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Celebration of Life

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Sex after a good day 'at the office' was great.

Sex after a close call was incredible.

Taking in all possibilities, Rabbit assumed it was so good maybe because of fear-induced adrenaline rush, and maybe because with their (fairly) cautious party of stormchasers, close calls were rare. Jo and Bill - or rather, Bill when he wasn't pissed at Jo - could be depended on to keep the recording team out of harm's way as often as humanly possible. That made a serious fear rush more rare, so 'Thank God we're alive' fucking was a considerably special occasion.

Rabbit was better at reading maps than people, but Sanders was a pretty open book. The longer they worked together, the easier it was to understand what was moving under the ripples of Sanders' current. By the time they'd moved to the stage where unresolved sexual tension had them twitchy, Rabbit could tell when Sanders was horny and trying not to show it. He had a way of biting his lip and drumming his thumbs on the steering wheel crossbars. When he needed sex for comfort, his hands laced together at the top of the wheel, one hand over the other, for long seconds at a time. They developed a vivid shared language, developed through sex and sitting in the cab of a truck. Their maneuvers were always delicate - groping and grabbing and squirming would inevitably squash a rolled map or bend a notebook-atlas, thus effectively ruining Rabbit's mood.

When near-death sex was involved, they both knew the signal. And they both knew what came next.

Sanders' knuckles were white and Rabbit's neck was taut when they pulled into a seedy motel. The storm was over here, but in the morning if the NSSL reports were accurate, a half hour trip northeast would find them at ground zero again. They needed to regroup. The powerful storm they'd just escaped pummeled them unexpectedly with wood and metal flak, damaging several delicate weather instruments... and spiderwebbing Sanders' windshield. Metal drainpipe pelted the vehicle at terrifying wind speeds, and had it not been for shatterproof glass, the pipe plus a rain of shards could have injured them both.

Or killed them.

The others had already inspected the glass, and now trotted indoors to escape the driving rain. Rabbit and Sanders went with them. When the room doors were all shut for the night; however, they sprinted back to the truck and climbed into the camper, safe from paper thin motel walls. Sanders closed the door quietly behind them, leaving them wet and panting in the dark small space left between instruments and gear. Rain drummed on the roof.

Rabbit reached back, blind but certain, for the blanket he knew hung on the wall beside the door. With Sanders' help, he spread it out in the space just long and wide enough for one person on top of the other, heedless of their wet footprints.

Time and space proved just big enough for them. Sanders scraped an elbow on a strap buckle when he went down under Rabbit's bulk, but the counterpoint pain vanished as Rabbit nipped his mouth and thumbed a nipple through his shirt. No fucking, Rabbit reminded himself. No fucking. They'd rock the truck and Sanders didn't have a soundproof space to howl in.

"No fucking," Sanders reminded Rabbit. Rabbit chuckled in his chest and squirmed back to peel Sanders' wet jeans.

"No problem," Rabbit huffed, as the denim clung to Sanders' skin like it had naughty designs of its own. In Rabbit's urgency and determination; however, it clearly found its match.

Sanders' bare thighs were clammy and cold. Rabbit claimed them with his hands, pressing palms to soft skin and stroking down. He knelt over his co-pilot's knees, contemplating his next move.

Sanders seemed to moan softly with every exhale. Dark as it was, with a steady rain that swallowed every other sound, Rabbit knew his eyes were squeezed shut, mouth open, throat arched. He was always so ready, Rabbit thought with a grin. Hands clenched on the wheel or Rabbit's hips, Alan Sanders was good to go. Just give the word.

His own hands had tightened unexpectedly, squeezing Sanders at the hips. Rabbit's thoughts flipped over, from the A Side to the B Side like a vinyl 45, and he could only think about holding Sanders tight. Anchoring him. There was nothing he could have done to protect Sanders, if that pipe went through the windshield. Rabbit remembered the photos of Jonas Miller's wreckage, fractured radio tower skewering the whole twisted, burned-out shell of an SUV. Even protected in the back of the convoy, Rabbit and his co-pilot were still in danger.

Respect the wind or die.

"You're killin' me," Sanders hissed, and Rabbit eased up.

"Sorry," he said, embarrassed. 

Sanders went still underneath him. "Hey, you okay?"

Was he? Rabbit kneaded Sanders' thighs gently in apology. His chest felt tight. Words squirmed around the blur of adrenaline and sourceless cold grief. "Sure, yeah."

A pause hung in the moist air between them, before Sanders' hands - hot and hard - caught his shoulders and towed him down. Before Rabbit could say another word, Sanders had him wrapped up tight. Callused fingers pushed under his shirt, up his back to spread, sure and strong, between his shoulder blades. The touch was a kiss as much as if Sanders brought their mouths together.

He didn't. He wasn't done talking.

"God I need laid," Sanders groaned, "this is bullshit. Jo and Bill are fucking again, can we stop pretending we're not now?"

Rabbit's eyebrows went up. "Hadn't thought of that." That was the catalyst of this whole ridiculous thing to begin with. Neither Bill nor Jo had sweet dispositions in the morning. Add relationship issues to thin motel walls and Sanders' enthusiasm - the result was more envious drama than Rabbit cared to put up with before coffee. He was so used to managing a tense, shattered team, that discretion had become habit.

For now, anyway, they were a unit again.

Encouraged, Sanders pressed his luck even further. "And next time, we book a fucking DoubleTree. If the grant won't cover it, I will." The low words vibrated from his chest to belly. The heat of his crotch was fire on Rabbit's stomach. Arousal pressed a dark animal scent on the air in the tiny camper.

"There's no DoubleTrees in the ass end of nowhere," Rabbit said, swallowing the thoughts of what usually transpired between them in soft king beds. They hadn't violated their no-fucking-in-the-camper rule for almost an entire season in the field. Even if that rule was now superfluous, neither one really wanted the sore knees and hips that came with breaking the rule.

"There are totally DoubleTrees in the ass end of nowhere. You're the navigator, find one," Sanders argued. His grin was audible, as if the curl of his lips curved the sound.

Rabbit laughed and slipped out of Sanders' grasp. "You wanna keep talking? Or you wanna not have to walk back in there with a stiffy and wet jeans?" He said this mostly to Sanders' dick, which was in his hands, and in his mouth.

Sanders' low cries dissolved in the rain.