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Prompt fill for peaceful_sands from fic_promptly : 'Cougar, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back'.
Thanks to Cougar's Catnip, Jodi and peaceful_sands for the read throughs.
Cougar ground his teeth as he heard Jensen's mumbled words behind him. It was already officially not a good day, getting separated from the rest of the team and having to hack their way through ten miles of jungle to get to them had seen to that. Right now, all Cougar wanted was to be able to swing his machete in peace, and Jensen's good mood was really starting to piss him off.
Jensen's voice rose a little and Cougar listened to him, rolling his eyes and reminding himself that killing one's team-mates was frowned upon in polite circles. Plus Clay would probably burn his hat, and that was a fate he wished on no man.
Jensen laughed to himself as he merrily hacked through vines and creepers. Okay, so the jungle wasn't his most favorite place ever, and he was sure he was going to have the mother of all mosquito bites on the back of his neck, he could already feel it itching like hell, but today could have been worse. At least they had the intel they'd been sent to this hellhole to gather, and Cougar had gotten a chance to shoot people, that always improved his mood for a few days. Jensen remembered the time Cougs had managed to take out the four armed drug runners who were about to remove some of Pooch's fingernails, the sniper had been positively genial for almost a week afterwards.
But, the fact was, the jungle was boring. It was green and steamy and hot and just plain monotonous. Maybe having a giant mutated lizard creature fling itself out of the undergrowth at them would take the edge off the boredom, but Jensen doubted it. They'd been fighting their way through some of the thickest greenery he'd ever seen for almost two hours already, and it was time to play.
Jensen reached into his considerable memory bank and pulled out some words. He wasn't sure Cougar would know what book they were from, but it was going to be fun finding out.
"The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, wet day," he quoted happily, then waited for Cougar's reaction.
There was none. The sniper didn't look at him, didn't even acknowledge that he was still talking, much less comment on what he'd said. Jensen smiled to himself, of course, Cougar didn't break that easily. He continued, undeterred.
"I sat there with Sally. We sat, we two. And I said, "How I wish we had something to do!" Too wet to go out. And too cold to play ball. So we sat in the house. We did nothing at all."
This time there was a slightly annoyed tilt to Cougar's hat. Jensen grinned as he sliced through a particularly thick creeper that seemed intent on wrapping itself around his neck as he tried to squeeze past it. At least the hat was starting to respond to him. And where the hat led, it's enigmatic owner must surely follow.
"So all we could do was to sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! And we did not like it. Not one little bit." Jensen waved his machete around in time with his words and watched the hat carefully for it's next expression.
Ha! The tilt was different this time, although maybe not in a good way, he thought it had changed into the 'I'm going to give Jensen a five hundred yard head start and then hunt him down and cut his tongue out' tilt, or it could have been the 'I wish I'd joined the Navy' tilt, the two were very similar. Tilt-translation was a fine art and he was still working on it, it didn't help that nobody had thought to provide an Hat-English dictionary when Cougar joined the Losers. Even a Cougar Grunt-English dictionary would have been useful, Jensen thought sourly, remembering how one such mis-translated grunt had left him in the middle of a bar fight with three pissed off Marines, while Cougar stood at the bar and picked up the girl Jensen had been hitting on all night.
But, whatever the hat said, at least it was saying something, which was more than the man wearing it was bothering to do. Jensen narrowed his eyes at the lean figure ahead of him and launched back into his quotation, "And then something went bump! How that bump made us jump!"
Still no reaction, although Jensen thought the hat rolled its eyes at him. Hmm, maybe he should drink something, starting to think of that hat as a sentient being was somewhat worrying when he was in the middle of a jungle, surrounded by things that probably wanted to eat him, and very likely to fall prey to dehydration. He took a careful sip from his depleted canteen and continued talking, for what else would he do in this kind of situation?
"We looked! Then we saw him step in on the mat! We looked! And we saw him! The Cat in the Hat! And he said to us, "Why do you sit there like that?""
At this, Cougar actually turned and looked over his shoulder at Jensen. Granted, it wasn't a pleasant look, more of a look that said, "Shut up now or I will kill you and tell Clay you were eaten by a crazed iguana." But, loaded glance or not, it was still a glance, and Jensen did a mental victory dance.
Cougar growled, "I know what you're doing, and you're not going to make me say it."
"Say what?" Jensen asked in confusion.
Cougar rolled his eyes and returned to hacking at the jungle as though it had personally offended him.
"Seriously, Cougs, what am I not going to make you say?" Jensen demanded, hurrying to keep up with him. "Cougs? Coooougs. Couuuuugar. Cougar," this last was said in an almost perfect imitation of Clay's 'annoyed' voice, and the sniper couldn't help but falter mid-step. "What am I not going to make you say?" Jensen asked as he caught up with him, his grin huge and reminiscent of an eager to please Golden Retriever.
Cougar sighed, it had already been a long day, and his head was starting to ache. He rubbed the back of his hand across his eyes, the sweat that was dripping into them was stinging painfully. As much as he wanted to smack Jensen for being so damned annoying at times like these, he could never quite manage it. He imagined that if he did, it would feel like kicking a puppy, and he was not the sort of guy who did that. The tech op was looking at him so expectantly, he almost expected him to press a tennis ball into his hand and run off to wait for him to throw it so they could play fetch.
Despite his tiredness and irritation, a small smile crept onto his face and he sighed, "Fine, you win. But you ever tell the others that you brought me down to your level of crazy, I'll shoot Andrea."
Jensen's mouth made a perfect little 'O' of horror as he backed away, "You wouldn't," he gasped.
Cougar just raised an eyebrow, feeling that a few gestures were in order, that speech was probably more than he'd said in the past week.
Jensen narrowed his eyes, "Andrea has the most gorgeous processor I've ever seen, and her hard drive is off the chart, and she's just...urgh, you're a heathen, you wouldn't understand." For a moment, Cougar thought he'd genuinely hurt Jensen's feelings because he stalked off, hacking at the undergrowth with more venom than was strictly necessary. Then he remembered that this was Jensen he was dealing with, the kid was incapable of staying mad at him for long. He briefly wondered why that was, then dismissed it as he ran to catch up. Unfortunately running and the jungle do not mix, and after the first three steps, Cougar found himself flat on his face as he fell over a tree root.
"Cougs! You okay, dude?" Jensen's hands were helping him up, dusting him off and checking him for injuries all at the same time.
"I'm fine," Cougar snapped, manly pride in tatters. He shoved his hat back onto his head and sighed again, then grinned. "That Cat in The Hat, huh?"
Jensen shrugged, "Seemed appropriate."
Cougar cleared his throat and said, ""Look at me! Look at me now!" said the cat. "With a cup and a cake on the top of my hat! I can hold up two books! I can hold up the fish! And a little toy ship! And some milk on a dish! And look! I can hop up and down on the ball! But that is not all! Oh no, that is not all...""
Jensen's grin was huge, and threatened to split his face in two. "Dude, you just went up another three spaces on my ladder of awesomeness," he laughed, "seriously, you saved our asses back there and now you're quoting Dr. Seuss, while in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by giant mutated things that probably want to eat us and suck our brains dry as dessert."
Cougar simply stared at him, wondering how so many words that bore so little relation to each other could be strung together in one sentence. After a moment he shook his head and hefted his machete again, returning to the task of fighting his way through the greenery.
Jensen followed him, saying, "Come on, Cougs, do some more. Please? Please, Cougar. Pleeeeease."
"No," Cougar muttered, embarrassed he'd broken his own self-imposed vow of silence around Jensen so spectacularly.
"I'll buy you a red and white stripy hat if you quote more Dr. Seuss," Jensen panted, Cougs was setting a hell of a pace.
"Buy one and I'll shoot you as well as Andrea," Cougar growled, but couldn't stop the smile that slid onto his face.
Jensen's victory dance was wilder than ever, at least in his head. Cougar was smiling, Cougar was joining in with his madness, Cougar was awesome. Cougar had a very nice ass.
"You wouldn't shoot me," he gasped, wishing the brutal pace Cougar was setting would slow down a little, "You all like having me around too much."
"Who told you that?" Cougar murmured.
"Well technically nobody did, but it's obvious," Jensen replied, grinning.
Cougar remembered Clay telling Jensen he was only on the team for as long as it took to train the monkey who was going to replace him, but kept his mouth shut, out of respect for Jensen's pride. Being threatened with replacement by a primate was always embarrassing.
They moved along in companionable silence for a while, well, silence apart from Jensen humming the Indiana Jones theme under his breath.
After a few minutes it obviously became too much for him and he started talking again, "You know, dude, if they made another Indy movie, and they really shouldn't because number four was not the best by any means, but if they did, you could so be young Indiana. I mean, yes, I know you don't look much like Harrison Ford, and your hair's longer than his was but you already have the hat, so what more could Hollywood ask for? Plus I bet you're awesome with a whip, 'cause, lets face it, you're awesome with just about everything. And you're hot, so you'd have even more women falling at your feet than you already do."
Cougar stopped so suddenly Jensen crashed into him. Turning, the sniper raised one eyebrow, Jensen cursed, how was one damn eyebrow so expressive? "Hot?" the word was almost hissed, and Jensen instantly took a couple of steps back, ready to take a punch.
"I meant that in a totally man to man way, you know, bro," the young tech babbled, hands up in a 'please don't kill me' manner, "'cause I'm being completely modern here, you know, men are allowed to have man-crushes these days, and getting in touch with feelings and all that crap is totally the thing to do if you want to get laid, and I know you get laid without even trying most of the time and that's cool, but the rest of us mere mortals have to work at it. So yes I said you're hot but please don't kill me and leave me here for the crazed iguanas, I'm just expressing my bro-mance. And, and...okay I got nothing."
Cougar suddenly crowded into his space, Jensen instinctively leaned back, trying to escape while still appearing to be unafraid. "Hot?" the sniper asked again.
Jensen gave a weak grin and shrugged, "Hey, you know me, no filter whatsoever, if I think it, it comes out of my mouth."
"And you think I'm hot?"
Jensen sighed, "I'm not blind, Cougs, you're hot, there, I said it again."
To his unending surprise, Cougar didn't hit him, or knee him in the balls, or even try to stab him with the wickedly sharp knife that he always kept close to hand. Nope, Cougar just smiled. And tipped his hat to him, then turned and continued hacking at the undergrowth as though his team-mate hadn't just declared that he thought he was rather attractive.
Jensen gaped for a second, then followed, saying, "Hey! I just, I think I just, hey! I just said you were hot and that's all you can do about it?"
"That's not fair!" Jensen howled, "At least say something!"
Cougar paused, his machete halfway through a thick vine, he turned to look at Jensen and the tech was surprised to see that there was some kind of emotional battle going on in his eyes. Cougar seemed to come to a decision, and was suddenly back in Jensen's space again, crowding him up against a tree.
Before Jensen could say or even think, "Holy God, what the hell's happening?" Cougar was kissing him. Holy fuck, Cougar was kissing him. It was a damn good kiss too, Cougs was going the whole nine yards, tongues, clashing of teeth, roaming hands, the works. Jensen sighed happily, even if Cougar was just messing with him and playing some twisted form of Gay Chicken, this was awesome.
When he was finally allowed up for air, Jensen said, "Well, that was, different. Extremely nice, and unexpected and could we maybe do that again sometime?"
Cougar stepped back, and muttered, "Took you long enough to say something, thought you were never going to get up the nerve to do it."
"Me?" spluttered Jensen indignantly, "What about you? You're the master of non-verbal communication, if you wanted to kiss the hell out of me in the middle of the freakin' jungle, why in the name of Apple didn't you let me know?"
Cougar simply looked at him, and that was answer enough. Cougar didn't see the need to do the talking when, ninety nine percent of the time, Jensen would do it for him. Sighing, Jensen nodded, Cougar was probably right, he usually was. "Well," Jensen huffed, "when we get home you and I are going to have a conversation, you remember what that is? Lots of words and actual talking involved."
A quick nod and a lightning fast smile were his only reply, before Cougar took a firmer grip on his machete and said, "Come on, we need to move, have to find Clay before dark."
As he followed Cougar once more into the dense plantlife, Jensen couldn't help but reflect that today hadn't actually been as bad as all that. Yes, he was still likely to be eaten by a giant mutated lizard thing, but if he got to have more Cougar kisses before that happened, maybe he wouldn't mind so very much.