They'd fooled around before, sure, why not? Mostly just rushed hand or suck jobs; riding high or low or just plain bored. Nothing really interesting, anyway. At least, nothing with promise. But this was... What was this?
It had all started with Jensen walking in on Cougar with a girl on his lap, her back to the door. The chair creaking, her leg muscles flexing as she worked herself up and down. Jensen could smell her perfume, alcohol on the air. Cougar had lifted his face from her neck and made, what the fuck, deliberate and intent eye contact. When he'd finally gotten past the initial shock to focus, to take in any details, Jensen realized that he recognized those tattoos: the butterfly on her right shoulder, the twisting barbed wire on her lower back.
The barbed wire tattoo he had caught a glimpse of when she'd been flirting with him, earlier that evening. Hey, she'd been flirting with him, him Jensen! Then she'd excused herself to use the lady's room and the next time he saw her she was on top of Cougar.
Yeah, OK, it hadn't been the first time. Yeah, maybe he should have realized something was up when she never came back. He had ended up going back to his and Cougar's shared, shitty rented room with his tail between his legs.
It hadn't been the first time a woman had stroked fingertips down his arm and left instead with Cougar, but it had been the most obvious. The most it had ever been acknowledged by either of them. After that, there was no ignoring it.
Or, at least, there could have been if Cougar hadn't begun staring at him every time he sidled up to a woman Jensen had been trying to get with. With whom he'd been trying to get?
Cougar knew. Jensen hadn't even known there was anything to know, but apparently Cougar knew it. Right away. From that look over her tattooed shoulder. That had been fucking terrifying, that had been what made Jensen finally get with the program and moonwalk back out into the hallway.
It could have started with a threesome, Cougar was way smoother than Jensen, he probably could have pulled it off. That would have been acceptably no-homo. Or, you know, more no-homo than Cougar initiating it the night after that thing with the barbed wire girl by backing Jensen up against the bed and kissing him.
Doing so only after, of course, zeroing in on another girl who'd been flirting with Jensen, and making out with her in the bar. Somehow not pissing her off when he left the bar with Jensen, instead.
They had been alone in the room but it somehow felt like she was with them, too. Like Jensen was kissing her off him until he was just kissing Cougar. Cougar had tasted like beer and something fruity, sweet, Jensen gasping as he realized it must have been her cocktail or her lip gloss. Cougar's tongue sliding lushly across his lower lip, licking inside.
They'd never really kissed before, not like that. Too much like something purposeful. Something they meant. That had been obvious, too, making Jensen shake like a leaf, Cougar gripping his upper arms as if to keep him from bolting. Jensen seeing nothing but the dark red behind his squeezed-shut eyes, breathing hard through his nose. His hands fisted tightly in the fabric at the back of Cougar's shirt.
Jensen would have been fine with something frantic, desperate, grabbing hands and all that. That would have been great, actually! It was like Cougar could sense that, knew that Jensen felt like something furred and trembling and very small. Knew and liked it, kissed him sweet and deep and held him fast.
At any point Cougar could have made it less than what it apparently was; acted as if it was something casual and fun. Not that it wasn't fun.
It was just kind of overwhelming, being in Cougar's crosshairs; but all Jensen could do was gasp and think: "I'm an elk, shoot me!"
Yes, after that, Cougar still stole Jensen's dates, but they weren't the ones going home with him. Not that Jensen didn't already go home with him anyway, because it was his crappy room, too, OK.
But that night he had been the one Cougar undressed, the one Cougar pressed up against hotly. The one rolling around and sweating in that big bed with the cheap frame and busted old mattress. It had made a racket when Cougar pulled him down on top of him, squeezing his thighs tight around his hips, locking him down. Jensen had had to breath deep and slow after his hips jerked forward, reflexive, Cougar watching with glittering eyes.
"Yeah? Yeah, you like that? You want me?" Jensen hadn't been sure whether that was a question he actually needed to answer, but he'd nodded anyway, glasses slipping down to rest against Cougar's face. Cougar had laughed and used both hands to lift them off, fold them gently and place them next to his hat on the splintery bedside table. Then he'd lifted up and kissed Jensen, slippery and hot.
Jensen had felt a little all over the place. When he hadn't been staring at the insides of his own eyelids, everything was all blurry. Which wouldn't have been a problem, he could operate with his vision compromised, thanks, but he had also been freaking out a little.
Cougar had definitely noticed and it had been awful and embarrassing, but apparently that was, like, a thing with him. Or, with them. Anyway, he wasn't one hundred percent on some of the details but he sure as hell remembered what was said.
Anyone who met him, like, for any period of time, would assume: "Jensen's a talker, I bet he couldn't shut the hell up in bed." Which, OK, true, but at that moment, he had wanted to be as quiet as possible.
It had sort of been because that was the most Jensen'd heard him speak since watching that helicopter go down. Or, ever, really. In all honesty, mostly it had been because he kept saying, just, the filthiest things Jensen had ever heard. Well, maybe not the filthiest, but definitely the most exciting.
Like, "This what you wanted all along? Wish you'd been riding me like Catarina?"
Like, "You wanna live through those girls I fuck? Huh? Those girls you can't get?"
Jesus, Jensen hadn't thought he'd actually say it. Everyone knew it, but, God.
"Uh huh," Jensen had scooped his arms under Cougar's shoulders, pulled him in close and whimpered and shuddered as he came. He had been sort of desperately and clumsily mouthing against his neck when Cougar had immediately flipped them, pressing down firm against him.
"OK?" he asked when Jensen'd made a small, pained noise.
"Ah, yes, keep going," he managed to shut himself up before saying "please".
Cougar had grinned, settled more comfortably against him, and thrust and thrust into his own palm slippery with Jensen's cum, rough against his softening and sensitive cock. He'd clutched Jensen's bicep in a way Jensen liked to think was appreciative, and kissed him when he came, sucking hard on his lower lip.
So, yeah, whatever they were doing, that's how it started. It only escalated from there.
That could have been it. One time thing, in and out, easy peasy. Jensen had felt raw and needy and God knows that should have driven Cougar away. Everything could have gone back to business as usual, they never would have had to acknowledge any of it.
But Cougar, he didn't let it go. He'd found out something about Jensen he found very, very interesting. Apparently he wanted to see it through.
He really didn't get how Cougar got away with it. How there never seemed to be any hard feelings between him and the local girls. How he could get all close and smoldering with them and then go home with Jensen.
Regardless, it was Jensen whose doll factory paycheck was suddenly increasingly spent on lube, condoms and wet wipes.
Regardless, Jensen was the one bent double, kneeling with his face smushed against the mattress; Cougar's hand heavy and hot between his shoulder blades. It wasn't the most modest of positions, but that was probably the point.
Jensen was trying to be even quieter than the first time.
Cougar was saying things like, while draping himself warm and smooth over Jensen's back, spreading three fingers inside of him with a patience Jensen honestly should have expected: "I don't think it would have been fair, trying to fuck that girl while you couldn't stop thinking about me. Do you think that would have been fair to her?"
Rhetorical, most likely, which was fine because Jensen found that all he could manage to do was gasp desperately, anyway. Shocked and turned on out of his mind.
Cougar didn't even sounded mean about it, just matter of fact. Which was, quite frankly, amazing. Cougar, rolling his hips, in a one-sided conversation: "No, that wouldn't be fair." Breathing in his ear, "You couldn't give her what she needs." Jensen couldn't even choke out, "What, and you could?" because he knew, he knew it because Cougar was giving it to him.
Giving it to him steady and deep; slippery and undulating and so, so easy. Jensen felt like he was submerged in warm, salty water. All pliant and wet. Both of them slick with sweat and lube and Cougar's spit all over Jensen's skin, his mouth open and sucking.
He'd known Cougar's hands were strong. Duh, handjobs! It was, however, something entirely different when those hands were roaming and clutching and rubbing all over his body.
Jensen came with Cougar's hand wrapped tight around his dick, the other stroking steadily up his spine to grip the back of his neck, Cougar telling him, "This is where you belong."
Which, yeah, OK, fucked up; but Christ on a cracker was it exactly what he needed. Good? An understatement. Phenomenal was more appropriate. Not that he wanted tell Cougar that, not like he needed the boost to his ego.
Of course, and he should have expected it, his mouth didn't get the memo, and next thing he knew he was slurring, "Jesus, please don't stop fucking me." Which wasn't as bad as, say, "Your dick is the best thing I've ever felt", or, "I don't think I'll ever come like that with anyone else ever again", but it was still pretty bad.
The shape of Cougar's smile against his back told him he'd heard everything unsaid, all of it, anyway.
Cougar just got bolder. It was like everything Jensen allowed opened the door to more.
He did shit like kiss both Mariana and Elena at that cemetery in front of the entire team. Looking at Jensen and doing that eyebrow thing and making sure he really got the message.
Jesus, did he ever, thinking the guys must see right through him, burning up inside from the shame and the thrill. Saying stupid shit about Aisha, trying to give himself some cover but also maybe, secretly, giving Cougar more ammunition.
Back at their room Jensen ended up flat on his back, Cougar fucking himself on his dick like Jensen was an especially realistic sex doll. Cougar starting in on him like, "Do you think Elena would have even thought about doing this with you?" Jensen panting and staring up at him through his fogged-up glasses, mouth open.
Cougar leaning forward to let his hair brush against Jensen's chest, "Maybe you can pretend I'm her." Leaning even further, speaking against his lips, "It's the closest you'll get."
Cougar pushing up off where he'd been pressing Jensen's arms to the bed to grab the lube; gripping himself tight, cock making filthy wet noises sliding through his fist. Jensen felt, vaguely, that he should maybe help. His hands flew up abruptly to Cougar's chest and he could already tell, yeah, Cougar was laughing at him.
Not pushing him away, though; grabbing at one of his hands and molding it to grip where his neck meets his shoulder. Directing him to push down, pushing Jensen's cock further up inside and then Cougar was coming. Jensen flicked his tongue awkwardly against his chin to catch the semen that landed there. His leg muscles contracting and his knees pulling up with his orgasm as his heels dug into the sheets and Cougar grinned down at him.
Back from a bar, again. On his back, again; bent double, again. Thoroughly fucked, knees almost brushing his ears; one hand clutching his dick and the other pressed hard against the cracked plaster wall behind him.
Cougar, of course, talking. "Look at you, you love this. You think you could get this from any of the women you try to pick up?"
Jensen, panting, finally thinking of something to say back: "That's transphobic, Cougs."
Cougar smiled, showing teeth, like he was just waiting for the chance, "It's not my dick, cabrón; it's me."
Well, fuck. That's lights out, folks! You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here! He came hard, head thrown back, nails making a godawful noise as they scratched against the wall. Cougar, true to form, just fucked him right through it.
He didn't say it out loud, thank god, but Jensen knew he might as well have "Property of Cougar" stamped on his forehead. He felt like his favorite toy.
And it felt good. Jensen felt good. Like Cougar was taking care of him, giving him what he needed. Like he was one of Cougar's girls. Jensen felt like it, too: like he would sit in a bar hoping to catch Cougar's eye from beneath the brim of that hat. Or, like a waitress, bending over with his tits in Cougar's face to bring him a drink. Leaning back against the bar, letting his shirt ride up, like that girl with the barbed wire tattoo.
Anything to get his attention. Anything to be the butterfly pinned beneath his gaze. But Jensen didn't have to do any of that, didn't even have to try. He wondered if he'd had Cougar's attention all along and just never noticed.
Another night, another woman. A freckled tourist from Connecticut who bonded with Jensen over early aughts Adult Swim; Cougar watching darkly from the bar. She sat up a little, eventually, leaning away from their intimate huddle, and said, "Guess we'll have to say goodnight; your boyfriend looks like he's gonna drag you out of here."
Well, that certainly answered some questions. He should have noticed they hadn't been exactly subtle. Jensen didn't know about Cougar, but he hadn't had a boyfriend since he joined up. But it's not like any of that really meant anything.
Now that they could actually do this; now that they didn't have to stop mid-suck or stroke and shove everything back inside their pants. They weren't military, weren't even alive according to anything that mattered, anything official.
Maybe he'd always had Cougar's attention, it just took dying for either of them to do anything about it.
If Clay or anyone else were to walk in on them they could, hypothetically, stare over at them calmly like unimpressed cats and keep right on fucking. Insignia and status be damned.
Hypothetically. Realistically one of them would be the unimpressed cat and the other would shriek and try to throw himself out the window.
Roque might stab him. Not Cougar, just Jensen.
Oh God, what if Aisha walked in on them? Even if she didn't say anything, even if she just lifted that one pierced eyebrow, that would be amazing. Bonus points if she heard any part of Cougar's endless chatter about how Jensen was some sort of, like, X-rated charity case.
Which was an idea.
Cougar stopped airbrushing long enough to shake his head at him like, "Don't go down that road." Like, "You wouldn't be able to handle it." Like, "It's your funeral." Which meant of course he had to. Of course he had to flirt with Aisha.
Or, whatever, do that thing he thinks is flirting but is really more like a robot raised in a Skinner box trying to start a conversation with a human toddler. Thank you, Pooch.
It was a humiliating and, frankly, terrifying experience. It was more than worth it to hear Cougar say things like, "She wouldn't even fuck me, what makes you think she'd fuck you?" and, "Maybe I'll tell Clay, let him kick your ass."
Jensen nodding helplessly.
Cougar's forearms were planted on either side of his hips, hemming him in. Lips wrapped tight around the head of Jensen's cock, thumb and forefinger circled tight around the base, sliding through his own drool. Mouth intensely hot, sucking hard, slobbering all over him. Then, Jesus, pulling back to spit. Taking Jensen in halfway down and pressing up hard with his tongue. Cupping his balls in his palm and pressing up behind them with long fingers, rubbing, sucking more and more cum out of him. Sucking until Jensen's breath came out in harsh little gasps, and continuing after.
Jensen, deliriously happy, his head hanging off the edge of the bed. His glasses sliding into his hair. Cougar seemed to hesitate for a moment before spitting Jensen's cum right out onto his stomach. It should have been disgusting, but Jensen just shuddered in pleasure, toes curling. Reveled in the feeling of it pooling warm and settling in his belly button.
Cougar grinned, clapped his hand over Jensen's mouth and told him, "Lick." He straddled his thigh, jerking himself off with one hand and groping Jensen's chest with the other. Callouses rubbing against his nipples. Goosebumps all up and down Jensen's side, Cougar sucking on his earlobe. Cougar coming and pressing himself wet and sticky all along Jensen's front, kissing and kissing and kissing him.
Jensen finally pushed him off, both of them laughing, said, "I'm sending Aisha a thank you card. I'm sending her a gift basket. I'm sending her champagne and a puppy. Fuck it, a whole basket of puppies."
Here's the thing: it wasn't OK. None of them were OK. Doing what they did, they saw awful, horrific things; but those kids dying when it should have been them, that was something else.
Jesus, the kids. He couldn't really think about it. Among the other things he couldn't think about, like his sister thinking he was dead, their families, Pooch's wife. All the people they left behind. What would Jackie tell his niece? What would he tell Katie if he ever got back? He couldn't just break her heart and then come back, like, just kidding! She'd hate him, she'd never forgive him for all the candy and comic books in the world.
Did Cougar have a niece? A sister? Jensen didn't think he had ever let anything slip about his family. He must have one, somewhere. Must think about them. Maybe in the moments Jensen finds him hunched over himself on the bed, watching lizards climb the brightly painted walls in the dark.
Sex as comfort is a little like a band-aid on a through and through.
Reality was, for all his awkwardness, Jensen knew what he looked like. It wasn't as if he couldn't get a fuck for a night. But that was typically all he got; what anyone else got in their line of work. Save Pooch, who was obviously a freak of nature.
If it had just been about humiliation, Jensen could have gotten that anywhere. He knew the internet, obviously, knew all the dark and seedy corners of worlds virtual and physical. Had even done the do in both realms. This was different.
It made him feel something like pride to watch Cougar swoop in on the girls he still tried to pick up. Still trying because Cougar still swept in. Cyclical and inexorable. Like Cougar couldn't help it, couldn't repress the desire any more than Jensen could.
Cougar who had always been right over his shoulder, always saving his skin. Cougar who stole his dates every night but lately only ever had room in his bed, cot, shower, corner of a room or rooftop, for Jensen.
It didn't make the ache of grief any easier to bear, nor the fact that they were still, technically, dead; but it was very good, and it was something to hold on to.
Cougar must have known that, like the eerie way he seemed to know everything else. The way he saw right past Jensen's nonsense and diversion; was never fooled into thinking he was to be underestimated or ignored. He could have rolled right away, after. Instead he wrapped himself around Jensen like a big snake. Every time. Like he was a boa constrictor and Jensen was Nastassja Kinski.
Like, for once, Jensen didn't have to say anything for someone to understand exactly what he needed.
Whatever Cougar was getting out of it, Jensen couldn't really be sure. Hoped Cougar got some comfort from him; didn't know if he was getting anything like that anywhere.
The town had a small, tidy church. Cougar attended every Sunday, sometimes for Mass, sometimes after. Jensen knew because he followed, hovering hesitantly in the vestibule as Cougar knelt on one knee in the center aisle; one hand holding his hat to his chest, the other making the sign of the cross.
After a while, Cougar even let him hold the hat while he lit candles at the votive stand. He never went into the confessionals, and he never took communion. He was quiet every time they left the little white church, Jensen trailing him through the dirt courtyard.
Jensen was out of his depth. He had always found himself at a loss, trying to work out what other people thought of him. Even if they say it outright; that he's a friend, that they care, that they want him around. People lie. Out of a sense of obligation. Because he has a valuable skill set. Because he's easy and looks good and never asks for more.
He often felt disconnected, as if outside input didn’t always register. When it did register, typically only the negative really stuck in his brain, appeared at all relevant. To him the positive seemed largely inconsequential.
He had never really been satisfied until he was being screamed at and told to leave. That was something he could trust; he could talk himself out of anything else, anything that felt nice. Couldn't be sure that the sentiment was unqualified.
Jensen wondered if maybe that uncertainty was universal, was why people kept trying, kept throwing themselves at each other. Groping desperately in the dark for a sure foothold. Maybe that's why his parents had kept coming back to each other, trying to smash themselves into pieces that fit.
Two people who said they cared and then beat the crap out of each other, that was his first relationship model. How could you trust anyone's intent when even a shared home, life, and children weren't enough to make a promise.
Maybe you couldn't ever really know if you're on the same page. If someone felt any sort of way about you beyond hatred, or, at best, tolerance. If it all amounted to anything more than the number of used condoms in a plastic trash can in a rented room in Bolivia.
Jensen couldn't really be sure that he was giving Cougar what he needed. He could, however, make a pretty good guess. He thought, maybe that's as much as anyone ever gets.