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Drummer Boy

by Enola Jones

Note: The Mag 7 Rocks universe was created by Cat, and the song "Fire on High" was recorded by Electric Light Orchestra and is used without permission.

JD sat alone on the balcony of his apartment and listened to the rhythms. He listened to the rhythms of the water falling from the clouds and hitting the roof, the thunk of the ancient pipes -- the rhythm of Buck's snores.

And he smiled, remembering.

He hadn't been the Seven's original drummer. Nor was he the last to join -- Nathan and Ezra had been. That day in the music store, he had taken the drums just to horse around. Chris and Vin had been waiting for their regular drummer to show, but he never did.

The guitarists had both had their share of doubts about JD. First of all, his age was a huge strike against him. Never mind Vin was only three years older. Because of his youth, they worried about his ability to play. He'd held back in the music store.

Later, at Four Corners, during the first practice all seven did together, he did not hold back.

All eyes turned to him. Vin finally broke the silence. "You know ELO's 'Fire on High'?"

JD grinned. "I'm familiar with it, yeah."

"Let's play," Vin said. He nodded at Josiah, who began the eerie keyboard effects that started the song.

The grin grew. "Fire on High" had several drum solos in it, each one more demanding than the last. This was Vin's way of testing the young drummer.

The eerie effects stopped and JD played the martial-sounding rolls that matched the opening keyboard notes. Then he fell back, letting the other instruments do their thing while he lay down a simple riff behind them.

At last all instruments, including the drums, fell silent. Vin began the lightning-fast second guitar solo that marked the intro to the drum solos.

Suddenly, a sound like gunshots exploded into Four Corners. Buck and Chris instinctively ducked before they realised the sound had come from JD. His sticks were exploding over the drums, moving so fast they could barely be seen by the naked eye. He modulated his breathing, sublimating even that rhythm to the one flying out of his set. Chris and Josiah lay down their instrumental parts over JD's drumming.

Then came the second slow drum part, a chance for JD's arms to rest a bit. He took in gulps of air as he played the slow tempo, gathering his strength for ----

There. The second solo guitar riff. Three...two...one....

"Good Lord!" Ezra cried out as the lightning sticks flew again. Sweat was beading on JD's forehead now, matting his bangs to his forehead. The long hair at the back of his head bounced on his neck and shoulders as his feet flew over the pedals and his hands flew over the toms, cymbals and snares.

At last, came the climax. Second guitar, first guitar, and drums arcing up and up and up in a crescendo of sound and fury. The final note was stuck with a "Yoow!" from JD, who arched to his feet and flung his aching arms over his head. He sat down after a second, laughing and twirling the sticks between his fingers.

"Holy flaming shit, kid!" Buck screeched out. "Who the hell taught you how to drum?! Keith Moon??"

Josiah asked, "JD, when were you born?"

"September 8, 1979," JD answered, wiping his face with a towel.

"One year to the day Keith Moon died," Nathan mused, shaking his head.

Buck nodded. "Best damned drummer in all o'rock. Damned waste." He grinned at JD. "Kid, you got enough talent t'be the next Keith Moon, ya know that?"

JD laughed. "I'll settle for just bein' JD Dunne, if ya don't mind!"

A slight bit of laughter at his elbow roused JD from his reverie. He didn't bother to turn around -- he knew noone would be visible there.

He also knew there was, indeed, someone there. He raised his glass in salute. "Rest easy, old friend," he said with a smile. "And thanks for the extra skill. Wish there was some way I could repay you."

The familiar caress of ghostly fingers on his arms and legs was felt. A British voice whispered in his mind, I'm repaid every time you use my skills behind the drums. Someday you'll no longer need me -- but until then, I'm here. As I've been all along.

"I know," JD whispered into the night. "Thank you again, Keith."

Not a problem, dear boy. Not a problem.

END

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