If there's one thing Steve's learned from BUD/S (okay, actually, he learned a fuckton more than this, but this, this is something he didn't learn from his instructors), it's this: If you've got enough guts, you can get what you want.
Which is why he's standing outside a Victoria's Secret at 2:00 on a Tuesday. Steve doesn't know when the boyshorts thing became popular--he hasn't been in a mall in over a year--but one of his squadmates passed around a picture of his girlfriend in them a month ago, and Steve thought, Huh.
He is a newly-minted Navy motherfucking SEAL. He can do this.
The store is vomitously pink, everywhere, but Steve finds the underwear display easily enough. As soon as he stops moving--he should be able to figure out the size he needs--a middle-aged woman in way too much makeup swoops over to his side. "Can I help you find something?" she asks, her tone skirting close to leering.
Steve puts on his best 'clueless guy' smile. "Yeah, actually, I, uh," and he waves at the display, "I don't know what size to get."
The woman grins, sharklike, and her overlarge earrings clink when she nods her head. "You're not the first, darling. Do you know her dress size?"
Steve swallows. "Well, she's--" and he holds his hands out, lined up with his own hips. He huffs out a little laugh, plays into what he knows the woman's expecting. "She's about my size, actually. She borrows my jeans sometimes."
The woman looks him over, making a show of leaning around and checking out his ass, which, okay, he's not unaccustomed to but jeez, and then she asks, "Mmm, I'd say, 28-34?"
His laugh is more genuine this time. "Yeah, you got it."
She "Hmmm"s and turns, starts rooting around in the display's drawers. "If you look at the size chart, don't worry so much about waist measurement, the hips are what you really need for these." She pulls out a handful of red lace. "I'd go with the smalls, if she's really sharing your jeans."
Steve nods, anxious now that he's gotten his answer, and manages to get out, "Thanks, okay, I think I'll--" and he waves at the display, thankful when he sees her get it.
"Right, I'll leave you to it, then," she says, over-bright. "Let me know if you need anything else!"
He waits a beat after she turns away, takes a breath, and starts looking over the display more closely. The lace is appealing but looks kind of scratchy. The cotton ones are soft but scream 'everyday' and that's the last thing he wants. Eventually he finds a few in silk, a few that are perfect.
Steve doesn't really breathe until he gets back to his space, to the little studio he's renting for the three-week break before his first deployment.
Holy shit, he really did it.
He doesn't wait, he can't; as soon as he snicks the deadbolt shut he drops trou and kicks his boots off, he pulls on the first pair he fishes out of the stupidly pink bag and Goddamn.
Once he knows they fit he makes himself put his pants back on, he makes himself take the tags off and wash them carefully in the little bathroom sink, echoes of his mother's "We gotta wash it first" playing in his head.
He hangs them from the towel rod to dry, and they taunt him the rest of the afternoon, the silk fading slowly from wet-dark to dry-light.
He'd wondered about what it'd be like, just the thought of it enough to bring him off when he'd first been mainlanded--sixteen and alone and wanting something that meant he wasn't just who they all thought he was becoming. He'd tried on Susan Carlson's hot pink bikinis in a haze of Firstie-weekend leave, football victory, and Jim Beam; they didn't feel right but he remembers feeling like they could.
He's never really thought of this as something he could do, for himself, before now.
He goes out for a run, brings home Vietnamese and eats out of the cartons like a normal person. After that it's time for a shower--he's got no real hope of making it through without jerking off, not with those flashes of color he can see hanging on the wall when he glances through the translucent shower doors--so he doesn't bother taking his time, this time. Just to get the edge off, and he doesn't have to be quiet, either (there's no bunkmate to hear), so he lets the water pound his shoulders as he groans and bends into his orgasm.
After he's clean and toweled mostly dry, Steve stands naked in the middle of the bathroom for a while, the door open to let out the steam. He takes his time deciding which he wants to wear, choosing the stripes, to start: cheerful pink-orange-yellow-white with a tiny white bow on the front. The silk slides cool through his fingertips, up his legs, all the way up until it's snug around his hips. It warms up quickly, like a second skin.
He shimmies his ass a little, bends his knees, and if he hadn't just come he'd be hard already, looking down at himself, at how he fits into these shorts that are shorter, slicker than anything else he's ever worn. How the white lace along the top edge fits so sweetly below the cut of his hips, the striped silk curving just right around his balls.
The material is thin enough that it's almost like going commando--there's virtually no support, but there's maybe just enough, and Steve has to try this, too, has to cross the apartment and dig out some jeans. It feels almost like, but better, than naked: the silk sliding smooth, protecting him from the seams and teasing slick around his ass.
Yeah, he thinks, standing there in bare feet with his hands deep in his jeans pockets, the first pink stripe just visible under his waistband; he feels exactly right.