(aka Super Bowl Sunday with the Seven)
ATF Alternate Universe
Just some football fluff. <g>
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 don't own the characters. This story is strictly for entertainment. No monetary gain will be made from it.
OK, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I make no claims to any type of football knowledge, at all. I know it's played with a ball shaped like the eye in that evil CBS logo...that's it. <g>
Someone sent a message to one of the lists the other day about the guys as a football team, (I apologize that I can't remember who sent it.) but it started something brewing in my head. Since I know nothing about the game, I knew I couldn't write them as a football team. (Although football does open a whole lot of h/c doors for the kid.) Anyway...it did lead to an idea in my head of the guys watching the game. Figured, maybe my ignorance wouldn't show through too bad this way. <VBG>
As far as the title, (Ram's motto) the scores, and JD's favorite player...yeah...gotta admit...football challenged as I am, living only 12 miles from downtown St. Louis... I've got Rams fever!!!
OK... let's toss the coin and get on with the story. <g>
Team Seven was gathered for the 'big game'. They gathered, of course, where they always gathered. Buck and JD's place.
Buck Wilmington's bachelor pad had always been the hub of activity ~ ever since the team's inception ~ and even more so now, since Wilmington's best friend, shadow, and 'little brother', JD Dunne, had moved in.
The twenty-year-old agent had moved in with Wilmington shortly after joining the team. Buck had done just about everything short of actually going to court and adopting the kid.
It worked out well that everyone just naturally gravitated towards the friends' townhouse. The team sometime pulled some late nights and JD had a tendency to operate under the same principal as the Energizer Bunny ~ go...go...go...until you stop and drop. And drop he would...usually just wherever he was at the moment. You never knew where you'd find the kid sleeping. Buck always teased the boy that it was much easier to 'put him to bed' when they were already home.
Today was to be no exception.
+ + + + + + +
Vin Tanner had been watching JD casually out of the corner of his eye for about half an hour and decided it was time to take action.
He'd watched the boy progress from sitting slumped, much-too-quietly on the couch, to lying down, to the final straw ~ lying facing the back of the couch, not even watching the game.
Vin pushed himself up from his chair and moved over to the arm of the couch. JD was curled up under the huge down jacket that Josiah Sanchez had jokingly tossed at the boy when he'd arrived. Tanner instinctively placed his hand on the kid's forehead. Hot. "You feelin' OK, kid?"
"m'fine, Vin" JD yawned. "Just...tired...s'all. Buck had me up early...helpin' 'im...with" and the boy nodded off mid-sentence.
"ALL RIGHT!!!" came the whoops from the others watching the game.
"I believe you owe me $20, Ezra. I told you St. Louis'd get the first touchdown." Nathan Jackson held his hand out to the Southerner.
"Just my luck...you haven't picked a winner all season...and now...lo and behold...you're Jimmy the Greek." Ezra Standish pulled out his wallet and handed Nathan the twenty-dollar bill.
"Well...his luck had to turn some time, brother." Josiah boomed. "You know the Pope did visit St. Louis, Ezra. Must be 'divine' intervention."
"JD!!! Look...quick!!!" Chris Larabee was pointing to one of those Pet.com commercials, with the sock-puppet dog that the kid loved so much.
"Ssshhh" Vin quieted the rowdy bunch. "Kid's asleep."
"Oh...sorry" Chris grinned sheepishly...concern suddenly replacing the smile. "Somethin' wrong?"
"Says he's OK...but...I dunno" Tanner looked at the boy on the couch. JD had talked of little else for the last week except the Super Bowl, the St. Louis Ram's and his favorite player, quarterback, Kurt Warner. Vin, himself, had threatened to gag the kid on several occasions. And now...watching the boy sleep through it all, made Tanner want nothing more than to hear the kid's infectious laugh and his voice squealing excitedly about the game.
Chris got up and walked into the kitchen where Buck was busy cutting up two 6-foot submarine sandwiches. "Buck...kid been feelin' OK?"
"Sure. Couldn't hardly keep him still all mornin'. Should'a seen it, Chris. He's wearin' that Kurt Warner jersey...you see how it looks on him...right??? Room for him and me both in that damn thing." Buck is laughing so hard, he's crying. "So...anyway...I made him stand between these two sandwiches here and I took a picture of 'im. Sandwiches are bigger 'n him. Embarrassed the hell outta him...but hey...that's my job...right???" Buck then looked up from what he was doing, his smile suddenly fading as he mentally applied the brakes and shifted his brain into reverse to remember Chris' question. "Wait a minute...Why???"
"Well...he's sleepin' through the game...and we've been about as quiet as a stampede"
"Shit!" Buck cursed under his breath. "Just one day" and he headed for the living room.
Vin was still perched on the arm of the couch, his hand rubbing slow, gentle circles on JD's back. Buck walked over and knelt down by the boy. He shakily placed his hand on the kid's face, afraid of what he'd find. "Shit!" he whispered.
"Buck???" JD stirred slightly, his voice so soft Buck could hardly hear him.
"I don't feel...too good...Buck" JD groaned as he rolled over to face the older man. The boy's usually pale face was flushed with fever.
"Well, kid...gotta say...you don't look too good, either." Buck flashed his best big-brother grin as he placed his large hand on the kid's head, trying to offer some sort of comfort with his touch.
Nathan was heading out of the bathroom, shaking a thermometer. "Here, son...you know the drill." He placed it under JD's tongue and set the alarm on his wristwatch. After about three minutes, Nathan retrieved the thermometer.
"Well???" Buck looked anxiously to Nathan. "What's the score???"
"St. Louis, 7Tennessee, 3JD106" Nathan waited for the infamous Wilmington eruption. It didn't take long.
"Sorry" JD whimpered. The kid was getting sicker by the minute, but could still sense the aggravation in Buck's voice.
"Nothin' to be sorry for, kid." Buck placed his hand gently on the kid's face, wiping the tears that were now trailing down the boy's red-hot cheeks. "You just rest."
"Spoilin'...the Super Bowl"
"You just rest, son. You're not spoiling anything." Josiah felt his heart breaking with JD's words. The kid was trying so hard to be brave, when, in actuality, Josiah knew the boy was really scared. Who wouldn't be, with a temperature of 106? The kid had to feel like his blood was boiling.
"Well...what's the game plan, gentlemen?" Ezra knew there was a long evening ahead. "Bed??? Emergency room???"
"Let's just get him to bed. I'll call the doctor" Nathan began, only to be cut off by a frantic Buck.
"Nate...it's Super Bowl Sunday!!! There ain't gonna be no doctor within a hundred miles of their answering service!!! I say we head for the emergency room. I mean...shit, Nate106!!!"
"Calm down, Buck. All doctors check in every few hours...especially on days like this." Nathan assured. "Get a grip. Your bellowin' ain't helpin' JD none. C'mon...help me get him to bed."
"No...I'll get him." Buck said quietly, as he bent down to lift his little brother. "C'mon, kid...get you to bed and you'll feel a lot better."
"Sorry...Buck" JD grabbed onto a handful of Buck's Tennessee Titans sweatshirt as the big man took him into his arms.
"Quit apologizin', son. You ain't got a thing to be sorry for." Buck held the fevered boy close to him as he carried him easily to his room and put him to bed. The boy was shivering, despite the fact that he was still bundled up in Josiah's heavy coat. Wilmington was pulling the covers over the kid and reached for the coat, but JD had a death grip on it so he decided to leave it, too.
Buck settled down on the other side of the bed, leaning against the headboard and stretching out his long legs. He figured he'd be there for a while, maybe the whole night. JD always felt better when his big brother was close.
"What'cha need son?"
"You...can...go watch...the game"
"Nah...s'just a game, kid."
"Don't be tellin' Old Buck what to do now, son. I'm stayin' here. Them rowdies in there...man can't have no peace. I'd rather sit in here with you, kid...if that's OK?"
"Sure'ya can watchin here, then"
"Nah. You need quiet...you just rest."
"kay" and the shivering boy scooted closer to his big brother, laying his head in his lap.
Buck reached down and stroked the soft, dark hair. The boy's head was so hot. "You just rest, kid."
Nathan stuck his head in the door. "Buck" he whispered. "Just got off the phone with the doctor. He's callin' in a prescription. I'm gonna go pick it up. I'll be right back."
"What'd he say?"
"Said it's probably that bad strain of the flu that's goin' round." Nathan walked over and placed his hand on JD's forehead. "He's pretty worried about the fever, though. Says it shouldn't be over 'bout 103. He said to take it again in a couple of hours. If it's not down, call him back and head for the emergency room."
"OK. Well...I guess we'll just have to wait and see then" Buck hated the thought of taking the kid to the hospital. He wanted his little brother home ~ with him. That's where JD belonged. With Buck. All the time. Not that he wouldn't be with him in the hospital. Buck would just have to move in there ~ if that's what it took to get JD better.
Nathan went back out to the living room to grab his jacket. "Be right back guys."
"What'd the doc say, Nate?" Larabee knew the kid was really sick and was wondering what they were facing in the hours ahead.
"Said it's probably the flu."
"How can Mr. Dunne have the flu? Didn't he get a flu shot?" Standish raised his eyebrows expectantly. "I mean, Mr. Larabee's instructions were quite explicit, were they not??? That we all 'had' to endure the inoculation...correct?"
"Kid didn't get a flu shot, Ezra." Nathan was wrapping his scarf around his neck, heading for the door.
"And the reason he was granted, immunity, shall we say...would be???" Ezra persisted.
Nathan decided to let Chris handle Standish's interrogation.
"Kid's allergic to the vaccine. So, he couldn't get the shot. That OK with you, Ezra? Or...maybe you want me to run the kid's medical history by you next time???" Chris was on edge. He was worried about JD, and was definitely 'not' in the mood for Standish's third degree.
Standish's attitude changed instantly to concern for JD. "I apologize, Mr. Larabee. Is there anything that the poor boy is 'not' allergic to?"
"Very little." Nathan said, shaking his head. It was true. JD had severe allergic reactions to so many different medications that treating him was very often a challenge. "I gotta go."
"Wait up, Nate. I'll take 'ya." Tanner jumped up and grabbed his coat. "Be faster than parkin'I'll just drop 'ya off at the door."
"Thanks, Vin. Appreciate it."
+ + + + + + +
"Is he gonna be OK, Nate?" Tanner finally broke the silence in the Jeep. "I mean...he's gonna be, right???"
"It's probably just the flu, Vin. At least that's what the doctor and I are prayin' for anyway." Nathan didn't want to let anyone else in on his fears yet. There were so many other things it 'could' be. Could be bronchitis. Could be pneumonia. Could be meningitis. Stop it, Nate. You're lettin' your mind run wild. "Yeah...probably just the flu, Vin. Not that the flu isn't bad enough. It's really bad this year. That's why Chris insisted on the flu shots."
"Yeah...figures the kid'd be the one that can't get the shot. I mean, for cryin' out loud, if any of us needs it, it's JD. Poor kid can't get a break, can he???"
"Don't seem like it." Nathan saw the pharmacy ahead on the right. "Pull up here and I'll be right back.."
+ + + + + + +
"Buck???" JD shifted a little, looking up to Buck.
"Yeah, kid?" Buck brushed the damp hair away from the boy's face. God, kid...you're burnin' up. Hurry up, Nate.
"Who's...winnin'?" JD's voice was so scratchy it didn't even sound like him.
"Josiah came in a few minutes ago to update you, but you were sleepin'. St. Louis is leadin'. Happy?"
"I'm sure he's havin' a good game, kid."
"Always... wanted t'be...a quarterback." The boy was almost out again, his long lashes fluttering.
"You're too little, kid. You can't even see over the line of scrimmage." Buck grinned at his little brother. Where do you come up with this stuff, kid???
"Doug Flutie's only 5'9."
"Yeah,5'9" and what??? Probably 170??? You're 5'8" and a buck-thirty, kid."
"So???!!!" Buck mimicked the kid. JD you're a certified goof-ball sometimes, son.
+ + + + + + +
There was a soft rap on JD's door, followed by "Buck???" as Larabee stuck his head in the door. "OK to come in?"
"Sure." Buck motioned his oldest friend to enter.
Chris quietly shut the door, then nervously eyed the much-too-still and much-too-quiet form in the bed. JD was 'always' moving and 'always' talking. Seeing the kid still and quiet was so unnatural that it always scared the others to no end. "How's he doin'?"
"Same, I guess. 'Cept he's delirious, I think. Wants to be a quarterback," Buck chuckled.
"He ain't no bigger 'n Ziggy...how's he think he's gonna play football?" Larabee grinned.
"You're guess is as good as mine, pard. Everything OK out there." Buck asked, changing the subject. "I never even got finished puttin' the food out."
"Don't worry 'bout it, Buck." Larabee sat down on the foot of the bed. "I don't think anybody's in much of a 'party' mood."
"Yeah, kid. You need somethin'?"
Buck gently stroked the boy's cheek. "OK, you just lie still then, kid."
"Just checkin' to make sure you're still here, I guess, huh?" Chris smiled knowingly to Wilmington. Where else would Buck be???
"I guess." Buck shook his head and turned worried eyes to Larabee. "I just hope he don't have to go to the hospital, Chris."
"We'll just have to see how the fever does, Buck. S'all we can do."
"I know. It's just...just that...I want 'im here."
"We all do, Buck."
"Ezra out there tryin' to steal Vin and Josiah's money?"
"Vin went with Nathan."
"Said it'd be quicker, just droppin' Nathan off at the door...save time on parking. Actually, I think Vin just needed to be doin' somethin' to help the kid."
"Yeah, Junior's got it pretty bad, I'd say." Buck smiled thinking about how the boy in his lap had the quiet sharpshooter wrapped around his little finger.
Oh, hell. Kid had them 'all' wrapped around his little finger. Pretty much since day one.
"Buck?" Josiah's deep voice came from the other side of the door.
"C'mon in, Josiah."
The big man strode through the door. "Vin and Nate just pulled up."
The giant of a man walked across the room and leaned over the kid, silently resting his hand on the boy's head, before he turned away. "I better get back before Ezra misses me and changes the channel."
"He givin' odds yet on whether or not the kid's temperature goes down?" Buck's irritation was evident in his voice.
"Buck, he's worried about the kid, really." Josiah could sense that Wilmington was upset with the under cover agent. And he knew why. Ezra had not left his seat in the living room since the 'JD situation' had begun.
"Yeah, I know. Just he's got a funny way of showin' it sometimes. How come he ain't come in here checkin' on the kid?"
No one had an opportunity to answer Buck's question before Nathan and Vin walked into the room. Nathan already had a glass of juice in his hand for JD to take with the prescription. "Can 'ya sit 'im up a bit, Buck?"
"Sure." Buck reached down and gently lifted the boy. "C'mon, son gotta take some stuff here, kid."
"umhhh" JD looked terrible and felt even worse. He was so weak he could hardly hold his head up.
"C'mon now, JD. You need to take these pills." Nathan was reading the instructions and seemed a little taken back by them. "Hmmm OK, now, son. Get these in your system, JD you'll be feelin' better in no time."
"kay" JD had a slight coughing fit trying to get the pills down.
Nathan gently turned JD's face side-to-side, feeling the glands in his neck. "Your throat hurt, son?"
"yeah" JD croaked.
"OK, well...just take it easy. Try to keep quiet, OK? Think you can do that, son?" Nathan teased.
Buck came to JD's defense. "He's been real quiet, Nate. Barely a peep outta him."
"Good." Nathan then lowered his voice. "This is some really strong medicine. He's gonna be totally 'out-of-it' for a while, I'm afraid."
+ + + + + + +
There was a steady stream of activity from the living room to JD's room with the others checking on the boy. And checking on Buck, who, of course, never left the kid's side.
"Nate?" Vin called from the doorway to JD's room out to the kitchen, where Jackson was getting a sandwich. "It's been two hours."
+ + + + + + +
Five men were squeezed into the small bedroom. All gathered around a boy with a thermometer in his mouth.
They never thought three minutes could be so long.
Wilmington, of course, was the first to crack. "Ain't time up yet, Nate?"
"Just 'bout, Buck." Nathan walked over and pulled the thermometer out, and JD tiredly rolled back over, latching onto Buck again.
Nathan lowered the thermometer. "Looks like you get to keep the kid here, Buck." he smiled. "104."
"Still not what I'd call good, but it's down two degrees. The doctor said to take him in if it wasn't down. I'll call his office, just to make sure, but hey, two degrees is two degrees." Nathan headed out to the kitchen to call the doctor.
Wilmington's mood suddenly changed for the better. "Guys... I think it's time to eat. I'll go get the food out." Buck managed to inch his way out from under JD, making sure the boy was covered and comfortably settled before he leaned over and whispered in the kid's ear"I'll be right back, son."
"I'll help 'ya, Buck." Tanner followed Buck out of the room.
"We should all leave and give the kid some peace." Nathan ushered Chris and Josiah out of the room.
+ + + + + + +
"Foods ready, guys." Buck called from the kitchen.
Buck had laid out quite a spread. The two giant sandwiches, potato salad, chips, baked beans, soda and beer. There was even a decorated cake.
"What's with the cake?" Chris eyed the large bakery box on the counter.
"Kid's idea. Said he thought we needed a Super Bowl cake. The bakery even said they'd put little plastic football players on it that looked like the Titans and the Rams."
"Uh...did you look at it, Buck?" Chris asked, as he partially lifted the lid and sneaked a peek at the cake.
"Yeah. When we picked it up this morning." Buck looked puzzled. "Why???"
"Uh...I think JD's been messin' with it." Chris smiled as he removed the lid the rest of the way.
The little plastic Titan figure had been squished face down into the frosting, and the Ram's figure had been moved into the end zone. "Little shit!!" Buck's tried to feign anger, but couldn't pull it off, a smile spreading across his face. "At least he felt better earlier today, I guess."
"Where's Ezra?" Nathan asked. "He afraid to eat 'tailgate' food?"
"Yeah, where is he?" Tanner said. "I ain't seen him since you started gettin' the food out."
"Who the hell knows. Besides, the food's not 'that' bad." Buck grinned. "I'm gonna go check on the kid before I sit down. Be right back."
+ + + + + + +
Buck heard a voice coming from JD's room and nervously pushed the door open, cursing himself for leaving the kid alone when he was obviously needing something.
Wilmington was surprised to find that the voice was Standish's. "Ezra?"
"Uh ...yes...uh...Mr. Wilmington. I just thought I'd sit with our young friend here while you had your dinner." Standish lowered his head to look at the boy who was asleep in his lap. "II thought perhaps he should not be alone."
"Thanks, Ez." Buck walked over and placed his hand on Standish's shoulder. "You know, Ez...you could just come out and admit that you like the kid. It's OK."
"I...I assure you, Mr. Wilmington...I...I find Mr. Dunneto be quite..." Standish stammered before finally looking up to Buck and setting his jaw firmly"I love the boy, Buck."
"Wasn't so hard now, was it?"
"No...no it wasn't" Ezra whispered.
"Well...I'll be back in a few minutes. Gonna get a bite. Takin' care of that boy...I tell 'ya, it's hard work. Works up an appetite."
"Take your time, Buck. We shall be fine."
"I see that, Ezra."
+ + + + + + +
Several hours later, Nathan pushed JD's door open a crack and took in the scene before him.
Buck was lying on his side on top of the covers, his arm wrapped protectively around, what Nathan assumed was, the kid.
Buck awoke with a start when the door creaked.
"S'OK, Buck, it's me." Nathan whispered. "It's time for his medicine again."
"OK, Nate. Guess I fell asleep watchin' the news." Wilmington rubbed his eyes trying to focus.
"Ain't good for 'ya, watchin' TV in the dark." Nathan said.
"OK,Nathan." Buck rolled his eyes. "I'm not the patient, remember?" Buck's smile faded as he remembered the 'patient' and looked over at the small lump under the covers. He pulled back the covers enough to reveal the kid's head, ruffling the dark hair. "Hey, son...time for your medicine."
JD didn't respond at all. The medicine the doctor had prescribed was so strong the boy was practically comatose.
Buck rubbed the boy's back. "JD, c'mon. Take your medicine like a good little boy now." Buck teased. JD still hadn't moved at all and Buck began to panic"Nate???"
"Calm down, Buck. I told you this is some strong stuff." Nathan sat down on the edge of the bed next to the boy. "And JD, well, he just doesn't react well to medicine. You know that."
"Yeah, I know..." Buck tried to get a grip on his run-away fear.
"JD" Nathan shook the boy slightly. "JD...son...c'mon now. I know you wanna sleep, but you gotta take this."
One tired hazel eye cracked open as JD rolled over on his side."N-N-Nathan???"
"There's our boy, Buck." Nathan smiled at the kid. "I ain't gonna ask how 'ya feel, son, I know it's pretty rough, right?"
"yeah" JD yawned and started to go under again.
"Wait, son. You gotta take this medicine, then you can go back to sleep." Nathan grabbed the pills and the glass of juice. "Buck, you wanna help him?"
Buck gently pulled the boy up into his arms and leaned him against his chest while Nathan gave him the medicine and juice.
"OK, son, you have permission for take off," Nathan grinned.
JD just smiled and leaned further into Buck. Buck took the weight easily and wrapped his arms a little tighter around the boy.
"Everybody leave, Nate?"
"Josiah and Ezra left. Vin and Chris are still in watchin' TV. We're probably all gonna be takin' off pretty soon. You know, we all have to... what's that Ram's slogan JD's been spoutin' all week??? Oh, yeah...we all'gotta go to work'in the mornin'. Unless...if you want, I can stay." Nathan offered.
"I think we'll be fine, Nate. But thanks, really." Buck appreciated Nathan's offer but he knew there'd be no trouble in handling the boy since he was sleeping 99% of the time.
"Chris said he didn't want to see you at work tomorrow either." Nathan grinned at the big man holding the boy in his arms. "I guess he thought he'd say it, just to remove any doubt in your mind, huh???"
"What about the fever, Nate?" Buck was worried that it still hadn't broken.
"It'll probably break during the night, Buck, or sometime tomorrow. The doctor said to give it 24 hours. I'll stop by on my way to work. Just to check. And then, let's see...I'm sure me and someone can drop by at lunch. Then...well...we'll come by on the way home." Nathan grinned.
"So, in other words, I should just leave the door open tomorrow, 'cause you guys are all gonna be traipsin' through here like Grand Central Station." Buck laughed. Yep, kid, every one of 'em wrapped around that little finger of yours.
"Hey, he never even asked who won." Nathan was surprised. They were all waiting to give JD a complete rundown on the game, when he was feeling 'much' better, but they all thought he'd at least ask who 'won' the next time he woke up.
"Don't matter," JD mumbled.
"Oh, it don't huh?" Buck laughed. "S'all you've talked 'bout for a week. Don't you wanna know if your team won, son?"
"You guys... are my team'n you're all winners." And the boy snuggled up a little closer to his big brother and drifted off.
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