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All This Aggravation

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Havoc doesn't really expect anything to come of the kiss, or the admission—or rather, he expects that nothing will come of the kiss, but he hopes it will; he hopes nothing will come of the admission, because it's embarrassing.

He should know better, though. Hawkeye never bluffs. Hawkeye never pulls her guns out unless she's prepared to use them; Hawkeye never makes a threat she's not willing to back up; Hawkeye never makes a move she hasn't considered carefully. He should have expected that she would back it up. Decisively.

Still, he's surprised (no, more than surprised—shocked) when she is the one to call him, two days later. "Havoc," she says.

Jean, he thinks, but he doesn't say it. "Er, yeah?" is what he does say, and then he could kick himself. Real smooth, Jean.

"Do you have plans tomorrow?" Her tone is so brisk she might very well be asking him to cover a shift that Fury or Falman can't make, except that she usually doesn't make business calls after hours. She is at least that courteous.

Still, he's not really expecting much of it when he says, "Nope. My evening's clear as a bell."

He hears a moment's silence, and then—cool as you please, and totally unruffled, he would think, except for that breath of silence—"Come over for dinner, then?" Her voice is so calm, so sure, that he barely registers that it's a question and winds up stammering.

"Won't that look suspicious? To the brass, I mean?" He can't get the taste of her mouth out of his head, the smell of her hair, the way she looked at him like her namesake, all cold vision and glacier beauty.

"I believe I'm permitted to invite co-workers over for dinner," she says, a little deprecating. He can see her, in his mind's eye, her own eyes narrowed and her mouth pressed together into a thin, amused line. "It would be different if you were an NCO, but there's nothing remarkable about sharing a meal with a co-worker of comparable rank, is there?"

"No," he says, and wonders if he misread her after all. "Nothing remarkable. I'll be there."

"Good," she says, and he wonders if he imagined the whole thing, kiss, look, hesitation, invitation, except that then, much more softly, she says, "Thank you."


She has an apartment on base. It's a nice one—she's an officer, after all, and it's a good complex—but small, and one of the plainer floorplans. (There are about four floorplans that they use for second lieutenants, first lieutenants, and majors. After more than six months in the military, if you had any kind of social life at all, you knew all of them by heart. Hers was the one with one bedroom and the bathroom off to the left of the living room. He could find his way around it in the dark—not, he hastened to remind himself, that he had any reason to believe that that particular talent would come in handy.)

It's strange to see her out of uniform, her hair loose and golden around her shoulders. She looks softer, even though he's pretty sure that her maroon shirt is the dress undertunic and her trousers look like she's borrowed them from her training outfit. Did she have any clothes that weren't piecemeal-stolen from bits of her uniform?

"Am I late?" he asks, pro forma.

"You're fine," Hawkeye says. "Come in."

It's as awkward at first as he feared. He wasn't sure whether he should bring her something—his mother raised him right, to bring something like a bottle of wine when invited over for dinner, but he doesn't want to imply that he wants to get her liquored up . . . and with his (brief) romantic relationships, he'd bring flowers, but she doesn't seem like a flowers kind of girl and anyway he's not quite sure he wants to make it that clear that he sees (or at least hopes) this as a romantic . . . thing. Instead he brings a biscuit for Black Hayate.

"Mind if I . . . ?" he asks, biscuit in hand, as Hayate bounds eagerly around his ankles.

"Go ahead," she says, with a hint of a smile at the edges of her lips. "So long as you aren't trying to fatten him up."

He laughs, crouches, and holds the biscuit out. Hayate takes it from him in a very well-bred fashion, not even accidentally biting his fingers. Well, no wonder. He straightens up just as she heads back toward the kitchen and—because he likes to think of himself as a nice boy—he says, "Need any help?"

She pauses, and there's maybe the shadow of surprise on her face. "Sure," she says. He follows her into the kitchen, and she points to the cutting board; there's half an onion there, and a pile of mushrooms. "Chop those?" she says, and then turns without waiting to hear a yea or nay and begins taking little bottles out of a cabinet. It's fine with him; chopping he can do.

"It's not the manliest thing in the world," Havoc says, self-deprecating by habit more than actual feeling, "but my ma taught me how to cook when I was a teenager. Nothing fancy, but, you know." He flicks the growing pile of minced onion away from the remaining whole onion with the side of his knife. "Said there was no excuse for a man living on instant noodles and takeaway food his whole life. Breda makes fun of me for knowing the difference between a leek and a scallion, but, funny thing, he still comes over for dinner a lot."

"You worry a lot about what the manly thing is, don't you?" Hawkeye doesn't look up, stirring whatever-it-is in the pot with a wooden spoon and adding more pepper.

He flounders for a moment, and wishes desperately for a cigarette, but he's being good and keeping them safely stored in his pocket at least until they've eaten. "Well," he says, "I mean—I don't mean—er—" He finishes the mushrooms and puts his knife down in time to scratch the back of his neck. "It's not like—"

She takes the cutting board from him and slides onions and mushrooms into the pot. "I'm not offended," she says. "I just don't think you need to worry about that." Her voice is firm and unassailable.

He blinks. His hand drifts for about the sixth time to his back pocket; he once again jerks it forward, away from the pack of cigarettes there. Hawkeye always gives him the beady eye when he tries to light up in the office; all he can get away with is an unlit cig between his lips, so he's not about to try here, in her apartment —

"You can smoke, if you want," Hawkeye says. She's still smiling, just a little, around the corners of her mouth; it's a smile that settles in more in her eyes and her gestures than her lips. He has rarely seen her really smile, and he wants to make her do that at least once tonight—but he's getting ahead of himself.

"Is it that obvious?" he asks, rueful, his fingers moving almost of their own volition to pull the pack out. He taps it against the palm of his hand.

"You're chewing your lip," Hawkeye says, "almost bloody, in fact."

"Oh." He flips the pack around, fidgety and awkward. "—I didn't want to, you know, get the smoke smell in your carpet—"

"I don't mind," she interrupts him, half-impatient, half-amused. "Anyway, you can go out on the balcony, if you're worried."

He does. It seems like a fair compromise. He relaxes immediately once it's between his lips; flicks his lighter expertly and lights up, and then, for lack of anything better to do with his hands, keeps flicking it: on-off, on-off, on-off. He nearly burns a hole thorough his shirtcuff when he feels her hand on the back of his shoulder.

"Food's ready," she says. Her hand is warm, surprisingly warm, even though he knows she's not as cold as people would say—and, oh, that makes him think of kissing her, the heat of her mouth, the skin of her cheek beneath his hand, and that's a train of thought that he needs to stop right now or he's going to be tripping on the furniture at best, and embarrassing himself hugely at worst.

There's an ashtray set out on the way to the table. It's actually a saucer, like the kind that would go under a teacup, except that it's obviously meant to be an ashtray, because there's sand in it. He feels touched, in a weird way, as he stubs his cigarette out and sits down. Riza smiles a little. The food is really good—simple, some kind of braised meat in a cream sauce, but good. There's wine, too. Havoc wonders if he should have brought a bottle after all.

"My mother never taught me to cook," Hawkeye says. "She tried, but I wouldn't let her. Then I discovered the pleasures of the mess hall and regretted that."

"It comes in handy," Havoc agrees, playing with the stem of his wineglass. White wine. He should remember that she likes white wine. He should remember that she doesn't like to cook. He should not waste all his time tonight worrying about what this is that they're doing. She's so hard to read, when she's not angry. Hell, she's hard to read even when she is angry, so you can't always see it coming until it's there. Which is also something it would not be best to dwell on at this particular moment. "You really don't mind that I smoke?"

"Havoc," she says, deadpan, "you go around all day with an unlit cigarette in your mouth. You live for your smoke breaks. If I had a problem with you smoking, it would have been foolish to invite you over, wouldn't it?"

He looks at her for a moment. One eyebrow is raised, and she's giving him the same kind of look she gives Mustang when he's taking a nap with his feet on his desk instead of working. Except . . . not—there's more warmth than annoyance in it, and her face looks so different with her hair down, framing it, and her cheeks are warm, maybe from the wine, maybe just because she's not bound up quite so tight as usual. Suddenly he feels as though he's been being ridiculous all evening. This is Hawkeye, after all, and he's known her for years. He starts to laugh.

She gives him a bemused look, which makes him laugh more, and wipe his mouth with his napkin,and say, "I'm sorry. I've been being stupid all day."

She smiles, then, for the first time, and it's an actual smile—he can see her teeth—not just a wry tipping of the corner of her mouth. "I wouldn't say stupid, exactly," she says.

"I would." He laughs again. "I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize," she says, and he knows before she even moves that she's going to lean over the table and kiss him. He knew from the start that she would make the first move (almost had to make the first move, really, given that they are co-workers, given that she's female, given the way harassment suits go), but he didn't expect to . . . expect it, to see it coming so clearly. She's not as hard to read as he thought, maybe. Maybe she's not as hidden as he thought.

She leans over the table and kisses him. It isn't the hard, jawbreaking kiss of three days prior. Her mouth is softer, more welcoming; he can taste her breath, the soft velvet brush of her tongue against his lower lip, and he opens his mouth to her without thinking.

She comes around the table—it's a small table—and he isn't sure if she comes under her own power or if he reels her in, because the next thing he knows is his hand settled on the curve of her waist, where her hip swells soft beneath his fingertips. She comes readily, though, and he feels her hip bump against his thigh as she kisses him, draws back for breath, and kisses him again before he can say anything or even think anything. She tastes of wine and cream and herself. The next thing he knows, his hand is on her face, sliding up over the silky skin of her cheek and into her soft hair. One of her knees lands between his on the seat—for balance, he thinks—and he's suddenly concerned because, oh god, so close surely she will be able to feel that he's getting hard.

But she moans a little into his mouth, very soft, so soft . . . . and then pulls back, her mouth so close to his he could feel her breath, and she says, "You didn't make a move."

"I didn't want to presume," he says, though that seems foolish with her eyes so dark and soft and rich and heavy-lidded before his own.

"Mmm," she says, and smiles a little, and kisses him: one two three times. "I'm not a saint, Jean."

"I didn't think you were," he says, but she isn't speaking for his benefit anyway.

"I'm not a saint and I'm not a statue," she says, and kisses him again, and again, and again. Somewhere along the lines his hands find their way to her back, his fingers cupping the sides of her ribcage and spreading like wings toward her spine. She is smaller than he expected, but stronger, too, muscles flexing in her back as she leans forward—and then he feels the brush and press of her breasts, her body close to his, her thigh—surely she feels his erection by now, surely, but she doesn't pull away or stop kissing him.

"I didn't think you were," he says when they break apart for breath again. His hand slides down to feel the curve of her hip. "I—I was just worried—"

"Don't be," she says, and then gets up, tugging on his hand, pulling him across the floor toward her couch. On the way she tugs the tie on the curtains to her balcony, and they fall closed, giving the two of them a measure of privacy. "Don't be nervous. It's just me."

It's true that it's her and she's familiar, but there's no way in hell she's just anything. He can't believe this is happening. He isn't sure he's ever been so delighted in his life. Or so completely stunned.

He winds up sitting sideways on the couch, his back against the arm, Riza in his lap. They keep kissing as she unbuttons his shirt and runs her hands over his chest. His hands settle on her back, fingers catching on the strap of her bra as he rubs long strong strokes up and down, hips to shoulders and back again. Her hair sifts between her fingers. She makes a low noise into his mouth and says, "Jean . . . ."

"Riza," he agrees, and it's a stupid thing to say but it's his stupid thing to say, so that's okay.

She kisses him, warm and firm and direct, her mouth opening against his—and then she pulls back, unbuttoning his shirt all the way and flicking it open. "I don't understand why you're such a pessimist," she says, her fingers tracing the muscles of his chest. "You're very attractive." Her breath is warm against his ear.

He tries to laugh, but the sound disappears in a gasp as she runs her fingers over his stomach; when he tenses his muscles in surprise she purrs, and rakes her nails gently over the ridges of his abdominal muscles. "I don't think it's that that's the problem," he says. "It's just, I'm not good with women."

"I don't know," Riza says, and kisses him, "I think you're fine." She eases forward and then suddenly she's sitting right astride his erection, and he makes a strangled noise and tries to keep himself from grinding too obviously against her. It's been a while. He wants to say that he's only okay with her because he's known her for years and is comfortable with her, except maybe that's her point.

He runs his hands up her back, under her shirt, feeling her skin smooth and hot and the catch of her bra under his fingers—though he doesn't try to unhook it; trying to get a bra off one-handed is a maneuver he's sure to screw up. She leans back a little and pulls the shirt off over her head in one fluid motion that makes him gasp. He kisses her throat, muffling a soft sound against her skin, and works his other hand around so he can finally get her bra off (not expertly but without totally embarrassing himself). Her breasts are warm and soft and heavy and just wonderful in his hands, and it's kind of embarrassingly teenaged how much he likes that, likes them, likes the way they feel against his palms. Riza doesn't seem to be complaining, though, as he strokes her skin, thumbs her nipples, bends his head to kiss the upper slope of her breasts.

"Ahh," she says, "yes," and twines her fingers through his hair, rocking her hips a little against him. Even through her pants and his he can feel her heat, or maybe he just imagines he can; either way, it makes him groan right against her skin and that in turn makes her whimper and dig her fingers deeper into his hair. He kisses her breasts, sucks her nipples, listens to the sounds she makes, almost content to stay right there until she tugs on his hair to pull him away. He rolls his head back and she attacks him with a kiss that's ungentle, pressing her breasts against his chest and god she feels so good.

She rocks against him again, and he can't help it: he groans, arches his hips to thrust against her, the contact frustrating and teasing through all the layers of fabric. The force of her kiss has pressed him back, half-reclining against the arm of the sofa, and he looks up at her. She's a little flushed, smiling, almost giddy. "I, uh," he says, because even now he doesn't want to overstep, " . . . do you want to . . . ?"

Her smile widens. "Yes," she says, "yes, I want to, Jean." She leans forward suddenly to reach past him—it means the loss of her warm weight against him, but on the other hand her breasts are right where he can press a few more kisses to them—opens a drawer in the side table and settles back with a preventive in her hand. He wonders dizzily whether she had this all planned out, or whether she just normally kept them in her living room table. Then she's up on her knees, sliding out of her pants with an arch of her hips, a grace that startles and delights him, and that's his sign to shed his (with much less elegance). She looked a little odd in street clothes, without her uniform, but she looks perfectly natural naked: natural and wonderful, strong muscles in her legs, in her flat belly, the supple curve of hips and waist, the full weight of her breasts, her eyes hooded and her hair loose and silky around her shoulders. She tears the preventive open and rolls it down over him, and he reaches to help though his hands are shaking. His fingers stray back to press between her legs for the first time, into coarse blonde curls and he finds her wet and soft and turned on, and that shouldn't be a surprise but somehow it is, and a wonderful surprise at that.

"You want this," he says. His voice sounds hoarse.

"Fuck," she says, breathlessly, "yes." It's the first time he's ever heard her swear, even through Ishbal, even through everything that's happened since. She's so reserved . . . . "Want you."

He couldn't possibly not comply. He steadies his cock with one hand and she moves up over him, and it's a little awkward—she's so wet he slips at first and it take a moment to find the right angle, but then he slips inside and ah, oh merciful gods, she feels so good, so hot and wet and smooth and tight around him, so that he has to bite his lip to keep from thrusting hard up into her.

She's tight enough, in fact, that it dimly occurs to him that maybe this is uncomfortable, and he runs his fingers through her hair and manages somehow to ask, "You all right?"

"Fine," she says immediately. "It's just been a while."

"Me, too," he says, and kisses her, tangling his hand in her hair to distract himself as she slides down, inch by inch, until he's buried all the way inside her. He catches his breath and flexes his hips without even consciously deciding to, and she rolls her head and moans like she appreciates it, and, oh, oh. She braces her hands on his shoulders, her thighs spread wide and shaking over his hips, and he steadies her with a hand on her waist and she begins to really move.

Jean thinks maybe the top of his head might come off.

She's just as direct and fierce and uncompromising as ever, but warm, too, and yielding despite her strength, and he moves desperately to match her pace. He runs his hands up from her waist to cup her breasts again and she leans in to catch his lip between her teeth, raking over it, breathing, "More." He complies, as best he's able, by wrapping his arms around her and pulling her down onto him, strong thrusts, the sound of her voice breaking on a cry, a swallowed moan. Her skin has sheened with sweat, as has his, and she's well flushed, her eyes hazy with pleasure, her hair tangled over her shoulders . . . .

He should say something, he knows, something—something flattering and clever, something smooth. He can't think of anything except what he said to her three days ago, what he said to her that started all this (or maybe didn't start it, but served as the catalyst for something that had been brewing quietly for a very long time . . . .). "You're beautiful," he says, "god, Riza, you're so—"

She makes a noise, low, pleased and compelling and hungry, and says, "So are you, Jean, I—ah—" Her voice breaks up, chopped by her heavy breathing, and she drops her head forward and he can feel it, the heavy wet tension that means she's probably about to come. She makes a muffled whimpering noise.

He can't say anything but her name: "Riza, Riza, Riza," against her skin, and it's not smooth, it's not a ladies-man thing, but it seems to be good enough because she cries out and goes still and then comes. He can hear it in the changing tenor of her voice, the way her moans go high and thin, and he can feel it in the way her cunt tenses around him, hard rhythmic ripples, and he can see it in the look on her face.

He feels like he might come right then, watching and listening and feeling, but of course he doesn't actually. She shakes in the aftermath of her climax, her body going soft, and he tightens his hold on her to support her and thrusts hard, and it's not long before he is coming, growling and mouthing at her neck, spots swimming in his vision.

They lie for a moment, Riza's weight pressing him back against the arm of the couch. He wonders if it's going to be awkward. She shifts enough that he slips out, and he removes the preventive and discards it in the wastebasket and then draws her back down against him, wanting the warmth of her body. He runs his hands over her back, feeling her warm and relaxed against him, the tremors in her body easing, the sweat drying on her skin.

After a moment she moves against him again, and murmurs in his ear. "Stay the night?"

His stomach flutters. He gathers her tangled hair and smooths it with his fingertips. "I'd like to, but won't that look suspicious to your neighbors?"

She smiles against his collarbone. "If you can wake up to leave between five and six, Rogers will still be on shift—he's got mids—and McDermott won't have left for his morning. You might run into Rothschild, but she lives three floors up, so if you listen for footsteps before you go out you should be safe."

Havoc's throat tightens. He feels light. "You've thought this through."

She smiles again, warm against his skin. "I believe in being prepared."

"All right, then," he says, and kisses her temple, and then, when she lifts her head, her mouth again. She shifts, and for a moment he wonders if he should carry her—for all that she has enormous presence, physically she's actually quite a bit smaller than he is, and shockingly delicate despite her muscles. But she crawls off him, a little awkwardly, stands and stretches—she's a little shaky on her feet, and he's glad of that, because he's a little shaky himself. She holds out her hand and he takes it and follows her into the bedroom.

On the way she's the one to pause and retrieve his pack of cigarettes from his discarded pants. He flushes and scratches the back of his neck. It's not so much that he didn't think of that—it's been a while since his pre-dinner cig, and anyway a smoke always sounds pretty good after sex, cliche as that is—but he didn't want to stop to light up. She pulls him into her bedroom and then taps a cigarette neatly out and slips it between his lips as he sits down on the edge of her bed.

"I really am going to get smoke in your carpet," he says. She's got a candle, half-burnt, on her nightstand, and next to it a box of matches, he filches one and uses it to light up. "I don't think it'd be a good idea for me to go out on your balcony naked."

She laughs. She has a beautiful laugh. She says, "It's all right. I kind of like that you smoke."

"Mmph?" he says, around the cigarette, pulling it free to exhale. She takes the opportunity to bear him down to the bed, rest her head on his shoulder. The bed's really too small for two, but she fits neatly against him, so they can make do.

"I like that you smoke," she repeats. "Smoke, and drink cheap beer, and say the wrong things, and keep trying even after you've failed." He takes another drag on his cigarette and rubs her back. After a moment, she says, "People who are too polished, too closed . . . it's hard to know if they're even alive."

He wonders if she's talking about herself, but he doesn't know what to say, as usual. So he doesn't try. He rubs her back, finishes his cigarette and puts it out in the holder of her candle, and pulls her against him to sleep.