It’s Linares that eventually finds Escobar. The search has been going for days, ever since he and Nero disappeared on the night of Chamorro’s return. Nobody knows exactly what happened. Roger disappeared shortly after the incident and Ferutti has disappeared right along with him. Technically, Linares shouldn’t even be out of bed yet, but every time he sees his sisters haunted expression the urge to jump of a bridge in shame grows stronger. But he can’t do that to her either, can he? Not now she’s already lost so much. So he searches, searches for clues while hoping against hope both Nero and Escobar made it to safety, knowing that they likely didn’t.
He finds Escobar at the docks, alive but barely. His breathing is shallow and his face is paler than death itself, and Linares knows instantly there is nothing he can do now. There’s no sign of Nero, but Linares isn’t sure that that’s a good thing. Nero would never leave Escobar behind willingly. Haltingly he sinks to the ground next to his fallen friend, leg hurting with every move he makes. Carefully, he lifts Escobar’s head to his lap, tries not to let his tears fall now, tries to be strong. Escobar’s eyes flutter open.
They don’t see him.
A rattling breath is drawn from Escobar as he stares up at Linares’ face and whispers, so softly that he has to strain to hear it, “Nero?”
A sob escapes him, and he gently strokes Escobar’s hair. His friend is dying. Is he really supposed to tell him that the man he so obviously loves so much isn’t there with him?
Escobar swallows, tries to speak again and chokes a little as his lips are painted red with blood. “I thought,” he coughs, “I thought I told you to run… please… I need you to run.”
Linares feels his heart break. He swallows, clears his throat, and lowers his voice to a pitch he knows resembles that of his former boss, his friend, his sister’s lover: “It’s alright, Escobar. We’re safe now. I came back for you.”
Escobar smiles and his eyes fall closed, he leans into Linares touch.
“Oh,” he rasps, as his blood-red lips brush Linares wrist, “good. Idiot.”
Linares smiles sadly and just holds him, trying to provide what little comfort he can, even if that comfort is a lie. Slowly, Escobar’s breathing seems to even out, fading further and further until Linares can barely hear it. He’s shaking a little, the pain of in his leg manifesting itself more and more in his current position, but he refuses to let go of Escobar until—
Escobar gasps, and a pained sound escapes him as more blood spills down his chin. For just a moment, his eyes flutter open again and he looks Linares straight in the eyes with a glazed and unfocussed expression.
“Nero… you must know that I love you…”
Linares’ heart breaks all over again, but as Escobar lets out his final breath and goes still in his arms, he makes sure the last thing his friend hears is: “I know. I love you too.”