|testdog65 (testdog65) wrote in qaf_challenges,|
@ 2006-12-31 19:00:00
Original poster: _alicesprings
Written By: silent_seas
Timeline: Jumps between several points post-513. Also one part set during 513.
Warnings: Some angst. Happy ending.
Summary: Justin leaves Pittsburgh and finds his way back. 2000 words, written like a collection of deleted scenes. And there’s Brian in a wet bathing suit. Ahem.
Author's Notes: Concrit more than welcome.
Justin spots Brian standing in the ocean, facing away from him. Water swells around Brian and then dips low as each wave passes, leaving a sheen on his bare skin that highlights his shoulder blades and the muscles in his back. Justin walks close to the shoreline and calls to him.
Brian turns around and walks back onto the beach, out of the reach of the waves.
“Hi.” His smile starts out calm, almost sleepy, but it quirks into a teasing grin when he sees Justin’s focus drop from Brian’s face to his torso, and then lower.
Justin recognizes the white boxer-style swim trunks, the kind Brian tried on in front of the mirror before the white party almost 9 years ago. Now they’re soaked, turned translucent and clinging to Brian’s body.
Justin looks up to meet his gaze and keeps it as he gets hard in his jeans.
“It’s 80 degrees out, but you’re at the beach in long pants and a long sleeved shirt. And endangering the safety of high-end designer apparel.”
Justin smiles back, ignores the snark, and steps up to him for a long hug. When Brian leans away to try to keep the front of Justin’s clothes from getting wet, Justin puts both hands on Brian’s lower back and presses their bodies together again.
“Wait, I don’t mind. Don’t go anywhere.”
Brian props his chin on the top of Justin’s head and looks over him, out to the horizon.
Justin had been happy to visit Pittsburgh for the usual Christmas gathering at Deb’s, but he leaves her house after less than 15 minutes, in between sips of wine and stories about the cute words Jenny still has trouble pronouncing. There was no arguing, no tension, no odd glances--nothing but the same people he left here ten months ago letting him back in their lives exactly how he’d wanted them to.
He couldn’t stand it.
If Brian hadn’t been hanging Lindsay’s coat in the front closet, maybe it would have been a while before anyone realized Justin wasn’t in the house somewhere, but Brian sees him, tosses the coat on a chair, and comes after him immediately. Justin thinks he could’ve used more time to imagine a better reason for walking out.
He knows he can’t answer any questions right now without causing a majorly fucked-up argument between them, but luckily Brian catches up and stays alongside him without commenting. They don’t look at each other, and that’s even better.
Back at the loft, Justin stands by the back windows and looks out at nothing. Brian sits on the couch and studies his silhouette.
“Coming here was—”
“A mistake?” Brian interjects, not thinking. He stands up and moves closer to Justin.
“You know what I mean. Sometimes it’s better to just be…away.”
“I was finally starting to be okay with New York, to make some kind of life. We acted like it was a great thing that I was going, and maybe it was. But you’re here, and everything felt familiar at Deb’s, and sometimes it’s so hard to just…forget all of that. To forget it enough to keep going.”
“I know,” Brian murmurs. He steps forward again and wraps himself around Justin from behind, letting their legs intertwine and his arms rest across Justin’s shoulders and torso. Justin wants do anything to make himself feel less like he’s slowly splitting in two, but he can’t. He stays there, studying how the lights from a tall office building interrupt his and Brian’s reflections in the glass.
The heat shuts off and the room gets cold. No one feels like moving for a long time.
Justin lets out a low, acidic laugh as snow begins to fall.
Eventually, they walk together back up the beach to the hotel room, where Brian turns on the shower and steps in before it has a chance to heat up. Justin is standing on the bathroom rug with one leg stuck in his pants and his shirt bunched up around his neck.
“Isn’t the water too cold?”
“Brian moves his head out of the spray and smoothes his wet hair away from his face. “No.”
“You’re a freak,” Justin teases, “You know I won’t come in ‘til you fix it.”
Brian pulls his swim trunks down off his waist and lets them fall to the floor. Water is running in a thick stream down the groove between his pecs and then over his stomach and pubes. His thighs and calves are flecked with tiny pieces of broken shell, and there’s fine sand still caught between his toes. He strokes his cock back to full hardness while the shower warms and begins to steam up the bathroom mirror. Justin is naked now.
“Get in.” Brian’s voice comes out more impatient than he wanted it to be.
Justin lets Brian fuck him slowly, and then they get out of the shower and move to the bed. They fuck again even though they’re both slippery with too much lube and nearly too tired to keep a steady rhythm. It’s sweaty and clumsy and too fast and better than they remembered.
When Brian collapses onto the duvet, Justin can’t stop running his tongue over Brian’s still vaguely salty skin. Justin rims him and sucks on him until Brian comes once more, hard enough to black out.
“Neither do I.”
It’s a huge relief, the aftermath of the thing both of them will privately call The Cuddle Argument. Underneath that, though, Justin feels like a kid chasing helium balloons, leaving one dream to go after others that may escape him. He can’t decide whether taking that chance makes someone optimistic, overly ambitious, or…stupid.
Justin wakes up later, not sure when or how he fell asleep. The other side of the bed is cold and the loft seems empty, but eventually Brian walks out of the bathroom and sits on the edge of the platform, in profile to Justin. The quiet feels unnatural.
“If you’re going to do this, just…do it now. Don’t draw it out.”
They haven’t talked about what this is, but they both know what needs to happen, and why. Justin wants more time, time to be here and not deal with any of it, but Brian is pushing things forward already. Justin hates him a little for that and is more grateful than he can stand.
“But it’s so fast, Brian. Too fast. And Lindsay and Gus are going—”
It does, but it doesn’t. Justin tries a different angle.
“Do you want me to leave?”
Brian turns toward Justin. His tone is serious and the tiniest bit strained. “No. But you should. ”
Justin knows he would’ve ended up facing this decision with or without Brian in his life, so there’s no point in arguing with anyone except himself. And this time, Brian’s not being controlling, or demanding, or pushing Justin away, or making bad assumptions. He’s just…right.
Brian sees the change in Justin as it happens, the new clarity and underlying sadness, and he looks at him for a long time. Justin looks back, knowing Brian is too tired to keep from showing resignation, pain, admiration…and the beginnings of a smile that might be hope, or a memory.
Justin wonders if this moment is a goodbye or an I love you, but when Brian settles next to him and kisses him a little desperately, with both hands touching Justin’s face, he stops trying to figure it out.
The phone’s ring seems terribly loud in the loft, but at least it breaks the moment. Brian answers.
A long pause.
“Fuck, Deb, he’s 23, he can make his own decisions! …No, I don’t know why he left the party. We came back here….Yes, he’s okay...”
After Brian finishes warding off Debbie’s inquisition and finally hangs up the phone, Justin seems to fall into his stoic, independent mode. He picks up his duffel and starts re-packing clothes and toiletries.
“I need to go back to New York now. Thanks for not making a big deal out of this. I’ll leave the things for you to give to everyone tomorrow.”
Brian scoots in front of him and sits on top of the bag, squishing a stack of sweaters and rolled socks. Then he leans forward and speaks right into Justin’s mouth,
It’s been 18 months since he moved. Despite a lot of hard work and time spent showing his portfolio to people all over the city, Justin hasn’t had much luck getting galleries to care about his art. He quickly feels bored spending his time sorting library books and bussing tables to pay the bills, so he decides to go to school in the city and complete the remaining credits for his PIFA degree. It’s not what he had originally planned, but it’s something that counts.
In November, before the end of his last class, he and Brian make plans to spend their holiday in neutral territory, preferably somewhere warmer. Justin chooses Australia, Brian suggests Oahu. In the end, it doesn’t matter that they can’t agree.
Justin calls him at Kinnetik one afternoon in early December, in between a staff meeting and a conference call.
“Brian, I turned in my final projects. I’m finished with my degree.”
He can hear Brian take a breath, getting ready to unleash a relieved bit of praise or maybe a joke about the terms of their loan. Justin doesn’t give him time.
“—And I got invited to go overseas with one of the school’s grad programs, to Italy and then Japan. I leave in two weeks.”
“How long will you be gone? A semester?”
A long pause takes over. Justin can hear Brian breathing and a radio softly playing in the background.
“You’re leaving in two weeks, for two years.” Not a question.
“Yes.” Another pause, then Justin goes on. “I was hoping I could come down this Friday, spend some time with you before—”
Brian cuts him off now, frustrated and apologetic, “I have to leave on Wednesday to go to Seattle for a big client. Ted’s coming, too. I have to be…”
He sighs and lets the sentence go unfinished.
“It’s okay, I understand. I should’ve said something sooner, but I didn’t want to tell anyone until I’d decided and everything was arranged. I figured you’d want me to go.”
No, but you should.
“Of course. Sounds like it’ll be great.”
“Go have fun and impress the fuck out of everyone, Sunshine.” His tone is lighter, but the words are rushed.
So Justin leaves, and there are postcards, shared photos, e mails, and calls from Deb’s house. Brian doesn’t try to visit Justin overseas, and Justin doesn’t need to ask why.
Justin wakes up feeling different. He’s finally on a vacation that had been delayed for years, but it still seems like they got to this moment before they should have. He’s happy.
Brian is sprawled out across the bed on his stomach again, three quarters comatose and snoring because there’s no pillow propping his head up. The room is flashbulb bright. It makes Justin’s eyes ache, but Brian stays asleep.
“Hey, wake up.”
“Brian, wake up.” Justin says it in more of a whisper this time as he runs a hand down Brian’s back and then up through his hair.
He turns over with a gigantic sigh and finally opens his eyes a little. “Hi.”
Justin strokes his thumb over Brian’s temples. “Let’s go home.”
After dinner at Debbie’s, Brian plops himself into the big, squishy recliner in front of the TV and pulls Justin half on top of him, even though there’s enough space for two. Justin folds their hands together on the armrest.
While Michael and Emmett debate about watching Elf or Miracle on 34th Street, Hunter sneaks in Scrooged. There’s a moment of quiet while the DVD switches from the menu to the copyright warning screen, and Brian whispers in Justin’s ear.
“Love you, Justin.”
It was just loud enough for the rest of the room to hear.
“Merry Christmas, Brian. Love you.”
Justin relaxes as his body moves slightly with the steady rise and fall of Brian’s breathing, and the opening credits begin.