Twisted Traditions

by Estee

Little Britches Future ATF

Story moved to Blackraptor in October 2009

"JD . . .." Vin snatched the CD out of the younger boy's hands and looked at the cover. "Foo Fighters?"

"Yeah,” JD replied, his head bobbing. “He said that he liked them. Remember?"

Vin snorted. "He only said that cause you practically forced him to."

"I did not!"

"Yes, you did.You kept makin' him listen to song after song, trying toget him to say he liked them. He only said he liked one so he could get away."

"Nuh uh."

"Yeah huh,” Vin countered. “Why don't you just get him something he likes for once?"

JD looked horrified. "Like what, Johnny Cash?"

"He likes more’n Johnny Cash."

"Yeah, Alabama, Willie Nelson,The Eagles . . ..

"Hey! The Eagles are classic."

JD rolled his eyes. "Whatever."

Vin set the CD package back in its spot and gestured toward the movie section. "Why don't you get him a movie?"

"Hey, that's a good idea!" JD was already bounding down the aisle.

Vin rolled his eyes and followed JD over to the movie section. He'd already bought his present, a sharp-looking, charcoal gray Stetson that he'd picked out months ago. JD just never could seem to make up his mind what to get Buck for his birthday. Every year the kid would be out shopping, still undecided, right up until the last moment and it always drove Vin crazy.

JD pulled a DVD off of the shelf and held it up with a grin. "What about this one?"


The younger boy looked at the cover again, his smile fading a little before he set it back in its place with a shrug. He scanned the shelf for a few moments longer and then his eyes lit up and he reached for another one. "How 'bout this one?"

Vin ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "JD, you ain't allowed to watch that one."

JD nodded, grinning. "I know, that's the beauty of it."

"How d'ya figure?"  Vin plucked the DVD out of his brother’s hand, taking a moment to study it.  Blood and gore, psychos running around with chainsaws murdering and mutilating folks.

”Buck will put it away, up in the back of his closet where he hides all the stuff he don’t want us to find, and as soon as we get the chance, we can sneak and watch it.”

Vin bopped him lightly over the head with the DVD box and put it back. "You're crazy."

"It's a good idea, and you know it."

"JD, Buck don't even like to watch those kinds of movies!" In fact, Vin didn’t even want to watch this one.


"It's his birthday, you're supposed to buy him what he likes, not what you like."

"Well, we ain't old enough to buy him the movies he likes." He gestured toward a selection of movies locked away in a glass case."Besides, I have to get him something I like.”

Vin raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“He expects me to.” JD shrugged, finding it hard to explain. “It’s tradition.” He thought back to the year before, when he'd bought his dad the ‘Family Guy' t-shirt he himself was wearing at that very moment, and the year before that when he'd bought him those Manga books that were sitting on his dresser. It all went back to the very first of the birthdays they'd spent together, when he’d wanted to get Buck the very best thing he could think of – which at the time happened to be Poke Mon cards.  At some point over the years it had turned into a sort of game between the two of them -- a tradition, however weird it might be.  The past couple years, as he was starting to get a little older, he was finding it more and more difficult to come up with the perfect gift, though. He needed something that was the equivalent of a package of Poke Mon cards.

“You both are crazy.”

”Yeah.” His attention was caught by a box set on the shelf. “Hey, what about this?”

Vin gave him an exasperated look, but a slow smile spread across his face. “Well, I reckon I ain’t gonna complain if you want to get him ‘Buffy’.”

”Yeah,” JD’s eyebrows waggled, “and you know he likes to watch it, he just won’t admit it.”

Vin knew that was the truth.  Buck said he had to watch with them, to censor things, but Vin knew the real reason he wanted to watch.

“All right, this is it, then.”  JD grinned and reached for the box. Once he had it in his hands he turned it over to look at the price sticker and his smile faded.  “Yikes, it’s kind of expensive.” He frowned, then looked up at his brother with big, brown puppy eyes. “Uh, Vin?”

Vin sighed, he already knew what was coming.

”I don’t suppose you could you lend me a few bucks?”

JD really needed to learn to save his money. “How many’s a few?”

”Um . . . 34.99 plus tax.”

“How much do you have?”

”Twenty bucks,” the younger boy said, disappointed. “I’ll pay you back.”

Vin’s eyes narrowed skeptically. “You still owe me twenty from last year.” But he was reaching for his wallet.

“Hey, I’m only fourteen, it’s not like I can get a job.”

Vin had the wallet out, but looked like he might change his mind. “Ya get the same allowance I get JD.”

“It’ll be from both of us?”

Vin snorted. ”No way,” he reluctantly handed over two twenties. “I ain’t having nothin’ to do with your twisted tradition.”

“So,” the boys got into line at the check-out, “you wanna stop at McDonalds on the way home?”

Vin showed him his empty wallet. ”With what money?”

”Oh.” JD shrugged, then turned to the counter.

“Besides, I have to save room for cake.” Vin smiled, patting his belly.

“Yeah, ya know, this year maybe you ought to make sure Buck gets more than one measly, little piece of cake.”


Why?” JD gave him a look of disbelief. “Because it’s his birthday cake.”

”Yeah, I know that, but . . . well, he don’t mind if I eat it all.” In fact, it was sort of like his duty. “He ‘spects me to.”  As he waited for his brother to pay for the item, he remembered the first of Buck’s birthday cakes -- way back when they’d first come to live with their dads. He remembered sneaking out of his bed in the middle of the night and eating every last bit of the leftover cake. He hadn’t meant to, of course, he’d just started eating it and the next thing he knew it was gone. He remembered, even more clearly, barfing it all back up, all over the front Buck’s shirt . . . in his lap, on the chair . . .. “It’s tradition,” he said, as they exited the store.

“And you think I’m twisted?”

“Hey, I’m doing it for his own good.” Vin twirled his car keys around on his finger as they walked across the parking lot.

”Yeah, right,” JD gave him a playful shove, “how do you figure that?”

“Old people got to watch what they eat.”

JD grinned. “So, you’re like making this difficult sacrifice . . . for the good of his health?”

“Yup,” the older boy replied, matching his brother’s grin, then he slugged him in the shoulder and took off jogging toward his car. “Come on, we’re gonna be late the party.”