Jake had dreams of Cougar getting shot, of dying even. Nightmares would be a better way to describe them especially the ones where Cougar was shot while beside him and Jake didn't have the time to save him. The one that really made him sick--literally praying to the porcelain goddess--had been the one where Cougar sacrificed himself to save Jake by blowing up an ocean oil drilling platform. Jake didn't know where that scenario had come from--probably from a mission that Clay had passed on, but that had left some type of impression on his subconscious.
Those were all before Cougar had become his lover. Before Cougar knew he was a vampire. Now the nightmares were worse because it would all be easier if Cougar was a vampire, but they hadn’t gotten around to having that conversation about forever yet.
Jake kept putting the conversation off because he was afraid that Cougar wouldn't want forever. Or worse, that five years, ten years, sometime in the future, Cougar would regret the decision or no longer want to be with him. He felt like a basket case. He was over a hundred and fifty years old and for the first time in a very long time he didn't know what to do.
Cougar had been watching Jake for the last month. His lover was worried about something. He had not missed the nightmares while on missions, or the fact that Jake seemed a little jumpier than normal. Clay kept yelling at Jake to stop drinking the RedBull. Cougar knew it wasn't the RedBull, that it was something else.
He sat next to Jake on the helo that would take them to their next mission. Once the blades were turning and no one else would be able to hear Cougar leaned over and spoke into Jake's ear. "We need to talk."
Jake gave him a deer in the headlights look that Cougar clearly interpreted as you're breaking up with me. He shook his head no and Jake seemed to relax, before tensing again. Cougar answered the second unasked question with another shake of the head. No, they haven't figured it out.
He saw Jake let out an unneeded breath and relax into the padded bench. Cougar smiled and squeezed Jake's knee before stretching out his legs, leaning back and tilting his hat forward, grabbing sleep while he could.
Jake came back to reality screaming and with the taste of blood in his mouth. The mission had gone bad as soon as they'd stepped from the helo and gotten worse as they moved on.
First the landing had been off by more than ten clicks putting them further away from their objective but making them a target for the local drug lord who thought a joint DEA taskforce was making a raid. The helo had been less than fifty feet off the ground when it had been taken out by a rocket from the south.
The wreckage had slammed to the ground just as trucks had started to pour from the surrounding forest. The Losers had already started running for cover as machine gunfire started in their direction. Roque pulled his own gun and began returning cover fire before following them.
The forest on this side of the open field was thick and hard to pass through but it was slowing down their pursuers as much as it was slowing down their escape. They veered to the right, each of them trying to remember the topographical map they had studied but it didn't help, they were just too far outside of where they were supposed to be.
Then everything suddenly moved in fast forward. The forest opened up to one side to reveal a cliff with no way down without ropes, unless you were willing to risk jumping into the river below and hoping it was deep enough. Pooch and Clay started firing their guns. Cougar took a shot to the stomach and was surrounded by thugs even as Roque started to fire his weapon again. Jake could hear Cougar's heartbeat and knew the other man was still alive. He turned and picked off two of the thugs giving Clay and Pooch enough time to run for cover into the woods and head off in a northeast direction. Hopefully toward their preset pickup location. He took out another and signaled for Roque to retreat and that he would follow.
He barely felt it as the first bullet ripped through his vest and chest--motherfuckers were using armor piercing ammo. The second took him in the stomach. He saw the look on Roque's face that said Jake wasn't going to survive just as a third shot took him high in the shoulder and pushed him backward over the cliff.
Jake didn't remember the landing but by the wet clothes he knew he’d hit the water at some point even if he was lying on an embankment when he woke. He had dislocated his shoulder at some point and that was going to be worse than coughing up the bullet he could feel moving through his body.
He was also hungry. Jake was glad he had fed before going on the mission, but that had all basically been used to heal him and right now he'd take a rabbit or deer if it came by and he really hated animal blood.
Jake struggled to stand and came face-to-face with a man that smelled of poppies and drugs and Cougar's blood. Jake didn't even flinch as he used what strength remained and lunged for the man like a hungry animal. His teeth slid into the man's neck and Jake began to drink.
The blood was tainted but Jake wasn't picky at the moment. He also knew this man wouldn't be able to tell him where Cougar was because Jake had been a little off on his aim and by the time he was done the man was in the last moments of his life. Honestly, Jake thought the man got off too easy. The only thing the man had going for him was he'd been able to supply Jake with new weapons and a general direction in which to go.
Cougar didn't have much confidence that he was going to be rescued before he bled out. After getting shot and being surrounded he hadn't been able to see much, but he had seen everyone but Jake make a break for the woods. He knew his injuries were fatal and he knew Clay knew it too. It meant they couldn't risk the rescue for what would most likely be a dead body.
He'd also seen Jake being shot and falling over the cliff. Cougar floated on the pain for a moment. There would be no forever now and he'd wanted forever with Jake.
The slap across the face from the Evil Drug Lord, as Jake would have called the man, barely registered. Neither did the sounds outside the cell. The sounds of screaming and gunfire.
Nothing registered until the door of his cell was forced off its hinges and bright, vibrant blues eyes stared into his. Jake looked like an angel and death all wrapped into one. At least his last sight would be of Jake.
"Oh no," he heard Jake say through the fog that was getting thicker and thicker to concentrate through. "Stay with me Carlos."
He felt Jake's hands untying the ropes and laying him gently on the ground and all he could do was look at Jake's face as the other man begged him not to go.
"Please stay. Stay with me. Please don't go. Come on Cougar. You said we would talk about forever. Well I want to talk now."
Cougar could taste blood on his lips even as he tried to grin at his lover. "Forever," he whispered, recalling the conversation they'd never had and both had been putting off until until the future.
Jake leaned down and kissed his lips. "Stay with me?" Jake asked again and Cougar couldn't figure out what his lover meant. He was dying, there would be no forever. Cougar blinked his eyes and tried to focus. He was missing something, forgetting something.
"Just say yes," Jake told him and there were tears--blood tinged tears running down Jake's face.
"Forever," Cougar whispered, too tired to keep his eyes open any longer.
The sound Jake made he knew wasn't very human. The mess he had left of the Evil Drug Lord's compound looked like a pack of wild animals had come through. He wasn't proud of the mess and it was a reminder of just what he was capable of.
The Evil Drug Lord had barricaded himself in his office and for now Jake would let him feel safe. If Cougar didn't wake up, all bets were off. No, that wasn't true. All bets were off no matter what. This little compound wouldn't exist when he walked out of it. Neither would Jacob Jensen. Without Cougar Jake didn't want to return to the Losers. He didn't want to do much of anything.
He definitely couldn't go home to Jen and Becca. He wouldn't put his family at risk with how he was feeling right now. How he would be feeling when he left this country. He didn't want to explain to Clay and the others either. He didn't want to see the gleam in Clay's eyes as the other man thought of how to use Jake as a weapon--as a killing machine. It had happened once before and that was why Jake preferred being a radio operator or tech.
Contrary to how he was going to leave this compound, or the drug runner’s house months back, Jake didn't really enjoy killing people. He did what was necessary to protect those around him. Maybe it was time to leave the military-life for a while. Maybe it was time he left life alone for a while.
That last thought was interrupted when Cougar moaned and amber-colored eyes opened to stare into his.
Cougar's hearing had always been good, now it was better. So was his sense of smell. He could smell Jake and hear a very slow, rhythmic noise that after nights falling asleep with his head on Jake's chest he knew to be Jake's very slow heart beat.
His body ached but he could feel his torn muscles repairing, which was strange and intriguing at the same time. More importantly, he felt hungry. He opened his eyes and looked up into Jake's almost crystal blue ones. There was fear and some other emotion that Cougar was still too out of it to decipher.
"Oh thank god," Jake started. "You're alive. Awake. You have very pretty eyes. Not that you didn't have nice eyes before but now they're, you know, and I'm so going to have to teach you how to control that." Jake paused and then frowned and looked a little sad. "This is what you wanted, right? I mean you didn't say no and you said forever. I mean...forever doesn't have to be with me. Just knowing you're out there..."
Cougar grabbed Jake's head and brought their lips together. It silenced Jake's rambling instantly. "Forever," Cougar said, breaking the kiss before he shifted his body around so that he could sit up and then stand. It took him a moment to find his center.
"I smell blood," he said. "Lots of it."
Jake looked down at the ground, pushing the toe of his shoe into the hay that had covered the floor. "I may have gone a little loco trying to find you," the other man admitted not looking up. “The Evil Drug Lord is still locked in his office and this place needs to burn, exist no more, before we leave."
Cougar nodded. Taking a moment to look over Jake's body, noticing the three bullet holes in the clothing, and the blood. The others thought them both dead then. "And after we leave here?" Cougar asked.
He was surprised when all Jake did was shrug. It was very un-Jake like, especially when they were alone. He looked at Jake a little closer and that was when he saw it, Jake was on edge and holding it all in. Cougar highly doubted that there would be anyone left alive when the two of them departed from this area. He was positive that had he not lived Jake would have...he didn't want to think about it and glanced back at Jake.
"They will no doubt report us as MIA or KIA. I mean," Jake started, referring to Clay and the other Losers. "I got shot three times, at least once with armor piercing bullets and fell over a cliff, and you..."
Cougar put his finger on Jake's mouth to stop him. They would deal with later, later. For now they needed to get out of here, deal with the Evil Drug Lord and the compound. And he was shaky, which he was positive meant he needed to feed. He started coughing and had to spit out the bullet that had nearly killed him. That was disgusting.
"We need to find you fresh blood," Jake said, seeming to have come to the same conclusion. "And I know just where to find it."
Jake led the way out of the cell. He had turned Cougar. He had turned his best friend. His lover. Oh god, if he actually needed to breathe he would be hyperventilating right now. He still wasn't sure if it had been what Cougar had wanted or if he'd just been projecting his own desire into the answer. He was afraid to ask. But Cougar had kissed him, right? Had said forever too. That had to be a good thing. Oh god, he was panicking.
He was so lost in his own thoughts as they moved through the compound that Cougar had to pull him back from the hallway junction just before several bullets impacted the wall where his head would have been. Well, at least Cougar's fresh blood issue wouldn't be a problem now. The Evil Drug Lord had minions.
He grinned back at Cougar and then rushed the guard. A snap and pop and the machine gun was falling from the man's hand. Then Cougar was there, taking the man from him and sliding his fangs into the man's neck. It was quick.
"Not good," Cougar stated with a grimace, letting the body fall to the ground.
Jake really tried, but he couldn't help himself, he laughed. "Yeah, some of them have been sampling the goods."
Cougar's grimace increased as he wiped his mouth and tongue on the only clean part of his shirt.
"Blood is blood," Jake said, trying not to laugh again. At least Cougar missed the whole opium den issue from the late eighteen hundreds. "The buzz'll pass in a minute." He turned to walk towards the Evil Drug Lord's office but was stopped by Cougar.
Cougar pushed Jake away from the dead minion until the other man's back lightly tapped against the wall and then he moved in to capture Jake's lips. The kiss was long, longer than it would have been if either of them truly needed to breathe. He broke the kiss only when he heard movement in an office further down the hall.
"How many do you hear?" he asked, running his hand down Jake's chest. "And we need to find clean clothes and gear before you pull a Roque on this place."
Jake snorted at the Roque comment. "Two, I hear two."
He nodded. That was all he heard as well. If there had been any other survivors they had fled the compound--probably with stories of a blue-eyed demon.
Cougar had always let his senses tell him where things were, it was what made him a good tracker and sniper. Now he knew he'd be even better. He could tell what part of the room the two people were in. That they were both adults and that one kept fiddling with the firing mechanism on a gun; switching it from single to rapid fire and back again. The other man was typing, probably moving funds.
He signaled Jake and they both instantly went into mission mode. Clearing the hallway and then knocking down the office door, avoiding the sweep of the bullets from the machine gun, and taking out the two men in the office. The whole thing took less than three minutes.
Jake sat down at the desk and started typing on the computer. "Interpol is going to get an interesting email full of details on people they hadn't even suspected and I have a new offshore account."
"Take what you need," Cougar said. "We can gear up as we exit. Then find a place to hold up for a few days."
Jake rooted through the office. He found a satellite phone, a laptop that was a few years old but it would do, and a safe full of cash. Cougar came back in with an empty satchel, a couple of changes of clothes, and a can of gasoline.
"Should fit," Cougar said, handing over a pair of jeans and a button up shirt.
The two men changed clothes, filled the satchel with Jake's finds and then Cougar splashed gasoline around the room, before trailing the can behind them as they left the building. Along the way they picked up assorted weaponry and other supplies they might need for a few days in the jungle.
Out in one of the garages Jake found a box of C-4 and three detonators. He'd been hoping for a bigger explosion, but if they spilt enough gas and whatever the Evil Drug Lord had been using to cut his drugs with then the compound should cease to exist once it was lit up.
Once the C-4 was planted and gas valves all over the compound left open, Jake climbed into the driver's seat of the jeep Cougar had prepped. "We've got three minutes to get clear," he said, putting the jeep into gear and speeding out of the compound.
Two minutes and fifty-three seconds later the compound blew and Jake stopped the jeep to watch. It was a little Roque-ish.
Jake nodded, then turned further around in his seat. "Carlos," he asked, softly. "Are you okay with this?"
"Forever," was Cougar's only reply.
Jake turned back around and put the jeep into drive. They would worry about what they were going to do later. For now, the two of them deserved a few days vacation.