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Night Terrors

Fandom: The Road to El Dorado
Paring: Tulio/Miguel
Rating: R
Status: new, complete
Archive: Pretty please do!
E-mail address for feedback:
Series/Sequel: Could be considered a prequel to _Snippet #1: Panic_, but you don't have to read that to understand this.
Other websites:
Disclaimers: They belong to TPTB at Dreamworks. My eternal thanks to them for making the most blatantly slashy movie I've seen in a long time :)
Notes: I promised more . . . here it is, in all its un-beta'd glory. Takes place while they're in the brig on Cortez's ship.
Summary: Miguel gets the promised flogging.

For Lib, who said I shouldn't do it; for Kristin, who converted so easily; for Anakin1218, who was here first; for Allaire, who doesn't hate me; for everyone who expressed their enjoyment of the last one, both on and off-list; and for Mr. Boyer, because I love him.

"Tulio?" Miguel sat up, abruptly, his vision fuzzy, still clouded by sleep. He had fallen asleep safe in the arms of his lover, had been lulled into slumber by Tulio's breath on his cheek, fingers in his hair. For all his bravado, Miguel was a clingy creature at heart, the type of child who had slept with a stuffed animal until well into his teens. He was a romantic of the truest sort, the kind that could stare for hours at a sunset, or write beautiful poetry about flowers, or other such nonsense.

"I'm here," murmured Tulio, shifting beside Miguel. He dragged himself upwards, leaned against the hull of the ship. Miguel whimpered at the loss of Tulio's warmth, and wiggled back into his lover's arms. Tulio chuckled, wrapping his arms around Miguel, holding him tightly, rocking a little. "That's better, huh?" Tulio purred, combing his fingers through Miguel's hair. Miguel sighed and snuggled closer, his head pillowed on Tulio's shoulder, his face in the other man's neck. He slipped his arms around Tulio's thin waist, fitting his body against his lover's.

"Love you, Tulio," Miguel yawned.

Tulio dropped a kiss against the top of Miguel's head. "Love you too," he agreed.

Tulio closed his eyes and remembered when he and Miguel had first admitted their love for each other. Miguel had been the first, telling Tulio one night as they left a bar. At first, Tulio couldn't believe it. All his wildest dreams, the ones he didn't dare consider, were coming true, and he couldn't believe it. He had laughed nervously.

But Miguel--blessed Miguel--hadn't given up. He had pressed Tulio up against the wall of a deserted alley and kissed him. Tulio hadn't been able to resist. He lunged for Miguel, right then and there, struggling with the other man's clothing. They had barely made it to Tulio's apartment that night.

Those had been the early days, the good days, the ones to be remembered. They had been young and free, ruling the underbelly of Spain. There wasn't a con who hadn't been beaten by the team of Tulio and Miguel. They were partners in every sense of the word, their days spent making money, their nights, making love.

Miguel was still riding high on that feeling, flying on the sensation of being in love, or at least in lust. Tulio, however, had come down long ago. He was dead sure he was in love with Miguel, but wasn't sure he was willing to take the risks that love entailed. Their relationship--if anyone ever found out about it--would be frowned on, would be destroyed. Tulio wasn't sure he was willing to risk himself--or Miguel.

Miguel snuffled against Tulio, wriggling closer, throwing a leg over his lover's hips, pressing their groins together. Tulio gasped and arched up against Miguel, who raised his head and smiled, big green eyes blinking sleepily.

"Tulio," he purred, arching his back, stretching like a cat along his lover's body. Tulio slipped a hand behind Miguel's head, drew the other man in for a kiss.

Almost immediately, there was an explosive commotion above them and around them, and Tulio and Miguel grabbed each other reflexively. They were wrenched apart by burly Spanish soldiers, men who didn't care if they bumped Tulio's head, ripped Miguel's shoulder open on a protruding nail.

Miguel cried out in pain as blood blossomed from his shoulder, reached reflexively for the cut but was unable to touch it--the soldiers held his wrists, and he twisted in agony, calling out, "Tulio!"

"Miguel, it's all right, just hang on," Tulio called out in Latin--it was a little-known secret that both men spoke the long-dead language. "I love you, Miguel. Hang on, darling." Miguel heard, understood, and smiled his gratitude; Tulio got thumped in the head for his trouble.

They were brought before Cortez, bound together, back to back, ropes at their wrists and ankles. Tulio realized that, with a little twisting, he could wrap his fingers around Miguel's. He held on tight, and heard Miguel whisper "I love you" in Latin before they were knocked to the ground in front of Cortez.

The big man glared at them, his head tilted back a little, making him seem even more imposing than he already was. Tulio's hands were shaking. He could feel the warmth of Miguel's blood seeping onto his shoulder.

"They're getting blood on my deck," Cortez growled finally. "Which one is bleeding?"

One of the guards stepped forward, took a handful of Miguel's hair (Tulio could remember trailing his fingers through the thick golden locks, stroking it gently as he lulled Miguel to sleep) and dragged him upwards. Miguel didn't cry out, but Tulio felt him twitch, and suspected his lover's eyes were squeezed shut against the pain. Tulio was forced to scramble to his knees, trying to avoid hurting Miguel any more. Hang on, love.

"This one, sir," the guard stated, giving Miguel a shake. He did cry out this time, a thin restrained whimper of pain. Tulio closed his eyes, nearly crying for his lover.

Cortez nodded. "I see." He paused, seemed to be considering something. "Mr. Anderson." A gigantic sailor stepped forward. "Take this one out on the deck; he's to get thirty lashes. This one--" gesturing at Tulio "--can watch. Then he can clean his friend's blood off the floor of my cabin."

Cortez smiled. The guard dropped Miguel, who lay motionless on the floor, tears of pain in his eyes. "Tulio . . . " he whispered. "Tulio . . . help me."

There was nothing Tulio could do, save wrap his fingers around Miguel's and hold on for all he was worth.

It took the ship's hands nearly an hour to prepare for the flogging Cortez had ordered. Tulio had been given a bucket of seawater and a rag, and was forced to scrub the floor of Cortez's cabin. He supposed Miguel had been returned to the brig, but couldn't really be sure.

Tulio wondered what was happening to Miguel. If those bastards are hurting him, God help me I'll-

An instant later, the two guards that had been monitoring Tulio grabbed him and dragged him toward the deck. "Time for your friend's little adventure," one laughed in his face. Tulio glared as the guards slammed him up against the railing.

Tulio watched, trembling, as Miguel was brought up from the brig. His lover stood tall, back straight and proud. Miguel's gaze flashed suddenly to one side--Tulio turned, and could see Cortez leaning against the railing.

They untied Miguel momentarily, stripped his brilliant red shirt over his head, and Tulio had to gasp at his lover's beauty. Miguel was like a god, firm, sculpted, beautiful. He stood arrogantly as the sailors looped a rope over one of the crossmasts and strung him up, tightening the ropes until Miguel stood on tiptoes, arms above his head.

Tulio squeezed his eyes closed, reminded himself of the keyring they had hidden beneath a loose board in the brig. Tonight, he thought to himself. Tonight, we escape.

A drumbeat began, somewhere behind Tulio; he wondered faintly where they had gotten a drum. "Sergeant," called Cortez, and a deceptively small man stepped forward. He uncurled a long whip from where it had been wound around his shoulder, and cracked it against the deck a few times, loosening up his arm.

Tulio felt like he was on fire and frozen at the same time. There was a burning need to save Miguel, to wrestle his way free of the soldiers and launch himself at his lover, but he didn't move at all, barely breathing.

The first lash fell against Miguel's back like a thunderbolt; Miguel barely flinched. A long red welt appeared, perfectly placed against his broad shoulders. Tulio felt himself very nearly cry out; it felt as if the whip was cracking against his own back. But Miguel was silent.

Another crack, like the report of a rifle, and a second welt appeared, at right angles to the first. Miguel twitched, a sudden convulsive movement; Tulio could see his shoulders heaving.

Two more strokes, and Tulio realized he was crying, tears rolling silently down his face in sympathy for Miguel's pain. The other man's back was flushed an angry red, the color spreading with every lash. "Put some muscle into it, man!" Cortez cried, and the sergeant went at it with renewed effort.

Seven, eight lashes, and Miguel finally cried out, a strangled yell. Tulio heard Cortez laugh, and began to shake with fury.

Ten bright red welts were placed on Miguel's back. A single spurt of blood appeared, trickling down to the small of his back and pooling there, staining his trousers red when it slipped downwards.

At twelve, Miguel's control slipped, and he cried out with each successive lash. Tulio began to whimper as well, each time the whip touched his lover's abused back. Miguel's entire body tensed, stiffened; he managed to hold himself up for five more strokes before he broke down completely, hanging limply by his arms, begging Tulio to help him.

Tulio heard Miguel moan his name, and couldn't hold back anymore. "Miguel!" he screamed, "Miguel, hold on!"

One of the soldiers cuffed him sharply. "You shut your mouth!"

There was no sound, save for the crack of the whip and Miguel's pathetic cries. Tulio didn't want to watch, but couldn't tear his eyes away. The last ten strokes took an eternity, the sergeant taking pleasure in extending Miguel's pain, and in turn, Tulio's. Finally, finally it was over, Miguel slumping against his bonds, in so much pain he was barely able to cry. The soldiers dragged Tulio away, laughing at his tears.

The first thing Tulio did was check to see the keys were still where he had left them (they were). Then he paced the brig for a long, long time until they brought Miguel's limp form down off the deck. Tulio cradled his semiconscious friend and lover gently, whispering words of comfort, of reassurance, as he bore him to the floor. Miguel moaned thinly as his back touched Tulio's legs, twisting to avoid the contact. Tulio turned him gently, tears gathering again in his eyes, so the other man lay sideways on Tulio's lap, his face pressed against Tulio's stomach. He passed out almost immediately, sinking into a sleep so deep Tulio had to check to make sure he was still breathing.

Tulio stroked Miguel's hair and arms gently, desperate for contact, but not wanting to hurt his lover any more. Miguel's back had been positively ripped open; it was a mass of raw welts, most split open and oozing blood, all a painful, horrible red. Miguel must have been in agonizing pain, yet he slept like a baby in Tulio's arms.

Tulio sighed and let his head drop back against the hull; there was nothing more he could do, save . . . sleep until Miguel woke up. God knew, they would both need the rest for the coming night. . . .

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