the reluctant lobotomist (fourfreedoms) wrote,
the reluctant lobotomist
fourfreedoms

Fic: Close Call, Stand Tall

Title: Close Call, Stand Tall
Author: fourfreedoms
Fandom: Generation Kill
Pairing: Brad/Nate
Word Count: 4900
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Brad falls in love with a girl. Turns out she's a man by day.
Notes: This is from kashmir1's prompt in the snippet party here. It ballooned into nearly 5000 words and no way was I going to split that up into comments.



It’s a fucking cliché. That’s what it is, and that should be a huge fucking warning. He’s at the Owl for beer and wings with a few friends on a Thursday night. He just got his latest paycheck, he’s got a good buzz, he’s finished the bitch of all problem sets, he’s been texting back and forth with an engineering grad student who can tie a knot in a cherry stem with her tongue…he’s not really seeing the bad here. And then some asshole puts Peaches on the jukebox and it’s like a crowd at the bar parts, just so that he can see her. She’s wearing shredded jeans and an oversized plaid t-shirt that she probably grabbed at a thrift store. One foot is tucked up under her body as she sits on the barstool and waves around a half-full vodka tonic. Her voice carries across the room.

“Metal Gear Solid rocks, you shouldn’t knock it before you try it,” she says, carding a hand through wavy chin-length hair that looks red in the dim overhead lighting.

Brad doesn’t know what her friends say in reply over the music (doll, you make them feel so small), all he knows is he wants her.

“Hey retard, what planet are you on?” Ray says poking him hard in the side.

“What?”

“Jason Bourne or Batman, who would win?”

Brad looks over at Ray and takes a sip of his beer. “Batman, biatch.”

When he looks back over at the bar, she’s glancing at him, a cursory thing before turning back to her friends. He feels it like a palpable touch.



*

Brad’s taking this class because he needs another social science to graduate. It’s fair to say, as he doodles a comic in his notebook rather than taking notes, that he really doesn’t like it. It’s filled with blowhards eventually hoping to become senators and lobbyist jackholes. Brad doesn’t have a lot of patience with that or the fucking ridiculous debates they seem to get into every fifteen minutes.

The class is currently in a deadlock about plea bargaining. It’s all the same thing, ‘the world is fucked up’ or ‘no, the world is not fucked up, this is a workable system.’

“Expediency has been deemed acceptable in these situations because it’s assumed that the majority of defendants are guilty. You know, why go through the rigors and costs of a trial when it can be avoided. However, this means that we are likely to imprison a higher number of innocent people and it completely contradicts the ideology of innocent until proven guilty. I think it’s made all the more abhorrent when Blumberg points out that race, ethnicity, and social class is a large part of a defendant’s defeat.”

Brad looks up. It’s that senior on the track team, Nate Fick, speaking. Brad finds him a little less vomitous then the rest. If he’s being fair, he actually thinks he’s kind of genius.

“Brad,” the professor says, “you seem intrigued by what Nate has said.”

Brad sighs inwardly. Why does he even attend this class? Even paying attention has a price. He could be better served working extra hours or sleeping late. “Uh, well I agree with Nate…” he flounders for a second and then Nate turns around in his seat and cocks his head. Brad clears his throat. “I mean, the State has laws both for punitive and prohibitive purposes—to deter those who might commit crimes, and punish those who are undeterred. However, I think when you have such rampant use of plea bargaining, the law can’t even properly function to deterrent effect.” Nate smiles and Brad looks carefully past him at the professor, spreading his hands out before him. “One might speculate that it’s even hindering it.”

“An interesting speculation, indeed,” The professor replies. He looks pleasantly surprised. “Let’s look at the fact that in private practice, it’s in a lawyer’s best interest that the defendant wins her case. Essentially, the defendant and her lawyer’s interests are allied. How do we mitigate that discrepancy between public and private practice?”

Brad drops his eyes and turns back to his doodled comic. When the period is over he gathers his stuff up and heads for the door. Nate’s a few steps ahead of him, a crossword puzzle under his arm. He turns around and walks backward to say, “Hey, I really liked your comments in there.”

Brad shrugs. “I was just running with it.”

“Yeah no, but it’s a really interesting idea. I hadn’t thought of it that way before.”

Brad waves the compliment aside.

“So…” Nate says, falling into step beside him. “Are you heading to the dining hall now?”

Brad shrugs. “That’s the idea.”

“Mind if I join you?” he says, green eyes smiling even as his mouth is expressionless.

“Sure,” Brad replies.

They step outside into the sun and the light catches on Nate’s hair. It shines red, the same color as the girl in the bar. Brad pushes it out of his head.

*

“Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a few days,” she says on the other end of the phone.

Brad yawns and looks at the clock. 6:30 PM. His afternoon nap ran into dinner. He never would’ve woken up if she hadn’t called. “Yeah, I’m sorry about that.”

“Busy, huh?”

Brad stretches and rolls out of bed. “Yeah.” He holds the phone to his shoulder while he searches around the darkened room for his discarded pants.

There’s a long pause on the other end of the line. “Well, do you want to come by later? I’ve got a six pack of Fat Tire that needs drinking and a couple of movies from blockbuster.”

“Sorry, Libby, that sounds really great, but I already made plans.” Ray’s hosting a lameass party that’s probably going to get busted by the cops in fifteen minutes. He doesn’t know why he’s brushing Libby off. He could be knee deep in her right now. She’s a grad student too. A week ago that was so hot. God knows, he hasn’t been getting laid near as much as he’d like recently. But it’s all wrong now, all he can think about is that girl, sitting at the bar. He doesn’t even know her name.

“Okay…well…I guess I’ll see you around,” she replies.

“Sorry,” Brad says. It sounds completely false.

*

He picks up sushi and a Red Bull at the co-op and heads over to Ray’s place. The door’s lock is broken. All he has to do is heave his way through with a well-placed shoulder. He finds Ray sitting on the couch in front of the flat screen, playing Call of Duty 4.

He slumps down on Ray’s couch, sagging back into the aged cushions comfortably. “Do you have Metal Gear Solid?” he asks, pouring soy sauce all over the wasabi and mixing it with one end of a chopstick.

“Fucking A, Brad,” Ray replies. “I am offended.”

Brad shoots him a dry look, but it doesn’t stop the beginning of a tirade.

“I am offended that you would even ask me such a ridiculous and thoughtless question. Of course I have Metal Gear Solid.” Brad stares at him in silence. Ray clears his throat and lifts up his video game console. “You wanna play it?”

“Sure.”

*

Ray’s party does blow. He was too cheap to spring for anything better than a few cases of PBR and a couple of handles of Dubra. Even the cola is some grocery store generic brand. Depressing. He tosses aside his empty solo cup and leans up against the wall, waiting for the night to be over. He never should’ve told Libby he had better things to do.

Somebody bumps up into his side. “Shit, sorry,” a girl says. He looks down and it’s the girl from the bar. She’s got a blackberry in one hand, fingers ending in bright blue nails. She must’ve been texting when she walked into him.

“No worries,” Brad replies. He’s staring at her and it’s probably really creepily obvious, but he can’t look away.

“Can’t find my friend,” she says and shrugs.

Brad inclines his head. “It’s a mad house in here.”

She bites at the corner of her lip. “Not your scene?”

“Nah,” he says, “just not in the mood.” The conversation is stalling. He’s horrible at this small talk shit. He’s got to say something though so that she doesn’t walk away. “So how do you know Ray?”

“I don’t,” she replies. “My friend does. They’re in Normative Ethics together.”

“Ray never shuts up about that class.” He glances down. There’s a hole in her jeans right below her hipbone that’s big enough to put his finger through.

“Yeah her too.” She shrugs. “I don’t really get it.”

And maybe Brad’s drunker than he thought, but somehow in between plays of “Fire Burning” and “Sexy Bitch” he winds up with his hands butterflied on her hips, making out in the hallway while people rush past to puke in the bathroom or on their way to the kitchen to get more drinks. She’s so soft and perfect. She makes these little mmm-ing noises into his mouth and scratches her fingers through the hair at the back of his neck. Tall, Brad guesses 5’8 or 5’9. He’s not bent double to meet her mouth. He slides his hands down over her ass, wondering if she’s one of those girls who think that’s pushing it. God but it’s a nice ass. He can barely think.

She pulls away from his mouth and licks her lower lip. “You wanna get out of here?”

“My place?” he says.

She grins up at him, breathless. “Sounds good.”

What the hell is he doing? He never invites them back to his place.

*

“No condom, no sex,” she says frankly, back in his room, appraising his posters of Cool Hand Luke and Evil Dead II. She pulls off her t-shirt and says, “Cool Hand Luke. Awesome.”

Brad slides around behind her, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her back into his body. He places a little foil packet into her hand. She turns in the circle of his arms, hand going up to cup his jaw as she connects their mouths once again. The lace of her bra abrades his bare chest, but he can feel the twin peaks of her nipples. She’s just as turned on as he is. He reaches down and picks her up by her thighs. Her legs slide obligingly around his waist. She laughs as he carries her over to the bed, dumping her on top of it, and then falling down after her.

“Oof,” she says and he grins, gliding down her body to press a kiss just above her belly button. He’s curls his fingers in the waistband of her jeans, ready to pull them off when she catches his head between her hands. There’s something hot and intense in her eyes that he doesn’t know how to read. After a moment, she lets him go and lifts her hips when he tugs on her pants.

He can smell her through her plain black panties. He strokes a thumb down them, grinding her clit through the fabric. Her thigh muscles tense and she brings her feet up the bed, laying them flat on his sheets. He doesn’t even get her panties all the way off, he likes seeing them tangled up around her knees.

She hisses when he finally gets his mouth on her clit, tightens her fists in his sheets and says a soft, “oh god,” as he strokes his tongue down over her slit. She’s so wet and seems to keep getting wetter. He feels it slick over his mouth and chin. She breathes hard, chest rising and falling rapidly. When he looks up her body, she’s got the cup of her bra stretched to the side and she’s pinching and twisting her own nipple. He swallows reflexively, pressing his dick down into the mattress, and strokes his tongue hard over her clit, cupping his hands under her ass to pull her against his mouth.

She comes a little after that, thigh muscles shaking, mouth stretched around a soundless moan. He backs off a little, giving her a moment. Her legs sink down flat on the mattress, boneless. She tilts her head on the pillow to look at him, face flushed and lower lip chewed swollen. There’s nothing to say, she simply opens her left fist around the condom packet he handed her earlier.

“How do you like it?” he asks as he rolls the condom on.

She grins at him, bright green eyes dancing. “Right now I like it any way you want it.”

He pushes into her like that, rising up over her to brace his elbows on either side of her head. He likes the choked off groan she makes when he slides all the way home. She pulls her legs slowly up his body, letting him feel of the soft insides of her thighs skimming over his sides, before tightening high around his middle. He shudders, head bowed on his neck.

He pulls back out and slowly thrusts back in, making her aware of every inch of him. She turns her head, pressing her face into his pillow. There’s a perfect sort of rhythm to this. Even the slam of his headboard against the wall seems sexy.

It feels like it goes that way for hours, sliding in and out of her body, gasping every time. He hovers on the edge, but never quite topples over. The tops of her breasts are flushed red and her hands are cuffed around his biceps, tightening every time he does something she likes. Finally he can’t take it anymore. He gets his legs under him in a kneeling position and pulls her onto his dick. Her back arches up off the bed and her hands fly to the headboard, white knuckled, nails scraping over the cheap pine.

“Holy shit,” he says. She’s so tight from this angle. He skims across the roof of her vagina, nailing her g-spot and she cries out. She comes a second time, strung up between him and the headboard, inner walls fluttering around him hard enough to push him over.

“Jesus,” he says, slumping over her, hips jerking erratically against hers. She shudders with every push. He doesn’t seem to mind when he can’t bring himself to move right away.

They fuck again with the lights off. She lies on her stomach, arms wrapped hard around his pillow. He can stare down at that perfect ass, watch himself disappear inside her. She moans freely and grinds herself back against him, seemingly unrestricted now that their only light comes from a lamp out on the street.

*

There’s a weak gray light streaming through his window when he feels her tumble out of bed. “Fuck,” she cries, voice sounding weird. He’s too groggy to really understand what’s happening, but the next thing he knows, she’s scrambled into her clothes and run out the door.

That wakes him up. He looks at the clock. It’s only 4:30 AM. He can’t believe he had the best sex of his life with somebody he ran into at Ray’s stupid lame party and she ran out on him before dawn. He doesn’t even know her name.

He finally rolls himself out of bed at eleven, puts on some clothes and heads for the gym. He’s tired, but he could use a good work out to clear his head. He cuts through the green. Despite his mood it’s a surprisingly nice day. In the distance he sees Nate in a t-shirt and shorts, running with a few other guys on the track team. They’re chatting animatedly. As they close in on Brad, Nate nods hello and then turns his head to respond to what one of the other guys was saying. Brad sees a vivid row of bite marks all down his neck disappearing into the collar of his shirt. Sheesh. Looks like he wasn’t the only one who got lucky last night.

*

It’s midterms after that. Brad lives in a study carrel in the library. He’s got three exams and a paper for that fucking class. He pretends he’s too busy to think about her but it isn’t true. He thinks about her constantly. Every belly laugh, plaid shirt, and short haircut is her. Or so he thinks, but every time he turns out to be wrong. He can’t say she disappeared off the face of the earth, after all, he only saw her at the Owl and Ray’s party, but it’s like she never existed. Nevertheless, he hasn’t stooped to the level of asking Ray about her friend in his Normative Ethics class. It’s a constant battle he fights with himself. He goes to work in a daze. It gets done, but he finds himself staring at a newly defragmented hard-drive or a virus-free laptop and wondering what the hell he did.

One day, a few hours before dinner, he’s at his usual table in the library, and Nate sits down across from him.

“How’s it coming on the paper?” he asks. He looks so starched and bright eyed. Brad doesn’t get it. He hasn’t looked in a mirror, but he hasn’t shaved in days and given the way his eyes hurt, he figures he’s got some pretty serious dark circles.

“Sorry?” Brad says. “Oh, the paper. I haven’t even started.”

Nate laughs. “Too much other work?”

Brad snorts. “That and I don’t really know how to frame it.”

“What topic did you choose?”

“The one about abortion.”

“What’s your standpoint?”

“Well, I think that women have a right to choose not to be parents, not just to terminate because they don’t want to go through nine months of pregnancy. I just have no idea how to articulate that.” He puts his head in his hands. “I fucking hate this class.”

“Hmm, well, so you want to make an undue burden argument?” Nate asks and when Brad nods he continues, “Okay, how about this—with adoption laws it was simply assumed that if a woman carried a child to term, she would not be forced to care for it if she found herself unable. But women don’t choose to terminate pregnancy only to avoid the strain of pregnancy, but also to avoid having a child that will live with the stigma of being unwanted. I believe when Justice Blackmun wrote the majority opinion in Roe, he said, ‘there is also the distress for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child.’” He pauses, taps his pencil against his notebook like he’s thinking hard, and says, “Obviously there are women who don’t wish to take on the duties of a mother, but also don’t want anybody else to mother their children. Some individuals forego children their entire lives by choice.”

Brad stares at him. “How do you do that?”

“What?”

“Just come up with that off the top of your head?”

Nate shrugs. “I read a lot. You should look at Casey, there’s some great stuff in there for the topic.”

“Freak,” Brad replies affectionately.

“Okay, I didn’t program a robot to dance based on auditory cues from music.”

Brad furrows his brows and grins ruefully. “Did I tell you that? I guess I must have.” He remembers telling her, but mostly he doesn’t just bring that up.

Nate gets a very strange look on his face. “Yeah, you did.” He gets to his feet. “Look, I’ve got to go, but good luck on that paper.”

“Sure,” Brad replies. “See you around.”

Nate nods and then disappears into the stacks.

*

Brad gets an A on his paper. He looks at it incredulously for a full minute. The professor’s comment even says ‘great analysis on the issues of Reliance as stated in the language of Casey.’ He was totally expecting a B in this class, but maybe it’ll actually be possible to get an A. It’s not that he doesn’t get social science or whatever, but typically, he has little interest. He operates from the principle that humans are stupid and likes to leave it at that. He’ll have to find Nate and thank him.

He goes out with Ray, Walt, and Poke to get plastered now that midterms are over. They go to the Owl, because that’s their usual spot, and order two pitchers of the hefeweizen they have on tap, a platter of wings, and assorted shots to go about their merry way of getting as drunk as possible.

All of a sudden Ray sits up straight in his seat and says, “Hey isn’t that the girl you’ve been mooning over for the past couple of weeks?”

“What?” Brad follows Ray’s pointed finger straight to her. She’s playing foosball with a girl on the women’s basketball team. She scores a goal and cheers triumphantly. Brad swallows hard and turns back to Ray, “How the fuck do you know that?”

“Dude,” Ray replies, and Brad can tell he’s working up to a snit, “I saw you leave the party with her, and you’ve been a complete fucking mopey bore since then.”

“Ray, it was midterms,” Brad replies.

“Okay, seriously, dog? Are you really that dumb?” Poke interjects. “Usually when the rest of us are sweating our way through midterms and cursing our mothers for ever having birthed us, you’re sitting there, cool as a fucking cucumber, laughing at us all for being so disorganized. Does this sound at all familiar?”

Ray holds his fist out to knock against Poke’s. “Word.”

“Whatever, computational linguistics is a fucking nightmare this semester.”

“How’s de nile? I hear it’s warm this time of year,” Ray says.

“Lay off, guys,” Walt says finally. He pauses for a second and then asks, “Are you going to go talk to her?”

Brad looks back at her. She doesn’t appear to have spotted him. “No,” he says flatly. She left after all. And because the universe hates him she turns around under the weight of his gaze and their eyes connect. She cocks her head and looks like she’s about to smile at him, but Brad looks away before she can.

*

Brad’s got a shift in the Mac Cluster at the library in the evenings on Thursdays. He’s reading his textbook for cryptography when a hand crosses into his field of vision and sets a Red Bull down on the corner of his desk. Brad looks up and she’s already walking away. He opens his mouth to call after her and stops.

He rotates the can around and there’s a little yellow post-it stuck to it that reads, “I’m sorry.” The handwriting is messy and boyish. He plucks the note off and tucks it into his pocket. He has no idea what just happened there. He’s pretty sure he missed something in that interaction. How did she even know where to find him or that he liked Red Bull?

Brad can’t sleep that night. He finally gives up after tossing and turning in his bed for hours. The clock reads 4:15. It’s getting warmer out, but it’s still cold enough that he doesn’t hesitate to put on a hoodie before heading outside. He takes a walk through the green and watches the sky gradually go from purple to gray.

The sound of sneakers striking the pavement comes from up ahead. Brad rounds a corner and finds her running on the same path. He’d recognize that ass anywhere. He doesn’t know when he decides to follow her, but the decision was clearly made, because he trails her all over the park as it gradually gets more light out. She never hears him over the sound of her iPod. Anybody could come upon her and just grab her. It’s slightly troubling.

She pulls up short suddenly, cursing, and yanks her earbuds out of the headphone jack. For a moment it looks like she’s going to hurl the iPod away from her. Brad stops behind a tree so that she won’t see him. He’s not sure what he’s doing. If you want answers from a person, hiding behind a tree is not the best way to get it.

She drops her head and says, “Get a hold of yourself.” Just what Brad is thinking.

Suddenly the sun crests the horizon, lighting the park up with a dull orange glow. He turns his head to look at it for a short moment and when he glances back at her, something very strange is happening. Fascinated, he watches as her shoulders expand and she grows taller, suddenly her baggy sports clothes fit like a second skin.

“What the…” Brad says softly, stepping forward. He steps right onto a twig. The snap sounds like a bomb going off. She whirls around, and Brad’s mouth drops open. Nate stares back at him.

Nate says bitterly, “So now you know.”

Brad looks him up and down. He can’t believe he’s had sex with Nate. Blisteringly hot sex. “You could’ve told me…”

“Oh, I could’ve?” Nate says, arms crossed and eyes narrowed.

“Look, you shouldn’t have slept with me.”

Nate looks furious. “I wasn’t planning on it, Brad. Nothing about that night went the way I planned.”

Brad stares at him for a long moment and then raises his hands. He turns around and walks off. He can’t deal with this.

*

He spends the next five days thinking this. How is his life so fucked up? How on earth could something like this happen to him? He should really have stuck with Libby when he had the chance. Ray starts making noise about putting him on suicide watch. Brad contemplates locking him in a janitor’s closet in the library.

And then on the fifth day he’s jerking off in the shower and an image of Nate grinning pops into his head. He tries to chase it out with thoughts of shaved pussy and huge firm tits, but nothing makes it go away. He comes with Nate’s green eyes in his head.

Her green eyes. Their green eyes. Shit, this is so fucked up. Ray can never know.

He gives himself another week of dithering and then gives up. He finds Nate in the library listening to his iPod and taking notes for a reading response. It reads:

-With greater access to primary goods i.e. opportunities, John Rawls says, “men can generally be assured of greater success in carrying out their intentions and in advancing their ends, whatever these ends may be.”

-People with education have access to occupations that are not open to people without degree. Almost all such jobs have higher salaries attached.

-As Rawls puts it: the distribution of wealth and income is regulated by opportunities. By shutting down opportunities for a class of people, have infringed upon their rights.



Brad shakes his head. Nate is such a dork.

“Are you just going to hover over my shoulder?” Nate asks without even looking up from his work.

Brad rolls his eyes and goes around the table to sit across from Nate. “So why exactly do you have tits at night and a dick during the day?”

Nate hesitates like he doesn’t really feel he should answer and then finally he says, “The men on my mother’s side of the family were cursed. After puberty we inhabit one gender during the day and the other at night, and until we find someone to love us as both, we will continue to flip back and forth.”

“Your family was…cursed,” Brad repeats, dubious.

Nate blows out a breath. “You’ve seen me change, Brad. I don’t think it gets anymore ridiculous than that.”

“Forgive me if this out of turn, but I think I’m taking this pretty well,” Brad replies.

Nate huffs out a laugh. “Touché.”

Brad slides his hand forward on the table until the tips of his fingers touch Nate’s. “What if…maybe I want to try?”

Nate stares at his hand. Brad sees his Adam’s apple bob as he swallows. “I would like that.”

Brad leans across the table to kiss him and Nate meets him halfway.

*

Thirty minutes later finds them sprawled out in the stacks, a few stray books knocked off the shelves around them. Brad breathes deeply. He’s only just figuring out how to use his lungs again. “I think you should charge.”

“What? For blowjobs?” Nate replies, wiping his mouth.

“Yes, you could make us some money.” Nate punches him in the shoulder and Brad laughs. He waits for a moment, trying to straighten himself up and then he looks deliberately in Nate’s eyes. “Does that mean you’re going to stay a guy tonight?” He was hoping his voice wouldn’t sound wistful, but he’s pretty sure he fails in that respect.

Nate snorts. “I’m pretty sure I have to fuck you for that to happen.”

Brad blinks at him and says, “Well, I guess you’re going to be a girl for a really long time.”



Or maybe not.

*

Mea culpa, mea culpa. I don't know what the fuck that was. The second picture is from goshemily and the title comes from a Peaches song that was referenced in this fic, "Boys Wanna Be Her."
Tags: brad/nate, fic, generation kill
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