“Nervous, Benton?” Yates asks as he pushes the motorbike onto the road, looking back over his shoulder with a quick flash of a soft smile. His leather jacket is snug over slim shoulders, hair that’s just a little long falling over his forehead as he swings a leg over the bike.
Benton shakes his head. There are butterflies in his stomach, but they’re the nervous excitement that comes from looking forward to something all week and then not knowing quite what to do with it when it’s arrived.
“Then get over here and put your helmet on,” Yates tells him, affection in his tone as he delivers the instruction.
“I thought we’d decided you weren’t allowed to order me around on our days off,” Benton says, but he does as he’s told with a smile. Seated, he tries to work out which to hold on to, the bar behind him or the man in front.
“It’s more romantic if you hold onto my waist,” Yates says. Benton can’t see the teasing smirk, but he knows it’s there.
“Well, yes,” Benton agrees - really, isn’t that half the point of going on the bike? “People will see though.”
“So? They won’t think anything of it. And even if they do, we’ll be going at seventy miles an hour; they’re not likely to be able do anything about it.”
Benton doesn’t need any more convincing. Snug against Yates’ back, he wraps his arms around his waist, and relaxes a little. “If you don’t mind, I think I’d appreciate it if we worked up to the seventy miles an hour bit,” he says. “Riding on the back of one of these isn’t exactly the same as being in charge of the ones we have at work.”
Chuckling, Yates squeezes his hand very briefly, and nods. “Of course.” Then he grips the handlebars with gloved hands, starts the bike, and they’re off.
-- -- -- -- --
The miles go by steady and smooth as they coast along country lanes with little traffic and lots to look at, and Benton relaxes. This thing with Yates is still new, this weekend only the second they’ve spent together, so the slight nervousness is probably to be expected. There’s always the brief worry in the back of his mind that they’ll have nothing to talk about; silly, given the number of mornings, evenings and lunchtimes they manage to fill with tea breaks and idle chat, but still. With Yates firm and warm in front of him though, capable hands steering the bike around corners and over gentle hills, nothing but the sound of the wind rushing past and the roar of the engine while Benton holds onto him and breathes, he’s reminded that silence is no bad thing.
Part-way there - not that Yates has told Benton where they’re going as of yet - they pull over at a petrol station to use their bathrooms and have a couple of biscuits from the picnic stash before they get going again. When they’re back on the bike, Benton’s arms settle around Yates’ waist without hesitation, and he answers Yates’ question about going faster with a definite “Yes”.
Pushing the speed limit and then some, Yates takes them speeding along while Benton tucks his chin into Yates’ shoulder and goes along for the ride. Now he’s learned how to move with Yates, he feels safe and secure and connected as much as exhilarated. He can feel the tensing of Yates’ muscles as he handles the bike, wiry and strong and competent; leans into the corners with him and braces himself for the brakes; breathes with him while they fly over green hills and past fields that are beginning to fill with crops.
When they slow down to pull off the road onto something that’s little more than a dirt track through the trees, Benton almost feels disappointed that the journey is coming to an end.
Yates brings them to a stop a few miles into the forest, a clearing with a hill on one side and trees dense around the others, sun shining down strongly onto them while the breeze stirs the grass below and leaves above.
“What do you think?” Yates asks.
There’s only confidence in his voice, but his helmet is still on and his hands are wrapped around the handlebars. It occurs to Benton that he might not be the only one with nerves. It’s not something he expects from Yates and he doesn’t quite know how to handle it. He’s always been better with actions than words though, so he tightens his arms around Yates’ waist in the best approximation of a hug he can give from here.
“I think you couldn’t have chosen a better place for a picnic,” he says firmly, and thinks maybe he chose the right words anyway when he feels Yates exhale just slightly and his shoulders loosen.
-- -- -- -- -- -
They sprawl out on the grass to eat, not bothering with a blanket; it’s been dry for weeks and a few bugs aren’t going to do them any harm.
It’s nothing fancy, Yates says with a shrug, but he’s packed the cheese and pickle sandwiches which are Benton’s favourite, a thermos full of tea with sugar to Benton’s sweeter tastes, and has somehow managed to fit a variety of other snacks in the storage compartment of the bike. They come in rather handy when Benton’s sandwiches disappear in no time; Yates throws cherry tomatoes at him and grins when Benton manages to catch one in his mouth quite by accident.
When nothing remains except half a packet of lucky Hobnobs, Yates moves across to sit next to Benton, and they finish those off as well. Full and content, Benton leans back and looks around, pleasantly surprised when Yates moves so that he can stretch out with his head on Benton’s thigh. There’s a question on his face as he tilts back to look at Benton, which Benton answers by sliding his hand into messy hair, smoothing down strands that haven’t yet settled from the helmet and the wind. The slight worry lines fade away, and Yates shifts until he’s comfortable, while Benton continues to play absently with the warm curls.
“How did you find this place?” Benton asks curiously.
“Pure luck,” Yates replies with a smile. “I went for a drive one of the first weeks after I got assigned to UNIT, and happened to come across it. The car wouldn’t get up the track, so I parked on the verge and walked up. There’s hardly ever anyone else around; the forest is barely big enough to be on any maps and there’s farmland all around, so no-one really knows it’s here.”
“Isn’t it?” Yates agrees. “It’s a nice break from the traffic and smog in London, that’s for sure. I come out sometimes when...” He trails off, as if he’s thought better of what he’s going to say.
“What?” Benton asks, moving his free hand to rest on Yates’ shoulder. For every thing he does know about Yates, he feels as if there are ten more things he doesn’t, and the last thing he wants is for Yates to feel as if he can’t tell him.
“When it all gets too much,” Yates finishes. “London, work, the Doctor’s aliens and UNIT politics, even the news, you know. I can just come out here where the only things around are the trees and fields and the sky.” He’s silent for a moment. “That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?”
Benton shakes his head. “Wanting to be somewhere quiet with nothing to worry about? Not at all.” Yates reaches up to cover Benton’s hand with his own, and they’re quiet again until Benton asks, “Take me for a walk?” and Yates tilts his head back with a smile that says he’d like nothing more.
-- -- -- -- --
Yates takes Benton’s hand as they walk, thumb rubbing over his knuckles every so often, his lips flickering upwards when Benton returns the gesture. This is something else that Benton hadn’t expected, for Yates to be so openly affectionate and want the same in return, although that’s at least in part because up until recently Yates hasn’t exactly been open about it. So Benton nudges their shoulders together as they wander through the trees, sticks close when they have to go single-file along narrow paths, and makes sure that he reaches for Yates’ hand as often as the other way around.
The sun starts to lower in the sky, turning a warm spring day into a gradually chiller evening, and Yates suggests with a sigh that they head back.
“Cheer up,” Benton teases gently. “We can come back any time you like. It’s not as if it’s going anywhere.”
Whether it’s that or the implied ‘And neither am I’, something makes Yates smile again, and the conversation on the return trip is lively and interspersed with laughter.
When the clearing comes into view, Yates drops Benton’s hand, claps him on the back, and sets off for the bike at a run while yelling at Benton to catch him if he can. Benton follows in half-hearted, laughing pursuit, preferring to lag behind and watch Yates run loose-limbed and relaxed ahead of him. They arrive there slightly out of breath, flushed from the sprint, and shivering in the wind which whistles around them.
“Here,” Yates says, drawing Benton’s jacket out from under the seat and handing it to him. Gratefully, Benton pulls it on as Yates does the same, and then they stand for a few moments shivering slightly but reluctant to move.
Just as Benton is thinking that they should probably head back soon, and that he doesn’t really want to, Yates turns to him with a half-anticipatory, half-hopeful gaze and asks, “Ever made out on a motorbike?”
Benton lets out a laugh, and shakes his head. “I’ve only ever been on the ones at work. I’m not sure the Brigadier would think that making out on those was an acceptable use of army property.”
Grinning, Yates seats himself on the bike the wrong way around with, long legs braced against the ground as he pats the passenger seat and says to Benton, “Hop on, then.”
Kissing Yates at all is still something that Benton hasn’t quite got used to; doing so on a motorbike, where there’s only just enough room and they’re pressed together in some interesting ways, is a whole lot of fun but also somewhat awkward. Yates doesn’t laugh when their knees knock together though, or when Benton can’t work out where to put his hands, just takes them in his own and draws him in for a soft kiss that lingers and deepens until Benton shuffles forwards and slides his arms around Yates’ shoulders to get closer to him.
With sounds of approval murmured into Benton’s mouth, Yates brings their hips together with a hand pressed low on Benton’s back, and rocks gently against him while his hands slip cool and quick beneath Benton’s jacket to rest just above the waistband of his jeans. Benton draws in half a breath at the sudden chill, and Yates chuckles against his mouth. Murmuring an apology, he chases the cold away with soft rubs of his thumbs across Benton’s skin, carrying on to warm him with gentle touches and heated kisses that Benton returns with growing surety.
By the time Yates pulls back, Benton has finally got to the point where he feels snug and warm and comfortable against him, arousal simmering low in his stomach and his arms reluctant to loosen their hold.
“It’s getting dark,” Yates sighs, although his hands still haven’t made their way out from beneath Benton’s jacket, and he tilts his head obligingly when Benton leans in for one last, long kiss. “We should get back,” he says, and this time he does pull away properly, tucking Benton’s t-shirt back into his jeans and tugging his jacket back into place for him.
The ride back is quiet and steady, twilight darkening to night around them as the headlamp lights the dark road ahead that leads slowly back home. With Benton’s warm weight behind him and steady, trusting hold around him, Yates smiles to himself and feels content.