A/N: Uh...so this totally spawned from the fact that I had waaaaay more sleep than normal and woke up totally wired on whatever-the-fuck your body pumps into you when you're unconscious...yeah...
They had lost their Jensen.
How they had lost their Jensen was still a mystery they had yet to unravel.
There they were, happily strolling through a busy street market at the height of an unusually bright and sunny London Friday, when the endless chatter behind them consisting of everything and anything that no human should ever need to know suddenly just stopped.
Cougar had turned back to see what amazingly pointless object had caught the hacker's attention only to find himself facing a void in the atmosphere where a tall, blond man should be standing.
"Idiota," he grumbled irritably and called up to Clay and the others to wait. They sighed and stayed put as Cougar searched the immediate area, ready to snag the back of the tech's shirt and drag him away from the battle bots, or roller-sneakers, or pen that laughs when you write, or whatever the fuck toy had made Jensen steer off course. Granted they weren't on any sort of mission, they were perusing the market just because it was a nice day and they could; but if they let Jensen wander off by himself he'd come back with an armload of what-the-fuck and pockets emptier than a black fucking hole.
To be perfectly fair, Jensen wasn't the only one with a shopping problem. In fact, they were all so bad that Clay had sat them down one day in order to implement a buddy system for outings just such as these.
Yes, a fucking buddy system, like first-graders going on a field trip.
Clay was responsible for Pooch. It was his duty to make sure if they went anywhere near anything that the man could use to mechanically (or possibly magically) build a gadget that would make a sports car go sixty mph faster than it already could, enable a tank to roll over like a puppy without getting damaged in the process, or turn a crop duster into a fucking battle-ready airship, that Pooch would be hauled away with as much dignity as possible. Pooch could be a whiny fucking baby. Dignity was sometimes hard to achieve.
In turn, Pooch was responsible for Cougar. If it had a scope of any form on it, Cougar wanted it. Badly. Now Pooch could appreciate the beauty of a long-range rifle as much as the next man…soldier…but he also knew that it was physically impossible to tote five different types of the fuckers through airport security. He was also really good at shrugging off the Cougar glare and the following Cougar puppy eyes. Everyone always fell for the puppy eyes. Fucker.
Believe it or not, Clay's secret obsession was with clothing. He was able to keep himself in check much better than the rest of the group, though, after the first time the buddy system was initiated. Aisha caught him ogling – yes, actually ogling – a new jacket and promptly punched him in the chest. Hard. Then she said something that went a little like this: "If you're gonna shop like a fucking girl, you might as well be a girl; and if I wanted to fuck a girl I'd find something with a vagina. And no, your tiny-ass dick doesn't count as a vagina." Clay had to fight off the urge to prove to everyone on the spot that his dick wasn't at all tiny, but he refrained and never fucking ogled clothes in front of the team ever again.
Aisha, surprisingly, actually had a very normal girlish attraction to jewelry. They stuck her with Jensen because since she had already shot him once she felt too guilty about it to try it again. They also stuck her with Jensen because it seemed that every pretty little trinket she found, he had seen something similar in some weird alien tentacle movie or other. He had a tendency to try to talk her into purchases with statements like "Oh! I saw a bracelet like that in Vampires vs Medusa vs Robo-Tarantula and it looked pretty fuckin' hot on Medusa's head-snake thingies. You should buy it!" She would instantly put it down. Worked every time.
And Cougar, of course, was responsible for Jensen. Being responsible for Jensen meant keeping an eye on him. At. all. times. You couldn't talk Jensen out of buying stupid shit; he seemed to be immune to his own method of attack. Nope, you simply had to watch him like a hawk and swoop in for the kill just before the moment when money exchanged hands. Jensen was a fast little fucker when it came to buying stuff and Cougar seemed to be the only one able to keep up with him.
So how, exactly, the tech managed to disappear in the blink of one of Cougar's eyes was a complete bafflement to the Losers. That is, until they found him approximately half an hour later.
And he was high as a fucking kite.
Panic had set in the moment Cougar reappeared Jensen-less and with a look that said some asshole teleported our hacker away. Clay instantly went into momma duck mode – the type of momma duck mode that made you feel sorry for whatever poor alligator had decided to snap up one of her ducklings. A search and rescue plan was created within seconds and the team split up, ingrained military habits kicking in faster than taking one of Cougar's bullets to the head.
Fan out. Cover your area. Regroup. Repeat.
Jensen was actually the one that found them.
On their third regrouping they could hear him screaming, "Pooch! Hey Pooch! Poooooooch!"
All eyes turned as one to see the tall blond jumping up and down several meters ahead of them, waving his arms frantically. Jumping. Up and down. As if he weren't already taller than half the people in the fucking market.
"Pooch, dude, you've got to check this out!" he continued to yell, even as they made their way up to him.
Pooch had to admit he was a little curious. Until they got up right beside the hacker and realized all was not well inside that insane little head of his. The first thing he did was hug Pooch like he was some adorably cute, gigantic, fuzzy, squishy teddy bear. Pooch couldn't breathe. Jensen maintained his Venus fly trap-like hold and talked into his ear at warp speed.
"Oh my god, man, I saw this thing and I thought 'Pooch would totally like this' and I was gonna buy it for you but then I thought maybe you might not like it after all so I didn't buy it but now I think I should have and we can go right now to look at it and then I'll know if I was right in the first place because you should always go with your first instincts, right? I mean, what if Cougar didn't go with his first instincts? I'd be a dead motherfucker at least…mmmm….seventy-five times by now. Yeah, that sounds about right. I totally should've bought it. You should come see it. Come on."
And then suddenly Pooch found himself being hauled off through the market by one arm looking back at a stunned Clay and team with wide help me eyes. That managed to encourage action on the Losers' part and Clay grabbed hold of Jensen's shoulder, spinning him around.
Jensen smacked himself in the forehead with his palm. "What was I thinking? Of course you'd want a hug, too." And with that, proceeded to latch onto the less-than-amused Colonel with all the gentleness of metal vice.
Clay peeled him off and caught the dilation in Jensen's pupils. "Are you high?" he demanded.
Jake sucked in the longest, most surprised-sounding gasp anyone had ever heard, looking genuinely shocked. "Colonel! You should know me better than that! I don't do drugs! …Well, except for caffeine, and that totally shouldn't count because I think it's like part of my bloodstream, like I would die if I was suddenly cut off; oh, and alcohol, but you can't yell at me for that because then you'd be a hypocrite and I know how much you hate hypocrites; and is ginseng a drug? Because if it is, then I'm probably totally addicted to that, too, but other than those things, no, I'm not on drugs. Why would you even ask?"
Aisha looked dumbfounded. "Oh my god, he's fucking high."
"I think I would know if I were high thank you very much, miss I-have-to-be-all-glass-half-empty-about-everything, and I will have you know that the glass isn't always half. I mean, sometimes it's like three quarters full or one quarter empty. What about that, huh? Not always right about everything, are ya? I just proved it, so ha! Cougar, high five!"
Cougar ignored the upraised hand, staring at his friend in unmasked horror. Jensen was high. Jensen, the mother of all hyper fucking weirdos that didn't actually have ADHD, was running on nitro boosters. If they didn't act now, everyone in the immediate area would be in very real danger of being talked, hugged, or high-fived to death. They had to get Jensen out of that market.
One look at Clay's expression and Pooch was thinking they had to get him out of the market. He was looking at all the fellow shoppers as if he were seriously considering stringing up every last one of them by their thumbs until he discovered who had the balls to jack up one of his kids. Not just any kid, either, but the baby brother of the bunch. Yeah…Clay was going to stab someone's eye out with his elbow if they didn't get him out of there.
Pooch grabbed Clay's arm and Cougar grabbed….no, not quite….gra- grabbed one of Jensen's flailing apppendages, and proceeded to steer them away from all the poor innocent bystanders. Aisha followed along behind. At a safe distance.
Clay dutifully allowed himself to be led, stomping along in stiff, pent-up rage fashion. Leading Jensen past all the booths full of colorful what-nots had been like trying to lead a baby gorilla past shelves full of kittens. He'd reach for one thing, get jerked away, cross over in front of Cougar to grab at something else, get his hand slapped down, almost cry at not being able to get his way until something else caught his eye, then almost literally crawled over the top of the sniper's head to get at it. And the entire time all this was happening, Jensen had been running an ongoing dialogue about the differences between a Lhasa Apso and a Shih Tzu, pausing to giggle every time he said the words 'Shih Tzu.'"
By the time they got back to the townhouse they were temporarily holed up in, Aisha was actually kind of laughing at the shenanigans. Clay gruffly told her it wasn't funny, Pooch rolled his eyes at her, Cougar looked like he was contemplating shooting her, and Jensen told her she was awesome and reached out to hug her. Cougar let him.
She didn't laugh anymore after that.
It took them six tries to get Jensen to sit down in the chair, the previous five attempts resulting in the hacker springing back up like a damn weeble-wobble. The only reason the sixth time was successful was because Cougar thought to grab the tech's computer and dropped it into his lap. This was followed in rapid succession by a grunt, a "Coug's! Watch the balls, man!", and then a giddy little grin as he opened the laptop and began typing away at…something. About thirty seconds later the laptop was forcibly removed from Jensen's suction cup-like fingers once they realized he had hacked into the security cameras at the White House and was merrily spying on the President's daughter and fellow co-eds.
"No!" Pooch scolded, and actually shook a finger at him.
Jensen sulked for about half a second before Clay shoved the TV remote in his hand. There were about to be protests. No one ever wanted Jake to have control of the TV.
"Deal with it," Clay ordered, and all thoughts of protest ceased. Jensen stayed in his chair like a good little drugged-up ferret and ran commentary on an episode of "Golden Girls" for everyone's entertainment. Well, he thought it was entertaining at least. The rest of them were just thankful he had stopped trying to hug them.
So that was the situation. Four questionably sane people trapped in a townhouse with one definitely not-all-there genius type who they were forced to try to keep entertained, inside, not touching any weapons or anything that could even be remotely used as a weapon, away from the internet…or phone…or trying to rig up the satellite dish on the roof (he had slipped out the bathroom window, sneaky little shit) to intercept cyberspace waves, for six fucking hours. Six. Fucking. Hours.
And he never stopped talking.
From all his rambling nonsense the Losers were at least able to somewhat piece together what may have happened. He had mentioned something about a "fucking bee" right in the middle of an intricate analysis of all of Wile. E. Coyote's failed Roadrunner-catching attempts. As in, he literally interrupted himself in the middle of a sentence to randomly blurt out "fucking bee" and then finished what he was saying as if nothing unusual had occurred. Clay jerked up the hacker's arm and yanked back on the sleeve. Nothing.
Jensen kept rattling on, but smiled and pulled up his other sleeve obligingly while he did so, completely changing the subject of his one-sided conversation to, "See? Nothing up this sleeve, either. I told you I don't cheat at cards. That's totally Cougar. And if I was gonna cheat at cards, I totally wouldn't put them up my sleeve. I mean, how stupid is that? Everyone looks up the sleeves. Nope, I'd get like a really goofy hat and hide all my cards in there and every time I reached up to pretend to scratch my head or something I'd do some wicked slight-of-hand shit and win every game, just like that. Yep, got to get me a big fucking goofy hat."
The Losers made a mental note not to let Jensen get a big fucking goofy hat.
Clay found the injection site on the second arm. It was small, neat, placed with impressive accuracy over a vein. Whoever had done this was experienced, knew exactly where to hit right through Jensen's sleeve without the kid ever even knowing what happened. Clay wanted to go out and start shooting needles into someone's face. That would have to wait, though. Right now all hands were needed on deck for Jensen patrol.
For six fucking hours.
And it didn't help that they were all concerned about the health risks of whatever the fuck it was that Jensen had been shot up with. Any time Pooch tried to check the tech's too rapid pulse, he would giggle like a little girl and jump away, saying that it tickled. When Clay kept checking on the state of his pupils, he'd lean forward and stare back at the Colonel in a somewhat creepy manner, babbling on and on about how he was the ultimate fighting champion at staring contests. Cougar had to bring him water almost every five minutes because he complained about how dry his mouth was to the point that not bringing him something to drink was not an option, unless they were willing to sew his lips shut. Then, of course, due to said water consumption he had to piss like a racehorse like every ten seconds; and due to the roof incident someone had go in with him every time. They let Clay take care of that one.
For six fucking hours.
At one point Jensen thought he saw some shadow monster thing out of the corner of his eye and jumped up into Cougar's arms, full on save me because I'm the fucking princess mode. Cougar wasn't ready for the sudden increase in six foot tall body mass and they both went crashing to the floor. The blond scurried beneath the coffee table and refused to come out. Cougar wanted to hurt someone for the bruised backside the antics earned him, but one look at the literally trembling kid made him store the anger away for the people responsible.
Ten minutes later Jensen forgot all about the shadow monster thing and yelled at Aisha when she got too close to his "fort." Anyone that walked within three feet of the coffee table had to promptly identify themselves under threat of having "all the scourges of nasty fort-mote virus hell unleashed upon them."
For six fucking hours.
By the time Jensen had reached comedown point, they were all at the ends of their ropes. It was strange watching the transformation run its course through the hacker. His incessant chatter had slowly begun to wind down until the words just seemed to drift away in the wind and he fell silent, like a robot whose batteries had finally drained. The collective sigh of relief sounded eerily loud in the room that was suddenly lacking the hours of Jensen speak.
Jake dropped his head against his chest and closed his eyes. Clay sat on the coffee table (that thankfully was no longer a fort) across from him and pressed a hand to his neck. The blood pulsing beneath his fingers was finally settling back into a normal rhythm, and a subtle coaxing to open his eyes revealed the pupils looking a little less abnormal.
"You're okay," Clay whispered, patting the kid on the cheek.
Jake responded by drawing his knees up to his chest and rolling down onto the couch sideways, moaning something about getting the fucking staple out of his ass cheek. A look of hell no, I'm not going there passed amongst the members of the team and Clay frowned disapprovingly at all of them. They were all fucking assholes.
He rolled a protesting Jensen forward a little bit and dug into his back pockets. A business card came up in his hands, one that read: Like the rush? Want more? Call Twister at 020-8724-9106.
Twister was about to have a neck that matched his fucking name.
All Clay had to do was display the card to the room and everyone was instantly on the move. The weapons they had hidden from Jensen's reach appeared out of thin air, Aisha made the call to Twister because right now she was the only one who could keep her head cool enough to sound like she wasn't about to rip the dude's throat out, and Cougar found a blanket to toss over Jensen's armadillo-curled form.
They were strapped up like Rambo, every last one of them. Had Jensen been alive enough to see them he would have laughed and insisted he get a photo for the movie poster. He didn't laugh, though, and somehow that pissed them off even more.
Single file they headed through the door with Clay at the lead and Cougar at the rear. He had just about slammed the door behind him when a pathetic little, "You're leaving?" whimpered out from the blanket cave. Cougar cursed and turned back around.
"We'll be back soon," he promised.
There was silence from within the blanket cave for a few seconds, and then the hesitant voice returned with, "You have to go now?"
Cougar cursed again. Clay came back in to see what the problem was. One look from the sniper was all he needed before he turned back around and ordered Pooch and Aisha back into the house. They shed their weapons like lizards peeling off dead skin and sat heavily around the room. Aisha called and postponed the "drug pickup" until further notice.
Clay sat at Jensen's feet and was mildly surprised when the kid flipped over and wrapped his arms around his waist, burying his head into his stomach. He was already passed out by the time the Colonel thought to maybe move him.
"No one talks about this," he warned as he reached over and drew the blanket back up over the hacker's body.
No one argued.
At one a.m. Clay awoke to moisture seeping through his shirt. "Shit," he muttered as he gripped Jensen's arms and pulled him up beside him.
"Sorry," Jake mumbled, scooching away a little bit and rubbing at his eyes. "What the fuck is wrong with me?"
"Drug runners, tagged you in the market," Clay explained, the exhaustion clear in his voice.
Jensen stared off into space for a second. "Oh… That sucks." He shrugged and flopped back down on the other side of the couch, pulling the blanket over his head again.
"Need me to stay?" Clay asked.
The lack of an answer made the Colonel shift to a more comfortable position on the couch before he passed back out.
Big fucking softy, Pooch thought from his spot in the recliner. Clay would've called him a big fucking hypocrite.
They had a very mopey Jensen on their hands the next day. Not the usual just-because-I-blew-up-the-old-Playstation-doesn't-mean-I'll-break-the-new-one kind of mopey; noooooo, that Jensen was easily curable enough with a whistle-pop and sometimes a snap bracelet. The Jensen they were dealing with now was the if-Eeyore-and-Louie-from-Interview-With-A-Vampire-had-sex-and-created-the-most-emo-of-all-love-children type, not to be cured by the usual sort of distractions that would fascinate the shit out of any normal four year old.
They almost sort of missed motor mouth Jensen from the day before, but they'd cut out their own tongues before admitting to that out loud.
Mopey Jensen was no fun at all. He didn't want to watch cartoons. He didn't want to play 20 Questions. He didn't want that last piece of chocolate cake. He didn't want to touch his computer. He didn't want anyone too close to him. He didn't want anyone to leave him alone.
What he wanted was not to feel like shit, and he made a habit of telling them as much every hour on the hour like a damn cuckoo clock.
For thirteen hours.
Aisha debated on breaking the cuckoo clock with a frying pan. Pooch considered duct taping the door shut on said cuckoo clock. Cougar pondered over where this odd cuckoo clock might keep its batteries. Clay sent them all upstairs to the bedrooms and told the cuckoo clock to shut up and go to sleep before he let Cougar perform that exploratory surgery for those batteries.
Jensen shut up and went to sleep.
And woke up the next morning balls-to-the-wall ready to cap the motherfucker who drugged him.
"Seriously, who does that?" he complained for the ten-thousandth time as they made their way to the meet-up with Twister.
They stopped outside the wooden shack that was to serve as the drop point for the dugs. Clay tugged at the leather of one gloved hand. "Someone who's never doing it again," he promised.
A hand on his shoulder stopped the Colonel from moving forward and he turned back to see Jensen looking at him sternly. "Nuh-huh. My body got fucked with, I get first hit… or first shot depending on the circumstance."
Jensen was giving Clay the rare don't you fucking dare argue with me look that the Colonel had only made the mistake of ignoring one time. You don't argue with a pissed-off, black ops trained computer genius. It may come days later, but you will lose that argument.
They stood back and let Jensen stroll up to the building. He didn't kick in the door or shout for anyone to come out, just casually knocked once and let himself in. For several long minutes there was only silence from within the shack; no gunshots, no muffled yells, no bodies slamming up against the walls. Clay was seriously considering busting in when the door suddenly flew open, triggering the instinct for everyone outside to aim their weapons at the individual who stepped out.
It was a kid. Probably fifteen years old, and his face was white as a sheet. No, scratch that, his face was white as the fucking flash from an atom bomb exploding. When he came face-to-face with a line of guns pointed at his head, he pissed his pants and took off at a dead sprint.
They lowered their weapons as Jensen stepped up to the doorway. "Twister," he laughed. "I got shot up on speed by Oliver fucking Twist."
He continued laughing as he passed right by them, the rest of them exchanging curious looks behind his back. Holstering their weapons they followed him for about two minutes, listening to him give his report nonchalantly about how the kid promised the needles were clean, the speed wasn't laced with anything suspicious, and how he'd be going back to live a nice quiet life with his parents from then on out, before an explosion rang out behind them. They ducked slightly and turned to see the shack engulfed in one big ball of flame. Jensen only paused and waited for them, not even bothering to look back. When all eyes had returned to the back of his head he simply began moving again, rambling on about how he hadn't gotten a chance to try any of London's famous shepherd's pie yet and that they should totally go do that.
Normal Jensen was annoying in an impossibly endearing way. Jensen on speed was like five hundred screaming children locked up in a museum full of glassware – a fucking catastrophe waiting to happen. Jensen coming down was equal parts sad and equal parts my-god-he's-making-me-want-to-slit-my-own-wrists obnoxious. Angry Jensen? They had a tendency to sometimes forget that beneath all that silliness and geekiness and immaturity and charisma and sweet little-boy smile lay a sleeping dragon. Not Puff the Magic Dragon, but the big, black, scary, fire-breathing kind that would eat your leg off just so you couldn't run away and then make you watch as your whole village was burned down around you; then, if you were lucky, he might be nice enough to finish you off quickly. The chances of that were slim.
They didn't ask what Jensen had said to that kid. They didn't want to know. They were going to follow him and eat his fucking shepherd's pie because right now that's what he wanted and they weren't sure if that scary-ass dragon had gone back to sleep just yet. None of them were stupid enough to fuck with that.