Pairing: Nick Stokes/ David Hodges
Length: 3270 words.
Spoilers: minor for 'Lab Rats'.
Summary: "It's about both of us wanting it and nothing stopping us from taking it."
-- Hotel room smut.
Title: The State of Iowa
It's early evening, the sky a deepening azure backdrop scattered with shimmering white stars and small, downy clouds tinted orange and pink by the setting sun. It's the kind of sky that Nick hasn't really seen since he left Texas, wide enough that you can forget that beyond the horizon there's a planet full of billions of people rushing about just trying to get by. Right now, Nick's content to let his worldview shrink down to one; or two, really, because he's feeling indulgent enough to include his temporary roommate in his calm, secluded sphere.
Nick's been perched on the window seat for the past half hour, looking out over the hotel's grounds and beyond into the fields of Iowa. Hodges had come back to the room twenty minutes ago and settled himself silently on the bed by the door with a book and headphones. He'd toed his shoes off, and Nick finds something oddly comforting in the sight of David's socked feet. The Trace tech's not usually this unguarded, this vulnerable; this is the most relaxed Nick's ever seen the guy. It's nice.
Nick sits and listens to the periodic scrape-scratch of David turning a page and the glass-muffled noise of an abrupt, rapid breeze pushing its way around trees and corn stalks and blades of grass for another few minutes before everything settles down into an almost-silent calm again and his right buttock starts to go numb. He stretches when he stands, enjoying the pull in his back and arms of muscles that he didn't use much today. Conferences mean sitting around, and Nick likes to be on the move, likes to be doing something. He always has.
Behind him, David sighs. There's a dull thud of his book closing and the rattle of him putting his MP3 player away.
"Are you bored?"
Nick's smiling when he turns because, despite his brusqueness and about a million other faults, he likes David. He's been accused more than once of liking everyone, though; of being able to see some good in anyone he meets. Maybe that's true. Sara hadn't understood why he'd voluntarily and gladly asked to spend time alone with David outside of the Crime Lab. She'd looked at him like he'd sprouted wings when he told her the truth – he finds David funny, and interesting. He hadn't always, but it'd grown on him. Plus, Nick thinks that David is a genuinely good person. He just goes about it in a very different way than most other people.
"Not really. Not yet." He will be soon, though, which David seems to sense.
"Do you want to go down to the bar?"
Nick's not been a big drinker since he left college (just the memories of beer bongs and their resulting hangovers can make him queasy these days), but he likes to sometimes. This is one of those times.
The hotel bar is a big room with a low ceiling, all hardwood surfaces and dark, thick fabrics. There's a smoking section in the far corner, and the faint scents of cigarettes and cigars are more pervasive than the sweet-sharp tang of alcohol. The lights are dim and warm, and when Nick slides into one side of a booth a candle in a coloured glass jar illuminates the secluded space with a dancing green flicker.
While David orders up at the bar, Nick looks around the place. There are clumps of people with vaguely familiar faces dotted around the room, people from the conference. He'd been sitting between David and a fifty-two year old woman called Marie today. During the breaks she'd offered him sucking candy and told him about her three boys back home in Oklahoma. She's staying at a hotel a few blocks away, though, so she's not one of these faces. A group of women dressed in totally different clothes and wearing more make-up than they'd been wearing that afternoon smile over at him and he smiles back, friendly but not inviting company. They turn back to their conversation.
His brain automatically catalogues certain things these days. Observation wasn't something that ever came naturally to him; it was something he had to learn. He made himself sick with frustration on his first half dozen cases as a CSI, wondering why he couldn't do it the way Grissom did, or Catherine, or even Warrick, who was a natural. He made himself watch everything, repeating things over in his head and making lists, and over the years he's become instinctively analytical and - more usefully - patient. He doesn't get caught out by silk and cows and milk anymore; he makes himself wait and see the water.
The memory of Grissom's test doesn't sting anymore, a little because time heals and he knows he's better now and a little because he doesn't have to get Grissom to acknowledge that anymore. That's not to say he doesn't like it when it happens: Grissom was his mentor and his friend, and still is to a certain extent, and everyone enjoys praise and a little nudge in the right direction when they ask for help. Grissom likes to nudge.
David setting his double whiskey down in front of him gently brings Nick back from inside his head, and he moves his legs aside under the table to make room for his companion for the evening. David's drink looks identical to his, both an odd blackish colour under the green candlelight and shadow. Nick takes a sip and savours the heat spilling down his throat and warming his stomach.
"You didn't want to join them?"
Nick flicks his gaze up to David, and then over to where he's looking: the table of women who'd smiled earlier, hoping to get his attention.
"I thought you were bored," David says. It's only half a question, but David's clearly curious. His eyes are sharp and he has one eyebrow raised in invitation. Nick's not sure if he came by it naturally or learned it like he did, but David's observational skills are pretty formidable. Up until now he didn't know that he was something David thought was worth figuring out.
"Not that kind of bored," Nick says, smiling. "Besides, I said I wasn't bored yet."
"Most people only stare out at corn for half an hour when they're already bored."
David's tone is so dry that it would only take a spark to set it alight, and Nick's smile widens.
"I've never really fit into the 'most people' category." He's never really apologised for that, either. He's happy to live in the margins of society. Things are more interesting there.
David's forehead furrows, and he seems to be studying Nick's face. "You're pretty good at fitting in, then. Pretending."
Nick takes another drink of whiskey, and then shrugs, not sure whether to agree or not. It's not that he pretends, not really. He certainly doesn't lie: it's more that he's good at turning conversations around until the other person's talking about their own life. Nick finds that more fascinating, anyway. The only things most people would find interesting about him are the things he'd rather not have most people know.
"It never quite works for me," David says, and twists his lips wryly, tipping his whiskey glass absently from one palm into the other. "Trying to fit in. Eventually my personality gets in the way."
Nick shifts in his seat, his leg brushing against something under the table. "I don't know, I'm kind of fond of your personality," Nick says, and holds David's gaze until the sharp disbelief fades away.
"You really don't fit into the 'most people' category, then," David tells him, and they share a smile. Nick has always preferred to laugh with people.
After that, conversation flows easily between the two of them, even more so than their banter in the lab. They talk forensics, night-shift life, television habits, car histories, old pets and family legends. They meander their way through a dozen topics and another two whiskey doubles apiece, and when the bartender asks for last calls they both look at their watches in surprise.
The ride up in the elevator combines with the alcohol to make Nick light-headed, and he sways into David when it comes to a halt on their floor. David's hand grips his elbow, steadying him, and when it stays there on the trip down the corridor to room 804, Nick's only a little surprised at the way it sends heat through his arm, like the welcome burn of whiskey.
David uses both hands to open the keycard lock, and Nick lets his own hand rest on David's back, on the soft cotton of his shirt, fingers shifting to fit the curve between the wings of his shoulder blades. David presses back into it when he opens the door, and the heat from before shimmers through Nick's body, pooling in his chest and curling steadily down.
David flicks on the lamp between the two beds while the door shuts, and then comes back to stand in front of Nick, close but not quite touching. The whiskey has softened his expressions, made them easier to read. Nick can see the same kind of desire that's filling him. It must have been building up quietly between them all night.
"You said you weren't that kind of bored," David says, blunt and almost defiant, like he has to push just to check that it's real, this thing that's about to happen. Nick shakes his head, smiling gently and moving his hand up to rest against David's chest.
"I never got to bored. This isn't about being bored."
Nick was telling the truth earlier, about joining the table of women. He does like women, or rather he has liked certain women in the past, but he finds sex and romantic relationships far more appealing with men. Objectively, he knows that particular aversion probably goes back to a night when he was too young to fully understand the things his babysitter did to him, but aware enough to be scared, and confused, and for it all to feel wrong. Subjectively, he feels safer with men. He enjoys it far more - it's easier, and hotter, and more comfortable, and he doesn't really care about the whys.
"What's it about, then?" David asks, the fingers of his right hand trailing over Nick's hip, nails running over the lip of his belt. His eyes are the colour of steel, pupils wide and black like the sky outside.
"It's about the fact that neither of us fit in with most people, but we just spent hours sitting downstairs forgetting about that completely." Nick brings his spare hand up to cup David's jaw, thumb stroking over the stubble on his cheek. His voice is low, his accent suddenly and inexplicably thickening and slowing down his words. "It's about both of us wanting it and nothing stopping us from taking it."
David's hands curl around Nick's waist and pull him in until their hips touch, and he tips his head back into the kiss, eyes fluttering shut when Nick sucks carefully on his bottom lip. David undoes Nick's belt, lets it slither to the ground, the buckle hitting the carpet with a dull thunk. They both kick off their shoes, shoving them blindly out of their path as they stumble back onto the bed nearest the window, weathering the bounce and rolling onto their sides.
Nick lets his hands roam over the curves and dips of David's shoulders, across his back, out to his sides and down to his hips and over his backside, sliding down to mid thigh and then back up, hungrily wandering everywhere they can find, fabric catching on the grooves of his fingertips. David's hands are more focused, fingers sliding under his waistband and tugging his shirt out of his pants, one hand skating back under Nick's jeans to the bare skin at the top of his ass and the other skimming trails of tingling heat up and down his spine.
The kisses are deep and slick and greedy, both of them happy to give and take unapologetically. David hooks his leg over Nick's hip and Nick moves in closer, thigh sliding up to press hot into David's groin and moving in time with the shifts of his hips when he grinds his dick, hard and somehow still getting harder, into David through too many layers of cloth.
Nick's mouth moves down David's jaw, and when the first bite makes him jolt forward, groaning loud, Nick presses his teeth in, kissing roughly down his neck to the collar of his shirt where he stays for a while, licking and sucking and tugging the skin with sharp bites.
David shoves his hand into the tight, shifting gap between them and wrestles open the fly on Nick's jeans, cursing low under his breath. He shoves the stiff fabric back and gets his hands back under, further in this time, palm to skin, squeezing grasps that have Nick gulping in more air to feed the burn of his arousal. When he scratches blunt nails all the way from the crease of Nick's thighs over the rise of cheeks and up to the base of his spine, Nick lets out a strangled grunt and lets go of David's neck to gasp out something that almost sounds like, "Clothes. Off. Please, need. Now."
The words are near enough to correct that David pulls back a bit, complying quickly, muttering yeses between huffing breaths. Nick drags cool air into his lungs when he pulls off his shirt, then nuzzles his nose into David's chest as he shoves, frustrated, at his pants and underwear until they surrender and retreat to the floor beside the bed. He still has one sock on, and he has to twist his leg and arm behind him to get it off, the last bit of clothing between them.
David bends his head over Nick's chest, lowering his mouth down to trail stinging nips of his teeth parallel with his chest bones, just above his nipples. Nick drags his arm back around in front of him, fingers sliding into David's short hair, holding him there. Their legs are tangled so much that Nick can't tell what's where, just that feet are stroking along calf muscles, hair dragging over skin, mildly scraping. Just that it all feels good.
David's mouth moves, tongue pressing down on a nipple and sliding before his lips close around it and he sucks hard. Nick's back arches into it, hand tightening on David's head.
"God, that’s—uh! Yes."
David moves over and mouths at the other nipple until Nick pulls him up, needing to feel closer, to slide his tongue into David's mouth and explore, sloppy and fantastic, trying to slow down from frantic to urgent and make it last a little longer. His hand curls around the soft flesh below David's ribcage, somewhere between a caress and a hold to keep him pressed skin to skin.
When David pulls back to breathe, Nick runs his hands down David's chest, down to the trail of hair that starts just below his navel. He untangles their legs and slides down to kiss a path down to the base of David's dick. David's whole body shudders under him, and Nicks runs soothing hands down his thighs, then moves one hand up to steady David's cock and suck the head into his mouth.
One of David's hands flies down into his hair, fingertips pressing into his scalp with just the right amount of pressure to make Nick groan with pleasure. Slick, salty fluid smears over his tongue, and he spreads it around, easing the way to slide further down and take more into his mouth. David's hips shift from side to side, and Nick wraps one hand around David's shaft in case he starts to thrust up. He moves down until his lips touch his thumb and finger, flicking the tip of his tongue into the gaps and sucking hard when he pulls back for air.
The covers shift and rustle, and when Nick looks up, David's raised up on his elbow, watching him. His right hand is still in Nick's hair, gently stroking. Nick leans into the touch, one side of his mouth curving into a smile before he ducks back down. This is something that he likes applying observation to, going back to tongue just below the head to make David's grip tighten on his head, always accompanied by a breathless, "oh!", pressing his little finger into the skin just below David's cock to cause a kind of squirmy shimmy, tightening his grip and feeling David's balls go taut and then pulling his mouth off to keep him on the edge of orgasm.
When David's other hand brushes over Nick's forehead, he opens his eyes. David's fingers trace down his cheek.
"Please. Nick, please."
David's voice is hoarse and deep and pleading, and Nick's dick jumps. He grinds it into the bed and sucks as much into his mouth as he can, bringing on hand under his chin to carefully tug on David's balls. David holds his head still for a few seconds before pushing him steadily back. He comes over Nick's hand with a heartfelt, "Oh, fuck!"
Nick strokes him through it until David reaches down and drags his hand away, their fingers slipping together and staying tangled.
"Oh, God, that was-- You-- You really should--"
Whatever the ends of the sentences are, and Nick assumes they're supposed to be complimentary, they get lost somewhere between David's brain and his mouth. Nick pushes himself up the bed to kiss David, almost as if he can still catch the taste of the words, if not their shapes.
David pushes Nick over onto his back, straddling him, and brings their still-joined hands down to wrap around Nick's aching dick. Nick grunts in gratitude, showing David the best way to slide his hand; how fast to pull and tight to grip, and how a flick of thumb over the head drives him crazy. He buries his face in the juncture of David's neck and shoulder and muffles his cries with salty skin when he comes, chest heaving and muscles taut.
David stays bent over him for a few minutes, and then swings himself to the side, landing face down, half on the bed and half on top of Nick. Nick brings his arm around and settles his hand on David's shoulder to keep him there, smiling into David's hair when a damp hand lands over his ribcage, rising and falling with each slowing breath Nick takes.
David yawns in to Nick's chest, fingers curling into a loose fist, and Nick yawns back into his hair, feeling pleasantly numb and lethargic. It's the same kind of calm as earlier, looking out at the sky and feeling like it was there just for him. Just like earlier, he's happy to pretend for a while that the world consists of the two of them and no one else.
"We should clean up. We'll get stuck."
Nick follows David's receding hairline with a lazy finger.
"So we'll be stuck for a while."
Outside, Iowa is dark and sleeping, and so different from the constant lights and life of Vegas that it's too tempting to forget about everything practical and just lie there under David's warmth.
"We can get unstuck later."
David's thumb strokes over his skin and everything around them is still and hushed.
"Okay," David says, and Nick closes his eyes and enjoys the state of Iowa.