A Holiday Curse

by MMW

Disclaimer: The characters of “The Magnificent Seven” belong to MGM, Trilogy, etc and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended. The ATF au was created by MOG.

Notes: Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, even those who aren’t celebrating this American holiday.

The men of ATF Team Seven sat in the living room of the Larabee ranch surrounded by the sounds of laughter and the smell of food. The NFL pre-game show was playing in the background as the men awaited the kickoff of the big Thanksgiving Day game. There was a very important bet riding on the outcome of this game – the losers had to do the dishes.

As the laughter died down, JD felt it time to say what had been on his mind all morning. “You know, guys,” he began, waiting for everyone to look at him. “I was thinking about what I was thankful for, and I’m thankful that none of us is hurt this holiday.”

“Now you’ve done it,” Vin muttered under his breath, his eyes sliding around the room, searching for an unseen threat that would send one of them to the hospital emergency room.

“That’s not true, JD,” Buck dismissed. “We don’t get injured every holiday. We’ve had all sorts of holidays where we weren’t injured.”

“That’s not necessarily accurate, Buck,” Chris corrected.

“Chris,” Buck began, thinking his friend was just being negative.

“He’s right, Buck,” Nathan said, surprise on his face as he realized the truth of the statement.

“That can’t be right,” Josiah denied thoughtfully.

Ezra had been silent as he thought through the year, his eyes lighting in surprise as he realized that the seven of them had, indeed, spent every holiday so far in the year in the hospital emergency room for one reason or another. “No,” he injected into the conversation, “Mr. Dunne is correct.” Holding up his hand to stave off the protests, he suggested, “Why don’t we look at this logically and from the beginning. Start with New Year’s Day.”

“The bowl games,” Vin said, a shudder running through his frame. He noted the uncomfortable looks on the other men’s faces, but knew now that he had mentioned it, he would have to say the whole thing. “We were on our third bowl game of the day when we ran out of the pre-popped and microwave popcorn. Josiah had some loose popcorn and decided to show us how to pop it the old fashioned way.”

“It wasn’t my fault the lid didn’t fit as tightly as it appeared to,” Josiah defended.

“At least there weren’t any severe burns,” Nathan observed with a sigh.

“Yeah, but you didn’t get a kernel to the eye,” Chris grumbled from his armchair.

“One time,” Buck said. “So we had one little mishap on one major holiday…”

“Buck,” Vin interrupted, “It’s not just the major holidays. We didn’t manage to get through Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Inaguration day without ending up in the emergency room.”

“And Martin Luther King Jr. Day was your fault,” JD complained, thinking back to his week on crutches.

“Now, Kid,” Buck denied, “how was I supposed to know the ski pole would fall in front of the door.”

“It wouldn’t have been in front of the door if you put it back where it belonged,” Josiah advised, a slight smile on his face as he remembered the fun they had cross-country skiing at the ranch.

Ignoring the protests, Buck asked, “And what exactly happened on Inauguration day? We were in the office that day.”

“Yes we were,” Ezra agreed. “And that was when you decided that re-enacting the Indianapolis 500 using wheeled office chairs for the cars and the office for the track would be a good idea.”

“Thirteen stitches,” Nathan muttered, his hand tracing over his knee where the stitches had gone in.

“And then there was Groundhog Day,” Chris grumbled.

 “That was hardly our fault,” Buck denied.

“I know,” Chris agreed. “But we still ended up in the hospital.”

“Thank you again, Mr. Tanner, for saving my life,” Ezra said, thinking back to the shot the sharpshooter made. It had been an amazing show of marksmanship. The buyer had his gun drawn and trained on Ezra. Standish was certain he would soon be drawing his last breath when a wet thump sounded and the man had, unexpectedly, fallen forward onto Ezra, causing the undercover agent to stagger backward and fall to the concrete floor, his head hitting it with some impact. Seeing the guilt lingering in Vin’s gaze, he asked, “What is a concussion among friends?”

“Well, nothing happened on Mardis Gras,” Buck chimed in, still wanting to prove his point that they didn’t always end up in the emergency room.

“My broken foot is nothing?” Josiah asked in disbelief.

“That was Team Three’s fault,” Wilmington defended.

“Doesn’t matter,” Chris replied. “We still ended up in the emergency room.”

“Well what about Ash Wednesday?” Buck asked.

“Concussion from falling backward in my chair and hitting my head on the corner of the desk,” JD supplied.

“Valentine’s Day,” Wilmington tried.

Nathan looked at him in disbelief. “You ended up with fourteen stitches and various bruises and contusions from where you fell down the steps trying to escape Mandy and Mindy whose flowers you had mixed up.”

”Oh, yeah,” Buck said quietly, feeling his cheeks color slightly. He hadn’t made a mistake like that before or since. “President’s day,” he tried.

“Explosion in the warehouse,” Chris supplied. “You, JD, Vin, Ezra, Me.”

“St. Patrick’s Day?” Wilmington tried, his voice much quieter as he realized his friends might just be right.

“You, Nathan, Raine and the bad green beer,” Vin reminded.

“Palm Sunday had us admitting Ezra with cracked ribs,” Nathan supplied.

“Good Friday, had Chris in with burns when the grill tipped over,” JD reminded.

“And Easter Sunday was Vin with a bad knee,” Josiah added.

“Stupid egg rolling competition,” Tanner muttered.

“April Fools Day resulted in several broken toes,” Ezra inserted, his voice and face betraying his displeasure at the memory.

“We couldn’t even get through the switch to Daylight Savings Time without ending up in the emergency room,” Chris muttered.

“How was I supposed to know the clock wasn’t anchored to the wall?” Buck complained, his hand snaking around to rub his lower back.

“Earth Day,” JD said suddenly. Dead silence fell in the room as shudders of fear ran through each of the men.

“Passover,” Josiah said softly, a smile on his face as he remembered the series of events that had landed them all in the hospital emergency room with minor problems.

“May Day,” JD added, hoping to dispel the heavy atmosphere.

“That it was,” Ezra agreed. “Never before have we needed to call that out more efficiently.”

”Never thought you really could get stuck in molasses,” Nathan added with a low chuckle.

“It was my back,” Buck protested, unable to keep the smile from his own lips.

“Mother’s Day,” Josiah tossed out.

“By the way, Maude is still banned from the ranch,” Chris threw in as he remembered the chaos of that day.

“I don’t think you have anything to fear,” Ezra replied.

“Memorial Day and the Angellico bust,” JD threw out.

“Now that,” Josiah observed, “Was a comedy of errors.”

“Sure, you say that now,” Nathan grumbled good naturedly, “But you weren’t the one who thought they were an old west gunfighter.”

“That was only for a few minutes,” Chris defended, blushing slightly. He really had been knocked for a loop that day.

“Father’s Day,” JD threw out before he could stop himself.

The laughter died and the mood in the room suddenly became more serious. Chris had taken this Father’s day particularly hard after one of their busts uncovered a child-selling ring. They were just too late to save a young boy who bore a passing resemblance to Adam.

Vin had come out to the ranch Sunday to work with his horse, not knowing about his friend’s black mood or that it was even a holiday. Larabee had been blind drunk and when Vin showed up, he didn’t see his friend, but the monster who had stolen his family and attacked Vin before the younger man had a chance to react, knocking Vin unconscious with a blow to the head from his beer bottle. Buck had shown up only moments later and prevented Larabee from doing something irreparable.

Seeing the pain in his friend’s eyes, and knowing his own desire was to move past the unpleasant episode, Vin looked at Josiah and Buck and said, “Maybe next Summer Solstice you’ll listen to me when I tell you there’s poison ivy around.”

“Yeah, Buck,” JD chimed in, hoping to help lighten the heavy atmosphere he had inadvertently caused. “Next time you decided to go dancing naked at night, maybe you should find someplace a little safer.”

Wilmington blushed as he thought about that night. He looked over at his oldest friend and felt relief as he saw laughter dancing in the hazel eyes once more. “Yeah, well, Nurse Amy had a way with the calamine lotion,” he replied, his voice suggestive, garnering him the chuckles he desired.

“Independence Day seemed to hold many unseen dangers,” Josiah observed, quietly, his eyes dancing.

“I couldn’t sit for a week,” Chris grumbled, his cheeks coloring at the thought of his injury.

"At least your eyebrows grew back quickly," Ezra soothed.

“Thank goodness August didn’t have any holidays,” Nathan sighed, leaning back in his chair.

“But then there was Labor Day,” Josiah intoned. Silence reigned for about three seconds before the snickers started.

“It wasn’t that amusing,” Ezra denied, though his green eyes were dancing.

“Oh, come on, Ez,” Vin said. “How many people get concussions from potato salad?” he asked, as laughter sounded throughout the room.

“At least Buck didn’t have a problem on the Autumnal Equinox,” JD said.

“No, but everyone else did,” Nathan grumbled good naturedly.

“I didn’t even think they still made lead paint,” Josiah added.

“That is the last time we set up a meet in an old paint factory,“ Chris declared, thinking of the hours spent being tested and treated after an explosive was set off resulting in everyone inside being coated in old paint. Buck had escaped by being the out in the van, monitoring the situation.

“How many stitches did you get on Rosh Hashanah, ‘Siah?” Vin asked.

“Ten,” he replied with a sigh. “I do believe next time a young child asks me to rescue his cat from a tree, I’ll make sure it’s not a baby mountain lion.”

“Aw, it wasn’t a mountain lion,” Vin denied. “It was a bob-cat.”

“It was a hell-cat once Joisiah got a hold of it,” Nathan observed, smiling.

“Columbus Day wasn’t exactly uneventful,” Ezra observed.

“We weren’t even supposed to be at work that day,” JD grumbled.

“It was the only time I could find where we could all get that training done,” Chris defended.

“Yeah, wasn’t his fault some rookie with less sense than God gave a flea decided to leave his mess for maintenance,” Buck defended.

“But oil?” JD replied in disbelief. “He didn’t even try throwing towels over it or putting down a warning or anything!”

“And he was reprimanded for it, “ Chris assured, the corner of his mouth twitching as he remembered the sight of his three youngest team members slipping on the oil as they tried to maintain their footing. “Looked like Ice Capades for incompetents,” he couldn’t help adding with at soft laugh.

“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up,” JD grumbled. “It wasn’t your tailbone that got bruised.” His statement was met with snickers and then laughter that he quickly joined.

“Of course, that was followed up two days later by Yom Kippur and the soup explosion,” Nathan observed.

“That microwave does a nice job of heating things,” Sanchez observed quietly, glancing down at the now faint scars on his hands.

Buck smiled and glanced at Nathan. "Then there was the fall time change," he inserted.

"Don't even go there," the medic stated, pointing at Buck. "Raine laughed herself sick for a week and it really hurt!”

“Halloween,” began Vin.

“Is best left forgotten,” Ezra finished. “I never did care much for trick or treating and the little trick Mr. Stimson had for us at the meet...”

“Aw, now, Ez,” Buck interrupted. “You gotta admit, it was something of a treat to wake up to Nurse Able.”

A smile curved the undercover agent’s mouth. “That was something of a treat,” he agreed, thinking of the beautiful lady in question before sighing. “If only she weren’t so very married…” he trailed off.

“All Saints Day was pretty good,” JD stated.

“Speak for yourself,” Chris and Nathan growled in unison, sending a glare Buck’s way.

“Now that wasn’t my fault,” Wilmington denied. “How was I supposed to know her little hellion had booby-trapped your desks?” Seeing the glares weren’t fading, he tried to direct attention away from himself. “At least I can vote without it turning into the lead story on the six-o’clock news.”

Vin felt all eyes turn toward him even as he felt the blush rise up his neck to his hairline. “What?” he asked as smiles broke out and a few snickers started. “It all worked out in the end,” he huffed, fighting a smile of his own. He had been standing in line, waiting to vote when a group of young gang members entered the place with their guns drawn and bags in their hands, ready to rob the people there. Their inexperience worked against them, however, and Vin was able to disarm them with the help of the police officers who stopped by just a few minutes after the youths entered the gym.

Unfortunately, the excitement had proven too much for the very pregnant lady standing in front of Vin and she had gone into labor. Vin had been trying to get the woman out of the line to someplace quiet while the police called for an ambulance when she had started to fall. In an attempt to catch her, he misjudged his position and her weight and ended up mildly spraining his wrist. The local news van had show up just moments before and managed to capture the fall and all that followed for broadcast on the evening news. With the police officers tied up with the three youths and not a doctor, nurse or other medical professional in sight, Vin had found himself volunteered to aid the woman through her labor until other help arrived.

By the time the ambulance did arrive, Vin was certain the young mother to be had crushed the bones in his hand and his sprained wrist was throbbing and swollen. The EMT’s had insisted he come to the hospital for an x-ray of the wrist, not trusting Tanner’s diagnosis. The worst part of the experience, other than missing his chance to vote, had been seeing himself on the evening news with the broadcaster proclaiming him the father.

“How many other little Tanners are running around out there?” Buck asked, laughing at the face Vin made.

“Still,” JD said, having now arrived back at where he stared. “I’m thankful we have a holiday where nothing’s gone wrong and no one’s ended up in the emergency room.”

“Day’s not over yet,” Chris cautioned.

“Doesn’t matter,” Dunne denied. “We’re due a happy holiday and this is it. I just know it!”

“Cursed for sure, now” Buck muttered, shaking his head as the kickoff drew everyone’s attention back to the football game. He watched the action on the screen intently, trying to ignore the impending sense of doom that had taken up residence inside him.