Title: The Relatively Normal Day
Series: TF2
Character/pairing: Scout/Miss Pauling.
Rating: PG-13

Summary: Scout helps Miss Pauling with some routine duties.
Author's note: cottoncandy_bingo: office/workplace romance. Set about 1969. My headcanon, let me show you it.

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Miss Pauling didn't look up from her clipboard as the door closed. She had just finished her inventory, and was about to make the delivery from the crowded storeroom.

"Oh, I see you got your beepy stuff, boopy stuff, don't have any intel for you this time–so how you doin', Miss Pauling?"

"Busy as usual. Don't you have somewhere to be?" She said without looking up.

"Eh, there was some mistake in the mainframe, so the matches are cancelled today. I thought you would've known that, Miss P."

She'd known.

"You're going to waste your time off?"

"Time around you is never a waste. Besides, I can't go out alone anymore, and nothin's on," Scout said.

Ah, yes. The last single mother support group fiasco. The less said about that, the better.

"So, Miss Pauling, You wanna—"

"I have work to do," she said, cutting him off before he got started.

"That's okay, I can wait," Scout said.

"A lot of work to do," she said pointedly.

"—Like I was saying, I can wait. In fact, I'll keep you company. Wouldn't want you to get lonely and all."

She knew Scout long enough to know that he wasn't going to take the hint. She rolled her eyes skyward and let out a long sigh. The best she could do was make him useful.

"Carry this," she said.

She handed him a box.

"I can handle tons more. I got muscles of steel," he said, winking at her and flexing his arm, which had about as much muscle definition as her arms did.

She lifted one brow. Oh, he wanted to help, did he...

She stacked box upon box, taking a little passive-aggressive glee as he began to stoop from the weight. Still, his ego kept him urging her for more, which was exactly what she gave him. Soon he was carrying enough boxes that he was almost entirely obscured. He followed after her, talking away even as laden with boxes as he was.

"So, you see my new duds? Those guns sure are somethin'. And those new hats? Man, old man Saxton makes 'em the best."

"Yes, they sure are something," she said.

"And the matches yesterday. Man, was I ever owning them—"

She added a few mmhmms, but her mind was elsewhere. She had work of a more sensitive nature to do today. Technically, her work was more often than not, of a sensitive nature, but today was a disposing of bodies kind of day. Not that he'd be particularly shocked...probably. Still, her higher ups would be none too pleased to have a witness, even if he could be very easily bribed to silence.

She'd just have to lose him in time to get rid of, after he'd delivered the boxes to Mann co.

Now, just to keep his gaze away from things she had to be dealing with. She glanced over him. He smiled flirtatiously at her.

She turned around and undid two buttons on her dress and pushed up her bra so that just a hint of purple lace showed through. That should do it.

She knew the plan was working about the time he walked straight into a post, and scattered boxes everywhere. He looked up at her, dazed and grinning.

"Lookin' good!"

"And you should look where you're going," she said.

"I'd rather look at you," he called.

She kept walking, but a little smile stole into her. He'd looked so preposterous.

"Hey, wait up, Miss P!" he called. He scooped up boxes as fast as he could, and they teetered from side to side, threatening to spill over again.

She looked back and watched him be a one-man stooge show as he kept trying to balance the boxes which teetered from side to side as he tried to add more. Another smile threatened to break through, but she fought it as she bent down to pick them up. It was a poorly thought out move on her part, as she'd forgotten about her unbuttoned shirt, or what would happen if she bent down right in front of him. Scout dropped all the rest of the boxes, the same glazed happy expression on his face.

"Just stand still, I'll arrange them."

Scout was more than happy to stay still and none-too-subtly attempt to crane his neck to see as much of her breasts as he could. Usually she would've given him a warning, but today she pretended to be too busy to notice his obvious gawking.

When he was all set, they started off again down the way. He'd suddenly grown quiet, so she had to assume he was gawking at her again.

She got the truck loaded up in record time, and before she knew it, he was jumping into the passenger side.

"You really do everything for us, huh?" Scout said.

"My job is to be flexible," she said.

Scout raised his eyebrows at this. "Flexible, huh? I'm real flexible," he said suggestively.

Poor word choice on her part.

"I know you are, I've seen your bendiness firsthand," she said. She adjusted the seat to its highest point, as otherwise she could barely see above the wheel. Mann co. vehicles were made for manly men, not girls who barely cleared five foot in heels.

She started it up with a loud rumble, and was happy to see that it wasn't on fire this time. Saxton Hale himself had noted that you could never tell if someone was working if it wasn't on fire, and he seemed determined to make all his vehicles fire-hazards with their extra large gasoline tanks.

It wasn't a long trip, only ten minutes or so to the storehouse, but Scout talked the entire way, bringing up an anecdote from his childhood.

"So, Frankie was all you can't do it and I was like oh, you wanna bet, you frickin' asshole? So I socked him right in the gut! Blam, he went out like a light!"

Like everything from Scout, she suspected it was ahem, something of a tall tale, but it was rather entertaining. He was an animated storyteller, who could actually tell an interesting tale at times, though more often he would overdo it and wear the listener out.

She had grown accustomed to him, it seemed, until she wasn't worn down anymore.

She actually felt a little disappointed when they reached the Mann co storage facility, as it meant she wouldn't be able to hear how the story ended. Scout's stories were almost like a one-man radio drama, and somehow, her interest had gotten piqued.

But work came first.

"These go in the storehouse to the left, the one with the raccoon marks on it," she called.

He lifted up more boxes than he should've been carrying—another attempt to impress her, more than likely, and she unlocked the door and pushed it up. Thankfully, there wasn't mayonnaise and raccoon infestation this time.

"Did you get a look at me? That was some badass box stacking. Ain't no other guy gonna stack like this."

"Really now?" she said, a little skeptical, and holding back laughter.

"Oh yeah! I'm the best—Hey, I didn't see this back there."

He pulled out a fedora and pulled it down over his face. "Hello, schweethart," he said in his best Humphrey Bogart impersonation.

Miss Pauling frowned. "There wasn't supposed to be anymore of those left," she said.

"Apparently they missed some. They don't even got mayonnaise or nothin'," he said.

He pulled out another box and peeked inside. "Whoa, there's a bunch of them."

"You really shouldn't be—"

He tossed a fedora to her. She caught it, and before she knew it, he was behind her, and putting it on her.

"Lookin' good! You know what we should be doin'?"

"Putting it back immediately and reporting it to Mann co.?" she said a little too sweetly.

"Hell no, we should go black market with this crap. We'll be the hat mafia."

"...hat mafia?" she said, fighting to keep a straight face, and largely failing.

"Boy, you done messed with the wrong mafia. You thought you could get your fedora on credit, well you thought wrong!"

He mimed hitting someone in the kneecaps with a crowbar.

"Er, yes..." she faked a cough to cover the laughter building up inside her.

"Think about it! You'd have a great future and I'd make sure you get plenty of benefits. You could be a mafia queen and rule all of Boston with a cute 'lil iron fist. Aww, man. I'd bash in so many skulls for you!"

"I hate to burst your bubble, but doing so would definitely get you a I'm coming for you, you son of a bitch! letter from Mr. Hale," she said.

He drooped, his swagger gone. "Yeah, I guess that ain't happenin'. It still would've been grand, just to get you wearin' fedoras," he said.

She took the hat off and put it back in the box, and he stacked the rest of the boxes.

She checked her clipboard and checked off another from the list. "After this, I have to finish the rest on my own," she said.

He drooped even more. "You ditchin' me?"

"It's...sensitive," she said.

"I'm sensitive!" he protested.

"Not that kind of sensitive," she said.

"What other kind of sensitive is there?" he said. "Like, touchy feely sensitive, or touching sensitive, or—?"

"—none of the above," she said, cutting him off before it turned into another innuendo.

"Oh, classified crap! You know, I work with intel all the time. I ain't never peeked once, and I always get it in time," he said.

He looked hopefully at her. If he'd had a tail, it would've been wagging and thumping against the ground.

She looked away, but he was still intently looking to her. She could shoot a coworker and bury the body in a shallow grave, but she had an appalling weakness for puppy faces.

"Fine, come along," she said.

"All right!" he said. He leapt into the front seat and stretched out with his feet on the dash.

Would she regret it? Possibly, but it wasn't like she'd involved a civilian. Or at least that's what she kept telling herself as he launched into the end of the anecdote he'd started on the trip earlier.

.

The destination was about a half hour from the base, to the rugged cliffside around Coal Town, with many convenient caves which held many a worker who was 'let go' from TF Industries. A cloud of dust went behind them, one that almost covered up the lights and sound of a siren in the near distance.

Almost.

"The police are coming," she said under her breath.

"Shit," Scout said. "I ain't done nothin' wrong—well, other than the homicides, and the spyin', and the stealin' info but those don't count–you don't have anything back there–?"

She just looked at him.

"...that wasn't a rug, was it?"

She shook her head.

"Here, I can fix this—"

"The last thing you should do is say anything. I will take care of this," she said, glaring at him as she clung tight to the steering wheel.

"No, no, just trust me on this," Scout said.

Scout–"

"Gimme a chance, okay? I got this, I got this."

She pursed her lips. He reached out and began to mess up her hair.

"Scout—" she said warningly.

"Trust me, Miss P. I know what I'm doin'."

She glared at him as he finally drew his thumb across the side of her mouth and ran it over his lower lip. For a second, none of it made sense—other than if he kept it up, she was going to have to slap him. But then it all fell into place when he looked up to the policeman, flushed face and panting a bit, miming a perfect look of the surprise of someone just caught in the middle of making out.

He was a portly older man with a thick graying mustache, his eyes hidden by large mirrored sunglasses. While the years had obviously taken their toll on him with his pitted, rough face, there were hints of the strong youth he must have been, as he leaned one thickly veined, muscled arm against the rolled door.

"Did you somehow miss the twenty No Tresspassing signs back there?" he said.

"I don't know, it seemed like a good place to get some privacy. Aw man, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to get some privacy around here sometimes. So I'm just out with my girl here, havin' some alone time if you know what I mean," Scout said. He waggled his eyebrows, in case the policeman had somehow missed Scout's heavy innuendo laden voice.

The policeman furrowed his brow. He pulled off his mirrored sunglasses, revealing bloodshot gray eyes and thick unkempt brows. "Weren't you the one from the support group? And the one who put a bomb into a group of mall Santas?"

"Don't know what you're talkin' about. Must've been someone else," Scout said. He tried to put on his most innocent grin.

The policeman's eyes narrowed. "No, I definitely remember you. My partner was the one who took you in. And my daughter was at that convention."

"Aw, crap," Scout said under his breath.

Miss Pauling rolled her eyes. This was going nowhere good as fast as it could. Now she'd probably have another body to hide. She reached down into her purse and checked her gun. Maybe she could use Scout as a distraction.

"I'm a changed man?" Scout said. The questioning tone in his voice wasn't helping things.

Miss Pauling felt a little bit of panic rise up in her as the policeman began to move towards the back of the truck. At this rate, he might search them on principle alone, and she couldn't have that. He was pretty large, and she would need surprise to take him down, lest he radio the rest of the policemen.

"So, about them Red Sox, right?" Scout said.

The policeman cleared his throat, but Scout talked right over him. And kept talking, and talking, and talking.

"—So, my ma tells me–"

"Mister—"

"No, wait for it, this is a real good one—"

Scout talked on, and on and on. Slowly, the policeman's eyes began to glaze over in a reaction she had seen many times in regards to Scout. Every time the policeman tried to talk, or make a move, Scout would just keep talking over him in this loud, impossible to ignore voice.

"Enough," the policeman said. He put his glasses back on and stepped aside, his mouth downturned in annoyance.

"I'm going to let you off with a warning this time. But if I ever catch you around these parts again..." the policeman trailed off, letting the unspoken warning speak for itself.

Miss Pauling barely dared to breathe as the policeman leave. Even Scout was quiet. It was only when taillights in the distance through a cloud of dust that she let out an audible, relieved sigh.

"Aw, yeah! We showed that pig!" Scout said.

"Yes, You did it!" she said.

"C'mon, slap my hand, baby!" He lifted his hand up, and she high fived him, unable to contain the sudden giddiness that a brush with disaster brought.

"I'm tellin' you, this ain't the first time I distracted the cops. My brothers and all the Southie boys used to send me out to make a mess whenever there were actually cops around back in the day. I never failed, either. Told you, this tongue is good as gold," Scout said.

"I see you're pulling off my lipstick," she said.

"Oh, hell yeah am I pulling it off. I could pull it off all day long. I was made to wear this shade," he said, putting on a truly ridiculous pose.

"You wouldn't fit in these heels," she said, giggles threatening to overflow in her.

"Oh yeah? That a challenge? Well, challenge accepted."

He reached down, and she squealed as he pulled them off. In a second, he attempted to fit his feet in, and mostly failed, but that hardly stopped him.

"Check me out, I'm the manliest Scout around, and I'm wearing frickin' pumps."

"They still don't fit," she said.

"Doesn't matter, still manly," he said.

He was closer than she'd thought, and for a moment, there was just the knowing of this closeness, and him drawing nearer and nearer. This would be the point to push him away, but she didn't. He leaned in and then his lips were on hers. A small voice inside her reminded her that she should be shoving him away and getting back to work, that she should be nipping this troublesome aspect right in the bud. But it felt so good to feel human touch, to feel Ihim/i that she found herself leaning into the kiss and bunching his shirt up in her hands.

She broke apart only to undo her seatbelt and climb up to straddle his lap. He felt up her back, pushing her skirt up to her waist. He had the rest of the buttons down off in her shirt and his thumbs dipped into her bra.

He worked fast. It wasn't just running he was fast at, apparently. Her head was spinning as she ground against him, the feel of his tongue in her mouth sudden, sensual and very welcome.

The phone rang, and it broke the spell. She let out a startled squeak and pushed off of him, scrambling for her glasses and frantically looking for the phone as it rang again, and again. In a second she had dug out the phone from where it had been wedged. Oh, five rings had gone by. This wasn't good at all. She put her hand over Scout's mouth as she answered.

"No, I was just ah, getting something from the back. I hit a bump and the phone was accidentally pushed into a seat cushion..." her voice squeaked slightly at that last part, and she cleared her throat.

"Oh, no...nothing's wrong! I ran into a minor complication, but it's all sorted out. I'm going to do the final part now. ...I understand."

She turned the phone off and dropped it to the seat. She let out a long sigh and pulled her hand away from Scout's mouth.

"That was close," she said. "Too close."

"This ain't gonna go any further, is it?" Scout said. He leaned his head against the back of the seat, and tried to catch his breath.

"No, Scout, it isn't," she said.

He closed his eyes and let out a long groan. "God, I was so close, too. Just...Just give me a sec, I gotta...calm down. I'll help you move it."

"All right," she said.

She climbed out, feeling more than a little frustrated and disappointed herself, and began to do up her shirt. She blushed a little at how far she'd let things go...or how much she wanted to just go fuck work, I'm getting laid! and let him have his way with her right in the front seat of the truck.

A few minutes later, Scout came out, half-lidded and looking a little groggy. It was a lot easier job moving the rug with Scout there. She unrolled it, and he brought in the Quicklime.

"I remember this goon," Scout said. "What'd he do?"

Usually she would've cited it as being classified, but she thought this could be a good warning for Scout at what happened to those who annoyed the Administrator.

"He brought the Administrator cold coffee," she said.

Scout let out a low whistle. "You're really something to keep your head with the dragon lady."

"She's not that bad once you get to know her," Miss Pauling said.

"If you say so," he said.

He poured out the quicklime on her instruction, and soon the body was covered.

"Whoa, it works fast. Southie could use some of this," he said.

"Saxton Hale had it perfected to dissolve a body in under three hours."

"Damn, that's good."

She nodded. "Very useful."

She picked up the shovel, but he took it from her.

"Lemme do it. I happen to be a kickass shoveler. A master of the shoveling arts."

He pulled off his shirt and tossed it at her, and she awkwardly caught it against her chest.

"And I'll even give you a show, too," he said, waggling his eyebrows at her.

"Wow, a shovel and a show. Just what every girl wants," she said dryly.

"Damn straight it is," Scout said. "You're the luckiest girl in the world right now. There's girls out there sobbin' into their diaries that they're missin' this quality show."

"Mmm-hmmm," she said.

She sat back and rested. He wasn't so bad looking, really. So he wasn't as ripped as he liked to say, but she was never much for overly muscled men, and his slim swimmer's physique was actually quite attractive. She watched with pleasure as he lifted up another shovelful of dirt, his wiry body smeared in dirt and sweat.

Besides, the men got pinups and strippers, and Sniper spent about every free moment in brothels, but no one ever thought about her needs. It was nice to be spared both the backbreaking work of shoveling through tough clay and get a free show out of it.

He wiped the sweat from his brow and took a short break. "This is pretty tough. I mean, not that I'm tired or anything, given that I'm a super strong superstar and all, but ain't it tough on you?"

"It's work," she said and shrugged. "I've done worse."

"Well, you don't have to anymore. We make a pretty good team, huh? Me and you should work together all the time, if you know what I mean."

For once, she didn't. Was this an invitation for sex, a relationship, or him helping her out more—or some combination of all three?

"You'll be off working by then," she said.

"Yeah, but I can help you after the matches. You'd be too busy workin' with the Administrator to all this during then, anyways."

"You really want to spend all your free time doing chores with me?" she said.

"I told you, it's never a waste of time when it's with you," Scout said. "I'm happy whenever I'm around you. You could make me plow frickin' fields all day and it wouldn't feel like work if you were there."

And it was true, the time had sailed by and she'd felt more lighthearted around him than any time she could remember. He'd shown the ability to work under pressure and dissuade a search by the authorities.

"If you keep being useful, I just might keep you around," she said.

"Oh, Miss P. I could be useful in so many ways," Scout said.

Okay, she knew the innuendo behind that one.

"You know what they say. A friend helps you move, but a best friend helps you move the body," Scout said.

"You're not my best friend," she said.

"But I could be," he said. He smiled at her, hopeful and... rather cute.

She'd have to rearrange her schedule, do far more paperwork, but she'd also get a helper, a friend, and routinely kissed like she had before in the front seat.

Tempting. She supposed dating a coworker could have its perks.

"I'll think about it,"she said.

"And I'll give you somethin' to think about," he said. He wiggled his butt and bent down with another shovelful of dirt. He lifted it up, and held it up like he was a bodybuilder.

She was unable to stifle a giggle, which he only took as encouragement to seductively move more dirt, or his own comical form of 'seductive' at least.

Company policy and good sense be damned, she already knew what her answer would be.