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when it comes to loving, he’s the worse

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If there was one thing Brock hated about his job it was the clerical bullshit that came with it. Operation reports, filing for all depleted assets (seriously, since when did Hydra care how many boxes of shitty BIC pens were left in the store room), and now, thanks to the secretary being out on maternity leave, he had to approve the goddamn time sheets his team laid on his desk for non-field time.

Sitting stuck to a desk for long hours drained Brock in a way that active battle and blazing fire fights never could. He was exhausted but keyed up with energy, twitching in traffic as he considered getting out and taking out whatever dumbass in a blue minivan leapt out in front of him and then dutifully went ten miles under the speed limit. Brock was aching to get back into the field or to hit the mats and spar with someone but they were between ops and so he had all the paperwork he’d neglected to complete. Pierce was letting the dust settle from a truly shocking staged accident that claimed the life of a council member so everyone was stuck on base.

It meant vacation time for most of his team and that was fine because it kept them from under his feet.

Rollins had gone to work on a SHIELD mission with Captain Rogers himself and the Black Widow. He’d be back soon enough and Brock would have someone to vent to about how he was wasting his time and skills on paperwork.

Rumlow cut off the engine and rapped his fingers restlessly against the steering wheel as he did a three-point check on instinct. He closed the door to his car with a bit more force than needed and his back cramped as he took the stairs instead of the elevator. He didn’t know if he could stay still enough for the ride.

Fucking shitty desk chairs, he seethed to himself as he rummaged his pockets for his keys.

He leaned forward and got the faintest whiff of smoke through the door. The nervous energy was almost all consuming as his fingers were shaking enough to rattle his locker key against his car key and the mini remote panic fob all SHIELD employees had to have. Hydra had already rigged the sensor and tracker but still, it made a hell of a lot of noise rapping against his the metal keys in his grip. Brock drew in a harsh breath, forcing his muscles taught and the tremors stopped abruptly. His willpower would probably fade quickly — he needed to be downstairs in the building gym slamming his fists against the bag until his knuckles were swollen and split and purple.

The door finally opened and Brock kicked his duffle bag further in, swinging around to close and latch it. The building had a strict no-smoking policy that he had told Jack about a million times. The bastard would hum and haw like it made sense and if Brock was especially riled, make a point of scuffing it out and opening the windows to air out the apartment.

As his forehead settled against the door frame Rumlow wasn’t sure what he felt like doing. Fighting or fucking or just kicking off his boots and taking a hot shower and a few Ambien with a double shot of whiskey. He didn’t have the energy to do more than one.

“Aww tough day at the office?”

Brock’s eyes narrowed as he swung around to face Rollins. He’d changed into civvies and Brock could see all his gear tossed haphazardly in the corner of his living room. The man hadn’t even gone home yet, just came here and waited. Brock wasn’t one for that sort of gay shit, all couple-y and what no but it was nice Rollins had stopped in.

He flexed his hand into a fist but it felt shaky.

Brock took a step forward, eyes locked on the man in front of him. Jack did not offer any sort of submission under the gaze because he never would have. In the field when Brock was commanding the team was one thing, but in private Jack was the sort of man who did whatever he wanted and if it lined up with what others wanted, good, and if not, oh well.

He smelled of smoke from the cigarette currently hanging out of his mouth like some shitty eighties movie baddie. But there was also gunpowder and gun oil, a bit of sweat and blood, and a dark bruise under his eye.

“What, you don’t got anything to say Brockie?” Jack leered him openly in private.

Brock ran through his evening options once more. Fight, fuck, or drug induced early night. Either way, Jack would be there for it. He was reliable like that, both on the field and off it. That was why they worked together so well.

“Put out the cigarette Jack. Jesus H, how many times do I got to tell you?” Brock stepped around him and down down the narrow hall to the kitchen.

His uninvited house guest had already broke into the liquor cabinet and a bottle was sitting beside the fridge. He reached up for a glass but his fingers were clumsy and it hit the edge of the granite counter, bursting against the tiled floors. “Fuck.” He spat grabbing the cloth hanging over the oven handle to pick up the pieces.

Jack was leaning against the wall when he threw the pieces out. The cigarette was still lit, the end burning brightly as he took a drag. Smoke curling from thin lips as he gave Brock a cold, mocking smile.

“You’re such a prick.” was all Brock could think to say.

Brock rolled his shoulders trying to ease off the stiffening ache that he only got from lying on a slab in safe houses too long or spending way too much time on his ass at his desk. He lifted the bottle to his lips but not a drop graced his mouth. He jerked back as the bottle was set on top of the fridge.

“I’m not playing Rollins.”

Brock felt himself being caged against the counter and jerked back in an attempt to elbow the other man away.

Jack knew that trick plenty well and had already gotten his long arms wrapped around him in a way that limited his movements and Brock’s chest start to tighten with panic. He was trapped, back to all exits and his attacker.

“Get off,” he hissed again, venom seeping into words.

He tossed his head back hoping to catch the fucker’s chin. It had worked once and gave him a throbbing migraine and Jack a cracked tooth. “You’re cagey tonight,” smoke was blown in his face as Jack chuckled. “You gotta cool down Commander.”

Any other day he could have flipped them back but he was tired, so goddamn tired that it was hard to keep focused on anything beyond the mounting panic. The hold was tight — but not tight enough to be anything more than restraint or loose enough to be an embrace, and Brock did not like the middle ground. He thrashed from side to side, spitting a low stream of expletives. There was a limit to the amount of fuss he could kick up. The walls were decently insulated but the old coot next door with too many cats was always listening.

“Just...just get off me for a second, Jack!”

“Nah. I just got back, didn’t ya miss me?”

Brock tried to rear his head back and grit his teeth at the second miss. “What’s the tally, Rumlow? Four me, zero you?”

“Fuck you, four?” Brock had missed twice.

“I got you trapped pretty good here Brockie. That’s one. Plus I got in without a key. Two. And then your two misses… I’m being generous and not including these truly pitiful attempts at struggling.”

Hot ash fell against his shoulder, singeing his shirt a bit but cooling before it could do much more than melt the weaving together a bit.

Brock hissed, pissed as hell about the tally and being stuck and also about the goddamn shirt.

“I told you to put that fucking thing out Jack. Goddamnit!” Brock snarled and tried to buck out of his hold again.

“It didn’t even get you.” Jack sounded amused. “I’ll let you go when you answer my question.”

“What question?” Brock tried to go limp and then surge back up but Jack figured him out to quickly and slammed him against the edge of the counter hard enough to wind him and bruise his ribs. He grunted in pain before he stilled in an attempt to end this. “What question Jack? C’mon.”

“Did you miss me?”

Brock could feel the heat from the tip of cigarette close the spot on shoulder where the ash had fallen. He grit his teeth and tried not to think about the stiff carpeting on the floor of the two bedroom trailer or the smell of stale beer and burning flesh.

“Cried every day you were gone,” Brock spat. He tried to push up from the counter but Jack just applied more weight. “What kinda queer shit do you want me to tell you Rollins? ‘Aww baby I missed you so much, don’t ever leave me again, thought about you the second I woke up every day’?”

For a second there was just the sound of blood in Brock’s ears and his ragged breathing. Then Jack was exhaling, breath hot on his cheek. “Mm, that is some queer stuff, Brockie. No wonder it came to mind so quick for you.”

“Get off. I answered your question.”

“No, you were just rambling off some cheesy bullshit. Tell me you actually didn’t miss me and I’ll let you go.” Jack made it so goddamn simple when he said it like that.

Brock licked his lips and thought of the meanest ways to tell him he didn’t miss him. But...

“What if I did?” Brock’s face was flooded with heat. “Say for some fucked up reason I did actually care you weren’t here. What then?”

“Then I’ll have to make sure you know I’m here.” Rollins thigh wedged between his own and Brock grit his teeth. “Which was it Brockie? You miss me while I was out there working and you got to sit pretty?”

“Sit pretty,” he echoed. “That ain’t the name for it Rollins. More like wasting my time.”

“Jack tutted him. “I want an answer. Don’t make me force it outta you. Cos then you’re gonna wish I was gone.”

Brock gave a last attempt at struggling before he tipped head forward and let the cool countertops try and soothe the blush Jack would most definitely notice.

“You win Rollins. I missed you.”

The admission sat between them a moment, a comfortable lull of quiet where Brock could almost forget that he was being crushed while forced to inhale the wretched smoke of Rollins’ Camels.

“Of course you did sweetheart, you always do.”

All at once Brock was free and felt a bit woozy by the rush of air filling his lungs. He turned quickly, nearly tripping over his own feet. Rollins was back against the wall, casual as ever, cigarette almost smoked down to the filter. He flicked ash onto the floor without care and Brock glanced warily at it, then at him, and finally at the bottle on the top of the fridge. He pulled out a bottle of water instead, took a long drink and said,

“You’re a prick.” Brock grumble unsure of what else say.

Rollins shrugged his shoulders. “You’re probably right about that.”

They had dinner, Brock never formally inviting Jack to stay but never asking him to leave either. He hated how much he liked having Jack in his space.

Brock took the dishes out to the sink, washed them and stood at the edge of the living room. “I’m going to bed.”

“Not yet. C’mere.”

Brock blinked and then his teeth worried his bottom lip. He could have easily put up a fuss or just gone to bed like he had said but he didn’t. He padded across the floor and rolled his eyes when Jack gestured to his lap.

“We’re damned near the same size, Rollins. I’m a little too big to be sitting on your lap like some fuckin’ chick.”

Jack jerked him down anyway. It wasn’t so bad, being close to him; feeling a steady heartbeat thrumming against his back. The uneasiness was calmed by Jack, by how warm he was, how he held Brock just so. He didn’t feel like a chick or like it was gay or anything. Brock didn’t even think about how much this would fuck up their work or lives if anyone found out.

Long fingers trailed along his arms, up the insides of his forearms in a subtly possessive manner. Tracking each expanse of Brock’s skin. His body was Jack’s to touch at the moment and he didn’t mind when he pushed his hand under his shirts, cool fingertips trailing patterns above his pubic bone. Brock’s jeans felt far too tight and he moved to pop the button.

“No.” Jack pushed his wrist away but didn’t undo his pants for him.

“What the fuck do you mean, no?” Brock glowered up at him.

“I mean keep your dick in your pants, Rumlow or get the fuck off me.”

Brock groaned in annoyance and just a little bit in embarrassment. “Then why are you touching me?”

“Because I feel like it.”

Brock started to slip off Jack’s lap, unwilling to lounge around and watch car restoration shows while he had a hard on that was being ignored. Yet another move with no motivation other than being a dick — why exactly had he missed Jack again?

Jack’s hand curled around his throat, fingers pressing expertly on cut off air. “Quit squirming around so much.” He let off enough for Brock to take a ragged inhale and pressed down before he could let the air out as he added, “If it’s that big of a deal, I’ll help you. I’m a reasonable guy, Brockie. You just gotta ask.”

Brock exhaled noisily as his eyes watered. “Fuck...off.” He knocked Jack’s hand away from his neck but groaned as the other came up to cup his crotch.

Brock made a half hearted attempt to push it off but he ended up bucking into it. Jack nipped at his neck, finding that sweet spot that Brock hated because it always made him squeal and preen. Jack wasn’t usually so relentless about it but between the sensation and how long it had been since he had last cum and the fact it was Jack touching him, Brock was bucking against the hand working at him through too much fabric with an embarrassing frenzy.

When the grinding stuttered to a stop, Brock panted as a blush pooled in his face. He didn’t want to hear whatever Jack was going to say next. About how he was desperate or a slut or whatever else Rollins found amusement in. He could feel the sticky warmth and he wanted to shuck off these clothes and wash away the evidence.

“Look at me.” Jack demanded and Brock was fucking powerless not to. “I missed you too.”

Brock had to kiss him to hide the stupid ass smile he would have cracked. That would have been gay. Jack kissed his back, no teeth or competing dominance, just two mouths working together in a sweet slow way. Brock pulled away and, against his better judgement, pressed his face into the crook of Jack’s neck.

“I love you Jackie.”

“I love you too.”

Brock closed his eyes knowing they’d have to take it back come morning. It felt too good to be around each when they started saying shit like that.

So tomorrow they would make each other hurt; it was the only way to keep the scales of reality and the fragile world they shared balanced between them.