He wouldn't even sit beside him in a bar. Cooper Hawkes brooded over this snub, nursing his beer and scowling at anyone who looked to close. What was it going to hurt? Nobody would've thought anything of the only two tanks on base sitting together. It wasn't like he was going to screw McQueen there on the table.
Musing over the probable reactions from his squadron if he did start screwing a fellow tank in public - West would shrug and say he expected no less, Vansen would throw a fit that one of her heroes was being less than perfect - Hawkes missed seeing who threw the first punch. By the time he put down his drink, the whole room was involved, either actively or encouraging the participants. Hawkes glanced over at McQueen, almost tempted to join in the fight, but if McQueen wouldn't help his squad, then neither would Hawkes.
He put his beer down and turned to watch. Vansen was holding her own - two brawny Angels were kept at a distance by her quick punches, and another lay on the floor at her feet. West was being systematically clobbered by his opponent - the boy was all attitude and no aptitude. No one guarded their backs. Hawkes flinched involuntarily - Damphousse had walked right in to that one.
The FTN special announcement broke up the fight; the Secretary General's declaration of war stopped it mid-punch. With the Angry Angels returning to base, and West and Vansen doing God-knows-what behind the bar, there was no reason to stick around. He left quietly, only then realising that he had not spoken a single word the whole evening - even the beer had been placed before him automatically as he sat down.
He didn't see McQueen again until after his training mission to Mars. God, what a disaster. From the first verbal fight with West and his do-what-I-say attitude, to the alien suicide it had been a bad experience. Except for Pags. One day he would add up all the things he done in his life, and maybe then he could pay Pags back.
"What *would* you die for?"
You, McQueen. I'd die for you. But he could never say that out loud. Not to someone who ignored him in public, but worshipped his body in private. Not to someone who wouldn't cross the road to say hello during the day, but never let his out of his arms at night.
It wasn't so much shame, Hawkes knew. Fucking a fellow pilot was fine, male or female. But fucking a tank...
He knew McQueen hadn't slept with anyone for years - few tanks "volunteered" for the Marine Corp. And even the most pro-in-vitro rights activists still quaked at the thought of sex with a tank.
In-vitro's couldn't breed. It was supposed to ensure the superiority of the human race. But they still had feelings, needs, no matter how much others would deny them. And sex was a very basic need.
So they turned to each other. Within days of Cooper's arrival, McQueen had let him know he was welcome in his bed. Not his life, just his bed. Since all Hawkes' had wanted was a steady fuck, it hadn't taken him long to find his way there. Only Cooper hadn't planned on falling in love with the single- minded the-marine-corp-is-my-life bastard. After that nothing was the same. He went through his days on automatic, sneering at the world. But his nights were spent in gut-wrenching ecstasy.
He hadn't known exactly what to expect when he accepted the offer. McQueen had been very up front about what he expected - sex. Nothing else was asked for, and nothing else was offered. He explained that no other tank had been available for him for almost 2 years and that .... Hawkes had cut him off, asking if he wanted to fuck or talk.
"Fuck," was McQueen's reply. "My room, 10pm."
Cooper hesitated outside McQueen's door. The bastard hadn't spoken to him since the invitation this morning. He gritted his teeth and knocked.
That's what I'm here for, Hawkes thought, entering the Lieutenant's room.
McQueen stood up as he entered, staring at him without a word.
Unaccountably nervous, Hawkes took refuge in attack. "You said I could come."
When nothing further was said, Hawkes stripped. McQueen echoed his movements, turning aside for a moment to retrieve something from the desk drawer, and they moved towards the bed. Hawkes didn't have time to do more than glance at him before he was face down on the bed, legs spread, McQueen between his thighs. He tensed, prepared for an immediate invasion, but instead felt a fingertip lightly tracing up his spine, sliding over each vertebrae, making it's way unerringly to his neck and the physical reminder of his in vitro origins.
It gave them the nickname "nipple necks" - the omphalos, the raised remnant of oxygen/nutrition umbilical and was quite sensitive to the touch, more so that the human navel, which was its equivalent. But unlike "belly buttons" it protruded outwards. And its sensitivity, unknown to humans, was increased ten-fold during sex.
One digit stroked over the raised lump, while the other hand rimmed Hawkes's anus, spreading the lubricant McQueen must have had ready to hand. Hawkes growled and pushed back against the teasing fingers, which worked their way in deeper, loosening the tight ring of muscle, then McQueen replaced them with the head of his cock. He leant forward, hot mouth covering Hawkes's inverted navel, then thrust forward, simultaneously sucking on the tumescent omphalos.
Hawkes caught fire instantly, raising his knees to allow better access, pushing back onto the heated shaft.
One hand crept around to savagely pinch his nipples and teeth lightly grazed over his omphalos, drawing a strangled cry from Hawkes before he bucked and came, closely followed by McQueen.
Hawkes lay beneath the pilot, shuddering in reaction. He'd never turned on so fast before. "What did you do? How..?" he asked, voice muffled by the bedding.
"You don't know?" Surprise that any tank would not know about their reaction to stimulation of their neck coloured the question.
"Your omphalos becomes very sensitive during sex," McQueen explained, then fell silent, recalling how he himself had discovered this fact. He shook off the memories, returning to the here and now with a jolt, feeling 2 years worth of accumulation frustration sweeping over him. His cock stirred, still buried in Cooper, and he gave a tentative thrust before settling down to a steady rhythm.
"What about your schoal," he queried, referring to the tanks decanted at the same time as Hawkes. "Didn't an older tank tell them about it?"
Hawkes grunted. "Don't know. I took off after two weeks of training. You're the oldest tank I've ever met. All the others were my age. And none of them ever touched me there."
McQueen wasn't listening, instead all he heard was the blood rushing through his ears as he pounded into the body below him. Now that he'd come once, he had more control, and he intended to use it. Pausing only to put a pillow under Hawkes's hips, TC laid his hands on Hawkes's shoulders, thumbs slowly revolving in counterpoint around the omphalos, while holding Hawkes's body still for his thrusts, penetrating further and further into the trainees arse. He fell into a mindless pattern, becoming aware of Hawkes again only when the tank was screaming, "Now goddamit McQueen. Finish it now!"
McQueen lifted Hawkes' legs up, moving his knees under Hawkes' groin, to kneel. His fingers dug into the tank's cheeks, spreading the globes further apart, before withdrawing until all but the tip of his cock was removed.
"Fuck yourself", he ordered.
Cooper attempted to obey, but was unable to gain any purchase. "Can't," he moaned.
McQueen renewed his attack on the sensitive nipples, teasing, keeping just the head inside Hawkes' arse. The trainee twisted, attempting to gain leverage, but only managed to twist himself further up the bed, almost losing McQueen in the process.
McQueen slid forward to keep contact, then lifted Hawkes's shoulders up, holding all his weight on his thighs, before shuffling forward to lean Cooper against the wall, still embedded in his body.
"Now," he commanded.
Hawkes folded his arms against the wall, resting his head on the makeshift pillow, then started to lower his arse onto McQueen's shaft. Slowly he pushed his way down until he could go no further. Fresh beads of sweat broke out on his back, and he felt a tongue lick up his spine, then lathe gently over his omphalos. It lightly teased and tickled, in dark contrast to the painful pull on his tits and the tight fullness in his arse. Hawkes lost control, unable to concentrate on any one sensation, and he twisted back and forth futilely. "Goddamit, McQueen. Fuck me!" he roared.
McQueen's first thrust plastered the tank against the wall. Two strokes later Hawkes came, biting his lip to stop from screaming. McQueen was still pistoning into him, straining to reach orgasm, forcing Hawkes harder against the wall until he too peaked with one last drive, filling Hawkes with liquid heat before sliding out of Cooper onto the bed.
Cooper collapsed backwards with a moan, striving to regain his breath, closing his eyes. A few minutes later he opened them to see McQueen, a half smile on his face, trail his fingertips over Hawkes' chest.
Hawkes swallowed, bringing TC's attention back to his face. "You want I should leave now?" he asked, prepared to be thrown out now that McQueen was done.
McQueen shook his head. "No. Go to sleep."
Just on the edge of awareness, a soft touch fell on his lips, a brief caress stirred his senses, and at first Cooper dismissed it as a dream; but the pattern was set. Each night they came together, fighting in their urgency to mate. And each night Hawkes pretended to fall asleep afterwards, waiting for the kiss, the one touch that was never initiated until McQueen thought Hawkes to be unaware.
In the morning Cooper woke up alone.
McQueen was flying into action with the Angels as Hawkes stood silently watching over Pag's grave. All the words he'd said wouldn't make McQueen stay. And all the words he didn't say would have made him go. In the end McQueen just walked out, leaving Cooper to wonder if he'd ever see him again. The recall sounded as light blossomed in the night sky, and inside he knew McQueen was gone.
But he wasn't dead. Tanks were notoriously hard to kill - that was what they'd been bred for. A slight limp and facial scars were the only visible signs of his injuries, but inside something had changed. That night after the battle had been a revelation - their passion had always been violent, rough, but this time McQueen had been uncontrollable, taking Hawkes over and over, until he lay exhausted beside him, only to start again, slowly this time, with gentle hands and warm mouth until Cooper was begging for release. And then he's said it. Never had Hawkes expected to hear those words.
Remembering that quiet voice whispering in his ear, he turned to the man beside him. "Say it again."
McQueen complied. "I love you."
Hawkes shivered. It shouldn't be that easy.
"And if you ever again pull a stunt like you did today, I'll kill you myself," he continued.
Hawkes smiled. That was more like it.