Tangible Schizophrenia



Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: G. Mostly gen backstory.
Pairing: Sands/El Fandom: Once Upon a Time in Mexico AU/The Ninth Gate (The Club Dumas)
Feedback: Good lines, bad ones, whatever.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: Miguel is a sort of OMC with Banderas as a visual. He looks like this and this.
Summary: Miguel finds his way to the borderlands. A little explanation of a few things.


He had been wandering for longer than he could remember when he heard the music. Slow and melancholy, twisting its ironic grace notes across the empty plain-and yet somehow familiar. So he changed his steps and dragged through the dust till he had at last found the source.

A guitar, framed within a huge gate of rough-hewn stone. Its rich brown was a shocking contrast to the surrounding washed-out shades of beige and bone, and the black shadow that held it was a brutal tear in the landscape. A slice of white flashed out as the head lifted. "Michael."

"Miguel," he corrected as he approached his old comrade. "And what are you calling yourself now?"

Moon's crescent across the handsome face, sharper and more feral than he remembered. The fingers dropped from the strings and a gauntlet softly glided across the guitar to silence it. "El. The common part to all our names. I cut off the first part when I did this."

And the other held up his sheathed hand so Miguel could see the harsh scar that marked the palm. He raised a finger and traced it, then blinked. Something was stirring in El's lap. A man, curled and asleep, with long black hair and glass-fine features. As he squatted down for a better look, Miguel rolled out a laugh under his breath. "From when you shoved open the gate and left. The only one to go of his own volition, and you were allowed."

El watched him with slow-burning eyes, then, in a quicksilver gesture, flipped the guitar to lay it carefully beside him on the step. He rested his hands on the sleeping man and stroked hair out of the pale face. "I asked, and it was agreed that leaving was best."

"I never remembered to ask you why." By El's hip, the closed eyelids fluttered and disclosed not eyes, but blankness.

"I liked mortals. I still like them." When Miguel's head jerked back up, El's grin was already cutting through the parching breeze. He turned over his palm and examined the scar that other gate's bolt had carved into the flesh there, then passed it over the man's side and cupped the dark head to bring the body into an upright position. "You've been lost for a very long time. I just finished taking Sands in."

"Sands." Faint red haze all over the man, and the acrid scent of near-madness wafting on the wind. But a fractured kind of beauty there as well, and passion. "You gave it all up for the chance to have this?"

"I gave it up because people taught me to love other things." For a moment, huge dark shades cracked out from El's shoulders like the wings of death. Then they folded into his long shadow as he lifted his companion and stood. "Which did not fit with the old world. So I went to one where it did. And my departure was permitted, because that liking was understood."

Bitterness quietly tugged at Miguel's mouth as he picked up the guitar and ran his hands over it. "None of us understood that. And so jealousy rose, and we fought, and we were thrown out with nowhere to go."

"There's here." El looked up at the high arch of reddish rock, pleasure faintly touching his expression. Nestled against his shoulder and chest, Sands murmured something and nuzzled into El's neck. "It probably could still be destroyed, overrun. But it doesn't answer to any place. I don't answer to anyone."

"That's appealing." Miguel tucked the instrument beneath his arm and regarded the gate, which was shimmering slightly in the air. He could hear voices behind it, and if he squinted, he could make out the lines of many, many different things. "That's…intriguing."

El cast a knowing glance back as he nudged open the door with a hip and walked in, Sands beginning to stir in his arms. "Then come in and see."


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