Sink or Swim
Okay, I know. Another fic for another fandom that no one is interested it (barring the friends I forced to watch the movie while I was writing this (to whom I owe thanks)). And yeah, the three main actors are all played by the Lawrence brothers, but they're not playing brothers, so ha! Not weird. Reviews are awesome, characters are not mine - do enjoy!
It starts on Day 8.
They spend all day working on the raft: dragging and chopping trees to use for the body, braiding vines into ropes, sewing clothes together for the sails, gathering food that will last through a few days of travel. It's all very physically demanding labor and they keep at it until late in the afternoon.
Jake and Michael go diving for a dinner of lobster and fish, and Tommy gathers a few coconuts and bananas for a sweet snack. They gather around the fire relaxing after the long day, but it's not long before Tommy passes out for the night.
"Hey, you, ugh," Jake starts, somewhat awkwardly, picking nervously at the remnants of a coconut shell. "Wanna go for a walk or something?"
Michael eyes him curiously, but nods and gets to his feet. "Sure, man."
Jake leads him along the beach, a good distance away from camp. The moon is high, full and bright and illuminating the pristine beach with a fair amount of light. Michael's a few feet behind him and Jake is not at all surprised when he stops, turns, and finds the older man staring at him. It's been going on all day, yesterday too, probably before that, and Jake has grown tired of trying to figure out what exactly it means. Michael hates him, doesn't he? No way he's good enough to draw the attentions of the straight-laced, spoiled, rich jerk. Why does he even want it?
"So, ugh, why'd you wanna come out here?" Michael asks, eyes darting quickly around now that he realizes he might've been caught at his staring. Eventually, he settles on Jake again, gaze lingering a little too long before he looks out to sea.
He has no idea why he says it, no idea what he's even thinking, really, when he blurts out a snarky, "Just wondering if you like what you see."
Michael coughs on nothing, eyes blown wide and panic evident on his face. "Wh-what?" He sputters, because at some point, dreams about Heather Hitt or girls back home in California gave way to dreams about Jake that put them all to shame and he's not quite sure what that means just yet.
"Dude, you stare. A lot," Jake explains. "So what are you staring at? Have I had something poisonous crawling all over me all this time? I've caught you at least a couple dozen times today, Michael."
"I, ugh," Michael tries, and 'deer in the headlights' is not even close to an adequate description of the panicked look on his face. "Nope, poisonous. Not that I've seen."
"You've certainly been checking."
"Very funny," he retorts. "So I was looking. So what?"
"So, weren't you supposed to be meeting some girl once you were off my boat?" Jake counters, having overheard a few conversations concerning the issue before the pirates hit. "Didn't think I'd be your type."
"You're not. At least… Ugh, I don't know. I've, well, thought about things, before. But I've never felt like this and I don't know what to do and if my Dad finds out…" Jake can see that Michael is rapidly descending into panic attack territory with this out of nowhere identity crisis. "Jake, I don't know how to deal with this."
He settles a hand on Michael's shoulder in a move that happens without any real thought. And, well, he's not exactly new at this – there was that one time in high school, at least – so he opts for the easiest method he can think of to help Michael sort this out. It might get him punched in the face and it might make the rest of their time spent on the island seriously awkward, but if he doesn't, then Michael's just going to keep pining and that could end badly, too. They're standing closer than he'd realized they were, so when he surges forward with no warning, he only has a short distance to go before there's contact. Lips press against lips and he's more than a little surprised when Michael doesn't fight him at all; instead, after a brief second of frozen shock, he kisses back and shifts closer and a hand slides up his arm and into his hair, the other curling around his bicep. It feels a little one-sided on his end, so Jake lets his hands settle just above Michael's hips, pressing into smooth skin and hard muscle. A tongue probes against his lips, requesting entrance, and he gives in without hesitation. And if he hadn't already figured out that Michael is a fantastic kisser, Jake would have gotten the hint at that point. There's a slight nip at his lower lip as Michael finally pulls away, looking flushed and something close to star-struck.
"Wow," Jake manages, blinking as he recovers his breath. Michael's hands still linger, though they've shifted, one on his neck the other on his back, just barely under the worn fabric of his loose t-shirt. "So, ugh, you're really good at that."
"You, too," Michael grins at him, takes the words as an invitation for a second kiss and then a third and then several more that eventually shift to focus on the sensitive skin of his neck. Jake is certainly not complaining, though explaining away the marks that Michael leaves behind on his skin to Tommy might prove an interesting task.
Somewhere in the chaos, Michael's stupidly expensive shirt gets unbuttoned and pushed off his shoulders and Jake's t-shirt ends up tossed in the sand - at which point there is more of the obvious staring that started all of this. Hands deftly explore newly bared skin and by the time they reluctantly decide that they'd best return to camp, they're both pretty convinced that this is something that needs to happen again. Often. Very often.
Michael keeps him close on the walk back, though, a hand lightly gripping his wrist or settled on his lower back, like he has to be in contact at all times and Jake doesn't mind that, either. And despite the spacious shelter they have, they fall asleep barely a foot apart from each other.
Day 9 dawns bright and early – they've still got a lot of work to do on the raft if they want to get out of here anytime soon. Tommy and Jake take off to go gather more supplies, leaving Michael to finish up with some of the work he hadn't gotten to yesterday.
When they return, he's setting up to stabilize the tree they found for the mast. It requires all three of them to balance and secure it, so it takes a good bit of effort to make sure it's not going anywhere. It doesn't help at all that Michael's sporting his usual blue tank with these stupidly form-fitting white sweatpants that draw Jake's attention rather effectively. Only fitting, he thinks, when Michael turns and grins at him, that he get caught staring now.
No one can blame him if he happens to brush against the other man once or twice – they're working in close proximity to stabilize the mast, aren't they?
Tommy takes forever to fall asleep that night. Jake and Michael keep exchanging anxious looks as they try to keep up with the conversations that Tommy keeps reviving long after they've devoured another dinner of lobster and fish and crab. Eventually, finally, he falls asleep. Once they're sure he's out, they take off.
Jake's smart enough to drag a blanket along this time, but doesn't get a chance to spread it out before Michael's on him, with rougher, more confidant kisses this time and hands that waste no time in divesting him of the sleeveless hoodie he'd been bumming around in all day. "So. You stare. A lot." Michael says against his mouth, echoing the words Jake used against him just last night. How was that only last night?
"That is hardly my fault," Jake argues, as he lets himself grope accordingly in response to the pants which are entirely to blame. "I wanted to drag you off somewhere all day long, so thanks for that."
"Glad to know it was effective," Michael counters, pulling away long enough to straighten out the blanket before he pulls Jake down with him.
Somehow, Jake ends up pinned under Michael inside of seconds, before he even knows how it happened, but Michael's been leading things long enough. He moves to press his lips against Michael's collarbone, letting teeth graze the skin before his tongue laves over the same spot, arches his hips off the blanket and up against Michael, who lets out an audible groan at the contact. This has all effectively distracted him, allowing Jake to pull some sort of impressive move and flip them over. "And now I get you back."
Michael laughs, "You say that like it's a bad thing." Jake's straddling his hips, so his hands settle low, at the edge of his shorts, roaming up over bare chest and taut muscles that tremble in reaction to his touch. "Do your worst."
"Alright, then," Jake agrees, a wicked grin on his face and he tugs insistently at Michael's stupid sweatpants to get them out of his way so he can set to work. "I will."
Once Jake has enacted his revenge and proven to Michael that he really, really means what he says, they stay settled on the blanket, unwilling to go back to the distance and denial that the shelter represents.
"I want you to promise me something." Michael says, voice breaking the easy, companionable silence that had fallen between them. Jake offers an ambiguous 'hmm' noise in response, eyes heavy and nearly lulled to sleep with the crashing of the waves on top of his present state of sated satisfaction. "Jake. It's important."
"What is it?"
"If, if anything happens, goes wrong, whatever. I want you to take Tommy and get him out of here. Don't wait for me if the pirates are around, just go. Make sure he's safe. Promise?"
Jake's quiet for a long moment, but eventually answers with a surprising response: "Only if you do, too. If you have the chance, go."
Michael's hesitant, clearly not happy with that scenario. "Okay," he says quietly. "I promise."
"And, for the record, I'm sorry about your boat." Michael offers a consolation he probably should have mentioned sooner, since it was in his defense that Jake was forced to scuttle the thing.
Jake gives a great sigh and stares intently up at the sky. "I, ugh, kind of hated that boat." At Michael's incredulous 'What?' expression, he elaborates. "I know I said it was my life, but it was mostly my Dad's. It was his choice, not mine and I held onto it for all the wrong reasons. I mean, I love the ocean, love sailing, but… that boats been sinking for a while. I think I stuck with her for so long 'cause my Dad loved her." He frowns, he likes talking about his Dad just about as much as Tommy does, really. "I could use a break from it, maybe try and go back to college – I'd only been there a month when he died and I had to take over the Tiffany." He shakes his head, changes topic. "Anyway, I'm sorry I was a jerk to you for a while there – I guess I was blaming you for things I don't have. So, you should take this back," he undoes the watch clasp, slides the thing off his wrist, and offers it to Michael, who's still lying beside him on the blanket.
"Keep it," Michael responds, waving away the attempt at returning it. "It's yours."
"I don't… you can't do that."
"Not because I can go and get another one. I want you to have it." He says, sitting up and taking the watch now, but only to slide it over Jake's hand and to lock it into place again.
Jake watches Michael carefully for a long moment before he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the gold coin he's always carrying. "Then I want you to have this."
Michael's not sure how to respond to that, but Jake doesn't look like he's willing to accept a 'no' so he settles on,"I don't know what to say."
Jake takes the opportunity to lean up and kiss him again. "Then don't say anything."
Michael smiles, kisses him back, and complies.