Artemus stepped to the back rail of The Wanderer that night with certain amount of trepidation. He and Jim were partners, but he'd never traveled on the train. Jim was given the train on rare occasions when speed was required. Artemus didn't fool himself. The train was Jim's, and tonight he was a guest, nothing more and nothing less. The wagon, currently being stowed in the stable car, was his home. He'd been on the train exactly twice, but only in the parlor car. What did the rest of the car hold? What would it be like to travel in luxury? He was about to find out, just one trip. A taste and it would have to be enough.
Jim pulled open the back door before Artemus could knock, not that he would have. He probably should, but he wasn't going to because he and Jim were friends and had been since the war. That time should count for something. With Jim though, Artemus could never quite tell if it did. In the future, he'd knock.
"Hello, Artemus," Jim said. He was in his red smoking jacket and looked perfectly at ease in his surroundings, no smile, not even a hint.
"Hi, Jim." Artemus went over the threshold, and now there was no turning back. He smiled, but he didn't think it was what Jim wanted to see.
"Got everything? We're leaving as soon as your wagon's secure." Jim left Artemus near the door and went to pour two brandies.
"Yeah." Artemus put his valise down and took the brandy from Jim's hand. "Thanks."
Jim nodded. "Want the nickel tour?"
Artemus sipped his brandy. "Sure."
Jim took him through the galley, out the side door, down the hallway. Three doors, all on the left, and the first one was not much more than a big closet, with a recessed closet. The pigeons were there. What were their names again? Harry and Larry? Jim pulled down the gun rack, showing off an array of weaponry.
"I knew you'd like it," Jim said.
Back out into the hallway and down to the second door. This room was fairly large by comparison. Jim lit the lanterns. A loveseat, a small desk, and two bunks, that could be pushed up flat against the wall, made up the contents.
"Bunk beds?" Artemus was somewhat surprised. "I always pictured you sleeping under a canopy bed with several half-naked women fanning you."
"I wish." Jim grinned. "Top or bottom?"
"Oh, the bottom, I guess." Artemus tossed his valise on it. "You like heights."
"Okay." Jim shrugged.
Artemus followed him to the last door, and his jaw dropped to the floor. Now this was luxury. A man could get clean in here, really clean.
"Close your mouth, Artemus."
Artemus snapped it shut. "Now that's luxury."
"Yes, now you know why I practically beg for the train."
Blinking in surprise, Artemus hid his expression this time. Jim, begging? Not a chance. Artemus could picture him demanding but never begging.
"You want to see the stable car?"
"Seen it. It's a stable."
Jim laughed, and Artemus followed him back to the parlor and the brandies. The train gave a sudden lurch - both men compensated. Artemus reached in his pocket and tossed him a buffalo head nickel. He caught it in mid-air and smiled.
"Finally some profit from this job."
Artemus laughed. "Damn little, as usual."
The train was picking up speed, and Artemus wondered what its top speed was, probably around thirty miles an hour. He went to sit on the sofa by the door and drink his brandy. What did Jim do while he traveled? Play billiards all day? Artemus' initial nervousness returned, along with a dose of curiosity.
"Why am I here, Jim?"
"You're my partner, Artemus. Remember?"
Artemus nodded, but didn't quite get it. So what? They were partners, sometimes. When Jim didn't work alone, or Artemus was too far away to be of any help. Jim had waited an entire day for Artemus to get here. Why?
"Who cooks in the galley?"
"Not me," Jim said firmly.
"Do you mind if I -" Artemus waved his hand in that direction.
"Make yourself at home. I will get a helping or two, right?"
"If you say please." False bravado. He'd give Jim anything he wanted. The train's speed evened out. He tried not to fidget. Why was he here again? To cook? He could have met Jim in St. Louis by taking a fast freight like he usually did.
"Artemus, I've never seen you nervous. Settle down."
"Yes, sir." It slipped out. Jim was the senior agent, or so Artemus had been told about a thousand times by various parties, but it didn't mean much because he was so bad at following orders. It was his nerves betraying him.
"There's no reason for you to take another train when we're going to the same place."
Artemus heard the exaggerated patience in Jim's voice. "Okay, but if I grow accustomed to all this, you'll have a hell of a time throwing me off."
"I've been warned." Jim finished his drink and took the glass to the sideboard. "Refill?"
"No, thanks," Artemus said. "I'll just go wash up. It was a long day getting here."
Jim nodded and took a cue off the rack. Maybe he did play billiards the entire trip. Artemus placed his glass next to Jim's and went to quarters. He sat on the bed and tested the ropes, not bad. Unpacking the few possessions in his valise, he hung up the extra set of clothes in Jim's closet. He could share. It wouldn't kill him. Artemus took off his coat, vest, and cravat with a sigh of relief. He would turn in early tonight. His derringer he slid under the pillow, as usual.
The lavatory was a beautiful sight - again. Artemus washed his hands and face. Would Jim mind if Artemus took a bath during the trip? He hoped not. The plumbing was a masterful job, simple, functional, and convenient. If he heated some water on the wood stove in the galley, he could have a hot bath. Now this was living. Jim had been born under a lucky star.
Artemus felt better now that he was a bit cleaner. He stepped out into the hallway and about bumped into Jim. A Jim without many clothes on his body. Did he always run around half-naked? Could Artemus be so lucky? The hallway was small, and he ducked into the room with the bunk beds to get away from him. He went to his bunk and picked up the book he'd brought to read. He'd been saving it for a special occasion and traveling in style was definitely special.
"What are you reading?"
Jim was sitting on the loveseat. Artemus about jumped at the sight of all that skin. He was a little embarrassed. "Dante's Inferno."
"Is it good?"
"Haven't started it yet. My Italian is still a little spotty." Artemus avoided looking directly at him. This situation was odd, to say the least.
"Every time I see you, you've picked up a new language." Jim cracked his knuckles. "Why are you nervous?"
"You and I have known each other for years, but this is different." Artemus slid the book under the thin pillow and pulled off his boots. It gave him something to do with his hands. "We never even shared a tent during the war."
Jim smiled and shrugged. "We've slept on the trail together."
"True. You were by the fire and me in my wagon." Artemus grinned. "We've never been roommates."
Jim leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. "What are you afraid of?"
"I'm not afraid," Artemus said. Boy, was that a lie, a big one. "I don't understand why I'm here."
"I wanted you here, so I waited." Jim scratched his head and leaned back. "It's that simple."
Artemus nodded like he understood. Was Jim lonely? Did the muscles in his chest ripple every time he moved?
"Okay, I'm here. Tell me what to do, and I'll do it." Where the hell did those words come from? Did he mean it?
Jim grinned and crossed his legs. "I'll think of something."
Artemus looked away. Stupid, stupid. Why had he said that? Was he out of his mind? His fingers fumbled to his shirt buttons, but eventually he pulled it off. He tossed it to the end of the bed and made up his mind not to look at Jim again until morning. Years - he'd known Jim for years - and yet tonight he was somebody Artemus didn't know at all.
"I know what I want you to do."
Artemus flinched and was tempted to cross himself as he'd seen his Catholic mother do all her life when she couldn't handle what was coming her way. Should he look? What did Jim want? He was waiting for Artemus' eyes, and when he got them, he crooked his finger at him. Artemus paused for a lifetime and went to Jim. Their eyes locked, and when Artemus looked down, he saw the finger was now pointing at the floor between Jim's feet. Was Jim serious? Why did he want this? Ah hell, Artemus didn't care. He went to his knees, licked his lips nervously, and ran his hands up to Jim's thighs. Jim took hold of them and repositioned them on his buttons. Artemus struggled with more buttons. His hands were sweating.
Jim didn't help the situation any when he put a hand in Artemus' hair and shook him ever so slightly as if to say, 'I'm the boss.' The last damn button popped open, and Artemus took a shuddering breath. He glanced up. Jim nodded, giving an order and at the same time permission. Artemus slid Jim's pants down and off. He rose to his feet and hung them in the closet. Clothes were expensive, after all. Jim was reclined with the grace of a lion and the confidence of a king. He made Artemus as nervous as a virgin on her wedding night, but he returned to his former position with no encouragement needed. It was where he wanted to be, and Jim knew it.
The wooden floor was hard under his knees, but he didn't care. The train was rocking back and forth, but he didn't notice. He completely focused on the task in hand - Jim's cock. It was big enough to be a bit of a shock. His eyes became accustomed immediately, and he lowered his mouth.
"That's it," Jim said, giving his approval.
Artemus used both hands and his mouth to give Jim maximum pleasure. Jim kept a hand wrapped around him. Neck, hair, shoulder, always somewhere, and Artemus loved the possessiveness of it. At some point, Jim stood up and powered down Artemus' throat, coming with every muscle bunched. Swallow, he had to swallow. Don't try to breathe, not yet. Jim pulled out and away, and Artemus took a deep breath. His eyes were watering.
"Take your trousers off." Jim sat back down on the loveseat. "Now."
Artemus stood up to comply. Jim reminded him of a wolf watching sheep. Intense. These buttons came undone easily, thank God, and Artemus was naked. Now what? He felt vulnerable. Jim wanted him.
"Come here," Jim growled. Artemus moved back to stand between spread knees, and Jim looked up at him. "Stroke yourself."
Artemus opened his mouth to say something, he wasn't sure what, but the look on Jim's face brooked no argument, if he'd planned one, which he didn't think he had. His hand went to his cock, and he did what Jim wanted him to do. Bright green eyes watched, and Artemus was caught up in the power of it.
"Come on my chest and lick it off."
voice sent Artemus crashing over the edge, and he jerked all over Jim's muscular chest. When he was done, he went back to his knees to clean up the mess. This, he had never done before, but anything for Jim, which he obviously knew and was using against him. Cleaning off Jim's body was no hardship. The muscles were hard and tasted like sweat mixed with come. He ran his tongue over the ridges, and Jim groaned softly. He reached under Artemus' arms and pulled him up to his mouth. Jim kissed him with no tenderness, no sweetness, merely a demand for more of him, ravaging his mouth and forcing him to give it.
"Let's move to the bed," Jim said.
Artemus was pushed back and towards the bunk beds. Jim wanted more. He was hard again. Jim pulled some salve from the little desk and handed it to Artemus.
"Put it on me thick."
Artemus took it and paused. Jim wanted it all. Everything Artemus had to give, Jim would take. The salve was thick, clear of color, and had very little smell. Where did he get it? Did it have medicinal uses? It went on heavy, and Jim smiled at Artemus, kissing him again. Jim's tongue was as big as some men's cocks, and he liked to grind it in and out. Artemus gave his mouth and that went for any other part of his body, as well.
"Lay flat," Jim said into Artemus' mouth. "I can't be gentle."
Artemus never expected that of him, it wasn't his way. Getting flat on the bottom bunk, he spread his legs and tried to relax his muscles. Jim was on him and pressing inside so fast that Artemus barely had time to breathe. It wasn't as rough as he prepared himself for. Jim wasn't gentle. He was demanding, yes, insistent, yes, but not mean, and not cruel. He wanted his due and to wring Artemus out like a wet towel, and it was working.
Jim set a consistent pace for Artemus to expect and then went a little faster. No wonder all the women wanted him. He could fuck like a machine. Artemus was hard again, and Jim was pressing on the spot that felt so good. Over and over again. They began to move together.
"Jim, please," Artemus gasped. He didn't know what he was asking for, but Jim must have because he went faster and deeper.
"Come on, Artemus. Give me everything you got." Jim angled Artemus' hips up slightly.
Artemus wasn't sure he had any left. Jim reached around and under to Artemus' cock, pulling a little too hard. Did it hurt? Did he care? "Please, Jim."
Jim dragged Artemus back by the hair, forcing him to arch and tilt his ass. Sparkles danced in front of his eyes, and he clenched his whole body. His seed splashed into Jim's hand, and the cock up his ass swelled, forcing an incoherent cry from him. Jim rubbed the come on Artemus' stomach and slowed down until he slipped out. Artemus shut his eyes and hoped he lived to do this again. Jim lay mostly on him. Artemus shivered when Jim scraped his teeth along Artemus' neck.
"Why?" Artemus didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but he had to know why.
"I want you."
No more questions. It was all so very simple.