"He had it coming."
She's known that the words are coming. They've been hanging on the wind for days now, but they've chased her far longer than that. Few people have ever gotten close enough to offer opinion, even less who would dare, but she's heard them nonetheless. Aisha isn't a fool. She's always prided herself on ruthless honesty, on telling even herself the absolute truth. She's known for years where the money came from. She knows how much blood went into fueling the lifestyle her father had enjoyed. She's known how much of it came from the truly innocent.
This is the first time that, truly, she's felt the conviction of her inaction.
Perhaps that, of all of it, is what fuels her rage the most now.
Clay killed her father, Max was going to, but it was a bullet she should have fired years ago.
It's never a thought she's permitted herself before, but she's been expecting them from that first moment in the cemetery. Something about Clay's team making it an inevitability.
Even when they hadn't known the truth of her identity, she'd expected each man to look her in the eyes and know. Perhaps they did, but she never expected the words to come from Jensen. Yet, she can't imagine it being any of the others.
She expects her voice to be cold, quietly furious, and deadly in the way she's become accustomed. Aisha's always been the knife's edge, sharp enough to cut air and bleed a man dry in seconds. What she expects is a far cry from how she actually sounds. Jensen doesn't know her well enough to hear the faintest note of guilt amidst the disbelief, but to her it might as well be a shout from the rooftops.
Jensen nods. They're just over the Arizona border, the sun going down, and he's standing there with not even a trace of fear. Impressive. Stupid, but impressive. "Yeah, he did. Your father was an asshole, Aisha."
"He was still my father." The argument and the denial is cold comfort, but she can feel the cloying awareness of her own culpability. Both, however, pale in the reality of these words coming from Jensen.
All arguments sound hollow as she remembers the picture of his niece. A pretty little girl with a chipped tooth and freckles dusting her cheeks. The same age as the children her father had preferred in his business. She imagines that little girl stepping off a bus, carrying drugs, and she can see the same image reflected in Jensen's eyes.
"He was your sperm donor," Jensen says, icy. "Asshole uses kids like that? He isn't anybody's father."
Aisha should kill him for this. She's armed and the others are far enough away. She could kill him and be long gone before Clay or Cougar could put up much of a fight.
She does nothing. That, more than anything, is the admission she'll never make.
"What do you want, Jensen?"
He moves closer. His glasses are smudged and his arm is bandaged. He looks like ten miles of bad road and nothing like the expert soldier she knows him to be. It would be easier if he did and Aisha isn't of any mind to examine why. "You can stay," he says, as if he had a say in the matter.
Perhaps he does.
She looks for Clay in the gathering dark and finds him disappearing into the distance. The set of his shoulders, the defeat, says Jensen just might. She turns to him and nods. "But?"
"Cancel the dance with Clay." Jensen says. "Fact of the matter is, any of us had a shot at Daddy dearest? We would've taken it. He had it coming, Aisha. The man used kids. Max means shit next to that." And you let him.
She hears it, however much he doesn't actually say it.
"And you think I don't know that?" she asks. "You think I agreed with him?"
"He's dead. There's no point in arguing with the dead." It hasn't stopped her from trying, though. Her father's ghost has kept her company these many days, when the blood and the rage hasn't drowned out his voice, and she's argued with him until her voice failed. "He's my father, Jensen."
And a monster and, maybe, so is she.
Jensen doesn't flinch when her fingers brush her gun. He just stares at her through those smudged lenses, waiting to see what she'll do next.
Aisha closes her eyes. It's the only opportunity she'll ever give them.
Seconds tick into minutes and, when she looks again, Jensen is walking away.
She takes it for what it is and goes to find Clay.