Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Friendship, Teambuilding.
Word Count: 3037
Pairings/Characters: Jake Jensen/Cougar Alvarez, Pooch, Clay, Aisha.
Synopsis: The Losers have finally found a lead in their search for Max, but in following it, things don't go particularly smoothly.
Comments: Yuletide 2015. For tommygirl. Hello! Happy Holidays! I really, really hope you like this! It turned out way more plotty than originally intended, which is why I am submitting it like 2 hours before it's due. For something that started out mostly full of hurt/comfort it didn't end up containing a whole lot of it, which is weird, because usually I have the opposite problem with fics. But, yeah. I love Jensen and Cougar, and they are together in this, but it sort of turned out more team oriented than originally planned, as well, which, again, I usually have the opposite happening.
Set after the movie. Tries to deal with some of the gaping plot holes the movie left open in the hope for a sequel, I'd imagine (like actually stopping the bad guy (granted this doesn't do that, either)).
Titles comes from the song 'Into the Darkness,' by The Phantoms.
Characters aren't mine! (Except the one that is).
Jensen wakes up in a hotel room that looks like every other hotel room he's ever woken up in. This one is dark, except for the shine of streetlights creeping in through the drawn curtains. The bed squeaks when he moves to sit up on his elbows. "What happened?" He asks, because he knows better than to think he's alone.
"Eres un idiota," Cougar greets him from his perch by the window, and Jensen isn't convinced he's wrong about this assertion. Cougar is very rarely wrong about anything and if he's taking the time to tell Jensen that he's an idiot, then he's probably got a pretty good reason for it, because he just doesn't go blurting things like that out willy-nilly.
Heh. Willy-nilly, Jensen sort of half-snorts at the thought, that's a weird phrase.
Cougar, however, looks less than amused by Jensen's likely inappropriate laughter and he's less than gentle when he pulls back the covers to prod at the stark, white bandage that's secured around Jensen's abdomen. Where did that come from?
"I might be," he agrees, since he has no evidence to the contrary. He sits up a little more, but the room spins alarmingly and he opts not to push his luck any further. "What drugs am I on?"
"Good ones," Cougar assures him.
Cougar doesn't look terribly surprised that Jensen doesn't recall exactly what landed him in Generic Hotel Room #128, with Cougar-applied first-aid and some impressively-trippy drugs in his system. Looks like Cougar is remembering whatever it was enough for both of them, given the look that flashes across his face.
"Nevermind," he decides, he doesn't need to know right now and he probably wouldn't remember if Cougar did tell him, "tell me later."
Relief, then, and Cougar crosses the room to climb into bed with him, curls around him in a way that is more reminiscent of an octopus than any sort of big cat.
It's been six months since Max got away and they've been dead-ended on solid leads since then, despite seemingly unending research into the matter. They still know next to nothing about their enemy, excepting that he goes by Max and that he has a penchant for the theatrical, as well as a penchant for world-ending violence.
Now, they finally have a lead.
They have the location of a black site prison in Turkey, where supposedly, someone important is locked up. It's a huge risk to go breaking into, especially when they don't know who they're after, but anyone who Max wants locked away (notably locked away, but not dead) is probably someone they might have some interest in talking to.
So, they go.
Clay grabs Pooch from Springfield, then Cougar and Jensen from New Hampshire, and they meet up with Aisha for another under-the-radar plane ride, though this flight, at least, does not have them traveling via coffin.
They set up a safe-house a couple of miles away from the site, which turns out to be a deceptively cushy looking office building, though it's no doubt hiding some secure cells somewhere within its walls. They do some recon, they make some preparations, and then it's time to start the op.
Pooch barges into the room come morning, when sunlight is streaming in through the curtains instead of streetlights. He comes bearing breakfast – smells like omelets and coffee – but those very good pain meds have started to wear off and they leave Jensen contemplating the merits of staying in bed and not moving until he has absolutely no other choice. His stomach aches where the dressing is, where there are hints of red against the bandage now, but unlike last night, he's aware of other injuries, though he's equally clueless as to how he earned those. His ribs are black and blue on the side opposite the wound, there's a twinge in his ankle and now he can feel the ace wrap around it, can feel that it's at least kind of swollen. There's a knot on the side of his head, too, suggesting at least a slight concussion and also possibly explaining why he doesn't recall obtaining any of these injuries.
"Morning, sleepyheads," Pooch greets, far too enthusiastic for Jensen's liking. Apparently for Cougar's liking, too, because all he does is groan and curl around Jensen even more. "Fine, be like that. See if I bring you food again anytime soon."
Cougar reaches out blindly and Pooch is nice enough to hand over one of the cups of coffee.
"Jensen, you want one?"
"Depends," he replies, his voice comes out rougher than he anticipated, the word sticks in his dry throat. "Is it laced with anymore of whatever I was on last night?"
Pooch laughs, shakes his head. "Sorry, buddy. Cougar's in charge of drugging you up."
"Eat first," Cougar grumbles at him, "then drugs."
Jensen sighs and resigns himself to what will likely be the exhausting process of getting out of bed. "Fine," he agrees, and so Cougar and Pooch help him hobble from the bed to the little table in the corner of the room. There's breakfast and coffee and then Cougar changes the bandage over the wound in his side. Then they help him hobble back to bed, where there's ice for his ankle and ice for his head and more glorious drugs to knock him out.
Jensen spends nearly three days at a computer, hacking away at the security measures of the black site. He finally cracks it at 57 hours. Cougar plies him with food and water along the way, makes him get up and move around when things are processing, even drags him into a shower after a near miss with a very stubborn firewall, at one point. But, it's worth it. They get a name, they get a file, they get detailed blueprints of the place and all the info they need to knock out security before they go in to get the guy.
Aisha takes over from there, using her considerable pull to get hold of an EMP and then some dumb luck to get it into the building. They go in that night, with Pooch flying a helicopter, Cougar on standby with a sniper rifle, Clay masterminding from their evac point, and Jensen and Aisha jumping in from outside of range after the EMP is triggered. They land in the parking lot just as the place goes dark, and with Cougar's help, they pick off the few guards stationed nearby. They don some night vision goggles and head in, navigating through the maze of dark hallways and darker rooms until they reach the lower levels where there are a few holding cells, taking out anyone who gets in their way as they go with silenced weapons.
"Here," Jensen says, as they reach the right cell. Aisha pulls out a bit of C4 to blast the hinges off. "Well, this is going surprisingly smoothly," Jensen observes, when the door they blasted swings open a bit. He takes one step into the cell their target is being held in, and that's when things go wrong.
Given that this is supposed to be a rescue mission and not an abduction, the hit comes out of nowhere, so hard that it makes Jensen see stars as he drops to his knees, ears ringing and balance thrown off by the sheer force of the hit to his head. He swings blindly, makes contact with what feels like a face, but then there's a sharp pain in his side – he sees the glint of something metallic and sharp in the darkness - and then he's well and truly down, a boot kicking at his chest before Aisha can get through the remnants of the cell door to back him up.
A gunshot, then, and their target, unwilling as he apparently is to be rescued from this prison, collapses on top of him.
"Guess I spoke too soon."
Aisha enters the hotel room with a quiet knock, sometime after sunset. It's just the two of them again, playing cards at the table, as Pooch went off to grab some more supplies and Clay's been trying to get their captive to talk in another room.
"Cougar," she calls, hovering in the doorway. "Clay wants you to patch up our new friend, if you're not busy with Jensen."
Cougar nods, and grabs up the bag of first aid supplies without complaint. "Someone has to stay with him," he says, nodding toward Jensen.
She let's Cougar pass her and claims his seat at the table, picks up his cards and frowns at the two pair he'd been sitting on. "How's your head?"
"Better," Jensen answers, dealing a new hand for the two of them. "World stopped spinning a few hours ago, so I'm calling that an improvement."
"He knocked you pretty hard," she tells him, which is more than he remembers about the event. The game continues for a while, until she blurts out, "I'm sorry for shooting you."
Jensen shrugs, "Kind of stopped being mad about that when you stopped those guys from putting bullets in our heads back at the docks," he answers, but since they're doing the apology thing, he adds in a sincere, "I'm sorry about your dad."
It might be the first time she's heard that, and she seems to appreciate it. Jensen can get missing a parent, even if they weren't the best kind of person. His own father was kind of an asshole, not a drug-weapons-and-child-trafficking kingpin, mind you, but an asshole, and sometimes he still misses the guy.
"We make a good team," he adds, ignoring the part where she's vowed to kill Clay when this whole Max thing is over and done, "The five of us."
Aisha smiles, "Yeah, we're not bad."
"Jensen, come on," Aisha's calling, half-carrying him, half-dragging him. She is totally dragging the bloody, unconscious man from the cell, and Jensen figures she would probably very much appreciate it if he could help out a bit. So he forces himself to walk a little straighter and carry his own weight as they weave their way back through the maze of dark hallways to the planned exit.
Granted, they had been figuring on a complicit third party in this escape, and not one injured party and one unconscious party, so it's going a little slower than they would really like. Coupled with the fact that the they hadn't bothered with any form of communication with the rest of the team because of the interference from the EMP blast and this is starting to look like it might not have been the greatest idea ever.
"Down!" Jensen calls, when he spots another guard coming at Aisha, barely picking out the shape in the shadows. She ducks and Jensen pulls and fires his own gun just before the guard gets a chance to do the same. The guy goes down, but in the darkness, Jensen only managed to wing him, and the guard kicks out and lands a blow at Jensen's ankle, bringing him down to the ground again. "Damn it!" He shouts, even as Aisha settles the matter with her own weapon. "Look, take him out, give the signal. I'll head that direction and someone can double back for me. Just go."
They don't have time to waste, sooner or later the guards are going to call in reinforcements and they need to be long gone before that happens. She hefts their target over her shoulders and goes.
When Cougar comes back, Clay is with him, bringing dinner and the news that they'll be heading back to the States come morning, Pooch is already out setting it up. "He finally started talking," Clay explains, with a sigh of relief, "Says he'll help us deal with Max anyway he can."
"What, did you give him the good drugs, too?" Jensen jokes, still sitting across from Aisha at the table, cards long forgotten between them, amidst talk of Bolivia and New Hampshire, respectively.
Clay laughs, "He didn't get any drugs, actually. I think Cougar here was feeling a little vengeance was in order for what he did to you."
"Vengeance isn't always the answer," Aisha concedes, and suddenly it doesn't seem like they're talking about the guy in the other room anymore. She and Clay trade meaningful looks and something in the air shifts, like maybe this won't end bloody for anyone except Max.
It's been too long. They're all starting to get a little worried, especially since the EMP left them with no way to communicate with Aisha and Jensen. That had been accounted for in the plan, at least, it wasn't a surprise, but that doesn't make it any less stressful when things fall behind schedule.
"Anything?" Clay's voice comes across the comm. System, staticy from being on edges of the EMP blast, but still audible. Pooch and Jensen both see nothing from their vantage points and report as much to their leader. "Alright, we'll give them a few more minutes and then we're moving in."
Cougar scans the exterior of the building again, picks off a guard moving across the parking lot not far from where Jensen and Aisha had gone in, but he sees no other signs of activity in the shadows.
"There's the signal," Pooch reports, just as a flare comes up a good distance from the building. Cougar peers down the scope in that direction and spots Aisha, with their target slung over her shoulders in a fireman's carry. But Jensen isn't with her. Cougar's up and moving without another thought.
"He's a couple dozen yards in, down the first hallway to your right, should be coming at you," Aisha tells him when he's close enough to hear her. He tosses his sniper rifle at her and he catches the automatic pistol she throws back at him just as Pooch comes in for his landing in the helicopter.
"Jensen," Cougar calls softly, his eyes not adjusted to the dark of the building. Outside there'd been some moonlight, limited by cloud cover, but inside it's pitch black and he moves from his memory of Jensen's blueprints moreso than by actual sight, with one hand on the right wall as he moves. He finds the hallway, finds Jensen a few seconds later. "Jensen!"
"Cougs," Jensen slurs back at him, slumped down against the wall. Cougar doesn't need to see blood to know that Jensen's bleeding, he can smell the metallic tang of it in the air. "What're you doin' in here?"
Cougar doesn't waste time answering Jensen's question, because he can hear someone approaching from the other end of the hallway and the last thing they need is to get pinned down in here in the dark. He hefts Jensen over his shoulder, forced to ignore the layer of warm, sticky blood on Jensen's side, and moves.
Pooch has risked moving closer by the time Cougar gets them out and so it only takes a few seconds to reach the helicopter and pile into the back with Jensen before the thing takes off, up and away into the dark, night sky.
By morning, the five of them are sitting on a plane back home, along with their new accomplice. His name is Sam, and he's Max's younger brother so he's got plenty of information to share that could get them closer to their goal. He'd been involved in his brother's operations for a while, but he'd started disagreeing with Max's actions – as risky as that was to do – and had recently started looking for help. He'd actually been feeding intelligence to a contact named Fadhil, but Max had figured them out and had the guy taken out before they could really act against him. That was when he'd been locked up, too. He apologizes to Jensen for punching him out, but it's not like he expected anyone friendly to come busting into a secure, unauthorized prison in the middle of the night to get him out and the last time military-trained strangers had shown up at his door, he'd ended up thrown in a cell.
Jensen accepts his apology and leaves the man to enjoy his freedom for the time being. They'll have plenty of time to talk with him, to get as much information as they can once they're back home and Jensen can look at a computer screen without instantly getting a headache.
Clay and Aisha are talking civilly and without necessity for the first time since they discovered she was Fadhil's daughter, Pooch is occupied with a long book he's been trying to finish, and Sam opts for a nap (given that Cougar did finally offer him some decent painkillers for the bullet wound Aisha put in his shoulder). "C'mere," Cougar coaxes, herding him over to a darker corner of the cargo plane they're flying back in, well aware of the fact that Jensen should probably still be recovering and not flying across the Atlantic.
Jensen's grateful for the chance to relax for a bit and complies easily. They settle back in the shadows of a large shipping container, pressed shoulder to shoulder, backs to the cool metal. It's quiet, or at least as quiet as a plane can be, and Jensen gets lost in the rhythmic hum of the engines. At some point, Cougar tangles their fingers together, and after a while, Jensen leans his head on Cougar's shoulder, edging on sleep. "Vamos a estar en casa pronto," Cougar tells him, loud enough to be heard over the noise of the plane.
Home sounds good, Jensen thinks, and home with Cougar sounds great. He can't wait until this thing with Max is dealt with, when it's really over and they can all go back to their lives for real. When there won't be any more of these secret trips or the constant worry that Max will go after their families. Still, the room he's sharing with Cougar at his sister's place is something he wouldn't trade for anything and he's eager to get back to it.
He leans up, steals a kiss from Cougar, long and slow, because this is another thing he wouldn't trade for anything.