This is the last chapter...thanks so much to everyone who has been reading & reviewing!!
Martin was still awake though quite close to drifting off to sleep when Danny woke up. He looked confused, frightened for just a second or two before his eyes came into focus, his hands tightening on Martin's skin. There were no other telltale signs that Danny had a nightmare, yet his body was full of unease, restlessness, his pulse quicker than it should have been. It was still dark outside, still raining, and Martin was again reminded of all the nights they'd spent together in Cuba where a brief thunderstorm – common to the Caribbean island – would wake them. The interruption of sleep would often result in warm, lazy sex where neither of them had the energy to try very hard, but it was always incredible nonetheless. However, Martin knew that tonight would not be a similar occasion.
"You can go back to sleep," Martin murmured. "It's still nighttime." He touched Danny's cheek gently, pressing a soft kiss to his lips and smiling reassuringly.
But Danny shook his head, eyes shadowed as he looked downward for a few moments. He reached down and took Martin's hand from where it had been resting on his hip and linked their fingers together. "I won't be able to fall back asleep. Not now. Martin I want to…" he paused, looking up.
Martin swallowed hard, struck by the pain he saw so brightly now in Danny's eyes. "Danny…" he murmured his name and pulled him closer, one hand soft as he brushed the back of his knuckles over Danny's cheek and leaned in to kiss him. He was worried. The anxiety, the sadness he'd sensed in Danny before had grown now and he had to wonder what exactly had led him to this point. The brightness and carefree warmth that Martin loved so deeply was dulled and almost cold now, and he wanted to do anything he could to make it better.
"They're dead," Danny said suddenly, his voice flat. "My brother, my uncle…one of my cousins," he added before Martin could ask.
Martin pressed himself closer, gently touching Danny's neck, his cheek, trying to offer him as much comfort as he could. "I'm sorry," he said softly.
Danny looked over at him sharply, his eyes flashing with an unexpected anger. "I'm not," he replied harshly. "Well, for my cousin, yes…he was too young to really understand the situation and he didn't deserve it. But Rafi, my uncle…" he trailed off, something dark flashing through his eyes. Martin said nothing as Danny looked away for a few moments, his eyes shut, his breathing shallow. He did what he could to comfort him, squeezing the hand he still held, gently rubbing his arm and shoulder, but he wondered over Danny's anger. Knew that somewhere, no matter how buried, there was grief for his brother and his uncle's deaths.
He was quiet for a while after that and Martin waited, knowing he had more to say. But he didn't want to rush him, didn't want to press too hard only to have Danny stop talking. He ran his hand over Danny's chest, surprised when Danny grasped it with his free hand and brought it to his lips, pressing kisses to his fingertips. He pulled Martin closer then and kissed him…long, deep kisses that Martin nearly drowned in. Yet, he could feel Danny trembling through it all, knew he was trying to distract himself, to work through the pain without showing it.
When they broke apart Martin stayed close, their foreheads pressed together, his hand on Danny's cheek. "What happened?" he whispered.
Danny's reply was a choked sob as he buried his face against Martin's throat. "They were stupid," he said bitterly after a few moments. "Trying to fight against much bigger numbers. It was all arrogance and misplaced pride…thinking that they would win because they were better. But the numbers won out and well…it didn't take long for them to get shot." He paused then, sighing sadly and shutting his eyes for a few moments.
Martin took the time to whisper his name softly, to hold him closer, gently pressing kisses to Danny's neck and chin. His heart was aching for answers, but he knew he had to let Danny explain in his own time. More than anything though, he wished he could do something to take away the helpless sort of pain that colored Danny's features so prominently now.
"They took everything…for the rebellion apparently," he said with a cynical roll of his eyes. His tears had subsided for the moment, an empty sort of anger in his brown eyes now. "Our property, our house, most of what was in it…and they were just things Martin, but some of it was special. It held memories and feelings, and…it was a part of my history that I'll never get back," he said, voice regretful and sad now. He was quiet for a few moments, eyes flitting around the room before looking into Martin's again. Sighing, he shook his head and bit down on his lower lip; he looked broken and Martin wanted to badly to find a way to fix him.
"My mother blamed me for all of it, of course," he went on, voice bitter and upset. "I didn't try to help Rafi and uncle Luis. I didn't stop them from taking our things. Why couldn't they have taken me instead of my brother…"
Martin's eyes widened and he drew in a sharp breath, reaching out to lay his hand on Danny's neck. "She actually said that?" he whispered.
Danny stared at him for a few moments before nodding, eyes fluttering downwards, his cheeks flushing with shame. "Yes," he said, voice small.
"Oh Danny…" Martin murmured, pulling the other man closer, pressing warm kisses to his cheek and his neck. He hated the pain in Danny's eyes, in his voice…and he tried so bravely to shrug it off, to pretend it didn't affect him, but Martin saw through it. "What did you do after they took everything? Where did you go?" he asked, knowing what Danny needed most was to continue talking, to not get too caught up in his memories. And although Martin wanted to help him work through this pain he still harbored with his family – a pain Martin was quite familiar with – he knew it needed more time.
Danny nodded and cleared his throat, a grateful look in his eyes now. "I'm not as useless as they had all assumed," he answered, fighting to keep the bitter tone out of his voice. "Before anything happened, even before I had met you, I'd been putting money into a bank account in Florida under the name Danny Taylor," he explained, a note of clever pride in his words. "I knew what was happening, despite not paying attention for so long. And I had always planned on…escaping, leaving them all behind when the time was right. I just never expected…"
"I ruined things for you," Martin interrupted sorrowfully.
But Danny shook his head and ran his hand through Martin's hair, resting it on his cheek. He leaned closer and pressed their lips together in a quick kiss. "No, it wasn't you. I realized that later…after you'd gone. Even if I'd never met you, the same situation would have arisen, and my original plan? It was to just walk away and to leave my family behind completely. I wouldn't have been able to do that. I thought I could've, but I was fooling myself. No matter how they feel about me or what they said to me…I had to take care of them Martin. And, I did…I brought them to Florida. My mother, my aunt, my cousins…set them up in a house, with an income from the money I'd saved…but that's it," he said, his voice trembling softly. "I couldn't stay there."
"From the time you left…it took me all this time to get out of Cuba, to leave everything behind…something none of them were keen on doing, no matter how many times I tried to explain the situation to them," he said, sounding weary. "And then to get them settled in America, to find a way to get them citizenship…illegal and expensive, but surprisingly near-genuine," he added with a small smirk. "It took up almost the entire past year. In which time all I really wanted to be doing was looking for you…" he finished, voice lower now, eyes softening.
Again Martin was struck with a sense of confusion and wariness, because he knew he had hurt Danny, and no matter how much he had wanted it, he had never expected forgiveness. It just didn't make sense to him. Black was black and white was white…there was no middle ground. "Why?" he asked quietly. "Danny, I don't understand why you'd want to find me again after what I…"
"I love you," Danny interrupted, cupping Martin's face in his hands and looking into his eyes.
Martin felt his chest constrict, everything seemed to stop and he stared at Danny with widened eyes, full of surprise and disbelief. He shook his head, bewildered, speechless; he reached out and gripped onto Danny's arm a little desperately.
Danny smiled, pressing their foreheads together and kissing Martin softly, slowly, one hand passing through his hair. "I love you Martin," he repeated against his lips. "Somewhere, in all that time we spent together in my house I fell in love with you."
"But you didn't--"
Martin nodded, biting down on his lower lip as he unconsciously pressed closer to Danny for comfort, sighing when the other man tightened his arms around him.
"I was afraid," Danny admitted. "I've…I've never been in love before," he said softly, a warm smile on his face.
Again, Danny interrupted him, nodding. "I know…I've slept with several people, but Martin I never loved any of them. Not the way I love you," he murmured. He kissed Martin again, lips soft, tongue warm and insistent causing Martin to moan low in his throat. He felt himself drifting, melting as he kissed Danny back, held him closer and willingly gave into his touch. Despite that first kiss in his sister's living room, despite the sex they'd had earlier, it was this moment, this kiss that solidified Danny's return in Martin's mind. It became truly real.
"Why didn't you tell me later? That night…before I left…" he asked softly as their kiss broke.
Danny shook his head, eyes sorrowful. "I couldn't. You wouldn't have left if I had told you then," he said, brushing his knuckles over Martin's cheek. "And I needed you to be safe," he whispered.
He paused for a few moments and Martin felt his heart ache. Danny was absolutely right; if he had known that Danny had loved him then, he never would have left. He would've risked his life to stay with him if he'd believed that Danny loved him. Now, he brought his hand to Danny's neck, his jaw, leaned closer to kiss him again, his body trembling with emotion.
"I love you too Danny," he breathed. "I never stopped."
Danny smiled, his eyes softening, and he nuzzled closer to Martin, murmuring his name as he kissed him again. They stayed that way for a while, bodies pressed together, hands wandering, eyes locked as they traded soft kisses and meaningless whispers.
"You never told me how you found me," Martin said eventually, frowning for a moment as his thoughts shifted directions. "And why didn't you tell me…before I left…that you were planning on finding me again?" he asked, his voice sounding slightly hurt.
Danny looked down for a moment before meeting Martin's eyes again, his own expression serious once more. He put his hand on his cheek, his thumb moving gently over the skin. "I couldn't tell you," he answered softly. "There was a very good chance that I might have never gotten out of Cuba…" he said, trailing off. Martin swallowed hard, his face paling at Danny's words because he knew exactly what he meant, and knew it was true. Danny could've easily been killed in the revolution; he'd thought that very thing not so long ago. "I didn't want you to…wait for me," Danny went on. "I wanted you to be happy, to find someone that…" he trailed off, having difficulty getting the words out.
Martin shook his head, frowning as he grabbed Danny close and kissed him firmly. "There would never be anyone else Danny."
Danny sighed in response and wrapped his arm around Martin's waist, pulling him closer. "Martin, when I was stuck in Havana, searching for a way out of the city and the country, I kept thinking about you. I wanted to stay angry with you for your lies, but I couldn't. Because…well, you were truthful in everything else. Everything that mattered. I realized that later. You lied about who you were and why you were in Havana to begin with, even why we met…but when we were together," he paused to kiss Martin softly. "I know that was the truth."
Martin nodded, tears in his eyes now. "It was…it is," he replied hoarsely. "I love you…and I'm so sorry I hurt you. I hated lying to you, but every time I tried to tell you the truth I'd back out of it because I was so scared of losing you," he explained, hands stroking softly through Danny's hair.
Danny smiled, shaking his head slightly as he leaned in for another kiss, trailing his lips across Martin's jaw and neck, laughing softly when Martin shivered. "Oh, I almost forgot," he said, pulling back, smirking at the small pout on Martin's lips. "How I found you…"
"Did you just come to DC and start looking up…wait, I never told you my real last name," Martin said, voice going from teasing to confused. "So how…"
"I stole your address book," Danny admitted, blushing a little. "The last night we were together…I slipped out of bed while you were still sleeping, and I knew I needed something else besides your first name if I was ever going to find you again. And even then, I knew I was going to search…lies or no lies," he said softly, causing Martin's heart to flutter at his conviction. "I found a small book, filled with names and numbers…although it was all very cryptic, some sort of CIA code I assume," he said, raising an eyebrow when Martin nodded. "It took me a while, but I remembered you talking about your sister, Maggie…and then after deciphering your code – which is ridiculously complex," he said, sounding slightly exasperated.
Martin grinned. "Well it had better be!"
Danny rolled his eyes and continued. "I figured out her last name is Fitzgerald…or was. So of course that was a problem when I came to DC, looking for Margaret Fitzgerald when now her last name is Scott."
"But you found her."
"Yes," he said, nodding, fingers slowly tracing the side of Martin's face. "And I was wary at first because I'd already tried so hard but then I saw her and I knew because…she has the same eyes as you," he murmured. "And I just…I was so relieved querido." His voice had dropped to a whisper and he kissed Martin softly, drawing it out, sighing softly into his mouth. "Because I'd been looking for a while," he added, lips brushing against Martin's. "And I was so tired of failing."
Martin trembled when Danny kissed him again, his heart nearly bursting from happiness. He hugged Danny close, returning his kiss and more, so grateful, so undeniably overjoyed that he had this man, this love, and another chance.
"You know this won't be easy," Danny whispered as their kiss broke, his eyes suddenly serious, concerned. "That it won't be the way it was in Cuba. It'll be hard and people will--"
Martin shook his head, silencing Danny with a kiss. "I know. I know and I don't care," he said firmly, his voice filled with conviction. He'd spent his entire life trying to live up to someone else's expectations, trying to find out who he really was and where he was supposed to be. But now he had everything to look forward to despite the obstacles and hardships they were sure to face. He had his own life to live and someone he loved to share it with.