A/N: Hello! I must say that I am not really one for slash in this fandom, but. . .this just absolutely refused to leave me alone. Also, don't like, don't read. Simple. (Smiles)

Disclaimer: Don't own, not making any money!

Ratings: PG

Genre: Angst

Warnings: Err… Slight slash…

Main Characters: Erik and Nadir

Additional Notes: (Sigh) The song that inspired this refused to let me live in peace—the idea was like an annoying fly.

Only So Many Words

It should have been raining, he thought bitterly, his flame-eyes staring out over the landscape. As it was, the hot Mazenderan sun was beating down upon the two men. Erik knew they made quite a sight: two men standing beside two beautiful horses from the royal Persian stables of the Shah, staring out at the unending distance. He did not speak, and neither did Nadir. After all, what was there to say?

I'm sorry. . .

The words would not come. He could say nothing to the man beside him, the man who had become so much more than a mere friend. It hurt, to think that this would be the end. He had hoped that this could have gone on a little longer—for he was not naïve enough to wish for forever—but he knew that the Shah felt threatened, felt that he knew too much. He knew it was too dangerous to stay; he had known it for some time, but he had not had the strength to leave the man beside him.

And so he had distanced himself.

It had been painful, of course, that willful severing of ties. He had known all along, of course, that nothing could have come of his feelings, and so he had done his best to distance himself—and this was the last step. He knew that Nadir did not understand—that Nadir did not know—and that knowledge wounded him horribly. Perhaps the man would never know. Still, even the Persian's pleadings could not change anything. This would be the end.

"Erik, are you certain that I cannot come with you? That you cannot stay?"

He sighed, closing his eyes for a moment to still his warring thoughts. "Yes. I must leave—alone—or they will suspect you."

If only you knew the truth. . .

The man beside him merely shook his head, but he remained silent for a time. There was an unspoken air about them, and Erik now understood it—the moment he had realized what it meant, he knew that he could not stay. Nadir did not know, as far as he could see—still, he could not stay. He could not bear to lie any longer, and honesty was out of the question.

As the sun passed behind a temporary cloud, he deemed the time as right as it would ever be. "I must leave now," he said quietly, his face entirely blank and carefully impassive.

Nadir's jade eyes seemed infinitely sad at those words. "Where will you go?"

He had no immediate answer. He bit his lip beneath the stifling mask, nearly drawing blood. "Vienna, perhaps," he murmured at last. God, he did not want to leave, even to see the Theater in der Josefstadt—but there was no choice—and perhaps he would see those eyes again in five or ten years, and maybe by then he would have the strength and courage to tell him the truth. He hazarded a glance at Nadir; he was subdued and for a moment Erik felt the old withering hope return. But it was a foolish hope. "I must go," he said again, reaffirming it to himself.

"I know."

As he looked away, nearly shaking to pieces, he saw the man reach out a hesitant hand—as if to stop him; he could feel a bitter, painful laugh well in his throat at the action. He knew—even if Nadir had wanted to reach him, it would not be possible; he had already left long ago. He did not look back, but said the wrong words, the only words he could say: "Goodbye, my friend."

There are only so many words, he found, to say goodbye to love, and none of them are the right words.


A/N: Thank you for your time. As a note, the theatre Erik mentions is a real theatre in Vienna, Austria, and I did a tinsy bit of research and found that it would have existed in Erik's time in Persia (although it would have been fairly new). So, please, review!