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It’s almost noon when Maverick kills the Ninja’s engine in front of Ice’s house. He’s been here a couple of times before, and the place looks pretty much the same—small patch of green lawn, no fancy landscaping, but neatly mowed. Nothing seems out of place, and Ice’s GT is parked under the carport. He can’t decide if that makes him feel better or worse.

To say it’s unlike Thomas Kazansky to simply fail to show up for work without prior notice is like saying that the Pacific Ocean is a sizeable body of water. It’s not just unusual—it’s motherfucking unheard of. The lump of vague worry in his stomach hardens into something more urgent.

He walks to the door and knocks on it, then pounds it with the side of his fist when there’s no answer. Fuck this, he thinks and tries the knob. Unlocked. Huh.

Now he’s maybe freaking out, just a little.

“Ice?” he says, stepping inside. The house is dark and cool, way too quiet.

“In here,” comes the reply from the next room, presumably the bedroom, although Maverick has never seen it. He frowns and heads in that direction.

“Kazansky, what the hell…” he starts, but trails off when he turns the corner, then just sort of sags against the doorframe.

It’s a bedroom, he was right about that, but sweet fucking Christ, this is so far from what he ever expected to see there. The fucking Iceman stretched out on the bed, a wrist handcuffed to each headboard post, bare-ass naked. It’s a big bed, too, so he doesn’t have much slack, has to keep his arms spread almost straight. His legs are free, sprawled loosely, one bent slightly at the knee. He’s long and lean and tanned and the sight is…arresting.

Ice clears his throat and Maverick realizes he’s been staring, probably longer than the spectacle warrants. He makes an effort to sound casual.

“Missed you at work,” Maverick says mildly. Ice doesn’t look at him, just inhales sharply through his nose.

“Yeah. Just couldn’t drag myself out of bed this morning,” he answers, deadpan.

Maverick nods, raising a considering eyebrow.

“Big night last night, huh?” he says, not really in any hurry to let Ice off the hook, now that he knows he’s okay.

Ice sighs.

“All right, Mitchell, I know, okay? You can make fun of me all you want after you let me up from here. I’ve been about to piss myself for the last three hours.”

Maverick chuckles and pushes off from the doorframe. He steps closer to Ice, inspects the cuff on the near side.

“Could have just wet the bed if it was that bad,” he notes.

Ice cuts his eyes at Maverick, nostrils flaring.

“Okay, you’re right, I’m gonna get SO much mileage out of this,” Maverick says, laughing. “You got a key? Because I think I left my lockpick in my other pants.”

“Yeah,” Ice says, craning his neck, trying to see something in the corner of the room, but he can’t lift his head very high. “I think…look on the floor under the dresser. I think that’s where he flung it.”

He. Huh. He shoots Ice a glance, then shrugs and turns away. He kneels near the dresser, peering under the heavy piece of furniture.

“You owe me for this man, big time,” he mutters, as he retrieves the key from the far back corner.

“Sure, whatever, I’ll buy you a drink at the O-club, a bunch of ‘em, whatever…just get me out of this,” Ice says, starting to sound like he might be fraying at the edges. Still impressive, though, that it took him this long to fall apart, considering he has to have been strung up like that for hours. Maverick honest to God shivers, and he can’t tell if it’s in sympathy or some sort of sick arousal. Not thinking about that, Mav, not now.

Maverick starts on the near handcuff, noting that although there’s a red line where Ice’s wrist was crimped against the metal, it doesn’t look that bad, barely chafed at all. Maverick can picture it: Kazansky just lying there all through the early and late morning hours, waiting patiently for someone to miss him and come looking. No useless straining against metal handcuffs for him, because it wouldn’t do any good, and he’s the goddamned Iceman. Maverick snorts.

The cuff releases and Ice immediately pulls his arm back in toward his body, rolling his shoulder, flexing the joint in pained relief. He turns his head to look at it as he does it, and Maverick sees it then: the far side of Ice’s face—the one Ice had very carefully kept turned away from Maverick until just now, he realizes—is covered with blood. Maverick grunts in surprise and Ice frowns, turns away again quickly.

“Jesus, Ice…what the hell happened here?” Maverick asks, any humor he’d found in the situation fleeing abruptly. He starts examining Ice for other injuries, going so far as to run his hand up Ice’s side, checking his ribs, and Ice flinches, grabs Maverick’s wrist with his free hand. His grip is hard, but the look he gives Maverick is even harder.

Maverick stops, one knee resting on the bed beside Ice’s hip, and looks him in the eye, not willing to concede yet.

“Look, I’m definitely in favor of getting your freak on, man, but this is not…” he starts, but Ice interrupts.

“Don’t,” he says firmly. When Maverick doesn’t move, he closes his eyes for an overlong moment. Opening them, he says, softer, “Just let me up. Or I’m going to piss on your leg.”

Maverick thinks of refusing, keeping the leverage he’s got right then, using it to extract promises from Ice, then realizes the absurdity of that. He’s not sure he has the right. He huffs a small laugh.

“All right, you sick son of a bitch,” he says, getting up and crossing to the other side of the bed. “Don’t involve me in your kinky-ass lifestyle shit. I am not into watersports.”

Ice grunts in relief when his other wrist is free. He curls up into a ball, stretching his back, before levering himself to his feet.

“About another five minutes and you would have been into it, whether you wanted to be or not,” Ice says over his shoulder, on his way to the bathroom.

Maverick follows him, waits at the open door.

“Oh, fuck yeah,” Ice sighs, leaning against the wall over the toilet as he urinates, head resting on one forearm. He moans in relief and Maverick’s dick twitches in sympathy. Sympathy or something else—the sound is practically pornographic and it makes Maverick a little uncomfortable, especially when the freshly-minted image of Ice’s restrained naked body flashes through his mind again. For that matter, the bare ass he’s looking at right now isn’t that bad, either, which thought reminds him that he really ought to stop staring at it. He should probably just get the hell out of there right now, in fact, but he’s decided he can’t let Ice off that easy, even if it means standing here and watching him piss for about ten minutes straight.

When Ice is finally done, he washes his hands very deliberately—either because he’s stalling for time or because he’s just that meticulous, Maverick doesn’t know—then leans down to the sink to scoop handfuls of water onto his face. The water turns brownish-red as it swirls into the basin. Ice dries his face carefully on the towel (leaving more blood behind) and turns around. Maverick is blocking his exit by the simple expedient of standing in the middle of the narrow doorway, arms folded across his chest. Ice gives him an irritated look, but Maverick just raises his eyebrows, doesn’t move. Ice finally sighs and leans back against the vanity, lets Maverick cup his face, turn it toward him with his thumb on the point of Ice’s jaw. He inspects the nasty-looking bruise across Ice’s sharp cheekbone, the small but gaping cut over his eyebrow. His lip is split and swollen on that side, too, and Maverick sees Ice probe at it with his tongue.

A swell of anger hits him out of nowhere, so intense it makes Maverick feel light-headed for a second.

“Sit down,” he grits, closing the toilet seat and muscling Ice toward it. He doesn’t put up much of a fight, actually, which just makes Maverick madder. “Band-Aids?” he says.

“Under the sink,” Ice answers, flinching a little when his naked ass hits the cold toilet lid. He puts both hands over his face, trying to rub his eyes without irritating his injuries further. A trickle of fresh blood runs from the cut.

Maverick finds the first aid kit—perfectly organized and complete, of course—and fishes some antiseptic ointment and a butterfly bandage out of it. He starts cleaning and dressing the cut, a little surprised at Ice’s compliance, but not above taking advantage of it.

“You’re a lot of things, Tom, and God knows you make me want to punch you on nearly a daily basis, but I never took you for stupid,” Maverick says evenly, trying to pull the edges of the cut together smoothly. Wouldn’t want to mess up this pretty face. Christ.

Kazansky huffs out a bitter little laugh.

“Save it, Maverick,” he says.

Maverick stops what he’s doing and turns Ice’s face toward his with a hand on his cheek. His skin is surprisingly smooth, free of stubble after all these hours and the thought is oddly distracting. Maverick refocuses, waits for Ice to look him in the eye.

“No, you idiot…what are you doing? What if it hadn’t been me that found you? What if…” he stops, thinks about how Ice, lying there helpless, and he suddenly feels gut-punched at all the sickening possibilities that flood his mind.

“Pete,” Ice says, softening a little, and Maverick lets him go, straightens up and turns back toward the sink, washing his hands just to have something to do with them. “I don’t need the lecture. Believe me, I just had about ten hours with nothing to do but lie around and think about what I did wrong. It won’t happen again.”

Maverick leans forward onto the countertop, braced on both hands. He doesn’t look over at Ice as he speaks.

“Look…I’m not saying...” he stops and takes a deep breath, lets it out. “This is dangerous. Letting a guy that will hit a helpless person in the face truss you up? How does that happen? And what if it happens again? If nothing else, you’re risking your career, man.”

Ice snorts.

“First of all, excuse me while I die laughing at the fact that Maverick is standing in my fucking bathroom, lecturing me about the wisdom of my life choices. Second, I just said it won’t happen again. And third, fuck off. It’s none of your business.”

Maverick stands up, avoiding his own reflection in the mirror as he turns to go.

“You’re right, Kazansky. Do what you want; I don’t care.”

He’s back on his bike when the shakes set in, and he has to admit it to himself. He lied to Ice.

He cares a lot.


Ice is back at work the next day, no surprise there. It’s also not surprising that Ice won’t meet Maverick’s eye, speaks to him only when necessary. He was expecting it, of course, puts it down to embarrassment and generally typical Iceman behavior. If he doesn’t want to talk about something, he won’t.

Not that Maverick wants to, either, Christ. He hasn’t even had the stomach to tease Ice about it, which says something right there. In fact, Maverick is having a hard time not openly staring at the guy. Ice knows it, too; keeps giving him dark looks across the students’ heads during the morning briefing, like he’s not about to dignify the subject by mentioning it out loud but he’s still going to threaten Maverick into keeping his mouth shut, even if it’s with nothing but his basilisk stare.

He’s not going to rat Ice out or anything; of course he’s not, but he can’t quite forget about it either. He’s seen Ice naked before, sure—hard not to with their job; locker rooms and aircraft carriers are close quarters and they're all too cocky for modesty—but it’s not like that between them. Well, except for that one time, but they’d been at sea, just won the biggest dogfight of their lives, and he’d always put it down to one of those testosterone-fueled post-combat stress things, or whatever. Rough and quick, a way to release all the adrenaline, just a step above masturbation, really.

This is different. Ice is apparently a freak of some flavor, but it’s not like Maverick hasn’t wondered before about Kazansky’s…proclivities. It’s the Navy and there are more rumors flying than planes; it’s just part of the background noise. Anyway, it should come as a surprise to no one—least of all Maverick, with his own somewhat…colorful…sexual history—that there’s something darker lurking under that perfect Iceman façade. Hell, the self-control involved in earning the call sign alone practically guarantees a kinky side. And Maverick shouldn’t care what Kazansky does in his free time anyway, but he can’t stop thinking about how he looked: miles of skin so improbably golden, lying against rumpled white sheets, restrained but still defiant, long legs sprawled just far enough apart to see…well, everything.

It’s fucking with his head, but he’s sure it’ll pass soon. It has to.



It doesn’t pass. Two weeks go by and if anything, it gets worse. Maverick can’t concentrate, can barely sleep and at work, well…he can’t fucking keep his eyes off Ice, can’t look at him without picturing him naked, laid out like some kind of goddamned sacrifice. It makes it almost impossible to do his job, much less to do it well. He’s starting to wonder what it’s going to take for him to get over this.

And Ice doesn’t really seem to be in much better shape. He’s irritable and short-tempered with students and staff alike, and even though Maverick can see that he’s pissed at himself every time it happens, he doesn’t take it back or apologize, and it doesn’t get better.

They’re both in the classroom one Friday afternoon, last class of the day, last one of the week, and Maverick feels like he’s too big for his skin. It’s too warm in the damned room already, and it isn’t helped at all by the way Ice keeps bending over to help various students at their desks. It seems unlikely that Ice is deliberately taunting Maverick with his perfect round ass, but over the past couple of weeks Maverick has gained a completely unwelcome appreciation for the way his uniform pants hug the curve of said ass, so he figures whether or not there’s intent behind it doesn’t matter for shit. Maverick is hot and itchy and trying to disguise a semi under his own uniform and this fucking week cannot be over soon enough.

Half an hour before class is supposed to end, an aide appears at the door of the room, and Maverick is relieved. Anything to distract him from his insanity.

“Excuse me…Lieutenant Commander Mitchell? Viper wants to see you in his office when you’re done here, sir.”

He nods an acknowledgment and sighs. It wasn’t exactly the deliverance he would have chosen, but he’ll take it.

“Class dismissed,” he says abruptly, turning his back on Kazansky’s confused frown with some relief, and walking out the door.

On the way to Viper’s office, Maverick searches his mind for some way he might have screwed up recently but can’t come up with anything specific. He’s afraid he knows what this is about anyway.

He knocks, hears “Come” from inside. Viper doesn’t sound particularly happy, not that Maverick was expecting him to be. He nods Maverick to the chair, and his stomach gives a slow roll as he lowers himself into the chair in front of Viper’s desk. The man doesn’t miss much on his worst day, and this shit that’s going on with Ice is about as subtle as lighting a signal flare in his undershorts.

Viper makes him wait, fiddling with paperwork, tapping his pen against the desktop irritably. Maverick isn’t as intimidated by Viper as he once was, but he’s still his superior in rank and job position. When Viper raises his head, he studies him for a minute or two with that piercing look that makes Maverick feel about ten years old, and which probably earned him his fucking call sign in the first place. Maverick resists the urge to fidget and wipe his sweaty palms on his pants, but only barely.

Viper heaves a longsuffering sigh.

“So what’s going on with you, Maverick? Did you dump that instrument of death you call a motorcycle and sustain massive brain damage while I wasn’t looking? Because you’re walking around like you’ve suddenly lost about twenty IQ points, which, frankly, you can’t afford.”

“Sir, I…” Maverick starts, but he has no fucking idea what he can possibly say. It’s just as well, because Viper doesn’t wait for him to finish.

“And Kazansky…he’s fucking menopausal…stalking around here, biting the head off of everybody who crosses his path…I’ve had enough and I want it fixed.”

Maverick doesn’t even try to speak this time; Viper is clearly on a roll.

“I don’t know what’s going on between you two, and I don’t want to know,” Viper says.

You really don’t, Maverick thinks.

“Whatever it is that’s suddenly crawled up Kazansky’s ass,” he continues, and Maverick’s mind wanders to the same godforsaken place it’s been for weeks. There are way too many forbidden images and fantasies there, all ones that he really shouldn’t be dwelling on here, in case Viper really can read his mind as he so often suspects, but he gets carried away by them anyway, so that he only catches part of the rest of Viper’s lecture.

“…and I don’t know how he got his face messed up, but that seems to be when his issues started and I have my suspicions that you had something to do with that, or at the very least you know something about it. So…since you seem to be the common factor here…I want you to buy him a drink, you two kiss and make up, or whatever you need to do.”

He pauses, waiting for Maverick to make solid eye contact with him and Maverick does so instantly, like he’s been trained to, because he has.

“I want my two best instructors back in top form, immediately. Is that clear?”

Maverick takes his cue.

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. See to it,” he orders, then nods a dismissal. Maverick makes a hasty retreat, shutting the office door behind him and collapsing against the hallway wall, sighing hugely and rubbing his face with both hands.

Viper is the last person he wants in the middle of this. He’s going to have to do something to blow this wide open, lance this festering sore once and for all.

He wishes he had the first clue how to do that.


As it turns out, Iceman saves him the trouble. Two days later they’re in the command locker room, showering after another technically successful but unsatisfying hop. Maverick is just toweling off, on his way to his locker, thinking that this would probably be a good time to talk to Ice since they’re here late and it’s just the two of them left, nobody else around to overhear or interrupt.

Sounds good, if he only had the first idea what to say. “Hey, Ice…about that time I saw your kinky ass naked and handcuffed? Hey, happens to the best of us, no problem, man, shake it off.” Sure, that’ll work.

It might, actually, if the problem was Ice’s alone. If Maverick could “shake it off,” himself.

He’s just wrapped the towel around his waist, his back to the room and reaching for a clean t-shirt from his locker, when he hears the other shower shut off. Maverick doesn’t look at Ice, just stares hard into the open door of his locker as he tries to think of something to say. He can feel Ice directly behind him, and Maverick takes a breath, figures it’s never going to be easier than this, back to back, something to do with his hands while he talks.

“Listen, Ice…” he starts, but Ice makes a weird sound deep in his throat, almost a growl, and grabs him by the shoulder, spins him and slams him back hard against the tile wall. Ice crowds him, gets up in his face, and he’s big, this close—bigger than Maverick by more than Maverick ever wants to admit, and he’s using every bit of that extra leverage against him right now, leaning into him, looming over him. Maverick swallows hard.

“What the fuck are you doing, Mitchell? Huh?” Ice hisses, but doesn’t really wait for an answer, which is fine, because Maverick feels like he’s about to choke on his own tongue, can barely breathe. “Fucking staring at me all the time…and I can’t. I can’t take that…not from you…” and then he stops, freezes. They’re so close Maverick can feel the other man’s abs tense when his breath hitches.

Maverick winces, figures Ice has just noticed that Maverick is hard, his dick brushing lightly against Ice’s upper thigh. It takes every ounce of willpower he has not to press into it, grind himself against Ice’s cut hip until he comes all over that beautiful skin. Or maybe Ice is registering the fact that they’re both nearly naked, nothing but a couple of layers of cheap Navy-issue terry cloth between them, because Maverick already has. In fact, that’s pretty much all Maverick can focus on right now. That, and Ice’s parted lips hovering a couple of inches from his, how fucking gorgeous his full mouth is, and Maverick’s done.

He eases one hand up from where they’re both pressed defensively open-palm against Ice’s chest and pulls him down into a kiss. Ice is off guard, for once, lips still parted, and he lets Maverick seal his mouth over his, slip his tongue inside. He tastes cool, like mint, and of course the fucker has just brushed his teeth, it’s just like him, Maverick thinks wildly, right before Ice starts kissing him back. There’s no thinking after that, just Ice’s mouth on his, perfect lips softer than Maverick would have thought, kissing him, biting and sucking at his neck, overwhelming him with his clean scent and little gasping grunts escaping into Maverick’s ear.

Maverick’s hands are all over Ice, the thrill of feeling Ice’s bare chest against his shocking. His cock is hot and hard in Maverick’s hand, and the little sounds Ice makes are so incredibly sexy, the way he’s moaning Oh God and fuck. He’s bending his knees so he can thrust up harder against Maverick, so forceful with it, out of control in a way that Maverick wouldn’t have believed if he wasn’t seeing it.

“Yeah…that’s it…let it go…come on baby…I gotcha,” Maverick whispers, wanting to see the Iceman lose it almost more than he wants to come himself. At the word “baby” Ice jerks, comes wet and scorching hot over Maverick’s wrist. The warm slick of it drips down onto Maverick’s own hard dick, and Maverick uses it, thrusts into the mess, smears it over himself and Ice, riding the crease of Ice’s thigh until he manages enough friction to come, groaning too loud and pressing his face into Ice’s shoulder.

They’re both shaking as they come down, holding onto each other or holding each other up; he doesn’t know. Maverick keeps his face down, using Ice’s shoulder as a support and a shield. He has no desire whatsoever to look Ice in the eye right now, and Ice doesn’t ask him to, just leans against him, catching his breath. Maverick has a thought and lets out a short, sharp laugh.

“What?” Ice says.

“I doubt that this is what Viper meant.”


And that's it. Or it should be, should get it all out of their systems, let them go back to being normal again. Co-workers, team members…friends, even. They should go to work every day, fly like gods, go out for drinks once a week, and fuck whoever they want the rest of the time.

They don’t.

It’s Maverick’s problem, really, because Iceman does come back to himself a little more after the business in the locker room. He has regained most of his usual efficiency at work, stopped being so bitchy all the time—or at least no worse than he always was—and he never actually lost the scary focus he always had when he was in the air, so. Viper seems satisfied, anyway.

Ice is still holding Maverick at arm’s length, though: won’t personally engage with him unless absolutely necessary, makes a break for it as soon as he decently can at the end of the day, never even enters the locker room, as far as Maverick can tell.

And Maverick should let it go, he really should. He doesn’t even know when he got so invested in this…whatever it is. He has a lot of time to think about it, though, during long nights where he doesn’t get much sleep, no matter how many times he jerks off, during the days when Ice won’t even acknowledge his presence, and he feels like he’s missing a limb. He’s not really smart about relationship stuff—just ask Charlie—but he’s not an idiot. It’s not just seeing Ice naked that got to him. It’s not even the handcuff thing, not entirely.

One night, about a week after the locker room incident, Maverick finally gives up on trying to sleep about midnight, pulls on his clothes and drives to Ice’s place.

There’s a light on, and as he strides up the walk Maverick thinks, “Yeah. We’re going to do this.” The thought comes as a relief, even if he has no idea what he’s going to do or say here.

He knocks and Ice answers but he doesn’t ask Maverick in, just stands in the doorway giving him this look, like he’s just incredibly tired, and Maverick thinks he knows how he feels. He hesitates, knowing that whatever happens tonight is going to change everything between them, for better or worse, no going back. There’s a real possibility he’ll lose Ice as a friend over this, and it surprises him how much that thought hurts. It kind of snuck up on him, the way he and Ice have actually gotten kind of close over the last couple of years. So yeah, Maverick doesn’t want to lose another one of his few good friends, especially one that has been through as much shit with him as Tom Kazansky has.

“You’re doing the staring thing again, Mav,” Ice comments blandly, interrupting Maverick’s maudlin train of thought. Maverick chuckles, a little relieved at the break.

“Sorry. I know it’s late. Can I come in for a minute, though?” Ice hesitates, a pained little grimace flitting across his face. “It’s important,” Maverick adds.

Ice studies him for a couple of seconds, then nods, steps back so Maverick can come inside. Ice motions him toward the couch, walks into the kitchen and comes back with two beers, doesn’t say a word until he’s sitting down on the couch with Maverick, one of them at each end, facing forward instead of toward each other.

“About the other day…I just…well, I’m having a hard time getting past it,” Maverick says.

“I noticed,” Ice says drily.

“Yeah.” Maverick takes a long pull from his beer, swallows, inspects the label to buy himself a minute.

“Look, I know it’s none of my business what you do with your dick…” Maverick pauses, searching for the words.

“Just…why?” he finally says. Wow, Mav…that was articulate. But Ice gets it.

“You’re right; it is none of your business. But…you wouldn’t be involved in this at all if I hadn’t…misjudged, so,” Ice says. He sniffs, looks toward the ceiling for a second, like he’s deciding what to say next. He sighs.

“Look…have you ever seen me marked up like that before? No. You haven’t. Because I don’t let it go that far. I’m not some kind of masochist, Maverick.”

Maverick frowns. He’s past judging Ice for this, if he ever did; he just really wants to understand.

“Okay. That still doesn’t answer my question. Why? What do you get out of it?”

Ice waits so long that Maverick isn’t sure he’s going to answer at all. Finally he sets his beer down on the coffee table, returning his elbows to rest on his knees. Maverick raises his eyebrows at the way his hands are clenching and unclenching as he speaks. His nostrils flare as he takes a couple of deep breaths. Ice really doesn’t want to talk about this. The fact that he’s making an effort to do it for Maverick means something. It makes his chest ache a little.

“Maverick, did you ever stop to think that maybe…” Ice clears his throat, but it doesn’t get rid of the slight roughness in his voice, the tinge of emotion there. “…maybe being the ‘Iceman’ isn’t all that…that maybe I just need a break sometimes?”

He hasn’t really thought about it at all—Iceman is who he is; it’s his call sign because it’s something embedded in him so deep that you can’t separate the man from the name—but now that Maverick is thinking about it, he can see it, how it might be a relief to turn loose of the yoke for a minute, let someone else make the decisions even for a little while. To just let go.

“Okay,” he says. “But why choose a guy? I mean, you like women, right? Couldn’t you…”

“Not that it should make any difference for the purpose of this discussion,” Ice interrupts, irritation in his voice, “…but yes. I’ve done it with women. It’s not…it’s just not as…intense.”

Maverick thinks he’s going to say something else but when he doesn’t, he looks over at Ice for the first time since he started talking. Ice doesn’t look back, but Maverick can see the grim set of his mouth, read the tension around his eyes. Ice clears his throat again.

“Maverick, it’s clear you’re uncomfortable with this and I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s my fault for getting myself into that situation in the first place, for needing your…help…but I’d really like to keep my career, you know? I’ll ask for a transfer, tell Viper I miss combat or whatever, get out of your hair…”

Maverick’s mouth drops open in disbelief as Ice rambles, confused by his response. He’d been so absorbed in his own little drama all this time that he hadn’t even thought about how Ice might have been reading him, misinterpreting everything. In fact, he’d thought he was being painfully transparent, but apparently not.

“What? Are you kidding me?” Maverick asks. He sets his bottle on the coffee table with a clunk, rubs his face with both hands. “You think I’m going to out you, or something?” He turns to look at Ice. “After I…we…that’s really all you think of me? Shit.”

Ice meets his gaze, lips tight.

“You obviously have a problem with me, Mitchell. I’m solving it.”

Maverick doesn’t really think about what he’s doing, just goes with his gut, because that’s what he’s best at, right? Flying by the seat of your pants again, Mav, he thinks, pushing himself up from the couch and leaning over Ice, getting into his space. Bracing himself with one arm on the back of the couch, one knee on the cushion next to Ice, he moves in on him, looming over Ice the way he usually can’t. It sends a thrill all through him.

Ice tenses but he doesn’t flinch, just looks Maverick in the eye as he speaks.

“Oh, I’ve got a problem, all right,” Maverick says, voice low and as suggestive as he can make it. Ice’s gaze flicks from his eyes to his mouth and back.

“You want to know what it is?” he continues. “My problem is that I can’t stop thinking about you, you son of a bitch…the way you looked that day, naked and goddamned gorgeous, spread out on your bed, helpless…God, the things I wanted to do to you…”

Ice’s eyes have gone dark and he licks his lips, but Maverick keeps going, presses his positional advantage for all it’s worth, ignores Ice’s whispered, “Jesus” in favor of pouring it all out, every dirty thought that’s been driving him crazy for weeks.

“I want to hold you down and fuck you, Ice,” he says, leaning in and whispering it into Ice’s ear, opening his mouth over the sweaty skin at the side of his neck, sucking gently, and Ice makes a sound, a sort of gasping moan.

“Fuck,” Ice swears, voice rough, and it sounds like an offer, a promise. He hooks his arm around Maverick’s back, turns his head and kisses him hard, mouth wet and open, and Maverick leans into it, loses himself in the sensation, their tongues sliding, Ice panting and moaning into his mouth, every slick point of contact like the promise of something more.

He pulls back and Ice chases him, leans forward like he doesn’t want to break the kiss, and it’s gratifying, but Maverick wants more than some making out on the couch. He stands, extends a hand to Ice and pulls him up, then turns his back and starts for the bedroom, confident that Ice will follow him.

Maverick strips as he goes, his shoulderblades prickling with the awareness of Ice behind him, whisper of removed clothing telling Maverick that Ice is doing the same. Maverick knows he’s getting something that he only recently thought to want, but he wants it more than anything now and he grins under the cover of pulling his t-shirt over his head, almost giddy with it.

Inside the bedroom he turns back toward the door, shoes kicked off and a hand at the button of his jeans. Ice is standing in the doorway, mirror of Maverick’s own position a couple of weeks before, lazy smirk back in place. Maverick loses some of his momentum then, a little less sure of himself, of Ice, but he covers it by shoving his jeans and underwear down and kicking them off.

“In a hurry?” Ice drawls, but his gaze is predatory, raking Maverick’s naked body, his eyes catching on where Maverick is idly stroking his cock with loosely circled fingers.

“Waited too long, already,” Maverick says, crossing the short distance between them and placing both hands at Ice’s waist. He runs his palms up Ice’s muscled chest, raising goosebumps in the wake of their passage, and Ice relents, wraps his arms around Maverick and pulls him in, kisses him hard and dirty, sliding one hand down to Maverick’s ass, squeezing. Maverick thrusts forward uncontrollably, the scrape of denim against his naked dick making him hiss, and reminding him that Ice is still so unacceptably partially clothed. He gets Ice’s jeans undone and pulls them down, underwear too, and Ice steps out of them, neither of them breaking the kiss during the operation.

Ice is so much bigger than him, and as much as that’s bugged him in the past, and all fantasies of dominating him aside, Maverick kind of likes the feeling when Ice enfolds him with both arms, pulling Maverick up and making him ride his thigh, cupping his ass in both big hands and grinding his own hard dick against Maverick’s hip. Maverick could come like this, easily, and he ruts against the hard muscle, gasps against the thin skin of Ice’s throat, licks the sweat pooled in the hollow at the base of it.

“Getting pretty worked up there, Mav,” Ice says low, next to his ear. “Thought you wanted to fuck me.”

The thought sends a jolt straight to his dick, and he grabs hold of himself, squeezes tight at the base, hard enough to hurt.

Jesus. Yeah…I want it…want you…” and before he’s finished the sentence, Ice has broken away from him, headed to the bedside table. He fishes out some lube and a condom, tosses them on the bed and then simply lies down on his back, hands folded behind his head.

And it’s that, right there, so similar to the image in his memory, his dream—the contrast between the strength in Ice’s muscular upper arms and the vulnerability of the pose, the exposed tender underside of his arms, his unprotected ribs, legs slightly parted—a fresh wave of arousal washes over Maverick and he stifles a groan with a hard swallow, breathes through the urge to come. Iceman chuckles softly and Maverick opens his eyes.

Ice raises a sardonic eyebrow and it grounds Maverick—it’s so familiar, that too-white toothy grin—such an irritatingly Iceman expression that he’s seen a hundred times before. He goes, crawling on top of Ice, can’t resist kissing those full lips again before working his way further south.

Maverick is good at this, he knows, good at kissing, good at sex, the same way he knows he’s good at flying, nearly as competitive about it, too. He teases and licks, sucks at Ice’s nipples, runs his tongue down the grooves of his abs, and Ice responds, arches beautifully under him. He keeps his arms up by his head, though—as restrained as if Maverick had tied him down—and Maverick wallows in it, loves having all that controlled power at his command, Ice’s strong, lithe body as responsive and graceful as any fighter jet.

Ice’s cock is gorgeous, hard and leaking, and Maverick licks the salty fluid from the head, wringing a moan from Ice. The velvety skin feels good against his tongue and he mouths at it, licking and sucking until he has to hold Ice down with his forearm braced across his hips.

“Fuck, Mav…your mouth…Christ…” Ice pants, bucking up against Maverick’s restraining arm. Maverick moans around him and Ice gives a full-body shudder, pulling his own knees up and open.

Maverick has to pull off then, wants to see, and he pushes Ice’s legs further up toward his chest.

“Hold ‘em,” he orders, thrilling when Ice obeys immediately, grabs his knees and holds them up. Ice’s hole is on display like this and Maverick leans down to lick at it. Ice shudders and gasps out a little “uh” sound, cock twitching. Maverick smiles in satisfaction and goes to work, thrusting his tongue inside, sucking at the rim, rolling Ice’s balls and fondling his dick lightly as he does.

He’s enjoying the musky smell and sharp taste, the tight curl of the muscle around his tongue, the way it makes him feel so fucking dirty, more than he ever imagined, but he can’t keep it up for long; he wants his dick in there too badly. He pulls away and reaches for the small bottle beside Ice on the bed, slicks up his finger and penetrates Ice smoothly, all the way inside, and the feeling, the tight heat of Ice’s body squeezing around the digit sends a heavy throb through his balls. It doesn’t take more than a few slides in and out before Ice is practically incoherent, gasping out obscenities, threats and demands to get Maverick to move faster, fuck him harder. Ice doesn’t touch his own dick, though, and Maverick doesn’t know if it’s because he’s trying to keep his arms up, be good for Maverick, or if he’s afraid he’ll come too fast if he touches himself. Either way Maverick thinks it’s the hottest fucking thing he’s ever seen.

Maverick’s afraid he's not going to be much better at restraining himself, honestly, but he draws it out as long as he can stand it. He’s waited too long for this to rush.

“I swear to God, Maverick, if you don’t hurry up and fucking fuck me, I’m going to come down there and kick your ass,” Ice pants, finally.

Maverick has three fingers inside him and Ice is fucking himself on Maverick’s hand, his wrist aching with the strain. Maverick pulls his fingers out as gently as he can, but Ice still makes this sound, almost a whimper, and a little moan escapes Maverick in response.

“I’ve got you,” he says, rolling on the condom and slicking himself as quickly as he can manage. Ice is watching him with hooded eyes, and without breaking eye contact he very deliberately spreads his legs further, presenting himself, and Maverick loses any shred of control he may have had left.

“Ice…God…you’re gonna kill me…” he gasps, and lines up, pushes in slowly but steadily, watching Ice’s expressive face crease in discomfort, at first, then his eyes roll back in pleasure.

“Ice…Ice…oh fuck, you feel that? Gonna fill you up, make you feel every inch of me, spreading you open…yeah…” Maverick babbles, not caring what he sounds like, his chest tight with the overwhelming sensations, the feeling of Ice under him, letting him, squeezing so tight and hot around his cock.

“Jesus Christ, Maverick, are you gonna fuck me or are you gonna talk me to death?” Ice says, a little out of breath, but with just enough of his usual bitchy tone that Maverick has to laugh.

“I’m on it,” Maverick says, grinning down at him. He braces himself, his elbows either side of Ice’s chest and goes to work, fucking Ice with rhythmic, rolling strokes that feel like heaven on his sensitive dick. Ice throws his head back and lets Maverick take him, grabbing the headboard with both hands, eyes shut and lips parted, letting out soft “uh” sounds with every thrust.

He can’t keep it up for too long, he’s too desperate, but there’s one more thing he wants out of this. He’s riding the edge of orgasm when he opens his mouth against Ice’s chest, more or less over his heart, and sucks hard, pulling blood to the surface of the skin, leaving a dark mark. Ice groans at the sensation and abruptly comes all over his stomach and Maverick’s, panting and moaning his way through it, finally releasing his grip on the headboard and reaching for Maverick, holding him against his body and arching up, like he’s trying to pull Maverick deeper inside him, Christ. His ass is squeezing Maverick’s dick so tightly that it almost hurts, and Maverick braces his arms and surges up onto his hands, going rigid all over as the rhythmic contractions of Ice’s inner muscles wring his orgasm out of him. He's shivering for long moments, feeling weirdly disconnected, like his dick is more a part of Ice’s body than his own.

When it’s over, he pulls out with a soft grunt and gets rid of the condom, tossing it off the end of the bed. He grabs a corner of the sheet and, still panting harshly, haphazardly swabs the worst of Ice’s come off his stomach, then collapses down onto Ice, enjoying the freedom of doing so without having to worry about crushing him. He thinks he could get to like having a sexual partner who’s bigger than him.

“So, Mav,” Ice says, sighing contentedly. “Got a little restraint kink? You wanna tie me up, baby?” He’s grinning now; Maverick can hear it in his voice.

Maverick smirks.

“You’re nowhere close to figuring me out, Kazansky. You’re not as smart as you think you are.”

Ice laughs.

“Hey, I was wrong once. Better make a note. It won’t happen again in your lifetime.”

Maverick goes serious, searching for the words. He’s lying on top of Ice, his head on his chest and Ice’s arm wrapped around his shoulders.

“It wasn’t the handcuffs,” Maverick says, finally. He reaches a hand up, rubs a fingertip across the bruise darkening on Ice’s chest.

Ice hums an interrogative, stroking Maverick’s shoulder absently. Maverick sighs.

“It took me a while to figure it out, too. It was…well…I didn’t want anybody else putting their hands on you. Especially hitting you.” Or leaving marks at all.

Ice’s hand stills. Maverick waits.

Ice takes a deep breath, lets it out.

“You’ve hit me a few times, that I recall.”

Maverick shrugs.

“Yeah. That was different. You asked for it. And you hit me back.” You were capable of hitting back, he doesn’t say.

Ice takes a minute to answer, then says simply, “Well, okay then.”

“Okay,” Maverick says, uncertain. He’s not sure if this is the part where he’s supposed to get up and go home, or what. If he was with a woman he might wait a while, let her fall asleep and then go, avoid the awkward goodbye, God forbid the morning after. He’s been with a few other guys, but they’d rarely even made it into a bed in the first place, much less…well, this. Whatever this is.

He thinks about it, and he decides he’s not really feeling much urgency about leaving this time; he’s actually pretty comfortable right where he is, and things feel normal between him and Ice for the first time in weeks. Even though “normal” for them has never included sleeping naked together, before. The fact that it might, now, is just one sign of what Maverick should have noticed a lot sooner: that the last few weeks have turned his world inside out.

Just as Maverick is deciding he really should get up before it gets awkward—they still have to work together, after all—Ice sighs heavily and rolls Maverick off him, keeps turning until he’s got Maverick tucked under his arm, his back flush to Ice’s warm, wide chest.

“Go to sleep, you possessive freak,” Ice mutters, when he’s got Maverick where he wants him.

“Shut up,” Maverick says, but he follows the order anyway.