This snippet has *nothing* to do with socks. Unless they are in cahoots with my snippet. Which would be so not a surprise.
This is, seriously, a really pointless snippet. Queer as Folk, middish season four. I think I wrote it for someone (burnitbackwards? nonchop?). Do you remember what I was *thinking*?
They always start out the same.
Cody's at my left, yelling in my ear, and I'm standing over Chris Hobbes with my gun in his mouth. He's crying and trying to talk, but everything comes out in bruised sounds and sharp, broken words. A gun in your mouth will do that to you.
It's quiet, like it wasn't that night, and it feels like the world's stopped to wait and see what I'll do.
It starts right there, it always starts there, with my finger on the safety, pulling it back just to hear the sound. He'll hear it every night when he closes his eyes, remember every time he opens them. Like I don't. He'll see *this* second, down on his knees to the dirty fag that jerked him off in the locker room once upon a time. Like I can't. He won't forget. Like I did.
I'm standing there, and I can feel the trigger under my finger. It's cold, but I'm too hot and I wish I'd taken off the coat, because I'm sweating through my shirt and it makes my fingers slick. I feel the slip before I do it, and I can't even be surprised.
I don't remember the sound of a bat, the night I almost died. I don't need the memory when I have the man who wakes up in a cold sweat beside me. I don't need the memory when it stares out at me from my mother's eyes everytime she looks at me. I don't need the memory when it's written into Daphne's face.
It's for that, I think, watching his eyes widen when my finger slip. It's for Mom's long nights in the hospital, not knowing if I'd live or die. It's for Daphne's tears in the waiting room, my blood soaking her dress. It's for Brian and the nightmares he lives through every day, that he sees every time he looks at me.
And it's for me. For the slam of a baseball bat that took away so much of everything that made me who I was. For taking the memories of what could have been the best night of my life. For taking a little of my mind so I can never draw again the same way that I used to.
Chris won't remember this. I watch the bullet blow out the back of his head.
It's for me, for making me the person who can watch him die and not care.
I stand there and watch him bleed out on the ground, like a night I don't remember.
That's when I wake up.
"Whoever you are, you have five seconds to convince me not to kill you."
There's something to be said for unapologetic rudeness--it does tend to startle others into instant compliance. Or outright hostility, but this is a phone, not a personal encounter, and he was just woken up out of an hour and a half of unrestful sleep with a very restless, nauseated, extremely cranky boyfriend. Curling the phone against his ear, Justin shoots a quick glance behind him, taking in the careful curl of Brian beneath layers of blanket and covers. He's never been cold before, but Justin sweats through his nights now and Brian never quite stops shivering even when he sleeps.
Brian's never carried much weight on him--any, if Justin's memory serves. He carries less now, tanned golden skin stretched tight over thin bone, so sharp it feels like Justin could cut himself if he tries to touch.
"Four," he tells the phone, watching the slight shift of blankets. It's only luck he didn't wake up when Justin got out of bed in a lurch toward the phone by the stairs.
He's never eaten much, barring munchies with Michael when they get high, because Michael believes in carbs and fat like other people believe in God, but now, Justin can barely remember the last time Brian held something down more than a few hours.
It's tricky like that, and Justin has to pretend not to notice, pretend he doesn't see, pretend he's got everything under control and nothing fazes him at all, and it's easy, when Brian's dressed and calm and doing his Brian-thing that makes everything almost normal. That makes it possible for Brian to go to work and talk to his friends and go to Woody's like nothing's the matter, and that makes it possible for Justin to breathe, to laugh, to fuck a trick in the bathroom and then coax Brian home and act like everything's fine.
It's tricky, because it lets Brian have those hours, and then it takes them away, and it's Brian, cold sweat and shaking hands, a decadent sprawl against their bathroom wall like it's all deliberate, like it's just another night, snide and cold by turns, but that's better than the silence.
It's tricky, because sometimes it's like that, and sometimes, it's like this, when Justin's left outside the bathroom door for hours, listening to the radiation tearing Brian apart from the inside out, and there's nothing he can do but force him into bed and curl up beside him, watch him sleep and hope to God he doesn't wake up again too soon..
All Justin wants sometimes is to lock the door and push Brian into bed, *keep* him there, load him down with every comfort food ever made, and tell the rest of the world to fuck itself. Wrap all the way around him and stop the shivering with his body, because Brian's never warm anymore. Yell at anyone who dares to call and want something. Watch him, the way he can't when Brian's awake, just sit and watch and believe that this will pass. That it has to. He can't afford to believe anything else.
Son of a *bitch*, if this is some trick who just *had* to see if he could get lucky tonight.... "One--"
"Justin?" Michael's voice seems more whiney than usual, or it could be residual bitterness; either way, Justin's not amused.
"He's *sleeping*." Instinctively lowering his voice, Justin glances back at the bed. No movement--an exhausted, frustrated, and very cranky sleeping Brian could so easily transform into an awake, hostile one, fond of dramatic throwing-things-through-doors gestures, and Justin only has his boxers on. He's not dealing with any more drama tonight. "What the fuck do you think you're *doing*? You have any *fucking* idea how long it took to get him to sleep?" Chicken soup is for shit when stacked against radiation. Justin's learned more in two and a half hours about the direct effects of cancer treatments than days of furtive website hopping.
Michael voice actually sounds guilty. "Sorry. Just--" He trails off and Justin sighs.
"I know. He's--" Fine? He's not. Okay? Nope. Alive? Yes. Yes. *Yes*. "He's sleeping." A short pause, before Justin closes his eyes. "He'll be okay."
"Yeah." There's a weird vibe to his voice above and beyond the whine, and Justin, sparing one last worried glance at the bed, carefully sits down. He can still hang up at any time. "I guess--I'm glad you're there."
Justin almost smiles. "Thanks. He was--" Calm? Unhappy? Fucking *furious* that anything, especially his body, had turned on him like this? "Sleepy."
Michael sighs, because if anyone knows, Michael would. Justin rubs absently at his forehead and imagines how wonderful life would be right now if he just crawled back into bed with Brian and went to sleep. Good times. Such good times.
"You know--" Michael's voice trails off, sounding uncertain, and Justin wonders if something's wrong. "Call me if you need anything. Keep me updated. You know?"
Justin nods slowly into the phone, feeling his chest tighten for everything Michael really means with those words, what he's saying he's given up. "I will."
"Have a good night." Before Justin can answer, he hears a dial tone, and Justin thinks of Michael at home, chewing his thumbnail like Brian always does. Putting the phone down, Justin looks at the bed, the pale, sleeping man on it, and thinks he won't be sleeping any more today.
Brian was on his back on the bathroom floor, trying to look casual. Justin supposed you took what image sops you could get when you'd revisited dinner twice in two hours.
"I hate this fucking tile."
Justin turned his head slowly from his slump against the wall, trying to focus. Everything was that gentle haze of exhaustion that comes about an hour after you should be unconscious and just aren't, and Justin thought longingly of the coffee he'd dumped out two hours ago, the very smell of which had caused this latest round of fun and games.
"Tile?" Tile. Brian's head turned to give it a long, suspicious glare, like it alone was responsible for the troubles in his life, and it was sort of relieving that Brian didn't even have the energy to move, much less go looking for something to pry it up with, which the twitching fingers seemed to be desperately wishing they could do. "What's wrong with it?"
Everything was wrong with it, apparently, from the way Brian looked at him, like he'd just expressed a preference for pussy, and Justin let himself slump a little more, trying to find a comfortable position. Brian could be on to something here. Justin could imagine how comfortable carpet would be.
"It's--" Brian drew in a slow breath, and Justin straightened, watching the long fingers dig into the floor briefly. He was too pale, too thin, and too fucking stubborn to just be a normal person and crawl into bed. Right, multiple changing of sheets required, and Justin didn't want to remember the way Brian had reacted to the first set Justin had removed. Because God knew, come from a dozen partners in one night was just fucking fine, but somehow, throwing up made things unclean and fit only for burning. Justin supposed it was just pure luck that even Brian's will wasn't enough to get him to the basement, sheets in hand, to ritually burn them or whatever it was he had in mind.
Justin bit back a worried noise when Brian went still, eyes closed. "Blue."
Brian didn't answer. Justin closed his eyes and tried to pretend this was just a night with a hangover, like the ones that Brian had mocked him through, except he got Brian's gentle hands and careful touches and Brian wouldn't let Justin within a foot of him. "Blue. To. You know. Go with my eyes."
"You are. Fucking. Kidding me." And it almost sounded deliberate, the sarcasm strained through clenched teeth. Justin sucked in a breath and let it out. It was any night in the bathroom, any night at all.
"I'm the one who gets fucked on them. Why not?"
"I'm not. Coordinating my bathroom. To your *eye color*." Justin listened, but Brian wasn't moving, and his voice sounded easier, almost cheerfully acid.
"Maybe yellow." Justin opened his eyes, grinning when he saw Brian's raised eyebrows, grinning more when he saw the lax fingers folded lightly over Brian's stomach. "Something bright. Cheerful. *Sunny*."
Brian didn't even dignify that with a response.
"No." And Justin punctuated it by blocking the door. Leaning into it, anyway, and he was reminded that Lindsay was not only just as tall as he was, she was a lot fresher from having actually slept.
"Justin," she began, looking at him over Gus' head, "I need to talk to him--"
"He's sleeping." Brian had been mostly unconscious by the time Justin had called in to tell Cynthia that Brian would be out for the day. No way to protest, though Justin's carefully not thinking about Brian's reaction when he finds out. Dawn was only three hours back, Justin had barely fallen asleep when the door buzzed, and never had he ever wished so much that he'd just stayed in bed and left the door locked. "Look, call back tonight--"
"He'll survive his hangover." She moved like she was going to come in, like he just might move, but it would take a miracle from God, or a huge, fluffy mattress floating by, to budge him right now. The doorjamb does well just holding him up. "Look--"
"No. Call later."
The blue eyes narrowed in that way that always made Justin nervous, sliding over him like she was reading all his secrets on his skin. Something in her always made him feel the vague need to confess--the mother-feeling, the warmth, or maybe just the fact that second to the Novotny family, she'd known Brian longest and best. She'd know--maybe she'd know what he should do, or maybe she'd just know how to accept, how to go with the flow, how not to bite his lip and want to catch Brian every damn time he moved, how to--
God, he sounded like such a fucking twat, even in his own head.
"Is something wrong?"
Justin clenched his hand into his thigh. "Everything's fine. We just didn't sleep much last night." And somehow, his voice came out light and careless and teasing, like it would have when he was younger and trying to shock her, before he knew she couldn't be shocked at all.
She frowned, shifting Gus, opening her mouth to argue, and Justin thought of Brian, who barely slept and might wake up any second, wake up and see Lindsay, when he wasn't ready, when he was too tired to hide a fucking thing, and Justin didn't think he'd take that well at all.
"Call," Justin said firmly and reached for the door, meeting surprised blue eyes for just a second before pulling it shut. He knew she'd hear the lock turn, knew she'd wonder, but he really couldn't bring himself to care.
Brian was still asleep when Justin sat down on the platform beside the bed, and Justin leaned a careful arm onto the mattress, eyes trained on Brian's face. Tired though he was, there'd be time to sleep later.