"I'm on top!" Richard gleefully launched himself across the cramped caravan and up the bunk ladder in two supercharged leaps of his pyjama-clad legs.
"Makes a change," James mumbled lightly, oggling Richard's arse on the way up the ladder. He caught a flash of dismay in Jeremy's eyes before he turned away from them, moving to his own bunk.
Richard popped his head out from the top bunk, grinning mischievously down at James, his hair flopping across his forehead.
James aligned the blanket horizontally across his chest and lay back, his hair fanning out as his head sunk into the cheap, spongy pillow.
"We can sing camping songs and tell ghost stories." Hammond's tone was mocking, but James could still hear a hint of real excitement.
"Night, gentlemen." Jeremy tried for his best Voice of Authority - the one that he used on the children.
"Night, Jez," Richard sing-songed.
"Night, John Boy."
A sniggering could be heard from high up in the caravan.
"I'll not have any bad 'Little House on the Prairie' references just as I'm trying to go to sleep, thank you." Jeremy shuddered.
"That's 'The Waltons,' you luddite."
"I bet Jeremy preferred 'Dukes of Hazzard' anyway."
Jeremy snorted in derision and shifted in his small bunk. James stared up at the quilted pattern made by Richard's mattress pushing through the wire springs as it sagged softly towards him.
"How'd you think today went?" James pondered aloud.
"Well it would have been a damned sight better if you weren't so pedantic about everything." Jeremy rolled to glare balefully at James.
"It's in the contract - you start calling me 'Speedy' and I won't be 'Slow' any more." James smiled smugly back.
Jeremy just yawned, lines crinkling around his eyes. He shuffled, rocking the bunk. "Sleep now," he said gently.
Richard stretched his arms, finger tips tracing across the ceiling of the caravan. He fiddled with the trim above his head.
James' breathing deepened, levelling out, and he looked over to Jeremy, whose face was becoming slack as sleep caught up with him.
"I did like Daisy Duke," Richard mused out loud, "Always liked a brunette - "
"James, do something about your toy-boy."
"Go to sleep and I will."
Richard looked over the edge of the bunk. He raised an eyebrow hopefully at James.
Jeremy's voice was loud and clear, "If the two of you - "
"Joking, Clarkson, I was joking." James raised himself up on one elbow to look seriously at Jeremy.
Jeremy harumphed, pulling the blanket up around his shoulders before twisting around to turn his back on them.
James frowned up at Richard before easing back down onto the mattress. Richard flung himself back onto his and the mattress jostled, dipping roundly down towards James. Richard sighed loudly, "Well, isn't this fun."
"Wanker," Jeremy said half-heartedly.
They lapsed into silence. James cataloguing the wire squares, forty-six, across from one side of Richard's bunk to the other, the way they distorted under the weight of his hips and his shoulders
The curtain at Jeremy's bunk fluttered slightly as he peeped outside. The darkened sky helping to ease his brain towards relaxation when his back would not. He imagined his knees were slotted up against Francie, not curled up due to the small space. He imagined his arm curled around her just so and his hand cupped against her body, the sense memory of warmth and familiarity wrapping him up. His breathing slowed and his shoulders sagged as the tension left them.
There were somewhere around 138 little wire springs from the foot of Hammond's bunk to the head; James kept losing count, his concentration going a little fuzzy.
Richard flopped from one side to another, the mattress springs expanding alarmingly as he moved heavily. His fingers dangled over the edge of the bunk above and James could see him tapping out a rhythm against the metal frame.
Lifting a leg, James pushed gently against the springs, jostling Richard lightly. "Night, love," he whispered.
Richard popped his head over the edge once more. "You great girl," he said fondly.
James smiled up at him and Richard disappeared back onto his bunk proper again.
Jeremy's breathing could be heard in the quietness, hitching slightly on the intake, not quite a snore. James smiled across at him too.
In the stillness there was happiness; James thought of the cars they'd been driving this morning, the camaraderie, the 'Boys Own Adventure' that his life was at the moment. He allowed his eyes to drift shut, wondering if the little pub they'd found would have pie on the special's board again tomorrow.
A mattress squeaked. Blankets rustled. Jeremy's breathing had deepened to a rolling snore.
James' descent into sleep paused as he listened to the sounds, his eyes flickering open. Above him Richard fiddled restlessly.
James dragged himself back into focus, opening his eyes wide to concentrate in the dim light.
"Hammond, go to sleep."
"I'm trying," Richard's voice held a hint of whine.
"Stop trying so hard."
Richard stopped jiggling. From his unnaturally stillness James could tell he was trying not to disturb him further. James' eyes began drifting shut and he sighed softly, air whistling through his teeth as his head lolled to the side, heavy with incipient sleep.
The lack of motion lasted for a matter of mere moments. James had no doubt that Richard thought the silence quite long enough and had convinced himself that James had plenty of time to nod off. Richard began tapping his feet under the blanket then jostled himself around - the sag and sway of the mattress springs psychedelic to James' drowsy eyes.
The mattress dipped as Richard placed all his weight on his hip, turning energetically. He flung one arm over the edge of the bunk, his fingers stretching into the space between their cots.
James reached up and entwined their hands, his long fingers sliding against the sensitive skin between Richard's fingers until they slotted together perfectly. Richard hummed appreciatively above him and squeezed his hand tighter, holding on.
James pressed his thumb into the pale skin at Richard's wrist, where his watch would rest. Familiarity and practice brought him automatically to that spot, normally sheltered and untouched, the slide of his fingers there guaranteed to make Richard squirm. James fancied he could see the shiver shimmy its way up Richard's arm, and he heard the subtle shift in Richard's breathing.
He ran his thumb nail against the skin. Richard's fingers twitched involuntarily.
Moving carefully, one hand still linked with Richard's, James disentangled himself from the bedclothes and swung his legs over the edge, bringing himself into a sitting position. He tilted his head up to examine their hands before breathing hotly across Richard's knuckles.
Richard went abruptly silent, his whole body still, his hand clutching James'.
James splayed his fingers out against Richard's. He wet his lips, then pressed them tightly against Richard's index finger, sliding down, hot and wet along the length of his finger. He heard the bedsprings shift noisily above him as Richard let out an inarticulate sound of surprise.
Swirling his tongue against the underside, James slid Richard's finger out of his mouth before sliding down, expertly, on the next.
"James!" Richard's breathing accelerated.
He sucked hard and dirty, each one of Richard's fingers lavished with exacting attention; the firm slide of his mouth from base to tip, using hot pressure and the swirling undulation of his tongue that he knew, elsewhere, would drive Richard to the brink.
Richard's arm trembled while James worked him with his mouth. Richard's breathing was rapid and each exhale sounded more and more like a moan.
He scraped his teeth across the sensitive skin normally hidden under his watch band. Richard groaned loudly at that. James smiled, smug.
The rhythmic squeak of the mattress above made it clear that Richard was working himself in time with James' movements. James sucked Richard's fingers, one by one, hot and slick and wet, his mouth plunging down around them.
James flicked his tongue roughly against Richard's wrist once more before sinking his teeth into the soft pad of Richard's thumb and Richard gasped, "Please, god James."
"Do shut up Hammond," James mumbled against Richard's skin.
"God, so pompous." Richard panted.
James stopped, mouth pulling away. "And you're a little tart. But if Jeremy wakes up and sees you getting off from me sucking your fingers alone, he will never let you live it down."
"James, don't stop," Richard whined desperately. And James didn't.
Jeremy shifted restlessly in his sleep. A low hum, a mantra echoed over and over, seeping into his dreams, "James, James, James.... " increasingly urgently. He turned, sweaty under the cheap nylon caravan sheets. The sound rose and then stopped. Jeremy sunk back into the depths of sleep.