There was a lot to be said for having a stretch of beach that was theirs and theirs alone, completely private and secluded enough that there was no chance of being overlooked. Jack must have spent weeks researching possible holiday destinations to find somewhere that fitted their needs so well. Then again, the secluded private beach was more Jack’s idea of a necessity than Ianto’s. To Jack, clothing was a sometimes necessary evil, to be dispensed with at every possible opportunity, and he’d already stated his intention to only wear clothes if they were going out to eat or to take part in any of the recreational activities available at their resort.
“You’re wearing sunscreen, aren’t you?” Ianto checked as Jack made for the veranda and the beach beyond, stark naked and carrying a towel.
Jack paused just inside the open French doors. “Why would I do that?” he asked airily.
“So you don’t get sunburn? You won’t let me go out without being smothered in it, even on sunny days in Cardiff.”
Jack turned a withering gaze on his lover. “That’s because I know how easily your pale Welsh skin can burn. You’re no fun when you look like a cooked lobster; you get all grouchy. I, on the other hand, grew up on the Boeshane Peninsula, which was way hotter than this. Another of the benefits of my fifty-first century genes; I don’t get sunburn. I’m going to have an all over tan by the time we go home, while you’ll still be pale and interesting.” Jack looked at Ianto’s shorts and white, short-sleeved cotton shirt. “You know, as long as you use plenty of sunscreen there’s no reason for you to be all covered up like that. Why don’t you live a little, enjoy the freedom of not having to wear clothes?”
“Maybe later. I’m not like you, throwing my clothes off at the drop of a hat; I have to work my way up to letting it all hang out.”
Jack pouted his disappointment at Ianto’s refusal to embrace the naturist lifestyle. “But I like seeing you with everything hanging out.”
“Like I said; maybe later.” Ianto held up a bottle of sunscreen. “Sure you don’t want some? It’s very moisturising, it’ll keep your skin from drying out, and it’s waterproof.”
“I’ll be perfectly fine as I am so stop fussing! Being on holiday is supposed to be about having fun!”
“I’m having lots of fun already,” Ianto said mildly, picking up a cold drink and his book, making his way past Jack and out onto the shady veranda, where he settled himself on one of the loungers to read.
“Suit yourself,” Jack said airily. “While you laze the day away reading in the shade, I’m going to make the most of the sunshine, have a swim and then explore the beach, maybe sunbathe a bit. I want to work up an appetite before we go out for lunch.”
“Work up an appetite?” Ianto snorted. “Since when did you ever need to do that? You’re permanently hungry.”
Jack didn’t reply, just gave a huff, jumped off the veranda and stalked away across the white sand towards the sea. Dropping his towel above the high tide mark, he ran across the damp sand at the water’s edge and plunged into the surf.
Relaxing in the shade, Ianto divided his attention between his book and the sight of Jack frolicking in and out of the water, then concentrated on reading once Jack was sprawled on his towel in the hot sunshine, feet flat on the ground, knees raised and spread, so everything could dry thoroughly in the gentle breeze.
Some time later, Ianto was roused from a nap when Jack nudged his foot. “Wakey wakey, sleeping beauty; it’s time for lunch!”
“Hm?” Ianto yawned and stretched, his book sliding off his chest and falling to the sand-dusted boards of the veranda with a dull thud.
“Lunchtime,” Jack repeated, grinning down at him.
Ianto looked up at his lover and raised an eyebrow. “I see you’re dressed for the occasion.” Jack had on cargo shorts, sneakers, and a short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt that was all palm fronds and huge tropical flowers. It was a good thing Ianto was wearing sunglasses; otherwise he might have been dazzled. “Couldn’t find a louder shirt?”
Jack frowned, worried. “You don’t think this one is bright enough? I didn’t want to upstage you too much, but I could change it…”
“No, it looks good on you,” Ianto reassured him. Personally he wasn’t a fan of the vividly patterned shirts, but Jack could get away with wearing just about anything, and at least he wasn’t trying to go out for lunch in his birthday suit. “Let me just freshen up and we’ll find somewhere to eat.”
Ten minutes later, they were strolling along the paved paths towards one of the resort’s open-air restaurants, which stood at the top of a hill, where gentle breezes coming in from the sea took the edge off the hottest part of the day. They ordered seafood salads and iced fruit drinks, and sat at a small table in the shade of a wide white umbrella, eating leisurely while enjoying the spectacular view across a wide bay of turquoise water, bordered by snow white beaches and gently waving palm trees.
“This is nice,” Jack commented. “Maybe we should come back here for dinner this evening. It’s a bit of a walk, but it’s worth the effort.”
Ianto nodded agreement. “Much nicer than where we ate last night.” After their arrival late the previous evening, they’d had a meal in the dining room of the resort’s main hotel before retiring to their holiday bungalow.
Meal finished, they lingered over their drinks for a little while longer, then made their way slowly down the hill, following the winding paths back to their little piece of paradise.
The minute they stepped inside, Jack shed his clothes again, tossing them carelessly on the bed in their room before heading out to the beach, full of energy and ready to play again. Ianto shook his head in fond amusement and returned to his lounger for a nap while he digested his lunch, but joined Jack a while later to splash about in the sea for a happy hour or so until he had to go and apply more sunscreen. Waterproof though it was, he had no intention of taking unnecessary chances and possibly ruining their holiday by getting badly sunburned.
Down the beach, Jack was draped across his towel again, little wisps of steam rising from his skin as the heat of the sun evaporated the beads of moisture dappling his naked body.
The sun was on its way down by the time Jack ambled his way back up the beach to shower before dinner. He’d been in and out of the sea all afternoon, and basking on his towel when he wasn’t in the water. Ianto thought it looked much too energetic for his tastes, but as long as Jack was enjoying himself that was all that mattered.
In deference to the cooler temperatures after sunset, they both put on full-length cotton trousers before leaving for the restaurant. Jack was oddly quiet as they walked, but then again, it was so peaceful it would have been a shame to break the hush. The only sounds were the breeze rustling through leaves and the increasingly distant sound of the surf against the sand.
Settling at a table, they perused the menus, ordered, and sipped their drinks while they waited to be served, but Jack couldn’t seem to sit still, shifting restlessly in his seat. “What’s up with you? Ants in your pants?” Ianto teased.
“I don’t know.” Jack wriggled again, frowning, but before Ianto could say anything else, their dinner arrived. Jack immediately dug in; there was little that could affect his appetite, but he continued to fidget throughout their meal, and instead of lingering afterwards, simply downed his drink and jumped to his feet.
Assuming Jack wanted to get back to their bungalow for sex, Ianto followed suit. Unlike earlier that afternoon, the walk back down the hill was no leisurely stroll; Jack wasn’t running, but he was walking as fast as he could manage and Ianto almost had to break into a jog to keep up. They were both sweating from exertion by the time they reached the bungalow, and just like after lunch, as soon as they were indoors Jack was pulling off his clothes, but instead of going into their bedroom, he made a beeline for the bathroom, not even pausing to turn the light on.
Growing concerned, Ianto followed, flicking the wall switch and filling the bathroom with yellow light. “Are you alright?” he asked as Jack turned on the shower and dived under the cold spray.
“No! My balls are on fire!” Jack unhooked the shower spray and directed it towards his nether regions, groaning in relief.
Shucking out of his clothes so he wouldn’t get them wet, Ianto stepped into the shower cubicle with his lover. “Let me take a look.”
Jack turned towards him, a pained expression on his face. Generously, Ianto refrained from saying ‘I told you so’, even though he had ever right to. Jack’s upper body had already been tanned before they arrived at their holiday resort, the weaker Welsh sunshine having done its job, but everything below Jack’s waist looked red and inflamed, heat radiating from his skin. “Oh dear, that looks nasty.”
“What is it?” Jack whined, squirming in discomfort.
“Well, I’d say you have a bad case of sunburn.”
“But I don’t get sunburn!” Jack protested. “I just tan!”
“Apparently the more sensitive portions of your anatomy, those not usually exposed to strong sunlight, are a bit more susceptible than the rest of you.” Ianto smiled sympathetically. “Not to worry though; with your fast healing you should be fine by tomorrow morning.”
Far from being reassured, Jack looked horrified. “Tomorrow morning? But what about tonight?” He was still playing the shower spray over the parts that were the worst affected, the cold water easing his discomfort to a degree.
“I have some after sun lotion that might help in a bit, but for now, cold water is probably the best thing. I’ll run a cold bath and you can sit in that.” Ianto turned away and started filling the bathtub.
As soon as the water was deep enough, Jack sat in the tub, a mournful expression on his face. “I’m sorry, Ianto. This isn’t what I’d planned for tonight.”
Sitting on the tile floor beside the bath, Ianto squeezed his lover’s hand. “I don’t imagine it is. How to you feel?”
“It doesn’t burn as much, but I’m not sure if that’s because I’m healing or if it’s just that my arse is going numb from the cold water.”
“Tomorrow, it might be a good idea if you apply sunscreen to all the sensitive areas before you go sunbathing.”
Jack nodded. “You were right, I should have used it, and I promise I will. For the rest of this holiday, I’m not going anywhere without sunscreen. I never want to go through this again. I’ve learned my lesson.”
“That’s good to hear.” Ianto got up on his knees and kissed Jack on the lips. “Give yourself another hour in the tub, and pat yourself dry, don’t rub.” He held up a tube. “Then apply this to the sore areas. I’m off to bed. Try not to fall asleep in there.” He got to his feet.
“You’re not staying here with me?” Jack stared at his lover in disbelief.
“Nope. There’s a nice big bed going to waste in the next room. At least one of us should get some use out of it.” Ianto left Jack soaking and disappeared through the door to the bedroom.
Jack slid further down in the cold water, feeling even sorrier for himself, abandoned to suffer alone, but he supposed he deserved it for ignoring his lover’s advice. Next time Ianto told him he should do something, he decided, he was going to listen. Ianto knew everything.