Introduction: This is the first response to The Bet story challenge issued for the Bet series. These stories are just a silly little pieces, which are somewhat out of character for the guys, but that explore what they might do if they were terribly bored and broke. They are not intended to offend anyones sensibilities. Although they sometimes contain content that might be considered questionable to some readers, they are not a slash pieces. All activities are purely for the purposes of the bets, and they are meant to be all in good fun. Many thanks to everyone who has supplied me with pictures for all of The Bet stories, especially to Wen at the Sharpshooter, and Marg at Blackraptor. - Luna Dey
Disclaimer: We do not own them. They are the property of MGM, Mirisch, and Trilogy Entertainment; however, if they ever come up for sale, I will be in the front row at the auction.
Feedback is welcome and greatly appreciated, but no flames please.
"Will you just pick something already?" Buck exclaimed in exasperation as the six men waited upon their youngest in growing impatience.
"Um uh " J.D. stuttered, his mind furiously scrambling for something that would equal the previous bets of his friends. When the game had begun, J.D. had not even considered what he would do if he won a handthe possibility seemed so remote. All hed really hoped for was to enjoy a light-hearted game, watch his friends do things they would never have otherwise considered, and not lose too many times. And although he had enjoyed all those things, he found hed excluded one possibility, a possibility that had now become an actualityhed won.
The one time I win, and were not even playing for money, he thought while focussing the rest of his attention on the task at hand.
Feeling the six pairs of increasingly impatient eyes boring into him during the past ten minutes he finally caved under the pressure. "Um the, uh, two lowest hands have to um trade clothes," he blurted out quickly. His friends watched him, obviously expecting more. "And, um, they have to walk around in each others clothes in front of the saloon for fifteen minutes," he finished and then cautiously awaited a response.
Ezra was the first to speak. "Im afraid I am going to have to object to this little wager. A mans clothing is not something with which one should fool around."
Buck, who at first was not quite sure as to how he should react to the kids bet, suddenly smiled. "Dont worry, Ez, well take real good care of your fancy duds."
Ezra looked appalled. "Mr. Wilmington, if you think Im going to let you anywhere near my apparel, you are sadly mistaken."
"Brother Ezra," Josiah said in mock surprise, "youre not backing away from the bet, are you?"
"Really, Ez, this whole game was your idea in the first place," Nathan joined in.
Buck sighed. "Never thought Id see the day when Ezra Standish would be too chicken to play in a poker game."
That did it. Ezra Standish did not back out of a poker game, whether or not it involved a wager of the monetary sort. Well, actually, this was the first time hed ever participated in game that didnt involve a wager of the monetary sort. But still, it was the principle of the matterafter all, what sort of gambler would he be if he backed away because of the mere possibility of losing?
"Now, gentlemen, I have no intention of withdrawing from the present game. I was merely informing you all that I have no intention of losing this round."
As the next hand was dealt, J.D. grinned, suddenly proud of his contribution, despite how long it had taken him to come up with it.
"Personally," Vin said as he picked up his cards, "Id like ta see Ez and Chris lose."
Everyone laughed at the image of Chris and Ezra wearing each others clotheseveryone, that is, except Chris and Ezra who, despite all their differences, produced two surprisingly similar green-eyed glares.
The round was played rather quietly, every man silently considering with the possibility of losing, who he would prefer to join him in playing out the bet.
Buck kept stealing sly glances at Ezra. Id like to lose just to see the expression on his face, he thought. Besides, maybe the ladiesd like the new Buck.
Josiah gazed discreetly at Buck. Were about the same size, and its not as if he wears anything too objectionable except those damn red long johns.Josiah cleared his throat. "Brothers, what about our, uh, more personal items?"
"Our what?" J.D. asked, faced scrunched in confusion. "Oh! Our under things," he exclaimed, understanding.
Beneath his poker face, Ezra blanched. While silently praying to whatever gods came to mind, he missed his friends response.
If I have to wear Ezras clothes, I will shoot the first man who so much as smiles. Nothing too serious, probably the shoulderjust enough to shut the rest of em up. Chris nodded to himself, deciding this was the best course of action should the situation arise. But if I had to pick someone, I guess Id go with Chris glanced around the table, stopping when his eyes came to rest on his best friend. Vin. Just to get him outta that damn buckskin jacket. Introduce him to a colour other than brown like black. A rather predatory smile found its way onto Chris face.
Whys Chris lookin at me like that? Vin wondered, eyes narrowing suspiciously. He shook the thought away and looked over at Nathan. Nathans got pretty neutral clothes, and theyd fit me alright. If I have ta lose, Id go with him.
Josiah, Nathan thought. Thats who Id want to switch with. Hes a bit bigger than me, so his clothesd be kinda baggy but that aint too bad. Sides, he seems to be the only other one here who aint joined to his hat. He glanced around at the rest of the seven, each of whom seemed to possess an unhealthy connection to that part of their wardrobe, and shook his head wonderingly.
J.D. looked at each of his friends in turn, frowning as he began doubting the wisdom of his little wager. Two losers, combined with the fact that hed lost only once during the past three rounds, seriously increased the chances that he might end up having to carry out his own bet. And as he looked over each of his friends, he wasnt comforted by what he saw. Of them all, the one closest to his size was Ezra, and J.D. did not at all relish the idea of wearing the gamblers bright red coat, his vestor anything else for that matter. Buck Vin Chrishe didnt even want to think about that possibility.
J.D. looked down at his cards, his previous anxieties now magnified. He let out a small unconscious groan.
"Whatsa matter?" Buck asked, looking at his young friend, a knowing smile on his face. "Youre lookin a little green."
"Nah," Nathan said, shaking his head. "Hes just a little pale. Its Ezra thats green."
The others laughed as they looked at the slightly-less-composed-than-usual southerner, who stared at his cards as if willing them to magically change.
Ezra didnt respond. He was too busy chanting his mantra, I cannot lose. I will not lose. Please dont let me lose. Never before had he played a game where the stakes were so high and bluffing would get him nowhere.
"Well, gentlemen, your cards," Buck spoke, in a perfect imitation of Ezras southern drawl, since the gambler seemed to have no intention of making the call as he usually did.
The seven hands were placed on the table, Ezras coming last, when he was finally assured that his was not among the lowest two, and was accompanied by an uncharacteristically open smile.
"I dont believe it!" J.D. groaned. "I lost my own bet."
"Maybe its fates way of tellin you somethin," Nathan offered.
Nathan smiled. "Dont go shakin a mans egg."
J.D. simply glowered at him in response.
"Dont feel so bad, J.D.," Vin reminded them, "Even Ez lost his own bet the first time."
"You mean I lost," Buck interjected. "Im the one he kissed."
Ezra tried to look offended, but the effect was dampened by the smile of relief that still lingered on his face. "I thought you enjoyed the kiss, Mr. Wilmington."
"Well, Ezra, your colours lookin a lot better," Chris noted.
"Yeah, funny how it went right back ta normal after everyone showed their cards," Vin added. "Couldnt be because you were afraid a losin, could it?"
"Mr. Tanner, the insinuation that I displayed a less-than-professional reaction in this round, simply because of the stakes involved, is so ludicrous that I find myself without response. Now, I seem to remember there was a wager waiting to be carried out," Ezra concluded, skirting the issue.
Nathan rolled his eyes. "Only Ezra could say so much to tell us he has nothing to say."
But the southerner had reminded them of the issue at hand, and they all returned their attention to J.D., whod quietly waited through the exchange, hoping that hed be forgotten, at least until some drunk started a brawl and he was called away to fulfill his duties as sheriff. When the eyes turned back to him, he sank further into his seat.
"Well, at least you wont be suffering alone," Buck grinned wolfishly as he glanced at the rest of the cards on the table. "Josiah?"
Six faces, five full of laughter, and one of great trepidation, turned towards the big man.
"Oh no," J.D. groaned, "of all the people "
"I dont see what youre complaining about," Josiah responded gruffly. "Im the one who has to squeeze into your clothes."
"Exactly! Youll tear em right at the seams! I cant afford to ruin set of perfectly good clothes."
"Maybe hell tear your hat and youll have to buy a new one," Buck said hopefully.
"Hat?" Josiah asked in disbelief.
"But of course, Mr. Sanchez," Ezra said, smiling widely, more than willing to partake of the torment since the preacher had been the one to first question his gamblers integrity. "The hat is an integral part of the ensemble. Our Mr. Dunne would simply not be complete without it."
"Well, get to it boys," Chris told them, a small smile playing on his own lips.
The pair was ushered toward the back kitchen, which Inez was more than willing to vacate in order for them to change. Having already heard of J.D.s earlier adventure, she looked sympathetically at the young man who seemed to be bearing the brunt of the sevens little game.
"Buck! Can we at least have some privacy!" J.D. yelled, shoving his older friend through the kitchens swinging doors.
Buck fell rather ungracefully into Ezra, who only managed to maintain his balance because standing directly behind him was Vin. "Watch it," that tracker said gruffly, shoving Ezra, and hence Buck, away from himself.
"Mr. Wilmington," Ezra said, pushing Buck away once he had regained his own balance, and began immediately straightening his clothes. "I would appreciate it if you would keep your oafish self off my person." When he seemed sufficiently satisfied that his appearance was once again immaculate, he stared thoughtfully at Buck before he continued. "First, the incident with the kiss, then you attempt to sit in while Mr. Dunne and Mr. Sanchez reallocate their garments, and now you cannot seem to keep your hands off meare you quite certain theres nothing youd like to share with us?"
Everyone within earshot burst out laughing while Buck glared at the southerner. Suddenly, the glare disappeared, to be replaced by a large smile. "Nope, sorry Ez, didnt mean to raise your hopes."
Now it was Ezras turn to glare while the room erupted in a second round of laughter. But then his glare too dissolved into a smile as he shook his head. "It seems, Mr. Wilmington, sometimes I underestimate you."
"Thanks I think."
The sound of muffled cursing caught their attention just then. "Where the does thing end?" they managed to make out.
"Son, you have your head in a sleeve," came the response.
Buck slapped his thigh and guffawed loudly. "Now this I gotta see," he said as he burst into the kitchen, where J.D. had managed to entangle his head in the sleeve of Josiahs shirt and was now struggling to get out. The remaining members of the seven followed closely behind Buck, surveying their youngests situation.
"Well, at least he got the pants on alright," Nathan observed.
"Yeah, but whats that hes got tied round the waist?" Buck asked, squinting at the odd slip of cloth that appeared to be holding Josiahs pants in place on J.D.s waist.
"Help!" a muffled cry escaped from somewhere within the confines of Josiahs undershirt, distracting Buck from his investigation.
"I dont seem to remember you sayin anythin about helpin is that within the rules?" Nathan asked, making no move forward to aid their youngest.
"Yes, yes, yes!" came the urgent response.
"Should we?" Nathan asked, turning to Ezra, who stood closest to him.
"How could we not?" Ezra replied, studying the writhing cloth-consumed form that was once the towns sheriff, before proceeding towards it to disentangle the mess. But it was a task easier said than done, the pair soon discovered, especially since J.D. couldnt seem to stop struggling, which only worked to impede their progress.
"Will you stop movin about?!" Nathan cried in exasperation.
"Son," Ezra said as he attempted to pull the overstretched sleeve of the undershirt off J.D.s head, "I cannot seem to determine how you came to believe you were inserting yourself in the correct opening" (Here Buck broke into loud raucous laughter, which Ezra only returned with a glare.) "Unless Mr. Sanchez had the neck of a giraffe."
"And why the heck are you wearin Josiahs undershirt?" Nathan asked, as he finally tugged J.D. free from the shirt. "I thought we decided you could keep your own under things."
J.D. stopped to take in a deep breath of air before he answered Nathans question. "Yeah, but seein as how Josiah was having such a hard time fittin in my shirt as it was, and his was so big on me, we thought that maybe I should wear both our undershirts you know, like padding?"
Having been reminded of the precarious situation of the other member of the losing pair, all eyes turned toward the preacher, who had remained unusually quiet throughout the preceding fiasco. As usual, Buck was the first to break out into laughter, though the others followed soon behind. Only J.D. refrained from contributing more than a small smile, experiencing more empathy for his partner than humour at the situation.
"Alright get it out of your systems," Josiah grumbled, looking down at the clothes that were ridiculously small on him. The pants barely reached half way down his shins, leaving exposed the portion of his legs between the cuffs and his boots. The shirt and coat stretched across his back and chest, dangerously close to bursting, the shoulders so tight that he couldnt quite manage to rest his arms at his sides.
When the laughter had died down, Ezra motioned towards the door. "The next phase, gentlemen."
"Lets just get this over with," Josiah said, stalking forward.
"Hey, Josiah," he heard called after him. He paused and turned back impatiently.
"Dont fergit yer hat," Vin grinned, placing J.D.s bowler hat on Josiahs head.
"No, wouldnt want that, would we?" he glared at the rest the members of the group, who were doing an admirable job of holding back the next wave of laughter.
"Go on, J.D.," Buck said, poking the youth in the back and urging him after Josiah, whose long strides had already carried him past the saloon doors, onto the boardwalk out front.
"Why me, why me?" the sheriff muttered just as he stumbled over the cuffs of the over-sized pants. Before he could find himself sprawled on the dusty floorboards of the walkway, however, Josiah reached out pulled him straight.
"Watch your step, son. Wouldnt want to get my clothes dirt" RIIIP!
J.D.s eyes widened in dismay as Josiah glanced down at his clothes regretfully. "Sorry, son," Josiah gasped, his breathing somewhat constricted in his new position as he tried to keep from causing them any further injury.
"My shirt," J.D. moaned.
Chris stepped forward to examine the damage. "Actually, its your coat." A groan followed.
"Dont worry, it looks repairable," Nathan consoled.
After this assessment, J.D. looked somewhat mollified, and all the good humour returned (except to the two participants who still had to carry out the remaining fifteen minutes of the wager).
"The look on your face, kid," Buck laughed as his best friend walked out into the middle of the street. Josiah followed tentatively, taking small measured steps to prevent causing their youngest member any further grief.
The voice froze him place and the look of absolute horror that came over his face made the previous one pale in comparison.
A sudden hush fell over the onlookers.
"Whats this Ive been hearin about you askin women to kiss an egg between your legs?" the young tomboy glared at him.
"Um, uh it wasnt"
Casey placed her hands on her waist as she took in his appearance. "Why in the world are you wearin those ridiculous clothes?"
"I dont see whats so ridiculous about them," Josiah muttered.
"And whose scarf is that youve got tied around your waist?" she continued as she reached forward to snatch the silky material off J.D.
"Scarf!" Buck exclaimed, having suddenly received the answer to his earlier question.
"Its its not like that "
"J.D. Dunne, what in the world has gotten into you?" Casey exclaimed in exasperation. She waited a moment for J.D. to answer, but the young sheriff suddenly found that he was no longer capable of putting together coherent sentences. "I dont have to take this from you!" she declared before storming off.
"Casey, wait!" J.D. called, stumbling after her. But without the support of the mysterious scarf, he only managed a few steps before the oversized pants came tumbling down, leaving him in the middle of the street in only Josiahs borrowed shirt and his own long johns.
Unfortunately, it was at this exact moment that Casey decided to turn around to give J.D. a second chance to explain his strange behaviour. The sight that greeted her only served to make her blush and further frustrate her. "Oomph!" she exclaimed before she resumed her departure.
A loud uproar of laughter erupted from the boardwalk, where all the onlookers, including the other members of the seven, were gathered. An assortment of snickers, blushes, and disapproving glares met him from the other townspeople who had happened by during the ordeal.
Feeling the heat in his own face, J.D. quickly moved to pull up his pants, but in his haste his legs became entangled in the extra material and he soon found himself facedown in the dirt.
"Good lord, J.D.," Josiah cried out, seeing his soiled clothes. Before he could reconsider the wisdom of his own actions, he moved forward to help up his fallen companion. RIIIP! He suddenly straightened and grabbed the seat of his (well, J.D.s) pants.
"My pants!" J.D. groaned as he lay defeated in the dirt.
"You two sure do make a fine pair," Nathan laughed as he moved forward to lift their youngest friend to his feet.
Once he was securely balanced on the ground, the waist of his pants clutched firmly in his hands, J.D. stated, "I have to go explain everything to Casey."
"Perhaps it would be best if you were to first address the issue of your attire," Ezra suggested.
"You think you can manage, or do you want me to carry you?" Buck asked, coming up and slapping J.D.s back.
"Shut up, Buck," J.D. replied, producing a glare that made Chris heart swell with pride.
"Oh, come on, kid, dont be a poor sport. After all, it was your bet," Buck rationalized.
"Yeah, I know, I know," he grumbled as he shuffled his way back into the saloon. "My stupid bet."
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