It was early morning when Tom Ripley trudged up the incline to the boat, small suitcase swinging against his leg. There was a cold wind on the Mediterranean and they'd needed coats; since not very many travellers bothered with sea travel in this kind of weather, the boat was half-empty, its metal creaking, the wood freshly polished.

Behind him, Peter made his way up the ramp, holding his own bag over his shoulder. He was smiling, as always, and Tom found himself smiling back nearly as widely, if not as freely. A tall man in a dark uniform took their tickets and gestured toward the cabins, where the two men--brothers, no doubt--were to find their own. There weren't, after all, homosexuals in Italy. Nothing to worry about.

The cabin, predictably, was a narrow room with a small bunk, a desk and a small cupboard. The wood was polished, the mirrors spotless. The small porthole, hovering a dozen feet above sea-level, offered a magnificent view of the tumultuous water and the grey sky that stretched into infinity above it. Peter voiced his approval, dropped his bag by the desk and knelt across the bunk to have a better look. Tom closed the small door behind him and locked it, watching him wordlessly for a moment; Peter's ever-present smile lingering easily on full lips; the muddy green of his eyes under thick brown lashes; the long, delicate fingers on each side of the porthole, slightly curled as they would be on the piano keys they were so familiar with.

Tom watched for a moment, then put his own luggage down by Peter's and joined him on the bed, body coming to cradle the taller frame, fingers entwining.

Tom fit his lips to the angle of Peter's jaw and felt the smile soften, the body give. "Beautiful," Peter breathed, even though his eyes were closed, even though a slight mist had suddenly risen to blanket the water's surface and conceal it from their view.

Tom took extreme care in peeling Peter's coat from his shoulders, in pulling Peter's sweater from his back. He breathed in the faint musk in the silk of his hair, lapped at the shivers running up Peter's spine. When Tom asked, Peter finished undressing and laid on his stomach, head pillowed on his arms, and closed his eyes under Tom's touch.

Tom told himself it was just like touching a girl, only with extra feelings in the way. Peter said he loved him; Tom did too, but couldn't quite bring himself to say so. Peter curled up to him afterwards anyhow, and they talked about what they would do for the rest of the day.

Tom let Peter compose their schedule however he liked, as long as they got to witness the sunset.