A/N: You're still awesome. Also, added art and index in the first chapter.
In which Buffy and Roque are not having a love affair.
“Roque,” Clay grumbled, looking half asleep in his chair. It was late and they were all stuck in yet another run-down shithole, waiting for the go-ahead on the latest op. This time they had running water and electricity (which meant less bitching from Summers and less body odor all around), but a shithole is a shithole is a shithole.
Texas and Snake were playing some kind of game on Snake’s laptop and Clay and Roque were watching a Spanish action flick on the tiny, ancient TV Snake had scored somewhere. The colors were fucked and everyone bled green.
Roque hummed a bit in acknowledgement but didn’t move otherwise.
“Go see where Summers is?”
“You go.” Reflex.
“Roque.” Also reflex. They’d been fighting for the better part of ten years. By now, it came easy as breathing.
Roque considered going another round, upping the ante, turning rote into a real fight, but within a minute Clay was going to be a fucker and pull rank, so it wasn’t really worth it. No fun if the other guy didn’t get worked up at all. Roque stood, putting down his beer and made for the door.
As he passed Texas, the man clucked his tongue and muttered, way too loudly, “Someone’s in lo-ove
Roque smacked him upside the head none-too-gently, ignoring the white man’s grumbling. Usually, the captain respected snipers. It took a very special kind of fucked-in-the-head to be able to look through a scope from a safe distance and kill someone in cold blood. Snipers didn’t get the kill-kill-kill, survive-survive-survive thrill that close range combat offered, the very thing that made combat worth it. Roque loved the thrill of blood and danger, loved fighting for his life. Snipers were ice-cold and calculated and the snipers that got dumped with the Losers were usually doubly so.
Texas was the exact opposite of that. The man was a coward through and through and when asked, actually admitted that he’d become a sniper so he’d be far away from danger. Fucking coward. Roque had no respect for the man. At all. Hell, he respected Snake more than he respected Texas and Clay knew it, so all he did was grunt for Roque to get his ass moving.
Roque did and pretended not to enjoy the way Texas only relaxed when he was a safe ten feet away from him.
He found Summers outside in the dark, moving quietly with one of her swords, swinging and slicing at a quarter of her usual speed and looking hot as hell while she was at it.
No, Roque wasn’t in love with the chick. But he had a dick and she had all the right equipment to crank his engine. Plus, blades. Roque had been seven when he’d picked up his first shiv and he’d never been without at least one blade since. Blades were like he was, smooth and deadly, quick and precise. Guns flared white hot when you killed someone with them, but knives stayed cold. The blood dripped off them, didn’t stick. A blade didn’t need to be reloaded, didn’t need to be taken apart and adjusted. A blade meant there was you, and the fucker on the other side and then a gush of hot blood. Nothing else.
Roque loved blades and Summers handled them like she did, too.
He leaned against the wall next to the door, waiting for her to finish whatever it was she was doing. She looked over at him once, silently acknowledging that he was there, and kept moving. Another point in her favor: She could ignore him. Most people couldn’t. He was big and angry and carried the scent of danger like cheap perfume. When he entered a room, people cowered or tensed or, at the very least, kept an eye on him. They were aware
. Even Clay knew where Roque was in relation to him at any given moment when they were in close quarters.
Summers didn’t. She was so sure of herself and her skills that she dismissed him. A man had to respect that kind of arrogance.
Half an hour later, she was still at it and Roque, who had no actual desire to watch green blood pour out of men yelling in a language he spoke only brokenly, had slid down the wall to sit on the ground. He had one of his knives in hand and was wiping at a tiny spot of rust with a random rag he’d fished out of one of his many pockets.
The spot flaked and fell away, finally, and he stuffed the rag back where it came from, flipping the blade and balancing it on one finger. The tip dug sharply into his skin as he moved with the knife, keeping it upright and eventually, gravity won and the knife’s weight pushed the tip through the skin of his finger. He twisted his hand and caught the falling weapon with the other one, licking the blood away as it welled up in a single, perfect drop.
Then, simply out of boredom, he pressed the bleeding digit against the flat of the blade, leaving a perfect print. He licked that way, too and spun the knife yet again, throwing it in the air and catching it with a twist. He trailed the edge of the blade along his forearm, tracing veins that were utterly invisible under his midnight skin. Suddenly, Summers laughed.
He looked up, knife still poised to slit his wrist, and found her standing a few feet away, leaning on her sword like it was a cane.
“What?” he barked, glowering because it was his default expression.
“Did you take a class for that? Serial killers 101?” She nodded toward his knife as she spoke, clarifying.
He grinned at her, all teeth, and ostensibly scratched along his jaw with the tip of the blade. “Comes naturally, baby.”
She raised an eyebrow but said nothing as she moved toward where she had dropped her weapons bag and the sword’s sheath. She pulled out her own rag, wiped the blade clean and then sheathed it and stored it away. She hunted through the bag for a moment, found a four inch Bowie and tucked it away in her waistband.
He kept playing with his own while he watched her, balancing again. He nicked two more fingers, licked the blood away and the blade clean each time.
Then she zipped up the bag and stood, slinging it over her shoulder. She turned to face him and asked, “Is it the steel or the blood?”
He tilted his head to one side, studying her, hiding the blade of his knife behind his forearm. His clothes were black and it was dark. If he closed his eyes now, he’d disappear into the night. Summers looked at him like she could see every inch of him. He was quiet too long and she elaborated, “That fascinates you.”
He stood in one smooth move, magicking his knife away and pushing close, crowding her. Compared to him, she was a child, tiny and breakable. Except that there was more in her blood than human and she could probably break him easily. Tempting, so very tempting. Looking down at her, he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to fuck her or fight her.
“Maybe it’s the kill that does it for me,” he rumbled into her ear and he wasn’t sure if he was finishing his own thought process or answering her question.
She looked up and up and up at him, not stepping back, not cowering, not posturing. Utterly still. “Blood then,” she concluded and then chuckled. “It’s always about the blood.”
He stepped back, annoyed. Fucking bitch never once reacted the way he wanted her to. The only other person who’d ever gotten him spun up like this was Clay, and even that had turned into routine over too many years and too many missions. Roque had to work and work hard these days, to find the fire in their fights that used to come so easily. But being pissed off at Summers was so new and shiny and so much easier than being pissed off at Clay, who knew all Roque’s tricks and more often than not, refused to play. “You’re crazy, girl.”
She smiled, and look, she had teeth, too. “Possibly,” she allowed and stepped right up into his personal space, trailing a hand along his stomach and side as she squeezed past and into the house. Her parting shot: “My sister says I just have an unhealthy tendency to poke at things better left alone.”
She was halfway down the hall when he noticed that she’d lifted his knife.
“Bitch!” he howled.
She spun on her heel, wriggling her fingers in a wave before popping her head into the makeshift break-room and complaining like a twelve-year-old, “Clay! Roque’s calling me names again!”
He’d pretty much settled on ‘fight her’ with an option of ‘kill her’ when he stumbled into bed hours later and hit something hard on the way down.
He dug it out from under his back and find the knife she’d taken from him, with a note attached that simply said, Love, Buffy.
Ridiculous fucking name.
He was back to ‘fuck her’ and cursing her under his breath when Texas chuckled from his bed on the other side of the room and whispered, very loudly, “In lo-ove.”
Roque punched his pillow hard and wondered how pissed Clay would be if he woke up and found his sniper with a slit throat.