Disclaimer: I don't own The New Avengers, nor the characters of Mike Gambit and Purdey. Sadly. They're the property of The Avengers (Film and TV) Enterprises. This story is for entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement intended.

This story is rated "M". It is the reader's responsibility to use his/her discretion in determining whether or not it is appropriate to read it. If you're not old enough, or think it might offend your sensibilities, it's your responsibility to give it a miss.

Timeline: Post-episode AU for the season one story Faces.

Author's Note: This is apropos of nothing, except that I've been writing a few short pieces for some other shows, and this brief AU wound up rounding them off. Thought I may as well post it.

He tastes right. She knows it. She doesn't know how, because she's never kissed Gambit before today, so she has nothing to compare it to, but somehow he just does. She suspects Terry Walton, if he were real, just wouldn't call up the same notes as Gambit does when she devours his mouth. Dr. Prator could never fake something like that, no matter how hard he tried. She knows she probably still tastes of Lolita's bubblegum, but if it's bothering Gambit, he's certainly not showing it.

Anyway, the taste doesn't matter, because he's sweating now, and if there's one thing Purdey has learned by heart in the half a dozen or so months she's known him, it's the scent of Gambit's sweat. It's a bit of an occupational hazard, what with all the running and fighting and long days spent in the same clothes with no opportunity to change that the job entails. It could be unpleasant, but luckily for her, Gambit's sweat has a rather nice musky undertone that she's quite partial to. Prator definitely couldn't replicate that, and she kicks herself mentally for not catching it sooner. Then again, her senses were a bit overwhelmed between the bubblegum, hairspray, oily make-up, and the cheap scent she'd taken to bathing herself in while in-character as Lolita, so perhaps she ought to give herself a little leeway.

He's whispering things to her, too. Maybe, maybe, they could copy his voice, but the content of what he's saying, the things he's professing, are all Gambit, and the only place she knows anyone could ever read them is in his eyes, not a file.

The moment when "Terry" told her Gambit was dead had sent a shock through her very being, right to her core. She'd barely managed to get to her car without crying, and even then she'd driven a bit before she had a good long wail two blocks from Gambit's building, where "Terry" wouldn't be able to see or hear her. The awful hollow feeling in her chest has only just faded away in the past few minutes or so. The shocks Gambit himself was now sending through her with every roll of his hips were entirely more pleasant, and going no little way toward making up for her earlier grief.

The moment she realised Gambit was alive, she'd been relieved and angry—relieved he was all right, angry at the subterfuge, and for awhile she wasn't sure which one took precedence. Anger made it easier to tie up loose ends, to take Prator and the fake Craig into custody, to be debriefed and drive herself home. When Gambit dropped by with a bottle looking just as overwrought as she felt, and suggested they try and work out between them just what the past few weeks meant now that they knew that it was them all along, she'd still been annoyed, but of course she'd let him in. They didn't even manage to get the bottle open before Purdey launched into a continuation of her earlier tirade, during which she'd damn near pushed him through a door. She ranted about how he'd given her the fright of her life, and had the gall to tease her about it. But Gambit had a few words of his own, about how Lolita had terrified him, because she seemed to learn so quickly, and nothing he'd done seemed to discourage her. How he'd lain awake at night worrying if he could risk speeding up his transformation into "Gambit" without tipping off Prator, because there'd be no way of warning Purdey if "Lolita" was sent out to replace her before "Terry" was allowed to leave the mission house. He told her about the phone call he'd made to Steed, and the panic that rose in his chest when he couldn't get ahold of her at her flat. They'd wound up fighting about who was worried more about who, who was more relieved that the other was alive, and who'd been more scared, until more tears pricked at Purdey's eyes, and she just had to kiss him. And once she'd kissed him, she'd realised that, really, there was nothing to stop her from pulling him into her kitchen and unbuckling his trousers. Which was why she was now perched precariously on the edge of her kitchen counter with her skirt around her hips and her legs around his waist, defying gravity by the grace of his steadying hand on one of her thighs.

She grabs a handful of his hair—great hair, Gambit's great hair—and kisses him, hard, revelling in the joy of the fact that they're both still alive, giving voice to it as their cries join in a chorus that most definitely is going to buy her a few knowing looks from the neighbours.

"So the report was right," Gambit pants as they settle down, a smile playing over his sweat-stained lips, quoting their earlier exchange even as a bead of moisture trickles down his cheek. "You do care about me."

"Of course I care," she manages, as he nuzzles her hair and cradles her now-slack, sated body against his chest, the gentleness of his touch just one more thing on the long list of qualities she knows they could never, ever replicate. "Now shut up and make yourself presentable. You're going to take me out for a ridiculously expensive dinner."

Gambit chuckles at the command. "You and your nasty little mouth," he quips, an insult he'd reserved for Lolita, but his irreverence is belied by the way he holds her, as though he's still afraid her alter-ego will swagger in at any moment and replace her.

Purdey smiles secretively and leans back to whisper in his ear. "You don't know the half of it, Mike Gambit, but just you wait until you bring me back home."