Back to Nature

by Lisa S. and Sue M.

Author's Notes: Thank you to Antoinette/RiverOtter for betaing the story and to Sue for collaborating with me on this ficlet. Special thanks to Sarah for creating this wonderful AU for us to play in. This story was inspired by Brad Paisley's song "Ticks."

Disclaimer: Mag7/Las Vegas alternate universe was created by Sarah (aka Midnight Profit) and is based on the “Las Vegas” TV series. This AU is not related to the Mag7/Las Vegas RPG created by Lisa O. and Ruby. Trilogy, MGM, and the Mirish Corporation own “The Magnificent Seven” characters. NBC Studios, NBC Universal Television, DreamWorks Television, and Gary Scott Thompson Productions own “Las Vegas.” They are not mine. The only purpose of this story is for entertainment. No money is being made.


It was one of those rare days off where JD Dunne had nothing planned. He was going to take advantage of it especially since the weatherman was forecasting a beautiful day for the Las Vegas area. Getting his best friend's (Buck Wilmington) ok to use his horse, Little Darlin', the young computer specialist headed out to Nettie's ranch for a day of riding and relaxation.

An hour later, he was pulling up into Nettie's ranch in his maroon colored Dodge Neon. The first thing he spotted was Casey Wells, Nettie's niece who helped run the horse ranch and was also taking classes at the local college. Their first meeting hadn't gone well at all and JD had avoided her when he visited . . . until recently. Buck had slapped him upside the head and explained the finer points of how a woman's mind might work, but JD was still a little wary, unsure as to how a girl could be so 'in your face' if she actually liked him.

Casey placed a hand over her eyes to shield the sun when she heard the sound of an approaching car. She smiled when she recognized JD's vehicle and stopped her chores, walking towards the young man.

"Hey JD," said the young girl. "Didn't realize you were coming out today."

JD got out of his car and closed the door. "Had the day off and decided at the last minute to take advantage of this great weather," he replied as he put his car keys in his front pocket. "Buck said I could ride his horse."

Casey nodded in understanding and replied, "Little Darlin's in the stables right now. I'm sure she would love to be taken out for a ride."

JD nodded and followed the young girl into the stables. As they saddled up his horse, JD asked, "So, do you wantta go ridin' with me?" suddenly blushing at the way he had blurted it out. Ah well . . . it was out there, now.

Casey looked up surprised and JD continued, "Well, that is if you can take a break and all . . . don't want you to get in trouble with Miss Nettie."

"I can take a break," replied Casey as she smiled. "I'd love to go riding with you."

After they had the second horse saddled, the two headed off for their ride, enjoying the sunshine and each other's company.

"Pretty nice day out, isn't it?" asked JD as he tried to make small talk while he guided his horse along the path.

Casey grinned at his attempts at conversation, deciding to have a little fun.

"Mmm hmm." She agreed.

The easterner bit his lip. Think, JD. "Err . . . do you get to do this much?" Aww, shit . . . nice one JD, he mentally cursed himself.

"It's a riding school, JD," Casey replied, biting back a grin.

The youth sighed, and then yelped as he received a punch to his arm, rubbing at the spot as he frowned at his companion.

"You're 'so' easy," she chuckled and spurred her horse into a canter.

He stared after her, and then grinned broadly as he gave chase. Oh, two can play at that game, girl.

After about twenty minutes, Casey guided them through some trees to a small meadow. JD gasped, it was so pretty, and seemingly very secluded.

"I love to come here," Casey admitted, "It's so peaceful, and private . . . you would never get disturbed here . . ." she caught a blush, ". . . if you wanted somewhere to . . . think . . ." she added, quickly.

JD watched her dismount as her words penetrated his thoughts, 'some alone time with Casey . . . he could go for some of that . . .' then jerked back to real time. Where the hell had that come from? He jumped down from his horse and, taking the reins, walked after her until she ground tied her mount and sat down in the long grass. He followed suit and plopped down beside her.

Casey inhaled softly. She could smell his aftershave . . . it suited him. As JD sighed and laid back, his hands clasped behind his head for support, she plucked a reed and once he had closed his eyes, tickled his nose, smiling as he wrinkled it and opened one eye.

"You have to be careful in long grass," she teased, "It can harbor ticks."

"Ticks?" repeated JD who wasn't sure if the young girl was joking or serious. "Really?" He caught her hand that was holding the reed, ceasing her tickling efforts as he gently tugged it to him.

"Yep," said Casey who was suddenly feeling breathless and giddy. "We're always checking the horses to make sure they didn't pick up one." Feeling a surge of bravery she leaned down towards him, her gaze getting lost in his hazel eyes.

Their lips touched tentatively, gently in a tender kiss. When Casey pulled away, ending the romantic interlude, JD eyelashes flickered open and he looked up at her, worried that he did something wrong. Maybe he was a horrible kisser?

"You know," whispered Casey leaning closer as she brushed his dark hair from his forehead. "To be on the safe side I should probably check you for ticks. . ."

"Yeah?" said JD as a slow grinned appeared on his face.

"Just to be sure," continued Casey as she brushed her nose against his. "You never know where one might be."

"Very true," whispered JD as he lightly ran his hands down her back and settled them on her bottom. "Be sure to check all those hard to reach places. . ."

Casey smiled as she replied, "Oh, I will." She then leaned down and captured his mouth in a slow, intoxicating kiss. . .



The Las Vegas Chronicles