After the Merrick affair, Nicky catches himself staring.
Thing is, he always used to stare (back then), brazen and shameless, telegraphing his intent through the sharpness of his eyes and the curl of his lip. Now, he (presumably) hardly needs such recourse. But he finds his eyes tend to linger these days with little input from the rest of him.
Their safe house is closer to a half-home, cosy yet accommodating of four adults. They're three missions in after Merrick, summer biting at their heels, Nile's training coming along well, and they settle for a prolonged downtime in the more temperate part of Eastern Europe, something in the double digits days-wise this time around, fuelled by their need to lay low and the fact that one quarter of their team doesn't benefit from the same gifts as the rest of them.
They never stop searching for jobs, somewhere that needs their help, but the lack of moving about carries its own kind of comfort. The very idea that they could spend any amount of time without getting pierced by bullets or even shot at altogether is faintly euphoric, especially given Andy's current lack of immortality-driven healing.
Their days are filled with combat drills and tactical lessons and casual sparring, primarily involving Nile (of course). Research without Booker around hasn't been as efficient, not by far, though the very thought of the man still swallows Nicky up into a pit of rage and fear and utter terror the likes of which he can't recall having felt for the better part of a millennium. Quelling it while the wounds are still fresh will simply not happen, not when Nicky barely knows where to start healing. Cannot dispel the image of himself reaching for a knife and stabbing at walls in his frustration, but Joe worries about him enough as it is.
It might be why his eyes tend to stop more and more often on Joe, his anchor, every gesture and every movement itemised with a long, careful look. Cataloguing his existence through a series of actions. Which brings about the fact that Nicky's started outright staring as Joe performs the most mundane tasks in existence. It's only a little strange, though Joe doesn't mention it either way.
Their second Saturday morning there, Nile buys them blueberries in plastic buckets from the supermarket for dessert. Buys four of them, which amounts to two kilograms, and Nicky is already recalling a summer tart recipe for the undoubtedly large quantity of leftovers, especially as he is reasonably sceptical there's little more than greenhouse tartness to them, but Joe reaches in before Nile's even properly set them onto the kitchen counter, scooping up a handful to pop into his mouth.
"Actually, not bad," he says, chewing, and he brings a couple to Nicky's mouth for him to taste.
It's not even a thought, his opening his mouth, but the moment he does he registers the dryness of Joe's fingers, the edge of his nail, the faint dustiness of the skin. The tip of his tongue presses to the pad of his thumb and their eyes lock. The blueberry taste is an afterthought.
Desires collect like unwelcome guests, except they aren't anymore, not here and now. He need only say the word. Make their excuses. Drag Joe away.
Joe retracts his hand and grabs for more fruit. He chews silently, thoughtfully, gaze distracted. Nicky adjusts the left leg of his jeans once Nile's turned to put the rest of the groceries away.
Andy joins them for breakfast. It's normality itself, except for how Joe plays with his food, picking at his toast and licking his fingertips after popping an olive into his mouth and dragging his fingers up and down the rim of his coffee cup before finally picking it up to take a distracted sip. Nicky chews silently and lets Nile and Andy carry the conversation.
"What do you have planned before lunch?" he asks them, and they detail the day's objectives without any input from him. Across the table, Joe glaces up just as Nicky's stare is about to return, and their eyes lock again. The brown is a deeper shade, richer, and Nicky wants to crawl under the table.
Politely and briefly he excuses himself, leaving the rest of his breakfast as is. Their bedroom is on the other side of the house, and, for once, he appreciates the longer walk. He'll return to finish eating and talk more combat specifics, but he needs a couple of minutes to himself first.
He doesn't get them.
Instead, after less than a minute alone, the door slowly opens behind him, then clicks shut straight away. The carpet muffles any footsteps. His heart doesn't jump into his throat, not that it should, but his hands are shaking for no apparent reason. When he turns around, it's instinctive almost, grabbing at Joe's shoulders, mouths already pressing together. He tastes like toast and bitter coffee, and Nicky licks the backs of his teeth and draws his tongue inside his mouth to suck on it because they've only been trading gentle kisses lately, comforting kisses meant to go with gentle lovemaking, quiet and relaxed. But the sort of comfort Nicky now needs comes from Joe fucking his tongue into his mouth and gripping at his waist beneath his shirt.
Joe buries his nose and mouth into the side of his neck to lick at him and breathe him in, but Nicky doesn't get the chance to protest as one hand leaves his waist to trace his lips. He's been half-hard since Joe fed him blueberries, but as fingers prod into the tender places at the inside of his cheek he feels himself hardening fully, straining against the fly of his jeans.
He ends up seated at the edge of their bed, legs splayed open with Joe kneeling between them, his fingers still inside Nicky's mouth where he does his best to lick and suck at them, get them properly drenched even though they can't do much if they want to return to the breakfast table in a semi-timely manner. Sword calluses catch on the inside of his lip, and Nicky moans at the back of his throat.
Joe makes haste to unbutton and unzip him, then strokes him a couple of times to drag the pre-come that's bubbling at the tip down his cock before swallowing him down. It's sloppy head, Joe using only one hand to jerk him neatly near the root, the elbow on the same arm resting on Nicky's knee to help him balance, while Nicky's hands bury themselves in his hair to hold on more than to put him where he wants him. Joe already knows where he wants him.
It doesn't last long at all. Lack of proper footing means Joe doesn't have the leverage to go lower than halfway down his cock, but Nicky's on fire from just this. Can hardly keep himself calm to last more than a few minutes. He tries, but it's an uphill battle, deliciously fought.
He finishes him off with Nicky's cockhead resting against the flat of his tongue, Joe's clever, strong hand stroking him efficiently, Joe's fingers still in Nicky's mouth for him to drool over as he loses his breath from Joe's mouth and palm. He glances downwards to watch himself come in streaks across not only Joe's tongue but a little into his beard and up his left cheek. What he can, Joe swallows greedily, then licks around his mouth and the tip of Nicky's cock to get what more he can. He sucks at him a little after he's started going down, prodding his tongue into his slit briefly, but pulling completely off when Nicky hisses weakly.
His knees are noodles, even though he's the one who's been sitting the entire time. Joe's fingers finally leave his mouth, and Nicky can feel the dryness left behind. His chin feels sticky, though Joe probably has more to say on that.
What he does say is, "Better?"
And Nicky didn't know he needed the question, or needed this at all, but he does, actually. Feel better, that is. He says so, and Joe hums faintly and nods briefly, rising to his feet in the next moment, Nicky's hands falling to his sides. Stepping closer into the cradle of Nicky's legs, he leans forward to press his forehead to the top of Nicky's head.
"Good. Whatever you need," he says from above him, a little muffled, as Nicky's arms encircle the backs of his thighs and he buries his face into the softness of Joe's shirt.
Nicky still catches himself staring, but often Joe's already staring back.