A Strange Game Called Flashbacks

Chapter Two: Caboose's Candor and Freak Rainstorms

Series: Red VS Blue

Rating: PG-13 (for language, sexual situational dialogue, and a bit of gayness)

Disclaimer: I own nothing. !cough!Rooster Teeth!cough!

Story Notes: This takes place after episode 57. Now that season 4 is out you can consider it AU (and with all the time travel it shouldn't be too hard). Also note that I followed the official character profiles given to us on the season 3 DVD as closely as I could, but not to the letter.

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"You Reds are officially the most dysfunctionaly fucked up group of people I've ever met" Church declared, breaking the shocked silence that followed for several minutes after Simmons' departure. The statement seemed to snap Grif out of the slack jawed state he'd been in.

"This coming from a guy whose team consists of a conspiracy nut job, the stupidest guy to ever serve in the military, and two ghosts inhabiting the bodies of Red team built robots? Yeah, you're one to talk." Grif looked to Sarge for a bit of support only to find him still staring wide eyed in the direction that his maroon clad teammate had stomped off in. "Look," he sighed turning back to face the Blues, "Can we please not do this right now? I've got one teammate off somewhere probably crying his eyes out, another who just stood here and screamed at all of us like a psychotic spaz,... and I think the fact that the kiss ass just deserted us blew a few of Sarge's fuses. And I'm getting a fucking headache on top of it all. Lets just... put off this argument."

"I suppose that finding out that the guy who has been following him around like a loyal puppy for the last three years is gay would be enough to give Sarge a rather unhealthy shock" Tex reasoned, rummaging through the personal item pile for Tucker's aspirin. When she found them and looked back to the two groups she was met with puzzled looks. "Don't tell me that you guys didn't pick up that message loud and clear." The puzzled looks continued. The mercenary rolled her eyes in frustration but reminded herself that, being men, this group had the perceptive capabilities of rather slowwitted slugs. She handed Grif two of Tucker's aspirins before explaining. "When he said 'it isn't only Donut' what did you THINK he was talking about? Why do you THINK he got so angry?"

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"That is my biggest secret in the world. It proves to everybody that I am dumb, so I hide it."

"I'm not sure I understand... is that some sort of weird Blue tradition? How does dying your hair make you dumb?"

"Silly pink Donut. Blues grow blue hair if they are stupid. They explained it all to me when mine changed all by itself after the first night at Army Camp. They also explained that I was in the Blue Army and not college... All of my new friends in the bunk said that it would stay that way unless I did smart things for the army." Caboose ran his hands through his hair, taming it a bit. "They said that if I did everything that they told me to, that the stupid blue would go away. And it started to work! Because I did kitchen duty for them, and I brought them porn-a-marography magazines when they told me to, and I said the things they told me to say to the Sergeant. The dumb blue started to go back to Caboose brown a little at the top after a while.. But the morning I was supposed to leave to come here it went back to being all dumb blue again." The blue clad rookie looked to Donut. "That does not happen at Red Camp?" Donut shook his head in a negative. "I've never let Tucker or Church see it. I do not want them to know that I am stupid. But I am getting better! See!" He pointed to the light brown roots of his hair proudly. "I have been doing everything Church tells me and the dumb blue is going away again!"

Donut was a bit flabbergasted by the whole story. Apparently soldiers were dicks no matter which side you were on. And apparently you also didn't need to look flaming gay to be made into an instant target. "So if this is your biggest secret, then why show me Caboose?"

"Because you were sad when everyone saw your face under your helmet before. I wanted to make you happy again." The blue clad soldier smiled at Donut. "You have always been nice to me Major Cinnamon buns. I like you best after Church. And I think you are pretty. If you were a girl I would give you a kiss on the cheek."

The pink private couldn't help but blush a bit. "You should know Caboose... I'm gay. So it's.. er... probably better if you didn't talk about kissing me" he said. "Unless you're gay too" Donut added with a hopeful tone to his voice.

Caboose appeared to be thinking hard for a moment before responding. "My father told me that I am not gay pretty Donut. Sorry." He noticed his companion's expression droop a bit. "But you can be my new second best friend. Then you can help me find a girl who is pretty and nice like you to marry. Then me and her and Church and you can all live happily ever after. The end."

Donut sighed and reminded himself that Caboose didn't realize that comments like that would hurt his feelings. "I'll tell you what Caboose, I'll be your new second best friend if you'll be my new best friend in return."

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Half a mile away from where Donut and Caboose were taking Red and Blue's first vows of friendship, Simmons was looking apprehensively at the dark sky above him. Rain clouds. Simmons was sure that he could count the number of times it had rained in the three years he'd been stationed in Blood Gulch on one hand. But when it rained on this planet it really, REALLY rained. And here he was, wandering around without his helmet. It was at that moment that the first bolt of lightning flashed through the sky. "Just perfect!" He made a dash toward the canyon wall to avoid being struck by lightning in the open field.

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"I've never known anyone with 17 sisters before."

Caboose nodded. "My last sister was born right before we all moved. Mom said that we would be safer living on one of the Moon colonies. After the Red Army took over Canada she thought that Alaska would be next. So we moved... Do you think your team would have really blown up my old home town pretty Donut?"

Both soldiers were so immersed in conversation that they didn't really notice as the sunlight poring into the cave had dimmed until the first roar of thunder. "Wow!" Donut looked to the entrance, finally noticing the darkness and the rain pouring down. "You know, it never really rains much he--."

"Hello?" a voice called, coming into view of the entrance. "Donut! Are you in here?"

Both soldiers inside instinctively shrunk back farther into the shadows, unused to having people see them without their full armor. Caboose fumbled for his helmet to hide his hair.

The figure standing at the entrance shook his head in a vain effort to dry off. "Hello?"

"Simmons?" Donut crept forward. He scrutinized the face he'd only seen once before, during Simmons' cyborg operation. "They didn't send you here to beat me to a bloody pulp with your cyborg strength did they?" Caboose stepped out from the shadows and stood protectively beside his new second best friend, scowling at Simmons.

The maroon officer took in the second man's presence and appearance without any visible sign of shock and sighed. "No. No one sent me here. I came looking for you to make sure you were ok." He shook his hair again, sending droplets of water flying. "And instead I almost drown in my armor..."

Caboose relaxed upon Simmons' lack of a reaction to his appearance. "How can you drown in the rain?"

"The rain got into my armor. I think I've got water up to my thighs."

"Well you should just take it off. That way you will not rust."

Donut was about to protest that his maroon clad teammate would want to do nothing of the sort in his presence when the first of thirteen air seal locks hissed open. "I think that may be the most intelligent thing I've heard a Blue say all day." Another two seals popped away. "My toes will start to grow webbing if they stay waterlogged much longer..." The chest section of the maroon armor was pulled apart and deposited on the rocky ground. The standard issue camo shirt Simmons wore was soaked through and clinging to his skin. Now able to bend over properly, he hit both the seals for the armor covering both his feet. As the pieces separated a torrid of water rushed free onto the once dry ground inside the cave floor beneath them.

"Sorry" he muttered and continued on with the two seals for the leg sections and the two for the lower main body section. With only the last four seals for the arm and hand armor remaining Simmons hesitated. "Hey Donut?"

The pink clad private flinched and quickly spun to face the cave wall. "Nothing! I wasn't thinking anything, and I defiantly wasn't looking at anything!"

Ignoring the terrified outburst, Simmons continued. "Donut is the arm going to freak out Caboose?" There was a long moment of silence while Donut pulled himself together, Caboose looked confused, and Simmons waited patiently.

"Simmons? I am confused. Why is Lieutenant McMuffin looking at the wall? And why would arms scare me?" The blue rookie's complete obliviousness to the tension of his second best friend seemed to help snap Donut out of it.

"Er... He'll be fine. He's not really scared of anything except upsetting Church." Donut watched as his teammate pushed the two releases for his right arm and hand. Pulling the armor away, Simmons rubbed his fingertips together. It was a small everyday gesture that those living in MJOLNIR Mark VII armor learned to appreciate. His fingers hesitated over the final releases. Donut, having helped Sarge transfer several parts between Simmons and Grif, knew the reason behind the reluctance. "You look fine Dick. He won't freak out."

The shock of hearing Donut call him by his first name caused the Red team's second in command to press both of the last releases. Simmons looked up at the pink private in surprise, allowing the two pieces of armor to slip through his fingers and clatter on the floor.

"WOW! It is so shiny" Caboose gasped in fascination. From slightly above the elbow down Simmons' left arm was a highly polished gunmetal silver color. The joints of each of his fingers along with his wrist and his elbow could be seen to be finely tuned revolute joints. And while his cyborg fingers had no fingernails or knuckles, it was the gleaming color that caught any observer's attention. "Where can I get a shiny arm!" whispered Caboose.

Simmons blushed, though it looked a bit unnatural. Caboose may have loved it but he himself had been less than thrilled when he had woken up with a terrible hangover, a cybernetic arm, and a bloodstream swimming with Freon. The fact that the operation was a bad idea was, to this day, the only thing he and Grif had ever publicly agreed upon.

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Across the open field five soldiers were waiting in vain for the rain to stop from the safety of the rundown remains of Blood Gulch Outpost #1. Just inside the front entrance stood the black painted robot usually inhabited by Tex. However the armor stood stock still, indicating that it was powered off at the moment. Laying in a scattered pile beside the deactivated robot was a strangely opaque and barely visible second set of freelancer black armor parts. And sitting with her back against the door frame was the even more shockingly opaque and barely visible former resident of both sets of armor. You had to squint to see it but her hair could be seen as a long vibrant red, twisted into a quick double ponytail behind her. The spirit's eyes, which were staring out into the rain, were a dark bark brown. Tex rubbed her fingers together. The ritual still felt familiar, even though she'd never shed her armor after her death before. The sensation in her fingertips still felt the way it always had, unchanged by death.

The freelancer could hear bits and pieces of the men's conversation taking place toward the back of the base and wondered vaguely how long they would leave her in peace. 'All I need is for four horny men to walk in and suddenly realize that I'm a GIRL girl' Tex extended one of her arms outside the entrance and watched as the rain water pooled in her palm momentarily before passing through and splashing to the dirt below. She continued watching the strange phenomenon for what felt like hours before she sensed a presence in the room behind her.

"Sort of a weird feeling isn't it?" Church's voice asked as she turned to address him. Church, like Tex, had finally shed both sets of his bulky armor in favor of additional comfort while they were holed up. The mercenary alone could easily make out the short messy black mop of hair and piercing blue eyes of Church. The shirt he wore instead of the required camo print was cobalt blue with the word FUCK! printed in bold letters across the chest. It had been the only present that Tex had ever given him when they had been involved. At the quirk of his Ex's eyebrow he grinned cheekily. "What? Did you think that when you ran off I would burn the shirt and renounce women forever?"

Tex rolled her eyes and muttered about obsessiveness under her breath.

"We still haven't been able to contact Caboose. Wherever he went he must not have his helmet on, because we've tried everything we could think of to get him to respond to us. Tucker even started talking about how he was going to take over being my best friend... and still nothing."

The imagery caused a smile to quirk on Tex's lips for a moment. "How's Sarge? Any coherent sentences out of him yet?"

"Oh yeah. He's nearly back to his old self, accusing us of plotting against him and whatnot. Grif seems to have him convinced that Simmons would be back already if it weren't for the storm. Personally, I think that he and Donut are out there somewhere making out."

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"Truth of favor?" Back in the cave all three stranded soldiers were sitting in a triangle, armor abandoned behind them, playing a modified game of truth or dare.

"Truth" Caboose answered.

Fortunately for both Reds involved Caboose was thought of as the most unperceptive human alive, which meant he heard lots of juicy gossip worthy tidbits of information back at Blue base. Unfortunately he often didn't necessarily understand that the things he heard could be used later as blackmail, so he forgot about many of them.

"Is the rumor that Tucker has never been laid true?"

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"I doubt that those two would EVER make out. They just don't strike me as each other's type... Is that all you guys have been doing back there?" Tex turned away from Church and back to watching the rain.

"Other than trying to get a hold of Caboose? We've been trying to figure out how we are going to divide up the food and clothes. Mostly the food. Of course we never ended up emptying Caboose's pack, or Simmons' either so it's hard to calculate how much of anything we really have. Caboose always had snacks hidden away in the strangest places... Anyway, with what we have now in the suit systems and in snack foods the six of them can probably last 2 two more weeks or so. So we've got that long to find some sort of communication with the outside world or something edible on this damned planet. Otherwise…"

Both ghosts sat in silence at the implication for a moment before the familiar voice of their only other present teammate rang through the halls coming toward them.

"Shit" the mercenary swore.

"Hey Church we hea-" Tucker came to a dead halt as he spotted Tex. And she, in return, looked back. True to Church's belated guess more than seven months ago Tucker was black. His black hair fell into chin length dreads and his brown eyes were currently widened and staring in surprise. Tex wouldn't have pegged Tucker as the kind of guy who would sport a goatee but there it was! She hated to admit it but out of all the occupants of the canyon she'd seen so far Tucker was the most handsome. Unfortunately the man's attitude and mouth ruined things... "Damn Church! How'd a guy like you ever manage to nail a hot chick like this?"

Both spirits scowled but Tex spoke up first. "Remind me to pull out his intestines and wrap them tightly around his balls the next time I decide to get back in the robot armor."

"Oh come on! That was a compliment."

"What do you WANT Tucker?" Church interrupted, annoyance dripping from his voice.

"Er... We just heard from Caboose. Apparently he's holed up in a cave somewhere with the crybaby and the spaz playing some game called truth or favor. He contacted the Reds apparently as a favor for Simmons to let them know that they'd be returning to base as soon as the rain stops."

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The pouring rain and lightning continued through the day, into the evening, and on into the blackness of night. After finally finishing an extremely informative game of truth or favor the stranded three had gorged themselves on Caboose's secret stash of Snickerdoodles before the blue haired soldier declared it a sleepover and retreated further inside the cave to find a suitable area to sleep.

Donut stared out at the rain filled sky. The only source of light was Caboose's helmet light which sat behind him. He felt too nervous to attempt to sleep and Simmons kept him company for similar reasons. It wasn't until the rookie actually started chewing on his fingernails that the cyborg finally managed the courage to get several things off of his chest.

"Hey Donut?"

"Hmm?" He didn't turn his attention from the sky outside.

"We need to talk."

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Thanks go out to all my reviewers, especially Hamtaro23, Artemis-chan of Redwing, and TaranGryph. Oh, and thanks for the cookies Aleister Crow! Delicious!

Chapter 3: Waking Up was Today's First Mistake! is in the works. You'll just have to be patient...but here's a bit of a sneak peak to keep you thinking until then.

His ears were still ringing with her threats of making the rest of his afterlife full of pain and torture, since the entire situation was, according to her, all his fault. Of course the screaming had been enough to rouse the others and they'd all shown up to hear the tail end of his ex's rant... Now Tucker was walking around with a rather smug look.

It was starting to look like another day where it was gonna suck to be Church.