**Disclaimer: Sands is not mine. The OC is.**

The thin man in black stood with his back to the desk, one gloved finger tapping slowly, impatiently, upon it. The room was dark and silent, but the man wore sunglasses and faced toward the wall opposite the door as if deep in thought.

The door opened and a man cleared his throat. "I believe we've found him…sir."

"You've found him?"

The man didn't turn toward the intruder. His voice was softer, smoother, gentler than one would expect coming from someone with such a menacing appearance. It made the other man shiver involuntarily. It reminded him of what he would imagine the snake in the Garden of Eden to sound like, pleasant, inviting, but just, off, somehow. He knew all too well what this man was capable of and he knew about his past. At one time he had been a strikingly handsome man, but he had been betrayed by a woman, his face permanently marred, blinded. He had never seen what was beneath the sunglasses but he had heard rumors that the man was merely a skeleton with eyeless holes where his eyes used to be. The woman had taken more than that from him, though. She had taken his soul, or so the rumor went. The man was as black hearted as the devil himself. He had systematically hunted down every single member of the Barillo cartel left alive after the Day of the Dead, the day he had lost his eyes, and had them murdered, one by one. Some, he killed himself, preferring to mete out his revenge personally. There were still a few in hiding, though, and the man continued his mission of revenge. There were also rumors that he would kill without warning or provocation, even his servants, from time to time and that rumor in particular kept this man on his toes.

"Yes," the man gulped unable to calm his jangled nerves.

"Well, then, tell me where to find him," the man in black replied smoothly.

It was a long road trip up a steep mountainous terrain to their destination. Sands checked his weapons repeatedly in an effort to alleviate the boredom. His driver didn't make conversation which was fine with him. There were only a few cartel members left for him to eliminate and this was one of the slipperiest ones. Juan Hernandez had managed to elude him several times, but this time, Sands intended to find him and kill him himself. He could not find any peace until he knew that every single traitorous murdering member of that cartel was dead and cold in the ground. Then he could find peace, or so he told himself. The balance would be restored.

The car crept along up the roadway and came to a stop.

"We're here, sir."

Sands opened his door and stepped out of the car. The afternoon sun glinted off his black sunglasses as he straightened them and started walking toward the hacienda in the hills. It was quiet and peaceful. He heard nothing, no one. He hoped his prey was inside. He found the door was unlocked and he smiled thinly to himself as he turned the knob and entered the house. Apparently the man was not expecting him. Good.

He could hear muffled voices coming from a room within. The latch clicked as he shut the door again and the voices stopped. He pressed himself up against a wall and inched his way along it to the doorway where the voices had come from. He still heard nothing. He drew his gun and spun around into the doorway.

"Madre de Dios! Es usted, el ángel de la muerte. No me mate por favor. No sabía nada de su plan. Tenga misericordia!"** the man begged frantically when he saw Sands in the doorway,

** Mother of God! It's you, the angel of death. Please don't kill me. I knew nothing of their plan. Have mercy.

He was silenced by a single gunshot. His body thudded to the floor. Sands cocked his head and listened. He could hear sobbing from the next room. It stopped suddenly.

Sands stalked through the room and into the next and listened, but heard nothing more. He walked around the room. It was a bedroom, it seemed. His legs ran along the side of a bed as he investigated the room. He felt the smooth bedspread on top. There was a robe lying on the bed and the room had a hint of perfume. A woman's room, he thought.

He quickly yanked the bedspread up and reached under the bed. Moving his hand around quickly beneath it, he grabbed what felt like a leg and pulled.

Screaming and kicking followed as he yanked the person from under the bed.

"Well, well, well, what have we here?" Sands asked amused at the female fighting for all she was worth against him.

"Let go of me, you murdering bastard, or I'll kill you."

"You'll kill me? He raised his eyebrows at the threat. "How charming."

His smile quickly turned into a snarl when he felt a knife slash across his forearm. He grabbed the offending wrist and twisted it until the girl cried out in pain and dropped the weapon. He picked it up and tucked it into his belt before subduing the girl's thrashing arms and legs, pinning her under him. He could feel how terrified the girl was by the quick rising and falling of her chest and the strangled sobs as she tried to control her emotions.

"Listen up. I can do one of two things here. I can kill you, like I did that fucker in the living room or I can…

"That was my father," she spat out at him. "You killed him!" The girl sobbed unable to control her pain any longer. :I'll kill you! I'll kill you! I swear it." she cried, sobbing uncontrollably and struggling against him trying to free herself.

The girl's sobs were so heart wrenching that even Sands almost felt sorry for her. But her father was a cartel member, a murderer, a drug smuggler. He was not innocent by any means.

He yanked the girl up by her arms and found the sash from the robe lying on her bed and he used it to tie her hands behind her back.

"What are you doing?" the girl demanded.

"I can't very well let you try to kill me, now can I?"

"Let me go!"

"I don't think so Sugarbutt. You might come in handy. I bet you know where your Daddy's friends are, don't you?"

"I'd never tell you anything. Never!"

"I wouldn't be so sure of that."

He pushed the girl out the bedroom door and back into the living room. The girl gasped and dropped to her knees by the body of her father.

"Papa! Oh, Papa." She started crying anew. "Why? Why did you kill him?"

"Get up." Sands said unemotionally and dragged the girl back to her feet shoving her toward the front door and out into the sunlight. The minute the girl was outside she started to run trying to escape. She ran as fast as she could toward the woods but Sands was too fast for her and he tackled her. Her body hit the ground hard, unable to soften her fall with her arms tied behind her back, her cheek slammed into the ground and she cried out in pain.

"Shouldn't have tried to get away," Sands spat at her. "That was stupid."

"Fuck you!" she screamed, frustrated and in pain, her cheek and shoulder bleeding from the hard landing.

Sands yanked her back to her feet by her bound arms as he shoved her toward his car. She started to struggle with him again.

"I'm not going anywhere with you!"

"Get in the fucking car!"

She tried to knee him in the groin but he dodged her and slammed her against the car face first and put his gun barrel to the back of her head. He couldn't believe the fight this girl was giving him. Didn't she know he could just shoot her in the head right now if he wanted to? She had seen him do it to her father. Why wasn't she afraid for her life? The girl started sobbing again, uncontrollably, painful racking sobs.

"Go ahead and kill me," she pled, "You've taken my life anyway."

Sands opened the car door and shoved the girl inside getting in behind her and shutting the door. The car started to drive back down the winding road.

The girl's sobs eventually slowed and stopped. She looked angrily at her captor. Who was he? Her father had said that he was on the run from a demon, an unholy angel that was pursuing him. She had thought he was drinking too much tequila and that his conscience was merely bothering him, but looking at this man, she wasn't so sure. He was dressed all in black, black shirt, black jeans, black gloves, black sunglasses. His hair was nearly black and long brushing his shoulders, but his face was quite pale and thin with high cheekbones just under the ominous sunglasses. He stared straight ahead as the car traveled down the bumpy road. He seemed quite human, though. He sure body slammed her like a human and he was bleeding from the cut she had made in his forearm. She didn't believe in supernatural things anyway. There were no demons or dark angels as far as she was concerned.

"Are you quite finished staring at me?" he asked her in a patronizing voice, never turning to face her.

"I want to memorize the face of the man I'm going to kill," she spat at him in return.

"Hmmm," he bobbed his head side to side, considering her response. "I'm sure you want to do that. But you won't get the chance."

The man pulled out a brown cigarette and stuck it between his lips and lit it with a black lighter, blowing the smoke inside the car so it lingered in the air around them. He turned his face toward her.

"What's your name?"

"I'm not gonna tell you that."

"What's your name?" he asked more demandingly.

"Fuck you!"

He reached over and grabbed her face with his gloved hand pinching her jaw painfully as he forced her to look at him.

"I am not a patient man. Now what is your name?"

He seemed more than a little bit annoyed with her and she hesitated before answering.

"Hope."

His lips curled into a half smile. "Interesting. That's an English name."

"My mother was from the United States."

"So, you're not Mexican?"

"Yes, I am!" she replied boldly. "I was born here and I have lived here all my life. My father was Mexican."

He released her face. "How old are you?"

"Why?"

Sands sighed. "Don't argue with every fucking thing I ask you, savvy, because, I will get tired of it, sooner or later, and just put a fucking bullet in your pretty little head!"

"I'm 20."

"Why did you still live with your father?"

"Because I'm not married and that's what Mexican girls do," she replied smartly.

"Why aren't you married?"

"Why are you asking? It's none of your damn business!"

"Just passing the time. It seems like most Mexicans, at least, most fine upstanding Mexican citizens, if there are any, usually marry off their daughters fairly young to other fine upstanding Mexican citizens and the rest are whores."

"So, are you calling me a whore?"

"I don't know, are you? The cartel certainly had their fair share of them hanging around."

"How dare you!"

Sands smirked and took a drag off his cigarette. She wished she could smack that smile off his face, but her hands were still tied behind her back.

"What do you want with me?"

"I already told you. You know where your father's friends hide. I want you to tell me where I can find them."

"So you can kill them?

"Exactly."

"Never!"