Title: Morocco
Author: alyse
Fandom: Sahara
Pairing: Al Giordino/Dirk Pitt
Rating: 15 (for the swearing)
Disclaimer: Sahara is property of Paramount Pictures Corporation. And it is to ♥

Author's Notes: For Claire and Em and Eleanor, who dared me. And Tem, who made the doe eyes ::g:: Originally published in the [livejournal.com profile] connotations 2008 Book of Smutty Days, but it's past 1 Feb, so now I get to inflict it on the rest of you, too!

Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] aithine for the beta.

Summary: "Did you see that?" Al is now just standing there, staring after the camel as it lopes away, point having been made. "Did you see that? That fucking camel bit my ass!"

---

Morocco's hotter 'n hell in the midst of summer, the kind of heat that has sweat running down Dirk's back as soon as he steps outdoors. But it's a dry heat, like the heat he grew up in. It's not the heat of the jungles where humidity hits ninety on a good day and he feels like he spends his days swimming through molasses; every step is a goddamned effort and it's upstream all the way. This heat is familiar, comforting even, and invigorates him, not enervates. The desert's the second best place on Earth after the ocean - least as far as Dirk's concerned.

He loves it, sandstorms and all.

Al hates it, or at least he gives every indication of doing so judging by the amount of bitching coming out of the man's mouth. Assuming that you pay any attention to the bitching, and Dirk doesn't. He's known Al most of his life, though not quite as far back as kindergarten, no matter what Al has to say on the matter, and he knows the difference between Al bitching for the sake of it and Al bitching because something is actually wrong.

This time definitely the bitching falls firmly into the former camp, and Dirk loves that, too. Al bitching is never less than entertaining and usually hellaciously cute, no matter what Al has to say about that either. Although, to be fair, even Dirk is willing to admit that Al on the back of a camel might stretch 'cute' a little far, particularly when it's a toss up which one of them looks more pissy - Al or the camel.

Actually, come to think of it, there's a hell of a lot of similarity between the two faces currently staring at him with a mixture of reproach and irritation. Sandy, shaggy hair, curled lip... hell, all it needs is for Al to spit in his direction and Dirk would be ready to swear on his momma's Bible that they were two long lost cousins.

Leastways, he would if he wasn't counting on getting laid anytime soon.

As if reading his mind - and hell, he doesn't want to go there - the camel lets out a snort - and a fart that comes close to searing the hair in Dirk's nostrils clean off - and sidles sideways, an evil look in its eye. Evil even for a camel, that is.

Al's expression segues instantly from pissy to panicked and his grip tightens to the point where even Dirk - on a mount of his own, several feet away - can see the knuckles of Al's hand turn white.

"Ease up there, babe," he drawls, edging closer but not so close that Al could mistake him for the camel and deliver a good, hard kick.

Al shoots him a dirty look that rivals the one the camel is still wearing. It's a toss up which look is the dirtiest, but Dirk reckons that on balance the camel wins. Just. And that's only because it lets out another fart as if to emphasise its disgust.

At least, he thinks it's the camel.

"Ease up there? Ease up there?" Al's voice does that 'climbing through the register' thing it does when he gets stressed, and Dirk's been classing that as 'cute' for years. "That's easy for you to say. Ease up there." He subsides with a snort of disgust, and Dirk can't help but grin. Seems like all of Al's focus is on making sure that his camel doesn't throw - or eat - him because the normal, high-pitched follow up rant describing exactly what Dirk can do with his 'ease up there' and his gosh darned camel, complete with some very colourful language - but nothing about Dirk's momma, because Al's almost as fond of her as Dirk is, and even more scared - is missing. Instead, Al's grip loosens a little, although his lips thin and he tucks his head down, and eases up.

"So," says Al, eventually, and if Dirk notices that he keeps his eye fixed firmly on the horizon and there's a little more sweat on Al's top lip than can be accounted for by the weather, he's too much of a gentleman to comment. No matter what Al has to say about that, either. "Tell me that this little trip you planned out has nothing to do with your current obsession. Dirk?"

Dirk stays silent but Al... well, Al may not have known him in kindergarten but he's known Dirk for a damned long time.

"Dirk? Tell me it isn't? Tell me we're not chasing The Texas? Dirk? Dirk?

"Oh damn it. We are."

Dirk shifts in his saddle a little uncomfortably, the kind of 'uncomfortably' that has less to do with the camel and more to do with the way that Al - still holding tightly onto the reins - is glaring at him. "Maybe I just wanted the pair of us to spend some quality time together, darlin'. You, me, the desert..."

He trails off, hopefully but Al is far from appeased. Underneath his baseball cap - kind of incongruous when compared to the loose robes the pair of them are wearing but somehow distinctly Al - he's still glaring and the snort this time doesn't come from the camel.

But Dirk is nothing if not stupidly optimistic.

"You are so full of shit."

Although occasionally even his optimism wavers in the face of Al's glare.

"I can't believe that you expected me to buy that line." Al snorts, and the camel echoes him. "What am I? One of your little chickies?" But there's reluctant amusement mixed in with Al's outrage and Dirk doesn't miss it - sometimes he thinks that Al forgets that knowing Dirk since they were kids means that Dirk's known Al just as long.

No, Al's not really pissed and Dirk's optimism - stupid or not - is on the rise again.

It's not the only thing on the rise.

Dirk lets his camel sidle a little closer to Al and his beast. It's not an easy thing to accomplish, since camels aren't exactly built for sidling, and even Dirk has difficulty being smooth on top of one, but Al doesn't seem to appreciate the effort. He aims another glare in Dirk's direction but there's no real heat in it. Dirk smiles back at him, turning on the charm that Al still isn't immune to after all these years, and Al does that other thing that just warms the bottom of Dirk's heart. His heart and other parts of his anatomy.

Al reaches up and adjusts the brim of his ever-present cap, sliding his eyes sideways at Dirk as he does so, a little frown creasing his brow. That just makes him even more appealing as far as Dirk's concerned but the familiar little movement also means that Al has to take one hand off the reins and Dirk's just a fraction of a second too late in opening his mouth to warn him. He's also just a bit too far away to catch hold of Al as the camel takes a sudden lurch to the left, doing everything it can to buck Al off its back. Seems like the dislike that Al has for the camel is mutual.

Dirk's left clutching at air as Al topples backwards, falling into the sand with a sharp yelp. But Al's a tough son of a bitch, no matter what he looks like, and it doesn't wind him any, at least not judging by the way that Al staggers almost immediately back to his feet and the stream of invective he aims in the direction of his errant steed.

Dirk'll give him this - Al has a hell of a wide ranging vocabulary on him. It's not just that the man can curse in a variety of languages; it's not even that he can do so for several minutes straight, barely drawing breath. It's that Dirk doesn't think Al repeats himself once.

Hearing Al call the camel a 'bastard son of a diseased goat' is another thing to add to the list of things about Al that never get old. Not that it impresses the camel any, which is now standing a few feet away from Al, facing him. It curls its lip and snorts again and Dirk would swear that it's just called Al pretty much the same thing, only in camel.

Al stops, finally, waving his arms around as his mouth moves soundlessly, his outrage now such that not even Al can find the words to express it. Dirk knows it's dangerous, because Al will pretty much kick his ass for it - or at least try - but he can't hold the laughter in any more and doubles over, clutching desperately at the pommel of his saddle so he doesn't end up joining Al on the sand.

Yeah, that gets Al's attention and now Al's turned around to stare at him, mouth still open and working away and his expression a little stunned. Any second now and it will segue into pissed and the thought of that - dangerous though it is - just makes Dirk laugh harder. By now he's laughing so hard, breath whooping out of him, that he can't even gasp out a warning to Al when the camel decides it's time to escalate hostilities.

"Jesus fuck!" Al screams and, yeah, it's a bit high pitched but given that the camel has just bitten his amigo on the ass, Dirk's feeling magnanimous enough to let it pass without comment. Course, he's laughing fit to burst, so he probably wouldn't be able to get the words out anyway, but magnanimous seems to be the way to go.

"Did you see that?" Al is now just standing there, staring after the camel as it lopes away, point having been made. "Did you see that? That fucking camel bit my ass!"

That sets Dirk off again, the gales of laughter making his whole body shake. He can't catch his breath and tears are now streaming down his face.

"You asshole!" And it's debatable as to whether Al's last remark is directed at him or the camel; Al's gaze darts between the pair of them and the expression on his face stays pissed no matter which of them he's looking at. "And that's my goddamn ride heading off there, Dirk!"

Oh, yeah. Good point. He should probably do something about that at some point. He tries to bring himself under control, he does, but Al is standing there, glaring at him, one hand on his hip and the other rubbing at his sore ass, and then the camel lets out another sound that comes back to them even as it picks up the pace, tail wagging and long, ungainly legs trotting in a way that tells Dirk that the camel knows exactly who won this round, and it wasn't Al.

"Yeah," says Al, his tone now firmly in the territory of pissed. "See if I let you anywhere near this ass any time soon."

Okay, that's a threat that comes through loud and clear and Dirk finally - finally - sobers up, at least to the point where he's down to hiccups and maybe a few camel-like snorts rather than full on belly laughs.

Al stays pissed, glaring hard enough at him that he's half expecting his underwear to catch fire. If he wore any, but he suspects that's not a thought that he should be sharing with Al, leastways, not if he actually does want to get laid any time soon. Or ever again, come to that. And Dirk's momma didn't raise no fools, at least not one who's that much of a fool.

"You all right?" he finally gets out, aiming for sober and not missing it by much.

"That camel," Al bites out, each word dripping with fury and the glare still fully in place, "bit. My. Ass!"

"You bleedin'?"

"Fuck off," Al grouches, still rubbing at the offending body part. Dirk takes that as a 'no'. Which only leaves one more option.

"Want me to kiss it better, darlin'?"

At least the glare disappears, probably because there's no room for it on Al's face with all of the other expressions vying for supremacy. He cycles through pissed to stunned to...

Well, Dirk thinks there might even be some amusement in there, too, but it's kind of hard to tell when Al abruptly turns his back on Dirk and stomps away to retrieve his hat from where it fell, muttering darkly to himself.

"Is that a no, babe?" Well, no one ever said that Dirk didn't like living dangerously. Al doesn't even bother turning round this time; he just flips Dirk the bird over his shoulder and then puts his hands on his hips, staring after the camel making off into the distance.

Dirk rubs the back of his hand over his mouth, and watches Al silhouetted against the horizon, cap firmly back on his head. The stance is still pissed but Al finally pushes the cap up then pulls it down again over his brow, which is 'Al' speak for getting down to business.

"We going to catch this camel of yours?" he calls out and Al finally turns back to face him, folding his arms and glaring at Dirk over the top of them.

"You can keep your goddamned camel!" Al calls over, his attitude still pissy. "And as for what you can do with your goddamned obsession..."

Dirk folds his hands over each other and rests them on the pommel, leaning forward over them and eyeing Al with some interest. "You mean my obsession with your ass?"

"You're the ass!" Al shoots back, sharp as a tack and just as prone to getting a few digs in. "Why the hell do I let you talk me into these things?"

Dirk pretends to give this some thought. "Because you love me?"

Al's mouth opens then closes, and then opens again, defeated. "Yeah. Like you don't exploit that at every opportunity."

He does. Can't argue with that one. Instead he moves back a little and pats the saddle in front of him.

"Oh no. If you think for one minute I'm going to ride with you, you... you..."

"You wanna walk, babe? It's a long way." Dirk settles back, secure that he - like the camel - has won this round. Only difference is, he's not planning to bite Al's ass.

Al stares at him for a long moment and then caves, as Dirk knew he would.

"You are such a..." Al doesn't complete the sentence, which is probably just as well. It probably doesn't help that Dirk smirks as Al starts to stomp over towards him. It stops Al in his tracks for a moment, the scowl once again appearing on his face, but Al's options are limited and both of them know it. Just like both of them know that it's not really Dirk's victory, at least not only Dirk's victory. If Dirk has his way, they'll both come out of this ahead, pun definitely intended. He's just got to get Al to see that.

Good job he can wrap his lover round his little finger.

He shuffles back in his saddle, patting the leather in front of him.

"You're joking?" Al stares at him for a long moment, mouth drawn down in a frown. "Oh, man. You're not joking. What is this, one of those lame-ass romance novels?" He waves his hands around again, another move that's distinctly 'Al', and Dirk leans back a little, enjoying the show. "What, it's not bad enough that you have to drag me here to chase after your goddamned obsession but you have to replay Sheik of the Desert as well?" He stops ranting just long enough to put his hands on his hips and glare up at Dirk. "Should'a known that as soon as you put a keffiyeh on your head you'd start up with that macho bullshit of yours. Man, what do I look like? Some kind of belly dancer you can whisk off to your harem in the desert?"

There's a brief second of disconnection as he tries to picture Al in a traditional belly dancer's outfit. It's nowhere near as horrific a picture as Al probably thinks he's painting and Dirk leans forward just enough so that Al gets the full benefit of his leer.

"Oh, man. You are one sick puppy, Pitt. Sick."

"Babe." He opens his arms expansively. "You don't mean that." He puts one hand on his chest, just over his heart, and aims for sincere this time. "You know you're all the harem I need, darlin'."

Al splutters very entertainingly. "Yeah, and the rest." His face crumples a little in thought as he sticks out his bottom lip, eyeing the camel Dirk's riding - like a champion, even if he says so himself - with distrust. Or maybe the distrust is just for Dirk. "No way am I wearing a belly dancer's costume, you got that?" he says, as he finally holds out one arm so that Dirk can pull him up, and Dirk immediately adds that to the list of things to do before he dies.

He starts to swing his leg over the saddle when Dirk pulls at him. He outweighs Al by a good margin - all muscle - and he's got several inches on him as well so it's easy to catch him off balance so that Al ends up sitting side saddle rather that straddling the beast, like Dirk is doing. Al can't object too much - no matter how much he's spluttering - or Dirk would have ended up with his ass dumped on the sand.

Al might be smaller but he's a sneaky son of a bitch, and he's dumped Dirk's ass on the ground more than once. Not that Dirk's been complaining. Especially not with Al wriggling around like that, trying to get comfortable in a saddle that wasn't exactly made for two, not when the two are two grown men. The wriggling's doing interesting things to him, but not as interesting as Al's still pissed expression.

And Dirk does so like to live dangerously. Hell, what's life without a little excitement?

He leans forward, bringing one arm around casually Al's waist, his hand sliding down to rest of the curve of Al's ass.

"Sure you don't want me to kiss it better, babe?"

Well, what do you know? Turns out that Al is a sneaky son of a bitch. It also turns out that the sand isn't quite as soft as it looks, especially when you land ass-side down on it.

Course, in every cloud there's a silver lining Dirk's always been one to seek out the upside. In this case, being laid flat out on the ground means he gets to stare up at Al just as his amigo swings his leg over the saddle, the pants he's wearing tightening over that selfsame ass.

Makes for a hell of a view, and Dirk's so distracted by it that it takes him a second to realise that this is one ship o' the desert that's sailing off without him. Al spares him one self-satisfied smirk over his shoulder as he sets off, bobbing up and down on the back of his beast in a way that almost makes up for the fact that now it's Dirk's ass that's sore from the landing.

"Hey!" Dirk yells after him, his mouth curling up as he enjoys the view. "Where the hell do you think you're going, Al? That's my goddamned camel!"

The End
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April 2017

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