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 donít own the characters (although I would be willing to make an offer on JD.) This story is strictly for entertainment. No monetary gain will be made from it. Note: This is my first shot at anything like this, so please donít expect much. Comments and creative criticism greatly appreciated at: ltcpl@icss.net

By Linda
JD Dunne stepped through the doors of the saloon, hoping to get a nice breakfast and mug of milk. No sooner had he entered, than he knew it was going to be a long day.

Oh no, he thought, theyíre at it againalready.

They were Chris Larabee and Buck Wilmington. The two were having a heated argument last night, too. JD had grown tired of listening to all of the arguing and gone off to get some sleep.

"Did you guys go home last night, or is this still the same argument?" JD asked, smiling.

Chris answered JD with a steel-eyed look. "Butt-out JD. This donít concern you!"

Uh-oh, JD thought. For Christís sake – it was only 7:00 in the morning and Chris was already in one of his really bad moods.

"Donít go jumpiní on the boy now, Chris," Buck said, coming to JDís defense, as always. "Boyís just watching out for you."

Chris glared at Buck, then at JD. "When I need a kid like him watching out for me, Iíll let him know."

"ChrisÖI justÖ" JD started and then thought better when Chris stood up from his chair and started towards him.

Chris stopped in front of JD, and standing a head taller than the boy, leaned over until he was right in his face. "Shut up, JD. Just shut up!"

JD swallowed hard and bit his lower lip. The boy looked up to Chris so much that his words hurt as bad as if heíd struck him. 'Course, JD would soon be able to make that comparison.

"ChrisÖI was just gonnaÖ" JD startedÖ.


After two days of arguing and bickering with Buck, Chris had finally snapped and swung at the kid, catching him square on the jaw.

JD spun around like a top and crumpled hard to the floor, his head striking the bar on the way down.

"You son-of-a-bitch!!!" Buck screamed.

Buck knelt down to check on JD, who wasnít moving. He rolled the kid over and saw that he was bleeding from a nasty looking gash above his right eye and the left side of his face had a red welt on it from Chrisí fist.

"JD. Come on, son, can you hear me?" Buck asked the boy. "JD. Come on now, kid, you hear me, donít you?"

JDís long eyelashes began to flutter slightly. He opened his huge hazel eyes and Buck felt as if a large weight had been lifted off his chest.

"There now" Buck sighed. "Thatís my boy."

JD looked at Buck, through tear-filled eyes. "BuckÖ" his voice barely audible, and tears rolling down his cheeks, "BuckÖmy head really hurts."

"I know, JD. I know." Buck said. "Letís get you over to Nathanís. Do you think you can stand up, JD?"

Chris stepped toward the two and bent over to help Buck get JD up off the floor.

"Stay the hell away from him!" Buck seethed, as he stood and stared down Chris. "You have helped him enough. I am through defending you and your moods, Chris. It ends here, and it ends now."

"BuckÖ" Chris began.

"Get away, Chris, before I do something Iíll regret. Like you just did."

Buck knelt back down to JD.

JD was holding his hand to his head. "BuckÖ" he cried. "BuckÖit hurts."

"I know, JD. Letís get going. Come on buddy. Letís get you on your feet."

Buck grabbed JD under his arms and pulled him up. He kept his hand on JDís arm as the boy tried to balance himself.

Buck watched JD carefully as he swayed unsteadily. He grabbed JDís face, careful not to touch where Chris had hit him, or the gash over his eye, and looked him in the eyes.

"Think you can make it, buddy?" Buck asked the kid quietly.

"Sure." JD said, trying to sound braver than he felt.

Buck wasnít sureÖand was ready when JD collapsed. He caught the boy before he hit the floor and scooped him up in his arms and made his way quickly to Nathanís makeshift clinic.

Nathan Jackson looked up, startled from his game of checkers with Josiah Sanchez, as Buck burst through the door, carrying JDís limp form.

"What happened?" Nathan asked.

Buck gritted his teeth. "Got punched in the saloon and hit his head ." Buck saw no need to get Nathan all riled up at the moment with all the grisly details. Besides, he wasnít sure how much JD was comprehending and didnít want to upset the kid by reminding him that his hero had done this to him.

"How is he?" Buck asked, as he ran his hands through his hair with worry.

"Nasty gash." Nathan observed. "Gonna need some stitches. Probably a concussion, too."

JD began to stir. "Buck??!!Ö. Buck???!!!"

Buck bent over so JD could see him. "Iím right here, JD. Youíre gonna be fine. Nathanís gonna take real good care of you."

Josiah pulled Buck away from JD and Nathan and asked, "What happened?"

Josiah had never seen so much pain in Buckís eyes before. "Buck? What happened? Was the kid breaking up a bar fight, or what?"

"I wish." Buck replied.

Buck said three more words to Josiah before he stormed out of the clinicÖ. "Chris hit him!"

Vin was making his way towards the saloon when he noticed Buck approaching from the opposite direction.

"Morning, Buck." Vin drawled. "Beautiful day, ainít it?"

"It ainít!!!" Buck snapped. Vin noticed the grim look on Buckís face.

"Whatís wrong, Buck?" Vin asked as they both made their way up the saloon steps.

"Just stay out of whatever happens in here, Vin," was all Buck said.

Vin grabbed Buckís arm as they went through the saloon doors.

"Buck!! Whatís gonna happen????"

"Thatís up to Chris." Buck said firmly.

As they walked into the saloon, Buck spotted Chris at a table with Ezra Standish. Ezra was shuffling cards, staring at Chris, who sat across from him, his head hanging in his hands.

Buck stomped up to the table and slapped his hands down hard.

"How is he?" Chris asked, not daring to look up at Buck.

"Do you even care, Chris? Or, are you just asking to be polite?" Buck asked sarcastically.

"Mr. Larabee has told me what has transpired here today, and has seemed remorseful, I must say, for his acts. How is the poor boy?" Ezra asked.

"Nathan said heís got a concussion. Hear that, Chris. A concussion. And then, of course, thereís his broken spirit to consider." Buck was furious.

"I really am sorry, Buck. Iíve just been on edge lately. Wound up pretty tight." Chris explained.

"So that makes it OK? Besides, Iím not the one you need to apologize to, Chris."

"I know. Oh, God, I know. But how can I look at the kid. He hates me now."

"No I donít," a weak voice said.

Everyone spun around, shocked to see JD standing just inside the door, supported by Nathan on one side, Josiah on the other. The gash on JDís head was still bleeding and the bruises on his face were turning several colors against his pale skin.

"Whatís he doing here?" Buck asked, alarmed.

"Couldnít talk no sense into the boy." Nathan explained. "Got all panicked when you left. Afraid you and Chris were going to come to blows. Wouldnít listen to reason, insisted we bring him over here to check on yíall. Wouldnít even let me stitch his head until he made sure yíall were all right."

Buck walked over to JD and placed his hands on his shoulders and looked down into the kidís face.

"JDÖyou are gonna be the death of me, boy. You should be letting Nathan take care of you, not making him haul you over here to check up on me." Then, Buck weakened when he looked at JDís young face, pulled him close and gave him a big bear of a hug.

"BuckÖ" JD said softly, "I need to talk to Chris. You gonna help me over there or not?" JD pleaded.

Buck put his arm around JD and steadied him as he made his way to Chrisí table.

Ezra got up and removed himself from the table, figuring the boy and Chris might appreciate some privacy.

Buck helped JD sit down opposite Chris and then stepped away.

"Iím sorry, JD." Chris sobbed. The man-in-black had been reduced to tears when he saw the boyís face as he walked into the saloon.

"Chris, I didnít come here for an apology. I came here to make sure you were OK. Buck was awful mad at you when he left Nathanís. I was scared he was going to hurt you." JD explained.

Chris broke down again.

"ChrisÖ.itís OK." JD went on. "I know I was asking for it. I know Iím a pain in your ass and I should have left you alone when I saw you were in a bad mood. Iím sorry I made you so mad."

"JD, you certainly arenít the one who needs to be making apologies here. There is no way I can make this up to you." Chris said. "You certainly didnít deserve what you got. Nobody would deserve that, but especially not you."

"Itís OK, Chris," JD said. "I just donít want this to come between you and Buck."

"Iím afraid it already has, JD." Chris mumbled.

JDís eyes started to fill. "You and Buck are best friends, Chris."

"No." Chris said, sadly. "I think that honor belongs to you now, JD. Has for quite some time now."

"Is that why you hit me, Chris?" JD inquired, tears now rolling down his red and bruised cheeks.

"Maybe. Still no excuse." Chris said. "I canít go around pounding on people for stuff like that, especially someone your size, JD."

"Buck?" JD turned, looking for his friend.

Buck slid into the chair next to JD and put his hand on the kidís shoulder.

"Yeah, kid?"

"I think you and Chris need to have a talk now." JD yawned and hung his head in his hands. The concussion was obviously beginning to take a hold of him. "Maybe I should get back to Nathanís now. Iím feeling pretty shot."

"Iíll help you." Buck said as he started to get up from his chair.

JD stopped him by placing his hand on Buckís shoulder this time.

"NoÖ.you stay here," JD insisted.

Nathan and Josiah stepped forward and helped JD out of his chair, steadied him, and then proceeded to escort the boy back to Nathanís.

Ezra and Vin both thought that they might prefer the atmosphere of the clinic also, and followed.

Chris finally found the nerve to look Buck in the face. "Some kid, isnít he?"

"Yeah." Buck said quietly, thinking back on what JD had said. "Guess he thinks my place is here with you. What do you think, Chris?"

"Iíd like that, Buck. I truly would." Chris said.


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