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Don't Call Me Princess

Chapter Text

You sat in the training room talking to Simmons while the recruits practiced with their shotguns on the firing range. You both were finished for the day and were resting on some crates close to the weight lifts. Taking a sip of water you listen to Simmons’ recap of their time at Valhalla. A lot of his stories sounded like something out of a comic book, but seeing as it was Simmons you doubted he was stretching the truth.

Just as he was telling you about Washington getting run over by the Warthog at Valhalla, you heard a loud slam as the training room doors were swung open. Both of you jump in alarm, turning to see Sarge saunter his way across the room towards you two.

“Speaking of,” Simmons says, waving at Sarge.

At the sight of the Red Team’s commander, you felt your stomach twist in worry. Sarge has been making not so subtle passes at you recently, and much to your dismay has yet to let up. Sarge wasn’t by any means ugly, but his flirting wasn’t exactly on par. Instead of coming across as roguishly charming (as your sure he thinks he does) he’s instead become overbearing. You’ve told him both directly and indirectly that you weren’t interested in him, but he wouldn’t have any of it. One way or another he was going to win you over.

Fat chance. You think to yourself.

The red soldier grunts a halfhearted hello to Simmons when he reaches you both, most of his focus on you and not his subordinate. “(Y/n),” he smiled in greeting, practically wedging himself between you and Simmons. The tall male had to scoot back a few feet on his crate to avoid being out-right shoved aside by his officer.

“Morning, Sarge,” you say taking a sip of your water and casting an apologizing glance towards Simmons. He waved it off.

“I see you finished your rounds,” he said, leaning against your crate. You nod your head, avoiding as much eye contact as possible.

“Nothing like starting your morning with a couple laps, some artillery practice, and a bit of heavy lifting! Get’s the blood going!” Sarge says trying to keep your eyes locked.

After a short hum from you and moment of awkward silence, he speaks up once more.

“Speaking of heavy lifting, I was just about to get some reps on the bench press in before breakfast.”

“But you've already had breakfast-” Simmons starts before promptly being jabbed in the ribs by Sarge’s elbow. You hear a not-so-quiet whisper spill from his lips, “Shut it numbnuts!”

Subtle and charming. You muse.

“O-oh, uh, yeah, sounds good Sarge,“ Simmons mutters in pain.

“Tck, boy, you’ve got to learn to take a hit. Like a real man.”

As he says this he settles onto the bench press, the weights from the last user still on. You glance at the number, eyes widening at seeing 210 pounds on the bar.

“Uh, Sarge?” You start.

“Yes, (Y/n)?”

“Don’t you think you should, oh I don’t know, start lower than 200 pounds on the first press?”

His laugh is loud and confident. “Don’t be ridiculous, 210 pounds is nothing!”

You flash a concerned look at Simmons. He quickly steps in.

“With all due respect, Sir, I don’t think it’s safe for you to bench press that much, given your ag-”

“My what , Simmons?” Sarge warns, snapping his eyes to the younger man.

“Uh-I meant, um, I don’t want you to strain yourself-not that you’d strain at all, you’re in peak physical condition-”

“Darn tootin’” He growls, settling his hands on the bar, preparing to lift it.

“Just because you’re in ‘peak physical condition’ doesn’t mean lifting 200 pounds on the first go is a good idea,” you cut in, giving him a stern look.

“Aw, that’s sweet of you to be concerned for my well being, Princess, but you needn’t worry your pretty little head,” He says bracing himself.

You felt your eye twitch at your nickname. Just as you were about to berate him for calling you such he begins to lift the weight. He grunts loudly, his arms pushing up against the bar. It doesn’t move but a mere centimeter before he sets it back down. He growls something under his breath before trying once more, with no results of movement.

“Uhm, Sir?”

“Quiet Private, can’t you see I’m trying to concentrate.”

“Actually I’m a captain now reme-”

“Simmons?”

“Yes, Sir?”

“Shut up.”

“Yes, Sir.” Simmons sighs, looking down.

You give him a look that clearly says, Stop being such a doormat. He shrugs sheepishly, opting to just drink his water instead of enduring your stare.

You turn back to Sarge when you hear him grunting again. “Sarge, stop, it’s too heavy for you. At least let Simmons spot you!”

“Ha! Simmons can barely lift up a rocket launcher,” he huffs, teeth gritted as his shaking arms push the weight up another inch, “I don’t need a spot, I’m...perfectly capable of performing a bench press!” He growls, lifting the weight at last away from the holding rack and above his chest. Your eyebrows raise, as you watch, a bit impressed that someone his age was able to lift 210 pounds on his third try.

He laughs breathlessly, “See what’d I tell-” He doesn’t get to finish his sentence as his arms give out underneath the weight. You and Simmons rush to Sarge when he lets out a pained shout.

“Oh, my God! Sarge are you okay?!?” you ask rushing to help lift the weight from his body with Simmons’ help. Sarge simply groans in pain. “Can you stand?” Simmons asks worriedly. The older man attempts to sit up only to collapse in agony.

“We should get him to Doctor Grey,” the maroon soldier says, grabbing Sarge by the armpits despite his protests. “Grab his legs,” he instructs. You do as he says. You both hurry your officer to the medbay, rushing past confused soldiers in the hallways.

The medical ward was empty when you both arrived but after calling Emily’s name a few times she appeared out from her attached quarters. She was beyond thrilled to have her first patient of the day, it would seem. She continued to ramble on about her methods of choice for ‘fixing’ Sarge, putting Simmons and you on edge.

“Oh I haven’t gotten a chance to use my new scalpels yet, they just came in yesterday!” She exclaimed excitedly.

Simmons gives the women a frightened look, “But, you don’t need to perform surgery on him! Do you?”

She walks around on the other side of Sarge who was currently on the medical examination table, “Well there’s no evidence that his ribs are broken, but why not be thorough?” She grins pulling up her tray of tools.

Your eyes widen in panic, “Surely there’s no need for that, can’t you just give him an x-ray or something?”

“Now who’s the doctor, here?” Grey chimes, humming as she starts to select a scalpel.

“More like a mad scientist!” Simmons mutters in his hand.

“Here we go!” She sings, brandishing a shiny new blade, turning to look down at Sarge. He glances up at her warily.

“Don’t I get anesthesia first?” He asks, starting to shift away from the small knife.

“Oh, don’t be silly I’ll just give you some painkiller afterward.”

“What?!?” You and Simmons exclaim.

“Don’t worry it’s standard procedure.” She starts to usher you both out of the room.

“You can’t just cut a man open without reason!” Simmons argues, trying his best to push back against the surprisingly strong doctor. “Can’t we, like, bribe you or something to not cut open our sergeant?” He asks, searching for a last-ditch effort to ensure his commander’s safety.

“I’m a professional doctor Captain Simmons, I would never-”

“We’ll give you our desert rations for the next two weeks if you don’t use a scalpel,” you say. She pauses, looking down at you thoughtfully. She doesn’t say anything for a moment, making the air tense.

“Make it three and you got yourself a deal.”

You stare back at her, surprised before exclaiming, “Done!”

“Hey, wait-” Simmons starts, about to defend his desserts, before you kick his shin.

Dr. Grey either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care, about your exchange and guides you both out the door.

“I’ll have him fixed up in a jiffy, without the scalpel,” she sings.

The way she says the last part has you even more concerned than before, but you don’t have the chance to say anything because she’s shut the door.

The two of you stand in stunned and worried silence.

“I hope he’ll be okay,” Simmons finally says, scratching the back of his head, a habit he has whenever his helmet is off.

“With Grey or his injury?” you ask, staring at the door.

“Both.”

You stand in the hallway for a few minutes before Simmons finally breaks the silence.

“We should probably tell Carolina and Wash.”

“Probably.”

He turns to head to war room pausing when he notices you not following.

“You’re not coming?”

“I think I’ll wait here till he gets out,” you explain, leaning against the wall. “Hopefully he won’t be missing a few limbs after.”

“I wish that were a joke,” he says. You nod your head in agreement, concern spreading through your chest. You wait outside the room, replaying what words you were going to yell at Sarge about being more careful. You didn’t have to wait long for the opportunity because within thirty minutes or so the medbay door opened.

“All done!” Dr. Grey says.

You stand up from your spot on the wall, “Can I see him?”

Grey nods her head, stepping aside to let you in.

Brushing past her, you walk into the medical room. Sarge was still lying on the examination table. He looks rough, to say the least, causing your anger to diminish. I’ll yell at him when he’s not in horrible pain . You promise yourself.

“How’re you feeling?” you ask when he turns to look at you.

“Like someone shot my pride down with a tank grenade.” He answers.

You crack a smile.

“At least your ribs are still intact...Right?” You ask concern bleeding through your voice.

Now it’s Sarge’s turn to grin, or rather use one of the smuggest smirks you’ve ever seen on his face. “Aw, worried for me are you princess?” He attempts what you think was a laugh, but it died in his throat when he winced in pain and placed a hand on his chest.

“Don’t call me that,” you say, glancing to where you last saw Grey. You didn’t see her in the immediate proximity, so you assume you both had privacy for the time being. “Are they broken or not?” You ask, turning your attention back to the sergeant.

“Couple are cracked,” He says.

You hum.

Silence reigns for an awkward minute before you finally speak up again, “Sarge…?” He grunts in response. “Promise me something?” At this, he turns his head to look quizzically at you.

“My ribs are bruised woman, I’m not dying.

“What? No,” you say, shaking your head, “I don’t mean ‘promise me’ as in the near-death aspect.”

“Good. I’m not that old.”

You bite your tongue from saying something snarky. “I want you to promise me you aren’t going to pull another stunt like that again just to impress me,” you explain.

“So I impressed you?” he questions smugly.

“Not in the slightest.”

“Guess I’ll have to try harder then,” He decides, more so to himself.

“No-Sarge, I want you to stop .”

“Not until I’ve won your heart!”

“Dear God,” you sigh heavily.

You couldn’t spend your whole morning in here arguing with him so you try to come up with a compromise to ensure that he wouldn’t cut off a limb next time around. The thing is you can’t bribe him with anything. You just gave the next three weeks worth of your desserts to Emily so you didn’t exactly have a leg to stand on. Luckily Sarge helps you out.

“I'll make a deal with you, princess.”

Your eye twitches at the pet name.

“I'll leave you alone if you let me court you.”

“Court?”

“It means-”

“I know what it means I just didn’t think you'd use such an old term.”

“What did I say about calling me old?!”

“I didn’t call you old...I just implied it.” You smirk down at him.

He wasn’t amused, but he continued nonetheless. “Give me a couple of chances with you. A few dates.”

You stare at him for a minute not sure what to say. Well, scratch that, you did know what to say, ‘No.’ but looking down at him made you pause in answering with such. He just got pummeled with a weight bar, and so did his pride. While you did feel guilty, even if you didn’t directly cause his pain, you didn’t by any means feel obligated to humor him. Not a lot anyway. But Sarge was now offering to leave you alone if you let him take you out just a few times.

You wouldn’t have to worry about him making a fool of himself anymore. Your inner voice says. What’re a few dates anyway? After them, you won’t have to worry about him anymore and he can move on. Even so, you hesitate.

He sees your uncertainty.

“Come on sweetheart, just ten dates.”

Ten? You said a few.

“That is a few!”

“I think we both have different definitions of ‘a few’.”

He grunts in affirmation.

“Three dates,” you say, crossing your arms. His eyes snap from the ceiling back to your face.

“Three?! Outrageous! How about seven?”

“Four.”

“Six! That’s my final offer!”

You chuckle, “How about five? Meet halfway?”

He growls in his throat, unhappy with the low number. “Fine! Five dates! But I get to choose when we get to have them!”

You raise an eyebrow at him, “Why?”

“Because you’ll make them all in a row so you can get it over with!”

That causes you to laugh. “I wouldn’t.” You both stare at each other, Sarge giving you a look that clearly says ‘ I’m old, not stupid. ’ You smile and shake your head, “Alright, deal, five dates, and you get to pick when, but I have one condition.”

Sarge smirks in victory before asking, “What?”

“You can’t call me Princess.”

Chapter Text

Why’d you agree to it?” Simmons asks while he walks beside you. After meeting up with him again in the war room you had told him of your and Sarge’s deal. Currently, you were both heading to the armory, planning to help Donut with the artillery.

“I don’t know. Pity maybe?” You say shrugging, not entirely sure yourself.

He laughs, “Or stupidity.” He holds up his hands when you glare at him. “Come on (Y/n) you have to agree that giving Sarge five dates with you, whenever he wants might I add, wasn’t particularly intelligent!” You huff, grumbling under your breath.

“It’s not like I can take it back now! It’s like making a deal with the devil.”

“No escape from Hell,” Simmons quips, making you laugh. You both turn down the corridor while you continue speaking.

“I’ll just have to suffer through the dates. It can’t take that long to get through five of them...Right?”

“Depends on his impulse control, which from my experience is zero. So I’d say you have a pretty good chance,” he says.

It was true, Sarge wasn’t one for patience, much less self-control, but he did say that the reason he even wanted control over the time and the place of the dates was because he was afraid you’d get them all over with. That made you nervous, and for the umpteenth time, you begin to regret your decision. You could try to call it off, but it would probably go as well as it would when you told him you weren’t interested in him as a partner. You sigh.

“I’m an idiot,” you say. Simmons nudges your arm, “Don’t be so down on yourself. We’re all idiots.” You smile at your friend.

When you reach the artillery room there’s a long line of soldiers waiting for their weapon of choice while Donut and Lopez struggle to keep up with the consistent flow of people. The whole back room appeared to be in chaos. You hear angry Spanish and Donut’s voice yell back, “Now is not the time to be talking about the weather, Lopez! It’s not even winter!” The clang of a metal wrench echoes out across the room, no doubt Lopez trying to murder the flamboyant soldier with whatever tool he had in his hand.

Simmons groans, “I leave for two hours and they fall into complete madness! I even organized the weapons according to weight class and range! I could not have made it any more simple!” You hide your grin as you slip on your helmet, locking it into place. Simmons follows your lead, all the while ranting.

“Oh, my God, they fucked everything up! I left a list and a schedule, how could--Fuck, Donut, stop! That is military grade equipment, do not put it there!” He sprints forward at full speed towards the pink armored man, curses spewing out of his mouth. You stare both amused and bewildered at the scene. Sometimes you wondered how this group of sim troopers ever managed to take down Project Freelancer at all. Dumb luck at it’s finest. You think shaking your head. You walk over to join the chaos.

~*~*~*~

The next day at breakfast Sarge sits down at your table with a groan. You look up, surprised he’s moving at all. “Uhm, morning Sarge,” you say, looking him up and down. He flashes a smile at you, “Morning, (Y/n).” While he begins to eat you continue to watch him curiously. He must have seen your expression because he answers your unspoken question.

“Dr. Grey let me out early,” he explains.

“You cracked your ribs,” you state obviously.

“So?”

“So you should be resting in bed,” you stress.

He scoffs, “I might be old but that doesn’t mean I’m brittle! I can handle a little pain!”

“I still say you should be in bed resting. You should also take your pain meds-” Sarge firmly sets his cup down, “I’m a grown man I don’t need any pain medication! What are you, my mother?” You roll your eyes at his stubbornness, if not a bit amused by his childishness.

“Just trying to help you, Sarge,” you say.

“Like I said before Princ-” At your glare he stops halfway through the nickname, realizing just in time his mistake. He quickly backtracks, “-(Y/n)! I meant (Y/n)! Like I said before, you don’t need to worry your pretty little head, I’m fine!”

“Uh-huh,” you remark, digging back into your food, lowering your gaze back down to your plate.

You both lapse into silence, eating quietly. Halfway through your meal you glance up and watch him chew. You think back to your deal for a moment as you watch him. What exactly did Sarge consider a date to be? Was he going to be ridiculously old-fashioned and wine and dine you, or would he go with the get drunk date? By the looks of him, you think he’d go with the get drunk option. However being on Chorus and in the middle of a war booze wasn’t exactly a common occurrence. The chances of you both getting a drink anytime soon were slim.

Briefly, you imagined Sarge trying to take you on a more traditional date. Dinner, a movie, or maybe dancing. While this option sounded very pleasing to you, mostly because you were a sucker for the romantic scene, it seemed highly unlikely when you put Sarge into the equation. Dinner was possible, but you doubt Sarge would go the extra mile and dress nicely. Movie options on this planet were Grif’s collection of Battlestar Galactica. And the thought of Sarge dancing! Well, you had a hard time seeing him do that. Almost immediately your brain flashed images of Sarge doing generic dances from the 80s.

You choke on your eggs, causing Sarge to glance up at you momentarily. You waved him off, avoiding eye contact in case you burst out laughing. Once he goes back to eating you shake your head to yourself. No, definitely not his style. However, you would sell your left kidney to see such a thing!

You take the last bite of your food and begin to stand up from your spot. Before you can put up your tray and dishes Sarge stops you.

“Hold on a second there missy,” he says reaching for your wrist, “Got a question for you.”

You sit back down, giving him the go ahead.

“What’s your schedule like for the rest of this week?” He asks, obviously alluding to a possible date.

“Well, it’s currently booked up with training and a food recovery mission with Wash,” You say, thinking back to your debriefing with Kimball and Carolina.

He hums, “Alright, how long’s your training for?”

“Ends at 7,” you answer, folding your arms and resting your elbows on the table. He looks hopeful for a minute until you say, “Oh, and I have guard duty at Upper Cannon, shift starts at 9.” He deflated at your words.

“Damn it, why do you gotta make this difficult for me woman!”

Me?

“Yes! Because of my stupid injury, I’m prohibited from duty until Thursday! I won’t be able to do squat with you until then and your schedule isn’t helping at all!”

“I thought you said Grey let you out early,” you say.

He rubs the back of his neck, “Well she may or may not know that.” You stare at him, not the least bit surprised he snuck out of the medical ward like a teenager. “Wow,” you chuckle. He ignores your humorous stare and returns back to the subject at hand.

“Hey, when that’s mission of yours exactly?”

At this, your eyes widen slightly, the implications of his question crystal clear. Hell, no. There was no way you were going to let Sarge go with you on this mission.

You, Wash, and two other soldiers have to sneak into one of the Fed’s old warehouses. And it just so happens that the building is 2 kilometers below a merc infested camp. The snowy ridge has a perfect view of the building and tree line of where you have to sneak through. You all had to be careful and stealthy; two adjectives that do not belong in the same sentence with Sarge’s name.

“It’s tomorrow,” you lie, hoping to God he couldn’t tell.

“Dagnabit!” he growls.

“Yeah, a real shame. You could have helped us out and everything,” You say, feigning disappointment. You didn’t have to try hard to fool him though, he was too wrapped up in his date plans. This was both a blessing and a curse.

“Well, while you figure out a time for our…,” God you hated to say it out loud, “Date...I’m going to go do my rounds.” You stand up from your spot, leaving the man behind to pout.

Your day passed without any more interactions with Sarge. You hoped you wouldn't see him at all until after the weekend when your objective was cleared and Sarge was officially fit for duty. Hopefully, he wouldn't find out about your fib at all. Your wishes were short lived.

He found you in the halls on your way to the barracks, a large grin on his face that made you instantly nervous.

“(Y/n)! There you are!” he strides up to you while you resist the urge to speed walk away.

“I spoke to Washington,” he says and your stomach drops, “Turns out the recovery mission is Saturday!”

Shit.

You wait for him to scold you for lying to him, but it never comes. Instead, he surprises you.

“Looks like you just got your dates mixed up,” he explains. “Isn't it great? Now I can join you all in your crusade!”

You do a double take, astounded by his obliviousness. You know he’s dumb but you didn’t think he was so dense as to not pick up on the lie. You struggle to form a response, “Uh, you, wait what- you’re coming with us?! Washington--

“-- Is letting me come! Can't have a mission without proper backup! And I'm the best shot out of all these dirtbags!”

“You’re really not-

“Plus, you’ll need an extra pair of hands to help transport the food capsules!”

“We already have-”

“Don’t worry I'm not trying to insult your lack of proper muscle power,” he says gesturing to your arms.

You frown, about to bring Hell to earth but he continues to interrupt you.

“I can't keep talking to you now sweetheart, save your gratitude till later, I have to find Lopez, he's giving me an armor upgrade for the operation!”

He leaves you in the hall feeling both flabbergasted and furious. You stand there a minute, processing everything he just said.

Then you remember what Sarge said; Wash approved this.

I’m going to kill him.

You marched through the halls towards the training room. When you opened the door you spot Wash shouting at the recruites, well mostly Grif, to keep up the pace. He didn't even notice your approach until you were right behind him.

He turned, surprised to see you so close. “Uh, yes?” he asks.

“I have to talk to you privately,” you say calmly, not wanting to start a scene.

You grab his elbow and guide him away from everyone's earshot.

“What is it?” he asks.

“Did you tell Sarge he could come on the food recovery mission?” you hiss under your breath, your calm demeanor all but gone. Wash blinks at you, confused.

“No, but he was pestering me about it.”

“Did you say anything at all that might've sounded like a ‘yes’ to him?” you press.

“No, I didn't. But given that it’s Sarge he probably took my ‘no’ as a confirmation anyway,” he sighs.

You grumble under your breath. “You’re not going to actually let him come are you?”

“Of course not!” he exclaims. “I want this mission to be a success, not a disaster! And even if he does try to come, I doubt he'll make it past Kimball.”

You sigh in relief, “Thank God.” Wash smiles at your reaction before a curious expression crosses his face. “What?” you ask, raising an eyebrow in confusion. You glance down at yourself to try and spot something off on your uniform, but you see nothing.

“Oh, uh, I was thinking to myself,” he lies. You arch your eyebrow higher, “No, what is it? Don’t lie to me.” Washington struggles with himself internally if he should say anything at all, but as soon as he opens his mouth to speak you hear the sound of a body hitting the floor. You both turn your heads to see Grif panting heavily on the ground, groaning something unintelligible.

“Grif, you’re not done, you still have five more laps!” Wash barks.

“How--huh--the fuck--would you know asshole!” he pants trying his best to look up at you both. “You’ve had your back turned--this whole fucking time!” he protests.

“Because you do this every day! Now get up, unless you want to double your rounds!”

He groans heavily, prying himself from the floor. Wash turns back to you.

“So?” you ask, prompting for an answer. You weren't letting Wash off that easy. He sighs, shoulders sagging slightly, “It's just a rumor, honestly.”

At this, you frown, “What rumor?” He hesitates for a second, “It’s just something stupid about you and Sarge being together.” He laughs as if it was the most ridiculous thing he had heard. “I didn’t want to say anything, you know? I know how annoying Sarge’s advances are for you and I didn’t want you to also deal with false rumors.”

“Oh,” you say, face heating up. “Y-yeah, that’s just a rumor.” What the fuck? You begin to panic inside. How the fuck did it get out so fast it just happened yesterday!

Wash’s laugh stops at your expression. He stares at you for a second. “Oh my God,” he says in shock. You jump at his words, looking at his shocked face. “Are you guys actually…? God, I’m sorry I didn’t mean anything by--” You wave your hands frantically at him, “No, no, no! We aren’t together!” Your face grew in heat.

“So--what? Your just..uhm, friends with benefits?” he asks, trying to be as polite as possible. You choke, struggling for words. Don’t think of that mental picture. You scream in your head.

“We aren’t a couple is what I mean! He’s just...I was stupid and maybe-sort-of agreed to a few dates! He just wanted me to give him a few chances!” Washington blinks at you, processing your information. “I’m not interested in him though!” you argue. He slowly nods his head after a moment, “Uh-huh.” He seemed unconvinced.

Desperate to change the subject and to save face you return the spotlight to him, “How did you hear about Sarge and me anyway?” Your accusing tone made him stand up straight.

“Oh, uh, well-”

“It was Sarge wasn’t it?” you question. You swear if Sarge was telling everyone that the two of you were an ‘item’ you were going to stab him.

“Well, I don’t know if Sarge was the one who started it, but I heard it from Palomo. I thought they were just rumors. But uh, I guess they're not.” he says, glancing sideways at you.

“Jesus Christ how did Palomo find out!?” You couldn’t handle this much humiliation in one day. Maybe in small doses, but this was like jumping head first into an ice bath.

“Simmons was telling Donut about it, everyone in line at the armory heard it!” Grif shouts as he slowly jogs by. “Plus Sarge kept bragging about it at lunch!”

“Sprint, Grif! Less talking more running!” Wash yells back, attempting to get the blabbermouth quiet, if only for your sake. He turns to see your face turn an even brighter shade of red. He wasn’t sure if it was from embarrassment or rage. Probably both. He regrets bringing up this subject all together now.

“I'm going to kill them both,” you say, rubbing your eyes, subtly hiding your face. Wash pats you on the shoulder encouragingly, offering a sympathetic smile, “Hey, don’t worry. No one is actually going to believe Sarge. Unless they see you both on a date...In which case you’re screwed.”

“Gee thanks,” you deadpan.

Wash shrugs, “Yeah, sorry, I’m not good at emotional support.” He begins to turn back to the recruits before he stops halfway. “Oh wait, Kimball wanted me to ask you a question for her. You know, because of you and Sarge...”

“Fuck, Kimball knows too? This is it, my life’s officially over. There’s no going up, it’s all downhill from here on out.

He nods apologetically, “What can you do? This army is basically all a bunch of gossip deprived teenagers. Word spreads fast.”

You groan pushing your hair back with both hands. “What’s the question?” You sigh, swallowing your pride.

“She wanted to make sure your and Sarge’s...ah--relationship won't prevent you from performing in the field,” He says, watching you with pity while you struggle with trying not to pull your hair out.

You’re not sure what’s more mortifying: the fact that Kimball knows about Sarge and you, or the fact that she probably assumes you’re both fucking and is so worried it’ll influence your routine that she has to ask about it to make sure you both can function in battle. You stare at the ceiling for a second, contemplating death, before answering in a defeated tone, “No, it won’t affect my performance on the battlefield or anywhere else.”

Wash nods his head, satisfied with your response. “I’ll see you Saturday (Y/n).” He waves goodbye to you as he heads back to his recruits, itching to get away from the conversation.

“See you,” you reply. You walk back to your room to prepare for your night shift, wondering if you could slip two murders in before you left for Upper Cannon.

Chapter Text

It was one in the morning when you all started to pack up your gear in the loading truck and warthog. Your partner for the mission, private Gentry, was handing you the shells for the turret on the warthog. You and Washington were both assigned a recruit for the operation: Gentry and Paige. They were both well acquainted with recovery missions since their time with the feds, making them perfect candidates for the task up ahead.

You were loading the last of the gun’s rounds when you heard Sarge’s voice break through the quiet.

“Mornin’ Wash,” he calls, startling everyone with his loud voice. He strolls outside the compound towards you all in the loading bay. The normally red armored man is now sporting black armor, causing you to do a double take. You thought Sarge wouldn’t be caught dead in any color other than red. You glance over to Washington and he meets your eye. Even though you had your helmet on, he manages to understand your unspoken words and nods his head to you as if to say, “Hold on, I got this.”

“Good morning...Shouldn’t you be in bed?” He asks when the black armored male stands in front of him.

“And miss the mission?! Wouldn’t dream of it! Which car am I goin’ in?” He locks eyes with you, “I’d prefer it to be the one with the beautiful Miss (L/n) on board.” He smiled as if what he said was the most flattering statement conceivable, but it only made you roll your eyes.

“You’re not going in either car,” Wash says.

“Oh, so I get to drive my own!”

“No, Sarge. You’re not driving or riding in any car. You’re not coming with us.”

The gruff man laughs loudly, “Good one Agent Washington!”

“I’m serious.”

“And I’m Little Bo Peep! Quit your jabbering boy and get a move on, we’re wasting valuable time!” He walks right past him and towards you.

“Mornin’ Princess.” You refrain from kicking him in the face and instead just tilt your head expectantly.

“What?” he asks. “No morning greeting?”

You shift your weight and place a hand on your hip. “I would if you addressed me by my name,” you say, hinting at the use of your nickname.

His expression lights up in realization, “Oh, of course! My bad, darlin’, but I just can’t help it! I-”

“You better ‘help it’ if you want our deal to stay intact,” you chide, turning back to the turret. You place the very last load of bullets in the gun while Washington walks up to Sarge. He opens his mouth, preparing to deliver a long over-dramatic speech about protocol no doubt, but before he can even get a single syllable out Private Paige speaks up.

“We’re all set, Sir. If we want to reach the food storage unit we better leave now while the pirates are low on their guard.”

“Alright, let’s kick some pirate booty!” Sarge exclaims.

Wash grumbles under his breath as he turns back to the older male.

“Not you Sarge, we don’t need an extra man-”

“Of course you do! Four people won’t be able to survive that trip with one turret and a couple of rifles! You need my expertise, my shotgun, and my obviously superior muscle power to get back here alive!”

You shake your head and slip off the back of the hog. You motion for Gentry to follow you to the loading truck.

You had hoped to sneak out before Sarge even realized what was going on, but it appears that the universe has different ideas. And it begins with a middle finger and ends with a big fat fuck you.

Washington hesitates for a long moment before sighing. He turns to Paige, “Start the warthog.” Once Paige walks away he turns back to Sarge. “Look we’re on a strict schedule and I don’t have time to argue-”

“Good, glad that’s settled. I’ll just get a ride with (Y/n).”

Wash grabs his shoulder before he walks away, “Look if you come you have to be quiet. Do everything that I say, and follow my lead. No shooting unless absolutely necessary.” Sarge didn’t look too happy about those rules, specifically the part where he has to follow Wash’s commands, but he grunts his affirmation. “If you screw this up I won’t hear the end of it from Kimball, Doyle, and Carolina...Mostly Carolina. And nor will you.” Turning away he heaves himself up into the warthog.

You push yourself from against the truck, disappointed the Sergeant (well, Colonel now, ever since Doyle promoted him) was coming along after all. You open the door to the driver’s side as Sarge strides over to you.

“Room for one more?” He grins charmingly.

No, not charmingly, more like unattractive, yes, or even repulsive! That’s right.

You pull yourself up into the driver seat. “Uh...sure, shotgun’s open,” you say glancing to your recruit as he climbs into the seat. Upon saying such the boy looks up at you questionably before you quickly grab him by the arm and drag him into the middle seat.

“See?” you say gesturing to the passenger side. Best to keep a barrier between Sarge and me.

Sarge glares at the lanky boy for being so close to you. “Oh no, please don’t move the boy on my account...I’d prefer to be by your side anyway.”

“Just sit shotgun, Sarge.”

“No.”

You raise an unseen eyebrow. “I’m not going to make Gentry move just so you can sit beside me, Sarge.”

“You don’t have to, I will,” he replies.

“Don’t be such a child-” you begin to say, but Wash’s voice interrupts you.

“Let’s go people! We have to get this done before dawn remember?”

You flick your eyes up to your commander to see he was staring at the two of you pointedly.

 

Sarge sat beside you anyway, pressing your designated private against the passenger’s window like he was trying to smother him.

“How’d ya make it up to Captain,” he asks nonchalantly as if he wasn’t trying to crush the teenager into a human-sized pancake and instead just initiating a pleasant conversation. You kept your eyes glued to the road following behind Wash, squinting as you tried to keep track of his vehicle in the dark. Your dim headlights did nothing to help.

“The previous Captain died in battle, I was his best soldier so they put me in charge,” you answer.

“Similar thing happened to me when I became a sergeant! It was during basic training,” the man reminisces. You look at him skeptically, “During basic training?”

“Yep! Had some stiff competition, my final opponent was so dedicated to the war effort he was willing to die on the spot for the cause. Literally!”

Gentry wheezes as air is pressed out of his lungs. He turns to Sarge, an eyebrow raised in question no doubt, “Literally?”

Sarge takes mercy on the boy for a second and stops leaning on him to rehash his incredibly interesting backstory. “Yep! Shot himself then and there! God, so selfless, so brave. He was the perfect candidate for the job!” His voice rose in pitch as he became more emotional over the memory. You watched in disbelief out of the corner of your eye.

“But then, of course, because he had taken his own life, I was the last person standing. By default, I was promoted! I made the grade! But I had one final test to pass. My own drill sergeant, that crafty bastard, was my disguised enemy!”

You slowly turned your head to look at the black armored man as he continued to boast. Dear God, what the actual fuck? You made eye contact with Gentry. You notice him try to scoot just a bit further away from the Colonel even though he was already fully pressed against the car’s door.

“I have to say whoever came up with that trainin’ session was one hell of a trickster, almost had me fooled that it was just a bunch of drills! But ah knew better!”

You were really regretting ever agreeing to Sarge’s deal now. He seemed more like a madman than he ever was. And to think everyone at base believed the two of you were actually together. You wanted to bang your forehead on the steering wheel.

 

Within an hour you reached your destination. You all were parked at the base of a mountain. The compound was two miles up, and up above that was the Pirates’ camp. You all had turned off your headlights to remain unseen by the merc's army. Your radio buzzes as Wash comes through the speakers, “(Y/n), I need Gentry and Sarge to get out here and walk ahead of us, we can’t see if there are any obstructions. Paige has an extra gun for Sarge to use.”

You reach for your communicator but Sarge snatches it from your hand. “No need Washington, I made sure to bring my trusty shotgun!” The radio spits out static before Wash comes back over it, “Your shotgun isn’t long-range Sarge-”

“You’re not long-range!”

Silence follows after that before you hear him speak up again in an irritated voice, “Just get out here and do as I say.”

Gentry is the first to hop out, more than willing to get away from Sarge. The gruff soldier turns to you before he leaves the passenger seat. “I’ll be back Princ-I mean darlin’, don’t worry none about me,” he says. “Oh, trust me I won’t,” you say smirking. You usher him out of his seat and close the door after him. You see his dark figure meet up with your partner ahead of the warthog.

The climb up the hill was slow going, and more than once you saw Sarge showing off for you by lifting heavy rocks over-dramatically. At first, it looked like he just didn’t know how to move rocks like a normal human being, but then after he would move an obstruction you saw him strike a stupid pose. You think Wash yelled at him because he quit doing it halfway up which you were grateful for.

When you all finally reach the plateau you drive the vehicles silently into the tree line. You park your truck just a few meters out from the edge of the woods when the compound came into view. Wash goes further ahead in the warthog. He and Paige creep the jeep towards the very end of the shade that the trees provided before stopping and turning off the engine.

The sky was cloudy, blocking out any possible light, making your job that much easier. The pirates may have night vision goggles, but even with that, from this far down they’d have a hard time spotting you all under the trees. The only problems you’ll run into is when everyone starts entering the outpost and begin to move the boxes of food and supplies out. The risk of being seen skyrockets.

Wash comms you, “Ok, we’re all clear, my heat scan shows that they’re all up on the ridge.”

“Okay, but are there any overlooking the compound?” You wait a moment for him to answer.

“A few, but it’s nothing we can’t sneak past. We have three hours to move those crates and get back down the hillside. Better start now.”

You quietly hop out of the car and leave the door slightly ajar, given that closing it would risk noise. You stalk closer to Wash, Paige, Gentry, and Sarge who are all at the warthog now. When you reach them Wash turns to his recruit.

“Stay here and keep an eye out with Gentry. You both installed your heat vision sensors correct?” They both nod. “Good, (Y/n) and I…” he glances to the older male, “...and Sarge will get the packages. Radio us if you see any suspicious movement up there or down here. I don’t care if it’s a false alarm, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

He turns to face Sarge. “You don’t have the heat vision installed in your helmet so you’re going to have to follow us and be quiet . Stay close, and don’t touch anything unless we tell you to.”

Sarge grunts halfheartedly.

“We’re serious, Sarge. We can’t screw this up. We’re too low on food back at base,” you say.

“I got it, Princess, don’t be such a worry wart! I’m fully capable of lifting a few heavy crates!”

Your eye twitches behind your helmet as you stare at him begrudgingly for using your pet name.

Washington opens up a channel on the commlinks that connects to the whole group. “Stay low and in the shadows,” he says quietly. He leads the way, pausing only behind large shrubs as you sneak your way out of the wooded area and into the open.

“How’re we looking Paige?”

It’s silent on the other end while the older of the two recruits examines the cliffside. “Enemy facing East. Don’t advance.”

You all crouch patiently, waiting for her next report. Well, semi-patiently.

“My legs are crampin’, good god just move forward already!”

“No,” Wash answers, his commanding voice leaving no room for argument.

You smirk and turn to look at the Colonel, “What’s wrong? Joints bothering you again?”

“Don’t give me that sass missy,” he growls.

“But it’s part of my charm!” You're not sure where this confident teasing came from, but you were enjoying it if only to watch Sarge get ruffled at being called old.

“While you do have charming qualities, I can’t agree with you on that particular one, Princess.”

“Don’t call me that, or I’ll start referring to you as grandpa.”

“Both of you be quiet!” Wash hisses, turning his head to the side to look at the both of you. “Paige report,” he orders.

“Enemy still facing East, Sir. But a few more soldiers are approaching their position, I think they’re the next shift.”

“Let me know when they switch, that’s our best chance to run for the entrance.”

“Yes, sir.”

The other line is silent for a few seconds. “Now!” You hear Paige’s voice say. The three of you bolt forward towards the north side of the compound, slipping into the gates and sliding up against the closest building.

“Soldiers have been relieved of duty,” Paige reports as soon as you're out of sight.

Washington nods his head, holding his gun close, “What about you Gentry, any movement out in the foliage?”

“No, Sir, nothing to report. Perimeter looks secure.”

“Keep a sharp eye out Private, ‘looks’ and ‘is’ are completely different things and can mean life or death.” Silence stretches on Gentry’s end before he speaks again, an uneasy tone lining his words, “Uh, yes, Sir.”

“Gee, no pressure,” you mutter looking to Washington. “He’s going to need to learn one way or another,” Wash says before creeping along the side of the building. “Doyle said the food crates are in the storage facility towards the right. Should be connected to the main building.”

Following behind Wash, you and Sarge slink around the shadows as silently as a cat. You’re honestly surprised the older soldier is able to keep this quiet. You begin to wonder if he’s actually behind you at all and really just got turned around. You glance back expecting to see him ten paces back, but instead, he’s right on your ass...Staring at said ass.

He jerks his head up when he hears you clear your throat.

“Do you fucking mind? ” You growl, face now flushed red. Thankfully he couldn't see it.

“Not really.” The smugness in his voice is very evident. You’re just about to crack a few more of Sarge’s ribs but before you’re even able to swing Wash comes over the comms.

“Found it.”

Chapter Text

Washington is the first to enter the room, working his heat scanner to detect any enemy soldiers. Once he says, “All clear.”, you and Sarge follow after him.

The crates are about half your height and six feet in length. There’s only about nine in the room. You frown at the low number; with two armies to feed this would hardly be enough.

“Is this the only storage facility with food crates?” You ask Wash.

“Doyle said it’s the only one here at this outpost.”

“What about the other Fed compounds?” Sarge questions, walking up to one to of the crates.

“Too far away, not to mention they were besieged by the pirates. Doubt there’s anything left.” Wash helps Sarge lift up one of the crates and maneuvers it towards the door. “(Y/n), check our twelve, any unidentified heat signatures?”

You turn your heat sensor on and peep out of the building, taking your time to check the area around you. Only Gentry and Paige’s figures pop up on the scanners.

“All clear. Paige, how’s the cliff look?”

Your comm clicks as she answers you, “Pirates are overlooking the left of the compound, you’re clear till you reach the front gate.”

Sarge and Wash move to a box and heave it up off the ground. The two edge their way around the compound, slinking in and out of shadows carefully. You stay at the storage building, guarding the area and waiting for the two came back. It took fifteen minutes before you spot them sneaking around the corner to the front gate. They stay behind the shadow of the crumpled building while they wait for Paige to give them the all clear.

This continues for an hour and a half before you’ve only got two crates left. You and Wash had switched places a couple of times during the process to give each other a break from lifting or standing, but Sarge remained in his position as the lifter. He didn’t like it.

“My dawg gone back is killin’ me,” he huffs as you guide him through the now familiar outpost. You pant, shifting the weight of the crate, “Should’ve lifted with your legs old man.” You laugh at his grumbling response. You constantly check your heat scanner and timer. You have at most an hour to get the rest of the crates back to the loading truck and get the hell out of dodge before anyone notices.

As you both turn the corner to look straight ahead at the cars you see Gentry sneaking his way over with Paige. Your comm buzzes to life.

“Leave it there we’ll grab it. Go back and help Agent Washington with the last one,” Paige says.

“Are you sure?” You ask, glancing up to the cliffside. The same guards as before still overlooked the valley.

“Yes, ma’am, we have this! We’ll get the vehicles ready for you.”

“Alright.”

You both set the heavy crate down and turn back the way you came. “How long till the sun comes up, darlin’?” Sarge asks as you creep along the building and alleyways. You glance up to your clock in the corner of your helmet’s screen again. “Well, Chorus has early mornings, so I’d say worst case scenario is we have thirty minutes.”

“Not too bad,” he grunts, “could be worse.”

Like an ass, he jinxes you all. Not two seconds later Wash comes over the commlinks, “We have movement off the right side of the mountain! Gentry, Paige watch your six!” You hear one of the recruits swear and then footsteps. For a second, you think the footsteps came from the other end of the receiver but then Sarge is in front of you. His hand pushes you back behind him and he points the barrel of his shotgun ahead. Your heart panics for a minute, your fight or flight instincts kicking in as well as the adrenaline that accompanies it. But it was all for nothing because the next millisecond Wash turns the corner and crashes into Sarge’s gun.

“Whoa--hey!”

Washington seems to be just as surprised to see a gun pointed at his chest as you and Sarge are to see Washington instead of a pirate. “Whoops, my bad,” Sarge says, pulling the gun back.

You move out from behind the colonel to address Wash, “What about the last crate?”

Wash takes a split second to shake off the shock of running into a gun and looks to you. “No time, those pirates must’ve caught on because there’s more than a few coming down the ridge.”

“Well, that’s not good,” Sarge says. You toss him a withering look. The three of you hasten your way to the front gate spotting the two privates shoving a crate into the truck.

“Start the engine, we’re leaving!” Wash instructs. Paige and Gentry gladly follow said orders. Just before you reach the gate and bolt out into the open air you flick your eyes up to the pirates’ camp. The guards are definitely looking down in your direction.

“Bob and weave boys!” You inform the two beside you.

Once you all exit the compound and make a mad rush to the cars, bullets start flying from above. You hear the sound of the warthog starting and the loading truck door slamming shut.

“Sir, we’re ready!” Gentry shouts. Wash ducks under the tree line, running up to the hog. Turning he calls over to you and Sarge.

“Sarge you’re with me, (Y/n) guard that truck with your life! Paige go with (Y/n)!” You skid over to the driver’s cab, narrowly dodging a bullet. “Damn,” you hiss. You grab ahold of the handlebar on the passenger’s side and plant your feet firmly on the truck’s running board. You take the gun from your back and hold it in hand while you comm Paige, “You on board?” You hear someone hop onto the back of the truck’s fender before her voice echoes in your helmet, “Yes ma’am!”

You glance at your scanner once more; the red figures of the pirates are now a little over half a football field away from everyone.

“Gas it, Gentry!” You order.

The car peels out of the brush, heading back towards the ledge you had come up from. You glance at the rearview mirror as you speed down the mountain. Wash is bringing up the rear and you spot Sarge clambering up to the back of the hog, grabbing ahold of the turret.

Just as the truck makes it down the first couple of feet shots ring out once more. You glance behind you to see the pirates turning down to follow you. They were in their own warthogs. Plasma blasts shoot off from every angle, lighting up the darkened surroundings for the briefest of moments.

You steady yourself against the side of the truck while you cock your gun. Once ready, you turn back around to face the onslaught of fire. Taking aim you shoot for the enemies’ tires and the gunman. You hear the turret firing from Wash’s direction as well. Sarge was no doubt giving the pirates hell.

The vehicle lurches and shakes violently as it speeds down the rough terrain, causing you to almost lose your grip on your handhold. You look at Gentry to see how he’s fairing. With his helmet on, it’s impossible to tell, but you can see his shoulders are tensed and his hands have the steering wheel in a death grip.

Suddenly your comm comes to life.

“We can’t go back to base with them on our asses like this, we need to cut them off!” Washington’s voice was urgent and strained. Looking back you see him swerving the car to avoid plasma blasts aimed at his tires.

“Dammit, Wash quit moving us like that!” You hear Sarge shout over the radio. “I can’t get a clear shot!”

Out of the fading dark, a bright red bullet flies towards the truck’s rear, slamming into the side. Paige shouts in pain. Quickly you twist around and search for her. You don’t see her on the road or on the back of the bumper, but you do see her gun tumble out of view.

“Paige! Paige, are you alright?!” You press urgently.

She grunts in agony before she answers back, “I’m hit--” She curses under her breath.

“That blast would’ve incinerated you!” Gentry says, panic obvious in his voice. “How--”

“Plasma missed...but the molten metal flying out sure didn’t,” she growls, keeping her tears back.

“Are you still on board?” you ask, worried.

“Yeah-Yeah, I’m still on.”

“Where are you hit, Private?” Wash asks.

“A-arm, it burns--” She gasps in pain.

Another shot hits the top of the trailer, shaking it unforgivingly. Gentry swerves dangerously close to the edge of the cliff as he course corrects. You hear Sarge shout something and then the turret continuously go off. Turning you watch one of the pirates’ warthogs crash into the mountain wall. Sarge whoops in victory.

Smiling with him, you about-face to the front of the road. The early morning light lets you see the terrain, and your eyes happen to lock onto a specific structure. A rock shelf sat above the narrow pass just about a quarter of the way down. It was a Godsend from heaven.

“Sarge, Wash! There’s an overhang up ahead. If we hit it just right we can block them off!” Silence follows as Wash searches for the shelf to confirm your find.

“Where?”

“Just up ahead, maybe 400 feet?”

There’s a lapse in speaking while Wash considers this.

“They’re too close!” Wash shouts back. “It won’t work!”

“You got a better idea?” you growl. “We can’t handle another blast!” Glancing back to the rear you spot the large bullet holes the space pirates’ guns made. It was slowly growing bigger. Wash doesn’t say anything for a second.

“Alright, Sarge get ready!” he commands. You twist forward once again, messaging Paige, “Hold on like your life depends on it Private...Because it kind of does.”

“Pedal to the metal, Gentry!” Washington says. The truck lurches forward at a dangerous speed. You hold on tightly to the handlebar, trying to keep your balance. Just as you and the front cab go under the overhang you yell, “Now!”

The turret rapid fires at the rocks, causing the large shelf to come crumbling down. You, Gentry, and Paige pass safely under before the rocks can even reach the ground, but Wash and Sarge barely scrape past by the skin of their teeth. You hear them shout out as a few of the rocks hit the warthog. Their headlights beam through the dust as the hog shakily catches up with the hauler. You let out a relieved breath at seeing them both still alive.

“Haha! Suck it dirtbags! Red always wins!” Sarge crows loudly. You laugh at his words, shaky from the adrenaline of the chase. Gentry lets off the gas slowly, turning to look at you through the passenger window.

“Are we safe?” he asks.

“Yeah,” Wash says, answering for you, “We should be good now.” Looking through the rearview mirror you see the boulders successfully blocking off the pass. You let out a shaky laugh, “Can’t believe that worked.”

“Let’s just be glad it did,” Wash breathes, slowing his own vehicle down. “We’re not out of the fire yet though. They know what we were doing, and they’ll try to follow us. We’ll have to go the long way around.” Paige whimpers in misery at the news.

“Don’t worry Paige, we’ll get you patched up soon,” Wash tells her.

When you reach the bottom of the mountain you stop for a brief moment and take Paige into the warthog. Gentry, shaking like a leaf, hops out of the driver’s seat of the truck. “I’ll let you drive,” he says. You nod as he walks off to go help his fellow soldier, as he does Sarge comes up to you.

“Quick thinking there Prin-Uh, (Y/n).” You let out a breath, “Thanks. Good job on your part too though. I’m surprised, I didn’t think you knew how to aim that thing.”

“Oh I didn’t, I’m usually the one driving the chupa. Simmons or Grif do the shootin’. That was just blind luck.” You take a minute to absorb that. “How comforting,” you say making a face. Sarge walks around you and towards the passenger side of the cab. “Shotgun,” he says, opening the door. You climb in with him. Glancing at the rearview mirror you check the hole in the side of the trailer. It was much bigger than before.

“Uh, hey, Wash?” you say, trepidation on your voice.

“What?” he answers back.

“Those plasma blasts got us good, and the bullet holes are getting bigger…”

“We can make it back in time before it gets worse.”

“I swear to God Wash if this truck disintegrates while we’re still in it...” you let the unsaid threat hang in the air.

“Relax, Lopez made sure to account for the merc’s weapons; the metal is strong enough to dampen the effects.” He pauses. “Mostly...”

“Right,” you say, blowing air out of your mouth. After a few minutes of waiting, Wash drives out in front of you. Gentry, now standing behind the turret, waves for you to follow. Your eyes flick to Paige as you roll forward. Her arm is bandaged up in gauze, but you can still see the bright red flush on it from the molten metal hitting her. You wince in empathy for her.

The drive back is long, putting you on edge every second you glance back at the trailer. It got to the point where you had to ask Sarge for updates so you didn’t crash in the process of checking the damage. “Relax sweetheart, I got this,” he says, resting his elbow on the open window frame. Your eye twitches at his nonchalant attitude, “Don’t call me sweetheart.” He twist his head to stare at you, “Missy, I’m running out of nicknames here, you already took my favorite one away from me!” You let out a laugh, “And yet you still use it.” “Old habits die hard, Princess.” You purse your lips, “Now you’re just doing it on purpose.”

“Why, I don’t know what yer talkin’ bout, Princess .” He exaggerates his speech when he says your nickname. You know he’s just teasing you, so instead of getting angry at him you just laugh with him. It helps calm your nerves if you’re being honest, but you’ll never let him know that.

After two hours you all near the entrance of the Fed’s base. Just as you’re fifteen feet from the gate, you hear a loud thunk as one of the food crates falls out of the back. You break quickly, turning to look at Sarge, about to ask him to hop out and check out the damage fully. Before you can get the words out he’s already hopping out of the vehicle. You check the mirrors as he runs to the back and inspects the crate first before observing the back of the trailer.

“Cleanup on aisle 9,” he says. “The whole floor back here is cut in half!”

Wash comes over the headset, “Gentry, drive Paige in and get her to Dr. Grey. (Y/n) keep going, I’ll help Sarge get the crate inside.”

You watch Gentry and Wash switch places before the warthog speeds off to the loading bay. You follow close behind, sparing one last glance at Sarge who’s heaving up the crate with Washington’s help.

When you roll into the garage you immediately put the truck in park and hop out the cab. You rush around to the back of the trailer to see the damage for yourself.

Oh, come on.

A crate topples over as the floor crumbles underneath it. It lands with a loud clang against the floor, alerting the mechanic, Lopez, inside the garage. Not two seconds later you hear the robot walk up beside you.

“¿Qué diablos hiciste?”

You sigh, slipping off your helmet. “The mercs’ lackeys were sitting right above us. What did you expect?”

“Un camión intacto. Se supone que tú y Agent Washington son buenos soldados, no idiotas.”

“Thanks,” you reply sarcastically.

You run your gloved hand through your hair, making it worse than it already was. As Lopez goes to unhitch the cab from the trailer you spot a couple of privates in line at the armory staring at the spectacle. “Hey!” you shout to them. They turn expectantly to you. “Since you’ve got nothing better to do but stare, why don’t you get over here and help me get these food crates into the mess hall.”

Chapter Text

Popping your back, you stand up straight. All of the rations have been unloaded and placed into the mess hall for the cooks to store away. Although your mission is considered complete, you still weren’t done. Kimball and Doyle scheduled a mission debriefing as soon as you arrived back, wanting all the details to best prepare for another recovery mission.

While this was one of the necessary parts after an operation, it was by far the most boring and excruciating one. You don’t feel like reliving the experience on paper.

Exiting the cafeteria, you walk briskly to the war room, already late. When you enter the room the co-leaders spare you a glance before returning their attention back to Washington. Although it’s a war room, there are no tables or chairs to be found, so you simply stand beside Sarge and Gentry. You clasp your hands behind your back, keeping your spine straight as possible in the presence of your leaders.

The meeting drags on longer than you want, and you aren’t the only one who’s ready to die on the spot. Sarge shifts from foot to foot restlessly, not bothering to hold in his sigh of boredom. You expect Kimball to berate him for the act, but she only spares him a stern look before writing down the rest of Wash’s notes. He’s only now at the part about the heat scanners.

“They worked fine, but I think we need more reconnaissance before we do something like this again. It was pure luck that those two soldiers were the next shift.”

At that, your eyes widen slightly. So you all could’ve been shot down before you could even start? Lovely. Why would he risk something like that anyway? Maybe because he’s a former freelancer and has done calculated risks before? Well...yeah, you guess, but still, that was risky.

“It’s hard to do when their tech vastly outranks ours. We don’t have many men stealthy enough to execute the operation as smoothly as yours did,” Kimball says. Haha, yeah ‘smoothly’.

“We could set up a class on reconnaissance…?” Doyle offers, turning to Kimball for approval.

“Maybe,” her tone suggests that she won’t be considering it. You see Doyle’s expression twist to impatience, but he keeps quiet.

Sarge turns to peek at you while the two leaders continue to speak with Wash. You raise an eyebrow in question when you notice his look. He mouths, ‘Shoot me’. You crack a smile but simply turn your attention back to the topic at hand.

Sarge continuously becomes less and less respectable and is now lightly and slowly tapping his head against the wall of the room. You can tell the noise is making Wash irritated. Subtly, you lean back the few feet away that the old soldier is at and pull his arm gently towards you. You guide him back beside you. He grumbles under his breath like a proper grouchy grandpa would. You hold back a snort.

At long last, Kimball closes the meeting, dismissing you all from duty for the day to catch up on sleep or to recuperate. Sarge happily exits the room, grabbing your wrist and tugging you along the hallway. He pulls you towards the cafeteria.

“Whoa, hey, simmer down cowboy!” you say, trying to take your wrist back from him.

He whirls his head to face you, “Cowboy? I’m a space marine! Get yer facts right missy!”

You scoff under your breath, pulling your wrist at last free from his grip. “You don’t need to tow me there, you know?” You jest.

“Dawg gone it, woman, I can’t wait any longer! My stomach’s growling and I have to answer it!”

“You’re starting to sound like Grif, Sir,” you laugh.

He bristles. Oh, maybe you shouldn’t have said that. You’ve both stopped walking now and he looks at you like you spoke blasphemy against God Himself.

“I am nothing like that lazy, good for nuthin’, fat glutton! He’s a disgrace to the Red Team! I’m ten times--no--a thousand times better than that dirtbag!” His voice is a low growl, causing your stomach to flip unexpectedly and a bolt electricity shoots up your spine. You didn’t expect this to be his reaction to your jab at all. Hell, you threw old man jokes at him 24/7 and he’s never phased. But God forbid you to compare him to Grif!

Your shock must show on your face because he quickly shakes his head, waving unsurely with his hands. He actually looks ashamed. “Uh, sorry...I just don’t--”

“Don’t like being compared to Grif. I get it,” you laugh it off awkwardly. “Don’t worry about it, I shouldn’t have said anything,” you dismiss.

He quietly accepts your words, but you can feel his eyes on you the whole way to the mess hall. You’re not sure why your heart is racing, but you chalk it up to being shouted at by the larger man.

You both grab a tray when you reach the dining hall, gathering your food from the counter. You make it through the line faster--you aren’t as picky as the Colonel is-- and shuffle to an empty table towards the wall, landing with a heavy sigh. Picking up your spoon you scoop up some grits and chew them slowly. Definitely not the most delicious thing in here, but you couldn't expect eggs for breakfast every day. It was one of those special treats you all were given once a month. Ignoring the bland taste, you take another bite.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see Sarge carrying his own food tray towards you. He sets himself down, sighing happily to be resting his legs. You consider making a crack about his old joints again but decide against it. It might be too soon to start with the snarky comments again. The hallway was still fresh in your mind and you’re sure it’s the same for him.

Sarge chews his food quietly and you watch him do so. Your eyes trace his jaw’s hard lines, as it moves. You take note of the early morning scuff lining it. You wonder briefly how’d he look with a beard like Grif’s. The thought of food constantly stuck in it makes you cringe and you shove the thought away immediately.

Next is his nose. It’s slightly off-kilter as if it’s been broken a couple of times. It suits him in a rugged way, you suppose. A scar traces down from his hairline to his brow in a jagged line. A couple more small spots litter his face like it was cut by shattered glass.

In the back of your mind, you realize how creepy this probably is, staring at him, but you don’t stop. Your eyes continue to map out his face as if the organs have a mind of their own. Against your will they trail down to his neck and his broad shoulders, following the lines of more scars.

God, what am I doing? You come to your senses and tear your gaze away from Sarge, your face already feeling heated. You pray he didn’t notice. If he did, he says nothing. Now, not so sure where to rest your eyes, you stare at your grits. Not as attractive.

As soon as the thought comes to the front of your mind you almost sputter aloud. Sarge is not attractive. You reprimand yourself sternly.

Right, that’s why you totally weren’t drooling over his incredibly broad, muscular shoulders. Your inner voice shoots back.

Chewing the inside of your cheek, you glance up at Sarge once more. Okay, damn, how did you not notice that till now? The better question is, why the hell are you noticing at all? Nothing’s changed at all with either of you so why the sudden interest?

“(Y/n)?”

The sound of Sarge’s voice makes you jump. You look at him, cheeks dusted with red, embarrassed by your reaction. Sarge only chuckles at you, “Looked like you were staring off into space there little lady.” You thread your fingers through your hair, flashing a flustered smile, “Yeah, sorry.”

“Don’t be,” he says, brushing aside your apology, “I just wanted to ask you what you’re doing the rest of the day.”

You pause. “You mean for a date?”

“Obviously,” he states.

“What? The mission wasn’t a good enough of a first date?”  you smirk.

He stops, bewildered, “You...Wait, you thought that was our first date? Well, Lord woman why didn’t you tell me I would’ve made it even better!” You raise an eyebrow, amused. You were just teasing him, but now you were curious where this was going to go.

“We could’ve thrown grenades at those bastards--took turns with the turret!” You press your lips together, hiding a smile. As entertaining as it was though, you take pity on the old man. “Sarge, Sarge ,” You laugh, holding out a hand to stop his constant flow of words. “I was just joking. I didn’t think it was a date.”

He pauses. “What?”

You let out a puff of air, still smiling, “I don’t exactly consider being shot at and participating in a high-speed car chase a date.” He stares at you in shock. You stare back at him, confused by his expression.

“Are you kidding? That’s the best kind of date!” He exclaims at last. You blink in surprise. “The adrenaline, the blood, the glory of victory! What more could a man want!?”

Wow. You shovel another spoonful of grits into your mouth, pretending to agree with him.

“One date down, four more to go then?” you question, silently hoping he’d be dumb enough to say yes.

“Of course not! After all I’m picking the dates!”

Hm. Well, can’t blame a girl for trying.

“Back to my earlier question--What do you got planned for today?”

You sigh inwardly, seeing as there wasn’t any real way to avoid the inevitable. “Well, I would like to get in a few extra hours of sleep after this,” you say.

Sarge nods his head, “Not a bad idea, feelin’ wore out too.” A spark glints in his eyes suddenly, causing you to tilt your head in suspicion.

“How ‘bout we just sleep together? We could head back to my quarters--”

“Not a chance.” You can’t believe he’d be so bold. Not a single date has passed and he’s trying to sleep with you already. That’s more Tucker’s style than Sarge’s. Maybe he’s been hanging around him recently. You finish your water and stand up with your tray. Sarge rushes to follow you with his own.

“Oh, C’mon, doesn’t have to mean anything! It’s just two people sharing a bed to sleep!”

“Right,” you reply sarcastically. You empty your tray, placing it up on the conveyor belt to be taken back to the kitchen. Crossing your arms, you look at Sarge while he clumsily disposes of his own trash and dishes.

“What’s wrong with two friends sharing a bed!? Totally pulmonic!”

You crinkle your nose in confusion. “You mean platonic?”

“That’s what I said!”

You snort, shifting your weight to the other foot. “Sarge, you yourself have made it obvious that you don’t harbor platonic feelings for me, but romantic ones!”

“Oh good, I was worried I wasn’t being obvious enough.” You’re not sure if he’s being sarcastic or not. You decide on ‘or not’.

“My answer is still ‘No.’”

He struggles for another argument to change your mind. His eyes focus on something over your shoulder when he can’t think of anything to say. You raise an eyebrow. His face twists into one of worry or panic.

Confused, you turn your head 90 degrees to spot none other than Simmons, Grif, and Tucker, looking at the two of you. You see Simmons quickly lower his hand signals from view once he notices your gaze. Grif says something to the man, most likely, “Smooth” in response to his guilty face. Tucker is less forgiving and, quite frankly, lewder; putting up two hands to make a sexual gesture. That little shit.

You twist your head back to look at Sarge accusingly.

“What was that?”

“What was what?” he asks, trying his damnedest to look innocent.

“Why were Captain Doormat, Lazy Mcgee, and Fuckboy looking over here like they were a couple of high school boys acting as wing-men?” You clarify.

“I don’t know whatcher talkin’ ‘bout.” His voice almost cracks and his accent sounds thicker. You want to laugh because Sarge’s accent betraying his lying is fucking hilarious but you’re trying to remain angry, so you press the urge to snicker down.

“You might want to inform your wing-men that they suck at their job because now there’s definitely no chance.”

His eyes light up and you regret your choice of words immediately. “So you were considerin’ it! Ha! I knew it, no one can resist the incredibly handsome and powerful Red Team Leader!” His voice echoes in the room and many heads turn to stare, the constant drone of voices quieting. Your face flares red.

“Sarge!” you hiss under your breath.

“What?” He looks at you bewildered.

Your eyes sweep across the room anxiously--everyone that turned to stare at Sarge is beginning to turn away, dismissing it as another one of his outbursts. Letting out a sigh of relief, you glare at the man. Without a second thought, you walk out of the dining hall, knowing the Colonel would follow.

Sure enough, he does, but not before giving Simmons and Tucker a thumbs up.

“Hey, hang on missy, wait up!”

You stop out in the hallway, a good 6 meters away from the door and prying eyes. Sarge is still grinning at you like nothing happened in the mess hall.

“Are you serious?” Venom drips from your voice, but the man doesn’t pick up on it.

His eyes light up and his smug grin is back on. “Damn serious. Your room or mine?” He’s put a hand to the left of your head, leaning down to your height. Your eyes narrow.

“No,” you growl, “Not what I meant.” You step away from him, arms crossed. He’s still in his position, blinking at your refusal.

“Why the hell not?” he asks.

“Because we barely know each other, we haven’t even had a real date, and because I’m not interested!?”

“So?”

“Oh, my god.” You groan, rubbing your temples. “You don’t have any shame do you?”

“Not since I was 12.” The blatant honesty behind the statement makes you stare at him. The hell happened when he was 12? Shaking your head you dismiss the curiosity--now’s not the time.

You take a deep breath, “Look, I’m beyond exhausted. I’m going to go to bed-- without you ,” you add when he opens his mouth, “I’ll see you later. Got it?”

He pauses and you wait for him to argue.

“Is that two hours from now later, or a few days from now later?” he inquires at last.

“I don’t know! Just give me time to not want to punch you in the throat, okay?!”

He quietly nods his head, his brows furrowing in concern. Or maybe that’s just his pride being damaged and he’s trying to hide it. Turning away from him, you make your way back to your room.

When you close the door, you strip out of your sweaty armor. You never got the chance to change after the debriefing since Sarge dragged you to breakfast. Once free of the armor, you flop down on your standard mattress and sheets, burying your face in it. Exhausted, you close your eyes. The last image in your mind before you fall unconscious is of you strangling Tucker, Grif, and Simmons. You couldn’t wait to make that a reality.

 

When you open your eyes again, it feels as if only five minutes have passed. Looking at your clock, you can see it’s actually been four hours. Sighing, you rise from your stiff bed, stretching your limbs. It’s almost noon and the mess hall closes at 12:30; you can still make it in for lunch if you hurry. Dragging yourself from your bed as quickly as you can muster in your groggy state, you walk to your bathroom. You straighten your hair in the small mirror, combing out the tangles. You then proceed to change out of your sweaty clothing--the ones you wore under your amour-- and slide into your standard federal army jumpsuit. You check your alarm clock when you’re done.

12:11 P.M.

Better leave now before they refuse service. The cooks were pretty picky about serving times, not wanting to waste energy to keep prepared food warm for the late soldiers.

Rushing out of your room, you speed walk down Armonia’s long hallways till you reach the large spacious cafeteria. There are a few people still milling about. You’re grateful for the quiet murmuring rather than the louder buzz during rush hour.

Grabbing a vegetable plate from the kitchen window, you take a seat at a corner table. You glance around, confirming that none of the reds, specifically Sarge, are in here with you. Your shoulders relax when none of them appear to be present. Digging into your food, you relish in the alone time.

Once finished, you dispose of your trash and turn your tray and dishes in. When you exit the mess hall you bump into Simmons. Almost immediately he backs up a good distance from you and your angry glare. “Oh! Uh...Hi,” he grins sheepishly. You scowl in return. He stutters, “Ok, so I know you’re pretty pissed at us, but--”

“The actual Hell Simmons?” you growl, crossing your arms. He stops, looking at you unsurely. “You’re supposed to be my friend, and yet your encouraging Sarge to sleep with me?”

He holds up a finger, “Okay, in my defense, that was Tucker’s idea, I was trying to tell Sarge to stop-- and it’s not my fault! Sarge is still my commanding officer, I have to follow his orders!” he argues, his voice cracking.

You raise an eyebrow in disbelief, “He ordered you to be his wing-man?”

“Yes!”

“Why don’t I believe you,” you say sarcastically.

“Okay, okay, fair enough, but I’m here because Sarge wants you to meet us in the Sparring room.”

At this, you squint at the redhead. “Why? And what do you mean ‘us’?”

“He said I can’t tell you, he wants to explain it himself.”

Your curiosity is peaked. What could he have planned?

You soon find out when Simmons walks in with you to a small room attached to the main gym. Sarge is snapping at Grif, nothing new, in the middle of the sparring mats while Lopez and Donut are sitting on the sidelines.

“What is this?” you ask.

Sarge turns at the sound of your voice. “Ah! (Y/n)! You’re here!”

Simmons goes to stand beside his officer while Grif tries to walk off. He’s pulled back by Sarge’s strong grip. “What did I just say, you lousy galoot!?” Grif only groans like a child.

“This,” Sarge says, keeping a firm grip on Grif’s arm, “Is your revenge!”

“What?” you blink.

“It was my idea,” Donut says, swinging his feet, eating some snap peas. You swivel your head to look at him. “I figured you'd be angry, and I know from personal experience that I would want to choke Sarge if he offered to sleep with me! So I set this up for you!” Somehow you feel like he’s talking about a different scenario rather than the one you’re in now. Everyone is also uncomfortable with the statement.

"Donut, shut up, you're making this weirder than it needs to be," Sarge commands.

“Uhm, okay, so what exactly am I doing here?” you ask, feeling very awkward and wanting a better explanation.

“Kicking our asses,” Sarge says.

You turn your head back to him, shocked. “I get to what now?”

“Kick. Our. Asses.” He explains slowly. "You said you wanted to punch me in the throat earlier. Well now's your chance! And as an added bonus, you get to punch Grif and Simmons! God, I wish I were in your shoes."

He grins when he sees fire light up in your eyes at the idea. “Whaddya say?” You smirk, raising an eyebrow. “Okay, I understand you letting me whoop their asses,” you say gesturing to the two captains, “But I’m surprised you’d let me do it to you!”

He shrugs, “Figured I owed it to you.” He sounded sincere, which is impossible--it's Sarge. Even so, you can't help but smile at the offer.  At least you don’t have to hunt the three of them down to give them a piece of your mind...Wait, where’s Fuckboy?

“Hold on, where’s Tucker?” you ask, looking around the room.

“That smart asshole left before Sarge had a chance to grab him. He’s off with Carolina and Wash,” Grif says, looking incredibly miserable to be here. Sarge growls low in his throat. It sounded almost feral. You ignore the electric shock that goes down your spine again, keeping your face neutral.

“Don’t worry, Princess, I’ll get 'em for ya next time,” he reassures you. You chuckle. You can’t believe this is your life now. A crazed old man trying to win your heart in anyway possible that he’s willing to let you beat him up--as well as his soldiers.  How thoughtful. As crazy as this was, you couldn’t deny that you didn’t want to partake.

“Okay, I’m in,” you say, grinning ear to ear. Any grogginess you might’ve felt from your nap is all but gone, replaced by adrenaline and eagerness. Oh, you were so going to enjoy this.

Chapter Text

“Knew you’d be for it!” Sarge beams proudly. Swiftly, he drags Grif from his side and pushes him in front of you. “Might I suggest Grif as your first victim?”

Grif suddenly looks uneasy. In nothing but the standard fatigues, he has no protective armor to help dampen your hits. He has every right to be apprehensive about the spar. Taking a minute to watch Simmons and Sarge walk to the sidelines you wonder if Grif is actually allowed to fight back. Surely, Sarge wouldn’t make it that unfair.

Glancing to the old man you see the evil glint in his eyes as he watches Grif. Okay, yeah, he’d totally do that. While you feel just a bit of remorse for fighting the defenseless man, the Hawaiian is much safer fighting you rather than the Colonel. Your goal isn’t to kill him after all. Your spar partner must know all of this because he slouches his shoulders in resignation. Sighing he directs his eyes up to yours, “Let’s get this over with.”

You take up a fighting stance, expecting him to do the same, but instead, he stands there. Is he going to just lay down and take it? You take a large step forward, preparing to follow through with a punch. Before you can even make contact Grif ducks, moving backward away from you. He looks a bit panicked. You try again, planning to swing left. Once more Grif dodges, but you do manage to graze his arm rather than the planned blow to his chest. You’re surprised someone of his size is able to avoid your swings at all.

“Stop tiptoeing and get to the good part! The part that has Grif’s face in the floor!” Sarge complains. You roll your eyes at his words and rush forward at the Captain. He yelps ducking down, crawling away from you. In response, you bring up your foot and kick him in the stomach. He flops to his side.

Rushing forward again you pull back your foot to hit him in the ribs. Grif’s eyes widen in alarm. Rolling away from your radius he stands back up. He attempts to run further away but you grab him by his arm before he has the chance. Slamming him back into the floor, he grunts in pain, teeth clenched. You feel a slight twinge of empathy for him. Leaning down you mutter a brief apology for the pain to appease your guilty conscious. He only manages a wheeze in response. He doesn’t stand up, making you frown in concern. Did you knock the wind out of him?

“Grif! Get back up you ain’t done yet!” Sarge scowls from beside Lopez. You glance over at them both. The robot may not have a face but you can tell he’s enjoying the show. Watching the orange soldier being slammed hard into the mats must be satisfying for him. You suddenly came to the conclusion that this was Lopez’s idea, not Donut’s. It could’ve been dumb luck that Donut translated it right or a happy miscommunication. Either way, Lopez got to watch his team get the snot beat out of them. He must be having a field day.

Turning to stare down at Grif you wait for him to stand back up. He grunts, pushing himself from the floor. Before he’s able to fully straighten himself back up you throw a punch his way. Shocked, he flings his upper torso back away from your fist. Successfully evading your hand, he comes back up, a smile on his face. “Ha!” His victory shout is short lived when your fists continue to fly at him in succession.

You are experienced in hand to hand combat, it used to be a pass time with your old recruit group, but Grif wasn’t. He took the hits to his chest and arms before he finally put up his own arms to block the throws. He backs up while you continue to throw punches and an occasional foot to his hip. He may be sloppy but he’s getting the hang of it. Gracelessly.

Just as he begins to become confident with his blocking and his movements, you bring your foot up and slam it into his side. Taken off guard he flies to his left, shouting in alarm. You let out a breath, shaking your hands loose while he rolls a bit away.

“Haha! Show him how it’s done, Princess!” Sarge crows.

The sound of the familiar, but hated nickname makes you pause. Twisting to look back at the group you cast the silver-haired man a stern look. “What’d we talk about Sarge? No nicknames.”

“Eh, you’ll make me feel it when I get in the ring with you,” he counters, waving your glare off. You frown at his dismissiveness. What was the point of making the rule about my nickname if he’s never going to follow it?

Seeing that you’re distracted, Grif takes his chance to run behind you. Tackling you, he wraps his arms around your shoulders. Guess he is allowed to fight back. He attempts to bring you down with him onto the floor, but it fails. The shock you experienced was quickly replaced with instinct. Gripping his wrist you swivel your body to the side and slam a hand down to his crotch.

Immediately, he loses his grip and you take the opportunity to flip him back onto the ground. The sound echoes in the room and you hear a chorus of ‘Ooo!” in response.

Pulling away from your bent position you pant, tilting your head to the side. “Ready to tap yet?” You ask him. He’s groaning, cupping his bruised balls. “Tap,” he wheezes.

“Aw c’mon, you can hardly call that a good ass whooping,” Sarge complains. You flick your eyes back to him and a playful smile crosses your lips.

“Let’s see how long you last out here.” You cast a long, critical look at his physique as you say the words. He pauses. “That was another crack at my age wasn’t it?” Your smirk grows bigger while he frowns.

After helping Grif up onto his feet he limps to the benches by himself, hands over his groin.

“Guess you’re up then, Simmons!” Sarge exclaims once Grif sits down. The tall, lanky redhead jumps in alarm, “W-What?”

Sarge yanks the boy up off the bench, leading him towards you. He tries to struggle against his officer. “Oh come on! I’m fragile!” The colonel only scoffs, holding him in place while he tries to tug away.

You raise an eyebrow at the spectacle, “It’s not like you can’t dodge my hits, Simmons.”

“Yeah? Well, you saw how that turned out for Grif!” You glance to the orange soldier, currently being pestered by Donut who’s trying to apply an ‘ice pack’ to his pelvic region.

“Besides, last time I fought a military girl she kicked my ass to Blood Gulch and back! And once around the sun for good measure!” He squeaks.

You glance to the other Reds questioningly. “Agent Texas,” Grif explains, wincing at the shared memory. He curls a little bit more over his groin.

Oh. You’d heard little about her from Carolina and Washington. Neither liked to talk about her much, so the majority of what you know is just that Carolina hates her and that she was a former Freelancer with them. You have no doubt that she was badass if she was affiliated with Project Freelancer.

You turn back to Simmons, taking not that Sarge has already left the area and is back in his seat. Your lanky friend has put himself in a poor fighting stance, looking at you apprehensively. “Please be gentle,” he whimpers. You almost want to laugh at the sight. You’ve known them all to be tough fighters on the battlefield, but you’ve never got to see them cower in person like this.

“Just remember to fight back,” you say, taking your own stance, “and you’ll be fine.”

“Not the answer I was hoping for but okay,” he says as you circle one another. You wait for him to make a move, seeing as it would give you an opening, but he doesn’t. Alternatively, he continues to circle you. Frowning, you decide you’ll have to make the first move like with Grif. This wasn’t as entertaining as you had hoped. You wanted a little bit of a fight, otherwise, your ‘revenge’ wouldn’t be as sweet.

You attempt to make a rush forward at Simmons, but he squeaks and quickly puts space between you. Every time you advance forward and try to swing, tackle, or trip him he’s across the other side of the room at a safe distance. At last, you drop your stance. “Uh, Simmons?”

“Yeah?”

“The goal is to attack, not cower. Hell, I can’t even call this defending yourself, you’re just running away.”

“I’m not cowering I’m...I’m planing-planning my next move! Yeah!”

Grif snorts from the back of the room. The redhead shoots him a glare.

Running forward you swing your fist, taking advantage of his momentary distraction. It lands to his side. Grunting, he backs up, putting out his hands as if to keep you at a distance. Grabbing his wrist, you turn his arm and pin it behind his back. Now behind him, you hold the position while he struggles against your hold. When you finally push him away from you he tries to run away again. You cut him off. Circling close around him, you hit his chest, ribs, and back. Keeping your contact light in hopes it will encourage him to throw one back.

After a few seconds of this, he apparently has had enough. Bringing back his elbow he jabs you in the collarbone. Backing up, you press a hand over the area. You both stare at each other in surprise. You laugh.

“Good,” you say, “Was beginning to worry you wouldn’t have the balls.” It’s light banter, meant to further encourage him. He takes the teasing with grace and puts his fists up. He appears to still be shaking but at least you goaded him into defending himself.

You start forward again, sidestepping him when he swings a horribly aimed throw. His cross leaves him open. Swiftly, you prod a hand into his ribs. He yelps at the feeling, stumbling to his left. Moving your leg to the back of his knees you topple him over.

When you circle to his front you notice he quickly covers his crotch. While the idea was tempting, Simmons was after all your good friend and you weren’t without mercy. Instead of kicking him in his genitals you offer him a hand up from the floor. He eyes your hand with suspicion, with good reason. Neither of you had said ‘Tap’ yet, but against his better judgment, he takes your hand.

Yanking him up, you keep a hold of his arm. Using gravity to help you, you twist his body back down over you. Crying out in confusion, Simmons lands on the mats with a loud sound.

He groans in defeat as he lays there staring at the ceiling. When you try to take a step forward towards him, he scuttles back. “I tap,” he puffs quickly, sweat glistening on his face. You let out a quiet sigh, nodding. You help him up. Honestly, you were hoping he would keep going, as it’s been a while since you’ve had a good spar partner.

Once Simmons sits himself down you turn to look at Sarge. He’s domineering Grif about tapping out sooner than Simmons did. “This is why Simmons is second in command and why you’re the bullet decoy! You can’t even last two seconds in a hand to hand combat!” The Hawaiian looks irritated at the Colonel’s words, if not bored with the usual hate speech. You suppose he’s immune to his words by now.

As ‘interesting’ as their conversation was, you were ready to continue on with the spar. Clearing your throat you gain the Commander’s attention. “You’re up Sarge,” you say.

He stands up, turning to his teammates. “Watch and learn ladies,” he grins. You scoff under your breath at his cockiness.

“Esto debería ser bueno,” Lopez comments, crossing his arms. The corner of your mouth twitches up at his words. Usually, when Sarge was confident about something, it always ended poorly for him. Everyone was aware of this, meaning you all knew when to expect a good show.

Turning to stand back on the mats, you assume Sarge will follow you onto the floor. Unexpectedly, out of the corner of your eye, you spot him reach for the hem of his shirt.

You freeze mid-turn and stare in bewilderment. What is he doing? You watch in disbelief as Sarge proceeds to pull off his dark army green shirt. What the hell, is he really going to be this extra? You’re not sure what to do in this situation, so you glance to the others for help. They stare in listlessness as if he did this all the time and they were accustomed to it. The only one who was showing a true reaction was a certain animated blonde. “ Damn , Sarge! Lookin’ fine!” Donut praises. He, not very subtly, eyes Sarge’s physique greedily. Sarge stiffens in discomfort at his soldier’s stare.

You’re not entirely sure you want to know what Donut is complimenting, but you don’t get a say in the matter. Sarge turns around to face you. You think he looks smug. You ‘think’ because you never actually look at his face. Your eyes are glued to the man’s bare torso and holy hell.

How does a man of this age look so...look so built ? Why could you easily tell where his abs began and ended? You try not to stare, you really do, but your eyes couldn’t care less about what you wanted. Just when it’s beginning to become an awkward stretch of silence you force your eyes away from his chest.

Oh yeah, he’s definitely smug.

“Like what you see?” Not only is he looking at you with a wide smirk, but the others are staring at you now. Heat flares up on your face and down your neck. You’ve frozen in shock that everyone witnessed your shameful gawking, but mostly flustered. Pushing down your embarrassment you scoff, “You flatter yourself too much.” Spinning around, you march to the center of the mats. Once there, you turn to face him as he approaches. He looks way too self-satisfied for your taste. Good thing you have the opportunity to wipe the grin off his face.

You both take the defensive stance when he steps in front of you. “Do your worst,” he says. “Oh, I will,” you assure him.

Sarge takes the first swing, a pleasant surprise considering you had to chase down Simmons and Grif. You dodge it easily, bringing up your own arm to strike. He blocks your blows with his forearm, pacing closer to you. You move back to give yourself room and better space to defend and attack. When he continues to advance towards you, you skirt around him, landing a hit on his bare back.

Oh. Oh, his backside. Seeing the muscles that attached to his shoulders move as he shifted to confront you and throw another punch was hypnotizing. You hate to admit it, but damn he’s got a good body on all angles. Your lapse in awareness allows Sarge to land a hit on your shoulder. Snapped back into reality, you block his next throw.

Not wanting to be made a fool of for starting at his shirtless back, you advance. Your throws are aggressive and relentless. When Sarge attempts a cross he leaves an opening for you to take. He pants, trying to prevent your hits. You smirk as you push him back.

You don’t focus on the audience watching the two of you dance back and forth like this. Instead, you focus all of your energy on knocking that grin off Sarge’s face. Everytime he lands a blow that stupid cocky smirk is back and it drives you mad.

“I thought you said you were going to let me kick your ass,” you pant, leaning away from a fist.

“I said you get to kick it, never said we were going to just take it!” he chuckles, bringing up his arms to block another swing. Moving to the right you try to get behind him. He’s quick to stay facing you.

“Besides, I like a good fight!” he adds, puffing.

You bring up your foot and slam it into his side. He backs up a few paces, grimacing. “Nice one,” he grunts. You grin at him. While you both stand there a moment, plotting your next move, you allow yourself a quick glance down. Sweat is trickling down his neck and chest. His simple army jeans hang neatly on his hips. Your eyes catch for a millisecond on the trail of silver hair going below his belly button and disappearing into his fatigue pants.

What are you doing? Concentrate!

You pull your eyes away from the admittedly nice view and lunge forward at Sarge. He rolls to the side, hurling a fist towards your back. Just before his hand makes contact with your shoulder blade, you grab his wrist and twist.

He falls to one knee as you turn, his arm still in your grip. Once you’re behind him, you pin his arm to his back.

“Ready to tap?”

“I never tap!” He growls. He pulls forward with all his might, tugging you off balance. He swiftly stands up, yanking free of the arm lock. The moment he’s free he tries to tackle you to the ground. When he reaches for you, you raise your foot up and kick. He falls backward onto the mats with a thump. Before he gets the chance to stand back up, you pin him down, forearm resting firmly against his collarbone and throat.

“Tap,” you demand. You’re both panting and red-faced from the spar. His chest heaves while he tries to gulp down cool air. His face is set stubbornly, his jaw clenching. Your eyes lock onto the movement. You expect him to buck you off of him, but he never does. It should be easy considering he has more weight on you, but he doesn’t move. You’re confused at first until you suddenly realize the position you’re in and the look in his eyes. It’s after this realization that you feel a stiff length pressing against your side. Instantly, you freeze and stare at Sarge for a long moment. He stares back. He’s obviously aware that you know yet he doesn’t show any shame. Rather, his grin is back.

Before he has a chance to say something embarrassing or stupid you quickly push away from him. “ Christ , Sarge,” you growl, face feeling hotter than it was during your spar. Casting a disapproving look his way, you start to walk back to the benches where everyone else sat. Everyone but Donut looks uncomfortable with the situation as well.

“Whoa, hey, I never said ‘tap’!” Sarge shouts after you. Quickly sitting up, he keeps himself covered up from his teammates. It’s a pointless attempt; they’re already aware of what’s happened judging by looks on their faces.

Stopping halfway to the benches you turn to look at Sarge, “I’m not sparring with you like that.”

“What?--It’s not what you think--I just--I have a pocket knife!”

You hear someone snort into their hand somewhere behind you. Crossing your arms, you stare at Sarge unimpressed. “Right.”

“You can’t just quit! No one’s tapped out yet!” He argues.

Shrugging you move the last few feet to the benches and grab a water bottle. “Then I tap.”

He stumbles up, trying to figure out the best way to stand and go to you without exposing his obvious boner to the other people in the room. “What?! That’s not--The whole point of this damn thing was so you could get revenge missy! You can’t just let me win!” You take a long gulp of water as you watch him awkwardly walk closer. It was an amusing sight, to say the least.

Your eyes continue to flick down to eye his bulge. Not because you wanted to stare, but because the more devious side of your brain was formulating a plan. It wasn’t the best plan, but it did end in your favor. It’d also make you feel better after having his manhood pressed against you.

Smiling slyly, you place your water bottle down on the cooler beside the bench. The moment Sarge catches sight of the smile he falters. Nodding your head at him, as if you are agreeing with some deep philosophical statement, you stride forward. As you approach the silver-haired man you put on your best sultry expression. He squints at you suspiciously. You’re sure the rest of the reds are curious as well, but you don’t check to see.

Placing a hand on Sarge’s neck, you cup it. The nature of the touch would probably be described as intimate, but your intentions are anything but. Sarge is torn between ecstatic and uncertain. He appreciates your heated look and sudden sensual caress, but at the same time, he senses danger.

“You know, you’re right.” You say, agreeing with his previous argument.

Before Sarge realizes what’s happening you move. A knee to his stomach causes him to bend over. As he does so you take the hand on his neck and your free one to help flip him over completely onto his back. Once he lands with a loud grunt, you deliver one swift kick to his still noticeable boner. Granted it was light enough to not seriously injure him, but he still cried out in agony.

Hands now covering his groin, he rolls to his side. Kneeling down next to him you say, “I did do this for revenge. And now I’m sated.” With that, you stand up, a confident smirk on your face. Grabbing the water bottle you left, you make your way towards the door. It’s silent in the room for a few seconds until Donut begins clapping, loudly. “That was amazing!”

Chapter Text

“So, dinner tonight?”

You stop abruptly in the hallway at the sudden question. Turning, you see the owner of the voice is none other than your stalker, Sarge. You stare at him in a surprised manner. It’s only been a few hours since the sparring room, and you’re sure he’s still feeling the pain from your crotch kick. Why would he suggest dinner after that? Maybe he’s a masochist.  That'd be interesting.

You allow yourself a moment to collect your thoughts before answering. “It’s not like I have a choice anyhow. Sure.”

The old man smiles victoriously, “Great, I’ll pick you up when the mess hall opens.”

Sarge begins to turn away, planning to head down the hall, but you grab his wrist before he can rush off. It would be in your best interest if you made sure he wasn’t going to go blabbering about your date after this.

“Can you keep your trap shut about this?” you question, keeping your stare stern and your grip firm.

“Are you kidding, my middle name is ‘keeping my trap shut’!” He smirks. He probably intended to sound reassuring, but it only served to solidify your worry. This was going to be a rough evening.

You spent the rest of your afternoon helping in the armory; purely for the sake of Lopez’s sanity. He could only take so much of Donut. In return for your generosity, he taught you his favorite methods of dealing with the halfwits he calls teammates. Method 1, insult them to their face in Spanish; Method 2, drown yourself in alcohol (diesel for Lopez) after every conversation and hope you forget it; and Method 3, plot their demise. Pretty solid advice in your opinion.

Unfortunately, you didn’t have access to alcohol of any kind on Chorus, that you knew of anyway, and you couldn’t very well ingest diesel. So you had to settle on the first and last method. Lopez was even kind enough to teach you his favored phrases that he used constantly. While listening to them you couldn’t help but inquire, “Have you ever directed these at me?” He remains silent. “Una Vez. Pero luego me di cuenta de que eras bilingüe.”

You laugh good-naturedly, “You still do it don’t you?”

“...Sí.”

You hardly took offense. You’ve learned that this is how Lopez is; a snarky bot with lack of patience for idiocy, and even you had your dumb moments.

Now back in your room, you smile as you remember your conversation with him. You’d have to try out his tips tonight at dinner. Sarge was supposed to show up at your dorm at 6 PM, the mess hall’s schedule time for supper. Glancing at the clock, you see that it’s ten til six. You sit on your bed, staring at yourself in the bathroom mirror across the room. You were in your fatigues, nothing fancy, and you didn’t bother much with your hair either. It wasn’t as if you were going to a pristine restaurant, it was just the mess hall. With Sarge.

You sigh through your nose. This was going to be rough.

The ten minutes pass too rapidly for your taste because the knock on your door causes you to suddenly become nervous. You weren’t ready to go into a cafeteria full of your recruits, fellow officers, and commanding officer on a date with Sarge. Surely, this would end miserably for you. You’ll have to make sure to get shot next time you’re on a mission.

Standing up from your spot on the bed you shuffle to the door. Before you open it, you steel your resolve, squaring your shoulders. Just think, soon you’ll be back in here again and the whole evening will be over. Just focus on how happy you’ll be afterward. You tell yourself as you finally open the door.

Sarge is also in his fatigues, causing a little self-conscious part of yourself to relax. The last thing you wanted was him showing up in well-dressed attire while you, and everyone else in the facility, would be in their casual clothing eating. It’d attract unwanted attention to the pair of you.

He does, however, look well shaven. His half shadow stubble is gone and his hair looks neater. His smile is confident, making his eyes gleam with hidden enthusiasm. You must’ve been staring awkwardly, because he clears his throat, offering you his arm.

Uh.

Do you take it? Seems a bit old fashioned and even too formal for the time and place. You’re in an army base for christ’s sake! You’re not too keen on the idea, especially when people would be traveling the hall during this time and spot the two of you. Despite being opposed to the idea, at that moment, you panic and do the first thing you can think of without thinking. You accept his arm. As you walk down the hall your mind is in a state of hysteria.

What the hell? Why did I take it? Am I an idiot? Let go, before it’s too late! Why am I not letting go?

You face remains neutral despite the inner turmoil you’re experiencing, only because you’re in a state of shock as you both walk down the hall. Sarge is speaking, you can tell, but you’re too focused on your arm intertwined with his to understand him.

The risk of being seen will quadruple every second you stay like this! Let. Go. Your rational mind demands of you. Still, you don’t let go. What the hell is wrong with you? Maybe you’re sick. There’s no rational reason for you to be accepting his arm like this.

Thankfully, no one was down the left halls of Armonia, but when the mess hall doors come into view you finally take your arm away. People will be walking in and out of those doors and the hall in a constant flow. Anyone can come through those doors and see you with Sarge and that doesn’t settle well with you.

Sarge is still oblivious to your internal conflict and instead opens the door for you to walk in. The word ‘gentlemen’ flitters through your head briefly before other thoughts scream louder. Is it too late to turn back now? You bet you could pretend to get sick and escape. He’s gullible enough to believe you. The idea is very tempting, but before you can execute your plan, you lock eyes with Washington sitting on the opposite side of the room.

Crap, you’ve been spotted, now it’s definitely too late.

You expect him to stare, considering he knows that Sarge is supposed to be ‘dating’ you. Instead, he returns his gaze to his food, sparing you from embarrassment. You wish his friend shared the same idea. Your eyes cast over to the person by his side; Tucker. That bastard. He’s cocky enough to give you and Sarge an ‘OK’ hand gesture, but with the dirty look on his face, you doubt it’s accompanied by appropriate thoughts.

You choose to ignore his leer and walk with Sarge to the serving window while more people enter the hall, forming a line behind you. Not truly focused on what’s being served, you grab a plate with Chorus’ vegetable version of taquitos and a side of rice. It’s disgusting, but you can’t hope for real chicken inside the tortilla. Most meat on Chorus is just replaced with soy.

Sitting down at your usual table you half assume Sarge will take the spot next to you, given the date would give him an excuse to get close to you, but he doesn’t. He sits in the seat directly across from you like always. You can’t help to be thrown for a loop, curious of this behavior. Like an idiot you address it.

“Didn’t expect you to sit there.”

Sarge lifts his head from looking at his soup to look at you questioningly. “What?”

Say “nevermind”--don’t continue; he’s fine where he’s at! Your mind screams.

“I mean...I figured you’d sit next to me, given you love getting in my personal space,” you elaborate.

Sarge breaks into a sly smile. Fuck, yep, really should’ve kept quiet. “You try’na hint to me that you want me next to ya?”

You frown at him and his stupid smile. “No.”

He chuckles, picking up his spoon, “Don’t worry Princess, I’m not gunna.” He begins to eat, still smiling. You narrow your eyes in suspicion. Since when does Sarge not want to be in your personal bubble?

“I feel like there’s something I’m missing,” you say, regarding him incredulously.

He glances up at you while he takes a spoonful of the vegetable soup. Swallowing, he leans forward, as if he was preparing to whisper a secret to you. “Wanna know why I always sit here?”

What a dumb question.

“Why?” you humor him.

“Because I get to look directly into your pretty eyes when we talk.”

You blink in surprise.

“Sitting beside your lover is all well and good, but you don’t get this view,” he purrs. His rough voice drops an octave.

You suddenly feel warm, flattered at his comment about your appearance, but at the same time, you’re confused as hell. You expected his reasoning to be something stupid like, ‘Because I can see my wingmen easier like this’, or ‘So I can keep an eye on the mess hall doors to watch for danger--gotta keep you safe!’. Not that. You’re so startled by his proclamation you don’t realize he referred to you as his ‘lover’.

He looks very self-satisfied with your reaction. Hurriedly you wipe the expression off your face, casting him an unimpressed look instead.

“You're very bad at flirting.”

“What?! That was good!”

“Exactly, that was too good for you. ” You take a bite of your food while he sits up straight again. “What’re you tryna say?” he asks, raising a brow. He waits patiently for you to finish chewing before you can speak.

“Considering you followed Tucker’s horrible advice to woo me, I’m going to assume you asked Donut this time.”

“That's ridiculous! Donut doesn't know anything ‘bout women!”

That’s true.

“That was still rather unusual for you,” you continue, placing the tortilla back down on the plate, finding it messy as the fake meat falls out. He smirks devilishly, which isn't something you’re used to seeing. “You just haven’t heard or seen my suave side.”

You chuckle, “You have a suave side?” Your grin grows at his insulted expression.

“For your information Princess--”

“(Y/n),” you correct.

“--(Y/n), I can be incredibly charming!”

“Oh really?” you tease, taking a bite out of a taquito. Getting to tease him like you normally do helps ease your anxiousness. While you were still observing the room for gossiping teens or strange looks from superiors, you feel more comfortable with the familiar banter.

“Yes! Why else would you agree to be with me tonight?!”

“Uh, it's apart of our deal.”

He huffs at your answer, waving it off with a scarred hand, “Admit it, sweetheart! You enjoy being with me!”

“Mm, no.”

He rests his elbow on the table and points a finger at you, “So you do enjoy being with me, you just don’t want to admit it!”

You furrow your brows, “What no--I meant ‘No, I don’t enjoy this.’!”

“Aw, don’t be so shy sweetheart,” he coos at you.

“You’re impossible,” you growl, feeling your cheeks warm at his embarrassing cooing.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Sarge decides, picking up his forgotten spoon and digging into his soup once more.

You roll your eyes in exasperation. Arguing with Sarge is like talking to a brick wall; nothing gets done, and nothing will change. You return to your food as well, but as you chew you notice Sarge grimace when he takes another spoonful of his soup. “Where’d they get this garbage, it tastes awful!” He complains loudly, putting down the spoon. He reaches for his drink to wash the tang of the broth away.

Not paying much attention to his complaints you continue to eat your food in silence until you notice his hand reach across to your tray and grab your fork. Jerking your head up in surprise, you watch helplessly as Sarge scoops some rice from your bowl and takes a bite. It takes you a minute before you finally find your words.

“What the hell, eat your own food!” You exclaim, swatting his hand away when he tries to go in for another bite.

“What,” he says as you block him off from the rice once more, “yours is better!”

“I know, so back off,” you add, frustratingly.

Sarge doesn’t cease, instead he makes it his mission to get another forkful of rice. Thirty seconds in of defending your food, you give up, deciding it’s not worth it. You watch exasperatedly as Sarge shoves the food into his mouth, flashing you a winning smirk. Rolling your eyes at his antics, you return to your last taquito. The Colonel eventually takes the bowl from your tray to eat it up close rather than lean over the table which you’re thankful for. You didn’t want him awkwardly leaning over you tray trying to eat your food.

After a few minutes of eating in silence, you glance up from your plate and scan the room once more. No one appeared to think it strange that Sarge and you were eating together (which isn’t surprising considering you’ve been eating in this routine for a couple of days), causing you to relax again. Until your eyes fall onto Tucker. He isn’t looking at the two of you, granted, but you couldn't help but glare. Why would Sarge ever consult him for advice? He’s literally the worst person to ask.

Glancing to the old soldier in front of you, you decide to just ask and get to the bottom of it. “So, what part of asking Tucker for lady advice was a good idea?” You return your focus on Tucker again as he pesters Wash and Carolina. The silver-haired man follows your gaze.

“Uhh,” he begins. “He said he’s had a lot of women.”

“And that makes him a qualified love coach?” You raise an eyebrow at him. He stares back at you, his own brows furrowed in worry.

“I feel like there’s not a safe way out of this conversation.”

“You’re probably right,” you agree.

He sighs, scratching his jaw. “He acted like he knew what he was talkin’ ‘bout. If he’s managed to get multiple women to bed with his techniques, why wouldn’t work for me?!”

You give him a flat look. “I’m not just some woman whom you can bed easily Sarge.”

He holds up his hands quickly, “I never said that!”

“It was implied. Besides, do you really think Tucker’s ever taken a woman to bed.”

You both look over at him. He’s flicking peas at Wash, accidentally hitting Carolina in the crossfire. She whips her head to him like an angry cat. Tucker is definitely not a smooth talker seeing as how his words don’t deter Carolina from standing up and advancing towards him.

Sarge grunts as you both watch the spectacle unfold. “Reckon not.” He turns back to you, “Shoulda known better than to trust a dirty blue.” His tone is aggressive as he stares off into space, probably imagining himself beating a blue to death.

Finishing your water, you stand up, followed by Sarge. You both place your dishes and trash away at the kitchen window. As you near the exit’s door, your date rushes ahead of you and opens the door happily. Feeling the need to be polite you give a small thank you. Once he arrives back at your side, he offers you his arm.

You stare at it for a moment, reluctant to take it, feeling uncomfortable with the idea of holding onto him that closely. He notices your hesitation.

“Relax sweetheart, it’s not going to bite you!” he jests. You give him a half smile but decline his arm regardless. You start forward and he falls into step next to you.

Neither of you says anything as you make your way back to your dorm, making the air rather thick. Or perhaps it was just you. Glancing up quickly at Sarge, you see that his normally hard features have softened, making him appear a few years younger. He looks completely relaxed beside you. Your glance must’ve turned into a stare because he meets your eye.

Face warm, you quickly whip your head forward ignoring the knowing smirk from your companion that you can clearly see in your peripheral. “Something on my face?” he asks.

“Yeah, rice,” you lie.

The Colonel must’ve believed your words because you notice him brushing his hand against chin briefly to feel for the grain. Finding nothing he drops his hand, turning to you. “Did I get it?”

Even though you know there’s nothing there, you look regardless. “Yep,” you confirm. That satisfies him.

At last, you spot your door coming into view and you quicken your step. Sarge surprisingly keeps up. Stopping in front of your door, you begin to type in the lock’s code. When you hear the telltale click of the mechanism opening you prepare to turn to your companion. That was a huge mistake.

He places a hand on the left side of the door frame, hovering over you like he did earlier that morning after breakfast in the hall. You frown, already sensing what he was about to ask.

“Reckon this is where we part,” he begins, attempting to sound casual.

“Yep. Goodnight.” You say, not bothering to lead the conversation on. You start to turn, hand on the door’s handle, but Sarge’s voice stops you.

“Aren’t you going to give your beau a kiss goodnight?” He looks incredibly hopeful. A shame you were going to have to crush his dreams. “No.” With that said you open your door and quickly rush in. Sarge is faster, surprising you for his age, and puts his foot in the door to prevent it from shutting all the way. “Now that’s just rude sweetheart,” he says, shoving the door wider to stick his head through. “Leaving without so much as a peck on the cheek!”

“You’ve already been aware that I’m rude.” you state, placing a hand on your hip, “And I’m not kissing you. Anywhere.”

“C’mon, just one?” he begs.

“No.”

“What if I said pretty please?”

“Still no.”

“With a cherry on top?”

“No! Sarge get out of my doorway!” you huff, pressing the close button again, attempting to squeeze him back into the hallway. The door simply moves back to the open position when it presses against Sarge, detecting an obstruction in its path. Stupid safety features. “At least let me kiss your hand!” he suggests, eyes still trained on you.

“What?”

“You know like they did in old classic films, where the guy’s kissing his lady’s hand! Thought you women liked that romantic crap,” he elaborates.

You roll your eyes, “If you think it’s crap then why suggest it?”

“Because I want to do whatever makes you happy!”

You stare at him a long time in stunned silence. You could hardly believe how dense he is sometimes. “You wanna know what’d make me really happy?”

“What?” he asks, leaning forward eagerly. Maybe a bit too eagerly.

“If you’d get out of my doorway!” you growl.

He sighs, straightening up again. “You sure are a hard one to get,” he concludes. You jut your hip out as you shift your weight from one leg to another. “You’re never going to ‘get’ me Sarge,” you remind him, crossing your arms.

“We’ll see about that Princess,” he smiles boldly. You open your mouth to correct him for the hundredth time, but you never form the words because He grabs your hand and brings it up to his lips. You almost consider jerking it from his grasp but for some odd reason, you don’t. You watch him intently as he gently applies a kiss to your knuckles before letting go. He gives you one more charming smile as he slips out of your door, telling you to sleep well.

You stare at where he just was, feeling quite odd. The skin where he placed his kiss still tingles as you close the metal sliding door. You push the confusing emotions bubbling in your chest to the back of your mind and instead head to your bathroom to change into your sleepwear. You'll be able to make sense of it all in the morning.

Chapter Text

You help Simmons heave a crate of alien technology up from the floor to another stack in the corner. You grunt as you set it down. You’ve been in the armory since five in the morning. Totally not because you were trying to avoid Sarge, no, no, no, you just wanted to help contribute to the war effort...two hours earlier than everyone else.

God, you were so tired.

At 3 AM your plan sounded brilliant, genius even, but now you were beginning to regret it. Since you were hiding--helping your cause for Chorus, you opted to skip breakfast. That turned out to be a big mistake. Your stomach could attest to that. Nothing can be done to soothe your stomach and Lunch isn’t served until noon; you should have never skipped breakfast.

I could’ve grabbed some oatmeal and just ate it in my room and returned the dishes later. But nooo, I had to have a ‘stroke of genius’ and work in the armory!

Stretching your arms to loosen the muscles, you follow Simmons to the back of the room to fetch another crate.

“A training rifle, Sir.” you hear a fed request at the counter.

“Righto! Grif, we need a training rifle!” Donut calls back to the orange captain. The order falls on deaf ears as the man in question is asleep on top of the ammo crates. It has to be incredibly uncomfortable, but Grif can make a bed out of anything.

Donut turns to stare at him, “Grif.”

Still nothing.

Grif! ” He shouts. The Captain snorts awake, looking around confused until his eyes land on the pink soldier. He sighs, dropping his head back down to the crate and flopping an arm over his eyes. “Simmons, Donut’s asking for you,” he yawns.

“He’s saying your name,” Simmons says, casting an unamused look at the man.

“Yeah, but I’m on break.”

“You’re always on break!” He grumbles.

For a solid three seconds no one moves, obviously waiting for Grif to get up and do his job, but instead, a snore escapes his mouth. Simmons mutters to himself angrily, walking over to his sleeping friend. He climbs up onto the crates until he’s on the same level as him. He steps over his body, causing Grif to peep open his eye at the movement. “The fuck are you doing?” He asks, suspicious.

“This.”

Simmons shoves Grif’s body off the crate, grunting with effort. “Wait--Fuck!” With a loud sound, he topples to the floor. You, Donut, and everyone else in line wince at the sound. Grif growls in pain, “You jackass!” He stumbles up from the floor and launches himself at his teammate. They both crash to the floor, wrestling against each other. Wow, you’ve never seen Grif so active this early in the morning; and it's only 10 AM!

Donut huffs in exasperation as the two cause a spectacle. You hear Simmons spit underwhelming insults towards his friend as they roll around on the floor like the children they are.

You watch the two of them for a few more seconds before turning to the pink armored man. “I’ll get the gun.” Walking around them both, you head to two crates in the back of the shop. Once you acquire the training weapon you skirt around the boys. You hand the rifle over to Donut. He sighs, taking it from you and shoving it into the hands of the waiting soldier. Turning to you he leans against the counter, ignoring the next person in line. “They act just like an old married couple!” You raise an amused eyebrow at the statement; however, at hearing Donut’s words the tall, redhead, whips his head around.

“Stop saying that!”

“Yeah, it’s fucking weird,” Grif growls, delivering a smack to the back of Simmons’ head while he’s distracted.

Donut huffs indignantly, “I said you were acting like a married couple, not that you are!

"Still!" Simmons replies, preparing to punch Grif, while the Hawaiian grabs his throat. Before either gets the chance to do some serious damage, both their radios burst to life.

“This is Agent Carolina to Doctor Grey and the Reds and Blues, I need you in the left wing hangar immediately, I have another mission for you.” She signs off with a click and static. Grif groans overdramatically, pulling his hands away from Simmons’ neck. Leaning his head back to the ceiling, he complains, “It’s always something!” Simmons huffs as well, but at his friend’s attitude rather than Carolina’s request. He brushes his armor off as though it were wrinkled clothing.

“Better you than me,” you reply, returning to the alien weapon crates to fetch Simmons’ helmet. Grif picks up his own which was discarded on his ‘bed.’ You hold out Simmon’s helmet to him while he approaches you.

“Think you can handle the armory with Donut and Lopez without us?” He asks you.

You tilt your head, “You and Grif weren’t exactly handling it any better.” You smirk when he grumbles, taking his helmet from your hands and shoving it onto his head.

“Got the teleportation cube, let’s go, dickhead,” Grif says, holding the item in hand. The two leave the room with a warping sound, leaving you with the flamboyant soldier at the counter, and a disgruntled mechanic in the back.

“I’m just saying, red accents would really pop on that armor!” Donut says from behind you. “Uh, but that defeats the purpose of my camouflage, Sir,” a soldier tells him. “You have to make sacrifices to be beautiful, Carter! Beauty is pain!” You can’t help but rub your eyes and think about those two hours of sleep you lost.

 

Once the last recruit leaves the counter for lunch, you sag in relief. Now you can leave the station and snag some well-deserved food. You start towards the door, mouth watering at the thought of food, but your fantasy is cut short at the sound of Donut’s voice.

“Sooo, how was your date last night?”

Immediately, you stop dead in your tracks. God. Damnit. Turning slowly, you stare at the man. He stares back at you expectantly.

“How did you find out about that?” You question him.

He laughs--no he giggles, like a freaking school girl talking to her best friend about her crush. “Oh, hon! I’m very keen when it comes to this kind of stuff.”

“Sarge talked about it at breakfast didn’t he?”

“Well, technically, yes, but I knew it the whole time regardless.”

Sighing, you rub your eyes, “What’d he say?” The last thing you wanted to do was stand around in the armory with Donut having girl talk, especially when you could be eating right now, but you’d rather get this over with.

“Well, he didn’t really reveal a lot of details, which is odd, he usually loves to gush about you,” Donut ponders.

Your eye twitches and your face grows warm. He gushes about me?

“Although, he did say you kissed!” He not so subtly pries. It makes your skin crawl in dread. Keeping your face neutral, you scoff, “We didn’t kiss.”

His face drops, “What?”

“He kissed me on the hand; that was it,” you state matter of factly, hoping your no-nonsense tone would cause him to drop the subject. He didn’t.

“Aw! That’s so sweet!” he coos, bunching his hands close to his face.

“No, it’s not.”

He smirks at you, “Don’t be so embarrassed sweetheart!”

You frown, “I’m not--Look, you’re reading into this way too much.” You turn away, waving off his claim, heading to the armory’s exit.

“I’m not reading into anything! It’s as obvious as the nose on your face!” He exclaims, jumping in front of you to block your departure. You scowl at him. “You totally like him!” He says, grasping your shoulders firmly, giving you a knowing smile.

Your scowl deepens, “Donut, this isn’t some high school drama movie where the girl fakes being in a relationship with a guy and they fall in love. It’s real life, and it’s a war .” You gesture around the room at the weapons and armor.

He giggles, “Hey, all’s fair in love and war!”

“That doesn’t even apply in this scenario. I'm not doing anything to 'win' Sarge at any cost if anything it's the other way around.”

“Same difference,” He dismisses offhandedly.

Rolling your eyes, you try to move past him and towards the dining hall again, but he stops you.

You growl in the back in your throat and he holds up his hands. “Easy feisty! Just one more thing!”

“What?” you snap.

“I just want you to know,” he begins, his childish tone replaced with a serious one, “that if you ever need relationship advice I’m here for you.”

You blink at him, quizzically, finding his statement presumptuous. Your stomach growls in impatience, obviously unhappy that you’ve not yet delivered its nutrients. If you don’t leave soon you’re liable to eat the guns’ ammunition out of desperation. Sighing, you decide you just need to play along with the conversation.

“Yeah, thanks, Donut...I can always count on you,” your tone isn’t even convincing; too tired and hungry to give the lie more enthusiasm. The flamboyant man doesn't seem to care about your cynical tone and gives you a friendly hug before linking arms with you.

“Let’s go, hun! Lunch is waiting and I’m craving some hot, creamy noodles!”

You jerk your head back slightly, surprised and confused at his wording. Noticing your startled grimace, he tilts his head. “What?” He asks innocently. “It’s Pasta Day!”

“You literally could have worded that in any way, but you chose that.”

“Hey, it’s not like I’m spurting out innuendos every minute like Lopez does! Seriously that bot is nasty. I’ll admit though, I wouldn’t mind getting freaky with his fettuccine.” Donut twists over his shoulder to look into the garage as if to make sure Lopez didn’t hear; however, the gleam in his eye told differently.

“You just further solidified my point.”

“And he further solidifies my--”

“Okay, let’s go!” You interrupt quickly, feeling more than uncomfortable.

“Right, we should hurry! I bet the line is just jam-packed!” He exclaims. Immediately your mind goes to the gutter.

He’s already rubbing off on m--wait, fuck, no! You scold yourself for the mental slip before you feel Donut tug you along by your arm. It’s quite a feat to keep up with him. Holy hell, he is a speed walker! He practically pulls you along like a rag doll through the halls, only stopping when you reach the mess hall. He finally lets go of your elbow, much to your great relief, as you walk through the doors. Placing your hands on your hips, you catch your breath; you’re pretty sure you got a stitch in your side from moving that fast.

“Oo! They have hoagies!” You hear him squeal. He’s quick to pick up your elbow again and drag you through the line with him. When you spot the spaghetti you frown in distaste; Donut has forever ruined food for you. Instead, you grab a small sandwich and a side of potatoes.

Donut stays close by your side, jabbering away at forty miles a minute. Desperately wishing to get away, you scan the room for Sarge. Under normal circumstances, especially after last night, you would never search for his company...but you’ll make an exception this one time. You're met with disappointment when you don't see him at your usual table. Dread settles in your stomach as you keep searching for his face through the crowd but to no avail. The one time I need him and he's gone! Lovely!

It’s then that you remember that Sarge is with Carolina on a mission. Your shoulders sag in defeat. Okay, maybe I can still sneak off, maybe Donut forgot that Sarge isn’t here.

You maintain your composure as you grab a water and smile through whatever one-sided conversation he’s having with you. Before he’s even finished you cut him off, “Well, it’s been nice hanging out with you, but I’m gonna head to my table now--”

“Why don’t you sit with us for today!?” he counters. “After all Sarge is gone for the day! Wouldn’t want you to sit by yourself!” Not given a chance to argue, he guides you over to his own table where Doc, Simmons, and Grif sit. As you sit down beside Donut, you raise an eyebrow at the two captains.

“I thought you had a super important mission to help ‘Lina with,” you say. A tiny bit of hope springs in your chest that maybe Sarge didn’t go along either.

“Didn’t feel like tagging along, sounded like there’d be a lot of heavy lifting and walking,” Grif answers you, taking a bite out of his pasta.

“Sarge, Caboose, and Tucker went instead,” Simmons explains, “something about investigating a temple.”

Nevermind.

You cover up your disappointment and snort good-naturedly, “Sarge went with two of the blues? I'm surprised.”

“I'm more surprised he went on an investigation, I didn't take him for the type to examine alien ruins,” Doc adds, eating his salad. “Perhaps he’s finally taking my advice and getting a real hobby!”

“He’s not, they're just there to lift heavy crates for Dr. Grey,” Grif says after swallowing his food. “Do you really think Sarge of all people would get a hobby?”

You smirk, mostly because Sarge is only on a mission to lift heavy crates, again.

“Yeah shooting his shotgun is about as interesting as it gets. That and killing ‘the dirty blues’.

“Speaking of Sarge!” Donut grins broadly, a glint in his eye.

Oh god.

He leans forward, “A little birdy told me that they,” he gestures to you, “Had a date last night!” You rub your temple, feeling a headache beginning to grow. Donut wasn’t content with hearing about the story from the source, he had to tell everyone about it as well.

“Oh my god, really? That’s so great!” Doc exclaims leaning forward as well. “How did it go, you have to tell us everything--”

“Yeah, as interested as I am in her personal life, I’m gonna pass. It’s way past my Noon Nap,” Grif cuts in, sarcasm so evident that not even Donut could misinterpret. He begins to stand from his seat, already finished with his food. He must’ve inhaled it because no human on earth could chew and swallow all of that in the amount time he had.

“I’ve already heard this story a dozen times from Sarge and I swear it changes every time, I’ll pass as well,” Simmons adds. You blink in surprise at this information. You can’t help but feel embarrassed that Sarge is blabbering about your afternoon to Simmons on multiple occasions.

“Awww!” Doc and Donut coo.

“You must’ve really charmed the old man to make him talk that much!” Doc grins. What are the chances that lightning would strike Doc and Donut at this exact moment? You stare at Simmons as he gets up, silently pleading him to save you, but he merely gives you an apologetic look before making his escape.

“So, what’s the story, tell me everything that happened!” the pacifist urges.

“We just ate. That was it,” you state, wishing the conversation was already over. Donut doesn’t share your sentiment. He’s practically buzzing beside you.

“Oh, come on, don’t be shy now! What did you talk about?”

“His poor life decisions.”

“You’re the worst story teller ever!” Donut groans, leaning around you to look at Doc. “I’ll cut right to the chase, they totally kissed!”

Doc gasps delightedly.

“We didn’t kiss,” you correct quickly.

“Yes you did, you said so!”

“I said, “on the hand. ’” you growl. You hear a gasp to your left and you turn to look at the doctor’s face. He’s smiling and has a hand on his chest. “Aw, that’s even sweeter!”

You sigh.

“I know right?! (Y/n) you caught a good man!” Donut praises. You raise a brow, unimpressed with them both.

“I haven’t seen or heard Sarge being this happy since...well since blood gulch when he got to use Grif for target practice! But my point is it sounds like you make him really happy,” Doc tells you, placing a hand on your shoulder and giving you an emotion-filled look. You stare back incredulously.

“All I said was, 'We talked and he kissed my hand.' Where did 'me making him happy' come from?” Doc grins patting your shoulder while Donut sighs, mumbling something along the lines of “How stupidly oblivious.”

“(Y/n) we’ve seen how he looks at you while you two eat and hang around each other.”

“Yeah it’s called creepy staring, he mastered the art of it. He has for months, this isn’t anything new, we’ve all known he’s been pestering me about dating him for quite some time now,” you reason, removing his hand.

“Psh!” Donut scoffs. “The point still stands that he adores you!”

You feel your stomach twist in unease at his words. Or maybe that’s just because your stomach still isn’t full.

“He’s just delusional,” you counter, refusing to believe Donut’s words.

He ‘tsks’ at you, shaking his head, “You’re either really blind or really stubborn.”

“Plot twist, I just don’t care.” Your temple begins to twitch the more Donut keeps pushing. Doc picks up on your rising ire and quickly steps in.

“Speaking of plot twists, I just finished my book on Medicine and Prejudice and let me just say that Dr. Harrows threw me for a loop on the last chapter! I mean, who would’ve thought that robotic eyes can cause motor functionality to decrease by 2.7% every eighteen years ?”

You take that as your cue to finish up your sandwich while Doc distracts the overbearing man. Your stomach is incredibly grateful to him.

The male beside you, however, isn’t. He blinks boredly at his friend as he continues his book summary. It’s only until the conversation switches into mindless gossip do you see the opportunity to slip away. You didn’t even need to make an excuse. Donut was so intent on Docs latest story, that he never noticed you get up and leave right before his eyes.

As you walk back through Armonia, you decide to go to the firing range instead of the armory. You don’t think you can handle being around Donut for another minute, besides, Sarge isn’t going to be around for the rest of the day, and possibly the week; you no longer need to hide out.