I know, I know. I haven't updated for more than a year. I know I said there was a chapter on the way a year ago. Well... things happen. No excuse, but there you go. So now the story's finished! I'm very excited, as this is the only multiple chapter story I've finished and sort of sad to be leaving these characters behind. But there you go. I hope to go back through the whole story now that it's finally done and perfect it, so please give me any suggestions you may have. : ) Thanks to all my reviewers, you guys have been great.

Joel blew his silky black hair out of his eyes and continued stirring the mince in the frying pan. There were bags beneath his golden brown eyes, the product of many sleepless nights, but he was showing signs of recovery. His very posture had lost its defeatist stance, though the tension remained.

He was dressed comfortably in slightly weathered jeans and a light blue T-shirt, a deep contrast to the dirty tracksuit he had worn the previous week that gave the impression that Joel was far from well to do. In saying that, the contrast was understandable, especially considering all that had occurred in the past weeks.

Joel's father had been arrested following Peter's visit to the doctor. Once Joel's initial shock wore off, he had hurried to the phone and, within half an hour, the police were on Joel's father's doorstep. The police had advised both Joel and Peter to see a counselor and they had to make official statements to be put on file. Both were happy to oblige and also filed a restraining order against Joel's father.

Now the pair were finally able to enjoy their relationship. Well, there were things to be dealt with, obviously, but to maximize the time they spent together, Joel had moved into Peter's house permanently. So far, things were working well. But then again Joel didn't really expect anything else.

He pondered everything their relationship had survived through and how much he and Peter had grown as a couple. Joel recalled those awful moments only a few weeks ago when the extent of his father's destruction of his world was revealed. The intense shock and guilt he had felt as he looked into those emerald green eyes, realizing what his lover must have gone through, came flooding back to him.

'How could he do that, and to the only person who's ever loved me, his son?' Joel wondered. 'Asshole. It's about time he got what he deserves.'

Both Joel and Peter were required in court next week to act as witnesses in the trial against Joel's father. Their lawyer had assured the pair that it was only a procedure and that they shouldn't be put under any pressure that would jeopardize the progress the two had made with their counselor.

Just as Joel was dishing out dinner, his specialty spaghetti bolognaise, a key turned in the door. A week ago Joel would have jumped and reached for the nearest potential weapon. As illogical as that had been, since his father was in custody and didn't know where Peter lived anyway, Joel felt threatened and need that weapon for, as he told Anna, their counselor, just in case. But now Joel just looked up with a smile, greeting his boyfriend with a soft 'Hey babe'.

The taller young man grinned back. 'Hey yourself. How are you?'

'Okay. You have perfect timing; I'm just dishing up.'

Peter smirked, strolling over to wrap his arms around Joel's waist from behind. 'Looks great.' His boyfriend grinned, surveying him.

The tall man before him showed signs of a battle with darkness but still, despite all the man had been through, there was light in those deep eyes of his, alluding to a strength that could only be derived from something endless and eternal. Slowly, surely, he was healing. The scars would never leave him but they would fade and hopefully one day the event that caused all this would fade as well, retreating to simple memory, leaving Peter to peaceful dreams.

Peter unwound his discreetly muscular arms from Joel's waist, allowing him to transfer their meals to the dining table. As they sat down Joel spoke.

'So how was Anna?'

'She was good. The session was good. We're doing well.'

Joel smiled. 'That's great, hun.' They sat in silence for awhile, simply enjoying each other's company. When they finished their meal, Peter took their plates and discarded them in the dishwasher. As he turned, Joel called out.

'Shit! It's half seven already! The concert starts at eight!' Startled, Peter jumped and then promptly started rushing around getting ready.

They'd missed the concert Joel had bought tickets for with everything that had been going on at the time. Luckily they'd been able to exchange them for a show at a later date. With a lot of rushing, the young couple was out of the door within ten minutes and with the luck of no traffic, arrived with five minutes to spare. They walked in just as the band was starting up and soon enough the hauntingly beautiful voice of Alex Band rang out across the crowd.

Peter chattered endlessly all the way home.

'Oh my god. That was frickin' amazing! Thank you so much! Did you see him? Ohmigod, did you hear him? That voice! It's so… just beyond words!'

Joel grinned. He loved seeing his partner so elated. 'I'm glad you enjoyed it, babe. His voice was really amazing, though personally I prefer yours.'

Peter grinned. 'That's really sweet, but his is way better than mine.' He squealed and bounced a little. 'That was so great!'

By the time they arrived, Peter had calmed down somewhat and had now set his mind to a way to properly thank his fantastic boyfriend.

Joel locked the door after Peter entered and then turned around to find himself caught in a deep embrace. They parted just enough for Peter to whisper, 'You're amazing' and then joined once again.

The older dark haired man guided the beautiful boy in his arms up the stairs towards their bedroom. Outside the room, the pair heaved slightly as Joel was pushed back against the door. Their movements were frantic now; hands pulling at clothing, then slipping beneath to stroke and tease.

Joel moaned softly, loving the feeling of being controlled and the way Pete was kissing and biting at his neck. He turned the doorknob and they fell into the room. Breathing heavily Peter pulled Joel up onto the edge of the bed.

Suddenly the atmosphere changed. There was an awkward silence. Peter spoke, discomfort plain in his voice.

'So… do you wanna…?'

Joel blushed. Peter, seeing this, quickly continued. 'I mean, no pressure. I don't mind if you don't or if you're not ready. I was just - '

Joel interrupted softly. 'No… no, I want to. I'm ready.'

He reached over and took Peter's hand. Squeezing gently he smiled. Smiling back, his boyfriend pulled him close, kissing him with all the love and passion in him.

'You sure?' he asked when he pulled back many long moments later.

Joel simply nodded. Peter gently lowered him back onto the bed, kissing the smooth chest of his lover which had already been revealed in their impassioned journey up the stairs. Soon the young men were facing each other in all their entirety.

They paused for a moment, breathing in the beauty that was their partner and their love. Without a word, Joel turned off the bedside lamp.

With a quick intake of breath, his only thought was that he had never seen a more beautiful picture than that of this moment: Peter looming above him in the darkness, soft moonlight shining on his careful features. Their eyes met and, with love and gentle admiration for one another, they began the slow dance that would send the ever threatening darkness into a permanent exile.

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