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A Hazzard County Christmas-BoJamesDuke and DaisyMaeDuke


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Community Service....those words sounded almost foreign...it was very rare Boss ever let money slip through his fat fingers, especially not the amount that the fake tickets added up to. Shaking his head, he stood up a bit straighter and folded his arms, his temper rising to the surface.

"Alright Boss, what d'you want....and I don't care what kinda amount of money you got holdin' over me...I ain't doin hours on hours of pointless tasks when I'm tryin' t'not only hold a farm t'gether with Luke, but also trying t'hold my family t'gether!"

He hadn't really meant t'say it...he hadn't really let anyone know - not even Cooter - how bad off Luke was, how much the family was falling apart. However, it was getting harder and harder to keep things under control when the pressure just kept mounting.

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Cooter looked at Bo curiously as he said that, but didn't ask questions figuring he'd have a chance later.

"I don't care what you're tryin' to do Bo Duke...fact is, our county funds are low," said Boss in a sweet voice implying that he didn' have any idea how they got that way. "And we can't afford a town Santy Claus this year...now your uncle used to do it every year an the kids liked him for some reason...we need a Santa Claus that the kids will like...(and put him in my stores so the mothers can shop....which I'll like!)" whispered Boss to Rosco.

"A town Santy Claus?" asked Cooter.

"And if you don't, the REAL Santa will be visitin' you in the pokey!"

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As soon as those words passed Boss' lips, Bo's anger instantly melted away and was replaced with a deep sinking feeling in his stomach. Town Santa Claus....for as long as he could remember Jesse had always been the town Santa Claus, even he had unknowingly sat on his Uncle's lap in the town square watched by his Aunt when he was a kid....always amazed when he usually got pretty much everything he had asked for...or it at least came really really close. He hadn't even given a thought as to who would replace him...he hadn't even thought he would ever be replaced...and here he was being asked to be that replacement. He didn't know whether to feel angry, insulted or just plain upset.

Swallowing hard, his gaze which had suddenly turned to the floor as if he had found the tips of his boots much more interesting turned back to Boss....and even Rosco recoiled a little at the hurt and lost look in Bo's eyes. Bo coughed a little to try and clear the lump in his throat before saying in a tight voice.

"I urm...I...why didn't you just ask...why d'you have t'turn everythin' inta a threat? That was Uncle Jesse's job...I should be...honoured that you asked me t'take over from him...why d'you gotta spoil that?!"

Really he knew it wasn't Boss' fault that he felt the way he did....it was just eaisier taking it out on the fat man in front of him.

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In that second, Boss Hogg did grow silent. In Jesse Duke he had lost more than a town Santa, he had lost a fellow ridge-runner and, admittngly or no, a friend. His stubborn nature refused to apologize, although his tone softened as he said, "You can pick up the costume any time..."

Coter just shook his head. He had seen Boss Hogg do some pretty mean and low down tricks before...but this took the cake. He wanted to pummell him but the last thing Bo needed to be worried about was his friend being in jail for assaulting a marshmallow. So he consoled himself by biting his tongue and clenching his fists.

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"I'll think about it."

That was the only reply Bo gave before pushing away from the General and heading into the garage alone. He wasn't about to be pushed around by anyone when it concerned Uncle Jesse, and although he had gotten past much of his grief and was in no way as bad off as his older cousin was, there were still things about his Uncle that were sore and too raw to talk about or sometimes even think about. No amount of threats to do with money or jail time was going to change that. Sighing, he flopped down onto one of the chairs Cooter kept around, leaning forward and putting his head in his hands gently.

He heard some sort of commotion going on outside, heard Boss getting all hot under the coller and Rosco just bumbling his way through some sort of incompletly thought out threat....heard Cooter as always jumping to his defense and telling Boss in no uncertain terms where he could go. That was one thing he could always rely on...that when things got hard, he'd always have a friend there ready to go through those things with him, to help him....and it wasn't always Luke.

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Cooter soon came in, but stayed quiet for the most part figuring Bo would open up when he wanted. When Bo stayed quiet for an extended amount of time, however, Cooter decided to take things into his own hands. "Take it...old Lukas isn't doing so great...."

He really didn't even have to ask. If Luke had been doing fine, he would be here, telling Bo not to worry and thinking up a scheme that would make Boss regret the day he put Bo in a santa suit.

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For a moment after the question had been asked, nothing happened. Bo remained as he had been sitting, and gave no indication that he had even heard his friend's concerned part question part statement. Truth was he didn't know how to answer that honestly....it was true Luke wasn't doing so great...but then again none of them were handling the situation ideally. Luke was just being Luke...maybe a more intense, emphasized version but that was what his cousin did when he was upset...always had been. It always played on Bo's mind that maybe they were just making too big a deal over the way Luke was handling things...if they left him alone maybe their lost sheep would come home to them before long, in his own time and in his own way. Course, another part of his head told him he that was just plain crazy.

Eventually he raised his head with a small nod before getting up and heading back outside now the Boss had retreated back to the saftey of the courthouse.

"We best get a move on Cooter, otherwise all those good trees'll be gone...you gonna ride in the General or being yer own truck? I brought the trailer along..."

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"I'll take my truck. Knowing the way you drive we might need it," he teased. He knew from experience that if Luke wasn't being himself then likely the banter between the cousins was minimal at best. He figured he was as good a person as any to step in where needed.

"By the way...got a message for you at the Boar's Nest earlier..." He dug around in his pocket, his tong peeping out the side of his mouth. Finally he fished out a greasy napkin. "Hope you can read it....Mary Jane...that new waitress...wanted you to have her number...."

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Bo couldn't help but smile at the banter as he climbed into the window of the General, stopping his full slide into it though as Cooter passed the napkin his way. Biting his lip a little he took it with a small nod, but admitted quietly.

"Thanks for that Cooter but...I don't know i'm in the mood right now t'be datin' again...I don't feel like i'm that much fun t'be around if m'honest...it'd take someone pretty special t'put up with me at the moment.."

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Cooter nodded, but then broke into a sheepish grin. "Well...I'll just have t' try an console her..." He laughed a little pocketing the napkin before going to his truck and getting inside.

The only thought in his mind was that it was going to take a very special something to bring the family back around...and he prayed whatever it was would happen soon.

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~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~

It wasn't until a few days later though, and after much conversation with Daisy about what Boss had proposed, that Bo was finally standing in front of the mirror in his bedroom with the door closed, trying on his Uncle's Santa Suit. Course, the county had had to supply some padding as no child was going to believe Santa suddenly become skinny over the past year. Other than that though, the suit fit perfectly and Bo could have sworn it still had Uncle Jesse's smell and warmth in it, as though he'd just taken it off and handed it to Bo himself. In a way, it was comforting for Bo to have that little piece of his Uncle with him, it was nice to be a part of the tradition his Uncle had started in the family. Turning this way and that to inspect himself from all sides, Bo couldn't help but smile at the sight of himself. He had to admit, he did look convincing enough, though it would be hard to measure up to Jesse's so natural protrayal.

He was quickly brought back to attention however as the doorknob to his room rattled - he having locked it while he was trying on the suit, afraid of Luke's reaction if he saw him. Quickly he started scrambling to pull the black boots off, calling out in as calm a voice as he could.

"Who's that?"

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Giving a sigh of relief, Bo released the foot he had been holding whilst trying to wrench the black boot off, heading to the door and opening it carefully with a smile behind the white beard and moustache that adorned his face.

"Sorry Dais...I didn't want Luke walkin in while I was tryin' this on is all..."

Moving aside he let her in, his smile quickly fading though as he saw she had once again been crying. He hated how much she had been doing that lately...not because it was annoying but because he usually knew the cause for her tears and it killed him that he couldn't do anything to stop it as much as he would try.

"Everythin ok darlin'?"

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Daisy stepped in quietly, her mascara streaked a little around her eyes.

"No...things ain't okay...at all...I'm really getting worried about him...Miz Forster at the dry cleaners called...said his pants were ready to pick up. Apparently he's lost so much weight he had t have em taken in an inch or so...and he didn't tell me so we wouldn't worry. He can't keep up like this Bo...we're gonna lose him too," whimpered Daisy, just the thought of losing either of her beloved cousins causing her eyes to fill with tears. "We gotta do somethin'....please...we can't lose him too!"

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Bo swallowed hard hearing everything Daisy was saying, quietly pulling her close as she finished voicing her worries and once more dissolved into tears. Gently he shushed her as he rocked her soothingly side to side in his arms, resting his chin on top of her head softly.

"I'm trying Dais...I really am tryin' with him but I don't know how t'get through to him anymore...he won't let me. He's ignoring me just as much as he's ignoring you and everyone else in town...Its hard to grab his attention even for a second anymore..."

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Daisy sniffed. "I know you are...I know...I just...I'm so scared....the way he's closed himself off...he wasn't this bad since...since Nam...and you know what that was like..." She swallowed gently. "I don't expect you to fix it Bo...I just...he needs a miracle...and I don't know where to get one," she added leaning into her cousin's chest some more.

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"I remember what it was like...thing was he just needed time then and our support....this time its not clear what he needs..." He replied softly, playing with the faux fur on the ends of his sleeves. "The only time he ever responded t'us back then was when we were badly in need of somethin...like when the tractor broke and Jesse was strugglin' t'fix it...or when I tripped out in the back forty and twisted my ankle..."

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What Daisy was saying was true in theory...if there was one thing Luke had never been able to ignore it was when his family was in trouble, hurt or sick. The need to protect the things he cared about far outweighed anything else that may be on his mind and usually it brought about the time to talk about what was bothering him. However, in practise right now...Bo wasn't sure if Luke would take it that way...

"Its a good thought Dais but a big risk...he could take it completly the wrong way and think he's losn us now too or somethin...an' besides, it ain't like I can afford t'lay around here all day pretendin i'm sick or ill when I have ta entertain loads of kids every day as Santa..."

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Daisy let out a soft gasp. "Bo! That's it! What if...what if Luke was the town Sant...instead of you? You know how great he is with kids....that'd get him in the Christmas spirit for sure...."

She could see it all now: Luke sitting in the middle of the gazebo in Hazzard Square, the children in line for him, sucking on candy canes as they waited excitedly. It could work...

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Bo couldn't help but give a very small, disbeliving laugh.

"Daisy....Luke ain't hardly in the mood t'get into the christmas spirit around us, what makes ya think he's gonna be any the more willin around strangers...especially kids. Plus, why wouldja wanna do that t'the poor lil kids of Hazzard...ain't like Luke's the most sociable bein on the planet right now either..."

He knew as soon as he'd said it that it was the wrong thing to say as the excitment and hope in Daisy's eyes melted away and replaced again with that sad, lost look she'd had for so long. Biting his lip, he glanced around the room, his eyes catching on photos of the family all together, all smiling away....

"Still....I guess it couldn't hurt that much t'try could it...ain't like we can push him away much further..."

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Daisy's eyes dropped sadly to her feet as Bo laughed at her idea. She supposed it was silly to think Lue would even think of being interested in that. Bo hadn't even wanted to do it...why would Luke?

She looked up, though as Bo changed his mind. "You...you really think so?"

Of course she knew it could all backfire. Luke could be so turned off that he left them permanently. Then again, thought Daisy, it wouldn't be too different that the way things already were.

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Bo smiled to her as she looked up to him, rubbing her arms softly with a small nod of his head.

"I think so...it can't hurt that much t'try. S'gonna take a bit of plannin though...we're gonna have to get Boss on board...and Doc...and you've gotta promise me somethin too Daisy..."

Once he was sure he had his cousin's attention, he gave her a soft squeeze and said gently.

"I think, no matter what happens here with Luke after this...you need t'go back to work. You need t'get away from this farm, away from the situation and enjoy some time with yer friends. Boss wants you back, and so does near everyone else in that place...they miss ya Dais, and you need t'start being happy again. If you wait around on Luke for that to happen...you might be waitin a very long time..."

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Daisy bit her lip. Go back to work? She couldn't say that she hadn't thought about it. Especially when day after day there was no change in Luke and the atmosphere of the farmhouse remained the same. Of course Boss wanted her back... no one could sell a beer like Daisy could, and Boss kept 15 percent of her tips, which was always a good amount.

"I don't know... I've been away so long...maybe I forgot how?" Of course she knew this wasn't true, but she didn't want to leave Bo to deal with everything alone.

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"Don't make excuses darlin'....yer the best at that job and you know it. You ain't forgotten and the farm ain't gonna fall down without ya here for a few hours a day...you need somethin else, and I know you know that...otherwise you woulda protested harder. You need it Daisy..." he urged softly with a small nod, knowing the real reason she was making excuses without her saying so.

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