At this point, Molly thinks, her job title could be boiled down to “Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell’s personal mess cleaner,” considering that at least once a month she’s the one that has to fill out the incident report forms or hunt the pilot down to fill them out himself. She’s been in this position for eight months and she’s already lost count of how many reports have been for Captain Mitchell alone.
Of course, they’re not just for Captain Mitchell. They’re also for Captain Mitchell’s classes, or Captain Mitchell’s friends, or the kids that aren’t really kids that trail Captain Mitchell around every time they’re on base. But it all boils down to the common factor that is Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell.
The latest incident is reported by Captain Mitchell himself, strolling into Molly’s office ten minutes after she sits down at her desk. He’s got soot covering his face and clothes and the widest grin she’s ever seen him wear.
“Hey, Molly,” he says brightly. She wonders what the hell he’s done this time. “We blew up a plane.”
She almost cries.
“You did what?” she asks, even though she knows it’s more likely she’ll cry if she hears him say it again.
“You have the forms for that, or should I go talk to someone else?” The grin does not leave his face. Molly’s girlfriend, an avid follower of the Captain Mitchell Messing Things Up Saga, is going to love this.
It turns out she does have the forms for that, probably from the last person who held this position and had to deal with Captain Mitchell. She wonders how many planes he’s blown up.
He’s back the next day, because of course he is. This time he looks like absolutely nothing has happened, which, Molly has found, is his most dangerous state.
“Hey, Molly,” he says, like he always does. “So, we just had to send Pike to medbay.”
“What happened?” she asks, handing him the form that she had already been pulling out as soon as she saw him entering. He just takes the form and goes, giving her a two-fingered salute.
She doesn’t find out what happened to Pike until lunch, when she’s eating with some of the kids that aren’t kids that follow Captain Mitchell around. She’s friends with some of them from previous deployments prior to being assigned to work at Top Gun.
(The higher-ups told her it was because she was really, really good at her job. Which she took to mean “We need someone who can handle Captain Mitchell.”)
“Hey,” she says, setting down her lunch bag on the table. The others all give various greetings, waves, and nods, and she glances at the table of Captain Mitchell’s students. Pike is not among them. “What happened this morning?”
“Oh, Pike sprained his wrist,” Rooster says, like this isn’t a problem. How do you even sprain a wrist learning theory? They were supposed to be learning theory today, which Molly knows because she asked Captain Mitchell what his plan was for today following the plane blowing up.
“How?” she asks, hoping one of them will have an answer to her prayers.
“Mav took them to the beach,” Phoenix responds through a bite of sandwich. “And then he tackled Pike too hard.”
“Oh,” Molly says, like this makes perfect sense.
She corners Rooster, who knows Captain Mitchell best, later in the day.
“How has he not been discharged?” she demands, because come on. It’s been eight months. She has to know.
“Guardian angel,” Rooster says, not looking up from his phone. “Never lets him down.”
Rooster does not offer further explanation.
She tries Phoenix next, at the Hard Deck that night. It’s a Friday, so the place is packed. Phoenix is by the pool table, and she grins when she sees Molly.
“What’s up?” she asks, completely ignoring the two men in uniform that Molly doesn’t recognize who yell at Phoenix to take her shot.
“How has Captain Mitchell not been discharged?” she asks. “I’ve been working here for eight months and I’ve filled out more incident reports than I can count, and no one will tell me how he’s still here. Let alone how he’s still alive .”
Phoenix laughs, like there’s something Molly doesn’t get. She’s getting rather sick of it.
“I think you should ask him,” she says brightly.
Molly does not get the chance to ask Captain Mitchell how he hasn’t been discharged, 1) because she thinks it’s a bit rude, and 2) he doesn’t have any incidents for the next week. It’s not until the following Tuesday- a whole twelve days, which has to be a new record- that he strolls into her office, this time with Vice Admiral Simpson just behind him.
“What did you do this time?” she blurts out before Captain Mitchell can even greet her.
“Hey, Molly,” Captain Mitchell says anyways, grinning wider than normal. “We need to fill out another incident report form.”
“You, too?” she asks, looking at the vice admiral. He just sighs and rubs between his eyes.
“Don’t ask,” he says, and she nods and purses her lips shut. He turns to the captain. “Mitchell-”
“Can this wait until he gets here?” Captain Mitchell asks. “He’ll be here in, like, two minutes.”
“Fine,” the vice admiral says, looking at Molly with an expression of what can you do? Molly gives him the same exasperated look back.
He turns out to be Admiral Tom Kazansky. Admiral Tom Kazansky, living Navy legend, Commander of the Pacific Fleet, in her office. On a random Tuesday after Captain Mitchell has once again gotten into trouble.
“Sir,” she says, standing up quickly and saluting. Admiral Tom Kazansky (Admiral Tom Kazansky!) laughs.
“At ease, Molly,” he says, and holy shit Admiral Tom Kazansky knows her name. How does Admiral Tom Kazansky know her name? “Cyclone.”
“Iceman,” Vice Admiral Simpson says, nodding. Admiral Tom Kazansky (Admiral. Tom. Kazansky.) turns to Captain Mitchell, and Molly wonders if she’s about to witness his discharge, after hundreds of incident reports.
“Hey, baby,” Admiral Tom Kazansky says to Captain Mitchell, and Molly feels her heart stop. And then Admiral Tom Kazansky puts his arm around Captain Mitchell’s waist and pulls him in for a kiss.
No wonder Phoenix was laughing at her.
“What did you do this time?” Admiral Tom Kazansky asks, in a much softer tone than Molly had used. Captain Mitchell launches into a wild retelling of having to eject before his plane crashed, holding Admiral Tom Kazansky’s hand the whole time.
And suddenly everything makes perfect sense. This is why Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, the most dangerous man in the Navy to himself and everyone else on his team, has never been discharged. Because of the Iceman. Because he’s dating the Iceman.
And then Molly sees the ring on Admiral Tom Kazansky’s finger and thinks oh. They’re not just dating. They’re married.
Yeah. That makes sense.