They've been working together for about eight months before the sexual tension gets unbearable for Sam.
At first he thought he was imagining it, just projecting his own attraction onto Sully, willfully pretending it goes both ways. After all, Sully talks pussy constantly. Sam never catches the slimmest verbal hint from him that dick is also on the docket. All he has is the prickly hairs on the back of his neck that tell him Sully checks him out when he's not looking.
And then one night they're bone-tired, been up for forty-odd hours straight, standing on a dock in the Ukraine that's being whipped by wind and rain. A dock worker walks by, with a cut body and a pretty face. They both end up staring at him.
Sully whistles when he's gone. “Best-looking guy I've ever seen working a dock,” he says. “Shit.”
Sam’s cock perks up in his soaked and stiff jeans, like, hello -- opportunity sighted. What straight guy talks like that?
“I don't know,” he says. “I like guys a little more clean-cut.”
Sully grins. “Didn't know you liked ‘em any kind of way, Sammy boy.”
Sam squints at him through the mist, blinded by the lights on their getaway boat as it approaches. “You ever hear me talk about women?”
“A few times, maybe. Didn't you say Nadine was pretty?”
“I mean, anybody with eyes could see that.”
They're interrupted by a foghorn, and they never get back to the conversation. But the die is cast.
The next week finds them in a small luxury hotel off the Amalfi Coast. Sam spends the whole day diving. Hours later, he's still funny in the head from the lack of oxygen. He sits in his ocean-view room alone, watching the sun go down over the water, chainsmoking and polishing off a bottle of red wine.
When he's well and fully lubricated, he walks loose-hipped to Sully’s room then stands outside his door for half a minute, fidgety with nerves.
He forces himself to remember earlier today, when they were putting their wetsuits on and he slipped on the wet boat deck. Sully had reached out and grabbed him by the waist. And his hands and gaze had lingered.
So he knocks. Sully takes a minute to answer.
“Hey,” he says when he does, folding his arms. The room reeks of cigar smoke. “What can I do you for?”
Sam grins. “I have a question.”
“I probably have an answer.”
“How long we gonna play this game, Victor?”
“Game?” Sully says, but his eyes are twinkling.
Sam inhales. “How long are we going to pretend we don't want to fuck?”
Sully laughs hard at this.
“Oh,” he says. “That game.”
Sam gets closer. He's a little taller than him.
“Come on,” Sully scoffs. “You're fucking with me. You're jerking an old man’s chain.”
“I'm doing no such thing.” Sam hesitates. “Why do you think I was so willing to follow you around after we got back?”
“Uh, you had nothing better to do?” Sully says, but his voice is throatier and his eyes have darkened. “Not a lot of opportunities out there for an ex-con master thief with a fifteen year gap in his resume.”
“Hey, I'm smart,” Sam says. “I would've figured something else out.”
He gets even closer to Sully, who now looks helpless. Sam leans in and gives him a brief kiss on the mouth.
He's about to draw away, but Sully holds him fast. They keep kissing. Sam’s gut is burning with arousal. After a moment they separate, dazed.
“Ahh, this is a little weird, kid,” Sully murmurs, but he's doing his best to hide a smile.
Sam leans in closer to him and presses a small kiss his neck. He’s freshly shaved, smells minty. Sully groans appreciatively, but pushes him away.
“Kid?” Sam says, amused. “I'm in my forties.”
“Old enough to be your dad, still.”
“When's that ever stopped you from fucking girls in their twenties?”
“It's different. I know you. And you know Nate sees me as a father figure, right?”
“So what? I don't,” Sam says, stepping back and leaning against the doorway. “You're my business partner.”
“Right,” Sully says. “But as much as I want to -- and I admit, I definitely want to -- I think the kid would kind of hate it if I, y’know.”
“Hey, who said he has to know?”
Sam pushes past Sully into the room, stripping. He pulls his shirt off over his head and then loosens his belt, letting his jeans drop down to the ground, and settles onto Sully’s bed in his boxer briefs.
Sully presses his hand to his mouth, and then rubs his forehead. He sighs.
“You are a looker, aren't you?” he mutters.
“Come on,” Sam purrs. “Sully, I know you. Come get what's on offer. You can have as much as you like, I promise. I haven't been had a really good fuck since before prison.”
Sully doesn't need much more convincing than that. Sam figured he wouldn't. Sully’s hand goes to chest, pushing him down hard against the bed, his erection jammed against Sam’s thigh. With the practiced air of a guy who’s been fucking for probably close to half a century, Sully pulls Sam’s briefs off in one fluid motion and flings them onto the floor.
Sam moans against his mouth, and Sully presses his tongue past Sam’s teeth while groping his cock.
Sam draws back and says breathlessly, “Hurry up, alright?”
“Shouldn't rush a good thing,” Sully says, but he does start rummaging in the bedside table, setting a condom beside them on the bed and squeezing lube onto his fingers. Sam drops his head back against the pillow, gazing up at the ceiling.
Sully slides a finger into him, and then two. Sam clenches around him, moaning, the muscles in his thighs tensing.
“You can skip the condom if you want,” he offers.
“Nah, trust me, Sammy, you don't want me fucking you without one. That's a game of Russian hooker roulette.”
“Charming. Can you not call me Sammy, right now?”
“Sorry,” Sully grunts as he leans down across the bed so he can finger Sam harder.
Sam gasps and grips the sheets. Sully chuckles low in his throat and starts rubbing at Sam’s cock with his other hand. Sam closes his eyes, delirious.
They end up fucking for ages. Sam had never before considered the perks of laying an older and extremely experienced guy, how long he'd be able to go for and how he'd be able to precisely hit all Sam’s buttons while acting like he's barely trying.
But Sully’s not just a skilled lover. He's a tender one, more tender than most anybody who's ever fucked Sam before. This catches him by surprise. He lets his guard down a little, arching his back and moaning as arousal surges in him.
“Hey, quit all the noise,” Sully mutters, breathing hard. “Rogelio’s got the room next to me and I'm not sure this is the kind of soundtrack he thought he'd be going to sleep to.”
Sam grabs Sully by the cross around his neck and yanks his head down so he can kiss him. Sully melts against him, sliding his hand into his hair.
“You're good at this,” Sam groans as soon as they separate for air.
They each come twice before they get too tired to continue. Sam lies there, the muscles in his thighs aching wonderfully as he listens to the wet sound of Sully tying a condom off for a second time.
Sully comes over and settles next to him on the bed, trailing his fingers over Sam’s scars and tattoos. Sam watches him in idle curiosity.
“So,” Sully says after a while. “You got your good fuck.”
“I did,” Sam affirms.
“I won't lie, I had fun too,” Sully murmurs.
They exchange glances.
“Maybe a round three, if I don't fall asleep first?”
“I'm game,” Sam says.
They don't stop.
It just kind of keeps happening, over and over -- even at the most inconvenient times, like when they pose as consultants on a Russian submarine and they're fooling around in their bunk under some blankets when a lieutenant colonel knocks on the door wanting to talk to Sully. Sam has to hide under the bed and try not to breathe for the next five minutes.
And when they’re at a state dinner under assumed identities, and they almost get clocked by some passing Secret Service because Sully starts playing grab-ass with Sam in the stairwell.
And other times, too. Like when they get snatched by a cartel in Visayas because Sully forgot that there's a hit out on him. They try to execute him and Sam by pushing them into a river with concrete blocks tied to their ankles.
Sam has a pocket knife hidden in his shoe, frees himself and then swims against the current to free Sully.
But Sully is unconscious by the time he does, and stays unconscious as Sam drags him up onto the beach. He finally rouses after Sam has beaten the water out of his lungs and performed CPR on him for three minutes. It's burned into his brain: three minutes and eleven seconds.
They both realize they're done for, then, because Sam is bent over him, crying, choking on river water and his own tears.
Sam never cries. This isn't just fucking, unfortunately.
They hold each other on the beach, soaked and shivering. Neither of them says anything, but it's different from there on out.
They stand in the surf, pants rolled up over their ankles, shoes left behind on the boat, and stare up at Nate and Elena’s beach cottage.
Sully raises his hand that's got the bottle of wine in it and scratches his forehead with his thumb.
“Well, Sammy,” he says.
“Give me one more minute,” Sam mutters.
“I don't know what an extra minute’s going to do for you.”
“It's just it's the first time we’re seeing them since, you know.”
“Hey, I know why you're hesitating,” Sully says, amused. “I'm just saying I don't know what you think it's gonna accomplish.”
Sam lets out a beleaguered sigh, and Sully leans over and gives him a little kiss on the cheek.
“The sooner we tell them, the sooner Nate can get the hell over it and start making stupid jokes,” he says.
Sam nods slowly as he lights a cigarette.
“You should quit that shit,” Sully says, walking up through the surf and onto the dry part of the beach. He yawns, regal like an old lion.
“You should quit cigars.”
“Ah, yeah, and I've actually been trying.”
“Alright, alright, not today,” Sam says back, following him. Sully chuckles and patiently waits for him to finish his smoke.
Nate and Elena are delighted to see them, and fiendishly proud of their new baby (they both swear she's been making milestones way ahead of her age, but when Sam tries to elicit a demonstration, Cassie just up looks at him with her curious newborn eyes).
“You can't pressure her,” Elena exclaims as she sets down a few beers and a bowl of chips. “But she's very precocious, trust me.”
“Sure, Elena,” Sully says, amused.
“I hear sarcasm,” she says, and jokingly wags her finger at him.
“Sully is not the most baby-friendly person,” Nate says, settling in a chair across from them. The midday sun streams through the house, casting a sunny glow on their happy little family.
“You're damn right,” Sully says. “More trouble than they're worth.”
“I think I've lasted you a couple lifetimes, as far as kids go,” Nate says with a smile.
Sam fixes his gaze on an artifact hanging from the ceiling, so he doesn't make a face at the incestuous implications here.
“That too,” Sully says.
“Now Sam’s the one keeping your hands full.”
“Oh ho,” Sully says, with enough lechery that Sam wants to elbow him for it. “Yes indeed.”
Elena passes off the baby to Nate, who coos and makes ridiculous faces at her.
They spend a few comfortable hours catching up on each other’s adventures: Nate and Elena’s protracted efforts at taming the island and becoming a crack parenting team, and Sam and Sully’s globetrotting petty crime spree.
Sam gets up at one point to fetch another beer and Nate follows him into the kitchen, sneaking up behind him and jabbing him in the ribs.
“Howdy,” Sam says, turning and batting his hands away. Nate laughs.
“You've been quiet,” he tells him, leaning against the counter. It's sort of worn-down looking; Sam wonders if they upcycled it from driftwood.
“Have I?” Sam says, as he pops the beer open on his belt loop and has a swig. “Shit, I don't mean to be.”
Nate eyes him. “You doing okay?”
Sam looks down with a little smile.
“Yeah,” he murmurs. “Actually, I need to tell you something.”
“Uh-oh,” Nate says, his eyebrows shooting up. He has no poker face whatsoever.
“No uh-oh!” Sam exclaims. “It isn't anything bad I did… no one’s in danger, or anything.”
He takes a long sip of his beer and then glances away, past Nate’s face so he can avoid his gaze. He looks through the window and out at the beach as he says it.
“Me and Sully are together,” he says.
Nate looks at him so impassively that Sam instantly knows he isn't getting it.
Sam sighs. “Not physically together in space, Nate. Romantically. Like, we're a couple, we're dating. Have been for a while now.”
Nate’s neutral expression slides off his face, immediately replaced by complete disbelief. “What?”
“Sully? My Sully? My Sully is fucking my brother?”
He says this pretty loudly, and in the other room there's a crashing silence, then Elena: “Sorry, what?”
Sam hears Sully go, “Oh jeez.”
He rubs his eyes as Nate starts pacing in front of him.
“Nate, it's not -- it's not a big deal.”
“Uhh, like -- maybe six months.”
“Nate,” Sam says patiently. “You know I'm gay. Or… mostly gay, anyway.”
“No, of course, but -- Sully isn't!” Nate exclaims. “Sully is the biggest pussyhound I know! Not that that matters, I don't care about that part of it, I care about -- Sam, he's like a dad to me!”
“I know, I know.”
Nate stops pacing and takes a deep breath. “Why are you always throwing these bombs at me? Why -- you're always such an enigma!”
But Nate is on his way out of the kitchen, hollering Sully’s name.
Sam ambles after him, wishing he could light another cigarette.
Nate stops in the center of the living room and points at Sully speechlessly. Sully puts his hands up, like he's at gunpoint. Elena watches all of this with obvious amusement; Sam catches her eye and she has to try not to laugh.
“You dirty old man!” Nate finally hollers at him, which is pretty mild, considering.
“Now, wait here a minute,” Sully says, putting up a hand. Sam folds his arms and looks at his shoes. “You do me a disservice, Nate, your brother came after me.”
“Whoa, hey!” Sam exclaims, his head jerking up.
“What, am I lying?”
“No, but he doesn't need to know that!”
“When did this happen?” Elena says, glancing back and forth between them.
“Six months ago!” Nate supplies. “Shady one and shady two, over here!”
“Nate, that isn't fair,” Sully says, and he casually rests a hand on Sam’s knee as Sam sits down next to him. “Did you want us to tell you over the phone? I figured it warranted a visit, at least.”
Nate seems to deflate somewhat at this. “I guess.”
“Hey,” Sully says gently, and squeezes Sam’s leg. “Be relieved we’re looking after each other, alright?”
This is mushier than Sully usually gets. Normally they're tender to each other in the briefest and most subtle of ways -- an early morning kiss on the forehead, a worried look that's supposed to go unnoticed, nursing each other's wounds.
Elena settles into the chair across from them and puts her feet up on the coffee table, then rests her chin on her fist with a grin.
“Tell me everything,” she says.
Nate throws his hands up and goes out on the porch.
Sully follows him a few minutes later, when Elena and Sam start fussing over the baby again.
He finds Nate leaning on the railing, looking at the ocean.
Sully heaves a little sigh and joins him, clapping him on the back.
“Aw, kid,” he says gruffly. “I'm sorry.”
Nate sips his beer, and then shakes his head.
The sun is setting. Sully squints into the horizon.
“This place is beautiful,” he says.
“I know.” Nate's all chilly.
“Look… it was meant to be one night. That's all we thought it'd be.”
He looks over at Nate, who's still mostly expressionless.
“I almost told him no because of you,” Sully says. “Almost… look. You and me are still you and me, alright? Nothing’s changed, there. On my life, kid.”
Nate nods hard. “I know. I know.”
“I like Sam,” Sully says, and he smiles as he said it. “I like him. I’m sorry. He's -- I dunno. My whole life, I've been with women who were just trying to get one over on me. It's nice to just be on the same page with somebody.”
“Hey, I get that,” Nate says. He straightens up and cuts Sully a look, all wounded blue eyes, looking younger than his years. “Look, I -- he only just came back in my life.”
“I'll take good care of him,” Sully promises. “Honestly, he takes good care of me.”
Nate smiles a little, then. “Good to know.”
“Yeah, I worry about you running around without me.”
Sully smiles back at him.
Nate and Elena haven't built a guest bedroom yet, but want them to stay for breakfast, so they sleep in the cabin of their sailboat. It storms that night, and they lie there swaying together in the belly of the boat, huddled on the small bed.
Sully trails his fingers idly up Sam’s bicep. Sam takes a swig of the whiskey they brought. It stings his nostrils. He stares at the wooden slats above him as rain crashes outside.
“Where to, after this?” Sully murmurs sleepily.
“Oh, I don't know,” Sam says, snuggling against him. He likes the warm weight of him. Sully takes the whiskey and has a swig, then sets it on a shelf beside them.
“That's probably going to fall down and hit us,” Sam points out.
“Shit, you're right,” Sully says, and he tosses it with a clanking noise to the floor.
Next he pulls Sam to him and kisses him. Sam bites his lip and Sully pulls back, grousing at him and giving him a light whap on the arm. Sam chuckles.
“We could go anywhere,” Sully says, rolling onto his back and staring up. “We’re flush, right now.”
“Yeah?” Sam says, climbing on top of him and straddling him, thighs pressed to Sully’s ribs. “Anywhere? How do you feel about tropical?”
“You've already got something in mind, don't you?”
Sully grins. “Right. I know you Drake boys.”
“You know,” Sam says, running his hands over Sully’s chest. “It could have been me you met in Colombia. If I wasn't doing a stint that year.”
“Maybe,” Sully agrees. “I gotta say, I wouldn't have taken as much pity on a -- what, a nineteen-year-old pickpocket? Twenty?”
Sam rolls his hips. “I wouldn't have been trying to game your pity,” he murmurs.
“Uh-huh,” Sully says in a low voice. “I didn't figure.”
“Maybe I would have distracted you… shown a little skin. Had you take me back to whatever crap apartment you had there, fuck me across every inch of it…”
“That what you did back then?”
“When we were really tight for cash, yeah.”
Sully’s face darkens, coming over all remorseful and protective. “Damn.”
Sam’s chest tightens. “Hey, we've both done shitty things for money.”
“I know, I know.” Sully grips his thigh and squeezes it. “I would've taken you up on that. Wouldn't have wanted it to be for money, but...”
“I wouldn't have wanted it to be, either. I've seen pictures of you at that age.”
Sully gives him a smile that cracks and falls away. “But... I met Nate, instead.”
Sam slides off him and crawls back into his arms. “Right,” he says heavily.
“It isn't your fault,” he says. “That you couldn't take care of him then. You were a kid too.”
“Right,” Sam repeats.
“And, uh… It isn't your fault, now, that he's a little upset. His world’s changed. He's a father now, and this, us, is just -- icing on the cake. He'll grow into it, he just needs time.”
“Oh, yeah. I know that kid like the back of my hand.”
The warmth and familiar cadences of Sully’s voice are comforting. Sam lets his head fall to Sully’s chest, and Sully starts stroking his hair.
“Okay,” Sam says softly.
They fall asleep like that, the storm lashing their boat.