Notes: I am considering setting up a shrine to the GK Porn Skirmish. And possibly to marcolette. For the prompt "distance, reunion." Read it here or at the archive.
Probably the hardest thing to do with Brad Colbert was get him to sit still.
Out in the desert with enemies at all points, Brad could stay unmoving for hours, planted in a crouch or a position, waiting for that perfect sight-line. The definition of reconnaissance was pounded into every line of his body, lean and sharp in all the right places. He could wait patiently, observe everything, admire nothing; he could be still.
Back in the real world, or as real as California ever got, Brad couldn't stop fucking moving. Everywhere, all the time, he was up and out. Surfing, running, driving, riding his motorcycle. He was impossible to pin down.
Nate had eight days between the end of his fellowship and the start of the new semester, and he intended to spend them with Brad. Even if he had to tie him to the bed to make it happen.
He flew into San Diego under the radar, no calling his buddies, no fond recollections of Captain Fick. The last time Nate had spoken to Brad, thirty hours ago, he was leaving his parents' house to go on a drive. Nate had tried his phone three times between then and now, the tell-tale click of voicemail the only indication that Brad had turned off his phone. Nate rented a car, something with leg room, and started driving.
Brad wasn't at his parents' house, but that wasn't surprising. Mrs. Colbert insisted Nate stay for lunch, and Nate saw Brad's motorcycle still in the garage. He must have taken the car; Brad's mother mentioned that he'd loaded up his surfboard.
There were three places Brad like to surf, and two of them were too populated this time of year for Brad's liking. At the third, a small cove with medium-sized waves too challenging for beginners and too easily conquered for experts, Nate found a MRE. Already ripped open, it held a crumpled packet of jalapeno and cheese, and an unopened chocolate chip cookie. Those cookies were Nate's vice on tour. He pulled it out, turned it over, and in messy capitalized sharpie Brad had written, "101."
Nate sat there, methodically eating his cookie. It tasted shittier now that he was used to civilian life, but it didn't matter. It was still good. The 101 was on the other side of LA; it would take him two hours to get there, two hours to pick up Brad's trail. He got in his car and drove north.
Outside Santa Barbara, at a taco stand they once went to, there was a postcard taped under the table where they'd sat. Two years ago, in one of a handful of times they'd spent together in the last three years, they ate taquitos with hot sauce and drank Coronas, watching the waves and not talking about things. That night, Nate had swallowed Brad down, memorizing every sound that escaped despite Brad's will, every twitch that gave him away. He'd rested his head on Brad's thighs and closed his eyes when Brad's hand twisted in his hair.
The postcard had a picture of a saint, her face twisted up in faith; on the back it said "St Mary of the Assumption, Santa Maria, CA" and in that same precise sharpie, "275 KLICKS."
Three hours later he was pulling an pledge card from below a rack of prayer votives, feeling vaguely sinful and trying not to remember the last time his mother guilted him into church. On the back was a GPS code: "35.178398/-120.726303." Nate tried not to roll his eyes too hard.
The sun was just starting to lose its position when Nate parked at Avila Beach, grabbed his water bottle, and rubbed at his eyes. He'd driven all afternoon on Brad's little game of chase; he'd really expected to be naked by now.
Nate saw Brad's board before he saw Brad, a wide blue form sticking vertically out of the sand. Brad was splayed out like a starfish, eyes closed beneath his sunglasses. He didn't look up when Nate kicked off his sandals and sat next to him.
"Did you like your skill test?" Brad drawled out, sleepy and mocking.
Nate poked at Brad's foot with his own. "You knew I was coming. I emailed you I was coming. Why the shit were you in Pismo when we could have been fucking three times over by now?"
One of Brad's eyes cracked open to stare balefully at Nate. "I wanted to go surfing," he said, like he didn't live five minutes from the beach, "and I wanted to make sure you hadn't become a pussy civilian before I fucked you. It's an important thing to know."
Nate reached out and pulled Brad's foot to him, pressing his thumbs to the place that always got Brad to move in interesting ways. "I could argue, but I would rather have sex with you," he said, watching the shudder run through Brad's body as he arched and shook from the touch. "Besides, I passed, right?"
Brad's long toes curled, and Nate ran his nails lightly against the skin that covered the fragile bones there. "You were acceptable," Brad said, pushing his sunglasses up on his forehead to better look at Nate. "I expected you an hour ago."
Nate pushed against the muscle again, smiling anticipatively when Brad's hips canted up once, twice. "Your mother made me stay for lunch," he said. "We had BLTs."
"Okay, time to make out like horny teenagers now," Brad said in a rush of breath, sitting up and tumbling Nate back, licking and biting at his mouth, the quickest way to set Nate off. As if Nate hadn't been aroused and half-hard most of the day thinking about what was waiting for him at the end of his little scavenger hunt. Brad had his wetsuit half-stripped off, chest bare against Nate's white shirt. His skin was so hot from his day out in the sun, and Nate wanted to put his fingers everywhere, see if Brad was warmer in some places than others.
"You better have a hotel room," he said to the skin of Brad's shoulder, where he was licking away the remnants of ocean salt, "because I'm not fucking you in my car after I spent all day in it following you and your play at war games."
"I got one with a jacuzzi," Brad said, laughter evident from the way his shoulder shook beneath Nate's tongue, or perhaps because of it. "I know how you like the bubbles."
"I like the way your cock feels in the bubbles," Nate clarified, taking Brad's mouth for his own again. "We should go now. I'll follow you there."
Brad helped him stand, and for a second they were still, the fading light from the beach playing across their skin. They had seven days. Brad always did plan ahead.