Who: Kitty & Pete What: shooting range When: today Warnings: n/a
Pete always thought it was best to be prepared for the worst. It was part of being a spy, after all. You could plan out a mission from start to end, but something always went pear shaped along the way, and then there was the inevitable debriefing and profanity laden reports to write up.
This wasn't a mission though. It was training. When Kitty hinted at wanting to know about using a gun, of course he was willing to help out his friend. If she could ghost a gun out of someone's hand, then she might as well know how to use it too. It could keep her from being dragged back to Genosha again.
He drove them to the location, showing up early outside of a mundane brick building. The Tower didn't have an indoor shooting range, but SHIELD had rented time at this nearby facility for such purposes.
As they entered, he held the door open for her and asked, "Ready for this, Pryde?"
Given her father’s military background, guns weren’t completely unfamiliar to Kitty, though she’d never really had much of an interest in learning to use them. Her dad had given her the gun safety lessons and taken her shooting a handful of times as a young teen, but she was basically a beginner and appreciated that Pete was willing to take the time to work with her.
“Of course I am, Wisdom,” she retorted. “I am putting myself in your capable hands.”
Kitty felt her cheeks get warm when she realized that the words could potentially have a double meaning. Sure, Pete was attractive and she wasn’t blind, but they didn’t have that kind of relationship and she was certain he only viewed her as a kid.
Pete nearly did a double take, his brain tripping over itself before he snorted with amusement. He didn't view Kitty as a child at all. There was something precocious about her to be certain, and she was old enough to be legal, but he kept telling himself they were in the friend zone. Considering his line of work and string of ex-girlfriends (who were deadly blonde contract killers or black ops spies), that was probably for the best.
"Some would say lecherous hands," he joked, telling himself that his abrasive sense of humor was why she was turning red. "But those people're getting pissed at The Crown, so their opinion accounts for fuck all."
As they walked inside and signed in, he picked up the ammo and nodded at her to follow him to the range. He set out the guns and ammunition, and put some electronic ear muffs on her, which meant warm fingers had to sweep her hair back away from her ears before he set them in place. They would allow for conversation but block out the sound of the bullets firing, so their ears weren't ringing afterward.
And he definitely wasn't thinking about how soft her hair was either. Nope. Not at all. Because friends didn't think about a friend's hair like that.
Or so he's telling himself.
The warmth in Kitty’s cheeks intensified at the mention of his hands being lecherous. She wasn’t a virgin, but she also didn’t have a ton of experience with men and thanks to her upbringing, talking openly about sex wasn’t really a thing that happened. Of course, she assumed that Pete tended towards women who would fit the image of a Bond girl, not a nerdy college student.
When she realized he was going to put ear muffs on her, she tried to take them from him to do it herself, but wasn’t fast enough and she swallowed hard when his fingers brushed her hair back. God, this was so bad. She needed to pull herself together. Pete was her friend and he was doing her a favor. She needed to focus and not act like a schoolgirl with a crush.
“Okay, so, what do we do first?” she asked after clearing her throat.
He could see her blushing and tried to put the reasons why out of his mind. Friend zone. That's what they were. She was smart, good hearted, and had her entire life ahead of her, and didn't need to get mixed up with someone who had blood on his hands, like he did. The more he kept telling himself that, the more he believed it.
"We load the weapon," Pete said and despite the sound of gunfire in the background, he was easily heard through the headset. He plucked up some of the bullets and began showing her how to load the clip and pop it in with his own gun, making sure it was all secure and ready to go. That was the first part, since there was another unloaded gun there for her to practice with. "Right. All done. Your turn now."
“Okay,” Kitty said, watching him carefully so she could repeat his actions. It was more difficult than she expected to actually get the bullets into the clip. Once they were loaded though, actually putting the clip in the gun was easy. There was something a bit heady about holding a loaded weapon and realizing that she had the ability to really cause harm to another person if she chose to.
The electronic ear muffs were much nicer than the bulky things she remembered her father making her wear. She didn’t have to strain to hear Pete at all, which was nice.
Pete nodded at her with each step she completed, knowing this would empower her more so she wouldn't always be looking over her shoudler for anyone trying to drag her back to the world's worst tropical vacation. He gave tips, and checked the gun over when she was finished, his hands warm as they took it and returned it to her.
It might have been an excuse to touch her somehow. If it was, he was still denying it entirely.
"Looks good. So. On to the shooting." He moved in behind her, his hands covering hers. "Your safety's still on, so we'll have to release that first. Get a feel for it first, while it's fully loaded. It'll have a little kick to it when you fire, and I'll hold your hands steady the first time so you know what to expect. You'll fire on your own the second time. Sound good?"
He was in very close proximity with his arms around her, his hands settling over hers as he guided her to take aim.. It was difficult to keep a polite distance while doing this, after all.
Having Pete’s arms around her was incredibly distracting and Kitty was starting to think that asking him to teach her how to shoot was a terrible decision on her part. How was she supposed to concentrate and learn anything when all she could think about was leaning back against him and letting him protect her from anything that might happen.
Somehow, she resisted that urge, assuming that if she did, he’d gently push her away and give her some kind of embarrassing let down speech. Her mouth felt dry and she wished she’d thought ahead enough to bring a bottle of water. “Okay,” she said, hoping that he would attribute any roughness in her tone to nerves.
Doing her best to keep her hands steady, she took aim at the paper target hanging a few feet away, inhaled a deep breath, let it out slowly, and then released the safety so she could pull the trigger. It was a very good thing he was holding on to her because the recoil definitely knocked her off balance and she practically fell against him.
Pete looked like he was nearly bowled over...in his brain at least. He had instinctually leaned in when she jerked back, so they were momentarily bumped together. At least she hadn't ghosted for a second or they might find themselves merged, but he laughed that thought off in an instant. They'd been put through the gauntlet before, and he trusted her a lot more than he would trust 99.5% of the world at large.
"And now you know what to expect," he said, much more smoothly than he felt inside. "But if you want to lean on me for the next round, m'not about to complain."
Kitty tensed a teensy bit when he said that she could lean against him if she wanted. That almost sounded flirty except that didn’t make sense and her brain refused to believe it possibly was true. The thought that she could have actually phased through him didn’t even cross her mind luckily.
“I’m not sure I can really prepare for that,” she admitted. “But I’ll try my best. It looks much easier in the movies.” How did people do this while they were running? Especially in heels? It seemed super unrealistic.
It wasn't flirting. He was just offering support, while simultaneously noticing the close proximity of their bodies. Nothing to get anyone's knickers in a twist. If he wore knickers. Which he didn't. And he definitely wasn't wondering what sort of knickers Kitty Pryde had on.
Fine, maybe for a few token seconds. He settled on them probably being some shade of blue or yellow. Or if she was feeling racy and dangerous, black. High cut, but not quite thong.
He mentally slapped himself after a lack of reply stretched out so long that it became awkward. Which is about thirty seconds too long, because he's a blunt bastard and usually answers quickly to get things over and done with.
"It's more complex than Hollywood cracks it up to be," he admitted. "Back to it. Your turn to line things up and pull the trigger. I'll be right here, behind you."
As if she could possibly forget his presence. Kitty forced herself to focus and stop thinking about the way that it made her feel to have Pete up close and personal. She was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn’t actually notice the longer than normal silence before he spoke.
“Good,” she said. She closed her eyes and took a couple of slow, deep breaths to steady herself. When she opened them again, she carefully took aim and did her best to brace herself for the recoil.
This time when she fired, she managed to stay firmly on her feet, though her hands jerked slightly, sending her bullet into the target a bit higher than the bullseye.
For her first shot by herself, he was actually impressed. He even raised his eyebrows, but he stopped short of applause. Everyone back at headquarters said he was a sarcastic clapper anyway.
"Good," he echoed. "Right respectable, for a first time by yourself. Try again, now that you know what that feels like on your own. Pretend it's someone you really, really hate...and you're going t'pop a cap in their arse."
That always worked for him.
"Hit a bullseye, and I'll take you out for proper coffee. None of that Starbucks addictive mind control shite."
Some would say that Peter Wisdom spouts off a lot of conspiracy theories. Pete's rebuttal would be that he has a lot of casefiles. Disappointingly enough, he can't show anyone because they're classified.
Even though Kitty liked Starbucks, the idea of going out for coffee with Pete was pretty good motivation and she took aim again, still missing the bullseye, but getting a bit closer on her second shot. The clip had six bullets, so she figured she still had three more chances and hopefully beginner’s luck would be with her.
She adjusted her grip and stance, aiming a bit lower to account for the way her arms lifted from the kick of the gun and managed to hit her third solo shot just at the edge of the bullseye.
Eyes gleaming, she turned to look at Pete, not realizing just how close he was until they were practically face to face. “Does that count?” she asked.
Pete nearly leaned back because they were that close. He didn't though, and ended up smirking and taking the gun out of her hand, setting it aside.
"We'll have to look at it up close and personal," he said, smirking as he pressed his finger against a button so the target moved closer. With a tip of his head to one side, he saw that it did knick the edge. And that was good enough for him.
"You've done yourself in now," he said with a warmness he didn't often reserve for others. "You'll have to spend more time with me. You masochist."
“What a shame,” Kitty said, her tone clearly sarcastic, as evidenced by the grin on her face. This was bad. Really bad. And she needed to get herself in check ASAP. Having a crush on Pete was a Bad Idea.
She forced herself to step away and pick up the gun again. “Let’s see if I can do better,” she said.
Sarcastic Kitty truly was the best Kitty. This was bad. This was really bad. The age gap was huge, and he would be taking the piss back at MI-13 if this ever got back to them.
Which it wouldn't. Because it was only two friends larking about, that's all. Having a crush on him was always a bad idea, considering his exes either ended up in jail for murder or dead. This may have been his fault for only going out with deadly blondes, but Kitty had a lot of fire too, and fire led to getting burned.
Pete held up both hands like he wasn't about to get in her way.
"You dirty little chronic overachiever," he replied. "Hit it dead on and I'll buy you a pint sometime."
He stood there, watching her more than the target. It was hard not to. But as each bullet got closer to dead center, he knew he was going to owe Kitty Pryde a whole fat lot of beverages later on.