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Everything was going red.

Shit! Stand, stand, stand! Lugo’s body, like Lugo himself, had no patience for commands.

His gun dropped from his hands and he braced himself against his cover. He knew from all those days in the shooting range with the scared new recruits that his rifle would have made a loud, sharp sound if it had hit the metal of the car he was behind. But in the middle of a gunfight with a dying sandstorm as the backdrop to their little standoff, maybe that sound really didn't matter.

And now, as if the war zone that Delta Force had found itself in wasn’t bad enough, Lugo had stuck his head out one too many times and was down. The red filling his vision- that had to be blood. That heavy, numbing pounding filling his head- that had to be his heart.

He teetered, but managed to sink his hands into the sand to keep him from full collapse. Come on, come on…

He let his head drop. Maybe, if he just took a second. One second. He could pull himself up. At least clear his head enough to patch himself up.

Over the gunfire, he heard something. Adams. The strain in his voice suggested that he was yelling, but all Lugo heard was a whisper. “Lugo’s down!”

Another voice, more ragged, but just as strained, “AH GODDAMMIT! GET HIM UP!”

Typical. Lugo could almost laugh but the dizziness was starting to push the world in too many directions. A member of his team was down, but Walker couldn’t take his eyes off his gun for two seconds.

Closing his eyes, Lugo pushed himself up and stumbled. Altitude only increased the pounding and added the delightful new rush of blood in his ears. He heard the 33rd’s usual desperation and staggered towards a slightly less battered car for cover. The storm- the storm he was sure was dying- was starting to make him question if it was blood or sand he was seeing and apparently, he had been concentrating a little too hard on that.

The pounding in his head seemed to slow everything down as he fell on his back, exposed to the sand and gunfire. As if sensing Lugo’s distress, the storm began to pick back up. It was amazing how the sand just attracted itself to him, out of all of the immobile things on the field. It swirled around him, cutting his face with ruthless abandon and covering him. Like it was burying him alive. Well, at least he still had his mask.

Goggles would have been nice, though.

Dammit Walker, I’m out here dying. Despite the slow panic creeping up on him, he smiled bitterly? How could he forget. Death didn’t mean anything to Walker, he’d just send Adams to check his body, then probably take his guns. Then it would be back to the never ending search for Konrad.

I’m dying here. I should be thinking something profound, something people’ll remember for years, not crying about how I won’t even get a proper burial. If big black splotches weren’t filling his vision, Lugo could have laughed at himself.

I guess Adams isn’t coming… Just as well. At this point, Lugo would take any exit out of Dubai, as long as it took him out of this disaster of a mission forever.

And with that thought, Lugo felt a jerk. His body was being dragged. Where? He wasn’t sure, being two seconds from death kind of tossed out any navigational sense, no matter how finely polished.

Who was dragging him? Or who had been dragging him, since they had stopped. God, don’t let it be any of the 33rd. Would he be considered a POW since they were all American? Or are they un-American since they went rouge? Maybe he could ask them before they tied him down and unleashed the...

Lugo shook his head. No, no. There was no way he was going to die like that. That may have been have been everybody’s go to murder weapon, but he couldn’t die like that.

He was yanked up suddenly and propped against the car, almost bent over the passenger door with the busted out window. God. What now?

And then, that sharp, but familiar shock in his shoulder. “Ah!” It spread through him, a warmth he didn’t need, and it all stopped. The red, the rushing blood, his pounding heart.
He started to push himself off of the car and thank Adams, but that voice definitely wasn’t the lieutenant’s.

“You’re going to be fine.” That voice was way too close and was… Walker’s? But not that raging psycho voice Lugo had gotten used to since that incident at the Gate, it was a calm, firm tone that he hadn’t heard since they had first met.

“Y-yeah, thanks,” Lugo whispered thickly. He coughed and pushed himself off of the car and straight into Walker, who was directly behind him.

He started to step in but that sudden dizziness came back. He stumbled forward, trying to catch hold of something as nausea spread over him like a net.

And damn it all if he wasn’t glad Walker was there to catch him.

A strong arm went around his chest. He quickly pulled them both down. “Take a second,” he commanded sternly before returning fire.

Lugo ripped his mask off, but Walker shoved it back into his face so hard that the sergeant thought he broke his nose.

“Just stay still.”

Walker returned his attention to the fight and started yelling commands to Adams.

My fucking nose. He fucking broke MY NOSE! Lugo took short shallow breaths. This was also something he could have laughed about- ready to accept death gracefully but pissed about his nose. It was good to know that no matter what he lost, it would never be levity. He cut his eyes over at the captain and focused on him. Adams would have been a much nicer target, but really, all Lugo needed was something to re-orient himself.

Walker’s face was surprisingly serene. He kept his eyes on the battlefield surrounding him, though how he could see anything at all was a fucking miracle to Lugo. Maybe that was a special ability of those chilling blue eyes. Lugo had wondered. And maybe it was the delirium about to take over, but he was sure that Walker had to have some kind of supernatural presence to keep him so... steady. Even though it was painfully clear that Walker was shedding any last traces of sanity, he still just seemed like an immovable force. He had his orders, though Lugo and Adams had agreed that those orders came from a very deranged mind, and he was going to see them through, no matter how many carcasses he had to move through, American or not.

There was no pleasure that he could see, but no sign of guilt or remorse. But then again, Walker wasn't exactly an open book and the only cracks Lugo ever saw from him were through Adams. Throughout this whole thing, this whole fucking ordeal, Lugo has wondered what Walker was thinking. If he thought anything at all or if his mind just shut down and it was solely his body and this obsession with finding Konrad that was leading them on. And that thought alone made Lugo dizzy and see white splotches.

My savior, he thought, touching his nose.