When you see him, it's as if there is a lull in time. The music is pumping so loudly that it's barely music anymore, fast approaching noise; its vibrations stroke your skin like a lover. There is a ripple in the crowd and it parts like the sea, the corridor of panting, sweaty bodies framing him like the pictures that he paints. He's so goddamn beautiful and you have to have him; the way he writhes to the beat makes you just as hard as it did the first night you saw him. You toss back what is left of your drink—the alcohol goes down smoothly, without fuss or complaint—and leave your empty glass, abandon your place at the bar.
It's not the first time that you've seen him when he isn't there, so when he is there and he is real, you're slightly stunned because you have spent the last five years doing just this, chasing the ghost of something that you thought had long since left you. When you claim him, somewhat incredulously, from the admirers who are holding court around him, the wrap of your fingers around his wrist is somewhat gratuitous, you suppose, because every one of them knows that he belongs to you and you alone.
He doesn't see your approach but when his bright eyes open, clear, upon contact he doesn't exactly look surprised. Someone moves—maybe it's you, maybe it's him—and your arms come up around him because he is where he is supposed to be at last. He's been waiting for you, he tells you, and follows behind as he allows you to lead him through the crush.
The departure is so much more claustrophobic than the arrival ever was and your lungs are screaming in relief when he takes you by the hand out into the cool night air. His toned body at your front and the brick wall at your back lend a new meaning to the expression "between a rock and a hard place," but his hands are soft and his mouth is surprisingly gentle upon yours as he presses into you.
His hands are in your hair when the sky opens up and within a minute or two he looks exactly the way that he did that very first night, hair plastered to his forehead, water shaping his eyelashes—spiky, dark—dripping off his chin.
And it doesn't matter that it's been half a decade since you left him the last time—for your dreams, your art, and New York—because you're you and he's him and if either one of you had ever been really honest with yourself, you'd have known then as you do now that you'd have found your way back to each other in time.
You always have.
You tell him that it's time for him to take you home.
When you take him away from your club, your loft isn't the home that you go to. It's still there, of course, but only for the nights that you're too tired or too drunk to drive yourself over state lines, into West Virginia, to your real home
The house that your love built, or rather bought.
His eyes are on you when you leave the city and it's okay because he is here and has come back to you. There were times when you'd have only expected the worst, but those days have long since eclipsed, gone quietly into the night. He isn't going anywhere. You should have had more faith in him, in the two of you, in yourself. You're not going to fuck this up.
But he is shivering from the cold and the wet—he doesn't have a leather jacket like you do, he's soaked to the bone—and so you crank the heat up to high even though you're almost home.
The lights are off when you pull into the driveway and you wish that you'd forgotten, just this one time, because you want him to see it. The place where you've lain in waiting for him, the place that is his, the place that is him.
He meets you at the front of your car.
There is a rush of warmth from the inside when you open the front door.
The house itself looks just as it did prior to your absence. The structure is the same and you don't know what you expected or why you're a little bit relieved to see that he took care of it—and himself—while you were gone
His eyes had been guarded, his posture tense, when he'd driven far away from the loft, the rolling countryside blurring by outside your window. You, on the other hand, had been perfectly relaxed.
You'd known exactly where he was taking you.
As if he'd have ever taken you anywhere else.
The house is perfect. You're a little bit awe-struck as you look around. It's a lot less like the loft than you thought it'd be, considering that he's spent the last four years here alone, but there isn't a single piece that you can see that isn't something that you wouldn't have bought yourself.
You flit from room to room, curious as to what exactly he's been getting up to without you. By the time you find his office, you're just about to remark on the lack of photographs adorning his walls. There are several of your paintings—some that you'd known he'd bought and some you hadn't—but nothing to suggest that a life has ever been lived beneath this roof.
He's leaning into the door frame watching you drop into the plush leather chair behind his desk and has a perfect view of your face when you see it.
It'd been taken shortly after the happiest day of your life, when he'd first brought you to this place and you'd told him that you'd marry him. He wasn't present in the photograph, but had taken it, and you could remember the rare unguarded tenderness you'd seen in his eyes when he'd found you sprawled on the floor, colouring with his son who had looked up at you inquiringly—your nose is slightly wrinkled because your head is tossed back in laughter—because he'd wanted to know, in complete and utter seriousness, if you were going to be marrying his daddy, who was going to be wearing the dress.
It's not a formal photo—you're not even staring at the camera—but it is a snapshot, a still, of only one of the many not-so-quiet moments upon which you'd built your life together. The fact that it is here, that it is the only one, makes your throat tighten uncomfortably.
His face had grown serious when he'd seen the picture on your desk and picked it up, held it carefully in his soft, pale hands, and now he is regarding you with a most serious expression. There is probably nothing more, you think to yourself, that he would like at this moment than to have a serious discussion about what this means, your bringing him here.
But it's not one that you particularly want to have, and so you go to him, you take the incriminating photo from his hands, and you take him upstairs to your bedroom of dark blue and grey, colours that you chose specifically because of the way you knew his hair and his skin would look against them.
You've always known, if you were ever truly honest with yourself, that he would come back to you in time.
But you'll never tell him, he doesn't need to know, as unimportant and none-of-his-business as the fact that he'll be the first person other than your son to sleep with you in this bed.
He looks just as beautiful, you think to yourself after stripping all of his clothes off and lowering him onto your sheets, as you have been dreaming he would for the last four years.
And when you aren't able to hold off any longer and are shooting into the space between you, you tell him what you have been wanting to tell him since the moment you left—I still love you, I'll always love you—but were to proud to admit.
The noise he makes in your ear when you say it is unlike any that you have ever heard and within seconds you can feel him go rigid inside you, squeeze your thighs in his hands and fall forward onto your chest, your legs dropping off his shoulders and flopping to the side.
Your hands are in his hair this time when you finally tell him that this time you have come to stay.
His body goes rigid on the bed next to you and he gives himself a moment before he sets meets your eyes and stares at you in complete disbelief.
You say it again and you tell him about your shows and your success, your fame and your reviews and your following, about all of the things that he has always wanted you to have. Now that you have them, you explain patiently, there isn't really any reason for you to stay. New York is only a flight away and your agent sees nothing wrong with you returning home, on the sole condition that you maintain a presence in Manhattan.
He watches you intensely the whole while that you speak and when you finish he leans into you and presses his lips to your jaw:
A/N: 513 still breaks my heart.