Mexico changed a man, with its dust roads and half-spoken legends. Crossover with "Once Upon a Time in Mexico." Slash.
Mexico, he felt, was a whore. Raw and vulgar and beautiful, with legs wide open to welcome you in. You could fuck her over anyway you wanted, but in the end you always paid. In the end, she'd fuck you over twice as hard.
Schuldig felt an odd affinity for her.
Mexico changed you, with its dust roads and half-spoken legends in dim bars. It was hard to distinguish the real and the unreal, what was true and what was false, simply because most people themselves were not sure. One step forward was two steps back, and if you were lucky the only thing you'd put your foot in was a pile of shit. There were worse things, with skeletal faces and devil's eyes. There were stories that made you shudder and smiles that made you reach for a gun.
And if you didn't have one, you died like a dog.
He wasn't sure why Crawford had dragged him half way across the world. He wasn't sure why they had left Nagi alone with Farfarello and as much cash as he needed. It wasn't a vacation. Crawford didn't believe in vacations. So it was work, but Schuldig was clueless and itching for a drink, because they always said 'Don't drink the water,' and the telepath had no problem with that.
Mexico was hot and dry, a different type of hell than the one Farfarello spoke of so often. Crawford left on business every morning and returned by afternoon. So Schuldig spent the early hours staring at the ceiling, sorting through the thoughts buzzing about him and counting the cracks that lined the walls. It was too hot to go out, after all, and the oracle had told him to stay out of trouble. To stay unnoticed.
The only way Schuldig could truly do that was to stay out of sight.
So when Crawford came back to the hotel room, irritated and on edge, Schuldig would pull him in and end the boredom, end the frustration, for a couple hours at least. Give and take, back and forth. Nothing was free between them. It suited them just fine.
"Why are we here?" Schuldig asked, watching smoke rise lazily to the ceiling. "We're not here to rob a bank or something, are we?"
Crawford snorted. "No."
"Good. I hate robbing banks." The German idly flicked his lighter on before snapping it closed. "Then why are we here, Herr Crawford?"
The black-haired man sat up on the bed, weighing his options, before giving a mental shrug. "I foresaw a new talent here. One that could be useful in the future."
One slim red eyebrow rose in question. "Half-way across the world for some psi? I didn't think anyone but me was worth that. So where is this guy anyway? We've been here for almost a week." A long, hot, boring week. The biggest deal around here was the cartels, and they worried the telepath about as much as Siberian on a bad day.
Crawford frowned. "I don't know. I can't locate him precisely." A fact that irritated him to no end.
"And you didn't tell me this before because..."
"It wasn't time. You would have been caught in a fight between cartels and injured for an undetermined amount of time. I can't afford to have you handicapped," Crawford told him, and Schuldig got the impression that the older man had already planned out this conversation.
"Now, I have some information. And tomorrow we go hunting." Crawford stood and rummaged for a clean shirt. "Try not to be too...you. We don't need the attention."
Schuldig snorted. "You think Esset has people here? Mexico is a taboo territory for them, Brad. Too many things happen that they can't control." Ghosts, spirits, howling winds that crawled into your skin.
He wished they could have spent the week in Cancun.
At least now he had a chance to wear the cowboy hat he had brought along. Everyone wore them around here.
All right, so most of them weren't leopard print, but that was a minor detail...
If Mexico was a woman, then this was her. She must have been beautiful, some once upon a time ago, before long black hair had become streaked with grey. Before lines had been carved into her face, around her mouth and black, black eyes. Those eyes were what Schuldig was currently staring into, old and wise and so very dark. A window to the soul, they say, but he didn't believe in souls.
Severina had been a prostitute and a fortuneteller, wrapped in brightly woven threads and rattling with every move she made. Bones, beads, shells. Still twisted into her hair, dangling from her bracelets. She lived in one room of a crowded building, the air hazy with smoke and smelling of incense and sand. And when he telepath reached into her mind, it was cool water that didn't ripple under his touch.
Schuldig couldn't help but stare.
/Sit,/ was the first thing she had rasped when Crawford and Schuldig had stood at the doorway. /And close the door./
/We are looking for information./ Crawford was never one to circle around an issue if he didn't have to. He stood in front of the worn table, littered with herbs and candles, and stared down at the woman. Schuldig scanned the building in a matter of seconds before coming to stand to Crawford's right.
The woman stared back impassively. /Sit,/ she repeated and Schuldig was surprised when Crawford obeyed. Casting his leader a look, he followed suit.
The American sat perfectly straight, not letting his gaze waver. /We want information. I'm told that you can give it to us./
/I can give you much information, American. Whether it is what you seek or not.../ The old woman shrugged.
Crawford's face hardened and the telepath admired her courage. Of course, the lighting was terrible in the room; Crawford's glare must have lacked its normal strength. "You are Severina, correct?" he said, switching to English.
"That is what I am called." Schuldig blinked at her change in language. Black eyes looked at him and seemed to smile. "Just as you are Guilty."
"What?" he started, but Crawford cut him off.
"I'm told that you have what we need. We're willing to pay you."
Severina leaned forward in her chair, so that candlelight flickered over her suddenly harsh features. "What you seek is poison. Something deadly, a venom." She coughed twice, as if tasting that poison, and reached for a worn deck of cards. "The Knight of Wands. Wheel of Fortune. The Tower. The Devil." The last card remained unturned.
Schuldig's hand itched.
/You will find him where he fell, in a town that saw the dead rise. And the mindbreaker will know him. He is where blood still stains the streets./ The woman flipped the last card over and her eyes widened slightly, but Schuldig could read nothing save for that cool water feeling.
"That's it?" he asked out loud. Gott, Crawford, where did you find her anyway? Is she even a psi?
Sources. And no. Something far older. "If you can't tell us more..."
"You should know that none can foretell all of the Fates' plans." Severina took a herb from atop the table, holding it close to a candle until the flame caught and it burned. Slowly, to black ashes. "Not even he, though soon he shall see more than he ever has." She blew the ashes into the air and Schuldig struggled to keep track of each particle. /Now, if you will, leave./
And they left, because even Crawford could think of nothing else to add. One street away from that smoke-filled room and Schuldig laughed. "What the fuck was /that/?"
"That," Crawford said, adjusting his glasses, "was our second step."
"You actually believe her?"
The German found himself nodding. He adjusted his hat, tipping it so that the sun was off his face, and smirked at Crawford's irritated sigh. "Does this guy have a name, anyway?"
Sands was having a bad day.
He had had a bad day and a bad week and a bad fuckin /year/. He had walked his beat, thrown his shadows, and ended up flat on his ass because some cunt had read Oedipus one too many times.
He fuckin hated Mexico.
And hell if he couldn't leave.
Not with his old pals at Langley waiting to fuck him with a two-by-four. Not with his money long gone. Not when Jangle-ass himself came stopping by now and then for whatever hero-syndrome remained, chains a-jingling and guitar case a-swinging. Not with his fuckin eyes drilled out and wasn't that just the shit to top the cake?
Hell was exactly what it was. Sands had stopped thinking that things could get worse long ago. Someone obviously saw that as a challenge.
Two sets of unfamiliar footsteps stopped in front of the door of his house - El's, really, but fuck that.
Sands reached for the gun as the door opened almost silently. Oh, these new playmates were good.
"I'm blind not deaf, fuckmooks," Sands snapped. His gun was already aimed steadily at where the new arrivals stood. Two of them, unless one was hiding somewhere.
"Too bad about that. I bet you used to be a good fuck when you had eyes." The nasal voice grating on his nerves, the hint of a German accent. This one was an annoying bastard.
"You're good," it chuckled.
"Schuldig." A warning tone, American and for an instant Sands thought the CIA had finally decided to get rid of everyone's favorite ex-agent. A step forward, heavier than the other. "Agent Sands, I assume."
Sands sneered. 'I assume?' What was this, a Bond movie?
Nasal Tone chuckled at something and he could practically see ClichÃ©'s annoyed look. "My associate and I have a matter of mutual concern to discuss with you."
"Look, sweetcheeks." His trigger finger tightened. "I don't know who you are but fuck off. Now." He was feeling charitable today.
"I suggest you listen to what we have to say."
"So we're on the same page. Great. Fuck off," he repeated.
He heard a rustle of clothing -a shrug- and footsteps. "Sure thing," Nasal Tone said, amusement in his voice. /The best oracles are always blind/...
The door closed behind them, letting a wave of sound from the outside world stream in before cutting it off again.
Then the vision hit.
Schuldig was nearly vibrating with glee as they paid a cab to take them back to their hotel. Another precog, lacking in the eye department. He had seen Brad brought to his knees by the power of a vision before. He knew that when a person's actual eyesight was taken away, their other Sight kicked up a couple notches. Useless in a team, Crawford had said, but perfect as a source.
That sadistic part of him that loved being an assassin crowed. Namely, all of him.
Crawford was amused. "That went as expected. We'll go back in two days. Having a contact with the power he will exhibit will be useful if Esset tries to counter-attack."
Schuldig put his mental images on hold. "He'll be a fun one to turn to the Schwarz side. Assuming he's worth it." Something the telepath was counting on. If not, they'd kill him- and that would be a waste of such pale skin and black hair.
"Bored of Weiss already?" the oracle asked.
"They haven't been the same since after the tower. Balinese has a new obsession with body-paint and Siberian is living out his dream of dressing like a nineteenth century woman." Though Schuldig silently respected any man that could pull off wearing a corset.
The taxi stopped and Crawford paid him as they got out. "And we can't have you being bored, now can we?" he commented dryly as the pair stepped out of the sun and into a slightly cooler room.
"Now, now, Brad. How could I ever be bored with you around?" Schuldig smirked as they reached their room and immediately kicked off his shoes. The hat would stay on. He liked his hat. "You're a constant source of entertainment and annoyance."
Crawford's mouth curved. "It's nice to know my purpose in this world."
"And such an important one it is."
Sands wasn't sure why these people refused to go away. Every two days, the pair would show up at his door. It was almost a ritual by now. He knew their names, knew what they looked like, knew what they were because he didn't really have a choice not to know anymore. And each time, Crawford would make business offers and Schuldig would make other offers entirely- sly suggestions in his mind with a razor-blade smile to help persuade. And each time he'd keep the gun trained on them, wanting to pull the trigger but finding he couldn't.
It didn't take him long to figure out why.
Telepaths, precogs, telekinetic. Words he knew but could care less about, because they don't exist. Just like Santa Claus, and guitar-wielding pistoleros, and eyeless gringos that could hit a bottle yards away.
One of these days, he'd pay a visit to the North Pole and demand those presents he never got.
The latest vision hit and Sands cursed, aiming it at where he knew his new companion would arrive. How did he know? Because he fucking saw it.
He should probably be happier about that. Funny, how things turn out.
"Say something or get your ass out of here, Red," Sands drawled into the blackness. No, not entirely black. There were images running around the corner of his eye sockets now, free cable with HBO. No off button.
/Bet you love the free porn/, that nasal voice echoed through his brain. Sands wanted to break his nose.
Schuldig just laughed.
Sneering, the blindman stood from his chair. "Speaking of which, where's your master? Did he let you off the leash for a while, or just saving that moment for later?"
Sands felt a surge of heat come near him, a body that moved faster than normal. The muzzle of his gun pressed against something hard, trapped between them, and the ex-CIA agent stiffened when he felt the German's breath stir the hair framing his face. He saw it happen a moment before it did, then he felt lips pressed harshly against his, dry and smirking.
I'm more of a go with the flow type of person myself.
Five minutes later, Sands had come around to the German's way of thinking. Hands on his wrists, across his skin, down his back, around his cock. And halle-fuckin-julah, but the redhead had finally put his mouth to a better use than Sands had seen. The floor was rough on his back and the heat was rising so it must be noon, but that didn't matter. What was time when the world was black and separated by snapshots?
For a man having what will most likely be the fuck of his life, you're thinking too much.
Sands's response was to swing his gun up towards Schuldig's face, felt it connect lightly against a cheekbone as his other hand wound into long, fiery hair. "I've had the fuck of my life, asshole, and now I can get excellent parking spaces at the mall."
"So it was worth it then."
The gun pressed down harder and Sands heard Schuldig snarl, felt a wrench at his psyche that made his face split into a grin. It was vicious and he could feel the poison in his veins, knew that the redhead had a venom in his own bloodstream now that wouldn't go away anytime soon.
An hour later and the room had cooled, some precious clouds moving over the sun in an act of mercy. Sands felt heavy, stuck to the floor by sweat and cum and blood. The presence next to him was shifted slightly; the smell of clove mixed with the smell of sex. He almost turned his face towards that smell, to catch a glimpse of red hair and sharp hips, but stopped. That gesture would be useless.
Suddenly the image was there: naked sprawled figure with gleaming eyes and a wicked smirk. Debauched and dangerous.
"You in?" Schuldig asked.
"Sure. Why the hell not?"
When the hotel door opened, Crawford looked up from his laptop. Schuldig sauntered in, hair tousled in every which way and flecks of something dark staining his green shirt. Translated into Schuldig, it meant well-fucked and mission accomplished.
"I'll send the details to him in the morning," Crawford said, closing his laptop. "We'll leave in the evening."
"Ja, ja." Schuldig waved a lazy hand as he reached the bed, crawling on his hands and knees until he was straddling the black-haired man , grinning down at him. "You didn't happen to bring the choker, did you?"
Crawford cursed his lack of foresight.