Noelia (noelia_g) wrote,
Noelia
noelia_g

Fic: Easy to say but harder to feel this way

Title: Easy to say but harder to feel this way
Fandom: Generation Kill
Characters/Pairings: Nate/Brad
Wordcount: 6645
Summary: FBI AU. Undercover. In the suburbs. And pretending to be married. (Safe to say, Brad Colbert hates his life so much)
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Based on fictionalised portrayals as seen on the HBO miniseries.
A/N: With thanks to kubis and lunatics_word for enduring me on a writing high, and to everyone who enables me with comments.


When Brad wakes up, Nate looks like he's been on his feet for a while, sitting at the kitchen table and positively inhaling what looks to be his second cup of coffee, judging from the level of the liquid in the pot and the alert look on Nate's face. His hair is damp from the shower and he is already dressed, sans tie and jacket that are draped over the back of his chair, waiting.

"Morning, honey," Brad drawls, and the look on Nate's face never gets old, the incredulous rise of his eyebrows and the small quirk of his mouth when he looks up at Brad and shakes his head slowly. "Did you have breakfast?"

"I'll buy something on my way, sweetheart," Nate throws back, almost viciously, because he is both a morning person and someone who hates morning people. It's pretty fantastic to observe, if you ask Brad. Then again, he's probably biased.

"If you want to play it that way, I'll raise you to shnookums next time," Brad threatens and Nate laughs and reaches for the coffee pot, topping off his mug and filling one for Brad, handing it over.

Their fingers brush briefly, jolt Brad with the now familiar current and he knows it's going to get worse later in the day, he's been here before.

Nate closes his eyes when he drinks coffee, both hands clasped around the mug. He does that with the paper cups in the office too, but it's different in the intimate space of this kitchen, in a house that is, for all intents and purposes, theirs.

At least for the lenght of the assignment.

Nate downs the rest of his coffee and Brad doesn't at all look at the way the column of his throat shifts as the liquid goes down. "Plans for today?" Nate asks, putting up his collar and reaching to pick up his tie, slick between his fingers.

"Same old. Although, Mrs Kingsley asked me to take a look at her laptop," he says lightly. "Apparently it's been shutting down at odd times. I promised I'll see what can be done."

Nate nods, his expression shifting into business-like seriousness. It's not quite a breakthrough but it's the closest they've got so far. "Alright," he nods and picks up his jacket, his eyes not leaving Brad's. "Have fun with it," he adds and the way he says it means 'take care' and 'don't do anything stupid'. Brad nods curtly, solid copy.

Nate is well on his way out, opening the door and fishing out his car keys, when Brad calls after him and joins him outside. "You forgot this," he says and hands Nate the travel mug. Olivia Kingsley is picking up her morning paper and Brad waves at her, forcing a cheerful expression. She waves back.

"Thanks," Nate says and turns his head, his lips brushing against Brad's. It's all for show, but nothing's stopping Brad from making it a good one, from letting his hand rest on the small of Nate's back, underneath his jacket, feeling the warmth of Nate's body through his shirt. Nate tilts his head and lets Brad nibble at his lower lip. They've done this before and it doesn't mean anything.

Brad realises it's the emotional equivalent of shooting himself in the foot and then bleeding out slowly into their perfectly maintained lawn.

That's not enough to stop him.

*

Brad might have laughed when Ferrando suggested the undercover assignment.

No, he really did laugh, startled and too loud, drawing surprised looks from pretty much everyone who actually met him. But it sounded like a romantic comedy set-up gone horribly wrong and frankly, shouldn't be something their department actually did.

Except, judging from the last few years, their department specialised in things they shouldn't actually be doing.

It amounted to this: one of Ruiz's lieutenants, Charlie Kingsley, got married last month and moved into a pretty little house in the suburbs. No one could determine whether the new Mrs Kingsley knew of her husband's less than legal activities, but the bureau jumped at the chance to get closer to Kingsley and his acquaintances. And as their intel turned up a little tidbit about Olivia Kingsley's younger brother, with whom she was very close but who lived with his boyfriend on the other side of the country... Well, it all amounted to the most ridiculous fucking assignment Brad had ever been a part of.

But at some point Nate had somehow volunteered, and Brad was completely fucked, because the idea of doing this was moronic, but preferable to acting as support while Nate moved in with Wynn or Hasser or, fuck it, Reyes.

He almost backed out when he saw the house. "White picket fucking fence, Nate?" he asked incredulously, shaking his head. "They're getting us a fucking golden retriever too?"

"Well, we could get one, if you think it will keep you from feeling lonely when I'm not around."

Which was just another thing. "And why the fuck am I the stay-at-home househusband anyway?"

"Because I'm supervising three other ongoing cases. And because your cover job allows you to work from home. And, well, because you're good at this, at getting the mark to trust you, and you're going to deal with our Mrs Kingsley."

"Well, now, if you're going to use logic..." Brad muttered. "Fuck off."

"If that's your brand of sweet talk people are going to wonder how you got me to go out with you, less alone move in with you."

"Alright, we're getting our cover story straight right now, and I'm telling you now, it was you who fucked up at least three attempts at asking me out before I took pity."

"That's your version?"

"And I'm sticking to it. And since it's going to be me chatting with our lovely neighbour while we're watering our lawns or whatever the fuck people do in this ABC fucking Family hell on earth, it's the one that holds."

Nate was laughing before Brad even finished speaking, warm and open and all too close for comfort. "Fine, whatever you want," he said, and Brad had to tell himself he didn't mean it, because right now what he wanted was fucking dangerous.

*

Olivia knocks on the doors two hours after Nate leaves, carrying her laptop gingerly. Brad smiles at her and asks if she'd like some tea.

They have determined quite early that she was convinced her husband was an overworked attorney and Brad had moments where he felt really shitty about using her like that, except that once Kingsley was put behind bars she would actually be safer than she is now, albeit disillusioned and probably pissed off as all hell.

"You sure you don't mind?" she asks again and Brad shrugs.

"It's a welcome break from rewriting the code and trying to figure out where those fuckers made a typo that makes it useless. For once I'm actually welcoming Windows' unending retardation."

"If you say so," she laughs and places a plate of cookies she brought as payment on the kitchen counter. "This place looks great. I love what you've done with the dining room."

Brad doesn't know what his life turned into. Trading decorating tips with a mobster's wife, he can't even. "It's all me," he offers, eyes fixed on the screen. "Nate has no taste whatsoever."

"Oh, I don't know," she says slowly. "He picked you, didn't he?"

"There's that," Brad agrees over the ringing in his ears, the cold feeling in his gut. He forces a smile and turns back to the reinstall and Olivia, thankfully, busies herself with making tea, asking where they keep their glasses.

*

It dawned on him quite soon that he had absolutely fucking no idea what he got himself into. In fact, the point had been driven home quite efficiently the very first day, when the problem of the sleeping arrangement made itself known.

Well, not exactly the sleeping arrangement. Brad wasn't a retard, he realised that just in case, they had to give all appearance of a happy couple, including sharing a bed. Kingsley was famously paranoid and he also was the only man this high up in the organisation they had any kind of an access to.

So, the bed thing didn't faze him that first evening, even when Nate went through the motions of offering to sleep on the couch.

"Frankly, Fick, I'm not seeing the initiative I'd like," Brad rasped out, a fair attempt at Godfather's voice and Nate bit his lip to keep from laughing, hard enough to leave indentations.

"Thank you. Because I wanted to think about Ferrando and initiative in the bedroom department."

"You would, you kinky fucker."

Two years ago they had spent a night in a ratty motel somewhere in Assfuck, Montana, after their witness fucked them over and straight out disappeared. There was only one bed and the motel was rented by an hour, the sounds from behind the wall indicating that at least one couple was getting their hour's worth. Brad woke up with Nate's head on his stomach, somehow, and it didn't bother him.

Of course, that was before he realised he was head over fucking heels in love with Nate, but those were insignificant details.

This time, the first night, he woke up a respectable two inches away from Nate, who was sleeping on his stomach, his face turned towards Brad. He must had decided it was too fucking hot sometime during the night and discarded his t-shirt, giving Brad a splendid view of a vast expanse of tan skin. When he shifted restlessly, Brad could see a crease from the pillow on his cheek.

Brad thought his defences were pretty good, he had spent the last three years building them up after Jenny and then the last year fortifying them against Nate's green eyes and warm smile specifically, but they were crumbling down with every shallow breath Nate took.

It would be all too easy to slide down, lean back against the pillow, and pretend for a moment.

*

Brad thinks that if this was for real, he'd shoot his brains out after a week. Maybe if his 'job' wasn't just a cover and he had something relevant to take care of after he spent a reasonable and not at all creepy amount of time making friends with Mrs Kingsley, but as it is, he checks in with Ray, listens to a rant on the latest conspiracy theory involving pussy and the Obama administration, gets the new intel which doesn't amount to much and is pretty much done with all the shit he is supposed to do.

Even when he goes on a run he can't let go like he wants to, because no way a code monkey he is supposed to be can run like an ex-Marine.

In terms of retardation, it beats the deep cover last year, when he got himself messed up with a drug cartel. Those were good times, considering.

"Good morning, Bradley," Mrs Ackerman calls out to him from her porch when he runs past and Brad stops politely, asking her if she needs help with anything today.

"No, thank you," she smiles and fiddles with the pins in her hair. "Just remember I'm expecting you and your young man on Saturday. I'm making pound cake, since you liked it so much last time."

He didn't, really, but you don't go around and tell nice old ladies their cakes taste like sodden cardboard. But Brad has a plan and he's going to make Nate eat most of it. He deserves some entertainment for enduring the whole 'young man' business.

Nate comes back when Brad's getting out of shower. He places his suitcase on the bed and hangs his jacket on the chair, but the way he's not looking at Brad worries him. "Something happened back at the office?"

Nate looks up, surprised. "No, not at all," he says honestly. Brad knows he has a tendency to put up a brave front when something is eating away at him, but it doesn't seem to be the case. "But," he says, lowering his voice. Their bedroom is regularly swept for bugs, but it doesn't quite cover someone who would stand outside their windows and eavesdrop. "Our favorite DA needs to talk to you. He said he looked into it and you were right. Apparently you'll know what he meant?"

Brad nods. "An old case," he says and Nate's face shifts into understanding. They all have those cases, never closed and never forgotten. Nate himself has a dozen or so folders on his desk he never puts away. "I'll swing it by you when I have something concrete."

Nate nods and doesn't push, which is still a stark contrast with Brad's previous retard of a supervisor who needed to know everything and right now. "Alright."

Brad's bending to pick up his pants and a new shirt, and when he turns, Nate's looking away, picking at something at the edge of his pants like a prissy princess he can be, but his expression is still strangely strained. "I don't want to sound like a nagging wife, but are you sure everything is okay?"

"You are the nagging wife," Nate tells him, trying on a pleasant smile.

"Fuck you," Brad responds in kind. "And?"

"Everything's fine. Really," he says and this time he looks straight at Brad. Brad lets it go, even though he's not quite sure Nate's not lying through his teeth. He trusts Nate would tell him if he could tell him. "And how was your day, darling?" Nate asks, going for the obvious running joke and Brad doesn't call him on it.

"Mrs Ackerman wants to see us both on Saturday. I'm told there will be cake," he offers and leaves the best for the last. "And that nice Mrs Kingsley is throwing a little dinner party tomorrow and we're invited."

Nate rises his eyebrows and then he smiles, wide and pleased, and it seems seriously unfair that of all the reasons to want this job done, Nate's approval is first and foremost. Brad is sure there was a time when he wasn't Nate's bitch.

"That's great. That's the best we've had," Nate says, still smiling, and he steps forward automatically, closer to Brad, and then he stumbles into a stop, hesitates over something. Brad feels his heart tighten and he doesn't even know why, what he's waiting for. "That's great, Brad," Nate repeats unnecessarily, his hands dropping to his sides.

Yeah, it's all great.

*

The evenings are the worst.

Brad sometimes thinks it's the mornings, when Nate's skin is flushed from sleep and his eyes are still soft and he smiles unconsciously when he wakes up. When Brad is one step away from doing something unbelievably stupid and unreparable. And he rarely even thinks of actually kissing Nate, almost never considers rubbing his dick against him, no, Brad Colbert fantasises about hooking his ankle over Nate's leg instead. He imagines leaning in and brushing his cheek against Nate's hair. He wants to run his fingers down Nate's arm, see if he leaves goosebumps in his wake.

Yes, Brad does realise he's firmly crossed the rainbow barrier and is well into the pussy-for-brains territory. Can't do shit about it, believe him, he tried.

But mornings pass quickly, one of them gets up and goes to take a shower, always a cold one in Brad's case, and then there's coffee or breakfast and a rush of Nate leaving and then Brad can breathe freely again, his body entirely his own for a while.

But the evenings, they stretch into what seems like forever. Nate goes through the reports on his laptop, the one that the tech guys had set up with a dozen passwords and then Brad had his way with it, beefing up it's security, just in case. Nate sits sideways on the couch, his legs bent and his feet propped up, and they edge into Brad's space, Nate's toes against the side of Brad's thigh.

Brad doesn't dare to move, for the first few seconds he doesn't dare to breathe. He relaxes, slowly, forcing himself to breathe out and in, to neither move away from the contact or grasp Nate's ankle like he wants to, shift and crawl between Nate's legs, letting the fucking laptop fall to the floor. He wouldn't care, not if Nate didn't mind. Not if Nate let him.

Now, Brad reads the same paragraph for what must be the sixth or seventh time and the words still don't make any sense. He feels Nate's gaze even before Nate speaks up, before he shifts and places the laptop on the floor, the movement pushing his foot a little more against Brad. "What is it?" he asks and Brad frantically searches for a valid excuse.

"It's that case," he says finally and Nate nods.

"The one Matthews looked into? Is it something you want to talk through or should I just leave you to work it out on your own?" There's no pressure in Nate's voice, just an earnest offer. Brad shakes his head.

"I'm fine. Just preoccupied. It's been on my desk for over two years."

"Sure," Nate nods and stands up, and Brad feels the loss of contact acutely. "Want something to drink? I'm pretty sure we have beer."

"Doesn't that qualify as drinking on duty? I don't think my boss would approve."

"Not your boss tonight."

Jesus, Brad wishes that was true. He wishes for a great lots of things, but he knows better. "If you say so, sir," he says, aiming for a teasing tone. He doesn't quite land it, but Nate's questioning gaze is brief.

He comes back from the kitchen with two cold bottles and hands one to Brad. Their fingers don't meet at all and Brad is pathetically grateful for small mercies. When Nate sits down, he folds one leg under the other and doesn't touch Brad at all. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, Brad supposes.

"If we get to install the bugs at Kingsleys' tomorrow," Nate says slowly, his voice low and quiet. "we might get close to ending this assignment. We could be going home soon," he adds, and his mouth does a curious twist when he says 'home', like he wasn't sure of the sound, like it was unfamiliar.

Brad is reaching, he knows he is, but he can't see eagerness in Nate's face, can't see any pleasure at the thought. It's too weak a line to use for a safety and he closes his eyes, takes a long sip of his beer, leans back in his seat, away from Nate. "I think I should get a move on and go to sleep."

"It's barely ten."

"Long day, honey. Keeping the house spotless for you is a fucking full time job."

Nate doesn't smile back, doesn't throw any remarks Brad's way, doesn't play into the joke like he usually does. Instead, he reaches for his laptop again, shuts it down. "You're right. I think I'll turn in as well. Want to take the first shower?"

"All yours," Brad mutters and waves his hand in the general direction of the bedroom and the bathroom.

Nate looks like he wants to say something else, but the only thing is a frustrated quirk of his mouth and the way he pushes his two fingers against the bridge of his nose, like he can feel a headache starting. When he gets up and goes into the bathroom, Brad closes his own book and replaces it on the shelf, then picks up both discarded bottles. Nate barely touched his beer and Brad downs it. No use letting it go to waste and he won't even feel it.

After throwing the bottles into the trash, he fills up a tall glass with water and picks up the painkillers. He places them on Nate's nightstand and waits for Nate to be done with the shower so Brad could take a cold one of his own. He doesn't even mind anymore, he got used to that.

He could probably just jerk off in the fucking shower, but he's reluctant to try with Nate right on the other side of the door. So, cold shower. The motherfucking answer to everything.

Nate vacates the bathroom finally, towelling off his wet hair, and Brad doesn't dare to look at him when he walks into the bathroom. It's not steamed up as Brad expected, but maybe Nate's shower was too brief. Brad spends a moment that's way too long for comfort just staring into the mirror, taking in the dark circles under his eyes, the grim lines around his mouth. He splashes his face with cold water but it doesn't help much.

When he walks back into the room, already dressed for sleep, Nate is sitting on the edge of the bed, an empty glass in his hands. "Thanks," he says, gesturing with it.

Brad nods in acknowledgment and gets onto his side of the bed but Nate doesn't move, the line of his shoulders tense. "Nate, what is it?" Something's been bothering him and Brad is starting to fucking worry. He doesn't worry, on principle. Except, apparently, for Nate.

"It's nothing," Nate starts and then catches Brad's eye and he sighs. "Nothing I can tell you anyway," he admits. It rings true and Brad nods in acceptance. He gets it. He wishes he didn't, that he could push the topic and ease the grim expression on Nate's face, but he gets it.

"Then just fucking go to sleep and don't bring the room down with your moping," he offers kindly and Nate takes it for what it is and smiles wryly.

"Copy that," he mutters and flips off the light on his side, gets into bed and waits until Brad stops moving around the room, putting things away, and does the same.

Brad's half asleep when Nate speaks again, after such a long time Brad was pretty sure Nate was out for the count already, his breathing even and slow. "I'm glad you took this assignment," he says and Brad freezes, his heartbeat coming to a sudden still, his breath dying out. It feels just like drowning.

What the fucking hell does Nate mean by that?

He doesn't know what to say, and then the moment stretches into awkward stillness and Brad doesn't trust his voice, not at all. Nate shifts, turns to his side away from Brad. Maybe he assumes Brad's fast asleep. Maybe he knows better.

Brad closes his eyes again and stays absolutely still for a long while, until the sleep claims him.

*

He wakes up all tangled up in Nate.

It doesn't happen, they don't do this. Somehow, even in their sleep, they have respected the invisible lines and this hasn't even been an issue, except now it is and Brad kind of hates his life, but on the other hand, he wishes this moment lasted forever.

He's on Nate's side of the bed, with Nate drapped over him, his leg between Brad's and his head pillowed on Brad's chest. Brad's arm is around him, holding him close. Brad must have seriously pissed off that bitch karma. And he doesn't even believe in fucking karma.

Nate's cock is half-hard against his thigh. His lips are maybe half an inch away from Brad's nipple. Brad is painfully aware of it all.

He tries to shift and ease out from under Nate but it's hopeless, they're too close, and Nate says something, too quiet for Brad to hear, his lips moving against Brad's skin.

Might as well take the hard way out, pun not intended. "Nate, time to wake up," he says and nudges Nate's shoulder. Nate goes from fast asleep to wide awake in a space of two heartbeats, his eyes opening quickly, lashes fluttering for just a moment.

Brad can tell the exact moment their position sinks in, heralded by a faint flush in Nate's cheeks before he pulls away, just slightly. "Well, this is new," he says, trying for light, but something in his voice strikes Brad as strange. "Sorry," he adds and moves to stand up.

"It's fine, I think I invided your side anyway," Brad offers quickly. "Although your defensive tactics are a little strange," he adds and Nate smiles, but it seems forced. Whatever reaction Brad expected, Nate's expression, his hesitance as he moves away, running his fingers through his hair nervously, it's off somehow.

Then again, Nate's been off lately, so maybe this is just an extension of this. Maybe it has nothing to do with Brad, maybe it's not signalling Nate disengaging from their friendship, or working relationship, or whatever the fuck it is they actually have.

"So, big day today," he offers and Nate nods, smiling gratefully at the change in topic.

"Person's going to come by in the afternoon, before we're expected at the Kingsleys'. Apparently they have perfected the bugs somehow, Hasser maintains they're undetectable now."

"No such thing."

"That's what I said, but since it prompted half an hour long spiel from Person, I'm not going to be saying it again," Nate offers with a more honest smile before he walks into the bathroom. Brad listens to him move, to the sound of water running. He shakes his head at himself and goes to make coffee.

*

Ray comes by in a guise of a cable guy. Once inside, he spreads his arms wide and turns around, showing off his nice fake uniform. "Nice, eh? I saw a porn movie like this once. I'm seriously keeping this. Walt has refused to participate, but I have tons of blackmail material on him, he'll come around."

"Please stop sharing the details of your sexual deviations with me," Brad mutters. "And most importantly, please stop doing that before you actually check the house like you're supposed to."

"Whatever, I don't think anyone would like to install anything here and listen to you and Fick. I mean, seriously, how the fuck does that go? I'm pretty fucking sure at least one of you cries after the sex. Don't tell me who, I like to be kept guessing."

"I'll keep you guessing," Brad promises darkly and Ray sends him a shit-eating grin before he fishes out his equipment and gets to actually doing his fucking job.

"You're nice and bugs-free, as expected," he offers, and turns back to his bag, ruffling through its contents. "But I have a few nice ones for you. Here," he says and places the little things on Brad's palm. "Aren't they pretty?"

"Aren't you a bit too invested in your equipment?"

"You talk to your fucking computers, I've seen you," Ray shoots back and takes a moment, looking around pointedly. He's clearly not done with the comedy hour. "You know, this house is going on sale when the bureau is done with it."

Brad sighs. "Just say what you are going to say and fuck the hell off?"

Ray nods magnanimously. "I've seen Fick's paycheck, I'm pretty sure he can afford this, and then you can continue your little dicksuck idyll for ever and ever," he concludes, placing his chin on his hands and looking up at Brad.

Brad thinks he's entirely justified in flipping him off.

*

"You know what I hate?" Nate says the first thing after he comes back, tugging at his tie as if it offended him somehow.

Brad looks over at him, at the tense set of his jaw, and shrugs. "The fucking Encino Man?"

"As if you knew him," Nate admits. Brad shrugs again. Not many people who can rile Nate up to the point where his fingers fumble on the tie as he gets more irritated with the knot and tugs harder.

"Stop that, you'll choke yourself, and then where we'll be?"

"Well, you might get transfered to Shwetje's department," Nate offers darkly as Brad moves to stand in front of him and deals with the tie efficiently.

"How do you even manage to mess up your tie like that?"

"I'm special," Nate mutters. "Okay, I've seen the cars on the driveway, we should get going. You got everything from Ray?"

"Along with a few things I didn't need to know and he felt like sharing anyway," Brad shrugs. "Go change."

Nate looks like he wants to say something, his mouth working around unvoiced words, but in the end he just nods and walks into the bedroom. Brad picks up the fucking potato salad Ray brought, along with the bugs. It's a shame to waste Hasser's salad on a mobster and his cronies, but apparently one does not show at a garden party empty handed.

"How the fuck don't you know that?" Ray asked incredulously. "I mean, I understand garden parties might have been too plebeian for the Colberts, but weren't you all ready to play house with Jenny?"

"Well, apparently I've been doing it wrong," Brad snapped and Ray shut up promptly, with just a look, knowing very well when to stop. Well, sometimes knowing when to stop.

Nate comes back, buttoning up his shirt. Brad looks away.

"Is that Hasser's salad?" Nate shakes his head. "Don't say we're giving it away."

"Afraid so. We all make sacrifices," Brad points out gravely and Nate smiles, his darker mood apparently gone. Brad counts it as a success and feels ready to move on to the next mission objective: installing the bugs, promptly getting a better intel, and moving out of the fucking suburbs. "But don't worry, I saved some for you for later," he adds, and Nate turns, his hand already on the doorknob on their way out.

"Sometimes you're just..." he starts and Brad doesn't get to hear the rest, because Nate's tilting his head up and kissing him, reaching out to place his hand on the nape of Brad's neck, his fingers curling in Brad's hair. It's familiar, they've done this before, and it never means anything but maintaining their cover.

Except that Nate dropped his hand and the doors are still closed, and he whispers Brad's name when he pulls back, licking his lips.

"Nate," Brad says quietly. Even if he wanted to say something else, his brain is pretty much stuck on that, on Nate still so close, his taste still on Brad's lips, familiar but then again so different this time.

"I'm sorry," Nate tells him and Brad thinks that if he wasn't holding the salad in one hand, the fingers of the other still tangled in Nate's shirt and gripping tightly, he might have just gave in and punched him.

"Don't you fucking dare apologise for this," he says hotly. "If you think it was a mistake, fine, but don't say you're sorry."

Nate's eyes are impossibly green now, clouded with something Brad can't yet name. "Bad timing," he offers. "I need your head in the game for this, it would be a fucking waste of time if we got caught now. So, bad timing," he repeats, as if willing Brad to understand.

If he means it, if Brad is reading him right, then fucking yes, a colossal waste of time. They could have been... "Nate, don't fuck with me," he says sharply, except that it's not sharp at all, it's soft and pleading, and Nate leans in again, his breath warming Brad's lips.

"I'm not... Jesus, Brad, I'm not," he whispers.

Brad nods, their lips brushing briefly again. "You have the worst fucking timing in the history of everything," he offers, smiling.

"Yeah, figured that."

*

The garden party is both a success and a great fucking distaster, depending who you ask and what's your method of measuring.

Brad installs the bugs quite efficiently, if he can say so himself, so that's good. He manages to keep his hands away from Nate most of the time, which is even more impressive, considering. And yet, even the occasional touches he's already used to are completely different, setting his blood on fire.

On the other side of the spectrum, Mr and Mrs Kingsley get into a big fight in the kitchen, and she seems tense throughout the evening, effectively making sure that the party is brief and awkward. Brad doesn't mind that one so much, except he's worried for Olivia.

Nate's on the phone the moment they cross the treshold, arguing with someone on the other side, his mouth setting into a tight line when he listens to whatever they're saying. "We're bringing Olivia in tomorrow," he tells Brad after he disconnects, drops the cellphone onto the couch and leans forward, his head in his hands. "Craig thinks this will fuck up the entire case."

"Fuck Craig," Brad offers lightly and Nate looks up, a small smile playing in the corner of his mouth.

"Don't tell me you want to, I'm going to be really disappointed."

Brad nudges Nate's foot with his own, makes him spread his legs enough so Brad can stand between them, his fingers gently caressing the shell of Nate's ear. "I have priorities," he points out. "And besides, thanks for assuming I'd have no taste whatsoever."

Nate smiles for real this time, shifting slightly into Brad's touch. Brad still can't believe he gets to do this, run his fingers down the side of Nate's jaw and have Nate respond to the touch, shiver just so slightly. "Kingsley will know we're on to him, he'll hole up somewhere and most of what we did here will be pretty much pointless," Nate says quietly, but he's made his decision already, Brad can tell. It's the same decision Brad would have made, he had seen Olivia put on a long-sleeve shirt after the argument, just in case the red marks on her wrist got prominent, got noticed. It's the right call, no matter what that retard Encino Man thinks.

"Hey," Brad says, dropping to his knees, his eyes almost level with Nate's now. "Not quite pointless, right?" he mutters softly and Nate ducks his head, his forehead pressed to Brad's.

"Not at all," he breathes out, and it turns into a sigh. "I'll need to drive to the office, talk with Godfather and arrange for everything."

"Worst timing in the world," Brad tells him again and licks at Nate's lips to taste the answering smile.

*

When Brad wakes up the next day, the bed is empty on Nate's side. It's not an unusual thing, but the fact that Nate is not around at all, not in the bathroom or the kitchen, feels strange and uncomfortable. Brad's not sure what that means for them. They seem to be doing everything backwards, due to this assignment, but maybe it bodes well. He's done traditional before, and, well.

His cellphone rings and he checks the caller id. "Spending the night away from home, are you sick of me already?" he asks and Nate snorts.

"Yes, that's it exactly. Sorry," he adds more seriously, and Brad is going to have to break him out of this habit of apologising constantly. "We're sending Diana to bring Olivia in. If you want to accompany her she could come pick you up first."

"I don't think Olivia will want anything to do with me," Brad offers, shrugging. He doesn't mind, it's the way it is, you don't exactly have warm feelings toward someone selling you a load of bullshit for weeks, no matter their reasons. "But thanks," he says sincerely.

"In that case, we'll be waiting for you at the office," Nate hesitates for a moment, as if weighing his next words. "I think someone will come by later and pick our things."

None of those were really theirs, maybe some of the clothes, and Brad's laptops, but the majority has been provided by the bureau. Or came with the house, Brad never quite figured. But the hesitance in Nate's voice was making him worried despite himself. "Something's wrong?"

"A great deal of things, you know how this job gets. But none of what you're asking about," Nate assures him, warm and familiar, and Brad believes him. "Just get here, we'll talk then."

Brad can work with that.

When he walks out of the house, hoisting a duffel bag onto his shoulder, Olivia smiles at him from her lawn. She's wearing a long sleeved shirt again, even though it's pretty damn warm. Diana is just pulling over but Brad doesn't stop, just nods at her in passing. She's much better at this, at the personal stuff and getting people to trust her than Brad could ever be. Olivia's in good hands.

"Done playing house?" Poke asks first thing after Brad gets in, and grins widely at Brad's expression. "Fick isn't, apparently. Said he's in his office, once you drag your ass in. I am really impressed that he's not sick of your ass by now."

"Espera, I know you missed me terribly but try not to cry into your shirt too much."

Nate's on the phone, holding it between his ear and his shoulder while he shifts through the papers on his desk. There's a fucking lot of papers on his desk. Brad remembers why he fights against any whispers of promotion coming his way.

"If you get us the warrant now we still have a chance to get something before he disappears into hiding. Yes. Okay, thanks," Nate says and disconnects, rubbing his temple with two of his fingers. "I'm running out of favors to call in," he tells Brad, sounding tired.

"You need anything from me?" Brad asks and Nate looks up, their eyes locking. "Ah, that," Brad says and Nate laughs softly.

"Mike and Rudy are waiting for the warrant and then they're going after Kingsley. Diana called with Olivia's initial statement, seems that she came across some of her husband's business yesterday and, well," Nate says, shrugging slightly at the end. "I want you in the interrogation room later."

"Only there?" Brad teases. "I thought it was going to be a more permanent thing."

Nate stands up and crosses the room, his hands on both sides of Brad's face when he kisses him, open-mouthed and reckless, like he's been waiting for this for a very long time. "It is," he says simply.

"Okay," Brad breathes out, his brain pretty much too fried to attempt anything more sophisticated. He curls his fingers around Nate's wrists, caresses the inside of his left one with his thumb.

"Speaking of permanent, though," Nate says, his voice hesitant again, like he was on the phone. Brad's thumb stills for a moment before resuming its caress. "Person says you have a month left on your lease."

"Person tells lies, you shouldn't listen to him," Brad coaches. "Except this time he might not be full of shit. Why?" he asks and then it dawns on him. "Nate."

"It's a stupid idea," Nate says quietly.

"Only if you listened to Person and bought the fucking house. It was nice for a while but I would have shot myself after another month of living on that street. They had rules as to what you could have on your fucking lawn and the allowed level of the noise your car could make. Fuck that."

"Forget I said anything," Nate mutters and starts to pull away but Brad holds on.

"And I didn't mind. Not because of the fucking assignment but because of you. So, yeah," he breathes out. "But I hope you mean your fucking apartment and not that house."

"The bathroom had a rather awful color scheme," Nate agrees and Brad smiles into his mouth, kissing him again.

"One more thing. I'm not moving in with you before I get to actually fuck you."

Nate laughs this time, ducking his head, his lips brushing Brad's neck when he speaks. "That could be arranged."
Tags: au, brad/nate, fanfic, generation kill
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