The airline loses one of her bags. Doesn't misplace it, doesn't put it on the wrong plane, loses it. The airline agent is very apologetic. She's also tiny and clearly terrified, so Aisha restrains herself from letting loose, and Debbie (the name on the woman's name-tag) looks like she wants to faint from gratitude when Aisha just agrees to take the (slightly illicit) $400 that's the limit of liability for unchecked baggage, instead of the $20-per-kilo limit for the checked stuff.
"Now that was a woman afraid of losing her ear," Jensen says when she walks away, tucking the money in her purse, because he will let the human-ears line die when he does. Aisha reaches over and yanks on his nearest ear, and he yelps.
"Ow," he says. "Now that, that is exactly the kind of behaviour that makes people terrified of you."
Naturally, she punches his arm.
By the time they get to the rented car, they might deserve the look that Cougar gives them from where he's waiting in the driver's seat. The one that says, I cannot believe either of you is actually old enough for me to have sex with.
Jensen makes it worse by trying to call shotgun. That he ends up in the back surprises absolutely nobody, him included.
Other than the aggravation, it doesn't really cross her mind to care much. Everything important was in her carry-on, neatly hidden behind inoffensive boxes full of hair-clips, had come up over the border with Pooch in the jeep yesterday, or in Clay's bags earlier in the morning. The only thing in her lost bag was clothes, and she's never been the kind to get attached to specific pieces of clothing, unlike Jensen's collection of incredibly bad t-shirts, or Cougar's hat.
With the rush of actual work, from finding contacts to arranging cover-jobs, transportation, finding Pooch and Clay and starting to formulate a plan beyond Max is using this tiny Canadian company to launder money, let's see where that takes us, it's not until Sunday that Aisha bothers to realize that missing a full bag of clothes (fucking airline) means she has no clean clothes right now. Because that same rush of work means she hasn't stopped to think that maybe she should hit a laundromat, or go shopping.
And she only realizes this when she wakes up, in the apartment bedroom, in her last clean cami and her (thank God) second-to-last pair of clean underwear.
There's nobody else in the apartment, at least not that she can hear. Which makes sense: she didn't fall asleep until 4am, and Jensen and Cougar both turned in at 11PM. Wrangling contacts could be like that, sometimes, and there was no reason for them to stay up and plenty of reason for them to sleep while they could. Being soldiers, her boys could both sleep anywhere, any time, and through pretty much everything not filed under "threat", including her eventually coming to bed and burrowing into her place between them. Being completely exhausted, she apparently slept through them leaving. Again, it makes sense: them moving around her is safe. No need to fuss about it, even for her sleeping mind.
It just means that now she's the only one here. With no clean clothing - and nobody to send for any.
It's not that she can't change into clothes she's already worn. It's just that the heat (because of course Canada would decide to have a record-breakingly hot mid-summer right when and where they need to be), the heat means she doesn't want to. She hates the smell of sweated-in, two-day-old clothing. Her father used to say she was imagining it, but she doesn't really care - imagined or real, it makes her skin crawl and by choice she only does it to make a point. It's just really aggravating to find herself without a choice because she was busy and because the fucking airline can't keep track of a God-damned bag.
Aisha looks up at the ceiling and says, "Fuck," because their cover means that she can't get back into the habit of swearing in any other language, just in case.
After a sour five minutes of thinking about it, she rolls out of bed and hauls out Jensen's bag from under the bed, because the airline didn't lose his fucking clothes.
On a second thought, she hauls over Cougar's, too.
Her morning is saved by the Mediterranean grocery store on the corner, and by the fact that once she rips the neck out of the shirt she steals from Jensen, it doesn't look half-bad, and the jeans she steals from Cougar are a loose but comfortable fit - though she's not sure what that says, other than maybe he needs to eat more. She'll buy Jensen another shirt if he freaks (she's pretty sure she can find an exact duplicate on the internet), but the collar was driving her crazy.
That, plus khubz, olives, cheese and the location of a laundromat that doesn't overcharge from the man running the grocery mean Aisha's back in a half-decent mood when she returns to the apartment and pulls out the coffee they already bought. She adds cardamom, because she can, and because of her mother. Her father's a complicated knot in her head, still and probably always, but things that remind her of her mother are only ever soothing. Since Aisha left the last bit of her part of the set-up for last, for when she was rested, because this fucker needed to be sweet-talked and she needed not to shoot him in the head, she could use the soothing.
Of her two missing boys, Cougar's comes home first.
Aisha's leaning on the counter to eat her breakfast and drink her coffee. She could have moved to the table, but she doesn't: she's remembering her mother, and the way her mother used to eat breakfast (and sometimes lunch, though never dinner) standing in the kitchen, while Aisha sat on one of the high stools at the kitchen counter and kicked at the cupboard doors. That was the house in La Paz, and it could not look less like this kitchen - but that doesn't matter.
"Hola," she says to the door she hears open and close, because it doesn't come with an announcement of everything the person entering just finished doing, like it would if it were Jensen. She gets an echo back, the sound of something being dropped unceremoniously on the floor, and then the sound of someone unceremoniously dropping onto the couch.
Aisha pours another cup of coffee, because she's in a magnanimous mood, and takes it with her out into the living-room, to see what that was about. What she sees on the floor are mostly bags full of the odds and ends (rather than the big things) needed to set up their own server, some tools, a case of beer and then a newspaper on top. It's the latter that's been tossed away, and which Cougar, sitting on the couch, is ignoring with an air of disgust. A quick glance at the front page tells Aisha there's something about Afghanistan and something about Parliament - private disgust, probably, and something she'll listen to if it comes up, but she's not going to ask.
Instead, she crosses to the couch and says, "Have fun shopping?" sliding into Spanish because Jensen isn't here to protest, and Cougar gives her the finger before he even bothers to look up.
It takes less than three seconds for him to take in her outfit and for the smile to start beside his eyes; the second look up and down is relatively pointed, and Aisha pretends to be aloof. She hands him the mug of black coffee, which he takes and immediately puts down on the end-table.
"Airline didn't lose your clothing," she informs him. She's not sure why this warrants an actual smile, eyes lit and everything, but she doesn't really protest when he reaches out to snag her arm and pull her over, takes her coffee to put it out of harm's way so that he can pull her all the way into his lap, a knee on each side of his legs, and then into a kiss.
It's a lazy, affectionate kiss more than anything else, the kind she would have taken and got if she'd woken up when he did, and certainly doesn't object to now. Aisha lets herself smile, when it's done, and just sits back enough to retrieve her mug. "Good morning," she says.
"It's afternoon," Cougar points out, but he's still smiling.
And then, to her complete and utter surprise, he drops his hat on her head.
It's too big. Unsurprisingly. It tilts down over her eyes. It comes with the scent of a much-worn, much-beloved, pretty much unwashable piece of clothing, and all the places it's been, the faint echoes of all kinds of smoke, of wilderness. Blood. And it's partly the smell, but mostly the gesture, that uncurls something low in her gut, every inch of her skin suddenly awake, and with a kind of ache she wasn't expecting that opens between her ribs.
It's something too open, and a little too - raw, maybe, and her mind just stalls at it. So that she winds up staring at him, when he tilts the brim back so they can see each other again, and blinking like a fucking startled sixteen year old, while Cougar looks really fucking pleased with himself. With everything.
And Aisha is startlingly, suddenly aware that she's wearing Cougar's jeans, Jensen's shirt, Cougar's hat and over her own panties and bra and if every molecule of her skin wasn't five times as sensitive before, it sure as hell is now, and maybe she'll be postponing work for an hour.
The door opens. This, the second time the apartment door opens, it does come with a string of words. They're just into a cellphone and they stop and trail off; Cougar and Aisha both look over to the door, Cougar looking up and Aisha over her shoulder, as Jensen stops right in the frame of it, still holding his phone, his eyebrows up and mouth half-open in a perfect expression of dumbstruck, which he almost never is. Behind round lenses, Jensen blinks five or six times.
Then he says, to the phone, "Hol? I'm . . . gonna have to call you back. Yeah. Well," he says, in answer to a question they can't hear but Aisha can guess at, "my brain just got shut off. Yeah." And then, "Love you, too. Bye."
Jensen flips the cell closed. "Holly says hi," he tells them. He still has the expression of a man who's trying to engrave every detail of what he's seeing into his brain for future contemplation, crossed with the look of someone who isn't entirely sure what they're looking at isn't going to disappear.
Cougar's grin, wide, shit-eating grin when Aisha glances back at him, is infectious. She says to Jensen, seriously, "I wrecked your shirt," one hand going to touch the ripped-out collar.
"I could not be less unhappy about that if I tried," he answers, fervently, and she laughs.
An hour or three, maybe.