"A Day at the Fair"

Another bit of pure insanity from my diseased mind. OOC, crackfic, ridiculous, purists don't read, blah blah blah...;-D

Jensen's tee shirts had always made the Losers cringe, and of course they knew him well enough to know that he and carnivals did not mix well, but at the sight of the blond computer tech's newly-acquired headgear, Pooch, Clay, and Aisha all found themselves struck speechless with incredulous horror. A fez with a large, green smiley face sat on top Jensen's head. And not any normal kind of fez, either.

It was a pink fez. It was a fuzzy fez. It was a fez with a propeller on top.

"Isn't it great?" Jensen grinned and pointed to the abomination. "I won it for Cougar. They had this big jar with jellybeans in it and you had to guess how many beans were in the jar and I was only three beans off! They guy at the booth said it was the closest guess he's ever had, so he gave me the hat AND the jellybean jar! Anyone want any? Where's Cougar?"

"Getting something to drink", Clay said after a pause. He had not been sure he could trust himself to speak. Cougar would never wear that hat. Cougar would shoot that hat! Then he would shoot Jensen for suggesting that he wear that hat.

"Okay. Well, just save him some of the bounty, guys. I'm gonna go check out the haunted house!" Jensen handed the large jar of multicolored beans to Pooch and tore off in the direction of a ride that was painted with various be-fanged monsters.

"Jesus Christ!" Clay groaned as the pink fez bobbed off through the crowd of people clogging the midway. "Okay. We all agree that we want Jensen to live, right?"

"Right" agreed Pooch. Aisha nodded reluctantly.

"Right. Then our mission for today is to get that hat and dispose of it discreetly. That means no setting it on fire, no matter how much you may want to. And we get it before he tries to give it to Cougar."

"Okay boss."

"Okay. Operation Destroy the Hat. Go!"

The Losers scattered. Pooch went off to intercept Cougar while Aisha slipped into the haunted house line behind Jensen and Clay took out his binoculars and followed at an unobtrusive distance.

"Hi, Aisha!" Jensen said with a surprised grin. He had spotted her when he turned to board the small cars that were to take them into the haunted house. "Come to enjoy the macabre as well, huh?"

Aisha smiled grimly. She had no idea what Jensen was talking about and she didn't care. She was going to get that hat. "I thought it might be...fun", she purred as she squeezed into the car next to him.

Jensen cleared his throat. Aisha's smile was making him uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. He didn't know if she was planning to kill him or make a play for him, but it was obvious she was planning something. He took off the fez and held it on his lap. He thought that you couldn't be too careful of your naughty bits around a woman who used to collect human ears.

The ride began. Aisha sat next to Jensen in silence as he kept up a running commentary on which of the ride's monsters looked the most fake. "Aw, man! Did you ever see a such a shitty Swamp Thing? You can see the word Goodyear on the back of his costume! And what the hell is up with the cemetery voice-over? Even Vincent Price's voice isn't that draggy! You'd think they'd bother to re-charge their fucking batteries once and a while!"

Unfortunately for Aisha, Jensen kept a tight grip on the hat as he driveled on and on, and while breaking a few of his fingers would have been a quick and effective way to get the hideous thing away from him, she didn't think Clay would appreciate it. The ride ended and Jensen bounded off. "Well, that sucked! What shall we go on next? How about the Scrambler? That one always makes me throw up!"

What could be more fun than a babbling Jensen? A babbling, puking Jensen, of course. Aisha sighed inwardly. This was clearly going to be a long day.

Meanwhile, Pooch was having no better luck with Cougar. He had located him in the beer tent and was doing his best to talk him into staying there. It wasn't going too well. As much as Pooch liked the other man, he also had a very high respect for Cougar's shooting skills and he did not want those skills to be leveled at him. He was proceeding carefully, but how on earth could you detain a guy who never made small talk? The only thing Pooch knew to do was to try and pour more alcohol down him. "C'mon, Cougs! I want another one! It's fucking hot out there!"

Cougar gave an impatient shrug and nodded, signaling a nearby barmaid. The barmaid had twinkling dark eyes and an impressive amount of cleavage. "More for you boys?"

"You know it, baby!" Pooch winked uncomfortably, knowing that Jolene would kill him if she could see him and thanking God that she was miles away. "Keep the river flowing!"

The barmaid laughed and walked away, her hips rolling under her short skirt. "Damn!" Pooch said with a grin. "I may not be able to touch, but I can still look and today I see forever! Right, Cougs old buddy?"

The sniper lifted a brow; Pooch never called him "old buddy." Nor did he ogle women who were not his wife. Something was up. And whenever something was up with their team it usually involved a certain blond computer hacker.

"Where's Jensen?"

"Jensen?" Pooch looked at Cougar with eyes that were way too wide. "He wanted to go to the haunted house. Aisha went with him."

Now Cougar knew something was up. Although she threatened Jensen less than Roque had, Aisha's feelings for the tech were remarkable similar to their former teammate's. Cougar got up from the table and laid some money on it.

"Where you goin' Cougs? The beer ain't here yet."

The sniper ignored Pooch. He left the tent. Pooch cursed and, throwing some money at the startled barmaid, followed Cougar out into the bright afternoon sunlight.

Clay was worried. He had been trailing Jensen and Aisha for the past hour and a half, observing them from a distance, and Aisha had been unable to get the hat. They had gone on the Scrambler, the Tilt-a-Whirl, and the Rocket Whip and Jensen had been sick twice, but he still had on that goddamn fez! When they rode the rides, he had stuffed it into the seat next to him; when he had been sick, Jensen had held it on his head with one hand. Aisha was getting more and more fed up; Clay could tell.

Finally, they stopped in front of a booth where you could take novelty pictures of yourself by sticking your head through a hole in a painted wooden backdrop. "This is so awesome!" Jensen crowed. "Get behind the screen, Aisha! We'll get a picture of you as Elvis!"

"Uh, no. How about I get one of you as the fat ballerina?"

"Okay! Here, hold this." Jensen shoved the fez into Aisha's hands. Clay, watching through his binoculars, couldn't believe it. Surely it wasn't going to be this easy."What the hell are you doing, kid?" Clay muttered to himself.

Jensen stuck his head through the hole in the backdrop and grinned like a maniac as Aisha snapped his picture. When he came out, he held out his hand, "Can I have my hat back now?"

"Hell, no!" Aisha thrust the fez behind her back.

"Come on, Eesh! I wanna give it to Cougs. I won it for him."

"Tough shit. And never call me 'Eesh' again." the female Loser grinned evilly and took off into the thick crowd that filled the midway. "Wait! Aisha, come back!" Jensen yelled after her as he attempted to follow her through the hordes of parents, teenagers, and kids swirling around him. It was no use; he lost sight of her almost at once. "Come on!" he shouted desperately. "If you want one so badly, I'll win another one for you! They have them at the skee-ball tent!"

Aisha handed the hat off to Clay. "You should still burn it" she said as she melded once again into the crowd of carnival-goers.

Clay stuffed the offending fez into a nearby garbage can and breathed a sigh of relief. Jensen would not have to die today.

"Do you see him?"

One simple question, asked in a relatively mild tone, but Pooch knew Cougar well enough to know that a lie was not in his best interests right now. He looked around the packed booths and even stood on tiptoe, straining for a sight of either pink fez or spiky blond hair, but Jensen was nowhere to be seen. "No, sorry."

Cougar grunted and set off again into the crowds. Pooch followed him halfheartedly; they had been around the whole carnival twice without seeing either the computer tech or their other teammates. Cougar just kept on walking and Pooch found himself relegated to background scenery. His few remarks were completely ignored. Cougar did not even nod in acknowledgment, and Pooch knew that it was pointless to try and distract him. The sniper would not rest until he knew Jensen was safe.

For the billionth time, Pooch amused himself by speculating on the peculiar bond between motormouth Jensen and the silent Spaniard. He had often wondered how close the two of them really were. True, Jensen would flirt with anything female that stood next to him for two minutes, and Cougar's Man of Mystery aura attracted women like catnip, but it was also clear that Jensen's safety was a priority to Cougar. He would gladly take a bullet for any of their team, but when Aisha had shot Jensen, only Pooch had noticed the look on the sniper's face as he sewed the kid up. Had it not been for Clay, Pooch was sure Aisha would already be dead. The flat coldness of Cougar's eyes said that he wanted to kill her even more than Roque did. Only when Jensen groaned or whimpered did that look morph into something gentle, even tender, and Jensen had smiled back ruefully around the chew toy he had stuffed into his mouth to keep from screaming. Only Cougar wasn't driven insane by Jensen's nonstop chatter; only Cougar's eyes went instantly to the blond tech whenever they were in any sort of danger. In fact, when they weren't carrying out a specific mission, Cougar pretty much kept an eye on Jensen 24/7.

Cougar sped up his walk and Pooch huffed along behind him. He spotted Clay standing near a row of portable toilets. Cougar made a beeline for their CO. "Where's Jensen?"

"Last time I saw him, he was heading for the haunted house" Clay lit a cigarette and took a long drag. "Watcha doin' now, boss?" Pooch asked.

"Waiting for Aisha. We just came from the shooting gallery. She cleaned the place out. The poor bastard running the show was begging her to leave. He even offered to pay her."

Cougar's face remained impassive as Pooch chuckled. "She win any prizes?"

"Lots of free ride tickets. We're gonna go blow through em' when she gets out of the can." Clay glanced at the sniper. "Don't worry. We all have radios. If Jensen was in some kind of trouble, we'd know. He tends to get in the kind of trouble that attracts an audience anyway."

Aisha banged out of one of the nearby porta-potties, looking revolted. "Well that was nasty."

"Par for the course" Clay slid an arm around her shoulders. "Where to next, babe?"

"The Pirate Ship, and don't call me 'babe'."

"Whatever you say" Clay was about to start off when Jensen bounded up to the group, "Hi guys! Fancy meeting you all here!"

The Losers stared at him. Another pink fez, almost identical to the first, was perched on top of his head. In fact, this one seemed to have glitter on it. Jensen gave his teammates an innocent smile, which widened when he noticed Cougar. "There you are! I got it for you, as you can plainly see." Jensen reached up and flicked the propeller, which made a buzzing noise as it spun around. Clay, Pooch, and Aisha tensed, looking from Jensen to Cougar and back again, preparing to either pull the tech to safety or wrestle the sniper to the ground, whichever came first, but Cougar was grinning at the hacker, his smile so wide it threatened to split his face in half.

"I had another one, but Aisha stole it. I guess I'm not the only one here with good taste." Jensen winked at Aisha, who didn't respond. "Good thing I'm a skee-ball wizard! And what do you have for me today, Cougs?"

Cougar reached inside his shirt and pulled out what had to be the biggest, ugliest, clankiest fake gold chain in the known universe. The links were as big as walnuts and had rhinestone chips embedded in them. A garish, enameled Lady of Guadalupe dangled at the end of it, and for a moment, Pooch feared that he would go blind. He had never seen such hideous bling in his entire life!

"Perfect!" Jensen clapped his hands. "I love it!"

He swept the fez from his head and presented it to Cougar with a flourish. The sniper tugged it on over the crown of his cowboy hat, while the rest of the Losers waited for existence to collapse upon itself. This was not happening. It couldn't be happening! They must be in an alternate universe.

Cougar hung the ugly chain around Jensen's neck and stepped back, still grinning. "I win" he said.

Jensen held up the chain and examined it, his smile growing regretful. "Yup. I'm afraid so. Well, I believe in paying my debts, so..." he took Cougar's face in his hands and kissed him squarely on the mouth. Clay choked, Pooch laughed, and Aisha's eyebrows went flying up. A small girl, passing by with her mother said, "Look, Mommy! That man's kissing that other man!"

"They work in the side show, honey" the mother said with a roll of her eyes as she pulled her daughter away. Jensen burst out laughing, but stopped when he noticed the gob smacked look of his teammates. "What? Cougs and I had a bet! I bet him I could win the ugliest prize at the fair and he bet me he could win one even uglier. He won, so I had to pay up."

"He asked you to kiss him?" Clay stared at Cougar in disbelief. Jensen shrugged. "He asked me to surprise him. I figured a kiss would be a good surprise. Jesus, Pooch! Close your mouth before something flies in."

"He don't look very surprised" Pooch mumbled.

And indeed, Cougar didn't. In fact, he looked remarkably happy. His grin was rapidly approaching the level of goofy and goofy grins were NOT a Cougar thing.

"I can't believe this shit" Clay muttered. "All right! Show's over, folks! Who's up for the Pirate Ship?"

"Me!" Jensen yelled. "I had two Hershey bars, three hot dogs, and an extra-large coke, so a giant, swinging pirate ship is just what I need! Too bad I don't have my pirate hat...then I could be a swinging pirate!"

"I think you already are" Clay shook his head, but he really couldn't bring himself to be angry at Jensen. His sniper looked happy and that was a goddamn rare thing to see on Cougar's face. The Losers moved off, Jensen in the lead singing "I've Got a Jar of Dirt."