Dara wakes in the early morning light, hot under the sheets and with something heavy pressed over his left side. He swims slowly into consciousness, bits of recognition returning to the surface of his mind like the glimmer of light on the water.
He's in a bed, in the upstairs of a pub in Sonning. Rory is in the next room, with the dog, and Dara can hear him snoring through the wall, faintly. The body wrapped around him is Griff, who'd turned up with the remainder of the crew at midnight and bullied Dara into agreeing to share his room.
All of this makes sense, more or less, and his brain accepts it without any fuss. What doesn't quite seem to make sense is that Griff's face is pressed into Dara's neck, a leg slung over Dara's hip, and an arm over his chest. And Griff is hard, his cock a hot, solid bulge, obvious through his shorts where he's curled around Dara's thigh.
Dara opens his eyes the tiniest bit, notes that Griff is definitely asleep, and then he can't bear the weight of his eyelids and closes them again.
He thinks, sleepily, Figures he'd be a cuddler, and, For such a midget, he doesn't half have a cock on him, and then, Er. That's not exactly the sort of thing he's accustomed to thinking about the people he works with, especially the men. Well, especially the women, if he's honest – he's not used to thinking about their cocks, either.
Before he can rouse himself enough to think coherently Griff heaves a soft sigh, breath puffing hotly against Dara's slightly sweaty skin, and his leg shifts a little, pressing between Dara's thighs. Dara's cock goes from the half-interested 'oh, hey, something's touching me' position that he hadn't even really registered straight into 'yes, please, more of that!' and he's not quite awake enough to hang onto his misgivings. His hips hitch forwards, and he curls his right leg instinctively over Griff's left, increasing the pressure of lithe muscle where he wants it most. Griff makes a little humming noise and curls closer, the skin over his bicep going taut just where the gray sleeve of his shirt ends.
He's now half-straddling Dara's leg, and though his eyes stay closed and his breathing remains even, he starts to grind his cock against Dara's thigh, hips moving in a slow circular rhythm. With every circuit his leg shoves against Dara's cock, the friction making him throb and sending hot prickles of sensation all over him.
Dara's free hand clenches in the sheets, and he blinks up at the ceiling, coming slightly more awake as his cock goes harder. Oh, he thinks. Fuck, that's good. Oh, fuck. Griff's breaths speed up, and his hips begin to snap forward roughly, and even though Dara knows Griff's not really awake, it's pretty clear that he's close to coming.
Before he gets there, though, there's a knock on the door, and Griff freezes. Dara thinks, Jesus, don't stop now! but then it registers that this means Griff is now awake, and probably horrified with himself, which means the stopping is a bit inevitable. Griff rolls off him a moment later, curses under his breath, and goes to answer the door, holding it open just a fraction to speak to whichever crew member had been delegated to wake them.
"Ten minutes," he says, and then, after listening to something Dara can't quite make out, "Are you-- gah. All right. Go and film the man with the dog and come back in ten minutes." He shuts the door firmly and turns, scrubbing a hand over his face. "Dara--"
"M'awake," Dara says groggily, lifting himself up onto his elbows. Something flashes across Griff's face too quickly for him to make out, and his erection fades as he imagines a variety of scathing things Griff might find to say about the position they'd found themselves in.
But all Griff says is, "Good," brusquely. "Because we only have ten minutes before we have to talk bollocks at a camera."
The director wants to film them in bed together, it turns out, which Dara finds hilarious in a way that he thinks he'd better not share with anyone else. Instead he invites the crew into the room with an expansive, sarcastic gesture and then crawls back under the sheet, carefully not thinking about how warm Griff's arm is against his own as they lie there, the way it's completely obvious from the way Griff's pillow is scrunched up just how they'd slept.
After they do that he gets to shower, and though he's tempted to have a quick wank under the blessed hot water it somehow doesn't seem very appealing, so he just washes himself quickly and gets out, pulling on his clothes in the small, steam-filled bathroom.
When he comes out Griff's gone, and Dara goes downstairs to find him in the hotel dining room, sitting across from Rory who's shoveling bacon into his mouth.
Nice to know there's at least one person who isn't going to surprise me, Dara thinks, and drops into a chair, already reaching for the coffee.
They row. A lot. And talk. A lot. Occasionally stopping to talk to other people, and look at other boats, and/or buy cheese, yes, but mostly rowing and talking.
It's not that Dara doesn't like the other two, or that he's unaware of the fact that he's on the job and thus being paid for all this talking. But trying to come up with interesting things to say, impromptu, for nine hours a day, well, it's fucking exhausting. At least today he doesn't have to row on top of all of that, and he can let his aching leg stretch out across the bottom of the skiff, massaging his knee every so often to release some of the tension.
And if Dara finds himself watching Griff more than the river, well, he's facing that way anyway, so it's only natural for him to look at what's right in front of him. Griff, he notices, is lean and wiry, all muscle and hardly any fat except for the faint pooch of his belly, just visible beneath the stretch of his dark blue shirt. He smiles with all his teeth, but when he laughs it's always the tiniest bit sly, like he's looking at himself from the outside.
When they hook up behind the power boat, Dara stays in the skiff, partly because he doesn't want to risk the jump between the boats with his knee, and partly because it gives him a good excuse not to have to socialize. He's never been much for the champagne lifestyle, not like Rory, who will insert himself anywhere he can find space, or Griff, who seems utterly at home with the kind of people who own boats.
Except that sitting by himself means his mind starts wandering, sending him reminders of the shape of Griff's calf, the moist press of his mouth on Dara's neck, the way he'd given off so much heat.
Dara is glad when the gin palace drops them off and he can concentrate on steering again.
They row more, talk more bollocks. It begins to rain, making them all cranky, and then they have to put up the tent, which doesn't ease anyone's temper. Griff is already wound tight from Rory's deliberately crap rowing, and by the time the rain stops and they can escape from the tent his mouth has tightened into a thin line and he's gone silent despite Rory's hectoring and Dara's attempts at civil conversation. When the director suggests filming Griff cooking dinner he snaps, and says he needs a break before stalking off across the field and disappearing into the trees on the far side.
When he doesn't return after half an hour Dara volunteers to go find him. Nobody else seems excited about slogging across the wet field, so a few minutes later he finds himself pushing a dripping branch aside and setting off down something that might be a path, if you were skinnier and shorter than him, and feeling a bit aggressive.
It's oddly peaceful as he walks along, listening to the sound of his shoes against the grass and dirt, ducking under branches, and he feels his shoulders slowly relax, though he hadn't even realized they were tensed. Eventually he hears another sound, and recognizes it as Griff's faint grumble. He follows it off the path and into a small clearing in the woods, emerging from between two trees to find Griff standing with his arms at his sides and his head back, staring up at what little of the sky is visible among the branches.
"Hey," Dara says. Griff must have heard him coming, because he doesn't even twitch.
"I suppose you've come to force me back into the world of not giving Rory a fat lip," Griff says. "Or, an even fatter one."
It's not a very good jibe, but Dara snorts anyway, accommodating. This, perversely, makes Griff lower his head to look at Dara, one eyebrow raised in an expression of faint irritation.
"He is a tit," Dara says. "But you knew that going into this, didn't you?" He's poking a little, knows he should probably leave it alone, but can't.
Griff's mouth goes flat again. "Of course I did," he says, looking supremely tired, the creases at the corners of his eyes deepening as he flicks his gaze off over Dara's shoulder.
"If you're upset about this morning," Dara says, and Griff makes a choked noise in the back of his throat. Then he sighs, and pinches the bridge of his nose.
"Forget it," he says. "We were asleep. I'm sure you thought I was a buxom blond woman. And anyway it's not about that," he concludes.
Dara doesn't know what makes him say it. Maybe it's the exhaustion on Griff's face, the knowledge that they've days left to go on this trip and that he can't think of anything else to make things better. Maybe it's just that he wants to, and the rest is excuses.
"Actually—" he says, and then stops. Griff steps back like Dara had slapped him.
"Actually what?" he snaps.
Dara licks his lips. "Actually," he says, "I knew it was you. I just... I was enough asleep that it didn't worry me that it was you."
Griff snorts. "Flattering, thank you." He turns away and walks the three steps across the tiny clearing to one of the trees that rings it, then lifts one hand palm-out to touch the trunk. "Forget it, all right?"
But he doesn't move when Dara takes two steps and comes up behind him. Dara can see the way his shoulders are tense, quivering like a taut bowstring. Dara licks his lips again, hoping like hell he hasn't misread this. He sets a hand on Griff's shoulder, then slides it forward and down over his chest, closing the last inches to press himself against Griff's back.
"Yes?" he asks, though Griff hasn't actually punched him in the face yet so he's pretty sure of the answer.
"Yes," Griff hisses, still achingly tense, and Dara decides the only way to do this is just to go straight for it, so he reaches around with his other hand and fumbles with the buckle of Griff's belt. He half expects Griff to shove his hands out of the way and do the job himself but he doesn't, just keeps one hand braced on the trunk of the tree in front of him and the other fisted at his side as Dara pulls the belt free and thumbs open the button of his trousers.
This probably ought to freak him out a lot more than it is, Dara recognizes that. But he's never been the kind of person who panics, even when he should panic, and apparently he isn't going to start now.
He rucks up Griff's shirt and jacket, finding the hot skin of his belly and skimming his palm across it before he burrows his hand into Griff's boxers, finding the even hotter skin of his cock. When he wraps his hand around it Griff breathes out, hard, through his nose like a racehorse. Dara strokes him slowly, getting a feel for the way someone else's cock sits in his hand, solid and rigid and silk-smooth against his palm. Then, when he thinks he knows what he's doing, more or less, he tightens his hand and pulls a little harder, bracing his other hand on Griff's chest for leverage.
Griff smells like sweat and river water where Dara's face is pressed into the back of his head, which shouldn't be a turn-on but really, really is. He kind of wants to lick the back of Griff's neck, but given that they haven't even kissed he thinks that might be a bit too forward.
Then again, when he swipes his thumb over the tip of Griff's cock, finding thick precome that he smears down the underside to make it slicker, Griff pants, open-mouthed and gasping as he struggles to keep control. Dara thinks maybe they've gone past "too forward" straight into "fucking insane," so he throws out all his preconceived notions, bends his head, opens his mouth and bites at the damp skin, sucking just below Griff's left ear.
"Aaaaah," Griff chokes out, his nails digging into the bark of the tree, hips hitching forward and then back in counterpoint to the motion of Dara's fist. Dara's cock is nestled into the hollow at the base of Griff's spine, and it clearly likes how this is going. It twitches when Griff shoves back into him, giving him something solid to grind against.
"C'mon," Dara murmurs. "Stop holding back." He twists his hand slightly, just the way he knows makes him shiver when he does it to himself, and he's not disappointed by the sound Griff makes, a low, growling moan.
"I'm not sure," Griff says, panting, "that's a good idea – gah." He shudders, head falling back against Dara's shoulder and arm falling from the tree to grip Dara's wrist as Dara works him harder. Dara can feel every one of the new calluses on his palm from the days of rowing.
"Fuck that," Dara says, a little short of breath, still stroking. "We're in the middle of the fucking woods. Everyone else is at least a half a mile back there, and no one's going to cross a giant field of alpaca shit just to find us."
"You're the only one... stupid enough to do that," Griff agrees. Dara tightens his fist and Griff whines, sharp and high and desperate. Dara rubs his cock against the cleft of Griff's arse, the motion made slippery by the slick fabric of his rain jacket, sweet, delicious friction sparking through him like wildfire. Jesus, he thinks, he wants more of this, more of Griff's lithe body against his own, more of those moans echoing in his ears.
With his left hand he tugs at the zip of Griff's jacket, finds one of Griff's nipples through the worn fabric of his shirt and rubs it with his thumb, then scrapes a fingernail over it. Griff arches his back, squirming under his touch, the hand on Dara's wrist guiding his strokes into a faster rhythm.
"Fuck!" Griff moans, hips snapping forwards. "Ah, fuck you."
Dara laughs, can't help himself, even though it comes out half-choked.
"What do you want?" he asks, biting at Griff's earlobe. "What do you--"
"Fuck you, I want to fucking come," Griff says. "I--" and then he just moans, long and jagged, and Dara has just enough presence of mind to shove Griff's shorts out of the way as he comes, spilling hot pulses down into the leaves.
Griff staggers back against him, panting and shivering like his orgasm had sent him more out of control than he'd anticipated, and Dara just holds him through it, his left hand flat across Griff's chest and his right curled not-too-tight around his cock. Finally Griff lets out one last shuddering breath, and his hand loosens its death grip on Dara's wrist. Dara lets go of his cock, and Griff hitches up his boxers and trousers, fastening the button and zip quickly. Then he turns, spinning in the circle of Dara's arms, and gives Dara an intense look.
"What do you want?" he asks, voice low.
Dara shivers, feeling himself on suddenly shaky ground. He doesn't know how to answer that question, so he settles for, "I want to come," voice just as low. "Your hand or--"
Dara shrugs, manages to muster up something approaching a smirk. "Or whatever." Griff's eyes flicker over him, undoubtedly taking in the bulge of his erection through his trousers, the flush that's spread up his neck. Then Griff goes down on his knees and tugs at the elastic waistband of Dara's trousers, pulling it outward and down to expose his aching cock.
"Ah, Jesus," Dara says, and then Griff is pulling Dara's cock out, his fingers nimble along the throbbing line of it, the roughness of his calluses giving Dara a whole new sensory experience. Griff opens his mouth and lowers himself down, and Dara thinks, Oh, Jesus, yes.
The rain has left the air a bit cool, so the contrast that Griff's hot, slick mouth provides is even more shocking, maybe more shocking than the fact that he's doing this in the first place. But Dara doesn't have time to think about that, since all his brain power is consumed with the feeling of Griff's tongue, as lithe as the rest of him, worming its way along the underside of Dara's cock.
He groans, helplessly, and cards his hands through Griff's tousled hair, just barely aware enough to remember not to tighten his grip and pull Griff down harder, not to thrust, much. It's hard, because Griff's mouth feels so fucking good, and Dara's cock is so very hard, aching with the sensation. Griff's hand curls around the base of Dara's cock, touching the places his mouth can't reach, and his other hand braces on the back of Dara's thigh, just below the curve of his arse.
"Ah," Dara says again, and then, "fuck, that's--" and Griff grunts. Dara isn't sure how he can tell that Griff's mouth is curved slightly in amusement but he knows it nonetheless, and it makes something go hot and molten inside him. Griff sucks him and strokes him in a quick, regular rhythm, and Dara thinks of the movement of his arms as he rows, the flex of muscles, the smooth circle of his hands, back and forth. He knows he'll be thinking of it tomorrow when it's his turn at the oars.
"Griff," he says, and it sounds weird to his ears somehow, so he turns the next word into a moan, and then the next, until he's gasping and shaking, legs weak from the overload of pleasure. Griff groans, and takes him deeper, and when he swallows around the tip of Dara's cock Dara feels his orgasm roll up from somewhere deep inside him, washing over him like a wave.
When he can stand on his own again he strokes over the top of Griff's head and Griff pulls himself to his feet. Dara tucks himself away with fingers still trembling from coming so hard, feeling really good about himself, but when he looks up again Griff's face is carefully blank, like he's waiting for something. Dara has no idea what that something might be.
They stare at each other in silence for a moment, and then Griff says, "We should go back."
Dara thinks, What? and then Oh, fuck that. He reaches out and grabs Griff's collar with both hands, hauls him close and kisses him, slow and deep until Griff moans and melts against him and opens his mouth to admit Dara's tongue. When he breaks away they're both breathing heavily, and Griff is looking at him with wide eyes, like he's just said something completely ridiculous like "The moon is made of plastic" or "Rory has both taste and tact" or maybe "I really enjoy rowing."
"Don't be so fucking stoic," Dara says. Griff bows his head then, and rests his forehead on Dara's shoulder.
"All right," he says. "All right. I won't."
They walk back through the woods and across the field without speaking, but sometimes their elbows brush. At the campsite, there's a fire, and dinner that none of them have to cook, brought by one of the production assistants who has earned Dara's unending adoration. Rory plays his banjo and isn't completely terrible, and Griff trades amused glances with Dara across the fire whenever Rory twangs a wrong note.
Later there are fireworks, exploding across the sky and glimmering on the surface of the water like bits of memories. Embers scatter across the skiff and they make good their escape, Dara's eyes tracing the loose curve of Griff's back as they row away.