Okay, reader-peoples! I need your suggestions. Gimme ideas of ways in which Machete can test Jensen! (Preferably not TOO life-threatening; I did toy with the idea of Jensen waking up chained to a bathtub with a hacksaw in one hand and a tape recorder in the other. "I wanna play a game..." :D)


"Okay!" Jensen slams his empty glass down on the table of the hotel room everyone has retreated to. "So- couple questions that are burning at me: how are you guys still alive, what are you doing here, and how soon can I expect adorably embarrassing baby stories about Cougs?"

Clay snorts into his glass. Cougar glares from under the brim of his hat and bites into a lemon wedge.

"Ohh, I remember the first time you used my old XM-21," Luz coos, tapping her son's nose. "You shot that Black Forest op right through the eye. You were... four? Five?"

The sniper coughs, glances away. "Four."

"So sweet," she hums and downs another shot, ignoring the expressions of the Losers, which range from grudgingly impressed (Aisha) to slightly horrified (Pooch).

Shé passes the bottle and pours a line of salt onto the table. "Well," everyone around her leans in, listening intently. "There we were, middle of the desert, shot to shit and near-dead, bleeding out on the sand," she glances up at them, smiles. "When along comes our own guardian angel, riding out of the desert in a Carmen Ghia. Apparently she saw our boy wandering his way to the military base, followed his trail back and found us."

"Who was it?" Aisha props her head against her hand, clutching her empty glass.

"An ex-assassin and her daughter. They weren't part of the Network, but they recognized us and got us to safety- we were barely alive at that point. Maybe you've heard of her- most people know her as the Bride. Back in the old days, she was Black Mamba."

Clay spits his tequila across the table. "WHAT?"

Luz smirks. "I see someone recognizes the name. She got us fixed up, back to the Network. Her daughter, BB, even joined the Network; runs medicine to our doctor friend Dakota Block, down in Mexico." She looks at her son. "We spent years trying to find you, but the FBI caught on and we had to hide again. And then, all that mess in Bolivia, and we lost all signs of you... We knew you couldn't be dead, but every time we got wind of you, you disappeared again." She smiles. "We taught you well."

"But Black Mamba's dead! Or- or not real? Or... I dunno, retired, dead, not real, just- I thought she was a myth!" The colonel stares wildly.

"Uh, boss." Cougar nudges his commander and points at his parents. "You thought they were a myth."

"Point," Clay admits, his head sinking.

Machete, whose face hasn't changed this entire time, lifts the bottle of tequila and refills Jensen's cup, then his own.

"So," he says as the American drains the shot. "Jensen. You do... what? Computers?"

"Yep," Jensen beams.

"Sitting in back rooms, typing in front of some screen while your team runs around getting shot at." He sneers and knocks the shot back.

"Padre," Cougar hisses, but the blonde waves him away and gulps down another drink.

"It's cool, Coug." He takes the bottle and fills Machete's glass, refills his own, drags his finger through the line of salt on the table. "I usually go on-site with the team, bring my laptop. Y'know, hack with one hand, shoot with the other."

The big Hispanic man swallows the shot easily, and Clay wonders vaguely what number that is. "So, you can shoot?"

"Hell yeah."

"And you are good at what you do?" Another set of shots.

"Well, I don't wanna brag, but I'm the best motherfuckin' hacker on the planet." The young man grins crazily.

Machete looks nonplussed until his son leans over and says something in Spanish, not tripping over his words the way everyone else has begun to, largely due to the fact that he knows his limits and began substituting guava juice for tequila about five drinks ago. Machete's eyebrow quirks and he looks up at the hacker.

"You broke into a government satellite?"

"Ahh, good times. Yeah, that was for Pooch's birthday; he wanted to see the season premiere of Ghost Hunters." Jensen winks at his friend, who rolls his eyes. "Of course, a few wires got... accidentally crossed, and I ended up broadcasting Dora the Explorer on every monitor in the Whitehouse..."

Pooch snorts, remembering, as Clay's head finally thuds onto the table.

Machete pours another drink.

(Three Hours Later...)

"Dios, Jake," Cougar grunts as he hauls the hacker back to their room. "Are you crazy?"

"Crazy for yooouuuuu," the drunk American sing-songs as they weave down the hall. He nestles his head in Cougar's shoulder. "Mmm, you're waaaaarrrrm."

"And you are drunk."

"Very drunk," Jensen agrees.

"Why would you drink that much? You will have the hangover to end all hangovers tomorrow." The sniper turns, pulling his room key from his back pocket.

"It was worth it," the blonde announces. "I held my own with yer dad in a drinkin' contest! 'Sa man-test of manly man-ness."

"You passed out in my lap while he was still drinking."

"Shu'up! I did a good job."

"Yes, you did," the smaller man rubs his companion's back reassuringly and approaches their door.

"Yer parents're awesome," Jensen slurs. "D'you think they're okay wi' me? A-and with you... datin' a white- a ginko?"

"A gringo?"


"I'm sure they are."

"I- I know yer mom's okay with me... I hope..." The hacker hiccups. "But I think yer dad might... might try ta kill me or... or maim me or somethin'."

The door opens, and Cougar leads his friend into the room. "Not while I'm around."

"I looove yooouuu, Cooouugs." Jake plants a sloppy kiss on the dark-haired man's neck. "You know that, righ'?"

"Si." He lowers the taller man onto the bed. "I know, amor. Get some rest."

"'M not tired," Jensen insists, refusing to release his hold on the sniper. His hands creep up and under Cougar's shirt, and he smirks lazily as he nuzzles the tattoo on his lover's chest.

"Jake," Carlos says sternly, trying to detach the clingy hands. "You need to sleep."

"Nooooo." Hot breath, heavy with tequila, ghosts over the Spaniard's lips. "I dun wanna sleep. Sleeping's boring. I wanna do somethin' interesting." He lets his fingers dance over his friend's sharp hipbones. "Something like..." He trails kisses down Cougar's neck, nips at his collarbone, drawing a shuddering breath from the other Loser.

Cursing himself, and knowing he should have stopped drinking earlier than he did, Cougar lets his shirt be yanked up and over his head. He gasps when teeth and tongue find a nipple, drunk but clever hands fumbling with his belt. When one of those hands works its way into his boxers, he moans, falling back onto the bed. "Jake..."

"Mmm, Carrrlos," Jensen purrs, rolling the 'r' and climbing on top of the smaller man.

Cougar pants, hips rolling into the tech's hand helplessly. His eyes flutter shut when he feels the American's lips assault his throat. "Jake... ah... Jake..."

Suddenly, the stroking ceases.

"Jake?" The pinned man raises his head, blinking.

Jensen snores.