DISCLAIMER: The following is an original work of fan fiction based on the television series "The Magnificent Seven". No infringement upon the copyrights held by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that production is intended. No profit is being made - enjoy!!
How could you have left this for me?
You've always been so independent, so self-sufficient. How could you have left this, this decision, for me?
I can't believe this is what you want. All these tubes piercing your flesh, sending medicine through your veins to heal what cannot be healed, to sustain a life that is effectively over. To allow the waste of your body to flow away as your life ebbs....
You would find your dying so undignified, so galling to your pride.
I cannot understand. You've always considered all the options, the pros and cons of every choice. Always flaunted that damnable prescience that told you, every time, there would be a choice to make.... How could it have failed you in this? Failed me?
The doctors tell me there is little hope. I believe the truth of that when I look in Nathan's eyes. What else I see there.... Not the pity I expected; just sorrow and regret. Concern, for me. I did not expect that.
He and I, Mother, are as different as any two people can be, in just about every way you could name. We're constantly at loggerheads with each other, but now, as I see the caring in those eyes and shadowing that face, I can't think of a single good reason not to accept it. To think that he might feel such for me is not unwelcome. I need his help now.
The doctors tell me that I can sign a paper to end this.
Yet to end this.... What 'this' is, is my mother's life. How can I sign you away as one would a chit for a balance due?
Your pride, Mother. It wouldn't want this.
There must be a reason why you left this for me.
Your selfishness astounds me.
I sit here at your side, day after day, hour after hour. Each minute is a lifetime as I watch your dying. I can't fathom why you've left this choice for me.
You've never shared the decision-making processes of your mind with me. Your choices are always presented to me as a fait accompli. And you've yet to acknowledge my right to make my choices mine own.
But this you share.
Today is a beautiful day, Mother. Your eyes are as blue as that sky outside the window, but never have they been as open. As I walked outside today and felt the cold air against my skin, the cold anger towards you within myself, I felt the warmth of Josiah at my side and saw the understanding within him.
His face is open, as is his heart, and I know he may grieve for the loss of you as much as I. And just as he shared that moment of anger with me, I know he'll share his grief if I choose to allow him.
I feel Josiah's eyes touch me, and I know there will be no miracles here.
I've craved the openness of you, the sharing of your self. I never had that.
But this you choose to share.
When did age touch you?
I can see it now, in the silver wending its way through the gold of your hair, in the lines drawn around your eyes, your mouth. Your hands, once so elegant and sure, now thin, the skin taut and so translucent I can follow the tracery of veins like one would a spider web.
When did this happen? Was it there before, and I just didn't see it? Didn't want to see it?
Or did you not let me see it?
I sit here and hold your hand like I haven't done since I was a child. Your skin is dry and chill now. Gone is its warmth, its life, but still I hold onto you like that child then.
There sits JD across the room much younger than me when he lost his own mother. He is a man now, yet seems the child of his mother still when he speaks of her. The child is there, in his eyes, as he looks at me, his empathy clear. The man in me is forgotten as the child within meets JD.
I tighten my hold on your hand, and wonder when the strength it held fell away and was surpassed by that within my own.
I feel the dread of what is coming douse the anger of before.
Perhaps JD will show me how to be a man when the child is put away again.
For now, I cannot let go.
How can I do this thing?
How can I let go of what I've only begun again to want to hold? To see you flit through my life....
My one inconstant constant.
The child in me still feels the hurt and confusion; the young man the anger. Yet more and more, of late, mere annoyance at the capriciousness of your presence.
But also, more and more of late, I saw the wistfulness of my child's eyes in the shadings of your own, and heard a silent plea behind your voicing, 'Ezra, darlin'.'
I never realized these softenings spoke of our chance for a newborn life till the call of your eyes ceased. Till the touch of your voice was stilled.
It echoes to me now in the whisper of the machine that breathes the life into you. I feel it in Vin's calming hand on my shoulder and hear it in the quiet words he gives me. He tells me of his own lost chances in the absence of his mother. Then he tells me of his new life chosen. The bitter, then the sweet.
He'll show me to that path, I know, if it is my will. But at this moment, all I see is the bitter absence of you.
How can I not do this thing?
The life in you has become as ephemeral as your presence has been in what was my life. Now I must accept my own lost chances and think of what will be.
Buck's eyes have told me things his words have never done. That I'm a part of his life, their lives, now, and he will not let me fail to know it or to live it. This he did for Chris, and this he will do for me.
All my life, I've struggled to keep you with me. My one constant inconstant. This I still am doing as I watch the life leaving the shell that has become you.
This is my own selfishness.
Now I must do this thing.
Is this your gift to me?
Did you do this thing for me, Mother? Did you allow me to hold you till I was ready to leave behind the family I hardly knew in you? Did you know the family I already had in these six men before my own heart could see?
I choose to believe this of you. I have to.
Chris stood by my side as I made my decision, and he stands here now, the others just outside the door. I press my lips to your chill flesh, but feel a warmth I've never felt before as they linger this last time.
The whisperings of the machines still, but the remembered echo of regret in your voice does not cease. Instead it creeps into me.
I see the plea in Chris's eyes, his hope I'll accept what's offered. I'll keep what I have of you, Mother, and mourn our lost chances. Yet I'll turn to these six men and allow my heart to see.
I grieve the loss of you, but I take this gift you share.
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