A Sudden Aense Of Liberty
A uthor's Notes:I want to see if I can do as good of a job with Gus as sydneyalexis
D edicated to suzvoy,
because she's amazing, and superstitiousme,
because v-babe's just so darn nice.
Justin was spraying his latest painting with hairspray when the knocking on
his door started. It was a really cheap solution, but the paint finish he needed
tended to be a little expensive. Hairspray did the job. Even as the rapping
continued, he took a step back and studied his work, tilting his head at different
angles, considering light sources and perspectives. It was an art deco piece,
blocks and sharp angles and sweeping lines. Brilliant colors. A cool, aloof
subject. Brian looked spectacular in his pinstripe suit; fedora placed askew,
covering one eye.
He loved the Roaring Twenties.
The knocking had escalated into a pounding, and Justin frowned, tearing himself
away from the image of his zoot suit lover.
The trip from his balcony to the front door wasn't a long one, but it was long
enough for him to slam his knee into an old coffee table for the third time
that morning. He really needed to move the stupid thing and was absently scanning
his apartment for ideal new homes for it when he reached the door.
"It's nine in the morning. I could've been sleeping for all you know. Whatever
it is, it'd better be--" He opened the door and stopped.
Gus waggled his fingers cheekily.
Justin watched as Gus hungrily consumed his chicken chow mein, which had arrived
only minutes before from the Chinese place around the corner. The boy looked
tired, face pale and shadows marking the skin under his eyes. His dark hair
was matted with what could have been sweat, or maybe it just needed to be washed.
His tee-shirt was rumbled, but he was smiling.
"So," Justin began, crossing his legs so he was sitting Indian-style on the
floor across from Gus. "You ran away from home."
"Mphff hmm." A bit of clear sauce dribbled down Gus's chin. Justin cringed.
"Home, which happens to be located in Canada."
Gus swallowed noisily and belched. "Yup."
The boy lowered the carton of chow mein and took a deep breath. Justin could
feel his eyebrows beetle and the top of his lip lift in an unpleasant expression
of 'oh no…'.
"Okay, so the moms are starting to get on my case, right? About colleges. I'm
fifteen fucking years old! Kids my age don't have to worry about that shit for
another year or two. But no, they want me to be prepared. But they're choosing
the schools for me. Ma wants me to be a lawyer, right? But mom keeps
telling me that my creative genius can be put toward more lucrative jobs which
will propel me into the art world. Like graphic design. And which school is
closer, and what's the student to teacher ratio, and the tuition and the reputation
and who's come out of it a big, fat fucking success. But I want to be a… And
then they find out that I fucked J.P. Beaubier at a party from some bitch's
mother and they fucking flip because I'm not supposed to be gay, but then I
fucked Laurel Roch, and now they're going off their nuts about sex lectures
and responsibilities and the kind of role model I am for J.R., and God forbid
I turn out like my dad and--"
Gus paused and speared a piece of white chicken with his plastic fork and popped
it into his mouth.
"-- and so I left."
Justin knew he was staring, but he couldn't help but gawk at the little freak
and his ability to say all that without taking a breath between sentences. That
skill could've definitely come in handy when Brian had taken him to that hotel
with the pool… He'd carried around Brian's come and six gallons of chlorine
water in his belly for weeks.
"You left," Justin repeated, just to be sure he heard correctly.
"Did you tell anyone?"
Gus smiled and shook his head. "Nope!"
The cops were probably on their way to his apartment. Lindsay was going to yell
at him. Mel was going to cut his balls off. And Brian probably had a list of
the creative deaths he could suffer.
"You… you won't tell anyone, right, Jus?"
Gus was entirely too aware of the fact that he had Justin wrapped around his
Of course, the thought of Brian and his list of Death out-weighed Gus's large
Justin had his cell phone in hand faster than Gus could said, "Aww, c'mon, no!"
Brian picked up on the first ring.
"He's sitting right next to me," Justin said before Brian could get anything
out, leaning against the leg of the old coffee table, head thunking against
the wood. Gus crossed his arms and mouthed 'traitor'. Justin ignored him.
"… No, I realize he's in a lot of trouble."
Gus watched Justin curiously.
"… It's New Year's? When did that happen? … No, I've been busy, thank you very
much. Yeah, the show's coming up soon… which means so are you… Bullshit,
yes you are. I worked hard on all of these pieces and if you ever want to see
me naked again you'll come up to see them."
Gus made a face and went to grab some crab rangoons.
"… It's not my job to tell you not to ground Gus for the rest of his
Gus decided to wait and sat back angelically. Justin rolled his eyes.
"… Stop yelling at me. He'll be perfectly safe with me until you come to pick
him up. Just call off the bloodhounds. Jesus! Y… You're not gonna call Mel and
Lindsay, are you? I value my life."
"… What are we gonna do? Well, I don't know. I could take him into town to see
the ball drop."
Gus watched in disbelief as Justin dropped the phone and bared his teeth at
it. A tinny screeching emitted from it, and he realized it was his dad, shouting.
"No shit," mumbled Justin, reaching for the phone again. "Brian… Br-- BRIAN,
SHUT THE FUCK UP!!"
Gus swallowed and focused on twiddling his thumbs.
"He'll be fine. And I doubt you want me to send him to the airport, just to
high-tail it back to Canada. Gus'll spend the night and then you can come and
pick him up tomorrow. Okay? Bye." Justin ended the call and shut the phone off,
tossing it onto the worn couch behind Gus.
"… That probably wasn't the best idea," Gus put out, and Justin cracked a smile.
"Wanna rent a movie?"
"You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a
really great man."
Gus dug into his pint of Ben and Jerry's and brought out half of the ice cream
on his spoon, shoving it past his lips. He hummed in rapture as the chocolate
and the chunks of Heath bar slid over his tongue, and then gave a muffled yelp
as the cold shocked his teeth. Justin rolled his eyes and ate from his own pint.
"Nice," he teased the boy, whose jaw was working madly to melt the ice cream
and swallow it. Gus glared at him.
The medium-sized television was held up by a small… thing. Gus thought it might
have been an entertainment center, but he'd never seen one that was wooden and
black with white splatters of paint on it. The DVD player was on a shelf underneath
"I love this movie," Gus announced, but it came out more like, "ah ruv 'is boovey".
Justin cocked an eyebrow in interest and nodded his agreement.
"Orson Welles is the best," continued the boy, jabbing his empty spoon into
the carton. "And he would've been the greatest actor ever if it hadn't been
for that fucking Hearst guy. Douche bag."
But all Justin could hear was, 'Brian Kinney would've been the greatest gay
Casanova ever if it hadn't been for that Taylor kid'.
"Ah." Nothing else he could really say to that.
After a moment, Gus lowered his ice cream and pursed his lips, eyes hollow.
Justin sighed and grabbed for the remote, pressing 'STOP'. He regarded the boy
for a moment, took in his pale skin and the regal nose which belonged to his
father, and scootched over, wrapping an arm around him.
Gus let out a long breath. "Was I wrong to run away? Because of all that shit?"
Justin snorted quietly. "I ran away once… for much less."
That sparked the boy's attention. "Really? For what?"
And with that, Justin told the story of how he'd forgotten to set the alarm
for Brian's loft and how Brian had kicked him out… not before unwittingly leaving
Justin his credit card. Gus listened raptly, grinning at certain parts, frowning
"He just… kicked you out?"
Justin smiled. "Well, it was very, very early in our relationship. At that point,
I was just a trick that stayed too long."
"But dad came and got you."
"Yup. And Christ, what a… yeah."
The grin that broke across Gus's face was positively evil. "Hot hotel sex?"
Justin fanned himself dramatically. "You have no idea." Their hysterics tapered
off into uncomfortable silence, and Gus drew his knees up to his chin. Justin's
heart bled at the sight of such broken posture. Such defeat. "Start talking,
It won him a small smile. "I just… I don't think I can live up to their expectations.
I want to live my own life, y'know? And I hate being away from dad and grandma
and everyone. No offense to anyone Canadian, but it sucks up there. Nothing
Gus leaned into the hand that started to stroke his hair with a hum. "I miss
dad terribly. And you."
"Well, here I am."
"Are you ever going back to Pittsburgh?"
Justin said nothing for a long moment, just rested his chin on the top of Gus's
head, staring out at the window behind the TV. He'd forgotten what it felt like
to hold the boy he named once upon a time. Gus had grown into a gorgeous, young
man. Well, with Brian Kinney's genes, how could he have been anything but? Justin
tried to think back to the last time he had been held this way. Over
four months ago, during a weekend interlude when Brian had come to New York
on business. He could still feel the gaping hole left behind on his heart as
a result of that departure.
He'd established himself as an artist… one of the best going. He'd made his
contacts, his rounds. He'd had his shows, his stellar reviews. He had a show
coming up… the one that would showcase his most recent work…
But he missed the other half of him. His muse. His reason for… everything.
He thought back to an afternoon in a grungy apartment, to the words that had
echoed off the crumbling walls.
The next Warhol…
But he was Justin Taylor.
He smiled into Gus's hair. "Yeah. After my next show, I'm going home."
"Awesome," Gus whispered, closing his eyes. "That's brave of you… so, since
you're so brave, could you talk to my mothers for me and tell them I want to
become a vet?"
They watched the ball drop from the TV, their mingled voices chanting the countdown
still ringing through the air. Outside, in the street, people were setting off
small firework and waving sparklers around, cheering and raising champagne bottles.
Gus watched them from the window.
He turned to say something, but was hit in the face with his jacket. Justin
was leaning against his apartment door with a grin, coat zipped up to his chin.
"It's been a while since I've danced in the street, but I think I can remember
how it's done."
Someone had their car stereo blasting, and Justin closed his eyes, letting the
familiar words rush over him. Gus was close by, thanking a pair of fags for
the sparkler they'd given him, jumping up and down to the beat, waving the sizzling
light around wildly.
He remembered a night when people had been partying like this, waving sparklers
and flags, dancing and singing and laughing. He remembered the arm that had
been wrapped around his waist, the lean form he had been pressed up against,
the mouth that had whispered into his ear, "not everything".
An arm wrapped around his waist and pressed him up against a lean form, a mouth
whispering into his ear, "you fucking kids and your parties."
His eyes flew open just as Gus shouted, "DAD!"
Justin turned and met that mouth with his own, breathed in the other's breath,
"Not my idea of ringing in the New Year, but I'll let it slide… just this once."
But Brian was grinning, and Gus was hugging them both and still wanted to be
a vet, and Justin couldn't remember the last time he was this happy.
"Mel's still going to kill you."
… There would be time for the rest later. For now, Justin wanted to dance with
Brian and Gus in the streets of New York.
Happy New Year, indeed.