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The Morphing of Relationshsips [Ferrer, Lopez, Robredo] ff100 DFT 034
Eberle ASG
caaare wrote in caaare_fic
Title: The Morphing of Relationships
Characters: David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Tommy Robredo
Word Count: 5,368
Rating: R [for violence]
Fanfic100 Prompt: 034. Not Enough
Disclaimer: Guess what? I don't own these guys and this did not happen.
A/n: This is simply a re-post of the whole things. (Originally in four parts; here breaks are marked with "~~~".)
Summary: Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer are having relationship issues, which escalate when Feli gets hurt and David starts spending time with Tommy Robredo.

"Feli, you ready yet?" David whines, knocking on the bathroom door for the 26th time in the ten minutes he's been waiting for his lover. And that doesn't include the half hour he watched TV, because they never leave at the scheduled time.

"Probably still fixing his hair," David mutters. This waiting has become as much of a ritual as the actual dates and, frankly, David feels stuck in a rut and is sick of it.

"Maybe Tommy wouldn’t be this boring," David whispers to himself, recalling the dark-haired man’s advances that he had only half-heartedly declined.

"Feeeeli," David complains, rattling the door handle which suddenly disappears from his grasp.

"Ready." Feliciano smiles and bends down to meet David's lips with his, before roughly shoving his tongue inside the shorter man's mouth. David lets him. Feli pulls back just a bit to gaze into David's eyes, as if searching for something lost. He shakes his head to clear a wary feeling. "Sorry to keep you waiting."

David curls his lips in a slight smile. "It’s ok," he whispers, You have me--for the moment at least, he adds silently.

After dinner, they kiss in a park for a bit, but they forgo sex back at the hotel, Feli claiming exhaustion from today's five-setter and in anticipation of David’s match the next day, Feliciano another the day after that. They decide, somewhat systematically, that that night, they will have sex again.

However, Feli injures his knee that match and jets home to Madrid immediately following to have it checked out. The diagnosis is not good.

"Six months?!" David explodes later into the phone. Until right now, he had felt that he wanted to work things out, to turn their relationship back into one filled with love and caring. But, if Feliciano is going to be away for half a year…David wonders if long-distance would even work, much less if he wants to put in that much effort.

"It's not like I want to be gone that long." Feli's voice matches David’s in utter impatience and disappointment.

David softens his voice. "I know."

An uncomfortable silence falls between the two men.

A knock on David's hotel room door breaks it some time later. "I should get that," he says, his mind already in the hall with the visitor.

"Yeah." Feli's voice is extremely soft.

"Bye, Feli." David is at the door, rocking slightly, ready to open it, ready for this conversation to be over.

"Get better," he adds as an afterthought.

"Thanks." Feli pauses, searching for the words that will capture his lover's attention, and, desperately, grabs onto the words that they used to feel but never said and now he figures what the hell, it can't hurt, right? "I love you."

Another pause. Feli can feel the tension in David's body, even with the immense physical distance and even greater mental distance. Maybe it's because of their former closeness, but it seems more because of the intensity.

"Yeah." David doesn't want to say it when he doesn't mean it anymore, but feels impossibly even worse leaving it hanging like that. "You too."

Feli knows it’s a lie, knew even when he said it that he was lying and that David would lie back. He thought he would feel better, not realizing until now that he even could feel worse, but the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach grows.

"Okay, well, bye." Feli finishes and hangs up.

He wants to stay on the line, pleading, begging David to finish this tournament and then come home to Feli because Feli won't, can't go on alone like this; he needs David. Feli wants to make and receive promises, real ones, that they will keep this time.

But he knows it's too late as he walks into his bathroom to take his usual sweet time getting ready. Ready to go absolutely nowhere.

David is just glad to end that phone call and answer his door at last.

"Hey. Dinner?" Tommy Robredo grins invitingly.

David grins back. "Give me two minutes to get ready." As he combs his hair and brushes his teeth, he can't help feeling relieved that he doesn't have to share his bathroom and wait half an hour.

He's equal parts glad and guilty that he's going out--to dinner--with Tommy. Tommy and he. He and Tommy. The thought sends shivers down David's spine.

Just dinner, he maintains, even though Tommy's hair dazzles and his eyes shine and his smile invites.

Just dinner, he promises Feli, even though there’s no way for Feli to find out about this and he's not quite sure if he cares if Feli cares.

Just dinner, he scolds himself, even though he wants more, so much more.


David spends the night spellbound by Tommy’s liveliness: he feels engaged by their conversation, enthralled with the simplicity of it all, the natural ebbs and flows, no awkward pauses, neither talking for too long at once. It's natural, easy, simple.

He wants to run his fingers through Tommy's hair. He wants to lay his palm on Tommy's cheek. He wants--he stops this last thought as Feli's face flashes through his brain and he blushes faintly, blessing the restaurant for being so dark.

The bill comes and David reaches for it, but Tommy pulls it out of his grasp.

"How much do I owe you?" David asks, reaching for his wallet instead, peering into its depths.

Tommy laughs gently. "I got it. I asked you here with me, didn't I?" His voice is low and smooth.

David jerks his head up, meeting warm intense eyes and he flushes, but this time thoughts of Feli are infinitely far from his mind. "Ok," he whispers, and suddenly nerves spring up from the calm Tommy had lulled him into.

Tommy smiles bewitchingly as they leave the restaurant, as if he knows the power he holds over David, knows what that grin and those eyes and, oh, those lips are doing to David's insides: namely mixing them around like a blender does a milkshake, which is raw ingredients spun together to form something whole and beautiful.

David feels beautiful tonight. Walking down the street in the comfortably warm night with such an attractive man at his side, David feels beautiful himself, like its spilling out of Tommy--like Tommy is too small to hold all of his wonderfulness--and into David, filling David’s soul.

Tommy pauses to look in a darkened shop window at some shoes and David rolls his eyes. "Come on," he says, grabbing onto Tommy’s hand and tugging.

Tommy pulls away from the window with a laugh. "But they’re pretty," he whines.

David smiles slightly and the words seem to mean something else as Tommy grins into David's eyes, not dropping David's hand from Tommy’s warm, strong, lovely hand.

They walk slowly attached like this, Tommy's voice again soothing David's frazzled nerves as he chatters about anything and everything, until it feels natural, right even, to have Tommy's calloused hand in his own.

Tommy walks David back to his hotel room, finally dropping hands so David can unlock the door. David fumbles with the key and Tommy leans in close. It makes David dizzy and he turns around to look into Tommy’s eyes, refreshingly just a little above his own, not straining his neck like Feli's eyes.

Tommy starts to close the gap between their lips, and just touches his full lips to David's, which send shivers throughout David's body and makes him jerk away.


Tommy looks slightly abashed. "Sorry, David. Just…sorry."

David nods, but Tommy keeps apologizing. "I mean, I knew about you and Feli"--David flinches at the name--"knew that you guys were together and now you aren't--or are you? I know you're having problems, I mean, I think you are, and it's none of my business, don't tell me…" Tommy mumbles and trails off. "I'm sorry, again."

David would rather just forget about it, all about whatever he is with Feli--not much, he thinks--and whatever he now feels for Tommy… "It's okay, Tommy." He smiles, trying to reassure Tommy for some reason--or is he reassuring himself?--and disappears into his room.

That night, David lays troubled in his bed. It's not cheating, they haven’t done anything more than talk and hold hands, but it's not the physicality that bothers David, it's how Tommy makes him feel. Happy, calm, alive, perfect. Feli maybe used to mean all that, but now…now things are different.

David feels guilty for feeling good. He's still with Feli, technically, but they've changed. He's changed, Feli's changed, their entire relationship simply no longer works. David remembers how it used to be…and it was so perfect at the time. Perfection never lasts.

Or is it possible to find it again?

David isn't ready to realize which man springs to mind in answer to that question. He sighs, turning over restlessly. It's going to be a long night with these conflicts rattling around his brain and struggling for prominence.


David's days fall into a pattern: Avoid Feli's calls and spend time with Tommy. Sometimes there's kissing and hand-holding and sometimes David resists, but more and more, he wonders why he hasn't gone further.

When David checks his voicemail after practice or a match, there are two types of messages, polar opposites. On the one hand are Feli's, increasingly desperate and, well, frankly, pathetic.

"Hey, David. It's me. Feli. Just…calling you. Again." Long pause. "Glad you made it to the quarters this week! Good job..." Small voice: "I'm proud of you." Quickly, rushing on: "Well just wanted to chat. Call me back, ok? You have my number-it's still the same." Nervous giggle. "Well, um." Another long pause. "David...I miss you. Bye."

David wishes his voicemail would let him delete the messages without listening to the whole thing. He feels a mixture of guilt and disgust at Feli's sniveling. He really is too busy for this thing, whatever it is between them. It feels too far in the past. Still, he promises silently that he'll call back before too long, though the promise feels empty even to himself.

The other kind are from Tommy and instantly bring a smile to David's face.

"Hey, sup, David? Haven't talked to you in, what, three hours?” Excited giggle. “Last night was good fun; we’re on again tonight.” It’s not a question. “I found a new place for us to try--steaaaaaaak! I’ll be by at 8, be ready.”

These bring a smile to David’s face. Quick, to the point. Because, after all, why leave long messages when you spend such a huge chunk of time together everyday? Nights with Tommy are turning into a large part of David’s life. He enjoys them almost more than winning tough matches, definitely more than practices and interviews and greeting fans, all the mundane events in his life.

David realizes how much they’ve grown attached when Tommy loses in the second round one week and sticks around the tournament instead of moving on. David wonders about this aloud that afternoon after Tommy’s loss and Tommy simply shrugs and smiles, saying “You know why.”

David ponders this, but decides he’d rather not think and so gets ready for an evening with Tommy, while, back home, Feli waits desperately for a return call that never comes.

He’s tired of hobbling, rattling around his huge house. He feels like a pebble inside a glass jar that is being shaken. There is no one to catch him as he trips over the same damn rug for the 32nd time; no one to fix him food, so he goes hungry a lot; no one to help him up the steps. No one to care.

He spends hours in the bathroom but avoids looking at the mirror but this night he accidentally catches a glimpse. He is riveted. He can’t tear his eyes away from the monster, with eyes that are bloodshot, skin saggy, lips bright red, eerie in sallow cheeks. Hair, former beauty pride, is wispy and stringy.

He sees the monster lift a hand and the fingernails are brittle and the hangnails are bloody…so much blood…But it’s the hypnotizing eyes that startle Feli the most. Hauntingly blue, sunken into the face, red lines cascading from the iris, pupils constricted to pinpricks in the dim light that feels like harsh bright sunlight.

Finally Feli breaks free from the hold and runs--as best he can with his knee, it’s more of a stumble than a run--to the hallway and collapses in a corner, crying, sobbing, wailing.

“David why are you doing this to me!” he screams, pounding his fists wildly into the resisting wall.

“David,” he whines out, barely more than a whisper, leaning forward into the hall, reaching forward as if reaching for some invisible demon.

“David, look at me.” Feli immediately crumples back into the wall. “No, no, no, don’t look at me!” he shouts. “No one can look at me. I disgust them. I disgust you, don’t I, David?” Feli whispers into the wall as if telling it a secret, the tears flowing down his cheeks, dripping off his chin.

He strokes the wall. “I’m the monster in the mirror, David. That’s me.” He hiccups, too much liquid is leaking from his face; there will be nothing left soon. Nothing, oh to be nothing!

Suddenly the eye-flow stops. He stands up, smacking the wall for support. “I disgust me.” He staggers back into the bathroom, searching for the relief the room brings when he avoids the monster in the glass.

After a bit, he is calmer. He stands up slowly, light-headed, to leave, but catches another glimpse of the mirror. In a sudden and, even in this state, rare burst of anger, Feli makes a fist and slams it into the mirror, all the pieces crashing down.

He stares at his hand, the small cuts exploding into the wider scarlet rivers. He sinks to the floor and he sees fragments of his monster self.

“This is not who I am,” he whispers to the glass, grabbing onto the counter for support and pulling himself up to stand and peer at the empty hole where the monster used to be.

“Oh, who am I kidding.” And he sinks back down into the sharp fragments, new cuts mixing with old as he falls unconscious.

David, a few cities away, wakes up in a cold sweat. Instinctively, he calls out for comfort. “Feli? I had a bad dream.”

The warm body next to him rolls over and says, groggy with sleep, “David, it’ll be ok. Go back to sleep.”

David jumps, recognizing Tommy’s voice by the sound and also the words. It’s not his Feli because his Feli always said more, sat with him until he could sleep. His Feli never abandoned David, but David is rapidly leaving Feli behind and all of a sudden, in the dark night of the hotel room, it feels wrong. And he wants Feli, not Tommy, knows Tommy is just temporary and not his Feli.

“Oh, what have I done?” David whispers to Tommy’s back, but also to his rapidly fading memory of Feli.

He leaps out of the bed with a new resolve to right all the world’s wrongs and scrambles for his clothes from where they were thrown last night in passion. He scribbles some incoherent explanation to Tommy and rushes out the door.

The fact that he has no car stops him for only a second, the fact that he has none of his belongings slows him not at all.

He walks briskly to the train station, despairing when he realizes he must wait three hours for even the earliest train to Feli. He can only perch on a bench for an instant before he is pacing. He feels he must be wearing holes in the floor and will soon find himself falling through it.

He rehearses what to tell Feli. “Hey, you look good! How’s the knee?” Okay, okay, maybe a good start. I can do this, he thinks. “Um, I maybe slept with Tommy Robredo last night.”

David pauses. Only if he wants Feli to pummel him is he going to say that. He chews on his bottom lip, mind grasping and discarding millions of apologies, none of them correct.

“Can’t we just move quickly past this argument or whatever it is and get back to being in love? I still love you, Feli.” He thinks that may be too insensitive to all the wrongs he’s caused, but it’s what he wants to do. Just forget the past and move forwards, always forwards.

He watches the station gradually grow lighter, blesses the sun as it rises, feels the warmth. A new day. The Day.

He hears the train whistle with relief, and with the relief comes even more nerves than the ones plaguing him all night. He bounces in his seat on the rain, the journey weeks too long. “Too late, too late, too late” the clacking wheels chant to him as they hurry along.

“No,” he whispers aloud. “It’s not. I apologize, Feli yells a bit, we discuss, everything is good again.”

“Tommy Tommy Tommy” the wheels call out.

“No more Tommy,” David whispers with shaky but growing conviction.

He can’t see the scenery rushing by, he only sees Feli’s face in his mind, hears Feli’s sweet voice.

Thank God there is a free taxi at the station to take him to Feli. Suddenly, Feli’s house is glaring him down, and David throws money at the driver, knowing the tips is definitely too large, but doesn’t care.

All of the frantic energy leaves him in one big whoosh and he suddenly feels tired, like he needs to sleep for a hundred years.

David slowly climbs the steps, knocks, and waits. Knocks and waits again.

“Just like old times,” he whispers and his tears begin to flow without his permission.

He bangs on the door. “Feli!” He waits, echoing Feli’s calling out and thumping of a few hours previous.

David realizes through his tears that Feli is taking too long, even for Feli. The thought that maybe Feli isn’t home does not cross his mind. He takes a deep breath to try to be strong and staunches his tears. He swipes at his eyes, drying them.

Tentatively, David reaches out a shaking head, but pauses. What if Feli doesn’t want him here, what if Feli has found someone new, too? Why should he assume that just because he’s ready for his Feli again, Feli is still waiting for him? The phone calls, after all, have been less frequent and shorter. And angrier. Feli must hate him now for the way he’s been; David hates himself for the way he’s been.

David falters, stretched between the doorknob that leads to his Feli—not yours anymore, he tells himself—and bolting away, maybe calling in a few days to test the waters, but probably not. If he doesn’t do this now, he never will. He will return to Tommy and finally share Tommy’s bed in that way, an he will forget all about the blonde-haired, blue-eyed man he once loved.

The side of him that still wants Feli, wants to know one way or the other if Feli still wants him, that side wins out and he grasps the handle firmly, praying to whoever may be listening that it turns.


The handle gives easily and David is now standing in Feli's foyer. The memories rush back without permission: the living room to the left contained kissing shyly for the first time, stupid movies late into the night; the dining room ahead held meeting Feli's parents, the mind-blowing sex with the table as leverage, pretending to enjoy Feli's cooking; the kitchen to the right saw spaghetti thrown at the wall, sex getting in the food, numbers to the take-out places on speed dial.

David shivers in the warm house and calls out tentatively: "Feli?"

No answer.

Louder, but still soft: "Feli?!"

Still only quiet resounds.

The refrigerator starts humming, making David jump.

He wanders around the downstairs floor, carefully checking for Feli while calling out his name.

After a few minutes--Feli has a very large house, and David is moving heavily, as if sloughing through mud--David confirms that Feli is not downstairs and so heads up the staircase, almost successfully ignoring the remembering tide of touches, moans, fights, and all the little moments that make up a relationship.

David turns at the top of the staircase and abruptly falls to his knees in shock.

The corner of the hall is red. Blood spattered about, staining the white walls and the white carpet, round drops of brownish scarlet life.

"Feli," David whispers, crawling on his hands and knees towards the mess, feeling the stiff fabric underneath his fingertips. He sets his palm down in a still wet puddle and brings his hand close to his face, staring in wonder at the glinting stain, turning his hand this way and that, in a kind of sick awe.

The brown-red handprints on the wall glare out at him and a loud sharp scream escapes his lips, breaking the silence.

He stumbles to his feet, pitching forward several times before standing upright, clutching the wall for balance. He traces the faint line of dried blood down the hall to where it spreads out in a larger mark around the door handle to Feli's bedroom.

David cautiously pushes open the door, bracing himself for whatever may be inside. Quickly sweeping a glance around the room and seeing nothing, David runs to the bathroom and finally, there is Feliciano. Crumpled in a heap on the floor. David freezes in the door frame, noticing the sparkling mirror fragments surrounding Feliciano, several reflecting blinding spots in the harsh white light.

Feliciano is covered in blood and cuts; no more than a few square centimeters of his precious skin is free. His hair...lies matted by dried blood, and also looks as if it hadn't seen a shower for weeks before today.

David takes in Feliciano's bloody, battered body and realizes with a gasp that not all of the cuts are from the shards scattered across the floor. Some of them--many of them--are too neat for that, lined up like rows in a vegetable garden, or soldiers marching off to war, crossing the battlefields of Feliciano's arms and legs and hips.

David's eyes are wide, along with his mouth, frozen in a gaping stare. He has driven his Feli to this? Feliciano seems impossibly bloodied, and still, and this thought is what finally pierces through David's paralyzed body.

He quickly steps forward and kneels down next to his former lover's former...he can't think it.

No, wait, Feliciano's chest is rising slowly, in uneven breaths. But he is breathing.

David knows he should call an ambulance--and fast--but two things stop him. Firstly, he can not leave Feliciano's side for the two seconds it would take to grab a phone and rush back to make the call. Secondly, he doesn't want anyone to see Feliciano reduced to this, this broken battered bloody...form.

David also feels guilty. Deeply and painfully guilty. Part of him knows it can't be completely about him, but most of him feels that he should've seen this coming, could've prevented it a long time ago, if he hadn't been so stupid. And he feels stupid, that is the only word for it.

He starts speaking his thoughts out loud at some point, as he reaches to stroke Feli's hair lightly, whispering. "I've always been jealous of your hair. It's so beautiful, always, Feliciano. I know how much care you take of it, and it shows. It shines and it glows and I used to think it reflected your soul, glowing and happy." He faltered, but forced the words out: "I guess it reflects your soul now, too."

With his other hand, David begins to carefully clear away the mirror fragments, brushing them gently to a less threatening pile in a corner. "I hope breaking this mirror was the end of your seven years of bad luck, not the beginning of them."

David grabs a washcloth, wets it, and starts cleaning Feliciano's beautiful skin. He gently wipes at the cuts on Feliciano's face and arms, carefully erasing the stains.

He's whispering all the while, things like "I was so wrong to leave you, so wrong to go to Tommy." He confesses many moments he shared with Tommy. He knows that Feliciano can't hear him, but it helps a little to say the words while gazing at his nearly lifeless face. And it keeps his mind off the task of cleaning.

He tells how beautiful Feliciano is, professing sweet words of love that he feels he has no right to be saying at the moment. But he does mean them and no one is witnessing the moment, so he believes it's ok.

Finally, David knows that he can do no more, as much as he wants to fix the whole world, and so he dials the emergency number and explains the situation--at least enough to get the help to come--and then returns to the bathroom and sits silently holding Feliciano's hand.

He doesn't say anything, even though his mind is racing. He can't focus on his relationship with Tommy without feeling a wave of guilt crashing throughout his body. He'll have to tell Tommy that whatever the thing between them was, it's over now. He'll have to tell Tommy something about missing his Feli, wanting Feli the whole time, will have to hurt Tommy to make this work. But Tommy will move on, and, after all, Tommy made him hurt Feli, so it all evens out in the end.

One look at Feliciano's broken body on the tile, and David knew that they needed each other. David realized, seeing Feliciano there, that at least part of him felt the way Feliciano looked, and he knows that if they were together again, they could work it all out and never feel that way again.

There is the chance that Feli will not want him back after all this, a very good chance, and David is not sure if he could handle that. He tries to calm himself down and remember how to be happy without his Feli, but he never was truly happy without him, and so he doesn't know if he'll ever learn.

David watches over his Feli, focusing on the rise and fall of Feliciano's chest, which is getting stronger and a little quicker.

The paramedics appear in a crush of flashing bright lights and quiet but harsh, sharp voices.

David shows them in and then sits on the closed toilet lid, feet drawn up to his chest, arms wrapped around to hold his legs close to him, in a little ball out of the way.

He forces himself to watch the stretcher, ride in the ambulance. He stares at the men hustling about, attaching tubes and needles and machines. He can't tear his eyes away from the man who is cleaning off Feliciano's blood. This man does a much more efficient job than David did.

David feels worthless. He couldn't take care of Feliciano in the first place, couldn't take care of him properly in the bathroom, can do nothing now as Feliciano is whisked away through swinging doors, and David is ushered to fill out the paperwork, which he does numbly, and then he paces.

His mind is empty for the first time in several says. His body has been completely overtaken by emotions so raw: no words could possibly convey them, so he doesn't try.

Finally, hours later--David's not even sure if it's the same day, or what that day would be if it were--a doctor speaks at him--which doesn't sink in--and a nurse guides him to Feliciano's room.

That does sink him. He is covered with white bandages, and a machine beeps to keep track of his heart, but he's Feli again. David realizes suddenly that the man in the bathroom was never Feli.

This man is.

His skin is back to his perfectness, just a little interrupted by bandages which will be eventually removed. His hair is clean, even if not impeccably fixed, and he looks strong, not a battered mess on a mirrored floor.

David sits at Feli's bedside, lightly squeezing his hand for many hours, still obsessively monitoring his breathing, not trusting the machine, but instead staring at the finally steady rise and fall of Feli's chest.

Feli's eyes flutter open eventually. "Hey," he croaks. David jerks his head up from a nap he had no idea he was taking and sees those lovely blue eyes again.

He can't speak, so they just sit staring at each other for awhile, sharing the entire story through their eyes and their hands, all four now tangled together.

David wills into his eyes how sorry he is for every single thing, and how scared he was. Feli passes back how sorry he is for all that he has done, to David and to himself with no help from David, and how scared he wasn't. Because a hidden part of him trusted, the entire time, that David would find him eventually.

"You came" are the words finally spoken, quickly followed by a rasping "Always."

And then: "I knew you would."

And Feli's face lights up into a smile, as huge as he can manage with the bandages, and David can't help but grin back with tears welling in his eyes.

"I knew I would, too," he says, because it's true. Even when he and Tommy...all those times they spent together and he was glad to be rid of Feli, they were never truly gone from each other.

Feli laughs once, quickly. "Think I've finally had enough time in the bathroom," he says quietly.

David gasps, raising a hand to his mouth. "This whole" He stares in shocked horror, finally understanding all those wasted moments of jiggling in the hall, waiting for Feli. He just never knew how wasted.

Feli nods slowly.

David reaches his hand out to trace a piece of white surgical tape on Feli's cheek and Feli leans into the caress.

"Feli, Feli! I'm so sorry. When we were together, I never even--"

"Shhh, David." Feli tries to stop the regret, too late for that now.

"And then--when you left--I--" comes out haltingly.

"David, you don't have to say it." Feli doesn't want to know.

"I have to," David says with resolve, staring into Feli's eyes, and Feli can see the pain, can sense the pain, even, so he nods.

"I slept with Tommy," David whispers, swallowing hard.

Feli's eyes close involuntarily for a moment, for this news is worse than he thought. The idea of screaming at David until he leaves is a delightful prospect for a fleeting moment. He was so miserable with David on tour, worse without David here at home, the scars all over his body and the memories are testament to that and he thought David felt the same way.

Feli knows that's not a fair statement, because David's eyes are pleading with him, crying out that he needs Feli as much as Feli needs him. And so Feli knows there's only one thing to say, the only thing he wants to say to the only man he's ever loved, all of their other lovers just blips.

To the man who rescued him from himself.

"It's okay." Feli opens his eyes.

David can't believe it's that simple, wants to suffer more, but a glance at Feli's face and this whole event is punishment enough. So he says, simply, "And now the future, Feli?"

Feli smiles again. "Yes, David. Always forward," he says, and David leans in to press their lips gently together in a sweet kiss; finally they are touching again.

David pulls back and everything will be okay, that kiss sealed it.

And, again, in wonder: "You came."

And the whispered reply "Always..."


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