Authors Note:

Learning to live with a new teammate never was easy. Especially not if your 'neighbors' are crazy idiots, your best friend made his final departure and your remaining teammate was Caboose and the new guy that was someone everyone knew except Tucker.

Oh and he was an ex special ops and wanted criminal by the UNSC. And quite frankly not all there.

But they made it work because yeah. What else could they do? Wash was surprisingly decent most of the time. Asides from a few episodes that mostly occurred when Wash was stupid enough try to reason with Sarge. Things soon fell in some kind of routine. Halfhearted fighting, yelling insults and stuff. Blue team now always won with Washs help.

Caboose also got used to everything really quickly. Like it was the most normal thing that Wash was around and Church gone. Then again he kept calling Wash Church and the Freelancer started to listen to it because it was easier. So well, that meant Tucker either way was going to be stuck with Wash. So might as well make him a real part of the team.

For Tucker that meant mouthing back and making comments when and about whatever he wanted. And also pranking him. However that turned out to be a real challenge. Or more like impossible. Tucker probably was lucky that Wash didn't considered any of these actions an attack or threat. So he refrained from breaking him some bones or stuff. Still, it was frustrating. Nothing worked at all.

Buckets over the door didn't work. The first time Wash proved that he had indeed excellent reflexes. The times after he always fucking noticed the bucket right away. It was also impressive how Wash managed to sound ten times more dangerous without reaching nearly half the volume Church used to when angry.

Putting needles, glue, whoopee cushion and all that on a chair turned out to work even less. Tuckers next best idea was to scare him somehow. You know, like jumping out from somewhere or such stuff. But yeah. Wash was kinda on the balls all the time and Tucker was too young to die.

So he tried other things. Like pink food dye in his shampoo. That didn't go so well. For some reason Caboose drunk from it and ended up hiccupping pinkish bubbles all morning and complaining about aching stomach. It made the daily fight with the reds impossible because Grif and Simmons kept cracking up and Caboose was all but whining and pink bubbles. They tried later to rinse his mouth with water but that ended only with more bubbles. And some black and blue bruises for Tucker and Wash because Caboose 'wasn't thirsty anymore'.

It was fun until the regular blue puked. It was disgusting in all ways and Tucker got some of it on his armor. They had to peel Caboose out of armor and get him cleaned up and that alone was bad enough. And when the teal soldier thought it couldn't get any worse he was kept from taking a shower by Wash who lectured him a whole god damn hour.

Well so much for that one.

Tucker tried other things. Like smearing shoe blackening under the door handle. That one did work. Kind of. Wash gripped the handle of the door to his room. He stopped when he felt the grease even through his gloves. Tucker had been standing in his room next to Washs and peeked through the door. Wash gave a half sigh half growl before he turned around and walked towards the bathroom to clean the glove. He passed Tucker but didn't even bother to look at him. No signs of an upset outburst or anything. It was unbelievable how much that lack of frustration, yelling or shock worked Tucker up.

There were other attempts. Like the time Tucker covered the ground in front of the bathroom with engine oil. Again he waited around the corner with the hope Wash would slip. But when the guy came out of the bathroom and stepped on it he only skidded a little before he caught himself again.

So that wasn't great either. Wash didn't fall and it only ended with him forcing Tucker in a strained calm voice to clean up the whole floor. It wasn't fun (and Tucker would never admit that he had the bump on the back of his head from slipping out on the oil. No it was not like that at all).

Caboose tried to 'help' too, of course. But since the idiot never got anything right that didn't work so well. His favorite was covering bed sheets with mustard. That one actually was hilarious. Even through the visor Tucker saw how Wash had the most incredulous expression he ever saw. It was obvious that the whole thing was so far beyond the Freelancers understanding. It was absurd how Wash stood in front of his in mustard covered bed, completely at loss. Tucker had been laughing so hard he curled on the ground.

Maybe it wasn't that great though because his bed had been covered in mustard too and they had to clean the shit. They also hid the mustard from Caboose and hoped he wouldn't do it with ketchup or mayonnaise. Or, you know, gasoline or something.

The other idea Tuckers had was great. It didn't go quite as planed but it was hilarious. He taped the faucet in the kitchen. The idea behind it was very simple. If Wash would turn on the water it would splash on him. Nothing that could go wrong since Tucker instructed Caboose very clearly on not turning on the water in the kitchen.

Though, maybe Tucker should have known better than to believe nothing could go wrong. Because Caboose was around, you know. So when Wash came into the kitchen to join them on breakfast, Caboose jumped up happily. And before Tucker could do anything against it the regular blue was at the sink and turned on the water.

From that point on the teal soldier didn't really care about the plan anymore, he was just laughing like crazy when Caboose yelped and tried to parry of the water jet instead of turning it off. Wash stood there for a few seconds before he just went over and turned off the water.

It was only later when Tucker didn't feel like suffocating because his belly was killing him that he decided he has had it with Wash being fucking stoic.

That was what lead to a rather risky plan involving a permanent marker. So sneaking in Wash room at night probably was a little tad dangerous. But hey, he couldn't be worse than the alien Tucker dealt with in his live. Or Tex for that matter.

When you lived under the same roof with someone in the middle of nowhere you got to know each others habits sooner or later. So Tucker knew Wash never was sleeping a night through. He only had to wait until the Freelancer would get up and walk around at the base a little and slip in his room then, armed with a permanent marker. Also get out there again really fast.

The next morning Tucker was early up and in the kitchen for breakfast. Just to make sure he wouldn't miss it when Wash got up and found that there were dicks drawn on his visor. Unusually cheerful considering the early hour Tucker sat at the table and nipped at his coffee. He soon heard the sound of steps coming towards the kitchen. No stomping as he hoped. But he still wondered whether or not Wash would be wearing his helmet. The guy never took it off since they joined them. He even ate with the fucking thing even though Tucker didn't figure out yet how the heck he did that. Wash entered the kitchen then and headed straight for Tucker. He had his helmet in his hands and a very dangerous expression in his eyes. But his movements were steady and calm as he put his helmet on the table in front of Tucker. "What is this about?" he asked lowly, narrowing his eyes. Tucker kept grinning like a fool. If he wouldn't be as absolutely carefree as he was he would notice just how deep in trouble he was. He only briefly glanced at the dicks on the visor before he looked up again. "Looks nice."

Wash had his hands planted on the table, on each side of his helmet. He leaned in closer. "Shut up." Something about the way the Freelancer said it, low and dangerous, almost made Tucker follow the order. It was mostly his will to never do what told that made him say "Man, what are you so upset about? It's just a joke and some dicks on your visor. Loosen up, dude." He smirked up at the older man when Wash narrowed his eyes at him. They had a steel grey color and they were hard and sharp like his cheek bones. It was a strange contrast to the dark shadows under his eyes and the freckles covering his cheeks and nose. Tucker didn't notice that before. Then again, the only time he saw Washs face was directly after the fight with Tex and the Meta.

But Tucker should have paid attentions to other things. Like the tense muscles, the clenched jaw and the forced calm breathing. They were clear sings for Washington losing his patience and grip on his compose.

"Stop it."

Tucker blinked at the demand. "Stop what?"

Wash pushed himself away from the table and threw his hands to the sides, gesturing. Yeah, definitely losing his compose. "This!" he shout. And Tucker almost flinched from the sudden outburst. But Church was yelling at him all the time so he was more than used to it. "What the fuck is your problem, dude!?" he hissed and leaned over the table towards Wash. This time his reaction actually made Tucker flinch. It was a full body flinch when the Freelancer slammed his hands on the table in front him. The loud sound of the smack echoed through the kitchen and Tucker found himself face to face with his newest teammate. "What is your problem?" hissed Wash. "What is this even about?" he put one hand forcefully on his helmet, still glaring at Tucker with unusual intense anger.

"What? The pranks? Dude, you really are pissed because of that?" Tucker laughed. It was a sharp and cynical sound. Not like him at all. But this guy was just too much to deal with. He saw how Washs hand tightened on the edge of the table. "If you have a problem, just say it. But stop with this nonsense."

"Well, what if your attitude is my problem?" countered the teal soldier right away.

Wash tightened his grip on the table even more, his muscles tensing and then Tucker really thought he was going to lose it when-

"Tucker! You can't eat the pudding!"

Tucker did a small jump from surprise as Caboose came running into the kitchen, fully in armor as usually. Just why did he only have teammates that were (sometimes literally) living in their armor? "I didn't eat your fucking pudding" snapped the teal soldier, not taking his eyes off Wash in the meantime. It was like he could almost watch the tension falling from him. You know, not in the good way like after being done with jerking off or something. It was more like he just remembered he probably was not supposed to punch his teammates in the face and now told his muscles to forget that idea therefore.

(Tucker knew that the punch in the face thing had been very likely to happen there. But that did not mean he was ever going to acknowledge that.)

"Good morning Agent Washingchurch" the regular blue soldier greeted their new teammate while he toddled happily over to the fridge to assure his pudding was still there. If Tucker wouldn't already live with Caboose for such a long time he would be fascinated by how oblivious the guy was to everything around him.

"Good morning, Caboose", Wash replied, voice still strained. Somehow Tucker felt the urge to at least try and punch him in the face. So that this fucking stoic masquerade would finally crumble. It was so fucking unnerving! Washington took his helmet again and went over to the kitchen unit to put it down there. "You will clean this", the Freelancer told him as he passed him. Tucker grunted. Thanks for the invitation to speak up against you, he thought grimly but washed the words down with his coffee. Something about the way Wash acted calm in such a forced way when Caboose showed up reminded Tucker of his parents when they would just stop in the middle of the fight once he walked into the room.

The difference was that Caboose didn't seem to notice unlike Tucker. Or maybe he just didn't bother as he sat down with his plate and the green pudding on it. Soon after him also Wash sat down on the chair next to Tucker, having now a cup of coffee on his own. Tucker watched him still grimly. "Well, at least now I have the proof that you actually can eat outside of your helmet" he said.

Wash merely glanced at him out of the corner of his eyes, anger still sparkling in them. But he didn't look like he was going to hit him anymore. "That just because eating with the helmet on is more effective", the older man said, sarcasm thick in his voice. He took a sip from his coffee, pointedly ignoring how Tucker as well as Caboose were giving him an odd look. Tucker almost felt like laughing at him then.

"Dude, you are fucking crazy" he announced and leaned back in his chair until he was rocking with it. Wash shot him a glare, one with more cold anger again. "Are you generally such a dick or are you just trying to pick fights with me for some reason, Lavernius?"

Tucker grimaced as if he just bit a lemon at the sound of his first name. Especially the way Wash said it was so horrible. "Fuck you" he replied, frowning at the Freelancer angrily. "I'm just trying to deal with you. Because your fucking stoic attitude I a pain in the ass. "

He saw Wash surpass another urge to punch him. But before he could actually say something Caboose decided to mess with the situation again. "Oh my god, there is green fog everywhere!" They both stopped their angry staring contest to look at the regular blue soldier. He had his whole visor smeared with pudding and even some of it in the exits of his airways. "It is creeping inside my nose and I can't lick it off!"

Tucker was really used to a lot, surprise there. But this picture was once again so utterly ridiculous that he found himself only staring for about the first ten seconds. Wash was staring as well, looking at Caboose like he was uncertain if this really just happened or if he had anything causing hallucinations in his coffee. They both watch how Caboose whipped off the pudding from his visor and then actually attempted to lick of his fingers. Which, you know, was a total fail. Once again Tucker was kind of amazed by the amount of stupidity and how hilarious this was.

He only drew his attention from his teammate who repeated the previous action over and over again when he heard a small thud next to him. When he glanced over, he saw how Wash had his arms crossed on the table and the head dropped on the wooden surface. His shoulders were shaking but there was not a single sound coming from him. Tucker wasn't really sure if he was actually laughing or if he just lost the rest of his sanity.

Either way, this was all so fucking great that he laughed until he had tears in his eyes.

OOO

It got even better two days later. When this hot Freelancer chick showed up (it would be so much better though when she wouldn't be so crazy, too and kicking their asses) and actually asked Wash what happened to his forehead that he had such bruise there. Tucker really thought he was gonna piss his pants.