Rumlow's two week recovery went by quicker than I thought. I thought it would drag on. I don't know how it felt to Rumlow, but he didn't complain. He is up on his feet, his burns nearly healed. His scars are raised and angry, pink with the new skin. He's coping as far as I can tell. But I can't be sure. I'm mostly just glad that I can touch him without hurting him again. He is too. We've packed up shop at the main HYDRA base and we're being flown via Helicopter to the new base. The team is buzzing with excitement.
Rumlow had been cleared for medium duty, and more importantly, sex. He and I nearly fell over each other to get back to our quarters. He kissed me fervently, pinning my hands above my head and pressing me against the wall.
"I love you." I whispered, kissing him again. He smiles, kissing me back.
"Diana," He says quietly. "Thank you."
"For what?" I ask, wrapping my legs around his hips. His eyes meet mine. He has deep scarring around them from the burns, but those honey-colored hues still gleam, he's still him.
"For sticking beside me."
"Rumlow," I say, grabbing his chin, "Look me in the eye." He'd broken eye contact with me, but I bring it back, staring at him. Boring holes into his head. "Rumlow. Nothing. Will make me love you less. Especially not something as fucking stupid as scars. I told you. It doesn't bother me." He rams his hips into mine, kissing my throat as he does so.
"Good." He whispers against my throat, pressing me against the wall and kissing me again.
I don't touch his face like I used to. He doesn't meet my eyes, even when I try to get him to. This time was different. It was desperate, passionate, intense. But it lacked something that I couldn't place. It was like a piece of Rumlow had been ripped out of him, and I had no idea how to help him get it back. He and I become one against that wall, neither one, in that instant, caring what the other looks like, just feeling each other. At the end, Rumlow is exhausted and I am too, so he carries me to bed, laying us down in the cool sheets, and we rest together for a while. I don't sleep, and neither does Rumlow, we're both just relaxed and content to lay with each other. His arms wrap around my body, one hand firmly planted on my ass, his arm around my waist. He nuzzles me, nosing my neck, giving me soft kisses all over my face. I find it impossible to tear my gaze away from his hazel eyes. He kisses my lips passionately, taking away my breath like he had many times before, until he's excited again and I'm panting. We make love again, hands searching now, exploring. Mine find the new curves and rises and falls of his body, recognizing the old, memorizing the new. His hands hold me close to his body, his lips capture mine in a way that tells me he's claimed me as his, and I couldn't be happier. He smiles, and I reach up to touch his shorter hair. He leans his head back, and I kiss his throat.
"Babe," He says, wrapping his arms around me. "I'm lucky I got you." I smile and kiss him again. Our faces are only inches apart, and he places gentle kisses on my nose, lips, cheeks.
"I love you." I whisper, "I love you, and I'm not letting you go. For anything." His arms tighten momentarily and then a communicator beeps loudly. Rumlow jerks his head back from mine with a soft groan and releases me so I can check the message.
I look at Rumlow, hastily throwing on whatever clothes I can find. Rumlow did a good job of tossing them around the room, and I shoot him looks as he looks for clothes. I snag his shirt and I slide in to it, pulling on my fatigue pants and then lacing up my boots. Rumlow doesn't realize that I have his shirt until I'm out the door and he's left in our room with no shirt.
My hair was a mess. On my way to the 'urgent' meeting, I snatch a hat off of one of the trainees and keep walking. The man looks at me incredulously, but when I look at him, he knows who I am and backs off. I look at the hat. It's a Military Issue Green Beret. I make sure to memorize his face so I can return the hat to him. He keeps on stepping despite his hat being stolen, not saying a word. He might hold a position on one of the most elite military groups, but he knows who I am based on my old service record, and my current one. I was a Super Soldier, in a completely different depth. Rumlow jogs to catch up with me, wearing a black tee shirt. I smirk, and keep walking. His hair is also a little out of sorts, but he smooths it down with his hand. I watch the lines of his arms as he does so, out of the corner of my eye, but keep walking. Rumlow knows I'm watching him. We make our way to the briefing room and on our way in, I smooth down the beret like I'd learned in Academy, badge over my right eye,flat down the left side of my head. Pierce is waiting for us at the head of the table, face neutral. Rollins falls in beside me and Rumlow, Lester and Batroc come in together, both wearing workout clothes. The Braddocks are moments behind them. They too had been working out.
"Good to see all of you." Pierce says. He eyes Rumlow and I, and Rum does a good job of looking passive. I follow his lead.
"Sir, we got the blip. What's so important?" I ask.
"We're moving out in twenty minutes." Says Pierce, "Are you all ready?"
"Yes sir." We all say in unison. Rollins, as usual, snaps to attention a little quicker than I thought normal, but I can appreciate the enthusiasm.
"Grab the last of your things and we'll move out." Pierce orders, "Dismissed."
We arrive at the new facility in a few hours. It was far from the old place, off the grid, and removed. I liked it. It was a large beast, built into the side of a mountain, camouflaged from view. The Blue Ridge Mountains shield the landing pad from view, unless you know where to look. The pilot lands, taking us down below tree level, into the mountain. We hop out once the helicopter roters stop moving and look around. We're in a hangar, lines of equipment parked in rows, vehicles, weapons. We move through this area, getting to a door, which we pass through to reach the main floors of the facility. Rumlow and I walk in the front, flanked by Rollins and Clay.
I am not prepared for what I see. Beyond the main corridor lies a huge gym. Workout gear lies on the outside rims and at the center is a boxing ring, ready for the MMA Finals instead of training. It's well lit, large, padded well and sturdy. From the ceiling hang rings for climbing and strength training, and a track is suspended, twenty feet or so in the air. We go through the gym area, passing through another hall. There are rooms on both sides of the hall, the doors spaced far apart, telling me that the rooms are large. At the end of the hall is a junction, one going right, one going left. The left has an elevator sign, the right has my Sergeant Major Chevrons with a skull in the center instead of a star. I smirk at this, knowing exactly what it means. Schmidt actually took my word and separated Rumlow and I from the rest of the rooms. The walls are thick, made of concrete, so I know that no sound is coming through them. The men disband to head to their quarters. Rollins had a set of wings on his door, the Braddocks had their ranks, Lester had a Bullseye, Batroc, and I think this was a joke, had a baguette on his door. There were two other doors where people didn't go in. Two. I wonder why two. One door has an eagle on it, the other is blank. Two empty rooms. One had to be Marie, the other, I had no idea. Not that I cared. Rumlow and I head over together to check out our quarters. It's a huge room, ten times the size of the room we'd shared back at the old base, not that that was saying much. Instead of a Queen sized bed, we have a King. The floors are dark hardwood, the walls are painted burgundy. The bed is black, black sheets, black comforter, black pillows. The bathroom is medical. White, with chrome accents and fixtures, yet it is oddly soothing. There are two desks equipped with computers, a speaker system installed in the ceiling. I turn to Rumlow, who is looking around, seemingly satisfied. He looks at me, and we work quickly to stow our gear.
Up the elevator takes us to a comfortable lounge with a huge window overlooking the Blue Ridge mountains. In front of the windows is a large empty space with an H painted on the floor. The floors are concrete, but covered with carpets, and a large black leather couch sits directly at the center of the room. It's arranged in a 'C' shape, so we could all sit and be looking at each other, and on the wall is a huge TV. There is a bar and a kitchen, fully stocked to my surprise. The facility still smells new, like drying paint and clean carpets. I'm looking forward to breaking it in. The rest of the group files in, the bay windows open and a Helicopter maneuvers its way in through the window to land on the H. It powers down, and the side door open to reveal Alexander Pierce.
"I trust my Team is comfortable." He says, arms open to gesture to the enormity of the facility. He looks to me. "You can all thank your fearless leader, Sergeant Major Calhoun, for this lovely base of operations. Calhoun, have you reviewed the mission files?"
"The ones the team will be accepting are sitting in a folder on your new desk, I assured their delivery this morning." I tell him. He nods.
"Very good. Alright team, explore, have a celebration. You are free for the next three days while I prep your care packages and clear the missions. Learn the tricks of this place and break in the new toys, and get some rest. You will be needing it." Pierce makes his way to the elevator, swipes a card from his jacket pocket, and disappears to his office.
"I had them deliver twenty cases of beer." I inform them, "All of it is in the cooler behind the bar. Who wants to be barkeep?" James raises his hand, cracking his knuckles.
"Damn skippy," says Brian, "Nobody can mix a drink like baby Braddock."
"Fuck you!" James snaps, hopping over the bar. "Well!? You heard Pierce. We have three days off. That means two days to get as fucked up as we can, and one to get over our hangovers." He ducks down, lining up nine bottles of beer. He grabs two, and simultaneously pops the caps off by striking the edge of the bar with the caps, sending them flying. The beer fizzes out of the top of the bottle, and he slides them down the bar to the waiting hands of our resident Mercenaries. He continues down the line, opening two at a time until three bottles remain. Me, Rumlow and James don't have beers yet, so he takes the three remaining bottles, two in one hand, one in the other, and does his cap trick, managing to catch the tops on both bottles. The men cheer, and a beer is tossed to me. Rumlow grabs his from the counter and I hold up my bottle before taking a sip.
"To the Skeleton Crew." I announce loudly, starting a cheers. "May we forever be a pain in the ass to SHIELD. Ooh rah!"
"Ooh rah!!!" The men say together. We clink bottles together for a long moment, and we all take long gulps of the beer. Pierce ordered us Stella Artois, one of my favorite beers, so it goes down real nice. I haven't had a drink in a long time, so the change is nice. It soon becomes apparent that this is a drinking contest however, so I make a point to gulp down my beer as quickly as I can, slamming my bottle down on the bar and wiping froth from my lips.
"Men," I say, watching each man finish his drink before looking at me. "This team will be my honor to lead. I look forward to serving with each and every one of you." I look to James and smirk evilly, "Now get these men another beer!" I jab, smiling brightly now. The men eagerly take another beer from James, who dispenses another one to himself.
The night goes on. We've emptied more of those beer cases than I'd care to say. Brock, Clay and I are the only ones still sober. Clay and I both had Super Soldier Serum running through us burning off the alcohol, and Rumlow just had high tolerance. We watch, bemused, as Lester stands up, looking at Batroc.
"I'm telling you-," He laughs, red-faced, "So I'm working this job right. Undercover. This woman starts coming on to me, she's fuckin' drunk as shit right so I let her down easy... she... I'm careful man, I'm a freakin' Ninja on the job. But this drunk ass woman fuckin' tails me, until she's in my room!" He busts out laughing, and Batroc sips his beer, snorting the frothy liquid out his nose with his laughing. Rollins slaps his knee with laughter and Brian sits off, perched on the top of the couch, not sitting. I notice now that he's not drunk either, and he's got beer bottles all around his feet and on the couch.
"He's an English Catholic." Clay whispers in my ear, "The only people who can out-drink him are the Irish Catholics." Rumlow and I chuckle at this, and Rumlow looks down at me, sipping his beer. I watch as he swallows, his Adam's Apple bobbing in his throat. I swallow too, not to down the beer, but to keep myself from drooling. Rumlow pulls my lips to his.
"Wanna slip off, babe?" He asks me quietly. I feel a little bold, so I straddle him, earning hoots from the team, and kiss him, running my fingers through his hair.
"Damn, that's what Diana forgot to order! Girls!" Batroc laughs. I roll my eyes.
"Maybe Rumlow will share." Rollins teases, earning a murderous look from Rumlow, who pulls me flush against his chest, stands up, wrapping my legs around his waist, and carries me to the elevator. When the doors open, he waists no time stepping in and slamming his hand against the button for our floor. He pushes me against the wall, lips dominating mine, hungry. He slides his hand up under my shirt and I will the elevator to go faster. When he parts from the kiss, there is a string of saliva connecting us. He leans in again, this time attacking my neck with his kisses.
"Are you sober, Rum?" I ask. He nods, smirking at me as he continues to kiss me. My cheeks are flush, and my hands grip Rumlow's shoulders tightly. I can feel how excited he is through his fatigues.
"I am," He replies, "I only had four or five." He moves me away from the wall, only to ram me back against it with his hips. "I love you, babe."
"Just wanted to make sure. Drunk sex isn't fun sex. You won't remember it." I tease. He chuckles.
"Babe, I will always remember sex with you." He turns as the doors open to our floor, setting me down so we can make our way to the room we're going to be sharing. He catches me at the door, hands going to my waist so he can push me against it, his lips crashing down on mine forcefully. He groans slightly, groping my breast with his left hand while his right opens the door. It swings in and we stumble into the room, just barely closing the door before the clothes start coming off.
Rumlow's arms are around my waist and his face is buried in my hair. He holds me tightly, his eyes are open, bright hazel meeting my gaze as I slowly come to my senses.
"Morning you." I say, voice still rough from sleep. He sighs, nuzzling me more.
"Morning." He says, sliding over so he's straddling me. I wrap my legs around his hips. He dips his face down to mine to capture my lips, and I reach up to touch his cheek. The skin feels ridged under my hands, and I run my hand down his cheek to rest it on the back of his neck. "How'd you sleep?"
"Like I'd been fucked into a coma." I tease, recalling the events of last night. "I'm pretty sure carrying a girl off to bed and then making love to her for three hours straight counts as heavy activity." I tease.
"I'm obviously up for it." He teases, kissing my nose. "Was it three hours?"
"Maybe. Maybe not. Felt like forever to me." I reply, letting my hand slide down his back so I can grab his ass. He really does have a nice firm butt. He slaps my hand away, moving his arms so they no longer support him, and all his weight is on me. I love the feel of him on top of me.
"Well," He says, "Should we go make a damage report? Or should we just fire up the blender and see who tries to kill us first?"
"I can do one better." I tell him, standing up. I slide in to some clothes, one of Rumlow's shirts and a pair of my work out shorts. He slips on some long pajama pants, but nothing else, and follows me. I look in my closet and smirk as I produce something from one of my bags. It's a brass bugle.
"Why do you have that thing?" He asks. I bring it close to my lips, but I don't play yet.
"Let's just say, I've done this before, and you better be filming when Clay and James get up, because it is the funniest fucking thing you've ever seen." I run out of the room, hopping in the elevator. When we get down to the lounge area, I take a sweep of the room. Rollins is face down in the sink, Batroc and Lester hug each other on the couch. Brian is nowhere to be seen, so I'm assuming he got bored with the drunken shenanegans and went to bed. James is laying with his head on the floor and the rest of his body on a couch, and Clay is inexplicably curled up on the floor with most of his clothes off. Pierce is in the kitchen, trying to figure out how to get around Rollins to use the sink and I make eye contact, holding up the bugle. I think he knows what I'm about to do, so he backs out of the kitchen, finding a good place to watch from. Rumlow sits on the couch beside the cuddling mercenaries, and gives me a thumbs up. I raise the bugle to my lips and, very loudly I begin to play the wake up call. I puff on the bugle, getting the small brass instrument to belt out "Reveille" as loud as it can.
There is an explosion of men. I watch for James and Clay. James is first up, his spine snapping to attention, a look of wild fright on his face. Clay trips on his own feet, falling down again before he locates his pants. He pulls them on as fast as he can, jumping on one foot to get them up, and then salutes, a dumb expression on his face. Rollins falls off the counter onto the floor, where he stays prone, groaning about his head. And perhaps the funniest reaction. Batroc and Lester wake up, notice their situation, and seperate as quickly as they can, scrambling to untangle themselves. I can't do it anymore. I pull the bugle from my lips and double over laughing. Rumlow is loosing it, his head is thrown back in laughter, his hand on his chest.
"What the-?" Clay blinks, the dumb expression still on his face, before he processes what I did, and starts to laugh too. Then he touches his forehead. "Ooh... headache. Bad idea. No laughing." He kneels down, then presses his forehead against the cool concrete floor and sighs happily. "Aah.. floor. You're my only friend." Meanwhile, Pierce is laughing too, a shock to me. I didn't think the man had a sense of humor.
"Good job, Sergeant Major. Way to wake the troops!" He chides, poking Rollins in the back. Rollins looks up, not registering who he sees, and shooes him away, head flopping back to the floor.
"We had a bit of fun last night. I had to come make a damage report. I'd say everything's okay." I incline my head to Pierce, who nods, stepping over Rollins to fill a glass of water in the sink, and he heads back up to his quarters.
"Good show, Calhoun." Calls Brian. He's now leaning in the hallway that would take you towards the elevators, and he's smirking. "Have a flashback then, little cousins?"
"She used to do that. Every fuckin' time we had a party back with the old Platoon." Clay groans, forehead still resting on the floor. "We expected it, but we all got slammed anyways."
"How'd you get drunk, Clay?" I ask, "I thought-,"
"I didn't get fully exposed to the serum." Clay groans, "Obviously..." He gets up long enough to go to the elevator, and he's soon followed by the rest of the men. I don't think we'll be seeing them for a few hours. Brian takes a seat in the kitchen at the bar.
"So Brit Braddock," I address Brian, heading over to him with some of the bottles from the living room. I toss them in the garbage before opening the refrigerator. "I need to know what your powers are." I tell him, "So I know where best to put you when push comes to shove on the missions."
"I'm going to be honest with you," He says, "I'm the most powerful person on this team, but I'm helping because my cousins are helping you." He looks at me, searching for doubt. Braddock grey eyes narrow, "I have superhuman strength and reflexes, I can fly, and telepathic powers have little effect on me."
"How are you compared to Spangles?" I ask, sounding bored as possible.
"I'd say that I'm... faster, smarter, stronger, more durable, but... He's a better tactician and he's got more fighting skill. I'd never met him before we fought briefly on that rooftop, but I'm beginning to think he's going to figure me out." I nod, looking over to him.
"He and I used to spar." I tell him, "He's figured me out pretty well. I've got his number though, he has certain patterns to his fighting. No matter though. We're handling SHIELD compounds and intel requisition. Captain America falls outside our realm of action." Braddock nods, looking over my face again, which I keep as neutral as possible. I wait for him to break eye contact. Turning away would tell him too much. He nods, dropping his gaze, and then looks to Rumlow.
"So you two slipped off a little before I did," He smirks. "Have fun, you two?" Rumlow places a hand on Braddock's shoulder.
"Remind me to kill Rollins." Says Rumlow, removing his hand from Brian's shoulder, "I think you know what comment I'm referring to."
"Oh yeah, I do." He replies, "But you had fun?"
"I'd be lying if I said no." Rumlow replies. I smacked him on the shoulder, but he grabs my hand, pulling me in to him and wrapping his arms around my body. His lips find the hollow between my neck and collarbone, and he places a gentle kiss there.
"Fuck you." I mumble, pulling away. He looks down, chuckling, a grin on his face.
"You did that last night." He teased. Brian is looking around the kitchen, getting the lay of the land. I move away from Rumlow and hop up to sit on the counter.
"What do you want for breakfast, jack ass?" I ask.
"What've we got?"
We settle on eggs. A lot of eggs. Because we knew there would be hung-over soldiers filing down to the kitchen later. I scramble a full three dozen eggs, make toast, coffee and dish out Tylenol like it's my job. I have plates ready for everyone and I get on the comms to call everyone out. They file down from the elevator like zombies, heads hung, eyes open just enough to see out of, groaning and complaining about their headaches. They try not to fall in to their breakfast as they eat, but once the food is gone, the mood has lifted considerably. Everyone is a little more alert once they have coffee and Tylenol in them, and laughing starts up soon after as stories start flying.
"So who wants to watch the surveillance tapes from last night?" I ask, smirking. Batroc and Lester don't look at each other. I think they're worried about what the tapes are going to show us, but the rest of the Crew files in to the living space, settling in front of the large TV. I head to the room where our security system is linked, and send the files from last night to the TV. I skip through the boring stuff, the actual process of getting drunk, watch Rumlow whisking me out of the room, and then we get to the good stuff.
"I just don't understand why it doesn't love me." Says Batroc, holding a pillow like it's a baby. "I love it." With a look of compassion on his face, James leans over and puts a hand on his shoulder.
"It's okay, Greg." He slurs, "It doesn't know what it's missing."
"Who the fuck is Greg?" Lester asks. He's face down on the couch, and he's got a beer in one hand. He rolls over, opens his mouth, and dumps some beer in his mouth before swallowing it and sitting up.
"I thought that was..." James points at Batroc.
"I'm... no. This is Greg." He points at the pillow. I'm holding in my laughter as best I can. I settle in to Rumlow's side more. I skip forward to Batroc stabbing the pillow and throwing it into the trash compactor.
"Bye bye Greg." I chide. Batroc covers his face with one hand. Now on screen, Brian is leaving. Giggling like idiots are Clay and James, who are red-faced and patting each other on the back. Lester throws a pillow at them and then just laugh harder. Lester sits up and trips on his own feet, falling face first on the floor. When he regains his feet, he's missing a boot. He sits on the floor, cross-legged, and tries to put his boot back on, but he can't seem to figure it out. We keep forwarding through the vids until we reach the pivotal moment. Lester and Batroc. Lester collapses on the couch on top of Batroc, who is already nearly out.
"You're my only friend, Greg." Lester mumbles.
"I killed Greg..." Batroc whispers sadly, "I killed him." Lester pats Batroc on the head, awkwardly wrapping his arms around Batroc's head and kissing the top of it.
"You didn't mean it, Greg." Lester whispers, patting him again. Batroc returns the hug.
"Yes I did. I yelled 'I hate you Greg!' And then threw him in the trash compactor. I killed him and I meant it."
"Shhhh... go to sleep little baby. It's okay. Greg will come back." Lester goaded. And then they fell on the couch, passed out from drunkeness.
"And that, my fine fellows," I laugh, sides aching from it, "Is something those two will never live down."