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The Agony of Ardor

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This is not a love story.

Gambit does not turn for a final look when Wolverine drops him at the air field. He strides into the old trailer that passes for an office with no outward sign of the ache in his ass or the dull pain of the bite marks on his shoulders. He settles his bill as fast as he can, paying cash, and heads out to his plane.

He drops his bag behind the pilot’s seat and takes his time checking her over. Her name is Dorothy; he was drunk at the time and doesn’t remember why. Gambit and Dorothy take to the air forty-five minutes later, and he forgets about the old man, and thinks only of the job he has lined up in Kentucky.


Seven weeks later, Gambit walks into the smoking ruins of an old psychiatric hospital in western Pennsylvania. This is the middle of nowhere, and the old building – the rubble of the old building – is surrounded by forest. He’d estimated his arrival three hours ago. Not many places to land Dorothy around here, though.

He’s too late to get into the fight.

“Nice of you to show up.” Wolverine stomps toward him, kicking rocks and chunks of mortar out of his way. Some kind of computer cables and unrecognizable bits of machinery stick out among the dusty old stone blocks that used to be the walls here. He’s got bits of leaves in his hair.

“I ain’t your dog.” Gambit keeps it light, but his power starts to simmer into his eyes. “Where’s everybody else?”

“Interrogation. Containment. Liaising.” Wolverine grunts. “We got to dig some graves.”

And drag bodies from the ruins, it turns out. Gambit doesn’t ask any questions and does as told, despite his hatred of dead bodies. He doesn’t want the kids or Storm to have to do this.

They deposit three mangled men in deep holes back under the trees. The fourth man’s head lolls to the side from a broken neck, and Gambit has to step away for some clear air once the corpse has been tossed into the grave.

This clandestine burial is miserable work, and Gambit just wants out. He promises himself a good meal in a fine restaurant, a beautiful companion who demands nothing more than some clever words, and a rare bourbon in a large glass, as soon as he is free.

He turns back to finish the job, though. As much as Gambit keeps himself to himself, he’s still a man. He doesn’t duck responsibilities and he tries to be decent, as much as he can be given that he is a thief by profession. He gave his word to help, he believes that the dead should be honored, no matter who they were in life, and he does not want anyone to think less of him.

Wolverine just grunts at him and jerks his chin at the other shovel when he steps back among the trees. Gambit takes it up and heaves dirt into a grave, a prayer for the dead on his lips, under his breath.

After a few lines, Wolverine joins in the prayer in a rough voice. Gambit knows he doesn’t believe, but he’s stood at a fair few gravesides in his long, long life, and he knows the rituals, if nothing else.

Gambit heads back to the jet for a couple bottles of water as Wolverine finishes filling the last grave. The jet is deserted, and Gambit is glad not to run into anyone else. He feels unsettled and he wonders what he’s doing here. He ain’t any kind of clean-up crew.

“We done?” Gambit slings a water bottle to Wolverine.

He takes it and drains it down. “Yeah.”

“You all need to get a priest on your team.” Gambit wipes a drip of water off his chin. He’s hot despite the cool autumn air and he feels gritty all over.

“Why should these assholes get words said over ‘em when them they killed got nothing?”

“Funerals ain’t for the dead,” Gambit says. “They’re for us left behind. So we don’t feel like animals.”

“We are animals.” Wolverine drags out the stub of a cigar. He sticks it in his mouth, realizes the cigar is too small to really smoke, and shoves it back in his pocket.

“Then why’d you pray over’em?”

“Why’re you always busting my balls? You just want to mock me and fuck?”

“Well, that would keep this trip from being a total loss.” Gambit grabs Wolverine’s shirt, quick like a thief, and pulls. He’s not strong enough to even rock Wolverine on his feet, not one handed, but the old man gets the idea and follows. Gambit takes them into the trees, away from dirt and dead bodies, and emerges into a little clearing bathed in sunlight.

Wolverine shoves him against a suitable tree and Gambit gets their pants down and cocks out. Wolverine pushes against him, and Gambit pushes back. They rut against each other. Gambit grabs Wolverine’s bare ass and guides him into the perfect angle.

The whole forest could burn down around them and Gambit would not care. He’s hot enough to set something on fire, Wolverine the same, and they’re soon coming, one after the other.

Gambit wishes he had something to drink. He sighs and pushes Wolverine off him. There’s a silk handkerchief in his pocket, he finds, and he wipes come off his belly. He wipes Wolverine down, too. Wolverine is quiet, gentled by the orgasm. Gambit feels like he could float away.

“Got to get back.” Wolverine adjusts his cock in worn soft boxers and pulls the uniform pants over his hips.

Gambit arranges himself in his boxer briefs and draws his trousers up. Settles his belt back in place. “You go first.”

“You coming back to the jet?”

“In a minute.”

Wolverine nods and turns away.

Gambit waits until Wolverine’s footfalls fade. He’s not ashamed of them, what they do together. Wolverine ain’t bothered either. But the people they know, they wouldn’t understand.

Him and Wolverine, they got their own thing: fucking, and fighting. All passion, all the time.

But it ain’t love, won’t ever be.

Gambit turns for the jet, to say hello and goodbye, and then he’ll get out of there.

He won’t be counting the days until he can see Wolverine again.

At least, not out loud.