Title: The Night of the No
Fandom: Wild Wild West
Pairing: J/A, J/f, A/m
Feedback: justblackchaps at yahoo dot com
Summary: Artemus won't take no for an answer.
Disclaimer: All this belongs to CBS.
"Let's not mention it again."
"Excellent decision on your part."
Artemus picked up his newspaper and his coffee, moving to sit down. Jim didn't look at him again, going out the door. After an excruciating moment, Artemus looked out the window. Jim galloped past. The big black horse pushed hard, and they were gone. Artemus sat down and abandoned the pretense of his paper. He merely stared into space. The coffee grew cold. Two quick decisions made, discarded, and reaffirmed. He took a sip and scowled.
"We'll see about that."
Artemus paid for the purchase with cash, leaving no paper trail. If Jim wanted to find the buyer he could, but it would take persistence. Jim had plenty of that, but would he care enough? Artemus thanked the shopkeeper profusely. The shopkeeper promised an early delivery.
The disguise peeled off slowly. Artemus was careful not to damage the hairpieces. They were expensive.
"That was some disguise."
Artemus took his eyes off the mirror and cast them over his partner's recumbent body. "Thank you, I think."
"Is there something you need to do before we leave Denver?"
"I'm going out tonight." Artemus finished removing the color on his face. "I'll catch the train in the morning."
Jim picked up his book and returned to reading. Artemus didn't wait for him to speak. The mirror showed Artemus his usual face, and he went to change shirts. He was getting out of here. Jim could do whatever he wanted.
"Are you angry?"
Artemus slipped into his vest. Jim was in the doorway, but Artemus didn't look at him. "No, Jim."
"I thought, maybe, you . . ." Jim's voice trailed off, and he blushed.
"You're fine, and I'm fine. Leave it at that," said Artemus. He used the flat edge of his voice to push his point home.
"Where are you going?"
"To find some company, now, excuse me." Artemus buckled on his gun and brushed by Jim. "I'll see you later."
"We used to go out together." Jim crossed his arms, but didn't follow.
Artemus didn't answer. He kept moving. There were consequences for every decision made, and Jim was going to have to grow up. Artemus found his hat and pushed it on. Time to go.
The saloon was busy, and Artemus found a table near the stage. There would be a show later. The bottle emptied, and the dancers flashed their long legs. Artemus' lap filled and emptied more than once. The evening ended, and the night started. It was two in the morning before Artemus found company. It was short and expensive, but took the edge off. The last part of the morning, Artemus found some more company. It was just money.
Dawn peeked over the horizon, and Artemus stood on the back rail to enjoy the pretty colors. His cigar was sweet, a little sweeter than he liked. Stubbing it out, he tossed it on the rail line.
"We're not leaving."
"What happened?" Artemus put on his work face and followed Jim into the parlor. "Loveless?"
"I don't doubt it." Jim pointed to the open box on the desk. "An early morning delivery, anonymous, of course."
"Is there any other kind?" Artemus fingered the white flag that draped out of the box. "Nice, quality flag."
"I don't like it."
"I don't think it's any reason to over react. This could have come from anyone." Artemus eyed the whiskey. It was early. No, it was late, so that made it okay. He poured a finger and took off his coat. "I'm going to go make coffee."
"Thank you." Jim sighed. "We are due in Chicago."
"Well, let's go," said Artemus. "Whoever sent it will show up sooner or later."
"That's what worries me. Why a white flag?"
Artemus paused before stepping into the galley. "Seems obvious to me. Surrender."
Jim turned away and went to the flag. Artemus started the coffee and made a quick breakfast. He was hungry. Eating quickly, he washed his plate. There was a little coffee left for Jim, not much, but some.
"Will you ever cook for me again?"
"You don't need me, Jim." Artemus delivered the comment hard and fast. "I'm going to bed."
Jim frowned. Well, it was more of a scowl. Artemus had seen it a hundred times before, and he never liked it.
"My back feels bare."
"Oh, Jim, I'll watch your back," said Artemus. "It's my job."
Jim actually flinched. Surprise, surprise. Artemus turned on his boot heel and went to bed. Sleep would be nice.
"Gonna sleep all day?"
"Go away, James," growled Artemus. "There's no reason for you to be in here."
"I'm your partner."
"Yes, but this is my bunk in my eight foot by six foot room." Artemus rolled over, away from the door. "Get out."
Artemus heard nothing more. He stretched and sighed. It was easy to be mean to Jim, a little too easy. Love and hate were two sides of the same coin. Artemus shrugged. Things would get better. Jim was stubborn, but what was between them would endure. It was too strong to break. Artemus decided he'd make an effort to be nicer, or at least not so lippy. His stomach growled, and Artemus got up to go make lunch. He ambled through the parlor. The Wanderer was clicking on down the tracks, and Jim was playing solitaire. How appropriate.
"I'm making lunch."
Jim looked up and gave him a very assessing look. "How can I earn some food?"
"Well, that's an interesting question." Artemus poured himself a drink. "What will you trade?"
"I fed your horse." Jim laid down a card. "I did some paperwork."
"Okay, I owe you, but don't hurt yourself in the future. I can take care of myself." Artemus frowned. "Where's the flag?"
"I boxed it back up and stuck it in my closet."
"Someday you might need it," growled Artemus. He went to fix lunch. Jim said nothing. Again, very appropriate.
Artemus came out of the bank in a rush. Jim was already firing. Bullets whistled by his ears, Artemus didn't stop. He saw the glint of a rifle barrel out of the corner of his eye. There was only one choice. He shoved Jim down and fell on top of him. The rifle boomed before Artemus was flat. The bullet brushed his arm. Artemus got off Jim immediately, rolling and returning fire. The rifleman dropped. Jim jumped up and raced off. Artemus followed, finding his horse and keeping watch. The stallion tore down the street, and Artemus booted his horse into a gallop. It was going to be a long day.
Dark settled over the Wanderer long before Artemus told himself not to stagger when he dismounted from his tired horse. They went up the ramp behind Jim and much more slowly. Jim made no snappy comments. Either he was tired or he knew Artemus didn't want to hear it. The saddle thumped down, and Artemus took a deep breath. His arm ached. It didn't stop him from brushing and feeding his horse. Jim worked by his side, silent.
Jim blew out the lantern when the horses had their due. Artemus trailed behind him, ducking into his little room. He brightened the lamp and started peeling off clothes. His jacket was ruined. The shirt was too bloody. It would never wash out. At least his trousers weren't damaged. He sat down on the edge of his tiny bunk and examined the crease left by a bullet at point blank range. Lucky that dead fellow was a damn poor shot.
"Can I help you, James?" Artemus hid behind the formality. He was completely tired. It was time to be vigilant.
"Do you need a doctor?"
"Na, I'll be fine, nothing a little whiskey can't fix." Artemus poured some water from the pitcher on his tiny dresser and began to clean the wound. It broke back open and bled slightly. "You need something?"
"Just your job?" Jim crossed his arms over his bare chest and leaned against the doorway.
"I won't discuss this." Artemus turned his back on his partner. "We caught the bad guys. All in a day's work."
Artemus didn't look back until his arm was bandaged. The doorway was empty. He was so tired, but he needed some whiskey to dull the pain. The parlor didn't have Jim in it, and Artemus sighed with relief. This day had been hard enough without playing mind games. A knock on the door startled him.
"Can I help you?" The cool, night air brushed over Artemus' bare chest.
"Delivery for Mr. West. Sign here."
Artemus nodded and signed. He found two bits in the desk and flipped it at the boy. The box, he tossed down.
"Who was that?"
"Delivery boy." Artemus moved to the gold sofa and drank his whiskey with an air of deliberation. He needed this drink. Now, more than ever.
"God damn it!" Jim ripped the white flag from the box and shook it. "Who the hell is doing this?"
Artemus shrugged. His mouth wanted whiskey. Jim swept the box off the desk. Artemus beat a retreat. This was going to get bad.
Artemus stopped but didn't turn. "I'm tired, Jim. This can wait until tomorrow."
"Whoever is doing this can harass me until I die, but I won't surrender!"
The connecting door swung shut behind Artemus. He pushed the guilt away. To make lemonade, it took squeezing a few lemons. Sleep came quickly and lasted.
"Artemus, wake up."
Artemus pulled the covers over his head. "Why?"
"I'm going to track down the bastard who's sending me these flags, and you're coming along."
"We're expected in Washington within the week, and we still need to stop in Detroit. There's no time," said Artemus. He burrowed deeper. "Sorry."
Artemus could hear Jim breathing hard. He was obviously upset. "I'm going to get to the bottom of this."
"I'll send out some telegrams, make some inquiries. Give me a minute." Artemus pushed back the blanket and sat up. His bandage had fallen away in the night. He ignored his partner and examined his wound. It hurt like the devil, but he'd be fine.
"Yes, do your job," growled Jim. He stormed out.
Artemus groaned and lurched up. He'd mix a little opiate in his coffee. That would help. The shirt pulled against his arm, but he moved in the direction of the parlor. Jim was cranky today. Artemus had to toe the line. He made coffee and himself some breakfast before moving out to the desk. Jim was nowhere to be seen. Telegrams were easy to fake, and Artemus didn't dare. Jim could smell a rat a mile away. Sending out telegram after telegram, Artemus worked until the opiate made his vision blurry. Only then did he make his way back to the bunk.
"Where you going, Artie?"
"To bed, I did the work." Artemus leaned against the wall. "I need to sleep a bit."
"Let me help you to bed," said Jim. He reached.
"No." Artemus moved away, nearly falling down. "Leave me alone."
Jim flinched away in shock, surprise, or anger. Artemus didn't know which. He slammed his door and collapsed on his bunk. Things were not going back to before, unless Jim surrendered. Artemus relaxed and faded away.
Detroit found another white flag delivered. This time it was hanging on a flagpole hastily erected on top of the Wanderer. It snapped in the wind, sending out its message to all that cared to look up. Artemus seriously thought Jim's head might explode. He was raving. This game was about over.
"Jim," said Artemus. He reined his gelding to a stop. "Why don't you just surrender? It might be easier."
Jim rounded on Artemus like a snake, fast and furious. "I don't surrender. Not to anybody, ever. It's my way or no way."
Artemus sighed and slapped his hat against his thigh. He kneed the gelding towards the stable car. What could he say to that? Jim would never surrender. The game was nearing its close. Artemus put his horse away alone and traveled through to his room. The Wanderer headed to Washington before he cleaned up. Instead of spending the evening in the parlor doing paperwork, Artemus collected what he needed and worked in his room. Jim did nothing but frown at him. So, it was no big loss. He fixed some coffee around ten and stepped around Jim to take the mug back to his room.
"Artie, this partnership isn't much of one," said Jim. He was in the doorway of the closet. No shirt, pants undone.
Artemus sipped his mug before answering, "There are consequences for any decision."
"So, you're punishing me?"
"Am I?" Artemus went to his room. "You always get your way, Jim."
Jim stayed away from Artemus for the next two days. He was glad. His arm still ached and there was a lot of work to do to get ready for a short layover in Washington. The last task he accomplished was packing a valise for his hotel stay.
The Wanderer pulled into the station right on time, and the partners swung into the saddle to visit the White House. Meetings took up the best part of the day. It was when they went out to the stable that Jim noticed the valise.
"Where are you going?" Jim sounded almost belligerent.
Artemus didn't turn around. "To a hotel. I'll catch up with you tomorrow here."
"Your home is the Wanderer."
"No, that's your home," said Artemus. "I'm your partner and nothing by God anything else."
"I thought we were best friends, partners, like brothers."
Artemus rose up from the hoof he was checking and glared at Jim. "Yes, yes, and no. I'm an only child."
Jim stepped very close. Artemus lowered his head and hunched his shoulders. This was no fun. Jim raised his finger. "We were more."
"And now we're less. Get used to it." Artemus glared at Jim.
"And you think this is my fault?" Jim put his hands on hips and glared back at him. "I did nothing."
"Exactly. Put in for a new partner, Jim, if you need a cook or a maid." Artemus didn't look away. "I don't want to do things your way."
Jim took a step back. "You bastard. You've been sending me those flags!"
Artemus didn't deny or confirm. "Goodnight, Mr. West. We're quits."
Jim snarled a few curse words. Artemus mounted and rode his horse to a nearby hotel. He wasn't angry like Jim. There was time. This wasn't over, not yet.
The hotel was a grand one, and Artemus went down to dinner alone. He didn't mind if his right side felt empty. The saloon was his next stop, and he nearly turned around to leave when he saw Jim slumped at a table. He should go home to his train. Artemus ignored him and stayed at the bar. The usual whores were plying their wares, and he rejected them all. He wasn't in the mood. It was only when a young gentleman stopped to talk that Artemus began to drink less. His name was Richard Falstaff, and he was in town for a conference. They fell to talking and grabbed a table. The conversation was good, and Artemus thought nothing of it until Richard leaned over the table and slid his hand where it shouldn't go. Artemus nearly jerked, but he caught Richard's eye. They shared a smile. It was growing late, and Artemus nodded. They stood, and Jim was there.
"No, Artemus, don't."
Artemus looked Jim over. He wasn't drunk on anything but his own power. Artemus shook his head. "You don't care, so go home."
"If you're trying to blackmail me with this young fop, forget it. It won't work," snarled Jim.
"Fuck off, West," said Artemus. The words were brutal, hateful, mean, and hurt Artemus' mouth to say them. "You made your choice, live with it, and quit acting six years old."
"Artemus, I don't think I'm up for this," said Richard. "You and this drunk are obviously involved. I'll head out."
Artemus sighed. "Thank you, Richard. Perhaps some other time."
Richard grinned and left the saloon. Artemus turned his back on Jim, went through the lobby, and up to his room. Jim was right behind him the whole way. Artemus stepped inside, turned, and Jim pushed the door open wider.
"We're not done fighting."
"Fine, go ahead," said Artemus. He took off his coat, vest, and shirt before Jim spoke another word.
"What are you doing?" Jim looked nearly sick with fear, rage, and something Artemus couldn't identify.
"I'm going to bed, it's late." Artemus stopped at his trousers' buttons. "Jim, please, go home."
"You were gonna." Jim stopped. He couldn't say it. That was clear.
"Yes, I was," said Artemus. "He was handsome, clean, and willing. I'm lonely."
"You have me!" Jim ran a hand through his hair.
"No." Artemus unbuttoned the top button on his trousers. Jim glared at him, but by the third button, the room had only one occupant. Only the walls heard Artemus say, "I wish I did, but I don't."
Artemus didn't see Jim the next day or the next. People kept asking him where his ever-faithful partner was, and Artemus had no answers for them. President Grant seemed most upset.
"Gordon, West put in for a new partner. Care to explain to me what's going on?"
Artemus sat down in a wingback leather chair and sighed. "He wants one thing, and I want another. He always gets his way, but this time I refuse to give in."
"Well, that was about as clear as mud." President Grant leaned back in his chair. "Go find him and try to work this out."
"Is this an order?" Artemus stood up.
"Yes," said President Grant. "Don't let me down."
Artemus groaned and went to saddle his horse. He'd try the train first. Jim wasn't there and hadn't been for a couple of days if Artemus was reading the signs right. Where to now? Artemus mounted his gelding and headed for Jim's favorite whorehouse. It was worth a try.
Madame Butterfly, what a dumb name, met him at the door. He said one word, "Where?"
"Upstairs in room ten. If you're gonna join him, I want twenty more dollars." The Madame held out her petite money-grubbing hand.
Artemus found the money and went up. Jim was lazily fucking some blonde from behind while some other blonde was licking her. Nothing out of the ordinary. Artemus leaned against the door and waited.
"Artie, come join us," said Jim. He sounded smug, triumphant. "Don't be shy."
Artemus considered several alternatives, one of which was slapping Jim upside the head. Peeling off his clothes, Artemus made a decision. Jim could fuck these whores, but Artemus wanted him. Naked, Artemus knelt on the bed and put his hands on one of the blondes' back. He watched Jim's big dick tunnel in and out of her snatch. Nice cock, but this whore had seen better days.
"James, this cunt is worn out." Artemus diced the words up cleanly. "Kiss me."
Jim had hold of her hips, and Artemus put his hands on top of Jim's. His cock brushed her, and she gave out a fake moan. Artemus twisted slightly and waited. Jim lowered his mouth like a deer drinking at a stream. Full of fear and flight. The kiss didn't stop at lips. Artemus made sure Jim received a mouthful of tongue.
"I don't." Jim stopped fucking for a moment. Artemus got off the bed and moved to stand behind Jim. Hands rubbed all over his body, encouraging him to fuck her some more. Jim picked up the rhythm. Artemus kissed the back of Jim's neck and slipped a hand around to touch Jim when he pulled out.
Jim laid his head back on Artemus. "Yes, more, Artie, don't stop."
Artemus smiled and tried to make Jim's body burst into flame. He did begin to moan and pant. The blonde on her back came around and tried to interest Artemus in a blowjob. He pushed her away.
"Go on," said Artemus.
She flipped him off and flounced out of the room. Artemus fondled Jim until he began to jerk. Slipping a finger up his ass was easy. He yelled the name Artie twice and tore his cock out of the whore. Artemus put his mouth there to catch the last of the cum. Jim shook, quivered, and cursed.
"Damn it, Artie, you're supposed to enjoy her." Jim pointed his finger at the whore. She had sunk to flat.
"I like you more," purred Artemus. He pulled Jim off his knees and plunked him on his butt on the edge of the bed. "Would you like to taste me?"
Artemus stroked his cock slowly from top to bottom. He reached out and brushed a fingertip across Jim's nipple. "Are you sure? I won't ever beg, and you're leaving with your new partner tomorrow."
Jim hooked his thumb at the whore. "Fuck her, I want to watch."
"Artie, I don't mind a threesome or a foursome, but you and me one on one. That's not right."
"Okay, I'll go back and tell the president that we're through." Artemus stopped touching himself. Jim had to have his way, so no way was the answer. "I sent the flags."
"I know." Jim leaned back on his arms. "Get out, honey."
The whore fixed her meager clothes and swayed out the door. Artemus found his short clothes and began redressing.
"It took me two days, but your disguises gave you away." Jim stood up and planted his feet in front of Artemus. His hands were on his hips. "What would you have done to Richard?"
"Surely you've seen two men make love before," said Artemus. "You're thirty two years old!"
"Alright, wait here." Artemus stepped out of the room and found who he was looking for. "Come on, Samuel. I need your help."
"Sure, one or two?"
"We'll see," said Artemus. "But no talking."
Samuel nodded, and Artemus slapped bare ass into the room. Jim's head jerked around.
"Artie, you don't have to do this on my account."
"Samuel here and I are old friends. We don't mind." Artemus went to the bed. "Come here."
Samuel crawled on the bed. Artemus could see the wheels in Jim's head turning. "You can join us, Jim. I joined you."
Jim shook his head, but came closer. "He's a guy."
"Samuel, you ready?"
Samuel nodded, and Artemus pointed his cock. Jim moved closer. "That'll hurt him."
"He loves it, and he doesn't even fake it. Watch his cock." Artemus coated his cock with salve Samuel handed him. Jim's eyes were as big as fifty-cent pieces. "Relax, Samuel. Go put your cock in his mouth, Jim." Artemus pulled Samuel's ass cheeks apart and pressed inside. He arched and pushed back. "That's it."
"No. I want to watch," said Jim. He was so close Artemus could kiss him. "Will you fuck him hard?"
"Some men like it hard. Samuel likes it slow and easy." Artemus pushed in half his cock and began pumping it in and out. "Kiss me."
Jim put his hands on Samuel's back and kissed Artemus. Tongues fought and sank deep. Artemus stayed on pace. Slow and easy. Jim's cock nudged Samuel's stomach. He groaned with real passion. Jim moved behind Artemus and began to touch him. Lightly at first as if Jim were scared, but with greater confidence the longer Artemus fucked Samuel.
"God, yes, Jim, touch me," said Artemus. He jerked his cock deeper. "He's touching me, Samuel. I can't be as gentle."
"Fuck me hard, then, he'll love it," said Samuel.
Artemus swatted his ass and slammed in hard. Samuel jerked and gasped. Jim held Artemus' shoulders and kissed his neck. Artemus went even harder. Jim's cock was brushing his asshole, driving him wild. His orgasm shot out of him, hard and fast, filling up Samuel's ass. Samuel groaned and orgasmed on the bed.
"Fucking incredible. You never touched him," said Jim. "I could come just watching."
"Jim, you're making him blush. Samuel, suck Jim's cock all the way down your throat." Artemus pulled out gently, using the sheet to wipe off. "I'll get his ass."
Samuel grinned and captured Jim's cock with his mouth. Jim didn't argue. His cock eased down Samuel's throat, pumping and pumping. Artemus knelt behind Jim and licked him on the ass.
"Spread your legs, Jim." Artemus gave a push on hairy legs. Jim did, and Artemus slithered his tongue in and out of Jim's ass. It was perfect. Jim groaned and thrust while two men worked his cock and ass. Artemus got hard again. He wanted to fuck Jim. Slow and easy. Jim grabbed each man by the hair and shoved deep. He orgasmed like a cannon. Artemus slid a finger in Jim's wet hole and reached for his glory spot. Jim groaned hard.
"Artie, you're killing my cock."
"Jim, I want to fuck you now."
Artemus worked his finger in and out. Samuel's tongue licked. Two fingers. Jim was buckling. Artemus pushed him over to the bed with his fingers, kissing him and stroking him. Samuel looked at Artemus.
"Beat it." Artemus concentrated on Jim, making him feel incredible. "James, are you sure?"
"No," groaned Jim. "I'm not."
Artemus pushed Jim's legs back and fucked him. Slow and easy, never hard. Jim cried out. "Yes!" Artemus kissed and fucked, until they both emptied their balls. It was heaven. Artemus lay gasping in a tangle of Jim's limbs.
"I hope you enjoy your new partner as much as I have enjoyed you," said Artemus.
Jim laughed and thrust his limp cock. "I don't think that's possible."
"Never know. He might be willing to spend night and day on the end of your cock." Artemus rolled off a bit. "And never want a thing in return."
"You're not willing to do that." Jim breathed hard and gently reached out to touch Artemus' lips. "Are you?"
"Nope," said Artemus. "I want my fair share or nothing at all."
"Artie, I surrender." Jim threw his arms out wide. "Surrender."
Artemus smiled. Those flags had been worth every penny. "Let's go home."
"Yes, I want to gag and tie you with my new collection of white, cotton, cloth strips."
"Sounds fine," said Artemus. "I have a few plans for your virgin ass."
"No longer," said Jim.