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Fandom: Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Title: Conversation:
Rating: Mature
Notes: This one was an experiment in formatting. I like the idea of having the two characters speak to one another from opposite sides of the page. When I visualise the conversation, it's happening on opposite sides of a room.

"So, did you get Marquez?"

The question came out of nowhere, or at least out of the blind man's mouth. It was such a change from the usual torrent of abuse and cursing it caused El to pause in the middle of what he was doing.


Just one word. One fucking word. Nothing more. God, you'd swear the guitar-humping fuckmook had to pay a dollar for each one, the way he rationed them out.


Yet again, the Norteamericano would not let up. He couldn't just settle with the answers he was given. No, he had to keep pushing, keep picking away at the scars of old wounds.


Damn! He'd done it again. Answered a question with a fucking question. Did he have any idea how damn annoying that was? Especially when you couldn't see the fucker's face, and couldn't have read anything there even if you could. He must know how annoying it was, otherwise why did he keep on fucking well doing it?

"And what happened next?"

There he went again. Probing things El would far rather were left alone. The death of Marquez isn't one of the things he's proudest of. It was more along the lines of slaughtering a mad dog than anything else - the kind of chore a man has to do to protect others around him. He didn't want to talk about it.

"He died."

And again with the complete lack of information. Honestly, if he still had use of his eyes, Sands would have wandered away from the mariachi long ago. He didn't need the constant frustration of trying to prise knowledge from the other man. Of course, he didn't have his eyes, which sort of complicated things.

"Yeah, I kind of figured as much. Anything else?"

Why wouldn't he let up? Why did he have to keep fixing that blank, blind gaze of his on El, demanding answers to questions the mariachi would rather not answer? Come to that, why was he, El, constantly answering these questions?

*sound of a match striking*

*sudden inhale*

Those ever-present cigarillos. Gringo smoked like a badly made campfire.

"Barillo was annoyed."

Barillo was there? That was news. That was certainly news. Explained why the twisty bastard's thugs hadn't been after him for killing off the cartel leader's precious little daughter. Hang on - was?


El smothered a smile - pure reflex, really, as the trick wasn't needed around Sands. It reminded him of the games Carolina used to play with Fideo's tequila. Hold it just out of reach, and watch the lengths he'd go to get it.

"What happened?"

"Are you sure you want to know?"

What does he mean, am I sure? Of course I'm fucking sure, jinglebritches. I haven't heard this. Nobody told me whether Barillo was alive, dead or fucking donkeys in the main street in broad daylight. So tell me already.

"Barillo came in with a couple of men in suits, and found Marquez. Then another man came in. One of the bodyguards got shot, then the tall one tried to shoot the other man. The other man shot him, and I shot Barillo before he could shoot the other man."

Christ on a fucking pogo stick, is there any way you could tell me less? No names, no information, no description. Nothing. I should make you write fucking reports for Langley; that'd teach those fuckers.

"Who shot the first bodyguard?"


Okay, I knew Barillo was a crazy fucker, but that sounds weird even for him. Shooting one of his own bodyguards? Man might have been crazy, but it was crazy like a fox. There's something guitar-boy here isn't saying.


The smile is harder to hide, for now he sounds like a child. El remembers his daughter coming out with the question repeatedly. "Por que?" she would say, over and over, about everything.

"It might have had something to do with the other man. I believe the bodyguard introduced him as 'Agent Ramirez'."

He's laughing at me. The fucker is actually laughing at me. Shit. It always happens. I'm trying to get the goddamn story out of him, and he starts laughing at me. Probably thinks I don't notice, the prick. So, Ramirez showed up, pissed off Barillo, and he's the only one that walks away from the battle.

"So, if I'm getting this straight, this Ramirez showed up, threatened Barillo and shot one of his bodyguards."

A blink. He's fast, the gringo. Then again, if he was a professional agitator, he probably had to be. Certainly from what he'd heard in the dreamtime mutterings of the blind man, his job had entailed the ability to see which way the wind was blowing almost before it changed.




"And what?"

Oh no, not this shit again.

"And what the fuck was going on with two bodyguards? Last I heard, Barillo only had the one. Felon on the run from the Feds, pulled out of El Rey and given beer money to keep him here."

In a way, it was a pity Sands couldn't see the respectful nod and raised eyebrow El gave him. It was a good question, an insightful one, and one El had got the FBI man to answer for him. Ramirez had willingly given the information over, saying it was the least he could do for the man who had saved his life.

"The other bodyguard was a doctor. Doctor Guevara."

Having no eyes sucked. It meant he couldn't find an easy release for the complicated blend of pain, fear, release and anguish that burst through him with the knowledge someone else had taken the life of the man who had taken his sight. Instead, he drew hard on the cigarillo.

From over where the mariachi was, a guitar began to play a soft tune. Sands listened, recognising it as the tune El played on those nights he remembered his family. For no reason, he remembered El had killed his own brother, watched the women he loved killed in front of him. The notes of the song whispered their way around the knot of pain inside him, and he realised the other man understood.

"Revenge is empty. But it is all we have."

Marquez was dead. Guevara was dead. What was left either of them, save the company of friends and music?

"I'm sorry."

The apology came out of nowhere. El looked up from the strings.

"Don't be."

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