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Only Tonight

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My head is stuck in the clouds
He begs me to come down
Says "Boy, quit foolin' around."
I told him: "I love the view from up here,
Warm sun and wind in my ear.
We'll watch the world from above
As it turns to the rhythm of love"

The knock on the door splits the quiet night in half and somehow Russell knows it's him.

Ed doesn't have to say anything as Russell holds the door open. They both know why he's here and yet, Ed stands still for just a moment staring up at Russell, studying him closely, carefully before resting his hand lightly on Russell's arm. At the contact, something snaps inside Ed and Russell can plainly see the pained look on his face, the skin around his eyes scrunched up slightly, jaw clenched in determination.

They don't speak as Ed leans into him, head tilting upward as Russell's lips drop down. They're soft, just like Ed remembers and he surges upward with a loud intake of breath, hands slowly sliding up arms, across shoulders, fingers caressing, twirling over the sensitive spots.

They kiss like lovers separated, familiar and new all at once, the time spent apart only making them feel more keenly what they missed, and Ed forgets for a while what he has to do and Russell doesn't worry for a while about what Ed's presence means.

We may only have tonight
But till the morning sun you're mine, all mine
Play the music low and sway to the rhythm of love

Clothing is carelessly dropped to the floor as they stumble to the bedroom, never breaking contact. Skin to skin they move, the noises they make are desperate as though they know they'll be the last. Fingers dance over each other, instinctively remembering all the places to go, the places that can create a throaty moan, an intake of breath, a low shout before they all crescendo into one wave rolling through the night that they can ride into morning.

My heart beats like a drum
A guitar string to the strum
A beautiful song to be sung.

They stretch out, after, Ed resting his head on Russell's chest, the thump-thump of life beating a pattern between them and Ed's thoughts manage to drift away from pleasant things.

"Will you meet me?" Ed asks, finger tracing an invisible line across Russell's chest, a path once made never forgotten.

"Where?"

"The old cathedral."

Russell nods, eyes wide and both of them know that Russell would follow him anywhere. Ed can't let that happen; Russell has a life here, one that doesn't involve Ed. That's the way it has to be.

And somehow Russell knows that, too.

He's got blue eyes
deep like the sea
That roll back when he's laughing at me
He rises up like the tide
The moment his lips meet mine

They don't talk about it anymore that night even though their conversation continues on in pitched tones, low rumbles, and euphoric shouts, the silence around them barely getting a chance to be.

They remember the first night they spent together, their relationship still fragile. They remember the first touch of lips, hesitant, soft, the space between them growing smaller as it is filled with nervous laughter and warm breath. The first touches, careful and reverent, growing bolder as they begin exploring. The familiar banter still present, something that would never change even when everything else between them did.

They remember all these things, recreating them, adding to them until they tire, falling back against each other, peaceful, content.

When the moon is low
We can dance in slow motion.
And all your tears will subside
All your tears will dry.

Ed knows he must leave as soon as the sun rises, but he takes his time because some things can wait and he doesn't want to rush one of the best things that has ever happened to him.

Russell's eyes blink open to find Ed watching him as he almost fondly brushes aside his sleep tousled hair, and Russell thinks that he wasted their precious time by sleeping only to realize a moment later that sleeping next to Ed isn't a waste of anything at all.

Russell reaches up and runs his fingers through the waves of Ed's hair, taken down from its braid the night before, making certain to remember the soft, silky texture.

The content expression on Russell's face makes Ed's heart clench and he speaks before he can stop himself.

"Never forget that I-" Ed chokes on the words a little and hides his face, as though he's about to cry, but when he looks up, his eyes are dry and he is unable to finish what he was about to say.

He doesn't need to.

"I know," Russell replies, "it's the same for me," he adds with a heartwrenching smile before pulling Ed down for a kiss.

They forget the world. It can wait a little bit longer.

We may only have tonight
But 'til the morning sun you're mine, all mine
Play the music low
and sway to the rhythm of love.

The Cathedral is unnaturally bright to Ed's eyes as he arrives and it illuminates Russell, highlighting one of many things he's giving up.

He wants to reach out to him, to hold him one last time, but he knows if he does that, everything would be lost, that he'd never want to leave the circle of Russell's arms ever again.

Russell turns to him then, alerted by footsteps.

As much as his heart screams, underneath the protests Russell knows, he understandswhat it's like to be an older brother. He would do the same in an instant and that's why he doesn't beg, doesn't ask Ed to stay.

But there's still a part of him in his mind, the selfish part that bangs his fists and yells for Ed to stop, to come back to him, that there must be another way.

At the last, Russell runs forward unable to stop himself and Ed looks around.

"Come back," he says, his voice breaking, choking on the space between them, "come back alive!"

And Ed looks at him with that small smile and Russell knows that it's the last time he'll see it, even as he continues to hope that Ed will somehow make it back to him.

Russell stands tall, brave as Ed turns and walks out of his life forever. He won't break, no matter how empty he feels.

And they both know they'll remember that night, the shortest one they ever shared, and the last.


And long after I've gone
You'll still be humming along
And I will keep you in my mind
The way you make love so fine
We may only have tonight
But till the morning sun you're mine, all mine
Play the music low and sway to the rhythm of love