Slot and Lock
A/N: Thank you for your comments and sorry for the lack of updates. X-Men: First Class
has been eating my brain. There's a load of non-crossover fic on my livejournal, if you wanna play. Link in the profile.
Not beta read in any way. Sorry.
+Slot and Lock
In which both Cougar and Jensen get integrated, more or less willingly, and there are care packages.
The thing with Cougar and Jensen was that they just clicked, okay?
First meeting, bang, there it was. It wasn’t that one was calm and the other regularly skipped his ADHD meds, or that one was quiet while the other talked like words were cheaper by the dozen. It wasn’t that they were both the newcomers to a tightly knit unit, even though that helped. It wasn’t even that Cougar’s need to obsessively protect
meshed well with Jensen’s stunning ability to get his ass into trouble at least three times a week and twice on Sundays.
It was just… them. Jensen talked and Cougar listened and Cougar moved and Jensen saw and saw
and Jensen perfected looking harmless but was really as deadly as any of them and Cougar blended into the background until you forgot he was there and then shot you in the face. They were both damaged in their own ways but strangely okay with that, okay with their places in the world.
And when calling Jensen an idiot was sometimes the only word Cougar said all day that was fine and when Jensen could only really, actually stop
himself when he knew Cougar was right on his six, covering his back, then that was fine, too.
Bang and done, three months into Jensen joining the unit everyone stopped talking about Jensen and Cougar and they just became JensenandCougar and Clay did a lot of not asking and they did a lot of not telling and Roque made disgusted sounds all the time and Pooch sometimes looked like he really wanted to coo.
It was cool.
And before and while and after they fell into each other, they sort of also slipped into the unit like they’d always been there. Jensen’s tech equipment kept turning up in everyone’s packs and space and no-one minded much and they all started to rely on there always being a shadow with a hat nearby to bail their asses out.
They passed all those weird tests, like the one where they made you get dead drunk and tried to get you to tell stories and they took Jensen’s digging into their past well enough even though he knew they didn’t really like all the questions he asked about Mom and where she’d gone and what she’d been like. They missed her.
She’d been special to all three of them for some reason that went beyond her being a woman and sometimes, late at night, the two of them, Cougar and Jensen, shared their observations about the whole situation, about what they knew about her because she was an anomaly in a world where people came and went all the time. It wasn’t quite logical for three hardass special ops soldiers to miss one woman that much but they did and Cougar and Jensen watched it, not quite from the outside but not entirely inside either and over time, it turned into a bit of a thing for them.
Especially after, you know, the Thing. After Jensen talked down Roque and everyone admitted to openly missing Mom and it was suddenly this festering wound between the three of them: She’d left them. She’d chosen suburbia over them and Jensen thought that was okay because hey, chicks had this whole biological clock and baby thing going on, right, and shit like that, well, it took its toll.
But that wasn’t it, Cougar said one night, said that they all knew she hadn’t wanted to leave, had done it out of a sense of duty. Pooch had said so, told the sniper that they were sure she was bored out of her mind and hating it back stateside but she’d still gone
Jensen, who knew all about abandonment issues, suggested sending the three of them to therapy. Our mommy left us and we don’t understand why.
Still. They were all manly men, so they didn’t exactly talk about it, okay? They just, Jensen and Cougar, that is, they kept gathering their bits and pieces, sorting them out until they thought they had an idea. She’d given Clay shit for his shitty plans, but unlike Roque, she’d offered alternatives. She’d been friends with Pooch and with Jolene, too, and that made everyone awesome in Pooch’s book. And Roque. Jensen had no idea what Roque did with women, aside from making them watch while he made kinky love to his blades, but sometimes it sounded like he’d been a bit in love with her only not, because, eew. Like, seriously.
“Can you imagine Roque with a woman?” Jensen asked Cougar while he stripped down to his boxers to fall into his bunk with an exaggerated sigh. “Like, a real one? Not a blow up? Although, come to think of it, Roque would probably do really badly with a blow up doll, what with all the sharp, pointy objects he keeps around and that would be a real downer, wouldn’t it, when you accidentally deflate the woman of your dreams mid-coitus and don’t even laugh, I’m sure Roque couldn’t even get it up
without a knife in his hand and it’s totally feasible that he’d – “
And that was another reason why Cougar and Jensen clicked: Sometimes Jensen’s mouth got the better of his and he just couldn’t stop
and then Cougs swooped in and put a hand over his mouth and watched him with dark eyes until he managed to shut up and then, as a reward, he usually got a kiss. Unless Clay was around to, you know, ask
. Then he got more of the eyes, smoldering with promises for later.
And he was totally okay with that.
Cougar kissed him quiet and when he was done, he said, “There was nothing between Roque and her.”
And, okay, that’s sort of… when had ‘her’ become ‘Mom’ and why did it matter who she’d fucked and anyway, why was this so important? When had that happened? Here they were, two sexy, super-soldier guys with a healthy sex life, collectively obsessing about a woman they’d never met.
“That’s probably not healthy,” Jensen remarked, more to himself than the sniper. He got a nod anyway.
Roque chose that moment to come marching through their room, an enormous box, wrapped in… well, the most blindingly neon green Jensen had ever seen, actually, paper.
He grimaced at the two of them, in the same bunk, mostly undressed. Jensen would have started babbling about the heat, bla, bla, but he knew the SiC really didn’t give a shit as long as they kept it out of his space and, “Bite the fucking pillow, Jensen, for fuck’s sake!”
He put the giant box – Jensen sort of couldn’t look away it was so green
- on the kitchen table and hollered, “Care package,” through the entire house.
Cougar looked at Jensen, who shrugged and they got semi-dressed again, knowing that bed-time had just been postponed. Clay and Pooch came through different doors within moments of each other, looking a bit too eager.
Clay took one look at the green monstrosity and laughed, while Pooch just grinned fondly and Jensen had to ask, “Who’s it from?”
It was easier than asking, “How the fuck did it get here, we’re in hiding, this is a safe house, no-one should know we’re even in this country, what the fuck?!?”
He got three identical grins back and a disturbingly chipper, “Mom,” from Roque, which come on, was just wrong. Chipped should never carry this many knives. Ever.
And because that didn’t really answer anything, he asked anyway, “How the fuck did it get here?”
Clay, looking supremely unconcerned for such a large breach in security, shrugged. “She was Para before she was a Loser. And you don’t really wanna know what she was before she was Para.”
“Ain’t nothing that woman can’t find out, if she puts her mind to it,” Pooch agreed, before turning to Roque and demanding, “Come on, open!”
Roque flicked the knife he was using to cut the box open at the driver, who kept grinning. Jensen watched, somewhat disturbed, as their resident crazy peeled layers and layers of radioactive green wrapping paper off the box and finally hit jackpot with a yell of triumph, that turned into a growl when, instead of finally being able to cut it open, he was faced with an envelope taped to the top of the box with Read First
written on it in bold, curly letters.
Underneath, in smaller font, was, That means before you raid the box, boys!
Jensen looked at Cougar and Cougar looked at Jensen and did that eyebrow thing that meant what the fuck?
and Jensen agreed with a nod. Then Roque peeled the envelope open and unfolded a semi-neat letter, skimming it before handing it off to the colonel, who took it, cleared his throat and started reading.
“Hey Losers,” he read, making Pooch chuckle. “Yes, Clay, I stole your line. Sulk later. Right now, I want you to celebrate the birth of Elizabeth Joy Harris. Yes, you read that right. Somehow, my asshole of a best friend managed to convince me that, on top of knocking my kid sister up, he also had to marry her. Hence her being a Harris. Little Ellie has ten fingers and ten toes and Dawn’s eyes and my nose and she’s absolutely gorgeous and I’m sure I will be the most obsessive aunt. On the planet.”
Clay stopped so the team had time to eyeball Jensen and appreciate that whatever Mom did, she couldn’t beat a grown ass man walking around in his niece’s bright pink soccer team shirt. The entire team looked at him like a prom date with herpes every. Single. Time. He wore it. And then they made him explain why he wore it and then they rolled their eyes and walked away. Pussies. None of them had nieces, obviously.
Once everyone was done snickering, Clay cleared his throat for dramatic effect and kept reading. “To make sure you actually do celebrate little Ellie’s existence, I added booze to the care package. Don’t tell Jolene, mkay? Oh and, speaking of booze, there’s some of the good stuff in there, as an apology for stealing Snake from you guys. And congrats on losing Miller.”
Eager noises all around when the alcohol was mentioned and then a few chuckles at the joke about the former sniper. Apparently, he’d been an asshole of the first order.
“Apart from that, I got a few new stars and a few new scars and a brand spanking new house. A house. Me. On my own. There are plants. I think I probably know why Clay always kills his. Those things take actual work like you wouldn’t believe.
“So…. What else to say. I miss you boys. And your guns and your crazy and quite possibly even your body odor after five days marching through the Brazilian jungle. Good times. There are boxes in the package for each of you. Yes, that includes you, new guy, and you, new new guy.”
Clay shot looks at Cougar and Jensen in turn.
“Enjoy them. Don’t blow up too much shit. And stick to the first rule. Signed, Mom.”
Jensen’s hand shot up before anyone else could form half a thought. Their CO sighed. “Yes, Jensen?”
“What’s the first rule?”
This time Pooch was faster with the throat clearing and declared, after some posturing, “First rule: Don’t fucking die
Everyone jumped at his high-pitched imitation of a female voice and then Roque had finally enough of waiting and cut the box open, spilling its contents onto the table. First thing out was a few bags of potato chips, which were always in high demand. Then came an assortment of other junk food, including pop tarts, which made Jensen coo just a bit. Then a few recent movies on DVD, which was pretty useless, since Jensen had long since downloaded them, illegally using military channels to do so. Roque followed that up with no less than three bottles of cheap tequila, three bottles of JD and one bottle of pricey scotch that Clay would no doubt hide away from them. It was probably the ‘good stuff’ she’d added as an apology.
They all appreciated their bounty dutifully and cracked one of the bottles to toast little Ellie for being born and her aunt for making kickass care packages. Even if there were no Snickerdoodles. There were always Snickerdoodles in Jolene’s care packages and the entire unit treated them like contraband items, smuggling, hiding, stealing them.
Then Pooch took over the distribution of goodies, throwing a wrapped shoe box at each of them before grabbing a bag of chips and stealing away into the night rather dramatically. Although that may just have been Jensen’s interpretation of things. He chuckled anyway before grabbing his own box and making his way back to the room off the kitchen that he shared with Cougs, the sniper following close behind.
They each sat on their own bed as they unwrapped their care package inside a care package, which made Jensen giggle and imagine another, smaller care package inside this one. And then another. And another. Like those Russian dolls. What where they called? His Russian sucked. He needed to brush up on that, probably.
In the end he simply tore the box open, finding a note on top, addressed the same way as the box had been: New New Guy
It wished him happy times and good luck with the Losers and asked him to please stop digging into her history because it was sending up all kinds of red flags with her people, which first of all, oops, and secondly, damn, because he hadn’t thought he’d been noticed. Weeeeelll. Who cared. There was more candy in the box and a stack full of comics, which were apparently meant to be a sort of bribe to get him to ‘stop driving my hacker crazy. She’s getting a nervous tick. Please leave her alone.’
He looked through the comics, ten of them, according to the note, picked by a friend who was ‘the original geek or something like it’. They were good. Not the real collectors’ items, but the ones with good stories and art. Real nice stuff and Jensen had only three of them stashed at his sister’s place back home.
As far as presents for complete strangers went, this one was pretty damn awesome. And she’d bothered to actually get help to figure it out, which got her extra points. He was impressed and said so out loud before putting down his price and throwing himself across Cougar’s bed to look into the sniper’s box.
He didn’t bother looking at the note because he could soooo respect personal boundaries, just so that was clear, and went straight for the goodies. There was another bottle of tequila, but this one the pricey, Mexican stuff. Don Julio
the label said. Some chocolate bars, which was dead on for Cougs. So dead on, in fact, that Jensen felt the stirrings of paranoia.
He pushed them away in favor of carefully picking up the last item in the box. It was way more expensive than his own gift, but he didn’t really give a damn. It was a sniper scope. Minus points for a work related gift, but since they basically had no life outside work, okay. It wasn’t anything special, just a replacement scope in case Cougs lost or broke his. But there was an extra note attached to it with a rubber band that said, in very small, precise handwriting, like the author had paid a lot of attention, Look after them. And yourself.
Jensen put down the scope, looked up at the sniper, who looked a bit blindsided and said, “Cougs man, I’m terribly sorry, but from right this moment on?”
He waited until Cougar met his gaze to continue. “From this moment on? I got one hell of a crush on a woman I never met and I really hope you’re okay with that, because you’re awesome but I think this chick is probably awesome too, like, from a distance even and-“
He was ready to offer a whole speech, but Cougs cut him off with a hand over his mouth and a slow smile that always made Jensen think of hot blood and slow sex. “Me, too,” the shorter man admitted gravely.
And that was… sort of cool, actually, because he and Cougar? They just sort of clicked, falling into place around each other like they were made of matching pieces, but somewhere out there was a woman who had rules about dying and who was badass and who loved her family as much as Jensen loved his, and who gave him comics and Cougs a sniper scope, like she knew them, like she could see inside of them, and he hadn’t been joking, okay? Crush. Major, big, fat, stubborn crush. On her. On the woman on the other side of those thoughtful notes and those awesome care packages. The woman who had made Roque not quite mad and Clay not quite reckless and Pooch almost happy. The woman who was, quite simply, a badass chick.
Quirking an eyebrow at Cougar, Jensen waited. When he got a simple nod back, he slowly relaxed.