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Should anyone ask Smoke the reason behind his erratic request for a smooch from everybody, they will have to blame the man that he’s currently infatuated with.


 

Smoke and Lesion had maintained a steady friendship for the past few years, undeniably close and tame in their own zanny ways. They are your usual dinner and hangout kind of boys; yeah, those ones who would have endless banter during breakfast and spend the rest of the evening either lounging around or out for a drink. Smoke the somewhat coherent rambler and Lesion the listener with witty sarcasm. A steady friendship with occasional questionable ‘bromance’ on Smoke’s part, to which he flat out denied accusations of them being an item. Whenever people pointed out how Smoke was acting like a teen in a heat, he would flash a cocky smirk and say something stupid like,

“Cut me some slack. Ladies can’t get enough of me.” He used to say while hooking an arm around his best friend. Lesion also laughed and gave Smoke a nudge, and that’s how people perceived their relationship as. Brothers in arms. They didn’t have to know this was all an act of protection on Smoke’s part because he was aware of Lesion’s situation back in Hong Kong. Being born into a country that has low-tolerance on various kinds of sexual orientation is hard enough already, and Smoke didn’t want to put such a burden on someone who he found a genuine connection with. A weird and convoluted way of being supportive, but cut Smoke some slack, okay? The asshole of a Brit was trying his best in being decent.

See, this would have been a fine and dandy story, possibly a boring one at that. The favourable twist is that his pseudo-flirts started to grow into an unexpected feelings. The kind of blush that Smoke has been hesitant to admit and attempted to hide. Every little brush against their skins or up-close whisper while sharing a joke set Smoke’s nerves on fire. It was as if he really became a teen in a heat, sort of like a peer-fulfilling prophecy rather than himself. It took a while for a dunce like him to understand that perhaps those humorous innuendos bore some meanings rather than jokes on whim. And he wasn’t the only one who noticed the unusual attractions, so Mute and Sledge would occasionally tease Smoke as ‘good’ friends.

“You should straight up tell him about your boner.” Seamus suggested a jest.

“Piss yourself.” Smoke replied with grimace that doesn’t suit him. He knew that honesty is the best policy with a sly wordsmith such as Lesion, and yet there is a concern brewing. Concerns for Lesion’s well-being is the biggest part, but also Smoke had built a reputation as a trickster to the point where his sincerity has lost its credit. Of course Lesion knows Smoke the best out of everybody in this stinking military base, so the man will believe his words as they are.

The question is whether Smoke is ready to face the possibility of losing a good friendship. The answer would have remained as ‘ heck no’ if Smoke isn’t consumed with immense yearning for his crush. He wants the private touch. Desperate and animalistic desire spoken through eye contacts and lip-licking, and most of all, endearing moments where they can lay in bed while chatting about what fucks them off and what’s really fucked up at the same time. Fuck it. This isn’t like James Porter, a refined chav to act like an uptight posh porcelain.

Therefore he decides to drop the big bomb tonight, at a weekend gathering where the operators can loosen up by drinking copious amounts of cheap kegs and shots. He won’t get shitfaced for this special occasion, all while knowing that Lesion himself doesn’t drink too much either. Having drunken people around is a mere tool to set the mood at ease; the great out roar and alcohol induced chaos somehow reminds Smoke of the warehouse party he used to sneak in at 1am. Well this time, Smoke is standing next to a man who means more than a one-night stand that his teen-self used to indulge in.

“I think it’ll be the Americans who sleeps on the floor again.” Lesion chuckles as he sips on a bottle of Tsingtao. Smoke is tempted to join their regular banter of poking fun at others, and yet a part of him has an urge to say the words and be done with it. Here goes everything.

“I think,” Smoke skulls a Corona to moisten his dry mouth, “I think we can sleep together.” What.

“What?” Lesion repeats the question that Smoke is internally shouting at himself.

“What?” Smoke isn’t here. Only a dumb parrot who is running out of things to say.

“You want us to have a sleep together?” Lesion reiterates in a deliberately slow pace and squints.

“Yeah, well. It’s a proposition. I can tone it down for you if you’re more of a date type of guy.” Smoke finds it a miracle to sound remotely smooth by his standard’ and that’s no way near the eloquence that majority would agree with.

“James,” Lesion puts the bottle down softly, “Are you asking me out on a date?”

“Yeah, sure.” Smoke tames a squeak by pinching his own thigh.

“That gotta be the best joke I’ve heard the entire night.” The way Lesion grins while looking away strikes a nerve in Smoke’s guts. It may not be too late to bail by agreeing with Lesion. Smoke can laugh along and crack another ‘I’m too straight for you’ kind of jest. He shouldn’t really be pursuing after someone when he has been acting as straight as a ruler, and yet the innate desire to replace that pesky toothpick with his tongue overwhelms Smoke’s logic.

“No mate,” Smoke looms over the shorter man, “I am dead serious.”

“Hm,” Lesion looks up intently, eyes searching for sincerity while jaws chewing on his next words, "Then you just pretended to be a high school jock?”

“Well.” Smoke flaps the hem of his shirt and starts to explain why he acted like a womaniser, despite the fact that he doesn’t really care what’s under people’s pants as long as they enjoy what he has to offer. As he continues to talk, more restless Lesion’s toothpick becomes in his teeth.

“So you did it for me,” Lesion takes another sip and leans away from Smoke, “When I didn’t even ask for it.”

“Yup.” Smoke doesn’t know if he should swallow or cough out the big lump in his throat.

“Okay.”

“Oh, okay?” Smoke assumed he needs to explain himself better so he didn’t expect the brisk response from Lesion.

“But I think I’ll really believe you if show me that you aren’t just saying this while being drunk and horny.” There’s the catch. Lesion stays still while chewing on the pesky prick that Smoke feels the urge to thwart away.

“Right. How exactly do I do that?” Smoke contains an excitement. There aren’t many things that fazes this residential lunatic of the barracks. Lesion seems to notice the sudden giddiness from his ‘friend’, so his lips stretch ever so slightly for a little game.

“I dare you to get a smooch from everybody in this room.” An absurd idea and Smoke loves it already.

“You know I’ll do it,” Smoke opens a new bottle of Smirnoff, “And when you say ‘everybody,’ that includes you.”

“I know. So you have to ask everybody else first.” Lesion further explains that it doesn’t have to be mouth-to-mouth to lessen the difficulty.

“What will happen if I don’t succeed?” Smoke asks before he sets off.

“Then we will pretend that this has never happened.” The smile falters from Lesion, which drops another heavy weight on Smoke’s gut. He isn’t sure if Lesion means this hazy night of awkward confession or their friendship as a whole. To think that their bond is at risk over a stupid confession may sound like an unfair loss, but Smoke knows that he had stepped over the boundary by pretending to be the ‘straight’ friend as if that’s the best solution for Lesion.


 

Therefore he embarks on the journey. The first area to stop by is the SAS table for obvious reasons, and his fellow British comrades immediately understands the reason behind Smoke’s request for a kiss. Mute and Sledge place a smack on the hand as if they are paying a respect towards a royal fool.

“You fuckwit. Go fuck yourself.” Thatcher frowns while kissing on Smoke’s forehead as a form of blessing. That’s a clear and Lesion nods in approval from afar.

The next group is encounter is the Americans and they are all pleasantly intoxicated. Castle, Ash and Thermite proceed to plant a kiss on Smoke’s cheeks; Pulse places a kiss on the same place but more akin to a wet slobber that shudders Smoke to the core. He only assumes that the taller man is piss drunk beyond this plane of existence. Valkyrie kisses on the tip of his nose and Blackbeard begrudgingly follows.

The GIGN complies wordlessly as they have observed the ordeal that Smoke has been causing. Rook shouts something about love being the greatest thing of all and locks Lion’s head for Smoke to rub his hand on those scowling pair of lips.

The Slavs. Their stares are long, cold and most of all, piercing. Smoke wonders if their comprehension in understanding English has diminished due to the copious amount of strong liquour; even more so when Finka gathers his comrades for a secret meeting that’s openly spoken in Russian. The huddle breaks as Tachanka strides towards Smoke all while maintaining the leer.

“A kiss you shall get.”

“Yeah, just on my chee-” Smoke’s suggestion is quick to be muted because Tachanka leans in with such force to leave the most passionate tongue action. The rest of the Spetsnaz follows in similar tradition and the only person who won’t leave a possible bruise on Smoke is Glaz.  

The journey ends with GSG9, a group that’s the hardest to convince. They would have kept dodging the request if Smoke didn’t offer a bribe to buy four kegs of prime beer.

“You can lie and tell Liu that I smooched you.” Bandit shrugs defiantly.

“Come on, Dom. It’s for a good cause.” Blitz chides and he was the first one to kiss Smoke on the cheek. After some more encouragement and a mild threat from IQ, Bandit finally gives in and bumps his mouth on Smoke’s back.

That’s all. Smoke sweeps around the room to check if he missed out on anybody, then he finds out that Lesion is nowhere to be seen. Just as he looks around in desperation, his phone buzzes to notify a single text message that reads,

[I’m outside.]

Hence Smoke walks out while knowing exactly where Lesion would be. The tiny corner spot next to garage shutters, a favourite spot for those who yearns for cigarette breaks. The two usually spend their time there, but it’s mostly Lesion waiting on Smoke to burn a strand of two. As Smoke jogs to the destination, he grimaces at the sight of flickering ember floating in mid-air.

“I thought you quit smoking.” Smoke snatches away the strand that’s half-way gone to cinder.

“Can’t help it sometimes.” Lesion replies as he breathes out a long stream of grey and puts his shaky hands in pockets.

“Well, unlike somebody who doesn’t commit to their own challenge,” Smoke finishes the cigarette while feeling the tingle of an indirect kiss, “I’m nearing to finish the dare.”

“See, now. Was that so bad?” A chuckle that leaves a haunting echo, “Must be easier than quitting smoking.”

“Don’t quit on me yet. I still need to ask you if you would give me a smooch.” The time is nigh. A familiar sense of anxiety creeps back, much worse than an hour before their dare.

“Ask away.” Lesion steps closer, allowing himself to be within Smoke’s reach.

“Alright. Tze Long, can I-” The word hovers on the tip of his mouth, then a thought flashes past and a realisation clicks, “Can I ask you out on a date?”

“Much better.” The confirmation comes in the form of brushing their lips against each other, then a short and chaste connection. Less than what Smoke’s raging downstairs wants, but his brain knows that this is the correct step to start a relationship with someone who’s as cautious as Lesion.

“So you felt the same about me, then?” Smoke tilts his head back to catch Lesion’s eyes.

“You could say that.”

“Then why didn’t you tell me?” There’s a mixture of joy and disappointment as Smoke realises their feeling has been mutual while being hidden by the other party.

“Would I tell my straight best friend that I think about us rolling on your unwashed mattress that stinks with sweat and questionable stains?” Lesion is quick to put Smoke through the path of shame; in fact, double the embarrassment.

“It doesn’t stink and you know I masturbate in bathroom!” Smoke shifts to hide the obvious tent that’s shrinking at this point, “And I’m sorry for cockblocking us. Are you happy?”

“After seeing you begging for a kiss from almost everybody, yes. I am happy.” Lesion smirks at the rare sight of the crude Brit being bashful. He pretends to ignore the semi in Smoke’s southside and recounts the shock and awe when the Russians were the crew who committed to the truest meaning of smooch. How the FBI might have more decisions to regret tomorrow and the French were the real supporter of those in trouble. Smoke gossips about Thatcher being hypocritical while the man also has the hots for Montagne, and Lesion adds in that the older man might be jealous of Smoke for being so open about his romantic pursuit. The newly established couple maintains their treasured past time that’s been carried on since their friendship, and the only difference is that their fingers are intertwined with one another. An act of intimacy without being conscious about, and yet it’s comfortable and natural as it intends to be. This isn’t so bad. Should there be problems from Lesion’s side of family in the future, Smoke will be there, out and open. They don’t have anything to hide or pretend. They are together and no one, not even Smoke himself, shall disrespect their decision.


Chapter Text

10. How do they let their loved ones know they are dating? 

The GIGN would have an uproar. Twitch was in disbelief, Rook was very surprised and Montagne pretended to be surprised, purely because he was the one who brought them together. How or why? Don’t ask, don’t tell. That is his magic which involves charisma and thoughtfulness.

Doc told Twitch at first and she didn’t believe him. Then Lion said it again. She still didn’t believe until Monty said so. For a while she refused to talk to the three men because it felt like they were hiding a secret behind her back. Then Rook convinced Twitch that it’s their business after all and how Doc would appreciate Twitch’s blessings. So she admitted how rude she acted and apologised. 

When Doc told his family, they were worried about him at first. I imagine Doc’s family to be leaning on the traditional side but they wouldn’t be outright mean to their son. They wish Doc the best and says “we are relieved because you hardly have a time to find someone for you. Now that he is there, you better look out for yourself even more.” They later find out Lion is the one that Doc had been writing/talking bad stuff about, but they are chill. Bygones be bygones and let their future be happy.

Lion hid their relationship for a while. He was disowned before and he didn’t want it to happen again even though it’s very likely to happen. Catholic, rich and strict. He couldn’t even fathom how they will react. Although his has a thick skin, that doesn’t mean that words don’t hurt. On one day he told his parents and their reaction was harsher than he expected. He didn’t know there was a worse expression than being called a degenerate and according to their words, he was declared to be a sinner of the church. Claire was more open about Lion’s new lover but she couldn’t hide the bitterness. Lion thought he announced everything to everyone until he saw Alexis, his son. He wondered if the child would have a grudge against him. Claire couldn’t have possibly said anything positive about him to their child and they didn’t share much of father-to-son bond. 

“Papa,” small voice beckoned him.

“Yes?”

“Does that new guy kiss you?” A tug on his heart string. Lion gulped before answering but all he could manage was a nod.

 “Okay. That’s a good thing!” Simple truth that disregards all complications. Guilt pumped out welling emotions within Lion. “Mama said I shouldn’t talk to you but I think she is just mad. If she has a monsieur, I think you should have one too.”

“Aren’t you smart.” Lion patted on those delicate hair. He watched Alexis running back to his mother and they parted their ways. Lion held it in and he would have broken down into pieces if Doc wasn’t there to pick him up.


“I’m not jealous.” for Doc/Lion requested by icezero09

If anybody ask Doc about what’s going on between him and Lion, Doc wouldn’t volunteer to give an outright explanation as of now. Some people may speculate and bring up the old feud that had happened a while ago, but that’s not even close to what’s been going on.

Let’s get one thing straight. The only person who is making himself miserable in this relationship is none other than Lion. Who reached out to Doc with a proper apology? Lion. Who asked Doc out? Lion. And who said that he wants to keep their relationship a secret, even though this barrack has full of other couples roaming about? Monsieur I-am-too-Catholic-to-be-gay. Therein lies the problem, hence the hush-hush of their relationship.

Doc didn’t mind at all. Their days were tame and nights were wild, to which Doc relished the feverish touches and affectionate gestures in bed. Lion was also quite sweet when they were out in public, acting on the intimacy level of a best friend or co-worker. Then the sweet demeanor dropped instantly when he saw other couples around them. Smiles wiped out, pensive gaze became leer and legs shook in visible disapproval. This ridiculous behaviour continued for some months or so, so people began to notice the newfound mood swing within infamously temperamental man. Then it peaked when one day Twitch and Clash, a doting couple with their hands held together, strolled by in the cafeteria.

“Don’t you have works to do?” Lion spoke out in a volume that’s normally mistaken as hostile, but this time he had full intentions of being a dickhead. Doc hoped that the ladies wouldn’t hear and Twitch also widened her eyes at Doc, but Clash was already making her signature look of displeasure.

“Are you talking to us?” Clash stormed towards the two French men.

Mon chou, leave it. There’s no use in talking to an imbecile.” Twitch tugged her girlfriend away but she was gently nudged away.

“Morowa, that’s not what he meant-”

“I don’t need an explanation from you, Doc. I’m talking to your friend who seems to think a free speech don’t have consequences.” Clash stared down at Lion and demanded an answer.

“Why don’t you-” Lion halted for a second. Doc assumed that the man was about to hurl more snarky remarks, so he didn’t expect to see Lion slumping his shoulder and let out a deep sigh, “No. Never mind. My apologies.” Twitch and Doc exchanged a look of disbelief. Not that they don’t believe Lion’s words to be genuine, but the rarity of having an egoistical man tucking his tail in was somewhat jarring.

“Good. Watch your mouth next time.” Clash could have poured a whole new set of insults at Lion if Twitch didn’t physically drag her away. Doc thanked Twitch and waited for a few more minutes before he could concentrate on his troublesome lover. Doc was ready to scold the man for lashing out on their colleague, then he saw how low Lion’s head hung. It was as if Lion was shrinking in his own thoughts and burdens that Doc could only guess.

“What’s the matter?” Doc shook Lion to gain his attention.

“Nothing. I was just trying to tell that it’s not a good idea to be so open.” Lion shrugged and bit his lips on pitiful excuse that convinced no one.

“They can be open. It’s their choice, their rights,” Doc huffed as he felt the age old frustration towards Lion resurfacing, “Don’t say such nonsense because you are jealous.”

“I’m not jealous! I’m- I’m just tired.” Lion let loose of the agitation that he had been suppressing, even though he still staggered in uncertainty, “I know that. I’m also aware I need to do something soon before I lose you, and should probably have came out the same time when Gilles had told us about him and that foul-tempered badger.” He quietened down again with similar sense of defeat when he spoke of his best friend being a couple with an old geezer who punched his face.

“Stop. We’ve talked about this before, remember?” Doc couldn’t decide whether he wanted to hold Lion’s hands or slap some sense into him, then there were too many people possibly witnessing an intimacy that Lion forbade themselves from showing, “I’m willing to wait until you are ready. I know where you’re coming from and I wouldn’t have accepted you if I refused to understand who you are.”

“Gustave,” Lion yearned for a comfort, the rightful warmth and affection that he’s foolish to deny, “How long are you willing to wait?”

“Until our dying breaths,” Doc wrapped his arm around the other man; close enough but still enough distance to appear as comradeship, “And I’m quite a good medic, so that’ll buy you some time. You don’t need to hurry, minou. So please ease up and let others enjoy what we have as well.” Despite the apparent selfishness from the younger man, Doc understood him. Lion lived almost all his life as a straight man under a religious upbringing, so of course he’s still confused and may go through identity crisis from time to time. What’s important is that Lion defied his own personal belief to chase after the love of his life. He’s finally pursuing the happiness that he deserves and Doc was proud of him.


Inspired by cordemente

Imagine Doc sitting on a concrete floor, with his back against a nearby debris. He is covered with blood, so much blood that dyed his navy tactical suit into deeper shade of black. There lay a cold body of a recruit, who is certainly not a nameless but no one would know who they are unless their dog tag miraculously turns up somewhere.

“You know you can’t save them all.” A gravelly sigh holds Doc’s attention for a second. He notices a looming shadow in front of him and a light tinge of yellow in his peripheral vision allows him to guess who this could be.

“The bullet hit his artery on the neck. Of course it was a slim chance.” Doc disregards the notion of impossibility and inserts his adamant conviction. He wipes off the sprayed burgundy on his glove, which ends up being a messy smudge.

“Come on. Let’s clean you up.”

“Go ahead. I’ll leave after you.” Doc doesn’t even look at the hand that Lion reaches out for a support.

“Gustave, this isn’t the best place to space out.” Lion insists. He digs his hands under Doc’s arms to give the man a lift.

“Leave me be.” Doc pushes the other away and mutters something about his personal bubble being breached.

“You can’t stay here!” Lion tries again with more force this time.

“Why do you even care?” Doc growls and holds Lion’s wrist down, but his arms are already weak from the feverish attempt to save the injured recruit. They thrash and wriggle while exchanging profanities at one another, which doesnt last long when Doc’s already tired knees buckle in. Lion welcomes the other man in an embrace and tightens the hold, determined to not let go.

“Why do you even care?” Doc jerks back, refusing to melt in human contact that warms his fatigued body, “Why do you care now?”

“Because I didn’t care before,” Lion crinkles his nose at the smell of dried blood, “Because I didn’t know that you are the kind of fool who wants to be there for everybody while you are just a man. A man trying to do God’s work.” Ferocious rocking slows down into gentle sways as Doc stops himself to listen.

“Call me a heretic, then.” Doc scoffs to hide a wobble in his voice.

“No. I’d still have you as a fool,” Lion leans on a wall while pulling Doc closer, “A valiant, stubborn and rash fool who says yes when everybody says no. You are an aspiration that I failed to achieve back then.” The silent tranquility envelopes the closed space between them; only then they notice the rustles of fabric as they readjust to find better comfort in each other’s arms. The scent of sweat exuding their essence, the mild and regular thump from their chests. The longing gaze they share is an open invitation for intimacy, and for Doc to understand the sincerity in Lion’s words. 

“How long are you going to hold me like this?” Doc leans in wearily. 

“Until you have the energy to push me back.” Lion replies in confidence that they would stay like this for the longest five minutes of his life. 


13. Who reaches for the other’s hand first?

Doc was in his office when Lion walked in without a knock on the door. 

“Yes?” Doc asked without looking away from the clipboard on his desk. 

“You’ve got any antiseptics here?” Lion muttered as he went through Doc’s cabinet without permission.

“Hey! Watch out there-” When Doc grabbed Lion by his elbow and pulled him away, he saw a bloody gash on the said man’s knuckles, “What did you do to your hand?”

“Nothing. Just give me something to disinfect.”

“Sit down and I will sort you out.” Doc insisted to help out. He dabbed some liquid on cotton balls and cleaned the blood off. Lion kept flinching in pain and made it hard for Doc to wrap the gash with gauze, so Doc held Lion’s unhurt hand and allowed the man to squeeze while overcoming the pain. They stayed still, linked together by shaky handhold that soon trapped some heat and sweat in their palms.

“Um, you can use the gauze now.” Lion let go of Doc and let out a dry cough.

“Sure.” Doc agreed and got right back to it.

Chapter Text

14. What memories do they share together that will stay with them forever?

It was an ordinary day. Routine was the same and Gilles followed his schedule on time. One thing that isnt the same would be his love for her growing stronger day by day. Being with Emmanuelle has been a miraculous blessing for Gilles because he thought it would end up as one-sided affection. A lonely pining, if you will. When some of the other colleague hinted that she felt the same for him, he didn’t hesitate to buy the most colourful bouquet in the town. An old clichè, but confession with pretty flowers hardly goes wrong. When he expressed how he felt for her, oh that damned smile she beamed at him. It felt far more vibrant than roses and lilies in his hands, especially when she kissed him straight after he confessed. Ever since then, remembering that fateful day brings a silly grin on his face. Rather than being stuck in this office with arduous paperwork, Gilles is very tempted to find his lover and pamper her with kisses and hugs. Just as he is about to delve into such sweet daydreams, a knock on the door wakes him up from being too distracted.

“Hello?” Someone calls out from the other side.

“Come in.” The door swings open once Gilles acknowledge their presence. “Miss Álvarez! What brings you here?” He nods at a friendly face and gets up for a brief handshake.

“I will get straight to the point, amigo,” Elena appears a little giggly at best but tries to hide it with a slight grimace, “Suppose if you die tomorrow, what would you like to do?”

“Pardon?”

“Simple, really. If you might die now, what would you do?” The question is a bit too sudden and morbid to fully register, especially when she is rushing him for an answer. Gilles contemplates on answering back, wondering if this is a joke.

“I would-” Gilles has to think again, “I would like to see Emma again and hold her hand.”

“Sounds good enough,” Elena chimes, “Alright. See you around.” Then she leaves the room. He sees her again during dinner but she only nods back at him without explaining whatever she was doing before. Judging by how she is talking to Emmanuelle, Gilles assumes they are having some fun in teasing him.

The next day he includes gym session as part of his schedule. Sweating while lifting weights is part of a meditation, a way to empty his mind a while. Then he showers, dries himself and heads to his office again for more written works to be done. He is mildly surprised to find the desk to be empty, completely devoid of the tower of papers that he had yesterday.

Quoi?” Upon close examination, he finds an unique drone on his desk; the prized model of his girlfriend’s. It has a note taped on top, which reads ’Suis moi (follow me.)’ Gilles slaps his forehead at such cute game that Emmanuelle has set up. Although he’s embarrassed to play along, there would be no harm in indulging himself for a small surprise.

The drone takes him to the GIGN quarters at first. When he enters the dorm, Gustave and Julien stare at him with a strange sense of readiness.

“Hurry! You need to get changed now.” Julien throws Gilles’ suit while Gustave gets gel and comb ready.

“What’s happening?” Gilles asks while confused and perplexed.

“No time for that. It’s good that you showered.” Gustave is quick to sleek the man’s hair back. It all happened in blink of an eye and before Gilles could ask more question, he is instructed to follow the drone and pushed out of the dorm. The drone whizzes down the hallway and stops again in front of more familiar faces. Alexander urged Gilles to down a particularly bitter drink, and Vicente gives eleven roses and says those are for Emmanuelle.

“I’m going with you,” Mike pats on Gilles’ shoulder, “Flament will be there too.”

“But why?”

“You’ll see.” Mike picks up the drone and leads the way. Gilles is slightly weirded out at how many people seem to be involved in this drone-chase that he thought it was just between him and his lover. He becomes even more confused to see a number of others clapping and sending congratulatory regards on their way outside of the barrack. It’s as if he is on the way to-

“He’s here!” When he arrives at the shady part of the trees nearby the barrack, Grace is the first one to shout out in excitement. Emmanuelle is also there, surrounded by Morowa and Monika who are massaging her shoulders as if they are giving her some sort of an encouragement.

Amour, what is going on?” Gilles walks toward her.

“Oh! I-” Emmanuelle stutters, which is unusual of her. Elena whispers something into her ear and this seem to give her a newfound courage.

“Gilles,” She steps forward with her hands hidden behind, “Ha, nice day, isn’t it?” A few others laughs along with Emmanuelle. She takes a deep breath and continues, “All this time, you’ve looked out for me. You are my mentor, friend, comrade. And most of all, my lover.”

“Of course.” Gilles leans into hug the woman who is visibly nervous, but Olivier gently pulls him back.

“I know this is very unorthodox, or maybe too rushy. But we don’t know what will happen to either of us while working in this… profession,” She reach out to hold his hand, “I know you’ve been waiting for me to feel ready. I’ve heard the phone calls you had with your parents and the way you’ve said ‘it’s up to me.’ I felt so happy to hear that. To hear that you respect me and my decision,” as she kneels in front of him, people gasps, “Gilles, my darling. I’ve, uh, I’ve decided to spend my life with you. I really want to tell you that you are the only one for me in this world. People say engagement shouldn’t matter too much but I wanted to do this when we are both healthy and alive. I just wanted to ask you- will you marry me?” Then in his hand, she places a small burgundy box.

“Oui,” It’s a response that came within a heartbeat. Gilles couldn’t care less of the tradition or the societal gender norm. What’s important is that his lover gathered up all the time and effort to prepare this grand event of his life. This is the same kind of boldness that he fell in love with and there isn’t a thing that he would change about her, “I would die to be a husband to such a wonderful soul.” His lip quivers but it dissipates when she kisses him with such intensity, just like the first day they became a couple. Cheers and whistles roar up and some may shout ‘get a room,’ but the newly engaged couple ignores the cheeky remarks and keeps on making out for the longest time of their lives.

Chapter Text

James thought they were on the same page regarding their relationship. Nothing too serious at first, a casual fling that’s starting to grow into something more than a quick nighty. He has recently found some solid meanings of them as a couple and assumed their pace in this relationship to be the same. That was until Seamus began to talk about what to do after their retirement.

“Wait, so-” Seamus pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs, “you are going back to London?”

“Yeah. Where else would I go?” James replies without looking up at his boyfriend. He misses out on catching a flicker of confusion on taller man’s face.

“I’ve told you that I hate living in city.”

“You don’t have to. Don’t you have a flat in Scotland?” Dead silence. James sits up after sensing an unspeakable tension and cocks his head at a pair deeply furrowed eyebrows.

“James. What am I to you?” Seamus asks again and James can tell he is being patient.

“Someone who’s too good for me.” Actually, someone who is graduating out of being a fuck buddy. James swallows down a crass phrase that popped up in his head and replaces it with something closer to the general truth. 

“Let me rephrase. Have you ever thought about spending our lives together?” Seamus doesn’t even need to wait for a response. Anybody can decipher the way James’ eyes flutter; his lips slack open and head shakes in ignorance.

“I regret ever loving you.” That’s all Seamus has to say before storming out of the room, leaving James apprehended at his own incapability of seeing Seamus’ point of view.

What the fuck did just happen? Gears begin to click and James slowly starts to realise that the connection is severed between them. That sheer fact alone fills his heart with sense of dread that he assumed himself to be invincible of. This isn’t the first time he angered his boyfriend, on purpose or not. Perhaps he has been abusing Seamus’ trope of being the gentle giant of the lot because the said man always forgave James on multiple occasions. Spent a crazy night out in London and started a bar fight? Seamus handled it. Missed out on their anniversary because he got carelessly wrecked during a mission? Well, Seamus understood the situation since that was the nature of their job. He even forgave James’ tactlessness when they met his parents back in Scotland. Come to think of it, Seamus has put up with James on a level that ‘friends with benefit’ wouldn’t even do. Unless he thought them to be something more than that while James hadn’t.

Could James ever be forgiven due to his stupidity and selfishness? He will have to grovel all the way across the base and ask Seamus to deck him on the face for being such degenerate.

Chapter Text

14. What memories do they share together that will stay with them forever?

I’d like to imagine that they were on a mission. They had a solid plan but got separated from their group. Just the two of them fighting and slashing through the terrorists and the battle lasted the whole night. Exhausted, grazed and achy muscles. They were pushed to their limit and the com-device says they are almost there. When Blitz relaxes a bit to reload his handgun, a whitemask shot through a wall. Bandit didn’t even think - he pushed Blitz down and ran out to flank that motherfucker. Blitz shouted Bandit to come back but all he could hear was an exchange of gunshots. Everything went quiet and ten seconds felt like an hour. Blitz rushes out to look for his lover and his blood ran cold when he sees the familiar lanky figure laying down on top of a white mask. 

“No, no.” Blitz bit his lips and ran towards Bandit without even looking around to see if there were any other ambushes hiding. Fortunately the com-device finally announced that the area is clear, but it was unheard by Blitz who was holding the man with his eyes closed. A ray of sunlight dawned upon them, gently caressing his lover covered in dried up sweat and blood. The entire body of Blitz shuddered in disbelief and shock until-

“Don’t say no. We are done now.” Bandit was actually okay. He just collapsed in fatigue. Blitz nearly pounded on the man for pulling such facade but he was just glad that everything was okay. It was all over and there wasn’t a single puncture on the man he is holding dearly.

“We live on. Here’s another dawn to us.” Bandit patted on Blitz and relaxed his body a little. However, this wasn’t just another day for them. It’s start of a hope, a newfound perspective that both of them care for each other regardless of their own safety. A foolhardy way of checking each others’ love. 
They got told off by IQ later.


Prompt: “You deserve so much better than me.”

Have you ever had that moment where you look at someone and immediately associate them with everything bright and positive? Elias is a likeable guy who everybody would want to be close with. He’s indeed an exceptional model of a police officer who never fails to lighten up the mood in their workforce, while being all humble and modest. On top of all this, he is competent enough to be hand picked by Six herself and join one of the most affluent international counter-terrorist units. Self-sufficient, radiant and influential without flaunting it.  Yes, he is a sun that shines alone in the vast galaxy of darkness. The source of heat and energy for all living beings. A lighthouse for the weary and lost.

Could Dominic compare himself to a moon? An antithesis of olden metaphors that are too cliche? Not at all. It’s just hunk of a rock while he is a mere human who did what he had to do for a living. Infiltrate, adapt and survive. Pretty much the summary of his two years as an undercover agent. Even if what he did was legally protected, there were actions that he wasn’t proud of. Consequences that he never had to face because rather than being punished by the law, his dirty deeds got him paid and promoted. Him being prideful is only on the surface because the nightmares always remind Dominic of the moral values that he wanted to forget. Quite the contrast to the career profile that Elias had earned. Their experiences have a fine line of justification and everybody can see which one of them has cleaner past. Despite all this, Elias chose to be with him and that doesn’t sit right with Dominic. Whatever the thought process is, the end result will be a whisper; a faint prayer that he wishes to be heard and ignored.

“You deserve so much better than me.” Dominic traces a sliver of gold reflecting off of dark brown under the sunlight. He doesn’t dare to fully caress his lover, fearing that will wake him up. It’s better this way because Elias has developed an annoying hunch of knowing when Dominic is brooding or just plain tired. It’s either Elias is really good at figuring out what’s inside of a recluse, or Dominic is opening up a little too much for his liking. Regardless, Dominic isn’t sure of how long this bond will last and it could be better to cut it off before he becomes too accustomed to this warmth. Maybe he can enjoy just one more day. Today shall be the last. He will let go of Elias as soon as he wakes up. The other guy may not take it well and it will all be Dominic’s fault for taking those dazzling smiles away. After all, taking the blame sounds far easier than being anxious about losing some fleeting happiness.


20. What do their family/friends think of their relationship?

IQ and Jager aren’t surprised at all. They congratulate Blitz and warn Bandit to ‘behave.’ 

”Don’t make him cry!” IQ pats hard on Bandit’s back.

”Don’t hesitate to punch him if he misbehaves.” Jager chimes in, fully knowing that Bandit would glare at him as if he is the ugliest cat in the world.

Cedrick is the only one feeling skeptical when Bandit brings Blitz home. Their parents are very happy to see their son living and loving the normal life, but his twin brother is like “What kind of ransom are you holding against this poor man?” He later finds out that Blitz radiates sunlight, fun and positive energy. Irresistible man, he would think. 

“No wonder why you fell for him. I thought you would be single till you die, but he rescued you.”

-

Blitz’s family are very welcoming when Blitz introduces Bandit as his lover. Their smiles, friendly attitude, natural chumminess… Bandit could see that apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. He feels a little to overwhelming, even. They aren’t doing anything wrong. He appreciates affection and respect they show, but it feels like being the blacksheep of the family even though they wouldn’t know about his past at all. Blitz notices shades on his lover’s face and tells his parents that they’ve got a motel to stay at. Bandit thinks Blitz’s parent would be confused and insists on them to stay, but the older couple nod in agreement. They proceed to pack some sweets in a container and suggests different places to look around in the town.

When they arrive at a motel that still has a room to spare, Bandit thanked Blitz for being considerate. 

“Well, that’s one more group of people to find me rude.” He sighs.

“What? They found you absolutely delightful! Don’t worry, liebe. They are the last people to judge.” Blitz leaps onto the shared double bed and pats on the side for Bandit to join. They spend the day together in motel, watching some corny police movies and share the dessert that came from Blitz’s house.

Chapter Text

12. Who initiates kisses?

Maestro thought that he was the smoothest criminal out there. Out of all the encounters that he had, it was him who initiated the dance, hand holding and secret rituals in bed. He felt more secure of having more control in the relationship, regardless of them being serious or a fling. Glaz wasn’t different from many other romantic pursuits, so Maestro thought he could woo Glaz instantly. They didn’t dance or drink; all Maestro needed was a quiet moment for just two of them to stare into each other. The moment was right and he was sure that the attraction was mutual. There were number of times when he noticed a flirtatious smile from the sniper, or when they shared a glance at each others’ naked bodies. Most of all, Glaz agreed to meet Maestro in private. What more sign could Maestro ask for?

“Glazkov! What a coincidence to see you here!” Maestro started to run his bullshit engine on.

“Yes, coincidence,” Glaz played along, “Also a coincidence that I received a message from you to come here.” He waves his hands around the dimly lit room of GIS dorm; the place had a few candles on and pair of wine glasses along with neatly assorted plate of tiramisu.

“Come on, don’t be so absurd.” Maestro shrugged and invited Glaz to sit next to him. Everything that came out of his mouth was compliments of Glaz’s ability during their latest terrorist extermination, how the Russian was composed like a hawk looking for its prey. Glaz nodded at the flatters and commented on Maestro’s competence. They exchanged niceties and narrowed the gap between them inch by inch as they sipped on wine. Maestro felt the undivided attention from the younger man and the thrill of building up a moment that he was dying to deliver. 

“I like you, Martello,” Glaz chuckled and gave the Italian a toothy grin, “And I’m sure that you aren’t stupid to think this as a camaraderie. We are more than that.” Hearing that from Glaz made Maestro’s heart leap a little, reminding him the first time playing the game of courtship. 

“Of course. It would be a shame to waste such perfect mood.” This was it. Maestro reached out to place his palm against the Russian’s cheek, fully ready to kiss.

“Yes, it would be a shame,” Glaz held up a finger and blocked Maestro’s lips, “to end it here.” Then he gently pushed the older man back and finished the last drop of alcohol.

“Why end when we can start right now?” Maestro chuckled to conceal his confusion.

“Because I don’t start with anybody who aren’t serious,” Glaz laughed back and stood up to look down upon the Italian.

“Oh? I urge you to give me a try.” Maestro stood up as well and tried to hold the other again, but this time, the hand rather than the face.

“Sure.” And within blink of an eye, Glaz lunged in for a fast peck on the lips, rendering Maestro speechless and incoherent of what just happened.

Che? A lone murmur escaped while his mouth tingled with warmth.

“Next time, I want more details when asking me out properly. Good night, Adriano.” With that, Glaz walked out with prideful smirk. (I don’t know who might have told Glaz about Maestro’s casanova-ness. Only the Lord knows what’s really up.)

Chapter Text

6. What is their favorite feature of their partner’s?

People assume that they bonded through companionship for beards, but that’s only partly true. They began to share same product for facial hair care and mild soap. Two men nod at each other after they shower and fully dry their beards, but that’s not the favourite feature of their partner.

Thatcher is impressed with Kaid from the day he saw the man. Tall, broad shoulders and piercing gaze. Rather than a mountain, Thatcher saw an eagle; the kind of animal that doesn’t need to stretch out its claws to appear intimidating. Judging by the physique and posture, Thatcher knew that this Moroccan also dedicated his whole life in the military and adamantly stayed with his comrades on the field. The man’s charisma was charming on skin-deep level, but Thatcher fell for Kaid’s undying devotion for his own people back in Morocco. 

Kaid saw Thatcher when he watched a training session of SAS. The recruits moved in unison, communicated each other and listened to Sledge’s order word by word. At first, Kaid thought Thatcher was an adviser or one of the higher ups who came to watch Sledge in action. Then he noticed subtle glances from Sledge to Thatcher, as if the older Brit’s presence was bothering him. Curious of the whole situation, Kaid walked over to Thatcher for a closer inspection. They shared a courteous greeting and shook hands, and Kaid was pleasantly surprised to feel the callous and fresh scars on Thatcher’s palms. This guy must be a commander of this base. Nice job on disciplining the younger commander. Conversation started with brief information about their own troops, and then Thatcher explained that this session is Sledge’s training as the next leader. When Kaid said “Suppose it’s better to prepare your retirement early,” he saw a flicker of spark glaring at him.

“I’m still fit to tend my fort. Wouldn’t you agree, commander?” Thatcher was smiling but Kaid saw aggressive vivacity; the kind of emotion that a young man would exert. Kaid never thought that there would be someone like him in this world and he wanted to see more of that liveliness from Thatcher.

 

12. Who initiates kisses?

I had to think hard about this one. Like, toss and turn in my bed and imagine how these two serious men would actually kiss. Then you know what? They are just two men. Perhaps lonely individuals who finally have found each other to satisfy their needs and wants. They may have thought about having someone to hold for a while, but doesn’t know how to be casual about affection without appearing to be immature for their age. I think Kaid would have that mentality where frequent physical intimacy is past their age, so let alone initiating a kiss is outrageous. Does he want it? Of course he does. Thatcher also wants it but he can see Kaid being darn right uncomfortable about it so they usually end up just chilling around. ‘Two gramps, chilling in a busy pub, two feet apart cause they’re so gay.’

So who asks in the end? Thatcher. He just couldn’t take it anymore. Why were they wasting their time, such limited life span worrying about small things that won’t even matter when they die. It took a while for Kaid to be convinced. Thatcher kept asking without beating around the bush and he finally heard the exact words for mutual desire from Kaid. They kissed quite awkward at first - just lips touching without any movement. The older man mumbled how their beards prickle each other. 

“That can be arranged. Where is your shaver?” Thatcher chuckled softly and walked around the room to find one.

“Don’t spew such nonsense! We just need more practice.” Although it was a joke, Kaid refused to even imagine Thatcher without his magnificent facial hair. They tried again with much more ease this time and ended up practising through the whole night.

 

29. one headcanon about this OTP that breaks your heart

Kaid feels guilty. The possibility of finding someone was beyond his grasp, because let’s face it. Who would want to be involved with someone that made all his schedule revolving around the Fortress?

For all his life, Kaid poured everything within him into the Fortress, to make it stronger and more renowned.

Spending time in Rainbow meant to be a business trip for him, but then he met Thatcher, someone who is going through a similar situation as him. Kaid fell in love with another soul who understood what he was going through and for the first time in a while, it enjoyed the blissful miracle. However as time went on, Kaid loses confidence in this relationship. It’s unprofessional, a hindrance to his life long plan and most importantly - Morocco wouldn’t allow it. Kaid is tempted to break it off with Thatcher numerous times but he only contemplates on it. The day he ends their relationship will really be the end of it. Kaid is desperate to find a way.

Thatcher is impatient. Yes, he is aware of Kaid’s situation. A fine mixture of ambition, discrimination and the nature of their profession. Does that mean Thatcher is fine with everything? No, because they may not have much time left in them. What’s the chance of survival for a soldier? Less than half. Thatcher is past his prime and so is Kaid, so what does the percentage say for them? Thatcher wondered if this is the right time for his retirement. To settle down, spend his time with Kaid and let their bones rest. Buy a nice place in Bideford for them to stay, or perhaps find a neighbourhood with an open mind. And yet, Thatcher is constantly reminded of those terrorists that are still out there. He still has a job to do. He wants to be active in service until his body breaks down. Kaid has been an inspiration for him, so for that exact reason, it hurts him to see both of them give up on their dreams so soon. Thatcher wants a lot of things that seem impossible to achieve all at once.

Is ‘love’ enough to put an end to all they have achieved? Can they make more sacrifices to attain what their heart desire?

 

30. one headcanon about this OTP that mends it

Oh man now I made it too hard. Hmmmmmm OH I got one. A weak one but maybe it can work out.Six receives an email from Thatcher, wanting a private meeting. When they meet up, he asks about an update on improving Kaid’s school. Before Six could ask Thatcher’s intention, he quickly proposes a joint combined exchange training between SAS and GIGR, a partnership plan to work on conjoined mission so the GIGR will get more international exposure. The idea sounds quite abrupt and out of blue, but Six reads over details through a handful of document that Thatcher has brought.

“We are already working on promoting the newest CTU within Rainbow, Specialist Baker. Is there a purpose behind these recommendations?” Six asks as she neatly organises the papers.

“There will be a certain benefit that we will gain by supporting such highly redeemed organisation.” Thatcher replies.

“A certain benefit for who?” Six clicks on her pen idly and watches Thatcher intently. 

“For all of us.” Thatcher looks straight into her eyes without a blink or twitch. They discuss further on what can be done and adjourn the meeting, as Six has another appointment soon after.

Kaid shows up exactly after ten minutes. He nods with a curt greetings and shares his schedule of readjusting visa for longer stay. 

“The British Special Air Service have some interesting individuals, I say,” Kaid describes their method of training and comments on Sledge’s recent training under Thatcher’s supervision. 

“Not as interesting as your colleague.” Six mentions about the intricate maps that Nomad has been drawing.

“Of course. She is a specialist, after all,” Kaid strokes on his beard and pauses for a bit, “A free spirited explorer. Discovering new resources. I guess she is the one who will bring the wind of change.” 

“Is she your successor?” Six asks, immediately curious at the fact that the secretive Moroccan decides to share a bit more about his own regiment.

“That’s not my decision to make alone. But if she is to become one, it would be better to make connections now, starting from here.” Kaid continues to explain what he envisions. He requests to bring in some of the TSCTP soldiers as recruit for a first hand experience, and they could start their work under the guidance of SAS and GIGR operators.

“A conjoined training,” Sounds familiar to Six but Kaid doesn’t have to know that, “This way, we can disperse our forces evenly with less travelling.” Not a complete garbage of an idea, but it sounds quite rushed to Six.

“Don’t tell me that you are retiring after all that time we spent on you.” She isn’t afraid to hide a cocky grin.

“I fulfill my side of contract as long as you uphold yours. Don’t you worry, director,” Kaid scoffs and readies to leave the room, “I’ve got a long way to go until I get everything ready. And I mean everything. Only then, I shall travel back and forth between here and my home.”

Chapter Text

17. Who says I love you first?

Mira said it first and felt a tinge of regret at first. It was only a month after they started to date and she berated herself for being too rash and stupid. They aren’t some love struck teenagers, drunk in summer love with rose tinted lens. She stopped saying the ‘L’ word for a while and felt relieved that Ash didn’t say it back. After a while, she noticed Ash prolonging their kisses and cuddles. As if she was constantly craving for more physical affection, but not saying what she wants. That was very uncharacteristic of the blunt American. One day, they were in a phone call because they were assigned in different countries. The chat was nothing of ordinary - they shared who did what and how stupid their day was. When they were about to hang up after series of ‘goodnights’ and ‘I miss yous,’ Ash stayed quiet. Mira could hear breathing on the other line - not the calm and content one but ragged and irregular huffs.

“I-” Ash blurted out a word, startled Mira a little, “I- need to check tomorrow’s schedule. Give me a second,” Rustling or fabric and paper were all Mira heard, and then, “Okay. Everything is good. I- I will, yeah, I guess um,” Ash halts again and let out the biggest sigh.

“Niña? Are you alright?”

“Of course! I am super. I will just,” Ash swallowed on her spit, “I will just say goodnight. And I love you. Bye.”

“What, Eliza!?” Mira called out her lover’s name several times but found out that Ash hung up. To be continued?

 

20. What do their family/friends think of their relationship? (From same post as above)

Mira’s family is ecstatic. They bombard the couple of questions of ‘WHERE, WHEN, HOW, WHAT.’ A lot of family future plans are made within the first three hours the visit. Mira’s dad is cautious of Ash, wondering if Mira’s new partner will be someone who leaves her just like his wife did.  After having a few conversations with Ash, he relaxes a little but still keeps his guard up.

“Can she even sweep you off of your feet?” Dad asks.

“That’s my job, papa.” Mira replies and demonstrates straight away.

Ash’s side give her a little… headache. Her parents are happy that Ash has found someone to settle with, but they aren’t thrilled with how the eldest of the house will take it. Of course, savta throws a fit at Ash, yelling how she is causing commotion within the family by going against the law of nature.

Ash tries to reason with the elder. She wants them to see how Mira makes her happy and no one, she means no one as in men and women, can replace Mira. They argue back and forth, and Ash is beginning to feel ashamed that Mira has to sit through such dishonour. She knows that Mira would have flipped the table and unleash pandemonium upon this place if she wished to, but Mira is holding her temper down to not make the situation worse.

“YOU CANNOT GIVE US GRANDCHILDREN WITHOUT A SEED! Why couldn’t you just stayed in Israel and serve your duty as a woman in this household? You need to come back this instance and learn how to live properly from the beginning.”

“The only person who’s acting like an UNCULTURED BROAD IS YOU!” Ash screams back and everybody, except Mira, gasps in horror. They catch a flight back to England that night and Ash spends the entire trip fuming with seething anger. Mira hugs her, holds her shoulder and promises that their love will remain strong and steady, no matter what.

They return to their base, to their friends who has shown support from the beginning of their relationship. Ash prefers to stay with her FBI crew - she speaks fondly of how Pulse joked that Ash has someone to tame her, how Thermite said Mira will give them extra discount on engineering materials. Castle gave them his blessing by complimenting how two women balances each other out, and Jackal began to invite Ash over for shooting range training. Ash feels home at her workplace and nothing about that is ironic.

Chapter Text

6. What is their favorite feature of their partner’s?

At first, Maverick thought Glaz was hard to read whenever they go out for a mission. An enigma wrapped in face-paint and mouth-scarf, quick and efficient in taking aim and shooting right on the enemies’ head. They worked nicely together as a team because he found Glaz by his side whenever he made a ‘kill hole.’ Those haunting pair of blue never lost a sight on target and Maverick was very impressed with the Russian. Whenever they had a after-mission party, Maverick saw Glaz being stoic and intimidating (just your big man leaning against a wall like a bodyguard,) but he knew that Glaz wasn’t really enjoying all these people around. Tense shoulders, tightly shut lip and most of all; those steely blue eyes wavering whenever someone approached Glaz for a small talk. It was a pitiful sight, a situation that Maverick emphasised so much with. The deadly sniper, the predator wasn’t there in exposed environment. That’s when Maverick asked Glaz if he wanted to go out for a smoke or a breather and that’s when they talk more privately. Maverick thoroughly enjoyed his investigation which soon became more than that.

Glaz thought that Maverick is just another crowd pleaser, Mr Tall-Tales. He had to admit the content of the stories were entertaining and intriguing enough, but the story-telling itself was the most interesting part.

Whenever Maverick described the vast land of Kabul, the mountain and its hidden beauties, the legacies of the olden days left in forms of architecture and cuisines… All these stories were in second person narrative. “You wouldn’t believe,“ “Suppose youcould go up there if you have a pack of rations and strong booze,” “If you visit the nearest restaurant.” Whenever someone made a comment about Maverick’s personal experience, Maverick would make a subtle flick on his brows and add a little bit of his experience but quickly resumes back to the story. The enthusiasm and energy attracted Glaz, but it was the sense of secrecy that made him wanting to know more about Maverick. (Plus, the guy is handsome and who wouldn’t want to hangout with a hot guy? Like, privately outside, away from all the commotion?) 

 

25. Who needs more assurance? (From the same post as above)

Both, in a way. Here’s what JV has suggested and I wanted to flesh it out as a small ficlet.

When the team’s residential painter sits still in front of an empty canvas, people may assume that he is deep in concentration. A lot of their colleague have seen the sharpshooter in action, or rather inaction because they assume a sniper’s role is to perch somewhere far away and crouch like a gargoyle for a shot. They aren’t but Glaz doesn’t bother to correct them. He can’t explain every little thought process that goes into his head while preparing for a shot. Not just any shot; it’s best to land a precise and clean head shot rather than sloppy spray of bullets. However, art is different. It may be planned or spontaneous, but the common factor of creating an art piece is that the creator must be moving. They must continue to experiment and expand with pencil, paintbrush or even a piece of clay. Being a sniper and an artist require some degree of being attuned to details, and yet they have difference paces of reaching to a conclusion. Instantly deleting and slowly creating an existence - that’s the irony of what Glaz do. Therefore Glaz isn’t happy with himself at this moment, where he is just staring into a blank space. Although nothing is worse than leaving a paint to dry, he is tempted to crack a new shade of blue open, and wonders that will motivate him to at least paint something. Maybe he could do something with brown by mixing it with red. Make himself an in-between of maroon and burgundy, then splatter it to taint the purity of white. He could work with it as it could remind him of boiled strawberry for a kompot. The inner vein of the fruit, the delicious mixture of red and white like muscles and tendons. Funnily enough, blood would look brownish when it stains on clothes, just like that time when he saw that boy bleeding in his parents’ arms from Beslan. Limp, lifeless in midst of the sadness boiling into rage-

“Tim.” A soft touch awakens Glaz from his trance. The Russian leans back and smiles when his weight is supported by someone who he loves. Maverick smiles back and bends down for a kiss. 

“You reek of booze. This better be that kvass I made for you.” Glaz furrows upon smelling a hint of alcohol.

“Would you be less mad if I say it was vodka from Senaviev’s flask?” Maverick chuckles.

“No. I was going to ask you to save me some,” Glaz sighs and pulls Maverick closer, inviting the man to sit on his laps, “because nothing comes out of my brain tonight.”

“Does it have to come out tonight?” Maverick adjusts to make himself more comfortable.

“No, but it would be nice to have something painted at least once a fortnight. And it’s been more than a month.” Glaz leans his head against the firm and sturdy back in front of him. The familiar sweet scent puts his mind at ease, but only by a little. Curse his restless dilemma.

“Look,” Maverick shifts and turns so he faces Glaz, “you can’t force this. That’s just how it is, Timur. Where is the fun in life if everything beautiful and wondrous are scheduled? Nature has their own rules but they don’t think about it. It happens because it’s meant to happen. Don’t trap yourself in obligations that aren’t for you. You are the boss in whatever you do.”

“Aren’t you a wise man?” Glaz smiles and he can feel it becoming wider as warmth grows within his heart.

“Smart that I am, but wise? I will have to think about that.” Maverick plants a kiss on Glaz’s forehead. 

“Don’t be too humble now.”

“Just speaking the truth.” The American holds the other’s hands, which allows Glaz to have a closer look on the famed tattoo. A question arises; the similar kind of curiosity that struck Glaz ever since they started going out. Is this the right time to ask about it? Those robbed two years of his lover’s life? No. Glaz has waited for Maverick to open up first and he prefers to wait longer, because some things are better told without being asked.

“Why do you think that you aren’t wise?” Suppose that’s okay to ask. Although it sounds like a distraction for himself, Glaz is genuinely curious of what Maverick really meant.

“Because there is only so much that a cleverness can do,” Maverick moves his arms behind Glaz’s neck, obscuring his tattoo, “knowing a lot means I need to make use of that information. If I am wise, I would know how to dispose of them for my own good.”

“You make it sound like we are machines,” Glaz softly cups Maverick’s cheeks, “we can’t add and delete what we see, love. But we can take in what’s in front of us and either let it out or keep it in. I guess I’m the kind who likes to let it out through arts and crafts.” And perhaps through a legalised murder, within the right justice.

“Promise me one thing.” Maverick grins and leans closer.

“Anything, Erik.”

“Promise me that you will be there when I find a way to let it out. When I finally wise up.” They share a slow kiss, the one that allow each other to match their breathing and sway in a gentle rhythm.

“I promise, within all my heart.”

Chapter Text

3. Most common argument?

Oh! This is the first time I am answering a question #3 out of this OTP memes!I think Doc and Monty would fight about whether the best defense is a good offense while Doc heavily disagrees. Monty is speaking from his perspective as a shield bearer who charges into the enemy field for his teammates while Doc argues back, saying that kind of tactic only works on attacking team. Monty says that the defending team has a fair share of roamers who strikes the enemies first, and Doc would say that’s their role. The operators with most armour are better to hold their position in case of enemy flanks and/or ambushes. 

“Darling, I can’t exactly do that,” Monty clenches his fists and pleads, “I am their front line. That’s my job.”

“Well, it’s my job to look after everybody in this base!” Doc knows that he sounds far from being reasonable, but- “Including you. I just want to see you less injured. Fully alive and well without risking your life for the others.” This is a foolish debate. Who has the luxury of no bloodshed in battle field? On what right can Doc ask Monty to watch out for only himself? Doc is well aware of what Monty does and the pride he holds for his position, and yet his entire body trembles whenever Monty returns Hereford covered in red and purple from bruises.

“I live for you, Gus,” Monty holds his shaking partner, “Nothing will hold me down, mon coeur. I promise.”

 

12. Who initiates kisses?

Could you believe that they only had three proper dates within the first few months of their relationship? Not because they were shy of their relationship, but it was rather something to do with their profession. I view both of them to be really serious about their career, so they already had a strict routine for themselves. Therefore whenever they date, it always felt fresh, always felt awkwardly new when stepping into each others’ boundaries. Monty was dying to do something more other than eating at fine diner or gazing each other romantically. He was constantly distracted by those lips. Monty wanted to slide his fingertips against Doc’s nape and pull them closer if Doc would allow them to be so intimate. He craved every bit of Doc but what if he was too soon? It had been a while since Monty wooed someone and people seem to have different pace of relationship nowadays. 

“Gilles-”

“Gus-”Both of them stopped as soon as they said each others’ names. They exchanged the whole ‘no, you go first’ until Doc raised his hand, asking for a moment to speak his mind.

“Do you think we are going in the right direction?” Doc sighed and bit his lips.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, this is great and all,” Doc nudged at silverware on an empty plate and blew one of the candles out, “but I really had to ask you.”

“You can ask me anything.” Monty was eager to hear.

“It may come off as rude. Haste, even. For God’s sake, we aren’t teens high on hormones,” The slight dry cough interrupted Doc, “But I need to tell you how I feel. It’s strange that I am being so cautious now as if we haven’t asked each other out; I guess I needed to gather some courage before leaping into the next level of ‘us.’” Doc stood up and dragged his chair closer to Monty to sit right beside him. The tension was thick as it scaffold from mild anticipation to full-blown raw desire. 

“Do you propose to kiss?” Monty shifted himself closer and dared to touch the other’s shoulder. They leaned in; their eyes held the moment of mutual decisiveness while enjoying each others’ unique bodily perfume. And that’s how they mixed their taste for the first time.

Chapter Text

6. What is their favorite feature of their partner’s?

Doc would joke that he always thought Twitch’s eyebrows are ‘on point,’ but he fell in love with what he found during her physical exams. He didn’t eye on her physique or figure, but bits of scars on her body. The evidences of her services in the military. The marks of labours and hard-earned respect, the callouses not just on her hands but also balls of her foot from combat boots. He saw well-developed muscles on her shoulder area to withstand the recoils, and silhouette of sternum when he tenses her pectorals.

“Are you staring?” Twitch asked, sensing an intense gaze on a place deemed inappropriate.

“Yes,” Doc replied half-heartedly, then quickly realised how wrong that must have sounded like, “I mean, no. I was making an observation, I was uh-” he had to cut it short before digging a deeper hole for himself, “I was making a mental note. I’m sorry.”

“If you are going to tell me that I am not suited for this job, tough luck,” Twitch scoffed as she got dressed after the check-up on muscle group and joint maneuvers, “I’m not going anywhere.”

“No, you’re fine,” Doc replied, “There is no one who has the capability to carry out field duties while maintaining and re-inventing our electrical gadgets. Just watch out for certain chemical poisoning and you are fit to work as long as you want.”

“Oh,” Twitch looked taken aback, both at his professional remarks and her own hint of spitefulness that she displayed earlier, “That’s good to know. Very good to know. Sorry that I sounded like I’m on edge - I guess I got tired of being judged without being asked.”

“I understand,” Doc shone a tired smile, “Some people tell me that I am too good for this job when they don’t even know what goodness is. We all chose to be here, didn’t we? We chose this.”

“Yes,” Twitch reciprocated the smile with a shy grin, “Yes, we did.” And that’s how Twitch also noticed Doc, a colleague who understood her needs and wants. It felt nice to connect with someone who recognised her as who she is, minus the condescending behaviour under the pretense of being worried for her or some bullshit like that. She didn’t fall in love with him right then, but it was after some observation that she took of Doc. She saw him constantly trying to make an emotional connection with his ‘patients,’ making small talk to ease up the mood for those who were unnecessarily nervous, or be stern with those who didn’t take their health issues seriously. She saw him making genuine effort to be ‘your number one friendly local doctor.’ An advocate for a thankless job in a profession that people don’t even know they exist. She thought he isn’t half bad.

 

 

7. What’s the first thing that changes when they realize they have feelings for the other?

I can see Twitch avoiding Doc like her life (career) depends on it. She wants no distraction at work and now there is a hottie taking her attention away from her lovely drones. How the heck is she going to not get herself slip up whenever she has a weekly meeting with the fellow GIGN mates? When she visits the infirmary for a check up? Since when did this bookworm look so delectibly handsome and sexy? Rook and Lion don’t care for little changes within the team but Montagne knows. He sees the subtle changes of how Twitch treats Doc in and out of their practices; her manner of speech becomes more rough and curt when responding to Doc. Rook would occasionally ask if Twitch needs some time alone because of stresses (he wouldn’t even guess about the monthly thing - Rook is just one of those good guys who assumes his teammate being tired because of workloads.)

Doc is the opposite. When he feels an attraction towards someone, he thrives to get to know them. That’s why he has been trying to catch a moment with Twitch because he thought they share mutual feelings, but with her being so distant, he becomes more confused and discouraged even. Montagne watches them from afar and sighs, thinking they are couple of helpless lovebirds who are speaking two very different mating calls. He decides to ask Rook for help and what does the young French do?

Attends, quoi? Tu pense vraiment qu'Emma et Gus s'aiment bien?

[What? Are you sure that Gus and Emma like each other?]” Rook shouts, carelessly allowing himself to be heard by everybody who speaks their native language within vicinity.

“Julien, where did you learn your manners? That’s not what I said at all.” Montagne holds an urge to smack the younger man some sense in him, but he bites away a smile when Doc and Twitch walk in almost immediately after the perfectly timed commotion. The rest is a story to tell in the future, something that Lion learns later whether he likes it or not.

 

12. Who initiates kisses?

Twitch. It started quite abruptly, when they were sharing a desk in local library. She watched him deeply focused in a book that he had been wanting to read for a while; the way those lips busily wriggled to bite its own loose skin amused Twitch to no end. The wrinkles and creases stretched as his front teeth caught the tip of flimsy layers, and as it ripped apart, there was a glimmer of red welling out from the inner part. It was a quick reaction, something that came out without any consideration at all. Twitch placed her fingertip on the freshly made scab, which incited a sharp take of breath from Doc who widened his eyes in surprise.

“You shouldn’t do that,” Twitch whispered an excuse, “Don’t you have any ChapStick of sort?”

“I use Vaseline?” Doc weakly replied in a similar volume.

“Don’t use that!” She hissed, “It’s an abomination. Here, you can use some of mine.” She looked through her bag, tossed and turned heap of items and growled when she couldn’t find that darned little thing.

“Don’t worry, we will get some later.” Doc patted on her shoulder and attempted to soothe her.

“Fuck it, then. This will have to do.” Twitch sighed and leaned forward, brushing her well-moisturised lips against his. She made an effort to lightly rub on his bottom lip as an intention to soothe the sore.

“Em?” Doc blinked, “You know that doesn’t really help.”

“Shut up, we are in the library.” Twitch shoved him away and buried her face in the book she wouldn’t be able to focus on.

 

13. Who reaches for the other’s hand first?

It was Doc for the longest of time. At first, he held her hand nothing out of personal feelings. They sometimes held hands while helping Twitch to balance on her feet while her physical exams. After they started to date, Twitch spent some time alone in the workshop and Doc would see her sitting lonely with the stand light casting shadows over her.

“We are really together now, huh?” She said when Doc made his presence known.

“Yes, we are.”

“I don’t know whether this is a blessing or a curse,” Twitch sighed and fidgeted on one of the wires laying on top of the bench, “It will all be over when either of us bites the dust.”

“No one’s going to ‘bite’ dust,” Doc sat in front of her and held those trembling hands, lightly kissing every knuckles that had their own scars on them, “I will get you right back on your feet whenever you falter. Wherever you are.”

“That’s impossible,” Twitch chuckled, “You are tickling me, lapin.”

“I made you smile. That’s one thing possible.” He brought her hands closer to his heart and hummed. Kisses and cuddles won’t dissipate all the worries they have for each other, but the pure act of sharing concerns shall give them courage.

 


 

25. Who needs more assurance?

Twitch would sometimes find Doc alone in his office, tending the stim pistols and fiddling with the ammo-flasks.

Lapin,” She calls out to him, “Are you ready to sleep?”

“Yeah, I’ll join you soon.” He flashes a small grin without any trace of joy.

“Come on. What’s up?” Twitch drags a stool and sits next to her lover for a closer observation.There are shades caused by bags under his eyes and his hair isn’t combed nicely anymore. She holds down his shaky legs under the table and lay her head on his shoulder, attempting to calm the restlessness by sharing her warmth, “What are you thinking about?”

“Have you ever thought about who we kill?” Doc whispers, “Who they kill? And whose lives we are saving?”

“I think about who we protect.” Twitch replies and feels tension in the hands that she is holding.

“It has been four years since those White Masks made an appearance, but we don’t know what they want. What their aim is. How many of them do we have to kill? How can we prevent whoever from joining them?” Doc rants on, each words shortening his breath, “How can we guarantee that who we save won’t become one of them? I am fearful that the lives that we value won’t value ours. Now that I’ve become to love you, it would make me doubt my devotion if something bad happens to you in the future. I want to retire and ask you to come with me, but you and I both know that we can’t just simply walk out. We won’t walk out-”

“Shh,” Twitch caresses his cheeks and brings them closer to have their foreheads touching, “Slow down a bit. I know what you mean. What we do is a thankless job, but we are here, trying to find the source of the problems. As Six has said, we are engaging force with force. If they continue to be a problem, we will have to stand tall and strong to fend them off.”

“It just seem so endless,” he sighs and breathes in to appreciate her scent, “And I am becoming numb with taking lives away. It is a necessary part of our job, I know. I’ve made that choice. But I can’t bear the thought of them taking yours.”

“Gus,” Twitch remembers the conversation they had when he kissed her knuckles. It’s her turn to reassure him this time, but words of comfort don’t come straightway because she also knows the depth of despair he is going through as of this moment, “I am scared. Scared for you and I, wondering whether we will fulfill our duty with all our limbs attached. But I want you to know this,” She brings his hand to her chest, “As long as my heart beats - as long as I am alive and well. I swear that I will do everything within my power to stay safe and sound. Everything I do to survive and fight on, it will all be for you. For us. I need you to stay strong with me and get me right back on my feet.” She reminds him of his words and watches his face light up as he recalls the promises that he made.

“How did I forget,” He chuckles and rubs his eyes, “How could I forget what I said to you. I love you, Emmanuelle. I will stay strong for you and you only.”

“Good. Now come and warm my bed! I might catch a cold if there’s no body heat on my mattress.”

“As you wish, mademoiselle.” He enjoys the light pull on his arm and the gentle touch they share. He always knew she is far braver than he will ever be, but tonight really highlights everything he admires in her; unyielding valor, energy and empathy.

What he would give up to ensure their safety - he may have to make some hard decisions in the future.

 

29. one headcanon about this OTP that breaks your heart

When either of them dies

I meannnnnnn maybe it could have been when Doc was away for the Outbreak mission. As I’ve heard from other people’s headcannons, it was a secret even amongst the operators. That was Doc’s decision to prevent mass panic - so she would have been confused and baffled to see Doc leaving without giving her details. No matter what she tried to get information out of him, he could not tell her since it was against the contract. The misunderstanding kept building on until the day of his departure.

“So you are not going to tell me where you are going, whatever you are doing and when you will be coming back.” She spat out venom that jabbed on his chest.

“I can’t, amour. I am sorry.” He sighed and swallowed down the aches of guilt and frustration.

“What kind of lovers are we, hiding things from each other?”

“Emma, this is strictly confidential. It’s my decision as a professional and,” He lowered the volume, “It’s for your own safety too.”

“To hell with that!” She stormed off to opposite direction. It was hard for her to admit that there would be similar occasions such as this in the future, where some of the operators will be given one of those ‘top secret’ missions that cannot be revealed. However, anxiety for his safety was blinding her away from logical explanations and even if she knew he was right, her heart couldn’t simply accept all this.

 

30. one headcanon about this OTP that mends it

I thought about Twitch staying mad until he comes back, but I imagine her coming to an understanding that it would be better to set her temper aside and acknowledge Doc’s decision. Also, she knew that Doc would beat himself up for making her mad, and allow guilt eat him up during the entire mission without any apparent end period.

“Gustave,” She called out the name that she will miss dearly, “Sorry that I lashed out on you like that. It felt like I am sending you off to a foggy land without seeing what’s in front of us. You made me a promise to stay strong, so I’ll trust you on that.”

“Don’t worry. They gave me an office job,” He wasn’t completely wrong about that one, “But I’ll also be on the field too, so I won’t get too chubby either.” Then a truth, just to make himself feel less guilty.

“That’s good. I know you prefer to be out there rather than trapped in a room,” She hugged him tight, clung onto the back of his shirt until her knuckles turned white, “You better come back safe, like we said.”

“I will do everything within my power. Everything, for us.”

Chapter Text

3. Most common argument?

“Why are you such a cold bitch?” A loud yell echoed in the lounge room and that’s the queue for people to either leave or pretend like nothing is happening in front of them.

“I said that you don’t need to worry about it. This is my business and I can sort it out without you nagging me what to do.” Caveira taps the edge of her unsheathed pocket knife, her fingertip putting bare minimum pressure to make an indent without any actual cut.

“Stop that! You will cut yourself!”

“No I won’t! Are you my nanny or some shit?” They fidget and wrestle, hands clawing onto each others’ wrists, Ash’s legs trying to push in while Caveira’s foot flailing to push out.

“Hey,” Thermite whispers to Castle, “What is it this time?”

“Pereira ignored her family’s phone call and Eliza thinks it’s the most important thing to not miss out on.” Castle raps under his breath before either of the women overhears him.


7. What’s the first thing that changes when they realize they have feelings for the other?

So. Thanks to our lovely new Six Potter, we know that Caveira and Ash has a little chasing game going on. It all began when Ash outran Caveira by using a breach charge to create a shorter route. The ecstasy of ambushing the ever-so prideful Brazilian snake was overwhelming at the time. Ash said something along the lines of “Got you now!” and she received no response from the other woman. Silent glare was nothing out of ordinary for Caveira, so Ash thought nothing of the encounter. It didn’t take long for Caveira to achieve her revenge - she simply followed Ash behind her back and took her out then.

Then on one fateful day, they didn’t chase at all. Caveira was following after the trail of an American who she wanted to do more than just pin down on the ground for an interrogation. She felt the desire to pull Ash into an embrace and hug without hurting. Ash kept looking back to see if her favourite viper was chasing her, wondering how those chilling predatory gaze became so soft and tender. All those banters and boasts they shared after the training. Every little moments they fought and competed on a shooting range. The awkward silence of side glances and false pretense in an open bay shower. The late night chats within their group or alone. They had developed feelings for each other outside of the field and sensed a weird pull for one another.

“Aren’t you going to run?” Caveira called out as she slowed down with Ash.

“Because you aren’t chasing.” Ash stopped in middle and waited to be caught up.

“Do you want to be caught?” Caveira stood in front of Ash as of this moment, cocking her head to catch a better angle to see Ash’s feverish blushing.

“Yeah.” That’s all Ash had to say. Every slow step Ash took seemed to match the heavy bumps that Caveira felt under her chest. She was captured by her favourite prey and within a second, they were hugging in rhythm.

“I’ve got you now.” Caveira stroked on Ash’s back and wondered if her words were unsuitably creepy in this context, but that didn’t pry Ash off of their embrace and that was good enough.


13. Who reaches for the other’s hand first?

Caveira wanted initiate affectionate gestures because it’s always been Ash who reached out for a first hug. It could be Caveira’s turn to be the first this time. She can break out of the fog that surrounds her vision whenever there is a chance for her to be gentle, warm and loving. It’s not that hard, it SHOULDN’T be hard. Caveira gains the courage, the same kind that she gathered during her first knife fight during her teen years. She reaches out and allows her shaky hands meet her lover’s. They intertwine their fingers together and let the heat evaporate thin sheet of cold sweat in her palms.

“Hello, miss shy.” Ash winks as she pulls them closer.

“As if.” Caveira shrugs and leans against the slightly shorter woman to calm down her raging heart.


17. Who says I love you first?

They are still playing the pretend hunt at this moment. Ash has scanned through the new map ‘Outback’ to find a spot for shortcuts because Caveira’s facial expression when caught off guard is too damn adorable to her biased justice. As soon as the round starts, Ash runs around all corners of the building as if she is a mad hound; she even brought extra breach charges instead of flash bangs just for this occasion. And yet there’s no sign of this damn woman. Where is she? She can’t disappear into a thin air. Where is she hiding? Ash pants in excitement and thirst for the most special presence in her life, her heart remembers the special kind of flutter whenever she caught a glimpse of plaited brown hair flickering in the corner of her eyes.

Then Ash hears that familiar noise that isn’t so dreadful anymore. The faint pops accompany mild stings on the back of her knees, forcing her to collapse on the floor. The faux-health monitor also indicated that she was perfectly ‘downed’ for an interrogation.

“Got me now, huh?” Ash flashes a smile of joy.

“No,” Caveira kneels down and Ash expects a rubber dagger under her chin, “I’ll have you for a lifetime,” The Brazilian rubs a strand of amber red between her fingers and leans in for a kiss, “I’ve got your heart, so I will give you mine. Love you, you rash dumbass.”

Chapter Text

4. Favorite non-sexual activity?

Caveira visits Doc’s office most of the time to sharpen her blades and clean ‘luison,’ inside and out. She goes through her maintenance delicately, and either reads a book or watch something on her phone until Doc is finished with his workload. They go out for a walk in the park or forest, and one day Doc notices that sometimes he hears one set of footsteps rather than two. It mesmerises him that she is honing her own skills despite them having leisurely moment without being in the base. Out of curiosity, he asks “Can you teach me that?”

“What?” Caveira seems confused at first.

“How to be so quiet.”

“Hm,” Caveira walks around Doc in circle, judging him up and down, “I’m not sure if you have a knack for this kind of stuff, rich boy. Anchors don’t need to be stealthy anyway.”

“It’s quite fascinating to see and experience, wouldn’t you agree?” Doc shrugs off the snarky remark.

“It’s not a cheap thrill, babe. You’d rather be thankful of your position, safely tucked away in the defending point.” Caveira huffs and lightly nudges Doc on his chest; then rolls her eyes when Doc holds her hand to gently pull them closer.

“How about this. I would like to walk around the defending point quietly so the attackers can’t figure out where I’m hiding. So I can be extra safe, being tucked in and all. Like, hm, one of those snapping turtles.”

“A what?” Caveira tries to hold her scowl a bit longer, but those tightly shut lips couldn’t contain the uncontrollable chuckle. The image of well-geared Doc in his broad grandeur, and having that compared to an aggressive turtle jerking its head in and out to bite whatever out there. It’s weirdly awkward, random and adorable at the same.

“I think that’s a good enough reason for a private lesson.” Doc’s grin widens in pride for cracking the stern facade that his lover often wears. She feels the urge to disrupt those silly curls on his lips with a ferocious kiss, but that will be after admitting she agrees with his point.

“Alright, smartypants. We start tomorrow.” And that adds to the list of non-sexual activities they share.


13. Who reaches for the other’s hand first?

Doc constantly reached his hand out for Caveira whenever she was sitting down on the floor. Let it be out in the battlefield, gym or even obstacle ranges. He would be there to offer a hand, no matter how many times she ignored it. Caveira stood up glared at him, to which he returned the hostility with a grin and respectful nod. The glare softened when they became a couple but she continued to refuse the offer.

That was until when they trained at Chalet during winter. She vaulted out of the window for a quick ambush, and that was proven to be a rash decision as she got downed. In the corner of her eyes, she saw Doc vaulting out as well to give her the stim shot. Foolish man. Why do I love this sheep of a guy? She thought as he quickly aided her.

“Come on, let’s get back.” Caveira was about to vault back and noted how the snow was slippery under her foot. Just as she looked back to warn him of the slip, her eyes widened at the sight of Doc faltering backward, ready to fall from the ledge they were standing. Everything rolled in a slow motion where his surprised expression distorted into primal fear, and his hands were reaching towards her in dire need. There was no need for a thought; Caveira held onto the window ledge and threw the other arm to her lover. She grunted at the hard tug on her chest and shoulders, a relief that she caught him. They were thrown back inside thanks to some strength and leverage, or perhaps Caveira’s adrenaline induced panic.

“Do you even think?!” She yelled without caring whoever might be around, “That fucking stim can’t save you from cracked skull!”

“I can say the same about you! Whatever you did was way too risky.” Doc didn’t shout but his whisper was course from toning down his annoyance. They argued incessantly throughout the whole defending phase, which resulted in giving away their location and getting shot. To whoever attacked them, they could see the couple tightly gripping their hands with white knuckles until they were forced to retire. And they didn’t seem to even notice what they were doing.

[When Capitão heard what went down between Caveira and Doc, he taunts her by saying “Holding your man’s hand unless he is in grave danger? I remember a telenovela that my mamai used to watch.”

“Fuck you, old man! Fuck. You.” And this is why Harry assumes that they are on bad terms ;)]

Chapter Text

On the third night of seeing their bed cold and barren, Jackal took a deep breath and spent another night awake alone. Contrary to his dire desire for comfort and affection, the Spaniard had been waiting rather patiently because he knew what kind of a person his lover is. Never once he complained or pried Doc off from that darned table, or drag the man away from messily piled papers that needs individual attention. He wanted to be a dependable partner. Doc was always there for Jackal whenever he suffered from unseen pain, so it’s only right to support a workaholic by giving him a cup of blackest coffee once in every three hours, right?

However, there had to be a line drawn when this kept going on for a week. It became painfully clear that Doc’s involuntary episodes of insomnia ate his sanity away and Jackal felt guilty for allowing this to happen. He couldn’t stand the depth of bags under Doc’s eyes, how it sinks low and dark with exhaustion. Therefore when Jackal walks into the infirmary, he carries no warm mug of caffeine this time. It’s easy to find a disheveled figure tipping his toes to reach a ring binder that’s stacked on top of a shelf; a sight Jackal would normally find adorable if his heart isn’t aching with pity and tinge of melancholy.

“May I?” Jackal grabs the ring binder without waiting for Doc to answer.

“Thank you,” Doc nods in gratitude, “And sorry for making you wait. I don’t think I’ll be sleeping tonight.” An excuse, but a genuine one. The kind of reasoning that Jackal can’t get mad at because everything Doc does has a noble cause. Then what good is a ‘noble cause’ when it does more harm than good to his beloved?

“I think you should.” Jackal puts the ring binder away from Doc’s reach.

“Ryad, you know I can’t do that now. I have things to do.”

“Nope. Not tonight.” Height advantage is quite useful, especially when Jackal brings Doc’s head close to his heart. Perhaps the restless French can listen to his steady heartbeat and ease into the rhythm, the same kind they share on lazy Sunday morning under a cosy duvet.

“Ryad!” Doc moves away from Jackal. The unexpected harsh force is far from hurting Jackal, and yet the nudge leaves a bruise beyond rib cages and muscles, “I need to finish this before it’s too late. Go back to bed, amor .”

“You can’t be serious.” Jackal feigns a frown.

“I am. Pardon me but I need to be alone. See you in the morning.” Doc returns to his desk without giving Jackal a second glance, as if he expects the man to show himself out. Would Jackal listen? Nay. He sneaks right behind Doc, uses his palms to cover those reddened eyes and proceeds to gently tug the head back. It’s a mild surprise to feel no resistance; perhaps Doc is tempted to give up and comply.

“It’s okay to sleep, you know. No one will say a thing for having one night’s good sleep. I mean, if someone complains,” Jackal holds a chuckle when Doc’s mouth gape in slight protest, “I can say that you fainted straight into my arms, you know?”

“If you wanted my attention, you didn’t have to go to such extremes,“ Doc murmurs, “Not gonna lie, it’s a little bizarre to see a fully grown man being playful like a prepubescent boy.”

“Prepubescent-” A light bulb sparks on top of Jackal’s head, “Is that so?” Then he walks in front of Doc this time, smirking at the attention he is basking in.

“What are you doing?” Doc twirls a worn-out pen in his hand.

Oh ,” Jackal let out an exasperated groan, “Dios mío , my chest hurts.” And crumples on the floor with a dramatic thud. An act, a silly one at that, but he is determined to maintain Doc’s attention.

“Aspirin’s in the third drawer.” Doc responds dryly.

“I see Faisal waving at me.” Jackal wails.

“I bet he is laughing his ass off, seeing his hermanito being a man-child.” The couple are way beyond the stage of being overly cautious about Jackal’s long dead brother. Throughout their romantic relationship, Jackal had described his lowest point of hallucination a quite number of times, which he tried to convert it into lighthearted childhood stories. It was a bittersweet attempt to diffuse the gloomy mood so in appreciation of such effort, Doc listened intently. He learned about the best guardian figure who was still a goofy teenager at the time, so it would be true that Faisal is indeed chuckling at them if guardian spirits are real.

“How poor am I,” a dramatic pause to raise an anticipation, “To be in love without a reward. I shall die here. Withered and unattended, for I lack the will to live.”

“Ryad,” Doc sighs, putting an emphasis to express a fond annoyance, “Don’t say that. That’s not even funny as a joke.” The chair squeaks and footsteps draw closer to Jackal who is still laying on the hard floor. The Spaniard hides a grin as Doc kneels next to him.

“I’m not laughing. It wasn’t a joke,” Jackal’s gaze glints with yearning, “I can’t live without your love, dear.”

“Well, you aren’t fainting . Are you?” Doc scoffs as he strokes the messy brown hair beneath, then he gasps when Jackal grapples his neck and pulls him down.

“I’m not, but you might at any moment.” Jackal shifts aside to let Doc lay on the spot that he has warmed up with his body.

“I won’t. I’ve been taking power naps and all.”

“So take a power nap with me.” A suggestion that’s too delicious to ignore. Jackal lay an arm across to offer as a pillow.

“Then you must promise to wake me up after half and hour.” Doc scoots closer and lay on those firm bicep, but both of them realise it’ll be damn near impossible. For the first time in a week, they are finally close enough to enjoy each others’ scent; a blended fragrance that reminds the tranquil moments together.

“Sure thing, querido .” Jackal plants a kiss on Doc’s forehead with a smile. He thought about waiting on the promised thirty minutes for Doc to fall asleep, but he soon finds out that the tired medic is lulled into slumber within ten. There’s no need for them to stay here; Jackal curls his arm inward to carry the sleeping man in princess hold, and at last, the two love birds are in their comfy nest. Although there’s no guarantee that Jackal will also fall asleep, he is happy at the fact that Doc is nicely relaxed next to him. Being able to sleep is a blessing that people often take for granted, and Jackal would never want the love of his life to suffer from the same kind of agony that he faces on daily basis. Therefore they shall stay like this until the sunrise; and should Doc complain later, Jackal will say that it’s his turn to look after his lover.



Chapter Text

Thatcher and Doc were a sensation when people found out about their newfound relationship. Sure, Thatcher visited Doc’s infirmary more than often and Doc would sit next to Thatcher during meal time to read over some reports together. The pair had been showing positive synergy in work-related interactions, so it blew their CTU mates’ minds when they heard Thatcher calling Doc a ‘love.’ This brought questions to be asked in private.

“What do you see in him?” Twitch asked Doc over a casual dinner out.

“He’s quite the gentleman, you see.” That’s the extent of reply that Doc was willing to say.

“Maggie, do you have a hospital fetish or summat?” Smoke nudged Thatcher with a wink.

“Watch your filthy mouth. He’s more a man than you’ll ever be.” Thatcher growled and left the room.

Thus it’s apparent that they have been fond of each other for quite some time. It seemed to be a long-lasting relationship as they learned to rely and compliment each other, but not every relationship is always sunny and hunky-dory. The problem began when Doc pointed out a flaw in Thatcher’s work ethic.

Being in romantic relationship with a colleague was a steep learning curve for Thatcher. The old veteran lacked balance in work and personal life, but no one dared to tell him off on that other than Doc. As a lover and man who promotes healthy body, Doc urged Thatcher to ease up. He asked the Brit to be more relaxed of himself and the crew, and possibly reschedule the group exercises that Thatcher leads as the coach.

“Absolutely not.” Thatcher flat out rejected the suggestion and missed out on witnessing a flicker of annoyance on the corner of Doc’s lips.

“Amour, you need to watch out for your body,” Doc pushed on the subject and followed around his lover who kept walking away with a clipboard he’s not even reading on, “You can have Seamus or James to take your place for a day.”

“No, you don’t understand.” Thatcher sighed and that’s the best he could do to hide an unwarranted frustration.

“Don’t paint me a fool!” Doc cut in front of Thatcher and snatched the board away, “I’m the medic here, someone who knows about your health more than anyone else. Don’t treat me like some sort of nagging house husband!”

“I-” Thatcher’s mouth gaped at a loss for words, “You know that’s not what I meant. But this is my duty, love. Routines are meant to be kept consistent.” He waited for Doc to respond and grew irritable when met with a silent treatment. “Gus,” He reached out to hold the other man’s shoulder but got pushed away with heart-faltering harshness.

“Fine then,” Doc crossed his arms in defiance, “I’ll fulfill my part of duty.” And he walked out the room without a second glance, leaving Thatcher unsure and baffled. A sense of anxiety engulfed Thatcher as he remembered a past meaningful relationship that he had failed on, then his experience convinced him to wait it out. Let the tension simmer down before his words and actions sound genuine rather than confrontational. Later. What a convenient excuse.

-

Comes the Saturday and Thatcher is already out on the field half an hour earlier than anybody else. He stretches and flexes to shake off the heaviness that comes with old age. A mild stiffness on his left calf is a little bothersome, but he decides to disregard it. Perhaps a good run in the morning will straighten it out.

“Shake it, you lot!” He catches his SAS comrades loitering on the edge of the field and shouts at them to hurry. Men in grey shirts and shorts jog over to him, then he notices an oddball with similar attire but in navy blue. It’s his lover from the GIGN.

“Don’t be mean to him, Mike. He said that he’s here as a medical aid.” Sledge whispers at Thatcher as he walks past. Doc gives Thatcher an acknowledging nod without a word and joins Mute and Smoke to lead a stretching session.

“Are you here to drag a patient away?” Smoke’s voice is intentionally loud.

“Not yet.” Doc replies, “But I’m here for you if you need me.” Those words are meant for a certain audience but Smoke is the one who’s mostly entertained upon hearing them.

“Alright, let’s go.” Thatcher claps to divert the attention and starts to run towards the forest behind the base. A wise decision, because he might have decked Smoke on the face if they stayed on that field for too long. The other men follow and form a straight line as they go.

The plan is to have the four main SAS running alongside a line of recruit, then switch places to swap the lead and bottom. That’s how they ensured safety during the two kilometer run on bumpy paths of the thick Hereford greenery.

Thatcher runs the usual pace and the left calf begins to throb again. Fuck, no. Get better, you useless chunk of flesh. He braces on and continues to lead, but the throb worsens into an ache on every step that he takes. Thatcher groans at himself for being wrong but it’s clearly not getting better no matter how much he wishes to ignore it. Perhaps he needs an assistance after all.

After convincing himself of what needs to be done, Thatcher signals the others to swap positions. He slowly descends from the lead while putting on a straight face to maintain a speck of dignity. Then when he sees Doc on the bottom of the line, the pesky stubbornness arises again, whispering at him to act like everything is fine.

“Are you okay?” Doc huffs as he matches his pace with Thatcher’s.

“Yes.” No, you idiot. Tell him.

“You are looking uncomfortable.”

“I’m fine.” Fine my arse. You feel like Satan is clawing down on your leg.

“Mike, you are limping.”

“I said-” Thatcher faces Doc to give the man a full denial.

“Watch out!” Doc shouts out but it’s too late. Thatcher rams straight into a tree, smack across the temple and cheekbone. His vision blackens as the impact forces Thatcher to momentarily shut down.

-

When Thatcher regains consciousness, he’s laying flat on a leafy ground. There’s a burning sting on the side of his face and taste of iron sloshing inside of his mouth.

“Fuck.” Pronouncing the word itself gives Thatcher a sharp sting on the lower lip.

Merde , Mike,” Doc whispers while pulling out antiseptics and rolled bandages, “What’s gotten into you?” He’s quick to pour the cleansing agent and apply dabs.

“A punishment, I guess.” Thatcher winces, “For being ignorant and stubborn.”

“Stupid! I knew you’d end up like this when you aren’t fit to run,” Doc presses harder on a spot, clearly unimpressed at Thatcher who has the audacity to chuckle while being foolish, “You fainted, straight into my arms. You know, if you wanted my attention, you didn’t have to go to such extremes.”

“Hm. I’ll keep that in mind.” Thatcher couldn’t believe how much he adore looking up at Doc even if the said man is frowning in worry and frustration. The sight of handsomeness drenched in sparkling sweat. Call it biased or rose-tinted, but Thatcher couldn’t believe such accomplished individual chose to be with him. And he thought angels are cliche-imagery for the hopeless romantic.

“Stop talking and let me put some gauze on your lip.” Doc doesn’t give Thatcher a chance to speak a word, but no matter. Thatcher will listen to his lover this time and learn to be a better listener in the future, even if such valuable lesson had to be taught with a bit of bloodshed on a comfortable lap-pillow.

Chapter Text

Jackal would’ve never guessed that he’d find comfort from someone like Doc who appeared to be naive and idealistic at a first glance. Hell, anybody with medical expertise treated Jackal as if he is a walking time bomb of a patient. He thought Doc was no different from those white collars, but that changed as soon as they began to chat more outside of work. Jackal witnessed the passion in those gentle eyes. The will to help and protect those in needs. The ambition to save everybody. The intent to kill for the righteous cause, even if his gaze grew darker from exhaustion and internal conflict. Jackal began to think that Doc was the one who needed help. He pitied the man while refusing to be pitied by anyone, and such the irony made him fall for the French who always gave him a subtle kind of special attention. The time they spent became more private, the intimacy drew their bodies closer and a kiss sealed it all. From then on, they became a pair.

“You’re safe now. I’ve got you.” Doc said one day which was confusing at first. Think about it - it’s usually a phrase to be said while being in grave danger or survived from it, but from time to time Jackal would hear Doc saying those exact words anywhere but the battlefield. Jackal thought that he heard Doc wrong, because such phrase sounded weird and contradicting. Then as they spend more time together, Jackal came to realise and appreciate the hidden sentiment. It’s almost a whisper while they nap together and stroke each others’ hair. A reminder when Jackal jerked awake from a nightmare. A promise while they danced slowly together, especially when Jackal couldn’t hide a sting of warmth on his eyes. He had come to understand that Doc is a man who wishes to capture compassion in life. Those reassuring words gave Jackal a hope that he had forgotten a long ago, and perhaps he could knew that this has been his way of showing devotion.

“Will you let me keep you safe as well?” Jackal asked when he felt the timing is right. He had prepared a pair of rings for them to wear if Doc feels the same way, only if the commitment is mutual. He didn’t expect the other man to freeze is dead silence with widened eyes, then a sigh of relief.

“Of course,” Doc quivered and yet his voice filled with determination, “I’ve sworn to do that ever since we were meant for each other, Ryad.” They shared a hug, an embrace so close where they could feel each other's’ heartbeats.

“That’s good. We’ve got each other.” Jackal smiled as he planted a kiss on Doc’s temple. They’re safe now and will always be, as long as destiny grants them such fortune.

-

Doc’s initial impression on Jackal was neither positive or negative. He had heard about the Spaniard who’s infamous for having multiple of complications, as well as a certain type of anger that fuels a man in the military. To Doc, Jackal was a miraculous survivor with a heart of steel that’s slowly beginning to crack. The most vulnerable type of patient and yet a hero to admire. Therefore when Doc found out that Jackal stays up late until the sunlight, he became worried and approached the man. Although Jackal sat in an armchair without any visible movement, it was apparent that he was far from being relaxed. Doc saw a man who’s ready to leap out at any given moment and tense knuckles gripping tight on the edge of the chair.

“Mind if I sit here?” Doc asked.

“Sure.” Jackal replied. Their earliest interaction didn’t have much content, but as they continued to meet up at odd hours of early morning, Doc found himself talking more about his life-long goal. Jackal was a good listener as if the man craved a meaningful interaction, and that gave Doc a sense of validation in what he set out to do.

“Sometimes I wonder if I’m truly saving lives by being on the battlefield,” Doc muttered on one of those melancholic nights, “If there’s anything that I can do to stop killing altogether.”

“People die no matter what. But we’re here, alive and well. Safe and sound,” Jackal sat closer and recalled on what Doc had said before. He reiterated the preciousness of life and the courage to defend the right to live is a difficult and noble path, “Don’t you forget what you do. Don’t forget for those who appreciates what you do.” And Doc remembered those exact words; they were engraved in his heart and from then on, it became a chant that influences the special bond between them. He came to rely on a friend rather than a patient, than a lover rather than a friend. Alas, the rest is an unforeseen future that we’d love to paint a happy romance.

 

Chapter Text

A ring. An accessory that’s molded out of unreasonably expensive metal and a shiny gem ingrained on top. Such luxurious object is supposed to represent an undying and eternal devotion. See right here, Beatles. Money can buy love. Here’s the proof of materialism representing an abstract concept.

That’s what Thatcher thought when his hair had hardly any whites and his skin still smooth with less wrinkles. And that’s one of the many reasons that his ex-wife listed before she shoved a divorce paper on his chest. She said he never knew what she wanted. Apparently he had no sentimentality, no mellow romance and most of all, no appreciation of what she did while he was away. For the longest of the void, he wondered if she meant more money. It took him quite a while to snap out of the self-lying delusion to justify that he wasn’t the wrong one in the relationship. She was absolutely right; Mike Baker was a stone of an expressionless oaf. He was wrong to not show how much he loved her. It was the most bitter pill to swallow.

Therefore he had decided to not repeat the same mistake. Thatcher refused to be the same kind of daft bloke who loses what he holds dear. He swore to be more caring and affectionate ever since Doc graced him a loving company, and by Gods he may have acted ridiculous and downright awkward at times. Even the stiffest hugs in public and one-worded synonyms for love made Doc’s eyes sparkle with joy, so that tells a lot about how understanding Doc has been. This leads to the decision that Thatcher would die to spend his eternity with such a wonderful human being. He is willing to intertwine his lifespan with someone else’s, a fleeting attempt that he had tried once before. A risky journey once again, so he’ll have to find the right moment or plan something special to kneel down in front of Doc, and then confess his willingness to be the rightful husband.

“Is that a ring?” A familiar tone of mockery makes Thatcher freeze. That bastard isn’t supposed to be here. They aren’t supposed to be back by now.

“Really?” A taller frame overshadows Thatcher, “Golly, you’re right! About time, I say.”

“So that’s what you’ve been doing during your break.” The usually quiet lad also chimes in, uncharacteristically excited.

“Hush, you lot. Stop making a fuss out of it.” Thatcher shoves the trio away but they cling onto him for more banter.

“Aw, Maggie! I knew you had something squishy in you. Why don’t we get Doc here now?” Smoke winks an encouragement.

“No, I’ve got it sorted.” Thatcher tries to push them out of the room, eager to send them away.

“Oh, so what’s your plan?” Mute shrugs, “Dinner at somewhere fancy and slide the box across the table?”

“No.”

“Some long and arduous love letter in London Eye?” Sledge wriggles an eyebrow, accentuating the wrinkles on his wide forehead.

“Not that.”

“A surprise cockring after a good shagging?” Smoke doesn’t even get a response from any of his teammates.

“I’ll manage and that concerns none of you,” Thatcher sighs in annoyance, “Now shoo. I’ll do it when I’m ready.”

“I bet it’s something like at a boring evening tea time in the barrack lounge.” Smoke earns a few glances but when he catches wide-eyed apprehension from Thatcher, he smiles a Cheshire-grin, “I need to get him here right now.”

“Don’t you dare!” Thatcher wrings the collar of Smoke’s shirt, “If you go anywhere near him, you’ll have to deal with me!”

“Try me, Maggie. Bet your joints will fail you.” Within the blink of an eye, Smoke thwarts the older man’s hand off and dashes out of the room. Sledge follows to stop the rascal and Mute almost expected Thatcher to run out as well.

“Are you going to let him run loose like that?”

“Yes. I’ve got no time to deal with an idiot. And Gus isn’t even in the base now.” Thatcher checks the time on his watch and sighs in relief.

“But I would seriously reconsider your plan, Mike. Whatever you are thinking is tasteless even by my standards.” Mute states as a matter of fact and it’s hard to ignore such opinion when the youngest Brit is known to be the most tasteless out of the SAS crew. Thatcher briefly considers the London Eye option or the fine dining, but both sounded quite tacky for middle-aged adults. He could ask for an opinion from Montagne or Capitão, but neither of them are particularly good at keeping their traps shut. Tachanka is… Russian by default and Jackal would put in too much detail that Thatcher won’t be able to remember.

“Good evening.” Doc greets them as he walks past the corridor.

“Hey.” Mute replies.

“Hey, love.” Thatcher also replies while deep in thought. It takes a mere second for both men to snap out of trance and reanimate themselves into wild motion.

“Kateb!” Mute springs out of the room, pulls the French into their room and shuts the door with a bang.

“Yes?” Doc adjusts his position from being tugged like a lifeless doll.

“Hey, love!” Thatcher repeats himself while shoving the box in his pocket with such force that almost pulls his pants down, “Good to see you so soon.”

“Ah, yes. They didn’t need much help in the infirmary this time. Seems like there’s a good ratio of qualified staff and trainees there.” Doc eases into the conversation but his gaze shifts between his lover and Mute in confusion, “How are you gentlemen faring this evening?”

“Good.”

“It can get better.” Mute blurts out, which earns a piercing leer from Thatcher.

“Oh?” Doc smiles a little while putting his entire focus on the younger man who is sweating cold drops, “What could it be? I know you’re very hard to impress.”

“It’s something.” Mute continues to ramble and that makes Thatcher wonder if the guy is being painfully ambiguous on purpose.

“Please, do tell us. I’m quite curious now.” Doc leans against Thatcher comfortably, dangerously close to the bulge on the older man’s side-pocket.

“It’s-”

“Fucking hell. Where could he be?” Beyond the closed door, the same voice that annoyed the hell out of Thatcher has returned. A sense of dread washes over Thatcher and he can also hear Sledge telling his partner off for being downright nosy.

“You shouldn’t butt in like this, James. It’s very important for him and you are being a nasty tosser. What if he won’t invite you as a best man?” Sledge is known for his above-average volume while talking, “It’s better to leave the propor-” Their conversation is put on hold as Mute barges the door wide open, breaking the barrier that concealed Thatcher and Doc. There’s a mad glint in Smoke when he sees the French, but Sledge also notices the pale drainage on Thatcher’s cheeks.

“Time for pub?” Mute slaps his palm against Smoke’s mouth.

“Time for pub.” Sledge nods in mutual understanding and proceeds to drag away the flailing prankster. There’s a series of muffled swear words and interrupted ‘keywords,’ but the ruckus fades away as the trio bolt away from the scene. It’s as if a storm swept in and out; Thatcher stands stiff with Doc still leaning on him. He can feel a mild shake from the medic who is openly chuckling at this comedic chaos that happened within a span of minutes.

“You guys are surely lively.” Doc yawns as he melts into Thatcher’s embrace.

“Better than seeing them dead.” Thatcher reminds himself to not murder those fools who nearly ruined everything for him.

“What did Seamus mean by ‘best man,’ though? Is someone getting married soon?” Doc lays a question without any prior warning.

“Shite,” Thatcher let out an inaudible whisper. He contemplates on concocting a lie as a momentary salvage, but then what’s the use of stalling his confession when his feelings towards Doc is at the peak of being genuine? It’s time, “You could say that.”

“Good. I take that we’re invited then. I better send my suits for a clean.”

“Actually, we need to have a talk about that,” Thatcher can’t hide a smile that spreads with indescribable warmth. It’s all too adorable to witness his lover’s childish excitement and obliviousness. He decides to use this chance in his favour; an opportunity to ask the lover rather than failing with false guesses, “Let’s go out for a walk. Where would you like to go?”

“Anywhere,” Doc pulls Thatcher’s hand that’s been hiding in the side-pocket, “Anywhere is fine as long as you’re with me.” He closes their hands together.

“I see,” Thatcher hopes that Doc thinks nothing of the sweaty palm that’s been holding the box, “Let’s visit the London Eye, then. I’ve heard it’s a good spot.”

Chapter Text

“Dom,” She sounds agitated and that’s not a good sign, “Did you take my notebook again?” It’s a great sign. An opening for a playful tease that entertains Bandit to no ends.

“I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. I’m reading a book that’s cheesier than Martello’s cooking,” Bandit stays seated and reads over the passage, “To be, or not to be. That’s the paradox of a cat tortured by some guy named Schrodinger.

“Give it back!” IQ lunges after him and growls in frustration when he dodges her grips, just close enough to be within her reach but successfully slipping away.

The greatest mystery is neither love or destiny. Existence! The concept is what humans seek as intellectual species. They search and discover. Yearn for purpose in the names of curiosity, thus science is born. Wow, this is some loaded intro. Are you some love child of Greek philosophers?” 

IQ manages to snag his shirt and pull him down as she falls on the couch. Wrapping her legs to bind, she shoots her hand over his shoulder and snatches the notebook away, “You wish. I can be Diogenes’ favourite daughter and bite your whole head off.” 

“Oh, please,” Bandit snuggles his back between her legs, fully enjoying his newfound role as a little spoon, “We can fuck like dogs and be true to our nature.”

“You’re filthy.” She tightens those strong thighs. Such iron clamp makes Bandit cough a little and that brings a satisfactory smile on her lips.

“And you like this filthy man.” With a simple twist, Bandit faces IQ for a light peck and then rests his cheek on her shoulder. 

“Hey, don’t get comfortable. I’m still not happy with you.” Her feet pushes against his chest.

“Aw. Did I hurt your feelings?” A childish taunt. He looks even more ridiculous while hovering over her like an oversized doll. There’s no reply, but only a glare, “Oh shit. You really mean it.” Realisation hits him a tad late.

“You can hop off now.” IQ threatens to throw him over. She jerks her hip to side, immediately shaking Bandit off balance.

“Whoa, whoa! Wait,” Bandit desperately clings on the top frame, “I’m sorry. It’s a good story.”

“Don’t lie.”

Goddamn it. Him and his stupid mouth! She’s really mad, “Can I do anything to make you feel better?” One redeeming quality that Bandit has learned while dating IQ is that they both appreciate a straightforward communication. No beating around the bush. Don’t drag an argument more than a day.

“You can get off,” She pauses, “Or tell me a story.”

“A story?” Dumbfounded, He repeats after her.

“Yes. If you think you have the credentials to judge my story, I want to hear what you can come up with.”

“Can I just bow down and lick your feet? Worship you like a goddess an entire week?” Resourcefulness and creativity are separate qualities but he’s confident in both. The concern is that he may go overboard with what he can come up with, which may result in igniting IQ’s competitive flare.

“You can sleep out somewhere for a week.” IQ isn’t seeking for a negotiation. She wants her justice to be served this instance.

“Monika,” Bandit finally gets off and sits next to her. He ponders upon pleading once more, but her stone cold gaze forces him to reconsider. “Alright, I’ll do it. I’ll try.” 

“Good.” She leans back and hangs her arm on the back frame, fully ready to be entertained like a loyalty.

Stories. The last time Bandit ever told one was for his nephew and niece. A few books of classical Andersen tales and other Disney renditions, so those are what he can associate when he hears the word ‘stories.’ Nevertheless, he must improvise or find other ways to appease his queen.

“There’s-“ Oh, he remembers the other story he told the children before, “A cat who has nine lives. Here’s the story.” Hence it begins. The cat was born and lived a happy life with his family. His father used to be the toughest ranger who caught all the mice and vermin. Naturally the cat dreamt of following his father’s boots.”

“A Puss in Boots parody. Nice.” She won’t let him off the hook.

He doesn’t buy into her salt and continues, “So when the cat became a ranger, he had to find out where all these rodents came from. The ranger leaders told him to wear rat skin and trick the rodents, but the skin magically latched onto the poor cat. That’s how he lost his first life because a cat with rat skin stuck on him simply wasn’t a cat anymore.”

“And then what happened?” IQ could have teased him for making it sound similar to wolf in sheep’s clothing, and yet she lets him blabber due to an odd intrigue.

“But that’s what cat told himself to fool those rodents. He had to, or else they would have gnawed him to death. His cat life wasn’t truly dead because hey, there were eight more to spare. Years and years, he traveled the sewer and den to find all their secrets. Only then he ‘rat’ them out,” Bandit chuckles at his own pun, “And all of those rodents scattered. Scurried and scuttled.“ 

"No wonder why your nephews love you. You make it sound so dramatic.”

He nods in gratitude at such compliment, “When the cat returned to his home, his family greeted him. They saw their son looking a little different, but didn’t ask him about it. The cat felt glad because he wasn’t sure if he still had the rat skin stuck on him. Then one day, something bad happened.”

“Oh?”

“That damned skin. It was becoming alive on his back. No matter how many times the cat rolled and scratched, it didn’t come off. The things he learned as a rat haunted him until one day, it controlled his body to set a mouse trap. That trap hurt his family, and that’s when the cat lost another life. The sadness was too much and he still didn’t feel like himself at all.” Bandit avert his stare for a mere second and resumes back on IQ, who’s been watching him intently.

“I feel for that cat.” She whispers and lay her head on his lap.

“Don’t worry. Something good happened because this is his lucky seven,” His fingers finds their way on the golden stream of her locks, “Because you see, another ranger team asked him to join them. They are much bigger and better, and the cat was able to find other animals who are just as cool as him. There’s a golden retriever with a shiny tag that’s so bright, it blinds the others sometimes. There’s also a magpie who’d a bit too talkative, but he thwarted off anything bad that flew to him and his friends.”

“I can actually see that,” IQ laughs at the imagery, “Who else was there?” Now she’s extremely curious.

“A goshawk. The most quick, sharp eyed and strong ranger that the cat had ever seen. There were other animals who boasted good vision, but this goshawk was smart as well. Intelligent.”

“Oh, stop it." 

"The cat doesn’t lie,” Bandit scoots closer. He extends a hand to suggest a hold; and when she accepts, he gently tugs to invite her into an embrace, “I’ll let you know that he really wanted to get close to the goshawk. But he didn’t know how to do that, so he resorted to pranks. Like the ones he used to do before the rat skin consumed him.”

“Sometimes that cat pulled on her feathers and she didn’t like it one bit.” IQ pokes him in the ribs while leaning against his chest.

“He knew,” A grin spreads as he remembers those times when IQ got mad at him for stealing her spanners, “But that’s all he could do to gain her attention. Goshawk flew too high and mighty while a cat can only climb up on roofs.”

“So the goshawk flew lower,” The moment she found how he felt about her, IQ didn’t shy away, “Because she wanted to know what he saw in her.” Those days when the two began to hangout more outside of work. Talking until sunrise and often fighting over petty matters. Fond memories are still fresh in their mind as they share the warmth together.

“And now the cat has met someone so precious on his seventh life, he wanted them to last long. So in a way, he thought it would be a good idea to pledge his remaining life to her. He would tell her,” Bandit buries his nose on her neck, “I’ve been in love with you my entire life. Ever since the day I first met you.

“Dominic-” Her mouth gape while all spectrum of emotions coursing through her. The word itself is an overplayed cliche from cheap romance novels, but to have someone declaring love for her is different than what she expected, “This- this is a great story.”

“I’m glad you like it. Am I forgiven now?" 

"Yes you are,” She shifts to mold her body into his, “You goof." 

Chapter Text

  1. When Pulse first saw Warden, he didn’t approach. The man from Kentucky appeared friendly and charming, but Pulse recognised a mask. An act that bore no ill intention, and yet it seemed to help Warden to persuade the others to do as he bid. It’s similar to his own mother, the only person that Pulse could never figure out. Except his mother wasn’t the manipulative type; no, she was a careful watcher. While Warden wore his mask without being subtle or discreet. The man is an open puzzle that invites anyone to become entertained with, but Pulse wasn’t interested in being entertained. He wanted to mess with the pieces to see what’s behind. So that’s why Pulse finally introduced himself to Warden the second time they interact minus the formality. Curiosity got the best of him and he wanted to see through the facade, find out what’s beyond the Southern hospitality. He returned the polite mannerism and invited Warden to the group gathering that Castle and Thermite organises, and Warden played along because he didn’t see any harm in team-building outings.

    After weeks of casual hangouts, Warden comments, “I’ve never met someone like you, Estrada.”

    Pulse grins, “I guess not many goes bald at my age.”

    Warden laughs and says, “True, you’ve got no hair. But not as bare, if I must say,” And the older man swipes his fingertips on the back of Pulse’s hand, “You don’t let me see what’s going with you. Why a young thing such as you talking to an old timer? What’s the big idea?”

    The questions has Pulse thinking, wondering if he’s mirroring the man in front of him. Maybe he takes after his own mother. The thoughts stop when a he’s forced to return the intense gaze from Warden. Tingling sensation from the touch has him distracted. And that’s how Pulse got into a troubleWarden gives him a piece of puzzle and asks to Pulse complete it for him.

  2. Warden is impressed with Pulse’s work method. The younger man is calculative and precise during the missions, which are great assets to have as a renowned specialist. Warden marvels at the spontaneous judgement and creativity that Pulse carries out, which may be the similarity they share. But Warden has been more haphazard when juggling his own life. He took gambles to secure the ones he protects, but that doesn’t mean the there’s no plan. Warden’s plans are meticulous to certain degree. It has formulas and structure. It’s just that he puts himself as a variable. An element of surprise that makes things work. He hadn’t thought of abiding formations and routines, but he’s willing to support whatever Pulse comes up with. It suits his style. 

  3. Pulse has a switch. He flicks between work and casual outings - a cool headed motor engine and goofy and a goofy, playful man. And that attracts intrigue from Warden who usually keeps himself a smooth sailing Americanised James Bond 24/7. He then wonders if there’s another side of Pulse that can be brought out. 

    “Estrada, how long have we been acquainted?”

    Pulse puts his National Geographic down and squints in deep thought, “It’s been about two months.”

    Warden sinks into a spot right next to Pulse. The seat isn’t wide enough give two grown men a separable space, and yet neither of them shifts to break the contact, “Would it be a bother if I call you ‘Jack’ from now on?” He awaits for a reaction, possibly flustered or baffled at the sudden advancement.

    Instead, Pulse nods without a flicker of change on his face, “Sure thing, Collinn.”

    Warden, slightly disappointed, thinks of leaving after some mild chatter. They talk about what Pulse has been reading from the magazine, then Warden catches a patch of moisture on the page. Pulse fails to flick the page over and tries to wipe off the sweat from his palms, fully indicating that he is far from composed whatsoever. Warden then flashes a smile, “Are you feeling hot, Jack?”

  4. Pulse doesn’t know what to do. He’s had some experiences in romance, so of course he knows how to dance the flirtatious tango. Who is he up against? A supposed ladies’ man who embodies irresistible aura. But he is a men’s man? 

    “Why don’t you talk him?” Castle suggests. Thermite also notes that Pulse studies the other way too much, which often clouds his judgement of the situation.

    Ash is concerned, “If he’s being too pushy, you can tell him to back off.”

    Valkyrie butts in, “Or you can make the move. Don’t make him feel like he’s got the reign over you.” 

  5. With all the suggestions he’s heard, Pulse conducts a plan. He walks around the base with his heart sensor and claims that it needs some testing after being ‘fixed.’ His teammates have steady heartbeats. The Spetsnaz and SAS are pumping fast like crazy because they are watching an arm wrestling match between Smoke and Kapkan. As he finds Warden, the older man is sitting still while focusing on a chess match with Maestro. Two men have their heartbeats steady when observed from afar. 

    “Hey guys,” Pulse calls out to him, “Do you have a minute?”

    Warden replies as if the game loses any kind of importance, “Yes.” Then Pulse sees the change almost too immediately. Maestro’s remains unchanged while Warden’s accelerates ever so slightly, but Pulse rules it off as coincidence to not get any hopes up. Maestro brightens at the sight of the intruder, 

    “Estrada, good seeing you! Take this man way or else he will strip me bare over some silly bet.”

    Warden shrugs, “Losing man can’t talk. Especially when he made the bet himself.”

    Pulse takes the gamble, “That’s what I’m here for,” He continues to observe the monitor, “To take you away.”

    The screen captures a red dot blinking rapidly and before Pulse can notice, it also enlarges as if the target is approaching. Warden is right in front of Pulse, staring down at Pulse’s heart sensor’s screen. “Well, you’ve got me here,” Warden presses the machine close to his heart, “You’ve got me, fair and square.”

Chapter Text

An open fire from your usual handgun is about 120 decibel. Rifles are somewhere around 160 and impact grenades double the noise pollution, no doubt. Anybody who lives by weaponry are given plugs to protect their hearing, but what about other sensory stimulation? Floors are drenched with red and putrid air stinks with gunpowder and sticky iron. His tongue is beyond dry to a point where saliva tastes sweet; an obvious sign of dehydration. The military gear is designed to protect rather than ventilate, so it’s expected to feel like a walking sauna. And yet, Doc senses a chilling rush down by the spine when he realises there’s only one STIM bullet left. 

Crouching for a cover and scanning over limp bodies to find who’s still alive. Despite the cacophony around him, Doc hears his own erratic heartbeat. Not good. Not good at all. Blood continues to seep out from an open wound on the thigh and vision grows dim minute by minute. Death is peeking around the corner and he barely has the strength to shun its grip. The STIM will save him, but what if there’s someone who’s in more desperate needs? Another streak of cold passed through his limbs as if there are frostbites in the veins. Darting his head left and right, Doc squints to find any sign of life among the recruits that lay motionless on the opposite side. 

“Team three, this is Doc. Raise your hand if you are still alive. Talk to me. Show me something.” He shouts into the com device and hears his own voice crackling in the heap of human bodies. No one responds, but he decides to wait for ten seconds at most. Too short to detect a survivor, too short to keep the terrorists at bay.

One.

Relentless shooting continues. These criminals aren’t the brightest bunch to waste ammunition in such manner, but it really shows their clear intent to annihilate. Almost sounds like they made a bet to weather down a concrete pillar with bullets alone.

Four.

“Hands up- hand up! Or shout out if you’re- you’re alive. I repeat-” No matter how much he breathes in, it all comes out shaky. The enemies’ footsteps are inching closer, gunshots escalating into deafening volume.

Seven.

How on Earth did these scoundrels acquire such bountiful ammunition? This isn’t the White Masks. Perhaps an imitation, still a threat nonetheless. Doc and his recruits were meant to hold the line until the rest of Rainbows arrive, but there were more than what the intel entailed. Deadly mistake from the headquarters. Doc will demand a proper explanation and apology - no, sorry won’t cut it. No amount of condolence will bring back these soldiers who followed his command until death. 

Nine.

It takes a second later for Doc to notice the silence that has been masked by remnants of echoes. “Talk to me.” Doc whispers, fearing for his safety. He might be the only survivor against ten or more terrorists. In amidst of fading courage, Doc begins to judge the situation. One patched-up man against ten, or two injured men against ten who are at top peak of their health? There’s a gap Doc may be able to squeeze through to gain some distance against the enemies, but he doesn’t have nearly enough energy to exert. Not without the STIM. 

Ten.

It can’t be helped. They’re beginning to approach and he’s hearing nothing from the recruits. With a heavy heart, he shoots the fluid on the forearm and bites on his lips to suppress yelp from the sting. A different kind of chill engulfs him and numbness starts to kick in. He heaves and braces himself, crawling to minimise whatever noise he might make; so he could hear everything. The enemies giving signals to each other, clicks of rifles being reloaded, heavy footsteps, a faint whimper from his com device-

No.

Despair hits heavy, rendering his limbs frozen with fear more than anything. Move, damn it. There’s no time to lose. He needs to go now, at this very moment, or else they will catch up to him. But there’s someone who needs him. A comrade reaching out for salvation. 

“Hello?” Doc doesn’t even know why he decides to say anything. Possibly to gain a sense of security. Hope. To check whether the whimper was a mere illusion rather than a desperate call for help. Once he heard nothing, Doc continues to crawl towards a different place to hide. A secluded corner that he can hold out until the backup arrives. 

“Kateb, this is Cohen. How’s the situation over there?”

Doc covers the mic and whispers, “Bad,” He hesitates for a moment, “Four down and I’ve used the last STIM on me.”

“Shit,” She sighs, “We’re at the entrance. Give me a ping.” 

One push of a button and that’s all it takes to send the exact location of his whereabouts. As he stays still to collect his breath and energy, thoughts start to spill in. Regret for not being able to hold their defensive ground, anguish for having their lives tricked into unexpected peril and the futility that’s all mortal beings are faced against. Under the black balaclava, those were real people who once lived and loved. The laughter and silent prayer they shared back at the van when the left from the base. A nervous chuckles and curses after finding out they are outnumbered. The noises Doc chose to filter out are all coming back to him; screams that soon muffled into gurgle as blood filled in lungs. He saved one who had recently joined the team, and then another who had the most experience among the recruits. The last one was meant to be for someone who could leave the premise as fast as possible to alert the backup because Doc planned to be the least injured. What arrogance transpired to have such false confidence, he doesn’t know. 

What’s certain as of now, is that he have left bloody trail that might lead them to him at any moment. Let them come. If he had heard it right, that recruit who whimpered might be alive. Hoping that the terrorist won’t fire at the collapsed recruits, Doc wishes his trail to be a distraction. He may as well throw empty shells to lead them towards him. A dangerous plan, almost akin to an excuse that will relieve him from guilt and shame. What, now you’re ready to sacrifice after saving yourself

“Shut it. Cohen and company will be here soon,” Doc senses delirium in talking to himself, “Any minute now.”

“Who’s there?” One of them shouts. 

“Go check. Can’t have any of them making it out alive.” 

“You go ahead. We’re starting with this pile to plant one in each of their head.” There’s ruffling from the spot where the recruits’ bodies are. 

Shit, not now. Doc grits his teeth and tries to swallow the shiver away. He grips onto a depleted magazine but arms won’t move, as if they have wills of their own. Telling him that whatever he’s thinking is beyond foolish, much like throwing his life away. 

BANG

It has begun. Judging by the sound, it’s single shot from a handgun. Double tapping is essential in these kind of situations, but the chilling nature behind the act - Doc could call himself a hypocrite for feeling such repulsive terror.

BANG

That’s another one. Two out of four of his comrades. He has to do something now or it’s too late. What’s too late? Whoever whimpered may as well be dead by now. Just keep quiet and save yourself.

“Shut it!” Doc bites into his tongue until he tastes iron. The pain is almost a switch to an adrenaline, allowing him to chuck the magazine over. It clangs loudly and busy footsteps follow after. 

“What the fuck?” 

“It’s from there.” So they aren’t a bunch of complete buffoons. Tiny clicks and dragging noise approach, forcing Doc to strain for a crouching position. His aim is steady, ready to blow whoever peaks into vision. 

BANG

That’s the third shot. Looks like it’s only a few who is looking for Doc. A chance to take some of them down before he joins the dead on the other side. There’s a shadow casting over the floor, quite close to where Doc is perched. Two more steps, then he shall commence the ambush.

“Oh shit!” The terrorist closest to Doc halts and steps back. Deafening series of blows comes from Doc’s right, promptly shooting down whoever that tried to runaway.

“Sweep the perimeter.” Her voice is further away, but hearing Ash within the same space melts away the tension in his body. Doc closes his eyes due to immense fatigue; he wonders whether it’s inhumane of him to feel comfort in hearing the enemies’ pain. Their last breath spent to howl and yelp for help, spewing grudges and all they’ve forsaken. It’ll be the damnest lullaby he’s ashamed to fall asleep with.

 


 

“Gus.” A light pierces through the cloud. Doc wakes up in a stretcher and gazes up at Thatcher who is shining brighter than the pale lamp above.

Chéri.” Doc stretches out to touch the stubble, the rough texture that doesn't feel the same in his dreams. After finding that he’s back in reality, a sigh escapes from those dry lips.

“You’ve done well. It was a dangerous mission all along, and-”

“Yes, it was dangerous.” Lion cuts in, his arms crossed and eyes glaring down at Doc.

“Flament, we all know that.” Thatcher growls but his fists remain lowered.

“I hope he also knows that we lost someone because of him,” Lion storms in and crouches next to Doc, “What did you tell us, Kateb? That there are four casualties. Four.

“That’s what I could confirm at the time.” Doc closes his eyes once again to hide the quiver.

“Guess what. There was one who was barely alive. One who was breathing until the very end, whispering into your com after we hauled your body into the van.” Lion goes into the detail of what happened. They finished eradicating the remaining terrorists and hurried to take Doc away (saving the alive first.) The medic took Doc’s gears and clothes off for a quick first aid, then they heard a faint call for help from his device. When Ash and Lion ran back to where the recruits’ bodies were, one laid apart from the other three that had hole in their head. Other than the trail from Doc, there was another from this recruit who also tried to reach where the backups were by dragging themselves. 

“I-” Doc’s breath begins to accelerate despite the pain all around his body.

“If you told us that there were three casualties, if you told us that there’s two injured including you,” Lion slams his hand on a wall, “We would have carried them out with you. Not leaving them to die without us knowing.”

“That’s enough!” Thatcher claws into Lion’s shoulders and thrashes him away.

“Don’t call me heartless. Now you don’t have the right to tell me that!” Lion yells while resisting the shove, “You could’ve saved that recruit. You had the power!”

“Stop,” Doc sits up. The blanket, IV fluid and bandages. He deserves none of them when he knows there could’ve been another person laying in the same room, “I’ve tried my best!” No, you haven’t. Doc clenches into his hair and then hides the entire face, trying to drown out the voice that’s been nothing but a harassment.

“Did you ask if that recruit is alive? Asking them to use the ping like you did to have us find you?” Lion’s belts out his last words before Thatcher slams the door shut.

“Ping?” Doc jolts up and widens his eyes, “Ping.” Something clicks. One button. A small push that can be undetected, with minimal effort to exert. How did he not think of that? How did the recruit not think of that? Are you seriously blaming a dying person? You should have told them to use the ping feature. But instead, you stupidly asked them to, what, raise hand? Talk? 

“Gus, you need to rest.” Thatcher’s palm lay gently on Doc’s chest, softly pushing.

“Mike, what have I done?” A wall breaks and there’s a torrent that sweeps any remaining sanity that withstood within him, “I told them- I told them to talk. I told them to talk if they are alive.”

“You’ve done what you could.” Thatcher tries again to have Doc laying in the bed.

“No!” Doc pushes away, “How can I be so stupid. How, what- I’ve been telling a dying person to make noise when they can’t. When they barely have energy to do that.” 

“Gus, please. It couldn’t be helped.”

“NO. IT COULD’VE BEEN! I made the wrong decision, wrong call, I’ve wronged them and saved myself. I’m the one who they relied on and I-” I’ve used the last saving line for myself because I valued my life over their’s. Hyperventilation leads to breathlessness. Doc holds onto the gown and attempts to rip it off, for he refuses to be deemed salvageable when he has given up on the oath he made for this profession.

“Gustave!” Thatcher pries off Doc’s hands that’s leaving trails of blood on his chest. He pulls in for a tight embrace and holds the lock, no matter how much Doc asks to be let go of. It’s hardly a challenge, given the protest is more of a weak thrashing, and that has Thatcher sighing in woeful shake.

“We could have made out alive. Both of us could’ve. But I- I didn’t want to die- and neither would have they-” Doc finally let out something that’s strained and twisted. Not a groan or weep, but a bellow that’s dedicated to berate himself and him alone. Thatcher tight as if the man will break without someone to hold, and denied all the derogatory claims that his lover is spewing. 

Chapter Text

  1. Their first interaction was rather chaotic and disorientating. Thermite blew up a reinforce wall because he heard nothing on the other side, forgetting about the newest addition of his attacking team. Chirping of sparks, big fucking boom and whush of wind. He aimed through the hole and scooted in, nearly tripping over something hard against his foot. It was the tip of someone else’s boots - his eyes followed from the bottom to top, finding Nøkk crouched next to the undamaged part of the wall. He saw her health gauge downed by half, but the uneasiness must be coming from the spot where her eyes would be behind the chain-veil.

    He whispered, “Oh, I didn’t know you were here.” Nøkk kept her head fixated on him, even when Thermite waited for her to say something for a solid minute and finally decided to move on.

    Then she said, “So much for the USA’s finest.” He turned around to say something back, maybe a late apology but she was long gone. Not a sound; without a trace.

  2. Thermite had been looking for her high and low after the practice mission. A simple sorry was all he wanted to say, but as the hide and seek became more than just a minutes worthy of search. He began to feel slightly annoyed because wherever he walked in and asked around, she was apparently there only a few moments ago. How was she avoiding him, knowing the exact moment he would be? Thermite wondered if people are taking her sides on this, but the last person he talked about her was Montagne and he isn’t the lying type. Ash suggested him to shoot Nøkk a text message; and while that’s sounds like the most efficient idea, Thermite wanted to say it in person. That feels more genuine than just some ‘hey there im sorry i nearly blew your body off with my pretend explosives.’

    “No, that’s not proper manners.” A few minutes later after he had said that, he finally found Nøkk in the cafeteria that he came by twice. They talked it out, he said sorry and she nodded.

    He thought that would be it, but this time Nøkk stayed behind to say, “You can text me next time.”

  3. How on earth did they began dating? I’d like to think that Thermite wanted to ask her out straight up, but he knows that she’s big on hush-hush. And the lady was super hard to figure out. What does she like? What is she like? He tried ‘rules’ of elimination,’ like putting out some snack on the table for everybody to share and see what she liked to eat. That failed because Rook and other gluttons like the Russians swiped the whole thing into their mouth. He brought out a speaker for people to choose their own song in the lounge, but Maestro and Warden hogged the speaker and had a weird stare/leer contest. Thermite even offered to do short grocery run, told everybody that he would be driving down by the town. He ended up with an endless list and Nøkk’s code name wasn’t on it.

    This went on for weeks until Nøkk finally came to talk to him, “Are you a good Samaritan or do you like being a doormat to everybody?”

    Thermite shrugged, “Hey, what can I say? I’m generally an okay guy.”

    Nøkk scoffed, “Yeah, I see that. Do you know what else I see?” She patted on his shoulder, “A lot of attention. Unwarranted.”

    Thermite felt busted but kinda relieved that she saw him through. Still, a bit disappointed that it’s ‘unwarranted,’ “Ah, yup. I guess it didn’t come across too nice, huh?”

    Nøkk slid her hand down his arm and hovered her hand on his, “I didn’t say ‘unwanted.’ Nice effort to figure out who I am. But you don’t have to wonder aimless like I’m a ghost. I’m here, flesh and blood.” It took a while for him to finally get the hint and hold her hand. 

  4. So they became an item. People couldn’t believe the unlikely pair because they acted like complete strangers during missions and in public - that’s mostly Nøkk who withdrew any kind of physical contact whenever they aren’t around friendly companies or in their room. Thermite wasn;t used to being so private and off-standish, so he got a fair bit of silent treatment during the the first few months. He grew frustrated and tried really hard to understand her, but tension is ought to blow when prolonged. They didn’t have a big argument - more like a sit-down-and-let’s-talk kind of session. Thermite asked why they must be like this. Why are they living some sort of double life. Nøkk, who usually have an upper hand in most of their conversation, stared at him.

    She stared and stared, just like the first time they held an eye contact after he blew up that wall, “I’m sorry. I really am.” She didn’t say anything else after that and there wasn’t any tears. But Thermite saw a shake. Those unwavering gaze, he never thought they would falter in uncertainty. This wasn’t the time to push her. He had no right to demand answer when she wasn’t simply ready.

    And he knew that if she didn’t regard him as someone important or valuable, she would end their relationship right here. “It’s okay. Thank you for letting me know.”

    Nøkk let Thermite pull in for a hug, “I didn’t say much.”

    Thermite breathed in, relieving in her faint scent. It’s subtle and near-to-nothing, but he would remember it, “You don’t have to.”

  5. The big reveal of her family. Her history and lineage had him rattled. It’s nearly ten years since they began to date and the truth hit like a ten tonne truck.

    Nøkk kept looking at him, unable to hide her anticipation and anxiety towards his reaction, “Are you ready for this? We don’t have to do this, if you don’t want to. I didn’t live the lifestyle almost my entire life.”

    Thermite finally snapped out of it and swooped down for a kiss, “You know what? Do you know what I find so exhilarating?”

    Nøkk chuckled, “What?”

    Thermite bit his lips from quivering, “That you don’t have to say sorry ever again. You don’t have to hide. I’ve never met someone who can hold secrets this long. Sorry that I made you carry the weight, [redacted.]”

    Nøkk didn’t cry. No one ever gets to see her tears because he will be there to dry them for her. She whispered, “Don’t say sorry. You’re too much of a good man.”

 

Chapter Text

  1. This ship starts out as a big bro/uncle and little sibling kinda dynamics. Probably because I generally view GIGN as a big family. Lion isn’t the most outwardly caring man, but he looks out for Twitch and Rook in his own way. He may sound like a scolding senior telling others to get working - Twitch isn’t a fan of him bossing around while Rook wholeheartedly welcomes it. It’s just Rook and his open-mindedness, taking in advice without taking them too personally. Lion sees potential in Rook and he understands why the younger man is well-liked by almost everybody in the base. The free spirit that Lion once had - Rook has it and it’s nurtured beautifully with love and care. That’s when Lion began to be softer with his words. Still stern and professional, but Lion finds himself unloading his share of desserts on Rook’s tray during meals. Simple act that makes Doc frown and Rook smile from ear to ear. Lion certainly likes what he sees.

  2. Rook rarely stays in one place to do his work. Not that he is a literal rugby ball that bounces everywhere, but people can see him carrying around his laptop to do field reports (and surprisingly gets them done in decent quality.) That changed ever since he has gotten closer to Lion. He still moves around, but within the room they are in together. So one day Lion tells him to stop moving around because it’s too distracting, Rook actually sits down for more than an hour (but his leg keeps shaking and music genre changes every ten minutes. Rook is that kind of man who can listen to Florence + the Machine and warp over to Chance the Rapper.) Lion lets him be, because there are occasional spike of Lamb of God and Dream Theatre.) In fact, there’s been an increase of the rock/metal music ever since Rook has decided to stay seated close to Lion. That leads to the talking more about music, Lion sharing his absolute favourites he used to enjoy in his younger days. Rook has always been easier to talk to, but there’s something about him bringing the positive aspect within anybody and Lion genuinely enjoyed his company; sometimes eagerly anticipating at times.

  3. Therefore it comes as a surprise when Rook asks Lion, “Do you find men attractive?”

    Lion nearly spits his coffee out (he should’ve, especially on Doc’s documents) but soon calmed himself down enough to ask back, “What kind of question is that?”

    Rook shrugs, “I don’t know. Just want to see if I have a chance with you.” Having himself under the spotlight with such bold question and a
    statement!

    Lion stares at Rook who’s eagerly returning the gaze, and it’s honestly all too suffocating at this very moment until Twitch interrupts with a dry cough, “He’s a Catholic, Jule.”

    Rook finally moves his eyes away from Lion and takes a moment to process her words, then gasps, “Oh.” She’s quick to take
    drag him away, leaving dumbfounded Lion with someone who he doesn’t want hear anything from.

    But Doc has something to say, “She saved you for now. But you need to let him know how you feel.” 

  4. How does Lion feel about Rook? Care? Comradeship? Is that why he’s inclined to show him extra attention? The thing they have here - is this friendship or more?  Lion thought they are friends but apparently Rook thought about the next level. But then romantic relationship can change into romantic, just like how him and Claire- Stop. He holds a breath and finds himself touching the rosary beads in his pocket. No way he’s comparing Rook to someone who can never ask forgiveness from. But does that mean he can’t enjoy the newfound joy and possible interest? This is confusing and he’s not even sure if the flutter in his heart happened after Rook’s confession. Liking someone because they like you? Is this even a flutter or anxiety-induced nausea? He will have to find it out.

  5. They meet again. Twitch drags Rook back to face the man while Doc gives them a watchful leer. Montagne asks the two if they need to be there and while Lion doesn’t mind, Rook says he will be okay on his own. Hence the rest of GIGN scuttle away - Montagne even picks up Twitch’s drone that was sneakily hiding behind a table. Rook begins the conversation with small chat and Lion cuts in to get to the main topic, “Why do you like me?”

    Rook looks taken aback and stutters a bit, then makes himself comprehensive at best, “Because you’re awesome.”

    Lion would be looking at the screen with a frown like he’s breaking the fourth wall, “No,but why? Is it because I seem to be caring? Looking after you?”

    Rook nods, “Yeah, that too.”

    Lion sighs, “So do you like me for being, what they say, a daddy material? You do realise that I have a child.”

    Rook scratches his head, “Well, that’s true. You are a dad. But I never thought about the daddy material or something like that.”

    Lion isn’t sure why he’s frustrated of hearing positive things about himself, but he somehow is, “Think about what you’re getting into, Julien. I’m not young as you and you might not like what you see if we get involved more than just friends. I can be a real dick and that’s already proven several times. Our social grounding isn’t the same and-”

    Rook interrupts, “Are you afraid of being loved?”

    Lion halts like a statue and slowly focuses his aim on the younger man, “What?”

    Rook continues, “You’re making yourself sound bad. Unreachable. But I didn’t see the man you claim to be when we spend time together. I don’t know the exact reason why I like you, but I felt something about you that I can’t explain. Isn’t that good enough to like someone?”

    Such juvenile logic, Lion won’t say his thought out loud, but he feels the need to say, “Things aren’t that simple. There are other things involved in life and it’s best to know these kinda things-”

    Rook cuts in again, “Then let me learn. You’re making it sound impossible. Are you impossible to love?”

    That. That’s a hard question to answer because what Lion says will stay true to his conviction, his self-worth, “No. I won’t be easy, though.”

    Rook smiles, the same kind Lion can’t seem to forget, “That’s fine by me. I’m pretty much an open book.” That concludes their conversation. It’s much later for the others to find out the outcome, and that will be something for us to speculate ;)

Chapter Text

  • They thought about not throwing a celebration at all. Well, Bandit did because he failed to see what’s the big hype about spending astronomical amount of money to show off how many friends you’ve got and what expensive suits you’re wearing.

    He laughed, “It’s a sham. Marketing propaganda that makes you book luxurious stuff. It’s not even relevant to how much you love your partner.”

    Jäger sat in silence, scrolling on his phone.

    Bandit nudged on his boyfriend to get a response with a chuckle, “Am I right?”

    Jäger only then shrugged and replied, “Mmm yeah I guess so.” A lukewarm response, but Bandit took it as disinterest.

    A few days later, him and IQ were having an idle chat and they came to talk about retirement and the life after. Bandit mentioned how him and Jäger aren’t going to throw a big wedding and just sign the document, to which IQ gave him a death stare, “Are you fucking serious?”

    Bandit frowned, wondering why she’s judging him like that, “What?”

    IQ, with a patience of a Lutheran martyr, explained the things Jäger blabber when they work in the garage. His pilot days and all the intricate details about one particular model of a plane, and then the colleagues who he kept in touch, “Marius told me that they are a good bunch, and they promised to do an airshow when any one of them gets married. He spent the latest holiday at their wedding and did his part, so that tradition is still around between them.”

    Bandit stared at her with the dumbest expression he could ever make, “Did he say that?” IQ continued to berate him for being inconsiderate, but Bandit filters them out like a student stuck in a boring lecture. The only thing that’s in his mind, one thought to hyper-fixate. How on Earth is he going to plan a surprise wedding without Jäger finding it out?  

  • It’s hard to plan a secret event with people who surely won’t keep things hidden. Let him rephrase - the people who would care about their wedding aren’t the silent type that can shut their traps. FBIs have two idiots and one who would follow the hype (he feels sorry for Ash sometimes,) Rook and Twitch would nag him about all the details, and Smoke will laugh at the whole ordeal. He could extend the invitation to Gridlock and ask her to give Mozzie the invitation the last minute, but Mozzie has this weird sixth sense that tingles him to find out whatever’s hidden. Why not Blitz and IQ? Suppose Bandit can ask for helping hands from his own kind, but Jäger hardly leaves Blitz’s side because they are real good chums. But IQ. He’s a little sick of how she treats him like a five year old, but the fact that her words strike true almost always; that’s what he hates. Perhaps he should downgrade the event and do a proposal first. Yes, that’s easier than organising a wedding and finding a way to contact Jäger’s former colleagues without his knowledge. But Dominic, why don’t you just tell Marius that you wanna have a wedding? Because it’s downright embarrassing, that’s why. He’d rather do this roundabout way to show how much he cares. A simple ‘sorry’ won’t do. Not in his book.

  • Bandit can’t believe he’s kneeling in front of not one, but three people before him, “I need your help.”

    It’s no surprise to see IQ staring down at him while resting her chin on her wrist, “Oh, I thought you can do it all by yourself.”

    Twitch is beyond giddy, “Holy shit! Can you believe this? Mr I-don’t-give-a-shit is actually thinking of being romantic.”

    The most unexpected guest of all sits next to Twitch, “So why do I have to care?”

    Bandit grits his teeth, “Because you’re really good at being quiet.” More like sneaky, but he dares not to utter the word.

    Twitch is the anchor that binds the connection, “Taina, let’s help him out. Come on, babe.”

    Caveira looks like she’s chewing on a hard gum, “You’re asking me to steal your man’s phone so you can spy on his schedule, then book a restaurant that Weiss recommends, which will be decorated with my girlfriend’s sense of aesthetics? Sounds like you aren’t doing much at all.”

    Bandit groans, “I’ve got other things prepared. But I’m not asking for a free favor! I will pay whatever the price you state.”

    Caveira softens when Twitch plants at kiss on her temple, “You’ll regret that.” She walks off and returns within ten minutes. Bandit marvels at the effortlessness and will probably remind Jäger to mind his phone with more caution.

  • Friday evening, quite a convenient timing for anything spectacular to happen. Jäger hops out of the car and stretches out the crease on his jeans, “Dom! You didn’t tell me how fancy this place is going to be! Maybe I should’ve worn something better.”

    Bandit straightens his leather jacket, “Fuck their standards. Come on, let’s go.” They walk in and the waft of fragrant flowers isn’t as extravagant as Bandit thought. Maybe it’s nice to be… expensive. 

    The waiter allocates a seat that’s next to a scenic balcony, table has dainty candles that’s trapped in oval glass vases in shade of olives. “Evening, gentlemen. Our chef’s recommendation for tonight is sweet pea soup, chicken schnitzels coated with baguette crumbs, yukon gold potato mash-” The waiter continues to explain the menu and Bandit can see Jäger mouthing at him, ‘They’re all my favourites!’ Bandit nods at the waiter, who leaves with the affirmed order. Jäger, once he has observed the surrounding, begins to talk about the intricate details of the interior. The colour style, theme, aesthetics and how the tables are arranged. Which moves onto the animate Disney movie ‘Ratatouille,’ and how it’s relevant to the recent documentary he had watched about Julia Child. 

  • Bandit wonders how he ever forgot why he fell for this goof who’s pretty much a jukebox of trivia. There’s never a boring moment with Jäger, who possesses a passionate and unbiased curiosity about the world they live in. Always looking for something so bright and sparkling like a magpie, despite seeing everything that’s ugly and tainted. It’s the nature of their career. Bandit chose to be wary and weary. He chose to believe that nothing much will matter in the end. But Jäger taught him how to look around rather than down. Even now, at this very moment, Jäger is showing Bandit how to appreciate the entire human history through a gourmet dish that seem like the pinnacle of vanity. This is why people marry and celebrate. To show that they exist as a unit, to leave a momentary mark of their union, to reinforce the proof of their love. Bandit would let Jäger finish first, but now is the time to be courageous.

    He reaches out to hold the busy hand in mid air and lands a kiss, “Marius. I need to tell you something.”

    Jäger halts and stares back, “Yeah, yeah of course.”

    Bandit wonders if he should kneel or stand, but decides to not make a big scene. Just whip out the box and put it in the other man’s hands, “Let’s get married.” Fuck. That’s the worst proposal. He might as well do this at their dorm while eating hot dogs. What a mood ruiner. 

    Jäger blinks profusely, “I thought- Wha- Dominic, I thought you don’t do marriage.”

    Bandit will blame the wine for maddening blush on his face, “Well, I don’t. But now I do. You can tell your pilot friends to come to your wedding now, because what kind of a dick am I to have you miss out on your turn?”

    Jäger almost yells, “Where did you hear that from?!”

    Bandit pulls out the ring and slides it in Jäger’s finger, “Someone! We’re getting married and that’s that.”

    Neither speaks much while Jäger takes a closer look on the shiny silver band on his left hand. He murmurs, “Wow. So it’s happening. Wooow.”

    Bandit pulls on his beard, “Yes, yes. Now we’re in for it. We need to plan this out.”

    Jäger squeezes Bandit’s hand while taking a big gulp of wine, “Don’t worry! We don’t have to do anything. Just somewhere nice and open, a few chairs for our friends and a priest.”

    Bandit can feel an oncoming headache, “Please don’t tell me that’s all you’ve thought about a wedding. Our wedding.”  

  • Turns out Jäger was joking. He did plan the whole celebration in a very careful and orderly manner. There’s too much detail on his notepad, so here’s the brief detail of what happens on the actual day. Bandit and Jäger have quite a number of guests including their family, the foundation member of Rainbow (FBI, GIGN, SAS, Spetsnaz, and of course GSG 9.) Also a few from other CTUs like Gridlock, Mozzie, Caveira. The airshow is spectacular - they see their name, code name symbols and ultimately a giant fucking penis because Jäger’s friends have a fantastic sense of humour. Bandit has been holding the tears in until he sees Blitz bawling his eyes out while leaning on Cedrick, who’s also snotty from ugly sobs. Jäger waves back at his family who’s equally cheery. When the couple kiss after the vow, the whole crowd cheers but it’s the FBI men who chants “FUCK HIM UP, FUCK HIM UP.” Sadly no immediate honeymoon because they are on duty, but Harry gave them a special 4 weeks holiday straight after a mission.  

Chapter Text

I wonder about that too. It’s not like other operators lack the desire to live, desperate to withstand and survive what got them down. So what makes Zofia so special?

I’d like to think the power behind her miraculous second wind is spite. 

Before she blacks out and loses connections to the mortal world, life events flashes before her eyes. Family, friends and comrades. Ela, husband and daughter. And her father. The man who taught her about the methodical truth that’s solely decided on who pulls the trigger first. The one who passed his world onto her as if that’s the most valuable inheritance, and yet himself was blind from the true priority that every parent should uphold. Now it’s Zofia’s job to reconnect what he severed, as well as protect the world she has made with someone who loves her as she is. 

No fucking way she’s going to die. Not like this; bleeding out and alone, crossing the river that’s shallower than the tears her family will shed.

She refuses to see him once again, wherever his soul may rest. Whether he will approve or scold her untimely death, she doesn’t care. That’s not what Zofia wants now and for the rest of her life. She aims to hold pride within herself. Accomplish what she set out to achieve, the happiness that’s been missed out. Fuck God and the beings that spews nonsense like destiny. Gritting her teeth and nearly vomiting on the taste of iron, she stands once again. Zofia Bosak stumbles, falters but walks on, for she has never stopped to be left behind.

 

It was a betrayal that came like a boulder rolling ever so slowly. As her love grew bigger for the newfound family, realisation hit hard and steady. Guilt and regret began to squash on the surface level, and kept pressing on. Broke into her rationalisation, excuses to why she had to act like a puppet towards her father. Then it all came down when her daughter turned three. 

The nightmare that shook Zofia to her core. She saw strings tied on each of her fingers, and they were connected on a figurine that crumple alone in a bright spotlight. Seeing the lifeless doll tugged an ache in her heart, so Zofia flexed and twisted her hands to get it moving. Those flimsy legs and arms would move and continue to act on their own, but only when Zofia could keep her hands still. If she moved her hands away, it would stop as well. The doll could move without her, but it was all futile when her fingers moved against it. She needed to cut the string off, but how? 

“Like this,” A pair of arms wrapped around to give her a hug from behind. Sliver of turquoise hair tickled ever so slightly, “You can do it, sis.”

“Elzie,” Zofia felt the cold metal that Ela handed to her; a scissors gleaming white, “I don’t think that’s a good idea-”

“Only you can do it. Here, I’ll show you.” Snip. It was easy as that. One sweep that severed the tension, which allowed Zofia to notice how heavy the doll was.

“But- but-” The doll. It crashed down to the floor, limbs contorted and neck snapped. She finally got to see its face rather than staring the backside, and when her eyes caught the sight. The lovable, plump and young innocence that’s of her daughter. Zofia’s chest crumbled into pieces that’s unattainable. 

“Oh. She died. I guess she wasn’t strong enough.” Ela’s giggle surged an age old anger within Zofia’s bleeding heart. 

“You’re always like this. Not knowing what it takes to have a family! I thought you’ve changed, but, oh Elzbieta! How can you do this to me?” The elder whipped around to face this sorry excuse of a sister. Her hands clawed into Ela’s shoulders. But they were rigid and hard, unlike what human flesh should be.

“Gee, I don’t know, sis. You tell me.” Ela was limp in Zofia’s grip. Her bright coloured hair fell, revealing the brown that she inherited from their parent, “But you wouldn’t have done anything if I didn’t help you.” When her cold blue eyes moved up, they creaked as if there were gears clicking. Zofia followed her line of vision and saw a large pair of palms that hovered above. There were curtain of chains, ten chains hung loose until they stirred in action. As the larger hands began to float up, Zofia’s arms and legs followed. They shook once to have Zofia drop Ela down, forcing her to see the younger sister shatter next to her daughter. 

“No. No, he’s dead!” Zofia wriggled as an attempt to break free, but every struggle that moved against the chain hurt her joints, bones and muscles. The pain came out as endless screams but she was still in-tact, unlike the loved ones who were broken down beneath.

“Who do you love, Zo? Where does your love lie?”

And that’s when she woke up in her husbands arms. Apparently she nearly fell off from her bed, punching and kicking relentlessly in mid-air. 

Chapter Text

Dinnertime is probably the most relaxing moment for the operators. Leave the hard day’s work behind, chill down and take things slow while enjoying each other’s company. Of course there are exceptions to those who need to attend nightly duties, such as patrol, further training and research, or readying for a departure to mind oversea businesses. These operators tend to hasten their meal because their work isn’t yet to be done. They have places to be and at times their presences are requested almost immediately.

“야. (Hey.)” 

“So I was saying, she doesn’t have to shove us all into those workloads. I’m like, okay Elena. I know you want to get this off our asses so we can move onto something different, but come on!”

“야. (Hey.)” 

“Grace, look behind you.” Ying twitches her brow and resumes back on her meal.

“Nah, don’t bother. It’s probs Chul Kyung,” Dokkaebi waves at whoever is behind her, “Shoo. I don’t wanna do anymore practices on BOSG.” 

“Grace.” A mention of her name, an English name, prompts Dokkaebi to finally whip back and check who this rascal might be. One thing is that Vigil almost always call her by Korean name, but she assumed it would be the older Korean since he’s the only one who would call her out with something tasteless as just ‘hey.’ What she had forgotten is the fact that her boyfriend has been learning her mother language, and came to develop a speech manner in its simplest form.

“Oh hey, babe! What’s up?” Her face lights up at the sight of the Brit. Their history as a couple is akin to the honeymoon phase, a period where Dokkaebi is positively glowing with unadulterated passion and affection. She is quick to hold on his hand and shine rose-tinted gaze.

“소금. (Salt.)” Mute returns the squeeze and that’s pretty much it. He accepts the salt shaker from Dokkaebi, tips it onto his panini and leans over to place it back on the table. A sneaky peck on Dokkaebi’s forehead as he stretches away from her; that’s all the honey he manages to display in a public space.

“Late night duty?” She pulls him closer, inviting a seat next to her.

“응. 간다. (Yeah. I’m going.)” He shakes to free his hand and pats on her shoulder before leaving in haste. 

Watching Dokkaebi bidding a farewell in sing-song tune and Mute responding to her with a lazy wave, Ying frowns a little, “Wow. You’d really settle with that?”

“Yeah! You know I like my boys handsome and shy.” Dokkaebi winks and shoves a piece of sausage in her mouth.

“Well, but still. I don’t know whether that’s being shy or standoffish,” Ying clicks her tongue, “I used to know a guy like that. You know him.”

“Oh right,” Dokkaebi shrugs, “But hey. Mark and Masaru aren’t in the same league. Chill out.” 

“Just saying. As long as you’re fine with him talking to you like that. I don’t understand a thing about Korean, but it sounded pretty cold to me.” 

Dokkaebi blows off her friend’s words with another shrug and changes the topic. She is well aware of what Ying is trying to say and the generous concern as a good friend, but no one knows Mute better in this base. Not many would have seen Mute’s way of being romantic through gentle touches, soft words and undivided attention; all those traits are reserved for their private get together. And think about it - how many partners out there would put in time and effort to learn each other’s language? Korean language hadn’t been deemed as universally popular until the rise of the KPOP industry. So what prompted Mute, a man of efficiency, to learn Korean while not being a fan of Korean idols? Dokkaebi and her alone. The sheer fact is sickly sweet and endearing, which adds to the point that Dokkaebi would never stay with a man who treats her like a pebble on the road. 

Here is the issue. Mute knew about specific honorifics in Korean language and asked Dokkaebi about it, to which she claimed that it’s not necessary for him to learn those at the early stage. She said it would be better to learn those before he meets her parents, so that’s a mutual agreement behind their private lessons. But then when Mute learned how simpler and direct the casually impolite forms are, he chose to use those in everyday language. He claimed it to be a good practice in pronunciation, and noted how his personality matches with the speech manner. Hence the reason why he appears rude, cold and almost passive aggressive to those who aren't aware of the context. Even Vigil had been giving Mute a mean look. While Dokkaebi doesn’t give two rats’ ass about what the older Korean thinks, she might need to do something about it sooner than later; before Vigil lectures her about the importance of manners and etiquettes. 

Mute returns after two days since their last encounter. First thing he does is shower and change into comfortable clothes. He then wolfs down a meal while sending a text message to Dokkaebi for a meet up. Her bed in SMB dorm is their lair, regardless of what they do behind the locked door. No other place is comfortable other than cushiony mattress and blankets infused with her scent, and he can melt into her arms without a word. 

“Say, 자기 (babe.)” After some time since they began to cuddle in her bed, Dokkaebi breaks the peaceful silence.

“Yeah?” Mute shifts to level their faces and meet her gaze.

“I think it’s about time for you to learn formal forms.” 

“Formal forms?” Mute pauses for a bit and it clicks, “Oh. For Korean?”

“Yup. You’re ready.” She strokes those brown curls and plants a kiss.

“I don’t know,” He hesitates, “I was getting pretty comfortable with what I know so far. Am I not delivering my message across when speaking the casual form?”

“You do, but it would only work with me or people younger than you. I mean, you shouldn’t speak like that with anybody just because they are younger than you,” She reaches out to grab a phone and unlocks the screen, “It’s more like, casual impolite forms are really for those who are your friends or young individuals that you’re really comfortable with.”

“So many rules,” Sighs Mute, “Can’t I do it when we’ve decided to meet your family? I’ve got a lot to do on my plate nowadays.”

“Don’t think about it like a big homework. It’s simple. You just gotta add a few variants of at the end of what you would normally say in impolite form.” 

“Maybe some time later, darling,” Mute wraps his hands around her hips and pulls in, “나중에 (Later.)”

Among several aspects that Dokkaebi has learned about Mute, she is aware of his tendency in hiding inexperience. It took him a while to reach out for help because he underestimated the difficulties in learning something that’s on a completely different branch of the language tree. It wasn’t hard for Dokkaebi to teach Mute on speech because he built the basic knowledge from books that he read. Perhaps it was her mistake to start her lesson with informal form, downgrading the lesson with the easiest form to speak at the time. It helped to grow his confidence. But it’s time for a new challenge, as all learning shouldn’t be so stagnant. 

“You know what,” Dokkaebi pushes her lips out, “Sometimes I feel like you don’t really listen to me.”

“What makes you think like that?” Mute cocks his head, eyes eagerly focusing on her pout.

She turns away from him, “Well, I know it’s easy to talk in one word or two. But you sound angry or bored with me when you do that.”

“자기 (babe,)” Mute is quick to spoon her, “I thought you didn’t mind that. Didn’t you say that it’s okay to say like that between us?”

“I did. But who likes it when their boyfriend talks like an army sergeant? Like ‘you,’ or ‘hey,’ or ‘give me now.’ It kinda sounds like you’re ordering me around.”

“Grace! I would never!” The mattress shakes and within the blink of an eye, he jumps off from the bed and scoots over to her side, kneeling to have their faces up close, “Is this about me not wanting to be PDA?”

“No, no. I know you don’t like being affectionate in public,” Dokkaebi tenses her jaw, putting an immense effort to not smile or laugh at those googly brown eyes. It’s within her intention to fake a tear or two, believing that he would see her through. What a bonus to find him antsy like a puppy, desperate to earn her affection and happiness? She better come clean before he promises something out of his comfort zone, “I was joking. You’re fine the way you are.” He might swear to show more love when there are bystanders, and cringing pain is not what she’s after.

“Oh. I see.” Mute relaxes and returns to the bed. They continue to spoon; Dokkaebi feels a waft of his breath against her neck, enjoying the subtle nuzzling as they enjoy each other’s company. 

Time passes and Dokkaebi feels the similar shift of weight being lifted from her bed, “Going so soon?”

“Yeah. Got early training tomorrow, so I better stay with the rest of SAS.”

“Hm. I wish you’d stay the night,” She hooks her finger on the hem of his shirt, but lets go with a smile, “Okay. See you tomorrow.”

“See you,” Mute gives her a parting kiss, deep and delicate as their lips meet for the last time of the night, “사랑해 (Love you.)”

“나도 (Me too.)” She waves back and focuses back on the phone, but her mind replays the conversation they shared. Bits of doubt and regret for bringing up the issue so early; speculations on whether she wants to teach him the formal form purely in his interest or because of what Ying had said earlier the day. She did say it’s not crucial for him to speak formally with her, and there’s no doubt in Mute’s love. But sometimes, sometimes it would be nice to hear something loving from the man when they are with other people. Anything warm outside of their bedroom, so other people won’t misinterpret their dynamics and how deep their affection runs for each other. No matter. Dokkaebi will not be discouraged by what other people think and say. That’s not her and it’ll never be who she is. Closing her eyes, Dokkaebi decides to sleep off the tangled stream of thought and hopefully it will straighten itself the next morning.

A week passes and it’s pretty much the same between them. Barely touching during the day and fully in contact at night. Mute seems to speak less Korean, but his mannerisms are short and curt. Dokkaebi expects no change until he is ready for the next lesson. 

“Can you pass me the pepper?” Ying taps on Dokkaebi, “This soup is a bit bland.”

“Martello won’t be happy if he hears that. Too proud with his cooking skills.” Dokkaebi slides it across the table towards her friend. She may have exerted too much strength, making it whoosh faster than expected. Ying misses her chance and leaps to chase after, hoping she will catch it before crashing onto the wooden floor.

Thankfully someone else catches it, “Thank you so much, Mark.” Ying lets out a sigh as Mute passes her the shaker. 

“No worries,” Mute nods, “좋은 밤, 나의 사랑요 (Good evening, my love madam.)”

“Hey, darling,” Dokkaebi replies while taking a bite into her pasta, then halts to give her boyfriend an incredulous stare, “Huh?”

“당신, pepper를 떠러트리 뻔 했다습니다. (Dear, you do- might have drahpped the pepper.)” Mute lay his hand on her back. It’s quite a miniscule movement, but she can sense that he is giving her a rub.

“Oh. Sorry.” Dokkaebi nearly slips food out of her mouth that’s gaping in surprise and awe.

“걱정 맙시다. 내가 요기 있다요, (Don’t worry. I’m be heere for you,)” He shines a serene grin, “사랑님, 나 불러, 필요하면요. (Madam love, call, when do need I.)” Mute walks along to sit with his teammates. Among the SAS, Dokkaebi notices Vigil staring at her. His vacant expression breaks when he notices her gaze, and the man locks eyes and gives her a slow nod.

“Wow, he sounds like a gentleman today. Is it your anniversary?” Ying nudges at Dokkaebi.

She doesn’t take a leer off from her teammate and replies, “No. But I think he asked around to sound like one.” Those sentences she had heard are far from perfect. They are sloppy and amateurish at best, simply against Mute’s personal standard. Despite all that, Dokkaebi is dumbfounded by the gesture. Showing what he has learned without mastering it to a degree, being open to appear imperfect and quite foolish to someone who speaks Korean on a native level. People say it’s the intention that matters and while that is true, Dokkaebi is touched by the choice of words. She doesn’t doubt his love and devotion, and yet it is definitely flattering to hear it aloud from someone who means the world to her.

Chapter Text

Smoke is like “Who are you and what have you done to our Maggie?” Once he gets a slap from Thatcher, Sledge and Mute know the man isn’t an imposter. Vigil has his mask on so no one can see how he feels, but his eyes are blinking rather too fast as if he’s in shock and awe. 

“That’s it, lads. I won’t repeat it ever again, but technology can be somewhat… reliable.” Thatcher grits his jaws but releases when locking eyes with Dokkaebi. He nods and gives her two pats on shoulder, then leaves before Smoke does another dramatically fake gasp.

“He said it,” Echo scoffs, “I’m actually impressed.”

“Damn right he did. No one’s gonna say shit about what I do around here,” Dokkaebi leaps into her chair and let the wheels slide across the workshop. While enjoying her mobile throne, she looks into the newest addition of her weaponry and contemplates on its short and sturdy blade. The dagger from Thatcher. Funny how a ‘scalpel’ is holding her larger cousin. This is the most dangerous six inches that she will try to not joke about. 

“Is that his?” Vigil holds her chair and spins it around for a face to face chat.

“What, you want yours to be as big as his?” Never mind. Looks like she’s good at lying, even to herself. 

There’s no reply other than a harsh push. Vigil’s leer follows as she drifts away, cackling at him before bumping into Echo who yelps at sudden impact.

 


 

Ooh! I haven’t thought about Thatcher hating himself. That’s a new take. I read through his recent psychological report and thought about this passage here:

The report also mentions that despite the Baker family having a long lineage of dockworkers and soldiers, his parents wanted him to choose the former rather than latter. I do wonder what made Thatcher become a soldier, but I kinda speculated his choice in this fic that I wrote some time ago (I’m just gonna bring the screenshot rather than making you read a lot of words.)

I also did write a sort of character analysis on Dokkaebi, and also on a ficlet that’s based on the image where she’s sitting resting in the lockeroom

Pardon me putting a lot of links on what I wrote, but they are helping me to think upon your theory, which feels absolutely plausible to me! It paints a great, heart warming image. 

I was writing something for this, but it feels really incomplete and gibberish as I write on ;_; I will leave it below as ‘read more’ and give it some sort of conclusion.

I know, I know. I don’t have to write everything in narratives and ficlets, but I resort to have my ideas written out like this rather than in succinct paragraphs that would do the job just as efficiently.

It would have happened after the program’s tournament. The spotlight shone on the victors, harsh white light radiating to bask them in glory. As adrenaline washed away, Thatcher pursed his lips together to contemplate on what they achieved. Who are these people cheering upon them? For what reason? He knew of Harry’s intention and while it sounded reasonable during the briefings, having civilians cheering upon them felts almost like a… sports event. The emotional high was real. Having reliable teammates backing him up, knowing how they work in mind and body felt more than fulfilling.

The fact that Thatcher had to learn these sort of things through three wars he experienced. Everything he had done led him up to this moment; well, it’s also possible that his deeds have contributed in creating an event such as this one.

Every operators in the Rainbow are killers. Legalised killers, highly trained to eradicate harm to protect. Thatcher remembered the fateful day when he turned down his parents’ words to enlist in the military as a young man whose heart was full of hope and idealistic justice. It didn’t take him a long time to see the red that tainted his uniform. Regardless of knowing whose blood that soaked him, it stuck into his skin.

He wondered if all this could have been avoided if he was smart enough. Smart enough to quit before having prescriptions from time to time, have therapy that he often disregarded, or intelligent enough to know that he isn’t the embodiment of his career. A number of younger operators in the base exhibits stellar examples of how a military personnel should be, to which Thatcher feels tad bit envious of. He was more of a workhorse that pulled the carriage and endured what was thrown at him. But nowadays people drive cars without putting in much manual labour.

Lessons that costs more than half of his life-span, and the majority of them had no advanced technology. Perhaps that’s the reason behind his disdain towards gadgets and how much people relied on them. A lot of what he learned were rendered useless when new inventions took over, and it made him righteously irritated. Not that he couldn’t learn some new tricks to save his life, but some of them felt like an instant gratification that dulls one’s awareness. That’s what he believed and preached his trainees. To hone their basic skills rather than relying on what your phones can do.

That’s why he wasn’t particularly impressed with Grace Nam, the operator whose gadget is solely based on what’s in her phone. Who’s going to save her while she squats around, looking into her phone when everybody else is too busy on their feet? Not him, that’s for damn sure.

Then his opinions on her changed after their disagreement. Technology is open to everyone. It’s a public domain as long as one has a skill, money and time to invest in it. Regarding Dokkaebi as some teen who knows how to type fast on the laptop is downright disrespectful because it’s what she excels at. What differences are there between him and her when they were 18 years old? Learning what’s required of the time and adapting what’s needed in certain situations of their field of expertise. Just like he stayed in the military and held onto the idea of what he wanted (despite his family’s wishes,) Dokkaebi also pursued her ambition while pulling middle finger at whoever discouraged her. The question is, will she able to continue without destroying herself? Does she have a life to go back after all this? Thatcher had, but he destroyed it with his own hands. It would be a lie if he has no regret, but that’s what he chose and he shall embrace it. 

He can put some thought into this. He can, but not necessarily should. At the end of the day, it’s her life to live, whether she will devote into her career like him, and miss the chance to retire before being consumed by a sense of responsibility that’s disguised as obsessiveness. He sees spite that drives her, the hatred that directs towards people who underestimated what she can do, and hatred at herself for trying to please them. So the first step that he could take at this very moment, is to approach and give a light pat on her shoulder to say, “Well done. Remarkable job. Come down the pub around seven if you’re up for it.”

“What?” Dokkaebi turns around, her eyes shaking to find an answer for such an unexpected behaviour from him. Hibana nudges and whispers, which helps Dokkaebi to muster a reply, “Oh! Okay. Sure.”

“Right.” Thatcher nods and walks away, and groans when Smoke hangs his arm around his back.

“What a cradle snatcher!”

“Knock it off. You know it’s not like that.” Sledge pulls Smoke away and laughs at the fake mockery.

“Ta, Seamus.” Thatcher thanks the taller man and goes off to change, then turns on his phone to send a message that Dokkaebi can also bring her other companies if she wishes to. Making and managing social circles isn’t really his thing, but as someone who doesn’t have anyone other than his family out there, Thatcher knows that it’s a worthwhile idea to mix and mingle from time to time. 

 


 

Pretty much, yeah.

I think Thatcher is someone who can be contrasted against General Kuh. Both may be similar in age. This asshole is described as below:

And maybe this is where researched on SAS training videos saw Thatcher and his boys. At a first glance, she might have seen the real deal. The knife-cutting edge discipline, and yet how each members are trained to utilise their full potential. In amidst of the group, Thatcher would have stood out as a man who appeared as old as the trash of a general from her home base. It could’ve been a gamble for her. Thatcher, for all she knows, could be a traditionalist old coon like Kuh. And yet, SAS holds such indisputable reputation that can set a young mind ablaze with ambition. So Dokkaebi took the risk, listened to her heart rather than the legal frivolities and signed herself in.

When he disregarded technology, I can imagine Dokkaebi feeling offended on personal levels. It took some time for her to see his disdain towards gadgets, but she felt like he’s not so different from other people to put her down. But there were some days when SAS recruits would come to Dokkaebi for some extra lessons because apparently Thatcher told them that Dokkaebi is the most adapt at using single fire weapons (marksman, BOSG.) She would hear all these second-hand compliments from him, and they were all about her ranged-combat skills.  

Hence she challenged him to a hand-to-hand combat, with rubber knives. (She looked up on his old injuries as an insurance, kind of a walkthrough to face against the legendary veteran.) He accepted and rounded up all the other recruits to watch. The spar was far from being tame, as Thatcher usually gives his everything and Dokkaebi isn’t the type to hold back. In the end, her temper got better of her and she broke her own rule to not use his weakness against him. She managed win by pinning Thatcher on the ground, then realised how bad it looked towards the recruits. Dokkaebi hopped off in haste and stood still, bracing for his scowl, but Thatcher stood up and gave her his knife, “Good. Work on your grapple next time.” 

“I looked up on-” Dokkaebi couldn’t withhold the guilt.

“Even better. Intel is better than nothing, and that’s what you do. Get working on your grip strength.” He tapped on her arm and walked away to guide the recruits, and that was the first time she heard anything positive from him in person. 

SO yeah! Thatcher is one of few who acknowledged what Dokkaebi can do and didn’t think twice about what she can’t, regardless who she is. That’s how I see them as.

 


 

Heya. I finally got to write something about this, because there was a general idea that came along but I didn’t feel it as strongly. 

I’m glad it finally knocked on my door loud enough to be let in and rummage through, so here we go!

-

Ragged breathing. One would hardly notice a thin sheet of sweat blanketed upon her forehead, and how those droplets trickle down along the lines of laboured wrinkles. The grey beanie is ripped to seal a puncture on her left thigh, tainting the white ‘707’ into burgundy. 

He sweeps on the moisture on her face, tucking away her caked fringe, “Hold it. Press on the wound.” Hushed coughs to clear his throat, making himself understandable. There’s a streak of red on his temple and the nape, and the entire right shoulder is shaking from a bullet wound.

“How- how many,” She halts the hiccup by slamming the mouth shut, “How many are out there?”

“Don’t think about that now, lass. I haven’t heard anything around us. Focus on stabilising yourself.” Shadows cast under his brows, allowing him to identify the direction of faint light that situates right above them. The surrounding lacks any visible corners, but Thatcher knows of the myriad pebbles digging into his tethered pants. 

A yelp escapes when Dokkaebi forces herself to pat the holster around her waist, “Shit. Fuck, shit- shit-” More she rambles on, shakier her tone. 

“Shh. Not now. You must have dropped it somewhere.” 

“I fucked it up,” She spits out a pant, “Should’ve listened when you told us to fall back, but- Shit! I just had to chase after that bomber, didn’t I? I had to become the rash idiot and put you in danger.”

“Shit happens. We’re both alive, so that’s that,” Thatcher flexes his limbs and notices a sprain on the ankle, “You rammed me away from the bomber, we fell into a hole and there are no white masks in here with us. How bad is it now?” 

“Pretty bad. I don’t know if the explosion covered us from being seen or not, but I bet those terrorists are looking for us now,” She has been pressing down a button on her logic bomb during the entirety of their time in this pit. The gadget is somewhat cracked and fizzing in and out, making it hard to know whether the signal is sent to their nearby team, “ We’ve got no weapon, fucking too fucked up to fight and god knows where we are. You shouldn’t have followed after me-”

“And let you die alone. Do you think your death pays off the mistakes you make?” Thatcher growls, “Do you think that’s how all this works? For fuck’s sake, Nam. You know better.” 

“I know about being expandable!” She barely contains herself, “We are just expendables. But you know who is valued more, between you and I. You’re a national hero and I’m-” A hacker. A cheating, filthy and greedy young thing who bit more than she could chew.

“Shush. Shut up for a second.” 

“Telling me to shut it when I’m right-”

“No, really. Shh.” Thatcher hovers his hands on her face, “Save your strength.”

“I may as well die. Leave my body here when the rescues come.” Dokkaebi huffs, then yelps in surprise upon being clamped on both of her cheeks.

“Now listen here, you gremlin,” Thatcher tightens the grip, fixing her gaze to focus on him, “Like hell that’s gonna happen to you. You aren’t going to die here. We will make it out alive and then spend a painful amount of time in the infirmary while dealing with Kateb’s antics. You are going to apologise for the trouble you supposedly caused; not just me but to the others who are worried sick about you. I don’t know who will berate you for your stupidity or be happy to see you back, and I guarantee both will happen. You shall call your family to hear their voices, and remember who you are risking your life for.”

“That hurts-” She barely keeps her eyes open to conceal the sting.

He loosens the tension, “When you’re back on the field, things will happen. Dirty businesses, but nothing new. Kill or be killed. Sometimes it’s not up to you to make it out alive. But when you know how much life is still left in you, it’s your duty to cling on. Hold onto any chance that ensures your survival. Tell yourself that you are worthy to live, no matter how many mistakes you aren’t proud of. There are people who want you back. There will be wrong doings you amend, and achievements you celebrate.”

“I- I-,” Heat flows in forms of tears, “I haven’t told you what I did to get in the Rainbow. I’m not someone you should have risked to save, and now we’re stuck here. We’re stranded.”

“It doesn’t matter. You’re here, serving your duty and have shown what you’re capable of. I’ve reached where I am by stepping on my dead comrades’ bodies. That’s how it is,” Thatcher slides his hands down on her shoulders, “That’s how it all is. No matter how much I hate remembering who died for me, I’m here, alive and raining lectures on your sorry arse.”

“What?” Dokkaebi frowns. Pain is still the major cause of the contortion on her face, but now there’s a confusion as well, “I should be saying sorry to you,” There’s a miniscule flutter within her chest, a chuckle despite the situation, “But I don’t feel as compelled to apologize right now.”

“Good. Save it until we’re back at the base. I need some leverage to pile paper works on you.” 

An abrupt crack prompts the two to jolt, “H- I- IQ- pag- ng Dokk- ie. Pagin-” The noise comes somewhere far right from them. 

“Look at that. Not so doomed now, aren’t we?” Thatcher limps towards and eagerly picks up the comm device.

“Holy shit, thank fuck. Jesus is real.”

“Don’t you start believing in him. He’s not as reliable as Satan.” Heaven or hell. People will end up in either places or be sucked into a mystical wonderland where some believe it to be the afterlife. None of those matter right now, as of the moment when it’s too soon for Thatcher and Dokkaebi to see it for themselves.

Chapter Text

Once in a blue moon, Dokkaebi succumbs into boredom and rises again as a dull-eyed zombie with strong appetite for relentless online shopping. Slouched on a couch, chin folding into double layer and mouth slightly agape as she mindlessly clicks on the laptop mouse pad. One (1) salvageable thing of this bad habit is that she piles a lot of items on the shopping cart. It’s a slow build up for the ultimate release. One click that’s written ‘purchase,’ a portal to suck her virtual wallet dry. Some masochistic ritual. She has a vague assumption of how much money will be gone, but does she have her bank mobile app to see the subtracted amount? That’s something for her future-self to deal with. Just one click and she can whisper, “Come to mama.”

“Absolutely not,” A sudden shove pushes the laptop screen down, “We’ve talked about this.”

“Mei Lin,” Dokkaebi sighs and a giggle follows, “Mei Lin, Mei Lin, Mei Lin. What’s up?”

“Your poor wallet, that’s what’s up,” Ying snatches the laptop and lay it gently on a nearby table.

“I treat my wallet with love and respect,” Dokkaebi heaves herself off from the seat, “I feed it fat with my blood and sweat, keep it nice and plump, then cut it open to feast on sweet capitalism. No wrong doing is done.” She holds her friend’s shoulders and sways side to side. A little more to the left, drifting further away from the couch.

Ying stiffens to hold the ground and reciprocates the touch in the exact same manner, except she presses the taller woman down back into the couch, “You’re not touching a single keyboard today. Not when I’m here.”

“But mommy! I need them,” Arms outstretched for a cuddle that’s sticky with fake pouting and BB cream as Dokkaebi rubs her cheeks against Ying’s, “I want it now. I’ve been working so hard. Don’t you know about the whole ‘treat yoself’ trend?”

“What about a box full of body butter piled up in your bathroom?”

“Oh.” Dokkaebi looks down and blinks at a pair of laser glare.

“Those bikini sets you never wore?”

“Well, I felt a little chubby last summer, so-”

Ying scoffs at piles of brown stained mugs, “Espresso machine from Nestle?”

“Hey, I actually use that every night.” Dokkaebi is meant to clean them all; a promise she made two days ago.

“And you drink nothing stronger than what, these white ones? There are so many different coloured capsules laying on the floor.”

“They have names! It’s called caramel crème brulee.” The only name Dokkaebi manages to recall other than all those fancy sounding French or something.

“Isn’t that what you bought from the bakers house- Yes, you do! And those macarons too.”

“You ate them too. In fact, you ate a lot.” 

Ying clicks her tongue, “The point is, you buy way too many things without actually using them all. It’s a bad habit, Eun Hye.”

“I know. But you know why I’m like this.” Dokkaebi loosens the grip and sinks in to the cushion.

“Hm,” Ying breaks free and rolls away, “But I’m not going to condone everything you do. That’s not right.” The guilty pleasure isn’t an old news between them. Ying understands Dokkaebi and the frustration that’s been accumulating over the years. The strong desire to attain what cannot be achieved; Dokkaebi wanted approval and respect from the superiors. Obviously that didn’t work out, so she opted to break out of the mold and leave the country while flashing them the middle fingers. Therefore buying material goods, physical objects that she can own without anyone’s permission, are righteous rewards of a kind.

“Of course it isn’t,” The once lively goblin sits still. Mood shifts from light banter to stagnant silence, which soon dissipates when Dokkaebi turns to face Ying, “Thanks. I guess I need to tone it down.”

The little curve on the corner is what gets Ying most of the time, “Ugh,” Correction. Guilt and sympathy tug a string in her heart, “I mean, you can buy what you want. Gosh, you’re not a child!”

“Thank fuck. I’d rather not be the brat that I was.” 

“As if you have stopped being one,” Ying fetches the laptop and places it between them, “But it’s too late to do anything about it. I can see you moping the entire week if you don’t get what you want right now.”

“Geez. You do sound like my mom. Creepy.” Dokkaebi scoots closer to the screen, as moths are often drawn to the flames. 

“Five things. And I get to choose two of them because you need to treat me after all this.” Ying squints as she scrolls down to see the page end. It takes a while to reach the bottom, and the number next to shopping cart icon is well over thirty.

“Two? Don't make me a stingy bitch. Make it three because you deserve that much,” Dokkaebi is quick to take over the mouse pad and busily taps to cancel some orders, “Treat yoself, girl!”

“I’d rather see you become a scrooge,” Ying huffs as she leans closer for a better view, “Whoa, don’t take that out. I want it red.”

“Nyx tint? Heck yeah. It’s about time you get a new one.” And that’s how they will be sitting in the same spot for three hours. Double the number when Hibana walks in to join them, but hey. Fifteen is lesser than thirty, right? 

Chapter Text

I think Ela would a mixture of awkward/cool/rebellious/weird influence aunt.

Awkward the first time when she visits Zofia’s home. I assume the Zofia junior was about two or three. Let’s think that the little girl was three because that’s usually the age when children begins to be more talkative. So there was Ela, staring at a chubby ball of flesh that remotely resembles the old family picture she saw back at their father’s house. 

Zofia said something like, “She won’t bite.” 

To which Ela replied, “Yeah, if she takes after your husband.” 

The man himself laughed at the comment and let things be. He was the mediator between the sisters. Not that they were fighting - Zofia had too many questions and Ela was half-motivated to answer one or two. The stiff communication was setting some frost in the air as Zofia insisted to break the ice by rushing their reunion. It wasn’t helping Ela to calm her nerves. she was tempted to say ‘fuck it’ and leave the house in any minute. Her hand curled up into a fist, fingers cold from tension and annoyance until there’s a foreign sensation caressing whitened knuckles. Soft, damp and warm. 

The little Zofia was patting on Ela’s hand as if she had found a ball to play with, but words from her mouth showed how perceptive children can be, “Shhhh. Inan out. Inan out.” 

Ela was truly bemused for a hot second. Zofia had her brows scrunched up and her husband beamed a smile, “She’s saying ‘in and out.’ I tell that to Zo whenever she’s riled up.” 

Ela then relaxed herself and sighed, “Wow. Okay.” 

Zofia leaned back and sunk into the couch, “There you go again. Getting angry at me when I’m trying my best with you,” She then paused, watching Ela’s glare flashing an age old annoyance, “But I can’t say anything better about myself. Pushing all the wrong buttons and never understanding why you’re a bit- I mean, rude to me.” 

There’s a cackle that Ela saved up for the moments whenever Zofia messes up, “Hey. No swear words in front of your girl.” 

Zofia didn’t miss a beat to snap back, “She has a name you know.”

“Yeah? What is it?”

“It’s an old name,” Zofia bit her lips, “Agata.”

She held her breath. Ela hadn’t heard the name in a while, and the last time anybody said it was during her teenage years, witnessing a rare occasion of their father in his drunken state, “Our mum’s name.”

“Surprised?” The irony of hearing a woman’s name who probably didn’t want to have her first name associating with the family she left behind. Zofia would have pinched her own arm if the husband didn’t guide her shoulder into his arms. 

“Yeah,” Ela crooked her neck down and she was met with a pair of sparkling gaze that radiated bright against her own. Vision slightly clouded with welling tears, a smiled shone back at Agata and clamped the tiny hand between her palms, “I’m surprised that you made your baby sound like an old hag who complains about her pension money.”

“Ela!” Zofia readied to pounce off from her seat but her husband caught her again and threw his head back while gasping for breath from a laughter. Agata mimics her dad and was too zealous with the action - she threw her head back but lost the control, so her whole body was falling backward. Thankfully Ela caught her in time, her mouth agape in adrenaline and she ended up scooping the small body up close to her chest. 

Agata giggled at the sudden whoosh, “Geez, hun! Too soon for your senior benefits. No need to hurry for a concussion.” Ela chuckled but it soon faltered when the girl drooled on her hair. 

That’s how Ela eased into being an aunt. It took a while for her to visit Zofia’s place regularly. Perhaps things had been more peaceful before Ela’s presence at the new Bosak residence, because any trouble that’s caused by Ela and Agata added a new strand of white in Zofia’s hair. 

Walls and floors messy with bright paints? Ela thought it’s a good time to develop an early sense of art in Agata.

Agata used to draw squiggles, but she recently added a bright turquoise spikes and called it aunt Ela, so what did Ela do? Using hair gels to make herself and Agata a mohawk. 

Agata began to roll up A4 papers, colour them grey and throw them up on doorsteps and little tiny corners, AND THEN expected daddy to move sluggish as if he’s got a headache? That’s Ela too. 

“Mommy!” Agata pulled on Zofia’s shirt, “Merry is a sosho concep.”

“What is that, sweetie?” Zofia took her eyes off from the laptop and readied to hear her daughter properly this time.

“Merry. Is. A sosho. Concet,” Agata kindly broke the words down for her mom, “Concep. Con- concet- concep.” She looked proud to pronounce what she aimed to say.

“Did- did aunty tell you that?” Zofia finally understood what her daughter is trying to say, “Hold on. Mommy needs to make a phone call with her.”

On the third time of Zofia calling Ela, the other side finally picked up. The conversation was an accusation disguised with sickly sweet tone, civil enough for Agata to believe that Ela wasn’t getting told off or growled at. Ela’s laughter was loud and clear, “Yeah, sis. Marriage IS a social concept. It’s good to learn at early age.”

“Aunty! Aunty!” 

“Hey darling. Zo, pass her the phone. I wanna talk to my favourite girl.” Ela demanded and Zofia obliged. She even connected the call into video mode, left it with her daughter and went away to crack open a wine bottle while overhearing two younger Bosaks chatter. 

-

Side headcanon #1: Zofia passed her Bosak name to Agata.

Side headcanon #2: The husband might have Bosak name as well.

Chapter Text

Nitehaven NSFW headcanon. Smut, involves pegging which I credit kiki_92 for suggesting the beautiful idea hehe. Don’t read if you aren’t into such subject!

This headcanon starts off with Kali and Wamai being friends colleagues with benefits. Kali has this whole ‘I have the upper hand in this relationship. We fuck when I want to. You're mine,' while Wamai is like 'Okay that's cool. I'm down with whatever you want to do because I get to have my fill.' They don’t kiss or cuddle - when they are alone, Kali just pushes Wamai down and grinds on him, rides him like a cowgirl. 

Then when Ace came along, things change. He's like 'Oh hai there,' and hangs out a bit, and wanting Kali's attention from time to time. Kali sees him being like a big dog wagging his tail at her. A naive fool. So she tells him 'I don’t do romance. You will get sex and sex only.'And she didn’t expect him to respond positively, but he's like 'Okay, sure let's go!' with a smile that’s full of confidence. Then it turns into a smirk, 'I don’t know if you can handle me though.'

So Kali invites Ace to her room, call it an ‘educational’ briefing. He walks in and sees Wamai laying on her bed. Stark naked, stomach on the mattress but elbows supporting his well-built upper body as he browses on the phone. Ace is like 'Whoa buddy you need some time to get some clothes on? Nice butt by the way.' Wamai says nothing, he just grins and keeps his eyes on the screen. Then Kali walks in with a strap on that has a formidable length and girth. It’s not something that anyone can handle with ease, but Kali can get any men ready in time. She's proud of the foreplay that loosens the muscles needs to be relaxed. I originally thought of Kali having Ace to watch her and Wamai fuck, but the pegging idea is MUCH better. Kali points at a stool and says 'Sit there and enjoy the view. Don't you dare cum or touch your dick, or else you're out.'

It begins. Kali loosens Wamai with toys and fingers, Ace watches but finds it hard to contain himself. He chuckles and rolls his shoulders to pretend that he's at ease, but when Kali enters Wamai, Gods he never heard a guy sound like that. Those calm eyes squinting as they crinkle, but the way his furrowed brows relax shows how discomfort turns into pleasure. Bed creaks, Wamai moans and Kali mutters'That's right. You're taking it all in.' Ace feels heat rising and hates how his pants are too tight for the occasion. Solution? He takes them off. Showcasing the erection that hasn’t disappointed anyone in his life so far. Kali stares at him and Wamai let out a soft laughter. Ace shrugs 'I haven’t touched it yet, but you're more than welcome to do that for me.'

Wamai scoffs 'He wants to play.' Kali muses for a bit, then pulls out. Takes off the strap and walks towards Ace. She nudges his member with her knee and asks 'So. You think you're the hot shit, hm?' Ace bites his lips 'I can be more than that, babe.' Kali pushes Ace by shoulder 'I'm no babe.' She holds his dick and squeezes lightly 'With an attitude like that, you aren’t gonna get what you want. Unless you can withstand a challenge.' Ace sighs 'Let me guess. I cant cum at all nor make your hands dirty?' Kali replies 'Correct.' Ace rolls his eyes 'Alright. Easy. Show me what you've got. I'm going to win this fair and square.'

Long story short, he loses but Kali keeps him around because he manages to hold it for an hour and half. But he won't be allowed to enter Kali, and the approval comes much later than he would like.

Chapter Text

^That's the draft.

 

^Here is the refined version, and below are the elaborated explanations.

  • Kail think Wamai as a reliable right-hand man. He’s reliable to certain extent. She seems to believe that as long as his needs and desires are met, his loyalty will remain steady and solid. Does that mean she views him as a tool? It’s hard to say. I don’t see someone like Kali taking her sweet time to promise him of a down time and private boat to sail out wherever he wants to dive. I do wonder how they manage communication because Kali is very direct while Wamai is described as someone cryptic at best. But then, maybe she needs someone who has different perspective from her and perhaps Wamai provides her with such. He can handle the ambition she envisions, and the path she leads appears far from being conventional.
  • Wamai regards Kali as a business partner. I read his bio it says how his exceptional skills in free diving gained quite a lot of attention. It’s possible that he could secure a career path, a consistent income from those navy generals and world-wide scientific communities. Despite all this, he chose to work with Nitehaven. A private military company that’s pretty much a newborn babe in the industry. What did he see in Kali? Certainly not her gender or past experience. She offered a kind of freedom that accommodates his eccentricities, and maybe she understood what he seeks in life. Being apart from the norm, but not regarded as unusual specimen who needs to be picked apart.
  • An empty can of coke floating in the ocean. Coated in red to stand out, hollow and light. That was Wamai’s first impression when he saw Ace. Loud, obnoxious and always eager for a visual assurance of himself. What a shame that Norway’s finest is shallower than a puddle after a rain? But Wamai kept the opinion to himself and continued to observe the man. Turns out that Ace had every reason to be arrogant with a specific skill set. Quick witted, prime in his physique and goal driven. The man is quite opposite to Wamai himself. Ace thrives to be defined as he hero, eager to put himself in a mold that shines bright and glamourous. To each their own. Wamai allows Ace to get close and occasionally smirk at the man when their conversations go haywire. 
  • Ace wonders who exactly Wamai is. Is he a goon? Anti-hero? The stoic, silent guy of the group that keeps everything stable and anchored? Suppose Wamai won’t like the word ‘anchor’ because the man seem to be roaming wherever he wants to go. Ace is captivated by Wamai’s image. The mystery man with an aura that’s hard to ignore. A poet who speaks in riddles, and only a chosen few can understand the wisdom he speaks. Ace prefers things to be straightforward and direct, so he only talks to Wamai as a means to be included in the Nitehaven for now. He isn’t sure about whatever he feels from Wamai. It’s somewhere between confusion, awe and slight jealousy. He wants to know what Kali sees in Wamai, and why they appear closer than any other.
  • From Ace’s perspective, there was no one like Kali. Is she someone who’s not among a flock of sheep? Check. Did he save her life back at the joint UN operation in Somalia? Check. Did he REALLY save someone who’s deemed as a badass mercenary leader? Double check THAT! But, but, but. Does she look at him starry eyed, like all those people he had rescued from troubles? That’s a big fat no. Instead, her whole demeanour reminded him of a school teacher who was pissed off when he ran across a busy street to pick up a lost kitten. His classmates loved the show, but not her. It was as if he had done something so irresponsible that may cost his own life. Whatever! It all worked out, hadn’t it? The result was more than triumphant, and yet Kali didn’t seem to appreciate it. Thank God she asked him to join the Nitehaven, or else he would have found a different way to prove himself in. 
  • Why did Ace have to save Kali, and WHY on earth was she in predicament to be saved in the first place? She is half-grateful, no doubt. It’s just that whatever Ace did was extremely risky and would have put everything in jeopardy. And how he gloated in pride. How he patted himself on the back for a deed as if he had achieved an incredible feat- okay. Maybe it WAS incredible. But that’s not how Kali works. She refuses to owe anything to someone, especially her life. Petty feelings aside, Ace proved to be quite useful in situations that are unpredictable and perilous. That’s why she decided to offer him a place in Nitehaven. It’s not quite a favour returned, but Kali saw a need for someone like Ace. She almost smirked when the Norwegian accepted the invitation like a hungry golden retriever biting into a treat. She owes him her life, so she will make it work vice versa. 

 

-

A little interaction that played in my head -

Ace: Can we go Bahamas next time? We should go. Yup, we’re definitely going. They’ve got a fantastic scenery and I’m bringing my Nikon this time.

Kali: We aren’t going.

Wamai: The can is half-full now, Shah. Better than when we first found it. I’m inclined to see the Caribbean seaside.

Ace: What can are you talking about?

Kali: You are all useless.

Chapter Text

“Does it have to be you who’s taking me to the dentist?” 

“Be grateful. It’s not like I’d volunteer.” This is probably the worst way to start a week for both of them. Echo is sulky from having to take out a sneaky wisdom tooth; a pest that he denies its entire existence. Since Hibana is away for an oversea mission and Vigil isn’t the best moral support, Dokkaebi is persuaded of being Echo’s designated driver.

“Think about it. He owes you after this.” Lesion broadens his smirk while chewing on his toothpick.

“Hm,” Dokkaebi lets out a low chuckle, “That’s a worthy price.” 

“Whatever. I don’t need to tolerate your driving.” Echo could get out of her car and call Uber taxi, and yet he stays in the backseat with his arms crossed.

“Go ahead. I’m gonna drive down town and get myself a bubble tea,” She turns on the ignition, “With all my favourite toppings. Pearls, custard jellies, black sugar drizzle, milk foam-”

“Get diabetes, why don’t you.” 

“I will. With my healthy set of teeth.” Dokkaebi shrugs and he stays. That’s how it’s decided - a trip to the dentist and a promise that she won’t drink the sugar bomb in front of him after the surgery. 

-

“You’re the best.” The fourth time Echo speaks and drools, deeper shade of red is painted on Dokkaebi’s entire face. 

“Yeah! I know.” She grips tight on the ball of tissue in the hand and fights the temptation to shove it in this mouth, but it ain’t going to be her who pays for the additional medical bills. 

“Aw, what a couple.” A bystander’s comment nearly sends Dokkaebi off the edge. 

“Oh, no. Not at all, madam,” Echo twitches his finger and that’s an attempt to show a wave of denial, “She’s got a girlfriend. Who is also my colleague. Oh my God I don’t deserve them.” Is he sniffling?

“Yeah, yeah you aren’t too shabby either. Now shut up.” Dokkaebi wipes off the drool. Her hand trembles in iron grip but the touch under his chin is as gentle as a baby cherub.

“You know that time when you let me look into your logic bomb?” Echo bites into his lips.

“Don’t do that,” She pushes his chin down, “And yeah, what about it?”

“I thought you were dumb at first,” He shakes free of her grasp, “Because you practically let me see your-”

“My what?”

A shaky breath and here comes out a bloody steak from his mouth, “Your brain child,” He coughs out a sob, “I thought you were an idiot but you trusted me enough to show your child,” When he gasps, all the other teeth are soaked with sticky red, “So you can’t hack into my phone-”

“Okay, I get it but shut up for a second. People are looking at you funny.” 

“I had to look into your child,” Echo is attracting a whole lot of attention now, “Because it’s a masterpiece! Ingenuity! I got jealous and had to tweak.”

“Is everything okay here?” A nurse comes to their aid. Her aid.

“No. I think I will wait outside until he’s better.” Dokkaebi ignores the stares and leaves for a bubble tea.

“Do you know she’s really good at shooting a single shot? How balsy is that!”

“Yup. Call me when he’s ready to go.” Fuck this shit. She may as well get a frapuccino that will give her a sugar rush of a life time.

Chapter Text

If there is a way to paint the room with light brewed coffee and warm milk, it would be right this moment where the evening shade simmering through the balcony glass. Splashing white walls with burning auburn, which allows the wooden appliances to boast their natural tones. There lay a large, tethered photo album on a kitchen table, along with steaming tea cups and sugar cookies, “Wow. Look at her! A literal clod of butter,” Crumbs fall as she chews and talks. 

“Ela, you were way chubbier.” Zofia blows them off from the midriff of the album and flips the page backward to prove her point.

“Hey! I’m not finished,” Ela pries her sister’s hand off, “I’m here to catch up on what I missed out. Can’t an aunt see her niece’s cutest moments?” 

“Are you telling me that my baby isn’t cute anymore?” 

“No! Don’t turn my words against me. Of course she is absolutely precious at all times,” Ela slaps lightly on the same hand, “It’s just- You know. I’m here to see her photos, not mine.”

"I think there’s some resemblance," Zofia proceeds to get to the beginning of the album. They see a brief glimpse of the family history when her thumb run through the bunch, from clear cut quality prints to soft waxy Polaroid, “There. Oh my gosh.” 

Ela faces a small square that has a woman smiling, looking down upon the infant she is cradling. Her hair shows the obvious lineage through Zofia’s curls and brown hue, and apparently it was the perfect length for newborn Ela to grab on, “Damn. Rebel from birth, huh?”

“No. You were so nice and docile.” The longer Zofia stares at it, her mind is sucked into the scenery. Vague hints become clearer when she remembers the first thing their mother said. Praises of Ela’s strong grip. Assurances to relieve Zofia that she would always love her girls the same no matter what. The touches that were clammy and humid at times, but it all came gentle and loving despite putting a damp on Zofia’s fluffy thin hair. 

“I was really fat.” 

“Sure was. I loved pinching you almost everyday.” It was the most tender texture. Unforgettable, certain kind of brittle sensation on her finger tips. Zofia is surprised at her acute ability to recollect after all these years; perhaps the birth of her own child revoked it from the deepest subconscious. After all these years, Zofia wonders where the time had disappeared to. Melted away in undeserving fury and sunk down into harsh restrictions that their father had bound them under his iron rules.

“Hey, you alright?” Ela’s presence wakes Zofia from her memory trip that almost went down to south. 

“Yeah. Just really tired,” Zofia rubs to conceal. There was one more thing she wants to remember before burying their mother into the fog of long gone endearment. One promise she made, as family to family, “Tired from chasing after you all day. Can’t you run any slower during mock missions?” And she has fulfilled her words. Zofia has finally found a way to protect her kin, just like what she told her mother. A seemingly impossible pledge to make on the very first day she held the small body, the same person who is more than capable of holding her own weight.

“Whatever. Just because you’re fat.”

“Okay. No more cookies for you.” Zofia drags the plate away to put it behind.

“No, I’m sorry oh my god I need my sugar.” Ela hops off from the chair and dashes towards Zofia’s back. The elder brings it back in front, resulting the cookies to slip and scatter around. She didn’t expect the younger to pick them up from the floor and shove into her mouth, which give Zofia a full right to scold. But everything about this situation doesn’t help her to maintain the stern big sister role; in fact, she is almost tempted to snatch one away from Ela and have it herself. Laughter and giggling fills the air as they wrestle and flail, a final glitter that shimmers bright as the sun sinks down beyond horizon.

Chapter Text

[Dokkaebi/Hibana]

“큰형! (Big bro!)” A loud bang from a kick blasting the door open. Lesion is numb from her antics and dramatically abrupt manner of everything she deals with, “It’s our anniversary today but I don’t wanna look like I completely forgot about it. What shall I do?” Dokkaebi is a mess. She always has been one, except this time her hairs are sticking up in places. A state worse than Echo’s and that’s a feat. 

“Write her a letter. I think she’d appreciate it.” Lesion digs into his desk drawers and pulls out a dainty pastel themed notepad you can buy from one of those novelty stationary shops.

“Whoa, I didn’t know you’d be the type to have something like this.”

“This is yours. You left it here last time you barged in.” He sighs and chews on the toothpick, feeling an appetite for a real nicotine stick. 

“Okay. But I’m not good at writing love letters.” She slumps down into a nearby chair, pouting like a child.

Lesion frowns for a bit, then remembers that he has enough patience to act as what she called him a few seconds ago, “Here’s a trick. Write little snippets of the things you did together and make it a treasure hunt kind of thing.”

She perks up instantly, “Oh shit, waddup. How many shall I write?” 

“However many you want. Now go.” And off she goes, sprinting out without closing the door or paying him a gratitude. He doesn’t mind the lack of manner because peace and quiet is he craves after any interaction with Dokkaebi the goblin herself.

-

As he relaxes at the lounge area, a waft of fragrant jasmine tea catches his attention. Someone taps on the shoulder and her face brings a smile upon him, “Good afternoon. Is that for me?”

“I thought it’d be nice to share,” Hibana hands him a cup and sips into her own, “Can I sit next to you?”

“Of course.” Lesion drags a stool next to him. It’s the same kind as the one he is sitting on, but he is inclined to fold a blanket as a make-shift cushion for her.

“Thank you,” She nods and settles down. A moment becomes minutes; after much fidgeting and humming, Hibana decides to open her mouth, “I’ve got something to ask you about, if that’s okay.”

“I thought you’d never ask,” Lesion turns to face her as he has been waiting until she is ready, “Is everything alright?”

Hibana sighs, “Yeah. Well, it’s more about Eun Hye,” She squeezes the cup to retain the fading warmth, “I don’t know if I’m being a good girlfriend.”

“I think you’re one of a kind.” Lesion may jest around here and there, but he rarely lies. That’s primarily why he is deemed trustworthy among his peers, which is a title he gladly appreciates.

“Oh, stop you. But you know how she doesn’t really open up?”

Same goes to you. Lesion keeps the thought to himself and nods, “Can be quite stubborn, that one.”

“Exactly! So I want to have her tell me what’s going on whenever she feels down and stuff, but all I get are corny jokes and ‘I’m hella fine,’ kind of attitudes.” Her attempt to imitate Dokkaebi’s usual quote is amusing at best, especially the zany handshakes and exaggerated movements.  

“Let her know. Tell her know that you will listen no matter what,” Lesion is aware of the tough front that Dokkaebi put up sometimes. She complains about minor petty things, and yet hides the real concerns within her until they become too heavy to carry, “Or ask her if she trusts you. I’m sure a little bit of guilt tripping will work wonders.”

“Tze Long! That’s too mean.” 

“She calls herself a ‘mean bitch,’ so I suppose why not?” He extends a hand, asking whether she has finished her tea.

Hibana insists she will wash it herself, but shrugs when Lesion takes it, “I guess. But I’d like to phrase it better.”

“You can do it. I believe in you.”

 


 

[Echo/Vigil]

It began from early in the morning. When Lesion went out for a run with other operators, he hardly noticed the other man’s presence. It became noticeable during breakfast at the cafeteria, then slightly fading away when he headed down to the shooting range for some practice rounds. At one point Lesion wondered if she should reach out, but the ghost dissipated when Echo came along for a small chat. To put an end to this weird long distance stalking ordeal, Lesion had to yawn and say, “I guess it’s time to hit the library.” 

Therefore it’s not a surprise to find Vigil in the garage, standing next to Lesion’s car as if that’s where he has been all day long. Lesion unlocks the door and hops in, then nods at Vigil who follows after. It’s a short drive from here to their destination, but long enough to start a conversation, “What brings you here?”

“Library.” Vigil replies while keeping his eyes plastered on the fleeting views outside the window.

“They do have books about being more physically intimate,” Lesion rolls down the window to spit out his toothpick, “But you can do that on Google incognito anyway.”

“I don’t watch those kind of videos.” Vigil nudges an elbow to the other and frowns upon hearing a laughter.

“Sure you don’t. It’s not too bad, you know? Sex is natural.” 

“I know it is,” Vigil finally looks at Lesion as if he wants to slap the smirk off from the older man, “It’s just- I need some time.”

“We all do. That’s fine,” Lesion steps on the break gently before the red light, “Then I see you reaching out and then stopping yourself from touching him. Are you pushing yourself to hurry? Or you don’t want to wait anymore?”

“That’s me trying,” Vigil rubs his entire face until slightly pink, “But not trying hard enough.”

“You can start from leaning on his back. Sit a little closer to have your arms touching. Maybe patting on his back after a mission.”

“I do that already.”

“Easy! How about hand holding? Have you tried that yet?” Lesion lay his own on the gear stick, “I can lend you one to try.”

“What?” Vigil does a double take and stare in confusion, “No.”

“You can lay a finger. Pinch my thumb. Whatever you’d like to do,” He shrugs but leaves it on the same spot, “I’m just letting you know that physical touches don’t have to be romantic or sexual. Don’t put too much thought into them.”

“I don’t know what to do after then.” Vigil has the tip of his forefinger touching Lesion’s palm, still skeptical of this situation.

“You don’t have to do anything. There’s no step one and step two,” Green reflects upon them and Lesion pulls away to have both of his hands on the wheel, “Let it feel nice and that’s all there is.”

-

One in the morning is way past his usual schedule, but there are some nights where Lesion wants to indulge in mobile mahjong just a little longer. Comfortable in his bed, mindlessly tapping on the screen until he is past the boredom that’s starting to settle in. Then a notification blinds him with its harsh white light, but seeing a familiar name piques his interest.

Echo: Hey.

Lesion: Hello, hey. I’m asleep.

Echo: Cut the bullshit. I need to talk to you.

Lesion: So impolite. I will think about it if you call me 大哥 (big brother.)

Echo: I’m not calling you that.

Lesion: Okay, 小弟弟 (little brother in a literal translation, but colloquially meaning penis. Not a common knowledge to those who aren’t familiar with Chinese or pinyin.)

Echo: I am not your little brother? And why are you using younger sibling character (弟) twice? 

Lesion: You don’t have to know. Good night.

Echo: Wait wait please. I really need to talk to you.

Lesion: So what am I to you?

Echo: I will say oniisan. 

Lesion: ? I don’t know that language.

Echo: It means big brother and I’m being super polite.

Lesion: Who knows if you’re calling me a dick.

Echo: I am not oh my God.

Lesion: Good night, dick.

Echo: Okay it’s spelt out お兄さん. You can search it up on Google or whatever but I’m really calling you a big bro, even though you’re being a little shit about it.

Lesion: I see 兄 and now I believe you. Okay, speak.

Echo: So you work with Chul Kyung more than I do, right?

Lesion: While you sit your fat bottom behind the shield, yeah we roam around.

Echo: Believe me, it’s all muscles.

Lesion: I can end this conversation whenever I want to, muscle boy.

Echo: Okay, okay. So do you notice his mood or anything like that?

Lesion: Little dick, I don’t know if you notice but he’s wearing a mask when we’re on missions together.

Echo: What is your obsession with dicks? And I know that. But you know, like when we finish and about to have shower. He takes it off then.

Lesion: Are you telling me to see your boyfriend naked? I’ve heard about what you guys call it, NTR? But I didn’t think you’d be this freaky.

Echo: 

Lesion:

Echo:

Lesion: Hey, are you sleeping?

Echo: No, I don’t want to talk to you anymore.

Lesion: Come on. I can help you out. What’s a big bro to his little dd.

Echo: Swear to God if you call me a dick one more time

Lesion: I’m not. Dìdi (弟弟) means little bro. So you want to learn how to read his mood?

Echo: That’d be nice.

Lesion: What a tough thing to do. He hardly wears his heart on his sleeves.

Echo: I know. But it would be nice to know this kind of thing and you seem to be quite good at it.

Lesion: You want my secrets, hm? Ten euros please.

Echo: Tze Long, why are you such a dick.

Lesion: Look who’s obsessed with dicks now, 小弟弟.

Echo: That’s the point. I don’t want to be a dick to Chul Kyung, but anything I say seems to either piss him off or have no effect.

Lesion: Really? I think he’s much happier when you’re around.

Echo: How do you know?

Lesion: Well, for one he relaxes when you’re talking to him. I don’t see him sitting at 90 degrees and shoulders straight like he normally do sometimes. 

Echo: Huh.

Lesion: And when you crack your weird jokes, I see him hiding a smile under his fist.

Echo: I thought he was coughing.

Lesion: Jesus. You don’t even know why you get extra chunks of schnitzels for dinner do you? The kind you like to eat?

Echo: Because I got lucky.

Lesion: No, because he puts his on your plate. Aren’t you blind.

Echo: Holy shit.

Lesion: I think you’re doing fine as you are. Maybe cut down on trying too hard because he does cringe at that.

Echo: I didn’t know.

Lesion: And maybe give him something nice. Give and take, you know?

Echo: Okay. 

Lesion: You’re welcome.

Echo: Yeah. Thanks.

Lesion: Thanks who?

Echo: Oniisan. 

Echo: But still. Fuck you.

 


 

[Ying]

The sun has gone down and it’s well after eight in the evening. Lesion can’t find any better way to spend his time other than lounging around on a cushy couch after a light jog. Eyes closed, body relaxed and mind focusing on the surrounding ambiance. Pity that the peace is short lived when he hears thumps along the corridor. The door clicks, closes rather quietly and he feels a jerking elevation from someone throwing themselves on the spot next to him, “I’m going to live my life as a single lady who can kick ass and take names.” Her tone already on edge and Lesion doesn’t have to open his eyes and see who it is.

“That’s a good way to live.” He keeps the vision blind, for he can see her seething frustration by any other means.

“No, it’s not.” A slap on his thigh to force Lesion’s attention.

He finally peeks and finds Ying glaring at a coffee table next to them, “What do you want me to say? I’m not your extended family,” Lesion fixes his posture, “Live your life. Mine has given up on me. No more of ‘Find yourself a good woman, ah. Make sure she’s no older than thirty-five.’”

“Ew. What are you, a cradle snatcher?”

“Not my words. It’s from them,” He stretches before stumbling towards the kettle, opening a box to dunk tea bag into two cups, “They don’t get to decide who I want to be with.”

“Yeah. Neither,” Ying sighs, then realises the boiling roar might have rendered her voice a little too quiet, “Me neither. But I’m not doing this for them, you see?” She raises a volume.

“Oh? So you don’t have what it takes to be a badass sifu grandma,” Lesion throws her a packet of prawn crackers, “Make up your mind.”

“I’m lonely, okay? I want someone nice to hold at night time and talk about stupid things.” Ying throws it back, asking for bhuja snack mix next to him.

“Picky. What went bad this time?” He hears the click. Two swift pours into the cup and quick delivery to the coffee table for them to enjoy the hot tea, “Is this the same type who wants to control your bank account?”

“No, but that one was crazy. Who the hell talks about financial rights from day one?” Ying bites into the snack and let the noisy crunch vent out her desire for destruction, “My date- she wants me to quit military.”

“Is that what she said?”

“Yeah! I couldn’t believe-”

“No, back it up. Is that what she really said?” Lesion knows the pattern and how their conversation goes, so he needs to correct detail rather than skewered and biased ones. 

“Well,” She throws her hands, “It’s more like she looked uncomfortable when I told her about my job. But like? She knew about it when we chatted on Tinder. Did she think I was making shit up to impress her?”

“We are quite impressive in our lines of work.” Lesion lifts his cup.

Ying reciprocates and taps hers against his, “Yes! But that was the issue. Our chats kinda became stale and I can’t keep talking to a wall. Can you imagine a wall with two googly eyes and looking at me like I’m the crazy one?”

“I’m sure they weren’t that rude. Calm down.”

“I am calm!” She slams on the couch and the tea spills onto her thigh, “Shit. Okay. I’m calm now.” Rubbing on the minor scald seems to help her.

“Good. Took you an hour to chill last time you broke up with that cyber boy.”

“Don’t. Even mention his name.” The surprise on her face when seeing the infamous ex in Rainbow. Lesion did not make an attempt to hide his laughter, which was the easiest way to earn two big bruises on his back. 

Lesion leans back into the couch, “I think you could give it another go. Finding someone here rather than elsewhere.”

“Tze Long, that’s reckless. Unprofessional, even.” Ying licks off the seasonings from her finger tips and rubs it on his pants.

He pushes her away, “Disgusting. But hey, why not? Grace and Yumiko looks like dandy love birds and your ex… is paying off his karma with a shadow man,” Lesion then pass her a tissue box, “But on a serious note, those boys are doing alright. They’re good folks. Rainbow is a swimming pool with plenty of fish.”

“Mmm I don’t know.” She muses for a bit.

“Think about it,” He nudges her with a smirk, “There are some who are exactly your type.”

“What do you know about my type?” Ying let out a chuckle but keeps it quiet to hear him better.

“I just do. But some things are better to be kept a surprise.” He ends the conversation without elaborating, no matter how many times she eggs on. This is for those out there who has certain partner for our lovely firework dynamite, and whichever pairing you choose will probably be aligned with whatever Lesion guesses. As long as she is happy, he doesn’t mind the details.

 


 

kiki_92 has given me the next tier level of galactic-universe body idea!

image

This is such a fun idea!!!!!! Holy shit thank you Kiki.

 

After some time later, Lesion feels he is pretty confident and understanding in listening to people’s relationship dilemmas. Harry notices his hidden talent as well and suggests to make a forum where Lesion’s identity is kept a secret while the people-in-need are required to register and log in to the website.

He then learns much more about his peers then when they had a face-to-face conversations.

 

Mastermind_DKB: So I need to know what would be better for my girlfriend’s gift. A free account of Netflix without paying a single dollar or VR horror games with appalling reviews? Oh and when would be the best time to adopt a child? She wants one but I don’t know if I’m mature enough to have one.

Mastermind_DKB: Oh. I know who this is.

Mastermind_DKB: Harry, how do you even have time to get up on other people’s business?

Mastermind_DKB: Wait, is this not Harry?

-

cjfrud84: How to touch?

cjfrud84: How long can a person wait until they get tired of not feeling loved?

cjfrud84: Is it wrong to watch your partner from afar?

cjfrud84: How to watch a romantic movie without feeling embarrassed?

cjfrud84: Does coming out of closet help relationship?

cjfrud84: How does man to man sex work? 


-

Riverstone: So my family name literally means ‘today river’ and my girlfriend seems to find it really cool. She wants to make a weird logo out of it and I’m a little irked by it. How do I tell her without hurting her feelings?

Riverstone: I told her already and now she is really ashamed of supposedly hurting my feelings. I wasn’t that offended but she is really guilty and I feel bad for making her feel bad oh my gosh I don’t know what to do.

Riverstone: Do make-up sex really work?


-

3C40_dB: Are you a certified relationship adviser? I need to see your credentials.

3C40_dB: Okay. Question. Your partner is nice and caring. Quiet and doesn’t show what he is thinking at times, but you know he means good. But he doesn’t want to be too close. We kiss once a week and finally managed to hug, but I don’t know what he wants just yet. Are we in a relationship? 

3C40_dB: Are you really certified?

3C40_dB: Tell me the compatibility between Capricorn and Scorpio.

3C40_dB: Ignore what I asked earlier. Horoscope is a scam and I wasn’t in the right state of mind.

-

IronFistJKD: Will I get sued if I challenge my aunt for a one on one duel? If I win, she will shut up about my relationship status. If I lose, I will have to marry that Mok boy across the street.

IronFistJKD: Where can I find someone who will warm my bed sheet with me (doesn’t have to be sexual.) Is that a weird question to ask on a first date? Do I sound desperate?

 


 

So kiki_92 asked about their nicknames on the forum and HOMIE am I glad you asked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

 

  • Dokkaebi named herself 'Mastermind_DKB' because she is pretty damn confident on cyber world and DKB is DoKkaeBi. 


  • Vigil's one needs some explaining (and I found I've made a big typo, so thank you for reminding me indirectly!) So let's start off with his birth year, 1984. Hence 84. And his name Chul Kyung. Strictly speaking in Korean spelling and pronunciation, his name would be more like Chul Gyung, 철경. Let's spread this out letter by letter ㅊ ㅓ ㄹ ㄱ ㅕ ㅇ.

    Here we have a Korean keyboard:

How to get Hangul on your Mac computer or iPhone - GRRRLTRAVELER

To type his name in Korean, one would press c=ㅊ, j=ㅓ, f=ㄹ, r=ㄱ, u=ㅕ, d=ㅇ. So his name is 'cjfrud84' he is just typing his name without turning on the Korean keyboard. A lot of Korean people do this when making username (like when I was obsessed Pokemon, I used to have username for Lugia, 루기아 and it would be typed fnrldk if I don't turn on the Korean keyboard.)


  • 'Riverstone.' Hibana's family name is Imagawa where 'gawa' is river. I thought about how shiny those stones are under river, and maybe that could be Hibana's aesthetic. Sparkling and shimmering.

 

  • Echo's gadget has sonic wave, pretty much soundwave. So I thought he'd be geeky enough to have decibel unit (dB) in his name and kinda make number out of his call sign too. 3C40 which vaguely looks like ECHO.


  • 'IronfistJKD.' Ironfist is pretty much what I think of Ying's combat style. One punch and POOF such power. JKD is Jeet Kun Do, a martial art philosophy derived from Bruce Lee. 

Chapter Text

  1. Some nights Fuze would sit all by himself on the rooftop. None dared to ask what he’s thinking - even he didn’t ask himself what’s going on inside of his head. Sure, he was aware of the certain moods and thoughts that affected him. But awareness and acknowledgement is a different matter, because the latter required him to introspect. Fuze knew that he bears some scars, but he won’t specify where and when he got them. It’s better to have them bleak and lost in memory, just like the dark forest that he’s gazing at; hidden and veiled in shadows. This solitude had been his solace for quite some time, until that fateful night when he heard a presence behind him. A heavy trudging, series of bumps and low curses in language they both understand. The man tapped on Fuze’s shoulders and mumbled in a gravelly voice, “Shitty view out here.” Fuze didn’t need to turn his head away from the view, as he knew that it’s their residential blunt ol’ bastard, Tachanka. They stood side by side, leaned over the railing and stayed in silence. Fuze anticipated an attempt for small talk or even some questions to prod the reason behind his aloofness, but Tachanka remained mute. The only interaction they had was an offering from the older man; his tinned flask that contained whatever the strong poison he favoured that week. Fuze took a sip and felt the warmth spreading within him. Not just his digestive system, but also a small region in his chest that had been empty. Ever since then, Tachanka was always there, ready to be engulfed in nightfall together.

  2. The amount of workout they do is insane. No wonder why they are called the beefy husbands (a team name that Fuze isn’t particularly thrilled to hear.) There were many challengers who dares the pair to compete in wrestling challenge, to which Tachanka accepted wholeheartedly while Fuze rejected on the spot. Some taunted that Fuze wasn’t confident or competent, but when Smoke yelled, “You’re going to let your daddy handle things?” That’s when Fuze did a 180 to face the challengers with fire in his eyes. It evolved into a tag team match and many participated without a real prize or goal. Some people joined in for fun (and got absolutely trashed,) like Mozzie and Smoke. The real competitors were Maestro, Sledge, Blitz, Montagne, Rook, Blackbeard and Gridlock. Tachanka seemed to enjoy the whole ordeal and gushed in pride whenever him and his boyfriend won against the other. But Fuze? He looked like a man with agenda to finish this as soon as possible.

    They weren’t the victor due to exhaustion, but Tachanka had to ask, “What’s the hurry? You didn’t seem to enjoy at all.”

    Fuze grumbled, “I don’t like them touching you on places where only I can touch. That’s all.” Tachanka then showered him with a loud slap on the back and proceeds to take his shirt off.

  3. When Fuze gets drunk, he is a tad bit aggressive and broody. He stays seated, banging the table a few times and mumbling whatever made him unhappy that week. Tachanka is there to listen and give advice, but when all fails he resort to the touchy-feely (more than usual since he’s drunk too.) Even when drunk, Fuze is extremely shy with PDA so he tries to wriggle out. Some might think that they are on a wrestling hold or having some scuffles, but it’s nothing to be alarmed when the rest of Spetsnaz family aren’t doing anything to stop them.

    Glaz would say, “It’s just Alex being a teddy bear. That’s okay.”

    An innocent bystander like Pulse would ask, “Are you sure? Shuhrat looks like he’s ready to rip Alex’s arms off.”

    Tachanka has heard him and yells back, “He would never! Don’t worry, skinny boy.” Fuze roars and writhes and throws punches on Tachanka’s back and shoulders. Despite all this, there’s chuckle and laughter from the older man, and then a defeated groan from a man who goes limp in his lover’s arms.

  4. In their relationship, Tachanka knows that marriage is an elephant in the room of a sort. It’s something that he quit and Fuze didn’t pursue. He has a pair of silver bands ready and thought about slipping them on Fuze without a word, but that sounded inconsiderate even by his standards. But neither of them are the type to kneel down and confess eternal love for each other, or share loving gazes across the table that has candles and roses. Should he hide the ring in a pile of pancake for their breakfast? No can do - they will eat the whole thing in one gulf and the other teammates also drop by to steal his food. Speaking of teammates, Tachanka could ask them to help out with the proposal. But then Kapkan will ruin it for sure by saying some bullshit like ‘marriage is a social construct and capitalistic illusion.’ To which Tachanka agrees, but Finka would growl back by saying ‘Well, it’s better than deciding to bunker down and have copious amount of children without realising what you’re getting yourself into. Marriage is supposed to be a pledge. And extravagant party is an option, not obligation.’ So Tachanka is slightly lost with Kapkan has the devil and Finka as the cherub on his shoulders. Glaz, as the middle man, would say ‘Why don’t you ask Fuze whether he wants to marry at all? You guys can live together without marrying.’ And that’s the answer he’s been seeking for.

  5. The two creates what constitute as ‘frugal’ cooking (aka minimum wage recipes.) They mix flour and potato to create ‘more’ carbs and sometimes use a lot of onions and bread that will feed them the whole day. Then one day Tachanka cooked chicken kotlet masterfully, which surprised a lot of people. Fuze gaped in disbelief and asked why Tachanka didn’t make something so refined all this time, to which the older man replied, “I cooked at your level. It’s about time to upgrade, right?” Of course Fuze took some offense from such statement and declared that he won’t talk to Tachanka for a whole week, but the glorious smell of fried chicken weakened his resolve. Mr Grumpy came back into kitchen no lesser than ten minutes and expressed an interest to learn. Twist is that Tachanka only knows how to cook like Life of Boris, Fuze caught up rather quickly.