Without Question
(By "Da soundtrack is all love songs! If that's not an invitation, I dunno what is." Zar)
(Warning: I'm not responsible fer any mental damage caused by reading this fic.)

The more I learn
The more I see
The less the world
Impassions me


The jungle seemed to be expanding on into infinity. The map -- which was their only guide to a legend that may not have even been true -- was filled with cryptic symbols and pictures which Miguel seemed to be the only one to interpret or find. Small things did not escape his notice, but it seemed to Tulio that sometimes the comparisons or similarities that Miguel would find in their surroundings to the highly stylized pictures on the faded map were not dependable or logical. He began to wonder if the jungle itself would just continue on forever and swallow them whole.

When they had arrived on the shore at first, seeing leaves and vegetation after what seemed like an eternity of water, he had been understandably excited and pleased at having avoided death at the time. Unfortunately, with Miguel's enthusiastic belief in the map he had brought with him, it seemed that they had just walked into a bigger and slower death trap then the one they had previously left.

The more trees and bushes and small creatures he saw amidst the foliage only seemed to bespeak more dangers awaiting him, not to mention everything, including their direction, was beginning to blur into obscurity. While Miguel was able to find the symbols indicated on the map, everything looked the same to Tulio, who was beginning to believe in this quest less and less as time went by. The more jungle he saw, the more he wished he was back in Spain.

The hungry heart
The roving eye
Has come to rest
Do not apply

He was not sure how Miguel felt about the entire affair, as at the moment he was currently asleep. He had been sitting behind him, letting Tulio guide Altivo for once, and had dozed off over time, the heat of the jungle and the general exertion of the entire journey having gotten to him. He had eventually slumped forward, resting his head against Tulio's shoulder, his arms still lazily wrapped around him as a somewhat ineffective safeguard should he fall off the horse in his sleep. It didn't surprise the dark-haired man that his companion had drowsed off so easily...Miguel had been guiding them for the majority of the previous day and he didn't want to begrudge him some sleep while he could get it.

Although Tulio had the map in his hands, he could not understand it and he had the sinking feeling that he was going in circles. He had the strong urge to wake Miguel and ask him where to go, but the previous feeling that he should let him sleep was still strong.

The frantic chase
The crazy ride
The thrill has gone
I step aside

It was hard to believe that after so many narrow escapes and adventures that had got them here had only led to what seemed like an exercise in tedium.

He paused at the sight of three rocks ahead, pulling Altivo back slightly, feeling Miguel's weight shift along with the change of movement. He glanced at him for a moment, finding him still asleep peacefully. Shaking his head with a slight smile, he could not help but wonder how Miguel could sleep on what seemed to him to be an uncomfortable surface, considering how long Miguel had his cheek pressed to his shoulder. However, he guessed that Miguel was probably too tired to protest.

Unrolling their faint guide, he wasn't sure if what he was looking at matched what was on the map. It seemed like the three roughly geometrical shapes present on the parchment, but again he had never been good at seeing things where there was nothing.

That was Miguel's field.

Sighing, he finally resigned himself to the fact that he was going to have to wake his blonde friend up. With a snap of his fingers, he flicked Miguel on the forehead gently, enough to get his attention.

Miguel sniffed sharply at the sudden contact and opened his eyes with slowness that Tulio had long gotten used to, blinking several times in confusion.

"Mmph...what...?" He pulled back, apparently too tired to realize or react where he had been sleeping, and rubbed at his eyes. At least, that was what Tulio had to assume. He tinged his question with easily discernable sarcasm.

"Is this what we're looking for?"

Still slightly groggy, Miguel blinked at him for a few moments before apparently figuring out what he was referring to. He held out a hand expectantly. "Let me look."

Tulio obediently passed the faded parchment back to Miguel, who stared at it intently for what seemed like minutes. It was amazing how much dedication he could have for something that may not even have existed at all. Tulio couldn't help but shake his head.

Miguel finally looked up, then back down at the map again slowly. "Yes..."

Finally, his enthusiasm seemed to return, and the glint in his eye that always appeared when he became excited flashed. He began looking back and forth between the map and the three rocks ahead of them rapidly, making several excited gestures towards them.

"Yes, I think this is it! It matches these three rocks...we should turn right!" Miguel looked at Tulio expectantly, who sighed slightly and led Altivo in that direction. He still didn't believe him, but again, his amazing enthusiasm had convinced him he should at least look.

"They just look like rocks to me..."

Altivo carefully stepped over the long fronds and roots that overgrew the jungle floor as the two began to forge their way into the deepening undergrowth. Raising their arms to protect themselves from the overhanging branches, it only took a few moments until they were clear.

Tulio noted, with not as much confusion as he would have originally guessed, that Miguel's hands replaced themselves around him after they had made it through. A quick glance at Miguel's face only showed the bright energy that was so natural for him. It didn't surprise him...Miguel could be easy and difficult to read all at once.

I'd believe in anything were it not for you

In front of them three rocks, identical to the three they had left behind, sat squarely in their path.

All three paused, staring at it in disbelief, before Tulio slowly turned to look at Miguel, who was again rapidly looking back and forth between map and scenery.

"This way?" Tulio's tone was highly sarcastic.

Miguel was surprisingly apologetic about the entire affair. "But...I thought..."

"You thought! Ugh, we're never going to get out of here!" Tulio felt frustration and anger rising and this time felt no reason to suppress them. Miguel was awake now, so that had left his conscience, and Miguel's decision to believe the map when it had apparently lied to them had only reinforced his opinion that they were going in circles. Death was not something he looked forward to and now it seemed like something they were definitely destined for, to die a fool's death on a fool's errand. Tulio did not like that idea at all. "If we hadn't been following that stupid map then we'd be back in Spain by now!"

There were two reactions that Tulio expected from Miguel; submission to his angry words but insistence on moving forward, or a responding jab at how the entire plan to row back to Spain had been just as flawed as following the map. Considering his recent behavior, Tulio was predicting the former, and in this he was correct.

Miguel was looking at the rocks and the map with a sad sense of longing, one that was somewhat unfamiliar. "But...maybe this is...I mean..." He looked back at the map, desperately trying to find something to blame for the cartographic mishap, eventually falling on the cryptic map itself. "I wish this map was a bit more specific..."

"We're going to die out here and you wish the map was a bit more specific?!" Tulio fairly shouted at his partner, anger and irrationality continuing to grow with each word. "'Oh, I think we should go this way because the map vaguely suggests that we're near three rocks! I'm sure that's the right way!' I can't believe you think that thing is real! For that matter, I can't believe you even talked me into this. Three rocks...If you were wrong now, what's to say you weren't wrong before, huh?"

"But..." It was hard to tell, but at this point Tulio was fairly sure he was hitting deeper then he intended, as Miguel's voice was getting softer and more hesitant before speaking. He was looking off to one side, not wanting to make eye contact with his irate partner. "The...the bird we saw before, that couldn't have been a coincidence...and the dragon..." He glanced back at him for only a few seconds at a time. "We have to keep going...we've gone this far..."

"Look, look, you can go look for this magical El Dorado if you want, but I'm tired of wandering around in this god forsaken jungle looking for something that might not even exist!" Tulio made as if to get off the horse. "I'm sure you can find all the rocks you want by yourself, since you're so good at it."

He forgot that Miguel's arms were still around him, but this information was brought back to his attention rather quickly as they tightened around his waist, preventing him from leaving.

"No, no, you can't!"

Tulio looked back at him with a mixture of anger and confusion. They had had this kind of argument often before, with Miguel turning his back on him and waiting for his inevitable return. This kind of response was unexpected...from the tone in his voice...did Miguel really think he would leave him alone? He hadn't meant that seriously...

The grip around him loosened for a moment as Miguel seemed to consider something, and then tightened once more. Again he felt Miguel's head pressed against his shoulder and found that his blonde partner was shaking. His anger dissolved almost instantly.

"Miguel, are you alright?"

Showing me by just existing only this is true
I love you, I love you, without question I love you

"I'm okay." Finally came a response that was shaky for only a few moments. "I'm fine...just...sorry." There was a pause, and Miguel raised his head. He was smiling, but his eyes looked abnormally shiny. "About the rocks, I mean. But I bet they are around here somewhere...we've got to keep looking."

Tulio wasn't sure if he trusted him on this matter, but decided he may as well let it go. In the confusion and worry he had felt while Miguel's head was pressed into his shoulder, his anger had dissipated, but not wanting him to know how quickly he had been placated, he mumbled a soft response. "I still think we're looking for nothing..."

The more I want
The more I steal
The more I hold
The less is real

The two of them headed forward again, Tulio deciding the direction without protest from Miguel, who was strangely silent. Somewhat peculiar, as when Miguel was awake he was usually chattering away about the things they would see and the adventures they would have, spinning tales particularly of late about how they would rob the golden city and live like kings. It was a highly pleasant dream, but Tulio knew it could only be a dream. There couldn't be such a city...

Again he felt Miguel's weight gradually settle against his back, and he sighed, guessing that he was probably going to drop off to sleep once more. He didn't like thinking too hard about where Miguel was sleeping or his hands, which were still around his waist, so he struggled to keep his mind focused on the quest they were on.

They continued this way for a while, the night's oncoming darkness beginning to pervade the overhanging leaves. Soon they would have to stop for the night. He was feeling somewhat tired himself, but having taken the responsibility for them both unwittingly again, he ignored this feeling as well.

All worldly things
I follow blind

Trying to stay awake, he tried to imagine what it would be like if El Dorado was real. Such a beautiful image...a glowing city, entirely paved and made of gold...the very idea was so outlandish that it was desirable, and more then anything he wished that he possessed all that gold at the moment, instead of wandering around in the jungle with someone else's horse and his sleepy partner.

In hope not faith
Was paid in kind

He wished he could have had Miguel's blinding and misleading enthusiasm at times. To be able to truly believe, without a doubt, that El Dorado truly existed. To believe so unfalteringly and unquestioningly about something that had no more basis in fact then a faded piece of paper...

Sometimes Tulio envied his friends convictions. Miguel was making a legend into something real. Something of fantasy into reality, and sometimes he wished he could do that. To hope and dream for something better...instead of getting foolishly and irrationally angry because of his overtly cynical look at their situation.

He did regret having acted so rashly towards Miguel. They had had missteps in this quest before...the rock episode had been repeated before with various other parts of ambiguous scenery. He wasn't sure why he had decided this particular time to vent all his frustration and anger at Miguel, but now he wished he had kept it to himself. Although it was to some degree Miguel's fault he was here and they kept going the wrong way...somehow he just felt bad yelling at him about it. Maybe...

Maybe it was because he was relying on Miguel to lead him, and it bothered him that such trust could be mislaid, even accidentally. He did not like the idea of relying on someone else though, even his partner, and decided that wasn't an option to explain his own behavior. There had to be something else.

He looked upwards for a moment, through thick emerald leaves, to see the sky. As isolated as they were, the night sky was in full splendor, stars as far as Tulio's limited vision allowed. The large thick trees around them were only scantly illuminated by this, and the jungle as a whole was beginning to get too dark to traverse safely. He would have to stop and start a fire shortly....at least now it would begin to cool down.

The stars looked nice though, framed as they were by the greenery, Tulio noted.

At the change in his movement, he could feel Miguel's heart beating slightly faster against his back. He lingered one more moment on the sky before looking down towards his blonde companion, wondering if perhaps he was having a nightmare or something of that nature.

Instead, to his surprise, he found that Miguel was awake.

Too surprised to react to this, he simply stared at him. The moment that Miguel's eyes, which had been staring lazily off into the jungle, ventured upwards and met with his own, a swift jolt shook his smaller partner's body, his face only showing a flicker of fear before Miguel buried his face in his shoulder, preventing him from seeing any more.

The line is drawn
The change is made

"What's wrong with you lately?" Tulio was disconcerted by Miguel's strange behavior, but for some reason sympathetic. He was not sure why he would feel that way, particularly because Miguel's actions at the moment did not make logical sense, but something within him resonated in response to his instinctual fear reaction.

Fear...? Why was he afraid?

"You're acting weirder then usual..."

Miguel only began to shake once again, refusing to look up. Angry at Miguel's enigmatic response and behavior, he reached down and unclasped Miguel's hands from around his waist angrily, turning as best as he could on the horse's back. He pulled away from him, forcing Miguel's face back into view. Miguel only tried once initially to rejoin his hands, but then let them be, his quaking ceased.

"Why are you acting like this?"

He stared downwards intently in response to Tulio's short and angry inquiry. Miguel was silent and motionless for several moments before shaking his head slowly. His hair had fallen in front of his face, hiding it from view again. His voice was soft, but somehow bitter. "It's nothing...nevermind..."

"Nothing?" Tulio reverted back to his natural sarcasm. "This is nothing? Excuse me, but I think your definition of 'nothing' is a bit flawed here. It's definitely something."

Miguel finally looked up at him, his eyes narrowed. Although Tulio had become accustomed to his submissive nature in regard to their fights, he much preferred it when Miguel fought back. He could be surprisingly witty when he had the mind to be...but now, all it looked like was that Miguel was angry at him. It was understandable that he would be, considering Tulio's irrational behavior only a few minutes ago, but this kind of anger was unfamiliar...there was something underneath it that he could not read.

Miguel hissed softly. "It's nothing."

"So what, all this was nothing?" Tulio did not want to mention what he was talking about by name for some reason, automatically trying to avoid it. Instead he looked at Miguel's hands, watching as his partner's eyes tracked his exaggerated movements. He let go of Miguel's hands and he withdrew from him quietly, still staring at him with a confusing blend of emotions. "Why were you..."

At the sound of his voice again, Miguel again seemed to consider something, expressions flashing across his face at lightning speed. Tulio just watched, not sure of what to react or what to say, and decided to wait until Miguel finally decided on a reaction.

I come to you
I'm not afraid

Miguel finally sighed deeply, getting the same wistful look he had in his eyes when he had first seen the faded map that had brought them here. He again looked to one side. "It really is nothing...don't worry about it."

Tulio did not believe that, but he did not know what else to do. Further questioning would get him nowhere, and if Miguel was being this reticent about something, it must have been something that was truly bothering him.

That prompted a strange train of thought...Miguel usually told him what was on his mind, albeit through more flippant and silly ways. He did not just leave things at "It's nothing" or hide things. It did not fit his nature. He was acting more and more peculiar...but Tulio did not know what to do. If this was what he wanted to do, then what could he do about it? He wished he could take care of whatever it was that was bothering his friend, but if he wouldn't let him...well then that was that. He couldn't do anything about it.

Miguel looked down for a moment, took a deep breath, and then took hold of Tulio's hand. Tulio stared at his hand held in Miguel's lighter and softer one, looking up to see Miguel still staring off at some undefined point in the horizon, his face strangely blank. The contrasting contact with Tulio's hand and lack of contact with his eyes left his words ambiguous and confusing.

"I'm sorry...about the rock thing. No hard feelings, alright?"

I'd believe in anything were it not for you

Bewildered and somewhat confused, Tulio glanced over at whatever it was the Miguel was staring so intently at. As he had suspected, it was only a random bush, but it seemed to be holding Miguel's attention quite adeptly. Still feeling awkward and not wanting to bring up any unknown feelings, Tulio made a quick comment that was the first thing that came to mind.

"What are you looking at?"

"Hmm?" Miguel was surprised by this question for a moment, then looked back and forth between the bush and him for a few moments. "Oh...nothing..."

Tulio again found this strange but was still too confused to think of a truly witty response, instead saying the only thing he could think of on the spur of the moment. "Awful lot of nothing around here lately..."

Miguel slowly let Tulio's hand go, still staring intently at the bush. Tulio struggled to read something in his face, anything that would explain what he was doing or why, but Miguel's strange wistful look was the only response he got.

"...No hard feelings?" He glanced back at Tulio for only a second before returning his attention to the side. The question was somewhat random considering the rest of the conversation, but the look on Miguel's face told him that it was foremost on his mind. Was he really so upset by Tulio's short outburst? It didn't seem like him...why was he acting so strangely...?

"Of course not." Quick and simple answer, then Tulio turned back to face Altivo properly, not sure of how to continue the conversation, if it would continue at all.

The horse had only gone a few steps before he again felt the familiar sensation of Miguel's arms settling around him again.

He turned and looked angrily back at him. Now he was feeling more frustrated then ever now that the entire point of their argument had just come up once again, and he realized that nothing had been resolved.

"What are you doing?"

Showing me by just existing only this is true
I love you, I love you, without question I love you

Miguel just stared at him silently. Tulio angrily stared back at him, his eyes narrowing, waiting for the right cutting phrase to enter his mind that would put the entire matter in its place. Miguel continued to stare at him enigmatically, frustratingly, but he did not move his hands.

Just before Tulio spoke, Miguel cut him off.

"Think about it."

Tulio did for several minutes, shocked into a dumbfounded silence by the unexpectedness and oddness of Miguel's short, almost angry sentence. Miguel continued to stare at him the entire time, waiting for the concept that he was trying to get across, albeit clumsily and haltingly.

Finally it dawned on him.

Tulio, after reviewing the events of the last hour or so carefully, settled into a surprised expression, mouth open, staring at Miguel for a few more seconds before the blonde Spaniard smiled at him roguishly.

"No hard feelings."

Tulio was about to reply but Miguel interrupted him by holding up a finger, pointing forward past his shoulder. Tulio couldn't help but follow the direction he indicated, but saw only trees for his efforts. When he turned back to Miguel he was staring down at the map, occasionally glancing at him from it.

"I think we're going that way."

The smug smile on Miguel's face let Tulio know that his distraction had worked. Tulio rolled his eyes, leading Altivo in the indicated direction, shaking his head.

I'd believe in anything were it not for you

"I still don't think this is the right way."

"I think it is. And since I'm the only one who can read the map, I think I'm qualified, don't you?"

The playful tone was back in Miguel's voice, and Tulio found that he had unconsciously missed it. He smiled in response.

"If you could even call that thing a map, it doesn't change the fact I still think we're going the wrong way."

"I think its alright."

Showing me by just existing only this is true
I love you, I love you, without question I love you


The grip around him tightened, and he felt Miguel resting his head again on his shoulder. However, this time, Tulio just shook his head slightly and smiled, leading Altivo deeper into the jungle, directly towards a cluster of three rocks.

The End
(Author's Note: Wow. That was a really weird convo those two had. ^_^o Weird all over. Weird stuff. BUT THEY'RE SO CUTE ARGH ::die::. I think I may do a series of Songfics ta all those songs on da soundtrack, cause I could do it. Real easy. Mwa ha ha ha ha.)

~Back~