Iceman was convinced it was Maverick's fault.
He just knew Maverick had left the stove on and gone for a leisurely walk, or tried to stop a fire by throwing vodka on it, but no, everyone said it had been an electrical fire and not his fault at all and had been fawning over him ever since. "Oh, poor Mitchell, that's too bad, let's make him and that cute baby sister of his a casserole."
Fuck, thought Iceman, if you got this much attention for burning your own house down, he wasn't sure why more people didn't try it.
But then someone had volunteered Iceman to take him in.
Viper told him it was because he was the most responsible student at the academy, and probably the most hospitable and besides Maverick was looking after fourteen year old Phoenix and she couldn't stay just anywhere on base, and Iceman had bit his lip the entire time to stop from screaming out "BULLSHIT!" at the top of his lungs. This was some crack-pot plan to get Iceman and Maverick to play nice, and everyone knew it. Iceman wouldn't even be surprised to find out that Viper had set the fire himself, stuck a fork in one of Maverick's electrical sockets or something.
Hollywood had adopted all of it as his current pet conspiracy theory. Last month he had been obsessed with the JFK assassination, and now he had taken to popping out from behind corners questioning Maverick and Phoenix about the validity of the situation. Finally Maverick had cracked and punched Hollywood square in the nose. Iceman would never admit it to anyone, but he was kind of impressed.
Conversely, he was absolutely horrified by living with Maverick.
Over the last few weeks Maverick had said to him an entire host of nasty things, including "you uptight OCD pussy bitch" and "it's no wonder you don't have a girlfriend, she would kill herself five seconds after you asked her to move in" Jess however was nicer and always tried to follow Iceman's rules and compliment him on his house and hospitality.
But how was Iceman supposed to react when Maverick used the hand towels from the front bathroom to wipe his shoes, and walked around the house wearing only dog tags and boxers, and used Iceman's toothbrush without telling him?
Really, what the hell?
It was the coup de grâce when Iceman returned home one evening to find Maverick having sex on his couch.
The girl looked to be about twenty, with blonde hair that was tangled with sweat. She occasionally let out a noise as Maverick thrusted on her.
Iceman stood in the doorway and watched, kissing his anger goodbye. It wasn't going to help him here. He needed a plan.
Maverick finally noticed him, gave a yelp of alarm, and sat bolt upright. The girl sat up too, saw Iceman, and screamed at an ungodly pitch.
"Afternoon, Mitchell," Iceman drawled, looking straight at him.
"Uh, Katie," Maverick said, handing her his shirt while keeping his eyes on Iceman, "maybe you should go..."
She grabbed it from him and dashed out of the room.
Maverick pulled his boxers on. The little strip of hair along his lower stomach, leading toward his crotch, was still visible.
"So, Kazanski," Maverick said. "Is this what you wanted?"
"Actually, no," Iceman said.
"No, you wanted my balls," Maverick snapped, "and now you have them. So, what? Are you kicking me and Jess out?"
"Shut up, Mitchell, I'm trying to think."
And then it came to him.
"One-on-one hop," Iceman said shortly. "Bring your RIO, I'll bring mine. Whoever gets gunned down first has to do whatever the other wants."
"What do you want?"
"You'll find out."
Maverick glared at him. "Fine. And if I win, I get to do what the fuck I want without you getting your panties in a wad."
Iceman rolled his eyes. "Unlikely, Mitchell," he said, turning around and leaving the living room before Maverick could react.
"He thinks he's going to win," Iceman said dismissively, looking over at Maverick as he and Slider readied their jet.
"And we know we're going to win," Slider told him. "Forget about it. This look okay to you?"
"Its fine," Iceman told him, climbing into the cockpit. "Yeah, we should be good," he said, tugging at a cable.
"How'd you get clearance for a solo hop, anyway?" Slider said, sounding impressed.
"My superiors love me," Ice said, sliding his helmet on. "Instruments and gauges fully functional," he said.
He clicked on the comm. "You up for this, Mitchell?"
"Just do it, Kazanski," Maverick snapped, sounding fidgety and wired.
Jess looked at them both down on the tarmac she had a bad feeling about this. As much as she pretended not to like Ice she knew that she loved and if either he or Mav went down today she would horrified as much as she hated to admit it Ice was like a responsible older brother whereas Mav was the fun reckless one.
Regardless of her feelings they were up within a few minutes.
"You see him?" Slider said.
"No," replied Iceman. "Don't worry about it, he'll come."
All of a sudden Maverick's plane went into a spectacular dive in front of them. Iceman turned in the air to get a better angle.
"What do you think he's trying to do?" Slider said, sounding nervous.
"Shut up," Iceman said, and it wasn't mean, just sharp.
"He's got tone on us, Ice!"
Iceman pulled up and burst away from Maverick, supersonic. He turned again and fingered the controls.
"What are you doing?"
"He has to come to us," Iceman murmured.
"Getting worried, Kazanski?" crackled Maverick's voice in his ear.
"Why, Mitchell, are you?"
"Hell no," Maverick said, but his voice cracked. It was something most could barely hear, but Iceman heard everything.
He grinned and crept forward.
There was Maverick, a sitting duck in the middle of the canyon.
"Shit," Iceman heard Goose say.
"Ice," Slider said warningly.
The way Iceman's plane moved forward, it was like a snake, a calculated moment of pure force. It was over before either of them knew what happened, Iceman had missile lock on him, had fired, and Maverick was swearing over the comm.
Back on the ground, Maverick stormed off. Iceman watched him go, knowing where he was headed. In the tower Jess just watched them her mouth gaping
"Nice job," Iceman told Slider, and set forth to follow. Up in the tower Jess watched both boys enter the heading home through her binoculars sighed pulled of her headphones grabbed Mavericks motorbike keys and followed.