by Carole

Disclaimers: The Magnificent Seven and its characters are the property of MGM, Trilogy Entertainment, the Mirisch Corporation, and the Hallmark Channel.

Feedback welcome!

"Close those eyes, JD," Buck Wilmington directed in exasperation for at least the tenth time in as many minutes, "and go to sleep."

Clenching his eyes shut, the black-haired imp tucked into the sleeping bag shifted his body restlessly, turning over several times before laying still.

Buck waited, watching the young child, aided by the muted light of the camping lantern. As he suspected, it wasn't long before one eye popped open, then the other. "JD."

At the sound of his father's voice, two hazel eyes slammed shut.

"Now go to sleep." Buck spared a quick glance at the two sleeping figures across from him. Nestled in sleeping bags on the other side of the four-man tent, Chris and Vin were sound asleep. Chris was on his side, his arm protectively across his son's chest; Vin, positioned on his back, clutched his father's arm with one hand, the other grasping Cat by the scruff of its neck.

A soft sound caught Buck's attention, and he shifted his gaze back toward his son.

JD lifted one hand up to his face, covering his eyes. A few seconds later he was peeking between his fingers in his father's direction.


The little boy sighed, and sat up. "I'm not sleepy," he declared petulantly.

"Hmmm..." Buck raised one finger to tap on his chin thoughtfully. "Not sleepy, huh?"

JD pursed his lips. "Nope," he said, swinging his bent knees back and forth.

"Well, that is a problem," Buck said in a serious tone. "I just don't know what to do."

"'Bout what?" JD asked curiously.

"'Bout you not being sleepy," Buck answered. "Hmmm," he said again.


"I know what we can do. Seeing that you're not sleepy right now, you can stay up all night."

JD blinked in surprise. "I can?"

"Sure. And tomorrow morning, while the rest of us go fishing, you can sleep. Yep," he concluded with a satisfied nod of his head, "that'll work."

One small body immediately slid back down inside the sleeping bag, a head immediately hit the pillow with a thud, hands were tucked under a sunburned cheek, and two eyes closed. "I'm sleepy now."

"Well, look at that," Buck marveled. "You sure are." He patted JD's leg. "I bet you'll be asleep in no time. Good thing, too, since I really wanted to go fishing with you."

"Me, too," JD whispered without opening his eyes.

"Now, I guess I need to get to sleep myself." Buck rested his head on his pillow, pretending to sleep, watching his son through lowered eyelashes. At first, JD wiggled a bit, but the little boy soon settled down. There was a wide yawn, a few mumbled words, a muffled snort, and then silence.

Buck smiled in satisfaction. "'Night, Little Bit," he whispered before snuggling down into his own sleeping bag and closing his eyes.


April 2004