It's a transgression of the worst kind. A breach of autonomy and trust so personal, so egregious, indignant rage doesn't even come close to describing how he feels. It's one of those types of anger and shock that's gone to such extremes that it leaves a catatonic calm in its wake.
Nine years is enough time to push any man to obsessive introspection, but of the dozens of ways he'd considered their reunion might play out, this one hadn't been among them. It's so goddamn unbelievable and unnecessary that it borders on the absurd, and Kaz feels winded, like he's been punched in the gut and can't seem to catch his breath.
Despite the comfort Venom's soft voice offers, Kaz cringes. Any noise, any disturbance in the air, and the ropes of panic begin to constrict his chest, his fist clenching and his muscles tensed with the instinct to fight. He still feels like he's being attacked, he's still on edge with the feeling that he should be defending himself from something. The moment he's made the decision that he'd really rather be alone, in the same instant he's terrified by the concept of solitude, his muscles poised in preparation to grasp frantically at Venom if he leans so much as a centimeter away. Of all the emotions battling for dominance within him, all he ultimately feels is numb. Shell shocked and completely blindsided, nothing could have prepared him for knowing how to handle this. He doesn't even have the strength to respond to Venom's gentle coaxing.
In the wake of being reunited with his partner, Kaz was already prepared to be angry, relieved, determined. What he hadn't been prepared to feel was gutted and betrayed and protectively indignant and - did they really think he wouldn't fucking notice?
The insulting implications of how little they thought he knew Big Boss, how imperceptive they assumed he was...Ocelot lied straight to his fucking face when asked directly, that goddamn spying, traitorous son of a bitch -
"Kaz, talk to me."
God, they even fucked with his voice. They wouldn't even let him keep that. Now he just sounds like Big Boss.
Kaz looks up, opens his mouth and closes it again. The only thing he can think to say in this moment is What have they done to you? but with so many unknowns as to why Cipher would do something so heinous, he understands it's best to just keep silent and play along. He's not supposed to know, that much is clear.
Venom reaches his flesh hand out and briefly grazes his fingers along Kaz's remaining forearm. "May I?" he inquires, respectfully withdrawing his hand just a little, making Kaz instantly crave that touch again.
Kaz hesitates, then nods once, unable to make eye contact. Unable to look into that face and not see the ghost of the man he used to be. Venom's bionic hand wraps gently around his forearm and Kaz nearly jumps out of his skin at the contact, blushing furiously and mumbling a quick apology under his breath as Venom stills and fixes a concerned eye on him. Kaz forces himself to relax, allows Venom to rotate his arm so that his palm is facing upward. Warm fingertips delicately drag up the inside of his forearm, tracing the fine blue veins just beneath the skin, and Kaz gives a subtle shudder. Big Boss never would have touched him like this. God, it's so obvious -
"Always did love your wrists," Venom murmurs as he rubs the pad of his thumb back and forth over Kaz's pulse, and Kaz flinches. That's not Big Boss, either. That's still all him.
Venom's hand smooths up the inside of his arm, thumb brushing over the tender puncture mark in the crook of his elbow where the IV had been while he was recovering. Venom's fingertips are softer. Not quite as calloused. Where the Boss' touch had been coarse and scratchy, Venom's is soft as moth wings. Kaz shudders when those fingers trace back down the inside of his arm, find the cruel lacerations and bruises around his wrist from where he'd been handcuffed. He cringes at the dull pain, and Venom hesitantly lifts Kaz's wrist to his lips, closes his eye and brushes his scarred mouth along the contusions there.
Big Boss liked to leave ligature marks there. Your medic liked to treat them and kiss them better.
Kaz's breath hitches and he exhales a shuddering sigh, his stifled moan a whispered grunt in the back of his throat. He hates how much he's missed this tenderness. Now all he feels is disgust. At himself for only appreciating this now, at Big Boss for letting this happen, at Cipher for once again, ripping away any illusion of freedom he ever had, for ripping away the autonomy of this human being in front of him.
He feels like he doesn't deserve this man. He can't pretend like he doesn't know, he can't lie straight to Venom's face. He needs to distance himself from Venom as much as possible because it's the only way to protect him. But Christ, those scarred lips are so warm and perfect against his wrist, and goddamn it if it actually isn't making the wounds there feel a little bit better. He wants to pull away but instead finds himself leaning into that touch, that warmth. In the next instant, Venom's arms are cautiously easing around him, pulling Kaz against his chest as hands begin idly kneading at his spine, and his lungs constrict with a hollow sob that he absolutely will not let escape.
"Is this okay?" Venom whispers, and Kaz nods into his chest, his arm wrapping around Venom's back with the frenzied determination of nine years' worth of longing.
Kaz inhales sharply against another sob that threatens to escape, but he knows Venom can feel the moisture of tears against his chest anyway. The hands kneading at his back find their way up his spine, ghost over the back of his neck, begin threading through his damp hair from the first shower he's had in weeks. He feels the coarse tickle of Venom's beard against his neck, and he instinctively tilts his jaw back so Venom can nudge his nose along the line of his throat.
"Snake..." he mutters, and immediately flinches.
It doesn't feel right to call him that. He wants to address him by his real name, can feel it hanging on the tip of his tongue, it physically hurts him not being able to say it, but he knows it's a risk he can't take. What does one say when the crudeness of spoken language could never come close to encompassing emotions so divine?
After a long silence, Kaz merely whispers, "I missed you."
Isla Chepillo, Panamanian Coast
You can tell a lot about a man by the way he plays cards.
And he plays them frustratingly close to his heart.
The man puts the term poker face to shame, his expression too flawlessly neutral when you watch him during down time. Even the subtle dilation of his pupils won't give him away from behind the protective mirror of those aviators, which he never seems to take off. He never gives away even the slightest indication he's sitting on that ace - a weapon he'll use to shoot you down the moment he's managed to convince you he's vulnerable. It's safe to say he plays cards like he fights on the battlefield. You hear whispers of samurai, and you can't help but think it's an apt description. After all, you were there with Big Boss when he hauled the bloodied warrior off of that battlefield himself.
Where some of the other soldiers still regard him with suspicion, you're intrigued by his business savvy - not to mention a little grateful. Since you'd joined up with the Boss, resources had been less than satisfactory, and you'd had to get a little creative in operating a substantial infirmary out of tents and temporary provisions. But just a couple of months with the MSF and the charismatic young XO had managed to get his hands on a lease for an old facility formerly occupied by some of Noriega's old 'business associates,' and considering the American government's tolerance of the colonel's extracurricular activities in exchange for intel, it was unlikely that la CIA would be sniffing around any time soon. Hot indoor showers and sleeping with an actual roof over your head was a luxury you hadn't been afforded in too long. Make no mistake, the new XO is as resourceful as he is charming.
He's captivating. As beguiling almost as the Boss himself, more than you'd dare to admit out loud. That he was able to effortlessly ensnare Big Boss so instantly and so completely - that Big Boss was pushed to extortion and attempted murder just to keep him under his thumb - made you realize there was an almost unnatural magnetism about this man to have pushed the legendary mercenary to such uncharacteristically irrational extremes. It's unnerving, really, to the point where you'd almost call his seductive nature manipulative, but there's something so...pure...so...intrinsically good about Kazuhira Miller that the word doesn't exactly fit. He's shrewd and coy and will bend to questionable levels in order to achieve what he wants, but a man so loyal to his convictions is a man who engenders an honest passion at his very core, and you admire that.
You hear womanizer tossed around in casual conversation, but it doesn't sit well with you. It's no secret that he likes to get his dick wet, but you don't miss how he always does it with a very pronounced and noticeable degree of respect. Perhaps your infatuation with him has biased your perception, maybe you're really just romanticizing him, but he doesn't entirely fit the profile of the predator the rumors make him out to be, and you begin to wonder where this maxim came from.
Come to think of it, you've never heard him utter a single slur or support a derogatory stereotype, never treated any of the local women with disrespect, never even shared war stories with the men when they're having vile conversations about their trysts during downtime. A gentleman doesn't kiss and tell. It's clear he's unaccustomed to rejection, but on the rare occasion that his advances are ignored or that he's causing even the slightest hint of discomfort, he doesn't respond with petulance or entitlement or condescending arrogance like you're used to seeing in straight men - instead he graciously backs off, accompanied by a humble apology and a respectful distance. Monogamy may not be his strong point, but he's very clearly conscientious of consent, and if he doesn't explicitly have it, he loses all interest. No, you decide - definitely not a womanizer - but it becomes apparent that he tries to be discreet about how honorable he genuinely is, as if it's a trait so ignoble it has to be kept secret.
You start to pick things up about him. Little things at first, like how he loves curry but is insanely picky about it, to the point where he'll rarely eat it unless he's prepared it himself. The same with miso soup. He always wears his sunglasses because he's trying to hide that small vestige of something incongruous about his appearance, and he found it was easier to hide the exotic quality of his eyes than his blond hair or white skin - skin that betrays his origins as much as those eyes - tanning a healthy amber-olive on the occasions that he strips down to the waist in the heady tropical heat. He has a tendency to shy away from his mixed breeding, and you have no idea why because that's the most intoxicating thing about him, but get him drunk enough and his speech will be peppered with sporadic Japanese that entices you even more.
His laughter is infectious. His voice is comforting. You discover that his awful singing is really just an act likely to annoy the living piss out of people, but that his actual singing voice is strikingly pleasant - something you accidentally discover upon entering the showers one day when he thinks he's in there alone. At first you think it's just the forgiving acoustics of the room, but you walk up on him again, when he's in his office with his back turned to the door so he doesn't immediately notice your presence, singing the Animals' cover of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood in a harmonious baritone that feels like butter melting over your heart.
Instead of surreptitiously slipping back out and returning with a courteous knock, you do something stupid -
"Fitting song for you, Commander."
The moment it's out of your mouth, you're struck with the overwhelming urge to repeatedly ram your forehead into the wall. Why? Why did you do that?
But he turns then, after stiffening slightly at the unexpected intrusion, and you're met with that intoxicating fucking smile, those straight white teeth flashing in the dim light filtering through the blinds, and he taps the stack of documents he's holding against the desk to straighten them and lays them down flat before him.
"Ronan," he addresses you lightly, and the way he says your name - when did he learn your fucking real name? - causes your voice to betray you when you open your mouth to speak. You hide the undignified croak that makes its way halfway up your throat with the manliest cough you can manage, allowing yourself time to remember why the fuck you're in his office in the first place.
You manage to stumble out a concise reminder for the commander to stop by for a routine health assessment at his convenience, your eyes lingering just a little too long on those impossibly soft lips as you snap a salute and take your leave before you can do something embarrassing like compliment the way his scarf flatters his skin tone. You convince yourself that the playfully intoned Sure thing, doc that follows you out the door is just a figment of your imagination.
You played it cool when he sidled in just before shift change, kept your head bent over your clipboard and watched him from the corner of your eye as he smoothly removed his belt and holster before hoisting himself up on your table. Having him on your exam table excites you for reasons you'd rather not explore. It isn't like you haven't done this plenty of times before, it isn't like you haven't patched him up, stitched him closed, right alongside Big Boss after they've gotten into another one of their regular brawls. You've seen him bleed plenty of times.
The last time he was here, you were sewing up a nasty laceration over his ribcage that Big Boss inflicted, trying your best to ignore the way he steadily watched your hands as you worked. He didn't squirm, didn't even flinch, just laid back and calmly watched as though he were hypnotized by the methodical movement of your stitching. He seemed vaguely disoriented, as though he were unsure how to react to nonviolent human contact, as though yours was the first gentle touch he'd ever experienced. When you were done, he laid still for a moment, seemingly admiring your handiwork, then glanced up at you over the rims of his sunglasses and softly commended you on your impeccable sutures. You'd quickly turned away under the pretense of disposing of your gloves in order to hide the flush that heated your cheeks, and having him here now, you're terrified your resolve will break and your face will give you away just as easily.
You begin to reach forward to tug his scarf loose but catch yourself just in time, recognizing the impropriety of the instinct at the last minute - doctors don't undress their patients, you fool, this isn't some twink you've picked up in the club for a quick suck and fuck - and you smoothly turn the action into a vague gesture as you instruct him to remove it so your fingers can gently probe at his throat, routinely checking the lymph nodes. You keep your face as straight as possible, avoid those eyes burning into you as you convince yourself that his pulse isn't drumming erratically against your fingertips, that's just your own frantic heartbeat making your head swim in his presence. You love the soft heat of his skin, and you can't help it, you think about what it would feel like to press your mouth to that pulse. The thought makes you so dizzy that you have to bite the inside of your cheek to maintain your composure as you mentally walk yourself through the clinical checklist lest you lose yourself to the gratifyingly pliable nature of his supple flesh.
"Any unusual lesions or rashes, muscle stiffness, difficulty breathing?" You break the uncomfortable silence with a monotonous tone that suggests recitation, it's a question you ask dozens of soldiers everyday. He seems puzzled and vaguely startled at the lack of context, and you coolly drop your gaze when his eyes meet yours.
"We're in the jungle," you explain with a quaint but practical smile. "An insect bite is just as likely to kill you as the guerrillas, only one is more subtle than the other."
"Ah of course," he laughs softly. "...No, nothing of the sort."
You can't shake the feeling that it's too intimate, but you tell yourself you're just flustered and trapped inside your own head, there's no way he's into men - into you - he's only staring at you with that steady blue gaze behind the tint of his aviators because...because -
He's already unfastening the front of his uniform when he sees you lift the stethoscope from where it's draped over your neck, he's been here plenty of times and knows the routine well. You refuse to make eye contact as you press the diaphragm of your stethoscope to the sculpted planes of his exposed chest, suppressing a smile as you listen to the healthy sounds it returns - Christ, he's a healthy man - and you're not just admiring him from a personal perspective but from a clinical one as well. You're evaluating him sexually through a physician's eyes (how absolutely professional of you), and you entertain the idea that such perfection could yield ultimate stamina - ha - under physical duress. You could assign a goddamn metronome to that slow resting heart rate, he has the lungs of an athlete and you could listen to the sounds they make for hours.
"Breathe deep for me," you instruct, and you wince inwardly at the huskiness your voice has adopted at the gradual quickening of his heartbeat as his lungs expand with air, you hope the casual way you clear your throat makes it seem like you're just hoarse from the humid environment.
Your hand moves with the confident rise and fall of his chest as that penetrating stare never leaves your face, and suddenly you realize that he's toying with you - toying with you like any one of those local village girls who can't seem to resist him no matter how hard they try. He must know, must have known this whole time you've been casting sidelong glances his way, as discreet as you've tried to be about it, he fucking knows and instead of embarrassment or obliviousness or apologetic respect you surprise yourself by owning it. And when you flit your eyes upward to meet his for the first time since he's smoothly eased himself onto your exam table, there's an extended moment where you silently struggle with each other for dominance, holding each other's gaze in a silent dare, a challenge to see who will be the first to retreat.
Because Kazuhira Miller is a cocky man, and that is exactly why you've repeatedly found yourself entertaining thoughts of grabbing his shoulder, forcing him around and up against the wall, kicking his legs apart as you reach around the front of him to unfasten his pants and -
"Another deep breath, please."
You're the one that breaks eye contact first, but not in a bashful way. You make it casual, methodical, you're just a medic and he's just a patient and you've got a lot of soldiers you need to see this afternoon, no time to waste. You sling the stethoscope back over your neck and tug the penlight from your breast pocket - he stiffens because he knows he's going to have to remove his sunglasses now and it makes him nervous - but you pretend not to notice, waiting patiently as he hesitantly slides them from his face. Your breath catches at how alluringly feline he looks, all cat eyes and high cheekbones, and his face has that innocent softness that blond faces tend to have, a sort of golden youthfulness that makes you think he'll age really well. A seemingly nervous smile lights his lips at your thumb's delicate touch on his brow as you check his pupillary response, but he never breaks the stare, continuing to test you with that unwavering scrutiny.
"You took quite a beating in the last drill," you say idly - you're using your clinician's voice now, that impassive, soft voice you reserve for patients, especially when they seem uncomfortable.
"Nothing I couldn't handle," he says with a dismissive shrug.
"Any migraines? Nausea, dizziness or blurred vision?"
He shakes his head once at each symptom you rattle off, and you click the penlight off and return it to your pocket. Your hand gently grips his jaw and you turn his face to the side, then the other, examining the mostly-healed bruising around his cheekbones and eyes from the last training session. So malleable. So responsive to your touch.
"Just taking precautions," you say in a convincingly detached tone. "We like to keep our soldiers healthy."
(I like to keep you safe).
A coy smirk tugs at the corner of his mouth, and he slides his sunglasses back on a little too hastily.
"Lie back for me," you instruct, and you don't miss the barely perceptible part to his lips as you grip him by the shoulders and guide him back.
To the untrained ear it would have gone unnoticed, but as a doctor you're accustomed to listening for even the subtlest respiratory response and he's definitely breathing heavier than he was a moment ago. You can still feel those eyes on you as he eases back, you're surprised you can even keep your hands steady as you press your fingers into his bruised stomach. "Any excessive pain?" you ask serenely, and he shakes his head and shifts slightly under your touch.
It's subtle, but there's a definite flush that heats his cheeks at the question, and he hastily shakes his head. "Are you this thorough with all the soldiers?" he asks, and you wonder if he's using playfulness to mask embarrassment.
"Mhmm," you hum dismissively, continuing to press your fingertips into his belly even though you've already assessed everything's intact. You just like the contoured lines of his abdominal muscles, you can't help but wonder how gratifying it would be to trace them with your tongue -
"I had to do an emergency splenectomy on Swordfish last week," you say coolly as you withdraw your hands, catching yourself just before you give yourself away by overdoing it. "It's best to catch these things in time - you can sit up now."
And then when you snap the gloves onto your hands, you pretend not to notice his swift intake of breath, the gorgeous flush that spreads across his cheeks again. You know he's not a modest man, nerves and embarrassment are not things that would typically make him blush. The only other alternative would be...excitement? He starts calmly rolling up his sleeve before you even ask, and you're genuinely disappointed that these routine assessments don't include a more...thorough physical examination, your mind immediately wanders to more exciting reasons you'd need to don a pair of sterile gloves other than the mundane process of drawing blood.
There's a whisper of a grunt that dies in the back of his throat when you gently tighten the tourniquet around his arm, and you bite the inside of your cheek against the way your cock twitches at his display of mild discomfort. He seems to find some wicked delight in being touched by you through latex gloves, there's the sudden pliability of surrender when you delicately take his wrist and extend his arm out to swab at the flesh at the inside of his elbow. He doesn't even blink at the needle stick, and finally tears his eyes away from your face to distantly watch as you almost lovingly push the needle into his vein, seemingly dazed as he watches his blood fill the tube. You can't shake that subtle feeling of intimacy again, and you hope he doesn't notice your thumb's spasmodic instinct to lightly caress the side of his elbow as you cup it in your hand - it was a twitch, just a twitch, you've seen a lot of patients today and your joints are getting stiff, you just need to crack your knuckles - but when his eyes briefly slide back in your direction, it's a battle with yourself to keep your face neutral, if your face flushes now you're done -
"Most people at least flinch." Your voice is surprisingly neutral, a conversational observation in the heat of the moment as a last-ditch attempt at saving yourself from awkwardness.
You see the briefest quirk of an eyebrow behind his sunglasses. "Is it disappointing that I don't?"
Ah, there it is. That reliable tendency of his to throw you a curveball in a tense situation - no moment stolen with Commander Miller would ever be complete without that quick-witted cheek of his.
"Because we can start over and I can fake it, if that's what you'd prefer."
And, apparently, he's a man who just doesn't know when to quit. You don't miss the implied if that's what gets you off from the suggestive cadence in his tone.
You hold his gaze just long enough to show how unperturbed you are by that cocky smirk, then nonchalantly detach the filled vacuum tube and slide the needle out of his vein. You press a square of cotton to the cruel little puncture mark that has yielded a small bead of blood against his skin, holding it there with your thumb for precisely three seconds too long as you throw his own petulance back in his face, your eyes traveling back to meet his while your fingers twitch another not-caress against his elbow through the sheath of your latex glove, and perhaps he's exaggerating it for your benefit, but you feel the swell of victory warm your chest when you're rewarded with the pronounced shudder that tenses his body.
"All done, Commander."
Your voice isn't exactly brusque, but it's assertive enough to engender the message of finality. Maybe it's your imagination - maybe he actually wilts with disappointment, his face fallen with an expression that laments But we were just getting started. You like it this way. Leave him aching for more, it gives you the upper hand. He plays it cool, slides off the exam table to his feet as he refastens the front of his uniform and rolls his sleeve back down. Makes a show of retying the knot in his ascot. You're too busy with the notations on your clipboard to notice, your face settled into the most bored expression you can manage under pressure.
The moment he's out the door, your relief hits you like a ton of bricks straight to the chest, knocking the wind out of you as you double over and brace yourself on the stainless steel medical cart against the wall. How positively unprofessional of you, you goddamn quack, you deviant, how absolutely lewd of you that a mundane fifteen minutes with the Commander on your table gets your pants tented like you're an awkward fourteen-year-old again. What the hell kind of doctor are you anyway? You barricade yourself in the adjacent bathroom, sagging against the heavy door as you fumble with the fastenings of your pants, rooting your hand down the front so you can frantically jerk one out in the short respite you have before shift change.
Womanizer. Womanizer! Hah. Never mind his hypnotic power over women, what about what he does to men?
After a few days, you reevaluate exactly what was happening in that room. He wasn't toying with you, of course he wasn't flirting with you, how absolutely absurd that you parsed it that way, he's just your commander and he was evaluating your performance. That's it. Wishful thinking leads to inaccurate memories. He's not even into men.
It's when you spy them sparring with katanas on the beach that you begin to second-guess that assumption. You didn't even know either one of them was proficient in swordplay, though for the cultured deputy commander, it doesn't really surprise you. You'd actually be surprised if he wasn't. He moves with a gracefulness that is downright erotic. He may as well be dancing. You also know his skill greatly surpasses that of Big Boss, you can see this clearly from an objective standpoint as you watch them from a distance, but for some reason, Miller holds back. Every time he has the advantage, he doesn't take it. Almost as if he's letting the Boss win. You wonder briefly why he does this when he easily has the upper hand, and in an instant you have your answer as he's forced to his knees, his blade just out of reach, Snake approaching him from behind to grab a fistful of blond hair and roughly yank his head back to press the sharp edge of his blade to the deputy's throat.
"Still want me to play your kaishaku, samurai?" the Boss growls.
The defeated commander's chest heaves with swift, heavy panting, and from this distance you can just see the way he blissfully closes his eyes, only for a second, before answering breathlessly in Japanese. You don't understand, but by the tone of his voice and the ultimate surrender in his body language, you imagine it was something along the lines of Never anyone else.
You must have blinked because that was all the time it took for the faux-vulnerable samurai to have the Boss on his back, relieved of his own sword and pinned between his subcommander's knees, and you tell yourself you only see some suggestive eroticism to it because it's still your wishful thinking playing tricks on you, these are just two warriors sparring -
And when the Boss hooks a possessive arm around Miller's neck to forcefully pull him down and lick the blood trickling from the superficial laceration on his throat, you abruptly turn around and slip away before you can be seen, a pressure building in your chest that makes it difficult to breathe.
When you pass him on his way to his office later, you feign ignorance at the slight bit of red staining his scarf, casually pointing it out as you ask if he had trouble shaving this morning. He reacts as smoothly as ever, gingerly reaching up and brushing a finger beneath his scarf to dab at the blood, giving you a brief glimpse of the damage. The cut on his throat isn't serious, but a little deeper than you'd originally thought, and you seize the opportunity to get him on your table again, glibly suggesting that he stop by to have you clean it up for him.
His eyes linger on you for just a second too long, and by the way his lips curve at the suggestion, you know he finds your invitation as transparent as your feigned innocence.
"Sure thing, doc."
He says it with such delicate softness that it feels as though he's reached inside your chest and clenched his hand around your heart.
Truth be told, you didn't actually expect him to come. So when Antelope pokes his head in thirty minutes later with a brusque "Heron, you're up. Commander's asking for you specifically," you're not nearly as nervous as you are pleasantly surprised.
As jittery as he makes you, there's something about him that brings out an impulsive confidence in you, that cockiness of your youth that you thought you'd long outgrown. He's pretty good at being the playboy, but you were conning your way past the door staff at the gay bars when you were just sixteen, and you're older than him, so you've been doing this longer. You intend to play his game just as well and do it with a flourish and a smile, so you don't even bother with pretense this time.
He hoists himself onto your table and you don't say a single word to him before you're boldly reaching up to tug the knot of his scarf loose. He cants his head to the side at your audacity but allows it, and you defiantly hold his gaze as you slowly drag the fabric away from his neck and carelessly cast it aside. You won't leave anything to be misinterpreted this time, you won't give him the victory of making you second-guess yourself later. You stare at him as though it's a challenge. And maybe it is. He stares right back at you as your gloved hand delicately grips his chin and tilts it back, your thumb lightly caressing the inflamed flesh around the open wound, and perhaps he does it for your benefit, but he makes a small whisper of a sound in the back of his throat and yields the slightest of cringes when you dab at the cut with antiseptic. Actually, you know he does it for your benefit, because of all the times you've sewn him up without a local anesthetic and he's hardly so much as blinked.
It's not serious enough to need sutures, but you take your time lazily dragging antiseptic gauze over the cut in slow, delicate caresses, your other hand steadying his neck with your thumb resting gently on that unbelievable jawline to hold his chin back - if you moved your thumb just a fraction, you could almost be choking him - and after securing a butterfly closure to the wound, you gruffly whisper, "All done, Commander."
For a few seconds, he doesn't move from the exam table. He just sits eerily still, holding that challenge of a stare as you retrieve his scarf and hold it out to him. Finally, he accepts it, his fingers grazing against yours with just enough pressure that you know it's intentional, and his eyes never leave yours as he drapes it around his neck, not bothering to retie the knot, then slips down to his feet.
Five minutes stolen alone with the commander and you've achieved...absolutely nothing. You're not entirely sure what you were trying to accomplish with this. You're not entirely sure why he even came, when it's obvious he's on to you. You turn to snap your gloves off, and the moment you've disposed of them, he's swept you back against the wall, caging you there with one arm braced next to your head. He pushes his sunglasses onto the top of his head with his free hand, and the effect is still striking since you so rarely see the half of his face hidden behind them. Your eyes flit to his lips for just a second, and that's all the encouragement he needs before he's leaning dangerously close.
"Commander - " you breathe, but if there was a sentence there, you don't finish it because his arm is wrapping around you, crushing your arm against your side so you can't resist.
His grip is uncomfortable around your ribcage, applying just enough pressure that the tension gives you barely enough room to breathe, but the kiss he places at the corner of your mouth is agonizingly gentle, soft as rose petals. What little breath you had left in your constricted lungs is reduced to a wisp of a gasp at his unexpected tenderness, and you're so dizzy that when he actually fits his mouth to yours, sucking softly on your bottom lip, you submit to him completely.
You can't breathe. He's crushing you and kissing you and you can't fucking breathe and just when you think you're going to black out, he relents a little, his arm around you loosening just enough to allow your lungs to expand so that when his lips leave yours, you take the opportunity to choke back a desperate lungful of air. It's you who closes the distance the second time, tilting your head downward and parting your lips for him, and a small chuckle dies in the back of his throat when you moan into his mouth. It's shocking, really, his...precision. He kisses the way he fights - with effortless grace, but calculating, deliberate. Most of the men you've kissed were all impatient, insistent, teeth clashing and rough bites but the commander has built his reputation on being a tease, and tease is exactly what his lips do to yours, all soft, whispering probing, as though asking silent permission. And when his tongue slides cautiously against yours, delicately exploring the inside of your mouth like he's savoring you, the embarrassing sound that comes out of you might almost be considered a whimper.
You can't help it, you wonder if he kisses the Boss like this.
Perhaps that's a pang of jealousy that cramps your chest, and you know it's irrational because he was never yours to begin with. Big Boss had him first and they've obviously built something meaningful with one another but you certainly can't fathom for one second that he'd kiss just anyone the way he's kissing you now. Your free hand finds its way around the back of his head, tangling a fistful of soft blond hair to hold him in place - he may be Big Boss's, but he's all yours in this moment and you intend to make the most of it. You moan in disappointment when his lips leave yours but he's right back to placing another kiss to the corner of your mouth, making a careful, tentative trail along your jawline to your throat, where he ends in a harmless nibble that makes your knees so weak, you're grateful he's holding you up.
Somehow you end up in his quarters. You're so dizzy and your heart's pounding so violently that you don't even remember how you got here, but he's backing you toward the bed and your head's spinning and your cock is so hard that you think you might collapse if you don't sit down so when the back of your knees hit the mattress, you obediently sink down onto it. Maybe a second passes, not even long enough to really be considered a hesitation, and you don't give yourself time to think about it - his eyes serenely watch your nimble, deft fingers with something akin to hunger as you swiftly go to unfasten his belt, but his hand suddenly stays yours and your eyes shift up to his in question.
"No," he says softly. "Do it slow." It's but a whisper, but carries the authority of a command.
You hold his gaze for just a moment, then give a dutiful nod. "Yes, Commander," you whisper back.
His hand comes to rest gently on the side of your head as you gradually pull the leather through the loop, his fingers idly brushing along your cropped hair, sending a shudder through your entire body. He seems to take some pleasure in this, and the caress becomes more focused, causing you to lean your cheek into his palm as your shaking hands slowly drag his belt and holster from his waist. He's already unfastening the front of his jacket, slipping it off his shoulders along with his scarf before you've even safely stashed his gun to the side. Your hands go to his hips, then smooth around to his ass, giving it a firm squeeze as you drag him closer to you so you can press feathery kisses to the soft skin below his navel. God, he's so soft, there isn't even a trail of hair there like you're used to, and you wonder for a second if he's vain enough to remove all of his body hair or if it's natural. You run the tip of your tongue along the waistline of his pants, then trace a straight line up to his navel, eliciting a gratifying hiss from him. His hand on the side of your head grasps feebly at you, fingertips ghosting over your hair and sending another one of those delightful chills through your body.
Do it slow, he said. So he likes foreplay, and you intend to torture him with it.
You drag your lips along the valley of his oblique muscles, run your tongue over his faint scars - some of them you remember well, you sewed them closed, after all - memorize the flawless planes of his stomach with your mouth until he's panting and trembling. In your careful exploration, you find a tender spot halfway between his navel and his hipbone that causes him to flinch as a high-pitched sound dies in his throat, and you hide your smile behind another kiss there as you discover that the cocky, dauntless, willful Master Miller is ticklish.
And you intend to find every last spot on his body that makes him squirm.
You graze your fingertips along that spot, causing him to hiss through his teeth and cringe as his hand wraps around the back of your head, but your curious fingers don't stop, dragging a searching line over his skin, teasing a circle around his navel as his muscles tense and twitch beneath your touch. Every time you coax a whimper and a squirm from him, you punish him with a soft bite to the spot your fingers just teased, and soon the bulge in his pants has become so painfully insistent that you press your palm to it, resulting in a wanton moan from him. The fastening of his pants is a simple hook and bar closure rather than a cumbersome button, and you take advantage of the convenience of it, lifting your eyes up and holding his gaze as you lazily tug the fabric loose with your teeth. This seems to unravel him entirely, a low groan sounding in his throat and a deep crease forming in the center of his brow as you slowly drag the zipper down and tuck his pants open, playfully slipping a single finger underneath the waistband of his boxer briefs and tracing the inside of the elastic as you stare up at him. When your finger slightly grazes the head of his cock, his eyes flutter shut and he makes a strangled sound as he braces himself against you with his other hand clamped around your shoulder.
You tug the fabric down and his cock springs free, and something between a gasp and a strangled 'Oh-' dies in your throat at the simple beauty of him. He isn't painfully large but decent enough that your jaw's in for a workout. What's striking is how...pretty it is, the absolute symmetry of him is breathtaking, and do they even circumcise in Japan? It doesn't matter - you reflexively trace your finger around the head of his cock and gently press your lips to the moist tip, some combination of a groan and a whimper sounding from the back of his throat as you tease him with the heat of your mouth. Christ, he even keeps himself immaculate down here as well, with only a small patch of neatly-trimmed golden curls to testify to the fact that he actually doesn't coax that color out of a box every two weeks as rumor might suggest. You press light kisses along his length, his small groans becoming a persistent mantra as his hand painfully tightens on your shoulder, his thumb digging into your collarbone while his hand on your head guides your mouth harder against him.
You snap your eyes back up to his face, daring a flash of defiance in your expression as you smooth your hands back around to his ass, giving it a firm squeeze to steady him on the spot. "Patience, Commander," you challenge softly.
His nostrils flare and he narrows his eyes at you so that he looks even more feline than usual, but he doesn't reprimand you or say anything at all - only continues staring intensely down at you, the way a lion might stalk its prey. You feel significantly vulnerable under that gaze, and you know he feels your hands shaking, but you're in too deep and there's no backing out now. You inch his pants further down his thighs so that your hands can touch bare flesh, and you stroke the smooth, taut flesh of his ass as you place another series of feathery kisses along his length, starting at the tip and ending with a brief nuzzle in the golden down between his legs. He smells strongly of starch and laundry, and you're surprised that someone so reputed for their promiscuity would be so consistently fresh. Of course he'd have to be prepared for anything at any time, if his reputation is anything close to being true.
"Ah - " he gasps, his breathing slow and heavy as his chest heaves with each labored pant. "You can stop tormenting me any time now," he says through clenched teeth.
You mercifully run the tip of your tongue along the underside of his cock, and finally you take him in your mouth, gently tracing around the ridge of the head with your tongue. You take him inch by agonizing inch until he's nudging at the back of your throat, and not once do you break eye contact with him to even so much as blink, because you know the sight of your wide-eyed gaze staring up at him while your mouth is stuffed full of him is enough to make him come undone.
"Fuck," he breathes, his fingers sifting over your hair and curling around the back of your neck to steady you in place.
Your heart gives a small jolt as he slightly thrusts his hips forward, nearly triggering your gag reflex. Oh Christ, he's going to fuck my mouth, you think, and though there's a distant glimmer of excitement that pools in your chest, it's overwhelmed by the swell of panic. Maybe when you were younger and just some punk kid in med school eager for any action you could get you would have been down for it, but now you're unsure if you still have the vibrant stamina to endure choking on some guy's cock. He generously relents though, and maybe you're just imagining it, but you think you see a flicker of compassion soften his eyes as he gazes down at you, his thumb tracing a soothing caress up and down the side of your neck. You slowly blink up at him in silent gratitude, then continue gently sucking him off the way you like to be sucked off, stroking him in long, slow sweeps of your tongue, interspersed with the sporadic graze of your teeth.
Mere seconds pass before he's staying your head with his hand on your jaw, guiding your mouth from him so he can grip you around the middle and fling you back on the bed with the effortless finesse of CQC, and he kicks his boots off and descends upon you with the ferocity of a rabid animal, urgently freeing you of your clothes. You dazedly prop yourself up on your elbows and stare down at him as he yanks your pants and briefs down your thighs, his movements hurried but still surprisingly gentle, and when he shoves your shoulder with the heel of his palm, you dutifully fall back against the pillows and let him nip at your neck and collarbone. Your fingers hungrily grasp at his chest and graze over those gorgeous nipples, you want them in your mouth but he traps you beneath him, curling his fingers around your wrists to guide them above your head and pin them there while he devours your throat.
"Commander - " you gasp, and he gives your neck a sharp bite that will certainly leave a mark.
"Say it again," he growls.
You meet his eyes and steadily hold his gaze. You want him to know you mean it. "Commander." You try to make your voice as assertive as possible, but it comes out breathless and husky instead, full of need.
You grunt when he suddenly leans back and flips you over onto your stomach, and your heart skips when his hands knead your cheeks apart. This wasn't how you'd envisioned this happening, you can't remember the last time you bottomed, much less for someone fourteen years your junior. But you're not about to get picky over someone you've practically pined over for weeks, and when you feel the slick press of his tongue against your opening, any apprehension you may have had disappears as you sink your face into the pillow and moan. Holy fuck, he knows how to do it, when the hell was the last time someone even did this for you? You groan and bite into the pillow as you arch your hips up for him, meeting the gentle rhythm of his tongue gliding over your entrance. God it feels good, you want to grind your cock into the mattress and rub yourself out but you want to press yourself harder against his tongue at the same time. His thumbs caress your cheeks as he spreads you open, sporadically pausing his teasing licks to give your ass gentle bites, and you're so terrified you're going to come before he can even get started that you let out a pleading whimper that gets muffled into the pillow.
"Commander..." you keen, and you subconsciously snake your hand down beneath you to palm your neglected cock.
You feel the brief pinch of his teeth again, and he gives your hip a reassuring squeeze. "Not yet," he murmurs, and there's a tenderness to his tone that's reassuring. "It's alright, we can always wait out your refractory period if you come too soon. Maybe I could put on a little show for you while we wait," he teases. "Lift your bottom up a little more, I like that."
He gives your backside a playful pat, and you have no choice but to comply before you're rewarded with the flat of his tongue sweeping over your opening again, then tentatively probing inside until your hips are flexing against him in desperate need. You're about to rip his goddamn pillow apart with your teeth, you're so consumed with bliss you feel positively stupid, you're face down with your ass in the air while your commander fucks you with his tongue and it's so surreal you expect to wake up any minute. You can feel his teeth marks throbbing in your flesh, you relish each new bite he gives you, followed up by a delicate kiss before he goes back to working you open with his tongue. You groan in disappointment when his tongue ceases its assault so he can lean over you and rummage through his bedside drawer, but his fingers are soon probing your entrance as his lips tickle the base of your spine. You almost don't register the rip of the condom wrapper for what it is before you're petulantly looking over your shoulder at him.
"Seriously?" you say just a little too harshly. "I just had your cock in my mouth and you just had your tongue in my ass. I think we're past that."
He cocks his head to the side as he rolls the condom on and frowns. "And it's usually a risk I don't take. Either way, I'm not leaving my fluids inside you, and I'm certainly not pulling out."
"I've seen your blood work, I know you don't have anything," you say in defeat, and you're almost pouting.
He only smirks and gives your bottom another playful pat, leaning forward so he can work a light trail of kisses up your spine before brushing his lips over your ear. "Flip over, I want to see your face while I do this."
There's no arguing with him at this point, and you wouldn't put it past him to pull rank in the bedroom anyway. The moment you're on your back, he maneuvers your leg over his shoulder and you wince when you feel his cock nudging at your entrance. You haven't been prepped all that much but you can handle it, if you just close your eyes and focus on regulating your breathing it's not so bad, he's easing inside and thankfully he's being merciful about it and -
"Ah!" You yelp and hiss through your teeth as a sharp pain slices through you, and his hand gives your calf a reassuring squeeze as he goes still.
"Am I hurting you?" he asks softly.
"Just give me a minute." It's not like you're new to this, you were a goddamn champ in college, you can tough it out.
"Been a while, hmm?" He isn't making fun of you, but is rather surprisingly compassionate, waiting patiently for your body to adjust. His free hand goes to your cock and lazily strokes it until it's fully erect, and without thinking, your fingers are wrapping around his, moving in unison with his hand as he eases himself further inside you.
"You can make it hurt a little," you breathe.
Make it hurt, because this is too intimate. You need something to dull the flutter of affection that swells within your chest, you need to stave off that warmth because this is your commander, for fuck's sake, developing those feelings for him could only end badly for you.
But his fingers are entwined so warmly with yours as you both stroke your cock, his hand bracing your leg against his shoulder keeps giving you these tender little squeezes and he's fucking you gently and it feels like it should mean something when you know it doesn't. It doesn't help that he keeps making eye contact, that he's watching you with that heavy-lidded gaze, so you focus your eyes on what your hands are doing, concentrate a little too hard on matching his rhythm so you don't have to look up and see all the emotion in his eyes - or worse - reveal the emotion in yours.
"Fuck, just hurt me, Commander," you plead, and he smirks at you as he withdraws his hand from beneath yours so he can brace himself as he leans over you.
Your free hand finds his thigh, fingers impulsively stroking muscled flesh, and when he snaps his hips into you, you dig your fingernails into him so tightly that it's bound to leave a lasting mark. He thrusts into you at just the right angle so that he pounds against your prostate with a force that makes you dizzy, it hurts and you feel gratifyingly stretched and your leg shouldn't bend like that and your thigh muscles are starting to get sore and fuck it, you might be too old for this but when was the last time you were fucked silly? Yeah, you needed this. Each thrust is assertive and deep, but he keeps a slow, steady rhythm, lowers his face close to yours so that your foreheads are almost touching and it's too intimate again, and you avert your eyes just in time for his lips to brush against yours.
What the hell is he playing at? Should've just stayed face down - you pump your cock vigorously in a desperate attempt to bring yourself to climax, this is getting too real and you don't know how much longer you can withstand him gazing down at you like that. He picks up the pace, pumps you harder as he presses his forehead to yours, and you realize there's no avoiding it anymore so you just stare back into his eyes, nip at his bottom lip and flex your hips to meet each of his thrusts.
His hand slides underneath your head and curls around the back of your neck, cradling it in his palm. "Say my name," he commands.
"Commander Miller - ah!"
He inclines his head and his teeth clamp cruelly into your neck, and you hope you can find an effective way of hiding the marks that will surely result.
"My name," he growls through clenched teeth.
"Ka - Kazuhira," you gasp.
He moans and presses his forehead to yours again, his thrusts become quicker and deeper, his breathing coming in heavy gasps, you see his brows knit together and you let go, the warmth of your seed spilling onto your belly as you mutter something vile and dirty in your climax. Your insides feel raw as they clench spasmodically around him - you're going to be sore for a day or two, no doubt - and though your eyes are closed, you can still feel him staring at you, reveling in your helplessness as he thrusts into you until you feel his own cock pulsing inside you with his release. He gently maneuvers your leg from his shoulder and falls against your chest, and your hand finds its way to the back of his head, absently stroking his hair as you feel yourself drifting off to sleep.
It's rather blissful, really - his warm, heavy breaths ghosting over your neck, the comforting press of his body against you. You worked a fifteen hour shift today and you're exhausted -
No. You can't sleep here.
Because that would be inappropriate. This was just...a casual thing, a fling, he's your goddamn commander, for Christ's sake. Once you're confident you can walk again, you slide out from under him and stalk into the adjacent bathroom to clean yourself off. The welts in your neck are already starting to purple - scarves for a while, you think - and once you're convinced that you've made yourself as presentable as possible for the walk back to the medics' quarters, you quietly emerge to an already-sleeping Miller, so you root around the bed for your abandoned clothes. Just as you manage to find your pants, you're startled when his arm shoots out from beneath the covers and his hand wraps around your wrist.
"Where do you think you're going?" he mumbles.
This throws you. Is he asleep? Does he know who he's with? You don't really remember the etiquette of these situations. It would be uncouth to ask him out loud. You decide to go with the subtle approach.
"I've got rounds in the morning, Commander. I should get some sleep."
His eyes creak open and he slightly lifts his head from the pillow. "You can do that here, you know."
You freeze, your heart skipping uncomfortably. Does he mean that? No, of course not, he's still asleep, he isn't aware of who's in the room with him right now -
"Unless you genuinely want to leave." He sounds vaguely dejected, but above all, lucid.
Fuck! Your mind races, you don't know what he's playing at, why the fuck did you even do this - but when his hand tugs playfully at your wrist and you stumble forward, you give up and fall back into bed. He sleepily turns onto his side and pulls you into him, wrapping his arms around you as he tucks his face into your neck.
"I had a wonderful evening, Ro," he mutters against your jawline.
Ro?! No one's called you that since...since -
You're unsure if you feel panicked or giddy, and it's so surreal that you just go with it. You're too exhausted and emotionally conflicted to think too hard about it right now anyway.
"Me too, Commander."