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Gambit wakes at dawn. The day is already heating up. Light from the uncurtained windows sprawls over the sleeping body next to him. Wolverine likes greeting the dawn from the other side, not waking to it, and Gambit thinks of what he will do this morning until his lover stirs.

He could do some work on the bass boat's motor, perhaps. With a soft flick Gambit throws the sheet back and steps out of bed, silent on bare feet. Stealth is a habit he never notices, until the rare moment when he causes a noise, or when Wolverine, for the seventeenth time, tells him to quit sneaking.

Gambit pauses to appreciate Wolverine's utter abandon, splayed out face down with the heavy relaxation of a man well shagged. Perhaps even content. The sheet has slipped down to his ass and sunlight highlights the curve of his lower back. The morning cry of a very distant rooster reminds Gambit that the day is wasting, and he shakes himself into motion, retrieves jeans and tank from the dresser, and goes into the only other room in the rough fisherman's cabin.

There's biscuits left over from last night's barbeque take out. Gambit builds a sandwich with sausage and cheese and goes down to the boat shed on the shore of the slow running river.

The heavy green weight of a Louisiana summer morning settles against his bare arms as he hauls the motor off the boat and sets it down in a patch of sun. It's a pleasant discomfort, here where there are breezes and mottled shadows to give relief, unlike the cloying heat of a summer in the concrete city.

Gambit lays the motor in parts across a tarp on the grass and tinkers with the old machine, cleaning parts, inspecting connections, sanding edges of rust, lavishing oil. The only reason she runs rough is age, and Gambit reckons whether it's worth buying a new motor, or if they're here so little it isn't worth it.

Probably not worth it. He’d rather fool around with the old man than fish, since they’re so rarely alone together for more than a day. Still, right now Gambit relishes the time to himself, losing his brain in simple tasks. He works alone by choice, and the few and far between encounters with Wolverine’s merry band of do-gooders are enough team work for him.

Working with Wolverine doesn’t count. For all they can fight like two hands of the same demon when confronted with some evil, the missions Wolverine persuades him into usually sends them on two prongs of an attack.

Mid-morning. Gambit starts to sweat through the bug spray. Thinks about getting a drink, but he’s in a good groove now. He can wait.

The screen door up at the cabin slams. Gambit smirks. Talk about a man who does not make a habit of stealth. He sits back on his heels and watches the path. The motor is half reassembled, and he wouldn't mind a break.

Wolverine has pulled n jeans so worn they're almost a danger to modesty. They outline his long legs and set off, well, everything about him, Gambit thinks.

The top button on the fly is open. He's bare-chested.

Gambit is really ready for that break.

Wolverine crouches across from Gambit and hands him the water-sweating Coca Cola can he brought down.

"Morning," Gambit says. He cracks open the cold can and chugs half.

"Yeah, it is," Wolverine says.

"Have trouble getting dressed by yourself?" Gambit tosses back the rest of the sugared acid. That’s what he needed.

"You've seen it," Wolverine says.

Gambit looks again. No harm in making sure he hasn't missed anything.

"You got that thing ready to take out?"

"Nearly. You want to fish?" Gambit slaps a mosquito off his forearm. They don’t seem to bother Wolverine.

"Nah. Wouldn't mind getting out on the river, though," Wolverine says. His hand finds the back of Gambit's neck and Wolverine ducks in for a personal greeting.

Gambit leans back, lips alive and tingling. "A minute or two to fix this, homme. Go get us some beers and ice, eh?"

Wolverine rises.

Gambit nearly licks his lips in anticipation. Wolverine looks as good going as he does arriving.



The rejuvenated motor propels the shallow boat nicely over the lazy river, right in the middle of the channel. The sun is strong but the mosquitoes are scarce right here, so Gambit figures it's a fair exchange.

Gambit runs the motor and Wolverine sprawls back against his legs. Ordinarily, Wolverine avoids casual touch. His awareness of personal space is attuned practically to the atomic level, Gambit long ago concluded, a legacy perhaps of a lifetime lived in war zones.

Or perhaps it is simply the legacy of spending decades of your life alongside an elder brother with a diabolical sense of humor.

But on their stolen weekends and illicit weeks that are about the two of them and nothing else, Wolverine is in contact with Gambit constantly: a hand on the knee, a mouth at the neck, some complicated and almost uncomfortable tangle of limbs and broad backs and elbows on the couch.

Gambit eases the motor to idle as they reach the widest and wildest part of this river, then cuts the power. A heron, white as bone, stalks in the far shallows. Insects drone in the background, a mass of sound that dulls the senses, makes Gambit think of lazy teenage days on what's left of the bayous, drifting with a cooler of beer and some girl or boy.

Things haven't much changed, Gambit muses. This interlude won't last either, but it will be sweet until the end.

Wolverine stirs, reaches a can of beer and holds it up.

Gambit takes the iced can and rolls it across Wolverine's bare shoulders.

"Trying to make me yelp?" Wolverine tips his head back against Gambit's knee.

"Know exactly how to make you yelp," Gambit says. He rolls the can down Wolverine's stretched throat and across his collarbone. "Just trying to cool you off."

"Beer is a miracle worker, but it can't do everything, red."

Gambit stretches down to kiss him. The angle is awkward and the kiss doesn't last. Wolverine twists and gets his knees under him until he's kneeling in front of Gambit.

Then their mouths meet again and Gambit works his fingers into Wolverine's thick hair. His thumbs settled along Wolverine's jaw, tilting his lover's head back.

Wolverine's hand finds Gambit's fly and works open the buttons. Gambit hums approval and spreads his legs.

That deadly hand delves into Gambit's jeans and lifts his tightening cock and balls out. A calloused thumb grazes over the knob of Gambit's cock and he growls into Wolverine's mouth. Self-satisfaction radiates off the big man.

Wolverine sits back, just far enough to put air between their mouths, and angles in to bite the smooth skin under Gambit's jaw.

Sensation skitters down Gambit's spine. He puts a hand on the back of Wolverine's neck, firm fingers reminding Wolverine of who holds sway here. His lover works bites down his throat, one small pain after another making a chain along his jugular.

A slow tide of pleasure washes outward from that stimulated skin. This is the way Wolverine likes to do it, making each small movement mean more, feel more, as he adds action after action, pushing pleasure into the most secret corners of Gambit's flesh.

But this is daylight. This is open river. Gambit has no tolerance for leisure here. He has no tolerance for Wolverine's surging autonomy. Wolverine comes to Gambit, and Gambit lets him in. Gambit sets the agenda. All Wolverine can do is choose the time, and Gambit will open all the doors. Or he will turn him off.

Caprice is no part of Gambit's nature. But fear is, and he is not such a coward that he cannot admit it to himself. Wolverine could take him over, all without knowing it. Wolverine, strong, solitary, powerful, still waits on someone somewhere to give him the nod. Getting away from Creed did not change over a century's dependence on the elder's acceptance, no matter how much Wolverine had become his brother's keeper as the years went on.

Wolverine senses that he has lost Gambit's full attention, and flexes his fingers over Gambit's shaft.

Gambit shoves Wolverine's head down, meeting just a second of resistance before Wolverine shifts his knees back over aluminum and moves in to swallow down Gambit's cock.

This authority Wolverine gives him excites and stifles. This authority, all in exchange for his apparently valuable attention, unnerves Gambit even as he revels in it.

Power over others has never been Gambit's goal. Power over other people just gives them power over you. In the guild, you look after your underlings or they turn on you.

Wolverine exercises his years of experience sucking cock, and Gambit digs hard fingers into his neck and urges him on.

What would happen if Wolverine were his, here, a regular actor in his life? Would Gambit come to depend on him, too? Would Gambit be held hostage to Wolverine's need? Would Wolverine cease to look to Gambit for approval and leave to seek some other authority?

Gambit comes down Wolverine’s throat with a gritted, “Hell.”

Wolverine reaches for his own fly, his fattened cock clearly visible under the worn denim.

“No,” Gambit says.

Wolverine raises an eyebrow.

“Save it for lunch,” Gambit says.

Wolverine deliberately turns around, leans back against Gambit’s knees again, and sprawls out to best display himself.

Gambit’s had enough of the river. Loops the bass boat into a turn and motors them home.



The sheets are sweaty, tangled, hanging half off the bed. There’s a couple of rips in the washed thin cotton that were not there this morning.

Gambit begins to think of getting out of bed, finding some food to keep up their energy stores for more fucking, but the snoring lump beside him looks just as good in the late afternoon sun as the dawn light. He settles his palm over Wolverine’s shoulder blade. Wolverine wakes instantly, stretches, and rolls over. He gives Gambit a satisfied smile. Anyone else would be bruised and covered scratches and bite marks. Gambit rather likes getting a clean slate, himself.

Wolverine reaches a cigar off a rickety bedside table, lights up. Gambit is content watching him smoke, for now.

"I've got to go," Wolverine says.

"Tonight?" The room smells of cigar smoke and sweat and semen.

Wolverine nods. "See you next season?"

"Got a clear schedule in 39 days," Gambit says, picturing his calendar.

Wolverine blows a smoke ring. "Can't make it."

This is a lie. Wolverine has no schedule. Gambit nods anyway. He will see Wolverine when he sees him.

Unless Gambit commands otherwise.

Wolverine looks at him sideways, waiting for a reply.

Gambit takes Wolverine’s cigar, sucks smoke off it. Breathes smoke out.

And, like a coward, says nothing.