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“It’s not working out, is it?” It wasn’t meant to be a question but a form of confirmation with a hope that one of you would refute it. There was only silence.

The words felt like hot cinders fresh from the flames. They burnt your tongue and mixed with drool to create some sort of silt. Your words were stuck in the mud. But still you pushed forth, tongue pressed upon palate, tongue pushing against teeth. You couldn’t let it end like this. In silence with your words trapped in your throat, you felt their imprints on the tender spots inside of you.

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to tell you. I…” his voice trailed and you swore you saw a puff of ash come forth from his lips. You had to remind yourself that it was winter in Gotham. “I love you. Don’t you understand that?”

Of course you understood. You saw it in the way he touched you. You saw it in the way he kissed you. You saw it in the way he spoke, face twisted as if you were pulling teeth but he still offered up his heart willingly.

And finally after such effort, the words crawled up with the help of two bands of smooth muscle, their vibrations propelling the sounds forward.

“I love you too, Jason.”

He stilled before reaching two shaky hands to hold yours. He looked at them and how his size engulfed yours. Maybe they were a cage that you held you there. He drew his hands back to let you breathe.

“Then how do we fix this? How do we fix us? How do you fix me?” Two sad winter orbs searched yours for answers. Your eyes searched the floorboards for a response instead.

“It’s not you, Jay,” you said, eyes finally rising to meet his. He would never admit it but his eyes told you that he was scared and he was anxious. In some dark part of his heart, he thought that you two were doomed.

“I can’t fix you. I don’t want to fix you.”

He looked confused at your words, his dark hair falling over his eyes and you could no longer tell his expression. But you could feel it, whatever it was. You were giving up on him.

“Everything that you think makes you broken is what I love about you. I wish I could be the one to put the pieces back together, the one whose hands could hold you all in place,” your confession felt disgusting and cruel. How could you want to be everything to a man and make him entirely reliant on you? “But you’ve done that all yourself.”

“…Sometimes I think you don’t even need me. That’s why I pull away. That’s why I kiss you a little less. That’s why I hold you a little looser.” The last part was difficult to say but you swallowed the silt in your mouth. Your feelings needed a chance to escape. “I’m afraid of what you’ve made me. A damn fool in love.”

Jason sat still and listened. You knew it was a difficult thing for that man to do. Finally he squirmed like a bored child on a pew, mouth opening and closing as he tried to find the right words to say.

“You’re insecure.” It wasn’t a question. It was a note. It was an offering to help explain why you suddenly started pushing him away.

“I am.”

Jason smiled and you wondered if that was the same smile that all Catholic priests had in the privacy of a confessional booth. Jason smiled as if he knew a secret that only he and God knew and you wondered what it was.

His hands reached for yours once more not as a cage but as shelter. He pulled you towards him and held you. He needed to protect you from yourself and your gnawing lack of faith, in yourself and in love. You couldn’t hear your thoughts as two hearts tried to beat as one, together trying to find their voice in the chorus amongst his slow, steady breaths and the quiet sound of your crying.

“I’m a devout man,” he said as a calloused thumb wiped away your tears. “And I don’t mind preaching to the choir of personal demons on your shoulder that give you doubt and make you sad.”

“I’m a devout man,” Jason reminded you again as he sat you on the edge of the bed and pulled away whatever fabric hid you from him. His kisses were tender and delicate on your skin as if lingering too long would taint you. They trailed up and up till they reached your center as if searching for a higher calling.

“I’m a devout man and I don’t mind getting down on my knees for worship.”