Rating: T - Suitable for teens, 13 years and older, with some violence, minor coarse language, and minor suggestive adult themes.  I'm switching over to these Fiction Ratings.  Fiction Ratings.

AU: LB/ATF Thanks Mog for the ATF/AU! And thanks to K. Poffenberger and S. Berry for creating the LB universe.

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven is owned by Trilogy, Mirish and MGM. No money is being made. This fanfic is purely for entertainment purposes.

Author's Notes: I'm not sure when I wrote this. It was in my 2006 folder, so it must have been in the spring or summer. I wasn't real sure about it so I never did anything with it. I sent it over to Phyllis last night and she made some great corrections and gave me the idea to change it to Christmas and post it for the fest. Thanks Phyllis!

Mentions 'JD's Missed Adventure' by Phyllis.

Merry Christmas!


What's Important


By: Ruby

"Ohh, Buck, look at that one," little five year old JD Dunne breathed out, staring raptly at the trucks in the toy aisle at Wal*Mart.

Buck Wilmington smiled down at his foster son. He and JD had been in the toy department for about a half an hour. JD loved toys of all kinds; he could stay in the toy section all day long if they'd let him. He never asked for anything, didn't even really seem to want to take any of the toys home, just stared, bewitched by all the colors and shapes and sizes.

There was only a week until Christmas. Buck figured that the store would be packed with shoppers but surprisingly there weren't that many people. He and JD didn't need to do any more Christmas shopping; they'd finished up the week before. He'd just had to get a couple things from Automotive and then when they'd passed the toy aisle on the way out he couldn't resist a walk through. 'Heck, if it made JD happy,' he thought as he smiled warmly.

Buck figured that JD was probably too old to ride in the little kid's seat in the cart. And if he'd been the normal size for his age, he probably would have been too big. But JD fit just fine and he liked to be there, closer to Buck. And Buck liked having him there, safe and secure.

Buck had a horrible fear of losing the child. Especially in a Wal*Mart.

JD had been taken from him at the Wal*Mart on the other side of town. Buck never went back to that one even though it was closer to the ranch. No, he drove to this one across town. He had such an aversion to the other one that just driving by it made his stomach twist and his skin break out in a cold sweat.

"But I want it. I want it. I WANT IT!"

Buck winced, hearing a small girl's blood curdling screams from the next aisle over.

JD turned wide eyes up to him.

The crying got louder and Buck flinched, seeing the cart being pushed into their aisle.

"Now, dear, you can't have it all."

"But I said I WANT it. I WANT IT!" The little girl, also sitting in the cart's seat, kicked out, hitting the harried mother in the thigh, leaving a smudge on her expensive-looking business suit.

"Now, honey..."

"But I WANT IT!"

"Okay, Okay, sweetie. Mommy will get it for you." And the woman darted over to the next aisle and came back with a huge box, something `Barbie', and put it on top of her already-loaded cart. A thick layer of toys was piled haphazardly on top of the food items.

"Are you happy now?"

"Yes, mommy."

They came closer to Buck and JD.

JD stared at the child, his eyes huge and his mouth puckered into an `o'.

Reaching up and turning JD's face away to keep him from gaping, Buck grimaced when the woman looked down her nose at them. How someone so much shorter could look down her nose at a six foot four inch man, Buck had no idea. But she was doing it.

She raked her sharp eyes over JD, who was staring at her again. Then she looked up at Buck.

Buck wondered if his revulsion was showing on his face. He screwed his features up into something more bland, cleared his throat and nodded once at her.

She harrumphed and turned her head away sharply, pushing the cart faster down the aisle and away from them.

"Whew!" Buck let out the breath he didn't know he'd been holding.

His neck stretched as far as it could, JD stared after them. Finally, he shook his head and looked up at Buck. "That girl sure had lots of stuff, Buck," he breathed out.

"I know." Buck raised his eyebrows as he grinned.

"Why's she need that much stuff?" JD asked him thoughtfully.

Buck's brow furrowed. "I don't know, kiddo."

"Hmmm." JD glanced in the direction of the new screams and sighed. "She just doesn't understand." He shook his head sadly and sighed again.

Buck leaned down, closer to the boy. "Understand what, little bit?"

JD looked up at him searchingly. He shrugged one shoulder as he swung his feet gently in mid air. He swallowed and then shook his head. "She doesn't understand that she should be happy with what she's got. There are kids..." he looked down, his face scrunched up in a frown, and shrugged again, "who don't have anything."

Oh, Damn it. Buck's throat closed up. He gently kissed JD on the top of his head and pulled him into a hug.

JD squeaked in delight, grasping onto Buck and letting him pull him out of the cart when he straightened up. Standing there with JD attached to his hip, Buck smiled fondly down at him and hugged him again.

JD looked up at him. "What was that for?"

Buck shrugged, smirking slightly. "Just... wanted to hug you is all..." He tweaked his nose. "I can do that..." he tickled him, "...right?"

"Yep!" JD hugged him back, squeezing him around his neck.

"So," Buck awkwardly pushed the cart one handed while holding onto JD with the other, "you want to pick out a toy? Get something for Vin too? Something that we're sure Santa Claus isn't bringing you."

JD looked up at him, his brow scrunched up. He shrugged. "Don't need anythin'."

"Well I know that, silly." Buck poked him in the belly. "But don't you want something?"

JD gazed at him. "I've got you, Buck."

Buck sucked in his top lip, the corners of his mouth turning down. His eyes burned and he blinked rapidly. Pulling JD in tight, he kissed the top of his head again.

JD laughed happily.

"Yep, you sure do, lil bit. You sure do." Buck smiled warmly.

JD looked up and down the aisle at all the toys. After a moment, he shrugged. "We could get Vin a Transformer, he loves them. And we could get something for the dogs. A new ball, or something?" he asked hopefully.

"Oh, yeah." Buck grinned happily. "Sounds like a plan to me, kiddo."

"All right!" JD smiled happily. "And you know what else? We could ask the boys if they want to come for supper. And we could watch Prancer. And we could roast mursh-mallows in the fireplace? And..."

"I think we could handle that," Buck told him, smiling.

"We could have corn on the cobs, and sweet potatoes, and..." JD chattered as they started down the aisle.

December 2006


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