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If You Knew What I Knew

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It's 7am, thinking about you Wondering if the thoughts I'm feeling, you're feeling too Like a new born child, soft to the touch Baby is it possible to love someone so much

AJ lay in his bed, watching the numbers change on his alarm clock. He had been doing this for what seemed like forever, not having been able to close his eyes and sleep because of the nightmares that plagued him- memories of a time he had been happy, now tainted by the pain of knowing that those memories would be all he would ever have.

He didn't know how things had ever gotten so bad. He had been happy; they had been happy together, basking in their love. As the sun came up over the horizon it increased the light in his room and his eyes fell on the picture frame on the bedside table. It was the two of them in happier times. The way Nick used to look at him then made him feel like he was the luckiest man alive, and he had never been able to understand why someone as amazing as Nick would want anyone like him. Nick was Nick, and he was.... nothing.

Especially now.

He was alone. Completely and utterly alone. And the pain this knowledge brought to him was more than he could bear. He had lived with it for so long now, and he was collapsing under the strain, unable to breathe.

 

I wish I may, I wish I might Be that certain someone you wish for every night

 

He missed Nick. Missed just curling up with him on the sofa, allowing Nick's larger frame to surround him, making him feel safe and warm. He missed just talking to him to hear his voice. He had lost count of the number of times that he had picked up the phone to call him, dialing all but the last digit before hanging up. Or the number of times he had played Nick's solo CD, or even their old CD's, just to hear Nick's voice. And his time was planned around Nick's TV appearances, every single one watched and taped, an ever growing pile of tapes stacked neatly at the side of his massive TV, there to be watched over and over.

He knew it wasn't good for him. That he should try and move on, find somebody else to love, who would love him in return. But that was impossible when his heart still belonged to Nick; when no other would or could ever make him feel like he did.

Eventually, his mind would turn to them making love. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, but always passionate and powerful, their love was everything. AJ rolled over and ran his hand over the pillow beside him; Nick's pillow. Finally the memories drove him from the bed in the vain hope that he could escape them. But AJ knew now that this was futile, and that he would never escape.

Mindlessly he pulled some clothes on, and went downstairs. Grabbing his car keys he left the cold empty house, intent on finding some way to get some peace.

 

If you knew what I knew, you wouldn't say what you said If you knew what I knew, we'd be together instead Of you breaking my heart, over things that aren't true My baby yes, if you knew what I knew

 

Nick sat on his patio watching the sun come up. He had loved doing this with AJ; the two of them curled around each other on a chair, wrapped in blankets as they watched the new day dawning. He had thought that they were forever; that they would always be together just as the sun would always rise. But he had been wrong.

AJ had told him he loved him and he had believed it. But somewhere along the way Nick had begun to doubt their love. When they were together everything had been perfect, but when they were apart things felt wrong, like a barrier had risen between them. When he'd come back from his tour, AJ had been there waiting for him, but things had changed; Nick had changed. He had no longer known what he wanted. The promises AJ had made no longer seemed enough for him. He wanted more, but no matter what AJ gave him, it never seemed like enough. Confused and unsure, Nick had pushed AJ away, accusing him of things that deep down he knew weren't true and in the process knowingly hurting him more than anyone else ever could.

But now, in the cold light day, Nick could admit to himself just how much he needed AJ. How much he loved him. But it was too late. Too much time had passed; too many harsh words had been spoken for Nick to ever have a chance of getting him back. But still he just didn't want to let go.

Shivering lightly, Nick stood up and made his way back into the house. He couldn't go to AJ, but there was one place he could go that would make him feel close to him.

Grabbing his keys Nick left the house, heading for the one place he felt he would find solace.

 

Time passes by, the only tears I cry Are filled with disillusion and fears I have inside Like a lost soul, I feel like I'm all alone If only I could feel your pain, within your heart of stone

 

AJ sat on the hood of his car, staring out at the vast ocean in front of him. He and Nick used to come here together. Sometimes they would climb down the steep path to the sandy beach below sitting and talking, or making love surrounded by nothing but the cliffs and the ocean.

Other times, when the tide was in, or the sea was too rough; they would sit on top of the cliff and just watch the horizon. Watching the rise and fall of the sun as they talked about their hopes and dreams for their future. The future that would now never be. AJ shivered as a cold gust of wind blew over him and he wrapped his arms around himself.

He felt so empty. It was as if Nick had taken everything from him when he had left, and the last few months felt like years; as if he was moving in slow motion whilst the world sped by around him. But now it had all become too much. He was nothing more than a shell of a person, who had nothing left except memories, and those hurt too much. There was only one thing that could save him, one person who could bring him back from the edge; but that was the one thing that he would never have. Almost in a daze, AJ pushed away from the car and walked towards the edge; staring down at the rough sea below him as it pounded on the rocks.

AJ took a deep breath. He was nothing without Nick. Nick gave him reason to live. But he was gone. So what was the point in going on?

 

I wish I may, I wish I might Be that certain someone you wish for every night

 

Nick pulled his car to a stop, his heart in his throat. AJ's car was visible a few hundred yards further up the track. Nick could barely make out AJ leaning against it. His first thought was to leave now, before AJ saw him. He hadn't seen the older man since he had left AJ's house that fateful day. But something made him stay; something told him that now was the time to finally face up to his mistakes. So instead he moved his car forward, at once hoping and dreading the moment when AJ would see him.

As he pulled up near AJ's car Nick found himself almost disappointed that AJ seemingly hadn't heard him. Nick never took his eyes from AJ as he opened his door and stepped out. He shut the door quietly, and watched as AJ pushed away from the hood of his car and moved closer to the edge.

AJ was drawn by the sound of the crashing waves below. He never took his eyes away from the horizon, neither noticing nor caring just how close he was getting.

Off to the side, Nick watched AJ, waiting for him to stop. When it became evident that he wasn't going to, Nick began running, watching in horror as AJ came within inches of the crumbling cliff edge.

AJ was not aware of anything beyond the pain that had finally consumed him totally. On some level he was aware of what he was doing, but a bigger part of him no longer cared. He had lost his love; his sanity was barely hanging on by a thread, so why should something as trivial as his life matter?

Another step and he wouldn't have to care about anything anymore.

Nick was still several feet from AJ when he reached the edge, and he was horrified that he wasn't going to reach AJ in time. He summoned up the last of his energy into a final burst as he launched himself at AJ, petrified that it still wasn't going to be enough.

AJ closed his eyes as he took his last step into the oblivion, giving in to the pain that had been tormenting him for so long. He expected to feel the air around him as he fell to the rocks below, but instead he felt a heavy impact on his side, before falling sideways and hitting the hard cliff edge.

Nick heard AJ grunt in pain as he landed on top of them, but he didn't stop until he had rolled them both away from the cliff edge to safety. They came to a rest a few feet from the edge, Nick lying on top of AJ, staring down at him with wide, frightened eyes. AJ stared back, unsure of what had just happened. He should be dead right now. He should have been lying broken at the bottom of the cliffs, his body being thrown about by the ocean. He shouldn't be able to feel pain any more.

But he could. He felt a sharp pain in his side from the impact with the ground, and he could feel a heavy weight pushing his back into the hard, unforgiving rock beneath him. The person holding him down was partly obscured, the sun behind his head throwing his face into shadow, lighting him up from behind like a halo on an angel. For a fleeting moment AJ wondered if it was indeed an angel, sent to save him from his torment.

And then the angel spoke.

"Alex?"

AJ blinked. The angel sounded a lot like his angel. His Nick.

The figure above him rose slightly, moving so they were face to face. At this angle his head blocked the sun, and AJ finally got a look at his savior. He took a deep breath as his face came into focus; not believing his own eyes. Reaching up a shaking hand; AJ hesitantly moved to touch Nick's cheek.

As his fingers made contact with the baby-soft flesh he felt all the air rush from his lungs and watched as a tear fell from Nick's eye and roll down his cheek until it caught on his fingers.

But he still didn't trust his eyes, nor did he trust his touch, not until Nick turned his face slightly and kissed his palm. If there was one feeling that he would never forget, it was the feeling of Nick's petal-soft lips against his skin.

 

Then you wouldn't have to go away If you knew what I knew Then you would be here to stay right by my side always

 

Nick watched as AJ slowly came to the realization that he was there; staying perfectly still as AJ touched his face. He was choked up with emotion, and he didn't think he could speak if he tried. He had come so close to losing him, and the very thought of it petrified him. He wasn't able to stop the tear that fell, and he watched as AJ's eyes followed its path down his cheek. He couldn't help but turn and press a kiss to his palm, needing the contact more than anything.

"Nicky?" AJ breathed his name, almost as if he were afraid to get an answer, as if he thought Nick was going to disappear.

Nick lifted one of his own hands from the ground and touched AJ's cheek, which was wet with AJ's own tears.

"Alex." Nick whispered back just as softly.

"How?" AJ asked, confused. His mind was still trying to catch up with everything that had happened in the past few minutes. He had resolved himself to never seeing Nick again, to ending his pain; his life. But now, Nick was here with him, and it was taking his mind time to make the switch.

"I don't know baby. I don't know why I came here, or why I didn't leave when I saw you were already here. Something just made me stay. I needed to stop avoiding things."

"Things?" AJ asked, still unable to get out more than one word at a time.

"Avoiding you." Nick amended. "There were things that I needed to say to you. That needed explaining, but I didn't know how or where to start. I didn't think that you would even want to see me again, and I didn't think I could take that kind of rejection, especially from you."

"But you left me." AJ stated flatly, finally managing a whole sentence. He was drained, and now this new twist in events was confusing him further. Why did Nick care if he wanted to see him again. Nick had already rejected him, told him in no uncertain terms that he never wanted to see him again. So what had changed?

Nick looked away at the horizon for a moment. "I know."

When he looked back down at AJ he found himself caught in AJ's gaze, staring into the deep brown eyes that he loved so much. But they were different. Now they were clouded with anguish, betraying the torment he had been in ever since Nick had walked out on him; and for the first time Nick could appreciate just how much pain he had caused. In a sudden moment of clarity he realised why AJ had been about to do what he had.

"It's because of me isn't it?"

AJ looked at him blankly.

"It's because of me. What I did. Why you nearly..." Nick broke down into sobs, unable to say the words.

AJ didn't answer him. He didn't really need to. Nick already knew the answer.

Nick dropped his head onto AJ's chest, burying his face in his warm jumper and listening to AJ's still rapid heartbeat as he cried. AJ tentatively wrapped his arms around Nick's trembling body as he heard Nick begin to speak.

"It's all my fault. Look at what you nearly did. What I made you do. Oh God. I almost lost you. I love you so much and I almost lost you."

AJ stiffened as he heard Nick say he loved him.

"You what?" He asked, shocked.

"I... I love you." He answered shakily.

"But..." AJ broke off, not even knowing where to begin.

"That's what I wanted to tell you; it wasn't you. It was me, all me." Nick raised his head and looked AJ in the eye, knowing that now was possibly the only chance he would have to tell him everything.

"I wasn't enough for you. You opened your heart and bared your soul to me. You showed me you loved me with every word, every touch, every time you let me inside you. But I couldn't. I didn't think I was ready. I convinced myself that it was because we weren't right for each other, that you didn't love me enough. I let my insecurities blind me to the truth. I was scared to commit to forever with you. I convinced myself that I wasn't ready. I thought that the best thing was for me to leave."

Nick reached down and wiped AJ's fresh tears away before continuing.

"But it was too late. I was already head over heels for you. And the last few months have been the loneliest, most painful of my life."

"Why didn't you come back to me?" AJ asked.

Nick shook his head. "I couldn't. Part of it was what little pride I had left, I'll admit that. But mostly it was because I didn't want to hurt you anymore. I know how much I hurt you when I left, and I didn't want to put you through all that again by trying to get you to take me back. I thought it was best to stay away and let you live your life without risking me hurting you even more."

"But it hurt more not having you near." AJ told him. "I had nothing without you."

"From the second I walked out the door I knew that I'd made the biggest mistake of my life. I just couldn't get over myself enough to go back to you; and by the time I realized why it was too late. How could I expect you to take me back after everything I put you through?"

"Because I love you." AJ answered simply reaching up and cupping Nick's cheek. "And I can’t live without you."

Nick closed his eyes at AJ's soft touch, unable to believe that after everything AJ would still love him.

 

If you knew what I knew my baby, you would never have said what you said If you knew what I knew my baby, we would be together instead

 

"Would you really have jumped?" Nick asked a few minutes later, needing to know.

AJ looked at him for a moment. "If you hadn't have stopped me, I'd be at the bottom of the cliffs right now. You were all I had. Without you what was the point?"

AJ stared up at Nick for a moment before asking the question burning in the back of his mind.

"What would you have done if you hadn't managed to stop me?"

Nick closed his eyes and took a deep breath as the image of AJ's broken body being smashed against the cliff by the waves assaulted him. What would he have done? There really was only one option.

"I would have followed, if it meant I would be with you forever."

The tears were flowing freely from both men now and AJ wrapped his arm around Nick's neck to pull him closer.

"I love you Nicky." AJ breathed the confession against Nick's lips, the sound barely covering the distance over the crashing waves below them.

Nick closed his eyes as he felt warmth rush through his body. He re-opened his eyes and stared back down at AJ, the love in his eyes shining brightly.

"I love you too Alex."

AJ felt the words like a caress on his skin and he shivered, his whole body tingling.

They moved at the same time, their lips meeting and sending sparks of electricity through them both at the long-missed feeling.

The kiss lasted for what seemed like an eternity, yet at the same time not nearly long enough. They continued well past the point where their lungs were burning for oxygen, until they both felt light-headed and faint.

When they finally broke for air they were both panting heavily. They stared into each others eyes, letting them communicate the feelings in their hearts. Up there, lying on top of the cliff, made it seem they were on top of the world, and they were the only people on it.

Slowly, without any words, they broke apart, Nick moving to stand, taking AJ's hands and pulling him up as well. Never releasing their grip they moved together back to Nick's car. The broke apart only long enough for them to both get in, before Nick reached for AJ's hand once more. Then finally together, they drove away from the cliff, knowing that they were finally both exactly where they were supposed to be, and that everything would finally be alright.