Word Count: 812
Disclaimer: Alright, so. If you found this comm or this post in particular by googling yourself-- you see that little X in the upper right corner? CLICK IT. And never return, please. Now go.
That said, no copyright-infringement intended; none of the characters used in this story are mine and I do not claim to own them.
Summary: While looking at the awesome site mlia.com, I found this little story: Today my friend and I went to the store. As we were shopping, my friend stops in an isle and starts thinking out loud, and says "No, I want the one with the Teddy Bear." and grabs a bottle of fabric softener. We're both soldiers, and we were in uniform. MLIA. I used it as my prompt.
Author's Note: My darling aboutademongirl beta'ed this little piece of fiction, and therefore, I shall dedicate it to her. And to the poster of the MLIA story. ♥
It’s one of the first normal things Nate does with Brad when they return from Iraq. One look in his fridge, and Nate’s feeling more depressed than he has in a while, seeing how empty it is, apart from a rotten melon in one of the drawers. He’s glad none of the things he forgot to eat have grown any legs by now, because really, that’s what should’ve happened after two years, but maybe his mom has been here to clean the fridge out.
Brad, who’s peering into the fridge over Nate’s shoulder, steps back, and Nate swears he heard him chuckle quietly.
Turning around, face flushing with embarrassment, Nate rubs the back of his head (his hair’s still cropped short, and he can’t wait to let it grow out) and mumbles, “I am… I’m sorry I don’t have any food in the house right now.”
Shrugging, he adds, “But we could go shopping for some?”
Since they’ve got nothing better to do (unpacking isn’t necessary: Nate’s still got enough clothes left in his closet, and Brad only has his suitcase with him), they go down to the store, both still wearing their uniforms.
It’s kind of weird like this, being able to choose between civvies and uniforms, between going shopping first or relaxing on the couch with a few beers and a pizza, and yet they choose to go shopping in their uniforms.
Nate shrugs it off when Brad bumps him on the shoulder—accidentally to other people, on purpose for Nate. Nate just grins at him.
(It reminds him of all those times where this was the only sort of physical comfort Brad could offer him back in Iraq, when the other guys were already joking about how their TL was fucking their LT, and they had to keep pretending they weren’t actually doing exactly what their men talked about.
Nate’s glad they don’t have to pretend anymore.)
When they arrive at the store, Nate sends Brad off to get stuff like toilet paper, tissues and fabric softener. Just because he’s used to his clothing being uncomfortable by now doesn’t mean Nate will continue living with it that way.
As Brad strolls off, Nate pushes the cart down the food aisles, already thinking about their dinner. He hasn’t had real pasta in ages, so noodles, spices and other ingredients clearly go in the cart.
He’s about to head off to collect Brad when Nate comes across him, standing in the fabric softener aisle, a very serious and thoughtful look on his face.
This look itself is something Nate enjoys seeing; it fits Brad.
When they met for the first time, Brad had the same look on his face, but a little smirk was added to it when Nate extended his hand, babbling and blushing like a complete idiot.
(Brad still makes fun of him for that sometimes, and Nate just turns around, turns off the light and pouts until Brad wraps his arms around him, rubbing the inside of Nate’s elbows and his sides until Nate can’t help but turn to goo beneath him.)
Nate rolls the cart quietly down the aisle, closer to Brad (well, about as quiet as you can roll a fucking cart with squeaking wheels and a brake that gets stuck every few feet), trying to stay as low as he can, so he won’t disturb Brad.
He stops next to Brad, wondering what in this aisle is making him think so hard.
Another two minutes of silence pass (Nate’s just gotten used to this habit of starting to count down the time when it’s getting too quiet; it passes the time and, in some weird way, entertains him), and then Brad finally speaks up.
“No, I want the one with the Teddy Bear.” Grabbing a blue bottle of fabric softener with a Teddy Bear on it, Brad turns around, actually looking surprised at Nate standing beside him.
There’s the slightest hint of a blush to Brad’s cheeks as he drops the fabric softener into the shopping cart.
A little old woman that’s in the same aisle now coos at them (actually fucking coos, and now Nate’s ducking his head, all shy smile and blushing, himself), and Brad gives Nate a light shove, before leading the way to the register.
When they start to load everything on the conveyer belt, Nate finally has a chance to read the brand of the fabric softener.
Snuggle. And the kind of Snuggle Brad picked out? Blue Sparkle.
Nate chuckles at this before standing on his tiptoes ever so lightly and kissing Brad right on the mouth.
This is the first time they’ve ever shown that much of affection in public, but the blush on Brad’s face (judging by the way Nate’s face is burning up, it’s definitely mirrored) and the little old lady cooing again makes it worth it.