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[ fear & loathing in mexico ]

Maybe I just wanna touch you,
feel you warm inside again.
Maybe I just wanna hurt you,
the sweetest pleasure is pain.
I don't know why,
but I love to see you cry.

-- Enrigue Iglesias

It was never really clear to anyone, including the two most directly involved, how it was that Sands went from ‘annoying burden´ to El´s ‘still annoying, but certainly less so, sexual partner.´  That is, less annoying to El.  To Lorenzo, his annoying habits had only increased tenfold.

When they picked him up from the settling dust of the Dia de los Muertos uprising he´d been battered and as near to broken as any human being could be.  His spirits were weakened, but even then he was just as apt to let loose a scathing remark as he was a cry of pain.  He´d resisted at first, but when El dragged him to the truck they´d bought with the money they´d gotten from the coup, his protestations hardly sounded sincere.

Fideo had spat beer on him, Lorenzo had cursed him, but El had silenced the other two with that cold hard glare of his that never left any room for argument.  Lorenzo had always thought El´s heart too big for his own good.  He´d said they´d only take him on for as long as it took for the defected CIA agent to recuperate, but by that time Sands was warming El´s bed.  

Fideo eventually warmed, in his own slightly twisted way, to the newly blinded man.  They both seemed to have a predilection for Tequila, and they´d drink as much of it as they could down in one sitting as quickly as they could.  Men tend to bond while inebriated, and while it couldn´t be described as a kinship by any stretch of the word, it was a coexistence that wasn´t necessarily all negative.  Lorenzo, on the other hand, never did warm to him.


//Look at this faggot.//

Sands frowned and used the sleeve of his shirt to mop up the just spilled Tequila.  Giving up as he felt it nearing the edge of the table he bent down to lick it up with his tongue.  “Fuck you, Fiddlesticks.’

“What the hell did you just call me?’

“It´s a play on your name, assbrain.’

“How´s that?’

“Fideo… fiddle.  Whatever.  You prattle on like an annoying fucking banjo, is what I´m saying.’

Fideo laughed, reaching over and slapping a pristinely white towel on top of the table next to Sands´ hand.  “Clean it up, you clumsy fool.’

“Gee thanks, Fideo,’ Sands said, his voice saccharinely sweet despite the irony twisting his lips.  “Aren´t you just the helpful type?’

“That´s good Tequila you´re wasting, Sands.  Pesos, man.  Pesos.’

“I could shove the amount of pesos this shit Tequila was worth up my nose,’ Sands grumbled, throwing the towel in the direction where Fideo should have been sitting.  He smiled when he heard the muffled grunt as it hit Fideo´s face. “Nice reflexes.  And you even have the benefit of eyes.’

“Why would you shove pesos…’

“I was saying, you infant, that the amount of money this shit is worth is so little that I could fit it up my nose.  If I were so inclined.’

Fideo laughed, kicking out his legs and coming into contact with Lorenzo´s kneecap.  “You hear this lamebrain?  Wants to shove pesos up his nose.’

“Not want to, Fideo,’ Sands said, frowning as he felt over the surface of the tabletop for the bottle of Tequila.  “Could.’

Lorenzo rolled his eyes, wiping a cotton towel lovingly down the side of his guitar, shining the old and battered instrument to the best condition it could be.  //Let him.  Maybe he won´t be able to breathe.//

“Oh, now,’ Sands said, shoving the bottle at Fideo and sliding his glass over the table towards him as well.  “I´m not that easy to kill.’  He smiled, cocking his head to the side.  “If I were, I´m sure you would have by now.’

//Sometimes you´re not as dumb as you seem.// Lorenzo´s voice was low and barely audible, but that´s the thing about Sands.  There´s no need to speak above a whisper, he´ll hear you no matter how loudly you do or don´t speak.

Fideo rolled his eyes, grabbing Sands´ hand and placing the newly filled glass into it.  “Don´t spill it, asshole.  That´s the last glass I pour for your blind ass.’

“Grassy ass, señor,’ Sands said, bringing the glass to his nose and sniffing deeply.  “Ahh.  Horse piss of the best kind.’

//Are you above drinking, Lorenzo?  Do you not want any?//

//I´m not going to drink while this asshole´s still awake.//

//Oh, come on.//


“What´s´a matter, Lori?  Gotta keep your wits about you to match mine?  I´m afraid you can´t keep up either way, Sugarlegs.  Sober or drunk.’

Lorenzo´s scowl deepened.  “It´s Lorenzo.  Not Lori, not Sugarlegs.’

“Oh, come on, Lori,’ Sands said, leaning forward, propping his head on his hands and smiling at him.  Lorenzo had to shake off his discomfort at how it almost actually looked as if Sands were meeting his eyes.  “It´s a nickname.  Affection.  I´m saying I have a crush on you.’

“Fuck you and fuck your little crush, Pendejo,’ Lorenzo growled, leaning across the table and glaring at him.  “Call me Lori again and see what happens.’


They were on the road a lot those first few weeks, and Lorenzo much to his chagrin kept getting stuck in the back with the slowly healing Sands.  It was his job to mop his brow and check his wounds for infection.  El was driving, and he told Lorenzo that it was his judgment and sense of responsibility he trusted.  ‘Fideo is my brother,´ he said to him.  ‘But he´s a drunk.  You are not.´

At first it hadn´t been so bad taking care of him.  Sands was a grumpy motherfucker, but he knew not to bite the hand that fed him.  Where at first he resisted the cool washcloths Lorenzo would wipe over his face, he soon laid still and allowed them.   It only took a few days after leaving Culiacan for him to stop swatting Lorenzo´s hand angrily away when he poked and prodded his wounds, checking for infections or bleeding.

It was El that Sands gravitated to though.  Lorenzo had been relieved at first when the American had gone to El´s side as soon as he could walk with ease again.  He was happy to be rid of the constantly grumbling and only occasionally tolerable Sands.  He would hang back with Fideo, back in the days when Fideo still loathed Sands just as much as he did, and laugh at the pathetically skinny man always bickering with El.

The arguing never stopped, not even when their relationship turned carnal.  There was no dip and there was no rise in their bickering when that started:  it remained consistently the same.  It was the moments when they weren´t arguing that were different.  A hand on El´s arm when Sands found something funny.  El reaching out to brush Sands´ hair back when the wind blew it into his face.  It took Lorenzo a while to figure it out, and when he did the sick feeling he already had in his stomach turned over and never righted itself.


“Pick up your clothes, is that so hard?’

Sands frowned from his position on the bed, resting a long scarred but no less beautiful leg on top of the cover.  The rest of himself he half-assed covered with the thin and tattered motel blanket.  “Yes, it is that hard.  Especially since I can´t see where I left them.’

//Fucking asshole.  If you put them away when you took them off, I wouldn´t have to pick them up, now would I?//

Sands sighed, sinking into the bed and kicking the covers over his leg so that nothing lay exposed.  “You don´t have to pick them up, dickhead.  Let El do it.’

“It´s no more his responsibility than it is mine,’ Lorenzo said, angrily chucking Sands´ black jeans on the bed.  He allowed himself a small grin when the zipper landed square in Sands´ bellybutton, causing him to yelp in surprise and probably just a little bit of pain.

“This is my room, Lorenzo,’ Sands growled, picking up his pants and flinging them to the floor beside the bed.  “My fucking room, God damnit.  Why are you even in here?!’

“El is not here.’

Sands laughed, throwing up his hands.  “No fuckin´ shit.’

“I do not trust you to be alone,’ Lorenzo said, throwing Sands´ shirt and gun belt into a corner of the room.  Sitting at the table in the small ramshackle hotel room he propped his feet up and picked up the remote control.

//Get out, Lorenzo.//

Lorenzo laughed.  “What, you think if you ask in Spanish I´ll suddenly wish to appease you?’

Sands sighed, kicking off the covers fully and standing on the floor.  He had no shame as he walked, buck-naked and so skinny his ribs were outlined in sunken lines, over to where Lorenzo sat.  “Get.  The fuck.  Out.’

Lorenzo´s eyes swept down his body briefly, admitting to himself that the man did have his appeal.  Too bad his personality left something lacking, to put it mildly.  “No.’

Sands reached out and grabbed Lorenzo´s feet, fumbling only once.  He shoved them off of the table as he continued to scowl at him.  Lorenzo wondered, not for the first time, just how it was that Sands seemed to adjust so well to being blind.  He frequently missed with his first shot, but his second was always more on the money than even a practiced marksman´s.

“This is my room.’

“This is El´s room.’

Sands breathed heavily through his nose and Lorenzo tried unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh.  “El´s room, my room, who gives a shit.  It´s our fucking room.  Yours, my little beanpole, is down the hall with that other fuckstick.’

Lorenzo reached out and placed his hand on Sands´ waist, running his thumb over his stomach.  “Funny you should call me beanpole, cabron,’ he said with a smirk.  Sands jerked away, swatting angrily at his hand.  “You look like death warmed over.’

“Why don´t we just say what this is actually about, Lori,’ Sands said, his mouth curling into that snarl of a smirk that always knotted Lorenzo´s innards up.

“What´s that, Sands?’

Sands stepped back, motioning between himself and Lorenzo.  “He chose me, asshole.  You need to learn to accept that.’  He laughed and backed away as he heard Lorenzo stand up quickly.  “Don´t think of it as him rejecting you, think of it as a testament to how superior I am to you.  It really wasn´t a contest, Sweetcheeks.’

//You fucking…//  He raised a fist, intent on laying Sands out faster than he could count to three, but hesitated when he heard door handle begin to turn.

El´s eyes flicked between both men as he kicked the door shut behind him, taking in Sands state of undress and Lorenzo´s state of anger.  “What now,’ he asked, that infuriating eternal amusement making his eyes twinkle.

“Why don´t you have your little shit for brains friend get the fuck out of our room,’ Sands said with a smile.  “He bores me.’

Lorenzo snorted, lowering his fist and walking angrily towards the door.  “Why don´t you have your own private whore checked for disease,’ he hissed.  “He seems to have infected your judgment.’


Lorenzo hadn´t so much figured out that El and Sands had moved from ‘protector and protected´ to ´lovers´ as he had walked in on a situation that had made it blatantly obvious.  He and Fideo had gone to a local hole of a bar and played a few songs for even fewer pesos, and gotten drunker than Lorenzo had been in a long time.

They played three sets and left with only slightly more than they´d spent on the piss-poor beer.  When they were done, Lorenzo and Fideo walked the two miles from the bar to the hotel they were staying at that week,  Both were in high spirits and laughing all the way.  Fideo had slung his arm around him and loudly sang an extremely off-key version of La Cucaracha as they´d went.  They walked into El´s room at around 1 in the morning without even bothering to knock.

It didn´t catch up to him right away what exactly was wrong with the picture, only that something was.  Fideo had clapped him on the back and broken out into raucous laughter.  Fideo sat down in the middle of the floor and laughed until tears came out, sputtering out something about mental pictures and never having imagined this of El.  Lorenzo stood stock-still, the blood draining from his face as it slowly dawned on him that Sands was naked and trembling in El´s arms.

Sands´ hands were gripping the dresser so hard his knuckles had turned white and El stood behind him.  El was naked save for socks, which for some reason is what stuck out to Lorenzo later.  His right hand lay over Sands´ on the dresser and his left wrapped around Sands´ body, drawing him close.  His teeth had been grazing over the paler man´s neck when they´d entered the room but his eyes had quickly turned to bore straight into Lorenzo´s.  El had time only to open his mouth before Lorenzo left the room with a hushed curse, leaving Fideo on the floor in a puddle of giggles.


//You should try to be nicer to Sands, Lorenzo.//

Lorenzo snorted, raising a dubious eyebrow at El.  //I have to tell you, the chances of that happening are slim to none.//

El sighed, fingers plucking lazily over Lorenzo´s guitar strings, melodic even in its randomness.  //Why?  What has he done to you?//

//Why should I be nice to him?// Lorenzo rolled his eyes, laughing.  //I think that´s the right question.  Not what has he done to me to cause me to be mean, but what has he done for me to cause me to be nice?//

El looked at him, those deep brown eyes seeing straight through to his soul.  //What is this about Lorenzo? I´ve never known you to be so callous.//

//He´s an asshole, El,// Lorenzo said, his voice rising.  //The thing I don´t understand is how you´re blind to that.//

//I´m not,// El said with a soft smile.  //I´m well aware he can be an asshole.//

//Not can be.  Is, El.  Is.//

//Okay, okay,// El said with a laugh and a nod of his head.  //Is.//

Lorenzo leaned forward, fixing El with a questioning look.  //So why, then?  Why do you-- why does he--// He frowned, pausing and shaking his head.  //Why him?//

El shrugged, looking back down at the guitar and tightening a string.  //He has his moments.//

//Yeah,// Lorenzo said with a  snort.  //When he´s asleep.//

//He´s not always the way he is around you, Lorenzo,// El said softly, glancing up at him with his big Bambi eyes.  //He´s not always the cocky condescending asshole he´d have you believe he is.//

//I´m aware of that,// Lorenzo said, feeling the bitterness rise in his throat like bile.  //He´s a pussy.  A coward.  His bravado has never fooled me.//

//No,// El said, shaking his head.  //He is stronger than you think, too.//

Lorenzo laughed, rolling his eyes.  //Yeah.//

El looked at him, frowning.  //When did you turn so angry, Lorenzo?//

Lorenzo waved a hand through the air.  //I´m not angry.  I just don´t get it.//

//You should think on it for a moment, Lorenzo,// El said, concentrating once again on the casual strumming.  //What would you do had you no eyes?//

//I don´t know, El,// Lorenzo said, looking away and out of the window to the dusty dry roads of Mexico beyond.  //I suppose let myself be fucked by you.//

El´s eyes shot up quickly and darkened as his expression hardened.  //You do not understand, Lorenzo.  What´s more, you have no right to judge.//

Lorenzo laughed.  //What, do you love him?//

El shrugged.  //I care for him.//

//Yeah?// Lorenzo felt the air in the room go stale and cold around him.  //Care for him?//

//He´s hard to take, I will give you that.  But there are moments, Lorenzo.  Moments that you do not see.  He is not who he wants you to think he is.//

Lorenzo shrugged.  //As I said.  A coward.//

//Perhaps,// El said, setting the guitar down beside him.  //But I´d be interested to know how you would cope with being stabbed in the back and deprived of your sight for the rest of your life.//


Lorenzo took to spending most of his time alone when they weren´t on the road.  He would walk for hours at a time, wandering aimlessly through the streets, whistling tunes he couldn´t quite place.   He found himself avoiding even Fideo sometimes, opting instead to get drunk in some nameless bar instead of in their hotel room.  Fideo´s camaraderie with Sands angered him perhaps even more than El´s defense of him, which made little sense to Lorenzo.

They´d been friends since childhood, and it seemed to Lorenzo that they were fading away from each other and that he was the only one that cared.  It was true that he was the one pulling away, but what hurt worse than that was that both El and Fideo seemed content to allow him to.   He could see himself slipping away and when he looked up from the rabbit hole he didn´t see any outstretched hands.

Lorenzo forgets sometimes that even though people don´t say anything, it doesn´t mean they don´t see more than what they let on.  Fideo had never been the shoulder to cry on, he´d always been more the kind of guy to get you stinking drunk to forget your troubles.  El had always been the one to talk to, the one with the advice and the sympathetic tone and the kind eyes.  El had his hands full with Sands now though, and Sands was the problem anyway, wasn´t he?

Sometimes he could feel Fideo´s eyes on him when he´d stumble into their room drunk and disheveled, but Fideo never called him on it.  El tried to talk to him several times, but after only a few angrily spat choice words El had retreated to neutral grounds and allowed him to be alone.  What was ironic was that while his two closest friends tiptoed around him on eggshells, Sands never treated him any differently.


//I don´t usually get hangovers.  I thought I was past that stage of my life.//

//Well, Lorenzo,// Fideo said.  //That is what happens when you eat nothing and drink too much.//

Lorenzo scowled at his back and kicked off the covers, groaning as he threw his feet onto the floor.  //You drink more in one night than I do in a week, Fideo.  I don´t get why it doesn´t affect you.//

//You are new to the game,// Fideo said, turning away from the tv and facing Lorenzo.  //And when one has the reason to drink themselves into a stupor every night, it´s only fair that they feel it in the morning as well.//

Lorenzo rolled his eyes.  //What´s that mean?//

//I don´t know, Lorenzo,// Fideo said quietly.  Lorenzo´s eyes flicked to him, surprised at the suddenly serious tone.  //Why don´t you tell me?//


Fideo snorted, crooking a leg up and crossing his other over it as he propped his head on his folded arms.  //If you don´t even know, then you can´t tell me.//

Lorenzo glared at him for a moment, wavering between going into the bathroom to vomit and pursuing the conversation.  His stomach settled slightly and he perched on the edge of his bed, facing Fideo.  //Explain.//

//This,// Fideo said, reaching over and grabbing the empty Tequila bottle on the nightstand. //You and this, to be specific.//

Lorenzo snorted and rolled his eyes.  //That´s rich, coming from you.//

//Hey, I´m an alcoholic, ask anyone,// Fideo said with a laugh, sitting up slightly.  //But you weren´t.  So I´m a little confused as to why it is you´ve become one.//

//I´m not,// Lorenzo said, his glare hardening as Fideo laughed right in his face.  //Fuck you, asshole.  I´m not.//

//Takes one to know one, friend.  You are.//

Lorenzo rolled his eyes, //What do you know of it?//

//This started with Sands,// Fideo said, leaning in and grinning at Lorenzo.  //I know that much.//

//Sands has nothing to do with how much I do or do not drink,// Lorenzo spat back, knowing it was lie but saying it just the same.

//Ah,// Fideo said, nodding his head.  //Then perhaps it started when you and El stopped fucking.//

His body lurched forward, his fist making contact with Fideo´s jaw before he knew what he was doing.  He looked down at the laughing face of his best friend and resisted the urge to spit in his eyes.  //Shut your mouth.//

Fideo´s laughter subsided slightly as he lifted a hand to his jaw, drawing it back with a trickle of blood.  //I see you thought I didn´t know that.//

Lorenzo felt the anger coursing through his body turn to something dangerous and he backed up before he could do something he´d wind up regretting.  //How did you know? Who have you told?//

//You mean, have I told Sands?//

Lorenzo´s eyes squinted and he found it hard to believe that he´d never hated Fideo before this moment.  //Have you?//

//You seem to think Sands and I have something we don´t, Lorenzo,// Fideo said, standing and facing him.  //You think I don´t notice that bitter look cross your face when I talk to him, but I do.//

Lorenzo crossed his arms.  //That is not the question.//

Fideo laughed, lifting a hand to his cracked lip again and nodding his head.  //Well then let me just volunteer this information for your benefit, asshole.  Sands is a toy.  Sands is someone that amuses me.  I care no more for him than I do a dog.// He smiled, raising his shoulders in a shrug.  //So, like a dog, I play with him.//

Lorenzo felt his stomach start to churn again and he wasn´t sure if it was the remnants of the alcohol or confusion.  //And what about El?//

//You started fucking El after Carolina died,// Fideo said with a shrug.  //It lasted a month, and by then El realized it was a mistake.  He didn´t think he broke your heart when he ended it, but he did, didn´t he?//

//How did you know?//

Fideo laughed, shrugging.  //Because I´m not as much of an idiot as you and El have always thought.//


His affair with El was something he´d held close to himself and swore he´d never speak of.  Fideo´s outburst made him see that perhaps he wasn´t as good at holding himself in as he´d thought he was.  It should have been a relief that someone else had known, it should have made Lorenzo feel like it had been real.  It didn´t.

Instead of opening up to Fideo now that it was all out in the open, he only closed himself up more.  He took to renting his own room and despite El´s obvious concern, he never told him the reason.  El tried to tell him that they didn´t have the money for three hotel rooms, but Lorenzo just said that maybe he shouldn´t be on this trip anymore anyway and El always backed down.

Fideo never tried to win Lorenzo´s affections back.  He treated him the same as he always had, and it never seemed to faze him when Lorenzo would throw his arm off of him.  He´d laugh and call him an infant, but the next day he´d do it again.  Lorenzo figured this was probably Fideo relying on the fact that they´d been friends for so long that Lorenzo wouldn´t throw it all away in a bout of insecurity.

When Sands found out that he and Fideo had stopped sharing a room he´d made a comment that perhaps Sands and he should trade off to spice up Lorenzo and Fideo´s staling relationship.   Lorenzo had barely suppressed the urge to knock Sands on his ass in that moment, and if El hadn´t pulled Sands to the side he probably would have anyway.  Sands later said perhaps it would kill two birds with one fuck, and Lorenzo actually did hit him that time.  Sands wound up breaking his finger in the resulting fall.


“Well, Lorenzo,’ Sands said with a sigh and a soft smile.  “Looks like it´s just us two.  I trust El told you to behave?’ he asked with a raised eyebrow, hand lifting to finger the dulling black bruise tinting his cheekbone.

“You stay on your side and keep your fucking mouth shut, and I won´t have to.’

Sands nodded, fingers fumbling with loose tobacco and a wrapping paper that didn´t seem to want to cooperate.  “I don´t suppose you´d be willing to do me a favor,’ he said with a snort.  

Lorenzo lifted his head from the bed and looked at Sands as he frowned down at the table, tobacco spilling out of his pouch and papers littering the floor.  He snickered, lowering his head back down.  “That depends.’

“On what?’ Sands asked, a hard edge to his voice.

’On if you´ll be quiet for the rest of the time that we´re forced to be stuck here together if I roll you a few cigarettes.’

He watched as Sands´ back straightened and a smile spread across his face when he realized that he had Sands at his mercy.  He thought to himself how nice it was to force Sands to act like a decent human being to get what he wanted.

“Promise, Momma,’ Sands said finally.  “I´ll be a good little boy and do all my homework.’

With a laborious sigh he got up and walked over to the table, snatching the messily rolled cigarette out of Sands´ hands.  He sat down and emptied the tobacco onto the table and threw the paper on the floor.  “How do you smoke so much if you can´t roll your own cigarettes,’ he asked, snorting as he began rolling a new one.

“I, uh…’  Sands fell silent for a moment, rubbing a hand over his face.  “El.’

“Poor cripple,’ Lorenzo cooed, smirking.  “Can´t even roll his own cancer sticks.’  

“Well, you broke my fucking finger,’ Sands said, his mouth quirking up into a pretty pout.  He drummed his fingers on the tabletop as he sighed softly.  “Lorenzo?’

Lorenzo´s eyebrows drew together at the unfamiliar soft tone to Sands´ voice.  “Yeah?’

Sands frowned even deeper, lifting a finger to his mouth as he thought.  “Is this a general hatred of Americans, or just a general hatred of this American?’  

Lorenzo snorted again, licking the cigarette that was considerably neater than Sands´ had been and setting it aside to roll another one.  “I have no ill will towards Americans.’

Sands nodded.  “Then it´s me you have ill will towards.’


Sands sat back for a moment and Lorenzo was surprised to see that Sands had the capability to look something other than condescending.  “May I ask why?’

Lorenzo laughed, shaking his head and looking back down at his task.  “You´re suddenly polite.’

“I do have that fucking capability,’ Sands spat out, suddenly loosing his cool composure.  “I´m not this dick with no heart, you know.  I´ve been known to give a shit once in a while.’

“Once in a long, long while.  In a blue moon maybe,’ Lorenzo said with a smirk.

“God damnit, Lorenzo,’ Sands gritted out, slamming a hand into the table.  “I know I´m not the easiest person to deal with, but you could have a little fucking compassion.’

Lorenzo´s laugh was considerably louder this time.  “Not for you.’

“Look,’ Sands said, his tone becoming once again calm.  “For what ever fucking reason, El loves you.  Fideo too.  And me, well-- I don´t even half like you.  But that´s besides the point.’

Lorenzo tried to not let his heart jump into his throat but at the mention of El he was helpless.  “What the fuck is the point?’

“The point, Lorenzo,’ Sands said, putting the emphasis on “Lorenzo’ and causing Lorenzo to realize that he´d been using his full name this whole time.  “Is that we´re stuck together, so we should try to get along.  If not for me and you, for them.’

“Imagine that,’ Lorenzo grumbled out, throwing the second rolled cigarette on the table and beginning to roll a third.  “Agent Sands thinking of someone other than himself.’

“All right,’ Sands said, laughing bitterly.  “Fuckin´ forget it.  I never said a thing about it.’

Lorenzo looked up and expected to see Sands´ familiar frown and another litany of curses coming out of his mouth.  Instead he saw that Sands looked almost--  almost--  regretful.  The blow that delivered to his gut was significantly more powerful than anything Sands had ever said to insult him.


Sometimes, when the town was big enough, the hotels they stayed at were able to give them rooms close together, and at first that had been a good thing.  As time had passed though, and Lorenzo had become even bitterer, he began to wish he´d specifically asked to not be situated so close to everyone else.  

When he and Fideo still shared a room and they´d been able to hear El and Sands in the middle of the night, it had hurt.  It hurt to hear El´s rapid-fire dialogue through the thin walls, and it hurt even more to hear Sands groans and growls and hushed curses.  It hadn´t been intolerable though, because Fideo liked to paint pictures with his words and more often than not was able to make Lorenzo burst out in laughter.

When he stopped staying with Fideo though, those nights were cold and lonely.  He had trouble sleeping anyway, and with noises like that coming from the next room it was impossible.  He´d hear the bed post knock against the wall and he´d hear El´s voice mumbling in Spanish and it would bring back memories of that month when it used to be Lorenzo he´d mutter to.

That would have been one thing, to hear El and not be able to feel him, but then he´d hear Sands.  Low at first, sighs that he wasn´t sure if he was really hearing or just imagining, and he would remember that El liked to take it slow at first.  They´d get faster though, and soon it was like Sands was right next to him, shuddering and moaning and gasping as El brought him to completion.  The worst was when the sounds brought him to completion as well.


//You can´t.//

//I can, and I am.//

//Lorenzo, we need you.//

Lorenzo laughed.  //For what?//

//I need you,// El said softly, resting a hand on the back of Lorenzo´s neck.  //I always need you.//

Lorenzo fought the iron fist clamping down on his heart and managed a smile.  //And you´ll always have me.  Just not here.  Not now.//

El sighed, his fingers brushing gently over Lorenzo´s neck, completely unaware of what that was doing to him.  //I don´t want you to go.//

//I have to go.//

El turned his gaze to Lorenzo and rendered him speechless with his pitch-black eyes.  //Why?//


El sighed, letting his hand trail down Lorenzo´s back lightly.  //That´s not an answer Loren--//

Lorenzo growled, standing up and swatting El´s hand away.  //Because I fucking love you, and I can´t watch you with him!//

El´s mouth hung open for a moment, the shock hurting Lorenzo even more than the ignorance.  //Lorenzo.//

//I have to go, El,// Lorenzo said, tears choking his throat.  //I can´t see this anymore.//

//I didn´t know.//

Lorenzo nodded, walking to the far edge of the room and hugging his arms to his chest.  //I know that.//


Lorenzo laughed.  //When doesn´t matter.//

El nodded, standing.  //Yes it does.//

//Since before you even met Carolina,// he said softly, looking down at the floor.  //Since I´ve known you, I think.//

El was standing in front of him now, his hand reaching out to touch his cheek.  //I´m sorry.//

Lorenzo nodded, smiling softly.  //I know that too.//

He hated the tears in El´s eyes even more than he´d hated the feeling in his gut these past few months.  //I never would have…//


//I wouldn´t have…//

//El, please.//

//If I´d known, Lorenzo.  I didn´t know.//

Lorenzo looked up into his eyes and found it was impossible to not become lost in their depths.  //It´s not your fault.//

//Yes it is.//

Lorenzo laughed.  //You always have to be a martyr, don´t you?//

A ghost of a smile crossed El´s face as he stepped closer to Lorenzo and drew him into a hug.  //I´ve never meant to hurt you.//

Even that was too painful and Lorenzo slowly drew away, smiling sadly and grasping El´s face in his hands.  //You were always so beautiful.//

El´s hands came up to cover his.  //You were.//

Lorenzo leaned forward, placing his lips softly against El´s and feeling the last bit of his heart break.  Leaning back he found he couldn´t smile again.  //Goodbye, brother.//


It was even harder than he thought it would be to leave him, but he packed his bags and knew he was doing the right thing for both himself and El.  He stopped by Fideo´s room to tell him goodbye and didn´t even wait for Fideo to react before turning on his heel and walking out onto the sun baked roads of Cuernavaca.

The further he got away from the hotel the more relief he felt, and by the time he had been walking for four hours he found that his tears had stopped.  He bent to set his bags down and take a break, looking back to where he had come from.  A hundred yards back he could see the tiny black dot that he somehow knew was Fideo.

He waited there in the middle of the road for him to catch up, and then another half hour for Fideo to rest as well.  When he asked Fideo why he came Fideo shrugged and said it was because that´s what friends did.  Lorenzo felt an other bout of tears threaten to come out but Fideo laughed and hit him upside the head and told him if he cried, he´d just as soon go back to the hotel.

They didn´t go back to Culiacan, instead taking a side trip to Los Mochis where Fideo had family.  Fideo said Lorenzo needed to be somewhere where the memories of El were less, and Lorenzo didn´t tell him that his head was where the memories were so it wouldn´t make a difference.  What mattered was that he´d never lost Fideo in the first place, and that eventually he´d realize he hadn´t lost El either.

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