Chapter 1: The Best of the Best
Sebastian smiled as he leaned back and put his arm around the back of the booth. The drinks were flowing and the spirits were rather high in the officer's mess, most of their squadron celebrating with them, buying their drinks, ever since the news had broken of their attendance at Top Gun. “Here’s to finding out if we really are the best of the best,” he toasted, clinking his beer against Tristan’s. “Pack your bags for Miramar. Nothing like training in southern California.”
“The best part,” Tristan slurred, his dirty blond head bobbing dangerously close to Sebastian’s, “is getting to see David and Trent again.”
“I don’t usually enjoy kicking my friend's asses but for Slider and Babyface and the chance to catch up on the beach, I’ll make an exception,” he smirked at Tristan. He slid an arm around his RiO’s shoulders. “You’re drunk!”
Tristan laughed as he maneuvered out from under the arm and almost fell out of the booth. “I’m not that drunk Smythe!”
Sebastian raised an eyebrow. “We both know you get sloppy when you’re wasted.” He smiled as color flooded the others cheeks. “Don’t worry; I’ll take care of you. And not hit on you too much. But you owe me a night of the same when we get to Miramar.”
Tristan tilted his head back and forth considering. “Deal. I just better not wake up in your bed...again.”
“That was one time, and I didn’t even sleep there. But I was there to make sure you didn’t vomit in your sleep,” he grumbled. “And I had a much better offer for that night too.” Sebastian pushed Tristan’s shoulder. “Go get ‘em Viper. Just don’t show up hungover, or still drunk, and expect to fly with me.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it King Crab,” Tristan mock saluted as he stood up. “Congratulations to us!”
Sebastian “King Crab” Smythe was a fighter pilot with the US Navy and Tristan “Viper” Moore was pretty much his best friend and RiO. They had been selected from their squadron to train at Top Gun, and they’d heard earlier in the week that friends of theirs from flight school, David “Slider” Thompson and Trent “Babyface” Nixon would also be attending. Sebastian was looking forward, not only to seeing his friends, spending time in southern California where the base that hosted Top Gun was located, but also to proving to everyone that he was, the best of the best. Snappish and demanding in the air, Sebastian has never made a mistake and does not tolerate them being made around him, earning him his call sign ‘King Crab’ On the ground, this reputation has followed him into the bedroom and he’s known for being a love ‘em and leave ‘em guy. The only person who has ever been able to successfully face down Sebastian, earning him his nickname Viper, was Tristan, who then went on to become not only his RiO but his best friend. If you asked Sebastian or Tristan, Top Gun is where they belong.
“What’s the deal Trouty,” Blaine asked once they’d launched from their carrier. They were in the air with Slider and Babyface, exploring the possibility of an enemy aircraft in their airspace. David ‘Slider’ Thompson was a very good pilot, and Blaine respected him, about as much as he could respect anyone who played strictly by the rules.
“We’ve got one incoming,” Sam ‘Trouty’ Evans replied. “On our left.” Sam was Blaine’s RiO and the two had become fast friends since they were assigned together. Sam wasn’t afraid of having a little fun and didn’t always try to talk Blaine out of the stupid things he wanted to do; not that he could.
Flying was the one thing that meant anything to Blaine ‘Killer’ Anderson. Not only did he get to break the speed of sound, and fly precision machines, usually equipped with weapons of destruction, but he got to do it while sitting front man to probably the only person in the world he knew he could trust, could count on to have his back. The fact that they flew with and ago against, pilots from around the world that were almost as good as they were was just an added bonus. Not that they were allowed to use the weapons they were equipped with. Even when enemies entered their airspace unannounced, the rule was, don’t fire until fired upon. But then again, Blaine had never been fond of the rules.
“Slider, you got that?” Blaine asked.
“Roger. Babyface you hear that?” David asked his RiO, Trent.
“Got it,” Trent said. “I’ve got radar contact.”
“I’ll get a visual. Slider, you come in behind them,” Blaine commanded.
“And I’ll serve them up on a platter,” Sam laughed.
“Babyface, you see if he’s brought company?”
“Doesn’t look like it, Slider,” Trent said. “Trouty you see if he’s got a partner?”
“That’s a negative, it looks like he’s a lone duck,” Sam said.
“Slider, I’d like to go head to head with him,” Blaine said. “See if he wants to play.”
“Take it easy Killer,” David replied. “I don’t like the looks of this. I’m going to drop back and go high, see if he’s really alone.”
“He’s closing in and coming right at us Killer,” Sam said once the other plane had dropped back.
“Okay buddy, let’s see what he wants,” Blaine said mostly to himself. But suddenly a second aircraft appeared. “Shit there’s two of them!”
“Not only are there two of them, but I don’t think anyone has been this close to that kind of aircraft before,” Sam exclaimed with a twinge of excitement as he looked out the canopy’s glass as the two foreign jets sailed by.
“Slider, you go after the first one we saw, I’m going after the second one,” Blaine instructed.
“Damn it, I lost him in the sun,” David said. “Shit, what’s he doing? Can you see him, do you have a visual Babyface?”
“I see him, I’ve got him,” Trent said. “He’s coming around, on our tail. We’ve got to get out of here Slider.”
“Fuck, he’s all over us. I can’t shake him.”
“Our guys’ dead ahead Killer,” Sam said.
“I’m going for a missile lock,” Blaine said as he took the stick and flicked on the controls. “Let’s see if we can scare this son of a bitch.” Focusing on his controls, Blaine maneuvered his aircraft until he got the tone of a successful missile lock on the enemy plane. “C’mon baby lock, lock up.” He cheered when he got a lock on the other aircraft.
“We nailed him Killer. He’s packing up and going home,” Sam smiled.
They didn’t have long to celebrate though before Trent broke through on the coms. “Slider, we’ve got to get away from this guy before he gets a missile lock on us.”
“What the fuck is this?” David swore. “Son of a bitch is engaging us. He’s got missile lock.”
“Just get us out of here.”
David called over the coms to their commanding officers. “This guy’s all over me, and he’s got us in a missile lock. Do I have permission to fire?”
“Do not fire unless fired upon, Slider,” came the command.
“Trouty, there they are right below us,” Blaine said.
“The other aircraft is in perfect position, right on Slider’s ass,” Sam said.
“No way. He’d have fired by now if he was going to,” Blaine admitted. “He just wants to rile us up. If we can’t engage this son of a bitch, let’s see what other kinds of fun we can have with him.”
“Killer, get your ass down here and get this fucker off me,” David yelled.
“Easy Slider, calm down. Break right and help me engage.” Blaine cut right, which helped cut the distance between him and the other aircraft as it cut right following Slider as well. Knowing he couldn’t very well shoot the other aircraft, he inverted his plane and slid over until the two aircraft canopies were separated by very little space.
“Is this supposed to be your idea of fun Killer,” Sam laughed.
“Good morning sunshine, this is your wake up to get up and go home,” Blaine singsonged as he flipped the other pilot off.
Sam took out his iphone, snapping a picture as he continued to laugh. “Smile for the birdie.”
Blaine pulled his plane away, allowing the other aircraft the opportunity to disengage and go back to where it had come from. “Sometimes I crack myself up.”
“This is one hell of picture Killer,” Sam said. “Too bad I can’t put it up on Instagram.”
“Your ass is free Slider,” Blaine said, “they’ve packed up and gone home. We’ve had enough fun and we’re running low on fuel so I’m heading back. We’ll see you on deck.”
“We’re running low on fuel too Slider,” Trent said. “Time to head back.” Slider didn’t immediately respond or move the plane in any way. “Slider? David? C’mon we’re on fumes.”
Blaine was lining up his landing on the carrier and he could hear Trent still trying to get a response out of David. “Trouty, Slider’s in trouble. Hang on!”
“Shit Killer, we’re low on gas. We need to land this sucker!” Sam swore as Blaine almost landed their jet but then pulled them up and back into the air, immediately circling back. “What are you doing? We don’t have enough fuel for this.”
Over the coms, they were commanded to land as well. But Blaine shook them off the way he always did when he got his mind stuck on something. And now his mind was stuck on his fellow pilots.
“Slider’s in trouble, I’m not leaving my wingman,” Blaine said. “We’ve got enough as long as we head back in the next few minutes.” He pulled up along the side of Slider. “Fun and games time is over, time to head home.”
“I don’t know Killer,” Trent said. “That enemy aircraft fucked him up good. I don’t know if he can do it.”
“Listen to me Slider. I’m right here,” Blaine said. “I’m going to be right here, you just have to follow me in on my wing. It’ll be okay.” Slider didn’t respond. “I’m not leaving without my wingman.” He talked Slider though it, in soft, gentle tones, and while it wasn’t the prettiest landing, Slider was able to safely land.
Blaine and Sam stood together at attention outside their commanding officer's office. They hadn't been on deck long when they'd been found and summoned to his office. It wasn't the first time; it probably wouldn't be the last.
“I'm sorry,” Blaine said out of the corner or his mouth to Sam.
“No you're not but it's okay,” Sam replied. “You did what you thought was right like you always do. And you helped get Slider and Babyface down safely.” He let out a deep exhale. “After all this time, you think I didn't know you were going to do that?”
Blaine stayed silent as the door opened and Slider stepped out. His eyes were bloodshot and he seemed smaller, curled in on himself. “Bye,” he said barely above a whisper as Blaine looked at Sam who just shrugged his shoulders.
“Anderson, Evans,” Stringer's voice boomed. “In here now.”
They entered the office and went to sit down in the twin chairs.
“Don't even think about sitting down.” Stringer leaned over the desk. “What the hell do you think you were doing Anderson? That aircraft is not your own piece of private property despite the fact that your name is painted on the side. When you are given the order to land it; you get your ass out of the sky and on deck as quickly as possible.” He came around to the side of the desk and stared down Blaine. “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't necessarily cash. One of these days your call sign isn't just going to be ironic.”
Stringer moved back to the other side of his desk and sat down. He pushed a pair of gold wings across the desk. “As you know, Thompson and Nixon were set to leave the day after next for Top Gun in Miramar. But after what happened up there, your little stunt, Thompson has resigned his wings.” He looked at Sam. “He's got a wife. Kids too and is just thinking about his family. You get that right Evans?”
“Yes sir,” Sam said. He looked over at Blaine, surprised David had resigned. “Maybe he'll change his mind, sir?”
Stringer sighed. “We can only hope. But Top Gun won't wait for him. This puts me in a very difficult position. I now have to find a new pilot and RiO to send to Top Gun. There isn't really another way around this. So instead of busting your asses over what happened, I have to reward you. I'm giving you your God damned dream Anderson. You and Evans are going to Top Gun.”
Blaine looked over at Sam and cracked a small smile.
“Don't make me regret it.”
“Sir, no sir,” Blaine and Sam echoed.
That call from Trent was one of the worst ones Sebastian had ever had to take. David confirmed the news, as he told Sebastian the story of what had happened. Even though his friend had no real reason to explain how or why this particular dog fight had shaken him, he praised his fellow pilot, Blaine ‘Killer’ Anderson, who’d helped guide him down, and talk him through safely landing instead of possibly crashing his jet and doing God knows what to himself and Trent. It wasn’t that Sebastian wasn’t glad that David and Trent were safe, but something about it bothered him. Sebastian had a feeling that left to his own devices, left on his own, David would have come out of it and landed on his own, a little rattled, but not so shaken that he would have resigned his wings.
Sebastian and Tristan hated what has happened, but unfortunately, that was the nature of the job. Sebastian was feeling a little down as he slumped into the briefing room and sat down on one of the cushioned benches. He’d be sure to keep an eye out for this ‘Killer’.
Blaine had ridden in the night before. He and Sam had gone out for drinks and called it an early night. He was listening to on of the instructors Bryan 'Jester' Ryan talk about the program, the ranking and being the best of the best when he tuned out for a moment. He looked around the room making brief eye contact with a taller gentleman that had this almost telling smirk on his face. He licked over his lips and turned away, before turning to look again.
“B..,” Sam shook his head, “we didn’t get to Top Gun for you to check out the competition and take them home.”
Blaine shook his head, “no I’m simply trying to figure out who’s the best.” He turned and winked at Sebastian again, but stopped short in his seat from leaning back to Sam when he heard a voice.
Sebastian was listening to the instructor give them their first official briefing, although it wasn’t really anything he didn’t know. This had been one of his goals, something he was working towards, since his graduation from flight school. He felt a pair of eyes on him and turned his head just enough to catch the eye of a pilot just ahead of him. His eyes drifted down for just a moment taking in the other, lips twisting into a smirk. So that was Blaine Anderson. Sebastian felt confident that he could handle him.
“The best are on this plaque back here, and they have the option of coming back here to be instructors at Top Gun...,” Cooper Anderson said as he stepped back through the center of the room and winked at his younger brother, “I’m sure you that think you will be on that wall?”
Blaine looked up at him “Yes sir.”
Cooper gave him a half-cocked look, “that’s rather arrogant, don’t you think?”
Blaine looked up at the other knowing he was testing him a bit, “it could be considered that, sir.”
Cooper looked at him with a smirk, “but that’s the kind of attitude I want in the pilot's coming out of here. We are the best, and we should let others know that we are the best of the best. Everyone’s dismissed, don’t get too hammered tonight. We have an early morning 0600.”
Sam was stepping over Blaine just as Sebastian cracked out, “the plaque for the alternates is downstairs in the ladies room.”
Sam laughed, “Ahahah, you kill me Crab…"
“And, I’ve got your number.” Blaine stood then and stepped aside to wait a moment to speak to Cooper. He always felt slightly awkward in situations like this when it came to his brother, and although under normal circumstances Blaine would not have been allowed to go to Top Gun due to familial intentions, an exception was made due to his needing to be a last minute addition to this class.
“So umm, how’s mom,” He asked once the room cleared the rest of the way out.
“You would know if you called more often B,” Cooper said, “but I get it that things have been crazy for you. Come by the house, tomorrow after class. We can take her to dinner, and you can fill us in on all things work related.”
Blaine nodded, “yeah. I can do that.” He stepped out of the classroom.
Celebrating their arrival at Miramar found Sebastian and Tristan at a bar just off base in their dress white uniforms. The bar was quite crowded, and they were not the only ones in uniform inside.
“So that was Anderson today,” Tristan said, tipping up his bottle of beer.
“Apparently,” Sebastian shrugged his shoulders. “Cocky little bugger, but otherwise not too much to be concerned with, I don’t think.” His eyes scanned the bar and he noticed a strikingly familiar face. “Excuse me for a moment,” he said said, “I think I see someone I used to know.”
Sebastian ordered two new bottles of beer and walked down to the end of the bar where the other man was waiting to place his order. “Hunter Clarington. Fancy seeing you here,” he offered the other man one of the two new beers in his hand.”
Hunter turned around, blue eyes looking almost straight into green ones. “Smythe.” He took the beer and twisted off the cap, taking a long sip while his eyes dragged over the other. “It’s been a while. Look at you. Although you always were comfortable in a uniform.”
“Well, I appreciate you noticing,” Sebastian laughed. “But you say that as if you’re not.” His eyes drifted over the jeans and tight tee shirt Hunter was wearing. “You look good though Clarington; real good. A sore sight for these eyes.”
“Still, as big a flirt as ever I see Seb.”
“You love it and you know it, Hunt,” Sebastian said as he leaned in a little bit closer to the other.
Hunter put a hand up, his hand pressing against the center of Sebastian’s chest. “Easy there, Smythe. Let me guess? Navy pilot. Here for Top Gun?”
Sebastian's eyes flicked down to Hunter’s hand on his chest and then back up to his face. “Not surprised you put it together given your family’s background. Please tell me you’re not disappointed.”
Hunter chuckled. “Hardly. Wanting to be the best of the best? Flying precision machines equipped with weapons? That pretty much screams the Sebastian Smythe I used to know.”
“You say that like you really knew me.”
“I like to think I knew you well enough,” Hunter challenged.
“No, I think those fantasies were all yours, Seb.” He took another drink of his beer. “Look. I’m here and you’re here, and there is no need for it to be awkward. But I need you to dial back the flirting.”
“Does that really sound like me, Hunt?” Sebastian snarked. “Besides, you tell me to dial back the flirting but your hand is still on my chest.”
Hunter pulled back his hand. “Smythe, I’m serious.”
Sebastian held up his hands and took a step back. “Your loss Hunter. Your loss.” He walked back to where he’d left Tristan.
“Trouty, C’mon, even you can get a guy in a place like this,” Blaine laughed as he pulled his friend towards the door of the bar. It wasn’t a gay bar, but it definitely had a mixed crowd.
Sam laughed as they looked around, “maybe someone will at least talk dirty to me.” He followed Blaine further into the bar and ordered them a couple of beers. He looked over at him, “you said earlier you wanted to know who was the best of the best. He’s right there. Sebastian Smythe. He really is the best, he gets under your skin, and it’s almost as if he waits for you to make a mistake.”
Blaine looked at Sebastian from a distance, with a look in his eye. He didn’t really know how to process that information before someone else familiar to them was sliding up behind.
“Hey Viper,” Sam said as he looked up at Tristan, “I thought you were planning to be in the front seat.”
“When you fly with the best, it feels like you are,” Tristan replied, tagging a swig from his beer. “Who’s ass did you kiss to get in here? I mean, you must have been born under a lucky star. First the tango with the MiGs and then falling into Slider and Babyface’s spot here at Top Gun.” He gestured for Sebastian to come over. “You guys are infamous.”
“Make that notorious,” Sebastian said, with a clap to Tristan’s shoulder. “Hey there Trouty. It’s been a while. Still got the best lips I see.” He cut his gaze to Sam’s partner; Blaine. “Sorry to hear about Slider. David and I were like brothers from another mother in flight school.”
Blaine looked at Sebastian as he cut a gaze to Sam, and licked over his lips. The attraction was undeniable, but something about the other just rubbed him crossways. He looked up, “and why wouldn’t you still be? He was s a good pilot, still is, regardless of what happened.”
Sam sipped his beer.
“Of course, he is,” Sebastian said. “But it’s not so easy to stay in touch. We were looking forward to catching up here. Until you guys had that run in.” He leaned in between Blaine and Sam, his body turned to face Blaine, as he reached to put his empty beer bottle on the bar. “So tell me, Killer, you need any help? Figuring out just who the best is?”
Tristan looked at Sam and raised his eyebrows. Not that he’d expected Sebastian to be happy to meet David and Trent’s replacement, but this… this was a different sort of reaction.
Blaine looked at the other, “Oh I definitely understand that. He sipped his beer and looked up at Sebastian as his body turned to face him, “Oh I think I have it pretty much figured out.” He cut an eye at Sam and then moved his eyes back to Sebastian, “do you need a refresher?”
Sam looked at Blaine and motioned to the bartender for 2 more drinks.
Sebastian let his eyes drop to Blaine’s lips for an instant before he looked him back in the eye. “You know, I heard that about you. That you like to work alone. That’s admirable. It’s certainly lonely at the top.” He shook his head at the mention of more drinks. “I’ve already had my drink fill for tonight. But you go ahead, drink up, and I’ll try not to show you up too bad tomorrow.” Sebastian winked. He looked over at Tristan. It was still early and he didn’t want to leave but he wasn’t going to risk screwing up his first day flying by being hung over. He hoped Tristan got the point.
Blaine looked over at the other and finished off his beer and slid it to the counter. “Don’t count on it, I don’t show up that easy.” He finished off his beer and slid it to the counter, grabbing the other from Sam as it was brought out.
Sam laughed as the other two walked away, “don’t let them get to you. They were abused children.”
Blaine shook his head giving Sebastian another glance up and down, “I’m not worried about it I’m just thinking about how this is going to be a lot of fun.” He sipped his drink just as a couple of other gentlemen walked in, “I think it’s your turn.”
“See you boys tomorrow,” Tristan said, downing his beer and following Sebastian to a pool table towards the back.
Hunter squeezed in between a couple of uniforms, raising a hand to the bartender. “Another please,” he held up his now empty bottle. He jostled the man beside him slightly and he turned to apologize. “I’m sorry, I didn’t make you spill did I?”
Blaine turned and looked towards the pleasant voice just as he was about to suggest to Sam they get a table. He shook his head and smiled, “no you didn’t, but if you insist that you did and want to buy me a replacement you’re more than welcome.” Blaine smiled and Sam rolled his eyes. Blaine extended his hand to the other man, “I’m Killer.”
“Well, when you put it like that,” Hunter chuckled, “it’s the least I can do for a sailor.” He gestured for another beer and waited, handing it to the dark haired man beside him. “That’s quite the name… Killer. Your parents must not have liked you very much.” He shook the hand offered. “Call me Hunter. And yes, that’s my real name.” He looked over to the other blonde man. “And you are?”
Blaine laughed, “sorry that’s my call sign; real name’s Blaine Anderson,” he took the beer with a smile and nodded, “I can definitely call you Hunter.”
Sam looked to Hunter and swallowed dryly. He wasn’t quite sure what he was witnessing, but he complied and smiled at the other, “I’m Sam Evans. You’ll have to excuse my friend he was raised in a barn.”
“Call sign, huh. That must make you a pilot,” Hunter mused. “I think I might like Blaine better.” He nodded at Sam. “Nice to meet you, Sam. I don’t think I’m going to hold that against him, though. Doesn’t seem fair.” He swallowed a mouthful of beer. “I guess flying is a pretty exciting life to live.”
Blaine nodded, “Yeah you could say that. It’s not often you feel on top of the world and have all kinds of power.” He sighed and licked over his lips as he sat the bottle down, “not often you can say you are the best and are proven to be the best at something either.” He smiled, “can I get you something to drink Hunter? And maybe dinner tomorrow night?”
“The best huh?” Hunter asked. “So how exactly does one get proven to be the best at something Blaine?” He laughed. “I’m still fine with this beer for now, but maybe in a bit. Maybe we could find a table, sit down, and talk about maybe having dinner. I wouldn’t want to pull you away from your friend,” he nodded at Sam.
Tristan watched as Sebastian lined up a shot and then he pointed with his cue towards the bar. “Isn’t that the guy you went to talk to earlier? The one you used to know; with Killer and Trouty?”
Sebastian stood up to his full height, hands gripping his pool cue tightly as he saw Hunter with Blaine and Sam. “Huh. Looks like it.” His brows furrowed. “I don’t think Clarington’s really into pilots, though.”
Sam took the moment to interject for Blaine, “to be graded the best at Top Gun of course.” His phone rang and he looked at the screen, “it’s Mercy gonna run.” He slid out of the bar to go take the call.
“See you tomorrow morning,” Blaine said and waved off his Rio. He then looked at Hunter, “Sam was right. Maybe you’re not necessarily proven, but you have to prove yourself.” He reached to brush his fingers over the other mans'. “How can I prove to you that I am worthy of dinner out? Or at least another drink.”
Hunter turned and headed for a booth, turning to crook a finger for Blaine to follow. “Listen, there are a lot of pilots that come through here. Most of them Top Gun, looking to be the best of the best. So why don’t you show me how you’re different. Because right now, you’re pretty much just like almost every other pilot I’ve known.” He slid into a booth. “Not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s not going to get me to agree to anything other than maybe a drink.” Hunter smiled at Blaine. “You’re kind of cute, though.”
Tristan watched as Sam left and Blaine and Hunter slipped away out of sight. “I don’t know, he seems to like Blaine just fine.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Anderson wouldn’t be the first guy to crash and burn compared to you in the sky because he was too busy thinking with his dick and not his head.”
Sebastian shrugged his shoulders. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”
Blaine chewed his lip a bit as he slid into the booth with Hunter. He sipped his drink, “well for starters, I’m not necessarily looking for just that guy to sleep with. I like music, my job. I like staying up way too late and getting up way too early, and I wouldn’t mind having sex in there as well with someone who enjoys it as much as I.” He reached across the table, “answer something for me, how long have you lived here in Miramar?”
“Well that’s a little different,” Hunter admitted, with another sip of his drink. “What kind of music do you like? I’m not a huge night owl, but I can stay up if I have a reason. And I love getting up early, often before the sun.” He raised his eyebrows. “I definitely like sex.” Hunter leaned in as Blaine reached across. “I’ve been in Miramar for just over three years this time. Although I’m not here all the time. And I lived near here as a boy. My family is no stranger to the military lifestyle.”
Blaine looked at him with a smile, “all genres mostly classics pop, pop, anything British Invasion, particularly the Beatles.” He gave the other a warm smile, “maybe I’ve found my jogging partner, though I have to admit with as in shape as you look you would probably smoke me.” He chuckled and bit at his lip, “my dad flew, my brother flies and I fly, so my family is no stranger to it either.”
“British Invasion, isn’t that just basically boy bands except older?” Hunter teased. He grinned. “Smooth Blaine. But I have a feeling you could keep up with me. I’m more of a swimmer if I’m honest.” He tilted his head. “You said you love your job but I have to ask, did you enlist because of your family or was it really something you wanted? I’m not exactly unfamiliar with the family pressure to follow in those mighty footsteps.” Hunter swallowed the last of his beer and grinned. “Well Killer, I’ll take that drink if it’s still on the table.”
“Very funny,” he smiled and nodded, “then you’ll lap me in the pool if we ever go swimming.” He motioned to a waiter to bring them some more beers and then looked him in the eye, “I take pride in carrying on the family tradition.” He pressed his lips together, “there was some pressure, but I did it more as a way to get closer to them.”
“That I do believe,” Hunter said of lapping Blaine in the pool. “It's part of what drives me back here; the Pacific Ocean and swimming.” Blaine's gaze was unrelenting but in a good way; warm and full of fun. “I have a feeling there are a great many things you take pride in Blaine. So tell me, did it work? Are you close to them?”
Blaine chuckled but as hunter mentioned family he tensed up just a bit. He shrugged, “no we’re not as close as I would like, though I'm hoping now that I have some shore duty time I can resolve a bit of that. He sipped his beer not wanting to volunteer that his older brother was an instructor. He changed the subject. “What do you do for a living?”
“Is your family nearby then? Perhaps you're right and I do know them. Wouldn't that be fun.” Hunter leaned back into the booth. “A little of this and a little of that,” he hummed. “I work for myself, self-employed as a private contractor; I'm quite knowledgeable on several subjects.” Hunter smiled darkly. It would be beyond fun to see Blaine's face as he figured it out in the briefing the next day.
“A few of them yes,” Blaine said as he swallowed the last of his beer and checked the time, “a little of this and a little of that you say. Why don't you come back to my place and show me just how knowledgeable you are on certain subjects?” He made his way to slide out of the booth and stand.
Hunter swallowed down the last of his beer before tipping his head back in laugher. “I'm not sure if I should be impressed, flattered, or insulted that you think I'm that easy to just follow you home tonight.” Hunter met Blaine's gaze as they stood, though. “I have a really long day tomorrow and what I need now is an actual deep rem cycle sleep. And I'm familiar enough with Top Gun to know you'd be wise to do the same.”
“Yes dad,” Blaine quipped as he reached for a napkin and scribbled his cell number onto the paper before handing it to the other, “if you change your mind, call me.”
Hunters face softened slightly as he took the napkin, eyes darting down to the number. He looked at Blaine's lips as he stepped closer, his voice dropping to a whisper. “Oh! Is that what you're into?” He stepped back then, letting his eyes drag over Blaine once more. “See you around, Killer,” he said as he turned on his heel and left.
Sebastian would never admit he spent the majority of his game with Tristan distracted, as he searched the bar for Clarington and Anderson. Tristan had caught on quick enough and was determined to use it to his advantage before Sebastian attempted to take control again. He saw the two stand, Blaine leaning over the table to do something and if that wasn't the biggest tease, Sebastian didn't know what was. He sank the eight ball just as he saw Hunter walk away. “Thanks for the win Viper,” Sebastian called over his shoulder as he headed Blaine's way.
“Don't let him get to you Killer,” Sebastian said, arm wrapping around Blaine's shoulder. “Hunter’s never really played well with others.” He glanced behind Blaine checking him out up close before his lips twisted into a smirk. “Obviously, his loss too I'd say.”
“More like your loss Smythe,” Blaine said as he checked the other out as well, “don't we have somewhere to be at 0600. I suggest you pack up and head to your bed to actually get some real sleep.” He looked at him, “see you on the flight line.”
Chapter 2: And So It Begins...
Blaine wiped the sweat from his brow. There was only so much of the California heat he could take while they were just sitting around. He was listening to Bryan “Jester” Ryan drone on about basic flight maneuvers and simulation before his ears perked at the mention of a new instructor. He turned around, and looked at Sam, and slid immediately down into his seat as he saw the person walk down into the flight bay. If it wasn’t Hunter himself. He groaned at the thought, just thinking that when they had been talking about Captain, it was some other person.
Sam looked to him, “B you have all the luck…” He continued writing as he followed along with the lecture as Hunter picked up and started explaining the process of flight simulation.
Sebastian sat in the briefing the next morning listening to Bryan ‘Jester’ Ryan go on about the kinds of things they’d be expected to perform, and rules they’d adhere to.
“You boys are here, because you are the top one percent of our recruits at the moment,” Jester said. “The elite. But we’ll make you better. This school is about combat, and there are no points for second place.”
Although he wished Cooper ‘Hollywood’ Anderson was speaking again, Sebastian listened attentively, and did not sneak glances up at where Blaine was sitting. It wasn’t his fault Killer and Trouty had sat up a few rows and on the other side of him and Viper. He heard a throat being cleared as Jester introduced yet another instructor and he turned his head, eyebrows shooting up into his forehead. If it wasn’t Hunter ‘Captain’ Clarington himself, in the flesh, again. Sebastian definitely didn’t mind seeing him in flightgear.
“Isn’t that…” Tristan trailed off to his left.
“Yup,” Sebastian smirked, watching as Blaine slid down in his seat. Some days my life is too good to be true, he thought to himself. He nodded to where Sam was now leaning down to say something to Blaine, still slumped in his seat. “Notorious,” he repeated.
Hunter knew going out to the bar before would be a big mistake. There was no way he’d be able to avoid Top Gun pilots in a place like that, but still he went, because if the rumours were true, then this class had a few of the best; some who’d even had experiences he was still trying to get all of the information about. What better way than to get it straight from the source. So Hunter knew, walking into the briefing this morning he’d encounter not only Sebastian again, but Blaine as well. Even after the years that had passed he’d last run into Sebastian, Hunter swore he could still feel the other’s eyes on him. And when he allowed himself a moment to scan the group, there Smythe was, his trademark smirk firmly in place; as if Hunter didn’t know exactly how to wipe it off. Meanwhile ‘Killer’ was slumped in his seat. He fought the sigh that threatened to escape. Maybe he wasn’t quite so different.
“I may not have as much time in an actual plane as you’ve all had, but I put my time in the simulator,” Hunter explained. “And my expertise here is the enemy aircraft we’re training you to fight against. The government makes sure I am as up to date as possible with the specs and abilities of these jets. And it’s my responsibility to make sure you know them too and learn how to use this intel to your advantage.” He took a breath. “Or at least, not let them use it to theirs.”
“If your expertise is in fact that aircraft, you should know that it can pull the force that the simulators say it can not,” Blaine said as he sat up and cleared his throat.
Hunter crossed his arms over his chest and took a step closer. “Are you doubting my expertise? The government sees to it that I have a higher security clearance than you do. Although since most of the information we have on these aircraft are from our own reconnaissance, there are definitely some areas where there are still gaps we are looking to fill in.” He uncrossed his arms and took several steps back, until he was able to sit on the corner of the desk at the front. “So where exactly does your intel come from?”
“I’m not doubting anything sir, I just wanted to let you know that the data is incorrect, because I was the pilot inverted over an enemy aircraft,” he licked his lips and looked back at Hunter, “are those the gaps you were needing filled in sir?”
Hunter was unable to stop the small smile that played on his lips. “So you’re the one…” he trailed off softly, eyes on Blaine. He shook his head. “So just what exactly were you doing when you were inverted with this enemy aircraft?”
Sebastian couldn’t help but roll his eyes as he lightly smacked Tristan’s chest. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Infamous,” Tristan repeated softly. “Born under the luckiest fucking star.”
“Shooting him the bird,” Blaine said with a soft smirk as he looked up at Hunter, “anything else you would like to know from the file that is somewhere at the Pentagon.”
Sam looked at Blaine, “it was a damn good shot.”
“Why were you doing that?” Hunter asked. “Seeing as I am on the other side of the country from that report, and you are in fact, right here in front of me…” he stood up and walked over closer to where Sam and Blaine were sitting. “It would save me a couple of phone calls later today.”
“We were trying to improve foreign relations,” Sam quipped as he looked at Hunter and then back at Blaine.
Blaine chuckled as he looked at Sam, “I’m sorry I can’t really tell you anymore other than it’s classified and if I told you I would have to kill you.”
“Really,” Hunter smirked at Sam. “I’m sure flipping off our enemies may be one way to improve foreign relations, but maybe not the best way.” He leaned against Blaine’s desk. “Cute,” he said softly. “I guarantee you my security clearance trumps yours. We’ll discuss this another time then.” He turned around walked back to the front, trying to compose himself; ignoring the looks from Hollywood and Jester.
“Captain’s got balls,” Tristan hissed to Sebastian.
Sebastian just smirked back with a raised eyebrow in response.
“I count on it sir,” Blaine said as he watched Hunter walk back to the front.
“We have a hop to catch let’s get this started,” Cooper said as he cleared his throat. He didn’t draw attention to what had just happened fully aware of his brother’s inclination to be a hot shot.
Blaine paused to gather his things when he heard a throat clearing behind him, “Lieutenant a word.”
Sam turned and noticed Hunter standing there in front of them. He stopped as he heard the other, “Good luck, see you in a few.”
Blaine looked Sam and nodded him off, “see you in preflight.” He turned his attention to Hunter, “may I help you sir?”
Hunter waited until Sam, and the others were long out of earshot before he spoke. “I’m sure you are wondering why I didn’t say anything last night,” he started. “I had a feeling, once you gave me your name, and then when you mentioned your family, that I knew who you were.” He tilted his head. “Obviously I know Hol--Cooper.”
“Yeah the biggest exception in Navy history, having a brother train his sibling when his sibling has a reputation with the Pentagon,” he let out a sigh, “you didn’t exactly tell me who you were either “Captain.”
“You were a last minute add to the list, to sub in for Slider and Babyface,” Hunter said. “And it’s not like Cooper alone is training. I’m here, and so is Bryan. Plus there are a couple of others from time to time.” He shrugged his shoulders. “If you and Sam had made the list the first time, Cooper would have been reassigned temporarily and someone else brought in.” He gestured towards the door, and indication that maybe they should walk and talk; Hunter didn’t want to be responsible for Blaine being late. “I’m an instructor here and I see twenty new hotshot pilots every couple of months. And when I’m not here, I’m in Washington, whining and dining, catching up on classified intel, and schmoozing for more money for the military and this combat training school, jets, and other technology.” He put a hand on Blaine’s shoulder. “I could read all about your ‘foreign relations’ but I much rather hear it from you.”
Blaine looked and listened as Hunter spoke. He licked over his lips and ducked his head a bit, “then I’ll see you tonight same booth.” He smirked as he stepped through the glass doors to head up to the preflight area.
Hunter chuckled softly, eyes watching as he licked over his lips. “You drive a hard bargain but I think that can be arranged.” As Blaine stepped through the door, he looked up. “Go get ‘em Killer.”
Blaine looked back and gave the other a small smile. He was just rounding the corner into the preflight room when he saw Sebastian sitting there. “Aren’t you coming you’re going to be late?”
Sebastian saw Blaine come around the corner, a smile on his face, cheeks a little flushed. “Worried about me? I’m touched Killer,” he smirked as he stood up and followed Blaine. “I’m not going to be anymore late than you are, unless you plan on holding me up.” His eyes dragged over the other. “You’ve got this swagger, and a bit of confidence, but at the same time you’re a little bashful sometimes. Not usually my thing, but you definitely make it work for you.”
“Not worried, just don’t want my only real competition sitting out here and missing the airtime,” Blaine quipped. He didn’t quite know what to make of Sebastian’s edge. He looked over at him and licked over his lips as the others eyes dragged over his body, “yeah well, what can I say? What are you waiting on Crab?”
“That’s cute that you consider me competition, but I’m not here because someone else dropped out last minute,” Sebastian smirked. “Don’t worry, I don’t plan on missing any airtime. Like Jester said, there are no points for second place.” He pulled his harness and the rest of his equipment from his locker and pulled it on. “I don’t mind having a little patience for what I really want.”
Blaine rolled his eyes. The other guy rubbed him wrong, but he was so incredibly attractive. “Yeah well I’m sorry Slider gave it up.” He quickly pulled on his clothing and dressed to get into the air. “What’s your beef anyway, you out to get me or something?”
“You say that like you played no part in what happened,” Sebastian shrugged. “I’ve never known David to just walk away from anything.” He shut his locker hard and turned around. “It’s your attitude Killer. The enemy is dangerous but you are worse because you’re dangerous and foolish. I mean who’s side are you on?”
“Woo, Jester is dead, how’d you guys do,” Sam asked as he walked back into the showers. He and Blaine had just managed to shoot down “Jester” and were elated. It wasn’t often you got a missile lock on an instructor.
Blaine laughed and opened his locker and started stripping out of his gear, “he was sweating that’s for sure.”
“Hell no, we got our butts kicked,” Nick ‘Ken’ Duval answered from his spot under the spray.
His RiO Jeff ‘Barbie’ Sterling made the motion of one of his hands crashing into the other as he leaned against the shower wall.
“Thirty seconds. We went like this, he went like that. I said to Ken, ‘Where'd he go?’and Ken says, ‘Where'd who go?’,” Jeff laughed.
“And he’s laughing at us on the radio,” Nick said. “That asshole!”
“That was me laughing at you guys,” Tristan said as he and Sebastian stepped into the locker room. “We won; Crab and I.”
Blaine turned around, “wait we nailed that son of a bitch, and I’m going to have to hear about you tonight at dinner?”
“Below the hard deck doesn’t count,” Sebastian stated simply. “The rules are in place for a reason. To keep everyone safe… and accountable.” He leaned against a locker and put a finger up to his temple. “What’s up with the whole dinner comment Killer?”
“I guess we’ll see who gets the points and who doesn’t,” Slider smirked. “But nice attempt Trouty, Killer. Maybe next time.”
“Same for you two as well, and nothing,” Blaine said not wanting to out the situation. All parties involved knew, and he had taken some strings. He didn’t want them to know Cooper was his brother yet.
We earned our points fair and square,” Slider said. “We’re kind of known for playing it by the book and not messing up. Crab won’t allow it.”
“Doesn’t matter Sebastian felt a stirring of something uneasy in his gut. “Right. Of course. Who wouldn’t want to know all about that.”
“What’s the deal Smythe,” Blaine said as he turned around, “you seem to have this whole aura about you, especially when it comes to me. I don’t know what I did, or do, or whatever, but I’m going to win, we’re going to win. He nodded to Sam.
“My problem with you Anderson is that you think you’re above the rules,” Sebastian countered, stalking over to where Blaine was. “That they are there for everyone but you. The fact is you're everyone's problem. That's because every time you go up in the air, you're unsafe.” He put an arm up on the wall near Blaine. “I don't like you because you're dangerous to every single one of us here.”
Blaine turned and looked in his eyes and got right up in his face, “that’s right, Crab..I am Dangerous.”
“Killer, Trouty, Hollywood’s office NOW,” Bryan “Jester” Ryan called out as he stepped into the locker room.
Sebastian was surprised when Blaine turned, looking right in his eyes and getting in his face. Not only was he surprised, but he was a little turned on as well. He opened his mouth to say something, when Jester’s voice echoed into the almost silent locker room, and he quickly stepped away from Anderson. He couldn’t afford to let Blaine get into his head.
Hunter slid into the booth with two bottles of beer in between his fingers. “I didn’t know if you’d already be here or not,” he held up the beers. “I doubt they’re going to go waste.” He took a moment to take in Blaine’s more casual appearance and nodded his head. “I’ve been reading the file. Why didn’t you go in for a missile lock?”
Blaine smiled as Hunter slid into the booth and he immediately took one of the beers. “We were instructed not to fire unless fired upon, so rather than lock on him, I decided to have some fun,” he sipped his beer as he looked across at Hunter, “don’t tell me that’s all you wanted to know?”
“Would you be disappointed if that was the only reason why I was here?” Hunter asked. His eyes locked with Blaine’s over top of the cool bottles of amber liquid. “I have other questions about it though, yes. Just because you were instructed not to fire unless fired upon; I mean, he could have easily locked on your wingman. He could have fired. These were not friendlies… this was not a training exercise.” He blew out a breath. “How did you manage to stay so...calm, and go for something so unconventional in the face of something so dangerous?”
“I don’t know,” Blaine said as he looked at Hunter with a soft smile, “I just did what I did in the moment. I have no idea why I made the choice I made in that moment, and that’s the truth. I was having fun doing my job, and I was making sure he was distracted. I guess.”
Hunter returned Blaine’s smile. “I can appreciate enjoying your job. But one could argue maybe you were distracted? And it’s not just you up there.” He took a swallow of beer. “I’m not… criticizing. I’m playing devil's’ advocate.” Hunter put his hands on the table. “Slider has a wife, a family. So does your RiO, Trouty.”
Blaine put his beer on the table, “I didn’t come here for this.” He stood and took the last swallow of his beer, “and to answer your question I wasn’t distracted I was deliberate, and I’m fully aware of Trouty’s family. He reminds me daily.”
“Blaine,” Hunter stood up, and reached for his hand. “Stay. I’m sorry. You’re right. I think sometimes I forget how to not to do my job. Especially when I’m in this kind of a situation. I do want to ask you more questions, I do want to know more, but I won’t. I don’t want you to feel like I’m picking you apart under some microscope when we’re not in class.” He sat back down. “Stay. Please.” His fingers pulled at the wrapper around the bottle. “I’ll admit when I walked into class and you slunk down in your seat, I thought you were just like every other pilot that’s passed through here. But maybe, just maybe,” he lifted his eyes and offered a small smile, “you’re not.”
Blaine looked at the other and turned back to sit down. He sipped his beer and looked at his hands, “when you’re like me, you’re under constant scrutiny to not be your father and be like your brother.” He sipped his drink again.
Hunter reached across the table and put a hand over Blaine's. He understood that far better than anyone. It wasn't enough that he was still here at Top Gun as a privately contracted specialist instructor. He wasn't here as a pilot; his name would never be on that plaque. “And you don't want to be either?” Hunter hazarded a guess. “But where exactly does that leave you?”
Blaine sighed, “I want to be the best and I want to be known for being the best in my own right. Yes Cooper can teach me, you can teach me, hell even Smythe can show me things, but when it comes down to it I want out of their shadows and to be known for being me.”
Hunter shook his head barely held back a snort at the mention of Sebastian ‘Crab’ Smythe showing Blaine something. “Don’t let Crab know he got to you. He’ll really be insufferable then. It’s what he does best. He gets into the competitions head, makes them believe he really is the best. Then they second guess themselves and it makes him look better.”
Blaine sighed looking at their hands, “yeah I suppose.” He took another sip of beer, “So I’ve told you my story what’s yours.” He looked at the other and then moved his hand away, “unless of course you don’t feel like telling me.”
“My story,” Hunter sighed, sitting back, “is that I always thought I’d be here, at Top Gun. My father was a pilot. A damned good one if the stories are to be believed. And I was to follow in his footsteps. Military schools, the whole bit. But I was a kid, and thought I was invincible and learned the hard way that I’m not.” Hunter tipped his beer to his lips and swallowed a large mouthful. “I had an accident and lost a good chunk of the peripheral vision in my left eye. Not enough to make every day life dangerous, but enough to end my chance of being a pilot outside of the flight simulator.”
“So you teach pilots then,” Blaine said as he looked at Hunter, “only feasible I guess.” He chewed on his lip and brushed fingers against Hunter’s, “Did you want to go get the actual meal now, or just sit around here and drink liquid dinner all night?”
Hunter shrugged. “How’s it go? Those that can’t...teach?” He laughed. “I’d already been assembling and reading up, researching, everything I could on enemy aircraft, because I thought it would make me a better pilot. Fast tracked myself through two advanced degrees and here I am.” Hunter looked up at Blaine; “food would be good; do you have somewhere you want to go? Or would you be open to letting me take you somewhere?”
Blaine chuckled darkly, “ yeah, that’s how it goes.” He looked up, “two advanced degrees and here you are.” He sighed, “I’d be open to letting you take me somewhere, what did you have in mind?”
“Are you okay with making your own food?” Hunter asked, raising an eyebrow. “I have a couple of steaks in my fridge at home, and the makings of a salad. If you wanted to follow me home.” He smiled. “I think I might even have more beer in the fridge.”
“Inviting me home Clarington, nice…,” Blaine said with a smirk, “I’d like that. I’ll follow, I’m on the bike that’s in the lot.” He stood and pulled on his jacket and headed into the parking lot.”
“Don’t make me regret this Anderson,” Hunter smiled as he stood up. “Bike huh?” he asked as he followed Blaine, surprised when he stopped next to a motorbike. “Damn. It’s a shame I drove, I’d love to get on the back of that thing sometime,” he whistled lowly. He pointed out a dark green jeep down a bit. “Give me a minute and just follow me.”
Blaine smiled and pulled his helmet on, “yeah, does that really surprise you.” He looked to the other, “maybe after dinner, I can take you around the block.” He nodded and started the bike after Hunter walked off to get in his jeep.
Hunter drove the couple of miles to his house, checking the mirrors to make sure Blaine was following. Not that he’d admit to it, but it was arousing that Blaine had a bike, and watching him pull on the helmet, and straddle the bike was very hot. He pulled into his driveway and went to the front door to unlock it as he waited for Blaine. “I’m definitely up for a ride after dinner, hoping for more than just around the block though,” he said as soon as the other was within talking distance.
Blaine stepped into the house and then looked at Hunter. He’d caught what he thought was a double meaning, and he pressed the other against the wall and kissed him before pulling back. He was blushing as he pulled back, “sorry.”
Hunter was a little surprised to find himself pressed up against the wall, with Blaine’s lips on his the moment they stepped through the door. He reached behind the other to push the door closed before his fingers twisted in the leather of Blaine’s jacket and pulled him back in. “Why are you sorry? I’m not,” he grinned, their lips meeting again.
Blaine grinned, “just normally not that forward that’s all, but something about looking at you, I couldn’t resist.” He kissed him back and slipped his fingers through his hair and pulled it gently, “I say we forgo dinner,” he said softly as he slid his fingers underneath the others t shirt.
“I could lie and say I’m not either, and that I’m not used to forward, but that’s not true,” Hunter admitted. He smiled when Blaine said he couldn’t resist. “That’s a line if I ever heard it,” he groaned softly as Blaine’s fingers tugged at his hair and then raked at the skin under his tee shirt. “Bedroom’s that way,” he said, nodding down a small hallway. He peeled the leather jacket off Blaine’s shoulders and tossed it onto a nearby chair.
Blaine nodded and pushed Hunter’s shirt over his head and tossed it aside as the other peeled the leather jacket off his shoulder and tossed it onto a nearby chair. He walked towards the bedroom then and waited on the other to follow.
Blaine walked out across the hard deck. It was another beautiful day. He looked on as Jeff and Nick walked up. He was flying a maneuver with those two today, and he was excited to see what was going to happen.
“Hey Killer, Did you hear about Crab. He got another lock,” Nick said as he walked by.
Blaine shook his head, “I hadn’t.” He looked at Trouty, “you know what...I feel the need…”
Sam laughed and joined in, “…the need for speed!”
Blaine chuckled as they geared up then took off. He listened as Jester went over the current state of points, but it wasn’t too long before he heard another voice.
“Good morning gentlemen. The temperature is 110 degrees and I’d like to remind everyone the rules of engagement for this round,” Cooper ‘Hollywood’ Anderson announced over the coms. Normally, he didn’t go up in the air as often as Jester, but since Crab and Viper had already taken Jester out, and so had Killer and Trouty, although theirs was by breaking the rules, Cooper wanted to get up in the air and experience their flying for himself.
“Holy shit it’s Hollywood!” Barbie said.
“Hollywood’s up here, great… oh shit,” Sam said as he spun to look.
Blaine pulled his mask over his face, “Great he’s probably saying ‘Holy shit, it’s Killer and Trouty.’
Sam laughed knowing all about Blaine and Cooper, “Oh I’m sure that’s what he’s saying.”
Cooper laughed. “Glad to see my reputation precedes me gentlemen. I am looking forward to flying with all of you today. I know some of you have already gone after Jester, and succeeded, so now it’s only fair that you get a shot at me.”
“That’s a shot we’re up to taking,” Viper said, confident Sebastian would want to go after Cooper.
“To make things a little interesting though, Jester is also back in the air,” Cooper said. “So watch your back, and watch your wingman.”
Nick laughed, “ Two instructors at once, this gives me a hard on.”
Jeff smirked as he snapped his mask into place, “Don’t tease me.”
“Aye, sir,” Blaine smirked as he pulled up, “okay Ken, you take the lead and I’ll cover your back. I want to get this asshole.” This was almost to good to be true for Blaine. He was having a chance to go head to head in a dogfight with his brother. It was something he’d often wished he could do, and now he finally had the chance. He licked over his lips and continued to breathe, feeling a little bit of nervous tension, “Alright Trouty, there’s Jester ahead of Ken, so he’s good, so find me Hollywood.”
“TMI Ken and Barbie. TMI,” Sebastian snickered.
“Uh Crab, I think Jester wants payback for us taking him out first day,” Viper said. “He’s behind us and closing in fast.”
“C’mon big boy. I’m always up for round two.” Sebastian looked back over his shoulder, catching a quick glimpse of a plane behind them.
“If we had a proper wingman,” Tristan murmured.
“Bullshit. We don’t need a wingman,” Crab said before breaking off, and attempting to circle back on Jester.
Blaine noticed Sebastian’s break in formation, “What are you doing Crab?” He licked over his lips, “is this the game we’re playing now?” He pulled out from behind Ken, and that’s when he caught site of Hollywood, “C’mon Trouty, keep an eye on Hollywood, “Crab’s got Jester and I want Hollywood.”
Sam rolled his eyes at Blaine, “C’mon man it’s our job to stay with Ken, stay with Ken man..”
“I don’t play games in the sky, Killer,” Sebastian said, trying to catch up to Jester and get a lock on him. “But if you want to play games, come visit me when we’re on the ground.”
Viper swore. “Damn it Killer, Trouty, stay with your wing man. This what you did to Slider and Babyface?”
Cooper laughed. “C’mon little brother. Don’t let him distract you with his smooth talk. You want the kill? Come get it.”
Blaine pulled out and went right after Hollywood. This was what dogfighting was about. He twirled the aircraft, and flipped, doing his best to get a lock on his brother’s aircraft. It wasn’t long however until Jester flew up behind him and he heard the familiar buzz, “Shit..”
“And Killer is dead folks. Let this be a lesson,” Jester said as he split off and looked to be heading back to the hard deck.
“The defense department regrets to inform you that your sons are dead because they were stupid, maybe I should become a truck driver. You remember the number of that truck driving school that was on TV the other night, Truck America or something like that,” Sam quipped. He was sick of dealing with Blaine’s crap sometimes.
“I got ya, don’t worry,” Blaine said as he lined up to head back to the field.
“Little Brother?” Sebastian laughed. “That’s just great.” In all the excitement it wasn’t difficult for Sebastian and Tristan to slide themselves in close to Jester. But he wasn’t able to get a lock before Jester got one on Blaine and the two of them headed back for the hard deck. That left Tristan and Sebastian in a decent position to go after Hollywood while he got a lock on Ken and Barbie.
“Hope I didn’t kill your hardon with that missile lock,” Cooper said as he locked onto Nick and Jeff’s aircraft. “Join the others on deck while I clean up up here.”
“Sorry Hollywood,” Sebastian smirked. “I’ll finish what your brother couldn’t.”
“Damn Crab,” Tristan laughed. “Don’t pull any punches.”
Jester laughed then though as he pulled in behind Sebastian and Tristan, “and if you’re without a wingman, never let your guard down.” He locked on as he chuckled, “head on back to hard deck as well. Show’s over and it’s time to hit the showers.”
“I wasn’t so sure about this idea when Jester suggested it,” Barbie leaned in and all but whispered in Nick’s ear. They were at the beach and had just finished a volleyball game against Blaine and Sam, who were now warming up to play Sebastian and Tristan.
“And that has nothing to do with the fact that everyone is playing shirtless now would it?” Nick laughed raising his eyebrows.
“Well it’s not a problem,” Jeff laughed.
“Do you need a moment to catch your breath Killer?” Sebastian smirked as he pulled his shirt up and off, as he and Tristan stepped onto the court Jeff and Nick had just vacated. It had been a good game, if a little one sided. Jeff and Nick obviously wanting to have fun, while Blaine and Sam wanted to win.
“No need,” Blaine said as looked up at the other and quickly fumbled for his water. He took a drink before rubbing more oil on his skin, and then checking his watch, “let’s go Trouty, we have to defend our title.” He reached for the ball and tossed it to Sebastian, “C’mon let’s see what you can do with balls.”
Sebastian licked over his lips as he watched Blaine rub more oil onto his skin. “You know, if you ever want a hand with that… bigger hands.” He held up his hands as if to demonstrate.
Viper pulled his sunglasses down and shot a pointed look to Sam before he started to laugh. He pushed his sunglasses up on his nose. “You’re pretty much talking to the ball expert here Killer, ” he said, slinging an arm around Sebastian’s shoulders.
Sam laughed and pulled his shirt up and over his head as well. He wasn’t totally sure about this game, but after all maybe it would instill a little trust into them as units. He lined his body up, “you guys ready, let’s go.”
Blaine chuckled, “maybe sometime, but don’t flatter yourself.” He watched the other two as they geared up and stretched out, “we ready to do this or are we just going to sit around? I for one would personally like to see Crab play with himself.”
“Damn Trouty, you’ve gone and grown up,” Seb said as Sam pulled off his shirt. He shook his head with an awkward laugh. “Been thinking about that huh Killer? It might be able to be something we can arrange,” he winked. He tossed the ball near his feet to Tristan.
Tristan turned just in time to see a moment of fluster cross Sebastian’s face before the ball was tossed to him. “Yeah, okay. Let’s go.” He walked to the back of the crude sand court and threw the ball into the air before serving it over the net.
“Oh really, you don’t say,” Blaine said with a wink and a smirk.
“Didn’t think you had it in you,” Sebastian countered. “Isn’t there something going on with you ‘Captain’?”
Jeff looked over at Nick. “Told you,” he grinned.
“Nope,” Nick shook his head. “I can’t see Hunter ‘Captain’ Clarington dating a student. Besides look at Killer and Crab, I’m surprised they haven’t just gone for it in the locker room or something.”
“Not everyone gets turned on by dangerous flying Ken,” Jeff murmured. “Besides, it’d be just a one time thing, you know how Crab is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with the same guy for very long.”
“I don’t know Jeff. I think there is something really different about Blaine,” Nick said. “And I don’t think Sebastian knows what to do about it.”
“If there was do you think I would tell you,” Blaine said tight lipped about his situation with Hunter. They had been spending more time together, and the sex was amazing, but he wasn’t sure if it was a forever connection, considering every time he looked at Sebastian he felt a tense attraction.
Sam hit the ball over the net sliding against the sand as he did so. He scrambled to stand just as Tristan volleyed it back, and Blaine knocked it over the net past Sebastian, “Woohoo!! Score!!”
“Well, it doesn’t bother me if it doesn’t bother you,” Sebastian sniped back to Blaine regarding his relationship with Hunter. He couldn’t help feeling a little distracted though, and mentally cursed himself when he missed Blaine’s return of the ball. He stretched his neck, listening to it crack on each side before shaking out his shoulders.
“Shake it off Crab,” Viper said, throwing an arm over his shoulder. “I don’t know what’s really going on with you right now,” although he had his suspicions, “but get it out of your mind and let’s just wipe the court, I mean sand, with these two.”
Blaine clapped as he stood and stretched out, “oh so that’s how it’s going to be then?” He went and grabbed water, drinking more before going back to the court. He deliberately took the moment though to “accidentally” knock the shirt he’d tossed aside to the ground and bent over to pick it back up. He wanted to get under Sebastian’s skin.
Sam looked back at Blaine with a laugh, “C’mon man, let’s go!!”
Blaine stood then and headed back to the court and took the ball to serve.
Sebastian chewed on his lip laughing. So maybe ‘Killer’ was going to give him a run for his money out of the air. He focused in on the other, watching his serve so he could easily setup Viper for a tip over the net. They volleyed back and forth competitively for a while and then Sebastian set Tristan up for a spike.
When it was his turn to serve, Sebastian took a moment to watch them both, before serving more towards Sam.
Sam moved and volleyed the ball back across the court and eyed Sebastian and Tristan. He wasn’t quite sure what was going on with he and Blaine. He licked over his lips and moved back as the ball came back across the net.
“I got it,” Blaine said spiking it, only to be met with Sebastian’s hands right at the net, “fuck man..” He groaned as he hit the sand and scrambled to get up. “One to one let’s go.”
Sebastian crouched down seeing Blaine sprawled in the sand. He hooked his fingers in the bottom of the net. “Looking good Killer,” he snarked before getting up and going to serve again.
He served in Sam’s direction, but something went a little wonky and it skimmed the top of the net.
Tristan turned to look at Sebastian. “What the fuck was that?”
Sebastian shrugged his shoulders and ran a hand through his hair. “Poor spin?”
Tristan looked to Sebastian, “get it together man!”
Blaine laughed as the ball hit the net and he flashed Sebastian another smirk as he served this time and Tristan ran to get the ball, “ wake up Crab, you’re falling behind.”
Sebastian pushed his glasses up to the top of his head and rubbed at his eyes with the heels of his hands. “Bite me Viper.” He dashed to the net as Tristan bumped the ball high and got ready to hit it over as well. He was close enough he could have spiked it, but he opted to bump it high but shallow, since Trouty and Killer looked about ready to double block him. “If I’m falling behind it’s only because I’m enjoying the view Killer.”
Tristan looked over at Ken and Barbie who were sitting watching them. He made an ‘I don’t know face’ and shrugged his shoulders.
Blaine laughed lightly and smirked, “glad to know the view has you spinning.” He pressed his lips together as he hit the ball that fell in his path. He looked over Sebastian’s body as the ball flew towards him, “you’re not bad yourself.”
Sebastian rushed for the ball, hitting it square on, allowing it to sail over the net. “Didn’t think you were blind,” he grinned large. He and Blaine continued to volley, not only the ball, back and forth, leaving Tristan and Sam standing near the net just looking at each other.
“Ever get the feeling you’re not even needed?” Tristan joked. “I mean I’d almost like to leave now just to see how long it takes them to notice. Almost.” He glanced back at Sebastian. “But I don’t want to miss it when this thing between them finally goes down. Who’s gonna crack first, you know.”
Sam laughed, “I doubt Killer is backing down.” He licked over his lips, “though this time he might. I don’t know.”
Hunter looked out the window over the volleyball court with a sigh. He wasn’t quite sure what he was doing, why he was dating a student, and as he watched Sebastian and Blaine’s interactions on the court. He couldn’t help but think that maybe it was just a stupid idea. He shut the file he had been reading when he heard footsteps behind him.
Bryan and Cooper were walking in, and also looked down over the court. Bryan picked up the file along and looked it over, “you know, his fitness report says it all. Flies by the seat of his pants, totally unpredictable.”
Cooper laughed, “he’s my brother. It shouldn’t surprise you that he’s a hot shot.” He noticed the look on Hunter’s face, “ Oh shit, he got you, didn't he?”
Hunter looked away, but barely whispered, “Yeah, he got me, but it’s not going to work.”
Cooper looked at the other and put a hand on his shoulder, “well then maybe now’s the best time to tell you, that you got that assignment at the Pentagon.”
Hunter looked at Cooper, “are you fucking serious? He looked to the other, “well maybe at least I should tell him.”
Cooper nodded, “sounds like a good idea, but are you sure you want to go out there? Those guys are animals.”
Hunter laughed, “never stopped me before.” He smirked at the other, and headed on down to the courts. Once he was outside he stood on the sideline and continued to watch the game and Sebastian and Blaine’s continual flirting, “Hey Killer.. A word?”
Jeff elbowed Nick in the side. “Look who’s showed up. Wonder what the chances are that we can get ‘Captain’ shirtless and on the court.”
Nick rolled his eyes with a fond laugh. “I’m more interested in his thoughts on just what’s going on between Killer and Crab. I mean, if the rumours of Captain and Killer are true.”
Jeff put his thumb and forefinger between his lips and blowing. “Looking good ‘Captain!’ Any chance you might like to tag in?”
Sebastian was just about to serve again when he heard Jeff whistle and Hunter’s voice. He spun the volleyball on the tip of his finger. “Yeah Captain; get comfy and stay awhile,” he grinned.
Nick watched the two from the sidelines for a moment and singsonged, “Hey Captain, you big stud!”
Jeff chimed in with a look, “Oh no that's me, honey.”
Nick laughed and added just for effect, “Take me to bed or lose me forever.”
Jeff smiled and leaned in against Nick, “Show me the way home, honey.”
Hunter looked at both and shook his head, “not in the mood.”
Blaine looked at the other a brief flash of concern, but otherwise no emotion. He walked up to Hunter, “Yes sir?”
“I have performance appraisals from today to go over. With all of you,” Hunter exclaimed. “Anderson just get’s the luck of the draw to go first because of his name. Carry on as best as you can.” He gestured to Blaine and lowered his voice. “Let’s take a walk; it’s too nice a day to be cooped up inside. And Blaine? Please put your shirt back on.”
Blaine could feel the tension rolling off Hunter as he nodded, grabbed his shirt and pulled it over his head. He could feel the grit of the sand against the oil and once they were out of earshot of the other’s he sighed, “is this really appraisals or just a way to get me off to a back corner somewhere?”
“Blaine,” Hunter rolled his eyes and flipped open a file he had in his hand. “If all I wanted was to get you away from everyone I wouldn’t have disguised it with appraisals. These need to be done. They can’t be put off.” He let out an exasperated breath. “I see some real genius in your flying Killer. But you go up there, half cocked, determined to make a name for yourself. Like earlier, when you went after Hollywood, your brother. Don’t pretend that had nothing to do with it. It was good, right up until the point where you got yourself mock-killed.”
Blaine looked at the other and let out a frustrated noise, “he had everything to do with that too, so don’t just say it was me. You heard the taunting on the radio. Besides Ken was good, he was tailing Jester, Crab and Viper were also in the air, I had time.”
“Was the MiG taunting you too?” Hunter asked. He stopped walking. “If you had time you would have gotten it done. You left your wingman; which could have left him vulnerable, but more so, made you vulnerable too.” He shook his head. “These rules are in place to keep you safe, to keep everyone safe. And when you decide that you’re too good for the rules, you don’t only put yourself at risk, you put everyone else up there with you at risk.” He put a hand on Blaine’s shoulder. “All I’m saying is that you could stand to follow the rules more, and not be so hell bent on not being your father, and better than your brother.”
Blaine shrugged, “I knew what I was doing, they were good, and I had the time.” He shrugged his hand off of his shoulder and stepped back, “and where are the rules in the air? If I’m up against a real MiG? I will do what I have to do to keep people I care about safe, and that comment was completely out of line, Sir.” He sneered a bit, not at all impressed with Hunter’s analysis of his flying.
“The evidence suggests that if you had the time, Jester wouldn’t have gotten you,” Hunter crossed his hands over his chest. “The rules are still there in the air. The rules of engagement, and the fact that you shouldn’t leave your wingman. You got hit by Jester, Hollywood got Ken, and Jester came back and got Crab too. So no everyone was not safe.” Hunter kept walking. “I’m here to analyze your flying and try to figure out why you’re doing the things you do in the air. You think Cooper wants to have to give you this kind of analysis? Hell no.”
“In the interest of full disclosure, there are other things I need to say.” Hunter frowned, trying to decide what to start with. “I know Sebastian too. I mean, I knew him. We were in college together for a while. And while it’s been a few years since I’ve been around him on a daily basis, I’ve never known anyone to get under his skin like you do. I listened to you guys on the coms today. I watched you on the court from upstairs… there seems to be something between the two of you.”
“He’s an arrogant jerk, yes there is attraction there, but he’s not my style,” Blaine said as they continued to walk. He breathed out a bit and took the hint though, “so you’re saying that attraction is the real reason he and I don’t get along, that it’s denial? I’m not using you though I hope you do know that.”
“I’m saying whatever it is between the two of you, it's really up to the two of you to sort it out,” Hunter said. “I didn't think you were using me, but thank you for confirming it. Cooper had some news for me today, though. News that made these assessments necessary to get done as soon as possible. A couple of months ago I applied for a promotion of sorts.”
“And were you planning on just ditching out and leaving me to deal with Sebastian on my own, or at least having one last night to think things over,” Blaine said as he looked up at him. “I don’t know how successful he and I would be to anyone as anything more than enemies in the air.”
“This isn’t exactly the kind of thing I can just turn down Blaine, it’s the Pentagon! This is part of what I have to do,” Hunter said. “We’re… I mean what did you see happening here. In eight weeks you leave, go back to wherever you’re stationed right now. Sure you have family and a connection to Miramar but what does that mean for a casual relationship?” He stopped and leaned back against a tree. “You’re not even willing to find that out? Look, like I said, I haven’t been around him in a while, but he’s… different around you.”
“I don’t know, but I certainly don’t expect you to turn down the Pentagon,” he smiled at him, “I’m willing I just don’t know. I’ve been burned a lot. I won’t lie and say there wasn’t something instant there this feeling that I couldn’t and still can’t seem to shake. I can feel his eyes on me pretty much all the time.” He looked at Hunter, “I just we’ll have to see.”
“Look, I’m not going to lie and say I don’t like you or we haven’t had fun,” Hunter smiled. “But I don’t think I want to start something casual and long distance. Especially not if you have a connection with someone else; even if you don’t think that is going to work out.” He reached out and pulled Blaine by his shirt a little closer. “Feel free to look me up if you’re ever near the DC area though.”
Blaine blushed a bit and smiled, “fine I get it.” He leaned in and pressed his lips to Hunter’s with a smile and then pulled back, “be safe in DC and if I’m in the area and not otherwise occupied or taken I’ll look you up.” He smiled and turned to go back towards the volleyball game, “are we done here otherwise?”
Hunter kissed Blaine back. “Yeah, pretty much. I mean, stay safe. Consider what I’d said, please?” He moved away from the tree as Blaine pulled back. “Look me up no matter what. We’ll go for a drink; and celebrate whatever other foreign relations you’ve participated in.” He winked at Blaine.
Blaine nodded, “I’ll do my best.” He headed back towards the sandpit with a thought in his head and a smile on his face.
Chapter 3: Engage God Damn It
“It's the bottom of the 9th, the score is tied. It's time for the big one,” Sam said as they walked across the flight deck.
“You know, the score isn’t really tied, at least, not yet,” Blaine smirked. “Maybe after today.”
Sebastian strode up to where Sam and Blaine were, reaching out to lean on Blaine’s head. “You up for this one, Killer?”
“Just a walk in the park, Smythe,” he said, shaking the taller man off.
Perhaps is was some twist of fate, or a higher power deciding to fuck with Blaine’s life because this time when they went up in the air, he was assigned to be Crab’s wingman. The one thing they could both, fortunately, agree on, was going after Jester again, and not holding anything back. The thing about Sebastian ‘King Crab’ Smythe though, was that he played it almost too safe in the sky. At least, too safe for Blaine.
“C’mon Crab take the shot already,” Killer exclaimed.
“It’s not good, I don’t have a lock yet.” Sebastian breathed out. “Give ten more seconds.”
“Killer, get in there,” Trouty said. “He’s not going to do it.”
“Get off his back and give him a moment,” Viper interjected.
“Just slide in there,” Trouty said.
“C’mon Crab, Killers getting impatient,” Viper frowned.
“Damn it, just five more seconds. I’ve almost got him,” Sebastian mumbled. “Fuck!” he swore loudly, his aircraft breaking high and to the right. “Get him Killer.”
“Holy shit! Holy shit,” Blaine exclaimed as his aircraft started to shake beneath him.
“We’re in his jetwash Killer, get us out of here,” Sam said.
“Holy shit,” Blaine repeated.
“This is not good Killer,” Trouty said. “Shit, we’ve got a flame out. Engine one is out Blaine.” He exhaled deeply. “Now engine two.”
“Trouty, I’m losing control, I’m losing control,” Blaine repeated. “I can’t-- I can’t control it. I can’t recover,” he gasped. “Fuck!”
“Come on Killer, we’re out of control. Do some of that God damned pilot shit,” Sam pleaded. “This is not good. This is not good.”
“Mayday, mayday. Killer is in trouble,” Crab’s voice broke over the coms, panicked in a way it usually wasn’t. “He’s in a flat spin and heading out to sea.”
“Altitude 8000, 7000,” Sam called out. “6, eject Killer. We’re at 6.”
“Oh fuck!” Viper swore.
“I’m pinned forward Sam,” Blaine said. “I can’t reach the ejection handle. Trouty you’re are going to have to punch us out. I can’t reach the ejection handle.” He gasped. “Eject.”
“I’m trying, I’m trying,” Sam repeated.
“Eject. Eject, Eject,” Killer chanted. “Punch the canopy.”
Sam made a strangling sound as he finally reached the handles.
It was all a blur as to Blaine as they ejected. The canopy came off and it was louder than he’d expected it to be. As soon as his chute deployed, Killer began twisting his body, looking for Trouty; his RiO, his best friend. When he spotted him, he knew it wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all.
Blaine hit the water after Sam. He wasn’t sure if it was because he ultimately ejected higher to safety than Sam, or if it was because he had been able to control his chute more. But when he hit the water, he immediately started swimming to Sam, frantic. He called and called for him but no reply ever came. The water around him seemed different from where Blaine had landed and he was face down in the water.
Blaine pulled Sam out of the water, flipping over onto his back, and just holding Sam’s back against his chest, keeping his face out of the water. But it was too late. He was completely unresponsive, like a rag doll. And the blood. It might not have been a lot, but it seemed like it at the time. He just laid there, holding onto his best friend, crying, waiting to be rescued. It had happened. It had finally happened; his call sign was no longer just ironic. His best friend was dead, because of him.
Blaine laid spread out on the leather sofa in Cooper’s office, arms over his eyes. He was in a pair of navy sweats, having showered once he was back on land and examined. Although he heard the door open he didn’t take his arms away.
“I’m sorry Blaine,” Cooper said softly, putting a hand on Blaine’s arm. “Sam is dead.”
“I know,” Blaine choked out. “I knew in the air. I knew in the water. I knew it in the helicopter.” He sat up, arms on his knees, head in his hands. “And some people knew it was only a matter of time based on the fact that he chose to fly with me.”
“Blaine,” Cooper pleaded. “Listen to yourself. He chose to fly with you. He loved flying with you, you have to know that. But he would've done it anyway... without you. Sam would have hated it, but he would've done it.”
Blaine let out a broken sob of a chuckle. “I don’t know about that.”
Cooper shook his head. “I do. And I know that to be true.” He sat down beside Blaine and put an arm around his shoulders. “I’m sorry about what happened to Sam; what happened to you.” He took a breath. “Obviously, for right now, you’re grounded. It’s procedure. And there will be an investigation. It’s being fast-tracked because of where we are and what we’re doing here.”
“How long?” Blaine asked.
“I don’t know, but I’ll let you know when I do.”
Blaine nodded and breathed out covering his face again, and doing his best just to stop thinking about what had just happened as Cooper left the room. He hadn’t been lying there much longer when he heard another tap on the door, followed by foot falls.
“How you doing B,” Hunter asked him as he sat down next to him and placed a hand on his arm.
“I can’t help but feel this is my fault, my responsibility,” Blaine said as he pulled his arm away from his face and looked at Hunter.
“The investigation will give you that closure,” Hunter said as he stood up and lowered his hand for Blaine to take, “but now you have to let him go. Accidents, things like this happen, and we have to grieve and work through the sadness while we keep working.”
Blaine nodded and took the other’s hand and stood up, “yeah. Press on I guess.”
Sebastian was in the locker room when Blaine came in. He couldn’t help but notice the loose curls and sweats the other was wearing. It’d make sense of course, given the accident. He also noticed the red-rimmed eyes. Blaine didn’t seem to notice him though, going to his locker and stripping out the sweats and putting on his street clothes. It was when Blaine started clearing out his locker that Sebastian finally spoke up.
“Anderson,” he breathed. “I’m really sorry about what happened to Sam. He was a really good guy. Everyone liked him.”
Blaine’s hands were shaking as he threw things in his bag. He hadn’t expected this. He turned and looked at the other, “Really? I can’t quite seem to comprehend you being nice to me, especially since it was your jetwash.” He didn’t mean to take it out on Sebastian, but the stress was taking over and Sebastian’s genuineness seemed almost too real to be real.
Anger flared in the pit of Sebastian’s stomach. “No one--” he stopped himself. “No one ever wants that to happen to anyone else. Not even a cold hearted perfectionist. And from what I knew of Evans, he was always decent. More than decent really.” He stepped closer, noticing it didn’t seem like just his daily effects that Blaine was tossing in the bag. “What are you doing?”
“Considering I’m grounded, what’s the point. Competition’s over,” Blaine said as he threw the rest of his things in a bag, “I don’t know what other choice I have at this point.”
“So what, you’re just… giving up?” Sebastian asked, leaning in and slamming the locker closed and keeping his hand pressed hard against it. “Can you really pretend what happened today doesn’t matter? They’re going to investigate this quickly. They have to. So you can compete.”
“That’s just it I don’t know what I’m doing,” Blaine snapped as the other slammed the locker and held it shut, “What happened today changes everything? What happened today was my fault.”
Sebastian rolled his eyes. “You always know what you’re doing Anderson; always. It’s frustrating as hell.” He stepped in closer. “It was an accident. Despite the fact that you think you are a God, no one could have stopped what happened today.” His hand came up and cupped Blaine’s cheek. “Tell me you know it was an accident.”
Blaine’s breathing hitched in his throat as the other cupped his cheek, “I can’t…” His voice cracked, “I can’t because I’m second guessing every damn second up to the crash.”
“Ssshh,” Sebastian said, his finger ghosting over Blaine’s lips. “Don’t do that. Don’t second guess it. You did exactly what you’ve done to get you to here. To be the best of the best.” His eyes locked with Blaine’s. “...tell me to stop Blaine,” he whispered, leaning in until they were sharing the same breath.
“I can’t do that either,” Blaine said as tears slid down his face. He made a motion to pull back, feeling almost too vulnerable in that moment.
Sebastian’s thumb wiped at the tears that slipped down that cheek. “Blaine,” he breathed, before pressing his lips to the others. The kiss was soft, tender, and unlike many Sebastian had ever shared. Definitely different from the kiss he expected it to be between himself and Anderson.
Blaine melted a bit and kissed back, but quickly pushed him back, “I can’t…” He turned and picked up his things and walked off.
Sebastian wasn’t expecting the push and he stepped back, almost tripping over the bench and just sitting down on it as he watched Blaine all but bolt from the dressing room.
Blaine stood at attention in front on of the investigative committee. It had taken a few days, however now the verdict was in. He swallowed against the knot in his throat.
The review member looked at him seriously as he addressed the room, “It is our account that the flat spin that occurred was caused by loss of air under the starboard engine. The data has been reviewed and investigators found that Lieutenant Anderson couldn’t have seen or avoided the jetwash that caused the flameout, therefore he is not at fault for the accident that recently occurred. This issue is dismissed.”
Blaine nodded and visibly relaxed, collected his items and left, leaving Cooper and Jester in the back of the room. Cooper nodded and looked at Jester “We gotta get him back in the air, as soon as possible.”
Jester nodded and seconded it with a simple look.
Blaine sat in the cockpit of the aircraft just breathing in. It hadn’t been long before Trent had been flown out to meet him and pick up as his RIO, and he couldn’t say he was happy to be going up, but at least it was with someone familiar. He got clearance from the tower and quickly took off.
Sebastian was glad to see Blaine was able to get back up in the air once he was cleared with the investigation. Hopefully hearing that professionally it wasn’t his fault would help him get over the accident. He was also glad that Trent ‘Babyface’ Nixon had been brought in as his RiO. His own head hadn’t exactly been in the competition the last few days, which Tristan had reamed him out for, and he hoped this would get him back on his game.
“Jester, dead ahead,” Tristan said.
“Roger, let’s go. Time to increase our lead.”
Blaine could hear Sebastian and Tristan on the radio, but the weight of the accident was still heavy, “Alright I’ll cover.”
Trent breathed in as he looked at Blaine, “you’ve got Jester at 3:00 engage man, cover him.”
Sebastian smiled into his mask hearing the voice over the coms. “You’ve got him Killer, get the lock.”
“You just giving away points now?” Viper asked.
“Shut up Viper, they’ve got a clearer shot than we do.”
Blaine kept going forward. He knew it was clear. He knew he could get the shot, but part of him was panicking on the inside. He breathed in and breathed out a moment as he heard Viper and Crab over the radio.
“C’mon Killer, get the shot.., you’ve got it, man… engage,” Trent said as he tried to get him to take the shot.
Blaine pulled up and out of the pattern to double back around, “Sorry it was no good, repeat that was no good.”
“Fuck,” Sebastian swore softly as he banged his fist against the canopy. He quickly doubled back, following Killer and Babyface, covering their back. “Do you think you could at least comeback and try to engage to I can go in for the lock?”
“I’ll engage when I damn well am ready, Crab,” Blaine said tightly. This was Cooper’s brilliant idea, and right now he was losing it.
“You aren’t gonna get better than that man, that was a perfect set up,” Trent snapped, “don’t be like Cougar, it sucks yeah what happened with Sam, but c’mon…”
“Fuck it…, I’m done…,” Blaine snapped back.., “I gotta land..”
“Damn it!” Sebastian ripped off his mask and hit his head back against the seat.
“You’ve got to be kidding me Crab,” Tristan breathed.
“What did we learn the day Jester and Hollywood were both up here fucking with us? You don’t leave your wingman. You don’t assume anything,” Sebastian said.
“Right that’s exactly what this is about.”
“Viper, don’t even go there right now; just don’t.”
Sebastian waited, watching as Blaine landed and then followed suit. He knew he could have gone back up, but something pushed him to get off the ground. He was distracted, feeling a little reckless himself. In the locker room, he came face to face with Blaine again. “So that’s it? One little attempt? One pathetic excuse for trying?”
“It’s not your fucking business,” Blaine shouted at the other, getting right up in his face, “I will engage when I want to engage, and that’s how it’s going to be. He pushed him up against the locker, “do you understand me?” He pulled back and pulled open his locker before throwing things in his bag.
“It’s my business because I came here to be the best of the best, and that doesn’t happen if you quit; just give up like this,” Sebastian answered, crossing his arms over his chest. “There’s no point in you being in the air if you’re not even going to engage. It’s worse than not having a wingman. It’s dangerous!”
Blaine shook his head, completely overwhelmed. He threw the rest of his stuff from his locker into his bag tossed it over his shoulder and walked out.
Sebastian watched as Blaine stormed out of the locker room. He looked up when he heard a throat clear behind him; it was Jeff ‘Barbie’ Sterling. “What do you want?”
“Are you going to at least go after him?” Jeff asked, eyes wide. “Give him a break. He just lost his best friend up there. How would you feel?” He pulled out his phone from his pocket. “I think you’re right though; he needs to be here. It won’t be the same without him. It’s not the same without Trouty.”
“I already tried to do the sensitive, apologetic route and it didn’t go so well.”
Jeff just stared back at Sebastian. “Wouldn’t have thought something as small as not going well would stop you.”
Sebastian rolled his eyes playfully. “Fuck off Barbie and call Ken to gossip with him. The ‘King Crab’ in fact has a heart.” He didn’t stick around long enough to hear the call Jeff made was not to Nick, taking the stairs two at a time and rushing out into parking lot. “Anderson,” he called, cupping his hands around his mouth. “BLAINE!” he yelled as he jogged over to where the other was getting onto his motorcycle.
Blaine shook his head as he heard Sebastian calling after him. It was all too much, being in the air, not engaging, the guys yelling at him over coms, Sebastian kissing him. He revved the engine louder just to drown out the others voice before he drove off.
“Fuck,” Sebastian swore, running over and hopping into his convertible; flying out of the parking lot after Blaine. He found him easily enough and followed him through the streets, zipping in and out of traffic, laying on the horn.
Blaine pulled into Cooper’s house and put the bike in park. He climbed off and heard the commotion behind him as he parked on the street. “Jesus Christ and you think I'm reckless? When I fly, I'll have you know that my crew and my plane come first. What happened with Sam…” His voice cracked…, “That’s why I couldn’t engage…”
“I wasn't going to fucking lose you in traffic!” Sebastian exclaimed. “How the hell would I find you then?” He leaned against the car. “It's dangerous…”, he sighed. “I think you belong back in the air, but if you can't engage…” Sebastian ran a hand through his hair. “I know you're choked about Sam but if something happened to you…” He stood up and looked around. “Where the hell were you going? Where are we?”
“It doesn’t matter..,” Blaine said as he stepped into Sebastian’s space and pressed his lips to the others with a soft sigh. He pulled back then, “what do you want from me, I’m so far from what’s right for you, for this program, for everything right now.”
Sebastian fisted his hands into Blaine's shirt and pulled him in close again, foreheads pressed against each other after Blaine kissed him. “Apart from your confidence problem at the moment you belong here just as much as anyone else. As for what's right for me; care to explain why you think that? Because I'm going crazy here trying to impress the hell out of you and very few people have ever gotten under my skin like you have.”
Blaine shook his head, “I don’t know… I just… fucking hell Crab..” He pressed his lips to the others again and fisted his fingers through his shirt before pulling back, “C’mon let’s go upstairs. Cooper gave me a key. Told me to crash in his spare room for a few days until I figure shit out.”
“I can't believe you are Hollywood ‘s little brother...blows my fucking mind,” Sebastian laughed. He grabbed Blaine’s hand and held it fast. “No one’s going to blame you for needing to figure shit out. I don’t. But you belong in the air. It’s obvious in how you fly.”
Blaine breathed out and pulled the other to the door and let him into the house. He led him to the bedroom, before sitting down on the bed, “tell me something. Why me?” He paused, “why after really learning who I was would you still want to be here?”
“Because I came here to be the best of the best,” Sebastian shrugged. “At first, you were… the person that made it so David and Trent weren’t here. But I hadn’t made the connection between that person and then this crazy pilot that was going to give me a run for my money.” He exhaled. “If I’m not competing against the best, no matter who they are, then it doesn’t matter. Does that make sense?”
Blaine nodded, “yeah it makes sense.” He looked at him again, “so that’s the reason you want me to stay in the program, but what’s your reason for following me now, like a reckless maniac to my brother’s house and up to his guest bedroom?”
Sebastian shook his head. “You keep walking out of me. You got under my skin in a way not many people have.” He leaned in, his face close to Blaine’s, noses a whisper apart, and breath mingling. “I… I can’t just walk away. Or apparently, let you walk away.”
Blaine looked at him, “I'm not walking out this time.” He looked at the other and licked his lips and took a moment to really think about what Hunter had said. He leaned into Sebastian and kissed him, “stay with me?”
Sebastian didn't say anything as he kissed Blaine back and leaned the other back against the bed. He thought it would be crazy, reckless, like his earlier driving, and Blaine's flying sometimes when the two of them got together. This unexpected tenderness and slowness, almost as if everything around them just stopped, made his head spin. There were so many things he wanted to say but he couldn't tear his mouth away from Blaine's skin long enough as he moved from his lips to his neck and then across his collar bones once he pulled Blaine's tee shirt from his jeans and pushed it up as far as it could go. Blaine's skin was warm, salty, and reminded Sebastian of the best things about Southern California.
Blaine moaned out as Sebastian leaned him back against the bed. He was tired, anxious and even revved up from the past few days, but as soon as Sebastian's lips met his it was like everything melted away and all he wanted was this moment right here. As the other pushed his shirt up and mouthed over his collar bones he fumbled sit up enough to pull the shirt the rest of the way off. He also did the same to get Sebastian's shirt out of the way as well.
Once their shirts were out of the way, Sebastian took a moment to allow himself to just look now that he could. His fingers trailed over the skin that was now bare. He let out a low whistle of appreciation, “damn Blaine.” He leaned back in and captured his lips again; this time with more urgency.
Blaine shook his head as he moved his fingers up and over Sebastian’s chest, “I’m not that great to look at.” He returned the kiss and pulled the other against him, “what do you expect from me? From this?”
“I beg to differ,” Sebastian murmured. “Do you know how distracting you are?” He settled against Blaine, parting his legs. “Does it have to be something? Can't we just have some fun and see what happens.”
Blaine smiled softly, “I could feel your eyes on me quite often.” He licked his lips and kissed him again when he settled against him, “no it doesn't that's why I was asking. I want to have fun… And I like that idea.” He popped the top button Sebastian's pants, “should we take the rest of our clothes off.”
“I caught you staring first,” Sebastian grinned as he nodded his head. “Definitely a good idea. Let me?” He reached for the button on Blaine's pants and opened it, pulling down the zipper. He licked his lips, leaning down to mouth at his cock through his underwear.
“Funny thing is I was just checking out my competition,” Blaine laughed lightly, but the laugh turned into a soft groan as he felt Sebastian’s mouth and hot breath against his underwear. “Hunter said I need to listen to my head and my heart.. Give things a chance with you.” His breathing hitched, “is he right?”
“Maybe the first time,” Sebastian laughed. “When you looked back it was more than that...tell me I'm wrong.” He looked up from where he was; a smirk on his lips. “Clarington said that? Huh. Well, I think he must have a better idea what your head and heart are saying than I do. So why don't you enlighten me?” Crab hooked his fingers in the elastic of Blaine's underwear and pulled them, along with his jeans down, moving to the side so he could pull them all the way off.
“Yeah, he said that,” Blaine said as he raised his hip off the bed so Sebastian could pull his jeans and underwear the rest of the way off before sitting up to do the same to him. He pulled him back against him after he was finished and leaned up to kiss him as he wrapped his legs around this waist.
Sebastian let Blaine pull off his pants and settled back against him as Blaine’s legs wrapped around his waist. “There you go being distracting again. So what does smarty pants Clarington and you know that I don't,” he hummed. “What is it exactly you want from me Killer?” He rolled his hips against Blaine's slowly.
Blaine chuckled, “that you got under my skin.” He hummed as Sebastian started rolling his hips, that I did my best not to let you, but you succeeded.”
“That's mutual,” Sebastian groaned. “I don't exactly like not succeeding at things. Never gives up, relentless, persistent, all those sorts of things.” He buried his face in Blaine's neck, mouthing at the pulse point. “You feel so good Killer.” He reached under Blaine, holding their bodies closer together.
“Me either, that’s why this.. Engaging...ah you feel good..,” he was almost panting as the other mouthed at his pulse point and brought his arm around him to hold them closer, “just keep doing this and it’ll make me come like I’m in highschool all over again..” He groaned out, “I don’t have condoms or lube either.”
“I'd have taken you for a boy scout,” Sebastian moaned. “Always prepared.” He moved his lips down. “No doing that...If I can't fuck you…” he started kissing down the middle of Blaine's chest, “you're not coming until I blow you.” Sebastian resettled between Blaine's legs.
Blaine moaned out and chuckled as Sebastian settled him back against the bed and started kissing down the middle of his chest. He arched up and ran fingers through Sebastian’s hair as he moved and settled between his legs. “Blow me, then we can run buy some or something.”
Sebastian groaned against Blaine's skin. “Hands good. Don't be afraid to tug,” he said of Blaine's fingers in his hair. He kissed around his belly button and then reached out to grab Blaine's cock as he started to lick at it. “That or something,” he said before taking the tip into his mouth. He sucked lightly before pulling back, “or I could just leave you wanting for more.”
Blaine nodded and tugged hard at Sebastian’s hair as he licked over his cock. He wanted him to stop teasing him and just take him in. He whined out as the other sucked lightly and pulled back, “No offense, you don’t seem like the type that does seconds.”
Sebastian moaned around Blaine's cock as the other tugged hard on his hair. He took him in a little deeper, sucking hard as he pulled off again. “Probably a fair assessment but you also got under my skin and fought me almost every step of the way.” He winked at Blaine before sinking all the way down, deep throating him, a hand fondling his balls.
Blaine groaned out and bit his lip as Sebastian sunk down all the way. Man Sebastian could suck cock better than anyone was his only thought in that moment. He pulled his fingers through his hair again and lolled his head back against the pillows, “oh God.. mmm..”
Sebastian continued to bob his head up and down, sucking hard as he pulled up and relaxing his throat as he continued to take Blaine as far as he could. His hands moved from Blaine's balls, holding him up off the bed a little again, as one finger teased over his perineum and then along his crack. He moaned deep and long, with Blaine's cock still in his mouth.
‘Jesus..,” Blaine groaned out as Sebastian’s hands moved from his balls and held him up. The single teasing finger along his crack and the sensitive skin of his perineum was almost too much and he whined out, “oh.. Gonna come… Oh…” His eyes rolled and his body tensed, “fuck.. Not yet..”
Sebastian pulled up off Blaine's cock, letting his teeth graze lightly along the middle of his shaft. “No, not yet you don't Killer,” he rasped, wiping his mouth along the inside of Blaine's thigh. He mouthed at Blaine's balls and then moved to rim the other. “God you are amazing,” he groaned. “You have no idea how bad I want you right now.”
“Then take me… I know I’m good, Hunter and I used protection. I tested clean before him.” He sucked a spot on the other's neck as he leaned up to kiss him, “please. This is… I need this,” Blaine whispered.
Sebastian groaned. “Tempting, really tempting but my last test was a few too many partners ago for my liking,” he murmured. “Let me make you come and then I'll go and get what we need. I'll give you what you need.” He kissed Blaine hard, licking into his mouth. Sebastian pulled back looking into the others eyes. “Do you trust me?” He moved back between Blaine's legs and began licking over his cock, his finger rubbing against the others rim again.
Blaine’s voice cracked and tears slid down his face, “yeah I trust you. More than I myself realized until right now when I let you in.” He chewed his lip a moment and huffed out a breath, “please...please…”
Sebastian continued to bob his head, needing to make Blaine come as soon as possible. The broken voice, the tears, it was too much; more than what he'd come here for but he couldn't leave. He couldn't ignore the way Blaine was falling apart. With a free hand, Sebastian reached for Blaine's hands putting them in his hair again, trying to encourage the other to thrust into his mouth if he needed.
Blaine groaned as the other took him back into his mouth, and he whined and thrust up into his mouth as he took the encouragement to thrust up and tugged at his hair, “Oh… fuck…” His breathing hitched and his hips stuttered as his eyes lolled back and tightened up and came hard inside Sebastian’s mouth.
Sebastian wasn't usually a big fan of swallowing but he had a feeling Blaine would come quick and hard with no real warning so he went with it. He continued to suck lightly, pulling back a bit as he swallowed, eyes watering. When he pulled off, Sebastian licked up Blaine's cock a final time before moving back up his body. He wiped at the tears with his thumbs. “I'm here okay. I'm here,” Sebastian whispered before kissing Blaine softly.
Blaine felt himself slump and as Sebastian moved back up and wiped the tears away with his thumbs he returned the kiss and finally let himself relax in the others touch, “you’re amazing. I think I owe you one of those, and then a beer.”
Sebastian just smiled as he settled slowly atop of Blaine. “I think again that feeling is pretty mutual. And honestly, I really want to fuck you. I'll take that beer when I get back though. And we can decide where to go from there.” He ran a hand through Blaine's curls and kissed him again. “Do you have a bathroom near here? I could use a drink of water maybe a little mouthwash.”
Blaine nodded and pointed towards the slightly larger door on the far side of the bedroom, “through the door there, and there should be toothpaste and mouthwash in the cabinet above the sink.” He kissed the other again and stood up to pull on some underwear, “...Crab umm thanks.”
Sebastian got up and walked naked over to the bathroom. He washed his hands and rinsed out his mouth before running damp hands through his hair. When he came back into the room, he picked up his jeans and shrugged into them. “Don't worry about it Killer. It's not like I did you some huge favor or something.” He pulled on his shirt. “So are you going to still be here when I get back or is Hollywood going to look at me like I have three heads?” Sebastian hated sounding unsure and feeling so out of control but it was kind of unavoidable in this situation.
Blaine looked at him, “I’ll be here. I promise.” He looked at Sebastian before stealing another kiss, “hurry back okay and if you want to stop and grab clothes. We can ride in together in the morning.”
Sebastian smirked as he nodded his head. “Your brother going to be okay with that?” He smiled into the kiss and reached down to give Blaine's hand a squeeze. “I'll be quick. Remember I'm kind of reckless behind the wheel.”
“He’ll be fine with it,” Blaine said softly as he pulled on some jeans to walk him out. It wasn't long after Sebastian pulled out onto the street that Blaine was met with a knock on the door.
Hunter made his way to Cooper ‘Hollywood’ Anderson’s house. He suspected it was where Blaine would be, and after the conversation he’d had with Barbie, he wanted to check in with his former student and casual affair. He wasn’t sure what he was going to say though; not exactly.
Blaine stuck his head out not wanting to open the door for just anyone, but when he saw it was Hunter he smiled and opened the door, “hey what brings you back around Mr. Pentagon.”
Hunter smiled warmly. “I was looking for you actually.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I got a call… from Jeff Sterling. He said you didn’t have the greatest first day back in the cockpit. You and Crab got into a fight over coms and in the locker room… I guess I’m just checking in.” He looked out towards the road and furrowed his brows. “Can I come in? Or did you want to come out? Take a walk?”
Blaine nodded, “yeah it sucked, and a walk sounds nice.” He grabbed his flight jacket and slipped it on, “Sebastian will be back here soon. You were right. I let him get under my skin.”
Hunter raised his eyebrows. “Back? You brought Smythe back to your brother’s house?” he laughed. “It’s a skill he has; getting under people’s skin. It is a trick he uses to stay on top. Not always in a malicious way though.”
“He followed me here, things got heated I threw my shit in my bag and stormed out,” Blaine sighed, “next thing I know… Yeah..”
“So… was Jeff right?” Hunter asked cautiously. “Are you done? Did you quit? You know, no one expects you to just pull it all back together day one.” He cut his eyes to look at the other. “Next thing you know he’s on your doorstep? And yes, I’m going to make you say it out loud,” he smirked.
Blaine shrugged, “I don't know I can't take the pressure on the coms to engage.” He looked at Hunter and let out a soft sigh, “It actually wasn’t really like that. We got into it in the locker room I packed my stuff, stormed out and he followed.” He chewed his lip, “and yes.. Next thing I know we’re making out in my driveway.” He looked at Hunter, “so are you going to say I told you so?”
“Understandable,” Hunter said sympathetically. “Any reason in particular that you can point to as for why? Or just replaying what happened and overthinking everything?” The taller man smiled softly as he put an arm around his shoulders. “Surprised Smythe can keep it to just making out and keep it in his pants.” He felt his own cheeks redden and he looked away. “Sorry, I have my own past with Crab.”
“Overthinking it, Trent’s screaming in the RIO seat didn’t help. It’s just a lot.” He closed his eyes and felt tears, “I’m just so used to Sam. it’s never going to be the same.” He leaned against Hunter as the other put his arm around his shoulders. “I’m assuming you and he had a little more than a driveway makeout session followed by an amazing blowjob and a condom run?”
“You're the pilot, you've got to get your RiO under control plus gain his trust. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet,” Hunter said. “And don't ever expect anyone to take Sam’s place. It's going to be different. Doesn't mean it might not be as good.” He laughed. “And that's the Sebastian Smythe I'm familiar with, more or less.” Hunter raised an eyebrow. “You seriously sent him on a condom run? I can't picture Smythe not being prepared although he probably didn't chase after you expecting quite that reaction.”
“I know, and I know that too,” Blaine said chuckled, “I didn’t send him, but I definitely didn’t protest when he said he would get some either.” He looked at the taller man, “what are he and I going to do without you constantly popping in and giving us reality checks?”
“I didn’t say it because I thought you didn’t know it. But sometimes we all need to be reminded,” Hunter said. “You definitely got to him then; of that, I would feel confident staking my career on it. Of course, knowing you as I do,” he smirked, “Smythe would be a fool to have left it at a driveway make out session and a blow job, no matter how amazing the latter was.” He unwrapped his arm from around Blaine and stepped back, eyes widening. “Oh no… no, no, no. I am not getting wrapped up in whatever you and Crab have going on, like some sick twisted cheerleader slash therapist. I’ll be your friend though. And I’ll always be around to listen and give you the hard truths Killer,” he said, arms crossed over his chest.
Blaine frowned at the sudden removal of his arm around his back and looked up at the other, “I know you aren’t going to do that, that’s why I asked the question.” He reached over and smoothed his fingers along Hunter’s arm to get him to relax, “and I’d like that, you to be my maybe even our friend if you can get past the fact we both slept with you at some point in our pilot training careers.” He stepped in and gave him a chaste kiss, “now get to the Pentagon, before they wonder why you spent 4 extra days here ‘packing’.
“The two of you will figure it out,” Hunter nodded. “And I’ll be here when you need a kick in the pants.” He laughed against Blaine’s lips. “He doesn’t play well with others, Killer. And I think you’ll find he’s probably trying hard to not focus on that. Don’t hold it over him.” He sighed happily. “This is a really big thing,” Hunter agreed, “a great opportunity. But I’m sure they’re aware where I’m coming from, and what’s just happened here. I did, after all, have to write up and submit my own performance and review of the accident for your investigation. It’s not like I’ve been just enjoying a couple of extra days of California sun. This shook everyone here, Blaine. Don’t forget that.” He leaned in and wrapped his arms around the smaller man in a hug. “Don’t forget to look me up, and let me know how things go. Don’t make me ask your brother for gossip.”
Blaine nodded, “I won’t ‘Captain.” He let out a sigh as the other wrapped his arms around him and gave him a hug, “and I promise I wouldn’t want you to get the over embellished version of former and future Top Gun pilots.” He looked up as he saw headlights up the drive, “thanks for everything.”
Chapter 4: Surviving the Fallout
The couple of weeks after the accident had been rough. The night he and Sebastian had spent together prior to his leaving California had been amazing, but stressful and he’d snuck out to take a ride, leaving a note that he’d call if he missed him before he had to be at the unit. He’d deliberately left later that night without speaking with Sebastian, to go to Tennessee for Sam’s funeral, and now here he was standing back behind the scenes of graduation.
Sebastian wasn’t used to the position that Blaine left him in; he was the one that usually ran off and not the other way around. He had his suspicions as to where the other man had taken off, but he couldn’t exactly go chasing after him this time. And he wasn’t about to beg the other man to come back, no matter how good the sex was. He didn’t even have Hunter to throw his pent up sexual innuendos towards, so instead Crab buckled back down and did exactly what he’d come to Miramar to do; become the best of the best. He wasn’t going to stop until his name and Tristan’s were on the plaque at the back of the room. Sebastian didn’t even allow himself to hope that Blaine would perhaps return to see him be triumphant in that quest.
The party was already in full swing, and after an extensive talk with Cooper the night prior, he’d pretty much decided that he had to graduate, if not for himself for Sam’s memory. He stepped through the door into the party area, and smiled as a few recognized his presence and patted him on the shoulder. He saw Sebastian and Tristan towards the front and stepped up and cleared his throat, “congratulations.”
Sebastian and Tristan were receiving well wishes all around, smiling, laughing, the plaque firmly in his arms. He heard a familiar voice and swiveled his head to immediately face it. A smile tugged at this lips but he quickly schooled it to something far more indifferent. He wrapped his other arm around Tristan’s shoulders and leaned slightly against him. “Thank you.” Sebastian’s eyes traveled up Blaine. “I suppose we could say congratulations to you too. For graduating.”
‘You could say that yes,” Blaine said as he looked at the others arm around Tristan and the lean against his body. He bit his lip feeling a bit indifferent at the moment about coming back, though soon relaxed as he felt someone else put a hand on his shoulder. He looked over and saw Cooper, uncertain of what the other was doing.
“Gentleman, I hate to break up a good party, but there has been an incident, and some of you are required elsewhere as soon as possible,” Cooper announced. “I have your assignments and directions here,” he pulled out a stack of envelopes. “Crab and Viper. Ken and Barbie. Killer.” Cooper looked at Blaine. “You’ll get a new RiO when you arrive on the ship. And if you don’t, give me a call. I’ll fly with you, little brother.”
Sebastian immediately tore open the envelope as Cooper handed them out. He missed Blaine’s name being called completely, and it wasn’t until he heard the ‘little brother’ comment that he realized what was happening. “Hollywood, sir,” he said, taking Cooper’s arm and pulling him slightly out of earshot. “Is that really the best idea? Giving Blaine a new RiO and sending him back up in the air when he hasn’t proven he can engage again since the accident?”
“I don’t make the calls on this assignment, Lieutenant,” Cooper said as he looked at Sebastian, “He’ll be be okay. He’s just needed a bit to get there. Have some faith.”
Blaine opened his envelope and looked up at Cooper, and then sat the paper back down.
Sebastian wasn’t convinced this wasn’t a bit of a mistake, but if it wasn’t Cooper’s call, it sure as hell wasn’t his. Given how Blaine had left, without much more than a note, and then a letter, with tidbits of information doled out every once in awhile, he didn’t feel like it was his place to say anything to the other about it either. They were leaving in a few hours, and there were things to pack. Sebastian reached out and put a hand on Blaine’s shoulder. “Take care, Killer.”
Blaine looked up at the other and nodded, “we’ll see each other at the same place though I’m assuming.” He chewed his lip a moment, “I shouldn’t have left the way I did. I just had to get out of here. Let’s talk more enroute?”
“I’d assume so yes,” Sebastian agreed. “We both have things that need to be taken care of. Time is of the essence,” he shrugged his shoulders. “It was what it was, Blaine. I think we have bigger fish to fry at the moment.”
Blaine looked at the other, “C’mon Crab, don’t be this way.” He looked down, “I’m sorry. I should have left with more notice, more warning, more kindness.” He shrugged, “I just didn’t know what to do.”
Sebastian turned around and sighed. “Be like what Blaine? We had one night and I stayed because I thought you could use a friend considering what you’d been through. So what if I woke up alone in your brother’s house. Your brother who is also our instructor.” He grimaced slightly. “You didn’t know what to do then and I don’t know what to do now.”
Blaine reached out and took the others hand, “come with me. 5 minutes. Our flight leaves for the carrier at 8.” He led him off towards a private room off the area where the party was, and once there he looked up at him, “I was stupid okay. I shouldn’t have left you alone, my mind with Trouty, Hunter, and everything that had happened was so messed up. I want you to give me another chance.”
Sebastian looked down to where Blaine had grabbed his hand and he followed the shorter man into a more private area. “Why…” he asked, “why do you want me to give you another chance?” He ran a hand through his hair. “I can’t… going into this, taking everything into a real situation, I don’t want to be distracted by you. And rest assured, you distract me; big time. So I don’t know what you want from me.”
“Because you deserve better than I gave you before,” Blaine said as he looked up and raised a hand to trace the others jawline, “but I understand the distraction, so I’m leaving you to think about it. Just think about it.” He turned to leave to go get ready for their flight.
Sebastian closed his eyes as Blaine’s fingers traced his jaw. “I’m not the kind of guy that deserves anything to be honest,” he said softly. He opened his eyes and nodded his head. “Of course I’ll think about it.” Sebastian reached out for Blaine’s hand and pulled him back. “For what it’s worth; I’m glad you came back for graduation.”
Blaine nodded and gave a small smile, “me too.”
This was Sebastian’s first trip to the Indian Ocean. He knew that it had been where Blaine, Sam, David and Trent had been stationed before Top Gun, and where the incident involving David and Blaine had taken place. He couldn’t help but wonder how Blaine felt about returning. Still, Sebastian didn’t have time to focus on that. He had a job to do, and his life and Tristan’s depended on him staying sharp and focussed.
“Alright, I’m taking the lead here, since it’s my name on that trophy. Let’s identify just how many of the enemy we’re dealing with today,” Sebastian said over the coms.
“Gotcha Crab,” Nick said. “You’ve got lead, Barbie and I are on your left side, flying a little low.”
“Crab, we’ve got a problem here,” Tristan announced. “Barbie, I’m counting four; not one pair but two, on enemy aircraft about to descend on us.”
“Better make that five. Holy shit!” Jeff said.
“There’s five?” Sebastian asked.
“Yes sir!” Jeff said.
“Oh shit,” Nick swore as he heard the beep of a missile lock. “Crab, he’s got a missile lock on us already.”
“Get out of there Ken,” Sebastian said. “Get out of there then God damn it!”
“I’m trying man. Believe me, I’m trying.”
“Fuck, on our left Ken, incoming,” interrupted Jeff.
“We’re hit. We’re hit,” Nick said.
“We’re coming apart at the seams.”
“I can’t control it. We’re going down,” Nick said. “Too much damage. Get ready to eject Barbie.”
“Ken’s been hit. Ken’s been hit,” announced Sebastian.
“I’m ready,” Jeff said, more calm that Sebastian thought was possible. “On your mark Nick.”
“Go, go, go Jeff.”
“Voodoo team, we’ve lost Ken and Barbie, I repeat, we’ve lost Ken and Barbie,” Tristan said solemnly.
I don’t have a good feeling about this, Sebastian thought to himself.
“There’s five enemy up there with them?” William ‘Stringer’ Schuester asked.
“Yes sir,” Bryan said, looking at the screens in front of him. “And we have verbal confirmation from both teams.”
“Launch Andersons on alert,” Will said. “They’re to take over for Ken and Barbie. Be Crab and Viper’s wingman. Also get ready to launch Boss and Thumper, McFly and Babyface.”
“Killer and Hollywood are airborne.”
“Good. Get those others ready in catch three and four, ready to go on my mark.” Will looked over at Bryan. “Do you think Anderson is ready to be back up there?”
“He’s as ready as he’s going to be. And he’s got Cooper with him,” Bryan said. “That’s about the best we can hope for.”
“Killer is airborne,” Blaine said once his aircraft left the carrier.
“Crab, what’s your position,” Cooper asked.
“Hot damn it’s Hollywood,” Viper said. “Crab we’ve got the cavalry coming for us.”
“We’re at 0-9-0 180 miles.” Sebastian wondered if he should say anything to Blaine but before he could, Tristan interrupted him.
“Watch out, we’ve got incoming on our right, Crab.”
“We’ve got two dead ahead and coming in on the right. I’m going after those ones and bringing them around to the left,” Sebastian announced.
“We’ve got four of them on our tail now, Crab. Damn it that makes six, I repeat, six enemy aircraft up here with us,” Tristan said. “The leader is closing in on us, in guns range. Shit.” He turned around. “Fuck, he’s firing, break right Crab.”
“Voodoo team, this is Crab. We are totally defenseless up here. Launch the alert fighter. Launch anyone!”
“Killer is supersonic, I’ll be there in thirty seconds. Hold your pants, Crab,” Blaine said.
“Get your ass up here,” Sebastian yelled. “I’m engaged with at least five, that’s right, at least five of these motherfuckers. I’m in deep shit.”
“Deep, deep shit,” Tristan echoed.
“Where are they?” Will shouted. “Where the fuck are Killer and Hollywood? Why are Crab and Viper all alone up there?”
“They’re one hundred and fifty miles and closing in fast,” Bryan said.
“Ready the others. On my mark.”
“Sorry sir, the catapults are broken,” Bryan grimaced. “We can’t launch anything yet.”
“They’re saying about ten minutes.”
“Bullshit ten minutes!” Will screamed. “At this rate this thing will be over in two minutes. And we’ll have a major international event on our hands to deal with. Get on it. I want them in the air, and I want them up there now. I don’t want excuses.”
Will folded his arms over his chest and looked at the screens. “C’mon kid get in there. Engage. Get in there Killer, Jesus Christ,” he said softly.
“Where the hell are you guys?” Sebastian asked.
“Don’t let him get to you,” Cooper said softly. “Keep steady, keep on.”
“They’re coming in up high Crab,” Tristan said. “Enemies coming in up high. Watch your back Hollywood.”
“Oh fuck, that’s missile tone,” Sebastian swore.
“Break right, break right,” Tristan said.
“Shit that was too close for comfort.” Sebastian looked around outside the aircraft, looking for signs of Blaine and Cooper. “Fuck Killer, how about a little help up here? Anderson brothers, where the hell are you God damnit!”
“Easy Killer,” Cooper said softly. “Don’t let him get to you.”
“Killer, join the party and engage a couple of these motherfuckers for me.”
“Fuck, little brother we’ve been spotted. We’ve got one on our tail.”
“Shit,” Blaine swore. “Watch out, watch out. Damn he is coming right for us.” He angled his plane low just as the other went high and over them.
“Shit!” Cooper said as the instrument panel lit up. “We flew right through his jet wash.”
“Not again,” Blaine said. “Fuck me, not again.”
“Get control little brother. Get control, you can do it.”
Blaine struggled with the controls but eventually he was able to take back control of the aircraft.
“Yes! Good recovery Killer. I knew you could do it,” Cooper cheered from the back. “Let’s get in there. C’mon we’ve got to help Crab.”
Blaine breathed heavily into his mask, eyes watering, and blinking rapidly.
“C’mon little brother,” Cooper said softly. “You’ve got to get back in the game.”
“Nah, it’s no good. It’s no good, I can’t do it,” Blaine said decidedly.
“Get back in there.”
“God damn it, Killer is disengaging,” Tristan shouted.
“I knew it. I knew this would happen. Fuck!” swore Sebastian.
“What are you doing? You can’t just leave them,” Cooper said shaking his head. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Talk to me Trouty,” Blaine whispered, looking at an old photo of he and Sam that he’d put on his instrument panel.
“For fuck sake, Sebastian is in trouble. He’s got five or six engaged with him and you gotta get in there,” Cooper said. “Move, Blaine. He won’t last without us. Get in the fight. C’mon Blaine.”
“Talk to me Trouty,” Blaine repeated. “Tell me what to do Sam.”
“I know you miss him,” Cooper breathed softly. “I know it’s hard to do this without him Blaine. But you’ve got to get in there and fight. Show them, show Crab and Viper who is really best of the best. Do it to prove the Anderson name means something.” He took a deep breath. “Do it for Sam.”
“Fuck it! Killer, get your ass back up here and engage,” Sebastian said loudly. “Show me why I trust you. Yeah. I trust you. And I need your help.”
“You didn’t recover that spin we were in just to disengage and leave your wingman all alone,” Cooper said. “You can’t leave Sebastian and Tristan up here all alone.”
Blaine turned his aircraft around and went to engage the enemy fighters.
“Holy shit,” Viper exclaimed. “Killer’s re-engaging.”
“I can’t shake ‘em Killer,” Sebastian said seriously. “I can’t get them off my tail.”
“Crab, I’ve got your enemy dead ahead. Dead ahead,” Blaine repeated. “Good tone. I’ve got good tone. Missile lock and good tone, I’m firing.”
“We have two enemies coming in about 800 miles and closing,” Cooper said, “dead ahead.”
“I see ‘em. I’m going to take them down the left side.”
“Shit! Crab is right below us with one on his tail.”
“He’s firing, break left,” Viper said. “Break left Crab.” He breathed out heavily. “He over shot. Thank God he over shot.”
“I’m coming in Crab, Viper. I’m coming in,” Blaine said. “Got two aircraft dead ahead.”
“I see them Killer. One passing between us.”
“You’ve got one on your left,” Viper said. “One on your left. Three o’clock. He’s going to fire. He’s going to fire!”
“Left. I’m banking left,” Blaine said. “There he is Crab. Get him. Get him!”
“I’m coming in,” Sebastian agreed. I’ve got him.”
“We’ve got one on our tail little brother. We’ve got to get out of here.“
“I can’t leave my wingman. I can’t leave Crab,” Blaine said.
“He’s coming around. He’s going to get behind us, Killer,” Cooper said.
“I’m NOT leaving my wingman.”
“I’m on his tail,” Sebastian said. “On his tail. I'm going for it. Going for the shot right now. Engage. I’ve got radarlock. Good tone. I’m taking the shot. Fire!” He held his breath letting out a whoop of excitement when the aircraft exploded. “Bingo!”
“Roast that motherfucker yeah!” Tristan cheered.
“Seb, watch out,” Blaine interrupted. “One on your right. He’s firing.”
“I’m hit, I’m hit.”
“We’re hit,” Tristan repeated. “We took a hit to the right engine.”
“I’m shutting it down ,” Sebastian said. “Shutting down right engine.”
“You’ve got an enemy still behind you. I’m coming in, maneuvering for the shot,” Blaine said.
“Killer, stay with him.” Sebastian was sounding panicked, not something Blaine thought he’d ever hear. “Stay with him and take the shot. Nail him!”
“Crab, shit! I can’t get a tone. I can’t get a lock on him.”
“Shoot Blaine. Just shoot. I can’t get him off …fuck! We’re hit again Killer.”
“It’s okay. The hits weren’t critical. We still have engine two functional,” Viper updated them. “We’re still okay… for now. C’mon Killer.”
Blaine blew out a deep breath. “Okay Crab, listen. On the count of three, break hard, hard, right.”
Three, two, one. Break right Bas, break right. I’m firing!” He watched as the missile sailed by. “Damn it! I missed.”
“Don’t let him go Killer. Stay on him,” Sebastian pleaded. “Keep on him, take him out.”
“I’ve got him. I’ve got your back Crab.” He lined up the shot. “Firing now, with tone…. YEAH! That’s three!”
“Three down, three to go,” Cooper reminded him.
“There’s one on your tail now,” Sebastian said.
“Slight problem here. I’m down to only one missile left,” Blaine said.
“I see him Crab. He’s to the right of us Killer.”
“Shit! He’s going for guns, he’s firing guns. I’ve got to get us out of here.”
“You haven’t lost him yet. He’s still with us,” Cooper said with a look at the controls. “What are you doing? You’re slowing down. You’re slowing down Blaine!”
“Just bringing him in a little closer Coop.”
“You’re going to do what? That’s insane. This is it. He’s going to go missile lock.”
“Don’t worry about it Hollywood. I’m going to hit the breaks and he’s going to fly right by us,” Blaine explained. “Trouty and I did this all the time.” Sure enough, the enemy aircraft sailed past them. “And now I can move in for the kill. I’ve got a good lock and I’m firing!”
“Wow! Scratch four; one, two, three, four.” Cooper cheered. “Voodoo team, this is Hollywood, please be advised the remaining enemy are bugging out and going home, tails between their legs.”
Blaine laughed as the others cheered over coms. He let out a deep breath and felt a weight lift off him. He looked at the picture of he and Sam that he had with him. “Tower, this is Killer, requesting a flyby.”
“That’s a negative Killer. The pattern is full,” came the reply.
Blaine continued to laugh.
“Okay little brother. Are you okay up there? Something I should know about?” Cooper asked, pulling off his mask.
“Just sit back and enjoy the ride Hollywood. Enjoy the ride.”
Blaine still managed to do his flyby, even without the tower approval. He didn’t think he’d get too much trouble considering what had just happened, and even if he did, he wasn’t the sort to care much about that anyway. When he finally landed on the carrier and he and Cooper went to get out of their jet, they were swarmed by it seemed like everyone aboard. Blaine noticed Nick and Jeff getting out of the rescue helicopter and he nodded to them. Then he saw Sebastian and Tristan marching determinedly in their direction. He got down onto the deck just as they reached his aircraft.
“You know what Anderson? I still think you’re dangerous.”
Blaine locked eyes with Sebastian and raised his eyebrows as it to say so what.
“But I’ve decided, you can be my wingman any time,” Sebastian grinned.
Blaine smiled wide, eyes crinkling in the corners. “Bullshit Crab! You can be mine.”
Sebastian’s arms wrapped around him and lifted Blaine off the ground in a crushing hug as Cooper and Tristan both clapped them on their backs.
“So how does it feel to be a hero?” Stringer asked as he walked into his office and saw Blaine standing there. “I’m glad you didn’t make me regret my choice in sending you as back up.”
Blaine looked at the other, “it feels pretty good sir.” He nodded, “Yes sir.”
“Admittedly it took you a while to get back in the saddle after what happened with Evans, but I...I wasn’t sure you had it in you,” Stringer said. “It’s hard not to let something like that shake you to the core. To take all the blame and responsibility and never fully recover from it.” He sat down on the edge of the desk and motioned to one of the chairs, for Blaine to sit. “How are you doing with all of that?”
“Better, that’s why I disappeared for a while, had to go take care of it, but I’m good now sir,” he said as he sat down on one of the chairs.
“I’d heard about that, about you disappeared for a while,” Stringer nodded. “Glad to hear things are good now. Although that was pretty obvious with what just happened. No one is just that lucky… not even you.” He chuckled deeply. “So before, last time you were in this office, I had to give you your shot, your dream, Top Gun. They tell me I’ve pretty much got to do the same thing now. You pretty much get to write your own ticket.”
Blaine looked at the other, “I was thinking about becoming an instructor sir. It would afford me more time with family.”
Stringer’s jaw dropped. “An instructor… at Top Gun I’m guessing?” He shook his head. “Following in your brother’s footsteps.”
“No sir, making my own path,” Blaine said as he looked up at the other.
“Help us all,” Stringer said, clapping Blaine on the shoulder. “Not that I’d expected any less. I’m sure your family will enjoy that.”
“Thank you sir,” Blaine said as he turned to leave. Once out on the deck he stood by the railing and watched the water. It would be a long but rewarding time on land. He looked down at a picture he had been carrying of himself and Sam since the accident and tossed it into the water before turning to go back inside.
Chapter 5: Epilogue
Placing first in their class came with some privileges. Sebastian and Tristan had been asked to return to Top Gun as instructors which Sebastian felt was a huge compliment to his flying. After settling back at Miramar, and spending the day trying to find himself a place to live that hopefully didn’t include staying on base, Sebastian found himself at a small bar.
Blaine had settled in on his return to Miramar with a minimal amount of fuss. He'd decided to continue staying at Cooper’s until he found himself a place similar to Hunter’s prior Oceanside residence. He'd been out looking when he decided to pull into the local neighborhood bar and walked in.
Sebastian was sitting at a small table just off of the window tables when he heard a motorcycle engine and then it cut out as it was parked. On instinct, he looked up, a smile spreading across his face as he saw the man getting off the bike and walking in. He stayed where he was, trying not to draw attention to himself, and waited for Blaine to come in and order a drink.
Blaine stepped up the bar with a smile and looked around. He ordered his usual shot of jack Daniels with a coke and sat down and looked up at the tv behind the bar.
He waited until Blaine sat down and had a drink in front of him before he stood up and approached the bar. “Well, well, well, hello, Blaine Anderson. I heard the best of the best are going to be back here…”
Blaine turned and smiled, “Crab… You know this could be complicated.. The uh first time I crashed and burned.” He sipped his drink, “unless I'm being presumptuous.”
Sebastian moved so he was leaning back against the bar and shook his head. “No, I don’t think you are. So tell me, what happened the second time Killer?”
Blaine looked at the other, “if this is what you want it's looking good so far.”
Sebastian smiled, “Are you going to run away in the middle of the night again? Just so I’m prepared, mind you…”
“Doubtful,” Blaine said softly, “I shouldn't have run the first time.”
“Coulda, shoulda, woulda’s…. I don’t live for them,” Sebastian nodded. “Live for the moment, I guess. And leave the past where it belongs. Is that okay?”
Blaine nodded, “sounds good to me.”
“I guess you don’t have any qualms about being involved with a coworker,” Sebastian said. He sat down next to Blaine. “I’ve been looking for somewhere to call home while I’m here in Miramar but with very little success. What brings you here to this bar?”
Blaine shook his head, “no reason to have qualms.” He licked over his lips, “just trying to find a place on the beach that’s not in Cooper’s spare bedroom.” He sighed, “I have high standards, and everywhere I’ve looked is either unavailable or terrible.”
“The beach would be nice,” Sebastian mused. “Not Cooper’s spare bedroom would be even nicer.” He tilted his head. “I’m just trying to stay off the base and out of military housing to be honest.”
Blaine chuckled, “I know the feeling.” He smiled at the other, “I’ve missed your smile.”
Sebastian smiled wide at that. “I think I’ve just missed you in general.” He finished off his beer and put the empty bottle on the bar. “I had no idea what would happen to you, what you’d get offered as an assignment after what happened. Getting to come back here, I won’t say that part of me hoped I’d at least run into you if you were in town to visit your family.”
Blaine smiled, “well what do they say about Top Gun instructors, only the best of the best?” He brought his beer to his lips before setting the bottle down, “would you be interested in going for a ride?”
“I guess we’ll never know for sure, which one of us is the best of the best,” Sebastian smirked. He laughed. “With you? I thought you’d never ask, Killer.”
“Mm well over the Indian ocean I think it was pretty clear who was the best,” Blaine said as he looked at his drink, “but can we just say we’re equal and you go get on the back of that bike and we head somewhere more private.”
“I’m down for that idea,” Sebastian said, getting off his stool and heading for the door. “Coming Killer?”
Blaine smiled at the other and stood up and nodded. He walked out of the bar and walked over to the bike, “Sure about this?”
“Do I seem like the kind of guy that would do anything he wasn’t sure about?” Sebastian asked, an eyebrow raised at Blaine.
Blaine shook his head with a grin, “not at all.” He took the key out of his pocket and straddled the bike before starting it and motioning for Sebastian to get on.
Sebastian climbed onto the back of the bike, sliding his body forward and wrapping around Blaine’s. He leaned down, resting his cheek against the spot between Blaine’s shoulder blades. His arms wrapped tightly around his chest, just under the others’ arms. His legs bracketing Blaine’s. “Take me somewhere we can be alone,” he whispered against the other’s ear.
Blaine squeezed the others thigh in reply before putting both hands on the handlebars and revving the engine up. He turned and sped towards Cooper’s with urgency. Once there he pulled into the drive, parked, and slid off the bike. “Hope this is okay.”
Sebastian nodded as he got off the bike. “That was hot as hell, Killer.” He reached for Blaine’s cheek and cupped it before pressing their lips together in the middle of the driveway. “This is just fine Blaine,” he murmured. “Inside. Now.”
Blaine laughed and kissed him back before standing up off the bike as well, “hey Bas you big stud. Take me to bed or lose me forever.”
Sebastian laughed, “show me the way home.”