Wolverine is tired. He’s tired of being called out of his bed for emergencies, he’s tired of being a role model every damn day, and he’s fricking exhausted when it comes to friends getting hurt.
By now, the wound in Gambit’s belly has turned into thin line of knit skin snaking out to touch hip and ribs at either end. His friend has been up and moving and putting on signs of his old self for days now. Weeks, really.
Some nights - alright, every night - Wolverine stops by Gambit’s door to listen for his breathing.
Despite his recovery, Gambit, too, is still tired, and Wolverine, though he knows enough about medicine to know better, still seizes with watchful tension whenever Gambit falters: his expression slips, or his foot comes down too hard upon a stair, or he takes three naps in one day.
Here he is now, shepherding Gambit on his first solo outing on the bike since one of Magneto’s old pals had tried to reach his heart through his belly.
Wolverine pulls the saddlebag with the food off his bike, parked in the shade of a big oak tree, and crosses over to the blanket where Gambit sprawls in the thin spring sunshine, sleep creeping up on him. His shirt has ridden up and the wicked ripping curve of the puckered red scar stands out against pale belly skin.
“Hey lazybones, food.”
Gambit slits open his eyes. “Imagine,” he said, sounding very French for a moment, “that I am giving you the finger.”
“I’ve seen it.“ Wolverine drops down to sit cross legged on the old blanket. Lord, how he wants to nap. Just forget about everything and go limp and stop for half an hour. But he’s on duty.
Silently, Wolverine passes Gambit a sandwich. It’s the Wolverine special: meat, meat, more meat, and cheese for variety. He tries to never let Gambit make the sandwiches. Gambit has been known to put lettuce and vegetables, and at least once an avocado, in with the salami and corned beef, and that just isn’t Wolverine’s idea of food.
Gambit is at least eating well today. Wolverine’s been practically nursing him for weeks, so he can’t help noticing. He makes sure Gambit gets the bigger caramel brownie and leaves the mostly finished bag of chips in his reach, just in case he’s still hungry.
Gambit, leaning on his elbow, shoves the lunch debris off the blanket and says, “C’mere.”
“You been strung up like a wire for weeks. You’re making me tired just looking at you. Come. Here.”
Wolverine stares. He hates when Gambit uses his brain against him. It’s been a little while, and he forgets how much it sucks.
“Don’t make me come over there, old man.”
Wolverine has to give in. He’s going to let Gambit win any wrestling match anyway, at least at this point.
He slides over next to Gambit, who settles onto his back. Gambit pulls at Wolverine‘s shoulder. Wolverine sighs and lets Gambit pull him down. The dirt of the meadow feels firm and familiar under the old wool blanket. Wolverine closes his eyes, Gambit warming him in a long line where they touch, and slumps into sleep.
The sun warms the narrow patch of meadow, and Wolverine wakes to a skim of sweat along his back. He shifts up, slides the flannel shirt off, and tosses it aside.
Wolverine feels - better. A little less worn, a bit more loose. A momentary peace.
He stretches, arms over his head, turns to check on his charge.
Gambit is awake, blinking but alert.
“Been a long time,” he says. His clever fingers twist the hem of Wolverine’s tee shirt. The calloused pads of his fingers slip over Wolverine’s ribs.
Slow fire creeps along Wolverine’s nerves.
Despite his size, Wolverine can move delicate as a cat. He dips his head for a glancing kiss.
But Gambit doesn’t put up with the delicacy. He seizes Wolverine’s head and stages an invasion of his mouth. Wolverine returns the sally, careful only to keep his full weight off the still thin body under him.
But after a bit, Wolverine has to pull back, because Gambit’s breathing too fast, and that‘s still not good for him. He didn’t come out here to undo all the good work of the last weeks.
“Shhh.“ Wolverine presses his lips to the jumping pulse in Gambit’s throat.
Gambit shakes his head. “No.” He forces his breaths to even out and digs strong finger tips down Wolverine’s back, deep into tense muscles.
Oh. Wolverine does not purr but any more of that and maybe he’ll start. He catches his weight on his elbows, as pickpocket’s fingers slide around to his belly and work open his jeans.
“Roll back,” Gambit says. He shoves at Wolverine’s chest. Wolverine stretches back on the sun warmed blanket, finds a rock under his shoulder but decides to ignore it.
Gambit leans over him, fiery highlights striking from his mane of hair, and takes hold of Wolverine’s cock. His touch warms as much as it ignites. Wolverine sighs, and Gambit ducks in to kiss him, slower, probing, demanding.
Wolverine reaches blindly for Gambit’s hip.
He can’t even call what they’re doing to each other jerking off. Gambit’s cock fills his hand and he can’t stop stroking and palming, the organ growing heavy and slick, but there’s no rhythm. This is just touching, trying to give pleasure, and coming is kind of an afterthought.
Gambit’s hand on Wolverine falters sometimes, just as he also has to stop and catch his breath, but the hand on Wolverine’s cock never hesitates. His determination turns Wolverine’s crank almost more than the scent of his arousal, his sweat, the living weight sliding through his big hand.
As Gambit comes, the slight crackle of red under his eyelids betrays his fatigue with the barest loss of control.
Breath roughens in Wolverine’s throat. Gambit’s fingers stray toward the rhythm Wolverine likes best.
Calloused fingers roll his tight balls, and he groans, and pleasure shivers through him.
Gambit falls half on top of Wolverine and wipes his come-covered hand on Wolverine’s jeans.
“Barbarian.” Wolverine makes a point of wiping his own hand on the grass.
Gambit’s blinks at him, lazy now, the fire ignited in him banked to embers. “You would know.”
“Not anymore.” Gambit stretches against him and sits up. “You?”
“Nah, I’m good.”
Gambit rolls to his feet, almost his old self. From nowhere he passes a playing card along his knuckles, sparking red “Then let’s ride.”
A weight rises from Wolverine. He fishes a half smoked cigar from his pocket, shoves it in his mouth and lights it.
He gathers the blanket and food remains and shoves them into the saddlebag. Swings a leg over.
Gambit kicks his bike into motion.
Wolverine follows a beat behind.
He’s just close enough to hear Gambit yell, “Race you!”
Wolverine leans into the wind, what feels like new life rocketing through him. Pulls even with Gambit. “Try to keep up!”
They gun their engines in unison and burn down the road.