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The sand exploded outwards next to Avilio, stopping him in his tracks. The silence hanging heavy between them for several long seconds. Broken only when Nero sighed as he holstered his pistol.

“Avilio, I used to like you too.”

“Used to?” was the guarded reply.

“Yeah, now despite everything I love you.” Avilio crossed his arms in front of him as the feelings behind the words hit him. Holding tightly, as if he was holding himself together.

“I…” Avilio's voice was soft and unsure. At his hesitation Nero crossed the remaining distance till he stood right behind the younger man. Stopping for only a moment before dropping his head between the smaller man’s shoulders.

“Avilio…Angelo.” The body below him jerked violently at the name. “ I feel it. The pain you’ve felt all these years. But I…I don’t blame you for what you've done. I can’t. Not when I would have done the same. But the past is the past now so let’s run. Let’s run and never stop Avilio.”

Avilio's body began to shake uncontrollably. His hands flying up to his mouth in an attempt to stifle the sobs.

“Let’s see the mountain’s next.” Nero’s voice was steady and seemingly undeterred by his companions reaction, arms winding tightly around the smaller body pulling him close. “ Or maybe somewhere out in the open plains so we can see the stars. Avilio is your need for vengeance finally sated? What more do you desire?”

“I bet the stars are bright, when away from the city lights.” The response was barely able to be heard over the roll of the waves. Shifting Nero managed to hide his growing smile in the pale neck beneath him.

“ Yeah, I bet they are.”