He remembered the first time he thought he was going to die.
Blood reddened his white shirt, ran over his chest and shoulders, wet and warm and somehow wrong — the sight of blood disturbs some; the sight of one’s own blood disturbs more.
Rain washed down against him, plastering cheap white fabric to pale, scarred skin, black hair to sharp cheeks that had lost their roundness.
On the rooftop, he looked up at the grey sky and watched the clouds wash past, counted the helicopters that sliced by as he tasted the stinging cold rain while it fell on lips gone blue.
Colder and colder and colder, but he didn’t dare to close his eyes.
When the rest of his team made it to the rendezvous point, they saw him floating there in what seemed a lake of his own blood, the coming dark and the falling rain leaving him half-drowned in an impossibility of steaming red.
He smiled at a grey-eyed field medic while she took his pulse and used her com to curse out the team that should’ve covered him, and then he passed out, certain that either way, death or salvation, he wasn’t alone anymore.
His eyes stayed open, sharply blue. Watching, unseeing.