Magnificent Seven ATF Universe
Spring Cleaning by Sue M

Disclaimer: Just playing. I know I can't keep 'em...damnit!

Thanks to Mog for ATF

Characters: Buck, JD (with all the others in there)

Summary: All work and no play - needs a rethink!

My thanks to blackraptor for giving my stories a home.

Man, he loved Saturdays…a time to bum around, chill out…be busy doing nothing.

Morning in the CDC found JD lying on his stomach on the sofa wearing his PJ shorts and tee, and chuckling at a Roadrunner cartoon. A distant clatter alerted him to movement around the store closet just beyond the kitchen and he lifted his head up to look. JD noted his six-foot four roommate exiting said cupboard armed with cleaning gear, sprays and cloths. Just as an overloaded Buck reached the living room, he stumbled. With a loud crash, he landed in a heap on the floor, sending the assembled cleaning equipment flying in all directions.

"Holy crap…the Eagle has landed!" JD chuckled as he sat up and peered over the top of the sofa at his prostrate friend.

Buck raised his hand in a sort of 'I'm okay' gesture. "Don't you worry there, little brother," he called, sarcastically, "no, need for you to get up to help me…I'm just fine here, flat on my puss in the middle of the floor." There was no response. "Really, I insist…you just take it easy there, Kid!"

Knowing it would get a rise out of his 'big brother', JD chuckled, turned, and sat back down. "Okay."

He tried not to openly laugh when he heard cursing and clanking as the tall man mumbled to himself while he struggled to his feet. Seconds later, JD was sailing backwards through the air when strong hands grabbed under his arms, hauled him up and over the back of the sofa and deposited him next to the cleaning gear.

"Pick an area, Squirt."

JD frowned and blinked. "Say what?"

"We're Spring cleaning the apartment today…pick an area."

Dunne's jaw dropped. "You have got to be kidding me." He waited for a smile or a twitch of an eye to suggest this was a joke.


"Bu~ck…it's Saturday," he whined.

"Yep, gives us a whole weekend." The brunet started scooping up items from the floor.

JD was getting desperate. "But…we just did this."

"Uh, yeah…a year ago," Buck reminded. He sniffed a rag and pulled back sharply before depositing the stinky cloth into a trash bag.

"That year went quick," JD grumbled.

"Uh, huh, and just for that - you get the fridge."

The youth paled, "Aww no…no way…not without a shot or something…there are

things living in there that Gene Rodenberry would've been proud of."

Buck laughed and shook his head at the Star Trek reference. "Alien species aside, Kid, the fridge is all yours…go!" He dumped cleaning products into JD's arms and watched the youth skulk off to the kitchen.


He sure loved Saturdays, especially in the Spring.

Vin Tanner was flying. He knew it was uh - unwise - to ride his Harley without a helmet but sometimes it was just too good a day to waste the fresh air, to feel the breeze tousling his hair, and buffeting his face, and to experience the majesty of nature bursting into life all around him.

When he arrived at Chris's ranch, he and Larabee were going horse riding. They hadn't been out for weeks and he was looking forward to it more than he would ever admit. Riding a bike was close, but nothing could compare to the relationship between rider and steed, and the fusion of freedom, trust, and control it evoked.

Approaching the ranch's drive, a peace swept over him. Tanner loved his inner-city home, the people there, and the daily challenges its location brought about, but coming here, to Chris's home, brought a satisfaction all its own. As Vin raised a hand to Chris who was standing in the yard, he decided not to debate right now as to whether the contentment he was experiencing was down to meeting up with Chris, the surrounding vista, or both.


He might actually love Saturdays.

10:00am, and Chris Larabee had already mucked out the stables, chopped wood, fixed some loose shingles, and eaten breakfast. He wanted to clear the day's schedule so he and Vin could enjoy their ride, later. It had been too long since they last gave the horses a run out, and the steeds, somehow sensing today was the day, were getting livelier by the minute. At the sound of a distant motorbike engine, Chris walked into the yard and looked toward the road. He waved back to the gesturing Texan heading his way and then went inside the house to switch on the coffee maker.


He loved lazy Saturdays.

Seated on his apartment's balcony, Ezra read the financial papers, while enjoying his Saturday morning indulgence - peace and quiet, a praline pear Danish, and a rich mug of Arabica coffee. He turned his head at the sound of his housekeeper's voice.

"Your bed's freshly made, and I've changed the towels in the bathroom to the new ones you asked me to buy." Mrs. Gunter smiled when the Southerner looked back at her. "As requested, I've given the place a good spring-clean and now I'm done."

Ezra returned her smile. "My undying appreciation to you, as always. I've left your monthly envelope on the dining table..." his smile broadened, "...with a little extra for the trouble you were put to during my young colleague's stay the other week."

Rosie Gunter chuckled. "Thank you, but that wasn't necessary. JD is messy, just as young men can be, but he's an absolute sweetheart - no trouble at all."

Standish's eyebrow arched on recalling the whirlwind that swept through his apartment two weeks ago and left his spare room looking like a student dorm - though admittedly without the ingrained dirt.

"Nevertheless, your efforts were admirable, and much appreciated. Have a good week."

"You're welcome. 'Bye then, see you next Saturday."

The door thumped shut. Ezra shook his broadsheet to stiffen it and attempted to read on, however, his thoughts strayed to the week in question that he and his housekeeper discussed, and he smiled. JD was everything Ezra could never be at that age and he enjoyed his company - not that the southerner would confess willingly to that fact, the boy already got away with far more in his home than his other five colleagues. Ezra's ponderings left an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach, and he found his mind drifting toward what the rest of his six law enforcement 'family' might be up to this weekend.


He truly loved Saturdays.

A little later, if finished, Josiah thought he might offer to help at a soup kitchen, but until then he was free to wander his vast townhouse and continue with its renovation. His home stood in its own large plot on the edge of town. A century or so back it was a church, and when Josiah bought the building, which was then a neglected dwelling, it needed a lot of work, but slowly his home was taking shape. Today he was fixing the staircase. Several of the balusters and tread brackets needed to be replaced before he could stain the wood and restore the stairs to its former glory as the focal point of the vast hallway.

Several hours in and his cell rang. Josiah answered and smiled at Nathan's offer of help. "Come on over, brother. Many hands make light work." He was grateful, not just for the help, but to have some company, which prompted him to wonder what the rest of his family of the heart were doing.


Nathan loved Saturdays - but not today.

His and Rain's shifts were about as opposite as they could be. Instead of spending a fun morning with the love of his life, he was reduced to wandering the apartment looking for dirty clothes to launder; dishes to fill the dishwasher, something to clean off the sticky mug ring on his nightstand, and ponder what to have for lunch. With Rain switching last minute to work a double shift, they wouldn't even be having dinner together, or breakfast - she planned on catching some 'Zs' at the hospital before her double-back.

He tried to fill time by surfing the net, which in turn made him think about JD and Buck and he chuckled on recalling the confession by Buck that he and JD would be cleaning their apartment this weekend - not that Buck had shared that information with the lad himself. Nathan considered how his other four friends were occupying their personal time, and before he knew it, was calling Josiah. Within the hour, he was with the big guy drinking coffee and helping to sand down Josiah's stairs in preparation for the stain.


He'd always loved Saturdays, and especially so now.

After dusting and vacuuming the bedrooms and living room, Buck was in the apartment block's laundry room completing the second stack of washing. Taking the first load from the dryer to put in the second, he yelped when the studs on the fly of JD's jeans burned into the palm of his right hand, causing him to curse and drop the pants. He really should learn to wait until the cool cycle kicked in before retrieving clothes with metal fastenings.

He picked up the jeans from the tiled floor and smiled on thinking of the youth they belonged to, the boy who was a big part of why he loved Saturdays so much more these days. Until JD shared his home, Buck often spent his Saturdays alone until it was time for his date. He'd never considered himself as lonely, and he would rarely be unaccompanied on Saturday nights, or Sunday mornings - but that was then.

As for now, sure, he still dated, but found contentment in simply having JD around to spend time with, so it was no longer a priority. These days, unless the pair had their own personal plans, or were hanging out with the other guys, Buck's and JD's Saturdays were eating, shopping, TV, eating, TV - maybe a ball game. And always in the midst of a lot of laughter. He sighed, softly. Buck was no fonder of cleaning on their time off than JD, but it had to be done. Then again...

Buck checked his watch. He'd folded the dried clothes, and the next drying cycle was almost over, so the brunet decided to gather the clothes into a laundry bag and finish off back in the apartment. Time for a change of plan.


Inside the kitchen several minutes earlier, JD had stood before a closed appliance door while unable to shake the unexplained image of whatever might be lurking in there, attacking and devouring him the moment the door opened. Now, all that could be seen of JD was his shorts-clad butt as he bravely ventured into the depths of the domestic device more commonly known as 'the fridge'.

He removed several advanced-stage science experiments…one of which he thought was a blueberry cheesecake, but which transpired to have once been strawberry. JD recalled Buck buying that the previous week, just after JD and Vin completed a seventy-mile an hour skid and roll in a pool car while chasing after some gunrunners. Miraculously, both came out of the incident virtually unscathed…mostly cuts, bruises, and a mild concussion each; so a pretty quite quiet day by Team Seven's standards.

Back to the fridge and now there were pancakes - each one more resembling a cardboard discus than food. Buck made those two weeks ago, the morning of JD's big court date, but the kid was too wired to eat so Buck put them in the fridge for later. Damn, they'd looked good, too, JD remembered. More curious than grossed out now, he delved further.


After placing the laundry into the closet under the stairs, Buck peeked into the kitchen. He grinned on seeing JD's butt sticking up in the air and the boy surrounded by a variety of colorful, inedible delights, one of which Buck swore was slowly making its way across the kitchen floor.

"Hey Kid…get a move on, you still have the floor to mop and the surfaces to wipe down."

Echoey mumbling could be heard from the interior of the near-empty fridge - something about Buck, and the irreverent use of the mop just mentioned. The brunet walked into the kitchen and was now standing directly behind his roommate.

"You want me to do what with my mop, Kid?"

Startled, JD jerked upwards, banging his head and shoulders on the empty shelf above and causing it to fall from its runner with a clatter.

"Jeezus, Buck…give a guy some warning, would you?" he admonished, while rubbing at a spot on the crown of his head.

Buck chuckled. "Serves you right. So, why aren't you done yet?"

Surveying the food and carton-laden floor, and then the open, near-empty fridge, the youth made a face. "Pretty much everything in here needs replacing. We need to go shopping."

Buck agreed. "We'll put that on our 'to do' list." He helped JD put the ruined food in a trash bag, and decided it was probably best not to leave it hanging around for too long, so took it straight out to the trash chute.


JD watched Buck go and figured the ladies' man deserved some kind of retribution for all the hard work he had forced on the younger man, so he listened out for Buck's return. On hearing him re-enter the apartment and head his way, JD set a squeezable ketchup bottle upright and inside the garbage disposal sink, As Buck returned to the kitchen, JD switched on to appear as though he was pushing something through the waste unit. He flipped open the bottle's lid, looked at Buck, and called out to his roommate over the noise.

"Man, you're wearing me out, Buck. You got me so tired I can hardly think straight...aaarrrrggghhh!" As JD screamed out, he squeezed the unseen ketchup bottle hard.

The shriek itself was horrifying enough, but when Buck thought he saw a gush of blood spurting upwards he was convinced his friend was losing fingers. The shock made him go white and weak at the knees.

"Oh dear God…JD!"

Dunne turned off the unit, laughing as he looked back at the man. He stopped dead when he saw a pale Buck reach out to him, but instead of walking toward him, Buck staggered back against a wall for support, before sliding awkwardly to the kitchen floor.


JD dropped the ketchup bottle, drew a glass of cool water, and hurried to his friend's side. "Aww shoot…I'm sorry, Buck…I was just kiddin' around."

He squatted next to his shaken friend and offered the water. Buck's trembling hand took the glass and he managed a few sips before blowing out a few shaky breaths and handing back the glass.

JD remained crouched down with a supportive hand on Buck's shoulder as he waited for the brunet to look at him. Eventually he was rewarded when alarmed blue eyes stared into his. JD waited for the anticipated angry outburst - figuring he deserved it for frightening Buck that way. He winced slightly when a hand reached out toward his face, but was surprised when the touch was soft and kind.

"Kid," Buck finally managed to say, "don't ever do that again. The thought of you getting hurt that way…"

Dunne lowered his head, suitably discomfited. "I…Jeeze, I didn't mean to scare you like that, it was meant to be funny." He looked up. "I'm really sorry, Buck, guess that was a dumb stunt to pull."

"Yeah, it was."

JD rose, helped Buck to his feet, and the pair parted company. The younger man got on with cleaning up the ketchup, and mopping the kitchen floor, while Buck trotted upstairs to his bedroom.


An hour later, a hot, sweaty youth surveyed the gleaming kitchen in satisfaction. He looked toward the door when Buck came in. The ladies' man was showered, changed, and dressed in his favorite denim shirt and jeans. JD frowned.

"You going out?" His stomach clenched. He must really have pissed Buck off this time.

Buck shook his head. "No, we're going out. Chris asked us over for a ride and a cookout this weekend, but some of the guys had plans, and I wanted us to clean the apartment so I took a raincheck. I just called him, and Vin is over there; figured we could go join 'em, seeing's we got no food here." He smiled, and then pinched his nose. "Whoo, you're ripe. Go take a shower, Squirt."

JD beamed. "For real? We're done here?" He hi-fived his nodding, grinning partner. "Awesome! I'll be right back."


Late afternoon, and after an enjoyable seven-man trail ride, five of the team were enjoying beers whilst seated on Chris's porch. Buck, Ezra, Josiah, Nathan, and Chris looked across to the corral where Vin and JD were with the horses.

"So…no one's actually said what caused you to change your minds and join us here," Chris put to them all.

Taking a swig of his beer, Buck shrugged. "Well, I guess it suddenly occurred to me that the kid and me should be out having fun, not doing housework, so here we are."

The others nodded their agreement, and mumbled similar sentiments, no one willing to admit they had simply wanted the company of their brothers of the heart.

Chris offered a crooked, knowing grin. "R-i-g-h-t, that, and you likely got no food in the house too, huh, Buck?"

Wilmington's eyebrow rose before he smiled and the pair clinked bottles. "Y-e-a-h, that too."

The men relaxed as mischievous, raised voices drifted from the corral where JD and Vin had begun roughhousing. Ezra held up his whiskey chaser.

"To our continued good health, my friends."

The others returned the gesture, laughing aloud when Vin and JD's upright wrestling match moved inelegantly to the dirt.

Josiah's wide grin lit up his face and he nodded toward their two youngest. "Looks like some of us needed to blow off a little steam, too."

Buck contentedly rocked back in his chair to enjoy the impromptu show. He glanced around at his companions and nodded to himself. This was more like it, to hell with Spring cleaning.

Besides, it was almost Summer, anyway.

The End

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