Not Ham by Sue M.

Characters: JD, Buck, Seven

Summary: Never leave it too late to shop for Thanksgiving!


JD had to apologize yet again for another cart crash. The woman did not look amused and huffed off. As they traversed the busy supermarket at three hours to midnight, JD ducked Buck's glare.

"'Let's have it at our place, Buck...with all the trimmings, Buck'," the big man mimicked. "Chris was all set to play host, but oooh, nooo...the genius that is John Daniel Dunne had to suggest the guys coming to us for Thanksgiving."

"I was drunk," JD winced. "We all were."

"I believe Ezra would agree with you there...judging by the way he was convinced he would never have agreed had he did he put it? Oh yeah...abstemious."

"Just say sober, Buck, `cause that's what he meant. Sorry! Jesus, some of these people need to learn to be patient." JD rubbed at his hip where the cart handle had just bounced off after crunching into another hurrying shopper.

Buck tossed a large ham into the cart, his tone edging on sarcastic. "Hmm...maybe it's getting kinda frantic because it's Thanksgiving tomorrow...and all the stores will be closed." He got into JD's face. "And we still don't have a turkey yet!"

JD made a face. "Not Mr. Puhktar's store, he's always open."

"Yeah, well Jaleeb doesn't sell Turkey."

Huffing, JD stalked off, returning with armfuls of chips and dips to drop in the cart. "Balls."

Buck's eyebrows shot up. "Same to you!"

JD rolled his eyes. "Stuffing balls."

Buck grinned. "Oh...sorry." The pair looked at each other, and laughed.

"Buck, I'm sorry. I had no idea that damned case would take so long to wrap up. I thought we'd be free and clear before now."

Buck moved in and put his arm around JD's shoulders. "Hey...forget it. I'm just cranky, it's been a long week."

Approaching the freezers, they noticed the final remaining Turkey about the same time as a rather large lady. Like a rat out of a trap, JD launched himself at it, to find himself on his ass, on the floor and nursing a bloody nose. As Buck lifted him to his feet, JD groaned and looked at him dazedly.

"Did I get it?"

"Uh, no."

JD glared at the back of the triumphant woman. "I should arrest her."

Buck grinned. "For what, kid, taking possession of a frozen turkey?"

"It was ours!" JD wailed, grateful for the balled up toilet paper Buck had just handed him as they headed for the checkouts.

"Yeah, well it's hers now, kid."


"Is your brother okay?"

Buck flashed an easy smile at the cashier while he placed their goods on the belt. "Yeah...he lost a turkey."

She glanced at JD, who was slumped in a chair at the back of the checkouts and dabbing at his nose. " can put up a `lost' poster on our notice board, if it'll help."

Buck laughed. "Yeah, might just do that."

Dragging a disconsolate JD out to the truck, they proceeded to hit every store within a fifteen mile radius, but to no avail. Buck slapped JD's knee.

"Sorry, kid. There's not a turkey in the whole of Denver."

"Turkey-less at Thanksgiving and seven men to feed." JD sighed and patted his pockets. "Where's my gun?"

Buck signaled to exit the highway and head home. "Why, you planning on shooting one?"

"No," JD sighed, heavily. "Just me."

As they carried in their bags, Buck smiled. "We got a ham." He grinned at the look he received. "I'll even let you carve." Buck laughed again, this time at the returned gesture. "No need for that," he mock scolded.


While Buck put away the food, JD snatched up a pack of beers and sank three in succession. With no food inside him, he was well oiled when he answered the phone.

"VIN! Hic...Vin...we...we only got ham..."

There was a pause. "What, for dinner? Kinda late, isn't it?"

JD waved his hand in the air. "Noooo...for...hic... for Thankssssgivinngg."

"You sayin' you ain't got a turkey for tomorrow?"

"She...beat me to it..." he gestured with his elbow, despite Vin not able to see it. " like that...cow! She got ou...our turkey."

"Kid...let me speak to Buck..."

"I'm ssssorry...tomorrow' s gonna...gonna be sshhhit!"

"Yo...kid...put Buck on!" Vin cursed as JD hung up. He dialed Buck's cell. "Is JD okay?"

Buck glanced across at the kid. "Gonna be asleep any minute, I reckon."

"Was just checkin' if you wanted me to bring somethin' tomorrow."

"A turkey?" Buck sighed.

Vin paused for a moment. "So...JD wasn't joshin'?"

"Nope. But we got ham."

Vin laughed. "Not ham! Standish'll be thrilled."

"Uh huh. Nah, just bring yourself, Junior...I'll review it again if JD decides to drink his way through the crate of beers we bought."

Saying `goodbye', Buck hauled JD off the sofa. "Bed!"

"Thanksss for the offer...but I'm kinda tired." JD giggled as he was helped to his room. He flopped onto his bed.

Removing JD's sneakers, Buck patted him on the head. "Say goodnight, kid."

"G'night...kid..." He managed to prop himself up on one elbow. "Buck..."

Now at the door, Buck looked back. "Yeah?"

"'M sorry."

Returning to the side of JD's bed, Buck placed a hand on his shoulder. "Not your fault. It was just bad timing. Remember, it's not just about the food, it's also about who we're sharing it with." He felt JD nod, slowly. "Go to sleep." Buck decided to stay until JD had done just that, then walked through the condo shutting off lights and checking the doors were locked. He shrugged. "Eh...I like ham."


The next day saw the guys arrive one by one; all carrying an offering toward the celebration, and all noting JD hadn't been there to greet them. Still with Vin and Chris to come, Josiah decided to ask.

"Where's JD?"

Buck glanced toward JD's room, and then around at them. "He'll be here. He tied one on last night and is feeling sorry for himself this morning."

"Try this afternoon," Ezra interjected, tapping his wristwatch. "May one ask as to why the young man is out of sorts...or do I not want to know?"

Pursing his lips, the brunet was about to speak when JD appeared, a little pale, but otherwise okay.

"We didn't get a turkey," he mumbled.

Standish sat up straighter. "Oh...did you decide on a goose?"

"A goose at Thanksgiving? " Nathan asked.

"Indeed, it has a delicate flavor and perfectly accompanies the rich assortment of fare that is served at this particular holiday."

"Chicken? Did you decide on chicken?" Josiah asked.

JD hung his head. "Ham."

All three men did a double take. "Did...did you say...ham?" Nathan repeated.

Ezra frowned. "Surely, not...ham?"

JD sighed, Buck took over. "Because of the case...we kinda left it late to shop. There wasn't a turkey left in the whole city."

Seeing JD's shoulders slump even further, the three rallied.

"Ham...splendid choice," Ezra enthused, a little too hard.

"I love a good ham," Josiah smiled.

"Turkey's overrated, anyway," Nathan added.

"Did someone say `turkey'?"

All heads turned to see Vin and Chris enter, the latter carrying a huge roasting dish covered in foil. Aiming for the perfectly decorated table, Chris put the dish down in the center and pulled off the foil.

"Turkey!" four voices said in unison.

JD's jaw dropped and he looked at the two men. " We checked everywhere."

Accepting a beer and dropping down onto the sofa, Vin grinned. "It's fresh."

Chris enjoyed a long pull of his newly acquired brew and took over. "Damned Texan dragged me out of bed at four this morning to go hunting." He pointed at the turkey. "This wily little bastard better taste good, it led us over half the countryside."

All but JD laughed, the youth still staring at the fat, juicy, browned bird. He finally looked at the pair. " hunted for it?"

Vin grinned. "Had a great time. I'd forgotten how much fun it could be...huntin' for dinner."

" it okay?" Chris asked, a twinkle in his eye. "We could have the ham...if you prefer..."

"NO!" JD finally grinned. "No, not ham!" He pointed at the turkey. "Guys, this is awesome...thank you." No one missed the flash of hero worship for the saviors of the moment. JD gestured toward the kitchen, hoping no one noticed he was all choked up, "I'll just go check on the yams."

Buck watched him go, then turned to Chris and Vin. "Damn...thanks, boys."


That Thanksgiving day, seven friends ate and drank until fit to burst, and laughed until they cried. A very naked turkey sat in the center of the table, not just there to be devoured, but also as a reminder of how true friends pull together, no matter what. Chris raised his glass.

"Happy Thanksgiving! "

The other six joined him in the toast, while JD wondered if the lady from the store had enjoyed her day, too.

The End