PG... for some light swearing and talk about unmentionables
CATEGORY: Challenge - OW - Humor
MAJOR CHARACTERS: Ezra and JD
DISCLAIMERS: This is fanfiction. No profit involved. This story is based on the television series "The Magnificent Seven". No infringement upon the copyrights held by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that production is intended.
NOTE: This is in response to Jean's June 2001 Magnifiction Challenge: The title must be "Under Pressure" and must include only two of the Seven.
FEEDBACK: Yes please! comments are greatly appreciated.
SPOILERS: Working Girls
DATE: June 24, 2001
Under Pressure --
or, It Takes a Man to Wear a Dress
By NotTasha...who doesn't wear dresses very often either
"But, "JD Dunne uttered as he followed Ezra's pounding steps, up the stairs and down the hall. "But..."
They pushed through the door at the end of the hallway and Dunne collided into Standish as the con man came to a quick halt to peruse the room.
It was decidedly feminine. JD sneezed at the overpowering scent of powder and perfume. He wrinkled up his nose. "But," he tried again.
"Mr. Dunne, if that's all you have to say about the matter, then let's call this particular conversation closed." Ezra tossed his saddlebags onto the lacey bedspread and stepped to the wardrobe.
"No, the conversation ain't closed, not by a long shot!" JD cried, shaking his head as Ezra
opened the wooden doors. The
young man blanched at the sight of pastel dresses.
Ezra stepped back for a moment, made a decision and reached in for something decided pink.
JD muttered, "No! No! No!"
"But, Mr. Dunne, it will go so well with your complexion. The shade is decidedly rosy." He smiled as he held the dress up to the young man. "It's a bit large, but with a sash, it should do the trick."
"Please," JD muttered, stepping back as if contact with the material would kill him.
Ezra's smile quickly fell, replaced with a much more serious demeanor. "If we have any hope of getting near the jail cells, it will be in the guise of females. Mr. Post is far too distrustful of other men. Women are his weakness. And both of us will be needed -- one to unlock the cells, and one to stand guard. This is all very important. Everything hinges on our ability to fool Mr. Post and his men."
"But, Ezra... come on." JD cringed as Ezra tossed the dress onto the bed. "I just don’t feel right doin’ this."
Ezra rummaged through his saddlebag, saying, "If you wish to be a lawman and protect the lives of others, you must sometimes do things that are distasteful to you."
JD gulped. "I don't think Bat Masterson has ever done anything like this."
"Bat Masterson didn't have your girlish good looks. Shave," Ezra ordered, tossing his shaving kit to the young man.
JD caught the kit and grasped it to his chest. "I shaved yesterday," he said in a small voice.
Ezra shook his head. "Shave. Now! We have no time for objections. There's no hot water available. You'll have to manage with what's in the ewer." He pulled the watch from his waistcoat pocket and sighed. "We have only twenty minutes left. Lord, by the looks of you, we'd need more than an hour."
"Ain't my fault that I look like a man!" JD bit back.
Ezra went back to the wardrobe and rifled through the contents until he came up with a butter-yellow confection. He sighed mournfully. "It will have to do," he muttered and hung it on the door. "At least, it isn't purple."
JD hadn't moved; he still clutched the little kit in his hands, as if desperate to hold onto something masculine in this unmistakably feminine place. "I don't know, Ezra. You've done this sort of thing before. You can do this. Me... I'm... well, I'm..."
Ezra huffed. "Do you think I enjoy this? Don't you know I've considered all the alternatives to avoid this? In the guise of females, we will able to cross the compound safely. It's the only way for us to free the prisoners. After my last experience in women's clothing, you can rest assured that I'd do everything in my power to avoid a second performance. Oh! Look at that." He pulled a pair of suede button-up boots, with graceful little heels from under the bed. "They look like my size, too. And here's a pair for you. The heels are a bit lower. Manageable, I would think."
Ezra glanced at JD. Seeing that the young man hadn't moved, he glared. "Mr. Dunne." He pointed to the shaving kit again. "Get it over with. There is no time for you to be timid." He waited until Dunne picked up the pitcher that sat on the bedside table before he turned back to the wardrobe. "We are under a certain amount of pressure to put on a good performance. If we fail, those poor townspeople will be murdered. If we put on a less than satisfactory show and are unable to fool those men, we die, and possibly Buck and the others as well."
JD soaped up the brush and quickly coated his face. "It's just not right."
"What isn't right is the fact that Mr. Post believes that he shall succeed. Now where are those wigs that her brother promised us?" His hand touched a large box atop the chest and pulled it down for inspection. "Ah, here we are. Mr. Dunne, do you fancy me a blonde or a brunette?"
"You'd better wear the brown," Ezra decided. "With your dark eyebrows, it's the only way to go."
JD's hands shook and he had to still the motion before he brought the razor to his face. "Chris had better appreciate this, is all I have to say..."
Ezra sighed when he saw the condition of the wigs. "Deplorable," he murmured. "The woman has no respect for her things. We'll definitely require hats." He then turned back to Dunne and said, "You can rest assured, that Mr. Larabee will be beside himself with joy once we've liberated the prisoners. We must gain their freedom before Mr. Larabee and the others commence their attack." He glanced at the watch again. "We'll have just enough time to make it. Mr. Dunne, if the cells aren't unlocked, then all will be for naught."
JD watched in the reflection of the mirror as Ezra tipped another box off the top of the wardrobe and caught it. Standish smiled when he opened it. "Perfect!" He pulled free a white bonnet bedecked in pinkish ribbons, and said, "For you, Mr. Dunne."
JD nearly gagged. Beneath the bonnet was a little straw hat, with a veil and a spray of blue silk flowers. "Ah!' Ezra exclaimed. "Blue goes so well with yellow, don't you agree? A woman is under so much pressure to look her best." JD turned a bit paler.
"I don't see why Vin ain't the one doin' this," JD said petulantly as he shaved, careful of the sharp razor. "He's got girl hair."
Ezra continued to search the room. "He may have 'girl hair', but he has the manners of an ape. Aside from that, we need his sharpshooting abilities during the escape. His skills are being utilized where they can do the most good." He opened a dresser drawer and started rifling through the contents. “Besides,” he added, “With another inch or so of length, you’d qualify for ‘girl hair’ as well.”
JD scowled at his reflection, considering that it was high time he had a haircut. He returned his attention to Ezra in time to see him pluck something from the drawer and toss it to the bed. A terrible faintness reached Dunne when he recognized the object. Ezra tossed another onto the bed, and the lady’s dainty thing landed perfectly displayed.
"No!" JD shouted, dropping the straightedge into the basin. "NO! There's no way in hell that I'm gonna wear one of..." he pointed a shaky finger at the offending articles. "...one of those..." he couldn't bring himself to say it.
"It's called a corset, JD," Ezra said, rolling his eyes. "And gentlemen have been know to wear these as well. Well," Ezra considered the shape of the undergarment before him, "they leave off the breast supports in those instances."
"Oh, God," JD muttered as he fished the razor out of the water, clutching the ivory handle. "Well, that just goes to show why I ain't never gonna be a gentleman!"
"Agreed, Mr. Dunne."
JD muttered as he finished his quick shave, glad that he had managed to finish without nicking himself... and then damned himself when he realized that a good bleeding wound may have been his way out of this situation.
"Nathan would make a better girl than I ever would!" JD declared, dabbing his face.
"True," Ezra agreed, he had already placed his jacket over the back of a chair. "His facial structure could lend itself to the task, and his manners are impeccable, but he is decided too tall. We were lucky that Miss Landers is granting us access to her clothing. She's closer to our height, but a bit broader." He quickly removed his gun belts and derringer rig, slinging them over the nearest bedpost.
JD finally smiled. "She don't know where're in here, Ez. Post has got her and the rest of those folks all locked up in those cells. Her brother is the one who let us in."
"Imagine her surprise as we come to free her in her Sunday best," Ezra said with a grin as he removed his vest and draped it over the jacket. "Come now, out of those clothes and into something a bit more tasteful."
"I ain't puttin' on that..." he waggled his finger again at the corset.
Ezra looked astounded. "If you don't, then where will we put your breasts?"
"Breasts?" JD squeaked.
Ezra pulled four pouches out of his saddlebag. "Buckwheat. This is why I had to stop at the feed store." He tossed one to JD as he dropped the others onto the bed. "Just try not to press up against anything... or anyone... they tend to rustle."
"Eeep!" JD cried as he felt the rather pleasant weight of the pack.
"Mr. Dunne." Ezra wiggled his finger around in a circle. "Disrobe. I'll help you with the stays once we get the dress on you. Lord, we have hardly any time." He searched around the bottom of the wardrobe, pulling out a pair of handbags. "Look what we have here."
"Ezra, we're just s'pose to be wearin' dresses. Nothin' was said about purses."
"Handbags," Ezra corrected and started emptying the contents onto the floor -- a gold compact, pretty little handkerchiefs embroidered with pink bunnies and puff-blue kitties tumbled out. There were other things that JD didn't recognize.
"I ain't carrying one!"
Ezra straightened and returned to the bed. He pulled his guns from their holsters and settled them into one of the bags. "Suit yourself, but you will need to put your armament somewhere." He regarded the derringer and said, "Maybe she has a garter belt somewhere."
JD closed his eyes, trying to ignore that last comment. "I just don't understand why it's gotta be me," he murmured as he pulled off his jacket and started removing his vest and shirt at the same time.
"You were chosen because you have the abilities best suited for..."
"Can't see Josiah or Buck or Chris doin' it. That's for sure. Looks like I just got the short straw again."
"Hurry, Mr. Dunne," Ezra glanced at his watch as he shed his trousers and tossed them over the chair with the rest of his clothes. "And listen. You were chosen because you were best suited for this task. You have the ability to carry off this charade. You are a very talented individual and I have every confidence in you." He glanced to the wall, noting a decoration made from Japanese fans and said, "I think we'll use those to help hide our faces. There are some things that are best kept concealed. Our dresses will be long, but you will need to remove your boots, Mr. Dunne."
JD sat on the edge of the bed to pull off his boots, trying to ignore the fact that Ezra was putting on a lady's dainty thing. This ain't happening; this ain't happening; he kept repeating to himself. He set one hand on the bed and jerked it back as the hand came on contact with the remaining girdle.
He looked up in time to see Ezra put his breasts in place. Urrgggh, his mind froze up when Ezra said, "I'll need you to tighten the laces, Mr. Dunne, so please hurry."
Dunne squeezed his eyes shut. "Buck's never gonna stop ribbin' me about this. How am I gonna live this down?"
"I managed to survive my previous impersonation, after a fashion."
"Yeah, but..." JD stood and unbuttoned his trousers, feeling especially self-conscious in the pink and lacy room with a suddenly busty Ezra looking at him. "How? I mean, Buck made an awful lot of fun of you after that."
"He did," Ezra said with a nod as he squeezed the bag of buckwheat into a more believable position. "Only enough to make himself feel as if he did his duty as a man. He fully realized that my part in the whole Wilkes situation was critical."
"Still, he's gonna say some stuff..." JD let his trousers drop and stepped out of them. He was glad that Ezra had kept his underwear on. He was afraid that the gambler was going to foist some frilly panties on him next. He picked up his pants and set them on the bed. He looked confused when he saw Ezra point behind himself. "What?"
"Just tighten this undergarment and tie the laces in place. We aren't going for an hourglass figure, but I wouldn't want to lose a breast as we walked across the compound. It would be difficult to explain. Thank the Lord that no one will be close enough to get a good look at us. There won't be time for make-up."
"Uh-huh," JD gurgled but didn't move.
Ezra sighed. "They need us, JD. This isn't a game. This is dead serious."
"I know...it's just... it's just..."
"JD, It takes a man to wear a dress."
"Huh?" JD stared at him blankly.
"Just remember who you are. You are John Dunne, a man who is very secure in who he is. It's very big of you to agree to this portrayal and it just goes to show how mature you are. Let Mr. Wilmington have his childish fun. He will be, beneath it all, rather proud of you. And, if you want to know the truth, I don't think Mr. Wilmington would be man enough to pull this off."
"There's his mustache," JD pointed out as he stepped behind Ezra to tighten the loose laces. "Would be kinda hard to get him to shave it off." The kid smiled. "Oh God, just imagine what he'd look like in a dress!"
Ezra laughed. "What an image! He would be…well, a grotesque Amazonian!"
"Ha! Put him in something with lots of flowers on it… lots of little flowers and lace and fluffy things…and find him one of those really big floppy hats."
"Perhaps he could be a redhead." Ezra cocked his head. "Somehow, I fancy seeing him with a parasol and a little white doggie."
JD laughed and shook his head at the image. "Oh boy, you're right. He couldn't pull it off. Not in a million years."
"I'm just afraid he'd be all... giggly... about this and we'd never get anywhere. He'd probably be playing with the panties and ribbons and be totally insufferable. You, on the other hand, are handling this whole situation marvelously."
JD nodded, tightening the corset as much as he could and tying the ribbon in a big bow. He stepped back to the bed and reached for his own girdle. He smiled confidently as he stepped into it. "Ez,"
"Yes, Mr. Dunne," Ezra said as he wiggled his way into the puffy yellow dress.
"Can I be the blonde?"
THE END - by NotTasha
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