The Lost Boys
By Rebop

 Hank woke up to the soft sounds of rain dripping on the roof of the hut, and an even louder noise-Remy LeBeau, the Prince of the New Orleans Thieves Guild, was snoring. Henry opened his eyes, blinking a bit in the soft, early morning light. He raised his head to look at Gambit, deeply asleep, beautiful head resting in the crook of his arm. Another snore rattled the walls, and Hank couldn’t help it, his shoulders began to shake with silent merriment. Somehow it was incredibly funny hearing the elegant, dashing Cajun mundanely sawing logs.

 Hank snuggled closer to his lover and snickered quietly into the back of Remy’s neck. They had ended up lying spoon fashion, Remy’s slender form cupped by Hank’s large body. It was a very cozy arrangement, and Hank threw an arm over Remy’s narrow hips. Gambit in turn drew closer, his small, very firm ass rubbing directly into Hank’s crotch.

 Which felt ever so good. And after a while, a little too good. Henry’s cock, already semi erect, responded happily to the idea that a gorgeous Cajun ass was very, very near.

 At that moment, Gambit gave a sharp, startled snort and woke himself up. There was a moment of silence, then a sigh. “Merde. I was snorin’, wasn’t I?”

 Hank chuckled. “Like a buzz saw, my dear.”

 Remy laughed his deep, Louisiana laugh. “Well, now y’ know. Sorry about dat.”

 Hank smiled into auburn hair. “Don’t be sorry, I was mightily amused.”

 Remy yawned and stretched his feline body, ass inadvertently pushing further into Hank’s crotch. “S’ rainin.’”

 Hank stifled a groan. “Yes, it is.”

 Henry could hear the grin in Remy’s voice. “I love listening to de rain.” And with that little comment Remy backed further into Henry’s body, causing the doctor to bite his lip. He thought very hard about pouncing on his lover and yanking off all his clothing, but he wanted to let Remy wake up first. Hank was always, above all, a gentleman.

 But Remy obviously knew what was going on. “Henry, I t’ink we got a good t’ing goin’, sex wise, but cher, y’ don’t have to be so polite all de time.” Remy reached out an arm, and without turning around, began to caress Hank’s now raging hard-on with expert fingers. “ ‘Specially when y’ wake up with such a nice present for Remy.”

 Hank sucked in a sharp breath as Remy explored the warm shape of his penis. He nibbled Gambit’s ear. “I do solemnly swear next time I will just ravish you.”

 “Ummhmm, y’ better. Remy loves to be ravished.” Remy gave an impossibly sexy chuckle. Hank huffed warm breath into his ear, and traced a sharp hipbone. Remy murmured something low and unintelligible, then arched into Hank’s hand when McCoy found his erection, the heat pouring through his trousers.

 They massaged each other for a few long, exquisite minutes. Henry probed Remy’s ear with a long tongue, traced the line of his neck. Remy shivered; then coaxed a most desperate sigh from the doctor in turn. Warm, rough fingers roughly freed his cock from the confines of his trunks. They whispered over his dick, coating precum over the head.

 Without preamble, Henry yanked Gambit’s trousers and underwear down, slightly tearing them as he did. No complaint from Remy, only a low, yielding whimper that nearly drove Hank crazy. He ran his thick, clawed fingers over those graceful hips, down trembling thighs, loving the feel of that soft, ivory skin. He grazed Remy’s navel, then stroked the crisp auburn hair near the base of a now very stiff cock. Another pleading whimper, followed by a growl of pure pleasure when Hank finally closed his big fist over a pulsing, weeping shaft.

 Remy shoved his bare, enticing ass even closer to Hank’s hard-on, the head rubbed delectably against a firm cheek. And Hank suddenly thought the young Cajun was demanding something Henry couldn’t deliver at the moment. As much as Hank ached for the final, ultimate intimacy, he knew he was much too large to enter his lover’s body with just spit and a prayer. And causing Remy pain would be just unbearable.

 Remy obviously read Hank’s sudden hesitation, looking back over his shoulder with red, glittering eyes.

 “Remy, I don’t think we should…”

 Those sexy demon eyes glinted with lust and affection. “Wasn’t suggesting dat at all, mon ami. Much as I want y’ dat way, I ain’t crazy.” Gambit took hold of Hank’s cock and somehow managed to slide it in the space between his long thighs. “So until we get a hold of some lube, friction is just gonna have to do.”

 Hank made an experimental thrust, grunting at the incredible sensation, slick cock against hot, sweaty skin. Sheer, lusty, utter heaven. “Well, friction works rather well, my clever, darling thief.” Hank kissed a damp cheek.

 “Yes, ain’t I clever?” Remy laughed. “And as a reward for my ingenuity, I say dat you get busy and fuck de daylights out of me, s’il vous plait.”

 “Your wish is my command.” Hank rumbled, and began to fist Remy’s hard on once more, slowly, slowly. He timed his thrusts to his strokes, starting a lovely, sweet rhythm. Their ragged breathing also found this primal rhythm, interspersed with aching, deep sighs. Hank decided to take it to an even higher level, putting his lips near Remy’s ear, making his voice as low and sexy as possible.

 “You want me to fuck you, nothing would give me more pleasure. You feel so good, my darling, I love having my hands on your beautiful body, your hard cock.”

 “Goddamn, Hank!” Remy gasped, and moaned. “Keep talking cher, please, please…”

 Hank swallowed, thrusting harder between Remy’s thighs, the tight space there growing more and more slippery. His heart was pounding in his chest, the dirty talk getting him even more excited.

 “Remy, just the sight of you makes me ache, makes me hard. I want to fuck you and fuck you and worship you, make you cry out with pleasure, make you beg for more.”

 Remy threw back his head and cried out, lost in the sensations. He was trembling, and his cock pulsed and lept in Hank’s palm. He was teetering on the edge, and Henry wasn’t trailing too far behind.

 “Cum for me my dear, I know you want to so badly, you’re just dying to, cum hard for me, beautiful lover.”

 And Remy obeyed, jaw clenched tight to prevent a loud scream, pearly white semen spilling thick and hot over Hank’s dark blue hand. The erotic sight aroused Hank beyond measure. He released Gambit’s still spurting dick and clutching his lover’s body tight, he gave three hard, merciless thrusts. He climaxed, the orgasm roaring through him like a runaway train, endless and sweet. He felt it from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. He luckily managed to keep silent, as he certainly didn’t want to alert the entire village with an orgasmic howl.

 It took more than a few seconds to get back to reality. When he could string a few thoughts together, he found that Remy had rolled over and was pattering soft, loving kisses all over his face.

 “Welcome back, cher.” Remy grinned and kissed him some more.

 “Glad to be here. Didn’t know I was going to take a tour of the upper stratosphere. Nice place, I enjoyed it immensely.” He pulled Remy close. “Thank you, that was lovely.”

 “No kidding.” Gambit purred contentedly, like a well-fed tabby cat. “I hit de upper stratosphere myself, had quite de tour.” Remy nibbled on Hank’s lower lip. “ Man, Henri you some talker. You get ol’ Remy’s motor runnin’ like nobody’s business.”

 Hank bared his fangs in a grin that could only be described as shit eating. “ Really?”

 “Really. I must admit cher; I didn’t see it hidden under de lab coat. But you one very sexy man, Henry McCoy. And I am one very lucky Cajun.” Remy pulled Hank close, kissing him deeply, fingers wrapped in Hank’s blue/black hair. Henry sighed into his lover’s mouth, thinking this was beyond wonderful.

 They lay with their arms entwined for a long while, content and silent, the delicate sound of the rain whispering outside. Hank enjoyed every second, and had an idle fantasy about future mornings. Long, lazy Sundays in bed, with coffee and the Times crossword, talk and laughter and lovemaking. Bliss. Total bliss.

 Remy gave Hank one more sweet kiss, and glanced down at the both of them. A smile snuck across his face.

 “We a big mess, Henry.”

 “And a damn fine mess it is.” Hank nuzzled Remy’s cheek with his nose, savoring his scent.

 “I agree, but I t’ink we better clean ourselves up ‘fore company comes. And we will be havin’ us some company, I guarantee.”

 Remy was no doubt correct, and Hank didn’t like it one bit. As much as he liked the Quetzel people, he really wanted to just hold his lover for a while longer. He frowned into Remy’s hair.

 “You have a point. But they might not be up for hours yet. It’s still early.”

 Remy laughed, and shook his head. “Henry McCoy, y’ got no idea at all when dese folks rise and shine. But hey, if you want dem to see us in dis obvious post-coital state, it’s your call.”

 Hank sighed in a very put-upon way, and sat up, scratching his head. “No, I would prefer not to, thank you very much.” Another sigh. “And I apologize for turning into a class A, bonafide, pain in the derriere whiner, but gee, I wish we had a shower. Logan would no doubt call me a candy ass, but a hot shower would be just heaven right now. That and a cup of coffee.”

 “You not a whiner, Henry, I was t’inkin’ de same t’ing. Although I much prefer baths, me. With bubbles.” Remy winked.

 Hank smiled at him indulgently. “You would, you decadent boy.”

 “But dere’s no sense makin’ myself all miserable over it.” Remy peeled off his pants, which were at half-mast anyway, then his shirt. He stood, in all his naked glory, and started to walk out the hut door. “So when in Rome…”

 Hank’s eyebrows went to the top of his head. “Remy, you aren’t going outside, are you?”

 Remy cocked his head. “Uh, yah. It’s rainin’, and dis is about de closest t’ing we gonna get to a shower.”

 “But…umm…there are, well, you know, uh…”

 Gambit burst out laughing. “Henry, you worried about someone seeing? Cher, I hate to point dis out to a fellow who has more degrees den Bill Gates has computers, but I guess I’m gonna have to. Shit, boy, de entire population of dis village is totally buck-naked! To tell you de truth, I felt kinda weird bein’ de only one dressed for dinner last night. In other words, dey won’t care.”

 Hank blushed furiously, feeling very much a prude and a midwestern farm boy. Remy reached out his hands, and Hank took them, allowing his lover to pull him to his feet. The Cajun kissed him on his nose. “You cute.”

 “Actually, I feel like a total ass at the moment.”

 “Nah. You just cute. Now get y’ pants de rest of de way off, shrinking violet, and come on outside.” Gambit exited the hut and Hank divested himself of his trunks. Feeling foolish, he followed his lover outside into the rain.

 He would never admit this to Remy, of course, but Hank was vastly relieved to see that there was no one in sight. And after a moment, the self-consciousness left, as the cool morning shower felt so good on his overheated skin. And there was the extra-added bonus of being able to watch Remy again, naked in the rain. His face was to the sky, and raindrops traced lovely pathways down ivory skin. And this time, Hank could unabashedly ogle as much as he wanted.

 “You know, I wonder if the villagers have some kind of soap.” Hank said after a few extremely pleasant minutes. “I’ll have to ask Pila about it.”

 Remy arched a brow, a mischievous look in his eyes. “ Do y’ really use soap anyways, Henri? With all dat fur, I would have guessed shampoo would be more practical.”

 Hank chuckled. “ You are correct, my dear Acadian. I have my own formula, with special conditioners. Gives me a nice, lustrous sheen.”

 Remy ran an approving hand across Hank’s doublewide chest. “Mmmm, indeed it does, cher.” He stood very close. “Maybe someday you let Remy do de honors of puttin’ it on, neh?” A very sexy smile, which made Hank’s knees quite weak. “ I would do such a good job, too.” A low whisper. “One y’ would never forget.”

 Hank felt hot and cold at the same time, and gathered his lover’s slender form in his arms. “I hope that’s a promise,” he murmured, voice a bit shaky.

 Remy put his warm, wet lips on Hank’s mouth. “Count on it, cher. Count on it.”

 They kissed, and the small part of Hank’s brain that wasn’t shorting out reveled in the fact that this was one of the most sensual moments of his entire life. French kissing Remy Lebeau in a tropical rain shower. He smiled into Remy’s mouth; pulled the Cajun even closer, let his tongue probe deep. It was so good, so very good. Hank soon forgot where he was, he just allowed himself to feel. There was a hot surge in his groin, he moaned softly.

 A small creaky chuckle sounded from behind, and Hank instantly froze. ‘Shit.’ he thought, trying to think of a good way to get out of this. Nothing came to mind. ‘Shitshitshitshitohshit.’ He finally looked around and saw Pila standing there, a very wide grin creasing her brown walnut face.

 <Greetings, O Henrymccoy and Remylebeau! I see that you are enjoying both the rain and the morning. > The tiny shaman gave Hank’s semi erect penis an appreciative look. < My, you are a big one! You must be a very potent lover. >

 Hank decided at this point this was the most embarrassed he had ever been, topping the infamous ‘super glue on the toilet seat incident’, and the time he had gotten fleas. No, this was embarrassment at a cosmic scale. Remy, on the other hand, was taking an opposite view of the situation. He had buried his head in Hank’s shoulder, and was currently shaking with laughter.

 “This is not funny, LeBeau.” Hank fumed. “Not funny at all.”

 Remy, of course, laughed even harder. “Yes it is, Henry. One of de most fucking funny moments in my entire life, as a matter of fact.”

 Pila got Remy’s attention by touching him on the arm. The Cajun beamed down at her, and Pila grinned back. <Tell the Red Eyed One that he looks much better without the black thing covering him. Maybe a little too pale and skinny, but still very nice. > The shaman sighed, and gave Remy’s butt a small pat, which caused Gambit no end of amusement. < It is too bad that I am an old woman now. In my prime I was a beauty, and warriors fought for my favors. I would have taken you both on and made you howl at the moon. >

 Hank’s jaw nearly dropped to his chest.

 In return, Pila’s eyes twinkled merrily.< Well, this old, meddling woman will not bother you anymore. When you are ready, come over to my hut, and I will feed you. Then we will have our talk, Henrymccoy. > She gave Hank’s penis one last wistful look and ambled off, remarkably spry for a woman of her years.

 “Okay Henry, I’m dyin’ here. What did she say?”

 Hank sighed, still rather stunned. “Something I can’t quite believe.”

 Remy snickered. “I don’t doubt it had somet’ing to do with your magnificent, throbbing manhood. Dat lady was lookin’ at your equipment like an art matron at a Soho gallery.”

 In spite of himself, Hank had to laugh. “Remy, for the love of God, please shut up.”

 Gambit was unfortunately on a roll, though. “Betcha she talks de villagers to put up a statue in your honor, her. Big ol’ monument to de wondrous schlong of Dr. Henry McCoy, PhD.”

 Hank gave Remy a withering stare. “All right. That’s absolutely it.” And Henry suddenly reached out and grabbed his lover, who was still in the throes of hilarity. The blue furred mutant tossed LeBeau into a convenient, nearby mud puddle, which caused Remy to laugh even harder. The Cajun managed to snag Hank’s ankle, and nearly pulled McCoy on top of him. Hank got a face full of mud, and at that point, he regained his sense of humor. The two of them began to pitch globs of mud at each other like crazed toddlers. Neither noticed the large crowd of villagers standing and staring, totally confused now by the very peculiar behavior of the spirit people.

A while later, Hank was sitting cross-legged next to Pila in front of her little home. His fur was dampish and cowlicky, but at least cleaned of all offending mud.

 Pila had greeted both mutants with an enormous, amused smile, and to Henry’s vast relief, did not make any mention of his splendid penis. Instead, she fed them a tasty stew that contained turtle meat and roasted cashews, a dish that Hank thought would have been welcome in any of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants. He had seconds and thirds.

 When they had finished eating, Remy had gotten himself dragged off by a large knot of giggling children. The rain had ceased, and Gambit was now playing a rather wild game with them, sort of a combination catch/hide and seek/red rover heaven knew what. Everyone was having the most splendid time; laughter rang out amongst the huts. Hank was also struck by how different his lover seemed, away from the cares and worries of the X-men. He realized how young Gambit actually was, and how that world-weary arrogance was just another concealing mask. He loved this Remy so much, it made his heart ache.

 Hank and the shaman watched the game for a few minutes, both quietly smiling. Then Pila spoke.

 <I had a vision of you coming to our village, Henrymccoy.>

 <Really?> Hank commented politely.

 <Yes. Three moons ago. As I have gotten older, my visions have become few, but this one was very strong. I saw a man as blue as the sky and as big as a mountain, wearing the fur of the forest people. With him was his heart brother, who had the power of fire in his fingertips. >

 A very cold chill zipped down Henry’s spine. Remy had not demonstrated his kinetic charge to any of the villagers. Pila now had his full and complete attention, and even more of his respect. Hank was a scientist, first and foremost, but he had learned with the X-Men never to discount a mystical event. And now it looked as if he was going to have yet another close encounter of the occult kind.

 <Both the blue man and his heart brother had been traveling a very long and hard path. They had lost their way, and were tired of the journey. They came to our village, where the blue one did a great deed, a warrior’s deed. There was also a terrible price to be paid, but the blue man did it with courage. And the spirits rewarded him with what he most longed for in his secret heart. And he was lost no more. >

 Hank gazed into Pila’s eyes, dark and kind, full of ancient wisdom, older than time. His mouth was dry, and gooseflesh prickled his fur. He was both utterly fascinated and more than a little spooked by all this.

 <I thank you, great shaman, for sharing this with me. It was indeed a powerful vision. May I ask though, what sort of price I had to pay? >

 Pila sighed. <That I cannot answer, Henrymccoy. I do not know exactly. Visions, they are tricky, and sometimes they make no sense until many moons later. And even if I did know, I still could not tell you. If the spirits have made it so, perhaps it would be best not to alter their plans. >

 Hank fidgeted and Pila put her old, gnarled hand in his. <Do not fear, my friend. We are both on the Wheel of Life and change is all a part of it. >

 Hank sighed and took heart at her words. He squeezed her small hand. <I thank you again, old mother. >

 Pila smiled her wonderful, toothless smile. <Now. Let me teach you some of our healing ways, and you can teach me some of yours. For you are a shaman to your people, are you not? >

 Henry got another of those chills again, and then he smiled. He was going to learn so much from this tiny woman, and it was best to get started.

For the next few hours, Henry J. McCoy was, as his Uncle Ed always said, happier than a pig in shit. Pila may have been a naked woman with feathers in her hair, but her knowledge of native Amazon plants and their uses would have awed the most prestigious, Harvard educated botanist. Hank gleefully jotted down ant track sized notes in his memo pad. He was enraptured, delighted, inundating the Quetzal shaman with a flash flood of questions. She was, in turn, infinitely patient with him, and seemed to be enjoying the exchange as much as he was. In an odd sort of way, it was almost like falling in love, two sharp and highly intelligent minds joyously communicating.

 Hanks realized he could spend years at her side, and only absorb a fraction of her knowledge. She had already introduced him to two plant species that the scientific world was totally unaware of. Henry almost cackled with anticipation over the papers he could publish.

 It wasn’t all a one-way street. Pila also received a great deal of information from McCoy. She already had a pretty astute grasp of basic human anatomy, but many things were still quite puzzling to her. She was especially delighted with Henry’s explanation of just what blood was for, and how it moved around the body. She quickly managed to grasp the most abstract of concepts. Hank thought if she had been born into his world, she would have been the head of some university, a wall full of degrees behind her desk.

 They finally exhausted discussing the dried plant specimens in her hut, all carefully bundled in leather. After a quick fruit snack, Pila suggested that they go into the rain forest. Hank was overjoyed with the prospect of a field study, but then it dawned on him that he hadn’t seen Remy in quite some time. He was startled when he glanced at the position of the sun; they had been talking for at least five hours.

 <Pila, I would like nothing more than to go into the forest with you, > Hank said as he helped the elderly shaman to her feet. <But I would first like to tell Remy where I am going. >

 <Of course. > Pila looked around, a frown on her face. < I wonder where the children have dragged him off ?>

 She led Hank to the center of the village, where she approached a young mother nursing a tiny baby.

 <Una, have you seen where the Red-Eyed One has gone? >

 Una gave Hank a shy smile, and nodded her head. <Yes, Pila. Krekon and some of the other men took Remylebeau to the river to fish. >

 <Fishing? > Hank began to chuckle merrily. <They took Remy fishing? Oh my! >

 Pila arched a brow. <Is he not a good fisherman? I hope they will not shame him. >

 <Err…no Pila; Remy is actually very, very good at catching fish. LOTS of fish. Poor Krekon! >  Hank snorted at a vision of the stoic Quetzal chief witnessing a forty-pound Amazon River catfish getting blown sky high out of the water. Krekon might never recover. < We will definitely be eating very well tonight. >

 <I see.> Pila took Hank’s arm, and she started to lead him away from the huts. <What is it your are not telling me, O Henrymccoy? >

 Hank patted her hand, grinning smugly. <Just wait until everyone gets back. >

 They began to cross the large garden plots that circled the village. A number of women were working there, and they all smiled and greeted the doctor and their shaman. Hank paused for a moment to admire their handiwork.

 It was then that it happened. Henry was chatting amiably with a pleasantly chubby woman about her irrigation methods, when a movement on the edge of the garden caught his eye. Hank glanced up, and saw little Ani, his four-year-old charmer, standing there.

 Hank instantly knew that something was very, very wrong. She was standing completely still; her body was rigid with fear, eyes wide. And Henry’s heart plummeted when he saw why. A mere foot away from the little girl was an enormous snake. It’s patterned scales made it almost blend into the forest backdrop. The flat, wicked head was raised in a threatening manner; its thick, shiny body weaved back and forth. At any second it was going to viciously strike.

 He had no real time to think; he just acted. The girl and the snake were about twelve feet away, not an easy distance to reach from a standing position. But Hank knew he could do it. He had to.

 Big mutant thigh muscles gathered and coiled like giant springs, and Hank was suddenly airborne, wind whistling through his fur. He had a brief flash of the astounded faces he was leaving behind, but it barely registered. He was totally focused on getting between Ani and the snake.

 In mid leap he gracefully twisted, knowing that timing was everything. He landed on his side, hard earth knocking out his breath, pain shooting across his ribs. But he was on target, all that mattered, his big body between the girl and perhaps certain death.

 He had a quick glimpse of Ani’s black eyes, saucer huge. He gathered her lightning fast in his corded gorilla arms and rolled, sending clouds of dirt in the air. There was a sharp, burning sensation in his upper arm as they tumbled away from danger, and Hank could hear the child’s panicked breathing as they bounced along.

 Henry finally halted, lying on his back, Ani clinging to his stomach like a baby gibbon. He was about to turn his head to see just how far away they were from the snake, when a familiar crimson flash zinged through the air. Hank followed the its trail, and saw the reptile, apparently still on the attack, get blown to smithereens by Remy’s kinetic charge.

 Hank took a very deep, shuddery breath, which felt good-he’d been holding it in for some time. He patted Ani’s trembling back with one giant hand, voice soothing. The child wept into his fur.

 <It’s all right, little one, > Hank murmured in Ge. < You’re safe now. >

 Remy was the first to reach them. The young Cajun was wild-eyed and ghost pale. He knelt beside the doctor, his voice shaky.

 “Henry, I saw de whole t’ing. How’s de petite?”

 Hank managed to find his voice. “ She’s scared, but okay. I managed to make it in time. That was one aggressive reptile.”

 Remy cautiously touched Hank’s arm. There was fear on his handsome face. “It didn’t get you, did it cher?”

 Hank shut his eyes. The burning sensation in his arm had increased. He opened his eyes again, forced himself to look at Gambit. “I am afraid it did, my dear.”

 “FUCK! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Remy screamed. He hit the ground several times with his fist; Hank doubted he had ever seen Gambit so angry, but the Cajun quickly reined in his fury. He swallowed hard, and said in a low, trembling voice, “Tell me what to do, Hank. Tell me what to do.”

 Hank was eerily calm. “First of all, we need to determine whether the snake was poisonous or not. I only got the briefest glimpse of the creature, and my knowledge of herpetology is a tad limited. However, since you blew the snake to Kingdom Come, it might take a while to identify the remains.”

 Hank didn’t think it could have been possible, but Remy actually got even paler. “Saints. I didn’t even stop to t’ink. I just saw dat it was comin’ at you and I-”

 Hank gave his lover a soothing pat on he arm. “Remy, you did nothing wrong. God knows what would have happened if you hadn’t intervened. And I am sure there is enough left of that nasty critter to give us a clue.”

 By now almost the entire village was gathered around them. One woman was in tears, and Hank correctly guessed her to be Ani’s mother. The child wiggled out of Hank’s arms and ran into hers. The woman hugged the little girl frantically. <Thank you, O spirit, > she whispered over Ani’s dark head.

 Henry managed a smile. <You are most welcome. >

 Pila came forward, cupping something in her hands. Her wrinkled face was grave. <You did a very brave thing, Henrymccoy. And our angry snake brother made you pay didn’t he? >

 Hank suddenly tasted something metallic at the back of his dry throat. <Yes, Pila. Did you see what sort of snake it was? >

 The shaman said nothing, but opened her hands. Resting in her palm was the snake’s head. It was triangular in shape, the scales a brownish red, with blotches of black and white. And Henry suddenly experienced a stab of very real, terrible fear. It was a fer-de-lance, perhaps one of the deadliest creatures in the Amazon.

 <I will help you all I can, my friend. > Pila said quietly.

 <I know you will. > Hank replied, her words giving him courage. He then summoned what he called his doctor Zen, turning to his lover. “Remy, I am afraid it’s bad news. I have gotten myself bitten by bothrops atox, otherwise known as a fer-de-lance.”

 Remy blinked, but he remained focused on Hank, displaying the usual X-Man grace under pressure. Henry knew he could count on him not to get upset again. And he needed Remy as calm as possible.

 “So what are our options, cher?”

 “I have a number of factors in my favor. The snake only struck me once, and it was a glancing blow. And sometimes vipers don’t discharge all their venom, so it’s hard to tell what kind of dose I got. I am also physically large, so it would take a lot of poison to really harm me. If the snake had bitten Ani, it would have surely killed her.”

 Hank paused for a moment, thinking hard. “ We have no anti venin, of course, so this is what I need you to do: The old ‘ cut the wound, suck out the venom method’ does not really work, in fact, it causes more harm than good. Get the first aid kit, clean the wound as best you can. Wrap a bandage about four inches above the bite, tight, but not tight enough to cut off circulation. I am most likely to go into some kind of shock, so keep an eye on my vital signs, raise my feet, and keep me covered. I guess I am somewhat fortunate that the fer-de-lance’s venom is hemo toxic, which means it won’t affect my breathing. Some snake venom will suffocate its victims. I will also probably experience dizziness, extreme nausea, blurred vision, vomiting, a high fever, and convulsions.”

 Remy covered his face with a hand, trying to steady himself. And after listing all the possible symptoms, Henry felt the icy cold finger of fear travel down his spine. He also was struck by the irony that after facing the likes of the Sentinels, Juggernaut, Sabertooth and Magneto, there was now the very strong possibility that he was going to die from something as stupid as a snake bite.

There was a gentle touch on his cheek. “We best get started den cher, neh?”

 “Yes.” Hank took Remy’s hand in his. “And my dear, you can trust Pila. She is a very wise soul, and she might be able to save my blue, furry ass.”

 Gambit gave his lover the bravest smile imaginable. “We both pull you through dis, mon ami, don’t you worry.”

 Hank nodded and began to pray that Remy would be right.

Continued in Part 7

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