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Title: If Not For My Glasses
Series: TF2
Character/pairing: Scout/Miss Pauling
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 2075
Summary: It turns out, Scout just needed glasses all along.
Author's note: Post Expiration Date but pre TF comics and MVM.

Okay, but hear me out. The comics have established that Scout can read, but not well, and that he specifically chose large print children's editions of books.

What if he just needs glasses, but won't wear them because he thinks it'd make him like a nerd?

And what if having a thing for Miss Pauling changed all that, because he figures if she's sexy and badass and cool with glasses, he can be too?

Imagine Scout getting a clear view of her for the first time, and just clutching his chest in awe.

Also, hardcore headcanon Scout as ADHD and a high school or middle school drop out.

title from The Dear and the Headlights.

For Sarah. Happy International Kissing Day! It's still it in some time zone, at least.



The heat was sweltering. Her fresh bag of bodies would start to smell not so fresh real soon if she didn't get to burying them soon. She'd sewed pennies into her purple one-piece dress to keep it from blowing up, and giving everyone a show of her stockings, and thigh holster with a knife and gun. Miss Pauling was just strapping on her helmet, but, a bellow caught her off guard. That was definitely Soldier's battle cry.

She left the keys in the ignition, and rushed towards the sound. Mercenaries could be patched together, but if it was civilians, well then she'd have a whole lot more bodies to be burying.

"Go ahead and mock 'em, I'll be mockin' your ass as I kick it!"

"You're on thin ice, you Red Menace! Those glasses make you look like you can read or something, and communists read!"

Another day, another fight to stop. Miss Pauling let out a sigh, and massaged the bridge of her nose as she stepped out past the corner. Soldier held Scout up by his shirt collar. His eyes were wild, like he'd just seen somebody say American wasn't the greatest, or begin to read the works of Marx near him.

"Break it up, we're going to need all the manpower we have for today--Soldier, stop trying to strangle Scout! Solider, Lady Liberty would want you to support your fellow troops."

He dropped Scout into the sand, and gave her a quick salute.

"Remember, reading isn't just for communists. Or did you forget the Declaration of Independence?" Miss Pauling said.

"How could I have forgotten, Lady Liberty's little black dress!?"

"Probably because you were dropped on your head a few too many times," Liam said.

Soldier turned on him a wild fury in his eyes. Dammit, Scout. He always had to have the last word.

"No, no, you've got an apology letter to Lady Liberty by uh--doing the dishes. She'll really appreciate that. Now chop chop, off to the mess hall--and do it quick---for freedom, Lady Liberty, and America!"

Soldier rushed, with his rocket launcher balanced over his shoulder. Scout was still collapsed onto the ground. His red shirt was still wrinkled from where Soldier had held it. She bent over him, and held out her hand. He didn't immediately take it.

Scout blinked for a moment, and pushed up his new set of wire frame, black glasses. He seemed full out stunned, like he'd been in the sun too long, and was suffering heat stroke, or maybe Soldier had given him a concussion again.

"Scout?" She said curiously, "You got glasses?"

Scout outright gaped. He didn't respond immediately, but when he did, it all came out in a tumble of words.

"Woooow, you look amazin', really, really cute! Even more than I thought! These glasses things are actually pretty neat."

Her cheeks turned pink. "Um...thank you, I didn't do anything different today," she said.

"Nah, I was the one who did somethin' different. I finally took the leap." Scout pushed himself up, and turned around her her to see every angle of him."So, what do you think---you probably think I look like a total geek, a complete dweeb, but in a hot way, right?"

He kept taking little desperate glances back at her as he waited for her answer. It was so cute, she couldn't help herself.

"They actually look pretty dignified." Dignified was not words which she would usually apply to Scout, winner of the Teufort Hot Dog Eating contest, and unofficial winner of the Mannuiss World Book of Records for the worst pick up lines ever. But, it fit. His hat had fallen off in the scuffle, leaving his light hair tousled in the way that made her want to smooth it down. He almost looked like the kind of pre-med students she used to date in college.

All before she took on a summer internship in a little company called Mann co, and everything had changed.

Scout scrunched up his nose. "Dignified? Like, that's good, right? I'm goin' to take that as a compliment. The truth is, I needed 'em all along. Couldn't even see that contract you put before me."

That'd explain a lot, considering every time she'd said that was covered in the contract, didn't you read it? he had this deer in the headlights look as he stammered an excuse. To say nothing of the time when she'd had to explain to him that he'd willingly signed a contract for Medic to have exclusive rights to harvest his organs at any time.

"But I can't play in the major leagues with glasses. I can't go to the Olympics with glasses. I can't be a pilot with glasses. What am I goin' to do, try and hit a home run while they go flyin' into the stands?"

"So what changed?" Miss Pauling said.

Scout drew his shoe across the sand. He looked up, almost shy. She had to admit, his glasses gave him a softened, even vulnerable quality he'd never had before. "You looked so cool, cute, sexy and intensely badass in glasses, I figured, hey, I'm already incredibly handsome. Some glasses ain't goin' to change that. Plus, now we match!"

Scout grinned, but his smile turned to an expression of sheer awe as he glanced at her.

"Wow, you really are incredibly pretty. I kind of feel like your face punched me in the stomach, and then my stomach thanked it for gracin' me with a punch like that."

Miss Pauling, slightly flustered, put her hands on her hips. "You're acting like this is the first time you've seen me."

"Kinda almost is. Everythin' was pretty much a blur. I had to just basically fake it to keep up my coolness."

"You managed six years of dodging bullets and managing tasks, and years of the Gravel war without being able to see?"

"Yep, that's me, the friggin' master of fakin' it until I make it."

"Wow that's--pretty impressive," she said.

Scout smirked. "That's me in a nutshell. Well, I can see up close. But now I don't gotta have a lovely gal lyin' on my chest in a bread monster to get a glimpse of her."

"Was that really the first time you saw me?" Miss Pauling said. "You had a crush on me without ever even seeing me?"

"Nah, not quite. Just the first time I could see you without bein' up close. I saw you on the screen before, though I had to squint a lot to see. The rest of the time you were a really hot purple blur. But, I would've fallen for you just by hearin' your cute voice alone."

Miss Pauling blushed again. "Scout--"

"Y'know--" Scout rubbed at his neck. "Soldier got me pretty good."

"Did he choke you and crush your trachea again? You should head to see Medic before it gets worse," Miss Pauling said.

"Nah, I don't need a doctor. I need you. You should kiss it better."

"Scout, I'm on duty," Miss Pauling said.

"But you're always on duty," Scout said. "Besides, it's International Kissin' day."

Miss Pauling let out a sigh, and shook her head. "There's no such holiday as 'International Kissing day,' otherwise you would've tried it on me long ago," she said.

"There will be. I'm petitionin' God and everythin'. One of these days He's goin' to come back from his coffee break and make it a thing, so I can kiss you on every single city, every country, and on every continent," Scout said.

Miss Pauling couldn't help but smile at this. "Even Antarctica?"

"Especially Antarctica. I'll need to kiss you to keep from freezin' my balls off, and I'll need a kiss for motivation when polar bears and penguins try and turn us into dinner."

"Polar bears don't live in Antarctica," she said.

"I'm sure somebody has polar bears with jetpacks down there. It's the obvious sequel. Trust me, I watched a lot of James Bond movies."

After wizards, aliens, skeleton kings, and sentient bread, she honestly wouldn't be surprised.

She stood on tip toe, and left a little peck on his neck, where the red marks had already begun to form. "There. Better?"

"My lips could use a pick-me-up, too," Scout said.

"They don't look swollen. Did he punch you before I got here? Who am I kidding? This is Soldier; of course he did," she said.

"They've been punched before," Scout said.

She shook her head. "Scout."

"International Kissin' day, let's make it a thing!"

"Okay, but just one. I've got a lot of bodies to take care of."

She angled her chin, but their glasses still clacked together. She let out a little giggle, as she righted her frames. Scout grimaced.

"Okay, maybe I don't like these cockblockin' glasses anymore," Scout said.

"Leave them, they're cute. It just takes a little finesse," she said.

This time, only the bridges of their glasses, instead of the lenses scraping against each other. He kissed her opened eyed, a soft lingering touch. As she pulled away, he cupped her jaw gently, and looked at her with such awe, like a lovestruck fool. An apt description, for sure.

"That---um, was nice. Very nice, in fact, but I really need to get back to work now before these bodies start going rancid and bloating, because you do not want to see bodies bloated and ready to burst--"

"Ugh, sounds gross. Need some help?"

Miss Pauling smiled. "I always could use another hand. I know the games are off for a few hours while Engie fixes the cooling system. Did you have anything planned?"

They started to walk towards her scooter.

"Doc asked for some help, but I'll just let him know somethin' else came up. After all--you're the priority," Scout said.

"That's sweet, but, er, did he say exactly what he was going to do?"

"Probably just movin' somethin' around," Scout said.

She climbed up onto the scooter. It would be a tight fit, with him and the bag of body parts, but she knew he wasn't about to complain. "Yeah, you might want to re-read that contract you signed now that you have glasses," Miss Pauling said.

Scout pulled down the other helmet, a red one she'd purchased a while back, just for him. "I'll get to readin' all the papers once I'm done readin' all your lips. Oh, and psych, I'm never goin' to be done readin' your lips."

She leaned back and planted a little kiss on his nose.

"Ooh, what was that for? Because I'm incredibly handsome, a complete stud?"

"What can I say, I think people in glasses are really cute. Besides, I guess we have a lot of--" she did finger quotes, "--catching up for 'International Kissing Day.'"

"Jeez, you should've told me, I would've gotten 'em ages ago."

She revved up the engine. "You never asked!"

"I would've if I knew, dang! I'm goin' to get fifty pairs of glasses if it means you'll kiss me every day."

"I would've kissed you anyways," she said.

"I'll take any extra kisses you, got," Scout said. His voice was drowned out by the sound of the engine starting, but his smile sure wasn't.

And how well she knew that Scout would be glad for any excuse to kiss her, even if she smelled like death warmed over--literally.

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