want, take, have

Roy woke up to Hawkeye's hand on his shoulder, coming to alertness with a sick heaving headache and an utter weariness of spirit. He looked up at her through alcohol-blurred eyes, then turned to see who it was next to him in the bed.

The man lying there reached out to grab at Roy's shoulder. ". . . not getting away that fast," he growled, his own voice blurred by drunkenness.

"Sir," Hawkeye said flatly, "you have to be moving. There's new orders in. We had enough trouble finding you . . ."

Roy remembered bits of the evening beforehand. Mud. Amnestrians. Soldiers. Trying not to think about the soldiers. Trying not to think about Amnestrians and fighting them tomorrow. Bars. Several bars. Beer at first, and then brandy when he'd wanted something stronger, and towards the end of it, a stranger's arm round his shoulders, this man -- "My gloves, you bastard!" he spat, suddenly aware that his hands were bare. "Where are my gloves?"

"I'm sure they're down here somewhere." The man waved a hand at the stained sheets tangled around the pair of them. "Want to have a look?"

Roy threw himself on top of the man, grabbing for his throat and forcing him down on his back. "Where. Are. My. Gloves," he snarled.

He was conscious that the man's neck was oddly cold and hard in his grasp. He was also conscious that he was bare-assed naked and swinging free in the wind. He didn't care. A soldier had little concern for modesty. He wanted his damn gloves back.

The man snickered. "Tell your lady friend to leave the room for five minutes and I'll let you have your gloves back."

There was a click as Hawkeye worked the slide on her automatic.

"No such thing," Roy snapped.

"There's no such thing as no such thing."

"She's not my lady friend, she's my subordinate, and she's going to put a bullet through you if you don't give me my gloves back. And my uniform. And my shoes. And my wallet."

The man didn't bother to try to remove Roy's hands from his neck. He simply lay there, smiling nastily. His eyes roamed over Roy acquisitively. "Don't worry. I wouldn't pay you anyhow."

"You wouldn't pay me?"

"Well, it's obvious you haven't had any real training at pleasing a man."

Roy's world went white for a moment, and he could feel, actually feel, his nails splintering as he tried to strangle the man.

Something detonated at the back of his head, and he slumped forward.

Hawkeye was grabbing his shoulder again. He couldn't see or hear very clearly. It was all blurred. ". . . Major's affairs are not my business, just get me his stuff and we'll be out of here."

"It's all over the place. Your Major's the hot-blooded type. Likes a bit of aggressiveness, don't you find?"

"None of my business," Hawkeye repeated, with a tone in her voice that said she was not expecting to have to repeat it again. "Get me his trousers and overcoat. And his gloves."

Vision was coming back. The man stretched as he clambered out of bed, dragging a sheet with him and knotting it round himself casually. There was a glimpse of some sort of tattoo before the soiled cotton hid it. "Sure, sure. No need to be so temperamental about it. Can't blame me for seeing a pretty boy and taking a bit of advantage, can you? It was the mouth. I couldn't resist those lips."

Hawkeye didn't say anything.

The man tossed pieces of Roy's uniform on the bed, retrieving them from where they were strewn around the room. "Look, I understand how it is. Heat of action. I'm in the Service myself. Don't ask, I won't tell. But you need to keep a better eye on him, soldier. Pretty boy like that's going to get into real trouble some day."

"I see," Hawkeye said flatly. "Thank you for keeping an eye on him, sir. I'm sure he won't bother you again."

"Unless I bother him." He patted Roy's rump, sliding back out of the way when Roy tried to hit him. "I never lose track of what I've had."

Hawkeye threw the overcoat round Roy's shoulders, and scooped up the remainder of his clothing. "Good night," she said, and hauled Roy out through the door.

Outside it was raining. The pavement was filthy and damp, and the wind cut at Roy's bare legs. "Hawkeye," he said muzzily. "Thought you were going to -- going to watch my back."

Hawkeye dragged him along at a bruising pace. "You went missing, sir," she spat. "Vanished out of the bar where I left you. It took me hours to find out that you'd gone off with that man."

"I did?" Roy thought about it. His memories were fragmented and confused. He remembered being pulled along then, as he was being pulled along now. A strong, muscled arm around his shoulders; a hot mouth against his own. Those hungry, hungry eyes, those grasping hands. "I don't remember," he lied.

Hawkeye snorted. A car was waiting at the end of the alley. She pushed him into it before climbing in herself.

Roy watched blearily through the window as the car drew away, looking to see if they'd been followed.

Behind them, a thin figure leaned against the lamppost and drew on a cigarette; not so much waiting, or resigned, as simply marking time.

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