TITLE: The Unlucky Ones
AUTHOR: Nureek
RATING: PG
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing, really I own nothing, not a house, not a car, and not the Andromeda characters. Though I would love a Mini-mini-Harper. He could sit on my desk, hand me my pencils, and look cute.
ARCHIVE: Ask me please.

SUMMARY: A young Harper learns one of life's hard lessons.

Chapter 1

The cold thin air struggled to pass through the young boy's lungs as his short legs fumbled through the ankle deep snow. The forest was so white and pure that no one would have ever guessed that death, pain and terror was just outside of the tree line. Another magog attack.

Seamus Zelazny Harper felt the freezing air whip through his thin clothes as he dashed to his favorite hiding spot. His heart pounded faster than he thought possible as he neared the safety of the hole. His hole was created by decaying tree trunks and thick large roots. It was just big enough for the runt of an eight year old boy to fit into. He came here whenever life in the camps got too much for him; which was quite often.

Gasping for air, Seamus dived into the hole. The damp, warmer air of the burrow filled his frozen lungs. He let out a sigh of relief as he leaned up against the root covered walls. He was finally safe - for now. But his family was another matter. When the attack alarm sounded, he was on the opposite side of the camp away from his home and family. Being closer to the forest than his family, he wisely chose he forest. Seamus was absent mindedly twisting a loose root in worry.

The hours passed, but Seamus's sixth sense wouldn't stop tingling. It wasn't safe to go back yet. The worry root had found it's way to his mouth and was slowly getting gnawed down to nothing. Intensely concentrating on the root, Seamus didn't notice the movement behind his back until something bit him. He let out a yelp and jumped up so fast that he hit his head on the roots above. Regaining his composer, he squinted his sensitive eyes to try to make out what was in his hole with him. There was just a small amount of light that filtered through the opening, but he could see something move in the shadows. It was small and furry. "Too big for a rat", he thought.. It slowly moved into the light and as it did, a huge grin crossed Seamus's face.

It was a bunny!

A rabbit as white as the snow hopped into the light. It's large floppy ears bounced up and down as it moved toward the boy. Seamus laid down on the mud floor while he waited and watched. A few minutes later the rabbit was inches from his face and sniffing the boy's nose. Seamus laughed as the whiskers ticked his cold cheeks. He slowly brought his hand out in front of him and towards the creature. The rabbit sniffed the small dirty hand and started nudging it with it's nose. "Do you want to be petted little guy?' Seamus whispered. The boy brought his ruff hand up to the rabbit and started to pet it. The fur was the softest thing he had ever felt. It was like silk (if he had known what silk was). Seamus heard this grinding sound coming from his new little friend when he would rub it behind it's ears. "So ya like that spot, do ya little guy?" The bunny responded by stretching out it's hind legs and looking like it was in heaven. "I guess so."

After a while, the boy brought his other hand up under the creatures chin. The rabbit rested it's head on the filthy hand and started to lick it clean. Now, Seamus was in heaven. The huge contented grin never left his face. All his worries had faded into the darkness.

The little light in the hole slowly dimmed as the day grew on. Seamus's worries started to flood back into his consciousness as he remembered his family and the raid. "Kay little guy, I gotta go now. It was nice ta meet ya", he said to rabbit who responded simply by wiggling it's nose. "I'll be back soon, I promise." With that, he patted the rabbit one last time and received one last lick. As soon as he had crawled out of the opening, he broke into a sprint, charging through the snow. Hope and worry filled his thoughts on the whole trip back to the camp.

TBC....