Night and Fire

by Greenygal

These characters are quite definitely not mine. And at least one of them is very grateful for it. :)

Dedicated to SKH and Smitty, who both asked for it, sort of. :)

Adam's eyes aren't guileless, exactly. More like--direct. And intense.

Very, very intense.

It's part of what bugged Al so much about the man, he knows. Not that the bad-guy tried-to-kill-us thing hadn't been plenty, and the attitude hadn't helped, but those eyes were like a challenge, every time. They'd rubbed something raw inside him, and he'd bristled in response.

They still have that effect. But now Adam's suggesting...a different response.

"Say that again," he manages, and wonders if he grew without noticing, because suddenly his clothes feel too tight.

Arch of elegant eyebrow. "I thought I was clear. I want to have sex with you."

"That's...I're a man."

Adam's smile shows teeth. "Indeed. Shall I demonstrate?"

Al doesn't, really doesn't, want to know what Adam might mean by that; he's already standing way too close for comfort.

"I mean," he says instead, because he refuses to spend this entire conversation on the defensive, "that I like women."

"Of course. Beautiful women are one of the pleasures of a great warrior."

Al wants to laugh at that; he know what *his* love-life has looked like lately, and beautiful women--any women at all--haven't figured too heavily in it. Maybe Adam does better; a lot of the time guys who think they're irresistible seem to be right. And it's not like the physical package is lacking... Which is a bad thought, right now.

Adam's still talking, in that smooth dark voice. "But the bonding between two comrades-in-arms is another matter entirely. Although--" he smiles, and something about it reminds Al that the man has several thousand years of experience on him--"it can be just as enjoyable."

"Bonding," Al repeats, somewhat disturbed by the fact that for a moment the idea doesn't, actually, seem totally insane. Still. "Adam, I don't even know if I like you. We've spent the past couple weeks barely not killing each other."

"All the better." Adam presses one warm strong hand to Al's chest, and the contact goes through him like a live wire. He jerks back, and realizes this may not have been the best tactic when he feels his shoulders hit the wall. But Adam doesn't move forward, just nods. "You see? There is fire between us, Atom-Smasher. It would serve us to forge it well."

Al's voice isn't completely steady, but he's going to ignore that. "I jump and that's a good thing? This is nuts."

A glitter of white teeth. "Battle madness, perhaps."

Al does laugh now, if shakily. "Hey, if you want to fight, that I can get behind--"

No warning at all, but suddenly he's pinned to the wall by a hard body, and there isn't even time to struggle before he's being kissed, Adam's mouth invading his ruthlessly, hot and demanding and just *taking*-- So much sensation, his whole body is on red alert, and it's been a *long* time. And then he feels Adam rubbing. Down. There--

Some defensive reflex kicks in, then; Al explodes up and out, and *shoves*, hard, and the other man goes backward. He stays on his feet, though, Al sees with annoyance.

And damn it, he's *smirking*.

Al really, really wants to wipe the smirk off Adam's face, but he's wary of physical contact right now. He's already *much* too aware of the effect that kiss had on him. Which is more than just somewhat disturbing, because he's not. Like that.

He settles for saying, "That wasn't what I had in mind."

The smirk doesn't change. "Battles rarely are."

Al shoots him a disgusted look. "Adam, sex isn't a battle."

Adam's chuckle is just as annoying as his smirk. "Are you really so innocent you believe that was sex?"

Al is absolutely sure there isn't a good answer to that question, and he opts to ignore it. "The point is, it's not supposed to be a fight."

Adam sighs, and shakes his head. "It's supposed to be what it is. What it needs to be. What--" he smiles slowly--"we want it to be."

"Adam. There is no we."

Now Adam looks irritated, which Al finds very satisfying. "Certainly there is. You simply refuse to recognize it."

"Because it doesn't exist!" He's yelling, which probably loses him all the points that Adam's irritation just gained him, but he can't help it.

Adam sighs again, and fixes those cool blue eyes onto Al. Al twitches, just a little, under the look, and reminds himself that being stared at isn't enough of an excuse to punch the other man. Or...anything. "Have you never known a connection that did not fit into your boxes? A passion that your traditions could not explain?"

And it's like being punched in the stomach, like the world has stopped around him as he struggles to breathe around the starburst of too-vivid memory. He can *hear* Todd's furious voice, ringing in his ears. //"Yes, Albert, I love you! Do you need to put a label on that?"//

And he'd thought, for a while, that he *didn't* need to, but...

He blinks away the sudden water in his eyes, and refocuses on Adam, hoping against hope that not too much of that showed on his face. Uselessly, it seems; the smug expression is gone, but in its place is a thoughtful regard that seems to know entirely too much. He feels pinned by it, trapped against the wall like a butterfly against a board.

Adam's voice is mild, almost casual. "I believe that was a yes?"

"It wasn't like that," Al says hoarsely. Because it wasn't, ever, and maybe if that hadn't been true...if he'd tried a little harder...said something...*done* something...

He shouldn't feel guilty. He knows that. But it doesn't help.

"He fell in battle?" It isn't sympathy in the words, exactly, more like...understanding. And Al wants to scream at him--yes, damn it, the battle for his sanity, for his *soul*, he fought it and lost it and I wasn't there, I didn't even *know*, do you understand *that*?

And suddenly he doesn't want to do this anymore, doesn't want to be turned inside-out by a near-stranger when he never once touched his best friend, who loved him... "Something like that. Forget it. Look, I'm just--gonna go now..." And he starts to push past the other man.


It's the first time he's ever heard his nickname from the Egyptian's mouth, and sheer surprise stops him. He recovers fast, though, summoning up a shield of defensive irritation. "What?" he demands. "You'll be here if I want to talk about it?" Like that's going to happen.

From the half-mocking curve of Adam's mouth, he agrees. "No," he says, and again that weird understanding is in his voice. "But when you do *not* wish to talk...come to me." His eyes, holding Al's, say much more.

"Oh," Al whispers. It's all he can think to say, stunned breathless once again, his anger vanished beneath the weight of those eyes and their offer. Adam smiles a little, and for a moment Al thinks he's going to lean in for another kiss. Al's suddenly not sure what he'd do about that. But instead Adam just turns, and walks away. Leaving Al leaning against the wall, trying to breathe. Trying not to think about the part of him that doesn't want to talk.



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