and you thought that you were the boss tonight, but I can put up one good fight Who: Rafael & Gabriel. What: Gabe tries to talk to Rafe about his issues. Where: Gabe's apartment. When: Not too long after this. Warning: R for some handsy-ness.
The TV was still blaring while Gabe waited for Rafe to make his arrival. What Alice had told him was bald in his mind, the image of Rafe with wide, glassy eyes folding croissants getting more and more ridiculous by the moment as his worries fed into his fears. One hand reached up to rub at his shoulder, the tender muscles underneath rebelling a little as he squeezed too hard. Gabe hissed, snatching his hand back, before rerouting himself to the kitchen. He grabbed the little orange bottle that had been prescribed to him, considering it, and then turned to his garbage can to throw it out. He never thought Rafe might use it against him, but it suddenly seemed in poor form to have such a thing around when he was about to have a serious discussion with his boyfriend.
Their brief text exchange had resulted in Rafe heading over, and Gabe had left the door unlocked, hoping the other man would feel comfortable enough to let himself in. But that hope was dashed when he heard a knock; he steeled himself, knowing that he'd started this encounter off poorly enough with his message, but Gabe had no idea what else to do. He crossed the brief distance between his location in the kitchen to the front door and opened it, his eyes landing on Rafe's tired-looking face. Gabe smiled, this time the expression coming easily, even as he still felt wary.
"Hey. Come on in." He would have waved Rafe in, or even reached out to grab him, but between his arm and the circumstances, neither seemed like a wise decision.
True to form, Rafael interpreted that notable lack of touch in the worst way possible. He slunk into the apartment, a miasma of quite recent cigarette smoke following in his wake. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his worn, frayed jeans, suddenly overly mindful of where his hands were, of where they wanted to be.
He paused just inside the apartment as though ready to flee, just far enough away from the door that Gabe could safely shut it. Red-rimmed eyes flicked up toward Gabe's, studying his face for some sign as to the meaning of this summons.
"Hey," he said at last. "Um. Everything OK?"
Gabe stood between Rafe and the shut door, his left hand hooked fingers through his belt loop.
"I hope so," he replied after a moment, having shrugged. "Let's... Let's take a seat, on the couch." It seemed like a smarter idea, to move Rafe somewhere safe, to try and be a little closer once they started this difficult conversation. He sat down on soft cushions, moving nearer to Rafael once they were both seated. He quickly shut the TV off. After a beat, his hand went to Rafe's knee, trying to be as gentle and reassuring as possible.
"Alice was over here, just a short while ago. And she told me that you and your friends stopped by her bakery. And that you were acting oddly. If I'm honest, anjo, you've been acting... oddly for awhile now, and I just wanted to ask if... are you all right? Is there something going on that you haven't told me?"
A dozen thoughts flashed through Rafael's mind, a dozen honest answers that, each on its own, might have been enough to explain his recent strangeness. He searched Gabriel's face for signs of what Alice might have said, what details she might have shared that Gabe would correctly interpret. Not for the first time he silently cursed himself for having gone to her shop at all. Suddenly the shadows beneath his eyes felt very like the bruises they appeared to be.
"Like I told Alice," Rafe said, quite certain Gabriel already knew, "I'm not sleeping well. Or enough. There's these nightmares…" He shook his head. There was no sense in dragging those back into the conversation, or in discussing his mind's nightly replays of Gabriel's injury; the former was likely already known, the latter too easily misread as an attempt to garner pity. "Anyway. I went out with some coworkers and we just got… well. Very drunk. I know I was probably rude. I know my friends were. They were so loud... I should apologize to her."
Gabe's face fell, the thought that this would be enough for Rafe to finally be entirely honest with him cracked open and drained of any life's blood. His hand on Rafe's knee tightened.
"I know that's not all, anjo," he said, a pleading note in his voice as it cracked. "You're using again, aren't you?" Rafael's lips parted, ready to deliver yet another denial. "What's so wrong that you have to use drugs instead of talking, Rafe? Why can't you tell me?" Pain blossomed in his shoulder for a moment, making his expression grimmer than he'd meant; he shut his eyes, and leaned back. Once it passed, he immediately took up his previous position.
"Rafe, I love you," he began again. "I'm not judging you. I just want you to be honest with me."
Rafe had no honest words. The truth shone in his eyes, gleaming bright behind blood-red capillaries; so he hid that, too, his gaze falling to where Gabriel's hand rested on him. His teeth had sunk into his tongue, and only dimly and belatedly did he register the pain.
"I know," he said. "I'm sorry. It…" His hands twisted together in his lap, so rough his knuckles cracked. His voice was low and rough, his accent growing thicker as words tumbled over one another. "I don't want to sleep. I can't. And it keeps me awake. I can… I can talk to people. I can go to work. I can go out and dance and just... have a nice time. Feel good for a little while. I tried not to bother you with it. I shouldn't have gone to Alice's. I don't know why I did that."
Gabe had to bite his own tongue to keep from groaning in frustration.
"Rafael, dios mio, it's not a bother! I want you to come to me and tell me about things that are bothering you!" Gabe wanted to pull Rafe into him with his one free arm and hold him close, but he refrained, since his one touch on Rafe's knee remained untouched by his partner's hand. He wasn't sure if that was going too far, but Gabe left his hand where it was.
"I think you were trying to get help. You feel safe with Alice, and that's good. I wish you felt safe with me. Did I do something? Anything to make you feel uncomfortable? I just..." Gabe swallowed, blinking, feeling tears threaten. In that slight pause Rafael looked up at him, but looked away just as quickly, utterly incapable of facing this head-on.
"You don't want me to touch you anymore, anjo. You don't come over, and... I didn't want to bring this up, but I miss the sex. Or even just, you sleeping in my bed. I want you to feel safe and good all the time, anjo, but I need to know how to help and I can't do that if you don't talk to me." Desperation and a deep sense of discomfort pervaded him as he did his best to steer toward what he thought would help Rafe open up.
"You didn't," Rafe began, his voice small. Cellophane crinkled in his pocket as he toyed with the nearly empty packet of cigarettes there. "I can't… I want to. But I know you don't like the drugs, and I don't know how to do this without them." His face flushed, he shifted in his seat, pressing his knee closer into Gabe's tight grip. "I stopped the escort work. When I do scenes, now, I only top. And it's helped, I think. Not enough. But it's helped. I'm figuring this out, I promise. Please don't worry, gatinho. It isn't you. It really isn't."
"It's him, isn't it?" Gabe studied Rafe's face, trying to keep a bead on his increasingly uncomfortable partner. "Abel?" Rafael flinched as if struck. "I know you're having nightmares about him. Anjo, what he did to you wasn't right, but you don't have to keep punishing yourself for what happened. You need to talk to a psychologist about this, Rafe. You can't just keep running away from it." He squeezed Rafe's knee again, hyper-conscious of the fact that he was skirting the issue of the other man's rape and touching him at the same time; he didn't want Rafe to associate the two, but he found it impossible to pull away right then.
"He raped you, anjo, he did a terrible thing to you, but you have to admit it happened instead of letting it control your life."
"Why? Why do I have to admit anything?" Rafael dragged his hands from his pockets. He pressed the heels of his palms to his temples; his fingers threaded through his hair, wrapping tight, as though the motion might ground him and fight this feeling of being hopelessly adrift. "And how do you know? Have you watched those dreams? Has Xochipilli?" His hands fell to his lap, visibly shaking. "Were you there? When were you going to tell me?"
"What? No, I—" Gabe tripped over his own tongue, suddenly unsure about the information he'd imparted without a second thought. His jaw worked, throat choking on words.
"Obed told me. Hades... They saw your dream. If I had been there, anjo, I would have stopped him, I would have made him go away—"
"He told you?" Confusion and anger fought for control of his expression; Rafael shook his head, raking his hands through his hair so roughly a few slender brown strands were torn out. "How did this just come up? Jesus, does everyone know?"
Gabe withdrew his hand, jaw hanging. That same hand flew up in the air, trying to push back against Rafe's questions and insinuations.
"No, of course not. I was just— I asked him for some advice, and he said it just happened... Hades, these gods, they have a mind of their own..." He shook his head, eyes squinting before coming back to Rafe's face. "That's not the point, anjo, I'm just trying to help you, and if you don't tell me what's going on, then what am I supposed to do?!"
"I don't know," Rafe snapped, "but I'm pretty sure telling all your friends that your drug addict boyfriend got raped isn't the best idea." He turned away, his head in his hands, his mutterings a steady stream of commingled Portuguese, English, and wordless, frustrated noises. "I tried so hard, gato, now they're all going to know. They aren't going to speak to me. It was bad enough… meu deus, gatinho, o que vou fazer?"
Gabe's brow furrowed, piecing together the Portuguese as best he could from the lingering remnants of long ago lessons, trying to tamp down the anger flaring up at Rafe's accusations. But his exhaustion and his own pain were making reason a difficult thing to gauge.
"I would never tell anyone that, Rafael. You won't talk to me, you won't tell me the truth, so I have to go to other people so I can figure out how to help you. I told you when we got back together that you had to let me help you, that I wanted to be there for you, but I can't do that if you don't let me. This is the same thing as before, and I just..." His jaw ground, and he leaned away from Rafe on the couch. His eyes felt heavy, his whole body aching. Despite all that had passed between them even in that moment, he would have loved nothing more than to simply curl up with Rafe in bed and let everything else slip away for a few hours.
"Why won't you let me help you?" He asked, softly, his eyes going from their unfocused fixation on the floor to the side of Rafe's obscured head.
The same thing as before. It echoed in Rafe's mind, impossible to escape, his worst fear and his self-fulfilling prophecy. He wrapped his hands around his thighs to stop them shaking. "Don't leave me again," he whispered. He cleared his throat, but it broke on his next words all the same. "Please don't leave me again. I know I fucked up. I was trying to fix it. I thought… I thought the group would help but I can't tell them about him, I can't tell them I'd been with him and then I let him in, and it's bad enough that Obed knows…" He shook his head, still staring intently down at the floor. "I thought I could fix it on my own and not put this, too, on you. I can't, but I thought..."
Gabe swallowed, immediately wanting to reassure Rafe that he wasn't going anywhere. But the tiredness was seeping into his bones, and if this was how Rafael was going to handle himself for the rest of their lives?
"I don't want to, anjo. I love you, I want you, but I can't... I can't handle this." His voice carried a note of defeat, his posture still slanted back on the couch cushions. "You scared Alice half to death. You're scaring me. I just think... what if I find you on the floor, in your apartment? I don't want to find you dead, anjo. You didn't..." Fingers trailed down one pant leg, frustration marking their path as he felt himself about to repeat what he'd told Rafe before, concerning Abel and what he'd done.
"You didn't do anything to deserve to be treated like that, mi anjo. What he did was wrong. He was wrong, not you. But I don't know how to make you believe that."
Rafe only shook his head. "I don't know," he admitted. "I don't know. But I don't…" He swept his hair from his face; met Gabe's gaze and held it for the first time since he had arrived. If he could not find words to speak to the problem of Abel, he could at least attempt to broach the rest.
"I really am trying to quit again. Every time I think it's better something else happens. A dream, or someone who sounds or smells like him, and then August, and I just…" He bit down on his tongue, recognizing himself spinning thoroughly out of control. Gabe kept the other man's gaze, nodding at the mention of the porn star who'd recently killed herself. He'd seen it briefly in the news, surfacing like a dead whale before it sank to the bottom of the ocean to be devoured by smaller creatures.
Hesitant, Rafe reached out, his fingertips resting feather light at the edge of Gabriel's thigh. "I don't want either of you to worry. I'm sorry, gato. I'll make it right. I'll… I'll tell you whatever you want. Anything, whatever you want to know. Just don't leave."
Gabe couldn't stop himself from reaching out for that touch, wrapping his hand around and through Rafe's. More tears were falling down his face. He squeezed Rafe's hand tightly.
"I won't, if... I want you to get better, anjo. I want you to be well. I know living here is difficult, but Alice is here, I'm here, you have people to reach out to. Your problems are our problems. My problems." His thumb stroked the back of Rafe's hand.
"Maybe... Maybe it's worth talking about medication? Something to help calm you, but... more controlled."
Rafael nodded, though slowly. His hand tightened in Gabe's until his knuckles went white. "Alice doesn't know," he said, hoping the details could pass by unspoken. Ignoring his own tears, he raised his free hand to wipe Gabe's away, as gentle as his desperate grip was not. "She can't know, Gabe. I'll tell her other things. I'll spend more time with her, too, and Isobel. But you can't tell either of them that."
He swallowed, but the lump in his throat did not dislodge. "Can I stay here? Just for tonight."
"Yes," Gabe said, the word small and yet catching in his throat. More tears spilled over, Gabe helpless to stop them, just as he was helpless to stop himself from sliding forward and pulling Rafe to him. "I have the guest room, or..." He wasn't sure if it was right to suggest such things, to invite Rafe to his bed. But he didn't want to leave areas unspoken, questions unasked, and he felt like he was finally getting a foothold. "You could sleep with me. We don't have to do anything, anjo. I just want you with me.
"And I would never tell anyone, anjo. I would never betray your trust like that, meu amor." His good hand slipped away from Rafe's fingers, reaching for the other man's familiar face. Fingers hooked around his nape, drawing nails lightly up through Rafe's hair. "No one knows, no one knows unless you want them to, anjo. Dios mio, I love you so much. Broken, whole, every part of you is amazing. I just want you to be here with me." He leaned forward, bringing his forehead to rest as close as he could come to Rafe's.
Rafe nodded against him, his thick curls damp where they clung to his face. He slid into Gabe's lap and wound himself tight around him: his arms around his shoulders (the movement drawing out a wince and a hiss from Gabe, who did his best to stifle the motion and sound), his legs at his waist, his mouth pressed to the tracks of his tears. "Eu sinto muito," he breathed, nuzzling close against Gabriel. His hands clasped tight at him, as though he might somehow manage to pull him closer still. Gabe did his best to hush him, though the foreign words spilling from Rafe's lips went unheard still. "Eu sinto muito, não sei o que dizer, eu te amo, não sou nada sem você…"
His words fell to nothing as he kissed Gabe again and again. He took the swell of Gabe's lip between his teeth, sucking lightly, tentatively, only for a moment. Then his mouth was on Gabe's jaw, his throat, seeking some comfort he dared not ask for. Gabe moaned, his good arm going around Rafe's waist. His body was already immediately responding to everything Rafe was feeding him; the touch, the taste, the smell of the other man wound his senses in unfamiliar ways.
"Rafe, we don't... I..." Gabe shuddered, his legs parting, body shifting against Rafe suddenly and urgently so close. Unable to stop himself (this was becoming a problem), a hand shifted under Rafe's shirt, testing, the touch of warm skin making him groan.
"I know." Rafael's hands skimmed light across his partner's body, mindful of each place that might cause him pain. When he moved, he only lifted himself the slightest from Gabriel's lap; enough to slide feverish hands over Gabe's stomach, a soft caress before he reached for his own shirt. He pulled it free, the sound of one small seam tearing as he pulled it off over his head. The moment it fell to the floor Rafe's hands were on him again.
His fingers ceased their shaking when they reached for Gabe's waistband. They knew perfectly how to unfasten button and zipper without a downward glance. He caught Gabe's mouth again, silencing the rejection he could not bear to hear. His hand slipped gingerly beneath Gabe's clothes, long fingers curling soft around his length. A garbled sound escaped Gabe's mouth, dribbling out in the bare moments Rafe's lips did not stopper him completely. His one good hand tightened on Rafe's waist, his hip, his mind torn between pulling Rafe down on him harder and stopping this before it went any further.
But he felt alone, and this seemed too much like an easy fix. Rafe wanted him, he wanted his anjo, and who was he to say no? Gabe shifted in his seat, giving himself up utterly to the man sitting atop him, letting his hand run up Rafe's back to grasp a handful of hair so he could kiss him hard, harder. His tongue thrust into the other man's mouth, a groan following it, as Gabe gave himself over completely to the feelings and the reassurance that only Rafe seemed able to inspire in him.
"God, you feel good," he muttered, knowing he'd be better off shutting up. "You taste so good. I missed you, anjo..."
Rafael's mumbled affirmation was crushed between their greedy mouths. If it was unconvincing, his continued touch was not. His thumb slid soft over Gabe's skin, one long, slow stroke before pulling away. He moved in Gabe's lap, his hips slowly winding his body against his partner's arousal.
"I'm sorry, meu amorzinho," Rafe said, as he kissed and licked his way down Gabriel's throat. He nuzzled into the soft hollow there, ignoring the tears that still threatened to fall. "I'm sorry I worried you. I love you, so much."
He knelt on the floor between Gabe's legs, kissing the cloth stretched over the planes of his thighs. As he tugged Gabe's clothes downward, Rafael tenderly pressed his parted lips to every inch of skin he bared. Gabe shivered under every caress, want and confusion coloring his face. But he did not move to stop Rafe, did not want to end that touch, that reassurance. His good hand reached out, tenderly brushing Rafe's face, the line of his jaw, back to where skin sprouted that gloriously curly dark hair.
"I love you, anjo," he replied, his heavy-lidded eyes watching Rafe's every movement, feeling ever more that he was in the wrong.
"I love you," Rafe whispered, each word a soft caress over Gabriel's burgeoning arousal. He took him in his mouth, his dark eyes still upturned, his tongue writing on tender flesh all the apologies he had yet to make. Gabe made a strangled sound, his back flexing as his hips jutted up. Rafe tipped his head to Gabe's gentle touch, taking comfort from the feel of his hands on the short stubble of his beard. That Gabe still wanted him, even now, even after all the trouble he had caused, sent a wave of relief through him that Rafael could never have put to words. And so, unable to verbalize his gratitude, he let his body speak for him, as so often it had before.
"Do you want to go to bed?" he asked, between gentle slides of his tongue and harder, more demanding touches.
"You're making it very... hard to say no," Gabe quipped in reply, his eyes closed as he lay back to watch Rafe on his knees. His brow furrowed still, mouth set in a grim line as other thoughts danced across his mind.
"Anjo, I don't... I don't want you to do anything you think you have to," he said, trying to make the words as gentle as possible. Reason was trying to make itself heard over his all-consuming lust, his fingers still twining in Rafe's hair.
"Mmhm." Rafe's quiet negation was more vibration than sound, his mouth still firmly around his partner's length. He sucked hard, his tongue curling around Gabriel (his partner moaning, his head thrown back against the couch), as he pulled away; his hands remained soft on Gabe's thighs. Smiling, he kissed the inside of Gabe's leg, again and again as he stripped pants and underwear away.
"Let's go," he said, standing and taking Gabe's hand in his own. He tugged Gabe along by his good arm, his thumb tracing soft patterns on the back of his hand. Gabe followed, content, his worry bled away to almost the edges of his mind. Down the hall, past the still-sleeping, now motionless dog, Rafe led Gabe to the bedroom with a kind of familiarity and comfort that made their earlier conversation seem like a distant memory. Rafael wanted it this way, needed it for his own benefit as much as Gabriel's.
No sooner had they entered the bedroom than Rafael fell on Gabe's comfortable warmth once more, kissing him tenderly as his hands moved toward the hem of Gabe's shirt. Gabe's mouth returned the gesture, more than happy to taste the other man. His tongue surged gently inside Rafe's mouth, feeling teeth and gums, eventually thrusting over the other man's tongue. He pulled back enough to loosen the sling around his shoulder, letting that first fall to the floor.
His right arm hung carefully by his side, a small stab of pain making Gabe wince—and reach back out, wanting Rafe to make it all feel all right again. His good hand tentatively reached for Rafe's waist, gliding along warm, brown skin; he merely pulled the other man closer, instead of diving further into his waistline.
This seemed to comfort Rafael, to encourage him toward more; his hands moved soft over Gabe's wounded arm, smoothing away what hurt he could, distracting him from the rest. Conscious of Gabe's efforts not to push some nebulous boundary, Rafael took the lead instead. Carefully he stripped Gabe's shirt off, kissing each bit of skin as it was exposed. He kissed one dark nipple, little flicks of his tongue teasing it to a tight peak. Gabe bit the inside of his cheek, looking down to watch Rafe's progress. Each kiss over his right shoulder was so light it was hardly there; little ghosts of touches, each one a promise he would keep after his lover had healed.
His right hand moved downward, taking Gabe's length in his hand once more, stroking him as he guided him back toward the bed. Gabe moved with a slow, careful gait, eventually landing with a soft plop on the mattress. His hand kept a tight grip on Rafe's waist, but his mouth was immediately removed even as his head remained tilted up in a worshipful glance toward Rafe's profile. That same hand moved around Rafe's hip, fingers smudging an imaginary line along the other man's waist as his fingers partially dipped beneath cloth.
"I love you," he repeated, his voice low and rough and starting to touch on demanding. "Come here."
A sly grin curved Rafe's kiss-swollen lips. He seemed at home here, in his element, for once freed of the anxieties that kept him awake nights. At least for now, he seemed confident. He moved to straddle Gabe's waist. He sat up on the bed, on his knees, the button of his jeans held unmoving against Gabriel's fingers. He let Gabe's hands wander where they liked, welcoming them as he hovered above his partner. Only his tousled head moved, tipping down to press an open-mouthed kiss to Gabe's lips. Gabe responded in kind, their lips touching like butterflies at first before sinking deeper into each other's flesh. Gabe's right hand came up, tentative on Rafe's hip, grasping rather than seeking. His left, however, showed no such trepidation; it slid around to Rafe's back, pulling the man tight against him, and then diving further than he had before. Rafe was so sure, so confident, that the feeling was bleeding over into Gabe and making him bold.
His hand slid down into Rafe's pants, under underwear, nails tracing a shallow furrow along skin down to Rafe's buttock. He stayed on the far side of the man's opening, instead clutching a firm handful and tugging him wide, hinting at other things he'd like to be doing.
Rafe groaned into Gabriel's mouth. His cock strained against his jeans, warm even through the thick cloth where his body pressed to Gabe's. He wanted this, and he did his best to show it, his tongue sliding over his partner's with clear intention. He shifted only a little, but it was enough to guide Gabe's fingers closer to his entrance. Gabe easily—and if he were honest, eagerly— took the hint, his finger shallowly penetrating the other man.
Rafe's free hand came between them, flicking the button of his jeans open with a single small movement. The zipper, old and worn, slid downward; a slight tug and it came completely undone. He moved his hips again, and felt the pads of Gabe's fingers against his tight hole. Gabe grabbed him up, his tongue tracing the inner line of the other man's lips. He turned his head, sealing his mouth against Rafe's once more, his right arm stretching tighter around Rafe's back. His finger pressed deeper, trying to stay shallow, trying to leash some of the unbridled emotion pushing his motions, but it was a quickly fraying tether.
His partner seemed disinterested in attempting to reel him in. Rafael kissed him deeply, his tongue sliding into Gabe's mouth, clearly and shamelessly suggestive. He rocked his hips, a gentle motion back and forth, guiding Gabriel deeper into him. Those little motions almost concealed the renewed tension coiling within him, the way his body tightened around Gabe's touch without his consciously doing so. His teeth worried playfully at Gabriel's lower lip; his hands wandered over exposed skin before drifting back to his own clothes, pushing jeans and underwear down to bare himself completely.
Gabe's eager hand strayed around from penetrating Rafe to instead grasp the other man's member once it was exposed.
"Oh, anjo," Gabe crooned, the words half muffled against his mouth. He resituated his right arm, starting to feel a little bolder as his shoulder showed no signs of pain, and let his hand slide down to take the place of what the left had been doing. He tried to scoot back on the bed, carrying himself and Rafe toward a more comfortable position, but he lost his footing halfway through, jostling his arm, pulling a long hiss of pain. With a little cry Rafael reached forward, his hands going around Gabe's ribs and clasping at his back, attempting to hold him up and unmoving.
"I'm all right, I'm all right," Gabe murmured, sounding as though he were trying to convince himself more than Rafe.
Rafe shushed him, leaning down to kiss Gabe's forehead. "Are you?" he asked. His fingertips played over Gabriel's arm, a touch so light on his shoulder it could barely be felt. "We can stop," he offered, perhaps too eagerly. "It's OK. I can hold you, and we can just rest a while…"
Gabe sat back up, his position awkward but more on the bed. Arms looped around Rafe's waist, concern written over every piece of his face.
"Are you sure? I don't... It's not that I don't want to, anjo," the statement underscored by his half-erection still caught in his pants. His good hand looped up and down Rafe's back. "But if you want to, it's fine with me. More than fine, actually," he added with half a laugh, head tilted up to Rafe's face.
While Rafe had successfully concealed most of his tension, he could not hide his relief when it all bled away. Slowly, carefully, he unwrapped himself from Gabriel's body. Rafe moved to sit beside him, still touching all the while, soft fingertips skimming over bared chest and belly. "No, it's…" He sighed, and shook his head, smiling as he guided Gabriel to lie back. He lay in silence for a while, drawing faint patterns on Gabe's skin with one hand. "Thank you, gatinho."
"Hush." Gabe grabbed that hand with the fingers on his good hand, pulling them up to set pads against his bottom lip. He kissed them, gently, eyes straying over Rafe's face.
"I love you, anjo. I want to help you, OK? Please remember that." His eyes begged for Rafe to understand and embrace that sentiment. His fingers threaded through Rafe's, holding that palm close to the beating of his heart just inside his chest.
Rafael merely nodded, and gave Gabriel's hand a small squeeze. He kept Gabe's touch close, focusing as best he could on that and nothing else. And in time, he drifted off to sleep, for once dreamless and restful, with no thoughts of the tumultuous past.