Limpets Are My Favorite Animals

For the sake of his team not killing each other, Clay always tried to ensure that they slept separately. Even when none of the Losers were "entertaining" (and before he met Aisha), they still squabbled and snapped at each other until he was ready to wring their collective necks.

Nobody wanted to sleep with Jensen because the guy never shut up. Even in sleep, he babbled and laughed until Roque threatened to cut out his tongue AND his liver. The only person who could tolerate it for any length of time was Cougar, and that was because he never seemed to sleep at all. During the times when bunking together was unavoidable, Clay noticed that every time he woke up, Cougar was awake: cleaning his gun, praying, watching everyone else sleep, and cleaning his gun some more. Therefore, it had seemed logical to make him Jensen's bunkmate when conditions grew cramped.

Roque had hated sharing with anyone, and bitched about Pooch's habit of gargling loudly when he brushed his teeth and his constant morning flatulence, but he did no better sharing with Clay. Apparently, Clay snored loud enough to register on the Richter scale. He finally told Roque to deal with it; everyone had a few nighttime habits, and it wasn't like Roque was a quiet sleeper. He ground his teeth so hard that Clay was amazed that he had any left. They all suffered from nightmares and at least one person had to be on watch when they were in enemy territory, so Clay simply tried to make sure that whenever it was safe enough, they all had privacy.

Unfortunately, tonight was not one of those times. They were deep in a forested area, dug into a clearing, and Pooch and Jensen were resignedly setting up the canvas tarps they used as a roof for their bivouac. "Hey Clay?" Jensen shoved his glasses on his nose before tying one corner of the tarp to a tree.

"Yeah?"

"What about Aisha?"

"What about her?"

"Yes, Jensen, what about me?" Aisha echoed as she looked up with from examining her ammo supply, her eyes narrow slits of suspicion.

"Well, uh..." Jensen cleared his throat. "Would you...like to be on the outside? When we all lie down? I mean, normally, they put me there because I'm noisy, but I just thought..." the tech's face turned pinker and pinker as Aisha continued to stare at him. "Maybe you'd be more...comfortable...if you were on the outside edge, then Clay, then Pooch, Cougar and me."

For a moment, Aisha did not reply. She scanned Jensen's face, but could discern no sign of mockery; he seemed to be genuinely concerned for her modesty. It was amusing in a bittersweet way, but also ridiculous. "Do you fear for my virtue, Jake Jensen?" she inquired with a raised eyebrow. "I assure you that the last man who attempted to lay hands on me died both slowly and painfully."

"I think we'll be all right" Clay said dryly. Jensen nodded and continued to set the tarps up, but later that night, Aisha did claim the outside edge, with Clay next to her. She slept fully clothed as they all did. Jensen had the other outside edge, and Pooch and Cougar were jammed into the middle.

Jensen sighed to himself as he settled down to sleep. Beside him, Cougar murmured, "Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos Santificado sea tu Nombre"...as he did every night before retiring. Jensen didn't mind; that part of sleeping next to Cougs was soothing. It was the rest that was driving him crazy: the warmth of the other man's skin, his habit of staying awake (Several times Jensen had awakened to find the sniper's unblinking gaze fixed on him, which was either super-sexy or terrifying, depending on how you looked at it.), his soft breathing when he actually did sleep, and the fact that he was starting to get into the habit of nestling himself against Jensen once he was truly off to la-la land. Jensen liked this way more than he should. In fact, he liked everything about the sniper more than he should, and it was threatening to turn into what Clay called "a situation".

Jensen could live with the idea of being gay or bi, but he was pretty damn sure Cougar would kill him if he ever found out. And worse than that, he would hate him, and Cougs was the best friend Jensen had ever had. So except for the praying and the warmth and the nestling, sleeping next to the sniper was agony. Jensen tried to make sure to sleep with his back to Cougs, curled into a ball with his hands tucked securely in front of him.

Tonight there was the usual medley of burps, yawns, and gas-passing as the Losers settled to sleep. Jensen was tickled that one of the loudest farts came from Aisha. He heard Pooch say "Damn!" and chuckle and a quiet ripple of mirth from Cougar. Clay coughed, but gallantly (and wisely) kept his mouth shut. Then the camp lantern was extinguished and there were no more sounds except those that came from the local wildlife.

Cougar's warmth settled against Jensen's back. Jensen closed his eyes, knowing that he would not be able to sleep for quite a while. The thought of how much warmer he'd be—all over— if Cougs wasn't wearing a shirt began looping through his tortured brain. He lay motionless while the heat of the sniper's skin soaked through his tee shirt into his chest and then began making its way to points further south. "Shitfuck!" he groaned in a whisper.

Jensen finally dropped off from the sheer exhaustion of trying to keep still. When he awoke several hours later, Nature was calling and there was a pair of arms and legs wrapped around him. Jesus Christ on a surfboard! Could his luck possibly suck more? Cougar had turned into a limpet and Jensen's body was threatening to explode, almost fucking literally.

Gently, Jensen tapped on the sniper's interlaced arms. "Cougar? Cougs, buddy...you're gonna have to let go. I'm very flattered and if I didn't know for sure that you'd blow my brains out I wouldn't move from now until Christmas, but I've gotta go bleed the lizard. Now, you don't have to wake up, just let go...nice and easy..." the tech attempted to slowly roll away, only to be gripped so hard his breath threatened to cut off as he landed back against Cougar's chest. "Goddamn it, you have no IDEA what you're doing to me!" Jensen hissed as he grabbed the sniper's hands and tried to unwind his arms. Cougar only sighed and buried his face in the back of Jensen's neck.

After a lot of slow, steady traction, Jensen managed to regretfully free himself. He grabbed his gun and headed towards a discreet clump of trees. When he returned, Cougar had managed to bogart most of Jensen's bedding. He was rolled up like a caterpillar, which meant Jensen would have to unwind him yet again if he wanted any of his blankets back.

"Shit, Cougs! If you wanted to sleep with me, why in the hell didn't you just say so?" Jensen mumbled under his breath as he tugged at the unzipped sleeping bag that covered the sniper. "It's not like I would have said no or anything. You are, after all, one of the hottest people I know. Your tattoo drives me crazy, the whole silence thing turns my crank, and the fact that you can blow my glasses off my face without even giving me a scratch just adds an extra thrill..."

Cougar grunted and to Jensen's relief, loosened his hold on the bag. Jensen pulled half of it off of the sniper and wriggled underneath. It was delightfully toasty. Jensen ignored the panicky little voice in his head that was asking him what the hell he thought he was doing and curled himself around the other man. He didn't quite dare to put his arms around him, so he settled for just plain spooning. Cougar, however, seemed to have other ideas. He reached back and grabbed the tech's hand, pulling Jensen's arm around his waist and pinning it against the front of his body.

"Uh, Cougs?" Jensen managed to choke out, feeling his face turn the color of a ripe tomato as certain parts of his anatomy sat up and took notice.

Silence.

Jensen waited, but Cougar didn't move or respond and when Jensen tried to gently pull away, the sniper merely tightened his grip. "Fuck it" Jensen mumbled as he relaxed against Cougar's body. "A guy could get used to this. Limpets are some of my favorite animals!" He rested his chin on top of Cougar's head and felt his eyes slowly drift closed.

Cougar smiled in the darkness.