Piece By Piece to Make a Whole 1/1Author: entropynchaosFandom:
Film - The LosersPairing:
Jensen/Cougar, Clay/Roque pre-slash, Pooch/JoleneRating:
12/15, for allusions to nasty situationsWord Count:
3,045 - according to WordDisclaimer:
Not mine...damnit!Author's Notes:
A follow-up to Normality Is Such An Over-Rated Word
, which was in response to a prompt by zortified
- Clay wondered if his life would be any easier if his unit had all been human. He figures, probably not.
Second in the Non-Human 'verse - hopefully this explains their 'powers' a bit more. ^_~
Movie-verse, set pre-movie but with allusions to movie happenings (but very brief ones). Comments and con.crit welcomed.Summary: Clay’s better at controlling it now. Now he knows exactly how to twist his words to give people freedom of choice, freedom to refuse what he’s telling them to do or say.Lt. Col. Franklin Clay – Mind Walker
When Clay was ten and called ‘Frankie’ instead of ‘sir’, he broke a vase. It wasn’t a special vase or an expensive one…just a plain glass one. Frankie and his mom were the only ones in the house at the time and Frankie, being just ten years old, had yelled ‘I didn’t do it!’
Because that’s what little kids do when they break something – they lay the blame at someone else’s feet as an instinctive reaction.
Frankie’s mom had looked up from her book at the sound of glass shattering on the floor and she’d opened her mouth ready to shout but as soon as she heard Frankie’s words, her eyes had glazed over and she’d turned back to her book.
“Of course you didn’t, Frankie-boy,” she’d said. She’d sounded absent and blank and not at all like Frankie’s mom usually did. “Go and play outside, okay?”
Clay’s better at controlling it now. Now he knows exactly how to twist his words to give people freedom of choice, freedom to refuse what he’s telling them to do or say. And he knows exactly how to twist it the other way, to make people tell him everything he wants to know and everything they don’t want to tell him. Guns, drugs, human trafficking…it makes interrogations easier, bloodless.
It’s what Clay’s paid for after all.
Technically, he could have expressly told Cougar not to get so attached to Jensen. Could have told Cougar not to encourage Jensen.
They’re not kids, though – not Clay’s
kids. He is their commanding officer and, yes, there’s the whole ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy and the whole non-fraternisation thing…and so technically – technically
– Clay’s well within his rights to tell them to stop, or ask them to stop or fucking report them, for God’s sake. This whole thing between them could screw up missions and the dynamic of the team and…
But he can’t, because he respects them too much – these barely mid-twenties kids
that he’s been given charge of. Because every time the thought crosses his mind he remembers the blank way his mom had looked at him when he broke that vase and the way she offered up every excuse possible to avoid hugging him or touching him in any other way from that day on. And also, possibly, because Clay’s got this feeling that the little smile that Jensen gets when Cougar brushes up close to him isn’t a whole lot different from the one he chokes back when Roque leans in a little closer than necessary to him. And Franklin Clay’s never been a hypocrite.***Captain William Roque – Hell-Fiend
Five things everyone knows about William Roque.
One, he has a fascination for sharp, shiny things. Namely knives of the huge and fuck-off type. There’s something reliable about a knife – a gun will jam if you’re not careful with it but keep a knife sharp and it’ll cut every time.
Although that’s not to say, of course, that guns and items of a somewhat explosive nature don’t hold a very close and dear place in his heart. Explosions are fun
Two, he’s Clay’s second in command and has been since the day they met (there was a bar fight and a woman…but isn’t there always, when it’s Clay? Roque had been itching for a way to let off steam without being court-martialled after that last whiskey-tango-foxtrot mess of a mission he’d just finished up with his last CO.) Clay needs a decent XO, and Roque is fairly certain that no one else would be able to fill the position as well as he can. Case in point – the last XO Clay had before him landed Clay in the hospital. Sort of. There is, after all, a difference between following orders from the higher ups to the letter and utilising some common fuckin’ sense.
Three, his mom and dad are dead. Ditto for every other member of his family that Roque knows about. Not that that’s much of a loss. Roque went into the system when he was twelve and already a belligerent brat, according to every one of the foster parents he was (extremely temporarily) placed with. He survived being in
the system using his brain and his fists and, sometimes, his teeth and the flickers of Hellfire that licked around his fingers and grew stronger as he got older. The Army was the first place where Roque felt like maybe he could belong somewhere. Clay’s team is the first time he’s felt like maybe he could possibly piece together some kind of family.
Four, Roque sticks to his principles. Doesn’t matter what anyone says about hell-fiends and hell and damnation or what-the-fuckin’-fuck-ever. He might have a few hell-spawned genes floating around in his DNA, but kids and women (notable exception being Clay’s choice of dates) are off limits; child molesters and rapists are the lowest of the low. Roque has his principles, he’s gonna stick by them and damn anyone that tries to touch Clay, the team, Cougs’ family, Jolene and Pooch’s mom or Jensen’s sister Sammy and her little daughter.
Five, Roque is…creative when it comes to thinking outside the box – or outside the entire box factory
. There was that woman in Turkey and that woman over in Sydney…a lot of his more creative plans seem to stem from a) the fact that Clay is motherfuckin’ shit
when it comes to choosing women and b) Roque’s sort of disinclined to let Clay die just yet. There’s also all the fun that can be had with; knives, guns, C4, Semtax, dynamite…Roque’s not really that picky when it comes to loading for bear, especially when Clay’s thinking with his dick instead of his brain.
One thing Roque thinks no one knows about him…but pretty much everyone has a vague idea about.
He has a soft spot for one Colonel Franklin Clay, beyond the general brothers in arms schtick. The man’s quite probably certifiable – but so’s Roque, most of the time. And when he watches Clay, sometimes, and Clay turns his head to meet his gaze… There has to be a reason that Clay keeps finding the psychos instead of a decent woman to settle down with.
Roque thinks that no one knows just how much he wants Clay – he’s choosing to flatly ignore the way money frequently changes hands between Pooch and the Wonder Brats, because if he doesn’t see it then it doesn’t happen. He’s especially choosing to ignore the frankly terrifying way Jolene beams at him when he just happens to arrive at her place for team-bonding barbecues with Clay. It’s not that Clay can’t
drive himself, it’s that Clay’s driving sucks
(there’s a reason Pooch is in charge of team transport) and Roque would rather not inflict it on the innocent civilians of Pooch and Jolene’s hometown. Besides, they’re usually staying in the same hotel anyway – it just makes more sense to take the one car. He’s just being, you know, environmentally friendly and all. Really.***Sergeant Linwood ‘Pooch’ Porteous – Mech-Talent
Pooch gets his abilities from his mom’s side of the family – which is a damn good thing, really, ‘cause his dad split before he was born and he’d been a waste of space even before that. Point is, Pooch’s mom’s the one who taught him how to use his power, how to feel deep down into the under-layers of a car’s engine and tweak and prod until it feels less like a person with the flu and more like it’s back in working order.
He drove a car for the first time when he was six, sitting up on top of five thick phone books so he could peer out at the empty parking lot over the top of the steering wheel. His mom had sat beside him with a wide grin on her face as they listened to the happy purring of the engine that Louise Porteous had fixed up. She’d whooped when they tumbled from the car afterwards, the two of them laughing and giddy with it as she picked little, six-year-old Linwood up and spun him around.
Pooch’s mom’s still alive – and probably will be for many, many years, with any luck. She and Jolene get along – thank fuckin’ God, Pooch always says (quietly, so his mom doesn’t hear him a) swearing and b) taking the Lord’s name in vain) – except for at Thanksgiving and Christmas when there’s always an argument about the motherfuckin’ gravy, no matter who’s making it.
Twice a year, every fucking year. Christ.
Thing is, Pooch was brought up just fine without a dad. His mom was awesome and the strongest woman Pooch has ever known – although Jolene comes a close second. But fuck if Pooch is going to let his
kid grow up all fatherless and shit.
(This is what will keep him focused through six months in Bolivia and the fortnight trekking all over kingdom come after that, the fact that he is
going to go home, get back to Jolene and his mom and Pooch Jr (or little Poochetta) and his whole happily ever after.)
Because Pooch knows that if he doesn’t
get his ass back home safe and sound after every mission, then his mom’ll find him…somehow, wherever he is, despite thinking that he’s dead and she’ll kick his ass to the Pearly Gates and back again before letting Jolene at him. Pooch’s life is just destined to be lousy with scary-ass women.
And, somehow? He’s okay with that.***Sergeant Carlos ‘Cougar’ Alvarez – Shifter
Cougar’s file says that he’s a shifter, sub-species Puma concolor
. It’s right there under his name and rank. Not, of course, that Cougar had seen his file – not officially, not before Jensen had hacked everyone’s and given them hard copies.
Being a shifter gives other people the creeps. It’s ingrained in the back of the mind and illustrated with centuries of nightmares of wolves ripping out throats and stalking travellers through snowy wildernesses…
(Cougar wouldn’t be caught dead in a snowy wilderness. There’s a limit as to what he’s prepared to go through for the job and getting his paws wet in freezing cold hell disguised as snow is just too much. If he does have to work in snow, he wears two pairs of dry
hiking socks under a pair of combat boots, preferably ones without holes. There is no traipsing through snow in bare paws – except for that one time when he and Pooch were on the outside and the only sane people on the team and the others were captured somewhere inside, but those were extenuating circumstances.)
Cougar’s feline side is a little disgusted with the whole assumption that all shifters are wolves – canine shifters are usually such mindless brutes. Unlike those bastardos desgraciados
who get bitten and usually go mad at their first full moon, Cougar’s never been anything else. He’s a born shifter.
He’s been slipping between forms since he was three and a half and a coyote got into his baby sister’s room. The tiny kitten that the three and a half-year-old Carlos had changed into wasn’t really much of a match for anything, let alone a full-grown coyote even if it was half-starved like the one that followed the scent of milk into Maria’s room. He’d been good enough (desperate enough), though, to get in its way long enough for his papa to come running in; a mass of muscle and fur and claws and sheer, desperate parental rage.
Since then it’s just been instinctual. Jensen and the others give him crap for it, sure, but it’s not like the other units he’s been with in the past. It helps that no one’s completely human on this team, not even their CO. His mama had cried and thanked God over and over when he’d told her over the phone who – what
– he’d ended up with and Cougar had ducked his head and pulled the brim of his hat down so he could hide the blush and avoid looking at Roque’s smirk across the way. His mama’s always been loud when she gets excited. He hasn’t told her about Jensen yet – not anything beyond the basic facts, that he’s a team-mate and a friend. It’s not that Cougar doesn’t know
how he feels about the kid – that first mission was enough to figure that
out – it’s that he doesn’t quite know how to describe the way Jensen makes his skin stop itching all over like it’s desperate to shift twenty-four/seven. How he can get Jensen to shut up for over an hour, sometimes, just by holding on tight and tangling their fingers together.
Doesn’t know how to tell her that she’s unlikely to get grandchildren from him – and this is especially true after Bolivia and that whole fiasco maldecido
, but Cougar doesn’t even think about being betrayed by his (adopted) country like that yet. That she’s going to have to rely on Maria and Alejo and Jacinta for that (even though Maria’s doing the whole high-powered career thing in New York and Alejo seems to be allergic to the mere idea of settling down).
Doesn’t know how to tell his mama that this thing he has with Jensen comes as naturally to him as shifting did when he was three and terrified, crouched in front of his sister’s crib and mewling for his papa.
Somehow, though, Cougar thinks that maybe his mama knows everything he can’t find the words for and that she’s just waiting for Cougar to man up and tell her – she always gives Jensen the best of the alfajores
when the two of them wind up there on leave.***Corporal Jake Jensen – Tech-Ghost
Jensen remembers the very first time he messed around with something electrical.
His dad had taken the nightlight out of the bedroom he shared with his sister and Jensen might have been younger but four was old enough to be a Big Boy and grown up and not scared of the dark at all and Sammy had been crying
. Sammy was a girl
and even though she was nine (so old
!), maybe she was still scared of the dark. (He doesn’t realise until he’s older and remembering with the clarity of hindsight that Sammy wasn’t crying because she was scared of the dark.) The overhead light covered by the battered lampshade had flicked on without Jake or Sammy getting out of their beds and creeping over to the door. They’d had two minutes, almost, before their dad came storming back in and demanded to know who’d got out of bed, his belt already in his hand.
Now, playing with the circuitry for the lights seems beyond easy. Now, Jensen owns four laptops and one desktop that he keeps in his apartment off base. Now, Jensen can run different programs on the laptops simultaneously, flicking between all four with the whisper of a thought like he’s turning a page in a book and seeing the images in his head while his eyes flicker behind closed eyelids. Now, Jensen knows every alarm system in the world and how to disarm them without even having to touch the inside of the casing. Now, he can find out anything from a system within seconds.
It makes him dangerous. Makes people want to lock him up and find out how he works like his brain’s made of clockwork or something. Clay’s team is Jensen’s last chance. He spent a week in lockup between debriefing from his last team and being handed over to Clay – and they’d warned him (never stated it, but always hedging around it) that if he didn’t behave then there were always other, younger tech-ghosts out there. In New Hampshire, say.
They’d had pictures
of Jessie leaving her kindergarten at the end of the school day..
Jensen will be the first to admit that maybe he’s got a bit of an attention problem. And maybe a very little bit of an authority problem. It’s not the best combination for someone in the armed forces, not when they’re responsible for intel on actual field missions. Fuck. His. Life, okay? It’s really difficult to keep still sometimes when he hacked through his teenage years in the privacy of his bedroom and there was no one to see him dancing around to bad rock music while information flickered through page after page on the computer screen.
Clay’s the first CO that Jensen’s had where that’s not a problem. Where he’s allowed to hack in smiley-faced boxers and a pirate hat if he so chooses (although it’s not so much allowed
as it is that Clay’s just given up trying to enforce certain boundaries on him). And there’s Cougar who makes Jensen forget to breathe and then reminds him how to all in the same instant. Cougar, who pins Jensen to the bed or the bedroll when they sleep so that Jensen can’t twitch or power-up his laptops from across the room.
Cougar’s mama makes the most amazing alfajores
when they visit and she runs her fingers over Jensen’s hair when she passes his chair and her house smells like a home should. Like Sammy’s house does. Cougar’s mama would like Sammy, Jensen thinks, although he probably shouldn’t introduce them. There’d be, like, double the amount of sappy, embarrassing Christmas presents if those two started conspiring and Jessie would learn Spanish and have some aunts to go with the large amount of uncles she has – because Jacinta and Maria are awesome beyond words, just because they’re Cougar’s family…
Jensen makes a note to introduce Sammy and Sra. Alvarez as soon as possible. He’s got this whole five-step Plan-with-a-capital-‘P’ for the rest of his life and step two is getting Cougar to settle down with him properly. There may or may not be a white picket fence (just because Jensen’s never had one and it seems like something proper families usually have), two-point-five children (although Jensen’s not entirely certain how the point-five bit works out), a dog and frequent family vacations to both New Hampshire and to Mama Alvarez’s. He’s aware that this is, yes, beyond teenage-girlie and pathetic and that he’s going to need Mama Alvarez’s help, but that’s what The Plan’s for.
Step one was getting Cougar into bed. This has been accomplished. Repeatedly. In a way that makes Jensen purr like the big kitty-cat Cougar is when he thinks about it.
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