THUNK! Was the sound that caused all motion at the Munchers' Anniversary party to cease, followed by yelling and groaning from the man lying on the ground holding his left eye. Brian opened his eyes after hearing the sound of his friend- his best friend- crying. Where Michael had stood only a moment before was replaced by an angry, shocked blond-haired little twink with blood on his fist. His belligerent body language daring the man on the ground to get up while guarding the man at his back from the ‘family's' scrutiny. This was the one time Brian couldn't be blamed for anything except showing up and Justin wouldn't let that happen. As far as he was concerned, Michael had been cruising for a bruising for months and Justin felt absolutely no guilt giving it to him.
"What the fuck, Justin? Why did you hit my son? I never would have taken you for an animal," Debbie yelled as she cradled Michael's head in her lap.
"How dare you, Justin?" Lindsey said in that WASP voice he knew all too fucking well. For all he cared right now, she could suck on a rotten green dildo. Michael deserved it and if they didn't know why then they needed fucking hearing aids since everyone surrounding them had heard what he said.
"I think you'd better leave Justin," Melanie said angrily. "I can't believe you did this."
Justin silently turned on his heel and made the progression toward the gate where Ethan was waiting.
"What the fuck was that about? Brian? You know what, I don't even want to know. Come on, I'll take you home."
Justin looked back at Brian for a moment. He was still there in shock and probably even trapped in his own memories of the bashing seeing the blood gushing from Michael's eye. Justin turned to Ethan then. "No. I need to be alone for awhile. I'll be home later."
Ethan looked like he wanted to argue but whatever he saw in Justin's face at that moment made him think better of it. "I guess I'll see you at home then. What time should I expect you? Maybe we could order dinner and watch a movie or something."
"I really don't know, Ethan. I just need some time. Please don't call my cell phone every twenty minutes wondering where I am. In fact, in lieu of what happened just a few minutes ago, I'll probably have it off."
"Well where are you going? I'll come with you and leave you alone."
"No Ethan. I don't want to see anyone or be around anyone right now."
"It's the middle of the day so how are you going to manage that. Look, Justin, I know what Michael said was horrible. I want to help you deal with it."
"You can't Ethan. I know you mean well but you can't help me." Justin walked away from Ethan picking up speed as he heard Ethan's plea to call him.
When he'd taken off he didn't have a direct destination in mind at first. He put in a call to his mom and to Daphne advising of the situation and to let them know he was alright but didn't want to see or hear from anyone for awhile. He needed some time to himself. He knew they would understand and respect his boundaries. He also knew that Debbie would call his mother with her version of events as told by Michael and he wanted his mom to have the full story, not just the part which made Michael Novotny blameless which was always the case. He walked passed the park which had always been his solace but not as of late. It was always where he and Brian would take Gus for outings when Lindsey and Melanie deemed Brian the ideal babysitter because Marie and Dusty were too busy. That was another part of the bullshit dynamics of the family. Brian was never good enough until they all needed something. Perhaps that wasn't true for Emmett and Ted but for the rest of them, it sure as hell was. He had zoned out of his surroundings until he thought of the one place no one would think to look for him... except perhaps one but he would be long gone from there before Brian caught up to him.
Meanwhile in Muncher-ville
"I don't know what the fuck's gotten into that kid," Debbie ranted. "That is so out of character for Justin to act like that. It's more like you, Brian."
"Does Father Kinney's school for runaway boys hold a class on using your fist for other than a gay boy's delight?" Emmett said to Ted.
"Well I don't know Emmett but the way Justin delivered that punch to Michael, I would say so."
"Would you two shut the fuck up," Brian snapped. He didn't find a damn thing amusing about the situation. If he were honest, he would have punched the shit out of Michael, too after what he'd said. It was uncalled for and completely out of line. "I have to go."
"Where the fuck are you going?" Debbie asked yelling while the others looked on. "Your fucking best friend is lying here with an ice pack over his eye and your off to go get your dick sucked? You owe my kid, Asshole."
"I. DON'T. OWE. HIM. ANYTHING, Debbie," Brian yelled back. He couldn't help it. He was so tired of people telling him their thoughts when they didn't know a fucking thing.
"The hell you don't, Brian. Where the fuck would Justin get an idea in his head to hit Michael from?"
"Perhaps, Mikey deserved it and Justin finally had had enough," Brian answered. "Do you even know what caused Justin to go off, do you? Do any of you?"
"It doesn't matter why-"
"Bullshit! Justin was provoked. I was standing right there, Deb."
"And you did nothing to stop it?"
Ben interjected. "Look we don't know the whole story. Michael why don't you tell us?"
Michael groaned but otherwise remained silent.
"Yeah, Michael, why don't you tell us?" Brian said sarcastically keeping his eyes glued to the man who continued to keep both eyes shut.
Emmett piped up. "Well I guess all of his snide comments today finally made the twink snap."
"You mean there were more?" Brian asked.
"All day, Michael has been telling anyone who would listen that Justin was a selfish prick after all you've done for him."
"But that's still no reason for Sunshine to hit Michael," Debbie reasoned.
"Perhaps it's the other comments Michael uttered," Brian said narrowing his hazel eyes at the rest of the group.
"For fuck's sake, Brian, if you have a clue why this happened then just say what it is," Melanie exploded.
Brian sighed. "I was trying to give Michael a chance to tell his own side of things but since he can't...correction, since he won't, I will tell you all what Michael said that made Justin hit him. Honestly I can't blame Justin at all for his actions and I won't."
"Well get on with it. I'm not getting any younger, Brian," Vic said.
And Brian relayed word for word the entire conversation which neither had any idea that Justin was listening to. He told them of Michael's constant badgering leading to the culmination of Justin delivering the left hook that sent Michael falling to the ground. By the time he retold the story, every eye in living room of the house was at first disbelieving and then fucking angry but not at him for a change but at Michael Charles Novotny. As all of the occupants verbally attacked Michael, Brian sneaked outside. He really was worried about Justin. Although unable to move or speak coherently at the time, he was aware that Justin had left and apparently without Ethan from what Emmett had told him. If what Michael had said affected Brian in the way it had, Brian in turn could only imagine the pain Justin must have felt right before he punched Michael and about everything that happened afterward. He tried calling Justin but it went straight to the voicemail. He had to find him and quickly. If Justin was allowed to dwell on the events surrounding the bashing and of the afternoon, he would have a full-blown panic attack. It was why Brian hadn't stayed out past a certain time when it first happened and why he kept mention of it to a minimum unless Justin brought it up...and Justin did the same for him.
It was far too early for Babylon to be open even on a Saturday so he knew Justin wouldn't be there. He walked into Woody's but didn't see Justin in there. He asked the bartenders on duty, Frank and Artie, if Justin had been in. Several of the patrons looked at him funny due to the franticness of his voice. Several of them knew about the bashing and the young man's recovery including the panic attacks or the violent outburst from overworking his hand when he was at the diner. Brian took note in a single glance of the looks on their faces. There were only looks of concern and sympathy- not pity and derision. Brian acknowledged it all with a single nod of his head as he headed back out the way he came. Artie and Frank had wished him well in finding Justin. As many were jealous of his relationship with Brian, they were also in awe of the little twink that was determined to rise above any obstacles placed in his way. Brian searched the park thoroughly with no sign of Justin. It was always his favorite place to go, the place where he always felt most at home except for one but... One of Justin's favorite songs popped into his head just then. The only one he listened to up there where they danced the last time before everything turned to shit between them.
And if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere on we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
Somewhere only we know?*
Brian raced back to the corvette toward the loft, ignoring the many cell phone calls coming through and finally shutting it off. He knew who it was. ‘The family' which should have known there was a reason but as always so quick to lay blame at Brian's door while letting Michael off the hook. Well he couldn't think about any of that now. Justin was his priority as he should have been- as he was all along. He walked into the loft opting to take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. Since Justin was the only person who had the new codes, he wouldn't have to worry about them being disturbed if he was there. Looking around the empty loft, Brian felt a little disheartened until he noticed two very distinct things out of place. A bottle of Beam was missing from bar and Justin's key was lying on the counter. He entered the loft a little further noticing the midnight blue duvet wasn't on the bed where he'd left it. Brian went over to the door in the corner of the loft. Finding it unlocked, he raced in not bothering to close the door behind him. Taking the steps two at a time, he felt the chill night breeze wafting down to him on his way up.
And there he was. The first feeling of relief at finding Justin on their rooftop terrace flooded Brian. He was lying with his head back watching as the sun set, the bottle of JB lazily being held by fingertips Brian knew so well. He saw the minute the awareness Justin and Brian always shared infused the younger man's body, indicated by the slight tensing of his shoulders and immediate relax of the same. The only thing missing this time was Keane playing softly in the background. He missed hearing Justin humming softly to that song but having two out of three of their mutual habits weren't bad.
"I'm sorry, Brian," he said softly. "I didn't mean to come here but I knew this was the one place they wouldn't look for me."
Brian crossed the deck over to him, taking the seat right next to Justin. His red-rimmed eyes told Brian all he needed to know. Justin had managed to fight off the panic attack but he was getting drunk in the process. Fucking pain management. Brian grabbed the bottle to the slight protest of Justin and took a long swig of the amber liquid himself. Justin wasn't the only one who had been traumatized out of his mind today. After sitting in silence, watching the sun disappear behind the trees surrounding the Allegheny River, Brian finally spoke.
"Do you have any idea how many people are looking for you? Why did you turn your cell phone off? You could have just as easily ignored the calls."
"I just needed the peace. I know you of all people understand that."
Brian nodded. "I know but you know whether you are here or not, I worry about you. So does Daphne and your mom. Debbie, too."
"Right now I would imagine Debbie has her own son on her mind, Brian. As for my mom and Daph, I called while I was walking trying to figure out where to go."
"Speaking of Michael-"
"Brian, I don't need to be chastised for laying into Michael. You would have done the same thing."
"You're fucking right I would have," Brian agreed. He softened his tone while reaching for Justin's right hand. As he suspected, the hand was stiff and clammy from Justin's nerves. Brian began to gently massage the hand, coaxing it to open and stretch, pulling one finger at a time. When Justin moaned out of a mix of pain and pleasure, Brian smiled a knowing smile. "You haven't been keeping up with these, have you?"
Justin couldn't help but smile back in answer at the man who knew him so well. "I could never do it like you do. You're the best at it."
"Perhaps if you showed Ian what to do..." Shit why did I have to say that?
Justin took his hand back. "Yes I suppose you're right," he said, the haughty tone cutting deep into Brian.
"Don't say it, Brian. Sorry's bullshit, remember?" Justin shifted on the chair. "Well I guess I've exhausted my time here. I'll leave my key and call if I want to use the terrace again if that's okay."
Brian stood when Justin did, allowing his chest to brush against the shorter man's. He watched Justin's breathing become erratic with their proximity; the attraction just as strong now as the night they met.
Brian couldn't resist the urge as the blue eyes melted into his. Yes this was painful. Yes it may have even been wrong to some but fuck, it was them. Brian leaned in staring into Justin's eyes, giving him the chance to retreat. He saw the warring between what was morally right and what was right for himself going on behind Justin's eyes. Before Brian could pull back to keep him from having to decide, Justin laced the fingers of his left hand through Brian's hair and kissed him like a man starving for air. Brian responded immediately snatching Justin's heat for his own. Their tongues wrestled for dominance, hands gripping everywhere they could reach; the fire between them was as intense as it ever was. Justin nipped at Brian's lower lip causing the older man to groan at the pleasurable pain that Justin immediately soothed with his tongue before sucking on the succulent flesh. Brian in turn sucked and nibbled on Justin's plump top lip. Everything was wrong between them but God in Heaven it felt so fucking right.
"Wait..." Brian said between the biting kisses of his partner. Justin was alternating between his lips and neck wanting to devour all of Brian. "Justin...we can't."
"I don't want to stop, Brian. I need this so fucking much."
Part of that was music to Brian's ears. He had missed Justin so damn much that nothing was satisfying anymore. Not work. Not partying. Not fucking. Nothing but he also knew that Justin would hate himself if he was still attached to Ethan while fucking the hell out of Brian. And Brian couldn't let him do that to himself. He'd spent most of their time together trying to protect and provide for Justin, even from himself. He couldn't stop doing either of those things now. "I know you don't want to, Justin and neither do I."
"Then fucking don't," Justin whispered against his lips. "Please."
Fuck, the way he uttered that last word, Brian could have cum right then. The way Justin made it sound like begging and a command at the same time always went right to his cock and he would have liked nothing better than to bury himself deep inside of Justin's compact body and never reemerge. But this was too important for the overall well-being of the man within his arms. "Justin, you have to make a decision now."
"I've already made it. I want you to fuck me."
"Well I know that, twat. But that's not the one I'm talking about and you know it."
And he did know it indicated by the sigh which escaped him. "Do you know why I left, Brian?"
"You wanted a commitment which is something I can give but my way, not in a conventional way."
Justin nodded. "You're partly correct. My issue was that I didn't think I was enough for you."
"No, Brian, let me finish. I know that the tricks mean nothing and I know within my heart that I've always been more. But there are days when I feel like less not only to you but to me too. Ethan made me a priority in ways that you wouldn't. He said the things that I thought I needed to hear and I didn't have to guess where his loyalty was."
"Justin I told you from the start that we aren't lesbians, we aren't a couple of heteros and we're certainly not Stepford fags."
"We don't have to be, Brian. All I'm asking is that once in awhile, you do something that makes me feel like I'm not the trick that won't go home."
"Hell no. I'm allergic but then you know that." Justin laughed and Brian smiled in return.
"Then what, Sunshine?"
"Take me someplace other than Babylon or the Baths once in awhile. We can still do those things but sometimes I like it when it's just the two of us. We don't have to go around here so it doesn't fuck up your vaunted reputation nor mine."
"Oh so you have a reputation to keep up?"
"Certainly, Stud. If you're the best top, I'm second in line, Brian. Don't tell me you didn't know that."
Brian gives his trademark smirk in place of his answer. Of course he knew that but better to let the boy think he didn't so that he didn't start getting ideas pass the time Brian let him top once. "Anything else?"
"We can talk about it later...or in your case not. But let's do this our way, Brian. Too many people have opinions about what we do and who we do and where we do it. And people like Michael would love nothing better than to see us fail, have a wide open playing field to make that happen."
"So what you're basically asking for is commitment, not monogamy?"
"I'm asking for honesty up front. Let's not even think about monogamy since I'm only nineteen which has been your issue all along. We can work out the other details as we go along and if it's not right for us, then we need to say so. I don't want another time when someone has a chance to wreak havoc all because we were not happy and said nothing."
It didn't sound too bad to Brian. Of course there would always be somethings that Brian didn't verbalize but Justin had always been able to read him with the exception of the last few months but Brian supposed that was mainly because of his own issues regarding the bashing. Hell for the most part, Justin communicated verbally enough for the both of them. And like it or not, being without Justin for a week- only one week- had taught Brian that being without Justin was something he didn't want to have to do again....although he would never tell anyone else that and especially not Justin. But he suspected he knew already. If that kiss was any indication, Justin had been going through his own personal hell of life without Brian as well and it had nothing to do with his physical comfort. They were each others' lifelines, their life preservers to keep them from sinking into life's ever changing currents. And how could anyone, even Brian Kinney, deny that.
And if you have a minute
Why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go?
Somewhere only we know*
*Somewhere Only We Know- Keane