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Birds, Bees, and Bullets

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Melissa Mao’s in a good mood. The De Danaan’s in port, they’re all on stand-down or leave, and she’s got a six pack of beer and the Captain’s hot tub in her future. Kurz is still lurking somewhere on board, so she’ll have to keep an eye out for him, but Sousuke was delivered into Kaname Chidori’s capable hands two days ago which puts him firmly outside of her sphere of responsibility. She’s looking forward to a little relaxation.

She’s very surprised, therefore, to come around a corner and find Sousuke standing in the middle of the corridor with a double handful of condoms and a deeply perplexed expression on his face.

“Sousuke? Aren’t you supposed to be on shore with Kaname?”

Sousuke flinches guiltily and stands to as much attention as he can manage with his hands full. “Affirmative. I regret to say that I am currently using military resources for a personal mission. I accept whatever punishment you deem necessary.”

Melissa eyes the condoms in Sousuke’s hands and remembers the dress Kaname had worn to meet them when they came into port, and her eyebrows rise. “You came to get condoms?” Damn. She never would have thought that Sousuke would even consider raiding military stores for his own uses. She definitely wouldn’t have thought that he was capable of noticing the fairly obvious signals Kaname had been sending vis-a-vis military-civilian relations.

Sousuke’s perpetual frown gets a little more pronounced. “No. The ship’s doctor gave me these. I’m not sure why he thought they were necessary.”

Rrrright. That had been a little too much to hope for. Melissa tries a different tactic. “Why did you come to see the doctor? You weren’t injured during our last mission.” Not much, anyway.

“Oh...” Sousuke shifts his feet, embarrassed. “No. Chidori requested that I obtain current intelligence regarding a, a biological process.”

Melissa runs that statement through her Sousuke-to-human translator. “Sex?”

He blushes furiously. “Her exact words were ‘pleasing a woman’ but further negotiation did produce that phrase, yes.”

Melissa can really, really, imagine that entire conversation. She doesn’t think it’s a stretch to conclude that at some point there was probably physical violence and that the ‘further negotiation’ likely took place with Sousuke on the wrong side of a slammed door.

“As this is a personal matter I did initially enlist the help of a civilian doctor,” Sousuke says, apparently taking her silence for censure.

“How’d that go?”

“He suggested that I speak to a mental health professional.”

Don’t laugh, don’t laugh! With considerable effort, Melissa draws upon a lifetime of experience in military service and manages to keep her expression neutral. Even Sousuke would probably clue in to the fact that she was laughing at him.

“Okay, Sousuke, look. I’m just going to step in here for the good of humanity and we’re going to have a little talk and clear up a few things, all right?” It’s not the afternoon she envisioned for herself, but she figures she still owes Kaname for that thing in the Khanka Autonomous region, and Sousuke is technically her responsibility.

Besides, the possibility of this being fucking hilarious is pretty high and hey, Melissa’s not above being motivated by such things.

Sousuke looks concerned. “Are you certain? I wouldn’t want to interrupt your leave.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Melissa says, making a mental note to bring this up the next time she needs to convince Kaname to do something. “Come on.”

Sousuke relaxes a little bit once they’re in the bunkroom, although he keeps a hold of his unlawful medical supplies.

“Do you actually know how to use those?” Melissa asks, flopping down on a bench. It’s seems as good a place to start as any.

“Yes,” Sousuke says promptly, looking relieved. “They can be used to carry extra water, they can be placed over the barrel of a gun to keep it dry - “

“I mean, uses for your biological process,” Melissa says dryly. “Sex uses.”

“I... suspect not,” Sousuke says stiffly.

Melissa sighs. “Okay. So, you know they can be used to keep moisture out of a gun barrel.”

“Affirmative,” Sousuke says slowly.

“They can also be used to keep the, ah, moisture, inside... your gun barrel.”

Sousuke stares at her blankly. “Allowing moisture to collect inside a gun barrel is very dangerous - “

“Your other gun barrel, Sousuke!” Melissa snaps, pointing.

Sousuke looks down at his crotch. “My other gun barrel? I don’t usually carry a gun there, but it would be a logical place to conceal a small-caliber - are you all right, Sergeant Major?”

Melissa picks her head up off the table. She really should have known better than to use euphemisms.

“Let’s try a different angle, okay? What do you know about the human reproductive process?”

“Sperm from the male fertilises an egg from the female, which grows into a human fetus in the female’s womb for a period of nine months,” Sousuke recites.

Well, that was actually better than she’d been expecting, even if it sounded like Sousuke had pretty much eaten a biology textbook and called it a day. “Do you know where the sperm comes from?”

“The male,” Sousuke repeats, a little less certainly.

Only Sousuke could make it through a lifetime in the military and a lengthy friendship with Kurz Weber without learning anything about sex. Melissa decides to leave biology alone for a minute and go for a direct attack.

“Sousuke, do you ever jerk off?”

He gives her a wary look.

“Masturbate,” she explains. “Whack off. Have a date with Rosie Palms. Touch your genitalia with your hands and experience pleasure from it - “

“Sergeant Major!” Sousuke says, scandalised. “Are you sure this avenue of questioning is necessary?”

Very,” Melissa says grimly. “Answer the question, please.”

“Yes,” Sousuke says in a very small voice. “Twice. But it was a distraction from the mission, so I stopped.”

Melissa bites back on the observation that he’s the weirdest teenaged boy she’s ever met. Scratch that, he’s the weirdest teenaged boy she’s ever heard of, and she works for freaking Mithril. “Okay,” she says encouragingly. “That’s good. That’s healthy. That you did it, I mean, not necessarily that you stopped.” Although it does explain an awful lot about his stress levels. “Now, did you notice that when you were done, there was... fluid?” Please don’t make me explain that further, she thinks fervently.

Apparently, whatever angel looks out for clueless sergeants and desperate sergeant-majors is actually on duty, because Sousuke looks like he’s having an aneurysm but he says “Affirmative. It was... messy.”

“Okay, that’s also healthy,” Melissa says. “Now, that fluid is where the sperm comes from. Do you understand?”

Sousuke nods, frowning a little. “Yes. But I’m not sure I understand...” he trails off, and then brightens suddenly. “Aha! Before, when you mentioned my gun barrel, that was a euphemism! A condom can be placed on... that... to reduce the mess!”

“Yes!” Melissa beams at him. “Good work, Sousuke.”

Sousuke smiles. “Thank you, Sergeant-Major. You’re a very good teacher.” He fidgets a little. “May I ask you a question?”

“Shoot. I mean, go ahead.”

Sousuke bites his lip. “How does the sperm reach the egg inside the female? Without the condom reducing mess, I mean. I don’t wish to impregnate anyone, but I suspect it may be relevant.”

Melissa stares. “I think we’re going to need some visual aids,” she says weakly. She’s also going to have a serious talk with Commander ‘Criminally Negligent In His Surrogate Parenting Duties’ Kalinin as soon as she can corner him, superior rank be damned. If Sousuke wasn’t so stubbornly focused on his duties he could have really gotten himself into trouble. If Kaname had ever tried to press the issue more forcefully, he probably would have been completely traumatised.

Half an hour, most of a notebook of paper, and some very creative uses of fruit later, they’re both red-faced but significantly more enlightened.

“I think I understand now,” Sousuke says, trying very hard to avoid looking at the abused banana. “It can’t possibly be enjoyable, though.”

“It is if you do it right,” Melissa says. “First off, never listen to anything Kurz says. Ever.”

“That I had already figured out,” Sousuke says dryly. “I saw him before I ran into you and he said some... very alarming things.”

That Melissa can most definitely imagine, and she makes a note to track Kurz down later and make him suffer for it. “Second, and this is important, pay attention to how Kaname reacts to everything you do. Go slowly so she has a chance to let you know if you’re doing something right. She’s a girl who knows what she wants - “ boy, is she ever - “and I think it’s probably a good idea if you let her take charge here.” If nothing else, Kaname is definitely smart enough to have done some research before she got into this with Sousuke, even if she had miscalculated by thinking Sousuke had done the same kind of investigation.

Sousuke nods. “Yes. That makes sense.”

“And Sousuke...” Melissa leans forward until she knows she’s got his undivided attention. “You need to let her know if you’re uncomfortable, too. This is supposed to be fun, it isn’t a mission you have to complete. It’s not something to endure. If you get into something you don’t like, you have to tell her. Okay? She’ll be upset if you do more than you’re comfortable with.”

For a moment, Sousuke’s expression is unguarded and a little vulnerable, and then his habitual reserve takes over. “I understand. Thank you, Sergeant-Major.”

“All right. Get out and let me enjoy my leave.” She waves him off dismissively. “But you can let me know if you have other questions.”

Sousuke nods and gathers up the remains of his unlawful medical supplies. “Have a good leave, Sergeant-Major.”

He opens the door. Melissa is not at all surprised when Kurz falls in.

“Why, Melissa,” Kurz says from his position on the floor. “No practical demonstration? A little irresponsible, don’t you think?”

Sousuke’s turning an interesting shade of mortified red. “Kurz, you were listening?”

“Keep going, Sousuke,” Melissa says, cracking her knuckles. “Tell Kaname I said hi. Kurz and I are going to have a little discussion you don’t need to be here for.”

Kurz and Sousuke look at Melissa, and then at each other.

“Goodbye,” Sousuke says, leaving as quickly as possible.

“Wait!” Kurz says, but Melissa’s already got a hold of his shirt collar. “Sousuke! Help! I didn’t mean it about the tentacles!”

“Tentacles? Really?” Melissa says, surprised in spite of herself.

“He didn’t buy it,” Kurz says quickly. “Sure, moment of horror, but it passed pretty fast.”

Melissa delicately rests her face in her free hand.

“Sooo,” Kurz says after a moment of silence. “Want to give me a practical demonstration?”

Well, Melissa thinks resignedly, a hot bath and a six pack are more satisfying after a decent amount of physical exercise, and I do have some frustration to work off.

“Oh, fine,” she says. “Take off your pants.”

Kurz waggles his eyebrows outrageously. “Why, Melissa, you romantic,” he coos.