Fandom: Generation Kill
Word Count: 6,000
Summary: Brad is blinded on his latest deployment and when Nate finds out he drops everything to go to him.
Notes: This was written for shoshannagold in the yagkyas fic exchange. Meredith and amberlynne were nice enough to beta this for me on really short notice. I'm eternally grateful.
“The world is beautiful, but has a disease called man.”
Nate doesn’t find out until six months have gone by. Nobody says anything. He doesn’t know why he’s surprised. He stares at his computer screen, hands tight over his face like he can scrub away what’s he’s seen in his inbox. Six months. An incredibly long time.
He’s been on Kayak so many times Firefox pulls the address up before he’s gotten more than the “k” into the search bar. There’s an 8 a.m. direct flight tomorrow and a red-eye tonight out of Reagan with a stop in Detroit. He books the red-eye and tells his assistant to reschedule all of his meetings.
“I—what? I don’t understand. What do I say?” He flips through about a thousand post-its and looks ready to flip his desk over from the sudden stress of completely clearing Nate’s life of professional engagements.
“Personal reasons,” Nate says, trying for neutral, but he knows that it comes out in a way that could never even hope to resemble such a thing.
He sleeps on the first leg of the flight, but during his two-hour layover it’s nearly impossible. He thinks about all the things he should’ve said, things that probably aren’t okay to say now. There was a window of opportunity back there and he missed it. He doesn’t know how he could’ve done things differently, he only wishes he’d found a way.
Detroit’s airport seems very still. He finds the Starbucks as soon as he steps off the shuttle between terminals, cataloging how all announcements come through first in English and then in Japanese. He’s the only customer, but the barista is strangely perky.
“What can I get you?”
Nate rubs at his face. “Grande Double-Shot Americano, please.”
“Whew! I guess you have to be up bright and early,” she says, ringing him up.
Nate blinks. He feels more exhausted than he has any right to. “Not exactly.”
She hands him his coffee with a smile and a good night. As he walks away he notices that “feel better” has been scribbled onto the side of the paper cup, a little smiley face tacked on at the end. Nate runs his thumb over the words and wishes he could.
Nate is a gold club member at Hertz rent-a-car, and when he shows up at their garage, they have a boxy, maroon Ford Taurus waiting for him. If Nate were somebody else, he’d ask for one of the splashy sports cars they have arranged at the other end of the lot. Certainly Hertz does its level best in providing ugly cars to taunt him with. He drives a Saab back home, a 2005 Linear 9.3 in Graphite Green. It was the car they had on the lot at the Saab Dealership. He doesn’t care what his car looks like it as long as it has air conditioning and reliably gets him from point a to be point b.
It’s almost a 45-minute drive up the I-5, and the sun is out, blazing across the sky. There’s something lonely about it. He turns on NPR as a distraction and remembers how he used to make this drive regularly. He gets off at Exit 52, Oceanside Boulevard, because he knows there’s another Starbucks there.
He considers briefly taking it easy on the coffee, but winds up ordering a second Americano and a somewhat stale plain bagel. He sits in his rental car to eat it, watching as people wander through their lives, barely noticing what’s in front of them. He realizes that up until he got the e-mail yesterday, he was probably just like that. He’d been completely immune to the little things like cracks in the sidewalk or the number of telephone poles. He sighs and tosses the bagel aside, unable to stomach any more of it. Traffic is moving by slowly and he pulls into it almost lazily. He realizes he’s trying to make this moment last.
For now he can pretend. But soon, soon he won’t be able to.
He pulls up in front of the house and turns off the engine. He takes one last deep breath and then pushes himself out the door and up the front path. Nobody answers when he rings the doorbell. He tries a second time and then curses himself. He flew all the way across the country and nobody is home. He pushes a hand against the door and sighs. It opens under his touch and he swallows, surprised.
Nate never was the sort of person much inclined for snooping. He likes knowing things, but what he doesn’t know doesn’t upset him. Nevertheless, he finds himself stepping inside, pushing past the doorway.
“Hello?” he calls, stepping into the foyer. He casts his eyes around him. The house is so bare. There’s no clutter, no decoration, not even a TV, only utilitarian furniture and a large desktop computer set up against one wall.
Brad walks into the room, towel slung low around his waist and water beading on his chest. His hair sticks up crazily like he just toweled it dry. “Who’s there?” he asks, sightless blue eyes passing right over Nate. He looks vulnerable, hand fisted tight in the towel. Nate realizes he’s staring, eyes glued to wet, shining skin. He’s still…still arresting. But Brad can’t see his perusal, and that somehow makes it worse.
“It’s me, Brad,” Nate says, watching Brad blink, the tension seems to drain out of him. “I know I shouldn’t have just—”
“Hey, LT,” Brad interrupts. “It’s good to see you.” He chuckles bitterly at his own joke. Nate doesn’t say anything and he sobers. “What are you doing here?”
Nate glances at him, the aggressive tilt of his chin, and something inside him crumbles. “I don’t know.”
There’s a spare bedroom. Nate, after his mostly awkward heroic entrance, tries to go to a hotel, but Brad tells him to shut the fuck up. He goes back to his room, trailing his fingertips along the wall, and comes out in a pair of nylon shorts and a t-shirt. He looks like he’s ready to go play pickup basketball. Nate winces when he realizes that Brad will never be able to play again. Won’t ever even be able to watch a game.
“You haven’t put your bag in the spare bedroom, sir,” he says, looking just to the left of Nate. Nate’s not going to ask how he knows that.
“It’s still in the car,” he replies and watches as Brad course corrects perfectly so that he’s looking exactly where Nate’s standing. For a moment, he could almost be convinced that Brad can see him, but when Nate moves and Brad’s eyes don’t follow him, the illusion is broken. “I’ll go get it.”
Brad nods, running a finger along the hem of his shirt collar, tugging it straight. “Good. You want coffee?” he asks.
Nate shakes his head and then clears his throat. “Uh, no, I’ve probably had enough for today. Water or seltzer is fine.”
He walks back outside to get his bag from the car, hoisting it out along with his brief case. When he gets back inside Brad is fiddling with the coffee maker. He pulls a glass out from a cupboard and sets it down next to the sink. Nate watches him hook two fingers over the side as he pours seltzer in; when the water level hits his fingers he pulls them out.
“Sorry, sir,” he says and wiggles his fingers. “They’re clean.” He brings the wet two up to his mouth absently, swirling his tongue over the tips. Nate comes to take the glass and nearly crashes into him.
Brad’s hand steadies him holding him an arm’s length away.
“Sorry,” Nate says weakly, looking down at the hand. It tightens briefly and then Brad shrugs, dropping his arm.
“It’s okay,” he says and pulls the coffee cup out of the coffee maker, the level set for him perfectly. The kitchen is filled with such gadgets. “Did you bring work?” Brad asks.
“Yes,” Nate replies.
“Figures,” Brad says, eyebrow quirking. He seems to be waiting for a response, but Nate doesn’t have one.
When he imagined this, this is not what he'd had in mind. He hadn’t really had anything in mind. But he’s only spent ten minutes in Brad’s company and he seems so…normal. Nate has the grace to admit he wasn’t expecting that. Brad’s not asking any questions either. He doesn’t know what that means. He’s pretty sure this is not how this interaction is supposed to go. He wonders if that means he should leave. Brad obviously doesn’t need him and if he’s being honest, this visit really was more for Nate’s peace of mind, than any assistance he could possibly bring to Brad.
The spare room is like a cell. After Nate takes a nap on sheets that smell like they’ve never been used, Brad asks if he wants to go to lunch. They go to the Harbor House Café. Nate doesn’t think he’s ever been. It’s two miles away from Brad’s place and maybe once they would’ve walked or run over, pushing to see who would be the bigger mess when they arrived, but it’s unspoken that they’re taking the car. Brad pops his aviators on as they step out into the sun.
“Don’t want to freak out the civilians,” he says with an empty smirk that Nate knows he doesn’t really feel.
“Yeah,” he replies and hits the button on the key fob to unlock the car.
Brad skims his hands over the faux leather interior and cocks his head. “I’m guessing American.”
“The make,” he replies, fingertips skimming over the radio and temperature control dials. “Definitely American.”
“It’s a Ford Taurus. How could you tell?” Nate asks as they stop at a light. Even Brad’s fakest cockiest smile is still brilliant.
“None of this shit is standardized,” he replies, tapping a button. “They always feel the need to redesign this stuff so that nobody understands how the hell they’re supposed to turn the radio on.”
When they get out of the car, Brad takes Nate’s elbow, his cane folded up in his hand. Nate leads him inside. The hostess never even figures out Brad can’t see. He doesn’t say anything to Brad about that, he’s not sure whether Brad would see that as a positive or not.
“Do you need me to read the menu?” Nate asks, fumbling for conversation. He’s been limping around like a complete idiot.
Brad raises a brow. “I know what I want. Always get the same thing.”
The shades never come off.
When they get back to Brad’s place, Nate goes to check his e-mail. “What’s the password for your network?” he asks. “Juggs?”
“You know me so well, sir.” He chuckles ruefully. “It’s 3PLF020.”
“Any significance?” Nate asks, plugging it into the dialog box.
“The license plate on my first car,” he says puttering back and forth between the bedroom with laundry. Nate has no clue how Brad manages to keep it all organized, but he’s at least figured out that Brad’s house is kept empty so that he won’t trip over anything.
Nate freezes. He hasn't seen the bike anywhere. The only thing Brad missed in the clusterfuck of OIF was his bike. The only thing. Nate stands up to pour himself another glass of seltzer. There’s only fruit and simple things that don’t need to be cooked in the fridge: guacamole, cheese, cold cuts. Nate knows from earlier inspection that the freezer is filled with bagel bites and pizza rolls. He supposes Brad has an excuse to eat that shit now.
“I can hear you brooding from over here, sir,” Brad says, carefully reading a Braille book.
Nate shuts the door carefully. “What are you reading?”
“I am, for lack of better entertainment, reading Danielle Steele. For some incredibly fucked up reason they’ve translated all of her work and not Chuck Palahniuk’s.”
“Yeah?” Nate laughs, the first one in hours. “That might drive me to suicide.”
“That’s because you’re a snotty bastard who probably couldn’t live if you couldn’t constantly pour over Hemingway’s unending genius. I’m making do with Harry Potter, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and other classics.”
“ ‘When you love, you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve,’” Nate replies absently, booting up Outlook.
Nate looks back at Brad. His hand is hovering over the Braille edition. “Hemingway,” Nate replies simply.
Doc’s e-mail flares up on his screen by some trick of fate. Nate stares at Doc’s dry, concise explanation that never explained why he’d waited six months to tell Nate that Brad had been permanently blinded.
He closes his eyes for a moment, imagining it. Brad’s vehicle had gotten tangled up in the muck again, and like every other time before, he’d refused to abandon it. He’d been sitting there trying to dig it out with his team. And unlike every other time, the ass backwards Hajji’s had finally figured out how to aim their goddamn RPGs so that they weren't just setting their own buildings alight. The HumVee had exploded with all of them standing around it. And unlike every other time they’d traveled through hell with bullets zipping past and mortars exploding around them, Brad didn’t walk away from it. He had to be dragged by an 18-year-old Lance Corporal who’d had to choose between the lead vehicle’s Sergeant or the lead vehicle’s rear, who’d taken shrapnel to the neck.
And when Brad had opened his eyes, he’d found the entire world had gone dark. His occipital cortex irreversibly damaged.
Nate swallows. When Brad turns around, he can still see the pink scar through the closely shorn hair at the back of Brad’s head. His tac helmet had been completely useless.
There are so many people out there whose existence is not tied up in being able to see, but Brad isn’t one of them.
He stays for a day and one day becomes two and then soon it’s almost a week. They work together in relative silence. Brad’s many appliances all speak to him. The first time Nate preheats the oven it sanguinely announces that it has reached 425 degrees, scaring the crap out of him. The salmon he makes comes out almost perfect.
“This is good,” Brad says, carefully cutting pieces. He has everything partitioned on his plate so that he can keep track of it. Nate knows that even before Brad lost his sight, he wasn’t cooking for himself all that much. He supposes that Brad probably doesn’t mind subsisting off microwave dinners and takeout now, but somehow that makes Nate endlessly depressed.
Brad takes a walk every morning, cane unfolded. His neighbors pretend they’re as blind to his presence as he is to theirs. He works out when he gets back, a series of crunches on his incline bench, and another series of pushups. If Nate’s doing something else he finds himself instantly distracted by the bend and flex of Brad’s torso, the glow of a rising sweat on his skin. He feels dirty again. When he jerks off in the shower he keeps a tight clamp on anything more than blankness appearing behind his eyes.
At the same time, when Brad is dressed, Nate looks his fill in the way that was never allowed in theater, when any too long glance would be catalogued by one of a hundred different people, and taken to mean one of a hundred different things, the worst of which, was the complete and utter truth.
“I’m thinking of getting a roman chair,” Brad tells him one morning after his shower. Nate’s gone for a run, only three miles, and he’s still damp from sweat. He makes them both eggs and then he hits the shower himself. All of Brad’s toiletries are carefully lined up on a shelf in the shower stall. Others on the sink countertop are labeled with Braille.
“I’m pretty slow at it,” Brad had explained. When he reads, he always keeps a stack of Braille dictionaries next to his elbow. “This douchewad counselor they had me seeing could tell a word with just a swipe, but I’m nowhere near that level of proficiency.”
Brad seems cheery. More cheery than he was before. Nate finds it a little startling. It doesn’t occur to him how much it must be an act until Brad’s attempting to do work on his computer, a simple program that simply won’t run the way he wants it to, no matter how many times he has the computer read it back.
“Jesus, I’m not seeing the error! Why can’t I fucking see the error?” He strikes the keyboard so hard Nate wonders that it doesn’t break. Brad breathes in deep. “I need a moment.”
Nate rises to his feet, digs the paperback he bought in the Bookworld at Detroit Airport and then pauses. “You’re allowed to be upset, Brad, I…understand…”
“Do you?” Brad replies darkly, mouth bitterly twisted. Nate sighs and leaves quietly.
He comes back after dark with steaks and the fixings to make mashed potatoes. When he walks back in Brad’s doing chin-ups on the bar hanging in his doorway, ankles crossed behind him. He pauses, allowing himself to hang for a moment and then goes right back to pulling himself up and down.
Nate takes a moment to enjoy the intensely concentrated look on Brad’s face.
One afternoon he goes into the garage where Brad keeps the spare light-bulbs. The halogens in the kitchen have all burned out.
“I haven’t been turning the lights on since I got back,” Brad explained, fingers whirring over the keyboard as he does some contracting work for Cisco.
The room looks like it hasn’t been entered since before Brad left. Cobwebs hang thick from the exposed beams. Brad’s bike sits under a dust-covered drop cloth, leaning against one wall. There’s a lump in Nate’s throat, and he almost drops the bulb when he finds it on the shelf.
He tells Brad he’s going out for groceries. He drives the Taurus to the Barnes & Noble on Vista and picks out a couple of books on tape.
The cashier eyes the stack and asks, “Going on a road trip?”
“Nope,” Nate says simply and leaves it at that. He almost relishes the weird look she gives him. At least he knows it’s there.
When he gets back to Brad’s place, he finds Brad on the floor listening to The Cars. “What are we eatin’, wife?” he says, not even lifting his head.
Nate shrugs and then checks himself. “I didn’t go grocery shopping, I got you these.”
“What are these?” Brad asks, propping himself up on his elbows. His shirt is rucked up his stomach, showing soft skin stretched over hard muscle. Nate has to look away.
“Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, and The Count of Monte Cristoe, all audio books,” he says, passing the square packages one by one to Brad.
Brad takes them with a smirk. “Hah, it was totally driving you up the wall that I was reading Danielle Steele, don’t lie!”
“You’re lucky I didn’t get you like…The Iliad and Sarah Palin’s biography, asshole,” he tells him and goes to the kitchen.
Brad doesn’t reply for a long moment and then he says, “I can't believe I didn’t think of this.”
Nate grips the kitchen counter top and grins.
After two weeks of Nate taking conference calls in Brad’s living room and working until well into the early hours so that nobody demands his immediate return, Nate feels like the candle is completely burnt at both ends. Brad acts like a plastic robot and Nate doesn’t know why he’s still here. He doesn’t know why Brad doesn’t ask him to leave. He wonders if this is what not being able to watch porn, or ride his bike, or climb Mt. Shasta on a broken ankle, or look at the flashing lights that everybody thinks is an armored assault and know instantly it’s a town, turns somebody into a jovial facsimile of who they once were.
Sometimes, he gets moments, mere moments of Brad, where a familiar sardonic tilt will take to his lips. And then it’s gone again. Scrubbed clean for this airbrushed version that is frankly driving Nate insane. It doesn’t help that steady raining has kept him from running for over a day.
When the doorbell rings just after Nate pointed out that Brad’s shirt was inside out, Brad blinks and announces, “It’s Ray.”
“How can you—” he cuts himself off. Brad is like this. He almost always knows exactly where Nate is in his house, he knows when the mailman is walking up the path, and he often sits against the wall facing the street, eyes closed, correctly calling out the names of cars as they pass. He uses his cane only minimally. He has an insane system for keeping all of his clothing organized. He’s completely independent, like Matthew Murdoch. Nate shouldn’t be amazed by this anymore, but he can’t stop himself.
He moves to answer the door, but Brad calls out, “Don’t,” at the exact moment that Ray shouts, “I know you’re in there.”
Nate looks back at Brad and he knows that Brad can’t see his expression, but he straightens like he can feel it. Nate grimaces. “Why are you doing this,” he says softly.
“Brad, Jesus, it’s been six months, and I’ve been fucking trying to give you your space. After Walt told me to stop hassling you and that you’d come around in time, I’ve been trying my best,” Ray shouts through the door. His voice breaks, “But you can’t hide in there. Ah god, this is going to sound so pussy of me, Brad, but you’re being a fucking retard, and if the only way you’re going to pull your head out of your ass is for me to fucking emasculate myself, then fine. But you’re only hurting everybody who gives a shit about you when you hurt yourself. There. I said it. I hope it was as embarrassing for you as it was for me, you ginormous thundercunt.”
Brad closes his eyes and sags back against the wall. He makes no move to answer the door, just disappears into his room. Nate would run outside and catch Ray if he didn’t know it would cause more harm than good.
He goes into his cell of a room and stares at the walls, his neatly folded clothes. Brad had asked him to sort his laundry and then done three loads while he was at the drugstore and then Kinkos. Brad’s obviously functional. Nate doesn’t know where this reticence stems from.
In this moment, not having the answers is killing him. There are so many things he regrets. Coming back here to face them only seems to have made them worse. Nate has felt this crushing impotence before and he swore to himself he never would again. He pads down the hall to knock on Brad’s door.
Nate pushes the door open to find Brad sitting up against his headboard, an untouched bottle of whiskey resting on his dresser. Nate swallows.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Nate says, biting his lip hard. It stings. His teeth have scraped through the top layer of flesh. He’s been trying to so hard not to ask and to respect Brad’s right to say these things for himself.
“That Ray’s been following me around like a retarded duckling? I wasn’t aware that required explanation. Are you sure you didn’t get that Harvard degree out of a cereal box?”
“Brad,” Nate says warningly.
“I just wanted you to have your life,” Brad replies, dropping his head back against the headboard. It’s a clear dismissal, but for once, Nate’s not listening to Brad’s signals.
“You don’t seem to talk to anybody! You don’t seem to care that you can’t ride your bike. All you do is eat and breathe and work out.”
Brad doesn’t seem to care that he has to mark all of his clothes on the tags or that he can’t cook anything worth making, that he can’t go anywhere without a GPS tracking system and Nate doesn’t understand why. Those things should matter. He refuses to believe that Brad’s so enlightened that he’s gotten through all that in six months. It’s fucking killing Nate and he’s not even the one living with it.
He just sits, listless in front of Nate and shrugs.
“That’s pathetic, marine,” Nate barks. He wants to throw the whiskey on Brad’s nightstand against the wall.
Brad rolls off of the bed, bracing himself with one palm flat against the wall. “It’s a fair price to pay, I’m alive! Corporal Wiseman will never even get to think about those things again.” He looks surprised at his own admission, like he never in a million years planned to say anything.
Nate makes a derisive noise in the back of his throat. “People die in war, Brad, they don’t always come back home. You know that.”
“They don’t die because of me, they don’t die because I thought a piece-of-shit HumVee was worth more than—God—people’s lives!” Brad’s cheeks are flushed and he’s breathing hard. His face is so full of self-loathing it breaks Nate’s heart.
He wants to ask, over and over again, why are you alive if it’s just for this? This is not living. All that comes out is a soft, “Brad…”
“I only survived because somebody thought my life was more important than his.” And Nate knows, selfishly, even if it had been Brad against fucking Gandhi, he probably would’ve chosen Brad. He’s glad that he was not the one who had to make that choice then, because while it would’ve killed him to be on the receiving end of the look on Brad’s face, he would’ve done it over and over again.
“Why am I still here?” he asks. “Why didn’t you kick me out?”
Brad laughs, a bitter cracked sound. “I am not strong enough to ask you to leave, when all I want…when all I want…”
Something inside Nate snaps. He reaches out and grabs Brad around the wrist. It’s been very clear from the beginning that only Brad is able to initiate touch, and Nate is, in all other moments, willing to honor that, but now is not the time. Brad is lucky Nate doesn’t just punch him.
“What the ever loving fuck, Nate!” It’s the first time Brad’s ever said his first name. He yanks Brad down the narrow hallway, to the sliding glass doors that let out onto his scrubby untended backyard. He almost wonders if this is why Doc e-mailed him, so that he could kick Brad’s ass in the way none of the rest of them were willing to do. It only pisses him off more.
He shoves him out into the downpour. “You know what this is, Brad? This is you being self-indulgent. The world will turn without you pushing it. I just can’t believe how greatly you’re exaggerating your own importance!”
Brad chokes, face lifting to the rain. The drops catch on his eyelashes, darkening them into deep gold crescents against his cheek bones.
“You dishonor his memory by living like this, Brad,” he says, knowing it’s too harsh, that he’s plunging a knife in, and if he hasn’t lost Brad already, he really might lose him now. He’s glad Brad can’t see his face, or this would never ever work.
Brad makes an anguished sound. “Don’t say that!” Brad says, voice ragged. He reaches out, lightning quick, fingers twisting painfully in Nate’s shirt, dragging him in. Nate almost thinks he’s about to be struck, but Brad says, “Don’t you ever say that!” The hand tightens to the point of pain, but Nate just stands there. Let Brad do his worst, he thinks.
Brad pulls Nate in for a violent rain slippery kiss. It’s the last thing he expects and they tumble back down to the grass in a tangle of limbs, doing more damage than good.
Nate cries out, the wind knocked out of him, but Brad is kissing him again, holding him close and knotting his hands in Nate’s soaked shirt. He bites at Nate’s mouth and then soothes over it with his tongue. Nate curls his fingers in the dirt, unashamed at the noise he makes, because the wind and rain carry it away.
He grinds against him, bracing himself on elbows next to Brad’s head so that he can drag their bodies together. When their dicks finally connect through two layers of denim it’s a shock, and Brad makes this sort of hiccupping noise and his fingertips curl around Nate’s hip. Nate’s almost derailed by the feel of his thumb moving back and forth against bare wet skin. Brad is so tactile now.
He pulls back to breathe and Brad reaches up to trace his face, thumb pressingly harshly against Nate’s lower lip and fingers teasing over his brow ridge. He slides down to his throat, tightening so that Nate feels his pulse beat frantically against Brad’s fingers. “Wanted this so much, wish I could’ve…wish I could’ve seen you.”
Nate pulls Brad’s hand away, lifting it to suck his index and middle finger into his mouth. It’s like an electric current goes through Brad, he jerks and bucks against Nate, cursing softly. Nate bites at his fingertips, curls his tongue around just like he would if he had Brad’s dick in his mouth. Brad moans weakly when he runs his tongue down between them and finally jerks his hand away again, using it to drag their mouths back together again.
It must be freezing out here. Their clothes are completely water-logged. Brad’s lips are slightly blue. Nate feels himself shivering, but he feels like somebody lit him on fire. Brad cries out when Nate grinds his thigh down just right over Brad’s dick and Nate reaches for Brad’s arms, pinning his wrists to the ground, nails clamping down into the skin viciously. Muddy lines from Nate’s fingertips are left on his skin, showing everywhere Nate has touched. Brad shifts against him, and Nate brutally ruts their hips together. Tomorrow there will be bruises and welts, an entire little history written out on their skins.
Nate’s feels a little like he’s dying, some too-good-to-be-true fantasy of Brad along for the ride. The rain and the mud seem to be the only thing grounding him to this earth as he works his thigh against the column of Brad’s dick and sucks at the strong muscle that runs up into his jaw. The noises that he wrenches out of Brad’s mouth are beautiful. Something he’s been waiting on for years. And when Brad finally comes, shuddering beneath him, Nate follows him right over the edge.
They shower afterwards, shoved together in Brad’s tiny little stall, cleaning mud and grit off their skin. Brad washes his hair, and the suds running down over the perfect cuts and dips in his abs and back make him shudder. He soaps down Brad’s back, fingertips scraping down over his tattoo, and then, pressing a wet kiss to the back of Brad’s neck, he wraps his hand around Brad’s dick. He’s hard already. Nate swirls a teasing finger over the head. Brad breathes deep as he jerks him off, scrabbling at Nate’s arm like he can’t quite take it. Nate turns him around, kissing him deep and hard as he continues to stroke, loving the velvet slide of Brad’s dick in his hand.
When Brad comes a second time, Nate sighs and says, “God I wish you could see yourself.”
Brad leans back against the tiles, eyes lazily half-lidded, his gaze just at Nate’s ear. He reaches up again, fingers drifting over Nate’s jaw. “I wish we'd fucked when I still had my sight. I would’ve liked to have known what my dick looks like, disappearing into your ass, what you look like when you come.”
Nate leans forward, lips skimming along Brad’s earlobe, sucking the taste of water off his skin.
Brad lies sprawled out on his couch, only in a pair of threadbare sweatpants. He’s playing the Outfield off of his computer and he jacked the heat up. Nate heard it when he was making them both coffee, the stupid voice going ‘temperature set to 75 degrees.’ Nate sits on the floor at Brad’s elbow, feeling lazy and contented. He’s wearing his pajamas and the whole thing feels very domestic. Nate realizes the entire visit has been domestic, it’s just the first time in two weeks that he hasn’t felt slightly manic.
Brad strokes a finger down the back of his neck, touch saying he felt Nate’s shiver. “What you said about Hemingway—”
“I meant it,” he replies, effectively ending that conversation. He leans into Brad’s touch, smiling secretively. “I think we should get you a seeing-eye dog.”
Brad snorts and runs his fingers over to the shell of Nate’s ear. “Why? So I could sick it on all the idiots I run into on a daily basis?”
Nate holds back a chuckle. “You’re clearly finding normal social interaction difficult at this point. Therefore, I suggest a dog.”
Brad drops his arm over his eyes. “Oh my god, I’ll call Ray, okay.”
“Also, about Hemingway—”
“I meant it, Brad,” Nate replies firmly.
Brad gets Nate with a perfectly aimed shove at his head. “Will you let me talk?”
Nate smothers a laugh. “Okay,” he leans his head back against Brad’s arm so that he can see his face better.
“It’s mutual,” Brad says simply. “And you should fuck off work tonight.”
“Yeah?” Nate says. He’s too lazy to cook too. Maybe they could order Chinese takeout and just lie here. It’s an appealing proposition. Nate picks his cell-phone up off the coffee table and dials in Ray’s number. He presses talk and puts it in Brad’s hand.
Brad makes a noise of protest. “Can’t it wait ‘til I’m out of the post-coital glow, because that will definitely kill it.”
“You want me to fuck off work,” Nate replies simply. “That doesn’t come for free.”
Brad sighs and puts the phone up to his ear. His expression turns almost comical when somebody on the other end of the line picks up. Nate has no clue what’s going on. “Ray, this is Brad, the LT is already with me.” He pauses a moment. “No, he didn’t kick my ass until I cried mercy, I am calling you of my own free will.”
Nate snorts. Brad glares in the direction he assumes Nate to be. “Oh, hi, Walt,” Brad says, blinking. “Yeah, I can tell he’s a little riled up. Tell him we’ll go golfing next week or something.” He makes a face at Nate and Nate pokes him in the thigh. “Yes, Walt, that was a joke….okay…good to hear from you…yeah sure…bye.”
Brad hangs up the phone and then reaches out to drop it on the coffee table.
“That went well,” Nate says.
“Shut up,” Brad replies, but the humor is evident in his voice. “I can totally see the expression on your face, Nate, don’t think for a minute I can’t.”
“Is it the expression that says I’m going to suck your dick now?” Nate asks.
“Mmm,” Brad nods, eyelids fluttering as Nate runs a hand over Brad’s stomach, “and the expression that says later you’re going to let me fuck you on this very sofa.”