Harlequin's Slash Fic


Title: Roughnecks
Author: Julien
Universe: Armageddon
Characters featured: AJ/Oscar
Category, Word count: Short story; 4692 words
Rating: NC17
Summary: AJ is hopelessly in love with Grace, but he knows that’s never gonna happen. Instead, he seeks comfort with the delightfully omnivorous Oscar.
First published: 14 February 1999 in Homosapien 6


AJ padded around the oil rig in his bare feet, as quiet as the fickle breeze that occasionally stirred the heavy night air. With the drilling shut down, everything was silent but for the distant lap of water against the pylons two hundred feet below and the faint sound of music and laughter from the crew quarters. It was hot here off the coast of Irian Jaya, and humid, and Harry would kill him if he caught AJ not wearing shoes, and AJ wouldn’t mind too much because almost any damned thing would be a release right now…

For a while AJ lay spread–eagled on his back in the bulls–eye of the helipad, staring up at the unattainable stars, waiting in vain to cool down. But he could not cool down, he was running a temperature of a hundred and fuckin’ fifty, caused by yearning, fuelled by frustration.

AJ had been working for Harry Stamper for four years now, and he’d been hopelessly in love with Harry’s daughter Grace for most of them. Literally without hope in love, for Harry always made it clear that his darling Grace was a princess, and Harry and his men were merely roughnecks, and she was an exalted being made for a better life than this… All of which was despite the fact that she lived and worked on the oil rigs for as many months of the year as any of the men; despite her being (in AJ’s objective opinion, or at least as objective an opinion as a besotted man could have) as tough and as gutsy and as smart as AJ himself. There was one difference between them, though, in that she was beautiful, she was the most beautiful creature that walked the earth; and, well, maybe Harry wasn’t completely wrong, maybe she was destined for better things, their princess. Grace certainly wasn’t destined for AJ.

Grace was working from the Stamper Oil head office right now, back in Texas. Having learned all about drilling for oil while growing up, she’d studied law when she went to college. It was awful her not being there on the rig, AJ felt like half of him was ripped open and bleeding. But it would have been worse if she was there, within arm’s reach and yet still as unattainable as the stars.

With a soul–felt sigh, AJ clambered to his feet and headed towards the living quarters. Padding quietly along the catwalks and up the steps, little better than scaffolding, AJ wondered what he was looking for. Distraction, that was what; in the form of a drink or a game of cards, or a conversation silent or otherwise. Distraction.

There was Noonan and Steve and Rockhound playing poker and drinking beer and telling ludicrous tales of conquests, crammed into Noonan’s tiny room. AJ watched them for a while, as invisible as a ghost on the catwalk outside the open door. So, these three guys were having fun, passing the time. But it wasn’t quite what AJ wanted. He crept on.

There was Johnny watching a video on the little TV in his room, laughing at the pratfalls and jokes. Enjoying himself. AJ could easily have invited himself in, grabbed a pillow for his shoulders and sat back across the narrow bed next to Johnny. Reluctance overwhelmed good sense.

AJ wound his way through a corridor or two, heading for the mess. No doubt there’d be someone there who’d prove a distraction, provide an answer however temporarily. But, despite this certainty, AJ didn’t stride right in and announce his presence – he simply crept up to the doorway and peered carefully inside.

The mess was virtually empty. There was just Harry and his second–in–command Chick Chapple sitting at one of the tables, talking quietly together over a beer, heads bent so closely together and murmuring so damned quietly that AJ couldn’t make out a single word. The mood was utterly relaxed, utterly trusting, as if they’d both unexpectedly found themselves at home and were unwinding after a tough tour of duty.

And the two men were actually literally sharing a beer between them. AJ watched as Chick set the bottle down on the table, and Harry picked it up and drank from it, obviously not even considering wiping off the bottle’s mouth. And then Chick reached for it again, too soon, accidentally closing his hand around Harry’s… A look passed between them, between Harry’s sharp blues and Chick’s warm browns. A look of promised pleasure; amused devotion from Chick, and wry acceptance from Harry, and smouldering heat from both of them.

Shock ran through AJ, a frisson of amazement. His every atom felt electrified, as if he’d been struck by lightning. That touch had been no accident. AJ stared for another moment, fearing the two of them might actually kiss, almost wanting them to so blatantly confirm their sin; but then he began backing away with even more care than he’d taken before. He’d die if he was discovered now.

Which was of course exactly when he tripped over his own big feet, lost his balance, and ended up thumping against the corridor wall. AJ cursed under his breath for a moment, resolutely gathered himself, and then poked his head back around the door jamb. ‘It’s just me, Harry.’

The man stared at him, severe, unforgiving. ‘What do you want, AJ?’ Chick just sat there beside Harry, looking down at the table, obviously feeling bad for getting caught.

‘Nothing,’ AJ brightly replied. ‘Nothing at all.’

‘Then get out of here, you idiot.’

There was no arguing with that tone of voice, not that AJ wanted to argue right now. He retreated, though not quickly enough to miss Chick’s quiet, ‘Sorry, Harry.’

Once he’d turned a corner or two, and felt he was a safe distance away, AJ let out a long breath. Embarrassment threatened as he wondered how he’d look either Chick or Harry in the eye tomorrow… And then resentment abruptly flooded him, wrung his heart, saving him and drowning him all at once. ‘Damn it, I should have known those two were doing it,’ he muttered to himself.

The whole idea was hard to swallow. A man like Harry – AJ’s hero, for god’s sake. Even though there weren’t any women on the rig, even though Harry’s wife had left him years ago when Grace was just a child. Even so.

God. Harry and Chick. Harry was… Harry Stamper was… brilliant, rich, a genuine maverick. Very rich. Damned successful for a roughneck. And, well, except for the fact that Harry was the most annoying man in the world, AJ wanted to be Harry. He used to want to be like Harry… AJ wasn’t quite so sure now.

He’d been meaning to talk to Harry about an equal opportunity hiring policy, about getting some women working on the rig other than Grace, all completely legitimate. Even though the only woman AJ had ever really wanted was Grace Stamper. Talk about dreaming the impossible dream…

Well, hell, maybe AJ should take a leaf out of Harry’s book, and find a doting friend to help ease the pain. He’d thought sin in his initial shock, but it wasn’t sin. It was… companionship. Companionship taken to an unusual but really rather logical extreme. Forcing himself to be completely honest, AJ admitted that when he’d thought electrified, it hadn’t only been his hair standing on end.

Who, though? Of all his friends on the rig, who could he possibly approach?

He thought of his mate Bear, big bold beautiful Bear. But that would be just too much of a good thing, fucking with this enormous dude who must be three times AJ’s weight. He thought of Rockhound, forever horny, forever adventurous. But Rockhound had really only ever gone for the girls – gone for them in a big way, but girls it was. He thought of Oscar, young and handsome and forever enthusiastic. Yeah, Oscar…

Now, that was an idea. Plausible. Feasible. Oscar was really on right now, as if his hormones had finally kicked in with a vengeance. He’d been rather sweet until that switch had been thrown, and now he was… hot. Every man on the rig had figured that when Oscar finally unleashed himself on an unsuspecting world, he’d be sexually omnivorous, finding satisfaction in a thousand different directions at once. Anything with a pulse, his friends assumed. Anything human with a pulse, they hoped. After all, Oscar had often waxed so damned lyrical over the sensual joys to be had in riding horses, AJ had almost invited himself along to Oscar’s ranch on more than one occasion.

AJ thought of Oscar, all energy and good humour, all wonder at the marvels of life. Thought of his blond hair and his straw hat, his weirdly endearingly shaped nose… Hell, AJ concluded, time to go rope me a cowboy.

They were of an age. Oscar would understand. AJ padded up the steps towards his friend’s room.

When he got there, AJ gazed in through the open door at the vision before him… Oscar had swapped his battered old straw hat for a pair of high tech headphones, and was off in a world of his own. The music must have been turned up real loud, for even AJ could clearly hear the drum’s relentless beat, the guitar’s devilish song, the voice’s joyous hunger. And Oscar wasn’t just listening – he was dancing, and playing air guitar. Those hips unknowingly thrust again and again towards where AJ stood, those thighs worked, those fingers plucked and strummed, those lips sensually shaped the words, that body bowed and swayed. AJ decided he’d come to the right place.

At last Oscar’s eyes opened, and he saw AJ standing there in the doorway watching him. His mouth changed from a silent oh to a smile; as he tugged off the headphones, the song’s climax filled the room. ‘AJ, come on in. I was just indulging in a little self–gratification. My gran always warned me I’d go deaf, but I never listened to her…’

AJ grinned at the young man, walked into the room, and propped his rear on the edge of Oscar’s cluttered desk.

As the song ended, Oscar unplugged the headphones, and turned the CD player down to something more conducive to conversation. ‘Oh man, I’m hanging out for our next shore leave, and by the looks of it lately, you are, too.’ A nod was all it took to encourage Oscar to keep talking. ‘I finally decided, AJ, I’ve gotten all kitted up, I’ve done my research, and I’m finally going for it. I’m not a virgin, but it’s all just been fumbling around before now, just real simple obvious stuff, a whole lot of confusion for not much reward, you know what I mean?’

‘Yeah,’ AJ said, reflecting that unfortunately he knew exactly what Oscar meant.

‘So, next shore leave, I decided this is it, I’m gonna get real, for the whole darned week if it’s humanly possible. I got plans, I’m gonna try all this stuff out, and I’m gonna fuck anyone who’ll have me. I got a whole lotta loving in me just itching to get out.’

AJ was staring at his friend, a little stunned by the sincerity and the determination and the audacity of Oscar’s plan, even though it wasn’t so different to what they’d all jokingly assumed the man would do. Anything with a pulse… Eventually AJ faintly echoed, ‘Anyone?’

‘I know it’s different for you, AJ, I know you’re in love with Grace, and I sympathise, I really do –’

Something inside AJ withered, even though he’d always known the whole thing was hopeless. ‘She won’t ever even consider me, will she?’

Oscar looked at him, folding his arms and leaning one hip against the desk, barely two feet away from AJ in the little room. ‘No reason why she shouldn’t.’

‘There’s a thousand reasons…’

The arms unfolded, and Oscar began talking with his hands again. His natural state was on the move. ‘You’re gorgeous, AJ, and you’re smart, and you’re kind, and you have this real interesting gung–ho rebel hero thing going.’ Oscar swept a warm look over him, over all of him. ‘I don’t sympathise cos it’s doomed – I sympathise cos you’re as hungry as I am, but you’ve got to be mostly chaste to stay in the race.’

‘A race I can’t win. It’s a lose/lose situation any way I look at it.’

‘Give her time. She’s young. She’ll finally decide what she wants, like I did, and then she’ll grab it with both hands. No reason it can’t be you.’

AJ shook his head, more in bemusement at this young man’s apparent wisdom than in denial of his conclusions. He asked, ‘So, what are you gonna be grabbing with both hands?’

The man groaned in need, ran his palms back over his straw–blond hair. ‘Anyone – I’ll grab anyone and everyone. I’m telling you my options are open, and there’s a whole lotta alternatives out there, a whole lotta things to discover…’

Oscar was quite mesmerising when he was on like this. AJ stared at him, remembering anew why he’d come here in the first place. Perhaps his hunger became plain to read on his face, for Oscar began staring back at him, too, looking just as mesmerised. The moment held, the two of them absolutely still as if the heat held them caught there in its hand.

Then AJ whispered, ‘Yes.’

The moment broke and Oscar stepped closer, his gaze dropping from AJ’s eyes to his lips – and the two young men were suddenly kissing. It was amazing. Within moments they’d both ignited, Oscar was pressing hard up against him, AJ’s hands were grasping, clutching him closer. If there had been anything tentative in their first touch, it had already burned away without trace. The night’s heavy heat eased up a notch or two, until AJ was damp all over with it, his lips sparking alive, his heart thudding in anticipation.

At last they parted, and stood there staring wildly at each other, both of them breathing hard. It was gonna happen, it was gonna happen. Oscar closed his eyes for a moment, turned away, glanced around the room. ‘Let’s go somewhere we can make some noise.’


Oscar gathered up a pillow, began folding a blanket into something manageable.

AJ took a breath and asked, ‘Can this just be between us? Can we not tell anyone?’

The look shot his way made AJ cringe inside – not that the look was nasty, because actually it was brimming with sympathy. But it also conveyed some disappointment over AJ’s lack of bravery. ‘Of course, AJ,’ Oscar said, abundantly reasonable. ‘Of course.’ He reached into a drawer for a wet pack, similar to the one in which AJ stored his bathroom gear but about twice the size.

‘I’m not ashamed of you, Oscar, honestly, I’m not ashamed. But Grace already has a thousand reasons not to want me, Harry has a thousand reasons to throw me off this rig. I don’t want to make it a thousand and one for either of them.’

‘I understand.’ Oscar carefully placed the things he’d gathered on his bed. Hands on his hips and facing away from AJ, he said, ‘But in that case, you’d better think again about whether you really want to do this.’

Feeling like his guts had just been ripped out of him, feeling as bereft as a child losing his favourite new toy on Christmas morning, AJ groaned a protest. ‘Of course I want this. I came here tonight just for this. I want this so bad…’

He moved up behind Oscar, slipped his arms around the man’s waist, pressed up against him, moulding himself to Oscar’s back, letting him feel AJ’s ever–rampant hunger. And they were moving against each other again, Oscar was twisting around in his arms for another kiss, and AJ was this close to just tumbling the man down onto the bed, and having his needy way with him.

‘Come on!’ Oscar broke away to say, his eyes alight with joy. ‘Let’s get out of here.’

AJ had assumed they’d head up to one of the higher reaches of the rig, perhaps he’d even find himself returning to the helipad – but Oscar led him down, down, all the way down, until at last they’d descended hundreds and hundreds of steps and were at water level. It was weird being down there at night, the bulk of the rig so far above them, the sea lapping magically black around them, the newly risen full moon laying a pearly path on the waves. There was just a small landing platform, some moored dinghies, the enormous pylons plunging down into the sea, the steps leading up and up and up – and two human beings insignificant in the middle of it all.

‘Uh, come here often?’ AJ asked lamely.

‘Yeah,’ Oscar answered him quite seriously. ‘It’s great, ain’t it? I come here to meditate or, uh, do stuff if I wanna be alone. No one’ll hear us, no one’ll find us, no one’ll ever know we were here.’ He reached out to hold one of AJ’s hands. ‘I have to say the thought of actually doing it down here with someone always kind of appealed to me.’

AJ smiled at him. It still felt like an odd and off–putting place to be, though he couldn’t help but be charmed by Oscar bringing him to his secret hiding place… Hell, maybe it was his imagination, but it actually felt a little cooler down here by the water. Cooler, at least, temperature–wise. AJ reached for Oscar’s other hand, stepped closer, and drew the young man into another kiss. What with them both being so needy that they were about ready to blow, it wasn’t exactly difficult to recapture the mood.

‘Oh man,’ Oscar breathed when they broke apart again. ‘I wanna do it properly, right? Like I planned for. Cos otherwise I could finish it right now, standing up, fully dressed.’ AJ’s hands got bold and shaped themselves around Oscar’s rear. Laughing, Oscar said, ‘You’re something else, AJ.’

‘Haven’t figured out what yet,’ AJ murmured dryly, even though Oscar’s observation had sounded quite delighted. AJ ground their hips together, hardness inflaming hardness, as punctuation.

Oscar shuddered. ‘Come on, man, before we hit our mark right here.’ When AJ let him go, Oscar busied himself billowing out the blanket and arranging it in the bottom of one of the inflatable dinghies. The pillow got tossed down in the prow of the little boat, and the wet pack was thrown in after it.

‘What you got in there?’

‘Condoms, lube.’ Oscar glanced up at him. ‘Toys, lots of stuff.’

‘Toys?’ AJ echoed, suddenly apprehensive. He wondered what kind of games Harry and Chick got up to, having figured (until now) that it must be pretty mundane, two old guys like that.

But Oscar was already clambering into the dinghy, kneeling on the floor of it, chucking a few nautical odds and ends into the next boat along. Stripping off his shirt. AJ watched, mouth dry, finding that he could after all appreciate the male physique in a whole new way. Compactly strong, nicely built, pale skin where it wasn’t burned by the sun. Clean and damp and disconcertingly wholesome. And waiting for him. Oscar was kneeling down there, thighs spread wide, smiling up at him, waiting.

AJ swallowed, and carefully took that one small step.

The dinghy rocked and wallowed under him, so AJ knelt, too, and stripped off his t–shirt. When the cotton cleared his line of sight, AJ discovered that Oscar was already unzipping his jeans… Too much, too soon. But what could AJ do? He’d gotten himself into this, no point in chickening out now. AJ kept his eyes to himself, and shucked off his canvas shorts. And then his boxers.

Naked, maybe more naked than he’d ever been. And Oscar naked, too, all that pale hard flesh stretching out before him on the dinghy’s floor, arms lifting to drag AJ down with him, and AJ went willingly enough, feeling that skin scorch him, there must be steam rising from all this damp heat generated between them…

They were kissing again, pure animalistic kisses, and Oscar was everywhere, his hands and his legs and his torso all rubbing and grabbing, taking charge. AJ growled, and flipped Oscar onto his back, pressing an unsubtle knee between those muscled thighs, triumphantly feeling them open for him.

‘Wait, wait,’ Oscar was panting.

AJ took the man’s hands, and pressed them to the dinghy’s wall over Oscar’s head; bent down to take another kiss.

‘Wait,’ Oscar managed to say when AJ’s mouth, but not his hands, released him. ‘Maybe I ain’t more experienced, but I am more prepared.’

‘Don’t you ever stop talking?’

‘I wanna go all the way with you, man.’ Bright, earnest eyes gazing up at him. ‘You can fuck me, if you want. But let’s do it right, OK?’

‘Yeah, sure,’ AJ said as coolly as he could while his heart thudded with fear and excitement. ‘You said you got rubbers…’

‘I got more than that.’ And Oscar pulled his hands free, reached for his bag of tricks. He produced something that AJ could only frown at in puzzlement. ‘It’s a butt plug, man. Put it in me, give me a few minutes, right? Stretch me, get me ready for you.’

With those last words, lascivious finger–tips ran down AJ’s erection, scalding him – he hissed in surprise, arching back so suddenly that the boat rocked beneath them. Way beyond caring about sea safety, AJ reached for the damned thing, and the lube, and then knelt up while Oscar obligingly lay facedown.

‘Um, tell me if I’m doing this wrong, OK?’ When instructions weren’t forthcoming, AJ sighed and just did what seemed like the obvious things to do – slathering lube on the plug, finding the right place, carefully pressing it in. Which was easier than he’d thought it’d be. Easier than it would’ve been with AJ himself, surely. ‘You done this before?’ he asked suspiciously.

Oscar turned over to look up at AJ. Well, that came nowhere near describing how sensually he stretched and twisted, how he smiled at his friend with a happiness both mysterious and open. ‘No one’s ever fucked me before, AJ,’ he murmured. ‘But I’ve been preparing for it. I’ve been getting ready for my shore leave.’

‘Oh god,’ AJ replied, all a–swirl with the most debilitating hunger and dire excitement and delighted disgust. ‘You – You – You – You slut, Oscar, damn it, I love you.’

Oscar grinned up at him, lifted his arms, and AJ fell into the embrace with a whoop. Waiting through those few minutes to let Oscar get ready wasn’t really so impossible with this man moving in his arms, even though almost everything in AJ urged immediate possession. Apart from the fact that Oscar wouldn’t quit kissing and licking and biting AJ’s mouth, the man simply moved differently with that thing inside him – exotically, beautifully. AJ could only hope it’d be the same when he was inside Oscar.

When the moment came – when the plug was gone, the condom was on, more lube was applied – AJ pushed at Oscar’s shoulder, wanting to bear him down and take him in the time–honoured way, feel those heels digging into his butt. But Oscar shook his head.

‘It’s my first time, AJ. You let me do this my way.’

‘Got it all planned?’

‘Completely choreographed,’ he replied with a sparkling wink.

AJ groaned in need. ‘Any way you want it, man. Anything. Just make it soon. Make it now…’

Then AJ was the one being pushed down, to lie on his back in the dinghy. He went with it. Oscar straddled his hips, ran palms down AJ’s torso, taking a deep breath or two before he finally positioned himself, head thrown back – sank to impale himself in one long agonisingly slow move…

‘Oh god,’ AJ was murmuring over and over, the most fervent prayer of his life, ‘oh god oh god.’

A still moment, as Oscar rested on AJ’s hips, at last encompassing all of him. ‘Oh god.’ AJ let his hands settle on those strong thighs, let them caress the length of fine muscle, gentle as he could. Slowly, Oscar lifted his head, looked at AJ with moonlight opaquing his blue eyes. And then, yes, the man began moving, sensual at first, exotic and beautiful, soon becoming wild, a wild wonderful ride.

AJ could hardly bear it, needing to last, needing to enjoy these moments to their fullest, needing to last long enough for Oscar to take what he must certainly have. He stared at the man, mesmerised, burning up, full of awe. Willing to bet his life savings on the fact that Harry never had it this good with Chick, who was a nice enough guy, but nothing compared to this beautiful creature now giving himself to AJ, now taking his own pleasure.

For Oscar had reached down and was stroking himself with both hands, matching the wild rhythm, head fallen back again, blond hair dancing, thighs working. AJ grasped the man’s hips and hung on for all he was worth.

A heart–deep moan announced the end was nigh, and then Oscar was coming, splattering AJ with precious pearl jam, and the ride demanded AJ’s own surrender, long overdue, and he came with a cry – ‘Oscar!’

Oddly enough, the few women he’d been with in the last four years, he’d never had a problem over names. Now he was with a man, and Grace hovered on his lips, Grace shaped his mouth, Grace filled him. Not fair.

‘Oscar, oh god, Oscar…’ oh god, Grace…

The man collapsed onto him, spent, curling up in his arms. AJ deftly shucked the condom, threw it far away into the salt water – let the fishes feast on cowboy spunk – and then settled with Oscar, wrapping him up and letting himself be wrapped despite the heat, waiting out the crazy rocking of the boat, the crazy pounding of his heart. Quiet eventually returned, creeping timidly around the pylons at first, then finally sliding down through them both.

‘Oh man,’ Oscar eventually murmured. ‘AJ, man, that was…’

When Oscar was lost for words, that really meant something. AJ agreed, ‘Yeah, it was.’

They lay there together like that for a while, which was plenty nice in its own right.

‘So,’ AJ eventually asked, ‘what’s next on the agenda?’

Oscar chuckled. ‘This is.’ He squirmed happily in AJ’s arms. ‘I like this.’

‘Me, too.’

‘I like you, man. You’re right – long time till next shore leave. Long time till you see Grace again.’

AJ turned his head away, surprised at the little stab of hurt, and then surprised at being surprised by it. ‘That’s never gonna happen.’

‘Hey, keep the faith, AJ. Don’t give up on your dreams.’

There had been moments of friendship between AJ and Grace, sweet and pure and true. But nothing more. No hints of romance.

‘Not yet,’ Oscar said, lifting his head, insisting on meeting AJ’s gaze. ‘Don’t give up hope yet.’

AJ pulled him roughly down for a kiss, pathetically grateful for the encouragement, useless though it all was. Then he whispered against those moist lips, ‘What’s next, Oscar? Hell, we could get through half your repertoire tonight…’

Oscar looked at him, and shook his head with wry amusement. ‘We won’t barely scratch the surface, AJ,’ he declared. ‘But we’ll have fun trying, right?’

‘Oh yeah,’ AJ breathed. ‘Gonna fuck you some more, Oscar. And if you’re able to walk up those stairs by morning, I’ll have failed.’

An amused snort greeted this declaration. ‘If I can’t walk, AJ, you’ll be carrying me.’

AJ looked up up up to the rig two hundred feet above them. ‘I’ll be gentle, then,’ he promised with a wry smile, before giving himself to his friend all over again.

Posted in: Armageddon, Slash fic

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