Katrina "Sidewinder" Mojave
I startled awake, still ensnared in a drunken stupor. Duke was leaning next to Young, laughing bitterly. Their shadows wobbled as the world spun and tilted. Groaning, I leaned over the edge of the crate I had been laying on, catching the ending of Duke’s story.
"Still get nightmares every night and that's one guy." I blinked a few more times, feeling the warmth of the alcohol rising my stomach. The room was growing hot, too damn hot.
"Fuck of." Young growled and laid down, shutting his eyes. Duke snorted, turning his head just in time to catch me dry heave and swallow hard. He chuckled idiotically.
“Sweety…huh?” I grunted sickly. Duke drunkenly grinned and stumbled over to me, hugging me close. Droplets of sweat poured from his head and dripped onto my BDU’s.
“Come on Doll, we have a thing…you and me.” He leaned over me, pressing his lips to mine. I snarled and shoved him back making him laugh even more. The noise was flat but had hints of ice that Duke showed only when he was out of his mind. “You always were a fighter Mojave.” I unsteadily moved off the crate, he must really be drunk if he’s gonna try this shit! Duke feigned a hurt expression and swaggered over to me, running his hands through my hair and along my neck.
“We have nothin’! We never did!” I snapped back at him, my words slurred and drawn out. Duke narrowed his eyes at me, his hands throwing me against the hanger wall and pinning me there. His face came close to me, eyes glaring into mine. Frozen, we stood there, me trapped and Duke unpredictable as an angry bull. A grimace crossed his face as he released me and turned away, grabbing the last bottle of tequila, and moving off to god knows where.
“Asshole!” I murmured under my breath. My stomach lurched again, making my body tremble. Maybe I can’t hold my alcohol as well as I thought. Wiping the glistening beads of sweat from m y brow, I moved to where Young was passed out. A small smile spread over my lips, lucky kid, I thought remembering the exploding wreckage of his plane. His face was placid and calm, still healing from his rough landing.
“Young,” I asked trying to wake him up, yet he remained still. I sighed, and sat next to him. “You know you’re a real bastard for scaring me like you did. Duke…he’s another story, but you. You’re the newest kid to my squadron and I’ve never lost anyone, ever. Then you have to go and get shot down when I can’t help back you up.”
Blood trickled down my chin as I bit my lip a bit too hard. “Young…if we survive this, we’re gonna celebrate. You, me, maybe Duke if he can keep his head out of his ass.” I chuckled, hearing Young stir next to me. His eyes blinked many times before they seemed to recognize my presence.
“Mojave?” he asked hiccupping. I nodded slowly, trying not to throw my balance off. Fumbling a bit he sat up and looked at me, he either had sleep through what I just told him, or it wasn’t registering.
“Yea…” I replied looking at my feet, nausea being replaced by a throbbing pain behind my eyes.
“You…good?” I raised an eyebrow, trying to look confused while I was beginning to sober up. I opened my mouth to say something but then frowned and shook my head. Words couldn’t express all the stress and emotions I was pushing away. You’re the squadron leader! I repeated over and over. Pull your shit together and suck it up!
He scooted closer and placed an arm around me, waiting for an answer. He never got a response; I just laid my head against his shoulder and remained tight lipped. Time passed around us and when I finally looked up, Young was passed out. I removed my head from his shoulder and laid him back against the crate.
“Sleep well,” my voice barely above a whisper. “Tomorrow we’ll be back in the sky, dancing with death and his Chinese pals.” Young’s only response was a loud snore as I kissed his lips and moved out of the hanger. Dusk stretched across the sky illuminating the runways and their stagnant aircraft. “Fucking Chinese,” I groaned, walking into the nearby crew quarters and finding an abandoned corner wrapped in shadows. The hangover I was gonna get in the morning would be hell!
Footsteps and cheery voices trumpeted the arrival of morning and my mind numbing headache. I cracked an eye and whimpered as a bright ray of sunlight struck my face. I glanced stupidly around as the crew room filtered out and I was left alone with my hangover. Putting my hand in front of my face, I tried to recall what had happened the night before but only flashes and snippets of it came back.
The only clear memory that formed was after almost being Dukes unwilling partner. The words I had said to Young, and…the kiss. I groaned and placed my hands to the side of my head, heat flushing across my face. What in the world was I thinking…oh right I wasn’t! Standing, I glanced down at my clothes, stains of alcohol and the scent of tequila covered me.
“Lovely,” I grunted moving to the changing rooms and grabbing a spare BDU. After washing up in the showers and redressing in my new clothes, I stole a pair of sunglasses. Whoever they belonged to could shove it, my headache and returning nausea took precedence. Looking around the quarters, I moved to the guy’s rooms where I found Duke.
He was passed out in some female pilots arms, a bottle still clutched in his hand. The girl, who wore army BDU’s, was still sleeping as I kicked Duke sharply in the lungs. He cried out and toppled off the couch, scrambling around to figure out what had just happened.
“Get up asshole, and I don’t want to hear about the tail you failed to get.” He began to protest but I ignored him, moving to the hanger with my squadron’s aircraft. There sat my Raptor, good as new and ready to fly. My hand traced the painting on its nose as footsteps echoed.
I looked over my shoulder, through the sunglasses I could see Young standing at the threshold to the hanger. My cheeks blushed a bit as the memories came back, but I held my tongue wondering if he even remembered. A small part of me wanting him to and the other half dreading it.