Written By: severina2001
Timeline: Post Season Five
Genre: Romance, Humour
Born To Love You
I ~ So Take a Chance With Me
Justin meant to return Brian’s call on Tuesday night, but he was called in for a late shift at the restaurant -- Steven claimed to have the flu, or food poisoning, or some such shit, and Justin had rolled his eyes and tactfully not pointed out to his manager that said intestinal bug just happened to coincide with the Madonna show at the Garden that Steven had been ranting and raving about wanting to attend for the last month. Besides, he could use the extra money.
He actually dialled Brian’s number on Wednesday afternoon, then remembered that Brian was pitching a new campaign to some mid-level carpet manufacturer. He hung up without leaving a message.
When Justin looked at the clock on Thursday evening, he was surprised to discover it was actually Friday morning. 4:13am to be exact. He spent twenty minutes adding some minor brush strokes to the work that had kept him up all night before stopping himself -- too much tweaking would ruin it -- and another fifteen minutes cleaning up. He looked longingly at the cell phone, but couldn’t bring himself to wake Brian up.
On Friday, Steven paid his way into Inferno, bought several rounds of drinks, and basically prostrated himself at Justin’s feet in penance for ditching his Tuesday shift. Justin mentally patted the eighty bucks in tips he’d made on Tuesday and lapped it up.
He woke up on Saturday morning on the sofa, feeling like death warmed over. His skull pounded, his stomach roiled, and as he cradled his head in his hands he remembered why he never ever ever drank Black Russians. His roommate had made the unfortunate decision to ‘treat’ them to a Big Breakfast of omelettes and bacon, so the entire apartment smelled like the Liberty Diner. And he’d somehow arrived home wearing a purple kimono… and his jacket was nowhere to be found. His white leather jacket. His favourite jacket.
He stumbled to the kitchen for a bottle of water before spotting the phone sitting on the counter. Brian. Yes. He would retreat to his room, call Brian, engage in some hot phone sex (or not, he wasn’t really sure if he was up to the actual touching of himself when there was still a distinct possibility that he might hurl) and feel better.
When the phone wasn’t answered on the fifth ring, he frowned.
When it had rung ten times, he squinted at the display to ensure that he had, in fact, dialled Brian’s number.
When it wasn’t answered on the twentieth ring, he began to get worried.
Justin’s finger hovered over the disconnect as he debated what to do. Brian was probably at the gym. Steam room -- couldn’t exactly bring a cell phone into the steam room, could he? Or he had an early morning breakfast with a client, and had turned his phone off so as not to be annoyed with long-distance boyfriends wanting to talk dirty at -- Justin glanced at the time -- 9:23 on a Saturday morning.
He had decided to hang up and crawl into bed with his new kimono when --
“I can’t believe it was behind the-- Hello?”
Justin lifted the phone from his ear to again check the display. Brian’s number. Right. “Um. Michael?”
Justin winced. Michael was entirely too cheery for a Saturday morning. Michael was generally entirely too cheery, but with a hangover the annoyance factor was increased tenfold. His head renewed its pounding. “Yeah. Is Brian--”
“Sorry it took so long to answer. The fucking thing was behind the fridge!”
“Behind… the fridge?”
“Yeah. Brian’s going to shit when he realizes he doesn’t have it.”
“Doesn’t have--- Where are you?”
“At the loft!” Michael replied, in a tone that implied that the information should be self-evident. Justin closed his eyes and imagined strangling Michael with the phone cord. “We volunteered to be clean-up crew,” Michael continued. “Ben says Hi. Oh, did you get my email about the next issue? I have some great ideas for a new villain--”
“I know, I’m rambling. I’m on a sugar high. We were eating donuts at, like, five in the morning. What?”
“Where. Is. Brian?” Justin gritted out.
“Uh, at the house?” Michael said. “It is moving day.”
Justin hung up.
* * *
Between the outrageous cost of last minute airfare -- Justin planned to pen a strongly worded letter to Liberty Air about their ridiculous price gouging once he was done kicking Brian’s ass -- and the astronomical cab fare to the middle of Nowheresville, Justin had exactly three dollars and seventy five cents to his name when he exited the taxi. Which meant he was going to have to dip into his Rage-In-Hollywood-Ha-Fucking-Ha Fund to pay this months rent. Which meant he’d have to kick Brian’s ass double-time.
And he didn’t have a key to the house.
And it was freezing.
After pounding on the door for five minutes, he gave up and stuck his hands in his regrettably-not-white-leather jacket. Staring at the door didn’t make it magically open, to his chagrin. Peering in the window netted him a look at the chaise, but no Brian. He was about to resort to breaking a window and probably setting off whatever ultra-expensive security system Brian had installed when he decided to do a circuit of the property first.
He found Brian on the back deck.
He hadn’t even known the house had a back deck.
Brian was bent forward, his elbows resting on the railing, cigarette smoke mixing with his breath to leave dual trails in the night air.
He watched Brian’s back tense, the shoulders hunch slightly in a way that had nothing to do with the cold. Then Brian turned, and the moment might never have happened. “Hey Sunshine.”
“That’s all you have to say? ‘Hey Sunshine?’”
Brian took a final drag on his smoke before tossing it over the railing. Justin’s eyes tracked the dim spark even as Brian spread his arms wide. “Welcome home?”
“Don’t be an ass.”
“It comes naturally.”
Justin pressed his lips together and nodded. He did his best to keep his anger in check, but his words came out clipped nonetheless. “Were you even planning to tell me you’d moved?”
Brian lifted a shoulder. “You’ve been busy.”
“Fuck you.” So much for anger management. “There’s such a thing as a telephone.”
“You haven’t been making much use of it lately,” Brian snapped back.
“I’ve been bus-- fuck.” Justin dropped his gaze, studying the wooden planks at his feet as he scrubbed a hand over the back of his neck. It was an mannerism he’d picked up from Brian. Like so many other things he’d picked up from Brian.
“Look. This is my home too.” He looked up then, suddenly wary. “Unless… it’s not my home.”
“I believe the quote was ‘Don’t be an ass’,” Brian snorted. “Of course it’s your home. Who the fuck else would want fucking stables?”
“I used to ride when I was a kid.”
“Of course you did.”
“Brian.” Justin sighed, crossing the distance between them to rest his cold hands on Brian’s shoulders. “What is this about?”
Brian shrugged. “It’s your home. It will always be your home. I just didn’t know--”
Brian lifted his head, and Justin sucked in a breath and remembered being seventeen, eighteen, nineteen… when Brian always appeared invincible. Seeing the vulnerability in Brian’s eyes, his gaze like a gentle caress, Justin wondered that he’d ever been that naïve.
“If you’d want to come back,” Brian finished softly.
Justin tugged until Brian bent at the knees, their foreheads pressed together. “Don’t be an ass,” he murmured before their lips met.
* * *
II ~ Let Me Romance With You
“I’m freezing,” Justin complained as soon as the french doors closed behind them.
“No shit,” Brian said, his eyes raking over Justin appraisingly. He tugged Justin closer, easily divesting him of his lightweight coat and rubbing his hands briskly over Justin’s arms. No matter how long they were together, Justin still marvelled at how quickly and efficiently Brian was able to get him out of his clothes. “Where the fuck is your jacket?”
“I, uh, I might have traded it. For a kimono.”
“You were drinking Black Russians again, weren’t you?” He smirked when Justin blushed. “Jesus Christ, I’m going to have to come to New York just to watch over you.”
“Okay,” Justin grinned. And Brian grinned back. And Justin made a mental promise to cut back on his hours at the restaurant, to make more of an effort to call, to clear his schedule on at least one weekend a month so that he’d be free when Brian came to town, to make sure their visits included walking in Central Park and dancing at Inferno and fucking like mad weasels every chance they got.
He especially liked the mad weasels part.
He shivered despite Brian’s ministrations. “Do you have any coffee?”
“I believe the question should be ‘Do we have any coffee.’ And really, Sunshine, the best method you can conceive of to warm yourself up is a hot beverage?” Brian leaned in to lick a warm path across Justin’s collarbone, and Justin shivered for a completely different reason.
“Clearly the cold has rattled my brain,” he murmured.
And somehow Brian had shrugged the shirt from his shoulders, and his pants were loose around his hips, and Justin had no idea how they’d gotten there. And Brian’s hand was warm on the small of his back, and Brian’s lips had found his nipple and sucked, sucked, and Justin’s head clunked on the hardwood when they hit the floor but he didn’t care, his back arched and Brian’s hands were on his thighs, spreading him wide. Brian’s forehead was nudging at his cock and Brian’s tongue was at his hole, and he squinted his eyes shut and felt his fingers scrabbling at the hardwood for purchase, and then Brian’s lips were on his dick, his tongue licking a path along the throbbing vein, and he waited for the telltale scrunch of the condom wrapper because he needed Brian inside him, needed it, like water, like air. He might have been whimpering. He didn’t care.
And then Brian was loving him, and he crossed his ankles at Brian’s back and clenched his ass, felt the gasp of Brian’s breath at his neck, tugged on Brian’s ear and kissed him. Loved him back. In their home.
* * *
“I don’t remember this,” Justin said.
Brian leaned against the doorframe, watching Justin take in the room. “I don’t think you got the full tour.”
Justin glanced back. “No. I’d remember this.” He turned away, yanking at the belt on his oversized bathrobe -- borrowed from Brian, of course, he was really going to have to keep doubles of the essentials here at the house, and that was going to cut into his budget, but he resolved not to think about that now -- and tracked a course around the room, his wide-eyed gaze absorbing the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, the cavernous ceiling. “It’s… a ballroom?”
“I was thinking we could use it as a gallery,” Brian said, pushing away from the door. “Only the best Taylor originals, of course.”
“And Ugly Naked Guy?”
Brian shook his head. “We have to find a new place for him.”
He reached Justin’s side and grabbed his hand, pulling him close. “Of course, if you want to use it as a ballroom…” he said, sliding his right hand around Justin’s waist, taking his left, swaying a little on his feet, guiding Justin into the movement, step step back, step step side, step step back… The only sound the rustle of silk on flannel, the subtle slap of bare feet on wooden floor…
They flowed together, and Justin closed his eyes and swore he could hear music. Something old. Something…
“Shit.” He stopped, opening his eyes.
Brian’s grip tightened on his waist. Long fingers flexed on his hip, grinding into him through the thick fabric of the robe. Every nerve in Brian’s body seemed to vibrate where they touched.
Justin let out a breath. “I remember… that I was happy. Ecstatic.”
“I remember the way you smiled at me.” Open, warm, vibrant. Free. “I remember that.”
“It’s when I fell in love with you,” Brian’s voice was raspy and raw.
Justin smiled. “I remember that, too.”
* * *
III ~ I’m Caught In A Dream
Justin had placed his latest three orders with the kitchen and was waiting for Enrique to mix the drinks for Table Seven when Steven poked his head around the maitre-d’s stand and whistled at him. Occasionally Justin thought that Steven was mentally challenged.
Taking a quick look to ensure Tony wasn’t paying attention, Justin flashed a smile at Enrique and held up a finger before stepping over to Steven.
“What?” he hissed. The “the fuck” was clearly implied.
“You have a phone call,” Steven sang.
“Oh Christ. Is it my mother? Just because Molly’s birthday present is, like, three weeks late--”
“It’s not your mom. It’s Briiiiian.”
Justin rolled his eyes as he grabbed for the receiver. Steven’s straight-forward (or not so straight-forward) lust for Brian had started out amusing, quickly moved into annoying, and now struck him as somewhat pitiful... quite possibly because he heard a lot of his former seventeen-year-old self in Steven’s teasing tones. Of course, he had been only seventeen and Steven was twenty-six, so Justin figured he had every right to be annoyed.
“Hey,” he said into the phone.
“What the fuck is this NO to the sofa?” Brian barked.
“It’s a classic Giorgio Mauricio,” Brian said, as if that explained everything.
“It looks like a medieval torture device,” Justin said calmly. Classic Smlassic. “There is no way that thing is going in my study.”
“It’s our study, and I want it.”
“Then this is a nice lesson for you in learning that you can’t always get what you want.”
Justin could hear Brian breathing, and prepared himself for a queen-out of truly Kinney-esque proportions. Then--
“I got you,” Brian said.
Sometimes Brian just did not play fair.
Justin sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Steven was mincing at his side, and Enrique was making subtle your drinks are ready gestures that involved multiple hand movements and intricate eyebrow wiggles, and Candy had seated another group in his section, and all Justin wanted was to snuggle up on a sofa -- any sofa, even one that resembled a Catharine Wheel -- and relax. With Brian. Always with Brian.
“Email me the photos again,” he said.
“You’re a smug bastard.”
He could practically see Brian grinning. “Bye, Sunshine.”
* * *
Sometime between working four shifts a week, painting until the wee hours, pounding the pavement to schlep his work to galleries and smile winningly and use every ounce of charm he had in a mostly vain attempt to convince their owners to display his work, flying to the Pitts once a month, seeing New York with Brian at his side, and discussing, planning and choosing furniture and supplies for their home… Justin realized that he was exhausted.
Not just tired. Tired he could handle. Tired was a good thing. Tired was the rush of exhilaration when a canvas took shape after hours of work. Tired was the thrill of knowing that the posters you’d spent all night hanging on the streets of Pittsburgh were making people think and question and act. Tired was drinking and dancing and fucking all night long, and waking up with a mouth full of cotton and Brian’s drool on your stomach.
Tired was a very good thing.
But this was exhaustion. Bone crunching, soul numbing. He sleepwalked through his days. He sketched room designs on paper napkins that were hard as fuck to scan and send to Brian. He began to wonder what he was doing it all for.
He spent the early evening sitting in the café around the corner from his apartment, sipping raspberry tea and revelling in the burst of inspiration he’d had for Rage, the preliminary sketches almost flying from his brain to the paper. Justin grinned wickedly. This villain was going to cause a shitstorm of controversy. And he loved it.
When his hand began to ache, he reluctantly put away his supplies and gathered his bags. A cursory check to make sure his uniform was folded neatly in his backpack, and then he began the hike to the restaurant.
“Oh my god,” Candy said as soon as he stepped in the door. Justin looked around, feeling instantly guilty. The restaurant was bustling, most of the tables already filled from the nine p.m. seating, and -- he glanced at his watch -- he was late. Again.
“Shit,” he murmured. “I’m sorry. Fuck. Is Tony here?” The last thing he needed was management breathing down his neck. Again.
“I covered your ass,” Steven said as he hustled past with a tray laden with designer drinks.
“Tony? What?” Candy grabbed him by the elbow, propelling him toward the kitchen. “Who cares about Tony? We’ve been trying to reach you for three days!”
“I was home.” Justin shook his head. “At Brian’s. Pittsburgh. Whatever. What?”
“This guy,” Candy reached out to pluck a card tucked into the corner of the kitchen’s tiny bulletin board, “has been trying to reach you for days! He wants to showcase you, Justin.”
Justin stared at the card. Squinted at the card. The card for one of New York’s most prestigious galleries. Candy was practically dancing in place and all he could do was gape. “What?”
“Your own show, Justin. Isn’t it amazing?”
Justin closed his mouth. Closed his eyes. Everything seemed heightened, stronger, more intense -- the bristly material of the knapsack strap in his palm, the pungent scent of spices hanging in the air, the rattle of pots, the murmur of diners as they laughed, argued, loved. He was aware that Candy was talking, about opportunities and changes and…
“I have to talk to Tony,” he said.
Justin found the manager schmoozing with a group of big-wigs from a record company or some such shit, and hurriedly pulled him away from the table. The executives gave him dirty looks and he didn’t give a fuck. He cut off Tony’s whispered tongue-lashing and informed him that there’d been an emergency.
He had to go home.
* * *
IV ~ And my dream’s come true
Pounding up the stairs at four o’clock in the morning, Justin took a moment to be thankful that they’d made the “no tricks in the house” rule. Not that he’d have any difficulty unceremoniously kicking some random guy out of Brian’s bed -- their bed -- but it was nice to know that it wasn’t ever going to be a problem. For either of them.
He flicked on the light and nearly danced to the bed, pushing impatiently on Brian’s shoulder. “Brian!”
One moment Brian’s arm was slung carelessly across his eyes, his mouth open, his breathing even. The next he was sitting up in bed, eyes unfocused, his fingers digging painfully into Justin’s arm. “What the fuck? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine! Okay, here’s the thing.” Justin took a deep breath. “I never wanted to paint.”
“I always wanted to be an artist. I love to create. I love that thrill I get when something comes together just the way I want it to.” Justin got up, brushing away Brian’s hand and beginning to pace around the room. “I wanted to be a graphic artist. Or a designer. Or to work in animation. Fuck, Brian, do you know what a rush it is when what you see in your head actually comes out onto the paper? It’s the most amazing feeling in the world.”
“I get that,” Brian said, pausing with a cigarette halfway to his mouth.
“Yeah. Yeah, you would get that,” Justin said. “I need to create, Brian. But I never wanted to see my paintings hung in galleries. I never wanted to be famous. I never wanted pretentious twits to see my stuff and swill champagne and analyze the meaning of life in my brushstrokes. And I don’t understand why I’m killing myself every day in New York trying to be something that everybody else wants me to be, but I don’t give a fuck about!”
“As long as I can make a living through my art, I’ll be happy. And I can do that with Rage. I can, fuck, I can create children’s books, I’ve been working sporadically on this thing for Gus that could be so awesome, I can design furniture that’s a hell of a lot nicer than that piece of shit Mauricio that you want us to buy--”
Brian snorted out a laugh.
“…I can do whatever the fuck I want to do. I can--”
“You can,” Brian smiled.
* * *
The official housewarming took place six months after Justin moved home. A few Taylor originals lined the walls of the ballroom. The Mauricio sofa had been purchased, then relegated to the sunroom when it proved to be as excruciatingly painful to sit on as Justin had predicted. The brass signage announcing “Britin” beside the door was understated and elegant, and the house was lit with laughter even when there wasn’t a raucous housewarming in full swing.
With Brian’s arm warm and heavy at his waist, Justin felt alive.
Authors Notes: Chapter titles taken from Freddie Mercury’s “I Was Born To Love You”