanner, the brave young tracker, had ripped a wooden stake from the sagging church, and plunged it right into Stefan's heart. The ground seemed to shake as J.D. and Stefan screamed as one. Stefan grabbed at the stake, unable to move it, and burst into flames.

His still, burning figure lie on the floor. They all knew then, the great vampire was dead.

+ + + + + + +

J.D. grabbed his chest. It hurt so bad! He thought he was dying as well. He looked at the man burning on the floor. The demon, he thought, not man. And actually found himself feeling. . . pity? The man wanted a companion, he had chosen J.D. The vampire didn't realize that J.D. already had six others that he wouldn't leave.

J.D. waited for the change. Stefan was dead! I'm free. But nothing happened.

The six men gathered around the boy vampire.

"You okay J.D.?" asked a worried Vin.

"No." J.D. whispered, and again came the bloody tears. "I'm still the same, Vin." The boy paused. "You have to kill me."

Buck flew over to the boy. "We ain't killin' ya J.D.! You ain't like that demon! You may be the same breed son, unfortunately, we can't change that." J.D. looked at the man then looked at all his friends. "You are going to live J.D. We can find a way around this. I ain't leavin' you." Buck wiped tears from his eyes as he hugged the boy.

"And neither am I Mr. Dunne. You have made me go through too many unpleasant situations to leave you now."

J.D. looked at the gambler, and smiled. He never thought he'd smile again.

"None of us are leavin' ya J.D." J.D. looked into Chris's face. His idol. His father.

"I'll never see the sun again," J.D. whispered as he slowly stood.

"You'll never get sun burnt then will ya?" asked Buck with a grin.

J.D. looked at the friends that surrounded him and right then, he knew he had to try, he wouldn't let himself die mentally. He was just as alive as before.

"Hey Buck?"

Buck looked at the boy.

"Guess there's one good thing to this."

Buck got a confused look on his face. "What's that J.D."

The vampire smiled at the man. "You can't bother me 'bout not eatin' anymore!" Even in death, the boy was a smart-ass! thought the man, and he held the boy in his arms, never intending to let go. There was gonna be a long road ahead.


New blood joins this earth
And quickly he's subdued
Through constant pained disgrace
The young boy learns their rules
With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they'll take away
What I've felt what I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be Never see
Won't see what might have been
What I've felt what I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free never me
So I dub thee unforgiven
They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He tries to please them all
This bitter man he is
Throughout his life the same
He's battled constantly
This fight he cannot win
A tired man they see no longer cares
The old man then prepares
To die regretfully
That old man here is me
What I've felt what I've known
Never shined through in what I've shone
Never be never see
Won't see what might have been
What I've felt what I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never Free never me
So I dub thee unforgiven
You labeled me, I'll label you
So I dub thee Unforgiven

"Unforgiven" by Metallica

This story continues in Offspring