DISCLAIMER: The following is a work of fanfiction based on the CBS television series, The Magnificent Seven. It is in no way intended to infringe on the copyrights of CBS, MGM, The Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp., or anyone else who may have legal rights to the characters and settings. I dont own the characters (Not that I wouldn't love to have my very own JD.) This story is strictly for entertainment. No monetary gain will be made from it.
Comments and creative criticism greatly appreciated at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Youth comes but once in a lifetime.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~
Chris Larabee sat in the chair on the front porch of the jail, squinting to see in the bright sunlight.
It was going to be another scorcher in Four Corners.
Everyone in town seemed to be hurrying to get as many errands and chores done in the early morning hours ~ before it got even hotter.
JD Dunne stepped out of the jail ~ into the bright sun. "Gonna be a beautiful day, huh, Chris?"
"Debatable," Chris said, coolly.
"Oh, just look, Chris. Not a cloud in the sky. Yep,gorgeous day," JD said enthusiastically.
How can the kid be this cheerful all the time? "It's gonna be a hundred degrees, JD. You think that's great?" Chris snapped.
"Oh, yeah. I hate winter. Hate cold weather," JD explained.
"Well, winter's one thing, kid ~ but something in between would be good. Gonna be hard to keep cool on a day like this."
"I might take Casey fishin' later, Chris. You're welcome to come along, if you want," JD offered.
"Thanks, but I wouldn't want to be a third wheel, kid." Chris grinned.
"Nothin' like that, Chris. Just fishin'." JD's face was turning crimson.
Is the kid serious? Actually getting a girl out of town ~ by a fishing hole ~ and he invites company to come along? How old is JD, really???? Chris tried to remember being that young ~ and innocent. Come to think of it ~ was he ever that young and innocent?
Maybe that young ~ a long time ago ~ but never that innocent.
Chris couldn't imagine anyone ever being as innocent as JD Dunne.
Sweet kid. Has a good, pure heart. Definite ideas about right and wrong. And what's honorable.
The honorable thing to do.
That's why JD would invite Chris to go fishing with him and Casey.
The things that Chris had assumed the kids would be doing ~ wouldn't seem honorable to JD.
Kid better grow up sometime or ...
"Right, Chris?" JD asked.
Chris turned to JD. "What?"
"I said, Buck ain't gonna be in a good mood after loosin' all that money to Ezra last night. Right? You seemed like you were a hundred miles away, Chris. What'cha thinkin' about?
"Nothin, kid." Chris lied.
Can't tell the kid what I'm thinking about. He'd get all defensive, using that line about how he's 'had a whole gaggle of women'."
The others would never embarrass the boy ~ but they all knew full well that the kid had never been with a woman.
Never been with a woman.
Something that the others had a hard time believing ~ but, then ~ this is JD they were talking about.
Josiah always said the boy would do things in his own time. When things were right ~ and it was honorable, no doubt.
Nathan agreed. Nothing wrong with the boy taking his time, he would always say.
Buck loved the kid, but Buck ~ being Buck ~ couldn't quite understand the boy's 'predicament'.
"What?" Chris jumped.
"Are you mad at me, Chris?" JD asked.
"What?" Chris was not following JD's train of thought.
"Are you mad at me? I'm talkin' and talkin', but you're not answerin' me," JD explained.
"Sorry, son. Just thinkin'," Chris said.
"About what?" JD wanted to know.
"Never mind, kid," Chris said in a tone that JD knew meant to drop it.
"Sure, Chris." JD walked away, obviously upset about being ignored by his hero.
Poor kid. But, hell, JD talks enough for ten people. Can't nobody keep up with that ~ except may Buck.
"Hang on, JD," Chris called after the boy.
JD stopped and waited for Chris to catch up to him.
"Sorry, kid," Chris apologized as he wrapped his arm around the teen's shoulders.
"It's OK, Chris. I know I'm a pain-in-your-ass sometimes," JD said softly.
"Nah, kid. You couldn't be a pain-in-the-ass," Chris lied, for the kid's benefit.
Truth was, JD was a pain-in-the-ass sometimes. But hell, so was he, sometimes. And Chris was a lot meaner pain-in-the-ass than JD could ever dream of being.
"'Ya wanna know what I was thinkin' about, kid?" Chris continued. "I was thinkin' about you."
"Me? Why?" JD wondered.
"Don't know... guess you just came to mind, son. Anyway, don't be thinkin' you're a pain-in-the-ass, OK?" Chris smiled at the boy.
"OK." JD was in a much better mood. At least he was happy to know that Chris was not mad at him for some unknown reason.
"Now, back to work. I'm gonna go get Buck up before he sleeps the day away. Not that he's probably sleepin'," Chris winked at the kid.
The kid blushed.
"Come on, JD, what'cha think he's doin' up there?" Chris asked.
"Chris..." the kid was turning every shade of red.
"It'sjust..." JD started.
"I know, JD. You're time'll come, kid. Don't worry," Chris told the boy.
"What'cha talkin' about, Chris? I've had a whole gaggle of women."
"Sure, son. Sure you have," Chris tried unsuccessfully to sound convincing.
"You guys think I'm some little kid, don't 'ya?" JD shouted to Chris, then lowered his voice before adding, "You guys actually got nothin' better to do than worry about my love life?"
"Aw, kid. Calm down," Chris pleaded.
JD stomped off in a huff.
"Kid!!" Chris called to no avail. JD continued walking down the street.
* * * * * * *
Buck strolled up to the jail where Chris was sitting again.
"Buck," Chris acknowledged his oldest friend. "'Bout time you came up for air."
"No need rushin' into a blazin' day like this. Damn, it's hot!!" Buck said, using his neckerchief to wipe his face.
"JD thinks it's a 'gorgeous' day," Chris told the man who had plopped his long frame into the chair next to him.
"That's 'cause the little runt ain't big enough for the sun to hit," Buck smiled.
"Hell, Chris. It's true. Kid don't eat enough to keep a sparrow alive. If it weren't for all that milk he drinks, he'd have wasted away long ago."
"Buck, quit the mother hen crap. It's too hot to worry about the kid." Chris snapped.
"Well, you're in a real mood, ain't 'ya?" Buck snapped back.
"Sorry, just thinkin'. Kid's all pissed off at me. I brought up his 'inexperience' and he got all upset about it," Chris explained.
"Aw, Chris. Why'd 'ya do that?" Buck felt sorry for the kid and knew that he'd be feeling pretty low about now.
"It just kinda came out, Buck," Chris said.
"Well, I must say that it's something I can't understand," Buck admitted.
"Well, he ain't you, Buck," Chris reasoned. "He'll be ready when he's ready. You know JD. Nobody's gonna make him do anything he don't wanna do or stop him from doin' somethin' he wants to do."
"WellI gotta go find the kid and apologize to him," Chris said as he rose and walked off.
* * * * * * *
Chris walked all over town looking for JD.
He finally tracked him down at the livery.
"Hey, Pete. 'Ya seen the kid?"
The blacksmith silently motioned his head toward the loft.
"JD??" Chris called.
"Yeah," JD answered from the loft.
"Hey, son. What'cha doin' up there?" Chris asked.
"Nothin," JD said.
"Mind excusin' us for a bit here, Pete?" Chris asked the blacksmith.
"Sure, Chris. I'll just step outside," the man said. He then pulled Chris aside and added, "Take it easy on him, OK? He's a good kid... real good kid."
"Yeah, Pete. I know," Chris agreed.
The man walked out and left Chris and JD alone.
"Come on down here, JD," Chris said.
"Why?" JD asked, hesitantly.
"I wanna talk to 'ya, son." Chris explained.
"Well, I can hear 'ya fine from up here."
JD was being stubborn.
That's OK, Chris thought. Kid's got that coming to him.
"Gonna make this hard, aren't 'ya, kid?" Chris said, walking towards the loft.
"I got nothin' to say, Chris," JD said softly.
"Well, I do," Chris said, climbing the creaking ladder up to the loft.
"Fine," JD whispered under his breath.
"Christ, JD," Chris said, stepping from the ladder to the loft. "Make this a little harder, why don't 'ya?"
"Nobody asked 'ya to come up here, Chris," JD reminded.
"Good point, kid."
Chris had to admire the kid's spunk. Not many people would have the guts to talk to Chris the way JD did sometimes ~ not even Buck. 'CourseChris wouldn't let many people talk to him the way JD did. JD knew that Chris had a soft spot for him. All the guys did, and JD knew just how far he could push each one of them.
"What do you want anyway?" JD asked.
"Just wanted to apologize, JD," Chris admitted.
"OK. You did," JD said.
"Really, kid. I'm sorry."
"Sowhat'cha doin' up here?" Chris was curious.
"I always come up here when I want to thinkor be left alone," JD said, stressing the latter.
"So, which are 'ya doin' now?" Chris asked.
"Come here often?"
"Almost every day," JD said, hanging his head.
"You got somethin' botherin' you almost every day, kid?" Chris was shocked.
"Yeah..." JD said, his voice trailing off.
"Well, I'm sorry about that, son," Chris said quietly.
"Not your problem, Chris."
"The hell it ain't!!" Chris said, taking the teen's face in his hands. "We're your friends, kid. We need to be helpin' you through this growin' up stuff. You don't need to be hidin' in some hayloft. There's better things to be doin, son."
"I'm just a disappointment to all of you," JD said, his eyes filling as he looked up at his hero.
"JD, where do you get these notions of yours?" Chris asked, as he let his hands slip from the boy's face to his shoulders.
"Come on, Chris, you guys know I'm..."
"I'm... I mean... I've never..."
"Yeah, kid. We know. So what?" Chris asked.
"Well, you guys all have," JD managed to get out ~ trying not to cry in front of Chris.
"JD, there's a lot of things we've done. Don't mean it's anything you'd want to do," Chris told the boy.
"Yeah, but this... it's not that I don't want to, Chris, I just..."
"Haven't found the right girl?" Chris inquired.
"Well, I have, but..."
"Casey? That's great, son," Chris grinned.
"Yeah. But we couldn't... I mean, we're not ready... or at least... she's just not that kind of girl, Chris." JD stammered.
"And you're willing to wait, right?" Chris asked.
"And that's a great thing, JD. Casey's lucky to have you, son," Chris stressed.
"Wish you'd tell her that," JD smiled.
"I think she knows, JD."
"Maybe," JD whispered.
"Come on, JD. That girl thinks the sun rises and sets in you. And rightfully so."
"I'm serious, kid. You're a fine, honorable young man. Not many of those around. I admire you, JD," Chris admitted.
The boy's huge hazel eyes met the steel blue ones of his hero ~ and he could tell that Chris was not making fun of him ~ he was serious.
"You admire me?" JD gasped. "Why would you admire me?"
"Because you do what's right for you," Chris began, "and the hell with what other people think or say. I wish I would have had the courage to do that when I was your age. Wouldn't have to be ashamed now for some things I did then. Things I did because that's what everyone else did, or someone told me to do, or I didn't want to be different. You'll never be ashamed, JD, if you go where your good heart tells you to go."
"Well, my heart's tellin' me to take Casey fishin'. We'd sure like for 'ya to come along, Chris," JD begged.
"And I'd sure be happy to go along, JD," Chris smiled.
Good kid. Real good kid.
The two friends made there way down the ladder and out of the livery.
"SoChris, next time I feel like feel like climbin' up in the loft, would it be OK if I... if I came to see you, instead?" the kid asked, looking up to his hero.
"Sure, son. I'd be honored," Chris smiled.
"No, sir, Mr. Larabee. I'd be honored."