Everything was quiet tonight. A rare gift that didn't go to waste. A brilliant full moon turned the landscape into muted tones of silver, grey and black, making their easily defensible position even more so. There were few night creatures around anymore - few creatures period - which made it easier for the him to hear the steady footsteps of the sentries outside. It was Cholo's turn to babysit Reckoning while the rest of their group of strays bunked in a very nicely overpriced house in the middle of nowhere.
Fucking rich people; all that money and they go and build a brick mansion way out where no one can see it.
He watched the shadows move over the panels and weaponry that made up Dead Reckoning's arsenal, dark eyes flicking towards the side door. Pillsbury could be damn quiet when he wanted to be, the sneaky bastard. Cholo waited until he heard a soft rap on the door, the Samoan's way of checking in, before sending back one of his own. The gruff soldier may have a voyeuristic streak as wide as his shoulders but he could also be unfailingly polite and respected privacy. Especially when it came to their fearless leader, Riley. Cholo went back to watching the moonlight.
Funny how life worked out sometimes.
The Hispanic man chuckled softly and shook his head at fate, freezing when the man next to him stirred. His wry smile turned soft, something that only one person ever got to see, and he slipped one arm around the sleeping man and gathered him closer.
"Shhh..." Cholo whispered, threading his fingers through Riley's hair.
It took only a few minutes for the blond to settle again and Cholo endured the wriggling with a cheeky grin, waiting until his lover rested comfortably draped against him. Riley’s head was pillowed on his smooth chest, one leg tangled with his own. Cholo brushed his lips over the man’s messy curls and stretched a bit beneath him, taking a deep breath and watching his head rise and fall on his chest.
It didn’t take long after the whole Fiddler’s Green fiasco for him to get with the program. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, especially compared to Riley, but he wasn’t in the habit of sticking in head in the dirt neither. When his leader and frenemy chased him down after stealing Reckoning, they had a good long discussion that consisted of a lot of talk (Riley’s) and a few swings (his, and one of the blonds), but he finally got the message.
Neither of them had any loyalty to that scumbag Kaufman and Cholo was happy to see that Denbo was planning on screwing the man over too, albeit not as violently as his own plans. He’d be taking a dirt nap if Riley hadn’t shoved him, instead of only getting a hole in his side. And then to have 180lbs of pissed off white boy in his face.
Yet another thing he found hilarious.
He had stolen Kaufman’s war wagon and left the city open and vulnerable and the thing that got Riley Denbo mad enough to steam was the sight of *him* bleeding. Cholo’s plans had included money and power. He got neither and he was pretty damned happy with that.
He would deny to his dying day the warm fuzzy feeling he got when Denbo flat out refused to let him go out on his own, wounded and bleeding. Riley pulled him back to Reckoning and ordered them out to try and save what was left of the city. Of course, part of Riley’s motives could have been making him watch. Those stenches were no match for the armored truck, but they’re rescue was too late for some. That image would be burned into his brain forever. That and the look on Riley’s face.
From then on it was nothing but new beginnings; for him, for their group, and for the survivors of the city.
They traveled north looking for a place to settle, picking up strays along the way until the Reckoning became the engine that led a train of mismatched vehicles along some thirty strong. After the Green, Riley’s purpose became finding some kind of peace in this fucked up world. But people still naturally gravitated to him, looking to his quiet strength to lead them. It was never in the man to say ‘no’ or to turn them away, no matter how reluctant he was. Riley had real power now and he didn’t even want it. That was how Cholo knew the man deserved it.
“You’re thinking too hard.” Warm lips moved over his skin.
“Nahhh, I ain’t the smart one in this duo.” Cholo pressed another kiss to Riley’s head just because he could, and then blinked when he suddenly found himself nose to nose with his lover.
“You are not dumb, Cholo.” Riley’s seriousness rang throughout the quiet space.
“I know that, Riley.” The dark-haired man threaded both hands into the blond curls, longer now than when they’d met. He knew how his lover felt when it looked like he was putting himself down, even as a joke, and he kicked himself for poking that nerve. “Didn’t mean it like that… But I do think better with you. You keep me focused.”
“Oh, I don’t know…you seemed pretty focused when I found you a little while ago.” Riley’s almost-smile just creased the corners of his eyes, part apology and part declaration.
Cholo accepted both with a leering grin of his own.“Ahh, but you don’t know what I was thinking ‘bout. Do you?”
The blond pretended to think it over, pursing his lips with an innocent expression. “Well…”
The other man moved lightening fast, reversing their positions and pining Riley to the bed of blankets.
“Let me refresh your memory.”
END (for now)