Last week I showed you Solomon dying and reawakening in 1348 during his incarnation as Guillermo. This week is a little more backstory from that same time period ... this time it is when Guillermo, Diago, and Miquel are becoming reacquainted with one another in their new incarnations.
Guillermo knows that Miquel and Diago are lovers, but because he is extremely uncomfortable with the relationship, he made an earlier demand that Diago never speak of the relationship. As he listens to Miquel and observes Diago's fear, Guillermo realizes he simply cannot continue to repeat past mistakes and survive. Something must change, and Guillermo knows that change must come from within him.
Meanwhile Miquel, who is not afraid of the memories of his past incarnations, forces Diago to confront who he was ... and who he is:
Speak to Us
Diago stared at Miquel. I never walked away from him. Yet beneath the scent of water and stone, Diago caught the faintest whiff of roses, distant, like a half-recalled dream. "It was a dream, Miquel. Just a dream. You imagined the olive grove here—"
"No. I didn’t. This grove wasn’t the same. I saw a city below."
The certainty in Miquel’s eyes infuriated Diago. Why couldn’t he listen to reason?
Guillermo stepped between them. "What else, Miquel?"
"Don’t encourage this," Diago warned.
Guillermo faced Diago. "We did something to stop Ashmedai. All three of us. We worked together. We have to remember what we did. Our lives depend on it. What are you so afraid of?"
"He’s afraid of men like you who call our love dark and murder us for sport," Miquel snapped.
Diago’s horror turned into a leaden weight. He despised the tremor in his voice. "Shut up, Miquel."
Guillermo fixed his glare on Miquel. "I’ve never murdered a man for sport, and I’ll not stand accused of it!"
"You know what I mean." Miquel stood his ground.
And if he opens his mouth again, he’ll spew words we’ll all regret. "Let it go, Miquel."
"Like you did? Just give up and walk away?" Miquel’s cheeks darkened with rage. He pushed Guillermo aside and advanced until he and Diago were a handbreadth apart. "Is that what you really want? For me to just walk away from you like you walked away from me?"
Another man had cornered him like this long ago in another incarnation, but not in an olive grove. They had passed in a corridor. The hall was wide and bright, the day hot, and the man had demanded an answer. Is this what you want? Will you walk away from me? Dark eyes afire with his fury and pain. Familiar eyes. Miquel’s eyes. Diago’s breath caught sharp as glass in his throat.
Miquel reached out to touch him, and Diago stepped back. Miquel was undaunted; his fingers brushed Diago’s cheek. "Can’t you see? Vows of silence are how they kill us. They take away our voices and force us to feel shame we shouldn’t have to endure."
Pain twisted in Diago’s chest. He didn’t need to fully recall Benaiah’s features; the memory of his betrayal and hurt were enough.
Diago glimpsed Guillermo from the corner of his eye. The caballero stood with his head bowed, deep in thought. The folded arms, the knee slightly bent--all reflected Ithiel’s brooding stance.
He was the same; he was not. Ithiel never allowed Asaph and Benaiah to stand so close, nor speak so freely of their love. He denied them and expected them to deny themselves as if that somehow negated their feelings for one another. Miquel was right; Ithiel had stolen their voices and rendered them mute.
Would Guillermo demand the same?
"Diago?" Miquel’s palm cupped his face gently. With his thumb, he caught a tear from the corner of Diago’s eye. "Asaph had no choice. You do."
Did he? Was it really that easy? Just drop a lifetime of pretensions and lies and step into the truth? I’m bleeding. I’m bleeding from a thousand wounds and still he won’t let me be. "You must stop." It’s over. It’s done. His sorrow wept across the distance of time and pierced his heart in two.
Miquel pinned Diago beneath his gaze. "Will you hold him to silence, Guillermo?"
Guillermo raised his head as if suddenly aware he shared the room with them. His uneasiness was obvious in the blush that flowed down his neck and disappeared into his shirt, yet he didn’t lash out. He chose his words with care. "Ithiel demanded silence and it ruined us. I’ll have no more secrets between us. Not now. Not ever." He met Diago’s gaze evenly and his tone was firm. "I release you from your vow." He meant what he said.
Miquel leaned closer. He didn’t smile; he was wise enough to know that one man’s acceptance did not reflect the attitude of the wider world. He stroked Diago’s throat with his thumb. "Your voice is returned to you. Speak to us."