“So, how did you survive the bullet?” I asked Vasquez, when we'd set up camp for the night.
“Well, in a manner of speaking, I didn't,” he replied, sitting back in the sand.
“You're telling me you were resurrected?”
“Midnight, I am into some crazy shit, but not that crazy,” he laughed.
“You're telling this to a woman who knows exactly how crazy you are?”
“Look, I was... what's the word? Revived. I was revived by certain methods.”
“By who? With what?”
“I'm afraid I can't tell you. I just woke up in the forest one day, looking around for that bloodless fucking niece of yours. And the cute little puppy you sent my way.”
“Bex and Aldrin have their charm.”
“Mm, shit-loads of it!”
I scoffed, “I honestly don't know if I should be flattered or exacting justice.”
“Probably the second, amiga, but go on.”
“You would go through subduing my vampire niece and my Romulite son, holding them prisoner - feeding them, tending to them whilst probably not even touching them - just to bring me here?”
“How do you know I wouldn't do it for the money?”
“I was married to a pirate, Estaban. What's money to a man who takes anything he pleases when the fancy strikes him?”
Vasquez sighed, and intentionally avoiding the subject, said, “So. This chicken-hunt of yours. I thought you already knew where the Fountain was?”
“I did. Thomas would have been able to take me there again, no questions - but I haven't got that kind of skill or memory. And to be honest, I wasn't really paying much attention to my surroundings on the way there. But our map has been taken by a man named Kenobi. I don't actually know what his first name is, but he's a Son of the Sword. Have you heard of him?”
“Never heard the name, but I know the fuckers you're talking about. Self-righteous, holier-than-thou pussies.”
“I'm not entirely sure what image that description is supposed to bring to mind...”
“How many of them are looking for the Fountain?”
“As far as I know, just Kenobi. Why? Do they usually send more than one man?”
Vasquez shrugged, “I don't know.”
I paused, “How long do you think it will take to get there?”
“A day's hike. We aren't too far.”
I hoped that was long enough.
“So... Who's your friend?” Vasquez asked, gesturing to a snoozing Cecil.
“My son's father,” I said and then laughed, “Not in the way you're thinking.”
“I'm not surprised by this,” Vasquez said.
“By what? That this is my son's father?”
“No. That he's here with you now. The Sons of the Sword and the Romulites have been at war for generations.”
“I hear stories. I don't know how big it is, or why they're fighting - but they are.”
“I guess that's why Black Cæsar agreed to bring us here then. He didn't seem too happy with shipping a human to Tortuga.”
“Wait, you met Black-fucking-Cæsar! That gruff old wolf! I picked a fight with him once because-”
“You're that crazy.”
Vasquez snapped his fingers, “I'm that crazy. And he nearly broke my back in two!”
“I don't know why you do idiot things like this - for the sake of show or to have an interesting ten-sentence story to tell.”
“I've lived a long fucking time, Midnight. Daring feats and worldly praise lose meaning quickly when you've lived as long as I have.”
I gazed at him. I knew Vasquez had a pensive side, but I could rarely bring it out.
“Why do you continue to live then? Why not to succumb to death like every other normal person?”
He regarded me with a searching gaze and said, “Even a man like me is allowed to have hopes. And when a man has hopes, he is driven to have fears.”
“Are... you saying you're afraid to die?”
“I don't understand men, or women, that aren't, hermana. I've lived a long time. And I can't remember a day that I didn't regret.”