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It's been a long time since Justin's seen Brian sleep like this--the restless energy has seeped away, leaving a boneless sprawl of body and limbs, and Justin can see Gus in the soft curve of his mouth, the sweep of dark lashes against his cheek, the slightly open mouth that drools onto the pillow. One of the thousand times that Justin's fingers itch for his sketchpad, but he contents himself with looking, with careful touches--the curve of Brian's shoulder. The lines of the arm draped over Justin's chest. Silky skin that he followed with his tongue only hours ago, eyes closed, and he can taste Brian still on his tongue.
It's the first time Justin's had an opportunity to watch in longer than he can remember. Too much coffee tonight from that place only two doors down from the shop, hideously convenient, and he's hypped up on espresso and sugar and worry. All this energy, charging him just enough to steal sleep, not enough to make him want to even consider doing anything productive.
Brooding seems like a great idea, though, and he closes his eyes.
New York. There are possibilities there that aren't here. If he's honest (and he's trying, God, is he trying), he knows that this has nothing to do with them. That this is important. That this is survival.
That this is nothing like the other time, except--
*"Are you going to move to New York?"*
*"I don't know."*
*"Did you get an offer?"*
*"When? I mean, were you planning on telling me before you left or were you gonna send a quickie email from New York?"*
*"Don't be such a shit. I was considering my options."*
*"What's to consider? You said you couldn't get a job in Pittsburgh selling your ass these days."*
*"I may have been exaggerating."*
*"Is it good? The offer?"*
Am I one of those considered options? He hadn't asked. That trips into territory neither of them are anywhere near ready to start exploring again.
Carefully, Justin rolls on his side, wincing. There's a low ache of muscle and the sting of skin that reminds him that they do their best dealing with their bodies. Nothing's ever solved, right, but orgasms make problems seem a lot less important in retrospect.
At least, for a little while. Long term's the idea of hard plans for dinner. Short term is really all Justin wants anymore. That he can deal with.
Things change. Sometimes, though, he wishes they wouldn't. At least, not so fast.
And thinking like this isn't even close to conductive for sleep. Sighing quietly, he pushes himself up, sliding from beneath Brian's arm, careful not to jostle the bed too much--not that Brian looks in danger of waking up for anything short of a major earthquake. Grabbing the sheet that had somehow been orphaned on the floor, he pulls it around him, shivering a little at the chill of the loft. Brian and his edicts against heaters at night--Justin's hazy on the entire reasoning, though he thinks it has something to do with dry air and maybe health. Considering Deb keeps her house at a desert-like ninety five all winter....
Eww. Sweating during the winter for non-recreational purposes in bed just isn't sexy.
The couch is as good a place as any to fall down, grunting softly at the impact and rise of dust. Reaching beneath him, he pulls out a still-wrapped condom from the small of his back and drops it on the floor. The very model of safe sex readiness. He remembers wandering around on one of his first unsupervised excursions into Brian's loft and finding them literally everywhere. This intense, visceral reminder of who he was fucking, what he was up against, and it still somehow surprises him, that he was so *sure*. So he'd been only seventeen and dumb as hell, that's the nice thing about that age--he hadn't known what he wanted was impossible. Not a single clue.
He kind of misses being dumb. This growing up and thinking thing is exhausting. So much easier when life's a want-have kind of situation.
There's still half a bottle of wine by the couch, and Justin leans over just enough to pick it up and take a long drink. Yes, this is what he's come to. Waking up in the middle of the night after great sex to drink alone in his boyfriend's (and better not even say that out loud in your *head*, Taylor, he'll hear you). It's depressing. It's maudlin. It's--cold.
It's really cold, and what again did he have against brooding in a nice, warm bed?
A hand slides under his neck, and Justin tilts his head back enough to look at Brian as he's carefully lowered back down. "What are you doing up?"
"Lost my space heater." Simple and to the point. Justin grins despite himself, letting his head relax on Brian's thigh.
"If you'd be normal and use a heater at night--"
"Why are you still awake?"
Count the reasons. "Just not as tired as I thought." It's pretty lame as excuses go, but Brian's doing that thing to his hair--that almost-absent stroking thing that nine times out of ten he'd swear Brian doesn't even know he's doing, and Justin tries to keep very still when he does. Soothing on some primal level, or if he's honest (and he is, he really is), he just loves when Brian touches him. "What time are you leaving?"
"In the morning?" Great. Just great.
"That's the idea." The bottle's taken from his hand and Justin watches Brian study it as if it's the first bottle ever seen in history. "Drinking alone, at night, in the dark. Your mother's right--I'm a terrible influence."
Justin can't help grinning. "Pretty much, yeah."
It's nice like this, simple quiet and cool dark, wrapped in warm sheets. Except of course, Brian's pretty much naked and acting like it's just perfectly fine, but the fingers in his hair are cold. Justin sits up, shifting back until he can curl up on top of him, pulling the sheet around them both. "You're going to freeze."
"Not as long as you're around."
Justin shifts to stare down at Brian, who smiles back drowsily. He's really not completely awake yet. "Wow. That was almost romantic."
"I have my moments. Get your knee out of my stomach."
Justin swallows a laugh and draws his legs up, deliberately kicking at Brian's knee before settling back down, pulling the sheet over them both. The bed would be warmer with the duvet. But the couch is perfect. Even if he's losing feeling in his toes. Fast. "Where are you staying in New York?"
"I'm leaving a copy of my itinerary," Brian answers absently, and Justin shivers as cold hands slide down his bare arms. "Emergency phone number. That sort of thing."
"Emergency phone sex?"
It's a comfortable kind of silence, the kind that Justin could live on pretty easily. Life's so rarely calm. Any other night, they'd be out somewhere, high or drunk or fucking or all three, and Justin's not against that or anything, but.... It, this, is ridiculously domestic, even if he doesn't live here. Shifting again, he rolls his eyes at Brian's mocking groan and brushes his lips across Brian's neck, settling down again.
Of course, can't possibly last.
"My sophomore year."
Brian shifts like he wants to move, but Justin's just getting comfortable. Fuck the distance thing. Brian can deal while being cuddled, dammit. "College. When Michael met James."
For some reason, it sounds like a Disney based romantic comedy. Possibly involving bad double dates and some kind of plot device with big storms and wet clothes. "Bad relationship?"
Brian snickers. "Depends on who you talk to. Debbie adored him. Very ingratiating guy." Brian leans his head down, brushing their noses together, making Justin laugh. It's cold. And wonderful. "And considerably older than Mikey."
"Did he find Mikey on a streetcorner, too?"
"I think it was the produce aisle at the market, but don't hold me to it. It was years ago."
Brian doesn't forget. High, drunk, dead sober, half-asleep, that mind never really stops, never really slows. Brian's remembering now; Justin can feel it in the tension in the body beneath him, the way the hand on his arm keeps stroking with absent rhythm.
"Why'd they break up?"
Brian looks down at him. "What's the reason Mikey always breaks up?"
Well, yeah. "Bad?"
"I've seen soap operas with less histrionics, if that's what you mean." Warm breath against his hair, and Justin shivers with something that has nothing to do with cold when a warm tongue traces the outline of his ear. "What? No questions into the great mystery? No poking? Prodding? Whining?"
Justin shakes his head. "Nah. I'll work it out on my own." The tension's so sudden that Justin lifts his head--Brian's expression is curiously blank. "Hey. You okay?"
Brian nods, absently stroking Justin's hip, like he's completely forgotten that Justin's there at all. Crap.
Distant hazel eyes meet his. "Hmm?"
"What--what did he do? To Mikey?"
Brian shrugs casually, but there's nothing casual about the hold on him. Yeah, Brian doesn't forget much. Anything. "He liked them young. And stupid."
Justin leans back a little, glaring down. "If that's a comparison to me--"
"....sweet." Pure malice, and Justin fights down a smile when he's pushed back into the arm of the couch. "Innocent."
Since when? "Not blond?"
Justin hisses when Brian licks slowly across his collarbone. Jesus. Thoughtful to horny in under fifteen seconds. That had to be some kind of record. Even for him. "Blond is an acquired taste." Teeth graze just below his jaw, that spot that makes him hard no matter where he is or what he's doing.
"Brian." The hard press of the arm of the couch into his back is forgotten, he's hard and Brian's--stopping. The fucker. "Don't stop. Don't you fucking dare stop."
"I want something." Long fingers close over his cock lightly, smoothing up with only the tips of his fingers. Justin thinks he's going to stop breathing. Or break his back.
"...what the fuck..."
"Little favor." Another of those slow tickling strokes, and when did Brian become such a fucking tease anyway? "Nothing you can't handle, Sunshine."
"...anything." He's stupid when he's hard. This isn't a surprise or anything. Just a fact of life. Brian can conduct national ad campaigns when getting his dick sucked. Justin loses most of his Mensa-class IQ.
"Don't trick while I'm gone."
Audio hallucinations must be part of it these days. Justin could swear he just heard-- "What?"
A rough tap to his forehead, and Justin opens his eyes. "You heard me."
There's no way to even *begin* to figure this one out. "I'm not the one--" So he does it, but not in a lifestyle choice sort of way. He's nineteen and he's free to do what he wants when he wants. He takes advantage of that. Sometimes. Rarely. Okay, four times since Brian and one of those Brian was fucking *watching* them, so does that even count? "You're serious."
"Like a wake."
Depends on who died, now doesn't it? "What about you?"
Brian leans close enough to breathe. Warm and familiar, and Justin wonders if it's ground into his skin like it is in his mind. No one ever feels, has ever felt, this right. "You didn't ask."
Justin forgets his aching back and forces his mind to clear up. Of course Brian would pull this right now. Because--uhm-- "And if I did?"
Brian shrugs, as carelessly as if he hadn't just change everything in a few words. Justin wonders if the day will ever come when Brian stops surprising him. "Ask and find out."