the pearl

Dawn Chorus

It didn't matter if they were on leave or not — Cougar woke with the dawn. The second the sky lightened and the sun peeked through the window, Cougar was wide awake. It didn't matter how late he stayed up the night before, it didn't matter if he had gone 36-plus hours without sleep before, and it certainly didn't matter if he had spent half the night gasping awake with nightmares. Come dawn, Cougar would be awake.

He had gotten better at going back to sleep over the years, but there was always a block of time — at least two hours — when he wouldn't be able to sleep. He filled it up with all the usual things: cleaning his guns, making certain all his weapons were in working order, sharpening knives, doing push-ups, checking out all possible exits and entrances in wherever they were sleeping, and then fall back to sleep for a few more hours. And that worked pretty well, until now.

Now, when he woke up at dawn, he'd watch Jensen sleep.

Jensen had no problem sleeping anywhere. Even the most turbulent flights, where even Pooch was reaching for a bucket to puke in, Jensen'd be blissfully asleep, leaning against whoever made the mistake of sitting next to him, head resting on the nearest shoulder. Jensen was a crackling wire of electricity when he was awake, and it seemed that, to keep up that energy, he had learned to sleep whenever possible.

He always looked so damn peaceful when he slept too — like a kid, all innocent and soft. Cougar would sit in bed, or a chair, or even on the floor, and just watch him, eyes focused on the relaxed face, the outstretched arms, the pale skin of his stomach when his shirt inched up away from his boxers. Sometimes, Jensen would be only wrapped up in a sheet, bitching absently about the heat just before drifting off, and Cougar would watch him in the morning, the thin cotton barely covering his hips, long muscular legs spread out on the bed, chest rising and falling with every slow calm breath.

Cougar would watch him, burning the images to memory, then would gently climb back into bed, wrapping his arms around his lover, burying his face against Jensen's shoulderblade even as the other man would groan and mumble "Getting some fucking blackout curtains so you get some goddamned sleep..." before pulling up Cougar's hand and kissing it gently.

And Cougar would fall asleep.

This The Losers story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at