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Chad and Julian were on guard duty that night, and get into a bit of trouble...

Initial Setting: Somewhere near the RED/BLU Border

Timeline: Preceded by --- Followed by ---


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WHAT HAPPENED INITIALLY (aka the part we didn't save): They talked about Julian's scarf, a VERY brief conversation about knitting, then basketball, then guard duty, and now this...

Julian felt it was a good as time as any to have a cigarette. Every now and then helped him calm his nerves when he couldn't find something to knit. He takes out the pack from his bag, "You don't mind, do you?"

Chad raises an eyebrow. "...I didn't know y'smoked, doc. Ain't that bad f'ya?" he rhetorically asks, possibly sarcastically.

Julian "Most people don't, you don't mind keeping this under wraps do you?" he lights the cigarette, "I've heard the reports but once in a while should be alright... I guess."

Chad chuckles. "Y'secret's safe with me!" he swears. "I guess smokin' ain't too bad f'ya if y'don't do it all th' time. I don't do it 'cause it makes me feel gross and I can't run nearly as well if I do..."

Julian "It's good that you don't." he takes a puff, "It's not a habit I'm proud of but I'll take anything out here." Julian looks over the RED territory of dustbowl, "I've seen plenty of spies that don't have a problem with smoking."

Chad makes sure to stay upwind of the smoke. "No kiddin'. Most spies I know smoke more than a chimney on a winter night. S'pposed t'help them relax or somethin'." He looks at Julian. "Y'still nervous 'bout bein' on guard duty still?" he chuckles.

Julian lets out a tired sigh, "I'm sure you've heard other people joke, but it's true. I'm nervous all the time. The spies don't help. Even the ones on our team."

Chad laughs softly. "But why? What's th' worst that's gonna happen? Y'die? Y'come back to life anyway, thanks t'respawn!"

"Considering what the BLU team had resorted to, it's a little hard to assume that we're completely safe." he takes a long drag, "Machines fail. And besides, as much faith I put in Miss Bombaerts, we're talking about people who are hired to doublecross. It just makes you think, I suppose."

Chad hums thoughtfully. "Hm y'right. Damn BLU bastards." He fidgets around a bit; being in the same place this long makes him antsy. "I s'ppose. But we're stuck here now, what else could we do? Kill all th' spies?" He was half-serious about the last question.

Julian coughs, "N-NO! That's not what I'm saying at all!" he clears his throat, "Don't even joke about that..."

Chad laughs. "But why not?" he continues. "They're th' ones causin' all th' trouble. Hell, th' boss of BLU is a spy!"

Julian sighs "I meant the ones on our team, Mr. Smith."

Chad grins. "But y'just said they're all hired t'doublecross. Why not kill them all just t'be safe?" He wasn't being serious at this point, but he IS trying to see how long he can string Julian along.

Julian pinches the bridge of his nose and adjusts his glasses, "You know I never meant that."

Chad laughs some more. "Haha, y'know I ain't bein' serious." Sort of. "Besides, Miss Bombaert's is pretty hot," he smirks. "I think despite bein' a cold bitch her bein' around raises moral."

"Mr. Smith, I think it's a good idea not to talk about your teammates behind their backs like that. Especially if they happen to be a spy." Julian definitely did not want to get on her bad side, she was a fairly intimidating figure at times.

Chad chuckles. "C'mon, I'm givin' her a compliment. 'Course, knowin' her, she probably knows anyway, and is playin' all cool and shit. Keepin' us hangin' and all that."

"Yes, but I don't think she would appreciate being called a 'cold bitch'."

Chad shrugs. "Probably not. But it's true. She probably knows it to, and secretly relishes it I'm pretty sure."

"Relishes which part?" a voice calls out from the darkness, and then Ardette drops her cloak not a few yards in front of them. "The 'cold bitch' part or that other part?"

Julian jumps and begins to cough, dropping his cigarette. Her timing couldn't be worse. Or maybe it was Chad's timing.

Chad just about pisses his pants when he hears her voice. He DOES jump about five feet into the air though. "Holy shi-jesus christ don't scare us like that! I almost coulda shot ya!" he warned, more or less intentionally avoiding the question.

"Yes! Well--" Ardette says, almost pleasantly, as though she hadn't just scared the piss out of them, and busies herself with readjusting her cloaking device. And then, muttering to herself, "--it wouldn't be the first time I've been shot by you bloody ingrates..."

Julian feels like he just swallowed his cigarette. The second hand embarrassment was a little much. He cleared his throat and kept quiet.

Chad takes a few deep breaths to calm himself down, mostly to save face. "Uhhh, so..." He takes a moment to figure out exactly what Ardette was doing out and about. "...you just got back from sneakin' 'round or somethin'?" he nonchalantly asks.

Ardette doesn't answer immediately. Instead, she carefully takes off her mask and folds it neatly. And then she carefully slips that into her pocket. Then she takes out her cigarette case and produces a stick. And then her lighter. And then she lights that cigarette. And then she takes a deep, bracing inhale and her eyes slide closed. She's found her silence to be as effective a social barometer as anything, so she lets them fidget for a second or two. And then she exhales. "Yes."

Julian puts his things away and stands up. He takes a few steps back, the awkwardness was getting to be too much. "I'll just uh... I'll go finish my rounds."

Ardette flicks some ash from the end of her cigarette. "And leave your scout alone at his post? Negligence, Dr. Aberdeen, I'm surprised at you."

Chad kind of just watches her calmly light her cigarette, trying to act as cool as possible. At least he was calming down after the initial scare. "Cool..." he breathes out when she finally answers. "Didja discover...anythin' interestin' out ther-hey where ya goin'?!" he exclaims, suddenly noticing Julian trying to sneak away.

Julian was now facing away from Ardette, but stopped dead in his tracks. How does she DO that? He turns back around, "Eh, of course not." he tugs on Chad's arm, "How about we finish our rounds... Mr. Smith."

Chad shoots Julian a look: what rounds? "...Oh! Yeah! We should probably not be standin' in just one spot here, hehehe. Guess y'can tell us about y'adventures later!" he waves off to Ardette.

Ardette saunters forward a few steps, taking up their vacated smoking spot, almost pushing them away with the force of her proximity. "Now, wait a moment, Doctor. I'm interested in what Mr. Smith has to say."

Chad froze mid-step. Crap, she still remembers. "S-say 'bout what?" he sheepishly asks. It was not a usual tone of voice for him, at least not since he was 12 and was caught stealing cookies out of the cookie jar or something.

Julian massages a temple. This was unbearable.

Chad meanwhile feels like he's about to have a heart attack.

Ardette leans against a rock, crossing her legs at the ankles. "Oh, it's generally accepted fact that I relish very little. So, I'm curious." She examines the lit end of her cigarette. "Which. Part?"

"Y-yeah...I mean, no! You-" Chad stops himself before he says anything more stupid. He pauses to catch his breath, figuring out a way to word this properly. However, there was a growing part of his conscious telling him to just run away; it's not like she can catch him. Immediately. Boy is he having a hard time with the ladies nowadays. "Uhhhh..." he stammers. Dammit! Chad coughs. "...h-how much didja hear?"

Julian attempts to end this stare down early, "M-Miss Bombaerts, he didn't mean anything by that comment." a pause, "Y... You know how boys are, right?" It's worth a shot.

Chad shoots a look at Julian: he's 26 dammit, not a boy! But he awaits Ardette's response silently.

Maybe she's still feeling the residual thrill of being someplace where she shouldn't be, but Ardetteactually barks out a single sharp laugh at that. "I know how men are, Dr. Aberdeen." Hiding a smirk behind her cigarette: "I haven't dealt with boys in a long time."

Julian wonders if he should just keep quiet and let it run its course. She was right though, they were all adults. Technically adults.

Chad wonders if he can make something up if Ardette wasn't within earshot of their entire converstion. "Uh...I was just sayin', you relish...bein' a moral boost to th' team?" Ok so that was a half-truth, but it was a good start.

"Ah..." Ardette says, nodding. Yes, because Julian and Chad being this nervous is clearly the result of a boost in morale. Though she'd be lying if she said their reaction wasn't a little bit satisfying. "Yes, that must be it."

Chad elbows Julian lightly. "C'mon man, back me up," he whispers.

Julian sighs as his shoulders sink. "Er... Well I." he clears his throat once more, "Can we perhaps put this all behind us? Like I said, you know how... uh..." he looks at Chad, "Scouts are."

Chad gives Julian the most incredulous, defeated, shocked, and terrified look he could muster when Julian opened his mouth. That was not what he was expecting.

Ardette glances at them and her lips twitch, but she quickly masks it behind another drag of her cigarette. "I do." She sighs and admires the ridge in the distance, inky and opaque against the backdrop of the sky. "Has your morale been boosted enough for one evening?"

Julian looks at Chad.

Chad gulps. "Uh...yes?" Why does he feel like he's being lectured by his mom? He mentally tries to squash that feeling away, it was hindering him from making intelligent responses.

Ardette shoots them a long, sly look, and then smiles to herself. "Relax, gentlemen," she drawls, and then jerks her chin at them. "Go finish your rounds. I won't keep you, euh... hanging--" She punctuates her choice of words with a smart flick of her cig. "--any longer."

Julian nudges Chad to start moving.

Chad felt a chill go down his spine. So she has pretty much heard everything he had said. Crap. "Uh, y-yeah, we better get started..." He gently pushes Julian onward, away from Ardette. "We'll...see ya around then!" he chirps, a little too brightly before heading off.

Julian follows in silence. That was painful to watch.

Ardette dismisses them with an equally cheerful and probably equally insincere little finger waggle.

Chad lets out a huge breath when they round a corner. "WOW that was close," he whispers, just in case Ardette was still within earshot. "Way t'back me up back there, doc," he frowns.

Julian keeps his voice down "I'm sorry! You know how I feel about her. She's... intimating."

"Y'can't let that get t'ya head, man! She's our teammate, not our /mom/!" Chad continues to exasperatingly whisper. "I totally kept my cool!" A complete lie, but /details/...

Julian decided to just let it go.

Chad sighs. "Alright, y'right. She is kinda intimidatin'. But c'mon, what's th' worst that can happen? She's on our team for one thing, even if she's a spy, and she has RED's best interests in hand. I hope."

"I'm sorry, but I just sorta... cave."

Chad sighs again. "Whatever. It's over now." He chuckles, then starts to laugh louder. "Ha-HA! MAN!" Suddenly he could feel the adrenaline rush just fade away. "At least we didn't say anythin' bad 'bout her. Right?"

Julian adjusts his glasses, "Well, Mr. Smith. I wouldn't say that. Most sensible people don't like being called a 'cold bitch'."

Chad waves his hand. "C'mon, I mean that in th' nicest way possible~" he smirks. "Besides, it really works for her. That stern intensity, like a snake about t'strike at any moment." He starts to get carried away. "It's hot."

"Mr. Smith, please. Maybe from now on, try to avoid using that word. Especially around here. The walls have ears." Julian looks around, "As well as everything else."

Chad looks genuinely confused. "What word? 'Hot'?"

"The word is 'bitch', Mr. Smith. I wasn't trying to trick you."

"OH. Oh, sorry," Chad chuckles. "Yeah, y'probably right. I guess chicks don't really like bein' called that..."

Julian pulls out another cigarette and lights it.

Chad switches to Julian's other side when he lit his cigarette. So he won't get caught in the smoke. "Anyway..." Suddenly a thought came to him. "...boy I hope she heard all that. IF YOU'RE FOLLOWIN' US," he suddenly exclaims much more loudly.

Julian whips his head around. He looks back at Chad with a loud whisper, "Mr. SMITH, PLEASE."

Chad looks around. It was quite dark at this point, save for the full moon, so even if Ardette WAS following them, he couldn't really tell anyway. "Whaaat?" He smirks. "Oh all right, let's just do our duty. I'll show ya where we usually patrol when we're on foot..."

Julian follows Chad, keeping downwind of him.

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