Cougar likes silence, revels in it, breathes it in and accepts it. It is the moment before he takes the shot, when everything slows down and is clear as crystal. He holds his breath and there is nothing but the beating of his heart and the target. Cougar likes silence… except when he doesn’t.
Silence is also a beloved team mate bleeding out in a puddle as the rain falls around them washing out color and blanketing them in silence as the sound of gunfire fades into the distance and all he can hear is the beating of his heart and the frantic rush of his breath as he presses down, a silent chant of don’t die, don’t you dare fucking die filling his mind as he watches the light fading from blue eyes. It is the feel of hands pulling him away and being held against a hard chest as arms crush him in an inescapable grip and Jensen is lifted and taken away from him.
Silence is sitting head bowed as the wind whips around them tangling his sweaty hair into knots, hat crushed in bloody, calloused hands, teeth clenched until they ache to keep a wail of loss and anguish locked away tight in his heart as the ground drops away and the chopper blades beat don’t die, don’t you dare fucking die in time with his heartbeat. He stares blankly at the man who gets in his face, mouth moving but there is nothing but that awful silence and the steady chant of don’t die, don’t you dare fucking die, not even when the man shakes him sharply, eyes dark and intent.
Silence is standing in a graveyard as a family is lowered down into the cold, dark dirt and he flinches away from the memory and the chant of don’t die, don’t you dare fucking die swells into a crescendo drowning out every other sound. It is sitting beside a crisp white bed in a gleaming room of sharp smells that make his nose itch and the only sound is the whoosh, woosh, woosh of a ventilator and Jensen is as pale as the sheets he lies on and so still and silent so he sits and waits in silence and the steady chant of don’t die, don’t you dare fucking die rolls on and on and on.
Sound and color return with the opening of blue eyes and a groan of pain. The world rushes in as he is pushed away and a swirl of people get between he and Jensen. He bites back a growl of rage and fear as they do… something that brings back the silence and he locks the wail tight, tight, tight behind clenched teeth, dark eyes squeezed shut and hiding behind the brim of a hat.
When the room is once more still he settles back down to wait with the chant of don’t die, don’t you dare fucking die once more filling his ears with silence. Others come and go on quiet feet, clumsy pats on his shoulder but they are little more than shadows beside him as he waits in silence for sound and light to return with blue eyes and a beloved voice.
The silence is so heavy he feels crushed beneath its weight and he can barely breathe and the chant of don’t die, don’t you dare fucking die is a prayer, a distant murmur and it is so dark that even the memory of light is dim and faded. There is a sigh and the quiet brush of eyelashes against his hand is a gift. He lifts his head as hope pierces him like a knife's blade slicing through the silence. “Cou…gar?” he whispers. And it is silent no more.