This is really just the definitive proof, once and for all, that the universe was designed with the very specific thought of sticking it to Jimmy. There’s plenty of other evidence for it, of course, but this—this is the end all, be all of existence itself bending him over and fucking him.
It’s not that he wasn’t prepared for it. For a while now, he’s actually had a pretty good idea just what those words on his arm would get him. Only about 40% of the population has them, give or take, and it’s generally considered a blessing in most places. He still has embarrassing memories of Mom gushing over them to anyone who’d listen, sometimes even in front of the friends he’d bring home from school—my Jimmy has a soulmate! Even before he was born, even then, I just had a feeling he would!
Sometimes it had made Jimmy feel special, almost smug with the knowledge that out there was something—a whole person—made just for him, nobody else.
Other times, he just felt boxed in. How could anything he did really matter, when it was all leading up to those words? He could live however he wanted, doing this con and that, scamming whoever crossed his path, but none of it would really matter because it was all so inevitable. He was just a half of something—nothing whole and complete in and of himself.
Maybe he was an idiot for even bothering at HHM in the first place. For trying to be something different than before. For caring about anything. Anyone.
(He’d envied Chuck and his plain wrist more than once throughout their lives. It’d seemed so pure, a blank slate with endless potential.)
(Rebecca’s words had been faded to a dull silver by the time Jimmy had first met her, almost like a scar where her soulmate had used to live. He’d been dead for years by then, and Jimmy had thought it was pretty romantic—in a semi-disgusting, sappy, very Hallmark way—how Chuck had been able to make her love again.)
(Even if once or twice throughout dinner Chuck’s gaze would stray down to that mark, and something would tighten in his lips and around his eyes.)
But okay. It was the card Jimmy’d been dealt, and fate didn’t care what he thought about it. Besides, given his track record of hellish dumpster fire relationships, the thought he had a perfect partner out there somewhere wasn’t exactly awful.
It would’ve been great if it could’ve been Kim. It wasn’t.
Marco? He would’ve taken that. Would’ve been very streamlined, a teenage romance, Bonnie and Clyde type thing.
Hell, Hamlin! He could’ve come to terms with the other half of his soul being that pretentious, bleached blond prick. Maybe it would’ve made playing hatchet man for Chuck a little harder for him. (Oh, who is Jimmy kidding?)
Nacho Varga? Jimmy would’ve taken a walk of shame out of his apartment the morning after with a smile on his face.
Even crotchety old tollbooth Mike in all his blunt glory would’ve been more than acceptable.
Except no, Jimmy. Not any of them.
And then, all at once when he was least expecting it, it became pretty clear just what kind of massive expectation lowering he was going to have to do to brace himself for the future.
He met Tuco.
“You had business with my cousin, Tuco.”
Jimmy was born with that seared into his skin—has looked at it every day for as long as he can remember—but now that he’s finally heard it out loud, he realizes that he’s the one who talked first. Whatever he just rambled is this guy’s words, so he knows, but that’s all he has to say back to him? He even took the time to think about it!
Not that the thought lasts for long, given it’s blotted out by the horror that yes, that Tuco was indeed the right guy, and so this guy is related to him, and he’s currently trapped in a small garage with him, and just exactly how strongly does that type of crazy run in a family? And that’s not even to mention the big, flashing, neon signs screaming cartel at the top of their lungs—
“T-Tuuco—” he manages to stutter on a shaky exhale, a little short of breath. It’s not the same type of bone deep, nauseous gut punch there was when Chuck stared at him with all that disgust and told him that he wasn’t any kind of real lawyer. That had been a sweaty type of vertigo that gradually got less and less severe with each new type of loathing Chuck showed him, until eventually he sat outside the burned out remains of the death house, inhaling ash, and didn’t feel anything at all.
But right now his throat is tight. He’d really rather not be here.
“Tuco told me about you. Said you had a mouth.” The guy finally rounds on him, smiling, and extends his arm wrist first. “Guess it’s only right I’m the one who finally shuts you up.”
His sleeves are rolled up and Jimmy’s eyes find the words immediately, a few long lines of English babbling that involuntarily become legible to him though the haze in his head.
I-I’ll talk. I have a feeling I know what this is about.
Just to get the ball rolling, please keep in mind that
whatever happened between Mister Varga and myself—
I’m hoping that’s just water under the bridge.
His hand comes out and checks one of Jimmy’s wrists, then undoes the watch on the other. It clatters to the concrete floor, exposing the words underneath. He runs his thumb over them.
Jimmy looks wild eyed over to Nacho, who’s watching the two of them closely, even if his expression doesn’t give anything away. He’s changed somehow from what Jimmy remembers—something’s gone a little dead behind his eyes, maybe. Jimmy meets them for half a second before Tuco’s cousin starts to laugh.
“My alma gemela. A gringo lawyer,” he says, shaking his head. He’s terrifying in some quiet, different way than Tuco that Jimmy can’t put his finger on, even as the deepest reaches of his lizard brain are at full red alert. But on the other hand, he’s ridiculously attractive. Jimmy had never expected that from his soulmate. “The universe can be a weird little bitch, don’t you think?”
Nacho stretches his lips into a rictus of a smile when his boss looks in his direction. “Yeah, Lalo. Never expected he was yours.”
Lalo maybe notices Jimmy’s mortal terror then, because his hands move to gently cup his face. They’re big and calloused but the nails are clean. “So, where’ve you been all this time?”
Jimmy doesn’t know if it’s a rhetorical question or not. “Mainly, uh . . . mainly Cicero, Illinois.”
Lalo laughs, and that’s good. Humor—usually a positive sign in any tense situation. But their eyes stay locked. “’Til Tuco found you. He’s got a temper, huh?”
“But also a—a serious passion for justice—”
“What was it those guys at the house called my abuelita?”
Jimmy can’t even remember off the top of his head anymore. It was only a couple years ago, but so much has happened, has changed, it feels like a different life. That it all happened to a different person.
“Biznatch,” says Nacho.
“Right. The Tuco I know . . . he would’ve skinned them alive and let the buzzards eat their eyeballs. But there you were, my pequeño alma gemela . . . and all it takes is you going ‘blah-blah-blah’ for them to walk out of there.”
“Wheel, actually . . .” he says weakly.
“It’s amazing. And I really think I’m seeing the bigger design at play here, Saul. Why you’re meant for me. Fate doesn’t make mistakes.”
Lalo’s fingers tighten incrementally against his face and he leans in and presses their mouths together. Jimmy gasps—not really out of surprise, just general anxiety—and in goes Lalo’s tongue past his lips.
For some reason, there’s a clear image of Chuck in his head. He’s over in the corner of the garage glaring judgment down his nose at them, because no, it’s not the Cicero stripper or five dollar whore he’d probably imagined was Jimmy’s soulmate—it’s even worse than that. His other half hurts people, likely in ways he can’t even imagine yet.
(jimmy, this is what you do.)
Jimmy doesn’t shut his eyes. He stares into Chuck’s.
And he starts kissing Lalo back.