The Road back to El Dorado.
(The Road to El Dorado II)

Summery: After arriving in Spain Tulio and Chel find their spark dying, and a few months later Chel and Tulio part as friends. Chel leaves for Africa while Tulio acquires passage back to Mexico to find El Dorado and Miguel aboard a schooner captained by an Irishman called Jack, but things rarely go according to plan...

Rating: M, but only just!

Disclaimer: I don't own the Road to El Dorado, but I will!

- E - L - D - O - R - A - D - O - I - I -

Scott waved at them from the deck as they slowly made their way to the shore in the cover of darkness. True to his work Jack had drugged his small crew, but had also allowed them to drink far too much alcohol, so they wouldn't even know they'd been drugged. Altivo took up most of the small boat, with the three men cramped into the remaining space that wasn't taken up with supplies.

Jack and Tulio took the ores; Miguel sat beside Altivo, stroking his mane.

They heaved the boat up onto the sand, Jack saying the tide would cover the tracks made by the craft. As quickly as they could they loaded the supplies onto Altivo, making sure to leave room for Miguel to ride. When that was done the two Spaniards and Irishman stood awkwardly, unsure of how to say goodbye.

'I count you as a friend Jack.' Miguel clasped his arms around the other blonde man. 'I wish I could have seen what you look like.'

'Think of yourself, only a little taller, hair a little lighter, and no beard.' Jack returned the hug. 'Good luck Hathor.'

'I still don't know why you call me that.' Miguel said as he pulled away.

'Ask little poet over there.' Jack assisted Tulio is helping Miguel onto Altivo's back, then the two turned to each other.

'Well, it was fun.' Tulio said truthfully, extending his hand. Jack ignored it and took him into a bone-crushing hug. Once he'd made sure Tulio returned the gesture he pulled away.

'Tulid and Mibad, the Arabian princes.' Jack said with a grin. 'I think you two will be my greatest story to date.'

'Thanks Jack.' Tulio watched as Altivo licked Jack's face. The Irishman wasn't too impressed.

'You two better get going.' Jack said, wiping his face in disgust. 'I'll remove the marks in the sand then return to the Fox.'

'How can we repay you Jack?' Miguel asked.

'Name a temple after me.' Jack said, pulling a branch of a nearby tree to brush away the tracks. 'No! Name it after my ship, the Silver Fox. She'll like that.'

Miguel and Tulio laughed. Tulio took Altivo's reins and led him along the path they'd used 2 years ago. For some reason, Tulio felt he'd see Jack again, but dismissed the feeling. He wasn't going to stop until he found El Dorado or he died. He began the long trek that lay before him, more determined then ever.

- E - L - D - O - R - A - D - O - I - I -

As the run rose Tulio surveyed his surroundings. Although all the jungle looked the same to him, and the small path Miguel had cut had been overgrown, the trail Cortez' men had taken was all too clear. Because they insisted on burning everything in their way all Tulio had to do was follow the trail of charred trees and blackened rocks. Tulio had made a mental picture of the map in his mind, and according to it the next marker had been the eagle created by the sun - or moon - shining through a large gap in a cave's ceiling. Last time it had taken them half a day to reach it, this time Tulio suspected it would take a little longer.

Miguel was being awfully quiet atop Altivo. It disturbed Tulio, as last time they'd been on this trail he could barely keep up with the blonde's pace and enthusiasm.

'How's Chief Tannabok?' Tulio asked, trying to start a conversation.

'Chief Tanni?' Miguel responded. 'Worried about his wife, she was heavily pregnant last time I saw her.'

'How many children does that man have?' Tulio had seen the chief playing with several children during his short stay, but had never asked how many the man had.

'Azul, Tea, Jul, Bella, Del and Sola are the girls, Aki, Choci, Menna and Sebbok are the boys so that makes...' Miguel counted them in his head. 'Ten, not counting the one in his wife's belly.'

'Ten!' Tulio couldn't believe it.

'Well Bella and Del are twins.' Miguel hugged Altivo's neck to ensure no stray branches knocked him off. 'As are Choci and Aki.'

'What about this Mecca-kan, the new high priest.'

'Doesn't freak me out.' Miguel said truthfully. 'He's chief Tanni's nephew, but he, and most of the people in El Dorado, still think we're gods, just in mortal form. They appease the gods with dance and music now, not with blood and gold. The temples have been rebuilt, and because the river's main exit was blocked a lake formed near the volcano. There's never a shortage in fish anymore.'

'You really turned things around didn't you.' Tulio had always suspected Miguel would be a great ruler, with his unusual ideas and an instinct to help people.

'Chief Tanni did most of the work.' Miguel never had liked to boast.

Suddenly the foliage gave way to light and Tulio shielded his eyes. Altivo snorted and pounded the ground with a hoof. Tulio took another look at where he stood and saw he was standing in the centre of a giant eagle.

'We've done it Miguel!' Tulio shouted happily. 'We're at the second marker, the eagle!'

'Only five more to go.' Miguel didn't seem too thrilled. Tulio cut short his celebrations with a frown. Maybe he was just tired, after all it was late afternoon and they'd been up since sunset yesterday.

'Let's rest here for the night.' Tulio helped Miguel down from Altivo's back and pulled two blankets from the supplies. In the jungle heat they were merely used for something soft to lie on. Searching the packs Tulio found a few slices of salted meat, some fruit, a few loafs of bread and far too many ship's biscuits, the kind that would break your teeth if you tried to eat them. There was also supposed to be some cheese in there somewhere, but Tulio chose the fruit, as it would rot the fastest.

'Here.' Tulio placed the fruit in Miguel's hands. He didn't worry about Altivo, there was plenty of green foliage for the horse to eat. The meal, like most of the trip, was silent.

Miguel seemed to fall asleep within minutes of lying down. Several times Tulio caught himself staring at his sleeping partner, and several times he tried to distract himself with such things as talking to Altivo or trying to spot animals in the greenery, but his gaze always returned to Miguel. He fell asleep facing the blonde, for once not worrying what tomorrow would bring.

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By midday the following morning they'd found the third marker beside the river of piranhas. Tulio had learnt his lesson, and didn't go anywhere near the water. The fruit was gone, so that night when the three companions camped Tulio managed to light a fire and cook some of the salted meat.

Miguel had been quiet again all day. It was another day and a half before Tulio found out the reason why.

They'd made good time and had passed the dragon's head several hours before. However Tulio was lost. The fog had hung over everything till late in the afternoon, and when it was finally lifted Tulio had lost the trail. After wandering in circles for the rest of the day he decided to resume the search in the morning.

'We're lost aren't we.' Miguel stated as Tulio helped him from Altivo's back.

'No...' Tulio lied. Altivo snorted and Miguel wasn't fooled. 'Ok we're lost, but I know the marker is around here.'

'Well done.' Miguel said coldly.

'It wasn't my fault.' Tulio responded, frustration gathered over the day boiling over. 'I couldn't see anything in the fog, and I didn't see you helping!'

'What could I do?' Miguel shouted back. 'You're the leader, you're the one in charge. You always have been, and you just drag me behind like an old work horse.'

'At least that would be helpful.' Tulio pushed Miguel lightly. 'It could help me find the way!'

'Well sorry if I'm ruining your plans.' Miguel threw a punch at Tulio, but it was poorly aimed and several feet to short. 'Why are you even helping me? You left El Dorado, left me, for the girl and the gold. That's all you've ever cared about, never Miguel, never me!'

'I thought Chel was mine, I was wrong, but she was the one who stuck by me.' Tulio growled.

'As I recall you're the one who said 'forget Miguel.'' Miguel's voice was like venom.

'You heard that?' Tulio was taken back, he didn't know Miguel had overheard him and Chel.

'You made me promise not to go after her, and yet behind my back you start... start... start screwing her!' Miguel was yelling now.

'It just happened.' Tulio restrained from shouting. 'She came onto me, and unlike you Miguel girls don't just swoon over me.'

'Don't you dare say it was my fault!'

'You're just jealous Chel chose me instead of you!'

'I couldn't care less about Chel!'

'That's not the impression I received when we made that promise.'

'Which you broke! Off limits you said! Off limits!'

'You promised to lie low. If you had Tzekel-kan wouldn't have seen you bleed -'

'Who hit me in the first place?' Miguel interrupted.

'And we'd have sailed out of there with a mountain of gold!'

'That's all you ever care about, gold.'

'Well gold doesn't turn its back on you! Gold doesn't betray you. Gold grantees comfort and company, unlike certain blonde former partners!' Tulio knew he didn't mean those words, but Miguel's words had hurt him. The longer this went on, the more Tulio felt like a knife was slowly being twisted into his chest.

'You never change. I thought you had when you came back. Did you really come back for me, or was it just for the gold? Damn you, I hate you. I hate you!' Miguel was panting heavily.

The knife in Tulio's chest struck his heart as Miguel spoke those words. He flinched, but Miguel couldn't see and went on.

'We were partners Tulio. Partners!' Miguel screamed. 'Partner's don't betray the other for a girl or gold! Was I just a temporary companion till you found something better, or a tool you used in your scams? Tell me!'

'You're hopeless.' Tulio threw his hands in the air, pain fuelling his rage. 'Why'd you have to pick me to tag along with?'

'I wish I hadn't! I wish you'd never entered that church! I wish my uncle had thrown you out for those men to deal with, you common thief!'

SLAP!

Tulio struck Miguel across the face before he could stop himself. Miguel cried in pain as it reopened the whip mark. Tulio stared at his hand with disgust, feeling sick. He'd never hit Miguel before except when they were pretending to fight. 'Miguel...'

'Don't.' Miguel said softly, turning and disappearing into the jungle.

Tulio stood rooted to the spot, too stunned to move. His gaze lingered on his hand that was coated in blood, Miguel's blood. He'd hit his best friend. Was that how Miguel felt, betrayed?

Altivo, having watched the exchange, whined loudly and gave Tulio a nudge to go after Miguel. The blonde idiot! He couldn't see and yet he'd just wandered off into the damn wilderness. Tulio immediately ran after his friend.

'Miguel!' Tulio shouted, scanning the jungle as he ran. 'Miguel!'

In his desperation Tulio forgot that to reach the last marker they had to descend down a large cliff. His foot slipped and he tumbled forward, tumbling down the drop until his head connected with something hard, and he blacked out.

- E - L - D - O - R - A - D - O - I - I -

Tulio was running. Not because he was late, but because the loaded dice he'd been using had been discovered, and the men he'd been gambling with weren't the type to laugh it off.

Rolling underneath a noble atop a horse seventeen year old Tulio spotted a church nearby. Unable to continue running, he sprinted for the door. Shutting it behind him Tulio leant against the wood, hearing the men's curses travel past his hiding place.

'Are you all right my son?' Tulio jumped as a priest appeared from nowhere.

'Y... Yes sir.' Tulio stuttered. The men's shouting could still be heard, and the priest wasn't deaf.

'You're the one they're after.' The priest deducted. 'Why do they chase the boy?'

'I was using loaded dice.' Tulio's mother, rest her soul, had raised him as a catholic. Tulio would scam almost anyone save a priest.

'Ah, a most disagreeable situation.' The robed man said. 'Why such need?'

'Have to eat somehow.' Tulio shrugged. The priest seemed to think something over before speaking.

'The come and join me for supper. My name is Father Antonio.'

'Tulio.' He followed Father Antonio through the church and down a flight of stairs to where the priest lived.

'I must preform the evening service.' Father Antonio explained. 'Then we'll eat.'

'Thank you.' Tulio could wait. He'd been without food for longer. Being a child of a prostitute meant he only ate when his mother worked, and Tulio had always tried to prevent her from selling herself like that. She had been beautiful, with her son inheriting her dark hair and sapphire eyes. Two years had passed since her death from a fever, with only her son for comfort. He'd been alone after that.

Tulio wiped away the tears before they could spill. He wouldn't cry, he'd done enough of that in the past. He sat down and waited, not feeling the need to explore further into the underground complex.

Music suddenly filled the air. It wasn't the people upstairs singing hymns, but a mandolin. The tune was brisk, lively, making Tulio want to get up and dance.

Following the music Tulio neared the source but as suddenly as it began it stopped with a snap. There was a curse and Tulio turned round only to run into another man, falling to the ground.

'Sorry.' Tulio rubbed his backside to ease the pain.

'No it was my fault.' A young man said. 'Wasn't looking where I was going.'

A hand was offered and Tulio grasped it, looking up. His breath stopped. Such green eyes, Tulio had never seen such eyes. They were filled with curiosity and adventure, giving them a shine unlike anything Tulio had ever seen. His hair wasn't blonde like the girls on the street, but gold. Tulio had always liked gold, but this was by far the most beautiful he'd ever seen.

Tulio had never felt attracted to a male before, but he wanted to stay by this man forever, be his constant companion and travel on adventures even those green eyes couldn't imagine.

'Tulio.' He managed to say. 'My name is Tulio.'

'Miguel.' The man, Miguel, released his hand. It was then Tulio noticed he held a mandolin, one string snapped in two.

'You were making that music?' Tulio asked dumbly.

'Until it snapped.' Miguel said sadly. 'Father Antonio can't afford to buy another one.'

'You live here?' Tulio questioned, not picturing Miguel as a priest type.

'For the moment.' Miguel fiddled with the mandolin. 'He's my uncle, so I'm living with him till I find a way to get out of here.'

'Your parents at sea?' Tulio had heard there was money to be made sailing.

'Were, their ship sunk in a storm.' Miguel's grip slipped on the instrument, and it fell to the floor.

'Sorry.' Tulio apologised, bending over to retrieve the mandolin. In doing so the dice fell from his pocket, landing on 5 and 2. Miguel picked them up before Tulio could react and rolled them again. 5 and 2. And again. 5 and 2. And again. 5 and 2.

'They're loaded.' Miguel stated. Tulio swapped the blonde the mandolin for the dice. 'Why?'

'I need to eat.' Tulio repeated what he'd told the priest.

'Show me how they work.' Miguel demanded. Once Tulio had he moved onto ways to cheat at cards or mark them, how to rig games of chance and various other tricks a con artist had to know.

When Father Antonio returned with supper the two teenagers continue talking about everything and anything, even taking up two old wooden walking sticks and having a playful fight, with many witty exchanged between the two.

When Tulio left the next morning, he was no longer alone.

- E - L - D - O - R - A - D - O - I - I -

'Tulio, please wake up!' Something wet hit Tulio's cheek, like a raindrop. His head ached, and he was bruised and sore from his tumble.

'Tulio, please!' Miguel sobbed.

Miguel...

'Miguel!' Tulio quickly pushed himself up and wrapped the blonde in a hug. 'I'm so sorry I hit you, I didn't mean it! I didn't mean any of it!'

'Me neither.' Miguel replied, face wet with tears and dry with blood. 'I just thought once we reached El Dorado you'd leave me again for someone who can see.'

'Miguel I'd chose you over anyone else any day.' Tulio felt tears form in his own eyes, but held them back. 'You're irreplaceable.'

'I was.' Miguel sniffed.

'Are.' Tulio corrected, trying to show his partner it didn't matter he'd lost his sight.

'But my eyes-' Miguel began.

'Are still as beautiful as the day we met.' Tulio reassured, wetting his sleeve and beginning to clean the blood from Miguel's face. 'Being blind hasn't affected your curiosity has it?'

'Well, no, but-'

'Or your thrill for adventure.'

'Not really, but-'

'Or your ideas?' Tulio finished cleaning the blonde's face.

'No...' Miguel said. 'But what about my mandolin? I can't play it now.'

'Miguel you could play that thing in your sleep.' Tulio, when Miguel had found a new string for the mandolin, had grown annoyed at the blonde playing it every waking moment. Now it wouldn't feel right if, when gambling with loaded dice, Miguel's mandolin didn't cut in with appropriate background music. 'I'm sure you can do it blindfolded.'

'I guess we'll find out soon.' Miguel pushed himself up, offering his arm.

'How'd you find me?' Tulio grabbed it hand hauled himself to his feet. His body was bruised and bleeding from several small cuts, but nothing he couldn't handle.

'Altivo.' Miguel replied like it was obvious. 'He found a safe path down here.'

'Ah.' Tulio leant back against a tall stone, feeling the smooth edges dig into his back.

Hold on, rocks don't have smooth edges...

He spun around and gave a cry. It was the rock, the last marker, with the carving of the two gods riding the horse-serpent thing.

'We did it Miguel! We're here!' Tulio couldn't believe it.

'I know.'

'It's the... what?' Tulio's celebrations decreased slightly.

'I heard the waterfall, and felt the carvings on the rock.' Miguel shrugged. 'I still have four other senses.'

'Right. Now use them and direct us to the new entrance.'

'How?' Miguel was standing in front of the carving, looking lost.

'Picture the waterfall.' Tulio waited till he was sure Miguel had done so. 'Now do we go left or right?'

'Left...' Miguel thought about it carefully. 'Follow the river for a mile till you see a stream on the right. Follow it for half a mile till you reach the mountains. The entrance is nearby.'

'See, I knew you could do it.' Tulio helped Miguel onto Altivo then sat behind him, having used up most of their supplies over the last few days. He let Miguel lean upon his chest, using one hand to secure the blonde and the other to hold Altivo's reins. He followed the river like Miguel said and after a mile saw a small stream to the right. Turning Altivo they twisted and turned with the water till it broke off into several smaller streams at the base of the mountains that protected El Dorado.

'Alright, where's the entrance.' Tulio asked Miguel.

'Should be able to see it.' Miguel then frowned. 'Unless they've completed and hidden it.'

'Not again.' Tulio groaned. There wasn't a waterfall this time, just stone and vines. Vines, hmm... Tulio trotted Altivo over to the collection of natural hanging robes and brushed some aside.

A tunnel was visible behind them.

'Found it.' Tulio informed his partner.

'Then what are we waiting for?' Miguel's excitement was contagious. Altivo didn't wait for an order, heading forward into the darkness. The tunnel was small, the room only a few inches above their heads, and continually twisted and turned.

'They followed the softer rock.' Miguel explained. 'Made it easier and quicker.'

Tulio had a suspicion it was the blonde's idea, but kept quiet. He didn't know how long the tunnel was, but they'd entered an hour before sunrise.

Turning a bend Tulio felt the breeze on his face again and saw something that he'd thought was lost to him forever. El Dorado.

The sun chose at that moment to rise over the mountains, causing the gold inlaid in many of the buildings to glow. It was a beautiful sight. Miguel seemed to know they'd arrive, kicking Altivo to move.

Tulio saw a flicker of movement and watched as a sleepy looking guard rubbed his eyes and, when he was sure he wasn't dreaming, run off towards Chief Tannabok's house. They passed several other people as they rode towards the temple; all of them stared for several seconds before rushing off to tell everyone else.

Chief Tannabok greeted them as they approached.

'Lord Miguel! Lord Tulio?' The surprise was clear in his voice. 'This is a great honour, how long will you be staying this time?'

'Forever.' Tulio replied, feeling Miguel's tension slip away. 'I'm never leaving.'

While everyone thought he was talking about the city, Tulio was referring to a completely different type of gold.

- E - L - D - O - R - A - D - O - I - I -

Well that's all folks, or at least until I put up the first chapter of the next story. What, you think I'd leave it there? Miguel's still blind, Tulio's still hiding his feelings and Salar still wants revenge. I did say this story was slash and I had planned for Tulio to confess to Miguel after his brush with sunstroke but then it moved to when they had the fight in the jungle then to when they found El Dorado but it just didn't fit any of those places. Sorry, but I can guarantee you all now that in the sequel Tulio will kiss Miguel. Now whether Miguel returns the kiss in another matter all together...

To keep you interested here are some random facts about the making of and the story:

1) Wrote most of it on my laptop while listening to either the El Dorado soundtrack softly or with Bon Jovi blaring at me.

2) When I started I didn't have a complete plot.

3) Jack is not based off Jack Sparrow, however much he may appear. Only realized the connection when RoslyaGypsy pointed it out. I decided to make him Irish because at the time I was drinking Irish breakfast tea.

4) The jungle trek was suppose to be three times longer but ran out of conversation ideas.

5) Written in WordPad then spell checked in Microsoft Word.

6) Total word count - excluding intros and author notes - is 18,975, according to Microsoft Word. (As if I'm going to count it my hand.)

7) My main motivational tool was a large glass of milk and Milo, or cheese and crackers. (In all seriousness)

8) 56 pages long, excluding author notes but including the double spacing of lines.

9) Was originally planned to be twice as long, but split it into two different stories, as you may have guessed from the ending.

10) My personal favourite line of the whole story was found in chapter 2, and was:

A squeal came from behind Tulio, followed by a thud. Tulio simply ignored Jack and focused on Miguel.'

... well I thought it was funny... still makes me smile when I read it.

11) The last line of this chapter was added only just before I put it up, and the fight between Miguel and Tulio was considerably shorter in the first draft.

12) Jack was suppose to make only one appearance at the start, but as I wrote it I found I needed someone to replace Chel, and Jack was just around at the right time.

13) At one point considered Jack making an alliance with Count Salar to betray Tulio and Miguel, but decided against it. Maybe in the next story...

14) What little research I did for the story came from Wikipedia and/or Encarta '95. Yes that's right, '95. Kind of sad really, but I was given the choice of a newer version or Oblivion. Which do you think I was going to choose?

15) The name of Jack's schooner, the Silver Fox, is my own personal joke. It's like in Dr. Who how Bad Wolf keeps popping up everywhere, in most of my stories somewhere there will be a mention of Silver Fox. This is the first time it has appeared in a fanfiction story, not count Raiders From Rhun, which I took down.

16) There are 7 chapters, the same number of Tulio's loaded dice.

17) In chapter 3 Count Salar offers Jack 100 Dubloons if he captures Tulio and Miguel, the same amount on their wanted poster in the movie.

18) Tulio's name is mentioned 505 times, Miguel 397, Jack 238, Salar 31 and Altivo only 55 times.

19) In the first draft for some unknown reason spelt Miguel 'Migel,' leaving out the u. Very strange.

20) OMG I didn't mention Bibo at all! Completely forgot about the little armadillo.

Review Responses:

Ties are hot: I love Jack too! Yea now that I look at it in most stories it is Miguel longing for Tulio, not the other way round. Salar is based of Cortez, just a whole lot meaner, to put is basically.

Foxmask: Salar's coming back in the sequel, and plays a much larger role. He also has a friend with him, but I won't say any more.

Shalow Darkness: I'm not ending it exactly, just splitting it into two stories. I've found writers block can be overcome by a good instrumental play list and a strong cup of Irish tea.

RosylaGypsy: Gypse! I'm going to take to calling you that now. Yea you're right, the first review makes no sense except to us, but hey, that's the way it should be. I liked the Arabian Prince part as well, and speaking of finishing stories when are you going to finish your Eragon fic hmm? I'll try to email you while I'm away, so check your damn email ok?

Victoria Faust: Well I needed something different and Miguel being blind just kinda hit me. Rather hard too I might add.

Din Kelion: Love to see people enjoying this fic. Hope it doesn't disappoint.

Blue Phantom: First, thanks so much for the advice. If there's one thing I love better than reviews, it's reviews with advice. Glad to see you enjoyed the coffee line, I prefer tea myself but Jack seemed like a coffee sort of guy.

Fan Of Miggie: Thanks again for that picture, and your reviews. 'Every time I see my reflection, apart from the slave part.' Glad to see you liked that line, although it's a modified version from the movie 'The Fugitive.' Love that film.

Masterctarl: Aww shucks. Thanks for reviewing; an author loves to see her work appreciated.

Anonymous: Thanks for the review. Yea, I don't think there are any other stories with Miguel being blind, at least I hope not.

Careless Wanderer: Catches breath from bear hug Glad to see such an enthusiastic reviewer.

Lorien Lupin: Yea, there aren't that many slash fics are there? That's the main reason I wrote this. Yes, no Chel, although I won't go as far as hating her, but I'd push her off a cliff if the opportunity presented itself…

To Hell With Valentine's: I like your name. Well you didn't have to wait long for the update, hope it lived up to your expetations.

Oh before I forget Fan Of Miggie made this banner for the story. The link is:
http://fan-of-miggie. livejournal. com/ 3494. html
You should check it out, but remove the spaces. I know it's annoying but doesn't like whole links. If the link doesn't work give me a buzz - email - and I'll send it to you.

Desert Thief – Watch out for the sequel in a couple of weeks. I'd give you the title but haven't thought of one yet… but it's also known as El Dorado III, surprise surprise.

Oh and I won't be able to reply to and questions, reviews or anything else for at least two weeks. I'm going to Turkey for ANZAC day (25/4) and I'm leaving tomorrow morning. I'm an Australian so it's a big thing. First time overseas, this is going to be sweet. Can't wait to see Istanbul and Troy!