Fandom: Generation Kill
Disclaimer: Based on fictionalised portrayals as seen on the HBO miniseries.
A/N: Princess Diaries AU sequel. The first fic is here (Now with a wonderful graphic by the amazing lunatics_word). Writing this has given me diabetes, but I kind of needed this, with the kind of week I've been having.
Brad supposes that complaining about having too good a boyfriend wouldn’t win him any support from anyone. The moment he tried, Sandy threw a pillow at him. She had hidden three candy bars in that pillow, it actually hurt.
That was four years ago and things had only gotten worse. Erm, better. From a certain point of view.
It went like this: they weren’t ‘official’ during high school. Well, they were official as in going to the prom together (or not going to the prom at all, as it happened, and ending up on the floor on Nate’s bedroom, watching horror movies set at proms), they weren’t official as in spread in the Vanity Fair.
The occasional candid pictures of Brad in the press (occasional because Grandfather had an arrangement with the press, and because Brad never did anything interesting to begin with) were described as ‘Prince Bradley out with friends’, always ‘friends’, always plural. It even stopped bothering him after a while.
(“Are you lying?” Nate asked matter-of-factly when Brad announced it had stopped bothering him. Brad shrugged, which was an answer all in itself. Nate smiled and reached out, tapping his finger against Brad’s jaw. “I love you,” he informed Brad, as if it was Brad who needed reassuring in this situation, as if he was the one constantly relegated to the ‘friend’ status, even when he was so much more...
“You’re thinking too loudly,” Nate muttered.)
The reasoning was, from what Brad could gather, that it was too early to treat Nate as the potential future prince consort. That high school sweethearts rarely lasted.
The first problem was with the whole ‘sweetheart’ concept, Brad took offence at that one. Second problem was, as Sandy put it when definitely not consulted, ‘they don’t know how fucking married you already are, clearly.’
Not that they were. Acting as if they were married, that was. No matter what Sandy, Ray, Walt, Poke, and often Brad’s mother, said.
(“Whatever you say, dear,” Nate offered, clearly not taking the whole thing seriously.)
College was another barrel of laughs. Brad couldn’t get away with joining the Corps or, as his second choice, really, going to the MIT. No, that wouldn’t do, he needed to attend an Ivy League school and talk about his major in the interviews.
It wasn’t that he got in on anything but his own merit, but that was majorly because since his junior year of high school all his grades were of the national import in Genovia, published in most of the country’s newspapers. He couldn’t slack off and let his grades slide. New York fucking Times took interest in his SAT scores.
So, he’d ended at Harvard, chosen by the scientific method of ‘where did Nate want to go the most’.
Grandfather sighed a lot at that one, but in the end he couldn’t quite complain, because well, Harvard.
In college they weren’t quite official either, although the newspapers have at least learned Nate’s name by then. By the sophomore year even Grandfather Ferrando stopped calling Nate that friend of yours, significant pause before the ‘friend’ making Brad want to roll his eyes and interject the word ‘boy’ every time Grandfather did that. By that time Nate was just Nate, and his grades and general well being were inquired about during the weekly stiff phonecalls.
Still, not official. Which meant that when you googled Brad, Nate’s name didn’t come up often in the first page results. When you googled Nate, Brad’s name didn’t show up almost at all.
Which should be a good thing, Brad supposed, from a certain point of view, but on the other hand, was fucking inconvenient.
“I know,” Sandy nods sagely, when he makes the mistake of admitting that during the winter break. It’s the day before Christmas and Nate and Ray managed to escape their respective houses to avoid the last minute madness of cleaning and cooking and rush to get the last presents, and they all holed up at Brad’s, eating cookie dough and drinking eggnog. Brad blames the eggnog for his loose tongue. “You’re worried it’ll imply Nate is available and all those freshmen girls will jump him in the cafeteria.”
Nate snorts like this is funny (it’s not) and Ray looks at Sandy like she’s his new favourite person ever. Poke just ignores them, as he’s wont to do, and uses the moment to switch the tv from the Home Alone to Die Hard, which is a much better Christmas movie anyway, if you ask Brad.
(He’s been outvoted, because Ray is being a bitch, Sandy has no taste, and Nate finds it funny to see Brad squirm. Thank god for Tony.)
“I assure you, no one at any point jumped me in a cafeteria.”
“Because Brad knows he couldn’t get away with it,” Sandy shrugs.
Brad doesn’t argue, he really has no ground to stand on. Instead, he watches for a few seconds as John McClane figures Hans is the bad guy. “You enable the freshmen girls,” he tells Nate after a moment.
“I don’t know if I should evacuate to the kitchen or just go get some popcorn quickly,” Ray says out loud, ignored by everyone. Save for Sandy, who giggles and covers her mouth with the back of her hand.
“In what world is being polite and helpful enabling them?” Nate asks with some mild interest.
“The only help they want from you is possibly helping them out of their clothes,” Brad says lightly, offering a grin to go with it, turning it back into a joke despite the still present undercurrent of jealousy he really knows he has no basis for.
Nate looks at him for just a second longer than is comfortable, before he turns his attention to the screen, the line of conversation seemingly closed. But his hand slides into Brad’s, fingers lacing together, warm and reassuring.
“You’re an idiot,” he tells Brad later, when Sandy and Ray are bickering over the next movie and Nate is making coffee for everyone. When Brad walks into the kitchen just to tell him that Tony made up his mind and wants a cappuccino after all, and then ends up with his chin on Nate’s shoulder and his arms around Nate’s waist.
“I’ve been wondering when you’d clue in to that,” Brad says. Nate snorts and carefully measures out the eleven or so spoons of sugar that Ray takes his coffee with. Fine, something like three, but he’ll still be sugar high for hours.
“Oh, I’ve been long aware of the fact,” Nate shrugs. “Waiting for you to get a clue, though.”
That’s sort of what Brad’s waiting for too. For Nate to realise what he’s getting into, no privacy, eternal boredom, dealing with Grandfather Ferrando on the daily basis, not to mention his army of minions and bureaucrats... Brad can’t be worth that.
Nate’s already censoring what he says publicly, what he writes in his essays, what he does, just in case it could reflect badly on Brad. Brad hates that the most. He’s waiting for Nate to realise how much he hates that too, and that Brad is not quite the consolation prize to make up for all of it.
“Exactly that,” Nate mutters, turning around in Brad’s arms, leaning back a little so he can look into Brad’s eyes. “Stop that,” he says firmly. “Or I’ll tells Sandy you’re moping and need some cheering up.”
Brad can’t help the twitch of his lips, the smile that’s threatening to break, especially as Nate keeps looking at him seriously and sternly. He gives in, let’s the smile appear.
“Better,” Nate nods and presses a quick kiss to Brad’s lips. “Take these,” he adds and hands Brad two of the cups to take back into the living room.
Brad all but forgets about that (except not at all) by the time the break is over and they’re back on campus. He has a standing lunch appointment with Nate whenever they can actually line up their schedules (comes to something like three times a week) but he arrives late, after paying his dues standing in line at the library. He sees Nate immediately, but Nate isn’t looking up, involved in a discussion with three girls Brad doesn’t know.
Brad joins them reluctantly and plops down on the empty chair next to Nate, waving at them to continue the discussion on, as it seems, some latest Supreme Court ruling. Nate, however, pauses mid-sentence and offers him a smile, genuine but if Brad is any judge, a little exaggerated, and leans in, lips brushing Brad’s cheek.
It’s not even a real kiss, but it’s... it’s more than they’ve ever risked in public. Not in a small gathering of friends, in public. You didn’t get more public than the cafeteria during the rush hour.
“So, you must be Brad,” one of the girls says, and Brad almost looks away from Nate at that, because it’s not the ‘so, you must be Prince Brad Colbert,’ it’s the one that’s ‘oh, Nate’s just been telling us about his boyfriend, whom I now assume is you, judging by the whole kissing thing’.
It’s new. It’s new and it’s terrifying and it’s what Brad waited for and didn’t dare ask for.
“Yeah. Sorry, I hope you guys don’t mind, I’m going to steal Nate for a while.”
“Not at all,” a girl, possibly the same one, says politely and Brad’s already pulling at Nate’s sleeve to get him out of the cafeteria and into one of their places. Whichever is closer.
(Nate’s, because he lives on campus. Brad did not win this particular battle with his grandfather and his security team.)
“See, the kissing part we could get away with, I think, but if you rush me up more people will think we’re going to have rushed sex in the supply closet somewhere,” Nate offers conversationally.
“Don’t give me ideas.”
Nate rolls his eyes, but by the way his breath catches Brad concludes he wouldn’t be entirely averse to the idea. It’s really good to know for the future, but also incredibly inconvenient.
Thankfully Nate lives close by.
The moment the door closes, Nate crosses his arms and leans against it, looking at Brad like he’s waiting for an explanation. He looks more amused than annoyed, but Brad reconsiders his idea of just pressing Nate against the door and pushing his legs apart with his knee.
Seems like he’ll have to explain himself. He hates that part.
Nate sighs and shakes his head. “I talked to your grandfather, you know?”
“What? When.” Brad wonders if he’s going to have to call collect the Genovian palace and tell the king to go fuck himself. Mom would kill him, but he would.
“Last time we went there. When you were being prepped for the interview,” he offers and pushes himself away from the door, moving towards the bed, which is a step in the right direction, but Nate just sits on the edge, wipes his hands against his knees as if he’s slightly nervous. His voice remains steady when he speaks again, “come on, of course he grilled me about my intentions, you knew that.”
Brad suspected and he acknowledges that with a nod. “He’d done that back in high school.”
“He hadn’t expected as to last past high school. Some things needed to be said again, some needed to be added,” Nate shrugs again. “It’s fine, I expected as much. But my point is...” he hesitates and clearly rethinks what he was going to say, goes silent for a moment before continues in a quieter voice. “I keep thinking you should wise up and choose something that’s... easier.”
Brad stares at him, not quite comprehending. Or rather, he thinks he understands, he thinks he knows what Nate’s on about, except it’s ridiculous and stupider than he thought Nate capable of. “In my experience, you are quite easy,” he offers, aiming for a joke. Nate rolls his eyes without any feeling behind it, an automatic response to a well-known line.
“You know what I think every damn time you act like you’re worried I’d leave you at some point? Which is idiotic, by the way,” he says with a pointed look. “I think that I should be worried about some contessa, or an international heiress, or a supermodel, or some nice and lovely girl majoring in art who would make you a better princess than I would.”
“Well, you’d look awful in tiara,” Brad mutters, stepping forward and dropping to his knees in the triangle of Nate’s legs, resting his hands on Nate’s knees. “Fine, I get the point. We’re both idiots,” he says firmly and Nate laughs, bowing his head as he does, his mouth inches away from Brad’s. Brad really can’t be blamed for making the best of it and kissing him.
“Hey,” Nate breathes out when he’s pulling back, moments later. He rests his forehead against Brad’s and runs his fingers down Brad’s neck absently. “No distractions just yet,” he says gently and Brad nods, shifting back a little.
He doesn’t let go of Nate’s hand, their fingers laced together at some point and he doesn’t want to change that.
“The Genovian Court won’t recognise me until we’re officially engaged,” Nate says, and it’s not what Brad expected him to say. “It’s going to be a little complicated after that too, your grandfather is thinking about changes to the constitution relating to the succession.”
Brad knows that, he’s heard that before. He knows his grandfather talks unofficially with the members of the parliament and the constitutionalists to see if a child Brad adopts could inherit the throne. He assumed grandfather would rather put it off for a while, but if he’s been talking to Nate about this...
“I thought he was a little more opposed to the idea.”
Nate smirks. “Oh, he is. But mostly, I think he just wants you to be happy, and I assured him I’ll do my best to guarantee that.”
“Nate,” Brad says, his voice strangled, shaky. Nate squeezes his hand and looks away slightly, talking more to Brad’s ear than to his face.
“I can’t propose to you,” he says, Brad’s gut turning at that. “You’re the crown prince, Brad, proposing is sort of the thing you need to do,” he adds, softer, then leans to the side, opening the drawer at the nightstand table, fishing something out. “I can, however, do this,” he says and Brad recognises the flash of silver as the horseshoe pendant Nate used to wear all the time. He’s noticed it gone recently, but he assumed Nate was having the clasp fixed or whatever else.
“So, you’re not proposing,” he says, voice hoarse and his throat dry. Nate shakes his head slowly.
“No. This is just a gift,” he says, holding it up and waiting for Brad to extend his hand. It’s Brad’s turn to shake his head, and then lean closer.
“Put it on me,” he asks, bowing his head a little. Nate breathes in audibly and fumbles with the clasp before he fastens it around Brad’s neck. Brad looks down at the pendant and then slips it under his shirt. It’s cold against his skin but it’s warming quickly. “Is this the right moment for the distraction? Because I’d really want to kiss you.”
“Fine,” Nate says, sighing like he’s doing Brad a great favor, but he leans in first, kissing Brad just as he’s pulling him up and forward, so they’re shifting to lie on the bed, wrapped in each other.
It’s not for a while that Brad finds words again, but when he does, he speaks quietly, against Nate’s neck, their bodies pressed close and their legs tangled together. “I’m going to have to ask grandfather about the family ring, aren’t I.”
“You don’t have to,” Nate offers, but there’s no worry behind it now, like he doesn’t have the strength for it, his body warm and relaxed.
“No, I do. I want to buy you a ring that would be just for you, but I probably won’t be able to get away with it.”
Nate nods, understanding. His fingers trace the line of the chain under Brad’s shirt and Brad shivers under the touch. “Find something else. Something for us, something for here,” he offers, the incline of his head indicating the room, the bed, but his hand pressing over Brad’s heart like he means that too. “The rest doesn’t matter as much.”
And in here, with Nate’s hand warm even through the layer of Brad’s shirt, Brad has to agree.