Rating: PG-13 for sexual innuendo
It wasn’t his uniform, but it fit him, and it felt good.
Cole straightened the sleeves – powder blue. Who put their military officers in powder blue? – and checked the set of the jacket in his reflection in a car window, then set off down the street. It took only a couple steps to get back into the proper cadence, and not even that long to get the posture right. He’d been out of uniform for a couple years, sure, but the Air Force never really left you.
Their salutes were a bit strange here, but he’d watched officers and enlisted grunts interact for half an hour before he stole the uniform. It wasn’t hard to imitate the gesture, which the academic sorts had mentioned was Roman-esque; the attitude he didn’t have to fake. As long as he didn’t run into anyone who knew the officer he was pretending to be, he should be fine. Of course, in a city as crawling with military as this one, that wasn’t a very safe bet. He rounded the corner, intent on his destination, and nearly bumped into another powder blue uniform.
“Sir.” The pretty blonde with one bar less than him and a chin you could cut cheese with knocked off her salute with just a bit too much precision. Cole had seen that before, although never from the receiving end. In the Home world, soldiers didn’t do that sort of thing to men, at least not tall, strong-looking men.
Here, though. He saluted her back with exact precision. “Lieutenant,” he nodded brusquely. “What’s the situation in the Northwest Quadrant?”
The Northwest Quadrant was on fire; as far as they could tell, the whole damn quarter of the city had decided to riot at once. But she was coming from that direction, and her uniform showed wear on the cuffs and a long seared mark along one side.
“Under control. Sir.” There was a suggestion to the “sir” this time, like she had an idea how he’d earned his rank. Well. “I was sent back to barracks to R&R,” she continued, “but the barracks are on the other side of a line of fighting right now.”
It wasn’t, exactly, a question. She was eyeing his very clean jacket, which fit him like it had been tailored. His very clean hair and face, not even bothering to hide the question: do you deserve to wear the uniform?
Even though it was a stolen jacket, with a borrowed rank, in a world not his own, the accusation rankled. He smiled back at her with an expression borrowed from a female commanding officer, one that was full of suggestion. “There’s a place right around the corner where you could bunk down for a bit. You look like you’ve seen quite a bit of action.”
She stood a little straighter, surreptitiously straightening her own sleeves. “Sir?” One eyebrow rose the tiniest bit, asking did you just proposition me?
“I’ve got your back, Lieutenant,” he answered, poker-face. With luck, he might get her front, too.
“Well, sir,” she shrugged, tugging at the bottom hem of her jacket. “I could use some time off my feet.”
“I hear you,” he nodded sympathetically. “This way then, Lieu…”
“Jaxine,” she interrupted. His back to her, Cole smirked.
“This way, Jaxine.” The hidey-hole had probably been a pretty decent one-bedroom walk-up before the city had been occupied; it still had, now, passable running water and a one-burner propane stove. Cole had been hiding out here for a few days, working on a story; the rest of the team was three floors up, in a decent place with good curtains.
“Not bad,” the blonde acknowledged grudgingly. “You guys at the top get all the nice stuff. Our bunk’s a basement parking garage.”
“Rank, privileges, yadda, yadda,” he shrugged, hoping he wasn’t giving himself away. “The shower even works.”
“Are you saying I need a shower, sir?”
“Cole.” Deliberately, he took off his jacket and folded it over a chair, the only chair left in the apartment. “There’s also a bed.”
“Mm.” She paced the apartment, threw the deadbolt, and checked the windows, the closet, and the bedrooms. “One bed.” She took off her jacket and draped it beside his on the chair.
“One shower,” he countered, as he undid the first button of his shirt.
“Five hours till I have to be back on duty.” She undid her top button, and raised him a second button.
“Then,” he stepped forward and unbuckled her belt. The patent was still stiff and shiny, the buckle new. “I’ll make sure you get some sleep. Lieutenant.”
She reached for his belt, smirked, and switched her grip. Used to unbuckling women’s belts? “Or at least some horizontal time. Cole.”
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/50919.html. You can comment here or there.