Tan Lines

Ao3 Link

Owen threw himself into a leap, fist extended, muscles straining as every part of him struggled to reach the volleyball.

He hit it, kept it in the air, and fell flat into the sand. “Gavin!”

“Got it.” Gavin was there, ready, and when the ball came his way, he hit it right over the net, right in between Edwin and Ty. “Ha.”

“Oh, it’s one point, get over yourself,” Edwin muttered, trotting out to get the ball.

“I think the ‘ha’ was more about the fifteen other points that one was tacked onto,” Ty told Edwin.

Owen grinned as he stood up, dusting himself off. “Good hit.”

“Good save,” Gavin said, smirking. “And you were worried the bathing suits would distract me.”

Owen shrugged. A day at the beach with a bunch of guys in tiny bathing suits? Of course he’d been worried that Gavin would get distracted. “It was a fair thing to assume.”

“As if I’m some kind of horny dog who gets distracted by the sight of sausage,” Gavin muttered, coming over and giving Owen a kiss.

Owen narrowed his eyes, took in Gavin’s relaxed form, his tight bathing suit hugging him closely, his tanned skin a little shiny with sweat. Then he looked over at Edwin at Ty, talking strategy, flushed and out of breath, sand clinging to them in various places.

And Owen got it. “Ah. You’re not distracted because you have a goal.”

“Yeah.” Gavin slapped Owen’s chest. “Winning.”

“No. Which one of them did you negotiate the stakes with?”

It didn’t matter what the stakes were. The only thing Gavin liked more than winning was winning something.

Gavin licked his lips. “Doesn’t matter. A few more points and we’re going to have our very own errand boys for the rest of the day.”

Owen laughed. Edwin was going to be so pissed. But then, Edwin was probably the one who’d agreed to it in the hopes that it would be the other way around. “You’re insufferable.”

“We make a good team, then,” Gavin said, snapping the front of Owen’s speedo.

“You two done flirting or should we stop playing?” Edwin demanded.

“We’re never done flirting,” Owen called, patting Gavin’s lower back as they both turned to face the net. “But we can still kick your asses. Let’s go.”

“It’s hot.”

“It’s summer. We’re at the beach.”

“I am aware of this information.”

“And I’m aware that it’s hot.”

James sighed, and he lay down on his belly, handing a bottle of sunscreen to Ron. “Do my back.”

Ron took it, squirting the sunscreen onto James’s back, rubbing it in slowly. “Drink something.”

“I will. You too. Can’t have you overheating in all those layers you’re wearing.”

Ron chuckled, glancing down at his frankly skimpy bathing suit. Half his ass was hanging out the back and the front wasn’t much better. “I do feel oddly overdressed.”

It was more than Ron wore when they were alone.

“Feel free to take it off. I doubt anyone would mind.” James waved a hand. “Based on the vibe in the air, I suspect we’re going to see some dick by the end of the day anyway.”

“You think?” Ron asked, looking around the beach. A lot of guys here, playing or sitting or swimming. He didn’t feel a vibe. “Is this one of those magical vibes, or a you had too much coffee vibe?”

“Who knows.” James sighed, put his head down as Ron did his shoulders. “Just mark my words. Dicks everywhere by the end of the day.”

“Not everyone here has one of those.”

“I know. But that’s the majority. There might be other parts everywhere too.” James looked up at Ron. “Sunscreen yourself too and then when it sets, I want to go look for seashells.”

“Okay,” Ron said, moving past the minimal fabric on James’s backside to his legs. “And I made us lunch, so we’ll eat after.”

“Perfect.” James put his head back down, let Run rub him with the sunscreen. “I’m having fun. I know it doesn’t seem like it.”

“I know you are,” Ron said, smiling to himself. “I’m having fun too.”

“Good.” James nodded. “It’s hot, though.”

“It is pretty hot,” Ron agreed, nodding as the sun beat down on them.

“Why is it so cold?”

Cal glanced at Sully, rubbing his bare arms. “Because we’re in a cave.” They’d found an awesome one not far from the main beach area.

“Should have brought a shirt,” Mick said, patting Sully’s shoulder.

“You guys didn’t!”

Indeed, none of them were in anything but their small bathing suits, Cal and Sully in their speedos, Wes in his low-hanging shorts and Mick in his tight short shorts. “Yeah,” Wes said, nodding. “But we’re used to it.”

“You could have warned me!”

“But we’re hazing you,” Mick reminded him.

“Speaking of which, go and check out that weird pool,” Cal said, pointing up ahead of them. There was a pool of water that seemed to be glowing, possibly with algae. Cal didn’t want to step in a pool of algae. Not when they had a new guy for stuff like that.

“Ew, no.”

Cal grinned at him. “You’re the one who wanted to join our team.”

“I know but…what if there’s like snakes in it or some shit?”

Cal leaned in, thumbs in his wasitband. “Why do you think you’re the one checking it out and not us?”

Sully looked from Cal to Wes to Mick, and he rolled his eyes. “Fine, God.” He stamped past Cal, towards the pool. “If I die, I want it carved on my tombstone that I hated you!”

Cal chuckled, watching him with the other two. “There’s probably nothing there, huh?”

“Probably,” Mick agreed, arms crossed. “Just some slippery algae.”

“His feet are going to glow the rest of the time we’re in here,” Wes pointed out.

“That’s handy.” Cal smiled up at the two of them. “Sorry, I dragged you both away from the beach for a cave.”

Wes shrugged. “Caves are cool.”

“And beaches are boring.”

“And we like you, remember?” Wes asked, patting Cal’s shoulder as Sully dipped his foot into the pool.

“I guess.” Cal grinned. “I do want to go treasure hunting on the beach, though. I brought my metal detector.”

“Oh,” Mick said, frowning.


“I wonder if there might be leeches in there.”

All three of them looked up at Sully as he waded carefully into the pool. “Should we warn him?”



Cal nodded. “He’ll be fine.”

“This is the worst,” Isaac complained, laying back on the blanket.

Peter nudged him. “I think it’s pretty funny.”

Isaac glared at him. “You’re not the one in crisis here.”

“Hey.” Peter poked him this time. “I suggested you wear something different. You remember what you said?”

“I said I thought it would be fun,” Isaac grumbled.

“Yeah. You wanted to flaunt.”

Isaac sighed. Flaunting he was, he’d bought what was essentially a G-string online and worn it to the beach today for fun. He really liked it, like the screaming green colour of it, liked how small it was. The problem was that now he was at a beach crammed to bursting with sexy guys whose almost uniformly small bathing suits were also crammed to bursting and Isaac’s sexy swimwear was comprised of not nearly enough fabric to deal with the fallout from that.

There were sexy, mostly naked guys everywhere sweating and swimming and jiggling and dripping, suits clinging and hugging and showing off, and Isaac couldn’t look at any of them or he wouldn’t be able to fit into his own suit.

“Oh, look,” Peter said, tapping Isaac’s shoulder.


“Your friend Leo. He just spilled his drink all over himself.”


“It’s okay, someone’s wiping it off his chest for him.”


“And that guy’s speedo is riding up a lot, you can pretty much see…”

Isaac groaned, drowning Peter out as he started to have the very problem he was trying to avoid. Maybe he should just let it happen. People would think he was weird, but at least he’d be happier. It was an all-male beach anyway.

Beside him on the blanket, Baker barked, and Isaac looked up just in time to see a frisbee land in the sand just beside him. And running at them like a bat out of hell was a huge mastiff, who was obviously very concerned that Isaac was going to steal his toy.

“Oh, hell no,” Peter muttered, inching back a little.

“It’s okay,” Isaac said, picking up the frisbee while Baker ran over to intercept the other dog, who easily outweighed him by ten times. He held up the frisbee, and the dog came skidding to a halt in front of their blanket, spraying them with sand but not colliding, at least. Baker was bouncing around him, trying to get his attention while the new dog focused on the frisbee. “You’re a good boy, aren’t you?” Isaac asked, patting his head.

“Sorry!” A kid was running up to them, fortunately both in loose shorts and too young for Isaac to be interested, so it was safe to look at him. “Sorry,” the kid repeated, panting. “We were throwing it for him. It got away from us.”

“It’s okay,” Isaac said, tossing the frisbee to the kid. The dog’s interested changed immediately. Baker was still trying desperately to get his attention. “What’s his name?”

“Dragon,” the kid said, smiling. “I should get back.”

“I think you’re going to end up with twice as many dogs as you came here with,” Isaac warned him, nodding at Baker.

“That’s okay. We’re just throwing the frisbee in the water so Dragon doesn’t get hot.”

The water. The water was cold. Isaac smiled. “Can I play? I’ll bring Baker.”

“Sure!” The kid grinned, and nodded over to the two guys he was playing with, both a good amount older than him. “I’m Frederick.”

“Isaac.” Isaac stood, smiling down at Peter. “I’ll be back.”

Peter nodded, grabbing his book. “Have fun.”

As Isaac trotted off to play with dogs in cold water, he chanced a glance around the beach. It looked like everyone was having fun. A lot of fun. He quickened his pace a little, trying to get to the cold water as quickly as he could. Then maybe he could have a lot of fun too.

Rowing was harder than it seemed, and Pax was glad that after this he was probably never going to have to do it again.

“How far did you want to go out?” Pax asked, trying not to pant like some exhausted malcontent. But they were pretty far out from the beach now, and though the sun was still beating down, the ocean wind was also chilly and Pax was worried that much farther and his lack of shirt was going to become a problem.

Many of the people on the beach were wearing very, very small bathing suits, which was okay for them. But Pax didn’t want to do that where there were so many people, so he was wearing a nice pair of shorts that were a good length. Nate could wear the speedo in this relationship as far as he was concerned.

“I guess this is far enough,” Nate said, pulling back his oar and stowing it between his feet on the floor of the little boat.

“Far enough for what?” Pax asked, looking back to the beach, which was very far away indeed. “What’s the point of coming all the way out to the beach with everyone if you’re just going to ignore everyone and go in a boat? Why did we go in a boat, anyway? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to spend time alone with you, but I’m just not sure about a boat as the medium for that. What if there are sharks?”

“There are no sharks,” Nate assured Pax, patting his leg. “I just wanted to bring you out here for a bit.”

“Out here? To the middle of the ocean? Why?”

“We’re hardly in the middle of the ocean.”

“We’re at least halfway to Portugal by now.”

“I brought food, but probably not enough to get us to Europe,” Nate mused, fiddling with is backpack, fishing inside and looking for something. “Anyway. Now that we’re out here where nobody can see us, I figured you could, um, take your bathing suit off.”

Pax blinked. “Sorry?”

“No reason to be shy if we’re alone, right?” Nate straightened, and he pulled a little speedo out of the bag, holding it up with a smile. “You just look kind of uncomfortable in those shorts.”

“Well…” Pax looked at the speedo, then at his shorts, then over at the beach, which was really quite far off. “There is a good bit of chafing…”

“So take them off.” Nate grinned.

“I feel like you’ve lured me out here under false pretenses,” Pax said, untying his shorts and slipping them down, taking the speedo from Nate and pulling it on. All with nary a rock to the boat, thank you very much.

“Maybe. But the ends justify the means, right?”

“Sometimes.” Pax did feel a lot better now. He smiled at Nate, setting his shorts on the bench beside him. “Just while we’re out here, though. I’m changing back before we go back.”

“Yeah, I know.”

They had a nice lunch on the boat. And then, just before they were about to start rowing back, a bird appeared from nowhere and stole Pax’s shorts.

Ice clinked as Edwin handed Gavin his drink. “Here you go.”

Gavin looked up at him, stretched in his beach chair like a stripper on display “Sorry?”

Edwin sighed, rolled his eyes. “Here you go, sir.”

“That’s better.” Gavin grinned, reached out to take the drink, then he frowned. “Where’s the little umbrella?”


Gavin pointed at the iced tea. “It should have a little umbrella in it. You know, the ones they put in drinks on beaches? I want one of those.”

Edwin looked at the drink. “They didn’t put one in.”

“Go back and get me another drink that has an umbrella in it.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said, go back and get me another drink that has a little umbrella in it,” Gavin told him, raising a finger. “Not that drink, the ice will already be melting. This drink is already dead to me. A new drink, with a little umbrella in it.”

“Stop being a diva,” Owen muttered, on the next chair over. He was drinking his drink with no problem, even without an umbrella.

“This isn’t about being a diva, this is about the drinks people cheating us out of our beach experience.”

“I think it’s about being a diva and giving Edwin a hard time.”

“Giving Edwin a hard time is pretty fun,” Gavin admitted.

Owen nodded. “Fair. You heard the man, Edwin.”

Edwin rolled his eyes. “You’re both divas,” he muttered.

They looked at each other. Owen shrugged. Gavin held out his hand. “The drink.”

“I thought you didn’t want it!”

“I don’t. Give it to me.”

Getting a headache, Edwin did. Gavin took it, took out an ice cube, set the glass down, and grinned. He sucked on the ice cube for a second, then took it out of his mouth, his hand darting up to Edwin’s groin.

How he managed to do it Edwin didn’t know, but the ice cube ended up in the front of his bathing suit, Edwin dancing back a little. “Fuck, ah!”

“Let it melt,” Gavin ordered. “It should help you cool off. Now go get me my drink, and maybe think carefully about what bets you make next time you challenge someone to a friendly sporting match.”

“I’m going,” Edwin grumbled, trying not to do a funny dance as goosebumps ran down his legs.

“Excuse me?”

“I’m going, sir,” Edwin muttered, turning away.

“I have another ice cube for you when you get back, so don’t dawdle.”

Edwin shot a look at Owen, who was grinning, and went to go get the stupid drink with the stupid umbrella.

“Stop being mean to him,” Owen said.

“Hold still so I can ice cube you too,” Gavin muttered. “And he likes it, it’s fine.”

“What do you like?” Ty asked, coming back from getting the two of them some popsicles.

“Shut up,” Edwin muttered.

“You know you got a wet spot on your…”

“The popsicles are melting,” Edwin told him, hurrying off, red in the face, fully aware of his wet spot. He was going to spend the rest of the day being ordered around like this. It was degrading. Maybe he should demand a rematch, double or nothing.

But then, Edwin didn’t want to fathom what the double would be if he lost again. The only way Gavin and Owen—but Gavin especially—could get more dictatorial would be…

By the time Edwin’s ice cube melted, he was looking forward to having another one.

“This is a waste of time.”

“It’s fun,” Henry insisted.

Sam snorted, laying back in the shade of the umbrella. “It’s fun if you’re an idiot.”

“Well, I guess that makes me an idiot,” Henry said, shifting on the sand beside the blanket.

“That’s not what makes you an idiot,” Sam muttered, sighing. “It’s just a symptom. You don’t have to sit here with me all day.”

Henry made a noise, a verbal act of noncommittal. “I don’t mind sitting here with you.”

“You don’t like sitting here with me,” Sam countered. “You’re doing it because you feel bad leaving me alone.”

Another noise. “No. I’m doing it because I want you to have a good time.”

“And it didn’t occur to you that I might have a better time without you?”

“That seems unlikely,” Henry said.

Sam didn’t have anything to say about that. Henry wasn’t wrong, exactly. He sighed. “Help me up. We can go for a walk.”

“Are you sure?”

“Am I ever not sure?” Sam demanded, holding out his arm. Henry took it, and the two of them stood, Henry leading Sam out into the sun, slowly walking across the sand. “Maybe we can find some dumb kid and convince him to come home with…”

“No,” Henry interrupted, squeezing Sam’s arm. “We’re going to have normal people fun, not murdery psychopath fun.”

Sam sighed, loudly. “Fine.”

“No need to sound all dramatic.”

“I wasn’t sounding dramatic. I was expressing my disappointment at your banality.” Honestly, Henry didn’t understand the possibilities there were here.

Henry made another noise. “We’ll wait and find out how the day goes,” he said. “But for now we’re just having a nice walk.”

Sam gave another sigh, let Henry have his way, just this once. “If I trip on something…”

“I know, I know.”

Even without any actual sources of fun, Sam thought, it ended up being not so bad.

“Are you guys, um, almost done?”

“Don’t know,” Marcus said, piling more sand onto the growing mound covering Daniel. “Can you move?”

Daniel probably could, if he tried. “No.”

“He’s lying,” Hugh said immediately, still smoothing out the sand on the other side of Daniel. “More sand.”

“Got it.”

“Why do you assume I’m lying?” Daniel asked, pretending to be affronted. Some sand fell on his face and he blew it off.

“Because you’re a liar,” Hugh reminded him, patting the mound.

“And doing a dress rehearsal for my own funeral is supposed to cure me of that?” Daniel asked, rather than denying it.

He wasn’t exaggerating, much. This was making him feel more and more like a corpse being interred.

“No,” Marcus said, looking up as Simon as he returned with buckets of water. “But it’s supposed to stop you from running off. Now you have to spend time with us.”

“Not sure where you thought I was going to run off to,” Daniel grumbled, smiling up at Simon as he distributed the pails. He was all red and sweaty. “Simon, take a break from water duty.”

“It’s okay, I don’t mind…”

“Marcus can do it for a bit,” Hugh said, looking at Simon as well. “Go get a drink.”

“Get me one too,” Daniel told him, as Marcus got up to get more water, scratching his inner thigh at the hem of his speedo. “Sand in uncomfortable places?”

Marcus grunted. “Might…go for a short swim. Just to shake some things loose.”

“Think about how I must feel.”

Marcus grinned at him. “Too bad. Back in a bit.” Hugh had already emptied the two pails of water, so he took them and two more, and trotted off to the water.

Daniel sighed, some sand shifting as he did.

“Stop doing that.”

“What, breathing?” Daniel asked.

“The more disruptive you are, the longer this is going to take,” Hugh chided.

“What, do you have blueprints or something?” Daniel demanded, and Hugh just smiled, shifting a little and tugging at his own suit. “I’m taking vindictive pleasure in knowing you’ve got sand up there.”

“When we let you out, I’m stuffing your suit with sand.”

“Not going to fit much in there,” Daniel muttered.

“You’d be surprised.”

Hugh came back, opened a can of Pepsi and put it down in the sand beside Daniel, sticking a straw in it near Daniel’s mouth. “There you go.”

“Thanks,” Daniel said, smiling at him and taking a sip. “You’re the only one I like.”

Simon crouched behind the can, inadvertently giving Daniel a close-up. “What do you want me to do?” he asked Hugh.

“Don’t die of dehydration,” Hugh told him. “And then start piling sand over here. It’s not thick enough.”

Daniel just sipped his drink, sighed. They were going to be here for a while. Hopefully they’d let him out someday.

“May have misjudged how long we were going to have this sandbar,” Franz said, as the tide came in.

Boey nodded, stretching out his shoulders, chest rippling a little as he did. “We should head back?”

“Yeah.” Franz started to stretch as well, preparing for the swim back to the beach. When Dragon had gotten tired of frisbee and gone off for a nap, they’d gone for a swim. Franz pointed to the beach, where Frederick and the two boys his age he’d found, Derek and Todd, were having footraces. “He changed.”

“Peer pressure will do that,” Boey agreed. Frederick had brought a speedo but been too shy to wear it before, but since meeting his new friends who weren’t as modest as he was, suddenly he’d developed the confidence to dress in less.

“I’m just glad he’s making friends.”

“As his dad, I can see why you would be.”

“Hey! I’m allowed to be happy for him.”

Boey smiled. “I know. I’m glad he’s got friends his own age too. You’re a terrible influence.”

Franz couldn’t argue that point. “Race you back?”

“Deal.” Boey raced into the water.

“Hey, wait, I wasn’t ready!” Franz charged after him, trying to mitigate Boey’s headstart, but it was too late. By the time they got back to the beach, Boey had a good lead over Franz, and Franz broke out of the surf, panting with exertion, doubled over and trying to breathe.

“You lose,” Boey said, standing in front of Franz. Franz looked up at him, about at eye level with Boey’s package, and saw Boey smirking down at him. “Guess you pay the penalty?”

“What penalty? Who said anything about a penalty?”

Boey patted Franz’s head. “It was implied.”

Franz snorted. “Fine. What’s the penalty?”

Hopefully it was something fun.

“I don’t know.” Boey turned away, water dripping off his form, hips swaying as he headed for their towels. “I’ll think of something and let you know.”

Franz looked forward to it.

“This is dumb,” Joey said, picking at his tiny, tiny bathing suit.

Travis sighed. “So I’ve heard. Take it off if you don’t like it.”

“You’re the one who made me wear it.”

“I made you wear something,” Travis corrected patiently. “You’re the one who decided to wear the smallest piece of spandex you could lay your hands on.”

And for being so small, it did a masterful job of outlining in detail exactly what little skin Joey wasn’t showing.

Joey scowled. “Seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“You should have worn something roomier.”

“I should have not worn anything. It’s an all-guys beach, bet nobody could care.”

Travis took a look around the beach. There was one guy over there wearing a t-shirt and some bulky shorts sitting in a group of guys and laughing at something the guy beside him had said, another in a heavy sort of tank top in addition to his trunks practicing some martial art, but other than the two of them nearly every guy on the beach was wearing a suit of next to nothing. Travis wasn’t sure he’d ever been around this many mostly-naked guys before. “Probably not,” he decided, watching the way a few of the guys on the beach were scoping each other out. “But still.”

Joey sighed dramatically. “I’ll keep it on.”

“Thank you.”

“For now.”


“No promises, is all I’m saying.”

“Okay, okay.” Travis figured that was the best he was going to get. Joey only ever half-promised to be dressed in public.

“Oh,” Joey said, straightening and pointed at some people on the beach. “Isn’t that Cal? Are they looking for treasure?”

Travis glanced over and nodded. Cal was definitely there with a metal detector, Wes and Mick following him, Sully at a short distance, looking miffed as usual. “Yeah.” They seemed to have collected two other guys, a darkish guy with kind of long hair and a lighter guy who was a bit bigger, but seemed to be holding things for the first guy.

“Let’s go help them!” Joey said, jumping to his feet with a jiggle. “I want treasure too!”

Travis laughed. “Okay,” he said, getting up and following Joey down to the surf. “I’m coming.”

At least treasure would distract Joey from his hatred of clothes for a little while.

“This is nice,” Cordelia said, leaning back in her chair and sipping a cocktail.

“It is, isn’t it?” Isabella agreed, nodding. “Very quiet.”

“Convincing the boys to have their own beach was a good plan,” Natalie told Cordelia, tilting her glass in salute. “They can stay over there and do God knows what.” Beside her, Sharon chuckled.

“I don’t know,” Gabrielle said, swirling her drink. There were having a nice cocktail hour. Isabella’s idea. “I wouldn’t mind a little eye candy. Some of us like boys.”

“Hear, hear,” Holly muttered.

“Can’t relate,” Ariel said, grinning at Gabrielle. “Men are gross. Besides, lots of eye candy right here.”

“If you happen to like women, I guess,” Gabrielle muttered, with a blush.

“You don’t like women?” Cleo asked her, giving Gabrielle an openly flirtatious smile. Cordelia nearly laughed aloud. Young people were so funny.

“Women are just fine. I also like men is all.”

“I suppose we’ll allow that,” Cordelia conceded. “I mean, they’re right over there if you want to go peek on them.”

Why anyone would want to watch men or boys when they were alone was beyond her. But then, Cordelia understood (grudgingly) that not everyone was a lesbian.

“Be lying if I hadn’t thought about it,” Gabrielle said, pointing at Cordelia. “Thing is, my brother’s over there and I’m worried if I did, I’d catch him doing something I don’t want to know about with his boyfriend. Or, you know, whoever else he managed to snare in his web.”

Isabella laughed. “Then I guess you’re stuck here with us ladies.”

“Not bad company,” Natalie said, shifting in a way that made Cordelia wonder again how she fit into that bathing suit.

“No,” Gabrielle admitted, standing up to get another drink. “Not bad company. It’s nice to get away from men and talk to real people for a while. Anyone want more drinks?”

Any good day at the beach should end with an illegal bonfire. Squeezing upwards to three dozen guys around one fire had proved challenging, but they’d managed it by just making a really big fire and by having people creatively sit on each other’s laps where necessary.

They roasted hot dogs and drank pop and talked a lot, arms around each other, bodies pressed against each other, the fire cracking in between them all. Jokes were thrown around. Casual touching was the norm. Less-than-casual touching wasn’t uncommon either the longer the night went on and the longer they breathed in each other, fed off each other.

Gavin sat in Owen’s lap and laughed while he told Hector about how Edwin had eventually gotten fed up and demanded a rematch, which they’d let him win out of pity. Knowing that his victory hadn’t been earned, Edwin had taken it as a point of pride to keep getting Gavin drinks all day.

James compared treasures with Joey, endlessly frustrating Joey by refusing to give up any of the seashells he’d found, until Joey’s eyes alighted on one that he just obviously loved, the swirl pattern catching his eye, and James just smiled at let him have it in exchange for a funny rock Joey had found.

Cal rubbed ointment on Sully, telling him all the while that he needed to be more careful when wading into strange pools while Sully cussed him out and Mick took pictures. Beside them, Wes was chatting with Nate about this strange seabird he’d seen earlier with a pair of shorts in its talons.

Isaac had sat on Nicholas just to make him get all awkward and blushing, but Nicholas had taken to it full force, putting his arms around Isaac and holding him there to tease him. Isaac had given up on not getting too excited by the proximity of all these sexy guys. Peter just sat beside them and grinned, conspiring something with Skip and Boey.

Pax and Jacob were comparing stories at great length. Pax had been wearing one of Nate’s t-shirts, but he’d taken it off earlier. Beside them was Garrett, who’d come over because he’d felt kinship with Pax’s modesty but had stayed because he was entranced by the speed at which the two were speaking.

Edwin was explaining to his friends in no uncertain terms exactly how much fun he hadn’t had today, despite mounting evidence to the contrary in the way he smiled when Gavin or Owen looked in his direction.

Sam was mostly just resisting the urge to push someone into the fire, figuring he’d done what Henry wanted all day, he may as well keep doing it for a few more hours. Besides, it wasn’t the worst thing ever to just sit and talk. He hadn’t caught he name of whoever he ended up chatting with about politics, but they knew their stuff even if they were an idiot.

Freed from his sand catacomb, Daniel was still a little itchy and looking forward to the shower that the others had promised him. He sat between Marcus and Hugh with Simon in his lap even though really Simon should be sitting on Marcus, pointing out constellations to them and periodically stealing bits of Marcus’s hot dogs.

Franz found out that he and Sam had exactly none of the same political views, but hey, that made for good conversation. He kept casting glances at the three younger boys, who had swapped phone numbers and were having a hot dog eating contest over there. He had a feeling he’d be hosting a sleepover in the next week or so.

Travis and Henry turned out to like the same baseball, football and soccer teams, which gave them a lot to talk about until they found out they disagreed on hockey, which gave them even more to talk about.

The night wore on, darkness fell properly, and the moon was full. The waves crashed on the beach and the boys ate and were merry.



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