Only Inaction

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by templemarker

Notes: For the prompt “I like a man who grins when he fights.” –Churchill for the Generation Kill Porn Skirmish. For marcolette, the best cheerleader the USMC Porn Battalion has ever seen. Brad/Nate, NC-17.


Brad had always been a more than competent marksman, but he had never quite been able to compensate for his height when it came to hand to hand.

The Corps training officers were usually good about matching him up with opponents who could at least come within a few spare inches, but most of the time, Brad was stuck with a short motherfucker like Person who seemed determined that the only way to take Brad down was to climb him like monkey bars.

Suffice to say that Brad was not particularly fond of hand to hand. Give him fifty meters and a foot mobile and he could manage pretty damn nicely, but some idiot with a grappling technique and seven inches below Brad’s sight-line–that just pissed him off.

After OIF had been won and named, and his men had been cleared for regrouping, they sat cooling their heels at a flyboy base in Japan. Their aircraft had been rerouted there because of some bullshit like needing fuel, and the upshot was that they were stuck for three days on a compound three times the size of Mathilda with four times less shit to do. The officers, being wily and unpredictable creatures, decided that a little re-up of individual defense was a great idea to lay on guys who were dreaming of their first American burger in two months.

Espera looked up at him from the mat, blinking dazedly. “Dawg, did you just WWF me? They didn’t teach me that shit at MCRD. I feel deprived.”

Brad knew there was a scowl on his face; he didn’t bother trying to clear it off. “Stop climbing me like a goddamned tree and maybe I’ll stop throwing you across the room.”

He stomped off the gym mats, past Captain America who looked like he wanted to say something encouraging, past Doc Bryan who stuck his tongue out at Brad like a five year old. It jarred him out of his displeasure enough to make him snort, and by the time he’d moved into the weight room he was mostly out of his little pissy fit. He grabbed a set of hand weights, determined to get through the rest of the mind-numbing afternoon without falling into a daydream about California Pizza Kitchen.

Just as he’d started to really get into his reps, he felt someone come up behind him. He looked up into the mirror at the LT, ears sticking out a little further than usual against his recently clipped head. “Afternoon, Lieutenant. Enjoying the manly sport of PT?”

Fick smiled, that tiny twitch of his mouth that Brad had worked his ass of for in his better days out in the Arab desert, and Brad let his weights clink to the rubber flooring.

“I hear you’re having trouble with single-opponent combat, Sergeant,” Fick said, arms crossed loosely over his chest.

“If by trouble you mean the men like to relive their playground experience on my tall, manly, frame, then yes sir I am.”

Fick’s smile got incrementally wider, and Brad’s hands twitched involuntarily at his sides. There were some days when what he wanted got the better of him; it looked like this was going to be one of those days.

“Schwetje offered to take you on,” Fick said, like that wasn’t the fucking worst idea in the history of stupid USMC bullshit ever, “but instead I thought you’d prefer…friendlier competition.” His smile transformed into something a little darker, a little sharper, and Brad felt his mouth go dry. He gave a short nod, because his tongue was sticking to the roof of his mouth. Just this morning, he’d managed to sneak into the private shower on the fifth floor of the barracks, “opening” the door with a convenient, jerry-ricked lock pick. He’d taken advantage of his brief time alone to relieve himself of some more prevalent images forefront in his mind, and his fucking LT had played a starring role.

“You sure, sir?” he said, hoping his voice wasn’t as rough as it sounded to his ears. “Wouldn’t want to mess up your nice clean brass, sir. It looks freshly polished.”

He watched, smirkily, as Fick–Nate, he might as well not lie to himself inside his own damned head–as Nate ran a self-conscious hand over his hair and his skin took on a pretty flush that couldn’t just be attributed to PT. “I’m sure, Colbert,” he said, looking straight ahead. “I’ll bet you two ten-inch pizzas with extra Capicola ham that I can pin you in under three minutes.”

Brad stopped. He’d only been talking about the Sicilian for two weeks, about sweet Italian sausage, salami, pepperoni and Capi-fucking-cola ham, ever since his mother had promised to take him there on the way back from Pendleton when his furlough was active.

When Nate realized Brad wasn’t walking beside him, he turned smoothly and cocked his head. And his hip. Not that Brad noticed. “Problem, Sergeant?”

“Sir, clarification. Is that two pizzas for me, or will they be shared?” Brad met Nate’s eyes clearly, no bullshit, no questioning. If Nate was asking what Brad thought he was asking, he was kind of pissed that his recon skills were obviously slipping, but also fuck yes.

Nate didn’t blink. “Up to you, Sergeant,” he said, slightly shrugging his shoulders. “Turns out I’m going to be tied up in Pendleton jockeying a desk for a week and a half before I’m cleared to depart. And I do like salami.”

“Make it three pizzas and you have a deal,” he said, watching the shifting pattern of relief and pleasure play quickly across Nate’s face.

“Done,” Nate said, striding to the mat and stripping off his shirt. Brad dropped his own to the floor, trying to quell the burn of adrenaline and anticipation in his system. Not that, he thought to himself. Not fucking. Not yet.

Nate held out his hand for Brad to grasp. “One, two, three, break,” Nate barked, not wasting a moment, launching himself at Brad’s chest and knocking the wind out of him.

“Hoo-fucking-rah, boys, the white kids are tusslin’!” Garza shouted, and soon enough the whole of Bravo company was watching them wrestle.

Brad had managed to hold his ground through Nate’s first assault, but soon their skin was prickling with sweat and purchase was harder to find on Nate’s back. Nate slipped out of Brad’s hold, sliding around to yank at Brad’s shoulder, tucking him down closer to the floor. Brad gave a deep-seated grunt, pushing up and over to force Nate’s arms back to avoid dislocating a shoulder. They broke apart for a half-second, eyes flashing and connecting once, and then were at it again to the sound of two dozen Marines shouting and placing bets.

Nate went low, making to hook behind Brad’s knee, but Brad feinted only to find that Nate had tricked him into sliding right into the lock of Nate’s arms. Those two inches Brad had on him didn’t make a fucking difference when Nate had his elbows tucked to his sides, wet breath against his neck, straining against each other to see who could fall first.

Brad braced, Nate tensed and then fell, scrabbling in that half second where he hit the floor to escape the confines of Brad’s large hands, flip Brad and summarily pin him. Brad struggled, but he couldn’t get out of it. And fuck if he wanted to anyway.

“Time!” Nate bellowed.

“Two minutes forty-three,” came Gunny’s amused drawl from the sideline.

“Ha,” Nate said, and when he let Brad out of the hold Brad could see the unabashed pleasure clear on his face. “You see, Sergeant,” he continued, breathing shallowly to regulate his air, “that’s why you shouldn’t disregard hand to hand.”

“As you say, LT,” Brad said, staring anywhere but at Nate’s face, willing his dick to go down just a little bit, enough to stand up in a company full of NCO grunts. He watched Nate grab his shirt, running over to confer with Gunny about some damn thing, and Person squatted down in front of him, crotch right in front of Brad’s face.

Yeah. That killed his woody damn well enough.

“You know, Brad,” Ray said in that bullshit philosophical voice he used when he wanted to remind people that he had a full ride to Vanderbilt, “Rudy keeps trying to tell me all about the great classical tradition of wrestling among the Greeks, but I’m pretty sure that just makes it way more fucking gay.”

“Hand me my shirt, Ray,” Brad said, pushing himself up off the floor.

Seven days later he was sitting nervously in the lobby of the California Pizza Kitchen in Solana Beach, trying not to look like he was waiting for someone even though the hostess (who was all of eighteen) eyeballed at him knowingly. Civvies felt weird, too loose and comfortable after weeks in the same grimy, stink-infested clothes. He was too light without his gear, naked without his cover and his M4 linked to his flak jacket.

Brad was close to canceling the reservation and staging a strategic withdrawal when Nate walked through the door wearing a faded blue t-shirt, jeans that seemed too big on him, and aviators. He looked like all-American sin, and Brad shifted uncomfortably on the bench, staring up up up at his LT.

“Sandals, Brad?” Nate said, flicking off his sunglasses and tucking them into his shirt. “Are you going for the classic California image, or is this a new direction in footwear?”

“I’ve recently become committed to the notion of my feet being as close to air as they can be at all times, sir,” Brad said, his smart mouth coming out by rote.

“Boot rot’ll do that to you,” Nate said with feeling, holding out a hand to pull Brad into a stand. Brad took it, launching himself up and directly into Nate’s personal space. He stepped back quickly, walking to the host table, where the girl looked like she was ready to whip out her phone to capture the moment, probably to share it with all her friends. “Colbert,” he said shortly, like she hadn’t watched him sit there for twenty minutes obsessively checking his multifunction atomic watch.

They were seated in a booth on the half-empty floor; Nate had been released early from his meetings, and Brad had broken out his bike from his parents’ garage to come down the Five, which meant that this…date…or whatever fell right between lunch and dinner. Brad watched Nate look perfunctorily through the menu, though they both knew what they would order. Brad resisted the urge to rub a thumb over the wrinkled crease between Nate’s brows.

There must have been a time when Brad’s life wasn’t defined by the things he didn’t let himself do. But he was fucked if he could remember when that was anymore.

Nate put down the menu, and smiled. “How’s home?”

“Good,” Brad replied, trying to figure out what to say. This wasn’t an invasion; Nate wasn’t his commanding officer anymore. They weren’t talking about batteries or ordnance or whether it was morally acceptable to kill a child in accordance with the ROE; they weren’t in a desert surrounded by men whose commitment to survival was as great as the tenor of their patriotism.

They didn’t live or die in this moment. Brad hadn’t figured out how to talk about everyday things again, and he definitely hadn’t figured out how to do it with this man sitting across the table. Not when those little bubbles of kinship they’d shared had saved his sanity in the duration of a fucked-up wrong-ass operation.

The days he’d thought of all the things he wanted to do to Nate Fick, to the LT, were the days he could concentrate on something other than the body count and the staid British voices rattling out the news on his radio. The nights he’d let himself have the thought of something he’d never allow otherwise meant his two hours of sleep came quicker. None of those strategies had included the scenario of Nate here, seemingly offering everything Brad wanted but thought he’d hidden effectively. It was fucking terrifying to think that Nate was able to read him. No one was able to read him.

Brad looked up, and Nate was talking. He’d missed half a conversation, something about graduate programs and red-eyes and things that would take Nate away from California. The thought seized something up in him, and he must have been more head-fucked than he realized because he decided then and there that it was worth compromising this, whatever this was, to get a straight answer and ease the thing ascending in his chest.

“Nate,” Brad said, and shocked them both into silence by saying his name, not his title or rank or his surname. “I think I left all my bullshit back in Iraq. It’ll probably catch up with me soon, but until then I’m just cutting to the point. Are you here because you want a good anecdote about your team leader to round out your Marine Corps Experience? Or did you come up with some manly posturing way to ask me out to the soda shop?”

Of course, that was the second their server chose to grace them with his presence, breaking the moment like a javelin expelled into a hostile encampment.

“What can I get you guys?” he asked, looking as tired as Brad suddenly felt.

“Better timing?” Nate said ruefully, smiling to soften the words. “Newcastle for me, please.”

“If you’re drinking this early, I’m not sure I want to know the answer to my question,” Brad said with just a little bit of pissy in his voice. “Whiskey and ginger.”

“You got it,” the server said, raising an eyebrow at the tension on the table. “I’ll try to pick a better moment to return with your drinks.”

“Thanks,” Nate called after him, shaking his head slightly and kicking Brad in the shin. “That was rude, Brad.”

Brad trapped Nate’s ankle between his own. “You never touched me in Iraq.”

Nate turned serious. “I barely touched myself in Iraq.”

Brad couldn’t help the twelve-year-old-boy grin from flaring briefly on his face, enjoying Nate’s answering one; but the mood turned serious again like east coast weather, predictable in its unpredictability.

“Answer the question,” he said carefully, keeping Nate’s ankle like a prize toy.

“Why?” Nate said, playing with his fork. “You already know the answer.”

The server brought back their drinks, and Brad ordered while Nate tore up little pieces of his napkin into uniformly scrunched-up balls. He watched as Nate arranged them into something not unlike the progress of five under-armed HMVs along an uncertain MSR into hostile territory.

“Answer the question,” he said again, unused to having to ask Nate for something more than once. For something inside Nate’s control, anyway, and it was very obvious to all parties present that this situation was clearly inside Nate’s control.

“Is Person going to garrote me if I take you home tonight?” Nate asked.

“Person can’t stop you from doing anything to me,” Brad said in a bald fit of honesty. “I think that’s why this situation is so hard to unfuck.”

Nate stuttered out a laugh, the first hint of nervousness Brad had seen on him since he walked in. It was reassuring in a fucked up way. Brad released Nate’s ankle, but Nate left it where it was.

Brad watched Nate’s face intently, but Nate didn’t meet his eyes, just stared at some bullshit piece of mass-produced art over Brad’s shoulder. “I didn’t have a plan,” Nate said, strangely hollow. “It’s not like I organized all the ways I wanted to–how I was going to say–how to do this,” he said, waving a hand like it would explain the thing that was between them. Brad couldn’t remember Nate ever being inarticulate; he would have to devote himself more diligently to making it happen in the future. Unsettled was an interesting look on him.

“I just knew,” Nate continued, taking a deep breath, “that whatever came after, after the clusterfuck and after struggling every step to get the men out alive–whatever the next step was, I wanted you with me.” Nate looked at him then, and Brad had to tap into some deep-seated well of reserve to stop from touching him right then and there. “That’s as far as I thought. The pizza was just an unobtrusive way to accomplish that objective.”

The silence that descended was companionable, or as comfortable as it could be between two people who had just enacted Romeo and Juliet: the Recon Marine Variations. The server, having become attuned to whatever bullshit tension surrounded the table, chose that moment to silently slide their food in front of them, asking promptly if they wanted another drink, leaving them to their many types of Americanized pizza artistry.

It tasted like heaven. Brad had eaten here two days ago, but he was happy to shove a slice of Chicken Teriyaki in his mouth.

He watched Nate chew, felt the heat of Nate’s skin against the top of his foot. Brad didn’t speak until four slices in. “That kind of sucked as a declaration of love.”

Nate snorted. “Is that what I was doing? It felt more like preparing to vomit in a public arena.”

Brad sat back, contorting so that one foot wormed its way under Nate’s thigh. Nate stared at him oddly, tense for a brief second before relaxing into the touch. Another test passed. “They give citations for that, Nate. I wouldn’t want to bail you out of the brig at three in the afternoon. I’ve only known one nice MP, and that was when he was drunk off his rocks.”

“I trust you’d insure the situation was handled appropriately, Brad,” Nate said drily, draining the beer in front of him just as the server set another down.

In another ten minutes they’d demolished all but three slices of the pizza, and Brad curled his toes in the khaki of Nate’s pants in pleasure. He watched under lidded eyes as Nate carefully, almost cautiously, dropped a hand down to rest on Brad’s foot. Brad barely stifled a noise at the contact. “I really want to fuck you,” Brad said.

Nate’s breath hitched and he shifted in his seat. “I take it the bullshit hasn’t caught up with you yet.”

“Well, sir,” Brad said, drawing out the word, “I figure you’ve already groped me, bought me dinner, and liquored me up, so this is just the next step in an obvious, societally pre-arranged pattern.”

“For a man who didn’t go to college, you certainly know how to construct a sentence,” Nate observed, fingers tightening and releasing on Brad’s foot like a cat’s claw.

“Time to pay the bill, sir. Tip well,” Brad advised, pushing his foot further under Nate’s thigh, closer to his crotch, watching every little flicker of lust and restraint cross Nate’s face.

Nate dropped four twenties on the table, not even looking to see where they fell before standing up, dislodging Brad from his rest. “I was comfortable,” he complained mildly, getting to his feet.

“You can be comfortable after you’ve sucked my cock,” Nate said evenly, striding forward towards the lobby, clearly expecting Brad to follow.

Brad did.

They managed to just slip under the threat of rush hour traffic, Brad following Nate’s boring fucking rental to the hotel where Nate had elected to stay instead of Officer’s Quarters. Nate walked to the elevator, still not sparing a glance behind him to see whether Brad was trailing him, and so he was clearly surprised when Brad bodychecked him into the elevator, mashing the “Close Doors” button hard and biting the line of Nate’s neck harder.

“Fuck,” Nate gasped, arching briefly before shoving Brad backwards, turning and pinning him against the wall. “I have fucking wanted you for so long that I don’t remember what it’s like not to think about your dick in my hand, Colbert. The only thing stopping me from tearing those fucking jeans off you is the likelihood that some bored-ass pervert security guard is watching us right now.”

“Frankly, Nate,” Brad said, surprised at how breathy and turned-on he sounded, “I wouldn’t be opposed to that.”

Nate bit at Brad’s lower lip and pulled back, flicking his eyes up to meet Brad’s own. “I should have known you enjoyed being watched, you kinky fucker,” he said, amusement warring with arousal. “You’re a Marine after all.”

“They say reconnaissance is a synonym for voyeurism,” Brad agreed, not even listening to whatever stupid shit was coming out of his mouth, desperately tearing his eyes away from Nate’s fucking cocksucker mouth to see how much further they were from Nate’s floor.

Then Nate fucking cheated and grabbed Brad’s dick, squeezing hard. Brad stuttered out a curse and watched Nate smile.

“You’re going to kill me, sir,” he said.

“There is no evidence you’d mind, Sergeant,” Nate said, stepping back when the elevator dinged and walking as if he hadn’t just molested Brad in heavy machinery.

Brad blinked, shook his head, and then vaulted out of the elevator to plaster himself against Nate’s back, shoving his hands into Nate’s front pockets, long fingers colliding against keys and change. Nate shuddered, pressed back, and Brad ran his teeth over Nate’s neck again. It was like a taste he couldn’t quite pick up, chasing it again and again.

“If you want to fuck me I have to get the door open,” Nate pointed out, fumbling with his keycard.

“I think the SOP would work right against this wall here, LT,” Brad said, digging his nails into Nate’s thighs.

Nate’s laugh was strained. “Next you’re going to say you want Lilley here to film the whole thing.”

“We’d make enough money for batteries,” Brad observed, shoving Nate through the door as soon as it swung open.

Nate pushed out of Brad’s hold, the denim abrading the back of Brad’s hands, using the same duck and dive he’d used a week ago to feint and pin Brad down. This time he used it to kick the door shut and shove Brad in the direction of the bed, still mussed from the night before, Nate’s book resting on the side table. He wouldn’t be reading tonight.

Nate dropped to his knees, and Brad would have given years of his life for this. “I’m going to suck your cock now,” Nate said in the same way he spoke about digging graves and rationing food and finding potable water, and Brad’s jeans were nothing in the way of Nate’s determination.

“Fuck,” he said again, like it was the only word he knew, when Nate took him into his mouth like he was hungry for it, hungry for Brad. Brad couldn’t have stilled his hips even if he were inclined to try, and Nate’s arm clamped over them, pushing him down into the bed.

Nate swallowed him down, and Brad had known that Nate could pin him, that Nate could take him on, but he had never known it as intimately as this.

“Fuck,” he said, and Nate’s finger pushed back past his balls to rest against his asshole; Nate pushed in and Brad came down Nate’s throat, thoughts fleeing from his mind.

When he came back to himself, more fucked out than he had ever allowed himself to be in his entire life, Nate was straddled over him, dick in hand. Brad raised his hands to do that himself; jerking Nate off was an excellent use of his last remaining brain cells. But Nate ground out, “Fucking stay right there,” pushing faster against his palm. Brad rested his hands against Nate’s thighs, digging into the muscle again, a different angle from before. “Did you think about coming on me during your combat jacks, Nate?” he asked, sounding like he’d just given the award-winning blowjob instead of his LT. His moved his left hand to rest against his belly and then smoothed it up his chest, a blank canvas for Nate to mark up. “I want you to. Do it,” Brad said, and in the first show of obedience that day Nate seized and shot over Brad, leaving sticky trails from his collarbone to his navel.

“Fuck,” Nate said, echoing Brad. He fell to all fours over Brad, careful not to collapse on him even as he was breathing hard. Nate rubbed his head against Brad’s skin, tongue darting out to lick and a tickle of air as Nate smelled himself there. Brad stared at the ceiling, allowing himself the vice of running a hand over Nate’s head, over his short, fresh-buzzed hair.

Nate fell gently onto Brad, as if he suddenly didn’t care about weighing him down.

“Are you one of those assholes who falls asleep after sex?” Brad asked reprovingly, sweeping a hand down to tentatively touch Nate’s ass, sweeping back up to the marks beginning to show on Nate’s skin.

“Yes,” Nate mumbled. “Don’t mind me. You can fuck me when I wake up.”

“Good deal,” Brad said, shifting slightly so Nate’s heavy-ass self wasn’t jabbing into his spleen, picking up Nate’s book from the side of the bed to read the back until Nate was ready to go again; until Nate was ready to start again.

One Response to “Only Inaction”

  1. chemm80 Says:

    Over here on Mementis’ rec. As a veteran of several “manly men” fandoms, in which the characters tend to communicate without words, if at all, I really enjoyed the dialogue in this one, where they seem to say more than I ever thought about them doing, but it rings very true nonetheless. The way the UST becomes resolved is very satisfying as well. Off to read the rest.

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