Abel traced the circular indentations on his shoulder, poked the tender flesh that had already begun to bruise. He slumped over the narrow counter with a sigh, unable to meet his own gaze in the mirror. What am I doing?
“Three more hours and you beat the record,” Cain offered cryptically from somewhere behind him.
“What?” Abel asked without looking up.
“The longest time any navigator's spent in my company. Heck, the suits up at C&C might give you a medal.”
“Do you not sleep?” Abel grumbled.
“Not so much,” Cain admitted. “It's not like I don't know what you're thinking.”
“Oh really?” Abel retorted sullenly. “You know me that well after less than a day?”
“After nineteen hours,” Cain corrected. “You're wondering whether or not I fuck all my navigators senseless after they disobey my orders in combat.”
Abel looked up sharply, eyes flickering to Cain's face in the mirror before hastily glancing away. “You did not – I am not senseless,” he muttered. The fighter's reflection gave a predatory grin.
“You were five minutes ago,” Cain replied smugly. “Relax, I don't have you completely figured out yet - that'll take at least another day.” The fighter wiped a trickle of sweat from his brow, running his fingers through his hair.
“You expect me to believe you've never slept with any of your partners?” Abel asked suspiciously.
“Eh, one or two,” Cain shrugged, frowning at the knowing expression on Abel's face. “What? I was bored.”
“Do you even remember their names?”
“They weren't very memorable.”
Abel's lips turned down in a sneer as he brushed past the fighter, heading out into the room beyond. Cain grabbed his wrist.
“No one's ever done that before.”
“Done what?” Abel asked, losing track of the exchange in his annoyance.
Cain chuckled, most of the usual menace missing from his tone. “I told you to return to base, but you - “ He laughed again, resting his shoulder against the door frame. “You just took off in the opposite direction, disobeying my direct order, and nearly getting us vaporized in the process.”
“Tiberius needed our help!” Abel asserted, his voice rising.
“And she got it - because I'm a damn good shot and you're just plain suicidal.”
“The hell I am!”
Cain spoke slowly, as though addressing a child. “Let's review: you launched us into the firing line of an anti-matter cannon to take aim at a squadron of enemy fighters. Talk about between a rock and fucked.”
“Oh, get over it!” Abel spat, tugging his arm free. “You seemed to like it well enough at the time.”
“Exactly,” Cain agreed, wrapping his arm around Abel's shoulders. “You did it just because you could, because you were at the helm and to hell with what I thought.” He lifted Abel's chin, running a finger lightly across the navigator's injured lip. “We're not so different, you know. I bit you because I knew you'd let me - because I could.”
Abel twisted out of the fighter's grip, staring intently at the floor in silence. “I'm nothing like you,” he mumbled, a curious longing buried beneath the words.
Cain took a step back, letting out his breath in a hiss. “I fucked you because you wanted it. Because the way you flew that ship was hot and I thought maybe you wouldn't just roll over and play dead like every other worthless waste of flesh on this scrapheap.”
Abel flinched as Cain's fist collided with the wall beside his head in unnecessary emphasis. The fighter pushed him aside and continued past, collapsing on the mattress with his arms behind his head. “Whatever. Go and request a new assignment. Have fun playing taxi for visiting big shots. You know, I hear those passenger cruisers handle just like long-haul freighters -”
“You thought it was hot?” Abel questioned, glancing up at his reflection through the open panel to the bathroom.
“Your flying or your ass?” Cain countered, his eyes already closed.
“Does it make a difference?”
Cain grunted, rolling over on his side. Abel smiled and switched off the bathroom light. “Three more hours, huh?”
“That's what I said. Jesus, can I not get some shuteye?”
“You just said you don't sleep, remember?” Abel smirked, retrieving the tangled sheet from the floor. “And you're in my bed.”
“Deal with it,” Cain muttered, protesting sleepily when the mattress sank with the weight of a second body. “The fuck do you think you're doing?”
“You just said to deal with it,” Abel reminded him. “Not how. Besides, I thought you wanted me to break that record.”
“I wanted -” Cain sat up, glaring down at the impish blond curled up beside him. He grabbed Abel's wrists and pinned them above his head, gratified by the gasp it elicited from the navigator's mouth. “You smug little bitch, I'll give you a record.”