Brad's used to waking up early, and somehow his body has gotten onto East coast time much quicker than he anticipated; possibly because Nate is on East coast time. He's not even disoriented when he wakes up to the first dim pink light of the sunrise. He should be, though. Waking up in Nate's bed like this should scare the hell out of him.
It's all right, he tells himself. It's safe.
Nate is still deeply asleep, his chest rising and falling evenly, his mouth slack. Brad looks at him and doesn't move for a good three minutes, taking in the shadows under his eyes and the sweep of lashes there, the shape of his cheekbones and jaw, the odd way his mouth falls open. They're still close enough to be touching; Nate's foot is tucked between Brad's ankles.
Brad should be scared, because he doesn't want this. There's no place in his life for this, he has no time to deal with the logistics of a thing that clearly has no respect for people's lives and places of residence and work. He really cannot continue to take three doses of Tylenol a day or wear Nate's clothes without someone noticing eventually. But ancient curses - or whatever the hell they'd picked up in the desert, because it was for sure something they'd unleashed while overseas - clearly don't care about any of that. So Brad is here, in bed with his former commanding officer, trying to convince himself to move.
Wanting, says the voice in his head, repeating itself for the hundredth time now, is not the same as needing, and you need him.
It takes another few minutes before he gets out of the bed.
In the kitchen, he pokes through the fridge and the cupboards before finding everything for pancakes, and assembles a quick batter. While the first batch is cooking, he finds the coffee, but not filters. Maybe Nate has a snobby French press? But there's a regular Mr. Coffee on the counter. He flips the pancakes, then looks in the drawers: no filters.
He can feel Nate is awake as he's pouring the second batch, before Nate even walks into the kitchen. It's a strange feeling, the push in his head, but he can't say he really minds it. Nate comes in yawning, one hand scratching idly at his stomach. Brad says, "Where the hell are your coffee filters? I've checked every fucking drawer you've got."
Nate grins, his cheeks pink. It's a good look on him. Does everyone look this soft in the mornings? Brad wonders, and resists the urge to rubs his hands on his thighs so that he doesn't reach for Nate. Then Nate points at the canisters on the counter, the ones Brad figured were just decorative, and Brad remembers right, coffee.
"The one on the left. Don't give me that look, they were gifts from my mom." He grins again. "And don't say anything sarcastic about my mom, either."
Brad shakes his head, chuckling at that, and tucks a filter into the basket of the coffeemaker before flipping over the pancakes.
Nate comes a little closer and looks over his shoulder. "Can I help?"
"No." Brad nudges him into a chair with a hand on Nate's waist. It pains him to let go, but he's not sure how to navigate not letting go. He gives Nate the first plate of pancakes, then dumps his own on another plate and turns off the stove. "Let me know if they're edible."
He waits until Nate's drowned them in syrup, taken a bite, and mumbled "it's good" before starting in on his own. The Mr. Coffee gurgles threateningly, then hisses. That must be some cue, because Nate slides out of his chair, finds mugs, and fills them. "You want anything in it?" he asks, but Brad shakes his head.
Nate sits down again and looks at him curiously. "So do you make breakfast for everyone you sleep with, or just the people who leave their clothes on?"
Brad blinks at him for a second, what, but right: Nate probably really doesn't know. "You say that like I have ever woken up with anyone besides my ex-fiancee. And now you."
Nate nods, slowly like he's thinking about it, and rests his foot against Brad's under the table.
"You can leave the dishes," Nate says when he's finished. "I can clean up later - I need to get ready for school."
Brad nods and concentrates on finishing his breakfast, but he watches Nate walk out of the kitchen anyway, unable to stop his gaze from lingering on the movement of Nate's calves. After a minute, he hears the shower turn on, and his thoughts turn immediately to Nate stripping off the clothes he'd slept in and stepping under the spray. Don't, he tells himself. You have to leave in a few days. Don't make it worse.
Nate comes back freshly shaven and wearing the sweater Brad brought back, and for a second Brad looks at it, wondering if he'd stretched it out. If he did, Nate doesn't seem to care, looking warm and comfortable. "You haven't even moved," he says to Brad, laughter in his voice. "I'll be back around four."
Brad nods, watching the pleased expression on Nate's face flicker into something hesitant before Nate leans down and kisses the corner of his mouth. Brad wants to turn his head and catch him fully, but he doesn't, just settles his hand on Nate's side and says, "Have fun in class."
"Yes, it's very exciting," Nate says dryly, his lips skimming Brad's temple, but he doesn't move.
Brad closes his eyes. "You should go before I insist you stay," he murmurs. He squeezes Nate's side and feels the muscle there, the bump of hipbone. Nate sways a little and his inhalation is audible. Brad makes himself let go. He feels like there are a dozen things trying to happen in his head at once and ten of them are voices clamoring for him to yank Nate close again. "Seriously, go. We both need to think about this."
Nate shudders but steps back. "I'm never going to be able to concentrate now," he mutters, and picks up his messenger bag from the other empty kitchen chair. Brad takes a deep breath, then another drink of coffee.
Before he gets to the door, Nate stops. "Hey," he calls, and Brad looks up. "I'm still glad you're here."
Brad nods. "Me too."
It'll be all right, he repeats to himself as Nate leaves. You'll figure it out. There's no other choice.