Christmas Memories

by Carole

Main Characters: Vin, JD, Chris, Buck

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

“Vin, Vin, look what me and Buck got!” JD tore into the room, brandishing a shopping bag in one hand and a candy cane in the other.

“I got somethin’, too, JD,” Vin said, just as excited as the younger boy. He’d been waiting for over an hour for JD to return from his shopping trip with Buck, so he could show him what he’d found. “Let me show…“ Vin’s words trailed off as JD stuck the candy cane in his mouth and pulled an ornament from his bag.

“Look!” JD exclaimed, holding up the shiny silver star for Vin to admire. “I saw it in a window, and Buck said we could get it for the top of our tree. Do you like it?”

Vin just stared at the sparkling star for a long moment without saying a word, his eyes wide. He couldn’t believe it. He’d never dreamed that JD might come home with a tree topper. That ruined everything.

“Vin? Do you like it?” JD repeated.

The seven-year-old swallowed hard past the lump in his throat, before finally nodding and saying, “It’s real pretty, JD.” As JD smiled happily and placed the ornament back into his bag, Vin slowly folded the top over on his own bag and let it hang at his side.

”What did you get, Vin?” JD asked, pointing at the bag in Vin’s hand. “Is it somethin’ for me?”

Vin took a deep breath, masking his disappointment behind a forced smile. “It weren’t nothin’ important, JD. I’ll show you later, okay?”

“Okay,” JD quickly agreed, running full speed out of the room with his treasure.

With slow, measured steps, Vin headed for the bedroom he shared with JD, and tucked the shopping bag under his bed before grabbing Cat and curling up dejectedly on top of his covers. He liked JD’s tree topper, he really did, and he didn’t blame JD, or Buck, because neither of them knew. How could they, when he’d never told them. Even Chris, who’d bought it for him, didn’t know why he had been so excited when he saw it at the Christmas store.


“Looks good, boys,” Buck enthused, looking at the newly decorated tree that now resided in the family room. “All we need is something to put on top.” He looked expectantly at JD.

“Vin, why don’t you go-“

“I’ll get it, I’ll get it!” JD shouted, cutting Chris off mid-sentence.

As the small boy left the room, aiming for his bedroom, Vin’s shoulders slumped. It was too late. He should have said something before, but now it was too late.

“What’s wrong, Junior?” Buck asked.

Vin looked down, his eyes filled with tears.

“Cowboy?” Chris questioned softly.

Vin just shook his head. It didn’t matter any more.

“I got it, Buck!” JD announced, bursting back into the room with the star clutched tightly in his hand.

Chris looked from Vin to JD, realization dawning on his face. “Buck,” he said quietly. “Vin picked out something for the top of the tree, too.” He looked apologetically at the other man. “I guess we should have talked about it, made the decision as a family.”

“JD,” Buck said quietly, “it looks like both you and Vin picked out a tree topper for our tree.”

JD froze in place at Buck’s words. He looked from Buck to Vin, his eyes wide.

Buck hesitated, torn, until a barely muffled sob filled the air, and then an expression of regret crossed the normally jovial man’s face. “JD, I know you really liked that star, but I was thinking that maybe we could use the one that Vin got this year, and use the other one next time.”


“JD,” Buck started. He reached for the small boy, but JD backed away from him, his tree topper held tightly in his fingers.

“No,” JD repeated almost desperately. “No.”

“That’s okay, we can use JD’s,” Vin whispered. “I don’t mind.” His stomach twisted at his words. He did mind.

“Seems to me you do mind,” Chris said. He wrapped his arm around his son. “Why don’t you tell us what’s so special about that ornament.”

Vin looked down, his eyes still awash with tears. He took a shuddering breath, feeling Chris tighten his grip at the movement. “My mama always had a angel,” he finally said so softly it was almost inaudible, “said it ‘minded her ‘a baby Jesus and the angels that sang.”

Buck knelt down to his son’s level. “JD? I’m guessing your star is awful special, too?”

“My mama had a star,” JD said, his little voice shaking. “When it was time for me to go to bed, she’d turn off the lights, and I’d sit on her lap and we’d look at it together.”

Chris and Buck exchanged a look.

“Well, I don’t see any reason why we can’t use both of them.”

Vin’s head came up at Chris’s words, and he wiped at his eyes. It wasn’t possible to use both of them, was it?

“Sure,” Buck agreed, resting his hand on JD’s shoulder.

“But…“ Vin started, his voice catching. “But there’s only room for one.”

“Watch this, Cowboy.”

As Vin watched in confusion, JD beside him, the two dads quickly moved the Christmas tree. Buck repositioned the furniture, setting a recliner into the corner, while Chris placed the tree in front of the back wall.

Buck studied the tree for a moment, then gave Vin a reassuring wink and smile. “Just one more thing.” He nodded at the tree, saying, “I think this here tree needs a haircut.”

“Buck, trees don’t get haircuts,” JD protested.

The idea brought a small smile to Vin’s face, but it quickly faded. There was still only one tree, and two tree toppers.

“This one does,” Buck laughed. After a quick trip to the garage, he returned with clippers in hand, and, as Chris held the tree in place, pruned several branches back. When he was done, the tree was a little shorter, and there were two branches standing tall at the top, awaiting the tree’s final decorations.

Chris turned to the boys. “Now we can use both of your tree toppers.”

Vin let out the breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding. It was true. The tree had room for both JD’s star and his own angel. He wiped at his face one last time.

“JD, let’s put yours on this side,” Buck said, motioning for the boy to join him. He hoisted his son into the air, and smiled as JD placed his star on top of the tree.

“Your turn, son,” Chris added. A few seconds later, the angel had been retrieved from under the bed, and Vin had been lifted into the air beside JD. Reaching out carefully, he set the angel in place.

“Perfect,” Buck commented. “When you stand on this side of the tree, you can see the star.”

“And when you’re over there,” JD said, pointing toward the other side of the room, “you can see the angel.”

“How’s that, Junior?” Buck asked.

Resting his head on Chris’s shoulder as his father held him close, Vin sighed in contentment. It was perfect.