Title : The Long Haul
Fandom : The Losers
Characters : Jensen centric gen team fic
Rating : PG-13
Word Count : approximately 10,300 words
Written for the prompt of The Losers, Jensen, he's been losing this game for a long time
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
The Long Haul
Chapter 1 - Starting Out Broken
Jensen sighs and shifts his pack higher onto his shoulders as he makes his way to his destination. Another new team. He knows how this works now, the tech guy is expendable, the tech guy is a pain in the ass, along for the ride with the 'real men' of the team. Yup, he's been there and done this often enough that there's nothing new this team can come up with.
It's not like he hasn't gone through the same Black Ops training as them; they don't have the right to look at him as less, but they will, they always do. Jensen's had enough experience of how the team will not have his back, not like they have each other's anyway. They'll say the right things, act like he's part of the team in front of the brass, but he knows that what they'll be thinking in private is that he's just a geek.
It's not like he can really deny the whole geek thing, because seriously, he's the tech guy, he's supposed to be a geek! But he's a geek who can run as far, as fast and for as long as the rest of his team, he can use the weaponry and drive the vehicles and fucking fight hand to hand if need be but he knows they won't see past the geek, they won't trust him with the rest.
There's a guy waiting for him. Once he's close enough to see the ensignia, he's suitably impressed, this must be his new CO. It's a first; in the past he's been collected by the CO's second in command, he's been summoned to offices, barracks and various other locations to meet his new CO but never has one come to collect him in person. He snaps off his best salute. "Corporal Jacob Jensen, sir," he announces himself.
The guy nods and says, "You'll do."
Yup, it's just like Jensen thought, the expendable tech guy . . . maybe he should just have it tattooed on his ass or his forehead along with a target for the bad guys to aim at.
"This way, Corporal," the guy says and Jensen follows without a word. He's somewhat surprised when the Lt Col, judging by the ensignia on his uniform, who has yet to tell him a name leads him not to an office or even a barracks but out to a car. He opens the trunk and gestures to Jensen to put his pack inside.
Jensen ponders the wisdom of questioning the guy and falls back on silence for the minute. "Clay." The guy says suddenly. "Lt. Col. Franklin Clay. Clay will do when we're not on base."
"Sorry?" Jensen says.
"You're quieter than I expected," Clay says. "Your report suggested you . . . let your mouth run away with you."
"Yeah, it would," Jensen sinks back into the chair, figuring it was just his luck that this guy would get the pre-Jensen's-own-editing version of his report.
"Strange how that hard copy I laid my hands on is so different to the supposedly up-to-date official one on the system now, isn't it? I don't suppose you'd know anything about it?"
Jensen bit his lip. The guy smirks, "Thought so. I'm sure Roque will love that talent!"
"Sir?" Jensen's lost track of the conversation again. This guy isn't what he was expecting.
"Clay. Told you that once, didn't think you were a fool!"
"Sorry." Jensen keeps it short, no point in pissing off the CO straightaway. The brass made it clear after the last 'incident' that there were to be no more; that Jensen was to start toeing the line and behaving appropriately. He'd seen the smirks on the rest of the team's faces as he'd packed his bag and left, heard the snide remarks, tried to let it wash over him and away without hurting; in the end he'd had to settle for it not hurting as much as the physical damage he'd suffered.
Clay looks at him appraisingly while they're stopped at a junction. "If it means anything, which it probably doesn't yet, I think the outcome of that last inquiry was for shit. Any decent CO would have put a stop to what was happening. I'll tell you this now, that shit will not happen in my team, anyone who tries to bring it in will be out before they can blink."
Jensen figures it's the right thing to say, but only time will tell and he's not holding out any hope. Experience has taught him what to expect.
Clay pulls up outside a house. "This is us. You'll bunk in with Cougar for now, Pooch and Roque have the other room but Pooch is home with his wife for a few days. You have family? Wife, kids? Didn't see it in your report, but then . . . figure I'm more likely to get the truth from you than that."
"Sister, niece; no wife, no kids of my own."
"You look out for them though, am I right? So it's the same thing. Where are they?"
"New Hampshire," Jensen doesn't really want to share this stuff but he figures he has to at this point if he's to maintain any possibility of Clay backing up his words and actually sticking up for him at all when the rest of the team start in.
"Okay . . . that's doable from here. There's no time to get you there and back before our next mission because I need to get you up to speed with the details and get you finalizing some preparations, but I do all I can to get us a few days downtime as often as I can. Our missions tend to be . . . shit, we're Black Ops, you're Black Ops, you know the kind of fucked up shit we do. Anyway, I try to get the downtime as often as I can so ya'all can go be with whoever matters, unwind and be human for a while."
Jensen can't believe what he's hearing and clearly his expression says that loud and clear, but Clay just gives a half-smirk and says, "Seeing's believing I guess. Anyway, you're in with Cougar, he's our 'long-range elimination specialist' according to his records. He doesn't say much, but a word of warning . . . Don't touch the hat! That'll make sense to you soon enough."
"Anything else I should know?" Jensen asked, figuring a heads-up on how not to piss off the rest of the team might actually be useful in at least keeping him in Clay's good books.
"Pooch, family man, he's the man with the transport. Good guy, just watch yourself when he and Roque try to draw you into playing cards. Figure that's enough said on that score. Roque : he's my XO, don't piss him off, he's not as reasonable as me," Clay snorted a laugh as if saying that were a joke but Jensen figured it was more of a warning, the one he needed to look out for, he'd rally the others and soon Jensen would be out again.
"I'll do my best."
Clay frowned, but put a hand out to stop Jensen's progress. "Look kid, I realize that things didn't go well with your last team." Jensen raised an eyebrow. "Something else you want to tell me? This happened before?"
"Yeah, it happened before." Jensen shrugged as if it were nothing and put a foot forward to start walking again, but Clay stepped in front of him.
"Okay, gotcha. I guess that makes what I'm saying even harder to believe, but for your own sake, you need to be more open to this working. The situation we're heading into I need a team, I need you to be on board."
"So tell me, what happened to your last tech?" Jensen couldn't keep the irritation out of his voice. "If you all respect your techs so much, why the fuck am I here?"
Clay shook his head, and sneered, "Because he was a lazy fucker who didn't do his fucking job properly and nearly cost us our lives. So yeah, I got rid of him, but I don't do it lightly. Nobody threatens the safety of my team." Clay turned and finished the walk to the front door, calling out for Cougar as he entered.
Jensen followed, pack slung over his shoulder again. There was another man there looking at him as he entered. Long hair and a hat, Clay had mentioned a hat in relation to Cougar, so Jensen figured this must be him. "Cougar – Jensen, Jensen – Cougar," Clay introduced. "Cougs, Jensen's gonna bunk in with you. You wanna show him around."
Cougar nodded, crossing to Jensen's side and picking up the pack he'd just shed and leading the way to a downstairs bedroom. Jensen followed with a quiet, "Hi." Cougar gave a quick smile before turning back to look where he was going.
"Our room," Cougar said simply as he opened the door. He set Jensen's pack down gently at the foot of the empty bed. "All you got?"
Jensen nodded, adding, "There's some more 'official' tech stuff to follow, but that's mine."
"We have a store room for stuff we don't need, 's upstairs if you need it."
Clay watched as the new tech followed Cougar down to their room and wondered if he'd bitten off more than he could chew with this one. He sighed before heading upstairs to his room and retrieving the reports on his newest recruit. He read them both again, neither rang true to the man he'd just brought from the central offices. He began to pick the two apart to see how much of what was in there was actually in both, figuring that maybe those elements at least were true.
There wasn't much beyond his technical ability, which appeared to be top notch, in both reports. He read again the reports of Jensen's dismissal from his previous team. It didn't make for a pretty picture, painted the tech as a troublemaker, constantly riling up the rest of the team, a motormouth who never shut up. The report also made allusions to previous incidents before he had joined that team; there wasn't enough information to make tracking it down easy, but Clay was neither above a little bribery nor a little coercion. The Jensen in this report had supposedly endangered his team by not retrieving relevant information, had disobeyed orders and protected his own back at the expense of his team. He then compared it with the medical report post-Mission; again not good reading but it didn't gel with what his previous CO, backed up by the rest of the team, had reported. Jensen's injuries had been anything but light, yet the claims were that he'd protected his own back at the expense of the rest of the team.
Clay had done a little digging the first time he'd read the reports to try and find out a little more about the injuries sustained by the rest of the team. He hadn't been able to find much, but what he had suggested that, contrary to the CO's report, Jensen had in fact been the most severely injured of the team. He'd noticed the way the tech seemed to favor his left side just a fraction, the occasional wince as he'd shifted his pack, barely there but enough to indicate that at some point in the not too distant past, there'd been an injury there.
Looking back at Jensen's file, there'd been a lot of non-mission related visits to medics, a lot of unaccounted for bruising, sprains and even a couple of dislocations that had needed fixing up. Clay knew the signs and they tied with the kid he'd had in the car. It was no fucking wonder Jensen didn't believe the team wouldn't be out to ditch him as soon as they could and, of course, the fact they'd had a vacant spot would seem to reinforce the opinion.
This was going to need some work and he'd need to keep a close eye on the situation or it would blow up in all their faces when they were out in the field. He knew he could trust his existing team members not to set out to cause physical harm, but he also knew Roque could be harsh, deliberately so. It was what made him a good XO, meant Clay could rely on him in the field. Roque wouldn't go easy on the kid and, in the majority of respects, Clay didn't want him to start. They all needed to know exactly what they could expect of Jensen for everyone's safety. They needed to know his strengths and his weaknesses and what he'd react to. The guy was a tech geek but he wouldn't have got this far without passing the physical training, so why was his file so full of med reports. Somehow Clay had a feeling the kid was going to react badly to a whole lot of things, so the question he most needed answered was maybe which triggers would endanger the rest of them.
Cougar was surprised at how quiet the new guy was. Hell, he was quiet, ridiculously so according to some of his previous COs but he wasn't used to other people being so quiet. In reality he was used to the opposite and finding that other people would fill the silence he left. He didn't mind . . . or with this team he didn't mind. There was a mutual respect between the four of them, particularly now they'd got rid of the lazy fuck who'd been their tech before.
Cougar looked again at Jensen, finding himself amazed that the kid had got through basic training, let alone as far as Black Ops with that kind of posture. The kid slouched like he was trying to make himself smaller and less noticeable. If anything though it just served to make him look more vulnerable and this wasn't a job where you wanted to be looking vulnerable any time soon.
"So where were you before?" Cougar asked, figuring one of them needed to try and break the ice a little if they were going to be not only working together but sharing a bunk.
He hadn't expected the reaction he got. "What? What's it to you?" Jensen hissed. All of a sudden the slouch was gone and there was something almost wild in Jensen's demeanor as if he was preparing to attack.
Cougar took a step back in surprise. He took another step back, hands held up in front of him as he uttered an apology and attempted to defuse the situation. "Only asking. You don't want to say, that's fine. Sorry." He was relieved when Jensen seemed to lose a little of the aggression from his bearing. "You want to see the rest of the house?"
It was a matter of minutes to show Jensen round, pointing out the bathroom, kitchen and the other bedrooms along with the room they used for storage. He was surprised by the next question from Jensen. "Why's that not a bedroom? Why storage?"
"Crap room. Too small," Cougar answered, puzzled. It had never crossed his mind that the tiny boxroom with no window could have been a bedroom before. He looked at it thoughtfully and figured that if it was really necessary a single cot would fit, but it would be a miserable place to bunk. "Better to share. The other rooms are big enough."
He stepped back out of the room, pulling the door closed behind him and led the way back downstairs to the room they were sharing. He wondered what to do next, he'd been about to start cleaning his rifle when Clay had brought in Jensen. Something told him that, like the question about his previous postings, Jensen might take that the wrong way. "I shall leave you to unpack. If you need anything, just call me. I'm not going out." He left it at that, figuring it was giving the kid the space to unpack but equally not completely abandoning him if he did need anything.
Jensen nodded, "Yeah, 'kay," before turning his attention to his pack which he lifted from the floor to his bed and then began to open.
Cougar turned to walk away, not failing to notice that Jensen soon closed the door behind him.
Jensen closed the door as soon as Cougar had walked far enough away. He leant back against it and drew a deep breath. Fuck! He was in real danger of actually being the person they accused him of being, of finding trouble where there was none before and of pissing people off purely because he could. He felt the half-familiar tremor begin in his hands. Just stress the doctor had said and it would vanish as soon as he settled into his new team.
He hugged his arms round his body and tucked his hands up into his armpits and tried to still the shake before he let it be the only thing he focused on because that would only make things worse. He moved across to his bed and slumped down. Sitting across the bed, he leant back against the wall, and pulled his knees up in front of him, tilting his head down to rest on his knees. He couldn't keep going like this; he had to get his head in the game.
He tried to calm himself down with a few deep breaths. Maybe he should have just got out, after the uproar last time; maybe he should have just let the lies run true and fuck his country needing him or any of that bullshit they quoted in school recruitment drives. He shuddered. A few minutes later, he pulled himself together, dropped his legs down and reached for his pack to pull it up alongside him on the bed. He looked round the room, there was a small set of drawers next to each bed and a slightly larger set at the bottom, plus two small closets.
He pulled the things out of his bag and laid them in organized piles beside him on the bed. Once everything was arranged it was only the work of minutes to move everything into the drawers at the end of the bed and the closet. He folded his pack down and shoved that in the bottom of the closet as well.
It left him with the dilemma of what to do now: to hide there in the quiet solitude or to head out into the rest of the house and face the inevitable. He sat down on the bed again, shoulders hunched forward head hanging, hand going unconsciously to rub at his side. It was healed he chided himself silently. It was healed and Clay said nothing like it could happen again.
He heard the door open softly. His eyes came up to meet Cougar's, saw the look of concern there and cringed. Cougar came across and sat down on his own bed, facing Jensen. Jensen looked away wishing he could figure this out. He felt the tremble back in his hands and huffed out a breath.
"Hey!" Cougar's voice was soft. "You okay?" he was clearly appraising Jensen, trying to decide on something. "You anxious? First mission in Black Ops?"
Jensen wished it could be that simple; he shook his head as he unconsciously rubbed his hand over his ribs again.
Cougar dropped to his knees in front of Jensen and reached for his hand stopping its movement, "You hurt?" He tried to ease up Jensen's t-shirt, felt as the younger man shivered and then tried to push his hands away.
He dropped back, not willing to do anything the guy was uncomfortable with. "'s fine," Jensen's voice was barely more than a whisper, "Just . . . a memory."
Cougar got that; he'd got enough bad memories of injuries sustained in the past, ones that occasionally gave him phantom pain, but this was clearly playing on the kid's mind. "You sure that's all: Clay can organize a med check-up if it'd put your mind at rest."
The kid shook his head again, adding, "'s nothing . . . 's already been checked over and I just got the all clear."
Cougar was struck by just how young their latest addition to the team looked as he shifted further away from Cougar, moving down the bed. Cougar retreated, not wanting him to feel threatened, but concerned now. This wasn't going to work. They couldn't go into the field in a few days with so little trust between them and Jensen was in no state, emotionally, to be facing any conflict situations and the dangers they were likely to encounter. Right now, Cougar seriously doubted he should ever be anywhere near any Black Ops missions.
"So Jensen," he pulled further back, dropping to sit on his bed again. "That an actual name or . . ."
"Name – surname," came the reply. "Jacob . . . Jake. Jacob's my first name."
Cougar smiled, "Carlos Alvarez. I'm pleased to meet you, Jacob Jensen." He watched the mix of emotions that flitted across Jensen's face before placidity almost settled back, broken only by the nervous nip of a little of his lower lip between his teeth as Jensen nodded at him. Cougar gave his watch a quick glance before announcing, "I've got to see Clay now about our next mission, you want me to tell him you're done if he needs to speak to you?"
"Yeah, thanks." The words were quiet but accompanied by the first vague hint of acceptance of Cougar's friendly overtures.
Cougar closed the door behind him as he left the room, heading for the stairs and Clay's room for the fictitious mission briefing he told Jensen about. He tapped on Clay's door, still wondering how to go about telling Clay his concerns without the shit hitting the fan and getting the kid into trouble, because that was not his intention at all.
Entering at Clay's brusque "Come in," he was surprised by Clay's resigned look on seeing him. Clay kicked an empty chair towards him and said, "Sit down and spill it! I didn't think it was gonna be good any time soon, but bad enough to have you here banging on my door already, shit! Okay Cougar, tell me, how fucked are we with the new guy?"
"Sir?" Cougar was at a loss for what exactly Clay expected as an answer to that.
"Listen I picked the kid up, okay – I've met him . . . I know there are a few . . . a few issues, let's say." Cougar was surprised when Clay's hand patted a thick file on his desk. "You're here to tell me there's a problem . . ."
"He's . . .jumpy . . . ask him the wrong thing . . . approach him the wrong way . . . look at him too long . . . something - something is hanging over him."
Clay figured Cougar never had needed many words to get to the crux of the matter. "We need trust before the next job and he doesn't have it. Don't even know that he could do his job. Too anxious – 's not normal."
"He'll do his job, that much I figure I can pretty much guarantee and I think we can probably rely on him to have our backs, providing we've treated him okay between now and then . . . I think long term we've got a lot of shit to deal with, but short term, he'll do his job, but he's gonna pretty much assume he's on his own."
Cougar tilted his head, which served the same function in Clay's eyes as a demand for elaboration. "There was trouble in his old team – I'm only gonna say they didn't have his back in the way they should have and leave it at that, because my head is spinning from trying to make sense of all these . . ." He tapped his fingers on the pile of files again. "To be honest I don't think I'm gonna get the truth there either . . . or from Jensen at least not yet a while."
"He . . . Maybe he . . . his ribs hurt some. Says they're healed but –"
Clay nodded, "Med report says so. You think he's hidden something from them? Spit it out, Cougs!"
Cougar shrugged, "He keeps rubbing his side, as if to relieve the pain. Says it's just a memory though."
"Shit . . . Okay, okay. Shit! This is not a good mission for this – we need a tech guy, we can't do this without. I'll go through this again," he tapped the files with his finger as he spoke, "See if I can spin it any other way, but fuck we need to get him in there to rip the fucking data the brass want. I'll see if there's anyway we can get one of us in there with him but at least we know we've already got your position set to keep an eye on him from outside. Right . . . I need to speak to him see if I can figure out any element of the truth in this pile of shit and set him to work getting ready for it."
Cougar stood and turned to head out for the door before Clay stopped him, "Thanks Cougs. Look the kid's gonna need careful handling, figure you've worked that out already . . . I'm counting on you to do the best you can for him and to keep me informed. You know what it's like to be in a team that doesn't have your back . . . I want us to do the best for him we can. One thing I am sure of from what I've read and seen so far is he's bright and he's been treated like shit and this is the last chance to prove to him he's in the right place."
Cougar nodded and opened the door, starting out as Clay added, "Send him up here, will you?"
Clay figured it wouldn't be what the new guy was expecting; hell, he'd sure expected more when he'd first got his promotion and his own team, but seriously conducting official meetings in his bedroom was second nature now, just as it was having a team that answered back and were as likely to go for his throat as each other's in a pissing contest. When it came down to the line, he knew that the guys that counted worked and if they didn't, he threw them back at the brass and demanded a replacement. For Fuck's sake, they gave him the crap jobs that no one else wanted, they had no right to give him the useless fucking soldiers as well. The rest of the team were excellent for a team like this, but he knew it took his brand of leadership to rein in their quirks and channel their strengths. It was also another sound reason for them not to be based with the other teams. They were rogue enough to be useful, but the last thing the brass wanted was for their brand of crazy to turn out to be contagious or to continually have to 'resolve the issues' that came about as his team clashed with others, Roque most specifically but it wasn't unheard of for any of them to be at the center of trouble.
He heard the knock on the door and said "Come in," unsurprised when Jensen opened the door, stepped in and snapped off a salute. "Sit down, Corporal. Take the weight off." He watched as Jensen moved to the chair he'd indicated and sat down, absolutely fucking rigid. This was gonna be awkward.
"Okay, Jensen . . ." He saw the dark shadows that ringed the new tech's eyes. "First, the med report has cleared you for duty after your injuries – now I want to know the truth. The truth, d'you hear me? Not some platitude to get me off your back? Let's start with the bruising . . ."
"'s more or less gone," came the answer.
"Ankle? That was a sprain, right?" Jensen nodded half-heartedly. "Well?" Clay persisted.
"I completed the training obstacle course and then a 12mile run with full pack to verify fitness levels, sir!" Jensen snapped the answer back like they were on a drill field and he was a new recruit.
"Not what I asked, Jensen," Clay reprimanded. "Is your ankle healed?"
"That will piss me off," Clay warned and watched as Jensen swallowed nervously and looked away. "I wouldn't have thought the medics would be too pleased with you completing that so soon after the damage to your ribs. You actually broke one? Two?"
"Yes sir," Jensen's agreement was quiet, less the soldier, more the man.
"Did the medics okay you for that?" Clay pressed again, unsurprised by the soft no that he received in response. "Elaborate on it then. . ."
"Col Walters . . . Col. Walters insisted I do it or – or pack my bag and leave, sir," he said.
"Col. Walters sent you on the training course and a run with full pack? How long had you been released from the medics before he did that?"
"Sir – Clay, please – I – I don't want to talk about this . . . I'm fit – I won't let you down, I won't."
Clay saw red and stood up from his desk pacing to the window to try and get his own temper back under control before Jensen ended up thinking it was him Clay was pissed at. Walters had been an asshole since they first started in training in the same batch of raw recruits. A man with a voice and ego and few, if any, brain cells. Jensen wouldn't fit in with the idiot's view of a soldier purely by virtue of the fact that he was technologically able. Soldiers didn't need to be clever in Walters opinion, they just needed to follow orders. He'd got a long way by trading on money and family name.
Drawing a calming breath, Clay turned back, "Jensen, the inquiry . . . was that before or after you were released from medical care?"
"After . . . but the process had started while I was still in there." Clay could see the trembling in Jensen's hands, hear the anxiety in his voice. The kid had been screwed over by Walters and his team big time and Clay knew the training exercises he'd been forced to undergo would have been one form of retaliation for the fact that he hadn't just laid down and taken everything the inquiry was designed to throw at him.
"Right, I want you seen by the medic my team see and I want the truth to him. That understood? In the meantime, you aren't doing anything physical – no lifting, no running. From now, you need something moving, you ask one of us. I want you fit when we go on our next mission and unfortunately we don't have long. You want to go out– walk, that's fine – no training exercises without the medic's permission first and I want to see any guidelines he gives you. I also want to know of anything he tells you to be wary of when we're out in the field. Jensen, the next mission shouldn't be too physically demanding and so I want to know of any precautions we can take. That clear?" Jensen nodded, but Clay could see how the trembling had got even worse in Jensen's hands.
"Walters is a nasty fucking bastard, let me make my opinion clear on this matter now. I think he's a jumped up prick with the intelligence of a side of bacon. I also think you've been on the wrong end of that. It will not happen here." He paused, figuring the best he could do for Jensen was to give him something to occupy him. "I have some stuff I want you to work on ready for the next mission. When will your technical stuff be forwarded?"
"I have a laptop with me . . . the rest I don't know what was left . . . After I was airlifted from the last mission, well I was unconscious, I don't know what came out with us. I didn't do anything about replacing anything be-because I didn't expect to need any more. I guess I figured I'd be kicked out after all the trouble."
For a moment, Clay wondered if he'd hoped to be kicked out, figured he ought to ask, because if that was the case then he would do everything he could to get the kid out in one piece as soon as he could. "You want to go?"
Jensen looked confused, until Clay elaborated and then he just shook his head determinedly, so Clay told him to draw up a list of the equipment he preferred to operate with and he would get it requisitioned as a priority. The soldier before him was barely holding himself together and Clay wondered yet again if trying to make the situation work was going to be one of his bigger mistakes. Instead, he picked up a small file of information, handed it to Jensen with instructions to read it, research anything he could and to come back in the next couple of days with any additional information he found.
He got another quiet, "Yes, sir," but didn't reprimand Jensen this time, just sent him out with the instruction to see Cougar about getting something to eat.
When Clay went downstairs about an hour later, he found Cougar cleaning his rifle at the kitchen table. It was unusual when they were here although it had been known from time to time. The sniper was more likely to sit on his bed while going through the process. "What did you and Jensen eat? More to the point, is there any left?" Clay asked, as he stretched his arms over his head, trying to ease out the kink in his back that was familiar whenever he put in a sustained effort to the paperwork associated with his position.
"Haven't," Cougar answered, not even looking up from his work.
"What? But I told Jensen . . ." he didn't bother finishing what he'd been going to say. "Okay, what have we got in that the three of us can eat? What time is Roque due back? Do we need to do a supply run?"
"I prepared for enchiladas earlier. Needs maybe twenty minutes to be ready." He was already packing away his rifle and cleaning gear.
"Appreciated," Clay agreed, making his own way to the fridge and looking inside. "We definitely need to stock up, we're here for another week."
"I'll go this afternoon. The usual?"
"Take Jensen with you, looks like he needs fattening up, so try and find out what the kid likes to eat." Clay started to head for Jensen and Cougar's room before turning back and adding, "But don't let him lift anything heavy. You got plans for tomorrow? I want him to see Doc Matthews, get a proper medical before we have him doing anything strenuous. I've got him an appointment for 0900."
"No problema." Cougar turned back to the kitchen counter and continued with his creation.