Mighty Wings

Fandom: Top Gun

Summary: After an in-flight error, Maverick and Iceman's partnership is on the rocks. Also, Hollywood struggles with his true feelings.

Disclaimer: I do not own Maverick, Iceman, or any related characters or events referenced in Top Gun: Mighty Wings. This is a Fan Fiction for entertainment purposes only and should not be reproduced.

Author's Notes: This is a standalone sequel to my other story Top Gun: Turbo Lover. Maverick and Iceman are in an already established relationship and this story focuses more on friendships and bonding than the last.

"Ice what the hell are you doing? Get out of there!"

"Hang on!" Ice was sounding unusually flustered. This situation was uncomfortably familiar; Iceman chasing down a target drone, with Maverick, his wingman, closing in from behind and urging Iceman to take the shot or get out of the way, because Maverick, living up to his call sign was more than ready to step in and take the shot instead and with it, the glory.

Iceman wiped sweat from his brow, he didn't usually act like this, but this whole uncomfortable position brought back bad memories he could live without. He still woke up in cold sweat, the day Goose died. Maverick felt it worse than anyone, but he was determined to not let the same happen. He had no patience for Iceman's common yet, uncharacteristic seizing up under pressure. He pulled back, and flew over the top of Iceman and Slider.

"Err Mav? What are you doing?" His unnamed RIO called to him, but Maverick couldn't hear for the blood rushing to his head. He angled the fighter and took the shot, right over the top of Iceman, whose reaction was perhaps a bit over the top, but he knew never to underreact when Maverick was involved; he pulled back hard, the fighter jet equivalent of slamming on the breaks, and let Maverick steal the kill.

"Maverick…" Iceman growled into his collar, he should have expected this, but didn't factor in Mavericks greed for glory. He bit back on his anger so hard he bit in to his bottom lip. Slider however was much less reserved about his displeasure of Mavericks near-disastrous actions.

Back on the tarmac, Slider practically ran over to Maverick and gave no warning before punching him in the face. And it was a hard hit too. No mercy and full of meaning behind it. Maverick, not being the type of guy to fall in to a retreat, he lunged forward, with every intention of defending his position. But unfortunately for Maverick, he was becoming predictable and was met with another angry punch, knocking him on to his backside on the tarmac next to his fighter. It was humiliating; not only had Maverick failed to accomplish something he'd been itching to do for years, and hit Slider; he also was met with defeat at his very hands. He was too ashamed to stand as he wiped blood from his nose with the sleeve of his flight suit.

"Maverick… you could have killed us you reckless son of a bitch." He spat, before being ushered away by Hollywood, who had ran up with Wolfman at his heels upon seeing the throw down. Wolfman stopped, had a look on his face, torn, like he was stuck between him helping Maverick and following Hollywood. He eventually shook his head in disdain, and reluctantly chose the latter.

But what hurt Maverick more than the punch and the abandonment, was Iceman. He didn't even look in his direction, just walked passed him like he was a leper and walked so fast he overtook Wolfman, who tried to keep in step.

That stung.

He wasn't even sure what he did wrong; to him he was genuinely surprised that they expected him to not act. Goose died. It didn't mean he was going to change that much. But it had been two decades, and now an instructor at Topgun, he perhaps should have led a better example to the dozen students watching from the wings. And Iceman being the ever-consistent rule-follower, he probably saw Maverick's need for speed a childish and if not slightly nostalgic move.

Maverick wanted to hit Slider back. He really did. He hated how he sucked up all the time like a leech on Iceman's ass, but despite his hothead attitude, he wasn't much of a fighter. And Iceman not so much as looking in his direction made Maverick seem to think that Iceman had chose Slider as his favorite, well and truly.

Although their rivalry had fizzled out with time, Maverick was still Maverick and loved to be in the spotlight—surely Ice knew that? He hoped he understood and wasn't going to hold some kind of grudge for Maverick. That would have hurt too much. He didn't want anyone to hate him, he did what he did simply because he was Maverick, and if Iceman was going to hate him for being himself—The gutting pain would be too much to deal with.

With his pride damaged, Maverick rubbed his stinging eyes and got off the tarmac and hid himself away in his office, slinking down back-corridors and waiting for places to empty to avoid anyone seeing that Slider had socked him one. He slumped down in the small leather couch in the corner that he'd brought from home to make him feel more comfortable with spending most of his time at Topgun. It had started to feel like a home away from home—he just wished he had some gin stowed away under his desk, then it would be better than home.

Maverick had no woman or family—he didn't want them, his life was all about the skies and his job. He loved it, which is why he elected to stay on and teach at Topgun. He felt a secret rush of excitement upon hearing Iceman was coming back. That was a few months ago. That was a positive. However, coming and becoming his superior and bringing Slider with him were definitely not positives. Maverick felt like he had to be twice as much of a hothead just to keep up appearances.

After a couple of hours passed and it got dark out, Maverick debated apologizing. The gravity of how he'd acted up in the air was starting to sink in, and Maverick was sinking deeper and deeper into self-depreciation.

"I'm sorry Goose." He whispered, looking at the photo he kept close to his heart. "I—I didn't think… god, I'm so stupid." Maverick flopped back against the couch, cupping his face in his hands, letting out an exasperated sigh of realization.

The next day at Topgun, a whole group of guys were in the locker room; undressing, showering, and redressing. It was usual loud chatter among the students, but the others were oddly quiet and they all had the same thing on their mind.

"Hey 'Wood…" Wolfman drawled, clad in nothing but a wet towel around his hips and lay on his back as he always did across the bench behind Hollywood. Wolfman was quite a talker and probably the laziest man in the room, waiting until mostly everyone left before bothering getting dressed, he just laid there and let himself dry off rather than put the effort in.

"Hm-mm?" Hollywood was no less of a procrastinator; stood, facing his locker, also towel-clad, and staring at himself in the small mirror he brought from home and stuck to the inside of his locker. He was combing his hair back, painfully slow. Gelling and re-combing with intricate care and attention to detail—every hair had it's place. This was a process that left him and Hollywood the last to leave the locker room, without fail. Hollywood had a toothbrush in his mouth and his response was somewhat muffled through the din, but he figured Wolfman would start speaking anyway, if he heard him or not.

"Do ya think they'll be okay?" He asked quietly, turning his head slightly to set his eyes upon Hollywood's naked back. Wolfman was looking for reassurances, Hollywood knew, but he couldn't give him them He knew full well who his was asking about but he wasn't one to openly engage in discussions about gay rumors in the company of pilots. They were all friends though, and most of the men in the room were more inclined to prefer the company of men, they were pilots, after all. Hollywood and Wolfman, Iceman and Slider, all happened to be in their forties and confirmed bachelors. But no one ever said anything- it didn't need saying. Maverick was a bit of a wildcard in the group however, he dated Charlie for a while, but once the passion expired and Charlie moved on to bigger and brighter pastures in the nineties, he had remained single ever since. It was rumors of Maverick sleeping with Iceman that were the most recent rumors, and the gang pretty much stuck by the book in 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell, mostly because they didn't want to ruin anything, if indeed there was a something. Which is why they usually never discussed these kinds of issues—to protect their friends.

"Who?" Hollywood played coy, still combing and staring. He wasn't really in to talking while he was having Hollywood time, but he knew Wolfman well enough to not turn and give him a scowl just yet. Wolfman seemed to hesitate in answering right away, and his fingers toyed with the brim of the towel on his hips. Hollywood seemed to notice this, and watched him through the mirror, rather than watching himself—he still combed of course. Wolfman looked apprehensive but grinned wide and reached over tugging at the other mans towel until he turned his head sufficiently enough to see Wolfman incline his head in the direction of Iceman, who was stood with Slider at the opposite side of the bench getting dressed. Hollywood shrugged and turned his attention back to the mirror. He didn't know, and didn't like to think about it too much to not get wrinkles.

"What about us?" Wolfman whispered in a tone so quiet, Hollywood wasn't sure if he'd imagined it. He felt his stomach jump and he bit his lip out of sight to not let on that his peacock feathers had just been ruffled. Wolfman seemed to not notice that and rolled his eyes, deciding on a rewording. "I mean—us, all of us. What'll happen if we all break apart 'cause of dumb lil Maverick?" Wolfman clearly had a lot of questions and a few fears it seemed. Hollywood wanted nothing more than to ease his mind, but he couldn't, truthfully he hadn't thought about how Maverick and Iceman hating each other would affect him—which was the most important really. Hollywood was a little surprised really, he knew Wolfman valued friendship more than anything, but Hollywood couldn't resist messing with him.

"Oh my poor little Wolfman…" He busied himself stuffing his things back away in his locker right before turning to face the other man. "You care too much. Relax. It'll all work out. Trust me." Wolfman pulled a face but was used to Hollywood making fun of him and knew his heart was in the right place. Besides, he had too much on his mind.

"But do you think they'll be okay?" He asked again, staring at the ceiling fans.

"Gee I don't know… maybe you should ask him." Hollywood responded stupidly. Unfortunately for Hollywood, Wolfman thought it might be a better idea than trying to get Hollywood to talk about it any longer. People were clearing out now, leaving only the four and a small group of guys hanging around the door, pretending to fight. Iceman and Slider were fully dressed and Iceman had just shut his locker. Wolfman figured it was now or never, he turned his head, which was resting on his hand, which he used as a headrest, and looked across at Iceman. Slider seemed to notice this and gave Wolfman a playful slap on his bare stomach, leaving a red mark.

"Quit staring or your eyes will pop out. What's your deal?" Slider asked, derailing Wolfman from directly communicating with Iceman, who hadn't said a word since the incident the day before. Wolfman winced and rubbed at the stinging handprint on his belly. Hollywood ground his teeth and turned quite sharply to glare at Slider, hand on hip in a sassy fashion that quickly distracted Wolfman from saying anything.

"No, Slider… what's your deal?" Both Slider and Wolfman gawked at Hollywood. They'd known him for years but never saw Hollywood act this defensive. Slider blinked and stuttered. Iceman didn't say anything—which was becoming a familiar trait of his.

"Excuse me?" Slider asked, genuinely taken aback by Hollywood's butting in. Slider didn't want to get in to another fight, especially not with someone like Hollywood, who he knew was far more capable fighter than he was. Slider was a little hurt by Hollywood's tone, and chose to avoid ruffling him any further, scoffing and turning back to his locker to collect his things. Iceman shook his head at the whole situation and didn't get involved, swiftly and gracefully leaving the room behind the group, leaving the three men alone. Slider didn't like it, Hollywood was still glaring at him, and it unnerved him, he didn't know why Hollywood was acting like this—but he forced himself to break out of the situation and go off practically running after Iceman, who had not yet eluded his sights.

"Slider…" Hollywood called after Slider as he crossed the awkwardly silent room to meet him, face-to-face, by the door. Wolfman closed his eyes and leaned his head back. He could feel another fight coming. However, Hollywood just slung his arm around Slider and tilted his head towards Wolfman. "Don't touch. Got it?" He whispered, only for his ears. Slider bit his tongue and nodded. He got it. Hollywood smiled and leaned in, kissing Slider behind the ear, who gulped, unnerved—he wasn't going to be touching Wolfman again… no matter how badly he wanted to. Hollywood watched until Slider was out of sight. Alone.

Wolfman lifted his head, watching as Hollywood reappeared from behind the bench and return to his locker, resetting his hair. They were both still wearing towels, but since both men took their sweet time, no rush was happening.

For a long time now, Hollywood had suspected Wolfman was brighter than he sounded, and it hadn't occurred to him until recently that Wolfman had involved himself in earlier events and somehow managed to get Maverick to stay on and not quit back in the eighties. And when Hollywood received a mysterious and cryptic message from Charlie, telling him to 'Tell Wolfman… thank-you.' And although the relationship between Maverick and Charlie hadn't worked out, Hollywood was very proud of him. For what? He wasn't sure. But the fact remained that Wolfman was the kind of person he would never loose as a friend. No one would. He was the lovable puppy type who was impossible to hate and managed to befriend everyone. He was everyone's best friend. And so Hollywood was so proud to have him hold himself so close to him.

"What was that all about?" Wolfman asked, but quickly lost interest in the business at hand when he saw Hollywood drop his towel, facing him. He used the towel to rub down his freshly shaven jawline, while Wolfman gulped audibly, and shifted uncomfortably on the bench. Hollywood wasn't an innocent party, but he acted pretty oblivious as he turned, and slowly, very slowly slid up his tight jeans up over his ass. He knew what he was doing to Wolfman, but loved to watch him squirm.

"Don't you worry your pretty head about it Wolf—It's done." Hollywood said, turning his attention once again to the mirror.

Wolfman nodded, but found himself sneaking a look at Hollywood's ass sliding in to the jeans. 'No underwear? Ohh man…' Wolfman bit his bottom lip. He felt himself sweating, but luckily his skin was still wet to make much of a difference.

"Hey. Wolf…" Hollywood, turned back to the mirror, and watched Wolfman through the mirror, unseen by his eyes. Wolfman made a noise somewhere between 'Hm?' or 'Huh?', he didn't care which. By now, Wolfman had sat up on the bench and followed Hollywood's example in removing his towel, much to Hollywood's pleasure, was semi-hard, struggling to quickly slip on his tight little boxers before Hollywood turned around. He could hardly breathe. "Is it true? What they say about Southern boys?" Hollywood asked, huskily; his breath steaming up the mirror as he slowly rubbed the front of his jeans.

"What about us 'Wood?" Wolfman was acting erratically, gulping a lot and his eyes darting around the room. Obviously he didn't know Hollywood was getting himself off watching the object of his lust trying to his own 'wood'. Hollywood felt somewhat guilty. He'd always harbored an attraction to him, and felt it rather cruel the way they teased each other with their usual sexually tense banter. They had experimented—with Slider, as fortune would have it, some time ago. They were very, very drunk and remembered very little, and elected to never mention it again. But Hollywood, finding the sweet soul of Wolfman harder to resist every day; Everyday his feelings grew stronger, bigger, until his heart hurt so much he felt like he'd rather die than hold this inside any longer. He'd fallen hard for him, but fought it with all he could.

"That you have a lot of stamina?" Hollywood bit his lower lip, watching with an amazed expression as his flustered blonde friend pulled his boxers back off and tossed them in his locker before pulling on his jeans—commando. Hollywood bit back a moan. He'd noticed how Hollywood went commando—how could he not? And copied him. But he wasn't a big thinker, and all he could do was stare with his mouth agape and watering as he watched Wolf's hardening cock disappear inside his jeans.

"Wanna find out?" Wolfman grinned, slipping on his t-shirt. This was getting too much to handle for poor Hollywood, who was aching so bad he wanted nothing more than to just get some friction. He discreetly palmed himself under his jeans while putting away his things with his free hand.

"Name the time and place pretty boy." He was joking—but not really. Hollywood needed to get his mind off of sex, which was almost impossible with his hand stroking himself. But in a quick glance in the mirror, he noticed Wolf was fully dressed, apart from shoes and cowboy hat—which was sitting on his lap, and he decided he'd better follow suit. He slipped on his belt and shirt and managed to shift his hard-on to a more comfortable position. He turned to face Wolfman who was sat, with one foot across his knee, pulling black sock over it. They met each other's eyes, and Wolfman smirked brightly as Hollywood grabbed the clothes hooks attached to the bench and used them as leverage to bring his face down close to inches from his.

Wolfman was the pretty one- that had been established during one drunken night with Slider. Wolfman disputed it and cutely declared he was the manly one, to which they laughed. They also decided Hollywood was 'Handsome Hollywood', which he nodded in agreement. Slider was the sexy one, no one disagreed—the man was sexy from head to toe. Iceman was disputed between Hollywood saying he was the second-perfect one behind himself obviously, and Slider saying he was the beautiful one, they both grimaced at how pathetic that sounded and decided to leave Iceman on the back bench for now and moved on to Maverick… who they decided was… well, just Maverick really.

"Bring it on city-boy." Wolfman sounded… different. His hard-on wasn't going away at this rate. Could Wolfman be finally getting it? He hoped so with all his heart… and other places.

"You should ditch him." Slider warned, leaning back on the two-legs of a chair in front of Ice's desk, his feet crossed over the desk, flattening some paperwork. He was also chewing something, while throwing discarded peanut shells across the desk trying to get them in Ice's cold cup of coffee.

Iceman stood at the window, leaning against the frame and just gazing out across the base. He hadn't stopped thinking about the day before. Maverick thoughtlessly making them both relive the past. It was painful. He missed Goose too. And how Maverick could have forgotten that to make almost the same mistake that got him killed two decades ago is beyond his comprehension. He'd forgive him overtime, and he knew that Slider only wanted the best for Ice, but still found it difficult to accept him as being with him. It was hard to accept at first, but Maverick and Iceman walking in Topgun one day to find Slider, along with Hollywood and Wolfman, naked and passed out in the lounge room. So, finding Maverick and Iceman nuzzling each other… well, Slider had little to call him on.

"Slider…" Iceman's voice ground out, choked from not speaking for a while. Slider looked at his back, surprised to finally hear him speak. He didn't sound angry or upset or anything. Slider was going to say something to commemorate the opening of the mouth, but he knew to be sensitive when it called for it. "I love him."

Slider choked on his peanuts and went wide-eyed for a minute, unsure of anything to say. He'd never hear Iceman say anything of the sort in his life, ever. And he knew him better than anyone, how could he not notice this? He was mentally kicking himself. If Iceman said he loved someone, he definitely was inclined to believe him.

"You? You do?" Slider ungracefully pushed back on the chair and almost fell on his ass before running his hand through his hair and standing. "Oh… man, how did you let that happen?" Slider had put his foot in his mouth he knew and bit his lip, stopping himself from saying any more.

Iceman nodded.

Slider came up to Iceman from behind and slid his arms around his waist, nuzzling his face in to his neck. "I am so sorry." He whispered, making Ice shiver. He felt warm against his back. Somehow Slider always managed to make him feel better and worse all at the same time. "I thought you were just screwing. I-well, forget what I think." Ice nodded and squeezed Sliders hand as it came to hold his. "You love him? I get it… I'm happy for you." He was, but he didn't want to share him. "Does he love you?" He asked, finally releasing Ice, who turned to pull him close against his body with one arm around his waist. Their eyes met and Ice's teary eyes said it all. And Slider felt his heart break; he didn't want Ice to feel like this, he loved him too much. He nodded. "Then it'll all work out." Ice had to roll his eyes.

"I didn't think you were the romantic type Slider." Iceman wiped his eyes and cupped his face, silently thanking him with a hug. "Thank-you."

Slider felt tears prick his eyes, he had to blink and break away in a haste, a new energy found him. "Aww, man I'm gonna cry, knock it off with all the sappy shit." Slider grinned and wrapped his knuckles against his chest. Iceman nodded and the pair just looked at each other, not sure what they should do. "Look… before you go off and get Maverick back. I need to say something…" Iceman just stared, in all seriousness, smiles gone. "I'm not condoning what he did… Please, tell me you'll take him down a peg?"

"Slider… apologize for punching him. And I'll consider talking to him." Iceman knew Slider didn't like that. He had to apologize, but he wasn't going to like it. He shrugged and reluctantly nodded. They shook on it and Slider knew—Maverick or no Maverick, their friendship was unbreakable, and Iceman was finally able to clear his mind of things troubling him and return to himself a little more.

"Hey, Mav?" Maverick turned from where he was lined in the gym, taking a shot with a basketball, straight through the hoop. He felt his nose and eye sting at first sight of the taller man. He wasn't sure of what this was but he was fairly pumped up from a day of basketball to fight. Maverick caught the ball as it rolled back to him.

"Oh. Hey Slider." Maverick was on edge, but held his ground. They were alone in the gym; Slider timed it just right so to get this chance. He knew it probably looked bad, but it kind of amused him to think that Maverick was scared of him. Slider however, was the one who looked scared; he had more sweat stains than Maverick. And refused to make eye contact with his adversary, scratching the back of his head. Judging by Sliders sheepish behavior, he wasn't here to fight at all. He kinda knew what this might be; either a third-party breakup from Iceman, or a third-party make-up. He tossed the ball to him to break the awkwardness. Thankful, Slider caught it and pressed it to his side with his palm.

"You busy?" Slider shrugged, losing his nerve. Maverick gave him a look but then shook his head and snorted, catching the ball as he tossed it back.

"Nah man." Maverick bounced the ball from his left hand to his right hand before letting it bounce over to Slider, who caught it overhead. Slider took this as an opportunity to procrastinate from the original goal—and to show off; Slider bounced the ball with one hand. He was more of a beach sports kind of guy, but he got in to it; moving in and trying to get a basket, which was deflected by Maverick. "Why'd you ask?"

"Eh… forget about it." Maverick nodded, letting it drop for now. Maverick made his way over to the benches and grabbed bottled water. Slider started pacing as Maverick gulped water. He seemed to reconsider. "Actually… Maverick. Sorry." He said.

"What for?" Maverick was naïve sometimes. It infuriated Slider, who hoped Maverick understood enough so he didn't have to explain himself, but that would have been too easy. Sliders face went a noticeable shade redder.

"Hitting you dipshit." Maverick's cheeks went a shade redder than Slider's.

"Oh right. Forget about it man. I had it coming." Maverick stood and made another basket. Slider's smile seemed to appreciate Maverick's attitude.

"Yeah, you did." Maverick raised his eyebrow watching as Slider unbuttoned his shirt and slipped it off, throwing it to the bench.

"Geez Slider." Maverick watched in amusement as Slider slapped the ball out of his hands and ran while bouncing the ball to make a basket. "Do you use every opportunity to take your shirt off?" Maverick laughed, happy to feel the tension break and very grateful to be in Maverick's company without wanting to snap his neck for once. In fact, it was going very well. Maverick would have been his kind of friend if he weren't going out with his best friend. Slider laughed and at some point flexed his biceps and flashed Maverick a wink.

"Come on Maverick, If you had this body wouldn't you wanna show it off?" Slider grinned, seeing Maverick look away before tossing him the ball again.

"You flirting with me Slider?" Maverick chuckled, coming up and bouncing the ball off of Slider's muscled chest and catching it again. Slider made a weak attempt at swatting it away but had somehow found himself coming closer to Maverick. "Huh?" He taunted, bouncing the ball off him again. Slider kept moving closer, lazily trying to snatch the ball from Maverick, who retreated back a step each time. And finally forgetting their hostilities and jealousies of each other, Slider rushed him, and wrestled Maverick to the ground, straddling his hips. They were laughing loudly and had forgot the ball as it rolled away, just like the memory of Maverick's flight antics. "I'm pretty sure you're flirting with me Slider man."

"Ego Maverick?" He chuckled and shifted in a very suggestive manner on top of Maverick to watch him squirm under him.

"Ugh, horny much Slider?" Maverick said with disgust, but still couldn't help laughing; it was typical Slider—coming on to his best friends love interest. But Slider wasn't serious; this was how he acted with pretty much everyone and in a strange way he finally felt accepted by him. Slider liked him. And all it took was getting hit by him to realize it. Maverick felt a little lightheaded. If Slider was here, it meant that he'd left Ice to apologize, meaning Iceman was probably in a forgiving mood after a couple of days to cool down. And that realization was such a relief he broke in to giggles.

"Yeah I know I am." Slider grinned, grabbing Maverick by the chin, watching with curiosity as the smaller man laughed quite loudly. "You got a problem Maverick?"

"So where is the Iceman?" After Maverick's laughter had died down, Slider shook his head and muttered something about him being crazy.

"Probably on his way home—Base shut up for the day an hour ago." Maverick nodded, remembering that he played basketball after he finished up. It had become part of his day so he forgot he was free to go. "I'm pretty sure he wants to see you too… he really loves you ya know." Slider didn't sound to have an ounce of jealousy in his voice and that made Maverick feel uncomfortable; the man he loved also loved him, and there he was, laid up under Slider. It was a Twilight Zone type feeling and he decided he needed to come back in to reality.

"Okay… so…" Maverick whistled. Slider grinned, knowing exactly what Maverick was asking, but he had made a new little game and he was enjoying it. He just stared blankly down at Maverick. Slider just looked around the room. "Ahem… Slider…"

"Hmm?" Slider looked down, Maverick was getting annoyed but still had a smile on his face that said he didn't entirely mind too much, and there was no rush.

"Slider get off!" He laughed and bucked his hips, being as unsubtle as possible and Slider had to laugh too, and released Maverick.

Both men were on their feet, brushing themselves off. Slider retrieved the ball from the corner of the room and held it to his body before coming back to Maverick who was sat slipping his own shirt in to his gym bag. Slider held out his hand to Maverick, after wiping the sweat on his sweat pants.

"Friends?" Slider had the warmest expression on his face that he'd ever seen.

"Friends." Maverick grinned happily and accepted his hand. Slider pulled him to his feet and it to a long-awaited hug that Maverick accepted gratefully. Old grudges put to rest finally after two decades. Maverick felt damn good.

"Another game?" Slider asked, pulling Mav against his shoulder.

"Are you kidding? I'll wipe the floor with ya!" Maverick seemed excited, which was good. "But just one game—I got a hot date waiting." He smiled, and got back in the game with Slider, who had managed to persuade him in to staying shirtless. He wasn't ashamed of his body and didn't shy away from showing off either.

"Ah don't worry, I'll make sure you don't stand this one up." Slider didn't say Charlie, but it went without saying. Slider was a slippery bastard, but he had more sense than to bring up the past any more.

Maverick ended up winning, probably because Slider was too busy flexing or grinding against Mav when defending the basket.

While they weren't officially employed at Topgun, Hollywood and Wolfman hung around Topgun almost daily and volunteered their experience and services to assist. But most of the assisting they engaged in was lounging around the break room or drinking at the O club. They received their pay as I they were official employees. No one complained, they were like old fixtures around the place no one wanted to see go. Hollywood however, had a license as a commercial pilot he obtained ten years earlier which he was paid very well and decided to retire early and move to town with Wolfman; who was never too far from Hollywood did some crop dusting, and since money was never a big motivator in his life, he lived quite happily without needing to spend anything, so he had amassed a large sum over the years which just sat untouched. He used paychecks to pay for essentials. Hollywood in contrast was a big spender, he rarely ever wore the same outfit twice and even had spare's of his spare's. They seemed like an unlikely match; the one who liked to live off the land—figuratively speaking, and the one who couldn't live without his weekly spa treatments. But once they had reunited as part-time instructors at Topgun, they had become inseparable.

Though they didn't live together, they lived nearby; Hollywood's lifestyle was too lavish for his tastes. But he knew that deep inside; Hollywood wasn't as vain as he'd like people to believe. He was brave and cared deeply for the lives of his friends in the air and never made a mistake. And so when Hollywood thought of Maverick in the air, he couldn't believe how he could have done such a stupid and careless maneuver just to steal a kill. He'd never do that, but Wolfman seemed to just care about Maverick getting the boot from Iceman more than he cared about what happened.

"What? You must be crazy."

"You don't see a problem with what he did? Come on Wolf, really? You stupid?"

"Naw, you aint listenin'!" Wolf grabbed the sides of his head and covered his ears. He cursed himself by lulling Hollywood in to this conversation, he wanted it but now Hollywood wasn't letting it drop. He'd had a few drinks and was speaking his mind.

"Then why don't you tell me? 'Cause I sure as fuck don't get what could justify acting like an asshole! Oh, what's that? You don't know? Big surprise."

"Well—well you could'a fooled me, 'cause your d-doin' a pretty god job of bein' one yourself." Wolfman didn't stutter usually, but he too had being drinking and they had ended up at Wolf's place watching old re-runs of black and white movies and for some reason, Hollywood was shouting, and Wolfman couldn't deal. But that last line shut him up and Hollywood had to clench his jaw. They never fought. And Hollywood realized Wolfman was right to fear Maverick's actions having a ripple effect on their friendships. And Wolfman wondered why Hollywood didn't want to get involved.

Hollywood felt bad, that pleading look on his friend's eyes told him how hurt he was and he regretted it instantly. He badly wanted to hold him close and whisper how sorry he was for getting angry, wanted to tell him all the things he had buried deep in his hear and make things better again—but he couldn't. He just shook his head and marched out of the front door, leaving Wolfman feeling more alone than ever.

As soon as the cool air touched his skin, tears were coaxed free and fell helplessly down his cheeks. He felt so bad he couldn't find the strength to walk—sitting on Wolfman's porch, face hot in his hands. His shoulders convulsed as he silently broke down in to himself. He withdrew so far, he felt so ashamed. Why did love hurt so much?

Maverick wasn't going to screw up this time, he swore. And after he and Slider parted ways, he vowed to make a better effort; he put on his dress whites, combed his hair. He was starting to feel like Hollywood. But luckily for Maverick, he knew what he wanted, and he wasn't going to let it get away. But Maverick couldn't help admire himself in the mirror, he'd aged well, as they all did, but he truly thought the age of romance was lost to all but the young. And he was especially surprised that entering a relationship with someone he'd known as a friends for years, a male friend, wasn't a walk in the park. They found out new things about each other every day, things that they didn't know despite knowing each other for nearly thirty years. Such as Iceman needing romance, well that part he wasn't sure of, even after declaring his love, he hadn't been particularly talkative. But he felt like that was part of their problem.

So now, as Maverick rang Iceman's doorbell, he had no idea of what to say or what to do, If Iceman was anything he wasn't predictable. There was no plan, just for Maverick to break the silence. He couldn't stand avoiding him anymore. He just wanted to see him smile again. He lived for it. It rang several times; he knew Iceman was in, he could see the light in the kitchen. And then he answered the door wearing an open white bathrobe—which Maverick knew he wore around the house for events like getting a midnight snack… or answering the door.

"Early night?" Iceman wasn't amused, just gave him a sassy-ass look and leaned against the doorframe with his arms folded, waiting for Maverick to explain himself. He didn't even comment on how good Maverick looked. Maverick cleared his throat, and shuffled, from foot to foot while coming up with something to say. "I'm not gonna apologize." Ice blinked, he hadn't expected that.

"No?" Iceman raised his brow.

"I'm Maverick."

"Yes… Maverick, Pete Mitchell, I… pretty much know all that by now." Ice pinched the bridge of his nose. He could already tell this was a metaphorical Maverick.

"I'm him and he's me and we're not gonna change." Maverick seemed to have found a new energy and sounded practically high. "It's called coexistence."

"No… It's called schizophrenia." Iceman quipped. But Maverick was still going.

"In the air I'm Maverick, I didn't get my name for no reason, as you didn't get yours for no reason, but you know I'm not Maverick all the time, and I'm sure your not Iceman all the time. But sometimes—I just gotta be Maverick! Y'know? He's the only one who gives me confidence in the air—over confidence if you wanna call it that, but hell if Pete Mitchell got up in the plane right now, I wouldn't know what to do."

"Your insane." Maverick wasn't listening.

"And here—when I'm with you… I don't need Maverick, 'cause—'cause all I need is you. And I'll be damned if I loose what I have with you because you won't accept the whole of me." Ice rolled his eyes; he had long since gotten over Mavericks in-flight antics and was getting bored with his desperate ranting's.

"Mitchell…" Iceman reached for the top beam of the door frame with both hands, stretching out his lithe body so much, his robe came loose, and showed off his glory.

"I'm not finished." Maverick averted his eyes. "I-I like me… and I won't leave until you accept me for all I am… even if I do some thing's that piss you off."


"No. I won't apologize. Goose is… Goose is dead and he's not coming back, and I know that if he saw what I did the other day—granted, he wouldn't have been too impressed, but did anyone stop to think that maybe, just maybe I am a good pilot, and I knew exactly what I was doing. I mean shit! It's not like I pull that crap every day, because I know It's dangerous, and I wouldn't have done it if I wasn't 100% sure I'd make the shot!".

"Maverick…" Iceman heard what he was saying. And it sunk in, he felt like the bad guy for not believing in Maverick from the beginning. He should have.

"No! I'm not finished…"

"Yeah you are." Iceman growled, low and grabbed Maverick by the collar. At first Maverick thought he was going to beat the shit out of him, but then his lips were on his, and his tongue was in his mouth. He was being dragged inside, buttons popping open.

"Ice!" Maverick yelped in protest, managing to drag him away from his hot swollen lips and keep him at arms distance, which was much harder than he would have imagined—Iceman was a very good kisser. He licked a hot wet trail down Mavericks chin, and down the bare flesh exposed behind his buttons, dropping to his knees.

"Aw come on Maverick, I thought you loved my blowjobs." Ice's mouth closed over Maverick's clothed cock, sucking the material hard and leaving a big wet patch. Maverick bit back a moan—seeing Iceman like this never failed to make him hard as steel. But he didn't want this to happen like this. He pushed Iceman off, and pulled him up by his shoulders, kissing him hard one more time, letting Ice's teeth tug at his bottom lip with no small amount of spite.

"Stop it… Please…" Their eyes met. "Tom." Ice stopped breathing for a moment. And for that moment, they both felt it; felt the mighty wings come down and sweep them both away like the grandest fighter jet. Heaven-bound and soaring through the clouds. It didn't last long, but they both felt it. And no one was leading anyone on this time. "Shit—I need you Ice." He whispered so quietly, Ice had to raise his head so to wrap his arms around him. Ice abandoned the chance of getting any sex. This was better; cuddling in to his neck and just holding each other, before Maverick, Iceman had never known such intimacy. Maverick had done the same before, with women, but it wasn't the same, it wasn't the same.

"I'm sorry." Maverick mumbled quietly in to his shoulder. "…For being an asshole." Iceman chuckled lightly, and began stroking his hair.

"Do my ears deceive me? Did Mitchell just apologize for being Maverick?" Iceman made a mocking gasp and was met by a little shove.

"Shu'up, all this isn't easy for me you know." Maverick buried his face in to his shoulder. Ice couldn't see, but he could tell his face was flushed against him.

"I know Mitchell…" Ice smiled and reluctantly broke away to slide Maverick's white jacket off of his shoulders and casually dropped it against the back of the couch. He ran his hands up Maverick's bare arms and his hands met at the back of Maverick's neck to pull him in to a gentle kiss. "Love you… all both of you."

Maverick rolled his eyes and held him close again.

"Love you Tom. I'm sorry I almost… you know, ended this."

"You know Mitchell… to say you weren't going to apologize, you're doing it a lot."


"I know… all is forgiven." Ice grinned and kissed him once more. "Now enough with all this damn talking… let's go to bed." Maverick didn't argue.

"I hate Christmas."

"Why?" Mitchell asked, swirling his drink around the bottom of the glass, the ice making clinking sounds as he watched the shrinking cubes with some level of boredom.

"It's… superficial." Hollywood was being a downer lately, but he was the only other person here to talk to, and besides, Maverick was a little concerned—Hollywood was never alone. Iceman and Slider said they'd meet up, but Mav and Hollywood were a little early, so it gave them some time to talk.

"But… you're Hollywood. How can you of all people hate the superficial?" He let out a little chuckle, sipping the last drop and signaling the bar tender for another.

"I hate all the pretending; all the fake smiles and half-hearted gifts." Hollywood was twizzling the little pink umbrella from his margarita between his fingers. Maverick noticed that Hollywood sounded off and looked sideways at him.

"It sounds like someone had a rough childhood." Maverick said. The corners of Hollywood's lips turned down slightly, and he put the pretty pink umbrella behind his own ear like a pencil. Maverick felt suddenly bad for him and put a comforting arm around him, squeezing his shoulder. "Hey buddy, what's wrong?" Hollywood shook his head sadly and put on an obviously fake smile, squeezing Mavericks hand on his shoulder before standing up and shrugging him off.

"Look—no, It's nothing. I-I gotta go… I'm sorry Mav, tell the guys I'm… just tell 'em I'm sorry." Hollywood broke off and bolted through a group of people on the dance floor and to the exit.

"'Wood!" Maverick stood and called after him, but he was already gone. Maverick was left stunned and flustered, throwing up his arms in defeat and taking the fresh drink that had just been slid across the bar to him. He would have chased after him if the gathering crowd wasn't already blocking his path. And he knew from experience that when a man wanted to be alone, he was wise enough to leave him alone. "What was that all about?" Maverick sat down and shook his head. But he wasn't alone for long, he felt someone press against his back and a loud whisper in his ear.

"What was what all about?"

"Slider." Maverick turned to face him, smiling widely and accepted his greeting hug, slapping his back before Slider stood next to him, leaning on the bar as he ordered his usual. He looked at Maverick with a questioning look. "Oh, It's nothing." Slider nodded, although he knew it probably wasn't nothing, otherwise he'd have been willing to talk about it, he usually did.

By the time Iceman and Wolfman showed up, they'd managed to find a corner booth, in the back where it was quieter. Maverick sat in between Iceman and Wolf, while Slider took Ice's other side. Ice gave Maverick's thigh a stroke under the table. Neither of them were willing to outwardly show affection in such a public place, even with most of the flyboys in the building being gay.

"You're quiet tonight Wolf." Slider noted. Wolfman just looked up from his drink to give him an awkward smile.

"Am I? Sorry Slider." Wolfman's speech was slurred even for him. Slider's brow creased, he'd known Wolf long enough to know he was never quiet. He decided to probe further since he had a good idea what was the problem.

"Where's 'Wood?" He asked, Wolfman didn't flinch, just gave a barely noticeable shrug, which spelt, to both Slider and Maverick that Wolf probably didn't care where he was. Iceman had at that point returned from the restroom and the positioning had changed when Slider moved to let him past; Slider had rounded the table and sat next to Wolfman, so his behavior was more noticeable. Ice returned and got Maverick all to himself; their arms were draped over each other possessively.

"Oh yeah…" Maverick interrupted. "Hollywood said he couldn't stay." Maverick shrugged and both Ice and Slider looked at him curiously. "What?"

"When?" Slider asked, leaning over Wolf to get to Maverick's face. Maverick was a little puzzled.

"Err… not too long ago. He just said something about not liking Christmas and just sort of ran out of here." Maverick sipped his drink to avoid Slider's burning eyes. Slider nodded and scratched his head, turning his attention back to Wolfman, who really was being very quiet.

"Wolf what happened?" Slider bluntly asked. Ice wasn't getting involved. Wolfman sighed heavily and pressed his hands to his eyes as he leaned back against the booth wall. His face was reddened. "Come on, it wasn't Maverick's fault… for once. So that leaves you. He was pissed before Maverick spoke to him… for once. And you've both been acting weird lately. So what happened?"

"God Slider! Nothin' happened." Wolf wasn't giving anything up, but both Slider and Ice saw right through him. Maverick was busy shaking off Sliders' scathing insults to notice much about what was happening. Wolfman was starting to crack and it was so close to coming out. "Hollywood's just a bastard." Iceman even had to raise his brow at that one.

"Right." Iceman shook his head, he'd credulously hoped that they could go one night out and not have it turn in to some bitch fight. He exaggerated his displeasure at the situation by resting his head on Maverick's shoulder and tried to sleep.

"Wait? What's going on?" Maverick was so naïve sometimes, Slider had to sigh.

"Really Mitchell?" Iceman chuckled.

"Maverick, 'Wood is in love with Wolf".

"What?" Maverick and Wolfman said in unison. Slider shook his head and downed his drink; he could tell this was going to be a long night.

"Yeah, and Wolf is too friggin' dumb to realize what's been going on and it's been tearing ''Wood up inside." Slider slipped his shades up in to his hair. Wolfman looked seriously distressed, hands digging through his hair, shaking his head and looking like he wanted to get the hell out of there.

"He has? Wait—what? Ugh I have a headache." Maverick really had no idea. Iceman thought it was adorable if it wasn't also incredibly sad. Wolfman felt his pain.

"Naw, that can't be right. Hollywood isn't gay—he'd have told me!" Wolf was close to shouting; Slider had gone off to get another drink. Well, a round of drinks. Something told him they'd need it.

"Ah, the beauty of denial." Ice spoke in to his glass. Maverick shifted away from Ice and tried to comfort Wolfman, but he was having none of it; he kept Maverick's hands from closing around him. His mind was seriously muddled, but Maverick kept close, knowing that Wolfman had been there for him once; he could at least return the favor. He was acting like a cat on fire. Maverick finally managed to get an arm around him to at least keep him from his awkward fidgeting.

"He…but Mav he's not gay is he?" Wolf looked like he was about to have a heart attack, his skin was a dark pink and he was so far beyond twitchy he was nearing the spasm stage. Maverick didn't know what to say, he just looked to Iceman as if pleading for help and Iceman just coolly smiled.

"Well, that's something you gotta ask Hollywood man." Maverick was new to this whole comforting thing, but with Wolfman it was like trying to tame a raging bull. "Are-" Maverick cut off, seeing Slider rejoin them; he helped take the four drinks from Slider's two hands and distributed them. "Are you?"

"Am I what Maverick?" Wolfman asked, a warning tone in his voice. Maverick wasn't deterred.

"Are you gay?" He whispered quietly. Wolfman scowled and pulled Maverick's arm from him. He put his face in his hands with shoulders resting on the table.

"I-I don't know… I haven't… I mean I." Wolf stuttered, he was having a hard time processing this information. Slider sat back down.

"Wolf… we fucked once remember?" Everyone's eyes went wide and looked to Slider. Obviously Wolfman had forgot.

"What? No… we so didn't." Wolfman looked grossed out.

"Yeah we did. Hollywood was there too remember."

"Slider!" Iceman reached over and smacked him behind the head. "I've told you before about lying about your sexual conquests… I knew that threesome thing was bullshit." Iceman shook his head.

"No… wait a minute." Wolfman started, suddenly looking strangely relieved. "We did… oh hell, we did." Maverick scowled and Iceman just laughed in disbelief. Slider looked very smug and flashed Ice a told you so grin. Ice scoffed and went back to his drink fully satisfied with himself. But then, Wolf turned on Slider and snatched the drink out of his hand.

"Hey!" Slider threw up his arms in an, oh forget it pose. Wolfman downed Slider's drink and then his own. "Shit."

"We didn't fuck Slider. We had a circle jerk." Wolf finally admitted. Maverick choked on an ice cube. He so didn't need to hear that.

"I think you mean a triangle jerk Wolf." Ice corrected in humor.

"Whatever. I-I think I get it now." Wolfman was calming down. Maverick watched with interest as Wolf managed to break in to a huge smirk. "He does… he fuckin' loves me the big queer-o." Wolf laughed and leaned back, obviously a lightweight. "God he was right; I am soo stupid."

"I think someone just had a revelation." Ice said.

"Hallelujah." Slider laughed and kissed Wolfman behind the ear.

"You good now Wolf?" Maverick asked sensitively. He responded with a little nod, and Maverick smiled back at him.

"Yeah Mav. Thanks." Maverick kissed him on the other side and Wolfman smiled so brightly he felt like he had the best friends in the world.

"Aren't you forgetting someone?" Ice interrupted, leaning over Mav and cupping Wolfman's cheeks to kiss him on the cheek. Wolfman was blushing like crazy.

"Yeah, thanks guys… I love y'all too."

"I meant you're forgetting Hollywood, Wolf." Ice added, stroking a hand through Maverick's hair lazily. He nodded sheepishly.

"Yeah… I should make everything up to him." He was filled with new energy.

"Have fun." Ice winked, watching as Slider and Maverick wish his luck as Wolfman practically ran for the door. "Now that's a love story I'm glad I stayed out of."

"Whoo… take a look at that." Slider whispered; gazing with heated eyes at a hot you stud leaning over the bar.

"Slider, four words; Out. Of. Your. League." Maverick grinned, watching as Slider flipped him off and went off in search of this new prospect, leaving Ice and Mav unaccompanied.

Wolfman had no idea what he was doing, but he had come up with a decent plan to get through to Hollywood, he needed to hear the truth, and he was going to stop at nothing to hear it from Hollywood in person. He felt sick to his stomach that all this time, all of the playful sexual banter, was not a joke, and it was screwing with Hollywood's head.

After a quick stop at home to grab a few things to help his plan, he made his way to Hollywood's big-ass house near the beach; he couldn't drive there, so he walked. And the long walk gave him time to think—and more importantly to sober up. Which, considering he was dressed like a southern Santa Claus.

A long red Santa robe covered him and instead of his typical cowboy hat, Wolfman had donned a red, sequined cowboy hat he used for costume parties… and well, obviously Christmas. He felt like an idiot—and looked like one too, but he figured Hollywood would get the joke enough to loosen up and actually talk to him.

As he got to Hollywood's place; a three-story beach house, he suddenly felt overcome with nerves. Which was unusual for him, but this was Hollywood right? His Hollywood. The guy who'd been his best friend and constant companion for thirty something years? Then why did he feel so nervous? He'd spent half of his life in his company but was feeling so damn weak at the knees he hat to sit on some steps to catch his breath. This wasn't going to be as easy as he thought, but it was too late to turn back now—and he was confident that his hastily thought-out plan would work.

"What's up?" Hollywood answered the door, but failed to be impressed by Wolfman's ridiculous choice of clothing. "Nice getup Saint Nick." Hollywood didn't laugh, but his lips curved in to a crooked smile. "I suppose you wanna come in… you look like a dork." He shook his head; he couldn't stomach to look at him. Hollywood still felt terrible for the things he said to Wolfman and he very nearly broke down and cried again seeing Wolfman's adorable smile and bright eyes.

He didn't understand how Wolf could be so forgiving.

"So err… I hear ya hate Christmas?" Wolf walked passed Hollywood and walked in to the very modern and open-spaced house Hollywood called home. It was not to his taste but he loved hanging out here when they had parties and poker games. It was the biggest place so everyone could happily fit inside.

"Yeah." Hollywood confessed, flopping down on his white leather couch, hands behind his head in a typically macho way. He wasn't going to open his mouth anymore, Wolfman appeared to have forgot all about the other night and he was just thankful that he was here and talking to him, he didn't care what it was about.

"Will this change your mind?" Hollywood's eyes practically bulged out of his head, this was fucking amazing; Wolf has released the clasp of his Santa robe, letting it fall at his red, sequined cowboy boots. Hollywood gulped audibly and felt his chest tighten as his eyes wandered up Wolfman's bare legs, and muscled thighs.

"Holy Fuck… It might" Hollywood felt his pants tighten at the sight of Wolfman naked but for Boots, hat and tight little red sparkly briefs. Hollywood sat up and his fingers dug in to the material of his jeans around his knees.

"Yeah? Well, I hope so… " Wolfman said, sexily tilting his hat and hooking his thumb under the waistband of his briefs. "This took a lot of balls."

"Yeah I can see what you mean" Hollywood mumbled, busying his fingers with a packet of cigarettes, taking one out and popping one in to his mouth, but his eyes caught something so interesting, he forgot about lighting the thing and let the pack fall.

Wolfman grinned, the gleaming white teeth and perfect vision of masculine beauty made Hollywood so hard, he felt himself straining in his jeans—he only hoped Wolf didn't notice, or how much he was sweating either. He tried not to look. But the lure of seeing something so irresistible, something he'd wanted and dreamt about since as long as he could remember—it wasn't possible. His eyes glided from left to right, pretending he was looking elsewhere, but Wolfman figured out his game. His silence said more than his action ever could.

"Wolf what're you…" His words trailed off, finding Wolfman's thighs coming to rest next to him. He was straddling Hollywood. Ohh.

"Oh I don't know… what does it look like?" Wolfman winked. Hollywood's hands found Wolf's thighs, preventing him from falling back out of his lap. He looked so damn hot, raising his arms behind his head and arching his back. Hollywood had to gasp, feeling Wolfman's taut ass grind down in to his crotch—if Wolfman's intentions before weren't obvious, they sure were now, and Hollywood couldn't have been happier.

"Alright cowboy, show me what you got." Hollywood finally snapped, his half-smile turning in to a massive toothy grin. His voice was croaked but that was understandable considering how much he wanted to say to Wolfman, how much he needed to say—but right now he figured it could wait.

"You got it big boy." Wolf had things he wanted to hear too, but it was all a haze when his lips found his.

"Look at me Kazansky; Do I look drunk to you?" He did.

"Well, you did just suggest a five-some." They were walking out of the Officer's Club. Slider had left with the bar hunk and they were grateful to have some time alone. Most of it was spent whispering little words to each other, and Ice stroking Maverick's hand under the table.

"Come on I was joking!" He wasn't joking.

"I know… but you are drunk." Ice said, slowing his walking to hold the dizzy brunettes arm as he helped guide him down the sidewalk. He didn't so much mind Maverick's sexual fantasies, but the idea of some kind of gay-pilot orgy with their best friends was completely out of this world, even if it was an attractive idea.

"Am not."

"Are too." Ice muttered, still dragging Maverick home, they had things to talk about, but Iceman wasn't much of a talker, especially when Maverick was in such a giddy mood. He'd probably have to drop an ice cube down his back. He liked that idea.

"Am not." Maverick wasn't even sure what he was saying he wasn't anymore; he was smirking stupidly, eyes half closed and just letting Ice drag him along.

"I'm not doing this right now." Ice's annoyance never really showed, he usually had some playful smile going on even if he was angry—which was a little creepy and intimidating, but his smile never failed to make Maverick twitch.

"Am not!" He drunkenly responded. Iceman had had enough, he grabbed Maverick by the shoulders, and stopped to face him.

"Mitchell, shut up." He growled, but his smile definitely said he really didn't give a damn if he heeded his words or not, Iceman just wanted to look at him drunkenly swaying and unable to focus properly.

"Blow me Kazansky." He spat. Ice couldn't resist playing him.

"Already?" His eyebrow went up and he wrapped an arm around him again, but then again, if it got Maverick to his house quicker, he was happy to accommodate. He shrugged. "Alright you got it".

Maverick went silent at that and to hell with the resistance, he thought, letting Ice take him under his mighty wing and continuing on their way to whoever's house was the nearest.