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World on Fire

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Roque comes back with blood in his eye, burns on a good portion of his back, and in a whole lot of fucking pain. This is not his first roll in the dirt with death. This isn’t even the third time to be exact. Roque might be masochistic.

He comes back from the dead with Max in the ground. He has no hand in the delivery of his head, and there is a clear conscience on that. He wants no part in it is what he has been saying since day one but Clay never does quite listen. Even said out loud in the evening air on those Bolivian streets, it is not a life time ago.

It is fucking infuriating is what it is.

You’re losing me. 

If Roque is a desperate man, there might have even been a please tucked in there somewhere like a slip of the tongue, like a pound of flesh cut away to make room for the fucking disaster coming their way. Even then, Clay isn’t about to catch it.

This is why he tells him in the first place.

A hand balled up into a fist and a palm flattened for a sharp stinging slap across the face, these are what Clay’s learned to catch. Roque has been with him long enough to know that if there is one thing Clay is going to be right about, this is that.

Roque is going to die very badly.

Aisha remains with the team. Jensen’s niece is made captain of her soccer team. Pooch’s boy is old enough to walk five steps without falling over. And, Cougar is currently marking him as a dead man walking from where he stands behind Clay.

“What the fuck are you doing alive?”

Roque thinks laughing might be the wrong answer. But Clay is asking the wrong question to begin with.

“Think you should be asking why I am here, Colonel.”

Clay has bullets in Roque’s name. Clay also has Cougar with his gun leveled at his chest instead of head. Roque never does tell him a thing, that he has every intention not to die for Clay, that if it means he gets Clay’s blood on his hands, he isn’t beneath that. It fucking bites, deep, is what Clay isn’t about to admit to. He laughs instead.

“Think you have a lot more to answer for than just that, Captain.”

Walking away loses a lot of its meaning when this is neither the first nor the last time.

Roque is very much sadistic when Clay’s voice can't help but drop at the sound of that last word from his own mouth.