CHAPTER 13. Memory (III)

The hotel's bedroom was exactly like the web's pictures: small, warm and with an amazing view of the majestic NY buildings. The crystal jungle may not be the most romantic environment for most of the people, but Peter knew that there were some of Victor's favourite places.

Taft closed the door sharply; nerves betrayed him. His hands were shaking out of control and his heart raced. They had many things to discuss. Too many. Peter's head was a total mess.

Without even noticing, he slipped his hand in the pocket to check if the ancient family relic was still there. It was a simple white gold ring with no further ornament than its perfectly polished surface's shine.

"Are you ok, Peter?" Victor said, while he sat in the bed.

"No, no… I'm fine" Peter added messing his hair with a shaky hand.

He followed Victor and sat too since his legs could not bear his weight much longer. He had no reason to be nervous. However, he still did not knew if Victor, his Victor, the one that had saved him, would like to share the rest of his live with him.

That was why he had rented a bedroom in Victor's favourite city. After months of reflexion, he was determined to ask Yates to marry him. If he said yes, he would never feel alone again and they would raise a family. If he said no, it would still be ok. Right? RIGHT?

"Peter, is there something you want to talk about? Jesus, you're shaking" Yates said as he put his hand in Taft's shoulder to tranquilize him.

And that was one of the reasons why he could never let him go. Victor was his anchor, the one that made him feel safe and that understood him, but at that moment, in that bedroom lost in the jungle, the words would not come out. Fear occluded Peter's throat and the maximum he was able to do was to babble. Victor laughed. It wasn't one of those warm and silent smiles that Yates used to give him to calm him down. Actually, Victor burst of laughter.

"Wha- What is so fu-?" Victor locked Peter's lips with his own.

The black haired got closer, fusing their personal spaces in an unique halo of magnetism and feelings. The kiss, chaste at the beginning, became a passionate battle where their lips fought fiercely to dominate the others. After a while, almost breathlessly, Victor moved away.

"It's lovely," he said.

"What?" Peter asked, not sure about what they were talking.

"This," Yates answered as he raised the ring that just took away from his beloved's pocket. "That was the first thing that surprised me about you. You feign to be a tough and determined man, but actually, when it's about something you care, you turn out to be a fearful kid."

Silence filled the room. Peter was livid, seeing his perfect plan torn apart by chaos. Victor, amused, enjoyed the last seconds of bewilderment of the one he loved the most.

"The answer is yes, by the way."

Peter smiled and hugged him. He felt embarrassed of having doubts about them and about the one that supported him in his darkest hours. However, now he felt better than ever and a question concerned him. Would Victor accept his true nature? He accepted plenty of his defects so, why wouldn't he accept that one? Peter went a step closer and looked at Victor's eyes, smiling.

"Please, tell me you're not about to black out," Victor said smirking.

"What? Of course not. I wouldn't miss this moment at all," Peter stood, quiet and thoughtful, and decided to make it quick and simple. "Victor, I have something else to confess."

"More?"

Peter startedshackingagain. He knew it was the right thing. If he wanted to start a new life with him, he better had to be completely honest. Nevertheless, his secret gave him the biggest displeasures of his life. A distant family, friends running away, panic and pity looks. He decided not to think about it, it was a now or never situation, and it had to be. Victor did not deserve such a massive lie.

"Victor, I…" Peter gulp. He took a deep breath and kept the air inside until he felt the oppressive nuisance in his chest. "I am a shape-shifter."

The dark skinned observed him with a funny grin. What game was Peter playing? Definitely comics were damaging his partner. Bursting in laughter again, he raised his hand to touch Peter's cheek, but he went one step back. After that, Taft transformed himself in Captain American in front of the incredulous eyes of his loved one.

Peter thought that it would be a good idea using his power to adopt the appearance of his fiancée's childhood hero. However, he didn't see another different thing from the pure horror on Victor's eyes. He was moving away from him bit by bit, trembling.

"Victor, wait, it's me." Taft said, coming back to his original appearance. "Don't leave." He added, trying to reach Victor's hand as he was like he just had seen a ghost. "Please, say something."

"GET… GET AWAY FROM ME." Yates stood up startled, dropping the ring over the bed in which a few moments before they had engaged. "When were you planning to tell me? I don't know who I was dating all this time. You've lied to me and I was so stupid to trust you.

"I WAS AFRAID. I WAS AFRAID, VICTOR. I WAS AFRAID OF THIS." Peter said, crying as he saw that the one he loved the most was moving away from him, not being able to do something about it. "Victor, please, wait. I know I know it's something shocking and that you need time to assume it, but don't look at me like that. Don't go away!"

In spite of his pleas, distance between Yates and Taft was bigger. It was not only physical but emotional. The warmness of the place was fading and the most glacial of the situations was appearing.

"Victor, honey, it's not that bad. This doesn't change anything." But the look that Yates gave to him said otherwise. "Love, this isn't the end. Love? Te-Tell me this isn't the end."

Being apart at the bigger distance that the room allowed them, one in each wall, both of them understood that all had changed. The few looks they exchanged were full of tears, pain and even treason.

"Victor… Victor… Say something."

Peter woke up trembling and sweating. The nightmares were attacking him more often and fiercely as the date was approaching. With slow and hesitant movements, he opened the drawer of the bedside table and shoved the hand blindly because he hadn't to look for it; the drawer was empty, except for a little golden ring. The touch of the cold metal in his hands relaxed him a bit, but the sensations kept pressing his throat and his stomach. He was in a horrible stating, wanting to puke and aching for the loss.

The buzz from the mobile interrupted his nightly mourning. He picked up the call, without checking who was calling him. At those hours, it only could be one person.

"The board is burning up. The pawns are moving like I planned."

"Good for you. Why are you bothering me at this hours of the night?" Peter asked, annoyed.

"It's our turn. We have to move."

"What do you want me to do?" Reluctance in Peter's voice was obvious.

"I need you to transform in Hill again and call Big Guy and the poser."