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Logan needs company.

He sends the bike blazing through the towns on the Mississippi, marveling at the changes since his first trip through these parts, a hundred years ago or more. After the war between the states, that would be.

It’s getting late, and Logan is getting tired. He’s tempted by the motels with the AC signs, the tiny, lighted pools, the color TVs. Not that he wants these things so much; he's spent long years swimming in ponds and rivers; telling stories, or drinking, or sometimes singing, around campfires or in candlelit rooms, for entertainment. Logan, a child of the cold north, enjoys the heat and humidity on his skin.

But the bright neon signs signal an era he still isn’t over, a stretch of time that still interests him, even now in 1977. Modernization, they call it, this world of talking images and instantaneous communication, light hovering over big cities at night as if they were on fire, counting machines smarter than people. Well, Logan isn’t so surprised about that. He’s met lots of people stupider than the average goat. The lights, the changes, the simple assumption by today’s people that this is simply the way things are, that this is their due, this fascinates Logan.

Victor’s getting tired of it all. Not simply impatient with the modern world, fencing them about with records and lights and too many people, but weary of living like humans, playing their game like he cares about this country, no matter what Stryker thinks.

Which is why Victor is spending his leave naked in a forest somewhere while Logan took off on his bike, the latest in a long line of beautiful machines, to see something of the country. Talk to people he isn’t competing with, or covering for, or soothing down from a murderous rage.

He’s done that. Fished on the mighty old river with some old men who remember the first time they heard the radio. Watched a minor league baseball game and drank with the team after. Fixed a car for a young couple on their honeymoon, sharing a picnic lunch of fried chicken and peach pie, couple and food all so wholesome it would normally make his teeth ache. Right now, these kind people, decent and hardworking and provincial, they feel like the first waft of cool air on a muggy night after a few years of doing Stryker‘s dirty work.

Now Logan wants company of a different sort. And he can’t find that company here, not without a lot of trouble and probably little to show for it.

So he guns the bike through the night to New Orleans, queer capital of the south.

The last time Logan was in New Orleans back in the ‘50s, the French Quarter was barely better than a slum, but it had gotten gaudy and loud and artificial since. Logan kind of missed the old way, when it was mostly artists and outcasts who lived here. He cruises the crowded streets, looking for the right kind of bar, breathing for the scent of men, arousal, sweat and beer.

There’s barely a sign at this place, and it’s not lit: Pirate something. The sound of a crowd, a male crowd, escapes from the narrow building front. The door is propped open halfway.

Logan pulls the bike in around a corner and chains it to a post. He has no illusions about this town.

Without the wind of his passage, the heat of a New Orleans June folds around him, hot damp air pressed around his face like some kind of cloth. The leather jacket has to go, Logan decides. He rolls it carefully and stashes it in a saddle bag. Runs a hand through his hair and tugs the tank straight.

Snorts at himself for preening like some kind of civilian and takes himself around the corner.

This is something he can’t do with Victor at his side. Victor is intimidating and possessive of him, even though he’s much more interested in women than men. Mostly, though, Logan just hates to have Victor along when he‘s looking for a man because he‘s so damn annoying.

Logan pushes the door open. No one much seems to notice, which is odd. He’s used to coming into a bar like this and being the focus of attention when he steps into the room. Sure, people tend to look away instead of meeting his gaze, but that’s how he finds the ones he wants - the men who look him in the eye instead.

No, this time the whole bar it seems it looking back to a pool table, lit up by an overhead light. Logan’s pretty sure it’s not the game they care about.

A young man leans over the table. Silk shirt, sleeves rolled up, open down his chest. Pants that look tailored to his hips and ass and thighs. Hair to his shoulders, hair that looks like he only raked a hand through it before leaving the house, hair that frames a ridiculously sculpted face.

Logan doesn’t want to want him. But his hold over his own wants, that‘s never been his strong suit.

The man at the pool table looks up, and he meets Logan’s look. He gives Logan a lazy once over, and he smiles a the smile of a man who holds winning cards.

Then he leans over the table - most of the bar’s population is checking out the guy’s ass, not watching the game itself- and hits the ball with the precision of a man who knows all eyes are on him and he deserves it.

The shot is good. Perfect. Logan would be irritated as hell at the guy if he wasn’t half hard already from that look.

The pool player straightens, catches Logan’s eye. Nods.

Logan can’t hear what he says to the other player, but money changes hands, and the pool player they’ve all been ogling steps to the door through the crowd, which lets him through without being obvious about it.

He brushes past Logan, just close enough for his silk covered shoulder to graze Logan’s bare skin.

Logan falls in behind him.

They kiss against the old brick wall next to the open door, pushing chest to chest in the heated air. It feels like the river has crawled over its concrete and mud banks for a night on the town. Logan can feel the damp clinging to his skin.

Logan jerks the pool player’s shirt open. Buttons patter on the sidewalk. He has to get his hands on skin. The body underneath his fingers is as carved as the man’s face, carved by use and abuse. There’s a line of scar over the man’s abdomen, another at his ribs.

Logan can always spot a fighting man.

The stranger bites Logan’s throat, gentle like a kiss. Goes for his collarbone. Not gentle at all.

A sharp whistle sounds, and the man puts Logan back with a hand on his shoulder.

“This way.”

Logan follows the stranger around the side of a building, down an alley.

“What’s that? Cops?”

“Mmmm. What we do there, it’s okay with John Law if we keep it out of sight. And pay ‘em off, of course,” the stranger says. He steps around another corner, opens a battered green door.

The room beyond is spare, with just a bed and a chest and some books stacked on the floor, a small bathroom behind a corner door. It seems like it’s lived in, but not a home.

“Good idea to set a look out,” Logan says. He nudges the man back against the white painted wall. The stranger takes hold of Logan’s belt - Logan never even sees his hand move - and he is pulled flush against that long body. The guy carries more muscle than you would expect from looking at him in the fancy shirt and expensive pants, and Logan wants that strength bucking under him.

“What’s your name, stranger?” Logan bites at his ear. He doesn’t like treating sex partners like objects. He’ll never see this guy again, but he wants to know his name just the same.

“Remy. Whom do I have the honor of addressing?”

“Logan. Smartass.”

“Nice to meet you, Logan,” Remy says. “Might we proceed?”

“I want to fuck you.”

“I knew I was a lucky man,” Remy murmurs.

Logan’s belt is undone and dangling and he doesn’t remember Remy doing that. “How’s that?”

“I want to be fucked. You’ll do,” Remy says.

Logan growls and pins him to the wall and kisses him. Works his hands into the back of this Remy‘s pants. Insolent, gorgeous pup. He’s younger than he looks but Logan doesn’t much care how old he is.

Then Remy has the tube of slick out of Logan’s front pocket, and he’s opening Logan’s jeans and taking out his cock.

“You take direction?”

“Might do,” Remy says.

“I want you on the bed. All fours,” Logan says.

“Only if you strip off. Want to feel skin, homme.”

Logan steps back, yanks his boots free, shoves jeans down. Pulls the tank top over his head.

“All right.” Remy discards his clothing on top of the chest, not making a show of it at all, but Logan can’t look away.

Logan follows Remy to the bed, reaches fingers through his hair, pulls him back for a bite to the neck.

Remy sits on the bed, takes hold of Logan’s hip, and slicks his cock up with the other hand. Then he swings his legs onto the bed and kneels, stretches up and forward, and comes down on his hands.

Logan goes to his knees behind Remy, reaches between his legs and strokes his hard cock, balls to tip. Remy follows the motion of his hand, hips swaying forward at his touch, wanton and confident and secure, and Logan wants to pin him to the bed and shove in and come ‘til his head explodes.

A deep breath, years of discipline, and Logan holds himself at a slow boil. He wants to make this last. This man will have to do him until his next leave. Logan retrieves the slick from the bed and greases up his fingers, strokes them into Remy, bit by bit, until Remy releases a shaky sigh and spreads his knees wider.

“C’mon, homme,” Remy says. “Let’s go.”

“Bossy,” Logan says. He doesn’t mind doing what he’s told, though. Was going to do it anyway, because be damned if he can hold off anymore.

Logan tugs Remy slowly back, a hand around his thigh, guides his cock forward, reminds himself to slow down. He’s pretty big and Remy is no virgin, but he doesn’t feel like he’s been giving it up every night either.

Remy’s athletic ass cheeks flex as Logan’s cock pushes inside him, a half inch at a each nudge. Logan halts after a few inches, after getting the head of his cock well in.

He wants to drop the patience, drop the plan. Let instinct take over. But Logan won’t. He can’t. He’s never going to be the animal. Never going to let it loose. He’s a man, he has culture and morality - some - and the man he is wants more than just to come as fast as he can.

So Logan waits.

Remy arches his back, slow, like a reverse stretch, and tosses his hair aside to look over his shoulder. He doesn’t speak, though his breathing has roughened. He meets Logan’s eye and there’s understanding there.

Logan runs his knuckles over Remy’s back, drops down to push calloused fingers along the map of his ribs. Pushes in, a steady pressure forward, not so slow now. Stops again, barely long enough to take a breath, and drives deep.

Simmering pleasure heats, nears a boil as Logan quickens the pace, backs off, drives deep, inches forward.

Remy repays his attentions with muttered encouragement: Yes, there, slow down, you bastard, why are you stopping? Oh, man, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.

The beautiful athlete’s body under Logan shifts back to meet his thrusts, moves to complement his moves, catches onto the not-rhythm Logan sets as if Remy can read his mind.

Maybe he can. Logan doesn’t care.

They are both slick with sweat, the river come to call on bare skin. Logan leans over Remy, settles against his back for a rest mid-fuck and bites at his shoulder, idly and not meaning much by it. His cock half slips out as he leans over, and Remy gasps and shifts back as if to recapture it. Logan mutters, shhh. It’s like he can feel sex-pleasure all over his body, like this long, slow fuck is letting sensation flood all of him, reach every digits and extremity. If he tried to hold his hand steady right now, it would tremble.

Slow waves of heat ripple through him as he shifts on Remy’s back, tries to get more skin against skin, kisses Remy’s ear, cheek, jaw. Remy bears his weight easily, shifts to help him. Logan stretches an arm under Remy, wraps fingers around Remy’s leaking cock. Strokes, pulls, slow as he can. Remy drops his head. Mutters, “Oh, that’s nice.”

Remy wants to push his cock at Logan’s hand, Logan can feel it in him, but he’s reluctant to lose Logan’s cock any further, it seems, so Remy sways forward and pushes back, the ass under Logan’s hips flexing and contracting, the tight passage surround his own organ gripping and fluttering.

The swell in Logan builds and he has to move again. He rears back, dropping Remy’s cock, to press in strong and deep. Logan tamps down the need to jackhammer into the body under him. He drives forward strong, steady, building the wave bit by bit.

Remy strokes himself, in time with Logan, but he’s going to start stuttering soon and finish, Logan can feel it. With a shift of his weight and a strong arm around Remy’s waist, Logan sits back on his heels. Somehow, Remy instantly gets what he is about and levers himself up and they never lose connection. He puts a hand on Logan’s thigh and rides him, moving up and down on Logan’s cock, with Logan working his cock.

Remy can’t last like this, Logan can feel it, and he doesn’t, coming with a wordless shout a handful of seconds later.

Logan waits him out, mentally cursing his own plan, trying to hold off.

“Got you, homme,” Remy says, and he rises on Logan’s cock again, three, four times, and Logan is over that crest, and tumbling down the other side with a barked “Ah!”

Remy sags back against Logan. Before Logan can get uncomfortable, Remy straightens and Logan’s spent cock slides from him. Remy stretches and Logan admires the man, looking at him as a beautiful creature instead of an object of lust now that the urgent need for male company no longer rides him.

Logan stifles a yawn. He’s got to go. “Okay if I get a shower?”

Remy shrugs. “No problem.”

Logan washes quickly in cool water. He doesn’t want to get too comfortable. Keeping in touch is not an option. Hell, round two is not an option. Getting attached to a man is not compatible with serving in the U. S. Army, not when his unit is so small and they know each other, however reluctantly, so well. And Victor. When Victor gets jealous, people get their throats torn out.

Logan must go. Now. Before he shares a meal with this Remy, has a conversation, fights alongside him. Before hope gets in his way.

He goes back into the main room and dresses. Steps into his boots with a thump. Checks pockets for wallet and keys.

“Thank you,” Remy says, lounging on the bed. He’s half-dressed, in trousers alone.

“You’re welcome,” Logan says, meeting his eyes just long enough to make Remy understand he isn’t creeping out of here ashamed of what they’ve been doing.

“Hope you don’t have any regrets.” Remy straightens, swings his legs over the side of the bed.

Logan hesitates. “Regrets? No. Got what I wanted.” Regrets? That he won’t have Remy again? Won’t find out what made those scars and why he can pick a pocket so well? won’t get to watch him sleep? Hell, yes, he has regrets.

“I won’t offer to walk you to your vehicle,” Remy says, some sort of understanding in his words. Or maybe that’s what Logan wants to think.

Logan turns to the door, steps into the street, turns to make his farewells from there.

Forces himself to say Goodbye, not See you.

Logan won’t be coming back to New Orleans.