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 (darn it all anyway…) This story is strictly for entertainment. No monetary gain will be made from it.

"He liked to like people, therefore people liked him"

~ Mark Twain

"WHERE'S THE KID???!!!" Buck Wilmington bellowed as he burst through the batwing doors of the saloon.

JD Dunne's eyes were wide with fright as he jumped up from his chair and hit the floor running.

Buck caught sight of the teen and set out after him, until he was apprehended by Josiah Sanchez.

"Hold on there, Brother Buck. Don't go doin' somethin' you'll regret later." Sanchez cautioned.

"Let go of me, Josiah," Buck protested. "I ain't gonna regret gettin' a hold of that youngster. He ain't gonna see twenty, that's for damn sure!"

JD had vaulted over the bar and was prepared to run out the back door if Josiah was not successful in getting Buck calmed down.

Buck pointed an accusing finger at the boy.

"JD!! I can't believe you did this to me…your best friend. You don't do this kind of thing to a man."

"C'mon, Buck. It was funny…you gotta admit that," JD smiled.

"I ain't gotta do no such thing," Buck snapped.

Chris Larabee, against his better judgement, entered into the fracas. "What'd the kid do this time, Buck?"

"That…that…runt over there went and told that pretty little thing at the bank that I had a disease," Buck explained.

The entire table broke out in laughter.

Barely a day would go by that JD and Buck didn't manage to do something to bring a smile to the other five men. If it wasn't Buck's mother-hen routine ~ then it was the kid's naivete that would endear him to them even more. The kid was like a breath of fresh air to them all.

"You mean you got somethin' besides animal magnetism, Buck?" Vin Tanner teased.

"You shut up…you encourage the kid." Buck pointed his finger at the tracker.

"Kid don't need no encouragement, Buck," Chris smiled. "You make it so easy for him."

JD leaned forward on the bar ~ he was beginning to think that the other five would be successful in calming Buck down enough that it may not be necessary for him to bolt.

Buck continued to rant and rave…"And she's gone and told all her lady friends…I ain't gonna be able to get a girl within fifty miles of here."

JD was giggling uncontrollably by now, which infuriated Buck even more.

Buck tried to break free from Josiah, who tightened his grip on the ladies man.

"Now…Buck," Josiah soothed. "It's just a harmless…childish prank. Not worth gettin' yourself in a lather over."

"Easy for you to say, preacher. I'm sure you've got yourself a partner for the dance this Saturday. No one in this town's gonna go with me," Buck pouted.

Buck finally managed to pull free from the larger man and made fast tracks toward JD.

"Now…Buck…calm down…I was just kiddin' around…that's all…" the boy pleaded as he started backing his way towards the rear exit.

"I will lay odds that our young Mr. Dunne will not find this situation quite as humorous in a short while." Ezra Standish looked up from the cards he was shuffling.

"I think it's great," Nathan Jackson stated. "JD takes so much crap from Buck all the time…good to see the kid get him back for a change."

"Maybe we'd better stop this before someone gets hurt," Chris said.

"You mean the kid?" Vin asked.

"Well…that's usually the way it goes." Chris rose from the table and headed towards Buck and the kid.

Buck and JD had a standoff of sorts for a few minutes ~ Buck trying to catch the youth ~ and JD trying to avoid the older man.

Buck finally managed to catch the kid in a flying tackle ~ sending them both crashing through the back screen door and the much larger man landing on top of the boy.

The laughter of the other five was suddenly silenced by the painful scream of JD.

Buck sprang to his feet. "JD???!!"

Nathan was there in a flash. "What's wrong, son?"

"My arm…" JD cried. "Oh…God…it…hurts, Nathan."

Nathan tried to examine the boy's arm ~ but JD screamed at the slightest touch.

"What's wrong, Nathan?" Buck worried.

"His arm's broken…pretty bad break, too…judging from his reaction…and the swelling." Nathan helped the teen into a sitting position.

"God…I'm sorry, kid," Buck apologized.

JD didn't say anything ~ he was too busy biting his lip and trying not to cry.

"JD? JD?" Buck whispered.

The youth turned his tear-filled eyes towards his best friend.

"I'm so sorry, kid." Buck put his hand on the kid's neck.

"It's OK…Buck…I'm…fine," JD said, as the tears spilled over and trailed down his cheeks.

The other six all exchanged a knowing glance at their youngest's comment.

"I assure you, Mr. Dunne…you have looked better," Ezra said.

"You'll be fine, son," Chris assured. "Nathan'll fix you up…good as new."

"Nathan…I'm gonna be…sick," JD cried, as he threw up.

"It's OK, kid. I bet you just had too much beer, huh?" Buck teased, tousling the boy's dark hair.

JD smiled slightly, making Buck beam.

"Let's get him over to my place," Nathan said.

Buck scooped the boy up tightly in his arms, being careful of the kid's broken arm.

"I…I can…walk…Buck," JD said, quietly.

"And so can I, JD. No need in both of us doin' it," Buck smiled.

"Thanks…Buck," the boy whispered. JD rested his head on his friend's chest and Buck could feel the boy relax completely as they made their way towards Nathan's clinic.

+ + + + + + +

"Lay him on the bed and step out, Buck," Nathan said.

"I wanna stay, Nathan," Buck said quietly as he laid the boy on the bed. He was so pale, obviously in shock.

"Step out, Buck," Nathan repeated.

Buck stroked the boy's hair. "You're gonna be fine, kid."

"OK…" JD whimpered.

JD…I'll be right back. You lay real still, OK?" Nathan instructed.

"Yeah…" as the boy drifted off.

Nathan stepped out of the room, his hand on Buck's shoulder, guiding him ahead.

The others were all in the outer room and gathered around the healer, looking to him for an update on their youngest member.

"His arm's broke…bad…probably in two places. It's gonna be hard to set it…and it's gonna be hard…real hard…on the kid. I'm gonna need help," Nathan said.

"I'll help," Buck offered.

"No…Buck…you're too close," Nathan stated.

"What the hell's that mean?" Buck was getting aggravated. Kid was hurt…and he wanted to be with him…he 'needed' to be with him.

Chris tried to calm his friend. "You're too emotional with the kid, Buck. You're gonna panic when he does."

"Chris' right, Buck. Don't worry, though…you'll put in plenty of time after it's set. You'll have to stay with him…won't no one else do for the boy…you know that," Nathan comforted. "I'm gonna need two of ya'll to help me."

"I'll help," Chris said.

"Good, Chris," Nathan smiled. "I was hopin' 'ya would…if'n the kid ain't gonna have Buck…he's definitely gonna need you."

"I'd be happy to help, too, Nathan." Josiah knew that his size and strength would be helpful in the situation at hand.

"Ok…we're set then," Nathan said. "Vin and Ezra, I'm gonna need you two to try to keep Buck calm out here."

Chris approached his oldest friend. "Buck…I know you wanna be in there with him…but you gotta do what's best for him. We gotta try to keep him calm."

"Nathan, can't 'ya just give him somethin' to put him out and do it?" Buck asked.

"I'd like to, Buck," Nathan agreed. "But if he's asleep, I won't know when it's set proper."

"But, Nate…it's gonna hurt him…so bad," Buck said, his eyes filling.

"I know, Buck." Nathan placed his hand on Buck's shoulder.

"Just think how good you're gonna look to the kid, Buck," Chris suggested. "You ain't gonna be one of the ones who hurts him."

"Yeah, Buck." Vin joined in Chris' attempt to make the gunslinger feel better. "You'll be the good guy."

Buck was still not happy.

"I should be in there with him," Buck said quietly.

As if to prove the point, the boy's panicked cry came from the other room…"BUCK!!"

The six men ran in to find the boy clutching his arm, sitting up and trying to get out of the bed.

"Hey, there, buddy…get your little ass back in that bed," Buck insisted.

"Where'd you go?" the teen asked, his scared hazel eyes pinning Buck down.

"Just right outside the door's all, kid," Buck said, getting the boy settled back in the bed.

"Oh," JD sighed. "Just got worried, that's all."

"Gotta keep an eye on you all the time, don't I?" Buck fretted.

"I don't need no…babysitter…Buck," JD snapped.

"So…gettin' cocky, are 'ya? You're OK, now?" Buck asked the boy, pushing his hair back from his eyes. "I'll just step out and Nathan can…"

"NO!!" JD panicked. "Don't leave me, Buck…please. I'm sorry."

"Nathan'll take care of 'ya, kid…and Chris and Josiah are gonna help him set your arm," Buck explained, trying ~ unsuccessfully ~ to get the kid calmed down.

"You're leavin' me?" JD asked, as tears started to trickle down his cheeks.

"It's better this way, JD," Nathan stated.

"Better??? For…who???" JD asked, the pain ~ and disappointment ~ clearly visible in his eyes.

"For you, son," Nathan said.

"No! I need Buck…here…with me," the boy whispered, grabbing his friends arm.

Nathan looked at the kid ~ and didn't have the heart to tell him that he didn't want Buck in the room.

"Buck…" Nathan looked to the teen's 'big brother', "can you take it? Tell me now, if 'ya can't?"

"Nathan…if'n the kid wants me…I can do this," Buck promised.

"I want 'ya, Buck," JD smiled.

Nathan relented. "OK…Buck and Chris stay, the rest of y'all…out."

Nathan pulled a chair up next the bed. "JD…son…?"

The boy opened his eyes and looked up to the healer.

"JD…I'm gonna have to set your arm. Now…son…it's gonna hurt. I ain't gonna lie to 'ya…it's gonna hurt real bad…but it's gotta be done. You understand that, JD?"

"Yeah," the small voice replied.

"Are you ready, son?" Nathan asked.

"Buck?" JD called.

Buck sat down on the bed next to the kid, placing his hand on the boy's chest.

"Yeah, kid?"

"We ready?" the boy asked his best friend.

Chris smiled. Sweet kid. Hurting like he is ~ he's worried if Buck's ready for what's coming.

"I'm ready…if you are…kid," Buck vowed.

"OK…Nathan," JD said.

Nathan took charge. "Buck…you hold his shoulders down and Chris…you keep his legs as still as possible. I don't want a lot of josslin' around."

"It'll be over real soon, kid…I promise," Buck said, stroking the boy's hair.

"OK…everybody get ready," Nathan said.

Nathan heard JD take a deep breath and noticed he grabbed Buck's arm ~ and figured the time was right.

He yanked the boy's arm and set the bone.

The others outside heard the boy's scream.

"Goddamn!!" Vin cursed. "Sorry, Josiah."

"I'm sure the Lord understands, Vin. I'm sure he knows you're worried," Josiah comforted.

"Dear Lord…watch over our young lamb and keep him in your constant care." Josiah prayed.

+ + + + + + +

JD was whimpering in pain.

"JD…son?" Buck asked, trying to bring the boy back to them.

JD looked up into the eyes of his best friend.

"You're gonna be OK, kid," Buck promised, wiping the sweat from the boy's face ~ he was white as a sheet.

"You done, Nathan?" Chris asked.

"Just about…I just need to check his wrist…need to make sure it's set proper." Nathan said, reaching for the teen's wrist.

"No!" JD jerked away from the healer.

"JD…I know I hurt you," Nathan apologized. "I'm real sorry about that…but I need to check your wrist, son. If it ain't set just right, JD, you'll have real problems with it."

"No…it's fine," JD told Nathan.

Buck laughed. "Oh…so you're a doctor now, are 'ya?"

"Leave me alone, Buck," JD snapped.

The pain was making JD irritable. The boy had been through a lot ~ and it was taking it's toll on him.

"C'mon, JD…let Nathan look at 'ya," Buck pleaded.

"You don't care how much it hurts, anyway…do 'ya?" JD accused Buck.

"JD!" Chris disciplined the boy. "You're just hurtin', son. You don't mean that."

"Maybe he does, Chris. Do you mean that, kid? You think I don't care? Huh?" Buck asked.

"I'm sorry…" JD apologized. "OK…Nathan."

"I'll be real careful, JD," Nathan promised.


"Yeah, kid?"

"I'm sorry…I didn't mean…" JD started.

"Ssshhh," Buck said, placing his finger gently on the boy's lips. "I know, kid."

"Thanks, Buck," JD grinned, grabbing the man's hand.

Chris smiled observing his two friends. The two could never stay mad at each other ~ at least not for very long. One of them would always give in…sometimes the boy…sometimes the older man…but they'd always make up before things got too far out of hand.

Buck held JD's hand as he flinched several times during Nathan's examination.

Nathan apologized each time. "Sorry, JD."

"Just…finish…OK?" JD begged.

"Yeah, Nathan. Hurry up, will 'ya?" Buck pleaded.

Chris could see that JD's knuckles were white from gripping Buck's had so hard. He could also see sweat starting to bead on Buck's face from the kid's squeezing.

"I'm done, JD. Maybe I should check Buck's hand, huh?" Nathan said, patting the boy's cheek and noticing the grip the boy had on the older man's hand.

"Sorry…Buck…" JD said, but still not letting go.

"Never you mind, kid," Buck said, placing his other hand over the top of the teen's.

"So…Nate…everything OK?" Chris asked.

"Yeah. I'm gonna splint everything and put it in a sling," Nathan noted.

"We'll be done here real soon, JD," Buck said.

Nathan finished putting JD's arm in a sling.

"I'm done, JD. Now…I want 'ya to take this and you'll feel a lot better, OK?" Nathan said, offering the boy the laudanum.

"Where's Buck?" JD asked.

"I'm right here, kid," Buck said, placing his hand on the kid's chest.

"If I take this…you gonna be here when I wake up?" the boy asked ~ his huge hazel eyes locked on Buck.

"Sure, kid. Where else can a man have this much fun," Buck teased.

Nathan gave the youth the laudanum and he was soon sleeping soundly.

Buck sat in his usual spot ~ a chair next to the bed ~ close enough to touch the boy.

He continued to stoke JD's hair, even though the boy was completely unaware ~ but it made Buck feel better.

"Sorry about all this, kid. I never meant for you to get hurt," Buck soothed.

"Not…your…fault," the boy whispered, sleepily.

"Well…welcome back, kid," Buck grinned.

"Where'd…I…go?" JD smiled, never opening his eyes.

"Oh…up to teasin' ol' Buck, huh? I guess you're feelin' better." Buck patted the boy's cheek.

"Yeah," JD said.

"Good. Like I was sayin', kid, I'm real sorry about his. I never meant for you to get hurt," Buck admitted.

"Not…your…fault," JD repeated.

"Yeah, it is," Buck stated.

"Why…is everything…your fault…Buck?" JD asked, groggily.

"Well…everything ain't my fault, JD…but this sure as hell is," Buck said.

"Nah…I was askin' for it," JD yawned.

"No…kid…I'm sorry. I didn't mean…" Buck began…

JD placed his fingers gently on the older man's lips…

"Ssshhh…I know, Buck," he said as he drifted off.


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