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A Promise To Protect - 31. Too Much to Lose

The warmth of a body against his, the rise and fall of his head against a chest and the gently stroke of fingertips up his back brings Tyler out of the first peaceful sleep he's had in weeks. He opens his eyes slowly to meet the sweet, fond smile on Zeke's lips.

“Good morning. Zeke says softly.

“Morning.” Tyler mumbles and lies his head back against Zeke’s chest. He wanted to keep resting. He had no idea how long he'd been sleeping for, but he needed more sleep. No more torture, please. Tell me they’ve found Zeke, and I’m free to go now. Tyler thinks to himself, enjoying the feeling of fingers playing with his hair as he relaxes, allowing himself to drift back into his...

Tyler’s eyes open quickly and he looks up at Zeke who smiles at him. “Z!” Tyler gasps, he couldn't quite believe this was real and expected at any moment he'd be torn back to reality.

"Tyler." Zeke smirks.

"Am I awake?" Tyler asks, though he doesn't wait for an answer. By this point he was fairly sure he'd be able to tell the difference between Zeke's lips against his in a dream, and what that felt like in reality so he shifts his body completely on top of Zeke's, crushing their lips together in a needy, desperate kiss. Zeke complies, his hand slipping behind Tyler’s neck and holding him tenderly as he enjoys the taste of Tyler's lips again at last. It was certainly not a dream, dreams didn't kiss back like this. It was hard to tell who was leading, who needed it more and they both allow themselves to get swept up in the kiss. One of Zeke's hands was still caressing Tyler's neck, the other running down his back until he feels a graze mark and breaks the kiss, remembering just how many injuries Tyler was sporting. Ignorant to his own state, Tyler quickly collects his lips again, suffocating Zeke under his passionate kiss. Zeke smiles against his lips but moves his hand from behind Tyler's neck, to his cheek as he breaks the kiss again.

"Ok, ok. I missed you too, but calm down before one of us gets hurt." Zeke laughs as Tyler starts grinding against him. Tyler stops and looks into Zeke's eyes, a thousand questions racing through his mind, as he's suddenly aware of the pain in his body. Tyler reaches behind himself and tries to touch his back, but Zeke grabs his wrist to stop him.

“What happened to you?” Tyler asks and eyes Zeke, only now taking note of just how perfectly fine he was in comparison. He'd expected that Zeke would have been somewhere being tortured, too. He never hoped Zeke was being hurt somewhere, but he did hope he was at least missing for good reason.

"I'm so sorry about what they did to you. I should have known better." Zeke sighs and strokes the confused line on Tyler's brow.

“I’m so glad you’re back. I don’t know how much longer I was going to last up there.” Tears fill Tyler's eyes, thankful and relieved to have the safety of Zeke being home. Though it finally allows him to face the true trauma of what he'd gone through and how afraid he'd been. He didn't have to hold it together or act strong, he got to just lie against Zeke and feel the protection of his body. “How did I even get down here?" Tyler asks, resting his head against Zeke's shoulder again, both of Zeke's arms delicately wrapped around him.

“I found you."

"Oh, no. I can't believe you saw me like that. I would have been a disgusting mess." Tyler states, embarrassed. Zeke lifts Tyler's chin and looks deeply into his eyes.

"It wasn't you I was disgusted with, only seeing what they had done to you." Zeke answers with a gentle smile. "You must be hungry. You haven't eaten in a few days. What can I get you?" Zeke asks.

"Nothing. I'm fine." Tyler moves off Zeke and goes to get up from the bed.

"No, you stay there." Zeke orders. "Let me take care of you today."

"Thank you." Tyler sighs, pulling the blankets up over himself, covering his body as though it would make a difference to what Zeke had already seen of him. Zeke fakes a smile at him, heading into the kitchen to get himself a coffee.

"Are you going to be comfortable with Corey coming and assessing you now that you're awake?" Zeke asks as he returns in the doorway and leans against it with his arms crossed. Tyler hesitates, not sure how to answer, he was not sure he could go from all the horror of the black room, to just relaxing and allowing Corey to go back to being just the doctor. “I’m not going to be mad at you if you say you don’t forgive him. I’m yet to forgive him for what he did to you too, I don’t expect you to.”

"I don't feel like forgiving anyone right now, I don't think I'll forgive G ever."

“Corey tells me you got yourself beaten up because you kept insulting him.” Zeke smiles.

"I meant every word. I don't regret a single thing I said to that asshole. I don't even want see his face ever again."

"But then how will you admire my fist work?" Zeke gives a cheeky smile, pleased with himself.

“You hit him?” Tyler asks, his mood lightening at the thought.

“He did a lot worse to you. All I did to G was give him a blooded nose and make him crawl out of here on his hands and knees. It was more consideration than he deserved but I'm trying not to burn that bridge too early." Zeke sighs.

"Ok, that I would have paid to see." Tyler laughs. Zeke is relieved to see Tyler smiling, though it's short lived. "I don't want to see Corey. Can't you do it? You said you'd take care of me today." Tyler asks with a purposeful pout.

“I don't see why not." Zeke smiles as he walks over to the bed with his fresh cup of coffee. He stares at Tyler like he's trying to memorize every detail of his face, then takes out his pager, sending a message to Corey asking for the supplies he'd need. Tyler's eyes fall on the scar on Zeke's neck and he moves closer, running his finger over the scar.

"What happened to the tracker?" He asks. Zeke sighs and places his hand over Tyler's.

"I got impulsively tired of being tracked and I removed it myself."

"Were you just out there hoping to die? Because removing your tracker would mean that no one here could find you if something bad happened. I thought it was just as much a safety thing as it was a form of communication and..."

"Ownership?" Zeke looks beside himself at Tyler again. "I told you before I left, I am over this whole lifestyle. I wanted to feel freedom and I did, at your detriment." His eyes again watch Tyler with curious sadness.

"It's not your fault that G is too stubborn to listen to logic."

"I left you here. That was my fault. I am so sorry that I was away for so long."

"Are we going to talk about what happened and why you were away for so long?" Tyler asks.

"Do you want to talk about being tortured?" Zeke asks. He and Tyler just look at each other, neither wanting to speak at all, such was the constant issue between them.

"Not exactly. Although, I did have a dream that we were hooking up in a hotel room. We can talk about that." Tyler suggests, wanting to focus on something positive.

"Chained up and tortured and you're dreaming about us making out?" Zeke laughs at the thought.

"I didn't say 'making out' I said 'hooking up' there's a difference." Tyler corrects him with a wink. Zeke opens his mouth, about to reply, though he's not sure what he is going to say, when there's a knock at the door.

"That will be Corey. I'll be right back." Zeke gets up from the bed and goes to the door.

There's a brief conversation before Zeke returns with the medical trolley. A folder on the side of the trolley has Tyler's name on it along with a list of questions that Zeke quickly gets into. The questions start with the expected questions about Tyler's physical health, pain and symptoms he might be experiencing. Then the questions get darker, moving into his mental and emotional health after the trauma of the last few weeks. Though Tyler's answers for the most part came across as though he was unphased about the whole ordeal, putting it behind him and focusing on the relief of Zeke's safety, Zeke didn't truly believe Tyler could just switch off like that. Still, he doesn't press the questions further, not wanting to cause more stress and pain considering if anything, these questions only served as an insight into how he managed trauma. No one could believably go from begging for death to completely fine, but all too soon it wouldn't really matter.

Finally, Zeke puts the folder down and starts setting up a dressing pack, following a step by step instruction list Corey had also given him while Tyler watches him. Tending to Tyler's wounds, was therapeutic for Zeke, who got to feel like he was righting a wrong. It was his fault that this had been done to Tyler, so he was glad to be part of the healing process. He could hate himself for each bruise, each needle mark and each scar, while affectionately cleansing each one.

"So, other than the dreams about us hooking up, have you still been having nightmares?" Zeke asks as he ever so delicately applies antiseptic to the lacerations on Tyler's upper arms. Tyler frowns as he tries to remember, a rush of anxiety hitting him as he thinks about it. He'd felt so strongly, like he had to tell Zeke about something but upon waking up, he had no recollection of what he'd been dreaming about that frightened him so much. He knew he was scared, he knew something was wrong, but he had no idea what it was.

"I don't know. I did still have some nightmares but you know what dreams are like." Tyler shrugs it off.

"Yet, you remember the hotel one?" Zeke smirks.

"Mm, because that was a good dream. My head's been a mess lately, I don't know what is going on. I also had some weird dream about a coffee shop? I don't know, I've given up trying to understand my thoughts."

"Thanks for reminding me I had coffee." Zeke moves around the bed to get his drink while Tyler watches him with a smile. He puts his drink down and returns to the trolley, packing it all up and wheeling it back to the door, where again there is a conversation. Tyler's heart sinks as he waits for Zeke to get back, he couldn't put his finger on what it was, but he could tell there was something Zeke wasn't telling him. As much as he could tell Zeke was caring about him, he also felt reluctance and it sucked. It sucked so much because they had finally gotten past this stage with each other so to be back to shallow communication and avoiding important conversations was such a devastating step back and he didn't want to waste any time in this stage if they could avoid it.

"Something seems wrong." He states as soon as Zeke returns to him. He expected Zeke would deflect, give him some bullshit answer about not being able to tell him and that would be the end of the conversation.

"You aren't staying here anymore. The situation changed and after what happened, I can't risk anything else being done to you." Zeke admits to Tyler's surprise. Not sure if he's more shocked that Zeke for once just gave him an honest answer right away, or at what that answer was.

"Guessing I don't get a choice." Tyler chews his lip and looks up at the ceiling for a few long moments, then closes his eyes and sighs, the gravity of the information crushing him. "When?" He asks, defeated.

"Well, your wounds need to be checked out and given the all clear from Corey first..."

"I don't suppose I'll be granted the trust to leave with my memory." Tyler turns and looks pleadingly into Zeke's eyes, leaving Zeke to be the one forced to look away this time. "Great. Should have stayed away a little longer and just let G kill me then." He scoffs.

"Tyler, if there was another way I could be sure..."

"Don't bother. It doesn't matter. Get it over with, if you have to wipe my memory then hurry up and do it. I don't want to waste any time making memories I won't keep, anyway." Tyler states as he gets up from the bed, almost falling immediately as his weak legs can't support his weight after weeks of not having to.

"Please don't be like this. We knew from the start that it would end like this."

"Did we?" Tyler turns on him with frustration and sadness in his eyes. "I have had no choice in any part of any of this whole ordeal. All of this has been your choice and your plans, and I've just had to go with it. Screw the dreams I've been having, this is the real fucking nightmare and I cannot wait to forget it and you, so go and get Corey." Tyler shouts, understandably shattered by the news. He wanted to be angry but his tears betray him and show the pain he's truly feeling at the thought. Zeke walks over to him, wrapping his arms around Tyler and hugging him tight, ignoring Tyler's hopeless attempt to shrug him off before he gives in and clenches a fistful of Zeke's shirt. He'd just gotten him back, and now he'd have to forget Zeke even existed.

"I am so sorry. I really am. This is not what I had hoped for but it's not safe for you here."

"You said it wasn't safe for me out there either! That's why I'm here in the first place." Tyler argues.

"I know. But then I left you here and you got hurt..."

"Hurt, yeah, but not dead. Out there the threat was death." Tyler looks into Zeke's eyes, trying to understand what had happened to change so much, then a horrible feeling sets in. The silence, the way Zeke looks back at him like he doesn't need to give him an answer. "Ok you're scaring me. Is the threat not out there?"

"I don't want to say too much and risk being right. But there's just too much that doesn't add up, and everything does lead me right back here. I just have to play my cards right to find out the truth without anyone here finding out I'm looking into them. I don't know how long it will take me and I'm not going to be able to focus, if you're here because the last thing I want is for me to slip up and for you to suffer because of it. I need to know that if something goes wrong and I'm not able to protect you, you're not going to be the victim of more of this suspicion and questioning." Zeke explains. Tyler stares at him absolutely stunned over what he was hearing.

"Zeke, if you're going to wipe my memory, then you might as well tell me what you know." Tyler suggests, lowering his voice as though he thinks someone could be listening in.

"They tortured you when it was clear you knew nothing. If they had even the slightest reason to doubt, I don't want to even think about what might happen to you. Please, I know I've said this a thousand times, but, trust me. This is for your own good." Zeke expected an argument or some kind of push back, but instead Tyler just sighs and leans into Zeke again, resting his head on Zeke's shoulder and cherishing the feeling of Zeke's strong arms around him.

"I realize it doesn't change the outcome, but do you really wish there was another way?" Tyler asks after a long silence.

"I really don't want to say goodbye to you, but I can live with it, more than I could live with you dying."

"Why?" Tyler stares into Zeke's eyes, seeing the hesitation in them. "Come on, this it your one chance to say it." Tyler shrugs and waits but still, Zeke doesn't speak. Tyler sighs and steps back out of Zeke's arms. "For what it's worth, I don't want you to do it because before you disappeared, I felt like we finally got somewhere. You stopped being afraid of feeling something for someone, and I feel like I only got to see that side of you for such a short amount of time. You had the sexy, mysterious thing going for you and that was all well and good, but when you kissed me and didn't care, that was the guy I've been dreaming about. I wanted to spend more time actually knowing you as a person, not just this emotionless machine on an endless mission to prove himself to someone. That's why I don't want to say goodbye, that's my excuse." Tyler tells him bluntly, wishing he could inspire Zeke to just tell him how he really felt. Zeke was struggling to look at him now, Tyler shakes his head, disappointed by the lack of response. It really felt like they were back to where they started, with Zeke keeping him at distance. "Can we spend more time together? Or does this have to happen right away?" Tyler asks.

"Like I said, Corey has to give the all clear on the wounds." Zeke turns away from Tyler.

"Well, he's not going to clear this one." Tyler states and Zeke turns back to find Tyler starting to rip the scab off one of the scars on his arm. Tyler's turn to be back to his old bad habits.

"Don't do that, you psycho!" Zeke rushes to grab his wrist and pull his hand away before he can re-open the healing wound.

"I don't want to go!" Tyler snaps.

"Fuck, you take things to the extreme. Has anyone ever told you that? It's not like this is the end of you, you're getting a refresh. Start all over again. You know how many people dream of that? To just take away all the worst parts of their life and start over? You get that, and you get to do that right at the start of the best years of your life. You can go to college, you could get a career, you can hook-up with people in hotel rooms instead of just dreaming about it while you're stuck here. You get to start all over again and do whatever you want with your life. Why would you want to stay here a minute longer than you need to? I sure as hell wouldn't."

"Weren't you listening, what I want is you. I may be able to accept that I can't have this forever, but to forget completely? That's so unfair!"

"We were never a thing and you shouldn't have gotten attached to me."

"You know I see right through your jerky comments, right? You've tried that on me before, try to make me choose the option you think is better for me, by making yourself seem like the wrong choice. I know you're the wrong fucking choice. You don't have to convince me. But to say we were never a thing? Sorry, who are you trying to convince? We might not have ever put a label on it, but I literally woke up with you in my bed caressing me, that's not not a thing. That's very much a thing." Tyler argues, not about to take this lightly. He'd go down kicking and screaming. He'd suffered a lot, yes. But he'd grown, he'd found strength in himself he didn't know he was capable of, and he'd not intended on complicating any of this with feelings but he couldn't deny what had been building between them.

"Me! That's who I am trying to convince! Ok? I shouldn't have gotten attached. I shouldn't have let this happen. It's like you said, I stopped being afraid of feeling something for someone and look what it got me." Zeke gestures at Tyler. "You're the lucky one, you get to be the one that forgets!" He snaps, and Tyler softens his own mood straight away. Feeling pity, he places a hand on Zeke's cheek and gazes into his lonely eyes, feeling awful as it occurs to him how much this would hurt Zeke too, and that Zeke had lost more than a few people he'd cared about in his life. Without another word from either of them, Tyler presses his lips gently to Zeke's. Part of him expected Zeke would break it, part of him expected he would be the one to pull back. But with all that they were about to lose, neither of them wanted to let this moment end. Zeke's arms circle around Tyler, holding him protectively close. His tongue sweeps Tyler's lips and Tyler lets him deepen the kiss, getting lost in the feeling while he could. The desperation flowing between them as they wished for more time, painfully aware that each second was fading before them. When their lips finally part, they don't move, just lean into each other's embrace, wanting to cherish that they at least had this, even if Tyler would soon be forced to forget and Zeke would have to spend the rest of his life aching at the thought of all Tyler went through because of him, and how even the good times between them were tainted with heartache and devastation.

Copyright © 2020 Littlelovestories; All Rights Reserved.
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Things have definitely changed, but Zeke is not looking at one option:  he, too, could have his memory wiped and then he and Tyler could start out together from ground zero.  Of course, this still does not answer the question as to the nature of this organization, what is going on in the world out there, etc. 

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The perspective had changed. Zeke has told Tyler he needs to wipe his memory, but Zeke has realised he's got true feelings for Tyler and is finding it difficult to go through with doing it.

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I'm speaking as someone who don't know about these things so I might be suggesting the worst possible thing.But how about hypnosis?You can have Tyler forget about what happened at that place but not his feelings for Zeke.

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2 hours ago, Onim said:

Just another little 'suppose'...suppose we slice G up, as he did Ty, wipe his memory, and take him outside to a 'not' so safe house! Just a pleasant supposition 0:)

Dang... we get dark when someone messes with our favourite characters 😶Reaction GIF

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1 hour ago, Shaggy_93 said:

Dang... we get dark when someone messes with our favourite characters 😶Reaction GIF

Oh darn...I only suggested we take him outside...for some much needed sun and fun...for his 'health', you know! Afterall, when does he get outside??Summer Sonne GIF by unlimited.reisen

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As we’ve all noted it does make sense given all that’s going on that Zeke is suspicious about his own organization, but wiping Tyler’s memories along with kicking him out seems beyond extreme. I don’t blame Tyler for being angry as he is seeming the constant victim in all this and he should at least get the chance to deck G & Corey before getting tossed away.

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I hope that Zeke also has the truth wiped , so they start on an even foot , however I don't  think it is to be like that

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This is one giant 'Cluster F**k' that is 'FUBAR'. 

It's great Zeke finally recognizes. what he truly feels for Tyler, and his own real identity (that he's gay or bi?), but how many times has his memory been wiped?  And done so by 'G' who Zeke hired when he inherited the 'Company' as a teen and needed someone he thought he could trust to run it.

Time to 'deal' with 'G' but not until his mind and memories are completely and permanently wiped with Zeke present.

So before Tyler is supposed to get his memory 'wiped',  Zeke leaves Tyler alone in the apartment (in the building) to recovery some more while he goes to purge 'G' and get rid of him.

As Zeke leaves, his mind still a little confused over his kisses :kiss: with Tyler, he 'forgets' his ID / building access card on the counter. After getting washed and dressed, Tyler sees the card and safely makes his escape? 🚪

Hmmm

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