|Trio Sidestory: Coyote Vision
Author: Guede Mazaka
//Go suck a shotgun.//
Swiftly dodging the kick, El then swiveled to avoid colliding with the falling body. Searing hot mash surged over his hand, and hissing, he nearly threw the plate of food onto the side table, then whipped out a bandanna. Doggedly holding onto his calm, he wiped the beans from his fingers, absently side-stepping the lunges at his feet.
Going for one last kick, Carolina overextended herself and fell heavily on her side. She wrenched frantically at her bound wrists for a moment, then stopped with a frustrated noise. El tossed the bandanna next to the plate, then bent down and picked her up. He heaved her back on the mattress like he would a sack of flour. //Are you done?// the mariachi asked politely.
//Bastard//, she panted, slouching back against Sands. //What are you going to do?//
Fighting down a sigh, El smacked a hand over Carolina's wrists, pinning them to the bed while he shoved up her skirt and tore the bandage off her leg. At the feel of the soiled cotton peeling away, Carolina let out an inadvertent cry, then dropped her head so her face was hidden in a black fall of hair.
"Very gentlemanly," Sands jeered. Ignoring him, El inspected the brand. Still raw and pink, but it appeared healed. The mariachi craned down and took a whiff. Carolina gasped and jerked. "What…what are you doing?" the American asked, puzzled.
"Smelling her wound," El replied inattentively, sniffing again. "There's no rot," he added, leaning back. "You don't need bandages anymore."
Slowly, Carolina sat up to reveal a strangely-vulnerable expression, lip caught behind gleaming white teeth. She looked up almost shyly, studying El's face. "It's ugly." And then, with a great deal more heat, she hissed, "They shamed me."
"I've seen worse," El commented, rounding the end of the bed and coming over to Sands' side. "You'll still be able to walk."
"You don't understand, you goddamn man," Carolina snapped, rolling over so she could keep watching him. "My leg-"
"My hand," El interrupted harshly, holding the mentioned appendage up so she could see the scar. "I can't. Play. I don't care what it looks like. I care about what it can and can't do." Mouth ready to continue, El abruptly shut it and looked down, surprised. "What…"
"I can't see," Sands spat out viciously, though the fingers he was running over El's palm were gently hesitant. "Remember?"
El stood still and quiet, letting the other man trace the raised slash of rough brown flesh. On the other side of Sands, Carolina held her peace, gaze intent on the two men. The mariachi eventually heaved a tiny breath, slowly pulling his hand away. "I need to check your eyes," El said softly. "Are you going to fight me?"
"I-" Hands dropping to his lap, Sands shrugged in an attempt at nonchalance. His fingers twisted, awkwardly fiddling with the fraying rags that padded his skin against the leather bonds. "No. I already know they look like shit. And the damn bandages itch."
Carefully, the mariachi unwound the cotton strips from the other man's head. He put a finger under Sands' chin and tilted it up, craning down to examine each ruined eye. "Healed," El pronounced, stepping back. Once again, he walked to the other side of the bed, where he retrieved the food. "Either of you hungry?"
"Yes," Carolina admitted sulkily. Sands didn't bother answering, but instead simply crawled over to sit besides Carolina. Hooking a chair with his ankle, El sat down in front of them and propped the plate up on his knees. He was spooning up the first mouthful when she spoke again. "Why don't you let us eat by ourselves?"
"You just tried to attack me," El pointed out.
Sands snorted. "We're still too weak to walk. Just what do you think we could do with a fork? Or a spoon?"
"I think," El answered steadily, lifting the spoon towards Carolina's reluctantly-opening mouth, "I don't want to find out." Sliding the utensil out, he dipped up the second portion. With the fingers of his free hand, El cupped Sands' chin and tugged downwards slightly. The American's lips parted, and El popped in the food.
"You're risking a lot, keeping us here," Carolina muttered, eyes locked to El's face. "Barillo and Marquez-"
"Do you want beef or rice?" El inquired, producing a fork from somewhere. Looking as if she wanted to smack him, Carolina pointed toward the beef. Still expressionless, the mariachi obligingly took up a few pieces and fed them to Carolina. One dropped from the fork tines onto her shoulder, just below the collarbone, and she instantly hissed at the slight burn. Snatching up the bandanna from the table, El quickly wiped off the bit of meat. "Sorry," he apologized, other hand shooting down to grab at the plate slipping off his lap. "Are you all right?"
"Why the hell do you care?" Carolina breathed into El's ear. Warm soft skin rubbed against his cheek, and El suddenly noticed he still had the rag pressed up to the top of her breast. He immediately backed off. Jaw muscles working, El turned to Sands and began spooning more beans into the other man's mouth. "You don't answer any of my questions," Carolina pouted. "No wonder I never answer any of yours."
"I don't because I have no answers," El told her, dark rippling through his voice. "I never knew much to begin with, and now, I don't know anything. Except how to kill."
"You smell like blood," Sands uttered abruptly. "Among other things."
"That's no surprise. It's a strong scent," El responded sardonically, turning back to the plate. A pair of hands seized his forearm and brought him to a halt. Leaning dangerously forward, Sands whispered intensely, "I never said I minded."
"I never said I cared," El retorted sharply, shaking the other man off. Losing his balance, Sands would have toppled over the edge of the mattress if Carolina hadn't grabbed his arm and yanked him back. "I don't want to eat now," she snapped, looking at El accusingly.
"Think I've lost my appetite, too," Sands commented irritably. At their words, El felt a surprising flash of anger, but like lightning, it almost immediately vanished. "Fine," he replied, taking the plate and getting up.
Halfway to the door, he heard the usual anxious cry. "El!"
"Carolina," the mariachi sighed, stopping.
"Do you…you don't think it's hideous? My…my…"
Staring blankly at the plastered walls, El saw his sight blur-
red flower blooming from her dress red fountain spewing from his hand red life bleeding from his brother
--"It's not pretty," the mariachi said, voice like swords rasping down each other's lengths. "But it's a scar. It isn't you. Either of you."
The door scraped softly as it closed behind him. On the bed, Sands slowly willed his fingers to uncurl from their death-grip on the blankets, and Carolina dropped her head into her hands. //By the Virgin Mary…this is intolerable.//
"And he's right about the spoons," Sands mumbled dejectedly. "I might use one to choke myself. And don't start, all right? I know."
"As if I could." Carolina sneered at her clenched fists. "I used to watch the boys training dogs and cocks. For fighting. I thought it was funny, then." Glancing over at her companion, she couldn't help but smirk briefly. "You seem to have a problem."
Flopping backwards, Sands unashamedly began to shimmy out of his trousers. "I'll take care of it myself, thank you. Did he leave any of the bandages?"
"Here." Snagging one of the cleaner strips, she tossed it across his stomach. "You can use that."
El managed to get the plate clean and put away before he smacked his fist into the stone mantel of the fireplace. Pain burst, then settled into a dull ache. Stride jarring, he walked out of the monastery's kitchen and took the steps to the nearest balustrade. Once up there, he blew out a breath, sweeping his gaze over the flat stretches of vacant land surrounding the place.
His knuckles hurt. Suddenly smiling unpleasantly, El brought his hand up to his lips and started to suck the blood off.
purring whimpering arching up under his palms wild thing brought to bay and saved
house pet hearing the wilderness clawing through the cage bars falling to him
Somewhere in the distance, a howl came, and El's attention snapped back to reality. "If I did care," he murmured to himself, "What good would it do?"