for the criticism of one (deterrence and provocation)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

by templemarker

Notes: Oh, GK Porn Skirmish, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. To my trusty marcolette: cheerleader, beta reader, and research monkey all rolled into one. For the prompt seduction is a slow campaign. Title is a fusion of the Katherine Hepburn quote, “If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married;” and the title of Stephen J Cimbala’s book “Military Persuasion: Deterrence and Provocation in Crisis and War.” Never let it be said that my mind isn’t a complicated place.


In six years, they’ve had sex twenty-four times. Sometimes they had days; sometimes they had hours. Sometimes it was a stolen moment, a hard, bruising kiss the only promise they could make. It wasn’t much.

In six years, they’d had that, and it wasn’t enough but it sufficed. They had that, and now they have this. Unsanctioned time.

Nate’s fingertips against his thigh set Brad shaking, and he gripped Nate’s arm with his hand, chasing his lips after the shuddering noise that escaped. Brad pushed them in the direction of the stairs. Nate didn’t let go.

Brad had spent a week bouncing between his assigned BEQ and his parents’ house, thinking about the papers he hadn’t signed, the ones in a clean unwrinkled envelope in his pack. His mom didn’t ask why he slept in the guest room, just made him breakfast for when he returned from his morning run and brushed a hand over his head like he was still a child. His dad helped him tune-up his bike.

Nate was in DC, and Brad hadn’t called him to let him know he was back from Afghanistan. There was something he had to do first.

Brad gripped Nate like he was trying to get away, though Nate would have crawled into Brad if it meant he could be closer. The room was hot, sweet-smelling air floating in from the window next to the bed. Brad flipped them and pinned Nate there, running his eyes over the marks he’d made, thinking of the marks he was about to make. Nate’s hips twitched under Brad’s regard, and one of Brad’s hands turned gentle, cupping the side of Nate’s face as if he was a fragile thing instead of what he was. Nate’s eyes fluttered at the touch.

The Sunday after he arrived in California, Brad booked a red-eye to DC and used his father’s favorite pen, an old, heavy ballpoint, to sign his name on his discharge papers. His signature was forceful and unwavering. When he showed them to his parents, his mother started crying. His father twisted the pen in his hands. “Are you sure, Brad?” he asked seriously. His dad had never wanted him in the Marines, but he’d shown up at every event the local MCL had organized, looking out of place in his rimless glasses and brown blazer.

“Yes,” Brad said, though he wasn’t, really.

“It’s the only thing that’s ever made you happy,” his dad said, watching Brad’s mom come around the kitchen island to hug him so tightly he felt a muscle pull.

“Not the only thing,” Brad said, resting an arm around his mom.

Skin against skin felt like something precious, something incredible. Brad’s arms had wrapped around Nate, fucking into him shallowly, punctuating each little ‘ah, ah’ noise Nate made with his teeth and his cock. The sweat made it easier to slide against him, into him, and Brad held his rhythm for as long as he could before the sounds Nate made, the sound of coming, wracked his body like an ocean swell and he jacked once, twice, into Nate before stilling. Even then it wasn’t over: Nate still shuddered and clenched around him, an echo of that finish, and Brad set his teeth over the pulse near Nate’s ear and bit just to feel Nate jerk again, and again.

He had checked two duffel bags, and his mom had said she would arrange for his bike to be transported across the country. He had his laptop in a bag, and another carry-on hanging from his shoulder. He flew first class for the leg room, one of the few concessions to his size that he made use of, and wished Ray were here to distract him. But Ray had gotten married to his girl a few years ago, left First Recon and made some babies. He wrote Brad these fucked up letters, pretending he was a Japanese schoolgirl in love with Brad. Ray, thankfully, lived very far away.

The flight was long, and boring, and too loud and too quiet. The food was about as good as any MRE he’d ever had, and the movies made him want to gouge out his own eyes. He leaned back, closed his eyes, and thought of all the things he was going to do to Nate when he saw him next.

Brad fell apart under Nate’s tongue; he always did, which was probably why Nate did it so often. Nate wouldn’t let Brad touch his cock, wouldn’t let him rub off on anything but air, dick hard and thrusting blindly upwards as Brad tried to push himself back on Nate’s tongue, Nate’s finger. Nate was relentless, keeping Brad on the edge until he felt like he couldn’t go any further without plastering his hand to his cock; then Nate would pull back, leaving only his finger behind, slowly pushing it in and out, too shallow to do anything good but too present to do anything but shake up Brad from the inside out. Nate’s lips were shiny from saliva, from licking Brad open until he was fucking wrecked. Brad’s eyes locked on Nate’s mouth, and watched, shocked, as Nate pushed his finger up, up to tap at Brad’s prostate, placing his mouth over just the tip of his cock and sucking hard.

Washington-Dulles was one of Brad’s least favorite airports. It was too fucking far away from anything useful; too far away from Nate. Of course, Nate didn’t know he was coming; Nate didn’t know he’d discharged. Nate didn’t know he was back from his tour. Brad was kind of a shitty boyfriend, if that was what he was in the first place. On the train to Union Station, Brad sprawled carelessly in a bench seat and watched the night sky travel past. Nate didn’t know he was coming, but he was always glad Brad came. Nate would probably be okay with him sticking around.

At the station Brad got a cab, threw his stuff in the truck without the driver’s help, and thought about turning on his phone. He turned it over in his pocket once, twice, and left it off. He was hoping Nate would be there. He was hoping Nate was waiting for him.

They slept until dawn and woke by rote, but instead of pushing out of bed for the shower or a run, they turned into each other as if they’d been doing it all their lives instead of the two days they’d locked themselves in Nate’s townhouse, blindly aiming for mouths, laughing sleepily when they missed. Brad’s hand reached down to grasp Nate’s cock, lazily jacking it to full hardness. He used Nate’s thigh to rut against, kissing the side of Nate’s eye when he yawned, bumping noses when they moved. In the mornings Nate was quiet, but his eyes were sharp enough, locked on Brad’s as he came. Brad licked Nate’s come from his fingers, used the rest to lube his cock, bringing himself off as both of them watched him fuck his own fist against the white expanse of Nate’s leg. He wiped his hand on the comforter, smothering Nate’s disapproving look with a tongue-fucking kiss.

The office light was on at Nate’s townhouse. Brad had been here before, once, when he was sent to meet with a battalion out of Fort Meade he’d be training in Kuwait. They’d had six hours between Brad’s arrival and his departure, and they’d spent all of them fucking on every available surface. He liked it, though it was kind of small. Brad wanted something bigger. Something bigger for the both of them.

He debated whether to unlock the door himself with the spare key on his keyring, but instead he rung the bell. Brad hadn’t told him he was coming, after all, and there was at least one handgun in the house. The bell chimed, and Brad didn’t fidget. He looked at the mailbox instead, white with painted flowers and the house number on it. Maybe Nate would let him put the USMC shield on it.

In the shower Nate’s hands felt their way to Brad’s ass, and he shifted to allow better access. A slippery finger pushed into him, easing into the places it had only recently been. Brad’s eyes fell closed, and he felt Nate lick at the water that ran down his chest. A second finger followed the first, and Brad’s dick got harder, pushing up against Nate. A third, and Brad’s head fell back, open mouth catching water, uncaring. Three, in and out, and the faint promise of a fourth, when Nate pulled his fingers free, rand a hand up Brad’s back, and slipped out of the shower, leaving him panting, empty, and open under the spray. That was just how Nate liked him to feel, before Nate fucked him.

Nate opened the door, and his face warred a hundred different things before settling on cautious pleasure. “Come in,” he said, grabbing two of Brad’s bags. “How long do you have?”

Nate was wearing wrinkled black trousers and a blue button-up shirt with a grease stain near the collar. His tie was shoved carelessly into his pocket, shoes kicked somewhere, leaving him socked in the foyer. He’d conceded to time earlier in the year, and finally got the reading glasses Brad had told him to get; they were sitting on the edge of his nose, looking like they were about to fall off. His cuffs were rolled up, showing the faint traces of ink where he’d written important things on his wrists; he’d never given up the convenience of his own skin to remember things. He did that when he was twenty-five, too.

Standing in the light from the kitchen, waiting for Brad to answer his question, he was the single fucking most gorgeous thing Brad had ever seen. “Awhile,” he said, pulling the now-crumpled envelope from his laptop bag, handing it over. “If that’s okay with you.”

Brad was fucking biting the pillow, he didn’t fucking even care how he was living Ray Person’s Cliche of Homosexuality, just canted his hips back to take more of Nate. Nate’s hand rested in the shadow between his shoulderblades, not pushing or directing, just sliding in and out like he had all the time in the world. In and out, in and fucking out again, and Brad was never ever going to leave again if it meant that he got this for the rest of his life.

“Discharge?” Nate asked, like he’d never said the word before and it tasted odd in his mouth. “When did you request a discharge?”

“They gave me the option in my last exit interview,” Brad said, rolling his beer between his hands. “The second Afghan tour finished off my service years.”

Nate looked up at him with a mixture of awe and anger. “Why didn’t you fucking tell me?”

Brad shrugged, looked at the refrigerator. He didn’t actually know. Or he did, but he didn’t want to say what it meant out loud. Not yet. Not until he knew he could stay.

Nate made that strangled sound, the one that meant he was pissed but didn’t want to say anything pissy. Usually that noise made Brad laugh. Usually it wasn’t directed at him.

“I signed them this morning,” Brad said, placing the bottle on the counter. “My dad faxed them for me. I got on a plane this afternoon and came here.”

It drove Brad crazy how much Nate said without opening his mouth. Nate set the papers down on the kitchen island and walked until he was in Brad’s space, hands tangling in Brad’s shirt, breath mixing with Brad’s breath. “Stay,” he said, like it was that easy, no decisions to make, no more questions. “Stay here.”

“Okay,” Brad said, because it was absolutely that easy, and bent his mouth to Nate’s.

4 Responses to “for the criticism of one (deterrence and provocation)”

  1. Terri Says:

    That’s probably the most amazing GK fic I’ve read. I feel wrung out after reading it, but in a satifying way. Made my morning, thank you :)

  2. Bekah Says:

    just amazing. i really loved it. one of the best GK ffics i’ve read.

  3. Sistermine Says:

    This was hauntingly lovely. I’m not sure quite how you did it, since on the face of it, here’s a happy ending embroidered with flashforward thrillingly hot sex, but the whole thing has such a poignant sense of chances not taken or commitments not made in the past.

    I think you achieve a lot of this tone with the first line which deftly sets up this world full of difficulty. Add Brad’s actions, none of which he’s discussing with the one person he perhaps should be, and you realise he’s apprehensive and unsure.

    I was a little confused about the sex scenes until your clue about the townhouse, and then they became a brilliant pay-off for the pain you’ve put us through.

    Great writing!

  4. marina evelson Says:

    lovely I wish I had found this work earlier, love your writing

Leave a Reply