Wow, that sounds mean, doesn't it?
Daphne passes him back the joint, long fingers slipping between his when he inhales, nails brushing against his lips. Sweet, sickly smoke filling his lungs, thick and rich and raw. The apartment's soaked with it, and he'd be high off just the fumes if he wasn't participating.
"They've always been in love." His voice sounds like the smoke tastes. Daphne rolls against him, head sharing the pillow, and only ex-lovers can move this close, feel this familiar, a body he knows and is still a mystery. Soft in places that are unfamiliar when he wraps his arms around her, dragging her close enough to breathe her in. "God. Fuck. It's like fucking *fate*."
"You believe in that shit?" Raising herself on an elbow, she waits while he puts the joint between his lips and leans down, sealing her mouth over his, breathing in. A trick Brian taught him once upon a time, and it's hot, even if it's with a girl. She pulls back, glazed, dilated eyes and soft bubblegum-pink mouth. "Blah blah blah--"
"You didn't see them together."
It's a lie. Everyone saw them together. If it were revenge, Justin would never forgive it, but it wasn't, because Brian's a bitch but his revenges are performances and tonight wasn't scripted. That moment you think you know and you do know are so different it's like night and day. That second when you stop breathing. That moment that you think you never will again.
It was Babylon for Brian. Of course it would be Woody's for him. Fate has a fucked up sense of humor.
"Fuck that." She's boneless on top of him, and her weight's different, falling on him in unfamiliar points, soft as air. Her hair brushes beneath his chin when she nuzzles close. "You never believed crap like that."
She'd seen and hadn't. How right and natural and fucking *meant to be* and the anti-Brian-and-Justin--these two forever-fucking friends who fall hopeless and sickeningly in love, and fuck if Justin doesn't imagine improbably romantic things like candlelight dinners and Brian not passing out post-coital.
Michael, Justin thinks, is a talker.
Time's dripping by, but it moved too fast today. From the second he got out of bed and thought he knew to the second he watched the live color version played out in the middle of Woody's and *really* knew. Brian lied for shit with his body. It was the only thing that ever told the truth. And everything these last weeks had been goodbye.
"You want to. Even now." She's too stoned to be tactful, and her arms slide around him. "Poor Justin, left by his boyfriend for another man. Give me another hit."
Justin hands it over and vaguely hopes she doesn't burn a hole into his shirt. "He wasn't my boyfriend."
"I'm not laughing, I swear. That's just the sound of a pig flying out of my ass singing Christmas carols." She snickers and hands the joint back unsteadily, settling back down on top of him. "Christ, you sound like when you and Ethan broke up. Except less cute."
He'd bled all over her good towels and cried himself sick in the bathroom, throwing up dinner and a blowjob into the toilet. Pleasant memories, thanks. "Fuck. You."
"Been there, done that," she sings, rolling off him to the bed. "That's why you come to me, you know."
What? He's so fucking stoned, but he can still think. It's unfair. Something stronger. He needs something *better*. "You're fucking out of it."
"Like a big faggot dork, all, my boyfriend cheated! With his bestest friend ever! I'm so pitiful and traumatized! Love me! Reinforce my self-image as Brian's baby martyr! Affirm my self-worth!" She giggles, and yeah, she's *so* high. "But give it a month."
"A month?" She's using some bizarre logic that he can't follow. Maybe this shit is better than he'd thought. "My not-boyfriend is *fucking his best friend*. You get how completely this is different?"
Daphne grins and blows out a cloud of sweet smoke that hangs over them like a blanket. "It's all semantics. You know."
She turns her head and giggles at him, forehead pressed to his. "I love you, Justin."
Jesus. He's too high to figure this out. "Wanna fuck?" He's too high for good judgement, too.
"I like my ass the way it is, thanks."
"Okay." He takes the hit when she holds the joint to his mouth. "I'm going to fucking die when I come down. I'm going to fucking die." If this is what it's like when he's stoned, he'll never survive being down. Never, ever, ever.
"You'll totally not die." A long, slow drag, and Justin studies it from professional curiosity. She probably gives good head if this is any indication. "You'll just wish you would."
"You're the worst fucking friend in the world."
"Aww." She leans close and brushes her mouth over his cheek. She smells like designer shower gel and pot. "It's okay, Justin. You know."
"What I do." Her eyes are soft and he wishes it were for him and not the pot. "The fantasy's never as good as reality."
Trite, stupid, cliche. He snorts. "Whatever."
Her smile doesn't fade. "Except when it is." Her fingers trace the buttons on his shirt like she's contemplating removing them with her teeth. Justin considers the fact his cock doesn't get why on earth he's sitting here for this. Dark eyes stare into his, and she looks a lot less stoned. "Poor little Justin, betcha never thought you'd ever get mileage out of this."
Rolling on his side, Justin breathes in. Sickly sweet and like drowning in the honey of her eyes. Her voice is hypnotic because it's telling him something he can almost understand. "You're high." Tell me.
She draws patterns in the smoke with her nails. He remembers how they felt in his back.
"You're his fantasy."
He walked out of Woody's like it was Babylon and fucked a trick in the alley outside. It wasn't good, it wasn't even close to good, because it was the lesson Brian never could teach him, that sex was a way to forget.
Sex was how Justin remembered.
New York's the feel of bone-deep bruises on his thighs and throat, the scratches down Brian's back and neck, the way he couldn't sit still and slept on his stomach for two nights running and felt Brian in his ass for days. Ethan's apartment is being on GHB and dreaming, slow and artful and image conscious, like they were being painted in every position under the sun and Justin could always hear the Bach when he came on Ethan's sheets. Brian's office was ecstasy and nirvana and the marks of Brian's fingers and mouth on his skin in blue-green-black and so good it hurt. Dirty. Sweet. He can remember with his body like he does with his mind.
That alley will always be this. He'll never walk down it again and not throw up in the dumpster in memory of coming cold and hopeless and helpless, walking away with come drying on his jeans and glazed with the vision of Michael and Brian in one chaste kiss that meant more than every fuck that Justin's ever had.
Daphne knew when their eyes met three hours later, soaked with the sweat of nameless men and lead him to the shower. Stripped him like a lover and touched him like his sister, and he cried himself out on the shower floor, and she let him.
She lit a joint when they came out.
Deb never knows how to look at him anymore, eyes flicking from his, and Justin doesn't quit his job because he didn't with Ethan and he won't now.
Uncertain, awkward, her voice muted, because, what can she say? Incest is so not the way to go when it fucks with the family. She loves Ben and she loves Justin, but she loves Michael and Brian so much more.
He thinks, though, that the tightness around her mouth is saying as much as the fact that Brian isn't smiling so much anymore.
Justin looks up from stacking dishes. It's hard for her to meet his eyes and he doesn't help by looking away. Stupid to feel betrayed, but when it's a choice, he has to have known this (he did, he had to have, he can't be that stupid), that when the day came, in the end, she'd never choose him.
Her hands twist in the towel she was wiping counters down with, and Justin leans a little on the table and waits for her to talk. She doesn't want to, but he doesn't mind.
"You doing okay?" When he nods, she seems to relax. She really doesn't know him as well as she thinks she does. "You should come to dinner Sunday. We've missed having you around."
Oh. An invitation she thinks he'll turn down. Justin thinks of Daphne's voice, silky soft in his ear, and smiles. She knows him. "Yeah. That'd be great."
Brian never lied, but he'd never needed to before, and Justin could smell Michael all over him when he came to bed that night. He'd told himself it was tricks and it was sex and it was just fucking, what day had he ever gone to bed hoping Brian was just fucking himself unconscious in an alley?
But it's not a trick that made Brian smile like that, left no scratches on flawless skin, because Michael's nails were short. No exhaustion, because Michael's a slow, easy fuck.
No trick ever sent Brian to quiet sleep like he just found salvation and God tonight, and Justin closed his eyes and knew time was going to fast
It ran out twenty hours later, when he walked into Woody's and watched a kiss in a corner that had never meant anything until now.
Then he left.
Brian's so high that he's vaguely incoherent, but familiar hands are wrapped in Justin's hair like they've never touched anyone else, and Justin know the art of backroom sex is presentation as much as anything else. Go down on his knees like it's a hotel in New York and use his pretty, pretty mouth like a whore. Mouth Brian's cock when he watches and suck when he doesn't. Swallow hard to make him shudder, and this is supposed to be about getting off and getting out, but Justin's the one that's driving tonight. He can keep Brian riding the edge for hours, panting and murmuring nonsense and Justin can sometimes come just hearing what Brian says about him, and tonight it's all against the wall where anyone can see.
There's ritual in this, in the way Brian tricks. Justin knows. It's always the same, the look, the touch, the way he makes the world stop and not move again, and Justin's not immune, never has been. But he learned, had to, keep up or get the hell out, and he knows Mikey never *really* expected Brian to stop tricking (he didn't, he couldn't, he can't be that stupid), but he knows that Mikey *really, really* didn't think it would be with him.
It was earlier and they'd come together, but God knows where Mikey is now and Emmett's good for ten thousand million things, like looking away instead of saying stop. Babylon is Brian's, sure, but sex is the one place they're on equal footing, because everything Justin knows he learned from Brian and no one's ever been that to him.
It's not fair to Mikey to do this here, to do this now, to know he's looking for Brian and that he'll come back here when he stops pretending Brian wouldn't.
He'll stop and he'll see and he'll hurt, but it'll be a thousand times worse than any other time, and he'll get why Justin had to leave once upon a time and maybe even get why Justin came back, when Brian comes, saying his name.
Brian never finds God with Justin. He finds himself.
Justin closes his eyes and goes back down.
You know, this needs something more. Maybe. Must mull.