Title: The Night After
Fandom: Wild Wild West
Pairing: Jim/Artie
Feedback: justblackchaps at yahoo dot com
Rating: NC-17
Beta: Bigmackie
Summary: Jim wants Artemus, but doesn't know how to go about asking.
Disclaimer: All this belongs to CBS.

********

The stable was dark after Jim blew out the lantern. There was an extra bale of hay by the door, and he sat down to take a moment. Artemus was probably in the kitchen or the lab, relaxing in his own way. This last assignment had been a tough one, and Jim was grateful they had horses to help him clear his mind. The horses were chewing their oats and shifting their feet. He put his head in his hands and exhaled slowly. General Ball had been a good man and a friend. Jim would miss the man his commander had been, not the man he'd become after his injury. The war had ruined plenty of good men.

American Knife was right. Jim had hesitated, and it would have been fatal if the Indian hadn't thrown his knife. Hesitation in battle was usually the last mistake made. Jim had been lucky, and he couldn't count on that in the future. He resolved never to put a friend in that position again. Next time, he'd kill and count the costs later.

Jim rubbed his eyes and enjoyed the soothing darkness. The girls had jumped train at the last stop, and he had immediately retreated to the stable. They were nice girls, but enough was enough. Artemus was clearly relieved, as well. Jim didn't know whether Artemus was jealous, angry, or sick of all the noise, and he knew his partner wouldn't tell him. Artemus never told Jim how he was really feeling. Mostly, it was bravado and bullshit in several different languages. Jim didn't blame Artemus for being this way. After all Jim didn't want to discuss his feelings either. Sometimes though, it seemed a little lonely. He sat in the dark refusing to get upset about the life he had chosen. This was what he wanted, to make a difference for his country. And if it was less than perfect, it was his damn fault for being so demanding. Nothing was perfect. Well, Artemus was pretty close, but Jim would never say it out loud or even think those words in the presence of another soul. His horse knew, but he'd never talk and neither would Jim.

Jim stood up and stretched his back. He hated to leave the horses and the quiet, but it was time to face his partner. Artemus would blow some steam, and Jim would smile and nod. Life would be back to normal. Jim left the stable and slammed the door. The rush of air between cars was strong, and he estimated the train was moving near top speed. They were headed to Washington at the request of President Grant. He wouldn't say why, but Jim knew it had to be important. Two days, maybe three, he, and Artemus would be there. The wind was rushing through his hair, and he knew he was delaying, again. Stepping across and into the varnish car, he slammed another door and combed his hair with his fingers.

Artemus stuck his head out the lab door and looked his way. Jim noticed the frown that instantly graced those beautiful features before Artemus disappeared back inside his haven. Jim sighed and cracked his knuckles, walking past the shut door of the lab to the parlor car. He needed a brandy, a big one, if Artemus was going to yell. Jim stuck a finger in his ear and wiggled it. Last time Artemus had really got going, Jim had almost gone deaf. Was there some way to derail Artemus before he got up to full steam? Jim poured himself a brandy and took a big drink. Could he distract him? Apologize? No, that would never work. Jim went to the sofa to consider the problem sitting down. Lie? He drank some more, crossed his legs, and looked at the books on the side table. Artemus was always reading, and sometimes Jim was interested. He picked up a slender volume and immediately felt stupid. Polish? What language was this?

Jim placed the book back where it had been carefully. Books were expensive, and Artemus was angry enough. Jim drained his brandy and lay back on the sofa, putting his arm over his eyes. The quiet certainly was nice. He had to set Artemus back on his heels or this would turn into a very noisy evening. Jim leaned up and stripped off his white shirt. He tossed it on the back of the sofa and resumed his former position. Without moving more than his feet, he kicked off his boots. Now, he was comfortable.

Artemus came into the parlor like a hurricane on parade, and Jim still hadn't decided how to head off the wind coming his way. His mind was scrambling for an answer when it hit him. The truth was the best option, and it would shut Artemus up or at least slow him down.

Jim smiled and uncovered his eyes to view the tornado standing over him. "Good evening, Artie."

"Don't even act innocent, Jim. You and those--"

"I didn't bed either of them, Artie. I tried to get them to leave earlier, but they wouldn't give up." Jim enjoyed the sight of Artemus' mouth hanging open.

"They wrecked this train! I can't find anything," Artemus said. His voice was growing deeper and stronger.

Jim sat up and pulled a resisting Artemus down on the couch next to him with a small thump. "I couldn't throw them off the back in the middle of nowhere, even though I considered it once or twice," Jim said.

Artemus smiled, and Jim eyed those lips. His dick seemed to have a mind of its own and grew enough to make Jim's pants uncomfortable. He made himself a little more room before thinking, and he saw Artemus' eyes drop and widen. Artemus was remarkably quiet, and Jim couldn't help but grin. So this is what it took to derail the voice of St. Michael. Jim knew he'd never tell Artemus how he felt about him. The words simply wouldn't come out, but Jim's dick had ideas that wouldn't go away.

"I guess it wasn't completely your fault," Artemus said, looking anywhere and everywhere, except at Jim.

Jim kept his hand on his groin. This conversation was going well, as it seemed Artemus wouldn't be yelling tonight. Jim's trousers were getting tighter, and he unbuttoned them before any rational thoughts could stop him. His cock sprang out at full attention, and he stroked it top to bottom. He could hear every breath his partner took and feel every shift of his body, but he didn't dare look. Artemus would leave if he was offended, and Jim would have his answer. Jim's other hand betrayed him by crawling up Artemus' shoulder and burying itself in that thick black hair. The feel of hair in one hand and his dick in the other was almost enough to make Jim spend. He slowed down a little. This might be his only chance to touch Artemus while he masturbated.

"Jim?"

"Yes, Artie?"

"I'm not all that angry anymore."

"Good. I was worried you'd strain your voice," Jim said a little breathlessly, and closed his eyes to savor the pleasure. He could hear Artemus' breath begin to quicken. The hairs under his hand shifted. Jim felt a mouth slide down and bump into his fist. He gasped and moved his hand to join the other in Artemus' hair. This felt extraordinary. Jim's eyes were wide open, and he was sure Artemus was not going to be yelling at him any time soon. Jim let Artemus do whatever he wanted. It felt great and knowing it was Artemus made it even better. Artemus quickened his pace just slightly, and Jim had an incredible orgasm. It went on and on. His balls were drained dry, and he was surprised he wasn't blind.

Artemus let Jim's dick slide from his mouth and sat back up on the sofa. Jim kept a hand in Artemus' hair. Artemus had a big bulge, and Jim wanted to touch it.

"That looks painful," Jim said softly, and he reached across to unbutton the gray trousers.

"It is." Artemus' hands cupped Jim's face momentarily before sliding down his shoulders to his hands. "You don't have to, if you don't want."

"Oh shut up, Artie. I'd never leave you to suffer like this," Jim said and pulled Artemus' cock from its confinement. Jim didn't think about what he was doing. It felt right, and he'd deal with the consequences later. He spun off the couch and knelt between Artemus' black boots. Jim had known Artemus was large, so he wasn't surprised at the length cradled in his hand. Artemus was breathing roughly, and Jim took time to inspect his prize before taking it into his mouth.

Jim went slowly. There was no way he could get it all in his mouth so he fisted the base and worked on the top half. Artemus was moaning and groaning. Jim would've guessed Artemus would be a noisy lover. He had both hands on Jim's shoulders as if to encourage him. Jim enjoyed the touch on his bare skin and the feel of the big cock in his mouth. He kept his eyes on Artemus. The man was beautiful in his passion. Artemus looked down and their eyes locked. His dick pulsed, thickened, and erupted. Jim never paused or looked away. Finished, Artemus pulled Jim back up to the sofa, and he collapsed, stretching out so his head was resting on Artemus' thigh. Jim closed his eyes and relaxed every muscle. Artemus was all Jim had ever really wanted.

"Why?"

"Well," Jim said lightly to cover his emotions, "I didn't want you yelling at me."

Artemus didn't say anything more, and Jim kept his eyes closed. He really didn't want to know if his partner regretted what had happened. He adjusted himself back inside his trousers and rolled to his side with his head still pillowed on Artemus. Jim's breathing deepened and he fell asleep, exactly where he wanted to be.

***********

Jim woke instantly as he always did; knowing where he was and who was in the room with him. He sighed regretfully. No one. Artemus had stuck a pillow under his head and left the parlor. Jim sniffed the air. Was that dinner he smelled? He hoped so. A long stretch occupied the next few minutes. He scratched his head and enjoyed the memory of Artemus touching him. What was Artemus thinking now? Jim couldn't even guess. If his partner were angry, Jim would have to avoid him until they reached Washington and Artemus could leave. Jim paced to the back door and stared out at the darkness. He wouldn't even admit he had feelings. He'd deal with this calmly, even if he wanted to scream and hit things. Control. He was in control.

The telegraph started tapping a message. Jim went to the desk to write it down as it came across. He rapped out a quick reply, and Artemus joined him in the parlor.

"What's going on, Jim?"

"President Grant was checking to make sure we were making good time. He must be in trouble." Jim didn't meet Artemus' eye.

"Hopefully, it's something we can fix." Artemus shrugged. "Ready for dinner?"

"I am hungry," Jim said and studied his bare feet. "I hate politics. I would rather participate in a brawl."

Artemus laughed. "Politics is a brawl. Last man standing is the winner."

Jim smiled. After thinking for a moment, he tapped out a message to Colonel Fairchild. He didn't wait for an answer, but stood to head to the lavatory. Artemus was directly in Jim's path and half-a-dozen different scenarios flipped through Jim's mind. Kiss? Hug? Caress? Wink? Smirk? Fall to his knees and say thank you? His mind was almost paralyzed with the possibilities, and he studied Artemus hoping for a clue. Jim couldn't see one. He was usually good at reading Artemus, but tonight he was stumped. Jim pushed all his emotions deep under and walked past his partner without saying a word. What could he say? Thanks for sucking my cock? Artemus stepped back enough that the men didn't touch, and Jim knew his face and heart were carved from stone.

**********

Dinner was a quiet affair. It was excellent, and Jim could only hope Artemus hadn't poisoned him out of sheer pique. He almost laughed aloud at the thought. It was more likely that there was some kind of deadly gas in the biscuits.

"Something amusing, Jim?"

"Dinner is excellent."

"And this is funny because..."

Jim wasn't sure what to say, but he didn't like Artemus' tone. If Artemus was mad about what happened, he should just come out and say so. Words never failed him. Jim swallowed another bite and hoped he'd think of something intelligent to say. "Hell, I don't know, Artemus."

The instant Jim said it; he knew he'd made a mistake. Artemus' eyes turned stony brown, and he said nothing for the remainder of the meal. Jim wanted to kick himself or throw something, but he stayed still and kept in strict control. Artemus wouldn't appreciate a gross display of emotions. Jim left the table as soon as it was polite and took his plate to the galley. He went back to the parlor and picked up his shirt from the sofa. He shrugged it on, picked up a cigarillo from the humidor, and stepped out the back door. He lit up and enjoyed the breath of tobacco washing into his lungs. Jim was beginning to think that by the end of this train trip, Artemus would hate him. It was probably for the best. His friends usually were killed. General Ball was a good example of that, and Artemus was much more than a friend.

Jim watched the ground rush away into the dark. He slid his back down the side of the railroad car and sat cross-legged on the hard metal step. His cigarillo was down to the last inch, and he ground it out before flicking it away. The metal was digging into his butt, but he was reluctant to go back inside.

Artemus opened the back door, stepping out to join Jim in the dark. Jim looked up and smiled to see him. His smile faded, listening to Artemus curse in two, three, four different languages, and he was only warming up. Jim's chin hit his chest. At least Artemus didn't get as much echo out here. Jim heard his name four or five times mixed in the tirade, and finally he'd had enough. He pushed up to his feet in one smooth move and jumped up to the top of the handrail. He hung by one hand and enjoyed the rush of air.

"Damn it, Jim. Get down." Artemus had his hands on his hips and looked very irritated.

"English - a beautiful language." Jim leaned out as far as he could and trusted that the rail was well made.

"I get the message. Now, get down."

Jim considered flipping up to the roof. He'd done it before, but enough was enough. He jumped down and went back inside with Artemus right behind him, grumbling about show-offs. Jim stripped off the shirt and tossed it aside. He poured two brandies, holding one out to his partner.

Artemus took it with a muttered, "Thanks."

"You're welcome." Jim drank it all in one gulp and put his glass down with a hard clink. What could he say?

"What's going on with you?" Artemus asked.

Jim stared intently at his partner. The words wouldn't push out through his closed mouth, and he gave up. This was finished. He shrugged his shoulders and went to his quarters without a glance at Artemus, who said nothing more. The silence echoed in Jim's ears as he prepared for bed. It wasn't very late, but he was tired. The trousers practically ripped off, and he lay on the bed naked. He laced his hands behind his head and didn't turn down the lamp. Sleep wasn't possible with his stomach tied in knots and a keen sense of regret nestled in his groin.

His door swung open after a brief knock, and Artemus came into Jim's quarters, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed in front of his chest. Jim said nothing to Artemus, watching his face for disdain and contempt. It was bound to show up.

"You can't say it, can you?"

The look on Artemus' face was almost sad, and Jim shook his head. His heart was firmly lodged in his throat.

"I guess there's no real reason to talk about it." Artemus' gaze was riveted to Jim's naked body. He took two more steps inside and sank down on the bed near Jim's hip. "I don't need to hear anything. You know, talk is cheap."

"You talk enough for both of us." Jim said with no insult intended.

"And in so many languages," Artemus bragged. "May I join you here?"

Jim nodded and said the one word he could manage. "Please."

Artemus rose to his feet and quietly took off his clothes, hanging them in Jim's closet. He also took the time to fold and hang Jim's crumpled trousers.

Jim watched Artemus with hooded eyes. He wanted this and badly. His dick was already hard and leaking. Artemus came back to the side of the bed and simply stood with his dick pointing more or less north until Jim reached out a hand, pulling him down.

"I was making sure you know what you want," whispered Artemus in Jim's ear.

"Do we have to talk?" Jim kissed Artemus hard, jabbing his tongue inside and exploring. Artemus didn't try to answer, and Jim was glad. He touched Artemus all over his body and for the first time Jim felt overwhelmed by his partner's sheer bulk. Artemus was like a bulwark against the storm. Jim felt safe and secure in the shelter of his partner. It was something he hadn't felt since he was young enough to hide in his mother's skirts.

Jim cast aside all his thoughts and doubts to concentrate on loving Artemus. This man deserved all his attention. Artemus ran his hands all over Jim's body, and Jim felt like he was going to burst into flame. It felt so damn good. He wasn't sure what he wanted to do, but he knew Artemus would have some good ideas.

Jim stroked Artemus' big cock up and down and muttered, "I bet this makes the women scream." He wasn't really expecting an answer.

"With fear, mostly," Artemus groaned his answer, because Jim was licking a nipple while he stroked him.

Jim grinned. "Yeah, right." And he licked up to Artemus' mouth to kiss him deeply. Artemus put one hand in Jim's hair and the other on his ass. Jim jumped a little and grabbed up both dicks to stroke them together. Artemus' hand trailed down Jim's butt cheeks until it gently touched his asshole. Jim didn't jump this time. He was beginning to get the idea, and he was more than a little worried. Artemus was huge. Maybe the girls did scream with fear.

Artemus' dick suddenly swelled a little in his hand, and Jim was a little surprised to feel seed hitting his stomach. His partner had been more than ready. Jim stared at Artemus' closed eyes and coaxed the last bit from his dick. Artemus opened his eyes and blushed red. Jim kissed Artemus who mumbled, "Sorry."

"I'm glad you're having a good time. I was a little afraid that I was nothing more than a pity fuck."

"My God, Jim. How could you even think that? You have women falling all over you."

Jim climbed over Artemus and went to get a towel. He cleaned Artemus and himself before answering softly, "But, not you." It was the only words he could force out. He kept his eyes down and away, waiting for the axe to fall.

Artemus grabbed Jim's arms and rolled him down onto the bed. Jim could have easily resisted or escaped, but he didn't want to. Artemus straddled Jim's hips with his hard penis pressing up into Artemus' ball sac. Jim thrust his hips several times. Artemus bracketed Jim's head with his arms and lowered his face until Jim was forced to look. He waited, giving his green eyes as a gift.

"I've wanted you and this. Don't doubt it," Artemus said.

Jim looked deep into Artemus' brown eyes searching for the truth. If he found it, would he recognize it?

"Okay." Jim tried to put some feeling into that one word. Artemus clearly meant what he was saying.

Artemus got off Jim and left the room rather abruptly. Jim looked down at his still hard dick and wondered if Artemus would be back. Artemus returned carrying a container of what Jim knew was salve. Artemus tossed it to Jim with a smile and lay face down on the bed. Jim understood in a flash what Artemus was implying. A slow smile crept over his face and he kneeled behind Artemus. Opening the salve, Jim smeared it thickly on his dick. His fingers were slick and he cautiously approached Artemus' ass with them. Jim didn't want to hurt Artemus, ever.

Artemus grunted a little when Jim slid his slick finger inside, but didn't shout or complain. This gave Jim a little confidence, and he pushed another finger inside, working them back and forth. Artemus was groaning, and Jim felt like his cock was going to explode. He removed his fingers and with a gasp, pushed his dick. Artemus let out a yelp, and Jim stopped immediately.

"You all right?"

"Don't stop."

Jim took him at his word and began a slow rhythm with the final result being his dick was buried to the hair. He threw back his head and took a moment to glory in the fact that he was loving Artemus the way he'd always dreamed about. He loved Artemus as long as he could and even after Jim had an orgasm, he was reluctant to pull out. Breathing hard and covered with sweat, Jim felt alive for the first time in years.

His limp dick did slid out, and Jim noticed Artemus was hard again. Jim grabbed up the towel again and cleaned off. "Roll over."

Artemus immediately did, and Jim lowered his mouth. Jim didn't work at it very long before Artemus came with a cry. Both men were sweating and gasping. The towel was used again, and Jim lay down next to Artemus with a long sigh. For once, Artemus was being quiet, and Jim almost wished he'd say something, anything. Lying together, legs entwined, Jim and Artemus said nothing to each other.

It wasn't long before Jim realized Artemus had fallen asleep, and he chuckled quietly. Two orgasms had worn the man out. Jim felt wide awake now so he slid from the bed and headed to the lavatory to clean up a little more thoroughly. Jim smiled at himself in the mirror. Sex always gave him energy. He felt clean and happy when he went back to his room, and he smiled to see Artemus sound asleep. Jim pulled on his pants and boots to go check the horses one last time.

The horses needed a little water, and Jim took the time to brush his black stallion. Artemus' chestnut was dozing. The stallion was ready for a long ride to blow off some energy, and Jim sympathized, but they were due in Washington as soon as possible. He promised the horse a quick outing the next time they stopped for wood and water, and he went back through the train to the parlor car for a quick drink. He was sitting relaxed on the sofa with what he knew was a silly smile on his face when the telegraph started clicking. He listened, but didn't bother to write it down. Colonel Fairchild had only a name--John Avery. Nothing more.

"Great. Another scandal," Jim muttered.

Artemus walked into the parlor car on bare feet. "Who are you talking to?"

"Just myself, Artie. That was Colonel Fairchild with a name--John Avery. Mean anything to you?"

Artemus poured himself two fingers of whiskey and replied, "Not really. I know he's a political animal and wealthy, but that's all."

Jim yawned before finishing his drink. "I guess we'll find out soon enough." He felt almost a little awkward. Did Artemus care enough to sleep with him tonight?

"I'm for bed, Jim. You know how to wear a person out." Artemus drank it down and turned for the connecting door. He paused, and Jim's heart beat a little faster. "Are you coming?"

"Are you sure?" The words slipped out before Jim could snatch them back.

Artemus smiled a sweet smile that made Jim tingle all over, but said nothing. Jim had his answer.

******

The End


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