The Lost Boys
By Rebop


 Hank gazed up at the sky, small patches of rich turquoise visible now and then amid the ever-shifting green of the forest canopy. Here and there he saw traces of white puffy cumulus clouds, arranging themselves in interesting shapes. Hank smiled at the scene, smiled at himself. He felt like a glowing, golden Bodhisattva, at one with the whole world. It was certainly a stark contrast to the misery he had been experiencing only a short time ago. Hank couldn’t help but think of that oft quoted line from “Forest Gump,” that life was a box of chocolates, and you never knew what you were going to get. Right now Hank thought he had scored a piece of the richest, sweetest candy, the one with the caramel center.

 They had made a cozy little camp at the river’s edge. A soft breeze blew, and a fire burned low, slowly roasting some of the catfish that Remy had expertly gutted and cleaned. They both had feasted royally on fresh fish, having well, worked up quite an appetite.

 Henry gave a sigh of utter satisfaction, which caused Remy to cuddle closer. They had both curled up for a nap after eating. Hank looked at his lover in happy amazement. He had really never expected this, and was truly grateful.

 Remy was fast asleep, head resting on Hank’s blue shoulder. He slept like a trusting child, long legs wrapped around Henry’s heavily muscled ones, a pale hand clutched in Hank’s pelt. Regrettably, Gambit was fully clothed again, not wanting to expose that ivory skin to the rigors of the elements. Hank grinned, looking forward to removing that clothing many more times.

 Careful not to awaken his lover, Henry rubbed a small circle between sharp shoulder blades, gazed some more at that beautiful, sleeping face. The innocence he once saw in Remy was there, as well as peace and contentment. More than anything, Hank wanted to keep that expression on his lover’s handsome face.

 Henry gazed skyward once more, and found himself murmuring a few lines from one of his favorite poems. It fit his mood perfectly.

 “ Smile O voluptuous cool-breath’d earth! Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees! Earth of departed sunset-earth of the mountains misty-topt! Earth of the vitreous pour of the full just tinged with blue! Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river! Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake! Far-swooping-”

 “Elbowed Earth-” a sleepy, molasses drawl continued. “ Rich apple blossomed Earth-”

 Hank looked into garnet eyes, now crinkling and full of the devil. “Smile, for your lover…. comes.” LeBeau put a very lascivious emphasis on the last word, giving it a spin that the great poet surely never intended.

 Hank, of course, broke up, although mildly scandalized. “Remy!” he scolded. “While I love that you can also quote Whitman, how can you treat poor Walt so shabbily?”

 A naughty snicker. “Don’t t’ink Wally would have minded all dat much. He had a sense of humor, and was kinda a randy old queen anyways. He did write dat “limpid jets of love” line, cher.”

 Henry returned Remy’s knowing smirk. “ Ah yes, I had forgotten about that.  Walter could be a bit dirty at times, bless him.” Hank placed a soft kiss on Remy’s forehead. “So, my dear, did you have a restful slumber?”

 Remy smiled lazily. “ Yah.” A yawn. “ Could probably sleep some more. Feelin’ like an old turtle, dozin’ in de sun. I notice we sorta abandoned de whole raft idea.”

 “Well, that certainly can wait until tomorrow. All of a sudden, I’m not in that much of a hurry to get rescued.”

 Gambit moved close and kissed a furry cheek. “ Hmm. Neither am I. What a nice coincidence.”

 The young Cajun sat up and stretched, arms thrown back. Henry quietly admired his lover’s unconscious grace, so effortless and feline. Remy stood up after a moment, rubbing the delicious dip in his lower back. Hank began to wonder what it was going to be like witnessing little rituals like that every day. Sheer bliss, most likely.

 The kinks gone, LeBeau squatted bonelessly by the fire. He poked at the fish with a twig.

 “Y’ want some more to eat, Henri? Dese here catfish, dey look about done.”

 “Perhaps later. I am rather pleasantly sated at the moment, thanks to your fine culinary skills.”

 Remy snorted. “You easily impressed, cuz you been so hungry. Soon as we get out of de jungle, I’m gonna really cook for y’, boy. Whip you up some of my Tante Mattie’s special jambalaya and cornbread.”

 Hank got up, bent over and lightly kissed the top of Remy’s auburn head. “That sounds perfectly lovely. One of the many things I shall look forward to sharing with you.”

 Remy shyly glanced up at him through tangled hair, and they both shared a very warm, affectionate glance. Hank experienced a surge of total happiness. ‘How on earth did you get so lucky, Henry McCoy?’, he privately mused.

 Hank finally had to break the spell, as he had something rather urgent to attend to. “My dear, if you will excuse me for a brief moment, I have to answer a rather frantic call of Mother Nature.”

 Remy nodded, stirring at the fire’s embers with his twig. That devil look was back. “Which leads us to de question-does a PhD. shit in de woods?”

 Hank cracked up. “Apparently so.” He ambled off into some heavy underbrush, merrily chuckling all the while. Finding a fairly isolated area, he pulled down his trunks. With a sigh, he rested a hand against a tree and began a very long, soul satisfying piss.

 As he did, he hummed a little Mozart and thought about Remy. He wanted to hold his lover some more, talk some more, laugh with him some more, and kiss him some more. Make love some more. With that thought, there was a hot surge in his groin, despite the fact that his cock was currently preoccupied with other matters.

 Hank chuckled at himself, although secretly very pleased. It seemed that he was going to finally, finally be allowed to express the wild and sensual side of his nature. With his other lovers, Hank always felt the need to hold back. His most serious relationship, with Trish Tilby, had been frustrating at times, both mentally and physically. Remy was so different. The thief was utterly shameless when it came to sex, as well as surprisingly playful and gentle. Hank knew there wouldn’t be anything that he could do that would shock Remy. Together, perhaps, they could satisfy each other’s secret desires.

 Some interesting and highly charged scenarios romping happily in his mind, Hank finally finished his business and shook off. At that moment, a soft, almost imperceptible sound reached his ears, and all thoughts of Remy suddenly left his head.

 Henry McCoy’s senses were not as acute as Wolverine’s, but they were still far superior in comparison to average humans. And his hearing told him that he and Remy were suddenly not the only people occupying this particular corner of the rainforest.

 Gambit was only a few feet away, and Henry calmly called out to him. “Remy?”

 “Yah Hank, I know.” The Cajun’s voice was tense and alert. “Birds certainly got all quiet, didn’t dey?”

 Hank blessed Remy’s Guild training and made a slight move to go join his companion. He froze when another tiny noise sounded in his ears. Hank knew then that he was surrounded.

 Suddenly, a small group of people just melted out of the forest. They circled Hank, bows drawn, arrows pointing directly at McCoy’s furry hide. They were all men, short and muscular, completely naked. There was great fear in their eyes, tremors in their limbs. They obviously had no idea what to make of the big and furry Henry J. McCoy, PhD.

 Hank took a deep silent breath. With his mutant ability and great speed, he could easily defeat them. But a fight was the last thing he wanted. These people were defending their home against a very alien looking trespasser.

 “Hank,” Remy called out softly. “Y’ need me?”

 “No Remy, I have it all under control.” The Indians started a bit, pulling the bows even tauter. Hank gave a nervous swallow, hoping he could live up to his claim. He began to address the people in the Ge dialect, infinitely grateful that he had spent a little time studying native Brazilian languages.

 <Hello, > he began quietly. < My friend and I mean you no harm. If we have trespassed, forgive us. We are strangers in your land, and have become lost. >

 Hank was more than a little amused by their thunderstruck faces. They had obviously assumed he wasn’t intelligent, his command of their language proving otherwise. Unfortunately, not the first people to make this particular error, nor the last.

 The men all glanced at each other in confusion, and one stepped tentatively forward. Like his companions, he was short, barely five feet, and completely nude. His mahogany skin was decorated with stripes of black, and he wore the bowl cut hairstyle popular among Amazon tribes. He had a blunt featured face, like carved wood, and his narrow eyes shone with both bravado and intelligence.

 <Are you a spirit? > The man asked hesitantly.

 Hank smiled in the friendliest fashion possible. < No. My friend and I come from a far-off place. I am called Henry McCoy, and my friend is Remy LeBeau. Who are you? >

 <I am Chief Krekon, and we are the Quetzal People. > The man gave Henry a long, measuring glance, and then he signaled to his men. They slowly lowered their bows, and Hank sighed inwardly in relief, as no doubt those arrows were tipped in poison. He also now knew that Krekon was obviously a man of reason, having displayed far more trust than the people back home. There, they generally shot at mutants first, asked questions later.

 <I would be honored, Krekon, if you and your fellow warriors would sit with us at our fire. > Krekon nodded slowly after a long moment. Hank grinned wide, and began to lead the group back to camp.

 “Remy, we have company.” Hank said as they all entered the clearing. Gambit was seated on a log near the fire, trying to appear as non-threatening as possible. The young Cajun took one look at Henry though and burst out in loud laughter. His howls of merriment caused a bit consternation among the Quetzal warriors.

 “Remy!” Hank hissed. “What the hell are you doing? Don’t let these people think you are insulting them!”

 “Merde, Henry, je suis desole.” Remy wiped at his eyes, and pointed at Hank’s trunks. “Its just dat you, umm, are at half mast dere, Dr. Livingston.”

 Hank glanced downward, and was mortified to see that his trunks were riding quite low. In all the excitement, he had forgotten to pull them up. Henry gave them a quick yank, and with ruffled dignity, turned to the chief to explain.

 < I hope you don’t think that my friend was laughing at you or our warriors. He was just amused by me. It is not our usual custom to be naked, and he thought this was funny. Please do not be offended.>

 <There is no insult, Henrymccoy,.” Krekon began in a respectful tone. < It has been said that the ways of the spirit people are strange ones. >

 Hank wanted to dissuade the chief from this false notion, but he knew it was going to be an uphill battle. And at the moment, It was much better to play gracious host.

 <I thank you for understanding our peculiar ways. > Hank shot Remy a dirty look. < Would you and your brave warriors share some food with us? >

 Krekon nodded gravely, and the Indians all arranged themselves around their small fire. Henry sat down next to Gambit, now thankfully straight faced and sober as a judge. As the doctor handed round portions of roasted fish, the Cajun gave him a wide smile.

 “Well, trust you to know de local lingo, Henri. What’s de scoop?”

 “This is Chief Krekon,” Hank indicated with a wave of his vast hand, “and his warriors from the Quetzal tribe. For good or ill, they think we are spirit people, due to our rather obvious mutations. I certainly hope I can convince them otherwise.”

 “I don’t t’ink dat’s really such a bad t’ing, cher,” Remy commented quietly. “If it keeps dem from turning us into poison arrow pincushions, well, so much de better.”

 Hank frowned. “I really hate establishing a relationship based on a falsehood.”

 Remy shook his head, and acted if he was explaining something to a slow, obstinate child. “ I understand where y’ comin’ from Henry, I really do. But I don’t t’ink you will ever make dese folks understand de whys and wherefores of mutant DNA.” Remy’s face was suddenly split by a truly wicked grin. “ “Sides, Henry , what else could you be besides a god? One look at dat big blue dick of yours, and dey all must have t’ought dat dey hit de spirit world jackpot.”

 Hank’s brows went up, and for a moment, he didn’t know whether to laugh or turn the naughty Cajun over his knee. Since the latter conjured up some very unwanted erotic imagery, all Hank ended up doing was fiercely blushing and spluttering. In the meantime, Remy smiled at their guests in a very friendly way, slowly standing up and moving towards his leather duster. All eyes were suddenly glued to the young man.

 “From de little I know about customs round here, I’m guessin’ dat a gift to de head honcho would be a good t’ing.” Remy rummaged around in the coat’s hidden pockets. “What do y’ t’ink-de compass or de flashlight? We can still navigate by de stars and sun, and de flashlight, while mighty impressive, will run out of juice real quick.”

 “The compass is definitely a better choice.” Hank answered, impressed with Remy’s wisdom. He turned to Krekon. <Great chief, both my friend and I wish to give you a small gift. >

 Remy presented the compass to Krekon with elaborate flourish, and the chief took it from his hands with somber courtesy. His warriors crowded around, peering at the peculiar object with enormous interest.

 <I thank you, O Henrymccoy and Remylebeau. > Krekon said, turning the object over and over in his brown fingers. Hank was beginning to like Krekon very much. He was a born diplomat and unfailingly polite. It was also quite obvious he didn’t have a clue as to what Remy had just handed him.

 <It is called a compass, > Henry began in his best teacher’s voice, < It will help you find your way. As you can see, no matter which way you turn it, the small arrow in the middle will always point in the same direction. >

 Krekon fiddled with the compass a moment more, then understanding lit his eyes. His wood carved face creased with a wide, rare smile. <Ah! A great and wonderful gift, Henrymccoy. > He paused, struggling for a few seconds. <But I must ask, O spirit, if you possess such magic, how did you and Remylebeau become lost in the first place? >

 A good question. A very, very good question. And Henry was rather flummoxed as to how to answer.

 <Errr...well, Krekon, it is a long story. Remy and I came to this place to fight an enemy of ours. After the battle, we could not find the right path home. >

 <I see…> Krekon rubbed his lower lip thoughtfully. < Perhaps your enemy put a curse on you? One that would cause you to be lost. You must come to our village and speak to our wise one. I am sure Pila can help you lift this curse and regain your power. >

 Now Henry was really in a quandary. He didn’t want to mislead these people any more; the spirit thing was bad enough. As he was debating on how to proceed, Remy nudged him with a sharp elbow.

 “What’s up, Henri? Y’ look all upset, cher.” Henry quickly explained the situation, and the Cajun just chuckled, shaking his head.

 “Henry, you are honest as de day is long. And I admire dat, I really do. But in dis situation, let’s just go with the flow. Dere’s nothin’ wrong with accepting’ a little hospitality. Plus, y’ don’t want to insult de chief, who seems like a right nice fella. So, dey treat us like celebrities for a little while? As long as we don’t take advantage of dem, where’s de harm?”

 “Well…” Henry waffled.

 “And Hank, I do recall a time when I heard a certain doctor say; “ Oh, if only I had the opportunity to visit the Amazon rainforest! The things one could discover, talking to the indigenous people, studying the medicinal plants!” Well, Dr. McCoy, here’s y’ chance, all wrapped up in a pretty red bow.”

 Hank tried not to laugh at Remy’s imitation of him, which was dead on accurate, flat Midwestern vowels and all. And he had to admit that his lover was right. “Remy, you win. I have a feeling it won’t be the last argument I lose, either.”

 Remy grinned. “Yup.”

 The doctor turned his attention to Krekon, who had been patiently waiting for them to finish their exchange. <Chief, Remy and I have agreed to accept your offer and speak to your wise one. We thank you for your kindness. >

 Krekon smiled again. <Very good, Henrymccoy! Our village is not very far. We will go there now? >

 <Yes, of course. > Hank concurred, rising to his feet.

 As they were gathering up their few belongings and putting out the fire, Remy kept grinning at Henry, red eyes twinkling with amusement. Hank couldn’t resist smiling back, although he wasn’t sure what the joke was.

 “Okay, I’ll be daring and bite. What’s so funny?”

 “Oh, I wish I could have put money down on you going to de village. I would have won big. You de Elephant’s Child, Henri.”

 “The Elephant’s Child?” Hank was normally lightning fast on the uptake, but this reference escaped him.

 “Hank, I’m surprised-don’t y’ remember your Kipling?” Remy tsked. “In his story about de Elephant’s Child, he was always asking questions, ‘cuz he was full of-”

 “ ‘Satiable curiosity.” Hank said, remembering the children’s tale. A charming reference, although an odd one coming from Remy.

 Gambit seemed to read his mind. “ Was my favorite story as a kid, had Poppa read it to me over and over. Anyways cher, de Elephant’s Child is you to a ‘t’.” Remy very lightly touched his shoulder. “One of de many t’ings dat makes y’ so wonderful.”

 Hank blushed and suddenly wanted to pull Remy in his arms and kiss him. But Hank wasn’t too sure how the Quetzal people would react to this. Instead, he brushed the Cajun’s face ever so lightly with his fingertips.

 “I think there is a bit of Kipling in you as well, O My Best Beloved.” Hank said tenderly. “ You are a Man of Infinite Resource and Sagacity.”

 Remy winked. “Of course.”

The village turned out to be about two and half miles upstream. It hugged a bend in the tributary, and was a loose circle of about fifteen huts. Beyond the huts were some carefully maintained vegetable patches. However the entire place seemed completely deserted, the only sound coming from a squawking pet parrot, tied to a post.

 While Hank and Remy exchanged quizzical glances, Krekon made his way to the center of the village, near a smoldering cook fire. He loudly called out, <My people, do not fear!  These are visiting spirits, and they honor us with their presence! They will do us no harm! >

 Very, very slowly the villagers shyly crept out of their hiding places, wide-eyed at the sight of the two mutants. To appear less threatening, Hank crouched down low, and Gambit quickly followed suit.

 Small children immediately ringed them; the most curious and apparently, the least intimidated. A tiny girl of about three couldn’t resist the lure of Hank’s fur for long; she rushed up and petted him. Hank smiled at her, and she, in turn, broke out in an enormous, happy grin. He tickled her small, rounded tummy; she giggled and leapt into his arms for a hug.

 <I am Ani! > She announced loudly, tickling Henry back.

 <I am Hank! > The doctor chuckled.

 After this exchange, all the tension left the villagers. Hank found himself softly touched by wondering hands, murmurs of amazement reaching his ears. He glanced at Remy, and saw that he was receiving similar treatment. The Indians were especially interested in his auburn hair, black, smooth clothing, and of course, his strange eyes. <They burn like fire! > Hank heard one woman exclaim.

 They both bore this with grace, as there was no hostility behind the touching, only gentleness. And Gambit proved equally adept at tickling little children.

 The examinations ceased when an old woman approached them. By the looks she garnered from the other people, Hank knew this was a person who commanded great respect. Tiny and wizened as an old walnut, her snow-white hair was decorated with blue and green quetzal feathers. Bright eyes gazed out of a thousand wrinkles, and she rewarded Hank with a wide, toothless grin. Then she leaned forward, cupped Hank’s chin, and blew warm air into his face.

 Knowing this to be a customary greeting among Amazon native people, Hank returned the gesture. The old woman chuckled like a creaky hinge.

 <Greetings, O spirits! Your coming was foretold to me, whispered in a vision. I am Pila, shaman of this village. >

 <I am so glad to meet you, Pila. I am called Henry McCoy, and this is my friend, Remy LeBeau. > Still holding Ani, Hank rose to his feet.

 The tiny shaman took Hank’s hand, her gnarled fingers dwarfed by his enormous digits. <I have much to talk to you about, Henrymccoy, and much to learn from you. >

 <I am looking forward to it, Pila. > Hank answered happily. He glanced at Remy, now holding an ecstatic young boy piggyback.

 “Glad we came now, cher?” Remy asked with a smile.

 “Indeed, my dear Acadian,” Hank said as Ani playfully pinched his nose. “ It looks to be a most delightful and educational visit.” Hank sighed. “My only regret is that I have nothing to take notes with.”

 “Now Henri, didn’t y’ just call me a Man of Infinite Resource and Sagacity?” Remy said, laughing his deep Cajun laugh. The young man dug into his duster once more, tied around his waist. He then magically produced a small waterproof note pad and a pen. “Ask, and you shall receive.”

 “You incredible man!” Hank cried out. Not really thinking, Hank kissed Gambit hard on the mouth. There was a slight gasp of surprise from the crowd, then laughter. Face a bit hot, Hank looked around, and saw no anger or hostility. Both Pila and Krekon were nodding sagely to one another.

 <Yes, the ways of the spirit people are most mysterious. > Krekon observed.

 <So it is said. > Pila agreed.

 “So, I guess we didn’t scandalize everyone.” Remy said with a crooked grin. “Pays to be a spirit, I guess. Plus, dese people are more open-minded den de usual crowd.”

 “Too bad the rest of the world isn’t like this.” Hank commented. <What do you think, Ani? > He playfully threw the little girl up in the air, and after catching her, blew a loud raspberry on her stomach.

 <Do it again! > The little girl squealed.

The Quetzal people turned out to be the most courteous of hosts. Both hank and Remy were treated like visiting royalty. A large feast was hastily put together, and the two mutants dined on breadfruit, roast turtle and armadillo. (The latter tasting much better than Hank ever expected.) It was a friendly, happy meal, and Hank did his best to be the life of the party. He amused everyone with little jokes, songs and stories. And Gambit also was a hit. He rapidly picked up a number of words in Ge, and also was very adept at sign language. He demonstrated a few slight of hand tricks, pulling Brazil nuts out of the ears of astonished children.

 As the evening wore on, however, Hank found himself stifling a number of yawns. Krekon took the matter into his hands, and directed his two very exhausted guests to a small hut near the edge of the village. They were finally left alone after much hugging and touching. Pila was the last to depart, with a promise of a long talk in the morning.

 Remy flopped down on a pile of woven grass mats. He pulled off a boot with a groan, rubbed a foot.

 “I gotta hand it to dese folks, dey sure know how to treat dere company. And, y’know, armadillo would be really great with a little cayenne pepper.”

 “They have been utterly gracious. Thank you again for persuading me to come.” Hank stretched his big blue length out next to his lover. “And I might add, from my understanding of your native cuisine, a little cayenne pepper improves just about everything.”

 “You learnin’, cher, y’ learnin.” Remy finished with his boots, and leaned over Hank, handsome face very close. “ Dere might be hope for y’ yet.”

 “I’m a quick study.” Henry replied, and reached up to cup Remy’s chin in both hands. He caught the young man’s mouth and kissed him slowly, deeply. Remy sighed, and relaxed against Hank’s body, thief’s hands stroking Henry’s hair. It was a sweet moment, quiet and intimate, and Henry cherished it with all his heart.

 He also wished he could respond with more passion, but he was frankly exhausted. When they finally broke apart, Hank smiled up at his lover, drinking in the sharp planes of his features, now rimmed in moonlight.

 “It has been quite an amazing day, Remy LeBeau. Probably the best day of my entire life. I thank you for that.”

 Remy blinked rapidly, garnet eyes oddly bright in the shadowed hut. “Y’ welcome, Hank. De same goes for me. I just hope…” Hank could feel Remy’s body tense up against his. “I just hope dat I don’t ever let y’ down. Or hurt you.”

 “I believe in you Remy.” Hank answered simply. Remy swallowed, looked away for a moment, and then lay down in the crook of Henry’s arm. Hank pulled him close, rubbing his back, trying to ease the tremors out of Remy’s muscles. After a long while it worked, and the Cajun’s breathing became peaceful and even.

 “ ‘Night, Henri. “ Remy said in a whisper. A pale hand reached out and long fingers caressed Henry’s face.

 “Good night my dear, “Hank said kissing Remy’s palm. “The sweetest of dreams.”

 After a few minutes, Remy was asleep, breath soft in Hank’s ear. And as tired as he was, Hank lay awake for quite some time, thinking. He wondered about what the future was going to hold for the both of them. What was the reaction going to be to their relationship once they returned home? As optimistic as he was, Henry knew in deep down it wasn’t going to be remotely positive.

 Hank drew Remy closer, and decided that it didn’t matter. A wild child thief had stolen his heart, and he never wanted it back. He also knew that despite all his insecurity and self-doubt, Remy LeBeau would indeed never let him down. And perhaps someday soon, he would also hear the words, “I love you, Hank.” from Remy’s lips. That would be the sweetest, most precious thing of all.

 Hank finally dozed off, smiling slightly, his lover in his arms.

Continued in Part 6

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