my drabble factory :)
“I thought this was what you wanted,” Lucio said, “that it was all you thought about for years, all alone down there. Did you not want revenge? Did you never think to kill me? Wish we'd never met, cursed the wretched day that saw my existence. Did you?!” Lucio was shivering all over, trying to appear as though he wasn't. His voice had raised way above the courage he'd have to muster to face the consequences his words might entail. But he didn't care any longer. “Well you should be glad! Anyway, don't say you're not. I wrote my will, it's sitting on my desk, and I specified that nothing whatever should happen to you. No consequences of any kind, you'll be free to go. I wrote it all in there, the whole truth. About me, about everything, and if you wish to read it-”
“You've always known where to hurt me,” Muriel said, “and you've always known how, so you win. You win as you do every time, Lucio, what do you want?” Then before Lucio could give an obvious answer. “I won't kill you, so what do you want?” And his eyes wavered, strayed for a split second, as if becoming aware of something to which he hadn't paid much thought before that suddenly sent him reeling with reproach bordering on rage where neither could be told apart. “And did you think I would? Did you really?”
And just like that it was back, the strange energy that animated Muriel and gave him the sudden strength and enough breath to run. It was excitement, with just one word and it baffled him, how Lucio didn't even need to try or pretend to be genuine—though Muriel knew he had to be, might be at least, must be, or maybe he wanted to— but Muriel was all but ready to hear it, let alone face it, and find his years of suffering suddenly wiped away with just one word. One word, and what a word. The sorrow on Lucio's face was a tragedy all its own. Muriel ached at the sight of him trying to keep face, wiping his eyes and his nose with slick hands and hiccuping in a way that could never pass as dignified to escape judgment.
You know it isn't like this!” “Then what am I?” he cried. “I have no more patience, Lucio. You used up all of it, every second to the very last.”“You must know,” Lucio said, red in the cheeks, in the eyes, his breath wheezing and lacking from his words. “I have no right to tell anymore, but you must know, and you do know. Don't you?”But Muriel was hardly listening. “You don't want to be saved. A damned waste of time, it all was. Such a waste, a waste of- of-”“Everything.”“You have the guts to say it out loud. You-”“Everything, is what you are. To me,” he said. Then he repeated, “Everything.”
“I was never the hero I claimed I was. I couldn't save anyone, I couldn't save myself.”“But I thought I could,” Muriel admitted. The look he gave Lucio was a grave and sincere apology. “I thought I could save you no matter what. I saw the day outside the coliseum today. When they told me you called for me my heart leapt so high I thought I would spit it out. I all but ran to you, but you bring me in here on a day like this,” he looked around frantically for something to show, “to tell me it was all in vain, that you want to die, that you want me to kill you. I would have preferred to die in my misery, Lucio, in my unanswered questions, to never get to understand you, than to hear this from your mouth!” Muriel's eyes were full to the brim as a sob rose in his throat and wove itself into his words. “Or do I mean nothing any longer, nothing more than your executioner to call for, for this?”
“You were so frightened,” Lucio whispered, with the voice of the guilt that had hollowed his cheeks all through the years.“So were you,” Muriel countered, “perhaps more than I was.”“I was a coward,” he spat, the harsh whipping sound aimed at himself.Muriel shook his head. “You didn't fear anyone, and you didn't fear me,” he said. “Your scars, sacrifices, daunting airs... Your presence, when all I could do was hide away. I wanted to be just like you, raise my head and fight like you. Funny, you know, I'll always hold the same opinion about you, though I've fought more battles by now than you ever did.”
Lucio had believed in those walls more than any sight to see, taken notice of the cracks; the ones lodged in his childhood, too far to reach in the ceilings of his memory, between the words he tried to speak, those that made him unutterably hideous, incomplete, despicable, unspeakable; a boy inside a man to whom life had taught to fight before it could teach him to love then forgot, simply forgot. Lucio figured it couldn't be a coincidence. By what right had it had knocked the teeth out of his smile and gone away with it, left him without, with his fists closed thrashing at everything, at the walls, at his own face and his own teeth before anyone could come near him, dared come near him, take heart and try to stop him the way Muriel did, with his open palms which Lucio had cried trying to reach and unclench his hands where crescent wounds carved the broken heartlines.
The words echoed against the walls of Lucio's hollow heart, made little sense, did little but invoke the undeniable knowledge that he had doomed both their lives and the life they had sought together with his own hand. The same hand that was gone that still held all the promises of joy and the grandeur of seamless skies that he'd traded for stone, cold and dust, for walls; a prison no one but Muriel and himself knew of; Muriel who had been the key all along and whom Lucio had desperately tried to destroy, unable to believe this was a man stronger than any lock; Muriel who with the strength of his hands could have brought the walls down.
What have I done, Lucio thought, dare I ask.“You had the will to go through hell and back for me, and I threw you right into the flames.”“I told you I would, and I did,” Muriel said. “I would have chosen the dungeons and the fights any day, bereft of everything, to never seeing you again. You knew it. You wanted me near; I would have chosen death over going away.”
“I'm sorry.”Muriel's blank eyes filled with tears before he could measure the hurt settling, the panic rising from the well deep within when Lucio tore himself away from his grasp. He had to catch his breath.“Lucio, who would I tell?” He craned his neck for peripheral vision beyond the bars, catching a last glance of Lucio's blond hair as he left in a hurry. “Who would I tell?”Lucio didn't turn back, and disappeared into the outside world.