I have no idea where this came from. Probably the funk I'm in.


"Breath, señorita," a males voice said so close to her ear that it sent a shiver down her spine, "concentrate," his breath ghosted over her ear, "Pay no attention to anything but your target," His beautiful Spanish accent, "fire," his hands on her arms holding them steady as she did as told and pulled the trigger, "you missed."

"I told you, Cougar," she cried as she turned to face him, conscious of the gun she still held, "I can't do this. I'll never be able to shoot straight enough to hit a target, let alone possibly take a mans life. I wasn't made to do this." Tears threatened at the corner of her eyes.

"It's okay, señorita, it take time to learn to shoot," Cougar said and held out his hand, eyes wearily trained on the gun in the novices hands. "Avery, give me the gun." He wasn't afraid of her shooting him, but more of her shooting herself somehow. "Perhaps a more secluded place, to lessen any pressure," His eyes flashed to the right and Avery knew he was referring to Jensen who was laughing and making her upset.

"It won't help!" She yelled and Jensen quieted his chortles some. "I'll never be able to do this, you might as well have left me behind." She turned from the ever silent Cougar and the finally silent Jensen.

As she walked briskly she brushed past Clay, angry tears fell from her eyes as she let the reality set in. She couldn't stay with them being as weak as she was and unable to even shoot. They would make her leave, she knew it. The excessive baggage was always tossed to keep a boat afloat. Their boat was going to sink fast and soon if they didn't drop their dead weight, her.

She didn't get far before a strong and warm hand wrapped around her right bicep, "Avery," said Cougar, "what is wrong?" His eyes bore into hers waiting for an answer, any answer. None came. "Come, let's go somewhere else."

She wanted to deny, to argue that she wasn't worth it and for him to let her go, but she couldn't. By the time she was going to start protesting he let her go. She saw the targets around her. It looked like they'd never been used, but from a closer inspection she could tell they had and who had shot them. The holes were all on kill spots and several shot had hit holes twice or more.

Avery turned, not wanting to be here. So bad of a shot she was, she'd only end up embarrassing herself. The gun was passed to her again and she held it awkwardly. Cougar stood behind her again and made her take a firm hold of the gun. His hands trailed over her arms making sure they were in perfect position. Body to body to make sure her form didn't falter. Hands moved back down to her own and he held them steady. "Fire," He said but she shook her head.

Encompassing her hands with his he pulled her trigger finger and the bang sounded. The shot was anything but perfect, yet it had hit closer to the targets dead point than before, "again," he whispered. He pulled her finger again. This shot closer than the first. Leading her aim over a bit more he said, "again." Avery pulled the trigger, his finger not forcing her this time, and she hit. His hands moved to her elbows, "again," she aimed and pulled the trigger. His hands moved to her waist. "Again," she shot, "good."

Then his hand grasped her in the front and she gasped, the other hand moved up towards her breast. Just as quickly as the touching started it stopped. Cougar moved away from her and didn't look back at her. "Keep practicing." He growled out and briskly walked off.

Avery had enough ammo to last through Armageddon, okay maybe a slight over exaggeration but she had a lot. Time passed without her acknowledgment. She'd been rejected. What was wrong with her? Was it her height? Her eyes? Perhaps it was because she couldn't shoot. With shaking arms she lifted the gun and imagined the target as herself.

Pathetic, that's what she was. A pathetic little girl that was worth nothing. 'Unable to shoot, without the ability to do anything of use I'm was better off not with them. Better off dead.' Bang! She hit the target. The neck had a hole in it.'Worthless. I'm not worth anything.' Bang! The head where the eye should be had a hole in it. 'Ma always said that I was the one mistake she ever made. I should have been more like my brothers.' Bang! Heart. 'Everyone would be better off if I was dead!' Bang! Bang! Bang! Stomach, right knee, left shoulder.

Gritted teeth and tears streaming down her face she shot over and over at the image of herself. Thinking about how it would be better if she weren't there.


Cougar got back to the others and stayed there. He had tried to restrain himself as he touched her, teaching her how to hold the gun and shoot. With the others around he was able to do just that. Yet with the others here she couldn't concentrate enough to shoot. Taking her off had been good for her but bad for his restraint. He would have continued to touch her had he stayed near her another moment. Bang! Echoed though the clearing where The Losers rested. Bang! Cougar stood and looked around, trying to find who was shooting. Bang! It came from the way he'd left. Aver- Bang! Bang! Bang! She could be getting attacked. Or possibly hurt herself.

He was an idiot. How could he just leave her there. Alone. With a gun she may have some protection against anyone that came but she didn't know how to shoot. She could miss and they get her or she hurts herself.

Her stopped running on a dime when he reached where he'd left her. She was shooting the targets and mumbling to herself. Inching closer he tried to hear her but the sound of the gun shooting blocked most out. "Stupid... Worthless... Better off... Dead..." He couldn't understand what she was trying to get at. She ran out of bullets in the magazine but she kept pulling the trigger. "I'm such an idiot." She said finally and lowered the gun before dropping to her knees and Cougar could hear her sobbing. "He'd never like a stupid and incompetent girl like me." The gun slipped from her grasp and she wound her arms around her waist. "I'm too tiny, not womanly enough. Hate my stupid boobs, ugly eyes..."

Cougar stepped on a branch and she just sat there. He said nothing and didn't move. "If you're going to kill me, might as well do it now." She said loud enough for him to hear.

"Why would I do that, señorita?" Cougar asked and walked to her. She looked away from where he stood, face down cast. "What is wrong?"

"Nothing." She replied and kept looking away.

"Who is it that you like? Jensen? If you like him I'm sure he likes you to-" Cougar said and nearly choked on his own words. He didn't like the thought of her in Jensen's arms. He started to grumble in Spanish to himself, cursing his luck and his emotions.

"Jensen's cool and all," she mumbled and Cougars heart fell. He tipped his hat lower over his eyes. "But he doesn't have a cool hat." She still couldn't look at Cougar. He was shocked by her confession. "Yeah he's a good shot, but he doesn't have a big gun. Athletic sure, but he isn't as good as..." her voice halted and she looked up at him, "He's just not as good as you."

Cougar squatted down and set his sniper rifle down. Then with both hands pulled her face forward and kissed her. He confessed to her in Spanish because it was his native language and easier for him. Though she didn't understand his words she understood his meaning because with each thing he listed he kissed her.

"Why did you leave?" She asked when he finally stopped.

"I thought you didn't like me that way. I thought I did wrong." He replied. She leaned forward and kissed him. Showing that he had been wrong. "I love you señorita."

"And I love you, Cougar."