“Can you hear the song?” asks Sam, which is one of the stupidest questions Vasquez has ever heard in his life.
Who could miss the alluring siren song coming from Faraday when he speaks and moves? He’s fairly sure that this is why Faraday has a habit of attracting so many ne’er-do-wells and he’s starting to understand why Sam has asked him to come out of hiding and put himself at risk just to see the Siren-Who-Has-No-Idea-He’s-A-Siren. It’s the not knowing part that Vasquez is still in shock about, because how could anyone miss it?
Yet, Faraday seems to have no idea.
“Fine, this was worth nearly getting my head chopped off,” Vasquez grumbles his acceptance, seeing as being a nymph of the water is bad enough. When the essence of your magic and life are essentially, a fountain of youth, people start to come after you and going out in public means taking a risk.
For a siren like Faraday, he’s willing to risk his head.
There’s the matter of Rose Creek to worry about, too, but Vasquez selfishly doesn’t give a damn about some petty small battle over land and gold. He puts this to the back of his mind and starts trying to work the problem. If Faraday doesn’t know he’s a siren, then Vasquez just has to bring the knowledge to him.
“How many has he lured?”
“Only a few, but he doesn’t know that he did it,” Sam says. “I thought about taking this to one of the mers…”
“No, this is good,” Vasquez says, a determined look set on Faraday as the man drunkenly stumbles around and somehow draws Teddy and Emma into his orbit, looking confused as to why they care so much, but they do.
He starts small by trying to call upon the elements a siren would feel most drawn to, calling down rain showers from the clouds and basking in the drops on his hat. Every bit of water that hits his skin makes him glow and shine, an iridescent sheen that you have to look twice to catch. Most of the others know what he is, but he hasn’t told Faraday, hasn’t let Teddy in on the secret. He catches Horne staring, sees how Red looks at him, and maybe he’s just a little unnerved when Billy looks at him with an eye of someone debating making a play for the power that lives within Vasquez.
It does nothing for Faraday. He stares at the rain above and grumbles about it before he tugs his jacket over his head, making Vasquez curse at him for forcing him to waste precious water in the desert.
Next, he tries the more direct approach.
While it’s no secret that there are supernatural things out there, most of them don’t tend to get so flashy. Sam doesn’t shift into his furry skin in front of them and Emma isn’t practicing her charms. Goodnight doesn’t go around healing people and Faraday shouldn’t be putting his song out into the world.
By those same rules, Vasquez shouldn’t be playing with his magic so publicly, but he needs to draw attention to it. He starts with little things, making puddles around them, drawing moisture from the ground to create low-hanging clouds.
Days pass without Faraday noticing anything, self-centered bastard, so Vasquez decides it’s time to start to put on more than a little bit of a show. When they’re setting up camp and Sam asks Billy and Goodnight to head to the nearest pump to get a bucket of water, Vasquez wags his finger at Billy and Goodnight, making sure that Faraday is watching.
“Don’t bother,” he says.
“You sure?” Sam asks Vasquez warily, who knows all too well how much energy this draws out of him.
The bigger problem is that maybe Vasquez has moved away from revealing Faraday’s true nature to him and has inched towards trying desperately to impress the man. Of course, if he really wanted to do that, there’s the whole rejuvenation magic he could work, but that’s a secret he’s been trying to keep as quiet as possible. It’s the one that put him into hiding, after all. His whole purpose here, apart from being another set of guns for Sam, is to coax Faraday into understanding what he really is and quiet his song before it causes too much trouble.
“What, you’re volunteering to hike? You’re usually the first of us to get some sleep,” Faraday retorts.
This is going to be completely worth it.
Vasquez sets the bucket on the ground and rolls up his sleeves, aware that he’s pulling in the entire group to watch him, even if some of them are pretending that they don’t care (Red pretends he doesn’t care, but he’s watching, as is Jack from beneath his hat’s brim). Tipping his palms skywards, he calls up a localized little storm cloud that drifts in, unleashing the heavens and raining right down into the bucket below until it’s filled to the rim, but not a drop hitting the ground outside of it. He’s exhausted from the effort, worn, but he manages to keep his energy up until he hands the bucket to Sam, collapsing nearby and waiting for Faraday to come talk to him.
He can still hear Faraday’s song, circling his head in that low, sweet way it has. It’s still being put out there unconsciously, drawing people to him, making them fall for him, and the more that Vasquez hears it, the more he thinks that he’s in trouble. He’s starting to forget all his irritation at the man, starting to come around to the aching yearning that song invokes in his heart and in other places. Faraday doesn’t come talk to him, then, but there’s a look of wary awe in how he looks at Vasquez.
From there, Vasquez stops caring about how much energy something requires or how it might reveal his truer nature. He lets himself glow when he slakes water all over his body to bathe, he calls down rains with ease, and he thinks that Faraday is starting to let the presence of water all around coax that hidden part of him into revealing exactly what he is, maybe while also impressing the man and making him feel as attached to Vasquez as he is, in turn.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happens.
Instead, Faraday comes to him with only one question in mind.
“What the hell are you?” Faraday asks, when he finally snaps and can’t stand it.
“It’s not about me,” is what Vasquez says, stepping in to press his palm to Faraday’s heart, sliding his hand lower to lay flat over the skin near his lungs, a look of determination on his face, because he’s going to make Faraday see how incredible he is, even if it’s the last thing he does. “Speak to me.”
“Now I know you’ve gone crazy,” Faraday grumbles, “asking me to…”
“Guero,” Vasquez cuts him off. “Not like that. Speak to me.”
Faraday inhales sharply, and suddenly the air around them shifts. Since they met, Vasquez has known the sweet sounds of Faraday’s siren song, felt it in his heart, but struggled to tell himself that what he’s feeling isn’t real. Faraday is a siren with no control of what’s happening and isn’t even doing it on purpose. It’s not his fault that he’s luring Vasquez closer without even meaning to.
It’s Vasquez’s fault for allowing it to happen, letting himself develop real feelings along the way (or, at least, he thinks they’re real).
“What are you?” Faraday asks, but this time, his voice is soft and melodic, a tempting thing if Vasquez has ever heard one. It lets Vasquez drift on it, aware that being a thing of the water, he already has a closeness to things like mers and sirens, that when Faraday speaks from his heart, Vasquez is lost.
“Goodnight has a book,” Vasquez struggles to say, speaking about the grimoire the other man holds precious (an old family heirloom, he believes). “You need to start there, if you can’t look into your heart and see what you are. That’s where you’ll find your answer. It’s about what you are, not me.”
Faraday is still tangled up close to Vasquez and the song is only getting louder, more tempting. Vasquez lifts up his chin, reminds himself that he is far older than any other creature among them, and he can withstand a wayward lost siren’s song. Maybe the difference this time is how much he wants to hear this song.
Maybe because he wants to claim this siren.
Faraday has both hands fisted, tangled in Vasquez’s vest, and he’s staring at his lips like he’s going to do something, but there’s a bigger purpose here.
“Go,” Vasquez coaxes, voice low and even. “Ask Goodnight to read it. When you know what you are, come back to me.”
Faraday, none too happy with the instructions, reluctantly lets go of him in order to leave Vasquez behind, seeking out Goodnight. Breathing out relief, Vasquez heads back to his rucksack to dig out a smoke and his drink, not entirely sure he knows what he’s doing anymore and cursing Sam Chisolm for dragging him into this mess.
Faraday comes barrelling to find him hours later, when Vasquez has drunk far too much and has been making bubbles dance and play in the palm of his hand, staring forlornly at them and wondering how he managed to let himself get conned into being here. He’d been intrigued by Sam’s claim of a siren without a home or knowledge of what he is, but instead, he put himself in the crosshairs of a fight where any number of people might figure out who (and what) he actually is, but for all that this is a big threat, he’s only sulking about the fact that he’s not sure whether what he feels for Faraday is real or not.
He’d had Emma make him a charm to try and peel back the seductive song, but he doesn’t think it’s done a thing.
Faraday’s song keeps circling his head, a sweet summer breeze of a sound that whispers over him and warms him.
“Siren,” Faraday says the blessed word, which is better than Vasquez had been expecting, what with his belief that they were going to keep circling around the truth until one or both of them died. “I’m a siren? How the fuck is that even possible? They’re supposed to have siren songs, lure people in with…”
He trails off because Vasquez is giving him a pointed look, like Faraday needs to think more about his life.
“I’m good at cards,” Faraday says defensively. “I don’t lure people into a sedated, lulled state.”
“You do, though,” Vasquez replies, drunk and maudlin. “What’s strange, why Sam brought me, is because you have no family, no others to be with. No one taught you how to use your song, so you sing it all the time and bring people to you with your song and your charisma and the charm that comes across in such terrible ways.”
“Siren,” Faraday says again. “So is there anyone out there to teach me how to do it right?”
“I could bring you to someone.”
Faraday seems to be avoiding something else, something he wants to bring up.
“I found something else in that book, about someone who can manipulate water like that and who seems to glow as soon as he’s around it.”
Vasquez shouldn’t be surprised. Of course, Faraday wouldn’t have stopped at his own information in that grimoire. He’s been showing off enough that his abilities would be classified very clearly in the book, which means that he needs to stay quiet and let Faraday finish his little song and dance.
“Water nymph, huh? You definitely aren’t what I would picture, but can’t say it doesn’t suit you. You been a water nymph always, then?”
“And, if that book is right, that whole fountain of youth bullshit they talked about…?”
“Me,” Vasquez confesses, seeing as it’s just the two of them and if he doesn’t trust Faraday with this, he’s not going to be able to trust him in general.
“Didn’t that whole thing happen a few hundred years ago?”
Vasquez loves watching Faraday make these connections in his head. Vasquez chuckles under his breath and presses into Faraday’s personal space, sliding one leg in between Faraday’s so that they’re intimately pressed together, not moving so that he can give up his secrets in the bastion of this small bubble of personal space between them.
“Ponce de Leon was a very annoying man,” is all Vasquez has to say in confession to how old he might be. “Nearly got me killed, wanting to be young, but the locals got the better of him and gave me a chance to slip away and head south.”
“So, a water nymph and a siren fighting alongside a bunch of other random supernatural creatures, trying to save Rose Creek. What do you say that when we’re done, you and I go find that someone to teach me how to control this song?” There’s a glint in Faraday’s eyes that speaks of steely determination – a man with a plan. “I only got one person I’m aiming it towards and I don’t think that Texican bastard would take kindly to me luring in other people.”
“No, he definitely wouldn’t,” Vasquez agrees with a heated look in his eyes, “even though he’s not a Texican.”
“Sounds better than fucking nymph.”
“Depends on who is doing the fucking of the nymph,” is Vasquez’s pleased-with-himself reply. He tangles his fingers in Faraday’s collar to bring him in the scant remainder of the way, stumbling down to the ground. This is how he plan to spend the next few nights before the battle annoying as many people as possible with the strength of Faraday’s siren song, now that he’s found a potential mate, glowing and basking in the fact that if it’s not real, then at least it’s for him.
Maybe coming out into the world again is worth it, for this. It might be too early to say, but he’s got a good feeling about all this.