TITLE: Occupational Risks
FANDOM: Southland
PAIRING: John Cooper/Cesar (I'm still not sure how to spell his name)
GENRE: Slash.
PROMPT: burning.
SUMMARY: Cesar is a fireman.
WARNINGS: severe burning?
NOTES: nope.
DISCLAIMER:don't own, just burrow.

That had always been a possibility, a professional risk, just like the chance of getting shot everyday John got out of bed and put on his uniform. It didn't help preparing him, though.

Cesar's mouth parted and he whispered against his pillow, in a groggy voice, "How ugly do I look?"

Like shit, John thought. He answered, "Alive."

"Prob'ly good." Cesar muttered back, wincing. There was no burning marks near his face, but the bandages were wrapped around his neck and all the way down to right arm (God, it'd be a miracle if they didn't have to amputate it) and his back, disappearing under the covers. It had to hurt.

John patted his good hand. Thumbed it. "What they giving you?"

Cesar offered him a smirk half covered by a pillow. "Good stuff." He tried to chuckle, and it ended with a sob he was quick to swallow back. Always so tough.

A nurse shoved her head into the room. "Officer Cooper?"

"Yes, yes." John nodded. His fifteen minutes were up and it was way pass visiting hours.

And he wasn't exactly family, not in the hospital policy kind of way.

Nor in the most liberal kind of way either, come to think of it. Wasn't it for his badge and his little half-lie ("I've got some people in the department who are really worried about him, ma'am.") he'd have probably been forced to wait until the next day.

John squeezed his hand tighter. "You gonna be alright?" He asked, in a low voice.

Cesar opened the one eye that was not covered by the pillow. It looked redish and far away, still lost into the fire that would very likely cost him a considerable part of his body. He pleaded, "You come back?"

They had been down that road before, and Cesar should know better than to think he could rely on his messed up ex-partner-occasional-fuck-buddy on such matters. Last time, it hadn't go so well - and last time Cesar had not been set on fire.

And John knew the right thing to do was to say "no" and walk away to let him be taken care of by someone who didn't just got out of rehab and was trying to save whatever was left of his career.

But John didn't have the heart to be rational and made the promise before he could think about the consequences.

Now he could only hope this time he'd be able to keep it.