The discovery of the Ilu River meant that days on Guadalcanal resembled scenes Leckie had imagined of the island before he’d arrived: deep, cool water, nudity, laughter, and the barest hint of Jap wine to keep them all sufficiently inebriated. Except for the lack of girls and the long, damp nights where he lay in his grave barely breathing with the bombers roaring overhead, he might call it paradise.
He finds Hoosier sitting in his briefs beneath one of the great sprawling trees far enough away from the bank that he can only hear the shouts of the joyous Marines, a half-burned cigarette clutched between his teeth and his damp, dirty dungarees spread across his knees with a needle clumsily clutched in his hand.
“Smoke?” asks Leckie on his approach and Hoosier barely spares a glance when he pulls a pack of Raleighs out of his pocket to fairly throw it at him. Hoosier could always be counted on for cigarettes; Leckie half-thinks that while every other man packed the regulation shaving cream, socks, and razors, Hoosier stuffed his pack full of cigarettes. Leckie does him the favor of relighting the pathetic smoke in his mouth when he lights his own. Hoosier murmurs something that might be thanks over the litany of obscenities spilling through his teeth.
“Problems, private?” asks Leckie with a grin. “Anything I can do to help?” Even as the words come out of his mouth, his neck heats up.
Hoosier glances up with a narrow look and lets out a long breath of smoke. He’d ripped a hole clean through the seam of his trousers climbing a rocky coral ridge and had simply marched on, dignity intact until Lt. Ivy-League told him he had to mend it. “Ain’t surprised you’re no stranger to needlework.” His legs are pale and spindly, the sparse blond hair doing little to hide the pasty white skin on his thighs.
Hoosier’s hair is still damp from the river, curling at the ends into a fine golden halo at the nape of his neck. “I meant more morally,” Leckie clarifies lamely.
“You wanna find me some of that wine? I know that dirty bastard Red is hoarding some. I bet you could sweet talk him out of it.” Hoosier almost mumbles the words, focused on his painstaking mending, stitch by slow stitch, and Leckie’s at loss until Hoosier’s mouth twitches at the corner.
“Fuck you.” Leckie jabs Hoosier in the arm hard enough that he stabs himself with the needle and swears, but Hoosier’s begun to laugh, one of his rare, genuine chuckles that starts low in his chest.
“I’m sorry, Lucky,” Hoosier drops the needle and leans toward him, smirking. “Did you have something specific in mind?”
Leckie means to rap him on the base of his thick skull, but when his hand settles there he ends up cupping Hoosier’s neck, fingers threading into his thick hair, and pulling Hoosier forward into a sloppy kiss. Hoosier laughs against his mouth like he can read Leckie’s mind, reaches up to tug on Leckie’s hair.
Hoosier tastes sweaty and earthly, the familiar scent of river water and dirt. When Hoosier moves closer, he briefly becomes tangled in his own pants before shucking them irritably into the mud with a muttered curse and settles with his legs draped over Leckie’s thighs. The warmth of Hoosier’s chest against his own is nothing like the sticky, amorphous heat of the island. Hoosier lays solid against him when Leckie snakes another hand up his chest, heart beating against Leckie’s palm and his breath beginning to come quickly.
Hoosier kisses like he’s trying to replace to the fetid smell and taste of the island with Leckie, licks into his mouth, bites at his lips and jaw. When he fists his hand at the nape of Leckie’s neck, it’s almost painful, but Leckie arches his hips, the brief touch chasing away the bone-chill. Hoosier runs his hand down Leckie’s side, pulls his mouth away just barely when he reaches the front of Leckie’s trousers. He cups Leckie through the drab material and Leckie can’t help the faint sound that escapes. Hoosier lets out a breath that’s almost a laugh.
Leckie reaches down to help him and only makes the situation clumsier, too many thick fingers, until Hoosier sits back on Leckie’s legs and knocks his hands away. It’s a moments like this, with Hoosier close enough to touch and his skin sweat-shiny and peeling from sunburn around his hairline, that Leckie’s stomach rolls in his chest, torn between wanting to shove Hoosier back into the thick bed of damp leaves and wanting to pin him to the ground and rut against him until this fucking island melts away around them.
Hoosier spits into his hand before he wraps his fist around Leckie’s dick; he gazes at Leckie through his lashes, teasing curve of a smile on his face. He has one hand braced against Leckie’s shoulder, fingers digging into the painful knot there. Leckie tries not to close his eyes but his head rolls back anyway, knocking the smooth trunk of the tree, and he jerks fitfully against Hoosier’s hand. He reaches out to grasp Hoosier around his waist, pulls him forward until Hoosier is so close that he’s forced to rest his forearm against the tree, fingertips like phantoms against the back of Leckie’s head. Hoosier ducks his head to close his mouth over the pulse point just below Leckie’s jaw, his fist pausing while he regroups.
Leckie wants to moan and hiss, has this bizarre urge to tell Hoosier how good it feels, his hot hand pulling Leckie’s cock and the damp heat between their bodies, but he buries his nose in the short fine hair at Hoosier’s ear and listens to the wet sucking sounds of Hoosier’s mouth at his neck, probably leaving a mark like a damn territorial fool. He supposes if anyone asks he can say it’s a new type of ulcer.
He spreads one hand on Hoosier’s spine, dipping down under his loose collar to feel the knobs of his vertebrae and the ridge of his shoulder blade. The humidity makes everything perpetually damp and slick; his fingers slide against Hoosier’s back while he pushes the other hand into Hoosier’s briefs, running his fingers through the coarse hair before he grips the base of Hoosier’s dick. Hoosier stutters against him, a sharp, short grunt when Leckie starts stripping his dick like he’s never going to get another chance. Every other time they’ve done this, Leckie’s come away feeling like Hoosier has the upper hand and when he feels Hoosier still just slightly, Leckie presses his advantage to swipe his thumb over the head of Hoosier’s dick, earning him another short puff of air torn from Hoosier’s throat.
He presses his hand on Hoosier’s back steadily until Hoosier’s pressed as close as he can get him, until Hoosier is less jerking his dick than guiding him while Leckie thrusts into the hot crease of his legs. Hoosier moves his mouth from Leckie’s neck, rubs their noses together in almost a playful away before Leckie catches his mouth again, licking behind his lips, against his teeth in a kiss that’s all slop and spit.
Leckie passes his fingers against the ridge of Hoosier’s dick, circling the head with his thumb and Hoosier surges against him, reaches his free hand around so that he can brush Leckie’s jaw with his fingertips. When Hoosier tips his head back, beginning to jerk against Leckie in a steadier rhythm, he keeps his eyes closed, tucking his lips into his mouth, and the comparatively cool air rushes in. It’s almost like a slap in the face, a break in the mindless lust, and Leckie tries to slow down against Hoosier’s hand, tries to come back to the world a little bit.
Hoosier’s eyes open and he grins suddenly, quick and sly, and then he’s leaning down into Leckie’s mouth, hard and dirty, before pulling away. He pushes at Leckie’s pants until Leckie gets the idea and lifts his hips, suddenly his bare ass in the knobby roots of the tree and his pants around his knees. Leckie has a half a mind to protest until Hoosier slides down, presses his mouth against Leckie’s belly and bites, then swipes his tongue over the wound as if in apology. The tip of Leckie’s dick hits his chin and Hoosier glances up again, pauses for a heavy second like he’s making sure. Leckie nearly grabs his ears and chokes him.
Hoosier licks the crease of Leckie’s groin, then one long line up his cock. “Oh Jesus,” Leckie says, the words feeling over loud in the relative emptiness of the jungle. Hoosier grins, the laughter rumbling in his chest under Leckie’s hand.
Fingers skate along Leckie’s belly, tugging on the hair there before slipping around his thigh to his balls. He presses one of Leckie’s legs up over his shoulder into a strange contorted position and pops his mouth off Leckie’s dick and to slide obscenely against the length of it. When he takes one of Leckie’s balls into his mouth, Leckie thinks that it doesn’t matter what the Japs do — he’s as good as dead already. Hoosier’s mouth and tongue press against his balls; he feels it in his stomach and spine, chasing shocks of pleasure like holding his fingers against a light bulb. Leckie rubs one hand over Hoosier’s shoulder, massaging the stiff muscle there, a pathetic thanks. One of Hoosier’s long fingers slides behind his balls to press the skin there; Leckie closes his eyes against the dappled sunlight slipping through the jungle and red starbursts explode behind his eyelids.
Hoosier makes his way back up Leckie’s dick, pausing to press his mouth to Leckie’s thighs and bite the flesh there. Leckie’s prick feels alternately hot then cold in Hoosier’s wake. Leckie jumps when Hoosier closes his mouth over the head of Leckie’s cock and Hoosier’s hand immediately comes to his hips, thumb resting in the shallows of Leckie’s pelvis.
Hoosier bobs his head, not experimentally like he’s testing the waters for what works, but like he’s familiarizing himself. Shallow, then deeper and deeper into Hoosier’s mouth. Hoosier swallows around him; Leckie can feel his throat working. Shiny spit gathers at the corners of Hoosier’s mouth. His eyes are closed when he fists one hand at the base of Leckie’s cock, hand moving counterpoint to his mouth. Each time Hoosier pulls off a bit, Leckie jerks against him and Hoosier’s fingers feather at his hips like a warning. Hoosier’s mouth is impossibly wet and soft, like every dream Leckie’s had since he left New River. Leckie puts his hands on Hoosier’s head tentatively, half thinks Hoosier’s going to knock them off, but he hums instead, dipping lower to swallow more deeply.
As close as Hoosier is, when Leckie’s not directly drinking in his smell and heat, the jungle becomes all the more real again. The shadows seem dark and leering and the angry buzz of flies and mosquitoes in his ears seems like a roar. He’s doubly aware of the unlikely possibility that someone might come looking for them at any minute.
Hoosier pinches the thin skin over Leckie’s pelvic bone almost like a warning and Leckie looks down again at Hoosier’s greasy hair, finger-shaped canals carved in it where Leckie dragged his hands through. Hoosier’s cheeks hollow and his breath comes harshly through his nose when Leckie realizes he’s guiding Hoosier’s head, pushing him down and pulling him up again.
It occurs to him only halfheartedly that he should stop, mostly because if he thinks Hoosier felt like it, he’d pull off and pop Leckie across the mouth. He digs his hands into Hoosier’s head, tips of his fingers pressing against his skull, and pushes his hips into Hoosier’s mouth. He swallows it, a low hum emitting from his throat that could mean anything, but Leckie takes as approval.
When Hoosier glances up at him, cheeks hollow around Leckie’s cock and eyes sharp and blue against his island tan, Leckie’s throat closes a little. He’s suddenly aware of the way his breaths echo and the sucking, slick sound of Hoosier’s mouth pulling on his cock above the guffawing of the birds. His spine heats and liquidates, a building hot pressure builds in his stomach, then rushes outward.
His orgasm overtakes him and the island flashes in alternating washed out whites and inky blacks while Hoosier’s throat works his dick, swallowing him through the aftershocks. It’s only when Leckie becomes aware that he’s shaking with every swallow that he loosens his fingers from Hoosier’s hair and nudges his jaw. Hoosier pulls off with a sick pop, mouth red and puffy, and Leckie hardly gives him a moment to breathe before he’s yanking him up by the collar of his dingy shirt.
Hoosier looks sleepy and glazed; it takes a half a second for Leckie to realize that he’s already shot his load into his olive briefs. Leckie doesn’t wonder when he had the time, just tries to angle Hoosier’s face against his. Hoosier turns his mouth away at the last minute and Leckie pulls back, confused, until Hoosier gives him a sheepish look and rolls his jaw from side to side awkwardly.
“Rough work?” Leckie can’t help asking, smirking when Hoosier’s neck flushes.
“I don’t see you offering.”
“I might’ve if you weren’t such a two-stroke virgin.” Leckie reaches both hands up to Hoosier’s neck, draws his thumbs behind Hoosier’s ears to the hinge of his jaw and massages the divot there. When Hoosier opens his mouth against the pressure, he looks both stupid and obscene, lips cherry red and fat.
“Well if you’re gonna bitch I’m sure High-Hips is—” Leckie presses his mouth against Hoosier’s relaxed lips, still cupping his neck, to cut Hoosier’s half-hearted reply short. Hoosier’s pulse still flutters beneath his fingers.
Hoosier moves off him with a low grunt, leaving a mess of sweat in his wake. Mottled damp leaves stick to Leckie’s thighs and ass when he pulls his pants up. He’s going to have to dive into the river again before lights out.
Hoosier sighs irritably, his dark mood resettling even while Leckie’s hand lingers at his neck. When he picks up his dungarees, they’re sodden from the residual water clinging to the fallen leaves and the rip gapes open and raw, tatters of green thread hanging out like the many teeth of a shark.
Leckie grabs the garment from him, winces when Hoosier only lets go at the sound of the fabric ripping further. Off Hoosier irate glance, he explains, “I have five sisters, all right? None of them would play catch with me.”
“So it’s not so much your dress blues as it is your dress that your pop thinks you’re missing.” When Leckie glances at him, Hoosier has schooled his features into something that probably passes for innocence in the cathouse he was raised in.
“Call it a trade,” Leckie says evenly.
Hoosier leans back against the tree, settling himself into the long arms of the roots. “Always knew that skill would come in handy.”
“Yeah,” says Leckie. “Me too.”