Pairing: Brian and Justin
Summary: The rising star ad exec needs to get the blond he met out of his head...or into his bed.
OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Brian had finished with his statement in a fairly short period of time and was waiting for the detective to finish with Justin. The blond obviously had a lot more to offer in evidence having lived under the same roof as Craig Taylor for most of his life, not to mention that Justin had been the one to actually hear Craig’s most recent threats. By the time Brian had arrived, there really hadn’t been much for him to report on.
He’d been alone in the small room for an hour and was beginning to grow impatient when Horvath entered along with a very pale Justin.
Brian was at the blond’s side in an instant. “Are you OK?”
Justin shook his head slightly but didn’t say anything.
“Ready to get out of here?” he asked, expecting another silent response.
“Yeah,” Justin whispered instead.
“I appreciate you coming down,” Carl said kindly. “I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you right now.”
Justin nodded and tried unsuccessfully to manage a smile. “Thanks,” he said half-heartedly before turning toward Brian. “Can you give me a ride?”
Brian nodded and glanced at Horvath who returned the nod. Leaving the station, Brian led the way to the Jeep noting the cool silence that seemed to come off the blond in waves. Once they were buckled in, Brian started the engine and pulled from the parking lot heading in the direction of the loft.
When the vehicle stopped, Justin looked out the window at the now familiar building. “You didn’t have to bring me here.”
“Yeah, I did,” Brian countered, turning off the engine. “I spent a fucking fortune on Chinese food that nobody’s had a chance to eat yet.”
Justin seemed to consider that for a moment before wordlessly getting out of the car to follow Brian into the building.
Once in the loft, Brian picked up the bag of Chinese food he’d abandoned earlier, taking out the cartons in preparation for re-heating. “Want something to drink?” he asked Justin who just stood in front of the sofa looking toward the window.
Justin shrugged and lowered himself to the sofa, staring at the floor in front of him.
After putting the food into the microwave, Brian opened two bottles of beer and joined Justin on the sofa. Handing the blond one of the bottles, he took a long pull from his own. “Want to talk about it?” he asked.
“Not particularly,” Justin said flatly before taking a drink.
Brian nodded and they sat in silence until the food was ready. Getting to his feet, Brian prepared two plates and headed for the dining room table. “I wasn’t sure what you liked so I got a variety,” he said as he placed the plates on the table and took a seat.
“Anything’s fine,” Justin said as he moved to take his place across from Brian.
While never much of a talker himself, the silence while they ate was unnerving to Brian. “So, what happens now?” he finally asked quietly.
Justin shrugged again. “I don’t know. Horvath said he’d call when they knew what was going to happen with my… with Craig.”
The amendment didn’t go unnoticed by Brian. “Despite what he said, I hope you know what happened to your mother wasn’t your fault.”
Justin practically dropped his fork and got up from the table. “I should go,” he said in a strained voice.
Brian was on his feet immediately. “Wait a minute,” he said, grabbing Justin’s arm as he moved past him toward the door. “Go where?”
“Home,” Justin replied, pulling his arm from Brian’s grasp with a slight flinch.
“You think it’s a good idea to be wandering around alone?” Brian asked, refraining from touching the other man.
Justin barked out something akin to a harsh laugh. “Didn’t you hear?” he challenged. “I am alone. I’ve been alone since the day my mother died only I was too fucking stupid to realize it.”
“You’re not stupid,” Brian interjected.
Justin’s voice broke as he continued, oblivious to Brian’s comment. “He’s blamed me all this time; how could I not have seen that?”
“Because he’s your father,” Brian pointed out quietly. “You can’t blame yourself for wanting him to act like one.”
Justin shook his head sadly. “I really should go.”
“It’s your call,” Brian said, trying to keep his voice casual. He really didn’t want to think of Justin alone in his apartment thinking about all that had already happened and what was still to come.
Meeting his gaze, Justin studied the hazel eyes for a moment. “I dragged you into this because I didn’t know who else to call,” he said. “It wasn’t your choice to have me here.”
“It’s my choice now,” Brian pointed out. “Well, half mine anyway.”
Justin allowed a small smile at that. He continued to study Brian’s features. “What do you want, Brian?” he finally asked.
Brian’s eyes widened slightly as he rolled his lips between his teeth. “I’m not sure,” he finally admitted.
“You want to fuck me?” Justin challenged. His voice was quiet though there was a glint of defiance in his eyes.
Brian looked toward the window for a moment as though the words he needed might be written there. When he turned back, it was to find Justin still watching him carefully.
“When I first saw you, yeah, that’s what I wanted,” he admitted. “Hell, it’s all I seemed to be able to think about for weeks.”
“You thought I was a spoiled rich kid who got his kicks selling his ass to the highest bidder.” Justin’s voice had taken on a bitter quality.
In light of all he’d learned, Brian was reluctant to admit that was how he’d felt, but he wouldn’t lie. “Something like that,” he muttered, running a hand through his hair.
“And now?” Justin challenged.
“Now I know why you did what you did,” Brian said simply.
Justin’s eyes clouded. “So, now you feel sorry for me?” he demanded. “Fuck you!”
Brian grabbed his arm again as he tried to head for the door. “Wait a minute! What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Let go of me!” Justin snapped as he once again wrenched his arm from Brian’s grip.
Brian held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. “I won’t touch you, I promise. Just tell me what the fuck is going on, Justin.”
“I don’t want your fucking pity, Brian!” Justin’s eyes blazed with anger. “Poor little Justin,” he mimicked. “The only reason anyone wants him is because he’s Craig Taylor’s son.”
“That’s bullshit,” Brian spat. “I want you in spite of the fact that you have an asshole for a father, not because of it!”
Justin’s eyes grew rounder. “What did you say?”
Brian took a deep breath, trying to rein in his anger. “Maybe I shouldn’t have called him that, but it’s the truth and I won’t apologize for pointing it out.”
“No,” Justin said quietly. “Not that. You … you still want me?”
Brian frowned in confusion. “What?”
“You said you want me in spite of my asshole father. Not wanted… want.”
“So?” Brian asked incredulously. “I haven’t exactly kept that a secret, have I?”
Justin was silent for a moment. “The first night we met,” he began softly. “I thought you were the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. Later, when I felt you watching me and looked up, it was like we were the only two people in the room.”
“As I recall, there were a shitload of people in that room at the time,” Brian said, uncomfortable with the kind of sentiment Justin was so freely expressing.
“I didn’t see them,” Justin said with a small smile. “There was only you.”
Brian had to refrain from reminding the blond of the man who was paying for his time that night.
“Prescott kept introducing me to different people,” Justin continued as though reading his mind. “But your face was the only one that stayed in my mind when I turned away.”
Brian wanted to look away, but the blue eyes held him mesmerized.
“Then you found out who I was and what I did,” Justin went on in a quiet voice. “I knew you’d never want me after that.”
Justin shook his head slightly to stem any words, wanting to get it all out. “After I saw you at the bar, I tried to convince myself that I was better off without you, even though I’d never really had you to begin with. I told myself to forget you, but when I was hurt, you were the first person I thought of.”
Brian wanted to say he was glad Justin had thought of him when he needed someone, but the words wouldn’t come.
“And you looked after me and tried to protect me,” Justin continued. “From the cops, from my dad.” He paused for a moment. “In the space of a few hours I went from being someone you wanted to fuck to someone you felt you had to protect.”
“That’s not true,” Brian protested.
Justin raised one eyebrow in challenge.
“I never actually stopped wanting to fuck you,” Brian smirked.
Justin smiled at that, but it was more sad than amused. “My dad may have been right about why those men wanted to be with me,” he said quietly. “I’ll probably never really know for sure, but that part of my life is over now. The next time someone wants me, I want it to be for me, all of me. Not just because I’m young or have a nice ass. Not just because I’m Taylor’s son or because my family has money.”
“I don’t care about your money or who your father is, you know that,” Brian bristled.
“And not because I’m some scared, injured, little faggot who needs to be protected,” Justin concluded in a hushed voice.
Brian was about to argue that as well, but the sadness in Justin’s eyes gave him pause. “I didn’t think of you as a scared little faggot,” he said honestly.
“Maybe not,” Justin said with a small smile. “But I did need your help and that’s the reason you took me home.”
Unable to argue with that, Brian huffed in frustration.
“I know you fuck a lot of guys who don’t mean anything to you,” Justin continued. “I don’t have a problem with that, but I can’t be one of them, not right now. In the short time I’ve been with you, I’ve felt things I never thought I could. I’d rather walk away now and hold on to that than have it shattered by a meaningless one night stand.”
Brian’s jaw clenched and he swallowed hard.
“I’m sorry,” Justin whispered, tears building in his eyes. “I wish I was stronger, but I’m just not.”
With that, he hurried from the loft leaving a stunned Brian alone in the middle of the room.
Justin looked at the call display even though he was pretty sure he knew what number he’d see. Brian had been calling all morning but Justin just couldn’t bring himself to answer. He’d already said all he had to say the night before. He didn’t want Brian’s concern or his pity, he just wanted… Brian. More than he’d ever wanted anything in his life.
But he wasn’t willing to be just another trick and everything he knew about Brian Kinney told him the man wasn’t interested in anything more.
He let out a long breath once the phone stopped ringing, feeling both relieved and disappointed. Flopping down on the sofa, he tried to muster the strength he knew he’d need the next time the phone rang.
Brian walked into the diner to see Michael sitting in a booth at the back.
“Brian!” the dark-haired man exclaimed as his friend approached. “What are you doing here?”
“It’s called lunch, Mikey,” Brian quipped, sliding into the seat across from the other man.
“Yeah, but, it’s Sunday,” Michael pointed out with a small frown. “You’re never here this early on a Sunday.”
“Well, I am now,” Brian replied shortly. “Deb! Can I get some coffee over here?”
The flamboyant waitress approached the table with gum snapping and coffeepot in hand. “What happened with that kid?” she asked Brian without preamble. “Michael told me he was at the house and then took off.”
Michael looked down at his plate when Brian glanced his way.
“He’s fine, Deb,” Brian replied, turning his attention back to the waitress. “The cops know he wasn’t the one who stabbed that guy.”
“So, you found him,” Michael said, looking up with a combination of relief and surprise.
“Yeah, I found him,” Brian said flatly, raising the full coffee cup to his lips. And then I lost him again.
“Well you don’t sound too fucking happy about it,” Deb groused. “Where is he now?”
“He’s home where he belongs.”
“Not with that asshole father of his!” Debbie exclaimed.
“No, at his own apartment. For all I know, his asshole father is still in jail. Can we drop this now? I came in here for lunch, not the fucking third degree.”
Debbie huffed. “The usual?”
Brian nodded and took another sip of his coffee as the waitress went off to place his order. Michael had been watching the exchange between his mother and his friend and had a few questions of his own.
“What’s going on, Brian?” he asked once they were alone.
“What makes you think there’s anything going on?” Brian asked nonchalantly.
“I know how worried you were about Justin yesterday and now you act like you don’t give a shit.”
“I don’t,” Brian informed him flatly. “He needed my help and now he doesn’t. End of story.”
Michael watched him for a moment. “Oh my God,” he finally breathed. “He was right, wasn’t he? You do care about him.”
Brian grimaced. “I didn’t want to see him go to jail for something he didn’t do,” he admitted. “But that’s it.”
“Bullshit,” Michael said with a small smile.
Brian shot him a warning look. “As I recall, you weren’t too happy when you heard what his father had done either.”
“But I didn’t kiss him,” Michael pointed out.
Brian was silent for a moment as he remembered the kisses they’d shared. “Yeah, well, the kid’s hot, what did you expect?”
“I expected you to fuck him when you had the chance, but instead, you curled up with him and went to sleep,” Michael challenged.
“I was up all fucking night,” Brian reminded him. Then, in a petulant voice, he uttered, “And I don’t ‘curl up’ with anyone.”
Michael was fighting to keep the grin from his face. “You were up all night because you were worried about him,” he countered. “And you so do curl up. I saw you.”
“Is there a point to all of this, Mikey?” Brian asked irritably. “Or are you just trying to drive me insane with your fucking delusions?”
“Oh, I think I made my point,” Michael said smugly, leaning back in his seat and crossing his arms over his chest. “You like him.”
Brian rolled his eyes and shook his head.
But Michael wasn’t through. “And I know he likes you, so what’s the problem?”
Sighing in defeat, Brian hoped to put an end to the topic once and for all. “The problem is, he’s looking for more than a quick fuck. Not my style, Mikey, so let’s just drop it, shall we?”
Michael was quiet for a moment and Brian thought he’d finally given up. Of course, he should have known better – Michael was Debbie’s son, after all.
“You’ve known guys who’ve wanted more before,” he reminded Brian. “Usually you laugh them off and file them under ‘pathetic lesbo wannabes’.”
“So?” Brian snarked, one eyebrow raised. “That’s what they are.”
“So, you’re not laughing now,” Michael pointed out. “And I don’t think you think Justin’s all that pathetic.”
Brian sighed heavily. “Look, Mikey, he’s had a rough time of it lately. He’s looking for something more stable, more reliable in his life. We both know I can’t be what he needs. Hell, you’re the one who told him that.”
“I didn’t say you couldn’t,” Michael corrected. “I only told him you weren’t the relationship type.” He paused and his voice took on a softer tone when he continued. “I always thought that would change for the right guy.”
Michael raised a hand to cut him off. “I know,” he said with a sad smile. “That guy isn’t me. For years I thought it could be, but now I know we’ll never be more than friends.”
“Best friends,” Brian corrected with a small smile.
Michael nodded, chuckling softly. “Best friends.” His expression sobered somewhat as he watched Brian with sad eyes. “And as your best friend, I can see that things are different with Justin. The way you looked when I told you what I’d said to him yesterday. You’ve never looked at me like that before, Brian.”
“Like what?” Brian asked, genuinely confused.
“Like I’d hurt you,” Michael replied quietly. “I know now that I did and I’m sorry. I was too busy telling Justin the way you were that it never occurred to me that you might have been trying to show him something else, something the rest of us don’t usually see.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Brian said tersely, trying to maintain an air of nonchalance. “I don’t believe in relationships and all that bullshit, I believe in…”
“In fucking, yeah, I know,” Michael finished for him, having heard the Kinney credo often enough. “But just because you don’t believe in mosquitoes doesn’t mean one can’t bite you in the ass.”
“Who’s biting whose ass?” Debbie asked, placing Brian’s turkey sandwich in front of him. Fixing a scowl on the ad exec, she asked, “You into the rough stuff now?”
“You have no idea, Deb,” he smirked, still thinking about Michael’s words and how they might apply to Justin.
Debbie chuckled and left to serve another table. Michael allowed his friend to pick at his sandwich in peace, knowing he was mulling over everything that had been said between them.
“You’re coming to Sunday dinner tonight, you hear?” Debbie had returned and was pointing a long red fingernail in Brian’s direction.
Brian looked from her to Michael and back again. “Sorry, Deb. I’ve got other plans.” With that, he dropped some bills on the table and left the diner, his sandwich virtually untouched.
“Asshole,” Debbie muttered as she watched him leave.
Michael grinned, pulling Brian’s plate toward him. “Don’t be too hard on him, Ma; he’s got mosquito problems.”
Debbie looked at her son, but when she saw no explanation was forthcoming, she rolled her eyes in exasperation and walked away.
Brian returned to the loft and headed straight for his computer. Bringing up his client files, he found the number he was looking for and dialed before he had a chance to change his mind.
“Prescott. Brian Kinney. Remember that favour I did for you?”
Pendleton was silent for a moment. “The Silver Pagoda. Yes, of course.”
“Well, I think I’ve just found a way you can return it,” Brian said with a sultry smile.
Justin was dozing on the sofa when he heard a knock at his door. Frowning, he glanced at the clock and noticed it was already early evening. A second knock brought him to his feet and he made his way to the door cautiously. Very few people knew where he lived and he hadn’t received any calls from the agency since that fateful one his father had set up.
“Who is it?” he asked, stopping at the locked door.
His frown deepened as he unlocked the door and opened it. The man standing before him looked downright gorgeous in a deep red shirt and black jeans. “How did you get here?” he asked in way of a greeting.
“The Jeep,” Brian replied.
“But how did you know…I didn’t…”
“You told me Pendleton helped you get this place. I called in a favour.”
“Why?” Justin asked.
“We need to talk,” Brian replied. “So, are you going to invite me in or what?”
Justin immediately stepped aside, horrified that he’d forgotten his manners. “I’m sorry. Come in.”
Brian stepped into the small but well-kept apartment and waited while Justin closed the door.
“Um… have a seat,” Justin suggested, gesturing toward the sofa. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“Beer would be good,” Brian said, though he was thinking he might need something stronger.
Justin nodded and retrieved two beers from the fridge. He was still puzzled about the reason for Brian’s visit. Once he’d handed Brian the bottle and taken a seat at the opposite end of the sofa, he voiced the question uppermost on his mind. “What did you want to talk about?”
Brian took a long drink and fidgeted with the label for a moment before replying. “It’s time we finish the conversation we started at the loft,” he finally said.
Justin closed his eyes for a moment. “I thought we were finished.”
“No, you said what you wanted to say and then you left,” Brian reminded him sharply. “You can’t just throw that shit at me and walk away without giving me a chance to reply.”
“I didn’t think I had to,” Justin said. “I know what you’re looking for, what I’m looking for. What else is there to say?”
Brian laughed wryly.
Justin frowned. “What’s so funny?”
Taking a deep breath, Brian laid all his cards on the table. “Look, you were right about me. I fuck a lot of guys and they don’t mean anything to me. Half of the time I’ve forgotten them by the time I leave the room.”
Justin nodded in acceptance of that. “I wasn’t judging you, Brian…”
“I know,” Brian said quietly. “It’s just the truth. That’s what I am, Brian Kinney, stud of Liberty Avenue. It’s what I know, what I’m comfortable with.”
“Ok,” Justin said slowly, unsure where this was going.
“I don’t do repeats and I don’t exchange names or numbers. It’s fucking, period. In and out with a maximum of pleasure and a minimum of bullshit.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Justin asked quietly. Brian’s words only made him feel worse and he didn’t want another tear-filled scene like they’d had at the loft.
He couldn’t tell him that Mikey was right, that there was something different about Justin. He couldn’t voice the fact that he liked the way the blond felt in his arms or the way his body responded to a simple kiss. He was Brian Kinney for fuck’s sake.
But Justin was still waiting for an answer. “You were right,” Brian admitted. “When I took you to the loft the first time it was because you were hurt.”
Justin looked down at his hands and nodded slightly in acceptance of that.
“But you said it yourself, I didn’t have to take you there when we left the police station,” he continued, hoping it would be enough.
Justin raised his eyes to look at him, his expression showing nothing. “But you did. Why?”
Brian considered that. “It just didn’t seem right dropping you off at some empty apartment after all you’d gone through.”
Justin sighed. “Brian, I …”
“I know, you don’t want my pity,” Brian said, effectively cutting off the words he knew he was about to hear. “I don’t do pity, Justin. It makes my dick soft.”
Justin’s eyes narrowed slightly. “If that’s not pity, what is it?”
“It’s knowing how it feels to realize the only family you have doesn’t give a shit,” Brian said evenly.
Justin stared at him a moment and then acquiesced with a nod. “I appreciate everything you’re saying,” he said quietly. “But it doesn’t change anything. I still don’t want to be one in a long line of tricks.”
“I’ve never let a trick spend the night at the loft,” Brian pointed out. “I’ve never hid one from the cops, and I sure as hell never tracked one down through a fucking client.”
Justin smirked slightly. “So if I’m not a trick, what am I?”
Brian didn’t have an answer for that. He still wanted to fuck Justin, so that left him out of the ‘just a friend’ category, and everyone knew Brian Kinney didn’t do boyfriends.
“You’re Justin,” he finally said, hoping the blond would pick up on the meaning.
Justin smiled slowly as he remembered the words he’d spoken to Brian the previous morning.
…For the first time in my life, people are seeing me … They ask for me because they want me. Me, Justin… not Craig Taylor’s kid…
“I can live with that,” he said softly.
Brian allowed a small smile, knowing that Justin had heard what he couldn’t say. “You hungry?” he asked.
Justin feigned a groan. “Don’t tell me you still have that Chinese.”
Brian barked a laugh. “No, but I know a place that serves great Italian.”
“Like a date?” Justin asked, eyes twinkling mischievously. “And here I would have bet my last dollar Brian Kinney doesn’t do dates.”
“Like a meal,” Brian corrected him, though he couldn’t totally erase the smile from his own eyes. “And you’re right, I don’t.”
“I’ve never either,” Justin said, his eyes clouding slightly. “At least not one that I wasn’t hired for.”
The sparkle had only been gone from the blue eyes for a second, but already he missed it. If this kid ever found out what he was capable of doing to him, he was fucked.
“Well, I’m in the mood for Italian, I don’t want to order in, I don’t want to go out alone and I’m sure as hell not paying you, so you call it whatever you want.”
He had to hold back a smile as the luster returned to Justin’s eyes. “That, Mr. Kinney, is what they call a date.”
Brian rolled his eyes.
“My first date,” Justin said with a grin, unable to resist teasing the other man.
“So can we go now?” Brian asked, one eyebrow raised as he tried to keep the smile from his face. “Or were you planning on getting a little more lesbionic first?”
Justin laughed then nodded. “Just let me change and I’ll be ready,” he said, leaning in to place a quick kiss on the other man’s lips before bounding off the sofa toward the bedroom.
Once the only witness had disappeared from the room, Brian finally felt free to let the smile show.
Continue to Chapter Eleven