On The Border
by Sami

Ethan was in the border town of Nogales, on the Mexican side. It had taken him longer than expected to break free from those Initiative chaps. That's why he was in Nogales, because escape he did, and being caught didn't appeal to him. So, Mexico was the ticket to freedom.

Not that being on the border was safe, but his plan called for it. His plan wasn't so much a plan as it was a concept. The gist of it was hitching a ride to Mexico City.

Ethan was strolling down a dusty side street lined with women selling trinkets on blankets when he saw it. "It" being black symbols tattooed on a very pale neck; the neck belonged to a young man with blue hair wearing dusty jeans and a poncho with the words, 'Marijuana: Billions Stoned,' emblazoned on it. The young man was buying a bobble head toy animal from a child with a tray. Ethan was sure that the boy had no idea what his tattoo meant. That's why Ethan ended up following the little stoner around.

After staring at the tattoo Ethan realized that his eyes, after everything, still worked like a charm and he was right. The boy was sporting the symbols for concealment. He had forgotten the name of the symbols, and where they came from, but he knew the design; Ethan had memorized the symbols after Ripper had wanted them tattooed to his back. Hell, Ethan had licked the design on Ripper's back but that was before Eyghon and, well, plans fell through. The Marijuana boy led him past shops, more vendors, and tourists. Ethan's concept was swiftly turning into an idea as the boy led him farther into Nogales. The boy stopped at quite the cookie cutter border pub: dingy, big open doors, and a fat barkeep.

"You want a beer?" The boy asked as he turned around surprising Ethan.

Ethan nodded in reply and followed the boy into the shade of the pub. The boy looked calm as he leaned against the bar and ordered two coronas. Ethan sat at a table near the open doors and, just out of justified but acute paranoia, looked for every available escape route. The boy ambled over and plopped down on the chair across from Ethan. "I could ask you why you were following, but in case you weren't: looks like rain."

"No, you are quite right. I was following you." Ethan was too tired to play games. Months of experiments and drugs had left him slightly skeletal and weak. The walk and sun hadn't helped matters, and the barkeep, with two wet, glistening bottles was more than a welcomed sight.

The boy pursed his lips before asking, "Ethan Rayne?"

Ethan raised an eyebrow. "So you've heard of me? Makes me all tingly in the tummy and weak in the knees to know that I'm not completely forgotten. You are?"


The barkeep set the bottles down. As Ethan gulped corona he could have sworn that his skin was soaking up the bottle's condensation. He wiped his mouth with the back of his one hand but didn't put the bottle down. Wandering musicians trooped in and their noise, greeting the barkeep, tuning instruments, and other patrons calling out requests made conversation difficult. Ethan switched the beer to his other hand as he noticed Oz fingering the notes along with the guitar player on his bottle. Oz looked familiar somehow, but Ethan couldn't place from where.

Oz was turned toward the band and the tattoo was bold against his pale neck. Oz had nice skin Ethan noted, he must moisturize. Ethan had the sudden desire to trace the symbols with his tongue.

The band was softly playing some folk Mexican tune and it was feasible to talk again. "Tell me. Where ever did you get that fascinating tattoo?"

Oz bobbed his head to the music and took a sip of his beer. "I got them in Zacatecas."

Ethan raked his brain thinking of anyone he knew in Zacatecas. "Who inked them?"

"Guy named Juan Luis but I wouldn't recommend it. Trust me."

Ethan and Oz lapsed into a comfortable companionship as they drank Coronas, listened to music, and occasionally talked. They were talking of David Bowie when they left the bar. Ethan wasn't on guard as the two walked in the fading twilight. He had been trying to convince Oz that he had actually met Bowie when he spotted a figure in that all too familiar dark green. Ethan did the first thing that came to mind. He pushed Oz against the graffiti covered building and kissed him. He smiled when he realized that there was no resistance. Maybe he would ask Oz if he ever wanted to go to Mexico City.

Yeah, his idea was developing into a plan.


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