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Family: Always There; No Matter What, No Matter Where (Top Gun, Rooster)


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This is probably one of my favorites that I’ve written so far just because it has Ice and Maverick taking care of a sick Rooster. It’ll mainly be a fluff piece, but there are mentions and references to cancer. I hope you all like it!






    A shock of lightning, followed by a clap of thunder had Ice looking up from the book that he was reading beside the fireplace, frowning as he pushed his glasses up onto the bridge of his nose.


    “It’s a noisy one tonight,” Maverick commented as he came into the dimly lit living room with a mug of tea, the bag hanging off to the side. “Haven’t had a storm like this in a while.”


    Ice looked up at the tea and pressed four fingers against his mouth before placing his hand down, palm up.


    Maverick couldn’t help but smile as he handed the mug over. “No problem,” he replied while doing the corresponding sign of ‘no’ and ‘problem’.


    Ice’s eyes glowed in affection as he signed back, ‘you learn’ with a questioning look on his face.


    Maverick shrugged bashfully. “Just a little. I’m still trying to get the hang of it, but I’ve been watching this YouTube person that’s deaf that I’m learning from. I’m not very good at it, though.”


    Ice shook his head before closing his hand in a a fist and pointing down with his wrist two sharp times before pointing in Maverick’s direction.


    “No, not ‘yes, me.’ You’re just trying to make me feel better.” Maverick chuckled to himself as he leaned over Ice and craned his head to the side, stopping an inch from his lips. Ice leaned forward and the two kissed, Maverick unable to stop smiling as he did so.


    Just as Maverick was about to deepen the kiss, a sudden knocking echoed from the front door.


    Maverick instinctively pulled away from Ice, while his partner pulled on Maverick’s arm. “Who would come here in this weather,” Ice rasped, voice gravely and low.


    “I’ll check it out.” Maverick pressed another kiss to Ice’s forehead. “And stop talking. I know that it hurts.”


    Ice gave him a light shove as Maverick made his way to the front door, fully expecting it to be perhaps a stranded driver or a prank. What he wasn’t expecting was to open the door to find a soaking wet Rooster in front of him.


    “Damnit, kid, what the hell are you doing outside in this weather? You’re going to catch your death! Get in here.” Maverick grasped Rooster by the elbow and pulled him in, closing the door behind him so not to let anymore rain or wind in.


    “T-Thanks,” Rooster stammered, water streaming down his body as he shivered. “Didn’t bean to show ub anadounced.”


    Maverick winced at Rooster’s congestion filled voice. “You know you’re always welcome here, kiddo. But this weather is terrible. I’m just glad you didn’t get into a car accident or anything.”


    Rooster opened his mouth to say something more before suddenly turning aside with his sopping elbow raised. At first Maverick had no idea what he was doing, until Rooster bent forward at the waist.


    “Hish’Shuu! Hish’Shuu! Hicsh’Shuu! Hisch’Shuu!” Rooster straightened only for a moment before he had to fall down once more. “Hisch’ShuSHU!”


    “Jesus, bless you.” Maverick watched as Rooster straightened, sniffling with the back of his wrist pressed against his now running nose.


    Rooster nodded his appreciation as Ice limped down the hallway, leaning heavily on a cane for balance. He seemed just as surprised to see Rooster as Maverick was, and quickened his pace when he saw who it was.


    “Hey, Uncle Ice. How are you doig?”


    Ice winced at Rooster’s speech and came over to Maverick, wrapping his free arm around his husband’s waist to keep himself steady. “Okay, what about you?”


    Rooster was about to answer only to lift a finger telling them to wait as he turned completely around and cupped his hands over his nose and mouth. “Hish’Shuu! Hicsh’Shuu! Hicsh’Shuu! Hicsh’Shuu!” Rooster momentarily straightened, nose wrinkling against the incessant tickle until he stared directly at the hallway light. “Hisch’ShuSHU!”


    Ice frowned and squeezed Maverick’s waist knowingly. Maverick pressed his lips to his forehead softly. “I know,” he whispered. “I know.”


    When Rooster turned back around, still sniffling, Ice slowly sighed, ‘bless you.’


    Rooster gave a small smile. “Thanks, Ice.”


    “Okay, you need to get into a hot shower and change into some warmer clothes before you get chilled.” Maverick wasn’t going to admit that he was almost certain that Rooster had already caught something, knowing how that may scare Rooster away.


    Rooster nodded. “Is id ogay if I leabe by coadt here?”


    “Yeah, kiddo. That’s no problem at all.”


    Rooster pulled off his coat and hung it on a nearby hook before slipping past Maverick and Ice down the hall and heading upstairs where the spare bedroom and bathroom was. Although, it was essentially his as no one else ever stayed there, and Rooster tended to spend almost more time at their house than he did on base. However, it was something that both Maverick and Ice were thankful for, as they had a lot of time to make up for in caring for their kid.


    Once Rooster was safely upstairs, Maverick turned back to Ice, who was looking more and more troubled by the moment.


    ‘Sick,’ Ice signed.


    Maverick nodded in agreement. “I think you’re right. Poor Baby Goose is sick, and that rain sure as hell didn’t help things. Now, I think you should hang out in our bedroom while I take care of Bradley.”


    Ice pulled away from Maverick slightly, still leaning on the cane. His eyes narrowed as he looked as though Maverick suggested that they both go and run a marathon in the storm outside.


    “Baby, no,” Maverick apologized as he took a step back to him and wrapped him in a hug. “I just mean you’re still healing.” He lifted his fingers and motioned for Ice’s throat, right at the center where they had closed his tracheotomy hole, and all the other scars from biopsies and other surgeries he had done. “The last thing you need is to catch something. Please, just take it easy in our room while I look after Rooster.”


    Ice thought about it for a moment only to shake his head and wave Maverick off as he started back toward the kitchen.


    “Too stubborn for your own good,” Maverick muttered good naturally as he followed Ice into the kitchen as well.


    He couldn’t help but smile as he saw Ice getting out their supply of cold & flu medicine as well as beginning to warm up another mug for tea.


    Part of Maverick wanted to wrap his arms back around Ice’s waist and kiss him silly, but he knew better than to interrupt Ice when he had set his mind to something. He would always put Rooster’s needs above his own—that much had been made abundantly clear—and there would be nothing that Maverick would be able to do to distract him from that.


    Maverick decided to heat up some leftover soup that they had gotten as takeout a day or so ago. He hoped it would be gentle enough on Rooster’s stomach, as he also wasn’t sure how long it had been since he had eaten. He was just taking it out of the microwave when Rooster walked down the stairs, coughing thickly into the crook of his arm.


    “We have some soup and tea for you,” Maverick announced as Rooster stood at the bottom of the stairs, looking around almost dazed.


    Rooster forced himself forward, hands tucked into a sweatshirt that used to belong to Ice. He closed his eyes tightly as he walked in, blushing when he saw the bowl. “You didn’dt have to do all this for be.”


    “We wanted to,” Maverick interrupted while Ice nodded in agreement. Ice then shuffled over to the living room and came back with a box of tissues, setting them on the counter and pushing it toward Rooster.


    Rooster pulled out a few and turned to blow his nose, the sound productive and heavy. It took almost four rounds of tissues before he was finally able to breathe through his nose and the congestion ebbed slightly. Rooster threw the tissues away and headed over to the sink to wash his hands.


    “So, how long have you felt this sick,” Maverick questioned while leading Ice over to the dining room table and instructing him to sit down, despite the unamused look he was giving him.


    Rooster washed and dried his hands quickly before heading over to the table to find the soup and tea already moved into his spot at the table. He sat down heavily and stirred his spoon through the thick broth in front of him. “Woke up the other day feeling a little off. Didn’t start feeling bad until today after my run when I got caught in this storm.”


    Ice’s eyes widened in alarm. “You went running in this?!”


    Rooster opened his mouth to speak only for Ice to start coughing. He turned away from the table as much as possible with a fist lifted to his mouth. Maverick immediately went into caretaker mode and poured a glass of water for him, while also grabbing the tissue box and taking out a handful. He handed them to Ice, who coughed into the folds to clear his airway, only to reach shakily for the water and down half of it before Maverick rested two fingers on his wrist and shook his head.


    “Sorry,” Ice blurted out, heat rising on his cheeks as Maverick took the used tissues to throw away.


    “We’re just concerned for you, Roo,” Maverick explained as he back over and pulled up a chair beside Ice, rubbing soothing circles on his back in an effort to calm him down.


    Rooster brought up a mouthful of soup to his mouth and swallowed it down, relieved as the warm liquid rolled down his throat. “It wasn’t my best idea. I didn’t know it was supposed to rain.”


    “If you’ve had this for a few days, no wonder it sounds like it’s moved to your chest,” Maverick assessed.


    Ice nodded. “Don’t want it to get worse.”


    “Which is why we have an abundance of stuff we can try for it here.” Maverick rose to his feet and grabbed the liquid cold medicine, already measuring it into the cup before he was halfway back to the table. He set the bright orange colored medicine beside Rooster’s hand, watching as Rooster screwed up his face in distain. “Best to take it and then chase down the taste with the soup. Trust me, you’ll thank us later.”


    Rooster picked up the liquid and shot Ice an almost pleading look. Although usually the less strict when it came to things such as this with Rooster, he was quick to shake his head.


    “I hate it when you guys gang up on me. It’s not fair.”


    “And we hate it when our kid comes down sick and we can’t do anything to help,” Maverick flashed. “But.....this we can help with.”


    Knowing when he wasn’t about to get out of it, Rooster took the medicine and downed it quickly. He set the discarded cap back down only to groan and furiously bring up both hands to rub against his nose, the itch already traveling down the bridge of his nose before he had time to prepare.


    “Roo, you okay?”


    Rooster grabbed a few handfuls of tissues and pressed them against his face, eyes screwed up and nose twitching against the soft folds. “Hisch’Shuu! Hishc’Shuu! Hisch’Shuu! Hisch’Shuu! Hishc’ShuSHU!”


    “Bless you,” Maverick exclaimed when Ice did the corresponding sign.


    Rooster blew his nose before shaking his head and tucking the tissues into his pocket. His nose was red and irritated, and when he spoke, his voice was muted once more. “You might as well stop that before you get tired of it. Damn liquid cold medicine always makes my nose itch.”


    “You’re not the only one.” Maverick rolled his neck and gave Ice a look, eyebrows wiggling.


    Ice gave him a playful shrug before motioning back to Rooster’s virtually untouched meal. “Need something warm in your stomach.”


    “Okay, okay, I’m eating, I’m eating.” Rooster took a few more spoonfuls and began to drink his tea, eyes closing in bliss at having something that didn’t irritate his already sore throat. Anything that could do that, and keep Ice from aggravating his own throat by not speaking, was always positive in Rooster’s eyes.


    Rooster finished most of his soup and tea, protesting when Maverick began to clean the dishes. He tried to stand, but Ice reached out his hand and took Rooster’s hand, giving it a small squeeze until Rooster was forced to look over in his direction.


    “Let us take care of you,” Ice pleaded, clearing his throat forcefully at the end.


    Rooster sniffled and rubbed his nose with his shoulder. “Dad should be worrying about you, not me. I just have a cold. You’re fighting cancer.”


    At the stark reminder of Ice’s own condition, the Admiral sighed, lips pursed as he gave a slow nod. “Yes, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have time for you. We’ll always be here to take care of you.”


    “Ice could be dead asleep and if he knew that you needed something, he’d walk through this storm no questions asked.” Maverick stood behind Ice and wrapped his arms around his neck, leaning forward and pressing the side of his head against Ice’s cheek. It gave the illusion that Ice was holding him up, but Maverick held his weight easily, not wanting to overwhelm Ice.


    “So would you,” Ice pointed out. “Don’t lie.”


    “Okay, okay, you’re right, but that’s because we care about you, Roo.”


    Rooster nodded. “And I really appreciate it.” He couldn’t help but yawn as he folded his arms on the table, head beginning to slump down.


    “No sleeping on the table.” Maverick reached out and gave Rooster’s shoulder a shake. “How about the couch or a bed?”


    Rooster’s eyes suddenly widened as though alarmed of something that neither Ice nor Maverick could see. “Could we maybe watch a movie on the couch? I-I don’t really want to be alone.”


    Ice and Maverick exchanged a knowing glance, one that they hoped Rooster wouldn’t pick up on.


    “We can do that from our bedroom too if you’d be more comfortable there,” Maverick offered with Ice giving his nod of agreement. “There’s more than enough room and a TV in there. It’ll be more comfortable if you do end up falling asleep and you wouldn’t have to move.”


    “I don’t want to get Ice sick,” Rooster confessed, playing with the ends of his sweatshirt that he had pulled over his hands. “I can stay on the couch.”


    Ice looked over to Maverick with his eyes slightly narrowed. Maverick didn’t need to ask to know what Ice needed.


    “I’ll go and get everything set up for us,” Maverick announced as he kissed Ice deeply on the lips before straightening. “You two take your time.”


    Rooster watched him go before looking over to one of the men who had helped raise him, suddenly feeling just like the scared little kid he had been after his father died. Those months when no one knew how to approach him, or what to say would always be etched in his mind. Ice had never been one of those people. He had come right up to Rooster and comforted him like a father would, and when he finally got together with Maverick, Rooster couldn’t have been any happier. Now, the thought of ever losing him was almost too much for Rooster to fathom.


     “Is something else bothering you?”


    Rooster rubbed his sleeve against his nose before Ice cleared his throat noisily and Rooster bashfully reached for more tissues instead. “Sorry. No, nothing is bothering me. But, you should really stop talking before you make your throat hurt even more. You know how Mav worries about it.”


    “He worries too much, but we were talking about you.”


    “I don’t know....guess I’m just feeling a little distant. And I don’t feel well.” Rooster paused to blow his nose into the tissues that he held earlier. He was just about to lower his hands when he felt Ice rest an open palm on his forehead, and Rooster immediately ducked back. “Ice.”


    “We need to take your temperature.” Ice grunted as he grasped his cane and shuffled back over to the medicine cabinet, determination etched on his face.


    Rooster nearly leapt up and got it for him, though he had learned a long time ago not to go toe to toe with a stubborn Ice. There were just somethings he would always insist on doing on his own. Sometimes Rooster just had to sit back and let him, which was something Maverick never could do. Ice was aware of that, and sometimes sought out doing things to help Rooster just because he knew his kid would let him.


    After grabbing the thermometer, he shuffled back over and held it expectantly in front of Rooster.


    Rooster reluctantly took the thermometer, looking at it as though it had personally offended him. “Alright, let’s get this over with.” Rooster set the thermometer in his mouth and under his tongue, trying his best not to focus on the feeling that it brought. When it finally beeped, Rooster pulled it from his mouth, handing it over to Ice before getting to see the reading for himself.


    “102.2. No wonder you’re not feeling your best,” Ice sympathized, unable to keep the worry from his voice.


    Rooster shrugged. “I really don’t feel well, Ice.”


    Ice reached over and grabbed Rooster’s elbow gingerly before beginning to urge Rooster to stand. Rooster stood and found himself wrapping his arm around his uncle’s waist, so used to always being there to steady him that he didn’t realize that Ice was trying to do the same for him.


    Rooster couldn’t help but kiss the top of Ice’s head, still making sure that although he wasn’t steady, that Ice was taken care of first. He realized his mistake and tried to pull away, but Ice was resistant. “Sorry, sorry, I should be trying not to get you sick.”


    “I’ll take my chances just so I can have you with us.” Ice sighed, coughing after. “I can’t even begin to express how much we missed having you in our lives.”


    A fresh wave of guilt washed over Rooster, nearly making him fall right over. “I missed you guys too. I’m sorry it took so long to come back.”


    “That’s all in the past; we’re just happy you’re here now.” Ice gave Rooster another squeeze before continuing forward, Rooster there to make sure that Ice was as steady as possible.


    They walked side by side into the bedroom to see that Maverick had everything set up. Extra blankets were folded at the foot of the bed, while a tissue box was on the nightstand. A bottle of water was right beside it while the TV was already turned on and waiting. Maverick had his arms crossed over his chest before turning to look back over his shoulder when Ice and Rooster walked in.


    Maverick rushed forward to take Ice, even when Ice gave him a stern look. “Don’t give me that because I want to help.” He kissed the tip of Ice’s nose before looking to Rooster. “Take whatever side you want to, or the middle. Just make yourself comfortable while Ice and I change.”


    Rooster nodded as he smiled while watching Maverick help Ice into the bathroom attached to their room, always feeling warm and content when he saw how much Ice and Maverick cared for each other.


    Maverick closed the door behind them to the bathroom and began to strip, kicking off his boxers and shorts before disappearing into their master closet to find a change of clothing.


    He arrived back with a change of clothes for Ice as well, working as quickly as possible to help Ice change so not to embarrass him. It was something that they had worked long and hard about, with both of them breaking down more days than they could count. Maverick had never wanted to embarrass Ice by helping him, and Ice knew that he couldn’t do nearly enough by himself these days. Luckily, now they were better at it with Maverick finding that doing things as quickly as possible and talking through it working the best for them.


    After helping Ice into a plain gray t-shirt and sweatpants, Maverick wrapped his arms around him and game around to squeeze his ass. “You’re so hot,” he breathed against Ice’s ear.


    Ice chuckled and butted his head against Maverick’s chest. “You’re just saying that.”


    “I would never lie about something like that. You get hotter everyday that I get to look at you.” Ice trailed kisses down his neck and shoulder, fingers dancing along his waist down to his hip. “You age like fine wine and no one could persuade me any different.”


    Ice hummed until Maverick’s mouth accidentally grazed a sensitive spot at the base of his throat, causing him to wretch away painfully and start to cough, body shuddering as the fit showed no signs of stopping.


    “Shit!” Maverick turned to the sink and grabbed a small cup that they always kept there for this reason. He filled it up with tap water before bringing it up to Ice’s lips, not allowing him to take it from him. “Easy, easy, small sips. There we go.”


    Ice finished the water before fully slumping against Maverick, who had to scramble to keep him upright.


    “Sorry,” Ice rasped, voice almost gone. “Don’t think I’m very sexy right now.”


    “And that is where you’re wrong again. You’re always sexy to me. I love every inch of you....I always have. Nothing will ever change that.” Maverick blinked away tears before they could fall down his face, worried that Ice would see and react negatively towards it.


    Ice lifted his hand weakly and threaded his fingers through Maverick’s short hair until Maverick looked back up and saw the love in Ice’s eyes.


    Ice lifted his hand into a fist while lifting his pinkie, pointer finger, and thumb, hand shaking ever so slightly.


    Maverick copied him, warmth flooding through him. It was the first sign that he had learned, frantically needing to tell Ice through the door of his hospital room that he loved him before he was taken to emergency surgery. Now it held a special meaning, even more than the actual act of expressing their love to one another.


    “C’mon, we shouldn’t keep Rooster waiting.” Maverick straightened to his full height and brushed his hand against Ice’s cheek. Ice leaned heavily into his touch while Maverick stood on his tiptoes and kissed Ice deeply.


    When he finally pulled away, his arm looped back around Ice’s waist as he helped him forward. Maverick bunched his muscles to make sure that he could take his husband’s weight without struggle. That was one of the main reasons he continued with his rigorous workout routine; he would be damned if he was ever able not to be that support system for Ice.


    The two came out to find that Rooster was on Ice’s side of the bed, coughing into his elbow. He instinctively lowered his arm and coughed with his lips pressed together when he saw them return.


    Ice frowned while Maverick helped him the rest of the way to the bed and grasped his elbows as Ice slowly sat down. Maverick then kneeled down and grasped his legs before lifting them onto the bed and shifting Ice ever so slightly so that he was laying propped up slightly, legs stretched out while Maverick pulled the covers over him. He also made sure that he wasn’t reclined too much so that congestion didn’t settle in his chest.


    Once Ice was comfortable, Maverick crawled into the middle between Rooster and Ice.


    “Everyone comfortable,” Maverick questioned as he looked from Ice to Rooster, ready to jump up at a moment’s notice if they needed anything.


    Ice reached out and grasped Maverick’s hand, fingers tracing up Maverick’s forearm. “We’re fine, honey. Just relax.”


    Maverick chuckled and pressed his forehead against Ice’s, giggling when Ice kissed the tip of his nose. Maverick was about to lean in for more when Rooster began to cough once more, the entire bed shaking.


    Maverick turned to his kid and helped Rooster sit up at a 90 degree angle. He then reached around him for the tissues on the nightstand and set them between the two of them for easy access for when Rooster was finished.


    The coughing managed to die down after a few seconds, and Rooster reached for the tissues to blow his nose as it had started to run thanks to the fit. After he finished he tucked the used tissues into his pocket and wrinkled his nose in disgust. “Ugh, sorry.”


    “No need to apologize. You’re sick, there’s nothing you can do about it.” Maverick took the remote and handed it to Rooster. “You can pick what we watch. Just no horror. You know how Ice hates it.”


    Ice tipped his head. “I don’t mind horror.”


    “Okay, I don’t like horror,” Maverick confessed. “I hate scary things.”


    “Then I guess Saw is out of the question? What about Human Centipede?”


    Maverick gave Rooster a playful shove as Rooster lifted a fist to his mouth as he laughed and coughed before slumping back down and using the remote to select Netflix and try to find a movie or show for them all to watch and enjoy.


    Maverick let him go as he felt Ice rest his head on his shoulder, sighing heavily as he snuggled as close to Maverick as possible. It was times like these that melted Maverick’s heart. There were so many times Ice had slept against him and Maverick was terrified that Ice may never wake up. It wasn’t the fear at the forefront of his mind anymore, though that deep rooted fear would never fully go away.


    While Maverick was watching Ice, Rooster leaned against him as well, yawning as some action movie started on the TV.


    “Get some rest, both of you,” Maverick whispered. “I’ll be right here if you need anything.”


    Soon the only sound that could be heard was the soft dialogue from the TV and Rooster’s congested snores. Although not the night that Maverick expected, he couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.


    The End

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