kubis: (GK people - sgt and his lt after hours)
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Part I


*


They were going to go to Beth’s wedding together since the day they got their invitations. Both of them without a date, it seemed like the best solution. Now... Of course, the official version is still that they came as friends, but they know it’s different and Nate’s family knows, too, and it’s weird. It’s sort of their first date, even if Brad tries not to think about it that way. They are really good at pretending, before the summer break no one at school noticed that anything was different between them, but this. This is something else. Brad can’t help remembering the first date he went out on with Natalie, how nervous he was then and how the only problem with touching her or kissing her was if she was going to allow it. Nate is making him more calm and more nervous at the same time. And he is off-limits.

Although the last one Brad has only himself to thank for, so he can’t really complain.

“Are you having fun?” Beth asks as they dance together.

Brad looks at Nate, sitting at the table and talking with his new brother-in-law, laughing. There's something to be said about how good he looks in this suit, because seriously. Really, really good, even better since he took off his tie a couple of minutes ago. He looks so happy that Brad’s grin is a reflex.

“Yes, I have to admit you throw nice parties,” he answers, turning his attention back to Beth. She looks amazing and happy. She has never reminded him of Nate as much as she does now. “What about you?”

“Well, I got my dream boy, of course I’m happy,” she says, grinning. They turn and now she has a perfect view of their table. Her smile is soft, but when she looks back up at Brad, her voice is more serious. “Speaking of dream boys...”

Brad starts to pray for the song to end right now.

“I’m happy for you both, I really am. I’ve never seen Nate so happy, that’s for sure. It’s just...” she pauses and Brad’s not smiling anymore. “I don’t like this hiding bullshit. I understand why and I get it. I may not like it, but I get it’s something you have to do. I just hope that it's worth it and that you’re sure about you and Nate, because if you break his heart, I’m going for your kneecaps. Fair warning.”

Brad’s not scared. He’s... rationally concerned.

“I’m not in this to break his heart,” he says, uncomfortable. He can’t and won’t promise her anything else.

She seems to like his answer, though, and they stay silent for the rest of the song. When it’s over and some other guy comes up to ask Beth to dance, Brad goes back to their table. Nate turns to him with a blinding smile and he smiles back, thinking that maybe he doesn’t need to be rationally concerned after all.


*


Brad doesn't tell Nate he loves him for the first time during a blowjob, because he's not an idiot. Nate may have pretty much sucked all the braincells out of him, yes, but Brad still manages to catch himself in time. He kisses Nate, long and thorough, not minding the taste, and reciprocates, but he stays silent about the whole love thing. No matter how awesome the experience is, it's not the right time.

But he doesn't catch himself, doesn't even try, a week later, on his birthday. They are in his room and Nate just gave him the helmet to go with the bike he's supposed to get from his parents.

"Happy birthday, Brad," Nate says softly, leaning in for a kiss. "I love you."

And it's just there, ready and right.

"I love you, too, Nate," he says and puts his hands on Nate's neck, bringing him closer. Brad can see his eyes widen and feels the catch of his breath under his fingers, and he kisses him, because it's the only thing he can think of doing right now.


*


Brad planned to tell his family about him and Nate in the most suitable time. He wasn't sure what that meant, exactly, but sometimes he worked on his speech before falling asleep and he was telling himself over and over that he was going to do this at the right moment.

It happens a little differently.

They are at a restaurant, celebrating his birthday, and his parents are bringing back some really awful stories from his childhood. His sister is laughing so hard Brad's sure she's about to choke on something.

"I can't believe I've never heard some of those," Ann says, breathless. "I have so much blackmail material now, it's awesome! Now you just have to find yourself a girlfriend I can share it with."

He tries to look normal, he really does, but his mother sees something is wrong.

"Bradley, you will find a lovely girl, don't worry about it."

"I've found Nate," he says, his fingers digging into his thighs.

"I'm sorry?"

"I don't need to find a girl, Mom. I... Nate and I, we are... together. I don't need to find a girl."

Their silence is incredibly loud in the room full of other people.

"Nate Fick?" Ann asks. Brad thinks she's trying to be helpful, so he nods. "Wow. Since when?"

"The end of April."

"It's not that long..." his dad starts, but Brad was ready for that.

"We’ve known each other for almost two years now. I was a little late to the party, so to speak, but it's serious, Dad."

"He was your friend, that's different."

"He was my best friend and he still is. But now he's also my boyfriend."

"So you're gay now, because your best friend is?" His mother speaks quietly and he can hear she's angry. It hurts. He expected it to, but it doesn't really help.

"I'm bi, not gay. And it isn't Nate's fault, if that's what you're implying." I fell in love, Brad wants to add, but he doesn't. It wouldn't feel right here.

"Would you still be with Natalie if Nate wasn't around?"

"What? No!" It feels like a really bad dream. "Natalie and I broke up because we were different and we wanted different things from life. Not because of Nate."

"Speaking of your plans, what about the Marine Corps? You can't be gay in the military."

Brad looks at his father.

"I can't be openly gay. I know that and we talked about it. Nate understands." He pauses. "Listen, I know it's not what you wanted for me. And that it's surprising. But I can assure you, it's serious and I care about him a lot. I really thought about this."

"So you're going to stay in the closet?" Ann says, frowning. She's not sad about the gay part, just about the hiding part, and Brad's grateful.

"As long as 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is in place, yes. I don't have a choice."

"You're just making your life a lot harder," his mother says, looking at her plate.

And Brad hates to be the soap opera impersonation, but he wants them to understand, so...

"Nate's worth it."


*


"Do you think I'm scared of anal sex?" he asks Nate two weeks before the summer is over. "Is this why we're not doing it?"

For his defense, he was just woken up with a blowjob, which ended in a mindblowing orgasm.

"What?" Nate looks at him incredulously, lifting his head from Brad's thigh. He sits up and Brad's thoughts sidetrack. He has Nate, naked and hard, sitting between his legs and what were they even talking about?

Oh. Oh. Fuck. Okay, when in doubt, soldier on.

"You just never... mentioned it."

"Neither did you," Nate points out.

"Well, yeah. But I just did." Brad is really glad the Fick family is out for the whole weekend and they have the house to themselves. This is not a conversation that should be going on anywhere near other people.

"By asking me if I think you're scared," Nate clarifies.

"Yes?"

"You're a moron," he says, but it's affectionate and Brad can live with that.

"I just wanted to start a conversation." Okay, so he didn't exactly plan this, but he has been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now.

Nate laughs, moving closer and straddling Brad.

"Do you want to have anal sex?" he asks.

Brad puts his hands low on Nate's back.

"You're sitting in my lap and you're naked. And hard. Any kind of sex would be great right now."

Nate laughs again, kisses him and moves away.

"I will remember that," he says. "Okay, so. Do you want to have anal sex?"

Nate's face and neck are a little pink and Brad would bet his are, too. Sex should not require talking about it in broad daylight.

"Yes? I think so? Don't you?"

"I want to try it," Nate says quietly. "It's just... you know, you probably want to fuck me and it's okay with me, I'd like that, it's just... a lot to take in. And I don't mean your dick." He cracks a smile at the end, but Brad isn't blind, he can spot nervousness.

"You haven't done this before, right?" He's pretty sure, but he prefers to check.

"Before you, I had basically one boyfriend, back when I lived in Baltimore. If you think I'd let a fifteen-year-old boy put his cock in my ass just because I liked him and he wanted to, you're insane."

"Well, you're going to let a seventeen-year-old boy do it, so..."

"There's a difference. And it's you." Nate shrugs and Brad has to kiss him.

"We don't have to," he says. Nate rolls his eyes and kisses him back.

"Of course we don't have to. But we both want it, so we should at least try, right?"

"Now?" Brad asks to make sure.

"Let's make out and see what happens," Nate says with his lips on Brad's. "If it's not going to work, we have other stuff we're pretty good at."

What happens is: Brad lies down on top of Nate, they kiss and touch everywhere; all the places they already know are now somehow new and more exciting. What happens is: Brad kisses Nate's chest and stomach, and hips, and thigh, and knee, while Nate fingers himself open for him. What happens is: Nate's making those soft, quiet noises and Brad can't stop looking at his face, eyes half-closed, mouth open, skin sweaty. What happens is: he trails his fingers from Nate's cock to his balls and further, touches the place where Nate's slick fingers disappear into his body and Nate breaths out "Brad, fuck, now, please", lifting his hips. What happens is: Brad has to bite his cheek to stop himself from coming when he puts a condom on. What happens is: Nate's eyes widen and close from the shock of intrusion and his breath quickens and his muscles spasm around Brad's dick. What happens is: Brad starts to make calming noises which he won't remember, too preoccupied with trying very hard not to come or move, or both. What happens is: they kiss and when Nate's muscles relax a little, Brad starts to push, and they somehow find a rhythm, kissing and moving, then there’s more moving and less kissing, and Nate's eyes are open now, looking straight at him, and Brad somehow manages to close his hand around Nate's dick. What happens is: Nate comes with a gasp and muscles clenching around Brad, so he's only a few seconds behind him.

There's a mess, they are covered in sweat and come, and they are kissing, high on endorphins, laughing like they can't stop. This is what happens.


*


The fall of the senior year in high school is crazy. All you can hear is college, college essays, college, letters of recommendation, college, SATs, college, college, college. Brad couldn't care less, but Nate is stressing out, even if, with his grades and accomplishments and SATs he took last year, every school will want him.

"Nate," Brad says, looking up from his laptop after two hours of hearing, "I'm almost done." He's not whining, he's... expressing his boredom and frustration.

"I'm almost..."

"No, you're done right now." Brad gets up from the bed, takes Nate's laptop, saves changes and closes it.

"Brad!" Nate definitely whines.

"You rewrote this essay dozens of times. You're not up for a Pulitzer, for fuck's sake," Brad says, kisses him and takes his hand to pull him towards his bed. "Come on, have sex with me."

"My parents are downstairs," Nate tries to argue, but he goes anyway.

"They never come up here, they don't want to know," Brad says but stops to close the door. "Lie down. I will blow you, maybe that will relax you for a moment."

It manages to relax Nate for about fifteen minutes of post-coital bliss. They're lying on the bed, facing each other, and Nate's fingers trace the lines of Brad's jaw and neck.

"It's really important," he says quietly. "It needs to be perfect."

And that's Nate. Always trying to be better, wanting to be perfect.

"Hey," Brad says, kissing him. "Your 'good' is someone else's 'brilliant'. And your essay is better than good, every damn version of it that I've read. Pick three you like most and we will discuss them tomorrow. Then you'll send in your applications and that will be it, okay?"

Nate moves closer and places his face in the crook of Brad's neck. He murmurs something that sounds like ‘I love you’ and Brad smiles and kisses his ear.

"I won’t let you get an ulcer before college."

"That's very kind of you." Nate backs away a little. "What about your essay?"

"Wrote it during the weekend. I can show you tomorrow, so you can do a spell check if you want," Brad says, smiling.

His parents wanted him to apply to at least one college, so that's what he's doing. He's not going to go to CalTech anyway, but he promised. He just wishes that Nate would look a little less happy about it.

"Of course I want to. At least it will be something I understand." Nate grins and points at Brad's laptop lying on the floor. "More often than not, you're writing things in an alien language."

"It's easier than French," Brad points out.

"The pun I could make is so bad, I can't say it," Nate laughs and kisses him, pushing Brad to lie down.

It's time to relax again.


*


Brad couldn't be happier that the holidays are over. If he had had to say, "No, I don't have a girlfriend," one more time to one more relative, he would have killed somebody. Or brought Nate to family Hanukkah dinner, kissed him in front of everyone and kissed his future in the Marines goodbye at the same time.

Brad's really glad the danger is over now, but it's New Year's Eve and the situation is not that different. Instead of annoying relatives, he's surrounded by annoying classmates, most of them drunk on cheap beer and some blue-ish drink Brad's not touching with a stick. And instead of questions about a new girlfriend, there are girls interested in being one (he's not full of himself, he's just not blind).

His life is not that bad, though. Nate is beside him and they are joking and laughing with Mike and Poke, sitting close without the need for explanation other than the obvious fact that there are really too many people in Ray's living room.

Ten to midnight Nate tilts his head in the direction of the back door and they move outside. There's not a lot of people here, but it's difficult to see everyone in the shadows. Brad notices Stafford and Christeson in a small group on the patio, and he thinks he sees Trombley with his girlfriend sitting under a tree with another couple. Nate and Brad find a deserted place near the east side of the house and they lean against the wall next to each other, but keeping a safe distance in case someone shows up. The music is loud, coming through the windows, but it’s still relatively quiet after hours of constant noise.

They are silent, just standing there, and Brad can't help thinking about that year. He started it recovering from a break-up and now he's in a relationship he wouldn't even be able to predict back then. He remembers the day Ray told him about Nate's feelings and he thinks of all the things that could have gone wrong but didn't. Nate loves him and Brad loves him back, they're still best friends and still together.

The counting starts and they are looking at each other, smiling. Nate's fingers touch his in the dark and approximately five seconds after midnight Brad closes the space between them and kisses Nate.


*


Unsurprisingly, each school that Nate applied to wants him. The fact that CalTech wants Brad is rather unsurprising, too, but much less appreciated. At least by Brad, because Nate looks ready to explode from excitement. He jumps him as soon as he walks through the door and pins him to it, demanding to be fucked. Who's Brad to say no. Nate doesn't stop smiling and even laughs during his orgasm like he can't help it. It looks like his grin is going to be a permanent thing now, but what Brad has to say will take care of that pretty damn fast, he knows. So he stalls a little, gives them time, but in the end he doesn't have a choice.

"You know I'm not going to CalTech, right?" he says, looking at Nate's neck.

"Yeah, I know," Nate admits quietly and Brad looks up. The smile is gone.

"Nate..." he starts and doesn't know what to say. He just hopes it's not like the last time, everything going to shit, because someone can't change him the way they want. Nate knew what he was getting himself into.

"Hey," Nate says, resting his hand on Brad's neck. "I knew that and I still do, okay?"

"But you wish I'd go," Brad can't help pushing.

"But I'm okay with you not going," Nate counters. "I want you to be who you want to be. Just... before you decline the offer, go to the recruiting station, talk to someone. Make sure."

Brad is sure. Nate's right, though. He was planning on going anyway and now is a good time.

"I know," he says, kissing Nate's jaw and neck. "I will."


*


And this is how he finds himself coming in to the recruiting station on Friday afternoon. He sees that the man at the desk is busy talking with a girl, so he turns to the chairs where there's another guy waiting.

"Trombley?"

They had never talked much to begin with, but since Trombley's homophobic ass turned against Nate they pretty much just avoided each other outside of the basketball court.

"Colbert."

They sit in silence for the next couple of minutes, then the girl leaves and the Marine turns to Brad.

"Hi, my name is Dominic Lane. How can I help you?"

"Brad Colbert." They shake hands and Brad looks at Trombley. "I'm interested in enlisting, but I wasn't here first..."

"James is not waiting for me, don't worry," the guy, Dominic, says. "Come sit down."

Brad sits and opens his mouth to ask a first question, when Trombley speaks from behind him.

"I don't know what you're doing here, Colbert. Last time I checked they didn't allow fags into the Marine Corps. Or any other military branch."

He freezes. He stops breathing, because this is a bad dream, a really bad dream, and he will wake up if he just stops...

"James!" He hears and it's loud. Shouldn't a loud noise like that wake him up?

"I go to school with him, Lane, I know what I'm talking about." Trombley now moves and comes up to Brad, standing a few feet to his right. "You were trying, I can give you that. Everyone thinks you are just friends with the Golden Boy. You got me fooled, too. Fuck, you're worse than him, he's at least not lying about what he is. I didn't even want to believe when my sister told me you were there with Fick at his sister’s wedding. 'They are best friends, their families probably know each other well by now,' I said. There are photos, Colbert..."

This is not happening.

"... but you could still argue that you're just really close friends, I guess. You were behaving then. Shame you couldn't keep it up on the New Year's Eve, though. Kissing your boyfriend when there might be people taking pictures? Not your smartest move."

Trombley and his girlfriend sitting under the tree. Fuck.

"James! Go wait for your father in his office," Lane says sharply. "I think you made your point."

Neither of them speaks for a few minutes after Trombley disappears. There's not much to say now, Brad thinks.

"I'm really sorry about that," Lane starts at last. "And I'm really sorry for what I'm about to say, but... if there are pictures, they can come up. There could be someone," he says, looking at the door to the back office, "who decides to disclose them and your career will be over before it even begins."

"I see," Brad says. He actually can't, for a moment, he has to close his eyes and maybe when he opens them...

"I'm sorry," Lane repeats, and he actually sounds sincere. Brad wishes it meant more to him, but it really, really doesn't. "If it helps, DADT should be over soon. If not this year, then maybe the next. I'm sure we'll be lucky to have you."

Brad nods, thanks him and walks out of this place.

His phone is vibrating in his pocket. Fuck you, he thinks and drives away.


*


He wakes up on Saturday morning tired and aching in places that have little to do with last night’s running.

The scene from the recruitment station replays itself in his head over and over again, in flashes. Last time I checked they didn't allow fags into the Marine Corps is there when he wakes up and the echo follows him to the bathroom. They don't allow fags into the Marine Corps. He brushes his teeth and thinks about how he’s worse than Nate, he's at least not lying about what he is.

The thought of Nate stops the replay for a moment, but it doesn’t make him feel better. Quite the contrary, he feels his muscles tense and has the urge to punch Nate in the face.

If there are pictures, they can come up.

You were trying, I can give you that.

Brad throws up the dinner his mother forced him to eat last night.

“So much for your Carbonara, Mom,” he whispers and his breath quickens. He feels like he’s burning up. The tiles are cold to the touch and this is exactly what Brad needs. That, and maybe enough alcohol to knock himself unconscious. He wants a do-over, a fucking Groundhog Day.

What are the odds of Trombley being at that recruitment station at the same time as Brad? How often is he there? What would happen if Brad went there on Thursday? Or Wednesday? Or next Monday? Would he still have his fucking dream and his entire life plan if he hadn’t gone yesterday?

Brad sits between the toilet and the sink, looking for answers the white and dark blue tiles can’t give him.

There’s nothing there. Nothing.


*


Nate's here. Brad knew it was going to happen sooner rather than later, it's not like he was subtle in avoiding him. After about a dozen unreturned phone calls and only two received texts during the entire weekend, it's slightly surprising Nate waited till Sunday evening to come over to Brad's house.

And now he's standing in the doorway of Brad's room, looking at him from head to toe, with his brows furrowed and fingers playing with his bracelet.

"Your Mom let me in. I think it means she's okay with us now," he says and he's not coming in, just standing there, waiting for Brad to invite him in or not.

"She's probably worried about me." Brad steps aside. He closes the door after Nate enters and turns to face him.

"She's not the only one," Nate says, looking at him questioningly. "I came to see what happened."

Brad doesn't want to talk at all, but settles on doing it as quickly as he can.

"I went to the recruitment station on Friday," he says and watches the reaction closely. He knows Nate wasn't happy with the idea and now each facial expression, each gesture is very, very important. While he's telling the story, he sees confusion and worry, surprise, anger and sadness. Brad feels his own anger simmering inside him. Nate's a good liar, he thinks. He hides the relief really well.

"I'm sorry," Nate says, and he's usually better at figuring out what's the wrong thing to say. "I know..." he continues and Brad takes a step back.

"No, you really don't know."

"You're right. I'm sorry," he admits, coming closer. He really should know by now that closing in on Brad is never a good idea.

"Each and every fucking dream you'd ever had came true, Nate. Each and every one. I had one dream, one, and now it's gone," he says, aiming for calm, but they’ve known each other for too long.

Nate deflates. He backs off and sits on the bed, putting his hands under his thighs, before Brad's brain catches up.

Fuck, is his first thought. Well, tough shit, is the next one and he knows he has to get out of here.

"I have to go," he says with his hand on the doorknob.

"It's your room," he hears but doesn't look back.


*


Two days are not enough and on Monday morning Brad still feels like shit. Last night's fight with Nate just made him feel worse, but he can't help being angry. It's not Nate's fault he succeeds at everything he does, from getting into college to, well, getting Brad, and Brad knows that, he's fucking amazed by the things Nate can do, but. But he can't help thinking that if not for Nate, DADT wouldn't be Brad’s problem at all. He can't help thinking that he lost Natalie over something that he didn't even get in the end.

Yes, he's aware that he's being an asshole, thank you very much. It's not like you can control everything that comes to your mind, though. And it's not like he wishes he was with Natalie now, because he doesn't. He just... He loves Nate more than he ever did Natalie, but he was in love with her, and it hurt like a motherfucker then. Besides, he never really thought that being with Nate and being a Marine were mutually exclusive. Making the other difficult, yes, but not impossible. He was wrong.

So, on Monday morning he still feels like shit and he's still pissed off.

Unsurprisingly, the day is going terribly, because everybody notices. And Brad means it, everybody. Even professor Patterson is looking at him and Nate at the end of the History class as if he wants to figure out what happened.

Ray does more than just look. He uses every opportunity to torment Brad and he's a persistent fucker.

"Nothing happened, Ray," Brad repeats, again, when they walk into the locker room before practice. Nate's already in there, talking with Mike, but he doesn't say anything to Brad, doesn't acknowledge him at all.

Good.


*


On Tuesday, Ray apparently moves to Nate to torment him instead.

"Let it go, Ray," Brad hears Nate's voice and stops outside the door. He left his phone in his locker, earlier, not bothering to check if he packed everything, because he wanted to leave as soon as possible. He didn't expect anyone to still be in there now.

"No. I want to know what's going on!"

"I'm giving him some space," Nate says after a moment. "That's all."

"Are you nuts? You know it's dangerous to give Brad any space. He starts to think!"

"Thank you, doctor Freud."

"Nate..."

"Ray," Nate's voice makes it a warning. "He wants some space, I'm giving it to him. That's it."

"I don't believe you."

"I don't care," Nate snaps, and Brad winces. Nate is going to feel bad about it later. Or now. "Sorry. Just... Leave it alone, please?"

"Fine," Ray capitulates. "But I don't like this."

"I know."

Brad is wondering what he should do now when Ray opens the door and collides with him. He looks angry and it's something new.

"I don't know what you did, but you need to get your head out of your ass," he says and walks away.

Brad waits a couple minutes more and if it wasn't about his phone, he would just turn around and leave, but he can't. Suddenly, the door opens again and he and Nate only avoid the collision because Brad expects it and moves away. Neither of them says anything. Nate doesn't even look at him.

Brad wants to kick something. Instead, he counts to ten and goes to his locker to get his phone. There's a flyer stuck in the door and Brad wants to just throw it out, but he sees the Marine Corps insignia and stops.

Officer Candidates School. He sits down on the bench.


*


Brad talks with his parents on Saturday. He was afraid they would be either blaming Nate or being too happy about him not trying to get himself killed, but he's positively surprised. They are actually supportive and act like they're genuinely sorry. They ask him about other options and ideas he has, and when he mentions thinking of maybe getting a BA from CalTech and then going to the Officer Candidates School if DADT gets repealed, his parents look like they couldn't be more happy if they tried.

His mom mentions Nate, but Brad ignores it. He sends in his letter of acceptance on Monday after school and he doesn't think of Nate's enthusiasm over college at all.

He doesn't even know which college Nate decided on in the end. It hits him that night. Two and a half years of friendship, almost a year of relationship, and he doesn't know which college Nate picked. Stanford is where he wanted to go the most, but maybe he’s changed his mind? Maybe someone had said... something and Nate decided he didn't want to stay in California? Maybe he chose fucking Harvard, or Princeton, or Dartmouth.

It's after ten p.m. and Brad knows there are other ways he could find out, but he doesn't care. There's only one way he should find out. He's out of the door in less than ten minutes.

Nate's dad opens the door and Brad's, well.

"Good evening, sir. I know it's late and I'm sorry..."

"Just go upstairs, Brad." Nate's dad sighs and lets him in.

He knocks and enters when he hears the invitation. Nate's sitting cross-legged with his laptop on Brad's side of the bed. Because Brad has one, the left side of this bed is his.

"Hi," Nate says after a moment of silence, looking up at him. When Brad still doesn't say anything, he moves to the other side of the bed, making room, and goes back to his laptop.

They will need to talk about a lot of things. About the Marine Corps, because Nate won’t leave it like that and Brad can admit he’s nowhere near over this. About everything they can be now, because there’s nothing stopping them. But for now, there’s one thing he came hear to ask.

"I don't know which college you've chosen," Brad says, shoving his hands in the pockets of his hoodie.

Nate's not surprised. He smiles instead.

"Stanford," he says, tilting his head in the direction of the desk. "Signed my letter today. We had a Fick family discussion about it. There was a vote, Dad thought he could convince me to go to Harvard. Wish you..." he stops and his smile turns into a frown.

"Sorry I missed it," Brad says, and he means it. He comes closer.

"I was going to wait till the end of the week," Nate says and Brad stops. "With the letter, Brad. Fuck, what do you think?"

He shrugs.

"You don't talk to me for two weeks, so I'm done?"

Brad sits down at the bottom of the bed.

"I wouldn't blame you. I was a moron and an asshole."

"You're being a moron now," Nate says, putting the laptop aside, and tugs at Brad's arm to get him to come closer until they are both sitting at the headboard.

"I was angry at you," Brad admits. It's easier when they're both dressed, he doesn't feel that exposed. "I shouldn't have, because it's not your fault, but I couldn't help it. I was pissed off and disappointed, obviously, and I didn't want to talk to you."

The sooner they talk this through, the sooner they will be past this. Hopefully.

"I get it," Nate says, nudging him with his knee. "I just wish... that you would talk to me about it. I mean, I understand why you didn't, but I was still pissed off by the silent treatment."

"One time you tried to talk to me, it didn't end well," Brad points out. He cringes at the memory. "I'm sorry about the things I said, by the way."

He turns to look at Nate, who smiles at him a little self-deprecatingly. Brad feels like an asshole.

"Becoming a Marine is my oldest dream," he says, "but it's not my only one."

His life turned into a fucking soap opera when he wasn't looking, Jesus fucking Christ.

Nate grins.

"That was painful for you, wasn't it?"

"A little," Brad admits, putting his hand on Nate's neck and bringing him in for a kiss. "But I know when I fuck up."

"So," Nate says, with his lips touching Brad's. "Does that mean that you're talking to me again?"

"In general, yes." Brad tugs and pulls until they're lying, facing each other. "But I'd prefer making out now, if you don't mind," he says, sneaking his hand under Nate's t-shirt to touch his back.

"It's okay, I guess," Nate sighs theatrically, but he can't stop himself from laughing.

"Your life is so hard," Brad agrees, biting him on the neck.


*


He wakes up in the morning with Nate lying half on top of him, and he doesn't think of anything at all.

Nate stirs and nuzzles his chest a little.

"I want to go to law school," he murmurs, half-asleep.

Brad laughs and Nate rolls over to lie beside him.

"I know," Brad says, smiling softly, running his fingers through Nate's hair. "You will want to help everyone and will almost ruin yourself working pro bono."

"Or I could become a corporate lawyer," Nate says, without opening his eyes. He tucks his nose near Brad's armpit and sighs.

"I'd pay to see that." Brad moves his hand to the back of Nate's neck and starts massaging it lightly.

"It could happen," he slurs quietly.

"You will get burned so bad," Brad says as quietly.

Nate's hand closes on Brad's hip.

"That's not a reason not to try."

"I'm not saying it is. Everyone knows you're a masochist."

"Says the guy who wants to have people shoot at him."

"Says the guy who came out in a locker room full of half-naked teenagers," Brad shoots back, smiling at the memory.

"Says the guy who... kissed that guy... one day," Nate struggles to finish the sentence before he falls asleep again.

Brad tries not to laugh and wake him up.

"Says the guy who kissed him back," he whispers and closes his eyes.

___________
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kubis

August 2013

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