Rating: PG-13  Language, Violence (not depicted)

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven is owned by Trilogy, Mirish, MGM. No money is being made. This fanfic is purely for entertainment purposes.

Author's Notes: Thanks, as always, to Mog for making the AFT/AU and for letting others write in it. :)

July 11, 02 - I just wrote this last night. It hasn't been beta-ed so please excuse any and all mistakes.

This is dedicated to my dad.


Blaze of Glory  ATF/AU

By: Ruby

Buck turned his key in the lock, making as much noise as he could. He was supposed to be out on a date but was home early instead. JD was home and Buck didn't want to startle his roommate. JD might sometimes seem young and reckless but he was very much a cop. Someone coming in quietly would have JD's instant attention and the attention of the young man's police-issue. Buck didn't want to enter his own apartment just to be met with the business end of a gun, so he jangled his keys, and then opened and closed the door loudly.

Sure enough, the top of JD's head could be seen over the back of the couch, large hazel eyes scrutinizing him knowingly before the kid turned back to face the TV.

"Yer home early, Buck," JD called out over his shoulder, his voice sounding muffled like his mouth was full of food. "Did what-ever-her-name-was-tonight get a whiff of yer animal maggotism?" he asked, chuckling loudly as he glanced back over the top of the couch, bobbing his eyebrows at Buck.

Buck fake-glowered as he threw his keys on the small table next to the door. "It's animal mag-ne-tism, kid and I'll have you know that Danielle got sick and I had to bring her home." Buck rolled his eyes when JD's face split wide with a grin. "And before you say it - No, she didn't get sick of me, just sick."

JD turned back to the TV. "I wasn't gonna say nothin', Buck. Jeesh, you're paranoid!"

Buck watched as the kid tossed a piece of popcorn high into the air, catching it with his wide-open mouth. "Yeah, well..." Buck replied as he stepped into the small kitchen. Through the opening over the counter, he watched the kid catch another flying piece of popcorn in his mouth. "Yer gonna choke to death doin' that, kid," he reprimanded as he opened the cabinet and pulled out a glass. Pushing the dirty dishes to one side of the sink, he slipped the glass under the faucet and filled it up.

"No way!" JD smiled angelically at him. "We're cops." He grinned. "We're heroes." He threw another piece of popcorn high into the air, catching it in his mouth. "I can't die that way, I'm goin' out in a blaze of glory." He gave Buck a cocky grin as he turned back to the TV, throwing yet another piece of popcorn into his mouth.

Buck kept his eyes on the back of the couch for a few minutes, not liking the goosebumps that had risen on his arms or the tingle that moved uncomfortably down his spine. He slowly drank the glass of water and then wiped the lip of the glass off with the bottom of his shirt before opening the cabinet and placing the now-clean glass upside down next to its comrades.

A blaze of glory? The kid had said the words flippantly, and Buck knew he didn't mean anything by them, but still he couldn't help but remember friends who'd died in the line of duty.

Some were cops he'd first come on with and later ATF agents he'd worked side by side with. They'd died trying to make their world, their city, their backyards a safer place. They'd left families and friends behind to mourn their loss and some to even take up the gauntlet and become police officers themselves. Some families had even lost both a parent and a child in the line of duty. Those 'cop families' kept going. Kept doing what they did best, even with staggering, heart wrenching losses.

What would it be like for a child to lose a parent that way? And, he thought, even worse, what would it be like for a parent to lose a child that way? A vision of JD's face, bloodless, on a white satin pillow suddenly assaulted him and he took a step back, reaching out and grasping onto the edge of the sink while he lowered his head between his arms.

JD could very well go out in a 'blaze of glory.' Cut down by bullets, caught in a blast, killed by a vengeful criminal he'd put away - the possibilities were endless and each one hit Wilmington right in the gut. Buck knew that there was a good chance that at least one of Team Seven's agents would lose their life. Statistics proved it. They're lifestyles and personalities proved it even more.

Lord, could Buck stand there in front of that casket staring down at his best friend's, or any of his friend's, lifeless body? Could he get up the next day and go back to work, go back out to 'catch more bad guys?' Was it worth it? Was getting guns off the streets and stopping criminals worth the chance he and his friends were taking with their lives?

Buck thought long and hard about it as he stared at the back of his best friend's head. 

Was it worth it? The answer was the same as it always had been. Even if they just saved one more person, one more child, it was worth it, Buck knew in his heart.

It was worth it for Chris Larabee. 

It was worth it for Josiah Sanchez and Nathan Jackson. 

It was worth it for both Vin Tanner and Ezra Standish.

And, he watched as another piece of popcorn flew up in the air and right into the kid's open mouth, it was worth it for JD Dunne.

They went out there every day, risking their lives, helping others. And, to each one of them, hell, to police officers everywhere, it was worth it or they wouldn't be in the profession they were in.

Lord knows what police officers went through - They took shit. They had to keep their cool while being treated like hell, cussed out, spit on. They had to pick up the pieces after car accidents, sometimes watching as a drunk driver was put into the back of a squad car while the family he killed was put into the back of the coroner's wagon.  They had to watch as the criminals they'd arrested and put away the night before got out in the morning to wreak more havoc. They had to deal with the horrors of humanity and then go home to their families and act like they hadn't just taken the gun out of a lifeless fourteen-year-old's hand. Every day, every shift was a new 'adventure.' Just try giving someone a ticket while he's screaming at you, calling you an asshole. "What's your badge number?" "I'm going to report you." "Blah blah blah." Buck shook his head. Yup, all of that and more. But, that was what being a cop was all about. And it wasn't all bad. Sometimes, something beautiful would happen and it would shine a light on the darkest times.

Would they go out in a blaze of glory? Every day cops were killed. Would it be a member of Team Seven next? Buck sighed. Maybe.

Was it worth it? He pursed his lips as he reached up and ran his hand down his face. God, yes.

Could he go on if one of the other's were killed? Could he keep doing his job? It would be hard, but he wouldn't quit because that's not what Buck was. Buck was a cop. It wasn't his job, it was who he was. It was 24/7 'til the day he died.

Were the members of Team Seven heroes? Buck narrowed his eyes as he pursed his lips. He shook his head, thinking about it. After a few moments, he shook his head again. He watched as JD threw another piece of popcorn up in the air, it arced beautifully, came down, bounced off the kid's nose and then fell to the floor. Buck chuckled.

Heroes? Nope. They were just mortal men with all their flaws.

Mortal men... playing at being Angels.


the end   July 2002


The ending of this story was inspired by a wonderful e-mail I got about my story, Plan B. It talked about how hard it was 'making mortal men out of heroes.' I thought it was a  really neat way of thinking about it and has always stuck with me. And, I think, has inspired more than one of my stories since then. So, there ya go, you never know what feedback might bring about. :)

      Comments  Please let me know what you think. I'd love to know.

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