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Title: Like A Car Crash In Slow Motion (or: A Number of Times Scout and Miss Pauling's Dates Went Horribly Wrong, And A Couple Times They Didn't)
Series: TF2
Character/pairing: Scout/Miss Pauling
Rating: PG-13, hard PG-13
Word count: 4507
Summary: Most people have things like 'first kiss' and 'first date.' Scout has 'first time I was almost shot trying to play Guess Who.' Or, Scout gets (un)lucky in his and Miss Pauling's attempts to get through a date without him getting killed in the process.
Author's note: this and this.

Post Expiration Date but pretty much ignores the TF comics for plot, but keeps the characterization established there. It's set 1977/post 1977, though, just so I can make Star Wars references.

Canon-typical blood and gore.

For Sarah.


Oh, this love would kill me, but I don't think I'd mind.
She's a Riot, The Jungle Giants.



1.

Technically, it wasn't the first time he held hands with her. It was the first time when there was no bread involved, so that had to count for something. Scout kept mentally brushing over worries like they were sand caught in his shoe. What if my wraps are rough against her? I should've pulled 'em off before I came here. At least it means my palms won't sweat.

Because for them, dating meant the two minutes between shift changes. And he had to make the best of it. He didn't even get a chance to shower and change, but then, neither did she. Still, she looked awful cute. Only Miss Pauling could make bloodstains look fashionable.

They walked on past a battered sign that said There have been 0 days without accidents. He'd never seen it ever have another number. The towering concrete from the base shaded out the worst of the sun, but it was still incredibly hot.

He felt something like a worm against his hand. Scout pulled jerked his hand away to stare. He grimaced at the slimy thing stuck to his finger. It didn't wriggle, so it probably wasn't alive. At least, not anymore. It smelled of death, but it didn't look like guts. Then, it came to him. Of course.

Brains. He had frigging brains on his hand.

"Ohhh, my bad. I thought I'd scrubbed off all the viscera before I came out," Miss Pauling said. She awkwardly rubbed at her forearm. "I guess I didn't."

There was something so defeated in her voice, like the date was already done and ruined that it made his heart ache. She let out a soft sigh and started to dab at the bloodstains on her purple blouse.

Scout stripped off his wraps, in case there was anything else stuck in-between the folds.

"Eh, it happens to the best of us. Like when I'm out there beatin' in skulls? I gotta rub down my bats or I find brains all over 'em. Besides..."

Scout grinned, and flexed his fingers. "Braaaaaaaiiiins," he said, in his best zombie voice. Scout lumbered towards her, "Nice braiiiiins, cuuuuute braiiins, smaaaart braiiins."

Miss Pauling laughed, and he caught her up, and spun her around. It didn't even matter when something very slick and wet slipped down the front of his shirt. Scout was sure it'd once been part of a person.

Hey, at least it wasn't one of her body parts.


2.

Miss Pauling was a hard lady to catch. Most of the time he only saw a flash of purple from up in the windows in the staff room overlooking the battlefield, and her voice between the crackle of static on his ear piece.

But today, she was just at the edge between matches, on the phone. She just had to be waiting for him.What other reason would there be to just be hanging out in the frigging desert? It wasn't like like it was a restaurant for fuck's sake. Nobody just hung out in the middle of the heat for fun.

Scout grinned, and softly as a Spy, but with way less stupid French laughter, he tip-toed towards her. Just as the phone call ended, he covered her eyes with his hands. Before he could say guess who? Scout was frigging flipped into the air. He landed hard on his back. The breath was completely knocked out of him, and he felt the cold barrel of a gun to his throat.

When she realized what happened, Miss Pauling quickly pulled the gun away.

"Oh my god I---What the hell, Scout?"

Sand scratched against his neck. Scout could barely manage a word. He struggled for air--getting the breath always was such a pain in the ass.

"Just surprisin' you," Scout said.

"Look, you pull something like that when I'm on the field and the surprise is going to be a bullet in the head. And neither of us wants that."

She helped to at least sit up, even if his lungs still burned. Then, she kissed his cheek. "Don't make me bury you anymore than I have to, okay?" she said softly.

The second kiss to his cheeks and he could finally breathe. His head still throbbed like a motherfucker. But, just little things like knowing she cared whether he lived or died made any amount of pain worth it.

3.

Here Scout thought he'd gotten lucky, but no such luck. She'd conked out before he even got to second base, but he was also kind of trapped. Not that Scout minded. He had the cutest girl in the world cuddled up to him. Though he would've preferred it after a good fuck, because now he had to keep a pillow between them, or it'd be his hard-on against her ass.

Which would've been fine if she'd still been up, and still was biting his lip in a way that drove him wild. But here he was, cockblocked by her work again.

Scout propped himself up on one arm and watched her. He should probably just head out. Go take a cold shower or stroke one off and get some sleep, because there was no way he'd fall asleep like this.

But, Scout couldn't bring himself to leave. Not just yet. Not with how adorable she was, all curled up in the covers and with her dark hair undone and draped messily over the pillow. Sure, she was hot. Sure, he'd totally do her the next time they had a free moment, which would probably be 2020 at this rate, but she was cute.

She made him want things he never wanted before. Like holding hands. Past him would've rolled his eyes at that, like it was some kindergarten bullshit. But now he wanted things like hugs and kisses to the cheeks and all the hand-holding he could have.

She abruptly turned over. Scout didn't even have a chance to shift away to accommodate her before her arm slapped him in the face.

"Jeez, you a mind reader, Miss P? You were clothed in this thought, promise," Scout muttered.

Only a loud snore greeted him. She snored like a buffalo, like some wookie cry. He was still confused how something that sounded like a legit monster roar could come out of such a tiny girl.

Then, she flipped over again, and she stole every single cover. He didn't even have the undersheet thing to keep his balls from freezing. Because when it wasn't a million degrees even at night down in the Badlands, it was fucking arctic temperatures.

Just as Scout was thinking about an exit strategy, he felt the breath knocked out of him again, as both her feet planted into his chest.

Scout coughed, and struggled for air for several seconds. "--Didn't think that was the way you'd leave me breathless, babe." And this was not the way he'd planed to be gasping for breath tonight, that was for damn sure.

"A kicker, huh," Scout said.

Apparently he'd have to invest in some body armor if he was ever going to spoon with her. But hey, who knew? Maybe she'd be into it.

Figuring that if he stayed any longer, he'd probably end up in the hospital, Scout slowly crawled out of bed. As he made his way towards the door, a floorboard creaked, and broke the silence. Scout instantly ducked; he'd learned that around Miss Pauling, he always wanted to be out of her firing range. The bullet hole joined a bunch of others in the wall; even as he huddled out of her range, Scout had to admire her aim. She shot straight, that was for sure.

"I ain't a hitman, so stop tryin' to shoot my balls off, kay?"

"Scout?" she said groggily.

"Yeah, no monsters. Just me, with my monstrously good looks, and monstrously large--"

She cut him off, and glanced down the blanket, with Mann co. all over it in strips.

"I'm still dressed. I thought we were going to...you know--"

"You totally fell asleep." He left out the wookie snoring, the grand theft covers, and where she fucking kicked the breath out of him. On the bright side, she didn't kick him in the balls.

"Sorry, I was exhausted." She stretched, and let out a yawn fit for a yak. "You don't have to leave. I mean, I'm still really tired, but you could stay...."

Tomorrow, he was going to be covered in bruises, sexually frustrated as hell, and that was if he even survived the night, and didn't get shanked on the way back from a midnight piss because Miss Pauling thought he was a hitman. He'd have to drink ten gallons of coffee just to stay awake.

"I'll stay," Scout said. He climbed back up into bed.

It'd all be frigging worth it, no matter how many bruises and bullet holes he got in the process.

Especially when she curled up in his arms, and finished with You know, I'll have some free time in the shower. We could shower together, if you're willing to get up early, that is...

4.

He kissed her, lost in the steam, the heat of her near him. Finally, he was getting to where he'd been waiting years for. His elbow careened with a bunch of purple gel which smelled like flowers and sunshine and happiness. The scent filled the shower.

And the gel made the bottom a whole lot more slippery. Something he didn't realize until his feet weren't on the floor, and there was a sickening crack of bone. Scout let out a shriek of pain.

"Oh--fuck--Scout are you-?"

"Not okay, not remotely freakin' okay!"

She turned off the spray, and grabbed for the towel.

"Here, I'll help you get your pants back on and we'll go straight to the infirmary," Miss Pauling said.

This was not how he expected his morning to go. It was going to be sexy and great, and break all the bad luck he'd been having lately. But in the end, the only thing broken was his wrist.

Ten minutes later, he headed down to Medic's. Shower sex was way more dangerous and way less sexy than it sounded.

Still, he got to see Miss Pauling with nothing but water drops all over. Broken bones mended--with Doc, they mended in about a minute--but he was going to have those images saved in his brain forever.

As far as Scout was considered, it was technically a win.

5.

The first time he tried to go for a kiss, she turned to catch the phone which had just rung, and smacked him in the face with a shovel.

Scout laid out on that sand, dazed and wondering how the hell his life ended up like this. Sure, he'd been hit in the face with plenty of shovels--most from Soldier--but usually not on a date.

Or he guessed this was a date, even if bodies were involved. When it came to Miss Pauling, he had to make little technicalities. Usually burying bodies would be considered a usual Thursday night working his job, but with Miss Pauling, it became more fun.

"Oh god, Scout! I'm sorry! I'm still not used to having someone else around. I need to look behind me when there's a shovel in my hands--"

Maybe he should've waited to when she wasn't in the middle of a digging a grave, but a guy could only take so much. Her glasses had slipped down. He'd been wanting to kiss her for so long--okay, he didn't think. Wasn't the first time he'd done some stupid shit because he leapt before he looked. It definitely wouldn't be the last.

"Here, here, let me get some ice--I always keep it for when I'm transporting things that need to be destroyed. Like fingers and severed heads, to make sure they aren't identifiable."

The water that melted off his face was pink, and he was pretty sure that blood wasn't his.

Scout was starting to wonder if he had a curse, like the curse of the bambino the Red Sox had. He tried to rack his brain to see if he'd pissed off any wizards lately. There was Merasmus, but he tended to save all his hatred for Soldier. Maybe he started to curse Soldier's coworkers, too.

Since he'd been focusing totally on Miss Pauling, he probably hadn't accidentally pissed off any witches by hitting on them. Still, maybe his old habits had caught up with him.

"Here, let me kiss it better," she said.

Maybe having a curse was worth it, if it meant he got to be close to her in the process.

6.

As far as Scout was concerned, Movie theaters were great. Lots of darkness, and since it was a matinee, plenty of space for his hands to wander. He'd already seen this one, a nice foreign spy flick that for some reason, had a ton of imagery of birds.

Scout kept looking to the side and stealing glances. She'd pulled out her date clothes, a cute little purple skirt that he knew had plenty of weapons hidden under, and a nice scoop purple shirt that showed just a hint of cleavage. He figured he'd be a gentleman, and at least wait until the next intermission for her to finish her popcorn before he did more than put his arm about her shoulders. But still, looking was free.

He'd pulled on his argyles. One of these days he'd have to go get something else, like a tuxedo, or a nice suit. Just in case. But for now, this was all he had.

Miss Pauling suddenly dropped her popcorn back into the bucket. "Duck!"

"It's a swan, Miss P," Scout said.

"No, sniper!"

She grabbed his shirt and forced him down. A gunshot echoed through the room. Screams rose up, as it became real clear that the gunshot wasn't on the movie when a series of bullets went straight through the screen.

"Dammit. She usually doesn't send out hitmen when I'm in public," Miss Pauling muttered. She quickly glanced back across the movie theater. "You should hurry out. If we both rush out, they'll probably narrow down the focus to just me. I'm the one being reviewed, after all."

"Not a chance I'm leavin' you alone," Scout said.

He pulled out his pistol and peered out above the dark line of seats. He couldn't see a damn thing, except the flying swan over the screen and the reflected light. The only other people in the theater had been a bunch of grandmas, and they'd already hauled ass out of there. It was pretty amazing how fast grannies could go when they were determined enough. If they were going to be in the Teufort marathon, then he'd have to keep his training up before Spy could use beaten by a 70 year old woman against him for the rest of Scout's life.

"You think it's the Sniper? Snipes wouldn't do somethin' like that."

"He's a hired killer," Miss Pauling said.

"C'mon, he's a bro. He wouldn't break up my date. That's more a Spy thing," Scout said.

"Well--he probably isn't. She usually contracts outside of Mann co when doing these quarterly reviews," she said.

"Didn't she just do one of these?" Scout said.

"They're less quarterly these days and more weekly," Miss Pauling said.

Just his luck, another hurdle to being with Miss Pauling. Somewhere past the screen was the sound of a gun being cocked.

"Shhhh!" Miss Pauling glanced across the darkened theater. The movie played on. The swan flew high above the trees. Except now, the screen looked like Swiss cheese.

"We need to get out of here before any civilians are hurt," Miss Pauling said in a hushed whisper.

Like a pair of spies in an action movie, they ran straight for the glowing red letters marked exit. But just as they grew near, she dragged him towards the side door, with a little diagram lost to the dark. Out of the corner of his eye, Scout saw a dark figure wearing some kind of camouflage.

Scout tossed the bucket of popcorn at the shadow. An alarm blared as the emergency exit door slammed shut behind them.

Miss Pauling grabbed the key out of her pocket. The vespa let out a sputter.

"Come on, don't do this to me now!" Scout had barely gotten the helmet on when a bullet barely missed his head.

"Babe, we gotta start haulin' ass!"

"I'm trying, I'm trying--"

The scooter finally came to life. It was all Scout could do to hold on tight around her waist as she floored that scooter. The sound of gunfire was drowned out by the engine as they drove off onto the blacktop, straight through a heat mirage.

7.

Two hours later, the sniper was buried in the desert and they were out for dinner. He got the deluxe, a whole twenty box of chicken nuggets. Not from Inquisitor Chicken; he'd picked up too many girls there, it'd just feel wrong to take Miss Pauling the same place he'd gotten a blowjob in a back alley from some girl he didn't even remember the name of. But Manndonalds had his back, especially with a twenty box of crispy chicken nuggets.

Hell, he could've probably boughten the whole place, except it was owned by old man Hale, so he probably had some kind of 'manly fisticuffs' in the contract. But he just picked up one, because with twenty, who needed more, right?

All over the walls were pictures of old man Hale showing off his abs. Even the chairs kind of looked like manly muscled arms. Even the cashier had a tank top, and biceps that could kill a guy with one flex.

Stupid d├ęcor aside, the Beefcake Burger was totally worth the trip. To say nothing of the chicken.

Miss Pauling's eyes widened as she caught sight of the box. "Thanks, I didn't get breakfast. I'm famished."

Scout took the seat just across from her. And man, did she ever dig in. Miss Pauling let out a moan that made his toes curl, and his pants feel so much tighter. Scout could only watch in absolute awe as she finished one nugget after another. He didn't even get a taste.

Scout took a sharp intake of breath. He whispered She's perfect as Miss Pauling shoved that last chicken nugget into her mouth.

All this time, he saw her as this unapproachable goddess who he'd have to do about fifty thousand push ups a day before she even looked at him. But Scout was realizing that he'd been only half right. She wasn't a lady, she was a friggin' goddess with honey sweet and sour sauce on her chin. Not even he could take down that many nuggets that fast, and he took bronze in the eating contest last year.

Miss Pauling let out a little burp. "Oh, excuse me. Are you still waiting on yours?" Miss Pauling said.

Twenty chicken nuggets, finished in enough time that she deserved an award. Note to self, get her a medal.

"Y-yeah, they were backed up, so I brought yours. Want anythin' else?"

"I'm down for another box," she said. She patted her stomach.

Scout made a mental note to bring her along to this year's eating contest. Because if she skipped breakfast, they'd take gold together for sure.


8.

Every time he'd tried to kiss her, he'd gotten maimed. But on those stairs up the Manndonalds, almost as big as some museum or library place, because Saxton Hale didn't want to lose his gains, even when he was getting a burger, Scout had a plan.

Because even if he took a baseball to the mouth, even if he had a gun to the throat, Scout wasn't about to just give up. Not when it came to Miss Pauling.

He ran down a few steps, but it wasn't quite right. It wasn't until he hit the last few steps that he reached out and tapped her shoulder. Maybe this time, he'd give some advance warning, so he could keep his internal organs on the inside of his body, instead of blasted all over the pavement.

She tried to get up on tip toes. "Oh, ouch."

"Rock in my shoes," she said.

"Hey, go up a step, would you?" Scout said.

She tilted her head. "A step?"

Scout had a horrible image of the stairs giving way under her, but for once, nothing bad happened.

"Nah, make that two," Scout said. He grinned to himself.

This time he leaned in, and it was perfect. The sky didn't crash down, no one shot at them. It was just warmth, and her lips against his. Kissing her was different, somehow. He felt it in his heart, like he'd run a ton of miles, and not just in his dick.

When he pulled back, her cheeks were rosy. She pushed her glasses up. "You know...if you're willing to stay up late, we could spend some time together tonight. I'll even drink some coffee so I don't fall asleep in the middle this time."

"Babe, I'd stay up all night for you," Scout said.


8.

But sometimes, everything went right. Scout leaned back, and caught his breath. Damn, she looked good with messed up sex hair, her cheeks all flushed and with a happy, even giddy look on her face.

God, he touched boobs. Life was good. Sure it took over six years, but every day was worth it. He'd wait another six years if he really had to, but Scout sure as hell hoped not, because he definitely had a Pauling addiction.

Scout leaned on the side of the bed. The last thing he wanted was to roll over and have a wet condom touch his leg. As he pulled it off, the condom fell apart. There wasn't just a rip, it looked like the cracked earth when it didn't rain for too long.

When had he gotten it? He'd stuck it in his bag. Then their dates kept being delayed and delayed. And when she was pulling off her bra, he forgot about little things like how old is this condom? and what would radiation and explosions do to condoms anyways? Hell, he forgot about everything but her.

"Um, babe," Scout said.

"That was amazing," she said. She rested her palm across his chest. "And totally worth the wait. I mean, I'm really sorry things keep going wrong, but everything went right this time."

"Yeah, about that--You--you're on the pill, right?" Scout said.

"Er, no. I kept forgetting to take them. But you used a--"

"Uh--It didn't just break, it vaporized."

A look of horror came over her face. "It what?"

What a way to come down. He finally hit a home run, and it's straight into a pregnancy scare.

But, Scout found he wasn't freaking out. If this had happened with any girl he picked up at the chicken joint, he would've had to run off the panic. Maybe it'd take ten miles of pounding the pavement until his head got on straight again. But with Miss Pauling, it was different. After the first shock, he found himself completely calm. So, maybe he knocked her up. So what?

She, however, hadn't quite gotten past the surprise.

"Hey, c'mere," he said. He pulled her into his arms, and kissed her forehead. "Look, if anythin' happens--I ain't runnin' off, I ain't goin' anywhere."

"With our luck, I'll probably be knocked up with twins," she muttered.

"On the bright side, it probably can't get worse," Scout said.

"Don't tempt fate," Miss Pauling said.

"I mean, with everything that happened. Not that, that was--very nice. But the amount of times you've had to go to Medic for injuries that were my fault." She laughed. "Oh, God, we've had a rough couple of months."

"Tell me about it," Scout said. He'd been kicked, had his covers stolen, smacked in the face with a shovel, got gross goo on him, got almost killed in the theater, broke his wrist trying to get some in the shower, and now, this.

"At this rate, you'll die the next time we try and go on date," she said.

"Worth it," Scout said. "You piss off any wizards lately?"

"Well, there's Merasmus. But he's so ineffectual, he can't even manage to curse Soldier. But who knows, with my job, I tend to piss off any survivors. I should fix that by just making sure there's no survivors at all," she said.

Scout felt a shiver down his spine. He loved it when she used words so big, he'd have to spend an hour with the dictionary just to figure out what they meant. And when she paired that with mass graves, it made her the sexiest thing he'd ever seen.

"That's the spirit. Maybe Tavish knows a thing or two about gettin' uncursed or reversin' bad luck, whatever it is."

He traced his fingertips down her back. He had this mental image, like a memory of something that hadn't happened yet. Miss Pauling, now Mrs, with blood on her shirt and a bunch of bullets in her hand.

And a little kid, leaping into his arms. Calling him daddy or da-da, or maybe even papa. Maybe a couple of them, enough to fill all the bases in a sandlot.

Any other girl and he'd feel a cold fist of panic about his chest. But with her, it almost felt...right. Like settling into something he never knew he needed, not until he met her.

"Eh, it's fine. I'd rather be smacked in the face with you, than be out with any other girl."

And her smile was worth every wound, and every moment he spent waiting.

*

If you're gonna be the death of me, that's how I wanna go.
Collar Full, Panic! At The Disco.

Author's note:

My favorite new fic scenario/au headcanon is the idea that Scout was totally wrong about Miss Pauling, and she's actually as much a heathen as the mercenaries. Halfway through her crushing a beer can into her forehead after she drank Soldier under the table and stole Scout's chicken nuggets, and snarfed them down fast enough to win an eating contest, finishing it off with a burp loud enough to put Demoman to shame.

And Scout just stares in awe, with a whisper of she's perfect as she flicks off another molar which had gotten caught in her shirt.
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