Even in July, it was generally not too hot here, a fact much appreciated by Jim, long-accustomed to the climate control of the Enterprise.
He was glad that Bones had talked him into buying the tiny cottage on the Oregon coast a few years back. It had seemed silly at the time, putting a fair chunk of what they'd both accumulated over the years into a piece of property that they might be able to visit every few years at best, but he'd found that the remote location was surprisingly pleasant. Plus, it didn't sit empty while they were away. They'd found a property management company that leased it out to vacationers wanting an ocean getaway for a week or two, or even a month, and preferred a homier atmosphere than a hotel. As long as the company received several weeks' notice, they guaranteed that the two men would be able to spend time in the cottage whenever they wanted.
Bones came out onto the slightly rickety porch where Jim was reading. They needed to ask the management company to have it repaired after they left, Jim thought.
"Did you want to go for that walk?"
Jim nodded. "Let me just put this inside," he said, brandishing the PADD on which he'd been checking over the maintenance records for the Enterprise. She was in dry dock undergoing routine repairs – hence their chance to spend time at the cottage.
A long flight of steps, the wood bleached silvery by years of weather, led down the crumbling cliff to a sandy beach below. Southward the sand extended about a mile before ending at a rocky cliff, but if they went north, they could easily go several miles before having to turn back.
"Aren't you going to put on shoes?" Bones asked disapprovingly. He wore a pair of ancient sneakers himself, part of the gear that they kept in a locked closet. It was convenient not to have to store everything elsewhere or haul it around, so they'd filled the closet with mostly clothes and a few other items that they would never need on board ship.
It was oddly pleasant to see Bones out of uniform, not even in surgical scrubs, but wearing worn khaki shorts that showed his hairy legs and knobbly knees, and which could take being dunked in salt water if he decided to go in the ocean. A green T-shirt for a local chowder house topped off the decidedly unfashionable ensemble.
"Nope." Jim led the way to the steps, turning his head to grin back at Bones. "I want to feel the sand between my toes today."
His own outfit was equally informal. Jim had opted for red swim trunks instead of shorts, and his gray T-shirt bore the name and logo of a 20th century band. Joanna had been into retro music when she was studying for her bachelor's degree, and had given it to him then. He kept meaning to get the computer to play some of the music by this group, Duran Duran, but he somehow never managed to get around to it. He had the vague notion that the words might be in Spanish, and despite all of his linguistic training, that was a language he'd never learned well – a few basic phrases, no more.
"If you step on something sharp, don't blame me," said Bones in his driest no-matter-what-I-tell-him-Jim-will-do-what-he-wants voice.
"If I do, that'll just give you excuse to play doctor, won't it?" Jim gave him a smirk, and Bones rolled his eyes.
"South or north?"
"I'd rather go north today. A longer walk sounds good," Jim answered.
He liked that the beach, by state law, was open to everyone. It reminded him of the freedom of space. Private property owners could choose to keep access across their land restricted, but if you could get to a stretch of beach, you could walk along it. Their own stairs weren't restricted, although since the cottage was at the end of an unpromising-looking lane, very few outsiders found it. There was, however, a sign, repainted annually, which warned that unless given permission by the property owners, using the stairs was done at the person's own risk, and any accidents or injuries were entirely the walker's own responsibility. The management company had insisted on the sign as a legal necessity.
Rather unusually, it was a sunny day, and warm enough that Jim didn't feel at all chilly, despite the breeze. If he got too warm, he would wade into the ocean. He knew from experience that the water was always frigid, regardless of the season, and he'd checked the tide this morning. It was coming in now, so it should be quite safe to go into the water.
"More interesting than a treadmill, or even walking up and down the Enterprise's corridors," Bones remarked, turning his head toward Jim and squinting when that brought the sun into his eyes. "Harder to walk on sand, though."
"Agreed on all counts." When they took these long walks, Jim could often feel it in his thighs the next day. Which was not necessarily a bad thing, since it was a good excuse to solicit massage, and Bones was excellent at giving those. "It's not as quiet as the ship, though."
Bones shrugged. "Depends. There's always people around there. Even on those rare occasions when no one else is using the gym facilities, somehow the echo of their talking and the machines' clanking seems to me to linger. The waves and the wind, even the gulls and the insects, don't demand attention in the same way that human-caused sounds do, so to me this is quieter."
Thinking about it, Jim decided that Bones was right, and that probably that was why being here was both relaxing and yet occasionally tense in an odd way. He was probably unconsciously listening for people, and disturbed when he didn't hear any of the familiar sounds.
They walked more or less side by side, but without holding hands. Jim was too prone to dart off to look at some interesting piece of drift wood or other object, or to flirt with the waves hissing onto the shore, to be restrained that way just yet.
After a while, when the walking had warmed him up enough, Jim went all the way into the water, leaving Bones standing at the edge, watching him, where even the larger waves at the moment wouldn't rise above his knees. Funny how Bones looked natural like that, waiting, little glints in his hair where the sun had streaked it lighter although nothing like as blond as Jim's could get if he spent enough time outside. Jim drank in the sight of him, then turned and swam straight out, past the breakers, until he could float shivering in the water, moving gently up and down, buoyed by the salt sea.
It was too cold to stay out very long if he wasn't actively moving, so after only a few minutes Jim headed back to shore, carried the last little ways by the surf, which tumbled him treacherously at the last moment and dumped him, laughing, on his ass at Bones's feet. Bones reached down to grab Jim's hand and pull him up, and now Jim kept hold of that square brown hand as they continued their walk.
By the time they got back to the cottage, Jim was pleasantly tired and a little chilly, but he persuaded Bones to join him in one last dip. Their clothes clung wetly to them when they emerged, water dripping from the hems of their shirts to the ground, and even Bones didn't bother to put his sneakers back on for the brief walk to the steps and up home.
Jim started a fresh pot of coffee -- the real thing, so much better than replicated -- and then joined Bones in the shower to wash off the salt that was beginning to dry uncomfortably on his skin.
"You're cold," Bones complained, when Jim hugged him from behind.
"Not for long." Jim turned the water up a little hotter and nibbled amorously at Bones's neck. "Besides, you could always help warm me up faster."
Bones turned around in the circle of Jim's arms. "Humph. You don't need any help for that kind of heat, and you know it."
It was true, Jim was already hard. Being in the close vicinity of a naked Bones tended to do that for him. He could see that Bones was pretty aroused already, too. Leaning in for a kiss, he hugged Bones tightly again, a corner of his mind marveling as it always did that somehow they'd ended up together, not just best friends but lovers. Professionally, he conceded that Spock was his best possible first officer, but his friendship with the Vulcan, while immensely satisfying, could never reach the same emotional level that he shared with Bones.
Bones was holding him with just as tight a grip, pulling them together so that their dicks aligned, the throb and pulse seeming almost hotter than the water pouring over them.
"Now?" Jim suggested.
Bones shrugged. "Sure, but I'd rather the bed than here."
"Fine by me." Jim grabbed the shampoo, quickly rubbing a dollop through his hair and rinsing it out, making sure all the salt was gone. Bones slipped out of the shower while he was finishing up, and was waiting in bed when Jim emerged, hair still damp despite the toweling he'd given it.
Jim padded across the floor on bare feet, stopping to grab the lube which had somehow migrated from the nightstand to the dresser.
"I want to bottom this time," he announced with a grin. While he was less fond than Bones was of penetration, generally speaking, from time to time he liked to have Bones inside him, liked to watch Bones's face then, looking awed and ecstatic no matter how many times they'd done it before.
"If you insist." Bones gave a lopsided smile. "You're gonna have to fuck me later to make up for it, though."
"Jerk." Jim mock-punched him on the shoulder. "Pushy bottom."
"You know it. But right now I'm gonna be a pushy top and tell you to prep yourself, 'cause I want to watch you do it."
Jim twisted so that he could watch Bones watching him. Squirting a generous dollop of the lubricant onto his fingers, he began to tease his asshole open, beginning by twisting one fingertip in and moving it in circles, coaxing the tight ring of muscle to relax. The second finger followed, but it was when Jim started fucking his own ass in long slow movements with three fingers that Bones's breath noticeably quickened.
"Fuck, but you're hot when you do that," he said.
"So, don't wait." Jim couldn't get off like this; he knew that, they'd tried repeatedly, just to see, but his dick tended to go soft when he had something in his ass, be it fingers or cock or a plug or whatever. He liked it just fine, though, and didn't much mind that it would be more of a wait before orgasm.
"Pass me the lube, then." Bones spread some on his dick and moved closer. Jim squirmed around to meet him, letting his fingers slip out and grasping Bones's shaft to guide it to where they both wanted it to be.
"Love you," Jim whispered as Bones entered him. He didn't actually say the words that often, but somehow today seemed a day to do so.
"I love you, too," Bones replied gruffly. He leaned his forehead against Jim's, pausing for a moment, waiting for them both to adjust before he began to move.
Jim sighed pleasurably as Bones thrust and withdrew. Putting one hand up to Bones's face, he pulled him in for a series of kisses, exploring Bones's mouth – familiar territory yet always newly exciting. He shifted his leg higher, hooking his ankle over Bones's shoulder.
"Someday I'll be too old and stiff for this," he said against Bones's cheek. "Not too distant a someday, either," he added as he felt a twinge in his hip.
"So, we'll use a different position. Do you really think this is sexy talk right now?" Bones's face was flushed and he'd started to move a little faster.
"Guess not," Jim admitted, and returned his attention to running his hands along Bones's back, down to his ass, and pulling him ever-closer.
It was a slow love-making, with no chance of interruption for any ship's crisis, just the two of them touching and loving together. When Bones had come, pressing deep into Jim's body, his face scrunched up in ecstasy, Jim waited for him to recover before untangling himself, guiding Bones's hand to his reawakening dick.
"Want it like that, or do you want me to suck you instead?" Bones asked.
A blow job from Bones was never to be turned down. Jim gave himself up to it, the wetness and suction and hot intensity of Bones's mouth turning him practically inside out, or so it felt as his orgasm pulsed through him.
Then they lay sweaty and spent, enjoying the breeze through the open window. Jim ran a hand over Bones's chest, toying with the springy curls there.
"Wouldn't it be nice to live like this all the time?" he asked lazily.
Bones snorted. "You'd be bored out of your mind within a month. I might last two, but I couldn't take it for that long either. We're doers, Jim. Neither of us is the sort to want to sit around all day on our asses."
"I suppose you're right." Jim yawned and stretched. Sniffing the air, he made a face. "I started coffee before I came and found you in the shower, and forgot to turn it off. I think it's starting to get a little overcooked."
"It'll still be drinkable." Bones chuckled. "You wouldn't believe how crappy the coffee was that I drank in med school. It managed to be sludgy, bitter, and tasteless, all at once. Worse than the stuff from the replicator. Its sole redeeming qualities were heat and caffeine."
"I suppose it would be a waste to throw it out if it's still drinkable," Jim agreed.
He cleaned up quickly, then pulled on a pair of frayed blue sweat pants, and went out to see if the coffee was salvageable. With a little milk, it wasn't too bad, he decided, and passed a second mug over to Bones, who was relatively dressy in jeans, even if they did have a rip at one knee.
"To many more years of vacations here with you." Bones lifted his mug and clinked it against Jim's.
They drank in comfortable silence, listening to the waves on the shore.