Title: Bedrolls and Breakfast
Fandom: Wild Wild West
Feedback: justblackchaps at yahoo dot com
Summary: Jim and Artemus come to an agreement.
Disclaimer: All this belongs to CBS.
Note: This is part of a series.
"It's gonna be cold tonight."
"It usually is in the desert." Jim placed some more wood on the fire. "We'll live."
"I hope so." Artemus smiled at his partner. "Think we'll get home tomorrow?"
"We should." Jim didn't smile.
Artemus nodded and went to check the horses. They were fine, and the instant he was away from the fire he regretted it. At least his front had been warm. Now, his whole body was cold. He pulled his coat closer and returned to the comparative warmth of the fire. Jim sat cross-legged on his bedroll, cleaning his gun, his nightly ritual, when they were on the trail. Artemus stood with his back to the fire and let his backside warm up first before sitting on his bedroll. He wouldn't be anywhere near comfortable tonight, but it could always be worse.
"I'll take first watch."
"You think we need to do that?" Artemus glanced at Jim across the fire.
Artemus shrugged. He didn't mind. Pulling his saddlebag closer, he dug out a bottle of whiskey and began to warm up his stomach. "Drink?"
Artemus grinned. "I'll move my bedroll closer."
"I put you where there were no rocks." Jim shrugged, as if he didn't care.
Artemus abandoned his bedroll and went to Jim. He sat down very close to him, enjoying his body heat, and handed him the whiskey. Jim took a healthy swig and passed it back. Artemus emptied the bottle further and edged even closer, for warmth, of course.
Jim stood up abruptly and holstered his gun. He grabbed up Artemus' bedroll and laid it down right next to his. "Happy?"
"It's a start." Artemus found a more comfortable spot to sit. Jim nudged the fire a bit before sitting down. They were shoulder to shoulder. The bottle went back and forth again. "I wish I could take off my coat and get comfortable."
"You'd die of the cold." Jim took another drink. "It's only one night."
"Yeah." Artemus didn't reach for the bottle. He took off his boots and shook out the sand, flexing his feet. Jim laughed and drank some whiskey. Artemus put his boots back on before a toe froze and scooted a little closer to the fire. "So, what shall we talk about?"
"How about nothing?" Jim handed him the bottle.
Artemus sighed and took a couple of drinks. "Jeremy would talk to me."
"So get him for a partner." Jim leaned back on his arms.
"You're such an asshole." Artemus laughed and finished the bottle, handing the empty to Jim. "Really."
Jim sucked out the last drop and put the bottle nearby. He didn't answer. Artemus lay back flat on his bedroll and studied his partner. Jim was out of sorts lately. He just wasn't having fun anymore. Artemus wanted to know why, but Jim was resisting all attempts to draw the information from him. Jim glanced back and returned his attention to the fire, but not before frowning.
"What's wrong, partner?"
"You should sleep." Jim edged away.
"I might freeze to death." Artemus joked. "Can I have a good night kiss?"
Jim's shoulders jerked and hunched. He said nothing and didn't turn around again. Artemus should have been surprised, but he wasn't. Jim should have laughed or thrown something at Artemus. The fact that Jim hadn't spoke volumes about the problem. Artemus sat back up and put his hands near the fire. He rubbed his hands together and wished for gloves, but they were on the Wanderer. Jim abruptly stood and paced away. Artemus knew that Jim was going to the horses for no good reason except to escape. That was fine. Pushing Jim would only lead to gunfire. Artemus laughed.
"What's so funny?" Jim sounded angry.
"I was thinking that I could torture the information out of you by slowly roasting you over an open fire, and then I remembered that you'd shoot me." Artemus laughed again and dug his boots into the sandy soil.
Jim squatted on the opposite side of the little fire and placed some more wood on it. "Nothing to tell."
"Come here, kiss me, and then say that again." Artemus dared him. It might work.
"Oh, shut up, Artie. You tease me too much." Jim stared at his boots and didn't move.
Artemus waited to hear if Jim was done, and apparently, he was. "What's one more?" He shoved at the heart of the matter.
"We were half-drunk and fucking one whore between us. Accidents happen." Jim turned his back to the fire, and Artemus.
Artemus sighed. He brushed his fingers against his lips and remembered. Half-drunk? Not likely. Artemus had lost interest in the woman from the moment his lips met Jim's. He'd only orgasmed because Jim was there. He swallowed. "She was a housewife, but don't worry about it. Stop worrying about it." He meant it, even though it hurt.
Jim whirled and put his hands on his hips. "I haven't given it a moments thought."
Artemus heard and felt the denial. He lay back down and pulled his blanket over him. It shouldn't matter, and yet, it did. Had they always been attracted to each other? Did it underlay all the laughter, affection, and fun they had together? Artemus burrowed his face under the blanket to warm his nose; curling up inside the fire was beginning to sound like a good idea.
"I'll wake you in five hours."
Artemus didn't answer. He didn't trust his voice. It might roar out of him, not in anger, but in frustration. It seemed straightforward to him. What could it hurt to try? He began to shiver, and he gave up on sleeping. It was just too damn cold.
Artemus jerked the blanket back and got up fast. He never thought twice when Jim used that tone of voice. Jim glared at him, rearranged the bedrolls, and pointed. "Down."
"Don't scare me like that! I thought there was a snake!" Artemus lay back down with his front facing the fire. Jim's bedroll was directly behind, and he quickly occupied it. Jim wrapped an arm around Artemus, and they curled close, sharing their body warmth. "I thought you were keeping watch."
"Nothing out here but snakes--cold ones--now go to sleep," Jim growled softly in Artemus' ear.
"Okay." Artemus' shivers died away, and he began to feel warm. "Thanks for this."
Jim grunted, but said nothing. Artemus became concerned that Jim's backside had to be achingly cold. He snaked a hand back to make sure Jim was covered. Jim jerked slightly. "Don't." One soft word.
Artemus shut his eyes. "Fine. Freeze your perfect ass off."
Jim jerked again and laughed. He wiggled a little closer. "You kissed me. I did nothing."
"Liar. You kissed me. I was so shocked that I almost forgot to pull my tongue out." Artemus grinned. That kiss had been so nice.
"You did forget." Jim's cold nose burrowed into Artemus' neck, nearly making him yelp. "It would complicate our lives too much, Artie."
Artemus bit back his answer. Perhaps a little silence on his part might be more effective than words. Jim had a point. It wouldn't always be easy. Very little about their lives was. They pressed together more closely, but neither man spoke as the fire died down. Artemus didn't want to get up for more wood. He was warm. Jim seemed asleep, and Artemus tucked Jim's hand inside his coat. Artemus shut his eyes. He might sleep.
Artemus knew he was somewhere, but he didn't know where, and someone was very close, but he didn't know who it was. He refused to open his eyes, but instead he burrowed for warmth. His hand found purchase on a strong neck, and he nuzzled, breathing in the good smells. When warm lips pressed into his, he didn't think. He kissed. A soft groan made him open his eyes.
Jim's green eyes were right there. "I guess there's no hope for it."
"We did try," Artemus said gently.
"Not very hard," Jim said and kissed him again.
Artemus didn't argue. He enjoyed the warmth flowing over him. They moved together for a long moment. "I'm not taking my clothes off."
Jim laughed into Artemus' neck. "Me neither." And they laughed together.
"Does this mean you have given me a moment's thought?" Artemus kissed Jim's neck.
"I've thought of little else, as you damn well know." Jim managed to mold their bodies closer. "Sun is up. We should get going."
"I want breakfast." Artemus stretched and brought his hands down to grip Jim's ass, grinding them together. Jim didn't struggle to get away. No, he brought his mouth down and thrust his tongue deep. Suddenly, Artemus wanted his clothes off. He was hot.
Jim pulled back. "We have to stop."
Artemus groaned. "But I'm finally warm!"
"If I open your trousers, you won't be. Trust me." Jim tried to move away, but Artemus found a good grip and wouldn't let go.
"You go first, and tell me how bad it is," Artemus said with a grin. "I'll put my hand right here."
Jim wrapped the blankets tighter, tucked himself into Artemus' side, and loosed his buttons. "Your mouth would be warmer."
Artemus was sure his eyes widened. Jim wasn't going to be shy about what he wanted in the bedroll. He was going to be downright bossy. Artemus looked Jim in the eye and waited.
Artemus immediately made his way down Jim's warm body. His legs were going to get cold, but he didn't mind at all. He moved quickly, and Jim arranged the blanket again. Artemus felt a whisper of wonderment float through him. There was no going back from here. Jim's big hand curled into Artemus' hair. Artemus quit hesitating. Jim had to be cold.
"That is nice and warm."
Artemus nearly pulled back to laugh, but Jim's hand held him close. He wrapped his arm around Jim's blue-clad ass and enjoyed his breakfast.
"Pull back, Artie," Jim whispered.
Artemus ignored that and swallowed. Jim's hand didn't pull him away, regardless of what he'd said. Jim's gasps turned to groans, and Artemus pushed himself back up. His knees thanked him for the added warmth. They lay side by side, kissing. Artemus shivered a little. Would the sun ever warm the land?
"Let's get home."
"Wait just a goddamn minute!" Artemus glared at Jim.
"Artie, you're not." Jim gripped him through his trousers to prove the point. "You volunteered to go first. I'll return the favor when we get home."
Artemus sighed from real frustration. Jim was right, but he'd better come through with his side of the bargain. He tossed the blankets back and stood up, extending a hand to Artemus. "You should button your britches first."
Jim looked down and started tucking and buttoning, quickly. Artemus took a stretch and eased up, beginning to shake out the bedrolls. The fire was stone cold. It was a shame. Jim went for the horses. Artemus hoped they weren't frozen, like his balls were. He picked up the camp while Jim saddled the horses, bringing them over when he finished. They tied everything down and looked about, making sure they'd dropped nothing.
Artemus found a pouch and tossed it to Jim. "Coffee would have been nice."
Jim sucked a piece of jerky into his mouth and mumbled, "You already had breakfast."
Artemus wanted to kick Jim in the ass. "I know what you're having for dinner."
Jim jumped up into the saddle and grinned. "And dessert?"
Artemus swung into the saddle and stretched his back. "More of the same."
Jim laughed and let the black loose. Artemus watched them gallop off. They'd circle around after a bit. His chestnut moved into a trot, but Artemus kicked him into a canter. They needed to get home before dinner.