Yeshua sighed, turned to lie on his side.
He had never had an easy time falling asleep, but ever since Judah was gone, it had become worse. Because with Judah came security, a sense of total safety, Yeshua had become too used to.
Yeshua hurt with a pain he had inflicted onto himself, when he stopped caring about Judah’s pain.
There had been so many overwhelming emotions fighting inside Yeshua, tearing him apart, that he had shut everything out. There was only room for the scorching flow of God through his veins.
And with the emotions, and the pain, Yeshua had cast out Judah.
For months, almost years before the end, Yeshua felt empty, yearning for touch and when he got it, he wanted nothing more than to be left alone. He had felt through the emotions of others, taken in Judah’s pain and Mariam’s longing, and still felt empty.
There was only God.
There was only their cause, their mission.
But now, Yeshua yearned again. The emptiness had been filled by four bullets and the pain of God had burned life into him.
God was still there. But Yeshua could feel again.
Judah was burning in the wounds that had still not healed. It was a clean pain, almost welcomed by Yeshua, because he knew he had hurt Judah, and somehow it felt just, to suffer for him in return.
But he was gone, Yeshua reminded himself, pressing his eyes shut. He was gone.
Since his life started anew he was aware, that he had to get Judah back. Their being apart was like losing a limb for both of them.
Before Judah, Yeshua had not known love. Only the possessive hold God had on him, that some might call love and others tyranny. Before Judah, he had still been a child, clutching a bullet between his hands, holding on to it like it was his only reminder of what life really meant. And maybe it was.
But then Judah rushed into his life, or he rushed into Judah’s and they were so caught up in each other, that Yeshua started to take him for granted and started to hurt Judah, who looked at him like the sun was shining from Yeshua’s eyes and the world was revolving solely around him.
Yeshua wanted that back. He needed it, because even though he was loved, painfully and forcibly by God, caringly and fiercely by Mariam, loyally and proudly by Peter; even though he was loved, it never felt like it was enough. Because deep down, his broken, shattered, ripped out heart still belonged to Judah.
Judah, who had first seen God in the way Yeshua smiled, sharp and dangerous. Judah, who yielded under Yeshua’s every touch. Judah, who only ever yearned for am home. Yeshua knew this and much more, because even though for a long time he had not had the energy to care, he still paid attention to every little detail.
Yeshua spent another sleepless night.
A sleepless week later he had a lead on Judah, and relieved by this news, Yeshua slept deeply for the first time since his death.
Judah’s hair was longer. He looked less thin, less desperate, less depending.
A part of Yeshua wanted him to reconsider, turn his back, leave. Because Judah was okay without him. Judah had finally moved on.
Yeshua knew, that he would never listen to that part of him. When it came to Judah, he was selfish and possessive, so he strode across the coffeeshop with strong steps on feet, that still hurt with every movement. But Yeshua was used to the pain.
His steps faltered when he was only metres away from Judah, only seconds from what he wanted.
Yet, he stopped. Dread was running through his veins, a vague doubt if Judah would still need him.
Thinking about Judah rejecting him was almost physically painful; Yeshua clenched his hands into tight fists, ready for anything and at the same time nothing at all. Then, he moved, silently and swiftly, eyes on his target, and took the seat next to Judah.
When their eyes met, it was like the first time all over again.
Judah jerked back, a spark of uncertain recognition in his eyes.
“Oh,” he breathed, and his mug shattered on the floor.
The freshly brewed coffee on his skin hurt less, than the way Judah looked at him.
It was a cheap motel room. Anonymous, as far as one could be.
Yeshua looked up at Judah from where he was sitting on the bed. Judah didn’t meet his eyes, instead tossed a pair of trousers at Yeshua.
“Sorry again,” he muttered, busying himself over his backpack.
Yeshua didn’t respond, just put on the trousers and waited. Eventually Judah turned around.
“Why are you here?” Yeshua could sense the pain it brought him to utter the words.
“To take you back.” His voice was steady. He was sure of his goal, but his hands were shaking.
Judah stepped closer. His eyes glinted with emotions unspoken, but Yeshua knew them all by heart. The grief, the agony of yearning for someone unattainable.
“You were dead.”
“You knew I was alive,” Yeshua countered.
“You were dead long before.” Judah’s words were pointed, sharp like a knife pressed against Yeshua’s throat, drawing hesitant drops of blood. His words were a threat, and where a year prior Yeshua would have shrugged, knowing Judah would do anything for him, everything had changed now.
Yeshua carefully considered his words before he spoke. He needed Judah by his side, not only for his own gain but also because Judah deserved it. Judah deserved to know the true extent of the devotion Yeshua had never been able to show before. So he gave in, like he had given in to the insistent presence of God before. Only now, it was all him. This was the humanity in Yeshua.
That made it easier.
It had been a long time since Yeshua had uttered these words. He did not apologise. He couldn’t risk it in his particular line of business.
Judah took another step closer. Their knees brushed, and finally, their eyes met.
Yeshua reached out, and this time Judah didn’t flinch back. For the first time in a long time there was no resistance at all.
He placed his hands at Judah’s sides, pulling him between his legs. Yeshua no longer looked up at Judah. Instead, he waits for a responding touch.
“I lost everything. My life. My cause.” Yeshua paused. “You,” he added softly.
He missed being the public figure he had been, missed a life where his hands and feet could be taken for granted, and where he had God at his side. He missed Judah.
And being able to get one of those things back again, would be enough. It had to be.
“You pushed me away.”
“I’ve changed,” Yeshua choked out, and for the first time, he knew how Judah must have felt for all this time. Desperation was clawing at him from the inside, threatening to rip him apart.
“You never fucking change,” Judah spat and stepped back, leaving Yeshua’s hands empty and his soul bleeding, vulnerable to the world.
Judah took a shuddering breath.
“I hate, that I still need you,” he pressed out. “I feel like I’m drowning without you. But you haven’t pulled me up for air in a long time.”
He slowly stepped back within Yeshua’s reach.
“How do I know you’re not lying?”
“I’m not.” The vulnerability in his confession left Yeshua’s breath short, every muscle in his body was tensed, trembling with exertion.
Judah shook his head. A dark strand of hair fell into his face. The nonchalant sweep of a hand to put it back into place, left Yeshua’s mouth dry, words deserted on his lips.
“Do you trust me?” he asked, almost breathlessly.
Judah took an eternity to respond.
He stepped up closer than he had been before, and finally, he touched Yeshua. Trembling fingers drove into his hair, his forehead pressing against Judah’s belly.
“Despite everything I still do.”
Yeshua released a shivering breath he hadn’t been aware he was holding in.
“We don’t have to go back,” he said. “Not now.” He didn’t say ‘not ever’. He had plans, God had plans. And Judah knew it too.
Yeshua’s head was resting on Judah’s chest; their fingers were entangled, Judah playing with them, getting used to Yeshua’s body all over again. Inch by inch, muscle by muscle, one finger after the other; then tender palms.
They had both changed.
Yeshua was still not sure if it was for the better, but Judah’s presence managed to soothe his doubts.
“You need me,” Judah said, as if the thought was new to him. “Underneath all that, all of you- you still need someone.”
“Mhh,” Yeshua hummed, ignoring the twinge of pain at every movement of his hands.
“I’ll never forgive myself,” Judah muttered. Yeshua tightened his fingers around Judah’s and brought his hand to his lips.
Judah’s knuckles were scarred, they reminded Yeshua of the past and gave him hope for the future.
“You did as you were meant to,” he said and closed his eyes. “I forgive you.”
Judah huffed out a harsh breath but remained silent.
The quiet of the night was welcoming once again. Because with Judah came security, a sense of total safety, Yeshua had made himself live without for entirely too long.