The day had finally come.
The seven gathered together in the street before each man went to his station. Few words were exchanged. Few words were needed. They might all die that day, they might all survive. No one knew. Goodnight's absence at Billy's side felt like a fathomless void, but no one mentioned it. Vasquez hoped Billy would be okay.
All they had was hope.
As they all parted ways, Vasquez quietly grabbed Joshua by the arm, pulling him into an empty alley. He pinned the redhead against the wall, kissing him deeply, passionately...and with just a hint of fear. Fear that he would lose his lover. Fear that he would fail Joshua.
When they parted for breath, Vasquez cradled Joshua's head in his hands, their eyes meeting. He held his lover's gaze, hoping that his feelings were clear, even if he couldn't say them aloud, not yet. After a few moments had passed, he kissed Joshua again, the kiss gentle and adoring. Then he met Joshua's eyes once more, and said only one thing:
"Kamazotz. My name is Kamazotz."
Faraday’s blood ran cold, and his eyes widened. “Stupid man.” He whispered harshly with a current of confused affection. He kissed him again, hard and fierce. He pulled back and stared into his eyes, his own glowing bright green.
“Do not die today, Kamazotz.” He put power, and authority, and something that felt too much like it must be love into the command. His voice rising from the ground and through the air. He didn’t know if it would work. Such compulsions didn’t always. Too many variables. But it was worth something to try. He kissed him again, mimicking his gentleness from the moment before, and at last pulled away, steadily taking his position, willing himself to not look back.
"...Do not die today, Cariño." Kamazotz whispered, watching his lover walk away, before forcing himself to head to the church, never looking back.
If he did, he would never leave Joshua's side.
The plan was going off without a hitch. Blowing things up was just as much fun as he’d hoped it would be.
He remembered when black powder first made it to Europe. He had been so fascinated with it. His mother had warned him to stay away. “We’re immortal, not invincible.” She would scold. He was always getting into such trouble, more than anyone. And now, with the air burning and the earth soaked in blood, Faraday could feel his magic vibrating with the energy of life and death itself. He saw Bogue’s men move into the town, and he followed that thrum of death back to the church.
There he was. Faraday’s magic sang at the sight of his lover. They fought together, in perfect sync with each other. As Faraday followed him into the burned out building, he felt pain shoot through his side. Bullet. He had been shot a few times before. Lead didn’t burn like iron did, but it still hurt like a bitch, and a through and through to the gut was gonna bleed like hell. How much blood could he lose? It seemed he would have to find out. No time to tend the wound. His magic could only heal him so much. Repair the internal damage. But it would still bleed. He had to save his magic. He was probably going to need it. The earth was calling out to him.
Something was coming.
Vasquez was an excellent shot. He never missed unless he intended to. Ever since the conquistadores had brought their firesticks to his lands, he had perfected the use of every iteration of the weapon that the invaders brought with them. He couldn't always solve his problems with his fangs, after all, especially now that his people had become a myth to mankind. Every time he fired, a Blackstone fell, no need for his powers at all. It was so easy.
And then he smelled blood on the air, blood that sang with ancient magic. Joshua! The bloodthirster turned, watching in horror as Faraday stumbled into the church, wounded. Could the fae survive such a thing? He would find out...
But first, he had a man to kill, and a bullet would be far too kind. Damn secrecy. Joshua had been hurt, and blood must be paid with blood. It was his way.
He holstered his guns and tossed his hat aside, exiting the relative safety of the church despite the others' pleas to stay. His eyes went black, his fangs fell into place, and his nails became claws.
The Blackstone barely had any time to scream in horror before Kamazotz fell upon him, tearing him to pieces and gorging himself on the mortal's blood.
Faraday watched his lover avenge his injury from inside the doorway. He grinned with too many sharp teeth and felt pride and affection course through him. He reloaded his guns and pushed on.
And then their friendly neighborhood Cajun reappeared, in a burst of overdramatic glory, screaming his fool head off. A Gatling gun. This was going to get bad. Very bad, very quickly. Everything was a frenzy after that; the bullets, the screaming. He heard Vasquez shout, and turned to see his shirt sleeve bloom red. A scratch. He’d be fine. The barrage ended...and then he heard it. His people were finely connected to human children. He could hear them screaming. Feel their fear. He saw the smoke, and he ran.
Kamazotz was wild with fury and rage, only barely noticing the wound on his shoulder. If there had been a Blackstone nearby, a simple feeding would have fixed it. Then Goodnight reappeared, screaming about a Gatling gun, just one of the many new horrors humanity had invented to destroy themselves with. ¡Mierda!
He ran back towards the church, ready to shield any of the mortals that may need it. He had faced a Gatling once, and they could not kill him, but they could throw him into shock for a good while if he was hit enough.
And then that damn fool guero, his Joshua, ran towards the children. No! Now was not the time to risk himself. Kamazotz reached for the magic he felt within him, that small piece of Joshua's power that bound them now that he have given the fae his name, begging him to come back.
"¡Cariño!" Their eyes met as Joshua ran past him.
Faraday stopped in his tracks in the doorway of the church. He closed his eyes and breathed deep. He knew what the earth was trying to tell him. The fire in the air. He knew what was coming. He knew what he had to do. He could see it now. So clearly. He turned and faced Kamazotz, his eyes flashing green as he gave a sad smirk.
“Puck.” He said gently. And then he turned and ran. He helped Sam relocate the little ones, athen he put his plan in motion.
Immortal doesn’t mean invincible. Fae could be killed, but he didn’t stop to dwell on that. Instead, he swung himself up on the nearest horse, and sent a jolt through it with his magic to make it run faster than it ever had before.
His name was Puck.
A million things ran through Kamazotz's mind: Shakespeare, the smell of fire, the taste of blood...and something new. A connection. A bond. The feeling of something clicking into place, a bullet into a chamber, a hand sliding into another. Puck. His blood sang with his lover's name. Oh. Oh!
So this is what his mother had meant. He had found his mate.
And now he was going to lose him.
"¡CARIÑO!" He screamed as he ran for the church door, only to get pinned down by the gatling gun.
He felt the wind spur him on. He felt the bullets hit him. He felt the power of love and death and grief and rage, stretching out to him from the town. Over a millennia of chaos and subterfuge, of games and violence: this is what it came down to. This moment. He fell short. Fell from the horse. He gathered his magic within him and rose to his feet. He staggered closer. Another bullet. How many was that now? He could feel the earth beckoning him home. Feel his mother’s hands in his hair. Hear his father singing. He was almost done. One more step. One more game. One more trick. On his knees, bleeding into the grass, the youngest child of the fairy king, played his hand.
...But why not try for one more trick? His father always told him he never lived up to his potential. Puck drew his magic and his power from deep within himself. The earth and the air. Kamazotz’s love. He threw the dynamite and pushed everything he could muster in front of him, to shield him from the blast. It wasn’t perfect. He was weakened and tired, but it was enough. He felt his flesh burn and his vision turn black, but the earth did not welcome him yet. He closed his eyes, and let himself fall.
His lover would wake him when it was over.
As Kamazotz watched his lover ride towards the gun in horror, he felt a wave of helplessness wash over him. Even with his speed and strength, he would never reach Puck in time. No. No! Please...Please don't let it end this way. He closed his eyes and reached deep inside of him, drawing from the power of the night and the ancient gods. He felt the bright, effervescent magic that filled his lover's body, and his eyes flew open, black as the void, as he prayed, no, demanded just one thing.
"Do not die today, Puck. Do not die, my love."
And then came the fire, the explosion, and all Kamazotz felt was silence. He ran from the church, tearing down all who dared to get in his way. He had to see for himself. Puck wasn't dead. He couldn't be. Please. Please!
The darkness did not take him. It held him. It knew him. He was coming. Puck held on to thread of life and the flickering spark within him. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. He was coming, and everything would be alright. He felt the grass beneath his face and hands. He let the power of the earth seep into him. He could do this. He could hold on. It was just enough.
Kamazotz fell to his knees next to Puck's burned and battered body. Tears of dark, dead blood fell from his eyes as he carefully cradled his lover's body, preparing for the worst. It was as if the world had gone still. Nothing else mattered as Kamazotz went deathly still, searching for a heartbeat. Long, agonizing seconds passed as he heard nothing.
It was soft, quiet, reedy, but Puck had a pulse. Kamazotz could save him. Without a second thought, his fangs dropped, and he bit deep into his tongue, feeling his blood well in his mouth. Then, he leaned down, his hand gently grasping his mate's chin, opening his mouth just a little.
Kamazotz kissed the fae in his arms, his hand now massaging Puck's throat, helping him to swallow. He doubted that a fae could be turned into a bloodthirster, but Kamazotz's blood would always help heal his mate, regardless of his species.
Puck could feel the power of death itself flow down his throat. His mouth filled with the taste of...he knew that taste. He knew the arms that held him. Where was he? Who was he these days? Which...
Joshua. Joshua Faraday. With his cowboy, Alejandro Vasquez. He remembered. He felt his wounds began to respond to his lover’s blood. He felt his consciousness swirl and settle and fall into place. He kissed back, a weak and trembling hand reaching up to touch Vasquez’s face. He was here. They were alive.
When the wound on his tongue sealed itself, Kamazotz ended the kiss, trembling as he sobbed in relief. He could feel the life returning to his mate. Already his wounds were beginning to close and heal.
"Puck...mi amor...oh, mi amor..." He sobbed, gently stroking his mate's cheek.
“Kamazotz. Vasquez. Alejandro.” Puck rasped out, smiling. “I never told him it was my name, you know. I helped him write the play. I named the characters after myself and my family, but I never told him any of it was real. He never knew about me at all.” He nuzzled his face into his lover’s palm. “Never gave anyone my name before. Put it in the damn story so folks would never guess it. Things lose power when people think they’re not real.” He couldn’t keep his eyes open.
“This is real. This has power. We’re gonna be okay.”
Kamazotz kissed Puck's brow, wiping the thick, bloody tears from Puck's face. "I was named after a god. Names don't have power with my people, but...when I gave you mine, I could feel your magic binding us together. So when you gave me your name..." He would have blushed if he was a mortal.
"I drew on your magic. I demanded that you live." Kamazotz smiled softly. "Perhaps we kept each other alive, mi amor."
Puck smiled and let his eyes finally close again. “I like that. Let’s keep doing that. Sleep now.” He was so tired. His body was healing, but his power was drained. He felt empty. Worn out. Exhausted.
"Sleep, mi amor. I'll watch over you." He promised, gathering his mate in his arms and heading back towards the town.