Miguel spent the next few days the way he had the last time he'd been in El Dorado. He played sports with the villagers, entertained the children, played instruments and sang and danced. Well, he did this while periodically running to see if Tulio was improving. He couldn't tell how many good moods had been ruined by running to see his friend.
Tulio was improving, against all odds. He didn't wake up, and he was getting thinner, if that were at all possible. But the infections were healing, the skin was stitching itself back together, and the herb mixes spread over the bandages seemed to be helping. Color returned to his shallow cheeks, and he breathed easily all the time now. During the first two days Miguel had been spooked when his friend would suddenly begin gasping for air. It had been six days since they'd first arrived, and by now Miguel was confident that Tulio would fully recover, as was Chief Tanni.
None of this should ruin Miguel's mood. In fact, it should have cheered him. However, the fact that his friend was comatose bothered him. The other thing that bothered him was how he was drawn to the man. He was really upset when a few times, a problem had occurred while seeing Tulio. This problem made itself known by the tightening in Miguel's pants. A few times he'd run up the steps to the gods' chambers and jumped into the cold pool to get rid of the problem.
Sometimes he'd spend a few hours just sitting and talking to Tulio about whatever came to mind. Chief Tanni had warned the villagers that the gods wanted privacy, and when he left Miguel was free to say whatever he wanted without having to worry about being heard. He voiced his worries for the present and the future, for future plans and adventures they might have, and after a while he'd begin to talk about Tulio. How he needed him, how he missed him, how he wanted so badly to kiss him right now. He wondered if Tulio could hear him. He wasn't sure, but regardless he often began babbling, and told himself when this happened that when Tulio awoke, if he asked any questions about what Miguel had said, Miguel would deny having said anything to him. There'd been a few times when he'd inched the chair closer to the bedside so that he could reach out and touch his friend. He'd grab his hand or rub his shoulder gently. During those times, he'd find his eyes straying towards the sheet that covered the brunette's hips and thighs. It was during moments like these where a problem would arise. Literally.
He was in the middle of one of these moments when his friend stirred. His eyelids fluttered open, and he moaned softly, biting his lip. Miguel's eyes widened. That sound that he'd just made... it felt like the ties on his pants would snap. He leaned forward to try and cover that.
"Tulio?" asked Miguel, struggling to cover the huskiness in his voice. "How do you feel?"
"I feel like I'm wearing a helmet and someone is banging on it repeatedly," Tulio replied. He then glanced sharply down and back up, his eyes widening. "And, um..." He trailed off awkwardly.
Miguel couldn't help but look down, and saw what Tulio had been looking at. His pants constricted painfully. "Er," he muttered, and then glanced back upwards. "Morning wood?" he asked with forced lightness. Tulio lifted a hand to his eyes and nodded, grimacing.
"No problem," Miguel said, rising and getting a cloth from a bowl of cold water. He put the cloth around Tulio's neck; the brunette grunted in surprise at the icy feeling, and his problem dissipated.
This left one urgent problem, which was clearly noticeable. Miguel put the cloth around his own neck, but it didn't seem to work. Frowning, he sat on the chair and leaned over, resting his elbows on the table, where Tulio was laying.
"How long have we stayed here, Miguel?" the brunette asked, struggling to sit up. He gasped and started falling backwards. Miguel jumped up and grabbed him, and then slowly lowered him back down.
"Apparently not long enough for you to be walking around," Miguel replied, his tone chastising. Tulio groaned and fisted his hands on the cloth draped over him.
"Damn," he cursed, and he lifted his hands to his head and massaged his temples slowly. He paused, his eyes glittering momentarily, as if one of his plans was forming, but he frowned and continued massaging. "Damn," he repeated, as if that were all he could think of to say.
"It's not that bad here," Miguel told him, smiling hopefully. Now that his friend was awake, he was already jumping to the next dilemma: go back to Spain, explore the new world, or stay here? Although the second option was Miguel's personal favourite, he knew that Tulio would opt for the first, so maybe getting him to compromise and stay here for a few weeks would make it easier to convince him to travel afterwards. "Plus, in Spain, Cortez might be looking for us," he added. This, at least, was totally true.
"There was something I was going to say about that. Cortez, Cortez..." Tulio trailed off, pinching his chin between his thumb and forefinger. His face lit up as it came to him, and then darkened when his brain processed the information. "Cortez will be looking for us," he said, shivering.
Miguel wasn't quite so upset with this. "Why would he look for us? He's probably more interested in getting home," he said, grinning. "Besides, he couldn't follow us here. He doesn't know how to get in." Proud of himself, Miguel grinned.
"I'm sure he'd be able to track us," Tulio told him. He drummed his fingers on his exposed abdomen, which caused Miguel's problem to remind him of its presence with a painful throb. Miguel winced.
Tulio paused and looked over at Miguel. "Is what I'm saying upsetting you?" Tulio asked, flexing the fingers on his stomach. Miguel tore his eyes away from them to look into the brunette's eyes.
"N-no," he replied nervously. Tulio continued to drum his fingers. Miguel reached over and put his hand on top of Tulio's, stilling it. "Sorry, can you stop that? It's just... I don't know quite why it's bothering me, but it's bothering me." Not totally a lie, but he did know why. And if he didn't dunk the why in some cold water soon, he might run into some trouble.
Tulio gave him an irritated look, but when Miguel drew his hand away, he had stopped. Thankful, Miguel smiled.
"As I was saying," Tulio hissed through gritted teeth, which made Miguel feel a little bad for not having better control of himself, "Cortez will probably be trying to find us. As soon as I can stand, we're getting out of here. We can't go back to Spain, at least not yet, because he'll probably look for us there two. We'll have to travel the New World for a while, so that if he does track us here, he won't find us, and he'll make a lot less trouble for the people of El Dorado."
Unable to contain himself, Miguel jumped up and hugged Tulio, lifting him halfway off the table. This was exactly what he'd wanted! "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" he cried, squeezing his friend until he coughed. When he finally processed the sound of a mouth moving helplessly, unable to breathe in air, he dropped Tulio. The brunette hit the table hard and gasped to try and force air back into his winded chest. Unfortunately, Miguel was still riding the high from getting his way, and he kissed Tulio hard on the lips.
The two both realized what was happening at about the same time. Tulio, sucking in air sharply through his nose, shifted a little uncomfortably – he still hadn't caught his breath. Miguel was immediately horrified, and he jumped back suddenly.
"I'm sorry, I just sort of... you know," he explained.
Coughing, Tulio glanced at him. "Why don't you try that when I have air in my lungs?" he suggested, furrowing his brow at Miguel. The blonde frowned and, stepping back to the bedside, asked, "Why? Did you like it?"
Tulio turned bright pink and muttered something about Miguel being too damned excitable for his own good. Before it turned into a full on rant, Miguel kissed him again.
This time, Tulio reacted with shock. He lay still for a moment or two, and then his lips began to move with Miguel's. Miguel grabbed a handful of his hair and wrapped an arm around his slender waist, pulling him upwards. Adjusting his hold, he let Tulio back down, but he hugged him to himself. Tulio opened his mouth slightly and gasped, and Miguel took it as an invitation, sliding his tongue into the other's mouth, exploring it freely. Tulio whimpered in the back of his throat, and Miguel smiled against his lips. The brunette slipped his arms around Miguel's neck, clinging to him desperately. Miguel broke the kiss, but instead of letting go, he placed butterfly-light kisses along the other's jaw line, working his way up to his ear. He nibbled delicately on the earlobe, eliciting a soft moan from his friend. Miguel kissed his way back down, stopping at his collarbone, nipping and sucking at the skin there. Tulio arched upwards to him, sighing with pleasure, tightening his grip on the other's shoulders. Miguel finished with a hard kiss on the lips, before he stood and admired his handiwork.
Tulio's lips were red and swollen, and a line of hickies trailed along his neck and collarbone. His eyes were hooded, and his breath came in pants and gasps, interlaced with the odd quiet moan. Miguel smiled wickedly.
Turning, he took the cloth from the basin of cool water and draped it along Tulio's neck. "Tell Chief Tanni it's mosquito bites," he murmured, and walked away, pausing at the door.
"Good-bye for now, darling," he said over his shoulder. Tulio muttered a small "Later," in return.
Miguel then went to the top of the gods' temple. Needless to say, both men had problems get rid of.