"Hey guys, you'll never believe what just happened." Jeremy Wright plopped down in the wardroom with his usual disregard for the furniture, earning a raised eyebrow from Carlton.
When the entire table remained silent, Danny grudgingly took the bait. "What's up?"
Wright gave them all a smug smile, his know-it-all attitude impossible to ignore. For the briefest of moments Danny wondered if he was this unbearable at twenty-three but he quickly dismissed the thought. Nobody could be as annoying as Wright. "I have a date with Cooper."
Silence fell in the wardrobe, finally broken by poorly concealed snorts of laughter from Danny and Carlton. Burk turned to look at his best friend. "I had no idea you changed Halsey's name."
Wright's eyes narrowed. "It's true. Sasha Cooper agreed to meet me for drinks."
"That seems ... unlikely," Carl Nishioka replied before returning his attention to his meatloaf. The CNO might have elected to relax the frat rules slightly – almost a necessity in a world where there were more ships than experienced sailors and, as was always the case, people spending twenty-four seven together on a five-hundred foot destroyer tended to get to know each other very well – but the idea that gorgeous, smart, and well-liked Sasha Cooper would give asinine Jeremy Wright the time of day was simply too preposterous.
"Are you feeling okay?" Danny asked with false concern. "I've heard that the flu can cause delusions."
"Are you sure she isn't planning a happy hour and you thought it was a date?" Gator asked, giving Wright far more credit than the rest of the room.
"Nope. I passed her on my way out of sick bay and she asked if everything was okay so I told her that I had STD – sexually transmitted desire for her," Wright explained, his pride in his "clever" retort evident.
The silence stretched unbroken until Alisha Granderson managed to croak. "You said what?"
"That has to be the worst pickup line that I have ever heard," Commander Jayne Cobb added, eyes frosty as she examined the young ensign. With Commander Garnett on special assignment, Jayne was on board as the acting XO, and while Andrea had (thankfully) warned her about Ensign Wright's perchance for gossip and questionable behavior, this was her first personal experience with the man who the entire crew (including Captain Slattery and Commander Garnett) viewed with disdain.
"Oh, I've heard worse," Carlton commented.
"Really?" Alisha's voice was amused. "Do share."
Carlton raised an eyebrow. "You must be an officer because my privates are standing at attention."
Danny glanced up. "I'm going to break you down shotgun style."
"Are you up for a little tactical insertion?"
"Drop and give me 69!"
"Can I whisky tango all over your foxtrot?"
"Is that a radio in between your legs? Because comm is about to go down."
The two were now on a roll, oblivious to the varying looks of amusement and repulsion as they continued to rattle off a list of more and more outlandish lines.
"I'm neither an officer nor a gentleman."
"Don't forget to lube the chamber before you send the bolt home."
"Let's play war, I'll lay down, and you blow the hell out of me. "
"Did you just fart? Because you blow me away."
"Okay, stop! You win, those are worse," Jayne conceded.
"I think that last one might have been a Berchem original," Danny explained with a grin. "Along with this gem. Your breasts remind me of Mount Rushmore — my face should be among them."
"I've heard some bad ones too. Like you put the fox in foxhole," Gator pipped up, apparently feeling left out of the conversation.
"That one's okay," Danny retorted, drawing a giggle from Alisha.
"You only think so because you used that one." All eyes flew to Danny, who shrugged casually, although a thin red line appeared high on his cheekbones. "And it wasn't the only line I've heard you use."
"Fess up, Green," Carlton demanded with a chuckle.
When Danny merely raised an eyebrow, Alisha continued ratting him out to their shipmates. "Are those space pants? Because your ass is out of this world. Or how about this one? Can I hold your hand? I want to tell my friends I've been touched by an angel."
"God that's lame!" Wright threw in, a snarky grin on his face, leaving Danny with little doubt that every single person on the Nathan James would know about this conversion by the end of the day. Good thing he was used to the ribbing.
"Given that the woman married me, I guess she didn't think they were so lame," Danny countered, mostly to annoy Wright. He knew the lines were pitiful, but they also made Kara giggle.
"Actually, she did. She just liked you enough that she didn't care," Alisha muttered, pitching her voice so that nobody except Danny, who was seated next to her, would hear. Speaking with a normal tone, she continued. "I still don't believe that Cooper agreed to go out with you."
"I'd hardly expect you, of all people, to understand what I have to offer a woman," Wright said disdainfully, proving once again why everyone on the ship hated him.
"Do you need a reminder of how to speak to a senior officer, Wright?" Jayne asked before anyone else could speak. She might be taking a more relaxed position towards the crew than she normally would so as to avoid stepping on toes, but she wasn't going to ignore full-on disrespect.
For a second Wright looked like he was going to roll his eyes before he pulled himself together. "Sorry ma'am, Lieutenant."
After a few moments of chilly silence, Nishioka spoke. "Back on topic, what did Cooper say?"
"Well, she wants to wait until we arrive in London, of course," Wright began. The CNO and the Captain might have relaxed the rules to allow personal relationships between the crew while on leave, but on the boat, professionalism was expected even if the couple in question were married. Or, as Captain Slattery put it, he didn't want to accidentally run into anyone's bare ass – even Green's. "I asked her if she wanted to get drinks and she said that she would be happy to discuss her availability once we got there."
"She said her availability?" Nishioka repeated.
Wright shrugged. "Yeah, why?"
"It's just that…." Alisha paused, her face a picture of innocence even though it was obvious to everyone – except Wright – that she was drawing it out on purpose. "Last I heard Agent Cooper wasn't available at all, if you get my drift."
"Agent Cooper's personal life is none of our affair," Jayne noted although, as expected, nobody seemed to be dissuaded from the topic.
Wright turned to Alisha with a disgruntled frown. "She has a boyfriend?"
"That's what I heard," Alisha replied cheerfully.
"Who is it?" Wright snarled.
At that, every eye in the room swung to Danny. "Don't look at me. I'm married."
"But your wife hangs out with Cooper. Do you know who he is?"
"Yup." Danny took a drink of his water to hide his grin. There were a number of benefits to being married to the President's senior military adviser, one of which was access to quite a bit of official and unofficial intel. Of course, this particular piece of information wasn't exactly top-secret. Wright was just too self-absorbed to have put the clues together.
"And?" Wright leaned forward, his eyes gleaming as he waited for the answer.
Danny shrugged. "Not my place to share."
"Sure that you don't have anything to hide, Lieutenant," Wright snapped.
"Make a comment like that again and you'll find yourself running laps until we arrive in London," Danny replied calmly, but there was an edge of steel in his voice that assured everybody present that he was completely serious.
"That's enough, Wright," Jayne interjected, making it clear that she wouldn't be interfering in any punishment that was handed out, even if Green wasn't technically Wright's commanding officer. "If you want to know who Agent Cooper is dating, I suggest that you ask Agent Cooper."
"Come on Green, give me something." Wright was now whining. Danny rolled his eyes at Carlton. "I just want to know who the guy is."
The appeal was interrupted by the door to the wardroom opening. The room fell quiet as Slattery crossed the threshold.
"At ease." Slattery poured himself a coffee and sat at the end of the table. "What were you discussing?"
"Lieutenant Wright was informing us of his plans to take Agent Cooper out for drinks once we get to London to give her a proper send-off," Danny explained as he quickly polished off his meal, ignoring the sulky glare that Wright was sending in his direction.
"Ah." Slattery took a swig of his coffee. "I will be sad to see Agent Cooper leave the ship but I'm sure she will be a great asset to the ambassador during the negotiations. Don't you think, Wright?"
"Of course, sir," Wright replied immediately, before shooting a baleful look at Danny. "I was merely noting how much I've enjoyed having Agent Cooper on board."
That drew an impassive look from Slattery. "I believe that your shift is about to begin, Ensign Wright. You better hurry. Commander Burk won't be happy if you are late. You too, Lieutenant Nishioka."
Carlton shook his head as the two officers left the wardroom, headed towards CIC. "That kid will never learn."
"I take it that none of you felt the need to inform Wright that Sasha is off the market," Slattery asked, earning a startled glance from Jayne. Even Mike knew about Sasha's unnamed boyfriend?
"I tried. He didn't believe me," Alisha replied with a shrug, obviously not overly concerned about their failed efforts to enlighten Wright. She stood, Gator on her heels, as the two left for their own shift.
Danny turned to Carlton with a smirk. "How long do you think it will take him to figure it out?"
"At least a month," Carlton replied, laughing. "He'll be bragging all the way to London."
As the door closed behind the two men, leaving them alone, Jayne moved down the table to sit next to Mike. "Are you going to fill me in on who Agent Cooper is dating?"
An amused smile crossed Slattery's face. "I'll put it this way. You know those daily briefings Agent Cooper has with the CNO?"
"Of course," Jayne replied, suspicion blooming – it had seemed odd that Agent Cooper was spending so much time talking to the CNO when her mission in London was diplomatic in nature – suspicion that was immediately confirmed.
"They aren't actually briefings."
Her eyes widened. "Are you going to tell Wright?"
Mike took a gulp of his coffee. "If Wright's as smart as he claims he is, he'll figure it out before we get to London. If not, well, maybe next time he'll do a little research before he plans a campaign."
A/N – inspiration for this story came from the gals at the Hangouts, especially NDJ35, who provided me with several of these lines, and Tea-Induced Scribbles, who provides me with support for my severe (but totally baseless) dislike of Wright. Thank you all for putting up with my rambling!
I also couldn't help but include a Firefly reference. :)
"Girl you looking mighty fine and I was thinking, Could you be my girl? My baby? Colegiala de mi amor…."
"He can actually sing," Wolf Taylor remarked as he leaned against the small round table where Rick Miller, Teylor Cruz, Alisha Granderson, Carl Nishioka, Jayne Cobb, and Jeremy Wright were gathered, a table that offered a perfect view of both the door to the pub where the majority of the crew were celebrating the Nathan James' safe arrival in London and the stage where Ray Diaz was crooning some song that none of them recognized. "You're next Miller. You pick a song yet?"
Rick stumbled slightly, the two beers having hit him hard, as he slung an arm around his best friend's shoulders. "Hungry Like the Wolf. For you, Wolfman."
Alisha snickered at the half amused, half horrified expression on Wolf's face. "I don't see that one here, Rick. How about you let me pick?"
"Drinks!" Carlton interrupted as he set a loaded tray down on the middle of the table.
"Hey, you forgot my vodka," Wright whined.
Carlton scowled at Wright. "I said that I would buy your drinks for the night if Cooper showed up. So far she's a no-show. Go get your own."
"Oh, you invited Sasha?" Kara inquired as she and Danny joined the group, each taking one of the pints of Heineken that Carlton held out.
"Mmmm…" Danny's arms snaked around his wife's waist, pulling Kara snug against him. "I'll fill you in later."
With a glance over her shoulder Kara wiggled against her husband in a less-than discreet manner, Danny's pupils darkening before he drained half his glass in one gulp. "You do that."
Catching the flash of surprise on Jayne's face at the couple's blatant display of affection – since Andrea and Kara re-joined the Nathan James a week ago, following the completion of a mission that few on the Nathan James knew the details of, Danny and Kara had, to the best of Jayne's knowledge, followed the frat rules to the letter – Carlton leaned over. "Bet you twenty bucks that they are gone within twenty minutes."
Jayne narrowed her eyes at the rather cocky young sailor. "How about we make it more interesting? If you lose you have to do karaoke. My choice."
Carlton raised an eyebrow. "And you'll do the same?"
"Scout's honor," Jayne replied, although she had never been a scout.
Carlton grinned wolfishly. "Better start warming up. You'll be singing Love Boat within the hour. I suggest dedicating it to Wright."
Jayne lifted her glass. "Rather confident aren't you Burk?"
"Those were the best days of my life, Me and Nicole doing sixty-nine," Miller warbled, drawing the attention of half the eyes in the room.
Carl stared at the stage in shock. "Did he just say what I think he did?"
"Yes, he did." Inserting two fingers into his mouth, Wolf gave a cat-call that practically deafened everyone around the table. "My baby bro is growing up. I'm so proud."
"Do you think we should do something?" Carl pressed.
"Commander Garnett's got him," Teylor replied with a nod towards the engineer who was escorting Miller off the stage in a less-than-gentle manner, with words like keeping personal business personal, holding his liquor, too much information, acting appropriately while in a foreign country, and scrubbing the deck with a toothbrush loud enough to be heard across the room. "Besides, it provides perfect cover for the real action."
With that the entire group turned towards the door where Sasha Cooper, was now standing, unwinding a red scarf from around her next. She gave a wave in their direction as she headed towards the bar, presumably to order a drink.
Preening, Wright straightened his shoulders, smirking at the group. "I told you she would be here."
"You know, Wright," Alisha paused to take a sip of whatever alcohol (some sort of beer or ale, she determined) Carlton had bought her. "It would be nice of you to make some sort of gesture to show Cooper how much you like her."
"Like what?" Wright demanded, eyes focused on Sasha as she removed her jacket and laid it across the back of the barstool.
"We are in a karaoke bar," Carlton pointed out.
"That's true, women love karaoke," Danny added. "Don't they Kara?"
Kara looked momentarily puzzled before her husband gave her a less-than-subtle poke in the side. "Uh, yeah, we do."
"You should reenact that scene from Top Gun. You know the one with Tom Cruise?" Teylor jumped in.
"Yeah, women love it when guys sing to them," Wolf agreed.
Jayne took a sip of her drink to stop herself from laughing. Normally she would stop this sort of mischief but with Commander Garnett back in commission Jayne was no longer the Nathan James' acting XO, and Wright did rather deserve it. Besides, they were only nine minutes into her bet with Carlton and she needed something that would keep the Greens occupied and in the pub for at least another eleven. "Women do love that movie."
"Okay, I'll do it." Wright took a deep breath. "Wish me luck, guys."
Without further prompting, the man jumped onto the closest table, half tripping over a chair and landing on his hands and knees. It was a move that would have had Garnett breathing down his neck in an instant if she hadn't already left to deal with Miller. Wright struggled to his feet, brushing dust from his palms. "Attention everyone! Attention!"
The noise level at the pub dropped significantly as people turned to see what was happening.
"This is better than I could have imagined," Carlton whispered, his eyes glued on the young officer. "Anyone have their phone?"
With a grin Teylor pulled his out of his pocket, setting it to video. "Knew there was a reason I was still carrying this thing around."
"A sex goddess has just walked into this bar and I wanted to make sure she got a proper greeting." Wright took a deep breath before breaking into song. "You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips…."
Wright jumped down from the table, his hips jutting from side-to-side as he clumsily swayed his way towards Sasha, stopping halfway across the pub to do a move rather reminiscent of the Wiggles. Jayne clapped her hand over her mouth to muffle her laughter, while Kara buried her face in her husband's shoulder.
"And there's no tenderness, like before in your finger tips…"
Wright stopped, head thrown back, eyes squeezed shut, the entire room frozen until he resumed.
"You're trying hard not to show it, But baby, baby I know it…"
Dashing towards Sasha, Wright dropped to his knees, centimeters from crashing into her abdomen, every off-key word echoing in the large room.
"You've lost that loving feeling, Oh, that loving feeling, You've lost that loving feeling, Now it's gone, gone, gone, oh, oh, oh…"
Taking advantage of the audience's shocked silence when the caterwauling was finally over, Wright stood, leaning against the bar next to Sasha with a cocky grin. "Hey pretty lady, want to go back to my place and help me dishonourably discharge?"
Alisha spat out her drink. "What did he just say? I thought the other ones were bad but that's just … wrong."
Danny and Carlton exchanged glances, finally Danny admitted, "I've heard that before. You didn't think we shared all of them, did you?"
"We know a ton more," Carlton added unhelpfully. "Hey baby, let me flank you from the rear," Carlton added.
"Let me ambush your bunker," Teylor offered.
Wolf chimed in. "Can I shoot some rounds center mast?"
"Gunny says I'm the best humper in the company. That's why he puts me in the rear," Danny said, wiggling his eyebrows at his wife.
"Just stop," Alisha held up a hand, swiping Carlton's shot of tequila and draining it. "There are times when I really do not understand men."
"Oh dear lord, look who's here," Kara hissed suddenly, drawing all attention to the arrival of Captain Thomas Chandler, who was striding across the pub in the direction of Sasha and Wright.
Sasha looked up, a smile playing across her face as she saw Tom. "While I am, of course, flattered by your incredibly classy offer, Ensign Wright, I'm not sure that my fiancé would approve."
"What?" Wright's question came out more like a screech, his face twisting unpleasantly before he regained his usual brashness. "You should dump him, whoever he is. I promise you that I can do things to you that you will never forget."
Kara gagged. "Have I mentioned how much I dislike that guy?"
"While that may be true, I am going to have to decline," Sasha replied smoothly, smiling brightly at Tom, who passed Wright with only the slightest jolt to his shoulder. "There you are Tom. I ordered you a pint of whatever was on tap."
Turning towards his competition, Tom slid his arm around Sasha. "I assume that you want to congratulate us, Ensign."
The color drained from Wright's face as he gazed at his former captain, the enormity of his mistake finally hitting the young sailor. "Of course, sir. I'm thrilled for you and Agent Cooper."
Silently dismissing Wright, Tom's eyes skimmed over the remainder of the pub patrons, ninety percent of whom were from the Nathan James, with the remaining few attached to the state department. "Since Agent Cooper and I are celebrating, next round of drinks is on me."
Ten minutes later, congratulatory toasts made and Wright having slunk off the premises, Jayne, Carlton, Danny, Kara, Alisha, Carl, Teylor, and Wolf regrouped at their table to rewatch Wright's performance. Or, rather, Jayne, Carlton, Alisha, Carl, Teylor and Wolf watched the video while Danny attempted - rather successfully - to distract Kara by pressing kisses down her neck.
"Get a room," Alisha teased when Kara gave in and turned around to give him a proper embrace.
"Hey pretty lady, want to go debrief me?" Danny murmured suggestively, earning a round of groans. Kara rolled her eyes at the line before grabbing his hand and starting towards the door.
"See you all tomorrow," she called over her shoulder.
Jayne turned to Carlton, tapping her watch. "Twenty-eight minutes."
The stunned look on Carlton's face told Jayne that he had completely forgotten about their bet. Crossing his arms across his chest he scowled at her. "You got lucky when Captain Chandler showed up. That bought you a solid ten minutes."
Jayne shrugged. A win was a win. "You backing out?"
Carlton's face relaxed into a flirtatious smile. "Of course not. I can think of a few songs that I would love to sing to a pretty lady like you."
Laughing, Jayne waved him in the direction of the stage. "Oh, I've picked the song already."
Leaning over to see her choice, Carlton blanched. "Please tell me that you're kidding."
"Nope. I know that you'll kill it," Jayne replied deadpanned. "Although you may want to warm up first, lothario."
Five minutes later, after several rather pathetic protests, Carlton took the stage. "This song is for Commander Cobb. A woman far less angelic than she looks."
"Cause I'm just a girl, I'd rather not be, 'Cause they won't let me drive, Late at night, Oh I'm just a girl, Guess I'm some kind of freak…"
Alisha leaned across the table. "Please tell me you are recording this."
"Hell yeah," Jayne responded. "This is epic."
A/N – As always, I cannot think of Cruz as Javier so he's still Teylor. Sorry cannon peeps.
And extra points for people who recognize Ray Diaz's song choice. ;)
As was her norm, Sasha Cooper stood up the moment that Ensign Jeremy Wright walked into the wardroom, his inability to understand that she was permanently off the market a continual source of annoyance. Nodding to Azima Kandie, Kara Green, and Alisha Granderson, Sasha smiled. "So we're decided? We're watching When Harry Met Sally?"
"Definitely," Alisha respond. With the injured crew members and the seeds already back in the United States, having been put on a plane four days ago, there was very little for the crew to do during their trip across the Atlantic other than play cards and watch movies. After the fourth night in a row of watching Die Hard, Captain Slattery instituted a new system for selecting the evening's fare and it was the ladies' turn to pick.
Kara giggled. "You sure you can't join us tonight, Burk? I know how much you love that movie."
Giving a visible shudder at Kara's reminder of a date gone terribly, terribly wrong, Carlton Burk shook his head in the negative. "You ladies enjoy."
"Oh we will," Sasha replied, depositing her dishes on the ledge of the pass-through to the kitchen. "I'll see you at eighteen-hundred."
"No need for you to leave because of me, Commander," Wright interjected. "I know that our past relationship" - that drew an eye roll from half the table as said relationship was entirely in Wright's head - "makes things a little uncomfortable, but we are, after all, both adults. You shouldn't feel embarrassed by my presence. Especially as we have both moved on."
Her face neutral, Sasha began refilling her coffee. After all, she wasn't the one who decided singing You've Lost That Loving Feeling to an engaged woman at a bar was a good plan. "I'm glad to hear that, Ensign."
Alisha Granderson shot a look at Carl Nishioka, wondering what the deal was. After mooning over Sasha for the past eighteen months, they were supposed to believe that Wright was simply over it? Carl quickly lifted a cup, hiding his mouth as he shook his head slightly at Alisha. She frowned, planning to investigate further as soon as she got the petty officer alone, a plan which instantly became unnecessary.
Sliding into the empty seat next to Azima, Wright leaned so close that Azima bumped him while lifting her fork to her mouth. Wright closed his eyes, sighing blissfully. "So that's what it feels like to be touched by an angel. Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?"
Azima continued eating her fish and chips, heavy on the fish and light on everything else as the North Atlantic's halibut population was one of the few not yet impacted by the red rust, as though Wright weren't sitting almost in her lap. Finally she swallowed, patting her mouth with her napkin, before replying. "Since angels can fly, it seems unlikely that landing would cause injury."
A look of confusion - and possibly annoyance - passed over Wright's face, but he quickly recovered. "I understand this will be your first time in the United States, Sergeant Kandie. I'd be happy to show you around. On a scale of one to America how free are you?"
Burk sat straight up, his mouth opening, presumably planning to shut Wright down before he could make anyone uncomfortable (or humiliate himself further), but Alisha beat him to it. "North Korea," Alisha replied coolly. "Or have you forgotten about the fraternity rules, Ensign?"
"I received permission to speak to Azima directly from Captain Slattery," Wright said smugly. "It's not like he could say much after allowing the Greens on board together. As long as we wait until we're on shore, he's happy to transfer me if the need arises."
"No shit," Kara said under her breath, saying out-loud what everyone was thinking. Getting Wright off the ship was well worth relaxing the rules a little. Besides, Mike no doubt got a kick out of the ridiculousness of the request.
Still wearing that self-congratulatory smirk, Wright turned his attention back to Azima. "So what do you say? After all, I am Mr. Wright. What more could you want?"
Carlton elbowed Wolf Taylor, who was sitting next to him. "You going to do anything?"
Wolf barely looked up from his plate. "And miss the show? Hell no."
Turning to the man beside her, Azima raised an eyebrow. "Won't you have other people to see once we dock?"
"Nope. I might as well call you 'Google' because you have everything I'm searching for," Wright replied with his most charming smile. "Besides, my parents always told me to follow my dreams."
That was more than Nishioka could take, quickly scuttling out of the room, excusing himself on the grounds of his "cough." Kara looked like she might need to do the same, literally shaking from the effort of keeping her laughter bottled up.
"What would you suggest that we do?" Azima asked, head cocking to the side.
"Well," Wright leaned closer, although his voice was still audible to the entire room. "It just so happens that I have two tickets to paradise. Interested?"
Leaning forward until their heads were only inches apart, Azima patted Wright's cheek hard enough to make him wince.
"Not if one of them is yours."
A/N - sometimes I make myself laugh, even if it isn't canon compliant.