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Maverick doesn’t understand a lot of things. Organic chemistry. People who become accountants. Pantyhose. But at the top of his list of Inexplicable Shit, these days, is Iceman. How he can just turn it on and off. Because Maverick feels just like he does everything else: loud. When he has an emotion, it rides him like he pilots a jet: it straps in, grabs the controls, and from that moment on, it is in charge. It can drag his ass wherever it likes—mach two, no brakes.

But Ice isn’t like that. Ice is all brakes. And it’s not that Ice doesn’t feel things, or that he doesn’t feel them as keenly as Maverick. Maverick knows, from the way Ice looks at him, the way he touches him, that Ice is in just as far as he is. Maybe farther, because Ice plays by the rules, always, and the rule they are breaking is a big one. Maverick gets a little thrill out of the illicitness of it all, but Ice isn’t like that. Ice doesn’t like to be bad.

Except sometimes in bed. Or in the locker room, if there’s no one else there. And once in the back row of the theater, halfway through 9 ½ Weeks. (Maverick had wanted to see Platoon, but ended up being glad Ice drew the long straw on that one.)

Oh, yeah, and twice in the front seat of Ice’s car in the parking lot of the O Club.

Ice has been very bad tonight, and Maverick is worried he will not be getting the feeling back in his legs by tomorrow. Ice is not repentant in the least, however; his perfect, plush mouth is still pressing little kisses to Maverick’s jaw and neck, and his fingers are still running lazily over Maverick’s ultra-sensitive skin. Maverick groans, shuddering against the pillows. He should probably bat Ice off, because it’s late and they have to be up early, and because another orgasm might actually kill him, but for one thing, Ice probably won’t go, and for another, Maverick isn’t sure he wants him to.

Ice’s finger traces around the circumference of Maverick’s navel—slow, deliberate. He kisses the pulse point of Maverick’s neck, hot and slightly wet and driving Maverick slowly from reason.

In a few hours, Ice is going to put on his uniform and turn off his emotions. At TOPGUN, Ice looks at Maverick like looking through him. They fly, they banter; they compete with the voracity and malice of a shark scenting blood on the water.

Today, Ice and Slider pulled into a comfortable three-point lead. Ice and Maverick passed each other on the tarmac after the hop, and Ice didn’t even bat an eye; the way he looked at Maverick, you wouldn’t know they’d even ever met before.

Maverick had gone home and bloodied his fists on the wall of his shower, screaming his throat raw. Ice had showed up not long after with beer and roses. Fucking roses, because apparently Maverick is not fucking a fellow pilot, he is being courted by a gentleman caller from the 1950s.

Ice nuzzles Maverick’s neck, makes a quiet sleep noise. Maverick slides his eyes over to Ice, and sees his eyes drifting closed. When Maverick opened the door to Ice and his roses, Ice had blushed slightly, and kissed Maverick on the porch, where the whole world could see.

It strikes Maverick that Ice is probably in love with him.

And somehow, that’s not the scariest thing. It’s that Ice is three points ahead, and maybe Maverick let him have some of that lead, because Ice can turn his emotions off, but Maverick can’t. And Maverick wants to be Top Gun so fucking bad, but maybe he wants Ice more.

And that is something he can add to his list of Inexplicable Shit.