Nick hated it. Absolutely loathed it. He didn’t understand how he could just give in so easily. Every. Single. Time. That one thing could just make him change his mind, agree to anything, everything, no matter what. It was absolutely maddening. A simple smile from Zak Bagans made him weak in the knees and he couldn’t stand it. Not the same smile that Zak used for pictures and with fans. No, this was that dorky, goofy smile that he fell in love with so long ago. The one that always accompanied that laugh that was solely Zak’s. It encompassed his true persona, everything about him that so few actually knew. And Nick cherished it.
Then there was the jealousy. When Zak turned that smile onto other people, it made his stomach knot and his fists clench. Poor Aaron had been in the path of Nick’s fury on numerous occasions and had survived, always with an apology. Others were not so lucky. Zak got onto him a few times during interviews about being rude to people they were interviewing or even bringing onto investigations. Nick just huffed and told him to stop fucking flirting and he wouldn’t be that way.
Then it became a game for Zak. How far could he push Nick? What was his breaking point that would get a reaction out of the younger man that would satisfy Zak’s sick desire for an adrenaline rush? Aaron was the easiest to use against him. Subtle glances that were never returned, small touches, strokes, brushes of fingertips, and the final piece- the smile that disarmed their youngest. Aaron always just smiled back, completely missing the game that was so obviously being played around him. The evil dance of emotions- jealousy, envy, anger, possessiveness- mixed with subtle seduction left a palpable, thick air that hung heavy around the two men.
That smile made him crave what he couldn’t have and he hated himself for it, but hated Zak more for using it against him knowingly. Zak craved the hidden intensity of Nick’s feelings that his real smile brought out. The feelings that Nick reserved so deep within himself released with the jealousy and possessive, aggressive nature it caused and he loved it. He knew that when they were together that night, naked between the stark white sheets of the hotel room, it would be no holds barred and someone would be taken prisoner. So maybe what Zak really craved was the passionate fight that followed a day of his teasing and taunting. The right clothes, a swivel of his hips here, sassy and flirty remark there, punctuated with his smile and Nick was his.
Nick hated him for it because he knew that he was always going to lose. The smile that Zak used to give so freely was now used against him, almost as a weapon of mass debauchery. Every day, he willingly walked into the line of fire and every night, they fanned the flames to keep them burning.