Experiment by Wren

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'Us', 'We', 'Our'



I wake up slowly. I'm vaguely aware that I'm not in the loft, but the bed is big and comfortable, so I'm not at Mom's or Daph's or Deb's either. And Brian is here; I can feel his body heat and hear the soft wuffle of his breathing and smell his morning-Brian smell. So, if he's here, then wherever I am, it's where I should be and I relax, ready to drift back to sleep.

But my cock has other ideas.

‘Brian's here' is a message that my cock interprets in its own damned way.

I wriggle a little, trying to overcome the signals it's sending to other parts of my body. Messages about ‘touch', ‘feel', ‘want', ‘need'.

Aside from anything else, Brian is sleeping and I don't want to wake him. We've both been through the wringer this week, and he must be worn out. Especially after last night.

Last night.

And, just like that, the memory of what happened between us last night washes over me, and suddenly the demands of my cock are lost for once; drowned out in a flood of emotions that are so tangled it's difficult to work out exactly what they are, exactly what I'm feeling.

Wonder. That's one element. It's so damned hard, in the light of day, to believe that Brian and I sat on the couch out there (my brain is awake enough now to remember we're at the hotel) and talked for what seemed like hours about things that we never talk about. Things that it has always been tacitly understood as forbidden to talk about. It was a totally amazing thing for us to have done. For him to have done.

Anxiety. There's a bit of that. Will he hate me this morning? ... no, no, Justin, don't go all drama princess over this. Will he just want to forget it all this morning? Will he want to pretend that it didn't happen, that we didn't say the things we said. Especially the last thing I said. He told me then that he didn't hate it, but this morning ... will he have changed his mind? Well, probably. To all those things. I'll just have to deal with that. But that's okay. He was with me last night. He let me talk, let me say things that have been trapped inside so long. And now they're out, I'm free of them, and I can lay them aside and get on with my life.

Gratitude. That's definitely part of the mix. A soul deep gratitude that he was ready to put aside his need to forget that time, to not to ever think of it, because I needed him to go back there, back then, with me. In fact, he was the one who took me back, I realise. I'd been the one who had wanted to just go back to sleep, or try to, and not talk about it, not think about it. He was the one who had started talking. Remembering that, I feel my heart clench.

I don't quite know what this emotion is. It's not pain, it's not anger, it's not sadness that is making my eyes tear up and turning my stomach to mush. But whatever it is, it's strong. It is almost taking my breath away. It's making me want to lay my head on Brian's chest and just sob. But he's sleeping still, and I am not some pathetic little fairy, so I turn my face into the pillow while the tears fall. It's only when they finally stop that I realise what that emotion was.

It was relief. It's over. At last, it's over.

I will probably never remember the rest of that night, and that will always hurt a bit. But the trauma, the anger, the feeling of helpless rage - they're gone now. I have finally been able let them go. Now, hopefully, I can heal. And if I do, maybe Brian will too.

And with that thought, immediately, all the other emotions are swept away by the love I feel for Brian. The love I've always felt for Brian, except now it's grown, matured, as I have; as he has. It's grown not just in depth, but in wisdom, and compassion. It's much wiser than it was, but it's also strong and deep and full of passion, just like it always was.

I know that everyone believes that I'm kidding myself when I say that I fell in love with him that first night. Everyone says that I fell in lust, or that I had a crush on him, and that it was only later, maybe even not until the Ethan thing was over, that I really came to love him.

They don't know what they're talking about. Of course I fell in lust - who wouldn't? And, yes, I had a crush on him as well.  But underneath both those things, there was what I - the real me, not teen-aged, horny, know nothing twink, but the real Justin - felt for Brian - the real Brian, not the god-stud of Liberty Avenue, but the man. And just because there was lust and teenaged crush in the mix, does not mean that I didn't love him as well.

I've always seen Brian, the real Brian. From that first night. And from that first night, I've loved him. There were things about him, right from the beginning, that touched some place deep, deep inside me. Things in him, that somehow helped me to recognise, to find, myself, the real Justin.

The way he looked at me under the lamplight; the way he *saw* me, saw what I needed, what I was so desperate to find. I don't mean sex. I mean me. I needed to find myself, as a gay man. And he saw that in me right from those first moments, and did his best to help me do it.

The way he recognised and catered for my inexperience, but never treated me like a child. He treated me, if not as an equal, then at least as another man. So, for him, with him, I always tried to be one. More, I was always free to be one. Not tied down by everyone else's desire for me to be sweet little Justin. That isn't how he saw me. And through his eyes, I saw something in myself that no one else let me see. I saw someone strong and determined and confident, and that gave me ... it gave me a belief in myself that I'd never really had till then.

The way he let me into his life; even seemed to welcome me in. Not that he would ever have admitted that, but it's true. I was never just another trick to him, even that first night. I didn't really understand until much later how wide he opened the door for me - sharing the story about his first time, taking me to the hospital, letting me see him with his friends, with his son, letting them see *me* with *him*, and, of course, asking me to name Gus.

That is so *not* how Brian behaves with his tricks.

He'd say he was drunk, or high, or stoned. That's bullshit, and he knows it. He's nearly always drunk or high or stoned when he's with tricks and it doesn't mean that he suddenly lets his guard down with any of them. Just the opposite. His automatic pilot comes on, and that's set to ‘fuck them and get rid of them'. I should know, I saw it in action when we were living together and having date nights, and playing the game - doing threeways and all that shit. I know the look he gets when he's in that place, the way his eyes are slightly clouded, and he's not really there, he's in some other place where he can't really be reached, can't really be touched.

He didn't go to that place with me. He wasn't, as he often does with tricks, just going through the motions to get off. He was completely there in the moment with me. Absorbed in me. As I was in him. No matter what he said then, or says now. Twat!

And then there was the way he was with Gus.

If Gus hadn't chosen that night to be born, maybe I wouldn't have seen Brian the way I did, and then maybe I wouldn't have fought so hard to be with him. I don't know. Maybe it would all have been lust and first crush and eventually I would have got over it. Maybe. Or maybe, if I'd been persistent enough, I'd have been admitted to the ranks of his friends, but kept, like the rest of them, except maybe for Lindz and Michael, at arm's length.

But Gus was born, and, as he held his son for the first time, I saw Brian clearly for a moment - all his defences down, no barriers, no bullshit - just Brian. And that was it for me. Because Brian, himself, the inner core of him that he keeps so well covered, is ... beautiful. Not the way he's beautiful on the outside, all swagger and confidence and sheer sex and charisma. On the inside he's beautiful in a different way - more tentative, much less assured, much, much more vulnerable. But ... something in him glows. There's something in him that is ...

Well, Brian. That's all. And I love him. And, for better or worse, I finally told him so. Which might be a good thing, or today might totally freak him out.

Whatever way it goes, right now, I have to piss. And I'm starving.

I know that if I move out of the bed, the chances arethat I'll wake Brian, but I really don't have much of a choice. As carefully as I can, I slide out of the bed, replace the covers and head for the bathroom. I guess if he wakes up, I'll at least find out how he wants to play this. I'm betting on, ‘let's pretend it never happened' and that's okay. But Brian is full of surprises, so who knows? In a world where Brian Kinney willingly sits up half the night talking rather than fucking, any damned thing is possible.



In my sleep, I'm aware of him getting out of bed, and both my mind and my body set up such a fucking protest over it that I wake up.


While he's in the bathroom, I lie there thinking about last night and trying to work out how he's likely to be this morning. I wouldn't be surprised if he's totally fucked up. We dragged up a lot of shit, and, now that the dust has settled a bit, he might not be as okay with it as he was last night.

I have to fight back the urge to get up and follow him. I need to see his face. I need to look into his eyes and see what's there. I try to work out what's the best thing to do. If he needs to see a therapist, I have to find a way to persuade him that that's okay. I hate that idea. Hate that he might need to talk to some stranger about things that have gone on between us, things I've done and haven't done. Not that I care about what some prick of a shrink thinks about me, but Justin will have to deal with it all, and he'll try to defend me - again - and it will all be just so much fucking shit. But if it's what he needs, then we're just going to have to do it. Maybe I could go with him. The first time, anyway. If it's something he sees as helping us, something I'm willing to do to make things better for us, then he'll feel that ...

Then the bathroom door opens and he comes out, and all those thoughts go out the window. He's smiling a little and he looks ... damned if he doesn't look a lot like that fucking kid who used to hang around me all the time and drive me nuts trying to get rid of him.

He looks up and sees me and he wrinkles his nose. I can feel myself starting to grin at him like a fool, so I suck my lips in and wait for him to join me in the bed.

"I didn't want to wake you up," he murmurs as he crawls back under the covers with me.

He moves up close, and I roll over to face him. We just lie there for a moment, looking into each other's eyes, trying to read each other. I'd expected this to be ... I don't know ... solemn and intense ... like in some movie where they suddenly kill the cheesy soundtrack music to let you know that it's a big moment. But instead we start to grin a little, and then he smiles, one of those fucking Sunshine smiles, and I can feel myself smiling back at him and suddenly, for no reason at all, we're laughing and he's in my arms and his face is pressed into my neck, and mine is buried in his hair and we're cackling like a pair of fucking ganders. And in that moment, just before our bodies take over, and it all becomes heat and touch and want and need, just in that moment, I give myself an early birthday present.

"I love you, Justin," I say.



For one moment, after he said it, we looked into each other's eyes, and I felt ... whole. Completely whole. As if every part of me, every part of my life, all of it, all my past, all of my future, was held perfect and whole in that tiny moment of time. And of his. And of ours, together.

It didn't last, it couldn't. But it happened. And I will never, never forget it. Two thousand bats to the head couldn't make me forget it. The memory of it is ingrained in blood and muscle and nerve ends, into every cell of my body. That moment, now, is part of who I am, and who I will be, who I was meant to be.

There's nothing I can do to repay the gift he's given me, except to accept it easily. So I smile and he smiles back at me, and then ducks his head the way he does when he's embarrassed by his emotions. Then he looks at me again and gives me that tongue in cheek grin that says that he knows I'm fighting not to whoop and holler and suddenly we're both laughing again, and then we're kissing and touching and stroking and then he's inside me and I'm holding him and we're moving together the way we were born to do.

For a while it's all panting and sweat and ‘yes!', ‘more!', ‘now!' until I come all over our chests and stomachs and he lets himself follow. We separate, slowly, and he gets rid of the condom, and we use the corner of the sheet to clean up a little. Then for a while after that it's just lazy touching and holding. Cuddling, I guess, though he'd never admit to that.

"Brian," I murmur, turning to him and burying my face in his neck. "Brian."

"Justin," he whispers. "Justin, Justin."

And every time he says it, I hear what I should always have heard. I hear him say ‘I love you'.



Okay, so I said it. Now it's official - I'm losing my fucking mind. Or not. Whatever. At least he didn't make a big deal out of it. I mean, it was a big deal, I guess. But he didn't make me feel like ... like a fucking loser lesbo-wannabe. He just gave me that smile and ... it was okay. I feel okay about it. And the sex was fucking hot. I don't know why it's better with him, but it always is.

Maybe that's part of the love thing. How the fuck would I know? It was just hot. That's all.

We don't get to bask in the afterglow for long though because, of course, he's starving; and even if he doesn't say anything, his stomach's sounding like a damned percussion section on speed.

So we get up and order room service and shower. We don't even really get into it in the shower. Just wash each other and shampoo each other's hair. I bend my neck so that he can reach mine, and his fingers on my scalp feel so damned good that I wish there was a way to bottle that feeling. Would beat sales of Beam any day.

When we get out, we're fooling around, drying each other off when the food is delivered. He pulls on a robe, and goes to let them in. I'm standing there in only a towel, and his robe is slipping off his shoulder and it's pretty obvious what's going on between us, but damned if the stupid ass straight chick who delivers doesn't start flirting with him, fussing with the tray and tossing her hair. If it were up to me the only tip she'd leave with is how to recognise a pair of fags, but of course, little miss country club has to find his wallet and give her a big tip.

Fuck! I have to get him past that. Good service gets you good tips, not just doing the job you're fucking paid to do. Having good manners is one thing, allowing people to get away with shit just so that you don't look like an asshole is something else.

Anyway, we sit down to eat our breakfast. We start at opposite sides of the dinky little table that's part of the suite's furnishings, but it's so fucking small there's hardly enough room for the food, let alone our coffee cups and my legs barely fit under the table at all.

So we move it all to the coffee table and sit together on the couch and feed each other bits and there is no fucking way that any of this is ever being told to anyone outside this fucking room.

I tell him that and he grins at me. He puts his head on my shoulder and looks up at me and bats his eyelashes.

"Can I just tell them that you ate waffles with syrup and everything?" he purrs.

Little shit. I didn't eat the waffles - he pushed them into my mouth. And most of the syrup I licked off his chin because he was dribbling it everywhere. I look down at him and don't know whether to kiss him or spank him, because he's obviously going to use this to play me.

Then he smiles and I'm lost. My lips find his without me even seeming to think about it and, although I'd die rather than admit it, the sweetness of the kiss has got nothing to do with the damned syrup.

The kiss ends, eventually, and he strokes my face, staring into my eyes for a long, long time. I want to look away - at least, I feel like I should want to look away. Instead, I just look back into his.

Nothing is said. Nothing needs to be said. We both just know now. Really know. This is who we are. This is what we want. And we both want us. I admit it to him now, I let him see it. I want this. I want this with him.

Now we just have to keep finding ways to make it work.



I don't know how long we sat there. By the time we sort of came out of it the coffee was cold. So we give up on breakfast and get ourselves up and moving. Funnily enough, fucking didn't seem to be on the required agenda for either of us. We got dressed, and packed up our stuff and decided to check out early.

If I'd been able to somehow read ahead in the script and find out that this overnight holiday would result in only one fantasy session, and only one morning fuck, that between those I'd have another Prom nightmare, and that we'd be checking out of the hotel early, I would have thought that something had gone terribly wrong. That we'd really crashed and burned somehow. And that I'd be so desperately miserable that even packing my bag into my new car wouldn't help.

Which just goes to show.

Because the reality is I'm having trouble setting one foot in front of the other I'm so giddy with sheer fucking happiness.

All the time we're dressing and packing, as we go down to reception and as we walk out to the cars the valet parkers had brought round for us, we're constantly touching. Arms brushing as they reach together for something. Shoulders and hips bumping as we walk close together. Hands touching, stroking lightly across backs and chests and faces.

When we get to the cars, we stand facing each other.

Another separation.

No matter how short it will be, I'm not looking forward to it, and I don't think he is, either. He stands looking at me for a few seconds, then he says suddenly, "This is fucked!"

He walks away and starts talking to the concierge, and next thing I know, he's throwing his bag into the back of the Element and climbing into the passenger seat. 

I stare at him for a moment, but then, as the valet parking attendant drives the Corvette back to the garage, I get in the car. I'm not going to question his change of mind, I'm just going to enjoy the fact that he's here with me.

"We have some errands to run," he says. I start the car and he puts his hand on my thigh. Not making moves on me, just ... touching. I smile at him and he grins and tells me to keep my fucking eyes on the road because I'm paying for any fucking repairs. That just makes me laugh. So he does too, and then we argue about the cd I've got in the player, and that makes us laugh as well.

He directs me through town and we wind up at this not-so-trendy place that sells baby gear. Not exactly what I was expecting. Shit! Label queen that he is, he might just implode when he walks through the door. I'm biting my tongue over whether to say something when he says, "Don't queen out on me. We need to get a child seat if we want to be able to take Gus out anywhere. That was part of the reason you wanted this fucking ugly car wasn't it?"

Then he directs me to a parking lot in back of the store. I'm too happy to argue, so I just stick my tongue out at him and follow him inside.

He approaches one of the counters, and the slick-looking, thirty-something woman starts to preen at him, but when I walk up and stand close, she shuts down, and starts looking as if there's an unpleasant smell under her nose.

"Can I help you?" she says disdainfully.

Brian gives her a look, but then he says, pleasantly enough, "I placed a special order, and someone called yesterday and told me it had arrived."

‘Yes?" she says. Almost like she doesn't believe him. "What name was the order in ... Sir?"

That's delayed long enough to make it almost an insult, and I can tell Brian's starting to get antsy. I touch his back, just lightly, and he relaxes a bit and gives her his name.

"And the order?"

"A Britax Marathon car seat."

I'd thought she'd looked like she'd caught a whiff of some bad smell before, now she looks like she swallowed a lemon; her whole face creases up and she stammers, "But that's a child's seat!"

Brian gives her that look that says he's about to unleash one of the infamous Kinney diatribes, so I step in.

"Yes, that's right," I say sweetly. "It's for our son."

Brian will probably kill me for that, but it will be worth it because the look of horror on her face was priceless. Brian gives a snort of laughter, and her frown gets even more pronounced. She picks up a phone and dials and says to whoever picks up, "There's a Mr. Kinney here looking for a special order."

Then there's a pause, and she says, "Yes, well, I'm sure that will be alright."

Then she hangs up.

"The stock boy will bring it down in just a moment. *Mr.* Kinney."

Again the tone in her voice is enough to set my hackles up, let alone Brian's. But this morning is way too special, way too happy, to let some ignorant homophobic wanna-be WASP bitch ruin it. So I put my arm around Brian's waist, and he looks down at me for a moment. I grin at him and raise my eyebrow and he gives me that tongue in cheek smirk and I know he's wondering how far I'll go, because this isn't exactly Liberty Avenue.

So I let my arm drop away from his waist, and slide my hand down to squeeze his ass, and suddenly he's laughing and so am I and now she's such a tiny blip on the radar it doesn't matter.

The "stockboy", who has to be pushing forty, arrives with this gigantic fucking box, and says, "Are you sure you're going to be okay to install this?"

The woman looks as if she'd like to slap him, especially when Brian looks up, and staring straight into her eyes says, "I was advised that someone here could assist with that."

She fumbles around with the payment slip, and avoids looking at him again, and the guy says, "Sure thing. Where are you parked?"

"Out the back."

"Okay, not a problem. It shouldn't take long. These things are really easy. Does your car have LATCH?"

That's like another language to me, I have no fucking idea what he's talking about, but I'm not surprised when Brian answers confidently, "Yes."

"Great!" our stockboy (who's name turns out to be Ron) says, and we head out to the car.

He was right about it being easy. Ron installs it while we watch, and then Brian takes it out again and we both practise fitting it in under the Ron's guidance. Even with my hand it only takes a few minutes. The LATCH thing means that you don't use the seat belts, there are fittings on the actual seat frame that you clip the seat to. Apparently it's safer and more stable.

Mind you, the damned seat is huge. Brian says Gus will probably be able to ride in it till he's about five, and it looks like it.

Hell, I think I could ride in it.

We're almost done when this guy comes out of the store and walks towards us. He's all shirt and tie and looks maybe like the manager.

"Mr. Kinney?"

I feel Brian tense up again, but he nods. The guy holds out his hand, "Mal Jenkins. I'm the manager. I just wanted to make sure everything was all right. My staff are looking after you?"

Brian smiles that wolf smile of his, and says, "Well, certainly Ron is."

That's all, but it's real clear that while Ron has done okay, there's someone who's pissed him off. If I didn't know better, I'd swear the manager went pale.

"Oh, well, that's good. And the seat is satisfactory?"

Brian nods and motions me to get in the car, whilehe slips a note or two from his wallet, and into Ron's hand.

"The seat's fine, Mal," he says, as he gets in the passenger side again. "But you might want to sign that fucking cunt with the bleached hair up for some classes in gender sensitivity. They run some at the GLC. Tell her that the guy who pays her wages is the biggest fag in Pittsburgh and a personal friend of mine."

Then he flicks a look my way, and I start the car and we peel out of the car park, leaving Mal standing there looking like a twat. I glance in the mirror as I'm about to pull out of the drive, and see Ron waving at us, grinning. Maybe he doesn't like the bitch either. She seemed like someone who'd love giving the blue collar staff a hard time. Well, maybe she just picked a real bad day to piss someone off, because Brian is pulling out the cell I returned to him last night, and making a call. Something about picking up his order, and the service he'd received.

Then he clicks off and I say, "Where to now?"

"Diner," he says. "It must be time for you to eat again."

That rocks me a bit. After all the drama yesterday, I thought maybe he'd want to avoid anywhere he might run into Michael. Or even Deb. Then I realise that this is his way of drawing the line. He's showing that we haven't got anything to hang our heads about, and that we're not going to let what's going on with Michael affect what we do or where we go.

So I laugh and he grins, and stretches, enjoying the leg room, I guess, after the ‘Vette.

Then he says, "Our son, huh?"

Uh-oh. I had a feeling he wasn't going to forget about that.

I sneak a look at him as I slow to turn a corner. He raises an eyebrow. I shrug.

"Seems like certain little twinks are getting a bit above themselves. I might have to think up a suitable punishment."

His voice is soft and lazy and goes straight to my cock, of course. Damn him!

Then, as I pull up to the curb, across the street from the diner, I feel his hand on the back of my neck, tangling in my hair and tugging it gently.

I turn to look at him, and he pulls me towards him and we kiss.

He pulls away from the kiss and touches his forehead to mine. He smiles, and sits just looking at me for a few moments. I put my hands either side of his face and look into his eyes. He kisses me on the nose, and gets out of the car. I follow, and he hooks his arm around my neck as we walk across the road.

"You can have him when he's crying, hungry and needs changing," he says. "I get all the good bits."

I elbow him in the ribs.

"Not fair!" I protest.

"Okay," he says. "We'll let the munchers deal with the crying, feeding and changing. You can take him to the museum and the zoo, and I just get to supervise."

We're both starting to laugh again, now.

"I don't think it works that way," I argue, as we walk in the door, "and even if it did, I don't think Mel and Lindz would go for it."

He's starting to assure me that he can sell Lindz on anything, when *that* voice grates over us, "Brian! You got a new car! What happened to the ‘Vette?"

He sighs. "The ‘Vette's fine. This one's not for me."

"But .." the fuckwit waves a hand towards the Element on the other side of the street, and Brian starts to say something, but before he can, I cut him off.

"It's for me, Michael," I say, and I have to admit I enjoy saying it. "We bought it yesterday."

I think for a moment that he's going to burst a blood vessel. He stares at me, goggling, and then, of course, starts on Brian, "You bought him a fucking car!"

Brian sits in a booth, and pulls me in with him. "*We* bought it, Michael. Didn't you hear Justin?" *We* needed another car, so *we* went out and got one that suits Justin, because if it suits what he needs, suits what he wants, then it suits *us*. It's *our* car that we bought with *our* money and it's really none of your fucking business, so butt the fuck out of my life!"

He's almost shouting now, and Michael gives him one long look, like he's somehow hoping all that was just some horrible mistake. Brian meets his eyes straight on and all of a sudden Michael turns and runs, straight past Deb who's coming over, of course, to see what the ruckus is, and out of the diner.

Brian sighs and leans back. Deb opens her mouth and he waves her off. "Turkey sandwich, whole grain, no mayo, coffee, and hold the fucking lecture."

She pushes into the booth so that she's opposite him and smacks him gently across the ear. Then she smoothes down his hair, and says, "I'll get you a lemon bar as well, and you'll eat it. You hear me?"

He looks up and meets her eyes, and I look away. He looks almost as if he wants to cry, and she pats his face. He gives a half laugh then, and says, "Yes, Mom."

She pats his face again and moves out of the booth. "And what do you want, Sunshine?"

I want this morning back, but I can't say that, so I order and she heads off.

I don't want to look at Brian, so I stare at my hands. Then I feel his shoulder rubbing mine.

I peek at him out of the corner of my eyes, and he huffs a laugh, and wrapping his arm around my neck again, he pulls me close.

I turn into his embrace and slide my hand up round his neck. We kiss. Slow and deep and wet.

"Oh, my! You two should really get a room," Em says as he slides into the booth opposite us.

"Or charge to watch," Vic adds as he joins him.

"Hey, Em!" I say happily. "Hey, Vic!"

Brian grunts, but he grins, too..

Deb brings our food - with four lemon bars.

The diner buzzes around us.

We sit and eat and rub thighs and shoulders and think about what we're going to do when we get home, and wonder when we'll get a chance to take Gus for a ride in his car seat, and Em tells us a story about some tragic queens who want to have a "Ritz" party and hire a drag queen to dress up like Rita Moreno, and I don't understand what he's talking about so they have to explain it to me, and we all wind up laughing and having a good time.

When we leave, we all walk out together. While Em is asking Brian where the ‘Vette is parked, I pull out my keys. Brian waves towards the car and says, "Our new fuckmobile - we've road tested this model, and are happy to announce that it's well named."

I blush, but Em squeals and they cross the street with us to inspect the car. Vic is nodding, and clearly taking note of all the features (and what can be done with them) and Em is squealing and gushing, and Brian is just standing there grinning, and somehow it all feels like family again. Then of course, Deb comes over to see what's going on. She hugs me and squeals a bit too, but then she sees the car seat, and she gets this look on her face and goes over to Brian and gives him a big hug. She's smiling at him like she's so proud of him, like somehow that damned child seat being there really means something to her.

He lets her hug him, too. In fact, he hugs her back, but I'd never try to get him to admit that. Finally, he opens the passenger door, climbs in and stretches back, so I get in my side, and we drive off, leaving them waving, and Deb shouting at me to drive carefully, like I'm going on some hazardous long trip, for God's sake.

Brian and I go home, and do some chores, and fuck, and eat and shower. In the shower we suck each other off. We're thinking about going to Babylon, but neither of us is really in the mood, and then Brian remembers that he meant to punish me, so we play that scene out which winds up with us both on the floor laughing so hard we can hardly fuck, and eventually we go to bed.

We're lying there, nearly asleep, when Brian says, out of nowhere, "You know that thing I said this morning?"

And I can't help it, I go cold. Because I'm so scared that he's going to say, ‘forget it', or ‘it's bullshit' or ... something. That he's going to shoot me down in flames the way he used to do when I got too close. I know things aren't the same now, but I'm still bracing myself, when he says, with a total full on pout, "You didn't say it back."

So I roll onto my side to stare at him, and he sucks his lips in, but even in this light I can see that his eyes are laughing at me. So I let him dangle a bit, and then I grin and turn onto the other side, away from him, and press back against his body. Reaching for his hand, I drag it across me, tugging till he's pressed close up against me, and getting myself all cozy and comfortable before I finally say, "Back."

I can feel him chuckle as he settles himself more comfortably around me, and for a moment before I drift off to sleep, I think that I was right last night. This is what that Justin was aiming for. The Justin who met a man one night under a lamppost and was foolish or smart enough to let him take him ‘someplace special'. This is what that Justin wanted all along.

But more importantly than that, this is what *this* Justin wants. It's what *I* want.

And now that I have it, it's what I'm going to fight to keep.

From now on, it's ‘us', ‘we', ‘our'. And anyone who doesn't like that had better get out of our way.


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