Updated 10-31-04

Rating: PG-13 - Language

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

AU: ATF - Thanks, Mog! :)

Author's Notes: This story is not finished yet. Thanks to Phyllis for the beta on the second part. Aren't betas great! I really appreciate her. :)

References to my story Adam's Touch.

Feedback is always greatly appreciated. Thank you, Ruby :)

 

This story is In Progress

Part One l Part Two

The Other Side

By: Ruby

Part One

Buck glanced up from the skillet when he heard movement behind him. "Hey, JD, you okay, kid?" He watched his roommate stumble into the kitchen and flop down into a chair, immediately laying his head down on the table.

Turning the burner on the skillet down, he walked over to his best friend, squatting down beside him so he could get a look at his eyes. "Hey," he spoke softly, reaching out and grasping JD by the arm.

The kid looked up at him, his face pale and his eyes blood shot.

"Did you sleep at all, kid?"

"No-" he cleared his throat. "Not much." He coughed twice and then leaned back in the chair. 

"Damn, kid, you look like shit."

"Thanks, Buck." JD grinned.

Buck shook his head as he stood and headed back to the stove. "What were you doing up so late? You gonna finally tell me?" He looked back over his shoulder.

JD put his elbows on the table and then propped his head up in his hands. "Nothin', Buck. Just couldn't sleep, is all." He looked away.

"Yeah, right." Buck scoffed. "Since when've you ever had a hard time sleepin'?" He chortled.

"Since about a week ago," JD sighed, the words so soft Buck almost didn't hear them.

Becoming concerned again, Buck took the fried eggs out of the skillet and walked back over to the table with a plate for each of them. He pushed a plate in front of JD. "Eat up, kid." He wasn't prepared for his response.

JD darted off the chair, out of the kitchen, and straight into the bathroom where Buck could hear him vomiting.

"Damn, kid," Buck narrowed his eyes as he pursed his lips. "What in the hell is wrong with you?" He stalked over to the bathroom, just in time to help JD up off the floor and onto the closed toilet. He wet a washcloth and handed it to the kid.

JD rubbed the cool cloth down his face and then placed it on the back of his neck. He looked up at Buck with red-rimmed eyes.

Buck squatted down in front of him, his hands on his knees. "JD, talk to me. You need to tell me what's wrong, what's been going on."

JD shook his head. "I can't, Buck." His voice was rough, raw. "It's too..." He looked away, not meeting Buck's eyes anymore.

"Too what?" Buck questioned. "Too sad? Too interesting? Too hard for ole Buck here to understand?" He grinned a little. "Too embarrassing?"

JD's eyes shot over to meet his. 

"That's it? It's too embarrassing?" He shook his head. "Hell, kid, ain't nothin' too embarrassing to tell ole Bucklin." He sat down, leaning back on the open door and making himself more comfortable.

JD pulled the washcloth off his neck and then twisted it in his hands. "Buck, you'll laugh at me. Say I'm a kid." He stared at the tightly rolled cloth.

Buck nodded once. "Well, sure, kid. But, that's just me. Don't mean I don't care none. Gotta make fun a ya every once in a while, though." He reached up, clapping JD lightly on the knee.

JD looked up at him, smiled slightly, and then sighed. "Nightmares."

Nodding, Buck frowned. "Havin' nightmares, kid? That ain't nothin' to be embarrassed about. Happens to the best of us." He spoke seriously, the mood in the room changing.

The kid swallowed hard as he looked at Buck. "They're really bad. I keep dreaming that someone's in my room. Some*thing*. It's..." He blinked, his eyes going off to the right.

"It's..." Buck repeated. "What, kid? What is it?"

JD looked back. "It's like a ghost or something." He shuddered. "Not a very nice one, either."

Buck's brow furrowed deeply. "So that's what yer dreaming? About a ghost?"

JD breathed quickly through his nose, his mouth turned down in a deep frown. After a few moments, he spoke, "I'm startin' to think that it's not a dream, Buck." He paused, watching Buck intently.

Buck nodded.

"I'm startin' to think that it's real. That *it* is real."

Buck just nodded again, and JD looked at him strangely.

"You ain't gonna laugh at me or tell me I'm bein' stupid?"

Buck shook his head slowly. "Nope, kid. Ain't gonna do neither of those things."

JD swallowed hard the lump in his throat. "You believe in ghosts?" He asked, almost hopefully.

Buck looked down, sighing deeply, remembering back. Finally, he looked up. "Yeah, JD, I'd say I do believe in 'em."

"You seen one?" JD's voice rose an octave.

"Seen somethin' I can't rightly explain." He cocked his head. "Chris believes in 'em too."

"Chris believes in ghosts?" JD's voice was high.

Buck narrowed his eyes, turning his head slightly to the side. "You breathe a word a this to anyone and I'll kill ya."

JD nodded his head quickly.

"You remember when Chris hit that deer an' he ran his truck into the ditch?"

"Father's Day, last year, right?"

"Yeah. Well, he told me later that he saw Adam that night."

"He saw Adam?"

"That's what he said, pard. Said he sat next to him in the truck, asking if Chris could come 'home' with him to be with he and his mama."

"Man," JD breathed.

"Wasn't all bad. Chris said that Adam talked about some things, laid some things to rest that had always bothered Chris." He smiled slightly. "All in all, Chris talks like it was a good experience. And I can see the change in him still."

"Wow." 

Buck shook himself out of his reverie. "So, kid, you think you got a ghost?"

JD brought his own thoughts back to himself. He nodded. "Yeah, Buck, I do. He ain't very nice, neither."

"Why do you think it's a 'he'? Did you see it?"

JD shook his head. "No. It's more a 'feeling', you know?" A shiver ran down his spine. "Like a really *bad* feeling."

"Hmmm." Buck sat for a moment, deep in thought. Suddenly, he slapped JD on the leg. "Well, kid, get ready for work." He left the kid looking perplexed.

*****

"Don't tell anyone, 'kay, Buck?" JD jiggled the change in his pocket nervously as they rode the elevator up to the Team's office.

Buck looked over at him. "Okay, kid. I won't."

"Thanks." JD smiled at him. "I know that you understood, but the rest of them... they might just think that I'm a silly little kid."

Buck grinned as he ruffled JD's hair. "Can't have that, can we?"

JD ducked out from under his grasp just as the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened. 

Buck reached out, grabbing the kid by the neck and pulling him close. "You're gonna have a hard time explaining why you look like you're on the bad end of a three day drunk."

JD pulled loose. "I don't look that bad." 

They stepped into the office.

"JD, son, whatever is wrong with you?" Josiah walked over, grasping JD by his upper arms and holding him out in front of him, taking a hard look at the kid.

"Nothing, Josiah," JD's voice squeaked as he backed away. He ran into something hard that shouldn't have been there. He looked back and then up to find Nathan's narrowed eyes scrutinizing him.

"JD, what have you done to yourself?"

"Nothing, I swear." JD tried to get away.

"Nothing, huh?" Nathan stepped closer.

"I swear. I just haven't been sleeping well, that's all." He smiled.

Tanner and Standish walked in side by side.

"What's the other'n look like, kid?" Vin asked, smirking.

"I do not look that bad," JD appealed, his voice rising higher.

Ezra laughed lightly. "Of course, not, Mr. Dunne. You don't at all look like you have bags the size of Texas under your eyes. And the color of your skin in no way reminds me of alabaster.

"Guys," JD huffed as he turned to walk over to his desk. "Come on!" He sat down hard in his chair, his shoulders hunched, his entire being screaming lack-of-sleep.

"Have you slept at all this past week?" Nathan asked, concerned.

JD looked up to find that the rest of the men were watching him closely, concern etched on their faces as well. He was just about to lie when he heard a hiss from behind him. He jumped so far out of his seat that he landed up on the desk, turning around at the same time.

Chris stood there, his eyes dark. "JD, my office, now!"

JD's eyebrows rose high on his forehead as he rubbed his thigh. "What?"

Chris started towards his open door. Stopping beside it, he turned back, motioning JD in ahead of him. 

JD walked slowly over to his boss and then ducked inside the office. 

Chris smiled sadly as he followed his youngest agent into his office. He pointed at the soft, comfortable leather couch against one wall. "Lie down." He ordered.

JD shook his head. "Mr. Larabee, what?" He asked, confused.

Chris stepped towards him. 

JD jumped over to the couch, throwing himself down on it and then staring up at Larabee with wide eyes.

Chris smiled down at him as he pulled the soft blanket off the back of the couch and laid it over him. "Get some rest, kid." He ordered again.

JD, still confused, nodded and then immediately closed his eyes. 

Chris stood there, watching him. He grinned when he saw an eye crack open and then close again just as quickly. He turned and walked out, intent on talking to his oldest friend and finding out just what in the hell was going on.

JD breathed a sigh of relief. Sleep at last, and no ghost to bother him this time. He drifted off to sleep, a peaceful smile on his face.

****

Buck held his hand out in front of him. " 'Fore you ask, Chris, I promised the kid I wouldn't tell."

Chris narrowed his eyes. "I've got ways of makin' you talk." He was half serious, half not.

Buck smirked. "Yeah, I'm sure you think you do, pard." He stood. "The kid asked me not to tell, and I'm not tellin'." He crossed his arms over his chest.

Chris sighed. "Is it something we should be concerned about?"

Buck thought about it for a second. He shook his head. "Nah, I think the kid and me can work it out."

Watching him closely for a long moment, Chris's eyes narrowed dangerously. Finally, he relented. "Fine, Buck. But you'd better get it taken care of. Kid's about dead on his feet and the only thing that'll get 'im is a pine box."

"I know," Buck agreed, his face grim.

" 'S long as you do." Chris nodded once.

Larabee looked around. "All right, boys, we've got a new case. Let's get to it." 

They headed towards the conference room.

*****

He watched the boy sleep. He was tempted to wake him, but finally decided that it would be best to let the child sleep for a while longer. It would be easier to get done what he needed to get done if the boy didn't collapse from exhaustion. He had half a mind to 'mess' with the boy some more, but decided that he would just let him rest for a while. Later, when he was alone, he would 'visit' him again.

He left, all the while wondering what the boy's 'scare threshold' would be. He thought about what he would do to him later that night.

He knew that he needed the child's help, but it was not in his nature to *not* mess with the boy - at least a little bit.

Dunne was a prodigy, though. The first one he'd found in a long time that could really 'communicate' with the dead. The boy didn't know it yet, but he would. Soon, he would.

 

Part Two

"John!" Someone shook him awake.

"Wha-?" Dunne glanced around, his eyes bleary. He'd gone to bed as soon as he and Buck had gotten home from work; he hadn't even had supper. He looked at the clock. 11:45 p.m. He shook his head; he'd slept like the dead. He could hear the TV in the living room and realized that Buck must still be up.

"John," the voice spoke again. 

JD sat up, looking all around, his eyes wide. Suddenly, the temperature in the room dropped dramatically and he could see his breath. Goosebumps rose on his skin and his spine tingled. He swallowed hard. "Hello?"

There was a hot breath next to his ear and the voice whispered, "John." Unseen hands started to slowly pull the blanket from the end of his bed.

JD bolted off the bed, the sheets tangling around his legs. He fell hard, banging his chin on the floor. "Buck!" he cried out, his voice cracking as he tried to get to his feet. Something yanked on his leg and he fell hard again.

His door was thrown open and Wilmington stood there, panting hard, staring down at him, his eyes wide. "What the hell, kid?" He reached down, grasping JD's arm, helping the shaking youth to his feet.

"I want out of here!" JD pushed past Buck, forcing the other man to keep up with him as he practically ran down the hall into the living room. When JD came to a stop in between the couch and the coffee table, he took a few staggering steps and Buck reached out and grabbed onto him again.

"Sit down," Buck told him as he pushed him down onto the couch. "Jesus, kid," he said, squatting down in front of Dunne, looking him over.

JD was shivering and couldn't seem to catch his breath. He was gasping for air. His face paled and he swayed where he sat, falling back bonelessly against the couch cushion.

"Kid!" Buck reached out and grasped his shoulder, his other hand cupping around JD's head, supporting him. "JD, just breathe, son."

Dunne took in a breath and then another until he was pulling air in and letting it out in shaky breaths. He blinked wearily as he seemed to come back to himself. "Buck?" he asked. "What's going on?"

Wilmington stared at him, hard. He shook his head. "Was hoping you could tell me that, kid."

JD looked back towards his room and then at Buck. He glanced away quickly, his face flushed now.

"JD!" Buck barked lightly, "don't even start with this 'quiet' crap. I want you to tell me right now, what's going on." He shook his head. "I know that wasn't just a nightmare."

Dunne looked at him, his shoulders drooped in defeat. "There was someone in my room, Buck."

Buck's face darkened. He patted JD on the knee before standing and starting for JD's room.

"Buck, don't!" JD called out. 

Wilmington glanced over his shoulder as he grinned mirthlessly. "Just going to check it out, kid."

****

Buck pushed the door to JD's bedroom open. Had they closed it? He couldn't remember either of them closing the door. The coldness in the room struck him like a physical blow. He shivered, his heart rate quickening. He could almost feel... something - some sort of presence.

"Hello?" he asked even as he silently admonished himself. There wasn't anyone in here, and then he thought, 'Alive, anyway.'

The hairs on the back of his neck rose, as if an icy finger had run over them. He shivered, his body actually shaking. He took a step back, out of the room, and then another one. "Dammit," he cursed softly under his breath as he stared into the room.

He started to step back inside when the door slammed closed right in front of him. He stood still, the door a mere two inches in front of his nose. He sighed hard as he dropped his head. "Fuck," he hissed out quietly. He glanced down the hall towards the living room and then looked back at the door in front of him. Memories suddenly came back, childhood nightmares.

"Damn," he spoke softly as he shook his head, defeated. "It's happening again."

tbc...

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

[email protected]

Back to Ruby's Magnificent Seven Page