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fic - chokeholds [haven] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - chokeholds [haven]
Title:  Chokeholds
Series:  Moments of Haven
Summary:  Heero's so adorable when he's talking about choking people out.

A Moment of Haven

For all of the learning he had received in such things, it had never been in a group setting.  Maybe that was to his advantage.  He had the tendency to focus on individuals or pairs rather than the class as a whole.  Duo assured him that that was more than acceptable, so long as his attention was not exclusive or biased.  Heero would reserve judgment on Duo's opinions that it was, in fact, preferred.

He walked the disorderly rows, eyes trying to take in everything at once, wanting to do right by his students.  Manning's feet were too close together.  Heero paused for a moment to correct his stance.  Diaz was tense, but Heero let it pass for now.  He would loosen up as the course progressed and his confidence grew.  Just a soft word to bring it to his attention, and then Heero began his study of the next pair.  There was a hole in Alphand's defense, but that wasn't part of today's lesson.  Heero would save the nitpicking for agents who were a little more advanced.

He came to Rockenwagner's side and received a nod from the resting agent.  "Everything alright here?"

"Yeah, sure, we're just, uh, between rounds, yeah?"  Rockenwagner glanced over to his sparring partner for confirmation.  "Just strategizing."

"You know what you're supposed to be working on."  The instructions had seemed fairly straightforward to Heero.

"Hell, it's easy to *say* 'get out of a chokehold'..."  He eyed his partner again with a good-natured grumpiness.  Carlisle was a good head taller than he was.  "I'd say the best way to get out of one was never to get into one to begin with."

Heero's smile was minimal, but present, if one knew where to look for it.  "I'd agree.  But you need a plan B."

"Uh, pull out my gun?"

"We're concentrating on non-lethal escape techniques right now."

"I doubt I'd manage to kill him if he had a chokehold on me."

This was true.  It represented one of those things Yuy was still working on.  If he wasn't trying to kill someone, that normally just meant he'd avoid aiming for the head or the heart, and a few of the major arteries.  There were plenty of other hit locations offering superficiality.  Unfortunately, the Preventers organization still regarded this as a use of lethal force.  They were oddly inflexible about that, despite promises to immediately perform first aid after the suspect had been neutralized.  "You can't count on having a gun.  Are the techniques we discussed not working for you?"

Rockenwagner scratched his nose.  "I don't know if I'm doing it wrong or what, but I can't seem to get any leverage on this guy."

Heero measured the lengths involved and recalculated his advice.  "Have you considered a heel to the groin?"  He smirked faintly when Carlisle took a wary half-step away from them.  "It's really a very underexploited weak point."

Not far from them, Johnson finished slipping out of her partner's grip and laughed.  "Not by me, it ain't."

"Agent Johnson does seem to make good use of it, however," Heero agreed amiably.  "There is no honor among men in the battlefield."

Caulfield also let out a bark of laughter.  "Come on, Rock, get in touch with your feminine side!"

Rock was busy glaring at Carlisle's crotch, causing the larger man to edge away again.  "I still don't see how I could get enough oomph."

Heero stepped into position and turned his back to Carlisle.  "Grab me with a light hold."  There was a pause during which nothing happened.  Heero looked over his shoulder.  "Just as you were doing with Rockenwagner earlier."

Carlisle eyed him uneasily.  "I don't want to be getting in touch with my feminine side."

"I promise I won't plant my heel in your groin," Heero answered dryly.  He waited for Carlisle to do as instructed, and once the hold was finalized, Heero quickly got him off balance, loosened his grip, and flipped him.  "You leaned forward to grab me.  Don't do that."

The agent blinked at the high ceiling of the gym for a moment before reaching out to take Heero's outstretched hand and regain his feet.  "I can see the disadvantages of that now, thank you."

"What's the proper stance in this situation?"  Heero turned and presented his back again.

A moment of analysis yielded the obvious answer.  Carlisle wrapped an arm around Heero's neck and pulled back slightly, taking Heero's heels off the ground.  "Kill your leverage."

"Correct."  Now the lesson shifted back to Rock.  "Kind of him to support me and get me closer to my target.  Now I'm free to use my legs against him."  He slowly and unthreateningly demonstrated the maneuver he had been describing earlier.  "I kick my foot up and get him in the groin."

Johnson glanced eagerly to her partner.  "Ooh, hey, can I try that?"

Her partner danced away swiftly.  "Hell, no."

"Aren't you wearing a cup?"

"That's to prevent trouble, not invite it!"

Rock echoed her.  "Can I try?"

Carlisle's grip shifted from an effective head lock to whatever he could use to maneuver Heero between them to use as a human shield.  "Hell, no."

Heero took advantage of the lax positioning to free himself easily from Carlisle's hold, this time ending up with Carlisle in a mild arm twist.  He released the agent after he was sure his point had been made.  "The groin is a vulnerability, yes, but it becomes even more of a vulnerability when you live in fear of it being exploited.  If you want to win a fight, you have to be willing to put everything on the line."

It seemed Johnson was far too amused by the men's squeamishness.  "How about you let me kick you all in the nuts once or twice, and you can practice fighting through the pain?"  The snickers of the few other women in the class joined her own.

"Oh, God!" someone wailed faintly from the far corner of the class.  "Make them stop!"

"It's not a terrible suggestion," Heero said mildly.  He paused, noticing the collective flinch of the men in the class.  "I'm not suggesting we take Johnson's offer up.  What I mean is -- to get back to our original lesson -- it can be a useful exercise to be choked out, or nearly so, if you've never had the experience.  You need to be able to distinguish between a move that will succeed in choking you out, and one that won't.  You should also learn your limits, to know how much time you have to work with, and because you've had the experience before, you're less likely to panic in the field if it ever happens.  The same goes with bone-breaking or dislocation holds."

"You want us to break our bones?" an agent asked rather skeptically.

"It would be impractical to handicap you for as long as it would take for your bones to heal.  However, passing out doesn't have any lasting effects."  He paused, frowning faintly.  "Unfortunately, the higher-ups asked me to remove that from my syllabus.  If any of you would like to see how it feels, though, you know where to find me after class."  Hmmm, uncertain silence, plus just a little nervous laughter.  Not a good sign.  They were near the end of class.  Maybe it was time to move on to the last set.

"Have you ever been choked out?" the skeptical agent asked.

"Yes."  Heero wasn't in the habit of doling out advice he wouldn't be willing to follow himself.

"Have you ever choked someone else out?"  Agent Caulfield's question had more of a challenge to it.

"Yes."  He wouldn't be very qualified to teach this lesson, otherwise.

"In the field?"


"Wait, so you are a field agent?"  The way Manning asked it, it sounded as if there had been some debate or confusion.

It was a legitimately tricky question.  "I have been," he answered calmly, not letting on that he was merely skirting the edge of 'field agent's definition.

Caulfield threw yet another gauntlet at him.  "I looked your record up.  You don't have field certification."

Heero wondered if he ever would.  Did he want it?  He was fairly certain that, if the Preventers had urgent enough a reason to send him out in the field, they wouldn't mind that he wasn't certified.  For daily life, he was still undecided.  "I don't need it to teach this course."

"Heh, those who can't, teach?"

Johnson rolled her eyes.  "Oh, for god's sake.  Grow up, Caulfield."

"Hey, I got every right to know what a guy's qualifications are to teach this class.  I'm supposed to put my life on the line, depending on the stuff I learn here, right?"  He turned back to Heero.  "So you had field clearance then, huh?  What happened to it?  You lose it?"

"What do my records say?" Heero asked with a mild curiosity.  Unfortunately, to the unHeero-initiated, it came off as somewhat dry and sarcastic.

"They didn't," Caulfield answered flatly, appearing annoyed.  "You didn't have much of a record at all, actually."

He was glad his record wasn't covered with obscenely large 'confidential' and 'top secret' tags.  That information was probably stored somewhere other than with the personnel files.  He wondered what his position in the department was.  Special ops?  Maybe he'd be curious enough one day to find out.  "This is a young organization.  I'm sure most of us don't have much of a record yet."

"Aw, come on, man," Diaz put in.  "You've been in this class this whole time.  The guy obviously knows his stuff."

"That doesn't mean he's ever used it out in the field," Caulfield retorted.

"He just said he has."

"Maybe I don't believe him."  His eyes met Heero's evenly.  "What kind of field experience do you really have?"

It was a valid concern.  The rules were entirely different out in the field, and not in a way that could be understood by someone that hadn't been out there.  But the story of Heero's prior experiences was on a very need to know basis, and Caulfield definitely didn't need to know.  "I received job-related injuries.  I haven't yet been cleared for field work again."  There, that was nicely sort-of true.  He'd joked about it often enough that he was beginning to wonder if it was more than sort-of true.  His medical history was more than sufficient to cause anyone to blink twice.

"'Job-related injuries'," Caulfield repeated, falling just short of openly disdainful.  "That could be a PTSD, nervous breakdown, couldn't-handle-it sort of thing, for all we know."

Oh no, if there was one thing he was very careful to keep clean, it was his psych eval.  If that ever came up questionable, he wouldn't even be a free citizen, let alone a field agent.  It may have taken some long and tiresome work, but he'd managed to convince the shrinks that his unique background had not left him unable to cope with daily, 'normal' life.  It was a little grating to have it brought up again.  "Do I appear 'traumatized' to you?"

"You never know about these things.  You could be completely normal, and then one day, BAM!"

Heero knew the jab was a feint, probably intended to emphasize the man's point, or possibly to test him, to see if a surprise attack would rattle him.  He really should have just stood passively and let the man punch air and get on with it.  He really shouldn't have grabbed the man's wrist and pulled him into a behind-the-back disabling lock.  But he did.

After that, he probably should have released the man immediately.  An apology was possibly in order, but probably not necessary.  He maybe could have then invited the agent to discuss this in a gentlemanly fashion after class.  But he didn't.  He just wasn't in the mood.

"It's a little closer to nerve damage, actually," he said evenly next to the agent's ear.  His tone was somewhat conversational, but not particularly friendly.  "And despite that, I can still kick your ass.  Are those qualifications enough?"  He waited a few seconds, and took Caulfield's silence as assent.  A few seconds more, and maybe just the slightest increase in pressure just to drive home the point, and then Heero released him.  Caulfield fell to his knees, and Heero coolly assessed the rest of his class over the agent's head.  "Dismissed."

No one felt like pointing out they still had a few more minutes until the end of class.  They quickly and efficiently vacated the room under Yuy's stony watch, and only after they got outside the room did they burst into chatter.

Heero heard the beginning of their remarks as the door closed behind them, and then deliberately stopped listening.  He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and released it with a sigh.  Good job, Yuy.  Good job.

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