Title: Honour, Desire (and Delusion)
by magique
Fandom: Storm Hawks
Pairing(s): Dark Ace/Harrier; implied Dark Ace/Carver.
Genre/Rating: General/M
Word Count: 1084
Summary: Protecting Terra Rex must always come above all else.
Warnings: Crack pairing? A few allusions to dub-con sex, but I shy away from any direct references because I think Harrier would too.
Notes: I feel like I might actually get flamed into oblivion for writing this pairing, haha, but I so couldn't even help it. I know I'm meant to be chugging through some Finn/Aerrow fics, but this just popped up and I couldn't resiiiist. XD
Set some time after The Code.

Dark Ace has used his body to turn sky knights before. At least, this is an assumption Harrier has made. Carver, he suspects, would know the truth of this fact intimately.

There are few reasons a sky knight would abandon his cause and, even then, dropping everything and transferring loyalty to Cyclonia is rare; Atmosians become sky knights most frequently because of a drive to protect, and the studying and training necessary to qualify is enough to drive away those without the correct dedication.

Carver once had that dedication. Harrier knew him well before the betrayal; had spoken with him and fought beside him. But Carver, however exceptional a sky knight, was also foolish and easily swayed.

It was likely Carver failed to comprehend Dark Ace's plan; the hints he dropped, the snide insinuations, how he tricked and teased until he could tell Carver to do whatever he wished and Carver would obey without question or pause.

But Harrier is not Carver; Harrier has self-control and Harrier is no fool. That is why he allows Dark Ace to touch him the way he does. And he knows to sleep with one eye open. That is why he allows Dark Ace to come to him, instead of meeting on neutral ground.

It is unpardonable, of course. Sometimes messy, often undignified, and always wrong—so very wrong. But a man has desires and, occasionally, those desires must be met to keep him at the very top of his game.

And Harrier is there, at the top, in a way he has never been. He is assuring his terra's safety as no one else can claim to.

It is different from the last time, when Dark Ace approached him for the phoenix crystal, with warm eyes and irresistible promises, because that was about honour. Dark Ace, he knows now, neither understands honour nor has any. But he understands the desires of men; how irrational and domineering they can be.

As long as their association is to last, Dark Ace promised, Cyclonia will leave Terra Rex to its own devices.

Which is not to say that Harrier believes him so blindly now as he once did. That veneer of trust has disintegrated, and Harrier will make no attempt to restore it. He cannot afford to do so, not when the last time could have ended so dreadfully if it had not been for the Storm Hawks. Harrier does not wish to require such assistance again. There is no guarantee that it will be so readily available a second time around.

So he keeps his squadron on high alert at all times, and trains harder than ever. If he is ever caught off-guard, he will need that practice to have any hope of victory.

Dark Ace is strong though, far stronger than he is himself; Harrier both remembers this from the day he defeated each Rex Guardian with single slashes of his blade, and recognises it in their night time trysts. This means the line Harrier walks as he allows this to go on is like a tightrope; thin and treacherous and dangerously high.

Harrier has fallen from it before, metaphorically and almost literally, and he does not intend to do so again. Associating with Dark Ace, he finds, is actually useful for that. It forces him to appreciate that there is a difference between being an honourable man and a good one; teaches him that devious tricks and improper flaunting of the code is sometimes necessary in battle and helps him see what to look for in an opponent that makes it so.

And, regardless of what kind of man Dark Ace is, he sates the desires that might distract Harrier from his duties.

At first, he is sure, Dark Ace tried on him what he tried on Carver, but Harrier is not the fool that Carver was, and his honour binds him to Terra Rex with a greater force than any persuasion to betray it could ever possess.

Of course, Harrier is wiser than to assume that the efforts would cease completely. He stays on guard in Dark Ace's presence to double meanings and wordplay that could be the beginning of a fresh attempt. It is tiring to stay so focussed, so wary, in the throes of indescribable passion—a passion without true emotion that he could never ask a woman to give him; that would be dishonourable to ask of a woman—but Harrier has fought in many great battles in his years as a sky knight and been placed in far more arduous situations.

The lives of every man, woman and child on Terra Rex rest in his hands, he reminds himself frequently. Never, never, during the act though, when he presses them as far from his mind as is possible. He is the friend of those men, revered by those women, and a role model to their children, and every kiss, moan, or thrust feels like a betrayal. Because however grand his intentions may be, he is their sky knight, and he is alleviating his desire with an enemy—and another man.

Dark Ace realised this, or took a chance on a whim that paid off, because he chooses the inopportune moments, the ones that cause Harrier to cringe if he ever thinks of them, to say things. To talk about Terra Rex and its people, or Cyclonia, or anything at all that might provoke. The way Dark Ace revels in watching Harrier's reactions are telling of how he delights in playing the cruel games. His smile turns razor-sharp and his eyes glitter with lust at how a few words can make his seed all the bitterer on Harrier's tongue and darken his eyes with fury.

If Harrier did not react like he does, then perhaps it would be discontinued, but he cannot make himself. What he feels for his terra is more than obligation and, however much a weakness that may seem to Dark Ace, who has pushed the softer emotions from his own periphery, it is also his strength.

To be capable of love, to understand and possess honour; these are ways in which Harrier surpasses Dark Ace. They push him to continue long after he has grown tired, and give him the fortitude to suffer for his terra. And Dark Ace cannot claim either as strengths of his own.

And some nights, when Harrier is pressed to his mattress, when his heart is heavy and beats slow, that knowledge is enough.