Bablefish

Aug. 19th, 2010 11:49 pm
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[personal profile] maratonista
Bablefish
PG-13
Cougar/Jensen
Jensen argues in Arabic, does crosswords in Hebrew, and flirts in Polish. And after six years of working with Cougar, he still doesn't speak a word of Spanish.





In the six years Cougar has known him, he has heard Jensen speak more than a dozen languages with the off-handed ease of someone who is clearly comfortable in his ability to craft a coherent sentence.

His French is fluent – which is a fucking miracle, given the number of times Clay has fucked around with Parisian women – and the times they then deliberately lose things in translation in order to find legitimate excuses to load his car with blocks of high explosives.

They’ve been shunted from one German hospital to another, and while it is entirely possible Jensen has simply memorized their medical histories in every language he can, Cougar has also heard him engage in numerous debates with locals – usually over beer, and they seem to have no problem understanding his guttural pronunciations.

Then there is Dutch and Afrikaans. He likes explaining the differences in conjugation to Cougar, who has long ago mastered the art of nodding politely when Jensen is concerned.

They are all fairly proficient at basic Arabic. Jensen takes it to a new level and collects local dialects like the Pokemon cards he has stashed in his sock draw.

Cougar has a pocket book of useful words and phrases Jensen thinks he might need. Under Swahili, is ‘Mpanda ngazi hushuka’, which apparently means ‘he who goes up the ladder comes down’. Cougar still has no idea why the Hell he needs to know that one.

There is Russian, Polish and Lithuanian. Jensen’s never fucking been to Lithuania, but apparently he ran through Basic with a guy who was half and half, and picked the language up through drinking games and sporting insults.

And Cantonese. Japanese he is still learning, apparently.

Cougar has seen him pick up the conversational basics of Italian in five hour flight, do Crossword puzzles in Hebrew and write dirty ditties across Bin Laden’s private jet in a sprawling Assyrian Neo-Aramaic script.

In New Orleans, he gossips in Creole with a local bartender, and debates the varying subdivisions of the Cushitic languages with an enthusiastic post doctorate student from New Zealand.

And that is before Cougar starts to consider all the codes the hacker has a fondness for.

In short, he is something of a linguist.

Which fails, therefore, to explain why, after those aforementioned six years, Jensen has never picked up a single fucking word of Spanish.




“No, seriously bro, I have no idea what you are talking about.” Jensen holds up his hands, his best ‘harmless citizen’ pose, and shrugs his shoulders helplessly.

Cougar has tried everything.

He’s insulted Jensen, he’s pleaded with Jensen. On one memorable occasion, he’s even tried talking dirty to Jensen.

Nothing. Nada. Not even a blink to suggest that when Cougar expressed a desire to fuck him over the couch, Jensen understood a word he was saying.

He reacts to Vete y chinga a tu madre exactly the same way he does to Chupame la verga; which is to say he blinks owlishly and looks to Pooch for translation.

Even Clay speaks better Spanish than Jensen, and Clay’s Spanish is outshone by that of Jensen’s eight year old niece.

Cougar’s almost a little hurt.

It takes Jensen no effort, fucking no effort at all to pick up a language. He’s proved it time and time again.

Either he can’t be fucking bothered to learn Spanish, or he has some giant mental Cougar shaped block.

So Cougar experiments.




Which is to say he flirts.

Cougar is a fucking good flirt. He’s actually the only one on the team who can charm his way into and out of someone’s bed without having to worry about babies, marriage or car bombs.

When he kisses Jensen now, instead of staying silent, he brushes his fingers over the curve of Jensen’s cheek. “Mi querido.” He says, and it is full of affection.

Jensen beams at him. “That’s it, talk dirty to me.” He laughs.

Cougar’s always called Jensen bobo, because he really is fucking stupid, despite all those smarts of his. He switches to cuate, and then to nene. When Jensen is pissed at him, and sleeps with five women in four days as payback, Cougar calls him un huilo.

They all get the same response.

Roque and Pooch watch the whole thing and laugh their asses off.

“His brain is wired wrong.” Cougar decides. It is the only explanation he can accept.

Roque agrees.

It’s actually Pooch who provides the answer. “It’s not like he needs to know Spanish, bro. Seriously, I think we need to stop worrying about the shit white boy doesn’t know and start planning for the day his brain explodes.”

And that actually makes sense.

Jensen’s almost too reliant on them for the little things – and the big things, some times.

Pooch can coax a tin can to fly; Jensen can barely drive in a straight line.

Roque can clean them all out at cards; Jensen can’t even beat an eight year old at Go Fish.

Clay manoeuvres them through the political minefields of the world; Jensen’s not allowed out unsupervised again, not after the last diplomatic incident.

And Cougar, well Cougar is Mexican. He lives and breathes his country. He thinks in Spanish, not English. So why the fuck does Jensen need to know it, when Cougar knows it for him?

Cougar’s pretty proud of himself for figuring it out.




On an eight-hour flight out of Germany, Jensen drops a stack of brightly colored flash cards down into Cougar’s lap.

Each one is decorated with awkwardly shaped pictures and Jensen’s chicken scratches: contengo; contienes; contiene; contenemos; contenéis; contienen.

He looks at Cougar, then over his shoulder to Pooch, who flashes him two thumbs up and a wink.

Cougar loves Pooch, he really does.

Jensen’s face is pink, and he bites his lip, nervous and shy like he never is.

Roque is snoring on Clay’s shoulder. It’s a good thing, or he’d have started the insults.

“I was thinking maybe you could, you know, teach me or something.” Jensen shuffles his feet. “Or hey, we could have like a language exchange program. Maybe. If you want.”

Cougar looks at Jensen, and the cards in his hands and shrugs.

What the Hell. He’s always wanted to learn Dutch.

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