Tangible Schizophrenia


Spirits of the Air

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Abberline/El/Sands, implied El/Sands Fandom: From Hell/Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Feedback: Good lines, bad ones, whatever you'd like to mention.
Disclaimer: Not mine at all.
Notes: In 'From Hell,' "chasing the dragon" is used as an euphemism for opium addiction. Biblical reference to one of Daniel's prophecies.
Summary: Abberline suffers a visitation. For the contrelamontre 'air' challenge; done in 47 minutes.


When Abberline smoked, he always stared straight up to where the ceiling would have been, if thick curdled smoke had not always been in the way. He never turned his head to watch the languid-limbed women, the scurrying attendants or his fellow dragon-chasers. He wasn't interested in the world beyond anymore.

So there was absolutely no reason for him to look. None.

But he did, nonetheless. And he saw-a corner of the opium den, its component walls so brightly painted that they managed to shimmer even through the clouded air.

He closed his eyes, expectations fulfilled. Music delicately wafted through him, stroking long curious caresses along his slack limbs. He wondered whether it was real or not, so he looked again.

Dark, dark eyes looked back, while the wandering fingers slowed the trembling strings, stilled the singing wood. A man was sitting there now, back leaning against winging gray stone, black hair hanging down like a shroud over his face. He cradled a guitar, all curves and shaped space, and his feet were propped against the edge of Abberline's couch, where the carpet now ended. In the place where the man perched, yellowed dirt and cracked mountains stretched out for endless horizons, and hot wind stripped moisture from everything. A curl of it brushed lightly against Abberline's mouth, asking.

So he asked. "This looks like those drawings of Mexico."

The man put the guitar aside and folded his hands into his lap, below black glints of eyes. "This is Mexico."

"Really." Abberline's tongue felt heavy and torpid in his mouth, as if it were made of congealed blood, and his words, of the clots. "I would have thought the Underworld more fitting."

"It might be that, too." One of the guitarist's wrists was sheathed in leather, while the rest of him was wrapped in black with a slash of white down the center. "This is a crossroads. You can take it wherever you want."

"Anywhere? I don't believe that." Abberline took another draw off his pipe, barely sensing its tilt away from his lips. "Any place is some place. You can only go somewhere. You can't go anywhere."

Roughened but well-shaped fingers took up the pipe and examined it, calluses following every dip and nails tracing every crack. "You do not see everything. You do not see anything."

Some forgotten scrap of pride stirred Abberline into forming a protest, but the other man bent down and tore it from Abberline's mouth. His wrists were pinned into sinking cushions, his jaw was pried open by raw force and his chin went back under the brutal pressure. Brutal and violent and thorough-searing and fierce and passionate as he'd never known. No frailty of flesh here, but only true pure power that ripped off his old scars and laid screaming new ones down.

His spine felt near to breaking, bent too far; Abberline tried to push back, to meet the surge with equal strength. Foolish thought, that. The mouth moved down and fixed itself into the join of his neck and shoulder, while the gauntlet swept implacably down the length of his squirming side. It came to rest at his waist, nails scoring across his shirt and into his bones, it seemed. Held like a woman, treated like a woman. He gasped and whined to no avail, unable to stop the sting of teeth into skin, of blood welling up hot--he'd forgotten he still had warmth in him.

"There are lands," whispered into his throat, words lying like razors to the tender skin there.

"There are things," murmured over his cheek as a kiss skated false gentleness over the sweat.

"There are joys," hissed a second voice. Abberline painfully strained his head about, wordless moans preventing any kind of greeting, to seek out the newcomer, and a pair of bleached chips danced before him. "When you stop seeing this world. Caring about its tortures, its inequalities."

Swallowed again, and again, from both ends. Palms burned through his clothing, blazed their prints beneath his skin and drew sigils of glowing red and white and black into the far reaches of him. Mouths stole his air over and over, suffocating him with the sweet acid of alcohol and the deceptive blossoming of fruit, and under all that, the scent of meat. It filled him beyond capacity, stressed his failing body until finally he could not hold and everything fell-fell-

The hunt had caught him, taken him to the ground and had him. This and other strange fragments of thought slipped through his mind as vision returned him to the opium den. Abberline half-rose and stared hard into the corner, but neither man reappeared. There was nothing.

Nothing except a tendril stroking across the front of his throat, loving slice into the soul. "You have been judged."

"You have been judged," echoed the second voice as ice tiptoed up the center of his back.

"And you want."


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