|Cookie: Dark Chocolate
Author: Guede Mazaka
You will receive a fortune.
For the three days and nights after the night of his three visitations, Sands did not sleep. He fought the doctors, the nurses and the painkillers, till at last, despairing of ever ridding themselves of their horrifically violent patient, the hospital staff moved up the date of his eye reconstruction surgery. Although he was strapped down to the bed, it still took two teams of nurses to subdue Sands long enough to slip in the syringe of anesthetic, and the list of injuries that they received during their ordeal read like the clipboard of an earthquake victim dug out from the rubble.
It was no surprise to anyone, then, when on the surgery table, Sands' heart lost its rhythm. In a mêlée like what had occurred at Sands' bedside, no nurse, no matter how professional, could be expected to not make mistakes. And anesthetic, as with anything that mimicked death, was a tricky matter.
When Sands woke, the first thing he noticed was that his eyes were still missing. The second thing he noticed was the breath stirring the tiny hairs on his nape.
"It's one of you, isn't it?" he asked to the cool, uneven stone beneath himself.
"Yes," answered the voice of his second visitor. "Can you see?"
Opening his mouth to snarl, Sands absently rolled over as well, and then he had to bite down the scathing words half-forming in his throat. Because yes, he could see. In a way.
Glittering gold and green, in the shape of a man. A lean man, taller than Sands, with delicate fingers fanned out on the ground and delicate features in a narrow, elegantly beautiful face. He was stretched out on his side, half-twisted to look up-no. His eyes were ragged scarred slits.
The other man smiled slightly, and fluttered a wave at Sands. "Not what you expected?"
"Things haven't been what I've expected for a while," Sands grumbled, lying back down. "You have a name?"
"Neo. And you're Sands." At the predictable jump of one eyebrow, Neo shrugged. "I've learned a couple things, since the last time you saw me. I know you don't like your first two names."
"Bet you didn't like yours either," Sands quipped. "Elementary school must have been hell."
Neo shook his head. "I didn't get this name until long after I left home. But you're partly right. I don't like what my name used to be."
"Whatever." Snuggling his head in the crook of his arm, Sands closed his eyelids. "Where are we, anyway?"
"Don't know," the other man replied, sounding confused and a little frightened, with just a dash of annoyance. "This doesn't feel like anywhere I've ever been. It's not the Matrix. I don't think this is even my dimension."
Sands snorted impatiently. "Great. I'm stuck with a delusional time-traveler."
"Actually…" Neo said slowly, "I think I might have died."
"You think you might have," Sands repeated incredulously. "How the fuck can you think you've died?"
"Because you're dead."
Snapping up and pouncing onto the other man, Sands had Neo straddled with hands pinned over the head before the other man could protest. Leaning down till their noses nearly touched, Sands gritted, "I. Am. What?"
"I told you," Neo gasped. "There's a choice."
"Oh, for the love of punkass Madonnas," Sands mumbled. "Can't I ever get a straight answer from anyone anymore?"
"Smith might." Neo jerked his chin sideways. "He's around, somewhere. And I think that nearby there's a couple other people I know; I can feel them, but I can't find them here."
"Like I want to talk to that freak," Sands scowled. "Man clearly is in dire need of someone to ram that stick in his ass up even deeper." He blinked, and then leaned down to take a long, deliberate whiff along the side of Neo's face, drawing a shiver from the second man. "That's weird," Sands muttered. "You smell familiar. Very familiar."
"You're hurting my wrists," Neo complained, tugging at Sands' grip. When the other man, still preoccupied with Neo's scent, failed to pay attention, he sighed, "I didn't want to do this, but-"
And Sands tumbled back, instantly releasing Neo, though before he could slide completely off the other man's legs, Neo sat up and grabbed Sands' arms. "What the fuck was that?" Sands demanded. "You put your fucking hands through my flesh!"
"You didn't like it?" Neo asked, possibly innocently. Possibly archly. Sands couldn't really concentrate, given that the tingles in his bones weren't going away, now that Neo's damned glow-fingers weren't stroking them. In fact, the warmth seemed to be spreading. "Sands?"
Not replying, Sands instead glided his own fingers up Neo's sides, and then trailed them back down, just pressing so--
--and they slipped in, and oh his fucking holies, but that felt good. And to judge by the sudden speed-up in the other man's breath, it was a two-way reaction. "Do that again," Neo urged, sinking his own hands into Sands' arms, and then into Sands' belly.
"Oh, shit-" Barely catching himself before he fell completely into his companion, Sands moved eagerly against the flooding heat and sparkle. He and Neo tumbled backwards, plunging in and out of each other. Lips kissing and swirling and then tongues licking from both sides, legs writhing and overlapping in blooming haste. Mouths gasping air, and gasping into bones and heart and nerves. And then-goddamn-Neo tried caressing an erect cock from the inside out, and Sands just burst.
Coming back together, reforming himself was just like crawling into bed on a freezing winter's night to find the blankets already warmed. Panting, Sands watched dazedly as Neo's sparks fell into place, unable to muster any sarcasm, any defense whatsoever.
"You chose," Neo grinned, caressing Sands' cheek one last time.
There was a brutal wrench--
Sands regained consciousness just in time to overhear a discussion between doctors about his miraculous return to life, only seconds before the surgeons had been ready to declare him dead. He stayed quiet long enough to listen to the details on the outcome of his surgery, and then got out. Tackling the doctors from behind, strangling and breaking necks with his I.V. before he yanked the needles and electrodes off his body.
When he had first opened his eyes, Sands hadn't been surprised to find two radiant human shapes standing by his bed. Nor was he shocked when, now dressed in stolen clothing, he walked from his ward to the hospital lobby without meeting a single other soul. But the man waiting for him did startle Sands-but only a little.
"El," Sands said, and the man-curving shower of gold turned-Sands blinked, and the vague woman shadow melted into another man's form, and then back to the mariachi he recognized.
"Sands," El nodded. "And…yours."
"Aren't they cute?" the American simpered. Emitting a short, irritated grunt, the other man tossed something. A coat, and a gun in its holster. El turned and stepped out of the hospital, boots clicking a trail for Sands to follow. Which Sands did, laughing quietly along with the two voices in his head: one amused, one sardonic.