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(Pittsburgh, May 2016 - present)

Late at night taxi brought Justin back to Michael and Ben's house, he was just too drunk to get there on his own. After Cynthia left, and especially after what she told him, he basically drank everything he got his hands on. But even that wasn't enough for the pain to go away nor for Justin to forget the worst night of his life. Well, at least for a while. He would do anything to just feel normal again... to have Brian back. Anything. But instead, he was here, drunk, pathetic and totally heartbroken.

"Justin!" the door opened before Justin had the chance to knock.

"Michaeeel," Justin said, his voice amused.

"Where have you been? Do you even know how worried we were about you?"

"Uhhh... I'm 33, Dad," he chuckled.

"Justin..."

"Yeah?" Justin looked at him with his brows arched, obviously not giving a fuck about anything right now.

And Michael took a deep breath, ready to continue, but when he saw Justin's face, he knew that this was the last thing he needed.

"I'll make him tea," Ben said and headed to the kitchen.

"Come sit down," Michael took him by the elbow and led him to the couch. "I'm just glad that you're alright."

"But I'm not," Justin almost laughed but his voice sounded desperately. "I am everything but alright."

"You just need more time..."

"Time? It's been three years! Three fucking years! And I can't even visit his grave... I ran away like a damn coward."

"Everyone grieves differently, Justin. This is just your way of coping… don't be so hard on yourself."

"God, Michael, could you just stop? Stop trying to make me feel better and telling me it's going to be okay! Just stop already... Brian was your best friend and you act like all of this is normal! You should hate me!"

Michael's eyes widened and he looked at him almost as if he didn't know what to say, but then his face changed from worried to almost angry.

"You really think this is easy for me, Justin?" he raised his brows. "You don't even know how much I fucking miss him and I would give anything for him to get out of there alive... none of this is normal! But Justin, you need to stop with this crap already! Brian loved you and thanks to him you have a long life ahead of you... so don't throw it away and stop wasting the time he has given you. I definitely won't let you, do you hear me?"

Justin opened his mouth to say something but shut it again when he realized there was nothing he could say or do so he just stared at him with tears running down his face. It was hard to hear, but somehow it was exactly what he needed...

---

(Pittsburgh, May 2013 - past)

"Are you really sure Brian?" Cynthia asked for the millionth time.

Brian took a minute to think, it was a really big decision after all, but he knew he was doing the right thing, so he answered in a firm voice, "Yes, I am. Kinnetik can survive without me and Ted is more than capable of taking care of it... I mean I taught him well..." he smirked proudly. "But Justin... Justin is what matters now."

Cynthia smiled, proud of her boss and friend. Of course she was sad knowing that it wouldn't be the same here without him, but she knew he was doing what he needed and wanted. "Do you think Ted will agree?"

"Well, he should if he doesn't want to lose his job."

"In other words, if he tells you no, you fire him?" she looked at him amused.

"Yes," Brian smiled.

"I wouldn't expect anything less from you," Cynthia laughed and left his office.

Brian leaned back in his chair and stared at the papers on the table in front of him. Papers that will make Ted the boss and him just a regular employee. Well, not regular, of course he'll still have some power, it's his agency after all... but it won't be the same anymore. Ted will be the one in charge. And Brian needed to suck it up. It was his idea after all and he didn't regret it, he wanted and needed that free time to be with Justin and have more than what they had now. He just needed to swallow the fact that Ted would be giving him orders.

You must have lost your damn mind, Kinney.

"Knock, knock."

Brian looked up to see his prince standing there. He immediately had to smile like every time he lays his eyes on him. But then his inner panic took over as he realized what was on his desk, so he quickly took the papers and put them in the drawer.

"Hey, Sunshine."

"What are you hiding there?"

"Nothing. Just work," he cleared his throat.

"Uh-hmm," Justin clearly didn't believe him, but if Brian didn't want to tell him, there was no point in forcing him. "Well, I hope you don't mind me barging in," he walked over to him and sat on his lap, putting his arms around his neck.

"Quite the opposite," Brian smiled, leaning in for a kiss. "But what brings you here?"

“Well, I was at my mom's but I didn't want to go home yet because it's so empty without you… so I thought I'd pay you a visit."

"My little genius," Brian nuzzled his neck, inhaling his scent. "And how is she?"

"Good. And she's really hoping we'll come over soon and have dinner with her."

"Of course."

"So I kind of told her that next week could work."

"Of course."

"She's really excited."

"Of course."

"Do you know other words besides 'of course'?" he chuckled.

"Of course."

"Hey!" Justin punched him in the shoulder and they both started laughing. "You know," Justin snuggled closer to him.

"Yeah?"

"We haven't fucked on this desk in a really long time."

"Oh really?"

"Uh-hmm. Too long actually," Justin's hand found its way to Brian's crotch to feel his already hardening dick, slowly rubbing it.

"Aaaach," Brian groaned. "You're a little devil."

Justin licked his lips. "Well, I learned from the master," he winked.

Brian smiled and let Justin unbutton his pants and slide his hand into his boxers making him moan 'fuck' under his breath. The blond immediately wrapped his fingers around his boner and gave it a gentle squeeze.

"God, you're going to kill me," he whispered in a heavy voice. "If someone walks in..."

"Since when do you care, old man?" Justin teased him.

"Oh, you did not just say that. I will spank you so hard that..."

Before Brian could finish the sentece, Justin began to move his hand up and down his cock, causing Brian to close his eyes, taking in the feeling of his touch, and moan softly. Then Justin leaned closer to his ear and wrapped his lips around the earlobe, gently sucking it, while he continued to stroke his erection at a slow, almost painful pace.

"You were saying?" the blond asked playfully.

"I don't even rememeber," Brian chuckled.

"Mhmmm, interesting," Justin smiled, licking Brian's neck. "God, you are so hard."

Brian grunted, making Justin’s hand grip his cock harder and pump it faster. A gasp escaped his lips immediately. Justin smiled and nuzzled at the underside of Brian’s jaw, using his teeth to playfully scrape over the skin found there before gently biting the jaw. And soon pre-cum was slowly dripping down Brian's cock right on Justin's fingers. The brunet made whimpering sounds as he held on to the edge of the desk with one hand and clutched Justin's bicep with the other.

"Fuck, don't stop... just don't stop," Brian breathed out, his eyes rolled back in his head.

"I won't," Justin whispered. "Not until you cum," he gently bit Brian's lower lip.

That sent goosebumps down Brian's spine and his breathing increased. Then the throbbing in his dick started and Justin knew he was close. He was panting, his eyes darkened and his head fell back. So Justin tightened his fingers, stroking Brian even faster while nibbling his throat.

"I love your big cock," the blond breathed softly against his neck.

"God," Brian gasped.

Then Justin gave the hot red cock in his hand a few more strokes and before he knew it Brian's body was shaking with pleasure. He was moaning and making loud uncontrollable groans followed by whimpering sounds as he came all over Justin’s hand.

"Well, that happened… I just creamed my pants," Brian chuckled, trying to catch his breath. "Hopefully no one heard me."

"I'm pretty sure everyone heard you," Justin laughed, stroking his hair.

"Great. Then it's your fault if they'll think I'm a fucking pervert."

"Sorry to break it to you, but they already do."

"True," he nodded and smiled. "But I thought you wanted to fuck..."

"I changed my mind. This was just for you."

"How sweet of you, Sunshine."

"Maybe next time. But tonight…" Justin whispered huskily but said nothing more and got up to leave.

"What about tonight?" Brian was curious.

"That's a surprise," Justin smiled widely. "See you later."

With that he left his office and Brian could only sigh. Then he buttoned his pants, feeling that his semi-erect cock was still sensitive as hell, and went to enjoy his last moments as the head of this agency. But about two hours later, Justin's number appeared on the screen of his phone...

"Let me guess, you regret not letting me fuck you?" he asked jokingly.

"Well, I definitely should have taken the chance… while I still could," Justin whispered the last part with a nervous laugh. And Brian knew immediately that something was wrong.

"What happened?" he asked.

"Just... promise you won't freak out..."

"Justin!"

"Just promise me."

"Jesus Christ, fine! I promise. Now tell me."

"Well, I had a little accident..."

"What?" Brian stood up so fast that his chair hit the wall behind him.

"You promised you wouldn't freak out."

"What kind of accident?"

"Uh, well… I was driving home and all of a sudden there was this cute dog on the road and before I knew it, I hit a tree…"

There was a moment of silence. "Please tell me you're okay," Brian's voice was shaking.

"I am… um, I mean kind of… but the car… I'm really sorry about that… I know you gave it to me and I should have been more careful…"

"Christ, I don't give a fuck about the car. I care about you. How bad are you hurt? Or you know what, I'll be at the hospital in twenty minutes... just don't do anything stupid in the meantime."

Before Justin could say anything Brian hung up and exactly twenty minutes later he was at the hospital looking for someone to tell him where to find Justin.

"Excuse me, um, my husband… he was in an accident… could you please tell me what room he's in? His name is Justin Taylor-Kinney."

"Okay, give me a minute," the woman smiled. And to Brian it felt like an eternity, not just a minute. "He's in room 113. Third floor."

"Thank you," Brian immediately turned on his heels and ran up the stairs, his heart pounding. And the moment he found that room, he opened the door as fast as he could. "God," he breathed out heavily when he finally saw him.

"Yeah, I know... not my best look," Justin chuckled nervously.

But Brian didn't say anything and immediately walked over to his bed, gently squeezing his hand and kissing his head. Then he finally took a moment to look at him closely. He had a scary looking purple bruise under his left eye and several stitches above his eyebrow. But that was nothing compared to his right leg...

"Christ," he whispered.

"Yeah... my tibia is broken and my knee is pretty bruised... I might need surgery but hopefully it will heal on its own. Either way, I have a lot of physical therapy ahead of me," he sighed.

Brian was too numb to hear any of it, he was just too happy that Justin was... alive. He just couldn't stop touching him.

"I'm really sorry about the car, Brian."

"It's just a car," Brian rested his forehead against Justin's and took a deep breath. "But if you ever do this to me again... I'll fucking kill you myself."

Justin laughed softly. "I love you too."

---

Fortunately, surgery was not needed and after three days in the hospital, Justin was finally able to go home. But the bad news was that he needed a wheelchair because the bone was really fragile and he couldn't put any pressure on it to prevent more damage. He hated it, but anything was better than surgery.

Of course, everyone immediately offered to help, especially Debbie and Jennifer, who made sure they had plenty of food at home and pretty much everything they could possibly need. Emmett and Ted did their best to give Justin some distraction. And Michael and Ben were ready to help with anything needed. Even Lindsay and Mel called every chance they got. Justin found it quite hilarious - everyone was acting like he was going to die any day.

And Brian decided to take some time off and put the whole Kinnetik thing on hold. Justin was the priority now and he needed Brian to take care of him.

"If you need anything..."

"I know, Deb, I know... we'll call you," Brian basically pushed her and Jennifer out the door.

"Maybe I should just stay," Jennifer said.

"God no," he immediately protested. "I mean there's no need, I'm perfectly capable of taking care of him myself… as I've proven many times before."

"But..."

"No, no… I really appreciate your help, but I'll be honest “ you're seriously driving me crazy and I'd like to spend some time alone with my husband, so... bye-bye," he waved his fingers and quickly closed the door, immediately pressing his foreahead against the wall and letting out a sigh.

"Are they gone?" Justin looked at him hopefully from the bed when he came to the bedroom.

"Yes," Brian crawled into the bed next to him and buried his face into the pillow, completely exhausted.

"Thank God. I was scared they're gonna live here."

"Your mother wanted to..."

"Christ. That would be more hell than my leg."

"Yeah..." Brian whispered quietly.

And Justin finally noticed how tired Brian was. He barely left his side in the hospital, and when he did it, it was just to take a shower. So it was not surprising that he was running on fumes right now. So Justin did the only thing he could now, and began to gently stroke him on his back and hair. And of course it didn't take long for Brian to fall asleep. And Justin coudln't help but stare at him... he looked so peacefull and so beautiful. He still didn't know how he got so lucky.

----

(Pittsburgh, May 2016 - present)

The moment Justin woke up, his head felt like it was going to explode any minute and he could barely open his eyes. But of course that was nothing new to him, he'd had so many bad hangovers in the last three years that he should probably be used to it by now... but the opposite was true. And his leg wasn't fun either. He could feel that stabbing pain exactly where the bone was broken, the doctors explained to him that it was the result of not starting the physical therapy in time because of what happened. Oh, and there was also the nerve damage. Looking back, he would almost laugh at how many things went wrong in such a short time back then. But he certainly didn't feel like laughing. And knowing how different things would be today if he hadn't hit that fucking tree made it all even worse.

He finally took off his clothes that reeked of alcohol and cigarettes and went to take a shower. He felt much better after that, but still... nothing could save him from that empty feeling inside. And when he finally had the courage, he went to face Michael and Ben...

"Good morning," he said quietly.

They both looked up from their breakfast and newspapers to look at him. And thankfully, the expressions on their faces didn't indicate that they were angry with him, for which he was truly grateful.

"Good morning," they both said at the same time.

"Are you hungry?" Michael asked. "We didn't want to wake you up, but I can make you some scrambled eggs if you want… or do you want something else?"

"You don't have to, I can do it myself. You have done enough for me," he smiled. "And I don't even deserve it," he added, biting his lip nervously.

"It's not a problem for me, really. So sit down," Michael smiled at him.

"Okay then," he replied and did as he was told.

"I'll go wake up the girls and kids. They should eat something too," Ben said and left the table.

And in that moment Justin's heart just skipped a beat. Not that he was particularly proud of it, but he had completely forgotten that they were here. And since he didn't remember all the details of last night, just that he got drunk and acted like a total idiot, he really hoped the family of four hadn't witnessed it.

"Please tell me they didn't see or hear me yesterday," he looked at Michael desperately.

"I don't think so. They went to bed about an hour before you got home."

"Oh thank god," he sighed in relief and smiled. "I would hate if they saw me like this ..."

"You gotta get your shit together, Justin," Michael said suddenly, looking at him with a very serious face, clearly not going to hold back, "When Brian died… I thought I'd never be able to breathe normally again, it felt like he took a piece of me with him. And I guess that's normal," he paused before continuing. "But, Justin, you act like you died there with him, like you have no life, no one around you... but you have us, you have people who love you and it's killing us to see you like this. And if Brian could see you now… he wouldn't even recognize you and he would not stop until he would get the man he loved so much back. I know I'm not Brian, no one will ever be Brian, and I know I don't have the right to tell you how you should live your life, but... I won't let you destroy yourself because Brian would never forgive me. And let's be honest, he wouldn't forgive you either."

Justin couldn't say a single word. It was the first time he was truly aware of how much his behavior was affecting everyone around him, and he knew that if he didn't want to hit rock bottom, he had to finally let others help him, and start getting his life together.

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Chapter End Notes:
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