GOING HOME Title: Going Home Written By:asm614 Timeline: About one minute post-510. Not meant to be a gap-filler leading into 511, so I guess it’s very slightly AU. Theme: Icon Challenge. Icon by raelala Author's Notes: Title borrowed from the song “Home” by Daughtry, partly in lyrics, but moreover, in connotation. Many thanks to my lovely friend/beta for taking the time to read this over for me!
We were standing in the middle of chaos, literally. All around us were the rushed movements of firefighters, paramedics, police and a few remaining people who had made it out of Babylon relatively unscathed. Sirens cried out, and lights flashed everywhere. It was a nightmare of the worst variety.
Our lives were about to change irrevocably, yet somehow, for just a few moments, everything in my world was completely calm. I had never experienced a feeling quite like it in my life. He was in my arms, and it was all I wanted, all I needed.
He was the first to end our embrace, slowly lowering himself down from the tips of his toes. When I looked at him, I wanted to cry. He looked so pained, so scared… so… relieved. He was covered in soot, with tear tracks and angry red scrapes marring his cheeks. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
Justin was safe, alive, here. I wasn’t going to lose him again. My eyes welled up with tears all over again, and I was done holding them back for a little while. I felt his hands gently wiping at my cheeks, taking away the wetness with each tender swipe. If he realized the gravity of this moment between us, he didn’t say so. But, hell, he was Justin. Of course he realized it. And I couldn’t close my eyes long enough to stop looking at him.
After a few minutes, his hands dropped from my face to clasp behind my neck. “Brian, can you take me to the hospital?” he asked, staring intently into my eyes. It wasn’t so much a request as it was a demand, but he was giving me the courtesy to opt out, knowing I’d just left Allegheny General.
“Are you… you’re not hurt?” He’d already told me no, but, Christ, he could’ve died. People had died. If he’d been perfectly fine, it would have been nothing short of a miracle.
“No, I want to see Michael.”
“He’s in surgery; they won’t let us in to see him until the morning, if… you know…” I trailed off, looking down, unable to finish my sentence. This was rounding out to be one of the most emotional nights of my life.
Justin forced me to look into his eyes. “Brian, if what? If he make it through the surgery, if he wants visitors, if what?” His tone was gentle, but insistent; his expression pleading.
I cleared my throat, knowing it wouldn’t permit me to say much. “The first one,” I muttered, my voice thick. I didn’t want to cry again. Not there.
“Is Debbie with him?” he asked.
I nodded. “Ben is too. Em was there for a while, and Melanie and Lindsay. They hadn’t even made it into the club before the explosion. Everyone’s home now though. Deb or Ben promised to call me first if anything happens.”
He looked around at the mess surrounding us. I had never, in my worst dreams imagined that something like this would happen, that anyone would do something so horrific in Pittsburgh, to a place like Babylon no less. Perhaps on some level, I was just as naïve as everyone else, because this was now my reality, and I was completely unprepared for it.
As if echoing my thoughts, Justin brokenly whispered, “What the fuck happened?” I had no response other than to wrap him up in my arms once more. A few dry sobs wracked his body, but he didn’t cry, he just clung to me for dear life.
“You should rest,” I told him after another few minutes. “Tomorrow will be a long day.”
“I don’t think I could sleep,” he admitted. “I’m afraid to close my eyes for too long.”
“Me too,” I whispered, feeling dangerously close to losing my composure again. I reached out and ran my fingers through his blonde hair, needing to touch him, to understand that his physical presence wasn’t just a figment of my imagination.
“Do you… do you need to stay here while they’re doing this?” he asked quietly, gesturing at our surroundings.
“No… I’ll take care of everything tomorrow. There’s nothing I can do tonight. Ted’s on his way back over here. He offered to stick around while they finish the investigation,” I replied. Never had I been more grateful for the existence of Theodore Schmidt in my life than in that very moment.
“Can you take me home, then?” He seemed very tired all of a sudden, and his body slumped a bit against mine. I wrapped my arm around him, supporting as much of his weight as he’d allow.
“Are you sure you should be alone?” I asked worriedly. The last thing I wanted to do was leave him by himself in that cold, barren shit-hole apartment he was determined to keep.
“Brian,” he said suddenly, gently tugging my face down to look into his. “Did you mean what you said? Do you love me?”
I sighed. The look on his face and the knot in my chest told me that this was not a time to be impudent. So, I took a deep breath and prepared to bare my soul. “More than I’ve ever meant anything. I’m sorry it took this for me to tell you,” I admitted softly. “I’m an asshole sometimes, Justin, I know that… But I’m an asshole who’s in love with you, and that’s something I can say with complete confidence. On both parts,” I finished, smiling a bit ruefully.
His eyes glistened with unshed tears, and his words came out as a whisper. “Then take me home, Brian.”
Suddenly, I understood.
I led him away from the chaos, toward the alley where I had left the ‘Vette haphazardly parked. Without a word, he opened the passenger door and slid into the seat.
“Are you sure?” I asked carefully, once I was behind the wheel.
He looked over at me and smiled. “If you are, I am.”
I smiled back, feeling lighter than I had in weeks as I shifted the car into drive.