THE BET IV by Luna Dey

Author’s Note: This story is just a silly little piece, which is somewhat out of character for the guys, but that explores what they might do if they were terribly bored and broke. It is not intended to offend anyone’s sensibilities. Although it contains content that might be considered questionable to some readers, it is not a slash piece. All activities are purely for the purposes of the bets. It is meant to be all in good fun. Many thanks to everyone who has supplied me with pictures for all of The Bet stories. Thanks to Wen at the Sharpshooter, Marg at Blackraptor, and all my fellow BrigaDears who dug through their picture files to help me out on this.

Disclaimer: I 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: Feedback is welcome and greatly appreciated, but no flames please.

Completed 6-11-01

Nathan glowered at JD after he chugged down half a mug of beer to get the taste of the raw egg yolk out of his mouth. "Ya didn’t have to do that, JD," he said accusingly.

The younger man grinned at the healer. "After what you made me do, I think it was fair."

"Yeah, you would," the black man growled.

"Gentlemen, do I hear the grumbling of a sore loser?" Ezra chided.

Nathan glared one last time at Dunne and then shook his head. "Nah, just don’t think he needed to do that is all." He glanced back at the young sheriff and warned. "You’d best look out, if I get to name another bet." Nathan grinned as he explained, "Ya think that last one was bad, just you wait ‘till next time."

Ezra spoke up with a half laugh. "I cannot speak for the rest of you, gentlemen, but I for one hope I am not on the losing end of that particular hand." The other men all expressed their profound agreement.

"So who names the next one?" Vin asked.

"I believe that privilege once again falls to me, Mr. Tanner." The gambler’s eyes glinted mischievously when he heard a collective groan come from his colleagues. "However, what I have in mind requires two participants. Would you prefer that the loser gets to chose the second party, or have the two lowest hands participate?"

"How come you get to do one with two people?" JD protested. "Shouldn’t there be just one loser?" He looked to Chris for confirmation.

Larabee just shrugged. "Don’t see any harm in having two."

Ezra smile showing both his gold tooth and his dimples. "Which way shall it be, gentlemen?"

A quick show of hands decided the question in favor of two losers. Chris eyed the con man and asked, "Now, what is the bet?"

"If you will excuse me a moment, I need to obtain the necessary items." Standish left the table and moved through the gathered crowd to the bar. When he returned to the table, he had a fairly large, flat bowl of water and an empty whiskey bottle.

"Uh, is it too late to say we don’t want two losers?" Josiah asked.

"Indeed it is, Mr. Sanchez, the agreement has been struck." Ezra sat the bowl on the table and reached in his pocket. He took out some coins and proceeded to drop four dimes into the bowl. "The challenge is this; the one with the lowest hand must retrieve a dime from the bowl, using only his mouth. He must then pass it to the second party, without moving from where he is standing. They continue to pass the dime between them until one is close enough to drop the dime in the bottle. Then they return for the next dime until they have all been moved."

"Uh….Ezra?" Nathan spoke up. "Just how are we supposed to pass the dimes?" He had a nagging feeling that he already knew.

"From mouth to mouth, of course." The gambler responded as if he was surprised that there had ever been any question of the method.

Six men groaned, and the spectators began to get rowdy. Finally, Josiah let out a big sigh and looked appraisingly at the con man. "Just what is this thing you have about lips today, Brother Ezra? You sure you aren’t tryin’ to tell us something?"

Standish grinned in response and then chuckled softly. "On the contrary, Mr. Sanchez, but you seem to be quite preoccupied with my motivations."

"Yeah, Josiah! How come you were the first one that started thinkin’ along those lines?" Wilmington asked with a lecherous grin.

"Before this gets out of hand, I think we should deal the cards." Chris attempted to turn the subject away from such potentially hostile territory.

JD piped up. "Hey, do they losers get anything outta this if they do it?"

"You wish for an incentive, Mr. Dunne?" Ezra inquired.

The younger man nodded. "Sure, makes it more interesting,"

The southerner though a moment and then tossed two fifty cent pieces onto the table. "If you succeed in moving all four dimes, without dropping or swallowing one, you may keep the dimes and the fifty cent pieces, to split between you."

Seventy cents each was not a lot of money, but to six men who were penniless until payday, it sounded pretty damn good. Hell, that was nearly a day’s wage. The game was looking up.

Ezra picked up the deck and began to shuffle, but he was surprised when Josiah suddenly reached over and plucked the cards from his hands. The preacher shuffled them several times, before he handed them back to the gambler. Standish stared at the big man in astonishment, for once completely at a loss for words.

"Well, we did say in the beginning that we wanted to at least have chance at winnin’," Nathan explained.

The con man gave his fellow lawmen a wry smile and began to deal the cards. He could not blame them really. He did have a tendency to win. However, he very rarely cheated with his friends, and they were unlikely to believe that more often than not when he did, it was in their favor.

The hand was dealt and the room became quiet. Everyone was waiting anxiously to see which two had to pay this bet. Nathan cleared his throat and shifted nervously in his chair. JD began to sink lower into his seat. The other men did their best imitations of Ezra’s poker face.

"Gentlemen, your cards please," the southerner prompted.

Seven sets of cards were laid on the table, but several times that many pairs of eyes strained to see which hands were the lowest.

"No! It ain’t fair. I already had my lips on someone else’s tonight!" Buck complained.

"But, Mr. Wilmington, you won that hand," Ezra reminded the lady’s man.

"Depends on how ya look at it," Buck groused.

"Aw..Hell!" Vin exclaimed, causing the men to look at him in surprise. Then their eyes traveled back to the cards on the table. Grins broke out and audible sighs of relief could be heard around the table. Someone slapped the sharpshooter good-naturedly on the back.

"Hey, Buck! At least it ain’t Ezra this time," JD teased.

The lady’s man rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Kid, shut up."

"I ain’t a kid, Buck," Dunne snapped back at his best friend.

Ezra stopped the argument before it could go any further. "Mr. Wilmington, Mr. Tanner, I do believe you have a debt to pay." With that he slid the bowl closer to Buck and then got up to move the bottle to the bar, where it would take several passes for the men to reach it.

Reluctantly, Wilmington took his place near the bowl and Tanner moved to stand near him. He stood and looked at the coins in the water with a slight frown creasing his brow.

"Looks to me like it’s sort of like bobbin’ fer apples," JD observed, "’cept apples float."

Buck looked at Vin. "Well, pard, ya ready fer this?"

The tracker gave him a look that expressed quite clearly that he would never be ready for this, but said instead, "yeah, let’s get on with it."

The dark haired lawman braced his hands on the table and leaned over the bowl. He held his breath and stuck his face into the water. Water splashed onto the table as he rooted around in the bowl and tried to pick up a coin. After a minute he stood up and gasped for air and blew water out of his nose. He coughed and glared at Ezra. "I might be the only man to ever drown in a soup bowl," he muttered to no one in particular.

The people standing near enough to hear him burst into laughter and began to tell those out of hearing range what the big man had said. One man took pity on the lady’s man and passed him a handkerchief to wipe his nose.

Buck studied the coins for a moment and then smiled slyly. He plunged back in after the illusive dimes and after a few seconds he began to slide one up the inside slope of the bowl with his tongue. When he reached the rim, he closed his mouth over it and stood up. After working the coin around he finally managed to push it to the front of his mouth where part of it protruded from his lips.

Ezra was grinning widely at the sight of the big man’s dripping face and sagging mustache. "Now remember, you cannot move toward the bottle. You may turn around where you stand, only."

Buck shot the gambler a look that could kill in its intensity, and then turned in place to face Vin. The tracker obviously was not looking forward to his part in this challenge. The sharpshooter sighed and leaned forward toward the older man, who instinctively leaned away as Vin drew closer.

"If you don’t hold still we’ll never get this done," Vin scolded.

The dark haired man leaned slightly forward and willed himself to stand still when Tanner leaned in again. Very lightly he felt the young man’s lips touch his as he tried to get hold of the dime, but he could not quite get a grip on it. He pulled back. "Can’t ya get any more of it outta yer mouth?"

Buck tried, but he was afraid he would drop it if he got too careless, so he ended up shaking his head ‘no.’

The sharpshooter leaned in again and tried pressing a bit harder in hopes that he could expose more of the coin. It only made matters worse. The dime slipped farther back into Wilmington’s mouth.

The crowd in the saloon was getting rowdy. The spectators whooped, whistled, and made lewd comments as Tanner tried to get the coin, much to the dismay of the lady’s man.

The tracker finally decided to try for the coin with his teeth. Buck’s eyes flew wide open when he felt the other man’s teeth rake across his lips, but he let out a sigh of relief when he felt the dime tugged away from him.

Tanner turned to face the bar and Buck quickly circled around him to take his turn at retrieving the coin. Vin still had the dime clasped between his teeth and Wilmington decided this might be the best way for him to get hold of it, too. Just as he was almost to reach the coin, the younger man drew in a hissing breath between his teeth and jerked back. The dime disappeared into the tracker’s mouth as his face contorted comically and his nose twitched. Suddenly, Tanner sneezed. Wilmington leaned back when he saw Vin was gearing up for a second sneeze. "Damn, Tanner!"

"Couldn’t help it. All that fur under yer lip tickles," Vin blushed slightly as he explained.

"Uh….Mr. Tanner," Ezra interrupted. "Were is the dime?"

After some maneuvering, the tracker once again produced the coin clasped firmly between his teeth. He had managed to slip it between his cheek and his gums before the first sneeze hit him.

Wilmington looked at him suspiciously as he leaned in to try for the dime. That first sneeze had caught him by surprise. Vin’s nose twitched and he pulled back.

Through clinched teeth the tracker managed to mumble, "’ust oo it ick."

"Huh?" Wilmington looked at him in confusion.

"Ooo it ‘ass’!" Vin tried a new approach.

The lady’s man looked at JD. "Did he just call me an ass?"

"I ain’t rightly sure what he just said," Dunne responded.

Tanner shook his head and tried on last time. "’ast!" He managed to force the t on the end.

"Fast!" Wilmington exclaimed.

Tanner quickly nodded. "oo it ‘ast."

Buck go the message and moved in quickly to grasp the dime between his own teeth. As soon as Tanner felt that the other man had the coin, he pulled away and rubbed furiously at his nose.

The two managed to get the first coin to the bottle without any other mishaps, but Vin was at a loss for how to get the dime into the narrow opening in the whiskey bottle. Finally, he looked at his friend and shrugged.


"I ‘an’t ‘ee," the longhaired young man hissed through his teeth.

"Oh…. Uh…I’ll tell ya when ya got it." Buck offered. He watched as Vin leaned close to the bottle. "Left a little. No, your other left." After several attempts the tracker finally managed to get the coin in position and dropped it into the bottle with a satisfying clinking sound.

One down and three to go. The last three went reasonably well, amid the teasing and heckling of their friends and the spectators, that is until they reached the last one. Just as Vin started to grip the dime with his teeth, it slipped. Buck reacted quickly enough to keep the coin from falling and ended up mashing it between his lips and Vin’s. The two men stared at each other wide-eyed. Now what were they going to do? For the moment all either of them could do was stand there with their lips pressed together to hold the coin in place.

"Hey Buck," JD taunted. "I knew you and Vin were friends, but ain’t this a bit too friendly, even for you?" The youngest member of the group chuckled while he could. He had no doubt that his best friend would nail him when he could move again, but it would be worth it as far as he was concerned.

Ezra stepped up to study the situation, and he broke into a wide grin. "It seems, gentlemen, that you have a bit of a problem. Care to forfeit now?"

Wilmington and Tanner communicated through their eyes that they both thought the gambler was entirely too smug. They would find a way out of this. Tanner made the first move, and he slowly tipped his head sideways. Buck realized what he was doing and tried to hold really still. Finally, Vin was turned far enough that the dime was under the corner of his mouth. Slowly, he slide his lips downward while keeping the dime pressed firmly to Buck’s bottom lip. In one sudden move, the tracker opened his mouth to allow the dime to fall inside and then pulled away from the lady’s man. Both men grinned at the stunned look on the gambler’s face.

The sharpshooter successfully deposited the last coin into the whiskey bottle and turn to look at a cheering crowd. He dipped his head in embarrassment, but nothing could erase the smile on his face. It was not often that someone could out do Ezra.

The gambler shook his head in disbelief and picked up the fifty-cent pieces. He made his way to the bar and emptied the dimes from the bottle and looked at his two friends in surprise. "Gentlemen, you are quite resourceful when the need arises." He handed the coins to Buck, who divided them between Vin and himself.

When Ezra turned and started back toward the table, Wilmington leaned over and very quietly asked Tanner, "Do ya think we oughta get him?"

"What ya got in mind?" the tracker responded.

The lady’s man got even quieter as he continued. "Well, ya know those fancy under-drawers….."

Vin began to grin even before Buck could finish what he had started to say. With a slight toss of his head toward the retreating back of the con man, he signaled his agreement. The two men quickly closed the distance between Ezra and themselves, and before the gambler could react, Vin threw his arms around the smaller man, pinning his arms to his sides. At the same time, Buck grabbed the back waistband of the southerner’s trousers, pulled out his shirt tail, grabbed the top of the fancy under-drawers and gave them a quick, firm yank. Just as quickly as they had grabbed the gambler, they let go and hustled back to stand near Chris.

Ezra’s green eyes flashed at them in complete disbelief. He squirmed uncomfortably in an attempt to dislodge the fabric from its current unpleasant location. It was not going to budge without outside assistance. "Awww… Hell!" he huffed in exasperation. There was no dignified way to remedy the problem, so he finally just reached back and grabbed the seat of his pants and tugged the wedgie loose. The gambler looked up to see his two attackers standing slightly behind their leader, who was trying desperately to keep from dissolving into laughter. "Gentlemen, I do believe that was completely uncalled for," he said indignantly.

"Ahhh.. I don’t know Ezra. After what ya put us through, I think it was called for," Buck said through a stifled laugh.

Standish looked at them coolly and then let a smile spread across his lips, showing his gold tooth and his deep dimples. "You do know, gentlemen, that this means war?"

Or is it?

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