by Bob

Joe Renato has been staring at the ceiling for forty-six minutes, at least by his bedside clock. Hands behind his head, just staring, and thinking.

"Please forgive me. I'm sorry for what I did."

Funny how it was him saying that once, or something like it. Funny how it was him pleading for forgiveness one night in their bed in the old apartment, when ma was asleep and pop was still alive. When the apartment was so small they had to share a bed, and one night a kiss.

He remembers it so damn clear, like it wasn't twenty-five years ago. Remembers it like yesterday, he does.

"Tony, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I won't do it again, will you stay?"

"I'll stay if you do it again."

Remembers how warm he was when they couldn't afford to heat the house and eat at the same time. Remembers how his long fingers would dig deep into his hair and pull his scalp. Remembers the taste of his skin, his lips, every inch of his body.

Remembers the first time when Tony didn't push him away. Remembers being fifteen and every nerve in his body on fire, praying to god that his parents wouldn't wake up and praying he would be forgiven, praying he wouldn't go to hell if he had the brains not to tell the priest at confession.

No one noticed. No one cared. They were just two brothers, two close brothers who knew where their loyalties lay. No one ever knew. Not even ma knew, and poppo would've killed them.

Ain't it funny, how life works? Turning around, shifting the tables. Ain't it funny, Joe's thinking, how I was always searching to be forgiven for what I did, and now here's Tony asking me that same damn question.

How could he refuse his brother?

He's never once turned him away, never once refused the plea of those pretty black eyes.

"I love you. I'll always love you."

How could he have said it? He never said it before.

He never had to, though. They had known it, before Tony went away, somehow they'd just known, through kiss and touch and touch and go, that love was there, even if unspoken.

"I forgive you." He whispers, just loud enough for him to hear, and he's not even sure it makes it past his lips. "I forgive you."

"I thought you might."

The low voice startles him. Right, Tony. Tony standing in the doorway of his bedroom, looking like a little kid in the shadows and moonlight. All lost like that. And how the hell did he know that he'd forgive him?

Oh, right. He's his brother.

"I work for the FBI," Joe mutters, scrubbing his face tiredly, "I shouldn't be that easy to see through."

"I know you," Tony whispers, and Joe hears the shuffle-scuffle of sock on floor boards. "I know you better than any of those lowlifes ever could." So vehement. Sounding so stupidly, damningly young, even though he's not.

"You callin' my agents lowlifes?" He cracks, but then Tony's turning, like to leave, and he can't let him leave again--"Wait-- Tony. Shit. Tony, wait--that's...that's not what I meant." He sighs. "Come on. Sit down. Please."

Tony comes in and sits, far from Joe, too far, making the cheap old bed creak with the extra weight. He looks painfully thin from this angle, and Joe can just hear their grandmother, years ago, taking a look at both of them, welfare-fed and half-wild and waving her spoon with a "Mangia! Mangia! Eat, boys, eat!" He supposes it must be prison, and prison food, and makes a mental note to go see ma as soon as possible. With nonna dead, she's the next best thing.

"I'm sorry, Tony." He braces himself to apologize again. For everything he's ever done. He's the big brother. He's supposed to take care of Tony.

"Joe?" Tony asks, scuffling the floor again. A silly nervous gesture he's always had, even when they were kids. "How come whenever we're together, we always end up apologizin'?"

Joe sighs. Tony's right, of course. It always comes to happen. Always. "I dunno, Tony."

"I missed you, Joey." Using the diminutive that can be at any given time an endearment, an aggravation, or frighteningly arousing. Now, though...after seven years away, he doesn't quite know what to make of it. Nor of Tony curling in on himself, scooting back on the bed and pulling his knees up to his chin. He gives a sidelong glance at Joe, as if expecting--disappointment? Rejection?--"I really missed you."

"I missed you too," he says. How could he not? They much to each other.

"I really am sorry. For what I did. I really am...I swear." And now he's rigid, staring straight ahead, mouth drawn tight and down, so taut he's shaking. Shaking like bad memories and the barrel of a gun pointed right at you. It hurts Joe to see it, hurts him right to the core, like a screwdriver taking a chunk out of his heart. "I'll be good. This time, I will Joey. I will. I'll be good. You know I will."

"Hey. Hey, Tony, it's okay," he soothes, reaching a hand out to touch Tony's arm. "I know. You'll be fine. We'll find you a job tomorrow. A good job, you'll see." He can see the look on Tony's face and knows it clear from memory and his own experience. The struggle not to cry, forcing back unmanly tears.

Tony swallows hard and looks right at him, eyes glistening. "Don't you gotta work?"

"I can be late." For you. "Marcy can cover." For you, little brother. He thinks. Because I love you, I can be late.

"I'm sorry I'm makin' ya' do all this, Joey."

"Hey," he grins, "what're brothers for?" A line they've traded before, in the dark, in whispers of skin and voice. Joe rubs Tony's taut arm gently, soothingly.

Tony smiles at him, a little quirk of the lips. Joe is up on his knees now, stroking Tony's jet-black hair, leaning in, close, closer, to touch, lips meeting in a soft snowflake lambswool brush, then darting deeper, seven years of broken pieces coming together, and this feels so good, so right, so safe. Tony unfolds his lanky body and wraps his arms around Joe's neck, pushes him back down amidst the comforter and sheets, all the while Joe kissing like he wants to swallow Tony's mouth.

God, it's been so damned long...

"I missed you..." Tony repeats, a fierce mantra, "I missed you, so bad, so damn bad Joey..."

"I know, Tony, I know..." he moans, gritting his teeth when Tony kisses his neck, his chin, throat, collarbone... "I...I...missed you too..." he gasps out. He knows he has to let Tony take this over, at least tonight, because Tony needs it, needs to be safe and in control again. He doesn't know what happened in prison, and it's not that he doesn't care. He does. But he's not going to ask, and that's not for right now, that's for Tony to decide, right now, oh, right now...

Right now he's gonna lie back and let Tony take this over.

And Tony does, with abandon. Just like when they were kids, except... no. Just a little slower, a little gentler. The eagerness is there, hot and sweaty like the old playground slide in the summer, but tempered. And then Joe gets it--Tony wants this to last. Wants it a memory with a capitol M, the kind you revisit when you've got nothing left to hold onto. He feels hot wetness on his chest that has nothing to do with saliva, and it freezes him. Tony's crying now, soundlessly, shoulders hitching with each kiss he plants on bare skin.

"Hey. Easy, Tony. I'm right here. I love you. I ain't leaving." He wraps his arms around Tony's back and rubs like he did when they were kids and Tony would wake up from a nightmare and ma and poppo were too exhausted from work to come and help. Back then, hell, it was all he knew how to do.

He can do so much now, that he couldn't then.

"I missed you." Tony kisses him on the mouth, warm and salt from tears, eyes open, blue on blue.

"I know."

Tony lies straight out beside him, and runs a hand up and down his chest. He smiles through tears receding like snow in springtime. He sniffles a little. The smile takes a familiarly predatory turn, one Joe has seen before, one he can deal with.

"I want you." He murmurs. "Only you."

Another kiss, backed with seven years of hungry waiting, a dry-eyed, warm and loving and honest kiss.

Joe knows, he knows it will never be like this with any of his wives, never was and cannot be.

Tony draws slow circles on Joe's chest through the thin fabric of his undershirt, mouth never once unlocking from his brother's, stroking and groping and feeling old, tarnished memories come silver and shine again. He slides his hand under the waistband of Joe's boxers and drags his nails through a thick thatch of pubic hard, then grips his cock and jerks him off, slow and easy-like, feeling Joe moan into his mouth, vibrate his lips with muffled cries, jerking hard and relaxing after a bare few minutes.

Joe touches him back, and his chest is bare, bared to Joe's hungry tongue and lips and teeth, and it's been so damned long that he comes in his shorts and feels almost like a fool except he can't, not here, not now. And not with Joe looking at him all doe-soft in the moonlight, bending down to give him a dragon's breath kiss, wrapping his arms tight around him, kissing his hair, his face, anywhere he can touch.

"I love you, Tony. Don't you ever forget that."

"I won't."



"I forgive you."

He smiles, shifts and curls up under the comforter with Joe tangled around him. "I thought you might."


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix