Actions

Work Header

Broken Record

Chapter Text

The first wet dream Nate ever had starred none other than Samuel Drake. 

It scared him more than anything else, and he pushed that shit as far back into his small collection of repressed memories as he could. 

Teen-aged Nate got up for breakfast that morning, just like all the other boys in the orphanage, and pretended like it never happened. Class that day was boring, he got a scraped elbow playing kickball at recess, dinner was as uneventful as ever; everything panned out as it normally did. What had happened in his subconscious dreaming mind the night prior changed nothing during the day.

Avoidance had worked well for a while– or as much as it could when scenes from the dream kept popping up in his mind’s eye to replay in vivid detail– and when he was a little older and a tad more mature, logic worked even better. So what if he had a wet dream about his older brother? It’s perfectly normal… it was only one time… it didn’t mean anything…

Maybe that wasn’t “logic” as much as it was “brushing-it-under-the-rug”, but it was an issue he desperately didn’t want think about. 

He had only been thirteen. No thirteen year old was equipped with the mental fortitude to deal with that kind of psychological mess, especially what with all the other shit he had to deal with around that time.

It didn’t really matter what he labeled it, so long as it worked in making him feel less like a freak. It was being dealt with, in his own round-about and possibly unhealthy way, and that’s all that mattered.

Life went on, Nate grew up, the dream was forgotten, everything was fine.

Up until he turned twenty. 

“Hey little brother, c’mere.” 

Nathan had just walked into their motel room holding a few bags of groceries. Sam had his back to the door, shoulders squared as he hunched over what Nathan knew were prison blueprints and Avery’s crewman’s letter. 

“Hey, yeah, just give me a minute,” Nate replied as he headed over to the tiny motel fridge. He really couldn’t complain about it much, at least this room had one. The last place had really been a shit-hole.   

“Find anything new?” Nate asked as he walked over to Sam with two freshly opened bottles of beer, “It’d be a pleasant surprise, considering you’ve done nothing but look over those old papers for days.”

“Ha, ha. I’ll have you know, I did find something new, thank you.” Sam took the offered bottle with a grin and took a drink before continuing. “And it’s gonna help with gettin’ us in.” 

Nate quirked an eyebrow as he took a swig of his own beer– god bless fake IDs– and motioned to Sam to continue on. 

“Looking over these maps and blueprints, it’s pretty obvious we aren’t sneaking our way inside.”

“Yeah, we’ve decided that already.”

“Keep your pants on brother, just listen.” Sam brushed the blueprints to the side, uncovering a few loose papers with profile shots in the top right corner and what looked to be short descriptions underneath. “These are how we’re gonna get inside.” 

Nate set his beer down and reached past his brother to grab one of the few sheets of paper. The one he came back with had a picture of an angry man with a thin face and patchy beard printed with black and white ink in the corner. 

“Adelmo Escarra… Five foot eleven inches, hundred seventy pounds, married, four kids… Sam, what is this?” 

“Profiles of only the shadiest bunch of Panamanian prison guards,” Sam couldn’t keep the pride out of his voice, “One of these lovely men will be chosen to assist us in getting into La Mina de Arena. This guy right here, uh… Vargas Madera. He’s top of the list so far.” Sam sought out the profile of a short tubby looking man with a balding head and tapped the paper twice. 

“Yeah, for a price. I don’t think any of them will risk their cushy prison guard jobs for our word on a cut of Henry Avery’s lost treasure.” Nate placed his paper back among the rest of them and grabbed his beer. 

“Ah, that’s why we’re gonna pay the one we choose ahead of time. Well, half up front, half after.” 

“And… with what money, exactly?” Nate motioned to the room around them, bringing attention to the two bed motel they currently called home. 

“Hey, hey, hey. Don’t you worry that pretty little head,” Sam slung an arm around his brother, turning him away from the table covered in a mess of scattered papers, “I’ve been given a chance to make some new connections thanks to a few of our old connections.” 

“New connections… that will front tens of thousands of dollars to get us into La Mina de Arena, so we can maybe find a clue that would give us a slight chance to find the greatest pirate treasure in history?” 

“Exactly!”

“I was being sarcastic, Sam.”

“And I was ignoring it, little brother.” Sam grabbed Nate’s shoulders and turned him so they were face to face. “I have a good feeling about this. One of these connections will go through for us, and then before you know it we’ll be in that prison, one step closer to Avery’s treasure.”

It was always hard for Nate to stay pessimistic when Sam exuded optimism, like he was now. One look into those bright hazel eyes and the argument was over before it even began. 

“Alright.”

Sam’s smile was blinding. “Yeah?”

“Yeah, yeah, alright. You can meet with these connections.” 

“Then I better get ready.” Sam clapped him on the shoulder before passing him to the bathroom.

“Wait- tonight?” 

“Yeah, I’m meeting a guy named Rafe Adler. Heard some promising things ‘bout him. Real high class blue-blooded type, though. I’ll need to look my best for our little date.” 

For a reason Nate couldn’t put his finger on, that made his blood run cold. He shook the feeling immediately. “Funny. He taking you to dinner and a movie?”

“Nah, just the dinner.” Sam was around the corner in the small bathroom, the door left open and the sink running. 

Nathan swallowed, at a sudden loss for words. 

“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea, Sam.” 

“What?” His older brother poked his head out from around the corner, half his face shaved and the other half covered by a thin layer of shaving cream. “What’s with the sudden change of heart?” 

“Well- I, We… We don’t even know this guy, what if he’s dangerous? What if he pulls a gun?” 

“In the middle of the established El Gaucho? I doubt it. Place was his choice.” 

So they’d already agreed on a place and everything. Great. From his choice in eating establishment Adler already sounded like an asshole. 

“The place where all the waitstaff wear tuxedos? Jesus… I’m just saying, he could be a total nut-case. There’s a good chance he won’t even take to funding our project, plus splitting the treasure by a third..." He trailed off, "I don’t know. I think we have this covered on our own.” 

“We don’t have a lot of options here, Nathan. There’s no harm in trying. If this case doesn’t work out, then no big deal, we’ll try another. But from what I’ve heard of the guy I’m pretty positive I can hook him. Plus, you know my charm is irresistible.” 

Yes, Nate did know. Which made him all the more uncomfortable with the whole thing. 

He was standing in front of the old TV lost in thought when Sam came out of the bathroom in his undershirt and pants with a towel around his neck. 

“I’m gonna be taking a shower now, to get ready. We good on this?” 

Nate wanted to keep pushing, to say no, they weren’t good, but Sam had looked so full of hope before. Now his eyes had a subtle hint of pleading to them, and Nate swore he did that shit on purpose… 

“Yeah, fine,” He sighed. 

“This will go through. Plus, two thirds of four hundred million is still a hell of a lot of money. We just need to be sure we can get to it, yeah?” Sam grabbed a pile of clothes from the foot of his bed and disappeared into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him this time. 

Nate flipped on the TV and fell onto his own bed. He was watching the ceiling rather than whatever was on, but it made for decent background noise. The thought of Sam meeting up with some slimy rich boy made his skin-crawl but he wasn’t one hundred percent sure why. 

Sure, the danger to Sam’s life and well-being first off, but Nate knew Sam could handle himself. It was a little silly to think his brother would get offed now after witnessing him save not only his own ass, but Nate’s as well so many times over the years. Even if it came down to that, Sam always kept a gun on him. He wasn’t an idiot. Maybe what really set Nate off was that after all these years of being a two-man team, they were now looking to involve a third. 

But no, that wasn’t it either.

They’d worked with others in the past. Nate hadn’t had a problem with any of them before. Hell, he’d even thoroughly enjoyed the company of a few. Victor Sullivan came to mind. Plus, it wasn’t like this Rafe guy was coming along for the ride. He’d be there for a few meetings, they’d touch base with a few phone calls, and that’d be it. Simple. 

How he wished they could work with Sully on this one… But the man was positioned somewhere in East Asia, busy collecting paintings or something like that. So, they had to resort to picking up shady business deals from less-than-trustworthy connects. 

The door to the bathroom opened, shaking Nathan out of his thoughts. He hadn't even heard the water turn off. Either Sam had showered and gotten dressed more quickly than usual, or time really flew by while one was brooding. 

Sam walked into their shared room dressed in a dark three piece suit that, Nathan was put out to admit, really fit him nicely. The white, well-ironed, button up shirt was tight around his chest and waist and arms, but just enough to show off his toned body. The dark green vest cinched at the waist just right, and a tie the same color rested underneath. The black pants hugged his thighs, and weren’t too loose past the knees or baggy around his shiny black shoes. The only thing he was missing was the black jacket to tie it all together.

His hair was styled differently for the occasion, gelled tastefully to the side, and not over-producted either. It looked soft and touchable. 

He looked up from adjusting his cuff to see his younger brother flopped back on the bed, the TV on but volume down low. 

“You still pouting over the whole date thing?” 

It took Nate a moment to realize Sam had spoken. “No!” He had said that with too much force, shit, “I mean, I was just watching this show and it got me thinking, that’s all.” 

“Uh-huh…” Sam glanced to the TV then back to his brother, a smirk playing on his lips, “The Golden Girls got you thinking? ‘Bout what, your newest lasagna recipe?” 

Heat rose to Nate’s face and he threw the closet thing he could grab, in this case a pillow, at Sam. The older man caught it with no trouble, laughing all the while. 

“Hey, fine! I’m not one to judge.” He tossed the pillow back to Nate, where it landed with a plop on his face.

“Shut up.” The words were muffled from the fabric and cheap cotton filling, but not enough to be misheard. 

“Gonna keep that there then?”

“I don’t feel like moving it.”

“Then how will you tell me how I look?”

“Stunning. Perfect. Handsome.”

“Nathan, c’mon.” 

Nate sighed and sat up, grabbing the pillow as he moved to hold it on his lap. 

Sam had shrugged on the last piece of his suit, black buttons all done up.  

The jacket was just as perfectly tailored as the rest of the suit, sleeves cut to let a little bit of the white button up poke out and show off the polished silver cuff-links. They matched the silver tie bar that sat at just the right position on the dark emerald green fabric. 

It’d be a fucking lie to say Sam looked anything other than perfect. Except for one thing.

“You know how to clean up, I’ll give you that. But your tie is a little off, c’mere.” 

Nate stood at the end of his bed and Sam walked over, looking for all the world like he stepped out of a male fashion magazine. 

When his brother was close enough, Nate could smell the cologne on him, soft and subtle, mixing well with his natural scent. His mouth went dry. 

“Well, you were right.” His voice was a little strained, but he doubted Sam would pick up on it.

“Usually am. But about which particular thing this time?” When his brother talked Nate could feel the vibrations of his voice on the back of the fingers that were adjusting his tie. The bastard had sprung for silk.

“There’s no way Rafe will say no to you.” 

Their met eyes for a moment, and Nate thought the color of his tie and vest couldn't have been more perfectly chosen. They brought out the green tones in Sam’s eyes. 

Nate’s brain came back to him and he cleared the lump in his throat as he patted the tie, which now lay immaculate against Sam's chest, and moved a step back. He raked his eyes over his brother one last time, telling himself he was only looking for any imperfections. 

“Knock ‘em dead, Sam.” 

Sam chuckled, “Have I ever let you down before little brother?”

Sam grabbed his wallet off the TV stand and pocketed it before heading to the door. He sent Nate a wave and a ‘don’t wait up!’ before stepping out to his not-so-much-of-a-date. It was easier to think of it as that. 

Even with Sam gone, his scent still lingered. Nathan groaned. 

His cheeks felt flushed and he convinced himself the blush was just lingering from before. That Sam's ass in those pants had nothing to do with it. 

Chapter Text

Nate was asleep by the time Sam returned to the motel room. 

He had tried to stay awake, but two a.m. rolled around and then three, and he just couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer. He’d fallen asleep on top of his covers, still dressed in the clothes from earlier that day.

Sam wasn’t the quietest coming in, and the door to their room closing knocked him back into consciousness.

“Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to wake ya.”

Nate hummed in response, the grogginess of getting– he glanced at the digital clock– less than three hours of sleep fogging his mind.

He watched Sam shed his jacket and loosen his tie with a dumb smile plastered on his face the whole time.

“Your little date go well I take it?”

“Veeeeery well.” Sam spread the word out just a beat long enough for it to be out of the usual.

“Are you drunk?” Nate rubbed his eyes and sat up to get a better look. He’d gotten tipsy with his brother enough times in the past to know the signs.

“We had a few drinks, yes.” Sam shrugged and he almost succeeded in making it appear normal. The motion lead to him losing his balance and nearly toppling over.  

“Jesus Christ, were they three-fourths vodka?”

Instead of answering Sam made his way into the bathroom to relieve his bladder, which was fine, because Nate wasn’t really expecting one.

He also wasn’t expecting Sam to collapse in his bed when he had finished taking care of business. 

Nate was lain back with his eyes closed, ready to drift back to sleep when he felt his mattress dip under the other man’s weight. His tired eyes shot open and he looked at his brother with blank confusion. 

“What are you doing?” 

“Getting some sleep, what does it look like?” The words were mumbled and Sam didn’t even have enough regard to crack open an eye. Their room was lit only by the light coming from the bathroom, but it shone on Sam’s face enough for Nate to see that he didn’t really give a shit about what he was doing.

“Okay… And you’re in my bed because the motel owner finds me cuter and somehow snuck me the more comfortable mattress. I get it.”

“Mine has all the shit on it.” Nate propped himself up to look at the other bed in the room, the one belonging to Sam for as long as they stayed here. It was indeed covered in papers and random articles of clothing, plus one large suitcase. 

“Then move it!”

“Mm, too tired,” He grumbled. 

“Sam, this bed can barely pass as a full. We’re not both gonna fit.”

“We fit fine, stop arguin’. Sleep.” 

“You’re still in your suit, it’s gonna be ruined. How much is it even worth, three, four hundred?”

A pause. “…Eight.”

“Eight hundred dollars?! Sam!” 

Sam rolled onto his stomach, buried his face in the pillow that wasn’t his, and groaned. It was as good of a ‘fuck off’ as any, and Nate wished he could let the whole thing slide as much as Sam seemed to want it to. 

Only now things were even more awkward. 

The change in position had only brought his brother closer and now Sam’s side rested right against Nate’s body and he found himself more up-close and personal with Sam’s muscle definition than he had been in years. He never imagined he’d actually be feeling it over seeing it. 

“Sam…”

Nathan.” It wasn’t so much pleading in Sam’s voice as it was demanding. So much so that it was easily detected even through the pillow. Nate knew when he wasn’t going to win. 

“Fine, Jesus Christ, just move over a little then.” 

Sam obliged, but even then when Nate went from propped up on an elbow to laying down, it was a tight squeeze. 

It felt ridiculous. Not to mention completely uncomfortable. 

Nate shifted a few times, then a few times more, and huffed in irritation when he couldn’t find a decent position. 

“This isn’t working.” Sam’s voice was clear of any pillow muffle, and closer than Nate expected it to be, making him jolt a little. 

“You know, I’d almost forgotten how intelligent you are.”  

“Just turn on your side, facing the wall, smart-ass. I have an idea.” 

Nate mumbled under his breath, but did as Sam directed. He had barely settled when he felt steady arms wrap around his middle and pull him back against a warm body. 

“There, perfect. Now sleep.” Sam’s words were slightly slurred, accent heavier like it always was when he was tired or had kicked back a few drinks. Nate was sure this was only happening due to the influence of alcohol in his brother’s system. 

“Just…” Nate was at a loss for words, brain not really processing the bizarre situation, “Don’t snore.” It wasn’t exactly what he wanted to say, but what he wanted to say probably wouldn’t bring things back to a level of normalcy. 

Sam hummed and Nate could feel his breath on the back of his neck. He suppressed a shudder.  

Yeah… Alcohol. That must be it. 

Just like how exhaustion was the reason Nate relaxed into the embrace. The only reason. 

 ~⚔~

It was a mystery at how they got here, but it didn’t matter, not really. All that mattered were the hands on his body that ran across flesh and left the surface of his skin flushed in goosebumps; the heated skin on skin and how every touch made his heart flutter in his chest.

Fingers moved from caressing his neck and dragged down his chest. They danced across the muscles on his stomach, and teased even lower, making his head swim. 

He felt more than saw, and the sensations left him breathless and desperate to be touched everywhere by those hands. He wanted to feel the body above him, wanted to press every inch of themselves together until he didn’t feel like he was drowning with need. 

The one touching him now could sate the burning, they could calm the trembling of his body, the raging in his blood that begged for more. 

Every press of their soft lips to his jaw, his neck, his collarbone, his chest, sent a current down his body, alighting his nerves and pooling somewhere deep between his hips. 

“Sam…” He said it like a prayer.

Because who else could it be? 

Those dark intelligent eyes, his full lips. Even without seeing him, Nate knew it wasn’t anyone else, it never had been. 

All he wanted was to feel those lips against his. All he could think about was that deft body over him and how good it would feel to grind against the hardness in Sam’s pants with his own. Those thoughts settled over him like a dense fog and consumed his mind until it was the only thing that made sense.

Sam touched him and Nate gasped, scrambling to find purchase as his brother stroked him slowly. 

He buried one hand in Sam’s hair and the other in the sheets under him. A smile played on Sam’s mouth, full of his usual cockiness and it made Nate weak.

The pleasure built along with the pressure. Sam was speaking but Nate was too lost to himself to hear what he was saying. The strokes grew faster and Nate arched his back and tilted his head back in a silent beg for more. The smile on Sam’s face grew, and then…

Nate woke, taking a moment to place exactly where he was. He blinked open his eyes and found he was still wrapped in Sam’s arms, although in a different position than when they fell asleep. At some point in the night he had flipped over, and now his face was buried in his brother’s chest. Sam’s breathing was steady and deep, and Nate was relieved to see he was still asleep. 

A very good thing, because he didn’t think he’s ever woken up so hard in his whole life. 

He needed to leave. He needed to take the coldest shower he could and get away from Sam. But there lied the issue… Getting away from Sam, without waking him. Near impossible when the asshole was wrapped around him the way he was. Maybe if he moved slowly and tried not to jostle the bed too much… But that was almost as impossible due to the stiff mattress and cheap frame. He had to just go for it and hope Sam had drank a sufficient amount of booze last night to keep him in a deep enough slumber to escape unnoticed. 

Nate moved, lifting the arm his brother had on top of him with care. It dropped at Sam’s side with more force than he had wanted and he paused for a few seconds to make sure it hadn’t woken the man. Nate let out a quiet sigh and got himself up to his hands and knees, cursing Sam for blocking him in against the wall. Now he had to crawl over his brother to stand. He was able to get one leg over and then realign the rest of his body to get a foot on the floor, which made him end up in a sort of awkward straddle.

Then, Sam moved under him. 

Nate froze, his eyes wide and unblinking as Sam shifted onto his back in his sleep. Or at least, he hoped it was in his sleep. Suddenly being too lazy to change into sleepwear had been the best decision in the world, because at least if his brother did open his eyes, the jeans did a well enough job at keeping certain things hidden. 

Sam settled again, and after a beat Nate relaxed. 

“Mm, where you goin’?” 

Son of a-

“Just catching a shower. Go back to sleep.” 

Sam mumbled a few words that were totally unintelligible and yawned. With that, he was out again like a light. 

After that close call Nate wasted no time hopping off the bed and moving to the bathroom, stopping to grab fresh jeans and a clean shirt as he went. He hadn’t even realized he was holding his breath until he released it as he was leaning against the closed bathroom door. 

Now that he was alone and able to think, his mind almost immediately brought up how it looked to have Sam laying between his legs, which in turn brought back bits and pieces of the dream. He cursed out-loud. His little problem had actually died down somewhat during his escape, but he could already feel his blood changing course. 

He bit his lip and stripped, then hopped into the small tub and threw on the water. It was freezing but that had been the point. He grabbed the bar soap and cleared his mind of anything other than mundane cleaning rituals; which was easier said than done.

It was going to be a long day.

~⚔~

After his shower and morning routine, Nate reentered their room to find Sam up and awake. He had only been in the bathroom for about twenty minutes, but Sam must have gotten up soon after he left. 

“Mornin’ sunshine,” Nate greeted. “Enjoy my bed?”

“It was a refreshing change of scenery, and much more comfortable. You gotta be on to something about the owner thinkin’ you’re cute.” 

Nate laughed. “I’m surprised you remember that.” 

“Yeah, well. I wasn’t as drunk as you think I was.” 

He shot Sam an unamused look as he took a seat at the end of his bed. “You were pretty drunk. Speaking of, tell me what went down with Rafe. We have a deal going?” 

“Yes, little brother, we do!” Sam walked over to the desk and shifted through papers, pulling out the profiles of the prison guards. “Adler has copies of these guys, plus a few others he’d said he’d look into. We're on our way.”

“When can we expect to pack our bags?”

“Weeell,” Sam leaned back against the table and rubbed at his cheek, “Not for about another year. Maybe less, maybe more.” 

Nate whistled low. “A year? That’s not as soon as we’d hoped…”

“That it isn’t. But Rafe says it’ll take a while to track down some connections of his own, not to mention pick out a guard and make the whole money deal with ‘em. Says we need to be tactful to pull this off without future complications.”

“Not exactly your style,” Nate mused. But Rafe had a point. He found he was actually glad for the rich boy’s assiduousness concerning the plan.

“There is a such thing as being too careful. But Adler is fronting the money, so I won’t push. Very much.” Sam shot him a grin and Nate rolled his eyes. 

“Well hey,” Nate stood from the end of the bed and walked over to the desk to stand right in front of Sam, “Instead of sitting on our asses doing odd jobs for cash until the bribe goes through, how about we take a little trip and pull off a much easier hunt?” 

Sam cocked an eyebrow at him. “What d’ya have in mind?”

“Have you ever heard of the Neahkahnie treasure?”

“Neahkahnie… That mountain on the Washington coast?”

“Oregon, actually. It’s been a while since I heard the stories but according to legend a shipwrecked Spanish crew buried their chest of gold somewhere on the mountain, and supposedly it’s guarded by the ghost of a crewman they buried with it.” 

“I always did like ghost stories,” Sam smiled and crossed his arms, "And I guess we could make use of a chest of gold…”

“I’ll have to do a little research, but there’s been talk of secret tunnels, human remains, stones with mysterious markings…”

“All good signs that point to historic treasure,” Sam added.

“Exactly right,” Nate nodded. “So, are we gonna see some of the esteemed Pacific Northwest?”

Sam clapped him on the shoulder and Nate smiled. “Looks like we’re visiting Oregon, brother.”

Chapter Text

It was almost comical, how easy it was to pinpoint the exact moment they flew into Oregon. 

The surface below changed from patchwork squares of diluted browns and yellows to dense forests of rich greens as they crossed the skies out of California. Throughout the trip, Nate had seen valleys like scars upon the earth, roads and naturally discolored lines in the rock and soil spread like veins underneath skin, mountains tipped with white snow that pierced the skies; all outside the small rounded window.

It had been a long and boring flight however, no matter how beautiful the scenery was for small pieces at a time. Still, he was grateful to have a flight partner that readily traded him for the window seat. He couldn’t imagine the boredom had he been seated in the aisle, starved of the only entertainment on this plane.

Sam acted like he didn’t, but he had always had trouble with flying– not that they got to do so very often– and being sat next to the window didn’t exactly help take one’s mind off thinking about how far they’d be falling if anything went wrong with the plane. Right now, Sam was face down, head tucked within his folded arms atop the lowered meal tray. Nate couldn’t tell if he was sleeping at the moment, although he had been earlier. He bet it was difficult to stay unconscious with all the turbulence, added to being a nervous flyer to begin with.

Then again, he wouldn’t be surprised if Sam was exhausted enough to sleep through a nose dive. They had to catch a five a.m. flight, and as far as Nate knew, his brother hadn’t slept till they boarded. It was well past seven in the evening now, due to layover times and connecting flights, and the setting sun cast a soft orange glow on the world. The trip to Oregon from Massachusetts was not a fast one. 

The pilot came on the intercom and gave the passengers an update on arrival, along with current weather conditions and local time. They had about fifteen minutes till landing in Portland. Sam hadn’t roused with the announcement and Nate turned his attention back to the window. He would let the man sleep until they started descending.

As he watched the forests and mountains pass by he thought on what he had gathered pertaining to the old Spanish pirate treasure over the past couple days. There wasn’t much out there, but through books and arduous internet searching he had enough information to feel good about beginning a chase.

He and Sam had tried following nothing but thin threads and scattered straws to treasures before, and they had never ended up in anything other than disappointment and a waste of money.

Not this time.

This chase felt different. More tangible.

They had a set search area, which was a wonderful start in and of itself, but also rumors of rocks with strange markings, said to be left by the pirate crew themselves, that would point them right to the hidden chest of riches.

It sounded like the easiest Easter egg hunt in the world to Nate. 

If it was more than just a tired folk legend, that is.

The possibly of it being nothing more than ghost story didn’t scare away Sam and it definitely didn’t scare away Nate. They had, after all, shaped their entire lives on stories. Hunting histories that were lost to time was more than a hobby, it was how the brothers defined themselves. 

Thirty five thousand feet in the air, on the way to adventure and a pile of riches, right next to his older brother… Nate reflected on how far they had gotten being a couple kids that started out abandoned in an orphanage. He had never imaged that he’d get to live his life chasing the tales he had lost himself in so many times while reading his books, but there was nothing else he’d rather be doing. 

The plane jolted around slightly and Nate felt his stomach flutter and his center of gravity shift, signifying the plane making it’s decent.  He pulled his gaze away from the the window to wake his brother but found it was unnecessary. Sam was already sitting up and had his eyes leveled on Nathan. 

“Mornin’ sleeping beauty,” He greeted. 

Instead of answering Sam smiled at him with a glint in his eye that had a softness to it. It was a look that instilled a sense of contentment and comfort in Nathan, apposed to worry for why it was there. “What’s got you all smiley?” 

“Hmm?” Nate’s eyebrows knitted questioningly.

“You were lookin’ out the window and smiling just now,” Sam nodded toward the double planes of sturdy airplane plastic, “Looked like a love-struck teenager zoning out in class.” 

“Maybe I just really like trees.” It was a sarcastic answer, and Sam knew it, but thankfully he followed the bait anyway. Nate wasn’t sure what he’d say if his brother decided to push. 

“Yeah? Good thing the Pacific Northwest has a lot of those.” Sam’s sentence ended in a yawn and as much of a stretch as he could get in such a small space without elbowing his brother in the head. “Sleeping in planes somehow makes you more tired than before you started.” 

“Doesn’t look comfortable, that’s for sure.” 

“While you track down some locals to get information don’t be mad if I’m at the room sleeping.”

“'Course not, you’re a mess.”  

“And yet I still look this good.” Sam winked at him and Nate gave his brother an unimpressed look in return. He couldn't, however, keep the amused smile from his lips, which Sam definitely noticed, so it kind of ruined the effect. “It’s about time you’ve headed your own adventure little brother.”

“I can handle simple recon, Sam.” And that’s all it would be really. Tracking down a handful of locals in search for more information on the treasure and surrounding area. It wasn’t like Nate was going to head out into the wilderness of the mountain on his own. He wouldn’t call lonesome interviews ‘heading his own adventure’. 

“'Course, it’s just that this is the first one that was your idea… I’m a little proud is all.” 

“Yeah, well, you shouldn’t get all the fun, right?”

“Eh, I wouldn’t call this kind of prep work fun. Only rarely does it turn out in free dinners and dressing up.” 

Nate shrugged. “I dunno.. I always liked researching.” 

“True enough.” 

The ground below grew closer and closer until finally the wheels touched down against the long stretch of pavement. Their plane pulled into it’s gate after a few minutes, and soon, after the jet bridge was connected to the door, they would be able to deplane. 

A growl coming from his left pulled Nate’s attention, and he saw his brother hold a hand over his stomach.

“Speaking of dinners though, track us down some food while you’re out?” 

“Yeah, Sam, sure thing.” 

~⚔~ 

“Don’t shove!” 

“I’m not trying to.”

“Hey, hey! Watch the hands!” 

“Watch your knee!”

“Be more careful, Sam.” 

“I don’t know what you want from me here. There’s not a lot of room, if you haven’t noticed!” 

“Well, don’t squirm around so much!” 

“I’m trying to get us outta here, what’s your problem?”

“Nothing, just… Do it with less shifting, please?” 

“That’s not really possible when we’re tied together like this, Nathan. Chill out.”

“You chill out…” 

“Oh yeah, real mature. You could be helping you know.”

“I don’t see how when I can barely even move my legs.” 

“Well lucky for us, you can still move your mouth.”

“Shut up, Sam.” 

Of all the things Nate thought might go wrong on their little adventure picking over Neahkahnie mountain, being tightly held against Sam with thick damp ropes wasn’t one his mind had come up with. 

In their blind excitement at how close they were with getting to the treasure, they had walked right into the jaws of a trap. It was a total rookie mistake, one that shouldn’t have happened to them, the Drake brothers who were suppose to be much more seasoned than to find themselves bested like this.

They had fallen for a trap that was hundreds of years old… If Nate’s cheeks weren’t already dusted with pink due to other things the embarrassment for falling for bait so stupid would have had the honors.  

As it was, the red tint of his face and sweat forming on his palms and in the small of his back was due to the front of his body pressed tightly to Sam’s, from his thighs to his sternum. Luckily, they weren’t dangling meters in the air or over a pit of spikes. Instead, the soggy thick rope had incapacitated them around the trunk of a sturdy tree. Sam’s back was pressed against the rough bark while Nathan had the pleasure of being flush against his smooth, and much more comfortable, brother’s body. 

Both their hands were useless, arms held down against their sides with the pressure of the rope, but Sam had been slowly working his free for the past few minutes. 

To Nathan’s horror, the more Sam shifted around, the more he was made acutely aware of just how much they were touching, which in turn awoken some thoughts he really didn’t need swimming around in his head right now. 

The leg Sam had snug in-between both of Nathan’s pressed further against his brother in his attempts to get free and Nate willed himself to forget the feeling as soon as it happened. There were a lot of ways that Sam could find out about his little brother’s perverted attraction, and this had to be one of the worst. Although, Nate couldn’t really think of a way that he actually preferred.

“Almost… Got it…” Sam muttered in the inches of space between them as he worked an elbow up and out of the rope, “And… There!” With Sam freeing an arm, Nate felt the rope coils loosen just that much. It wasn’t enough to free them both by any means, but it was a start. 

“Just a little bit more and I can shimmy under and out,” Sam explained. Nate was glad at least one of them could still use their brain for something productive. 

Sam leaned his weight onto his left foot and started working his right arm out of the loops next, freeing it much faster than the last. 

“Now, Nathan,” Sam spoke, “Work your arms up and when you get them out push against the trunk behind me. I need enough space to escape under.”

“Yeah, sure.” It was a small blessing that his voice still sounded normal, save for a little breathy, but that could easily be blamed on normal reasons; given the situation. 

With his brother’s arms out of the rope, it was pretty easy to work his own out of the coils as well, he just had to lean even further into Sam to get the right leverage. When freed, he did as Sam asked, setting his palms to the bark on either side of his brother’s head and pushing back into the rope behind him, making enough space for the older man to crouch down, although somewhat awkwardly. 

“Okay, now hold for a little while… Atta boy, Nathan.” Sam was on his knees, hands finding purchase on either of Nate’s spread thighs to keep his balance. 

The last thing Nate needed was to hear Sam utter ‘atta boy’ like that when crouched between his legs. Jesus Christ. He could feel the heat of Sam’s hands soak through the denim of his jeans and he only barely bit back the groan that wanted to work it’s way up and out of his throat. 

Nate refused to look down at Sam while he was below belt-level, and instead glared daggers into the trunk of the tree directly in front of him until he felt Sam slide to the side, out from between the trunk and the body of his younger brother. 

Sam popped up on his right with a giddy laugh and triumphant grin. “See? Wasn’t so bad!” 

“Speak for yourself,” Nate replied. They could be dead, he guessed, so it wasn’t the worst. Still, he didn’t want to repeat this again anytime soon. 

With the mass of Sam’s body gone, it was easy for Nate to wiggle under the rope and free himself. When he rose on the other side of the trap,it was to Sam giving him an odd smirk. 

“What?” He rose an eyebrow. 

“Nothing,” Sam shook his head, the smirk never leaving his mouth, “Let’s get goin’.”

“Yeah,” Nate blinked, watching the retreating form of the older man’s back with slight confusion. He shook his head and exhaled, following after Sam. 

He banished all dirty thoughts from his mind as they picked their way through the forest and followed the overgrown path that the etched stones lead them on. The search was going well, if the traps and markings were any indication. Nate wouldn’t let himself get distracted. 

But try as he might, he couldn’t shake the glint in Sam’s eye and the sly tilt of his lips. It was worrying, to say the least. He had noticed those looks more and more often as of late and he couldn’t pinpoint exactly when they had started, only he knew they hadn't always been there. 

Some part of him told him that his feelings were too transparent, that Sam had caught on at last, and he was struck with such a deep sense of dread that it made his mouth run dry. But that couldn’t be right… If Sam knew, he wouldn’t have a goddamn smile on his face, right? Sam would be disgusted, would tell him off, would stop being so comfortable around him. Unless…

Unless Sam wasn’t totally against the idea. 

The thought that his brother would reciprocate what he felt, even in the slightest, had never occurred to Nathan until now. He never let himself entertain it. In some twisted way, it made sense. Sam had been acting more touchy, that mixed with the odd looks-

No. No, that was nothing more than wishful thinking and sick fantasy. There was no chance that Sam knew, and no way he would ever feel the same. How could he?

Even so, Sam wanting Nate the same way Nate wanted Sam had wormed it’s way into his mind and it was an impossible notion to cast out. Maybe, it was time to test the waters a little. Nothing too strong, nothing he couldn’t explain away in the most innocent of ways.

The early evening air was chilled, the salty breeze off the sea seeking to reach them even in this deep of the forest, but Nate’s blood ran like fire through his veins.

Chapter Text

The door to their sea-side motel opened with a bang. A very tired Nathan walked in first, not caring that he got muddy boot prints all over the carpet. Sam followed him in, just as exhausted as his brother after a full day of hiking the Neahkahnie trails. They had started bright and early that day, the sun just barely over the horizon. Now it was well past night-fall, and the two treasure hunters had little to show for all their work. 

Sure, they had found a solid lead within the marked stones which scattered a path unknown to the public traffic, and sure the booby traps and increasingly common ancient human remains showed a definite step in the right direction, but that wasn't enough to keep Nate running on adrenaline rather than proper sleep. 

Nathan collapsed on the bed, it's thin cheap quilt protecting the clean sheets from his sweat soaked shirt and dirt covered jeans. 

"You are not sleepin' like that Nathan, get up and shower."

Nathan groaned into the uncomfortable thread of the quilt and made the most half-assed motion to sit up that Sam had ever seen. He would have laughed if he didn't feel just as weak as his little brother looked. 

"I don't wanna..." 

"I'm serious, Nathan."

"You've never cared before," Nate argued. He had managed to free his face from the quilt and shoot his older brother an exasperated look. 

"That's because before we didn't share a bed," Sam pulled his own filthy shirt over his head and tossed it to the corner of the room. "If you don't get up now I'll just carry you in with me when I take mine," he threatened.

Nathan squinted at him in a glare, but it held no fire. "You wouldn't."

"Oh yeah? Just try me." 

The two men stared at each other for a few long moments, neither one willing to admit defeat. Sam made a move, taking a step toward the bed, and that was enough to make Nate give in.

"Okay, okay! I'm going." Nathan pushed himself off the bed with shaky arms and managed to keep himself standing as he trudged to the small in-suite bathroom. He turned on the hot water before undressing, the steam from the water filling the closed bathroom completely before he was ready to jump in. 

The hot spray of clean water felt more heavenly than it had any right feeling. Even in early June it was still cold on the beaches of the Pacific Northwest, and there was no refuge from it within the forests of the mountain that overlooked the ocean. Nathan closed his eyes and let the warm spray wash over his wind-abused skin.

Unfortunately, left to it's own devices-- without the distraction of the hike or search for pirate treasure-- his mind drifted unsurprisingly to the man just on the other side of the wall. 

Nathan hadn't forgotten the knowing smirk Sam threw at him after they had wormed their way out of the rope trap. His blood ran cold even under the shower at the memory. This was definitely something to worry about. If Sam knew that Nate had weird feelings for him then where would that put them? They were a team, thick as thieves, an unbreakable pair. But could Sam stand to look at Nate when he knew his precious little brother wanted Sam as more than an innocent sibling? 

Nate didn't know. Didn't know if he even wanted to know. Although... Sam had just threatened to pull Nate into the shower with him... That wasn't so out of the ordinary for them, but Sam had never mentioned anything like that as more than a harmless joke. This time, he had said he was serious, and he looked it too. Maybe Nathan should have tested it. Seen just how far his older brother would have gone with it. But that would have been a horrendous mistake, and Nate knew it. There was no way he'd have been able to shower with Sam and not have his body betray his darkest secret.

He was barely twenty years old, and uncontrollable boners were pretty much a daily occurrence, but popping one in an area so close to Sam, as they were both naked under the water, cramped in the too-small motel tub... That was just asking for trouble. Although, the mental image was pretty nice. 

Nathan groaned quietly, willing his head to clear. He turned all his attention on lathering up his body with the bar of soap they shared. He quickly washed his hair and rinsed his body off before stepping out to towel himself off. With the towel wrapped securely around his waist, Nate stepped back into the room they booked for the entirety of their Oregon trip. 

The room was small but cozy. It had an up-to-date TV, a microwave, and a mini-fridge, like most the motels they stayed in. The only difference was, that instead of booking a two-bed room like usual, Sam had booked them a room with only one. When Nate had questioned his brother, Sam had only shrugged one shoulder and said it was cheaper. That didn't explain why they hadn't started doing it earlier if that was the case, but he didn't question it further.

Nathan wasn't exactly about to complain. Ever since Sam had come back drunk after his 'date' with Adler and fallen in next to Nathan rather than going to his own bed, they had slept together in the same one. Both the first and second time after that night, Sam had been drunk when he plopped down next to Nathan and promptly passed out. It had been easier then to fall asleep for Nate, finding a position next to his brother that didn't require that they spoon. But without fail, when the morning came they were inexplicably wrapped up in each other.

Like the first time, Nathan freaked and worried that Sam was going to push him out of bed and call him disgusting. When all Sam did was yawn and ask what he felt like for breakfast, Nathan let out a surprised laugh and not long after they were sitting down to eat at Shari's. It was fine after that. Nathan actually came to expect waking up in his older brother's arms... as fucked up as that sounded.

If Sam wasn't going to make a huge deal of it, Nathan wasn't either. 

"Bathroom's all yours," Nathan called as he dried his hair with an extra towel. 

When Sam didn't reply, Nate removed the towel from his head and took a quick look around the room. Sam, of course, was comatose on top of their bed. Oh hell no. Nathan was not about to let him get away with insisting that he shower and then fall asleep in their bed just as dirty as Nathan had been. At least he had removed his mud caked jeans and shoes before making himself comfortable. 

"Sam, get up and shower," Nathan spoke firmly as he approached their bed. Sam didn't even so much as twitch. That hypocritical bastard... "Sam," Nathan called again. Again, nothing. "Sam!" 

Nate knew Sam was a heavy sleeper. He had been since before he ran away from the orphanage. Back then Nathan had been tasked with rousing him each morning since the nuns had eventually gotten fed up with it. It wasn't an easy feat, and Sam had just gotten more and more stubborn over the years. Especially so when it came to sleeping or eating. Fucking taurus'

Nathan rolled his eyes and sighed. He was far too tired for this right now, but he refused to let Sam win this round. 

"Sam, I'm going to kick you out of bed if you don't get up right now."

No change.

"Fine! I gave fair warning!" 

Nathan threw the damp towel he used to dry his hair to the ground and shoved at his brother. It was a fruitless effort that ended in making Nathan even more tired than before and nearly fall right on top of the older. He tried again, but this time he crawled up on the bed and pushed from the other side. It seemed just as useless, but after a moment Sam's body budged, just a little. Progress. 

Nathan continued pushing, giving all his muscles could after such a taxing day. It wasn't in vain. He felt Sam give more and more. He was just... about... off... Nathan smiled wickedly to himself. He was winning. 

Just then Sam groaned tiredly and turned over on the mattress, flinging an arm out to grab Nathan and pin him down. Sam was awake, but just barely, and he wanted Nathan to shut up and settle down. 

Nate blinked, finding himself in the awkward position of being trapped half underneath his brother as the older man's arm kept him close. 

"Sam, you can't gripe at me to shower and then fall asleep when you haven't!" 

"Hmm." Was the only thing he got in reply. 

Nathan sighed in irritation. "You're such a pain in the ass, you know that?"

"Mm, you love me," Sam mumbled in his sleep thick voice. 

"You're impossible," Nate deadpanned. 

Sam's breathing was already evening out as he fell back into a deep sleep. 

What an asshole

Nathan moved to free himself from Sam's hold, but when he started to pull away his brother's arm tightened around him, pulling him impossibly closer. Nathan couldn't remember a time when his brother had been quite so... cuddly. It was a shit time for him to start now. They were both basically nude. Nate only had the towel around his waist, and Sam, his boxers. 

The older man smelled like dried sweat and sea spray and just a hint of mud. Nate was sure he himself had smelled similar before showering. It wasn't all that bad of a mix if he was honest. Just something he should definitely not be enjoying when it was his brother he was smelling. 

"Can I at least get changed before you spoon with me, asshole?" Nathan asked it softly, under his breath. He didn't expect a reply since Sam was so obviously asleep. Or, he thought he'd been.

"No," Sam replied shortly, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. His eyes stayed closed and he nuzzled up closer to Nate before adding, "Let it go and sleep already." 

Nathan most definitely didn't think about how close Sam's face was to his, or the feeling of his sun-kissed skin rubbing against his own, or the faint sweet scent of his breath as it ghosted across his neck. 

Nathan didn't think much about anything other than controlling the flow of his blood to decidedly inappropriate places, and trying to fall asleep.

~⚔~

"A honeymoon retreat?" Nathan looked over his mess of notes on the Neahkahnie treasure and met his brother with a questioning look. "What good would that do us?" 

"Rafe tells me he needs info on an old acquaintance. One that will be in Newport starting tomorrow for some kind of group honeymoon circle-jerk."

"What, we're doing Adler's dirty work now? And who goes on a group honeymoon retreat? Doesn't that negate the purpose of a honeymoon? You know, spending days away from everyone but your new spouse and all that." 

"Hey, don't look at me, I don't know how these rich people think," Sam rose both hands in a placating gesture. "And it won't just be as a favor to Rafe, which we should be doing anyway since we need him on our good side. This acquaintance of his is apparently a pretty powerful player in the worldwide game of blue-bloods. His name is Henry Hawkins, esteemed youngest son of the even more esteemed Jamison Hawkins."

"Jamison Hawkins has a hand every year in the Rossi Estate auctions..." Nate mused aloud.

"Exactly," Sam clapped him on the back with excitement. "Rafe just wants us to keep an eye on his son, Henry, and report back whatever we find. If Rafe can get blackmail material on Jamison's son, then it's no problem for him to share in that strong connection with the Rossi Estate."

"We'd have to find something huge in order to shake up the Hawkins family enough to get Adler an opening to weasel into. Do you think Henry taking a honeymoon to Oregon of all places would count?"

Sam laughed at that. "Unfortunately that's open knowledge, little brother. We'd need something more shameful."

"More shameful than the son of Great Britain's biggest business mogul taking his new wife to fucking Newport?"

"Like I said, I don't claim to understand the mind of the filthy rich. Rafe said he had a thing for whales. This retreat has a pretty well rated whale watching tour included."

"They must not have enough whales in England to keep this guy happy then." Nate was skeptical at best. This whole thing sounded a bit too good to be true in his opinion. He didn't trust Rafe Adler as far as he could throw him, and now the guy wanted them to spy on an 'old acquaintance'. Nate got the feeling the relationship between the two rich kids had been more than Rafe let on. 

"So? What do you say?"

Sam was looking at him with those bright hopeful eyes again. Nathan sighed.

"How would we even get in? We don't have the money we'd need, but even if we did, we don't exactly have spouses at our disposal." 

"The money is no problem, Rafe said he'd cover the cost for us. As for spouses..." Sam dug around in his pocket for a moment, Nate watching curiously with a raised eyebrow. "Ah!" Sam pulled out a little black box and held it open for Nathan to peek at what sat within. There was a simple golden ring snuggled among the velvet holding inside. "Nathan Drake, will you do me the honors of marrying me?"  

Sam didn't take the fake proposal as seriously as to kneel on one knee before Nathan in the middle of a high class restaurant. No, he kept his ass perched soundly on the edge of the table Nathan used to work on the Neahkahnie hunt, and had a huge shit-eating grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye as he held out the black box.

Nathan knew the band was solely for selling the story of their recent union to the rest of the honeymooners apart of this retreat. That didn't mean he couldn't poke fun of his brother right back.

Nathan took the ring from the box and slipped it on his finger, wiping away an imaginary tear from his eye. He leaned in close to Sam like he was going to kiss his brother, but kept his lips just inches away as he painted a huge fake smile on his face. He played up the role of over-joyed fiance perfectly, if he did say so himself, even going so far as to run the newly adorned hand through the hair on the back of Sam's head.  

"Samuel Drake... I'd love to do you the honors of kicking your ass."

Chapter Text

The weight of the golden band set firm and heavy on Nate's ring finger. It was distracting and he couldn't stop fidgeting with it. After getting use to the feeling, he found that he... kinda liked it.

Okay, he really liked it. 

When Sam had bid his 'proposal' the night before-- and after they had worked out all the little details-- Nate agreed to go on his ridiculous newly-wed vacation to Newport. The city was only two hours away from where they stayed in Manzanita, the small town located just South of Neahkahnie Mountain, so it would be easy to take a three day trip down the coast and return to their treasure hunt after. 

Right now, they were on their way down the Oregon Coast Highway. Sam had agreed to drive at his brother's request, so Nate was free to turn his face to the sea and soak in the sights. Oregon was a gorgeous state, and it's coast was unique and held a sort of magic unmatched in the entire world. Nate had never been a huge beach person, but the mixture of green forest to the left and the vast grey-blue ocean to the right made for a striking landscape. 

To his left, Sam kept his eyes steady on the windy road ahead. The older man's arm hung out the open window, the wind whipping his hair away from his face as Aerosmith's Get A Grip cassette played in the tape deck. Sam talked about going to a show every now and then, but never got around to it. They were always too busy with old myths to find time to see a concert. 

Nate felt the comfort of familiarity and excitement kindle and set warm fire to his core as he watched the waves in the distance and listened to Steven Tyler sing in the background. The motels were shitty, the cars they rented just as bad and he ended the day more sweat-stained and tired than not, but sitting here next to Sam as they sped down the 101 highway... he knew he wouldn't change this life for anything else. 

They lived on the edge. Practically always had. It was the style of life that fit them both so perfectly. Motel after motel, scam after scam (only to make enough money to cover the cost of their adventures), life-threatening situation after life-threatening situation; Nate had been at the end of a gun more times than he could count now, and he was barely out of his teens. He couldn't remember the last time they had stayed in one state longer than three months... It was an incredibly freeing feeling. Nate spun the ring on his finger as he pondered the moment he was living right now. 

"Hey, Sam," Nathan called, getting his brother's attention. 

"Yeah, what's up?" Sam glanced over to meet Nathan's gaze, but only for a second before returning it to the road. 

"You like Oregon?" 

"Yeah, I like it fine," Sam's eyebrows drew together in mild confusion at the question. "Why do ya ask, little brother?" 

"I just wouldn't mind living here, some day," Nathan kept his attention on Sam's profile, gauging his reaction, "You know, after we find Avery's treasure and all that." 

Sam turned and gave him a searching look; during a straight stretch of road, thankfully. After a few seconds he smiled, small and genuine. "Yeah... Yeah, that might be nice. We have a whole lot of living to do before that though."

"Of course. Wouldn't want you getting bored," Nate affectionately nettled his brother. 

"With you around? Never," Sam provoked right back, hiding a smirk when his younger brother gave him a glare that wouldn't have been so amusing if it weren't highlighted with a blush. "But, making sure we're set for life before we settle down would be ideal."

"Hah. Aren't we already?" Nathan rose his left hand and flashed Sam his wedding ring, it's paired mate catching the sun and glinting brightly where it sat prettily on Sam's. 

"Excellent point." 

The car descended into a comfortable silence after that. Sam lowly singing along to Livin' on the Edge, and Nathan turning his attention back to catching what he could of the ocean between the uneven terrain and tall trees. They were just past Depoe Bay, about fifteen minutes to Newport now. Once there they'd have to check into the boojie thousand-dollar-a-night hotel, that they thankfully weren't paying for, and then live their sappy in-love lie well enough to not raise suspicions. Sam seemed to be confident in their acting abilities.

They didn't look similar enough to be correctly assumed as siblings, which was a small blessing, and both of them could easily slip into different personalities and use unfamiliar mannerisms and speech to set themselves even further apart; if they needed to. Both had witnessed many times before the other's uncanny ability to create a completely different persona and flawlessly fall into it at a moments notice, but usually they hadn't had to keep it up for more than a few hours at most. They'd need that skill now more than ever if they were going to pull off a scam as long as this one would be. 

It killed Nathan a little inside to admit it, but he knew it wouldn't be as hard to pull off for him as it probably would be for any other pair of brothers. 

Nathan clenched his jaw and tried not to let his sigh of self-loathing sound to loudly.

~⚔~

Newport was... not exactly what Nathan had expected. He'd never been before today, and had assumed it would be closer in likeness to Manzanita, a small older town that had the taste of the sea bleeding through every crack of the quaint paint-peeled buildings. Instead, it was of a decent size, with a crowded business district down the long stretch of main street. The traffic was almost worse than it had been driving through Lincoln City. Almost. 

Nathan, being in charge of the map, directed Sam to the resort they were due to check into. The path took them to the East, outside the actual limits of Newport, and into the area of 'Newport Heights', whatever that was. Their path then split one more time, taking them down a private road which was only accessible by pressing a button and signing in with an employee who opened the gate for them. 

Sam flashed Nate an impressed look, no doubt enjoying the special treatment neither of them were use to receiving. Nathan rolled his eyes in return, finding the whole thing extremely unnecessary and uptight.

Their car, which now seemed totally out of place, turned a bend and they came face to face with one of the most posh buildings Nate thinks he's ever seen. The grounds leading up to the retreat headquarters where meticulously groomed, every tree spaced evenly apart and identical in size, no weeds or patches of grass longer than the others to be seen. There were even statues on either side of the wide smoothly paved road, of great maned lions that sat with carved regal grace, their blank stone eyes watching all who entered. 

"Jesus..." Nate muttered under his breath.

"Yeah, you can say that again," Sam dead-panned. 

The building itself looked for all the world like it was carved from white marble. It was modern looking, with tinted black glass making up the entirety of a rounded section of wall. The whole building was angular in a way that somehow worked well aesthetically. It was definitely a sight to see. 

Sam drove them right up to the front entrance-- around a large square fountain which sat in the middle of the widened road, creating a circle for cars to easily drive around and back out of the area-- and threw the car into park at the behest of a uniformed valet driver who stood at the bottom of the building's steps. 

"Good afternoon sirs. Let me be the first to welcome you to La crique de la sirène. You gentlemen must be staying with us for our Nouveaux amours event, yes?" At the affirmative from them both, the man continued, "Perfect. If you would please allow me to take your vehicle off your hands. A employee will be by momentarily to bring your bags to your room."

Sam gladly offered up his keys to the valet as they exited the vehicle, coming around to stand close to Nathan as he thanked the man, one arm confidently snaking around his younger brother's waist to pull them hip to hip. Nathan swallowed a little harder than normal, but otherwise rolled with his brother's persona as easily as he ever had. He wasn't sure if that was actually Sam's body heat he could feel through the material of his jeans, or if it was just his imagination, but either way it made his blood pump just that much faster. 

True to the valet's word, a bellhop emerged from the sliding glass doors of the building before their car had even begun to drive away. The man picked up their bags with another thoughtful welcome and lead them inside, Sam keeping his arm around Nathan's waist as they entered.

The lobby was just as posh as the outside, if not more so. The floors were black marble with white marble worked within, and so polished Nate could see his reflection when he looked down. The furniture in the room were all formed from dark wood. He was no wood expert, but it looked like it could be ebony. A large contemporary fireplace sat in the middle of the lobby, dancing flame open to the room. 

The area was devoid of people, save two uniformed women working the front desk. Sam and Nate exchanged a private look, one that could be interpreted as one shared between star-struck lovers if overseen, but was really meant as a silent 'hey, you doing okay?'. It was a look they'd shared often over the years, what with their line of work, but Nathan couldn't think of a time when Sam's face had been so close to his when it was. 

He took a beep breath. It was only three days, four tops. Nate could handle three days of this. Easy.

~⚔~

Check in went smoothly. Settling into their room-- a little more romantically set up than Nathan would have strictly liked, but hey-- was a walk in the park. But now the two of them walked side by side into the first scheduled event of the retreat, a nice group dinner, and Nathan was starting to feel jittery under the skin. 

It was a fancy affair, one that required them to dress their best. Because of that, they were in well tailored, expensive, slacks and button up shirts. Supplied by Rafe, of course.  Sam had the top three buttons of his undone, making him look like the kind of laid-back man that was born into wealth, never having to worry about a thing in his life. Plus, it did a good job of showing off his collarbones and the top part of his chest. Nathan kept only the first button of his unbuttoned, for comforts sake. He wasn't so much into clothing that hindered his movement. They'd always felt too suffocating. 

The dining room was, you guessed it, just as much an exercise in show-boating as the rest of this place. It was dim-lit and each table was only big enough to seat two comfortably, making for an intimate dining experience. Waiters could be spotted dotting the room, moving from table to table to make sure all guests were well taken care of. 

"Hello gentlemen," the host greeted as they approached the podium. "Name please?"

"Samuel and Nathan Durst," Sam replied with a smile.

"Ah yes, we have a table ready for you. Please, follow me." 

The men followed the host, Nate right behind Sam as they wove in-between tables. The host motioned for them to sit at a cozy table near one of the walls, a clear glass bowl with red rose blooms in a bed of smooth cut crystal as the tables centerpiece. Nate forced himself not to blanch at the tackiness of it and instead gave the host a polite 'thanks' as he sat down across the table from his brother.

"You see our man?" They were a good distance away from the surrounding tables and everyone present seemed to be busy in their own conversations, but even so Sam spoke lowly, just to be careful. 

"No, not yet, but I'm keeping an eye out."

"You remember what he looks like?" Sam asked, not looking up from the menu as he asked.

"Of course I do. Six foot even, black hair that's well styled, green eyes, clean shaven, around one-sixty pounds, favors the color orange and whales." Nate didn't bother to keep a hint of sarcasm out of his voice.

"Hm, okay, so you do." 

"Ye of little faith..." 

"Just making sure, darling. Don't be like that." Sam's voice had gotten heavy with affection all of a sudden, and it made Nate look up from the selection of wines to see their waiter approaching their table. Ah. That was the reason for it. 

"Good evening, gentlemen," the waiter greeted as he set the two wine glasses in his hold on the table in front of them. "Our house wine for tonight is the 1962 Chapoutier-Hermitage, a full red blend hand picked by the head chef to compliment the menu." The man uncorked the bottle in hand and poured the wine into each glass, filling it three-fourths of the way. "I will be back momentarily to receive your orders." With a bow, the man left. Nathan and Sam were alone once more.

"Huh," Nate mused, picking up his wine glass and swirling the blood-red liquid around. "He didn't even ask to see ID."

"That's because this place is suppose to be strictly twenty-one and up. You can thank Rafe for our getting you in with no problem." 

"I've had a fake ID since I was seventeen... I didn't need Adler for that."

"Not one with your fake name on it, sweetheart. And this place is just a bit more critical than the liquor stores dotting middle America." 

"Yeah, okay, fine," Nate admitted defeat, but he didn't have to be happy about it. "I'm still not gonna kiss Rafe's ass for it, though."

"Hey," Sam reached out across the table and placed one hand on top of Nathan's, rubbing his thumb over the thin skin of its back in a soothing gesture. It was simply for show, a move to drive in their romantic relationship for anyone who might be watching, but even still it had the desired effect on Nathan. "You gonna finally tell me what your problem with Rafe is? Every time he comes up you pull this face and get all pissed."

"What face? I don't pull a face." 

"That face. You're doing it now." 

Shit, well... "I just don't trust him is all. You're the only one who's met him, and, I don't know, he strikes me as an asshole."

"Hey if you're that concerned, you can come with next time I meet him. I was planning on takin' you anyway."

"I don't really want to see him."

"Then I don't know what to tell you, Nathan."

"I know, I just... I just wish we didn't have to work with him. It doesn't feel right."

"Little late for that now, little brother. And like I said before, we didn't exactly have the choice of the cream of the fuckin' crop here." Sam met him with a leveling stare, serious in his attitude, but gentle too, how he always was when it came to Nate, "Whatever you're jealous of Rafe for, you don't have to be. I'm not in the market to replace you, you know."

"I am not jealous of Rafe, Sam. That's completely-"

"Hey, wait, wait..." Sam cut him off with a slight motion of his hand. "Look over there."

Nathan turned to look over his shoulder, following Sam's gaze and using the pretext of waving their waiter over as a cover. A man with sleek black hair and body who matched the description of the build of Henry Hawkins stood in front of the host's podium, a stunningly dressed blonde woman on his arm. The man wore a dark blue suit with a black button up underneath the jacket. A bright orange tie and handkerchief completing the look. 

"You think that's our mark, sweetheart?" 

Nathan turned back after catching their waiter's attention and gave Sam a playful smirk, flirty in the right context, but mischievous in another. "That's our mark." After a brief pause he threw in a playful wink and added, "Baby."

Chapter Text

A splash hit Nathan in the face, causing him to flinch and almost topple off the bed floatie and into to water, a string of curses flying from his mouth as he righted himself. He scanned the area the splash came from only to find an empty section of pool, the water rippling from his own thrashing around but otherwise undisturbed. Sam was fucking with him.

Nate twisted around, looking back and forth across the water for his brother, who he knew was in the pool somewhere. Another splash hit him from behind, wetting the back of his hair. A low chuckle followed right after. Nathan spun around only to find the area devoid of any annoying older siblings. He let out a frustrated growl and held still, waiting and listening for any sound from Sam that would give away his position in the water.

The seconds grew longer, nearing almost a minute. Could Sam hold his breath for a full minute? Nate honestly didn't know, but he was just starting to worry about it when a force popped up from below and tipped his whole blow-up bed upside down, tossing Nathan into the water with a shout and a splash. Nate surfaced with a gasp and barely had time to wipe the water out of his eyes before he felt hands on his body. Sam now stood between him and the floatie he was using before being rudely interrupted.

"If you wanted my attention, all you had to do what ask," Nate teased, as he brought his arms up to wrap around Sam's neck.

Code. In this case it really meant: “What's up with our target? Did something happen?”

“I just missed you.” Filler words, used to sell the whole honeymooners atmosphere between the two of them. The important part came next. “Are you hungry? Lunch was just served in the dining hall.”

Ah. Henry must be eating there now.

“I could eat.” Nathan unhooked his arms to move away, ready to dry off and head to their room to dress for lunch, only he didn’t get very far before Sam grabbed his hips under the water to hold him in place.

Nate was only given a second of time to question why that was before Sam’s mouth was pressed against his in a kiss.

It was surprising more than anything to feel Sam’s lips slide against him, as easy as if they did this daily and it wasn't something he'd wished after since he was in high school. Nathan opened his mouth in a gasp, and Sam followed suit, deepening the kiss. Nate felt Sam’s tongue lick just inside his lips, and he was completely powerless to stop the short whine that tore unbidden from his throat. Nate faintly registered thinking ‘fuck it’ in the haze before he tilted his head at just the right angle to fit better against Sam. It was their first kiss. Might very well be their only kiss. Should be their only kiss, considering. He’d take as much as he could get before it ended.

Sam wasn’t one to be outdone. It was a glaring personality flaw he had as a kid, and hadn’t been something the man had grown out of. That much was apparent when Nate tried taking the lead in their spur of the moment affection and Sam retaliated by tightening the grip on his hips before one hand slid to the small of Nate’s back. Sam pulled him closer, until Nate felt his body slot against his brother’s from thigh to chest. Nate leaned into it, adapting far more easily than he should. One of his own hands found the back of Sam’s head and curled into his hair, tugging lightly to move him where he wanted. The blunt nails of his other hand dug into the back of Sam’s neck and pulled a groan from his brother. The encouraging noise was unexpected, and the noise caused heat to pool in Nate's belly.

Nate wished Sam would move lower. Would pepper kisses along his neck, would set his teeth around his pulse. Even through the fevered kiss and feeling of wandering hands, Nate knew that would take him to a point he couldn’t return from. Sam started pulling away, and Nate had to fight hard to not pull him back and make him kiss him more. Longer.

When they were apart Sam licked his lips and Nathan followed the motion with his eyes. Fuck, he wanted to kiss him again. They weren’t alone in the pool, and it was a difficult thing to keep up the rouse of sickeningly in-love newlyweds for the crowd around them and to try to trick Sam into believing it wasn’t how he really felt at the same time. In the end Nathan just let his attraction take over. Easier to pretend it was for show. If Sam brought it up then he could always claim it was an act.

“Lets get outta here.” Sam took Nate by the hand and together they made for the edge.

“Yeah,” Nate agreed. He sounded rough, even to his own ears. He swallowed to clear his throat, hoping Sam would think nothing of it.

The elevator ride back to their room had been… strange to say the least. Sam acted like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Like they didn’t just go at each other like starved dogs not five minutes ago. Nate’s skin was tingling all over. He could still feel the ghost of Sam on his lips. When he licked them, he could taste his brother.

They split ways when they got to their room, Nate taking a quick shower to wash the chlorine off his skin, and he used the time away from Sam to get himself back together. Sam only did it because they needed to keep their cover, he knew that. But that didn’t affect how good it felt. Great it felt.

Nate wiped the steam off the mirror and mentally shook himself. He had to get his game face on. They had a lot riding on this mission going smoothly. He hadn’t forgotten why they were doing this in the first place, and he wasn’t about to fuck everything up.

If Sam wanted to play, then he would play too. Nathan smirked to himself in the mirror, ideas already starting to form.

~⚔~

“You’ve been to quite a few places!” The woman they fell into conversation with, Melissa, sounded impressed. If only she knew.

“My husband and I are prone to getting bored,” Sam turned his head to look at Nate, “We don’t stay in one place for very long. Preferring to... explore.”

“Is that how you met?” The woman’s husband spoke this time, Daniel, if Nathan remembered correctly, before taking a sip of his lunch-time mojito. It was a bit early to drink, but hey, Nathan wasn’t one to judge. He kind of wanted one himself.

“Yes, and no,” Nathan waved over the waiter and instead of setting his hand back on his lap, he rested it on Sam’s thigh, rubbing at the muscle there like it was a normal thing they were use to. “Traveling can get dangerous, if you aren’t careful. Sam and I were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up falling into each other.”

“A bank robbery, if you can believe it,” Sam chuckled good naturedly, intertwining his fingers with the hand Nathan had on his leg. “Of course, I had been eyeing Nathan from across the room before the robber pointed a gun at him… But after everything turned chaotic, we ended up cowering behind the same counter.” Sam’s thumb rubbed absentmindedly at the golden wedding ring Nathan wore on his left hand. Except Nate knew it wasn’t exactly absentminded. Sam had to be feeling as restless as he did right about now.

“I wouldn’t call it cowering,” Nate interjected, “You were surprisingly calm about the whole thing.” Everything coming out of their mouths was bullshit, of course. They’ve never even stepped foot in a fucking bank. But they had to make up something, and the further from the truth it was, the better.

“I was terrified!” Sam assured him. “It was just easy to forget about my own fear in the face of your own.”

“Are you trying to say you put on a tough guy act just to comfort me?” Nathan shot his brother turned fake husband a mock disbelieving look. If he wasn’t so good a lying he probably would have laughed at the absurdity of their improvised story by now. “Or was it actually to impress me?”

“I had to catch your attention somehow.” Sam squeezed his hand and flashed a winning smile.

“As if that green and black suit you wore that day didn’t have me drooling already.”

“Oh?” The surprise in Sam’s voice wasn’t entirely fabricated, and Nate knew that he'd picked up on the little hint immediately. “I don’t quite remember which one that was. Care to elaborate?”

“Green vest, silk tie, black pants… fitted .” Nathan knew he was getting too close to the truth by describing the suit Sam wore to meet Rafe that night. He was playing with fire here, but he almost didn’t care.

“Ah.” Sam let go of Nate’s hand to trail his fingers against his wrist and up the inside of his arm. It was more intimate than Nate expected this lunch to go, and he couldn’t help but melt a little under his brother’s hand. “I know the one.”

“Our meeting was so boring in comparison, Danny!” Melissa exclaimed. Nate nearly forgot they were sharing their table with another couple.

“It wasn’t as exciting as being held at gunpoint, no, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.” Daniel leaned in to kiss his wife on the cheek.

“Do tell,” Sam prompted. He had his arm around the back of Nathan’s chair now, arm resting up against his younger brother’s back.

Nathan tuned out the other couple, and instead inwardly turned his attention to the real reason for them being here. Henry Hawkins sat at the table right next to theirs. It wasn't a stroke of luck that they were seated so close. Melissa and Daniel had been assigned the table, but thanks to Sam's natural charm they had invited the two to join them for lunch. Nathan was seated the closest to Henry, and therefore could pick up on everything he was saying. It was only their mark and his wife at the table, being less sociable than he and Sam were.

So far he hadn’t said anything of any significance. Only conversing about what they meant to do for the day. Sam nudged Nate’s leg with his own, and Nate smoothly snapped his attention back to the conversation at hand, knowing it for the sign it was. Although Sam didn’t move his leg back after, and now they sat thigh to thigh. As if he wasn’t distracted enough already.

“Nathan loves the area actually. We’ve only been in Oregon half a week and he’s already talked about settling here some day.”

“I feel the same!” Melissa gushed, “The sea is just gorgeous, isn’t it?”

“It is,” Nathan’s smile was genuine, “The formations are breathtaking. Have you stopped by to see the Devil’s Punchbowl?”

“We have! I personally favor the rocks lining Depot Bay…” Nathan tuned out the conversation again, knowing Sam would pick up his slack and keep the two engaged enough for him to eavesdrop.

Henry’s conversation had turned to business plans now. That was decidedly better. Maybe he’d let something slip.

Their waiter came and went, dropping off a refill on both Nathan and Daniel’s drinks as he did. The discussion at their table evolved from their careers (Nathan was a bounty hunter, and Sam a retired private detective, apparently), to how long they’ve been together, to where they had their wedding. All of which Nate gave only the bare minimum of effort to be involved in.

Lunch was inevitably coming to an end, and Nathan hadn’t heard a single word that could be used as leverage against the Hawkins family. It was only the first day of the retreat, but they only had three days to get something that would make Rafe happy. According to Sam, all they had to do was spy and report back whatever they saw, but Nate felt that somehow wouldn’t be enough.

Nate bit back a tired sigh and took a look around the room, having nothing better to do while Sam and the other two went on about fishing. Something he knew Sam knew nothing about. Nate caught the eye of a man across the room and gave a polite smile before turning back to their new acquaintances. The man had smiled back, but slowly and with a sort of confidence that immediately set Nathan on edge. He couldn’t shake the feeling of eyes on him after that, and a couple minutes later he looked over again to see the same man openly staring at him.

Nate looked away again, no smile given this time, and resolved to keep his sights set firmly at his own group.

Only, he knew the man was still looking at him. He could feel it making his skin crawl.

Sam must have felt him tense, or squirm, or something , because he looked over with an eyebrow raised in question. He met his older brother’s eye and shook his head. It wasn’t really worth mentioning.

Sam, as ever, saw through him. Nate did sigh then, and minutely tilted his head in the creepy man’s direction. Sam followed the motion and Nate could pinpoint the moment his brother saw what was bothering him. Sam’s relaxed demeanor hardened, and the arm around Nate tightened, just a fraction. Nate couldn’t resist looking over at the strange man again, and found him locked in a stare off with Sam. The man broke eye contact to look at Nate, smirk, and send him a suggestive wink.

That... pissed Sam off.

It really pissed Sam off based on the darkness that fell over his expression.

It was kinda hot, if Nate was being honest with himself.

Melissa and Daniel had caught on to what was happening, and before Nate could crack wise about how cute it was that Sam was feeling threatened by some random dude across the room, Nate felt a hand come up to palm his cheek and turn his head, and then Sam was kissing him. Hard.

Sam was in total control of the kiss this time, prying Nathan’s mouth open with his own, causing his little brother to moan before he could stop the sound from coming out. He will definitely be embarrassed about that later. Later, when Sam’s tongue isn’t in his mouth and moving so sweetly against his own, and oh my god Nathan could cry it felt so good.

Sam, uncaring that they were currently seated in the middle of a full room, moved his lips off Nate’s mouth to place a few quick kisses to his jaw, and then down to the side of his neck where he pulled at the sensitive skin there with his teeth, lapping at it with his smooth tongue after. Nathan tilted his head over without question, giving Sam all the room he needed. Asking for more without having to use words.

“Sam,” it came out sounding more like he was begging than anything else. Nathan tried to keep his head clear enough to… stop him? No, no that would be ridiculous. He didn’t want Sam to stop. But there were people around, AND the couple they had become buddy buddy with were right across the table staring. They couldn’t continue this here. It was hard enough not to embarrass himself further with the noises that wanted to escape.

Sam pulled off him with one last nip at the area where his neck met his shoulder, right above Nate’s collarbone. Their eyes met and Nathan knew the open desire in his brother’s expression wasn’t part of any act, and that Sam could read the same in his own. Well, shit. As far as confessions of mutual attraction went, this was definitely the best way for either of them to find out.

“Get a room you two,” Melissa laughed lightheartedly from across the table.

Sam looked across the room to the man who had been eyeing his brother and was pleased to see he had his wandering eyes planted firmly in his own business.

“What do ya say, Nathan?” Sam moved the hand he had on Nate’s cheek down to his shoulder, his thumb rubbing against the bite mark he left at the base of his brother’s neck. The feeling sent electricity straight to Nathan’s dick. “Shall we get a room?”

Code. ”Are you really okay with this? Tell me you want to.”

Nathan ran his tongue over his lips, tasting Sam, before leaning in and kissing his brother one more time. “I’ve been waiting for you to ask me that all day.”