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He Should be Dead

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His ears are ringing, but he's not even singed. He shouldn’t be alive.

It takes a minute before he can see again, and he's feeling for his weapons while he checks himself. No pain, nothing broken, no limbs gone. No gun.

It's still hazy – so much noise, the explosion, someone screaming – was that him? Then a flash of green and a strange, rushing shift, and he's here, dazed and deafened, but not dead.

He should be dead.

"You disappoint me, Roque," says a soft voice, and he whirls, grabbing for the absent gun.

"Max?" he croaks, and he's dead for sure – Max won't tolerate failure. He feels relief.

"In a manner of speaking," says Max, but his face is elongating, morphing into something else, someone else, green eyes and horns and a cloak – what is this, a fucking singing telegram? Roque wants to laugh, tell the dickwad to fuck off with his costumes and his stupid goddam helmet, but he can't look away from those eyes.

The man in green rests a strange staff on his chest, and Roque's suddenly on his knees, staring up in awe. "Yeah,"  he says, "Lord, please."

"Oh, I think not," says his god. "Death would be far too easy an out for you." He smiles, eyes glittering. "No, you may yet prove useful. I'll keep you around a while longer."

His features and clothing shift back and he's Max again but Roque remembers the god now, and all he feels is shame. He failed; he must make amends. "Let me," he begs, voice hoarse. He crawls forward a little on his knees, dares a tentative hand to the god's thigh. "Please, I'm sorry, I can do better, please let me–"

Loki looks down, one brow cocked, smirking. "Don't tempt me, Captain. No, I was thinking you could step into Wade's shoes as Head of Security. There's a great deal to make up for, but if you're very good I may grant your wish, eventually." He draws a long finger across Roque's throat, and Roque tips his head back, baring his neck for the knife that doesn't come. Loki laughs.

Roque knows he's done wrong but it's all mixed up in his head. He can't feel guilt about the team, not here with his god. I should be dead  he thinks again. It's the only thing that makes sense.

He's going to have to earn it.



- end -