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thanks, trouble

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It's dark and cold.

Octavio leans against the wall of the small, stone and metal hut. He's alone for the night. His squadmates are gone, dead at the hands of an enemy team. The closest respawn beacon is at Thunderdome, but he doesn’t want to risk being ambushed in the night, as the dropship's engines bring a lot of noise to the otherwise deadly silent desert. He hates nights in the Ring. He hates being alone.

He pulls the two banner cards from his pockets. The banners glow in the darkness, displaying the stats of his dead teammates. He goes over all of Bloodhound's kills and headshots and wins they've got proudly displayed on their profile. He thought he was gonna get carried. Guess not. He absentmindedly gazes at Ajay's profile for just a little too long. feeling kinda bad about not being able to help her when she was down. He kinda wishes they were both here right now. Then he wouldn't be so totally alone.

He puts the banners away and tucks his prosthetic legs up to his chest. He ponders whether or not he should try to sleep at all. Maybe if they take him in his sleep it'll be less painful, physically and emotionally. He’ll just wake up in the infirmary without having to worry about winning.

But he can't sleep. Not with all the adrenaline of being in a match. He can't fall asleep, was never really able to do it during a match, no matter what teammates tried to encourage him. Wasn't really able to fall asleep at all, ever, if he was being honest. He had trouble sleeping ever since he was a kid. Nothing his parents gave him ever fixed that problem.

Not like his parents ever cared that much honestly. He was used to being alone, but it didn't mean that he liked it. Too many bad memories. Nobody watching over him got him into a bunch of mishaps. He was such a troublemaker. Guess he always just acted out in hopes of gaining his parents’ attention. It didn't work though. They never even watched the Games.

Suddenly, he hears rustling outside, snapping him out of his thoughts. Really close, as if it were right beside his hut. His veins run cold. He scrambles to find somewhere to hide. The noise is definitely human, and definitely panicked. Just like him, just like him right now.

Realizing that he probably only has one chance to make a dash for it before the enemy team closes in on him, he pops a Stim into his thigh and runs. He slams the door open and rushes to the left, praying that he makes it to at least Thunderdome where he can camp safely until the morning to respawn his teammates. Instead, he runs right into what he was avoiding.

The stranger grabs him in surprise, stumbling from the impact. Instinctively, Octavio digs his Alternator between them and shoots, hoping that it will set him free. It does, and as the stranger stumbles back in pain he quickly knocks his elbow into their face, aiming to break their nose and hopefully stun them enough to get away. That is, until he realizes who it is.

"I'm alone! I'm alone!" Mirage--Elliott--shouts way too loudly for Octavio's comfort. He's still buzzed from the Stim and finds it hard to stop moving, so he bounces from left to right, shaking, as the holographic trickster explains himself. "My teammates are dead, I'm all alone."

Elliott clutches his face in pain and pants. Octavio notices that his nose is bleeding pretty badly. So is his gun wound, but Elliott seems to be less worried about that somehow. Octavio's empathetic nature kick in despite his better judgment.

"Hold on," he says, moving closer to Elliott, who flinches away. "Ay, sorry, I’m sorry," he approaches Elliott more cautiously, like a stray animal, "See, I'm alone too. Truce? Truce? Lemme look at your face."

He decides that he can trust Elliott. Elliott is smart but he's not that smart. He wouldn't be able to plan something like this on his own. And by now, if he did have a squad Octavio would probably be dead.

Elliott allows him to inch closer and touch his face, look at his bloodied nose. He clocked him pretty hard, huh? He bit back a grin. Elliott wouldn't see it anyway through the mask but he thought it was pretty rude to laugh at a guy he almost just knocked out.

"Put your head down for me, bro," he tells him. He knows how to treat nosebleeds, at least. He's not stupid.

Elliott complies and leans forward. "Okay, now pinch your nose right here," he demonstrates where he needs him to hold his nose and guides him to lean against the concrete wall, "and sit down."

Elliott does as he's told, muttering about how it was Octavio's fault that his nose was broken and Octavio reminded him how all the injuries sustained in the Ring weren't permanent anyway so he didn't have to worry about his pretty face getting messed up.

"You hit p-pretty hard," Elliott comments as Octavio pats his pockets in order to find where he's keeping his healing items. He's not using any of his own supplies on an enemy, no way. No matter how much of a friend they are outside of the Ring.

Octavio smirks, "Maybe you're just weak."

Elliott grimaces but obediently continues to rest against the wall and lets Octavio patch up his bullet wounds, holding his bloody nose. The blood is now all down his chin and on his outfit.

Octavio feels awkward. He needs something to talk about. He gets anxious when he has nothing to talk about.

"Ajay used to get nosebleeds a lot when we were little," he explains, "so I'm glad that knowledge isn't going to waste in the Ring now." He tries to laugh but he doesn't know why he's even bothering. This guy is just gonna kill him in the morning. That, or somebody else is going to do it.

"My brother had fre-freek-fr-- nosebleeds. A lot, too." He mumbles, as if he doesn't really want Octavio to hear it. He just nods in understanding. Elliott loves bringing up his brothers but hates talking about them. Octavio can't really relate, he’s an only kid.

He hums as he patches up the last of Elliot's gaping wounds. He checks out his nose, still covered in blood and definitely broken but at least it wasn't a pouring waterfall anymore, so that was good. Octavio figured a healing syringe would fix it up enough for him to not be bothered by it.

"Hey. Thanks, man," Elliott says once he is confident enough to stop holding his nose and Octavio gives him a hand to help him stand.

"Ah, don't mention it," he says, averting his eyes. He should go. He should leave and camp for the night. They're just out in the open right now.

"Heh, I was just looking for a place to stay the night but guess I owe you dinner now, huh?" Elliott jokes. Octavio smiles behind the mask.

"Uhm, yeah, you're paying for my next fast food feast," Octavio shoots back and Elliott laughs.

"How about a free drink at my bar instead? Any time." He flashes a charming grin and Octavio laughs and bumps his fist against the man's shoulder playfully.

"We'll see about that."

At some point during the night, they separate into different buildings. Octavio sleeps on the bottom floor of the tallest building. Well, if you can call napping and waking every five minutes or so “sleeping”, then yeah.

He finds a little gift in the morning though. A medkit, with a message scribbled onto it, probably with a sharp rock or something like that.

"thanks," it reads, signed "-trouble"