Cross My Heart
Cross My Heart
(By "Da song is so cute, I couldn't help myself. No, really." Zar)
(Warning: I am not responsible fer any mental damage caused by reading this fic.)


Hold me close, baby, hold me tight
Cause I have something to say tonight


Memories. That was what really hurt.
He had his memories from their last great adventure, before things had gone all wrong. So many memories from so short a time. The water, the gold, the feast, the nights...
He had those sweet days, those golden times, the happiness he felt before...it all went wrong. Before...
Before he left...
He had been alone. Alone for far too long and it was beginning to affect him. Things he used to enjoy now only made him curious; the few things he had managed to save from the sacrificial crash now only made him feel confused.
Confused and sad.
The two golden objects -- twin earrings -- rested near his bed, shining sometimes in the candlelight, glimmering when the morning sun rose and fell across him in the morning. They depressed him because they reminded him of something he used to have, but despite this he could not bear to get rid of them. He had to keep them...it was not even a choice sometimes. As he held the thick objects in his hand, staring at them with sadness that only grew deeper and deeper as he remembered...remembered how he got them and why he had kept them.
Memories. That was what really hurt.
Afterwards, his life had become somewhat mechanical, but he had become used to it...become accustomed to what he had to do to survive, become used to the lack of grandiose plans and accidental adventures. His expectations had dropped so low after he had left, had fallen so completely, that daily life, daily, boring life, had become...normal to him. Everything he used to know, used to depend on to give his life meaning, now had vanished completely from his mind, even from his hopes and dreams for the next day. He didn't expect anything from his life anymore.
That was depressing too.
He had gotten used to what had happened to him. Gotten used to being alone.
When he left, everything that had defined him had left as well.
Memories...that was what really hurt. They hurt a lot more when they walk through your door.
It had been night for some time and he was planning on going to sleep, feeling unfulfilled and empty -- as usual -- when he heard someone banging erratically on his door. The knocks had a sense of urgency and familiarity that he had to investigate, so in spite of his own misgivings, he set his candle on the table and carefully opened the door a crack to see who had decided to bother him at such a late hour...
The door was quickly pushed open through a single person's body-weight, shocking him backwards. They both fell inside, surprising him and prompting an instinctual reaction; to catch them and support them.
When he looked down and saw familiar blue eyes, dark hair...he almost dropped him in both surprise and anger.
"What are you-"
Before Miguel could say anything more, he was pulled down into a sitting position, his former partner only inches away from him. With a quick movement, Tulio slammed the door behind him and turned back towards his irate companion with a startling sense of urgency.
"Just shut up, okay? Just let me say something. I have to talk to you."
Miguel was deeply hurt and enraged by the audacity that Tulio had to come back to him, after everything that had happened and been said once they had returned to Spain. How dare he do this to him, after all this time, just after it stopped hurting so terribly much, just after he convinced himself he didn't need him after all, that he was alright by himself, able to convince himself of that precious lie...
A short pause followed where Tulio was gathering his words as Miguel struggled to find a reaction. During the silence he studied his partner...former partner. Tulio looked deeply tired and worn out, his eyes sad and angry all at once, his clothes dirty and torn. Something had definitly happened to him...not that he cared. Not that he had ever cared...
Yes, that would work.
"You probably already know what happened already, so let's skip the pleasantries, alright?" Tulio leaned in towards him, and for a moment Miguel stayed there, watching, unable to move, before he tried to get away, struggling to retain his more recent memories and beliefs.
"What are you doing here, how did you even find-...what makes you think I'd ever want to see you again anyway-"
"Just stop, okay?" Tulio put his hands on Miguel's shoulders for a minute, a familiar touch that brought back more painful memories then he knew he had. "Just stop and listen to me for a second, alright?"
Miguel grabbed his forearms, intending to remove his hands from him, but in the end he left them there, only tightening his grip on his former partner's skin to show that he was not happy with the situation in the slightest. He glared at him angrily, defiantly, but in the end he remained silent.
As it had always been...but that was a long time ago, and this was now. This was different.

Now hear me out, baby, hear me through
It's only words but the words are true


"You know she's gone. I can see it in your eyes. You know that and you hate me for it and that's perfectly okay. But I came back here for you...to tell you something. You've got to believe me this time. You've got to trust me."
How could he say that how could he say that after everything that had happened, all the nights they shared and all the adventures and cons and everything and all the gold, what had happened to the gold? It didn't matter to him, it didn't matter in the least, it couldn't matter it wouldn't matter. He couldn't let himself fall into this trap again but he was already falling and he hated it he hated it how could he say something like that how could he say that
Tulio kept his hands on his shoulders, his eyes looking tired and far away, revealing more then his words ever intended. He just stared at him, and Miguel could not stop staring back, although he tried to keep his anger, keep his righteous indignity.
It was happening again, he knew it before it was even happening, he was going to submit and give up and let himself fall for this again, fall into his arms and god he hated it he hated it he couldn't do this he had promised himself all this time that he would keep his painful memories but memories weren't supposed to walk and hold you and tell you things you thought were lies but now seemed true and you knew they weren't and HOW COULD HE SAY THAT and god he couldn't do this he couldn't
"It wasn't the same." Tulio continued speaking, oblivious to Miguel's inner confused monologue. "I mean...you know what I mean. Things...we couldn't keep it together. I..." He paused and narrowed his eyes. "I couldn't trust her...but I don't really want to talk about it. Everything we did only reminded me of us, of what we used to do, of what used to be important to us. I know you remember, I know you do..."
Miguel managed to shake his head although everything inside him was screaming conflicting messages that wanted to paralyze him. He was lying and he knew it and he was fairly sure that Tulio knew it as well. He could feel heat rising to his face, to his eyes, and he knew what that meant. No, he couldn't let him win, he couldn't let himself fall for it again.
"It just...it didn't work out, alright?" Tulio was frustrated at his own inability to clarify his words and emotions, running a hand through his mussed hair distractedly. He looked off to one side for a moment and Miguel could feel the muscles in his arm twitch underneath his grasp. When had he broke one of his arms free...? Why didn't he notice? Why didn't he do anything...? "I knew you...you would...you'd understand. I knew if I found you again...things would be better. You could...help me..." Tulio trailed off, his last few words awkward and hesitant, staring at Miguel intently.
Inside his mind was screaming at him, shouting at him to throw him out, to yell at him for daring to assume something like that, to say something, say anything but what was going to come out of his mouth. "Help you..."
He couldn't he wouldn't he couldn't do this why did he say that
Tulio struggled for a few moments, trying to force his words out as if they physically did not want to come. "I..." He paused and shut his eyes, another internal struggle made visible in his expression. Finally his eyes opened, and his words were almost resentful. "I missed you. Alright, I said it. And..." He paused again, struggling to force his body to reconcile with his mind. "And I'm sorry. There."
That didn't change anything that didn't erase any sad memories of waking up alone and wondering what he had done wondering what he had done that made him left wondering how this could have been his fault that he left that he wasn't good enough that he had messed up made a mistake said something done something that made him leave, that this had to be his fault it had to be his fault and that was why he spent so many nights awake and so many days asleep and god that didn't change anything how could he think that would fix everything just a few words couldn't change anything they wouldn't make him feel better or erase everything how could he think that those few words would change everything that had happened...
But they did.
"Missed me..."
Tulio couldn't find words, just staring at him and giving a sad, tired smile. He knew that smile...he knew it so well it made him ache all over.
He was forgetting everything in the past few months, remembering when he had seen that smile so long ago and he had been so happy, so relieved. His grip was loosening and he couldn't help himself. He began to cry although he hated himself for doing so. He reacted to this weakness by covering his face with his hands, whispering through his hands words he desperately wanted to believe. "I hate you...I hate you..."
He could feel Tulio's hand drift upwards, touching the back of his hand for only a few moments, and his soft voice, his soft, controlling, comforting voice that he had heard in his thoughts and dreams so often...here it was, and this couldn't be real...he had to keep his hate, had to keep his anger or else...
Or else everything would come back...
"Do you remember? I do."
"I hate you..."
"Do you?"
"I hate..." He moved his hands away from his face for a moment, his hand unintentionally brushing against Tulio's again, staring at him with both hurt and anger plain on his face. His voice was weak and wavery. "I do..."
"So you know..." Tulio smiled at him again and god he hated him, he hated that smile, he hated it he had to hate it. "You knew this would happen."
Miguel shook his head weakly although deep within himself he knew it to be true. He was facing a double contradiction now; when he had been by himself, alone, he had fought against his memories, against everything that deep within him he still believed. He had fought to convince himself that he would be alone forever because that was the only way he could continue to live. But he knew somewhere in him that it wasn't true, that he was never alone, he knew he'd never be alone, but he couldn't admit it, not now. Not now, not now not now.
"You knew I'd come back..."
He shook his head pathetically again, struggling to erase everything, to erase everything he was feeling; all tactile sensation from Tulio, from the darkness that was lit by the solitary candle nearby on a small table, from his tears and deep desire to draw a quavery breath. He couldn't let this...
"You remember back then...when we..."
He did remember....he remembered so well...
It was the memories that hurt so much, hurt so sweetly and so much. Sitting together, memories joined, he couldn't do this but he could, and he slipped back into his own thoughts which mirrored Tulio's because Tulio was in all of them, all of them that mattered anyway. Back together...hurting together...

You are
My sun up in the sky


In retrospect, maybe it hadn't been the best idea.
Tulio was tearing across the corner, holding the small bag of gold tightly in one hand while his other was occupied fending off various obstacles and keeping his balance. He was looking back behind him and around him frequently, fear and worry mixing in with his adrenaline. He could hear them chasing him, hear their anger in their footsteps and words and he knew he couldn't stop.
But where had he gone? He and Miguel had split up to distract their marks, to make off with the gold easier, but he had lost sight of him and now wasn't sure where he was. They had agreed to meet up earlier in one of the sidestreets, but he hadn't been there and he could not afford to wait for him.
What if he had been caught? What if they held him hostage? They could use him against him, and then where would he be?
Where would Miguel be?
Turning another corner so sharply he lost his footing, he used his free hand to minimize the impact with the ground, beginning to run before he even realized it was a dead-end.
Skidding to a stop, he turned swiftly, expecting his pursuers to be right at his heels, but they still had some distance to go before they would come into view.
Quickly assessing his surroundings, he found no open doors, no floor-level windows, and the wall he had run into did not look particularly easy to climb. No use tossing the bag away now and feigning nonchalance, they knew him and they were going to take revenge on him and now he had nowhere to go.
He tied the bag shut and shoved it in one of his pockets, hoping that having two hands free would help him in the very likely event of a fight taking place.
"Aren't planning on hanging around here long, are you?" The jovial and playful voice came from above him and he felt a rush of relief, looking upwards to find his partner peering over the edge of the roof, the typical playful smile on his face.
"Not particularly, no." He hissed sharply. "I need some help here."
"Looks like I've got some of that in stock. Lucky you!" A rope snaked its way down the side of the building and Tulio grasped it immediately, scrabbling against the wall in a panicked attempt to scale it. He could hear his pursuers coming closer and he doubled his efforts. Fortunately, Miguel above him was pulling as well, apparently just as frightened as Tulio at the thought of being caught, although he hid it better.
Tulio looked upwards, panicking as he could hear them coming closer, and he caught a glimpse of his companion pulling the rope upwards. From his vantage point, the sun had become perfectly positioned behind his head, giving him a blindingly bright radiance, too bright to look at...
In a few more moments, he was over the edge and the rope coiled and slung around Miguel's shoulder. He smiled at Tulio confidently and began to run, knowing that he would follow.
"Come on, this doesn't look like the best place to be at the moment."
Tulio smiled at him as they lept across another roof, knowing that their pursuers probably would not follow them this high. "Where'd you get that rope anyway?"
"Somewhere." Miguel smirked and glanced at him for a moment before returning to his more pressing physical tasks. "You're welcome."
Tulio just stared at him and smiled once more.

A shoulder when I cry

"You..." Miguel struggled to find appropriate words for how he was feeling, but could find nothing. Anger and sadness was rushing through him in equal intervals and he wished anything that one would finally take dominance over the other. The memory hurt so much, made him so angry and yet so happy all at once.
He struggled helplessly, trying to break Tulio's hold on his wrists, unable to break himself free in his unstable and unhappy state. When had this happened? When had he let his control slip so far, his awareness fade so much, that Tulio had a hold on him and he hadn't even been aware? He could feel tears coming to his eyes again and he wished them away angrily, struggling not to fall apart so easily, to give in so quickly. He had to fight this, fight him, fight the memories of all the times they had spent together. "Go away...I don't want t-to see you anymore...you..."
"You remember?" Tulio just stared at him calmly, so enfuriatingly, watching his reactions with usual grace and familiarity, the useless struggling of Miguel apparently not affecting him in the least. "I can see it in your eyes. I can see that you do remember that time..."
"I don't, I d-don't remember anything, leave me alone..."
"You remember..." He exerted more pressure on Miguel painfully, forcing his thrashing to cease, to look him directly in the eyes. His words were soft and gentle, although within Miguel they only brought about the most mixed and painful of emotions. "You remember being my sun, don't you?"
"I-" Miguel was only able to choke out one syllable before pain and heartache made him stop, struggling to breathe and keep himself under control. He couldn't let him do this, he was submitting again and he hated this, he hated this but this had been everything he wanted, everything he had wished for in the night. He had wished for this and he hated himself for wanting it and Tulio for being able to do it so easily; to make him collapse, to break any feeble barriers he had built during the period they had been apart. To prove him so utterly wrong in believing he was strong, strong enough to live by himself, strong enough to live without him...
He had to know, he had to know this power he had over him, he had to know how easily, how efficiently he could control his partner, his partner.
"I..." Tulio paused, his control and smoothness broken for a moment as he searched for the word or the strength to give it voice. "I need you, you know. I...didn't need her, but I need you. Do you remember?"
"I don't, I don't, I don't remember anything, I don't need you, I don't..." Miguel forced the words through a cracked and broken voice, a cracked and broken will, and he allowed tears to come through his lies and confusion. He couldn't do this, he wouldn't do this, but he knew the moment he saw him that he had won, that he had already won the moment he fell into his arms. He couldn't fight him, he could never fight him and he even knew why and he hated that as well. He wished he could rid himself of that weakness as well, the weakness that had prompted his original rush to save his partner and ruined what could have been a happy and secure life he may have led. He sacrificed everything only to be left behind when they returned to their homeland and he had to hold onto that, remember that betrayal and bitter anger and rage he had felt that had nowhere to be expressed.
Again he tried to struggle, but this time Tulio only brought him close, holding him to his body, pinning his arms with his own, keeping him so protectively and completely. He felt again a surge of hatred, of anger, that quickly subsided for happiness and comfort, for the perverse longing he had felt for so long, the many nights he had wished when he had felt so utterly alone for even a fraction of this intimacy. He had wished for this deep within him and he wished he hadn't now, but now he had it and all he could do was cry. He hated his tears, he hated this weakness, but his arms, his warmth was too much, it was just too much, after all this time here he was, just like before...
"God, Miguel..." His voice remained soft, soothing but his grip was firm. Miguel had ceased struggling, only clutching Tulio's shirt with one hand convulsively, tranferring all his pent-up frustration and anger into his grip. He struggled to stop, to control his breathing and tears, but he had never been good at hiding his feelings. He shuddered and gasped, making frustrated and angry noises at his weakness, while Tulio continued to hold him, refusing to let him go. "I know...I know this is my fault, I know it is."
Miguel ineffectively tried to strike Tulio's chest with a fist, unable to gather the impetus or motivation to truly make it an injuring blow. "This is all your fault, you-...I hate you..."
"I know you don't, but I understand." Miguel could feel his hair gently being stroked and he hated and loved it all at once. "You have every right...I shouldn't have come but...I couldn't...I...need you so much...do you remember? When I lost that one bet...?"
Miguel didn't want to admit it but he did. He did remember that night with perfect clarity, all the emotions frozen crystal clear in his mind. He shuddered only in response.

A candle in the night

With a loud bang, the door was kicked open, the two of them making their way into the room clumsily, and the door was kicked shut again shortly thereafter. The room was completely dark, as was to be expected, although Tulio in the state he was in was not too aware of his surroundings. Fortunately, Miguel was more able-minded.
Everything had become somewhat hazy for him, but he recalled the sensation of being laid down...the rapid footfalls of Miguel darting here and there, retrieving objects and such from somewhere in the dark.
"Where are you...?" His vision was fuzzy and dark and the fact that it was night did not really help in this regard. It was getting difficult to breathe and he felt like he was falling. Shortly after his question pierced the darkness, a small light appeared before him. Miguel came into view, carrying a small candle and some linen. He set the small flame on a nearby table, along with the fabric he had brought along and moved away again. He had been mumbling something underneath his breath, but Tulio could not make it out. He was dizzy and light-headed, not to mention in incredible pain. He was also terribly frightened.
Miguel came back shortly, this time carrying a small bowl. He knelt by Tulio's side and his words became audible.
"-Can't believe you, thinking you could con people like that and you know they knew us too, they've got the wanted poster out now and everything and you wander off and try to get money we don't even really need at the moment! Great plan, just fantastic, honestly, sometimes you can be so..." Miguel stopped his indignant rant for a moment to study Tulio's side carefully, his words fading off into the darkness. Tulio inclined his head as best he could towards him, his fear having disappeared when he came back into view, watching the candlelight play off his gentle features and his golden hair. He looked so caring, so concerned, different from his previous irritated expression.
With quick and efficient motions, Miguel quickly deprived Tulio of his vest and shirt, moving slowly and carefully only when approaching the wound that ran deep into his side, near the bottom of his ribcage. He resumed muttering to himself while he worked.
"I swear to god, if I hadn't heard you, what would have happened? You'd be dead and then where would we be? I'd be without a partner and you'd be dead. God, for someone who claims to have all the plans you don't think ahead at all. I can't believe you didn't even check him for weapons! Are you just getting sloppy or do you just not care? And you told me to be careful and not to get into trouble and off you go and get yourself practically impaled on some sailor's dagger and now you expect me to take care of you..." Miguel finished his rant with a vague annoyed noise, soaking some of the linen he brought in the bowl that had found its way to the floor, beginning to dab at the cut with gentleness that belied his irritated demeanor. Tulio moaned softly as the liquid touched him, no doubt imbued with some kind of alcohol that made it sting horribly. Miguel noted this with concern, which quickly returned to his previous annoyed look.
"Like you have any right to complain, you brought this on yourself. Serves you right..." Miguel let his words trail off into the darkness, just studying Tulio's face for a moment. Tulio stared back at him, unable to stop himself in his somewhat delirious state. He was awash with amazement and disbelief that Miguel was even doing this for him at all, considering how he had acted. How on earth could Miguel tolerate him when he acted like this, deliberately looking for a challenge or a fight at times when he knew it was unnecessary? He had brought this upon himself, but Miguel was shouldering the responsibility of taking care of him...and this wasn't the first time that Miguel had shown such concern for him, taking care of him when he would often bring his injuries upon himself.
The candlelight shone in his gentle green eyes, reflected off his hair wonderfully, and Tulio stared up at him, wondering how on earth someone like Miguel continued to associate with him at all. Why? Why would anyone be able to tolerate this kind of abuse? This kind of relationship?
His vision was still hazy and his thoughts were unclear, but Miguel had become a landmark, something he could depend on to be there when he opened his eyes. He had become an light in the darkness, his visage in the candlelight.
Miguel stared at him for a short time before returning to the cut on his side, almost looking slightly embarrassed as he tried to keep the same annoyed tone in his voice. "You're so..." He paused, apparently searching for a word, but left it as it was, leaving it up for interpretation. "...sometimes..."
Tulio flinched again instinctively as the stinging pain returned to him, the sound of water dripping from whatever scrap Miguel was using as he moved it to the bowl and back, continuing his work in relative silence afterwards.
Tulio wasn't sure, considering his unsteady and unstable mental state at the time, but he was pretty sure at one point he managed to say "Thank you" through the dizzying pain and endless hours. Miguel had looked at him with a slight tinge of surprise, but then just smiled at him.
"You can't say you're surprised, can you?"
Such a confident and sure reply was soothing and comforting and the pain he was experiencing gradually melted away. He leaned back, closing his eyes, the sound of dripping liquid, of flickering candlelight the only noises for a moment until Miguel's voice came to him again. "Get some rest, I'll take care of it."
He found in the almost complete darkness, with the slowly dulling pain in his side and the constant sound of Miguel moving, breathing, being present, that he trusted him. He trusted his words, his intent, his sincerity and emotions completely, trusted him to take care of him. He trusted him with his life...completely. And he knew this trust was not misplaced.
He fell into sporadic sleep, awakened when Miguel would touch a particularly sensitive area of the wound or when he told him to arch his back slightly so he could complete a binding bandage over it. When the final strip of linen had been tied into place, Miguel sat there with Tulio staring at him, wiping his forehead and looking tired.
"I think that should do it...can't say for sure though, I'm not an expert at this, you know..."
Tulio managed to raise one of his hands towards the glowing, ever-constant apparition that had been by his side and tended to his wounds, gently running his fingertips across Miguel's face for only a few seconds before his arm fall weakly back to the floor. He watched as Miguel turned to him with a slight red tinge at his cheeks, staring at him in apparent confusion. Tulio coughed shortly and struggled to smile back at him for a moment.
"I think you did just fine..."

You are
My laughter in the rain


Memories...
He remembered so long ago, so early on in their relationship....when they had been gambling rather intensely, just as intensely as the storm clouds above them had begun to gather. Slowly people began to move inside, to drop out of the competition, leaving the two of them virtually alone. When it began to rain, their last opponent finally went inside as well, but not before knocking the dice out of Tulio's hand derisively.
The twin red cubes skittered off, obscured by the thousands of droplets that were bouncing off the ground, splashing everywhere. Soaked to the skin, Miguel had reached out for Tulio, who was searching around where the dice had disappeared.
"Let's go inside..."
"Not without my dice I'm not." Tulio called back to him and Miguel rolled his eyes. He strolled over to where Tulio was, casting his own gaze over the ground.
"C'mon, we'll find them later."
"Look, you can go inside if you want but I'm staying out here." Tulio began to shift loose fabric and the like that could have possible hid his dice from his view, not glancing at his partner as he did so. Miguel sighed and rolled his eyes again, crossing his arms.
"I'm not going inside alone. You'll freeze to death out here. Can you imagine?" Miguel held out his hands, taking on a comically serious tone. "Here lies Tulio -- He shuffled off this mortal coil at the hands of two small be-dotted cubes."
He smiled and looked upwards, letting rain fall on his face while waiting for a reply. Not finding one, he looked down to see Tulio on his hands and knees, searching about seriously and with some severity in his motions. Miguel finally decided to kneel down beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder for a moment to get his attention.
"Seriously, let's go inside though."
"Not without my dice!" Tulio restated, shaking off Miguel's hand with annoyance. "You can go in if you want, they aren't yours. Don't let me keep you." The biting sarcasm was obvious. Miguel shook his head again, smiling at him in a hope to defuse his anger.
"Fine, we'll find your dice."
"You go back inside. I'll find them by myself." Tulio's voice now was somewhat sulky, but Miguel refused to accept the command, instead investigating a short distance away, trying to spot the small red cubes somewhere amidst the constant refractions and flashes of light.
This only continued for a short time before he could hear Tulio's voice behind him. "What are you doing?"
"Looking for your dice, what does it look like?" Miguel smiled and shook his head slightly. He could feel Tulio's hand on his shoulder and he allowed himself to be pulled upwards, anticipating and expecting the annoyed expression on his partner's face.
"I told you to go inside! It doesn't make sense if we both get wet-"
"And I'm a shining example of dry?" Miguel held out his arms with a broad smile. "It's too late for that excuse."
Tulio put a hand to his forehead, typical of deep thought or annoyance. Miguel responded to this by putting his hands behind his back, smiling at him expectantly. "God, you're so irritating..."
"Let's go inside, alright? We can find the dice later."
"Why are you doing this to me?" Tulio asked rhetorically, getting a response he no doubt expected from Miguel; an impish smile and a confident and quick reply.
"We're partners, remember?"
Tulio rolled his eyes. "How could I forget?"
"Let's go inside."
"Not without my dice..."
"You mean these?" Miguel smiled again, holding out the small cubes, which Tulio stared at with shock which quickly turned into annoyance.
"How long have you had those?"
"Found 'em right before you called out to me." Miguel stared at him with a quiet smile. "Want to go back inside now?"
Tulio smiled despite his annoyance, running a hand through water-slicked hair with little effect. "What would I do without you?"
Miguel shook his head rapidly for a moment, scattering droplets everywhere, prompting Tulio to shield himself despite the futility of it all. With his hair already being dampened down when he stopped the motion, Miguel smiled at Tulio again and, with laughter in his voice, backed away a step.
"Probably die of old age."
Taking the obvious invitation, Tulio advanced towards Miguel, who moved away with practiced skill, avoiding each of his grabs only by inches as he laughed happily, ignoring the rain and everything around him in favor of his partner's now worry-free and happy face. The two of them played about in the rain, taunting and teasing one another, all other thoughts forgotten, falling amongst the crates and such that had been left upon the street, still laughing as they shared warmth, shared promises...
"What would I do without you..."
"You'll never have to worry."

My shelter from the pain

Memories...
Nothing hurt more then getting a letter. No face to face contact, no outward admission of emotions...a letter, the most distant and cowardly and painful of ways to end a relationship.
It had been such a good day for Miguel originally. They had pulled off something major and he could rest for a short while in the temporary house they were using. Lately Tulio had been busy with his current female interest, spending some, but not all, of the surplus they had earned on amusing her and giving her small gifts. It struck Miguel as somewhat silly. As it was he had never experienced real, passionate love, and he was fairly sure that he never would. No one seemed to arise in him any interest, any true and vested attraction of any kind. He wondered if perhaps he was looking in the wrong direction, but he had tried everything and everyone at one point, finding no one truly lit any kind of fire within him, captured him long enough for him to lavish attention on them, to give small gifts and do small things for, like Tulio seemed to be able to do so often with whoever he was with at the time.
Although, this could have been because-
The thought line ended sharply there, the fair Spaniard's mind instantly refusing to delve into previous, forgotten memories. That had been some time ago and he had advanced past that now. It no longer had a hold on him and he refused to let that become an excuse for his problems.
He had decided to stay inside, mainly because Tulio was out and about at the moment. It was easier for both of them to avoid authorities if only one was present...they were harder to recognize that way. Besides, Miguel wanted some time to himself and this gave him ample opportunity.
The day had been clear and bright and he had felt remarkably happy with his lot in life. Everything seemed to be going so well, seemed to be so complete, so focused. He spent almost an hour just at the window, staring out at the world, marveling that his place in it could be so happy, so contented.
Expecting Tulio to be coming back shortly, he began to prepare dinner as he always did, enjoying the chore far more then usual. He liked to cook; it was something that had always loved, but now his passion for it was aroused once again and he began to experiment, to play around with his older recipes just for the fun of it. He was sure that Tulio would not mind.
Everything was going so nicely until Tulio came home.
"How'd it go?" He called when he heard the door close. No reply greeted him and, expecting extravagant tales of whoever's heart his partner had just won, Miguel walked into the front room, finding Tulio leaning against the door as if it were his only support, holding a sheet of paper in his hand. At seeing Miguel, he slowly sank to the floor, his eyes returning to stare at the letter in disbelief.
His previous good mood shattered, Miguel recognized the same pattern from so many previous relationships...they always ended this way, with Tulio coming home and reserving any kind of emotion until he felt he was safe, which may or may not have been in Miguel's presence. Lately, it had proved to be the former and trusting this, Miguel moved forward, kneeling near Tulio when he got close enough.
He could see the tension, the twitching of the muscles in Tulio's face that allowed him to keep the emotionless expression that seemed to be the only thing he could focus on. Sighing imperceptibly, Miguel reached and pulled the sheet of paper from Tulio's grip, perusing it for only a short time before putting it aside.
Attempting to help Tulio feel more comfortable and safe, to remind him of where he was and who he was with, Miguel moved beside him, smiling somewhat sadly. "It's amazing that all the girls you meet always make the same mistake."
Instead of making any verbal response, Tulio simply leaned to one side, resting his head on his shoulder quietly. Miguel felt a slight impact on the fabric of his pants, looking down to see a small dark spot. Glancing at his partner's face, he could see the shaky and fracturing emotionless expression, tears trickling from his eyes despite what he could only guess were his best efforts. Miguel put an arm around Tulio's shoulders comfortingly, staring downwards with another slight sigh.
"They always leave you..."

My angel in disguise

Memories...the most painful of all forever forgotten, perhaps for the best. However, associated with these purposely repressed memories came other remembrances that were sweet and remained with him...even as he struggled in the present to make himself hate the man who held him, hate him for doing this to him, for making him...
And how had it all began? How did it start? From the very beginning...
He refused to remember why he was there. Why he had been tied there, tied to a metal stake with rope near the docks. He refused to remember what had happened that gave him a black eye, torn his clothes, and bound his hands so tightly. He refused to remember who he was waiting for, had been told to wait for...refused to remember any of it.
He just remembered what he could without breaking apart completely. Remembered sitting there in the street, his hands bound helplessly, watching with dismay as gradually more people came to gather around him, to watch, to take advantage of his helpless state, to decry him as...as...he couldn't remember.
He remembered such absolute helplessness, total and complete passive acceptance, submission to his fate, pain and humiliation...he did remember that. He did not remember exactly why he felt this way, but he knew he did.
He did remember his savior coming to him.
Before violence could ensue, but after verbal abuse already began, his unknown protector stepped forward, holding thin arms outward almost as if pleading to the crowd that was assembled before him.
"Have you no hearts?" An overly-dramatic, serious voice. It would have made him smile under other circumstances, but he was too shocked at the time to react. His future partner gestured towards the crowd. "Upstanding men such as yourselves, have you no compassion? No guilt? Have you never felt the crushing agony, the enduring shame of..."
More words erased from his memory.
"Have pity, I ask you. You call yourselves Christian and yet you take advantage of this poor man who cannot defend himself!" He reached over, grabbing a sword from a nearby guard's holster with a smooth, practiced movement, holding it in front of himself easily. "Think of your beliefs! Think of who you owe your faith to, what he told you regarding the meek, the helpless! Can you not donate just a little of your wealth for his cause? I will surely fight for it, but you need not take such a risk."
Obligingly, guilty coins clinked to the ground, all eagerly snapped up by the dark-haired man in seconds. Finally, the guard seemed to realize that his weapon was missing and moved to reattain it. Before the guard could do so, however, his savior turned towards him, the sword held at ready.
He was struck dumb with disbelief, shock, and hope at that moment, staring at him with what he later learned was almost fear. With a quick slash of the thin sword, the ropes that had binded him for so long were cut away.
Miguel stared at his hands in wonder for a few moments, still incapable of comprehending what had just happened, what it meant now that all that remained on his wrists were dark bruises. He looked up at him, staring into his blue eyes with what he hoped was gratitude.
In response to this, his rescuer gestured almost imperceptibly towards the crowd. Even from such a slight motion, he knew what he had to do. He had to continue to play the part, to continue the charade...
He stood up, moving slowly from where he had once been restrained, frightened and yet so excited with his potential freedom that he could almost not stop trembling, moving and standing beside his savior with with he hoped was confidence.
He found that, with the proper motivation, his voice could seem just as confident and convincing as the man next to him. It brought back memories of earlier times, hazy and indistinct, when he had such confidence in all his words, such bravery and pride, before...something. "Look at me now...take away the rope and what have I become? One of you-"
"Isn't that just so touching?" A quick statement, laced with worry and urgency. With a quick motion, he felt his savior next to him grab his hand, tossing the sword towards the guard. "Thanks for your compassion, you've all been great. See you soon!"
Miguel felt himself being dragged bodily along with his new companion along the streets, dodging and avoiding the angry and vindictive crowd behind him with surprising and unfamiliar grace.
While they paused against a wall as their pursuers looked around in vain for where they had gone, Miguel took a chance to breathe, staring at his rescuer with awe and amazement.
"Who are you?"
"Huh?" He looked at him in confusion before realizing what he had asked. He brushed back his dark hair with one quick motion. "Oh, I'm Tulio."
"Why-"
"No time!" His hand seized again, the two began to run once more, barely evading the guards and angry citizens, having no idea how many times this exercise would be repeated during their long and expansive relationship.
He stared at his rescuer as he ran beside him, his savior, with admiration and deep loyalty. He had saved him from...from something terrible, and he would never forget that...
Of course, he couldn't tell him that...maybe someday, but not now...

Cross my heart
There's nothing that can make us part
I'm by your side


"Don't...you don't need me, you never needed me...!" Miguel struggled to convey anger through his muffled words, but all that showed was the pain he had felt inside for so long. He couldn't let himself, couldn't allow Tulio to do this to him, to be able to hold him and control him so easily and why wasn't he trying to break free and why wasn't he trying to stop him from hugging him, from touching him...why why why why...
"Oh, you know that's not true." His voice was gently admonishing in tone and Miguel knew he was right. He hated it but he was right. "I've..."
He couldn't find his next words and in the silence that ensued Miguel tried ineffectively once again to push him away, to do anything to signify that he didn't want this. But he did, and that was why his hands barely moved in response to his mind's commands.
"You knew this would happen, didn't you..." Miguel's voice choked as he forced the words from his body, not believing in them but trying to force himself to. "Knew I'd be here...just as...someone to fall on when everyone else leaves you...you knew I can't...I can't..."
"I know you better then that. You knew I'd come back."
That was it exactly, but it couldn't be. "I hate you..."
"You knew we'd eventually end up together again..."
"Hate you, I hate you..."
"That we'd end up like this again..."
"HATE you...!" One frantic burst of energy, one moment to try and break free which resulted only in Tulio tightening his grip around him, preventing him from moving.
"I know you know it's true..."
He wasn't crying. He couldn't be crying but he was. Struggling to control his breathing, to stop himself from breaking down completely, he felt the fabric of Tulio's shirt between his fingers again. His only response, the only one that he could give, was just a short gasp as he struggled to stop himself from crying from the sheer frustration he felt inside.

Give my word
That no one in this whole wide world
Can change what I'm feeling
I'm high on believing
In Love


Tulio released him for a moment and Miguel did not move, keeping his face pressed against his chest until finally his darker-haired companion moved him away, solid and strong hands holding his upper arms. Miguel stared at him, struggling to muster anger in his glare, but the tears made that difficult. Tulio stared at him in return, and for a moment he saw that terrible sadness, that longing that had flashed across his face so many times when they had originally planned to say goodbye...permanently...
Slowly he reached out, brushing his tears away. Miguel turned away from him, avoiding his touch, trying to make himself look angry but only prompting more tears to fall.
"No matter what you say, it doesn't change a thing."
God, he was right. He knew he was right. He knew it when he had watched him leave, watched and felt it happen, felt his heart break right there. How far had it broken? How did he know that it wouldn't be permanent? How? HOW? Why...
"You know that I..." Tulio again trailed off, letting his fingers trace the curve of Miguel's face before returning to his shoulders. He didn't move away. "...she...she didn't change a thing. She didn't...change anything. I still...felt the same way...that I did before."
He had to be lying, but he knew that he wasn't. He had to be lying, that was the only way it could make sense. But he wasn't. He wasn't supposed to be here at all, he should have left completely, left him alone to prove him wrong but no, here he was and everything he said just proved everything that he thought was false to be true, and he couldn't allow that, he couldn't allow that...but that was the only course he had left.
His heart fluttered in his chest at his touch. He could feel himself shaking, his breathing coming in quickly, and this had to be true, this had to be true. Nothing his mind could say could change that. Nothing could change it...change how he felt at this moment, change how he knew...he knew it was true.

I make a promise, I make a vow
I swear my love to you here and now
Heart to heart, baby, eye to eye
You and me till the day we die


"I'm sorry..." Tulio could read the pain in his eyes and he looked down, unable to meet his gaze again. "I'm...sorry."
Finally he mumbled a soft response. "I know..."
How could he say something like that..."I'm sorry", as if that did anything...how could he just let him do that...let him try and wipe all the pain away with just words...but he knew it did. And he knew he had forgiven him already.
"Partners." He looked back up to meet his eyes, staring at him with such quiet affection, acceptance. Tulio cocked his head slightly, a smile coming across his face. "All right?"
Miguel could feel tears rising in his eyes again at his words. He had sworn so long ago that he would never fall for this, never let himself get hurt like this again, hurt by the same person again, but here he was...
"Forever." The word that came from him seemed to empower him, and he stared at him intensely, his tears fading for the moment to be replaced by determination. "We're not going to do this anymore. No more..." He couldn't find the word. "Just...no more. Forever this time. Forever or nothing, alright?"
Tulio smiled at him again, almost proudly, as his hand moved for a moment, brushing nonexistent dust off his Miguel's shoulder. "Of course...do you remember...?"
This wasn't the first time.

Promise you that I
Will catch you when you fall


Memories...
They had been running so quickly -- taking to the roofs again to avoid their earthbound pursuers -- that they had become a little sloppy, tripping near edges occasionally, jumping just a bit too early or a bit too late to make a safe and clear landing. Constantly wheeling on the edges, falling and scrambling upwards again, they continued their frantic escape.
Miguel had been ahead of him when he slipped. This time, his foot had landed just a bit too far ahead of its mark, and with a sharp cry of surprise Miguel vanished from view.
For a moment it almost felt like his heart stopped completely. Everything frozen into a few tense, frightened moments. With speed he was unaware that he had, Tulio was already at the edge, swinging his hand down frantically, hoping that he would feel fingers meet his own.
Fortunately, he did feel someone grab onto him, nearly pulling him over the edge as well with the sharp increase in pressure on his arm. With a audible sound of relief, he dropped the bag he had been holding, reaching down to take hold of Miguel's free hand, to have a permanent and secure grip on him. Miguel looked at him with obvious relief.
"Nice catch." Miguel smiled at him, his emotions shining through his falsely light, airy voice. The relief and gratitude in his voice was clear as Tulio pulled him back onto the roof with him, but it could not compare to the joy and thankful expression on Tulio's face.
"Said I would, didn't I?"

Hear you when you call

Memories...
"Miguel! Where are you?! Where are you, oh my god-" Waking in the dark, terrified, Tulio reached out quickly, feeling around him for any kind of comforting presence. Panting from the fear and unknown terror that had just left him, he reached to his side where he knew his partner had to be.
"Wha-? What's wrong?" The sound of his voice was an instant comfort, causing him to regain some of his composure. His hand found Miguel's chest before his companion could sit up, the sensation of warm skin underneath his fingertips quieting his heart immediately.
"Oh, thank god..."
"What?"
Tulio moved his hand upwards in the pitch-black darkness, feeling the strands of Miguel's hair underneath his fingers for his efforts. He could feel Miguel leaning his head into his touch, although whether it was out of a response or confusion was unknown.
"What's wrong? What happened?"
"You're still here..." He breathed a sigh of relief, unable to hide his emotions at the moment at the joy he felt when he heard Miguel's voice near him, felt his heat beside him. Miguel's voice almost sounded annoyed, groggy and slow from being woken so abruptly.
"Of course I am. Where would I have gone?"
"Just..."
Tulio felt fingers brush across his face for a moment, clumsily but then more carefully, lingering on his cheek. The annoyance vanished for a moment to be replaced with sincerity. "I said I'd be here, didn't I?"
"Yes, but..."
He could feel Miguel's fingers trace down his face, down his chin, before vanishing into the darkness again. He could hear him settle back to sleep beside him, one slightly mocking comment remaining in the air to remind him of his presence. "You worry too much."
Relieved to find his partner beside him, to find that his dream had been mere fantasy, he reached out again, his hand finding his shoulder this time. He felt Miguel's breathing for a moment, a faint heartbeat through his skin, before he settled down next to him, his fears having been quieted, replaced with a sense of safety and trust.
With slight hesitation, he slowly extended his arm to encircle Miguel, finding that when his arm finally met with skin, Miguel's hand took his own, encouraging him, and he pulled him close, his heartbeat clear against his own chest.
"You know I'll always be here." A whisper in the darkness.
He let his eyes close, the sensation of Miguel's hair against his face clear in his mind, as he whispered his own slightly mocking response. "You can never worry too much."

I'll always be around

Memories...
It had been a mistake. An oversight on their part. After such a successful ploy, a beautiful plan that had worked so wonderfully without a hitch, it was their lack of a sufficient escape plan that had led to their eventual capture.
Their escape plan had always worked so well before. Maybe this was why it doomed them; the guards grew too accustomed to their ways. They made their familiar turn, preparing to vault upwards, to make their way gradually upwards to the roofs, when they met the iron breastplates of guards they were entirely unprepared for.
Within moments, the two of them had been captured, shackled and taken away to be disposed of as quickly as possible. Although they had not gained the notoriety they would later on, they had become a nuisance, one that Spain was going to rid herself of if she had any say in the matter.
They had been thrown into the same cell together, hands still bound, as they awaited sentence.
"You should have ran the other way." Tulio had been banging his head against a nearby wall for hours with no plan in sight while Miguel had investigated the cell with the same lack of luck. His statement lacked any real anger, only an invitation to begin a discussion.
"Oh, excuse me, like I knew that there'd be guards there." Miguel's reply was sarcastic, but underneath it was a definite sense of worry, one that was entirely understandable. They had never been captured before...what were they going to do? How were they going to get out of this? They had to get out of this.
A plan...they needed a plan...
"Wait...wait..." Tulio looked at his partner, a preliminary plan slowly forming. "I think I've got something...you remember how we came in here?"
"We're in the first cell to the right, yes." Miguel walked over and sat down near him, his hands resting in his lap, locked tightly at the wrists.
"And the door's not too far away. If we can get a clear space, we could probably zip right out of here if we time it right..."
"We're surrounded by guards and you want us to just run right out of here?" The expression on Miguel's face made it clear this did not strike him as the best of plans. Tulio rolled his eyes for a moment at his partner's hesitation, struggling to gesture with his hands bound as they were.
"No no, it's not that simple. First we get a guard to come over here, then I can distract him, you make a break for it-"
"And you'll...?"
Tulio paused, his plan not having expanded that far. Not wanting to admit such an oversight, he tried to make it seem as if that was the entire purpose of the half-formed plan. "Well, you'll be free, so..."
"Oh no no no, I'm not going anywhere without you, Mr. Martyr." Miguel struck his shoulder without any force. "How are we BOTH getting out of here?"
"Look, if you want a better plan to get out, you can make one, but this one at least gets one of us free..." Somewhat irritated, Tulio wished he could cross his arms. This was the only plan he had thought of so far, and he wasn't about to let his aching forehead ache for nothing. Miguel cut him off.
"I'm not going alone. Can't we distract him some other way?"
"I don't know!" Tulio wished he had free use of his hands, irritated that he couldn't make the broad sweeping gesture which should have been natural. "Why can't you go by yourself? I'll be right after you-"
"I refuse." Miguel adopted a mock serious face for only a few seconds. "Never abandon a partner in need, right?" He smiled at him for a moment.
Tulio rolled his eyes, but found his loyalty comforting. "Alright, if YOU can think of some other distraction then fine, but I think you're just being stubborn..."
Miguel looked around their cell for a moment, spotting a ragged blanket in the corner. "If we can use that blanket..." Tulio turned to where he was looking. "Maybe we could throw it over his head or something..."
"What are you, nuts?" Tulio glared at him in semi-annoyance. "That'll never work."
Only a short time later, the two of them were hiding in an alleyway, huddled underneath a large box as guards stomped by, angrily shouting commands and directions to locate the vanished thieves. Tulio looked at his partner's smug expression with a sigh of annoyance before smiling himself.
"And now we're both out."
"Miguel...I swear to god..." He couldn't think of any way to express how he felt, his annoyance and gratitude all at once, and just let his words trail off.

Come whatever and come what may
Everything's going to be okay


"You remember, don't you?" Tulio said softly, his eyes still staring into Miguel's, watching his expressions. "I said that...I'd always be there..."
"You weren't there before. You weren't there when you left." No venom could find a place in Miguel's tone, only bitter sadness. Tulio looked almost visibly hurt by this, recoiling slightly before he leaned in closer.
"Where am I now?"
"That doesn't..." Miguel felt himself leaning uncontrollably towards him, to meet him halfway, and struggled to keep himself from moving forward, from submitting. "That...doesn't change anything..."
"It doesn't change anything." Such patience, such calm...how could he be this calm? How could he be so in control when Miguel was so conflicted, so confused... "You're right...nothing that happens can change what we said before..."
"That's not what I...I meant..." Miguel was leaning forward again and this time he almost did not notice until he could feel the soft current of his partner's breathing. His struggling, his resistance, was melting away, was melting into that feeling of completion he only felt in his presence. "I..."
"You'll be there, I'll be there...no matter what, remember? No matter what happened...we'd always...have...eachother..."

All the way, baby, all the time
All we need is your lips and mine


"Eachother..."
"Always."
"Always..." Words coming almost breathlessly, he was so close, just so close, that nothing mattered to him anymore, his minds all consumed by the person in front of him, everything he felt, everything he wanted, just inches away from him...
"Exactly..." A soft whisper, just barely felt. His hands on either side of his face, enmeshed in his hair...he couldn't move, paralyzed by the emotions running through him, the feeling, the sensation that tingled through his roots...
Oh god, he...
He couldn't want this, he couldn't let him do this...he couldn't let him do this, to hold him like this so completely in his power, so weak, so...so...he couldn't let him do this, he hated him, he hated him...
Oh god, this was all he wanted.
Such quiet anticipation...everything in him thrilled, his skin prickling as he could feel him lean in towards him.
All...he couldn't...but this was it...this was it...this was all of it...
Finally Tulio completed his course, his lips meeting with his own, and he fell apart completely, his muscles failing him, his arms falling uselessly to his sides. Everything in him was completely forgotten for the release, the overflowing emotion that crashed over him, left him dizzy and unfocused, left his defenses completely destroyed and he submitted. He submitted completely, allowed himself to be taken, allowed himself to feel the rapture, everything that he had been trying so hard to deny himself. The lies he had constructed to prevent such pain vanished in favor of the ecstacy, the sheer and unpolluted joy he felt with his cool hands against his burning face, his lips pressed so firmly and sweetly against his own.
He could never resist...he could never resist so much happiness, so much fulfillment, so much emotion, leaving him trembling as he pulled away. He opened his eyes slowly, staring at him, feeling his body shake visibly, the intensity of the emotions that had come over him leaving him weak and vulnerable...
His hands again replaced themselves at his shoulders and Miguel looked up at him, staring at him with such pain in his eyes as his memories came back to him, remembering why he hadn't wanted to do this, why he hadn't wanted to let him do this..
Remembering that kiss he had been unknowing witness to, the pain he felt at his voice...
He could feel his hair being brushed away from his face gently and he looked downwards, his hands trembling in his lap as he felt such conflicting and strong feelings of doubt and longing...

You are
My sun up in the sky
A shoulder when I cry
A candle in the night


The candlelight flickered in Tulio's eyes as he stared down at him, his eyes lacking every emotion that had ever worried him and frightened him, lacking the stone-cold regret that had been present when he had said goodbye before. He looked down at him with such adoration, such care and concern, that he was almost brought to tears. They blurred his vision, causing the candlelight to smudge behind Tulio's head, his hair gaining a slight golden tint as Miguel raised his hands to rub at his tears pre-emptively, not wanting them to fall.
"I..."
"Yes?" Tulio kept his hands on his shoulders, watching him as pain entered his eyes at the sight of the tears that were slowly being absorbed.
I hate you god I hate you I hate you and how you do this to me, how you make me want you, think of you, miss you, care for you...I hate you because you make me worry, make me long for you, make me hurt when you leave, make me want to live life forever in your eyes and in your arms and in your kiss, make me want to give up everything I ever had to just be with you, to do things you do and follow you...I hate you for making me hate her, hate her for taking you away, for making you forget me, for making me hate her for hurting you...I hate you because I need you so much that everything I say or do is because of you, everything I think is about you, everything I want, anything I've ever wanted was you...I hate you I hate you...I hate you because...
Because I love you so much...

But no words could come. Only another choked syllable. "I..."
"Shh..." Tulio pulled him back into an embrace, holding him close so comfortingly and confidently, antipating the shuddering that would come from Miguel as he did so. Stifled, hidden, and frightened noises came from his light-haired partner as he struggled to deny and hide his grief and frustration, tears the only thing he never seemed to be able to control. "It's okay..."
His cries were still muffled, controlled, embarrassed until Miguel finally looked upwards, glancing for a moment at the candle on the table he had left so long ago. Tears still shone on his face, but he had at last gained some control, some focus to his emotions...
"I..."
Tulio gently took hold of his face, turning him to face him, their eyes meeting in the darkness, candlelight creating stars within blue and green depths. "I know."

You are
My laughter in the rain
My shelter from the pain
My angel in disguise


"I promised you."
"I..." Miguel sniffled, unable to hold his gaze, letting it travel instead to the blue shirt that Tulio always wore. "I...thought you..."
"I promised." Tulio looked down at him, this time not forcing Miguel to make eye-contact again, only watching him. "We promised, and here we are..."
"In the rain..." Unable to voice his opinions, Miguel could only think of when they had promised so long ago, the cold, the fear he had originally felt as he moved forward, taking that first step and finding laughter in response; welcome, loving laughter.
"Yes..."
"You left me..."
Tulio shook his head slowly. "I know I never left you...and you never left me..."
Miguel looked up at him in confusion, anger again trying to find a hold. "What do you mean you never left-"
"When I was alone...and I was alone all the time without you...you would be there." Tulio seemed frustrated with his words, brushing back his hair for a moment as he struggled to find voice for his thoughts. "When she left me...and she did leave me, completely...you were there. You had always been there...I found out, when I was alone. You had always been there..."
"What are you talking about-"
Tulio silenced him by touching his forehead gently with one finger, then moving to touch his own. "You know what I mean...right?"
Miguel stared at him in relative confusion for a moment before shaking his head. "I can't believe-"
"You don't have to believe..." Tulio smiled at him softly. "But it's true. You were always there and I never saw...never knew...how long..."
Miguel rubbed at his eyes again, softly mumbling. "Do you remember...when we first met...?"
He looked up to find almost unbearable pain in Tulio's eyes, so much it surprised him, and he could feel him running one of his hands through his hair slowly, almost studying each golden strand that fell through his fingers, his voice soft and sorrowful. "Yes..."
"I...before..." Words were escaping him, becoming more and more useless as his emotions controlled him, took over his body and his mind. "When you..."
Tulio brushed his hair back again, sending tingles throughout Miguel's body, perhaps unintentionally, as he stared at him thoughtfully before he spoke. "Back then...?"
Miguel paused but then nodded slowly.

Cross my heart
There's nothing that can make us part
I'm by your side

"You..."
Miguel nodded again. He moved forward, seeking Tulio's embrace again and he obliged, holding him as Miguel surprisingly did not cry, did not even change his expression, only staring blankly off into the distance, apparently deep in thought.
Someday he knew he would tell him and finally that day had come. He told him...and he felt a deep satisfaction from finally doing so, from finally letting him know that he had always felt this way. Always felt him within him, motivating him, keeping him alive, keeping him going...that the thought, the knowledge that someday he would be back, he would come back to him, had let him survive those lonely months when he had been alone. He knew it. He knew it when the rope had fallen from his wrists and he was free...
"I'll always be here..." He whispered softly, running his fingers across Tulio's shirt, smoothing small wrinkles distractedly.
"I know. I always...knew."

Give my word
That no one in this whole wide world
Can change what I'm feeling

Tulio leaned downwards and gently kissed his forehead. He could feel his heart flutter at the touch, as soft and quick as it had been, and his heartbeat quickened in response. Unable to think of anything to say, he leaned closer to him, resting his head against his chest, closing his eyes to hear his heartbeat, letting his worries and anger and jealousy dissipate, letting his heart finally rest. After such a long time, letting his heart hurt and bleed as he let him leave, as he let Tulio leave so long ago...now his heart could rest, could finally forgive...
"She..."
"Shh...don't talk about her anymore..." Again, tingles through his body as Tulio's fingers worked their way through his hair. Close as he was, he was sure that Tulio could feel the small shaking that went through him at the touch. The small smile told him everything, and he shivered again as he felt his fingers brush against his scalp. "She was never there..."
Miguel gripped Tulio's shirt from an impulse, pulling him downwards closer to him, noting with a smile and a pleasant shock of adrenaline the surprised expression on his face.
"I'll always be there..."
"I know-"
Miguel interrupted him, taking the initiative for once and kissing him, pulling him down over him. Tulio did not resist.
Memories...that was what really hurt.

I'm high on believing
In Love

But that was what really mattered.

The End
(Author's Note: JESUS CHRIST that was long. ^_^o I didn't intend this fic ta ramble off inta nowhere like it did, but god this fic went ALL over. It's all cause of da song. It's so cute! I drew a buncha pics ta it, which is where all da memories come from. I didn't know da memories would take me so long ta do. ^_^o I cut out one of da repetitions of da chorus too cause it was just gettin too friggin long. Wow, Miguel's really incoherent in this one. Hee hee. THEY'RE SO CUTE DEAR LORD ::dies::. I hope I didn't blow all my ideas at once. ^_^o)

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