by Hecate

After it happened he dreamed in shades of red, old blood and technicolour, sunsets and fires, all behind his eyes when he slept. All inside of his head, and it drove him insane. And a part of him urged him to let go , to get over it, because if he didn't, he would go truly insane and he would die inside of his head before he died in OZ. He would bleed to death in his dreams, and what was left of him would wake up with blood in its eyes and nothing in its mind.

But another part of him whispered different words to him; another voice told him that he deserved it, deserved everything he got because he cut someone's eyes out, made someone blind. Just because he himself was weak, was a coward. Because he was nothing like what Mukada saw in him.

There was a war inside of his head, night and day. Legions of red, of voices, whispered and screamed. And he had lost his weapons, he stood unarmed against forces growing stronger and stronger; and when he fell even Mukada couldn't help him up anymore.

And he reached out in his dreams, he reached into his pain, because he deserved it and it was his pain after all. His pain, and that all that was left to him. The colours slipped through his hands then, slipped through his fingers like blood, warm and wet.

And then there were no colours left.


He dreamed in shades of black then, like coal and night and blindness. He dreamt in black; and he walked into the darkness of his own head, hands stretched out, searching. And when he woke up, he knew how Rivera felt.

Then he heard of the guiding dog programme and he knew what he had to do. Teaching the dog was surprisingly easy, being with her even easier. It seemed like Julie understood that there was a purpose waiting for her and trusted him to teach her all she had to know.

Something trusting him, the knowledge made him giddy and hopeful; and even when he was told that Rivera didn't want the dog his feelings didn't cease. Because Julie was at his side at night, and his dreams had changed. He walked into shades of black and reached out; and he knew that something, someone, was there, reaching back. Never quiet touching, never close enough; but he knew he wasn't alone in his dreams anymore. He knew there was more to him then pain again, and he didn't miss the colours in his dreams like he did before. Black, after all, had its own beauty, something he began to find out now. Something he wished he could tell Rivera.

The day he had to give away Julie was grey and rainy outside of OZ. He didn't need to see the sky to know it. But this was what he had wanted, what he had known all the time. It was time to say good-bye so someone else's life would become easier. Someone else's night. He would just have to live with it and keep on reaching out into the darkness of his dreams.

When Rivera entered the room, it seemed liked everything went black inside of his head - shades of black; and he reached out again, reached out and there was someone. And then Miguel spoke to him, spoke to Rivera and it was so damn easy and he could hear himself smiling.

When Rivera removed his shades, Miguel didn't recoil and looked at the man he had fucked up - and he saw someone stronger than himself, someone who walked in darkness because of him. He knew he was giving back a part of what he had taken; but it was not enough. He had to give more.

He walked to Rivera and looked down at Julie for the last time. He was so close to Rivera now and the man didn't move away, he simply stood still. Miguel could feel Rivera's presence radiating off him and into himself; and it felt familiar, like he had felt it before. Dreamt it before.

Maybe he was more fucked up in the head than he had thought.

"She's all yours. Te voy a echar de manos." He knew Rivera would understand, would know that he gave more than just a dog. He offered a part of himself, and he could only hope that Rivera would take care of it. Julie's leash was heavy in his hand when he put it into Rivera's. For a moment they touched then, briefly, but it was warm and familiar; and Rivera wasn't the first one to pull away. Skin on skin, warm and comforting; and he was sorry when he moved away, but he knew he couldn't go back.

When McManus lead Rivera away, he could only stare after the other man. He only noticed Hinden's hand on his shoulder minutes after Rivera had left with Julie; and when he went back to OZ he felt empty and fulfilled at once. He started to miss Julie in the moment he entered his pod, but his hand was strangely warm and he curled up on his bed on his bed, his hand under his head. It felt like its warmth was spreading all over him.

He dreamed in shades of black, like coal and night and blindness. He dreamt and he walked into the darkness and he reached out. Searching for something, for someone. And then he could feel another presence, a familiar presence; and he felt hands, reaching out for him, touching him. Skin on skin, warm and comforting; and the shades the darkness took around them were more beautiful than anything he ever known before.

He woke the next day without Julie on his side. He looked down at his hands then, folded in his lap. He remembered. Shades of black, and skin on skin. Slowly, he smiled.


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